Harry ran as quickly as he could to the nearest boy’s bathroom, not caring at that point whether Filch was around or not.`
He kept his wand handy in case anyone was foolish enough to try to stop him, having very few qualms about using it if necessary.
He had become quite a powerful young wizard in his six years of study, and besides that; facing danger as many times as Harry had did a lot toward making him stronger and more confident. He hoped no one got in his way.
He reached the bathrooms without incident and shoved his way inside, stripping as fast as possible and stepping into the shower.
He turned the knobs quickly, making the water as hot as he dared and soaped and rinsed his hair and body quickly.
When satisfied with himself, Harry reached over to the crystal ball in the corner of the shower and slid it over to the middle, letting the hot water cascade over it.
Grabbing the piece of parchment that he had lain on a dry, extending shelf in the corner, he held it closely to his face, a bit angry with himself for having glasses to have to take off during a shower.
He picked up his wand extending it towards the crystal and began to read the words slowly, enunciating each one.
“Fluo fervens aqua eluvies crystallus orbis inviso, nomen adeo fiendo aperio cunctus aenigma.”
A streak of blue light shot from Harry’s wand to the crystal globe and for a moment, the steam, water and globe were illuminated in an iridescent sapphire that started him a bit. Slowly the glow fell from the steam and water like rain and washed over the crystal; the ball seeming to absorb all of it.
Harry felt his stomach tie into knots. If this wasn’t the correct spell then he had just wasted more of the precious time that Hermione had left.
Feeling his hand shake as he gripped his wand tighter, he continued pointing it towards the globe.
“Tell me the name of the person who took Hermione Granger.”
Harry’s eyes widened as the blue energy in the crystal immediately began to roil and swirl like dark thunder clouds. The globe began to bubble as well and to Harry’s amazement, it seemed as if the crystal itself was beginning to boil, as if the heat from the massive amount of energy was melting it. The globe continued to boil and bubble with sapphire and then began to expand.
Suddenly it exploded, shattering shards of crystal all around the shower stall and simultaneously releasing the pent up energy in an upward blast of light.
Vaguely aware of the small nicks he had just acquired, Harry continued to watch the blue, as once again it began to fall back into the stall like drops of rain. But this time, the steam in the stall remained blue, and began to swirl, making almost psychedelic patterns.
Quickly, Harry realized that the steam was beginning to form letters and he watched anxiously, while letting the water wash the crystal shards from his body.
Finally the steamy letters came together to form two words: Dark Servant.
Harry gritted his teeth in frustration. “I know that, but who is he!?” he shouted.
As if on impulse he raised a hand and waved it in front of the steam, but instead of dissipating, the letters began to rearrange themselves.
The name that stared back at him made Harry feel limp with shock.
He supposed he would’ve been surprised with whatever name he saw, but he had actually met this person.
Immediately, one phrase that the man had repeated to him at least two or three different times played back in his head.
Good luck, Potter…We’re anxious to see what kind of seeker you are.
“Not the snitch,” thought a shocked Harry out loud, “Hermione…
He meant Hermione…”
Like a wild man Harry crashed open the shower stall door. Not bothering to dry himself, he threw on his clothes and grabbed his wand, racing out of the bathroom.
Filch caught him running, right as he stepped out and stepped in front of him, causing Harry to almost run into him.
“Hold it Potter! No one’s allowed out to roam now! You know the rules…”
Not missing a beat, Harry had his wand out in one swift motion, extending it towards the caretakers gaping face, a mixture of anguish mixed with fury playing on his handsome features.
“MOVE or I’ll move you myself.”
The boy looked out of control, and to Filch, utterly dangerous. Gaping at him, he stepped aside and watched the young man take off down the hallway.
Furious and shaken by the display, Filch resolved to himself to find Dumbledore and let him know about Potter’s threat if it was the last thing he did.
Harry raced down endless corridors, past his common room, Slytherins, Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs, and even past the Astronomy tower, into an area of Hogwarts he had rarely visited. This part of the school was usually reserved for visitors, to keep them from being too annoyed or distracted with the students, and vice versa.
His heart pounded loudly in his ears, and he continued running non-stop until he found what he was looking for; the guest quarters.
Luckily for him, whenever a guest stayed in a room his name was put on the door, for him as much as for the house elves and servants who came to clean and provide room service, if needed.
Harry found the name he desired and heard loud sounds coming from inside the room. Thumping, scraping, dragging; like someone was moving and rearranging boxes and trunks.
Not bothering to knock Harry tried the knob, and feeling it to be locked, he immediately extended his wand.
The door clicked and he slammed it open, his wand out and ready. Immediately his scar began to burn. Not quite the white hot burning sensation that he had had yesterday morning, but a dull throbbing. Here was his answer… If he’d only been a little more concerned…
At the unexpected intrusion, the man inside the room dropped the trunk he had been moving and fell back a few steps, a look of surprise mixed with fear on his face. He saw Potter rub at his scar and winced. His cloaking spell was wearing off again… but he had convinced himself that it didn’t matter now. After all, he had planned to be gone as soon as Dumbledore’s meeting let out… If he’d only been a little quicker…
Harry scanned the room. The man’s belongings had been packed away in a hurry. The one trunk that was still open contained robes and Dark Arts books, thrown haphazardly inside.
The room hadn’t been put back properly, as if the guest had been planning to leave in quite a hurry. Harry’s eyes fell on the man’s wand sitting on the edge of the desk. He gritted his teeth furiously, his eyes blazing as he took in the form of the person who had taken Hermione. When he spoke his voice was low, and very dangerous.
“Going somewhere?…” Harry gestured towards the man’s belongings pushed near the fireplace.
The look of raw intensity on the young man’s face rooted the guest to the spot. He stood exactly as he had after he had dropped the trunk, not daring to move a muscle.
“H…Harry. Something I can do for you?”
Harry kicked the door shut, never taking his eyes from the man. He began to approach him slowly, keeping his voice low and even.
“You can take me to Hermione.”
The servant’s eyes widened. He’d been found out…
Panicking, he tried to dart around Harry, who had positioned himself in-between the servant and his wand, and made a wild grab for it.
Just as quickly, Harry threw himself at him, knocking him into the wall. As the man whipped around, Harry grabbed him by the throat and smashed his head back against the wall, his wand inches from the man’s face.
“Don’t even think about it!” he breathed wolfishly.
The man dared not to move, and took slow, wheezing puffs of air, his eyes darting from Harry’s wand to Harry.
Harry cocked his head a bit to one side, piercing the man with a glare.
“You’re gonna take me to Voldemort.”
At the mention of that name, the servant’s eyes widened and he began to tremble.
“You should already know where he is! It was in the note!”
“There’s twenty miles of land to cover,” Harry growled, “You can take me straight to him.”
“I…I’m not going back there,” the servant strained out. “I can’t go back to him…I was going to escape…He has her now! I don’t!”
Harry tightened his grip, causing the man to wheeze even more. “You ARE going back there… You’re the reason for all of this!”
As Harry let the man go, but continued to hold his wand on him, the servant sagged against the wall, clutching his throat and sucking in ragged breaths. He looked at Harry with something resembling awe.
“Maybe the sorting hat was right… Maybe you should’ve been in Slytherin…” he whispered tightly.
Harry blinked hard. So the guy had been doing some research on him. He shook his head at the destructive thought that the servant had just revisited on his mind and shoved it quickly away.
Shifting his eyes towards the desk for a moment, he caught sight of the missing jar of flame drock ashes from Hagrid’s hut. The jar was half empty.
Shaking with the thought that he might not like the answer to his next question, he plowed ahead.
“Who were those for? Did you hurt Hermione!? Because if you did I swear to…”
“They were for me!” the servant answered quickly, “Granger and I fought when she found me out…She ran to the old hut near the forest. W…we had a fight. She wounded me before I could subdue her…I found the ashes there.”
Harry almost smiled in satisfaction. At least she had wounded the bloody git…
“P…Potter…” the man began slowly, “How did you find out it was me?”
Harry held his wand a little to the man’s right and, pointing it to the wall behind him, he spoke clearly.
“Primus Compositio Rettuli.”
The bolt of energy that erupted from Harry’s wand blasted the wall behind the servant. He looked behind him to see the words ‘dark servant’ emblazoned in shimmering blue.
Slowly the letters began to rearrange themselves. The man was surprised at Harry’s innovation as the name that Voldemort had cleverly given him in place of his own took shape on the wall.
No one could say that the dark lord didn’t have his own twisted sense of humor, especially since the name sounded so much like his real one…
He turned back around to plead with Potter once more not to take him along, but quickly bit his tongue when he saw the look of utter hatred the young man shot his way.
Starven tried to affect a look of “I’m a victim too,” but Harry would have none of it.
“Where’s your broom…”
“I don’t have one…I…traveled by floo powder…” It was partially the truth. His broom was still at the cabin where the dark lord had forced him to leave it.
“Then we’ll grab one on the way,” said Harry evenly, “Let’s go.”
Harry had always had ill luck with using the floo system. It might not be to his advantage to come tumbling out of whatever fireplace Voldemort had near him because it usually took a few minutes to recover… a few minutes that he wouldn’t have. Besides that fact, he would have no control over Starven during the process. They would have to go one at the time, and Starven could choose to let himself out at any fireplace along the way.
It would be wiser to use brooms.
Instead of moving, Starven backed himself against the wall, shaking his head.
All Harry could think of at that moment was what a coward he had encountered.
The man joined Voldemort right under the Ministry’s nose, vowed to lure Harry to Voldemort by taking someone close to him, and then didn’t have the guts to follow through…
“Potter…Maybe you didn’t hear me!” Starven began, “I’m not going back! By now Voldemort knows I don’t plan to return… He might kill me!”
The statement hit Harry like a load of bricks. Of course… It was all there for him to see. He shook with anger and took a furious step towards Starven, his wand arm extended straight at him.
“You were supposed to lead me back, weren’t you!?”
“N…No I…I can’t now!”
“I didn’t even have to go through all of this!” Harry hissed through his teeth, his eyes blazing like fire, “I could’ve already been there by now!”
“I’m not going back Potter… Not now… I can’t go back… He’ll kill me!”
“I’ll kill you!” Harry shouted back at him, surprised at his own words, “You may have a chance with Voldemort but not with me… Now MOVE!”
Harry knew he would never kill Starven, but he certainly would hurt him if needed. He felt desperate, and more scared than he had ever been in his entire life. All the time that had already been wasted… and Starven was supposed to have led him back several hours ago… What if…what if Hermione was already… NO. He pushed the destructive thought from his mind. He would not think that way… He couldn’t.
Starven looked at the young man in front of him only once more before moving. He looked deadly serious.
He began to ease past Harry, opening his door and walking out. Harry was barely a step behind, his wand pressed into Starven’s back as they made their way down the winding hallways and towards the great double doors that led outside.
Surprisingly, they met no one along the way. As Harry and Starven pushed open the large double doors, Harry noticed that the temperature had dropped to just above freezing, and the sky was full of ominous clouds, threatening rain.
With a quick glance to make sure no one was around, he prodded Starven ahead with his wand towards the Quidditch field.
“Why are we headed this way?” asked Starven.
“We need brooms,” replied Harry flatly, “There’s plenty of extras in the locker room.”
Starven nodded and let Harry push him in the right direction. When they reached the Quidditch lockers, Harry kept a close eye on Starven as he charmed the lockers open and pulled out two brooms.
One was his Firebolt 2004 that he had hastily left at Hagrid’s earlier that night, and the other, a standard Shooting Star, which he thrust Starven’s way.
Starven glanced at the broom and then at Harry with pleading eyes.
“Please Potter… I can tell you exactly where she is… Don’t make me go with you. Voldemort has her now. I’m not even a part of this anymore!”
Harry set his jaw and scanned Starven’s form with a look on his face that resembled someone who had just stepped in something putrid.
“You think that’s all this is about!?” Harry shouted angrily, “You sealed your fate the day you joined Voldemort and you took Hermione. I’m not letting you go! Now mount up!”
Starven reluctantly mounted his broom and kicked off from the ground, watching as Harry stayed exactly one step behind him.
The wind whipped violently at their hair and robes as the two hovered near the Quidditch field, Harry’s wand still pointed threateningly towards Starven.
“Don’t even think of trying to outfly me,” Harry yelled in warning over the howling wind, “I’ll catch you. You know it.”
Starven stared at the young man with his wand and took in the seriously dangerous look playing over his features. In that moment of clarity, he knew that all of the prophesies were true.
“You’re not just going to destroy Voldemort, are you Harry,” said Starven, his eyes tracing Harry’s famous scar, half hidden by the whipping of his hair, “You’re going to take out all of his followers as well, aren’t you?”
Harry blinked, taken aback by Starven’s bluntness. He didn’t know what fate had in store for him… All he knew was that if he had the means to protect the ones he loved then he would use it. And if that meant destroying every last force of evil on the planet, if he was someday able, then so be it.
He gritted his teeth, angered at letting Starven catch him off guard.
Starven nodded, and giving Harry one more glance of awe mixed with fear, he dipped his broom downward and he and Harry flew down and into the darkness of the Forbidden Forest.