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?
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