Finding a Place to Call Home

Wanda: (groaning) I hate school. Hello everyone and sorry I kept you waiting. This is the second interlude, and there's a change that's going to happen because I feel like I've made things too easy for my protagonists. Also, I finally get Daphne back into the cast.

Chapter 9: Interlude Part 2, Death Itself

"Peverell's heir?" Daphne echoed, slowly sinking onto the couch, staring at her younger sister and Harry. Astoria nodded, rocking back on her heels, watching her older sister with excited green eyes. Graham looked bored. Lilith looked distant. Harry just held up his cloak with both hands for the blonde haired heriess to see.

Daphne stared at it for a long moment before slowly brushing a stray strand of blonde hair away from her eyes. "The Deathly Hallows? You, Harry?"

"Yes." Harry said simply, blinking. He had switched his glasses for contacts, and his eyes were still adjusting to them. He had decided that it was too dangerous to try and learn how to duel with his glasses, because his enemies just had to summon or break them and he would be blinded.

Daphne made a strangled noise of shock and incredulity, her heels tapping against the floor. She was still wearing her travel coat; Astoria had hardly let her enter the apartment before she dropped the news on her. Her hair was a bit messy thanks to the wind. She had been relieved that her sister had let her in, but that was currently taking a backseat to disbelief.

Daphne turned and looked between Harry, Graham and Lilith. Lilith was silent and watching her with her default piercing gaze while Graham was beginning to become impatient, occasionally looking at the girl next to him as if he was expecting her to disappear if he looked away for too long.

"That's impossible...everyone knows that the last heir of Peverell died years ago." Daphne said numbly.

"So they think," Graham said, rolling his eyes. His hair fell in front of his eyes and he pushed it back with a growl of annoyance. He scowled at Daphne. "Haven't you figured out by now that 'what everyone says' means absolutely nothing?"

Daphne winced and looked down at the floor. "Graham," Astoria said chidingly. Graham frowned slightly, as though he wasn't sure what he had done wrong. Smart he may be, but Graham's inability to interact normally with people was still very much a problem.

Harry put a hand on the younger boy's shoulder. Graham suffered from some sort of emotional disconnect, though he wasn't sure what it was. Harry considered having him see a muggle psychiatric or suggesting it to Jane, and filed that away for further consideration. Right now, he had other things to be worrying about.

Right now, he had to finish filling Daphne in if she was coming with them.

"It's true," Lilith said quietly. Daphne turned towards her, looking a little nervous but questioning.

"The Cloak is unmistakable; my family is familiar with all the higher magics, including the Hallows. The Peverells dropped off the map many years ago because one of three children had become a Dark Wizard. One of those families was the Potters. They were descended from the Third Brother." Lilith finished.

"Dear Merlin," Daphne exhaled, trying to regain her equilibrium.

"That was about my reaction," Harry admitted. "It makes a weird sort of sense, I guess. I mean, my dad's cloak has lasted longer then the usual ones are supposed to, and it's saved my neck a lot. There had to be something special about it."

"And you're always in trouble and getting involved with weird crap," Graham added dryly.

"That too," Harry agreed immediately. Astoria giggled, and even Daphne tipped her head in barely restrained amusement. Harry hadn't seen her smile before this, and the effect was a lot like her younger sister. She should smile more.

"So You-Know-Who was looking for the Hallows as well?" Daphne asked.

Harry bit his lip at the mention of his nemesis. He had left the man behind, but the dreams he had had before loosing the piece of him that was inside his mind implied that he was still there. And if he was, had he found some way of surviving when his body was destroyed?

Harry didn't like the thought at all. He had intended to simply leave without looking back, but the idea of leaving while the man who killed his parents survived and continued to do as he pleased made him feel sick to his stomach.

"Whoever possesses all three Deathly Hallows becomes the Master of Death," Lilith explained. "Presumably, that means you cannot die unless you allow it, among other things. Even my family isn't certain of everything that entails."

"That would make him the most powerful wizard alive," Graham said matter of factly. "Unless there are setbacks that we don't know about because no one's managed to unite the Hallows before." He tapped his fingers against the back of his right hand, eyes narrowing. He was coming to a decision, and Astoria turned her head towards him. Graham could be very intuitive, and his deductions were often right, as they had found out quickly.

"I don't know...that sounds too easy. All that power, with no setbacks like Lilith, who also uses Higher Magics? The ability to control when you die or when other people die? With gifts from Death, there has to be a catch." Graham finished, looking apprehensive.

"You're probably right," Harry admitted. The thought had crossed his mind, and Graham was probably right. Considering what had happened to two out of the three brothers who had received the gifts in the first place...

"But Harry, if you're meant to be the Master of Death, why don't you have the wand and the stone?" Daphne asked at last.

Harry frowned. "I don't know. They weren't in my vault, or I think the goblins would have brought them to my attention."

"How about you ask the old meddler?" Graham asked cynically. "If he was going to cripple Harry's education, there's no way he would have let him hold on to something as powerful as the Elder Wand or the Resurrection Stone. He would have figured that no one would have been 'careful' enough to handle them. Besides himself, obviously."

Astoria stiffened and glared out the window. Lilith closed her eyes with something like resignation; as if she was already certain that Dumbledore was involved.

Harry let out a frustrated groan. It was like Dumbledore was a part of every aspect of his life whether he wanted it or not. Even when he was halfway around the world and many miles were between them, the old man was still keeping things from him. It was maddening.

Daphne's eyes narrowed and she pushed herself to her feet. "You know, you're probably right Graham. I could ask father to interrogate the old man over it; the ground is shrinking beneath his feet and he knows it. With luck, he'll decide to cut his losses and at least talk to him about it."

"Don't hold out on it," Astoria muttered darkly. "He's still insanely controlling. If he has the Elder Wand, he won't give it up to anyone for anything."

"It's Harry's interference," Daphne exclaimed, eyes wide. As a pureblood heiress, even considering illegally stripping someone of their inheritance was shocking to even consider. And for someone like Dumbledore, high society would never trust him again after doing something like that. "He has no right to withhold it. Even he should know it."

"It's Albus Dumbledore. He does as he pleases and everyone's fine with it," Graham said laconically, crossing his arms again.

"I should write to my father and ask him to tell Sirius to look into it," Daphne murmured, half to herself. "It would do good for someone to address these last things he's been doing. Besides, Fudge would be delighted to have more dirt on him."

"Fudge?" Harry echoed. "What's this got to do with Fudge?"

"Ah," Daphne nodded, "I forgot the two of you haven't been in Britain for a while, so you don't know how things have gone toes up lately. Someone died in Hogwarts two weeks ago."

"WHAT!" Everyone cried together. Hogwarts, despite its pretty bad safety record, was still a school, and hearing someone killed inside, right under the noses of the teachers, was disturbing. No one had died there in years, since the first time the Chamber was opened. "Who was it?" Harry asked.

Daphne studied his face for a long moment. Nervously, Harry said, "Daphne? What happened? Who was it?"

Daphne gave him a near sad look, before answering reluctantly, "Ron Weasley."

Harry felt the ground lurch underneath him, and he stumbled backwards. Astoria caught his arm, and helped him sit down on the other couch. She held his hand tightly as he shook, struggling to process this information.

Whatever his behaviour had been like since the start of the Tournament, Ron had been Harry's friend through his three years, his first friend ever. They had gone through life threatening situations together and come out as companions. The idea of him dying, of him being murdered, was enough to knock the wind out of Harry. Out of all the things, he hadn't expected it.

Harry swallowed hard over the lump that had formed in his throat. "How?" He said, his voice rasping.

"The information wasn't released to the public," Daphne said, "But I heard from father through Sirius that it was Pettigrew. He must have used his rat form to get back into the castle. Weasely wasn't in his bed in the morning, but they...found him, in a graveyard near a place called Little Harlington."

Harry sucked in a breath.

"Riddle's birthplace?" Graham asked, surprised, uncrossing his arms and sitting down, watching Daphne carefully.

"Yes," Daphne nodded. "Pettigrew must have had a portkey on him and gotten him outside. The tournament itself had been a plan to give him the cover he needed to bring his master back, but he had to improvise when things went south."

Astoria shuddered. Lilith moved her hand to the golden bands on her wrist; Harry had come to associate that with her being nervous.

"Dumbledore said that Voldemort used him as part of a resurrection ritual. Fudge doesn't believe him. He says that Dumbledore has no witnesses and that he's just trying to stir up trouble so he can look like a hero again, after all the bad publicity that Hogwarts has gone through over the past few months."

"Is it true, though?" Harry asked, his throat closing.

"According to Sirius and Remus, yes." Daphne said gravely. "He's not very powerful right now, and a lot of his followers are scattered – not many showed up to his return in person. However, given time – any respectable amount of time – and he'll return to his original strength. The only thing he'd need now with Britain in turmoil would be a weapon he didn't have last time.

"Such as the wand of his supposed greatest enemy." Graham decided. "The old meddler may be one of the greatest wizards alive – supposedly – but he's an old geezer now. Voldemort's a corpse that's potentially capable of much more then that. He'll probably loose if he turns up again."

"Well, what if he can't get the Hallows?" Astoria suggested. "I mean, Britain's a mess, most of his followers are scattered or dead, if he can't get the Hallows, how bad can he be?"

"What do you suggest?" Lilith asked quietly. "Sneak back into Britain and snatch the Hallows?"

"I have to get them somehow." Harry decided. "If I am meant to be the Master of Death or something like that, I can't leave those objects idle. Let me figure out a gameplan that can get us in and out, and back here, without drawing too much attention to ourselves."

End Chapter

Yeah, it won't be that easy this time. I'm sorry its short, but I've been having a hard time at school including slipping grades and that stole priority. Again, sorry, but I promise I haven't abandoned this story. There will be more.

Read and Review please!