Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter in part or in whole. All the credit goes to J. K. Rowling. I'm just playing in her imagination. I've even quoted some of her material. (This goes for the whole story, it will not reappear.)
Harry Potter and the Rings of Ceangal Fala
Number 4 Privet Drive
Harry lay on his bed dozing in the humidity of the late-June evening. Hedwig hooted concernedly from the paper-strewn desk. Harry had never been so determined as he had been this summer. He neither ate nor slept as often as a young man should be expected to have done. His room was a wreck, with piles of books and newspaper clippings littering every surface and often overflowing onto the floor. A tattered calendar hung on the wall. The numbers that usually counted the days until his return to Hogwarts now labelled the time remaining until his seventeenth birthday.
Hermione had tried to straighten the mess on several occasions, but Harry could not find it in himself to care about cleanliness and Ron couldn't either. The room was small to begin with, but with two more beds added there was barely room to walk. Hermione somehow managed to keep her possessions organised although she was living out of a trunk. Harry glanced to his left and saw her lying peacefully in her bed. She had kicked the light blanket she used partially off and her leg was hanging over the side of the bed, exposing the fabric of her pyjamas. She slept on her left side with her back to him in order to block out the lamp light.
Ron, on the other hand, slept on his back with the crook of his arm over his eyes. Harry's bed separated those of his two friends, but there was scarcely enough room to stand on either side. A fitful sleeper, Ron had kicked the blanket off the bed entirely and his pillow lay unused at his feet. Much to his protests, the beginnings of a Transfiguration essay lay on the desk amid the clippings Harry had scattered there. Hermione had long since finished with her homework and had put it in her trunk away from Ron's eyes. Harry's ginger haired mate had ignored Hermione's efforts to convince him of starting his homework for over two weeks, but there was little they could do at the Dursleys' and boredom, coupled with a bossy friend, had persuaded him to start early.
Harry, on the other hand, had no intention of doing his schoolwork. He had made it clear to his friends that he would not be returning to Hogwarts whether or not they opened the doors. How could he justify wasting another year in school when people were dying at Voldemort's hands? He alone had the power to end this war. There was no reason for him to return to Hogwarts. He planned on visiting Godric's Hollow after the wedding. Perhaps he would find something before school started once more. Hermione and Ron had said they would go with him to Godric's Hollow; they had promised to accompany him to the Dursleys', but he could not ask them to sacrifice their education.
The feeble light from the lamp on the bedside table illuminated the book threatening to fall out of his sleep-relaxed hands. His thumb held the book open to chapter twelve.
In an attempt to achieve his lifelong aspirations of immortality, Nicholas Flamel devised the Horcrux. Essentially a tearing of the soul, this process is very dangerous and was never implemented by the notable creator of the Philosopher's Stone. The only known method of tearing one's soul is to commit a murder. Flamel was unwilling to make such a sacrifice and his lack of initiative set the progress of this efficient method of survival back several centuries. Many tried unsuccessfully to sever their soul for years and many such attempts were fatal. In 1637, Andrew Hamm became the first to successfully create a Horcrux. However, due to the nature of Horcruxes, Hamm was tried for several counts of homicide and sentenced to death. His punishment was implemented eight times before it was successful, only because Hamm's eyeglasses (into which he had ignorantly stored a piece of his soul) were shattered.
Horcruxes are difficult to identify at best due to the versatility of the magic. Anything and anyone could be made to contain a part the human soul. The use of living organisms such as plants, animals and humans is inadvisable as the soul will be destroyed when the organism dies. Suggested objects for use
The chapter continued on the next page. On the bedside table sat an expensive piece of parchment that had been delivered by a Goldfinch. Stars twinkled on the border and a picture of Fleur Delacour and Bill Weasley headed the invitation. Fleur appeared to be preening in a mirror while Bill watched her adoringly. With flowing cursive written in blue ink the invitation read:
Mr. and Mrs. Delacour
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Fleur Clarabelle Delacour
William Patrick Weasley
on the sixth of July
at ten o' clock in the morning
Chateau de Vayres
After several minutes the English words would fade to French. Partially hidden underneath was a letter delivered by owl the same day.
Ron, Harry and Hermione,
I hope things are well. Let me know if the Muggles are treating you poorly and if you are getting enough to eat. I expect you have received the invitation to Bill's wedding by now. We will be coming to pick you up on the first of July. Please be ready to leave at three o' clock. You will, I dare say, be spending the rest of the holidays at the Burrow. I've written a letter to the Dursleys to let them know. Stay safe and don't leave the house.
Indeed Uncle Vernon had received Mrs. Weasley's letter two days previously. As the letter looked completely average, the Dursleys could find nothing to complain about except for the Weasleys' "inconsiderate behaviour" and evident "lack of proper manners".
"You would think," said Uncle Vernon as he threw the torn letter into the rubbish bin, "that they would consider us before making such arrangements. They act as though we can move our schedules about at the drop of a hat."
"You didn't have any plans," Harry had pointed out as he scrubbed the counter top. His arms were exhausted and the kitchen was spotless. His stomach growled in protest as the Dursleys sat down to lunch. Aunt Petunia had insisted that Harry earn keep not only for himself, but for Ron and Hermione. It had been quite a fight indeed when two fully grown wizards and one witch had shown up on the doorstep of number four Privet Drive.
Eventually, it was Petunia who had, unexpectedly, said they could stay. She had been quiet and distracted when she told her husband they would spend the holidays. Vernon, however, had put his foot down when he said Ron and Hermione would not be permitted to leave the bedroom. They had been sneaking out at night to shower and to take food from the kitchen, but otherwise they had been all too happy to stay out of the way of Harry's relatives.
"Quiet, boy," Vernon ordered.
"They act as though he can come and go as he pleases. They don't even ask if we mind his leaving," Petunia joined in. If there was anything she enjoyed more than gossip, it was badgering others.
"It's as if we weren't his legal guardians. We take him in, feed him and clothe him and this is the thanks we get. His ruddy parents got themselves killed and stuck us with-"
"Don't talk about my parents that way!" Harry fumed. His green eyes narrowed in fury and the Dursleys were forcibly reminded that Harry would legally be an adult in the Wizarding community in a month's time.
"I'll tell you this, boy," Vernon said pulling his enormous bulk to its full height, which was now a full six inches below Harry. "You will never be welcome in this house again."
Harry had not lamented Uncle Vernon's statement in the slightest. In fact, he nearly felt giddy at the prospect of never returning to number four Privet drive. He had shut himself in his room since the letter's arrival leaving only for the necessities of the bathroom. He ate very little, but when he did, leftover Cauldron Cakes and Chocolate Frogs sustained him.
The sixth month died as Harry's book slid to the floor with a dull thud, jarring Harry from a restless sleep. His eyes registered the glowing numerals reading 12:00 although his glasses sat crookedly on his face. He took them off grudgingly and switched the light off with a resounding click. Now that he lay in bed properly, with his hands behind his head, sleep evaded him. He stared at the ceiling trying to focus his thoughts.
the locket…the cup… the snake…something of Gryffindor's or Ravenclaw's…
His mind slid out of focus. A flowery smell seemed filled the room as his thoughts turned to Ginny.
'It's for some stupid, noble reason, isn't it?' Her quiet voice echoed in the silence. Pain gripped his heart and his stomach clenched. Noble? He supposed so. Stupid? He definitely felt it. Looking back, Harry couldn't think of why he had done it. He knew breaking up with Ginny was the right thing to do; it was for her own good. So, if it was the right decision, why did he feel like he had made the biggest mistake of his life?
Sighing in defeat, he opened the drawer of the tiny bedside table and pulled out a worn letter. Truthfully, it was more like a scrap of paper, but he had read it so often that he needn't put on his glasses. He had memorized it, though the feel of the parchment made it so much more tangible.
I never gave up on you and I never will.
It seemed so like her to fit everything into one sentence. She had written so little, yet it said so much. She hadn't cried that day by the lake, but with a groan of frustration he realised there was no doubt he had made her shed more than her fair share of tears. Was this really the right thing to do? He let his hands drop to his chest. Even the smell of the letter reminded him of her.
Tomorrow, he thought. Tomorrow I'll see her.
In merely fifteen hours he would be leaving Privet Drive forever, but he wasn't entirely convinced it was such a good idea. Could he stand to see her after what had happened? Could he bear to stand by his decision when, even now, he was desperately clinging to a piece of paper? The truth was that he loved her. He had felt normal, even euphoric, when she had been a part of his life. All there had been was the two of them, heedlessly absorbed in each other while the world came crashing down around him.
Harry wanted nothing more than Ginny's safety. If they were together she would become a target. Her life would be in danger. He had to protect her above all, but how could he when it meant causing the both of them such heartache? He gritted his jaw as he resolved himself to the facts. He had to do this and that was all there was to it. For her safety, he had to distance himself from Ginny.
He was reminded of his second year at Hogwarts. Voldemort had used her. He had used Ginny to get to Harry before there was anything between them. He would get to her whether Harry distanced himself or not, so wasn't it better to be close to her? Wasn't it better to be there to protect her if and when something happened?
Turning the light back on resignedly, Harry picked his book off the floor and turned the page.
are virtually indestructible, unidentifiable and well protected such as museum artefacts. Metal is preferable, since it is harder to destroy. It is advisable to use antiques or objects that anyone would consider to have value as anyone would be willing to protect such an object.
Identifying a Horcrux
The identification of a Horcrux is extremely difficult even for the most skilled of wizards. When a soul is intact, it emits a very distinct aura. However, the piece of a soul required to make a Horcrux is so small it often can be overlooked. The highly trained observer can spot a soul by the faint blue glow surrounding an object. Suggested means of training oneself to see a soul are frequenting a place where souls are often detached from the body. A hospital or graveyard would be the most accessible. However, if possible, the best means of seeing a soul is to witness a dementor's kiss (see illustration).
Much of the page was taken up with a picture of a dementor sucking the soul out of the mouth of a man in chains. The man resisted at first but slowly stopped struggling and was dropped to the floor only to start the entire process again.
When a dementor performs the kiss, the soul is clearly visible to those witnessing. The soul is taken through the mouth. Because it is taken forcibly, the soul retains its energy and, therefore, is much more visible. This method is preferable to visiting a hospital or a graveyard because a soul tends to lose its energy if it leaves the body after death. When death is accepted beforehand the soul becomes less visible.
Though it was full of information and was therefore very useful, Harry could not seem to focus on the book. His eyelids began to droop once more and the book slipped in his hand. Slowly, everything faded to black and Harry's breathing evened out. The smell of mould and doxy droppings filled the air. A room formed around him. Moth eaten curtains adorned a rather shabby room. The desk against the wall shook menacingly.
"It means he gave them a load of gold," Sirius was saying as he threw the medal into the rubbish sack. A music box played an ominous tune that seemed to envelop the whole room. Sirius had kicked Kreacher out and the house elf was wailing as he opened the drawing room door. "It was my father's," Sirius said as he threw a large gold ring away. "Kreacher wasn't quite as devoted to him as my mother, but…"
Harry woke as suddenly as if someone had just thrown ice-cold water on him. There was a good deal of noise coming from across the hall. It sounded as if Dudley was watching an action film. Ron and Hermione were gathering their things quietly. Harry lay back down with a sigh. He hadn't gotten over Sirius' death and now he had to deal with Dumbledore. He was having dreams nearly every night. Perhaps that was why he hadn't been sleeping very often. He threw his book onto the other side of the small bed and rolled onto his side. His eyes fluttered open before widening with shock. In a mere thirty minutes, the Weasleys would arrive to pick him up.
"Why didn't you wake me?" Harry cried as jumped out of bed and began hastily throwing clothes, quills and newspapers into his trunk. Unfortunately, with all the books he had recently acquired there was not nearly enough room.
"You hardly slept all night," Hermione told him. "We were going to pack your trunk for you."
Harry didn't reply, but grabbed some clothes from the pile in the corner and, hoping they didn't smell too badly, ran to the bathroom. He hadn't seen Ginny in a month and he didn't want to smell like Grawp when he saw her again. A voice in the back of his head said that he shouldn't be concerned with impressing her, but he ignored it.
Harry brought three piles of books downstairs and placed them on the steps before dragging his trunk down. Ron and Hermione, with only one trunk each, followed after him. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were watching the news in the other room. Harry sat on the stairs to wait, but he had barely touched the step when there was a knock at the door. He stood hastily and said, "I'll answer it!" He had taken two steps toward the door when Uncle Vernon cut him off in the hallway.
"Like hell you will!" he exclaimed pointing an accusing finger at the three of them. "I don't want people to know that your kind is living here."
"It'll just be the Weasleys-" Harry began to say when Vernon opened the door.
"Good afternoon," Charlie said through gritted teeth as he stepped past Mr. Dursley. He had heard the comments and, needless to say, he had received a bad impression of the man before the door had even opened. Vernon frowned at his heavily freckled skin. "Hi," Charlie said more pleasantly to the three of them. "Is this all your stuff?
"Yes," Harry replied and bent to take his trunk. Fred and George, who had been standing in the doorway, walked in and picked up a stack of books each. Charlie grabbed the last remaining pile. He stood back as the twins went out to the car and motioned for Harry to go ahead of him.
"Well," said Harry nonchalantly. "See you later."
Uncle Vernon's moustache twitched. "You are not welcome here."
"Harry's your blood. I'll never understand how you can treat him like this!" Hermione burst.
"He's a freak!" Aunt Petunia burst out. "We fed him and clothed him, and what thanks did we get but a blown up Aunt Marge and a tail on our son!"
"You agreed to treat him like your own son when you took him in. From what I heard from Dumbledore it's lucky you didn't!" Ron stepped in.
Harry felt his heart sink as he was reminded of Dumbledore. Suddenly all he wanted was to get out of there as quickly as possible. "It's alright," he said to Charlie. "Let's just go."
Charlie nodded though he didn't break eye contact with Uncle Vernon until Harry was out the door. He closed the door behind him without another word.
They began walking down the street. Harry was lost in his thoughts. The pain of Sirius' and Dumbledore's deaths were enough to numb him. He didn't say a word, but Fred saw him look around when he noticed there didn't appear to be any type of transportation nearby.
"We're going to Mrs. Figg's house to use her fireplace," Fred said in answer to Harry's unasked question. Harry simply nodded. George, who was in the lead, opened the gate to Mrs. Figg's front garden. Cats scattered as they entered. Mrs. Figg opened the front door before anyone knocked.
"Come in, come in!" she said and ushered them in quickly. Her house was just as Harry remembered it: musty and full of cats. "Can I get you some tea? Biscuits?"
"No, no, thank you Arabella, but we really are in a hurry," Charlie answered. "Mum's going mad with the wedding plans. With You-Know-Who back she's going crazy if anyone's late."
"Of course, of course. Best hurry along then."
Charlie pulled out a small bag of Floo powder, which seemed a very difficult task what with the stack of books in his arms. Fred and George grabbed little more than a pinch before stepping into the fire together and shouting, "The Burrow!"
"Come on, Harry. We'll go together." They stepped up to the fire. Charlie threw the powder into the fire and they stepped in. "The Burrow!" Charlie called. Though Harry was quite used to travelling by the Floo Network, he felt as though Charlie was treating him like it was his first time. He knew Charlie only had his well-being in mind and he reasoned that Fred and George had travelled together, but he couldn't help but think that he was almost of age and they shouldn't be treating him like a child.
Harry pushed that all from his mind as he felt his feet hit solid ground once more. He immediately stepped out of the fire and into the Weasleys' sitting room. Suddenly his heart was racing as if he had run from Privet Drive. That flowery smell engulfed his senses, just as the memory of it had last night when he held the letter. His heart clenched and his stomach churned uncomfortably.
"Harry, dear!" Mrs. Weasley called as she came from the kitchen. "We're so glad you could make it. I trust the Muggles got the letter I sent."
"Yes. Did you… did you have help with that?" Every square inch of the first letter Mrs. Weasley had sent by Muggle post was covered in stamps. This past one was rather ordinary in comparison.
"Yes, Hermione prepared some envelopes and gave them to me when you got off the train at the beginning of the holidays. I was worried that you hadn't received it though. Muggle post is so inefficient. It takes so long to get there."
Harry and Hermione, being Muggle-raised and quite used to such remarks, shared a quiet smirk before Mrs. Weasley continued.
"You'll be sharing a room with Ron again this summer as Fred and George are staying with us again."
"Isn't business going well?" he asked, concernedly. It stood to reason that they might not be doing well what with Voldemort back. Last summer, the twins had stayed in the flat above Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
"They're doing brilliantly, Harry." Ron said with a bit of jealousy. "They said something about not having to cook…"
"Ron, would you wash and peel the potatoes, please?" Mrs. Weasley was quite busy preparing dinner. Hermione began washing potatoes, handing them to Ron, who made a show of using his wand to peel and slice them. "We really should enlarge this kitchen," she muttered to herself. "Oh, Harry dear. You don't have to do that. Take a rest," she said sweetly as Harry began to pull down plates.
"It's all right. I want to help," he replied.
"Harry, You've set one place too many," Ron said as Harry began to pull out the silver.
"Who's missing?" he asked.
"Ginny," said Hermione quietly. "She's in France with Fleur getting ready for the wedding. In her letter she said that what with dress fittings, flower arrangements and ceremony practice they decided she should stay there. From what I hear, she and Gabrielle are getting along famously." Harry simultaneously felt his heart sink and his spirits lighten. He was looking forward to seeing her, but maybe it was better this way. After all, Ginny had sent the three of them letters while they stayed at Privet Drive. Harry's was only one sentence, Ron's was over a page and Hermione's could have been considered a small novel.
"Yes, Gabrielle's a sweet little thing," Mrs. Weasley said from the sink. "A bit thin though…"
"Ron, can you finish this?" Hermione asked as she set down a wet potato and dried her hands on a cloth. Without waiting for a reply, she led Harry into the yard. Everything in the kitchen went quiet and Harry had the feeling it was due to the fact that Ron and Mrs. Weasley were trying to listen in.
"What's going on with you and Ginny?" Hermione asked before he could utter a word. He averted his eyes before he answered.
"We broke up."
"Yes, I know that. What happened?"
"I did what I thought was best."
"Harry, if you don't like her anymore let her know. It is causing her more pain to be uncertain."
"That's not it. I can't lie to her."
"What is it then?" Hermione's voice was quiet. She wasn't trying to provoke him.
"I don't want her to get hurt, okay? Voldemort's tried to get to nearly everyone I care about now. I don't want her to be next. I…" his voice cracked and he struggled to control it. "I couldn't stand it if she got hurt because of me."
"Oh, Harry…" Hermione sighed empathetically. "You can't avoid something like this. Dumbledore said love is the only thing that can beat You-Know-Who. You can't bottle up your feelings."
"And what if he does try to use her to get to me?" he said, his voice rising more in fear and frustration than in anger. "How would you feel about me then?"
"Same as always, mate," said Ron. "We all know the risks of being friends with you. We're willing to risk it. On the other hand, if you hurt my sister again, I'm going to have to beat some sense into you. So make up your mind."
Harry forced a fleeting smile, but he wasn't entirely convinced. He could see the fear in their eyes.
He lay awake in bed that night trying to figure out what to do. He couldn't help but think that Mrs. Weasley was right. Dumbledore had said that love was the only thing Voldemort couldn't understand. It was how Lily Potter had protected him sixteen years ago. It was how he remained protected by returning to the Dursleys' house every year.
There was no doubt in his mind how he felt for Ginny. At the same time, he knew there was no way he could live with himself if she got hurt. Why was he treating her differently? He hadn't fought very hard when Ron and Hermione insisted on going with him. On the other hand, as much as he cared for them he didn't feel the same way about them as Ginny. Deep down, he knew that if any of them died he would feel that it was his fault.
The thing it came down to was trust. Did he trust Dumbledore's theory? Did he trust Ginny to stay as safe as possible? Did he trust her family to keep their word? Harry knew he had to beat Voldemort and to do that he had to use things Voldemort could not. He needed to use love, trust and honesty. Voldemort did not love anyone. He never trusted anyone completely. He gained power through lies and manipulation. He used people like you would use a hammer: use it, throw it away and pick it back up when you need it again.
If he pushed away everyone he cared about, whether his intentions were good or bad, Harry would be like his enemy. He rolled onto his side with his mind made up. Love was how Voldemort would fall. It was his weakness and Harry planned to exploit it. 'Keep your friends close…' went the saying. He had pushed Ginny aside, but he planned to remedy that.
A/N: Well, tell me what you think. Constructive criticism is VERY acceptable and so are compliments and ideas!