Chapter 30 : The Truth
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When Albus awoke the sun was shining into the window next to his bed. He sat up and peered at the clock on the wall. It was two o'clock. Albus looked over at Rose's bed; she was still asleep.
Madam Pomfrey came out from behind the curtains around one of the beds. She walked over to Albus once she noticed he was awake. "How are you, dear?"
"I'm fine," Albus told her, while trying to peek at the other beds, to see how everyone else was.
"Are you sure?" Madam Pomfrey asked, "Nothing hurts?"
"No, I'm fine," Albus answered truthfully, "But what about everyone else? Where's my dad?"
"They're all fine, too," Madam Pomfrey assured him, "They're asleep. And your dad left a few hours ago. He had to take care of some things at the Ministry. He said he'd be back later. Now, do you want something to eat?"
"Sure," Albus said, suddenly realizing how hungry he was. Madam Pomfrey left the room for a few minutes and came back with a tray filled with sandwiches and pumpkin juice. She set it down on Albus's bedside table and Albus started eating. Rose and James woke up a few minutes later, and they joined Albus in his lunch. James immediately asked them what had happened last night. Albus and Rose explained the whole thing.
"Blimey," James said quietly, once they had finished, "I always knew Washburn was evil."
"Explains why he hates us so much," Albus replied, "We knew nothing about the Hallows, and he thought he'd be able to find out where they were by reading our minds."
"Guess so," James agreed. "So, Dad said he'd tell us about the Hallows?"
"Yeah, he did," Albus told him, "I guess he will when he gets back from the Ministry."
John, Matt, and Amanda woke up an hour later, and Albus and Rose told them the rest of what had happened the previous night. They were all happy that Washburn, Jarett, and Quinton hadn't gotten any of the Hallows, but were worried that they had gotten away. They spent much of the afternoon discussing what would happen next.
Albus was sure that, somehow, the rest of the school already knew what had happened the night before. They had no idea what Washburn, Quinton, and Jarett were after, but they knew about the duel that had taken place on the grounds. Madam Pomfrey spent a lot of time keeping curious students out of the Hospital Wing, and eventually she locked the door. Victoire and Amy were the first ones to visit Albus and the others in the Hospital Wing, followed by the rest of Albus's cousins. They all wanted to know what went on, and Albus told them most of the story. He left out the part about the Hallows, since none of Albus's cousins knew about them. Amanda, John, and Matt's parents showed up for a few hours each and were all relieved that their kids were ok.
Once evening arrived, Madam Pomfrey made all of Albus's cousins and Amy leave, and she gave Albus and the others a large platter of food for their dinner. After they finished eating, Albus heard someone trying to get into the room.
"Bloody hell, I think she locked it!" a voice shouted out.
"Oh, Ron, honestly. Just knock," a female voice said. Albus heard a loud knock, and Madam Pomfrey came running out of her office. She flung the door open and Ron and Hermione came running in. "Rose!" Hermione shouted and descended upon her daughter. She wrapped Rose in a big hug. "Are you all right?"
"Yes, Mum," Rose hugged Hermione back. Ron sat down on the bed and wrapped his arms around Rose as well.
"Where's Harry?" Madam Pomfrey asked, "I thought he was coming with you?"
"He was behind us," Ron glanced at the door.
"I'm here," Harry appeared in the doorway and limped over to Albus's bed. He sank down on it and gave Albus a hug.
"I told you not to walk on that leg yet," Madam Pomfrey scolded.
"Didn't have much of a choice. I had to alert the Ministry. I've got Aurors looking for Washburn and both Willinsons right now," Harry explained.
"Good," Madam Pomfrey handed Harry a goblet of potion, "Drink that."
Harry took the potion and downed it in one mouthful. "Disgusting."
"Dad?" Albus asked tentatively, "Are you going to tell us about the Hallows now?"
Harry sighed, "I suppose."
"You've got to let John, Matt, and Amanda listen to," Albus insisted.
"I know, they've got to know what happened, too," Harry agreed, "We just need some place private."
"How about the Room of Requirement?" Albus suggested.
"You've found that already?" Harry grinned.
"Well, Matt showed it to us," Albus explained.
"Oh," Harry replied, "Well, that would be the perfect place." Harry stood up. "Poppy, I've got a bit of explaining to do to the kids."
"Can't you do it here?" Madam Pomfrey asked, "It really would be best for them all to stay here a while longer."
"I promise we'll all come back once I'm done," Harry said.
"Really, Harry, they need rest!" Madam Pomfrey insisted.
"I owe them an explanation, Poppy," Harry said quietly.
"Oh, fine!" Madam Pomfrey threw her hands up in disgust, "But don't have them out too long."
Harry grinned. Albus got up out of the bed. James, Rose, John, Matt, and Amanda all got up as well. They followed Harry, Ron, and Hermione to the door.
"I'm getting too old for this," Madam Pomfrey muttered as they left.
"You're not leaving, are you?" Matt asked nervously.
Madam Pomfrey smiled, "Of course not, dear. Don't you worry."
The group made their way slowly to the seventh floor. Once they reached the portrait of Barnabas the Barmy, Harry started pacing. After a few moments, a door appeared where it hadn't been previously. Harry opened it and everyone followed him inside. The room looked a lot like it did when Matt asked for it. The only noticeable difference was that this time there were more armchairs and another couch.
Harry sat down on one of the couches. Albus and James sat on either side of him. Ron, Hermione, and Rose took the other couch, while John, Matt, and Amanda took the chairs.
"Dad," Albus began, "We already know about the Hallows."
"You do?" Harry asked.
"Er, yeah, we know about the connection to the Tale of the Three Brothers, and we know that the Deathly Hallows are the Elder Wand, Resurrection Stone, and the Invisibility Cloak. We just don't know why you've kept it a secret."
Harry sighed, "How long have you known?"
"A few months now. Since April. Matt told us about them."
"Really?" Harry looked at Matt, "You knew about them?"
"Yeah, my dad told me," Matt answered, "But I wasn't sure if I believed they existed or not, until Albus told me about the Cloak."
"Not many people think they're real," Harry replied, "I first heard the Tale of the Three Brothers when I was 17. It was the year that Ron, Hermione, and I were hunting Horcruxes. When Dumbledore was killed, he left each of us something in his will. You already know that he left Hermione the original copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, written completely in ancient runes. Ron got the Deluminator, and I got the first Snitch I ever caught.
"Hermione decoded the runes and noticed a symbol in a drawing that went with the Tale of the Three Brothers." Harry pulled a piece of parchment and a quill out of his pocket. He drew a triangle, with a circle inside it, and a line connecting the top of the triangle to the bottom. "This was the symbol. We recognized it because at Bill and Fleur's wedding, Xenophilius Lovegood was wearing it on his robes. Viktor Krum approached him about it because this symbol is also Grindelwald's symbol."
"Grindelwald, that evil wizard Dumbledore defeated?" Matt asked.
"Yes," Harry continued, "But at one point, Dumbledore and Grindelwald were friends-"
"What?!" Matt shouted.
"They were," Harry said. Albus already knew this part of the story, but it must have had relevance to the Hallows, if Harry was telling it again. "They were friends, who were obsessed with uniting the Hallows. That symbol is the symbol of the Hallows. The triangle is the Cloak, the circle, the Stone, and the line, the Elder Wand. Grindelwald and Dumbledore's friendship fell apart after Dumbledore's sister was killed. Eventually, Dumbledore had to confront Grindelwald and defeat him. Grindelwald had the Elder Wand, and when Dumbledore defeated him, the Wand changed its allegiance, and Dumbledore became the new master."
"Dumbledore had the Elder Wand?" Albus asked.
"Yes, he did," Harry said, "Now, after Hermione decoded the story, we went to see Xenophilius Lovegood, and he explained the Hallows to us. We were skeptical, but we knew that the Cloak existed. You may have already guessed this, but Voldemort found out about the Elder Wand and he wanted to get it, because he believed it would enable him to kill me. That is why he wanted someone to kill Dumbledore. However, before Snape killed Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy disarmed him. The Wand changed allegiance once again. You see, the Elder Wand doesn't change allegiance when a wizard kills the wizard it belongs to. That wizard just needs to be defeated. Defeat doesn't always equal death. Since Snape killed Dumbledore, Voldemort assumed that the wand had shifted its allegiance to Snape, but in actuality, it belonged to Draco.
"When we got captured and taken to the Malfoy Manor, I disarmed Draco. I defeated him. Even though he did not have the Elder Wand in his possession at the time, it was still his wand. But when I disarmed him, it became mine. The Elder Wand had been buried with Dumbledore, but Voldemort stole it. Voldemort assumed that the wand had allegiance to Snape, so Voldemort used his snake to kill Snape.
"After Snape died, I viewed his memories in the Pensieve, and found out that I was a Horcrux and I would have to die in order for Voldemort to die. As I was walking into the forest, I tried once again to open the Snitch that had failed to open earlier in the year. It opened, and inside was the Resurrection Stone. In the forest, Voldemort tried once again to kill me, but he only succeeded in killing the Horcrux inside me. When I came back, Voldemort and I had one final duel. He had the Elder Wand, but it's allegiance belonged to me. He tried to kill me with a wand that was mine. A wand will not work properly against its rightful owner. So, when we dueled, Voldemort's killing curse bounced off my disarming spell, and hit him."
Albus stared at his dad, "But what about the fact that Voldemort used your blood to come back to life? Isn't that why you survived?"
"That's part of it, Al," Harry told him.
Albus didn't know what to say. He finally had the answers he had been looking for. This was why no one else knew about them. The Hallows did have to do with Voldemort's downfall, a big part.
"Where's the Elder Wand now?" James asked, "Do you have it?"
"No," Harry answered, "That wand is too much trouble. It's back with Dumbledore. And if I die a natural death, it will have no allegiance."
"Oh," James replied, "Would've been cool, though, having an unbeatable wand."
"And the Stone?" Albus asked, "Is it really somewhere in the forest?"
"Yes," Harry answered, "And I have no idea where. The only Hallow I've got is the Invisibility Cloak."
"But you did unite them, the Hallows?" Albus asked.
"For a little while, yes," Harry said. "I was the Master of Death."
"That's what Washburn and the Willinsons wanted to do, right?"
"Yes, that was their plan," Harry answered. "But they did not succeed."
"Do you think they'll try again?" Albus asked quietly.
"Yes, Albus, they probably will," Harry replied, "But I'm hoping that they will be in Azkaban soon. There are Aurors looking for them right now."
"I hope they're caught," Albus said.
"Me, too," Harry agreed, "I'll do everything I can to make sure that they are."
Albus sat quietly, thinking about everything his dad had said. Harry had united the Hallows, he had been the 'Master of Death'. Albus was relieved that he finally knew the whole story, but he still had more questions. Had his dad ever used the Resurrection Stone? How did it wind up in the forest? But Albus decided to ask the question that had been pulling at him since he first heard 'Hallows' mentioned months ago. "Dad, why didn't you tell us?"
Harry sighed, "It was a mistake not telling you sooner. I want you to know that. I should have told you last summer, when I told you everything else. But at the same time, I didn't want you to tell anyone about it. I wanted to wait until you were older and more mature."
"So you didn't trust me?" Albus asked. He hated it when people told him he wasn't old enough to do something, or know about something.
"Not exactly. I didn't want you to be tempted to tell people about the Hallows. If word got out that there is an unbeatable wand out there, especially one that is on the Hogwarts grounds, the result could be bad. Look at what Washburn and the two Willinsons did. And they are just three people. Imagine if half the school was going after that wand? I'm not saying everyone would want to use the wand for evil, but if a lot of people were going after it we could have a disaster on our hands. The idea of power, whether one is going to use it for good or evil, does crazy things to people. And that is why I didn't tell you. I didn't want a lot of people to know about it. But that didn't work at all. Now, more people than just you and James and Rose know about it.
"Which brings me to my next point," Harry said in a more serious tone, "None of you can tell anyone anything I have told you tonight. You can't tell anyone that the Hallows exist, and that they are all currently residing somewhere in or around Hogwarts. A lot of people know about my Cloak, but without knowledge of the Resurrection Stone or the Elder Wand, they won't think anything of it."
"I can't even tell our cousins?" James asked.
"No, I'm sorry, but you can't," Harry replied
"I won't tell," Albus assured Harry. Rose, John, and Amanda all nodded.
"Wish I could tell my dad," Matt said, "He'd love to hear about it."
"Is he interested in the Hallows?" Harry asked.
"Yeah, he was. He went all over the world researching them when he was younger. Never found out where they were. Gave up after he and my mum decided to start a family, though. He still believes they exist," Matt replied.
"Maybe I'll tell him, someday," Harry answered, "But for now, please don't tell him."
"All right," Matt agreed.
"Well, then, I think we ought to get back to the Hospital Wing," Harry stood up, "Madam Pomfrey will have my head if I keep you up much later."
Madam Pomfrey let Albus and the others leave the Hospital Wing two days later. Albus was quite happy about this, as he was getting bored with the Hospital Wing. Albus and his friends spent much of the days following talking or playing games in the common room or on the grounds. Shortly after they were released, O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s finished, and the common room returned to its usual noisy state. A few students asked Albus and his friends about what had happened with Washburn and the Willinsons, but Albus didn't tell them anything. The students' attention was soon turned towards the Quidditch final. Just as Albus and Harry had predicted a few months prior, it would be Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw.
A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, and my other sister and my brother. Thanks as well to inkheart, smirkyhaha, and harshabc for their reviews!
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