Harry Potter 7
HARRY POTTER AND THE POWER OF LOVE
Chapter 1: The Last Visit to Privet Drive
The last rays of a late July sunset still lingered on the tops of the trees bordering Privet Drive. On the windowsill of a small room on the second floor of number four, a black haired adolescent had been leaning for hours, his eyes staring into space; a sad and preoccupied expression sharpened his pale, thin face. He was only a teen-aged boy, and yet a tragic past had marked him through his whole life. “Yes,” he said to himself, “it’s he, Voldemort. It’s all because of him ! “
Voldemort was the greatest dark wizard of the century. He had killed Harry’s parents and made him an orphan. Voldemort had tried to kill him, Harry Potter, too, but the sacrifice of his mother had given him a magical protection until today, his seventeenth birthday, the day he came of age. Seventeen years old, yes, it was so in the Wizarding world … because Harry was a wizard.
At the thought of his mother, a surge of love flooded his heart. He saw passing in his mind his father James who tried holding off Voldemort to give his mother time to flee with him, Harry. Voldemort, after having killed his father, turned to his mother to kill him, Harry. “Not Harry ! Not Harry ! Please”, begged his mother, sobbing. “Stand aside … stand aside, silly girl”, ordered Voldemort in his cold high-pitched voice, and his mother went on pleading: “Please, kill me instead, kill me !” That tragic scene happened sixteen years before at Godric’s Hollow where his parents had lived, and when Harry was barely one year old.
He didn’t really remember the scene. But over the years, he had seen his parents in the mirror of Erised, heard the echoing voice of his father, the pleadings of his mother, and the merciless voice of Voldemort during the attack of the Dementors, the monsters who made you relive your worst memories. And little by little, that scene had taken shape clearly and vividly in his mind.
However, he still remembered the bright green flash that dazzled him, which, as he understood only later on, was the killing curse Voldemort had cast on him after he had disposed of his mother. But the curse backfired ripping off Voldemort and reducing him into a wandering spirit no more palpable than a dark shadow. And he, Harry, became famous with just a lightning shaped scar on his forehead, because he was the only one to ever survive a killing curse cast by the greatest wizard of the century. People in the Wizarding world named him The-Boy-Who-Lived or The Chosen One.
Yes, the Chosen One, because of a stupid prophecy, which made Voldemort hunt down his parents in order to kill him. A sad and ironical smile took shape on Harry’s face. But Voldemort had come back. Harry was there himself at his rebirth, two years ago, in the cemetery of Little Hangleton, where Voldemort had killed Cedric Diggory, a friend of Harry’s, just because the latter was an undesirable witness. Moreover, Harry himself should not have survived. That was not in Voldemort’s plan. Harry had duelled against him, and had managed to escape, thanks to the « ghosts » of his parents that appeared out of their two wands under the effects of the « Priori Incantatem » spell.
After the image of Cedric came that of his godfather, Sirius, a close friend of his parents, then that of Dumbledore, the former Headmaster of Hogwarts, the school he attended. Dumbledore was the greatest wizard, Harry’s most powerful protector, the only wizard Voldemort had ever feared.
During the whole last school year, Dumbledore had explained to Harry many things concerning Voldemort. How Voldemort had conquered death and gained immortality, and how to defeat him. Voldemort had created Horcruxes. They were objects in which Voldemort had concealed a bit of his soul, so they rendered him indestructible. According to Dumbledore’s researches, Voldemort had created six Horcruxes. The diary which Harry had destroyed in the Chamber of Secrets at the end of his second year at Hogwarts was one of these, and Dumbledore had destroyed a second one, the ring belonging to Gaunt, Voldemort’s grandfather, the only known descendant of Salazar Slytherin, one of the four founders of Hogwarts.
Dumbledore thought that Voldemort had transferred to Harry, not intentionally of course, a bit of his own powers on the night he had attacked him and given him that scar on the forehead. That was why Harry could speak Parseltongue, the language of snake, spoken by Salazar Slytherin and Voldemort himself.
It was to fetch the third Horcrux, Salazar Slytherin’s locket, that Dumbledore and Harry went to the cave by the seaside on the tragic night when Dumbledore died. But it was an unsuccessful operation, because the Horcrux had been stolen away by a certain R.A.B., and in its place was a fake one. Therefore, there were still four Horcruxes somewhere out there to track down and to destroy before he could think of the possibility of eliminating Voldemort himself. At this thought, a sharp pain oppressed Harry’s heart. Dumbledore should not have sacrificed himself and drunk all that potion in the cave. Harry realized now how much he had loved his Headmaster, he had loved him like a grandfather he had never had nor known. It was for Harry an inestimable comfort at the beginning of each term to see him again in his throne-like chair at the staff table, his face illuminated by an inner light exuding wisdom, knowledge and kindness, and to receive from him a small smile full of understanding and complicity that meant a lot.
His father, his mother, Sirius, Dumbledore, they all were dead directly or indirectly by the hand of Voldemort. Those who had cared for him, who had loved him, had stood in front of him, all determined to protect him, and they had one after the other perished in their attempt. His love for those he loved, and who had loved him, overwhelmed him like a tidal wave. “ Yes, I’ll take revenge for you, mother, for all of you !” Harry said in a sob, while leaving the windowsill.
The street lamps in Privet Drive had just been switched on, bathing all the area in its yellow and misty light, chasing the last crepuscular rays.
The day before, Ron, his best friend, had sent him a letter saying that his father Mr Weasley would come today at nightfall with Fred, one of his joker twin brothers, to escort him to The Burrow, where Ron’s family lived. Ron had told him that his parents invited him to stay at The Burrow as long as he would wish. But after deep reflection he decided he would go and live at number twelve, Grimmauld Place, the house he had inherited from his Godfather. He would settle himself there after Bill’s and Fleur’s wedding, and once he had passed his Apparition Test.
“It would be wiser that way, for many reasons”, Harry thought. He didn’t want to endanger Ron’s family by his presence at The Burrow. And on top of all this, at The Burrow, there was Ginny, Ron’s young sister, whom Harry loved. He had known her for quite a long time, since his second year at Hogwarts, but it was only recently that he was conscious of that feeling. He realized that this feeling had always been in him, latent, but he was too young to understand it. He had spent many summers at Ron’s house, had been in close contact with her. They had played Quidditch together. He had looked upon her as a sister; so much he was accustomed to her presence. But in reality it was not so. He still remembered how he had felt in the Chamber of Secrets, when he had knelt beside her inert and cold body, and how he had begged her not to die. He had felt as if part of his life was going away with her.
Hardly a month before, at the end of the last school year Harry had taken a decision not to get involved with her any more, never to show himself with her, so as to avoid drawing Voldemort’s attention upon her. Surely Voldemort would use her as a bait to reach him, as he had already made use of her to open the Chamber of Secrets, and draw him into an ambush, just because she was his best friend’s sister. Yes, it would be too dangerous for Ginny. And also he should not tie up Ginny to his life, because he, himself, didn’t know whether he would be able to survive once more his last encounter with Voldemort. He, Harry, an apprentice wizard in front of a Voldemort, the most powerful and most pitiless sorcerer whom everybody feared, and whose name nobody dared pronounce. People called him He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Since his return to Privet Drive, Harry could not help turning these thoughts over and over again and wondering how he could eliminate Voldemort. The Prophecy said that only he, Harry, could vanquish Voldemort, and Dumbledore said that he possessed a power that Voldemort ignored, which was Love and that Harry possessed « in such quantities ? » and that Voldemort had not at all ! But how to destroy that crazed killer of Voldemort with Love as an only weapon ! And to begin with, Harry thought he should have at least a minimum basis of magical power to survive through attacks, before he could « use » Love to destroy him !
He had ordered from Flourish & Blotts, the greatest bookshop in Diagon Alley, high level books of Defence Against the Dark Arts (DADA), and every day he read them, dissected them, learnt the movements of the hand, and arm, and trained relentlessly, on the sly, in his room, leaving it just the necessary time for meals, if one could say so. He realized that he had made lots of progress, and he understood now that what was most important in a curse, was the concentration and determination of the spirit on the result one aimed at. Concentration and determination Harry had. Already in his fourth year, the fake professor of DADA had demonstrated the three Unforgivable Curses and had tested the Imperius one upon him. He had been able to defeat the curse while other wizards much more experienced in magical power as well as much older in age had already been overwhelmed. He also trained to master the Non-verbal curses he now understood their immense importance.
Mr Weasley and Fred would come any moment now. Harry left the windowsill, and cast a quick look around his room: His trunk was packed, and set in the middle of the room, Hedwig, his owl, was in her cage, his Firebolt broom on his trunk. The room was cleaned. All the posters on the wall as well as the photos of his parents on the bedside table had already been removed.
Harry had informed his uncle Vernon Dursley and his aunt Petunia, his mother’s sister, of his departure today. The attitude of the Dursley towards him had somehow changed since he had come back to Privet Drive this year, as if they had expected his going away to show some kindness, or perhaps, they now understood that Harry would soon come of age, and that he would be able to use magic, and they feared that Harry would turn them into a pig family if he wanted to. That idea probably amused him as a smile replaced the preoccupied expression on his face when he arrived in the kitchen. His cousin Dudley was on the sofa, with his eyes riveted on the large screened television, following a stupid entertainment programme while nibbling potato chips. In anyway, there was no need to turn him into a pig; he looked already like a sow in the full meaning of the word. All by himself he occupied half the surface of the large sofa.
Aunt Petunia had never loved him. She was not really wicked, but simply indifferent as if he didn’t exist. But since last summer, when Dumbledore explained to him why he was with the Dursley while many other wizard families would very much like to adopt him as their own son. It was because of the blood link she had with his mother that procured the lingering magical protection he had enjoyed during those last sixteen years, and since, Harry had felt differently towards his aunt. There was a note of gratitude in his feelings for her.
His aunt was in the kitchen, halfway through her usual pre-bedtime cleaning; uncle Vernon was reading his evening paper in his usual armchair.
“Aunt Petunia and uncle Vernon, you both know that I am leaving today. Some friends will come to fetch me at any moment now. Before leaving I would like to thank you for having taken me under your roof.”
“Where are you going to live ?” asked Petunia.
“I’ll stay first at Ron’s parents’, then afterwards, perhaps I’ll settle in the house I inherited from my God father Sirius Black”, replied Harry, then he took his wand out from the back pocket of his faded jean, turned it in a smooth wave and a bunch of orchids appeared from nowhere in the air, which Harry took and placed in the hand of Petunia who was still holding the cleaning cloth. He had just wonderfully succeeded a Non-verbal curse, thought Harry, with a smile.
“They are real flowers”, he said to his aunt, “put them in a vase to keep them fresh.”
As soon as Harry had finished his sentence, sounds on the gravelled alley in front of the house were heard. Someone just rang the doorbell:
“Harry ? It’s Arthur and Fred !”, Mr Weasley was calling with his booming voice from outside the door, to announce that it was friends and not some Death Eaters, Voldemort’s faithful followers.
“I’m coming”, answered Harry while hurrying up towards the door.
“Evening Harry !”, greeted Mr Weasley, then turning to uncle Vernon who had just arrived behind Harry, he went on:
“Good evening, Mr Dursley, here I am with my son, Fred, whom you have already met two years ago. You may remember him.”
Harry thought that it was not very “diplomatic” from Mr Weasley to remind uncle Vernon of that visit when Fred and Georges, his twin brother, had transformed Dudley’s tongue into a foot-long python, testing one of the joker toffees of their own creation.
“Good evening, Mr Weasly, Fred !”, Harry hastened to reply, trying to divert the conversation.
“Are you ready, Harry ?”, Mr Weasley inquired.
“Yes, I’ll go and fetch my things. They are still upstairs.”
“I’ll help you”, said Fred.
Fred followed Harry upstairs onto his room and grabbed the handle of Harry’s trunk. Harry took the broom and Hedwig’s cage, and then cast again a quick look around the room. It was strange, he loathed this place where he had to return every summer under Dumbledore’s order, but now as the time had come to leave it forever, he felt like a kind of nostalgia. No ! It was not possible. He could not regret this place, where he had known nothing but sufferings and loneliness. It was only his childhood that he would leave forever. He would come of age this evening, at five minutes to midnight. He would take his life in hand and will allow nobody else to stand between him and Voldemort. All his protectors were already dead for having defended him. The last one, the most powerful wizard the world had ever known, had also left him. He felt lonelier than ever, lonelier than when he was only one year old. In the entrance hall, he found his aunt and Dudley who had just arrived from the kitchen; Petunia still had the flowers in her hands. Harry placed Hedwig’s cage in Mr Weasley’s stretched hand.
“Well, Good-bye, Mr, Mrs Dursley, Good bye Dudley”, said Mr Weasley. “We’ll wait for you in the garden, Harry !”
“Er … bye then”, said Harry to all the Dursleys, while turning to follow Mr Weasley.
“Bye, Harry”, it was aunt Petunia who replied, in a trembling voice, “you’ll give us news from time to time, we completely ignore where you are going, and thanks for the flowers”. A drop of tears shined in the corner of her eyes.
And all of a sudden, without having prepared himself for it, Harry dashed towards her and kissed her on both cheeks. He had never fully appreciated that aunt Petunia was his mother’s sister.
In the courtyard, Harry remained silent, still under the emotion of the moment he had just lived. Mr Weasley sent Harry’s things to the Burrow by a wave of his wand.
“Hold on to my arm tightly. We’ll Apparate to The Burrow”, said Mr Weasly while proffering his arm to Harry.
And the unpleasant and well known sensation oppressed Harry as if he was forced through a narrow and thick rubber tube depriving him of his breath until the moment he thought he could no longer bear it and would suffocate, he was already in the courtyard of The Burrow, the second place he loved most in the world, the first one being Hogwarts, the school he attended.
“Will the school be opened this year, Mr Weasley ?”, asked Harry, speaking for the first time since he had left Privet Drive.
“Yes, I think so, McGonagall has mentioned it the other day.”
Harry thought of Ron and Hermione, his two best friends. Hermione was a Muggle born witch. Her parents were both Muggles, i.e. non wizards. Will he come back to school ? He had been asking himself that question many times for the last month now, but had come to no definite and satisfactory decision. He had now so many things to do, all a programme for tracking down and destroying the remaining Horcruxes and the final confrontation with Voldemort himself.
Then he unconsciously recited in his head “the locket, the cup, the snake, something of Gryffindor’s or Ravenclaw’s”. That was the remaining Horcruxes according to Dumbledore. He had kept reciting this mantra to himself for more than a month now, as though by listing them he could bring them within reach.
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