Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Triquetra :: 02

02

He was reading when a screech from below alerted him to something unexpected. He carefully set down his book, which he had been reading more for pleasure than information, and rose, then headed downstairs to see what the fuss was about. He had no sooner reached the bottom of the stairs when he saw the two people he most wanted to see: Fred and George.

He smiled broadly and motioned to them, totally ignoring his aunt, then trotted back up the stairs. He wasn’t particularly concerned that they might be dopplegangers; something in his senses told him that they were who they appeared to be. Once they were all in his room he gave each of them a brief hug, occasioning a round of startled looks, then gestured at the bed as he took the single chair.

Harry took a moment to cast some privacy spells before turning his attention back to his guests. “I’m very glad you came,” he croaked, then smiled as they jerked slightly in surprise.

“When did you start talking again?”

After a moment of concentration, Harry identified the speaker as Fred. “I realized yesterday that I could, though I haven’t tried until just now. I don’t sound so good, but I guess that will get better.”

“Does that have anything to do with your rather . . . bizarre . . . visit last night?” asked George.

Harry nodded. “Sort of. Not directly connected, but close enough.”

“Speaking of connections,” Fred said, his expression a mixture of wariness and confusion, “what did you mean about the three of us?”

“It’s going to sound—” He broke off into a coughing fit, his body rebelling a bit against vocality after so long. “Crazy. I’ll demonstrate.” Harry pulled over a sheet of paper and dashed off an explanation of what he wanted, not wishing to push his voice so much so quickly, then held it out toward Fred.

The twins read it over, exchanged a glance, then stood, and a few moments later Harry’s vision went black. One of the twins had cast a temporary blindness spell as he had requested. He heard them moving around, then silence, so he concentrated and pointed unerringly at Fred within several seconds.

After several rounds of shuffling position, with Harry always pointing at Fred, he said, “Now George.” Eventually, the blindness spell was negated and he was able to see again. “Can always find you.”

“I reckon that means we don’t need to question why you’re so confident of our identities,” George said somewhat ruefully.

Harry nodded and grinned. “Connected.” Then he pinned them both with a fierce look and said, “Secret.”

“Both?” Fred asked. After getting another nod he said, “I could wish this were easier.”

Harry exhaled heavily and looked off to the side, a frown puckering his brow. It would be easier if he could communicate more easily, true. Was it possible that an overlap wasn’t necessary to speak into their minds? Harry looked back at them and stood, then dragged the chair a little closer to the bed and sat back down, reaching out to grasp Fred’s right hand with his, and George’s left hand similarly.

‘Can you hear me?’ he thought, darting his gaze back and forth to see their reactions.

“Yes,” they said together.

‘Thank Merlin. I think it’s going to take a while for me to speak normally again, and it’s rather tiring to make the attempts. By the way, you two are connected to each other, as well.’

“That’s not a surprise,” offered George. “We’ve always known where the other is. Thought it was a twin thing.”

Harry shrugged. ‘I have no idea. It may be more than that, especially given that I’m connected to the both of you. Still, as fascinating as all this is, and even exciting, I don’t particularly want word getting out.’

“You don’t have any idea why, do you?”

‘No, just that we are. I was hoping that spending time together would bring up something of substance. After all, I’ve already learned I don’t need to separate into an astral form to be able to share my thoughts with you two.’

“Is that how you know of the connections?”

‘Precisely. There’s another connection to Voldemort, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.’ Harry released George’s hand long enough to finger his scar, then retook it. ‘I should hate to think that if anything happened to me that you two would be affected, but since the connections exist, it’s only right that you’re aware of it.’

The twins stiffened slightly at the implication.

‘At any rate, it isn’t as though I need to be able to speak to be a wizard. Now, have either of you heard any news on when I’m supposed to be removed from this travesty of a household?’

They shook their heads. “We’re not in the Order, as you know. No one has said anything to us or even hinted at it.”

Harry sighed and slumped slightly, then bit his lip. ‘I am an adult. They can’t dispute that now. I really am tempted to just up and leave, though I’ve no idea where I’d go. It’s not like I feel any compelling urge to dash off to headquarters. Hell, I don’t even want to be Harry half the time.’ Then he blinked, not being entirely sure what had prompted such a confession.

The twins exchanged a look, and in that brief moment of time seemed to hold an entire conversation between them. A second later they turned back and Fred said, “Look, Harry. As much as we might not like it, it’s very possible our fate is tied to yours, so it behooves us to help you in any way we can. That doesn’t mean we’re willing to do any old crazy thing, though.”

“If you disappear, a lot of people are going to be upset, not to mention hurt if they ever figure out you did it on purpose,” added George.

Harry snarled soundlessly and nodded. ‘On the other hand, maybe if people don’t know where I am, they can’t keep manipulating me. I’ve spent the summer in isolation, again. Such a thrill. I have no idea how Ron and Hermione are doing, or even if anyone has tried to contact me. I don’t know if Order members are lurking about outside at all hours, or if I’m alone here. I don’t even know how much bloody money I have in my vault because no one has ever allowed me to find out. And look, it was my birthday yesterday, and nothing. Yes, I know, I can’t expect to necessarily hear from my two best friends, but. . . . I don’t even know if anyone was of a mind to bother to inform me if I’d have to get to Kings Cross on my own this year, or if I’d be whisked off to headquarters where people could supposedly keep an eye on me. Honestly. One minute people are all for giving me space, so I can grieve or cope or whatever, and the next I get smothered and coddled and babied. Feast or famine, folks.’

The twins exchanged another look.

‘I’m sorry. I didn’t ask you to visit so I could let out my frustrations on your two.’

“Harry, Ron and Hermione are dead.”

Harry’s eyes widened drastically, then narrowed. ‘I see.’ He had decided in an instant to hold off on any snap judgments. It might be entirely innocent that he had not heard from anyone about it.

“They died a week ago,” added George, looking mightily uncomfortable. “Some of Voldemort’s people made sure of it. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they were the targets, and the other students were just . . . a bonus.”

‘Spares,’ Harry corrected. ‘Like Cedric.’ And that was all he managed to say before his anger made him pull his hands free abruptly and look away, then stand and begin pacing noiselessly.

“We didn’t know you hadn’t been told,” said Fred quietly.

“I can’t stay here,” Harry croaked. “Need advice.”

He managed to pace the length of the room several times before George said, “You might want to start with a visit to Gringotts. For all you know, you’ve an inheritance to claim. Though . . . I guess it would be helpful if we knew if the Order was keeping an eye on you first.”

Harry glanced over to see Fred rummaging in his pockets, eventually pulling out a very odd set of spectacles and slipping them on, then tapping them with his wand. A moment later they disappeared. Harry arched a brow questioningly.

“I’ll just have to have a look around, won’t I,” Fred said. “Shall we go for a walk? Fresh air can’t hurt, I’m sure.”

He shrugged and nodded. In point of fact, he wasn’t sure how he should be feeling at the moment. The twins had had a week to pull their game faces back on, so he shouldn’t be surprised that they looked fairly normal. But for himself? A few waves of his wand removed the spells he had cast and the door was quickly open.

A walk round the area revealed nothing strange, leading all of them to believe there might not be any Order members in the vicinity. Harry made a command decision and led them back to his room long enough to pick up a few odd items, then asked them to apparate him to their shop, as that was another thing he could only now consider getting a license for.

He grabbed their hands briefly so he could say, ‘I’d like you to go with me, if you can. Or at least one of you.’

They nodded and said, “That’s fine. You might want a glamour, though.”

Harry shook his head and took their hands again. ‘No need. And this is another secret. I’m sorry to spring so many on you so quickly. Please understand. But my senses tell me to trust you two, so that’s what I’ll do.’

They exchanged a quick look, then nodded, so Harry thought about it for a minute and shifted his appearance. To the casual onlooker, he ought to look like a relative of the twins. A cousin, perhaps. And he did know they were out there, even if he had never met any.

They seemed satisfied, if not a little surprised, so the trio made their way out of the shop’s private entrance and on to Gringotts. Harry wasn’t about to attempt speech so he let Fred handle speaking with one of the tellers for him. They were shortly escorted into a private office and gestured into seats, at which point their escort left them to twiddle their thumbs until a goblin of higher rank would attend them.

Eventually, one did, and took a seat behind the desk with quiet ease. “Good morning, gentlemen. My name is Metlock. What can I do for you?”

Harry considered for a moment, then gave a slight sigh and took Fred’s hand. ‘I think we’re going to have to trust in what your brother has said of the goblins. I do not think he will betray us.’

Fred glanced over and nodded his agreement, then turned back to face the goblin. “We are here on behalf of Harry Potter.” And before Metlock could protest in any manner he continued, “With Harry Potter, so you need not fear we come in order to obtain any information behind his back. Besides, we know you would not allow it. Bill speaks highly of you all here.”

Metlock looked momentarily confused, but nodded. “With?”

Harry gave another slight sigh and shifted, causing the goblin’s eyes to widen ever so slightly.

Fred said, “As you may know, Harry has suffered some trauma in the past, resulting in an inability to speak for himself. My brother and I are here with him to help.”

Harry chose that moment to croak out, “Yes. Have only recently been able to talk. It hurts to do so.”

George chose to take up the thread. “We assume, given what Bill has been able to impart to us over the years, that you will hold this meeting in confidence. And if necessary, enact whatever magic is necessary to assure yourself that this is indeed Harry Potter.”

Metlock gave them an odd smile. “We are almost fond of your brother,” he said, then added, “For a human.”

Harry indulged himself in a few moments of silent laughter at the comment.

“And indeed, you are correct. We are aware that Mr Potter is of age. Therefore, only he and those he chooses to make aware of his situation hold the privilege of information. And, given that this young man has made me aware of what I assume is the ability of a metamorphmagus, I will certainly need to verify his identity.”

Harry nodded; it was better that way. It took approximately fifteen minutes to get that out of the way, at which point he settled back into his chair, this time taking the hands of both brothers, so neither would be left unaware of his thoughts. ‘Do I have an account manager?’ he asked.

When the question was relayed Metlock shook his head. “Account managers are reserved only for certain clients of this bank. Generally speaking that means pure-bloods of great wealth, or those with the rather foolish idea that retaining one will somehow increase their stature with other wizarding folk.”

Harry snorted. ‘I could give a damn about my stature. I do want to know that I have an ally here at this bank. Someone who will help protect whatever assets I have against all comers.’

Fred relayed, in rather a more delicate manner.

The goblin’s response was to arch a brow and shoot a knowing look at Harry before speaking. “Yes, of course. Knowing what I do, I can see why you would wish that, Mr Potter. As it so happens, I find myself agreeable to such an alliance. However, I do not think we should enter negotiations on that point while you are, presumably, still unaware of the true nature of your finances. To that end, I shall personally go now to obtain an accounting so as not to involve anyone else. I can order refreshments for you while you wait, though I would ask you to please correct your appearance, Mr Potter, before I do so.”

While the goblin was away Harry took the time to consider his two best friends. A part of him wanted to hide away and wallow in grief, but he knew, as with Sirius, that it would only serve to depress him to the point of total apathy, and he could not afford to be in that condition for any length of time. Beyond that he felt an abiding anger that no one had seen fit to inform him of their demise. He had found out by accident, though he attached no blame to the twins.

A hand on his shoulder startled him; Fred was looking at him steadily, and there seemed to be something of empathy in that gaze. “Harry, if you’re thinking it’s because of you, I wish you’d stop. We’re all in danger, you know that. A person doesn’t even need to openly stand in the light to be a target. That creature derives pleasure from fear and pain, not to mention death.”

That didn’t stop Harry from thinking it was because of him. They were his friends, and that made them highly desirable targets.

Fred spoke again, somehow seeming to discern his thoughts. “They were your friends. I don’t doubt they would have taken a killing curse for you. But you can’t cut yourself off from everyone. That won’t stop more deaths. In fact, if you did that, he would probably attack those more innocent, those who cannot hope to fight back, feeling that it would distress you just as much, if in a different way.”

Harry sighed and ducked his head.

“Honor their memory, Harry. Cherish the time you had together. But don’t let their deaths be the cause of you turning into a bitter person. They wouldn’t like that. Can’t you just imagine Hermione standing there, scowling at you with her arms akimbo, and tapping one foot?”

He chuckled softly and nodded. She would do something like that, and he ought not to allow Voldemort to sink his happy times into misery. After giving Fred a slight smile he took another sip of his butterbeer and tried, until Metlock came back, to remember how many times Ron and Hermione had made him laugh.

“Mr Potter, I have here paperwork that details your current vaults. As well, I should bring to your attention that there is a will pending for which you are the sole inheritor.” He handed over a sheaf of parchment.

Harry took it and frowned, then began to read, taking in almost absently that he was a very wealthy man. He did not, however, see anything regarding a will, and so reached over to take Fred’s hand briefly. ‘Will? And just exactly how much confidentiality can we expect here?’

“Harry has two questions at present,” said Fred. “He is curious about the will you mentioned, and also would like to know how far the concept of confidentiality extends.”

Metlock gazed at their hands for a moment, then said, “We are not in the habit of discussing anything spoken within these walls on the outside, nor to any who were not privy to the details to begin with. Rest assured, you will not find yourself in the position of having to pay out bribes in order to keep my knowledge where it belongs. As for the will I speak of, that would be of Mr Sirius Black. However, now that you have even a basic knowledge of your present finances, I would suggest we move along to the matter of a contract.”

Metlock opened a drawer in his desk and pulled out another set of parchment, then handed it over. “This is a standard contract. Please read through it first.”

So Harry did, passing each sheet to Fred, who then passed it to George when he was done with it. A half hour later that had been taken care of, and Harry was relieved that he need not pad the contract figure, nor negotiate at all. Perhaps that was just the way things were, though it might have something to do with who he was. Still, the goblins had already more or less worked out their position in the wizarding world, so it was just as likely that bribery and the like was totally unnecessary.

“Sirius Black’s will makes you his sole inheritor, Mr Potter. This bundle will inform you of exactly what he has left you.”

After Harry had glanced over all of that he passed another question along via Fred.

“Harry would like to know what his options are.”

Metlock furrowed his brow. “I’m not sure I understand.”

After another pause Fred shot Harry a questioning glance, then nodded and said, “Harry was given the key to his school vault by Albus Dumbledore.”

Metlock immediately caught his drift and responded with, “That was rather unusual, I agree. That key was not held in trust by Gringotts. I can only speculate that it was given to Dumbledore by Mr Potter’s parents just in case.”

“All right,” Fred said slowly, then glanced at Harry again. “Hypothetically speaking, what if Harry were to assume an alias?”

The goblin saw where that was leading with similar speed. “I shall approach that from two angles, gentlemen. First, if Mr Potter were to disappear, unless his death were proven, no one would be able to access his vaults aside from those he specifically designated. Second, if Mr Potter were to assume an alias, he would need to seek me out specifically in order to access his funds. Or, he would need to transfer part of his balance to a new account, to be accessed like any other via the tellers out front.”

Harry pondered that for several minutes before also reaching out to grasp George’s hand. ‘Should I have been receiving statements or something? I’m worried that Dumbledore has been screening my mail. If I were to do something like transfer everything to a new name, it might tip him off in a rather spectacular fashion.’

Metlock responded to the question with, “Yes. Reports indicate that statements have been sent, as they should have been. If you have not received them, then someone has been preventing that from occurring.”

If Harry intended to break away from what control Dumbledore held over him, he would have to do things properly, and that meant a new identity. However, he was not in the least bit aware of how he could do such a thing and have it work out. After all, any idiot could send an owl his way, assuming it wasn’t intercepted and—

Harry considered some more, thinking of the fact that Sirius had managed to keep everyone off his back but for a few select people. He would never get any peace as himself, he knew that. The fact that every passing minute brought back memories of past lives, and past knowledge, also meant that he was changing to some degree. Perhaps there was something hidden away in his mind that could help? After communicating most of his thoughts to the twins he waited for their advice.

George finally spoke up. “I’m not sure what to think, Harry. Though, it seems like Dumbledore has been doing some things he ought not to. The thing is, Fred and I are in this much deeper than we ever thought would be possible, and I have to say I’m actually leaning toward your idea.”

Fred said, “I think we ought to sit on that idea for at least a little while. But if you feel very strongly about it, Harry, we’ll back you up. I don’t like the idea of Dumbledore keeping you in the dark, and I’ve been uneasy about things ever since we went to get that time prior to your second year. You’ve been in heaps of danger since you started at Hogwarts, and it’s a bit odd, based on what we have heard, that Dumbledore always seems to appear at exactly the right moment. Still, I don’t want you to rush into anything, and I know you’re upset.”

‘All right. Will it be difficult for us to get into see Metlock again?’

Metlock’s response was to dip into one of his desk drawers and remove three small objects, then hand them over. “Keep these. When you ask to see me, make sure they are visible in some manner.”

“I think we ought to return to the shop for now,” Fred advised. “Metlock, can Harry leave this paperwork with you for the time being? If there is something fishy going on, I don’t think it’d be wise for him to have it where curious people can find it.”

The goblin glanced at Harry. He nodded and let go of their hands so he could shuffle together the parchment and hand it back over.

“We’re sure to be back within a few days,” George said. “Before we go, though, is there any day we wouldn’t be able to see you?”

Metlock shook his head. “As Mr Potter’s account manager, I will be available.”

“We’ll try not to strain your patience or take undue advantage of that, then.” Fred rose to his feet, followed shortly by Harry and George.

“Thank you,” Harry croaked, and inclined his head.

*

They were having a quiet dinner in their flat above the shop when a knock sounded at the door. Harry’s head snapped up in mild alarm, then immediately put his cutlery on his plate and stood up. George jerked his head toward a nearby door as Fred rummaged in his pocket and then shoved an Extendible Ear into Harry’s hand.

After a grateful grin Harry grabbed his plate and glass, then scurried off through the indicated door, not quite closing it behind him. As soon as he put those down he slipped out his wand long enough to cast a revealing charm on the door, then got ready the Ear.

Fred stood long enough to fix Harry’s chair before sitting back down as George disappeared from sight, presumably to see who was there. Several moments later he came back into view, along with his brother Bill.

“Absolutely spiffing to see you, my good man!” George said by way of greeting.

“Oi! Pull up a chair. There’s plenty if you’re hungry,” Fred added.

Bill glanced at the food, then wandered off briefly to find a plate and such before coming back to pull out the same chair Harry had been using and sit down. A tiny frown creased his forehead for a fleeting moment, disappearing almost as quickly as it had surfaced. “I noticed the shop was closed today. Are either of you ill?”

“Nah. Just had some things to take care of today,” George said with just the right amount of casual indifference.

“I see.” Bill filled his plate and glass, then began to eat. Several minutes later he said, “Word has it that you two were at Gringotts today, in the company of someone thought to be a fellow Weasley, though unrecognized.”

“Now why on earth would anyone care what we were up to?” said Fred, looking a bit outraged.

Bill arched a brow at him and snorted. “Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps they keep an eye on you two always wondering if you’ll leave behind a string of pranks. So, who was your friend? I didn’t realize any of the cousins were in town.”

“Now that’s just wrong,” protested George. “As if we’d do something like that to Gringotts. We do keep our money there, after all, and what use is it to us if we can’t access it?”

“True,” Bill agreed. “You do have a reputation, though. And in my experience, better safe than sorry.”

“Complete rot. People just don’t understand us,” said Fred, looking tragic.

“Mm. Who was your friend?”

The twins exchanged a look, and Harry thought it might be wise for him to rescue them, sort of, so he rolled back the ear and stuffed it in his pocket, then nudged the door open. Bill’s head snapped around and he tensed, but otherwise didn’t react. Harry ambled back out with his plate and glass, set them at the remaining free spot, sat down, then aimed a friendly smile at Bill, who blinked.

“And you are?”

Harry furrowed his brow and started looking around. On spotting a desk he rose and went to it, then cast an inquisitive look at the twins. After getting a nod he searched out a pad of paper and a mechanical pencil, mildly surprised that the twins were using such blatantly muggle items. Once back at his seat he dashed off a quick note.

You may call me Valmar Wile, though I will answer to Val. And no, to my knowledge, we are not related. As to why I choose this method to communicate, I’ve recently had an accident and cannot speak properly, though I have been assured I will return to normal in time.

Harry ripped the sheet off and passed it over the table to Bill, then reached under the table carefully and nudged Fred’s thigh. A moment later a hand came down to take his. ‘I’ve told him my name is Valmar Wile, or Val. And I can’t speak right now because of an accident.’ He let go and repeated that with George, then had a bite to eat.

Bill set the note down and gave him a curious look. “Have you gone into business with these two reprobates?”

Harry laughed soundlessly and dashed off another note.

Perhaps, though I think ‘reprobate’ is a rather strong term to describe these two.

“You obviously haven’t spent much time around them, then. So, why were you hiding out in the bedroom?”

He’d been afraid Bill would ask that. It was rather an obvious question. Harry sighed and looked off to the side. Bill was a member of the Order; there was every chance he would dash off to see Dumbledore if Harry were to be honest. And yet, it wasn’t as though Harry could keep holding the twins’ hands without notice long enough to get them to respond with whatever fallacy he cooked up out of the air.

Fred decided to distract him with a lie. “You’ve caught us, brother. We didn’t want it to come out like this, but I guess we can’t hide it from you. Val here is our lover.”

After a moment of silence Bill laughed heartily. But then he stopped abruptly and shot them a suspicious look. “No. Not that I care one way or the other if you lot are shagging blokes, or even if you’re sharing, but with a man who looks like he could be our brother? No, I don’t believe that. I think there’s something else entirely, and you’re trying to put me off with outrageous tales.”

Harry looked at him, his gaze on Bill speculative, then took the twins’ hands under the table, not missing that Bill noticed. ‘This isn’t going well. We’ve had horribly bad luck today it seems. What should we do? I’m afraid he’s going to squeal on me the moment he can. I’m pretty sure I can obliviate him, but . . . that seems a bit harsh.’

They gave him an incredulous look.

Bill interrupted with, “What exactly is going on here?”

A second later Fred said, “You can do that?”

Harry nodded. ‘I’ve never tried it on anyone, so I can’t be sure I can manage it properly.’ He did know how, though, and knew it would work. He might upset the twins greatly if he did.

“I want some answers,” Bill demanded quietly.

“Then I guess you won’t agree to politely forget you ever met Val, eh?” asked George.

“Not on your life. Though, I will say I doubt you two are mixed up in anything illegal.”

‘An Oath?’

The twins exchanged another look. “Bill is a man of his word. If he swears not to reveal something, he won’t. It wouldn’t require an enforced Oath,” George said.

Harry gave Bill another look, this time inquisitive.

Bill looked stern, frustrated, and damn curious. Eventually he capitulated with a nod, but said, “But don’t think I won’t act if you’re mixed up in something I’m required to do something about.”

‘You’re sure?’

They nodded, so Harry released their hands and carefully and slowly shook out his wand, then laid it in plain sight on the table. That way, when he changed form, Bill would know it wasn’t a spell. He didn’t think Bill would actually recognize the wand itself. Then he shifted.

It took a moment for him to realize that all three of them were gaping at him in surprise. Confused, he grabbed George’s hand and asked. George responded by conjuring up a mirror and facing it at him. Well, that explained things. He was looking at Salazar’s face, not Harry’s.

He smacked his forehead with one hand and let out a raspy groan. He was beginning to wonder if he would eventually arrive back at the Dursleys only to find out that the Order had in fact noticed he was gone all day. Given his present streak of questionable luck, it would not be surprising.

Harry shifted again, this time keeping in mind what he actually wanted. Fred and George relaxed immediately, while Bill kept staring at him with wide eyes. He grabbed Fred’s hand and thought, ‘Tell him what you know,’ then released it and pushed his plate away, no longer very hungry, and got up. He then slumped on the nearby sofa and closed his eyes.

A short time later he felt bodies sitting to either side of him. “C’mon, Harry. Don’t play possum.”

Without opening his eyes he croaked, “So, am I gonna be dragged back?”

“We’ll have to go back anyway, Harry, at least once. You don’t really want to leave all your things there, do you?”

That got him to open his eyes. Bill was sitting in a chair opposite the sofa looking a bit inwardly focused. He took their hands. ‘What exactly are you saying, then? I wasn’t listening.’

“How about we trade?” Fred suggested with a mischievous look.

‘What do you mean?’ he asked warily, though he was thinking they had already decided to help him disappear for real, and that this was merely play.

“Why did you shift into a replica of Salazar? Tell us that, and perhaps we’ll tell you what you didn’t bother to pay attention to.”

Harry tried to pull his hands away so he could bury his face in them, but the twins wouldn’t let him. ‘I didn’t mean to.’

“We’re sure you didn’t,” George agreed. “However, Harry, if we’re connected to you, shouldn’t we know all of it? After all, you don’t much care for being left in the dark yourself.”

They had him there. And it wasn’t even entirely a guilt tactic; they were simply using his own preferences to convince him. He decided to sidestep slightly with a question. ‘Frankly, I would rather use a pensieve, but some of what’s happened involved what we’re doing now—talking this way, I mean. I don’t know if that could be heard in a memory. Do you? Or Bill?’

Several seconds later he shook his head. ‘Er, wait. Never mind. I already know the answer to that. All we need is a pensieve.’

“We don’t have a pensieve,” Fred stated.

“Well, if you trust me to leave and come back,” said Bill, “I’ll fetch one.”

Harry looked at him in surprise, then nodded. “Please.”