Friday, January 24, 2014

Chapter 6: An Elf’s Tale

I am a huge Harry Potter Fan. Besides reading each book over and over again, I have read a lot of fanfictions from all over the places. So, I decided to try and write one myself. I know that its going to be nothing compared to the original series, yet I would love it if you read and review it for me. 
Note: Anything that you recognize in this story belongs to J.K.Rowling.  _______________________________________________________________________________

After Ginny left and Mrs. Weasley calmed down, the trio went back to their research. Hermoine was still adamant about going through the books in the library in the day and the memories at night. Harry, however, could not concentrate on the book that Hermoine had assigned to him. He found himself worrying about Ginny. True, she has gone to Hogwarts only for a week but what if something happened to her there. It has already been proved that Hogwarts is not invincible. She could be in trouble there. This is the first time she was on her own there, without any elder Weasley to look after her. There was no one she could go to if she needed… He no longer felt that Mrs. Weasley was ‘just being silly’ for worrying for her youngest child and the only daughter. What if… Harry came out his reverie when he realized that Hermoine was talking to him. “…listening to me Harry? Harry?”
“I said, don’t worry, she will be fine.”
“The one you are worrying about.”
“Who said I was worried about anyone?”
“You weren’t worried? Then why were you lost in another world instead of reading that book?”
“Oh! I am just tired of being stuck inside. I was just thinking about quidditch to feel better.”
“Come on Harry. I have been your friend for the last six years. I can understand when you are thinking about quidditch and when you are worried about something or someone.”
“Oh yeah?! How can you tell that I wasn’t thinking about trying the ‘wonky faint’ thingy against Krum?”
“You can make fun about my knowledge of quidditch terms, but that won’t change the fact that you were worried about Ginny. You were frowning, Harry. You didn’t have the excited look about you that you usually have when you fly or even think of being on your broomstick, let alone thinking of some great moves like that one.”
“Okay, okay, I admit that I am a bit worried about her. This is the first time she is all by herself at Hogwarts. She doesn’t have any of us looking out for her.”
“She won’t be alone. She will be with her friends there and some of the DA members will also be there. Besides, you heard Professor McGonagall. There’s going to be more faculty members and ministry aurors than students right now.”
“That’s exactly it Hermoine. I do not trust the ministry guys. Some of them may be working for Voldemort or even be under imperious. How do you know that all of them can be trusted?” Ron, who had avoided saying anything so far, finally spoke up, “What McGonagall did not say then was that there are going to be order members patrolling the corridors to. And mate, whether we admit it or not, Ginny is one fiery witch. She can more than take care of herself.” Harry, realizing that he was outnumbered and his case lost, returned to his book without any further comments but only to be distracted by Hermoine shouting, “Outrageous”. Ron slid down beside Hemoine to peek at the book she was reading. “Can you believe how outrageous the ministry can be?”
“Tell us,” Harry said sarcastically.
“The ministry doesn’t allow an elf to use a wand just because it will mean that the elves will have the same standard as the wizards.”
“Oh no Hermoine. Not your spew again. We are supposed to be researching Horcruxes and founders’ relics here and not spew.”
“Shut up Ron. It is S.P.E.W and not spew. You have no idea how unfair this is. The elves’ magic is far more advanced than the wizards’. Yet they are forced to work as slaves for the wizards just because their magical power cannot be measured. Some ministry officials felt that if elves were allowed their rights and a wand, they‘d take over the wizards. So they stripped the elves of their rights saying that their magical powers are far too weak than the wizards and that they did not deserve a wand like wizards.”
“Hermoine, I know you are right. I just wanted to point out that finding the horcruxes should be on the top of our priority list right now.”
“Hang on, what did you just say Hermoine?” Harry sat up excitedly.
“Not you too, Harry,” groaned Ron. Hermoine ignored Ron’s comment and said, “I was simply saying that it is really unfair to the elves that…”
“No, no, no. Not that, Hermoine. What about their magical powers?” Harry interrupted.
“Elves are magically much more powerful than the wizards. Professor Binns told us that when…”
“Never mind what Binns said. What did you just say?” Harry impatiently interrupted her yet again. “You said that their magical powers cannot be measured even though they are much more powerful magically than the wizards? Magical power can be measured?”
“Yes Harry. Don’t you know that your magical powers can be measured? But why are you so excited about it?”
“Are you sure that elves magical power cannot be measured like wizards? Why?”
“No one really knows why, but even though they are magically much more powerful than wizards, their power hardly registers besides a wizard. It may be because of their advanced magic…”
“Yes! Why didn’t we think of it before? I am such a fool.” Harry had stood up from his chair in excitement.
“Mate, Hermoine has had her influence on you! Now even you are going crazy about spew.”
“No Ron, this isn’t about spew. This means that we now know who had accompanied Regulus to the cave. It was someone who would never give up his secret and someone whose magical power wouldn’t register while in the boat. Don’t you see? All these days we ere wondering who it could have been while the answer was right in front of us.” Comprehension dawned on Hermoine and she said, ‘Oh’, while Ron still had that lost look on him. Hermoine turned to Ron and explained Harry’s point, “Regulus may have taken Kreacher with him to retrieve the locket. Kreacher’s magical power wouldn’t have registered in the boat and he could be trusted not to reveal a thing as the house-elves are bound to keep their master’s secrets.”
“So what? It may have been Kreacher. But it doesn’t matter now, does it? We have lost the locket and this doesn’t give us any lead to where it might be.”
“Oh Ron! But it does. See, Kreacher is a witness. He not only saw Regulus retrieve the locket from the cave but he also saw it here at Grimmauld place. He may have seen Regulus destroying or at least trying to destroy it. He may be able to tell us if the horcrux is destroyed or not. Besides, he had this habit of keeping things; he might have saved the locket before Sirius threw it away with the other stuff.”
“But if he is bound to keep his master’s secrets, why would he tell us about him?”
“Because…,” Harry continued as if he had a bad taste in his mouth, “… he has no problems, whatsoever, in betraying his masters. Besides, I am his master now. He is bound to do whatever I say. If he doesn’t comply readily, I’ll only be too happy to make sure that he does.” Colour drained from Hermoine’s face. “Harry, I am not sure if your interrogating him is such a good idea. Maybe I can talk to him once you call him here.”
“Hermoine, you know I have nothing against the elves in general but that imp is a different story on the whole. He betrayed Sirius and I cannot forgive him for that. Never.”
“Hermoine, I know you care about them. But Harry is right. You cannot still feel bad for Kreacher. He betrayed his master and he should be punished for that. I think Harry has been generous to him by sending him to work at Hogwarts instead of hanging him…” Ron did not get to complete his sentence as Mrs. Weasley called them down for lunch. “We have to do this after lunch.”

The trio remained unusually quiet throughout lunch and Mrs. Weasley Kept throwing suspicious glances at each of them. After lunch, they all went up to Ron’s room. As soon as they had locked themselves in, Hermoine rounded up on Harry. “Harry, I still feel that it would be better if you let me handle Kreacher. You just call him and order him to answer whatever we ask him truthfully. Please Harry. If we cannot get an answer out of him, you can ask him, okay?” Harry agreed reluctantly. “Kreacher” There was a loud ‘Crack’ and Kreacher bowed in front of Harry. “Master called Kreacher?” ‘The mudblood loving Potter is back with his blood traitor friends. Oh if only Kreacher’s mistress knew…’
“Shut up Kreacher. I called you here because there is something we want to ask you. Now, I want you, no, I order you to answer whatever my friends here ask you and you must answer them truthfully, understand?”
‘The master wants me to answer the mudblood and the blood traitor brat. Oh what a shame…’
“Do you understand?”
”Kreacher understands.” Harry went to the other end of the room and sat down. Hermoine looked at him for some time, then turning to Kreacher she said, “Kreacher, did you ever go to a cave with your Master Regulus?’ Kreacher looked up at Hermoine with eyes wide open and started to hic-up. He obviously did not expect such a question and started to twist the filthy rag that he as wearing. Hermoine asked him again in a sweet voice, “Kreacher, it is very important that you tell us the truth. Did you ever accompany Regulus Black to a dark cave?”
“Did master Regulus remove a locket from that cave?”
“Can you tell us what happened?” Kreacher was clearly trying not to answer her. But with a direct order from Harry, he had no choice but to answer her with the complete truth. “One day master Regulus asked Kreacher to accompany him and Kreacher followed Master Regulus to a cave. Master Regulus had to cut his hand to enter the cave. Kreacher begged… begged master to let Kreacher cut his hand but master said that elf blood would not work and that master would need Kreacher strong for later… strong enough to get master away from what was waiting inside. There was an island in a dark lake in the cave. Master found a boat to cross the lake to go to the island. There was a cauldron full of nasty potion on the island. Master tried so many things but nothing worked and then… then…” Kreacher started to rock back and forth on the floor. “Did Regulus ask you to drink the potion?” Hermoine asked kindly. Kreacher shook his tiny head. “Kreacher realized that master wanted what was at the bottom of the cauldron and to get that the potion had to be drank by the seeker. Master tried to stop Kreacher from drinking the potion saying that he would find another way but Kreacher dank the potion so that Master could get what he wanted. The potion made Kreacher feel terrible. It reminded Kreacher of all the times he failed his masters and Kreacher wanted to die to punish himself for all his failures.” Harry, too curious about the story, forgot why he was sitting at the other end of the room, came and sat beside Hermoine. “When Kreacher drank the full potion, master got that locket from there. Kreacher was thirsty so Kreacher drank water from the lake and… and…” After several more hic-ups, Kreacher continued, “Thousands and thousands of inferi came out of the lake, trying to kill Kreacher and Kreacher’s master. Master fought bravely with fire. But there were… there were too many of them for master to fight alone… Master ordered… ordered Kreacher to go back home… but Kreacher could not leave master alone to fight the… those horrible creatures. So Kreacher tried to help master but master gave Kreacher the locket and ordered to go back and then destroy the locket… Kreacher did not want to leave master alone… what would mistress say if Kreacher let anything happen to young master Regulus… then Kreacher remembered master saying that he needed Kreacher to get him away from what was waiting inside… so Kreacher brought master back home… away from those horrible creatures.”
“You did the right thing Kreacher.”
“Master was too happy with Kreacher for remembering. He praised Kreacher but also asked Kreacher not to tell anyone about what Kreacher and master had done that day.”
“How did you get out of the cave with Regulus?”
“Kreacher apparated with master.”
“But you cannot apparate or disapparate in the cave!”
“Harry, their magic is different from ours. Didn’t I just tell you that their magic is much more advanced than ours? We cannot apparate or disapparate at Hogwarts, but the elves can. Remember Dobby?”
“Oh! So what happened to the locket?” Harry asked.
“Master locked himself up in his room for so many days. He worked on the locket. Even Kreacher helped him to get all the bad curses off it. But then master was afraid to open the locket… Then one day he did not return from his meeting with the Dark Lord. Oh! Mistress was so worried… We looked everywhere for young master Regulus… Then master was found dead. Poor mistress cried so much. Master Sirius had already broken her heart by running away and now young master turned up dead. Mistress was so distressed. Kreacher did all he could to help her but…”
“What happened to the locket Kreacher?”
“Mistress cleaned young masters’ room after months. She found the locket and kept it in the drawing room with some other things she found in his room.”
“So, Regulus managed to take off the curses from the locket but did not open the locket. So, Voldemort’s soul might still be inside it,” Ron sounded a bit disappointed.
“Oh no! There was no soul, no nothing inside the locket.” The trio looked at Kreacher and Hermoine asked him, “How do you know that, Kreacher?”
“Kreacher felt bad for not telling anyone about the cave when young master went missing because Kreacher knew Master Regulus must have been in trouble for taking the Dark Lord’s locket. When master was found dead, Kreacher had to punish himself. Kreacher also wanted to make sure that master Regulus had completed what he wanted to do. Since Kreacher could not tell anyone about the locket, Kreacher checked it himself. The locket opened easily and there was nothing inside. But Kreacher did see a crack on the locket that was not there when Kreacher had brought it from the cave or when Kreacher helped master to get all the bad curses off it.” The trio looked at each other… So Regulus had been able to destroy the horcrux before Voldemort could kill him for his betrayal. “Thank you Kreacher. You have helped us a lot. But there is one more thing. Do you know where the locket is now?” Hermoine asked. ‘The mudblood thanked Kreacher… even mistress never thanked Kreacher.’ Harry was about to shout at Kreacher but Hermoine caught his hand and pulled him back. “Kreacher, do you know where the locket is now?”
“Master Sirius tried to throw them all away. But Kreacher could not let him throw the locket that Master Regulus died for. Kreacher kept it.” Harry forgot his anger and said, “But I thought that Mundungus stole everything.”
“Oh no! Kreacher knows that man is thief. So Kreacher hid most of the expensive Black belongings when Kreacher saw him alone in the house.”
“You have the locket now? Can you show it to us?” Instead of replying, Kreacher vanished with a loud ‘Crack’ and then returned within a minute with an even Louder ‘Crack’. When he returned, he held the locket tightly in his hands. Harry went forward to take the locket from him but the Kreacher stepped back, “Master will, please, not throw it away again.”
“No Kreacher. We will not throw it away. We just want to see it so that we can make sure that Regulus succeeded in finishing what he started.” Kreacher seemed to believe Hermoine and handed the locket over to Harry. Three of them studied it carefully. It was the same locket that they had seen Merope wearing. It opened easily and was like any other ordinary locket. However, there was a diagonal crack throughout the front portion of the locket. Harry finally said, “Regulus successfully destroyed this one. There was a similar crack on the ring that Dumbledore destroyed.” Harry took the locket, and turned to Kreacher who was still standing there. “Here, you can have this Kreacher.” Kreacher was so shocked by Harry’s action that he simply stood there, staring at the locket. “But remember one thing; never ever repeat anything that you told us here, okay? No one should ever know that you went to the cave with master Regulus and that whatever was inside the locket was destroyed. No one should ever know that we know about the locket or that now you have it. Is that clear?” Kreacher, shaking badly, nodded and said, “Yes master.” Harry handed the locket over to the shocked elf and ordered him to go back to Hogwarts.

The trio sat discussing the day’s discoveries. “So now we know that the diary, the ring and the locket is gone. We are yet to find the Hufflepuff’s cup, something of Ravenclaw and Nagini,” Hermoine listed off for the tenth time that evening. “Yes,” said Harry. “We need to find the cup and Ravenclaw’s relic. Nagini has to be the last to be destroyed out of the six since Voldemort likes to keep her with him at all times.”
“I think its time for us to see the other memories too. May we can find something that we did not realize earlier, like the locket.” Hermoine and Ron took another trip into the pensieve, while Harry stayed back with a defense book that he had received from Lupin on his birthday.

That night Mr. Weasley returned home with a smile on his face. He had a copy of the Daily Prophet in his hands, which he passed on to Harry. Harry had not been able to follow the daily prophet as Grimmauld Place’s subscription had been cancelled as an extra precaution. He opened it to find his picture dominating the front page. It was clearly taken at the ministry. The headline read:

The ‘Chosen One’ refuses to co-operate with the ministry.

                 Harry passed on the newspaper to an eager Hermoine. He had read enough about himself in the papers for the past few years to last his lifetime. Hermoine and Ron read through it together and when they had finished reading, Ron commented, “Ruddy brilliant, Harry.”
“What do they have to say about ‘the-boy-with-a-scar’ this time?”
“They have reported what you said to Scrimgeour yesterday. They have actually trashed the ministry for the breakout in Azkaban, discrediting Dumbledore, Umbridge punishing you for telling the truth and misguiding the people about Voldemort’s return. They have even included the part about Stan Shunpike. Then there’s this whole paragraph on what Neville’s grandmother had to say about you.”
Mr. Weasley said, “This article has made waves. The minister’s office was full of owls from the readers. Some people even sent howlers, demanding the release of the innocent people and proper action against the known death eaters. The minister is actually regretting his decision of informing the reporters that you would be at the ministry. Scrimgeour actually came up to my office today to ask me to request you to meet him once. He is prepared to compromise and co-operate.”
“There’s no way I am meeting him… Not even if he manages to capture Voldemort! I have seen enough of him and the ministry. They were not ready to aid us when we needed it and now I am not prepared to associate myself with them.”
“Well, it is up to you to decide that, Harry. I just passed on the message.”
“Mr. Weasley, do you know where Professor Lupin is? I really needed to talk to him.”
“He is out on some work for the order. He will be back in a few days. You can tell me if you need anything or any help, Harry.”

“It is okay, Mr. Weasley. I’ll wait for him.” Harry had not forgotten about his plan to visit Godric’s Hollow. Lupin had promised to take him after he had received his apparition license, but Harry had not seen him recently. He was getting impatient and wanted to get going. But he had no other way than to wait for Lupin as he had no idea about where Godric’s Hollow was.

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