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Chapter 13 : The Power of Friendship
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“We have to...” Hermione started.
“Tell Dumbledore.” Ron finished her sentence.
“Now!” Harry said.
They started running towards the stairs, leaving Malfoy and Neville flabbergasted at the entrance of the Great Hall. When they arrived on the second floor, they ran into Ginny and Luna.
“What’s going on?” Ginny asked urgently.
“Are you being chased by a Tamperdroll?” Luna asked calmly.
“Come on!” Harry merely said. He grabbed Ginny’s hand and dragged her with them to the seventh floor and down the corridor that led to Dumbledore’s office.
“Canary Creams.” Harry said, panting heavily as they stood in front of the gargoyle that hid the stone escalators from view. When they came upstairs the door to Dumbledore’s office opened before they even knocked.
“Harry!” Dumbledore said surprised. “I was about to go down for lunch. What is going on?”
“We know where the Horcrux is.” Harry said.
“We think we know where the Horcrux is.” Hermione corrected him.
“Do you really?” Dumbledore said, inviting them to enter his office.
“Yes, do we?” Ginny asked, a bit irritated because she still didn’t know what was going on.
“Actually Malfoy gave us the idea.” Ron said.
“He told us that he used the Room of Requirement once to hide something.” Harry said.
“Yes…” Dumbledore said slowly.
“Well, he wasn’t the only one that had hidden something there.” Harry explained. “He called it the room where everything’s hidden. He probably thought of a possible hiding place which is probably…”
“The exact same thing Voldemort thought about when he wanted to hide his Horcrux.” Dumbledore completed his sentence. “Let us go.”
He left his office with the four students in his wake and quickly walked across the seventh floor towards the corridor that held the Room of Requirement.
“Professor, won’t it be dangerous?” Harry asked as they almost reached their destination.
“I hardly think so.” Dumbledore said. “Voldemort probably was arrogant enough to think that none other than he would be able to unravel the school’s deepest mysteries, so he would think the Horcrux is perfectly safe. Furthermore, he cannot have hidden magical creatures in the school for this long and if the Horcrux housed curses like the ring did, I would have picked them up when I searched the school, even if it is in the Room of Requirement.”
He stopped when they reached the piece of blank wall after which the Room of Requirement waited for them. The five of them passed the wall three times, thinking about a place to hide something or thinking about ‘the room where everything’s hidden’. Harry’s heart jumped when he saw the door appear. “It worked!”
“Let us hope so.” Dumbledore said calmly. He entered the Room and the four students followed closely. Dumbledore gestured them to wait and walked on, stopping a couple of feet in front of them. He pulled his wand and started muttering strange words.
“What is he doing?” Ron whispered, anxious not to disturbe Dumbledore.
“Probably searching the room for dark magic.” Hermione whispered back. “There are many ways to do that, but it’s extremely advanced stuff and it can take hours to pick something up.”
“But he said he would have picked up curses even when they are located inside the Room of Requirement.” Harry said.
“Yes, curses like on the ring, that are meant to kill or wound the victims. Horcruxes are not dark like that.”
“Beg your pardon?” Ron said. “Horcruxes are not dark enough to be picked up easily?”
“It doesn’t work that way. It’s not the level of how dark it is, but the level of how dangerous it is that is important. Pretty much like… in what way it is dark.” Hermione explained. “In theory, Horcruxes are not threatening to anyone. They will try to possess you and take over your mind if you come too close, but otherwise they won’t do you any physical harm. Dark curses like the ones on the ring will, so purely theoretical…”
“Horcruxes are less dangerous than most dark curses.” Harry completed.
Indeed, it took Dumbledore more than an hour to finally pick up the slightest hint of dark magic. He gestured for them to follow him, but when they found the source it turned out to be a shrunken head.
“That is disappointing.” Dumbledore said calmly.
“Do you mean, that’s it?” Harry asked. “It’s not here?”
“Oh, it can certainly be here, but Voldemort will have made it hard to trace.” He again walked a couple of feet away from them and restarted his activities from before. This time only fifteen minutes had passed when he spoke again. “I think I have something. Stronger than before.”
Dumbledore quickly started walking through the aisles of lost objects, much more eagerly than before. Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione quickly followed the headmaster and had to hurry to keep up with him. Dumbledore finally stopped in front of an old wardrobe. “Now we will see.” he muttered and he slowly opened the doors.
They only saw two objects in the closet. One was a big cage holding a five-legged skeleton of what once must have been a Quintaped. Harry involuntarily wondered if Hagrid had been the one who had hidden this here during his school years. On the top shelf of the wardrobe there was a beautiful, gold tiara with a blue sapphire, shaped like an oval. Dumbledore pointed his wand at the tiara and again muttered some words Harry didn’t recognize. Apparently satisfied that it was safe Dumbledore took the tiara and inspected it.
“Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.” he mumbled.*
“Rowena Ravenclaw…” Hermione said slowly.
“You mean to say…” Harry said, not quite trusting what he heard.
“This is it, Harry.” Dumbledore said. “This is Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem. I have no idea how Voldemort ever got it in his possession, but this is it.”
“So…” Ron said.
“We have another Horcrux.”
Dumbledore invited them all up to his office. He put the diadem on the same three-legged table where Sirius had destroyed the locket and where Harry had destroyed Hufflepuff’s cup.
Dumbledore handed Harry the sword of Gryffindor, but Harry shook his head. “No. I think Ginny should do it.”
“What?” Ginny said.
“It was your idea.”
“You three realized which room it was. I just thought of the Room of Requirement.” Ginny protested.
“And if you hadn’t we probably wouldn’t have realized what that room meant.” Ron said.
“You should do it, Ginny.” Hermione agreed.
Ginny looked at Dumbledore, who smiled encouragingly and handed her the sword.
“Go ahead, Ginny.” the headmaster said.
Ginny took the sword and watched the diadem doubtfully. “It’s a shame it has to be destroyed.” she said. “Such an important historical object.”
“I know.” Dumbledore said sadly. “But I am afraid we have no choice.”
Ginny nodded and lifted the sword. With one powerful stab, the blade of the sword hit the diadem. The same shrill, high-pitched shriek they had heard when Harry destroyed the cup echoed through the office and the diadem trembled and broke in half.
“Well done, Ginny!” Dumbledore said. He turned to Harry and smiled. “Only one to go.”
Dumbledore sent Ginny, Ron and Hermione to their classes, giving them a note to explain to their teachers that they were late because they had been with him. He asked Harry to stay for a while.
After they had taken their usual seats facing each other with the desk between them, Dumbledore said: “So you do know what this means, Harry?”
Harry nodded. “If we kill the snake Voldemort is mortal again.”
“Indeed, he is.”
“Do you plan to go after him, Professor?” Harry asked nervously.
“I do not think we have to, Harry.” Dumbledore said calmly.
“I don’t understand.”
“Voldemort has wiped out the last bit of resistance in the outside world.” Dumbledore said sadly. “It will not be long before he will try to accomplish the task he has set on hold when he took over the Ministry.”
“He’ll come after me?” Harry asked. “But I’m at Hogwarts.”
“You are. But I think Voldemort’s army has grown to the power that even Hogwarts will not be able to hold them out indefinitely.”
“That’s madness!” Harry said. “We can’t let that happen. There are still little kids here.”
“Indeed, Harry, but there are ways to protect them. The Room of Requirement will be a valuable asset in that regard. And I must say that I think we have the greatest chance of succeeding on known ground. Plus all the members of the Order of the Phoenix are here.”
Harry thought about what Dumbledore had said and had to admit it did sound plausible. Then he thought about what would happen if Voldemort attacked Hogwarts and Harry would stay here.
“So when Voldemort attacks…” Harry said slowly. “It will be over. Either way.”
“Yes.” Dumbledore said calmly. “It will be over.”
“You know, don’t you?” Harry asked, looking into Dumbledore’s bright blue eyes. “You know when he’s going to come for me. For all of us.”
Dumbledore looked at him and sighed. “I do not know exactly when, Harry, but I know it will be in the next few months.”
“How? Do you have a spy again?”
Dumbledore nodded. “It concerns a Death Eater within Voldemort’s inner circle. Professor Snape has taken the risk of making contact. You must forgive me for not giving you the name, Harry. Professor Snape and I are the only two people who know of it. It would be catastrophic if we lost this spy too.”
“I understand.” Harry said.
“I will keep you informed if I hear something important. Now you’d better go down to your class, Harry.”
“Thank you, Professor.”
Harry quickly descended the marble stairs to the Transfiguration classroom.
“I’m sorry I’m late, Professor.” he quickly said after he entered the room.
“That’s alright, Potter. Miss Granger and Mr Weasley informed me you were with Professor Dumbledore?”
“Very well.” Professor McGonagall said not unfriendly. “Take your seat. We are working on human transfiguration.”
“So what did Dumbledore say?” Ron asked when they left the classroom. Transfiguration had been their last class for the day and the trio and Neville made their way back to the Gryffindor common room.
“I’ll tell you in a minute.” Harry said.
“Are you alright, Harry?” Hermione asked, looking worried. “You look a bit stressed.”
“Yeah, fine.” Harry said curtly.
When they reached the seventh floor they walked into Ginny and Luna who just finished their Charms lesson. Harry asked the two of them to come with them to the Gryffindor common room.
“I can’t go in there, Harry. I’m a Ravenclaw.” Luna reminded him.
“No one will care.” Harry assured her.
When they entered the common room Harry led them to a couple of chairs by the window. Luna was looking around her interestedly as this was the first time she set foot in Gryffindor Tower. When they had all sat down Harry quickly casted a Muffliato charm and told his friends about what Dumbledore had told him.
The reactions of his friends were more or less what Harry expected. Ginny and Hermione bit their lip, looking extremely worried. Neville made a fearful noise, Ron paled until he looked as white as a ghost and Luna was just smiling at him reassuringly.
“Well, it was a matter of time really.” she said calmly.
The others looked at her unbelievingly, but Harry was kind of happy with her reaction.
“Are you afraid?” Hermione asked softly.
Harry shrugged. “A bit. But I knew it had to happen eventually. Now that all the Horcruxes are destroyed, except for Nagini… Well, I’m ready.”
Ginny looked at him piercingly. She wasn’t crying. Harry had only seen her cry on very rare occasions. “You’ll defeat him.” she said determinedly. “You are stronger than him.”
“Of course you are.” Luna said, sounding very confident. “And you won’t be alone.”
“No. You won’t.” Hermione said with a weak voice.
“We’re with you, mate.” Ron said firmly.
“Until the end.” Neville added.
When Harry was looking at his friends, determined to stand by him while the final battle was approaching, he finally understood what Dumbledore was trying to tell him all this time and what Sirius had said after the battle at Grimmauld Place last year.
‘Love, Harry. Love.’
“I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things.” – J.R.R. Tolkien (LOTR Return of the King)
*Quote from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
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