“Hol where are you?!”
Holly hurried through the crevasse when she heard the loud and slightly scared tones of the Weasleys.
“Here! I’m here!” She said, bursting through the crack.
She heard pounding feet and a loud bark. The Weasley twins and Gryphon soon came running around a large tree, relief shining on their faces.
“Blimey Hol, nearly scared us half to death” Fred said panting, his hands on his knees.
“Where the hell did you go?” George added also out of breath leaning against a tree.
“I’m sorry I scared you. I was taking a break leaning against the rock and it fell out from under me!” Holly proceeded to tell the twins what she had found. When she was finished she pulled her radio from the clutch. Immediately after she clicked the on button a voice was emitted from the speaker.
“The last one is at Hogwarts, I knew it. He saw us break into Gringotts and now he wants to make sure the others are safe. He’s going to the Gaunt house to see the necklace but we destroyed it. Then he’ll go to Hogwarts to visit Snape and the last one. We have to go-“ Holly shut the radio off; she had heard enough from Harry’s voice. She looked at the Weasley twins whose faces had turned from exhaustion to determination.
“Go to your family, tell them what has happened. Tell anyone else you trust. Get in contact with Ginny, she may know more since she’s in Hogwarts.” Holly told the twins. They both nodded and got ready to Apparate.
“Where are you going Holly?” Fred asked before they disappeared.
“To find my brother”
When Holly and Gryphon materialized, they found themselves on a great hill overlooking a massive river. Holly looked around hastily for Harry, Ron and Hermione and saw them a few yards below her, on a patch of grass a few feet from the river. As she made her way towards them she saw a great dragon across the river/ocean drinking the water. It looked like it hadn’t seen sunlight in years. Holly shrugged her shoulders and continued towards the trio. When she reached them their faces were of complete shock.
“How the bloody hell did you find us?” Ron asked bewildered.
Holly smiled and pulled out her radio, “A gift from Dumbledore” she said slyly. She expected them to ask more questions but her answer seemed to be enough for them.
“Are you guys ok?” Holly asked. The trio was in the midst of changing their drenched clothes to dry ones. Harry was applying dittany to one of his many burns on his skin and Holly could see similar ones mid-heal on Ron and Hermione.
“Well you see, we kind of broke into Gringotts” Harry started. He explained how they broke into Bellatrix’s vault and stole another Horcrux; a golden cup with Hufflepuff’s symbol on it. Holly learned that the goblin Griphook had double crossed them and had taken the sword of Gryffindor so now they had no way of destroying the Horcruxes.
“We think one of the Horcruxes is his snake called-“
“Nagini” Holly finished for Harry.
He looked at her confused, “Yesss. And we think the last Horcrux is at-“
“Hogwarts, I know” Holly said smiling. The trio looked at her questioningly. Holly laughed, “The radio not only showed me where you guys were but I could also hear snippets of what Harry was saying. That’s how I knew you all got caught by Snatchers; I heard Harry start to say You-Know-Who’s name.”
“Bloody brilliant isn’t he? Dumbledore?” Ron said in awe.
“Yes he’s amazing, can we get to the task at hand now?” Harry asked in obvious hurry. “We have to get to Hogwarts before He does”
“But Harry how are we going to get in?” Hermione asked.
“We’ll go to Hogsmeade first and figure out what protection they put on the castle” Harry replied, “C’mon let’s get under the cloak”
“I don’t think we’ll all fit” Holly said, wary of any physical touch between her and Harry.
“It’s dark, no one will notice our feet.” Harry said. Night had indeed fallen upon them.
Holly took a deep breath and stood next to Hermione under the cloak. She gripped Hermione’s arm and Gryphon tightly as the partially invisible group Disapparated.
The instant they touched down, Holly knew something was wrong. A piercing scream echoed around the tiny town. Holly knew they had triggered an alarm. Dark figures burst out from the shops and bars, wands drawn.
“POTTER!” A few Death Eaters yelled.
The group ran, still under the cloak, behind the closest building, a sketchy bar called Hog's Head. Holly could see the Shrieking Shack a few yards away and actually considered hiding in there. Before she could whisper to the group, she heard a voice behind them.
“In here Potter.”
Harry, Ron and Hermione, quickly ran into the doorway that the voice had come from. Holly looked up at the man who stood in the doorway.
“Shhh, get in” He said cutting her off.
Holly hurried down the stairs to the basement with Gryphon in tow. She found Harry, Ron and Hermione in a large basement, the invisibility cloak taken off. The room was bare except for a small table with food and Firewhisky on it. A large painting of a girl hung on the way beside a cracked mirror with a piece missing. She heard arguing voices above her, a door slam, and then loud thudding boots make their way down the stairs.
The man from upstairs appeared. Long grey beard, bright blue eyes, and glasses made him look remarkably like Dumbledore. He waved an arm at Holly indicating her to eat some of the food on the table. She wordlessly ate some while Harry interrogated him about the cracked mirror.
“I bought it off of Dung ‘bout a year ago.” The man answering Harry’s question about where he got it.
“So you’re the one I’ve been seeing in my mirror” Harry accused. The room was silent. “You sent Dobby.”
The man sighed, “I always liked that Elf, whatever happened to him?”
“He’s dead. Bellatrix killed him with her knife.” Harry said bluntly. “Did you send the doe too?” he asked in an afterthought.
“Doe? What doe? Didn’t I just prove my Patronus is a goat? My god boy, you’re about as smart as a Death Eater.”
Before Harry could retort back Holly jumped in from giving Gryphon a sip of water, “Aberforth, have you heard any news from the castle? Any visitors maybe?”
“No dearie, nothing y-“
“Aberforth? As in Dumbledore’s brother?” Harry interrupted.
“Yes Potter that’s right. Dumbledore had his school, I have my bar.”
Holly stepped forward, cutting off whatever Harry was about to rudely say, “Aberforth, we have to get into the castle. Can you help us?”
“The castle? Do you want to live to see morning?!” Aberforth exclaimed.
“We have to do a job for Dumbledore” Harry replied.
At this Aberforth laughed, “Ah a job. And has this job been easy? Safe? Do you ever notice that the people Dumbledore sends to do jobs end up dead? Look at Mad-Eye. Take my advice and go home, live a long happy life.”
“If you haven’t noticed, we’re in a war here.” Harry retorted back. “Dumbledore gave me this job to do and I’m going to finish it. If you can’t help us get into Hogwarts, tomorrow we’ll leave and find a way in ourselves.
Aberforth seemed at a loss for words. He turned to the painting behind him and whispered ‘You know what to do’. The girl in the painting, instead of walking to the side of the frame, walked into the large tunnel that was painted behind her.
“Mr. Dumbledore, was that your sister, Ariana?” Hermione asked tentatively.
“Yes Ms. Granger it was.” Aberforth replied. He then told the actual story of her and his mother’s death, not the story Rita Skeeter had published. By the time Ariana’s figure moved back into view, the group knew everything about Dumbledore’s past. Holly turned to look at the painting and saw that a figure had appeared beside Ariana. It limped along beside Aberforth’s sister, getting closer and closer to the room. Holly thought she recognized the figure and her thought was confirmed when suddenly the picture frame swung open to reveal a tunnel, an exact replica of the one in the painting. Standing in the entrance to the tunnel was a familiar figure.
“Neville!” Hermione exclaimed.
“Alright there Harry? Hermione?” Neville asked the group, a massive smile on his face. “Massive guard dog eh Holly?”
“Neville, what passageway is that?” Ron asked.
“I was trying to find a hiding spot away from the Carrows – that’s the Death Eater siblings that teach Defense Against the Dark Arts and Muggle Studies. Anyways I was running by the seventh floor and the door materialized. It had beds and bathrooms, everything! The one thing it didn’t produce was food so it made this tunnel to Aberforth’s pub. By the way, a couple more people might be coming Aberforth, I told them to Apparate directly into your shop”
“Brilliant!” Harry said. He led to the way to the tunnel, Ron, Hermione, and Holly quickly following after him. Gryphon jumped up into the tunnel and joined them.
Before Holly could swing the painting back on the hole, an arm held it out. Holly looked to her side in surprise to see Harry beside her.
“I don’t know how to thank you enough,” Harry told Aberforth, “That’s twice you’ve save our lives.” Aberforth waved Harry’s compliment away, “Just helping with the war and such that’s all” Before Holly closed the door she saw Aberforth wink at her. She smiled to herself, knowing the old man still had some fight in him yet.