Conjoining of Paragons
Chapter 47: Where Your Treasure Is, There Will Your Heart Be Also
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots, and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to my editor Athena, as well as my other betas 3CP, Luq707, Raven, Regress, Thanos, and Yoshi89 for their incredible work on this story.
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November 21, 1943
The Great Hall
Soaring owls shattered swirling sheets of rain, streaking across the bleak, grey ceiling. Thunder rumbled outside and half a hundred owls screeched whilst bright lightning rippled across the ceiling. Never had the wafting smells of a hundred different breakfasts been any less appealing.
“Where have you been?” Dorea asked when he took his seat, glaring across the table.
“We were worried sick!” said Elena. “Professor Slughorn told us you returned to Hogwarts, but then you just disappeared and never showed up in the common room.”
Harry mussed his hair, looking anywhere but at them. Great, guilt. That’s the last thing my stomach needed right now. Last night had been spent in the chamber with Emily. Harry fought down a blush. It sounds weird thinking it like that. They had only slept there — both had lacked the necessary will for a climb back up into the castle.
“Sorry,” he muttered, still not looking at either of them. “I just… didn’t want to be around people.” Except Emily. Harry had wanted no part of her, either — not until he found her in the chamber and she forcefully changed his mind.
The two girls exchanged looks, but Emily and her posse swept into the hall and took seats nearby before either of them could speak.
Several of them reached for their copies of The Daily Prophet.
Harry leant over. “How bad is it?” he whispered in Emily’s ear.
Her lips thinned. “About as bad as you’d expect. Looking might not be helpful.”
Harry seized the curdling nausea and tied it in knots, shoving it down into the depths of his stomach. I have to. If I can’t even read the paper, what good will I ever be when Grindelwald comes?
Harry snatched a nearby copy and took a deep, readying breath.
GRINDELWALD KILLS DUMBLEDORE DURING HOGSMEADE ATTACK!
“It gets worse,” Dorea muttered across the table. The dread returned tenfold. “The ministry is drafting witches and wizards.”
“So this is it, then,” whispered Elena. “The war is here.”
It’s all my fault. The guilt grew so bad that Harry ducked his head, grimacing against its wrath. Grindelwald would never have come if not for me. Dumbledore might still have beat him in 1945. Everyone here would be safe.
Harry nearly jolted when Emily began rubbing small circles on his back, but he felt himself relax. That actually feels nice. He lifted his head again and caught Dorea exchanging looks with Elena. Oh, Merlin… I’m gonna have to explain what happened with Emily. Harry dreaded that, edited as the account would be. A bitter taste coated his tongue. I hate lying!
The hall was buzzing. Several screams echoed across the four house tables. Glass goblets shuddered and gilded plates fell, shattering against the floor. Harry’s hands curled into fists, his nails digging into his palms while fearful mutters rose and rose.
Dippett stood from his place at the staff table and waited for quiet. It was a long wait.
“I hoped this day would never come. The war has finally hit England. It is unknown whether Grindelwald plans on returning, but the first blood has spilled on English soil.”
Tears shone in the old man’s eyes, the lines in his face deeper than ever. “Albus Dumbledore was among the greatest men I ever knew. Not only was he a brilliant magician, but he was kind, brave, and wise. His presence will not be easily replaced. Transfiguration lessons will be postponed until a substitute professor can be found.”
Dippett closed his eyes and let out a long, shuddering breath. “Let us take a moment of silence for Albus Dumbledore. A man who died protecting his students and his country. A man we are all fortunate to have known.”
No one dared speak. Harry bowed his head. Raindrops pounded against the windows. Another thunderclap rattled plates and goblets while glass panes shuddered.
“I urge you all to remain calm,” Dippett said once a full minute had passed. “Hogwarts is protected by what might be the world’s greatest set of wards. Grindelwald will have a hard time breaching Hogwarts and there are no indications pointing to an immediate threat.”
No indications? Harry’s fists tightened. It’s like he’s ignoring everything he just said.
What else can he do? It’s not like he can admit how terrified he is. Students need Hogwarts and the ministry needs students to succeed. Dippett’s hand is forced.
Harry waited in the Great Hall only so long as it felt polite before sweeping out the doors. Footsteps followed closely. Here we go, then.
Harry whirled to face his two best friends. Elena took a half step back. “It just happened, all right? Emily and I were talking. There were things we told each other and… I don’t know. We’ve been friends for ages and nothing’s gone wrong. What’s the worst that can—”
“We weren’t going to ask about that.” Elena’s soft retort sliced through his onslaught.
Way to go, idiot, now you’re an arse. “Oh.” Guilt and despair both pulled in opposite directions, tearing his chest apart. “Sorry.”
“Are you okay?”
Harry could not remember the last time Dorea spoke so softly. “No,” he admitted. “Probably not. I just… I need time.”
Harry’s feet carried him up the marble staircase. Peeves drifted by but made no attempt at mischief while Harry traipsed past woven tapestries and ancient suits of armour.
The abandoned classroom surrounded him before he knew it — the same one he so often used with Charlus.
Lightning flashed outside the window, but it looked blurry through the tears now stinging his eyes. Harry’s shoulders shook and waves of painful heat crashed through his body. His face scrunched up and his muscles tensed.
A loud scream echoed through the classroom and his wand whipped out, blasting a nearby desk to dust. Harry swept his wand and banished a row of them against the far wall. They shattered into a hundred splinters that he buried in a torrent of deep, red flames.
Harry closed his eyes and concentrated, pulling in every scrap of magic and supplanting his will. Something tugged inside his stomach, but Harry pulled back. Not today!
A flaming knight twelve-feet tall loomed over him when he next opened his eyes. Waves of heat rolled off it and sent painful prickles running down his skin even from so far away.
I did it. I actually just used elemental transfiguration. It would have been a great feat on any other day, but now, it felt hollow. Dumbledore should have been here. He should have seen it. I would never have done it without him.
Someone whistled from behind him and Harry nearly set the knight on them.
“Bloody impressive, that,” said Charlus, wiping beads of sweat from his brow while he stared up at Harry’s flaming construct. “I’ve hardly seen anything like it.” Charlus shook his head. “I hadn’t until….”
“Until yesterday.” Silence hung between them and Harry slashed his wand. The flames collapsed, then sputtered out.
“Until yesterday,” Charlus agreed. The silence stretched again. “I’m sorry, Harry. I should never have just rushed after him. I just… I hate him so much.”
Harry closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “I get it. I just… I wish things went differently.”
Charlus fussed with his robes. “It’s been a long month. I just want all this to be over.”
Harry might have laughed had things been different. “I have a feeling this won’t be over any time soon.” And we might not like how it ends.
“We can conquer death. That means immortality and never-ending armies. Grindelwald is irrelevant — no one can win against those odds.”
Surely it’s impossible. But was it? Grindelwald had called upon the dead just by waving his wand. Not really, though; they were just puppets. But if he could do that with a wand, what could they do with the stone? What could they do by studying it? Is it possible? Is this really how we win?
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
“What do you know about the Deathly Hallows?” The question came unbidden from his lips.
Charlus looked puzzled. “The Deathly Hallows? Not much beyond the story. Death made three gifts — a wand, a cloak, and a magic stone. One was unbeatable, one was untraceable, and the other raised the dead.”
Here goes nothing. “I think Grindelwald has the wand.”
Harry waited for signs of disagreement, but Charlus just sighed. “After yesterday…” he shook his head. “It’s not hard to believe, is it?”
“No, it’s not. I want the others.”
“The others?” Charlus frowned at him. “Harry… the wand can sort of be traced. I get why you think Grindelwald could have it — Merlin knows you’re not the only one — but the others? You really think there’s a Resurrection Stone?”
“Why not?” He had been thinking about it all day. “Grindelwald raised the dead. Sure they were just puppets, but the stone’s not much better. The myths say it just raises shadows.”
Charlus wrung his hands, more confused now than ever. “Then why do you want it? What’s so important about shadows?”
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
“I don’t care about what the stone does. I care about studying it and learning how to do more.” Charlus’s eyes widened. “The cloak’s more obvious. I don’t know what true invisibility means, but surely that it can’t be detected.” Was this how Emily felt last night while explaining it? “If I was under the cloak—“
“It wouldn’t work,” Charlus said flatly. “Invisibility cloaks are weird. They don’t let you cast magic if you’re under them.”
Harry frowned. That’s not right. Yet the longer he thought, the more he realized he could never remember casting magic while under his cloak. Fuck!
“Maybe there’s a way around that. If the stone can be studied, so can the cloak. Maybe that restriction isn’t even on the Hallow. It’s supposed to be better than other cloaks, right?”
Charlus shuffled from foot to foot but looked unconvinced. “I guess. I just… I guess I don’t think the Hallows will help us as much as you do.”
Desperation gleamed in dark blue eyes while Emily shrank slightly back. “It has to,” he said. “I’ll make it work.” I won’t let her die. Not after seeing how it affects her.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
November 28, 1943
Brittle leaves skipped across browning grass, rustling in a soft, autumn breeze. Harry wrapped his cloak more tightly around himself, staring down at the marble headstone.
Albus Dumbledore – 1881-1943
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.
Church bells tolled nearby whilst Harry studied the pair of graves flanking Dumbledore’s. They must be his mother’s and sister’s. The dates lined up and the placement was deliberate. I wonder where his father’s grave is.
Harry tried reading the inscriptions on the other graves, but his sight was blurred by tears.
Emily wrapped her arms around him, sidling around until they were hugging beside the grave. “It’s okay,” she whispered, squeezing his shoulders. “Just let it out.”
Harry sniffed. “What-what does that say?”
Emily followed his line of sight and read aloud. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Harry laughed even while tears rolled down his cheeks. “It sounds like something Dumbledore would say.”
She reached up and gently wiped the tears from his cheeks with the back of her hand. “It does.”
Damnit, Dumbledore. We both had family die here. Harry could not imagine his sister and mother lived different lives back in his own world. Why did you never tell me?
They stood there for some time, staring down at Dumbledore’s grave. Their arms remained around each other while Harry cried himself out. His cheeks burned, but Emily chided him each time he looked embarrassed and warmth flooded him each time either of them shifted.
“We should go,” she said softly when his composure returned. “The funeral ended hours ago. The professors will wonder where we are. We can always come back.”
Harry sniffed one last time. “And you’re sure you can apparate?”
She stuck up her nose. “Of course I’m sure.” Hogwarts students had portkeyed here for the funeral, but they had stayed behind. Emily could not test for her licence until the year’s end, but she assured him she could get them back to Hogsmeade, from which they could walk up to the castle.
“All right,” he said, ignoring the horrible ache in his chest. “Let’s…” his voice trailed off.
Mould crept across a peeling gravestone nearby, but the church door had opened and its light spilled far across the lawn and dappled across the graveyard.
A triangular symbol enclosed a vertical slash and something circular.
Harry freed himself from Emily’s arms and rushed towards the headstone. “Harry?” She followed him, her voice unsure.
“Bloody hell,” he breathed, staring down at the headstone.
Ignotus Peverell – 1214-1292
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Shock froze his breath solid, trapping it in his chest. Oh… oh, fuck!
“What does that mean?” Harry asked, gesturing to the phrase etched on the headstone. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Charlus shrugged. “Dunno, they’ve always been the Potter words, but Dad never explained them.”
“And the mark? I feel like I’ve seen it before.”
“It was our old coat of arms centuries ago. Some family that became ours, or something, I can’t remember. It’s always on the gravestones.”
“Harry? Are you okay?”
“What do you know about invisibility cloaks?” His words were rushed, his voice breathless. His heart thundered so hard that it made him feel sick.
She frowned. “Invisibility cloaks?”
“Yes.” Harry seized her hands; they were much warmer than his. “Please, Emily, this is important.”
“Invisibility cloaks are made from the hairs of a demiguise,” she recited. “They offer invisibility, but they can be beaten using spells like Homenum Revellio and they don’t last for long.”
“Don’t last for long? How long? Like… a generation?”
Her lips twitched. “Not quite. I haven’t read much about them, but I don’t think they last long. A few years, maybe? I would have to read more… Harry, are you okay?”
My father owned my cloak, the Potter words came from an old family, just like that symbol — the symbol of the Deathly Hallows. The Potters… we’re descended from the Peverells. That meant… If the cloak exists, it’s the Potter cloak.
Harry screwed up his face, every inch of him buzzing with fury. Why didn’t I bring back the cloak? Self-loathing gnawed inside his stomach. That was so fucking stupid! I just left it sitting on the Astronomy Tower, I—
“Harry? What is it?”
Harry shook his head, numb with shock. “The gravestone,” he said, gesturing. “That’s Ignotus Peverell’s.”
Emily’s breath hitched and she let him go, stepping past him and staring down at the headstone. Her shoulders went rigid. Oh, Merlin, what now… “Emily?”
“I have it.” Her voice was almost dreamy, a whisper fainter than wind. “I actually have it.”
Harry gently turned her towards him, his heart pounding in his chest. “Have what?”
Emily held up a hand. A golden ring gleamed on her finger, set with a black, cracked stone.
Harry frowned. “I don’t get it.”
“Look!” She shoved it right in his face and he squinted. There was a mark against the stone… a triangular mark!
Harry staggered back, the world spinning. “There’s no way,” he whispered. “You can’t mean—“
“The Resurrection Stone!” Joy lit up her face, her eyes sparkling like a pair of dark sapphires.
Harry’s mind whirled, wiped clean by shock but for a single, repeating thought.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
And the plot thickens…
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