After a lengthy discussion going over exactly what I was looking for in a yacht and extra options Roy informed me about, we came to an agreement on what I would pay Roy for his services. He didn’t want to charge me, claiming that he would have too much fun since yachts were his passion, but I insisted that business was business and decided to pay him his going rate as a lawyer. I also included a bonus if he can find one with all the options I had decided on.
He was very excited to get to shop for a luxury yacht, especially one in the size I was looking for, and including all the options and upgrades I picked out. It was going to cost a good bit but it was something I knew I would enjoy. Roy said he would also set me up an account at the yacht club and secure a spot for my yacht after I bought it. With Roy handling all the details, I was sure to be a proud owner in no time.
Roy had taught me how to dock properly, how to read all the instruments, and I learned as much as I could from him so I would be ready when I had my own. We stopped a few times at different ports for fuel and supplies, plus some of the passengers wanted to shop a bit. This gave me some needed practice. By the time we were near the end of the two weeks, I was the main skipper and Roy left me to it for the most part.
I decided that I would research as much magic as I could find about enhancing my yacht once I purchased it. I remembered the old ship Durmstrang came in for the Triwizard Tournament. I figured if they were able to get a lot of speed, even under water, in that old thing then a new yacht with all the perks should be a piece of cake.
Of course, the new technology it would come with would have to be considered so my magic doesn’t interfere with any of the electronics. With my growing knowledge of runes and wards though, I had a feeling I could make it work. There should also be a book or two on the subject so I could study up on it. Perhaps I should start looking for that information right away. I was at the helm all alone again when I decided to get some help.
“How can Dobby help Harry Potter sir?” He looked around and swayed a bit. “We is on a boat?”
“Yes, Dobby we’re still yachting around but we’ll be coming into dock pretty soon. I need a favor.”
“Anything, Harry Potter sir.”
“Dobby, I’m going to buy a yacht like this only much bigger and a little fancier. I need you to find a few good books for me on how to enhance something like that with magic. I know it can be done so I just need to learn how while Roy is searching for the perfect yacht for me. Do you think you could do that?”
“Oh yes, Harry Potter sir. Dobby will be happy to do that.”
“If you have to buy any of the books, go ahead. Just make sure they cover the topic really well and show what spells are needed. I already know how to expand the inside but there must be a lot more that can be done with magic on a yacht, such as speed it up, turn it invisible, that sort of thing. When we get it all done and it’s ready I want you, Winky, Gwen, and I to go on a trip together. Of course, it may be next summer before we can go, but that’s what I would like.”
“Dobby is looking forward to it. Is there anything else Dobby can do for Harry Potter sir and his friends?”
“No, that’s it other than don’t let anyone know that I’m buying a yacht. I’d like to keep that secret.”
“We have everything handled on the yacht but we’ll need some good food when I get us all back home. Do you think you and Winky could provide a good hearty meal for everyone?”
“We would be delighted to serve, Harry Potter sir.”
“Thanks, Dobby. Just take the books to the house and I’ll look at them when I get home.
“Yes sir, Harry Potter sir. Dobby and Winky will be happy to have Harry Potter sir and his missus home with us again. Bye, Harry Potter sir.”
Everyone had a good time on the water but now there was only a couple or so weeks left of August and then back to school after that. I would be missing Gwen again while we were apart. It made me not want to go back to Hogwarts but she needed to continue her education and so did I. I would just have to work it out so we could spend some weekends together between September and December.
I was going to be looking for Voldemort anyway so I would just have to tell the professors that I’d be leaving on occasion to do that. They can either agree with me or not. Either way I would be going and if we can find out where old Voldie is hiding then I can take the Order and some aurors and see about rounding him up real quick.
Even if he’s acquired more Death Eaters, it will not be that many. Remus reports that all is quiet and they’ve had no word of Tom moving about recruiting anywhere. None of the surrounding countries reported any activity either. However, one young pureblood had disappeared. The parents reported him missing. According to them, he’s eighteen and was a bit delusional about the Dark Lord. They also said that he wasn’t the sharpest of their children and he had given them a lot of trouble over the years, but they still loved him.
On the train to Hogwarts, Malfoy came to visit me alone. His two bookends were suspiciously missing. He wasn’t his normal bullying self either. He actually just wanted to talk to me. I stepped out into the hall with him and cast a Privacy Spell around us so no one would hear our conversation.
He said that the Dark Lord was staying at Malfoy Manor and had pretty much taken it completely over. Malfoy had not been able to go home all summer, he told me. Now that he was seventeen, he could claim all his inheritance but he could not get back into his home as long as the Dark Lord was there.
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Because, Potter, I know you want to find him. I’m telling you where he is.”
“Why should I believe you? Why would I not suspect a trap?”
“Look, I will go with you and whatever army you need to take, so I can get all of you inside the wards. It’s pretty certain he’s all alone now.”
“Wouldn’t he have changed the wards?”
“He can’t. He’s not a Malfoy and only a Malfoy can completely take over the wards. It’s a failsafe built in that even he can’t override. A Malfoy will always be able to get past the wards.”
“Okay, I will talk to my people and we will be in touch.”
“Just make sure you don’t tell anyone what I’m doing, Potter. I’m still not sure who I can trust in Slytherin.”
“No problem. See you around, Malfoy,” I said as I removed the Privacy Spell.
Draco walked off back to where he came from. I decided to take this straight to Dumbledore and Remus so we could plan this out. They may want to verify Malfoy’s intentions as well. I was hoping I could meet with them right after the welcoming feast.
All my friends were curious about my summer activities while we ate but I told them very little. I let them fill me in about what they did instead. I wanted to tell them about Gwen but not until Voldemort was gone. I had to keep her safe. It was best this way. Afterwards, when he was dead and gone, I would even invite them all over for a visit, until then, no.
As it turns out, getting a meeting was easy, especially since I normally met with the Headmaster after every welcoming feast each year anyway. I stared at the Headmaster for a good while during the feast until he caught on that I needed to talk to him. He gave a slight nod to indicate he understood.
Once we were in his office, Dumbledore was able to get Remus over quickly via the floo.
“Hello, Remus. I’m glad you could join us,” said Dumbledore.
“Hello Albus, Harry.”
“So tell us Harry. What’s happened?” asked Dumbledore.
“Malfoy came to me on the train… to talk. He seemed sincere. He told me Voldemort was staying at Malfoy Manor and he could not go home over the summer because of it. Basically, he wants Voldemort out of his house so he can have it back. He offered to get us through the wards and told me that Voldemort would not be able to change them to keep out a Malfoy. I figured you guys could question him if you wanted, plan out a strategy, and then let me know when you want to attack Malfoy Manor.”
“You really think he was telling the truth?” asked Remus.
“We can always use veritaserum on him to verify his intentions,” said Dumbledore.
“And you are alright with the Order planning the attack, Harry?”
“Yes. You don’t need my input for that. You just need me there to kill him. Tell me when and I’ll be ready.”
“Are you sure you can win, Harry? He is much more powerful than his followers,” said Dumbledore.
“I’ll do my best but if he manages to kill me, then the prophecy will have been fulfilled. He’ll then be killable by anyone. I suggest you bring enough people to attack him all at once just in case I don’t make it.”
“I don’t like that kind of talk, but we’ll have plenty of Order members there,” said Remus, “and Amelia will be happy to provide aurors, I’m sure.”
“That should be enough,” I said.
“Is there anything else you need to share with us Harry?” asked Dumbledore.
“Just one last thing, if we are unable to corner him at Malfoy Manor and he escapes, then on occasion I will need to be away from the school. It should always be on a weekend so I won’t miss any class but I won’t always know which weekend very far in advance. I will simply have to let you know as soon as I do.”
“What do you plan on doing?” asked Dumbledore.
“Looking for Voldemort mostly, following leads, things like that. It’s a long shot, but he can’t hide forever. Plus, I train better at my house and I need all of that I can get.”
“And what will you do if I do not grant you permission to leave the castle? Students are not normally allowed, even adult students.”
“I’d go anyway. After all, I’m not a normal student.”
“No, I suppose you’re not, Harry.”
“Will you please let me know if you need any help on these excursions?” asked Remus.
“I will Remus. You don’t have to worry about that, but let’s hope we can trap him at Malfoy Manor.”
“I’ll let you guys work on that while I head to my common room. I’m sure my friends are waiting on me.”
“What are you going to tell them Harry?” asked Dumbledore.
“Nothing, we need to keep this quiet until you have it planned and we can execute. My friends should have nothing to do with this. I would rather they sit it out.”
“I agree Harry,” said Remus. “They are not ready. Have a good evening.”
“Good night Professor. Good night Remus.”
I left them to their scheming and headed back to the Gryffindor common room. As expected, my friends were waiting on me. I had told them I had a meeting with Dumbledore so now they would be curious as to what we discussed.
Hermione, Ron, Neville, and Ginny were all waiting. Hermione stood up and approached me as soon as I entered the room.
“Harry, is everything alright? What did Professor Dumbledore want? What’s going on?” she asked all in a rush.
“Calm down, Hermione. Isn’t it normal by now for me to meet with the Headmaster after every welcoming feast?”
“Yeah, let the man breath Hermione,” added Ron.
“So, what was it about this time, Harry?” asked Ginny.
“He just wanted to know what I did over the summer. He still doesn’t like the fact that I’m living on my own and he doesn’t know where I’m living either. He just doesn’t like not knowing. Of course, he has to admit that if he can’t find me then why would anyone else be able to either?”
“So, you still haven’t told him?” asked Neville.
“Nope, no one gets to know where I live until Voldemort and all his followers are dead. At this point, it looks like Voldemort is the only one left out of the bunch. I promise as soon as he is disposed of I will send you guys an invitation.”
“It sure took a while for you to just say ‘no,’” said Hermione suspiciously.
“Well, he is somewhat persistent and likes to talk for a bit before he actually asks any questions.”
They all pretty much nodded.
“Let’s talk about something else before we have to go to bed,” I said. “I would like to think about something else, anything else.”
And we did, until we were all too tired to continue. Classes started in the morning.
Almost two weeks later, I was asked to join Dumbledore in his office where he told me of the plan to attack Malfoy manor. Both the Order and the aurors would be joining us on the raid. We would go in two days time.
I couldn’t tell my friends what was up. In fact, I could tell no one. Dumbledore promised to take care of what my friends would be told while I was out. I decided to leave him to it. I don’t like lying to them and I’ve had to skirt enough questions as it is in our conversations. They don’t seem to understand that there are things about my life that are not up for debate or discussion.
I’m a different person now than I was when I first showed up on the Hogwarts Express at age eleven. I was abused back then by my relatives and awed by the new world I found myself in. The thrill of being away from the Dursleys was good enough in itself but I never had any friends before that either. We all became close through our adventures together, most of them dangerous.
Naturally, this brings people closer but I’ve always been different. I’ve always been better with magic than my friends. I’ve always been more powerful than my friends. With my life constantly being threatened, I was driven to be better so I could survive longer. My friends were only with me normally during the first part of our adventures. It always ended up being just me alone during the really dangerous parts.
My friends never felt as driven as myself so they never worked as hard to improve their skills in defense. They were pretty good for their ages but that was more out of necessity facing all the dangers we found ourselves in. Through it all, it was never actually them that were the ones in the gravest amount of danger. It was always me.
We grew very close over the years. We confided in each other, depended on each other, especially Ron, Hermione, and myself. We even formed a good bond with the group of six that fought in the Ministry. However, when I thought about that fight we were in afterwards, I realized the gap that existed between them and myself. In a way, it became evident when I was teaching defense to the D.A. during my fifth year. I found that I knew more than even the seventh years that attended. I could easily out duel them all.
Learning about the prophecy and realizing that my friends were not skilled enough to be safe fighting Death Eaters, made me rethink it. Somehow, they had to be protected. Plus, I am the only one the Death Eaters can’t kill. It would put my friends in unnecessary danger to include them.
When they found out I had single-handedly taken on and killed seventy Death Eaters and they were never let in on my plans, it put a damper on our relationship. Now they were wondering what else I was keeping from them. It was tough but I had to somehow keep them protected. They in no way were good enough for this mission or taking on well trained Death Eaters, for that matter.
I don’t know why I’m that much better, other than hard work and my dedication to improving myself. I suppose I was born with some natural talent and extra magical power. I certainly have a natural ability with accuracy, wand or gun. That helps, but without the hard work, it’s wasted.
That said, my power put up against Voldemort’s, or even Dumbledore’s, doesn’t compare. These guys were on a level all their own. Unfortunately, Dumbledore was extremely old now and couldn’t do all he used to be able to do, at least not for very long anyway. He still had a lot of power to his spells and it appeared he was unlimited in his repertoire but Voldemort was no slouch in spell knowledge and power either, far more than I was.
He had around fifty years of experience on me and like me spent a lot of time getting better. With his extra power, spell knowledge, and abilities he was a formidable foe. I can’t imagine what the power I’m supposed to have that he knows not is going to be. Whatever it is, I was not made privy to it. I thought at first it was my ability with guns but now it would appear that’s not going to work anymore, not with him anyway. I wouldn’t completely rule it out but apparently, I was in need of a new plan. I had recently come to this conclusion.
Oh good, I had two days to figure it out, no problem.
Grandfather cautioned me that it was possible the power might not reveal itself until I was facing Voldemort for the last time. This did not make me feel better and I told him so. He said it was just a possibility and was not meant to make me feel better. Nope. That didn’t help either.
Mad-Eye Moody was going to precede us to the manor just to make sure Voldemort was going to be there when we show up. With his magical eye, he can see through things. If Voldemort decided to go on a sudden trip then he would send word to call off the raid. Up to the time we were due to leave, we received communication from Moody that Voldemort was still there. Everything went according to schedule.
We all took a portkey to the edge of the wards on the property. Malfoy did his part and got us through the wards. We were on our way up to the manor for the attack when we heard a loud crack and Moody informed us that he had left. Evidently, Voldemort had put up his own ward that alerted him to intruders.
Dumbledore and a couple others put up some quick spells to prevent him from leaving before we approached but he managed to overpower them and apparate out. There was no doubt about his power.
We had no way of tracking him so had to call off the raid. Malfoy received some help from Dumbledore to enhance the wards so Voldemort could not return. He was happy to get his home back. The elves were also glad that Voldemort was gone. They didn’t look overjoyed at having Draco as their master but apparently, he was better than Voldemort in that regard.
With his parents’ influence over him gone, perhaps he would make better choices.
Wait a minute. Where was that laughter coming from?
Oh, it was me.
Well, we can always hope, can’t we?
I sent Hedwig to Gwen that night to see if she could meet up on the next weekend. I wasn’t sure if she would have to study or something like that. Lucky for me she didn’t. We decided to meet back at my house. She could take her portkey to meet me there. I planned to add her school as another location on her portkey some time during the weekend so she could go back and forth easily without having to drive.
She told me that she might start using it as a quiet place to study as well. She certainly didn’t mind seeing Dobby and Winky and with them cooking her meals, she could get more studying done. It would be good as long as the place she landed at the school was close enough to where she would need to be. I told her we would make sure we found a good spot for it.
Our weekends together were great except when we had to part again. The longer we stayed together the closer we became. Each time we met for a short period it seemed to get more difficult to leave one another at the end of the visit. We practically met every weekend after that first one. In addition, we had a difficult time keeping our hands off each other when we were together.
Gwen did have some studying to do on a few of the weekends but I would help her study if I could or work on my own stuff if I couldn’t. We just tended to work in the same room together, at least as long as we weren’t a distraction to each other. If that happened then we separated until the work was completed. I usually would stay in my office while she would work in the library or lounge.
If that wasn’t working either then she would portkey to her house and work over there. That usually did the trick, but not always. Sometimes, we just had to get it out of our systems so we could concentrate on our studies. If she needed the library at her school over the weekend then we didn’t meet. Those were difficult weekends but we made sure we stayed busy to keep our minds occupied.
I was finally understanding what it meant to be in love.
It was a wonderful feeling. I would do anything for Gwen and now that I knew what love is I never wanted to lose it. I didn’t want Voldemort to take it away from me. I wasn’t going to allow him to destroy my dreams. Now that I had something to live for I was very determined not to lose it. I had a talk with Gwen on the last weekend before Halloween.
“Gwen, do you remember when I told you that I would give you a more definite response when I figured it out?”
“Not sure. Figured what out?”
“Do you remember last Christmas when we were talking about how we feel about each other?”
She looked at me intensely. I could see anticipation and worry in her eyes, all at once.
“Yes, Harry. I remember. Is there something you want to tell me?” she asked as she walked slowly up to me until she was holding me with her hands clasped on the back of my neck. I put my hands on her hips.
“Yes. I finally figured it out. I finally know what love feels like. I even know what love looks like.”
She looked at me curiously, cocking her head to the side.
“What love looks like?” she asked.
“Yes, she’s about five foot nine, brown hair, hazel eyes, and the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my entire life.”
Gwen smiled at me in a shy way.
“I love you Gwen. I want you to know that. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I love you with all that I have, with all my soul, with all that I am.”
“I love you too, Harry.”
She kissed me soft and sweet.
“Harry, that was the best I love you a girl could ever want to hear. There is no way I can top that with words. I’ll just have to show you.”
We didn’t get much done after that. Well, we did but not anything I could share in detail. It sure was difficult to part with each other when it was time to return to school. That was last weekend. I was still missing her.
Halloween fell on a Friday and everyone was anticipating the Halloween feast and celebration. I was always a little less enthusiastic since my parents died on that night sixteen years ago. However, we were right in the middle of it when Dumbledore received a patronus message from someone. I didn’t recognize the patronus. He stood afterwards and got everyone’s attention.
“I’m sorry to interrupt this wonderful celebration but Hogsmeade is under attack from inferi. There are apparently thousands of them and the village needs our help. We will lock the castle and all the students will remain here.”
I stood up from my seat.
“Alright, Mr. Potter. You may join us. We will likely need your assistance. All other students will remain here.”
“Professor Sinistra and Professor Babbling will stay here with the students. Please enjoy your meal. We will take care of this and be right back.”
Dumbledore left with most of the staff following him, including myself. He told us to remember that inferi are susceptible to fire. Once we got past the gates Dumbledore turned and cast a strong spell on them to keep the inferi out. After that, we all apparated to Hogsmeade and right into a massive amount of inferi wreaking havoc on the town.
I saw Dumbledore use a humongous Fire Spell that made me wonder if he really needed any of the rest of us here. Apparently, he did though. There were so many he couldn’t get them all. Anywhere I saw a large congregation of them I would toss a grenade and mow the rest down with my Uzis. I found that headshots worked the best.
There was one moment though when five or six of them came at me from my right side while I was shooting with my left at another group. They managed to get close before I spotted them. On instinct, I turned quickly and cast a Cutting Spell at them. I put a lot of power in that spell too. It cut all of them in half instantly and even travelled past them and took some more out. I was lucky none of my professors or towns people were there.
Thinking on the result of my spell, I put away my Uzi in my right hand and dropped my wand into it. Eyeing a group of inferi in front of me, I ramped up and sent a strong Cutting Spell at them. My spell must have cut twenty of them in half. It certainly got the attention of some of the people around me. Seeing it was working, I started using my wand and my Uzi to take out a lot of inferi at the same time.
There were so many that I ran out of the grenades I had on me and I had to reload my Uzi a few times.
Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick were certainly doing their parts and when I got a look at Professor Sprout, I noticed there were hundreds of inferi lying still all around her. She was not one to mess with evidently. Dumbledore easily had a couple thousand crispy corpses laying around too. Snape was supposed to be here somewhere but I hadn’t seen him. I noticed the bartender from the Hog’s Head was doing more than his share as well.
A few of the townspeople were either killed or injured but we were finally able to take all the inferi down and dispose of all of them. There was no doubt who animated the corpses and he obviously did this on Halloween for a reason.
We were all very tired when we returned to the castle. I took a much needed shower and climbed straight into bed. I had to tell my friends that they would have to wait until I got some rest before I filled them in. I was too tired to stay awake any longer.
The next morning Dumbledore announced the results of our fight and the good news but then we received the morning’s Daily Prophet, which contained the bad news.
On the front page of the Prophet was a picture of Margo and a few other Prophet personnel, who were not only dead, they obviously had been tortured. Margo’s body was laying at a weird angle showing he gave her special attention. The article underneath the picture read that Voldemort left just enough employees alive so the paper could be printed and distributed.
Also on the front page and in a prominent place for all to see was a personal letter from Voldemort to me:
I wish to challenge you to a duel, a proper wizard’s duel. No Muggle weapons will be used, just wands. We shall fight properly with magic as proper wizards do. Are you up to the challenge? As you can see, Harry, your friend Miss Kestlebaum was not.
Tell me, did you enjoy my little Halloween present to Hogsmeade? Very appropriate for the holiday, right Harry?
Do we have an agreement on the duel? I am so looking forward to showing everyone how pathetic you really are. Simply post your reply in the Prophet. I am sure they will be happy to print it for free. You are a celebrity after all. We can decide on the location, date, and time if you accept.
Anxiously awaiting your reply,
I was livid. He killed Margo. She didn’t deserve that. Everyone was just staring at me. It was obvious I was upset. My magic started building up and people started backing away from me. I stood up suddenly and marched out of the Great Hall. I headed for the doors. I was determined to respond to Voldemort and accept his challenge for a wizards duel.
Friends and some of the professors tried to stop me but I gently pushed them out of my way with my magic and a wave of my hand. As soon as I got past the gates, I apparated straight to Diagon Alley, right in front of the Daily Prophet offices. I appeared without a sound but people knew I was there when I arrived. No one apparates to that spot. There are dedicated spots in the Alley for that. Plus, my magic was showing on me like a bright neon colored coat.
When I marched into the newspaper office, everyone stepped back away from me. I tried to calm down a little bit. I knew that they had all suffered yesterday. The last thing they needed was another wizard looking threatening. I don’t think I managed though.
“I’m Harry Potter and I would like to respond to Tom Riddle’s duel challenge. This is what I would like you to print.”
I quickly wrote on a piece of paper I found and laid it on the counter.
The newspaper staff never made a sound the whole time I was there. They just stared at me. I turned and walked out of their doors and into the street. By this time, a large crowd had gathered. There were some Order members there watching me. They evidently appeared in the Alley after I arrived. Dumbledore probably sent Remus a patronus message when I left. I paid them no mind.
As I walked away from the Prophet office and stepped into the Alley in front of the crowd, I just disappeared right in front of them with no sound at all. I went back home to be away from everyone for a while. I went back home and setup Grandfather’s trunk in my house again. Then I trained, and I trained, and I trained, with my magic. I trained hard. I trained until I could no longer stand.
Dobby came down, cleaned me up some with a wave of his hand, and transported me to my bed. I slept for nine hours straight.
At breakfast, Dobby quietly handed me the Sunday morning Daily Prophet. It was right there on the front page in bold letters followed by my short letter.
Harry Potter Accepts the Challenge!
Harry Potter showed up yesterday in our offices. His magic was so strong you could feel it in the air around you. He announced who he was, wrote his note, and left. He made absolutely no sound when he apparated, but his power was felt by many when they fell over at his exit. Here is his reply exactly as he wrote it and wanted it presented:
We will keep everyone abreast of the situation as soon as we know more of the details.
The Daily Prophet
I laid the paper down and finished my food. When done I thanked Winky for the delicious food and turned to Dobby.
“Dobby, I’m going to prepare two notes, one for Remus, and one for Dumbledore. I want you to take them the notes but do not let them see you. Can you do that for me?”
“Yes, Harry Potter sir. Dobby will be happy to help.”
“Thank you Dobby.”
I wrote the notes letting them know I was at home and did not wish to be disturbed. I also let them know that there was a possibility I might not be back on Monday if I needed more time. I would be back when I’m ready. Dobby took them and was back in a few seconds.
Gwen had to study this weekend and use the school library so I was not expecting her to show up. That was good for me since I needed to concentrate on my training. If it was magic only he wanted, then that was what I would give him and lots of it.
The next morning there was a note for me in the Prophet.
Do not call me that. I am Lord Voldemort.
Since I made the challenge then I will allow you to pick the location, provided it is a good location. I do keep right of refusal if it does not work for me.
I await your reply.
I sent a note to the paper with my reply.
Why don’t we just meet right there in Diagon Alley in front of our favorite newspaper? What time is good for you?
The dark lord replied the following morning after my note was read.
Harry, Harry, Harry,
Are you not afraid of people getting hurt from stray spells during our duel? Diagon Alley is a busy place.
However, if that is what you want then I will accept the location.
Tom, Tom, Tom,
You should know that with my accuracy I have no stray spells to worry over. All of mine will hit wherever you are. What are you worried about? Having problems with your aim, Tommy?
What day and time shall we do this?
We went back and forth until we finally agreed on a day and time. The negotiations were taking longer than expected. I suppose we were both being a little difficult. The Daily Prophet was caught in the middle during it all. They didn’t mind since everyone was reading to see what we said to each other. They actually sold more subscriptions during that same time period.
In the middle of all the negotiations going back and forth between Voldemort and myself, I received a phone call from Roy during one of my weekends at home. He told me that there was no yacht he could find that had all the extras I was requesting. However, if I can wait until the spring to receive it, then they would take a new one and add all the extras for me if I wanted to pay the extra price.
I agreed with that solution and had Roy proceed. The money wasn’t an issue. I didn’t see being able to use it before the summer anyway. Of course, if Tom kills me then it won’t matter in the slightest.
I told Gwen about the duel and she was concerned to say the least. She started reading the Prophet for herself. I told her not to worry but she did anyway.
My last note in the paper to Voldemort was the following:
I suggest we duel at noon on Christmas day, December 25 of this year. It will be a nice Christmas present to the world when I finally put you down for good.
His reply was the following:
I accept. Only it will be your death, Harry, that will be my happy Christmas present. You most certainly will die facing me.