I wake up and feel disappointed to see he is not beside me. I wonder if he could have fled. It would be very foolish of him, after making a Reciprocal Unbreakable Vow.
I find him in the kitchen, where the table is set with breakfast for two. My morning crankiness lessens.
"I hope you like bacon and eggs," he says.
I mumble something in reply, sit down and start to fill my plate. "Don't eat this smoked pork pate if you are going to eat eggs and bacon. It's too much animal fat at once."
"Oh, but I love that pate!"
I grumble that he has the bad habit of loving unhealthy things. He becomes angry, of course, and I feel better.
His mood changes suddenly, and he flashes me a breathtaking smile. "No problem. I like the pistachio paste too."
It's very like him, deciding to be happy just to annoy me.
After breakfast, I explain him where we are, so that he can Apparate back. "Here is the 'Sítio da Nhandu', by the coast of São Paulo state, in Brazil."
"A country estate, or perhaps a villa. There isn't an exact equivalent in English," I say.
"It means 'spider' in Tupi, the language of the native indians. The Villa of the Spider."
"Ah. Spider. I should have known. Er..." Potter mumbles, articulate as always. "Isn't it dangerous to Apparate over such a long distance?"
"Not dangerous, but unreliable. That's why I'm giving you this world map." I hand him the parchment. "Just in case you get lost."
"Wow. Is it like a Marauders' World Map?"
The mere sound of this name annoys me to no end. "No. This map only shows you in which country you are."
He leaves and I feel a chill down to my bones. I would have gone with him, if I had not made an Unbreakable Vow with the Dark Lord - with Bellatrix as our Bonder - stating I would be here until further orders, watching Potter and preventing him from escaping.
(Unbreakable Vows are in fashion nowadays, and no, I didn't let Potter escape: he promised to come back. I hope he keeps his promise; otherwise, I shall be in trouble.)
The house is absurdly empty without him. As I have nothing to do, I decide to go out, gather some herbs and create new potions. I have brought a small cauldron with me.
The plants are still wet from last night's storm. The flora of this region, the Atlantic Forest, is incredibly varied. It's a shame the Muggles are destroying it fast and brutally. Penetrating into the wood, I cut a few leaves of espinheira-santa, Brazilian ginseng, carqueja and chapéu-de-couro.
Suddenly I stumble into a tall tree. Dozens of biting ants swarm onto me. I pull out my wand and cast an Avada Kedavra on all of them. It's a Trumpet tree, or Cecropia pachystachya. The Brazilians call it 'pau-de-formiga', which means 'ant's wood'. I find a small one and cut a piece of its hollow trunk. I have plans for it.
The bloody itch is killing me. Naturally, I have an antidote for insect stings and bites in my Potions kit. I shall have to go back inside.
It's ten o'clock in the evening and he hasn't arrived yet. I shouldn't have sent him to kill a Manticore, but what else could I have done? I was between the Scylla and Charybdis.
My only company is a glass of Firewhisky. The bottle is already half-empty, and I have just this one.
I hear a crack. I look around and see him Apparating, covered in mud from head to toe. I run towards him, and have to force myself not to embrace him. My hands are trembling. I blame the Firewhisky.
"I did it! I destroyed the Horcrux," he exclaims.
Come to my arms, my beamish boy! O frabjous day!* I hold his arms and scan his body. "Go and have a bath. I shall heat dinner for us."
Tonight we are having Camarão na Moranga - winter squash with shrimp. It's a typical dish of the region. During dinner, Potter tells me his adventure.
Arthur Weasley had easily located the Smiths through the Floo Network; after many objections and remonstrances, Zacharias Smith had agreed to help Potter. Weasley and Potter had Apparated to Hogwarts' gates, whence Weasley had sent a Patronus to call Hagrid. The half-giant had happily agreed to help. Potter had Side-Along-Apparated Hagrid to Little Hangleton, where they had met Smith.
The peculiar trio had entered the old church and found the entrance to the crypt. Hagrid and the Manticore had quickly become close friends and entertained long conversations while Potter and Smith spent hours and hours looking for the cup.
They had finally found the relic buried in the floor of the crypt. Smith had been a true hero and held the cup for Potter. There had been a moment of uneasiness when they had had to face the disturbing truth that none of them knew how to remove the Horcrux spell. But then Hagrid had asked the Manticore what they should do, and in reply the fantastic beast had filled the cup with the poison of its tail. As soon as the poison had touched the cup, the latter had begun to emit a green light, and dissolved into the air.
I take a deep breath, relieved. The prophecy must be correct. This boy has to be the Chosen One.
We are both sitting on bed, beneath the blankets, heads leaning on the headboard.
I start to tell him about the second Horcrux: Rowena Ravenclaw's wand. "Rowena's wand is floating in the air, above Hogwarts."
"Oh, I'm a good Seeker. This will be an easy one."
"Self-confident, are we? You don't even know at what height the wand is! Furthermore, the Dark Lord cast an invisibility charm on it."
"What? The wand's invisible?"
"Yes. I rejoice in your comprehension of the subtleties of my language."
"Er... But if the wand's invisible, how can I find it?"
"Why don't you call your friends and ask their help? If you go alone, your mission will be very difficult, indeed."
He sighs, puts his glasses on the bedside table and slips beneath the blankets. I turn off the lights and lie down too.
I stay awake for a long time, wondering if he is awake or not, and what would be his reaction if I came nearer and touched him.
He doesn't say or do anything, though, and I brace myself for another night of unresolved sexual tension.
Ptyx, October 2005