Chapter Twenty – Revelations
After leaving the Ministry atrium via a portkey created by Harry, the six of them landed in the Infirmary at Hogwarts. Harry and Neville sat Ron on one of the beds while Luna explained to Madame Pomfrey when she came out of her office what happened to him. Madam Pomfrey came over to diagnose Ron.
"Mr. Potter, explain to me what you did to help Mr. Weasley."
"I ran a diagnostic, then found and removed the curse that had him addled. Next, I removed the infection caused by the brain and the skin irritation on his arms caused by the tendrils. I basically stopped any progress the brain was making. I reversed the affects as best I could but it had made some changes in his mind that I was not able to fix at the time and I didn't think I could fix it with my regular way of healing. Not long after that we were interrupted again by some Death Eaters."
"This sounds pretty bad, Mr. Potter. I will see what I can do." Madame Pomfrey went to work on Ron immediately. After trying a few spells, she went to her supply cabinet to get a potion. She gave it to Ron who immediately fell asleep.
"Mr. Potter you stopped the problem from getting any worse. Thank you. Now, I need to find a way to reverse the effects on his mind. I just gave him a dreamless sleep potion so he can rest while I consult some colleagues about his case. I'm afraid I will need some help on this one. We may even have to contact the Unspeakables to question them about the brains. Why don't the rest of you go get cleaned up and go back to your dorms to rest? He will not wake up until later tomorrow anyway."
"Madame Pomfrey" replied Harry, "I'm fairly confident that if I were given the opportunity and the time I would be able to repair the damage that was caused in his mind. I just need some time to think and study on it."
"Excellent, Mr. Potter. Do come back and see me tomorrow. If my colleagues and I can't figure out a solution then we may need your help. All of you should try not to worry now. Mr. Weasley will not get any worse since Mr. Potter stopped it from spreading. The goal is to make him better and get him back to normal. I will do my best, I promise."
The remaining five slowly went back to the Gryffindor common room. After they entered, Harry noticed that the window he jumped out of was still vanished so he flicked his wand at the window and the window was immediately repaired. They all sat down on a sofa and chairs and Harry put up a privacy bubble around them so they could talk.
"Everyone," began Harry, "I want to thank each one of you for coming to help me tonight. What we did was both dangerous and a bit reckless. Any or all of us could have died had they got the upper hand at any point. In fact, they nearly killed Hermione and Ron too for that matter. It makes me sick just thinking about it."
"Harry, it's not your fault that any of us got hurt," replied Hermione. "You left without us and handled all twelve of them by yourself from what I was told. I was stupid for taking my eyes off of Dolohov even for a split second to check on Neville. Dolohov took advantage of my lapse in judgment and hit me with that spell. I'm thankful for Neville who was able to put them down all by himself and carry me out of there."
"Yes, thank you Neville for taking care of my sister. I won't forget what you did."
"Let's also not forget Luna," added Harry, "our adopted Ravenclaw and honorary Gryffindor, for helping save Ron from that brain."
"Poor Ron," said Luna.
"Don't worry about Ron. If Madam Pomfrey can't cure him then I will. The more I think about it the more confidence I have in my ability to fix it. I'll tackle that problem tomorrow if I'm needed." Harry looked at each one and assured them all.
They all started to look a little more relieved. They had learned to trust Harry without reservation.
"Well, just as we suspected it was a trap," Harry said. "I'm sure you guys worked that out on your own?"
They nodded their heads.
"I don't know where Sirius was earlier when I couldn't reach him but he was definitely not there at the Ministry, until he showed up with the Order that is. I didn't get a chance to talk to him about that but I'll be asking him about it at the first opportunity. I'm truly sorry guys."
"It's not your fault Harry," Ginny insisted.
"Harry, you did what you had to do," added Neville. "You did nothing wrong and from what I could see you handled yourself admirably. I will follow you anywhere my friend."
Just then, Dobby popped in.
"Master Harry Potter sir?"
"The Headmaster would like to see the Great Harry Potter in his office right away sir."
"Thank you Dobby. I'll go there now." Harry stood up. "I trust Neville that you will walk Luna back to Ravenclaw?"
"Sure Harry, I'd love to do that."
"Alright then, I'll talk to you guys later." Harry removed his privacy spell as he headed toward the door.
"I'm going to take a shower to wash off all that Death Eater scum," said Ginny.
"Me too," replied Hermione.
"Come on Luna. Let me walk you back to your dorm."
"Alright Neville, I'm looking forward to a good shower myself. Fighting Death Eaters is a dirty business."
"Come in Harry," said Dumbledore even before he could knock.
Harry walked in and sat down in the chair in front of Dumbledore's desk. He was ready to hear what Dumbledore had to share with him.
"Harry, I'm afraid I owe you another apology. I have information that I should have shared with you already. You could have avoided this entire night had I done so."
"I'm not that concerned Professor about having to fight those Death Eaters and Voldemort tonight. We wounded several, some more so than others. We also managed to capture most of them. I'm sorry my friends got hurt and I'm really sorry that I couldn't heal Ron completely when I tried but I'm very confident now that I'll be able to cure him if Madam Pomfrey needs my help."
"That's good news Harry about Mr. Weasley. I'm sure Poppy will appreciate any help you can give her." Dumbledore peered at Harry. "I did hear about Dolohov. If you need anyone to talk to Harry, I'll be available to you. That kind of thing can be difficult to deal with after the fact."
"Thank you Professor, but as I told Kingsley, Dolohov got exactly what he deserved. He cast a deadly curse at me that would cause an agonizingly slow death, the very same curse he hit Hermione with. Thankfully, I was able to cure her in time. When he cast that curse at me, I recognized it immediately from how Hermione described it – a purple flame. It shuts down all your internal organs slowly, painfully. I simply removed his ability to cast it again. Don't worry about me in that regard, Professor."
"Very well, Harry but I will be here if you need someone to talk to."
"I appreciate that Professor but what was the information you wanted to share? I have some information to share with you as well when you're done."
"There are two secrets I've been keeping that I need to share with you tonight Harry. This is not an easy thing for me to do. I didn't want to share this with you when you were younger because it carries with it a very heavy burden and I didn't want to take away what little childhood you had left. The first thing you should know is there is a prophecy about you and Voldemort –"
"Oh, you mean this one?" Harry pulled the shrunken orb out of his pocket and enlarged it back to normal size. He held it up in his hand so Dumbledore could see it.
"Yes, Harry. You managed to hang onto it did you?"
"Yes, Mr. Malfoy was demanding I turn it over to him after I picked it up off the shelf but I decided not to let him have it."
"I see…. Harry, I take it you have noticed the label and what is written on it?"
"Yes, it says:
S. P. T. to A. P. W. B. D.
and (?) Harry Potter"
"Harry, S. P. T. are the initials for Professor Trelawney. The other initials are mine."
Harry blinked bemusedly.
"All of these initials are yours?"
"Yes, my name is Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. The prophecy was given by Sybil Trelawney to me before you were even born Harry. Unfortunately a young Death Eater overheard the first part of it before he was discovered and removed. He ran immediately to Voldemort and informed him of what he had heard."
"Tom came after you, Harry, the night he killed your parents and tried to kill you. It is due to this prophecy that he is constantly after you. He most likely believes he can't move forward with his plans until you are defeated Harry. The fact that you have defeated or escaped him on multiple occasions now just makes him more determined to kill you."
"How do I hear the prophecy?"
"Simple, given that it's about you, just tap it with your wand to hear it."
Harry sat the orb on Dumbledore's desk then tapped it with his wand. He saw a miniature Trelawney appear out of the mist and start speaking in that strange, gravelly voice he had heard her use before back in third year.
"THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD APPROACHES... BORN TO THOSE WHO HAVE THRICE DEFIED HIM, BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES... AND THE DARK LORD WILL MARK HIM AS HIS EQUAL, BUT HE WILL HAVE POWER THE DARK LORD KNOWS NOT... AND EITHER MUST DIE AT THE HAND OF THE OTHER FOR NEITHER CAN LIVE WHILE THE OTHER SURVIVES... THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD WILL BE BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES..."
The miniature Trelawney sank back down into the mist and disappeared. Not another sound was heard as Harry stared at the orb trying to comprehend everything he had just heard.
"Wait, Professor. I need a moment…."
Dumbledore sat back in his chair waiting on Harry as requested. He was not sure how Harry would take this. This was after all a very different Harry from the years before. Dumbledore decided he could be patient.
After a couple minutes, Harry got up and started pacing.
"Let me get this straight Professor," stated Harry as he turned to look at Dumbledore. "I was born at the end of July and my parents, who fought Voldemort, defied him three times?" Dumbledore nodded. "Plus, I have the power to vanquish Voldemort but he marked me as his equal… that would be the scar he gave me." Harry pointed at the scar on his forehead. "What power will I have though that he will not have? And, wait a minute! Is that prophecy saying that I'm the only one who can kill him? That one of us is going to kill the other?"
"Yes, Harry. I'm so sorry for you to have to bear this burden." Dumbledore stood and walked over to the window. "I believe it means that you are the only one who can vanquish him forever. What is strange is the prophecy did not necessarily refer to you. Neville was born at the end of July and only one day ahead of you. His parents defied Voldemort three times as well. It could have easily been him. He is after all a pureblood and you a half-blood but Voldemort did not choose Neville, he chose you. Maybe because Tom is a half-blood too, I'm not sure, but he tried to kill you, not Neville. There was no doubt after he attacked and marked you that you are the subject of the prophecy. The orb was relabeled after Tom attacked you and your parents that night."
"Professor, I should tell you that your timing was lousy tonight. I was just about to kill Voldemort when you showed up."
Dumbledore raised an eyebrow and looked at Harry.
"Forgive me Harry but as I recall he had you under the Cruciatus curse when I arrived. I thought it prudent to get you released from it as soon as possible."
"That brings me to the secrets I need to share with you Professor. I can overcome the Cruciatus. Granted Tom's is much worse than anyone else's I've felt but when you came in I had it under control and was pretending to still be in pain. I was lining up my finger and building up my magic so I could cast a powerful stunner and blow a nice round hole right through him and kill him. Your spell prevented that from happening."
"How are you able to throw off the Cruciatus? You already can throw off the Imperius. How do you do it?"
"It took a lot of experimenting and practice but it's a combination of my focus technique used in Isshinryu Karate to ignore pain and my healing magic. By putting those two together, I can overpower the curse and negate most of its effects to the point where I can function. I imagine if someone less powerful than Tom hit me with it I could overcome it completely."
"So you can do wandless magic and throw off two of the three Unforgiveable curses. Actually, we can safely say you have successfully thrown off all three Unforgiveable curses. That is amazing Harry but you need to hear the other information I have to share. It's the reason I told you to stay out of it and that it's not your time yet to face him."
"I was going to ask you about that."
"Harry, the reason Voldemort was able to come back to life was due to him using some very dark magic, some of the darkest ever used. He created horcruxes."
"What's a horcrux?"
"A horcrux is a powerful object that a dark wizard or witch hides a fragment of his or her soul in as a means of obtaining immortality. While a part of your soul is anchored in this object, your body can be destroyed but your soul will be anchored to the Earth."
"How does one go about fragmenting their soul to achieve this, Professor?"
"You have to commit murder, Harry. It's very dark magic."
"You said horcruxes as in plural. How many did Tom create?"
"I'm not sure quite yet on the number, although he may have created as many as seven."
"Yes, seven is a magical number and it would be quite difficult to achieve that many horcruxes, however it would be virtually impossible to fragment your soul any further than that. I am working on finding out as much as I can so I can be more certain about the number. Do you remember at the end of your second year when you brought me Tom's diary?"
"That was a horcrux Harry that you destroyed in the Chamber of Secrets. A part of Voldemort's soul was in that diary communicating with Miss Weasley. We are lucky you were around to save her."
"So you see Harry, as long as Tom's horcruxes are still around he cannot be completely killed and removed from this plane of existence. We have to destroy all of his horcruxes before that can happen." Dumbledore wanted to go a step further and tell him about his scar but decided Harry had enough to deal with tonight. He would address the issue with the scar another time.
"So, it would have done little good to kill Voldemort tonight. He would have just come back again."
"That's correct Harry.
Harry sat there for a minute.
"Harry, why don't you go get cleaned up and get some rest? We will have much to deal with tomorrow."
"Thank you Professor for sharing that information. I understand the importance of keeping this secret. I also request that you keep my secrets regarding my abilities with wandless magic and the Unforgiveable curses."
"You have my word Harry. Thank you for sharing with me as well."
"Good night, Professor."
"Good night, Harry."
The next morning everyone was wondering about all the extra points Gryffindor had gained and the extra fifty Ravenclaw had as well. That is until Dumbledore announced at breakfast the heroic efforts of four fifth years and two fourth years, five from Gryffindor and one from Ravenclaw (he mentioned them by name). Harry didn't appreciate the extra attention. More was thrown at him though when the morning edition of The Prophet arrived. Draco and some of the Slytherins were not happy about it one bit. They kept staring at Harry and his friends in a menacing way. Harry imagined that it had something to do with some of their fathers being caught and arrested and the royal thumping he and his team put on the lot of them.
"It looks like Malfoy and friends are not too pleased that we beat up their dads then had them arrested and thrown in prison," Harry mentioned with a chuckle. "Do you suppose those stares are meant to intimidate us?"
"Well, actually Harry, we did beat up their dads pretty badly and had them thrown in jail," Ginny answered. "Now the poor little fellows will have to go home to no daddy."
"Yes, give them a break Harry," added Hermione. "They are probably devastated after hearing the news."
Harry stared at Luna.
"Why are you staring at me Harry?" asked Luna.
"I'm just waiting on you to add more to what Ginny and Hermione said."
"Oh, well I have nothing to add. Personally, I was going to give them one minute more to straighten up before I walk over there and beat them senseless."
"I see… differing opinions. I like that. Neville?"
"I think I'll have to agree with Luna."
"That cancels the four of you out. I say we ignore them for as long as they will let us. If they make the mistake of not letting us then we wipe the floor with them. I mean seriously, if we took down their fathers do they think they will be any better? They're not worth my time. Let them sulk."
"Just for the record," said Ginny, "Hermione and I were kidding."
"I know and I also know that you both agree with me."
Ginny and Hermione smiled.
"Neville and Luna agree with me as well."
Neville and Luna looked at each other for a second.
"No, really, I want to go beat them up," said Luna with a straight face.
Everyone started snickering.
"Oh, Harry, I just remembered," said Hermione. "What did you and Professor Dumbledore talk about last night?"
Harry thought about it for a few seconds.
"Harry?" asked Neville.
"I'm afraid that is something that you will have to wait for me to tell you. Now is not the right time. I'm sorry."
Hermione, Ginny, Neville, and Luna all looked at each other but didn't say anything. Harry had his head down, staring at the table. He raised his head back up after a minute.
"I need to go chat with Madame Pomfrey about Ron and see if my help is needed. If any of you would like to join me, you're welcome to tag along."
Harry got up and left the Great Hall heading to the Infirmary. His friends got up and caught up with him. As they walked along together, Hermione became curious and asked a question.
"What can you do to help Ron if they need your assistance?"
"Well, as you know I've been working on Occlumency and Legilimency for many months now and I've come to a good understanding of how minds work, how memories and thoughts flow. When I saw Ron's mind and the big mess it was in, I was overwhelmed but since then as I mulled over what I saw I've been seeing patterns in the chaos that looks like a way to turn it back around and put it back the way it should be."
"And you think you can do this?" asked Ginny.
"Yes, as a matter of fact I am quite confident that I can. I remember everything I see so when I pull up the image of his mind I consistently see the patterns. Each time I look at it the patterns become more pronounced than before. There is no way the brain infection had enough time to create all those patterns. Those patterns are Ron's. I looked at my mind as well to verify. My patterns are different but I have patterns too. If I looked in all of your minds I bet I could spot your patterns."
"So, how would you fix it?" asked Luna.
"Simple, follow the patterns. If something doesn't fit in the pattern then it doesn't belong. I will then view the memory and see if it's Ron's or not. If Ron's, I'll put it aside until I find the proper place where it fits. If it belongs to that foreign brain then I'll get rid of it."
"Harry that sounds like it'll take a long time," warned Ginny.
"It could, but I believe Ron is well worth it." They all smiled at that and Ginny blushed. "Plus, I'm sure the longer I'm in their fixing it the better and faster I'll be at doing it. I should develop a rhythm of sorts."
When they reached the Infirmary, they were surprised to see Arthur, Molly, Bill, and the twins all standing or sitting around Ron's bed looking gloomy.
"Mum, Dad," cried Ginny then ran to hug them. She next hugged Bill.
Harry went into Madame Pomfrey's office to speak to her.
"Madame Pomfrey? How is Ron doing? Were you able to get him sorted out?"
"No, Mr. Potter. I'm truly sorry. The Unspeakables don't know what all those brains can do and St. Mungos' best healers have not come up with anything yet. I'm doing all that I can but this is beyond my scope of work. I need assistance if he is going to be helped anytime soon. I don't know how long it will take for the healers to come up with a viable plan of action. Right now, I'm just having to wait while I keep him comfortable. I'm afraid if nothing can be done quickly then he will have to be moved to the long term spell damage ward at St. Mungos."
"That will not be necessary Madame Pomfrey. I'm here to assist you. I've figured out how to heal Ron. It may take some time but as long as no one disturbs me while I'm working on him, he should be right as rain when I'm done."
"What exactly are you going to do Mr. Potter?"
"As I explained to my friends, I've discovered that minds have patterns and I believe all are unique. When I first saw Ron's mind I was overwhelmed at the chaos but the more I viewed the image in my mind the more I noticed his unique patterns. Looking at my own mind I quickly recognized my own patterns. There is no way that brain had enough time to overwrite all his patterns. I would be willing to bet it was just pecking at the surface and Ron was fighting it with all he had. I know Ron and he's a fighter. He would not quit that easily. I've trained him too well."
"This sounds very dangerous Mr. Potter."
"I understand your reluctance, but it's not dangerous. There is nothing in there to harm me, but my friend needs my help and I aim to help him. Even if for some reason I can't find all of the corruption, Ron will be better off when I'm done than he would be if I don't help him at all. I know I can fix the problem. Are you ready to let me?"
Madame Pomfrey stared at Harry for a few seconds.
"Alright, Mr. Potter, I see no other options at this point other than waiting for who knows how long on St. Mungos. What do you need me to do?"
"We are going to have to clear out the family and enclose his bed with screens so I can work without being disturbed. We will need to have one of my friends in there with me at all times in case someone comes in or I get tired. My friends can also switch out every hour. I'm not sure how long this will take."
"Are you ready to start now?"
"Yes, the sooner the better."
Madame Pomfrey and Harry walked out to Ron's bed. Harry hugged Mr. and Mrs. Weasley then shook hands with Bill.
"Mr. Potter," said Madame Pomfrey "do you wish for me to explain it to them or would you like to handle it?"
"I'll take care of it."
"What's going on Harry? Can no one help Ron?" asked Molly worriedly.
"Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, I know how to heal Ron and I would like to get started right away. I've filled in my friends on the way here and I told Madame Pomfrey in her office just now. Let them tell you in general what I will be doing so I can get started. I'll try to explain it in more detail when I'm done. For now, I need you to clear out of the way so I can work."
Madame Pomfrey waved her wand and screens surrounded Ron's bed. Harry walked with the group over to the other side of the room.
"I'm going to need one of you to stay with me and Ron inside the curtain. You can switch every hour, or on a schedule you agree with. I'm not sure how long this will take but I must not be disturbed. Your job will be to take care of anyone who manages to get behind the curtain that doesn't belong there. Once again, I must not be disturbed. You may also need to help me if I grow tired. Hopefully, it will not take that long." Harry looked at Hermione. "Hermione would you be first to help me?"
"The rest of you can figure out who will relieve Hermione and so on after that. Thanks everyone for your help. Now, I have to go save my friend. Come on Hermione."
Harry and Hermione went behind the screens.
"Alright now, someone better explain to me quickly what Harry is doing," exclaimed Molly.
"I believe I can explain it," offered Luna.
"Thank you Luna" said Arthur. "Please tell us."
"According to Harry, he's discovered patterns…."
Inside the screens…
"Just keep an eye out for me Hermione. It'll be difficult to know what's going on out here while I'm in Ron's head."
"Don't worry Harry. I won't let you down."
"I know you won't Sis."
Hermione smiled at him.
Harry turned toward Ron, opened his eyelids, and stared into his eyes.
Harry entered Ron's mind again and immediately was met with the mess he saw before but as he stared at it, the patterns began to emerge. Pretty soon, Harry worked out the patterns so that he would know how to follow each one and recognize what didn't belong. He decided it was time to go to work.
Harry went in deeper and as he suspected the brain infection was only able to go so far. It did a lot of damage but only to a small section of Ron's mind, compared to the whole. Harry began picking up memories and setting them aside in piles. One pile was memories from the foreign brain. The other pile was Ron's memories that had been misplaced. Harry found that the foreign brain memories were easily recognizable – they were horrid. Once he had the memories sorted, Ron's mind started to look more organized and less messy. However, he now had to place the pile of Ron's memories into the right pattern. The other pile he got rid of.
Hermione sat there watching Harry and Ron. Ever since Harry said "Legilimens," he hadn't moved. His eyes were trained on Ron only. She knew that he was in Ron's head right now working as fast as he could to repair his mind. She was not sure how he could do this but Harry never ceased to amaze her. Just when she thought she had him figured out he would surprise her again.
He'd been at it for a while and she was amazed that Harry had not moved yet. Just as she was thinking he might get uncomfortable after a while, someone walked through the opening in the screens. It was Mrs. Weasley.
Hermione got up and she followed Mrs. Weasley outside the screen.
"How's it going Hermione?"
"Well, there's not much to see. It's all happening in Ron's head. Harry hasn't moved at all since he entered Ron's mind. I don't know how he does it, Mrs. Weasley. Just when I think I have him figured out, he surprises me."
Molly smiled at that.
"You know, he treats me like I'm his sister. He even calls me 'Sis' sometimes. I doubt he knows how much I really like that. If I had a brother, I would not want anyone else but him in that role."
"That's very sweet Hermione. Harry is a very special person. I honestly do not think we deserve him. He's constantly having to save a member of my family. I don't know how we could ever repay him."
"Do you love him, Mrs. Weasley?"
"Oh, yes dear, as if he were one of my own children. He will always have that place in my heart."
"Then you have already paid him in full. That's all he would ever want from you. You see, he loves you too. He loves your entire family and would do anything to help you. But remember as well, Ron is his first true friend and best mate. What he's doing in there I believe is more for himself than anyone else. He loves Ron and will make him well."
Molly hugged Hermione and cried on her shoulder.
"Thank you Hermione. You're a wise young woman and I know your words are true. Why don't you take a break and I'll keep watch. I think Ginny is up next after me."
The pattern continued. Ginny replaced Molly and Arthur replaced Ginny. Bill stepped in to relieve his father and then George relieved Bill. Fred had just replaced George about five minutes ago when Harry suddenly sat up then stood slowly.
Harry turned and saw Fred.
"Hi Fred. When did you get here?"
"About five minutes ago. George was here before me."
"How long have I been at this?"
"Let's see, you started with Hermione who was relieved by Mum, who was relieved by Ginny, who was relieved by Dad, who was relieved by Bill, who was relieved by George, and then me for five minutes. All the other ones were about an hour. That means you have been at it around six hours or so."
"Really? It felt like I was only in there about 15 minutes."
"I bet you're tired."
"Actually, I am a bit tired but I'm done now and your brother looks 100% better, at least his mind does. I don't think I missed any of it and all his displaced memories are back where they belong."
Fred grabbed Harry and hugged him hard.
"Thank you Harry! Thank you so much!"
"Can you open the screens and get Madame Pomfrey so she can check him out?"
Fred moved the screens out of the way and went to fetch Madame Pomfrey. Harry reached down and touched Ron. He sent a little of his magic into him to boost his core. He then walked slowly over to the friends and family who were waiting.
"I'm done and Ron should be good as new. I would like Madame Pomfrey to run a diagnostic on him just to check him out. I would think he's going to sleep a little longer as his mind settles down back to normal… I'm suddenly feeling very hungry. Dobby?"
"Yes, Master Harry Potter sir. How can Dobby help the Great Harry Potter?"
The older Weasleys were amused at Dobby's demeanor toward Harry.
"Dobby, very punctual as usual. Thank you for that. It appears I've missed lunch while I was helping cure Ron. Would you be so kind as to bring me some? Sandwiches or anything you want to bring will do fine. Please also check with the Weasleys and my friends here to see if they need anything as well."
"Dobby will be happy to feed the Great Harry Potter and his friends. Dobby knows they were not at lunch in the Great Hall so I will bring everyone some nice sandwiches, crisps, tea, and cold pumpkin juice."
As soon as Dobby left all the Weasleys and friends grabbed Harry in a group hug. Madame Pomfrey came over and reported that Ron looked fine and his brain function appeared to be back to normal.
Dobby appeared with enough sandwiches to feed an army or in this case a family of Weasleys. Harry quickly conjured a table and comfortable chairs for everyone so they could sit and eat. Dobby then arranged all the sandwiches, crisps, tea, and pumpkin juice on the table. Harry praised Dobby profusely before he would let him leave. He liked seeing the little elf blush. However, Dobby did promise to return later to clean up and begged Harry not to do it for him.
They were enjoying their sandwiches that never seemed to run out and most everyone was getting full when they heard someone say, "Hey is that sandwiches I smell?"
They looked up and there stood Ron standing over them looking at the table of food.
"Here Ron," said Harry conjuring another chair and moving over. "Have a seat and dig in. We got pretty hungry waiting for you to wake up so I had Dobby bring up some food."
"I see that and it looks delicious."
"We saved you plenty. Well, actually Dobby made sure of that."
Ron took a big bite of a sandwich and wolfed it down.
"Wow, that's good. I feel like I haven't eaten since yesterday."
Everyone started laughing.
"What's so funny?" asked Ron.
"Nothing dear, just enjoy your food and we'll tell you everything later," said Molly.
"Okay then, you don't have to ask me twice to eat."
"How are you feeling Ron?" asked Arthur.
"Great Dad! I feel like I could take on an army and win… after I eat anyway."
Hermione, Ginny, and Luna all looked at Harry. He nodded his head and they all smiled.
On the last day of school, Harry had asked his friends to join him in his trunk so he could talk to them about a few things. They all followed him up and were sitting in his front room on Harry's nice, comfortable furniture or sprawled in front of the sofa on top of the rug. Harry stood in front of them.
"Thanks for coming guys. Let me get started right away because we have much to cover and not much time left. First of all, I want you to send owls to your families tonight to let them know that you will not be on the train tomorrow. One of you can borrow Hedwig if you wish. Instead, you are going to portkey with me to my house. From there you can take the floo to your homes while I take Hermione home to her house since their floo is not connected."
"Why do you want us to do this?" asked Ginny.
"Because it will be safer than going by train. After what we did to those Death Eaters, this will be the best option. Everyone agreed?"
They all nodded their heads.
"Excellent! Now I have a question for Ron and Hermione. Why did you two not wear the necklaces I gave you when we were at the Ministry being attacked? You could have avoided your injuries. Why did you take them off? Ginny, Neville, and Luna all had theirs on. Neville got his lip busted and Ginny broke her ankle but neither one was hurt by a spell."
"Sorry, Harry," replied Hermione. "I wanted to wear the necklace my parents gave me for my birthday and the one you gave me would not let it lay right so I took it off and forgot to put it back on in all the excitement. I started to lengthen its chain to get it out of the way of my other necklace but was afraid I might void the spells you put on it."
"Harry, I simply forgot it," added Ron. "I usually take it off when I shower but I was worried about my OWL test and I just forgot to put it back on. I have it on now though."
"Alright," said Harry. "Hermione, you can lengthen it. It won't affect the other spells. Ron, the necklace will not rust so you can wear it in the shower if you want. Please do not forget them again. You both could have died."
"We will keep them on from now on" they assured him.
"Okay, the next subject is very serious. I will need all of your help on a special project I want to do. With Neville's permission I would like to arrange a time for me to try and cure his parents."
"What? How? Are you sure, Harry?" were all the questions coming at him as they all stood up.
Neville walked over to Harry.
"Do you really think you can help them Harry?" he said very quietly.
Harry looked Neville straight in the eyes. "Yes Neville I do. I can't promise you anything since I haven't seen their minds yet, but I learned even more when I helped Ron and I really need to try and help them. I believe I can do it. I promise I won't make them any worse but they may get better or even a lot better. Hopefully, I can cure them completely. Will you let me try?"
"Yes, Harry. Please try and help my parents."
"Harry," said Hermione, "this could potentially take longer than it took for Ron and it took you six hours on him. Plus, you will have two people to work on."
"Yes, so we have to work out the logistics so I'll have enough time to work on them. Let's plan them one at a time and where I can do it. If we do it in their ward then we will need to be careful so we're not caught. I'll still need someone to help me and you guys can switch out every hour. We might use Invisibility and Disillusionment charms and even my cloak to stay hidden. If it's going to take a long time like Ron's then it would be best if they were not at St. Mungos since people will be coming in and out to tend to them. They will not be able to move either while I'm in their heads."
"I believe we can bring my parents home for a weekend away. We have never done that before but I believe that's allowed."
"Do you think your Gran will be okay with that Neville?" asked Luna.
"She will be because I'll explain it to her. Besides, she will do just about anything for me now after she read that article about us in the Prophet."
"Excellent!" said Harry. "Another one out of the way and quicker than I thought it would take. Just let us know which weekend Neville so we can all come over."
They were all excited thinking about it, especially Neville. He was trying not to get his hopes up too much but it was difficult since he yearned so much to have his parents back to normal.
"For the last item of business, please follow me," said Harry. He led them out the door in the hallway to the large space.
"I want everyone to pick a spot and make a full transformation into your animagus. I will join you after everyone has changed. We know Ginny has already done it and I know the rest of you can do it as well. It's time. Go ahead."
Harry watched them start concentrating and calling on their magic. Ginny became her Harpy Eagle in about one minute. Neville was right behind her as an extremely large, brown Kodiak Grizzly. About a minute later Hermione let out a big purr as a golden-brown colored lioness. She was much bigger than Harry thought she would be. A little while later Ron managed his and there he stood as a very large lion with a big mane highlighted with red tips. He let out a loud roar. Harry laughed. Luna was last but finally managed her transformation. She stood there as a beautiful, all white unicorn with a long golden horn.
"Wonderful guys. I never doubted you. Remember if you want to change back that you simply reverse it by wanting to change back into your human form just as much as you wanted to change into your animagus form. Now, let's have some fun before we have to quit for the evening."
Harry changed into his gryphon and let out a big eagle screech. Ginny answered him back then took off flying around the room. Harry joined her in the air since he was the only other flyer. The one who was the most amazing was Luna. It was unbelievable how fast she could run. She was simply a blur. Hermione, Ron, and Neville played together and wrestled each other.
About fifteen minutes later Harry landed and changed back into himself. He went up to Hermione, petted her on the head, and scratched behind her ears. He then went to Ron and did the same. He followed that with Neville's giant bear head. Luna came up as her unicorn and Harry examined her horn and the rest of her before rubbing her head and patting her on the neck. Harry conjured a bird stand and signaled for Ginny to come down and land on it. She did and Harry was able to examine her up close and pet her as well.
"Everyone find your spot again," said Harry, "and change back into your human form."
Ginny flew back down to the ground and the others found a spot. In about a minute each they were all back in their human form.
"Good job everyone. Now change back into your animagus for about a minute or two then return to your human form. Then if you feel up to it, do that a couple more times. This will help you speed up the transformations. Eventually it should only take you a second either direction."
Harry vanished the bird stand and watched as his friends cycled through their transformations, speeding up the process a little as they continued to change.
"You guys can keep at it as long as you want," announced Harry. "I need to check on some of my potions in my lab. I've been experimenting with a few things. Just don't forget to send your owls tonight to let your parents know you're not taking the train tomorrow."
Harry walked into his potions lab.
The next morning Harry had Hedwig fly home then he informed Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore about not taking the train and his reasons. They agreed with him and wished him and his friends a good summer.
When the students started heading out the door toward the train, Harry and his friends gathered in the Gryffindor common room with all their trunks and carriers for their familiars. Harry conjured a long rope and turned it into a portkey then he ran the rope through the handles on all the trunks and through the pet carriers. Using his magic, he fused the ends of the rope together so it was a complete circle.
"If you're all sure that you have everything then grab the rope and we'll go to my place."
All his friends grabbed the rope so Harry activated it. They landed in the Receiving Room and said hello to Andrew and also to Mattie when she showed up. Harry and Hermione walked Neville, Luna, Ron, and Ginny over to the Leaving Room where they said hello to Carolyn. After a few hugs and assurances that Neville would contact them with the date to have them all over, the four friends took the floo to their homes. This left only Hermione and Harry.
"Do you need to go straight home Hermione?"
"Not really. Mum and Dad will still be at work at this time. We could go a little later if you want."
"Sounds good to me. How about I take you back in time for us to cook dinner for your parents before they get home? Leave around four o'clock?
"That's a great idea and you can have dinner with us."
"It's a plan. What would you like to do right now?"
"I would like to visit your library."
"That's my Hermione. I need to check on a few things with Mattie and I must go see Rolly as soon as possible before he gets depressed. Are you good on your own?"
"Sure, I know how to get to your library."
"I'd be willing to bet you can find any library," Harry said smiling.
Hermione stuck out her tongue and did a raspberry at Harry who laughed.
"Just ask Simon if you have any questions. He knows everything. You can leave your trunk and other things in the Leaving Room. We'll get them when we leave."
Harry wandlessly floated all of Hermione's stuff into the Leaving Room.
"Also, if you want you can let Crookshanks out and close the door so he can run around in here. Carolyn can visit with him while we're busy."
"I'd be honored to keep your familiar company Hermione."
"Thank you Carolyn. I'll let him out now."
Harry shut the door while Hermione opened the carrier. Crookshanks hopped out and started exploring the room.
"Crookshanks, you behave yourself and visit with Carolyn," Hermione indicated the portrait, "while I run to the library. I will be back for you later and then we'll go home."
Crookshanks looked at Hermione for a moment then continued exploring.
Hermione took off to the library and Harry went with Mattie to discuss business and get caught up. Afterwards Harry headed outside to chat with Rolly. The big horse was very glad to see him. He pranced around for a bit before settling down. Harry explained that he could not ride him today but would be able to tomorrow. This placated the stallion who was very happy Harry was back. They were joined by Jojo a short while later and they talked for a good while.
Leaving Rolly at 4:00, Harry apparated quietly to the library. He found Hermione and Simon in a big discussion that amused him. He waited for a minute before clearing his throat. Hermione and Simon both looked at him.
"Hello Simon. It's 4:00 Hermione. We should get going."
"Oh, right. Thank you Simon for all your help and lovely conversation. Harry is taking me home where we plan to prepare dinner for my parents."
"What a great idea! Please say hello to Dan and Emma for me."
"Will do Simon," replied Harry. "I'm sure they will appreciate that. By the way, I need to talk to you, Grandpa, and Grandma about something important when I return tonight. Would that be alright?"
"Certainly Harry. We are always at your disposal; just let us know when you're ready. I will inform Henry and Elizabeth."
"Thanks Simon. I'll see you later then."
Harry and Hermione left the library.
"Mattie, I'm going to take Hermione home and then eat dinner with the Grangers. When I return I'm meeting with Simon, Grandpa, and Grandma. I would like you to join us and while I'm gone, I would like you to see if you can get in touch with Sirius and Remus to invite them as well. There are some things we need to discuss."
"Yes, Harry. I will find them and let them know and I'll be ready."
"Hermione, I'll meet you in the Leaving Room. I'm going to pop over to my bedroom real quick and change into some Muggle clothes."
"Okay Harry. I'll wait for you there. That'll give me time to put Crookshanks back in his carrier."
"I'll walk with Hermione to the Leaving Room and keep her company until you arrive," said Mattie.
"Thank you Mattie. That's very nice of you," said Hermione as they headed down the hall.
Harry apparated to his bedroom, changed into some Muggle clothing that consisted of nice black jeans, a buttoned down long-sleeved green shirt, a black belt, and black round-toed leather cowboy boots. He then apparated to the hallway just outside the Leaving Room and entered.
Mattie and Hermione turned and looked when they heard him enter. Mattie smiled and Hermione got a big grin on her face.
"I swear Harry if I didn't think of you as my brother I would snatch you right up. You look really good. What do you think Mattie?"
"I think my young Harry has turned into quite the handsome young man and I will be surprised if some young lady doesn't snatch him up soon. He certainly does a great job of representing the House of Potter."
Harry was turning red.
"I think I better stay close to you tonight Harry in case I have to protect you from my mum. You won't go unnoticed by her looking like that."
"What have I gotten myself into?" asked Harry.
Hermione and Mattie laughed.
"Come on Hermione, I'll apparate us over."
"But you've never been to my house."
"Not a problem Hermione. Think of the exact spot you want to go to and picture that in your mind. It can be in the house, outside the house, or wherever we won't be seen arriving. Got it?"
Hermione nodded her head.
"Now keep that picture and look into my eyes."
Hermione looked at Harry who suddenly entered her mind for a couple seconds and then left.
"That was weird."
"I just viewed the picture you thought of. That's all. Now that I have the picture in my head, I can take us right there."
"Must be nice to be able to use Legilimency."
"It has its merits. Are you ready?"
"Yes." Hermione felt herself being squeezed through a tube and the next instant they were standing in her house in the middle of the lounge.
"That was quick," said Hermione.
"Beats taking the bus! Come on let's see what we can fix for dinner."
"Let me show you where everything is in the kitchen and then I'm going to go upstairs and change into regular clothes too."
"Lead on, Hermione."
Hermione took Harry to the kitchen and showed him where everything was before she went upstairs to change. When she came back down Harry was waiting for her.
"Hermione, I believe we need to go to the store for a few things. I have in mind a chicken dish I can prepare. Is there a grocer close enough nearby so we can walk to it or do you need to give me another memory?"
"There's a store just a few blocks away. We should be able to get there and back in plenty of time."
"Excellent, let's go."
Hermione locked up the house then she and Harry walked down to the store. Harry was able to find everything he needed so they walked back carrying a couple of bags and began preparing dinner. Harry pre-heated the oven and prepared the chicken while Hermione peeled and cut up the potatoes for boiling. The large chicken breasts were covered in Cream of Chicken soup and some seasoning. They were then covered in tin foil and placed in the oven. The timer was set for 40 minutes. After the chicken was in the oven, Harry cut up some carrots and green beans and started steaming them slowly on the stovetop. Hermione finished the potatoes and started them boiling. When ready, they would be made into mashed potatoes.
"So now we wait," said Harry.
"My parents should be home soon. They usually get home within the next few minutes or so."
"Great! I'm looking forward to seeing them again."
Hermione showed Harry her room while they waited on the food and her parents. Harry noted the shelves of books lining her room and smiled. Next, Hermione showed him the back garden and the swimming pool. They had just come back in to check on the food again when they heard the door to the garage open and Dan's voice as they came into the house.
"That smells good. Hermione must have made us dinner, dear."
"That was very nice of her," replied Emma.
"Actually Mum and Dad, I had a lot of help," said Hermione as her parents stepped into the kitchen.
"Harry!" exclaimed Emma who ran over and grabbed him up in a big hug. Hermione noticed that her mum hugged Harry first and not her own daughter. As she rolled her eyes at her mother, she was engulfed in a nice hug by her father, which she returned heartily. She had missed her parents. Then while Dan gave Harry a quick manly hug and then shook his hand, Emma squeezed Hermione in a loving manner, making up for her perceived slight.
"Wow Harry! You're looking really nice," said Emma with a big smile. Hermione gave Harry a knowing look. Harry blushed.
Hermione cleared her throat to get her mum's attention.
"It was actually Harry's idea to prepare dinner for you. I only peeled and cut up the potatoes, Harry did everything else. He has this chicken dish he prepared and it smells delicious."
"It looks like we have about 10 minutes before it's ready," declared Harry. "I just put the bread in the oven. If Hermione will start setting the table, I'll mash up the potatoes and make sure the vegetables and chicken or on schedule."
"I can help, Harry," offered Emma.
"No, no Emma. You and Dan get comfortable, put away your stuff, change clothes, whatever you need to do, and then join us at the table in about 10 to 15 minutes."
Harry bustled Dan and Emma out of the kitchen and then noticed a smiling Hermione.
"Thank you Harry."
"You're welcome Hermione. I love Dan and Emma and don't mind doing this for them. By the way, I love you too Sis."
"I love you too, Harry"
Hermione set the table and Harry mashed the potatoes. The chicken was done on time and the vegetables were perfect. The soup on the chicken served as a good gravy for the mashed potatoes. Harry also pulled out the wheat rolls he had put in the oven 10 minutes ago. Everything was ready so he brought it all to the table with a warming charm so none of it would get cold.
While they ate Harry and Hermione filled Dan and Emma in about their year and what happened at the Ministry a few days ago. Hermione was reluctant at first but Harry convinced her to be honest with her parents about it, trusting they would understand. They were pleased at Harry's ability to heal and protect their daughter. They were equally surprised at what he did for Ron and the possibility of helping Neville's parents who haven't been themselves for many years.
They looked at Harry and Hermione closely and questioned if they were seeing each other but after much laughter from the two teenagers and their explanation of being not just best friends but like a brother and sister, they understood.
After a very hearty and tasty meal that everyone enjoyed, along with good conversation, Harry explained he still had some things to take care of so would need to be going. Harry waved his hand and all the dishes went to the kitchen and began washing themselves. Another wave of the hand and the table was clean and shiny. Then after hugs all around and Hermione making him promise that he would teach her how to apparate soon, Harry left to go back to Potter Place. He used his watch and uttered "Legends of Potter."
Back at Potter Place Harry asked Mattie if everyone could make it. She affirmed that all of them could.
"Sirius and Remus will be here any minute," said Mattie. "Where are we meeting?"
"I think the Training Room would be best. There's plenty of room and plenty of portraits to use. Can you get Leru to prepare tea and snacks for the meeting?"
"Certainly Harry. I'll bring both when Sirius and Remus arrive."
"Thank you Mattie. I'll inform Grandpa, Grandma, and Simon that I'm back and then head over to the Training Room."
After Harry stopped by the Study and the Library, he went to the Training Room where Simon, Henry, and Elizabeth met him there in individual portraits of their own.
Harry told them about his lovely dinner with the Grangers while they waited. Mattie, Sirius, and Remus came in somewhere in the middle of that story.
Harry said hello to Sirius and Remus, giving them both a hug.
"What's up kiddo?" asked Sirius.
"I have some pretty important stuff to tell you guys. I will need to get through the background information first before we get into the important stuff. Just bear with me."
Harry began filling them in about what happened at the Ministry, his friends' injuries that he healed, Ron's problem that he eventually healed, Dolohov's mistake, and the potential healing of Neville's parents that was planned. They were all shocked at that and wondered if Harry knew how really big this was to the healing community, especially if he was successful helping Frank and Alice but they did not interrupt.
"I also had a meeting with Dumbledore that night and this brings us to the important part and why I wanted you all here."
Everyone sat up straighter and wondered at the serious tone Harry now used.
"Dumbledore told me two secrets that night and you must all promise me right now that you will keep these secrets for me and tell no one."
They all promised.
"Good. The first secret he revealed is that there is a prophecy about Voldemort and me. I have the orb from the Room of Prophecy with me so I'll play it for you." Harry took out the shrunken orb from his pocket and expanded it back to normal size. "This prophecy was given by Professor Trelawney to Professor Dumbledore before I was born. At first, when it was given, it could have been either Neville or me but after Voldemort attacked me that night, there was no more question who it referred to. They then updated the label on the orb to put in my name. I will play it for you now."
Harry tapped the orb and watched as his family and friends became shocked over what they heard. They were all speechless when it was done.
"As you can see from my scar, it is quite evident that Voldemort marked me and now it is up to me and me alone to finally defeat him."
"You will not have to do this by yourself Harry," said Remus.
"No, kiddo you will have us there to help you every step of the way," added Sirius.
"I realize that I'll likely need help getting to him but in the end it will come down to either him or me. I know this. That's why he's constantly after me but I will take him down."
Everyone just looked at Harry without saying a word. There was steel in that young man and power just radiated off him.
"Unfortunately, I have worse news to share," added Harry.
They all looked at him, worried at what else he could hit them with. This was bad enough, but more? What could be worse?
"The Professor also shared with me how Voldemort was able to come back after he was hit by the Killing Curse he cast at me. You see he used horcruxes."
"I was afraid of that," said Simon.
"The diary that I destroyed in the Chamber of Secrets when I rescued Ginny in my second year was a horcrux. Dumbledore believes he may have as many as seven."
"Seven?" questioned Henry. "Then that mad man would be pure evil."
"Pardon me," interrupted Remus, "but could someone explain what a horcrux is?"
"Dumbledore told me that a horcrux is a powerful object that a dark wizard or witch hides a fragment of his or her soul in as a means of obtaining immortality. While a part of your soul is anchored in this object, your body can be destroyed but your soul will be anchored to the Earth. He also told me that you have to commit murder to create one. Murder is how you fragment your soul. It's very dark magic."
"Oh my word, Harry," replied Remus.
"So, you see Voldemort can't be finally defeated and removed from this plane of existence until all of his horcruxes have been destroyed. This brings me to my next dilemma… you see… I am a horcrux."
Pandemonium broke out in the Training Room. Mattie and Elizabeth were crying. Remus was in shock. Sirius was beside himself. Henry was obviously racking his brain for an answer. However, Simon was calmly sitting there looking a little smug.
"Wait, wait, wait Harry," said Sirius. "How do you know you're a horcrux?"
"It's my scar. Whenever he's near it hurts like crazy. I have also highly developed both Occlumency and Legilimency skills. No one can penetrate my mind, not even Dumbledore or Snape. However, Voldemort can and he can be miles and miles away. He can do that because we have a connection. I have a part of his soul in me."
"This just can't be," said Sirius hopelessly.
"Everyone please calm down," announced Simon over the noise. "Harry will not have to die to get rid of the horcrux. I happen to know someone special who can remove it without any real harm to Harry."
All the noise in the room stopped.
"I was wondering, Simon, why you looked so smug," replied Harry.
"Indeed. Pack your bags Harry. You're going to America…."