Out of Shadows
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.
Hermione thought for bit before answering. During the pause, Harry noticed his scar hurting, but he was used to it enough to push it out of his mind.
“I think I know where to find another Horcrux,” she said, her voice sounding much more business-like and composed. “After you left, I went with Luna to talk to the Ghost of Ravenclaw. You said Dumbledore thought some of the Horcruxes might be related to the other founders of Hogwarts, and Luna had the idea that it could be the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw.”
“The what?” Harry asked, having never heard of it before.
“Rowena Ravenclaw, the founder of her house, had an enchanted diadem that was said to increase the wearer’s intelligence. But the diadem has been lost for centuries and no one has been able to find it, so Luna thought that might be what we are looking for. I was skeptical at first, since it had been lost for so long, but after we talked to the Grey Lady, I’m sure of it.”
“So the Grey Lady is the ghost of Ravenclaw?”
“Oh,” Hermione paused, realizing why Harry was confused, “each House has a ghost who’s sort of like their mascot. The Grey Lady isn’t actually Rowena Ravenclaw’s ghost, she is just the ghost who helps and belongs to that House.”
“Alright, I think I understand,” Harry said.
“When we talked to the Grey Lady, Luna asked about the diadem. At first, she seemed mad and tried to leave, but since she liked Luna, we were able to convince her to stay and talk to us. She said something about the diadem being tainted and asked what we knew about it, so I told her that I was looking for it because I wanted to destroy it.”
“Then she admitted that she was actually Helena Ravenclaw, Rowena’s daughter, and that she had stolen her mother’s diadem centuries ago out of jealousy. Helena said that a boy had asked about the diadem before and that she had been foolish and revealed too much to him.”
“Harry, I think that was You-Know-Who, when he was a student at Hogwarts” she said, excited again to share the information she had found with him though she had known for a few days.
“And she said it was tainted now and that she regretted telling the boy too much- I think he turned it into a Horcrux and she hadn’t known what he was planning when she told him where it was.”
“That all makes sense, but there’s just one problem,” Harry reminded her. “It’s been lost for centuries, remember? Even if You-Know-Who found it, we’ve no idea where he hid it.”
Hermione smiled slyly.
“I do,” she said. “Before we left, Helena said that she would be glad if we destroyed it and said that it was hidden within Hogwarts. She said that the boy she had told was arrogant, and assumed that he alone knew many of the secrets of Hogwarts. She said something like, ‘To find it you need only ask in the right place.’ That’s got to be the Room of Requirement,” Hermione told him.
“The room where we stayed, that some of the students are using as a hideout?” Harry asked, clearly unconvinced. “There’s no way the Horcrux was in there.”
“No,” Hermione explained, trying to be patient, “remember what I told you before? The Room of Requirement takes the shape of whatever the person who finds it needs. It doesn’t always look the way you saw it.”
“Say, for example, someone wanted desperately to hide something… the Room would turn into a place where one could hide things,” she said.
“So, if You-Know-Who found this room, and used it to hide the diadem, then all we have to do is go to Hogwarts and ask the Room of Requirement to help us find it?”
“Not exactly…” Hermione said. “When the Room of Requirement is in use, it can’t be used for other purposes, and people can only get back in while others are there if they know it is currently being used, and for what purpose.”
“Right,” Harry said, “that’s why we were able to get back in when we were at Hogwarts, because we knew what it was being used for.”
“So are you saying we’d need to get everyone out of the hideout and then ask the Room to reform into a place where we could find the diadem?” Harry asked.
“Exactly,” Hermione answered. “At least, that’s what I think.”
“Well, I guess it’s worth a try,” Harry admitted.
“Only three to go, then,” Hermione said.
“Three?” Harry questioned. “You mean two.” Seeing the confused look on her face, he realized what she was thinking. “I destroyed the cup.”
“What, when?” she asked.
“Right before I tried to get rid of the locket,” Harry explained.
“Well then,” Hermione amended, “two left. And I am fairly sure there is one at Hogwarts.”
“But didn’t you say Death Eaters were heading there? It will be dangerous going back.”
“I know,” Hermione said, “but it is the only real lead we’ve got.”
“Alright,” Harry agreed, “to Hogwarts, then. And if You-Know-Who’s headed there, we need to hurry.”
And so, in the cover of darkness and Harry’s cloak, they set off for Hogwarts one again.
The state of Hogwarts was much worse than Harry had expected. There were fewer students in the hideout than before, making the large room eerily quiet, but outside the magic walls, was a decent amount of chaos. Students were darting by frantically, the witches and wizards in the portraits were all awake and bustling about, sounding bothered, and professors strode the halls with a sense of urgent purpose.
“What’s happened?” Harry asked Neville as the Gryffindor led him and Hermione out of the Room of Requirement and through the halls, with wherever Professor McGonagall was currently their destination.
Harry and Hermione were under the invisibility cloak while Neville hurried along with them, trying not to be recognized.
“You-Know-Who’s sent us some sort of message telepathically, not a quarter of an hour ago,” Neville explained quickly, pulling them into an alcove as one of the Carrows stormed past them, looking murderous.
They hopped out from the partially hidden area, and Neville stunned the Death Eater. He looked at the other two.
“Well, we can’t just leave him walking around the halls, can we? He’ll help the lot of them get in,” he explained. “The teachers have gotten most of the Death Eaters out already, from what I’ve heard. Must’ve missed him.”
Harry smiled slightly at Neville’s reasoning. They shut him in a small broom cupboard and Hermione cast a powerful spell to seal the door.
“Come on,” Harry suggested, “let’s get going before another one comes by.” When they nodded, he went back to asking. “What were you saying about some message?”
“Right,” Neville said. “You-Know-Who spoke to everyone somehow, saying some rubbish about turning over Harry Potter.”
“What?” Harry and Hermione asked simultaneously.
“Yeah,” he confirmed, “dunno what he thinks is going to happen, but no one’s turning you over. Most everyone in Hogwarts has never even seen you in real life.”
“Where is he?” Harry asked.
“Not sure,” Neville answered. “When no one spoke up about you, he said you’d have to go to meet him in the Forbidden Forest before the hour was up. I think he was expecting you to hear the message, too.”
“Neville!” Hermione exclaimed, annoyed that he had revealed where Voldemort wanted Harry to go.
“One hour?” Harry asked nervously.
That’s not much time.
“And what’s supposed to happen if I don’t show up?”
“Well, he said if you do turn yourself in, he’ll spare Hogwarts and all of the students. Wouldn’t put a Knut on it, though,” Neville said disbelievingly.
Neville purposely left out what would happen if he didn’t.
“Don’t worry, Harry,” Neville continued as they quickly descended numerous flights of stairs, “we’ll figure something out. We just need to get orders from McGonagall. Then we’ll run back up to the Room and let the others know what to do. We need to make sure none of the Death Eaters find their way in through the pub. I’m sure Aberforth can hold them off, but it’d be safer not to test it.”
Just then a jet of fire shot past them, several feet ahead of where they were walking. They hurried forward, wands out and ready.
Snape was standing a few feet down the corridor with his back to them, his wand cutting through the air, dueling Professor McGonagall.
The three of them stopped, momentarily stunned by the battle before them.
A painting flew off of the wall and turned into a fabric tapestry, wrapping itself around Snape to hold him in place, but in another second, it was an enormous snake, which quickly uncoiled itself from around him and lunged at McGonagall but was blasted into a cloud of smoke before it reached her. In a second, the smoke formed into a half a dozen miniature owls. The owls flew at Snape, ready to grab him, but he took several steps back and sent a suit of armor crashing into them and the opposite wall just before they’d reached him.
The three of them had to duck out of the way to avoid the pieces of the shattering knight.
Snape was about to send another curse McGonagall’s way when Hermione stepped out from under the cloak, being the first to recover her wits from nearly being hit with collateral damage, and sent a jet of water at Snape’s wand arm, which when it hit, froze and encased his arm in a thick, jagged coat of ice.
McGonagall took the advantage her student had given her, and sent another spell at Snape, but he turned and ran, narrowly dodging the incoming curse. He dashed past Hermione without a glance and hurtled into the nearest classroom, out of their line of vision. McGonagall and Hermione ran after him as Harry and Neville followed, grabbing the invisibility cloak to keep it from flying off of them.
“Severus!” McGonagall called after him, “you coward!”
When they reached the room, Harry saw McGonagall and Hermione standing near a broken window.
“What happened?” asked Neville, slipping out from under the cloak.
“He escaped,” McGonagall answered. Then, at the appearance of Neville, she seemed to realize Hermione was the one who had assisted her in the duel. “Miss Granger, I thought you were going to find Potter?”
“I did,” Hermione answered, and Harry revealed himself.
“I’m here,” he said.
McGonagall seemed taken aback for a moment before recovering quickly.
“He’s looking for you,” she said urgently. “It was madness for you to come back onto Hogwarts grounds. You must flee, immediately.”
“I can’t,” Harry said. “There’s something I need, here at Hogwarts.”
“Something you need…” McGonagall reiterated, sounding slightly muddled.
“Professor,” Hermione stepped in, “we need to go and get something that Dumbledore thought would help against You-Know-Who. He left Harry some of his memories, explaining what he knew and what to do, more or less,” Hermione tacked on as an afterthought.
“You’re acting on Dumbledore’s orders?” McGonagall asked looking thoroughly surprised for a moment. “He did always swear you were still alive…” she said more to herself than them.
“Yes,” said Hermione, “but we need to get the students out of the castle. You-Know-Who-”
“Yes, of course,” McGonagall cut in, her eyes becoming determined as she straighten up, seeming to come back to her full senses. “We must evacuate the students- anyone underage or who does not wish to remain and fight-and the teachers shall secure the school while you find whatever you need.”
“Can you really do that?” Harry asked without a thought.
“I believe so,” she said with just a slight edge in her voice. “The teachers of Hogwarts are not defenseless; in fact, we are quite good at magic. I am certain we can hold him off for a while.”
“We must alert the other Heads of House. I will gather everyone in the Great Hall and give out the orders there.”
“Neville,” she turned to him directly, “go ahead to the Great Hall, I will meet you there once I have roused the other Gryffindors.”
“Professor, Ron and Ginny and Luna,” said Neville, “they’re up in the Room…”
“Then you may go and get them first, quickly. Someone needs to alert Aberforth, if he isn’t already aware of the situation. He will contact the Order.”
“Right,” Neville agreed and hurried off up the stairs.
“Expecto Patronum!” McGonagall said and a silvery cat leapt from her wand. “Wake the other teachers, the Heads of House first, pass on the message that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is coming and we are to meet with the students in the Great Hall in fifteen minutes,” she instructed.
The cat ran off, leaving a short trail of glowing mist in its wake.
“They can send messages, too?” Harry asked, momentarily forgetting their situation in awe of magic.
The Head of Gryffindor House looked at Harry and felt a bit of pride, seeing the impressed look on his face.
“Should we both survive this, I will teach you myself,” McGonagall promised. “I need to start preparing the defenses before I retrieve my students, but for now,” she said, her tone more serious, “don’t you have something to find?”
“Oh, right- yeah,” Harry remembered suddenly.
“Let’s go,” said Hermione, and the pair of them ran up the steps toward the Room of Requirement.
This was made increasingly difficult as they got higher up the stairs, however, as students who had heard the commotion or been informed began rushing down them.
Eventually, they made it back to the entrance of the hideout.
When they entered the room, they were surprised to find it much more crowded than before. Harry recognized only a few faces near the front of the group; Lupin was standing near Neville, Ron, Ginny, and Luna.
“Neville told us what happened,” said Lupin, walking over to join Harry and Hermione. “We won’t let him get to you, Harry.”
Harry was stunned speechless for a few moments. They were going to protect him?
“Aberforth had contacted the Order when he found out what was going on,” Neville explained. “The Order’s going to help defend the castle while we get the younger ones out.”
“We’re with you, Harry,” Lupin said, laying a hand on his shoulder and nodding to him.
Harry returned the nod, emotions swelling inside of him.
“Good luck,” his parents’ friend said to him before turning and addressing the group. “Order members- follow me to the Great Hall! We’re to meet there to see what McGonagall and the others are planning.”
With that, Lupin led a good-sized group of witches and wizards from the room. Harry looked at the remaining lot: there were a large number of people, mostly male, with red hair, Hermione, Neville and Luna.
“No, you will not,” Harry heard a woman saying to Ginny in a loud voice. “You are under age!”
“I’ve been here helping out all this time!” Ginny retorted hotly.
“You’re too young!” the woman said back, her temper just as fiery as Ginny’s.
“Mum,” Ron spoke up cautiously, “she has been helping a lot…” He trailed off seeing the look on his mother’s face.
They continued to argue as Harry turned his attention to the calmer inhabitants of the room.
“As soon as that’s sorted out,” Neville nodded in the direction of Ginny, “we’re going to head down to the Great Hall. A few more members of the Order are on their way, but then they’re sealing up the entrance just to be sure.”
“We’ll wait to see if they get here, but then Harry and I need to-”
“Hermione-” Harry cut in, grabbing her arm as his vision swam, before he was consumed by thoughts and sights that were not his own.
“Something isn’t right… I can feel it. The wand is not performing the magic of legend- it is no different from the other wands I’ve used…” he spoke quietly to himself aloud, examining the wand in his cold, white hands.
“What happened? This has to be the Elder Wand. I took it right from Dumbledore’s tomb. Why does it not truly obey me…?”
For a long moment, he paced the room, before looking to the floor, at a large snake, coiled in the corner.
“Nagini,” he spoke in a hiss, “you must stay here, where it is safe. Draco stopped responding days ago. I should have known he was not up to the task. He was too weak.”
“But someone knows my secret, and I must keep you safe.”
He was confident they would not find the diadem. But to be sure, he had to keep Nagini close.
With this, he used the wand to cast a spell, creating a magical cage around the snake.
“Nothing will be able to penetrate it. You will be safe,” he vowed.
“By why does the wand refuse to allow me to unleash its full potential?” he asked.
A powerful, consuming rage was boiling just beneath the surface. He could feel it.
“What am I missing?” Then he turned back to the snake, as if suddenly hit by inspiration.
“Of course…” he said. “It does not obey me because I am not the one who killed its previous master… Severus… he is the true master of the Elder Wand. He killed Dumbledore.”
“Lucius,” he said in a louder, commanding voice and a man with long blond hair walked into the room. He looked to be in bad shape and his hands were shaking.
“H-have you heard from my son?” the elder Malfoy stammered.
“No, I have not Lucius,” he said. “Go and fetch Snape.”
“Snape, my Lord…?”
“Yes, Snape. Now. There is a matter I need to discuss with him. Go.”
Lucius left the room swiftly.
“There is no other way. I must master the Elder Wand. When I have done that, I master Harry Potter. And I will master death.”
His mind briefly showed his plan: Snape coming to the isolated house where he was waiting, speaking with him. It was clear to him: Snape’s death meant him becoming the true master of the Elder Wand.
Gasping, Harry came back to the present- his present- and his head was throbbing as he tried to sort out what he had just seen.
“Harry, are you alright?” Hermione asked the moment he opened his eyes.
He was sitting on the floor of the Room of Requirement, surrounded by the group who had yet to leave for the Great Hall. Hermione was kneeling down next to him, helping to hold him up.
“Voldemort- he’s… in some building in Hogsmeade- the snake- it-”
“Harry, slow down,” said Hermione, trying to calm him.
His scar burned particularly painfully, and he reached up to hold his head, grimacing.
“What’s wrong with him?” Ron asked in a worried tone.
“His scar,” Hermione explained off-handedly, keeping her attention on Harry, “it bothers him sometimes. I’ll stay with him, you should get down to the Great Hall,” she told the others.
“The building- is there a deserted building in Hogsmeade- off by itself?” Harry asked.
“The Shrieking Shack,” said Fred, or George.
“I need to get there, now,” Harry said, standing.
“What? Why?” Hermione asked, looking confused.
“We know a quicker way to get there,” one of the twins said.
“A secret passage linked to Hogwarts,” the other added.
“How?” Harry asked, temporarily ignoring Hermione.
“I can take you,” Ron offered. “They showed it to me once.” He turned to Fred and George, “That way you guys can stick with the Order and everyone else.”
Fred and George seemed fine with that. With a few parting words and looks at Harry, most of the Weasley family left for the Great Hall. As they exited, a long line of younger students could be seen waiting outside the secret entrance, led by several Order members.
“We’ve got to help get them out of here,” said Neville.
“I can help you, Neville, since apparently I have to stay here,” Ginny said the last part angrily toward Ron, Harry supposed since he was the only remaining member of her family in the vicinity.
“Fine,” Ron retorted. “I suppose I’m taking Harry to the Shrieking Shack.”
“Hermione,” Harry said, turning to her, “you’ve got to get the diadem and destroy it. We’re running out of time.”
“What? We’re splitting up? Why do you need to go to the Shrieking Shack, Harry? What’s going on?” she asked, all in a rush.
Harry pulled her to the side as Neville and Ginny began helping to herd the scared younger students through the room and out the secret passage. Luna and Ron stood off to the other side of the room, waiting for them.
“Look,” said Harry, speaking quickly and quietly, “Voldemort’s got the Elder Wand, but it’s not working right for him. He thinks it’s because Snape is the one who killed Dumbledore. Apparently he had the Elder Wand and Voldemort stole it from his tomb. I have to try to stop him.
“But I don’t have time to do everything. You’ve got to go and get the diadem. Take Luna with you. It’ll be safer in here than out there anyway. You can get it as soon as the students are through the passage.”
Hermione looked torn, but she couldn’t argue; they were running out of time.
“How are you going to stop him?” she asked.
“I don’t know yet, but I’ll think of something,” Harry said distractedly. “Oh, and I think the last Horcrux is his snake, Nagini- the one that attacked us in Godric’s Hollow. He’s keeping her with him and put her in a magical cage to protect her.”
“The last Horcrux is his snake?” Hermione repeated, trying to keep up with the sudden rush of information.
“Yes, but look- I’ve got to go,” Harry said.
Reluctantly, Hermione nodded, “Alright.”
“Can I trust Ron?” asked Harry.
“I think so,” Hermione answered. “I trust Ginny, and he’s her brother.”
Harry nodded. Their eyes met and they both paused for a moment, realizing that separating meant they wouldn’t be facing the danger together.
Hermione stepped forward, grasping his arms.
“Promise me you won’t do anything reckless,” she said, her eyes still staring into his.
“I wouldn’t do anything reckless unless I had to,” he countered. It was the best he felt he could offer. “I will come back to the castle if I can and meet you somewhere. Once you destroy the diadem… don’t do anything to get yourself into trouble.”
She nodded and for a moment neither of them moved. Then she threw her arms around him, hugging him tightly. Harry returned the hug briefly before they pulled back, ready to return to her friends.
“You sure you want to do this?” Harry asked Ron.
“I’ll get you where you need to go,” he said. “But it would help if we used your cloak.”
“Right,” Harry said, getting the cloak out of the backpack he had used when he left Hogwarts. He also took out the snitch and put it into his pocket, not sure why, but wanting it with him sort of like a good luck charm.
Harry then handed the backpack to Hermione, leaving the Sword of Gryffindor and the remains of the other Horcruxes inside. When she took it, he turned to Ron.
“Let’s go,” said Harry.
Without another word, the two edged around the students still waiting to leave and out of the room, into the chaotic castle.
Hermione’s eyes followed him out of the room.
“He is very brave,” Luna commented. “I bet he would have been in Gryffindor.”
A hint of a smile tugged at Hermione’s lips.
“I think so, too.”
“Does he know how you feel?” the girl asked as plainly as if she were asking about the weather.
“Wh-what?” Hermione stammered.
Luna simply smiled at her friend mysteriously.
“If he doesn’t, I would tell him soon,” she suggested.
Hermione looked away, trying to hide the blush forming across her face.
“Well, we should come up with a plan- for finding the diadem,” Hermione said, trying to change the subject as they waited for everyone to leave the Room of Requirement.