Chapter 2 : The Mission
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Two months later…
Screaming… lots of it. Dark, can’t see anything… Dumbledore… Mom, Dad, Sirius… Pettigrew, laughter… a flash of intense green… Voldemort! Brilliant green eyes shot open, quickly taking in the surroundings of its person. His heart rate slowed as he slowly realized that he was in his room and it was morning. Sighing, Harry Potter sat up and rubbed his hands over his face and through his shockingly raven hair.
“It was just another nightmare,” he said aloud for his own benefit but it didn’t seem to work. ‘No matter,’ he thought, ‘out of sight, out of mind… or something of that sort.’ He threw back the covers and stood to his full height of five feet, ten inches. During the time when Harry was going through his growth spurt, he had hoped to reach his best friend Ron Weasley’s height of six feet, two inches but alas, it was not meant to be.
“Ron!” He called out as he reached for his glasses and placed it just over his Roman nose. He was still in his boxers when Ron burst in.
“Harry! Are you alright, mate?” Harry glanced over at Ron who was breathless and flushed at the doorway, his flaming red hair in disarray. Harry’s curiosity peaked until he noticed the messy brown haired girl behind Ron, who was dwarfed by his height.
Immediately, Harry panicked.
“Shit, Hermione! Don’t you see I have nothing on but my knickers?” He cried out, indignantly. Harry was too busy trying to cover the manly parts that the boxers did nothing to hide to notice Hermione Granger slightly blushed then lift her chin.
“Be assured, Harry, that it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.”
“I’m sure,” Harry agreed sarcastically, clearly looking at the couple.
Ever since their seventh year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, his two best friends had become a couple. He knew it was going to happen since their fourth year when Hermione had attended the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum, a Bulgarian Seeker, and one of Ron’s favorite players… at least up until the two started dating. Since then, Ron did nothing but talk of Viktor, and not in good nature.
Then it was Hermione’s turn to be jealous when in their sixth year, Ron started dating Lavender Brown. Well, to make a long story short, Ron and Hermione confronted each other with their feelings and been together since.
“I’ll go dress,” Hermione announced suddenly as she turned and strode back to Ron’s bedroom.
“She’s probably left to compare what she seen of your – er,” Ron coughed, “manly bits to mine,” Ron said and almost instantly Harry threw his pillow at Ron. Just imagining Hermione do anything like that gave Harry the creeps.
Not that she is creepy or anything. She’s just – Hermione. Harry’s best friend since they were eleven years old.
Ron let out a tired sigh as he ran his hand through his cherry red hair. He let out another sigh (a clear sign he wanted Harry’s attention) before entering the room.
“What is it now?” Harry asked impatiently. He had wanted to go to Diagon Alley for a bit of shopping before heading over to the Auror-in-Training facilities but with Ron’s sighing, Harry knew he’ll have to cancel that part of the day.
“We’re needed at Hogwarts. McGonagall owled Hermione last night,”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Harry asked immediately as he jumped onto his feet and reached for the jeans he threw to the side last night. Maybe he can owl McGonagall real quick and inform her he’s on his way. He gave a quick glance at Hedwig’s birdcage but she wasn’t there. Damn, he thought.
“You were sleeping and Hermione thought it best if we wait ‘till morning,” Harry gave Ron a look that clearly read ‘yeah, right’.
“Ok, ok!” Ron exclaimed, putting his hands up as a sign that he gives up, “I agreed with her,”
“I don’t need the two of you to be my parents,” Harry had already thrown on his shirt and was working on putting on his shoes. “I’ll remind you that I’ve lived just fine without them,” Ron quickly looked at the door, as if looking for any sign of backup but Hermione was still in the other bedroom.
“I know, we’re just worried, that’s all,”
“Well, don’t. Every morning I tell you I’m fine, and guess what?” Harry asked but he continued before Ron could actually guess what, “the answer is the same this morning: I’m fine and that’s it,” Harry stood, grabbed his wand and strode out of the room, leaving Ron in a tired state. After a cracking noise sounded through the apartment, Hermione entered the room.
“He apparated,” Hermione told Ron as she slid into his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck. Ron brought his face down into the curve of her neck and snuggled it.
“I know,” He sighed, “He’s angry. I tried talking to him but you know how he is,” Hermione simply nodded as she squeezed Ron affectionately.
“Come, McGonagall wants us,”
“Harry, I’m pleased you’ve come,” Harry gave a small nod to the headmistress of Hogwarts. It felt strange to be back in the scene of the crime. Just a few feet from where he was standing, he had watched Albus Dumbledore die, paralyzed not from shock but from Dumbledore’s Freezing Charm.
From what Harry could understand from the whole situation, Voldemort has ordered Draco Malfoy to kill Dumbledore. Harry could have sympathized for Malfoy. After all, it was either Dumbledore or his family dead. Even though Malfoy’s family is a nest of manipulative snakes, he loves them and would do anything he can to protect him. Harry respects him for that at least.
Harry also respects Malfoy because he was wavering in his decision on whether or not to kill Dumbledore. It was obvious Malfoy didn’t have it in him to kill Dumbledore. If it weren’t for the other Death-Eaters and Snape coming in, Dumbledore might have lived that night.
Severus Snape had killed Dumbledore with a Forbidden Curse, the killing one. All this time, he was supposedly helping the Order; he was Voldemort’s number one man. Just thinking about Snape boils Harry’s blood.
It wasn’t as if Dumbledore couldn’t have protected himself. He was, after all, the greatest wizard alive. But that night he was very weak. Dumbledore had reasoned that Voldemort had used a Horcrux to prolong his life. Harry had confirmed it when he got Slughorn’s memory. Horace Slughorn was the new Potions master during Harry’s sixth year in Hogwarts.
The memory revealed how Tom Riddle, Voldemort’s younger self, asked about Horcruxes and his fascination with the most powerfully magical number seven. It also explained why Voldemort didn’t die the night he killed Harry’s parents. He had pieces of his soul safely put away if such an occasion in which he dies occurs. Like a cat with nine lives but in this case, a snake with seven lives.
Voldemort’s seventh part of his soul, however maimed, resides inside his regenerated body. That was the part of him that lived in a spectral existence for so many years during his exile. One part of his soul Harry already destroyed when he stabbed Riddle’s Diary with the Baskilisk’s fang. Another part of Voldemort’s soul, Dumbledore destroyed. It was encased in Marvolo’s ring. That was why Dumbledore’s arm was so withered.
That night, Dumbledore and Harry were looking for a third Horcrux. They thought they found it but the only way to reach it was to drink a potion. Dumbledore was the one to drink it and in doing so, he became weak. He sounded as if he was being tortured. His cries of wanting to stop will forever haunt Harry’s dreams but he had to force Dumbledore to drink. He promised him. After all that, they didn’t find a Horcrux and with Dumbledore being so weak, Harry had to hold him up as they escaped the cave from an army of Inferi.
Since then Harry, with the help of his friends, tracked down and destroyed three Horcruxes. All that’s left is one more Horcrux.
Being in the same office that use to belong to Dumbledore brings back a rush of memories and feelings that Harry has yet to heal. Already he has lost so much and he has to keep going, until the prophecy is fulfilled and without the strong support he had before, Harry believes less and less in himself as time passed.
Behind the desk was a stern looking Professor McGonagall. Headmistress now, Harry thought to himself.
“I came as soon as I learned you’ve requested my attendance, Professor.”
“Please, Harry, I’ve given you leave to call me by my first name,” Though Harry nodded in agreement, he knew that he’ll never call her Minerva. It would be too strange. Just then, Ron and Hermione entered the room, both wearing muggle clothes (Hermione’s doing).
“Good, you’re all here,” McGonagall said. Her face was clearly unhappy and so Harry couldn’t even begin to guess why he was here.
“Please take a seat and I shall commence with this informal meeting,” with a wave of her wand, three armchairs suddenly appeared behind each of the young adults and pushed into the back of their knees, causing them to fall into the seats.
“I’m afraid there’s been news with the potential of being bad,” McGonagall started once she sat down. She placed her elbows on the big oak desk and folded her hands together as she gazed intently into all three pairs of eyes.
“A seer has been reported missing by her mother. She was last seen in Raccoon City,”
“Isn’t Raccoon City in the States?” Professor McGonagall confirmed Hermione’s question with a nod.
“Yes. It’s a midwestern city and, as it happens, is overrun with muggles and nary a witch or wizard near it,” McGonagall continued.
“So you’re saying that she was killed by a muggle?” Ron scoffed, “Was she daft or something?” Hermione discreetly punched Ron’s shoulder but his yelp of pain made it clear what Hermione did.
“No, Mr. Weasley,” Professor McGonagall said, distaste dripping from her words. “She most certainly isn’t daft,” Hearing the vehemence from her voice, Ron knew to keep his mouth shut.
“And I didn’t say she’s dead, merely missing,”
“Who was she?” Hermione asked, hoping to move the conversation along. With another look at Ron, who in turn flushed an embarrassed red, McGonagall started speaking.
“She’s Dumbledore’s grandniece,” she answered.
“Dumbledore?” Harry’s pulse had kicked up a notch at hearing that name.
Harry will never forget that night as he watched Dumbledore crumbled to the floor and he couldn’t do anything. He couldn’t attack Snape, he couldn’t push Dumbledore out of the way… all he could do was scream... silently. Merlin, I have got to stop think about it,
“Yes, she is the grandniece of our beloved headmaster,” McGonagall repeated for Harry. She knew and understood how this came as a shock to him. Almost seven years of knowing the man and in the end, Harry didn’t really know him at all.
“Though Dumbledore tried to do his best by her, her mother wouldn’t hear of it. They moved to America as soon as they could,”
“Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth Dumbledore, is Portia’s grandfather?” Hermione asked. McGonagall nodded.
“I remember him,” Harry exclaimed suddenly, “that’s the man Mundungus was selling Sirius’s things to,”
“Yes, it was,” McGonagall confirmed Harry identification before continuing, “he’s been informed posthaste about Portia and how she cannot be found but it seems he does not care,” Hermione silently tutted along with McGonagall.
“Professor,” Harry said as he leaned forward, “what does this have to do with us?”
“I need you three to go and find out where Portia’s hiding, if she’s hiding at all,” At Ron’s skeptical look, McGonagall answered his silent question, “You can start with a muggle called Rule Legend. He’s hiding at a safe house just outside of London,”
“Why must it be us?” Hermione asked suddenly, “won’t the Ministry send out a couple of their aurors?”
“Yeah,” Ron agreed, “Harry and I haven’t yet finished our auror training courses,” Harry only sat back, slowly digesting the conversation.
“She’s missing in America and is a citizen there, therefore our Ministry cannot investigate,” Harry said. McGonagall nodded again.
“Exactly, we must filed for a warrant but the wizarding government in that country won’t validate it,”
“So we’re being sent in secretly,” Hermione said, continuing Harry’s train of thought.
“So it’ll seem like we’re just a couple of kids wanting to see America,” Ron said, a look of awe shaped his features. Though he wasn’t dumb, it does take him awhile to understand such a complex situation when he was still whirling from the fact that Dumbledore had a grandniece.
“Yes, Mr. Weasley. Portia Dumbledore belongs on British soil. Dumbledore would have it that way and I’ll be damned if I won’t try to redress this horrible situation.”
“How soon can we leave?” Harry asked. He didn’t need any persuasion to go. He knew that if Dumbledore was still alive, he would have went and tried to find the truth, no matter what warrant he doesn’t have validated. At least this way, Harry could try and repay Dumbledore for all he’s done for him.
“Tomorrow at the latest. I must inform you of the situation as best I could,”
Hermione and Ron nodded with determined looks.
“We’ll go too,” they said together.
“If she was in trouble, why couldn’t she apparated out of the city?” Hermione asked. McGonagall only shook her head.
“She’s something of a squib, Hermione. It’s why Aberforth won’t have anything to do with her and her mother. What she can do is read minds and tell the future,”
“She couldn’t see that she’ll die if she stayed in the city?” Ron asked rhetorically, sending looks of death from Hermione and McGonagall his way.
“If she did die and she knew that it would happened, she must have sacrificed her life for what she believed was the greater good,”
“What do you mean the greater good?” Harry asked.
“That’s where we are at a loss,” McGonagall replied, shaking her head. She looked wistfully out the window which was a first for Harry, Hermione and Ron to witness, “To think that after all these years, Dumbledore’s family is being forgotten just tears at me,”
“Forgotten?” Hermione whispered inquiringly. McGonagall nodded.
“The only reason why the Minister of Magic agreed to ‘check’ into the situation is because I, along with the rest of the Order, demanded it. He was willing to take the Governor of Magic by his word and leave everything alone.”
“Why?” Ron asked, “I know Rufus Scrimgeour isn’t much of a fan of Dumbledore’s but wouldn’t he want to know what’s up?
“It’s like a conspiracy,” Hermione said. Harry just sat quietly in the background. Though he didn’t say much during this whole time, everyone was fully aware of him.
“There are actually whispers of a conspiracy but I’m not sure how it involves the Ministry or the Government since its muggle talk,” McGonagall mentioned. Hermione shot up from her armchair.
“That’s it! I knew I recognized that city for a reason,” She started for the door, “I’ll be back!”
“Where’s she going?” Ron questioned but Harry only shrugged.
“Knowing Hermione, she must have left to read up on what she can,”
“True,” Ron assented. Hermione always did this. They could all be in the middle of a conversation and she would run off to check something. She was always mysterious about it too until she came back with what she learned. Except in their second year, she wasn’t able to do that. She had formed a theory and when she went to test it, she was petrified. If it weren’t for Harry finding that note in her hand, they’d have stayed clueless until she woke.
“Here are a couple of pictures I’ve managed to dig up,” McGonagall said as she passed Harry a thick folder. Harry pulled out a photo of a young, pretty girl with very familiar electric blue eyes that use to belong to Dumbledore. She was waving and smiling along with what had to be her mother. She was small, blonde, pale and frail. She looked like a pretty delicate china doll that Aunt Petunia collected before Dudley broke them all.
“This is her?” Ron asked as Harry passed him a picture. It was another picture of her and her mother. The way they were waving and smiling at each other revealed how close the two were.
“Yes, that’s her. These were pictures her mother sent over.”
“Only three pictures?” Harry asked aloud. The folder appeared thick but it was practically empty except for the three pictures he and Ron are looking at.
“Yes, Rachel Dumbledore mentioned how when she came back home one day from work; almost all traces of her daughter were gone. Portia’s clothes, perfumes, books, pictures… anything and everything except for what Rachel had in her wallet which are these three pictures,”
“So Portia could have run away?” Ron asked.
“Possibly, but Rachel doesn’t believe so.”
“Let’s say someone did come in and wiped everything of Portia clean,” Harry said, “wouldn’t they have noticed anything magical there? Like these moving pictures for example,”
“No, they lived like muggles. The only things that the Dumbledores have that are magical were these three pictures Rachel carried around with her.”
“How utterly dull! Why would they live like muggles?” Ron asked incredulously.
“They’re squibs, Ron, that’s why. The only think magical about them is Portia and her abilities.” Ron nodded his understanding.
“Is that all?” Harry wondered aloud as he stood up.
“Yes, I’m afraid. The only possible lead I can give you is the address where this muggle is staying. Rachel had told me that before Portia had gone off to Raccoon City, she kept mentioning a Rule Legend.”
“That’s enough for us,” Harry assured her. “I’m positive that when we find this Legend person, we’ll find Portia,”
“Good,” McGonagall said, a melancholy smile softened her face, “Good luck and please,” she paused as she stared into Ron’s and Harry’s eyes tenderly “please be careful,”
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