Even after Dobby's impromptu funeral, and the others had all retreated back inside, Harry couldn't drag himself away from the grave. As he sat there, staring at Dobby's tombstone, he kept reliving what he'd just gone through, trying to see how he could've saved his friend's life.
And then he was back at Malfoy Manor, marching up the path angrily.
'The boy is here, the boy is here!' he thought victoriously, blowing the ornate doors inwards with barely a flick of his wrist. Following the call of his mark into the one of the manor's many rooms, his servants bowed before him the moment he entered the room, just as he had taught them.
And yet… and yet there was no sign of the boy. His eyes flicked between each of them, trying to gain some glimmer of hope, only to be met with their fear.
"Where is the boy?" He hissed, desperate that he might be kept below, hidden alongside his wandmaker..
"My Lord…" Lucius started apologetically, drawing his attention.
"Yes, Lucius?" He drawled, the first hints of anger entering his voice.
"He… he managed to escape." Lucius said, giving off something that could have been a whimper and lowered his head even further.
"You let him escape, again? Are you getting slow in your old age, Lucius? What about you Bella? Do you need a lesson in why you do not let the Boy escape?!" He raged.
Once again, his servants had failed him. No matter how many servants he had, the boy would slip through his fingers, again, and again, and again. He drew some satisfaction from the fear he could still instil into a room, but he wanted the Boy.
"My Lord, he was aided by a house-elf -" Lucius began, only to be stopped by a glare.
"So all it took to beat you was one measly house-elf? I am… disappointed, Lucius? Perhaps I gave you too much credit, first you let the Boy and a group of teenagers slip through your fingers at the Ministry and now a boy and his elf prove too much for you." He sneered, disgusted by his servants' incompetence.
"My Lord, please forgive me!" Lucius cried.
"My forgiveness is not easily earned. Get up."
Lucius stood eagerly, only to fall back to the floor at his Lord's "Crucio!"
"My Lord that is not all…" Bellatrix said hesitantly.
"Speak." He demanded "But should you disappoint me…"
"I fear they have managed to break into my vault, my Lord. They had the sword of Gryffindor with them, my Lord. I stored it within my vault personally, and yet it was found with the boy…"
"They broke into your vault." He hissed, enraged. The image of a golden cup with the imprint of a badger on the side swimming before him.
'If the Boy had gotten into the vault, he could have gotten my cup too.' He thought, scared for the first time in a long time. If his Horcruxes had been discovered… 'No, no. He can't have known… But if the Boy can get into the vault once, then he could do it again. I must move my cup immediately, and find some other, safer, hiding spot for it.'
"Get up Bella, we must get to your vault immediately. Lucius, I shall deal with your… incompetence later!"
Abruptly, Harry was thrown out of Voldemort's head with a start. Frustratingly, he now knew exactly where the next Horcrux was, but it was already too late. He could feel it, Voldemort was already on his way to Gringotts. He ran from the grave and into Shell Cottage, he had to talk to Ron and Hermione.
Diagon Alley had changed considerably since he had first seen it, now under the Death Eaters control it was common to find witches and wizards huddled together in Diagon Alley. While the war had taken its toll on many muggle-borns or half-bloods, men and women from every walk of life littered the streets.
With Voldemort's followers unquestionable, anyone could find themselves out of job and house, for the smallest of reasons. Those in the Ministry who tried to intervene, soon found themselves joining them on the streets.
All the ministry was doing now was tracking and interrogating muggleborns, even the purebloods who supported the new goal of the ministry were forgotten and left on the streets.
Any witches or wizards that dared to shop at Diagon Alley hid behind large hoods and privacy spells, turning Diagon Alley into a facsimile of Knockturn alley, which was why it came as a surprise when two people apparated in the Alley without any such privacy. The outcasts and refugees learned forward to try and identify these individuals, it was obvious when they were identified as a wave seemed to pass through the crowd, they scampered away from the recently identified Lord Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange.
Voldemort did not notice the crowd and stormed forward with Bellatrix close at his heels, the crowd collectively drew their breath when a young man in rags ran towards Voldemort, foolishly accusing the Dark Lord of killing his family. Without breaking his stride, Voldemort waved his hand dismissively towards the man, sending him flying backwards.
The Dark Lord continued onwards towards the great doors of Gringotts, where the goblins on duty gripped their weapons tighter in anticipation, but it did them no good. Voldemort glanced at each and every one of them, once his gaze met a goblin they would fall over and lie motionless.
The goblins began to charge the Dark Lord but the last of the guards fell before they could reach the man. He carried on up the stairs and thrust his hand at the great doors of Gringotts, the doors were thrown open and the Dark Lord stormed inside, the moment he and Bella had crossed into the bank the doors slammed shut and what remained of the crowd fled.
"What do you mean you had another vision Harry? You were meant to shut them out!" Hermione cried once Harry had found her, still extremely weak from Bellatrix's 'care'.
"I know I am meant to shut them out, Hermione, but I didn't exactly have a choice!" Harry snapped.
"Look, all that matters is we now know where another of the Horcruxes is." Ron said, trying to prevent an argument between his two friends.
"Fat lot of good that does us, he's already left to retrieve it." Harry said, pacing the room angrily trying to release his anger that had been steadily building ever since leaving Xenophilius' home just a few short hours ago.
"If only we had more time." Hermione groaned, "It's just like third year all over again"
Harry stopped his pacing and stared at Hermione "What?" she asked worriedly
"Third Year!" Harry said, his anger forgotten.
"What? What about third year?" Ron asked.
"Oh! Of course! Harry, that's brilliant!"
"Will somebody tell me what the bloody hell's going on?" Ron said exasperated.
"Isn't it obvious, Ron? Time Turners!" Hermione said.
"What about them?"
"We can use one to go back to before he left to get the Horcrux." Hermione said excitedly
"Brilliant!... Except do you actually have a time turner?"
"Well… no." Hermione said, hanging her head.
"Well it's not like breaking into the Department of Mysteries is hard. What matters is what we do with it, seeing as we can't exactly walk up to Gringotts and say 'Excuse me could we have one Horcrux please.'" Ron said sarcastically.
Harry turned to the wall and imagined he could see through it "Do you reckon Griphook might help us?"
Ernie Paucy had been a hitwizard for several years now, with the new regime he had been put on guard duty at Gringotts, it was normally seen as a boring but easy job. That was until the Dark Lord himself strode in.
Voldemort and his servant marched up to a teller and demanded to be taken to Bellatrix's vault, the Lord spoke so loud everyone in the bank could hear him, but despite this the goblin seemed unimpressed.
Ernie couldn't hear what was said but Bellatrix handed over her wand and the goblin inspected it. With a nod the goblin handed it back and led the two out of the atrium, Ernie knew that standard protocol was to stop and confirm the identities of anyone using the bank but he valued his life too much to try and interrogate Voldemort.
'Besides' he thought 'Even if that wasn't you-know-who, I don't want to mess with someone who pretends to be you-know-who either.'
It came as a shock when not even half an hour later another Voldemort and Bellatrix stormed into the bank.
"And why should I help you, a wizard of no particular skill, break into what was once my home?" Griphook asked, baring his teeth.
"Because it's the right thing to do?" Ron said grumpily.
"Right thing for whom? Me and my people do not benefit from you stealing from us."
"What we need is the key to stopping you-know-who! Killing him will save thousands" Ron said angrily
"And why should we care? You wizards did not care when it was goblins dying and starving, why should we care when it's wizards dying instead?"
Ron opened his mouth to argue but Harry stepped in "Ron be quiet, please. Griphook, you should help us because… the Death Eaters being in charge is bad for business is it not? Barely anybody uses Gringotts at the moment. But if he were to be defeated, people would start using the bank again, right?"
Griphook stroked his chin and thought "You are correct in that the current wizard war is bad for business… But what guarantee do we have that you can do anything? You have had many years to stop him, and yet you did nothing. Why should we believe you are going to do something now?"
Harry saw Ron open his mouth again and used Draco's wand to silence him.
"I did not know what needed to be done before, I do now. With your help I can get something that belongs to him and then I can kill him. But don't think about what I'm going to be doing, think about yourself, 'the goblin that brought business back to Gringotts.'"
"I will require collateral before I agree to help you… it would not do for me to help you, only for you to fail. I will require something to pacify my people should your plan fail." Griphook said slowly.
"And what would you require?"
"Something that should belong to the goblins anyway, I require the sword."
"I'm sorry but I can't give you that, we also need it to stop him"
"Why?" Griphook said sharply.
"Because it is the only thing that can destroy what is in the vault."
"The only thing? If it is because of our perfected forging process then surely any other stolen goblin heirloom would work just as well?"
"In my second year the sword absorbed basilisk venom, making it unique..."
"Foolish wizard… the sword is not unique in having that venom, many goblin weapons have basilisk venom imbued into them at creation. But even if that was not so, surely you kept the remains of the basilisk?"
"Would the fangs still be venomous after all this time?"
Griphook rolled his eyes at Harry's ignorance "Why wouldn't they? The venom has no known counter, it will remain in the fangs for decades before it even begins to lose its potency."
Deep within the Ministry great bells were ringing, everyone within the ministry could hear them but few knew the significance of these bells. These great bells which had only rung twice since the very founding of the Ministry, the bells which indicated a break in at the department of mysteries.
Down in the depths, where the bells rang loudest the unspeakables searched their department, leaving doors wide open in their haste. Their human revealing charms did not reveal anyone but they knew that somebody had travelled into their department almost an hour ago and that they hadn't yet left by magical means.
The alarms were still ringing when an empty elevator came down. It was unusual, seeing as currently only someone with an Auror badge or higher could take an elevator down to the department. After a while the lift left, just as empty as when it had first arrived.
"Bill, do you still have a way to securely contact people within the Order?" Harry asked tentatively.
"I do… why?"
"I was wondering if you could ask Tonks to come over?"
"I'm not sure she will come, she's looking after Teddy."
"Who?" Ron asked.
"Oh, of course you wouldn't have heard, she gave birth almost a week ago. Teddy's their son, Edward Remus Lupin."
"She had the baby?" Hermione squealed excitedly.
"Please Bill, this is important… It's about stopping him."
Bill looked at him seriously and Harry held his gaze, eventually Bill nodded and said "I'll ask her to come over tomorrow then?"
"It'll be too late by then, she needs to get here as quickly as possible."
Bill sighed deeply "Alright, I'll ask her to come as quickly as possible and say you said it was urgent." He stepped into his room and locked the door behind him, a few moments later they heard someone apparate into the garden.
Harry rushed to the door and before it was fully open asked Tonks "Where did I first store my wand when we first met and what did Moody say about it?"
Tonks took a step back at the wand pointed at her and her hair rapidly changed from her normal purple to a dark yellow then to a soft blue. "Erm… you tried to put it in your back pocket and Mad-Eye said 'Don't put it there boy, plenty of people have blown their backsides off doing that.'"
Harry smiled gladly and put his wand down "Sorry, I just wanted to be sure."
Tonks nodded and then rushed forward to hug Harry, despite the fact he was now almost as tall as her she easily picked him up and spun him around "Thank you for sending Remus back to me. We named you godfather, you know?"
Harry took a moment to process what she said but once his head stopped spinning he managed to comprehend what Tonks had said "Thats… Wow… I'd be delighted to… I mean… thank you?"
Tonks chuckled at him before growing serious "Now what is so important that you called me away from my son?"
"We had better talk outside, I don't want us to be overheard." Eventually the four of them came to a stop near Dobby's grave. "So… We're looking for these dark… objects, with them Vol…. He can never die and one of them is in Bellatrix's vault."
"You called me here to say you need to break into Bellatrix's vault? Wait, do you want me to help you break in?"
"No… well actually yes but that comes later, see at the moment He already left for her vault and will be there long before we can. Once he gets there he will move this object to somewhere much more secured… as such we need to first break into the department of mysteries."
"Why would you want to break into the department? All they've got are dangerous experiments, the death arch and the time room… oh, you've gotta be kidding me, you want me to help you steal a time turner?"
Harry nodded, unsure of how Tonks would react "I wouldn't ask if it wasn't so serious"
"You do realise that if I get caught helping you then the best I can hope for is being kicked out of the aurors and sent to Azkaban right?"
"And if you don't help us then He will kill everyone."
Tonks sighed deeply, her hair shifting again before settling back into her normal purple
"Okay, what's the plan?"