Adam found that if he focused his mind on the task in front of him, the pain wasn’t as bad. It still hurt, worse than anything he could have imagined, but at least if he focused his mind on finding the final Horcruxes and bringing down Voldemort, he could actually motivate himself to get out of bed and take action.
So, after spending nearly the entire day lying, sometimes dozing, on Ginny’s bed, he’d awoken suddenly, knowing — without a doubt — that Voldemort now knew that he was searching for the Horcruxes. Suddenly feeling a new sense of determination come over him, Adam realised he had to take action now or Voldemort might be able to find that last Horcrux and move it, or, even worse, he might be able to make another.
So, taking a deep breath and trying to focus his mind solely on the last remaining Horcrux, Adam stood up and began making preparation to break into Hogwarts.
A few minutes later, Adam strode into the living area of the tent and, upon seeing Hermione sitting at the kitchen table, he asked, “Where did Luna say she was going to take Ollivander?”
“She said something about somewhere she could hide with her dad, and that her dad could get him medical attention,” Hermione replied, putting down what she was reading.
“Okay,” replied Adam. “Are you ready? I want to get going.”
Finally, after a few minutes of Hermione dashing around making frantic preparations, they were ready to go. “Do you have everything? I don’t think we’ll be back here anytime soon,” Adam asked, once Hermione had sorted herself out.
“Yes,” she nodded, tapping her bag. “I have.”
Adam had packed his own treasured possessions into the magically extended pocket of his jacket; he had his wand, Invisibility Cloak, the map, the two Horcruxes and a few of Ginny’s things that he couldn’t bear to be parted from.
“So,” Hermione began, “what’s the plan?”
“We Apparate to Hogsmeade, and then find a way into the school.”
“That’s it?” Hermione questioned.
“Yes,” Adam replied bluntly, wishing desperately that it was Ginny here with him and not Hermione. “I know a few ways in and out of the school.”
“All right,” Hermione replied dubiously, obviously not happy, but at least realising that she shouldn’t argue right now.
“Okay,” Adam ordered. “Take my arm, I’m going to Apparate both of us under the Cloak.”
Hermione nodded and took Adam’s arm without complaint and commented, “Good idea.”
“It…” Adam said with a suddenly renewed, overpowering feeling of loss, “It was Ginny’s idea originally…”
Hermione, uttering a cry of distress, immediately hugged him, but Adam pushed her away.
“Let’s…” he said, trying to squash his grief and focus on what he had to do, “Let’s—let’s go.”
“Yes, let’s,” Hermione replied softly and, before she could say anything else, Adam turned on the spot and Disapparated for Hogsmeade.
Mere seconds later, Adam felt his feet slam into the ground and he looked around the now darkening village. They were on the High Street of Hogsmeade, not far from the Three Broomsticks and Honeydukes.
As Adam looked around, he realised that he hadn’t been here since he and Ginny… oh. Adam felt his insides crumple once more, and he closed his eyes to stop Hermione seeing the tears welling up in them.
Before Adam had even recovered from the latest wave of grief, a scream erupted around them. It was just like the alarm at Malfoy Manor… and Adam realised with horror that the Death Eaters knew they were here.
“Not again!” Adam groaned in frustration, as he watched lights come on the in Three Broomsticks and a group of Death Eaters pile out of the doorway. “We need to go!” he hissed to Hermione.
Grabbing the girl by the arm, Adam began to move backwards down the street, away from the Death Eaters.
“No!” Hermione whispered in response. “If we wait, they may just go past us. They might know we’re here, but they can’t know where we are.”
“But…” Adam began to protest.
“Ssh!” Hermione hissed and gripped Adam’s wrist tightly.
By now the Death Eaters were getting close to them, and Adam realised that Hermione had been right. If they ran, they would make noise and probably give themselves away but if they stood still…
“It has to be Potter!” one of the Death Eaters cried. “He has to be here. Spread out and find him!”
Adam watched as the Death Eaters began scouring the High Street, and, as their search grew ever closer to him, Adam realised that Hermione was suddenly clinging onto him, as if for dear life.
“It’ll be okay,” he said, trying to reassure her.
“Can we just go?” Hermione asked in a very weak voice. “I don’t want to be captured again.”
“No,” Adam replied softly. “We have to do this.”
“He’s not here!” shouted a Death Eater who was peering into a window of a nearby building.
“He is!” the first Death Eater replied. “We’d have heard if they Apparated out. If we can’t sniff them out, then the Dementors will.”
The mere thought of Dementors brought a new terror to Adam, worse than anything he’d ever felt before, and suddenly he found himself standing there, completely unable to move, with the image of Ginny being Kissed playing over and over again in his mind.
“Harry…” Hermione shook him. “Harry!”
Adam didn’t respond.
“Adam!” Hermione said.
Adam blinked and turned to face Hermione.
“Follow me,” she said urgently. “They’ve gone back up towards the Three Broomsticks. I’ve an idea, but I need you to follow me.”
With that, Hermione began guiding Adam back up the High Street, away from the pub.
“Where…” Adam began, still feeling like his head was stuffed with cotton wool, “where are we going?”
“Out of the village,” Hermione replied simply.
The two of them continued slowly and cautiously down the High Street and then Adam felt it.
The Dementors were coming.
In desperation, Adam numbly fumbled for his wand.
“No!” Hermione exclaimed. “We just need to get away. A Patronus will give us away.”
“No,” Adam began. “I need them gone. I don’t want them anywhere near me. I-I can’t.”
“Listen,” Hermione exclaimed, grabbing Adam’s arm and pulling him down a side street, “we need to get out of the village.”
Hermione continued pulling him along, and it wasn’t until they were half way down the narrow street that Adam came back to himself.
“Wait!” he exclaimed. “Now they know we’re here, if we leave the village we’ll never be able to get back in.”
“But we don’t need to,” Hermione answered. “We can skirt around it to get to Hogwarts.”
“We can’t get in through the gates!” Adam snapped back. “We need to get in through the Shrieking Shack!”
Hermione stared at him in response and then replied softly, looking hurt, “You didn’t tell me that…”
Adam sighed and turned away angrily. Why couldn’t Hermione have been Kissed instead of Ginny!?
“What is going on out here!?” a rough voice exclaimed as if from nowhere.
Adam froze, and he looked around, desperately searching for the source of the voice.
“Potter, is that you?” the gruff voice said again.
“It’s the bartender from the Hog’s Head!” Hermione exclaimed, pointing at a nearby window.
“Can we trust him?” Adam questioned. If the bartender would help them, then perhaps they could get into Hogwarts after all.
That made Adam pause. Dumbledore’s brother! Dumbledore had never told him he had a brother.
“Aberforth Dumbledore?” Adam shouted, suddenly beginning to feel the cold of the Dementors growing stronger.
“Potter?” the mysterious Dumbledore answered. “For Merlin’s sake, get to the door! I’ll let you in.”
Hermione and Adam ran down the street until they came to a door, which was thrown open as they approached.
“Get inside,” the man snapped, as they charged through the doorway. “Stay quiet, and stay under that Cloak of yours.”
Adam ventured into the building, which he now realised to be the Hog’s Head pub, and he and Hermione stood silently under the Cloak. Eventually, after an agonising wait, there was the sound of pounding on the door.
Dumbledore’s brother stood by the door silently for nearly a minute, before he sighed heavily and ripped it open.
“What do you want?” he snarled at the figures on the other side of the door.
“Is Potter in there?” one of the Death Eaters challenged him.
“Potter!” he snarled back. “What in Merlin’s name would Potter be doing in here?”
“He’s loose in the village,” one of the Death Eaters replied. “And we think that maybe you’ve seen him.”
“Are you accusing me?” he roared back. “What are you going to do? Arrest me?”
“We just might,” one of the Death Eaters threatened, “if you don’t help us.”
“Will you now?” the bartender replied. “You know as well as I do that Potter wouldn’t be welcome here,” the bartender continued. “He was my brother’s pet and you know how I feel about him… plus,” his voice became soft, “if your bosses run me out of town, where will you lot traffic your potions and poisons?”
This seemed to give the Death Eater pause and then a few seconds later he spoke again. “Well…” the Death Eater hesitated, “very well, but let us know if you hear or see anything.”
The bartender replied with a gruff snort and slammed the door closed.
“Alright,” he barked, after peering out of the window for several minutes. “Come on out.”
Almost immediately, Adam heard Hermione sigh in relief and he pulled the Cloak off them. Once free of the cloak, Adam moved away from the windows of the pub so that anyone looking in couldn’t see him and sat down on a wobbly chair.
“Thank you,” Adam said tiredly. “You saved us.”
“You bloody fools,” Aberforth replied gruffly, looking between Adam and Hermione. “What were you thinking, coming here?”
There was silence in the room and Adam just stared at the barman.
“Well, Potter,” he snapped, “what were you thinking?”
Adam continued to stare at him. “We…” he paused. “I have to get into Hogwarts.”
“Don’t be stupid, boy!”
“I have to!” Adam exclaimed.
“What you must do,” said Aberforth, leaning forward, “is get as far from here as you can.”
“No!” Adam argued back. “I have to. It’s the only way to stop him!”
“You can’t stop him, boy!” Aberforth snarled. “It’s only a matter of time until You-Know-Who’s won, it’s over, and anyone who’s pretending different is kidding themselves. It’ll never be safe for you here, Potter, he wants you too badly. So go abroad, go into hiding, save yourself. Best take your girlfriend with you.” He jerked a thumb at Hermione. “She’ll be in danger long as she lives.”
At this, Adam saw red, drew his wand and pointed it at the man. “SHE IS NOT MY GIRLFRIEND!” he roared and then closed his eyes, trying to control himself. Ginny was his girlfriend… she had been the one for him, the only one. “I have to beat him. If I don’t…” Adam paused, and his shoulders slumped as his anger drained away into an aching feeling of emptiness. “Then, it’s all been for nothing.”
“Put the wand down, boy,” Aberforth said gruffly, apparently completely unfazed at being held at wand point. “I read the stories about you and my brother you know.” He laughed, a gruff, unpleasant sound. “A pack of lies of course, typical Albus.”
Adam let his wand falter and just stared at the other Dumbledore.
“I knew my brother, Potter. He learned secrecy at our mother’s knee. Secrets and lies, that’s how we grew up, and Albus… he was a natural but…” he paused. “I expect you know this.”
Adam growled in exasperation. “I don’t have time for this. Your brother wasn’t my favourite person in the world, but he knew what he was doing when it came to the war! But you…” Adam paused. “You’ve given up!”
“Who says I’ve given up?” the barman snapped back.
“You just did!” Adam exclaimed. “You said it yourself, ‘You-Know-Who’s won’!”
“I didn’t say I liked it, but it’s the truth!”
“Your own brother knew how to finish You-Know-Who and he told me how!” Adam said, feeling his temper rising. “I’m going to keep going until I succeed — or I die. I know I might get killed, but I just don’t care anymore! This war has taken everything from me! I’m going to kill him if it’s the last thing I do!”
Adam waited for him to jeer or argue, but he did not. He merely scowled.
“I’m going to break into Hogwarts,” Adam continued, “with or without your help.”
Aberforth Dumbledore remained fixed where he was, gazing at Adam with eyes that were extraordinarily like Professor Dumbledore’s. At last he cleared his throat, stood up, walked around the little table, and approached the stairs leading out of the bar.
“Follow me,” he said gruffly as he started climbing the stairs.
Adam and Hermione followed him cautiously up the stairs, until they came to what looked like a bedroom. Once they entered the room, Aberforth walked over and stood next to a painting of a girl that was hanging over the mantelpiece.
“You know what to do,” he said.
Then, taking Adam quite by surprise, the girl smiled, turned, and walked away, not as people in portraits usually did, out of the sides of their frames, but along what seemed to be a long tunnel painted behind her. They watched her slight figure retreating until finally she was swallowed by the darkness.
“There’s only one way in now,” said Aberforth. “You must know they have all the old secret passageways covered at both ends, Dementors all around the boundary walls, regular patrols inside the school, from what my sources tell me. The place has never been so heavily guarded. How you expect to do anything once you get inside it, with Snape in charge and the Carrows as his deputies… well, that’s your lookout, isn’t it? You say you’re prepared to die.”
“But what…?” said Hermione, frowning at the girl’s picture.
A tiny white dot had reappeared at the end of the painted tunnel, and now the girl was walking back toward them, growing bigger and bigger as she came, but there was somebody else with her now.
Suddenly, as the other person grew larger, Adam could see that it was not just one person, but two, one walking slightly behind the other. Larger and larger the two figures became, until only their heads and shoulders filled the portrait. Then the whole thing swung forward on the wall like a little door, and the entrance to a real tunnel was revealed. And out of it, clambered Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom.
Adam, Hermione, Ron and Neville stared at each other, all four of them seemingly in complete shock.
Ron was the first to move, he almost leapt forward and wrapped Hermione in a hug, before quickly breaking it, flushing bright red and turning to Adam.
“You came, Harry!” he exclaimed. “I knew you wouldn’t let us down.”
“Yeah,” Adam replied hesitantly, suddenly feeling deeply uncomfortable coming face to face with Ginny’s brother. “I’m here.”
“Right,” Aberforth interrupted bluntly. “Get into the tunnel, I don’t want you lot here if the Death Eaters come back.”
Ron and Neville nodded at the bartender and ducked their way back into the tunnel.
“Thanks, Aberforth,” Neville commented. “We may have a couple more letters for you in a few days and we think we’re going to need to get someone out of the school in the next week or so.”
Aberforth grunted gruffly at this news. “What do you mean? Letters I can do, Longbottom, but getting people out… If you haven’t noticed, there’s a Caterwauling Charm on the whole village!”
Neville seemed to shrug. “She says she can get someone who can Apparate here to fetch her, we’ll get whoever it is to Apparate straight into the bar.”
“And risk giving me away?” Aberforth roared. “I hope you trust whoever this person is, Longbottom!”
“Of course we do!” Ron snapped back. “Look…” he paused, “;eave that to us, we won’t give you away.”
Adam looked at Ron with a new sense of admiration. He seemed to have really changed over the last year.
“If you say so, Weasley,” Aberforth replied cynically. “Now get out of here!”
“Aberforth,” Adam said as he stepped towards the tunnel, “thank you.”
“Don’t worry about it, Potter,” he replied. “Now get going.”
With that, Aberforth hustled the four of them into the tunnel and closed it behind them. As soon as the door closed, Neville lit his wand and Adam followed him and Ron down the tunnel.
They walked for several hundred meters in silence, but, as they walked, Adam noticed Ron giving him a couple of strange looks. What was up with him?
“You came just in the nick of time,” Neville began speaking as they walked. “Things are beginning to turn nasty.”
“What?” Adam asked. “What’s been happening?”
“Well,” Neville continued, “once we received your message, we set out to get what you asked for.”
“You found something?” Adam asked. If somehow Ron and Neville had found the Horcrux, it would make things so much easier.
“Yes,” Ron replied proudly. “There was only one object from the founders in the school and we have it safely hidden for you.”
“Brilliant!” Adam exclaimed, feeling, for the first time in ages, a surge of hope. “But,” he paused, coming to a worrying conclusion, “did you say getting it made things turn nasty?”
Neville paused for a second before continuing. “They started giving us detention every night until we told them where our hiding place is. At first it wasn’t too bad, but then Luna vanished and Snape started getting desperate. Things began getting more—” he paused, “—intense… and in the end, Ron and I had to disappear.”
“We hid in the Room of Requirement,” Ron clarified with a sigh. “But then they started targeting the other Gryffindors and it just snowballed from there. More people had to vanish to stop themselves from being tortured, but that seemed only to make the Carrows angrier.”
Adam stared at Ron and Neville. He had no idea things had become that bad.
“Wow… guys, I never thought…” Adam stammered.
“Harry,” Ron replied modestly, still looking as if something was bothering him, “we only did what we had to do.”
They continued walking down the tunnel for a few more minutes, and as they walked, Adam became aware that the tunnel was now sloping uphill.
“We’re nearly there now,” Neville replied as if sensing Adam’s uncertainty.
“Where does this tunnel lead?” Hermione asked as they approached what appeared to be a wooden door in the tunnel.
“The Room of Requirement,” Neville answered simply as he approached the door. “When we realised we needed to get people out and find a way to get food and supplies in, it created a tunnel for that.”
Neville pushed open the door and Adam followed him and Ron through into the Room of Requirement.
What Adam saw made his mouth drop open. Standing in a group in the centre of the room were a large number of students and, when they saw him, they cheered. “Harry! Harry! Harry!”
He continued to look around the room in amazement. In addition to the students, there were piles of belongings and what appeared to be makeshift beds scattered around the room.
I guess that’s where they’re sleeping, Adam thought.
“So, Harry,” Ron said, disturbing him from his thoughts, “what’s the plan, mate?” Then his expression changed and he seemed to grow hesitant. “I…” he continued after a long pause while he seemed to gather the courage to speak. “I was wondering if you knew what my sister and Adam are up to?”
Adam froze and choked back a sob. At the noise, Ron visibly paled.
“Harry,” he said, his voice now very quiet, “has…” his voice quavered. “Has something happened to them?”
“Ron…” Adam said. “She…” his voice broke and he struggled to continue. “A Dementor…”
“No!” Ron cried, interrupting him. “You can’t mean…” he trailed off in a mournful cry.
“Ron,” Adam continued, trying desperately to control his own emotions. “I’m sorry…”
Adam stared at Ron, who was now just staring blankly across the room.
Suddenly, Adam felt his own grief rushing back to the surface. How could he face Ron when he had completely and utterly failed to protect Ginny?
Ron didn’t speak against for what seemed like an eternity “My…” he began in a small voice. “My sister is dead?”
All Adam could do was nod numbly in response. Then Ron slowly sank to the floor, and Hermione quickly ran to his side. He looked completely lost and defeated.
“You…” he said in a dull voice. “You killed her.”
Adam stared at him for a second, but then, unable to bear the look of grief on his friend’s face, he stalked back across the room, pushing past the few DA members who tried to talk to him. Once on his own, Adam rested his forehead against the wall and closed his eyes.
He wouldn’t let anyone see him cry.
Ginny February 24th 1998
Ginny had now been on supposed guard duty at Hogwarts for several hours and she was completely and utterly exhausted.
As soon as she and the currently Imperiused Jugson had arrived at Hogwarts, they had been directed by the two Death Eaters on the gate to go up to the fourth floor. During their encounter with the Death Eaters, Ginny had made Jugson do all the talking. If Ginny spoke, she was convinced she would give them away. After all, in her opinion, she still sounded like a young girl and would never pass as a Death Eater.
Once they had climbed to the fourth floor they were, according to Jugson, supposed to patrol the upper floors of the school. Ginny had made a token gesture of doing her job by patrolling herself and making Jugson walk up and down the corridors as well, but if any students were out of bed, Ginny didn’t feel particularly inclined to put much effort into catching them.
“Finally,” a voice drawled as they approached the fourth-floor landing, after one such patrol.
As they reached the figure, Ginny had to bite back the powerful surge of anger she felt. It was Snape. He’d killed Dumbledore and framed Adam in the process.
“Well…?” Snape questioned as he stood there.
With a start, Ginny realised that neither of them had actually said anything in response.
“Headmaster,” Jugson replied at her command.
“Any sign of any intruders or students out of bed?” he questioned silkily.
“None,” Jugson replied. “All quiet.”
“Good,” Snape replied simply. “Because you will now come with me, I have a new task for you.” With that, Snape glared at both of them, his gaze lingering on Jugson just long enough to make Ginny nervous. Then he snapped, “Come on, then,” and stormed off back down the staircase.
They followed Snape across the school into the Headmaster’s office. As they entered the office, Ginny froze, her breath catching in her throat, as she saw a large portrait of Professor Dumbledore hanging behind the desk, staring straight at her.
“Problem, Smith?” Snape snapped.
“N-No,” Ginny hurriedly replied, desperately hoping that she was able to make her voice sound deep enough.
Snape stared at her for what felt like an eternity, and she couldn’t help but move her hand slowly towards the stolen wand she now carried.
“Good,” Snape said briskly, then he moved to sit behind the desk.
It was only then, with Snape’s attention now elsewhere, that Ginny realised that the office had changed considerably since the last time she had been here. Gone were the tables containing all of Dumbledore’s instruments. The Headmaster’s desk itself was now nearly completely bare. The only items on it were a neat pile of blank parchment, an ink pot and…
When Ginny saw the other object that was on the desk she felt herself fill with fury once more. Sitting proudly in the centre of the desk was a single Basilisk fang, the mere sight of which made Ginny shudder, and a ring… a ring that matched exactly the description of the ring that had killed Professor Dumbledore.
Is he taunting me? Ginny wondered in alarm, feeling her hand moving once more towards the wand.
“I have been contacted by the Dark Lord himself,” Snape began. “He is now certain that Potter is either currently attempting to get into Hogwarts or is already here…”
Ginny was barely able to stifle a gasp. Adam was here!
“So you two…” Snape began, but before he could continue, the Floo came to life. “What?!” Snape snarled.
“Headmaster!” came the wheezy voice of Argus Filch. “Students on the seventh floor and Potter is with them!”
Snape extinguished the Floo and then did the impossible, he smiled. “I have you now, Potter.” He paused, turning back to Ginny and Jugson. “Smith, Jugson, come with me. Once we confirm it is actually Potter, we will summon the Dark Lord. I will not have the Dark Lord summoned on the word of some Squib.”
With that, Snape turned to leave.
“Follow me, you two. Move it!” he snarled when neither Ginny nor Jugson seemed to move in response to his actions.
Jumping to her feet, Ginny ordered Jugson to immediately follow Snape and then, as Snape made his way from the room, Ginny quickly grabbed the fang and the ring, pocketing them in amongst the other Death Eater accessories that seemed to be in the pockets of her robe, and left the room.
Adam February 24th 1998
“It’s just down here, Harry,” Neville said excitedly as he guided Adam through the strange room the DA had discovered.
“So how did you find this place?” Adam asked.
Neville shrugged in response. “We asked for somewhere to hide the Hat and it gave us this room.”
“The hat!?” Adam exclaimed, stopping to stare at Neville. “What hat?”
“The Sorting Hat!” Neville exclaimed, now looking like his previous nervy self once more. “Isn’t that what you wanted?”
“NO!” Adam shouted. “I needed an artefact of the founders. How could you get it wrong?”
“That Hat is an artefact of the founders! It belonged to Godric Gryffindor, we spent ages in the library researching and we risked our necks for it!” Neville snapped back angrily. “Don’t you dare belittle what we’ve been doing, Harry!”
Adam paused for a second and took a deep breath, calming himself down.
“Sorry, Neville,” Adam replied. “I’m on edge. Please, show me the Hat. I won’t know if it’s what I’m after until I see it.”
“I…” Neville hesitated for a second. “I’m sorry for shouting and…” he hesitated. “I’m sorry for Ron. He had no right to accuse you of…” Neville’s voice choked slightly, “getting Ginny killed.”
“No, he didn’t,” Adam replied, closing his eyes briefly. “Let’s get on with this,” he ordered, not willing to risk his thoughts dwelling on Ginny. “Show me the Hat.”
They continued winding their way through the room until they turned a corner and then he felt it. The same feeling he’d felt in the Gaunt house. There was a Horcrux here.
“Yes…” Adam murmured, feeling a touch of excitement. Another Horcrux, one more step towards bringing down Voldemort and avenging Ginny.
“This way,” Neville said, gesturing towards a large, damaged cupboard.
Once Neville reached the cupboard, he ripped open the doors and, retrieving the Sorting Hat from inside, he passed it to Adam.
Adam felt his shoulders slump as soon as he touched that Hat. This wasn’t it, but yet the feeling was still there.
“Neville,” Adam said, “tell me what you found out about the artefacts of the founders.”
“There was Gryffindor’s sword, Hufflepuff’s cup and Ravenclaw’s diadem,” Neville supplied. “Those are all the artefacts we knew about, apart from the Sorting Hat.”
Adam nodded and his eyes roamed the room, searching for something, anything that could be a Horcrux.
Then his eyes settled on a tiara that was set on a statue of an extremely ugly creature and Adam knew that this was it. In a flash, he grabbed the tiara off the statue and clasped it in his hands, feeling the familiar involuntary shudder of repulsion.
“Yes,” Adam hissed under his breath.
“What is it?” Neville asked.
At Neville’s question, Adam jumped, having almost forgotten that the other boy was there.
“This,” Adam said almost in awe, “is Ravenclaw’s diadem, and it’s what I’ve been searching for.”
Neville gaped at him. “So the Sorting Hat…”
“Is completely useless to me,” Adam replied, but then, seeing Neville’s expression, he continued, “But if you hadn’t hidden it here, then I’d never have found the diadem. So thank you.”
Neville seemed only to be able to nod jerkily in response.
“Now,” Adam said, “let’s get back so that we can get others back into the other room.”
Adam and Neville quickly retracted their steps back to the doors that led into the corridor, where the rest of the DA had gathered.
“Okay, everyone,” Adam said as he approached. “Let’s get out there. Neville will summon the room with the tunnel and then everyone goes back inside. Okay?”
The rest of the DA signalled their understanding, and Adam was just about to give the order to go when Hermione called out, “Harry!”
Adam turned to face her and noticed that she was still sitting on the floor next to a desolate looking Ron.
“Come on, Ron,” Adam shouted across the room. “We need to get moving.”
Ron didn’t move.
Sighing, Adam crossed the room. All he wanted to do at that moment was to knock some sense into Ron. How could he sit there moping when there was work to be done? Didn’t he realise that Adam was feeling Ginny’s loss far more keenly that he was? If anyone had a right to grieve by then, surely it was him?
But, deep down, Adam knew that if he did that he would probably drive Ron away.
So he approached Ron, and knelt down in front of him.
“Ron,” he said softly.
Ron still did not move.
“Ron, look at me, please,” Adam said softly.
Ron did, eventually, look up and Adam saw that his eyes were red from tears.
“Ron,” Adam continued, “I know it hurts…”
“Do you?” Ron almost spat back. “You hardly knew her… she was my sister.”
“I…” Adam said, fighting with everything he had not to break down, “I do… listen, can you come with me? There’s something I want to show you.”
Ron stared at him for a second, before allowing Adam to pull him to his feet.
“Hermione,” Adam said softly, “can you…”
Hermione nodded, obviously getting the message, and wandered back across the room towards Neville, while Adam moved away, hoping that Ron would follow him.
“Well?” Ron said harshly once they were out of sight of the other DA members.
Without saying anything, Adam turned to face Ron and, taking out his wand, he applied the glamour spells needed to turn him back into Adam.
As the spells took effect, Ron’s expression turned from anger to one of complete and utter shock.
“A-A-Adam,” he stammered. Then, suddenly, his face hardened. “What are you trying to pull?”
“No, Ron!” Adam exclaimed. “I really am Adam.”
“B-B-But…” Ron stammered.
“In my first year, you absolutely hated me because you thought I was a Dark wizard. The first time I came to The Burrow I arrived unexpectedly, late at night, because I’d run away from the home.”
“Okay, okay,” Ron managed to splutter. “But how…”
“I found out in my third year that someone stole me from my home, disguised me as Adam and then left me in a park.”
Ron simply stared at him. “Why? Why didn’t you tell us?”
“I-I-I couldn’t… but…” Adam said, his voice quavering again, “the reason I’m telling you now is… I need your help, and I also need you to understand that others are hurting… I loved Ginny, too… but…” he paused, taking a deep breath and furiously blinking his eyes, “I… I have to carry on, and I need you to carry on, too.”
Then Ron, taking Adam completely by surprise, dived forward and hugged him.
“Adam!” he exclaimed. “I’m… I’m so glad you’re okay. When… when Harry… When you said Ginny was dead, I thought you were both gone.” He hesitated. “I’d thought I’d lost a sister and a brother…”
“Ron…” Adam said weakly, still hugging the other boy. “We have… we have to carry on and defeat Voldemort. For Ginny.”
Ron paused for a second before replying, “For Ginny… She’d want us to carry on.”
“She would,” Adam said softly, breaking the hug. “Are you ready to go back out?”
“Give me a second, then, to get rid of these glamours.”
“Why?” Ron asked.
“It…” Adam sighed. “It’s just easier to be Harry right now… less explaining to do.”
“Okay,” Ron said. “Once… once this is over, I want you to tell me the full story. Everything, including why you hid this from everyone for so long.”
Once the two had collected themselves, they walked back to the doors and rejoined the rest of the DA.
“Right,” Adam ordered, as he approached. “Let’s get this door open.”
The door was opened and the DA crept, one by one, out into the corridor.
“Okay,” Adam said in a low voice, once everyone was in the corridor and the doors to the room where the Horcrux had been hidden had vanished. “Neville.”
Neville nodded in response and then started to pace. Once… twice…
“There they are!” a voice shouted from the far end of the corridor, causing Adam to spin around.
Standing at the end of the corridor were Filch and two other people that Adam didn’t recognise.
“It’s the Carrows!” one of the DA members cried fearfully just as Adam saw Filch scurrying back around the corner.
“Well, well,” the female Death Eater mocked, pointing her wand at them, “if it isn’t Harry Potter!”
The two groups stared at each other for a second, seemingly sizing each other up.
“Stun them!” Adam shouted. “Filch has gone for help! Stupefy!”
As soon as Adam’s spell lanced down the corridor, the Death Eaters moved, and suddenly spells were being fired back and forth on both sides.
“Protego!” Adam brought up a shield and leapt in front of a fourth-year Gryffindor who was way out of his depth. “Stay back! Stupefy!”
As the spells continued to fly up and down the corridor, Adam realised that the two Death Eaters had retreated into a corner so that they could shield each other, rendering the DA’s spells ineffective.
“Neville!” Adam shouting, having lost sight of him. “What are you doing? Get the room open and start getting the others in there! Now!”
“Right!” Neville shouted back above the noise of spell fire.
“Stupefy! Stupefy!” Adam roared, trying to ensure that no one targeted Neville while he was summoning the room.
“It’s open!” Neville shouted. “Let’s go!”
“Expulso!” Adam roared, hoping that he’d be able to provide a distraction so that the DA could slip back into the Room of Requirement.
His spell sailed high above the two Death Eaters and collided with the wall, filling the corridor with dust and pieces of stone.
“Go! Go!” Adam shouted at the DA members. “Get into the room!”
As the others dashed for safety, Adam, with Ron now by his side, backed up towards the door, anxious to deflect any of the randomly fired spells that the two Death Eaters were still firing.
Then, just as he was about to dive into the room, the dust began to vanish, as if it was being sucked up by a giant vacuum cleaner, and Adam saw a cloaked figure emerge.
It was Snape.
When he saw the man, Adam felt fury fill him. Apart from Voldemort, Snape was the person he hated most in the world. He’d killed Dumbledore and framed Adam. It was Snape who had set in motion the chain of events leading to Ginny’s death.
Without thinking, Adam leapt forward and roared, “Confringo! Stupefy! Stupefy!” furiously firing a series of spells towards Snape and the two Death Eater lackeys he’d brought with him.
Ginny February 24th 1998
Ginny pounded down the corridor behind Snape, her mind racing as she tried to figure a way out of this situation. She certainly didn’t want to attack Adam or any of the students, but if she revealed herself now Snape would kill her. As much as she desperately wanted to get back to Adam, right now she needed to be practical.
As they approached the corridor which housed the doors to the Room of Requirement, Ginny began to cough as the air became filled with dust.
“Here they are!” Snape shouted, as he rounded the corner, seemingly sucking all the dust into his wand as he went.
Following Snape, Ginny skidded around the corner and stared for a second at the sight in front of her. Adam was standing in the centre of the hallway, along with several other members of the DA, including her brother. But, when Ginny looked at him, she drew a shocked breath; his eyes were blazing with anger. She didn’t think she’d ever seen him so angry.
Then, before she’d quite realised what was happening, he was firing spells at them, forcing Ginny to dance to one side to avoid them.
Adam is trying to curse me! Ginny realised with horror, but then her rational mind kicked in and she remembered that she was currently dressed as a Death Eater, so of course Adam would try to fight against her.
The spells started to fly up and down the corridor as more of the DA emerged from the Room of Requirement to help and the two Death Eaters that the DA had previously cornered also joined the fray.
“Protego!” Ginny cried deflecting one spell and then jumping to the side to avoid another.
“Smith!” Snape’s voice suddenly roared out above the sound of spells. “Are you going to help, or just stand there?”
With a jolt, Ginny realised that Snape was watching what she was doing. She would need to try and blend in or she was done for!
“Stupefy! Confringo!” Ginny cried, sending a series of poorly aimed spells at the DA. Perhaps she could convince Snape she was simply an incompetent Death Eater instead of an impostor.
The spells continued to fly as two more Death Eaters joined the fight and Ginny realised that the DA was slowly but surely getting beaten back.
Run away! Ginny thought desperately. Why don’t you hide in the room? Adam, what are you doing?
Ginny danced to the left, avoiding a Stunner that Adam had sent her way, and then back to the right, bringing herself closer to the wall. Then, without warning, her vision filled with a tremendous white light, her hearing was muffled by an explosion and her body was tossed to the floor like a rag doll.
When she next opened her eyes, Ginny immediately panicked. She was now lying sprawled on the floor of the corridor and feeling very sore from hitting the floor so hard. I must have blacked out!
Knowing that she was extremely vulnerable sprawled on the floor, Ginny quickly scrambled back to her feet, checking that her mask was still in place in the process.
“Protego!” she shrieked, narrowly avoiding being hit by a Stunner as she stood up. “Stupefy!” she cried, firing a spell back towards the DA angrily.
Oh no! Ginny despaired, as she saw her spell stun Seamus, dropping him to the floor. Get it together, Ginny! You’re on their side!
Shaking herself, Ginny continued trying to look as if she was fighting the DA without actually doing any damage, but the fight seemed to have changed dramatically in the time she’d been unconscious because there now seemed to be many more people fighting on the side of the DA and Ginny suddenly realised that it was now the Death Eaters who were losing.
As she continued to conjure shields and fire ineffectual spells at the ceiling or floor, Ginny realised that there were adults now amongst the students. It’s Professor McGonagall! Ginny realised with glee. The teachers are fighting back against Snape!
Snape appeared to have come to the same conclusion, because, at the very moment, he shouted. “Fall back!” And then he charged off down the corridor.
He’s running away! Ginny realised and, as the spells began to fly past her with increasing frequency, she realised that she needed to run for it, too.
I just need to get out of sight, get out of these robes then I can show myself to Adam and the DA!
The DA and teachers pursued the Death Eaters right through the school. As they ran, Ginny discovered that the Death Eaters were now the only ones not shooting at her. She was sorely tempted just to stop and give herself up, but in the frenzy of angry students and teachers behind her, Ginny was desperately worried one of them would do her serious harm before she could explain herself.
Ginny charged after Snape, down the marble staircase and across the Entrance Hall, spells flying as they ran. Crossing to the doors, Ginny leapt from left to right, dodging spells that were raining down around her.
As they left the school, Ginny felt the connection to the Imperiused Jugson wink out, as he was dropped to the floor from a spell fired from the battlements above.
“Leave him,” Snape snarled. “Regroup at the Shrieking Shack!”
Ginny then began a mad sprint across the school grounds as she was swept along with the Death Eaters fleeing Hogwarts. Then, realising that her best chance would be to escape and hide somewhere in the grounds, Ginny slowed her pace and, once she had fallen behind the others, she changed direction and headed towards the Forbidden Forest.
However, before she’d even gone twenty paces, the ground at her feet exploded and, with a shriek of pain, Ginny crashed to the ground and darkness claimed her.