>> Saturday, February 11, 2012
"Trying to ruin someone else's life?" said Harry loudly.
A few people looked around. Rita Skeeter's eyes widened behind her jeweled spectacles as she saw who had spoken. "Harry!" she said, beaming. "How lovely! Why don't you come and join--?"
"I wouldn't come near you with a ten-foot broomstick," said Harry furiously.
"Of course we still want to know you!" Harry said, staring at Hagrid. "You don't think anything that Skeeter cow--sorry, Professor," he added quickly, looking at Dumbledore.
"I have gone temporarily deaf and haven't any idea what you said, Harry," said Dumbledore, twiddling his thumbs and staring at the ceiling.
"My own brother, Aberforth, was prosecuted for practicing inappropriate charms on a goat. It was all over the papers, but did Aberforth hide? No, he did not! He held his head high and went about his business as usual! Of course, I'm not entirely sure he can read, so that may not have been bravery..."
"I saw the dementors bringing him in, watched them through the bars in my cell door. He can't have been more than nineteen. They took him into a cell near mine. He was screaming for his mother by nightfall. He went quiet after a few days, though...they all went quiet in the end...except when they shrieked in their sleep..."
"I smell double-dealing and corruption in this whole affair, and you, Dumbledore, you, with your talk of closer international wizarding links, of rebuilding old ties, of forgetting old differences--here's what I think of you!" Karkaroff spat onto the ground at Dumbledore's feet.
In one swift movement, Hagrid seized the front of Karkaroff's furs, lifted him into the air, and slammed him against a nearby tree. "Apologize!" Hagrid snarled as Karkaroff gasped for breath, Hagrid's massive fist at his throat, his feet dangling in midair.
"Hagrid, no!" Dumbledore shouted, his eyes flashing.
It was Voldemort, Harry thought, staring up at the canopy of his bed in the darkness, it all came back to Voldemort...He was the one who had torn these families apart, who had ruined all these lives...
Lord Voldemort had risen again.
"How many will be brave enough to return when they feel it?" he whispered, his gleaming red eyes fixed upon the stars. "And how many will be foolish enough to stay away?"
"You ask for forgiveness? I do not forgive. I do not forget."
"You won't?" said Voldemort quietly, and the Death Eaters were not laughing now. "You won't say no? Harry, obedience is a virtue I need to teach you before you die...Perhaps another little dose of pain?" Voldemort raised his wand, but this time Harry was ready; with the reflexes born of his Quidditch training, he flung himself sideways onto the ground; he rolled behind the marble headstone of Voldemort's father, and he heard it crack as the curse missed him.
"We are not playing hide-and-seek, Harry," said Voldemort's soft, cold voice, drawing nearer, as the Death Eaters laughed. "You cannot hide from me. Does this mean you are tired of our duel? Does this mean that you would prefer me to finish it now, Harry? Come out, Harry...come out and play, then...it will be quick...it might even be painless...I would not know...I have never died..."
"You place too much importance, and you have always done, on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!"
As Hagrid had said, what would come, would come...and he would have to meet it when it did.