Hello, my dearest readers! It's is that amazing time of the year again, when we're nearing summer and freedom! Happy Victoria Day to all my fellow Canadians! I hope you've had a great one!
I would like to thank every single one of you for your fantastic reviews, words of encouragement, suggestions, favourites, follows, etc.
Specifically I would like to thank my kind reviewers: Lalina92, Limavaa, RupeyGiles, WHO KNOWS, Eifie, LilyDivergentPotterheadTribute, MiraclesHappen94, hummingpetal, hummingpetal, September And Summer, Mrs. Theodore Nott, DragonOwl, somebody, Ollivanders Shop, CountessCzan, dark m00n angel, and Daedalus13. I love hearing your lovely voices and suggestions! You're the best!
"Step from the road to the sea to the sky, and I do believe that we rely on when I lay it on, come get to play it on all my life to sacrifice…" ~Snow (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
The remainder of the train ride continued at a quiet, peaceful volume, as all four couples were jam-packed in the same train compartment. As Luna and Sev were the last two to finally enter, when the train was soaring through the countryside at the speed of light, they came to see that there was no more room in the compartment.
Although Severus did protest for a long while outside of the train compartment, digging his heels in the ground and cussing at Luna, the determined girl managed to drag him inside, a cheery smile lighting her face up.
Even thought the compartment seemed to be overflowing with only three lanky Marauders, (Peter was still nowhere to be found), Luna was unwavering of the claustrophobic conditions and found a spot between the door and Lily and James. Although it took Lily a while to scold her boyfriend, and force him to take his feet off the seat, the seat was soon preoccupied by Luna and Sev.
James was forced out of her lap, as she slid closer to the window for better light for her reading. James didn't seem to mind, since he seemed as tired as hell anyway.
On the opposite side of the compartment was an untouched mirror image of Sirius and Hermione. Frozen by the window, she was too captivated reading an 'extremely important' Arithmancy book to ever care that Sirius was sprawled on her lap. His long legs were cockily stretched all the way to the door, interfering in Remus and Ginny's space.
Luckily, the two didn't seem to mind, as they slammed a book down on them, knowing that Sirius was too stuck-up to move. A guaranteed whimper escaped Sirius' lips when they did so.
"Bloody hell, was that the heaviest book you could find in the library?" He partially lifted himself up, glaring at Moony and Ginny.
The two showed off the famous Marauder grin, which the girls started to learn to mimic, exchanged a look and continued whispering to each other.
"If only you were to take your feet off, Siri..." Hermione chided him under her breath, without breaking eye contact with the words on the page.
The boy snorted, his grey eyes searching for her brown ones, but not succeeding. "You're saying that as if there's even a possibility of that happening."
She shrugged her shoulders, and raised her eyebrows. "Your loss. You shouldn't be complaining then."
The rest of the ride continued quietly, as two of the Marauders were thrown into the lovely world of sleep, and the other members of the compartment were busy reading – a curious sight seen amongst the Marauders. Never had this happened before. If anyone was to walk into the compartment right at that moment, there would be no doubt that they'd think the Marauders were either dead, or under some wicked spell.
Only they were under a wicked spell.
A wicked called love.
After arriving at the train station and saying their woeful goodbyes, the Marauders all separated and headed their own ways. Each and every one of them knew that they'd see each other more than once during the holidays, but separation was always a remorseful occurance.
Sirius, being the special snowflake he tended to be, jumped on James' back and they charged through the dense crowd. Just over the cheery shouts of the crowds, the four remaining girls heard James' gleeful shouts.
"Lily, I love youuuuu!" the girls burst into fits of laughter, shaking their heads. "Damn it put me down, Sirius! It's bloody cold out here."
"That boy is crazy, I swear to Merlin." Lily fixed her woollen hat, and reached for her trunk. "I think I've got to go. That's my mum and dad over there. Write to me!" She smiled at Hermione, Ginny and Luna, and enveloped all of them in a hug, before she started heading towards the handsome middle-aged couple.
Her father looked strong and well built, with dark red hair, his arms crossed over his chest. Her mother had a slender, candour figure dressed in an elegant pea coat. Her dark brown hair tumbled down her back tied in a ponytail.
With a relieved look on their faces, their eyes fell upon their beaming daughter, who happily jogged towards them, tugging her trunk, until she released it and wrapped her arms around her father's neck.
"How awesome must it be to actually have an existing family who actually loves you?" Ginny interrupted the happy viewing session solemnly, wrapping her cloak tighter around her bodice.
Hermione looked at the retreating family, a sad, bitter tingle hitting her nose. It was like one of those times where you were either about the cry, or sneeze, but you weren't sure which one. "Christmas is supposed to be a happy holiday, Ginny, you're not supposed to get us all depressed."
"Well sorry, Ms. Sensitive." Ginny mocked Hermione. The two girls exchanged glares, and Luna decided to step in before an inevitable conflict would erupt, although Ginny had the gut to add, "The last time we were here, you were colder than winter in Antarctica."
Surprisingly, the girls smirked at the recollection. The last time they were at King's Cross Station, they still played the role of three innocent, homeschooled girls, lost in their solemn emotions, bitter from their losses. But now everything was back to normal, although each felt a missing piece in their hearts.
"Where are we staying?" Luna demanded, a ruthless expression crossing her face. "I mean I have stayed in the worse conditions before, so I don't mind if we even live on the street, although I think that if someone finds us begging for galleons and sickles on the streets, rumours will spread quicker than STDs in a brothel."
"And that's pretty damn quick." Ginny grinned, nudging Luna in the ribcage. They shared a waggling of the eyebrows, until Hermione came to interrupt.
"But honestly." she noted sternly, fiddling with the handle of her trunk, her other hand's fingers tapping on the wood of her wand.
"There's one extremely obvious answer." The redhead snorted subtly, flicking her hair.
"Well share it with us then, Princess Ginevra." Luna performed a low bow mockingly, the act of which Ginny quite enjoyed, as a sneer worthy of Malfoy erupted on her face.
"The Leaky Cauldron."
After finally settling down in the most famous inn in Magical London, and getting the perfect accommodations from Tom, who carefully asked about their mental and social health, the three girls collapsed in their room. All the fatigue from their sleepless nights at Hogwarts in the past three months was finally released, as they slept for what seemed like a decade.
Fluttering her eyelashes, and grumbling to herself, Hermione opened one eye and examined the messy room. They hadn't bothered to clean up the previous night and all of a sudden a clean freak had awoken inside of her. But it was way too early to move. What was the time?
Sleepily, Hermione stretched out her left arm, patting and searching for a bedside table where she had deposited her wand the previous night. Unless she didn't.
Opening another eye, she turned to the bedside table, and noticed there was nothing there. Groaning, she pulled herself out of bed, avoiding any mirrors she might come in contact with, afraid that they would shatter. She predicted what kind of a rat's nest had formed on her head.
She stumbled over to her clothes, neatly folded on the rocking chair, ignoring the mess Ginny left around. She needed to watch where she stepped, because in every part of the room there seemed to be a discarded article of clothing.
"It looks like someone had sex in here." Hermione mumbled, an irregular thought crossing her mind. "Yep, it's way too early in the morning to be alive."
One of the only things she had accomplished to do the previous night was to write Lily a letter, along with their address and plans for the holidays, which consisted of nearly nothing. Giving up on the time, Hermione grumbled and headed towards the washroom to do her business. But right when she walked it, and grabbed her toothbrush, she managed to grab her wand instead.
"What the bloody hell..." She shook her head, and rubbed the sleep from her eyes, hoping that she was imagining that her wand was in a toothbrush holder. She took it and flicked it, muttering "Tempus". The numbers 10:23 flickered brightly in red. For the love of Merlin, they had been asleep since six o' clock the previous night.
But at that moment, Hermione was more concerned with what her wand was doing in the toothbrush holder.
"Ginny!" She hollered at the top of her lungs. After waiting a few seconds, and receiving no reply, she peeked out of the bathroom and double check that Ginny was still in the room. She saw a tail of silky red hair in the bed beside her. "Ginny!" She called once more, and this time movement was miraculously detected from the girl's bed.
"What do you want, Granger?" A sleepy, pissed-off voice muttered from under the thick blanket.
"What on earth is my wand doing in the washroom? Did you have something to drink yesterday?" She joked, suddenly noticing how cold the stone floor in the bathroom was. She headed to do an awkward hop from foot to foot to avoid getting morning frostbite.
"I think maybe I brushed my teeth with it yesterday. Or maybe I tried to shave my legs. What kind of a question is that Hermione? Bugger off." She grumbled once more, before her whole head disappeared underneath the thick blanket.
Shaking her head, Hermione continued into the washroom. After exiting, putting a fresh layer of clothes on, and combing through her hair, which finally turned into a silky mane, she looked around the room once more.
There was something missing.
The door opened, and Luna floated in, her dark cloak swishing behind her. "Breakfast is here!" She cheered happily, her blue eyes illuminating the dark room, as she carried take-out bags in her arms. "Come on you sleepyheads, are you still in bed?" She scrutinized Ginny's bed disbelievingly.
"I'm awake." Hermione called from the writing desk, where she took to count the remaining money they needed to go Christmas shopping that day.
"Well, we need to get her awake then." Luna grinned, making eye contact with Hermione, who rolled her eyes and nodded in agreement. She mouthed "Go for it" and winked at her friend. From personal experience, she knew that Luna was the last person you'd want to be woken up by. She set down her bags and got to work.
Screeches and groans followed in the next five minutes of Ginny getting pulled out of bed by Luna, sadistically—the muggle way. Oh winter mornings were the best. Hermione turned around, holding her chin on the arch of the chair, as she watched Luna ferociously pull Ginny out into the treacherous cold of the winter morning.
"Come on, Gin! We gotta go shopping today!" Luna urged her friend, tugging her legs.
"Luna stop, you're making my pyjamas give me a wedgie, and it's not the best feeling I'd like to experience on a holiday morning." Ginny shrieked, holding on to the bed frame.
"Well that's too bad because you've got to get up! It's a brand new day, and we're gonna have loads of fun shopping and looking for presents and you've gotta get into the Christmas cheer!" Luna said every word with a harder tug.
"Last time I checked you don't have enough muscle to pull me out of bed." Ginny giggled slyly, throwing Luna a competitive look over her shoulder.
"I may not be strong in muscle, but I..." Luna glanced back at Hermione, who was watching with an amused expression dancing across her face, "Have a strong will!" That was when she dropped Ginny's legs and whipped out her wand from her back pocket. "Levicorpus Dolent!" She exclaimed in her innocent gleeful voice, watching Ginny flip over, hoisted by her ankle.
Hermione's eyes widened in surprise. Sometimes the muggle ways just didn't work as well as the wizard ways. "I haven't seen that one before. What does it do?" She asked, captivated by the addition to the spell.
That was when Ginny started yelping and laughing, her limbs twitching, as a tingling sensation crossed every bone in her body. Luna observed her work for a few seconds, then with a victorious grin on her face turned to face Hermione.
"It's a modified version of Levicorpus." Luna started to explain with an captivated intelligence. "Severus taught me how to add certain qualities to various spells, which was fairly complicated, to be quite honest. But I accomplished it, and I think it had a pretty amazing result." She examined Ginny, who was yelping and struggling to keep her shirt up, while caught in a giggling fit.
"What exactly does it do again?" Hermione laughed, watching Ginny struggle with herself. That's why you don't mess with Luna, especially in the mornings. She could do the most merciless things to you in the littlest ways. "I mean except for the typical Levicorpus thing? Oi, Gin! Get a shirt will you? You're flashing everyone!"
"There's no one to flash!" Ginny bit back, a devious smile crossing her lips before she was caught in another laughing fit.
"Actually there is. Our room is facing another one, and I think you just scared a senior couple out of their pants." Luna laughed, rubbing her eyes to try preventing herself from crying. Hermione turned around, surprised, to truly see two shadows scurrying out of the room across from them.
"I HATE YOU, YOU KNOW THAT?!" Ginny shrieked, trying to throw Luna the dirtiest look humanly possible.
Smiling at her own work, Luna's face lit up. "You know when you hit your elbow, and you get this tingling feeling, which both hurts and feels super weird?" Hermione nodded. "Well this spell stimulates your whole body to feel that way." She two looked over at Ginny, who was still struggling in the air, and shook her head pitifully. Then slowly and regretfully, she drew her wand and muttered a counter spell, causing Ginny to give one final shriek and fall face first on the bed.
"At least she had a soft landing..." Hermione laughed quietly, nudging Luna's side.
"You two are so mean, honestly. What did I ever do to deserve this?" Ginny sat up, pouting. "I hate to say this, but I'd rather be drinking tea with Dolores Umbridge than sitting here with you two." She scrunched up her face.
"Oh come on, Gin, you know what Luna can do, especially early in the mornings."
"Exactly." Luna nodded, her innocent, guiltless smile dancing on her childish face. "And you also know that I am especially merciless in the mornings."
"That I know as well..." Ginny muttered, blinking and looking around the room. "But we all know the reason why you wanted to do that. Meaning, wake me up, not the flipping and throwing me across the room." She grinned cheekily.
"And why is that, Ginny dearest?" Hermione asked once more, picking up Ginny's sweater from the floor and throwing it at her.
"Because Luna wanted... to touch my beautiful legs." She explained calmly, causing Hermione to roll her eyes and snort. She got up and started picking up the discarded clothes off the floor of their room.
Luna chuckled sarcastically. "Obviously, that was the only reason I did that. Not that we have to actually get up, and not that I don't have my own legs to touch."
"Well yours aren't as nice as mine." Ginny protested stubbornly, bringing her legs up and pulling up her pyjama pants. "Mine are smooth and built from Quidditch. They're extra moisturized."
Finally giving up and deciding not to engage in a silly conversation, Luna shrugged and rolled her eyes. "Oh, and speaking of which, you should shave those 'smooth and built legs'." She examined Ginny with a grin on her face. "When I grabbed them, I thought I grabbed a tarantula instead." She stuck out her tongue, and leaned against the table Hermione just abandoned.
"And why would I want to do that?" Ginny crossed her arms over her chest and glared arrogantly. "It's the winter and they're keeping me warm! Do you shave your legs when you have to walk in the freezing cold? Or practice outside with fricken James Potter in any weather condition?"
"I meant," Luna narrowed her eyes, critically observing Ginny, "In the next couple of days. When you two were deep into your merciful and childish sleep, I received a letter from Mr. James Potter." She flipped out an envelope with a red seal out of her back pocket, and waved it tauntingly in front of Ginny's face.
"Ginny, how the bloody hell did your bra get under the bed?" Hermione called from beside Luna's bed, near the window. "What is that?" She asked Luna quizzically, a curious flash sparking her eyes.
"A letter from Mr. James Potter." Luna repeated once more, blinking nonchalantly.
"Yes, but what does it say?" Ginny asked urgently, attempting to snatch the letter out of Luna's hand. Surprisingly the girl had wonderful reaction time, and managed to pull the card out of Ginny's reach just in time.
"There's two parts in it. One is from James, the other is an official invitation."
"An invitation to what?"
"Why, Ginny, do you not know? Each year the Potters host an Annual Winter Ball." Luna's eyes sparked with excitement.
"Shut up." Ginny's jaw dropped.
"I didn't say anything."
"Shut up!" She redhead squealed, jumping around the room. "Oh this is so exciting! I cannot wait for this to happen! A Christmas Ball? I haven't ever been to a Christmas Ball. That means we need to get dresses." She paused, anticipating and cherishing the moment so greatly. "We have to get dresses, and jewellery, and shoes, and everything for the Christmas ball!" She exclaimed, happier than an old lady at a casino.
"Wait, Luna, when exactly is it?" Hermione called from across the room. The silence that covered them made it obvious that it was sometime soon. Sometimes very soon.
A devilish grin crossed Luna's face. "I told you that we needed to go shopping. I wasn't kidding you know? Personally I'd love to sew my own dress, and customize it with various glittery accessories and snowflakes, but it seems that since today is Friday the twenty-third, the ball is Sunday the twenty-fifth... Which gives us less than two days to prepare."
"You could've told us earlier!" Ginny screeched at an ear-shattering volume. She jumped out of the bed and rushed towards Luna and grabbed the letter out of her hands, reading over the whole thing and tossing it out. "I am so excited!"
Hermione laughed giddily. "Geez, Ginny, calm down. We might not even be able to go."
Immediately, Ginny bolted up, her eyes tearing from the paper on the floor to Hermione. "And why-ever not?"
"Isn't that...?" Hermione looked at Luna, who nodded solemnly.
"What?" Ginny asked, completely lost in the conversation.
"You didn't read the second part of the letter did you?" Luna asked pitifully. She exhaled sharply and concluded. "That's the day of the full moon, Ginny."
Quietness filled the room, as Ginny slowly started to withdraw from the idea of her elegant entrance in the Potter residence. Her imagination slowly started to slip away, and she sighed deeply.
"I mean I'm pretty sure you can still go, since you're invited. It's just that Remus will probably not be there, and that the full moon will come out at midnight, but it's completely your decision. You can come for the first part and then leave with Remus, explaining to him your... identity. Because I am pretty sure that Sirius and James can't leave before everyone does." Luna concluded quietly.
Ginny fell into deep thought, and before she could ask another question, Hermione cut it, a conflicted thought on her mind. "I feel like there's something that we're missing. That we were supposed to do something on Christmas day, or after it, but I cannot remember what..." She racked her brains but nothing would come to her.
"What exactly are you thinking of?" Luna asked her quietly, with a hint of compassion. "Sometimes I lose myself too, but I just have to find my way around in my brain, and then I remember my train of thought. Because whenever you lose it, you have to run after it."
Hermione gripped her head in deep thought, and trudged to the window, retracing the steps of her train of thought.
"Well... If you guys don't mind, I really want to go." Ginny started slowly, after a while of pondering her impossible thoughts. "Tell the Potters to get their best cutlery and cups ready because Ms. Ginny Weasley-Evergreen is coming to—"
"CUPS!" Hermione shouted out immediately, a triumphant relief spreading across her face. The two other girls looked at her as if she were a lunatic. "You're forgetting the actual reason why we're here!" Hermione exclaimed, obviously frustrated.
"Cups?" Ginny asked, with a confused expression on her face. "Hermione are you sure you don't need to go to the hospital? That you're not experiencing any stage of schizophrenia or anything?"
"The mission?" Hermione furrowed her eyebrows, pacing at an incredible speed around the room, her eyes both full of regret and amazement that she remembered. "Do you remember? The horcruxes and killing Voldemort? The main reason why exactly we're here? There was a part of the riddle that said something about the Christmas day or something, and it's just with all this excitement i can't recollect it, and we don't have a damn pensieve and—"
"Hermione!" Ginny exclaimed, her eyes lighting up the world. "I have it written down somewhere!" She jubilantly jumped from the bed and ran over to her trunk, rummaging through it.
"What are you talking about?" Hermione shook her head in disbelief. "I was the only one who heard that riddle..."
"Yes, but remember that time you were flirting with Logan Bell in Charms class, while I was stuck in bed from getting beat up after the full moon?" Ginny didn't even bother looking around to see her friends nodding or following her train of thought. "I used Legilimancy on you, probably one of the proudest moments of my life, and went through the riddle, and simultaneously wrote it down somewhere." Ginny exclaimed, proudly, whipping out her diary from the bottom of her trunk, and throwing it to Luna.
"Read it, now!" Hermione hurried over to Ginny's side. Luna flipped through the first few pages, not bothering to even look at Ginny's private thoughts and entries, until she reached the riddle.
"Okay, umm... Let me get to the part..." She scanned the page to the near middle, stopping herself with her finger. "Ah there it is. 'The birth of Christ shall be the day prior to which you must go. Search in the obvious spot of the line – everything was once hidden there.' That's all we know for now. Or need to know for this part."
Ginny threw her hands in the air exasperatedly. "But what can that mean? Honestly, I don't understand a word of it. They should've specified the location or something."
"At least they've specified the most convenient time for us, apparently. There must be some sort of reason..." Hermione thought curiously.
"How is it a convenient time if it's tomorrow?" Ginny rubbed her face sardonically, her comment going ignored by Hermione.
"So basically this whole riddle is hinting about where to find the horcruxes, am I right?"
"I think so..." Luna agreed quietly. "Can't we work backwards then?"
"What do you mean?" Ginny asked, gripping the edge of the bed with her hands. She bounced up and down excitedly. They were finally starting to get some physical action in their lives, which wasn't Quidditch, and the energy was becoming overwhelming.
"Well if we can't decide which one this is, but we can determine which other horcruxes the riddle tells us about, we can deduce the item we're looking for, and the places in which we must look for it." Luna deduced quickly.
"Ah... I like your thinking." Ginny mused quietly. "So basically we're doing everything in a reversed order then?"
"That's exactly what I said ten seconds ago." Luna stuck her tongue out at the redhead. She then stripped off her layer of warm clothing and sat down on one of the beds, the breakfast forgotten, stranded on the floor beside Hermione.
"Yeah, yeah whatever. Way to brag." Ginny rolled her eyes.
"So in our time we had the cup, the diary, the ring, the locket, Harry, Nagini and the diadem." Hermione listed thoughtfully, drumming on the arch of her chair. "What do we have today?"
"I love how you say 'in our time we had' although it's the future..." Luna mused, shaking her head. After a moment of looking around, she got up from the bed, something obviously disturbing her. Consecutively, she pushed Ginny off, disregarding the protests which followed and drew her wand out of her dismantled cloak on the floor. Flicking her wand, the beds instantly made themselves, and with a new-found satisfaction, Luna sat down once more.
"At the moment we have nothing..." Ginny muttered angrily from the floor, once again plopping on the bed, and flumping on her back.
"Thanks for that lovely comment, Ginny." Hermione drawled sarcastically. "I meant what horcruxes are existent today?"
"Well Harry's not even born." Ginny noted.
"Neither is he anywhere close to being conceived." Luna added jokingly, when Ginny jumped in immediately. Obviously, she was one to engage in this type of conversation.
Winking suspiciously, she whispered hoarsely. "You never know what exactly James are Lily have been up to lately."
"Oh please, of all people I'm sure Lily knows how to use contraceptives." Hermione rolled her eyes at her friend. After a few seconds, she blinked furiously and shook her head. "I mean, not that she's a skank, but that she's read many books, and hear many stories about teenage pregnancies and probably knows that—"
"Yeah, yeah Hermione. We all know that's what you meant." Ginny sleepily tsk-ed and flipped herself over, so that her face was facing the other girls. With a bored expression on her face, she took the diary and began flipping through it.
"So Harry's out..." Hermione muttered, as she grabbed a pencil and piece of parchment from the drawer inside the table and started scribbling down information.
"I also don't think that Voldemort has developed his sketchy obsession for snakes yet..." Ginny added edgily, and then threw Luna a look of sheer curiosity. "What is that called, Luna? Do you know? An obsession with snakes?"
Luna paused for a few seconds, pondering. "I really don't know. There are people who specialize in snakes, but I think that being obsessed with snakes is kind of unheard of. Unless you live in the South. But I'm not an expert in that area of species."
Marvelling at her friends' random discussions, Hermione rolled her eyes and continued to herself. "So that's out. What about the locket? Did he make it yet?"
"I don't think so... remember Regulus? He died replacing it when he was in his seventh year, whereas he's only in his sixth at the moment." Luna answered Hermione's question, who appreciatively smiled at her friend and crossed something out on her paper.
'So does that mean that our favourite snake only has four horcruxes at the moment?" Ginny yawned bitterly, examining her nails, probably noting that she'd have to get a magical manicure for the Christmas season.
"It does make sense." Luna agreed.
"So we have the ring, the diadem, the diary and the cup." Ginny listen off, tapping her fingers one by one, then putting up four fingers and waving them to everybody. She seemed like a first grader who just learned how to count for the first time. "So one of them is..." She grabbed her diary from Hermione's lap and read out, "'For the golden phoenix will fly to the den and set the dark to fire.' What in the name of Merlin does that mean?" She threw down the journal with stern exasperation.
"I really don't know..." Hermione wiped the sleep out of her eyes and glanced hopefully at Luna, who also seemed to be captivated deep in thought.
"A den... That can mean bloody well anything... A drug den?" Ginny sighed, a toothy grin crossing her happy, replenished face. Everyone gave her a pointed look. "What?" She smirked.
"Well the fire part is definitely hinting on fiendfyre. It could mean a manor..." Hermione juggled her words thoughtfully. Nothing was coming up. It was probably a better idea to eat something before getting thrown into vigorous mental exercise, but really? Who had the mind to do that?
"But wouldn't they call the manor something else?" Luna shook her head in disagreement. "I mean it may be den, but I think if it were the manor, they would've named it something more regal... A word that nearly bleeds richness and royalty." She added smartly.
"What about the ring? In the Gaunt shack? Shack and den are similar enough..." Ginny suddenly blurted out without thinking. "Plus that was the most obvious one out of the lot, which Dumbledore actually set out to find, was it not? Giving him the cursed, charred black hand thingy?" She gurgled with excitement.
"Hmm... You're right I guess..." Hermione marvelled.
"YESSS!" Ginny whooped and erupted with excitement, performing a complex sort of somersault on the bed. "One point for Ginevra Weasley."
Luna eyed Hermione curiously, tapping her wand on her thigh, as it twitched to be used, but Hermione just shook her head. "Let her have her moment." She mouthed with a compassionate smile upon her face.
Shaking her head with disapproval at Hermione's kind choice, Luna muttered on. "Okay... Next one. Do you know where the diary is at the moment?"
"Has Voldemort already given it to Malfoy?" Hermione wondered, biting the inside of her lip. Feeling like she was sitting on nails, she stood up and started pacing around the room, subconsciously casting garbage and discarded clothing out of her way with her wand.
"He might've..." Luna nodded, turning to check up if Ginny had broken her neck yet. She reached for the diary, flipping to the right page and quickly scanned through the entry. "And swans and strutting does describe the Malfoys really well..."
"Not to mention, do you guys remember them saying something about Lucius getting Narcissa white swans for their wedding anniversary?" Hermione strained her mind, to recollect the memory of their discussion, where Peter smartly corrected Sirius and James about the Malfoy anniversary present.
Ginny snorted, amusement crossing her face. "I have really short-term memory, you should know that."
"I'm pretty sure that's what it was..." Hermione noted thoughtfully to herself, but shook her head and continued pacing.
"And wouldn't that mean the diadem is still untouched at the school?" Luna suddenly whirled at the realization. "I mean unless in the last few months present-time Voldemort has had some inner struggle and came to visit our school... So that would probably be either... 'the obvious spot of the line' or 'following the prince's book'. None of this makes sense!" Luna threw the book on the ground with frustration.
"Come on, everybody take a breather and calm down." Hermione urged soothingly. She took her parchment, clearing her throat and reread her two parts of the riddle. "'The birth of Christ shall be the day, prior to which you must go. Search in the obvious spot of the line – everything was once hidden there'. Next there's 'Tricky to find his mother's possession – the one she kept all along. Don't overthink, or you will fail – follow the prince's book. For that will lead you to the place where lastly the one is hidden'. Well the riddle probably would've told us if we need to stay at school for the first one, so I doubt it has to do with the diadem. Evidently, we're dealing with Helga's cup here." Hermione ranted quickly, as the other girls stared at her with a mix of amazement and horrification.
"That's a lot to take in..." Ginny was finally settling down beside Luna, her eyes completely dazed and face carrying a flabbergasted look to it.
Luna exhaled quickly and cradled a pillow in her arms. "I guess you're right. Also the cup doesn't have any historical background about being passed on to any mothers. And I don't know of any child of Helga Hufflepuff."
"You're saying that as if you know that Ravenclaw had a child." Ginny gave Luna a pointed look.
"Well she's already had one..." Luna threw a pointed glance at Hermione.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Hermione muttered. "I have a gut feeling that the first one is about the cup..."
"Why can't you just ask your parents for one tiny clue?" Ginny suddenly asked, as if it were the realization of the century. None of them had ever believed in begging other people for help, but sometimes, desperate times called for desperate measures.
Even Hermione didn't even think of that. "I really... I guess I can try..."
"Since it's a life or death decision and we have to make a harsh decision right now." Luna nodded in agreement.
Concentrating immaculately on her thoughts and feelings about her parents, Hermione slowly started to break the walls of the worlds, until her head started to clear, ands he could hear the voice of her father.
"Finally coming to me for help? Really, Hermione? Out of all things you remember me at a time of need? I mean you could've called me just to have a normal family conversation with me."Godric's mocking voice rang inside her head.
Hermione snorted lightly, rolling her eyes. "Well I'm sorry, father, maybe you should talk to the school-board about assigning so much homework for seventh years, and possibly parent visitation times, if that's possible?" She grinned, adding smartly, "Not to mention extremely special magical parents."
"Watch that mouth, Granger." His voice deep voice growled with false parental strictness. "Christmas may be a time of happiness and love for you kids, but for me it's just extra headaches, with Helga's extreme happiness and visiting famous wizards in their kingdoms… It really is a pain."
"Well that really sucks, doesn't it, daddy?" Hermione laughed, rubbing her temples to avoid the wave of a mild headache. "You know—"
Godric knew when to interrupt right at the right moments. "Actually, one of the highlights of Christmas for me is that I get to slip some extremely powerful cheering potion into Slytherin's meals every single day, and he doesn't even know what's happening. He blames his post-Christmas hangover on the Roman wine, but we all know the death-causing rule. 'Don't mix potions and alcohol.' Unless it's hangover potion."
Rolling her eyes, Hermione shook her head and concentrated on her one thought, which she was about to lose. "Father, before you start to get carried away, all I have to ask is something about the riddle."
"So you promise…" His sly voice sounded out, a grin evidently on his face, "That after I tell you this, we'll get to discuss anything I want? Anything from possible pranks I want you to perform, to your newly obtained relationship?" Heavy laughter boomed, causing Hermione to groan.
"Sure." She agreed, wincing, knowing it was a terrible mistake she had made.
"This has made my holiday even better than before!" Godric exclaimed, his voice full of laughter and happiness, similar to one of a small child. "So tell me, my dearest Hermione. What is your question?"
"Well… I have two…"
"Then two it is! Only, you'll have to tell me the truth for everything I ask you later. And you know, you can't lie to me, because I actually see what's happening in Hogwarts… Yes… All of it."
Hermione choked before being able to continue, "DAD!"
"I'm just saying…" He chortled like gleefully. Hermione was about to smack herself for her pure idiocy and moral embarrassment, but saved herself the pain.
"Anyway, it's about the first part of the riddle." Hermione cleared her throat and continued on a completely serious note. "We're not sure what some parts of it mean, and I was just hoping to ask for some guidance, knowing that tomorrow is the day when we have to collect and destroy one of the horcruxes."
"Okay then, sauce me your question."
Rolling her eyes once more, Hermione concentrated on the questions she had to ask. "The first part of the riddle. Does that refer to Helga's cup, or Ravenclaw's diadem? We are confused about that point, because later in the riddle it says 'Trick to find his mother's possession – the one she kept all along.' But we don't know what exactly they're talking about. If it said 'her mother's possession', that would make more sense, since it could be referring to Helena Ravenclaw's child. So we're not sure whether that's referring to one of Ravenclaw's or Hufflepuff's families."
"Hermione, dear, let me give you a short history lesson, something you probably hadn't known before. Actually, I doubt anyone but us knows this. It may cost you a lot for me to say this, but it's worth it. Rowena's daughter, Helena, the one who stole the diadem, did have a child. I will not name him, but he was one of the most intelligent individuals in the muggle world. So it's technically referring to Rowena's grandson. But yes, that part of the riddle refers to the diadem."
"Thanks for clearing that fact up." Hermione exhaled thankfully, fanning herself. "I doubt we'd ever be able to figure it out by ourselves." Good thing she asked, because they'd never be able to survive this quest, if it weren't for the upper powers.
"Also, you may not think this is significant, but you have to be careful about the diadem section… It hasn't happened yet, nor will it happen too soon, but the diadem might be moved, hence pay very careful attention to where it goes. Do as the riddle says. Follow the prince's book, whenever it goes. It will be the last horcrux you will destroy, so keep close watch near the end of the year." He added very seriously.
"But why can't we just destroy it now, knowing where the diadem is?" Hermione argued, suddenly aware of the obvious fact. "We don't have to do everything as it goes in the riddle, do we?"
"It seems easy doesn't it? But that is the most guarded horcrux of them all. Voldemort has his eye on it right now, since it is the most recent one he has made. He still has connections in the school, and there are some people who keep a close eye on the horcrux…"
Worry flooded Hermione's mind. "Who is it? What Slytherin? What year at least?"
"That is something I cannot say, since I am not able to see myself. But you have to be careful. You must know that the riddle hints on the best times you can reach out to grasp the horcrux."
Slowly, the message started to sink in, and Hermione started wallowing in deep thoughts, but she couldn't forget her second question. "Wait." She pleaded. "Before you go, can you please help us on the part that says 'Search in the obvious spot of the line – everything was once hidden there'. We were thinking it's the Room of Requirement, but how can we get to Hogwarts by tomorrow?" She analyzed furiously.
"Hermione. Let me give you a geometry lesson. What is a line?" A smirk could be heard in his joking voice.
"Logically?" Hermione rolled her eyes and immediately recited a straightforward citation from the dictionary. "A line is a straight or curved continuous extent of length without breadth."
"You are a walking dictionary." He marvelled at his daughter's intelligence. "So what exactly are the obvious spots of the line?" Before Hermione was capable of answering, she was interrupted by a sarcastic remark. "And don't try to be smart here. Think more in the mind of a preschooler."
"Well there are the endpoints, the midpoint… Is that what you're referring to, or do you want me to degrade my IQ to a negative number?" Hermione teased arrogantly, a characteristic she did not commonly acquire.
"Drop the sass, Hermione." Godric laughed. "What are synonyms for those?"
"I don't know!" Hermione sputtered, frustrated. "The middle? The end?"
"Exactly! Goodness, Hermione, it's almost as if we need to take family therapy classes."
"I feel like she should. I'll get some extra members. Maybe we'll get a discount for the amount of emotionally distraught people there. You can count on me to gather enough. I've got my connections." Hermione bit back playfully. "But what does this line refer to?"
"What can be referred to as a line on our modern day world? You don't have to think too much because—"
"I don't know, people?" Hermione exhaled moodily, losing any sense of hope that once remained. She heard a choking-like cough on the other side of the line. "Well what do you expect me to say? I really don't like riddles at all?" She grumbled sulkily.
"Let me specify. Geographic terms."
"Do you mean railroad tracks?" Hermione sighed broadly waving her hands.
"Close, but not it. You're getting there."
For a moment, time froze, and the stray splint of hope reignited in Hermione's mind. "Is it a street?" She asked with a new-found enthusiasm.
"Indeed it is. I don't think you need any specification on what kind of street. There are two 'lines' or streets here, and the location you are looking for in found on the smaller, much sketchier 'line.' You'll figure it out, I know it. Just be careful with that store…" Godric cheered, causing Hermione's mood to lighten a significant amount, in comparison to before… At the first part… Not the second.
"Since we're in Diagon Alley, looking for Helga Hufflepuff's cup, it is only logical for it to be in the place… Where everything was once hidden! The hidden cabinet, the cursed items, the cup, and most importantly Voldemort worked there, meaning he must've hid a great deal of things amongst the shelves of Borgin and Burke's!"
"Congratulations, Hermione! You have finally completely the easiest task ever assigned. I really seriously hope that you're planning to be smarter than that. This isn't my daughter, the one who asks for help."
"Oh, hush, Gryffindor, I'm trying to be daddy's girl. Since stubbornness is your prime quality, as many of us know." Hermione teased her father.
"Not nice, Hermione. Now, are you going to tell me about yourself? I know that there are many-a-thing for you to do, but this family bonding is much more important than, you know… Saving the world."
"I'd like to think otherwise." Hermione laughed, shaking her head, causing some of her curly tendrils to cover her face. "Sorry, daddio. I still have to buy Christmas presents. Maybe I'll talk to you another time. On New Year's Eve! Maybe you should invite us over for a lovely dinner!" Hermione grinned in a true Marauder fashion.
"Wait, wait, Mione, what are you doing? Oh blast, what are you—" Sighing deeply, ignoring the protests of her prank-loving father, Hermione did something he once taught her to do, if she wanted some private time, or anything.
"Intersaepio Salus." She cast expertly, ignoring the protests of her father, knowing that discussing Sirius wouldn't lead to anything but a safe-sex talk, or something along the lines of inviting him to dinner.
Shaking her head happily, she was thrown back to reality, where the blurry figures of her friends appeared before her eyes. Hermione grinned and muttered with the last ounce of energy left, "Well, ladies. What can I say? We've got a part figured out. Now before we indulge in an extremely dangerous mission, with the possibility of death, or worse, torture, let us take part of the lovely experience called Christmas shopping."
Shopping may have seemed important at that moment, but really? Who needs shopping when you have the option of saving the world?
Fewh, that took a while to write.
I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter, with some of the riddle decoding. Are you following? Now does some of the riddle make sense to you guys? If yes, then that's great! If not, that means I'm going to have the pleasure of entertaining you further (:
How did you like the relationship between the three girls? And Hermione finally using her telepathic connections to her father? Should I have them come over for dinner for New Years Eve? Drop off your suggestions, and I'll be more than happy to incorporate! The next few days for the girls are probably going to be chaotic aha!
Just leave a review, and my life's purpose will be complete! (:
Love you guys! Until next time!