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Author’s Note: This wasn’t supposed to have any spoilers but I was right about something in the book so…**SPOILERS**

I’m still looking for a banner that wasn’t made by a complete amateur on paintbrush *cough* me *cough*...so if you’re interested go to the Dark Arts and see my post. I’m hollybergman (no spaces) on that sight. Please? I’ll give you my virtual birthday cake from the twelfth and a big bold dedication on the last chapter and my summary.

This chapter is an itsy bit rushed (I’ve got exams on) but I will fix it up later.

I’ve already written the next chapter so it won’t be much of a wait.




The Empty Hollow


Harry, Kit and Malfoy lurched into the pensive. When Harry steadied himself, he found himself in a grubby looking pub. The only occupants were a handful of sinister-looking cloaked figures.

“Knockturn Alley,” muttered Malfoy.

Harry nodded and began to look around for Regulus. This was after all, his memory. This task was rather difficult due to the fact that everyone was cloaked.

“There,” whispered Kit.

Kit pointed at a figure in the corner. Harry caught a glimpse of Regulus’ face as he glanced at a hooded figure sitting on the other side of the room. The mystery figure looked up at Regulus for the briefest moment and Harry just saw a woman with startling green eyes.

Harry almost gasped. It was Lily.

Lily got to her feet and headed towards a small parlour behind the bar. Regulus made no attempt to follow her. Malfoy saw her face clearly and raised his eyebrows.

“Who is that?” said Malfoy with a smirk.

Harry struggled to keep a straight face.

“That Malfoy…is my mother.”

Malfoy turned a deep shade of pink. Kit covered up her echoic laugh by clearing her throat.

“Oh…well…” mumbled Malfoy. “What is she doing in Knockturn Alley?”

“Maybe if you shut up and stop gawking at her you’ll find out,” said Kit dryly.

They waited for at least ten minutes. Regulus finally got to his feet and entered the parlour without attracting the attention of any of the bar’s occupants. They hurriedly followed him inside.

The parlour looked like it hadn’t been cleaned since the day it was built. There was no furniture, only a few levitating candles. The minute he walked in, Lily lowered her hood and gave a sigh of relief. Her red curls were tied into a messy bun and it looked like she had smeared dirt on her face on purpose. Still, Lily no more belonged in Knockturn Alley than Malfoy belonged in Privet Drive.

Before they could say a word, Regulus and Lily cast numerous charms on the door and made absolutely sure no one could overhear or get in. Now that Harry could see Regulus more closely he noticed the cuts on his hands and the black eye.

“Oh Reg...your eye...” whispered Lily.

“Apparently I looked at Rodolphus the wrong way,” said Regulus bitterly. “Bastard… I don’t even think Bellatrix likes him.”

Lily flicked her wand and Regulus’ eye was healed. He gave Lily a grateful look.

“Lily...how’s Sirius?” he asked quietly.

Lily smiled.

“He’s the same,” she said. “Annoying, boisterous... and occasionally charming.”

Regulus laughed. Harry detected a hint of sadness in it. Lily’s smile faded and she bit her lip.

“He misses you...even though he won’t admit it,” she said softly. “Regulus you really should tell
him-”

“Tell him what?” snapped Regulus. “That I’m a Death Eater? That I’m one...one of them?”

He spat out the last word. Regulus’ features were a mixture of self-loathing and anger.

“You’re not...you’re helping us Regulus,” said Lily forcefully.

Regulus said nothing. Lily sighed.

“Is there any news for Professor Dumbledore?” asked Lily, resigned.

“There is...but I don’t think it’s very good news,” said Regulus darkly.

Regulus began pacing. He continually glanced at Lily as though wondering where to begin.

“The Dark Lord has been talking...of taking steps towards immortality…of protecting himself from death.”

Lily’s mouth opened in horror.

“But he can't be immortal...that's impossible,” said Lily loudly. “There’s no known spell that can-”

“There is a way…I think the Dark Lord may have a horcrux.”

Lily frowned.

“A horcrux?” she asked curiously.

“Sorry Lily, I forgot you were a mu-”

Lily raised her eyebrows and Regulus turned red.

“Umm...I mean, I forgot you didn’t know about...err...”

Lily rolled her eyes.

“Get on with it, Reg.”

“Right...When you murder someone...your soul is torn apart.”

“Charming.”

“It is possible to tear apart your soul and put that fragment in an object...a horcrux. Unless both the horcrux and you are destroyed you cannot die.”

Lily put a hand to her mouth. Harry knew the though of a Voldemort who was so well protected frightened her more than anything else.

“It's Dark Magic,” muttered Regulus. “Very Dark Magic.”

Regulus stopped pacing and suddenly seemed unable to meet Lily’s eyes.

“I-I need to get close enough to the Dark Lord to get the information we need,” he said.

Lily noticed the fear in his voice. She put a hand on his shoulder and gave him a warm smile.

“I'll help you find it,” she said firmly. “I've already found out a fair bit about Vol-”

Regulus jerked away.

“Lily!”

“-demort,” she continued, despite the glare Regulus was giving her. “I mean...Dumbledore has told me quite a bit about his childhood. Most men hide their prize possessions somewhere special where they feel they have some control over them.”

She stopped and chucked to herself.

“I know James used to hide his invisibility cloak under a floorboard by his bed,” she said, her green eyes full of laughter, “and he thought I didn’t know about it too.”

Regulus raised his eyebrows.

“You’re comparing your boyfriend to the Dark Lord?” he said dryly.

“No…just men in general,” said Lily.

There was a loud noise outside. Lily jumped in surprise and Regulus turned pale.

“I’d better go,” he muttered. “I think I saw Travers somewhere outside…I don’t think he recognise me but…”

Lily nodded. Regulus headed to the door. He stopped before he could turn the handle.

“If anything happens...” he whispered. “Tell Sirius...tell Sirius he was right and that I'm sorry.”

“Regulus... don’t say that!” said Lily angrily.

Regulus cast Lily a glance. She was glaring at him as if daring him to suggest the worst one more time.

“I'm moving up the ranks of the Death Eaters. It's getting dangerous...and I...”

Regulus ran a hand through his hair and jerked his shoulders unable to find his words. Lily’s expression softened.

“Be careful Regulus,” she whispered.

Suddenly Harry’s world spun and he found himself in Orion’s study once more. Kit cast him a glance.

“Your mother was researching the Dark Lord,” said Kit quietly. “Maybe she found something.”

Harry swallowed.

“Let’s go,” he whispered.

“Where?” asked Malfoy.

“Godric’s Hollow.”

*


Harry knew Godric’s Hollow well though he had never been there. It had haunted his darkest memories for years.

They arrived by side-along apparation next to an old, wooden sign that had Godric’s Hollow carved into it. There was nothing special about this place but Harry could help but like it. All it really was were two dozen little, white cottages arranged in rows. All of them had pretty little gardens and neatly mowed lawns.

“Look there,” whispered Kit.

There was a house in the distance that was larger than all the others. The gardens had completely overrun the house. The house itself was missing sections of roof and the windows were all broken.

A muggle walked straight pass without even looking at it. Harry was thankful that the muggle hadn’t notice the three teenagers appearing from thin air either.

They rushed up to the house. Kit noticed the plaque on the little, white gate.

The Potter’s House. Preserved in their memory and in memory of all those lost during the war. No admittance.


“Well,” muttered Malfoy. “It is your house.”

Harry walked up to the front door and tried to open it but the rusty hinges gave way and it fell forward. He had expected the house to be damaged but he certainly had not expected this.

Everything was covered by a layer of soot, the result of a fire that had engulfed the entire house. Sections of the upstairs rooms had collapsed. It was a miracle it was still standing.

Harry’s face fell. The house seemed much bigger now that they were inside and it would take hours to sift through the wreckage with or with out magic. Kit pursed her lips.

“We’ll search…here,” murmured Kit.

Kit stepped over a fallen beam and walked to the first door on the left. She turned the doorknob and nudged the door with her shoulder but it didn’t budge and made her shoulder quite sore. Harry couldn’t imagine the thin, little Kit managing to shove open anything. Scowling, Kit drew her wand but Malfoy but up a hand to stop her.

“Err…D’Arque? Since this is a memorial…it’s probably not a good idea to blast the door open.”

Malfoy gave the door a rough nudge and door opened. Kit mumbled a thankyou and followed him inside. It had been blocked by a fallen bookshelf. Kit levitated the bookshelf so it stood upright again and all three of them began to look around.

It was a study and it was remarkable intact considering the state of the rest of the house. There were bottles and bottles of potion ingredients. They were all covered in a layer of soot and some of them were cracked and shattered. The ones closet to the door had melted slightly. There was a large cauldron over the fireplace but there was a large crack running down the side.

Harry was forcibly reminded of Snape’s office, though perhaps Snape would have passed on the flowers. There was a vase of dried up roses on a table by the window that had miraculously survived the worst of the fire. These were Lily’s things...

Kit and Malfoy unceremoniously began searching though the draws of the scorched, mahogany desk next to the fireplace. Harry turned to the bookshelf Kit had levitated and absently picked a dusty volume titled Exploring the Cauldron: Advanced Potion Making. A piece of paper that probably had been acting as a bookmark slipped out of the book.

Harry picked it up and instantly recognised the untidy scrawl of the writer.

Dear Lily,

I wasn’t entirely sure what to get you. You already have every kind of cauldron invented by wizard-kind and you already have the rarest Potion ingredient growing in your garden.

I decided upon a book and looked long and hard for one that did not insult your intelligence. I failed dismally so you will have to content yourself with this odious thing and fix up the errors yourself.

I hope you find some enjoyment while sifting through the idiocy, in fact, I can imagine you laughing at every paragraph.

From your friend,
Severus.

PS. Happy Birthday.


It was plain that Snape had taken great pains to write the note as neatly as possible. He had written each letter with immense care and for once his handwriting could be deemed legible (though still untidy).

Harry returned the note and book to the bookshelf and continued to search the rest of the room.

*


As the hours passed, the little light from the soot-covered windows began to fade to darkness. They had managed to clear most of the wreckage but they could not find anything about Voldemort or his horcruxes.

Harry was utterly exhausted but he couldn’t stop now. Spurred by the growing night, he rummaged through the cupboard under the stairs. All he had found so far was James’ old quidditch things. Malfoy slumped on the only chair in the house that was still intact. He turned to Kit who had stopped for a moment and closed her eyes that were red from lack of sleep.

“How did you get that parchment off McGonagall?” asked Malfoy with a frown.

Harry stopped looking through the cupboard and stared at Kit. She opened her eyes but did not look at Harry or Malfoy directly. She stared at the floor and seemed a little...guilty?

“She gave it to me,” said Kit quietly.

Malfoy frowned.

“Why would she give it to you?” he asked. “Unless...”

“You...You told McGonagall about the horcruxes?” whispered Harry.

Kit said nothing for a moment and then gave a small nod. Harry glared at Kit. He couldn’t believe that she had done that.

“I trusted you!” shouted Harry.

“Harry-”

“Dumbledore only wanted Ron and Hermione know!” snarled Harry.

Kit was losing her patience at this point.

“And yet you were about to hunt for the horcruxes with only Draco Malfoy to help you,” she snarled.

Malfoy shuffled in his seat.

“She’s got a point,” he muttered.

When Harry’s gaze did not soften, Kit flushed with anger.

“I did tell McGonagall…and she had so much confidence in you that she actually let you leave the house when every Death Eater in England wants nothing more than to drag you to the Dark Lord!” she hissed. “I know you’re worried, I know you’re exhausted but stop taking it out on me!”

Realising what an idiot he was being Harry slumped back and leaned against the stairs, defeated.

“I’m sorry...” he mumbled. “I was-”

“Being a dickhead?” supplied Malfoy.

Kit silenced Malfoy with a glare but when she turned to Harry again her expression had completely changed.

“I’m sorry Kit,” muttered Harry again.

As if he needed something to making him feel worse, his scar seared with pain again. Harry tried not to think of what it could mean but his though strayed to Ginny and what was happening to her. Kit noticed the look on his face.

“Your scar hurts, doesn’t it?” she said quietly.

Harry said nothing.

“Sit down,” said Kit forcefully.

Harry shook his head and staggered towards the cupboard.

“No, I need to keep searching…I need to find-”

Kit stuck a hand out to stop him.

“You haven’t eaten all day and you haven’t rested once,” snarled Kit, sounding like Snape and Molly Weasley all at once. “Sit!”

Kit steered him towards what had once been the couch. She repaired it with a flick of her wand. Harry collapsed onto it and buried his face in his hands. Kit went to the broken down kitchen. The cooking utensils were not fit to use so Kit conjured a small pot and a spoon.

“I’m warning you now...I can’t cook anything but prison food,” said Kit. “It’s nothing to Mrs. Weasley’s cooking.”

“I don’t care at this point,” muttered Malfoy. “I’ll eat cardboard if you give it to me.”

A small smile flickered on Kit’s face as she began to conjure ingredients from nothing. Five minutes later she forced a bowl of steaming soup into Harry’s hand. It tasted horrible but all three of them were done in the next five minutes.

“Could do with some salt,” said Malfoy with a shudder.

Kit muttered something that sounded an awful lot like ‘snob’ but she was smiling. Harry heard none of this exchange. He slumped back into the cushions and fell into an exhausted, fitful sleep. There was one day to go...

*


The next morning, when the light had just begun to filter through the windows, they resumed their search. Harry was beginning to feel sick with worry. They had found nothing. Not a scrap of evidence. Not a single clue. When they had searched the last room, Kit cast Harry a glance.

“Harry...there’s nothing here,” she muttered.

“But...there has to be...they knew...”

“We’ll...go to the orphanage you told me about,” said Kit. “There’s bound to be something there.”

Kit and Malfoy turned to walk out. Before he could leave, Harry’s eyes fell on a portrait. It was a painting of Lily, James and himself. Baby Harry was sitting on his mother’s lap and sucking his fingers. Malfoy caught sight of it and chuckled.

Kit frowned and walked up to the portrait. She tapped the wall and it made a deep, hollow noise. Lily smiled at her, her green eyes dancing mischievously.

“What are you hiding,” asked Kit shrewdly.

Lily laughed and exchanged glances with James.

“She’s clever...this one,” chuckled James.

Harry swallowed.

“Mum...Dad...please, I need to get in,” he whispered.

“I’m not going to let anyone in if they don’t know the password,” said Lily with a smile.

James winked at him. Harry looked up hopefully.

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good!” he cried.

“That’s my boy,” said James proudly.

The portrait swung forwards and revealed a doorknob. When Harry touched it, the rest of the door materialised. Harry pushed the door open and lit his wand to see through the darkness.

It was a little room, no bigger than his bedroom in the Dursley’s house. The walls were covered in sketches and notes. Lying on a small wooden desk was a large diary. Harry picked it up and skimmed through it. Lily had dated every piece of research they had done.

On the 1st of September, there was a map of Little Hangleton, a muggle photograph of the orphanage Tom Riddle had lived in. James, who Harry knew was good at drawing, had sketched pictures of Mrs. Cole and a pretty, young girl. He had scrawled the name Amy Benson in the corner.

Harry found details of almost everything he had learned from Dumbledore but his parents seemed convinced there was only one horcrux. On the 30th of October, Lily had written down three words.

Come and go.

Then the journal ended.

“Come and go?” said Malfoy with a frown. “Does anyone else feel like they’re missing the joke?”

Harry flicked back a few pages. James had lost the Mauraders Map but he still knew every detail of the castle. He had redrawn sections of the map. Why Lily and James be looking at a map of Hogwarts? Unless...

“He put it back…” said Harry quietly. “It’s at Hogwarts…the Cup is at Hogwarts.”

Kit gasped.

“When he came to ask for the Defence Against the Dark Arts post again…he wanted to be back at Hogwarts…” muttered Harry. “...a place where he felt at home…a place special to him…a place to hide his horcrux…where in his mind…it belonged.”

Harry looked up into Kit’s startled face. Everything was starting to make sense.

“Dumbledore didn’t give him the job…but he must have found a way…”

Harry stared at the journal and then it came to him.

“Come and go,” muttered Harry.

Harry looked at Malfoy. There was realisation on the pale teenager’s face. They both knew what this meant. They knew where the horcrux was.

“What’s the one place you can hide something in Hogwarts and know that no one…not even Dumbledore…will ever find it?” said Malfoy quietly. “A place you can keep a big secret?”

Harry nodded.

“The Room of Requirement…It’s in the Room of Requirement.”

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