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“The prophecy that Voldemort and his Death Eaters tried to steal two years ago?” Shacklebolt inquired.

“Yes, that one,” confirmed Harry.

“I thought it was destroyed by accident that night?”

“It was,” Ron fielded Kingsley’s question.

“The prophecy was made to Albus Dumbledore. He shared his own memory of it with me by means of a Pensieve. The contents of the prophecy foretold of a child being born at the end of the seventh month to parents who had three times defied the Dark Lord. It continued and stated that the Dark Lord would mark the child as his equal, and that the child would have power the dark Lord knows not. And that…that ‘neither can live while the other survives.’”

“Your scar. So you were the chosen one?” Kingsley thought aloud.

“Yes.”

“Wait a minute, Harry. You never told us that part about the end of the seventh month and parents that thrice defied Voldemort,” Hermione pointed out.

“What does that matter, Hermione?” Ron asked, nearly whining.

“Because, there were two boys born at the end of July that year,” Hermione said as if the information were extremely obvious. “Both to parents that were in the Order of the Phoenix. One was Harry but the other was--”

“Neville Longbottom, yeah, I know Hermione,” Harry finished for her.

“Then how can you be sure it was you and not Neville?” she asked.

“Because, Voldemort had already marked me as his equal,” Harry said brushing aside the hair on his forehead to show his lightening shaped scar. Hermione and the others just nodded in enlightenment.

“And that portion about having about ‘having powers the Dark Lord knows not,’ what does that refer to?” Kingsley asked.

“Yeah, that part is a bit more confusing. At first I had thought it had referred to the powers that Riddle accidentally transferred to me the night he killed my parents, the night he first tried to kill me. I think Dumbledore might have thought it referred to the ability to love, maybe that was part of it. Now though I think it mainly refers to the Elder Wand. It was the one thing he didn’t anticipate.”

“And to think I always thought the story of the Peverell brothers was a children’s tale,” Shacklebolt remarked. “what made you realize it wasn’t?”

“The book Dumbledore left me in his Will,” Hermione explained. “It was an original copy and Dumbledore had put a symbol in the story of the Peverell brothers that we recognized as the symbol Grindelwald had used. It took some investigating but in the end we realized the three objects were real.”

“Wonder where the other two are?” Kingsley pondered aloud not really expecting an answer.

“Well, I returned the Elder Wand back with its rightful owner. If I die naturally then the power dies as well. The Resurrection Stone is in a place where I don’t think anyone will find it.”

“Wait a minute, you had the Stone as well?” Shacklebolt asked incredulously.

“Yes, Dumbledore had found it first then left it to me. It was in the snitch he left me in his Will. The Stone had been fitted into a ring.”

“That black gaudy ring Dumbledore had been wearing?” Ginny asked.

“That’s the one, yes. As for the Cloak of Invisibility it remains with me, as it always has been. It has been passed down the generations. My father had owned it last and before his death he had lent it to Dumbledore. My first year at Hogwarts Dumbledore returned it to me.”

“So you had all three Hallows?” Shacklebolt was astounded.

“Yes.”

“So that’s how you survived?”

“No.”

“Huh?” Kingsley and Ginny both said together, thoroughly confused.

“The wand helped me defeat Voldemort, yes. The cloak only did it’s one purpose and that was to make me invisible when I needed to be. The stone I used to bring me a bit of piece of mind during a moment when I needed to hear particular things from certain people.”

“Who and what--” Shacklebolt began to ask.

“That’s private and personal and has no bearing whatsoever on the mission itself,” Harry cut him off.

“Alright,” Kingsley said taken aback, “I can respect that. So moving on with the prophecy, the last part said that ‘neither can live while the other survives.’ So you knew in the end that it would come down to you killing Voldemort or him killing you?”

“When Dumbledore told me of the prophecy at the end of my fifth year, yes. Incidentally, and I tell you this because it should be known, there was one other person who had heard the prophecy, part of it anyway. Severus Snape heard the first part of it and reported back to Voldemort with the information.”

“So Snape’s the reason your parents were killed?” Kingsley said obviously still angered over all of Snape’s apparent betrayals.

“Partly, yes, but when he discovered that Voldemort was targeting me and my family he repented. He begged Dumbledore for help at any cost. He even asked Voldemort to spare my mother.”

“After all he did, you’re defending him?” Ginny sounded sickened by the thought.

“I’m not agreeing with what he did, not in any way. All I’m saying is that he showed remorse. He knew he’d made a mistake and he spent the rest of his life trying to make up for it.”

“Why? Why did he care?” Ginny asked still repulsed.

“Because, Snape had one ability that Voldemort did not. He could love, and… he loved my mother, Lily. He had loved her since they were children, before they ever went to Hogwarts.”

‘So that’s why Dumbledore trusted him? Because he knew that Severus loved Lily?” Kingsley didn’t sound convinced. “A long time had passed, Harry.”

“Yes, I know. Even still, he kept his vow to help keep me alive. His Patronus was a doe, the same as my mother’s,” and when he died he wanted me to look into his eyes so it would be as if he were looking into her eyes again, Harry added to himself.

“Then how do you explain what happened with Dumbledore? I remember you mentioning something during your duel with the Dark Lord about some of what you’ve been saying,” mentioned Shacklebolt.

“Dumbledore was dying, he knew it, he knew he had less than a year to live. Knowing this and knowing that a fellow student of ours was given orders to organize his murder he had given Snape orders of his own to kill him first if the moment came. Dumbledore would rather die on his own terms. He had also intended Snape to gain the power of the Elder Wand but that plan didn’t quite work out. Snape was late getting to the tower, Draco had disarmed Dumbledore already but hesitated to kill.”

“So that’s how you got the power of the Elder Wand, by taking Draco’s wand?” Ginny asked even though she already knew the answer.

“So how did you acquire this information?” Kingsley wanted to know.

“Pensieve,” Harry answered shortly.

‘Just before he died Snape released some of his memories, we bottled them,” Hermione elaborated.

“So all along Dumbledore was right? Snape was trustworthy?” Shacklebolt couldn’t believe it.

“For all intents and purposes, yes. I should also mention that he went back to Hogwarts on Dumbledore’s orders as well. Dumbledore knew that when he dies the school would fall under Voldemort and his Death Eaters’ power. Dumbledore ordered Severus to face his fellow colleagues to ensure a certain level of safety for the students. To try and protect them when he could. It gets a little hazy for me after that because I wasn’t there but I heard the Carrows didn’t make his task an easy one.”

“I’ll say. When they started teaching Unforgivable Curses we knew there wasn’t much hope of going through the year unscathed. That does make Snape’s punishment for trying to steal the Sword of Gryffindor make sense. We did think he was soft on that one, only making us go with Hagrid into the forest,” Ginny said with comprehension.

“Yeah, ‘cause we’ve never been there before,” Ron quipped. The young quartet gave a chuckle at that. Kingsley cleared his throat and they grew serious again.

“Alright, so now we know about the prophecy and about Snape’s involvement,” Shacklebolt counted off on his fingers, “but what of your mission?”

“Just one more thing before we move on to that,” Harry told him. “Severus Snape proved his loyalty, and his bravery, even when the whole wizarding community thought him a coward and a murderer. I think that perhaps it is proper that Snape’s portrait be join the ranks among all the other former headmaster’s in the headmaster’s office at Hogwarts. I think we owe him at least that much.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” was all Shacklebolt said.

‘Alright then, the mission,” Harry said. He knew the information must be told but he felt reluctant still to share the information. “In my sixth year Dumbledore began giving me private lessons. We used the Pensieve to review memories, to gather information. Eventually he told me his theory, and that theory was that he thought that Riddle had made Horcruxes.”

“I remember you telling Voldemort that there were no more Horcruxes, but what exactly are they?” Ginny asked.

“Horcruxes are items that contain a piece of someone’s soul. To make them is to perform some of darkest magic known. Just to make one is to divide your soul in half. In theory if your body was killed your soul would still be linked to the object in the living world and you wouldn’t be dead entirely,” Hermione supplied.

“So that’s how the Dark Lord was able to live after his spell rebounded on him when he attacked you?” Shacklebolt asked.

“Yes.”

“Is - was the Dark Lord the only person to make a Horcrux?” Ginny inquired.

“No, I remember learning about the them in my training as an Auror. I believe the first person to ever make one was Herpo the Foul,” Shacklebolt told them.

“But Voldemort is the only person known to make more than one,” Hermione added.

“I did notice you were using the plural form, just how many did he make?” Kingsley asked his eyes growing a bit wider.

“The original theory was that Voldemort, believing seven was a powerful number, had made six Horcruxes so that there would be seven parts to his soul,” Hermione told them.

“So he made six Horcruxes?” Ginny asked leaning forward in her chair.

“No,” Ron said in a serious tone looking at Harry.

“Then how many did he make?” Ginny inquired looking annoyed at Ron for not giving more information.

“Seven, he made seven,” Harry explained. “The first was destroyed by me. Ginny you’ll actually recall it. It was Tom Riddle’s old diary.”

“The one that possessed me and had me open the Chamber of Secrets?”

“Yeah. The second was the ring Dumbledore had. Incidentally Riddle never realized the black stone in the ring was the Resurrection Stone, he only knew it belonged to his ancestors. Dumbledore took care of dispatching the ring Horcrux. That led us up to our mission. We knew that we had to find four more Horcruxes. The Slytherin locket Dumbledore and I went after the he died was a fake. Someone had gotten to it first but never had the chance to destroy it. We found it here in the ministry actually, Umbridge had it. Ron destroyed it later with Gryffindor’s sword. Then there was Hufflepuff’s cup, Hermione finished that one. That left the Diadem of Ravenclaw, Crabbe’s Fiendfyre destroyed it, and Voldemort’s snake Nagini.”

“Neville Longbottom killed the snake with the sword,” Kingsley stated. “Was Neville brought in on mission?”

‘Not exactly. Before I went…well before I did something I had to do I stopped to talk to Neville and asked him that if he got the chance, and Ron and Hermione didn’t, to kill the snake.”

“So that was all of the six Horcruxes that you knew to look for. What was the seventh?” Ginny was looking directly of Harry. He couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable under her intense gaze, he shifted in his chair.

‘The seventh was made on accident, Voldemort wasn’t aware that he had made it. If he did I don’t think he would have made Nagini a Horcrux. By definition I don’t even think the part of his soul that split off can even be considered a Horcrux but for lack of a better term we call it one.”

“What object was the final Horcrux in?” Shacklebolt was on the edge of his seat.

“First of all I should say that Horcruxes are normally put in objects because you would want your soul to go on forever, it can’t do so if it’s in a living thing. That’s what made Nagini so unusual,” Hermione added, giving Harry a chance to think about how he wanted to phrase what he had to say next.

“What does that have to do with the final Horcrux?” Ginny demanded, her voice a little shaky. She was smart girl and Harry was sure that she might have figured it out.

“Because, the final Horcrux was in me,” Harry said flatly. He paused to give the information a chance to sink in.

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