The Seventh Horcrux

Disclaimer: All of this is based upon the lovely J.K. Rowling's work.

Warnings: HBP Spoilers and Slight Language


One… Voldemort's snazzy new body.

Two… the now destroyed diary.

Three… Gaunt's foul ring.

Four… the amulet of Dumbledore's death.

Five… Hufflepuff's blasted cup.

Six… Ravenclaw's vaunted staff.

Seven…

"I don't bloody know the seventh one," Harry Potter mumbled to himself as he paced through the Headmaster's… the Headmistress' Office.

The portraits watched mournfully as the young man traveled back and forth, left and right, his hand rubbing his chin like it would help him think better.

"But what could it possibly be?" he questioned loudly from beside Fawkes' old perch, which was currently vacant as the phoenix had left for parts unknown.

"Well, we are certain that it is something of Lord Gryffindor's," the portrait of Albus Dumbledore asserted, eliciting a nod from Headmistress McGonagall.

The woman rose from her desk, where she had sat as she watched Harry pace, and came around to the front. "Yes, we do know that, but all we have of his is the sword Harry pulled from the Sorting Hat," Professor McGonagall stated gently, motioning to the gleaming silver sword that rested in a case by the aforementioned hat. "And we have already confirmed that it is not a horcrux." She sighed then, the new weight of her position clearly dragging her down.

"That's true," the younger and still alive wizard put in. "Further, we know that it isn't anything from Godric's Hollow, not that there is much of anything left," he whispered, remembering his recent journey there, remembering the still destroyed structure, remembering how his father's blood still coated the ruined walls.

"Perhaps," Dumbledore cut in, "it is something we have not previously connected to Gryffindor. Most likely, it is very obvious, so obvious that we would never think of it."

Professor McGonagall growled slightly. "Well, what else could it be?" she all but shouted, the tension getting the best of her. "I don't know of anything else that belongs to him."

The former headmaster peered over his half-moon glasses at her. "Minerva…"

"Yes," she interrupted, moving back to her desk and collapsing in the chair. "Yes, I know. I'm sorry, Albus, Harry. There is just so much to worry about. I honestly don't know how you managed between the students, the Ministry, the Death Eaters, and the Order. I honestly don't, Albus," she finished in a small voice, her shoulders shaking and her eyes suspiciously bright. "The school is set to reopen in two days, and I am a complete wreck." She rested her face in her hands, closing her eyes… only to jump as two arms unexpectedly wrapped around her.

"It will be all right, Professor," Harry whispered in her ear, patting her back and trying not to show how awkward he felt with the affection in the display. He fought the urge to tremble and forcefully shoved his own doubts to the back of his mind.

Minerva attempted to smile but couldn't quite manage it. Albus looked on mournfully. Harry backed away from his former professor and stood to the side of her chair.

The three settled into an uneasy silence, exchanging muted looks of dread; all were thinking about their situation and pondering the consequences if they didn't find a solution. In the background the ticking of a clock could be heard, followed by a chime as it indicated teatime. The portraits of the other headmasters and headmistresses were quietly conversing with one another, though the voice of Phineas Nigellus was conspicuously absent. On a high shelf the Sorting Hat softly hummed to itself, putting the finishing touches on its next song

Suddenly, Harry's eyes, which had been staring at the Hat, widened. His hands clenched tightly.

"Could it be my scar?" he asked a frantic gleam in his eyes and tremor in his voice. "I am one of his descendants, so technically I would be something of Gryffindor's." He shivered slightly at the thought. "It makes perfect sense when you factor in my connection to Voldemort, doesn't it?" he questioned again at their worried stares.

Dumbledore shook his head. "No, I am certain that it is not. Tom would have not had the time to transfer his horcrux to you. Plus, I know for a fact that he intended to use your death to make the next one, so it wasn't even prepared when he attacked Godric's Hollow."

McGonagall sighed and wiped her eyes. "What else could it be? There's nothing of Gryffindor's left after the sword and his descendants, and if it's not either, what else could it be?"

The various portraits exchanged worried glances, having heard the exchange. The Sorting Hat shifted uncomfortably and continued composing.

Dumbledore finally spoke up once more. "Perhaps there isn't a seventh horcrux at all. Perhaps Tom simply wished to fool us into believing that there was one." He paused, thinking it over. "It is a brilliant plan; truly. To have us searching for a seventh when there are only six. It would distract us, prevent us from going to face him – since we would be under the assumption that he couldn't yet be defeated."

Professor McGonagall's eyes brightened hopefully.

However, Harry shook his head. "It can't be as easy as that," he put in, knowing that Albus had only suggested such a thing to give Minerva hope; he hated himself for having to destroy it, but he couldn't lie to her. "There is a seventh; I just know there is. We'll just have to keep searching."

Dumbledore nodded slowly, and Minerva slumped. Silence stretched out between them once more, a silence that wouldn't be broken for several more hours… not until their Order pendants burned and fireplace turned bright green. Kingsley Shaklebolt's head appeared, telling them about an attack at Diagon Alley.

Harry and Minerva raced off of him, joining the raging battle. There they managed to defeat the Death Eaters in a decisive victory, a victory that gave them hope in the face of all the evil. A victory that came at a cost though, one Harry would think of as he watched them bury both Filius Flitwick and Arthur Weasley. It was a cost that he would think of every time they lost someone else to the seemingly never-ending fight, every time he thought of the seventh horcrux, and his need to destroy it.

But what he didn't know… what they didn't know… what they possibly couldn't know… was that the seventh and final horcrux was in plain sight for all the world to see.

Up on a high self, watching them, watching as they paced and plotted and plowed through the evidence. It simply sat there watching, waiting, not knowing its own importance… not knowing the secret it carried inside. It sat there, and it wasn't until weeks later that Harry even realized that it, too, belonged to his ancestor.

One… Voldemort's snazzy new body.

Two… the now destroyed diary.

Three… Gaunt's foul ring.

Four… the amulet of Dumbledore's death.

Five… Hufflepuff's blasted cup.

Six… Ravenclaw's vaunted staff.

Seven… Gryffindor's Sorting Hat.


AN: I'm not saying that I think the Sorting Hat is the seventh horcrux, though I must admit that would be pretty cool. I actually think it'll be Harry's scar. However, this was just an idea bouncing around my head.


Ever Hopeful,

Azar