"Wake up! You have to get up, now, there can't possibly be much time left, hurry!"
Bleary green eyes opened, Harry's consciousness wading through the foggy world of of his subconsciousness. It helped that what yanked him out of the warm, pleasant dream-world was like a cold hand, wrapping icy fingers trough him and ensnaring his very soul. Shaking his head, Harry sat up, reaching over and tugging his glasses off of his nightstand, peering at the frazzled form of Daniel standing by his bed.
"There's something happening, which isn't at all reassuring. We have to go back down there, stop this thing at its source, and we-"
A loud crash, splintering wood shattering under a violent blow, followed by a shriek, cut off Daniel and making them both jump. A moaning howl, completely foreign and horrifying, sounded from the common room, sending ice running through Harry's veins. It sounded horribly familiar, and whatever new horror it happened to be, Harry did not want to meet it.
Harry didn't let himself think. He threw on his robes in a flurry of movement, quickly striding over to Seamus and Dean, who had just been roused by the noise, and motioned for them to be quiet. They stared at him curiously, and thankfully complied, further silenced by the ominous thumping coming up the stairs.
Harry grabbed his wand, not entirely sure if it would have any effect, and yanked a small, wooden chest out from under his bed. Seamus and Dean had gotten out of bed, both standing away from the door and looking just as frantic as he felt. Daniel flitted about, unsure what to do, or even if he knew what to do, he didn't know how to go about doing it. Finally, he nodded to himself and with furtive glance at Harry, vanished through the walls. Harry felt a sudden pang of betrayal, but then the more rational voice inside him said that the ghost had probably gone to get some help. Whatever hurt he did feel was silenced as his fingers grabbed hold of a soft, silt cloth at the same moment something slashed into the door.
Seamus jumped back with a small yelp, san shielding his head with his arms. Harry yanked the invisibility cloak out from the chest, scattering the clothes it had been buried over and throwing it around himself and the other two boys. Another crashing boom echoed through the room, and Harry turned around and suddenly felt frozen to the spot.
It looked nothing like the mentor, yet it gave off the same ominous, horrible fear and soul-sucking aura. It, loomed over everything, its towering figure menacing and sharp in its movements. Iron and brass bars sticking out form its legs and arms only added to its misshapen body, a large, rusted blade making up its hire left arm. A small clicking noise came from its…sliced in half, twisted face. It staggered into the room, bellowing its groaning cry.
Harry caught his breath and watched the deformed beast move about the room, his lungs starting to burn from being deprived. He wanted to get out of here, and he started to motion towards the door when Seamus let out a small, almost imperceptible breath.
The staggering, graceless monster leaped at them with a speed none of them could have expected. Harry tried to pull them away, using the cloak as a sort of rope, but the thing, the horrible monster swung its arm down, shredding the cloak and taring through Seamus' collarbone, blade cleaving through bone, sinews, veins, lungs-
It jerked the blade out of Seamus halfway down the length of his body, blood splattering from the cutter. Seamus might have been screamed. Instead of sound, bright red blood bubbled out of his lips, his eyes rolled up into his skull and he collapsed.
Dean screamed for the fallen boy, the noise jolting Harry back to the present. He tried to yell, "No, no, JUST RUN!", but the words caught in his throat as he quickly backed away from the horror.
The monster let out a low roar, lunging at the survivors. Harry's body seemed to move pout of some subconscious need to survive, his legs sprinting towards the exit, not daring to look back. Dean's scream hitched, accompanied by a sickening, dull thunk. Biting his lip, Harry plowed through the remnants of the broken door, torn cloak trailing behind him.
The stairs, all of the torches having been blown out, gaped before him, complete darkness full of waiting terrors. Harry didn't have time to contemplate Why or how. He sprinted down the steps, taking them two by two, cold fear spurring him onwards. Just around the corner, and he could-
The darkness suddenly sprang to life, just a few steps below him. Hands warped by decay and death reached for him, his brain screaming at Harry, screaming to please, "-let him go, not Harry, not my baby-"
His sight blurring, Harry collapsed, caught by the cold embrace of the dementor's arms. Something whisky trailed off of him and into the dementor's gaping maw, leaving behind a sickness of fear and despair. The screaming became louder, and Harry's measly armor of hope seemed to vanish, replaced by misery and her screaming, screaming becoming louder and louder as his consciousness faded…
-the feeling of a warm embrace, the feeling of mutual, comforting support and love in the face of all adversity-
Harry jolted, jerking away from the dementor and somehow finding the strength to push it away. It screeched at him, ready to pursue him. Harry ignored it, courage and something else, a certain protectiveness flooding his sense. He couldn't give up, wouldn't give up, not while she sill needed him. He needed to fight for her, his dear Haz-
"Hermione!" the thought struck him sideways, one that he couldn't claim as his own. It gave him strength, strength to push forward and find her and escape this place.
He leaped into the common room, feet stinging from the impact and skidding slightly on the rug, the colorful red and gold fabric bunching up in front of his feet. His legs slipped slightly, forcing Harry to windmill his arms slightly to keep balance. Even while staggering to regain balance, dashed over to the stairs leading to the girls' dorm. Gritting his teeth, he grabbed onto the rail and vaulted up the steps.
Just about halfway up, there was a roar behind him, one that sent the walls shuddering and Harry's heart leaped into his throat. Just as he pushed off another step, three things happened at once: one, Hermione appeared just ahead of him, her mouth open to scream something; two, the stairs slanted down and seemed to suddenly melt into the floor; and three, Harry suddenly found himself flailing as his feet slid out form under him.
His hands clutched onto the rail, which now seemed far too slick and well-worn to help anyone climb the stairs. His feet scrabbled for purchase, and he looked up just in time to brace for Hermione sliding towards him, screaming and kicking to stop her rapid descent. She slammed into him, grabbing at him as he desperately latched onto her with his right arm. They slid down the rail several feet before Hermine managed to ran the rail, pulling herself over and hooking onto the rail with her entire body for support.
The monster bellowed beneath them, and Hermione whimpered at the sound. Harry felt a flurry of anger at this, and he whispered, his voice harsh and breathy, "Don't worry, he's far too large to get up now."
Hermione looked at him, a wild, inexplicable fear in her aid brown eyes, and she opened her mouth to say something when a sharp, resonating crack, like someone snapping a large tree in one fell swoop, sounded from below them. Hermione squeaked something unintelligible, something that was quickly drowned out by another resounding crack, accompanied by shrill screams coming from the girls dormitory. Harry's stomach sank and knotted itself over onto itself.
"They're-they're like," Harry bit his lip, hating to make the connection, "house-elves, aren't they? The teleporting…"
Hermione made a choked sobbing noise and buried her head in his shoulder, trembling for a moment, taking a deep breath and steadying herself. She looked into his eyes, determination hardening them, and whispered, "We have to go down now, and run for it. The castle's under siege. We-we waited too long, and He t-"
Suddenly, the beast's bladed arm came down on them both, slicing through Hermione, who couldn't even scream, and sawing off his arm. In complete shock, the last sensation he knew was falling, falling down into the darkness that opened before him…
Pain lanced through his body, his shoulder feeling like a had rammed into it. An arm was wrapped around his body, and, panicked, Harry lashed out at it, attempting to beat back the attacker and escape. Every movement only seemed to tighten the grip of the monster, and Harry thought he was done for, slowly being strangled-
"Harry, would you quiet down? We're trying to get some sleep over here?" a grumpy Dean grumbled.
Wait, Dean? But wasn't he…
His goop encrusted eyes finally split open. It was still dark and barely visible without his glasses, but he could still make out the Gryffindor dorm. He had rolled off the large bed, and the "arm" that had strangled him was in fact the blanket that he'd partially dragged off of the bed when he fell. Feeling a bit embarrassed by the fall, Harry hastily untangled himself from the bedding and stood up with the blanket in hand. Still a bit shaken from that nightmare, he tossed the ruffled blanket onto the bed and prepared to follow suit when the hairs on the back of his neck rose, followed by a soft, hurried voice whispered in his ear, "Harry, we have to do it now."
Harry took a deep breath and replied, "Sure, let me just die first of a heart attack and then we can both be ghosts"
Snatching his glasses off the table and shoving them onto his nose, he glared back at Daniel. The specter looked a bit embarrassed, his hands grabbing at his sleeves and twisting the ghostly material. Despite his twitching hands, his green eyes remained fixed on Harry, a weird determination there coupled with the long-lasting fear.
Harry got dressed in the dark, and headed down the stairs, with a groggy Dean muttering something at them that Harry didn't catch. The common room opened up before them, and it was oddly dark, with only one person seated on the couch. The dark figure stood up, and Harry saw that it was Hermione.
She looked pale and shaken, and her eyes kept darting towards the girls stairway, as though she elected something horrible to appear at any second. Daniel cleared his throat, and while she didn't start, she did turn sharply in their direction.
After Harry sat down next to her, Daniel floated out in front of them and began, "I know that it's rather late, and that we're still recovering from what that…creature did, but we have to act now. I think-" he hesitated for a moment, disgust and fear flashing over his face before continuing, "I've, er, I've been piecing together some of my memories, and while there are some that I would…that I would very much like to forget, I do know that we have to stop Him, now."
Hermione, her brow furrowed, asked, "Why? Why shouldn't we wait until Dumbledore can help us, or any of the other professors?"
"This man, You Know Who, was dead, right? Well, there's this artifact, a-an orb. It possesses some kind of terrific and terrible power, a power that drives men mad. I didn't…I still don't understand what it really is, but if You Know Who has it, and he knows how to use it, then we need to stop him, now."
Hermione opened her mouth to say something, then she hesitated and slowly nodded in agreement. Harry looked over at her and asked, "Do you have any idea what it is?"
Still hesitating, Hermione said, "Throughout history, there have been extremely powerful figures that have been depicted with strange, orb-like shapes close to them. All of them did end up going insane in the end, committing horrible acts of homicide of varying degree. I've really only read the rumors historians have written down about them, since anyone who got close to the orb holder would die."
Daniel nodded, a haunted look on his face. He opened his mouth to say something more, but a grimace flashed on his face before he could continue. Harry looked at him curiously, and the ghost quickly looked away.
Without meeting their eyes, Daniel murmured, "I think I know a way to get to that…whatever He is. Are you two ready?"
Harry looked at Hermione, seeing her frightened expression change into resolve. Harry stood up, and approached Daniel.
"We're already as we'll ever be."
They moved through Hogwarts as quietly as possible, yet every step echoed through the large halls, their breaths a cascade of airy explosions. Even though the invisibility cloak covered them, it seemed to only barely muffle the noise they made.
The air thickened as they moved down into the dungeons, an almost tangible cold wrapping around them as they followed Daniel down into the depths. Daniel stopped at a wall that oozed water and was covered in a slimy film of moss. He beckoned them closer, and Harry and Hermione stepped forward.
"I think we just need to touch this, here," the spectral figure whispered, the hushed voice slicing through the air. He motioned towards a single brick, no different than the ones surrounding it.
Harry reached for it, then stopped, curious about the way the ghost just knew.
"How do you know this is the key" he asked, eyeing the ghost.
Daniel looked surprised, glancing back at the wall and back at Harry.
You don't see it? I mean, er, well, it's, uh… I can se it glowing, in a faint blue color," he explained, looking back at the apparently glowing blue brick.
Harry squinted at the wall, as did Hermione beside him, but he couldn't see that it was any different from the other bricks set in the wall. He shook his head, and Daniel looked bait put out by that.
"I think this might be a port key. Harry, Daniel, are you prepared?"
Harry nodded, and Daniel did the same, but again not meeting their eyes. Hermione nodded back at them, and said, "Daniel, we have to touch this brick at the same time, or else one or more of us will be left behind. I don't know if port keys work on ghosts, though, so if you're left behind, you have to go get help, okay?"
Daniel nodded, and Hermione continued, "Alright, on the count of three."
Harry reached his hand forward, the others doing the same, placing it just a centimeter from the supposed port key.
"One…two…three!" Hermione nearly shouted, and Harry shot his hand forward.
There was a tugging sensation almost immediately, The world turned, lurching, swaying, moving space around and through him. When his feet finally landed on solid ground, his body was still twisting through space. He fell to his hands and knees and retched, barely noticing the gritty stones beneath his hands.
After he wiped the lie from his mouth, Harry looked around at the new, yet familiar area. From the crumbling brick walls covered in grime, which Hermione was currently leaning against, gasping, and the large, broken chamber they were in, Harry assumed that they'd landed in a castle.
Harry got to his knees, but before he could stand a pair of ghostly hands darted towards his shoulders. A cold chill wen through him, as Daniel's voice whispered harshly, "Quick! Quick! Get up before they notice us. We have t-"
A guttural growl interrupted the ghost, accompanied by a jolt of fear wrenching through him. Harry darted to his feet, ignoring the cramps that clutched at his stomach. Looking around frantically for the source of the growl, he realized belatedly that his lasses had fallen to the ground. He was about to make a mad grab for them when a hand grabbed onto his, and Hermione's voice in his ear whispering, "Come on!"
She dragged him forward, and Harry staggered along beside her. The growls grew louder, the snarls a terrifying sound that engulfed the room they were in. His heart punning in his ears, they ran, the harsh noise never abating for a moment.
The world was a blur around him. They dodged past fallen pillars and lumps of stone, frequently forced to climb over collapsed walls and backtrack when they hit dead ends. Daniel was their guide, urgently telling them to go down a tunnel or to avoid a certain path.
Once, they entered a large space that seemed to stretch out before them like a cathedral. Squinting, Harry could see a large spiral staircase set in the middle of the large space. He heard Hermione gasp beside him, halting slightly before continuing to run. Harry wished he could see what she gasped at, or even ask what it was, but he could barely catch his breath and there was no time. Even Daniel seemed horrified at the place, and Harry could hear him murmuring something that was between a curse and a prayer.
The brown walls blended together, and then Hermione gave a breathless cry, and Harry felt her arm jerk him downwards, and then they were falling. A gasp sounded above him for a split moment, and a chill went through his arm for a split moment and then there was nothing but air. With Hermione chanting something beside him and a pitiful wailing, a strange thought came to Harry.
"We're falling into the pits of H-"
And then they gently bumped onto the ground. Harry lay there, breathless and shuddering. Hermione sat up, and Harry could feel her trembling through the iron grip she still had on his arm and hear her shaky breathing. The growling was faint, but the sinking feeling of dread that gripped him tightened. Although he couldn't clearly make out the details, Harry saw that they were on a brick bridge of some sort. He felt the vast, heavy space that wrapped around and underneath the area, and looking over the side yielded what looked to be an infinite abyss.
Harry attempted to pull himself up using the railing, but the rocks crumbled beneath his hand, and he realized that the shaking was coming from the-
"Quick! We have to get to the chamber!" Daniel yelled at them.
Harry lurched to his feet, Hermione's hand snagged his arm, and they were sprinting again. The brick walls slammed and ground against each other as the bridge collapsed. Bits of the rock shot out and scraped against his legs, and once a crack in the bridge opened up before them which they barely managed to leap over.
Dimly, Harry could make out some sort of archway just ahead, and just as he squinted to get a better look, Hermione let out a yelp and disappeared. Her weight entirely on his arm, Harry collapsed to the ground, his shoulder nearly wrenched from its socket. Groaning, he managed to get his other arm out from under him and clasped it onto Hermione's arm and pulled. With a grunt, he managed to pull her out, and, still panting and sore, they leaped to the archway.
The rumbling quieted down to a dull thudding in the distance. Panting and exhausted, Harry found the nearest wall, put his back to it, and slid down the rough, cold surface. His right shoulder ached from being jolted, his legs felt numb, his chest burned from exertion and theres was a metallic taste in his mouth. He rubbed at his cheek, feeling the sting from where the grit in the bridge had bit into it.
Hermione came over and sat next to him, her breath hitched as she tried to regain it. After a few minutes of sitting there, Harry, somewhat recovered, noticed a certain electrified feel to the air. It was hard to place, but it almost felt like magic was throbbing through the chamber. He looked around and spotted a tunnel that seemed to be funneling the magic deeper into it.
"I-I bet th-that's where He's k-keeping the orb," Hermione gasped.
"Yes, I know that's where He's keeping it. That's where H-…Alexander kept it when I was here," Daniel growled vehemently, which made Harry jump slightly.
Hermione took a deep breath before saying, "Harry, can you sense Vo-Him anywhere near here? You know, with your scar?"
On reflex, Harry lifted a hand to his forehead. It felt… a bit clammy and his hand came back beaded with sweat, but otherwise he was fine. He shook his head "no".
Hermione nodded, turned around, and pushed her way into a standing position. Harry attempted to do the same, his legs aching in protest, and his knees wobbling like unhinged door clasps. His vision blackened and danced with blood, a wave of vertigo threatening to topple him again when Hermione cleared her throat and said, clearly and precisely, "Vigorare."
A white light beamed towards Harry, moving so quickly that he barely saw it. Right as it hit his body he felt a surge of energy that jolted him upright. The fear and despair that had clouded his mind lifted, and a million plans were rushing through his head.
He grinned at Hermione, who smiled briefly back before frowning and saying, "We have to be careful, as this spell can actually be addictive, like a drug. I…I got it out of the restricted section when I had permission to go there," she blushed lightly and looked away before shaking her head and continuing, "It only lasts for an hour and a half if you're lucky, and then all your previous exhaustion comes back thrice fold. A lot of people lose consciousness at that point, so we have to move, and fast."
"Let's go, then," Harry agreed, grabbing his wand from his robe and murmuring, "Lumiose."
With his wand glowing in front of them, they headed down the tunnel, electricity crackling at points as they went ahead. Daniel started floating closer to the wand as the darkness became deeper, and at one point he gave a gasp and darted away. Harry and Hermione stopped for a moment, and the ghost came floating back in a rush, babbling in a strange, inane language. After making eye contact with Harry, he quieted and focused again on the light. Unnerved, they continued their trek into the dark.
The light on the tip of his wand started to flicker just as the air thickened and a smell of blood, rotting meat, the acrid smell of smoke, and some sort of acid wafted the area.
"The Shadow!" Daniel yelped, pulling back and looking even paler.
Harry glanced at Hermione, and she returned the questioning gaze before directing it at Daniel and asking, "Daniel. what is The Shadow?"
The ghost gulped before he closed his eyes and whispered, "It doesn't have a physical form. It manifests as thick, red flesh that has strands of mucus-like tentacles that grab anything in reach and pull it apart. It…It followed me, after I stole the orb, and tore open anyone who I begged for help. It followed me here and after Alexander betrayed me it swallowed me in darkness. I remember being in immeasurable pain for a long time, and then this," he ended by gesturing to his ethereal body.
Hermione put in excitedly, "Do you think it's connected to the orb? Like a sort of Guardian?"
Daniel hesitated before giving a slow nod. Hermione nodded back, a hand going to her chin and a thoughtful look crossing her face.
"Did it ever occur to you to give the orb back?"
Daniel's eyes widened, and he opened his mouth to say something, closed it, and then put his face in his hands, slowly dragging them down his face. He was about to say something more when an unearthly howl shook the tunnel, followed by a blast of noxious fumes.
Hermione cried out over the noise, "I bet He has it locked down with magic. If we can release it, I think it'll go after him and the orb."
"Or it could swallow us and our souls would be trapped in an eternal cycle of agony," Daniel screamed back, his eyes roving about madly.
Harry gritted his teeth and ran towards the noise and the stench, Hermione and Daniel shouting at him to slow down. He figured that he had a plan, and if he could take out the…Voldemort wasn't even a man anymore. That vile creature who had once been Tom Riddle would die a death that would trap him forever in an endless cycle of pain, which seemed appropriately fitting to him.
His little light suddenly snuffed out, plunging everything into darkness. The terrible howling The Shadow kept up made it impossible for Harry to even hear his footfalls.
"It feels like I'm already inside It," he thought, just as a sharp pain pricked at his scalp.
Immediately, his body tensed in preparation to run, but he steeled his nerves and, hands touching the wall and reassuring him that he was still inside the tunnel and not inside The Shadow, he hurried forward.
The reverberating cries increased in decibels, the cries starting and stopping intermittently but continuously. A red glow appeared in the distance, and despite all of his senses screaming at him to turn back, his heart punning rapidly and his entire body quaking in fear, he ran towards the dull, distant and terrible light. His head pounded horribly as he neared the center, and quit suddenly his foot stepped in something that squelched beneath his sole and soaked his foot in something that oozed out.
His horror mounted as large, fleshy red coated the tunnel walls, pulsing and trembling with the cries of The Shadow. Just as Daniel described, strands of it reached out and tried to slap him, the pulsing bits bursting and sending stinging pieces flying through the air at him. Trying his best to ignore it, Harry leaped over the flesh and bolted deeper. It bit at his legs and threw bloody bits at his face, but it seemed almost preoccupied, the reaction delayed a few seconds after he arrived.
His feet pushed through a huge mound of The Shadow and suddenly he was blinded by a brilliant blue light, his eyes smarting from the adjustment from near complete darkness to light. The roaring, howling cry had reached an almost unbearable level, but now there was something else, a voice shouting and snarling out something, something that sounded like-
"Avada Kedavra! Imperius, damn you, die!" the voice shouted, a wave of green flying from-
-Harry realized who, no, what He was, the pain in his head driving him to his knees, but he managed to lift his trembling arm and-
-the man, no, demon, caught his spell just as th red flare reached him, slashing it away as though it was nothing. A snarl twisted His horrible features, the blue orb clutched in his long claws, and he raised his arm, mouth forming Harry's death sentence-
But He had forgotten about It. Harry's vision blurred and blocked out whatever form The Shadow took as It slashed at Voldemort, the creature that had ruined Harry's life crying out in animal pain, screaming as his body was torn apart, his very essence swallowed by The Shadow.
Instantly, the pain in his forehead vanished, and it felt as though a weight had been lifted from him, and Harry thought for an instant that he saw seven tiny shadows flit into The Shadow. He stood up just as Hermione and Daniel appeared in the tunnel, Hermione panting from her sprint and Daniel looking on nervously.
The Shadow let out a strange, contented, purr-like roar, its unfathomable and unseeable form wrapping around the orb. Harry watched, fascinated, as the form melted into the walls. It paused for a moment, suddenly seeming to notice the three of them standing there, and a body slid out from it and then it was gone.
Daniel gasped and darted over to the naked body, shock etched on his face at the sight. Harry hurried over, and noticed Hermione look away, blushing. He didn't understand why until he noticed that the corpse was completely nude.
Thankful that the pale body was at least lying on its stomach, he peered down at it with the ghost, seeing that it was a man with brown hair, a rather tall form, and he couldn't help but feel that it was vaguely familiar…
"It's…That's…That's me," Daniel's voice rang out in the chamber, and Harry realized that the corpse was the body of the ghost beside him.
A white glow emanated from Daniel, drawing Harry's eyes away from the corpse. The ghost smiled at him, and said, "I'm sorry for all the trouble I caused for you. Thank you so much for…for letting me have peace again. I-I have someone I haven't seen in a long time who really deserves better. I do have one more favor to ask of you. Would you mind…" he glanced at the body, "…giving me…no, it, a proper burial?"
Harry nodded, and Daniel beamed.
"Good-bye, Harry, Hermione. And please, take care."
The phantom floated up, and away from hem, and Harry could just see a young woman with hazel-colored eyes greeting the man before they both winked out of this plane of existence.
"Well, I guess I can levitate the body out. Do you think we can find Ron and that man who saved us?" Hermione asked.
Harry was about to answer, but a numb feeling quickly spread from his toes up his body. His legs gave out from under him, and the last thing he remembered was Hermione crying out, "Harry!"
Soft sheets and blankets encircled him, and he felt so comfortable tat the soft voice attempting to rouse him annoyed him to no end, even though he knew that the voice belonged to someone important, someone who shouldn't be ignored…
Harry bolted upright, nearly slamming into Dumbledore, who had been leaning close to him and calling his name. His body ached uncomfortably, especially his legs, which felt the most sore, but other than that everything was normal. He looked up at the elder wizard, who smiled at him kindly.
"So, Harry, how was your adventure?"
Harry blurted out hastily, "Did they find Ron and that man?"
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled, and he moved back slightly and there, on the bed beside him, was Ron, sleeping roughly. His body looked mangled, as though someone had rearranged his bones, and a wrap around his head hid most of his face, but he knew his best friend would recover. Another weight lifted off him, and Harry looked for the man, but he did not see anyone else, only a large, black dog sleeping at the foot of his bed.
The dog's fur had been shaved away, large strips of bandages wrapped around its chest and shoulders. It stirred slightly, and coal black eyes peered at him. Its tail thumped against the ground, and Dumbledore rumbled, "There was no other person found down there, but this dog was found being tortured to extract a substance called vitae. Voldemort used to do the same, as fear is a powerful substance, yet even he could not win with it, in the end."
The large, black dog grunted as he stood and padded over to Harry. Harry reached out a stroked his head, and the dog closed his eyes for a moment before looking at him again. He almost appeared to nod, and he glanced at Dumbledore before turning away and heading out the door. Harry felt a pang as the beast left, yet he didn't quite know why.
"Yes, I think that there is less fear is in the world now that Voldemort's gone. Oh, and the service is at noon today, and it will be held at the Hogsmeade graveyard. You have permission to go, if you wish."
Dumbledore gave a final nod and left. Harry watched as he went, and sighed. Sitting up, he stretched and grabbed his cleaned robe off the bedside stand, preparing himself to say good-bye to his friend.
They ended up finding Neville a day later, worn and exhausted but not hurt. He had apparently wandered off, sleep walking, and gotten lost. The Fat Lady promised to keep a better eye on things, as well as paying exceptional attention to wether or not anyone who left was actually awake.
Author's Note: Well, it's rather strange, finishing up a work in progress that's been so for...years. I do regret not working faster than this, and you can bet that I'll have any other story I work on in the future finished before I even think about posting the first chapter. Thanks for all of the reviews and favorites! I was always pleasantly surprised when I saw them in my inbox =)
Thanks again for reading this through, and I do apologize for the wait. I'm sorry if I disappointed anyone. That's what happens when a story goes stagnant for so long. I hope you have a wonderful day/afternoon/evening/night, and hopefully my next project will come out faster. Until then~