Chapter Three: The Third Door
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to J.K. Rowling, excluding the plot.
“Ron...’’ Harry paused, uncertain. “You...you don’t think this might have been…”
“Gryffindor’s...” Ron whispered, and his voice trailed off, leaving an awestruck silence between the two.
“Gryffindor’s private quarters.” Harry finished quietly, finding himself in both a state of shock and bewilderment. It...it couldn’t be. He couldn’t own this.
Ron whistled appreciatively as he pointed a finger at the wide, faded burgundy banner that was strewn across own of the stone walls. “Godric Gryffindor” was sewn upon it in rich, gold embroidery, and to Harry and Ron, it had begun to make perfect sense.
They explored the room, unfocused because of their discovery and wavering with excitement. Tapestries of the Gryffindor crest hung from the low ceiling and fell between sun-bleached wall sconces that were once a brilliant gold. The yellowed, fragile windows climbed all the way up the wall, and fell to meet the top of each sconce. The light they provided was smattered in thin, weak rays, and Harry felt that the sun must have aged along with the room. Adjacent to the entrance, there was a large oak desk with a few shuffled stacks of loose papers and an assortment of picture frames and trinkets.
“Harry, look at this!” Ron had walked up to the desk, and was quickly looking over what was visible to him. Looking at what Ron was indicating, Harry noticed that a large collection of photographs cluttered the surface. There were multiple pictures of Lupin, Pettigrew, James and Sirius all together with broad grins. The one Harry liked the most was one of his father and Sirius, sitting under the tree by the lake and laughing hysterically, totally carefree. They looked as if they were 5th years, and Harry was envious of them for having no looming danger, no approaching darkness.
Harry gave a small smile and revelled in the comfortable silence that settled. He and Ron continued to explore the unfamiliar territory, letting everything sink in. A few minutes later, Ron broke the silence.
“You know, they all must’ve hung out in here, Harry. Why else would these pictures be here?”
Harry nodded absent-mindedly, but he wasn’t listening. He had his back to Ron, a small velvet box in his hand.
Ron walked around Harry so he was facing him, and he noticed the open box. There was a small golden locket was dangling off of Harry’s fingers, and he was reading a little piece of parchment that had been folded neatly within. Ron leaned over Harry’s shoulder to read it too.
Take this locket as a promise
And treasure it forever
For one day soon
Whether you like it
We will be together.
“What is it, Harry?”
Harry spoke quietly, as if to convince himself that the words he said were actually true. “It was a letter. From my dad...to my mum, I think.”
The writing was scratchy, similar to Harry’s, and Ron was glad to see that his friend had cracked a small smile. But Ron never saw the slim tear that spilled from Harry’s eyes, for it was wiped it away faster than it arrived. Harry quickly pocketed the locket as he heard footsteps approaching.
“What’s taking so long?” Hermione asked, appearing at the door. She looked both worried and curious, and the second her eyes adjusted to the light, she gasped.
“Harry...this isn’t...it’s can’t be!” she exclaimed, thankfully breaking the awkward silence that had fallen upon the room.
“Oh, but it is!” Ron said with a grin. He and Hermione began talking excitedly about their new findings, totally oblivious the fact that Harry had left the room quietly, closing the door behind him without a sound.
“Where’s Harry?” Harry heard Hermione ask for him as he made his way out of the Restricted Section. He mulled everything over in his head. He owned Gryffindor’s private quarters. How was that possible? The thought was puzzling, yet utterly amazing. But what he liked most was the feeling he had when he found out that his parents had been there, just them and their friends. Harry had felt them there, their presence. It felt like home, although it was a hollow, material substitution, he knew. It was a feeling that neither Ron nor Hermione could ever understand.
When Harry arrived back to the common room, a thought struck him. Ginny had gotten nothing from Harry except loss and panic and darkness. Now that the war was over, Harry could tell that Ginny expected them to pick up from where they left off. He figured that he should give her something, almost like an apology, for leaving her there and for putting everyone in danger. Harry had the locket now. He could easily give it her. He probably should give it to her. Harry hated that he felt obliged to do these things. It was expected though, wasn’t it?
He made a decision, and for the moment being, placed the box with the locket within his trunk, beneath some socks. In Harry’s opinion, things were safest within his trunk, beneath some socks. Then he could forget about them, just walk away from them.
It didn’t take long for Ron and Hermione to arrive back to the common room. Hermione eyed Harry anxiously, as she had realized that he had left without warning. He gave a slight nod to reassure her, to put her mind at ease. He was fine.
Ron suggested that they all head down for supper as it was getting late, and he, being a Weasley, needed nourishment. They agreed, and walked cautiously through the castle to the Great Hall. Harry, Ron and Hermione had decided to keep things quiet about Gryffindor’s quarters to everyone except Ginny. She sat with them as they ate and they spoke in low whispers, describing what they saw.
“I need to see this!” she whispered, astonished. “I find it hard to believe.”
“Fine. After dinner, Harry, Ron and I will show you. But you mustn’t tell anyone!” Hermione stressed.
Ginny was equally amazed. They showed her the desk with the pictures and the memories. There was an assortment of Quidditch posters and memorabilia that Ginny was particularly enthusiastic about, which Harry agreed she could have even though it pained him inside. The things in the room had belonged to his parents, and he was reluctant to give it away so freely. He knew he was being selfish, but this was something different. The delicate sunlight was being inconsistent, and before long, it flickered out completely, the darkness of night dominating. Ginny suggested that they retire for the night, and the four of them entered the Gryffindor Common Room through the door leading off of Gryffindor’s quarters.
“I’ll see you three in the morning.” Ginny gave a small wave as she yawned, and made her way up to the Girl’s Dormitory.
Harry, Ron and Hermione all gathered in the squashy armchairs positioned around the fireplace. The house elves had managed to reconstruct the common rooms, but the rest of the castle that needed serious repair would need to wait until the summer.
“Harry, this is brilliant!” Hermione exclaimed.
“Why? I mean, the fact that we found Gryffindor’s chamber is astounding, and I agree, it’s amazing, but what’s so brilliant?” Harry asked, slightly puzzled.
“Think about it, Harry. Your father and his friends were known for having a reputation. They were mischievous, they were trouble-makers. I don’t think they were just using Gryffindor’s quarters as a hideout. They were going behind those doors.”
“What doors?” Ron asked.
“Didn’t you look at anything? There are three doors leading off of the room; one beside the bed, one beside the desk and one beside the couch.” Hermione explained.
“Well, what’s behind them?” Harry asked, befuddled.
“I wouldn’t know, but there’s no harm in investigating, is there?” Hermione paused and thought for a moment. “I say we should check them out tomorrow. Figure out why they liked it so much. I’m positive it wasn’t just a clubhouse. Besides, all of the students will be gone – we don’t run the risk of getting caught.” Harry and Ron nodded. Leave it to Hermione to always be the logical one.
The next day brought chaos. Trunks were zipping about the corridors on their way to the Entrance Hall; students were rushing, packing and shoving food into their mouths. Hogwarts seemed so usual, so normal. It was odd, however, as it was anything but that. The Hogwarts Express had been waiting for a half hour until everyone was boarded. Just as the train pulled out of Hogsmeade station, Harry, Hermione, Ginny and Ron all awoke from peaceful sleeps to find themselves in a student-less castle.
“Perfect.” Hermione whispered to herself as she looked around the Entrance Hall. It was empty, except for the builders scanning over plans and consulting with each other. “Okay, let’s go.”
Harry was pleased to find that the room opened the same way as it had before. He stepped in first, followed by Ron, then Hermione and Ginny. Sure enough, there were three doors placed around the room, exactly where Hermione had said.
They decided to investigate the door by the bed first. It was shorter than the canopy bed itself, and was rather narrow as well. Its oak surface was scarred because of past recklessness or overuse. Harry twisted the worn, coppery doorknob and peered inside, Hermione, Ron and Ginny following his lead.
“Well its logical isn’t it?” Hermione asked herself, almost embarrassed by her foolishness. “Of course Gryffindor would have a door leading to the Gryffindor Common Room!”
“Odd, I never noticed a door leading off of the common room.” Ginny stated.
“Maybe it only works if you come through this way.” Ron offered. They all agreed with Ron’s statement, as it did, surprisingly, make sense.
They migrated over to second door by the desk, and Harry observed it curiously. This door, as well, was very narrow, but also spanned the whole way from the floor to the ceiling. It was wooden, as the first had been, but was very decorative and carved with intricate swirls and patterns.
“Open it Harry.” Ron urged, looking hopeful.
Harry pushed it open. They entered to find a slightly smaller room full of portraits and trophy cases. The chandeliers hanging from the ceiling held a small amount of lit candles, and the flickering illumination danced haphazardly over the gold and silver objects that filled the room. Despite this, the space remained dimly lit, and Harry had to squint to see everything.
“Isn’t this the trophy room?” Ron asked.
“You should know, Ron, you spent three hours coughing up slugs over everything in here.” Harry grinned. Ginny snorted.
“Don’t remind me.” said Ron with a wince. Hermione had walked over to a door and pushed it open.
“Yes, this is definitely the trophy room. The Great Hall’s just through here.” She said, answering Ron. They looked around a bit, Harry’s eyes straying to the plaque with his father’s name on it, then to the one a little ways away with his. Not wanting to waste time, they returned to the primary chamber and took in their surroundings.
“Okay. Gryffindor Common Room, Trophy Room and…what’s there?” Ginny asked, pointing to the last door.
“We’ll just have to find out, won’t we?” Hermione replied.
Harry opened the last door cautiously, not knowing what to expect. This door was normal-sized, made of a plain dark wood, and looked much too simple. He was greeted with a sudden burst of thick, black smoke, which he struggled to wave away, coughing violently. Hermione grimaced at the smell of multiple things burning at once.
“Wait a second! This is the Room of Requirement!” Ron exclaimed.
“That Fiendfyre must’ve destroyed its magical abilities.” Hermione reasoned.
“But...but why? Why is this here?”
Harry’s question remained unanswered and Hermione, Ron and Ginny watched with looks of confusion as Harry went wandering in by himself. As he ventured further within, he looked around. Heaps of ash surrounded him threateningly, absorbing his oxygen, attempting a cruel form of asphyxiation.
He cast a Lumos to break through the darkness that the soot provided, and his eyes instantly fell upon the last object remaining intact throughout the rows and rows of debris. “Vanishing Cabinet.” Harry thought. “It’s indestructible.” He walked over to it and brushed his fingers along the smooth, oak surface. Its intricate designs were singed, but its contents were still solid. Peering through the blackened glass, he recognized nothing other than his old potions book. Snape’s old potions book. It had been there since his 6th year. “Why didn’t it vanish?” Harry wondered. He slowly pulled open the wooden door and attempted to retrieve it.
Reaching his hand in, his arm brushed against the shelf.
“Oh no.” Harry thought to himself, mentally kicking himself for his carelessness. And then, everything started to spin.
“Harry?” Ginny called. Ginny, Hermione and Ron had ventured in after Harry, the charred remains sticking to their clothes. “Harry?!” They were frightened now. Where was he?
It wasn’t until the ever-smart Hermione noticed something unusual that they came to a conclusion. The cabinet was expelling a red glow, shining brighter and brighter each time.
“He vanished?” Ginny squeaked.
“Definitely.” Hermione confirmed.
“But didn’t the Ministry remove the twin cabinet from Borgin and Burkes after it was used to smuggle in Death Eaters into the castle?” Ron asked, on the edge of hysterics.
“Exactly. That’s why Harry’s at the Ministry.”
A/N: Thanks for reading, and I hope you all enjoyed this chapter. Please remember to leave a review!