Out of the Shadows
Chapter 10: The Unlikely Ally
Writter: fall shadow
Summary: Harry has been raised to follow a path of darkness, but when he meets Hermione things start to change and he finds out everything he has been led to believe is a lie. Now, with a strengthened resolve, he must do whatever it takes to stop the one he once considered his master.
When the darkness faded, Harry found that he was still holding Hermione to him securely. His heart was still pounding and he felt a little light-headed and disoriented. Taking a breath to try to calm himself and sort out what had just happened in his mind, he closed his eyes.
Feeling Hermione shift and wrap her arms around him tightly, Harry tensed. In response, she moved closer, burying her face against the crook of his neck. Eventually, some of the tension left Harry, and they stood there like that for a minute, holding on to each other trying to steady themselves from the horrible whirlwind of events. Slowly, they loosened their grips and pulled back enough to look at each other. Before Harry could try to identify the emotions in the witch’s brown eyes, a familiar voice interrupted him.
“Harry Potter, sir, you is alright?”
At the sound, Harry and Hermione both quickly let go and turned to find its owner.
“Dobby!” Harry exclaimed, looking at the small elf fondly. “You saved us! How did you know where we were? How did you know I was in trouble?”
“Dobby has his ways, sir,” the elf answered mysteriously, before adding, “And Harry Potter is always in some sorts of danger, sir.”
Dobby smiled at his comment, and Harry couldn’t help but smile, too.
“But, Dobby, I made you swear not to come back for me while I was at the Malfoys. You said you wouldn’t break your word,” Harry told him anxiously.
“But Dobby didn’t break his word, sir,” the house elf answered immediately, “Dobby promised not to come back for Harry Potter while he was still captive at the Malfoys, sir, but you escaped! Dobby heard, sir. Dobby has been listening for news of his Harry Potter and he was so happy to hear he too was free.”
Harry nodded, and waited for the elf to continue, while Hermione stood there trying to make sense of the situation.
“So then Dobby is waiting to go and see you, sir, and just today he gets allowed to go. The new Headmistress was most busy, but Dobby heard her mention Harry Potter one day and he knew he must find you, sir. So he asked to leave for the day. Dobby gets one day a month off now, thanks to you, sir. Dobby has never met such kind witches and wizards.”
“The new Headmistress?” Hermione asked, joining the conversation for the first time, “Do you mean at Hogwarts?”
“Why yes, miss, Dobby has been living and working at Hogwarts since before Professor Dumbledore…” Dobby trailed off, his large, bright-green eyes glistening with tears. He took a few breaths to compose himself before he continued. “Professor Dumbledore hires Dobby after he was freed. Dobby is getting paid a Galleon a month now, sir.”
“You’re getting paid? Oh, that’s wonderful!” Hermione exclaimed. “Only one Galleon a month, though?” she added uncertainly. “Surely you deserve more than that.”
“Oh, no, miss. Dobby is asking for only one a month. Professor Dumbledore was wanting to pay Dobby ten Galleons a month and give him weekends off, but Dobby likes the work, miss… he is happy to be a free elf and work at Hogwarts.”
“You’ve been living at Hogwarts and getting paid?” Harry asked disbelievingly. “That’s brilliant, Dobby!” he told him enthusiastically.
Hermione studied Harry with interest, having never seen him quite so happy, or so fond of anyone.
Dobby seemed to be a little embarrassed by the wizard’s praise, and paused before continuing.
“Thank you, Harry Potter, sir… it is all thanks to you, anyway, sir,” with this, Dobby bowed to Harry.
Harry quickly flushed, but didn’t know what to say.
“So when Dobby asked for the day off, he was coming to see you, sir. And he wasn’t sure where you were… but house elves can appear wherever they are needed for their masters, and friends.”
Harry and Dobby shared a smile. He had never really thought of Dobby as a “friend” before, but the description seemed to fit.
“Dobby got quite a shock when he appeared there, sir… quite a shock indeed.”
With his story finished, Dobby gave a light sigh and looked up at Harry.
“Well, it’s a good thing you came when you did, Dobby,” Harry told him gratefully. “I was a goner for sure.”
“Dobby does not need thanks, sir. You is saving Dobby more than Dobby is saving you, Harry Potter. But Dobby must go now. He will return soon. Harry Potter and his miss must not go anywhere until he returns, sir. It is not safe.”
Harry and Hermione both felt their faces heat up as the elf referred to her as “his miss”.
“Oh, err… Dobby, this is Hermione,” Harry told him, awkwardly unsure of how exactly to introduce her. “She helped me escape from the Malfoys and, well, saved my life.”
“You were the one who saved me,” Hermione protested quietly, not wanting to interrupt him, but feeling the need to correct his assessment.
“Right,” Harry acknowledged, “and Hermione, this is Dobby. He was serving the Malfoys when I was taken there, and we helped each other out and… became friends.”
Hermione looked at Harry with an expression he couldn’t read before addressing Dobby.
“Hello, Dobby. It is very nice to meet you. Thank you so much for saving us,” she leaned down to shake his hand.
“Oh,” Dobby choked back a sob at her offered hand, “Harry Potter is such a noble wizard. He makes friends with kindness almost as great as his own.”
Dobby gently took her hand and shook it, looking at her in awe.
“Oh, come off it, Dobby,” Harry scoffed. “What’ve I told you about all this ‘Harry Potter is great’ rubbish?” Harry looked thoroughly embarrassed, and Hermione had to hold back her laughter. “And I definitely remember telling you not to call me ‘sir’.”
“Dobby is sorry, si- Harry Potter,” Dobby at least had the decency to look guilty, but gave Harry a sheepish smile.
“But now Dobby must go. Harry Potter and Miss Hermione must not move from this spot. Dobby will return as quick as he can, sir.” Dobby winced for a second after the customary “sir” left his mouth, but said nothing else.
“Okay, Dobby,” Harry told him, “we won’t go anywhere until you come back. Just don’t take too long, alright?”
“Wait,” Hermione interrupted, looking stricken all of a sudden. “Dobby, do you know if there was anyone else at Malfoy Manor? In the dungeons, maybe?” she asked in a worried tone.
“Dobby does not know, miss. Dobby there only for a minute and was only seeing Harry Potter, his miss, and the bad people.”
“Dobby…” Hermione hesitated, biting her lip.
“Go on,” Harry urged her, pretty sure he knew what she was going to ask.
“Dobby, do you think you could… go back to Malfoy Manor and see if one of my friends in down there?” Hermione asked, obviously feeling bad about asking for such a favor. “Her name is Luna. She was at Hogwarts with me. The Death Eaters kidnapped her, and I think that’s where they’ve taken her.”
The elf didn’t look too keen on the idea of going back to his former home now that Harry was safely out of it.
“Please, Dobby,” Harry requested. “I wouldn’t be here without Hermione. I know you don’t want to go back there, but could you help her out?”
“And maybe get out anyone else you can, too, while you’re at it,” Harry added, wagering that less prisoners at the Malfoys couldn’t be a bad thing.
With a new determination, Dobby nodded and with a poof, he vanished.
“Thank you,” Hermione told Harry gratefully, who simply nodded.
For a moment, Harry looked around the cave Dobby had taken them to, not sure what to say, when Hermione broke the silence.
“You’re full of surprises, aren’t you?” she asked him, curiously.
“What do you mean?” Harry questioned, sitting down and leaning back against the wall of the cave.
Hermione moved to sit next to him, clarifying, “You being friends with a house elf, I mean. And you set him free, didn’t you?”
“Yeah,” Harry answered, glancing at her. Seeing that she seemed to be waiting for him to continue, he explained.
“He was the Malfoys’ house elf- you can imagine how they treated him. It was awful. He was punishing himself all the time, and sometimes they would add on punishments or hit him,” Harry told her in a low voice.
“That’s horrible!” Hermione said, visibly angered on the elf’s behalf.
“Yeah,” Harry continued, looking at the floor of the cave, “when I got there, Dobby was told to make sure I didn’t get into trouble and he brought me food, at first. Over time, we became, sort of like friends, I guess. I’m not really sure how, but I suppose we were kind of in the same boat, you know? We would try to keep each other out of trouble, and we talked when we got a chance. Sometimes I would help him with his chores, and we would warn each other when people were coming to visit or if someone was in a particularly bad mood.” Harry shrugged, “It wasn’t like we had much time together, but he was the closest thing I ever had to a friend, growing up.”
“And you set him free?” Hermione asked in a gentle voice. Harry could tell her had her full attention and she seemed genuinely interested in his story.
“Yeah,” Harry gave a light laugh, remembering the day. “Mr. Malfoy had given him a really harsh punishment after he covered for me for something, and I just couldn’t stand it anymore… I stuck a sock under Dobby’s little bowl of food on his tray before the Malfoys gave it to him the next day and he was free. He tried to defend me when they found out but I knew he was no match for them when he didn’t have the element of surprise. I made him promise not to come back for me while I was still held captive there, and eventually he agreed. I don’t think he wanted to, but he did.”
“Why didn’t he just tell Dumbledore where you were?” Hermione asked.
“He couldn’t,” Harry answered. “The Malfoys had sworn him to secrecy before, and I knew they would kill him if he did somehow tell someone, or they would just move me somewhere else.” Harry shook his head, “So I made him promise not to tell anyone that, either.”
Harry took his snitch out of his pocket and watched it slowly spread and stretch its wings, fluttering them gently. He could feel Hermione watching him, but he wasn’t sure what else to say.
“I started a group to promote the proper treatment of house elves while I was at Hogwarts,” Hermione told him.
“You did?” Harry asked.
“Yes. It is called S.P.E.W., which stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. I saw how badly house elves were treated at the Quidditch World Cup a few years ago and started the group shortly after.”
Harry looked ready to burst and the second she stopped speaking, Harry asked, “You went to the Quidditch World Cup?! I thought you said before that you didn’t even like Quidditch much?”
“It’s not that I don’t like Quidditch, it just usually wasn’t that interesting to watch since I didn’t really know anyone on the team. A friend of mine, Ginny, asked me to go with her family when they got tickets since I spent part of the summer at her house. My parents went on vacation until a week after term started and I stayed with her family at the end of summer,” she explained. “And once Ginny made the house team at Hogwarts, I went to more of the matches.”
Harry nodded, seeming to accept that, and returned the snitch to his pocket.
“So, what does S.P.E.W. do?” he asked.
“Well… we don’t really htpthat much yet; we haven’t gotten much support. But I hope to get more rights for house elves, like what Dobby has- wages and holidays- and improve their treatment by witches and wizards overall.”
“That sounds like a great idea,” Harry told her honestly. She brightened until he added, “But, I’m not sure about the wording… it spells ‘spew’, you know.”
“It is S.P.E.W., but yes, I am aware that is spells ‘spew’. Ginny’s brother Ron made sure I knew when we tried to get him to join,” she huffed, and Harry could tell that she seemed annoyed.
“Oh… that’s alright then. I still think it’s a good idea,” Harry told her, trying to cheer her up. “Would it be alright if I joined?”
“Well, we aren’t really active right now, with everything going on, but…” she trailed off, realizing that he was smiling slightly and had suggested it as more of a supportive gesture. “Oh, sure. Yes, I would like that,” she told him, looking a little embarrassed.
Before they could discuss it any further, they heard voices coming from the entrance of the cave. At first, they both tensed, and Hermione grabbed her wand, while Harry reached for his, before realizing it wouldn’t be there. Soon, they heard Dobby’s high-pitched voice and relaxed somewhat, still waiting with their eyes trained on the curve in the cave a few feet from them.
Harry was shocked to see who turned the corner next to his small friend.