Chapter 10 : Mrs Figg’s
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At dusk Harry and Hermione walked casually over to Mrs Figg’s house, surrounded the entire way by an honour guard of at least a dozen large cats that dashed from car to car.
As they approached the garden gate, the front door opened silently and they hurried along the short path and into the house.
Harry led the way into the tiny living room which looked exactly the way he remembered it.
“Go straight through to the back room,” directed Moody from behind them.
They went through the narrow doorway and into an empty area that had obviously been magically expanded into a space of dance hall sized proportions. The room was square on plan with each wall about fifty feet long and with a ceiling twenty feet high. The floor was covered with old linoleum and Harry saw that a patch repair had been duplicated in several places across the room.
Mrs Figg's meagre collection of dining room furniture was neatly stacked in one corner and in the far wall there was a single normal sized window that overlooked her small back garden.
“We thought you’d like some space to manoeuvre,” said Moody. “Arrabella and me will be out back. Molly and three other Order members are concealed out front and the cats are out patrolling the entire area. We also have about a dozen Order members on standby in the air. We can all react at a moment’s notice.”
“This will be fine, thanks,” said Harry.
“We weren’t too sure if your visitor could get in, so we left the window just in case.”
“Good point,” agreed Harry. “Perhaps we should leave it open.”
Moody pointed his wand at the window and the lower sash slid upwards at once.
“Anything else?” he asked.
“No, I don’t think so. We won’t try anything until the sun has completely set, though.”
“That’s only about five minutes away, actually,” said Moody before he disapparated with a crack!
“You okay?” Harry asked Hermione for perhaps the hundredth time that afternoon.
Hermione smiled at him and nodded. As annoying as Harry had been that day, she knew he was only concerned for her.
Harry removed the piece of parchment that Fudge had given him from his pocket and unfolded it. This was the first time he had actually seen the name.
“Together?” he asked.
“Yes,” said Hermione, coming closer to read the neat manuscript.
“On three,” said Harry. “One. Two. Three.”
“Sapien!” they said in unison.
Almost instantly the air grew cold and the lanterns went out. The lace curtains began to billow in the moon light.
Then a shadow passed in front of the window and then came inside.
The Dementor had arrived.
Pausing to apparently take in the room, he glided over to Harry and Hermione.
“Ah,” said Sapien appreciatively in a deep, breathy voice. “Thank you, my dear,” he added with a slight bow of his hooded head.
“You can hear him?” asked Harry.
“Yes,” said Hermione.
Harry nodded and said, “Thank you for coming. Fudge said you suggested we might want to talk to you. How did you know?”
“We rather assumed it would be the case. You see, Voldemort summoned us to him. I knew from the moment he admitted us into his presence what he had done.”
“What had he done?” asked Harry carefully.
“He has split is soul into several parts.”
Harry nodded and said, “Yes. We think there are six parts that he cut away and stored in objects known as Horcruxes.”
“As many as six?”
“We fear so, yes,” agreed Harry. “Two have been destroyed and we know what one of the Horcuxes is, except we don’t know where it is yet.”
“Why did he summon you?” asked Hermione.
“He summoned all the Dementor families from all over the world. It was the first time in Centuries that we had gathered together. Even so, old rivalries surfaced again. Some of our brothers have never forgiven us for aligning ourselves with the Ministry of Magic.
“Voldemort had us gathered together so that he could address us. As expected, he promised to allow us free reign over our old hunting grounds.”
“Where did you meet?” asked Hermione. “It must have been a large gathering if all the Dementors in the world were together.”
“Actually, I was shocked to discover that so few of us had survived. It was a rather small gathering.”
“Are all the families loyal to Voldemort now?” asked Harry.
“That’s an interesting question. Before Voldemort actually made his appearance, we were probably unanimous in our support. We were united against our oppressors.”
“What about after his appearance?”
“Well, our younger brothers could sense that something wasn’t quite right with the Dark Lord, only they didn’t know what it was. We older family members could see what he had done to himself. Fortunately, neither he nor his human supporters understood our reaction and took our abhorrence for delight.”
Harry frowned, hardly daring to believe what he was hearing.
“We decided it would be prudent to go along with his plans for the present. Our numbers were dangerously low and we needed to do something about that.”
“What about the attacks that have been reported?”
“Not one witch or wizard has been given the Kiss since Voldemort sent us out. It is true that we have fed upon the general Muggle population, but that was out of necessity. The alternative was starvation.”
Harry looked at Hermione who was frowning slightly.
“There weren’t that many newspaper reports, actually,” she said. “I suppose they could have been mistaken. There certainly haven’t been any Kisses reported recently.”
“Oh, we did scare a few people away from our gathering places,” admitted Sapien.
“So, none of you are really loyal to Voldemort?”
“We are of one mind.”
This time the echoing was strong. It was as if dozens had spoken at once.
“So, if you ordered it, no Dementor would attack us or our friends?”
“No. I cannot assure you of that. Some of our younger brothers are not yet wise enough to conquer their instincts.”
“Is that why I was attacked?”
Harry sighed deeply.
“Alright. The most important thing is to defeat Voldemort. Dumbledore left me the task of destroying the remaining Horcruxes to make Voldemort mortal and vulnerable again. The problem is I have no idea how to destroy the Horcrux. I had the idea that the piece of soul might be sucked out in the same way you perform the Kiss.”
“That is very perceptive. I have never felt the presence of a soul in anything but a living organism before.”
“Oh,” said Harry.
“However, there is no reason why it cannot be done. We imagine the Dementor would die almost immediately.”
“Such a tainted soul would be poison, even in a diluted form.”
“Did I imagine it when I saw part of Sirius’ soul being sucked out?” asked Harry.
“No, that can indeed sometimes be felt. We have never heard of a Wizard having sight of that though. Perhaps we were correct about you after all.”
“So, how about if the piece of soul was removed but not actually ingested?”
Sapien considered for a moment.
“When the Kiss is abandoned, the soul returns to the source. How does that help you?”
“The source!” exclaimed Hermione. “Wouldn’t it head back to Voldemort rather than back into the Horcrux?”
“Well, true,” agreed Sapien. “However, are you sure that you want to face a Voldemort with more than one-seventh of his soul?”
“He’ll be mortal,” said Harry. “That’s better than the alternative.”
“Presumably Dumbledore didn’t think this approach would work, though,” said Hermione. “He was clever enough to consider this too, only as far as we know he didn’t try it.”
“Dumbledore disliked us intently,” said Sapien.
“We heard,” said Harry dryly. “Fudge told us about the trial.”
“Ah, yes. That event had several consequences. Perhaps the worst was how it finally drove any remaining sympathy away from Dumbledore. I very much regretted those events.”
“You attacked your accuser after the trial?”
“It hardly matters now. Dumbledore was furious, but not because he had been personally embarrassed. Fudge does not know what really happened, of course. Our accuser was a man who we later learned had lost both his brother and his son to the kiss. He just wanted revenge and unfortunately for him the trial went against him.
“He decided to launch a more direct offensive against us and was caught trying to break into the guard house on Azkaban island. He managed to kill several of our brothers before he was taken prisoner.”
“Why didn’t you send him to trial? The Wizengamot had been fair to you before, hadn’t it?”
“Dumbledore had been fair to us. He over-ruled the Wizengamot, but he was losing his credibility. Besides, the prisoner was dead before anyone off the island knew anything.”
“He was dying from his injuries. We can tell these things. Unfortunately, a younger brother gave in to temptation and performed the kiss a moment before he died. We were in the wrong, I know. It must have seemed to Dumbledore that we were indeed mindless animals.”
“He was the most forgiving person I’ve ever met,” said Harry.
“He could not forgive the other matter. You see, the Ministry saw their chance and offered us a deal in order to avoid another trial which we had no chance of winning. Under the terms of that agreement, we agreed to perform a certain service for the Minister, as well as continue our duties as Azkaban Guards.”
“What was it?”
“We agreed to terminate a number of people who were becoming inconvenient to the Ministry.”
“No,” breathed Harry. “No way.”
“We felt we had no choice. The Ministry were threatening to eliminate us entirely. They had become rather good at killing Dementors, actually.”
“When did Dumbledore learn this?”
“That would be when he interfered with a termination. I did not go myself, but our brothers had been guided to the location. There one kiss was performed on an adult as requested. We only found out afterwards that the victim was not the intended one. Somehow, Dumbledore had contrived to substitute the victim for the then Minister. This was all several years ago.”
Harry smiled coldly.
“How did you know it was Dumbledore?” asked Hermione.
“He did us the honour of paying me a visit shortly after the inconclusive Ministry inquiry. He left no room for doubt.”
“Alright, can you help us?” said Harry. “Can you teach us to perform the equivalent of a kiss on a Horcrux?”
“We will help you, but you must understand how dangerous this is. We speculate that Dumbledore would have thought of this solution, but dismissed it as too abhorrent. We Dementors place ourselves at mortal risk when we perform this kiss.”
“I’ll take that chance,” said Harry. “We’ve no other ideas right now.”
“It won’t be just your risk, Harry Potter. One human alone could not cope with this; especially one in your condition.”
“Yes. Your scar shows you are marked. That failed curse has not yet run its course.”
“I could die just by performing this kiss?”
“Your soul, Mr Potter, was fractured. The magic that connects you and Voldemort is both a blessing and a curse. I don’t believe you have seen its full effects yet.”
“So, how can we get past this?”
“Me, Harry,” said Hermione. “It has to be me.”
“Indeed,” said Sapien. “I feel your pain, Miss Granger. Regrettably, your agony will serve to protect you both.”
“What?” said Harry in confusion.
“We propose to give each of you half the secret, on the strict understanding that you will never, ever, reveal the missing part to each other.”
“There might be a problem, then,” said Harry. “Hermione, I’m sorry, but earlier I saw something when we were practising. I was concerned about you and wished I knew what it was that was upsetting you, but I promise I didn’t intend to perform Legilimency. I only saw a flash, but it was only the second time it’s ever happened. I’m sorry.”
Hermione gave him a half-smile and nodded.
“I thought as much.”
“What did you feel?” demanded Sapien. “Did you feel her pain?”
“Um, no,” said Harry. “I mean, I did feel, but that was just my own concern I think.”
“Then there should not be too great a risk.”
“But, when I learn what it is, might I not imagine the same pain?”
“No,” said Hermione. “You couldn’t imagine it.”
A pang hit Harry as she said these words and he held out his hand to her. Sapien glided back and seemed to react to Harry’s thoughts.
“You know, we believe he could indeed feel it,” he said, recovering and gliding back. “Voldemort really has no idea what powers are assembling against him.”
Harry frowned. Sapien sounded almost amused.
“We suggest that Miss Granger should be shown first. She will draw out the soul and you, Mr Potter, will destroy it. We will teach you tomorrow night, and at midnight we’ll kill your first soul.”
“I’m not leaving Hermione alone,” said Harry at once.
“I’ll be okay, Harry,” said Hermione. “You can wait in the front room.”
“No, he must not risk hearing or, more likely, feeling. Harry Potter, you must leave this house. We will not harm Miss Granger.”
“Alright,” said Harry. “There’s just one thing I’d like to get straight.”
“Indeed?” said Sapien.
“Yes. What do you want? What do you want in exchange for your help?”
“You have nothing to give. We mean, you will give all you can when the time comes. We cannot ask any more.”
“You want nothing?”
“Well, if you insist. Provided the Dementor brotherhood acts honourably, will you argue publicly that we should be allowed to live in these islands, free of Ministry control? We assume you will wait until after the Voldemort crisis is over.”
“If you act honourably, I will,” promised Harry. “You have my word.”
Sapien bowed to him.
Ron the Spy
“Just so I know, are we continuing with the no magic policy? I only ask because you appear to have forgotten.”
Harry has promised to free the Dementors provided the brotherhood acts honourably once Voldemort is defeated. Hermione appears finally to be ready to tell Harry what happened, but Ron is discovered spying on the house.
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