Chapter 25: A New Home
After saying goodbye to Sirius, Harry and Ginny accompanied Dumbledore and Malfoy back to Hogwarts. Malfoy left Dumbledore’s office without another word, but Harry turned to his headmaster.
“You knew, didn’t you?” he asked.
Dumbledore nodded. “Mr Malfoy came to see me a couple of days ago. He told me everything that has been going on in Malfoy Manor and he asked me to make sure Jacinta would never have to return there. I persuaded him to testify against his father, in exchange for protection.”
Harry narrowed his eyes. “Who does he need protection from? He’s one of them, isn’t he!” He conveniently forgot about the fact that he had doubted that himself.
Dumbledore smiled serenely before he answered. “I do not blame you for thinking that, Harry. He has never given you a reason to believe otherwise. But I can assure you that Draco Malfoy would never join the Death Eaters.”
“He only cares about himself, Professor.” Harry said.
Ginny nodded. “Maybe he doesn’t agree with everything they stand for, but he would join them in a heartbeat if he thought he would be safe that way.”
Dumbledore nodded. “Indeed he would have done. But the Draco Malfoy that came back after Christmas is not the same boy he was for the last years. I am certain two perceptive young people as yourselves have already figured that out for yourselves.”
“I just thought he felt guilty about what happened.” Harry said. “That doesn’t change everything he stands for.”
“You are quite right about that, Harry.” Dumbledore said calmly. “But it is my believe there is much more to Draco Malfoy then meets the eye.”
“What do you mean?” Ginny asked.
“Mr Malfoy spent the first eleven years of his life being brainwashed. His views on Muggles and Muggleborns are just the same as those of his parents, because that is how he was brought up.”
“Jacinta had the exact same upbringing and she doesn’t think that way.” Harry protested.
“And Harry spent all those years with the Dursleys and they hated everything about the wizarding world. That hasn’t influenced him about it.” Ginny spoke up.
“Yes indeed, but you have an entirely different personality than Mr Malfoy.” Dumbledore stated. “You and Jacinta have far more bravery in you than Mr Malfoy will ever have. But that does not automatically make him a bad person.” He smiled. “I do not expect you to become the best of friends. All I ask is to try and understand where he came from.”
He walked over to the door and opened it. “And now you had better go down for lunch. I have to speak to young Miss Malfoy about the trial.”
“What will happen to her now, Professor?” Ginny asked softly.
“She will be placed into a foster home.” Dumbledore answered. “Do not worry. I will make sure that we find a good family for her.”
Harry and Ginny went down for lunch and joined Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna and the twins at the Gryffindor table. Luna generally sat with them during meals now as she had few friends in her own house. Her first three years at Hogwarts had been quite lonely. Her eccentricity put off a lot of people. Neville had been her first real friend and she was happier about being accepted in his circle of friends than she let on.
Harry and Ginny told their friends everything about the trial and what Dumbledore had said in his office.
“Dumbledore’s definitely off his rocker.” Ron said. “Malfoy would be too glad to join the Death Eaters.”
“I don’t know.” Hermione mused. “He has been acting rather odd lately, hasn’t he? He hasn’t insulted me in months.” She looked over at Malfoy, who was eating by himself at the end of the Slytherin table.
Harry and Ginny grinned at each other. They shouldn’t have doubted her. Nothing goes past Hermione.
When they left the Great Hall after lunch they bumped into Malfoy at the double doors. Malfoy stood there staring at Harry for a moment. Then he muttered: “Thanks” and disappeared towards the dungeons.
“Bloody hell.” Ron mumbled. “Did Malfoy just thank you? What did you do?” He looked at Harry as if he had affronted him terribly.
Harry shrugged. “No idea.”
The next day, the last Quidditch game of the season was planned. Normally this was one of the most exciting events of the school year as the game normally decided who would win the Quidditch Cup. However, the fact that one of the teams had lost their captain during the attack on Hogsmeade created a grim atmosphere around the match.
The six remaining members of the Gryffindor Quidditch team changed into their red robes without saying a word. When everyone was ready to go, they seemed to be waiting for a pep talk that would never come. At last they just nodded and walked upon the pitch.
Lee Jordan, who was commentating as usual, asked the spectators to join the players in a moment of silence as a tribute to Angelina. Even the Slytherins in the stands seemed to realize this wasn’t the time for snide remarks or taunts.
“Let’s do this.” Fred said softly, as Madam Hooch released the Bludgers and the Snitch. “For Angelina.”
The five other team members nodded. “For Angelina.” they repeated.
The least you could say was that the game was over quickly. Alicia and Katie put up a good fight against the three Ravenclaw Chasers, but weren’t really a fair match.
Cho didn’t use the same approach as she did the last time Gryffindor played Ravenclaw. Back then she had tailed Harry instead of looking for the Snitch herself. This time however, Ravenclaw was behind Gryffindor in the ranking and she had no choice but to look for the Snitch herself. She had spotted the Snitch when Ravenclaw was leading 180 to 20. If she caught the Snitch Ravenclaw would win the Quidditch Cup.
Harry reacted quickly when he saw Cho diving towards the ground and speeded after her. He thought of a Wronksi Feint first, because he didn’t spot the Snitch right away, but then he saw it had changed direction and was speeding towards the Gryffindor stands. This change of course was an advantage for Harry. He turned swiftly and now he lay several feet before Cho. He knew Cho was no match for him when it came to speed and he easily caught the snitch right above the Gryffindor stands.
Harry slowly flew a lap around the pitch with his fist in the air. He was met halfway by his teammates. He noticed that Alicia and Katie had tears in their eyes and even the Weasley brothers seemed to be lost for words. They had lost for the first time that year, 180 to 170, but they had won the Quidditch Cup for the second time in a row.
The team slowly descended towards the pitch and they walked over to the platform where Dumbledore was waiting for them with the big silver Cup. They looked at each other uncomfortably. Normally the Cup would be presented to the captain of the team. Finally, they all grabbed the Cup, three on each side, and lifted it in the air.
It was the strangest feeling Harry had ever felt. The pride and happiness about winning the Quidditch Cup were mixed with the feeling of utter loss.
Harry and Ron were the last ones left in the locker rooms. They weren’t in any rush. Neither of them fancied going to an overcrowded common room to celebrate. When they finally left, they saw that Ginny and Hermione were waiting for them outside.
“Fancy a visit to Hagrid?” Ginny asked. The girls had guessed Harry and Ron wouldn’t be in any mood to attend a victory party at the moment.
They happily agreed and they made their way across the grounds towards the Forbidden Forest. Harry felt slightly guilty as he realized his visits with the gamekeeper had decreased greatly this year, but he just didn’t have time mostly.
Hagrid was as happy as he always was to see his favourite students.
“Come in, come in.” he said eagerly. “Sit down. Want some tea?”
Hagrid put a plate of his famous rock cakes on the table, but they remained untouched.
Hagrid congratulated Harry and Ron about winning the Quidditch Cup. They were talking for a while when Hagrid turned to Harry. “So did you already hear from Sirius today? Dumbledore said he had to appear before the Wizengamot this morning.”
“He what?” Harry asked dumbfounded. Sirius hadn’t said anything about it to him when he saw him yesterday. “Why?”
Hagrid looked at him startled. “I don’t really know. Maybe I shouldn’t have told you.”
Harry stood up immediately. “Come on”, he mumbled to the others and they followed him outside.
They walked straight to Gryffindor Tower. Harry crossed the common room without saying anything to anyone and ran up the stairs to the fifth year boys dormitory with Ginny, Ron and Hermione in his wake.
“Harry, what are you doing?” Ron asked pressingly, but Ginny and Hermione seemed to understand.
Harry opened the drawer in his nightstand and grasped the Two-Way Mirror Sirius had given him for Christmas. “Sirius Black.” he said clearly to the glass.
After a few seconds Sirius’ face appeared.
“Harry!” He looked at him worriedly.
“Why did you have to appear before the Wizengamot?” Harry asked before his godfather could say anything else.
Sirius’ face seemed to relax. “Oh. How do you know about that?”
“Hagrid told me.” Harry said. “Now tell me! They aren’t sending you back to Azkaban, are they?”
“Don’t worry, Harry.” Sirius smiled. “It’s nothing of the sort. I can’t say anything now. I have to go back this afternoon for – “ he paused. “For the decision.”
“But – “
“I have to go now, Harry. Sorry.” Sirius said quickly. “Go to Dumbledore’s office after dinner tonight. I understand you have one of your lessons planned with him later anyway, yeah? I’ll meet you there.” And he disappeared.
Harry looked at his friends, who looked just as stunned as he was.
“What was that all about?” Ginny wondered.
“No idea.” Hermione said. “Well, you’ll hear it tonight I guess.”
None of them felt like going down to the common room or to the Great Hall for lunch, so the four of them stayed in the dormitory and hung out together.
“I wonder where Jacinta is.” Ginny suddenly said.
“What do you mean?” Ron asked. “She’s downstairs, isn’t she?”
Hermione shook her head. “I don’t think so. I haven’t seen her all day. We didn’t even see her at the game and she loves Quidditch.”
“I don’t think it’s Quidditch she loves.” Ginny laughed. “She loves Harry.”
Harry looked at her stunned.
“Oh, I don’t mean it like that.” Ginny said. “But she’s really fond of you. You made quite an impression on her.”
The silence that followed was only interrupted by the grumbling of Ron’s stomach. “I’m famished.“ he said, but he didn’t seem to be eager to get up and go downstairs. “We should have a house elf.”
Hermione looked at him severely. “You’re just lazy, Ron.” House elf rights were still a sensitive topic with her.
“I wonder if Dobby would come if I called him.” Harry mused.
Hermione had discovered last school year that Harry’s old house elf friend Dobby was working at Hogwarts now. Dumbledore had been the only person Dobby could find who was prepared to pay him.
“You shouldn’t – “ Hermione began.
“He gets paid, Hermione.” Ginny said quickly. “Try it”, she said to Harry.
“Er, okay.” Harry hesitated. “Dobby!”
There was a loud crack and Dobby appeared in the middle of the room. He looked around confused for a moment, but then he saw Harry.
“Harry Potter, sir!” He bowed deeply.
“Hi Dobby.” Harry grinned. He had grown to like the little elf since he freed him back in his second year. “So I am able to call you.”
“Oh yes, sir.” Dobby said. “Every inhabitant of the castle is able to call Dobby, but not many people know him, sir.”
He turned to Ginny, Ron and Hermione and bowed for them too.
“Do you think you could bring us some food here, Dobby?” Harry asked friendly.
“Of course, Harry Potter! What do you wish Dobby to bring you?”
“Some sandwiches will do, I think.” Harry said and Ron nodded approvingly.
“Right away, sir!” Dobby said and he vanished with another crack.
After they had finished their lunch, Hermione started another long discussion about the suppression of house elves.
When Harry entered the Great Hall that night for dinner, he wasn’t surprised to see that Dumbledore wasn’t sitting at the staff table. He ate quickly because he was eager to hear from Sirius.
“Ton Tongue Toffee.” he said to the gargoyle. The statue jumped aside and revealed the stone staircase that led to Dumbledore’s office. When he entered the room, he was surprised to see that not only Dumbledore and Sirius were there, but also Jacinta.
“Harry!” she said happily when she saw him. “I’m coming to live with you!”
“You – what?” Harry asked stunned.
Sirius grinned at him. “I filed for custody this morning. They had their doubts because I had been in Azkaban for so long, but when they saw it would be Jacinta’s first choice too it was a formality really. They already decided this afternoon.” He smiled at Harry. “You have a little sister” he added.
Jacinta hugged Harry tightly. “That’s great.” Harry smiled, rubbing her back. “You sure you’ll be able to handle a girl in the house?” he grinned at his godfather.
Sirius grinned back broadly. “We’ll survive. We still outnumber her.”
Dumbledore looked happily at the scene before him. He had strongly supported the idea of Jacinta living with Harry and Sirius before the Wizengamot. The idea that a man who recently spent twelve years in Azkaban gained custody of a child was controversial at the least, despite the fact Sirius had been proven innocent and his name had been cleared. Finally however, Dumbledore had been able to persuade them. The headmaster knew Jacinta couldn’t find a better home. He also knew that having Harry and Jacinta to take care of was the best thing that could have happened to Sirius. The light-hearted, sometimes irresponsible, young man he knew from before had grown up and changed into a caring father figure.
“What will happen to Draco now?” Harry asked Dumbledore with a quick glance at Jacinta.
“Mr Malfoy will spend his holidays at Hogwarts.” Dumbledore stated. “When he graduates, he will have to live on his own.”
“Is that even allowed?” Harry wondered.
“Normally students are not allowed to stay at Hogwarts during summer break, but in this case the board has made an exception.” Dumbledore said. “He will be given his own living quarters within the school. I am afraid I cannot let him stay in the Slytherin dormitories.”
“Why not?” Jacinta asked softly.
Dumbledore sighed. “There have been several – “ he hesitated, “several incidents in the Slytherin dungeon since yesterday.”
He looked at Harry meaningfully and Harry realized Malfoy had been given a hard time because of his testimony against his father.
Sirius and Jacinta both left soon. Harry stayed as he had a private lesson planned with Dumbledore, although the word lesson wasn’t really an accurate description of their meetings anymore. They still practiced duelling, but Dumbledore hadn’t showed Harry any new spells lately. Harry had mastered everything Dumbledore had taught him and had even started teaching some of it to the DA. Over the last few weeks however, every time Harry and Dumbledore met they discussed the Horcruxes and possible hiding places.
They knew there were still five Horcruxes out there. Dumbledore was convinced that Hufflepuff’s Cup and Slytherin’s locket were Horcruxes too. He also thought the ring that belonged to his grandfather was one. He had showed Harry all three objects in the Pensieve. Harry had offered that the final two Horcruxes might be relics of the other two founders, but Dumbledore didn’t think it possible. It was there where they had left of in their last meeting and Dumbledore continued as if they had only interrupted their discussion for a few moments.
“There are only two objects that were known to belong to Godric Gryffindor, Harry.” he said after Harry had sit down in front of his desk. “And they are both still here.” He gestured towards the sword and the Sorting Hat. “And I am certain neither of them is a Horcrux.”
“Alright.” Harry said. “What about that diadem you told me about?”
Dumbledore nodded. “The only known relic of Rowena Ravenclaw. A very curious object. Legend tells us that it sharpens the brain of the wearer. There are a lot of stories about it, but there is no proof that the diadem even existed. It is lost.”
“Well, maybe it’s lost because Voldemort hid it.” Harry tried.
Dumbledore shook his head slowly. “I do not think that is a possibility, Harry. The diadem is not lost for a few years. It has been lost for centuries. No person alive has ever seen it.”
Dumbledore stood up from his chair and started pacing around his office. “I have the feeling we are looking too far. Every Horcrux he made has to do something with Hogwarts or the founders, I am certain of that. The ring once belonged to Slytherin, as did the locket. The cup belonged to Hufflepuff…”
“What about the diary?” Harry asked. “That never belonged to one of the founders.”
“Indeed it did not.” Dumbledore said. “But the diary was the proof that Voldemort was the one who continued the work of his ancestor, Salazar Slytherin. In his mind it did bind himself to Slytherin in some way.”
“Bind himself to Slytherin…” Harry mumbled under his breath. “Professor...” he spoke out loud. “Is it possible for a Horcrux to be a living thing?”
Dumbledore looked at him confused. “I would think so, Harry, but it seems unlikely Voldemort would choose that. I do not think he would trust any creature with a mind of his own to harbour a part of his soul.”
“What if there was a creature who’s mind can be easily controlled by Voldemort?”
Dumbledore looked at him for a second. “Nagini.” he said.
Harry nodded. “Voldemort thinks he’s the only Parselmouth alive.” he said. “I’m sure he would think that binds him to Slytherin.”
“He certainly would.” Dumbledore said. He looked impressed. “It is a possibility. I will look into it.”
“Did you try the orphanage already?” Harry asked.
They had come up with several possible places where Voldemort could have hidden his Horcruxes. Dumbledore had already checked out Borgin and Burkes, Godric’s Hollow and the Riddle House and the orphanage where Voldemort grew up was next on the list.
“Yes.” Dumbledore said. “Nothing.”
He didn’t seem the least bit agitated about the fact that another one of their theories had been proven wrong. “I will travel to the Gaunt house next weekend.”
“The Gaunt House?” Harry asked. “I thought you would have checked that out when you went to the Riddle House.”
Dumbledore nodded. “Yes I intended to, but I am not comfortable with leaving the school for too long anymore. After what happened in Hogsmeade…”
Harry wished he hadn’t said anything. He knew his headmaster still felt terribly guilty because he wasn’t there when his students were in danger. “Okay”, he said quickly. “And will you still take me?”
“Yes, Harry. Once I find a hiding place, I will come and get you.” Dumbledore smiled at him. “But remember, keep as quiet as you can about this. It would be catastrophic if Voldemort found out what we knew.”
“Of course, Professor.”
“Then you can go, Harry.”
The lonely cloaked figure stared up at the gates of Hogwarts before him. The protective enchantments that had been installed after the Dark Lord’s return would prevent him from entering, but he had to get inside. It was of vital importance that he talked to him. He remembered one of the secret passageways that his brother had discovered during their time at Hogwarts. He would have to take the slight risk of being caught breaking in, but it would have to do. He turned around and made his way towards Honeydukes.
“The truth is: you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride and nothing is guaranteed” – Eminem
A/N: Please tell me what you think. Every review is highly appreciated.
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