Disclaimer: This story has been inspired on JK Rowling's brilliant works. The world is hers, the plot is mine ... unless (to my delight) this will turn out to be have resemblance to events in book 7. Then it's all hers again.
Author's Note: Many thanks to my wonderful beta readers Whimsy, CornedBee and Jo Wickaninnish. Also thanks to the people on the Horcrux thread, whose thoughtful comments prompted me to develop the theory on which this story is based.
“Harry, you’ve got an owl.”
Harry looked up at Hermione, who pointed towards a small owl hopping nervously on the windowsill right beside him. It was the oddest owl Harry had ever seen. Its head was white and its wings were black, making it look more like a penguin than an owl, but it was also fluffy and almost as wide as it was tall, giving the impression of a misshapen Puffskein. To top it off, the owl was carrying a small purple tube.
Harry took the tube, popped off one end and saw that a very tightly rolled letter was concealed inside it. He slid his finger into the tube and tried to pull the parchment out, but it didn’t move. Harry frowned and tried again, with more vigour. For two minutes, he wrestled unsuccessfully with the tube, getting more and more curious about the contents of the letter, until he finally gave up and reached for his wand.
The roll of parchment shot out of the tube straight into Harry’s hand, and he held it up triumphantly to his friends, who were watching with amused expressions.
“Yellow writing on light blue parchment,” Harry commented with distaste as he unrolled the letter. “And extremely long.” He finally reached the bottom and squinted at the name written there with large flourishes. “It’s from Luna.”
Ron raised his eyebrows; Hermione looked faintly interested.
“Dear Harry,” Harry read aloud. “How are you? Have you heard about the Strangling Streakies yet? Daddy just discovered that they are disturbing the living environments of the Tree-Loving Tutelus. He’s going to write an article about it, but you probably need the information before that, since it’s going to be another month before the next Quibbler comes out. Daddy is considering whether to start publishing the Quibbler every two weeks next year, however, since it’s doing so well ever since your interview. People keep asking for more stories about you, but Daddy thinks most readers would be bored by that. Besides, the report of the first sighting of the Bumbling Stutter Monster took up ten pages in the last edition, so another story about you wouldn’t even have fit. The Bumbling Stutter Monster –”
By now, Ron was having a laughing fit, and Harry stopped reading. Glancing down the parchment, he spotted at least fifteen names of species Harry had never heard of (and which probably didn’t even exist). It seemed that Luna would never get to the point of the Strangling Streakies at all, and Harry strongly suspected that there hadn’t been any point in the first place.
“This is rubbish,” he said, crumpling up the parchment. “Does she think I haven’t got anything better to do than read this?” With some satisfaction, he threw the ball of parchment across the room and watched it bounce off the wall and come to a halt in a dusty corner. The next moment, however, it flew back up of its own accord – straight into Hermione’s outstretched hand. Hermione pocketed her wand, flattened the parchment, and began to read.
Ron stopped laughing abruptly, but Hermione didn’t even react, already too immersed in the letter to notice. Harry rolled his eyes at Ron.
“She’ll read anything that has letters on it,” he muttered.
They both grinned and then turned back to the ancient map they were studying. As Harry pointed out an oddly shaped object on the map, he forgot all about Hermione and the letter – until, a few minutes later, Hermione brought it back to his attention in a way he couldn’t possibly ignore.
“Harry!” she shrieked, causing both Harry and Ron to jump. “Harry, this is it!”
Harry couldn’t help but feeling a bit of excitement at her words, but that was quickly drowned out by disbelief.
“Hermione, you’re not telling me that there’s something useful in Luna’s letter?”
Next to him, Ron shook his head sadly. “You’ve been working for too long, Hermione. Strangling Streakies don’t ex—”
“Actually, there is something useful in here,” Hermione cut him off. “Oh, I wish I hadn’t given up Divination!”
“You what?” Ron exclaimed. To Harry, he added, “She’s gone mad.”
Hermione ignored him. “Luna is doing Divination, apparently, and here she mentions the ancient suits of cartomancy.” Hermione smiled at the looks she received and continued, “They are supposed to have a powerful symbolic meaning and can be used to predict the future. The four suits are wands, rings, swords and cups.”
Cups. The word hit Harry like lightning. “You think that –”
“Voldemort believes in the power of magical symbols,” Hermione said. “He wanted seven parts of his soul, because seven is the most powerful magical number. He wanted one Horcrux of each Founder, because Hogwarts and its founders have a special meaning for him. I think he attached similar value to the four suits.”
Harry nodded. It made a lot of sense.
“We already know that he used a ring and a cup,” Ron said, catching on.
“And Dumbledore reckoned he wanted the sword of Gryffindor,” Harry added.
“So that leaves the wand,” Hermione concluded.
“Hang on,” Harry said, struck by a sudden idea. “The sword is Gryffindor’s, the cup is Hufflepuff’s, and the ring was worn by the direct descendants of Slytherin.” He looked from Hermione’s flushed face to Ron’s wide eyes. “We’re looking for Ravenclaw’s wand.”
“Harry, I’m not sure this is a good idea,” Hermione whispered.
Harry squinted in the dark, his wand ready. “Don’t you think it’s suspicious that Ollivander disappeared last year and that some ancestor of his was a wand-maker in Ravenclaw’s time?”
“Yes, but –”
“Besides, we’ve been through this,” Harry said, waving his wand impatiently. A few bright sparks shot out of it. “We don’t know any other places to start.”
“I know that, Harry,” Hermione said desperately. “But just barging into his shop like this – it seems a little reckless, doesn’t it?”
“It’s not like we’re going to fight Death Eaters,” Harry replied as he searched their surroundings with a small beam of light from his wand. “The shop’s been empty for a year.”
“We’re just looking for clues, Hermione,” Ron added. “Just like back in second year. The worst thing that happened then was Percy seeing us coming out of a girls’ bathroom, remember?”
Hermione giggled nervously. Harry smiled and gestured for silence, and the three of them quietly approached Ollivander’s shop. Harry cautiously prodded the door with his wand – the lock clicked and the door opened with a slight creak. Behind Harry, Ron lit his wand and shone into the dark shop. Just like Harry had expected, the shop was empty and even more dusty than usual.
“Look,” Hermione said softly as she closed the door, “he left everything behind.”
It was true. The walls were stacked with slim boxes as always, and a few boxes lay open on the counter, the wands inside them covered by a thick layer of dust.
“If Ravenclaw’s wand is here,” Ron said, “it could be in any of these boxes.” He gestured at the vast amount of boxes, even stretching into the back of the shop.
“Yes,” Harry replied, slowly turning around. “Or it could have a special place in the shop.”
In the display window, no longer visible from the outside because of the boards against the windows, lay a single wand on a cushion.
“Think about it,” Harry said, speaking fast now. “Ravenclaw’s wand must have been the greatest trophy of the Ollivanders. They probably had it displayed in their shop for ages. For Voldemort, it was perfect. An object with lots of significance in a place with lots of significance to him – after all, he bought his first wand here, too. All he had to do was turn the wand into a Horcrux without Ollivander noticing. He knew Ollivander would never sell or throw away the wand.”
Excitement bubbling in his chest, Harry reached out towards the wand. Before he could touch it, however, a small pop sounded behind him.
He reacted immediately. In one fluent move, he pulled back his hand, turned around and ducked the red flash of light that was coming his way. It hit the window behind him instead, shattering it.
“Expelliarmus!” he shouted, just as Ron yelled, “Stupefy!” and Hermione sent off a gold beam non-verbally.
Harry’s curse missed, while Ron’s was blocked by the intruder, who dodged Hermione’s spell. Harry was ready to continue, sure that they were going to win this fight, when the identity of his opponent registered. He lowered his wand a fraction as he stared at the wild grey hair and the pale eyes that were narrowed in anger.
“Tareadellum!” Ollivander spoke with venom, twisting his wand.
Harry threw himself sideways just in time, and the violet flash of light streaked past him. Before he had overcome his surprise, two more curses had been sent in his direction. It was all Harry could do to block the spells, but fortunately Ron and Hermione were still there, fighting back. Within five minutes, Ollivander was disarmed and bound by the Leg-Locker Curse.
“You!” he spat at Harry. “You here! The Dark Lord has been right all along!”
Harry gave him a hard look. “Voldemort has never been right about anything.”
“Oh yes, he has,” Ollivander said, his pale eyes full of hatred. “You are the proof. You, a half-blood, the world’s hero, are here to steal a valuable artefact from an old pure-blood family. Even I thought you would become a great wizard, but here you are, as a common thief. The Dark Lord is right: we should have kept magic within the pure-blood families.”
“So you’re Voldemort’s pal now, are you?” Harry asked with contempt. “Did he tell you all this stuff? Well, I can tell you that Voldemort is nothing more than a murderer. And this is the proof of that.” He snatched Ravenclaw’s wand from the cushion and held it up to Ollivander. “This, Mr Ollivander, is a Horcrux.”
Ollivander’s eyes widened and his face became ghostly pale. “It is not,” he whispered aghast. “Ravenclaw’s wand – it cannot be – the Dark Lord never touched –”
“I’m afraid he did,” Harry said. “He murdered someone and then turned your precious artefact into a Horcrux. This wand contains Voldemort’s soul.”
“How – dare –” Ollivander’s voice went up an octave and he didn’t seem to be able to form coherent sentences any more. “Ravenclaw’s wand – a Horcrux – Ravenclaw’s wand –”
“And since we haven’t finished researching methods of extracting bits of soul without damaging the object yet,” Harry continued, speaking loudly to drown out Ollivander’s voice, “I can think of only one way to destroy this Horcrux.”
He raised his knee, put the wand on his upper leg, holding both sides with his hands, and pushed.
The wand cracked.
Ollivander screamed. It was a long, hollow scream that slowly died out as he stared at the two pieces of wand with bloodshot eyes. Then he fainted.
Harry sank onto the floor next to him, feeling completely exhausted. He looked up at Ron and Hermione, who were both pale-faced and staring at him.
“I think we should take him to St Mungo’s,” Harry said. They nodded, and, as Hermione conjured up a stretcher and Ron undid the Leg-Locker Curse, Harry held up the pieces of wand, and they shared a warm, wonderful smile.
One down, three to go.
Author's note: This is already the end. I hope you enjoyed the story. I might write similar stories about the other Horcruxes that have to be destroyed in the future, but I haven't decided on that yet. Thanks for reading!