Dumbledore bellieves he knows how to find the last horcrux. Ginny must face the possibillity that Harry will not survive the final battle.
“That’s odd. Phoenixes are herbivores,” commented Hermione has Harry removed the gold object.
“This is no bird. It looks like an old key,” said Harry. Hermione looked at the key and her eyes widened.
“You mean that neither of you recognize it?” said Hermione.
“Um, no. Why, should we?” asked Ron.
“Yes. That’s the key Professor Flitwick charmed to protect the Philosopher’s Stone,” said Hermione.
“Fawkes gave it us, so Dumbledore must have needed him to give it to us,” reasoned Ginny.
“What would we need this for?” wondered Harry.
“I guess we should go ask him,” said Ron. “That’s probably what Dumbledore wanted, I mean, it’s not exactly like he can write us a letter from his portrait.”
The teens Floo’d to Hogwarts and entered the Headmaster’s office, where Dumbledore’s Portrait looked unsurprised to see them.
“I see you got Fawkes’ message,” said the painting. “I take it you recognize his gift.”
“I did, these two didn’t,” said Hermione, nodding exasperatedly towards Ron and Harry.
“I was going to suggest looking into the descendants of Rowena Ravenclaw. Her family tree is on my desk,” said Dumbledore.
Hermione unrolled the large square parchment, read for a moment and then looked back up at her former Headmaster.
“Nicholas Flammel was Ravenclaw’s last heir?” said Hermione.
“Correct,” confirmed Dumbledore.
“Was Voldemort planning to make the Philosopher’s Stone into a Horcrux?” asked Harry.
“I doubt it, as the Stone was not a relic of Ravenclaw herself. It is my belief that Voldemort is using one of Ravenclaw’s greatest inventions to guard the Stone,” answered Dumbledore.
“And what is that invention?” inquired Ron.
“The Mirror of Erised,” said Dumbledore. “Harry, given your other similarities it might not surprise you to know that when he was in school Tom Riddle also stumbled across the Mirror. He was enthralled by it, much more so than you were, as it showed him all-powerful and immortal and Tom believed that buy studying the Mirror he could figure out how to reach his goal. I am beginning to think that before he went to my office to apply for the Defense job Tom again found the Mirror and either made it into a Horcrux or, more likely, used it to hide a Horcrux. If nothing else, the Mirror should be able to show you where and how to get to the last Horcrux.”
The teens left the office and went towards the once forbidden third-floor corridor. They dived through the trap door, which was thankfully free of murderous three-headed dogs this time. After easily dispatching the Devil’s Snare, Harry used the key Fawkes gave him to get past Flitwick’s barrier. Next, it was time for the chess game, which Ron, who had beaten in his first year, beat in less then twenty minutes. Finally, it was time for Snape’s obstacle. There was only enough potion for one person to go on and look into the mirror, so Harry moved on alone while the others went back and waited for him outside of the trap door.
Harry considered the Mirror. He remembered that Dumbledore had needed to give some blood as a sacrifice when attempting to get to the locket, so Harry conjured a knife and grimaced has he cut his forearm and allowed blood to fall onto the Mirror, which smoked but revealed no hidden compartments. Harry looked into the mirror, hoping that he would see a hint that would help him get to the Horcrux. Harry watched as his reflection used the knife to remove a small slice of skin from his arm and placed it on the glass surface. Harry braced himself and repeated the action. The glass made a hissing noise as it vanished in a puff of smoke, leaving only the frame, which was now acting as the edges of a coffin-size box. That box was empty except for an old wand with an elaborately carved handle that had the initials R.R. that Harry took to stand for Rowena Ravenclaw. After healing his wounds Harry picked up the wand and examined it before placing it on the ground. A green light from Harry’s wand connected with Ravenclaw’s, which gave a piercing scream as Voldemort’s last Horcrux was destroyed.
“Did you get it?” asked Ron when Harry got back.
“Yeah. It took some blood and a piece of my skin but I did it,” informed Harry. The teens agreed to inform Dumbledore of their success. When they got to where the Gargoyle should have been, however, they found that it had been smashed. Wands out, they crouched behind the last turn Dumbledore’s office.
“Let’s go, we’re wasting our time. It’s not here,” said Draco Malfoy from inside the office.
“Snape swears he saw a sword in here, keep looking,” ordered Alecto Carrow.
“You’d be wise to learn not to quit on the Dark Lord’s missions so early, Draco. Especially after you botched your first one,” seethed Lucius Malfoy as his wife Narcissa stood silently.
“I did job, the old coot died,” argued the younger Malfoy.
“But the Dark Lord’s spy had to blow his cover to do the job you were supposed to handle yourself,” responded Mr. Malfoy.
“It’s not my fault that greasy half-blood stole my glory,” said Malfoy, still oblivious to the Gryffindor’s presence.
“Isn’t it odd that you insult Snape for having a muggle father, yet the man whose robes you kiss on a daily basis also had a muggle father,” said Harry as he, Ron, Ginny and Hermione entered the office, wands drawn. “By the way, Draco’s correct. Gryffindor’s sword isn’t in here anymore. It is someplace where Voldemort will never find it.”
“Mr. Potter, what a pleasant surprise. Very well, we may not be able to bring the Dark Lord’s sword to the meeting tonight, but we’ll have something much more valuable for him,” sneered Carrow.
“If you think you’ll be taking us to Voldemort I’m afraid you’re mistaken,” said Hermione.
“Oh we have no intention of taking you to the Dark Lord. Potter is the only one who will get to leave this room alive,” said the elder Mafloy.
“Don’t be foolish. Hand over your wands or we’ll have to hurt you,” said Harry.
“Avada Kedavra,” responded Carrow. Ginny ducked as Hermione stunned Carrow. Draco aimed his wand at Ron, who was too quick and sent his attacker crashing into the wall. Mr. And Mrs. Malfoy were disarmed by Ginny and promptly incapacitated by Harry.
“Well this certainly moves my plans along faster than I expected,” said Harry.
“What plan?” asked Ron.
“We’ll go over it back at the Manor. We need to take them with us,” said Harry, pointing at the unconscious Death Eaters.
Dumbledore pointedly looked away as Harry created two unauthorized and highly illegal Portkeys to take everyone back to Potter Manor.
“Take them to the basement, I need to go get something, I’ll meet you down there,” said Harry, who fetched the Veritserum that he and Professor Slughorn brewed. Harry forced the potion down Lucius Malfoy’s throat before waking him up.
“When is Voldemort’s meeting?” asked Harry.
“Midnight tonight,” said Malfoy.
“And what is it’s purpose?” continued Harry.
“We are supposed to give him the Sword of Gryffindor, as well as inducting new Death Eaters,” said Malfoy.
“Is your wife supposed to be there?” pressed Harry.
“Yes,” said Malfoy.
“But she doesn’t have the Dark Mark,” noticed Ron.
“The Dark Lord is going to kill me and my family if he does not get the sword tonight,” explained Malfoy.
“And where is this meeting supposed to take place?” asked Hermione.
“In the Graveyard where he returned,” answered Malfoy.
“How many will be there?” asked Ginny.
“About 50,” said Malfoy.
That was all of the information Harry needed, so he sealed to room to prevent anyone from going in or out and left the basement.
“So what’s this master plan of yours?” asked Hermione.
“I’m calling the Order together, I’ll need them as well as the D.A.” said Harry, taking his wand out and sending a message to Remus. Ron, Hermione and Ginny left for Headquarters. Harry stayed back to instruct Fred and George to call an emergency meeting of the D.A. and have them train hard until he got back.
“Ok, Harry, Remus says you called this meeting. What would you like to discuss so urgently?” began Professor McGonagall.
“The time has come to end this war for good. Voldemort is holding a meeting in the Graveyard where his father is buried tonight. He is planning on inducting several new Death Eaters. Voldemort will have about 50 people on his side there. We have the chance for a decisive battle that can win the war,” said Harry.
“We know about the meeting, but we don’t have that kind of manpower, Harry,” said Kingsley.
“I have a group of about twenty volunteers in the D.A. who I’m sure will be willing to go into battle with us,” said Harry. “They may be young, but I have personally trained them and am sure that they are ready.”
“But you were so against a large battle a few months ago. What’s change?” asked Tonks.
“Voldemort was immortal then, and in fact he still is. There are things we must do before he can be killed, but we are ready. I have brewed, with Professor Slughorn’s aid, a large amount of Polyjuice Potion. This morning I captured Alecto Carrow as well as all three Malfoys and am holding them in the basement of Potter Manor. Assuming they agree, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and myself will go, using the Polyjuice Potion, to this meeting disguised as the aforementioned Death Eaters. When we give the signal, and I can’t stress enough how important it is that you all wait for our signal, our forces will attack, I will Apparate everyone into the Riddle House and you can move into position from there,” said Harry.
“You’re certain we can end this war tonight?” asked Lupin.
“If you let us do what we need to then yes,” answered Harry. “There is one final thing; during this meeting we will have to give Voldemort Gryffindor’s sword or else he will kill all of us. I must emphasize that under absolutely no circumstances can Voldemort be allowed to leave with that sword. I cannot say why, but if Voldemort gains possession of it the results will be disastrous.”
“Very well. If we really have an opportunity to end this war for good than we would be irresponsible not to take it,” concluded Professor McGonagall.
Harry left the Order meeting to speak to the D.A. while the other three stayed behind to work on strategy for battle. Once the DA was assembled Harry spoke, “I have a proposition for you. Tonight I, along with members of an anti-Voldemort group will take part in what I expect to be the final battle of this war. Unfortunately we will be fighting against at least 50 Death Eaters, so the group will be outnumbered. That is why we are asking for any volunteers who would like to join us. Be forewarned that if you choose to participate there is a chance you will not survive. However, if I thought that one of you did not have what it takes to survive I would not let you come. You have all made tremendous progress and are capable of holding your own. Anyone who wishes to join us raise your hand.”
To Harry’s immense shock, not one hand stayed down. After confirming that everyone did indeed want to fight and understood the risks Harry went over the basic plan for the battle. When this was Done, Harry instructed the D.A.to go home and spend time with their families before the battle and to meet back at Potter Manor at sundown. Several hours later, Ginny returned to the Manor to find Harry writing,
“Damn, that’s no good. I was so close,” said Harry, groaning agitatedly and then crumpling up his parchment and tossing it on to the floor.
“What are doing?” asked Ginny, startling Harry.
“Oh, um, just writing a few letters in case something happens to me tonight,” answered Harry. Ginny noticed a neat stack of letters, the top one addressed to Ron. “Just some things I don’t want to be left unsaid, thank yous, that kind of thing. Yours is giving me a bit of trouble.”
“You won’t need these Harry because you’re going to live,” insisted Ginny.
“You don’t know that, Ginny. Fighting Death Eaters is one thing, Voldemort’s different. Even Dumbledore had a hard time with him and I don’t know nearly as much magic as him. But that’s not what I hate the most,” said Harry. “What bothers me the most is that I have a whole army of people loyal to me who are marching into battle because I asked them to, and some of them won’t make it out, and their blood will be on my hands. These people have put their faith in me and I’m leading them to their deaths.”
“Harry, I need you to understand this; people will die tonight, but it will not be your fault. You’ve done everything in your power to get them out of this alive. You can’t save everybody. You would never let any of us go into battle without you, and if anything happened you wouldn’t want us blaming ourselves over your deaths,” said Ginny.
“I know, but still, if I could take you and everybody else I care about and lock you all in a room until I was done with Voldemort I would do it,” said Harry.
“If you did that and managed to survive Voldemort I can guarantee you that you wouldn’t survive my wrath when you got back,” said Ginny.
“I know, that’s why I haven’t tried it. Besides, I’d never even be this far without everyone’s help,” said Harry.
“Harry, Ginny, it’s time,” said Hermione. Harry grabbed his staff and left the room. Ginny contemplated reading the crumpled up letter she knew would have been addressed to her, and pick up with balled parchment, unraveling it, and read;
If you’re reading this, I didn’t survive the final battle. I hope I somehow managed to take Voldemort down with me, but if not, make sure the Order doesn’t give up. I’d ask you not to cry over me, but I know that no matter what I say you and the others will likely shed some tears over me, so instead I will only ask this; allow yourself to move on. Find someone you love. If they make you half as happy as you have made me then you will be the happiest women on earth. If I die, my money will be split between Hermione, you and the rest of the Weasleys, and I expect a large portion of it to go towards the wedding and honeymoon of your dreams. Tell the twins I’ll haunt their shop if they don’t prank someone at least twice at my funeral. Also, I trust you to make sure that my memorial is closed to those who have tried to use me. Keep both Fudge and Scridgmour away, as well as any other Ministry official, with the exception of your brother Percy, who I hope eventually reconciles with your family. I cannot stress how much you’ve meant to me, and as I write this, it occurs to me that I have never told you how much I love you. It pained me break up with you at Dumbledore’s funeral, but at the time I thought I had to. When I changed my mind, I was so scared you wouldn’t take me back. I still don’t know what you saw in me, but I’m glad you did. I know it wasn’t easy, but thank you for being there for me.
All my love,
Ginny’s eyes filled with tears as she left to get hairs for the Polyjuice Potion from the still unconscious Death Eaters that were restrained in the basement. She didn’t want to think about the possibility of Harry not surviving. He was her savior, her knight in shining armor. He simply had to survive.
While Ginny took care of getting the hairs for the potion, Harry began Apparating people into the Riddle House, which was within sight of the Graveyard and would serve as a launching point for some of the fighter. This took a while, as Harry could only Side-Along Apparate two people at a time. Harry was surprised when he went to take the last two fighters to find Professor Slughorn to be amongst the group.
“Professor, no offense, but I’m kind of shocked to see you here. It was my impression that you wanted to stay safe and neutral in this fight,” said Harry.
“Originally, yes, that was my intention. But that conversation we had at your friend Hagrid’s hut, the little I remember of it at least, opened my eyes. You-Know-Who has taken some of the brightest and nicest people I’ve ever known, and he will to continue to do so until someone stops him. Teaching again made me realize that if someone didn’t do something the faces I was looking at in my classes might very well go on to being his future victims. You also made me realize that I was at least partially responsible for what Tom Riddle became. As such, I must do what I can to take him down,” said the Potions expert.
Harry took the last combatants to the Riddle House, where Ron, Hermione and Ginny were waiting for him. Ron went over the battle strategy with Harry before making sure they had everything they needed. Everyone was in position with about an hour to spare. It was, Harry thought, the longest hour of his life, as he waited for the clock to strike Midnight. After an eternity, the moment finally came. Harry grabbed the sword and his staff, which was wrapped in his Invisibility Cloak. He placed a hair into his potion and took the shape of Lucius Malfoy. Harry then watched as Ron, Ginny and Hermione took the shape of Draco, Narcissa and Alecto Carrow, respectively. With a sigh, the group looked at each other, nodded, and Apparated into the Graveyard. The Final Battle had begun.