Chapter 4: By the White Tomb
The meeting of the Order of the Phoenix took place at Hogwarts. As they were a bit in advance, Harry, Ron and Hermione went for a walk near the lake where Dumbledore’s white tomb was. It was the first time Harry was back here since the funeral. His heart twisted so painfully that he had to press his hand on his chest, trying to soothe it away.
Harry knelt down in front of the tomb, held out his hand on the cold marble. He then felt a flow propagating from the marble up to his heart and a beautiful phoenix song, unreal, was heard from somewhere… from nowhere… from his own heart perhaps, and he felt his pain eased away. He didn’t know how long he had been there, then he said in his mind: ‘You’ve left too early, but you’ve shown me the path I had to follow in order to carry on your work. This work is now mine, and I swear to fulfil it should I pay it with my life … I miss you so much,’ he added in a sob. He felt a warm blood flux slowly flowing through his heart.
“Harry ! We must go now”, Hermione was coming near him, and put a tender hand on his shoulder.
He got up but his thoughts were still far from where he was, with the phoenix song echoing in his mind. Harry was convinced that Dumbledore was there; it was his way to manifest his presence, his way to say “I’m here”. And he felt comforted, and much more confident in himself.
The meeting was held in the Staff room, where a long table was laid. There were about thirty persons, some of which Harry knew well, some others only by name or by view, and some others whom he didn’t know at all. Professor McGonagall first made a round of introductions. The meeting was somewhat shortened because Lupin who should make a report on his ‘underground’ mission among the werewolves during the last month was not there.
Professor McGonagall made, for the new members, a succinct summary of the Order’s main objectives, the various current missions, the temporary arrangements until the next election of a new Leader, which was planned for the next meeting.
Then she explained to Harry what was to be done about the Head Quarters at number twelve, Grimmauld Place. According to her, Dumbledore had premonitions that he might die all of a sudden or in a somewhat unnatural way, and he had planned in that case to block by his own death the entrance to the Head Quarters to all those who were in the Secret, except to Harry, the proprietor of the place.
So, there was no chance for Rogue to materialize suddenly at the former Head Quarters. By a letter he had left to Aberforth, Harry had to submit the house to new curses of dissimulation and protection and to re-name the place, and only then to allow access to the Head Quarters to the members of the Order. McGonagall said there were very good books on magical dissimulation and protection at the library and that she would show him after the meeting. She then said:
“Mr Potter, now that you are a member of the Order, we would like to know what mission Professor Dumbledore had assigned to you, and what you did with him the night he died.”
Harry had expected this question and his answer was ready in his mind. He replied promptly:
“What Professor Dumbledore and I did on that night, and the mission he assigned to me, concern only Professor Dumbledore and me. He didn’t tell me to reveal it to others in case he should die, or if I become a member of the Order. The least people knows about it, the better it would be, and for that reason, I request the Order not to insist”.
“Very well !”, McGonagall let out with a resigned sigh. “But I would like you to know that whenever you need help, the Order will be ready to give it to you, and that one of the main missions of the Order is to insure your protection. According to information we have received, for the time being you-know-who’s followers are focussing on overthrowing the government. Yesterday’s attack was only a side-show. That may give you some respite.”
“Yes”, Harry admitted, “the idea that I could have precious help from the Order whenever I need, is a great comfort to me, and for that I thank you in advance, from the bottom of my heart”.
Fred and George then made a demonstration of their Misleading Cloak. The whole Assembly thought it a very ingenious invention, and requested them to keep it a secret, available only to the members of the Order. The Assembly meant to make a general order for each member, when the problem of the floating image would be settled, as the drifting effect of the cloak was already sufficient to keep the person out of the cursing axe. Apart from that, Fred and George got an assignment to keep an eye on the people who frequented the Knockturn Alley. Ron and Hermione’s mission was to stay with Harry and help him.
Mr Weasley then introduced the case of Fleur.
“My daughter-in-law, Fleur Delacour Weasley, was on the verge of despair. She used the killing curse against Greyback yesterday. This morning she sent a confession letter to the Ministry. I told her that it was a specific case of self-defence and that everybody would thank her for having killed Greyback, who deserved the Avada Kedavra a thousand times. But you understand, when we are not a killer, it is difficult to accept it afterwards, even though we did it under the hold of furies or despair… She thought that Bill was dead”, Mr Weasley explained.
After debate, the Assembly decided that the members of the Order would each send an individual petition to support Fleur. The Assembly was of the opinion that Fleur’s letter would have but positives effects, it would prove how far our points of view could be different from those of the Death Eaters about the use of the killing curse, and the Assembly was sure that there would be lots of other petitions from the wizarding community to support Fleur, and that Fleur would be cleared of her act and probably even thanked for it.
Then Aberforth gave Harry an envelope on which Harry saw a familiar thin, slanting writing that squeezed him painfully as if the point of a sword had just gone through his heart.
“Mr Potter, my brother has entrusted me with this the day before his death”.
Harry took the letter and kept it in the inside upper pocket of his robe. He had rather read it when he would be alone. He then looked up at Aberforth for the first time. The landlord appeared quite different from the image Harry had of him. He looked very much like his brother Albus Dumbledore, that was for sure, but a little younger, serious and serene. He was far from the image of the manager of the Hog’s Head Harry had once seen. Harry was still in his thoughts, when Aberforth’s voice went on.
“My brother has named me as executor of his will”, Alberforth said then he took out a piece of parchment and read:
* I leave to Harry James Potter:
- My chalet ‘Concerto’ in Austria such as it is, with all its furniture, books and ornaments, and the ground that surrounds it.
- All the books in the library of my manor in Scotland.
- All my personal ornaments and books in my office at Hogwarts (Aberforth passed to Harry a list of books and objects, and among these, Harry saw there was the Pensieve)
* I leave to my brother Aberforth Dumbledore:
- My manor in Scotland with all its furniture and ornaments and the forest that surrounds it.
- The entire amount of my account in Northwitch bank in London.
* I leave to the Order of the Phoenix the entire amount of my account in Gringotts for its expenditure and for grants to the families of its members, who might be direct or indirect victims of Voldemort or of his Death Eaters.
“Very well!”, McGonagall said, “the meeting is over. As it’s already late, I have ordered a meal in the Great Hall in a quarter of an hour, so that the members, new and old, might get better acquaintance with each other”. Then to Harry she said “Come on with me to the library, Harry. As for Miss Granger, I think you can go to the Hospital wing. Mrs. Pomfrey can do something to your wound on the forehead which looks a bit nasty”.
“Professor”, Harry said, “I would like to speak to you in private, and I see on Professor Dumbledore’s list that there is a book which might do for the circumstance: The Art of Dissimulation and Protection in Ancient Greece”, Harry added pointing his finger on the parchment.
“In that case we’ll go to the office. Well, you all over there”, she went on, addressing to Fred, George, Ron and Hermione who had followed Harry out of the Staff room, “you can all go to the Hospital wing, Mrs Pomfrey can tend you. You all have got small wounds here and there since yesterday, she will be so glad to have some work to do, and tell her that I send you”.
When they arrived in the office, Harry unconsciously glanced above the thronelike chair and met the portrait of Dumbledore who smiled serenely to him. Harry nearly missed a step, and succeeded in gathering himself together in time to answer him by a pale smile. With a twinge of pain in his heart, Harry greeted him “Good morning Professor Dumbledore”. Then he felt better, and thought that he should absolutely provide for himself a portrait of his former Headmaster.
“Professor”, Harry addressed to Professor McGonagall, “I intend to come back to school this year, but I fear that my presence might endanger my friends.”
“Yes, but they are in danger now everywhere, whether at their house or here, you know that very well, Potter !”, replied McGonagall while looking at random on the shelves for the book in question.
“Yes, but my presence in the school would endanger them much more; it would attract the Death Eaters here. So, I think I will wear my Invisibility Cloak all the time. Nobody should know that I return to school, and if you could arrange and give me a separate room with toilets and bathroom and if I could take my meals in my room too, I think it would be possible, and perhaps Dobby could come here to look after me ?”
“Well … yes, perhaps it would be possible, I’ll think about it. Who else knows about your intention ?”
‘Ron and Hermione, and now, you, Professor. No one else.… Er … Professor, I see that the books are put in alphabetical order, the letter A must be on the first shelves, I’ll climb on the ladder”.
When Harry was up on the ladder nearly at the same level with Dumbledore’s portrait, the portrait gave him a sign of approval with a nod and a warm smile.
“I’ll inform you on what I could do for you about your room”, said McGonagall when Harry left the office.
After the meal, and before leaving, Aberforth asked Harry:
“When do you want to come and take your books in the Scotland manor ?”
“Whenever you have a little time, I would come if I can, otherwise, I’ll send my elf.”
“I invite you to come; it’s a beautiful place, with splendid surroundings, nearly enchanted, I would say, in a remote forest in the northern Highlands. An ideal place for rest, reading and meditation. The Austrian chalet is beautiful in a different way, and for a change of scenery, there is no better”.
“In that case, could I come to Scotland with my friends Ron and Hermione, sometime before the beginning of term ?”
‘Yes, of course. You can come with your friends”, Aberforth replied kindly.
“And how could I go to Austria ?”
“My brother used to go on the back of a Thestral, keep it on the place, and come back with it ... Good bye and see you soon”.
“Children !’, called out Mr Weasley, “We’ll go to St Mungo’s Hospital before returning home”.
“Yes, Mr Weasley”, replied Harry. “We will join you there”, and then to Ron and Hermione, “We would like to go to the village first !”
“To Hogsmeade ?” George asked, “We’ll come with you”.
Arriving out of the Castle boundaries, they Apparated and landed right in front of Zonko shop.
Harry bought a packet of Chocolate Frogs and a small frame for photos. He had some ideas behind his head, but he kept it for himself.
To be continued on next page
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