"Wow. I can't believe all the junk Dumbledore kept in here," marvelled Ron, as he picked up a strange contraption which resembled a pencil, wooden block and blob of dough moulded together. Actually, that was sort of what it was.
"It's not junk!" exclaimed Hermione. "It's…interesting."
Ron snorted. "And I can't believe we're stuck with sorting it out. What the hell did Dumbledore need all those knitting needles and copies of Fly Fishing Weekly for?"
It was five months after the battle in Hogwarts between Harry and Voldemort. The school was in the process of choosing a new headmaster, and Hermione had requested that they be the ones to clear out Dumbledore's study for the new headmaster. Harry was curious to see what there was inside the cabinets and boxes, but first they had to take out anything important.
The Sorting Hat had been the first to go. It made a huge ruckus about leaving the study.
"Three hundred and twenty seven years I've been inside this castle! I sorted your parent's parents into their houses and this is my repayment! I won't stand for this, you impudent whippersnappers. Put me back this instant!" Ron struggled with the writhing Hat until its mouth closed around his hand and he dropped it as though it was red hot.
"The bloody Hat bit me! You useless piece of sh—"
"Don't worry, er, Hat. This is just temporary," soothed Hermione.
"Temporary, my arse. Let's just replace the damn thing," muttered Ron. The Hat flew into a terrible rage.
"Replace me? How dare you entertain such a notion? Replacement! When I'm back, I'll create a house just for people like yourself. It'll have all the idiots, ugly red-heads, and cowardly weasels!" cackled the Sorting Hat.
Harry cast Protego between the Hat and Ron, who was trying to strangle the thing with his bare hands.
They ran into a similar problem with Ron and the Ghost that lived inside Dumbledore's cupboard, a fairy who occupied the rafters and an enchanted clock that had a very short temper and the ability to blow raspberries. Eventually they cleared the room of anything living using minimum violence.
Harry could now search through the drawers. He found many memories, as well as Dumbledore's gizmos. However, the use of some of the items was quite obscure. Harry and Ron spent hours puzzling over an object that greatly resembled a toilet brush, casting spells and rifling through books to find the purpose.
It was a toilet brush.
Another problem they ran into was with an enchanted blob. It was held suspended in a container labelled clearly with do not open in spidery handwriting. After Ron opened it, it combusted, splattering the room with a foul-smelling green mucus. The slime left the books and objects, but did not wash off skin for a week. The same week that the Weasley family were due to attend a close friend's of Arthur's wedding. The bridal party was not impressed with the rotten-eggs-and-Doxy-droppings smell emanating off Ron.
Dumbledore seemed to be an avid collector. He had a huge assortment of powerful items that were sent to the ministry, and thousands of books, including many Muggle magazines, such as Vanity Fair, Reader's Digest and Notebook. Ron and Hermione were looking through them, while Harry checked the drawers on his desk.
While he was doing so, he came across a strange letter that was addressed to him.
"Ron, Hermione, look! It's a letter for me. I think it's from Dumbledore," he called. They crowded over the envelope.
"From Dumbledore? Why didn't he give it to you before he…well, y'know. Died?" asked Ron.
"I don't know. I don't even know what it's about."
"Open it then, mate!"
The letter read:
In the highly probable event that I die sometime, I want you to know what to do to destroy Voldemort. He has seven Horcruxes, and the diary and the ring have already been destroyed.
The third is the locket which is in the possession of Delores Umbridge.
The fourth is the cup of Hufflepuff, and it is located in the Lestrange Vault at Gringotts. I dare say you will need a goblin to assist you.
The fifth Horcrux is the Diadem of Ravenclaw, which you will find in the Room of Requirement.
The sixth is Voldemort's snake, Nagini, and the seventh is part of you, Harry. Do not worry, you will not die. Only the Horcrux will die.
To destroy them, simply use the incantation I have provided. I went to great lengths to create this spell that requires three people to cast it simultaneously. The spell is detailed on the back of this paper…
Harry's eye twitched as he crumpled the parchment in his hand. He shook furiously.
"S'okay, mate…we got there in the end, didn't we?" said Ron nervously. Harry's wand was emitting a odorous black smoke. "Harry?"
Both Ron and Hermione reeled back in surprise as Harry yelled at the top of his lungs. "All this bloody time, he's had these instructions right here! WHY DIDN'T HE SAY SOMETHING?"
"Now, Harry, Dumbledore always had good reasons for everything he did. Remember how he left you the stone so that you'd have enough courage to face Voldemort? And how he left Ron the Deluminator so—"
"I don't give a damn! How was I supposed to know that he had this stupid list?" seethed Harry. "WE SPENT MONTHS RUNNING FROM DEATH EATERS AND DEMENTORS AND GOD KNOWS WHAT! I ATE TOADSTOOLS, HERMIONE. TOADSTOOLS."
"You just had to bring that up," muttered Hermione.
"I nearly died when I dived for that sword. I nearly was burned to a crisp by Crabbe's Fiendfyre. I nearly was buried under a pile of treasure at Gringotts. I had to put up with Kreacher for God knows how long," Harry ranted.
"Harry, I don't think Dumbledore ever meant for you to see that list. I think it was if you died, someone could continue on…" Hermione's voice faltered as she realised he was past listening and was rummaging through Dumbledore's boxes.
"Flame thrower…must…find…flame thrower…" he muttered.
Harry triumphantly lifted a metallic red object and laughed maniacally. "Here I come, you mangy old coot!" He squeezed the trigger, and instead of the flames they expected, white foam exploded from the fire extinguisher's nozzle. Harry continued cackling and began coating the room in white.
Meanwhile, Ron was holding Hermione very close and slowly backing out of the study. "Heroes," said Ron. "They're all mad somehow."
Watching from the corner of the ceiling, Peeves quietly laughed and dropped his quill.