AYNIL: Chapter Twelve: Godric’s Hollow

“What are you doing here?” Harry asked furiously, closing the door as he did so. Then he turned to look at Ginny.

“Lupin brought me,” she said. Harry rounded on Remus Lupin angrily. What had he been thinking bringing her here? Harry thought that his father’s best friend understood how he felt about Ginny, and that he didn’t want her with him while he was on this dangerous journey. He didn’t think he was in any real danger here in Godric’s Hollow, but if Hermione was right, and Voldemort did have look outs posted around the village Ginny’s coming here would be a certain indicator that they were together. This was the last thing that Harry wanted Voldemort to know. Had he been wrong to think Lupin knew all this?

“It was against my better inclination to bring her here,” Lupin admitted. “But she showed up at Grimmauld Place, Harry. She knew that you, Ron and Hermione had come here, and threatened to set off on her own, she wasn’t to be dissuaded. I assumed you would like this arrangement better.”

“Yeah, I guess. Thanks Lupin,” Harry said finally. He did appreciate that Lupin had at least come with Ginny, but that didn’t change the fact that he was furious with her. Exactly what did she think that she was doing coming here in the first place, let alone in the middle of the night? Aside from the fact that her mother would flay them both alive, she could have been apprehended at any point. He said as much to Ginny, albeit in a furious manner.

“Please, Harry you’re getting as paranoid as Moody.” Ginny waved away his concern. “I’m not taking this thing lightly, but seriously, there aren’t Death Eaters lurking around every corner. Have you seen any here today?”

“I’m going to leave you two to sort this out,” Lupin said. With a small pop he Disapparated.

“I thought that you understood -” Harry growled through clenched teeth (if he opened his mouth he just might start shouting at her), “- why I didn’t want you with us.” He could feel the blood pulsating in his temples. He was beyond outraged. He had to work hard to restrain himself from shaking her. Ginny’s spunk was one of the reasons that Harry loved her. But really, sometimes that got in the way of her sense.

“I just thought . . . “ Ginny backed away several steps. She looked a little scared. Seeing her retreat like that caused Harry to calm down at once. She looked afraid of him, the last reaction Harry ever wanted Ginny to have to him. He sighed heavily; this was something else he seemed to be doing a lot lately.

Sitting down on the bed, Harry took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes, which were still itching due to lack of sleep. He didn’t know what he was going to do now. They couldn’t go back to the Burrow at this time of night, even if Ginny agreed. Ron was going to be furious when he found out that his sister was here, and when they did take her back, Mrs. Weasley was going to go berserk.

Ginny sat down beside him as she said, “Harry, I think that Hermione agrees with me. She was the one that left me the note telling me where you were going. And it’s like we discussed before. I’m probably safer with you than at home. Snape . . . “ She recoiled again when Harry rounded on her . “. . .well he knows about us. That’s how Voldemort found out in the first place, I’m sure of it.”

“I’m not having this conversation with you again,” Harry responded wearily, making a mental note to talk to Hermione about her involvement in this. “It’s too dangerous, and you’d be a target for sure if you came —“

“I don’t want to come with you wherever else you’re going. But I could at least be with you when you go to see your parents graves,” Ginny replied, cutting across him. “Just for the few days that you’re here,” she added.

Harry remained silent for a little while as he thought about this. He was absolutely livid about what she had done. How many times had they had this same conversation? What was it going to take for Ginny to realize this wasn’t a game? She was in more danger than he was, at least in the short term. The more time they spent together the more Voldemort could potentially learn. If he found out just how much Harry cared for Ginny, he would surely use all of his considerable power to get to her.

Harry wanted to have Ginny with him all the time, but knew it wasn’t wise. She might be safer with him than at the Burrow, but Harry doubted it. He had no idea of what lay ahead of them. Even if the living Voldemort didn’t get Ginny, she might be injured during one of their attempts to destroy a Horcrux. To Harry that would be as bad or worse than Voldemort getting her.

Calming down a little, Harry glanced at Ginny who was watching him curiously. He couldn’t do anything about her being here tonight. Truth be told, he was happy to have her near him, even if he was still upset at her for the stupid stunt she had just pulled.

“What am I going to do with you?” Harry asked, not really expecting an answer as he pulled her close to him.

“Love me,” Ginny replied cheekily, as she snuggled close. Yet again, they delighted in the fact that they could be close to each other. Even though it sometimes felt like a lifetime they hadn’t really spent that much time apart. Three weeks wasn’t a lifetime, although it certainly had felt like it when cooped up in Grimmauld Place. And there was still the fact that their future was uncertain. Thus, it was nice just to be able to enjoy the little time they had together, even if Harry was apoplectic at Ginny’s total disregard for her own safety.

“Does your mum know you’re here?” Harry inquired after a while.

“Er . . . not here exactly, but she knows I’m with you guys. I left her a note.”

“Oh God,” Harry leaned his head back as scenarios started to run through his mind. Mr. And Mrs. Weasley were not going to be pleased that their sixteen year old daughter had run away from home, especially when it was to be with her boyfriend. They would be even less pleased that she chose to do it in times as dangerous as these. Harry was sure they were going to have a few choice words for him too. He hoped that unpleasant words were the only things they were going to have.

“Don’t worry, mum loves you. She won’t fly too off the handle.”

“I doubt that,” Harry stated, not letting go of Ginny. “What am I going to do with you?” he asked again, more to himself than to Ginny.

Harry, Ron and Hermione had no idea how long they were going to be here in Godric’s Hollow. Ginny was certainly going to want to stay here the whole time. It wouldn’t be wise to have her come with them, just in case Hermione was right about the Death Eaters. Harry briefly thought about telling Ginny that she had to stay in the room when they went out, but knew that would not go over with her. In the end he decided that they would just have to make the best of it. Maybe she would agree to wear the invisibility cloak or something.

“I can think of a few things,” Ginny suggested. It was too dark in the room to see her face, but Harry was quite certain she was smiling broadly. It didn’t take much to persuade him that they were done talking.

Harry woke up the next morning and was momentarily sure he was still dreaming. He wasn’t alone in his bed. Ginny was sprawled out beside him, her arm draped lazily over his chest. They had both fallen asleep, not even bothering to change. Harry had to admit that he liked waking up like this. He could do without sleeping in his clothes, but having Ginny there was fantastic. Not wanting to wake her, he lay there and watched her sleep.

A knock on the door about ten minutes later meant Harry had to move, and Ginny stirred.

“Whozair?” she asked, lifting her head, her face hidden behind a curtain of red locks.

“Dunno.” Harry got off the bed and went to answer the door. On the other side was Hermione.

“Harry, we figured that we’d get start —“ Hermione stopped talking after taking only a few steps into the room and spotting Ginny facedown on the bed. “What’s she doing here?” She looked at Harry suspiciously.

“She showed up here at one thirty this morning. Lupin brought her. Apparently she had gone to Grimmauld Place and ordered him to bring her here, or she was going to set out on her own,” Harry explained in the same quiet voice that Hermione had just used. Then, remembering what Ginny had said the night before he added, “besides I should be the one asking you that. What were you thinking, telling her where we were going.”

Hermione blushed and looked away with a guilty expression on her face. She didn’t answer Harry’s question. Instead she said, “that was really dangerous.” Hermione looked scared at Ginny’s daring. “I mean with You-know . . V -Voldemort out there she could have been —“

“I know. That’s what I told her,” Harry said. “You should have known that she might do something like this if you let her know where we were going.”

“Are you trying to say this is all my fault?’ Hermione hissed. Harry didn’t answer but she seemed to get the point nonetheless. “I just wrote her that note to let her know that we weren’t going anywhere dangerous. Harry you have to know how hard this is on her. I mean . . . “ What Hermione meant Harry didn’t hear. He put up his hand to silence her.

“It’s fine. I don’t really blame you. You were doing what you thought was best. I just . . .” He turned to look at Ginny, who was still very much asleep. “Mr and Mrs Weasley are going to go mad,” he said, again to himself.

“Ron is going to flip when he sees her here. Especially like that.” Hermione gestured to where Ginny was still sprawled out on Harry’s bed.

“Why? It’s not like we did anything,” Harry said, knowing that wouldn’t matter at all. Hermione was absolutely right. Ron was going to blow a fuse at this whole situation. Even if they could have thought of a more innocent reason for Ginny to be here, and in Harry’s bed, they wouldn’t have had time to put it into action. Ron had exited his room and came over to where Harry and Hermione were standing in the doorway to room number one.

“Why’re you both standing here? Shouldn’t we go inside?” he asked.

“Yes, we will Ron. But there’s something that you should know first,” Hermione started timidly. If she had been able to prepare Ron for what he would see things might have been a little less noisy, but she wasn’t quick enough.

“Ginny?” Ron asked as he took a few steps closer to the doorway, so he could see into the room. At first he didn’t say anything else, but looked at her in shock. That soon passed and he was looking angrily at Harry as he shouted, “GINNY WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?”

“Bloody hell!” Ginny sat bolt upright, pushing her hair out of her face as she did so. “Ron, what are you shouting about?”

“YOU . . . HERE . . . AND WITH HARRY!” Ron was still red with anger, and shouting at a volume that would make Uncle Vernon proud.

“Ron, keep your voice down,” Hermione reprimanded, pushing him into the room so that she could close the door. The very last thing they needed was for Mr. And Mrs. Clark to hear all this shouting and have to make another trip up here.

“I WILL NOT. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT SHE’S DOING HERE, IN HIS BED.”

“Nothing, she just showed up here last night, and we fell asleep together,” Harry explained. If this was how Ron was taking this, Mrs. Weasley in particular was someone that Harry really was not keen on meeting in the near future.

“You sure about that?” Ron was still looking at Harry angrily. The expression on his face was of utter disbelief. He was obviously of the mind that things were not as innocent as they proclaimed.

“Yes he is.” Ginny, still a little bleary eyed, had crawled out of the bed and was looking at her brother with annoyance on her face. “But even if we had done more that’s really none of your business.”

“The hell it isn’t,” Ron stated hotly, although he had stopped shouting. “You’re my sister. What you get up to with him is certainly my business. D’you really think that I want people calling you a scarlet woman?”

Everyone but Ron snorted at the question.

“Please, you’ve been around mum way too long,” Ginny choked through fits of laughter. “That term is more archaic than the pyramids. And it’s not like that anymore anyway. You know it’s not. If it were surely you would act differently with Hermione.”

Ron, however, was not to be dissuaded from his argument.

“It’s different with blokes. Anyway I don’t care how old the word is. I don’t want it being thrown about that you two are . . . are . . . “ He didn’t seem able to say exactly what they were.

“What Ron?” Ginny had her familiar evil grin on again. She watched in amusement while her brother turned a deep shade of scarlet, but wouldn’t utter what their terrible crime was supposed to have been.

“What are you doing here anyway?” he finally fired at Ginny. “Mum can’t’ve been OK with this.”

“I don’t suppose she was, no. But I didn’t see her before I left,” Ginny replied, looking slightly guilty for the first time.

“You didn’t tell her that you were coming?” Ron looked shocked as he stared at his sister.

“I left her a letter.” Ginny shifted uncomfortably, looking at the floor. “But,” she suddenly looked up defiantly, and was speaking in a defensive tone, “I had to come. She would never have understood, so I was left with no choice.”

“What exactly does that mean? You were left with no choice?” Ron asked, crossing his arms. He was looking at her suspiciously. Harry was sure that Ron was starting to think that he and Ginny had cooked this whole thing up.

“Ron, come on, surely you can understand how she feels. You were the one that told Harry that we were going to come with him looking for the Hor —“ Hermione looked horrified at her near slip about the Horcruxes. Harry and Ron snapped their heads in her direction quickly. She had covered her mouth with her hands. Her face had gone red with embarrassment. “I’m so sorry,” she said in a whisper, looking at Harry.

Ginny’s head was swiveling between her brother, Harry and Hermione. She had that same look as she had worn back on the train when she was trying to place the locket. In this case though Harry was quite sure that she wouldn’t know what Hermione had almost said. Not that he even wanted her to know the term, but hearing the word Horcrux probably wouldn’t give Ginny a whole lot more information anyway.

“I . . . I think that maybe we should get some breakfast,” Hermione stated clearly doing so to take everyone’s minds off her blunder.. She walked over to the telephone to call down and order the food, as they had been instructed the night before. Harry was glad that she had suggested it. Food was the best way to get out of the awkward moment that they had found themselves in.

The food arrived about a half hour after Hermione placed her call. It was a great relief to the four of them. Ron had been torn between complaining about his hunger again and shooting disgruntled looks at Harry and Ginny, who were snuggled together in the chair that Harry had fallen asleep in the night before, as he lay on Harry’s bed, flipping through channels on the television,. Hermione had sunk into the chair across from them and buried her still pink face in the book she had been reading the night before.

“Can we get anything else for you?” Thelma asked the four teens as the last plates of food were put on the table. Harry, Ron and Ginny shook their heads. Hermione hesitated for a minute and then she spoke up.

“Yes, can you tell us where the cemetery is around here?”

Henry and Thelma looked at each other, and then the former spoke up to give them directions.

“Why d’yeh want ter go there?” Henry asked politely. Hermione hesitated again before she explained.

“We came because my friend’s parents are buried there.” She gestured to Harry. “He’d like to visit their graves.”

Both the innkeeper and his wife turned to look at Harry. Whereas the night before Harry thought he was imagining it, this morning he was quite certain that there was a tiny flicker of recognition in Henry Clark’s eyes.

“We don’ get a lot o’ strange folks around these parts,” he said. He was squinting now as though thinking hard. Henry still wore that same look of recognition, however he didn’t seem to have narrowed down exactly how he knew Harry. “It’s odds on I knew yer parents. What were their names?”

“Lily and James Potter,” Harry supplied, feeling a new surge of excitement. By coming here, he was hoping to meet people that had known his parents. Before that talk with Lupin this had been a very small hope indeed. After learning that his parents had lived here before going into hiding, he had felt that desire even more profoundly. Now, being in Godric’s Hollow after so long, and in the presence of someone that might actually have known Lily and James was causing his level of anticipation to increase tenfold.

Thelma looked at her husband who was rubbing his chin, clearly searching his mind. He was muttering under his breath, “Potter . . . Potter . . .” He did this for so long that the expectant feeling that Harry had, started to ebb away.

Still muttering to himself the innkeeper looked at Harry again. It was like a light bulb had clicked on in his brain.

“O’ course. I though’ yeh seemed familiar las’ nigh’, ‘specially when I heard that name. Now I think ‘bout it, I feel stupid that I didn’ know the minute yeh walked in here. Yeh look exactly like ‘im, ‘cept yeh have her eyes.”

Harry was now sitting on the edge of his seat, Ginny perched on the arm of the chair He had heard this exact phrase ad nauseam. If he had a galleon for every time he had heard that, he would be richer than Gringotts. Yet he was still excited. Here was someone that he had never met before that knew his parents. What would Harry be able to learn from the innkeeper?

“Nice young couple they was, remember the Potters Thelma?” His wife thought for a moment and then nodded her head.

“Yes, they were so sweet, and their son was the cutest little guy. Was that you?” she asked looking at Harry. He nodded. “Come to think of it, you two remind me a lot of them,” she smiled at Harry and Ginny. They exchanged a quick look, also wearing smiles. Then they turned their attention back to the elderly couple.

“They was here for the longest time, then one day they jus’ up and disappeared. No idea where they went. No one else in the village knew neither. They didn’ seem like the type that would just move out in the middle o’ the nigh’. And even if they had done there surely would have been someone seen them leave. That’s one o’ the great mysteries round here. People still wonder what happened to ‘em.

“Very strange their leaving was, I tell yeh. Never did get any answers on that one. But we wonder if they was runnin’ from summat ‘cause week after they disappeared I was out late in the evenin’ and saw this tall pale bloke headin’ in the direction of their house. Scary looking he was,” Henry shuddered. Harry understood. He could only be talking about Voldemort, who was quite scary looking, even for wizards, so he certainly would be to a Muggle.

“Very odd lookin’. He was wearin’ a dark cloak and had his hood up, but I tell yeh it looked like he had no nose,” the elderly man shuddered again. “Must’ve been a trick of the light, it was quite late. Anyway, dunno what exactly happened, but next thing we knew there was a huge explosion and their house was in ruins.”

Henry Clark looked at the four teens and then at his wife. He had more to say, but was debating about whether he could trust them or not. He must have decided that he could trust them because he started to speak again.

“Strange nigh’ tha’ was. After tha’ huge explosion is where things get even more dodgy. We all heard the explosion all righ’, shook the whole village it did. We was all goin’ to find where it came from. I was one o’ the firs’ to their house, well it’s righ’ near here.” He waved his hand vaguely to his left. “Saw this huge bloke commin’ outta their house, tha’s when I firs’ saw it in ruins. Wasn’ sure about tha’ giant so I hid in the trees. And tha’s when . . .” he trailed off for a minute and looked nervously at Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny again. “Now don’ think I’m a nutter or nothin’ bu’ I swear I saw a huge motorbike fall outta the sky.”

Henry looked from Harry to the others a defiant look on his face. He seemed to be waiting for them to burst out laughing or roll their eyes at the absurdity of this statement. When they said nothing, he continued.

“Well, took me a mo’ to recognize the bloke on the motorbike. He was a friend o’ the young Mr. Potter. Seen ‘em both round here all the time. It was the dark haired, good-lookin’ one,” Mr. Clark looked at his wife. “At leas’ Thelma here though’ he was.”

“And?” Harry asked. He knew most of this already from things that he had learned from Hagrid and during conversations that he had overheard in the Three Broomsticks during his third year. Nonetheless he was fascinated to hear it again, especially because he might be able to learn something new.

“Well, the young ‘un and the giant bloke were havin’ summat of a discussion, arguin’ more like. Couldn’ hear what it was abou’. After a while the big bloke, who’s carryin’ summat by the way, gets on the motorbike and takes off. The young bloke disappeared into the ruins. I dunno what happened after ‘cause I returned home. Strange ‘eh?”

No one said anything.

“It was a few days after tha’ when James and Lily Potter was buried in the cemetery. No one even knew they was still in the village,” Henry said with finality. “Sad that was, them dyin’. Like I said, nicer people yeh don’ often find.”

Again the room was silent. No one seemed to know what to say.

“We’re very sorry for your loss,” Thelma replied looking at Harry with sadness in her eyes. “That must have been hard growing up without them.”

“Yeah,” Harry said in a quiet voice. Yes it had been hard, having to live with the Dursleys and put up with their fear of anything that wasn’t the driest and most normal thing in the world. But like he had told Ginny all those weeks ago, he had done all right for himself, at least he thought he had.

“Well, we’ll leave yeh to enjoy yer nosh. Anythin’ else just give us a holler.” With those words the two Clarks backed out of the room and closed the door.

“You know I’m surprised that the ministry didn’t modify his memory,” Hermione said a few minutes later as the four of them sat munching on the food that had been brought to them. “I guess in the aftermath of You-Know-Who’s demise they overlooked it.”

“Idiots,” Harry muttered. It was the sort of thing that the ministry did. They would have been too busy taking credit for something they had nothing to do with than making sure that Muggles didn’t have memories of events like that. In this case it worked out in Harry’s favor, but his less than pleasant feelings towards Fudge and Scrimgeour didn’t predispose him to be understanding of these bureaucratic errors.

They said very little as they ate their breakfast. The recounting of the night Harry’s parents had died, coupled with the fact that they were going to be visiting their graves that very day, caused a somber mood to fall over all four teens. They stood up silently thereafter to go and get ready to take this sad journey. Ginny absolutely refused to stay behind, or wear the invisibility cloak.

Silence prevailed while making ready to leave. They knew where they were going. They had got directions from Henry Clark just that morning after all. Walking outside they started down the street that was directly in front of the inn. They could see the small white church a little ways off in the distance, coming in and out of their sight, hidden every now and again by a thick tree.

Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione walked down a street lined with more Gingerbread style houses. Harry was again thinking of how much he could enjoy living here as the few people that they passed on the street greeted them cheerfully.

The church was smaller than it had looked the night before when they had stood on the hill across the bridge. Even so, it was a charming sight. It was painted all white, and there were stained glass windows on either side. A path of small, circular stepping-stones lead up to the two thick wooden doors that were standing closed at the moment. Over to the left of the entrance was the graveyard. They could see headstones through the wrought iron fence.

Entering the churchyard they walked up and down the aisles of graves, looking for Harry’s parents. They found them a few moments later, in the very center row of graves. Harry was actually surprised to see that there were fresh flowers here. He wondered who might have brought them. Surely it wasn’t one of the villagers. They seemed nice enough, but to place flowers at the graves of people they didn’t even know, that was unlikely.

“Lupin must have stopped here last night when he left,” Hermione said quietly, as she noticed where Harry was looking. Yes, that was definitely the more logical conclusion.

That small mystery solved, Harry took a good look at the headstones in front of him. They weren’t fancy, just typical curved stone, identical to the last, except for the writing. He leaned down to inspect the inscriptions. The one on Harry’s left said:

James Potter
April 11, 1959 — October 31, 1981
Loving husband and Father
R.I.P

The one to Harry’s right read:

Lily Evans-Potter
August 22, 1959 — October 31, 1981
Loving Wife and Mother
R.I.P

That was it. That was all that was left of his parents; their names, dates of birth and death engraved into cold bits of stone. Somehow the flowers that Lupin had left didn’t seem as touching now. What was the point? Lily and James weren’t there to enjoy them. All the flowers were going to do was die and decay. Harry couldn’t help it, he started to feel a prickling at the corner of his eyes. He blinked trying to stop the tears from falling. Maybe this hadn’t been a good idea after all, coming here.

As he knelt there fighting back the repulsive urge to cry, he started to have rapid flashbacks of all the times he had seen his parents. It was the same sort of feeling like he had during Occlumency lessons. There were his parents smiling sadly at him from the mirror of Erised, they were waving from the picture of the original order of the phoenix, and from the photos in the book Hagrid had given Harry. There they were always smiling. But those weren’t the only memories that Harry had of his parents.

Suddenly, flooding back to the forefront of Harry’s mind were the things that he had spent much of his third year hearing every time he got close to a Dementor.

“Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry!”

“Stand aside, you silly girl… stand aside, now….”

“Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead –”

He could hear his father too, almost at the same time.

“Lily, take Harry and go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off -”

His eyes were still turned towards the gravestones of his parents, but Harry wasn’t really seeing them anymore. His grief was starting to turn to anger. Voldemort, almost everything that had happened to Harry throughout his life could be traced back to the Dark Lord. He had no parents, no godfather, no mentor anymore, they were all dead trying to protect Harry. He had to leave the one place that had felt like home to him because he needed to track down Horcruxes. He had to stay away from Ginny so that she wouldn’t succumb to the fate that everyone else in his life seemed to.

Harry had a sudden strong urge to scream as loud as he could. And again he had that same childish thought about how unfair this was. Not for the first time in his life, but for the first time since just after Sirius died, Harry had the urge to run, and keep on running. He really wished that he could be anyone else but Harry Potter right now. But of course, that wouldn’t happen, and he knew that he could never live with himself if he didn’t do everything in his power to try and get rid of Voldemort.

“Are you OK Harry?” Ginny asked, leaning down beside him and putting her hand on his back in a comforting gesture.

“I’m fine,” he said, anger causing his voice to shake. He stood up, brushing dirt of his jeans and hands. He had come to see his parents’ graves. That was done. He wanted to go and see their ruined house and then get the hell out of here. In the course of five minutes Godric’s Hollow had lost its charm.

“You sure you’re all right?” Ron asked a little nervously. He and Hermione were standing a few feet away.

“Fine,” Harry repeated through clenched teeth. He was a lot calmer than he had been before, but he still had the slight urge to scream.

“Come on, let’s get out of here.” Ginny grabbed Harry’s hand and the four of them started to make their way back out of the churchyard. Near the entrance a small popping sound caused them all to jump, and rapidly draw their wands.

The new arrival looked stunned for a minute at such a greeting. He was a tall, gangling man with blond hair and grey eyes, which at the moment were alive with excitement. When he noticed their wands he smiled rather nervously and held up an acid green quill. Ron, Ginny and Hermione all groaned. Harry said nothing. He glared at the reporter that had just appeared in their path.

“Mr. Potter, Andrew Morris, Prophet reporter.” As he said this he stuck out his hand. None of them took it, so he withdrew it and started talking. “So visiting your parents graves, Mr. Potter. Is this the first time that you’ve been to see them?”

“Shove off,” Ron barked at him. He strode forward and pushed the reporter out of the way so that they could continue walking. The reporter seemed taken aback for a second, but then started to follow them, firing questions all the while.

“Would you like to comment on your experiences here today? Care to comment on how you think the war’s going? Could you share any ideas of what You-Know-Who’s up to? Would you like to give us a comment on the ever-elusive Severus Snape?”

Harry ignored the first three questions. He certainly was not going to tell anyone about his experiences at his parent’s graves. He had already commented on how badly the ministry was handling the war. He could care less what Voldemort was up to, as long as he was staying away from Harry, Ginny, and everyone else that Harry cared about. It was the last question that caused him to spin around so fast that the Daily Prophet reporter recoiled in fright, nearly knocking his Quick-quotes quill out of the air where it was scribbling madly as it floated along beside him.

Harry was already angry from his experiences at the grave, and having Snape’s name thrown at him was not a good mixture. He advanced on the reporter until they were mere inches apart.

“SNAPE’S NOTHING BUT A MURDERER AND A COWARD WHO’S BEING SHIELDED BY VOLDEMORT,” he roared, ignoring the flinches from Ron and the reporter at the mention of the Dark Lord’s name. “AS FOR HIS MATE VOLDEMORT, I DON’T GIVE A DAMN WHAT HE’S UP TO. EVERYONE PLAYS INTO HIS HANDS BY BEING AFRAID TO SAY VOLDEMORT’S NAME.” Harry said this name very slowly. “HE DESERVES NONE OF IT. ALL VOLDEMORT -” he emphasized this name again, “- HAS EVER BEEN IS A BULLY, EVEN WHEN HE WAS A KID AND WAS STILL KNOWN BY HIS PROPER NAME – TOM RIDDLE.” He didn’t shout his next words. “He changed his name because he was ashamed to be a half-blood. Did you know that?”

Harry had shouted so loud that his throat felt a little raw. It had been completely unnecessary to be that loud, but he was in such a temper given what he had just been though, that he didn’t care. And the mention of Snape had made him lose the little bit of self-control that he had managed to gain. He thought right afterwards that it probably wasn’t wise to spout Voldemort’s true identity. What damage this would do he wasn’t sure. But it was too late to take it back now. And if he really thought about it, he didn’t want to. Maybe if the wide world knew who Voldemort really was they would stop fearing him so much. As Dumbledore always said, “fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” No one had feared to say Tom Riddle as far as Harry knew.

Having said all that he wanted to the reporter, and perhaps more than he should have, Harry grabbed Ginny’s hand, then they, Ron and Hermione set off back to the inn. Just now Harry had no desire to do anything other than get away from that reporter.

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