Last chapter: Hagrid gingerly reached in and brought out something round wrapped in a thick cloth. Unwrapping it, Harry saw it was a red-gold egg.
"This," Hagrid announced proudly, "is Dumbledore's Horcrux."
Chapter Two: He's an Egg!
"A Horcrux?" Harry croaked in disbelief. "Dumbledore?? No flipping way. You're having me on."
"Well, not Horcrux per say," Hagrid admitted nervously, one hand cupping the egg protectively and his eyes flicking to the windows and door to check no-one was trying to break in. "His Horcrux is with Snape. This is the rest of him."
Harry stared at the gold glow of the egg, lost for words. Part of him thought Hagrid had finally lost it. But another part, a large part, found its longing for answers was building and a tiny ray of hope had appeared in his mind.
"He's an egg." It was about the only thing he could say. "Dumbledore's an egg."
"He's an egg," Hagrid confirmed.
Harry shook his head. "This is insane. He wouldn't … Dumbledore wouldn't …"
Hagrid looked Harry firmly in the eye. "Makin' a Horcrux isn' evil, Harry," he said. "Killin' to make the Horcrux is the evil part. Dumbledore killed. He had to. He's lived through wars and done what 'e needed to ter save others. It was killin' outa necessity." He looked down at the egg sadly. "Might as well 'ave taken advantage of it. Call it insurance, if yer will. Better than abandonin' yeh."
"He's an egg," Harry croaked. "He's not exactly in the best position to guide me into battle, is he?"
"Not yet," Hagrid agreed. "But eggs hatch."
"Er, Hagrid … when you say hatch …"
Before Hagrid could reply, there was a scratching sound on the cabin door. Harry reacted on instinct, pulling his Cloak over his head and vanishing into the shadows. Hagrid swept the egg off the table and back into the jar and replaced it on the top shelf, checked to make sure Harry wasn't a larger than natural shadow, and said, "Who is it?"
The door opened without invitation and Hagrid reached for his umbrella, but all that was in the doorway was a four-legged white creature. Hagrid relaxed.
"Coast's clear," he murmured in a low voice and the arctic wolf slipped inside. Hagrid firmly shut the door as Severus Snape appeared.
Harry shifted position slightly and Snape whirled round, wand out. "Who's there?" he demanded.
"Professor!" Hagrid put a hand on Snape's arm. "It's okay, it's on'y Harry."
Harry let the Shadow Cloak slide off and Snape tucked his wand away, breathing heavily. "Potter, don't you ever do that again!" Turning back to Hagrid, he said pointedly, "I take it he knows?"
"I think the fact that I didn't curse you the moment you appeared should indicate that," Harry said coldly. Hagrid cleared his throat.
"Um, yeah, well, now we're all here …" he coughed. "Professor, how are yer gettin' on with the potion?"
Snape sat down uninvited at Hagrid's table. "Badly. I haven't been able to do anything with it except assemble the ingredients. The Dark …" he glanced at Harry. "Riddle has kept the circle very busy of late and I just haven't had the time on my hands."
"Exactly what potion are you talking about?" Harry asked warily.
Snape gave him a Look. "What do you think, Potter, nettle juice? We want to bring back Professor Dumbledore."
"I know that," Harry replied hotly, "I meant how were you planning on doing it?"
Hagrid quickly lay a hand on Snape's arm to stop him retorting. "Obviously it's a bit o' a difficult situation, Harry. Nothin' like this has bin done before – at least, there's no successful record."
"I am working on – at least, attempting to work on – a potion similar to one the Dark Lord used to take physical form. It will not bring back Albus, but it may help strengthen him."
"But … that's Dark Magic," Harry pointed out warily. "Would he have wanted us to do that to get him back?"
"If he doesn't, tough," Snape said shortly. "Dark magic got him into this mess so I say Dark magic is our best bet for getting him out of it. I think we need to recreate the same spell the Dark Lord used to rise again."
"No," Harry said firmly.
Snape raised an eyebrow. "Who put you in charge?"
"If we do that, what makes us any better than Voldemort? There has to be some way to bring back Dumbledore without stooping to his level."
"I agree with yer Harry, bu' Professor Snape is right," Hagrid said quietly. "There is no way to bring back Professor Dumbledore without stooping to the Dark Arts. An' Dumbledore's not Dark, nor are any of us, so as long as we're careful everythin' should be fine."
"It would have been, had you not said that," Snape muttered. "Now you've gone and jinxed it."
"Well, if we're going to do what Voldemort did, then we'll need body bits. Er … Bone of the father, flesh of the servant, blood of the enemy. Where would we get them?" Harry pointed out.
"Well, it shouldn't be hard to find where Albus' father is buried. I hope he doesn't mind us digging him up. We won't take any more than we have to. I don't like the sound of flesh of the servant – I suppose I'll have to donate something."
Hagrid interrupted. "No, tha' won't work. Professor Dumbledore saw yer as a friend, Professor, no' a servant."
"So, who did he see as a servant?" Harry pointed out. Hagrid paused.
"… No one. He treated everyone like equals, whether they were wizard, Muggle or House-Elf."
"So we can't do the potion."
Snape shook his head. "We will have to settle for the closest to a servant we can get – and that's me."
"I have made up my mind." Snape fixed Hagrid with a look Harry knew too well.
"That," Harry said quietly, "leaves blood of the enemy. Who can we use?"
The three looked at each other, but before any of them could voice any thoughts Snape seized his arm, nearly knocking the egg flying. Hagrid caught it just in time.
"You'd better go," Harry told him. Snape transformed back and Hagrid let him out of the cabin.
"Look, Harry," Hagrid said uneasily once they were alone. "I know it's hard. It's hard on me too an' I knew all along he was workin' with us. But Professor Snape's a good man at heart. You jus' have ter take him the right way."
Harry rubbed his eyes wearily. "I'll take your word for it."
TBC …Thanks to Iva1201, Padawan Jan-AQ, Jessica Black1, Mouse Kaiser, FS, Maryland Suewinda, Kaitylen, Dutchfan and kyoshikatarazukoaang for reviewing!
AN: Anyone interested in the Buffy fandom? My brain has spent the summer coming up with plot bunnies after watching the whole seven series for the first time. They're breeding as fast as the HP ones. I've put a few clips on my Yahoo group if anyone's interested, and I'll post something soon, as well as work some more on HP WIPs.