Disclaimer: Harry Potter isn't mine. I wouldn't want him, anyway. This theory belongs mostly to my sister and myself.

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A Horcrux?

"Harry, I've found it!" Hermione shrieked in a very high-pitched voice. "I know what the last Horcrux is!"

Harry and Ron turned towards the voice; Hermione was still a ways away, though running at them rather quickly, waving not one, but three large books. At last, panting, Hermione collapsed at the table where the two of them sat. "I found these . . . left outside . . . Dumbledore's room," she choked out between breaths. "They're a clue!"

Both Harry and Ron stared blankly at the books that lay on the table in front of them. "All right, Hermione," Ron said at last. "Start talking. How are these a clue?"

"Oh, it's very simple," Hermione explained. "But I think it's a prophecy. It's about how you destroy the last Horcrux, Harry. You throw it in a big volcano."

Harry shook his head. "You've gotta be kidding."

"No, I'm not. It's all in code, right here. Your code name is Frodo, and Ron and I apparently got lumped together as this fellow called Sam. They're trying to destroy a Ring and--"

"Whoa, wait," Ron interrupted. "Another ring? Dumbledore already got rid of one!"

"Well, it could be code for something else," Hermione admitted. "The important thing is, Harry, they're trying to destroy it."

"How does that help us if it doesn't tell us what it is?" Harry demanded.

"Shut up, Harry. Not everything has to be plain. They changed the Dementors' names to Nazg├╗l, and Fawkes is a giant eagle called Gwaihir. Fred and George are stealing crops instead of selling magic trinkets. It's really warped, but it's all right there. There are even giant spiders!"

Ron shuddered. "Did you have to mention that?"

"Yes, because apparently we have to get past them in this tunnel thing."

"Tunnel?" Harry asked, now thoroughly confused. "But giant spiders live in the forest!"

"They do in The Hobbit," Hermione agreed.

"The Hobbit?" Ron questioned.

"Yes, but we don't need to worry about that; it's all about how the Ring is found."

"But that's what we want to know," Harry insisted.

"No, you don't need to find it," Hermione explained. "Your uncle finds it and gives it to you."

"My uncle, Hermione? No way my uncle would give me anything of the sort, even if he didn't know it was important."

"No, he's only your uncle in the story. I haven't quite figured out who he is in real life."

"What?" Harry asked, trying to make sense of her gibberish. Ron had wisely given up.

"I've figured out mostly everyone else," Hermione continued, ignoring him. "Dumbledore is this wizard called Gandalf. At first I thought Aragorn was Sirius, because at first they didn't know if he was good or bad, but I read through the whole three books and Aragorn doesn't die!"

"Does Gandalf?" Ron asked, trying to sound smart.

"Yes, but he comes back," Hermione nodded.

"Dumbledore's coming back?" Harry asked hopefully.

"I don't know!" Hermione exclaimed. "But at least his character dies! Aragorn doesn't even almost die. And it's Gandalf who falls off a bridge."

"Who else dies?" Harry asked, trying to be helpful.

"This guy called Boromir. But there's no way he's Sirius. He tries to take the Ring. I figure he's Snape. But then he saves Fred and George, so that can't be right."

"What's a Wormtongue?" asked Ron, who had been flipping through the second book.

"It's not-so-hard-to-crack code for Wormtail," Hermione figured. "The problem is, that makes Voldemort -- oh, for heavens' sakes, Ron -- Saruman instead of Sauron."

"Is that good or bad?" Harry asked innocently.

"It's bad! It's very bad! Because it means there's another evil wizard out there, far more powerful! But if you read enough of these books, there's another one, anyway! His name's Morgoth! But he's all locked up, so it really doesn't matter."

"I hope not in Azkaban," Ron mumbled.

Hermione ignored him. "Or maybe Snape is Gollum," she mused. "You can't ever really tell whose side he's on, and he keeps popping up everywhere. Professor McGonagall is Elrond -- I'm sure of that. And I think Trelawney is Galadriel. I haven't figured out who Denethor is yet, but Faramir is definitely Lupin. I thought Hagrid was Beorn, but he doesn't show up again after The Hobbit."

"What's a Hobbit?" Ron asked again.

"Maybe he's Tom Bombadil," Hermione reasoned, ignoring Ron. "But he doesn't show up again, either! There are a lot of characters in here who never show up again!"

"Wait," interrupted Harry, who had been skimming the second chapter of the first book, coincidentally. "It takes Sauron three thousand years to come back after the --" he checked the book, "--the Last Alliance of Men and Elves."

"Elves?" Ron asked. "House-Elves?"

"Don't worry about that," Hermione shrugged. "That book messes with time a lot. It takes them forever to actually destroy the Ring."

"Forever?" Ron questioned. "I thought forever was how long it took us to get to Hogwarts."

Harry shook his head. "Hermione, there is no way this book represents what's going to happen to us! It's just too complicated! There are too many characters, too many subplots, too much everything!"

"But it's all right there!" Hermione insisted. "Why can't you--"

"Avada Kedavra!" shouted a sudden voice from behind them. The trio had been too busy arguing to notice the two silent figures sneaking up behind them. There was a bright flash of green light and Harry fell to the ground, dead. Ron and Hermione stared in utter shock long enough for the man to shout the spell twice more, killing both of them.

Snape removed his hood. "What a bunch of idiots." He scooped up the books from the table. "Thank you for these, by the way . . . you never told me your name." He turned to where his companion had been, but no one was there. Snape looked around, and at last glanced down at the floor. There, where his companion had been standing, was a small, plain gold ring.

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Please review; I'm curious what people think. Flames will be laughed at, shown to my sister and co-conspirator, and then laughed at again. :)