The end of the journey for Johann, the return of a friend, and a truth that was hidden.
As they continued eastwards, Johann told Harry that the Giant had awoken around 2 am “He simply got up and limped away, back towards the mountains. Skreeyah is trailing him, keeping her eyes on its progress.”
As they loosened up and got back into the groove of walking, Harry began to ask about some of the spells used by Johann against the Giant. He was especially interested in how Johann had called down the shaft of blinding light.
“The light beam itself wasn't magical, Harry. If it had been, it most likely would have been resisted. No, what I did was to manipulate a small portion of the weather to form a lens from water in the atmosphere, that would bend, or refract, a portion of sunlight. At the same time, that lens focused the light into a beam.”
“I don't suppose that...”
“...I could show you how to do it?” Johann chuckled. “Sure, after about three years of advanced study.”
Not really expecting any other answer, Harry acknowledged Johann's reply,“Maybe some day I will take you up on that.”
Not expecting that answer, Johann proudly replied, “I'd be honored to teach you, Harry!”
Another hour of hiking, and with the barest lightening of the eastern sky above the mountain tops, they reached the base of the mountains. Johann called a stop to Harry. “This is as far as I am to travel with you on this journey, Harry.”
Harry was speechless.
Johann goes on to tell him that these mountains give shelter to numerous bands of Mountain Trolls who do not like to be disturbed, as well as groups of Mountain Lions. He also reminded Harry that there was a wounded Giant out there that Johann had a duty to track and follow, to find out where he had come from. There was also the slight possibility that a Death Eater may have sent that Giant out towards Hogwarts, as they had discussed. Harry acknowledged the truth in that, knowing how dangerous that would be, and that Johann took his responsibilities very seriously. Johann then told Harry it was too dangerous for Harry to go on hiking any further.
Harry looked at him quizzically, and before he could state the obvious, was told by Johann that the next part of his trip was by Portkey. Now thoroughly puzzled, Harry watched as Johann removed a medium sized, leather encased, bundle from within his jacket. Another red wax seal is affixed over the clasp of the leather flap. Johann breaks the seal and unrolls the protective leather cover. A disassembled musical woodwind instrument is revealed at last. Constructed of a beautiful, deep reddish brown wood, with gold and platinum metal parts. As Johann assembles it, it reminds Harry of a clarinet, in size, at least. A pair of curious clips is attached along the bottom of the instrument.
“Your wand, please, Harry,” asked Johann, holding his hand out.
“Ahh...” Now they made sense to Harry. He handed over his wand and watched as Johann attached the wand, using the clips, to the instrument. The fit was perfect.
Johann moved to an open spot, and facing the mountainside, began to play the instrument.
The crystal clear note that came forth wrenched at Harry's heart. Both Maulg and Kitch reared up silently on their rear legs, towering over Johann and Harry. They lifted their muzzles to the pre-dawn sky and began a mournful descant. Johann began to play a series of notes, which were soon revealed to be a dirge. Harry thought he knew whom it was for.
The song began to wind down. Both of the bears sat down slowly and then lay down on their stomachs. The mountain, the wind and the forest were completely silent for a moment. Then, from the mountainside above, came the reverberating echoes of a very familiar shrill warble. Spiraling downwards in the deep blue dawn sky over their heads, a beautiful, large, red plumed bird descended rapidly.
Heart pounding wildly, eyes already wet with unbelievable joy and suppressed sadness, Harry yelled upwards, “FAWWWKESSSS!”
Johann quickly caught Harry as he began to collapse, tears pouring out of his eyes. All Harry could do as his body became wracked with sobs of grief was to call out to Fawkes, the faithful pet and friend of the man he suddenly missed again, so much. Fawkes landed gently atop Harry's bent knee, calling out softly. Harry gathered himself and reached out to gently stroke the facial and neck feathers of the Phoenix. Harry spoke quietly, telling Fawkes how good it was to see him again. He told him how much he had missed him and how sorry he was for what had happened, almost as if he was confessing a mortal sin. Johann listened, gaining more insight into what had actually happened that day and evening, than from anything else he had seen or been told. He now truly understood the quality of Harry Potter and what his relationship with Albus Dumbledore truly meant to the young man.
Tears now calmed, Harry noticed the large golden coin held in Fawkes' left claw. As he reached out for it, Johann said, “Careful Harry, that is the Portkey!”
Harry pulled back from it. Fawkes released the coin and let it slide down Harry's leg to land in his lap.
“What do I do now, Johann?”
Johann stood and looked up to the stars overhead. He was watching, and waiting for, an alignment in the heavens of two stars that would bracket both Jupiter and Venus. The two bright planets were steadily closing in on their positions.
“There is still a few minutes until the alignment occurs.”
Harry looked up, It wasn't hard to spot Jupiter and Venus. “Guess Astronomy class actually paid off,” he thought to himself.
“Listen very closely, Harry. You will soon meet “One” that commands, and deserves, your deepest respect. I need to stress this heavily, Harry. You may, or may not, learn more about him; I don't know. That would be up to him and you.”
Fawkes reached down from his perch on Harry's knee and took the coin into his mouth. He then took wing, hovering above the two humans. Harry stood up, looking up at Fawkes. Fawkes resettled on Harry's shoulder, still holding the Portkey.
Johann then ran down a quick mental checklist with Harry, making sure he had what he needed, especially his wand.
“Time for quick good-byes, Harry!” Johann reached his arm out.
Harry clasped his forearm as Johann reciprocated. “Thank you so much, Johann. For everything. I've learned so much from you.” Harry's eyes held Johann's, showing him the emotions he would not express otherwise.
“You're a fine young man, Harry Potter! It's been my pleasure, I assure you.”
“Will I see you again?”
“I expect so; the wedding is coming up soon, I believe, and I have a strong sense that an invitation may already be on its way to me, once Errol finds me.”
Harry laughed heartily.
Johann looked up once again. “Be ready Harry. When I say 'now', touch the coin.”
They both looked up, seeing the alignment about to occur.
Harry placed his open hand beneath the head of Fawkes, expecting him to drop the Portkey into it at any moment. “Goodbye, Fawkes,” he gently whispered.
Fawkes, instead of dropping the Portkey, lowered his head, until the coin made physical contact with Harry's hand. The Portation charm activated. Harry and Fawkes rose up and spun about, out of the sight of Johann.
High on top of a mountain
When Harry stopped spinning, he and Fawkes were in free fall, above the ground. Expecting another painful meeting with the earth, he was startled when Fawkes deployed his wings and gently set them on the ground.
Harry was now standing on top of a broad mountain peak, encircled by what seemed to be the weather worn stones of some sort of ritualistic circle or ruins. As he stood in the chill of the mountain morning, the early light of dawn on the eastern horizon illuminated the undersides of the clouds, creating the illusion of a Phoenix afire. Harry gazed up as a chill ran down his spine. Fawkes softly cried in his ear. They both continued to watch the eastern sky until the sudden blast of a beam of golden sunshine crept over them, blinding Harry for a brief moment. Raising his arm to protect his eyes, his body turned to the left. It was then that he noticed an old man sitting upon a rock about five yards away, outside the ring of stones.
“It has been a long time since I have had a visitor,” said the Old man, in a somewhat crotchety voice.
“Pardon my intrusion, sir. I was brought here by...” Harry suddenly realized he did not know if he was talking to a Wizard or a Muggle.
“By a Portkey, yes, I know. I am not a Muggle, Squire Potter.”
“Squire?”Harry didn't know what to make of that. “Forgive me please, sir, for not introducing myself properly. As you seem to know, I am Harry Potter, and this is my friend, Fawkes.”
“I am well aware of who your friend is, Squire.” At this, Fawkes took flight from Harry's shoulder and flew off to perch upon a large rock, outside of the circle. “Considering it was I who gave him the Portkey to carry to you.”
Harry was quite speechless at this point. The elderly man in front of him wore a clean white tabard over a shimmering white robe, which reached to the ground. A simple metal link belt ran around his waist. There was a hint of a necklace under the tabard and metallic rings of all sorts adorned his fingers. His hair was long and snowy white, and though he had no beard from his chin, his mustache and muttonchop sideburns were very long and also white.
“Sit down,” he said, pointing to a suitable stone outside of the circle.
Harry did as he was instructed, remembering to say, “Thank you.”
“Now, tell Me all about your journey here.”
A strong compulsion came across Harry to do so. He began at the beginning, from the lawn outside of Hogwarts up until he had arrived here, wherever “here” was. Harry told all, everything about Johann and his friends, about his dreams and all about the combat with the Giant. As Harry finished, he was told to go ahead and retrieve his water bottle and some food, as it was now close to noon.
Harry ate with gusto, finishing off a bag of trail mix that he and Johann had mixed themselves from items gathered along the trail, along with some granola from Hagrid's cabin.
After lunch, the Old man began to ask pointed questions about several of Harry's exploits during his years at Hogwarts. Harry fond himself recalling details that he had completely forgotten about. Questions were asked of him that no one else had ever asked.
The only time Harry noticed any emotion from the Old man was when he spoke about his meeting with the Horntail Dragon during the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
The questions finally stopped sometime in the mid afternoon.
“Well I must say, Squire Potter, that everything Albus told Me seems to be true,” the Old man said. Looking up, gauging the time of day, the Old man apparently came to some inner conclusion. He stood up and walked serenely over to Harry, offering his hand. “My name is Aramys.”
Harry shook the offered hand, replying, “It's an honor to meet you, sir.”
Aramys released his hand, and sat down again on another stone, much closer to Harry.
“You do not know why you are here, Squire; I know this to be true. In fact, Squire Orbaen did not know either. The only two humans who have known of this place, and its purpose, besides that it is my home, are deceased now.” Aramys paused, as a cloud suddenly covered the sun, sending a chill through their bones. He blew some air out of his puckered lips towards the cloud and it moved away, returning the light and warmth of the sun.
Eyes wide in surprise, Harry couldn't believe what he had just seen. “He can move clouds?” He decided it would serve no purpose to bother to ask.
“Ah, wisdom from one your age is rare. You are quite correct, it would serve no purpose, Squire.”
This time, Harry could not help but exclaim, “S-sir, you can read my mind?” Sudden, bad thoughts of Snape and Voldemort using Legilimency against him came unbidden to his mind.
A dark frown crossed Aramys' mien, as he said, “Legilimency?Hah!” He started muttering about parlor tricks and human magic.
Then, dark frown gone, Aramys turned towards Harry, reaching up kindly to touch his forehead, tracing his smooth fingertip along the infamous scar. Harry realizes he is unable to move. There is no sense of danger or discomfort, but Harry can feel warmth as Aramys closes his eyes and begins to sift and skim through his memories with incredible ease.
Old memories, fragmented and long forgotten, are repaired and retrieved within Harry's mind. He can see his parents, clearly and in color, and hear them, laughing and talking. Their love for him warms his soul, healing deep wounds.
He could also remember that night, October 31st, when Voldemort came to kill him. He remembered hearing his Dad shouting a warning to his Mother. He heard the Curse of Death from Voldemort. He remembered hearing laughter from outside the room, then the voice, and face, of his mother, as she leaned over the crib, telling Harry that everything would be alright. He could see the door splinter open as Voldemort blasted his way through the charms that had been placed upon Harry's nursery door. He vividly recalled seeing the stuffed animals in his room become animate, throwing spells at Voldemort. They were not enough though. And finally, Harry watched his Mother interpose herself between Voldemort and the crib. Voldemort told her to move aside. She cried out and lunged for his wand. His Curse was aimed to kill Harry, but killed his Mother instead. Voldemort snarled and began to cast again. Green light enveloped Harry's sight. Then he watched as it rebound back to Voldemort, coursing up his wand, then his arm and torso. Harry saw the eyes of his parents' killer go dead.
A voice tells Harry to close his “eyes”; to close himself off to the memories.
Harry tries to do so, and is surprised when he succeeds, allowing the door to that part of his mind to close.
“Good, now open yourself and see the world as I do, Squire.”
With no hesitation, Harry looked within and focused on sensing Aramys. What he saw was an image of the Old man, outlined in a massive coronal aura of scintillating color and energy. He could feel as the energy irradiated his own body. Harry felt an urgent need to merge with the energy, and with Aramys. He crossed over, easily, and now stood in front of himself. Through the eyes of Aramys, he could see himself, pulsing with a bright aura, predominantly white and blue in color. He then felt the body he was within begin to step backwards. Suddenly, the body, his body, in front of him, began to shrink, or rather, his point of view was changing, now looking downwards, from a distance that grew. He felt no fear or anxiety, just a feeling of incredulity, and that something very special was moments away.
His point of view began to turn. Harry gazed at the surrounding vista in ultra-clear detail. He watched herds of deer as they ran across hillsides, leagues away. He could see flocks of birds flying, and perched, together, in tall trees. Schools of fish abound in a deep lake down in the shadows of the valley to the east. Harry looked harder, detecting thermal variations in the air flow around the mountain. Turning back to the west, Harry stretched out his perception until the Castle of Hogwarts, glowing in the early evening golden light, came into focus.
“I wish I could share this with you, Ginny!” he thought, forgetting he was within the body of another.
Suddenly, his sight grew dim and he felt himself being thrust back into his own body.
He opened his eyes.
Unprepared for the vision in front of him, Harry would have fainted dead away. Or, at the very least, embarrassed himself. Prepared by what had just happened to him, somehow he neither fainted, nor embarrassed himself. For what was in front of him made perfect sense.
A Great Silver Dragon sat atop the peak, his massive head looking directly at Harry. Brilliant glints of gold and orange, deepening blues and soft violets, reflected off of the silvery scales. Harry could not even begin to guess his size, except to believe that the wing knuckles looked to be thirty feet, or more, off of the ground. Certainly, he was far larger than any Hungarian Horntail.
Harry bowed deeply in front of the Dragon, remembering his experiences with Buckbeak. Aramys then spoke directly in Harry's mind.
“Thank you, Squire. Now it is time for you to learn why you are here!” As Harry watched, Aramys changed back to his human form.
“Follow Me, Squire,” he said. He led Harry over to the southern edge of the mountain peak. Harry expected to look down upon either a deep ravine or a sharply sloped mountainside. He was caught off guard as he found himself looking down on a smaller plateau, accessed by a short, gently sloped path. On the plateau, a large, flat, white-granite tombstone, was set securely into ground. Intricate Celtic designs and ancient runes were engraved into the stone. Unsure, and somewhat afraid of what he was going to find, Harry dashed down the slope to the outer, southern edge, of the tombstone. He looked upon it and was stunned by what he read. Not even Fawkes, landing upon his shoulder once again, broke his gaze. For the inscription, elaborately engraved upon the stone, read:
Here lies Alicia Moira Weasley Dumbledore,
Beloved wife and soul mate of
Albus P. W. B. Dumbledore
Taken from our lives
May the God of Heaven above
and the Angels of the Four Winds,
forever grant her
Peace and Rest.
Within a smaller box in the center of the stone, the following inscription was found:
Rest in Peace and Love
Harry could only stand and stare, eyes moist, as he slowly read the inscription to himself over and over again. After a few moments, Aramys placed his hand upon Harry's back in a comforting manner.
“Now you know Albus Dumbledore's greatest secret, Squire.” Aramys spoke with great reverence. “For a period of little more than one year, he was joyously married to the wonderful Alicia, a woman he was deeply devoted to and completely in love with. Shortly after their quiet wedding, Alicia was pregnant with a child who was destined to be someone very special. Eight months into the pregnancy, however, something went terribly wrong. Both Alicia and the unborn child died.”
“In his grief, and for other reasons never fully expressed, Dumbledore erased all evidence of their marriage and of the death of his beloved. Even the Weasley clan seemed to just lose track of Alicia. Arthur Weasley was never told of his Father's Eldest Sister. Even now, there is no Human alive who knew of their relationship. Except you, Squire.”
Beginning to feel at peace as his sorrow lifted, Harry turned to Aramys, and with clear conviction, proclaimed that he would never tell another soul. Aramys smiled and pointed down to the base of the tombstone. A glowing outline of a hand appeared amongst the carved glyphs and runes. Harry knew what was expected; he bent down and placed his left hand within the outline and made his magical covenant. Aramys bent down and placed his open hand on Harry's. A flash of magical energy came forth from the stone beneath their hands.
“Fidelius charm?” asked Harry.
“My version of it,” replied Aramys, with a sly grin.
They both removed their hands and stood up. On the stone, within the fading glow-line, were two sets of initials, 'H.P.' and 'L.E.', also fading.
“Who was 'L.E.'?”
Aramys lifted his eyebrows and said, “Your Mother, Squire. Lily Evans and you are the only two Secret Keepers of the Tomb of Alicia Dumbledore and Baby H.”
Fawkes gently rubbed his head against Harry's cheek and gave a soft warble.
After some time for further inflection, Aramys took Harry away from the plateau and guided him back up to the top of the mountain peak. The temperature was beginning to drop as the sun sank lower in the west.
“Come with Me, Squire. I have something else to show you. Something you will take with you when you leave here.”
Harry and Fawkes followed along and politely acknowledged Aramys.
Walking northwards, they came to a flat opening in the rocky ground of the mountaintop. Aramys led the way down a sloping path into a dark space below. As they descended into a large cave-like space, Harry eyes began to adjust, allowing him to make out several shafts of light as the outdoor light broke through small gaps in the rocks overhead in the ceiling and sides.
The three made their way further down the ramp until they reached the floor of the cave. A few torches mounted on the walls showed darker openings into other spaces. Aramys led them towards one of the larger openings. Harry could see a warm glow within the room beyond as they approached.
Inside, a large fireplace was afire giving the stone room a warmth missing from the outer cave. A few iron candelabra were placed along the walls; the mounted candles were lit and helping to illuminate the room further. A large, heavy, wooden table was placed along one wall. Sitting in the middle of it was a very old, metal bound chest. Aramys walked directly to it, turned to Harry and beckoned him over.
Harry moved beside the Great One to see what he had brought out.
“A gift to you from Albus Dumbledore, Squire. Place your right hand on the metal plate there on the left side.”
As Harry did so, Aramys placed his left hand on an identical plate on the right side. A loud click was heard as several geared mechanisms came alive within the lid and the lock opened itself.
“This lock has now been attuned to you, Squire. Only you will be able to open it in the future.” Aramys opened the chest, fully. The inside of the chest was far larger than suggested by its outer dimensions. Two large, leather bound books were set into each end of the chest. In the middle of an inner compartment, a large, empty brass bowl, with gold and platinum filigree, sat cradled within a padded wooden shelf. Beneath the bowl, set into another padded compartment, were four, squat, crystal decanters, each filled with a clear liquid. Flanking the large bowl were several dozen small glass bottles. Harry gently lifted one. The silvery contents confirmed his suspicion. The bowl was a Pensieve and the glass bottles were a collection of Professor Dumbledore's thoughts and memories. Harry gently reset the glass bottle. With a sense of how important the gift actually was, he turned to Aramys, searching for words to express his feelings.
The Great One patted him on his arm and said, “I understand, Squire.” He turned, and with a sweep of his hand over top of the chest, said, “Dumbledore left these specifically for you within the last three months. All of this is Albus Dumbledore's legacy to you.”
Harry stood church mouse quiet as he contemplated this gift. Finally, he was able to overcome his awestruck silence.
“This is unbelievable, sir. Never could I imagine being given a gift of this magnitude.”
“Well, Squire, along with this gift comes a great responsibility.”
“Of course, sir. I mean, to have access to...”
“Please let Me finish, Squire!”
Harry stopped, looking very contrite.
“Now, as I was about to say, there is a geas that I am placing upon you to do something special for Albus Dumbledore. It is my wish, that you, Squire Potter, write his official biography.”
“Yes, I know about you and Voldemort. That situation will resolve itself soon enough. When it does, if you are able, you will return to Me one final time, and we shall have a long talk.”
Harry's mind was aswirl with thoughts and questions about what Aramys was implying and saying. He acknowledged Aramys' last statement.
“I have one last thing for you. This is a gift not given by any Dragon in a hundred years and never by Me. Now, hold out your right hand.”
Harry held it out, palm up. Aramys reached out and took hold of it. Aramys then extended a finger on his other hand. Harry watched as a long silver talon extended from the tip. Aramys then drew a line across Harry's palm, which immediately darkened with fresh blood.
“Take out your wand and place it across that line, quickly.”
Harry did so, watching silently.
Aramys then held up his palm and cut a similar line across it. Dark green blood began to seep from the line. As he did this, he said, “I know you have lost the blood protection afforded to you by your mother.” Aramys placed his hand over Harry's, grasping it with the wand situated in between.
Harry could feel a hot flash course through his body, followed by a soothing coolness. He watched as Aramys took his wand by the handle and slowly twisted it and pulled it from between their grasp. Green dragon blood and red human blood coated the shaft and tip, mingling together, until the wood absorbed the wetness. When he finished and the wand looked dry, Aramys broke his grasp upon Harry's hand. Neither palm showed a trace of the cut or of any blood. But Harry knew something had changed within him.
Aramys smiled and said simply, “Voldemort has a nasty surprise coming the next time he tries to 'touch' you, Squire.”
“What about my wand, Aramys?”
The Great One smiled and said, “You will have to discover that for yourself. One thing I will tell you is that, as Squire Orbaen has taught you, there are many types of Magic in the world; the Magic of Dragons, especially the Great Dragons, is the rarest, and greatest, of all the known forms of Magic.”
Aramis closed up the box, which locked itself automatically. He gestured to Harry to try and open it. Harry placed his hand upon the right side plate and the box opened immediately. Harry smiled and closed it again. Aramys waved at the box and it began to shrink to a smaller size.
“Go ahead and stow that in your satchel-thing.”
Harry smiled and placed it gingerly inside his backpack.
Aramys waited for Harry to square away his gear, then told him to follow. Harry sensed his visit was coming to an end. He followed quietly, keeping a respectful distance behind Aramys. Fawkes took wing from Harry's shoulder and flew up to the ceiling and out of the cave.
Several minutes later, they both reached the top of the ramp, once again on top of the mountain. The air was now quite chilly. Harry zipped his jacket up and pulled the cover over the back of his neck and head. Fawkes once again found a perch on his shoulder and allowed Harry to briefly stroke his face and neck.
“It would appear you have found a new friend, Squire.”
“No sir, just an old one!” he replied with a warm smile upon his face.
Aramys smiled in return. He then took Harry's hands in his, and said,“Listen closely, Squire. You are about to Apparate to your bedroom in Privet Drive.”
Harry opened his mouth like a trout, then shut it and continued to listen.
“Stay there! For just twenty-four hours, no less, stay there. Do not tell anyone you are there. Do not come out for meals. You should have enough sustenance in your pack to last you for that amount of time. If you need to use the garderobe, well, use it 'quietly'.”
Harry understood and smiled.
“After that twenty-four hour time period, come out and say goodbye to your Aunt and simply Apparate to the Burrow. Do you understand?”
“I'm not of age yet, Aramys.”
“Do not worry about the Ministry detecting you as you Apparate. One of the side effects of your modified wand is that all of your Apparations will be undetectable and silent from now on. Just be careful not to land yourself in the middle of a gathering of Wizards or Witches.”
“Regarding your desire to visit Godric Hollow; I feel it would be better for you to wait until you have mastered the use of the Pensieve and memories. You will know why I say this once you have had the chance to review those memories.”
“Finally, I feel you should reconsider and return to Hogwarts for your final year. Specialize in the classes you are interested in, ignore the rest.”
Harry hadn't thought about any of this for several... days. “I can't believe all that has happened these past few days.” “I will certainly think about your recommendations, Aramys, thank you.”
“Goodbye, Squire. Take care of yourself and your friends. You have learned valuable lessons on this trip, I think. Do not dismiss them!” His warmth and sincerity were obvious to Harry.
“Before I go, one question, please, Aramys.”
“Why do you call me “Squire”?”
“Ah, that is a habit I picked up back in the 10th century.” With that admission, Aramys closed his eyes, and Harry and Fawkes were gone.
4 Privet Drive, evening
Harry stood at the door inside his bedroom at 4 Privet Drive. He looked at the clock on the wall. His backpack was once again squared away, the sleeping bag secured to the bottom of the frame. He had spent the last twenty-four hours catching up on his sleep, which was surprisingly dream-less, reading the leather bound books in the chest, and going quietly through all of his belongings, making sure he left nothing behind that was 'his'. Of course, most of his belongings were at the Burrow. Then, he spotted the golden coin that had been the old Portkey, sitting atop the dresser where he had placed it after cleaning out his pockets. He picked it up and looked at it closely for the first time. The face on one side looked to be roman, as did the small figure on the back. The lettering he didn't understand at all. Maybe Hermione would enjoy trying to decipher it. He placed it back in his pants pocket.
Five minutes to go. He sat down on the edge of the bed, wanting time to go faster. Staring at himself in the mirror, he thought back upon everything that had happened to him this past week. The painful memories of the death of Professor Dumbledore and the ensuing funeral; his choices regarding his relationship with Ginny. Experiencing the adventure of the journey with Johann and his friends, Maulg, Kitch and Skreeyah, the Giant attack, the return of Fawkes (Harry looked to where he was perched, and smiled), discovering the tomb, and then, finally, discovering the hidden Legacy of Dumbledore in a secret compartment in the base of the tombstone. Harry closed his eyes, knowing that, without a doubt, his life would never be a quiet one.
The clock ticked loudly, bringing Harry out of his daze. Fawkes flew down from atop the wardrobe and landed on his shoulder. Harry stood up carefully so as not to tip over and opened his room door. With slow, deliberate steps, he made his way downstairs. Already, he knew the Dursleys had heard something, as the house suddenly became quiet. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, he headed for the kitchen. He stopped for a moment in front of the cupboard under the stairs. He felt nothing, surprisingly. He then walked forwards, pushing open the door.
Inside, the three Dursleys sat huddled around the kitchen table, mouth's open, and eyes wide. Harry let the door close behind him, careful not to hurt Fawkes, and stared at the three people who had made his life miserable.
“Goodbye.” With that simple announcement, he grasped his wand, and thought of the Burrow.
Molly was quietly sitting at the kitchen table going over a list of preparations for the Wedding. She gazed upwards at the family clock with a slight scowl on her face. She had taken to checking the clock more frequently since the return of Voldemort, and with the kids being out of school, scattered all over.
She noted that Arthur still hadn't left work, though he had promised to be home early this evening. Ron was away at the Granger's until the following day. Bill and Fleur were home, ...somewhere..., she didn't really want to know. At least they weren't at “Mortal Peril” at the moment, she thought to herself. Fred and George were at their own place, where Charlie was also rooming until after the wedding. Finally, Ginny was up in her room, hopefully cleaning it as she had been asked. Percy was... “No, I will not do this to myself again!” She sniffled briefly, blotting her eyes with a tissue from her pocket.
She stood up and walked over to the oven, carefully opening the door by hand, to check on the cake she was baking. Suddenly, from behind her, a loud series of chimes, heard only seven times before in the Burrow, and not for more than fifteen years, began going off.
“Oh, by Merlin's beard!” she cried out. “They CANNOT be doing what I think they are doing!” Molly stomped to the foot of the stairs and looking upwards, gathered a deep breath and yelled, “BILL!FLEUR! Get down here RIGHT now!”
From behind the big sofa around the corner in the living room, Bill's head poked up, rubbing the sand of sleep from his eyes. “Mum? What are you yelling for?”
Molly, surprised by the appearance of her oldest son in the living room, was momentarily at a loss for words.
“Where is Fleur?”, she asked contritely.
“She's upstairs with Ginny, working on their gowns.”
Both Fleur and Ginny came racing downstairs, afraid something bad was happening.
“Molly?” began Fleur in her accented English, “iz 'zere zomething amiss?”
“Mum, are you okay?” asked Ginny from railing half-way down the steps.
Molly was at a complete loss.“The clock!” She moved over to the front of the clock. Anew hand, unlabelled, was now inside it, behind the glass, indicating 'In Transit'.
“The new hand gong went off... It hasn't done that since Ginny was conceived!”
“And you thought Fleur and I were...,” started Bill. “Mum! Come on, now! Really!”
Molly's face was very red now with embarrassment, as was Ginny's, who was struggling to hold back a good laugh. Bill and Fleur were looking only somewhat embarrassed.
“What's the name on the hand, Mum?” asked Ginny.
Molly turned back to the clockface to recheck it. Slowly, a name began to appear. It took painful moments to completely form itself.
“Harry?” Molly could not believe it.
And then, right smack in the middle of the kitchen, as the hand moved to “Home”, he was there.
“Harry? Harry!”, and then, “FAWKES? Oh my, it is you! Oh Harry!” Molly, eyes already growing moist, threw her arms around the startled boy, who had just popped into her kitchen. Fawkes simply jumped from Harry's shoulder to the top of his pack.
Harry hugged her back, a big, joyous, smile upon his face.
“HARRY?” Ginny called out from the stairs as she came racing down them, two at a time. Reaching the bottom, she ran into his crowded arms. “Oh Harry, it is you.”
Fawkes warbled joyfully, spreading his wings wide. Bill joined Fleur at the bottom landing of the stairs, both of them smiling, arms around each other.
Harry wrapped his right arm around Ginny, holding her head tucked in the crook of his neck and shoulder. He turned, and with the scent of her sweet smelling hair filling his senses, kissed the side of her head, telling her, “I'm back, Ginn', I'm home!”