Hour 17: 11 AM
Previously in Harry Potter 24:
Harry and Ron run into Daphne and Tracey in Hogsmeade…
Malfoy Manor :
The Dark Lord Voldemort removes a magically hidden amulet from Bella's neck and places it on Hermione Granger…
In Hogsmeade, Pansy Parkinson gives a package to Seamus Finnegan:
"Remember what I told you about this," she warned.
"Of course I do," he answered indignantly. He slid the package into the book bag he had with him and then he turned to leave.
Pansy hissed at him again, "Aren't you forgetting something, Finnegan?"
Seamus turned around slowly and faced the Slytherin girl who was glaring at him now. He stepped forward and kissed her hard on the lips. He stepped back as she breathed heavily, "That's better, now run along."
Harry and Ron return to the castle, Ron leaves him to go find food.
Professor Dumbledore surprises Harry who turns and disarms Dumbledore:
Dumbledore blinked his eyes a few times before their typical twinkle returned and then he looked at Harry with a gentle smile. He could see the worry in the teen's eyes and he spoke to comfort him.
"It's all right my boy, I'll be fine, I should have known better than to try and play a prank on you," he explained.
Harry was clearly confused at this time. He went to return the wand he had taken but the headmaster reached out and stopped him with his hand. "No Harry," he said as his grin grew a little more, "you won the wand in the equivalent of a duel. I would expect that it may have already changed its allegiance to you. Keep it, as it may prove to be useful someday."
Hermione returns to see Voldemort after changing into some of Bellatrix's clothes and becoming more accustomed to the effects of the amulet:
Hermione walked right up to Voldemort himself and stood there, twirling her wand while striking a pose that clearly evoked images of Bellatrix Lestrange.
"How are you feeling, my dear?" asked the Dark Lord who was still sitting on his throne.
"Just wonderful," purred Hermione with a slight moan as she walked up to the Dark Lord and kissed his hand. "Thank you, my lord, for allowing me to be changed, for improving me," she added with her eyes half closed.
Seamus returns to the castle and he heads to the broom closet where he had found Luna earlier…
Voldemort orders Hermione to kill Ginny:
"Your first job is to kill the blood traitor," he said to her with a red glow in his eyes. "You may take your time to consider just how you will do it in a way that will most please your master."
The Seventeenth Hour, 11 AM - 12 PM, Saturday, October 19, 1996
Bellatrix sat beside her bed sobbing. She felt overwhelmed by her new emotions, by the memories of the atrocities that she had committed over the years. She knew that the one thing she would need to do was to get away. And she needed to get as far away from here as possible.
She knew the wards around her brother-in-laws property quite well. While she could not apparate through them, she could apparate to the edge of the wards. Slowly she stood herself up and wiped her face dry from tears that had not flowed for years. She closed the door to her room and cast a simple locking spell on it, hoping that would at least delay any discovery of her having left. Briefly she reminded herself of the basic steps of apparition and she concentrated hard on the back side of the manor garden. She arrived there and was grateful that there was no guard present at that time. She ran past the ward line and felt a slight tingle on her magic when she realised she had made it past the final magical ward.
Where to go, she asked herself. She had to find somewhere safe, somewhere she would not be found. She thought of the torn picture which she still held pieces of in her hand. The Black Family summer home, no one had been there for years.
Destination, determination, and deliberation she repeated in her mind as she was about to apparate for only the second time in decades with a clear mind but a clouded conscience.
Hogwarts, Hallway near kitchens
Harry was surprised after his encounter with the headmaster and he considered that there must be something more to explain why he now had this wand that used to belong to Professor Dumbledore. Instead of heading back to the dorm he decided to go meet up with Ron and he was making his way back to the kitchens. Ron was finishing shoving a sandwich into his mouth when he met up with his best mate. The two were about to start their way back to Gryffindor Tower when they heard someone call out "Potter!"
Ron immediately drew his wand at the sound of his voice. From out of the shadows Draco Malfoy appeared. He had both arms extended out to his sides showing that he did not have a wand in his hand.
"I'm here alone, Potter, and I am currently unarmed," said the blonde Slytherin. "So if you would call off your own goon as I only need to speak with you."
"That's bloody likely," snapped Ron. "What do you take him for? Some sort of brain dead zombie?"
Draco glared at Ron and then he looked to Harry. "Look, Potter, I need to speak with you now. I'll speak to you alone. But, if that's not acceptable to you then we can just forget it. Your loss, not mine."
Harry wasn't sure what to say and just stood there speechless for a moment.
"Fine," said Draco, "have it your way." He then turned and started to walk away.
Harry realised that Draco had left himself open to be hexed from behind, which was very uncharacteristic for him.
"All right, Malfoy," said Harry quickly. He then turned to Ron and added, "it's fine Ron, you head on up, I'll catch up to you in a bit. Besides, I can handle Malfoy on my own, you should know that."
"I still don't trust him," muttered Ron as he left, casting a suspicious glare at the pompous Malfoy heir. As he was nearly out of earshot he added "Don't tell me later that I didn't want you Harry!"
Harry turned to face Draco who was now standing against the wall with his hands in his pockets. "So, tell me what's so important that you actually came to speak to me, and why you're even doing it without your typical backup."
Draco shrugged his shoulders as he stared at the tips of his shoes. "There is a whole bunch of things going on, Potter. And many of these things will be directly affecting you."
"Tell me something I don't know Malfoy," quipped Harry. "Everything seems to be directly affecting me ever since I first showed up here at Hogwarts. Everything seems to revolve around Harry Potter, I never get a bloody break. So why would this year be any different?"
"I'm talking about today Potter," said Draco nonchalantly. "Look, I'm out of here, I'm leaving just as soon as I can. But I thought you might like to know a few things. First of all, your housemate, Finnegan, he's a spy. He's been hooked up with Pansy since the summer. You shouldn't trust him."
"And why should I believe you about this?" demanded Harry.
"Because you're not stupid, usually," answered Draco without adding his usual vitriol. "Parkinson is working for Umbridge, but I know that you already know that."
Harry raised an eyebrow at that comment.
Draco explained, "I saw them catch you in the hall early this morning, and I saw how your friends rescued you and then you disappeared. I guess I ought to thank you for that, seeing as that created a wonderful diversion to allow me to get back to my dorm without getting caught for being out after curfew myself."
Harry understood that Draco must be telling the truth to be able to give him that much detail about the event in the middle of the hallway. "So you have a point there, but that doesn't prove that I should believe you about Seamus."
"What you do with the information I'm telling you is up to you, Potter," replied Draco. "But the three of them, Seamus, Pansy and Umbridge, whether they know it or not, are really working for Voldemort. The Dark Lord is keeping things close with his current plans. He is only revealing to people what they need to know to help with his plans to prevent any spies from relaying details to Dumbledore or the ministry. I know that Parkinson and Finnegan had something more to do than just help Umbridge try and catch you. The Dark Lord has several things planned for today. One of those was for me to finish a secret way for some of his troops to sneak into the castle."
Harry turned at Draco and was about to draw his wand on him. Draco held up his hands. "Whoa, Potter, calm down and put that away before you hurt yourself. I said that was the Dark Lord's plans. I know you saw me working on that cabinet in the Room of Requirement. Well, this morning I destroyed the cabinet. It was supposed to be connected to another matching cabinet somewhere else, but now it doesn't matter. If you don't believe me you can check it our for yourself. You'll find a pile of splinters where the cabinet used to be. And the Dark Lord will be coming here later today. That's all I know."
Harry still was looking at the young man who was usually an adversary with a suspicious eye.
Draco continued, "I know what you must be thinking right now. Why would Malfoy dare to tell me any of this? Isn't he afraid the Dark Lord wold kill him for telling me any of this? Maybe he's just trying to deceive me. But I will tell you one more thing, Voldemort has already told his followers that I am supposed to die before the day is out. I'd rather not wait here to see if he decides to change his mind. I'm out of here as soon as I can get away without anyone seeing me leave."
Draco then stood up from where he had been leaning against the wall and started to walk away.
After he had gone about twenty feet Harry called after him. "Draco, for it its worth, thanks. I mean it." Draco paused for a moment at Harry's words, and then he continued on his way.
Park across from 12 Grimmauld Place
It was with a very unpleasant thud that Narcissa found herself sitting on the ground, unceremoniously deposited there after trying to get into 12 Grimmauld Place. She stood up and brushed off her robes and glared at the space between 10 and 14 Grimmauld Place, where she knew that the Black Family ancestral home was located.
She thought about what could have happened. "There must be a Lord Black or at least a head of house," she mused. "And whomever that is must have control over the wards, so that would rule out Draco. Now I need to find somewhere else to go."
She paced back and forth for a few minutes considering her options. Suddenly she had an idea, she could meet up with an old school friend who worked for the ministry. While that would not help her out with a place to stay, it might help provide protection for her son eventually as well as possibly provide another opportunity for vengeance of a sort against those who had caused the downfall of her family. Now she just had to hope that she could both find her former friend on a Saturday and that she would even be willing to speak with her.
Hermione came skipping into the throne room, twirling her wand in some of the loose hairs that were framing her face. She had a large grin ion her face and as she approached the Dark Lord she licked her ruby red lips. Ginny silently cried as she saw her best friend (she wondered if this was now her former best friend) behaving so differently.
Voldemort replied with a smile.
"My lord," began Hermione with a seductive tone to her voice, I have a few things I need to talk to you about."
"Yes, my dear," responded the snake like man, "you obviously have my attention."
"First, I have a question. I presume that you are familiar with blood adoption rituals, I was hoping that someone could perform a blood adoption so I can wash away the mud from my blood."
Voldemort raised an eyebrow, "Now that is an interesting thought, one that would deserve further consideration." He really didn't think that it would matter, because he only planned to use her as the ultimate weapon against Potter, betrayal from his best friend who was a muggle born at that. Voldemort had always assumed that she would die before the day was out, but then again, she was smart enough that she just might prove to be the most powerful lieutenant he ever had, and to think that she was a mud blood who wanted to give that up. This might just work out even better than he planned. His attention was drawn back to the young woman in front of him who was proving to be more than he had anticipated.
"Second, I have to let you know what Potter is up to." She stopped and looked over at Ginny who was horror stricken that Hermione would so easily betray her best friend. Hermione looked the red headed prisoner in the eye and winked at her seductively and blew her a kiss before turning back to her new master. "Potter knows about how you survived all those years ago. And he is working on finding your soul anchors so that he can destroy them."
Ginny was sobbing in her bonds as the former Gryffindor book room continued to betray their friends.
Voldemort's expression turned quite serious for a moment. His anger at the idea that his secrets were known and that there was a chance that his immortality may be at risk fuelled his rage. He looked out at the gathering of his followers who were present and he singled out a random Death Eater and placed them under his cruciatus curse for about fifteen seconds. His temper seemed to calm down and he withdrew the curse.
"Ooh," cooed Hermione, "that looks like fun, can I try?"
Voldemort's scowl turned to a smirk. "All in good time, my dear, all in good time."
"And thirdly, I have decided how I will deal with the Weasley girl," she added with a sneer.
4th Floor Hallway
Harry decided he better head back up to his dorm. He wanted to find Ron and hopefully they would also be able to find Ginny and Hermione. He now wondered if the girls were even back yet based on the knowledge that Seamus may be a traitor and may be working with Parkinson and the Death Eaters. That idea was too chilling to even consider any further.
Harry had made it up to the fourth floor hallway that would take him to the stairs that led up to the Gryffindor tower and he was considering Malfoy's words. If the blonde ponce was to be believed, there were plans underway that were too terrible to think about but needed to be prepared for. Harry started to feel paranoid that around any corner someone might just jump out and attack him. He stopped walking and closed his eyes for a moment to gather his wits. Stop imaging things, Harry, he told himself.
He opened his eyes and nearly jumped out of his skin to find that he was now face to face with the man he despised more than anyone in the castle. Professor Severus Snape had his wand aimed directly at him.
"Bollocks," muttered Harry.
"And a good day to you, Potter," said the greasy haired professor with his usual sneer.
Harry started to protest, "Whatever you think I did, I can assure that it wasn't me. I haven't caused any trouble today at all, I swear!"
"I do believe that Dolores Umbridge might take exception to that idea, Potter." Harry's face dropped. "I can see by your reaction that you know what I am taking about. Lying never becomes you, Potter."
Harry started to sweat as he was unsure where this was heading.
"I suppose you have with you all of those special items from your father and the headmaster," spoke the professor, his disdain for James Potter evident as he referred to his formal rival.
Harry gave him a confused look.
"I am not a fool, Potter, and you shouldn't be acting like one either," explained Snape who was clearly irritated. "Your precious little cloak, yes, I know all about that."
Harry indicated with a nod that yes he had that.
"And the ring which the headmaster gave you last night?" he asked.
Harry again nodded in response, feeling more confused than ever.
"And your new wand," asked the head of Slytherin House, "you haven't lost that yet, have you?"
Harry wondered how the hell did Snape know anything about that. He backed up until he ran into the wall behind him. Harry was desperately hoping that someone, anyone, would come down the hall and find him.
"Good, Potter, that's all I need to know," he said with an evil grin. "I've been looking forward to the chance to do this for so long."
Harry closed his eyes tightly as he heard Snape's next words.
"Avada kedavra!" he exclaimed as he swished his wand.
Harry was hit with a bolt of green energy directly in his forehead. He collapsed to the floor without making a sound.
Snape stood still in the hallway, watching, and waiting. After a minute he started to feel a little uneasy about what had happened. Then Harry's eyes blinked as he started to come back to consciousness. He could feel his head aching like it had been split open after being smashed by a sledge hammer. Snape just stared as a black mist had escaped from Potter's scar and dissipated just before he opened his eyes. Then he noted the famous lightning bolt scar on the Boy-Who-Lived's forehead was starting to heal and fade.
Once Potter's eyes seemed to be able to focus on his surroundings, Snape spoke to him. "Sorry about that Potter, but we needed to get rid of one more horcrux."
"What the bloody hell," screamed Harry, "you killed me!"
"Stop whining," replied Snape, "you don't look so bad for someone who is supposed to be dead, again." He waited a minute while Harry propped himself up into a sitting position leaning against the wall he had backed up against just a few minutes before.
"Your mothers love wasn't here to protect you this time," Snape began to explain, "instead you have the deathly hallows."
"The what?" asked Harry who was very confused.
"Didn't you ever read fairy tales as a child?" Then the professor, who had now put his wand away continued, "Oh that's right, you were raised by that bitch, Petunia, whom I am quite sure never read you a magical fairy tale. The muggle versions just wouldn't help."
Harry was still feeling confused, and he had a massive headache. "Now what do I do?"
"Finish your job, Potter," added man who had just deliberately killed him.
Harry pulled himself to a standing position. "The headmaster's guess was correct, there was an extra horcrux lodged in your skull, I would presume that even the Dark Lord himself had no idea it was there. But today is your lucky day, Potter, you have once again survived the killing curse and you have had a piece of the soul of the darkest wizard in over a century removed from your feeble body. So, like I said, go finish your job."
As Harry walked away and made his way to go to his common room, Snape whispered to no one in particular, "Yippe-ki-yay"