Once the Doctor had recovered enough, he set the TARDIS to take them to Hogwarts. They materialised in the Restricted Section of the Library, and the Doctor spared a moment to thank his TARDIS for how good and accurate she was being.
They stepped out into the dark stacks of the Restricted Section.
There were no windows in this part of the library, which added to the gloom and doom atmosphere exuded by the many enchanted and dark books on the shelves.
The Doctor spared a glance for the gates of the Restricted Section, but Madam Pince and any students were either not near the entry, or not even in the library. The TARDIS’ perception filter protecting her, the Doctor, Ron and Hermione started poking through the stacks, looking for any information they could find on Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.
Hermione found old editions of Hogwarts: A History lining one wall, going back at least six hundred years. She started going through them, muddling through the Middle English as best she could.
Ron camped out in the biographies, going through indexes.
And the Doctor was torn between helping him, and venturing out into the castle. He was sure there was a Horcrux here, or clues to a Horcrux, or something--but he couldn’t let himself remember the details.
He sighed and settled down in the aisle with Ron, looking through ancient texts detailing the lives of ancient wizards and witches.
Only fifteen minutes had passed before Hermione bolted over to them. “Look at this,” she hissed, and started reading out a passage from Hogwarts: A History (1493). “As Ravenclaw be well aware, secrets at Hogwarts number in the thousands. Only Ravenclaw is privy to all. Records live in the stones of the Tower, passed down from student to student, discoveries many and varied. None else shall know the true depths of Hogwarts knowledge like a Ravenclaw.”
“Ravenclaw’s been keeping secrets?” Ron whispered.
“Apparently for a thousand years,” Hermione said. “I always knew Su was laughing at me inside when I talked about Hogwarts’ history.”
She rolled her eyes. “Su Li. Don’t you two talk to anyone who isn’t in Gryffindor?”
The Doctor and Ron exchanged a look. “We talk to Luna,” they said together.
Ravenclaw Tower (outside)
The Doctor waited under his invisibility cloak.
Ron and Hermione were back at the TARDIS, poring through the books they’d taken from the library to find anything about Voldemort that could tell them about Hufflepuff or what might have become a Horcrux the night James and Lily had died.
He was sure that a Horcrux had been made that night. Voldemort had unintentionally made Harry one because his soul had fractured, ritual or no ritual, upon trying to kill Harry while Harry had been under Lily’s protection. In this dimension, that had still happened, as far as the Doctor knew--Voldemort had still tried to kill Harry and had still died that Halloween in 1981.
There was a seventh Horcrux, and it was not the Doctor. Beyond that, they knew nothing of what had become of the final piece of Voldemort’s soul.
The Doctor had the most horrible feeling that he was going to have to go back to 1981 and watch his parents’ deaths--Harry's parents’ deaths--to see exactly what had happened that night. For the moment, he didn’t want to do that. The other Horcruxes would be dealt with first.
Which led him here, to the base of the winding staircase that led up to Ravenclaw Tower. Either Luna would come down from her House, or go up to it, but either way, he intended to catch her and ask her about Ravenclaw’s secrets.
Half an hour passed, and barely anyone passed the Doctor by. Those who did looked terrified and pale, going between classes like hellhounds were snapping at their heels.
It made him sick, to think of children being treated like this.
Once the Horcruxes here at Hogwarts were destroyed, he was fully intending to oust the Death Eaters from the school and reclaim it as a safe place. If he couldn’t do that, then he would take every single student--even the Slytherins--in his TARDIS and get them away from here.
Someone had to stand up for them, and it would be months before the DA had built up enough strength to overwhelm the Carrows and their supporters, as well as the Dementors. The sooner the students were safe, the better.
Finally, after dinner, Luna appeared.
Rather than climbing the stairs to her House, like everyone else had done without so much as a blink in the invisible Doctor’s direction, Luna stopped and looked straight at him.
She tipped her head and her long blonde hair fell over her shoulder. “Professor Dumbledore?”
The Doctor glanced around to make sure no one else was around, then pulled the cloak off his head and grinned at her. “Hi, Luna.”
“Harry Potter! You’ve gotten rid of the Wrackspurt infestation in your ears,” she said. She sounded genuinely pleased to see him, which was nice. “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be off battling dragons?”
“Not today, Luna. Today I need to talk to you.”
“Oh! All right.”
She let herself be led into one of the deserted classrooms not far from the Tower. “You seem different,” she said, once they were settled and the door was as locked as the Doctor could get it to be. “More full.”
“Full?” the Doctor said.
“Of yourself.” She blinked at him. “Not in a bad way, of course. There’s just more of you inside you. It’s good. You were a little empty before,” she told him. “Lost.”
“I was,” he agreed. “But I found myself.”
“Luna,” he said. “I need your help.”
She smiled brightly at him. Not even the Carrows at Hogwarts had dimmed her spirit. “Anything, Harry.”
“I need you to tell me about Ravenclaw’s diadem, and Hufflepuff’s cup, if you know about that too.”
“Ravenclaw’s diadem?” she said. “I’m not sure if I know about the cup, but the diadem--well, if you really want to know about that, you could always talk to Helena.”
The Doctor raised an eyebrow. “I can talk to her?”
“Of course.” She looked confused. “She’s always willing to talk to Ravenclaws who are nice to her. You’re not a Ravenclaw, but I can make you an honorary one, if you like, so you can talk to her.”
“Is there a portrait of her somewhere?”
Luna laughed merrily. “Oh, no, Harry. Of course not. She’s a ghost.”
It dawned on the Doctor, then. “The Grey Lady.” She was notorious for her silence. All the other Hogwarts ghosts could talk your ear off, but the Grey Lady had never been heard to speak to a Gryffindor, or Slytherin, or Hufflepuff.
And Ravenclaws kept their secrets closely guarded.
The Doctor asked Luna, “Can you bring her here?”
Luna jumped down off the desk. “I’ll do my best,” she said vaguely, “but if she won’t come, you mustn’t be disappointed. She’s very shy.”
“Maybe I should come with you, instead.” The Doctor pulled the invisibility cloak back around himself, then stopped at the last moment. “Why did you say ‘Professor Dumbledore’ before?”
“Oh, he used to walk around invisible all the time,” she said. “We agreed once that he should learn to breathe more quietly. I didn’t catch him again after that. And then he died, of course.”
“So when you heard me breathing loudly--”
“I thought perhaps his ghost was here.”
“Dumbledore has a ghost?” Sudden hope tore through the Doctor’s chest, and he knew it was Harry’s hope shining through.
“No,” she said gently. “No, I don’t think he’d come back. But I always listen. Just in case.”
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