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Chapter 6 : Transmission of Power
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Harry didn’t hear anything from Dumbledore for days. When he asked Remus or Tonks, who was staying a lot more at Grimmauld Place now, they couldn’t or wouldn’t tell him anything about his whereabouts either. Harry thought Dumbledore had changed his mind and thought it was too dangerous for Harry and had gone to obtain the Horcrux alone, until his headmaster turned up at Grimmauld Place out of the blue, the night before Ginny’s birthday.
The teenagers all sat at the kitchen table, chatting with Remus and Tonks and the Grangers when Dumbledore suddenly stepped out of the fireplace. Mr Granger barely looked up as he had adapted himself admirably to all the magic around him. Mrs Granger had also no problem with being around wizards and witches, but she had a bit more difficulty to hide her surprise when people appeared out of thin air or in the fireplace.
“Good evening to all.” Dumbledore said politely as he casually brushed the ashes of his robes. “I have come to collect Harry. If you do not mind of course, Remus.”
Dumbledore had already told him and Sirius about Harry’s desire to go with him when he tried to obtain the Horcruxes a while ago.
“Not at all.” Remus smiled when he saw Harry had already left the kitchen to get his jacket.
“Alright.” Dumbledore said when Harry reappeared. “Are you ready?”
“Yes.” Harry said excitedly. He gave Ginny a quick kiss. “You’ll probably already be asleep when I get back. I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Be careful.” Ginny said.
Dumbledore led Harry outside and they apparated from the front step of the house.
“Maybe I should teach you how to apparate too.” Dumbledore said when they had gotten to their destination. He started walking down the small road and Harry quickly caught up beside him.
“Don’t you have to be seventeen to apparate?”
Dumbledore looked at Harry out of the corner of his eye. “Well, yes.” he admitted. “As your headmaster I admire your wish to follow the rules, but I must say that I find it rather hard to believe due to… previous events.”
Harry grinned. “Well, it’s the law, isn’t it? The Improper Use of Magic Office send me a warning once because Dobby had performed a hovering charm on a pudding!”
Dumbledore smiled at the thought of that memory. “Oh yes, they were very strict back then. But the Ministry has changed a lot since Rufus Scrimgeour has taken over. And I daresay that underage magic is not one of their main concerns anymore.”
He suddenly stopped walking and Harry recognized the hole in the hedge where Bob Ogden had gone through when he went to see the Gaunts.
“Careful now, Harry.”
“Do you already know what’s in there, Professor?” Harry asked nervously.
“No. There is only one way to go past that door and I prefer to do it only once.” He pulled out a silver blade and cut his arm. When the door had received his payment of blood, it simply disappeared. Dumbledore quickly healed his arm and smiled at Harry reassuringly.
Harry and Dumbledore both lighted their wands and carefully passed the threshold, Dumbledore first with Harry close behind.
A much too familiar cold feeling washed over them. Harry didn’t need the screaming voices in his head to know what was waiting for them inside. Without thinking he raised his wand: “Expecto Patronum!”
The silver stag jumped out of Harry’s wand and galloped into the house, closely followed by Dumbledore’s silver phoenix. The Dementors couldn’t leave because the only exit was blocked by Harry and Dumbledore and their patronuses.
“Be careful, Harry.” Dumbledore warned as the six Dementors that were guarding the house cowered against the back wall of the dirty kitchen. “I hardly think this is Voldemort’s only protection.”
His attention was attracted by the small jewellery box that lay on the wooden table. He motioned Harry to follow him and slowly walked towards it.
“Yes, this is it.” he mumbled as he closely observed the box. It was green and silver and had the initials ‘SS’ on it.
Dumbledore pointed his wand at the box and began murmuring strange incantations Harry had never heard before while Harry hold off the Dementors without much difficulty. After what seemed nearly fifteen minutes, Dumbledore lowered his wand.
“I think it is safe for us to take it now.”
Harry stared at his headmaster. “Just like that?”, he asked surprised. “No curses or anything?”
“There were a few minor curses on the box that I was able to remove quite easily.” Dumbledore explained. “But whatever is in that box – let us hope it is the ring – is much more dangerous. We will take it back to Grimmauld Place. I am sure Bill Weasley will be able to help us.”
When Harry and Dumbledore were in the fresh air again, Harry realized something. “Won’t Voldemort hear from the Dementors that we were here?”
Dumbledore smiled wryly. “I do not think we have to be afraid of that. The Dementors follow Voldemort because he gives them pray, but they feel absolutely no loyalty towards him. Dementors are only loyal to themselves. Something the Ministry of Magic had to find out the hard way too.”
He held out his arm for Harry to grasp and after the unpleasant feeling of disapparating they appeared in front of Grimmauld Place.
“That was quick.” Ron said when Harry and Dumbledore entered the kitchen of Grimmauld Place. “We thought we wouldn’t see you until morning.”
Harry looked at the clock and realized they had only be gone for an hour.
“Yeah, me too.” he said. He sat down next to Ginny and put an arm around her. She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.
Dumbledore quickly looked around the kitchen to see who was there before he said: “Not the most effective protection. We were rather lucky if I can believe Regulus. He almost died when he obtained the locket.”
“So what protection did he have?” Hermione asked eagerly.
“Dementors.” Harry said.
“That’s lucky?” Ron asked unbelievingly. “They’re a nightmare!”
Dumbledore chuckled. “Well I had the right man with me for that. I always believed Harry had a very powerful Patronus and it will certainly become more powerful now that – “
He abruptly stopped talking when he saw Harry’s look.
“Now that what?” Tonks asked interestedly.
“Now that he is almost grown up. And he had a lot of training.” Dumbledore said quickly.
The Weasleys and Tonks shrugged, but Remus and Hermione were looking at Harry with raised eyebrows.
“Isn’t Bill home yet?” Harry asked quickly to break the silence.
“He’s out with Fleur.” Fred smirked. “You don’t have to expect him soon.”
“Why do you need Bill?” Ginny asked.
“We would like him to take a look at this.” Dumbledore said and he showed the box they had taken from the Gaunt shack. “I know he has a desk job now, but I am afraid we will need his exceptional talents as a cursebreaker once more.”
He quickly glanced at Mr and Mrs Weasley at this. Despite the fact that Mrs Weasley was very proud of her eldest son’s accomplishments as a cursebreaker, she couldn’t help but feel relieved when Bill returned to Great Britain and took a much safer desk job. Although safe was of course very relative as he worked for the Order of the Phoenix in his spare time.
“I can tell him to come by first thing tomorrow if you’d like.” Mr Weasley said.
“That would be perfect.” Dumbledore said.
Dumbledore left and one by one, the inhabitants of Grimmauld Place went to bed. It was almost midnight when Harry and Remus were the last ones up.
“Want a butterbeer?” Remus asked, already standing up and getting two bottles. “So.” he said when they he had sat back down. “Are you going to tell me or what?”
“What do you mean?”
“What was Dumbledore talking about when he mentioned your Patronus? And don’t give me that training nonsense, I saw that look you gave him.” Remus said.
Harry sighed. He told Remus everything about the Horcrux and the fact that Dumbledore thought he would be a stronger wizard now. Remus was silent for a long time after Harry’s story.
“I shouldn’t have told you.” Harry mumbled.
“No, I’m glad you did.” Remus said quickly. “Harry, how long have you known this?”
“Dumbledore told me after he read Sirius’ will.”
“That long? Why didn’t you tell me?” Remus asked. “Never mind.” he added quickly before Harry could say anything. “You thought we would think less of you, didn’t you?”
Harry shrugged. “Well, yeah. I mean, a piece of Voldemort’s soul was inside me…”
Remus interrupted him. “Do you think less of yourself?”
Harry thought about that for a minute. “Not really, no. I feel a lot better actually.” he admitted.
“As you should.” Remus smiled. “It’s gone now, Harry, and you are still an admirable, brave young man, as you always were.”
“Didn’t your friends notice anything?” the werewolf asked after a short silence.
“Ron certainly didn’t.” Harry grinned. “Hermione noticed though, she asked me about it. And Ginny probably did too, but she never tries to get anything out of me. She always waits until I start talking myself.”
Remus laughed. “That’s a good one you got there, Harry. Don’t let her go.”
“I’m not planning to.” Harry said.
(-) – (-) – (-) – (-) – (-)
Two floors above them Hermione and Ginny were sitting on their beds talking. Hermione had poured out her heart about Ron – again – to her best girl friend. His reaction after Harry and Ron found her during the attack on her house had strengthened her belief that Ron did return her feelings towards him, but he still hadn’t shown any intend to act on it.
“I’m telling you, Hermione.” Ginny said, grabbing a chocolate frog from the nightstand. “If you want something to happen with my brother you’ll have to make the first move.”
“But isn’t that a bit…”
“Needy? Pathetic? Desperate?” Ginny laughed. “A bit. Maybe we’re just too old fashioned. Why shouldn’t a girl be able to ask a guy out?”
Hermione raised her eyebrows. “Would you have done it if Harry hadn’t asked you out first?”
“No probably not.” Ginny admitted. “But you two are an extreme case. You have been on a date over eighteen months ago, you clearly like each other and still nothing happened.”
“He’s just shy.” Hermione mumbled.
“If by shy you mean daft, yeah he’s shy.”
Hermione laughed. “So... You and Harry still going strong then?”
“Yeah.” Ginny smiled.
“You really do seem perfect for each other.” Hermione sighed. “I haven’t seen you guys fight once in all the time you are dating.”
“Oh we do fight.” Ginny said. “Just not a lot. And definitely not in public.” she added with a knowing look towards her friend.
“I wish I had a relationship like you guys.” Hermione admitted. “But aren’t you scared you might have gotten together too early?”
Ginny raised here eyebrows. “What do you mean?”
“Well, you do hear about a lot of couples that got together when they were very young and then break up because their feelings changed or they grew tired of one another.”
“Oh I know for one thing that Harry won’t grow tired of me too soon.”
“How’s that?” Hermione asked.
Ginny smiled. “We’ve been together for a year and a half and he still gets goose bumps every time I kiss him on the cheek.”
(-) – (-) –(-) –(-) – (-)
Harry, Hermione, Jacinta and the four Weasleys spent most of the day of Ginny’s birthday outside, playing Quidditch and relaxing. In the evening Mr and Mrs Weasley had planned a small dinner party. But that plan was brutally shattered.
The teenagers were engaged in casual conversation when Remus came out of the house and quickly walked towards them. Harry knew something had happened the minute he saw the man’s face.
“What is it?” Harry asked.
“The Death Eaters are attacking the ministry.” Remus said agitated. “We have to go.”
“I’m coming with you.” Harry said immediately.
Remus shook his head. “I’m sorry, Harry. I know you want to be involved and I support that, but you can’t come this time.”
“Harry, this is not like the attack on Hogsmeade or on Grimmauld Place.” Remus said. “From what Dumbledore told us, every single known Death Eater is at the Ministry right now. They aren’t just trying to cause panic. They’re trying to take over the country.”
“I want to go with you.” Harry said stubbornly.
“I know, Harry.” Remus said patiently. “But there’s nothing more important than your safety right now. You stay here and I’ll come back. I promise.”
Harry felt helpless as he watched his only remaining surrogate father leave.
“It will be alright, Harry.” Ginny tried to comfort him.
“Yeah.” Hermione agreed. “Remus is tough. You saw him fight before!”
“Sirius was tough too.” Harry said flatly.
No one seemed to know what to say to that.
(-) – (-) – (-) – (-) – (-)
Harry, Ginny, Ron and Jacinta spent the following hours at the kitchen table with cups of tea in front of them that were forced upon them by Dobby. Hermione had gone to her parents to tell them what was happening and they didn’t appear for several hours. Fred and George had joined the other Order members at the Ministry.
“We should have heard something by now.” Harry said restlessly.
Hermione tried to comfort him, but Ron and Ginny said nothing. Both of them were looking very pale. Their entire family was fighting at the Ministry right now, together with several other friends, like Remus and Tonks. It would be a miracle if everyone they knew got out of there unharmed.
“You know…” Ron said after a long silence. “The entire Order of the Phoenix is there. Plus all the Ministry officials. There’s no way the Death Eaters will be able to take over the Ministry, right?”
Ginny shrugged. Harry and Hermione exchanged a look and Harry knew immediately that his best female friend was thinking the exact same thing he was. If Voldemort send all his forces at once, there was a big chance the people who were defending the Ministry didn’t stand a chance.
They had been sitting in the kitchen for several hours when finally Remus turned up. He was immediately bombarded with questions.
“Is everyone alright?”
Remus raised his hands to silence them and said: “I’m afraid I have bad news.”
“What?” Harry asked urgently. “Did someone…?”
“I don’t know about anyone from the Order.” He looked at the Weasleys when he said that and saw them relax when they heard none of their family had given their lives in the fight. “But… Scrimgeour is dead.”
“The Minister for Magic?” Hermione asked.
Remus nodded. “The Death Eaters have taken over the Ministry. They had already killed Scrimgeour by the time we arrived. We have fought for hours but…”
“The Death Eaters have the Ministry?” Harry asked slowly.
“Yes.” Remus said. “I’m afraid so.”
“But it’s just a building right?” Ron asked. “A lot of the Ministry officials must have escaped when they realized what was coming.”
“Indeed.” Remus said. “But it’s more than just a building, Ron. Undoubtedly, Voldemort will declare himself the new Minister for Magic now. And with the Ministry in his hands he will be able to control our whole magical world… Except for one place.”
“Hogwarts.” Harry and Hermione said simultaneously.
“Yes.” Remus said. “And that’s why we have to leave. I’m sure the Fidelius charm will hold, but all the protective enchantments that could be tracked by the Ministry are worthless right now. Hogwarts still has protection charms that are a thousand years old, plus the enchantments of Dumbledore, so it’s probably the safest place left. So get your stuff and let’s go.”
The five teenagers quickly collected their belongings and returned to the kitchen where Remus was awaiting them impatiently.
“Alright, if you’re ready, we’re going to take the Floo network.” the werewolf said. “Your parents and brothers should already be there.” he added for Ron and Ginny’s benefit.
Harry was the first to step into the fireplace. When the nauseating feeling that accompanied using the Floo network stopped, Harry stepped into the headmaster’s office at Hogwarts. Dumbledore wasn’t there, but still the office was filled with people. Mr and Mrs Weasley were there, surrounded by Tonks, Mad Eye, McGonagall, Snape and several other Order members.
Harry’s stomach dropped when he saw Mrs Weasley’s tear stained face and Mr Weasley looking as white as a ghost. He turned to the nearest Order member, who happened to be Tonks. “What…?”
Tonks blinked a few times to stop herself from crying. She looked at Harry tearfully and spoke just one word: “Percy.”
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