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Chapter image done by myself

Ch. 4- That Damned Locket

Just three miles east of the village of Little Hangleton, Harry sat in the living room of the cottage that Ron, Hermione, and himself were renting, waiting for Hedwig to come back with Ginny’s reply. The three of them were here following a lead on the locket, which they thought that Voldemort might have hidden in his father’s old home, Riddle Manor. He had only sent Hedwig out a couple days ago, so he wasn’t expecting a reply anytime soon. He just really didn’t have anything better to do. He looked towards the window, searching for any sign of his beloved snowy white owl. At the sight of a black speck on the horizon, his heart leapt. Harry got up from the dilapidated couch and crossed the room to the window. A few moments after opening it, Hedwig flew gracefully in and onto his forearm. He saw the small scroll with his name on it and smiled, taking it out of her beak. As he unfurled the scroll and began to read, Hedwig flew over to the perch he had set up for her. Ginny’s letter read:

It’s wonderful to hear that you’ve already killed three young. I’m assuming that you’ve yet to track down the one that you’ve set your mind on the most, and I’ve got an idea about where it might be. I think the tag you found on the other young has something to do with your godfather’s younger brother. Remember back when we did all that cleaning before you’re your fifth year? Anyway, I hope you can get home soon. I miss you so much.


P.S. I have some important news for you when you get home. I’d rather tell you face to face then in a letter.

Harry was stunned by the end of her letter. What did she mean, she had something important to tell him? His mind raced with possibilities of what she had to say, each worse than the last. But he pushed all those thoughts back as he thought about the other part of her letter. He knew at once that the tag she referred to was the note in the fake Horcrux, which he had told her about the day before he had left, but what did that have to do with Sirius’s younger brother? He thought back to the note, which he had memorized by now:

To The Dark Lord
I know I will be dead long before you read this but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret.
I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can.
I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more.

Those words had haunted him ever since Dumbledore’s death. But now, instead of bringing him never-ending frustration, they gave him a new resolve and focus. He walked to the study where they were spending almost all of their time looking up possibilities of where the mystery person put the real Horcrux. He found Hermione sitting in a burgundy, forest green, and gold floral armchair, reading a book titled “The Dark Arts: Everything You Never Wanted To Know About Them” and Ron was poring over assorted sheaves of parchment at the ancient mahogany table in the center of the room. Upon entering, Hermione looked up, and when she saw him, put her book down and walked to the center table. Ron immediately stopped sifting through parchment and looked up.

“Ginny wrote back,” Harry told them, setting the letter down on the table. She immediately scooped it up and started reading it, Ron at her elbow. Her eyes got wider the farther she read. By the time she had finished, Harry swore they were the size of teacups.

“Harry, do you know what this means?” she asked him after putting the letter down.

“Um…well, not really. That’s why I came in here in the first place. I was wondering if you knew what Sirius’ younger brother’s name was,” he told her, taking a seat next to Ron.

“Harry, his name was Regulus Black!” she told him, exasperated. “Oh, this makes so much sense now! Why didn’t I see it before?” She was now beginning to rifle through the many sheaves of parchment on the messy table. It was all beginning to fit together for Harry as well. He remembered Sirius mentioning that his younger brother was a Death Eater, and that was pretty much the reason he had died. “No, he was murdered by Voldemort. Or on Voldemort’s orders, more likely… From what I found out after he died, he got in so far, then panicked about what he was being asked to do…” Sirius had told him this on his first day of cleaning Grimmauld Place. Curiously enough, that same day they had found a locket that no one could open…

“Of course! The locket’s at Grimmauld Place!” he announced in self- realization.

“What? Why would the locket be at Grimmauld Place?” asked Ron, looking from Harry to Hermione with a confused look on his face.

“Harry, what makes you think it’s there?” she asked, an interested look crossing her features.

“Look, we’re all agreed that it’s Regulus Black who wrote that note, right?” he started, looking around at them. “I mean, he was a Death Eater who was killed because he got in too far and left, right?” They both nodded. “So, if, for some reason, Voldemort actually trusted Regulus enough to tell him about the Horcruxes, or, more realistically, he accidentally found out about it, it might be enough to drive someone out of Voldemort’s ranks because they didn’t like the idea of Horcruxes! Regulus probably found out the location of the locket before he was killed, took the real one, and put it in the only place he knew no one would look: the drawing room at Grimmauld Place. It was already chock-full of dark objects, no one would think twice about a locket you can’t open. We didn’t,” he finished, looking at the both of them. On Hermione’s face was a look of disappointment, on Ron’s he saw a look of agreement and understanding.

“Harry, we threw that locket away, along with the rest of what was in the cabinet in the drawing room,” she told him apprehensively, but she barely got the words out before Harry disapparated.

“Damn,” Ron said under his breath before both he and Hermione apparated to Grimmauld Place, where they were sure Harry had gone to.


CRACK! Harry walked forward a couple paces until he was in front of houses eleven and thirteen. “The headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix may be found at number twelve, Grimmauld Place, London,” he thought, remembering the first time he had read these words in Dumbledore’s hand. It seemed like so long ago. A dingy house with peeling paint and silver serpent door knocker appeared out of nowhere seconds later, squeezing itself in between numbers eleven and thirteen. CRACK! CRACK!

“Harry!” came Hermione’s stern voice from behind him.

“Ron, Hermione, don’t start telling me how I can’t go into these things “half-assed” or without “consulting” with you two first,” he said, taking out his wand and tapping once on the door. “Because it’s not going to work. I want this locket destroyed now.” The door creaked open and he walked in, then turned to face them. “And I can do it with or without you. I would prefer to do it without you, but you two have this annoying little habit of following me around everywhere I go,” he joked, half serious, then made to shut the door but was stopped by Ron’s foot, which was wedged between the door and the jamb.

“Are you crazy, mate? Would we let you go into something like this half-assed?” he said, grinning.

“Ron, are you sure it’s a good idea to let him do this? What if he doesn’t find the locket here?” Hermione hissed in his ear as they stepped inside Order headquarters.

“Well, then, we can go from there,” he told her, and when she opened her mouth to protest, he gave her a look of desperation. “Come on, Hermione, this is the best lead we’ve gotten on where this stupid locket might be in along time,” he whispered back, taking her hand and dragging her towards the stairs. They were about halfway down the hall and had passed Mrs. Black’s screaming portrait, which was dormant now, when someone emerged from the door leading down to the kitchen.

“Harry! Ron! Hermione! What are you doing here? I thought you were supposed to be traveling for the Order?” Remus Lupin asked upon seeing them.

“We were. I mean, we are. Our travels brought us back here,” Hermione answered, casting a glance at Harry, who was trying to slip away unnoticed up the stairs.

“Well, what brings you here?” Lupin asked, interested.

“We were actually looking for a locket that is supposed to be in the drawing room,” Harry answered, looking anxious.

“I was just in the drawing room yesterday and I didn’t see any locket in there,” he responded, with a thoughtful look on his face. Meanwhile, Ron was staring absentmindedly up at the severed house elf heads on the wall.

“Hey! We could probably go check in Kreacher’s room, he might have nicked it at some point!” he exclaimed. Harry started making his way down to the kitchen, where Kreacher’s room was located. Ron and Hermione followed him, offering their words of thanks to Lupin as they passed. Once Harry got to Kreacher’s door, he wrenched it open without knocking and thankfully Kreacher wasn’t in there. He noticed that, inside, there was still the broken, framed photo of Bellatrix Lestrange, and the absence of the quilt Hermione had made him for Christmas fifth year wasn’t all that surprising. He shifted around some ancient trousers he suspected were probably Sirius’s father’s, some assorted Black family china and silver, and after not finding anything, he moved back farther into the “room”. After moving some molding newspapers, he saw a glint of gold. He rapidly dug around until he saw a chain, then pulled on it until it came loose and fell into his hands. There it was, right in his own hands, the true Horcrux. He turned the large, oval locket over. Right on the front was a serpent entwined into an “S”, Slytherin’s mark. Finally, the last Horcrux until he had to destroy Voldemort. In a way, it seemed almost too easy. But no, none of it was easy; too many people had been lost in the process, too many families ruined. It would all be closer to ending once he destroyed this locket.

“Harry?” came Ron’s anxious voice from the kitchen. “Did you find it?” He climbed out of the boiler room with a triumphant smile on his weary face. Once in the kitchen, he saw Ron with his arm around Hermione, who was biting her lip. He then held out the locket for them both to see. Ron’s eyes grew about four sizes, and Hermione let out a little gasp.

“Harry, are you sure?” she asked, picking the locket up gently out of his hands.

“Try to open it,” he told her, and when all he got back was a confused look. “The locket we found in the drawing room couldn’t be opened,” She gave him a reproachful look, but then turned her attention back to the locket, gently trying to pry it open. After a few minutes, she gave up and placed the locket on the table.

“Fine. Everything is pointing towards this being the locket, but how do you suggest we go about destroying it?” she declared, her usual know-it-all smirk playing across her face.

“I don’t know Hermione. That’s always been your area of expertise,” he told her, a hint of a smile flicking across his features. “So I guess we should be going to the library,” and he set off towards the stairs, grabbing the locket as he went, leaving Ron and Hermione in a small state of shock.

“Well, at least he’s calmed down a bit,” Ron said, trying to reassure Hermione, who looked utterly distraught. “Hey, what’s wrong?” Hermione turned her head away and looked at the spot on the table where the locket had just been laying.

“It just seems too easy, Ron. I don’t know what it is, but something just doesn’t feel right. I mean, we’ve been at this for, what, three months, and we’ve already found the last Horcrux?” she said, turning back to Ron, tears glistening in her eyes. “I just don’t want to build up this false sense of hope, thinking that we’re so much closer to the life we deserve, and then end up being twenty steps away,” she finished, wiping away the tears that were now streaming down her face. Ron racked his mind for something to say; anything to cheer her up. He hated seeing her so sad and worried, and he especially didn’t like to see her cry.

“‘Mione,” he said, gathering her up in his arms and wiping her tears away gently with his thumb, “remember Bill and Fleur’s reception?” She groaned and leaned her forehead against his chest. “You slapped me for calling you a drunk, then I dragged you over to the lake and told you that I had only called you a drunk because I loved you, remember?” he whispered, a grin sliding onto his face at the thought of that night.

“Ron, how could I forget? It was one of the worst admissions of love I have ever heard of. But I loved it because you were the one admitting it. But I have an admission of my own to make. It’s not horrible, really. It’s just that it’s a bit, well…dishonest. It might be a bit shocking. I, well, I only had one butterbeer that night. I only acted like that to get you to open up. You always seemed a bit, well, intimidated by me when I was all books and studying, so…” she told him, feebly finishing off when she saw the expression on his face. Ron’s jaw had dropped. He looked as if he was going to say something, but decided against it. After finally regaining his composure, he spoke.

“Well, alright. Anyway, I was going to give this to you then, but we got kind of…” he remarked, a bit surprised, while fishing for something in his pocket.

“Distracted,” she finished with a slightly wicked grin on her face.

“Exactly. So, I thought now would probably be as good a time as any to give this to you, so here it is,” he said, holding out a small, platinum, sapphire, and diamond ring. It had a thin band, with an oval cut diamond and small pear cut sapphires on each side of it.

“Oh, Ron,” she gasped, taking the ring from him. “It’s beautiful,”

“It’s a promise ring. And, you know… if after this is all over you want t-”he never got the rest of the words out, seeing as she had jumped into his arms and planted her lips on his. “I’ll take that as a yes, then?” he said, grinning. He took the ring from her and slipped it onto her left ring finger.

“I’ll keep you to that promise, Ronald Weasley,” she said, a smile spreading across her lips. They were about to kiss again when an explosion shook the whole house.

“Harry,” they said in unison, heading up the stairs and colliding with Lupin.

“”What was that?” he asked, looking at the both of them with a suspicious look on his face. “Where’s Harry?”

“Library, found locket, need to destroy locket, no time to explain,” Ron answered, rushing past him with Hermione close behind. Upon entering the library, they saw that it was in shambles. Pages from books littered the floor, were still floating amidst the air, there were scorch marks on the walls, bookcases were splintered in half, and some of the drapes were on fire. They saw a flash of gold and walked to the middle of the room, where they saw a twisted, melted, completely mutilated glob of gold. Next to it was Harry, who was lying on the floor, his glasses dangling off of his ear, wand held limply in his hand.

“I think I’ve finally destroyed it, don’t you?” he asked them, his voice weakening as he slipped out of consciousness.

“Ron, what do we do? We can’t bring him to St. Mungo’s, they’ll ask too many questions!” she said, a worried look on her face as she looked up at him.

“We’ll have to bring him to the Burrow,” he told her, walking over to Harry. “Come on, we’ll have to apparate,”

“Ron, we can’t bring him there, you know that!” she exclaimed, walking over to him.

“Okay, let’s just bring him to Hogwarts then, just get over here and help me,” he said in a slightly agitated tone.

“Do you think Madam Pomfrey’s not going to be asking questions, Ron?” she inquired, helping him get Harry to his feet, silently hoping he didn’t have any cracked ribs or spinal injuries. Just the Hermione thing to do at a time like this. Think back to the scholarly things.

“Honestly, right now all I care about is getting Harry healed,” and with that, he side-disapparated with Harry.

“Boys!” Hermione muttered angrily under her breath. “They never consider the consequences of their actions!” Then she apparated to just outside the Hogwarts gates.

“Hermione, let me see him!” Ginny yelled at her outside the doors of the hospital at Hogwarts.

“Ginny, you can’t! It would be too risky if he woke up and saw you. For Merlin’s sake, your eight and a half months pregnant,” she hissed back, doing all she could to keep her from bursting through the hospital doors and running to Harry’s bedside, who had been in a coma ever since he had successfully destroyed the locket. Ginny had only received this news about two weeks ago, since everyone had agreed that she didn’t need any more stress. Her mother had managed to keep her from coming here since she received the news until she had to run some errands that would take longer than usual, so she left her with Fred and George. As one can see, that was a bad idea. Ginny had been a complete wreck when she had stopped receiving letters from Harry, thinking he had been captured by Death Eaters or something of the like. But everyone seemed to think this was better than the truth. Ginny collapsed against the wall, her face buried in her hands, scarlet hair falling over her face like a curtain. She let out a gut-wrenching sob.

“What if he doesn’t wake up, Hermione? He’ll never have known and it isn’t fair! When will my life, all of our lives, go back to normal, not plagued by this stupid war?” she said, sobs wracking her body. Hermione looked over at her, thinking, “Will it truly ever end?”

“How is she?” came a familiar voice. Hermione looked up to see the messy red hair and sapphire blue eyes of the man she had fallen in love with at twelve.

“I think she could probably do with a good night’s sleep,” she answered, looking concernedly at the sobbing form next to her. “I think I’m going to bring her up to Gryffindor Tower.”

“Do you want me to see if Madam Pomfrey’s got any Dreamless Sleep Draught?” he asked her as she helped Ginny up.

“That would be really wonderful, Ron. I’m taking her up to the seventh year girl’s dormitory; it’ll be empty at this time. So just meet me in the common room,” she told him, taking Ginny gently by the arm and starting down the hall. As he watched Hermione walk down the corridor with Ginny, he couldn’t help but feel a bit responsible for what had happened.

Getting Ginny through the corridors was easier than Hermione had thought it would have been. Seeing as they had gotten lucky and most students were in class at the moment, the only people to make comments on Ginny as they passed were the portraits. The really difficult part was finding someone who would give her the password. She had already tried the whole “But Fat Lady, technically I’m still a Gryffindor even though I’m not attending school this year…” and the Fat Lady, amazingly, still wouldn’t let them in. It was right before Professor McGonagall appeared that she almost went back to the infirmary.

“Miss Granger! Miss Weasley! What are you doing out here?” she asked, startled to run into two Gryffindors that she had been so accustomed to seeing around the castle, standing outside of their own common room. So Hermione filled her in about not knowing the password, and bringing Ginny up here. When she was done, McGonagall cast a sympathetic look onto Ginny, who was sitting against the bit of wall next to the Fat Lady’s portrait, her hands on her stomach. When McGonagall had found out about her pregnancy, she had been oddly kind. Not that she wasn’t kind all the time; she was usually just a bit, well, strict. But it was like she understood that Ginny didn’t need discipline then, just understanding. Like now.

“I understand. Is Mr. Weasley still at the infirmary with Potter?” Hermione nodded in reply, and McGonagall continued. “Good. Oh, and the password is ‘Sherbet Lemon’.” She turned to walk back towards her office, stopped, and turned back towards Hermione and Ginny, saying. “Good luck, Miss Weasley,” with a nod of her head, before going back down the corridor.


“Ron should have been here by now,” Hermione thought, half worriedly and half angrily. She was doing her usual nervous pacing and wringing of the hands around the common room of Gryffindor Tower. She had left Ginny in her would-be dormitory, confident that she was fast asleep, though it was not dreamless and uninterrupted, it would do. "What if there’s something wrong with Harry?” she thought, a sudden bubble of panic growing inside her. Next thing she knew, a red-headed someone bounded through the portrait hole, looking around the common room. “Ron, what took you so long? You had me worried to death,” she scolded, walking towards him from near the window.

“Hermione, Harry woke up!” he told her in a relived voice. Hermione’s bubble of panic suddenly burst and was replaced by a thought that had rarely, if ever, occurred in her mind before: “What do we do now?”

Review, s’il vous plait!

A/N: I need to cite two sets of quotes, one is the note from the fake Horcrux (pg. 609, HBP, U.S. Edition, J.K. Rowling), and the last is the quotes I used that were said by Sirius (pg. 112, OoP, U.S. Edition, J.K. Rowling)

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