Chapter 60 // The Future
She dropped me off at Flitwick’s desk, giving me a blanket and a mug of hot chocolate, then left to find him. I stared at the clock on the wall, the monotone movements clearing my mind. Questions I hadn’t dared to ask before surfaced. Why was I born? Was I a weapon? Did he think I would be as evil as he was? Would he come for me, take me away? Could he use me to get back to power? Was that the reason I was born? The blood of Salazar Slytherin ran through my veins, as did the dark lord’s. I was a danger to everyone I came in contact with. Hogwarts wasn’t save as long as I was here. When that realization hit me, I got up and started to move. I willed my feet to get out, away from here, but the moment I wanted to open the door, it opened on it’s own, revealing both Flitwick and Dumbledore. I came to a stop.
‘Please, Katherine,’ Dumbledore put a gentle hand on my shoulder and guided me to the chair once again, ‘take a seat. I believe you have your own story to tell us.’
I swallowed, but the lump in my throat didn’t go down. When I spoke, I sounded like a raven, cowed and crackled.
‘It happened… just as Harry said.’
‘Harry is without a doubt telling the truth. But that’s not what you want to tell me, is it?’ he gently pushed the cup of hot chocolate closer, his eyes fixed on me like he was only interested in one thing: me. I swallowed again.
‘Tom Riddle…’ I said, ‘The Dark Lord… I… I just don’t know where to start, professor.’
‘Why don’t you start by telling me about that little hideout you found and that you visited so frequently?’ I looked up at him and saw the little twinkle in his eyes. ‘I know everything that happens in the castle, Katherine, don’t be so surprised.’
And so I told them everything. I left Luna out of the picture, hoping that would safe her from being expelled, since we broke probably all the school rules ever made. After telling them about receiving a letter from my father, I fell silent.
‘Can you tell us what the letter said, Katherine?’ Tears filled my eyes again and this time I didn’t try to hide them.
‘Corban Macmillan is not my father,’ I whispered, saying it out loud for the first time. ‘I am not a Macmillan, professor.’
He nodded, telling me to go on with his eyes. I bit my lip and looked away. Flitwick handed me a tissue, gently patting my hand.
‘The letter said that I wasn’t his daughter. People were right when they said I don't belong in Ravenclaw,’ I looked up into his blue eyes, ‘Being a Slytherin is in my blood, sir. I’m a Riddle.’
‘Ah,’ he nodded as if all of that made sense. ‘Off course. How considerate of him. Filius, we will have to undertake some exceptional measures to ensure safety.’
‘Off course, headmaster. May I ask why, exactly?’
‘You are looking at the only daughter of Lord Voldemort,’ Flitwick squeaked, but Dumbledore didn’t pay any attention. ‘We must ensure that he cannot …’
‘Professor, if I may,’ I interrupted him. ‘There is no need to ensure safety. I will leave on my own. I don’t want to endanger my friends. You don’t have to worry about me being a danger to anyone.’
Dumbledore pulled up an eyebrow. ‘I think you misunderstood me, Katherine. I’m not afraid that you might be a danger. I want to ensure your safety, although I am afraid that we cannot provide it here, at Hogwarts. There are too many people here who are closely involved with the death eaters, as I'm sure you know. I believe he might use you to get his body back. That is why we must ensure that he cannot find you.’
‘What are you suggesting?’ Flitwick seemed to have come to his senses. He climbed into one of the chairs, barely looking over the desk.
‘Is there any place you can think off where you might be able to hide, Katherine? Someplace that's easy to defend.’
‘Castle Combe,’ I immediately replied, ‘my family owns a cottage there, but nobody ever visits. It’s the only place I can think off.’
‘I don’t think that’s save, headmaster. Her parents could visit anytime.'
‘But it’s like hiding right under their nose! They’ll never expect me to be there. If the Dark Lord finds them, they’ll never think of Castle Combe,' I bit my lip and nodded, 'there might be one person who will, though.'
'Do you trust this person to keep your secret?' Dumbledore asked. I hesitated.
'I don't know, professor. I don't know what to think about him anymore.' Professor Dumbledore seemed to be considering and finally nodded.
‘We will take a look at the cottage and let you know if you can stay there over the summer vacation.’
‘But, how will she support herself? Isn’t it better to find an adoptive family or an orphanage?’
‘As I said, the chances of being discovered are too high. I believe Castle Combe is one of the only villages that doesn’t harbor any witches or wizards. That means word won’t go around as fast. An adoptive family or an orphanage is just too unsafe for her. We can use the schoolfunds to help where it's needed.’
‘Beside, we would be putting more people in danger, professor Flitwick,’ I added. ‘I don’t want to be a burden to anyone, not even to a muggle family. I will find a job and make sure that I can support myself.’
‘Than it’s settled. Filius, you and I will go and protect the cottage to the best of our abilities. At the beginning from summer vacation, I will personally escort you to Castle Combe. I will be in touch, Katherine. If anything comes up, I need you to let me know. Is that clear?’
‘You will not be attending Hogwarts for a while, Katherine. But I do want you to complete your education. We can homeschool you, if you want. If you agree, I will make the necessary arrangements with the ministry.’
‘Thank you, professor.’ His eyes softened a bit as he smiled.
‘You are very brave, Katherine, making those decisions. It will be hard. You will face loneliness and hardships. You won’t be able to live the life you had before.’
‘I’m okay with that,’ I smiled sadly, ‘I didn’t like my life anyway. And if it keeps the students at Hogwarts save… it’s not hard to make such a decision. Anyone would do it.’
‘I disagree,’ professor Dumbledore got up and smiled, ‘but that’s a discussion for some other time. For now, you need food and sleep. I suggest you go to the feast, miss Macmillan. No need to worry about the future.’