In the summer of 1996, Voldemort launches eleven attacks against the Muggle-born of Hogwarts while he leads an attack against Privet Drive. In the aftermath of the attack on Privet Drive, Harry i...
Thursday, July 25, 1996
Dumbledore had left a multi-use portkey with Hermione. They activated it at 9:00 am, and found themselves in a glade.
"Welcome, Master Harry, Miss Hermione," a voice said from behind them.
"Good morning, Toby," Harry said. "Where exactly are we?"
"Toby only knows magical places," the elf replied. "Toby only knows Potter Place is located near something called Offa's Dyke."
"The Welsh side," Hermione mused, looking around. "How large is the estate?"
"Manor is on island in stream, perhaps seventy-five yards across at the widest, and hundred-eighty yards long," the elf replied. Gesturing, he went on, "Woods are four by nines miles. To the west to the hills are magical tenants, including the one Master James gave to Mister Remus to use for his lifetime. Woods is also surrounded by magical tenants, but they changes to Muggle towards Godric's Hollow."
"Where's that?" Harry asked as they followed the elf down a twisting path, since he and Hermione would be visiting the site near the Hollow later on.
"Fifteen miles downstream," the elf answered. "Master James' cottage was this side of Godric's Hollow, maybe fourteen miles from the Manor."
"Would you know why my parents stayed at the cottage instead of the Manor?" Harry asked. "I would have thought some place like the Manor would be heavily charmed and warded."
Toby looked torn, looking at Harry and Hermione with agitation. "Is it a family secret?" Harry asked.
Toby nodded. Harry put an arm around Hermione's waist. "You may speak in front of Hermione," Harry said.
Toby smiled and bowed. "Thank you, Master." Hermione frowned, but said nothing. She had agreed to observe the elves, and not to argue with them. Yet. "The Charm used to hide the Master and his family would have interfered with the ancient wards of the Manor, or so Toby was told."
At that point, they came to the edge of the woods. Some ten yards away was a small stream, perhaps some six feet across and shallow enough to have a few rocks sticking above the swift current. The trio moved acorss the bridge.
Harry stopped just on the bridge. "Did you feel that?" Harry asked, excited.
"It was like I was pushing through a barrier of warm air, but air that was somehow solid," Hermione said.
"Really?" Harry said. "It felt like . . . like I walked through a barrier, and suddenly all the colors got just a touch brighter."
"The wards is recognizing the Blood of the Family, Master Harry," Toby said. "None other but those loyal to the House of Potter may enter, unless a member of the Master's Blood invites them."
"They would probably have been better off trusting to these wards than the Fidelius," Harry said. He looked up at the pile in front of him. "On the other hand, it's hard to imagine something this size as a home."
The Manor House of Potter Place consisted of nine structures connected together around a common courtyard, all on foundations, Toby informed them, dating back to at least the mid-1100s, although all the structures but one were newer than that. The main gatehouse, the stables, and the great hall dated from the early to mid-1200s. The oldest part was likely a stone structure, now mostly used for storage, that had held the medieval kitchen scullery, and elves' quarters. There were five residential parts of the structure. Two were from the late 1400s to mid-1500s, one was from the mid-1600s, and the final two were from the early and late 1800s respectively. Only the last structure had anything close to modern plumbing, for despite having been finished in 1896, the interior had been redone in the mid-1950s. The residential blocks were mostly commonly called by their dates.
There were many paintings, and Harry recognized some of them from his run-in with the Mirror of Erised in his first year. All the portraits welcomed him, and hoped he would be back soon. Hermione had been astounded to find five large libraries, all with several thousand volumes, and three museum/muniment rooms. Of course, both Harry and Hermione would both have acknowledged that astonishment was their main reaction to the Manor complex. Hermione, who had had a phase when she had been very interested in medieval stained glass, had almost swooned over the stained glass in the small chapel that made up the eastern end of the great hall. Harry had been impressed by the muniment room that held a collection of brooms, papers about Quidditch, and the prototypes of the first magical snitch, created by Bowman Wright, of nearby Godric's Hollow.
The portrait of Wright was pleased that Harry had heard of him. Wright, it turned out, was a cousin, and the then-head of the Potter family had been his patron.
Hermione and Harry had interrupted their tour to eat lunch in the kitchen with the elves, much to the elves' excitement and embarrassment. Finally, however, around 2:00, Harry and Hermione took out their portkey and left for the site of the Potters' cottage just outside of Godric's Hollow.
There really was not much to see. There were woods on the far side of the stream behind them, a country lane which looked as if it might have been paved for the first time only within the last year or two ran ahead of them, and there were orchards beyond the lane. A small two-lane road ran just on the other side of the village, which was less than a quarter mile away. They were standing in a small open field, with orchards on either side, and the tops of a few other cottages could just be seen.
"I guess there's not much to see," Harry said.
"No," Hermione agreed, "we might as well go home."
"But I have waiting here all day to welcome you back to where everything began," came a voice from the trees to their left.
Harry swiftly turned and placed himself in front of Hermione, his wand drawn.
"Are you going to introduce me to your friend, Harry?" Voldemort asked. Hermione, of course, needed no introduction. In the country sunlight, Voldemort looked horrendous. He looked like an alien out of a bad sci-fi movies, too reptilian to be believed.
But there was no doubt that he was real, and, Hermione and Harry saw, he was flanked by two other wizards: Severus Snape and Peter Pettigrew.
"I think she knows who and what you are, Tom," Harry said. Now that Voldemort had revealed himself, Harry had to fight to keep the pain from his scar under control. "Still, Tom Marvolo Riddle, or Lord Voldemort, former Head Boy, please meet Hermione Granger, future Head Girl."
"If I had know any Muggle-borns like you," Voldemort said, "I still would have hated Muggles, but perhaps my approach would have been slightly different."
Hermione said nothing, but made a slight bow to him.
"No offense," Harry said, "but I have to admit I never thought I'd see you out in the daylight."
"The sun does feel unpleasant to my current form, but that is a matter of little consequence," Voldemort answered. "With the proper inducement, many a creature of darkness may be seen during the day." He raised his left hand, and Harry and Hermione saw dozens of dementors start to gather at the edge of the trees.
"Is this all of them?" Harry asked, puzzled. "I thought there'd be a lot more than this."
"The dementors had an internal disagreement about following me, after giving up the assured if unsatisfactory meals of Azkaban. They had a short period of civil strife, where each side tried to eat the other. The winners decided to follow me."
"You're lucky the winners didn't decide to eat you," Harry retorted.
"They are not so foolish. They, the winners at least, know that I shall triumph in the end."
While Voldemort spoke, Harry had whispered to Hermione without turning his head, "If he and I both get a hex off, hold on to my belt."
"Right," she murmured back.
"So what next?" Harry asked Voldemort.
Voldemort whipped out his wand, shouting, "AVADA KEDAVRA!"
Harry shouted "Expecto Patronum!" at the same moment. The green flash hit the stag, which charged through the green light, dispursing it and crashing into and through Voldemort, making him scream in agony and knocking him back a few stops, but it did not make him fall. The stag's path had also recreated the magical connection between the wands as it disappeared into Voldemort. As the magical paths were created, Harry said, "Are you with me, Hermione?"
He felt a tug on his belt. "Show him how a great wizard really acts, Harry," Hermione said simply, but with total faith.
"I will," Harry promised, watching the cage of phoenix song form from their wands. "You're inside the lines of power?"
"I am, and it's beautiful," Hermione said, a bit in awe at the power being generated.
"Do you think this will save you, boy?" Voldemort demanded.
"Well, it's working so far," Harry retorted. "What about it, Peter? Ready to pay back your debt?"
"Debt? What 'debt'?" Pettigrew demanded as he stalked around the growing cage of phoenix song. "Yes, you stopped Sirius and Remus from killing me, but you wanted to feed me to the dementors! That hardly creates that powerful a debt, you know! As far as I'm concerned, I payed back all I owed when I tried to get the Master to use someone else's blood. That was far and beyond anything I needed to do."
While Pettigrew was continuing his shouting, Harry asked Hermione softly, "Can you reach the portkey?" This was a broken comb with most of the teeth missing, now in Harry's back pocket.
"If you can, pull it out and activate it when I tell you to."
"Only if we're both going."
Harry spoke to Snape next. "I suppose you're a lost cause, too, Professor?"
Snape, seeing what the pair was up to, gave vent to a three minute tirade.
"If you can get the portkey in your wand hand, touching the wand, then yes, we can both go," Harry hissed under Snape's harangue.
"Got it," Hermione murmured.
"No one and none of this will save you, Potter," Voldemort declared. "Either I shall break the connection this time, and kill you both, or you will break it, and my servants will stun you and feed you to the dementors." He ginned. "They long for you, Potter. They have wanted to feast upon you for years."
"Well, if they feed on happiness, they wouldn't get much out of you and your lot, would they?" Harry retorted.
Voldemort scowled. "You haven't won so easily this time, have you, boy? I'm not as weak as I was when I was first reborn!"
"Keep telling yourself that, Tom. I haven't tried." Harry wrinkled his nose in disgust. "Who was the last person you had the guts to kill yourself, Tom? Malfoy? I'd just as soon not see an echo of that prick."
"Ha!" Voldemort shouted. "Do you have anything to say before I kill you and your lover, boy?"
"Hermione, do you love me?"
"Yes, I love you, Harry."
"Would you like to see how much I love you?"
Hermione was a bit stumped at that, considering their situation, but said, "Ah . . . sure. . . ."
Voldemort took a deep breath to send a curse down the connection. "AVADA. . . ."
Harry was half a beat ahead of him, however, "Expecto Patronum!" Again, the stag shot down at Voldemort, even bigger and brighter than ever before. This time, it barreled through Voldemort, knocking him onto his back screaming in pain, and then turned and began to gore the evil sorcerer with its antlers, which also broke the cage of phoenix song.
"Portus!" Hermione shouted, and the pair disappeared.
The portkey took them back to Hermione's house. After she reset the wards, she called the minders' phone number and reported.
Moody and Remus were there in three minutes. Dumbledore was there in five. The couple repeated their story twice. Dumbledore then left them and returned with Shacklebolt and Tonks, and made them repeat the story a third time. Kingsley nodded, and he disapparated to lead a team to check on Godric's Hollow.
Waiting for Kingsley or Tonks to return, Dumbledore conjured them all some tea, and they sat around the Grangers' dining room table.
Harry was squirming the whole time, because of the looks he was getting.
"Is there a problem?" Remus asked.
"What? No," Harry said.
"Are you sure? Do you have an itch in, well, a delicate place or something?" Remus teased.
"Remus!" Dumbledore scolded.
"Why is everyone looking at me like you are?" Harry asked.
"Well, lad," Moody said, "I don't know about the others, but I am damned impressed. I was in two firefights in the first war where Voldemort fought. I . . . I just don't have the words to say how impressed I am with what you did."
"Should I ask what thought provided you with a Patronus like that?" Remus asked.
Harry placed his hand over Hermione's. "I wouldn't have thought I would need to tell any of you." Hermione put her head down to cover her blushes, her mane of hair covering her face.
"Miss Granger . . . Hermione," Dumbledore said kindly, "surely you don't object to what Harry said?"
"No, Headmaster," Hermione whispered, "but Harry and I are both . . . private people."
"I believe I can assure you that this information shall not be printed in The Prophet," Dumbledore said.
"I must say, I never would have thought about using a Patronus against Voldemort," Remus said. "It does make sense, since you at least can drive him with away with feelings of love, but I never would have thought of it."
"I have to confess that neither would I have," Dumbledore admitted, "and I should have. That was likely the only thing you could have used to beat this attack, Harry. Anything else may have resulted in your deaths. Well done."
"It drove him off," Harry said. "It may have even really hurt him, but I didn't destroy him, and that's what I have to learn to do. I have to destroy him; I have to kill him."
Moody placed a gnarled hand on Harry's shoulder. "We'll help you figure it out, lad, I promise."
Harry managed a smile. Hermione, despite the group at the table, put her arm around Harry and put her head on his shoulder. "I was impressed at how cool you were, Harry."
"You were, too," Harry pointed out.
"I just had to follow your directions and not panic," Hermione said dismissively.
"Tell me," Dumbledore asked her, "how did you feel when you first saw Voldemort?"
Hermione made a face. "Disgusted."
"You see a horrific being, knowing that it is a mass murderer, who wants you, your family, your friends, your world, and at the moment your boyfriend all dead, and all you can feel is disgusted? That says a lot about your courage."
"Hermione is only afraid of one or two things that I know of," Harry said, "and someone like Voldemort is not going to be one of them."
"I don't think I want to know," Hermione tried to growl, but she was smiling too much to pull it off. Harry leaned over and whispered in her ear, "Heights and a bad grade."
"Git," Hermione said.
"You both kept a cool head, and got yourselves out of the situation by thinking calmly and cooly. You both did well."
At that point, Shacklebolt and Tonks showed up with a shaken and bruised Snape between them. "Pettigrew?" Harry asked.
"He died under Crucio," Snape said. He had obviously suffered the same.
"It looked like a heart attack," Tonks put in as Snape nearly collapsed, closing his eyes in pain.
Hermione nudged Harry's shoulder. She jerked her chin at Snape, and then got up and went to the kitchen, making certain that she left the swinging door set to open.
"Thank you, Professor," Harry said to Snape.
Snape opened one eye. "For what, Mister Potter?"
"You picked up on what Hermione and I were doing, and covered for us perfectly."
"So I did. You are welcome. You both did moderately well. When you left, the Dark Lord was dizzy for several moments, perhaps three minutes. After, he was more furious than I had ever seen before, which is saying a great deal. Then he saw that your Patronus had totally scattered those dementors, and he went berserk, venting most of it on Pettigrew."
"Well, Pettigrew didn't help himself by admitting he had tried to influence his Master," Harry said.
"True. And I hope you do not feel guilty about this, Potter. Pettigrew shot his mouth off and refused to disapparate, either before or after your broke the connection. You gave him one last chance to switch sides, and he refused to take it."
Harry nodded as Hermione came back in with more tea for the adults, and a double shot of brandy for Snape. He eyed the glass, lifted the snifter and examined the liquid. He nodded. "Thank you, Miss Granger, and my compliments to yourfather's taste."
"Is there anything else you need to tell us before I take you to the Infirmary?" the Headmaster asked.
Snape held out his arm, and pulled up the sleeve. There was a large patch of raw flesh exposed, with no skin on it at all. "The Dark Lord said that he had no further use for me, unless I were to kill you or Potter here. I have no idea what his plans are, but I am certain you all know that he will be back. He has certainly not given up. He might attack tonight, he might launch a plot which takes years to materialize. There is no way to tell."
"That we do know, alas," Dumbledore agreed.
Neither Hermione nor anyone else told the Grangers about the end of their sightseeing trip. They did arrange for the Grangers to make a trip to Potter Place Saturday afternoon.
The teens spent Friday morning shopping for clothes and suitcases suitable to the trip to America, accompanied by Tonks and Remus. There were no reports of Voldemort by any of the Ministry or Order agents. It looked like the situation would be up in the air until Voldemort made his next move, unless they got lucky.
After returning to the Grangers, Harry and Hermione shooed the older couple away, promising to stay in and study.
"And what exactly are we going to be studying?" Harry asked with a tolerant smile as he chopped up a combination of greens, carrots, celery, tomato, walnuts, and a boiled egg into a salad for Hermione's lunch.
"I'll be right back," Hermione said. Harry shrugged and finished Hermione's salad, and then made himself a hot corned beef, egg, and melted Cheshire cheese sandwich.
Hermione swept into the room a few moments later, looking very nervous. She laid a large book face down on a far counter and picked up her salad and a glass of Bulgarian yogurt. "Study the section I marked with the green bookmark," Hermione said. "If you're interested, you can demonstrate after lunch. Then maybe I'll try the section I marked with the orange bookmark." She fled back upstairs.
"That was odd," Harry said aloud. He shrugged and finished building the sandwich, adding some sweet pickle relish he had found in the back of the fridge. Harry poured himself a large glass of milk, and then went over to retrieve the book. He swayed, a bit dizzy, when he saw it was a large, illustrated edition of The Joy of Sex. He tentatively opened to the green book mark. "Oh . . . ." he managed to say, nervously.
More than a little unnerved, Harry opened to the other bookmark. "Oh . . . Merlin," he whimpered.
He rushed through his lunch.