Chapter 15 : Dobby: True Courage
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For a true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.
- Disney’s Hercules
It had all been worth it. From the moment he had met famous Harry Potter, Dobby had been in awe of him. He had treated Dobby with an unparalleled respect. As if that weren’t enough, he treated him as an equal. In return, Dobby had always done anything to help Harry Potter, and now, he had the opportunity to do something truly spectacular. Dobby the house-elf had the chance to save a life.
The life in question was Harry Potter’s, and that alone convinced Dobby that he should help him any way he could, even though the thought of returning to that horrible Manor was enough to petrify him. The cruelty he had faced at the hands of those monsters was enough to drive any normal being insane.
There was nothing that Dobby regretted doing, even up to the last breath he ever exhaled. As he felt the knife plunge into his chest, he accepted his fate. He would have loved to live on – perhaps convince Miss Granger to make more elf hats for him – but he accepted it. He was dying.
As his breaths became more ragged and he began to feel weaker, Dobby thought back to earlier that evening when Aberforth had summoned him.
He was sitting alongside Winky, sipping Butterbeer near the fireplace in Hogwarts’ kitchen. It was late at night, and so the elves were passing their time in their own ways. Dobby was half-way through telling Winky about his latest encounter with some first years in the Gryffindor common room when he heard his name being called. It was almost as though someone had whispered it in his mind, and he immediately focused his attention on it. Luckily for him, Winky was already too sotted from Butterbeer to pay him any heed. Dobby recognized the voice to belong to that of Aberforth Dumbledore, and instantly Apparated to the Hog’s Head.
He made a slight bow of his head towards Aberforth, noting that he was the only one in the Hog’s Head. With a firm voice, Dobby asked, “Is there something you was needing, sir?”
Aberforth nodded. The expression he wore was grim as he said, “Dobby, I need a favor from you. Will you go to the Malfoys’ Manor and save Harry Potter?”
At the mention of the Malfoy name, Dobby inhaled sharply. The little elf swayed slightly as terror flooded him. His body began to shake of its own accord, and he found that unpleasant memories were rushing back with the speed of the Hogwarts Express train. His large green eyes met with Aberforth’s bright blue as Dobby looked up at the wizard. Amidst his terror, he realized that Aberforth was asking for Dobby’s help.
“Harry Potter has his miss and his Wheezy?” Dobby asked, his voice sounding unsteady now, even to his own ears. He clasped his hands together in an attempt to stop them from shaking.
“I believe so. Will you help them?”
Dobby was tempted to cower for awhile longer, but suddenly felt a wave of courage flood him. He stood as straight as he could and a fierce look spread across his face, as he replied, “Dobby is wanting to help Harry Potter, sir.”
Aberforth nodded and a slight smile appeared on his lips; Dobby was reminded suddenly of Aberforth’s brother. After a moment during which they simply stared at one another, Aberforth spoke. In a quiet voice, he said, “I thought you would, Dobby.”
With another little nod of his head, Dobby Disapparated.
Dobby had arrived at Malfoy Manor, feeling the appropriate amount of horror at being back in his former masters’ home. He suppressed a brief shudder that he wished to give in to, and then stared up at Harry Potter and his Wheezy.
He tried to control his trembles, but found himself unequal to that task. With his best attempt at a voice, he said quietly, “Harry Potter, Dobby has come to rescue you.”
Dobby nearly jumped as a scream sounded from above. A fraction of his terror seemed to ease at the sobering sound. He needed to help Harry Potter, and quickly.
He answered all of Harry Potter’s questions hastily, and finally nodded in agreement to helping them escape to Shell Cottage. Only sheer terror at being in this accursed home again enabled Dobby to hastily make his way to the where the wandmaker was lying on the floor.
Once his small party was gathered together, Dobby Disapparated with them, landing on the lawn of Shell Cottage a few seconds later. Dobby led them to the house, wanting to deposit them safely before returning. Their progress was slowed greatly by the fact that the wandmaker was barely able to hold himself upright. He had to rely on Dean and Luna to support him.
As they reached the door, Bill Weasley stepped out, instantly taking the wandmaker and gaping at them all. A hasty explanation was offered by Dean, who smiled briefly at Dobby before following Bill inside to help. He would have returned to Malfoy the manor right away, but the blonde-haired girl named Luna had turned to face him. “Thank you, Dobby,” she said quietly, bending down to kiss his cheek in gratitude.
Dobby felt his cheeks redden as he tried to smile at her, “Dobby is thanking you, Miss.”
“Bring them back safely,” she called out as she disappeared inside. Dobby nodded, eager to fulfill his mission.
He Apparated back to the manor and found himself standing off the side of the room. Anger welled within him to see his former mistess’s sister holding a knife to Miss Granger’s throat, and with a snap of his fingers, he sent the chandelier raining down, causing both chaos and damage. He would have taken a moment to be pleased with himself, but the danger wasn’t over yet.
He turned when his former mistress call his name and walked further into the room, pointing his finger at his old mistress. His hand was shaking badly, but he did his best not to let it show. In a squeaky voice he repeated almost the same words he had said to her husband so many years before, “You must not hurt Harry Potter.”
As Mistress Lestrange called for his death, Dobby Disarmed Narcissa. Anger was fueling his actions, and a bit of his fear disappeared. Satisfaction replaced those feelings as he shouted that he was a free elf now. No longer would he tolerate their cruelty.
Dobby felt Harry Potter take his hand, saw the flash of silver, and felt the pain, but he refused to let that consume him at the moment. He concentrated all his energy on getting them to Shell Cottage.
They came to a stop once again on the grassy slope that was Shell Cottage’s lawn. The pain from the knife in his chest was monumental; none of the punishments Dobby had ever endured hurt as much as this.
Harry Potter finally turned to look at Dobby. Dobby instantly felt worry over the expression on Harry Potter’s face, and struggled to not let his worry consume him. His mind was suddenly transported back to when he first decided to help Harry Potter, trying his best to ensure Harry Potter’s safety….
Dobby told himself over and over that what he was doing was right. The punishment would surely be worth it, although his efforts would be in vain if Harry Potter somehow managed to get to Hogwarts.
But it would be impossible for him to, Dobby decided with a firm nod. He would warn Harry Potter, then return to the Manor and punish himself thoroughly. Perhaps Master Malfoy would not become aware of what he had done.
Putting his shoulders back, he nodded to himself. If he didn’t stop Harry Potter from returning to school, then Harry Potter’s life would be in grave danger. With a heavy heart and a firm mind, Dobby decided to do whatever he had to.
He walked around Harry Potter’s room, looking for the perfect spot to wait. As he moved near the bed, he noticed a sock sticking out from underneath. Dobby let out a joyous little squeak and hastily picked up the sock. Socks, it seemed, were his weakness.
After distracting himself with the sock for a few minutes, Dobby realized that someone was coming up the stairs. He tossed the sock aside and stood up on the bed, tugging on his tea cozy nervously. He had no choice but to succeed at his mission. If he didn’t, then Harry Potter would surely be placed in imminent danger. Dobby was the only one who had overheard talk of the diary and the chamber, and as a result, he was the only one who could warn him. The evil that had been performed….
When the door squeaked open and Dobby turned to face it, his eyes fell upon the form of Harry Potter, one of the greatest wizards of all time. Dobby bounded off the bed and made a low bow; he knew now that helping Harry Potter would be the most noteworthy thing he’d ever done in his lifetime.
Dobby pulled his mind back to the present and looked into the deep green eyes of the one he viewed with utmost reverence. He could feel himself swaying and could feel his chest heaving, and both he and Harry Potter looked down at the knife in his chest. He felt hands gently lay him down, but couldn’t seem to find the words to thank him. Dobby wished he could tell the great Harry Potter just how great he was, but found that words were quickly failing him. His own large green eyes met with Harry Potter’s for the last time. With a last, very taxing effort, he managed to say quietly, “Harry…Potter….”
He could feel himself fading from life, and hoped that his last act would be enough. That maybe, just maybe, he could have really made a difference.
A/N: I really admire Dobby for the courage he showed throughout the books, and I hope I did him justice in this chapter. All characters of course belong to JKR, and I used three quotes from Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor). I also want to add a quick thank you to all of the wonderful members of eHPF – you are all such amazing people =)
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