As promised, here is the continuation of my Dark Phoenix story!
For all readers of the prequel: Welcome back and thank you for your loyalty!
For all new readers: I would recommend to read Harry Potter and the Dark Phoenix first, otherwise this story will be very confusing!
Well, I hope you enjoy the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Rise of the Phoenixes!
And please. this chapter is un-betaed at the moment, as I have not recieved a reply from my beta yet, but didn't want to let you wait any longer. ^^
Enjoy and Review!
Thick fog was hovering over a dirty river that wound between overgrown, rubbish-strewn banks, surrounding a small town. It looked like any other town – here and there a lone soul could be found strolling through the night.
One thing, however, forced a certain part – the magical part - of the population passing through to look twice (or to spin on one's heel). An enormous mansion towered over the small town. Large black gates kept unwanted guests from getting in - and very... unfortunate guests... from getting out.
All sound close to the mansion seemed to have stopped. Nothing was heard apart from the whisper of the black water and no sign of life apart from a scrawny fox that was strolling around.
But then, with a very faint pop, a slim, hooded figure appeared out of thin air on the edge of the river. The fox froze, wary eyes fixed upon this strange new phenomenon. The figure seemed to take its bearings for a few moments, then set off with quick strides, its long cloak rustling over the grass, in the direction of the large gate.
With a second and louder pop, another hooded figure materialized.
The harsh cry startled the fox, now crouching almost flat in the undergrowth near the mansion's gate. It leapt from its hiding place and tried to disappear around the corner. There was a flash of green light, a yelp, and the fox fell back to the ground, dead.
"Severus! Wait for meee!"
The person stopped shortly and lowered his hood. Severus Snape, the current potions master of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, turned around with his trademark scowl in place and regarded to black-haired woman hurrying to catch up with him, with distaste.
"Bellatrix," was his curt reply and he continued walking without bothering to really wait for her.
"He'll be pleased, with the information you have for him, yes?" asked Bella in a gushing voice "You will tell him something that will make him pleased, won't you? And with that we will succeed, won't we? Say!"
But Snape was not listening; he had just walked straight through the closed gate which had shortly dissolved into smoke and strode up to the large front-doors of the mansion.
"Damn you half-blood! Wait!"
The woman grabbed his arm to stop him.
"Remove your hand!" the potions master snarled and drew a wand from beneath his cloak, holding it threateningly in the other's face.
"Oh, Sevvy! You wouldn't-"
"We don't have time for such nonsense. Our Lord is waiting."
Snape steeled himself and rose his hand to knock on the large door. However, before he could touch it, it opened and revealed a tall man with platinum blond hair and pale skin.
The man sneered. "Severus... you are late. And Bellatrix... aren't you supposed to be with Greyback?"
"Good evening, Lucius," Snape replied evenly.
Bellatrix did not greet the man, but rather giggled madly. "It's too boring there! We aren't allowed to kill them, even though they won't raise a finger to help."
"How... unfortunate. Do come in," replied Malfoy haughtily and if it hadn't been for his impressive self-control, Snape would have snorted. Not even a year ago, Lucius would never have opened the door personally to let someone into his mansion – but the Dark Lord was not happy with the man at the moment.
Lucius Malfoy opened the door a little more and they stepped directly into a large stony entrance hall.
"He is waiting in the dining-room..." Malfoy said and gestured over to a door on his left.
Snape didn't acknowledge the man and simply walked past him. Before opening the door he carefully checked if his Occlumency shields were in place and took a deep breath before entering.
He had to suppress a noise of disgust that threatened to escape him every time his eyes fell on the monstrosity that had become out of Tom Marvolo Riddle, aka Voldemort.
Voldemort was petting his giant snake Nagini and slowly looked up. The slits on his ashen face that had replaced his nose widened shortly and a twisted smile appeared on the thin lips. Snape forced himself to stare back into the red-eyes that were regarding him closely.
"Severus," Voldemort said softly and his voice made the hairs on the back of the potions master's neck stand to an end. "You should have been here fifteen minutes ago..."
Snape nodded curtly and stepped forward, sunk on his knees before him and kissed the hem of the monster's robe. "Forgive me, my Lord. Dumbledore would not let me leave."
"Is that so?"
Snape nodded once more and took some steps back. "Yes, my Lord."
Voldemort's eyes shifted over to Bellatrix when she threw herself down in front of him and Snape's lips curled in disgust when she repeatedly kissed the man's robe – whispering nonsense.
"Where is Greyback, Bella?" Voldemort asked – lazily waving his wand at the door when Lucius wanted to enter the room.
It closed directly into the blond's face.
"Why are you here? Did I not order you to stay with him?"
She trembled slightly. "My Lord I... they won't help us. There is no need to stay any lo-"
It was a mere whisper, but Bellatrix Lestrange started writhing on the floor in pain and gave a shrill scream which made Snape's ears ring and he looked away.
"I have ordered you to stay with Greyback and you will return to him immediately!" Voldemort hissed and Nagini slit around the chair to get a better look at the still twitching woman.
The Cruciatus stopped and Bellatrix whimpered before scrambling to her feet. She bowed down to the floor. "Yes, my Lord. Of course, my Lord. It was foolish of me, my Lord, to think that-"
"Go! Wormtail, you will accompany her!"
A man crept, hunchbacked, into the room from a small door on the right-hand side. He had small, watery eyes, a pointed nose, and wore an unpleasant simper. His left hand was caressing his right, which looked as though it was encased in a bright silver glove.
"Certainly! Certainly, my Lord!" he said, in a squeaky voice and hurried out the door after Bellatrix had swiftly made her escape.
Now Snape was on his own. This time, however, he did not look into Voldemort's eyes. A heavy silence lingered over the room, but Snape did not dare to speak before the pale creature asked him to.
"What news do you have for me, Severus?"
He took a deep breath and knelt down again – knowing fully well, that he would be on the receiving end of Voldemort's wand when it appeared as if he was talking down to him.
"Dumbledore's Order, my Lord, has not planned anything specific yet. The only thing I know is, that the members working in the Ministry are ordered to keep an eye on the new Minister."
Snape paused shortly and Voldemort's wand rose for an inch so he hurried to continue: "The Headquarters, however, are no longer located somewhere in London, although the Fidelius is still active. Due to a new spell I can only say, that the Order meets in the county of Kent."
"In Kent," Voldemort sneered. "And Potter? His relatives are dead. Where is he?"
"He is not at Headquarters, my Lord," Snape answered. "It's obvious, though, that after the adoption Black took him in."
"Crucio!" Voldemort snapped and the potions master gasped as the pain racked his body. "Don't get cocky Severus. You know better."
"F-forgive me, my Lord,"
Voldemort lifted the curse. "The blood-traitor adopted a little mudblood as well, didn't he?"
Snape nodded while he slowly got his breathing back under control. Voldemort seemed to be deep in thought.
"I have a task for you, Severus."
"It is unfortunate that Dolores Umbridge is no longer able to aid you at Hogwarts... because of that, you will try to get the position as the Defence-teacher for this year. And I want you to continue where Umbridge left off."
Snape looked up for a split second. "But my Lord, the werewolf Lupin-"
"Sectumsempra!" the creature cut him off. "I don't care how you do it, but you will do it!"
Snape clenched his eyes shut and grit his teeth when the oh so familiar curse hit him and left two large gashes on his chest that made him place a hand on the floor to steady himself. "A-as you wish, my Lord."
Voldemort suddenly rose to his feet and started to slowly pace around the room. Snape took deep calming breaths and pressed a hand on his chest to stop a little bit of the blood flowing out of his wounds. He bristled when Nagini slithered along his legs and resisted the urge to swat her away.
"Now, my spy... I have other tasks for you..."
Harry Potter yawned and lazily flicked his hand to levitate another log into the fire.
He had been sitting in a very comfortable plushy black armchair beside his new bedroom-window, reading a book about advanced protection-spells and sometimes staring out at the darkening sky.
They - meaning Sirius Black and his newly adopted daughter Rose and, of course, Harry himself - had moved nearly a week ago and the raven-haired wizard was currently enjoying the summer holidays after his fifth year. The summer, however, was surprisingly chilly and it hadn't stopped raining for three days, which forced him to choose between lighting a fire or putting on some warmer clothes.
He shook his head before he started brooding. It was as if the sun was protecting itself from the threat of Voldemort.
The large room he was allowed to call his own now, had a very expensive wooden floor, was painted a sandy-brown colour and some framed photos of his friends and his parents decorated the walls. Shelves out of East Indian Rosewood were stacked with books and other various knick-knacks and a desk was positioned right in the middle of them on the left-hand-side. A large four-poster bed with black and gold hangings on the other side was standing on a large plushy sand-coloured carpet.
A fireplace was near the door and a set of two small black sofas, an armchair and a small rose-wooden desk were not far away in the corner – also standing on a smaller sandy-brown carpet. The room was very tidy, except for some places: a number of books on dark magic lay higgledy-piggledy among the tangled robes on his bed. Letters from Ron, Neville, Draco and Hermione lay sprawled in between a mess of newspapers. Parchments and quills sat in a puddle of light on his desk.
Harry's eyes travelled over to the newspapers and he sighed softly when one headline particularly sprung into his eyes:
HARRY POTTER: THE CHOSEN ONE?
He hadn't bothered to read the article, but obviously 'The-Boy-Who-Lived' was no longer enough for the press and now they had started to call him that. How they had gotten wind of the prophecy was beyond him, but he guessed, some Unspeakables had known about the existence of said glass-ball, even if they didn't know the wording.
A second newspaper lay beside the first. This one bore the headline:
SCRIMGEOUR SUCCEEDS FUDGE
Most of this front page was taken up with a large black-and-white picture of a man with a lion-like mane of thick hair and a rather ravaged face. The picture was moving - the man was waving at the ceiling.
This was the copy from this morning and Harry was glad, that the incompetent fool had finally been sacked. He just hoped that this Scrimgeou-character would do a better job, although when looking at the picture, he doubted it.
Harry's eyes shortly turned to the book in his lap and then continued to take the room in. A large cage was standing opened and not far away from him on the left side of the window on a small table. Despite the open door, inside it was a magnificent snowy owl. Her amber eyes surveyed the room imperiously, her head swivelling occasionally to gaze at him. Once or twice she clicked her beak, restless and eager to fly due to the heavy rain outside.
He continued to ignore the book and once more looked out of the window on the second floor. A large courtyard could be seen and a small road with even smaller street lights was curving along in the distance. When Sirius had talked about a new house five days ago, Harry hadn't believed him at first, but now he did.
The manor of course was located in Kent because of Sirius status as the Marquis of Magical Kent. It was around twenty miles away from a town called Sevenoaks and had been the original residence of the Black family before they had decided to permanently move into their town-house in London during what the muggles called 'The Wars of the Roses'.
Just like Grimmauld Place it couldn't be seen by muggles and thanks to Dumbledore helping Sirius with the warding, was also under the Fidelius charm with Sirius as the secret keeper.
According to Sirius, not far away from them there was another manor that had belonged to the Black family and had once been an exact replica of the one they were living in now. However, they had sold it to muggles and other than them, the Black-family had never extended their house, but had rather rebuilt it every hundred years or so (no matter that they didn't even live there for around five centuries...)
Therefore, the house they now lived in was a large Victorian building, surrounded on all sides by a square moat, crossed by two bridges leading to the small road and to the already mentioned large courtyard with a comfortable sitting area near a beautifully crafted circular fountain with five animal statues facing the four cardinal points and another one on top of it.
Facing north, a wolf had his head raised high as if howling to the moon and a large black dog did the same while facing south. Looking in the directions of west and east were a stag and a doe, both majestically surveying their surroundings. The animal on the top of the fountain however was a phoenix with spread wings.
It symbolized the Marauders and Lily, Harry's mother. And although a Phoenix did not only represent Harry's animagus-transformation, Sirius and Remus insisted, that it was him.
Another great thing in the courtyard was – to Harry's and Rose's immense delight – a small Quidditch-pitch.
Other than the town-house at Grimmauld Place, there were no traces of dark magic (except books) in this house and Sirius had proudly announced that he himself (with a little help of Remus) had decorated and furnished it and with a little bit of surprise Harry had noted that the man had a very good – but of course also very expensive – taste.
The furniture in his room alone was probably worth as much as the Dursley's house had been. Not to mention, that he had his very own bathroom just behind the door near the large bed.
The manor itself had seven bedrooms. Two of them were already occupied by Harry and his newly adopted sister Rose. And two more would be occupied by Narcissa and Draco as soon as the two returned. The pair had decided to accompany Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel to their house in Australia. Narcissa had been restricted to Grimmauld Place for far too long and as soon as Draco had seen her on the station, he had literally ordered his mother to grab some stuff and not an hour later the two had disappeared.
The other three bedrooms would be guest rooms. There also was a circular master-bedroom in the tower that was part of the manor. It resembled the Gryffindor common room, just with a large bed instead of the plushy armchairs. On the ground-floor the circular room was a library.
The entrance hall reminded Harry a little bit of a Greek temple with the sandy coloured marble floor and pillars, as well as two small and simple fountains on each side of the grand staircase leading to the second floor. He knew that Sirius had wanted to let every trace of the Blacks being a dark family disappear with that. Several large tapestries showing various landscapes were also one of the first things you saw when you entered the house through the large front door.
Five doors led to different large rooms. One was located behind the staircase and led to the aforementioned circular library. Another one, next to the stairs lead to a perfectly furnished kitchen that was next to a dining room that rivalled pictures of the ones in splendid castles where one would only see gorgeously apparelled people.
On the other side of the stairs was a door leading to a very luxurious living room that had everything one – be it muggle or wizard - could desire and would be able to fit more than twenty people in it. This time it was connected with a very large room that sported a swimming pool and had an ambience that easily compared to the wellness-areas in luxury hotels.
On both sides of the hall were stairs behind doors, leading down into the cellar. There, a fully equipped potions lab and a rather empty looking room could be found. Only targets, four armchairs, cushions and several mirrors on the wall were in there. It was the duelling-room.
The high-pitched scream made Harry six feet into the air and immediately his wand appeared in his hand. Hedwig screeched when the book he had been holding hit her cage due to Harry having thrown it away while jumping out the door.
He stopped shortly in the hallway and tried to pinpoint the screams' location. It could only have been Rose because Harry knew for certain, that Sirius was outside in the former horse-stables feeding Buckbeak. He had to smile despite his worry. And the Marauder surely was unable to scream that high-pitched.
He realized where the scream had come from rushed down the large staircase and looked around in the Entrance Hall.
A small brown-haired girl stormed out of the kitchen, her face pale and panicky. Her eyes widened and she flew into his arms - only staying there for the break of a second while Harry surveyed his surroundings for any danger - before frantically dragging him back to where she came from.
"Rose? Rosie, what's wrong?" Harry asked worriedly and she shook her head.
"Sorry! Harry, you have to come quick! P-p-professor Snape is here. And... he's hurt! Where's Sirius?"
"WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?" bellowed a worried voice and Harry didn't bother to answer but rather followed Rose into the kitchen. "Harry? Rose? Where are you?"
He stopped for a second, when he saw Snape hunched over on one of the chairs near the large fireplace and then immediately looked at his newly adopted sister. He thought for a second. She had to get out of here before she really started panicking. "Rose, get some clean cloths and a bowl out of the bathroom and wet them. Then bring them here."
Rose looked between Harry and Snape before nodding slowly and then hurried away.
Harry went over to Snape. "Professor, what happened?"
"G-get Dumbledore first, Potter!" the man ordered through clenched teeth and groaned afterwards.
Giving a hesitant nod, Harry didn't acknowledge his godfather-turned-adoptive-father when he barged into the kitchen and threw some floo-powder into the fireplace.
"What in Merlin's name's going on here?" he heard Sirius ask. "Snivellus what happend to you?"
"Shut up, you mangy mutt!"
"Albus Dumbledore!" Harry shouted, ignoring the brewing argument of the two adults and instead of a head appearing in the green flames as Harry had expected, a whole person stepped out of it He stumbled backwards when a tall old man with white hair and an equally white beard appeared He was wearing a dark blue cloak with silver stars on it and a pale blue robe underneath it. He was looking at him over his half-moon spectacles.
"Harry, my boy. I just wanted to come over. What is..." he trailed off when his eyes fell on the hunched over potions master who was currently being bombarded with questions by Sirius.
"Severus," he said and with a flick of his wand the thick black robe Snape had been wearing disappeared and left better access to the wounds on his chest. "What happened?"
Snape looked up and grimaced, while Harry – after a nod from the headmaster – helped the man to carefully clean one of the large gashes. Sirius meanwhile had gone over to the cupboards and was searching for something.
Snape did not answer, but threw a pointed look over to the door, where Rose was standing once more, carrying a bowl and some cloths. She looked at each of them, a little unsure.
Sirius shared a short look with Harry and then immediately hurried over to her and blocked her line of vision. "Thanks, Rosie. You did great. Just give them to me."
He caressed her cheek and nodded over to the door behind her, saying in a soft voice: "Please don't worry, okay? Why don't you go up and take a shower before dinner? You'd like to make a good impression on Mr. Greengrass when he comes to oversee the adoption-ritual, don't you?"
"I... yes," she mumbled quietly and peered around Sirius at Harry, who was standing in front of Snape so that she could not see the man's injuries. "Is he going to be okay?"
Harry nodded and gave her an encouraging smile which made her shoulders sack in relief before she slowly turned around and left the kitchen.
Sirius sighed audibly and went back over to the cupboard and continued searching through it.
Snape hissed when Harry and Dumbledore vanished the blood on his skin and shirt. "The Dark Lord wants me to take Lupin's position this year. He also said something else... well it's something I'd like to talk to you about in private."
"Damn it, why not here?" Harry growled. "Why did you come here anyway? Why didn't you go to Pomfrey?"
"She is on holiday," Dumbledore answered for him. "And Hogwarts is otherwise deserted as well. With the exception of Mr. Filch and Hagrid. I myself was only at Hogwarts to check the wards when you called."
Snape sighed in relief when the gashes on his chest slowly closed as Dumbledore waved his wand and looked at Harry this time. "He knows about your violent reaction to dragon-blood as well. And he wants me to test your reaction and report the symptoms to him."
"I know that he knows..." Harry murmured sullenly. "Avery was the one who told him roughly two weeks ago."
Suddenly Sirius pressed a vial into the potions master's hand and Snape slowly blinked up at him which looked strangely insulting. "What is that, Black?"
Sirius scowled at him. "You're the expert here. It's a nerve-calming potion to the lessen the post-cruciatus effect."
Snape grumbled inaudibly and uncorked the vial before carefully sniffing it. Obviously not finding anything wrong with it, he drank it without as much as moving a muscle at the horrible taste.
Dumbledore sighed when the gashes on Snape's chest were nearly all the way closed up and the man immediately stood up. "Severus, I want you to rest until tomorrow before talking about the other things that Voldemort said. It can't be that urgent if he cursed you this much."
Harry smiled a little bit when Dumbledore simply raised his hand and made the man close his mouth with that. Snape then just nodded curtly and with a small nod at Harry, threw floo-powder. He shortly looked at Sirius before vanishing. "I will I return at eleven o'clock with the potion for the ritual."
Dumbledore shook his head and turned to Harry. "I will also return shortly. I need to have a word with you."
"Err... sure," Harry replied, not really knowing what exactly he had done this time.
The headmaster also disappeared into the flames and Harry and Sirius looked at each other.
"Well..." the animagus said. "I will get started on dinner then. Would you check on Rose after she finished her shower?"
He nodded. "Sure."
Harry was once more sitting in the armchair by the window while waiting for Rose to finish her shower. Hedwig had left her cage and was now sitting on his wardrobe. He heard a small noise in the hallway and looked over to his open door.
"Rose?" he asked, "Would you mind coming in until dinner's ready?"
"Hey, Harry..." Rose said, her damp hair heavilly faling on her shoulders. She was wearing silky black pants and a purple velvety shirt now. "How's Professor Snape? What... what's going on?"
He shook his head and gestured her to sit down. "Everything's okay. Snape got a little roughed up while running and errand for Professor Dumbledore."
"Oh...okay..." She fidgeted nervously and looked down at her hands. Harry had to give it to her, she was a rather smart little girl for not asking any more questions. Explining to her what had really happened, wasn't something Harry was very keen on doing.
"Say... will you be present at the ritual at eleven o'clock?"
Slightly surprised at the abrupt change in topic, he nodded. "Sure. I will try to be there fore the full two hours."
She grimaced. "Why does it have to take so long? And why's it so late at night anyways?"
He smiled softly. "Because this ritual is very complicated and can only be successful when additionally to the potion and the rune-circle, the right star constellations are above you."
"Will it... will it hurt?" she asked very quietly.
Harry stood up and went over to her, giving her a small hug. "Rosie, you don't need to be afraid of the ritual. I've told you before, the only thing you'll have to fear is probably the bad taste of the potion and a small difference in appearance the next time you look into a mirror."
"But... what if Sirius decides that he wants to chancel the blood-adoption? If he... if he decides that he doesn't want me any more?"
"Rose Celeste Black!" snapped Harry and Rose tensed shortly, before seeing the smile on his face. "He's already adopted you legally and the blood-adoption is something to further ensure your safety. Or has Sirius done anything to suggest he'd abandon you?"
She gulped slightly and then shook her head with a small sigh. "No... I guess I'm just nervous. After that he'll be my real father – by blood I mean – and not just my adoptive father."
Harry grinned and closed the door behind him when they left his room. "Jep, and I bet he's more worried about making mistakes than you are. Imagine how messed up I'd be if he'd been able to adopt me when I was little and not only two weeks ago."
Rose stared at him and opened her mouth to reply, but was interrupted before she could say anything.
"COME ON YOU TWO OR I'LL EAT EVERTHING MYSELF!"
Harry smirked. "I guess dinner's ready then."
Rose giggled. "I heard."
When they reached the kitchen, Harry threw himself on a free chair on a table in the middle of the kitchen. They had decided to only use the dining room when the Order members would stay for dinner. He chuckled while his godfather-turned-adoptive-father carefully carried two pots and three plates over to the table while trying to hold his balance.
Harry noted with amusement that a strand of the man's silky black hair kept getting into his silvery eyes and that Sirius was trying to blow it out of his face each time – not really making his task of balancing the food easier.
"Siri... you do know, that there's something called magic to levitate things?"
"Quiet pup!" he grinned and put the things on the table. "If I'd do anything with magic, I'll look like that Dursley-fellow did in no time."
With a slight shudder at the thought Harry loaded his plate with some roast-potatoes and roast lamb while Sirius plopped down in-between Rose and himself.
"I hope it's edible this time..." murmured Rose and Sirius mock-pouted.
"Why?" he asked and took a bite to proof it was harmless. "I only burned the meat once while cooking for the first time here. Once! Why're you two still on about that?"
"Dunno... maybe because you not only burned it to a crisp, but also used sugar instead of salt to make it worse?" Harry smirked.
Sirius frowned slightly. "Yeah, well... d'you think we should get another house-elf?" He looked over to a small door where Kreacher currently resided. "He may've gotten a little friendlier but he's definitely unable to do any more work around the house. He's too old."
"Well I think I could ask Do-"
Harry stopped talking and his head snapped over to the fireplace. "Sir... weren't you supposed to come after dinner?"
Dumbledore stepped out of it and with a sigh, Harry mentally prepared himself for abandoning his dinner as he saw the serious expression on the man's face. Sirius had half risen to his feet, but Dumbledore gestured him to stay seated and gave them an apologetic smile.
"Good evening once more, Sirius, Rose. And Harry, I am sorry, I did not mean to interrupt your dinner, but I am afraid the matter is urgent now."
Harry shovelled a last bite of his potatoes into his mouth and shook his head. 'What is it now?' was the first thing he thought. He got up and held the door to the hallway open for him and led him into the living-room without saying anything.
"Please, feel free to sit down, Sir," he finally said softly when Dumbledore did not attempt to start the conversation. "What exactly is the problem? It has nothing to do with Snape now, has it? I hope he is recovering?"
"No it has not. And yes, I had to order him to rest, but he complied." Dumbledore did not take the offered seat, but merely peered at him over his half-moon spectacles. "Harry, do you remember what I told you about Voldemort's horcruxes after you came back from the Department of Mysteries three weeks ago?"
With a slightly bitter laugh, Harry shook his head and started to slowly pace in front of the old wizard. "How could I forget?"
The headmaster nodded slowly and then stared at him for a long time. "I have also told you that I will not make the mistake of keeping secrets from you again. You remember this as well?"
Harry stopped his pacing, not really understanding what exactly was going on. "Yes, Headmaster...?"
He left his answer hanging around the room as a question and Dumbledore once more nodded. This by far had to be the most strangest conversation he had ever had with the old wizard and he nearly tripped at the man's next words.
"Then I will be direct: I know where another horcrux is located."
"You... I... what?" he spluttered. "I mean... when? How? Or better - where?"
Obviously a little amused at Harry's inability to form a coherent sentence at the moment, Dumbledore gave him a small smile and a little bit of the twinkle that had been absent returned to his eyes. "The 'when' and 'how' are not important for the time being, my boy. And for the 'where'... it's located in a small run-down cottage not far away from the graveyard in Little Hangleton."
The hairs on the back of Harry's neck stood to an end when he heard that. "In a run-down cottage?" He shook his head in disbelief. "Why in Merlin's name would Voldemort stash one of his horcruxes away in an old cottage?"
Dumbledore sighed softly. "I forgot that you don't know... we shall speak about the 'why' afterwards."
"Oh, honestly Sir! You're starting to annoy me here!" he huffed and let a small smile slip which disappeared as soon as it had been there. "Thank you for telling me about that, but... what exactly am I supposed to do with that information?"
Dumbledore seemed to look for something in the pocket of his long dark blue robe while answering: "You see, Harry, I would like you to accompany me in retrieving the item. It is only fair since it concerns you as much as it does me."
Dumbledore inclined his head. "With me of course."
Harry blinked and slowly shook his head. "Won't any other member of the Order come with us?"
"I am afraid they are all otherwise occupied. We two will have to do it alone. Normally I wouldn't ask of you to come with me alone, but as I said before. It's urgent to retrieve that item."
And, did you like it so far? Review please!
Shadow Phoenix of Slytherin