Dumbledore's office looked just the same. The tall arched windows were open, and a sweet spring breeze wafted into the room and sent the delicate silver instruments spinning. Ancient leather-bound volumes lined the shelves, and stacks of yellowed parchment covered the large wooden desk. Harry looked curiously at one of the top ones; it appeared to be a recipe for something called Baked Alaska, with alchemical notations in the margin.
How absurd that the room was still here, unchanged, when Dumbledore himself was gone! How could the fragile paper on his desk outlast a human being? Even the hideous stone gargoyle that guarded the door had lasted longer than the greatest wizard of all time. How could that be?
The gargoyle had apparently developed a sense of the absurdity of the situation as well, for when Harry had tried to get past it, it had remained stonily silent and immovable as he rattled off all the passwords he could think of: Acid pops, lemon sherbet, cockroach clusters, raspberry jam - to no avail, until he had sighed in desperation: "Look, I don't know what the password is anymore" - and the gargoyle had swung aside to let him in.
Harry looked around the room, bewildered. There must be something here, a clue, a hint, to help him figure out what to do next. Dumbledore must have left him something. He looked at the heavy oak desk with its numerous little drawers. Would it be trespassing to look through a dead person's desk? He hesitated for a moment, then began to open each drawer in turn. What a bizarre collection of items the desk contained! A half-finished manuscript, in Dumbledore's elegant hand, on Sumerian beer production, a Muggle passport bearing the name "Alfred Dunn" underneath Dumbledore's smiling portrait, a large collection of chocolate frog cards (including, Harry noted, the ultra-rare Enmerkar of Uruk), a jar containing half a mackerel in clear liquid, with the label: "mermaid, bottom half", a small tattered pamphlet that bore the title "Lost Jam Recipes of Zhangzhung", a fake tarantula, and... What was that? Something golden in the back of the drawer, squished in between a tube of Manticore Tooth Paste and a signed photograph of someone named Uri Geller...
It was a time-turner! But the time-turners had all been destroyed during the battle at the Ministry of Magic, hadn't they? Wait... but what if this was Hermione's time-turner, the one she had used during their third year, when she and Harry had rescued Sirius and Buckbeak? Hermione had turned it in afterward - but where exactly had she turned it in? Harry had never asked. He had merely assumed that it had been returned to the Ministry of Magic somehow, and been destroyed with the others.
Yes, this was the same time-turner, an intricate little golden instrument on a chain. Apparently, Hermione had merely turned it in to Dumbledore, assuming, perhaps, that he would pass it on to the ministry.
The time turner! Harry sank back in Dumbledore's chair, clutching the delicate golden instrument in his hand. With the time-turner, he could bring back Dumbledore! He could go back in time and stop Snape from killing Dumbledore. No wait, he could bring back Sirius! And his parents... His head was dizzy with possiblities. Where to begin? Which point in time would he have to return to in order to save all of Voldemort's innocent victims? To the very beginning, of course, to the time before Tom Riddle became Voldmort... To the time when Tom Riddle was just an ordinary schoolboy, like himself. Yes, that was it! He would go back in time and kill the young Tom Riddle! But how many spins would he have to give the golden clockwork for that? He turned the time-turner over and over in his hand. Suddenly, he noticed a small scrap of paper stuck to the back of it, with tiny writing in an elegant hand. He screwed up his eyes, and was barely able to make out the words: "42 is a good number, Harry!"
Harry grinned to himself. "Thank you, headmaster!" he whispered. He counted carefully as he spun the time-turner, and the room began to spin around him.