AYNIL: Chapter Sixteen: Little Hangleton

It was a simple spell, Hermione had told Harry. The two-way mirrors communicated between each other. All you had to do was say the name of the person that had the other mirror and you could then talk to them. Whichever way the mirrors worked, Harry was glad Ginny’s comment had reminded him to give it to her.

They had talked the night she had returned to the Burrow. It was idle chatter for the most part. She was just explaining how her mother was already driving her crazy, and how she didn’t know if she would be able to handle staying at the Burrow all year. Ginny explained, when Harry asked what she meant by that comment, that her mother and father (mostly her mother she thought) had decided it was not safe for her to return to school. Molly and Arthur were going to teach their daughter at home this year. He would never admit it to Ginny because she seemed thoroughly annoyed at this development, but Harry was glad of the Weasleys decision.

Tonight they were talking again. Ginny was prattling on about her mother once more. Harry let her go on for a while. He knew he needed to tell her they were leaving the next day. The worried look she was bound to get on her face was holding him back though.

Ginny’s reaction was much as he had expected. When Harry told her they might not be able to talk for a few days her eyes widened and then that same fearful look came into them.

“Don’t worry, we’ll be careful,” Harry assured her.

“I hope so,” Ginny replied. “Don’t do anything stupid though, OK?”

“Me? Do something stupid? Never!” Harry quipped. This comment made Ginny smile, albeit weakly.

“Can you at least tell me where you’re going?” she asked casually.

Harry raised an eyebrow at this question. The last time Hermione had told Ginny where they were going she had turned up. Ginny had said she didn’t want to come with them on their quest. Harry believed her, but wasn’t going to give her the opportunity, just in case. “No, I can’t.”

“I figured as much,” she sighed. “Be careful out there.”

“Always.”

* * * * * * * * * *

The sun wasn’t even peaking into the grimy, rubbish strewn square that housed Order headquarters when Harry was shaking Ron and Hermione awake. They had spent the night together. If he hadn’t been so preoccupied with the task at hand he probably would have commented on their new sleeping arrangements. Instead, Harry told them that they needed to get going and that the pair should get up.

“Why do we have to leave so bloody early?’ Ron grumbled as he, Hermione and Harry gulped down some food, making ready to leave. “Why the sudden urgency?”

“It’s not sudden. This is what we should have been doing for the last two months,” Harry stated. “If we — OK — if I hadn’t been so focused on other things we would have been. We have to make up for that lost time though.”

Ron didn’t make any other comments, but still looked disgruntled as they exited Grimmauld Place and Disapparated.

Strangely it was their olfactory as opposed to their visual sense that kicked in, altering them they were no longer in London. The air was fresher here, and smelled of newly cut grass. The greenery either side of the dirt road they were standing on, was glistening with water droplets, either from early morning dew or a recent rain. The only sound came from birds chirping in the hedgerows, which were more tangled than they had been decades earlier in Bob Ogden’s memory.

“You know, I feel like I’ve been here before,” Ron joked, trying to lighten the mood, which was heavy with apprehension.

“Come on, it’s this way,” Harry told them. He pointed to the arm on the signpost, which read: Little Hangleton, 1 mile.

They began to walk down the country lane; the one Harry had walked down twice before, once with Dumbledore and again yesterday with Ron and Hermione when they were revisiting Bob Ogden’s memory. When the tall, tangled shrubs gave way, and the lane began to slope downwards Hermione let out a little gasp.

“Wow,” was her comment. She had a point. It was quite a change from walking down a lane bordered on both sides by wild shrubbery, to a sudden and stunning view of the village of Little Hangleton.

Harry, Ron and Hermione stopped to take in the sight. Not much had changed in the village over the last seventy years. Like Godric’s Hollow, it had preserved its quaint air. It didn’t look as though Little Hangleton had expanded much in recent decades. Harry doubted whether the terrain would allow for easy growth, the steep hills that bordered the village looked like they would be hard to build on.

The church looked no different than it had when they had noticed it in the pensieve, no different than it had the night that Harry had arrived in the graveyard via portkey, when Cedric had been murdered, the night Voldemort had returned.

Looking away from both the church and the graveyard, Harry’s eyes fell on the large manor house. Even from this distance the change in the house was quite obvious. In the memory it had been a large and beautiful house with immaculately manicured lawns and gardens. Now, the lawn was quite long, the ivy that covered the house was growing unchecked, and the roof seemed almost completely devoid of tiles.

“We should go,” Harry told the others, tearing his eyes away from that house. Without question they started to walk again.

They came to the gap in the hedge and took the little dirt path that lead to what had once been the Gaunt house. The thick trees that hid the house from view were casting huge shadows over the ground, giving the three teens an even more unsettling feeling than they already had.

“So where do we start?” Ron asked as they made their way slowly down the crooked, and rocky path.

“With the house,” Harry supplied, stumbling a little on one of the potholes. “See if we can get in and have a look around. Dumbledore said the house was in ruins though, so I don’t know if there will be anything to get into at all.”

Ruins might have been a bit of an understatement. The tiny building had been an appalling testament to a house decades before. Now, whether due to time, or Dumbledore’s actions, the house had completely caved in. It was now just a pile of broken glass, wood, and tile.

“We’re not going to find anything here,” Hermione stated, looking around the rubble dejectedly. “It would take days to sift through all of this, to look for clues. I still don’t know what exactly we’re looking for here anyway, Harry. You-know . . . Voldemort is unlikely to have left more than just the ring here.”

“Who knows, maybe we’ll find the cup,” Harry said, not believing this himself. Hermione was absolutely right. Voldemort wasn’t stupid enough to store two Horcruxes in the same place. If he had been, Dumbledore surely would have found it. “No, I don’t think we’ll find a Horcrux here. But maybe we’ll find a clue of where another one is, or how Dumbledore got the first one, or something. I dunno to be honest, I just think that we need to look.”

It would have taken weeks, perhaps even months, for Harry, Ron and Hermione to look through all the rubble had they not been able to use magic. Even so, they were using spells very sparingly, because they weren’t sure if there was any residual Dark Magic left over, and didn’t really want to chance causing a catastrophe. They were begrudgingly relying more on manual labor.

The sun had risen properly, making the three teens thankful for the shade of the trees. Nonetheless it was a humid day, and their efforts to move the rubble around were causing them all to sweat profusely.

“Nothing here either,” Ron said grumpily, several hours after they had started. “Harry, I think there’s nothing here but this pile of rubbish. Maybe we’re wasting our time.” Ron collapsed on the ground and leaned back against one of the trees.

“He’s got a point,” Hermione stated, moping her brow as she joined Ron.

Why Dumbledore had even told them to come here was a mystery to Harry. Start at the beginning. Well this was the beginning for Voldemort. But Dumbledore had already found the ring. Could there really be anything else to find, or were they just wasting more time they didn’t have?

Feeling frustration set in again, Harry redoubled his efforts. Sifting through the pile of rubbish by hand was taking way too long. He pulled out his wand and started levitating some of the bigger pieces out of the way. He was no longer concerned about residual Dark Magic.

Having moved all of the largest pieces, Harry was able to get a little closer to where the front door had once been. He cautiously stepped over the nonexistent threshold.

“Oh . . . Harry, be careful,” Hermione moaned, when she saw what he was doing. He didn’t comment as he walked slowly into what was left of the house, now just a floor, with a few broken pieces of wall standing, jagged edges threatening the unwary visitor.

Harry stopped in approximately the same place as he had done when viewing Marvolo Gaunt’s horrendous treatment of his daughter. His foot had kicked something. It felt rather like a stone, but when he looked down it was glinting in a small ray of sun that had managed to penetrate the thick trees. Stones don’t glint he thought. Bending down, Harry saw that it wasn’t a stone at all, but a ring. In fact, it was Marvolo Gaunt’s ring; the one Voldemort had turned into a Horcrux.

What was it doing here? Dumbledore had destroyed the ring, or at least the Horcrux portion of it, that was probably where the crack in the gaudy stone had come from. It seemed a mysterious and silly thing for Dumbledore to do, bringing the ring back here.

“Look at this,” Harry called to Ron and Hermione as he picked up the ring. He went over to show them. “Why d’you think he would have brought it back here?”

“I don’t know,” Hermione replied, eyeing the ring apprehensively. “Maybe we should just leave it here though.”

“I don’t think so,” Harry stated slowly. It didn’t seem the right thing to do.

“But Harry, if Dumbledore left it here he had to have a reason. Maybe it’s still cursed or something.”

“Why leave it somewhere for a Muggle to find then? Dumbledore would definitely not let something like this go back into the world if there were still a danger to it,” Harry observed. He had probably left it here for Harry to find. That made sense, especially after the comment about starting at the beginning. Exactly why he would want Harry to find it this way, rather than just giving it to him wasn’t clear. Then there was the obvious question of why Dumbledore would want Harry to have the ring at all. Harry didn’t have the answer to any of these questions yet.

“D’you think there’s anything else here?” Ron asked.

Harry considered his question for a minute. He didn’t think so. They hadn’t even been sure that there would be anything here at all. Finding the ring, despite the mysterious circumstances, was all they were going to find here. Coming to this conclusion he shook his head.

“Good, can we leave now? This place is a little freaky.”

“Yeah, but . . .” Even though he was almost positive that there was nothing further at the Gaunt house, Harry wanted to look around the village a little more. It was a small hope, but like he had felt in Godric’s Hollow, maybe some of the inhabitants could tell them something about the Gaunts, or possibly the Riddles. “I’m not ready to leave Little Hangleton yet. I think there’s more here that we can learn.”

It was soon settled that they would make their way into the village. As it was nearing lunch they would try and find a pub or restaurant to eat in. The trio descended into the valley the village was set in and made their way to the one pub they saw. It was an establishment called The Hanged Man.

This pub was in sharp contrast to the one in Godric’s Hollow. The innkeepers in Harry’s former home were warm and pleasant. Their pub may have been dark, but was cheerful. This pub was dark and dingy. When they entered they were not greeted cheerily, but by a gruff female voice.

“Hello,” the slightly hoarse voice said. It was not surprising that she had a hoarse voice, what with all of the smoke that was hanging in the air.

“H — h — hello,” Hermione responded. She was choking on all of the smoke in the room.

“Not from around here?” asked the hoarse voice.

“Er, no. We were hoping to partake of some food and drink,” Hermione replied.

“You gonna pay?”

This seemed an odd question. Why would this person assume that they wouldn’t pay? Looking at Ron and Hermione, and then down at himself, Harry understood. They were covered in dirt and dust. Ron and Hermione’s hair and face were messy and caked with dust as well. Harry was sure he looked no better.

“Of course,” Ron replied, a little bite in his remark.

“And a place to clean up, if you would be so kind.” Hermione spoke, giving Ron a warning look. It was clear that she was telling him to watch what he said.

“All right.” The barwoman was eyeing them suspiciously as she came around to show them to a private room, for which they were grateful.

“Mental,” Ron muttered a few minutes later, after they had requested their food and the woman had left to get it. “I mean what was that all about?”

“Not everyone is going to be like the Clarks,” Hermione said, as she started to wash her hands in a basin of water.

“With people like the Gaunts living here, can you really blame them?” Harry asked. He had sunk into one of the chairs, and was rubbing his eyes. They were itching again, due to lack of sleep, and rubbing them with hands full of dust wasn’t helping.

“Did I hear you mention the name Gaunt?” the woman with the hoarse voice asked as she came back into the room. She was eyeing them warily. She now seemed both keen to know more, but not sure if she should trust them yet. “You related to them or something?”

“Er . . . no,” Harry said. Maybe she would be able to tell them something that they didn’t already know. Would she want to know the reason that they were there though? They obviously couldn’t tell her that they were two wizards and a witch, searching for bits of soul. Honestly, that would be the type of thing only believable to a paranoid schizophrenic, and the last thing they needed was to have to answer questions to a psychiatrist.

The woman seemed too keen to tell the story to care how they knew who the Gaunts were. She pulled a chair up to the table and, without asking or being invited, sat down.

“There’s this story, goes back decades now. It involves them Gaunts, and the rich family that lived up at the Riddle house yonder.” She pointed in the direction of the large manor house. “I dunno how much of it’s true, or even if the two events are related, but people around here seem to think they are.”

She looked from Harry to Ron and then finally at Hermione as if making sure they were paying attention.

“Years ago now . . . getting on seventy years if my math’s right, there was this family of nutters that lived up the hill.” She pointed in the direction of the Gaunt House. “They went by the name of Gaunt. If I remember proper, it was Marvolo and his son and daughter, Merope and Muffin or something —“

“Morfin,” Harry corrected automatically. The woman looked at him skeptically.

“That’s right. Well anyway, they were odd folks. Kept themselves to themselves for the most part, and it was good too. The son, Morfin you say? Well he had this huge fascination with snakes, used to nail them to the door of their house or something. Really odd behaviour, he’d come down to the village every once in a while to bully the people. Rumor says that he was particularly fond of the son of the people who owned the manor. I dunno if that’s true or something that was added later to tie the two stories together. Wouldn’t surprise me if it were true though.

“So, one day Marvolo and this Morfin character disappear. Merope, the daughter you know, well she always had a fancy for Tom Riddle, the rich son. Shortly after her brother and father disappeared, she did too. Up and ran off with Tom Riddle . Had the whole village in an uproar. As far as anyone knew he’d never even given her a second glance, well who would?

“If that had been the end of it, I’m sure no one would have cared two shakes about this whole story, but it wasn’t. Couple of months later young Tom Riddle came back. Apparently the hag had lied and said she was pregnant to get him to marry her. Wouldn’t be the first time that happened round here, believe you me,” the raspy voiced woman explained when Harry, Ron and Hermione exchanged incredulous looks. This woman obviously did not know that Merope Gaunt had indeed been pregnant.

“This is where the story gets even stranger though. We never saw Merope again. Life went on for oh . . . about sixteen years I’d say, normal as could be. Then one night Tom Riddle, his mother and father were murdered in their house. The gardener, Frank Bryce, was suspected. Taken in for questioning he was. Everything pointed to him as the killer. But the police never charged him. No one knows for certain why that was, but the story going around here is that they couldn’t find any evidence of murder.

“Frank stayed around though, in the cabin on the Riddle grounds. He would tell anyone he met that he was innocent, course no one believed him. Still don’t. But we don’t know what happened to Frank. He was puttering around on the grounds one day, next he was gone. People’ve gone up there, and it doesn’t look like he left, all his stuff’s still there, but he’s disappeared. That’s why the great mystery. There’s something creepy about that house. No one likes to go near it. Kids’ll go up there every now and then, for a dare, but . . . “ she trailed off.

Harry, Ron and Hermione were exchanging dark looks. Again this was not new information to them. Harry was wondering if that ‘creepy’ feeling that the villagers had could be attributed to more than just wild rumor and speculation. Could there actually be something in the Riddle House. This was presumably the place where Voldemort had committed his first murders. Would he have felt it significant enough to place a Horcrux there?

“So what’re you three doing in Little Hangleton anyway?” the innkeeper asked. Her enthusiasm for telling the village’s mystery had faded, and she was back to her initial suspicious manner. The trio exchanged another look. None of them had a ready answer for this question.

“How do you know the Gaunts? And why’re you all dirty?” Her skepticism increased and her eyes narrowed. If one of them didn’t come up with a story fast they were likely to be thrown out of the pub, and possibly be subjected to a police interrogation.

“We’re . . . uh . . . getting married, and were looking at possibly settling down here,” Hermione invented wildly, putting a hand around Ron’s back. He looked shocked for a second at her declaration, but fixed a smile on his face as he put his arm around her shoulders.

“Really? Congratulations,” the woman’s eyes were narrowed. She didn’t seem to buy this story. “Well, I’ll get your food for you,” she stated and backed out of the room, apparently still sizing them up.

When the door closed, Ron and Hermione let go of each other.

“Getting married?” Ron asked, aghast. Hermione blushed a little.

“It was the first thing that I could think of,” she admitted, not daring to look at Ron.

“Hermione I don’t think . . . er . . . “ Ron stammered. “Don’t you think it’s a little . . .premature to be thinking about that sort of thing. I mean it was Bill who lost his mind and —“

Harry could have told Ron before he even opened his mouth that Hermione’s statement was not a good thing to dispute at this point. But as he hadn’t said anything, his friend started blundering his way through this conversation.

“Would that be such a terrible thing?” Hermione interrupted dramatically, putting her hands on her hips.

“Yeah — I mean, no — well . . . “

“Stop talking, now,” Harry advised in a whisper. He had too much experience in the area of saying the absolute wrong thing to let Ron trundle on and dig himself an early grave. Thankfully, Ron took his advice.

“Hmphf,” Hermione stated. She slumped back down in her own chair, and refused to speak to Ron.

Harry, sensing a colossal row coming on, decided to intervene. “I think we need to check out that house this afternoon.”

This did the trick. Ron and Hermione looked at him instead.

“Why?” Hermione asked. “Surely you don’t think Voldemort stored a Horcrux there?”

“He might have done,” Harry said. “That’s where he committed his first murders right? Surely that would be a significant event for him.”

“Uh, but you heard what that woman said. It’s a little creepy,” Hermione said, a little desperately.

“Oh, come on Hermione, where’s your Gryffindor courage?” Ron asked her bitingly. “I’m with Harry, we need to check out that place.”

“Of course you would be. You don’t always use your sense,” she snapped at him.

Apparently Harry had not been able to circumvent their row, he just delayed it. He decided to try again. They were going to the Riddle House in a very short amount of time, and he wanted them focused and not fighting.

“Guys, come on. We haven’t got time for this.” Neither of them seemed to want to back down from their stubborn positions. Harry sighed and donned his well-worn problem resolution cap. Why did it seem like he always had to break up Ron and Hermione’s rows? And this one in particular was really stupid. They were seventeen. Why was Hermione even thinking about marriage? This couldn’t still stem from her unabashed gushing during Bill and Fleur’s nuptials.

“Ron, were you really saying that you never wanted to get married?” Harry was sure he wasn’t, but shot his friend a warning look in any case. Ron shook his head.

“I was just —“ he started, but Harry didn’t want to give him a chance to put his foot in his mouth again.

“And are you saying that you wanted to run off and elope tomorrow or something?” he asked Hermione.

“Of course not, but —“ she started.

“Well then we don’t have a problem.”

Ron and Hermione thought differently. Rather than their annoyance dissipating, and the tension in the room decreasing, all that happened was that they lapsed into an angry silence. Harry, deciding that it was best to leave them to work out their bad mood alone, sank back into his own chair and started to think about the task at hand.

He remembered going into that cave with Dumbledore. At the time he had thought it was just the fact that he was so near a Horcrux that had caused him to have that eerie feeling. Maybe that was only partially the reason though. Perhaps some of what he had felt there had been the magic. Like the former headmaster had said, magic always leaves a trace. Maybe that’s what Harry had been feeling, and what the Muggles here were feeling from the Riddle House. It was worth a try. They weren’t risking anything taking a look at it.

The suspicious woman was back with their food.

“So, come up with a proper story yet?” she asked them nastily. She was shrewd; there was no doubt about that. “What business do you have here? We don’t want no trouble in this village.”

“We’re not here to cause trouble,” Harry told her. “We just have some personal business to do. Please be assured there will be no ill effects to your village. But we are not required to, and will not be divulging details of why we are here.”

Harry didn’t know why he had made that promise. He knew that he couldn’t keep it. Who knew what type of spell or enchantment would be on the Horcrux that was in the Riddle House (for he had now convinced himself it was there).

The woman, whose name they still did not know, looked at Harry in shock. She had a formidable presence, and didn’t seem used to being denied having her questions answered. She seemed like she didn’t know how to respond to Harry’s blatant refusal.

“Thank you for the meal.” Harry reached in and pulled out his Muggle money, pulled off a few notes and handed them to her. He gave her a few pounds more than their food and accommodations came to. She stared at the money, still in shock, and then exited without another word.

“Wow. You handled that brilliantly mate,” Ron complimented Harry.

“Yes. Surprisingly well,” Hermione agreed.

“Never mind that. Are you two over your little quarrel?”

Ron and Hermione nodded.

“Good, because we have things to do this afternoon. I have a feeling there’s a Horcrux at that house. We’re going to have to be on guard when we go there. I don’t want you two distracted. We need to be ready for anything.” Harry knew this probably sounded overly dramatic, but given what he had experienced with Dumbledore, and the previous encounters he had with Voldemort vigilance could only be a good thing.

It was a sweltering afternoon when they stepped out of the pub half an hour later. Harry took a moment to adjust his vision to the bright sunlight. Then he headed in the direction of the large and now deteriorating house that stood in the distance. Little Hangleton had even more of an ancient aura than Godric’s Hollow had. It was somewhat of a shock to see cars driving down the streets. It would have seemed more fitting for horse-drawn carriages transporting men in top hats and women in bonnets to be passing them.

There was only one road that would lead them to the Riddle House. It was the road that wound it’s way past the overgrown graveyard. Harry didn’t know or realize this until they were right upon it. Looking to his right, Harry noticed a church, and then his eyes fell on the large yew tree.

Suddenly Harry comprehended exactly where they were. This was where the portkey had transported himself and Cedric. This is where he watched Cedric be murdered, where he had been tied to the gravestone of Voldemort’s dead father and forced to help resurrect the Dark Lord. This was where he had almost died himself, where he would have died had his wand and Voldemort’s not shared cores.

Harry wanted to get away from this graveyard as fast as he could, but found instead that he was walking into it. There was nothing here but painful memories that he would rather forget. Why he was coming back here he couldn’t answer himself, so remained quiet when Ron and Hermione asked.

Flashes of what had happened that night were playing through Harry’s mind as though he was watching a movie. The cup transporting him and Cedric here, Wormtail, Cedric dying, being tied to the grave, watching Voldemort being reborn, the appearance of the Death Eaters, the duel, the echoes of Cedric, Bertha Jorkins, Frank Bryce, his mother, his father . . .

Harry once again was feeling that same sense of pointlessness that he had felt in Godric’s Hollow. What use was it really to try and fight this war? Everyone was going to die anyway. They always did. Three years ago he had seen a classmate be murdered in cold blood, and then seen four other victims of Voldemort, all murdered for no reason. This hunt would make the Dark Lord more vengeful and murderous. It wasn’t really worth the sacrifice.

Harry shook his head, to clear it. What was he thinking? He might not be up to the task of destroying Voldemort, but he wasn’t going to sit around and watch as everyone died. He was going to go down fighting, even if it was in vain. The first thing he needed to do was gain some control over his own actions and get the hell out of this graveyard. There was nothing here that they were going to find, and all it was doing was sapping his energy and determination.

“Harry?” Hermione questioned anxiously.

“Let’s go,” Harry told her and Ron, a fresh wave of determination in his voice. He turned his back to the place he had stood three years ago, and headed back to the road. Ron and Hermione didn’t say anything, but again just followed him, although Harry saw that they exchanged another look.

If Harry thought that leaving the graveyard would give him a reprieve from those pitying thoughts, he was wrong. As he, Ron and Hermione walked in silence, those memories started to come back to him more prominently. Cedric lying dead on the ground, Wormtail cutting off his own hand, Voldemort stepping out of the cauldron, Voldemort saying “bow to death Harry.”

Nor were those the only thoughts that were running through Harry’s head as they neared the Riddle House. They had just started climbing the hill when he heard another voice, making him slow down and almost stop, his blood running cold.

“HARRY, HELP ME PLEASE! PLEASE DON’T LET HIM TAKE ME!”

It took a minute for him to realize that Ginny’s voice was coming from his own mind. The dream he had came back in full force as dread settled on him, and he began to shiver, despite the almost stifling heat.

But the heat was there no more. Instead there was a deep, biting chill in the air. Harry hadn’t noticed this right away, caught up as he was in his horrible remembrances. He had initially attributed this cold to his internal state. Ron and Hermione were shivering too though.

“W-w-why i-I-I-is it s-so cold?” Hermione asked, her teeth chattering. There was a simple answer to that question of course. There was only one thing that could turn a swelteringly hot day into a freezing cold one in seconds. Dementors.

Harry couldn’t see them yet, but knew they must be near. He hissed this to Ron and Hermione who, looking around apprehensively themselves, drew out their wands. The three friends moved in closer, forming a circle. They had their backs to each other and were each looking in a different direction, trying to pinpoint the location of those foul beings. They didn’t dare move, for fear of winding up closer to the Dementors.

Then Harry, turning for a moment from his stance facing the house, saw them. They were coming the same way Harry, Ron and Hermione had. There were at least a dozen of them.

“Get back,” Harry told the others. They were all facing the Dementors now, and their draining power was starting to have its effect on the three teens. They backed away several paces, getting closer to the house.

“Think of something happy,” Harry told his friends. “Remember the patronus . . . “ he was trying to focus on something happy himself. Ginny, he thought. Her smiling face came into his vision, and he readied himself to produce his patronus when the Dementors got close enough.

A hundred feet stood between Harry, Ron, Hermione and the hooded creatures. Still backing away, in between Ron and Hermione, Harry raised his wand.

“Expecto Pat —“ he started to shout. He never finished the incantation though, because his scar burst into life and he let out a grunt of pain. Voldemort was here, in the Riddle House, and he knew that Harry was just outside. They were facing a battle on two fronts. The very last thing that Harry needed right now, in his weakened state, especially with his two best friends by his side, was a battle with Voldemort.

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