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Harry Potter and the Final Riddle by Timechild
Chapter 3 : Ron and Hermione's Harrowing Tale
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 8


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When the Newlyweds had finally departed, it was well into 3 o’clock in the morning. To everybody’s surprise, the boat simply slipped quietly into the lake once the last person had disembarked. When everyone had apparated back to the Burrow, there was not an alert eye among them; although it was only slightly after midnight due to returning several time zones. Ron and Hermione were still proverbially, if not literally, attached at the hip. Ginny was leaning on Harry’s shoulder and smiling. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were smiling with both pride and (Harry suspected) relief that all had gone so well.
Fred yawned so loud that everyone laughed aloud, including Fred himself once he stopped yawning.

“Can’t say when I have had that much fun without getting into heaps of trouble.” He managed to get out between the yawn and the laughing.

“Be that as it may, we have sleeping arrangements to make.” Mrs. Weasley said emphatically.

‘Yup’, thought Harry, the Mum was back.

“Hermione, I know you and Ron are engaged now, but…” and she hit that but with authority. “All things proper until the wedding night and I must insist that you and my son sleep in separate rooms tonight.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Hermione said politely, but it was obvious that something did not sit well with her. She almost looked scared to be away from Ron at night. Whatever the story will be tomorrow, Harry was sure that it was going to put Malfoy as low as Snape and Voldemort in his total hatred.

“No Harry…worse!” Ginny said to him telepathically. “Do something; she won’t sleep tonight unless it is in that bed. They have put that many defensive charms on it.”

“I have and idea!” Harry announced quickly. “Why doesn’t Ron stay with me at my place? That way, Hermione can have Ron’s room, and everything will still be proper. I can’t really stand it there alone anyway.”

“You mean it?”

“Yup”

Ron looked at Hermione imploringly, as if to say he wouldn’t go if she didn’t want him to. He was prepared to go another row with his mother if it meant she felt safe. Hermione nodded her head in approval of the idea. Ron stared at her as if to say, “Are you sure?” Hermione nodded again.

“Done, I accept.”

Mr. Weasley nodded, “Excellent that clears that up. Now we are all tired. Ron and Hermione still have an explanation, but that WILL wait until morning.”

“Tell you what, sir.” Harry retorted. “Why don’t you all come over to Grimmald Place for breakfast? You’ve worked so hard on the wedding; you deserve to be treated for once.”

“Oh, really, Harry, we couldn’t…” Mrs. Weasley started to say, but her husband cut her off.

“We accept.” Arthur stated, and Molly looked like she had just been marked for death.

“Great! Until tomorrow then.”

“Goodnight Harry”
“Goodnight Sir.” Harry headed for the place he had apparated in earlier today. Fred grabbed his hand.

“Before you go, mate. Can George and I have a word, in private?”

Harry turned to the twins and nodded. They walked into another room and Harry hit his muffilato spell for privacy. “What’s up Guys?”

“We want to repay the loan to you for the start-up, with interest. We have done so well that it only feels right that you share in the success.” Fred said.

“Especially as, without you, there wouldn’t be any success.” George said.

“Look guys, I don’t want your money. I already have more than I will ever need if I live to be 500 years old. But if you’re serious on returning the favor, there is something you can do that would be worth even more.”

“Name it!” said the Twins.

“Ron. Offer to help with his and Hermione’s wedding. Moreover, get him some modern dress robes! Please!”

The twins laughed.

“Also, do it discreetly so that Hermione doesn’t think its charity. I do not know how much her parents have, but in Wizard money, it is not a lot either. They will need rings, probably, and that is something they need to do together…and alone.”

“Rings, whatever for?” The twins asked in unison.

“Because it is Muggle Custom, and she is Muggle-born, remember? Their wedding is going to interesting to everyone I bet.”

“Okay, Mate, done deal.” The three shook on it.
‘Good’ thought Harry. Then he added quickly “And no dragon skin, guys. It won’t work on him.”

The twins laughed again, but agreed.

“Nice thought, my love” Harry turned around and there was Ginny standing there.

“How?”

“I heard the spell. Remember I read up on it too, so I knew to hop in as you were casting it.” She leaned over and kissed him. “Until tomorrow, my love.”

Harry cancelled the spell and went to fetch Ron. Together they apparated back to Grimmald Place. Although Harry did see two long faces in Ginny and Hermione as the Burrow faded to black.



Sunday morning found Number 12, Grimmald Place as bright and cheerful as it had ever been since Harry inherited the house at Sirius’ passing. He and Ron had spent a good part of the night chatting about Bill and Fleur’s Wedding, Hogwarts, Quidditch, and the things that best friends talk about when there is no one of authority around. They then realized that THEY were supposed to be the responsible ones, and appropriately broke out into hysterical fits of laughter at that thought. It was about two in the morning when Dobby the House Elf popped into the living room.

“Dobby? Don’t tell me, another Geas.” Harry looked around to see what else had shown up with him.

“No Harry Potter, sir. Dobby is real sorry about that and his spying yesterday.”

“Spying, on whom? Me?”

“Well, yes and no sir. I saw that curious event you went to and I could not help myself. I just had to keep watching. It was such a fascinating ceremony, especially on the ice ship.”

Harry and Ron both laughed at that, though they did not bother to inform Dobby that the ice ship was technically after the ceremony.

“Dobby wants to make amends, but Harry Potter said Dobby was not to burn or hurt himself. What can then Dobby do? I know! Dobby can cook! Did you not say to the others to come for breakfast? Dobby will prepare the best breakfast Harry Potter has had in many years!”

“I didn’t know you could cook, Dobby” Ron stated, completely surprised by the offer.

“Oh yes, Ronald Weasley sir, Dobby helps with the kitchens at Hogwarts when the feast gets overly large. Dobby has loved to cook for as long as Dobby can remember.”

“Very well, Dobby, I accept on one condition.” Harry stated.

“And that is?”

“That you also join us in eating breakfast, my elf-ish friend.”

Dobby stared at Harry speechless for several moments. He then began to cry softly.

“No one has ever called Dobby his friend before. Dobby is so happy!”

“Good, then it is settled. Would you mind doing me a favor tonight, Dobby?”

“Certainly, Harry Potter sir.”

“Would you also inform Professor McGonagall that she is also invited?”

“Of course, Harry Potter, sir. I will inform her this moment. What time tomorrow, sir?”

“Let’s say nine a.m. That way everyone gets a good night’s sleep tonight.”

“Nine a.m. it is. Good night Harry Potter sir!” Dobby went poof.

“Well that solves one major issue, Mate.” Ron noted with a sigh of relief.

“Yeah, I can’t cook either. I had forgotten that when I made the offer.” Harry replied.

They looked at each other and laughed on their way to their rooms.

Dobby did indeed arrive at Nine a.m. sharp with everything needed to carry out his mission. What’s more, he was really enjoying it; evidenced by the fact that he was singing the whole time.

“I didn’t know he could sing?” Said Ron. Harry simply shrugged his shoulders. A voice came from the living room near the painting of Sirius’ mother. Not that Harry worried about her anymore, as he discovered “Muffilato Totalus” as a spell. She had not been able to talk all summer.

“You would be amazed, Mr. Potter, at what your elfish friend can do.” Professor McGonagall said as she approached the young men. “Thank you for the invitation to dine, Harry. I want to hear the story as well.”

“I was sure you would, Professor. But not until after breakfast.”

“Agreed. I have a feeling this is going to be something I never thought I would hear about anyone, even a Slytherin student.”
“It is, Ma’am.” Said Ron as people began to arrive. To Harry and Ron’s pleasant surprise, Ginny and Hermione were first and alone. To Harry’s surprise, Ginny was looking at her brother as if she was seeing him for the first time. Hermione looked like she hadn’t slept a wink all night.

“Hermione…again?” Ron said as she ran to him crying. She nodded at him in between the tears. Ron simply held her close and stroked her hair slowly. “It’s alright, Hermione. No one can hurt you here. It’s alright.”

“I guess something happened last night?” Harry asked Ginny.

“She woke up screaming! I came into the room to find out what and she was hysterical and yelling for Ron. Then she told me everything that had happened. Everyone else came running just a little after that. She would not stop crying. We tried everything we could think of. All she kept saying is why did Ron leave her?”

“Did you slap her?” Professor McGonagall asked.

“Slap her?! Heavens, no! She’s suffering enough. You don’t know what Malfoy almost succeeded in doing.”

Professor McGonagall turned to Hermione, “Malfoy tried to rape you, didn’t he?”

“OH GOD!” Hermione cried out, and start to shake uncontrollably.

“I thought we had this under control finally.” Ron looked frustrated. “What is it going to take?”

“Mr. Weasley…slap her.” Said Professor Mcgonagall.

“Whaaaat?” Ron looked at McGonagall as if she was insane, then McGonagall made some motions with her finger in Ron’s direction. Ron stared at the Professor for a moment, still holding Hermione; who was now shaking violently.
“Trust me Ron. If you love her, then you know what needs to be done.”

Ron just stared for a minute, as if this information was slowly sinking into his brain. Then he turned to Hermione and slapped her across the face. She stopped shaking and looked at him with total shock.

“Hermione, enough of this! He will never get anywhere near you, nor will anyone who wants you hurt, so long as a breath remains in my body. But you have to fight this off. If you let it control you like this, then Malfoy has already destroyed you as if he had raped you. You are stronger then this!! Now snap out of this once and for all, dammit! Don’t let that son-of-a-bitch WIN!!! You kicked his ass! I was there, remember?!?!? We left those bastards in little tiny pieces!”

Hermione had stopped shaking, but was still sniffling as she brought her hand to where Ron had slapped her.

“I hated doing that, my love.” He said apologetically.

“He didn’t have a choice, Hermione. It had to be done.” Professor McGonagall said. “You were showing all the classic symptoms of abuse syndrome.”

Hermione looked deeply into Ron’s concerned eyes. Her face contorted from shock to the deeper understanding that he had just pulled her back from an abyss she did not know that she was quickly sinking into. She began to nod her head. Harry thought that she started looking again at the Hermione he knew.

“Wicked right you got there, love.” She said to Ron

“Yes, well I…” She put two fingers to his mouth before he could apologize again.

“I understand I needed it. But if you ever do it again, I will so go judo on your butt.” She smiled as she said that.
Ron just laughed, “Now that’s the Hermione I fell in love with.”

She brought her hands to his ears and pulled his face to hers. They kissed with a passion that shocked Harry. He turned his head by instinct to be polite, and wound up nose to nose with Ginny.

“That part looks like fun.” She said as she grabbed his ears.

The only sounds that could be heard when the other guests arrived were Dobby’s singing in the kitchen, two couples deeply snogging each other, and the sighs of the Deputy Headmistress.

Finally, after about ten minutes of this, accompanied by the necessary wolf-whistles from Fred and George, did Harry find the strength to separate himself from Ginny – though he did not want to.

“Okay” he managed to breathe while Ginny smiled up at him and leaned her head on his shoulder, “Are the Professor and I the only ones who DON’T know the whole story?”

“No, only Ginny.” Said Hermione. “It is time to get it out in the open.” She snuggled against Ron. “I will need you by me for this still, my dearest hero.”

“I am going nowhere.” Ron reassured her.

“Hero?” Harry asked.

“If it hadn’t been for Ron, Malfoy would have succeeded in raping Hermione. Moreover, in the way that is a fate worse than death for a maiden Witch. He was using Dark Sacrifice Rituals, Harry. Not only would he have scarred her emotionally, physically, and anything else, he would have destroyed her powers as a witch.” The look on Ginny’s face when she said this told him why she was looking so differently at Ron.

“Now I understand the hero, part. But how did this lead to the Unbreakable Vow?”
“That’s why we need to get it all out now.”

“Okay…Dobby! How much have you been listening?”

Hermione gasped as Dobby came into the room. Harry knew Dobby had heard when the singing had stopped minutes ago, but to see the tears on the Elf’s face as he came out of the kitchen and the grief on his face at what he had heard was almost too much for Harry to see. He hadn’t been this bad since he was being abused by the Malfoy’s. Then it hit him…Malfoy!!! He had once served Draco’s family.

“Dobby is ashamed to have ever associated with that evil boy, even if he had no choice to. Dobby cries because of what he tried and that Dobby would have probably had to help him so if he still served them.” Hermione came up to him at once.

“But you don’t Dobby. You’re free, and I know you would never have done something like that of your own free will.” She hugged Dobby and kissed him on the forehead. Dobby turned bright red.

Harry motioned for Dobby to join them in this tale, as a trusted friend.

“Thank you Harry Potter, sir. A most loyal friend to all of you Dobby is and will be.”

“We know, my friend,” Harry replied, “now it is time to hear the whole story. As best as you two can, my friends, there is no rush.”

Ron stands up first and begins to tell it from his view. He remembers offering to assist Hermione in finding the books and journals that Harry had asked her to find that possibly had connections to Voldemort’s travels. On how they were working well into that project and how well they worked together…until the night that Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle had surprised them in Scotland.

“All I could hear was Crabbe and Goyle laughing as Malfoy was saying some nasty incantations on top of Hermione. I heard him call her the worst Mudblood that ever walked the Earth and that he was going to enjoy inflicting on her ‘the fate worse than death to any witch.’ He then looked at me telling me I have a front row seat for the show and how he would be rewarded for this great act to his Dark Lord. All I remember is seeing her helpless on the floor because of one of that bastard’s curses and him arranging her in some position while he was chanting. I could feel the hatred and anger pounding in my brain until I could not take hearing another word and I just pushed and yelled. Crabbe and Goyle went flying and Malfoy was shouting to ‘get a hold on the blood-traitor’. I went berserk and just kept punching those gorillas until they didn’t get up. Then I just spun on my heels and yelled ‘SectumSempra’ with such anger that I shot the spell wildly at Malfoy’s direction. He blocked it and started snickering at me as I hit the floor. He was coming at me when I saw Hermione get up, tap him on the shoulder, and proceed to kick the living crap out of him using something she called ju-do.” He smiled at that recollection, and then added, “and yes, I totally enjoyed watching that last part.”

His face begins to change as he continues talking. “I hadn’t realized just how much she meant to me until then. It took almost losing her to that bastard to wake me up to what I have been feeling all these years. That I had been slowly falling in love with her since the end of the second year when I saw her running back from being petrified, and then how she was starting to have nightmares over that. Until one night, when she looked asleep, all I can remember was pacing back and forth and being very mad at myself for not being able to say it to her. At some point, I must have said aloud ‘Why can’t I just say ‘I Love You Hermione’ when she’s actually awake?’ Because about one second later I heard her say…” He looks at Hermione

Hermione stands up and repeats, “I love you too, and I am awake.” Everyone chuckles as Hermione also repeats the kiss she gave him. She then continues. “I told him then to consider me informed, my love.” Ron put his arms around her as she leans and begins her side of the story.

“It had all started out so innocently. We had long conversations over the time we were searching for the texts. Having him there was practical, because we looked like newlyweds so no one bothered us. We had started renting a single tent or room to keep up the appearance. We were always proper, but more and more I found it comforting that Ron was there watching my back. Then one night it got so cold that we had to huddle together or freeze.” She looked up at Ron. “He was so gentle and considerate – making sure I was comfortable with him being that close. I actually told him I found it quite comfortable and that we should consider keeping it up ‘due to the cold’; although it never got that cold again. I enjoyed the warmth of having him hold me.” She blushed at saying that.

She then steeled herself for the next part, which told everyone what it was. “We had just left a records hall when Malfoy jumped me. We had been acting so giddy; otherwise, he never could have snuck up on us. I heard every word he said, but I was unconscious – as if I wasn’t really in my own body. Then I heard Ron explode and I was suddenly back in my body and free. I saw Malfoy reaching his wand towards Ron, tapped him on the shoulder, and proceeded to kick the HOLY crap out of him using judo. We just held each other when we got back to the tent. I had never cried like that in my life. We started doing a lot of frank talking the next morning. Admitting to each other that our ‘previous relationships’ were just to annoy the other, and promising to not do that anymore. After that, we were completely at ease with each other. Then that night waking up to hearing Ron’s frustration on not being able to protect me better; and instead of my usual ‘I can take care of myself’ response feeling very warm at the thought that he would want to. Then came the question, and the look on his face when I answered him was priceless.” She kissed him again. “We talked a while and mutually decided that, while we were meant to be together, we were going to do things right. We wrote and spoke the Vow the next night.”

“And that is the whole story.” Ron concluded.

“Whoa!” Went Fred and George.

“Wow.” Harry said. Ginny was crying, but in joy at the love that had come though such hardships, knowing it was forever. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley looked at each other with a fondness that only lovers could, prompting an “awwwww” from Dobby, and chuckles from everyone else.

“One thing is certain,” stated Professor McGonagall, “any hope of redemption for Mr. Malfoy is now completely gone to have attempted such a heinous act, and gleefully in that.”

“Harry Potter, sir, breakfast is ready to serve.”

“Ah, yes…prepared with love from a friend who enjoys his work. Let us retire to the table, including you Dobby.” Harry gestured for everyone to make his or her way to the dining room. He motioned for Ron and Hermione to go first, then Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, then Fred and George. Ginny came up from behind him and reached around.

“How close we came to losing them.” Her thoughts echoed into him as she moved to his front.

“Too close.” Harry thought seriously.

“Hey now, none of that, for they are stronger for the ordeal! They have no secrets between them; even that they have been in love with each other is now out. Moreover, I found out I have a hero for a brother. I have never had a brother I can look up to before.”

Harry burst out laughing. Ginny was beaming at him as his sides rolled over in laughter. Then she slid up his side and planted a snog on him that made Fred gasp – and that is not easily done to a man whom half-owned a shop designed to shock the daylights out of anyone who came in the doors.

“Ahem…we’re waiting on you two.”

Smiling at Ginny, he led her to the dining room where breakfast already smelled completely delicious.



Harry wasn’t exactly sure what Dobby had prepared for breakfast, though he thought he recognized eggs in the mix somewhere, but whatever it was, it sure was good. By the time everyone had finished stuffing himself or herself, there was not heard much except the moans of people who now had to contend with the after effects of overeating. All during the meal, Ron and Hermione had done their best impression of newlyweds while everyone else around the table had a good laugh about it. Ron even blushed once when George told Hermione to watch out for his mole and she retorted that she couldn’t wait to find out where it is personally. Harry enjoyed seeing Hermione smile as she was. She had been very serious for most of the years that they had known each other. To see her smile and laugh as she was warmed him inside. She and Ron deserved as much happiness as can be afforded to any couple.

“Except us, my love…” Ginny thought slyly. Harry smiled again. He was growing accustomed to this special mode of communication between them, although he did occasionally worry about others being able to listen in. Ginny winked at him. “Worry not, Harry, as we are not able to be broken into in our thoughts. The link is personal and between us alone.”

“Now how do you know that?” A stunned Harry asked.

“From Hermione, she showed me how to set it up. She and Ron also have a link together. Why do you think I went to all that trouble to tickle then kiss you two days ago?”

“What? You set this up?” Harry was aghast. “Ginny, how could you do that? What if I want to think something private?’

“The link doesn’t work like that, sweetheart. You have to think to or about the other person. Everything else is completely private. That’s why they call this the ‘Lover’s Link’.”

“Oh? Is that the only reason?”

“Well, no…” Ginny said with that wicked grin, “There was the fact that you can completely drive your partner wild with desire if you really worked at it.” Ginny then sent am image from her mind of when she and Hermione went shopping prior to the Wedding, and how she looked when trying on certain intimate apparel and gazing in a mirror. Harry’s eyebrows shot up and the monster started roaring in his chest. Ginny giggled.

“Ginny! Stop that! You’re going to get us in a whole lot of trouble; especially if you tried on a lot of….um…ah…those types of clothing.” Harry managed to get across to her while trying his best to get the monster back under control.

“Worry not, my darling. I will not tempt you too badly with everyone around. What I am thinking about will be saved for a more appropriate occasion.”

“Thank you, dearest. As much as I did enjoy those images, I would like to stay in your Parents’ good graces. And I really did enjoy those images…especially that one in dark blue…” It was now Harry’s turn to wink. Ginny giggled.

“Private joke, Mate?” Ron’s question brought both of them back to reality.

“Yeah, you had to be there…” Harry replied. Ginny giggled again.

“Ahem.” Hermione said. “Nice try, Harry, but I was there, well most likely.”

“Maybe…then again maybe not.” Harry winked at Hermione and put his finger to his lips to make the point that here was not the time to guess. Hermione nodded and then looked at Ron, who also nodded.

“And what are you four conspiring about now?” Mrs. Weasley asked. Her entire demeanor seemed to grow back into the loving motherly attentive woman that Harry had always known. If anything could have been seen as positive about hearing Hermione’s close brush with horror was that Molly Weasley had re-warmed up to Hermione as before the awful stories that Rita Skeeter had told about her, Harry, and Victor Krum as a sort of a love triangle. That had been a horrible bit of business, but now all seemed well as everyone enjoyed the meal and the good feelings that, at least in Harry’s mind, had been absent for a couple of days.

“Now for you two, Ron, Hermione,” Mrs. Weasley said suddenly as everyone turned to her in total attention, “Arthur and I have been talking extensively about the situation and, given the circumstances, we have decided to…well…make a deal with the two of you.”

“Okay” Ron said suspiciously, “What exactly is this deal?”

“We will not object or say anything about you two sharing a room together…IF…you will agree to sleep in separate beds until after your married. This way we can keep propriety in order.”

Ron looked at Hermione for a moment, and she nodded softly; understanding that this was a considerable concession from his Parents. She wanted to stay in their good graces as much as he did, and she wanted them as proud of her as her own parents were. Ron knew how important that was to her, and how hurt she had been on those instances that she had fallen out of favor in their eyes. Then Ron got a mischievous look on his face.

“Tell you what, Mum. We will agree on this principle…IF (and he matched his mother’s emphasis with his if)… this deal applies only to when we are in this house and any arrangements outside are not brought up…ever.”
“Ronald!” She cried out.

“Well, we still have work to do, and the look of newlyweds is important to keeping our cover. We will happily agree in here, but it would raise too many questions elsewhere.”

“He has a point, Molly dear.” Arthur said and nodded at his son.

“Well then we have an agreement.” Mrs. Weasley stated. “It means moving Fred and George’s old beds back into that room.”

Hermione got up from the table and walked over to Mrs. Weasley. Her expression was one of both determination, and yet almost submissive. She raised her eyes to the older woman who met her gaze.

“I will never disappoint you again, Ma’am.” Hermione said softly

“Oh my goodness…” Molly exclaimed in total surprise. She thought carefully for a moment, and then took Hermione’s hand in hers. “And I will never let you down again either, daughter. Ginny was right, I have been too hard on you. Sometimes I forget you three are only seventeen after all you have been through. Yes, you make your mistakes, but so do we. Clean slate then, honey?”

Tears welled up in Hermione’s eyes as she and Mrs. Weasley hugged each other close and warmly. “Oh, yes…please and thank you.”

“And thank you, dear.” Mrs. Weasley continued to hug her for quite a while. Nor did Hermione seem to want to break the hold very soon either. Ron and Arthur both had a look of total relief on their faces, as if to say ‘thank goodness’ at this amicable resolution of the friction that had inadvertently been built between the two women. Harry simply nodded. Fred and George started playing imaginary violins, to everyone’s amusement. Even Professor McGonagall seemed to be pleased with the situation. Only Ginny had a solemn look on her face.
“What’s the matter, love?” Harry thought at her direction. At first, he thought she hadn’t noticed the question, as she didn’t answer right away, then she looked at Harry.

“Nothing really, sort-of, oh blast…” She started in, then got calmer to think, “I was just wondering how much longer it will be before she will be just as understanding with me. Oh, never mind, dearest, I’m just being completely silly.”

“No, you’re not, Ginny. She will see you as a grown up woman soon enough, I’m sure. She has to realize that eventually now, especially with how you looked yesterday at the Reception.”

“I hope so, Sweetheart.”

Harry reached over and kissed her on the cheek, “All will be well.” He said aloud.

“I’m going to hold you to that.” Came her reply.

“Harry, can I borrow the room Hermione used when we met here for the Order?” Ron asked.

“Sure, why?”

“I am going to take the future Mrs. Ronald Weasley and put her to bed so that she gets some sleep, seeing as she is almost completely out on my mother’s chest.”

Harry turned and, sure enough, Hermione’s eyes were looking glazed. She shook herself awake.

“I’ll be alright, Ron, besides we need to tell Harry about the locket.”

“What locket?”

“Remember the locket that wouldn’t open? We figured it out! It has to be a Horcrux! The locket is Slytherin’s!”
“What? That’s great!” Harry shouted, “We can destroy it right now. I’ll get it out of the china cabinet.” Harry went to the cabinet, but did not see the locket in the spot where it had been kept. Harry searched several possible places that it could be, but without any success.

“It’s not here! Where could it have gone? Wait a minute?” Harry’s face turned red with anger. “Mundungus!!! He nicked stuff out of here last year! How much do you want to bet he got the locket! I’m going to find him and mutilate that thief!”

“Get a hold of yourself, Harry!” Arthur Weasley shouted as he grabbed Harry’s arm. “We’ll find Dungus. I will just have the Ministry put out an APB for him. I heard he was in the Far East, so I will have people track him down, and we’ll get the locket back. Don’t worry Harry. Fletcher is a thief, but he’s not stupid. It would not have taken him long to realize what he has. He won’t sell it.”

“Right now, we need to get ready for the start of term at Hogwarts, now that our last child had passed her O.W.L.’s” Mrs. Weasley chimed in, causing Ginny to blush in embarrassment. “An ‘E’ or ‘O’ in everything except divination. Oh well, no one’s perfect.”

“She did not have to bring up that now!” Ginny thought at Harry.

“Yeah she did. Otherwise, I can’t tell you how proud I am of you, my love.”

Ginny smiled affectionately “Thank you, dearest.”

“Well then!” Harry said, “I guess it’s off to Diagon Alley!”



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