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Chapter 29 : Ways and Means
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4

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Sybill Trelawney adjusted her large spectacles and blinked. She thought for a moment that she recognised someone familiar, although she couldn’t put her finger on who this person was. Dismissing this unexpected presence, she continued to kneel down by a great mountain of long forgotten objects. However, a few seconds later, a loud bang startled her.

Harry hadn’t noticed her at all when, after trying out several spells unsuccessfully, he had kicked the entrance door of the room with all his might.

“Who is there?” a misty and almost phantasmal voice commanded.

“Professor?” Harry called out slightly alarmed, walking briskly towards her but trying to avoid knocking anything down. So, that must have been it; he must have entered the Room of Requirement when his former Divination teacher was already in there. Maybe that explained why the door didn’t open. Perhaps, if he could get her to want to come out, everything would be alright.

“I know you from somewhere, do I not?” Sybill Trelawney muttered in a tone that could be interpreted as either dreamy or slurry.

“Professor, it’s me, Harry. Look, you got to help me get out of here!” he told her impatiently.

She walked towards the figure that now resembled Mrs. Weasley rather slowly, as if afraid of her balance not being what it should. She leaned forward, getting very close to the other woman’s face, thus giving the impression that she had serious trouble with her sight.

Harry felt slightly uncomfortable with such close proximity and took a couple of steps backwards without thinking. “Sorry, Professor, I know I look like Mrs. Weasley,” he started in an anxious tone of voice, “but I’m Harry, Harry Potter. I’ve taken Polyjuice. It’s a long story.”

Sybill didn’t seem to take in her former pupil’s comment and eyed the red-haired witch from top to bottom, squinting in a way that indicated that she didn’t trust either her inner eye or her outer ones.

“I can help you look for your bottles,” he volunteered second-guessing Trelawney’s intentions, eager for her get to find what she wanted so that they could both get out. He knew that she had been known to hide sherry in that room and, as she now appeared to be looking for something, he deduced that her aim must have been retrieving it.

“Bottles? What bottles? How dare you think that I!” she protested blushing.

“Professor, it’s just me, Harry. I won’t tell anyone,” he said, trying to reassure her.

“Well, I must say,” she stated, steering the conversation in a different direction, “you have changed a great deal over the summer. Didn’t you use to have dark hair?”

“Yes, Professor, and I happen to normally look like a boy!” he replied chuckling.

“But of course, my dear, all this tragedies were bound to put some years on you. We missed you in Divination, you know,” she continued, “you, of all of people should pay attention to my subject, I have always said that. It was I, after all, who foretold the Headmaster’s sudden death. The Lighting Struck Tower, I could see it so vividly…” she commented, looking as if about to go into a trance, although Harry thought that a most likely explanation was that she had drank quite a bit of sherry already.

Harry was not in the mood for her ramblings, nor for being reminded about Dumbledore’s death. Furthermore, he was dying to take a peak at the book to see whether the instructions for the Wolfsbane potion were indeed there, but was wary of doing so in her presence. The sooner they found the bottles, the sooner he could be out!

“Professor, over here!” Harry called excitedly after searching everywhere for some ten minutes. “Look!”

Sybill blushed again. She wasn’t particularly keen on sharing her very ill-kept secret with one of the students, but grabbed the bottles avidly all the same.

Harry sighed. He almost asked her if she needed to get anything else, but fearing further delays, he thought better of it. “Ok, that’s it then, Professor, shall we try the door now?”

“My dear, let’s talk first. It’s kind of you to pop back to see me. After all, you must be in great need of consulting a Seer.”

“Thanks, Professor, but not now. I, umm… I just need to get going, really. Another time perhaps,” he added, trying to be polite.

“You’re always in such hurry, but you cannot make your destiny come to you any sooner that it’s meant to,” she told him with a vacant expression, “and it is for a reason that I did find you here…” she added, looking as she was racking her brains for the said reason.

“Professor Trelawney, I thought you wanted to go and sample this sherry,” Harry said hoping to put an end to her procrastinations.

“Would you join me, Harry?” she invited, throwing one of her many beaded shawls casually over her shoulder.

“Ok, then, but just one tiny glass,” he conceded, realising that once they were out of that room, it would be much easier for him to excuse himself and be on his way.

Sybill then motioned towards the door. She tried to push it forward but, again, nothing happened. They both tried various spells, to absolute no avail.

The Divination teacher started to mutter between breaths that the horse, as she called Firenze the centaur, was to blame.

Harry’s heart was beating very fast. He wondered… Was it really a coincidence that the person who had made the prophecy and he: one of its two subjects, were stuck in that supposedly secret room without a hope in hell of getting out? Had someone trapped them? Was this Voldemort’s doing? And, if so, how had he found out that he was there? But of course, Draco! Who else? He had trusted Malfoy, protected him even. He had been as naïve as his parents, in fact, more so! Why did he not think that he would seek to redeem himself in Voldemort’s eyes by handing over the person he most wanted to capture: himself.

A little while prior, a tawny coloured owl had landed on the wooden garden table Malfoy and Father McKenna were sitting at. As these birds weren’t known in the Muggle world for flying in bright day light, it attracted a great deal of attention from many of the pub’s patrons, and attention was the last thing Draco wanted or needed.

The teenager didn’t recognise this particular specimen and wondered who on Earth had sent him a message. Given that he had no contact at all with what he once knew as his world except for the Order and Snape, and that he hadn’t heard from the latter since his mother’s funeral, he thought this was strange. A sudden sense of dread took over him. Was it possible for the Death Eaters to find him by sending him an owl? Was the bird able to give away his whereabouts?

Father McKenna observed the owl with curiosity but simply waited to see what Draco would do next. With a certain degree of trepidation, Malfoy took the message attached to its leg and read it in silence. “Harry seems to be in trouble, Father,” he announced as he finished reading.

The priest gave him a concerned look but waited for the boy to further explain.

What was he supposed to do now? Also, why had Potter told his girlfriend to contact him, of all people? Why could he not seek help from his friends in the Order? Unless of course, he didn’t want them to know what he was up to. How he’d got trapped in the Room of Requirement was another mystery. In fact, if this was really the case, it meant that both the exit of the room and the Vanishing Cabinet were blocked. He could sneak into Borges & Burke’s under the Cloak and try to ascertain what the situation was, but doing this would put him at risk. Also valuable time could be wasted that way. He needed to get help, but from whom?

He reflected for a moment. He just remembered that Hermione Granger’s mobile number was stored on the phone that Harry had lent him. In a way, it should be up to Potter’s friends to get him out of that mess; a mess which incidentally had nothing to do with him. Yet again, Harry and his side were protecting him. His days as a Death Eater were over. The Order was his only hope in these troubled times and the Order didn’t trust him. Perhaps this was an opportunity to prove himself to them. But what could he really do?

Before the end of last term, he would have rather died than ask the Mudblood for assistance, but it wasn’t as if he was asking for help for himself. Doing this on Potter’s behalf seemed to him a little less demeaning than doing so on his own account.

Father Sean realised that Draco was wearing a deep-in-thought expression and asked: “Where did Harry go? What’s the problem?”

“Well, he’s got back to our school. He said he needed to retrieve something from there. The school has been closed since the Headmaster died and it seems that he cannot get out, that he’s trapped.”

“Is that message from him?” the priest enquired scowling.

“It’s from Ginny, his girlfriend. For what she says, they have some kind of telepathic connection.”

The concept of telepathy sounded less alien to McKenna than, for instance, the existence of goblins. Even some people in his world believed that was possible. Oddly enough, the priest appeared less surprised by Harry’s ability to communicate in that way than Draco himself, who never ceased to be bemused by Potter’s special talents.

“Well, can you help him?” Father Sean asked anxiously.

“I don’t know. Something strange seems to have happened and I’ve no idea how. Harry takes too many risks considering that the Dark Lord is out for his blood. He has this saviour complex and then it’s the rest of the world who have to get him out of tight corners all the time,” he complained.

McKenna pursed his lips and said almost authoritatively: “Surely, you don’t want anything to happen to him?”

“No, of course, not,” Draco replied almost affronted, “but I haven’t the faintest idea about how to get him out. I can only communicate in two ways, with the owl and with the phone. Once I send the bird back, that’s it; I can’t send it out again. I could contact an old teacher of mine with it. He may know something I don’t, but then Ginny, Harry’s girlfriend, won’t know that I’m trying to help; she may panic and do something stupid. Now, I have one of Harry’s friends’ number on his mobile. She may be able to at least contact Ginny to tell her that I’m trying to sort this out. I think I’ll just do that,” he concluded.

Draco pulled the phone out of his pocket and looked at it still a little mesmerised.

“Harry’s friend’s number is likely to be saved in his phonebook. Can I take a look?” the priest offered, realising that the boy seemed to be struggling with the buttons.

Malfoy let him have the phone but looked over his shoulder, curious to see what other contacts Harry had stored.

“Has he not added his girlfriend’s number?” McKenna wondered aloud with a tinge of surprise.

“People in our world don’t use telephones. Hermione Granger has one because she’s a Muggle-born and Harry, well, his aunt and uncle are Muggles, you see. It was Granger I was thinking of contacting, in fact.”

The phone started to ring in the Grangers’ living room. Hermione picked it up at once.

“Hi Harry,” she answered, noting the caller’s name on the screen.

Malfoy went quiet for a split second, “Granger, it’s me Draco.”

“Draco?” she repeated, surprised.

“I… I just got an owl from Ginny Weasley. She reckons that Potter is stuck in the Room of Requirement,” he said, as he started relating to her what he knew.

Hermione now sat on the sofa and listened attentively. Of course, Harry was convinced that the Wolfsbane potion was written in the Half-Blood-Prince book and had been for some time intent on retrieving it. Now, how did Ginny know that he was trapped? Of course, she realised, because of the bracelet that had been enchanted at her own suggestion.

She thought that some members of the Order might have known a way out. Remus probably, since he had been a Marauder, but she was aware that Harry wouldn’t want him to know that he had gone to so much trouble to help him. Moody perhaps, but then again, he could be a little over the top. A full-blown Order operation would be difficult to keep secret and secrecy was important, given the state of their world and the Ministry’s allegiances.

“Ok, what do you propose we do?” she finally asked.

“I was going to ask you the same question,” Draco replied a little arrogantly. “After all, you are the one who always got top marks on everything.”

“Look, I don’t think this is the time to be impertinent. Something has just come to my mind though, but I need you to be absolutely truthful with me, Malfoy,” she told him imperatively.

“Truthful about what?”

“Ok, I know that you were being protected by Professor Snape before you came to us. What side do you honestly reckon he is on?”

“Snape?” that question, coming from Hermione, startled Draco; yet contacting him had been in fact his first thought. “Well, my impression is that whatever game he was playing, his loyalties are now with your side. I saw him just after the Dark Lord killed my mother and that’s definitely my gut feeling,” he told her wishing to make the message clear but not wanting to go into too many details.

“Yes, I thought that too from how he acted when Harry’s aunt was kidnapped. Yet, he killed Dumbledore, you were there!”

“I believe he had no choice. He made the Unbreakable Vow to my mother to protect me, to finish the task for me if needed be,” he confessed. It felt really weird to him to speak of such personal matters with someone he had loathed from day one but, at the end of the day, he now needed these people and he had to collaborate.

“Well, if you hadn’t disarmed Dumbledore, he might have been able to defend himself,” Hermione noted sourly, “but anyway, it’s too late for that now.”

“I never thought about it at the time, but it is possible that Dumbledore might have been dying anyway. I’m pretty sure that he could have stopped either of us by wandless magic if he so had wished.”

“I really would like to talk more about it with you but, look, we haven’t the time now,” she replied with urgency. “Do you still have the owl, I mean the physical bird from Ginny?”

“Yes,” he answered succinctly. “Ok, you owl Ginny to tell her that we are acting on this and I owl Snape to see what he suggests. But, whatever you do, don’t tell the Weasleys  that we are trying to enlist his help, or else, they will freak out. I’ll keep you informed.”

With that agreed, their conversation ended.

Now, this was the second time that day that Father Sean had heard the name Snape mentioned, and in the context of a murder no less. Could this person be the man he knew from his Parish? But what really worried him was that, for what he had heard Draco saying, he was seriously considering contacting him.

His expression became rather sombre. “Draco, you’re not thinking of getting involved again with that gang you told me about, surely?”

“I see you’ve been listening,” he snapped, before he could actually see that antagonising one of the few people who were now on his side was not a good idea. “Well, I don’t believe this guy is with that gang anymore. He used to be a spy, by all accounts, but I think he’s seen enough to know whom to help. Besides, he is a very skilled wizard. I’d say he’s worth a try.”

McKenna frowned and prayed that it would all work out safely for all concerned but continued to question the teenager about this Snape character. Draco was by now really restless and kept on tapping his fingers on the table, but he did give the priest his sincere opinion nonetheless.

Severus Snape was trying to relax in his rented London Muggle apartment. The place was small but just about adequate. It was all he could afford given that he was living, for the most part, off the savings he had made whilst working at Hogwarts. He had prudently placed some money in a Muggle account, as he had always known that he was likely to have to seek refuge outside the wizarding world sooner or later.

It was easy enough for him to pass as a Muggle since his own father had not been a wizard. Now, he wanted to know more about that world, especially about what he called Muggle magic. To this end, he had joined a local church, the Catholic one where he had once placed Draco. He had got to know the priest in charge a little. He seemed like a decent person, a little rough perhaps, and no academic theologian, but decent nonetheless.

When they had first met and was casually asked what his occupation was, he had replied that he had been a teacher in Scotland, but that he had wished to move back to England.

He had, however, decided that it was probably a good idea for him to find some kind of employment, partly so that his lifestyle appeared to be a completely normal one. Becoming a Muggle teacher wasn’t really an option since their curriculum was too far removed from anything covered by the Hogwarts’ syllabus. Then one day, he got past a second-hand bookstore in Tottenham Court Road that had a sign on the window advertising for staff. The place appeared relatively quiet and he figured out that he would have ample opportunity to read, to find out more about various topics.

One problem was, however, that he often felt attracted to works that did everything but lift his spirits. One day, for instance, he came across Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. He was certainly not into what he considered sappy literature but the theme of this book intrigued him: love from beyond the grave. It made him think of Lily, of Cissa…. once more. Why could he just not be dead … with them? But then he understood that he still had a part to play, somehow.

He had never had a desire for a television. His pleasures consisted of relatively good wine, a book and the odd vinyl record. On this occasion he was reading Catullus in the vernacular, savouring every word, almost salivating at the sheer despair in the young Roman poet. The author’s muse, Lesbia, was said to have been inspired by a patrician woman, Clodia, who had given him her favours and then broken their affair.

Unfortunately, he himself had never even got as far as being lovers with the subjects of his affections.

He went up and played yet another record: The Damnation of Faustus by Berlioz seemed like a good one.

Then, out of the blue, he heard a rapping noise coming from one of the bay windows. He dropped the book he was reading and placed it with vexation on the small coffee table next to him. He raised his dark eyebrows and let his sharp eyes undertake the investigative work.

An owl, he muttered in surprise, frowning. He got up from the sofa and took out his wand.

“Exhibeo Scriptorem!” he pronounced in a clear but unemotional voice, holding the message attached to the bird’s leg. No amount of precaution was excessive given his current circumstances.

The name Draco Malfoy formed on the yet unopened parchment. He sighed. What kind of trouble had the idiotic boy got himself into this time? he wondered.

From what he could gather, the situation, albeit somewhat ironic, even comical, had the potential of becoming problematic. Merlin only knew that he had had enough trouble in the past trying to keep both these boys, separately, from harm. So, they were now co-operating! He could not truly think of a worse possible combination: Malfoy’s ineptitude and Potter’s delusions of invincibility.

He smiled as he read on, the Room of Requirement indeed. He had known it would not be long before Potter returned there.

Having given some water to the owl, he put quill to parchment and wrote:

"The answer is simple. I’m astonished that neither yourself, nor the girl you have spoken with, had worked this out for yourselves. You will need to get a house-elf for him to side-Apparate with. That should suffice. It seems that the arrangements that were made for you are working out. I am glad. Try to involve as few people as possible; no-one needs the publicity."

He was careful not to mention any names and to leave the missive unsigned. The owl was now back on its way to the Charring Cross public house.

In view of the fact that it looked as if they may be there for a while, Professor Trelawney had found an old silver goblet and had started on the sherry. Harry had joined her for a small shot out of politeness but had refused any more drinks, as he understood the importance of remaining compos mentis. In a way, he was half hoping that the sherry made her a bit lethargic, so that he could take a good look at the book without her noticing. Instead, she carried on whining about Firenze and the unfairness of it all, putting Harry’s sanity to the test.

He could not stop thinking about who might have sealed the room and why? He now sat on the floor cross-legged, with the Potions book in his lap and his back against the wall, at a loss as to what to do next. At least he had remembered to put into Molly’s robes’ pocket the enchanted cufflinks that he had purchased at the time of Ginny’s birthday. Hoping for some source of comfort, he held these in his right hand. They felt positive and warm. Ginny must have been thinking about him too. The connection between their respective pieces of jewellery didn’t enable them to transmit complete messages, but did allow them to feel each other's emotions. He sensed that she was now more relaxed than when he had earlier reached out to her. This could only mean that something was being done.

His spirits became a little more uplifted. Perhaps he had been wrong about Malfoy; maybe he had not betrayed him after all. Harry conceded that his theory about someone having become suspect at Borges & Burkes was in fact rather likely. Still, this did not account for the door of the actual room refusing to open. Unless the staff at the Knockturn Alley shop had a contact at Hogwarts, it was unlikely that these two facts were connected. In any case, it would have taken longer for an owl to get to the castle than for him to get out of the cabinet, pick up the book and try the door. Maybe it was one of Peeves’ pranks or even something that Filch had done to get one up on the house-elves or even on Sybill.

Harry decided that there was little point in speculating and started looking for annotations in the book.

Meanwhile, several things were happening at once.

Draco had received the owl back from Snape and was internally debating which elf to use. There were several at Malfoy Manor that would surely do his bidding. However, his family home was to be the very last resort, since it was distinctively possible that Voldemort had placed a trap there. A second possibility was Dobby, the elf that had belonged to his family for years and whom, ironically, Potter had freed from under his father’s nose. There was also Kreacher, of course. Maybe the Weasley girl or one of Harry’s friends could get him to obey, since Harry was now its master.

He rang Granger’s number once more.

“Malfoy, is that you again?” Hermione answered anxiously.

“I’ve now had an owl back. We need to get a house-elf to Apparate in and out with Potter,” he told her, scarcely pausing for breath.

“A house-elf,” she muttered to herself. A house-elf indeed! How could neither of them have thought about it before? Had she become stupid all of a sudden! She could now kick herself for all the time they’d wasted but was too embarrassed to let Malfoy know this and changed the subject.

“Draco, all these owls… I mean, you are in Muggle London, I take it? I hope you are not in a public place,” she said sounding as if she was about to tell him off.

“Well, yes,” he told her raising an eyebrow, beginning to tire of the girl’s unnecessary digressions, “Anyway, never mind that now. Where is Ginny? Can she get that Kreacher creature to go and get him?”

Hermione nearly reprimanded him from calling Kreacher that creature but that was certainly not the right moment for it. “Ginny… umm… I told her to stay put, that you were trying to do something but she wanted to know more and seemed of the mind of getting herself to Hogsmeade.” Hermione stopped talking for a second, “Now, Kreacher? Bear with me.”

She could hear him sighing at the other end of the phone. “Don’t hang up, Draco, alright?  I’m thinking!” she told him irritated. “Okay, we may as well try it,” she conceded. “Now, you better come with me to Grimmauld Place as well. You may actually have more luck with him than me or the Weasleys. He is rather fond of pure bloods and you are a Black after all,” she reasoned.

Malfoy’s reply sounded to her a bit discomfited but at least he agreed.

Draco said his good-byes to McKenna, explaining that he had to go and help but promised him to give him a ring as soon as Harry was back safely.

Ginny had sensed at one point Harry’s doubts about the wisdom of engaging Malfoy’s help and had decided that the time had come for her to take action. Thus, she got herself back to Headquarters as quickly as she could. She had to ensure that the inhabitants of Headquarters and, her mother in particular, knew that she was back, before she sneaked out again mounting her new broomstick. She had enchanted it with a particularly advanced charm designed to make it fast beyond belief. This charm, of course, was forbidden in Quidditch but she had found it a while back written in one of the twins’ old school books.

Despite this, but the time she spotted the village of Hogsmeade on the horizon, it was twilight. She had been flying for the best part of two hours and was now positively exhausted. She hadn’t known at first, exactly, what was making her go there. All she had felt was the need to get nearer to Harry. She hadn’t been able to catch up with Ron before the Order was assembled, so she had had to operate alone.

By the time she had taken off high above the clouds, the solution had come to her. Of course, house-elves were able to Apparate in an out of Hogwarts and they all seem to be familiar with the Room of Requirement. Dobby, surely, would be able to help but now, the difficulty would be getting into the castle. Her plan for the moment was to stop at The Three Broomsticks in the hope of finding Hagrid there. He was a teacher and he should be able to let her in.

Ginny had heard that Madam Rosmerta had left the country. She had been placed under the Imperius Curse during the previous academic year and, apparently, the Ministry, prior to Dolores’ appointment, had made provision for her to go into hiding and try to recover from her experience. Her replacement was a stocky blond man in his late thirties who turned out to be Hannah Abbott’s father. Ginny was slightly surprised by the fact that he had taken up such a public job since, she recalled, his wife – who had been a Muggle-born – had been killed by Death Eaters not so long ago.

Mr Abbott introduced himself asking her to call him Alan.

“You’re one of Arthur’s kids, aren’t you?” he asked casually.

Ginny nodded. His expression indicated that he was somewhat surprised to see her there, so far away from home, late in the day and on her own but decided not to ask why. He had heard rumours of her relationship with Harry Potter and he guessed that he probably had something to do with it. He tried to put her at ease by saying that he supported their cause and that that was the very reason why he had taken up the job.

“You get to hear quite a few conversations as a pub landlord,” he explained. “I couldn’t just sit at home and do nothing, after what the bastards did to my wife!”

“We were very sorry to hear, Mr…, umm… Alan, and are very grateful for your efforts,” Ginny replied sympathetically.

He appeared approachable enough and Ginny asked him if he had seen Hagrid or any of the other teachers that day at all. Mr Abbott related that Hagrid was there most evenings but that he hadn’t seen him at all that day and added that, perhaps, he was doing some work in the Forbidden Forest. None of the few other remaining Hogwart’s staff had visited the tavern either. All she could do for the moment was wait there in the hope that Hagrid would show up. The prospect of combing the Forest for him almost in the dark was too much of a daunting one and something she would only do if there were no other option.

Hermione and Malfoy met, at Hermione’s instigation, just outside of Charring Cross tube station and entered a deserted alleyway in order to Apparate back to Grimmauld Place.

All the Order members were still in the meeting and nobody noticed their return. Both teenagers tried to find Ginny, but she appeared to have left. Hermione started to get worried but she knew that, before they could even attempt to get themselves to Hogsmeade looking for her, they had to speak to Kreacher.

The found him, as they expected, curled up in his cupboard clutching in his hands old memorabilia and muttering aloud. Hermione spoke to him first, in a really soft voice.

“The Mudb…” he protested, unable to finish the word as Harry had expressly forbidden him from uttering such insults, “the filthy… is not Kreacher’s master. Go away!” the elf protested looking as if spitting venom.

Draco now intervened. “Kreacher, “ he said in a commanding manner, “I am a true descendent and rightful heir of your Mistress Walburga. I’m Narcissa Black’s son. Would you do as I tell you?”

Malfoy and Hermione looked at each other expectantly. The house-elf started vowing at Draco ceremoniously in recognition of his blood credentials but, almost with tears in his eyes, told them that his now master had forbidden him from speaking to Draco.

“Potter is just a bloody genius, isn’t he? Malfoy yelled whilst kicking with his right foot the door of Kreacher’s cupboard.

Hermione took her gaze down. Yes, it would appear that Harry’s precautions were now backfiring.

Draco now looked incensed but determined. “Alright, I guess I’ll have to go to the Manor. There are several elves there that will obey my commands.”

Hermione frowned extremely concerned. “No, you can’t do that. You don’t know who controls the place now. After all, your father is in… well… and Voldemort is after you. Listen to reason!” she tried to plead with him. She was in awe, however, to see that this stuck-up Slytherin boy who had hated Harry throughout his school days was now prepared to risk his own safety to help him. “In that case I’ll come with you,” she added with great intent. “You can’t go on your own. There could very well be traps.”

“Granger, do you want me to help Potter or do you not?” he challenged, “and please don’t be so stupid. You’re a Muggle-born. If the Death Eaters are controlling the Manor, you won’t stand a chance.”

She was about to argue that neither would he but he pointed out that he had lived there all his life, he knew the mansion well and, if there were any servants left, they were likely to be loyal to him.

Hermione’s respect for him was now positively growing. She gave him an encouraging smile and warned him to be careful.

Harry, now back to his normal self, was pacing up and down the Room of Requirement trying to really ignore Trelawney’s rants. He didn’t seem able to think particularly straight so, in a feeble attempt to make himself relax, he tried find a hiding place where he could really read the book properly. So far he had found no mention to the Wolfsbane potion. However, whilst shuffling through the pages, he found something written in what he immediately recognised as Snape’s handwriting. He was absolutely certain that that inscription had not been there before. He had looked at the book enough times in his last year at Hogwarts. It read: “Two are dealt with, one the seeker was after, three had been replaced. The Seeker holds  the key to the error, in a clue from a long time ago, an error which may lead to success. In the far right corner, some answers might be found."

Harry look at this cryptic message in absolute astonishment. This had been written by Snape, or in Snape’s writing after he had abandoned the book there a few months back. Someone knew that he would go back for the book. Someone knew him well enough to know that he would return. Now, the far right corner?  Did it refer to the book or to the room?

He peaked behind his shoulder to ensure that the Divination teacher wasn’t following him. He got to the very end. All he could find there was an old, tattered bookcase. If he was meant to go through every book for clues, that was going to be no small task! Then, he realised, there was something behind it: an old mirror. He moved the bookcase forward and stood in front of it. This object, unlike the Mirror or Erised only gave him his true reflection. Why had an ordinary mirror been hidden in there, though? Instinctively, he tapped it with his wand, and there he was, once again, in front of the Mirror of Erised. Its appearance had obviously been concealed.

He looked into it with all his might, trying as hard as he could to drive thoughts of his parents and various other love ones away, including those of Ginny. He had to concentrate on the Horcruxes. That was his task, his mission.

He saw himself clearly holding an ancient quill whose end clearly bore the colours of Ravenclaw, gold and azure.

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