“But what are we going to do now?” asked Ron. “If we now rush to the Hogwarts what are we going to say to McGonagall? Sorry, we didn’t actually do what we had to do in the spring, so can we nose around here for a Merlin knows how long time?”
“We need to think of some kind of cover,” Harry suggested. It seemed that his anxiety has started to itch into his insides – he probably hadn’t done the task assigned by Dumbledore. What if Voldemort wanders somewhere out there, somewhere near the Hogwarts? “We ought to go back to Hogwarts as soon as possible at all costs.”
Hermione opened her mouth to say something when there rang a bell, calling everyone to the kitchen for breakfast. “Let’s eat and then we’ll think about what to do next,” she said.
Both of the young men nodded, and the trio climbed down the stairs and went into the kitchen, where they were welcomed by a mountain of omelet and cheese and ham sandwiches.
Ginny had helped Mrs. Weasley prepare breakfast in the morning. “Good morning, come for breakfast!” she happily called out to her friends as she put a jug with a carrot juice on the table, and when they all were sitting at the table she took a place next to Harry. Soon came also the others – Arthur, Bill and Fleur stepped down from the upper floors, while George and Charlie still drowsy from sleep shuffled in here from the living room. “It’s nothing for us, bachelors, to spend one night on the couch,” Charlie chuckled. He spent his vacation to stay at the Burrow for a week, but last night he had let Bill and Fleur to occupy his own old room so instead he had slept on a couch.
“You don’t look fresh at all this morning,” Mrs. Weasley said, smiling at the young people, still preparing tea by the stove. “As my grandpa used to say, in difficult mornings after the party there is nothing better than sour cabbage juice. Makes you fresh as a cucumber.”
“Or fresh as a cabbage?” George asked with a sneer, putting a huge pile of omelet on his plate.
“Don’t you mock me, this is just a saying.” Although Mrs. Weasley waved George off, she smiled at him.
“Well, I don’t think a sour cabbage juice is something I would like to drink now,” Ron said wincing as he picked up a grilled cheese sandwich.
“But I recommend you to drink a huge glass of water. The water really replenishes energy,” Mrs. Weasley advised them as the tea was still brewing. “Actually, I also slept very badly last night.”
“What was it, mom?” Bill asked, picking up a fork. “Were you dreaming about Lestrange again?”
“Yes, I saw in my dream how he had broken into the Burrow and he was chasing me…” Molly said, heavily sighing. However, she had said it so that it made Harry think that the dream had a continuation and it was not at all pleasant.
Arthur tried to reassure his wife: “Fidelius is very well doing its job, so don’t worry, dear, he can’t get in here. Martin with his Auror team has put a whole bunch of detection spells around here; you and we all are safe here.”
“Arthur, I understand that and wish that all you just said would be true,” Molly said, smiling at her husband, as she put a kettle with a tea on the table and then she squeezed his shoulder and sat down next to him. “But the fact that I know all of this doesn’t lessen my worries. What if he does something awful again?”
Harry remembered it like it had happened just yesterday. When they had come home after Fred’s funeral, they had found the Dark Mark above the driveway of the Burrow and under the Mark was a message burnt in the air with letters of fire: Molly Weasley, come and face me! You killed my wife and will regret it painfully! Afterwards, the employees of the Auror Office led by Martin Hunter, Head of the Office, spent a whole week around the Burrow placing all the possible detection and protection charms in addition to Fidelius. Fortunately, so far, there was still silence from the rest of the Death Eaters.
“Has anything moved in Lestrange’s case?” Hermione asked, sipping carrot juice.
“At Auror Department, everyone is working through the night,” Arthur replied. “But Lestrange is well-hidden, most likely he is using his acquaintances, maybe he changes his place of residence regularly. As far as your parents are concerned, it wouldn’t be safe at all for them to return now. I’m afraid Lestrange would be more than happy to get them,” Arthur replied to her with a serious expression.
Hermione’s face fell. She obviously longed for her parents and hoped every day that they would be able to return to their normal lives soon. However, it was not safe yet; the war was not over yet.
“Everything will be alright,” Ron said as he took Hermione’s hand trying to reassure her.
“Harry, your new glasses suit you very well,” Ginny said, disrupting the gloomy mood that had been taken over all the people at the breakfast table.
“My vision has become very sharp now. I can see very well now. Thank you, Molly and Arthur!” Harry thanked Mrs. and Mr. Weasley.
“It’s a great pleasure for me to hear this, my dear. Do you see that here, behind the omelet plate, there’s also a plate of sausages, don’t you want some?” Molly offered smiling at him. “And how do you feel, dear?” she now turned to Fleur. “Is everything alright with your stomach?”
“Eet’s all right for me. Thank you, Molly,” Fleur replied in her French accent, continuing to eat her breakfast quietly.
Bill, although, rolled his eyes as he heard it. Mrs. Weasley was asking Fleur now and then “is everything alright with her stomach” whenever she arrived at the Burrow. As Ginny had told Harry, pregnant women tend to have nausea in the mornings. Likewise, in the presence of Fleur Molly had started to talk a lot about how wonderful and amazing is Teddy as a three month old baby and how nice are the baby sounds he makes when he is humming and bubbling. As well, she gave some advices now and then. “You must never lull a baby with a sleeping spell!” or “Until two years of age, you can’t give syrup of Hellebore for cough. As long as the child is not three years old, you must forget about the teleportation!” And there were even more similar recommendations, clearly related to bringing up children. Mrs. Weasley certainly couldn’t wait to have her own grandchild.
“Well, dad, you can relax at least today,” said Ron. “You don’t have to go to work today.”
“Fortunately, it is a bit calmer for the second weekend now,” Arthur said with joy.
“But I am afraid to even imagine how much work is going to await me on Monday. Definitely there is going to be a huge pile of cases of incidents. One might think that after the fall of You-Know-Who we will once and for all have peace, but no. Every little worm comes up with some kind of rascality that we have to clean up for hours. Now they have started to charm those Muggle boxes with buttons that the Muggles put close to their ears, and, as they do it, then – snap, and the ear is bitten and there appear tubers like those on clown hats. And there doesn’t help any ordinary healing spells, because the whole disaster is too close to the brain. If we don’t want them to remain dumb for their whole lifetime then we have to take them to St. Mungo’s Hospital to remove all those tumors. It seems they’ll soon have to open a new department for Muggles.” He bitterly laughed as he finished speaking.
“That’s terrible,” Hermione murmured. “But, Mr. Weasley, what exactly are those Muggle boxes that are being charmed?”
“I don’t really know what those boxes are and what the Muggles are doing with them. They are usually small boxes with buttons and with something like a stick at one end and about this big,” Mr. Weasley explained showing with his palms about half a foot in length. “Muggles are saying this thing is ‘tephelon’. Hermione, Harry you know better Muggle things, what is the correct name of this device, and why the Muggles are putting it to the ear?”
Harry and Hermione looked at each other. They didn’t know what Arthur was talking about because they had never seen such a thing before.
“Tephelon – maybe you were thinking of a “telephone”,” Hermione asked. “You can talk over a telephone or a phone at a great distance. Do you remember how a long time ago you tried to call Harry? That’s why they put it to the ear. However, as far as I know, a telephone line is required for a telephone connection. How can it be possible to use a phone on the street or in the open field without an attached cord?”
“Look, we’ve lived in the woods for so long, that the Muggles have already managed to invent phones without a cord,” Harry said.
Mr. Weasley was overly excited. “Then this phone is a new invention for them! You don’t say! I must have one of those for myself!” Mrs. Weasley just hopelessly rolled her eyes.
“I’ve also seen some Muggles having a conversation using this – telphone – actually it looks very useful,” George said and then he suggested. “Maybe I could also make something like that in my joke shop; something that allows direct conversations?”
“You know, it really would be one very useful thing,” Ginny confirmed. “That would have been very handy for us when we needed to resist the dictatorship of Snape.”
They were all discussing their ideas about portable communication devices for a moment, also mentioning the Sirius’s mirror, until breakfast food was all eaten. George said farewell to everyone before he flew to his shop, as he had anticipated a rush of customers on Saturday. Before departure through the Floo Network he told Ron to help him with testing some of the new products, but Charlie and Bill with Fleur went along with George to the Diagon Alley for leisure and other business. Because of the threat of attack by Lestrange the people of Magical Law Enforcement Patrol had advised them to go out from the house only within a small crowd. “My vacation will last only until Monday, so I need at last to go to the Magical Menagerie at the Diagon Alley and look at their dragon tonic. The Romanian product isn’t good enough. If our dragons get the conjunctivitis, we have to put in a lot of effort to get their eyes clean again,” explained Charlie before departing.
“Harry, and what are you going to do today?” Ginny asked when they had said goodbye to the three Weasley brothers and Fleur in the living room standing by the fireplace. “Are you going to prepare for your Auror Admission Exam?”
“Look, I think we should talk, all four of us,” Harry said in a hushed voice, as he glanced at Ron and Hermione.
Ron initially seemed a little bit taken aback, but he nodded anyway, while Hermione had agreed immediately without hesitation.
Harry looked back at Ginny. “Let’s go out to the garden for a talk.”
It seemed that Ginny began to feel a little worried about how serious he looked, so she immediately agreed.
The four young people rushed out of the house. As usual in the summer morning, the air was warm and the weather promised another nice and hot summer day. Only the faces of Harry, Ron, and Hermione appeared as the darkest rain clouds when all the friends had found a distant corner at a farther black currant bush growing by the old ruins of a stone wall.
“Well then, tell me what happened – you look worse than three Dementors!” Ginny said.
“Ginny, I saw a bad dream last night. A very bad,” Harry said in a gloomy voice.
Ginny plucked off some of the berries of black currant bush and chuckled: “I warned you yesterday not to drink butterbeer after champagne,” and she threw the dark, juicy berries in her mouth.
“That’s not the champagne’s fault. Alright, listen,” – and Harry told his girlfriend about his dream of a terrible voice in the black emptiness.
“So what? The dream is a dream. Why you are so worried?” Ginny asked not being able to comprehend his anxiety.
“When Harry told us his dream this morning, at first we thought the same thing,” Hermione said. “But then we discussed the matter more carefully and…”
“Wait a minute, but you destroyed all the Horcruxes, at least considering as far as I understand from what you have told me, Harry,” Ginny said.
“You see, all the time until now we thought it so ourselves that we have really destroyed all of them,” Ron confirmed.
“But then this morning, after this Harry’s dream, we thoroughly discussed it all again and…” Hermione told Ginny, at the end taking in a deep breath and making a pause.
“And – what?” The matter sounded indeed serious, so Ginny didn’t like it at all.
“And – it is very likely that we didn’t destroy all the Horcruxes. It is very likely that the one which got burnt was not the real Ravenclaw’s diadem because it was a fake one. And it means Voldemort might be somewhere out there, wandering somewhere around. Most likely in some kind of form of a ghost,” Hermione explained.
“To put it mildly it doesn’t sound good at all,” Ginny commented, almost shuddering. “And the real diadem? Who knows where it is now?”
“I have a strong suspicion that it must be at Hogwarts. When Voldemort realized that we had got the rest of his Horcruxes, he immediately ran to Hogwarts,” Harry explained. “We just have to figure out how to get back to Hogwarts and what to say to McGonagall. We can’t just go to her now and say that probably there somewhere around the castle is wandering around Voldemort because I saw a bad dream… moreover, after a birthday party.”
“But wait a minute. Exactly why you simply can’t go back to Hogwarts? You don’t have to tell McGonagall anything about bad dreams,” Ginny suggested.
“But how we will explain to her what are we doing there in the middle of summer?” Ron asked.
“Why do you need to search for the diadem right at this exact moment? Apply to McGonagall as usual students for the seventh school year and search for the diadem how long you wish. The last time it took at least eleven years for Voldemort to recover a little bit of his power. I highly doubt that this time he can do it in a couple of months, if it is possible at all,” Ginny told her thoughts.
Harry felt a little bit taken aback – he had been so worried that he hadn’t done his task and had only thought how to get back to Hogwarts at this very moment, so he hadn’t thought about such an opportunity. This would mean that he should wait only one more month, and he could return to Hogwarts for a whole year, for a whole wonderful school year. And they could all together make sure whether his dream was true or not, in no hurry searching for the diadem without unnecessarily disturbing McGonagall.
“Ginny, it’s a great idea!” Hermione confirmed. “You guys can go back to Hogwarts with us and we still have a whole month to make a search plan.”
“Then we just have to write a refusal letter to the Auror’s office,” Ron planned what to do next, “and have to apply to McGonagall.”
“That’s right,” Harry agreed.
The voice of Mrs. Weasley sounded loudly from the window of the living room of the Burrow: “Dear boys, you have received the owls!”
They changed glances to each other and hurried to find out what kind of messages they have received. Would something have come from the Auror’s Office about the next week’s admission examination? The girls followed them to the indoors. The owls had left two envelopes of beige parchment sealed with a large stamp decorated with huge letter H in the middle, surrounded by a snake, a lion, an eagle, and a badger – the letters have come from Hogwarts.
Harry, like Ron, opened his letter and began to read it.
July 31st, 1998
Dear Mr. Potter:
Due to the battle which took place in Hogwarts on May 2nd this year where the darkest wizard of our time was abolished, the OWL and NEWT exams were cancelled. So this year due to these extreme circumstances Hogwarts offers an opportunity to revisit the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for your seventh school year and take the final examinations.
If you are interested in this offer, please send an owl with your affirmation within one week so we can send you a list of the necessary school supplies as soon as possible.
In case of a positive answer, please also give an answer if you would like to use this year’s opportunity offered by Hogwarts to study an Alchemy course for one year as an optional subject. The answer has to be given on time because the Alchemy course will only be approved if we will complete the class with at least 10 students.
The Headmistress of
Hogwarts School of
Witchcraft and Wizardry
Ron looked at Harry smiling. “Well then – do we say yes?”
“Hogwarts, here we come,” Harry agreed with a smile.
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