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Chapter 3: Echoes of Voldemort
A/N - As per this chapter, I hope you all enjoy it and please, as before, please review and give me any feedback you can about the story, the plotline, the writing; anything! Enjoy!
Oh, and a note: Here in the chapter, I refer to the Emerald Phoenix a lot just as "Phoenix" or "the Phoenix". Don't think it's the bird, 'cause it isn't! It's my dark, shadowy murderer!
Echoes of Voldemort
‘I am coming for you Harry Potter.’
Harry awoke suddenly, a cold sweat across his body. His toes and fingers were as cold as the frost that caked the window of the bedroom.
It was still deep in the night, and as he looked to his side, he relaxed as he found Hermione sleeping soundly next to him. He breathed slowly, and with the vision still clear in his mind, he gave Hermione a kiss on the cheek, and resolved to get up and get a drink.
Putting on a house coat, he cast a small light from his wand, and quietly left the room, turning to see Hermione sleeping soundly, wrapped up in almost all the sheets. She always gobbled up the sheets for herself.
Shuffling into the kitchen, he glanced at the clock above the stove—reading a dismal four twenty-one—and sighed. Now that he was back at work, he had to be up in less than two hours.
Getting a glass, he poured some water out from the tap. He could have easily done it from his wand, but sometimes he found tap water a little easier to drink. Water sometimes needed some impurities to make it better.
Finishing off the glass, he looked at it, and noticed a silhouette standing in the doorway, reflecting off the glass. He put the glass down in the sink, giving it a wipe with his wand, and put it back into the cupboard, while he heard a yawn from behind him.
‘What’s the time?’
‘Either very late, or very early’ Harry answered, looking out the window and swearing he saw a horrible face in the reflection for an instant. His eyes grew wide as he blinked and it vanished, but it took his attention for a moment, before he noticed Hermione standing next to him with a worried expression.
‘Harry?’ she asked, Harry looking at her.
‘Oh, sorry. What did you say?’ he asked, glancing at the window again for a moment, only to see a slight reflection of himself and Hermione against the street outside.
‘I asked why you were awake’ she restated.
‘Oh, that’ he answered, looking at the sink. ‘Bad dream.’
‘The war?’ she asked, placing a warm hand on his shoulder. He debated for a moment whether to tell her the truth or lie, and in the tiny fraction of thought, Hermione already knew what he was contemplating.
‘Tell the truth Harry, please. We’ve worked too hard to not tell each other the truth’ she cooed sleepily, looking at him. Harry turned around, leaning against the counter, and Hermione came in front of him, leaning in and giving him a kiss.
Harry wrapped his arms around her firm waist, and let himself get washed away in Hermione’s curves and her lips. He felt like forgetting the dream and the time, and just taking her right back to the room, however she slowed and finished the kiss, easing up on Harry before the fire in his belly had a chance to start his feet towards the bedroom.
‘Well?’ Hermione asked again, her nose rubbing up against his.
‘It was . . . Voldemort.’
‘What about him Harry? Was it from Hogwarts?’ she asked quickly, trying to find out more so she could help. Whenever he had bad dreams or nightmares of the things Voldemort did at Hogwarts, or of the fight that took place between them, she always wanted to help.
‘No. This was one . . . different’ Harry explained vaguely, Hermione stepping back as Harry began to pace towards the dinning table.
Harry was trying to remember, but the visions were fading in his mind. He wanted badly to just have all these matters behind him and live a normal life, and he knew part of him was trying to forget the dreams.
‘He . . . I don’t know, it’s becoming hard to remember’ he admitted. He sat down at the table, the blue moonlight splashing across it, and Hermione walked over slowly and sat next to him.
‘Try Harry, I know it’s bothering you’ she insisted, placing her hand on his, and rubbing it gently. Harry smiled at her, and she returned the same beautiful smile that he loved.
‘It . . . I don’t know. Voldemort, I saw—‘
‘I saw him killing Neville.’
A silence that felt like an eternity filled the room as Hermione understood what that could mean. There were so many reasons for having this dream, and Hermione was very skilled in knowing how many there could be.
‘Well’ she started, looking off for a moment. ‘Perhaps it was just a dream, nothing more.’ Harry gave her an apprehensive look, and she shrugged her shoulders.
‘You know as well as I that’s not the case’ Harry answered grimly, holding his head in his hands. ‘He said he was coming for me.’
‘Coming for you?’ Hermione repeated, Harry getting up from the table.
‘Yes’ Harry murmured jadedly.
‘Well . . .’ Hermione started, looking at the table for a moment as Harry paced sleepily about.
‘There is no “well” Hermione. There’s only one reason why I could be having a dream with Voldemort like this’ Harry asserted, Hermione getting up from the table.
‘But even you admitted that he couldn’t be alive.’
‘I know, I know. But why else would I be having these dreams?’ Harry asked, Hermione giving him a queer look.
‘Dreams? You mean you’ve had others?’
‘I think so—I’m not sure’ Harry said, turning away for a moment.
‘Harry, we should go and talk to Parvati. Perhaps she—‘
‘No’ he cut her off, turning back from the other side of the kitchen. ‘No, I don’t want to dive into this anymore Hermione; I had to deal with this for seventeen years before it finally left me. I don’t want to bring it out even more now, not when things are how I’ve always wished them to be.’
‘No, I won’t do it!’ Harry spoke loudly, putting his hands on the counter and the glass he earlier took a drink with smashing into thousands of pieces in the sink. Hermione approached carefully, and tried to say something. Harry never usually got angry like this these days.
‘I’m sorry Harry, I’m just—‘
‘I know’ Harry voiced softly, clearly trying to calm down. ‘I know, and I’m sorry I got upset there, I shouldn’t have. I just thought- . . . I thought I was done with all this.’ Harry stood up, and looked at Hermione with a melancholy expression across his face as he fixed the glass in the sink. Hermione came over and gave him a hug, which he embraced tightly.
‘I know Harry, I thought so too. That’s why I want to go see Parvati. She’s great at interpreting dreams, maybe she can help like she did before, and we can get through this quickly so we can return to normal.’
Harry closed his eyes, and nodded, Hermione reaching up and giving him a kiss.
‘Com’on, let’s get back to bed’ Hermione whispered. Harry kissed her on the forehead, and the two of them returned to bed, Harry still perturbed by the dream that awoke him before.
‘Hey, where are you two going?’ Ron asked as he took the last bite of his sandwich.
‘We have an appointment with someone, but we’ll catch up with you later’ Hermione assured. Ron gave Harry and Hermione an odd look for a moment, before nodding and agreeing to meet up with them later at Three Broomsticks.
Walking to the lifts, Hermione supported Harry with a gentle rubbing of his shoulder. Harry pushed the button for the lift, when a voice called the two of them from the office.
‘Harry, Hermione’ Kingsley called, the two of them turning around and Hermione dropping her hand.
‘Yes sir?’ Harry asked as the lift dinged behind them to tell them it had arrived.
‘Any leads on the Phoenix murder?’ he asked bluntly as he came in front of them. The occupants of the lift were clearing their throats to let whoever pushed the button that the lift had arrived.
‘Um, we’re going to look into one right now, and are meeting up later with Ron to discuss more of the findings’ Hermione answered, Harry turning his head slightly and giving a sigh as the doors to the lift closed behind them, the occupants of said lift displeased with the short and pointless wait.
‘Alright, keep me informed. I want a report and profile by Wednesday’ Kingsley stated.
‘Yes sir, shouldn’t be a problem’ Harry attested. Kingsley walked back into the Auror Headquarters. Hermione went ahead and pushed the button once again.
‘Honestly, what was the point of that?’ Harry asked incredulously.
‘You know Kingsley, he hasn’t had his job for long. He’s just making sure he’s doing it right’ Hermione explained, the lift giving a ding to tell that it had arrived.
‘Yes, well, there’s right, and then there’s nagging’ Harry claimed, getting into the lift and pushing the button for the next level.
Reaching the fireplaces for the Floo, Hermione took the powder, threw it in yelling out a bookstore in London, and the two of them stepped through.
Coming out in a fireplace, the two said hello to the bookkeeper, and left the store. It was the closest Floo to Parvati’s shop, and as they walked towards it, Harry became anxious again.
‘Don’t worry Harry, this is Parvati; she knows us. Com’on’ she encouraged, walking down the steps to Parvati’s store.
Parvati ran a small shop that focused on Divination. She loved tea leaf reading, astrology, and dream interpretation. While Hermione still agreed that the bulk of Divination was worthless non-sense, Parvati did have a good manner in helping people out with nightmares. Harry had mentioned how she helped out before with nightmares and figuring out what they might mean, and that was the only reason why she suggested this trek.
Reaching the door, they gave a knock, and Parvati answered the door.
‘Harry, Hermione! I’ve been expecting you!’ she proclaimed, Hermione giving a sigh under her breath. She knew full well she would be “expecting” anyone that knocked on her door; it was just a matter of answering it.
‘Hello Parvati, could you help us with something?’ Hermione asked with a smile as they came into her small shop that carried with it a strong smell of incense and lilacs.
The shop looked almost as if it had been grown by nature. The walls were covered in vines and wood bark, like the walls themselves were trees. The tables, where bright coloured potions and artifacts stood, were wood too, though the vines continued to splay across them. Parvati moved through a narrow clearing through the shop towards the back, where a crystal ball was set on a circular wooden table set at knee height.
‘Come, sit’ Parvati insisted. Hermione liked Parvati, just not her profession, so she found it hard to separate the two when figuring how to think about this all. While walking through about all she could think about was “how does her landlord put up with this!”.
Harry took a seat, as did Hermione, on small mauve coloured cushions, and Parvati made an elaborate swoop onto her own cushion and smiled.
‘So, what can I help you guys out with? Having troubles between you two? Problems in bed? Thinking of Marriage?’
‘No! No, no, no!’ Hermione interrupted. Clearly Parvati needed to develop her greeting skills a bit beter.
‘It’s my dreams’ Harry informed, Parvati looking at him.
‘What of them Harry? Are you having ones like before?’
Harry looked over at Hermione for a moment, then over to Parvati again.
‘No, these are different. I . . . they’re about Voldemort, but . . .’
‘But what Harry? Are you seeing him in current times, like him threatening Hermione or someone else how they are now, and not at Hogwarts?’ she asked. Harry gave another worried glance at Hermione, and she understood why. Explaining about his dream would require them to tell Parvati about Neville’s murder, and some details that should be kept confidential.
‘I can sense some hesitancy in your voice . . . does this have any connection to Neville’s passing?’ Parvati asked calmly.
‘How do you know about Neville’s death?’ Hermione asked incredulously.
‘Though my Inner Eye is not as developed as Professor Trelawney’s was, I can still see some events that transpire. Neville’s passing I sadly have seen coming for some time’ Parvati dreamed on, looking at some of the smoke coming from one of the many candles.
‘If you knew Neville was going to die, why didn’t you say anything?’ Hermione asked aggressively. She kept telling herself that she still liked Parvati, but the difference between Parvati and a smaller version of Professor Trelawney was beginning to become less and less.
‘Well, it is not the place of a Seer—gifted as they may be—to change the fates of others. But when my sister Padma told me he passed away, I already knew it had occurred.’
Hermione’s anger at the senselessness of her “seeing” went away as she justified Parvati’s explanation. Padma knew of Neville’s murder because she was one of the last people to see him alive. Padma telling Parvati could be expected, and that’s how Parvati found out about Neville’s death, not some whimsical “seeing.”
‘Still’ Parvati continued without conversation, ‘it is a shame that Professor Trelawney had to pass away in such a manner.’
A sudden flash of pain raced across Harry’s forehead as he gained a sudden vision of an old woman with tattered hair being tortured to death, screaming out as she writhed along a stone floor. A cruel and malicious hand came from Harry’s body, and let go of the terrible torture curse on the woman, though she continued to scream as if it was still placed on her.
‘Now tell me what you know about Potter!’ came from Harry’s mouth, though sounding snake-like and malevolent.
‘I- . . . I can- . . . I CAN’T SAY- . . . I CAN’T SAY WHAT- . . . I CAN’T- . . . I KNOW- . . . PLEASE- . . . PLEASE KILL ME!’ the woman screamed, scraping at the stones with her blood-drenched hands, which were worn down to the bone.
Harry moved over towards the woman, and with a long and cloaked arm, he threw her over, and trained his ivory wand on her head. Her face was beyond mangled, and while it would make Harry normally cringe and beg to help her, he found himself smirking evilly—hearing the crackles of his followers in the darkness.
‘Oh you will die dear Sibyll’ his slithery voice quipped. ‘Just as soon as I take every last bit of knowledge from you!’
She began screaming again, but it was to no use. Harry pointed his wand at her forehead, and began to laugh menacingly.
And with that, the pain become overwhelming, hearing the woman scream in ways that made him sick to his stomach. He tried as hard as he could to stop it, but he kept laughing, and pushing through more and more memories until he suddenly came the one he was looking for.
‘Harry! Harry, look at me!’
Harry leaned over and wretched all over the floor. He was shivering all over, and just the thought of seeing Professor Trelawney like that made him throw up again, just as Parvati was coming back with some herbal medicine.
‘No, none of that! You’ve done more than enough here Parvati’ Hermione ranted, trying to help Harry sit up. It seemed every time Harry closed his eyes, even just as he blinked, Sibyll’s face was right there, screaming and begging to die while being put under tremendous amounts of pain.
‘Harry, please, say something. Tell me what happened’ Hermione pleaded, looking at him closely. He looked like he had the worst plague in the world.
‘I . . . saw-‘
And once again, he wretched to his side, Hermione comforting him the only way she could, but rubbing his back.
‘Harry, what did you see? You must tell us’ Parvati insisted. Hermione gave her a glance, and Parvati frowned, mouthing “I’m sorry.” Hermione said it was alright, and was glad at least to see that their friend Parvati was there, and not little-Trelawney.
‘I saw- . . .’ Harry tried, closing his eyes trying as hard as ever to get Sibyll’s face out of his mind just for a moment. ‘I saw- . . . Sibyll’s death.’
‘I’m- I’m so sorry Harry, I should not have mentioned it’ Parvati voiced sorrowfully.
‘What, you knew about this?’ Hermione asked Parvati, looking from her to Harry.
‘Don’t- Don’t blame her Hermione. I told her about that a long time ago, and I kept it from you so you wouldn’t get worried. You were already worried enough’ Harry said slowly, making sure to keep his body leaned to the left incase he might be sick again.
‘So, wait, I don’t-‘
‘Perhaps’ Parvait interrupted Hermione, ‘I can tell you over here, while we let Harry recuperate.’ Hermione agreed, making sure Harry would be alright, and walked into another room.
Once they were around the corner, Harry tried to stay focused on something in the room. He was still shivering, and his head was swimming in terrible memories and even worse sensations.
Why had he seen that memory? He hadn’t experienced it in over three years, yet it just suddenly came up at the mere mention of the Professor’s name.
His thinking brought up a bigger question however. Was this memory linked to what happened to Neville? His scar hurt this time, and did as well at Neville’s. Was there a connection? Why was he starting to feel like he did when Voldemort was still alive? Could he be alive?
Walking back into the room, Hermione came over and sat down next to Harry, Parvati taking her seat across from both of them, sitting down normally this time. She knew this was much more serious than getting a palm read, and Hermione was glad to see her taking it as such.
‘Parvati told me about what happened before, and I’m not upset. Are you alright?’ Hermione asked, rubbing his hand. One of the things Harry loved about Hermione, was her ability to just know what he was thinking. She knew he was feeling back for not telling her about this before.
‘I’m better, thank you.’
‘Do you think you are strong enough to figure this out?’ Parvati asked seriously. Both girls glanced at Harry, waiting to see his reaction. Hermione did not want to push him, but she knew it was troubling him severely.
‘Let’s get it done with’ Harry replied, sitting up and looking at Parvati, who nodded and placed her hand on the crystal ball.
‘Very well. This dream, and Neville’s death, is there a connection? That is what we aim to find out here. What we will do, is let our thoughts and minds guide us through the crystal ball, and let us see the connection. It may be dark, it may be terrifying, but to solve this riddle, we must venture forward. Are you ready?’
She looked both at Harry and Hermione. They nodded their heads, and Parvati placed her hand on the top of the crystal ball, causing a smoke to fill the inside of it.
‘Now, gaze into the smoke. Look at the patterns, and the irregularities. Look past the smoke, and look back to the fire that created the smoke. Try to picture the fire, and let it guide you to where you need to go’ Parvati instructed calmly.
All three were looking at the crystal ball, and slowly the smoke began to form into something. All three of them tried to identify what it was.
‘Is it . . . a potato?’ Hermione offered.
‘No . . . perhaps, a hog, like Hogsmeade’ Parvati suggested.
Harry continued to gaze, and as the smoke continued to coalesce, he looked closer and his mouth fell open.
‘It’s a hut.’
Indeed, after a moment, both Parvati and Hermione looked closer and could see it was a hut, circular with a top and a chimney.
‘So . . . the connection between Neville and this dream, is a hut of some sorts?’ Hermione questioned.
‘Perhaps it is not the connection, but the next in line. Perhaps the dream came first, then Neville, and this hut or house. The crystal ball does not always give what you initially look for’ Parvati maintained.
‘Well, what connects the dream to Nev—‘ Hermione began, before realizing what the connection was: death.
‘So whom do we all know that is connected to a hut?’ Parvati asked, Harry and Hermione puzzling for a moment before looking at each other gravely.
‘Hagrid, yes of course!’ Parvati announced, Harry and Hermione not caring too much and grabbing their things.
‘Thank you Parvati!’ Hermione shouted back as they exited to the street.
‘Do you think he’s alright?’ Hermione asked worriedly as they worked their way back to the bookshop. Harry did not answer, but merely quickened his pace. Once they were back in the Ministry, they quickly ran up and told Kingsley their hunch, which did not go over too well.
‘You’re telling me, you think the next victim is going to be a groundskeeper, and your only piece of evidence is a whiff of smoke?’ Kingsley asked grimly.
‘I know it sounds crazy Kingsley, I wouldn’t believe in it either, but we need—‘
‘No, we don’t’ Kingsley stated over Hermione. ‘Now, follow the evidence correctly, and don’t go believing in this Divination non-sense. Go back to work, and get that report ready for my desk!’
Harry turned about quickly before Hermione could plead with Kingsley again, and she caught up to him at the lifts.
‘What are we going to do?’ Hermione asked, looking at Harry with worried eyes.
‘What do you think? We’re going to watch Hagrid.’
‘But, what if the Phoenix kills someone different? What if Hagrid isn’t the next victim?’ Hermione questioned, Harry taking a sigh.
‘Hermione, did you not just see what happened at Parvati’s? Did you not just run with me the whole way back here to plead with Kingsley that we take it seriously?’ Harry argued.
‘Yes, I know, but what if—‘
‘No Hermione’ Harry attested, ‘we are going to Hagrid’s, and that is that. We’ll get Ron at Three Broomsticks, and go to Hagrid’s Hut for the time.’
Hermione did not bother with responding, but merely followed Harry. She disliked having Harry in this mood, since it had been years since this mood existed for him, but deep down she understood why he was feeling like this. He thought he had been finished with all this, and now here he was trying to put away another murderer. Add to that all these dreams, his ill feelings towards it all, and this Emerald Phoenix with all his connections to Voldemort, and it could be expected that Harry resort to being a bit upset. She just wished it wouldn’t last too long.
Reaching Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade, the despondent Harry and Hermione met up with a jovial Ron, who was relaxing at the bar, talking to Madam Rosemerta. He always had a thing for her, even if she was a few times his age.
‘I’m telling you, I could have been Keeper for the Chudley Cannons!’
‘You tell me that every time dear, and its not going to get you a free drink’ Rosemerta chuckled to Ron, looking at the new people to enter.
‘Ah, come to get your friend, yes Harry?’ the bartender asked, as Harry and Hermione briskly walked over and grabbed Ron.
‘What the—hey, don’t need to be so gentle guys’ Ron mentioned as Harry and Hermione pushed him out of the door.
‘What’s the problem? Where the hell have you two been?’ Ron demanded angrily. He had been having a decent time waiting for the two of them, considering they were over thirty minutes late.
‘We have to go to Hagrid’s, right now’ Harry ordered, turning up the street quickly.
‘Wha- . . . wait, why? And hey, aren’t you guys gonna apologize for being late and just now throwing me out of Three Broomsticks?’ Ron fumed. Harry was not very responsive, so it fell on Hermione to answer.
‘We’re sorry Ron, alright? We have to make it to Hagrid’s quickly though, we think he may be the next victim.’
‘What? Hagrid? Why him?’
‘If we knew that we wouldn’t be so worried, would be Ron?’ Harry bit back at him, continuing forward. Hermione looked at Ron with a worried face, Ron mimicking the same expression mixed with anger at Harry’s attitude, and the group continued to Hogwarts.
The castle had taken its share of injuries during the battles, and the Astronomy Tower was never really rebuilt. Hagrid went through several huts, but he considered it a fun thing to rebuild one’s house. By now he had made this house his home, and had his pumpkin patches and everything else all set around his hut. The Forbidden Forest was still right next to it, still looking as ominous and menacing as usual.
Knocking on the door, they heard some slow and heavy shuffling coming from inside, until finally the large wooden door creaked open, and a puffy-eyed half-giant looked out.
‘Oh, its yous’ he snorted, turning and heading back inside, leaving the door open but not inviting them in. The welcome was expected by the three friends still standing outside.
‘Hagrid, may we come in?’ Hermione asked politely. She understood why Hagrid was upset with all of them. When Fang died, they promised to help burry him next to his hut when the war ended. But, when the war did finally end, everyone was so caught up in the celebration, Hagrid was left to bury Fang all alone. Harry and the others remembered after not too long, but by then Fang was in the ground, and Hagrid was drenched in sadness, tears, and loneliness. He talked to them a little here and there, but he was seriously hurt that they weren’t there when he needed them to be.
‘Why do yeh wanna com’ in now? It’s no’ like you need me anymore’ Hagrid replied, doing something near the stove.
‘We wanted to come and see how you are doing’ Hermione explained, Hagrid letting off an angry laugh.
‘How I’m doin’? Like tha’ ever ma’ered to yeh. Jus’ leave me be.’
‘Hagrid, we’re sorry, what else do you want us to say?’ Ron questioned as they slowly walked into the hut.
‘I don’ wancha teh say anythin’, jus’ leave!’ Hagrid shouted. Harry was having enough of this.
‘No, we aren’t Hagrid! We’ve told you hundreds of times we were sorry that we weren’t there when you buried Fang, and we’ve tried again and again to make it up to you somehow. We came to see how you were, and warn you about a murderer who we think might come after you, but—‘
‘Oh don’ be makin’ up stories ‘bout murderers an’ such!’ Hagrid ranted.
‘We’re not making it up Hagrid! Get over yourself, accept our apology, and let us be your friends again!’ Harry yelled. All he wanted to do was to protect Hagrid, and all he was getting was an old grudge.
‘Harry, please calm down’ Hermione insisted, taking a step towards Hagrid, who was remaining silent for a moment, staring down at the stove. ‘Hagrid, we’re worried about you, and we all have been for months, years even. We know that the war and Fang’s passing hurt you a lot, but you have to let us in. We want to help, now more than ever’ she continued, reaching up and placing a hand on the man’s large shoulder.
‘Please Hagrid, we want to help’ Ron added, Hermione giving him a smile.
Hagrid began to sniffle, and continued to look at the stove, until he suddenly turned towards Hermione and engulfed her in a massive hug, crying his eyes out.
‘Err, um—Hagrid? I—can’t—breath!’ Hermione whispered, Hagrid letting his grip loose enough for her to breath. Harry and Ron walked forward, and embraced their large friend as he continued to cry profusely. The three of them slowly moved Hagrid towards one of his chairs, and sat him down. Ron found a few normal-sized chairs stacked up in one of the corners of the hut, and brought them forward for them to sit on.
Hagrid apologized over and over again to all of them, but eventually all four of them began to talk normally, about Fang, the war, how things had been since then, and what was going on now. It was a very long conversation, full of more sadness, more tears from Hagrid, but also some happiness and good news as well.
‘Luna’s expectin’?’ Hagrid asked, after Hermione mentioned Ron’s “new addition” with Luna.
‘Um, yeah, you didn’t hear?’ Ron wondered.
Hagrid shook his head, but was smiling brightly at the news, regardless of the fact that he had not been told earlier. ‘Tha’s wonderful Ron! Yer gonna be a great Dad!’ he boomed, giving him a pat on the back that made him fall off his chair.
As the conversation became more relaxed, it was finally time to tell Hagrid why the three of them had come.
‘There’s a murderer we’re tracking, and we think he may be coming after you next’ Harry told him. He explained what happened to Neville, and just hearing about it made Hagrid terrified. He continued with the visit to Parvati, and his dream, and Hagrid understood why they were there. Hagrid was never one to believe in Divination that much, but he knew that he should watch himself.
‘So, whatcha think’ of doin’?’ Hagrid asked, looking at the three of them.
‘Well’ Harry began, looking at Hermione and Ron, ‘I thought we could just stick around here, keeping watch. In shifts of course, but just keep you company.’
‘Yeh can’t do anythin’ with the Aurors? An’ why doncha just tell Hogwarts ‘bout it?’
‘The Aurors don’t think our hunch is credible’ Hermione answered.
‘Well I believe yeh, an’ yer more than welcome ter stay here!’ Hagrid boasted, smiling.
‘Thank you Hagrid, it means a lot that you’re letting us stay, and talking to us now’ Harry expressed happily.
‘Yeh were right, I needed ter get over it. An’ I’m glad yeh tried so much!’
Harry, Ron, and Hermione discussed who should stay first, and it was decided that after a short trip home to check on Luna, Ron would stay with Harry. Hermione gave Hagrid a hug, promising to return the next day, gave Harry a kiss, and left for home when Ron returned.
Harry and Ron worked out a plan to keep eyes on the surrounding area. Being so close to the Forbidden Forest, they were worried mostly of the Phoenix coming through the woods. Though the protection had been put back on the castle and the grounds, this Phoenix might be able to get through them.
It was turning dark outside, and the Forest looked as murky and haunted as ever. Hagrid insisted the two of them did not need to stay, but he did not object. He knew if anyone as going to keep him safe, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were the best.
As they walked back from the Forest, placing spells to warn them of people moving through the woods, the three of them looked up to Hogwarts and gazed at it for some moments. It had been a while since Harry had been back to Hogwarts, and he had forgotten how beautiful it looked at night, with all the windows blazing with amber firelight, and the dancing figures of students crossing. Even from Hagrid’s hut, they could hear the chattering of all the students up in the castle, and the occasional pop or spell.
‘I love tha’ ‘bout Hogwarts, all teh voices, all teh people’ Hagrid mused quietly, breathing in the cool night air.
‘I miss it here’ Ron commented, breathing in deeply and looking at Harry and Hagrid.
‘So do I’ Harry added.
The three of them went back into Hagrid’s hut, and tried to relax. Hagrid cooked them supper, which really did not sit well with either of them. Hagrid’s cooking had not really improved since the war.
Ron started the first watch, Harry trying to get some sleep in Hagrid’s hut on a make-shift bed. Hagrid’s snoring was incredibly loud, which made it beyond impossible for Harry to sleep. He eventually had to cast a spell to mute his snoring to allow him to get some sleep.
After what felt like only a few seconds of sleeping, Harry having a wonderful dream of chasing Hermione in a beautiful forest, he was nudged awake by a shadowy figure with ginger hair.
‘Ron! You idiot, you scared the hell out of me!’ Harry responded gruffly, giving his friend a smack, then slowly getting up.
‘Is it my turn?’ Harry asked, already knowing the answer. Ron did not bother to answer, but merely kicked Harry out of the hut and took his place to sleep.
Walking outside in the darkness, he shivered as the frosty air attacked his skin. He breathed in the cool air, and his foggy exhale went up into the sky. Even as he began to walk about, each step made a massive amount of noise, whether it was the crunch of the grass, or the wear of his shoes, or the occasional shuffle from almost falling over something.
Coming around the back of the hut, eclipsed in the darkness of the Forbidden Forest, Harry tried to peer into the depths of the trees. He tried to relax, and lean against the hut, when suddenly he saw something in the shadows.
He raised his wand, and focused on the darkness, trying to discern any movement or life in the night. He thought for a moment he saw one of the alarms trip—a flash of light.
Taking more steps forward, his paces slowed as he knew he was coming closer to the edge of the forest. He could feel his footing becoming a problem, but he could not cast any light. If anything, or anyone was there—especially the Phoenix—he could not be shown where he was.
Standing there silently with his wand raised, he kept his eyes on the forest. He was about to step away and go back to the front of the hut, when suddenly a flash of light came from the depths of the forest.
Harry wasted no time, and ran to the front of the hut to get Ron. One of the first things they learn as Aurors, is to never go alone anywhere. Harry wanted to dive into the forest and find the Phoenix, but he needed Ron’s help.
Bursting into the hut, the slam of the door woke Ron and Hagrid.
‘He’s here! In the Forest, get up!’ Harry yelled. Ron scrambled to get up, and Hagrid also got himself up and grabbed his umbrella.
‘Hagrid, you need to stay here’ Harry insisted, Hagrid closing the door behind him.
‘I’m not stayin’ inside while yeh go aroun’ tryin’ to trap this guy! I can’ still fight!’
Harry did not bother to question the situation, and merely lead them to the back of the hut. He explained that he saw the flash in the trees, and they slowly walked into the forest, keeping one behind the other.
The darkness was complete when they went in, and Harry kept running into trees, jumping back thinking they were someone.
‘Harry, we need light. I can’t see a thing’ Ron whispered from behind the large form of Hagrid. Harry agreed that they could not just walk around in the dark and expect to find the Phoenix, but they needed to keep him there and not scare him off.
‘Stelleruptio’ Harry whispered, his wand pointed towards the heavens. A small trail of light escaped his wand, and a huge burst of light erupted above the forest, cast shadows everywhere, but allowing them to see their surroundings better.
Looking about, as the light began to dim, Harry saw another light from one of the protection spells go off, and he ran off after it, Ron and Hagrid calling after him. Harry was fully determined to capture this Phoenix, he did not want to lose him in the forest.
The light died above the forest, and Harry stopped as he reached a shrub, and began to lose his bearings. He could hear something moving close by, but it was difficult to understand which direction it was coming from.
Harry stayed quiet, and kept low, hoping to work out where the sound was coming from. He closed his eyes, trying to strain his ears to hear anything, but there was a good deal of noise coming from all around him. A subtle wind came through the trees, and as the leaves began to rustle and the trees creaked and groaned, he stood up to see if his eyes could find any movement.
Squinting, and struggling with his eyes to see anything in the darkness, he abruptly could make out the shape of a man standing almost ten feet in front of him. Harry raised his wand, and focused on the shape.
The red light of the spell flew across the open space, but hit a tree and cracked out of existence. In the sudden moment of light however, Harry was able to see the dark cloaked figure of the Emerald Phoenix standing there. Even after the spell had missed, the Phoenix continued to stand there, and hissed in a dark and deathly voice.
‘Harry Potter’ the Phoenix hissed slowly, as if on the wind. ‘You cannot stop me.’
‘That’s what you think. Stupefy!’ Harry bit back, trying again to stun the man. Again, the spell hit a tree, and the man continued to stand in place. Harry could swear he aimed it correctly this time, but it still did not work.
Another hiss came from the cloaked figure, and Harry was beginning to feel fear over his lack of ability to cast magic on the man.
‘I will . . . continue to kill Harry Potter, and there is nothing you can do to stop me’ the Phoenix hissed, a shiver running down Harry’s spine as the voice of the Phoenix became more aware.
It couldn’t be him, it just couldn’t! Harry’s mind pleaded, a malevolent chuckle coming from the dark cloak of the Phoenix.
‘Oh but it is young Harry, it is’ the hissing voiced aloud, knowing Harry’s thoughts. ‘I am the Emerald Phoenix, and the groundskeeper will be the next to die at my wand!’
‘No!’ Harry yelled, trying again to cast spells at the cloaked figure. Nothing seemed to hit him, and as Harry continued to fire off spells, coming closer and closer, the Phoenix suddenly lifted his head—showing his hideous face—and pointed his wand at Harry.
‘Legilimens!’ the Phoenix hissed, causing Harry to suddenly fall to his knees in pain as his mind was beginning to fall into dark and violent memories.
‘If you will not stand aside’ the Phoenix stated, his red-eyes boring into Harry’s, ‘then you will watch as the groundskeeper is killed!’
Harry tried to fight back, but the power of the Emerald Phoenix was overwhelming, and Harry’s mind was thrown into his darkest memories. Watching Neville die, seeing the anguish that Ron was going through as Voldemort tortured him, seeing Sirius being killed, it was all being forced upon him, and he could look nowhere else except into the fierce and evil red eyes of the Phoenix.
All of a sudden, Harry was no longer looking through his own eyes, but instead through the Phoenix’s. He could see himself, kneeling on the ground with his eyes open, but he was powerless to do anything. He fought as hard as he could, to break free of the Phoenix’s hold, but he was too strong. Harry fought, and fought, with all the might his mind could muster, but it was to no avail.
The Phoenix left Harry’s body there, and began to move through the forest. Harry tried to take control of the Phoenix’s body, to yell out to Ron or Hagrid the horror that walked nearby, but the Phoenix laughed as Harry’s attempts.
‘Don’t worry Potter, soon your groundskeeper will be dead, and you will be back’ came from the Phoenix, Harry raging against it all.
Suddenly, fear beyond fear gripped Harry as the Phoenix came around a tree, and was standing behind a large figure. Harry knew it had to be Hagrid, and by the looks of it, Ron was out trying to find Harry. Hagrid had his umbrella up, but had no idea that the Phoenix was there.
Harry waited until the Phoenix was laughing again, and pushed with everything he had to get in control, and warn Hagrid.
‘H—Hag—Hag’ came in a whisper.
Hagrid turned around quickly, and cast a light on the cloaked man. The Phoenix raged at Harry, pushing him back to watching, but Harry did what he wished. He was shouting at Hagrid to stun the Phoenix, but Hagrid stood there looking stunned.
‘You will pay for that Potter’ came from the Phoenix’s mind, regaining control.
‘Wha—wha’ have yeh done wit’ Harry?’ Hagrid asked suddenly, Harry screaming in the Phoenix’s mind for Hagrid to attack.
‘He will learn his place, as you will now Rubeus. You should have stayed away from Hogwarts when I got you kicked out’ slithered the Phoenix.
‘He’ll stop yeh Voldemor’, yeh watch’ Hagrid boasted proudly, Harry still pleading that he would just stun the Phoenix.
‘I am not Voldemort you fool’ the Phoenix corrected darkly, raising his wand. ‘I am the Emerald Phoenix, and Potter will learn his place just as you will.’
Harry was screaming as loud as he could, struggling with all his might to fight against the Phoenix’s will, but it was all in vain. The Phoenix merely laughed at Harry’s attempts. Hagrid lowered his wand, casting the area back into darkness, and looked into the red eyes of the Emerald Phoenix.
‘Don’ blame yerself for my death Harry’ Hagrid said quietly, Harry becoming perplexed for a moment as to how Hagrid knew he was inside the Phoenix's body, but then continuing to struggle, begging for Hagrid to fight.
‘Avada Kedavra!’ hissed the Phoenix, and Hagrid’s large frame was hit with the green light, Harry screaming as he saw Hagrid’s expression become empty, and the heavy man’s body timbering to the ground.
‘Now that was not so bad, was it Harry?’ the Phoenix hissed, pointing his wand towards the tree tops as Harry continued to rage in agony.
‘Phoenicreo-Viridis’ the hissing voice charmed quickly, a green bolt shooting up and a giant emerald phoenix erupting from it, flashing Harry back to Neville’s murder and the scene there.
Shouts from Ron began to trickle through the forest, and the Phoenix began to scurry away, but not before a blast came from across the way from Ron’s wand.
‘Stupefy!’ Ron’s voice shouted, Harry trying to cast doubt into the Phoenix’s mind.
He’s going to get you Harry said, the Phoenix crackling back.
‘Perhaps I should just kill him then too?’ the Phoenix replied, crackling more as he moved. It was clearly hard for Ron to keep track of the Phoenix as he dodged through the trees and darkness. Harry continued to try and work against the Phoenix’s control, and with his attention diverted, Harry was able to gain control of the Phoenix’ body, and threw it towards the ground.
The Phoenix fell hard onto the forest floor, and as he began to get up, Harry suddenly realized he was seeing the Phoenix from his own eyes. He was back in his own body.
‘You will never find me Potter, no matter how hard you hunt. Know that three victims from now, Hermione will be at the end of my Killing Curse, and there is nothing you can do’ the Emerald Phoenix slithered in a hollow voice, boring into Harry’s mind with those blood-red eyes.
Harry tried to move to capture the Phoenix, but the cloaked figure ran into the darkness, and vanished from sight. Harry fell forward onto the forest floor, and soon enough, the stomps of Ron’s feet came closer, and he picked him up.
‘Harry? Harry! For the love of Merlin, don’t be dead!’ Ron yelled, Harry finally blinking and Ron breathing a sigh of relief.
‘Harry, did you see him? Are you alright?’ Ron asked quickly, seeing the state of shock he was in.
‘He . . . he killed Hagrid’ Harry uttered darkly, Ron wiping a tear.
‘I . . . saw, and it looks like he Apparated away. Are you alright though Harry, tell me? Did you see his face?’
The vision of his face made Harry shiver and feel almost sick to his stomach. He looked away from Ron, and towards the forest where the Phoenix ran off.
‘I . . . I did.’
‘And? What does he look like, is he someone we know?’
Harry looked back at Ron’s face with one of the most fearful and worried expressions Ron had ever seen in Harry since the end of the war.
‘It was Voldemort.’
A/N - Thoughts, ideas, questions, corrections? Please folks, feedback is vital, so please review! Even just something small, it helps out a lot! Thank you!
Stelleruptio - L. stella: star, eruptio: burst (Stelleruptio = Starburst)
Phoenicreo-Viridis - L. phoenix: phoenix, creo: to create, viridis: green (Phoenicreo Viridis = to create a viridian (emerald) phoenix)