View Full Version : Dark Bloody Knights (formerly Lovegood)
December 8th, 2003, 12:35 am
*A note: This is my first Fan Fic...so I hope it goes well...There are some characters that I have introduced, I hope you enjoy them as they were great to write! Cheers!
I wrote this just as book six came out, I certainly hope that something like this has not been writen in the time that I was waiting for the book six policy to be lifted, but if there has been, I am sorry. I have no intention of copying anyone, and for those of you in the PM Club, you know that what I say is true. Thank you for reading my story and I look forward to your feedback. With that said, on to the reading...
Harry sat gazing out of the crystalline window, a smile painted across his face as he thought of the evening’s events. Afraid of the repercussions of Mad Eye Moody, his Aunt and Uncle left Harry alone for most of the first month that he had been there at number 4 Privet Drive. But at the beginning of the last week of the month, the first real flare up occurred, Dudly had made the mistake of bringing around his gang of friends. Harry had been walking along the park in a particularly foul mood as he was recalling the events of the previous summer. His scar had hurt for a few flickering moments, but was able to push it from his mind with thoughts of his godfather. He knew that the heart wrenching feeling in the pit of his stomach would compete with the sharp twinge in his head. Just as he was deep in though of his godfather, Dudly spotted Harry and tried to turn his gang of thugs around to avoid a collision with his tempered cousin, remembering the last summer when he was angered.
Harry had spotted them. He could have easily remained calm and let them make their way in the direction they had just came from, granted they left him alone. He was in no mood to instigate a confrontation. Letting them walk away without so much as a word, Harry noticed that they were huddled close together, thick shoulders synching up and down with snide remarks and laughter. Fine, whatever, Harry thought as he continued to walk. Just then, one of Dudley’s cronies sniggered and turned to face Harry. “Hey, Big D! Do you reckon that he mopes like that around St. Brutis’?” At the slightest provocation, Harry was raging. He had been made to live the lie that he went to that school for misbehaving children, and worst of all made to live a lie where his parents had died in a car crash. He was sick of lies.
He had learned in the previous year everything about the reasoning behind the loss of his parents and his constant dueling with Voldemort. He was still invigorated with the onslaught of information that stung like salt in a wound. Thus he was prone to let his temper fly at any given moment. Through the month away from Hogwarts, he had had plenty of time to vent his rage and learn to focus his anger on his cousin. He was able to unleash his newly mastered technique of his silent rage on this brainless troll who now dared to cross him. Still looking down at his crossed arms he halted to a full stop. Stood there and let the gang members laugh in question. When Harry didn’t look up or move Dudly knew he was in trouble. He reached out his arm and tried to pull his friend Gordon back. Dudly knew Harry could not use magic, but Harry had not resorted to threats of magic this summer, he continued to lash out in other ways. Dudly had learned the most frightening tactic was this moment right here, Harry’s silence and frozen calm.
Dudly starred at the top of Harry’s flared back hair, thick pudgy digits griping Gordon’s arm who let out a large laugh that reminded Harry of a parrot squawk. “Just going to stand there Potter? Lame Git!” Dudley’s grip tightened as he watched his cousin’s hair. Harry began to look up so slowly that his eyes peaking up looked as though they would shoot thunderbolts at the lot. A large grin spread across his face Harry laughed under his breath and felt sorry for the poor boy in front of him.
The next thing he knew he was sitting at the Dursley’s kitchen table with blood stained knuckles tuning out the thunderous roar of his uncle. He had been used to these verbal thrashings from him. But it had occurred to him that this was the one summer that he did not have to put up with it. If he was going to be forced to stay here against his will, then he was going to at least make sure that he was not the only one suffering.
While the Dursley’s had made sure that Harry was able to write to his friends and check in every three days, Harry couldn’t help but feel that the tongue lashing he was getting was finally out of line. He purposely withheld his letters knowing that when dawn brought the fourth day that he had not written to them, he would be redeemed for years of anguish. He knew that he might not have been in line, but he missed seeing his friends and he refused to spend another summer like the last where he was completely in the dark about all that was going on.
He awaited the visit with a pang of guilt at abusing his friends’ promise to check on him. He battled within himself questioning whether he was in the right to disturb them for such a trivial manner. But then assured himself that he had the right to see his friends. Then, looking out to the drive at a lone figure, all guilt melted away at the sight of Remus Lupin. His father’s good friend had been the one to come and check on him and he was grateful at that point to see him.
Aunt Petunia was in an uproar with the thought of the neighbors seeing such a man enter her house that she shut all of the curtains and kept sneaking to the windows to pull the draperies back just large enough to check if anyone of them was watching. Lupin had thought this was rather peculiar, but just chalked it up to unusual Muggle acts. Harry wanted to let him know that it was just his peculiar family, that not all Muggles were this odd.
After a few hours of stale chatter, Uncle Vernon made a snide remark at the sunken skin that clung to Lupin. Harry was livid at such rudeness and felt the need to cover the awkward silence and asked how his old teacher was doing. “So, everything has been going well with everyone?” Harry asked.
At the smile that spread across Lupin’s face, the Dursley’s recoiled as if struck with the slash of a whip. “Just fine Harry.”
“And how about you? I would assume that the full moon is coming soon by the look of you. You see Uncle Vernon,” Harry turned towards his uncle with a mischievous grin, “he is a werewolf.” This took the Dursley’s aback and clung together at the sight of their guest.
Lupin’s smile faded a bit. “Well, Harry I just wanted to check and make sure you were still alright. We will be here around sometime next week to collect you for school. Enjoy the rest of you summer holiday with your family.” With a sly smile towards the Dursley’s and a wink to Harry as he left number 4 Privet Drive.
And now Harry sat thinking of how things were finally starting to go his way. His first thought was to write to Sirius to laugh at his relatives. But at the realization, the smile faded and he left the window to climb into bed.
December 8th, 2003, 2:16 am
The next two weeks were a whirlwind for Harry. From the moment he met with Lupin to when he was back at number twelve Grimmauld Place putting on a happy face for his friends. He was sure that this summer went by much faster than any other. He lay in bed thinking the deep and depressing thoughts that had plagued him since seeing the veil in the Department of Mysteries. Ron and Hermione had been finishing up their dinner and Harry said he had to pack still, using the excuse he had when he left school a month and a half ago.
“Tut Tut, Mr. Potter.” A voice broke the saddened silence. A normal Muggle would have turn in shock and jumped at the sound, but Harry was used to the intruder trying to scold him about his teenage angst.
“Hello Phineas.” He said in a low drawl.
“I can see that you are brooding again.” The Voice of the old Headmaster rang from the painting on the wall.
“I can see you are scolding me again...” he did not even turn around to look at him.
“Well, well, Mr. Potter. You know you were not the only one to miss him.”
“Shut UP! Don’t talk about him!” Harry bellowed as he grabbed the pillow from under his head and wrapped it around his head as he turned to his side sheltering himself from the harmful words as if they were daggers flying at his head.
Phineas gave a sigh in his painting and then continued. “You know I have never understood teenagers, and have never tried. But I do know that what you are feeling is normal for adults as well.” He paused and watched through his window into the room. Then taking up his usual tone, “So have you got Mrs. Black to stop screeching at you? I know she would not like the idea of you owning her house. Though I can understand why he left it to you.”
Harry turned unable to muffle out the words with his down shield and threw it at the painting, “I said SHUT UP!” He sat there on the edge of his bed breathing heavily. The back of his throat tightening and choking up. He looked up at the painting, “So, why aren’t you in Dumbledore’s office anyway?”
“Well, I didn’t want to be. And don’t think that I am checking up on you, you know I would not want to do that.”
“So, well,” Harry’s anger began to subside as he thought about something that he should have thought about six years ago when he first entered Hogwarts, “so, how is it that you can travel to the other paintings anyway?”
With a small laugh as if Harry should know being from the magical world, “Well, it is because we are the same person and can travel where ever our pictures are placed.”
“But then how is it the people in the pictures at Hogwarts can travel through any painting?”
“I really would have thought you would have known this Mr. Potter...We are connected by the school walls...but if we want to travel outside school walls, we have to travel through our own pictures. If they are all over then we have plenty of places to go. I know of people who haven’t left their house because there is only a few pictures of them there and no where else.” He thought for a second and dared to say what was on Harry’s mind, “Well, Sirius doesn’t have a painting in here does he? Well, No, “ he answered his own question, “he would not have one in here. Not in his mother’s house.”
At this, Harry’s anger and emotions rekindled. Standing up fist clinched and teeth grinding he huffed out of the room and slammed the door.
Harry felt out of breath as he raced to platform nine and three quarters. He thought how odd the mass of characters must have looked. As with the year before, he was escorted by his entourage of bodyguards all of whom looked a bit out of place and like they would not be caught dead together under normal circumstances. Leading the pack was Tonks who had now taken on the form of a large man with massive arms clad in a red tartan Kilt. She looked as if she were about to join in on a caber toss. Next to her running to catch up was Lupin, in his long dark tattered coat, hair tied back and scruffy. Though less sickly then the visit at the Dursleys. Mad Eye Moody in his usual bowler and trench coat hobbled along as he pushed Harry to hurry through the wall to meet the train.
There he ran into Ron and Hermione who were saying goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Mrs. Weasley had stretched out her arm just as Harry passed through the wall to hug him. No warnings this year from them. Grabbing their belongings the four made their way to the train. Tonks had offered to help Ginny with her trunk and so boarded the train with the four students. As the boarded, tugging at their trunks, the rather large man holding the end of Ginny’s shouted to them in a deep voice, “Oy! Here’s one!” His massive arm pointing to an empty compartment. Tonks, given his new strength, lifted each trunk and placed them in the above along with the cages for Pigwidgeon, Hedwig and Crookshanks. She then turned and winked as she gave a little wave bye and left the compartment.
Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny all gathered at the window and waved by to Lupin, Mad Eye, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Bill and Fred and George, all of whom had showed up to wish them well, and to stay out of trouble for the upcoming year. As the train jerked forward, they waved and watched as they disappeared with seven loud cracks. And they were off on their journey for Hogwarts.
Harry and Ginny took their seats, but Ron and Hermione had to attend to Prefect duties and soon left to the front of the train. Harry sat quietly looking out the window as if half expecting to see a small little owl trying to catch up with the train bringing news from Sirius. With a sigh, he noticed Ginny had hid her face behind a copy of The Quibbler. Harry, in the absence of his two friends had brought out his photo album that Hagrid had given him five years before. He had memorizes every detail through the several times he had perused the pages. As he flipped through the pages, he stopped at a picture of his parent’s wedding. Looking up at him with smiles were his mother, father and godfather. The tight feeling at the back of Harry’s throat returned as he looked down at the three of them who stood in front of a rather large house. A group of people were scrambling back and forth behind them holding little paintbrushes and such. They became blurs as Harry focussed in on his family. He drifted in his thoughts and memories of his limited time with his family. And Sirius was definitely a member of his family.
He was jolted out of his dazed thoughts by the compartment door slamming open. He and Ginny did not look up at who entered assuming it was Ron and Hermione joining them, but then a sweet melodious voice carried through the car made Harry look up.
“Iz it alright for me to zit wit ‘ou? Zee ozer compart-e-ments are occupied.” She smiled as she asked for a seat. Harry starred at a rather pretty girl who was about his age. She had a bright smile and long dark straight hair that hung to her side, little curls finishing off the ends. Around her neck hung a red tartan scarf that tucked into her sweater. Bright blue eyes sparkled at Harry as she stood in the door holding it open on each side.
“Of course! There should be plenty of room!” Harry smiled back at her. Ginny was quiet, as she had returned to her reading.
“OH! Zank ‘ou so much!” She smiled as she sat down next to Harry who wished that Ron could be here to see this girl sitting next to him. It was as if his thoughts had materialized his friend to his side. Ron and Hermione had walked through the open car door and threw themselves tiredly on the seats. Ron had not noticed the beautiful girl that was sitting next to Harry. Slouching in his seat he put his feet up onto the open spot in the spot across from him. It was then that he was awestruck and froze with his mouth open at the girl in front of him. Harry was expecting Hermione’s reaction.
“Oh, Hello! I am Hermione Granger. And you are?”
“Aida d’Ami. I ‘ave just transvered to ‘Ogwarts.”
“Really? And what house were you sorted into?” Hermione asked. Harry questioned how she knew that Aida had already been sorted, but then she had read Hogwarts: A History and knew he would only get scolded if he asked.
“Well, Dumbledore had sorted me last summer. I was put in Slytherin.” At the last word Harry and Ron winced and gulped. What had she been like to get sorted in to that house? But before Harry could ask, Ginny let out a loud gasp.
All who were in the compartment shot her a quizzical look. She dropped the Quibbler and covered her mouth with her hands.
“What is it Ginny? More about the Crumple-Horned Snorkacks?” Ron laughed.
“No,” she was shaking. “Luna’s father...he was kissed. They had a tribute to him in there and I skipped over it on accident, I just found it.”
“What happened?” Hermione was the first to ask, though all, even Aida looked concerned. Luna was a good friend of theirs after the last year.
“He was attacked by Dementors this summer.”
“Really?” Harry grabbed the copy. Sure enough, the article mentioned how Mr. Lovegood had printed a foul article just weeks ago and Voldemort had taken action by sending his henchmen after him and his family. His son was now in charge of the magazine and his two daughters saw to his arrangement in St. Mungo’s.
Harry’s heart sank to his stomach. Luna had told him of her mother dying in front of her when she was younger. That was why she could see the Threstals with Harry. She had dealt with it so well. Better than he had. And now she had lost her father to. He kept finding out more things that they had in common. He wanted to think more but as he pondered on he heard the ever-familiar voice of his worst enemy.
“So Potter, what rules are you going to get away with breaking this year?” Draco Malfoy stood in the doorway with his two cronies just as the witch who pushes the sweets trolley walked by. This explained Draco’s benign nature. The end of the year ended with his father’s imprisonment, thus invigorating Draco. Not only because of his father, but because Harry had beaten him.
“Potter? ‘Ou are ‘Arry Potter?” Aida looked to Harry trying to locate the scar from under his messy hair.
Infuriated by the presence of Draco, Harry practically slapped his forehead and pushed up his hair for her to see, thrusting his head foreword to make it more pronounced.
“And who might this lovely lady be?” Draco turned on his charm noticing that the newest addition to the group was unaware of Potter’s identity.
Blushing at Draco’s smile and sly manner, “I am Aida, Aida d’Ami” she smiled.
Draco reached out and grabbed her hand. Just as he was about to lay his lips upon it Harry broke in, “So, Malfoy, how was life at home with mummy dearest?”
Taking this moment to lock eyed with Aida, Malfoy kissed her hand and gently laid it back down on her leg before he stood upright and looking like he would strike at any moment. “Well, Potter,” he added with his usual emphasis on his name, “much better than yours...My Mum is still alive! And that reminds me Potter, you had better watch your step, I have learned a great deal of curses over the summer and need a dummy to practice on.” At this Ron, Hermione and Ginny stood wands drawn. “Come now, do you think I would try something here?”
“Well, you would but you finally got the idea after the last encounter didn’t you, you little worm?” Ron spat at Draco.
Looking to Aida, Draco stuck out his hand and looked into her eyes, “Aida, would you like to join me and my friends in my car? I can assure you it is much better company.” Aida looked at him with a smile and placed her hand in his. Standing up she began to glide out of the compartment when she stumbled and tripped. Hermione’s eyes looked as though they would pop out of her head as Aida and Draco left, slamming the compartment door behind them.
The rest of the train ride to Hogwarts was fairly uneventful other than the conversations of Luna and the torment they were to face with Draco. Hermione was rather quiet until they reached their stop and began to unload their trunks.
December 8th, 2003, 5:06 am
It was raining as usual and there was a brisk September cold that ran chills through Harry’s bones. Last year he was given a shock when the carriages arrived to take them to the school. This year he knew to expect to see the magnificent beasts that only few could see, Thestrals. He looked up the line of the carriages and noticed a figure standing in a long thick black cloak petting one of the winged horses. Her Hood was pulled up over her head, but he had a good idea of who it was, her hair hung long out of the front of her hood. Black gloves adorned her fingers as she stroked the main of the creature.
“Harry! Come on Mate! We’ve got to go!” Ron yelled out from the carriage.
“She’s up there.” He said under his breath as he climbed in.
“Who is?” Ron asked sticking his head out of the carriage looking around.
“Luna. She was up petting one of the Thestrals.”
“Had I not known about her father I would say she was a right nutter that one.” Ron said with a little sadness.
The trip up to the Entrance Hall was short and swift given the pounding of the rain. When they walked through the great doors they were amongst a great deal of students who were herding their way to the Great Hall. On their way they spotted a familiar figure. Clad in the long cloak that was odd even for the wizarding world at this time of year, in the middle of the hall, Harry and Hermione called out to their friend.
“Luna!” They called simultaneously. The cloaked figure slowly rotated on her booted heals and met the eyes of those who had called her. Though they were large round eyes, they were a striking gray with thick dark lashes that curled to her brow. Her hair hung long but was not the blond that they remembered.
“That’s not Luna...” Ron muttered to Harry and Hermione.
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Oh! You’re Harry Potter. You escaped from Voldemort this past summer.”
Harry was so shocked but knew who this must be. “Your Luna’s sister aren’t you?”
Hermione wasn’t shocked how this was figured out due to the odd comment and the striking resemblance of the eyes and glazed look.
“Yes, I am Lorna Lovegood.”
“Why are you here? Is Luna alright?” Harry found himself more concerned than he wanted to sound.
“She is fine, I am here to teach.” Her short and matter of fact answers must have been a family thing.
“Oh! So you are the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher?” Ron stuck in wanting to talk to her.
Her pretty face grew a smile and tilted to one side. “Hello Ronald. I have heard a lot about you.”
Ron stepped back a bit and stared at her with his mouth gaping open. Lorna took a step back as well, but then looked back to Harry and Hermione, “I must be going now. I have to be at the staff table.” She turned around again and walked off, her cloak billowing behind her as Snape’s did whenever he walked.
“Wow, there are now two of them...but she looks really young.” Harry mentioned as they sat down at the Gryffindor table.
“Oh, yeah, she went here when Bill was in school. Found that out this summer.” Harry and Hermione looked to him. “What? I was asking about Luna” They stared even more intensely. “What?”
Harry looked around the hall; Aida was now sitting laughing with Draco. Pansy Perkinson was looking rather moody at the sight of Aida hanging off of Draco’s arm.
All of the nervous first years had been sorted and Professor McGonagall was putting the stool and the Sorting Hat away. It was now time for Dumbledore to make his opening speech. This made Harry nervous as the closing speech he was able to avoid at the end of the year last term, so he was not wanting to hear the warnings of Vodemort’s return or reminded of the past deaths that he has been whiteness to. As Dumbledore stood, Harry found his hands moved up to his ears.
“Welcome to another year at Hogwarts. I would first like to start off with the usual announcements. I would like to welcome the newest addition to our staff, Miss Lorna Lovegood.” Several students turned their heads to the attractive teacher who smiled big round eyes and a little wave to the Ravenclaw table to her sister. “And—“
“Hem hem.” The entire hall wiped their heads around to face Lorna. The staff was glaring at her as she sat there wide-eyed as usual. “Sorry...a scratch in my throat.” She said matter of factly. Dumbledore stared and all heads looked to him now. His stone calm face suddenly erupted in laughter. Thus the entire hall roared with laughter. Professor McGonagall was the one who laughed the hardest. Even Snape gave up his sinister look to crack a smile.
The rest of the evening went fairly well, Dumbledore continued his speech and then he clapped his hands and food appeared on the tables. After the tables were relieved of so much food, the students began to converse about the usual catching up after summer. Harry felt quiet as Ron was shoveling the food in his mouth with sweets that had just replaced the main course. Looking around the Great Hall, Harry noticed Luna siting at the Ravenclaw table, slightly separated from the main group but happily poking at her Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream with her fork. Every now an again she would take a bite, but did not seem to be bothered by anything. At one point he had noticed that both her and Lorna were lost in the magical ceiling. Gazing heavily up at the rain lost in each drop. This made harry look up as well, thinking that any second a Threstal was going to fly overhead. This brought a grin to his face. Remembering that Luna had mentioned her differences from the other students and what they called her brought him right back to reality though. He lowered his gaze from the enchanted ceiling and watched the two sisters. He had no clue how they were able to be so bright and calm when they had just lost their father.
As diner wrapped up, the Gryffindors departed to their tower and passed through the portrait of the fat lady, “Password?”
“Snorkacks” Hermione said with a smile as she evaded the looks from both Harry Ron and Ginny.
Through the common room and up to his four poster, Harry had finally returned home.
March 12th, 2004, 3:37 am
After a long and sleepless night Harry opened the curtains on his four poster and climbed out of bed. Pulling on his clothes Harry and Ron and Neville made their way to the Great Hall for breakfast. Once in their usual seats they sat down and ate, waiting for their schedules. Professor McGonagall placed each one in front of their owner as she walked by the table. Looking down at his, Harry could not help but wonder what was the new class that replaced Defense Against the Dark Arts first thing Monday morning. He looked around to Dean and Seamus who were pondering the same thing. Hermione and Ginny had just joined them and took their seats next to Harry and Seamus. Ron looked up and stared at Ginny.
“Oy, Ginny?” He tried to get her attention without making a huge scene. Ginny just looked at him without saying a word. “Why are you sitting with Seamus? I thought you were with Dean?” He asked
“No Ron, I am with Seamus now...Cho is with Dean.” Ginny said quietly without drawing too much attention from either Dean or Seamus.
Harry just stared at her. Ron was the one who spoke what Harry was thinking. “Bloody Hell!” He looked at Cho, “Bet you ten to one that Cho is with Seamus next week.”
Harry sniggered and Hermione scowled. Ron sat back and took a bite of his eggs. Soon though they had looked up to see who had joined the staff table. Professor Lovegood was just walking in with Hagrid. Ron had hit Harry in the arm as they stared at Lovegood. They could not believe that a teacher at Hogwarts could dress in such a manner. She was wearing some kind of bodice that had no sleeves but ruffles at the top with the same black gloves upon her hands, and a skirt that ended above her knees, toping off the ensemble with boots that grew the length of her legs. Mouths hung open the boys in the hall had frozen upon her entrance, even Snape had stared. But Harry laughed under his breath. She had not clue that all eyes were on her. She merely gazed off into space as usual.
Hermione was the one to bring them back to reality. “Harry, what is this new class of ours, Advanced Dark Arts Practical Defense?...Harry?”
He was jolted with recognition of his name. “OH, Huh?”
“The new class?”
Seamus spoke up next to Ginny; “I don’t care what class it is, I just know that it is now my favorite.” Ginny hit him in the arm so hard that he gave off a little “Ouch, what?”
“Honestly, you boys are so bad!” Hermione tuted.
“OH HONESTLY!” Ron echoed mockingly through a mouth full of eggs and toast, Hermione scowled at this response, “Really Hermione, you know you cannot say a word about it.”
“OH! And why is that?” She was getting so angered that her bushy hair was being flicked back nervously by her twitchy hands. Harry repressed a laugh.
“Well, if I am not mistaken it was only a few years ago that we had a certain male teacher that all the girls were gawking at. Lovely Little Lockhart. So really, you have no place to say we are bad when you girls are just as bad as we are!” Ron was able to pull this off with a smile.
Hermione opened her mouth to comment several times, but found that there was nothing to say and only closed it again. It was then that they all gathered their bookbags and stood to go to their first lesson.
Out of the Great Hall they walked up the grand staircase and to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. There they were astonished to find who was in the class. Harry looked around the room to find that most of the D.A. was present which was odd in that there were a mix of years and houses. He was confused as he took his seat next to Ron and Hermione. Ginny came in with Seamus, Dean and Cho who had a confused look on her face. Harry found himself to be rather calm considering Cho had just walked into the room; this just confirmed how his feelings for her had dwindled away to nothing but friendship. He smiled at her, which made her blush and look away rather quickly. Harry laughed to himself wondering whether or not she had taken Dean or Michael to the little cafe in Hogsmead and discussed himself as she had discussed Cedric.
The room was full of chatter when Aida walked in. Harry was shocked, so far every student who had attended the D.A. meetings, save Marietta was sitting in this class, but Aida was here and she was a Slytherin. Just as he was questioning to himself, Professor Lovegood walked in and closed the door.
“Good Morning, class.” She whisked through the aisles of seated students still in a dreamy gaze.
“Good Morning Professor Lovegood.” The class echoed.
“Now, I am sure you are all wondering why you are here.” She looked around at all of the blank faces that matched her own. “Being that there are a combination of years and houses here. Well, the Headmaster has looked at your scores form you past exams, some of you even your O.W.L.s” Harry was shocked, he had forgotten all about his O.W.L.s, he had received them during the summer. He had received ten of them and when he Hermione and Ron compared, he knew that Hermione had scored the most, getting every one possible. He looked over to her and she was beaming. Professor Lovegood continued, “And given your records it was decided to begin an advanced class for Practical uses. This is now an O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. preparation course so, books away and wands out. I do think we will need proper space for this so if you do not mind standing up I will fix this mess.” She looked around to all the desks and as everyone stood she gave a flick of her wand and the desks turned into big fluffy pillows that twirled in the air until she guided them with her wand floating to the floor.
Harry’s jaw dropped as he looked around to his classmates, all of them save Aida had recognized the change in the room to that of the Room of Requirement that they had held their D.A. meetings in. It was not the same room, but it might as well have been for its resemblance. “Now, please take a pillow and have a seat. The first topic of discussion will be fear.” Lovegood had lowered her wand to her side and watched as the class sat down on their fluff of pillows.
Professor Lovegood had taken to walking in the front of the class looking as thought something were wrong and trying to contemplate how to fix it. “AH!” She said, as her eyes grew impossibly wider, with one more flick of her wand she lifted the students, pillows and all, and rearranged them so that they were now sitting in a circular formation. She then conjured a pillow for herself just under the window where she took her seat smiling. As if the students were sitting in this formation since they walked in she continued. The students looked around to each other as if not believing the feeling they had just felt from their levitation.
“Now, Fear.” She looked around the circle batting her large gray eyes slowly, unaware of the boys gawking at her. “Can anyone tell me what is the most common fear at this time?”
As usual, Hermione’s hand shot up into the air as if it would jump out of her socket and extend that extra distance. “Yes, Miss Granger.” She did not look over but kept staring at a spot on the wall, Harry turned his head wondering what she was looking at and noticed that Luna was in the class as well. So, every member that had lasted to the end of the D.A. was there.
“Well, at the present moment, the wizarding world is in fear of He-Who-Must...” she cut off and looked at Harry, “of, V-Voldemort.” The class gasped but Professor Lovegood just stared.
“Yes, very good Miss Granger, ten points to Gryffindor, but only because you pointed out a second fear.” Hermione was shocked.
Her hand shot in the air again, “Um, professor Lovegood?”
“What was the second fear?” The whole class looked astonished as Hermione for once in her life didn’t know the answer.
“You said his name. Voldemort’s.” The class gasped a second time. “Come now, we will conquer this fear right now. I want you all to take a deep breath, and say it together...” She looked around and Harry could not believe his ears. The class looked as if they expected the roof to lift up and lightning to shoot them down, the took their deep breath and began “V-V.” they started, and with a look from Harry and Professor Lovegood they tried again, “V-Volde-m-m-or-t” They had done it. Half of them winced expecting the lightning to hit them at any second, but when nothing happened they looked up and saw a smiling Professor Lovegood. Ron glanced at Harry with a huge grin.
“You finally did it!” Harry laughed at him
“Yeah, but really though, I knew I could” he sat up taller and Hermione gave a little snicker on his other side.
Lovegood was sitting there smiling and made the class say the name over and over again until they were finally comfortable with it. She stood up and faced the class wand ready, “now, on to the Practical Lesson. I assume, as I have been told, that a number of you have worked on a certain advanced defensive magic,” she looked at Harry with a wink then continued, “so, we are going begin and start now with recognition. Oh, I forgot,” She flicked her wand once more and conjured a tall lanky being in the center of the circle. At once each student, save Luna, crawled back on the floor, using their pillows as shields and peering over the top. Harry was the only one to stand and point his wand. But something happened that he was not expecting. Nothing. He stared at the Dementor in the middle of the circle and nothing was happening. No chills or dark cold came over him. He lowered his wand and starred at Professor Lovegood.
“You don’t think I would conjure a real Dementor do you?” She laughed quietly to herself as if it was a joke. Harry sat down and the others crept back into their spots.
“No, no. He is not real. I wanted you to see what it is like to get close to one of them though. Even though it is not the exact same feeling you can at least get used to seeing it. So when you do encounter one you will be prepared.” The class stared at her as if she were babbling. Hermione had a scared look on her face but knew that it was a great lesson.
A good hour of the class was spent discussing the different parts of the Dementor. Professor Lovegood had drawn down the hood and showed what their faces looked like, a scabby absence of matter and then their hands and gave a detailed description of what it felt like to be next to them and how to fight it. For the last half-hour, she had asked the students to come up and touch it. Neville, the first to be called, was shaking as he pointed his finger at it but looked at the floor in the other direction. Harry was unaware that they could be touched; though it made sense, after all, they can touch you.
Finally after each student had faced their fear of touching it, Lovegood asked them to sit, “Now, I will teach you how to kill one.” The class winced at the word ‘kill’, but with her gaze she did not notice and continued. “So tell me, if they suck all of the happiness out of you, then what do they fear?”
Hermione for once had her hand down. The look on her face told Harry that she was recalling the experience she had had with the Dementors. But Luna had her hand raised.
“They feed off of fear, that is why they kill all of the happiness inside of you.” She said this as if she were commenting on the weather.
“Very good Luna, ten points to Ravenclaw. Now, if they kill the happiness, then why does the Patronus scare them away? Harry?”
His hand was raised for the first time, “They are made of your happy thoughts.”
“Excellent, ten points to Gryffindor. So,” she continued in her dazed manner, “If they are afraid of happy thoughts, then how do you fill them with happiness?” She looked around and no one could take a guess, so she just continued, answering her own question, “well, there are four spots on their torso that they are vulnerable to, here” she pointed to the upper rib on the right of the fake Dementor, then the left, the lower right rib and “and here” the lower left. “These are places that they can be tickled.” The entire class including Luna dropped their mouths open and were shocked.
Harry’s hand shot in the air, feeling a bit of anger rise in the pit of his stomach, “and how do you expect us to get that close?”
“Well, Mr. Potter, when one is trying to kiss you, you can just reach up and tickle him to death.” She said so matter of factly that Harry was thrown off guard. The rest of the class went the same way. With a warning that the next time they met they would each be facing their own Boggart Dementor and trying to overcome their fears. Their assigned homework was to use the Dark Lords name as many times in everyday conversation as possible and house points would be awarded to those who could convince their friends to use his proper name as well.
As the class piled out all talking about the unexpected lesson, Professor Lovegood rearranged her classroom to the table and chairs set up it had when they entered. Luna had walked up to Harry and the gang and joined in on the conversation, until her sister called her back. Harry decided to wait for her. He watched as Lorna handed something to Luna.
Luna was looking through what ever it was the her sister had given her when Harry asked her, “So, what are those?”
“Oh, just pictures of the Crumple-Horned Snorkacks from this summer.” Harry was shocked but believed her none the less.
March 12th, 2004, 4:03 am
The entire school was talking about their new teacher. Boys would talk of how they loved watching her in class and girls would talk of how funny she was. Harry overheard several conversations of students talking about the lessons and matched the groups pace to listen in every now and then. Harry was scared to think that Professor Lovegood would use him to change the Boggart into a Dementor, he no longer feared them as much, so he wasn’t sure what it would change into. But luckily she found that Aida was afraid of them, and used her each time she needed to have a Dementor to practice on. They were successfully conjuring Patronuses when Professor Lovegood asked Harry to help her with advising some of the students while she was helping others. In a class with Draco Malfoy he would have declined the offer, but Harry knew that he was good at helping and knew that those he was helping could do it.
He was enjoying these lessons as much as he had enjoyed Lupin’s. He was even able to make it through potions without getting angry all that often. Draco Malfoy would snicker at him and tease him for taking Remedial Potions with Snape in the last year, but Harry let it go. Hermione was most proud of him for not lashing out at her and Ron and not letting Draco get to him.
After a month of lessons, Harry, Ron and Hermione had come to the conclusion that Miss Lovegood had to be in the Order. So they had set out to somehow ask. They could not just ask her however, as they were still keeping those who were in the order under strict confidence to keep those who are in it safe.
One cold fall afternoon Harry spotted Dumbledore walking the halls in-between lessons. With quick glance at Hermione and Ron Harry ran over to join his walk. There were several students around, which impaired his ability to just flat out ask, so he tried to come up with a better way to ask. After the usual chitchat, he asked, “So, about Professor Lovegood. Is she ah...” thinking of what to say he redirected his question, “Does she like Fawkes, you know you Phoenix?”
Dumbledore looked over to Harry and with a small wink that only Harry could see said, “Well, yes, she is very fond of Birds.”
That confirmed it, she was in the Order, that was why she was teaching them all of the defensive magic, more than any other teacher has. Was that why Dumbledore brought her here? Harry Ron and Hermione discussed this vigorously after finishing their work as they sat in the common room one evening. They sat discussing the various members when Hermione asked Harry if he had written to Lupin. Harry did not want to tell her that he had no intentions of writing. He was at a low point in remembering Sirius. He did not want to get close to anyone else as he found when he did, he lost them. He was just getting to know Cedric when he was murdered by Voldemort, and then there was Sirius. No, he did not want to write to Lupin, if only to keep him closer by pushing him away.
Harry now felt the anger within him and decided that it was time to go to bed. As he walked out, Ron and Hermione exchanged looks of concern, but knew that they were powerless to help him with his inner turmoil.
The first Friday of October Harry was called into Professor McGonagall’s office. Walking the corridors with entrepidation he was wondering what he had done wrong. He was enjoying his lessons and keeping to himself. He even managed to keep out of trouble in Potions, so he walked with his head hung low pondering what he had done to cause a meeting in such an official manner. When he reached her office, he found Dumbledore standing omnipitantly on the side of her desk smiling down at him. His heart sank even further. His first thoughts ran to Lupin and the Weasleys. Why else would Dumbledore be there if not to bring news that might be too hard for McGonagall to conveigh?
“Come in Mr. Potter and have a seat.” Professor McGonagall motioned to a chair in front of her desk. Harry sat down but did not allow himself full comfort as he was bracing himself for the blow.
“Mr. Potter, we have an important matter to discuss with you,” On her words, Harry tensed up preparing to hear the news at any second, “We have decided to make you Quidditch captain this year.”
The pit of Harry’s stomach tightened and then released as he took in what McGonagall had actually said. He sat back in the chair, his mind racing with thousands of thoughts. But just as he opened his mouth to ask his questions, Dumbledore spoke up.
“We have had to wait until they lifted the ban on your Quidditch playing, and as you know I had pulled your Firebolt from the dungeon, much to Filch’s disapproval, and I had stored it in my office for safe keeping. Well, I wanted to be here to return it to you and wish you the best of luck for this year’s race for the cup. Though I must say I have had to remain unbiased.” He gave a wink and then stood aside, exposing his Firebolt that stood upright on the side of a cabinet. Harry felt his eyes widen and though that he must have looked like the Lovegood sisters. He did not care; he was going to fly his Firebolt again and was made Captain. He reached out and grabbed his broom and felt the perfection between his fingers. He was elated but could not find the words to express the happiness he felt.
Then it his him as he finally spoke his feelings, “Wait, you are not making me Captain to make me feel better about Sirius are you?” He could not believe that he had spoken his name. But still stood clutching his Firebolt tightly in his hand.
McGonagall looked to Dumbledore with her mouth slightly open, when he nodded, she turned back to Harry and explained. “No Harry, we do not want to push you into feeling better.”
“Then why choose me?” He knew he was a good player but wanted them to reassure him as to make sure they were not trying to appease him.
“Well, we have known of your skill for quite some time, but it was last year when you were teaching the others that we saw your leadership skills.”
Harry let out the breath that he did not know he was holding and felt relieved then, “Hang on, How did you know about my leadership skills? Were you there?” He looked to Dumbledore.
Dumbledore only smiled and said, “You should know by know, Harry, that I have my ways of knowing all that goes on in this school.” Harry felt relieved and then a bit not as he realized all the times that he, Ron and Hermione were up to something that Dumbledore knew all along.
McGonagall looked over at Harry, “So, now that you know why we chose you as captain, I suggest you go and start working with your team. There is no way I am going to give up that cup after two years in a row.” She smiled as only she could as she looked over to the Cup that sat on a shelf by itself, two plaques flanking each side with years embossed on them. Harry smile at both professors and then gripping his Firebolt even tight went to walk out of the office. “Potter?”
He turned slowly as if they would suddenly start to laugh and confess that they were joking the entire time, “You should have this,” McGonagall place a small silver badge at the end of her desk. Harry picked it up with his free hand and ran his thumb along the shinny surface. A lion with a large C was engraved upon it. He smiled out of the corner of his mouth and pined the badge to the outside of his robes. Then turned once more to walk out of the office. Soon he was at a run as he stormed off to Gryffindor tower.
Through the portrait of the fat lady and into the common room, he looked for Ron and Hermione. In their usual places by the fire, he walked to them, beaming for the first time in months. “What happened Harry?” Hermione asked without lifting her head out of her Arithmancy book. But Ron was looking from the broom to Harry’s chest.
“Bloody Hell, Harry! They didn’t make you—“ Harry cut him off.
“Oh my, Harry!” Hermione had finally noticed.
The three of them spent the last long hours of the evening talking about the new Quidditch season and strategies. Finally, Hermione was the first to break the group by departing to bed. That night Harry slept the best he had in months.
March 12th, 2004, 10:23 pm
The next couple of weeks were flying by. Harry could finally find a way to keep his mind off of the dark thoughts that continuously crept up on him. The Advanced Dark Arts Practical Defense classes turned out top be his favorite. They were now on to curses. Advanced curses such as the inflamaro curse that Hermione especially took to, as it as the one that the mute wizard had used on her. Due to the intensity of the curses they were each taught how to conjure their own dummy that they could choose it’s appearance to curse. Harry’s took the form of Draco while Neville’s, unsurprisingly took the form of Snape. Hermione’s had taken the form of Umbridge, which made a few of the students gasp at first. But over all they were rather successful. Zarcharias Smith was having trouble when it came to doing the Vertiside curse, Cho, who was next to him, accidentally sent her Relax curse at him so he looked as if he had wet his pants. Thus sending Smith’s vertigo curse flying to hit Michael. Ron laughed, but then cursed his Percy dummy even harder.
The shock came when they were learning a curse that was almost considered to be categorized in the unforgivable group. His dummy had now taken the form of Bellatrix and he could not control the curses he inflicted. Hermione was staring at him as he continually cursed the dummy to have her think her soul was being sucked out of her, Harry only wished he could have the real Bellatrix in front of him. Professor Lovegood then asked Harry to join her in helping the others, as she could not get to all of them. She had been trying to reverse the Relax curse form Smith. Harry had lowered his wand and his dummy had taken its usual blob form. He then walked around the room sulking to himself.
Harry was quiet through the rest of the afternoon and through practice. There was nothing Ron and Hermione could do to keep him from lulling around the halls. He had gone to bed early but when he drew the curtains shut on his four poster, he could only stare into space.
The rest of the week was the same for Harry. Even through Care of Magical Creatures, Hagrid had now decided to take the last bit of fair weather and moved lessons to the lake. They were now discussing Merpeople. Hagrid had passed out the bundles of gillyweed and instructed them to enter the water when he began to explain that for the lesson they did not have to travel far as they had a greed to come to the surface and meet with the class but usually they were much farther down. Draco had made a sly remark as usual and but Harry was surprisingly calm. Hermione had “accidentally” turned her wand under her robes and sent a Relax curse at him. Pansy Parkinson had laughed at his soiled pants and Aida clasped her hands to her mouth with a small giggle. Draco scowled and Ron could not help but comment. Even then Harry did not laugh.
The rest of the week would pass this way, as Harry had to face his inner demons. Even during Quiditch he was flying too fast for the team to understand the commands he was barking at them. Ron finally had had enough and confronted him about his behavior only to be told off.
The next lesson with Professor Lovegood would bring an end to his erratic behavior. The classroom had been arranged as usual with the one row of pillows to one side, and a row of small boxes parallel to it for their dummies. Each lesson this month Harry had entered with the same look. It would not take long for them to take their spot next to their pillows and conjure their dummy out of the box in front of them. Harry was not wanting to conjure another Bellatrix, so he sat on his pillow awaiting instructions from Professor Lovegood.
He had no more than thought about his fear of facing another Bellatrix dummy in front of everyone when Lovegood walked up to him and asked him to help her again. Feeling a sigh of relief, he held on to his wand and stood up.
When she took her place at the head of the class she did not have the usual glazed over smile. Harry wondered what had gotten to her when she spoke up, “Good Morning class, Today we will be working on the sludge curse. Now this ties in with charms, so I hope you have been paying attention to Professor Flitwick. Now, this curse involves blinding your opponent with sludge. If they are unable to see you, then they are less able to hit you with a counter curse. Now, I want you all to repeat after me—“
“Hem hem,” the class turned around, each student with a huge scowl. There in the doorway stood a pug little man with wild curly hair that stood on end, his hairline protruding so far back on his head as if it were afraid to meet with his brow. His neck bulged out of the top of a thick dark bow tie, meeting with a dark purple jumper. The plump figure reminded Harry of a Muggle nursery rime he had learned, Humpty Dumpty. The short stout man looked down his long angular nose at Professor Lovegood.
“Yes?” She stared over his head, to where a person of average height would be to meet her gaze.
With a little huff he lifted his heals and pounded back down to the ground, “I assume you received my note?” The entire class gave a grown at the reminder of Professor Umbridge. But Lovegood just gazed forward and nodded. This must have been what she was anticipating given her bellow normal mood.
“Well, then, as the Ministry has sent me here to evaluate all new additions to the Hogwarts staff, as I am the new Head Inquisitor, I shall just be keeping my eye on you. Please continue, Miss Lovegood.” His voice was unusually low as if he was trying to command attention.
“And you are?” Lovegood finally spoke, her head titling to the side.
The Head Inquisitor looked on her as if she had just hit him with a curse; “I am Bartemius Umbridge. I have replaced my mother in her job here as Head Inquisitor.” He then waddled over to the corner of the room where he pulled a clipboard out and began to scratch something on the parchment.
Harry looked around the room to each of the student’s expressions. Ron stood with his mouth gapping open an Hermione had just placed her head in her hands in a way that reminded Harry of wishful thinking that if she removed her hands he would have disappeared. Neville had stepped behind Colin Creevy who was sheltering Dennis as well. Susan bones stood with her hands folded across her chest as if she were hiding something. Ginny just stared at the intruder with thoughts clear on her face. She was mentally cursing the offspring of the wicked woman. Harry merely scowled but felt elated at the thought of having this High Troll’s mother kicked out of the Ministry. But then Harry began to think, he had said his name was Bartemius. Could he be the child of those two evil Ministry Prudes? He shivered at the thought and was brought back to reality by Professor Lovegood who had called him to help her. They were soon on their way to producing fine sludge curses and Umbridge was copiously scribbling notes on his clipboard. His presence had not phased Lovegood in the slightest. Instead she had now conjured her own dummy for demonstration in the likeness of the High Inquisitor. When he saw this he only huffed and scribbled some more.
Half way through the class when everyone had seemed to do well, Lovegood had asked them to try to continue their work on the Grim curse. Though she had kept Harry with her. It was at this point when Mr. Umbridge gave the ever familiar “hem hem” from his corner. Lovegood only continued. After several tries in which she kept her glazed stare, he finally stood and approached her.
“Professor Lovegood,” He started, “I must ask you why you have decided to teach these children such a curse?”
“Why that is obvious, isn’t it Barty? If they are to fight off Death Eaters, then they will need to know how to do it.” She had regained her smile.
“And what makes you think they will have to do such a terrible thing?” He was huffing as he tried to appear taller in her presence. It seemed that even he was unable to resist her charm.
“Well, because Voldemort” he winced “has already struck when some of these students were around,” She refused to use the word child.
“Miss Lovegood, I can assure you that the ministry has everything under control.” He huffed.
“No, I don’t think they do. Voldemort is unpredictable, they need to be prepared.” Harry was amazed at how calm she was.
“Yes, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, can be unpredictable, but he has not attacked a child thus far, so we need not teach them such things.” His anger was rising as the top of his head grew to be redder then Ron’s ears had ever been.
“Yes, he has,” Harry spoke through gritted teeth at Lovegood’s side. Mr. Umbridge shot a look at him.
“How dare you speak to me in such a manner! Who do you think you are? Oh!” he had just noticed his scar; “You are that Brat Potter! Well, For such insolence, you shall serve a weeks worth of detention, Boy!” Harry laughed at him. What could a week’s detention do to him after last summer’s encounter with Voldemort?
Professor Lovegood simply raised her hand in the middle of the two. Then she did something unexpected. She looked down and met the gaze of Mr. Umbridge and in a low tone, “Mr. Umbridge, could you leave my class now? I would fear that these advanced students might need a practicing dummy and I cannot tell the difference between you and the real one.” With a huff Bartemius Umbridge turned and waddled his way to the door. Just before he got there Professor Lovegood’s wand lifted ever so slightly in the air, pointed in his direction. As she turned around a small spark flew from her wand. A boar’s tail and ears began to sprout from his backside and head. The entire class erupted in laughter. The High Inquisitor only paused huffed up his shoulders and continued walking.
The class had taken up their practice again all in better spirits. Professor Lovegood looked to Harry, “You know you still have to serve the detentions though? My office this evening, six o’clock. Now, go and help Luna, she seems to be cursing Lavender Brown instead of her dummy.” Professor Lovegood walked through the students dodging stray curses. Harry turned to walk over to Luna who was wearing a button on her robe that read “I heart Stubby Boardman” Harry could not suppress a smile at her naiveté.
March 12th, 2004, 10:25 pm
Harry wasn’t dreading the detention as much as he had son many other times when he was forced to do things that were truly punishment. Though he could not think what Lovegood would have him do. As he walked up to her office he contemplated what sort of things she might come up with. But then he remembered that he was once again to enter the office that had held several owners. Each year he had seen it look completely different, and he anticipated seeing an improvement. In any case, anything would have been an improvement from the pink doilies and flowers that adorned the walls under Umbridge’s rule as Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor.
When he reached the office he found the door ajar. He reached his hand up to knock when Lovegood’s voice sounded from inside, “Come in Potter.” How did she know he was there?
When he entered he was shocked to find the walls nearly bare save a few posters here and there. There was one of the Weird Sisters that showed a part of what reminded harry of a Muggle music video. Then next to that was a Stubby Boardman poster behind a large black ribbon that spread the width, showing Stubby singing, though in the middle of his silent song, he would fall over dead. There was one more that caught Harry’s eye, behind a few stacks of the Quibbler, Harry noticed a poster with Fred and George. Harry guessed it to be an advertisement for their new shop as the top of the poster read Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes, “We Solemnly Swear We Are Up To No Good!” Harry let out a laugh. Then, as he could fight the urge no longer, “You have been there? Their shop in Diagon Alley?”
“Oh, yes, Charlie took me there after they opened.” She was looking out the window to the Quidditch pitch outside. “He had come back from Romania to check on everyone after the attacks.” She added as if she felt the need to explain. Harry looked around the office again; this had to be the one he felt most comfortable in. He had just noticed a “Chudley Cannons” poster where the players would zoom by trying to show off. He thought of how Ron would have liked to have seen it.
“Well, now, to your detention, Harry.” She had now turned around. “I do believe that this will be the worst detention you have ever had. And you might walk out of here hating me. But now that I have said that, let’s get started, shall we?” She ended this with a smile that made Harry think she was only joking. But when she grabbed her wand and walked out into the classroom he knew that she was not letting him on. He followed her into the center of the classroom where she flicked her wand in her usual nonchalant manner that brought back the pillows. Harry was now totally confused, was he to have another lesson?
She turned to him, at her feet she conjured a familiar box at her feet. From here, she walked over to the upper dais and leaned against her desk. Harry turned to her and stared blankly into her Gray glimmering eyes. “What am I to do that is so horrible?” He finally asked after a minute of silence.
Seeming to jolt her awake, she looked back at him, “Oh, yes, well, you are going to have to talk.”
“What is so horrible about that?”
“Well, you have to talk through everything that you have refused to talk through. And well, mostly you are going to express your feelings.”
Harry was hurt. She was right; he might just walk out of here not talking to her again. He turned from her.
“Now, Harry, you do not think you are going to be talking to me do you? No, you will be talking to whomever you need to talk to.” She flicked her wand as she muttered “Pandorious” and the box opened. Out of the opened lid came the dummy. “Now, I want you to vent any frustrations and anger, any feelings you have not let out onto your dummy. Change them if you want. It is up to you. You do not have a time frame, but it is required. When you are ready begin.” She moved her weight and jumped to the top of the desk, sitting down and crossing her legs. She sat there fingering her wand as if it were the first time she had seen it.
There was not a person in the world that Harry hated more right now than her. Suddenly the dummy took form and added a second Lorna Lovegood to the room. He stood there shaking fists clinched and anger rising. Finally after a half an hour at staring between the two Lovegoods, he snapped. Alright, he thought, You want me to express my anger? He hit the dummy Lovegood with several curses. After a few minutes he was starting to feel better. He looked to the real Lovegood who now sat filing her nails with her wand. Fine, He thought, I can do more than that. He stood here thoughts racing and heart pumping. His dummy now took the form of Dolores Umbridge; he hit her with the silliest of curses thinking of Fred and George and then ended her off with the Grim curse. The Dummy Umbridge acted as if it were loosing its mind. Harry kept feeling better and better, as the dummy to the forms of Snape, Draco, and all those who had angered him before now. He went through numerous incarnations of Voldemort and then Bellatrix, which took the brunt of his anger. But he finally ended with Sirius.
There he stood, face to face with Sirius. He let out a bolt of anger with the curses heeding to his misunderstanding and frustration. He was confused and needed his godfather there with him. But then the dummy changed forms. It was him. A dummy Harry was looking right back at him. He hit the dummy with an onslaught of curses and jinxes that he didn’t know he knew. After a long fifteen minutes of cursing himself, he stood wand arm ready staring at himself. He could not think. Devoid of all anger, he froze.
There was nothing around him, no good thought that he could think of. A tear fell down his check and landed on his robes. Suddenly he collapsed, drained of all energy, in a mass of hysterical tears. He had finally hit it; the breakdown that he knew would come. He crumpled up a heap of tears on the floor. Shaking as he cried.
Suddenly he felt a warm embrace as he was enveloped in someone’s arms. He had forgotten Professor Lovegood was there. She held him and rocked him to safety. He wanted to rip from her arms in embarrassment but found that there was no other place he would rather be. Sheltered by her, he left everything out. The two sat there on the floor of the classroom for hours.
After Harry began to stop crying, he looked up in to her eyes. Quickly looking away in embarrassment. She pulled away from him and pointed her wand at the box that was now shut. “Accacio Box” it slid across the floor to her outstretched hand. “This is yours Harry.”
“What is it?” He stared at it.
“This, is your box. It is a Pandorious charm. It takes all of the emotion and frustration that you inflict upon it and boxes it up.” She had taken on her usual dazed look and stared once again into space. Feeling better about his unusual breakdown, he looked at the small box at his side. “What would anyone want to do that for?”
“Well, if you bottle up you emotions then you are able to take them with you.” She stood and walked to her desk.
This struck Harry rather as something rather odd, “Why would you want to carry around such bad things?”
“Now, that is the question Mr. Potter, now isn’t it?” She turned and looked at him.
Grabbing the box, he stood and stared down at it in his hands.
“That’ll do for tonight Potter. Have a good evening.” She rearranged he room again to its normal arrangement. Harry turned to leave, his head hanging low. Professor Lovegood called out to him, “Oh, and Potter,” He turned to face her, “If anyone asks,” she gave a wink and lowered her voice to a whisper and pointed to the class, “this didn’t happen.”
With a crocked smile, Harry turned and left to return to Gryffindor tower. He took his time in getting there. When he walked into the common room at half past eleven, Ron and Hermione bombarded him with questions. He tucked the box into the folds of his robe. Evading too many questions, he said he had to work on strategies for the team. He then went up the dorm and placed the box onto the nightstand next to his bed. All he could do was stare and ponder why he would want to hold on to such negative thoughts. When he heard Ron walking up the steps, he quickly pulled the box into his four poster and pulled the curtains, feigning sleep. He had yet another sleepless night.
March 12th, 2004, 10:53 pm
The next week was easier than he had anticipated, thinking that he would have to face his emotions every night, but it seemed that Professor Lovegood had felt he had enough and called off the rest of the detentions. This made his schedule easier to accommodate Quidditch practice. He spent more time there then he had anticipated as he felt the flying helped him to feel better.
Towards the end of the month He was informed that they would be facing Slytherin first, as usual, just before the first trip to Hogsmeade. He was looking forward to leaving the halls of the school. The only time he was outside he was back talking to the Merpeople which reminded him more of Cedric.
He wanted to get out and be fester free for an afternoon. But first he had to face the Slytherin team. He would face them on the last Saturday of the month, Halloween. The Saturday after would be the first trip to Hogsmeade.
There were constant snickers from the Slytherins in the anticipation of the upcoming match. Even Aida was getting in on the catcalls in the hall. When Draco had started in a chorus of “Weasley is our King”; Luna who had been walking with them had joined in. Ron turned and glared at her, ears red and wand drawn. Draco and Aida stood laughing until Luna had turned around, “Do not laugh at Ronald. He will make sure you loose.” She turned back around and kept walking. Ron’s ears reached a new level of red as he pivoted and followed Luna. Draco froze stunned at Luna’s remarks.
The training and practice grew harder as the match crept up on them, was all that kept Harry going. Snape had told Harry after his last Potions class that they were to start their Occlumency lessons again, the first one beginning the afternoon after the match. Now Harry was trying to figure out the worst scenario, if they won, he would face an angry Snape, but if he lost, he would face a gloating Snape. He could not decide which was worse.
The day of the match finally came; Harry led the Gryffindor team to the locker room. When they had changed into their game robes, he felt the need to speak, as his predecessors did. “So, well, our first match. I know you are ready and I really want to beat those trolls, so lets go do that!” He could not think of anything more motivating, so figured he would just tell the truth. It worked. The team was now standing in front of him ready to go.
As they made their way to the pitch, Harry could not help but notice a large tall Lion’s head roaring in the crowd. He laughed as he spotted Luna under the odd hat. Madame Hooch soon sounded the whistle calling for the match to begin. The game was shorter than any he had ever played. Ginny was the first to score in the game. Ron had deflected two potential goals but after Ginny had score the second time, Harry found the Snitch, it was hovering directly over Draco. Harry crept up on him as not to alert him to the Snitch. Just as he got closer, one of the beaters directed a bludger to Draco, hitting him in the side when Harry called his name to distract him. Harry grabbed the Snitch, and won the game.
With a tremendous roar from Luna’s Lion hat, and the cheers from all save the Slytherins, Harry landed and dismounted. Hermione and Luna (who had discarded her hat) were running up to where he and Ron were standing. Luna threw her arms around Harry, to Ron and Hermione’s shock. Harry stood frozen in her embrace; he finally lifted his arms and awkwardly placed them around her, noticing the sizable height difference between them. Just as his hands made contact with her back, she pulled away smiled, and looked to Ron. “I knew you would do it Ronald.” With that she walked away out of the crowd.
Hermione and Ron exchanged odd looks. Harry stood perplexed at what had just happened.
“Right, I knew she was a nutter.” Ron finally said to break the silence.
“Harry, did you see what happened to Draco?” Hermione spoke as if nothing had happened. She went on about how he fell off his Nimbus Two-Thousand and One, and needed to be escorted to the Hospital Wing. They were talking the rest of the time about little parts of the game here and there until Harry realized that he had his Occlumency lesson to attend. He had decided that he would rather he won and face a foul mooded Snape than the other. At least this way he would be able think of how great it was to see Draco crumple under the bludger.
At half past one Harry made his way to the dungeon to meet Snape. It was easy to say that he was dreading this meeting. It was the first private encounter since he had gazed into his memories and he knew that there would be a cold stinging silence between the two in the already dank dungeon office. Finally, dragging himself to the door, he gave a soft knock and was summoned in. He moved slowly, setting down his bookbag and pulling out his wand. Snape was glaring at him with apprehensive eyes.
“Well, sit down Potter!” He hissed.
Taking his seat, Harry looked over the office, anywhere he could to save him from looking at Snape. Harry was right in thinking that Snape would be put off by Gryffindor’s defeat of his house.
“I don’t want to hear any talk of the match today, Potter. Now stand and draw. I highly doubt that you have made any progress since our last meeting, but let’s see, shall we?” He stood wand arm ready pointing in the direction of Harry.
Harry stood and countered his threat. Then it hit him; all of his memories were flashing before him. Only this time he had more to lose. He was replaying the fall beyond the Veil over and over as if it were a broken Muggle record. Harry collapsed, not wanting to see this again. It was bad enough that he was dreaming this nightly, but he had an escape during the day. He felt his scar twinge a bit, then it hit him; Snape had stunned him. He was standing over his frozen body, yelling down at him.
“The rules have changed Potter. Now, every time you refuse to work I will be stunning you. That is unless you want to try and get it right. But when have you ever done that?” He had a wicked grin that made Harry grateful he was frozen, he knew he would have attacked had he not been.
The lesson continued in this manner. Harry would see the Veil and Snape would stun him. He then began to be even more thankful for Lovegood’s method of extracting the memory. But then something happened that Harry was not expecting. He resisted the stunning curse. After two long hours of being stunned, he had become so angry that he resisted being stunned. This was to Snape’s anger, as he had seemed to have grown fond of seeing Harry fall with a thud to the floor.
“How dare you Potter?” He howled, both hands on his desk supporting him as he leaned in for the strike. “You are such an insolent child!” Harry, who had stood in shock of what he had done, burst out in laughter. For the first time he understood.
“What is so funny, Potter?” At the use of his name so many times, Harry laughed even harder.
Then, calming his laughter down he looked to Snape; “You call me the child, when you are the one who acts more foolish than half of your students. And to think I felt bad for you when I saw what my father did so long ago.”
Those words stung Snape harder than Harry had meant to, “How dare you talk of that?” His tone was low and vile, full of hatred.
“And why not? It was long ago and you let it affect you still! You know I am not my father, but yet you treat me as if I were the one who did that to you! You treat all of the Gryffindors that way. And you can’t say that it is because you cannot tolerate ignorance, as you treat Hermione badly too.” Snape tried to counter but Harry continued not letting Snape have a word, “You do it because they are my friends. You are the child Snape, Sir, because all you do is reenact what my father and Sirius did to you with me and my friends! All of the torment during class, and you actually like Draco, even though you know he is on Voldemort’s side! Well, I am not going to let you get to me anymore Snape! I am going to find a teacher that will help me learn how to keep Voldemort out of my head instead of using the time as a revenge lesson!” Harry was elated, he turned grabbed his belongings and walked out of the office, not even wanting to hear what Snape had to say to counter his argument. He heard the distinct sound of glass objects hitting the back of the door as he walked up the stairs to return to the tower.
When he reached Gryffindor tower he felt as if he had let a large mass of his anger out and felt better than he had in weeks. Given his defeat against the Slytherins and their Head of House, he was on an all time high. He found Ron and Hermione and they walked down to the Great Hall for dinner discussing his lesson, how he was able to repel the curse, and finally letting in to Snape.
When they reached the Great hall they found that Snape had decided to skip dinner, as he was not at the staff table. But Hermione had noticed that Lovegood was talking to Hagrid in what seemed to be a very hushed and secret conversation. When she mentioned this to Harry and Ron they thought nothing of it and continued to discuss the look on Snape’s face when Harry repelled the curse.
“Oh, honestly, you two are always looking for a mystery to solve, then what about that one? Why would they be talking like that if something weren’t going on? After six years of this I’d think you would catch on faster!” Ron was in no way shocked at Hermione’s outburst, but continued to talk to Harry.
Seeing that Hermione was put off by this, Harry spoke up, “We’ll check into it Hermione, we haven’t seen Hagrid in a while, so we’ll just visit him tonight.” Seeing that Hermione was content with this solution, he continued with Ron.
March 12th, 2004, 10:54 pm
Back in Gryffindor Tower, the trio sat at their usual places by the fire talking about the things they wanted to do in Hogsmeade. After the common room was cleared out, they rushed up to the boys’ dorm and charged straight to Harry’s trunk. Harry was pulling out his invisibility cloak when Hermione asked, “Harry, what’s this?” Harry felt the pit of his stomach drop. He turned his head around to where she was standing; holding in her hands his wooden box. He flew from the side of his trunk and ripped the box out of her hands.
“Don’t touch that!” Hiding the box with his arms as if it were something precious to him that he did not want to share. His eyes blazed at Hermione as she had dared to touch it.
“Harry, that’s not—“ she cut herself off at his thwarted look, “That’s not a Pandora’s Box is it?”
Of course, Harry thought, she would know what it was. She knows everything. “I don’t know exactly what it is. I don’t know all that much about it.”
“Harry, that is a Pandora’s Box. Like the one’s we use in Practical Defense class. Where did you get it?” Hermione was staring at Harry as if he had swiped something from one of their lessons; “You are not using it to conjure a dummy to fight illegally are you?”
“No!” He had no choice but to tell them, Ron had been staring at Harry the entire time as if trying to figure out what was going on. So he sat on his bed and told them everything. How he had to do the toughest detention he had ever been though and what he dreaded the most, the breakdown.
After he had shared everything he sat in silence, waiting for Hermione to scold him for not telling them and Ron to be shocked and prod him with questions. But what he was expecting did not come. Instead, Hermione sat on the bed next to Harry and Ron crouched on his knees in front of him. Harry could not think of anything to say to them. He just stared off past Ron’s head into Dean’s four poster with the curtains drawn.
“Harry,” Hermione spoke softly at his side, “we know w-we have not been through what you have...but you do know we are here if you want to talk.” She smiled at Harry.
“Yeah, I know, thanks.”
“But, well...” He knew she wanted to talk about the box, “Well, do you know what that is?” She pointed to it. He shook his head so she continued, “That is, well, like I said a Pandora’s Box. It holds everything you put into it and saves it for you until you are ready to release it. And, well, you put all of those negative thoughts and emotions into it.”
“Yeah?” he understood, but was still pondering all that was happening.
“Well, you put in all those negative things and you’re carryin’ it around, mate.” Ron said quietly as if he were afraid to speak up.
“And?” Harry’s anger was beginning to rise, but he held it at bay for his friends.
“Well, Harry, you are holding on to all of those repressed thoughts. Taking them wherever you go, as a reminder of whatever you put in it.” Hermione took the blow for Ron. Harry was shocked and finally fully understood Lovegood’s intentions.
“Well, if you think it is so bad, then why don’t you open it and let them go?” He felt his anger rise, but tried to keep his tone down, he really did appreciate them being there with him.
“Well, no one can open it except the person who fills it.” Harry understood completely. He had to make the choice to let go or not. He stood and walked to the window thinking about all of the choices he was forced to make over his years here, but this one was topping his difficult list. If he let go of his anger, what would he use to fight Voldemort? He stared out of the window.
Then he noticed two figures emerge from Hagrid’s Hut. The petit figure walked away up to the castle. Now was the time. He had to find out more about Professor Lovegood. He had to know more. He turned to Ron and Hermione; “It’s time. We have to go, now.”
He rushed down the stairs to the common room clutching his invisibility cloak with Ron and Hermione following closely behind. Once in the common room he threw the cloak around them and they walked through the portrait and down the hall. When they reached the third floor corridor they heard a movement and froze flat against the wall. Ron squat down so far that he felt as though he would fall over. Soon the origin of the noise was moving towards them. With a “shh” from Hermione, they held their breath. Two distinct pairs of shoes were making their way down the hall heading in their direction. As they rounded the corner, Harry’s eyes widened because Professors McGonagall and Lovegood moved out of the shadows talking in hushed tones.
Hermione turned slowly and shot a look at Harry as if to say she was glad to be finding out more about her. But Harry kept staring at his Professors, hoping that they were all fully covered in the folds of the cloak. So far they had made their way towards them without noticing, but as they centered themselves with the trio Lovegood looked over to where they stood with her wide eyes. She lifted her gloved hand ever so slightly off of her side and winked at them. Harry was shocked, but when they kept on walking he thought he may have just been seeing things. After the Professors passed Harry, Ron and Hermione picked up their pace and were soon in an awkward run that was more like a hobble under the restriction of the cloak.
When they reached the hut, they pounded on the door and called for Hagrid. Fang gave a bark and Hagrid opened the door. Without even having to say who it was Hagrid voiced, “Oh, it’s you three! Com’on in.” He opened the door wider and let them in. After they were safely in the hut, Harry pulled the cloak from them.
“Hagrid, how did you know it was us?” Harry asked.
“Well, don’ ge’ too many knocks on the door from the wind ye’ know.” He smiled. Harry was relieved, maybe he had been seeing things.
“So, wha’ d’ye want ter know now?” He was in great spirits.
“Well, we were wondering if you could tell us more about Professor Lovegood.” Hermione started.
“Can she see through invisibility cloaks?” Ron had spat out what Harry was thinking. So, he had seen it too.
“Oh, no. ‘Course not. On’y one to do tha’ would be Moody.”
“Well, she is in tune with o’ers isn’ she? Tha’d be her nature. Been through a lot tha’ one.”
“Like what Hagrid? Her father?” Hermione asked but then answered her own question as she often did, “Of course, she was with him when he was attacked, and that was when she learned how...Hagrid, they weren’t attacked because of an article were they?”
Hagrid was beaming at her ability to connect everything. “We’ll no, but I can’ tell ye’ more on tha’. Tha’s matters with the higher ups if ye know what I mean.”
“Then, well, how did she get in the Order?” Harry finally asked.
“Well, Tha’d be because of Ron’s oldest brothers.” Hagrid looked over to Ron. “Ye see, she went to school with Bill and knew Charl’e from her brother.”
Ron let out a little, “I told you so, that’s what they said when I was asking about Luna. But, then why didn’t we see her this summer at Sir—at uh, the house?”
“Well, tha’s ‘cause she did’n visit there. You hav’n seen me there either though hav’ ye?”
“Well, it would be rather hard to disguise you, Hagrid.” Hermione laughed as she realized why she hasn’t seen him at her summer home.
They continued to talk about their newest teacher. They had learned of her days at school when she was a Prefect and just as intelligent as Hermione. Hagrid went on to explain that both sisters belonged in Ravenclaw, though if there were any other house that they would be in it would be Gryffindor. Ron looked shocked at this bit of news.
“Oh, ye’ Ron, Luna is a smart one, she is. She is actu’ly righ’ under our littl’ Hermi’ne. Secon’ in the school, she is.” Ron’s jaw dropped at this comment.
“So, she does truly belong in Ravenclaw then. Wow, that is amazing.” Hermione seemed to be trying to convince herself. And though, as if she had almost forgot, “And what about their brother?”
“Altair?” Harry had almost been expecting a name that began with an L. “He was in Charle’s year. He was another bright one, but more like Hermi’ne in tha he seemed to keep his head out o’ the clouds. If ye know wha’ I mean.”
Harry sat taking everything in. What was it about the two sisters that kept them in a spaced look all of the time? He sat contemplating the possibilities as Hermione kept asking questions. After an hour they had decided that it was time to return to the tower and end the very long day. They said their good-byes to Hagrid and Fang and made their way up to the castle.
They talked all day Sunday while doing their homework. Talking of all they had learned, Harry could not keep his mind off of the box that sat under his bed upstairs. The day passed much faster than the day before, to Harry’s excitement. Soon he would be waking up for Lovegood’s class where he would be able to ask her about the invisibility cloak.
Lunch was devoid of Snape once more, but dinner was not the same. Snape had turned up and sat dolefully at the Staff Table. He surprisingly avoided Harry’s eyes as if he were admitting a truce. Harry knew his Potions class would be the same, much to Draco’s disappointment.
March 12th, 2004, 10:56 pm
Once in the class, Harry noticed that the usual arrangement of pillows and boxes was exchanged for that of the circle of pillows once again. Most of the class was sitting already on their pillows when he, Ron, Hermione and Luna, who had joined their group, sat down. Harry found that knowing Luna was just behind Hermione in intelligence made her seem all the more interesting, and enjoyed her company, though Ron was still making jokes as he had done with Hermione when they first met.
Professor Lovegood had joined the circle and sat in her usual pillow under the window when Aida had stumbled in from the hall. “I am zo zorry, Profezore. I did not meen to be late.” She was panting as if she had ran there. Clutching her books, she walked towards the circle stepping over Susan Bones’ pillow. But she had put her foot down on top of Susan’s book, causing her to loose her balance. Just then everything was in slow motion, Aida began to fall forward as the weight of her books pulled her harder and faster. She tumbled and rolled into the center of the circle. She landed on her rump, lags sprawled in front of her and robe caught over her head like a blanket tent. She sat there for a good thirty seconds with the entire class staring at her before she was able to get up and move to her pillow. But as she removed her robe from over her head, she stepped on the edge and tripped again, causing her to topple over and loose her footing. She fell right onto the now vacant pillow as Neville had jumped out of the way. When she moved to get up, Neville said that it would be alright, he’d take another.
The class was silent for a minute until Professor Lovegood burst out laughing. After a few minute of her hysterical laughter, she took a deep breath and began class. “Thank you Miss d’Ami, for that lovely show. Now, we are going to start a new subject because of the progress you all have made in curses and jinxes.” Harry was amazed at how she now acted as if nothing happened. She had kept her wild dazed look and continued, “we will be moving on to anticipation and empathic counters.” The class just stared at her.
Lavender Brown raised her hand, “Is that like being psychic?”
“No, it is more like reading your opponent.” Luna had spoken up beside Harry. Her voice was so spaced out that he wondered if she was mentally in the class.
“Exactly, Luna. It has nothing to do with being Psychic, if there is such a thing. For the purposes of this class, it has everything to do with opening your mind to your opponent and feeling what they are feeling. That way you can counter their attacks before they strike. Even those who are chaotic and do not have a attack pattern can be predictable in that you don’t know which move will come next, but you know when they will make that move.” The class was even more in a daze as to what she was talking about, but listened none the less. “Now, if you split up into partners we can practice opening our selves up and reading what the other person is feeling. Go ahead and split up, just turn to the person to you left and begin. Harry turned to Luna and Ron to Hermione. He sat wondering what he was supposed to do when Lovegood spoke up, “Now, just take a deep breath and relax.”
Harry did as he was told, though he felt rather funny as if he half expected Trelawney to join them and guide them in a meditation. Just as he thought that Luna looked him square in the face, “Don’t be silly, Harry, this is serious. Now just relax and you’ll get it.”
Harry was more than shocked. “You mean you can do this?” He stared at her.
“Well, yes, of course I can.”
“Then what do I have to do?”
“Well, it’s simple. Just concentrate on what you think I am feeling. If you relax and let go of all of your stupid thoughts, then it will come easily.” She said this as if she had been doing this for years.
“Fine.” He tried to relax and do what she had instructed. At first Harry felt nothing, he was getting frustrated with himself when he let go of everything. Then it hit him. He felt Hermione’s nervousness shooting him from behind, Ron was, oh, he didn’t wan to feel what Ron was feeling sitting in front of Hermione, but he knew that Hermione wasn’t getting it, so he felt a small ounce of calm come over him. But he could not feel what Luna was feeling. He tried harder, but only felt a wall. He was soon getting frustrated feelings so many other’s emotions.
“Very good Harry.” Professor Lovegood had walked by. But Harry was not sure why he had not noticed her either. He felt the same thing as he did with Luna, the wall.
“Luna? I am finally getting it, but why can’t I read you?” He finally asked after his frustration mounted.
“Well, that is simple, Harry, I am blocking you.” She said with a smile.
“You can block me?” He felt like a child again trying to learn something completely out of reach. “Wait, does that mean you can read everything I can feel as well?” She nodded. He lost his hold and let go of what Ron was feeling for Hermione. “Then teach me how to block it first so everything is fair.” He looked her in the eyes.
“Well, that is simple Harry, you just think of how you do not want to let anyone in.” If it was that simple then he could have done it by now.
After another half-hour of trying to make sure that no one was reading him, Professor Lovegood asked them to switch partners. Luna had now been assigned to read with Ron and Hermione with Neville. Harry was asked to sit with Aida. He was sure he didn’t want to let her know what he was feeling so he tried even harder. He looked into her pale green eyes and tried to read her. She was not putting up a block as Luna had as he was able to read her giddy feelings. Five or so minutes after switching partners, the silence was broken by Luna calling out, “Really, Ronald, I am shocked!”
Harry turned to look and saw Ron’s ears redder than ever. Harry made a mental note to ask what he was feeling. By then though, Professor Lovegood called the class to her attention and had excused them for the day. Harry found it a bit awkward trying to ask Ron when Hermione and Luna were around, so he just gave up trying.
The rest of the week passed by rather quickly given that Harry was looking forward to the Hogsmeade trip. He had always found that when he was really anxious for something that time seemed to slow some how, dragging out the days until the event. However, it seemed that it was not the case this time. He was rather thankful when Saturday morning came without so much as a glance from Draco.
March 12th, 2004, 11:58 pm
Saturday morning was loud as he realized just how many students there were that were able to go to Hogsmeade. They had packed in the Entrance Hall to be checked off by Filch as they exited the castle. The walk to Hogsmeade was short and brisk as the November air ruffled through their robes. The four, as Luna had joined them as usual, were talking and laughing the whole way down. Once they had reached the main street, they decided to hit their usual spots. Ron was insistent that they stay away from Zonkos as Fred and George could supply them with whatever they needed at a minimal charge. Harry and Luna agreed whole-heartedly. As Hermione never really went for the gags, she was neutral in her opinion.
They had decided to get a butterbeer from the Three Broomsticks. On their way, they had passed Madame Puddifoot’s. Harry would normal not have noticed it, had it not bee for last year’s encounter there. He had happened to look over when he saw Cho sitting in the window seat with Seamus. Harry shot a look over at Ron who only shrugged. Hermione looked at the two and laughed. “When will you two stop trying to figure out what Ginny and Cho are up to?”
They made their way into the Three Broomsticks. Harry and Luna ordered the drinks while Hermione and Ron found a place to sit. They sat talking about the rest of the term and what would happen the rest of the year with the Quidditch matches. Ravenclaw had beaten Hufflepuff, but they were still under Gryffindor for points.
After an hour or so, Hermione asked Luna if she wanted to go and have a look at the magical creatures shop and Harry was left with Ron. “So,” he only waited until they were out of earshot, “what was it?”
“What are you on about Harry?” Ron was holding back.
“In Practical Defense? What as it Luna sensed?”
“Nothing, she was just being her loony self.”
“Oh, common, Ron, I knew you were feeling something with Hermione, was it the same with Luna?”
“No, if you must know. I was still thinking about Hermione, alright?” He looked as if he would get up and walk out.
“Well, alright then.” Harry didn’t want to make him feel bad.
“So, what’s with Luna anyway?” Harry was stung now. He hadn’t really thought that he might look as though he felt something for her but he must have as she was now hanging around with him. But before he answered, Aida and Draco had walked in the door, holding hands. She looked as though she had just taken a fall as her robes were soiled in dirt and gravel. But somehow, she managed to keep her hair perfect and flowing down her back. Not one sign of a tussle.
“Graceful, that one. Isn’t she?” Ron had noticed as well. She had looked over at their table but then quickly looked away as Draco had ordered two butterbeers. Harry and Ron watched their every move. Aida had wrapped her arm in Draco’s as they walked to an open table. Pulling the seat out for her he leaned down and kissed her on the forehead, where Harry had just noticed was a small scrape. She smiled as she looked up at him and batted her long eyelashes. Draco smiled for the first time that Harry could see without a trace of villainy. He was sure that Draco had not seen him sitting there.
Hermione and Luna soon joined Harry and Ron, unnoticed by Draco as they entered. They watched on, mouths dropped as Draco showed he could be a caring and kind person. He held Aida’s hand and played with it in his own, every now and then kissing it softly. Luna was the only one of the group that acted as if she saw this every day. But when Draco leaned over and passionately kissed a shocked Aida, Luna looked over and a single tear fell down her cheek. Only Harry noticed this as Ron and Hermione were taken aback by Aida’s reaction. She shied away and turned her head as if she was embarrassed by the kiss. As if she knew what she were doing, she looked over to Harry and the group. Draco saw her change in attention and turned to see what she was looking at. His face grew sour and he scowled at Harry. Standing up he looked to them, “Enjoying this Potter?”
“Well, actually yes, I had no idea you were less than a troll, Malfoy.” Harry stood as well, but just then Professors McGonagall, Flitwick, and Lovegood walked in the door.
“Maybe some other time then, Potter.” Draco hissed and then helped Aida out of her seat. The two took their leave of the Three Broomsticks.
“I don’t know what was more revolting, him slopping all over her, or her letting him do it.” Ron looked disgusted.
“I think it was quite beautiful actually.” Luna had no signs of her tear.
“You would.” Ron looked from her to Hermione who was still in shock.
The trip back to the school was one that carried full conversation to absolute silence. All due to the actions they had witnessed in the Three Broomsticks. Harry was still shocked at the look Aida had given him with big blue eyes. Hermione and Luna had mentioned that she saw Aida fall just outside the Three Broomsticks where she scraped her head and her arm. This came to no surprise to Harry or Ron. They made their way up to the castle to the Great Hall, where they enjoyed dinner under Draco’s cruel stares.
The entire month of November passed in this way. When they would meet in the halls, a teacher seemed to walk by preventing them from dueling. Harry would have thought that Draco would have given up by the last week, but as he did not, Harry understood that he and his friends had trespassed on something too personal.
March 13th, 2004, 12:00 am
The second week of December brought a surprising summons from Dumbledore. The feeling that something bad had happened to one of the Order members was quickly rising within him. When McGonagall walked him to the statue of the Gargoyle, Harry felt empty. “Canary Cream” The Gargoyle jumped out of the way and Harry ascended the steps. McGonagall called up to him, “the Headmaster will be up in a moment, just have a seat and wait for him.” Harry nodded.
When he opened the door to Dumbledore’s office, he noticed that all of the portraits were asleep as usual. He walked in slowly as if it would help soften the blow later on. He looked around the office as he sat in the oversized chair in front of Dumbledore’s desk. He noticed on the wall to the left of the desk was a portrait that looked familiar. Squinting his eyes trying to place where he saw it, he thought he would need to get closer. Then it hit him. What he needed...its mate was in the Room of Requirement. So, that’s how Dumbledore was checking up on them. He smiled to himself but then felt bad for not thinking of it before. As if he had something switched on inside him he ran to the front of the office. “Phineas!” He looked up at the massive portrait of the old Headmaster. “I know you’re awake, so just save me the time! Talk to me, please.” Adding the last bit out of courtesy for Sirius’ relative. He came alive in his framed walls. “You mentioned that there were portraits that wanted to talk with others but couldn’t because they were only in one location, who were you talking about?”
“Well, hello Mr. Potter. How have you been?” He looked down to Harry.
“Fine, thank you, but this is important and Dumbledore’s on his way, Please Phineas.”
“Well, there are several, I am sure you will be able to find out soon enough. Ah, here comes the Headmaster now.” There was a turn and the handle on the door. Harry looked to find Dumbledore walking in the room.
“Ah, Harry, please, come and sit down.” He motioned with his long fingers to the chair in which Harry had just vacated. He resumed his spot in the chair. Dumbledore stood looking at the gadgets on his desk. “Harry, I have called you here to ask you an important question.” Harry was shocked, but relieved to find that everyone was safe this far into the conversation. He looked up to meet his gaze. “Well, you see after what had happened last year, we were careful to watch our conversations with Kreacher around lurking in the house. We have been holding numerous meetings, several at the house to throw him off track, and more in other locations for our proper meetings. That is just in case Kreacher was still feeding information to Narcissa.” Harry watched him as he continued, “Well, we are now in search of a suitable meeting place as my office has become too obvious during the term.” Harry was wondering where he was going with this when Dumbledore sat down, “You see Harry, we have a plan to use a very well protected house. But we wanted to make sure we had proper permission before we moved in.” Harry couldn’t help but wonder how he was involved in this. Dumbledore seemed to have read his face, “And what I wanted to ask you, Harry, was if it would be alright if we used your grandparent’s house?”
Harry was shocked. He didn’t know there was anything connected to his family still around. “Well,” he found himself speaking before he knew it; “You don’t really have to have my permission now do you?”
“Well, no, not really. But we thought that it would be proper as the house is in your name to make sure that it would be approved by you.” Harry didn’t know what to feel. The only answer he could think of was yes.
“Can I stay there during the Holiday break?” He spat out the first thing that came to mind.
“Well, as long as you don’t ask to stay during the summer, I think that is alright. And as the Weasleys will be there, then your friends can stay with you.”
Harry was still shocked as he left Dumbledore’s office. Phineas gave him a wink as he walked out. Harry was unable to think straight. He was going to see his family’s house. He would be able to stay there for three weeks with his friends. He would have to search the entire house for clues as to how they had lived and the life they led. But why had no one told him before that the house was his? He was able to answer his own question with the nagging voice in his head that took on Hermione’s tone. He would have wanted to move there, but he had to stay with the Dursley’s and there was also the issue of not having known why Voldemort was trying to kill him until this last year.
When he reached the Great hall to join Ron and Hermione, he was able to inform them of the meeting as he picked at his food. Ron and Hermione were excited to hear that they would be joining Harry for the Holiday on good terms out side of the school. Last year was Harry’s first year to spend with his friends outside of Hogwarts and that was under such stressful conditions. It would be a much better year this time around.
March 13th, 2004, 12:42 am
The last week before the Holiday break was rather eventful. Monday morning brought the beginning of a long and arduous week. After Ron and Hermione finished eating breakfast, the three made their way out of the Great Hall and began their climb up the stair to their class. Just as they hit the first step a sweet voice rang in their ears, “Hey guys!” Ron cringed as Luna called out. She made her way to them and looked to Hermione, “So, how does Crookshanks like his treats?” Harry and Ron looked confused.
“Oh, he loves them. So, have you decided if you are going to get that crup or not?” harry was shocked, but remembered that early on in November Hermione and Luna had visited the Magical Creatures shop. But then he imagined Luna with a crup. He could tell that Ron was doing the same thing by the look on his face.
“Well, I am not sure, Lorna says that with father gone, the money is a little tight, so I don’t think I can.” This was the first time she had spoken about her father being gone. Harry felt a pang in his heart as he thought how strong Luna and her sister were after loosing their father. He had only wished he could be so strong. They had made their way to the classroom were Aida had been sitting quietly on her pillow. Harry laughed to himself at how she would come everyday early just to avoid another tripping scene.
The four took their usual pillows. Ginny had walked in alone. Harry and Ron exchanged glances, each knew what the other was thinking, but held back as they did not want to be the subject of another one of Hermione’s lashings.
Professor Lovegood had walked in but did not take her seat in her usual pillow. Instead she walked the room looking from one student to the next. She explained how they would be doing their last lesson with anticipation, as when they returned, they would be practicing its uses during a practical duel. Harry followed Lovegoods gaze and when he spotted Aida, he noticed that she was grinning rather wildly. He wondered if she was excited about the possibility of dueling with someone. Harry didn’t seem to mind the thought, though it realized that it was the only time he had wished that Draco was in the class, if only to duel with him. When the class was over, he overheard Professor Lovegood ask Aida to stay for a talk. Harry was gathering his belongings as Ron, Hermione, and Luna waited for him. Harry could not help but notice that Lovegood and Aida were conversing as if they knew each other. As soon as Harry has thought this, however, Lovegood turned to him as she often did when harry thought she was reading his mind and changed her demeanor with her student. Harry thought this was rather odd, but just met up with his friends anyway, not mentioning it to them as they had found other things to talk about.
On their way to Potions, they had started to talk about their winter break when Luna said something shocking. Harry and Ron were commenting on how they had wanted to visit Fred and George when she asked, “Oh, they are in Diagon Alley. I think I will be going there as well sometime. Maybe we could go together. After all, Lorna Altair and I will be stopping by the house.” Her words rolled off her tongue as if they were everyday conversation. Harry, Ron, and Hermione all stopped dead in their tracks as Luna kept her pace. When they saw that she was not stopping, they ran to catch up with her.
“What do you mean stopping by the house?” Ron asked.
“Well, Lorna and Altair have to check in at the new headquarters so I will b going with them as I have no other place to go.”
Why had Harry not thought of this? Surely she would have to know if her sister and brother were in the Order, but then why had she not mentioned anything before.
As if she were reading his mind she spoke again, “I have not mentioned anything before because there was no need, Lorna and Altair did not visit the old headquarters because it was getting too suspicious with so many people showing up. But the new house is so remote that more members can attend the meetings there. I heard it was a wonderful house. And it is in such a nice area as well.”
“Hang on! How do you know where it is? I don’t even know, and it’s my family’s place!” harry was frustrated that once again he was the last to find out.
“Oh, Harry, I am sorry. I thought you knew. The house is in Edinburgh, close to the school you know! Your grandparents were great contributors to the castle. There is a portrait of them around here somewhere, I think. You didn’t know this?” Hermione sounded disheartened that she had to be the one to let him in.
“Of course I didn’t know this. How would I know? How do you know?” His anger was rising again; he could feel it burning his insides.
“It is all in Hogwarts: A History, Harry, you really should read it. It is a great read!” Luna had said what Hermione was thinking. Harry was fuming now; he could not stand to be around the school’s know-it-alls. He looked to Ron who only shrugged. At least this was not common news hat everyone was talking about. If Ron didn’t know then it was not that big of gossip around school. He asked his most recent thought, “But then, why would they use a house that is known so well as being on the good side?”
“Well, that’s simple mate,” Ron had finally chimed in, “Because everyone expects that they used it the last time, with your parents, so they would think that Dumbledore would take them to the same place twice.” It made remedial sense.
Harry was still pondering the ways that they would keep it a secret when they reached Potions. Once again Draco was greeting Aida as she walked from behind Harry, Ron, and Hermione to meet him. Harry thought that for an instant she might have overheard their conversation but when the couple began to smile and coo over each other, he knew that she had not. His stomach churned as he saw Draco kiss her hand and smile, but the moment did not last long as he then turn to Harry and threw his usual hatred remarks. Harry wondered if she were part Veela, as Draco would not normally act in such a way around others. The only thing that Harry had thought was rather odd, was Aida’s refusal of Draco’s kisses. She would accept him kissing her hands, but that was it. She could not be part Veela if she were toning down her charm. On their way into Potion lesson, Aida had tripped once again, and Harry noticed that she seemed to have a small birthmark on her cheek that he hand never noticed before.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, she needs to learn how to walk!” As Hermione said this her eyes shot wide open and she gasped holding her mouth with her hand. Before he could ask her hat it was, Draco had shot them a look and muttered something about a mudblood under his breath.
Much of the week carried on in this manner. The hatred between Draco and Harry was at its peak by the time Harry had begun packing for his trip. Harry was surprisingly cam about the subject. He supposed that after seeing Draco’s father locked up he could feel better about knowing Draco was getting his soon enough.
Harry and Ron sat eating lunch on the Friday before they were to leave; Hermione had said she had someone to talk to but once again left things unexplained. Which of course upset Ron as she was always pulling things out in the end of the investigation, only this time he wasn’t sure what Hermione was investigating. They were enjoying watching Professor Flitwick instruct a group of first years on their levitation charm as they decorated the Great Hall. Just as Ron was stuffing the last bite of food in his mouth, Seamus ran up to the in excitement. “Harry, Ron! Lessons were canceled this afternoon. Professor Sprout was called by the Ministry to help with a mess that they got into with some mandrakes, so we have the rest of the time off, as no one was available to fill in at the last moment! Isn’t that great!”
Ron smiled as a small piece of lettuce fell from his mouth, Hermione only shook her head, but harry felt great. He wasn’t dreading the lesson, but the time off was still welcome. Harry and Ron had decided to venture outside and have a snowball fight, much to Hermione’s disapproval. She had asked Luna to join them, as she was not wanting to get to wet from the snow. Ron had le out a great sigh but did not utter a word.
The four of them, clad in their warm cloaks and scarves made their way out of the castle to find a filed of blanketed snow covering the once green ground. They walked down they steps, but as they reached the last few Luna stopped. Taking a look around as if making sure that no one was around, she flung herself onto the thick white fluff. Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s mouths dropped as the watched her making snow figures with her body. She had made good distance and was clear of the steps by a meter or so. Harry was the first to try and say something, but as nothing came out, he only laughed. Then, as if they had caught it through the air, all three were doubled over in laughter. Ron and Harry exchanged odd looks and then Harry flung himself just as Luna had onto the snow. Rona and Hermione followed as if it were completely natural. Though they refrained from making snow figures, they had each scooped up a fist full of white powder and chucked it in another’s direction. Luna had sat making a figure out of the snow as if it were sand. She molded it and soon under her fingers stood a large white raven. Harry had looked over just as Ron had thrown another snowball and it hit Harry on the side of his face. He didn’t seem to care; he was enthralled with the model of the raven that Luna had made. Hermione had walked over just as Luna stood and drew her wand. With a swish of her twelve-inch willow, the bird came to life. A pure whit raven flapped it’s feathers and took flight. Luna stared at her creation as it flew into the vast blue sky, her eyes wide on her expressionless face.
Hermione was amazed, “Luna! You must be quite advanced in transfiguration! That was amazing!” She looked as if she were about to jump up and down, “of course I have only been able to do a few things, but I have never tried to do something like that. Do you think you can teach me how?” Ron and harry never thought that they would hear this day, when Hermione would ask for help. But it did make sense. Harry knew that Hermione was not one to brag, so why wouldn’t she ask for help?
The afternoon continued with several snowball fights and chases through the snow. Harry could not have felt better, he was going to see his grandparent’s house for the first time where he might find clues to his parent’s life, and his friends were all happy. Just before they had decided to go in they had all collapsed on the snow. They laughed how they felt the snow begin to melt under the heat of their bodies, as they sank slightly.
They felt hungry by the time dinner came and instead of changing their robes, Hermione showed them all how to use their wand to dry off. They sat and enjoyed their warm meal at the Gryffindor table. But Harry felt bad as he looked over to find Luna sitting alone as usual, apart from her fellow Ravenclaws, a smile spread on her face as if there were nothing odd about it. He wondered if they were her only true friends. He felt glad that they had had to sit with her on the train ride the year before.
“Harry? What is it?” Hermione was looking at him trying to figure out what he was thinking.
“Huh? Oh, nothing.” He didn’t know how to tell her that he felt bad for Luna, siting by herself. Then he thought of something, “uh, Hermione,” She was still looking at him, “When you went to the magical creatures shop, did she buy anything for her pet?”
Hermione stared at him, “No, she doesn’t have one. She said her father was going to buy her one just before he died.” Harry could see that Hermione felt bad for her as well.
Without explanation to his question, he kept eating. When they thought that they could eat no more, the dinner food disappeared and deserts filled the tables. As this was the last diner before the break, there were more treats than usual. They filled themselves with cream puffs and chocolate sundaes. More and more deserts filled the table as they thought that they would burst from eating so much.
When they were plum full, they stood to finish their packing. Just as they reached the door, Luna called out to Harry, when he turned he noticed that she had pulled something from her bag and was walking towards him.
“Harry, I thought you might like to read this. Just be careful tonight, the Professors like to patrol to catch couples together before they depart. Merry Christmas!” She handed him a book and walked away, saying bye to Rona and Hermione as she passed them. Harry looked at the book in his hands, Hogwarts: A History. Harry let out a little laugh with his crooked smile.
“Wha’d she give you that for?” Ron stared at the book as they left the Great Hall.
“I don’t know, I expect that her and Hermione think I should read it.” They laughed. But Hermione looked to Harry.
“Well, you should have read it when you were assigned to, Harry. But I think that she had other intentions, look.” She pointed to a piece of parchment hanging out of the end of the book. They had reached the fat lady by now and soon found themselves in the comfort of their usual chairs by the warmth of the fire.
“Harry, I thought you might like to read this. Just be careful tonight, the Professors like to patrol to catch couples together before they depart. Merry Christmas!” She handed him a book and walked away, saying bye to Rona and Hermione as she passed them. Harry looked at the book in his hands, Hogwarts: A History. Harry let out a little laugh with his crooked smile.
“Wha’d she give you that for?” Ron stared at the book as they left the Great Hall.
“I don’t know, I expect that her and Hermione think I should read it.” They laughed. But Hermione looked to Harry.
“Well, you should have read it when you were assigned to, Harry. But I think that she had other intentions, look.” She pointed to a piece of parchment hanging out of the end of the book. They had reached the fat lady by now and soon found themselves in the comfort of their usual chairs by the warmth of the fire. They sat there anticipating what he would see when he opened the book. When he did, he saw a blank bit of parchment. He pulled it out to look closer. There was nothing on the parchment, but Hermione was pointing to the book itself. She had marked the page concerning the Potter’s house and their contributions. There were no pictures to Harry’s disappointment. But then he saw what Hermione was pointing at. There, scribbled on the margin of the page was something that Harry did not understand:
Fourth Floor, Charms
Hermione looked at Harry and Ron. She understood what Luna was trying to say. “Harry, what did she say to you when she gave this to you?”
“Well, she told me to be careful in the halls tonight because the Professors are on extra watches to keep students from well, to keep them from being out late.” He improvised the last part as he suddenly felt flush thinking about meeting someone in the halls in front of Hermione.
“Then that is where she wants us to go. Fourth Floor. Harry, go and get your dad’s cloak.” Hermione stood determined as usual. But Harry was still sitting in the chair.
“Uh,” he was finding his feet rather interesting, “well, alright.” He stood up and ran up the steps to find his trunk. When he returned, he found Hermione and Ron deep in conversation. When they noticed that he was back in the room with them they stood and faced him.
“Uh, Harry,” Ron hesitated, “We thought that we would let you go alone this time. Just so you can...well, I don’t really fit under that thing anymore do I?” he switched directions midsentance, but harry understood. He nodded to them with half a smile and left through the portrait of the Fat Lady. He was walking the corridors slowly even though he was wearing the invisibility cloak. He wanted to make sure that he would not get caught. That was when he had wished he had brought the Marauder’s Map with him. He was as quiet as possible as he rounded the corner to the fourth floor. He felt like he was on his way to Charms lessons.
When he reached the hall where he would walk to Charms, he noticed the numerous portraits on the wall, why hadn’t he noticed them before now? He was creeping along the hall when a portrait of two figures began to speak. A rather young a attractive woman was talking to a man around her age. They were discussing the students and the holidays freely as the other people in their portraits slept. He could not help but wonder when he would find the portrait of his grandparents.
After ten long minutes of searching he came to his Charms classroom. On the side of the door he half expected to find what he was looking for, but there was nothing there. The wall looked as though it once held something large and square in front of it, but whatever it was gone now. Harry’s heart sank as he knew he had missed the chance to see his father’s parents. He pulled off the cloak as his shoulders hung low in disappointment. He turned and let his back hit the door. Sliding down he placed his head in his hands and let out a deep breath.
He looked up, there was no one there. So now he was hearing things on top of all that.
“Harry? Is that you?” He was definitely not hearing things, though he knew he did not recognize the soft voice. He stood and looked around thinking he was in trouble.
“Well, of course it is, he was in my old invisibility cloak.” Harry was shocked.
“Over here, dear,” It was definitely a woman’s voice.
“Oh, for Heaven’s sake, boy, in front of you!” The voice of an aged man came at him. He looked directly in front of him. There in a large golden frame, an older man and woman were beaming back at him. Under their painted selves was a small plaque embossed with the names Harold and Cytheria Potter. His eyes teared up as he took small steps towards them.
“Well, common, dear, we wont bite.” The woman, Cytheria, seemed to be lovely in her age. Long silver-white hair that was pulled back and done up in a fashion that Harry did not know. She had a sweet disposition about her, and next to her was a tall man of pitch-black hair, smiling back at him.
“I, ah...” He could no think of what to say.
“Oh, Harry dear, we have waited for this for so long. We have been watching you, you know. Oh, how much you are like James. You make us so proud dear. Of course we were not alive to see you born, but we knew we would see you some day. Oh, come closer, let me have a look at you.”
Then his grandfather spoke, “Well, you are getting taller Harry, you must have got that from you mom as well. She was such a sweet girl. So, tell us, son, are you doing alright?”
“Oh, Harold, don’t bother him with such nonsense, you know as well as I do that the poor boy has been through a lot. Now leave him a lone. Harry, you are alright, aren’t you?” She asked with such a sweet tone that Harry knew that they must have been wonderful parents as well as people. The only other one that he knew who could use such a tone that convincingly was Mrs. Weasley, and you just don’t get any nicer than her. Harry looked up at them, beaming down at him as if they wanted to break the boundaries of their framed walls and hug him.
“I, ah, fine. I have been fine.” He was nervous but did not want to sound ungrateful. He sat there gazing back at them talking about nonsense for hours. They had not brought up Sirius or anything that they knew Harry would feel the slightest bit of sadness. Instead they talked about Harry’s friends. They had been keeping a close eye on him and his friends. They had mentioned how Luna had been talking to them before her Charms lessons for years. Harry thought that he would have to do something nice for her later to thank her.
The hours melted away and soon the sun was rising. Harry said his good-byes with a promise to talk to them when he got to the house. He was so mesmerized by them that he felt as if he were once again in front of the Mirror of Erised, only seeing what he desired to see. But they were talking back, and Luna had seen them too, they had to be real.
He was overly excited when he returned to Gryffindor Tower and found Ron and Hermione asleep on the chairs, fire still ablaze. He explained everything just before they went to breakfast. It was then that Dumbledore had called them to his office.
There he conjured a portkey to take them to the new location. They had asked about their trunks and he let them know that they would be taken care of. That was the last time Harry saw Dumbledore’s office that year because the portkey whisked them away to a new place with a jolt at the back of their stomachs.
March 13th, 2004, 12:44 am
The portkey had taken them to a whole new area in which he was not expecting. They were on the outskirts of Edinburgh, where the castles and people had not gone. There was a vast mass of white as the planes were filled with snow. They seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, that was until Harry turned around. There, in front of him was an enormous fifteenth century house. It was built on a bank looking over the River Tyne, with terraced gardens just below. A small loch was frozen just to the far side, trees protruding from the white lining. Trees hid the back side from view from on lookers that may have passed by. Harry wondered if they had planned on hiding it away with a spell of some sorts. It would be far too beautiful to want to do such a thing. Then as they began to walk closer to the front entrance, harry realized that he owned such a beautiful place. Hermione and Ron seemed to have realized this as well, as they were looking from the house to Harry and then back to the house again.
Dumbledore smiled down at Harry as they approached the door. Harry’s insides were doing summersaults with each step he took. When they reached the door, Dumbledore motioned to Harry to be the one to open it. He wrapped his fingers around a large handle and pushed as the massive door gave way to a wizarding dream home. There were gadgets and moving gizmos everywhere in the house. It was surprisingly clean given the time that it had been left vacant.
Walking into the entrance hall, Harry noticed that there were a few darker spots on the walls where something large and square had been. But a large light was carrying through the windows that distracted Harry. Suddenly there were a few cracks and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were standing in front of them, Charlie at their side.
“Hey ya Harry! How’s it going? Ron? Hermione?” Charlie asked with a smile.
“Hello dears, it is good to see you again.” Mrs. Weasley smothered them in hugs. “Now, lets go and see where we are going to put you.” She looked around, “Well, where’s Ginny?”
“Oh, she had asked to sort a few matters out, but I will be bringing her shortly, Molly.” Dumbledore answered. She smiled and led them down the hall. Harry had the impression that she had been here several times, as she was so familiar with the surroundings. Harry could not help but think of the Black’s home, how dark and old it felt. But it was different here. Light filled the rooms and there was a soft home feel to it. After his conversation the night before he was sure that the ones in the portrait were the very same people who had once owned this house.
He was shocked to find no portraits on the bare walls. As they followed Mrs. Weasley down the hall, they found the staircase and climbed to the top. There they looked down into a massive waiting room. “Come along dears, were not far now.” Mrs. Weasley called after them. She then turned the corner and took them to their room. Hermione was taken to a room that she would share with Ginny. Though there were three large beds in the room. Harry couldn’t help but think that they were each there for a reason. Ron and Harry were to share one as usual, though for company more than out of necessity as there were plenty of rooms to go around.
Charlie had walked in with their trunks a quarter of an hour later. “So, how have things been?” He asked when he set the trunks down. Ron and Harry burst out with stories of the term. They talked of the Quidditch matches and their lessons, all of the things that had occurred during their time away. When they began talking about Professor Lovegood Charlie gave a small laugh.
“Well, you went to school with her, you tell us what she was like.” Ron finally said.
“Oh, well, she was just as she is now. I am sure you know from her sister. They are just the same. But Lorna, Miss Lovegood to you, she was a great friend. She loved to watch the Quidditch games. Sometimes after lessons she would fly with us, rather good, she was.” Charlie seemed to be reminiscing old times. Before Harry and Ron could ask more someone had walked in the door.
Harry looked around and seeing no one there, he turned away, but then looked back at the sudden movement. Dobby was standing fingering his shirt as he stared at the three of them.
“Dobby!” Harry called out, “ What are you doing here?” He was smiling at the elf.
“Well, Harry Potter, sir, the Headmaster was asking Dobby if he could watch over the house, sir.” Harry was excited, but knew that Hermione would not be happy unless he was getting paid for his work.
It wasn’t long before Mrs. Weasley called them down to lunch. Harry was tired, but was not wanting to retire any time soon. He was busy looking around the house. Just after they finished lunch Dumbledore appeared with Ginny. After he said his hellos he asked harry for a word.
“Harry, I was wondering if I might ask something of you.” With a nod, he continued, “I must ask you, and your friends, to not go to the east wing of the house. I trust that you will have plenty to explore around here without ending up there.” Harry nodded but felt a tinge of anger as if he weren’t to be trusted.
March 13th, 2004, 3:06 am
Frustrated, Harry returned to his room thinking of all the things that he had been through and wondering what could be in the east wing that Dumbledore did not trust him with. Thinking back to his first year at Hogwarts, he wondered if a massive three-headed dog would be guarding something. Whatever it was Harry was determined to find out. The last time that they refused to inform him of their secret behind a special corridor he ended up leading the enemy straight there. He knew that it could not have been that bad if they kept it in the house but then why shield him from something. Had Dumbledore not explained that he had made a mistake not telling Harry everything last year? Why was this being kept secret?
Hermione had the usual expected reaction when he informed them that they were to stay clear of the east wing. Her cautions were useless, Harry and Ron knew that they were not to go explore, but that did not keep them from being curious and frustrated. After the afternoon was spent arguing over why they were not allowed in the forbidden wing, Ginny interrupted by calling them to dinner. A little disappointed as they had not explore anything in their heated conversations they walked down to eat.
Dinner was a silent affair between the group, as no one wanted to bring up the hidden secret, but the adults spoke delightedly of their new surroundings. There were to be more visitors soon and a few of the rooms would have to be let out in order to accommodate them. Dobby had scampered up to the table and offered to help Mrs. Weasley with the cleaning and arranging of the rooms. She was delighted. Ron had given a small smirk, as he knew his mother would love to have a house elf around, which left him free of doing extra chores.
After dinner was finished harry had decided that it would be easier for him to just go straight to bed as he had not slept the night before and did not want to hear how he was being irrational in his curiosity. When he reached his room, he changed into his pajamas, just as he was pulling his shirt over his head; Dobby walked in the door accompanied by Ron and Hermione.
“Go on, tell him.” Ron pushed.
“Ron, be nice!” Hermione nagged.
Harry only stared between the three. Dobby took a step forward and smiled, “I knows, Harry Potter, sir, where you can talk to old friends.” He seemed as if he were speaking code. Harry just continued to stare, “If you follow me, Harry Potter, sir, I can shows you where they are.” He was excited as he turned around and ran out of the door. Harry, Ron and Hermione followed trying to keep up the pace.
They ran down the stairs and into a large room where a fire was drawn. Above the hearth was a large portrait that covered the span of the wall. Warmed by the feeling of joy, he smiled up at his grandparents. Dobby had explained how he was cleaning this afternoon and recognized the couple from the fourth floor corridor.
They sat for hours talking to the Potters. Harry had introduced Hermione and Ron and they discussed the many things about the house and the area they lived in. They spoke of the friendships they had being so close to the school. After a few hours Hermione and Ron were beginning to show signs of sleep when the Potters mentioned that they were not going anywhere and it might be good for them to go to sleep.
They made their way to their rooms, Hermione was careful not to wake Ginny as she walked in, and Ron and Harry collapsed on their beds. Harry was whisked away into a dreamless sleep that seemed to last forever.
March 13th, 2004, 3:07 am
Harry was jolted awake by the slamming of a large door. At first he did not know where he was, but soon felt the warmth of the large fire on his face and remembered that he was in the safety of his grandparent’s house. But who was at the door? He looked over to Ron’s bed; it was empty and made properly. He pulled his covers from him and shot out of bed. He scrambled to throw on his clothes and ran out of the door. Just as he hit the hall, Ron called out to him, “Harry, you’re awake, we thought you’d sleep the day through.”
“What time is it then?”
“About half passed one. We just finished lunch. We were going to wake you when Mom told us to let you sleep. You have to come down, everyone is here, mate!” Harry looked down to the lower level where he could see shadows of various figures mulling about. Harry ran down the stairs and joined his friends in the gathering room that they were in the night before. As he walked in he shot a glance to the fire where over the hearth the portrait still stood. He smiled and waved back at his grandparents who noticed his entrance. He then took a look around the room where several people sat talking.
He felt as though he had missed a meeting. Leaning on the hearth of the fire looking cool as ever was Bill, talking to Fleur. Behind him was Charlie deep in conversation with Tonks. Harry had to laugh as Tonks seemed to have tried to go all out with her look. Her hair was now short and curly, a bright orange color with red and yellow streaks perfectly placed so that she looked as though her head were on fire as the flames licked the sides of her face. Fred and George were talking to Mundungus Fletcher in their sneaky manner as Mad Eye Moody watched them with his magical eye. Lupin sat talking to Professor McGonagall over a drink of what looked like pumpkin juice. Harry felt a deep sadness as he thought that there was someone missing from this elite group. He had missed Sirius more than ever as he thought that only a year ago they were decorating his house to the tune of “God rest ye Merry Hypogriffs”.
He must have shown his sadness on his face as Bill and Fleur seemed to make their way to him, looking as if they should offer support. As much as Harry wanted to be alone, he knew that he could not be rude. Ron, thank goodness, had made his way over as well. The group all took seats next to Hermione and Ginny by the fire. Harry decided to evade the conversation of what was on his mind by asking Fleur how things were going. Her French accent floated into the room as Harry remembered something. “So, well, did you know Aida d’Ami? She must have gone to school with you.”
Fleur looked confused, “Whoo? Aida? I do not know any Aida.” But suddenly as if someone hit her she remembered, “OH! Aida, yes, she waz there when I waz. Yes.” She smiled, but not to Harry as she was looking past him to someone behind him. Just then Tonks and Charlie had joined their group. “Wotcher Harry!” They sat an talked of the different people in the order. Charlie had mentioned that there would be more on their way. They had just begun to arrive, so there would be plenty more time to talk about things.
Harry was not shocked to hear Ron asking about Miss Lovegood, he knew that Ron, like the rest of the male population at Hogwarts, had a thing for her. “So, Charlie, what was she really like? Did you two go out?”
“Well, no.” He had looked over to Tonks who sat sipping a pumpkin juice that she had just filled, “Well, no we just hung out, like you and Hermione do. Though we got into less trouble, especially with her being a Prefect, we knew just how to get away with the things we did without getting caught.” At this Ron laughed, but harry remembered how Dumbledore always seemed to know what was going on. But Charlie continued, “so we were not as bad as Fred and George, but we had our fun. There were a few of us that would run around together. We did have fun laughing at what she would wear though. She was always doing something crazy, but not trying to at the same time. There were several times when we would sneak off into the Dark Forest, oh and don’t tell mum” he looked to Ron, “we would get to know several of the creatures there. I think you know our centaur friend, Firenze. We would talk to him mostly. Lorna had a way with talking to all kinds of animal and creatures, well, being what she is and all.” Harry and Ron looked to each other, and then back to Charlie.
As if their voices were magnified as they spoke simultaneously, “What is she?”
Charlie sat up straight and looked from Bill to Tonks, “Well, um, you know, she is er, good with people and all.” Harry and Ron felt as though they were not getting the truth out of him, but there was no time to ask as there was a knock on the door. Someone had left to get see who it was and a minute or so later three people stood of the threshold of the gathering room. There stood Luna, Lorna and a tall man, whom Harry had guessed to be their brother Altair.
Harry’s eyes traveled straight to Luna, who was wearing something that made Ron stare. She had on boots that covered her calves, fur exploding from the top little fluffs of snow gathering at the edges. Thick, black wool thigh high socks that ended just under her pleated dark gray wool skirt, leaving just a smidgen of skin showing between the two. Adding to the ensemble was a fitted wool coat of the same black as her thigh highs, but ended in a plumage of fur on her sleeves and hood, which covered her large eyes. Hidden beneath the hood as well, was her hair, pulled to each side of her face and tied delicately with a gray ribbon that hung down the front of her coat. But then Harry’s attention was pulled to his professor at Luna’s side, she wore an identical ensemble with inverted colors, looking as though they were twins. Next to them stood a tall man with long dark hair that was pulled back and tied a the nape of his neck. He was dressed rather normally, which reminded Harry of what Hagrid had said. He was definitely the sane one of the three in his long dark coat and weathered blue eyes that differed from his sisters. There was something else that set him apart from the sisters that harry could not put his finger on. Something in their presence.
There were the usual greetings between those who knew each other as Harry and Ron just sat in their chairs watching the charade. Ginny and Hermione walked in and joined the two in sitting. But they were tongue-tied as they stared at Altair. Ron, noticing this, leaned over to Hermione who had her back turned to them. Leaning in just behind her ear, he whispered,
“So, can I say who is bad now? Look at you two drooling over him, just wait until I let everyone at school know.” Hermione was shocked as she turned to confront him. But he had not yet moved away and the two collided, throwing them both off balance, which caused them to plummet to the floor. Hermione’s head made a thud on the wooden floor causing everyone in the room to turn and look at Ron laying on top of her, trying hard to push himself up. Before he could, the room broke out in laughter. Ron could only stare at Hermione who was looking up at him in question.
Luna walked up to them, and hovering over their frozen bodies said, “Well, I was wondering when it would happen.” And walked passed them to sit in the now vacant chair that Ron had occupied. Ron jumped up off of Hermione and looked dazed, but as he leaned in to help her up, someone had extended a hand in front of him..
Altair stood above her hand offered in help. She was shaking as she placed her small fingers into his large callused ones. Harry was reminded of Charlie’s hands when he looked down at Altair’s. “Thank you.” Hermione’s voice was weak and shaky as she stood and looked into his eyes.
A smile broke out across his face as he nodded. “Well, Altair, still the ladies man I see, but you’d better watch out for this one, she could challenge you in the brains category.” Charlie had smacked Altair on the back as he almost shouted this. Hermione turned a bright red and suddenly found her feet to be rather interesting. The rest of the room had gone back to their chatter to Ron’s relief.
“So I have heard, you must no doubt be Hermione then.” His voice was as enthralling as Lorna’s. Altair then took a turn introducing himself to each of them, “And you must be Harry,” he smiled as he shook Harry’s hand. “Lorna has spoken very highly of you, you seem to be the top of her class, but don’t let her know I told you, she does not want it to go to your head.” He winked.
“That won’t happen, Harry has beaten Voldemort several times and it has not gone to his head.” Luna was her usual dazed self at Harry’s side.
“Well, yes of course, Luna.” Altair seemed to be a loving brother, but Luna seemed to be sensing something that Altair was not showing, she just stood there, with no change in her expression. There was a cool silence the lingered as no one spoke. Hermione and Ron were still red in the face and stood, preoccupied with something on the floor.
Charlie was the one to break the awkward feeling, “So, did you know that Altair and I worked together in Romania?”
Harry was shocked, he could not have believed that this tall and very well fashioned young man would work in anything dangerous, “I thought you worked on the Quibbler with your father?”
“Well, no, not until last summer. I was called in to help out after,” He broke off.
“After he was attacked.” Luna finished his sentence calmly.
“Well, yes, thank you Luna. After that, I came back here to help out in anyway possible. That was when Charlie let me in on everything here, and well, we don’t really need to get into all of that.”
Harry could see how different he really was from his sisters. He was almost afraid to talk about his father and very composed. He seemed like a very nice guy, just very well grounded for the family. Harry noticed that Fred and George were making their way over to them.
“Hey, who’s up to seeing our shop?” Fred asked as they drew closer.
“Yeah, a full tour and everything!” George chimed in.
“And how are we supposed to get there?” Luna asked as she slowly turned her head to face them.
“Well, portkey of course, which means we can have you back whenever we need to.” Fred answered, as George nodded.
“And who are we going to get to make a portkey?” Harry asked, he really wanted to go, but did not want to think of it if he were to be let down.
“Well, that’s easy, we’ll just get Tonks to do it for us, that way they can make sure that everything is safe. You know like they like to do.” George answered. It sounded like a great plan; they could use the time catching up with the twins.
March 13th, 2004, 5:00 am
An hour later there were four hands were clutching a bag of Berty Bott’s Every Flavor Beans as they were transported to Diagon Alley. It did not take long until they were enjoying their day in the winter sun. Fred, George, Bill, Charlie, Fleur and Lorna had apparated there and met them at the shop. It seemed as though they broke off into couples as Bill was showing Fleur around, Fred and George were tending their shop and Charlie and Lorna were laughing about old times. Harry and his friends stayed together until the later part of the day when they broke off to buy Christmas gifts. Harry had bought a gift for Hermione and Ron and even found some socks for Dobby, but felt bad, as he had nothing for Luna.
He walked the whole of the Alley trying to think of something to get her when he passed the Magical Managery. Hermione was in there buying something for Crookshanks when he walked in. He thought he would say hello and ask her what she thought was a good present for a girl like Luna. As he walked to the counter he passed a cage where a small fluff of black fur lay curled up in a ball. He could not help but walk closer and see what it was. Leaning down to get a closer look, he watched as the ball uncurled and a round face stared back at him with beady black eyes.
“Oh, Hi Harry, Oh, what a cute little puppy!” Hermione had just noticed him standing there. Hermione brought Crookshanks with her, who was staring at the little dog.
“Hermione, can I borrow Crookshanks a second?” Harry was still staring at the dog.
“Ah, sure,” she handed Crookshanks over to Harry who held him out to the cage. The puppy inside stood on wobbly legs to smell who was at his cage door. The ginger cat purred and batted his paw to play with the black puff of fur in front of it.
“This is it!” Harry was excited. He called to the lady that manned the counter and asked her if he could purchase the puppy on special delivery for Christmas morning. Hermione stood watching as Harry gave instructions for the puppy to be sent to Fred and George’s shop. He then picked up a collar and tag and bewitched it to sparkle with shinny silver glitter with the name “Stubby”. Hermione looked as though she were confused but with one look from Harry knew not to ask or say a word.
The rest of the trip was wonderful as they ate at the Leaky Cauldron with the entire group. Harry could not help but notice how fond Luna’s sister was of Charlie. But out of respect kept his feelings to himself. Harry thought that Luna was being awfully quiet as she ate her diner, but just attributed it to her being quiet every time she ate. Ron looked around the table as if he had just noticed something.
“Hey, where is Ginny?” he finally asked.
“You just now noticed that she was not with us?” Hermione looked at him and then quickly looked away, the two had not said a word to each other the entire day and when one had been in close proximity to the other they would both turn a brilliant red and look the other way. Because of this, Ron did not answer Hermione’s question as his ears had taken a new shade of pink. Harry was still left wonder what had happened when Bill spoke up.
“She wanted to stay and help mum with some of the cleaning.” With this harry knew something was wrong as none of the Weasleys asked to help clean, though they would when asked, there was not too many time that they volunteered for the job.
As Harry was thinking this he looked up into Luna’s large eyes. Had she been staring at him the entire time? He was now beginning to believe that there was something more to Luna and her sister than other let on. He just looked back down at his food and tried not to think of anything to distracting as to bring her attention to him again.
The evening ended faster than Harry wanted it to but was still fun none-the-less. After dinner they had gone back to Fred and George’s shop where they took the portkey back to the Potter’s house. Once there they discussed their day with everyone. Professor McGonagall had gone back to the castle, and Dung had gone to where ever it was that he goes. But Tonks and the Weasleys were there for the night. They sat by the fire discussing the day’s events when Harry noticed Lupin and Mad Eye weren’t with them. He figured Mad Eye was back a the Black’s house seeing to matters there as he had mentioned such earlier but he knew that Lupin would be staying with them here.
The Lovegoods were to stay there as well, Lorna was to room with Hermione and Ginny and Lorna would stay with Fleur. The eldest Weasleys and Altair all in the same room. Harry thought about what it was like to share a room with Ron and thought that it might not be much different even when you are older, still the late night talks about all that was going on.
Halfway through the night Harry was plagued with his first dream of Sirius in months. Harry was standing laughing as he watched Sirius fall over and over again through large veils. He was reaching out to harry for help but harry could do nothing, there was a voice in his head that kept laughing and haunting him. He was possessed somehow and could not get the intruder out of his head. As he tried to reach to help his godfather sharp fangs bit him in his arm. His hands were soon covered in blood as he watched Sirius plummet even further through several veils. The taunting laugh shrieking in his head. But something happened that harry was not expecting, the form of Sirius writhed and convulsed until it molded itself into the shape of Snape. Harry was staring mouth gaping at his professor plummeting through the veils.
Harry sat upright in bed, his bedclothes in disarray as he had struggled. Deep breath after deep breath he took thinking of what he had seen. He did not want to wake Ron as he stood and decided to go to the only place where he could get comfort. He walked out of his room and down the hall towards the great fire in the gathering room.
As he rounded the corner he thought that he heard voices and slowed his pace, making sure to not be detected. He heard a soft pretty voice coming from in front of the fire. He stopped and flung himself against the wall, once there he held on as he stuck his head around the corner to see who was there. In the middle of the large fur rug was a small figure crumpled up and holding her knees. It was Luna. She was in her long nightgown and sat talking to Harry’s grandparents.
Harry froze and listened to what she was saying. They talked about life at school and how her classmates would tease her by calling her Looney Lovegood. After a while she broke down crying as if talking to her own family. Harry felt bad intruding on her private conversation but it had kept his mind off of his dream. He had not noticed how he had plucked himself from the wall and stood out in the open behind the large chairs that encircle the rug. He could See Luna in full view and was watching and listening to her sorrows as he forgot his own. She had not even noticed his presence, which was odd as she had always noticed his presence.
Just as he thought it was safe to turn around and leave, his grandmother called out, “Oh, Harry dear, don’t leave just yet.”
Harry froze as he felt his face turning the same pink that Ron’s ears took this evening. Luna turned around and looked shocked. Harry felt worse than he had ever felt on intruding on her private moment. But she only smiled and asked him to sit down with her. “They are wonderful people, your grandparents. I have been talking to them since my first year. I don’t really talk to a lot of people, so when I met them, I knew that they would not say mean things and call me Looney. They didn’t stare and point at me like everyone else did behind my back.” She was so matter of fact that Harry could hardly believe she was crying only moments ago.
Harry knew how she felt with the stares and the jests at being different from everyone else. Though he did not talk much or even mention his dream, after an hour of talking to Luna and his grandparents, Harry felt loads better. He walked Luna back to her room.
“Well, then, Goodnight Harry.” She was smiling as she clasped her hands in front of her. She looked as though there was something that she wanted to do, but refrained. Harry only smiled and said Goodnight in return. When he climbed back into bed he felt better and really glad that he had made the purchases he had during the trip to Hogsmeade. He was able to sleep a nice dreamless sleep.
March 13th, 2004, 5:08 am
The next week was spent cleaning and decorating the large house with all sorts of Christmas decorations. Harry and Luna had hung a garland around the Hearth with instructions from the Potters above. The entire house was excited as they grew closer to the Holiday. Harry had noticed that Lupin kept sneaking out and spending hours on end away from the group. He wondered where he would leave to, but then there were always distractions to pull him away. At the moment it was Bill and Fleur hanging mistletoe in the threshold. Harry had looked away when they hung it, both standing under it they felt they had to abide by tradition. Harry was reminded of his first kiss with Cho a year before. If he thought he was confused about girls then, he was even more confused about girls now. Especially after his encounter with her on Valentine’s Day.
The thought was soon pushed from his mind as Dobby walked in with a red and white striped hat that dragged on the floor. Harry thought that it was the work of Hermione from all of the odd ends. She had made him green socks too that made him look as if he was a part of a Muggle Christmas tale. All of that plus he was dragging along a wreath that he was caught up in, which made him look like a Holiday gillyweed with little feet, singing a carol as he led Mrs. Weasley into the great room. Behind him, she hummed the same tune as Dobby making them a caravan of carolers. Hermione brought up the end of the singing train with a row of fairy lights that were to be added to the tree, that was until she caught sight of Ron and quickly looked away, ending mid chorus.
Ron and Hermione were still not on speaking terms from the fall, though they were very much aware of the other’s presence when in the same room. Ron would glow a pale red whenever Altair would walk in the room as Hermione would suddenly get giggly, but would still be able to hold an intelligent conversation over charms or transfiguration spells.
The day before Christmas came up on them quickly, all of the members of the Order had gathered around the fire in front of the large Portrait as they shared a cup of pumpkin juice. But they were soon standing and took their leave for a formal meeting. When they had stood, Fred and George took their opportunity to join. They left their seats and walked behind the group only to be stopped by Mrs. Weasley.
“And where do you think you’re going?”
“With you,” Fred began.
“We want to join the Order.” George finished.
“No you’re not, you’re going to stay right here with everyone else.”
“Now Molly,” Arthur soothed at her side. Harry leaned in trying not to be too suspicious. Arthur had seemed to convince her that they were the ones to make the choice now that they were of age an out of school. Mrs. Weasley was beside herself but gave in and Fred and George followed the group, turning with a wink to Harry and Ron.
They sat thinking of the next day when harry had wondered where they went. He stood and walked to the threshold and peered around the corner. They seemed to have gone to the east wing that he was forbidden to enter. He stood there thinking of what they could be hiding when he heard a soft voice at his side, “You’re under the Mistletoe Harry,” He jumped and turned around to face Luna.
“Er, yes, I, er...” He took a step to the left to reposition himself.
“You know that Mistletoe is deadly if you eat it.” She said very seriously and turned on her heels, he pigtails flying, and walked back to her chair.
Christmas morning came with Ron’s calls for Harry to wake as usual. He had already begun to sift through his presents when Harry looked to the end of his bed. There was a mountain of gifts, in various assortments of sizes. Ron was opening his Broom Polishing Kit that Harry bought him. Harry grabbed a gift from Ron, a bag of Quidditch players that could take orders so they could show different plays, very useful for the Captain. Hermione had got him the matching set so he could configure what the match would be like against opponents. Mr. Weasley had knitted him the usual jumper with an H across the chest. Dobby had given him something that he had not expected, instead of the usual pair of socks, he must have taken it from the house, it seemed to be a photo of his parents. He was shocked and excited, but wanted to find something better than socks to give him. Just then he spotted another sift. It was from Luna, when he opened it he found a book, Dreams Foretold, for those that are not believers in Divination. He stared at the book. How did she know he was having dreams again, he had opened it expecting to find pages full of kooky interpretations on generic dreams. But the book was blank. There were no words or diagnostic followings at all. He closed it and examined it carefully, opening the front cover once again he finally noticed that there was a letter written inside.
I wanted to give you something useful. I know you do not like Divination, so I did not want to get you something that you would not use. Though you do not have to be afraid to write in this as it is not bewitched to have someone’s memory writing back to you. It is an old spell that my grandmother used, so it is safe. All you have to do is write in your dream and it will tell you what is going on. You don’t have to worry about being close to death every night with this one, it will tell you the truth. And it locks after you make your first entry, so you don’t have to worry about anyone using it or reading what your dreams are.
Harry sat on his bed thinking of Luna’s letter. She seemed to have known that he was having the nightmares and that he did not like Divination. Just as he was going to ask Ron about it, something began to sing a chorus of “Weasley is our King”. Harry looked up from his book, Ron was holding a flag with the Gryffindor crest and Lion that had been bewitched to sing the song over and over again. After Ron got over his initial shock of the gift he strangled it with his pillow which only muffled the sound. Hermione came running in the door with a box clutched in her hands.
“Oh! Merry Christmas,” Harry stared at her, she was so excited but he could not imagine why, he knew he only got her a book on Arithmancy, one that she wanted but he didn’t think that was what she was excited about. “You will never believe who is here!”
“Who?” Harry asked, Ron was still looking away, but he was redder than usual, Harry though that it might have had to do with the box that she was clutching in her hands.
“My Parents! Fred and George ran into them somehow and invited them to join us for the day! They had brought a package with them too, but Fred and George said that they had asked them to bring it with them, said it wasn’t something they could apparate.” She gave Harry a look that let him know that she knew what it was.
They had decided to go and meet her parents, but they thought they would change first. After Hermione left them alone, Ron asked what Harry got her. But they were not talking long when Luna walked in, when they were half way through changing. Both had they pants on but were not yet covered by their shirts when she opened the door and came flying in. She was beaming, arms hugging a black fluff of fur.
Holding the puppy in one arm, she threw the other around Harry’s naked neck. He was shocked. He dropped the shirt he was holding and returned the embrace, whispering a Merry Christmas in her ear. He looked down and noticed that she had her eyes closed and was not soon letting go. But just as he though he would be locked in the hug, he felt a cold wet nose nuzzle him in the rib. He jumped back and laughed as he looked at the puppy’s cute smile as he stuck out his tongue and panted in her arms.
The three made their way down to the gathering room where the fire was ablaze and several people gathered around a scared looking couple. Mr. Weasley was the one asking all of the questions but everyone seemed to be interested in what they had to say. Harry found that the pair were just two grown Hermiones. They spoke like her and were as kind as she was, even in their all-knowing nature.
Breakfast was an event to remember. The Grangers were fidgety at the free serving utensils and jumped every time Tonks would change her hair, which was most recently long with red and green waves. Mad Eye Moody showed up in the middle of the meal with a piece of Holy tied to his bowler smiling roughly at Hermione’s parents.
This was the first time that Luna had let go of Stubby who she sat at her side with a bowl of eggs and toast. He soon garbled it up and then jumped out of the chair to play with Crookshanks. The two seemed quite a team as the cat taught the dog the tricks of the house. They became the subject of conversation when Lupin walked in and informed them that the two were investigating the house.
Harry felt as if nothing could go better. After breakfast they gathered once again in the large open room in the soft darkness as the snow fell outside. Ron sat tinkering with his broom with the supplies he and Hermione gave him, though he would look up to check the room every few minutes as if wondering everyone’s whereabouts. Hermione was fingering a bracelet on her wrist as her and Luna watched Crookshanks play with Stubby. Harry noticed that Hermione’s parents were feeling more at ease with everyone. As Harry continued his examination of the room, he noticed that Lupin was once again missing from the group.
Instantly Harry stood and walked out of the room, and down the hall, turning east at the end of the long wing. He kept walking determined to find his father’s friend, not so much out of curiosity for the forbidden wing. He crept along the wing in the darkness as the curtains had been pulled, Harry though that this added to the allure of the situation. At the end of the hall a door stood ajar, a small fissure of light peaking through, all the more inciting as Harry neared the door. As he reached the point where he would cast a shadow and be discovered, he paused and listened hard, wishing he had one of Fred and George’s extendable ears. He heard a soft voice from within, one that Harry did not recognize. But then he heard the distinct voice of his former teacher. They would take turns in talking as Harry strained himself to hear what they were talking about. It did not seem to be a very important matter as Lupin was not rushed and hurried in his speech but he lingered there as if he were talking to old friends.
Just as Harry had decided that he could inch a little closer, he felt a bit of something swipe against his leg. Jumping back he pulled his wand to find a large ginger cat sleeking his way towards the light. Harry had thought he could not hate the cat more as it had kept him from finding out what Lupin was up to as well as what was in the east wing. Lupin had showed up in the doorway, looking suspicious at Harry, who stood showing his anger as it was painted on his face.
“What are you doing here Harry?” Lupin asked calmly.
“I was, er, I was...” Stubby, who had followed Crookshanks, was now panting at his foot, “I came to get the puppy.” He picked him up as it gave a lick on his cheek. Lupin smiled and walked towards Harry, leaving a bit of the room exposed through the open door behind him. With in the room, he saw nothing; it seemed to be just the same as the gathering room. There was few large chairs around a fire and pictures on the wall, harry could not think why they would forbid him to go in there. The only thing he could think of was that it was a place where they held their meetings. But harry was given no chance to truly look into the forbidden room as Lupin pulled the door shut as he suggested that they join the others.
Harry knew he would have to find a way to get Hermione and Ron to start talking to each other and not turn red when they were in the other’s company; he had to tell them what he saw. When the two returned they found a room full of laughter. Fred and George had brought Butterbeers and were passing out cream cakes. The Grangers rolled with laughter as Tonks turned into a canary and then back again. Luna had walked up to him and thanked him for bringing Stubby back, as she took him back into her arms with a smile. But he had noticed that she had something else with her as well, it was a small stuffed lion that roared when Stubby prodded it with his enormous paw. The dog whimpered and squirmed in her arms. Harry knew the lion must have been from Ron, he was always complaining how she wore her lion hat during Quidditch matches, but knowing Luna, she would still wear the hat and carry the stuffed lion as well.
The day passed slowly as Harry tried to figure out a way to get his friends together and talk without looking suspicious. By the time that Dinner was served he had felt as though he would burst. He sat down at the table next to Charlie and Ron and stayed very quiet. Everyone around him was talking about their day and their gifts but he could not do the one thing that he wanted.
Lorna, Who had been sitting across from Charlie, leaned in and looked him in the eye, “You know you will be able to do what you want this evening, you might want to enjoy this now. We might not see everyone together like this again, you know.” She was smiling, but Harry could not see the how she could remain clam as she said those words. But Harry was not given too much time to think about them, as someone joined them that they were not expecting.
Snape walked into the dinning room door, standing with a scowl as usual. Mrs. Weasley at once conjured a plate for him and asked him to join them for dinner. Harry thought that there might be news of what was going on with Voldemort, but Molly, apparently thought what ever it was could wait until after Christmas dinner. His Potions master sat down at the far end of the table, looking as if he could not stand his company. But just as Harry thought this would be a ruined meal, Snape turned to Tonks, and whispered something to her. Hermione, who had been sitting next to Tonks, shot Harry a strong look as she leaned n a bit further to hear what he was saying.
Harry thought that the night would drag out in quiet hushed tones now that Snape was here. He could not see how a day that started off to be so wonderful could end up so badly.
Once Harry was finally able to get Ron, Hermione, Luna to join him they needed a place to talk. As they walked the hall to find a room, they heard a little whimper from behind a closed door. Harry turned, Stubby was in Luna’s arms so it could not be him. Harry opened the door slowly, within the closed room he found Ginny collapsed over a pile of books, sobbing lightly into her arms.
“What is it Ginny? Are you alright?” Harry asked, Hermione and Luna both stared at him.
“Well, she is a bit stressed you know, she has O.W.L.s this year.” Luna said as if she did not have them herself.
“What’s she need to worry about anyway? She’ll do fine.” Ron looked to Harry as if it were to be expected.
“Ron,” Ginny’s voice was muffled under her arms and cut up by sobs, “What d-did I receive at the start of this y-year?”
“I don’t know.” Ron looked as though he were confused.
Ginny lifted her head slowly, her tears swelling in her eyes. “Nothing.”
Ron looked more confused than ever. Hermione looked to him for the first time in a week, “She wasn’t made a prefect, Ron.”
“So?” He was not trying to be mean, but trying more to understand.
“So, well, I have more to live up to now don’t I? I was not made a Prefect so now I have to get all of my O.W.L.s” She laid her head back down and sobbed some more.
“Ginny it is alright, you will do fine! Mum doesn’t care if you get all of you O.W.L.s, she knows your brilliant.” He was trying to comfort her, but she only asked them to leave. Complying by her wishes, they left and shut the door behind them.
When they found a room they closed and locked the door. Ron slumped into a chair as Hermione drew a fire. Harry chose a chair as Luna let her puppy down to play, but it only laid down at her feet. Harry had the comforting feeling of being back in Gryffindor Tower talking like they did at school. Hermione sat down as Harry informed them of what he found earlier. Hermione seemed to think that it was just their meeting room, but she wanted to get onto further information.
She looked at Harry as she was still avoiding Ron for a reason that Harry could not figure out. “Harry, Snape was telling Tonks that the person she was watching has had contact with the outside. She might want to get back to her mission. What does this mean?”
“Well, she was watching someone. Someone who has a connection to Voldemort and could go either way.” Luna said as she stared into the dancing flames of the fire.
“Right, so who was she watching?” Hermione voiced at Luna’s side.
They spoke for an hour before they decided that they should go to bed. Ron and Harry could not figure out who Tonks was supposed to be watching but wondered if it was a member that was cleared of being a Death Eater in the past but still had connections with Voldemort.
The next two weeks were spent discussing the possible Death Eater. Harry first thought of Fudge, but Hermione just said that he was not smart enough to join Voldemort, he was just after money and power. Ron thought that it could have been Mr. Umbridge, but Luna said that was only wishful thinking. They were so preoccupied with finding out who it was that Tonks was supposed to be watching over that they did not notice that they no longer cared about the east wing.
The spent their last days of vacation trying to help Ginny study while Stubby chased Dobby around the house playfully nipping at his socks. Dobby did not seem to mind as he as in the playful mood when he was not trying to help Mrs. Weasley with the housework. The members of the Order were popping in and out doing odd ends and acting very secretive. After breakfast on the day before they were to return to school, Lupin left to venture to his hiding place and accidentally left a copy of the Daily Profit on the table. Hermione was overjoyed, as she would finally read about what was going on in the wizarding world.
On the front page was a picture of a house in the south of London that was attacked by a loose bit of Devil’s Snare. It had killed the inhabitants, a Mr. and Mrs. Anderton, a wizard family that had just moved from Edinburgh. The Ministry seemed to have mentioned that they had it under control and that it was an accident that it had gotten planted there in the night. Harry did not think that it seemed like an accident though, he thought it sounded like the work of the Death Eaters. They spoke as they packed their trunks for school.
March 13th, 2004, 5:27 pm
The night after dinner brought interesting happenings as they spent their last night together in the house. Bill and Fleur were sitting by the fire discussing something that Harry did not want to listen to, while Charlie and Miss Lovegood took a walk outside in the snow by the lock. Ron was putting away his servicing kit making sure that it would fit properly in his trunk. While Ginny poured over the books that she had not yet packed. Hermione sat tinkering with her bracelet once again that seemed to have charms of a quill, an owl, and a cat. Luna was tying a scarf around Stubby’s neck with Dobby’s assistance. She then stood and walked out the room. Harry decided he wanted to follow and find where she was going. When he reached the door, she had put on her wool coat and wrapped Stubby inside; his head was poking out with the scarf dangling down her front. Harry put his cloak on and walked behind her as she left the house and walked along in the snow.
She walked out the door where Harry followed into the snow filled field of trees. He though tit was dangerous for her to be out there with out light, so he caught up to her and pulled his wand; with the incantation he had a bright light to lead their way.
“So, where are we going?” He asked holding his wand out in front of the two of them, looking down at her.
“I don’t know. Stubby said he wanted to see the snow.” She was very serious and Harry could not help but smile, but refrained from laughing. So they just walked around in silence that was rather comforting to Harry. She did not want to talk about what was bothering him or what was going on with his life, they were just simply enjoying each other’s company.
They walked in silence for a quarter of an hour until they reached the loch where they spotted Miss Lovegood and Charlie talking. Harry did not want to interrupt their moment, but Luna seemed interested. For the first time that Harry could remember Luna whispered as she spoke, “They have been good friends ever since they were in school together.” The look on Luna’s face showed that she knew Harry already knew this information. But she continued, “I could see if he likes her, but I really don’t want to invade his privacy.” Harry did not understand what she meant, and asked her so. “Well, I already think that he likes her, but I don’t want to invade his feelings to find out.” She looked as though he should understand what she was talking about.
“What do you mean, ‘invade his feelings’?” He finally asked as the look on his face was not portraying his confusion as well as he wanted.
“Well, I could easily find out his feelings, but that would mean that I delve into his personal business and I do not want to do that, not without his permission.” She was smiling but Harry still did not know how she could do that, just before he was about to ask, his Dark Arts Defense teacher turned and looked directly at them from across the loch. She looked straight into Harry’s eyes and then looked back to Charlie. The two moved from their spot and continued their walk. Harry and Lorna followed.
“I had wondered when she would notice us.” Lora said as she stroked the back of Stubby’s head, he was still wrapped tightly in her coat and panting a smile as they walked through the chilled air.
The second time Harry meant to ask about what she had met he was interrupted by a large white fluff flying towards him. Hedwig dashed through the trees and perched herself on Harry’s shoulder. He was comforted by his company as he pet her feathers and continued the walk with Luna.
Harry sat in a dark alley, not even the moon’s light reached him. The walls were crowding in on him and a fear of being discovered grew from his insides. A short stout man whose skin hung from him as though he were once in a bigger frame, stood before him. He seemed to snivel as he wrung his hands, one a bright silver the other his dangling flesh. Harry was pleased with what the man in front of him had accomplished. “It is all taken care of, Lord, there is another plant ready in place.” He called in a wormy voice.
“Wonderful,” Harry spoke, but he seemed distant as he smiled, and looked on to this creature before him. “Then carry on, and Wormtail, do try and not mess this up, I may not be so forgiving the next time,” Harry shot a look at the silvery hand.
Harry sat upright in bed holding his forehead. His scar was tingling and he was feeling in the pit of his stomach once again, Voldemort elated feelings. He felt as though there was nothing he could do as it has happened so often that he was used to the searing pain by now. He pulled back his bedclothes and crawled out of bed. Ron was just starting to stir in the bed next to him, so he was quiet when he dressed and finished packing his trunk. He wondered whether he should tell the group of his dream as he was folding his socks, he placed them over the book Luna had given him.
He picked it up and stared at it, thinking that not to much harm could come from it, he decided to write down what he saw and how he felt. Just as he finished the last line the page on which he was writing began to sprout words just below his entry. It explained how he was seeing what Voldemort was doing and that Peter Petigrew was up to something that Harry should try and investigate. Harry was shocked. He did not think that the diary would be that point blank in its interpretations. Just as he was about to shut the book, it seemed to conjure a large metal lock the bound it from being opened, it asked for a password before it clanged shut, not being able to think of anything, he whispered “snitch” at it and it closed. Shocked, he placed the book back into his trunk and said good morning to Ron who had just woken up. After Ron had dressed they went down to get some breakfast where they found a few less Weasleys then they had expected. Bill and Charlie had left Fleur and Lorna behind to go back to work, or where ever it was that they went. Fred and George were back at the shop, leaving Ron and Ginny with their parents. Hermione was sitting with Luna and Ginny, who had seemed to lighten up a bit from their encounter.
Breakfast went well, Lupin had joined the group, but sat quietly as if he were about to face something he did not want to. After they had finished it was time to grab their trunks and meet the knight bus. On their way out of the door, Lupin stopped Harry as Sirius had done the year before. This made Harry’s stomach drop as he felt a longing for his dead Godfather. Lupin pulled him down the hall so that they could talk a bit alone.
“Harry, I know things have been hard for you, and I imagine that you wouldn’t want to get close to anyone out of fear of loosing them. But I want you to know that I have Sirius’ mirror. So, well, if you ever need anything, you know how to get a hold of me, but I understand if you don’t. Have a safe trip back to school and try to stay out of trouble.” He gave Harry a feeble grin as if he thought he was stepping over boundaries and walked back to the east wing. Harry was shocked and could not think of any words to express how he felt. Ron soon nudged him and Harry grabbed his trunk again and followed him out of the door.
Unaccompanied this trip as Tonks was back on her mission and Mad Eye Moody seemed to have had a mission of his own; they loaded the Knight Bus, Harry thought he would discuss the dream with Ron, Hermione, and Luna. Ginny had brought out her books and began to pour over them once more. They sat talking as the Knight Bus banged its way to Hogwarts. They enjoyed the time that they did not have to speak in hushed tones, as there was no one around to listen in. Harry noticed throughout their conversations that Ron was sitting unusually far from Hermione and kept shooting sideward glances at Luna as if he expected her to say something terrible.
About half way through the trip, a new passenger joined them in the top tier and took a lone seat in the back of the bus. Harry watched his friends as they took notice of her. She had long black hair that shone a light blue in the winter sunlight that filtered through the windows. She had large green eyes that skimmed the lines of the book she was reading, Hogwarts: A History. Before he had noticed any movement, Luna had made her way over to the passenger and began to speak to her in her usual dazed tone. Half expecting the girl to laugh in her face, he was shocked when the girl simply smiled and carried on as if she knew her. Soon the two girls were walking back to where Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat.
“This is Mina D., she is a Ravenclaw in my year.” Luna introduced her. Mina sat down next to Harry and Ron. Hermione looked as though she had recognized her, and Ginny lifted her head from her Arithmancy book and smiled as she said a feint hello and returned to her reading. Harry and Ron exchanged glances and just shrugged. Mina sat down as she said hello to them. Stubby, who was curled up in Hermione’s lap with Crookshanks, looked up and then shut his large eyes once more to return to his sleep.
”What an odd combination,” Mina’s voice was sweet and soft with a slight hint of laughter as she looked at the round ball of black and ginger fur that lay on Hermione’s lap.
Before she could go on to comment about the cat and dog, Ginny spoke from her book, “So, Mina, how was you holiday?”
“Oh, it was wonderful, Dad took me to Diagon Alley, but I was studying most of the time. How have you been doing in Potions? Snape never lets up on me.”
“How could he not like you? You are in Ravenclaw.” Ron spoke up.
“Well, he is always saying that I am not allowed to help others, but I think it is mainly because I bought one of the trick wands from Fred and switched it with Snape’s.” She was smiling and laughing to herself as if the memory was as funny as the incident. Ron was shocked; this sweet and innocent looking girl from Ravenclaw was a trickster just like his brothers. “But Dumbledore was not too happy with me, he had to calm Snape down before his next class as he began to force students to take their potion, after the fourth student transformed into a bug, Dumbledore came in. An awful mess that was.” When she smiled, her jeweled eyes made her unusually pale skin glimmer.
“That was you? I heard about that two years ago, but I didn’t think that it was actually a Ravenclaw who did it!” Harry was smiling at the memory of Snape’s anger, as he had to endure Potions with a livid professor.
Mina was smiling, “Yes, it was me. I had to serve a week’s detention for it, but it was worth it, Fred and George were especially pleased that I had used their wand. It was great to see them excited.”
“Hang on, how did you know Fred and George?” Ron asked.
“Well, I met them when they were selling their fake wands and joke candy in my Third year. They are your brothers right? You are Ron, aren’t you?”
“Well, yeah, I am.” He seemed to be expecting her to call him Ronald as Luna had always done. Stubby had once again poked his head up to survey his surroundings. He was not able to return to his sleep as he had before as the bus came to a halt with a bang as Stan called to them from bellow. They gathered their tossed belongings and exited the bus.
Together, they trekked along with the other students that had made their way to the grounds and finally entered the castle. Gryffindors went to their tower and the Ravenclaws went to where ever it is that they go, starting the new term.
March 13th, 2004, 8:58 pm
I have one more update and then that's it for a while, so well...I hope someone is reading this...if you are, please let me know...I would greatly appreciate it!!!!! Feedback (http://www.cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=21470)
March 13th, 2004, 9:05 pm
Mid January brought about a few new friends. Luna was now with the group and would at times bring Mina with her. Stubby, who was given permission to stay in the castle from Dumbledore, would follow them around and sit at Luna’s feet when they sat talking on the grounds. Ginny would now sit with Colin Creevy going over their studies as if the test were the next day. Cho had now taken to studying for her N.E.W.T.s and seemed a bit frazzled. Harry looked forward to his classes as a way to get his mind off of his reoccurring dreams of Voldemort and his talk with Lupin. Professor Lovegood had moved on to Practical Anticipation as she had mentioned and was now conducting class outside in the grounds under the watchful eye of several professors from their office windows. Snape especially took to watching, as the students would practice on each other and fall to the ground where they would soak in the melting snow, laughing or searing with pain.
One lesson towards the end of the month brought Ron and Hermione together as partners. Hermione was still not letting herself relax enough to feel what Ron was feeling, but as they had avoided each other all month, it did not seem to matter, but now they were finally paired up. Harry was paired with Luna for the third time. He still could not get through the block that she was forcing up, but knew that he was doing it correctly as he could empathize with anyone who was within ten feet of him. Ron had always been next to him so he knew what he was feeling, but Hermione had always picked a partner far from the two of them.
This lesson would be a memorable one for Harry. As he had focused on what was to be done with the lesson, he calmed himself and found that the feelings of those around him came easily, all save Luna as usual, but he had expected that and prepared to counter her curses based on her actions. But something happened then that Harry did not expect; he felt Hermione’s feelings. As he looked to her he noticed that she was turning a blushing red and concentrated at the ground where small sprouts of grass were protruding from the melting snow. Ron seemed to turn red as well, and what Harry felt between them was a growing fear that seemed to be fear of discovery. Harry knew something had happened between them when he saw Luna look over to Hermione and give her a quick nudge with her wand. Hermione looked up to her and they seemed to be speaking with unspoken words. The feeling suddenly vanished from Harry’s grasp when Miss Lovegood had walked next to him and asked him to stay on task. With a look to Luna she continued to walk by. Luna seemed to shrug and sigh, but raised her wand and tried to engage in the duel.
For the first time Harry began to feel something from Luna. A massive feeling of overwhelmed emotions. He seemed to be feeling the emotions of the entire school, he could feel Snape glaring at Miss Lovegood with odd intentions from yards away in his office window; he could feel a girl shudder from the amount of pressure of her O.W.L.s even as she sat in Divination. There were two seventh years that had skipped lessons and were now kissing in a hidden corridor on the opposite side of the castle. Harry felt a rush of feelings from all over the school. But then something odd hit him, a non-human feeling coming from Dumbledore’s office. He was not sure who it was but he knew it was not fully human. He looked around and noticed that Luna was dazed as usual and that Miss Lovegood was looking at him as if she knew. He tried to tune out the feelings from the people in the castle, but it was not working. The only people that he could not feel anything from seemed to be Ron and Hermione who were dueling next to him. He felt as though he were about to collapse under the intensity of the emotions that were flying at him. Just as he thought he could handle no more, Luna sent a curse his way, but he felt it and countered before he could open his eyes to see she had sent it. He was shocked as he knew he had felt what Luna was feeling, but how could he distinguish her feelings from those around him and why was he empathizing with everyone there?
He was confused in his emotions that were mingled in with everyone else’s, but it was suddenly jerked away from him and he could only feel his own feelings once more. Luna had dodged his countercurse and was standing dazed with her wand by her side. No one had seemed to notice that the whole of the castle was in an emotional uproar. There were people so sad that Harry wanted to run and help them, there were very few people who were truly happy, and those where the ones that were oblivious to what was going on in their lives. He looked around his class, he caught sight of Cho, she had been so sad. She had been thinking of Cedric, it seemed as though she was always thinking of Cedric. Her every waking thought was on him, Harry could now understand why she acted the way she did when they spent the last Valentine’s Day together and what she was feeling when he said he was going to meet Hermione. He was confused at how these few minutes of empathizing with everyone in the school had somehow opened him up to how females felt. The only two females he could not feel were Hermione and Luna. But He knew now why Cho was acting the way she had, why Ginny had been embarrassed, and everything that every girl in school had felt towards him. He wanted to hide and never see these girls again, but then why hadn’t he felt Hermione and Luna as well? He was confused more then ever when Professor Lovegood called the class to her attention.
“Very good class, now please spend the rest of the hour trying to un-jinx your partners and then you may go. No assignments today, other than to prepare your self for the next lesson.” She had been pacing through the couplings and continued her walk. The students had begun to help their partners with de-jinxing while Harry, Luna, Hermione, and Ron all stood wondering what to do since they were jinx free. As always, Miss Lovegood had wandered over to the group as if she knew what they were thinking and excused them from class early. The four of them crossed the grounds and walked through the entrance hall to seat themselves for lunch. Harry wanted to ask Luna why he had felt the things that he had felt, but he did not want to bring up what he felt between Hermione and Ron, so he let it go and did not bring it up.
The rest of the month was filled with the tension that grew in the Gryffindor common room as the end of the year exams crept up on them. They were several months away, but Harry knew what it felt like to be running out of time, especially since he felt what the entire school was feeling. He knew that there was tremendous pressure from their parents to do well. For all the times that Harry had been with the Dursley’s they had never pressured him to be better, for once in his life he wanted to feel pressure to do better if it meant that it was coming from his parents.
The thought of his parents made him think of Lupin and how he had mentioned that he had Sirius’ mirror. He was tempted several times to see if he could talk to him, but decided that he did not want to risk loosing another friend. But he was soon given a reason to take his mind off of things, Professor McGonagall called Harry into her office to inform him that Gryffindor was going to be facing Hufflepuff the weekend before their Hogsmeade trip. Harry had forgotten that they needed to start practice again and he was captain, he should have known to get them started. He called practices for every night and booked the pitch according to McGonagall’s approval. He knew that they would be fine as most of their team were not feeling the pressure of the exams, so he did not feel bad telling them on the last night of the month. But he knew that Ginny would understand, she could use the time away from her books as Ron had suggested. Practice kept him busy as time flew closer to the match.
Ron was keeping unusually well, as he seemed to have a greater confidence that Harry could not place. Ginny seemed to be chasing rather well as she was away from her books and enjoying the sun on her face. For the most part the team seemed to pull together, giving Harry a confidence that he needed going into the match. When the day finally came, it was over much faster then the last match. Hufflepuff lost with grace, Ron seemed to be under the impression that there was someone in the stands watching and rooting for him and let no goals pass him. For all Harry could see the only people to be watching them was Hermione, Luna and Mina, the rest of the crowd was watching the game. Luna was sitting with the stuffed Lion on her lap seeming to have been singing a song Harry knew to be “Weasley is our King” joined by Mina at her side. Hermione sat cheering more than usual but did not join in on the song. Ginny had scored more than usual and the team rejoiced when Harry caught the Golden Snitch between his fingers.
“You did it!” Hermione yelled out as she approached them at a run. Luna and Mina were behind her trying to keep up. When they reached them all three girls threw their arms around both Harry and Ron bringing them crashing to the grass. They were all laughing as they stood and brushed the grass off of their robes. Just as they caught their balance from the fall, three furballs came running towards them, one large orange tuft, a smaller black one, and finally a snowy white fluff. Harry had recognized the orange and black ones to be Crookshanks and Stubby, but he did not know what the third one was. He did not have time to even think about it as the other two clobbered him and Ron. When they got their ground again, he looked to Mina where the white furball was hiding behind her leg. It looked like a puppy, but it was different that Stubby in some way.
“What is that?” Ron asked what Harry was thinking.
“Oh, this is Morgan, she is my wolf.” Mina said this as though it was something she expected anyone to say.
“Your WOLF? That isn’t a real wolf is it?” Ron spoke up confirming Harry’s question that even in the wizarding world, it was not so normal to own a wolf cub.
“Well, yes, Dumbledore gave her to me. Isn’t she just the cutest?” She picked her up and held her close, “She is still learning to be around people, but she really is sweet.” She let them stare at her as though she were speaking another tongue. Hermione and Luna seemed to be fine with everything as they suggested they go an get something to eat. Each of the girls held tight to their pets while Harry and Ron followed just behind. Just as they made their way towards the castle, a large patch of shade painted the grass they were walking on. Harry noticed that Mina looked paler than usual and seemed to bee weakened by the sun. Before he could ask if she was all right, They were entering the castle and were soon deterred by tons of hungry students filtering into the Great Hall. The group seemed to disperse within the crowd and go their own ways to their house tables.
Halfway through lunch Harry spotted Luna, she was sitting by herself once again, feeding Stubby from under the table, smiling as she hummed to herself. Across the room, Aida was sitting next to Draco, both of them looking rather sour. But Harry could not see Mina. There was no sign that she had even been there. He leaned over to Hermione and asked if she had seen Mina.
“No, actually, I can’t remember ever seeing her in the Great Hall. That is odd, I have never seen her eat.” They decided that they would meet up with Luna after they were finished eating.
After they gathered their things, they joined Luna who was glazed over more than usual. Hermione started the questioning, “Luna, what happened to Mina? Why wasn’t she at lunch?”
“Well, she doesn’t eat lunch.” She answered matter of factly.
“But why? Doesn’t she get hungry?” Ron spoke up.
“Well, yes, I suspect she does, but she doesn’t eat with us. You will have to ask her why.” She answered their next question before they asked it as though she knew something more than what she was going to tell.
“Well, then we should go find her, and see if she is alright, I don’t think that she was feeling so good when we came in.” Harry added.
“But I do not know where she stays. She does not sleep in the Ravenclaw tower with the rest of us. I don’t even think that she has been in there either.” She seemed thoughtful.
“How can that be? She is a Ravenclaw, where else would she go?” Ron looked back and forth from Hermione to Harry and finally back to Luna.
“Well, Ronald, the only option would be that she stays somewhere by herself in someone else’s care.” Luna was so matter-of-fact that Ron kept quiet. They decided to leave it alone for a while and retire to their common rooms.
Harry was walking along a long dark hallway, with each step the wood beneath his feet screeched under the pressure of his every step. There seemed to be no end to the darkness, no light at the end of the tunnel. Feeling his heart pound with in his chest, he began to pick up his pace, soon breaking out in a run as his heart began to thunder within him. Sprinting along he hall into the never-ending darkness he felt slight brushes against his arms and legs. Those slight brushes quickly turned into hands that grabbed at him, trying to pull him into the darkness with him. That was when he realized that the solid walls of the hallway were no more than a thin veil that held two worlds apart. More and more hands began to reach for him, though the further he ran down the hall, the more grotesque the hands and arms became, and from behind the veil on either side of him, a laughter began to build until it threatened to burn his ears. Through the laughing and grabbing he ran, pulling his arms closer to him as not to be target for their clutches.
On and on he ran, panting in order to keep his breath from failing him. Each step burned the soles of his feet until one did not connect with the wooden floor beneath him, but fell through what seemed to be a whole. Before he could realize what he was doing, Harry found himself grasping at a thick black cloth that swept against his face as he fell down into a black nothingness. He twisted and writhed as he fell endlessly into the abyss. The laughing grew louder as the face of his deepest rival appeared before him, laughing, cackling as he watched Harry fall. He was then entangled by a wrath of Devil’s Snare, crushing his face. Just before his face was enveloped, a group of cloaked figures appeared in the darkness. There were large figures, the size of small buildings in the back, and smaller, more sleek cloaked beings in front of them. Voldemort faded as the cloaked group began to lower their hoods. The smaller figures stood in front of him with large teeth and pale skin, but before he could see them in full, he felt with a thud onto a hard wood floor.
His vision blurred from the fall, he could make out a figure walking towards him. Neville stood taller than usual wand ready. Behind him he saw Luna, as his vision began to clear. She was folded over, hugging her knees tightly; her eyes were squinting as if her head was being squished in. A tear fell down her cheek, splattering on her shoe as a drop of blood. With each passing moment, he could see more as if a light was shed, Hermione and Ron were tied together with a rope of silver snake skin with charms dangling from it, trying to get away from each other. Harry could not understand their odd behavior, but could not think on it too much as Luna’s tears began to fill the floor with blood. Behind Hermione and Ron, a tall dark haired girl stood with her back facing towards him, her head lowered in what felt like shame. He could not understand why he was feeling shame, but then he felt an enormous amount of feelings. It was worse than when he felt the feelings of the entire castle, he could not control it; it was threatening to take control of him.
Harry awoke with a start. Panting, he wiped the sweat off of his brow. He could not understand what was happening in his dream. Looking around, he saw that Ron and Neville were fast asleep in the four posters next to his. Confused and unable to go back to sleep, he decided to take a walk. Thinking that he would not want to be bothered by any professors or Peeves, he grabbed his father’s invisibility cloak.
Walking out of the portrait of the Fat Lady, he made a right and walked down the hall. He wasn’t paying attention to where he was walking as his thoughts dwelled on his dream. Not knowing where he was walking he found himself following someone’s footsteps. They lead him down a dark hallway that reminded him of his dream, but he was not flustered as he soon found himself behind Dumbledore.
The Head Master was walking in deep thought, carrying a wrapped box in his hand. There seemed to be something liquid in the box as it made a swishing noise as he walked. It soon stopped as Dumbledore slowed down, turned around and gave a glance in Harry’s direction then unlocked a door in front of him. Harry thought of turning back, but when he saw that the room was lit by a fire and a few candles, he thought that it might not be too bad to follow the Head Master in.
Inside the large circular room, Harry saw an enormous four poster with large pillows and silk drapings of blood red and gold. A hearth the size of one in Gryffindor Tower was surrounded by a small desk and two armchairs. Harry walked around, remembering that he was in the cloak and could have the freedom to look where he wanted. Dumbledore turned and locked the door behind him, then sat in one of the chairs. Next to him sat a dark haired figure that Harry could not quite see from where he was standing. As he moved around the room to see who it was, Dumbledore spoke up.
"So, my dear, how are you doing this evening? Here, I have brought this for you.” He reached out his arm and to hand her the box.
“Thank you, I am doing well, I am waiting to hear from my father. He would love to say hello if you have the time.” It was Mina, she sat in the chair with Morgan curled up in her lap. As she reached for the box, Dumbledore gave her a wink and a slight nod. She began to sniff the air as if to smell something nearby. A small tilt from her head as she placed the box on the desk beside her. Before Harry could see more, a face appeared in the fire. A man with long blond hair and bright blue eyes, he could see where she got her pale skin from as his was lacking color. If she had not mentioned it though, he would not have thought that this man was her father, she looked nothing like him.
“Hello, Daddy!” She was excited to see him as she sat up further on the edge of her seat.
“Hello Wilamina! How are you dearest?” His voice was thick and musical.
“Oh, just fine, look what the Head Master gave me, isn’t she just precious?” She was glowing as she presented her little wolf to her father.
“I see you have been taking care of my little one, I am grateful for that Albus. You really are a wonderful man. My wife and I are comforted by the care you have taken with Wilamina and the other students. Black, rest his soul, was right about you, if you could help Remus, the way you did. I only wish there was more I could have done to help Sirius as he helped us, but you just can’t get through to people when you are outcast as we are.”
Harry felt a stab through his heart with his words. His uncle had more friends that would have stood up for him, protected him more.
“Well, Gideon, I think you did as much as you could. You gave Sirius a place to stay when he needed one—“ Before he could finish he was cut off.
“Well, it was only obvious, no one would want to look where we lived, there are few Wizards who trust us, so it was the best place for him.”
“Yes, be that as it may, you helped him. You cannot cut yourself short just because you weren’t there until the end. He was grateful to you, and I am sure that Potter will be as well.” He paused, and looked around the chair, as if looking for something or someone. Harry had the sudden urge to hide. “So, Gideon, how has Ravena been? Mina here says that she’s been working with the Fae to get them to lend her their dust. Has she had any luck with that?”
“Oh, yes, she was able to get them to help her bottle it even, though it did take some bidding on her part, she had to promise them the use of our oak in the fields. But they are close by so you should see the product in store soon. Wilamina even has some, though I have told her to be very careful with it. If you want, she will give you some to approve if you wish. Ravena is so proud of her work, though she hasn’t been able to share it with her friends, the past few years have been a bit rough for her.”
Dumbledore tapped the tip of his nose with his finger, then continued, “I am sure we will be very proud of her. Mina seems to be following in her mother’s cleverness.” At this Mina seemed to show a bit more color in her cheeks. Morgan jumped down from her lap and began to stare into the fire at the giant head floating in the flames. She pawed at it only long enough to realize that the flames would hurt her. The three of them laughed and she jumped back hiding under the legs of the thick chair.
“She is adorable, Wil, how is she helping you through the night?” He seemed to be picking and choosing his words carefully.
“Oh, she is wonderful, Daddy! I have no problem sleeping with her in here.” She was smiling more than Harry has ever seen before.
“Well, Wil, I am very proud of you! That is very good for you. I am proud of your progress, I know it must be very hard, but by this time next year, you will be able to stay with others.” Gideon was beaming at something that Harry did not understand.
They continued talking about things that Harry did not know about, so he decided to look around the room more. The usual thing were in place, there was a trunk and books on a few shelves. Then he spotted something rather odd, chains tightly secured to the stone wall. Harry’s first thought went directly to Professor Lupin, which directed to his conversation just before he came back for the start of term. His thoughts were blurred from then on as he remembered his dream and the things that had brought him out of his room in the first place. He was jolted back to reality when he heard Mina say by to her father as he exited with a pop. Dumbledore had stood up and began to walk towards the door. He seemed to be holding it open as he said goodnight to Mina. Harry hurried out the door and down the hall, choosing not to follow the Head Master, as he would know he was there for sure.
When he made it to the Tower, he glided up the stairs and fell into bed. He lay there thinking about what the night had brought him. He would have to tell Hermione and Ron about what he saw tonight, but he would have to think about a way to tell them why he was out in the first place, he didn’t think he could tell them about his dream.
As he rolled over in his bed, he could see the box that sat on the nightstand, he though of the chains that were in Mina’s room. He felt that they must have something in common, though he still did not understand what they were there for. It took a while, but he finally fell asleep.
March 15th, 2004, 7:25 pm
The morning found Harry tired and groggy. He informed Hermione and Ron of the night’s events during breakfast, he knew that it would be the best time to tell them, as Mina would not be there. After he finished telling them, he looked down the table and saw Neville struggling with one of his charms. Harry could not understand how confident Neville seemed in his dream the night before. He quickly looked back before Ron or Hermione asked him what was wrong.
Ron walked in shock as they headed to their first class. Hermione seemed to take the information as she already knew what was going on, but that did not surprise Harry, he figured that she would know something, she always did. But what ever it was she knew, she was not telling him. She just looked fixedly at the ground and kept quiet. As they walked down the hall, they noticed Mina walking towards them, books in hand. She smiled as she came towards them.
“Oy! How was your night? Sorry I missed you after the match.” She was smiling.
Ron looked blankly at her, but Mina sniffed the air again as she did the night before and shot a sharp glance at Harry, her smile turning into a straight face as her eyes grew in size. He wondered how she was feeling, knowing that somehow she knew he was in her room last night. But he could not think of it for much longer as their class was about to start. The group was split as Mina went to her class and the trio went to theirs.
Half of the week was spent avoiding direct contact with Mina, though Hermione and Ron were interested in finding out what was going on with her. Outside of Potions on Wednesday, Luna walked up to Harry and asked why they haven’t spoken with her in a few days. She was very serious though staring blankly as usual. Just as he was about to answer her and apologize, Draco and Aida ran up ahead of the pack of Slitherines, fighting loudly for some reason.
Before Harry could think, he seized the opportunity to antagonize Draco, “Trouble in Paradise, there Draco?” He called out.
“SHUT UP!” Draco and Aida were synchronized in their response to Harry. Harry just laughed and turned to Luna who was still looking at him. “I am sorry Luna, we didn’t mean too. We will see you after class right?” He smiled at her.
“That’s fine,” she seemed back to her normal carefree self, this reminded Harry of how he saw her in his dream, “It’s alright Harry, it really isn’t that bad. And don’t worry about Mina,” she leaned in closer to him and spoke in a hushed tones, “she knows you know, but she wants to keep her friends, she hopes you are not afraid of her, that is why she has been staying away, she thinks you are afraid. I kept telling her that you are not, but I think it would help if you tell her.”
“Luna, afraid of what? I don’t know everything that you think I do, will you tell me?” She started to walk away. “Luna?”
“We will have to talk after classes are over, but we will talk.” She kept walking. Harry turned back to Hermione and Ron who were looking at him in question. As they walked in to class, Harry explained what Luna had said. They sat through a usually unpleasant class with Snape, Draco was more unpleasant than usual, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat impatient, wanting to find Luna and find out what she meant.
March 18th, 2004, 5:49 pm
Once all their classes were over for the day, Harry asked Hedwig to find Luna for him. They would meet out by the lake. Harry wondered if Luna wanted to speak to him alone or if she would mind if Ron and Hermione were there with him. After thinking about it, he thought that she most likely knew that he would tell them anyway, so they might as well be there.
They sat waiting in the soft cool grass; Ron and Hermione sat on either side of Harry. They all sat quietly as an uncomfortable silence grew between them. Harry was deep in thought about the time that he had seen Snape’s memories of his father and mother. He was pulled out of his thoughts by a nipping at his robes. Hedwig had brought Luna. She sat down and joined them on the grass.
“So, what were you talking about before Potions? What should I be afraid of?” Harry was so anxious, he forgot to say hello.
“Well, don’t you know what she is?” Luna spoke in her usual tone.
“No, I saw where she was staying, but I do not know why she is staying there. What is she?”
“Isn’t it obvious, Harry? She’s a Vampire.” Hermione said coolly as if he ought to know.
“She’s a what?” Ron almost shouted as he sat back.
“Well, she is not a full Vampire—“ Luna began.
“What other kind is there?” Ron cut her off.
“Well, there are those who are made and then those who are born,” A voice came from behind them. Harry and Ron jumped as they realized that Mina was standing behind there, all he could think was “I hate it when she does that.”.
As Harry began to calm his heart, he turned and asked, “And what are you?”
She sat down with the group, smiling, “Well, I was born, like Luna said, only half. Well, really a Vampire is a Vampire just as a Witch is a Witch, but in my world, they discriminate just as the Witches and Wizards do. If you are “made”, as they say, you are what you would call, “pure blood” and if you are born, it is because one of your parents is human, therefore, you are only “half” or “mixed blood.’”
“That’s disgusting, I hate the way people discriminate against their own kind!” Hermione said under her breath. Harry assumed she was thinking of the all the times that Draco had called her ‘mudblood’. He was sure he was right by the look of disgust on her face.
“So, your mother, she is a Witch then? Is that why you are here?” Harry remembered her father in the fire, and Dumbledore talking about when her mother was a student here.
“Yes. Well, she was,”
“What do you mean was?” Ron asked before she could finish.
“Well, a few years ago, my mother got sick, and it wasn’t looking good for her, so my father, being that he was deeply in love with her, couldn’t think about living without her. So, I am sure you can figure out what he did.”
“So, you mum is now a Vampire like your father? Wicked.” Ron could not help but adding his own opinion, which made Mina laugh.
“So you are not afraid of me then?” She asked still smiling.
“Well, there are the chains, what were they for? And what was in the box?” Harry tried his hardest not to sound as though he was looking down at her, but was truly curious.
“Oh, well, those are for when the nights get long. You see most Vampires (well, all really, save those who are evil minded) do not drink from anything that is living, we usually have to find our blood from the Muggle’s blood banks. That is why there is always a shortage even though so many people donate.” She looked to Hermione who nodded her head, Ron seemed confused. “Dumbledore just brings me mine, as I am not really allowed to leave school grounds. And even when you are born this way, you have urges that you need to control. The last few years I have been doing well, but I still can’t be around others at night, so Dumbledore gave me Morgan to help me be around others. When I get really bad, I just lock my self up, that way, she doesn’t get hurt. I am getting better, I haven’t had to do that in a few weeks.” She seemed very pleased with herself and even more relieved that she could finally tell people. “I was so scared that you would be afraid like all the others, my kind have to live away from your kind, so that’s why I was afraid that I would never have friends. But then Luna, being what she is, figured it out, and she became my friend.”
“Of course we are your friends, We have had more encounters with outcasts as friends than you’d think.” Hermione comforted her.
“She knows about Lupin...and Sirius,” Harry looked down to his feet as he said this, quietly.
“MINA!” A cross voice shouted from behind them. A hooded figure stood in the shadows of the tree to the back of them.
“Oh, look Ron, a Death Eater, oh, wait, it is only Draco!” Harry spoke up, feeling the anger rise within him.
“Sod off, you git! Mina, I need to speak with you! NOW!” Harry could barely see under the hood, but he knew he was hiding something. Mina quietly stood and walked slowly to Draco, the slower she moved the angrier he seemed to get. They exchanged a few heated words before she lifted her hand and gently peeked under this hood. She covered her mouth with her free hand as she giggled. Draco then grabbed her wrist and yelled at her, “It’s not funny! Change it back!” He seemed to be squeezing her wrist very hard, but she made no wince of pain. Harry thought that she might snap and bite him by the look in her eyes.
“Now Draco, it was that anger that got you into this mess in the first place, I highly suggest that you let go of my arm. Trust me, it will certainly not help you!” She was very calm, but that did not matter to Harry. He stood up and drew his wand.
“Let go Draco!” He shouted, Ron was already up next to him, wand drawn when he said this.
Before Draco could get his wand, the hood began to fall back, revealing a bit of crumpled up skin, he grabbed it before it fell too far back and ran away.
“It is not like Draco to run away from a fight, what was wrong with him?” Hermione asked.
“Oh, he ran into me earlier in the hall, he shoved me out of the way and when I called him a stupid pratt, he shoved me against the wall. That was when I decided to see if my mum’s dust was working properly. Apparently it is.” She giggled.
“The dust your father was talking about the other night? What does it do anyway?” Harry lowered his wand that was still pointed in the direction Draco ran.
“Well, when used right, it brings out the qualities inside a person. The only problem with that is that Draco is a horrible person, so that is showing. He really does look awful, more like a Dementor than anything.” She smiled the entire time she explained how it worked.
“That’s awful! So if a person is really nice, then they would not worry, well, that is something. But is it reversible? Will he always look like that?” Hermione pondered.
“Well, it is reversible, but he would have to do a really great deed to redeem himself, that’s what I was trying to tell him, but he got really angry, then that just made it worse.”
Harry thought about what he would look like if she blew dust in his face. Luna turned to him, “Don’t feel bad Harry, it wouldn’t be that bad.”
“Er, how did you—“
“Harry, are you all going to Hogsmeade on Saturday? Dumbledore gave me permission to go, do you think it would be alright if I went with you?” Mina broke in.
“Thanks, It will be my first time, Ron, you will have to go with me to Zonkos, I am sure there are some great things in there.” Mina said smiling.
“Er...sure...” Ron seemed hesitant but Mina did not notice.
That night in the Great Hall the three sat picking at their steak and kidney pudding. Hermione glanced at the Ravenclaw table where Luna sat feeding Stubby once again. She then looked to Ron who was prodding his food with his fork. “Ron?” He looked up from his plate, “Why didn’t you want Mina to go with us to Hogsmeade? It isn’t because she is a Vampire is it?” She spoke slowly as not to offend him, she wanted an honest answer, not a fight.
“No, I just think it is weird...see, Fred and George play harmless tricks on people, but she seems to take delight out of seeing people struggle. Don’t get me wrong, Draco more than deserved it, but not even Harry would have the guts to do something like that. I just think there is more to her than she is telling us.” He spoke in hushed tones, but was oddly serious.
“Well, we should keep a close eye on her. I don’t think that she would do anything harmful, but we still don’t know her all that well.” Ron was surprised that Hermione agreed with him. Harry sat listening to their conversation, not wanting to add his own opinion. He knew what it was like to be different, an outcast. But it was Ron and Hermione, his friends that helped him through the hard times. So maybe that was all she needed to not turn on people, to keep the darkness out.
March 21st, 2004, 7:42 pm
Hogsmeade came and went, with no sign of Mina’s dark side. Ron and Hermione kept quiet and sullenly to themselves. Harry stuck around Luna and Mina for most of the week that followed. Resentment grew within him slowly each time he thought of what Ron and Hermione spoke about. If they felt this way about her, what if they saw his dark side? Seeing Draco would give him relief whenever he thought about his friends.
Draco had begun to wrap his face in bandages, so that only his eyes showed. He had also resorted to doing “nice” things for people that mostly scared them. Snape scowled as he watched Draco pull out the seat for two Gryffindor girls in Potions, Harry just laughed. Hermione looked on as Harry and Mina took great pleasure in watching Draco suffer.
Draco must have been really desperate by his third week of wearing the bandages, as he even offered to carry Hermione’s book bag. She was more disgusted than anything, as she slammed her books to the ground and drew her wand.
“This is ridiculous,” She looked to Mina who was laughing next to Harry, she pointed her wand at Draco’s face, “Incarnum Reversee” She shouted. Draco shot his hands to his face, feeling around under the bandages. His eyes lit up as he unwrapped them slowly. He was back to normal, though he could not look Hermione in the eye. She simply lowered her wand, picked up her books and turned to leave. Draco turned as well.
“Er, thanks.” He mumbled as he walked away. He stopped and looked at Aida just before he turned the corner, then continued on. She looked to Hermione and Mina and turned to follow Draco.
“Hermione, why would you do that?” Mina seemed to get a bit of a temper.
“Because, it was ridiculous watching him do those things, even for him. It was funny the first day, but then it got really old. You shouldn’t have let it drag out this long, Mina.”
“Hermione! What are you starting to like Draco now?” Harry cut in, feeling closer to Mina, she had understood him. She had demons to deal with just as he did, he needed to defend her.
“Of course I am not, but I think that it has gone on long enough. It is one thing to play a joke and another to stoop to their level.” She said quietly, trying to avoid confrontation.
Harry’s temper rose as he thought of Hermione helping Draco. He looked to Mina at his side and was grateful for her support. “So are you saying that I am just like Draco now?”
“No, you aren’t!” Hermione shouted before she could stop herself.
“I thought you were a friend Hermione, but this is bloody stupid! First you help Draco then you yell at Mina. Some friend you are!” Harry yelled.
“Harry, she was just doing what was right, you know she always does.” Ron said softly.
“Oh! Of course, I should have known you would have taken her side, you are in love with her aren’t you!” Harry lashed out; Ron’s ears went a new shade of red that seemed to leak into his face.
“Harry, that was low!” He could barely speak. Hermione was turning pink and seemed to be speechless.
“Fine, then. You two have each other, you don’t need to be around us.” He started to walk away. Luna seemed confused as to what to do and walked alone, though she was extremely dazed, more than usual, Mina followed Harry.
March 24th, 2004, 5:03 pm
Harry took to sitting with Neville at meal times, though Ron and Hermione sat together, they rarely spoke but two words. Miss Lovegood had noticed a rift between the group and partnered them with each other on purpose, though Harry could tell that Luna was having a hard time trying to make peace with the group.
At nights Harry would sit in his four poster holding tight to his box. He seemed to be adding more and more thoughts and feelings to it that he did not want to let go of. One evening, three weeks later, after Ron closed the curtains on his four poster, Harry opened his. He meant to reach for the box that he was now hiding under his four poster, but his hand brushed the side of his trunk. He pulled it out and opened it. Hedwig perched herself on his shoulder looking down into the trunk. There lay two things that he knew he had buried deep within the trunk, under a pair of Uncle Vernon’s old trousers. But there they lay, on top of everything. The mirror and the diary. He couldn’t help but think that someone was trying to tell him something. He picked up the diary and flipped through the pages. He thought of the dreams he had had before. The dreams of Sirius and Snape, of Wormtail and of his friends. As he held tight to the book, he felt something strange happen. The pages were turning themselves, turning to the front of the book were his dreams lay in word form, every detail in order that he remembered. An odd rush fell over him as he reread what had happened those nights. Just as a question popped into his head, it appeared in the book. An answer formed under the question. It formulated connections between the dreams, connections that Harry looked over, as he was so concentrated on the harsh dreams. Forced to think of the horrible thoughts and weak feeling he felt within the pull of the nightmare, his anger mounted. He slammed the book shut and threw it into his trunk, his frustration growing at the thought of weakness. With one look at the mirror he stood and kicked the trunk shut, and stuck out his hand, the trunk flew back under his bed without the slightest touch. Harry turned around to see Ron peaking out from behind the curtain of his four poster. This only enraged Harry more.
Running down the stairs and out of the tower, he sprinted through the halls and found himself once more at Mina’s door. He slowed to a walking pace when he inched to the door. Leaning in a little, he listened in to hear if Dumbledore was in. It was quiet, so he decided to knock. He awaited while the door opened slowly. To his shock, Dumbledore was the one that answered.
“I am sorry Head Master, I was just stopping by to say hello. I can go though if you a re busy.” Harry kept control of his anger, as he spoke with Dumbledore.
“That won’t be necessary, I am sure that now would be a good time for Mina to see a friend.” He was very somber in his words, as he motioned to let Harry in. Mina sat in the far chair huddled over Morgan. Gideon was not in the fire this time, but rather stood in front of him just behind Mina. He stood tall, thin and majestic. His pale skin accentuated by his long blond hair that hung down his arms. His thin bony hands lay on the back of the chair. There was a look of sadness painted in his striking eyes.
“Harry, Mina has just found out some horrifying news. Her mother has died. I think that she will need your comfort right now, her friends can give her more than we can.” Dumbledore spoke softly and gently as he broke the news to Harry.
“But how, I mean, she can’t die, can she?” He whispered at his side.
“Yes,” Gideon spoke, “We can die, though not like you, there are certain conditions that must be met before we can. Something that I will spare Wil from hearing right now. Harry, I am glad to meet you, though sorry that it has to be this way, but Wil has spoken well of you, and so has your God Father. I am glad you are here.” He was sincere and kind in his words. This made Harry forget all about his anger and the very reason why he came down here in the first place.
Harry moved to the open chair next to his friend. Taking a seat he reached out his hand and laid it gently on hers. She looked to the side at him; a single crimson tear fell down her cheek. Harry almost drew back, but knew he should not for fear of hurting her even more. The tear fell and tangled itself into Morgan snow-white fur. There were small drops of red lining her coat where Mina’s tears had fallen. Harry wished somehow that Ron and Hermione could be here to help him with Mina. Why had he been so mean to them? He knew that Mina needed friends right now and he had deserted the best of them.
As if his thoughts had materialized, a knock on the door came loud through the room. When Dumbledore answered Harry’s stomach churned. Luna and her sister walked in very slowly.
“Hello Mr. Drake, I am very sorry for your loss.” Luna smiled and walked to Mina’s father, placing her hand on his.
“Gideon, this is Luna Lovegood, she is one of Mina’s friends, and Lorna’s sister.” Dumbledore introduced her. Harry couldn’t understand how Luna and Lorna knew, or how Luna knew that this was Mina’s father.
“We are very sorry for your loss, Sir. And please be assured that if there is anything my family can do to help you and your daughter, I will be sure to get it done.” Miss Lovegood spoke in the most comforting of tones. Mina’s father looked as though he was confused, he must not have understood them.
“Gideon, the Lovegood sisters are Empaths. That is why they are here. They have known about Wilamina for quiet some time now.” Dumbledore explained. Harry was shocked to hear why they acted so strange and why they always seemed to know what was going on.
“Well, thank you ladies,” Gideon bowed, “We appreciate your support.”
Harry could not do much than be there for Mina, so for a long time, the three of them sat in silence, a peaceful silence that seemed to help Mina. After a while, the adults left to speak privately. Harry and Luna stayed with Mina the rest of the night.
March 29th, 2004, 5:12 pm
As the sun peered through the window, Harry had noticed that Mina had finally fallen asleep in the chair. Luna nudged him in the arm and pointed towards the door. Harry nodded, then they stood and left the room as quietly as possible.
Instead of going to their common rooms they walked in silence to the Great Hall. There they were ambushed by Hermione and Ron. “Oh Harry! I just read in the ‘Prophet’, there was an attack on Mina’s house, they wouldn’t say what happened, but is everything alright, Ron said you left last night, did you go see her? Is she alright?” This made any reconciliation that Harry had played out n his head a lot easier.
“Her mum died—“ He started to explain as they all sat down at the Gryffindor table, even Luna sat with them, not caring about the glances from the Ravenclaws.
“She was murdered.” Luna cut in.
“Well, They refused to say who it was, do you know?” Ron spoke up.
“No, we just were there to help Mina. Her father said he didn’t want to hurt her with the details.” Harry said.
“Well, it must have been a Death Eater attack, that is the only thing that would have gotten a Vampire’s death in the papers. But they didn’t say who it was.” Hermione said quietly.
“I know who it is was.” A scorned voice came from behind them. Mina stood there, clutching to the growing wolf pup.
“Mina, I am so sorry, for everything, and especially hearing about this.” Hermione spoke up, as Ron nodded at her side.
“I know, it is alright. But I know what happened and who did it. They will pay.” Her eyes clouded over a dark crimson color. Her lips, poked by ivory points, twitched.
“Mina, you can’t go out and try to get revenge,” Harry spoke up. “If there is anyone who knows that it is me. We will help you get through it. I promise.” She lowered her head. There was a moment of silence as they wondered what she would do. Her eyes glassed over but were no longer red.
Before they got an answer, Snape walked up to the group. Mina looked up and gazed blankly at her Potions professor.
“I wanted to give my condolences, Miss Drake. Your mother was a wonderful woman.” He turned and walked away as fast as he came. Mina went red again as she stared at Snape, his cape once again billowing out as he moved back to the main table.
“Wil, Can I see you for a moment?” Gideon walked into the Great Hall. She turned and followed him out. Hermione sat with her mouth gaping open.
“What’s wrong with you?” Ron asked at her side.
“She is feeling the same way she did when she met my brother.” Luna was more out of it than normal. Ron got quiet and said nothing.
“Er, Luna?” Harry turned to her.
“I know, I should have told you. What do you want to know about it?” She asked.
“Well, for starters, how does it work?”
“Er, how does what work?” Ron asked.
“Well, She is a, a...” Harry started.
“I am an empath. And it is simple really, I can feel what everyone else is feeling. I thought you got a touch of that when I finally let you feel it in class. That was just a small portion of what I feel though.”
“Then, you can feel everything another person feels?” Ron asked gulping.
“Well, unless you block me out, yes.”
“But that must get really hard, doesn’t it? I mean, if you are felling what everyone else is feeling, then, well, how do you deal with it?” Hermione inquired.
“Well, I try and shut it out, for the most part, but I can’t get rid of everything, so I just have to feel it.”
“That must be awful. To have to feel all the bad things that people feel.” Hermione shuddered.
“Yes, but I can feel the good things too.” Luna added.
April 1st, 2004, 11:09 pm
After they finished discussing Luna and Mina, the group dispersed as they headed for class. Harry let Ron and Hermione know that he was sorry and that he would join them in class in a little while, there was something that he needed to do before he could meet them.
Tired as he was he ran as quickly as his feet could take him. Through the portrait and into the common room and then up the stairs to his room. He pulled out the trunk he had slammed under the bed only hours before. From it he pulled the mirror. Looking into it he whispered, “Remus”. The mirror swirled around in a misty fog, coming to a halt on the face of his former teacher.
“Harry?” Lupin was looking up at him.
“I wanted to see if you were alright.” It was hard for him to say.
“I am fine, I suppose you have heard about Ravena, then? It was hard to hear about what happened to her. She was a very good friend.”
“Could you tell me what happened to her?” He thought that it was easier to talk about someone else than to bring up old feelings between them.
“Well, she was being punished. You know, it is a very long story, Harry, are you sure that you want to hear it?”
“Yes, I want to know all the details, if you are willing to tell me the truth, than I am willing to hear it. It isn’t always that people can answer my questions honestly without any details left out.” He thought of all the times that he had asked questions that he only got half answers to.
“Well, then. Ravena le Fae went to school with us. She was your mother’s good friend, even though she was in Slytherin. Lily and Ravena were hardly out of each other’s sight. Peter even had a crush on her. But she had a crush on Severus,” he paused as Harry shuddered, “as hard as that is to believe, she fell for the bad guys then. But he, as I am sure you know, liked Lily. Ravena was content with that. She never really pursued it, but she never pursued Peter either. He didn’t like that. Later, when we were all older, just before you were born actually, she came to bring a present to Lily and James for you. Peter and Sirius were there, we all met her new husband, Gideon. They were very much in love, and we grew to like him. Then, the day after your parents, well, when Sirius was caught, Gideon was there. He saw what happened, but because he was in the explosion, he could not exactly give testimony to the Muggle news. When he tried to tell the ministry, they threw him out because he is a Vampire. No one would listen to him, but he could smell that Peter was still alive, even though he could not see what happened to him, he did not know he was an animagus. He had a hard time explaining it to people, even Sirius’ friends. I am sorry to say that even I didn’t believe him.
“But then a few years ago, when Sirius needed a place to stay, Gideon and Ravena were more than willing to help out. I have even stayed there a few times, myself. No one thinks to look to a Vampire coven for a place to hide someone, people just do not want to go there. So naturally, it is the best place to hide, when you have friends there.
“So because Ravena and Gideon had not only helped Lily and James in the fight against Voldemort, they had helped us as well. Because of that, Voldemort sent his Death Eaters after them. But Peter took charge and went after them himself. He was driven by his feeling for her when he took her life.” He paused looking to see how Harry was taking the rush of information. “You know Harry, it takes a lot to kill a vampire. And you know that,”
“Yes, I know she was sick and Mr. Drake made her like him.”
“Well, it was brutal. Gideon was not there to stop it. Had he been, there would be far less Death Eaters. Gideon has been a live far to long to let a few wizards get in his way.”
“How long has he been a Vampire?”
“I do not know, but very long. He was with Gryffindor and Ravenclaw when Slytherin decided to split, that is why Wilamina is in Ravenclaw, I am sure you have noticed her love of tricks and such, that is more of a Slytherin quality that her mother had. But Rowena made Gideon a promise to help any child that he would have had they attended the school. Theirs is a long story that I know little about, however. But I do know that he is very old.”
“So if he were there, then he could have killed the Death Eaters?”
“Well, yes, vampires have great strength, Harry. That is why Dumbledore has asked them to help our cause. Gideon has just confirmed that they will support us. They care little for Wizards that try to take over and flex their powers.”
“Well, what about your kind, I mean other werewolves? Can they help?”
“Well, we tend to not see much of each other. We are unlike the vampires, we do not group together, though we are not fond of Voldemort either.”
Harry sat for a minute thinking about what he learned and how long it had been since he had talked to his friend. “Thank you, for being honest. And er, I am sorry that I couldn’t talk to you before now. I er,...”
“It is alright Harry, I understand. It was often hard for me to think of anything other than the loss of my friends. But I am here when you need me."
Harry looked down, his grip tightened on the handle of the mirror.
“Harry, don’t you have class.” Harry was thankful for not having to talk, if he did, he knew he would shed a tear and he didn’t want to do so in front of Lupin. He nodded. “Well, I will see you soon then, you are coming back to the house during spring holiday aren’t you?” Harry’s eyes widened, he had never left the school during that week, “Well, I will be seeing you soon then. Be careful.” The mirror swirled once more and Lupin was gone.
April 5th, 2004, 6:39 pm
Harry walked down the corridor to join his friends in class. On the way he passed Professor Snape who seemed to scowl at him. Harry wondered why he had dared to offer condolences to Mina when he wasn’t truly nice to her. He could understand her anger towards him when he did this.
The rest of the day passed by slowly. Harry tried to spend as much time with his friends as possible, until the very end of the night when he decided to visit the portrait of his grandparents. He had not visited them in a while. He spent hours speaking with them, though it only felt like minutes. As the stars seemed to fade, Harry said goodbye and dragged his tried body up the stairs, through the portrait, and finally into bed.
Harry was distant the week before the Holiday break. He spent more time with Hermione and Ron than before as the three of them settled their differences, though the lack of sleep fazed him. Mina was now in their Practical Defense class and took to sitting alone, or next to Professor Lovegood. She spoke constantly to Harry and them, but seemed to keep her feelings to herself. Harry thought that she was keeping to herself to keep from showing weakness. They respected that and let her be alone, though they let her know that they were there when she needed them.
Friday afternoon, after their last class, Harry, Ron, and Hermione gathered their trunks and trudged along to Dumbledore’s office. There they found Luna and Mina sitting on their trunks holding their pups in their arms. Harry noticed that Mina had a flushed look in her cheeks, though paid no attention. Hermione seemed to notice this as well as she nudged Ron in his arm, though kept quiet.
Luna walked slowly up to them as they arranged their trunks along the side of the hall. “Ronald,” she smiled, as she lifted her head to look him in the eyes. “Would you walk with me? I need to see my sister about something and Harry and Hermione need to talk about something.” Ron did not seem too surprised at her choice of words and shrugged as he turned and walked back the same direction he came from with Luna at his side.
“What is it you need to talk to me about, Harry?” Hermione asked.
“Well, I don’t know really. Maybe she wants us to talk about something.”
“Maybe she wants to talk to Ron?” Mina said, out of the blue.
“Hmm, maybe she does. Are you going to stay the whole week with us Mina?”
“No. My father is going to be picking me up half way through when he brings the rest of us to talk with Dumbledore. There is something he is not telling me. But I do know that there is some kind of secret group that my father is working for. Father doesn’t usually keep things from me, so I am worried that he is doing something Mother would not have approved of.” She spoke with hardly any feeling even though this was the first time she had mentioned he mother since she was killed.
Ron and Luna made their way back, talking in hushed tones. Ron was nodding his head fervently as if to convince Luna that he was telling the truth about something. When they reached the group Harry meant to ask him where they had gone, but the statue to Dumbledore’s office jumped out of the way to reveal the Head Master.
May 18th, 2004, 5:54 pm
*ok ya'll, I am leaving to boot camp on Monday so I don't think I will be updating for about 2 months, but I will be back, so this is my last update, sorry that it has taken so long, but I have been a bit busy....cheers*
They were soon feeling the gut wrench of the portkey pulling them back to Harry’s Grandparent’s House. Once inside, they were greeted by the usual gang; the Weasleys brought them in for lunch as they met Mina for the first time. Tonks wasn’t there, but Lupin found his way from the back hall to the kitchen. He looked pale and gaunt, more than Harry had ever seen him like before. He knew the full moon wasn’t for two weeks so his stomach churned with concern.
Lupin greeted everyone and then sat down. He spoke to Mina as if he was very well acquainted with her, then Harry remembered, he had spent time at her house and she was once one of his students. Harry noticed Ron and Hermione talking in hushed tones looking over at Mina and Lupin in concern. He could not know what it was about. Just as Harry was about to be concerned, Dobby walked in and asked where Ginny was. Ron let him know that she chose to stay behind this trip in order to study more.
After they had all finished their lunch, Lupin asked to see Harry alone for a moment. Hermione, Ron, Luna, and Mina all went outside to sit by the lake. Harry followed Lupin down the long dark hall that led to the forbidden room. His old teacher stopped just outside the door, a crack of light peering through one of the curtains drawn on the window. Harry wondered why he had brought him here, was it to taunt Harry of where he could not go?
After a moment of silence, Lupin looked around as if to see if anyone was there. “Harry there is something important I have to show you, but you must not let anyone know you have seen it and you cannot come back here alone, no one must know you have been in here. Do you understand me?”
Harry was frozen, Lupin was going to let Harry into the room that he was forbidden to enter. There must be something in there that Lupin felt Harry must know about, so why was he not allowed to go in before? But before Harry could think more, Lupin pushed on the door, and as it opened slowly, Harry could see the walls covered from floor to ceiling with paintings. A dim light in the center of the room barely lit the walls so that Harry could not see the subjects, but felt as though eyes were peering at him when he stepped into the room. Lupin walked over to the light and added a bit more oil, illuminating every corner of the room. Harry’s Heart dropped and he felt as though he would feint had Lupin not been there to steady his stance. He stared up in amazement.
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