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Ravenclaw's Diadem by Hermaine

Format: Novel
Chapters: 4
Word Count: 17,959
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Contains profanity, Scenes of a mild sexual nature, Sensitive topic/issue/theme, Spoilers

Genres: Drama, Mystery, Young Adult
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna, Neville, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Ron/Hermione

First Published: 03/29/2019
Last Chapter: 04/30/2019
Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Summary:

Three months after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry in the late evening is enjoying the memories of the happiest birthday in his life, until while drifting into sleep he sees a dream which says to him that Voldemort is still alive and is planning to rise even more powerful than ever. Doubts about whether Voldemort is truly defeated take the trio of the friends along with Ginny back to the Hogwarts where they will seek for the truth. Is the history truly going to repeat itself or was it only a simple nasty nightmare?



Chapter 1: Unhappy Birthday
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Author's Note: 

 

This story is dedicated to everyone who had a feeling that the story of Harry Potter ended a teeny-tiny bit too fast.

 

And since English is not my native language, please be harsh with my spelling and grammar. Cheers!

 

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Oh, what a birthday, thought Harry, lying down on the bed and still seeing visions from the party of his eighteenth birthday, which seemed to want to repeat again and again in his mind, until his smile will be spread wide from ear to ear.

In the Burrow, through the window of the small bedroom on the fifth floor streamed in the fragrant summer air, fully saturated with the dizzy aroma of night flowers tended by Mrs. Weasley. The evening was particularly nice, the last rays of the sun disappearing behind the horizon and the moonlight beginning to glow over the Burrow, which were especially friendly with him today, giving him the truest and the most wonderful birthday in his life. When Harry thought about it – even more wonderful birthday could only be his eleventh one when he did learn that he is a wizard.

Anyway, all the events of today were still fresh in his mind; how Ron and Hermione, and especially Ginny, together with other guests sang to him “Happy Birthday”, while Mrs. Weasley was floating to the dinner table an enormous multistory whipped cream and sponge cake mountain decorated with summer berries, which only for the sake of clarity could be called a birthday cake. Obviously, Mrs. Weasley had overcome herself by preparing a birthday meal to feed all the guests, along with all Weasley children and Hermione Neville and Luna were also invited. And there of course was also invited Harry’s little godson with his grandmother.

Oh boy – and the birthday presents! Harry raised his gaze, looking over at the stack of gifts piling on the table. Ron had given him a new Sneakoscope: “Let’s hope that we will never hear this thing whistling again.” He got a new wristwatch from Ginny. “And just try me to be late on the dates!” she jokingly had warned the birthday boy. From Neville after his grandmother’s advice Harry received a Raylight – a special lantern which lit with light charm could illuminate even the deepest corners of the darkest room – so to speak, evil never sleeps, and who knows when a ray of light could come in handy. In the Teddy’s stroller Harry found his godson’s – or rather his grandmother’s Andromeda’s – gift of plump dragon skin gloves, then from Bill and Fleur he had a book of Magical Protection. “If you are seriously thinking going through the Auror training courses, then this one could be quite handy to you,” Ginny’s elder brother had said, smiling. Even Charlie had arrived and brought him three chocolate dragon eggs. “A Romanian product, these are very popular among locals – if you are lucky, a miniature dragon could hatch from the egg which, according to local stories will raise your financial status,” such was a behest from dragon friend Charlie, whose gift far outweighed the heavy pack of Chocolate Frogs from Percy. George – what a surprise – gave him a whole box with Weasley Wizard Wheezes stuff, and Arthur and Molly had gifted him new eyeglasses, made in Germany. Mr. Weasley had explained to him: “For the first time when you will put on your new glasses, say Anfang, then you will be able to adjust the sharpness of your vision, and when you find it well-adjusted say Fertig.” Luna perhaps gave him the most incomprehensible and meaningless gift – something similar to Muggle dream catcher, but with something like ear trumpets. As Luna explained that this thing may be able to detect Nargles, so it’s an immensely useful thing. Whatever it was, Harry had hanged it over the head of his bed, on the recommendation of his friend. Tonight, his sleep wouldn’t be disturbed nor by Nargles, neither Blibbering Humdingers nor any other fiddle-faddle. To his surprise even more absurd than Luna’s gift was given him by Hermione – it was an ordinary blank diary. “Harry, memories are valuable beyond measure, so I wish for you to never forget anything you went through because your life experience is what makes you such a great person and friend.”

Her wish was absolutely beautiful and he could almost agree to it, unless the survived pain in the last year wouldn’t be so great – so many good and dear people were killed – Fred, Tonks and Remus also should be here today. Many other families also had mourned their relatives who had fallen into the battle. But the dead have been resting in peace under the ground for a few months now, received the tears of their loved ones, and Harry was comforting himself with the idea that their death was not in vain. These heroic people died to put an end to Voldemort’s terror, so the rest of the world could finally live in peace and safety, therefore Harry let himself to enjoy his happy birthday because Voldemort has been defeated and it was time to build a new world of happiness and harmony.

And what could go wrong? I hope that the worst in my life I have already survived, Harry thought drifting into the peaceful world of dreams in which he still played Quidditch in the backyard of the Weasley family house. Neville, Hermione, Fleur and Percy were sitting at the table with elderly guests, but Luna had wanted to try to play with them, so Ron had gone to the barn to bring one of the old broomsticks and helped her to climb on it. Harry in his dreams saw again how their game went – this time he caught the apple thrown by Ron, but after a moment when the game had become much faster George unintentionally hit Luna in the forehead with another apple, and she had to sit down on the bench. Luckily she wasn’t seriously hurt – it was just a bump. “There is such a saying that there is no party without punch,” Luna said, smiling at Harry and then with a flick of her wand she cast a cooling charm on her forehead. Weasley brothers continued to play the Quidditch game with Harry and Ginny until they were exhausted. But they weren’t tired enough for some more jokes. As usual, the biggest prankster was George who caught some gnomes and conjured on their head glowing caps and let them run through the garden as huge garden lamps. “Gerroff me, gerroff me!” they were calling, trying to get off from themselves the shiny, hostile thing, while Harry and others were still laughing, holding their bellies as George charmed yet another gnome. However the most interest in the glowing gnome heads showed Crookshanks. Harry saw in his dreams how the Hermione’s red cat is stealing after one of the shining dwarf heads, slowly, easy, step by step tail plucked to the ground, then – hop – the cat jumped to the gnome, but suddenly the cat landed not in the Weasley garden, but rather in a dark basement, moreover, it seemed that after the blink of an eye the cat itself was disappeared into thin air.

The feeling of the dream suddenly shifted from the fragrant, sultry evening to something completely different – it changed to a cold, dull, all-forgotten cellar, which induced unpleasant chills along his spine, as if it was more than just a dream, as if there was something more than just darkness. Then out of nowhere spoke a voice, it seemed so inconceivable, as if it wasn’t a real voice but only a plain uncertain thought.

“I am suffocating in this dark dungeon, but with you my friend I will once again reach my greatness – maybe I will become greater than ever, and this time no one will stop me, not even the famous Potter. I’m still alive. And everyone will be so wrong who could have imagined that one green sprout could defeat me – me, Lord Voldemort! Hahaha!”

When shrilled the dark and icy laughter, Harry sat up in his bed, his body trembling all over and he shot his hand to his forehead. Wet with cold sweat, he looked around, but in the fragrant, bright night there was nothing more than the moon, the silence, and some more glowing gnomes. Only the old scar was lightly throbbing as foretelling something ominous.



Chapter 2: Found and Lost
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In the next morning Harry woke up with swollen eyes – he had been shifting from one side to another in the bed long in the night without being able to forget the incredibly vivid dream.

I have to tell this to Ron and Hermione. I’m very curious – what they are going to say about that? Harry thought still lying in bed with open eyes. The sun had already climbed a bit in the sky, but in the Burrow it was still quiet, even Mrs. Weasley hadn’t come down to the kitchen to cook the breakfast. But it had to be only a dream because Voldemort in the forest destroyed the connection between me and himself; what I saw was not real. But what if it somehow was real? Then what? But how could that be possible?

Getting dizzy from intrusive thoughts, he got up and grabbed the same t-shirt from yesterday and put it on himself. In front of his shirt there was a dirty spot where yesterday while playing Quidditch Charlie had hit him with an apple, but that didn’t matter to Harry at the moment. He took the new glasses given by Arthur and Molly from the nightstand and put them on. Then he paused for a moment. He looked at his mokeskin pouch, which had proved to be very useful to him during all the previous year, still holding the Marauders map, the shard of his godfather’s mirror, and two of the destroyed Horcruxes – the relics of Slytherin and Hufflepuff.

After the battle for the first week he had even slept with that pouch, otherwise he simply couldn’t fall asleep after all of those dreadful duels and worries, but for the last month he hadn’t even looked at it. The old anxiety was back again this morning, so Harry chose to grab his pouch from the nightstand and putting it around his neck somehow made him to feel calmer. Then he passed the stack of gifts piling on the table and opened the door of the Ron’s old room. When they had returned to the Burrow after the Battle of Hogwarts Mrs. Weasley had wanted him to occupy the Percy’s room, but Harry had refused her offer. Although he felt here like at home, he still wanted to be as far away as possible from all the Weasleys, and here, in the attic room at the top of the house, where silence was only disturbed by the old ghoul of the house, he felt the most comfortable. So the Percy’s old room had been given to Hermione.

Harry silently tiptoed down one floor lower past the bedroom of Arthur and Molly; it seemed to him that there sounded some kind of shuffling in there. The wristwatch was left in the pile of gifts, but on Saturdays Mrs. Weasley usually started her morning routine at eight o’clock.

And even if it wasn’t a dream, how could Voldemort be alive? another persistent thought disturbed Harry while he slowly, quietly climbed down the stairs. Didn’t we all see how he collapsed? Kingsley then had picked up his corpse to bury it in Azkaban next to the graves of other wizard criminals. But passing by the bedroom of Bill and Fleur, where they had both stayed overnight after the Harry’s birthday, he heard in his mind a taunting voice – that one which never holds its condemnation when you have failed at something: And what do you know about his soul, hm? What if it has survived somehow? Has anyone made sure of that? Dumbledore always said that you have reached unexplored shores of magic.

Having reached the second floor on which was the former room of Fred and George now housed by Ron, Harry quietly knocked on the door. Behind the door there was only silence – it was no wonder because if there was such an opportunity, Ron liked to snore until late in the morning. He carefully opened the door and saw the figure of his friend beneath the blankets on the bed. When he got closer to him, he looked over his friend’s sleepy face and ruffled red hair.

“Ron,” Harry tried to awaken his friend, lightly pricking him with his fingers. “Ron,” he called again, now shaking him a bit. Ron mumbled something under his breath, still being sleepy. “Ron!”

“What is it?” the redhead asked with narrow eyes. “Harry? What are you doing here?” Rising on the elbow, he lifted his eyes to a window where the sun stood just slightly above the treetops. “Why are you here so early in the morning?”

“I couldn’t sleep, you see, I saw a dream,” Harry said awkwardly. Now it seemed to him that he was acting rather silly – after all that was just a dream. The scar hadn’t really hurt, so it hardly was an actual vision of real life.

“What kind of dream?” asked his sleepy friend as he sat up in his bed and rubbed his drowsy eyes with his fingertips.

“You know, I was drifting into sleep yesterday thinking back about the party how we were playing Quidditch and then how George was chasing gnomes through the garden,” Harry began.

“And – so what?” Ron asked, still not being able to comprehend why exactly his friend seemed so worried as if he had seen a ghost.

“But then the dream suddenly changed. I saw something like a dungeon, and there was Voldemort. No, he wasn’t actually there, but he somehow was planning in there how to resurrect himself once again.” He restrained himself to not to start to pace around the Ron’s room.

At the mention of Voldemort’s name Ron apparently winced. He still dreaded to call his full name. “You saw You-Know-Who? And what was with your scar? Did it hurt?” he asked as he raised his anxious gaze to his friend’s face.

“No, it didn’t hurt, maybe for a short moment, but there was nothing more,” Harry said, looking at his friend. “But I couldn’t sleep at night. That dream seemed so vivid as if it would be a real one.”

Ron smirked, thinking about something. “You had to put that Luna’s dream catcher thing by your headboard then maybe such nightmares wouldn’t appear.”

“That’s exactly what I did before I went to bed,” Harry replied, also slightly smirking.

“No use for such a thing. Completely senseless,” Ron concluded.

“Yeah, right. But I still have such a bad feeling. I wonder, is Hermione awake now?” Harry asked as he heard someone climbing down the stairs. He could imagine that Mrs. Weasley is going to cook the usual Weasley breakfast.

“Let’s go and look,” Ron said and, getting out of bed, quickly put on his pants and shirt, and then both young men opened the door and walked over the small staircase landing to the former room of Percy. Ron knocked at the door twice and without waiting for the answer opened the door, but they were surprised by the high squeal of Hermione.

“Ron!” she cried angrily, turning around to face him, squeezing her summer shirt over her chest as the white lingerie strapping flashed in front of both her male friends. Harry immediately turned away, but Ron stood there with wide eyes. “Will you let me finish dressing up or not?” she asked testily.

“Oh, yeah, yeah, of course,” Ron stuttered getting a little bit red in the face and closed the door. A moment later Hermione called them both in her room as soon as she had made her bed.

“What’s the matter that both of you without saying even so much as good morning are running straight into my room?” Hermione asked, partly to scold them, partly being intrigued, combing her thick brown hair.

“Harry saw a bad dream,” Ron answered without hesitation, taking a seat on Hermione’s bed. She gave Harry an odd look.

“It wasn’t just a simple bad dream,” Harry explained grumpily – he wasn’t a little child who starts to cry when he sees a bad dream, “but yesterday before drifting into sleep I saw a nightmare where Voldemort is still alive and is planning to resurrect himself once again.” Harry didn’t bother anymore to hide his anxiety. “He was more like just a voice, like just a thought, and he said that he would rise once more and he will be more powerful than ever.”

Harry stared at Ron’s alarmed face and Hermione’s shocked figure – they looked just like he felt: frightened and desperately hoping that it was just a nasty nightmare.

“Harry, but it was just a dream, wasn’t it?” Hermione spoke first after a short moment of silence, putting her hairbrush on her nightstand.

“I saw it like any other dreams, but it seemed awfully vivid, as if I myself would be in the darkness and could hear someone else’s thoughts, and when I woke up my scar was itching. It wasn’t such a severe pain as before when I could see in Voldemort’s mind, but that feeling was rather unpleasant and longed for a moment,” Harry explained, still standing on his feet. He felt too restless to be able to sit idly on the bed.

“Maybe this pain was something similar to afterpain? Andromeda told us yesterday that Tonks has felt such pain after giving birth. The fight with Voldemort was definitely a traumatic event, so it’s only normal for you to see nightmares at night and perhaps feel a phantom pain in your scar,” Hermione offered an explanation. However, Harry just had a feeling that this dream was somehow different – more vivid, more realistic. Of course, the first weeks after the battle he had seen wicked and creepy nightmares almost every night where he saw Fred with blank, unseeing eyes, slowly shuffling his feet toward him, then Remus and Tonks glanced at little Teddy behind the white veil, then Colin pale as death was chasing him flashing his camera. But he had never seen Voldemort among all the other dead before – at least not alive and promising to resurrect himself. If he had seen Voldemort in his nightmares then only as a pale corpse with red eyes floating down the stream in the black water of an underground lake…

Ron also had recovered his ability to speak: “But what if it was a real dream – if it was a vision?”

“Ron, it can’t be a vision because Voldemort is destroyed. We made sure that he is gone and no one can return from the dead,” Hermione opposed.

“What if he has returned as a ghost?” Ron asked.

“His soul has been broken in eight pieces, how do you imagine such a ghost?” Hermione asked, being a little bit angry with Ron. They had already discussed this many times before.

“But…” Harry began. They had destroyed Voldemort, all the Horcruxes were found and eliminated, he had even seen one of the shreds of the soul of the darkest wizard in the world – there was no doubt that he had no chance of returning to this world as a ghost or in any other form. “But what if…” Harry said now more urgently.

“Harry, what exactly do you want to say?” Hermione said, encouraging him with a smile.

“But what if we didn’t destroy him?” Harry pointed out, remembering intrusive thoughts from earlier in this morning.

“Harry, that’s impossible,” Hermione said.

“Yeah, Harry, we did our job at our wits’ end to destroy him and now you had a bad dream and are telling us that all of our last year’s work is not worth a damn?” Ron asked rather sarcastically.

“But think about it! We did defeat him, we took away his power, that’s for certain, but can we be absolutely and definitely sure that Voldemort is really destroyed?” Harry argued.

“Well,” Hermione began, “that’s an easy question. We know that Voldemort purposefully created six Horcruxes, and another shred of his soul lived into you, correct?”

“That’s correct,” both young men confirmed in unison.

“That part of the Voldemort’s soul which lived in your head you destroyed by willingly going into your death,” Hermione continued her explanation.

“Exactly. I even saw how that monstrous piece of a soul looked like,” Harry added wincing.

“Well, and Voldemort killed himself with the backfired Killing curse which he wanted to cast at you,” Hermione said, pointing to Harry. He nodded approvingly.

“And during the last year we destroyed all the remaining Horcruxes. The very first – the Riddle’s diary – you destroyed in our second school year, Harry,” Hermione said.

“Yes, there was left only wet pages with a large hole in the middle of the diary,” Harry confirmed.

“Dumbledore destroyed the Horcrux that was in the Resurrection Stone,” Hermione continued to name the Horcruxes.

“Yes, then the Stone was torn in half,” Harry confirmed again, imagining for a moment his mom and dad whom he had seen in the Forbidden Forest after turning the Resurrection Stone on his palm. The Stone was now lost somewhere in the depths of the Forbidden Forest where he had left it on purpose so that it could no longer be found by anyone.

“Then, Ron, you finished that Slytherin’s Locket,” Hermione continued.

“Yeah, right, I hit him between the eyes,” Ron confirmed, smirking.

“Then I stabbed the Hufflepuff’s Cup,” Hermione told shuddering as she cast a glance at Harry’s mokeskin pouch, put around his neck where he kept the ruined relics of Hogwarts,” these were four of the Horcruxes.”

“And Neville cut off that snake’s head,” Harry added, “and the Ravenclaw’s Diadem got burnt into Fiendfyre and turned into dust.”

Ron pondered it: “Harry, think what you want, but all the Horcruxes have been destroyed. If only he hasn’t made more of them.”

“No, it can’t be because he was obsessed with the number seven, so he recklessly turned Nagini into a Horcrux,” Harry argued.

“And we destroyed all the Horcruxes with a particularly powerful elemental magic, so it’s impossible that any of the Horcruxes wouldn’t be destroyed completely,” Hermione thought out loud.

“That’s right. There’s only been left just a pile of old scrap from those Horcruxes,” Ron confirmed, casting a look on Harry’s mokeskin pouch.

Hermione sneered, remembering what had remained of the Hufflepuff’s Cup after she had stabbed it with Basilisk’s fang – strong was that bloody Horcrux, fighting back, whispering delusive thoughts in her mind, and then it had ended its life in an agony. But the Cup, once golden and brilliantly shiny, now had grown with green lumps from Basilisk venom – the poison seemed to have eaten through the odious shred of soul, but the tiny piece of soul was able to protect itself from complete destruction by saving its dwelling. Such a strong poison as a Basilisk venom any other ordinary item would have eaten away and turned it into dust, but the Horcrux was made of the darkest of the magic, so it was able to resist even the deadliest of the world’s substances.

Suddenly, Hermione’s eyes widened, showing sheer horror.

Both of her friends noticed it immediately: “Hermione, what happened?”

“We now just listed all the Horcruxes we have destroyed, but…” it was hard for Hermione to tell her revelation to her friends, “but what if either of them wasn’t real?”

Harry and Ron both looked at her with confusion. “What do you mean – what if either of them wasn’t real?” Ron didn’t understand. “All of that crap looked bloody real.”

“Ron, you said it yourself just a moment ago that from all of the Horcruxes, completely all of the Horcruxes that were in the form of objects were left over a bit of scrap. The magic of the Horcruxes is strong enough to defend against even the most destructive substances in the magic world.”

Harry realized it immediately. “But nothing was left from the Diadem!” he exclaimed.

“Right, it broke in your hands turning into dust,” Ron thoughtfully confirmed.

“You see, the Fiendfyre didn’t burn it for so long, so if the Diadem was a real Horcrux, there had to be left over at least a piece of burnt-up band. Harry, what if your dream was real? What if we truly haven’t destroyed the real Diadem?” Hermione asked anxiously.

“And remember what Xenophilius said? Time by time there shows up some people who try to imitate such diadems,” Rons added.

“And, moreover, it was in the storage room that has been visited by thousands of other students. At first we thought Voldemort was stupid enough to think he was the only one who had found the Room of Requirement, but what if that wasn’t true? What if the diadem we found was fake? What if Voldemort has hidden the true Diadem anywhere else?” Harry realized, having completely understood Hermione’s revelation. But then what was that dark liquid that had leaked out of the Diadem? he thought, but then immediately came the answer. It could have been anything, even the most common glue. And the scream he had heard – there was a battle going on; it was most likely that he didn’t hear Voldemort’s soul at all, but it has been just a nearby wounded fighter. Actually, the fact that the poor band he had in his hands could have been Voldemort’s Horcrux now looked like a very doubtful fact to him. “Who knows where the real Diadem might be now? Maybe that crafted thing of Xenophilius was the true Diadem?” Harry added sounding despaired.

“That’s not true, because You-Know-Who hurried to the Hogwarts, at least you said so yourself, it means that the Diadem had to be at Hogwarts,” Ron said. “Only it seems that it wasn’t placed in the storeroom of old things.”

“So, it means Hogwarts. Well, if it really is true then our job is not done yet, and Voldemort actually can rise again,” Hermione made the terrible conclusion.

“Yeah, and he will rise greater than ever,” Harry said grimly.

At this Hermione made a smile. “Harry, that wouldn’t happen because you sacrificed yourself to deprive him of power. He may still be able to rise again, but he will never recover his power. At least for that you have taken care of, Harry,” Hermione comforted him, smiling warmly at her friend.

Harry wholeheartedly hoped that Hermione’s words will turn out to be true.

“By the way, we can look what Arithmancy says about it. How did I not think of it before?” Hermione said as she went to the desk and from the pile of books pulled out the copy of the New Theory of Numerology. When she was sitting down on a chair she took a sheet of parchment and a bottle of ink and opened the book.

Harry and Ron went over to her and stood behind her back as Hermione wrote on the page the words ‘TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE’ and ‘LORD VOLDEMORT’ and using some kind of chart she assigned a number to each letter. Calculating numbers for a moment, she wrote a number 7 behind the first group of words, and a number 2 after the second group.

“I would say that there is no wonder about this seven,” she said, putting the tip of the quill to number seven she just had drawn. They were well aware that Tom Marvolo Riddle had thought of a number seven as a sacred number. “Although I am not so sure about this number two. I don’t know what exactly it means. I could tell this more precisely if I could know his date of birth.”

“Well, I don’t know it,” Harry simply said.

“Sorry, I’m just thinking out loud,” Hermione said, smiling at Harry. “In Arithmancy there is a fundamental meaning for each number, and the number two represents the extreme opposites as day and night and is a number of balance, mixing positive and negative characteristics. In a way, it is the character of Voldemort – he is incredibly wise and great, but at the same time also immeasurably cruel. But this number just as well could also mean something important in his destiny, like a second life, like a second revival.”

“It doesn’t sound good,” Ron concluded. “But how can you know which one of these two names actually determines his destiny?”

“That’s right, Ron!” Hermione looked at him approvingly. “I have to look at the both of his names. Then seven plus two is nine.” Mumbling under her breath she calculated. “Nine corresponds to the overall success of efforts. Such a person always gets what he wants.” Then Hermione, having thought about something, split her book to almost at the end and read a certain paragraph she had found there. She wrote one more number nine on the sheet, then she draw like a hook in front of the number and continued to draw a line like a roof over the number nine, and then she wrote a number three behind the equals sign. “Three. We have not yet studied it in professor’s Vectors lectures, but Numerology says that a strong personality may express itself in double, so we have to find the first order of the double number, and here as a first order number appears a number three. It has a meaning of instability. But in the case of Voldemort, it can also characterize his destiny, or rather – number of destinies.”

“That Arithmancy of yours is simply amazing,” Ron said approvingly.

“That means three life periods,” Harry concluded. “First, he was Tom Marvolo Riddle then he was Lord Voldemort. Maybe he could have become someone else now?”

“I don’t know,” Hermione grimly breathed, looking at both of her friends. “Just please do not misunderstand these calculations. Here I used only his name; full analysis also requires date of birth or other significant events. Currently, this analysis is more likely to show the probability that there is a possibility that something is probable. It doesn’t explain anything. Arithmancy is not a Divination; it only reveals the directions made by destiny. Maybe Voldemort was destined to be reborn twice and experience three lives, but maybe you destroyed this opportunity by facing him in the battle. What we see here now on this page is just probabilities and possibilities.

But Harry didn’t need anything more. Although his evidence, if he could call it, was based on a bad dream after his birthday party and Hermione’s allegedly calculations of Arithmancy, he felt a fear thorn pricking into his insides – he deeply inside into his heart, liver, kidneys, and spinal cord somehow knew that there was a serious ground for his worries. Suddenly in his mind he heard Hagrid’s words from his eleventh birthday in the cabin at the sea: Some say he died. Codswallop, in my opinion. Dunno if he had enough human left in him to die… Most of us reckon he's still out there somewhere but lost his powers. Too weak to carry on. If Voldemort had a slightest chance to survive after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry could not ignore it. He could even say that it was his duty to check it out. His negligence, stupidity and omission had to be mended and as soon as possible. What if history is repeating again?



Chapter 3: The School is calling again
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“But what are we going to do now?” asked Ron. “If we rush now to the Hogwarts what are we going to say to McGonagall? Sorry, we didn’t actually do what we had to do in the spring, so can we nose about around here for a Merlin knows how long time?”

“We need to think of some kind of cover,” Harry suggested. It seemed that his anxiety has started to itch into his insides – he probably hadn’t done the task assigned by Dumbledore. What if Voldemort wanders somewhere out there, somewhere near the Hogwarts? “We ought to go back to Hogwarts as soon as possible at all costs.”

Hermione opened her mouth to say something when there rang a bell, calling everyone to the kitchen for breakfast. “Let’s eat and then we’ll think about what to do next,” she said.

Both of the young men nodded, and the trio climbed down the stairs and went into the kitchen, where they were welcomed by a mountain of omelet and cheese and ham sandwiches.

Ginny had helped Mrs. Weasley prepare breakfast in the morning. “Good morning, come for breakfast!” she happily called out to her friends as she put jug with a carrot juice on the table, and when they all were sitting at the table she took a place next to Harry. Soon came also the others – Arthur, Bill and Fleur stepped down from the upper floors, while George and Charlie still drowsy from sleep shuffled in here from the living room. “It’s nothing for us, bachelors, to spend one night on the couch,” Charlie chuckled. He spent his vacation to stay at the Burrow for a week, but last night he had let Bill and Fleur to occupy his own old room so he had instead slept on a couch.

“You don’t look fresh at all this morning,” Mrs. Weasley said, smiling at the young people, still preparing tea by the stove. “As my grandpa used to say, in difficult mornings after the party there is nothing better than sour cabbage juice. Makes you fresh as a cucumber.”

“Or fresh as a cabbage?” George asked with a sneer, putting a huge pile of omelet on his plate.

“Don’t you mock me, this is just a saying.” Although Mrs. Weasley waved George off, she smiled at him.

“Well, I don’t think a sour cabbage juice is something I would like to drink now,” Ron said wincing as he picked up a grilled cheese sandwich.

“But I recommend you to drink a huge glass of water. The water really replenishes energy,” Mrs. Weasley advised them as the tea was still brewing. “Actually, I also slept very badly last night.”

“What was it, mom?” Bill asked, picking up a fork. “Were you dreaming about Lestrange again?”

“Yes, I saw in my dream how he had broken into the Burrow and he was chasing me…” Molly said, heavily sighing. However, she had said it so that it made Harry think that the dream had a continuation and it was not at all pleasant.

Arthur tried to reassure his wife: “Fidelius is very well doing its job, so don’t worry, dear, he can’t get in here. Martin with his Auror team has put a whole bunch of detection spells around here; you and we all are safe here.”

“Arthur, I understand that and wish that all you just said would be true,” Molly said, smiling at her husband, as she put a kettle with a tea on the table and then she squeezed his shoulder and sat down next to him. “But the fact that I know all of this doesn’t lessen my worries. If he does something awful again?”

Harry remembered it like it had happened just yesterday. When they had come home after Fred’s funeral, they had found the Dark Mark above the driveway of the Burrow and under the Mark was a message burnt in the air with letters of fire: Molly Weasley, come and face me! You killed my wife and will regret it painfully! Afterwards, the employees of the Auror Office, led by Martin Hunter, Head of the Office, spent a whole week around the Burrow placing all the possible detection and protection charms in addition to Fidelius. Fortunately, so far, there was still silence from the rest of the Death Eaters.

“Has anything moved in Lestrange’s case?” Hermione asked, sipping carrot juice.

“At Auror Department, everyone is working through the night,” Arthur replied. “But Lestrange is well-hidden, most likely he is using his acquaintances, maybe he changes his place of residence regularly. As far as your parents are concerned, it would not be safe at all for them to return now. I am afraid Lestrange would be more than happy to get them,” Arthur replied to her with a serious expression.

Hermione’s face fell. She obviously longed for her parents and hoped every day that they would be able to return to their normal lives soon. However, it was not safe yet; the war was not over yet.

“Everything will be alright,” Ron said as he took Hermione’s hand trying to reassure her.

“Harry, your new glasses suit you very well,” Ginny said, disrupting the gloomy mood that had been taken over all the people at the breakfast table.

“My vision has become very sharp now. I can see very well now. Thank you, Molly and Arthur!” Harry thanked Mrs. and Mr. Weasley.

“It’s a great pleasure for me to hear this, my dear. Do you see that here, behind the omelet plate, there is also a plate of sausages, don’t you want some?” Molly offered smiling at him. “And how do you feel, dear?” she now turned to Fleur. “Is everything alright with your stomach?”

“Eet’s all right for me. Thank you, Molly,” Fleur replied in her French accent, continuing to eat her breakfast quietly.

Bill although rolled his eyes about that. Mrs. Weasley was asking Fleur now and then “is everything alright with her stomach” whenever she arrived at the Burrow. As Ginny had told Harry, pregnant women tend to have nausea in the mornings. Likewise, in the presence of Fleur Molly had started to talk a lot about how wonderful and amazing is Teddy as a three month old baby and how nice are the baby sounds he makes when he is humming and bubbling. As well, she gave some advices now and then. “You must never lull a baby with a sleeping spell!” or “Until two years of age, you can’t give syrup of Hellebore for cough. As long as the child is not three years old, you must forget about the teleportation!” And there were even more similar recommendations, clearly related to bringing up children. Mrs. Weasley certainly couldn’t wait to have her own grandchild.

“Well, dad, you can relax at least today,” said Ron. “You don’t have to go to work today.”

“Fortunately, it is a bit calmer for the second weekend now,” Arthur said with joy.

“But I am afraid to even imagine how much work will await for me on Monday. Definitely there will be a huge pile of cases of incidents. One might think that after the fall of You-Know-Who we will once and for all have peace, but no. Every little worm comes up with some kind of rascality that we have to clean up for hours. Now they have started to charm those Muggle boxes with buttons that the Muggles put close to their ears, and, as they do that, then – snap, and the ear is bitten and there appear tubers like those on clown hats. And there doesn’t help any ordinary healing spells, because the whole disaster is too close to the brain. If we do not want them to remain dumb for their whole lifetime then we have to take them to St. Mungo’s Hospital to remove all those tumors. It seems that they will soon have to open a new department for Muggles.” He bitterly laughed as he finished speaking.

“That’s terrible,” Hermione murmured. “But, Mr. Weasley, what exactly are those Muggle boxes that are being charmed?”

“I don’t really know what those boxes are and what the Muggles are doing with them. They are usually small boxes with buttons and with something like a stick at one end and about this big,” Mr. Weasley explained showing with his palms about half a foot in length. “Muggles are saying that this thing is ‘tephelon’. Hermione, Harry you know better Muggle things, what is the correct name of that device, and why the Muggles are putting it to the ear?”

Harry and Hermione looked at each other. They didn’t know what Arthur was talking about because they had never seen such a thing before.

“Tephelon – maybe you were thinking of a “telephone”,” Hermione asked. “You can talk over a telephone or a phone at a great distance. Do you remember how a long time ago you tried to call Harry? That’s why they put it to the ear. However, as far as I know, a telephone line is required for a telephone connection. How can it be possible to use a phone on the street or in the open field without an attached cord?”

“Look, we’ve lived in the woods for so long, that the Muggles have already managed to invent phones without a cord,” Harry said.

Mr. Weasley was overly excited. “Then this phone is a new invention for them! You don’t say! I must have one of those for myself!” Mrs. Weasley just hopelessly rolled her eyes.

“I’ve also seen some Muggles having a conversation using this – telphone – actually it looks very useful,” George said and then he suggested. “Maybe I could also make something like that in my joke shop; something that allows direct conversations?”

“You know, it really would be one very useful thing,” Ginny confirmed. “That would have been very handy for us when we needed to resist the dictatorship of Snape.”

They were all discussing their ideas about portable communication devices for a moment, also mentioning the Sirius’s mirror, until breakfast food was all eaten. George said farewell to everyone before he flew to his shop, as he had anticipated a rush of customers on Saturday. Before departure through the Floo Network he told Ron to help him with testing some of the new products, but Charlie and Bill with Fleur went along with George to the Diagon Alley for leisure and other business. Because of the threat of attack by Lestrange the people of Magical Law Enforcement Patrol had advised them to go out from the house only within a small crowd. “My vacation will last only until Monday, so I need at last to go to the Magical Menagerie at the Diagon Alley and look at their dragon tonic. The Romanian product isn’t good enough. If our dragons get the conjunctivitis, we have to put in a lot of effort to get their eyes clean again,” explained Charlie before departing.

“Harry, and what are you going to do today?” Ginny asked when they had said goodbye to the three Weasley brothers and Fleur in the living room standing by the fireplace. “Are you going to prepare for your Auror Admission Exam?”

“Look, I think we should talk, all four of us,” Harry said, lightly silencing his voice, as he glanced at Ron and Hermione.

Ron initially seemed a little bit taken aback, but he nodded anyway, while Hermione had agreed immediately without hesitation.

Harry looked back at Ginny. “Let’s go out to the garden for a talk.”

It seemed that Ginny began to feel a little worried about how serious he looked, so she immediately agreed.

The four young people rushed out of the house. As usual in the summer morning, the air was warm and the weather promised another nice and hot summer day. Only the faces of Harry, Ron, and Hermione appeared as the darkest rain clouds when all the friends had found a distant corner at a farther black currant bush growing by the old ruins of a stone wall.

“Well then, tell me what happened – you look worse than three Dementors!” Ginny said.

“Ginny, I saw a bad dream last night. A very bad,” Harry said in a gloomy voice.

Ginny plucked off some of the berries of black currant bush and chuckled: “I warned you yesterday not to drink butterbeer after champagne,” and she threw the dark, juicy berries in her mouth.

“That’s not the champagne’s fault. Alright, listen,” – and Harry told his girlfriend about his dream of a terrible voice in the black emptiness.

“So what? The dream is a dream. Why you are so worried?” Ginny asked not being able to comprehend his anxiety.

“When Harry told us his dream this morning, at first we thought the same thing,” Hermione said. “But then we discussed the matter more carefully and…”

“Wait a minute, but you destroyed all the Horcruxes, at least considering as far as I understand from what you have told me, Harry,” Ginny said.

“You see, all the time until now we thought it so ourselves that we have really destroyed all of them,” Ron confirmed.

“But then this morning, after this Harry’s dream, we thoroughly discussed it all again, and…” Hermione told Ginny, at the end taking in a deep breath and making a pause.

“And – what?” The matter sounded indeed serious, so Ginny didn’t like it at all.

“And – it is very likely that we didn’t destroy all the Horcruxes. It is very likely that the one which got burnt was not the real Ravenclaw’s diadem because it was a fake one. And that means Voldemort might be somewhere out there, wandering somewhere around. Most likely in some kind of form of a ghost,” Hermione explained.

“To put it mildly it doesn’t sound good at all,” Ginny commented, almost shuddering. “And the real diadem? Who knows where it is now?”

“I have a strong suspicion that it must be at Hogwarts. When Voldemort realized that we had got the rest of his Horcruxes, he immediately ran to Hogwarts,” Harry explained. “We just have to figure out how to get back to Hogwarts and what to say to McGonagall. We can’t just go to her now and say that probably there somewhere around the castle is wandering around Voldemort because I saw a bad dream… moreover, after a birthday party.”

“But wait a minute. Exactly why you simply can’t go back to Hogwarts? You don’t have to tell McGonagall anything about bad dreams,” Ginny suggested.

“But how we will explain to her what are we doing there in the middle of summer?” Ron asked.

“Why do you need to search for the diadem right at this exact moment? Apply to McGonagall as usual students for the seventh school year and search for the diadem how long you wish. The last time it took at least eleven years for Voldemort to recover a little bit of his power. I highly doubt that this time he can do it in a couple of months, if it is possible at all,” Ginny told her thoughts.

Harry felt a little bit taken aback – he had been so worried that he hadn’t done his task and had only thought how to get back to Hogwarts at this very moment, so he hadn’t thought about such an opportunity. This would mean that he should wait only one more month, and he could return to Hogwarts for a whole year, for a whole wonderful school year. And they could all together make sure whether his dream was true or not, in no hurry searching for the diadem without unnecessarily disturbing McGonagall.

“Ginny, it’s a great idea!” Hermione confirmed. “You guys can go back to Hogwarts with us and we still have a whole month to make a search plan.”

“Then we just have to write a refusal letter to the Auror’s office,” Ron planned what to do next, “and have to apply to McGonagall.”

“That’s right,” Harry agreed.

The voice of Mrs. Weasley sounded loudly from the window of the living room of the Burrow: “Dear boys, you have received the owls!”

They changed glances to each other and hurried to find out what kind of messages they have received. Would something have come from the Auror’s office about the next week’s admission examination? The girls followed them to the indoors. The owls had left two envelopes of beige parchment sealed with a large stamp decorated with large letter H in the middle, surrounded by a snake, a lion, an eagle, and a badger – the letters have come from Hogwarts.

Harry, like Ron, opened his letter and began to read it.

 

July 31st, 1998

Dear Mr. Potter:

Due to the battle that took place in Hogwarts on May 2nd this year where the darkest wizard of our time was abolished, the OWL and NEWT exams were cancelled. So this year due to these extreme circumstances Hogwarts offers an opportunity to revisit the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for your seventh school year and take the final examinations.

If you are interested in this offer, please send an owl with your affirmation within one week so we can send you a list of the necessary school supplies as soon as possible.

In case of a positive answer, please also give an answer if you would like to use this year’s opportunity offered by Hogwarts to study an Alchemy course for one year as an optional subject. The answer has to be given on time because the Alchemy course will only be approved if we will complete the class with at least 10 students.

Minerva McGonagall

The Headmistress of

Hogwarts School of

Witchcraft and Wizardry

 

Ron looked at Harry smiling. “Well then – do we say yes?”

“Hogwarts, here we come,” Harry agreed with a smile.



Chapter 4: The Books and the Quibbler
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Both Harry and Ron instantly sent the owls to Auror Office, refusing their candidacy for admission exam, and as soon as Errol and Pigwidgeon had returned, they immediately wrote their next letters to McGonagall affirming their studies of seventh year at Hogwarts. Hermione did not follow this procedure because she had applied for her seventh year at Hogwarts the very next day after the Last Battle against Voldemort. McGonagall had also allowed it to her, explaining that until the new school year, all the damage to the castle will be repaired so the students will be admitted again for the next school year. Discussing alchemy, he, Ron, and Ginny decided to take advantage of this opportunity, while Hermione was thinking differently – she claimed she had already enough alchemy in her first school year.

Not only Hogwarts, but the rest of the magic world, were also involved in the damage prevention. Pius Thicknesse had fallen in the Last Battle and was replaced by Kingsley Shacklebolt. The new Minister for Magic had hands full of work – there had to be eliminated the consequences of catching the wizards and witches with Muggle ancestry, there had to be helped countless families to rebuild their homes where the financial aid was organized by the generous Mr Gustav Gold, there had to be renewed the Ministry’s own agenda and not even mentioning the organization of the Quidditch World Cup in the nearby country of Ireland. However, the Weasleys skipped the World Cup games of this year due to the security reasons. As well, led by experienced Martin Hunter, the Aurors had a lot of catching to do with the last remains of the Death Eaters, therefore the hearings at the court went long through the day until late at night, and Harry had to come to a few of them as a witness.

Just over a week had passed since they had sent their letters, and on Tuesday morning all four young people received the lists of their required textbooks for their seventh year.

Harry opened a folded parchment sheet, described with green ink, and read:

 

The following textbooks are required for students of the 7th year of Hogwarts for studies of Herbology, Charms, Potions, Defence against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, and Alchemy:

Felicita Plum. Plants for Garden, Pot, and Tummy

Miranda Goshawk. Book of Spells (7th year)

Libatius Borage. Advanced Potion-Making

Quentin Trimble. Confronting the Faceless

Emeric Switch. A Guide to Advanced Transfiguration

Archibald Aberratius. Basics of Alchemy

The Head Boy is welcomed at coupe number 3 at Hogwarts Express, where you will be contacted by Minerva McGonagall, the Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

We are looking forward for your presence at Hogwarts Start-of-Term Feast on September 1st,

Filius Flitwick

Deputy Headmaster.

 

The list of books for Ron and Ginny looked very similar to Harry’s, but in Hermione’s list was also added the book of Lukas Karuzos New Theory of Numerology for her Arithmancy studies, which Harry had given her as a Christmas present three years ago, but instead of alchemy book she needed Rune Dictionary. They also had a huge pile of badges. Ron took out from his envelope the familiar prefect badge, Ginny had the honor to wear the Captain’s badge – technically she was also the Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team last year, but the last season of Quidditch had its chips, especially for Gryffindor team. And Hermione and Harry had received their Head Girl and Head Boy badges.

Harry beamed at his friends, changing a little bit longer look with Hermione. He is going to be the Head Boy! He had received this badge like his father had before. Although the last ten days he had been living with dark thoughts, these seemingly simply news that he had been given a title of Head Boy blew him in the chest like a large balloon of happiness. Hogwarts had chosen him, had appraised him; Hogwarts needed him!

Receiving the list of school supplies for four friends meant only one – they had to go to Diagon Alley to buy all the necessary things. Unable to hide their excitement, friends decided to go to the paradise of magical shops today. They told Mrs Weasley, who had already started to prepare food for meal of this evening – Ginny had a birthday today – and as they were ready to go, they flew by the Floo Network to the Diagon Alley while it was still morning.

Today Diagon Alley looked almost like in the old days – there were no informative posters made by the Ministry on the facades of the houses, but only the usual advertisements of various shops. People, happily chatting, moved in little bunches or did their shopping alone. There were only few shops with shut down or nailed up windows looking like ugly scars from the endured terror, apparently no longer hosted by their previous owners. But in any other way, there in the Diagon Alley had started another nice, sunny day, just as it had been at Ottery St Catchpole.

The friends decided to start shopping with buying the required books, then they wanted to go to the Apothecary and finally they needed to visit the Quidditch Supplies store. The new captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team definitely needed a decent broom. Likewise, Ron had intended to spend some of the Ministry’s cash prize for special merit for the purchase of new clothes and a nice broom. They were awarded with money prize together with the Order of Merlin First Class at a solemn ceremony; while the other fighters of the Battle of Hogwarts had received smaller cash prize and the Order of Merlin Second Class. Since the four young people had pockets full with the Ministry’s prize in a form of money they could skip the visit at Gringotts and at once go shopping.

So the friends leisurely strolled to Flourish and Blotts bookshop, where they wanted to buy the books they needed for their studies. All of them were now in a quite happy mood, wondering what might be the daily life at Hogwarts. Ron was eagerly anticipating the banquet of the first September. Although Hermione was in completely different thoughts.

“As if at home mom wouldn’t feed you from the morning till the evening. In my opinion, it is immensely important to gain an acknowledged educational document approved by the magical world, which opens up an enormous amount of opportunities for getting a decent job. And not even mentioning the very knowledge we are going to learn in our seventh year. I wouldn’t miss it for all the money in the world.”

“But I don’t think it will be easy. After all these disruptions and, moreover, I didn’t get the chance to finish my sixth year. I think we will have to struggle quite a lot at first,” Ginny expressed her concern.

“And with all those extra responsibilities when are we going to find the time to search for the diadem?” Harry said, also sounding a little bit worried.

“Yes, Harry, we will also have the responsibilities of Head Boy and Head Girl, that is, we will practically be the professors’ assistants. As far as I know, we will have to assist the professors in their duty to watch the corridors on Saturday nights, then at the festivities we will have to help to prepare the decorations, and in the case of emergency we’ll have to help to organize the prefects, and we will have to inform the prefects about the new passwords at the beginning of the school year. Let’s hope that at least this year there won’t be anything to do with emergency situations,” Hermione finished her list of responsibilities on a happy note.

“Harry, how difficult could it be for you the duty to watch the corridors? You could just watch the Marauder’s Map, and it’s done,” Ron happily said to his friend.

“Yeah, only that hanging of Christmas balls in Christmas trees doesn’t seem very exciting,” Harry chuckled.

“And wait a moment, don’t you forget about the Quidditch training! This year I am the captain, so both of you just try me not to come to the training!” Ginny laughed at them warningly.

“Hold your horses, my dear; you haven’t even accepted us into the team yet. What if we fail at the tryouts?” Harry argued, smirking.

“Then Ron will be able to devote himself fully to his prefect duty,” Ginny teased her brother. “Guiding around lost first years definitely is beyond exciting.”

“Don’t laugh at me like that. Everybody knows I’m bad at Quidditch,” Ron said sullenly.

“Mhm, and two years ago did that Quidditch Cup fall to you out from thin air? If you just gather yourself up you play quite well,” Ginny stated.

Ron answered nothing, just murmured something under his breath. Although at the end of his fifth school year he had helped the Gryffindor team to win the Quidditch Cup, he still had a stage fright when he had to face a large group of people. Harry remembered the Order of Merlin Award ceremony when Ron distracted by the constant and intense attention of such a huge crowd of people had wanted to disappear in thin ear, although any other time he would have liked to be noticed and respected. So to say – it was too much of a good thing. In addition, Harry had suspected that Ron was still a little bit ashamed for leaving him and Hermione in the winter to wander alone in the woods.

“Of course, if you are going to be this grumpy during all the training, then you better don’t come at it at all,” Ginny warned. “But while you are behaving like a normal person, attending the training is obligated.” She knew very well exactly how painfully Ron reacted to his failures in Quidditch. But she also thought that sometimes he acted so overly exaggerated – Ron was already a grown up, and withal being a man, he could tiff like a little girl.

Suddenly someone interrupted their conversation.

“Harry, Harry Potter?” asked a man in a black top hat and dark blue robes.

“Yes, that’s me,” Harry answered, confused.

“It is such a pleasure and honor to meet you, sir. My name is Willis, and I would like to express to you my gratitude for saving the world. If not for you, everything still would sink into darkness. May I shake your hand?” the wizard asked.

“Um, yeah, thank you. Yes, of course,” Harry said stuttering and stretched out his hand toward Willis. The short man shook it passionately, and then he shook also a hand to Ron and Hermione, and wished everyone a nice day and went off to his own business.

The central street of Diagon Alley was full of people, so, of course, the bypassing walkers had heard their conversation. And if the famous Harry Potter had shook his hand with one person, then others also wanted to look in the face and to congratulate the “most famous and most mighty wizard of our time”, as he was honored by Daily Prophet which even many weeks after the Battle of Hogwarts constantly reminded almost in every newspaper release that everyone needed to be grateful to Mr Potter for all the prosperity and peace of the moment. Later after the battle, Harry had given into the insistence of the Daily Prophet and he had given an interview on Voldemort’s hunting, and later he had written a press release about Dumbledor’s death and Snape’s true merit over the past year. Harry had only asked the journalists to say nothing to the wizarding society about the Horcruxes, because, according to Hermione’s advice, it was the knowledge which would be better to be forgotten. After the interview was published, Ron and Hermione also had become widely known among wizards and witches.

“I am so happy to meet you, Mr Weasley and Miss Granger,” said an older witch with blonde hair excitingly, shaking her hand with them with radiant eyes.

Right now, around the four young people had gathered quite a large crowd as the people tried with their elbows to break their way closer to the famous persons. Then they were greeted by a bunch of wizards in red robes, then came a group of giggling witches, being about some ten years older than Harry, then their hand wanted to shake countless other bypassers until in front of them stood a mother of two teenage girls who tried to push in front of Harry and Ron her daughters, almost completely ignoring Ginny and Hermione.

“Hello, Mr Potter and Mr Weasley! I have the immeasurable honor to meet both of you. My daughters, Henrietta and Adele, are very delighted to meet you as well. This year, they will begin their fifth and third year at Hogwarts,” the mother explained.

“Hello,” the girls cooed in a sweet voice both at the same time.

Harry felt that Ginny was tightening her grip on his upper arm so he realized this was getting out of hand. They stood here for already half an hour in the middle of Diagon Alley, shaking their hands with one after another person, but the crowd of people hadn’t thinned in any way – it was just the opposite. Moreover, the people began to act even more shameless. Harry didn’t know what to do.

“Um, hello there. Thank you for your kind words, but we really have our own business and we would like to go further. Have a nice day,” Harry tried to excuse himself. But taking a step forward, they had a new wave of greetings and congratulations. Ron and Hermione had also started to become worried because they were not able to move forward not even a step. And they had gone just a halfway to Flourish and Blotts!

Suddenly, something with a clicking sound dropped to the ground and rolled away out of the crowd where it flourished into a gorgeous flower of fireworks. Everyone immediately turned to the unexpected wonderful event, and the four young people slipped away from the huge crowd unnoticed. It seemed to Harry that there were some wizards rushing to the scene with pulled out wands – they probably were from Magical Law Enforcement Squad observing Diagon Alley and watching out for any disorder. Mr Hunter, taking all the security measures for the Weasley family, had explained to them that after the attack by Lestrange the Squad is going to guard all major gathering places of wizards, so he advised the Weasleys to go out to these places in little groups being cautious and it would be better for them to not to go out of their secured house at all if not necessary.

“The newest of George’s inventions. I had come to an arrangement with him that I will take the Fireflowers with me today so I can show him our latest improvements. That’s why I have some of them in my pocket. George hasn’t anyone to assist him now, since Fred… is gone,” Ron explained.

“Let’s hurry to Flourish and Blotts while the people haven’t encircled us again,” Hermione urged her friends.

Luckily, everyone on the main street of Diagon Alley was distracted by the flamy plant as it had blossomed with sparkling flowers which had begun to grow more and more new blossoms and people were amazed at the beautiful firework show.

The young people entering Flourish and Blotts found themselves relieved that the bookshop wasn’t overfilled with people. There were just a few older customers and several students from Hogwarts who wanted to buy their textbooks in time just like them.

The shopkeeper rushed to new customers as he noticed them.

“Oh, Mr Potter, you are welcomed here, and of course hello to you too, Mr Weasley and Miss Granger. And hello to you, Miss Weasley?” the older man greeted all of them. “How can I help you?”

“We’ll need textbooks for the seventh year of Hogwarts,” Harry replied, taking out his list of required books. Ron, Hermione, and Ginny also took out their parchment sheets with a list of books and gave it to the shopkeeper as he urged them to do so.

“Wait a moment, please. I’ll find the books you need right away. Perhaps you are in a need for another book?” the bookseller asked with joy wanting to be helpful to famous Potter.

“We would love to see what you have in the stock, is it alright?” Harry suggested.

“Yes, sure, of course, Mr Potter. When you have looked through the bookshelves, please, come and pick up your textbooks at the cash desk.” And the shopkeeper hurried to get the books required for Hogwarts for his four customers.

“Harry, it seems everyone here is dancing to your tune,” Ron said, partly amused, partly with a little bitterness in his voice.

“And does it look to you that I like it even a teeny-tiny bit? We can’t even come to shop properly as the people swarms around us,” Harry said to Ron, being well aware that his friend didn’t like to stay in the shadow of his fame.

“Let it be. At least here is peaceful. Let’s go and look for a book – I have a feeling I know what you need, Harry,” Hermione said, sounding more joyful.

“What kind of book are you talking about?” Harry asked, but Hermione had already plunged into depths of the bookshelves, and the other three friends had to run after her. She had gone to a department dedicated to magical protection. On the table next to the shelf were stacked several piles of books on the theory of the defence, written by Trimble.

“Hermione, but this book is already in our list. The shopkeeper will pick them up for us.” Ginny didn’t really understand what has come into Hermione’s mind.

“I think Harry needs another book. It will be useful to you later anyway.” Hermione smiled at her friends and began to carefully examine the shelves.

Here, Harry also noticed other textbooks of Defence against the Dark Arts required for the previous years, including the book by Wilbert Slinkhard – thank goodness, there is no more Umbridge at Hogwarts or Ministry. She was not convicted to Azkaban due to the absence of evidence, but she had to leave her job at the Ministry.

“Aha, this could be it,” Hermione soon exclaimed. “Transfiguration for Defensive Purposes.” She took the book out of the shelf and swiftly opened a table of contents of the book and started to quietly inspect it with her eyes.

“Harry, look at this. Here’s a bunch of transfiguration spells which lets you change your look. Remember, in the sixth year, we tried to change the color of our eyebrows. In this book, there are spells starting with eyebrow changing, there are also spells for changing the hair color, beard attachment spells, and at the end there are also even spells for eye color or for complex facial transformation. Although these spells aren’t the simplest ones, but you can learn them if you’ll practice them hard enough, and I think these spells will turn out to be useful later in your Auror training, and maybe even now you can use some of them,” Hermione said enthusiastically.

“Yeah, thank you, Hermione. I hope these will be useful for me. I just need to learn to cast them somehow,” Harry thanked his friend, not being really sure if he could succeed in casting the spell of complex facial transformation. Harry and Ron weren’t on the ball doing just the eyebrow transfiguration, and that was the simplest of the transformations in this book. However, Harry was grateful to Hermione for her efforts anyway.

Suddenly, a familiar lightly stretched voice sounded behind the corner. “That vendor has gone off to who knows where. Now, how can I pay for the books? How long will I have to walk around the bookstore?”

“No one shows us neither respect nor honor anymore,” someone else slowly said nearby.

“That’s true. Probably that’s why I didn’t even get back my prefect badge.” At that moment, Draco Malfoy and Theodore Nott came around the corner into the view, talking to each other. After seeing the four Gryffindors, both of them stopped.

“Oh, that’s why – the bookseller has hurried to fulfill Potter’s order, but for the others he gives only cold shoulder,” Theodore spoke out grudgingly.

However, Draco Malfoy was not so eager to express his frustration. After all, Harry had saved his life, and at that moment at the Malfoy Manor he hadn’t betrayed Harry when he had fallen into the hands of the Snatchers. One definitely couldn’t call it a friendship, but it was such a relationship between those two young men that didn’t allow to start the conversation with an insulting or a hostile note. Therefore Draco greeted them and at the instant looked away, feeling uneasy and then went away with Theodore further into the bookstore.

“Let’s go back to the cash desk. I don’t like to be pampered all the time,” Harry said.

“But it’s only Malfoy. It wouldn’t hurt him if he has to wait for five minutes in the queue next to ordinary people,” Ron said to Harry.

“Well, Malfoy may have deserved it, but the bookstore is also visited by other people, and they all have to wait just because we have wanted to enter here. It doesn’t seem right to me, so, please, let’s go back,” Harry urged his friends to finish their shopping so they wouldn’t become a burden on other customers. It seemed Ron wouldn’t have minded to be attended as a celebrity without waiting in the queue, but he knew how much Harry didn’t like to be overpraised or admired by other people. In addition, Harry had doubts about the positivity of his fame because he knew how unstable it could be – here one day everyone was praising him as a savior of the magical world, but the next day there could have been published an article similar to Rita Skeeter’s ones in a newspaper which would show him as a complete madman. In Harry’s mind, there was still fresh the memory of the dark sides of his glory when he had to endure too much of it in his fifth year of Hogwarts. That’s why he thought – the more everyone is leaving him be, the better. And although his fame among the wizards and witches was completely positive at the moment, he did not feel the slightest liking that he was regularly greeted by strangers who constantly thanked him for saving their peace and prosperity. For the saving of the peace and prosperity of all the people – both wizards and Muggles – which he probably hasn’t even saved, if it was true that Voldemort is still wandering somewhere out there… And now each praise of a familiar person or a stranger said to Harry felt to him like a thorn in his heart, which reminded him that his current glory was undeserved, that he had not done his job properly, even though he had put himself fully into doing it. There is just a slight hope that Voldemort without his many Horcruxes has become very weak, and this time it would be quite easy to destroy him, Harry thought in despair, wishing to be able to correct his failure when he will return at Hogwarts.

Meanwhile, the friends had arrived at the cash desk. The shopkeeper was already rushing to it with a sizable stack of books, more or less ignoring the other customers waiting at the counter.

“Oh, Mr Potter, have you already looked through this modest bookstore? I’ve picked up four sets of books for Hogwarts and also for Miss Granger a copy of her New Theory of Numerology and Rune Dictionary,” the bookseller put all the books on the counter, pointing to two books of which the dictionary was so thick it could easily be mistaken with Hogwarts: A History.

“Thank you, but instead of Numerology and Rune Dictionary we will take this book. And we are sorry we forgot to tell you that we already have the Confronting the Faceless and A Guide to Advanced Transfiguration, and the book of potions will only be needed for me,” Harry apologized, placing a copy of Transfiguration for Defensive Purposes on the counter.

“Yes, of course. As you wish, sir,” the book salesman said, making a stiff smile at them – he will now have to go and bring the redundant books back to the shelves. “Mr Potter, I’ll give you a little discount. Then you have to pay for your books one Galleon and three Sickles plus five more Sickles for your Transfiguration book,” the salesman named the price for all of Harry’s books as he effortlessly calculated it in his mind.

The young people paid the named price for each of their set of books and started to go out of the store. Just nearby the counter Harry heard as one older woman whispered to another: “My boy is also going back to Hogwarts this year, but one Galleon for a set of books? I just paid three Galleons for the books for my boy. It means I’ve paid an arm and leg for these books!”

Going out of the bookstore, Harry being interested pulled out his purchased books from his shopping bag and looked at the price tags – indeed they actually cost ten Sickles each. It meant the shopkeeper had sold them the books for only a half price. Somehow this revelation made Harry angry.

Next, the four friends went to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes because Ron needed to give George the improved Fireflowers. Feeling a bit grumpy and not wanting to attract unnecessary attention, Harry walked with his head down. Luckily for him this time, people didn’t delay him on this short move to George’s shop.

Entering the Weasleys’ store, it seemed to Harry that everything here looked like as usual – gorgeous and eye-catching. There were all kinds of extraordinary wonders on the shelves, including the especial novelty: the Gryffindor Swordpencils – In the lesson it is a common pencil, but in your free time challenge your friend to a real sword fight! –, and the wristwatches with a small cuckoo figurine that makes their cuckoo calls in full hours. On the shelves for the girls there were marvelously glittering lipsticks and hair color changing hair ties, as well as hair clips with very alive looking butterflies. However, not all of the shelves were overly full with the goods. Some of them were half empty and it seemed the goods had not been restocked for some time.

George rushed out of the storeroom at the back of the shop, carrying new boxes with Gryffindor Swordpencils as everyone bought them like crazy. Harry noticed that the young red-haired man looked tired – apparently he was working without stopping all day all night, but with all this hard work it was nearly too much for him alone. Before he always had have Fred with him doing half of the work; now George had to deal with everything alone. Or almost alone – a young blonde girl straightened out from under the counter as she found some of the client’s required Shield Gloves that she hadn’t yet stocked on the shelf.

Seeing the small group of his family and friends, George greeted them joyfully. Placing the boxes with Swordpencils on their stand, the young man looked sideways at his assistant for a brief moment, but then immediately turned to his brother who gave him a couple of something that looked like large round seeds.

“I brought you the new Fireflowers. You can check them for yourself. Harry and I made some improvements for them to roll away a little further from the people, otherwise it was no pleasure to lose our eyebrows,” Ron told about the latest developments, while George stacked the Fireflowers in the pocket of his suit.

“Very well, thank you! I’ll check them later,” George murmured.

“Well, how is it going with you and Verity?” Ron asked. Meanwhile, Ginny and Hermione had rushed to take a look at the offer of the girl section.

“Uh, now we have been more or less friendly with each other,” George reluctantly replied throwing a glance at his employee. “You know, after Fred’s death, I acted as an asshole, so if Verity wouldn’t have stayed here this shop would have gone to the dogs long ago. But well, it is as it is. Thanks for the Fireflower. Now I don’t have even a moment for a rest. The shelves are always half empty, I’m carrying the boxes almost all day long. I even started to look for some employees to do the restocking but those who came to me the first ones – they looked more like some kind of Slytherin bandits. I suppose they weren’t able to find a decent job anywhere else, so they were oppressing me. I hope Angelina will come here later to help me at my shop. I’m really glad you came in, but now I have to rush! And Harry, remember, everything here for you is at my expense,” George said goodbye as he winked to his friend.

“Well, what actually happened between him and that his employee Verity?” Harry asked to Ron, while both of them examined the stand of the Swordpencils.

“You know too well what George was like for the first few months after Fred’s death. He didn’t eat, didn’t sleep, only worked through day and night, and he demanded the same from Verity. In addition, it seemed to me that she actually liked Fred a bit more. Then, for the first month, Verity was enduring it all without saying a word, but in the second month both of them started to argue because they were so overworked that they barely could stand on their feet. Then Verity contacted me and asked for my help. Then, you already know, I started to help George to deal with the new products,” Ron explained.

Before Harry was able to ask him anything more about George, he was greeted by some Hogwarts schoolmates.

“Harry, Ron, hello! Have you also received the McGonagall’s letter from Hogwarts?” asked the former roommate Dean Thomas standing next to Seamus Finnigan and Lavender Brown. Seeing the girl, Harry barely resisted himself of wincing. One side of her face was rough, bumpy, and malformed. She had been trying to shield it with her thick brown hair, but the scars on her neck bitten by Greyback at the Battle of Hogwarts were well visible. After the battle, she was brought to the St Mungo hospital being barely alive, where she spent almost a month, lying unconscious on the bed. Even the Daily Prophet had constantly reported her health condition, and now for a few weeks, Lavender had recovered to the point that she was able to leave the hospital and she could return to a full life.

“Yes, we received it,” Ron replied.

“Then we are going back to Hogwarts, right?” Seamus asked. “If you are coming back too, then these Slytherins wouldn’t have a chance this year!” the young man added with a smile.

“Yes, we are going to finish our seventh year. Then we’ll see each other at school. I’m glad to see you all. However, we still have a lot to do,” Harry made an excuse, searching for Ginny and Hermione with his eyes.

“Oh, well, yeah, we will see you at Hogwarts. By the way, these glasses suits you very well, Harry,” Lavender called after him before turning to the shelf of WonderWitch cosmetics – Rash, warts, and scars on your face Will disappear without a trace! It seemed to Harry that Lavender was sounding somehow oddly sad. Was she hoping that Harry would now begin to recite his last year’s adventures or she wished to hear a pity from him in the presence of all these people? “I wonder why did Lavender sound so strange?” Harry said grumpily.

“That’s probably because I treated her as an asshole before,” Ron sneered without any joy.

Ron was right. Harry had already forgotten it – Lavender just felt awkward in the presence of Ron, and there was nothing to do with him. Oh God, he thought to himself, I am imagining things that aren’t even true. The sooner I’ll get out of this Diagon Alley, the better.

However, as he shouldered through the crowd to the Ginny, some groups of students looked at him with nastily hungry stares.

Fortunately, he and Ron soon reached their girlfriends, and they all together agreed to quickly get the rest of their needed things and then eat an ice cream at the newly opened Fortescue parlour, and then without any delay go home.

Sticking to their plan, they all went to Madam Malkin’s shop where they bought proper new Hogwarts robes, then they shopped for stationery supplies, and got ingredients from Apothecary for potion lessons. Luckily, all this time, the friends were able to avoid the overwhelming attention of people. Only a few of the pedestrians greeted them and expressed their honor to meet them. Finally the four friends had come into a Quidditch supply store, which was a small shop in the middle of the main street of Diagon Alley. This year, unlike last year, Ginny will have a real chance to be a captain of the Quidditch team, so she needed a new broomstick which Harry had promised to give her as her birthday present. Besides, he and Ron also needed a new broom.

As they went inside, Harry noticed that there were just a few people here. Only some girls with Ravenclaw badges on their chest were examining a broomstick talking to each other: “Jodie, you are now the new captain, so I’m saying you need at least the Nimbus two thousand two. We can’t afford the Firebolt, but if Potter is going to return at school you need a decent broom to be able to compete with him. Terry was the best of our flyers, but you already heard what Anthony said – with his potion skills he was accepted into St Mungo, so he won’t come back to school this year,” one of the girls expressed her opinion.

Thinking for a brief moment, the girl named Jodie didn’t respond anything, but then, after noticing Harry, she began to speak. “Hello Potter! You’ve got cool glasses! Are you getting ready for Quidditch? I hope this year we’ll have a chance to meet on the Quidditch field to have a good match. Of course, if you are intending to return to Hogwarts this year. I am Jodie Muller, the Captain of Ravenclaw’s Quidditch team,” a blonde, slender girl introduced herself as she was quickly narrating her monologue.

“Um, hello. I’ll return to Hogwarts…” Harry replied awkwardly.

“But the Captain of Gryffindor Quidditch team is me,” Ginny added, knowing well the Ravenclaw girl of her year. “Then we’ll meet on the pitch.”

“Cheers,” Jodie wished for them, but then she turned to her friends and said: “Maybe let’s go to the Snitch on the Green alley. Hasn’t there arrived a new supply of broomsticks?”

The other three girls nodded and then all of them hurried away quietly murmuring goodbye.

Hermione glanced around absently while Harry, Ron and Ginny began to examine carefully the broom offerings. Immediately, the shopkeeper rushed to offer his help – he was a thin, old man. “Good day! What do young people want, then? Is your need just for leisure or for serious Quidditch match?”

“We’ll need broomsticks for Quidditch, three of them,” Ron replied.

“Well, well, the broomsticks for Quidditch are just right here. Look, here’s the new Cleansweep; here I have the Nimbuses. And here, in the most important place, of course, stands the Firebolt. I heard the second version will be available soon, but we all have to wait for it at least half a year. So, what should I show to you?” the man began to show everything around with enormous enthusiasm rubbing his hands.

Three of friends studied the Quidditch brooms, being very interested in the newest Cleansweep 8 and Comet 500. Of course, the Firebolt would be the best available broomstick, but it cost several hundred Galleons – such amount of money for Ron and Ginny could only appear in their dreams, but Harry felt too sorrow for his old Firebolt, so it didn’t seem right to him to give away a large pile of money from his Gringotts vault to simply buy a new Firebolt. And the old one he got as a present from Sirius…

Finally, they decided the Comet 500 will be good enough for them, which also cost a pretty penny – fifty Galleons for one broomstick. Paying money for his and Ginny’s broom, Harry heard Hermione say: “Look, there’s Hagrid. I’ll go out and say hello to him.”

The girl briefly glanced at her friends and rushed out the door. As soon as they had paid for their new brooms Harry, Ginny and Ron also run out of the shop, hastily saying goodbye to the overly happy shopkeeper.

“Oh là là! Look it, there’s yeh too, Harry. An’, Ron an’ Ginny,” the giant said joyfully made a smile in his beard.

“Hi Hagrid!” the young people greeted him.

“Please tell us how things are going at Hogwarts – what’s going on there right now?” Harry asked first before Hagrid.

“O’, we have a lot to do. We are working till late at night. Not everything has been completely repaired yet, but at least the main walls of the castle are in order. The Boathouse is still ruined; there’s not much left to the September first when I have to take them new first years over the lake,” Hagrid told them excitedly. “An’ how do yeh do – I see, ya got all kinds of shoppin’ bags. Then are ya getting ready for Hogwarts, right?” the giant asked.

“Of course,” Ginny replied. “How can one not want to go back to Hogwarts? So we all will be in the same class this year with the permission of McGonagall.”

“But if you have so much work to do, what are you doing here, Hagrid?” Ron asked.

“Well, yeh are not takin’ the Care of Magical Creatures, but near me hut, in the forest, there are roaming such interestin’ creatures as whatacrows. They are smart birds, but scary as hell. I need to go to the Magical Menagerie to look fer somethin’ to scare them away,” Hagrid said thoughtfully, although it seemed to Harry that the giant actually was quietly thinking how to domesticate them. “An’ there are those nasty boggarts all over the place. As people are saying – when there’s any kind of disaster or a battle, then yeh later can’t get rid of them.”

“I wish you luck, Hagrid,” Hermione said with a smile. “I am very happy to see you, and we are going to see each other at Hogwarts again.”

“Of course, I have a great pleasure to see yeh too. And especially for yeh, Harry. Yeh all went through such difficulties as only a rare wizard have seen, an’ now look at yeh – yeh are happy an’ getting ready for Hogwarts. You-Know-Who is defeated, an’ now yeh can live in peace. Good job Harry! That’s the way to go! An’ yeh, Ginny, help him how yeh can, now yeh two can live happily ever after. Bye, bye all of yeh. Then we’ll see at Hogwarts,” the giant said, waving his large-sized palm and went off to the shop of Magical Menagerie.

Harry was delighted to hear Ginny’s suggestion that they could finish their shopping ending it with an ice cream. “The Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour has been reopened again, hasn’t it? Let’s go there?” Ginny had said.

“All right, let’s go there,” Ron agreed. “Harry, listen, didn’t you say some time ago that Fortescue knew a lot about history?”

“Yeah, it’s true. He knew a lot about it,” Harry groaned reluctantly. Hagrid’s genuine happiness had spoiled his mood. Their old, huge friend truly thought the war against Voldemort has been won and now everyone can have their happy lives back. But what if there are still some other cruel and terrible challenges ahead? When Harry had escaped from the Dursleys in his third year and had lived in the Leaky Cauldron, back then Fortescue had given him ice cream for free every day and had told incredibly lot of stories about medieval witches. Who can tell now – maybe he would have known something about the relics of Hogwarts, but now the life of a wise, intelligent and knowledgeable old man has been taken away by Voldemort’s terror more than a year ago. If this monster is wandering somewhere around out there, how many more kind, sincere, and wise wizards will have to suffer?

Sunk in his dark reflections, Harry noticed that they had already arrived at the Fortescue Ice Cream Parlour which was indeed open to visitors. But there was no friendly old man sitting behind the counter, there was just a smiling lady. Approaching the parlour, Hermione greeted a visitor, hidden behind the newest release of the Quibbler. “Hi Luna!”

“Hi my friends!” The girl smiled with true joy as she saw her friends, putting aside her magazine. “Come, join me! The new glasses really do look good on you, Harry!” she said excitedly.

The four young people instantly took the seats around the table next to Luna at the white wooden chairs and on one of them they placed all their purchases.

Harry now wanted to get up and go to the counter to order ice cream when the lady was already standing at their table.

“Oh my dear God, you are Harry Potter, and Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, and you Miss are also a Weasley?” the owner said enthusiastically.

“Yes, I’m Ginny Weasley,” she confirmed. Harry cast a glance at the counter – there were three customers waiting patiently. He pursed his lips in frustration – did others really have to wait in the queue just because he had come here; he, Harry Potter, the boy who lived, the boy who vanquished the Dark Lord. Sort of… He was the boy who didn’t do his job properly, that’s what he was, Harry thought bitterly.

“My name is Diana. Fortescue was my dad, but there’s a long time gone when I called myself for a Fortescue,” she said happily telling her story as she waved her hand. “What should I bring to you? You are such nice and noble people, so I will gladly give you ice cream for free. At my expense. It is such a pleasure for me that you have come to my Ice Cream Parlour. In the evening I could tell my children at home, that Harry Potter himself with his friends had visited my parlour,” the lady just continued to talk without a pause.

“No!” Harry exclaimed quite loudly. “I can pay for my ice cream. You don’t have to give it to me for free!”

Diana was strongly confused by Harry’s harsh voice, but then she smiled stiffly.

Hermione looked at the Luna’s two ice creams for a brief moment and to make amends, she quickly said her order: “We would like to also have four big ice creams with hazelnuts, please.”

The owner murmured “Alright,” and hastily rushed for the requested ice cream. It seemed she felt relieved when Hermione had said her order, so she could leave the company of young people.

Luna turned her head to Harry, leaning it on one side, and said: “Harry, why are you so anxious today as if you were going to catch another evil wizard? And Ginny – I wish a happy birthday to you!”

Ginny mumbled “thank you” with a smile, but Harry stared at the blonde Ravenclaw girl with wide eyes – Luna was the first person who hadn’t become overly excited about his endless and great feats, but actually wanted to know how he felt. And even her observation was unusually accurate. Only he wasn’t going to catch another dark wizard, but the same one.

“Look, I think we can tell it to Luna too,” Harry suggested. “And also to Neville,” he added as soon as he saw his friend coming out of the nearby apothecary and approaching to them. Neville raised his hand to greet them and they answered his greeting. Meanwhile, the owner of the parlour has already brought them the four ordered portions of hazelnut ice cream. “Here you are! You have to pay twenty Knuts for each ice cream.”

The friends gave to the lady the required money. Harry noticed that Diana now acted very stiffly in his presence.

“I’m sorry,” Harry began, “if I was too harsh with my answer. I just don’t like to get things for free if others have to pay for them. And I often used to come here to your father for an ice cream. He really knew a lot about history.”

“Thank you, dear,” she said with a smile. She obviously had accepted the apology and now felt much better. “Yes, as a child I also liked to listen to his stories. Especially dear to me was the story of the daughter of old Lady Ravenclaw. It had everything what a little girl needs – it was a story of love when a young girl falls in love with a handsome young man, and then she runs away from home to her happiness. Oh, to this story I could listen again and again in the evenings,” Diana said daydreaming, but then she suddenly woke up. “Sorry for talking so much! I won’t bother you any longer, there’s ice cream melting for you. Enjoy your ice cream!” As she said it, she hurried back to the counter, but Harry was sitting with open mouth – now when he actually might have wanted to ask her more about the story of Ravenclaw’s daughter, she had run away.

Meanwhile, Neville had come to their table. “Hello, hello,” he said, seeing his good, old friends, and made a sincere smile. Then he took a chair from a nearby table and sat down to their company.

Everyone greeted back Neville, and Luna smiled knowingly at him. “I told you I’ll save one for you too. A small freezing spell, and the ice cream will still taste as freshly made. This is your favorite – with hazelnuts.”

Smiling, Neville took his portion of ice cream, and Luna at once remembered: “Harry, did you want to tell us why are you so anxious today?”

“Anxious?” Neville wandered glancing at Harry. “What happened then? Why Luna thinks you’re anxious?”

“Oh, he just can’t stand that everyone is giving away things to him for free,” Ron said grumpily.

Hermione cast a little bit critical glance at him and interjected: “And there is also that second thing. Harry, tell it yourself; you are the one who discovered it.”

Neville began to appear worried, but the expression on Luna’s face transformed into a mild interest.

“All right, listen then – I saw a bad dream ten days ago. A very bad.” Harry had to gather all the courage to be able to tell his revelation to someone else – as if the more he was talking about it, the more real it was becoming. However, if there was anyone else who deserved to know this, it was certainly Neville and Luna, his most loyal fighters, except for Ron and Hermione. “So, in short, I saw in a dream that Voldemort wasn’t completely destroyed and he was seriously planning to rise again.”

After Harry’s statement, both Neville and Luna sat in their chairs shocked with their mouths halfway open.

“It can’t be,” Neville finally breathed.

Luna was the first to regain her clarity of thoughts. “Harry, but if you say you saw it in a dream, how do you know it is even a little bit of truth? The dream, however, is a dream. That could be true only then if you had put my given Dreamer by your bed that night.” When Harry heard it, he at instant remembered the moment Luna had given him her present at his birthday: This is the Dreamer. It doesn’t allow nightmares to visit you at night, but sometimes it may catch bypassing thoughts. Thinking back, it seemed to him as there a thorn of fear would prick in his abdomen.

“You see, at first Hermione told me the same that it was probably just a dream,” Harry said, knowingly glanced at Hermione, who slowly ate her ice cream, licking the spoon. She nodded approvingly. He turned back to the Ravenclaw girl and continued: “But then we started to discuss why it can’t be true until we realized where we could have made a mistake. We probably haven’t destroyed all of the Voldemort’s Horcruxes.”

“We haven’t? But all of you hunted those bloody Horcruxes all the year, and I cut off that snake’s head. Are you going to say this snake was not a real Horcrux, but the real one could be who knows where?” Neville said, expressing his anxiety.

“Neville, I think the snake was a real Horcrux. You did everything correct,” Luna comforted her friend, well knowing his doubts about self-confidence which were haunting him since childhood. After all, he had begun to show the heroism worth of Gryffindor only in his fifth school year. Until then, even his closest relatives had a great deal of doubt as to whether the boy had any abilities. “Harry, please tell us what did you actually conclude?” Luna suggested calmly, blinking her big round eyes.

“We began to discuss how we had destroyed all the Horcruxes, and Luna, remember how you led me to show the Ravenclaw’s Diadem how does it look like?” Harry began.

“Mhm.” Luna nodded.

“You see, back then we thought we had found it in the Room of Requirements, but then we started to think that it might not have been the real diadem, because after the exposure to Fiendfyre it turned into the dust. Contrary, all other Horcruxes were visibly damaged after the destruction, but their magic was strong enough to save the Horcrux in one piece. That’s why we suspect that this burnt-out diadem was just another forgery, but the real one is somewhere out there untouched. Most likely it is at Hogwarts,” Harry finished his narration.

Neville still seemed shocked. If only in his eyes were gone the fear and guilt for being somehow something confused, for example, cut off the head of the wrong snake.

“At Hogwarts? Are you sure? If the diadem in the Room of Requirements was just a fake, then the real one could be anywhere in the world,” Neville said hopelessly.

“We are completely sure of Hogwarts because Voldemort hurried exactly there to save the diadem. That’s why we are now going to return to Hogwarts for our seventh school year so we can devote all of our efforts to search for the diadem,” Harry explained. “Well, Neville, you are also going back to Hogwarts, right?”

“Yes, I am. I received the letter from McGonagall and at once sent a positive reply. I didn’t learn much during that Snape’s dictatorship. Ginny and I had to organize bold sabotages so there wasn’t enough time for me to study,” their friend said with a smile. “And my grandmother thinks every proper wizard must have a Hogwarts diploma.”

“Well, this means the struggle against the darkness isn’t over yet,” Luna summarized the conversation. “Mmm – she has added a caramel to this ice cream, isn’t it delicious?” she said, licking the tasty spoon in the hot sunshine.



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