Endings and Beginnings

BY : eternalfire
Category: Harry Potter > General > General
Dragon prints: 7072
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor any of the characters from the books or movies. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Disclaimers: I do not own any of these characters. They are the property of J.K. Rowlin. No profit is made from this.

 

Endings and Beginnings

 

"˜No, stay back!'

"˜What do you plan to do? You know that you can't stop me; now, give me the child!'

"˜Never Voldemort, I won't let you have him!'

"˜Give me the boy, or die, Lily!'

"˜Kill me then.'

"˜Very well!'

"˜I love you, Harry; I'm sorry.'

"NOOOOOO!!!" Harry shot up out of the bed. He was covered in a cold sweat, and his body was trembling.

"The same dream again." Harry had been having nightmares every night for almost the last month. It was always the same dream, of the night his parents were murdered.

Harry climbed out of bed and went to his dresser. He looked himself in the mirror and wiped his brow.

"Get a hold of yourself, Potter, act like a man!" He was now in his sixth year at Hogwarts, and he refused to act like a crybaby. He had to be strong, no matter what. Harry mentally smacked himself and took a deep breath. Checking his watch, he saw that he still had a few hours left before classes began.

"What's happening to me? Why do I keep remembering the same thing over and over again?" Harry brushed his hair back and looked at his scar. He thought about Voldemort, but his scar had not being acting up for several months now.

"Maybe I'm just being paranoid," Harry said to himself. With a long sigh, he collapsed back into his bed and was asleep before his head hit the pillow.

"Harry, wake up, c'mon!" Ron Weasley nearly shouted.

"Hn. Leave me alone," Harry groaned, his face buried in his pillow.

"No, you're gonna be late!"

"I said leave me be!"

Ron groaned in defeat. When Harry Potter didn't want to get up, it was impossible to change his mind. Nobody could wake him up, with one exception.

"That's it!" Ron dashed out of their room and down to the commons.

Hermione Granger was just about to head for her advanced transfiguration class when Ron burst into the room.

"Hermione, thank God I found you!" he said out of breath.

"Ron, what's wrong?"

"I need your help, Herm. It's Harry"¦"

"What about him?" Hermione asked worriedly. She jumped at the thought of Harry being in trouble.

"Well"¦he's got a severe case of "˜lazy-bone' syndrome this morning. He won't listen to me so I was hoping maybe you could get him up." Hermione crossed her arms in annoyance.

"What am I, his personal alarm clock?"

"No, but he'll listen you. If you tell him to get up, I'm sure he'll do it."

"Fine, but he better not make me late!"

Hermione stomped up the stairs and entered Ron and Harry's room. She was somewhat angry at having to play nursemaid for Harry, but in a way, she felt kinda good doing this, like she was there when he needed her. Her anger dwindled as she approached his bed. He was lying on his side; his face still burrowed halfway into the pillow.

"˜He looks so cute like this,' Hermione said silently. At that point, Harry rolled over, and his comforter fell off him.

"Oh my"¦" Hermione clamped her hand over her mouth. Harry lay before her in nothing but his boxer shorts; he'd removed his sweat-soaked t-shirt the night before.

Hermione was speechless; all she could do was stare. He'd grown into quite a good-looking young man. Years of quidditch had made his muscles fill out very nicely, and his height had increased to almost six feet. His eyes had remained the same deep emerald that they'd always been, and Hermione remembered how weak-kneed those eyes could make her.

"Harry…maybe…someday…" She stopped her train of thought. No, it would never work. Harry Potter wouldn't want her; she was a bookworm, not like some of the flirts that hung on his every word.

"No!" His sudden outburst caught her attention. Harry's body contorted, and he clenched his fists in his sleep.

"No, not her, please, don't hurt her—please, not Hermione!"

The young woman's eyes widened; he was having a dream about her. But from the looks of it, it was more like a nightmare. Embarrassment aside, she knelt by his bedside and took his clenched fist in her hand.

"Harry, wake up, it's only a dream, please, it's me, Hermione." At the mention of her name, Harry's eyes shot open. Without warning, he reached out and wrapped her in a tight hug. He clutched her to his chest as if his life depended on it.

"Hermione, thank goodness you're all right." Harry was practically panting, and his embrace tightened.

"Harry, relax, it was only a dream, okay?" Hermione blushed as he pressed her up against his chest. She had to admit; it felt good to be held in his arms. He was holding her strongly, but she could still feel the underlying tenderness that he always showed her.

"A dream, are you sure?" Harry asked and looked down at her. His eyes were sick with worry, and Hermione felt her heart melt. She reached up and brushed some of his hair off his sweaty face.

"I'm sure, Harry, everything's all right now." She ran her hand down the side of his face, and a small smile appeared on his lips.

"I—I'm sorry," he said softly and released her.

"It's okay, Harry, we all have nightmares. Now, what do you say you get dressed and let's get to class?" Harry finally realized that all he had on were his shorts.

"Oh my gosh! He turned as red as a tomato, and Hermione giggled at him. Putting a smug smile on her face, she leaned over and touched his nose with the tip of her finger.

"Don't be embarrassed, I think you look cute like this!" Harry's blush increased ten-fold, and he turned away shyly.

"Hermione"¦" She smiled at him. He never did have a way with girls, her being the exception.

"Harry, it's okay, I won't say anything all right. Now, let's get going before McGonagall gives up both detention for being late."

Harry and Hermione raced in just as Professor McGonagall stood up from her desk. She looked at the two of them with a stern glare but didn't say anything. The two decided not to ask whether they were late or not and merely sat down. Ron looked over at Hermione and grinned slightly; she just rolled her eyes and opened her book.

"Ron, you owe me one!" Hermione stated as she plopped down next to Harry at the lunch table. The red-haired young man just grinned at her.

"Oh c'mon, Herm, don't be mad; I told you that you could do it."

"Do what?" Harry asked as he reached for a slice of ham. The grin on Ron's face widened.

"I just know that Hermione's the only person that can wake you up!"

"That's not true!" Harry gasped blushing slightly. "I was tired this morning, okay?" He looked down at his hands and set his fork down.

"Harry, are you all right?" Hermione asked and put hand on his shoulder.

"I—I—I don't know—I've been having nightmares every night for the last few weeks, and I guess the loss of sleep is finally catching with me." As proof, Harry let out a soft yawn.

"Everyone has nightmares, Harry," Ron stated.

"Yeah, but do they have the same one night after night?"

"Do you remember any of it?" Hermione asked softly. Harry turned towards her, and she immediately regretted asking. His eyes held a look of pure agony, and she clutched his hand in her own.

"Yeah, I remember it—mostly. It's the night my parent's were killed." Now, Hermione really regretted asking him. She knew how much it hurt Harry to remember what happened to his parents.

"I'm sorry, Harry." He squeezed her hand gently and shook his head.

"It's okay. I've learned to deal with it by now."

Harry suddenly grabbed his head and howled in pain. His head whipped back so hard that his neck nearly broke.

"Harry!" Hermione and Ron gasped at the same time. Harry's body jolted so hard that he fell onto the floor. He began convulsing on the floor screaming "˜NO—NO—NO—' over and over again. By now, Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall had noticed what happened and rushed over to check on him.

Hermione was at Harry's side trying to calm him down.

"Harry, please, it's not real. Please, tell me what's wrong!” She was scared out of her mind as she watched his body contort violently.

"Everyone, out of the way!" Dumbledore ordered as he stepped through the mass of students now surrounding Harry. He saw the young man seizing in pain and quickly knelt down by his side.

"Professor, please, help him!" Hermione begged as tears formed in her eyes. Dumbledore placed his hand on Harry's forehead and whispered "Tranquilos.” his body went limp and passed out.

"There, that will keep him calm for now. Ouch!" Dumbledore drew his hand back as something burned him. Lifting the hair off Harry's forehead, he saw something that made his stomach turn.

"His scar!" Ron gasped. Harry's scar was burning bright red, and the boy's head snapped from side to side.

"No, stop—stop please—don't—Voldemort—" At the mention of the dark wizard's name, Dumbledore knew what was going on.

"Hermione, Ron, move back now!" Dumbledore placed his hands on Harry's head. "Purificas Mentales!" Harry's body slowly stopped twitching, and his head came to a stop on its right side.

"He'll be all right for now," Dumbledore said softly.

"What happened to him?" Hermione nearly demanded as she cradled Harry's head in her hands. The older man smiled at her loyalty.

"Harry's been given a Nightmare Curse."

"A nightmare curse?"

"Yes, Hermione, a nightmare curse is one of the worst. It searches a person's mind for their darkest memory or their deepest fear and turns it into an endless string of nightmares."

"Can it be stopped?" the young woman asked. Dumbledore held up his hand.

"One thing at a time, Miss Granger. Harry to the infirmary he needs to rest." He turned towards the rest of the student body.

"Everyone, please, return to your classrooms." The students dispersed slowly, many of them casting sideward glances back towards where Harry Potter lay.

"Professor Dumbledore, please, let me come with him?" Hermione asked pleadingly, while stroking Harry's dark hair.

"Of course, Harry needs his friends right now."

Hermione looked up to see Professor McGonagall behind her. She was supposed to present a transfiguration project to McGonagall this afternoon, but with Harry the way he was, she was certain that her concentration wouldn't be anywhere near perfect.

"Um, Professor McGonagall, I know that I have a project due this after, but I—" Hermione couldn't finish her statement. She didn't even know why she asked; McGonagall was as strict as they came; she didn't make exceptions.

"We'll reschedule your presentation, Miss Granger." Hermione's head snapped up.

"Are you serious, ma'am?" She almost thought she saw a smile cross the old woman's face.

"Just don't get any ideas, I expect you to be perfect with the extra time that you're receiving."

"Yes ma’am!” Hermione said happily. In the meantime, Ron had lifted Harry up and swung him over his shoulder. He carried his prone friend out of the Great Hall and down to the medical wing; Hermione was not more than half a step behind him.

"Professor Dumbledore?"

"What is it, Professor McGonagall?"

"You saw what Harry's scar was doing. He'll' be coming soon."

"Yes, I know, but there's nothing than can be done about that."

"Albus, perhaps, it's time that you told the boy." Dumbledore turned towards his colleague with a stern look, but his eyes softened.

"Yes Minerva, I suppose you're right. It's time that Harry understands what's happening to him."

Harry woke up several hours later. His head felt like a game of quidditch was being played inside it. His ears were ringing, but he could make out a faint tune. Someone was humming. It hurt too much to open his eyes so he just listened.

The humming continued, and Harry felt a soft hand gently brush his hair. It wasn't just a touch, more like a caress. Harry knew that touch; it could only belong to one person, Hermione.

"I never knew she could sing.' Forcing his eyes open, he turned to see her by his bedside. Her face lit up at seeing him.

"Harry!" she said happily and dove off her chair into his arms. "You're all right!"

"Yeah, I'm okay. Man, if this is what a hangover feels like, remind me never to drink!" Harry groaned and rubbed his head.

"Here, let me." Hermione leaned over him and put her hands on the side of his face. She put her index and middle finger together anacedaced them both on his temples.

"What are you?"

"Trust me," Hermione said with a smile. Harry closed his eyes. Trust her? How could he not trust her? She was his best friend. Hermione began rubbing his temples, and Harry let out a very long but gratifying sigh of relief.

"God Herm, you're the best!" She giggled softly and continued her rubbing. Within five minutes, all the tension in Harry's body had left him. Hermione went to remove her hands only to have Harry's clasp them tightly.

"Anybody ever tell you that you have magical hands?" he teased.

"Well, I am studying to be a witch; I hope that I'd have magical hands," Hermione countered.

"This magic has nothing to do with spells or potions; it's your own personal magic." She blushed slightly at his indirect compliment. Hermione looked down into his deep, emerald eyes, and Harry's arms came up around her.

"I was worried about you, Harry. When I saw you cry out in pain, I felt my heart break! I—I just—" Hermione lost her voice as it became laden with emotion.

"Shh," Harry said soothingly and pulled her down. He put her head on his chest and stroked her long, curly hair. "Don't worry, Hermione, it's all right; I'm still here." She realized that he was right and let herself listen to his strong heartbeat as she rested in his embrace.

"Thank you, Hermione." She raised her head up to look at him and gave him a bright smile.

"Hey, that's what friends are for." Harry gazed up into her soft, brown eyes; his hand came up and cupped her cheek.

"You're more than just my friend, Hermione." His statement made her heartbeat triple, and her palms began to sweat. Could it be true? Did he"¦did he really—like her?

"I"¦I am?" she stuttered. Harry nodded and pulled her down until her forehead was touching his.

"You're my girl." Now, to some people, that comment may have seemed shallow, but to Hermione Granger, there had never been a truer statement. Her heart pounded against her chest at his admission. Hermione smiled brightly and gazed down at him tenderly.

"I'll always be your girl, Harry." He flushed when he realized that she understood.

"Hermione, I—"

"Shh," she silenced him with a gentle touch to his lips. Turning her chin up, Hermione allowed her lips to brush his.

A thousand voices screamed inside Harry's head, "You can't do this! You'll only end up hurting her! Voldemort will use her against you!' They all screamed at Harry to stop this. But in the midst of all of this, his heart stood firm. It simply said, "You need her, Harry, and she needs you. You've both waited long enough.'

Hermione was beginning to fear that Harry didn't want this. He hadn't rejected her kiss, but he hadn't exactly being active. Suddenly, his arms came up around her, and he pulled her tight against him.

"Hermione—" Harry whispered as he buried his face in her hair. He kissed her cheek and breathed softly in her ear.,¦I don't ever want to lose you."

Harry cupped her face in his hands and brought her up until their eyes met. He could read countless emotions in her chocolate pools, compassion, tenderness, loyalty, happiness, apprehension, anticipation, and love. Yes, he could read the love in her eyes. Harry had never seen her look like this before, and he hoped that she would never show this face to anyone but

"Harry, I don't ever want you to leave me." The words just slipped out, and Hermione felt slightly ashamed, but Harry only smiled at her.

"My beautiful Hermione—" The phrase rolled off Harry's tongue like a romantic sonnet.

Hermione blushed to the roots of her hair, and she turned away shyly. No one had ever called her beautiful before; she was always the bookworm of the group; the one that nobody wanted to talk to. She'd never had a boyfriend before; no one wanted her. And here was Harry Potter, the guy who any girl in Hogwarts would kill for to have was telling her that she was beautiful.

"Hermione—" He spoke her name softly this time and turned her back to face him. Harry could feel his strength fading, but he refused to pass out.

"Hermione—I love you." And his head fell back onto his pillow.

She wanted to jump up and do cartwheels across the room. He—he loved hee ace actually loved her. He loved her, Hermione, the bookworm, annoying study partner, and loyal friend. And she loved him, Harry Potter, not the boy who survived Voldemort, but the person that he truly was. Harry was a kind, gentle young man who took nothing for granted. He was loyal to his friends to the point of death, and most of all, he never degraded anybody because they were different.

"Harry…" she whispered and caressed his face. His eyes opened lazily, but his arms remained down at his sides.

"I love you too." His eyes burst open in pure happiness, and he cracked a full smile at her. He wanted to sit up and hold her, but his body wouldn't cooperate.

"I’m sorry, Hermione, I want to take you in my arms and kiss you so bad, but I'm out of it right now," Harry said dejectedly.

"Not a problem." She bent down and placed a whisper of a kiss on his lips.

Harry pushed up, and his mouth covered hers. For only their second kiss, it was a doozy. The two teenagers felt ready to explode. Harry couldn't do very much anymore, but he clutched the folds of Hermione's robes in his hands and tugged, wanting her closer.

"Ahem!"

The two managed to peel off one another to find none other than Dumbledore standing there with an amused smirk on his face. Harry and Hermione almost turned purple from blushing so deeply, and Hermione backed away from his bedside.

"Well Harry, I was going to ask if you were feeling better, but I see that Miss Granger has answered my question for me," Dumbledore chuckled.

Harry looked back and forth between his mentor and his new girlfriend.

"Professor, I'm sorry, that wasn't appropriate," Hermione interjected nervously.

"She's right, sir, it won't happen again."

"Relax, you two, I'm not angry. Just try and keep the "making out' as you call it to a minimum. Other than that, I have no objections." Not even the sun could have outshone the light in Hermione's eyes.

"Sir, thank you!" they both said at the same time. Dumbledore coughed and changed the subject.

"Now then, back to business, Harry…when you're strong enough, I want to see you in my office; there is something that I must tell you."

"Yes sir, I will be there this afternoon. That is, if Madam Pomfrey let's me out by then."

"I heard that, Mr. Potter!" Madam Pomfrey appeared behind Dumbledore and glared at Harry slightly.

"Well then, I shall leave you to her "tender' care then." Dumbledore took his leave trying hard not to grin.

"I better get going too," Hermione piped up.

"Wait a minute!" Harry gasped, "You're leaving me all alone!" She gave him an evil smile.

"You're not alone; I'm sure Madam Pomfrey will take good care of you."

"Oh brother," Harry groaned. Hermione bent down and whispered in his ear.

"Don't worry, if she hurts you, that just means that I have to nurse you back to health myself," she teased. He smiled brightly at that idea.

"Don't be too long, okay?" His tone was serious, and Hermione could see that he really hated letting her go. Especially after what they'd just admitted to one another.

"Relax Harry, I need to pick up our homework; besides, I gotta tell Ron that you're okay. He's probably pulling his hair out in Snape's Potions class right now."

Hermione wanted to kiss him goodbye, but she couldn't with Madam Pomfrey right behind her. So, she gave him a quick peck on the cheek and told him she'd be back. Harry said goodbye and settled back on the bed.

"Now then, Mr. Potter, let's see how you're doing shall we? I believe that we'll do a complete medical work-up just to be sure."

"What?" Madam Pomfrey smiled evilly at his question, and Harry gulped as he wondered just what horrors she had in store for him.

Thanks to some very good luck, Harry got out of the medical wing without a scratch. Madam Pomfrey had poked and prodded him more times than he'd done when dissecting plants in Herbology. He really wanted to see Hermione again. His mind swarmed with images of her leaning over him, her soft lips against his.

"˜Jeez Potter, you've got it bad!' he said to himself. As much as he wanted to find his girlfriend"¦girlfriend"¦now, that sounded weird, Harry knew that Professor Dumbledore needed to see him.

Harry approached the gargoyle statue and made sure the corridor was clear.

"Lemon drop." The gargoyle slid out of the way, revealing a dimly lit passage way.

Harry walked up the small staircase and into the brightly lit office. He was always captivated by Dumbledore's office no matter how many times he was here. A soft squawk drew his attention, and he saw Fawkes, Dumbledore's pet phoenix, resting on her perch by the window. Dumbledore himself was sitting at his desk, apparently finishing some type of letter.

"You wanted to see me, sir?" Harry asked as he approached the large mahogany desk. Dumbledore put down his quill and pushed his glasses up on his nose.

"Yes Harry, there is something that I wish to discuss with you; it concerns what happened to you the night that your parents were killed."

"But Professor, I thought you already told me everything." Dumbledore stood up from his chair and took a deep breath.

"Harry, you know that Voldemort tried to use the killing curse on you, just like he did your parents, but it backfired. Do you know why?"

"No sir, no one does." Harry was rather confused. True, he thought about it many times, painful as it was. Why had Voldemort not been able to kill him?

"Harry…" Dumbledore let out another long sigh, and an anxious expression fell over his face. “that's not true, there is someone who knows why, me."

Harry Potter sat in stunned silence. Not much surprised him these days, but what he'd just heard was practically insane. Dumbledore"¦Dumbledore knew why Voldemort hadn't killed him. Why hadn't he told Harry sooner?

"Why wasn't I told?" Harry spat out. He hadn't meant to sound disrespectful, but he was very upset.

"Harry, it was for your own good. I was hoping that I wouldn't ever have to tell you, but once I saw you inflicted with a Nightmare Curse, I knew…I knew that Voldemort was going to come back for you. He wants—no, he needs you dead before your eighteenth birthday."

"Why my eighteenth birthday?"

"Because once you turn eighteen, Harry, you'll have reached maturity, and Voldemort will never be able to destroy you." Now, he really had Harry confused.

"But Professor, that doesn't make any sense."

"I suppose not, Harry; I suggest that I start at the begin."

"Harry, after you were born, your parents invited me to your christening. Of course, I came, but I also brought along a friend. At the time, I had another phoenix for a friend, not Fawkes. It was Fawkes' mother. Her name was Gemstar, but I always called her Gem for short."

"What are you trying to say?" Harry asked, getting even more confused.

"I'm getting to it, Harry. I was beside your parents, and she was on my shoulder. After your christening was finished, something very odd happened. Gem flew off my shoulder and hovered directly over your head. She bent down and pressed her beak against your forehead. After she did that, your eyes lit up with a bright fire; it looked like what happens to Fawkes on her burning day. Do you remember—the burst of flames and then a drastic change?"

"Yes, I remember, Professor, but why did your phoenix do that? What was she trying to do?"

"For a few seconds, both hers and your eyes were lit up with the same fire. She gave you a gift, Harry, the spirit of a phoenix. You see, the phoenix is known as the bird that rose from the ashes more beautiful than it ever was before. Gemstar blessed you with that spirit; she gave you the strength and power that a phoenix has."

"But I'm a human, how could she—"

"Honestly Harry, I don't really know. Your parents asked me what Gem had done, but I truly did not know. After a few seconds the fire went out, and she returned to my shoulder. You weren't effected in any way so your parents just left well enough alone."

"So, I'm carrying a phoenix inside me?" Harry asked in astonishment.

"Not a real phoenix, merely its spirit. A phoenix is a very magical creature as you know, and what Gemstar gave you is one of the reasons why your wizard potential is so incredible."

"But I still don't understand how this deals with me surviving Voldemort."

"As I understand it, the blessing of a phoenix must be triggered by something; the power will only respond in a time of great need. You see, Harry, a phoenix only uses it power when others are suffering, not for selfish ambitions. That is why it is one of the purest creatures in existence. When your mother sacrificed herself for you, she triggered the power residing within your spirit. That is what protected you and what drained Voldemort of his power."

"But Voldemort took my blood to resurrect himself so doesn't that mean that he was given part of this "special' power as well?" Harry asked.

He could remember it like it was yesterday. At the TriWizard Tournament during his fourth year, he and Cedric Diggory both won, but the trophy had been turned into a portkey, which had taken him right into Voldemort's clutches. Voldemort had one of his servants, Wormtail, take some of Harry's blood and use it to revive the dark wizard. Harry had barely escaped Voldemort and his hoard of Death Eaters, but Cedric had been killed in the process.

"No Harry, remember what I said, the power of a phoenix can only be given to someone with a pure heart. Voldemort is the exact opposite of what the phoenix embodies."

"But Professor Dumbledore, if that is true, then why did you say that he would need to kill me before my eighteenth birthday?"

"Because Harry, when a phoenix comes of age, its power is at its zenith. If you recall how Fawkes looked before burning day, she wasn't the best thing in the world to look at." Dumbledore chuckled under his breath, and Fawkes cocked her head trying to understand what her master was finding so funny.

"So what does that mean?"

"Let me ask you something instead, Harry. Have you had any difficulty learning new magic lately?" His question made Harry gasp in surprise.

"Well…actually no, I just sort of "got it' right away."

"Your power is growing quickly, Harry, because your time is approaching. However, it also means that Voldemort will be coming for you soon."

"I figured as much, but does he know? I mean, about the phoenix and everything?"

"No, he does not; he merely believes that your mother's love protected you from his dark magic, and he is technically right. The power that Gemstar gave you merely amplified that protection."

"So how do you know that Voldemort is coming for me?" Harry was getting anxious. If Voldemort was coming back, he needed to be ready.

"Since the TriWizard Tournament, I knew it was only a matter of time before Voldemort made his move. He has been spending the last few years regaining his former strength and gathering followers. Cornelius Fudge and the Ministry of Magic refuse to believe that Voldemort has come back, or that he is planning an attack against us."

"Listen carefully Harry, Voldemort won't just attack us himself; he needs an army of followers to do it. Do you remember that talk we had so long ago?"

Harry strained his brain to remember what Dumbledore had said to him after the tournament. For the last three years, he and several others had been preparing for Voldemort's return. He had sent Hagrid out to try and convince other giants like himself to join with Dumbledore and fight Voldemort.

The Ministry of Magic hated the giants; they felt that they were too dangerous to trust so they exiled them from the wizard world. Another key for them would be freeing his followers from Azkaban, the wizard prison, but what really made Harry nervous was the fact that Voldemort could probably convince the dementors who guarded the prison to join him. Dementors thrived on fear and panic, and Voldemort could offer them a veritable buffet for their taking.

"Yes, Professor Dumbledore, I remember, but hasn't the Ministry made any attempts at contacting the giants or even the dragons for help?"

"No Harry, they're too stuck on the "pureblood' way of doing things. Only wizards of noble blood will be given notice by them."

"But that's insane, if Voldemort comes back, everyone is in danger."

"I agree with you, Harry, but Fudge and the others will not listen to me. He's even threatened to remove me as headmaster if I go against his wishes."

"Sir, you can't be serious!"

"Dead serious, my boy, but I don't care. Voldemort must be stopped, or the world will be plunged into darkness and anarchy."

"The Ministry keeps saying that if Voldemort was alive, he would've attacked by now, but I know that he is merely biding his time, waiting for the perfect moment to catch us off-guard." Dumbledore took a deep breath and pushed his glasses back up his nose.

"Harry, I must ask for your help. We need to draw Voldemort out of hiding, and he won't do that unless we give him a ripe target."

"Name it, Professor!" Harry said firmly. Dumbledore smiled at him proudly.

"The one thing that Voldemort always wanted next to you was Hogwarts; he hated this place and everything it stood for. So, we're going to give it to him, but there is something that must be done first."

Dumbledore spent the next hour explaining his plan to Harry, and the young man's eyes went wide when Dumbledore had asked him a very costly favor. Harry had sat there looking at his hands for a good ten minutes but had agreed to play his part.

"Very well, you may go now. I've placed a spell over your mind that should block your Nightmare Curse for now, but if Voldemort's power keeps increasing, it will give way."

"I understand, sir. How soon do we need to implement the plan?"

"At least within the next few months, my guess is a little after Christmas. The spring and early summer is when everyone is most relaxed; it would be a perfect time for Voldemort to attack. I will send for you when the time is near, Harry, but until then, I suggest that you continue on as you normally would, but—" Dumbledore looked at him sternly.

"—You are not to tell anyone about what I've said to you today, Harry, not Ronald—not Hagrid—not even Hermione—no one, understood?"

"Yes sir!"

"Very well, you may go, Harry."

 



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