Starting off where the sixth book ends, a dark and twisting path lies ahead…
"…but in spite of everything,
in spite of the dark and twisting path he saw stretching ahead for himself,
in spite of the final meeting with Voldemort he knew must come…"
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, page 607, UK version
Harry watched raindrops splatter against the windows of the Hogwarts
Express, travelling back from Hogwarts to London. He looked around the
carriage, and saw Hermione reading a textbook while stroking a purring
Crookshanks, Ron snoring loudly, his head resting on Hermione's
shoulder, Luna reading the Quibbler, and Neville, who was also asleep.
There was only one person missing, and that was Ginny. Harry thought
she had taken the break-up reasonably well, but changed his mind when
at the beginning of the journey she quickly put her head around the
door of the carriage and, averting Harry's eyes, muttered she would be
spending the journey with some friends who had asked her to sit with
them 'ages ago.' As soon as Ginny had left, Ron and Hermione rounded on
"What happened?" Hermione shot at him. Harry decided
there was no point lying to them and saying that he and Ginny were
still together, but he still did not want Neville and Luna to know the
real reason they had broken up. Everyone's eyes were on him. He gulped.
"Someone … came between us … I guess."
could have come between you two?" Considering that Ron was still
finding the idea of his best mate and his sister being together so odd,
he was taking the news that they were no longer an item very badly.
same person who has ruined everything that ever meant anything to me!"
Harry suddenly found himself shouting. He felt all the emotion that he
had bottled up after Dumbledore's death, his departure from Hogwarts,
and his split from Ginny boiling over.
"Who was it, Harry?
Just tell me who, and I'll punch their lights out! Was it Dean? 'Cause
I'll kill him! I swear!" Harry heard Hermione let out an exasperated
sigh. He guessed that Hermione had figured out what had happened as
soon as Harry had given his pitiful excuse.
"Not Dean, you
idiot! VOLDEMORT!" he yelled. Then he had turned away and faced the
window. So much for not letting Neville and Luna know the real reason.
while staring at Ron and willing him to wake up so that Harry could
apologise for shouting, he didn't notice Hermione put down her
"You could wake him up, you know." Harry jumped.
"He doesn't like being woken up."
Hermione sighed again.
"Did you and Ginny break up because you thought that Voldemort would use her to get to you?"
"Yeah. To spy on me, or whatever. He's done stuff like that before and as she's close to all of us…"
be a prime target." Hermione finished off for him. She sat back and
stared out of the window. She didn't look like she usually did when she
daydreamed. In fact she looked almost… scared.
"Hermione? Are you okay?" She whipped her head round with a jolt like she'd forgotten Harry was there.
"Yes. I suppose so. I've always known that we were in danger but… but… but I guess I'm finally realising, you know, just coming to terms with… with the immense danger each one of us is really in."
half an hour later when they were all dressed in muggle clothes, Harry
asked Ron if he could talk to him outside the compartment.
"Listen, Ron, I'm sorry – "
worry about it. Hermione filled me in about why you broke up with Ginny
when you were in the bathroom." Harry made a mental note to thank
Hermione later. He did not want to go though the reasons again.
"But still, Ron, I shouldn't have called you an idiot."
was being one. I don't think I really thought that Dean had broken you
two up." Harry laughed just as Hermione stepped out into the corridor.
"Have you two finished yet? Oh, look!" Crabbe and Goyle sloped past, looking grumpier than ever now that Malfoy had gone.
know, I'm sure that they don't want to be friends with Malfoy now they
know what he's done… maybe we should try and make peace – "
"NO!" was Harry and Ron's reply.
us, Hermione. I bet they think he's a right little hero now," said Ron,
glaring at Crabbe's and Goyle's retreating backs.
few hours later, Harry was lying on his back, his feet propped up on
his old cupboard door, with his ear pressed against the crack under the
kitchen door of Number Four, Privet Drive. A pair of Extendable Ears
would be very useful in this situation. He was also very lucky that
Dudley was out terrorising small children at the moment, or he'd be
sitting on Harry trying to hear the conversation as well.
"Some kind of dark ma – ma – magic – protection thing, that … that Dumbledore man put on him, something about blood – "
do with Lily's blood … Harry and I have Lily's blood in our blood …
something to do with dying to save Harry … coming of age … I need to
speak to him … let me talk to him about it…"
"I don't want you
to!" Harry never heard the rest, as at that moment Uncle Vernon opened
the kitchen door without any warning and stepped on Harry's head.
"Arrrgghh!" Uncle Vernon yelled, as Harry yelped.
"What the devil do you think you're doing, boy?"
"Erm … resting?"
to your room, boy!" Harry didn't need telling twice and disapparated
from the hall to his bedroom. He heard Petunia's scream and laughed as
he fell back onto his bed. A minute later, Harry heard Petunia's
footsteps on the stairs. He prepared himself for the worst as she burst
"Don't scare me like that!" Harry was gobsmacked. Aunt Petunia was scared for him?
"Wh – wh – what?"
She looked very uncomfortable. "I promised that … Dumbledore that …
that I'd look after you when you weren't at school and when …when you
disappear and he's on the loose … well … erm … I'm scared of…of wiz …
wiz …wizards and if I don't co-operate, they might hurt me." So that's
why she's scared for me, thought Harry, she thinks Dumbledore will hex
her. Well sorry to disappoint you, but Dumbledore's not going to be
hexing anyone anytime soon. But when he looked into her pale eyes, he
got a feeling that she wasn't telling the whole truth. When he looked
into those eyes he didn't even have the heart to tell her that
Dumbledore was dead.
"The spell that Dumbledore put on us,
this house, was for my protection, and it wears off when I reach
seventeen. Aunt Petunia, I've recently found out that I have to defeat
Voldemort, I'm the only one who can, that's why I'm going to miss the
last year of school. There are many things that I have to … find and …complete before I can defeat him, before I can try and defeat him." Petunia's face was white.
"How long will it take?"
"I don't know. A month? A year? Maybe a few years?"
"And … and if you don't defeat him?"
if I fight him and lose, if he … if he kills me, well, well, he goes on
killing others, he gets more supporters, he never gets defeated and it
"So you kill him or he kills you, eventually?" she whispered.
yeah." Then Petunia did something so unexpected Harry almost laughed
despite the depressing nature of their conversation. She hugged him. It
wasn't quite as motherly as when Mrs Weasley hugged him, but still, it
was the first hug he had ever received from a relative. She was still
hugging him when Ron and Hermione apparated into his bedroom. Petunia
let go immediately and screamed, as Hermione turned to Ron and looked
him up and down.
"Ron! You've left half an eyebrow behind!"
"Heroing is one of the shortest-lived professions there is."