Chapter 3

The edges of the memory swirled silver and then cleared again. Narcissa had sent her husband and son up into the manor to fetch some clothes and food to last them the next few weeks while they hid. When she was sure they had gone, she knelt over her sister’s body. Bellatrix was laid out on a pile of black velvet cushions edged with gold tassel that Lucius had hastily arranged. Her face was almost grey and her eyes were closed. Narcissa drew the silver goblet from her robes and sat for a moment, unsure what to do. Hesitantly she held the rim of the goblet against Bella’s cold white lips.

She almost dropped it in surprise as barely visible wisps of silver-blue smoke swirled in the goblet. It forced its way through Bella’s lips and down her throat. She convulsed for a moment as she swallowed the part of her soul. She shuddered and slowly her eyes opened. Her mouth twisted upwards into the sneering smile. Bellatrix was back.

* * * * * * * * *

“Harry! Get up! Harry!”

Someone sat down heavily on his legs and Harry sat up quickly with a grunt of pain and annoyance. He looked around blearily and saw Ron grinning as he got up off Harry’s legs and Hermione stood over him holding a sheaf of envelopes, chewing her lip anxiously. Someone had pulled open the curtains and Harry could see the sun still rising over the fields.

“What?” he grumbled, flopping back onto his pillows and closing his eyes again.

“Harry!” Hermione cried, “Get up! Our NEWT results are here!”

Again Harry sat up, his stomach starting to churn sickeningly. Hermione and Ron went downstairs while he got dressed and followed them to the kitchen, where Mrs Weasley was making breakfast. The places were set out and Hermione had put everyone’s envelopes on their plates.

“Open them, dears, there’s nothing to be afraid of,” Mrs Weasley said cheerfully.

Harry used his breakfast knife to slit open the envelope and pulled out the paper.

He scanned the sheet of his results carefully.

NASTILY EXHAUSTING WIZARDING TESTS RESULTS

Pass Grades: Outstanding (O) Exceeds Expectations (E) Acceptable (A)

Fail Grades: Poor (P) Dreadful (D) Troll (T)

HARRY JAMES POTTER HAS ACHIEVED:

Charms: E

Defence Against the Dark Arts: O

Herbology: E

Potions: E

Transfiguration: E

The sickening feeling vanished and was replaced with relief. Harry had passed all of his NEWTs with good grades. Hermione looked happy and was no longer nibbling her lip - Harry caught a glimpse of her paper before she folded it back into the envelope. She had got Os in all seven of her NEWTs, even Defence Against the Dark Arts this time. Ron grinned and swapped paper with Harry. Ron had got three Es and two As in Potions and Transfiguration.

Mrs Weasley congratulated them all, especially Hermione, and gave them extra helpings of eggs and bacon for breakfast.

Ginny still had one year of Hogwarts to complete because she had had to repeat her sixth year instead of continuing to her seventh year. She was still allowed to perform magic outside of school because she had turned seventeen. Ginny and Harry had stopped feeling as awkward around each other after they had split up and were now just as friendly as they had been before they had dated. She was feeding Teddy Lupin, who was sat in Ginny’s old pink baby high chair from years ago. As he often did when he was happy, Teddy was changing his hair every thirty seconds. First it was curly blonde, then violet and spiky much like his mother’s had been, then long and tomato red like Ginny’s.

Mr Weasley had left early for work - he had been promoted by Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt, and had been made a much more important member of the Ministry than he had been previously. This meant he was also paid more, and the Weasleys weren’t as poor as they used to be. George still lived in the flat above his and Fred’s shop in Diagon Alley, but he dropped by every few days. Charlie was still in Romania and Bill was at Shell Cottage with his wife. Percy had left his flat and moved back in to his old room at the Burrow. Harry had moved into Fred and George’s old bedroom and Hermione shared with Ginny.

Life at the Burrow was much better than Harry’s life had been with the Dursleys. He still felt as though he owed the Weasleys a lot but Mrs Weasley had often reassured Harry that he was part of the family.

After breakfast the trio and Ginny went up to the paddock the Weasleys owned to play Quidditch. Harry had replaced his Firebolt after losing it two years previously. Hermione had been coached how to play and was more comfortable with flying now. After Mr Weasley’s pay raise he had bought Ginny and Ron brand new Nimbus Two Thousand brooms to celebrate. Hermione used the Cleansweep that Ron had got at the start of their fifth year after becoming a Prefect. None of them were really thinking about what they were going to do next. They didn’t know that soon something would present itself to them in a way that they didn’t expect…

The End

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