The Ties That Bind

Chapter 52: You've Got to be Kidding

Kingsley stood in the middle of the square of Hogsmeade and was surprised at the amount of work that had been accomplished since he had been there the previous afternoon.

Much of the debris hand been cleared and reconstruction had begun on several of the shops that had been damaged, though a lot more was obviously needed to be done.

He was surprised to see the door to the Three Broomsticks open with a line of people extending out into the square. As he approached he noticed a sign in the window offering free breakfast to any resident of the village.

He was just passing by when he heard someone shout, "King! Over here."

Kingsley looked back at the Inn and saw Rosmerta standing at the door, motioning to him. He smiled slightly and headed over to see what she wanted.

"What's up?" he asked, as he drew near.

"Come on in for a moment, I'd like a word with you," Rosmerta said. She was smiling but something to the tone of her voice caught Kingsley's attention.

Several of the people waiting in line eyed him suspiciously, but since he was being accompanied by Rosmerta, no one said anything.

Once inside, the Innkeeper said, "Come on back to my office."

Kingsley was taken by surprise, never once had he seen or heard of anyone being taken back there.

Once inside the office, Rosmerta closed the door, went to her desk and sat down wearily. "Any word on what stopped the Death Eaters?" she asked, her face taking on a dark look.

Kingsley sat down in the chair beside the desk and looked closely at Rosmerta. "Nothing new as of yet, but there are still people I need to talk to. I was just headed off to Hogwarts to see if any of them are available yet."

Rosmerta raised an eyebrow, "Who do you need to see there that you haven't been able to see as of yet?" she asked.

Kingsley gave a chuckle, "Well, almost everyone who was involved from there to tell the truth."

When Rosmerta looked at him questioningly, he said, "Most everyone was either exhausted of being treated for wounds that they sustained."

Rosmerta nodded solemnly, "Yeah, I guess they had their casualties too," she said softly.

Kingsley eyed her appraisingly for a moment, causing her to look at him with interest. "What?" she finally asked.

"Rosie, this is for your ears only and I'll deny it if you quote me," Kingsley said.

"You know I'd never spill a confidence, King" Rosmerta said a little indignantly.

"I don't mean any offence, but, well, you know how it is," Kingsley said apologetically.

Rosmerta gave a low chuckle, "Yeah, I know all too well," she replied. "So what is it?"

"The thing is, the school suffered only minor casualties, with no loss of life," Kingsley said.

"Wow, I guess the teachers did a really great job of defending the school," replied Rosmerta.

Giving a chuckle and shaking his head, Kingsley said, "The thing is it was a handful of students who lead the defence."

Rosmerta looked at him in shock, "What, some students led the defence?"

"Yeah, and they did magnificently, so much so I wish the new Aurora trainees were half as good," the Aurora said.

Rosmerta looked at him wide-eyed, obviously shocked by what he had just revealed.

"And that's not the half of it," he said lowly.

"There's more?" Rosmerta said in disbelief.

Kingsley nodded, "Yeah, the only ones found in the vicinity of where the Death Eaters attach seems to have been halted were two more students."

If Rosmerta had looked shocked before, it was nothing compared to the look she gave Kingsley now. When she just sat there with her mouth hanging open, Kingsley said, "Yeah, that's how I felt."

"Who were they?" Rosmerta finally asked.

"I'd rather not say for the moment," the senior Aurora said apologetically.

Rosmerta nodded in understanding, "Well, whoever did it, we all owe them a world of thanks. As bad as it was, it could have been a lot worse."

That's for sure, the Aurora's office hasn't lost so many members in one day since the last war," sighed Kingsley, his face taking on a pained look.

"They were so out numbered," Rosmerta said, sympathetically. "The ones I could see fought valiantly, just as all of them must have done."

"It's amazing that there weren't more, several were transported to Hogwarts somehow even while the anti-apparition wards were in place," Kingsley said, a touch of wonder tingeing his voice.

Rosmerta cocked an eyebrow at his statement but remained silent.

Kingsley returned his focus back to the comely Innkeeper and said, "Are you sure you didn't see anything else?"

Rosmerta looked back steadily, "I wish I could add something to what I've already told you but we were so busy here,."

Kingsley sighed, "I knew you'd have said something if you knew more, but I had to ask." He rose and looked at Rosmerta, "Did you get any sleep at all?" he asked.

Rosmerta smiled tiredly at him, "A little."

"As a friend, I'm telling you to go get some more right now," Kingsley said softly.

"Thanks, King. I will, just as soon as everyone who needs to has gotten something to eat," she replied with a thin smile.

"You need to take care of yourself if you expect to take care of others," Kingsley chided her, though he said it with a great amount of caring in his voice.

"I hear you, old friend and you're right. I'll make sure everything is running smoothly and then head off to get some rest. Is that good enough for you?" she asked with a laugh.

"That's more than I expected," Kingsley replied with a chuckle.

"Thanks for caring, King," Rosmerta said tiredly.

"Someone needs to keep an eye on you," he said humorously.

Rosmerta eyed him saucily, "And you think you're man enough for the job?"

Kingsley just shook his head and smiled, "I'm not touching that one," he said as he turned and went to the door. His hand had just come to rest on the knob when he felt a hand on his arm.

Turing he found Rosmerta right behind him, something he found rather amazing as he hadn't heard her move.

Rosmerta looked up into his eyes, smiled at him and then took him into a hug, "I mean it, King. Thanks for caring," she said softly.

Kingsley returned the hug, "Any time, Rosie, any time."

After a moment, Rosmerta relaxed her grip and stepped back. "Don't be a stranger," she said good-naturedly.

Kingsley regarded her for a moment, before smiling and said, "I won't be." Then he turned and left, heading for Hogwarts to see if he could fill in some of the holes in the information that they had about the previous day's events.


Sirius and Remus appeared at the gates to Hogwarts and they proceeded to walk up the drive towards the Castle itself. Both were taken a bit by surprise at how much the tent city of refugees had grown. It looked like almost the complete Village of Hogsmeade was encamped on the school's grounds.

As they neared the Castle, Sirius looked hopefully at the tent where Jeanie had been working the day before, but to his disappointment, he didn't see her among the people taking care of the children.

"Guess she's somewhere else," said Remus, a grin on his face.

Sirius looked at him and with a straight face said, "Who are you referring to?"

Remus just laughed at his friend's attempt to deflect his comment. "You know damn well who I'm referring to."

Sirius just smirked back at his friend, but remained silent and waked a little faster towards the open doors to the school.

Remus just gave a low chuckle and hurried to keep up with Sirius. As they entered they noticed that the Prefects were still guarding the entrance to the school.

"May I help you?" the nearest one said, eyeing Sirius in his Unspeakable's Robe warily.

Remus suppressed his grin and said, "We're here to check up on one of the injured. We'd also like to see Professor McGonagall if she's available."

The Prefect recognized Remus from his teaching stint and said, "Oh, hello Professor Lupin. I'm sorry but we were told that Professor McGonagall won't be available till sometime this evening, though if you want to check on any of the injured you can see Madam Pomfrey in the Hospital wing."

Remus looked at the young man, "Mister Fleet, isn't it?" he asked.

The Prefect smiled, "Yes sir, Herbert Fleet, I'm surprised you remembered me."

"Though I taught here a while ago, I pride myself on remembering those I taught," Remus replied.

"Thank you, Professor. I hope you and your . . .friend have a good day," Herbert replied, eyeing Sirius warily.

Remus grinned at the young Hufflepuff, "Thank you," he said, his eyes twinkling with mirth. He then turned and he and Sirius began their climb to the Hospital Wing, noticing that the few students who were out and about gave them a wide berth and eyed them just as warily as the Prefects had.

In no time at all they found themselves at the Hospital Wing and once they had entered they found Madam Pomfrey in her office.

Poppy Pomfrey was looking at a parchment on her desk when she heard a soft knock on her door. She looked up and smiled when she saw Remus Lupin standing there. Her look changed to one of surprise when he entered and she saw who was with him. It wasn't often that you saw an Unspeakable outside of the Ministry.

"What may I do for you Remus?" she asked pleasantly.

Remus waited till Sirius had entered the office and closed the door behind him before he spoke. "We were wondering how Harry and Ginny were doing?" he asked.

She looked at him in surprise, "I, ah, well. . . ." she started.

"It's okay, Poppy. We visited them yesterday," Remus said with a slight smile.

"You did?" she replied in shock.

"Yes we did. They're in a most unusual place. Don't you agree?" Remus replied.

"Yes, yes they are," Poppy agreed.

"Do you think we might visit them again today?" Remus asked.

Poppy sighed, "I'll find out for you and your friend," she replied, looking closely at Sirius. "Doma," she called out.

Immediately her house elf popped into being.

"Doma, Professor Lupin and his guest wonder if they might visit our special patients," Poppy said.

Doma looked at Remus and then Sirius closely. She then turned back to Poppy, "I's will check," she said succinctly and then with a pop, she was gone.

In a matter of moments she reappeared and smiled at the two men, "Please takes my hand," she said offering one to each of them.

Poppy arched an eyebrow but didn't have a chance to say anything before they disappeared from sight. Shaking her head lightly, she turned back to the report on the patients still under her care.


Bellatrix lay in her bed, hurting more than she had ever had before. Even two doses of Cruciatus Cure had done little more than dull the pain slightly. She had never endured a longer session under Voldemort's wand than she had upon her return from the assault on Hogsmeade.

She still couldn't understand how things had gone so wrong. Everything seemed to have been working out exactly as planned and then in the space of a few moments everything had gone pear shaped.

Who were the young couple who had appeared seemingly out of nowhere she kept asking herself. It all seemed to centre around them and their appearance.

She tried to roll to a different position in the hopes of relieving some of the pressure on her protesting muscles, but all it did was make her groan out.

She then heard someone enter her room and come over towards her, "Here, take this," she heard.

Opening her eyes she saw her sister, Narcissa standing next to her bed, holding a vial of potion out to her.

"More Cruciatus Cure?" she asked, her face hurting with the small effort just to talk,

"Yes," was the succinct reply.

"It doesn't seem to be helping," Bellatrix whispered, her voice still hoarse from screaming.

Narcissa shrugged, "It's all I have, unless you want a Sleeping Potion?"

Bellatrix considered it for a moment and then said, "I don't think so. If he summons me and I can't respond, I shudder to think what would happen."

Narcissa eyed her sister impassively, "True, but I don't think he'll be summoning you any time soon," she replied. "For one, he is most displeased with you at the moment and for another, he's not here."

"Where did he go?" Bellatrix asked.

Narcissa shrugged again, "Who knows where he goes, all I know is that he said he'd be gone for a day or two."

Bellatrix sighed in relief, "I'll take that Sleeping Potion then."

"I thought you might," Narcissa said, handing another vial to her sister. She ten drew up a chair and sat down. "What happened?" she asked.

Bellatrix paused, looking at the vial in her hand longingly. "I don't know, Cissy," she whispered. "Everything was going to plan, then . . . . all hell broke loose."

When Narcissa looked at her incredulously she said softly, "You're not going to believe this, but a Dragon appeared."

"A Dragon?" asked Narcissa in disbelief.

"A Dragon," Bellatrix repeated. Her eyes took on a far away look as she saw in her mind the huge Horntail as it had turned towards her and she shuddered at the memory of the flames as they hit her hastily thrown up shield.

"I barely got a shield up in time before the flames hit. It was such a near thing," she whispered.

How in the . . . " Narcissa began.

"I don't know!" Bellatrix snapped, hurting her raw throat. She groaned a little at the pain.

"It's not that I don't believe you," Narcissa said, "It's just so fantastical."

"You're telling me?" Bellatrix said, eyeing her sister.

"I'm sure you're telling the truth, or you wouldn't be alive right now," Narcissa said conciliatorily.

Bellatrix could only nod in response, her throat hurting so much she didn't wish to speak.

"Take your potion," Narcissa said, softly.

Bellatrix nodded once more, raised the vial to her lips and drank the bitter liquid. It took a moment but then she felt herself drifting into the blackness of sleep, hoping she felt better than she did at the moment when she awoke. She didn't think she could stand much more at the moment. With one last sigh, she was asleep, feeling nothing for the first time in a long time.

Narcissa looked down at her sister, shaking her head lightly before turning and leaving wondering if she hadn't made the wrong choice all those years ago.


Remus, Sirius and Doma appeared in the Sanctuary with a pop. Doma turned to the pair and said, "I's be leaving you now," and within an instant she was gone.

Remus and Sirius each gave a small jump when behind them they heard, "Welcome Professor Lupin and Lord Black."

They spun around and saw Donder standing there with a smile on his face. He glanced at Sirius and with a grin said "Nice robe," as he passed them and headed for the door to where Harry and Ginny were.

Sirius looked at Remus and whispered, "Did he just make a joke?"

Remus looked back at him slightly bewildered, "I believe he did," he whispered in surprise.

Shaking their heads they turned to follow the elf into see Harry and Ginny. They were immediately taken with the soft golden glow that surrounded the pair. The sight before them was very heart warming.

Ginny lay snuggled into Harry, her one leg over his and tucked between, her torso was half on his and she had one arm draped across his body, resting on his far shoulder, her head being on the near one.

For Harry his head was leaned into Ginny's and he had an arm wrapped around her. To all appearances they simply appeared asleep.

"How are they doing?" Sirius asked, lowering his hood.

Donder turned from looking at the couple and said, "Madam Pomfrey was being here this morning and says they being just fine."

Sirius nodded and turned towards Remus who looked back and nodded. They knew that the longer they stayed the more they interfered with the magical healing. With one last look, they both exited with Donder following closely behind.

Sirius then turned to Donder and said, "Is there anyone we can talk to?"

Donder regarded him for a moment, then with a small bow he said, "I's see if any one be available." He then left by the door that he had entered by.

Sirius and Remus looked around and sat down on two chairs that were near the fireplace. Though they were patient, the minutes began to tick by.

"Wonder how long we'll be here?" Remus asked.

"Who knows, but till someone comes back, we won't be going anywhere." Sirius replied.

"What do you think is going on with the elves?" Remus asked.

"That's what I'm hoping to find out," Sirius replied earnestly.

Remus eyed him for a moment. "You're serious, aren't you?" he asked.

Sirius grinned at him, "I'll let the obvious pun pass, and yes, I am serious about trying to find out what's going on."

Remus smiled back, "I'm glad about that, but I do think James would be slightly disappointed that you let the chance slip by."

"Yeah, well time in Azkaban and the way things are going has a way of changing a man," Sirius said softly.

The smile left Remus' face, "I know how you must feel."

Sirius looked sharply at his old friend, about to rebuke him. Then seeing the look on his face, decided not to. Remus had his own demons that he faced each and every day and his wasn't going to end like his time in Azkaban had.

Both men became absorbed with their own thoughts, so much so they didn't notice as Donder returned with Dobby.

"You's have some questions?" Dobby asked.

Both Remus and Sirius looked up with a start and smiled at one another.

"Yes," replied Sirius.

Dobby turned towards Donder, "Will's you bring our friends some refreshments?" he asked.

Donder nodded and left through the door they had arrived through.

Dobby came over and sat down near the two. "I's will try to answer your questions, but I's may not be able to do so to your satisfaction," he said.

They paused as Donder returned with a tray with some drinks and small cakes which he set down on a small table he conjured. He then turned and went and stood by the door, looking much like a butler in position and posture.

Sirius took a goblet and sipped it before saying "What is going on with the House Elves?"

Dobby smiled at him, "Many things," he reply enigmatically.

Remus couldn't help himself and gave a low laugh, earning him a glance from Sirius, who smiled and shook his head. "Can you be a little more specific?" he asked.

Dobby smiled back at them, but then he took on a more serious demeanour, "You's know about the state of the world and what's is coming."

Remus and Sirius nodded, all too aware of the state of things.

"Long ago it was foretold that we's must play our part," Dobby said.

"And what part is that?" asked Remus.

Dobby looked at him and sighed, "I's not sure for certain." When Remus and Sirius sighed in disgust he added, "We's are to help the Light, help Lord and Lady to preserve the Magic. Help the Mistress. "

When they looked at him bewilderedly, he gestured with his hands, indicating all around them.

It took a moment then Remus said, "You mean Hogwarts?"

"No!" Dobby said emphatically. "Mistress here long befores Castle. Mistress is . . . ." and then he sighed and shrugged. "I's not have the words," he said softly.

"Why have you been disobeying orders?" Sirius asked, his voice soft and filled with no malice.

"We's do what needs to be done, even if it means not doing as told. Time is growing short, Lord and Lady must be protected and healed,"he said, looking straight into Sirius' eyes.

You keep referring to Harry and Ginny as Lord and Lady, why?" Remus asked.

Dobby looked at him, sighing once more, "Because they is, they be chosen," he replied.

"Chosen by who?" asked Sirius.

"By those that comes before," Dobby answered.

"Come before?" said Remus, a frown upon his face.

"Can you tell us who?" Sirius asked, pressing for more information.

"The list is long and many," Dobby replied, somewhat frustrated.

"Can't you tell us any of them?" Remus asked, pleadingly.

Dobby eyed the two men, "If I's tell you, you's must not tell anyone," he said firmly.

"Why?" Sirius asked, quite perplexed.

"It not be time to reveal it," Dobby said.

Sirius and Remus exchanged glances, "Okay, we promise not to reveal the secret," Sirius said for the two of them.

"They's be Merlin's . . ." Dobby began, then struggled to find the right word, he finally said "Children.

"Merlin's children?" Sirius asked?

"Yes, and Uthur's too," Dobby added, still looking frustrated.

"Uthur?" asked Remus.

"Yes, Uthur of the Dragon," Dobby replied, seeing the incomprehension on their faces.

Sirius sighed and shook his head, not making the connection. "What does this all have to do with Harry and Ginny?" he asked, frowning.

"They's be chosen to be Protectors," Dobby said, a bit sadly, knowing he wasn't making himself clear.

Remus and Sirius exchanged glances again, trying to see if the other was making more sense than they were.

Dobby closed his eyes for a moment, "I's sorry, it be time for you to go."

The two Marauder's sighed, knowing that they were missing something that the elf was trying to get across to them.

Donder came forward and looked at them, "Please be taking my hand," he said softly.

Remus and Sirius stood in resignation, knowing for now that they weren't going to learn anything more.

"Thank you, Dobby," Remus said, a small smile on his face.

Dobby shrugged, "I's wish I knew more how to be telling," he said sadly.

Sirius said, "Thanks for what you have said, and especially for taking care of Harry and Ginny."

"It be our honour as well as duty," Dobby replied.

Sirius raised his hood and he and Remus took Donder's hands. In a moment they were gone.

Dobby sat there for a moment, a sad look on his face. He had tried his best to tell without telling too much. He hoped he had succeeded, sighing, he rose and left to continue with the preparations that he hoped would be enough to turn the tide of the massive forces being gathered by the Dark Lord.


Harry and Ginny awoke once again in the place between where they had met Cassi. Smiling at one another they began the short trek to the pavilion. Once again they were taken by the beauty of the setting they found themselves in.

Neither could recall seeing such beautiful flowers and plants, along with scores of colourful birds that winged their way through the trees.

In no time they spotted the pavilion and the beautiful woman that they had met their last time here.

"Hello Cassi," Ginny said with a smile.

"Welcome, Ginny, and you too Harry," Cassi said to them with a smile.

"It's nice to see you again," Harry said with a smile.

Cassi turned and indicated for the pair to take seats, she taking one also.

"I'm glad you two are recovering so well. Though I will be sad that you will not be able to visit once you leave the Sanctuary," Cassi said with a wan smile.

Harry and Ginny could sense her melancholy, and they felt sad for her.

"No matter," Cassi said, once more smiling brightly at them. "It is splendid that we can spend this time together at all."

"Will we be leaving soon?" Ginny asked.

"Soon, but you still have a ways to go before that happens. Though recharging, your cores still have quite a ways to go before they are fully back to normal," Cassi said warmly. "During the time you remain here, I wish to help you with what you will need to do."

"How can you help us in facing Voldemort?" Harry asked.

"While I can't help you directly when it comes to the final confrontation, I information that will be of immeasurable help," Cassi replied.

"What information is that?" Harry asked.

"I have vital information that you need to defeat Voldemort completely and permanently. I have the information that Professor Dumbledore wanted to give you before he died," Cassi told them.

Harry looked at Ginny, his mind in turmoil. He had hardly given thought to his old Headmaster since his tragic death. "What did he mean to tell me?" he asked softly.

Cassi hesitated for a moment, staring out across the countryside. "There were many things he wished to tell you, but the most important had to do with Tom Riddle, wh you also know as Lord Voldemort."

At the sound of Riddle's name, Harry felt Ginny give a slight jerk, not in fear, though their Bond he could tell it was just hearing his name again.

Cassi looked sympathetically at Ginny, "I know he is also well known by you too, especially his younger self."

Ginny nodded, her face set in a look of hard determination, "Yes, I know him well," she said tersely.

What I am going to tell you is his biggest secret, something that took many hard hours for Dumbledore to learn," Cassi explained. "It was while researching into that Diary that Ginny ended up with that he made the discovery. He died to protect that knowledge and keep Riddle from learning that anyone had discovered his secret."

Cassi had Harry's and Ginny's full and complete attention, booth eager to hear what Cassi had to say.

"I am sure you remember the special characteristic that the Diary displayed," she said softly, to which Ginny gave a curt nod.

"It did so because it was imbued with the most evil, darkest magic imaginable, it contained a piece of Riddle's soul," Cassi said, then pausing to see their reaction.

Harry and Ginny just kept looking at her steadily, their countenances more hardened if anything, both remembering the feeling they had gotten when they had banished the piece of Tom from Harry when they were still going through the Bonding process.

Cassi suddenly looked at Harry and Ginny in surprise. "Well, I think that is something even Dumbledore hadn't figured on," she said softly. "I'm glad you were able to deal with it and that it is no longer an issue. I'm positive that it would have been quite a thing to have to deal with if you weren't Bonded."

Harry and Ginny just nodded, also glad that it was now a non-issue.

Cassi got contemplative for a moment, "Hummm, yes. That does make sense," she said more to herself.

Smiling slightly she looked back to Harry and Ginny. "What the Diary was and it now looks like you were inadvertently, is an object termed a Horcrux."

"A Horcrux?" Harry said with a frown.

"Yes. Have either of you heard that term before?" Cassi asked.

"Well, yes and no," Ginny said, looking at Harry.

Cassi cocked her head, a questioning look on her face, but before she could speak, Harry explained. "It is described in the information that we learned from Merlin. But, to tell you the truth, we hadn't thought about it of associated it with the Diary."

Cassi nodded, "Well, you have had quite a bit on your minds," she said with a trace of laughter in her voice.

"That's a huge understatement," Ginny said, smiling at their hostess.

"Yes, it is," Cassi agreed, smiling at them. "The thing is, Professor Dumbledore is convinced that Riddle made several of them."

Harry and Ginny immediately saw the implication of her statement.

"He was able to piece together what he knew about the boy Riddle and the man he became and figured that he made a number of these objects,"Cassi continued. "He was able to discover what several of them were with a fair degree of certainty."

Cassi went on to explain about the Founder's objects that he had probably used and about the other items that he figured that Riddle had placed great value on. She gave them the background of his liking to commemorate special moments and impressive feats of magic. Laying out all of Dumbledore's suppositions to them.

It took a little over an hour but finally she had given them all that Dumbledore had learned and surmised.

For a moment, Harry and Ginny just sat in silence.

Harry sighed, "It just keeps getting more and more complicated and difficult," he finally said.

"Yes, doesn't it," Ginny said, feeling Harry's melancholy.

"At least you now know," Cassi said.

Harry gave a wan smile, "Yes, but that doesn't make it any easier."

Ginny looked at Harry, "What fun would that be?" she said, trying to lighten the mood.

Harry and Cassi both laughter at her, "None, I guess," Harry replied.

"The good news is that two are destroyed, three if you count the one that was inside of you." Cassi said. "Though I'm pretty sure that Dumbledore didn't include that one in his list."

"Two?" asked Ginny.

"Yes, the Diary and one that Albus was able to find and destroy before his death," Cassi said.

"So before we can confront Riddle for the last time, we will need to hunt down and destroy the remaining Horcruxes," Harry said aloud.

"I'm afraid so," Cassi said with a touch of regret.

"Any more good news?" Harry asked sarcastically.

Cassi looked at him and smiled, "Well, I think I know where one of them is," she said conciliatorily.

Harry and Ginny looked at her expectantly.

"I'm sure he hid one at Hogwarts," she said with a smile.

"Do you know where?" asked Ginny.

"I'm pretty sure," Cassi said, "Though I don't know which one."

"Well, it's a start," Harry said with a wan smile.


A/N: So our intrepid duo now know about the Horcruxes, just adding to the task they must complete.

Think there are any more surprises waiting for them?

As always, your reviews are greatly appreciated.