Two weeks later, Harry sat as his tiny, wooden desk scribbling on a piece of parchment.
Its been three weeks, and I can’t stand it anymore. I can’t wait until my birthday to leave the Dursley’s. I’m leaving for Godric’s Hollow tonight. Let me know what you plan to do.
He copied the same note again, only with Hermione’s name on it, and sent Hedwig to deliver the messages. As he watched her fly out the window and disappear into the sun, he wished he could just fly away like her. He felt at ease up in the sky, with nothing holding him down.
But now was not the time to daydream, he had to prepare to leave the Dursleys for good. Just as he was about to pick up the loose floorboard in his bedroom to retrieve his schoolbooks, he heard a light, tinkling sound, like a small bell. He looked up over the bed slowly, unsure of what would meet his eye, and saw Faith perched gracefully on his windowsill. Her silky hair fluttered elegantly in the wind and her robes were almost blinding in the sun; Harry could hardly keep himself from staring in complete awe.
“And where, may I ask,” she began as she looked around his rather messy room, taking in the slowly filling trunk at the end of his bed, “are you traveling to?”
“I’m surprised you don’t already know,” he answered, a little more rudely than he had intended. She merely smiled.
“I do not know the future, nor can I read your mind. But if I may venture a guess, I would say you are preparing for your journey to Godric’s Hollow.” Harry stared at her for a moment before resumed his packing.
“Well, yeah,” he finally conceded, “I can’t stay here anymore.” Faith looked appraisingly at him.
“And why is it you believe you should travel to Godric’s Hollow?” she finally asked, as if making up her mind that now was the time to give him some of the help she had promised.
“Well, it’s as good a place as any. I thought it might help me figure out what I have to do.” He sat down on the edge of his bed. Why was he going to Godric’s Hollow? Did he really think he was going to find something there? Faith quickly cut his thoughts short.
“Let me impart some advice,” she said softly, “Godric’s Hollow is not where you are needed right now. I believe there is another place you are destined to travel.”
“I thought you can’t see the future?” he asked skeptically. She looked into his green eyes and smiled sweetly, glad he had been paying attention. Her smile almost made Harry melt on the spot.
“You are right, I cannot. I am merely using the wisdom imparted to me by my people to lead you to your destiny.”
“Oh,” Harry said, not really knowing how to respond to that statement. Then he regained his train of thought.
“Then where should I go?”
“This I cannot tell you, for I am not altogether sure. But I can give you a clue. Go to the place you felt safe, your home away from home. There I believe you will find something you greatly desire, or, more accurately, something you will likely need before this is over.” As she said these last words, her voice faded slowly, as did her body, until, just as before, it was as if she hadn’t ever been there.
Harry stood dumbfounded once more, trying to decipher her words. They seemed simple enough; Hogwarts popped into his head immediately as the place he felt safe, as Voldemort’s horcruxes were the things he greatly desired right now, but how did they go together? Surely, Dumbledore would have known if there had been a horcrux at the school? Harry’s mood darkened as he thought of Dumbledore. He had started to deal with his death in the last few weeks, but he still could not as quickly forget who had done that to him in the first place. Snape’s greasy head slithered into his brain, making Harry clench his fists painfully, until he felt his fingernails digging into his palms.
Snape’s time will come, he thought, I’ll make sure of it.
Ron and Hermione received their messages from Harry at the same time, as they were together at the Burrow when Hedwig arrived.
“We decided he wasn’t supposed to leave until his birthday,” Hermione moaned after she read his note. She plopped down on the comfortable couch in the family room as Ron sat down next to her.
“Yeah, well, Harry’s never been one for sticking to plans,” Ron said sadly, “or making any for that matter.” Ron draped his arm over Hermione’s shoulder as she laid her head on his.
“Maybe he’s upset with us because he knows, but we refused to tell him ourselves.” Hermione said, absentmindedly fiddling with one of the buttons on her shirt.
“Don’t be silly, Harry’s completely oblivious when it comes to stuff like that,” Ron responded, pulling her closer to him.
“Takes one to know one, I guess,” Hermione joked as she looked nervously down at her hands, receiving a small snicker from Ron.
“Better late than never,” he countered, pulling her face towards his and kissing her gently.
Faith returned to Daegan after the conversation with Harry, only to find that he was not alone. Alirnon, the supreme guardian, was talking in hushed tones with Daegan in the far corner of the large, light-filled room, and he looked very grave indeed. Faith cleared her throat to make herself known, and both men’s eyes traveled to her.
“You have altered his path, Failithana,” the old man said, his wrinkled brow creased in worry. Tall and wearing forbidding black robes, both men looked very intimidating to Faith, but she gathered up her courage and spoke clearly and forcefully.
“I did nothing that I did not think was right. I did nothing that you yourself would not have done had the need arisen.”
“Yes, but I admit my folly for my actions those many years ago. Times have changed, Failithana. You act as if you know why I did what I did all those years ago, but you do not. We are not accepted, cherished, as we once were. The humans do not understand, therefore they do not believe. We cannot put our lives, our very existence, in their hands.” Faith’s innocent eyes looked deep into the tired eyes of the old guardian, and touched something.
“Harry believes, I can feel it Alirnon.” He sighed, glancing at Daegan, who had said nothing yet.
“And what do you think, Daegan?” he asked, clearly seeking the younger man’s council. Daegan cleared his throat, giving himself a moment to compose his thoughts.
“I cannot help but to trust Failithana’s judgement, for her wisdom is innocent, and uncorrupted.” Faith beamed at Daegan, making his handsome face break into a smile momentarily. It soon vanished, however, and was replaced by his usual look of calm, but powerful, indifference. Alirnon looked seriously at Daegan, evaluating his response, before replying.
“And your feelings, they do nothing to sway your decision?” he asked carefully, for he needed to know the answer, but did not wish to offend his officer.
“On the contrary, I think they may help me see all the clearer, for I know without a doubt that Failithana believes she can be successful in this endeavor.” Alirnon smiled at this response, because he knew it to be true, and he held Daegan’s opinions very highly. He turned back to Faith, who was smiling proudly at Daegan.
“And what if Mr. Potter betrays you? What if we are found out?” Faith’s smile faltered a little, and she fiddled nervously with the ruby pendant sparkling around her neck, but she quickly regained her composure.
“He will not,” she said confidently, “I am sure of it.”
“But what if he shares your existence with anyone?”
“In truth, he already has,” she began, as Alirnon’s dark eyes widened, “but the two he has confided in I trust no less than I trust Harry.”
“We shall see,” Alirnon replied as he slowly made his way to the door, “in time. But remember, if you fail in this task you have set yourself, the responsibility rests on your shoulders alone.” Then he added quietly to himself, “and that responsibility is quite a load to bear for all of eternity.”
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