Chapter 9 : Two To Go
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“So you’re actually going to do this?” Ron asked.
They were all sitting in the Gryffindor common room that night and Harry was about to leave for his training with Dumbledore.
“I promised him.” Harry said.
“I think it’s a good thing.” Hermione spoke up.
Ron looked at her in shock. “Hermione, it’s Malfoy. He has been trying to make your life miserable for five years.”
“Yes, but if Harry believes he has really changed, who are we to question it?” Hermione said. “He’s the only one of us who knows Legilimency.”
Harry shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He wished his friends wouldn’t rely too much on his Legilimency. He wasn’t that sure about it himself yet. “Well I’ve got to go.” he said. “See you guys later.
After a good hour of training Harry and Dumbledore sat down at his desk, facing each other. The headmaster always liked to talk for a while after his lessons with Harry to see how he was doing.
“Excellent work today, Harry.” Dumbledore praised. “You have mastered spells quickly that took me weeks to perfect when I was younger. You truly are becoming a very powerful wizard.”
Harry didn’t really know what to say. He was still embarrassed when Dumbledore said things like that.
“I notice you have become much more confident too. I could not be prouder of you.”
Dumbledore noticed how uncomfortable Harry felt and smiled. “I will not embarrass you any further, Harry. I do however want to talk to you about the Horcruxes.”
“Have you found another one?” Harry asked eagerly.
“I think so.” Dumbledore said. “As you recall, we already found and destroyed the locket and the ring and you have of course destroyed the diary a long time ago. That means there are still three Horcruxes out there.”
“Nagini, Hufflepuff’s cup and something from Gryffindor or Ravenclaw.” Harry summed up.
“Exactly.” Dumbledore said. “Nagini will be the most difficult to destroy, because Voldemort rarely lets her out of his side. As for the one of Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, we still have no idea what it is, so – “
“Regulus thinks it’s her diadem.” Harry interrupted.
“It is a possibility. But we still have no idea where it is hidden.” Dumbledore admitted. “I know Regulus said it was probably at Hogwarts.” he added when Harry opened his mouth to say something. “But I have searched the castle many times and I have found no traces whatsoever.”
Harry shrugged. “Hufflepuff’s cup then?”
Dumbledore nodded. “I think I know where it is hidden. I discovered a Muggle legend about a cup that is exhibited in the British Museum. Some Muggles believe that it is enchanted to bring ill-fortune to everyone who possesses it.”
“You think that’s Hufflepuff’s cup?” Harry asked a bit sceptic. “Why would Voldemort put a Horcrux in a Muggle museum?”
“Think about it, Harry.” Dumbledore said. “Voldemort still believes that he is the only one who knows about his Horcruxes. He probably thinks that on the off-chance that someone would find out about them, they would never expect one to be in the Muggle world. Everyone knows Voldemort despises everything about Muggles, despite his own background.”
“I guess it does make sense.” Harry said. “But what about protecting it?”
“That’s our advantage here.” Dumbledore smiled. “I don’t think the cup will be protected as effectively as the other Horcruxes. Voldemort thinks the cup is perfectly safe.”
“So are we going to get it?” Harry asked eagerly.
“You want to come with me?”
“Alright then.” Dumbledore smiled. “I thought of going this Saturday, at night time. The museum will be closed then. Does that suit you?”
“Oh. I planned the first DA meeting of the year Saturday.” Harry realized. “But it’s okay, I can move it.”
“Very well. I’ll come and get you from the Gryffindor common room on Saturday.” Dumbledore promised. “And speaking of the DA. I heard that young miss Malfoy will be joining you this year?”
“Oh yes.” Harry said. “I told her she was too young last year, but Dennis Creevey was also in his second year when he joined, so I didn’t really have a choice.”
“I don’t blame you, Harry.” Dumbledore smiled. “I know it is not easy to refuse her something. But I expect you will not let her get into harm’s way.”
“Of course not.”
“Very well. That is all I wanted to say to you, Harry. You can go, except if you wanted to talk to me about something?”
“Yes actually.” Harry said. “I talked to Draco Malfoy today…”
“Did you now?” Dumbledore asked, sounding amused.
“Er, yes…” Harry said. “He heard about Dumbledore’s Army and he said he wanted to join too.”
Dumbledore didn’t seem at all surprised. “And what did you tell him?”
“That I would talk to you about it.” Harry said. “I mean, you asked me not to invite any Slytherins last year.”
“I did.” Dumbledore confirmed. “But I do not think Draco Malfoy can be considered a regular Slytherin anymore.”
“You think we should let him join?”
“That is entirely up to you, Harry.” Dumbledore said. “I gave you a free hand last year when you formed the group and I stand by that decision. I completely trust your judgement.”
“But I don’t know…” Harry said. “He seems to have changed, but he’s still Draco Malfoy. I only want people in the DA that I can trust with my life. And I am not sure I could ever trust Malfoy completely.”
“I totally understand that.” Dumbledore told him. “But I know that you have improved tremendously with your Legilimency, Harry. What does your intuition tell you when you talk to him?”
“I feel that he’s sincere.” Harry admitted.
Dumbledore nodded. “I expected so. It is your choice, Harry, but if you want to invite him, you have my support. I would however recommend conferring with the other members before you make your decision.”
“I planned to.” Harry assured him. Dumbledore mentioning Legilimency reminded him about something else he wanted to talk about with the headmaster. He told him everything about the dream he had about Voldemort and Lucius Malfoy and the conversation he had about it with Snape.
Dumbledore remained silent for a few moments after Harry’s story. “That is an interesting development.” he finally said.
“Do you think Professor Snape is right, sir?”
“Yes I most certainly do.” Dumbledore said. “Your mind seems to have unconsciously chosen to see those events.”
“But why those events?” Harry asked. “It was just Voldemort torturing Lucius Malfoy. It’s not like I learned anything important from it.”
“But maybe you did.” Dumbledore said. “Did you say that Voldemort told Lucius he would make sure Draco would be killed?”
“Yes…” Harry said slowly. He had just thought Voldemort had been tormenting Lucius by saying his son would die, he didn’t realize it might be an actual plan. He just couldn’t imagine Draco Malfoy was a priority in the plans of Voldemort. “You don’t think he’s actually planning it, do you?”
“I don’t know.” Dumbledore said. “But Draco is safe at Hogwarts at the moment, so don’t think too much about it.”
Harry and Dumbledore talked some more. The headmaster wanted to know how his first class with Kingsley had been and they discussed Harry’s plans with Dumbledore’s Army for this year. It was already after 11 o’clock when Dumbledore finally sent Harry back to Gryffindor Tower.
Harry let all the DA members know that the first meeting of the year would be on Wednesday night instead of Saturday night by changing the date on his coin. He started the meeting with introducing Jacinta as a new member and letting her sign the contract that stipulated that no one was allowed to divulge information outside of the DA. When Jacinta had signed and the contract was pinned back to the wall, Harry rose from his seat again.
“Alright everyone. Before we start practicing again I’d like to talk to all of you about something.” He looked nervously around the room. Hermione and Ginny were smiling encouragingly and Ron seemed to be a bit on edge.
“There is someone else who would like to join Dumbledore’s Army, but I thought it would be best to confer with everyone before I give him an answer.”
“Who is it?” Cho asked curiously.
Harry had never seen his fellow DA members so silent. They couldn’t have been more surprised if he had told them Voldemort himself wanted to join them.
Seamus started laughing. “It’s a joke, right?”
“No, actually.” Harry said. Looking at the stunned faces of everyone, he started to wish he hadn’t said anything.
“I expected he would want to join.” Luna said. “I talked to him a couple of times lately and he is an entirely different person than he used to be. I think he finally realized which side he belongs to.”
“Malfoy turned?” Ernie Macmillan asked sceptically. “You don’t really believe that, do you?”
“Actually, it kind of makes sense.” Justin Finch-Fletchley said. “He’s been acting weird for a long time. He’s actually acting civil towards me and… my kind.” he said uncomfortably.
A short silence followed. “You know Legilimency right, Harry?” Parvati asked suddenly.
“Kind of.” Harry said non committedly.
“Oh come on, Harry!” Hermione said firmly. “You’re getting really good at it.”
“Well, then don’t you notice when someone is lying to you?” Parvati asked.
“Most of the time, yeah.” Harry said. “Malfoy seemed to be honest to me.”
“Well then I don’t think we should question Harry’s judgement.” Parvati said to the whole group.
“Shouldn’t we?” Terry Boot spoke up. “No offence, Harry, I’m sure you are right, but people make mistakes, right? Or Malfoy could be using Occlumency.”
“Both are possible.” Harry admitted.
“Maybe we should vote?” Cho offered.
“We could.” Harry said. “But Malfoy will only be joining us if everyone agrees to it. I don’t want problems in our group.”
The members discussed the matter between each other for a while. After about fifteen minutes Harry said: “Alright! Everyone in favour of inviting Malfoy, please raise your hand.”
All the Gryffindors plus Luna immediately raised their hands. The others followed a bit slower. When Terry Boot and Michael Corner had raised their hands last, Harry nodded. “Okay. Malfoy will be joining us starting from the next meeting then.”
A lot of their time had gone into deciding what to do about Malfoy, but the members of Dumbledore’s Army had special permission from Dumbledore to be out of their common rooms after hours, so Harry decided to revise some things from last year.
“I thought we could start with the Patronus charm.” he said. “I remember about half of you were already able to perform a corporeal Patronus. Let’s see how you do.”
As the members started practicing the Patronus charm, Harry walked over to Hermione and Luna.
“Hi Harry.” Luna said happily.
“Hi.” Harry said. “You two don’t have a lot of trouble with the Patronus charm right?”
“Not really, no.” Hermione said and Luna shook her head.
“Do you think you could teach Jacinta the stuff that we saw last year during the meetings? You two are pretty much the best and fastest with spells, so then I could go on with the rest of the group.”
“Oh yeah sure!” Hermione said. “She won’t be able to follow if she doesn’t learn everything from last year. We’ll make sure she catches up.”
Harry circled the room inspecting his classmates. He was happy to see that Seamus and Dean were both having little trouble with the spell. They had both been having difficulty with it last year. A large silver horse caught his attention.
“That’s a pretty powerful Patronus.” Harry said. “Must have been a good memory.”
“We made some pretty good memories on that couch.” Ginny smirked.
Harry laughed and walked on.
A large silver lion galloped through the Room of Requirement. Harry raised his eyebrows. He didn’t recognize this one. He looked around him and saw Neville standing there with his wand still raised and his mouth half open.
“I did it.” he whispered.
“Fantastic Neville!” Harry said. “Great job.”
Neville grinned broadly. “I thought I’d never be able to do it.”
“You can do anything if you put your mind to it, Neville.” Harry said. “Confidence can get you very far.”
“Harry, do you know what time it is?” Hermione asked a while later.
Harry looked at his watch and was surprised to see it was almost midnight. “Alright everyone, that’s it for tonight! We’d better get to our common rooms if we don’t want to get into trouble.”
“But Dumbledore released us from curfew.” Dean said. “We can stay out as long as we want.”
“I know, but we’d better not push it.” Harry smiled. “And we still have classes during the day. We shouldn’t forget to get some sleep once in a while. Great job everyone! Watch your coins for the next meeting.”
The first week of classes passed by rather quickly. Due to the fact that they were able to drop several subjects after they had taken their O.W.L.’s their schedules weren’t as busy as they used to be. The amount of homework the teachers dropped on them didn’t decrease however. Harry and his friends spent all Saturday morning working. Ginny also had a pile of work to do, seeing as she had just started her O.W.L. year.
After lunch they happily made their way to the Quidditch pitch, excited to finally play again. When Harry came out of the dressing rooms with Ron and Katie he realized Hermione had been wrong. Half Gryffindor didn't show up. All of them did.
“Oh bloody hell.”
Ron started laughing when he saw Harry’s face. “Good luck mate.”
“Help me.” Harry mumbled.
“Don’t worry, Harry.” Katie said, also laughing. “We’ll stay with you.”
“Oh shut it.” Harry said while Ron and Katie were roaring with laughter.
He walked towards the large group of people who were waiting for the try-outs to start. “Alright everyone.” Harry said loudly. “There are far too much of you obviously, even for try-outs, so here’s what we are going to do. Divide yourself into groups of ten. Each group will in turn fly a couple of rounds around the pitch. I will select the best flyers to try-out for the vacant positions in the team.”
“Good call, mate.” Ron said when it became apparent that the first groups had no business even holding a broom.
“Imagine you had let some of them try out for Beater. Madam Pomfrey would have killed us.” Katie agreed.
After what seemed like a very long time, Harry finally had selected about twenty students who would be trying out for the vacant positions. He decided to start with the Chasers and was happy to see that Ginny was outflying most of them easily.
The competition for the second Chaser spot was closer. Jacinta had decided to try out after all. She was a good flyer and was quicker than most of the candidates, but she was no match for them when it came to power. It broke his heart to do so, but Harry knew he had to keep his integrity as captain, so he chose Parvati Patil as the third Chaser.
The two new Beaters were, as expected, Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas. The other candidates for Beaters weren’t bad flyers, but were still very young and lacked the power to compete with them.
After apologizing to the students that hadn’t been chosen and telling them they would be called upon in case a player was injured, Harry turned to his new team. He thought they had a very good chance of winning the Quidditch Cup again. Ron had shown his qualities as a Keeper last year and was only improving. Katie was still there and Harry was sure she would pass her experience to Ginny and Parvati. Dean and Seamus weren’t the same as the Weasley twins, but were fair Beaters nonetheless and Harry expected them to improve as they started training with the team.
“Looks like a decent team, right?” Ron said.
“Sure does.” Harry smiled at his new team mates. “Let’s see. Tuesday night alright for everyone for our first practice? Let’s say 7 o’clock.”
The four new team members agreed and returned to the castle. Harry, Ron and Katie returned to the dressing rooms to change out of their red Gryffindor robes.
“It’s going to be weird, don’t you think?” Katie asked suddenly.
Ron looked puzzled, but Harry knew what she meant. Ron had only been on the team for a year after all.
“Yeah.” he agreed. “It’s certainly going to be different. But we’ll do fine.”
That night Harry was sitting in the common room with Ginny, Ron and Hermione. Hermione was reading while the other three discussed Harry’s plans with the Quidditch team. Around 9 o’clock the portrait hole opened and Dumbledore entered the common room.
“Good evening all.” the headmaster said politely. “Harry, would you please come with me?”
“Oh right, I totally forgot!” Ron said.
“Good luck, Harry!” Hermione said as Harry stood up and gave Ginny a quick kiss.
“I’ll wait up for you.” Ginny said softly.
The other DA members from Gryffindor watched Harry leave a bit worried. The last time Dumbledore had come and get him from the common room they had ended up fighting Death Eaters at Grimmauld Place.
“So are you ready to go, Harry?” Dumbledore asked when they were outside of the Fat Lady.
“Definitely.” They walked quickly through the halls. “Are we apparating?”
“Yes.” Dumbledore said. “But we have to leave the grounds first. It is not – “
“Possible to apparate or disapparate at Hogwarts. Yeah I know.” Harry said quickly.
Dumbledore smiled. “I see you still spend a lot of time with Miss Granger.”
They left the castle and crossed the grounds towards the gates with the winged boars. When they had crossed the boundaries Dumbledore asked Harry to take his arm and apparated them away.
When the sickening feeling of being squeezed together disappeared, Harry opened his eyes. He was surprised to see that they had apparated directly into the museum.
“Won’t we trigger any alarms?” Harry asked silently.
“I doubt we will.” Dumbledore said. “Muggle alarm systems are very effective in their world, but I’m afraid they are very easy to get around for witches and wizards. Ah, there it is.”
Dumbledore quickly walked towards a corner of the hall they were in with Harry in his wake. Harry saw a small golden cup in a glass showcase. When he examined it closer he saw it was engraved with a small image of a badger.
“Do you think we can touch it?” he asked nervously. He remembered that Dumbledore had told him not to touch the ring when they found it and that the headmaster and Bill Weasley had had a lot of work to remove all the curses on it.
“I believe so, but we will have to use a freezing charm first so there will be no alarm when we remove the showcase.”
Dumbledore pointed his wand at the glass. Then he carefully levitated it. Harry held his breath, but everything remained silent. Dumbledore observe the cup slowly.
“I can trace no curses on this one.” he finally said. “I believe it is safe for us to touch.”
“Why were there curses on the ring and not on the cup?” Harry asked.
“Oh the ring has been in the Gaunt and Slytherin family for generations.” Dumbledore said. “I rather not think about what has happened to it during all those years.”
“So they weren’t curses that Voldemort put on it?”
“No. Not most of them at least. And I do not think Voldemort thought it necessary for this one. As I said he believes it will never be found here.”
Without further ado, Dumbledore reached forward and took the cup.
“Now let us go back to Hogwarts and destroy this one.” Dumbledore said.
He put the Horcrux away in his coat and offered his arm to Harry, who closed his eyes in anticipation. When he opened them he was looking straight into the black, vicious eyes of Bellatrix Lestrange.
The female Death Eater let out a triumphant laugh and pointed her wand at him, but Harry was faster: “Expelliarmus!”
Bellatrix could barely block it in time and by the time she had recovered Harry had already thrown an Impediment jinx at her. She was thrown backwards several feet.
Meanwhile Dumbledore was duelling with a hooded Death Eater. Harry looked around him, his wand still pointed at where Bellatrix had fallen, and saw to his relief that there were only this two.
Bellatrix and the other Death Eater quickly realized they were no match for Harry and Dumbledore and disapparated.
“Are you alright, Harry?” Dumbledore asked.
“Yeah, I’m okay.”
“That were some rather quick duelling skills you showed there.” Dumbledore said. “I am impressed. Bellatrix Lestrange is an accomplished duellist and a merciless opponent.”
“Do you know who the other one was?”
“A rather less accomplished duellist. Fenrir Greyback, if I can judge by the smell.”
Dumbledore quickly opened the gates so they could enter the grounds in case they came back with back up. “What were they doing here?” Harry asked a they were walking up to the castle.
“I believe Voldemort has put guards to watch my school.” Dumbledore said dryly. “He certainly has found out about you by now as even the Daily Prophet has already printed that you are alive. Plus most of the members of the Order of the Phoenix and some Ministry officials are staying at the castle at the moment.”
“But they can’t get in right?”
“No, it appears they are waiting for you to come out.” Dumbledore said. “Luckily Voldemort is still thick enough to underestimate you.”
They walked up the marble staircases to the seventh floor.
“How would you like to close the evening with destroying a part of Voldemort’s soul?” Dumbledore asked once they were in his office.
“That would be very satisfying.” Harry grinned.
Dumbledore put the cup on the same table where Sirius had destroyed the locket months ago. Then he took the sword and handed it to Harry.
“Will it do something?” Harry asked nervously. He remembered what had happened when Sirius had opened the locket.
“I do not think so, no.” Dumbledore said. “It is entirely different than the locket.”
Harry lifted the sword high and forcefully stabbed the cup with it. They heard a shrill, high-pitched shriek and felt a cold breeze. And then the cup was destroyed.
“Very good, Harry.” Dumbledore said. “Well I think we have earned ourselves a drink after our accomplishments of tonight.”
He gave Harry a bottle of butterbeer and poured himself a glass of elderflower wine. Dumbledore raised his glass as if to toast and said: “Two to go.”
“He who fights monsters must take care that he doesn’t become one himself” – Anthony Horowitz (Scorpia Rising)
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