Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Home0 Reviews
The war is over, his battles have been fought, and he has to go home. But first, there is one last thing he wants to do.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JK.
A/N: I wrote this story for a dear friend of mine, as a birthday gift :) Happy birthday, Ham, and may you have a magical life :)
A/N2: Thanks to LunaMoon224 for betaing this :)
Harry appeared with a soft, almost inaudible pop. He was dressed in black Muggle jeans that were ripped in several places, showing minor scratches. The lower part of his left leg was stained, and he winced every time he stepped. His dark brown shirt was torn in several places, exposing pale, bruised skin. A cloak that was little more than tatters hung on his frame, moving in the cutting autumn wind.
Yet despite all that, despite the fact that his walk was little more than a shuffle, he looked triumphant. A victorious glint was in his eyes, stating clearly that he had fought against overwhelming odds, and that he had won.
Walking slowly, he went towards the gate to Hogwarts. The pack he carried on his back messed with his balance, and he shifted it as he arrived at the large, imposing gates. After a quick glance at the boars decorating the tall arch, he pushed on the gate, which swung open with a slow, dragged-out creak that echoed in the air, sending shivers down his back.
He waited for a few moments, catching his breath, before walking on. The castle loomed ahead of him in the distance, silhouetted against the setting sun. He glared half-heartedly at the sun. It meant he had to hurry so he could be home before nightfall.
At one time, home had meant number four, Privet Drive. He had hated every moment there, where he was treated like a slave, up until his first year at Hogwarts. It had improved a bit after that... but it wasn't home anymore.
Hogwarts had become home, with its moving staircases, talking portraits and so many secret rooms and passages that nobody knew them all. He had come to love the ancient stones, the always-burning fireplaces, the doors that only opened on Tuesdays, between one and three PM, the ghosts hovering through the walls, the continuous sounds of life.
Hogwarts had seen some of the best moments in his life, and some of the worst.
Home had a different meaning for him. He had discovered it only today, while fighting Voldemort. Ironically, his greatest enemy had taught him the greatest lesson. His lips curled into a bitter smile at the thought of the battle, and he unconsciously shifted the pack on his back, feeling the somewhat reassuring weight of the objects inside.
He made an effort to move faster, despite the pain it caused him. She knew where he was, but she would worry if he were late. Not to mention the fact that everybody would be waiting for him. He had just won the war, after all. She had known what he was going to do, and had helped him, on the condition that he return directly to her after that; a condition he was more than happy to agree to.
He gave a pained smile as he walked off the path leading to the castle. He would not be going there today. His destination was different today. He paused to give his injured leg a break and surveyed the land ahead of him. The familiar landmarks were all in place, all left untouched by the war. The Quidditch pitch, bleachers and hoops barely visible in the red light from the sun; the large expanse of the lake, rippling from the movements of the creatures dwelling in it; the stilled branches of the Whomping Willow, right at the edge of the Forbidden Forest, now cloaked in shadows.
With a sigh, he forced himself into movement once again. He was not going to be late. To keep his mind off the pain in his leg, he focused his gaze on his goal.
A white monument, marking the resting place of one of the greatest men that had ever lived. It was clearly visible, even through the long shadows cast by the castle, outlined against the silvery surface of the lake.
By the time he reached it, he was surrounded by almost complete darkness. He muttered a curse and sent a message Patronus, letting her know that he was okay and would be home later. He didn't get a reply, but wasn't expecting one. She knew him, she knew that he needed to do this.
He let himself fall ungracefully on the grass next to the tomb, facing the white monument. He leaned back a bit, letting the white stone fill his line of sight, drinking it in. After a few minutes, he breathed deeply and brought his pack on front of him. He reached in, and before puling anything out, glanced at a scribbled inscription made close to the base of the tomb, almost hidden by the grass.
Rest in peace,
Mentor and Friend.
Your death shall not be in vain
"It's curious, how much that inscription has changed my life," Harry said, taking a worn and blackened cup out of the bag. The cup had obviously taken a severe beating, because it was bent and looked as if somebody had attempted to drink lava out of it.
Setting the cup on the ground in front of him, Harry addressed the tomb once again. "I made the inscription two weeks after the term ended. I spent the time you asked at the Dursleys, and we parted on more or less amiable terms. Aunt Petunia even hugged me when I said I'm not going to ever come back. Dudley shook my hand, too. He was trying to break my bones, but the gesture is the same." Harry grinned at the memory of Dudley narrowing his small eyes in calculation and shaking Harry's hand. Fortunately for Harry, he was able to ignore the considerable pain and just smile and nod. Fortunately for Harry's hand, Hermione knew a lot of healing spells.
"You know, I didn't want to take them with me, at first. Ron and Hermione, I mean. Sure, it felt great to have company, and they helped me a lot right at first, but whenever something really dangerous happened, I wanted to make them stay back, to let me go on alone. Not that they ever agreed. Ron just glared at me while Hermione ignored me. She even silenced me once!" Harry finished in mock-outrage. His eyes weren't seeing the tomb anymore; they saw the events of the past year. After a few moments of contemplation, he shook himself and looked at his surroundings.
"This one was the first we found," Harry said, pointing at the cup. "It took us three months of careful investigation, and more than a few hours spent in a Pensieve to figure out where it was." He sighed, remembering the nights filled with arguments, with frustration, the many times Hermione had been close to tears, the hours spent looking at the same memory over and over again, taking notes over notes. "But we did it. It was right after the Hogwarts term began, actually. Ginny had this huge argument with Mrs. Weasley over it, and she said something that made Hermione shriek and hug Ginny." It had also stopped the brewing row, as Hermione, Ron and Harry ran off to Harry's room and hid behind Silencing charms to discuss Hermione's discovery.
"It was in Little Hangleton, in the Riddle Manor, hidden in an invisible cupboard. We surveyed the house for a few days, then moved in and looked for the Horcrux. When we found it, I felt - happy. It was as if somebody was looking down at me with pride, and I knew that if you'd been there, you would have been proud of me. Of us. Ron and Hermione have helped me more than they could ever understand."
Harry was silent again, rummaging in the bag, blinking away the tears that had came forth at the memory of that fateful night. Ron had almost died that night, foolishly casting a Reducto spell at the goblet after they had taken it out. The goblet had glowed, and then shot a sickly green beam at him. If it hadn't been for Harry's quick intervention, Ron would be missing his head. As it was, he was merely missing two fingers and had a very scarred, but perfectly functioning, wand hand.
"I destroyed that one, and it was the strangest thing I ever did. When I took it in my hands, against Hermione's advice, I felt the magic in it. Somehow, I sensed the bit of Voldemort clinging to the cup. And I-" he broke off and looked away from the tomb, as if afraid to say the words. Afraid to face them.
"I cast the Killing Curse at the cup," he said suddenly, looking at the tomb bravely, with a hint of defiance, of rebellion in his eyes. After getting no reaction except for the hoot of an owl in the nearby forest, his shoulders sagged and he exhaled loudly. "It killed the bit of Voldemort in the cup, of course. With that gone, the protections on the cup were gone as well. When the magical backslash cleared, it looked like that," he nodded towards the cup.
"After that, we ran to the burrow, and Mrs. Weasley was there, and she treated Ron." He fiddled with the broken, stained diary that was now in his hands, before setting it on the grass, next to the cup. "We found that on the body of a Death Eater that died in a fight at the Ministry. His identity is still unknown, but I was allowed to take this. You, of course, know how that one was destroyed."
Again, he was silent, his mind echoing the things he hadn't said. Remus had almost died in that attack, as well as Mr. Weasley. Percy had saved his father, and was now recovering from the curse he had withstood. The healers were optimistic that he would make a full recovery, and from the way the twins spoke about him, Harry was certain the healers were right.
"Ginny was there too. It proves that Hogwarts was open only a couple of weeks. A fight broke out inside the castle, and several students were severely injured. After that, Prof- Headmistress McGonagall had no choice but to close the castle." He smiled sadly at the memory of Ginny, barreling down the stairs with her wand in hand, threatening him that if he didn't take her with them, she'd curse him so bad he wouldn't be able to move until he was an old man. She hadn't been angry... well not that angry. She was afraid, and after the things that had happened at the school, she wanted to be a part of the fight too. /"I want it over," /she had said, bowing her head to hide her tear-filled eyes.
"She didn't come with us, you know," Harry said as if the tomb had reprimanded him for that exact reason. "It took a bit of convincing, and a fair bit of dueling, but we managed to convince her that she was needed where she was. So she stood at the Burrow, and we stopped there every now and then, giving her progress reports, and taking the potions she was brewing for us."
He smirked slightly. "You would have enjoyed the day Ron was healed and we were on our way again. All the time we spent there, we included Ginny in our conversations, telling her as much as we could without mentioning what exactly we were searching for. So, when we left, Mrs. Weasley prepared a basket of food for Ginny to take with her." Harry stopped talking for a moment, mentally reliving the scene. "Mrs. Weasley was just standing there, in the door of her kitchen, holding the basket out, looking at us with a forlorn expression on her face. We said our goodbyes to her, and then Ginny turned to us, winked and said goodbye, returning next to her Mum." Harry stopped there, reaching into the bag once again.
He didn't say more, but in his mind, he could see Mrs. Weasley's tearing eyes and longing expression, seeing those she loved most walk away to war. He knew that she hated being alone, and if Ginny left, she would be alone. It had been what had convinced Ginny to stay. When Ginny said her goodbyes - a tight hug for Hermione, a hug and a kiss on the cheek for Ron, and a very tight hug a chaste peck on the lips for Harry - Molly had looked at all of them with so much love in her eyes Harry had had to fight back to urge to stay.
"Marvolo's ring is, of course, destroyed, and only you know where it is," he said while digging in the bag. "That one is the only Horcrux I don't have here. Now where did I put - Ah! Here it is!" he exclaimed, pulling out an ancient-looking diadem. It was silver, blackened with age, and had bright, white diamonds forming a stylised bird on the front. The eyes of the raven had once been beautiful, deep blue gems, but were now cracked and blackened.
Harry ran his hand over the gems for a moment, eyes closed, before he put it on the ground, next to the rest of the former Horcruxes. "That one was the easiest to find," he said. "Such a relic is priceless, and people would be desperate to have it. Desperate enough to pay dozens of men to go to their certain deaths to find it." He chuckled at the memory of the fat old Squib who had owned the diadem. "A Squib had it, after paying more than twenty men to go after it. They bypassed Tom's traps, sometimes at the cost of their lives, and gave him the diadem. And more than half of them were Muggles. Tom wasn't happy about that. Anyway, after a bit of convincing, and a lot of haggling, Hermione managed to convince him to sell it to us, and I spent a large amount of Galleons on it. But we had it, and we put it aside. We were going to study each object thoroughly before attempting to remove the soul part from it. We did not want to risk anything, not again. Of course, it didn't go quite as planned."
After buying the diadem, they had returned to the Burrow. To Harry, bringing such a foul item into the Weasley home seemed a mistake, but he wanted to rest for a bit, before hunting for Slytherin's locket. He'd been right. Pushed by curiosity, Ginny had broken past their safety spells and saw the diadem. The moment her hands touched it, she was pulled in a trance, and was about to put the diadem on her head when Harry burst into the room.
Ginny had recovered just fine, and after making sure she was okay, Harry and Ron flew to the Weasley orchard and sent one killing curse each at the diadem. After they'd come back, their expressions telling Hermione what had happened, Harry pulled Ginny away for a quiet chat. He explained that if she ever did something like that, he'd never speak to her again.
He smiled at the images that thought summoned.
"Sit," he snapped at her, indicating the bench near the pond. Surprised by his tone, she sat, a meek expression on her face.
He began to pace, in front of the bench, running his hand through his hair every now and then, muttering about 'irresponsible witches' and 'lunatic genes running in the family'. After a few minutes of that, Ginny finally had enough.
"Bloody hell, Harry, calm down! It was just a piece of jewelry!" The moment her last words left her mouth she knew that it had been the wrong - the worst - thing to say.
"Jewelry?!" Harry exploded. "Jewelry doesn't make people go into a trance, Ginny! Jewelry doesn't possess people!" She had gasped at that. "Jewelry doesn't have a piece of the darkest soul in existence in it!"
He stopped in front of her and leaned close so he could catch her gaze. She looked guilty, and a bit afraid. "Ginevra Molly Weasley, if you ever do such a stupid thing again, I will never speak to you."
With that, he turned, attempting to leave. His plan was foiled by Ginny trying to hex him. His reflexes kicked in, and in less then ten seconds, Ginny was petrified and bound with thick ropes. He briefly considered leaving her there, but this was Ginny, the girl who had been his girlfriend, who understood him better than anybody else. It was sweet Ginevra, who could make his day brighter simply by smiling at him. And she was a Weasley, which accounted for her lack of temper control.
He approached her once again and raised a hand to her face, easing a lock of her hair behind her ear. "Ginny, please, listen to me. I don't want you to be hurt, and you can't help me in what I'm doing. Not by coming with me, or by looking through my things while I'm out. Ron nearly lost his life once. I don't want other members of your family to be hurt. Please."
He'd ended the charms and left, hoping that he hadn't said too much, and hoping that she would listen.
She had listened, and was back to her cheerful self by the time she returned to the house. She didn't enter Harry's room unattended after that, much to Harry's relief. It wasn't just the fact that he had dangerous objects in there. He also had, as a "gift" from Ron, he suspected, a carved heart in the headboard of the bed, with the letter HJP and GMW in it. So far, only hiding it with a pillow or blanket or something like that helped in covering it. He had tried several spells, even attempting to modify the carving, but nothing had worked. He suspected Hermione was involved as well.
He dug into his pack again, this time finding what he needed immediately. He pulled out a heavy golden locket, decorated with an S. It wasn't damaged past what time had done, but the place it should have opened was melted shut, only a line remaining. Harry threw it next to the other Horcruxes.
"After destroying the diadem, we had to find the locket. Hermione had a suspicion, and as it usually happened, she was right. The locket had been at Grimmauld Place all that time. RAB, he was actually Regulus Black, Sirius' brother, you know. Anyway, he had already destroyed the locket. We didn't go there for the locket, since Death Eaters probably watched it, and I really wanted to avoid the place. Instead, I had Kreacher fetch it."
Hermione hadn't been happy to learn about Kreacher being owned by Harry, but she wasn't willing to set him free, not after hearing some of the new additions to his vocabulary. Instead, in true Gryffindor spirit, she ignored the problem.
"When the elf was back with the locket, we examined it, and found that it was safe. There were traces of Dark Magic on it, but it was obviously no longer a Horcrux. We focused on Nagini after that. We knew that to kill Nagini would mean getting close to Voldemort, so it would have to be done during a confrontation between the two of us. We made plans after plans..." he trailed off, deep in thought.
"But those plans were mostly useless. Voldemort somehow found out about his Horcruxes, and attacked the Burrow." Luckily for the Light side, it had been in the middle of an Order meeting.
"The battle went pretty much as Ron had expected. The Death Eaters attacked in groups of three, two shielding and one casting curses. The Order had planned to fight in pairs, and it worked pretty well. The sides were evenly matched, with losses occurring on both sides."
Harry had gone straight to Malfoy Manor, along with Ron. "You were right to trust Snape, Professor. He was on our side, and he really showed it in the end. He told me where Nagini was, since Voldemort hadn't taken her with him for the battle."
Nagini hadn't fought back. She was in one of the rooms of the Manor, behind powerful locking charms. Harry and Ron had a few moments of fun blasting apart the wall next to the door. One of their blasts went through, hitting Nagini, wounding her mortally.
"We hit Nagini with a Reducto, and there was so much blood that I thought she was dead. I walked closer to her, and she bit me." Harry shuddered at the memory and moved his injured leg a bit. Fortunately, Nagini's wounds prevented her from using her venom, and she died with her fangs in Harry's leg.
He turned the pack upside down and two white fangs fell out. They were stained with blood, but were otherwise intact.
"After killing Nagini, we returned to the Burrow and joined the battle. While everybody fought, I sought out Tom, wanting to end it, once and for all. Ron, Hermione and Ginny were with me when I found him." They had helped him, then, keeping away the Death Eaters, sending their own spells towards Voldemort.
"Our wands locked again, and this time, Ron, Hermione and Ginny were locked in the cage with me. They helped me push the beads of light into Voldemort, and after the first one, more and more followed, until there was an explosion. The burrow was destroyed, and some of the men closest to the blast were injured badly, but most of them survived. It destroyed him, too." He lifted his bangs, showing his now scar-free forehead. "The Dark Marks are gone too, but almost all the Death Eaters were caught, including Wormtail. Sirius' name is cleared now, even if it's too late for him."
"You were right about love being the power he knew not. It was my love for my friends that gave me the strength to fight, and their love for me that enabled them to help me."
He ran his fingers through the grass, sighing. "I - miss you, Professor. I wish you would be there with me when I ask Mr. and Mrs. Weasley for their permission to marry Ginny. I wish you would be there for our wedding, and at the birth of our children. Twelve, if Trelawney is to be believed."
He silently wiped his eyes and stood, grimacing in pain as his legs protested his weight. He accio'd the Horcruxes in the pack, and then just stood staring at the white tomb. "Goodbye, Professor," he finally whispered, turning away towards the Hogwarts gates.
The walk was hard, because even with a lit wand, the ground was uneven and he almost fell several times. By the time he reached the gates he was breathing heavily and had tears of pain in his eyes. He passed through the large gates and leaned against them, closing his eyes. He couldn't Apparate yet, he had to focus his mind, and the pain was currently preventing that.
Suddenly, arms went around him, and a voice whispered in his ear. "I was worried about you," Ginny said, her breath tickling his ear. He nodded, knowing that he didn't have to explain to her why he had spent several hours conversing to the tomb of his former Headmaster. "Come on, we have to get you home or Mum will have kittens," she said after a few minutes of comfortable silence.
He smirked at her and tightened his arms around her lithe frame. With a pop, he vanished towards Grimmauld Place. It didn't matter where he was. If Ginny was there, he was home.