The Sugar Quill
Author: Aragog (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Harry Potter and the Staff of Serpents  Chapter: Chapter 4:Junior Member of The Order
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.


Standard disclaimer: the author is not parasitically nourishing himself on the corupus of J.K. Rowling's creation.

Non-standard praises: Yolanda my beta, who tells me what's right with the story as well as what's wrong. And to ex post facto beta reader SpellChecker, whose penchant for catching errors in posted stories is often not appreciated by other writers.








Chapter 4
Junior Member of The Order



The group of six slammed to their feet in an ordinary garden shed containing an assortment of shovels, hedge shears, branch clippers, and empty clay flower pots. Curiously, Harry saw there was also a bare wooden bench piled up with a good bit of musical staff paper, some covered with notes from a half-finish symphony.

Fred noticed where Harry's gaze was directed.

"A daft old Muggle likes to write music in here. Don't know why. He doesn't seem to mind when wizards appear and disappear out of thin air though, so we've been using this as a second apparition point."

What do they mean 'We', thought Harry. "Have you joined The Order then?" he asked the twins aloud.

"Aye, that they have son," butted in Moody, "they think they're going to turn all the dark wizards into canaries and put an end to the war early."

"Only the ones who don't practice Constant Vigilance" replied George.

Tonks meanwhile had her head out the door looking to see if anyone was about. "I think the coast is clear," she assured them, and promptly banged into the doorjamb pulling back inside.

When the ringing in her left ear had died down (Remus in particular showed a level of concern for her a step beyond the usual) they exited the shed into a garden that bore signs of having been thoroughly overgrown recently, but was slowly being brought to heel. It was the only thing in the vicinity that showed promise of recovery. The surrounding buildings had a dowdy and sinister look about them that seemed familiar to Harry, like those in the courtyard outside 12 Grimmauld Place. This clearly wasn't the courtyard though.

"Molly found the back entrance a couple months ago," said Remus by way of explanation. Then he pointed his wand at a grotesquely gnarled little tree and muttered a complex incantation which caused its knobs and twists to begin straightening out. There were quite a lot of them, and each one seemed to conceal a tenth of the tree's total mass. By now Harry wasn't awestruck by brick walls that turned into portals or invisible buildings appearing out of nowhere, but he could scarcely believe how immense the trunk was. A significant assortment of weeds and grass had been obligated to scurry out of the way as the base pushed outward, and by the time it finished unfolding to its full size three fully grown wizards couldn't have put their arms all the way around it.

"Arbus Apire" was Remus' next command, and a great crevice about three feet wide opened in what had been its solid surface.

"We're too exposed back here waiting for that thing to turn into a door," groused Moody. "Death Eaters could have done us in by now."

"After you then," was all Remus said about that.

Harry stepped in and found himself standing at the top of what he guessed was a spiral staircase made of wildly contorted tree roots. At the bottom was an unlit passage.

"Lumos" he told his wand and took the opportunity to fold up his jeans while he waited for the others, wondering how Moody was going to manage this route with a wooden leg. Without too much trouble apparently, for they were soon walking along a dirt tunnel that took a sharp bend to the right and came to an ordinary wooden door. On the other side was a gloomy circular room hewn out of stone.

"Rotatus" called out Lupin, and the room, evidently a free-floating cylinder, began turning. The passage they'd just come through slid out of view as the doorway lined up with a staircase, and up at the top was a hallway in what Harry knew in spite of extensive changes had to be 12 Grimmauld Place.

It was barely recognizable from what it had been twelve months earlier. The carpets, though still threadbare and faded, had been cleaned up. Conventional brass knobs had been put in place of the serpent door handles on the more frequently used rooms. The gas jets no longer flickered. Even the grime on most of the windows had been scoured away. Against everything the Black family would have wanted their house was almost cheerful. Almost. A more accurate description to say it wasn't quite as grim. Harry was palpably aware of Sirius' absence, which dampened the ebullience he'd felt at being rescued.

"Is your family still staying here?" he asked Fred and George to take his mind off the subject.

"For now," said Fred.

"There's been talk of Mum, Dad, Ron, and Ginny moving back to The Burrow," finished George.

Remus' face clouded over a little at that.

Before they could discuss the matter further they were met at the end of the hall by none other than Albus Dumbledore.

"Ah, you've brought Harry back to us, and none the worse for wear I see. Did any complications arise on the way?" he inquired with his characteristic twinkle.

"Couldn't have gone better Albus," responded Moody. "The great oaf and his family were hiding when we showed up."

"Harry tells us they had a little encounter with a new Weasley Wizard Wheeze," supplied Tonks.

The twins were glowing with the sort of pride usually reserved for a new baby.

"Aye, the whole house did from the look of it. You boys keep working on that and maybe we'll have an extra weapon for the war," finished Moody.

Remus, who'd been quiet up to this point, changed the subject. "Is this morning's meeting of The Order ready, Professor?"

"Those able to attend are making their way here and assembling in the kitchen, as is usual. I would think we will be starting in about 15 minutes, Remus," said Dumbledore. "Which reminds me, I need to have a word privately with Harry before we start."

Lupin looked at Harry like he too wanted to have a word in private, but instead politely excused himself and walked away arm in arm with Tonks.

"We'll bring your trunk up to your room then," said Fred and George.

Harry thanked everyone again for coming to get him, then followed Dumbledore into an empty bed chamber.

"I trust you've been holding up as well as you're able in the past month?" began the old Headmaster, his eyes now betraying just a hint of concern.

Harry slowly took in and released a single breath, which conveyed better than words just how much he felt what he was holding up. "I guess that's the best way to put it."

The look of concern in Dumbledore's eyes deepened. "For whatever comfort it may bring you Harry, let me assure you I will do all that I am able to lighten your burden."

"I know, sir."

Both fell silent at that, appreciating the irony of an old man who seemed very tired himself offering to carry the weight of a troubled world for a young man.

Presently Harry had a thought. "Do you know what I'm supposed to do to defeat Voldemort sir? I mean, I can't expect to duel with him and win the way you did. If anything was going to help then knowing what I have to do to prepare would be it."

"Alas Harry, we only know what is in the prophecy: 'you have power the Dark Lord knows not.'" said Dumbledore. "The nature of that power we can easily guess, but the manner in which you apply it is for you to discover. I would only add that while you alone can bring about the death of Voldemort, you are not constrained to finding your way alone. There are people near at hand you may not have thought of who are ready to play a part in this, and who will be indispensable if you are to succeed."

"Which people? You mean Ron and Hermione?" asked Harry. "I'm sure they'll be watching my back right to the very end. I doubt I could stop them."

The headmaster's eyes regained some of their twinkle. "I share your confidence in Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger. However, I confess I don't know who else you might rely on. I am merely repeating what our centaur friend Professor Firenze has told me."

Firenze said that? Then of course it would be something cryptic that revealed only the merest part of what he needed to know.

"Now on to the matter I needed to discuss with you. This morning Arabella Figg contacted me to pass along a note you'd written. She was beside herself, almost frantic, thinking it might have been lying on her floor for several days without her noticing it."

Harry shifted his feet guiltily. He should have just knocked on the door and handed it to her. "Err, I did put a note in her mail slot... about a week ago I think. It was about two dreams I had."

Dumbledore nodded for Harry to continue.

"The first one was about the Department of Mysteries. Or I mean, it was two Ministry investigators talking to me in a dream. They asked me questions about why I went there. I tried to put them off by telling them you told Fudge everything that was important, but they drew me out somehow. Towards the end I almost let slip that the Order of the Phoenix does exist. I was getting tired."

Dumbledore nodded again. "That might explain a visit I received days ago. Were the investigators by any chance Reynell Fortuna and Octavia Fortescue?"

"Yes, that was them," answered Harry, the names jogging his memory.

"They expressed interest in my efforts to fight Lord Voldemort. I am less than pleased to learn they chose to contact you Somnapathically however" said Dumbledore, frowning slightly.

"Why?"

"It is a secure method for wizards with the talent to communicate when they need privacy, but the receiving subject can also be placed at a distinct disadvantage. I shall have to have a word with them about this."

"Are there a lot of wizards and witches who can do it?"

"More than are Parseltongues or Metamorphmagi I daresay, but no, it is a relatively rare ability," said Dumbledore smiling now. "Although it's possible to train oneself to a limited degree in the art, most find it's not worth the effort."

Great. Another thing marking him as different. At least the Parseltongue was a borrowed talent... then again, maybe his being a Somnapath had something to do with why Voldemort couldn't block him out completely. He would ask Hermione. She might have read something about it.

"Did you discuss anything else during your conversation with the Ministry?" prompted Dumbledore.

"We argued about Sirius for a bit. I don't think I convinced them about anything except to drop the subject."

"And your second dream?" asked Dumbledore.

"That was about Voldemort. It was one of those where I felt like I was inside his head looking out again. He was talking to his inner circle about leaving England to find something. I don't remember it all now but I've got a lot of it written down. The parchment is in my trunk."

Dumbledore was interested to hear this news. "Very well then, Harry. We will recover your notes, and then you may present them to this morning's meeting."

It did not immediately register with Harry what Dumbledore had said.

"Y-- you want me to attend the meeting?" He fought to keep his voice steady; somewhere in the middle of the question it wanted to take a hike into the mountains and end as a squeak.

"I do."

Harry scarcely knew what to make of this development. Would he be taking part in other meetings while at school? Going on missions? That wouldn't be so bad. He'd know what was going on, and be able to act on that knowledge. Dumbledore must have meant what he'd said at the end of last term when they were in his office --that part about bearing the burdens of an adult wizard....

"Rest assured Harry, you are not becoming a full member of The Order by doing this," said Dumbledore interrupting his thoughts. "You will be completing your studies first."

They walked down the main hall past all the decapitated house elves that had once served The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black, climbed the stairs, entered one of the doors, and were immediately beset by Weasleys. Or two anyway: Ron and Ginny, plus a lot of excited hooting from Pig. Where was Hermione? Maybe her parents were keeping her at home.

"Harry! How are ya' mate!" cried Ron jumping up off his bed to give Harry a slap on the back.

Ginny too had rushed forward and before she could think better of it, given him a big hug. That brought out deep blushes in both of them, and she quickly broke away.

"Sorry" she mumbled.

"Er, um, no, no, that's OK. I'm happy to see you too." said Harry hastily, tossing his trousers onto the other bed and very deliberately shaking her hand.

"Fred and George told us you were coming. We were waiting by the front door but after a while Mum shooed us back up here. Said you'd be here soon enough. Then we saw your trunk and Hedwig and knew they must have brought you in the back way," Ginny rattled off breathlessly. She must have been taking speed talking lessons from Hermione.

"Yeah, we passed them on the way," continued Ron "They were grinning like idiots the way they always do when they've done something. Said you'd tell us all about it."

"So what joke did they pull this time?" asked Ginny expectantly.

"Who? Fred and George? None... Well, not directly anyway. They showed up with Remus, Moody, and Tonks to take me away from the Dursleys. The part they're probably wound up about happened before they arrived...."

And with that opening Harry launched into an extended description of the Great Gum Assault. Eyes twinkling again, Dumbledore quietly took the opportunity to go over to Harry's trunk, disable the enchantments (the twins had placed a dozen Shooting Star charms under the lid), find and retrieve the parchment containing the details of Harry's dream, and return to the door. He coughed mildly to get their attention.

"Oh! Hello Professor Dumbledore!" said Ron and Ginny scrambling to their feet.

"Hello Ronald, Hello Ginevra." said Dumbledore. The address may have been formal, but his tone was avuncular. "Much as I would prefer not to disturb your reunion, I need to borrow Harry for just a little while. I promise to return him in as good condition as you found him," he finished, smiling.

The two youngest Weasleys gave Harry a searching look that as much as told him "you'd better fill us in when you get back," then stood aside. "Er, of course sir." said Ron.

Harry shrugged, promised he'd return soon, and left with the headmaster. After they were outside the door he remembered he needed his notes and was about to go back for them when Dumbledore silently handed him the parchment.

~~*~~

The kitchen in the basement was very crowded; clearly The Order had gained members since the Ministry's belated acknowledgment of Voldemort's return. He recognized more than a few faces: apart from Tonks, Remus, Moody, and the twins, he saw Kingsley Shacklebolt, Mundungus Fletcher, Bill Weasley, Fleur Delacour, Dedalus Diggle, Elphias Doge, Emmeline Vance, Hestia Jones, Snape, Minerva McGonagall, and Molly Weasley. There was also a tall gangly wizard with closely cropped light hair, ears that stuck out, and a perpetually bemused expression on his face who might have been just barely 18 if telltale wrinkles around his eyes hadn't revealed him to be somewhere in middle age. Near him was a stocky witch with severe features, gray hair tied back in a short braid, and a piercing gaze. She eyed Harry appraisingly. A dozen other witches and wizards he didn't have time to study because Dumbledore had started speaking filled out the room. The only wizard missing was Sirius. In Harry's heart the kitchen might as well have been empty without him.

"Well, if we are all ready then let us get right to the matter at hand." began Dumbledore. "Severus, have you..."

Molly Weasley interrupted uncertainly. "Albus? Are you sure Harry should be here?" Phrased as a question, it was really more of a statement.

Snape quickly made himself her ally. "Yes Headmaster, we clearly decided more than a year ago that no witch or wizard who was not of age and finished with their education would be allowed to..." (The twins shot the Potions Master a dirty look, which he ignored).

At that moment a red-faced Arthur Weasley came rushing in. "Sorry I'm late Albus. Minister Fudge has been... oh, hello Harry! Glad to have you here at last!" he said, coming over to shake Harry's hand with enthusiasm. He was soon back to business however. "Em, Albus, shouldn't Harry be...?"

Dumbledore held up his hand for silence.

"I appreciate your concerns Molly, and Arthur, and Severus. However, I have invited Harry to this meeting for specific reasons. He has information which could be of great use to The Order, and I would add has more than earned the right to be here."

Harry himself had always thought this of course, thought it with perhaps more vehemence than was healthy, but now that his headmaster was saying it to what seemed like every member of The Order he felt a little embarrassed.

"But Headmaster..." resumed Snape, unwilling to let it drop.

"I think," broke in a voice Harry recognized, "we should trust Professor Dumbledore's judgment in this matter. I am sure, as he has already said, there are reasons he wishes to have young Mr. Potter here."

It was Reynell Fortuna! There were so many people here Harry hadn't seen him seated against the back wall.

Some of the witches and wizards Harry didn't know, including the gangly fellow with the wide ears, appeared to be putting two and two together now that they had heard him referred to as "Harry" and "Mr. Potter."

Mad-eye was shifting restlessly, but it was Kingsley Shacklebolt who spoke next in his slow, authoritative baritone. "I would like to hear what Mr. Potter has for us. He would not be here if it wasn't important, I'm sure."

Glaring at Harry, Snape finally fell silent.

"Thank you Reynell, Kingsley," Dumbledore went on. "Well, as it appears to be of interest to many of you, I would ask Severus to delay giving us his update for a moment. Harry, if you please."

All eyes were on him. In general, unless Quaffles, Bludgers, and Golden Snitches were involved Harry hated being the center of attention like this. There was no turning back now though.

"I had a dream," he began.

"Pardon? We can't hear you back here," spoke up someone tucked in the far corner.

Harry took a deep breath and started again. "I had a dream a week ago, where Voldemort was speaking to his inner circle." (Snape glared harder, and many in the room gasped slightly at the seeming ease with which he said the name.) He opened his parchment to consult his notes.

"They were going to leave England for Central Asia to look for a Dark object of some kind. He said it was in the --I'm not sure about this exactly. He said the "S" something mountains. Something like San or Sun. They're near Mongolia. He also mentioned a wizarding village they were going to. The name starts with a 'C' or a 'K'... Or a 'Q'" he added after a moment.

There were murmurs around the room. Snape's eyes could not have conveyed more hatred and resentment.

Harry went on. "He sent everyone away then except Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. They talked about the Book of Serpents. It's one of the few things Malfoy managed to take away from his house just before the Ministry raid. He also talked about having allies and sympathizers within the Ministry, and he talked to Bellatrix Lestrange about using an invisible weapon to attack Hogwarts."

Everyone was apprehensively silent. Even Snape had stopped shooting daggers at him to ponder the new information. Awkward as it was to have the fact stated so explicitly, none of the Ministry people present contested it either; the escape of all those Death Eaters from Azkaban in July had been a little too easy.

"Erm, that's all I have."

A wizard Harry didn't know with Lockhart-worthy blond hair and slightly crooked teeth spoke up. "You said all this came to you in a dream?"

"Yes."

"Well what use can we make of it then? I've had dreams about the Dark Lord too, but I certainly wouldn't take them as portents of anything."

Harry looked helplessly at Dumbledore, who nodded.

"I have a connection to him, Voldemort I mean," Harry answered. "It probably happened when he gave me my scar. Anyway, I can sense his moods without meaning to, and sometimes after I fall asleep I'll have dreams where it's like I'm looking right through his own eyes. Other times it's like I'm in the room watching him talk to other people."

"How long have you been like this?" asked the skeptical wizard.

"Since Voldemort returned, maybe a little bit before. He was this ugly little reptile thing before he got his own body back. Wormta... Peter Pettigrew was taking care of him" finished Harry.

"I'm finding this very hard to believe."

"Nevertheless, every word is true Lowell," said in Dumbledore.

"I can vouch for Mr Potter's receptivity to Somnapathic communication," offered a gravely-voiced witch Harry realized with a start was Octavia Fortescue. He'd never heard her speak before.

"And I," Snape unexpectedly chimed in, "can verify that Potter does indeed have this connection to the Dark Lord."

He proceeded to ask Harry a series of questions about the room he saw in his dream and who was in it. Every detail matched up, right down to when Voldemort asked Snape to leave. Not only did it prove the existence of the connection, it established that the vision was of a legitimate event. And thoroughly stunned the young wizard besides; Harry Potter never ever would have expected Severus Snape to take his side, especially after arguing to exclude him from the meeting. Maybe the Potions Master just wanted to be sure Voldemort wasn't making another attempt to deceive them.

"Satisfied Barnham?" growled Moody.

"I will concede it's all possible," said the blond wizard Harry now knew as Lowell Barnham, "but I would like to know more about..."

"I suggest," Dumbledore broke in again, his voice rising slightly, "it would be more constructive to consult our maps and try to determine where our adversary is fleeing to. Bill, if you please."

Bill Weasley produced several large scrolls, which were unrolled on the table each in turn and then floated in midair so that everyone could see them. Because they were wizarding maps they were not limited to showing a single image. Properly manipulated, one could increase or decrease the scale and zoom to countries half way around the world. Before long the group was looking all around Mongolia for mountain ranges and wizarding villages. Harry saw something spelled out on one and realized they'd found it.

"There! The Sayan Mountains," said Harry. "I'm sure that's what Voldemort said."

Thus directed, they were able to focus their maps in on that area and soon came up with several possible candidates for the wizarding village. The biggest was Kyzyl, and again, Harry was positive that sounded like the one.

After Snape and several other witches and wizards delivered their progress reports (Harry learned his suspicions about free-roaming dementors were correct), the rest of the meeting was taken up with discussing what The Order could do to press its advantage now that the Dark Lord appeared to be making a tactical withdrawal; whatever artifact he was after, there would have been no need to send himself and so many of his top Death Eaters on such an errand unless he was concerned they might be recaptured. And his chosen destination was itself revealing: a sparsely populated area where the control exercised by magical authorities was weak. His inner circle could recruit what Dark Wizards as there were locally while having inconspicuous lower level surrogates carry on the work of rebuilding his organization in England and the continent.

The problem for The Order was that it didn't have enough members who were both independent of the Ministry, and could go on such a long journey without prior authorization. And one of them, Remus Lupin, had to stay near an apothecary competent enough to make Wolfsbane Potion. Others such as McGonagall, Snape, and of course Dumbledore were needed at Hogwarts. Fred and George might have been good candidates to act as spies, but they did not have dueling experience, and for this excursion dueling experience could be critical. In any event, Dumbledore felt their efforts to invent new magical devices for The Order was the best possible use of their talents.

Those who were with the Ministry, such as Shacklebolt, Tonks, Fortuna, Fortescue, Barnham, and Arthur Weasley among others, were stuck between a rock and a hard place. The British Ministry of Magic couldn't just waltz a team of Aurors into what had once been southern Russia without provoking local officials, such as they were. Negotiations had to be conducted. And Fudge being Fudge, the job of putting together any kind of sensitive operation was likely to get dithered over and stuffed up for weeks, assuming he could be persuaded to support it at all. Alternatively, they could simply have a number of members take a leave of absence, but that too would look suspicious. In any case the Ministry needed its manpower to contain the dementors.

Either way there was another problem: Voldemort's undiscovered supporters and sympathizers within the Ministry. If there were negotiations, word could get back to Voldemort. If a large number of Ministry personnel ceased showing up for work, word could get back to Voldemort. And even if everything went perfectly, even if negotiations were carried out in record time and the plan kept secret, the sudden appearance of so many British witches and wizards in the region wasn't going to go unnoticed, and word could get back to Voldemort.

The solution they came up with was a mesh of three options: First, send an advance team of five or so, whose job would be to lay low and keep an eye and ear on what the Death Eaters were up to. Second, inform magical authorities in Central Asia about the trouble coming their way. Third, recruit as many allies from the European Ministries as possible (which was in fact an ongoing project) and send a much larger force to recapture as many of the Dark Lord's servants as possible.

Before the meeting broke up most of those present tentatively agreed that because of their mix of abilities at functioning in foreign cultures, disguise, and dueling, Bill Weasley, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Nymphadora Tonks, and the tall wizard with the prominent ears, who only identified himself as Heinrich, would be the best people to send in the first group following the Dark Lord. It just needed one or two more members. And Gringotts would have to be persuaded to do without Bill for a awhile.

The whole situation, Harry thought dejectedly, would have been perfect for Sirius.

*

The kitchen might have cleared out faster after such a long meeting if so many of The Order's new members and a few of the old hadn't wanted to shake Harry's hand and introduce themselves. He endured it as best he could. At least it afforded him an opportunity to thank Kingsley, Fortescue, and Fortuna for taking his side. Lupin again looked at Harry as though he wanted to talk, but seeing the crowd on hand thought better of it and departed with a promise that they would meet later. Dedalus Diggle was as effusive as ever, and with a wink at Dumbledore hinted about a special surprise awaiting Harry at Hogwarts. Finally, he was able to disengage himself and wait in the corner for Dumbledore, who was having a parlay with the four prospective members of the advance team.

"Sir, I remember something else from my dream. It's about Voldemort's plan to attack Hogwarts," said Harry after the mini-conference was done.

"Yes, I had hoped you would have more to say about that."

By this time Professors McGonagall and Snape and the heavyset witch who'd given him that appraising look had joined them. Snape was back to being resentful.

"I'm almost positive the Book of Serpents had something to do with it. And...." There was something else floating just out of reach.

"Well, out with it Potter!" fumed Snape.

"Patience, Severus," Dumbledore rebuked him mildly.

"...I think ...I think ...the thing they're looking for in the mountains is a companion to the Book of Serpents. So maybe it's another book."

Dumbledore looked thoughtful. "Voldemort never named the other artifact he was seeking?"

"I don't think so. If he did I've forgotten," said Harry, feeling a little deflated.

"Potter, that information could be critically important!" Snape growled.

Harry was about to retort but Dumbledore cut everyone off with a pained "Severus, please."

"Did you see the Book in your dream?" prompted McGonagall.

"No. But they have it with them. He made it Lucius Malfoy's responsibility to keep it safe." Funny how more of his week-old dream came back to him the more he talked about it.

"Have you had other dreams of him since?" asked Dumbledore.

"Not like that one. Not where he's talked to anyone," said Harry. "I've had lots of little pieces of things. Mostly all I can tell from them is that he's really cheesed about traveling. And he's really angry at me for forcing him to control his emotions."

Everyone fell silent. In the first war Voldemort hadn't dared to attack Hogwarts. The Book of Serpents must have contained information of immense power for him to consider doing so now.

"Well, I think we've done all we can here," said Dumbledore after a moment. "Perhaps we should be getting on with our other duties."

"Um sir," Harry asked, "does anyone on our side know what the Book of Serpents is about?"

"Unfortunately, no. Unless you have something on that Severus." replied Dumbledore.

"I regret I do not, Headmaster," said Snape.

"At the moment I can recall nothing about any such Book," said Dumbledore thoughtfully. "And yet we know it was being kept in Malfoy Manor."

"Isn't it possible some of the other documents recovered in the raid are related?" suggested Professor McGonagall hopefully.

"That's an entirely logical supposition," said Dumbledore. "If such documents exist, they would now be at the Ministry." He turned to the stocky gray-haired witch. "Henrietta, if you could arrange with Amelia for us to have access to them it would be of great assistance to us."

"Of course Headmaster." It was the first time she'd spoken all morning that Harry could recall.

"If the Dark Lord has unidentified supporters at the Ministry we had best gain access to them quickly," offered Snape.

"Indeed, indeed. I will discuss the measures necessary to secure the Malfoy collection of Dark Artifacts with Amelia myself," said Dumbledore.

And with that their own little meeting wrapped up, and they went on their separate ways. But Harry still had a disquieting sense there were things in his dream he was forgetting.






A/N: The "daft old muggle" who "likes to write music in here" at the beginning of this chapter is a slightly convoluted Monty Python reference. Some of you may recall a sketch about composer Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson. In my imaginary extension of it he has become so fed up with people associating ordinary garden sheds with his symphonies he gives up and submits to doing his creative work in them.

My thanks to Asev, Trisha, remembercedric, ninde, Abigail, anna, SpellChecker, susan, Melodie, pegoheart144, Mary, Delleve, Giesbrecht, jamu, CheddarTrek, Arnel, JoJK, oybolshoi, and Anne for reviewing.

Some (*cough* Mary *cough*) suspect me of being JK Rowling. I'm honored. Although we are roughly the same age, I was born and raised in the Midwestern US, have no children, and am unambiguously male.






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