401 Godric's Hollow

Since they could be more recognizable in England, Chris, Ginny, Luna, and Colin had taken Polyjuice this time to disguise themselves. Chris took a form of a woman in her 30s, Ginny was a middle-aged woman, Luna turned into a girl in her 20s, and Colin was a man in his 40s. Only Oziyat and Sol were themselves as no one knew them.

They were standing hand in hand in a snowy lane under a dark blue sky, in which the night's first stars were already glimmering feebly. Cottages stood on either side of the narrow road, Christmas decorations twinkling in their windows. A short way ahead of them, a glow of golden streetlights indicated the center of the village.

"Godric's Hollow," Colin whispered as all of them looked ahead. "So how do we do this?"

"We look for Harry, Ron, and Hermione. There is a big chance they had disguised themselves as we did," Chris breathed, and a cloud of smoke rose from her mouth. "So we need to observe people rather than just watch their faces."

"Watch their expressions. It's really helpful," said Luna. "Harry's surprised face is always easy to catch on."

"Thanks, Luna," Chris smiled but her heart beat faster with uncertainty. "Let's go."

They made their way forward unhampered, the icy air stinging their faces as they passed more cottages. Chris gazed at the front doors, their snow-burdened roofs, and their front porches, wondering if she would really find Harry here, or was this all for nothing? The little lane along which they were walking curved to the left and the heart of the village, a small square, was revealed to them.

Strung all around with colored lights, there was what looked like a war memorial in the middle, partly obscured by a windblown Christmas tree. There were several shops, a post office, a pub, and a little church whose stained-glass windows were glowing jewel-bright across the square. The snow here had become impacted: It was hard and slippery where people had trodden on it all day. Villagers were crisscrossing in front of them, their figures briefly illuminated by streetlamps. They heard a snatch of laughter and pop music as the pub door opened and closed; then they heard a carol startup inside the little church.

"It's Christmas Eve," Ginny spoke before Chris could.

"Wow, I didn't even realize," Colin sadly smiled looking at the decorations around. "Hey, look!"

Suddenly, Colin was pointing at the war memorial. As they had passed it, it had transformed. Instead of an obelisk covered in names, there was a statue of three people: a man with untidy hair and glasses, a woman with long hair and a kind, pretty face, and a baby boy sitting in his mother's arms. Snow lay upon all their heads, like fluffy white caps, just like in Chris's vision. The Potter family. Chris stopped to stare at the statue for a moment, baby Harry looked so happy in his mother's arms, and then he lost it. Chris's heart twisted in pain but now she knew. He was there. Her vision was right. She took a deep breath and looked around.

"Let's split up and if anyone sees something suspicious inform each other," Chris said holding up her talisman.

"You take Sol and Oziyat," Ginny told Chris. "Me, Colin, and Luna will look in that way."

Chris nodded and they split up. They headed in different directions. Sol superstitiously grabbed Chris's hand, looking around.

"Sorry, Sol, I didn't mean to bring you among people so soon," Chris held Sol's hand tightly as they walked. She truly was feeling guilty for taking Sol with them but there was no choice. Everyone thought it would be better if Oziyat and Sol stick them than stay alone.

"Actually, I think it's good for him," Oziyat spoke quietly. Chris turned to him surprised and he continued, "Well, we kept Sol hidden and he never had interactions with other people except for our Guards and a few human maids. Clearly, it didn't help him, in fact, it harmed him more."

Oziyat was right. After trying to train Sol for the last few days, Chris also thought it was Sol's sheltered upbringing that messed up his magic abilities. Especially, when Fergus shared his experience with magic and how Chris could utilize more of his powers than he ever could, Chris understood that Sol needed proper training like her and to stop suppressing his powers. But Chris couldn't tell all of this to Oziyat in front of Sol.

"Oziyat, actually, I was meaning to talk to you about this. Can we talk after we are finished here?" Chris subtly glanced at Sol.

Oziyat understood that Chris didn't want to talk about Sol in front of him, Oziyat nodded.

"Sure. Let's talk soon."

For the next half an hour, Chris, Oziyat, Sol, Ginny, Luna, and Colin roamed the entire village but no one looked out of place. Everyone seemed to be villagers, going about their day on Christmas Eve. Chris checked the old Potter house last, but the broken house was empty as well.

Now Chris started to doubt her vision, was it real? Or it was real but Harry, Ron, and Hermione already left?

"Let's meet at the starting point. We will think of something," Chris mumbled through her talisman after Ginny declared Harry, Ron, and Hermione weren't in their part of the Godric's Hollow either.

As they walked back Chris's heart sank, after so much time, she finally felt close to Harry. She thought she was finally going to see him. She would finally get a chance to apologize for leaving, to tell him how much she missed him, how much she cared for him, how much it meant to her that he remembered her, and he understood her. But now? She was back where she started. Again, he was slipping from her and it was her fault.

"Christina?" Oziyat called softly and Chris broke away from her thoughts. She turned to him and saw worry in his eyes. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," Chris said automatically but Oziyat didn't look convinced and she looked away. "Why do you ask?"

"Well, I thought I wouldn't say it, but Christina, for the last few days, you always seem distracted and upset. I haven't known you for a long time, but this feels so unlike you. I have never seen you so . . ." Oziyat trailed off and stopped walking.

Surprised Chris and Sol stopped as well. Chris looked up at him and saw him staring somewhere.


"Christina, we didn't check the graveyard," Oziyat pointed in the direction of the church, and behind it was a graveyard. It was extremely dark and Chris couldn't see very clearly standing so far from it. But Oziyat had definitely seen something. "There are three people in the graveyard."

"Three people?" Chris's neck snapped towards the church. "We need to check it out."

The singing grew louder as they approached the church. It made Chris's throat constrict, it reminded her so forcefully of Hogwarts, of Peeves bellowing rude versions of carols from inside suits of armor, of the Great Hall's twelve Christmas trees, of Dumbledore wearing a bonnet he had won in a cracker, of Harry's Christmas presents to her, his terrible jokes, the sparkle in his eyes every time they were together . . .

There was a kissing gate at the entrance to the graveyard. Chris pushed it open as quietly as possible but she paused for a moment.

"Sol, will you please stay here with Oziyat?"

"But Christina —" Oziyat tried to protest but Sol nodded.

"I will be fine. . . but if anything goes wrong, I will inform you and others." Chris told Oziyat and without waiting edged through the gate. She walked around the building, keeping to the shadows beneath the brilliant windows, and noticed the carved path on the snow.

Behind the church, row upon row of snowy tombstones protruded from a blanket of pale blue that was flecked with dazzling red, gold, and green wherever the reflections from the stained glass hit the snow. Chris walked deeper into the graveyard and saw an old couple standing near a tombstone, arguing very quietly, and a few rows further from them a man was staring at darkness alone.

Chris's feet moved on their own and she walked toward the man very slowly. Her heart pounded in anticipation and fear. What if it wasn't Harry? And what if it was him? Her head felt foggy and something heavy pressed down on her chest as she finally reached him . . . Chris almost stopped breathing.

The man was standing in front of a white marble headstone, which made it easy to read, as it seemed to shine in the dark. Chris didn't need to approach very close to it to make out the words engraved upon it.


BORN 27 MARCH 1960



The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

⟦To be continued⟧

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