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Chapter 21 : Daylight Revelations
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“Hermione? Dear, it’s time to get up,” Molly opened the door. She looked first at Ginny’s bed, still half expecting to see her there, but the bed was still neatly made as it had been since… She forced herself to look away from Ginny’s bed to Hermione’s bed and frowned, “Hermione?” Her bed looked like it had been slept in, even though she wasn’t in it. A thrill of panic ran through her. What if she were in trouble also?
She shook her head. She told herself firmly that just because Ginny disappeared and… well, that was no reason to suspect the same thing happened to Hermione. Hermione usually rose early, much earlier than her own sons and Ginny, to tell the truth. She was in the washroom or out and about somewhere, but doubt raised its head once more when she saw the unmade bed. That was unusual for Hermione to not make her bed in the morning.
She paused by the washroom door, but there was complete silence. She knocked, but there was no answer, “Hermione?” And again there was no answer. She opened the door slightly to see no one. She shut the door once more.
She continued up to Ron’s room. He’d sleep away the day if given half a chance. “Ron? Time to get up! Now! I mean it!” She rapped hard on his door. It didn’t surprise her that he didn’t answer. He was a very sound sleeper. She rapped again on the door hard calling out to him before opening it. She blinked. His bed was empty. It was also mussed, but where was he? What caused him to get up so early, for him?
More than a little worried now that two of the children were missing, she hurried back downstairs to catch Arthur before he left for the day. “Arthur! Wait!” she called out as he stepped to his usual Apparation spot.
Arthur paused and looked up with growing concern at the fear on his wife’s face. “Molly? What’s wrong?”
“Ron and Hermione are missing!” Molly cried.
“Are you certain they’re just not in the yard?” Arthur asked, trying to use logic to figure out where they were.
Molly shook her head. “I just looked in their rooms… and the washroom.”
Arthur breathed a sigh of relief. “Let’s go look outside. They might be talking.” He took Molly’s arm as they made their way to the back door. They searched outside without success. Ron and Hermione were nowhere to be found. Arthur felt certain that had they hidden away as a joke, which he also knew that none of his sons would do, when they had heard Molly’s frantic cries they would have come. He took his sobbing wife back inside and helped her to the couch. He waved his wand and a cup of tea floated out to them. He handed her the cup. “I’ll look some more. Perhaps they didn’t hear us.”
Molly gave him a look of disbelief. She ran her finger around the rim of the cup.
“Molly, please,” Arthur begged. “We’ll find them. They may have gone to the pond. We didn’t search there.”
Molly finally nodded and took a sip of tea. “I know, Arthur, it’s just…”
“I know, dear. Remus told me,” Arthur kissed her forehead. “But we’re not so…”
“Don’t tell me that we’re not so easy marks,” Molly snapped. “Look at what happened to Bill and Ginny and Harry!”
Arthur nodded, motioning for her to calm down. “I know, dear. You stay here. I’ll go to the pond to see if they’re there, alright?”
“Alright,” Molly sighed. She watched as Arthur walked out the back door. What was she going to do if they weren’t there?
Hermione cracked her eyes open. Sunlight poured in the living room window, telling her that morning had come and was nearing noon. Even being up for the extra time last night, they should have been up long before now. She rubbed her eyes before looking around to find Ron. He was still asleep, curled up a few feet away from her, snoring, as usual.
It had been so late when they found the house that they hadn’t looked through it before falling asleep. She had done the protection spells she had studied to keep them safe from Voldemort and his Death Eaters as well as to keep people from noticing that there were people in Harry Potter’s childhood home. Another spell masked the windows so they wouldn’t have to creep about while here.
She gathered her clothes and toiletries as she began her search through the house. She climbed the stairs and looked at the open sky which was another item to be dealt with sooner than later. She opened one door near the stairs and realized that this was Harry’s parents’ room exactly as they had left it. She shut the door. She didn’t feel it would be right to use that room or washroom.
She found another room to the other side. She was astonished. There was only a small portion of this room left. She saw the ruined crib and scattered toys. Her heart ached when she realized that Lily died in this very room, likely in front of the destroyed crib while Harry had watched. This was also where Voldemort had met his temporary end when his curse backfired on him. She shut the door.
There were two more doors leading to what appeared to be guest rooms. She suspected that they were for Mooney and Padfoot. She didn’t see another door. Where would have Wormtail stayed? Or did he never spend the night before betraying his best friends? She chose the room decorated in yellow. A few cleaning spells would set the room to rights.
She got ready quickly, leaving her few things in the yellow room. She wondered how she would wake Ron so that he stayed awake instead of falling back to sleep. It was going to be bad enough with him getting ready with her awake and in the vicinity.
A smile broke across her face as she aimed her wand at him. A flash of light hit him. He started wiggling about, laughing, until he opened his eyes and saw her waiting somewhat impatiently with her arms crossed. “Morning,” she smiled sweetly. “Get ready. We’ve got to make plans.”
“I will, if you stop this…” Ron managed to get out between laughs.
Hermione sighed. “Finite Incatatem,” she waved her wand at him. “Really, Ron, haven’t you learned that one yet?”
Ron growled as he gathered his clothes. “I’m going to find another room. You can get breakfast ready.” He stormed from the room, very annoyed with her at the moment.
Hermione rolled her eyes. Only then she realized that they were going to have to buy their breakfast. She considered what story they could use when they went to the local inn for breakfast.
“Isn’t breakfast ready yet?” Ron demanded, coming back from whatever room he had chosen.
Hermione shook her head. “No food,” she said simply. “I figure we’ll go to the local inn and eat.”
“And pay with what money?” Ron demanded. “You should already know that I don’t have money growing on a tree.”
Hermione sighed. “I know you don’t. Mum and Dad gave me a bit of pocket change for the summer, just in case. You can pay me back later.”
Ron frowned mulishly before following her out the door.
Hermione handed the money to Ron when the waitress wasn’t looking. Ron looked at the pile in front of him. “Are you sure this is right?”
Hermione counted it through again. “There’s also some for a tip.”
They waited until the waitress had collected their money and smiled over the tip Hermione gave her before heading out the door.
“What’s that?” Ron pointed across the way.
Hermione looked. There was a grove of trees and several stones on the ground. “It’s a cemetery,” she answered.
Ron considered it. “You think…” he trailed off.
Hermione nodded. “We could stop and see.”
They crossed the street and opened the gate. They didn’t see the caretaker, but didn’t doubt he’d be around somewhere. They walked each row, looking at each stone. Ron finally pointed to a set of stones off towards the trees. Hermione exchanged a glance with him. “It’s possible,” she finally admitted. They walked over to the stones.
“This one reads Charlus A Potter,” Ron pointed out. “Who’s that?”
“And this one is Dorea B Potter,” Hermione frowned. “I haven’t heard of them before.”
“Who do you think they are?” Ron asked, still trying to figure it out.
Hermione, meanwhile, had moved to read the next stones. “Here’s James Potter and Lily Potter.” She pointed to the stones in front of her. She glanced at the stones Ron stood nearby. “Maybe those are Harry’s grandparents.”
“Hmm…” Ron looked at the stones doubtfully, “I don’t know, maybe.”
Hermione knelt to ground, pushing the weeds away from Harry’s parents’ stones. She gasped.
“What, Hermione?” Ron joined her quickly.
“Look!” Hermione pointed at the stone.
Ron gaped at the stone.
Harry’s name was etched between his parents’ names.
A growl caught their attention then. They looked up to see the same large, black dog staring at them, his fur bristling on his neck. They stepped back slowly, trying to not look the growling dog in the eye. They didn’t want to alarm the creature and they didn’t want the dog believing they were challenging it. Both gripped their wands, but they didn’t want to use magic in such an open spot if they didn’t need to. It would be more than a bit of bad luck to have gotten clean away only to be caught by the Ministry for doing magic in front of Muggles.
Hermione tripped over a tree root. Before Ron could react, the dog bounded over to her and stood over her growling. She went still, hardly daring to breathe. She closed her eyes. She really didn’t want to see anything at the moment. She could have done without smelling the fetid breath from the dog.
Ron couldn’t move. He was scared that any movement would send the dog over the edge. He swallowed with tremendous difficulty. How was he going to get Hermione out of this fix?
Ron took a shaky breath. The dog looked up at him with what Ron would swear was amusement. Before either could react, the dog gave Hermione a sloppy lick on her cheek before running into the shelter of the trees.
Hermione lay on the ground unable to stop shaking. Ron fell to the ground beside her, kneeling on the grass, still watching the spot where the dog had disappeared. “You think he’s still there?” he finally asked.
Hermione didn’t answer or very possibly couldn’t answer. His question seemed to be answered without her reply when a howl echoed through the air.
Ron helped Hermione up. All that mattered at that moment was that they get out of the cemetery and back into the safety of the Potters’ decaying house. Perhaps then they could regain some semblance of calm and figure out what happened.
Ron and Hermione didn’t do much after they shut the door. They both leaned against it, hoping that the dog couldn’t get inside somehow. “He was amused,” Ron managed to stammer.
“A dog can’t be amused,” Hermione replied tartly. “Their faces can’t do that.”
“Oh, right,” Ron replied scathingly. “I saw it. He was amused.”
Hermione closed her eyes. “Ron, I’m telling you. The muscles in the dog’s face won’t allow them to be amused.”
“Your eyes were closed,” Ron insisted. “You didn’t see it. That dog was amused.”
“He licked me!” Hermione shuddered as she rubbed her cheek yet again. “He was about to kill me and he licked me!”
Ron gave a shaky laugh. “Why do you think…”
“I don’t know,” Hermione shook her head. “But we’ve more important things to talk about.”
“More important that a huge, black dog?” Ron asked in complete amazement.
Hermione nodded. She finally moved away from the door towards the sagging couch. She sank onto it. “We need to talk about the Horcruxes.”
Ron leaned his head against the door, closing his eyes briefly. “We’ve talked about them.”
“But now we need to talk about which one we’ll seek first.” Hermione rubbed her forehead.
“Fine,” Ron sank into a chair across the room. “Which ones are there again?”
He watched as Hermione straightened, a sure sign that she was about to recite from memory. He wasn’t disappointed. “There are six Horcruxes,” she began. “Two have been destroyed, a third might be.”
“One’s most likely that snake. What was that name?” Ron tapped his chin.
“Nagini,” Hermione wrinkled her nose at the name. “That leaves Hufflepuff’s cup and something of Ravenclaw’s or Gryffindor’s.”
“But Harry said Dumbledore believed all of Gryffindor’s stuff to be safe,” Ron added.
“Relics, Ron, not stuff,” Hermione corrected him, not really paying attention.
“I suppose you know exactly where to look?” Ron raised an eyebrow.
Hermione nodded. “Somewhat,” She held up a finger. “We know that the diary was given to Lucius Malfoy for safe-keeping…”
“We covered this,” Ron groaned.
“Was given to Lucius Malfoy for safe-keeping, but Harry destroyed it with a Basilisk Fang our second year.” Hermione ignored Ron’s interruption. She held up a second finger. “Dumbledore found the ring in Voldemort’s mum’s old house.”
“Yeah,” Ron frowned. “That was the Gaunt house?”
Hermione nodded. She held up another finger. “And Dumbledore and Harry went to the seaside cave where Voldemort had tortured those orphans while he was there. That’s where the locket was at one time.”
“So where are the others?” Ron demanded, more than a little exasperated. “And how can we find them?”
Hermione sighed. “Like I told you before, I have an idea even though it wasn’t taught at Hogwarts…”
“And you didn’t explain then,” Ron interrupted. “Care to explain now?”
“No,” Hermione gave a ghost of a smile. “I’m still working on it. It’s easy to see that Voldemort placed the Horcruxes in areas or spots that held meaning for him.”
Ron frowned at her words.
“And he used items that held meaning for him,” Hermione continued.
“That’s why he’s using the Founders things,” Ron guessed, “Because he felt at home while at Hogwarts?”
“And very likely because he’s a descendant of a Founder,” Hermione added quickly.
Ron scratched his chin. “Alright, I can see that, but if Dumbledore believes everything of Gryffindor’s is safe, what are we looking for?”
Hermione’s face broke into a smile. “Glad you asked.” She hurried to her rucksack and opened it while Ron watched nervously. She pulled out a large book and sat on the couch once more. Ron could just barely see Hogwarts, A History on it before she opened it in her lap. She looked up. “Are you wanting to see or not? I’m not going to ask you to read it, just to look at a few pictures.”
Ron groaned as he got up to sit next to her. “Fine, what are we supposed to be looking at?”
Hermione ignored him and pointed to a picture. “That’s Salazar Slytherin. Notice the ring on his finger. Just like the ring Harry described to us.”
“Alright, then what about the locket Harry showed us?” Ron asked. “Rather a bit of a girl thing for him to wear, right?”
Hermione shook her head. “Not back then. It’s possible he made it or had it made for a lady, but…” She shrugged. “It’s also a good chance that he used it to keep a lock of her hair in it.” She pointed to a slight gleam near the edge of his robe’s sleeve. “He could have worn it as a bracelet and it’s been since placed on a necklace chain.”
Ron shook his head slightly as he tried to work it out. Finally he nodded. “Alright, Slytherin’s relics are shown in his picture. So?”
Hermione sighed. She pointed to the next picture. “Godric Gryffindor.” This one was easy to see the Sorting Hat and the sword Harry had used their second year.
“Fine,” Ron said.
“And Helga Hufflepuff,” Hermione pointed to the third picture on the page. “She has a cup, but it’s one of those old-fashioned ones that don’t have the handles.”
“So you think that Ravenclaw’s item will be shown in her picture?” Ron guessed.
Hermione nodded. “Very likely, at least given the others…” She pointed to the last picture. They studied it for a long time without seeing anything that could possibly be a relic.
“There’s only one problem with that, Hermione,” Ron finally said. “She hasn’t anything in the picture with her.”
Hermione shook her head. “There has to be.”
“And yet, there’s nothing,” Ron leaned back against the shredded fabric. “So where does that leave us?”
“Figuring out where they could be,” Hermione said. “It might be easier that way.”
“So where are they?” Ron asked.
“Off-hand, I’d suspect the Riddle House… Oh honestly, Ron. The house that Voldemort stayed at our fourth year, the one Harry kept having nightmares of and where the graveyard is.” Hermione sighed with exasperation.
“Right,” Ron cleared his throat to try to cover his embarrassment.
Hermione considered again. “There’s the orphanage. He found out he was a wizard there.”
“True.” Ron tapped his fingers on the table.
“Voldemort also spoke with Dumbledore to request a teaching position at Hogwarts.” Hermione thought out loud. “So it could be at Hogwarts.”
“Why wouldn’t Dumbledore have found it then?” Ron demanded. “After all, he’d only have to see it to say ‘Oh, here’s a Founder’s thing… ’”
“Relic,” Hermione corrected again.
“‘So why don’t I take this to my office to keep it safe?’” Ron ignored Hermione.
“Maybe he never saw it,” Hermione pointed out.
“Never saw it?” Ron shook his head with disbelief.
“Not if it was in the Slytherin Common Room, hidden,” Hermione pointed out. “Or if it was in the Chamber of Secrets.”
Ron opened his mouth to reply tartly, but he closed it. “We can scratch it off if it’s in the Chamber of Secrets. Only Harry could get there.”
“Don’t forget about Voldemort being able to enter there,” Hermione shook her head. “But which one should we go for first?”
“What about the orphanage or the Riddle House?” Ron asked. “Anyone could see us if we go to Hogwarts and we won’t get away a second time as easily.”
Hermione agreed. It was surprising that they had managed to get away the first time with the way Mrs. Weasley was acting. “Let’s try the orphanage first.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter.
Thank you very much for your constructive criticism!
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