nocturnalie (nocturnalie) wrote,
nocturnalie
nocturnalie

chapter six: april 14, 1927

the never-ending chase
chapter six



        April 14, 1927


Confident that no one would recognise them, the Doctor, Ron and Hermione merely transfigured their robes into the more appropriate style and left the TARDIS hidden in a long-forgotten corner of Flourish and Blotts, surrounded by Wizarding romance novels.

They ventured out into Diagon Alley. The place had hardly changed in the last seventy years. Robes were a little more buttoned up, hairstyles were different, and some of the shops had changed (“Aunt Hattie’s Hattery”, “Beltrope and Bosun’s Bewitchments”, and one that really startled them, “Snape’s Scriptorium--now incorporated with Potter’s Potioneering”), but the atmosphere was the same.

The Doctor dragged Ron away from Snape and Potter’s, towards Knockturn Alley. “But mate,” Ron protested. “Snape and Potter.”

He looked back, almost longing for a moment. “It must’ve been our grandparents.” Then he hustled Ron down the steps to Knockturn Alley, Hermione close on their heels.

Borgin and Burke’s was right where it always had been. It looked a little cleaner, a little brighter and less cluttered, in 1927. The windows weren’t as grimy. The Vanishing Cupboards were nowhere to be seen, nor were most of the artefacts Harry remembered from his unexpected visit in second year.

The Doctor remembered. Not Harry.

The Records Office at the Ministry of Magic kept sales records of all the shops in Diagon Alley. Hepzibah Smith had made her purchase of the locket on April 15, 1927.

They made their way through the display cases, to the counter. If they had landed on the right date--and the copies hanging for editing and drying in the window of the Daily Prophet offices back in Diagon Alley had suggested they had--then the locket should still be at the shop, along with Burke.

There was a man standing behind the counter polishing a seeing stone. He set it down as they approached, and turned to smile at them. “Are you lost, children?”

Right. Seventeen. The Doctor had to remember that he was even younger now than he had been since his days at the Academy.

“No,” he said, drawing himself up to his full height. Ron did the same next to him, and Hermione tucked her hand in Ron’s arm, acting as his wife. “We have travelled quite a distance to come to your establishment today, Mr. Burke.”

His shot in the dark paid off. Caractacus Burke raised his eyebrow. “I’m sorry. Do we know each other, Mr…?”

Couldn’t use Smith. Not this close to Hepzibah Smith’s purchase. What was a good wizarding name? “Pond. Roranicus Pond.”

“Mr. Pond. Any relation to the Edinburgh Ponds?” The look in Burke’s eye turned hungry, like a predator scenting its prey.

The Doctor smiled mysteriously--as mysteriously as he could in this regeneration, anyway. “That is not of import. Our business today is.”

Burke inspected Ron and Hermione. Apparently they passed muster, because he looked back to the Doctor. “And what is your business today, Mr. Pond?”

“You have in your wares a locket.” The Doctor wasn’t much for subtlety. “I want to see it.”

“A locket? A locket…” Burke tapped his lip with his finger. “I don’t seem to recall such an item.”

“You purchased it last November from a heavily pregnant woman, for--”

“Ten Galleons,” Hermione supplied.

Burke looked at her sharply. To her credit, she didn’t waver.

“Oh, yes,” Burke finally said. “That locket. Well, I’d hardly call it a locket. It doesn’t open, you see. Barely worth the money I paid for it.”

“Considering it was once owned by Salazar Slytherin, I would think it’s worth rather a lot more than you paid for it,” the Doctor said coolly.

A flash of panic crossed Burke’s face, then was quickly hidden. “You know quite a bit about this locket.”

“Dark artefacts are something of an interest of mine.”

“Is that so.”

The Doctor leaned forward, bracing his forearms on the counter. “Show it to me.”

“The locket?”

“Yes. I want to see it. To verify whether it really is the locket I’m looking for.”

“As you wish, Mr. Pond.” Burke disappeared into a back room.

The Doctor glanced at Ron and Hermione. “Do you think he’s coming back?”

“I doubt it.” Ron motioned for them to stand back. He jumped the counter and went into the back room, after Burke.

The Doctor pulled the appointment book over to him and started looking through the pages for Hepzibah Smith. Maybe she’d purchased more than one magical artefact from Borgin and Burke’s. That could be some kind of hint as to what Tom Riddle may have had access to, for his Horcruxes.

Then Hermione gasped. “Harry, look--”

She tugged him over to a crate at the back of the shop. The label read, “Ship to: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry”.

The Doctor took out his wand and cast, “Alohomora,” on the lock. It clicked open, and together, he and Hermione shoved off the lid of the crate. They pulled away the packing sheets inside, and discovered four portraits.

Hermione said, breathlessly, “These are the Founders.” She ran reverent fingers over the fine wood of the frames. “These are the portraits that hang over the fireplaces in the common rooms. I always wondered where they’d come from.”

“Now you know.” The Doctor handed her the providences, then pulled out the portrait of Salazar Slytherin. The locket hung around the Founder’s painted neck.

A memory struck him--something in the books about the Ravenclaw common room. He slid the portrait of Slytherin back in its place and pulled out the one of Rowena Ravenclaw instead.

“Do you see anything in this picture that You-Know-Who could use to make a Horcrux?” he asked Hermione quietly. His memory was sparking as he looked at the portrait, but not quite enough. He’d only read the words on paper, after all.

Hermione picked up the portrait of Helga Hufflepuff. “Well, if he chose Slytherin’s jewellery, maybe he chose something of the same from the other Founders.”

The Doctor examined the picture. “Like a tiara?”

“A diadem, you mean. Ravenclaw’s diadem.”

The Doctor’s head throbbed, and he dropped the portrait as he clutched as his temples. Hermione laid the portrait of Hufflepuff down a little more carefully, and rested a hand on his shoulder. “Doctor? Are you all right?”

“Unhand me, you great oaf!” Burke appeared back through the door, being shoved by Ron.

“I caught him trying to Apparate out the back,” Ron explained. “Nearly took me with him--what’s wrong?”

“I don’t know,” Hermione said. “He just stopped what he was doing and bent over. I don’t know what’s wrong.” She rubbed his back a bit. “Talk to me, Doctor.”

The Doctor swallowed his little whimper. He had the worst headache all of a sudden, and a terrible feeling he knew what caused it. He was remembering things he wasn’t supposed to be remembering. The books never existed in this dimension, so he could never have read them. But I’m a time traveller, he felt like saying. Those rules don’t apply to me!

But they applied to Harry Potter, and as far as this dimension was concerned, that was who he was.

He straightened up, running his shaking hands down his front to uncrinkle his robes. “I’m fine. Thank you,” he told Hermione. “I’m okay.”

She didn’t look convinced.

Ron climbed back over the counter and stood at the Doctor’s shoulder as he came back in font of Burke. Ignoring the throbbing in his temples, the Doctor said, “The locket? I assume you were going to take it with you when you left.”

Burke scowled at him. “You’ve no right to threaten me like this.”

The Doctor gave as good as he got. “I have done no such thing, Mr. Burke. I have done nothing but request to see an item you have for sale.”

“It isn’t for sale,” Burke insisted. “I already have a buyer for it.”

“Hepzibah Smith.”

Burke gaped. “You can’t possibly--”

The Doctor held up his hand. “Just show me the locket. I promise not to buy it, or steal it. I just want to see it.”

After a moment, Burke gave in. “Fine.” He reached into a secret pocket in his robes and pulled the locket out. “No touching,” he warned them.

Hermione whispered, “Confundus,” and Burke’s eyes glazed over.

The Doctor reached out and touched the locket. It was solid and real. There were no illusions cast over it. This was the real locket of Salazar Slytherin, that would one day become a Horcrux.

Just as quickly as Hermione had cast her spell, the Doctor pulled out his own wand and marked the locket with a tracking spell. There were no guarantees that seventy years later it would still be there, but he hid it as best he could.

Then they left Borgin and Burke’s.

        In the TARDIS

“What happened to you in there?” Ron asked as soon as the doors of the TARDIS were closed behind them.

The Doctor shook his head. “I’m not sure. I just got a really bad headache all of a sudden.”

Hermione explained about the portraits of the Founders, keeping a close eye on the Doctor as she did. The Doctor didn’t object to being watched--it made him feel a little more secure in his existence, actually--but he did try his best not to use the TARDIS for support as he walked up to the console.

“Ravenclaw’s diadem, huh?” Ron said. “Sounds about right.”

She gave him a look. “You have no idea what Ravenclaw’s diadem is.”

He held his ground for a moment. Then he admitted, “All right, so I don’t.”

“Would it kill you to read Hogwarts: A History?”

He shrugged. “Why would I read it, when I’ve got you?”

Hermione huffed, but there was a smile tucked in the corner of her mouth. “Rowena Ravenclaw was said to wear a diadem, a tiara, that enhanced the wisdom of its wearer. It disappeared just before she died. No one knows what happened to it, but it vanished at the same time as Rowena’s daughter ran away. It’s often theorised that she stole it.”

Ron was surprised. “Ravenclaw had a daughter?”

“They weren’t sexless a thousand years ago, Ronald,” Hermione said, sighing. “Even Slytherin had children. How do you think You-Know-Who is his heir?”

He scratched his head. “But no one talks about Ravenclaw’s heir.”

Hermione shrugged. “Maybe Helena--that was her name, Helena Ravenclaw--died before she could have children.”

Ron scoffed. “You’d think that having a magic crown to make you smarter would mean you wouldn’t die young.”

“Lots of very intelligent people die young,” the Doctor said, a little sadly. He knew that all too well. “So, say that You-Know-Who did manage to find Ravenclaw’s diadem and turn it into a Horcrux. Where would he have hidden it?”

“In Ravenclaw Tower?” Hermione suggested. “I mean, that would be the worst kick in the face to Professor Dumbledore, wouldn’t it--if he hid part of his soul in Hogwarts.”

“How would he have gotten in to Ravenclaw Tower?” Ron wrinkled his nose. “You have to answer those riddle to get in. Even Ravenclaws have trouble with it. I swear, I heard Terry Boot say once that it took him eight hours to get in.”

She waved her hand. “Let me think about it.”

Ron rubbed his shoulder absent-mindedly. “So what about the locket?”

The Doctor set the co-ordinates for Loch an Eilein, half an hour after they’d left, then turned back to look at Ron. “What do you mean?”

“What did we find out?”

“It’s real,” the Doctor offered. “The illusion didn’t fall off it when I touched it, like it did the Horcrux. That means it must have been swapped out sometime after Hepzibah Smith took possession of it, and Burke’s disappearance probably has nothing to do with it not being the real locket.”

“He seemed pretty ready to run with the locket, that’s all I’m saying,” Ron said.

“And even if he did,” Hermione pointed out, “He would have sold a copy to Hepzibah, and the copy would have become the Horcrux.”

“Oh. Right.” Ron rubbed his face. “So we know that it’s a locket. That’s about what we knew before.”

The Doctor set the TARDIS to dematerialise. “Actually,” he said modestly, “I put a tracking spell on it.”

“You put a tracking spell on the locket,” Ron repeated. “Oh, mate. Stroke of genius.”

The Doctor grinned. “I do my best.”

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Tags: doctor who, harry potter, the never-ending chase
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