I don’t own JK Rowling’s wonderful world, I only live in it.
Weasley stories “Job Hazards” and “Dreamwalkers” serve as a prologue to this
series, so I suggest reading those first.
Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts. This story will crossover with chapters dealing
with Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. The over-all rating for the entire arc is
probably a PG-13.
For the first time in four years,
Harry felt a bit of trepidation about returning to Hogwarts for the new school year. Perhaps it was
because he had been fortunate enough to spend the last half of summer away from
the Dursleys, and staying at the Burrow - wonderful thought it was - put him in
the perfect place to hear all the rumors flying about in the wizarding world
these days. Dark rumors. Mrs Weasley always tried to
keep anyone from mentioning Voldemort around Harry, but it was a fruitless
venture. The Weasley children all had a knack for dragging information out of
their father, and Arthur Weasley definitely had a lot of interesting - and
unnerving - information these days. And most all of it involved Voldemort in
one way or another.
Though Ron had done his best to
ensure that Harry had a fun-filled summer, every time someone said the words
Death Eaters, or dark magic, or You-Know-Who within Harry’s hearing, Harry
couldn’t help being hit all over again with memories of that night last year,
the night that Cedric died, the night that everything changed for him.
Harry wasn’t old enough to remember
the terror of Voldemort’s attack on the wizarding world fourteen years ago. But
he was getting a good taste of it now, even if he felt certain somehow that
this was only the calm before the storm.
Standing on Platform 9 ¾ , with the
Hogwarts Express puffing away beside him, Harry shook himself out of reverie
and watched Fred and George appear from thin air as they passed through the
barrier and onto the hidden platform. Mr Weasley immediately pulled the twins aside,
no doubt giving them a last minute lecture in the vain hope of staving off
further mischief from them this year.
“Now you will be careful, won’t you,
dears?” Mrs Weasley was saying anxiously to Harry, Ron and Hermione.
“Of course we will, Mum!” Ron said
with exasperation. This was easily the hundredth time that Mrs Weasley had
warned them to be careful since they had left the Burrow only an hour ago.
“We won’t go looking for trouble,
Mrs Weasley, don’t worry,” Hermione said, giving Ron and Harry both pointed
“I don’t have to go looking
for trouble,” Harry muttered to himself, the unwelcome feeling of trepidation
making him somewhat snappish. Thankfully, Mrs Weasley didn’t hear him, though
Hermione elbowed him hard in the ribs.
“Keep in touch, all right?” Mrs
Weasley caught Ron in a hug, ignoring his feeble struggles, and planted a kiss
on his cheek. She then gave Harry a similar treatment. “You’ll remember
to send us owls every few weeks, won’t you? Just to give us
some peace of mind.”
“Yeah,” Harry said. “We will.”
Mrs Weasley then gave Hermione a
less fierce hug, but an affectionate one nonetheless. Whatever lingering damage
might have remained from Skeeter’s articles last year had been healed over the
last week that Hermione had spent at the Burrow with them. “Watch after them,
Hermione. You’ve got good common sense. Boys need some of that.”
I always try.”
Mr Weasley came up and put an arm
around his wife’s shoulders. “Molly, dear, it’s time they got on the train.”
course.” Mrs Weasley sniffed very hard and blinked fiercely.
“Aw, Mum.” Ron rolled his eyes.
“Don’t cry. We’ll be fine.”
“I may visit the school occasionally
this year,” Mr Weasley said, “helping attune the wards to recognize Ministry
credentials. I’ll try to check in on you boys if I do.”
“Er...” Ron struggled to find a way
of expressing his extreme dislike for the concept.
shouted at them, hanging out of one of the train compartments. “You’d all
better get up here, unless you plan to fly to Hogwarts.”
George poked his head out. “And
don’t dare do it without us this time!”
It was a sign of how distraught she
truly was that Mrs Weasley did not glare at either the twins or Ron at this, as
she had never quite forgiven the incident with the flying Anglia. “Go on,” she
said kindly to Ron and the others, then grabbed Ginny, who had stood silently
by the whole time, and gave her a kiss and hug. She then waved all four of them
toward the train.
They managed to find a compartment
to themselves, and Harry saw through the window as the train pulled away that
Mr and Mrs Weasley stood on the platform and watched them leave, both wearing
very concerned expressions. Harry sighed and leaned back in his seat.
“What’s wrong?” Ginny asked him
quietly, barely loud enough to be heard over the loud voices echoing in the
compartment. Ron and Hermione were already
involved in an argument about something.
Ginny hadn’t spoken much to him
during his time at the Burrow, but he’d found that when she did say something
it always seemed to be at a moment when no one else was paying attention to
him; and those moments were rare enough. He knew that it was probably
ungrateful of him, but he couldn’t help finding Mrs Weasley’s over-concern a
bit stifling sometimes. He simply wasn’t used to it. But he knew he would never
“Nothing,” Harry replied, trying not
to meet Ginny’s eyes. He wouldn’t know how to talk about the feelings he was
having, even if he’d wanted to.
“Hey, Harry,” Ron said suddenly,
holding out a fist which seemed to be filled with a puff of brown feathers.
“Hold on to Pig for a minute, will you?”
Pigwidgeon hooted enthusiastically
as Harry took hold of him. “What are you doing?”
Ron was busy covering Pig’s cage
with a square of black cloth which seemed to have sparkles glued to the
underside. He snorted. “Hermione claims that this is supposed to make
Pig feel more relaxed -”
“It’s spelled,” Hermione said
testily, “to resemble the night sky. Sort of like the ceiling
of the Great Hall. It’s to make him feel more at home. So maybe he won’t
make such a racket while he’s in his cage.”
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Ron
muttered, struggling to tie the ends of the slippery cloth to the bottom of the
cage to keep it in place.
“Well, fine!” Hermione snapped.
“I’ll never go to extra work to do you a favor again, Ron!”
“Listen,” Harry interjected, still
clutching Pig -
who was now wriggling around gleefully - firmly in his hand. “We haven’t even
made it to the castle yet. Do we really have to start this now?”
Harry was glad that Hermione had
come to the Burrow for the last week of summer, but the unspoken tensions
between Ron and Hermione had been building ever since she’d arrived. Harry knew
perfectly well that Ron was dying to ask Hermione about what she’d done for
summer before coming to Weasleys’, as he’d managed to make at least one snide
comment about Bulgaria every day while Harry had been
there. But for some reason Ron couldn’t seem to bring himself
to make any of those comments directly to Hermione, though Harry wished he
would; anything to prevent them from starting
the term in this fashion.
Hermione flopped down into a seat
next to Ginny with a sigh. “I’m sorry,”
she mumbled, casting an apologetic look at Ron. “My temper’s a bit short. I
just had a lousy summer.”
Ron’s eyes instantly narrowed, but
he restrained himself from pursuing the subject with visible effort. He just
shrugged, and managed an abashed look of his own. “S’allright. I’m sorry too. I
think we all had a pretty... tense summer.” All eyes glanced to Harry, who
determinedly kept his gaze glued on Pig, still twittering away between his
fingers. Ron cleared his throat awkwardly. “Anyway... thanks for the cage cover
and all, Hermione. Here, Harry, give me Pig.”
Ron managed to get the little owl
safely locked away inside the covered cage. Whether the spelled cloth actually
gave the hyper owl any peace of mind they couldn’t say, but it thankfully
served to muffle the sound of his happy hooting.
The rest of the trip to Hogwarts
they managed to chat without any further arguments. They talked about the new
courses they would be taking as fifth years - Hermione was particularly excited
about Transfiguration this term - and how it was hard to believe that Fred and
George were actually going to finish school this year.
“Mum’s convinced they’re going to
try to pull some stunt for the end of the year,” Ron said.
“Well, are they?” Hermione asked
Ron grinned, and Ginny snorted. “Of
course they are!” she exclaimed.
“They won’t tell me anything about
it,” Ron admitted sulkily. “Even though I offered to help.”
“You would.” Hermione tsked. “Really, Ron. As if you don’t get in
enough trouble on your own.”
Ron didn’t seem to hear her. “I’m
sure Lee knows something. Maybe I can get it out of him.”
It was raining when they finally
arrived at the Hogsmeade station. They made a dash out to the horseless
carriages, and were soon tromping through the familiar Entrance Hall on the way
to the feast. They took seats at the Gryffindor table, and watched as the first
years were herded into the Hall for the Sorting.
“Is it just me,” Ron said quietly,
“or are there less of them this year?”
“It looks like it.” Harry noticed.
“There’ve been articles in the Daily
Prophet.” Hermione said. “After what happened last year, lots of families
are thinking of holding their children back until the trouble blows over.”
Harry frowned. “The trouble is not
just going to ‘blow over’.”
Ron and Hermione exchanged an
anxious glance over his head. Harry tried not to be irritated by it. Were they
going to be doing this all year, looking over him with worried expressions like
that? Was everyone?
A high pitched, cruel laugh from across
the hall from the Slytherin table caught their attention. They all scowled to
see Draco Malfoy in deep cahoots with Crabbe and Goyle, laughing at the more
nervous of the first years.
“I can’t believe it!” Ron
hissed. “I can’t believe he’d dare to show his face here again! After his dad
knows that you must have reported him as a Death Eater and everything!”
Hermione trod on his foot. “Quiet, Ron! Don’t talk about stuff like that in the
“I don’t know,” Harry said darkly,
glaring at Malfoy. “Maybe it’s just their way of trying to show Dumbledore
they’re not afraid.”
“They should be.” Ron growled.
“Dumbledore’ll squash them, you wait and see.” He ground his fist into his hand
as though to eagerly illustrate his words.
But though Dumbledore did act a bit
more grave than usual as he opened the feast after the Sorting, he did not
mention anything about the recent problems. His welcoming speech was short and
pleasant, nothing at all like the speech he had given to close the last term. Remember
Mad-Eye Moody, the real
Mad-Eye Moody, was sitting at the head table as their Professor for Defense Against the Dark Arts. Only Harry, Ron and Hermione knew
that he had not actually been their Professor the year before. They were all
curious to see what the real Moody was going to be like as a teacher.
When the feast ended the students
broke off into groups and followed their Prefects to the house common rooms. On
the way, Dean and Seamus hustled over to Harry, Ron and Hermione.
“Good to see you!” Seamus said.
“Did you hear?” Dean asked eagerly. “About the new teacher?”
Hermione perked up. “What new
teacher? I didn’t know there was going to be a new teacher! There wasn’t
anything on the school list about a new subject available…”
Dean rolled his eyes. “No. I’ve
heard she’s like Dumbledore’s assistant, or something.”
“Dumbledore doesn’t need an
assistant!” Ron said almost defensively.
“Where’d you hear about this?”
Hermione demanded incredulously. “And why wasn’t this mystery teacher at the
Dean shrugged. “Don’t know. Heard about it from Parvati. Said she
overhead some woman talking to Professor McGonagall.”
Hermione sniffed, clearly dismissing
anything Parvati might have reported as nothing more than frivolous gossip. But
Harry couldn’t help feeling curious. He was certain that Dumbledore would be
organizing quite a lot of mysterious people around him these days. If there was
someone here as his assistant, then they must be somebody important.
“A new teacher,” Hermione muttered
dismissively as they trooped through the Gryffindor common room. “Dumbledore
would have introduced her at the feast. There can’t be a new teacher.”
“Well, we’ll find out soon enough,
won’t we?” Harry said. “Good night, Hermione.”
Stepping into his dorm room after
the summer always felt like coming home for Harry. This time was no exception,
in spite of memories and a little bit of dread about the future. This was still
home. Harry climbed into bed quickly, and for the first time in a long while he
slept without nightmares.
“It just figures,” Ron moaned the
following morning at breakfast as they went over their new timetables. “Our
first class of the year would have to be potions with the Slytherins, wouldn’t
“Well at least we’ll be getting it
out of the way,” Harry said, trying to sound more optimistic than he felt. The last
thing he wanted to do was start off his year with Professor Snape’s acidic
“But at least we have Defense Against the Dark Arts today, too,” Hermione pointed out.
“I’m really curious to see how...how this Professor Moody teaches his
class.” She lowered her voice so as not to be overheard by students who didn’t
know about all the things which had happened at the end of last year.
munched thoughtfully on his sausage. “I wonder if the real Moody will turn
Malfoy into a ferret, too. What I wouldn’t give to see that again!”
It seemed that most of the
Gryffindors were less than excited about attending Potions first thing in the
school year, because a great deal of the Gryffindor students arrived at the
door to Snape’s dungeon mere minutes before the beginning of class. Normally
toeing the line like that would have earned them all a terse reprimand from
Snape, but as Harry and the others came to the door they found it closed, and
all of the Slytherins were waiting in the corridor. Draco Malfoy sniggered at
sight of Harry, then ducked down to whisper something
in Crabbe’s ear.
“Ferrets,” Ron murmured passionately
to himself. “Just think of ferrets. Bouncing ferrets.”
Harry came up to the short boy, who looked immensely relieved that his fellow
Gryffindors had arrived at last. “Where’s Snape?”
“I don’t know. I thought - I thought
I’d come early, to start off the year better, but now he’s not even here, and I
think it’s all just a bad sign.” Neville heaved a defeated sigh.
He looked so thoroughly miserable
that Harry couldn’t help feeling sorry for him. He patted Neville awkwardly on
the shoulder, then sidled back to Ron and Hermione.
“Maybe he’s not coming,” Ron said
hopefully. “Maybe the new teacher is going to take his place!”
Hermione frowned. “There can’t
be a new teacher, Ron,” she said obstinately. “Dumbledore would have introduced
her at the feast!”
“We’re not that lucky,” Harry
muttered. “Here he comes.”
Snape was striding down the corridor
toward them, but he wasn’t alone. Professor McGonagall was walking beside him,
robes flapping with her brisk steps. Neither of them looked particularly
pleased, and neither spoke a single word until they stopped directly in front
of Harry. Draco sniggered again. Harry’s heart sank. What had he done now?
“Harry,” Professor McGonagall said,
and her stern look suddenly softened with what seemed to be concern. “I need
you to come with me.”
“What did I do, Professor?” Harry
Snape scowled. He looked far
from concerned. “Don’t ask questions, Potter. Just do what you’re told. And I
expect you to come to me after class and pick up information on your
assignments. Just because you’re getting away with not coming to class doesn’t
mean you’ll get away with not doing the work.”
Without a word, Harry dumbly went to
Professor McGonagall’s side and began to head back up the corridor. Hermione
touched his arm comfortingly as he passed, but it didn’t help Harry’s mood. He
had no idea what was going on, but he felt certain that Snape would never have
let him go without a vicious argument unless there was an unpleasant fate awaiting
“Professor,” Harry began. “Did I do
anything wrong? I haven’t even had my first class yet!”
“You’ve done nothing wrong, Harry.
Professor Dumbledore wants to speak with you.”
“Oh.” He walked uncomfortably on in
silence, then blurted out on impulse, “Is it true that there’s a new teacher?”
“A new teacher?”
Professor McGonagall echoed, narrowing her eyes behind her square-lensed
glasses. “Where did you hear that?” she asked sternly.
“Er...just gossip, that’s all.”
“Well.” McGonagall huffed. “Gossip. I see. No, Harry. There is no new teacher here this
year. Hogwarts may open its doors to a few people as guests this term, but
that’s not the students’ concern.” She glanced at him sideways. “Not most of them, at least. I needn’t remind you that anything
Professor Dumbledore discusses with you is not to become the subject of
idle gossip, must I?”
“Good.” They came to a stop in front
of the gargoyle which guarded the entrance to Dumbledore’s office. Professor
McGonagall placed her hands on her hips and stared at the gargoyle, as though
challenging it. Her face twisted into a slight grimace of disapproval as she
spoke the passwords, “Pepper Imps.”
The secret passage in the wall
sprung open, and she and Harry stepped onto the moving spiral staircase which
carried them up and up to Dumbledore’s office. Professor McGonagall rapped
smartly on the door with the brass griffon knocker, and the door instantly
Dumbledore was standing near the
center of the room, in front of Fawkes’ perch. The Phoenix was looking a bit under the
weather, his brilliant plumage faded and molting in a few places. Harry hoped
that the bird wasn’t going to burst into flames again. Seeing it once had been
“Here’s Harry, Headmaster,”
“Ah, thank you, Minerva,” Dumbledore
spoke without turning around. “I will speak with you later.”
McGonagall gave Harry a last unreadable look through her glasses, then turned
and left the room, closing the door behind her.
“Come here, Harry,” Dumbledore said
cheerfully. “Give me a hand.”
Harry approached curiously, and saw
that Dumbledore seemed to be trying to feed something to Fawkes. As a matter of
fact, it seemed that he was trying to feed him a Chocolate Frog.
“Fawkes has a weakness for sweets.”
Dumbledore smiled, blue eyes twinkling. “I like to indulge him sometimes. Would
you like some?”
“Ah... no thanks.
I just had breakfast.”
Mustn’t develop bad habits. That’s very farsighted of
you, Harry. As for me... I like to indulge myself
sometimes, too.” Dumbledore smiled and popped a piece of the Chocolate Frog
into his mouth, then reached into his robes and drew out a new package. He
opened it, broke off a piece, and fed it to Fawkes. The collectible card in the
wrapping caught his attention. He pulled it out, looked at it, and sighed. “Another me. What a disappointment. I keep hoping to find
Harry remembered Colin Creevey
saying once that he was sure there would be a card with Harry Potter on it
someday. He nearly squirmed at the thought. He doubted he would be able to take
it as calmly as Dumbledore seemed to.
Dumbledore stared at him, smiling,
almost as though he could read his thoughts. Then he slipped the package back
into his robes and swept off toward a set of comfortable chairs which seemed to
have materialized beside the window. “Have a seat, Harry.”
Harry did so, placing his hands on
his knees and trying not to fidget. He waited for Dumbledore to say something,
but the Headmaster merely stared out the window, as though lost in thought.
Finally, Harry cleared his throat. “Sir?”
Dumbledore turned his penetrating
blue gaze on him. “Yes, Harry?”
“Er...not to sound rude or
anything....but why did you want to see me?”
“There are several reasons. One, was to ask you how your summer was.”
Harry fought to keep his expression
under control. He’d been pulled out of his very first lesson of the year so
that Dumbledore could ask him how his summer was?
“Um... it was fine, thanks.”
“Were you happy staying with the
“I spoke with Arthur Weasley a week
ago. He has requested that you be allowed to stay with them this following
summer as well. How would you feel about that, Harry?”
A surge of gratitude filled Harry.
He wondered if he would ever be able to thank the Weasleys for everything they
tried to do for him. “I’d like that very much, sir.”
“Then I will make the proper
arrangements. You know by now that certain precautions must be taken, certain
defenses set in place wherever you will stay during the holidays.”
Harry swallowed, trying not to think
about details, trying not to think about Voldemort... “I know.”
Dumbledore stroked his beard. “It is possible certain arrangements may change,”
he said mysteriously. “We will have to wait and see. But I have some more
questions for you, Harry. I hope that you trust me enough to answer honestly.”
“Of course I trust you, Professor.”
But even as he said so, he remembered the time in his second year during the
trouble with the Chamber of Secrets, when Dumbledore had asked him if he had
anything to tell him. He had lied then, and it still made him uncomfortable.
But after last year... after everything that had happened, and how Dumbledore
had spoken to him... Harry felt certain that he would never lie to Dumbledore
again. At least, he didn’t want to.
Dumbledore fixed him with a somber
gaze. “Has your scar been hurting you at all over the summer?”
Harry felt his stomach drop, and he
fought the urge to rub at his forehead. “No, sir.” It
was true. He’d certainly expected it to bother him, but he hadn’t had so much
as a twinge all summer.
“Have you been having any more
nightmares you feel might be connected to Voldemort?”
Harry wondered how to answer that.
He had nightmares almost every night. But none of them had felt like the dreams
he’d experienced last year, none of them felt as terribly real, for which he
was grateful. “I don’t think so, sir.”
“That’s good. But I’m afraid I must
now ask a favor of you, Harry,” Dumbledore said seriously.
Harry tried to quell his nerves.
“What is it?”
“It’s very simple, but very
important. If you ever have a dream, or a premonition, of anything you feel
might pertain to Voldemort, I would like you to come immediately and tell me of
it. You have a connection to him, Harry. You know this. Anything you might be
able to tell us could be helpful in attempting to safeguard innocents from him.
Will you do this?”
Thinking about having those dreams
again made Harry’s stomach turn. He didn’t want to know what horrible things
Voldemort was doing, didn’t want to see them and experience all the pain and
fear that went with it. But if there was a connection between them - and Harry
couldn’t deny there probably was, no matter how much he wanted to - then if
telling Dumbledore about his dreams might help save other people from being
killed, he would do it. He owed that to Cedric. He owed that to his parents.
“I’ll do it, sir,” Harry said as
calmly as he could.
Dumbledore smiled, though his eyes
seemed sad. “Thank you, Harry. Many people will benefit from your bravery.” He
leaned back in his chair and stroked at his beard again. “So.
Now I have something to show you. But first I must insist that you not speak of
this to any of the other students. Of course, I do expect Mr Ronald Weasley and
Miss Hermione Granger to be an exception.” Dumbledore smiled.
Harry blushed furiously. “I
haven’t....” he stammered, “That is....they’ve always helped me to....”
“It’s all right, Harry. I understand
how important it is to have people close to you whom you can trust. I trust
you, and if you trust them, then so be it. Just take care that it does not go
beyond them, Harry, because this is very important.”
Harry sighed with relief. “Yes, sir.”
“Good. There is someone I would like
you to meet.” Dumbledore gestured at the wall, and a hidden door swung open
into the room.
Harry stared in surprise as a
woman entered, and guessed immediately that this must be the woman who had
caused all the rumors; she was clearly too old to be a student, and Harry could
understand how someone might have mistaken her for a new teacher. But her
appearance was otherwise a bit more exotic than usual, even for a Hogwarts
professor. She had white-blonde hair and pale green eyes, and was rather oddly
dressed. Beneath a dark green cloak she was wearing what looked like a long,
brown leather skirt, leather boots, and a shirt decorated with silver beads.
There were a few black feathers tied in her hair, and what looked like a small
bird claw dangling from one of her ears.
“Harry,” Professor Dumbledore said,
“This is Elizabeth Night.”
Elizabeth Night smiled and walked
right over to Harry and put out her hand. “It’s an honor to meet you,
Harry Potter.” She had a low, gentle voice. Harry
stood up, feeling awkward, and shook her hand. “Uh... It’s nice to meet you,
Dumbledore gestured at empty air,
and another chair popped into sight. “Please have a seat, Elizabeth.”
“Thank you.” She sat down, and the
small beads on her shirt tinkled softly.
Harry noticed that she hardly took
her eyes off him, and he couldn’t help fidgeting nervously. Who was this
person? What on earth was going on?
As usual, Dumbledore seemed able to
read his thoughts. “Let me explain a few things for you, Harry. Miss Night just
arrived from the States. She is an
expert in a field of magic you might not have heard of before. Have you learned
anything in your studies about the Wizard Shamans?”
Harry fidgeted even more, wishing
suddenly that he’d paid more attention to some of his lectures. “I don’t think
“Good,” Elizabeth murmured. Harry thought she
suddenly looked rather sad.
He wondered how his ignorance could
be a good thing, but Dumbledore was already continuing. “In many places of the
world, Harry, wizards use magic in very different ways. In some remote places,
people born with wizarding ability learn to use their magic without ever
realizing they even possess the power. The Ministries and schools do their best
to find everyone, but we cannot be everywhere at once.” A troubled look briefly
touched Dumbledore’s lined face, but it passed quickly and he continued on.
“Several centuries ago, a handful of European wizards made a journey to what
was then considered the ‘New World.’ They met several of the native tribespeople there, and were
introduced to their Shamans. These Shamans claimed to speak to the spirits of
the land and the spirits of their ancestors. They believed that they appealed
to these spirits for guidance, knowledge, and protection. It so happened that
many of these Shamans were in fact wizards. In their practices they were
unknowingly using the magic with which they were born, only without the benefit
of the training wizards in wizarding communities have long enjoyed.” Dumbledore
smiled suddenly at Elizabeth. “Am I getting this right, my
She finally took her gaze off Harry
and smiled back at Dumbledore. “Of course.”
Dumbledore looked back at Harry, his
eyes sparkling. “She’s always flattering me. But where was I? Oh yes. The
wizards started to work with these Shamans, to try to understand how exactly
they had learned to do what they did. Soon it developed into a magical art of
its own, and over time they refined the practice, but it was a very difficult
and very mystical art. Very few witches or wizards have ever been able to
Elizabeth Night spoke up then. “It’s
a way of life, more than anything else. You have to be able to see the world
with different eyes.”
Harry wasn’t at all sure that he
understood, but he nodded anyway, trying his best to absorb everything. If he
could remember it well enough to repeat it all to Hermione later, no doubt she
would have read about it in some obscure book and would be able to explain it
all to him more simply.
Dumbledore was smiling at him again
in that knowing way. “Don’t worry, Harry. You will have time to understand it.
What you need to know for the moment is that the Wizard Shamans learned to do
things no one else has ever been able to do. They were able to summon visions,
true visions. You see, Harry, under the right circumstances, a Wizard Shaman
can look clearly into the future. More rebarkably, where the Divinatory
arts are concerned, they can also look into the past. This is both an amazingly
useful and incredibly dangerous ability. For you see, people have a tendency to
want the very things which are worst for them.”
Harry nodded, finally feeling like
he understood something. “Like the Mirror of Erised, right?”
Dumbledore beamed. “I’m glad that you remember. People want to know what the
future holds for them, and they often wish unwisely to relive the past. Because
of this, the Wizard Shamans were plagued by all sorts who wanted to take
advantage of their talents.” Dumbledore’s expression darkened, and his voice
became quite solemn. “One of those people, unfortunately, was Lord Voldemort.
He thought if he could look into the future to see the ways in which we would
attempt to oppose him, then he could stop us before we
had the opportunity. He also thought to use the Shamans to interrogate
prisoners by looking into their pasts, and thereby seeing what plans they may
have been privy to. He abducted all of the Wizard Shamans he could find. They
went into hiding, of course, but Voldemort had ways of finding them.”
Harry thought of his parents, of the
terrible lengths to which they had gone in order to hide. They had been
betrayed, and Voldemort found them. Harry couldn’t help but wonder how many
other people were betrayed by Voldemort’s spies. How many other people had been
hiding, only to be hunted down in the end?
He tried very hard not to think
Professor Dumbledore was still
talking. “Those Shamans who resisted were killed. Those who succumbed to
Voldemort’s power were killed after he had used them for his purposes. But
fortunately, even those who were forced to aid Voldemort never gave him the
full scope of their abilities. That, I’m afraid, is a very complicated matter,
and one we needn’t address at the moment.” Dumbledore looked particularly grim,
and though he didn’t take his steady gaze from Harry to even so much as glance
at Night, Harry thought she looked a bit pale listening to him. The Headmaster
went on, “Suffice it to say that Voldemort was not able to get as much use from
them as he would have liked. Sadly, though, by the time he was forced to flee,
he had seen to it that the Wizard Shamans were decimated. No one remained to
continue the art. At least, that’s what was commonly believed. I am one of the
few people who know that a bare handful managed to hide from Voldemort. For the
last fourteen years they have remained in hiding, and during that time only two
people have been newly trained as Wizard Shamans. Miss Night is one of them.”
Harry looked again to Elizabeth
Night, and saw that she was now staring at the floor, her lips pressed tightly
together. She looked very sad now, and her hands were clasped tightly in her
Dumbledore also looked very somber.
“I contacted Miss Night over the summer, and asked her to come here. She is
here to help us, Harry, in something which I consider to be very important. I
think you might also find it so. I have asked her here to look into the past,
and to recreate in vision the events surrounding Sirius Black’s arrest fourteen
Harry gaped. A thousand chaotic
thoughts flashed through his mind, but he couldn’t bring voice to a single one
of them. Elizabeth Night was looking at him again, and her pale eyes seemed to
burn right through him.
“Any vision Miss Night can summon,”
Dumbledore continued seriously, “will be accepted as credible evidence in a Wizarding Court. Her testimony may be the only
thing which can officially clear Sirius’s name. Though I have no qualms with
openly placing my trust in him, I think it best to avoid possible complications
with the Ministry by gaining him an official pardon. The people I trust must
have free rein to work. I will need Sirius’s help. And I suspect that you,
Harry, would perhaps like the opportunity to live with your godfather.”
Harry opened his mouth, struggled,
shut it. Live with Sirius? The thought flooded him with such longing that his
throat tightened with sudden emotion. “Yes.” He finally managed. “Yes, I really
Dumbledore smiled again. “Then I
hope you’ll be willing to help Miss Night in her work.”
Elizabeth unclasped her hands and leaned
slightly forward. “It is very difficult to see into the past, Harry,” she said
softly. “More difficult than seeing into the future.
The past becomes memory, and memory is a very personal thing. In order to have
a truly accurate vision, I need to know the people whose pasts are
involved. I need to...” she hesitated. “It’s difficult to put this into
words... I need to become familiar with your spirit aura.”
Harry thought this sounded
uncomfortably like the dreamy nonsense which Professor Trelawney babbled. But
Elizabeth Night had a very earthy presence and a clear gaze, as opposed to
Professor Trelawney’s misty elusiveness and dewy eyes. And most importantly,
Dumbledore obvioulsy trusted Elizabeth, or Harry was certain that he would
not have brought her here.
“But how will my... uh...
spirit aura... help you see Sirius’
past?” Harry asked.
“You are connected to Sirius,” Elizabeth said. “I need to know him not only
through his own memories, but through the spirit energy of others. I’ll have to
spend time with him directly, of course, but I must also spend time with the
people who are close to him.”
Harry still wasn’t sure he
understood, but he was willing to give anything a try if it meant getting to
live with Sirius. Getting to leave the Dursleys forever.
Getting to have a godfather - a real family of his own at
“Okay,” Harry said. “What do I have
“Nothing complicated, Harry,”
Dumbledore interjected, a pleased and reassuring look in his eyes. “You need to
spend some time in Miss Night’s company, allowing her to become acquainted with
you. That is all.”
Harry thought he could handle that,
and he was sure Ron wouldn’t mind either. Which made him think...
he really didn’t know what this would entail, and he’d rather not have to do it
Harry hedged, “Do we have to be alone together?”
Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled, and Elizabeth’s lips twisted as she seemed to
fight a grin.
“No,” Elizabeth said. “We don’t have to be alone.”
“I was hoping,” Professor Dumbledore
added calmly, “that you and your admirable friends might be willing to spend
some time introducing Miss Night to Hogwarts. As a matter of fact, she will be
attending quite a few of your classes.”
Harry blurted out before stopping himself, realizing only afterward how rude he
“I’ve trained my whole life as a
Shaman,” Elizabeth said with a graceful shrug that made the
beadwork on her leather clothing tinkle. “And I’ve spent most of my life in
hiding. I don’t even have a wand. I know far less about magic than you do,
Harry. I have quite a lot to learn. This is a fabulous opportunity for me.”
“And I believe,” Dumbledore smiled,
“That she has expressed a particular desire to learn about Quidditch.”
Elizabeth nodded. “Most
Harry couldn’t help grinning
slightly. At least that was something he could do with confidence. “I’ll be
happy to teach you.”
When Harry left Dumbledore’s office,
he could still hear the Headmaster and Elizabeth Night involved in quiet
conversation. But no matter how curious he was about what they were discussing,
he knew better than to linger when Dumbledore had dismissed him.
He took his time heading back to his
Potions lesson; he had no desire to endure Snape’s taunts, and he had a lot to
think about. Just as he was approaching the dungeon classroom, the door burst
open and a file of unhappy looking Gryffindors trooped out into the hallway,
followed by the far more cheerful Slytherins.
Ron and Hermione caught sight of him
and rushed over.
“What’s going on?” Ron asked.
“Are you in trouble, Harry?”
Hermione said worriedly.
“No, I’m not in trouble, but it’s
too complicated to explain right now,” Harry said quickly. “I’ll tell you after
Defense Against the Dark Arts. You won’t believe it!”
“Is that so?” Professor Snape’s cold
voice broke over them, and they glanced back to see him standing in the doorway
to the dungeon, hands clasped behind him and a scowl on his face. “Potter, I
should hope you’re not revealing any restricted information to these students.
I would hate to have to report that kind of indiscretion to the Headmaster.”
The glint in his eyes made it very clear that he would hate nothing of the
Harry bit back the urge to retort
that Dumbledore had given him permission to talk to Ron and Hermione, but
thought better of it. Besides, he didn’t want Snape knowing anything about his
business. Given how much Snape hated Sirius, Harry wondered if Dumbledore had
told Snape about Elizabeth Night’s mission at all.
“Get in here, Potter.” Snape stepped
to the side and pointed into the dungeon.
“We’ll wait for you out here,” Ron
said, looking at Snape defiantly. He wilted a bit under Snape’s fierce glare,
but held firm. Professor Snape practically slammed the thick dungeon door in
Ron and Hermione’s faces as soon as Harry was inside.
Harry was expecting Snape to launch
into a truly terrible lecture, but he just handed Harry the ingredients for a
Thawing Potion, gave him some curt instructions and orders to bring it
completed to the next class, then pointed again to the door.
“Now get out, Potter. Unlike others
who give you far too much attention, I have no more time for you. You should
run if you hope to make it to your next class on time.”
Harry thought of running, just to
get away from Snape all the faster. But it was hard to run with all their
books, so the three of them set off at a brisk walk. They were, in fact, eager
to get to their next class. It was Defense Against the
Dark Arts, and they wanted to get a taste of the real Moody.
“So what’s going on?” Ron pressed
him for answers.
“No, really, it’s too complicated to
tell you now. After class I’ll tell you everything. But I do know there’s no
“See!” Hermione said smugly. “I knew
“But there is someone here to
help Dumbledore, like Dean said.”
“Who is it?” Hermione said at the
“It’s a witch, only she’s not really
a witch, but she’s doing some really important work for Dumbledore.”
“You’re not making any sense,
Harry.” Hermione frowned. “What do you mean, she’s a
witch, but not really?”
“Well, she’s a Wizard Shaman.”
“Huh?” Ron grunted.
Hermione looked fascinated. “I think
I’ve read about that in -”
Ron rolled his eyes. “Big surprise.”
But Harry was glad. “Good, because
it’s all pretty strange, so maybe you can clear it up for us later.”
“What’s she like?” Ron asked
Harry grinned at him. “Pretty.”
Hermione let out a very irritated
sigh. “Don’t you two ever think about anything else?”
“I don’t know, Hermione,” Ron
retorted. “We weren’t the ones secretly running around with Viktor Krum all
year, were we? And hey....” His eyes narrowed as the perfect moment finally
came for him to ask the question. “What about the summer?” His voice cracked a
bit, which made him flush red, but it didn’t deter him. “Did you visit him over
“Well...” Hermione flushed red.
“Well??” Ron echoed expectantly.
But they had reached the classroom,
and the door was standing open. The room was already full of Gryffindor
students, but no Professor Moody.
“Come on,” Harry said. “We’re lucky
he’s not here yet to catch us coming late. We can talk about everything later.”
Dean and Seamus had saved them seats
near the front of the class. No sooner had they settled into their chairs than
the sound of uneven footsteps echoed from the hall, and everyone fell silent.
The rest of the students remembered how Moody had been the year before, and
they couldn’t help feeling a bit of trepidation. Harry, Ron and Hermione felt
the same way, but for different reasons.
Mad-Eye Moody limped into the room,
his magical blue eye rolling about and taking them all in as he headed straight
for his desk without turning his head. Harry had almost expected Moody to look
different, but he looked exactly the same as last year - though this real Moody had put on some healthy
weight since escaping from imprisonment in his trunk. The exact resemblance was
rather unnerving. Then again, Crouch had used a Polyjuice potion to impersonate
Moody, and Harry had personal experience with the effects of Polyjuice potions.
Moody reached his desk, turned
finally to face the class, and slapped something down on the desktop with such
force that an inkholder toppled over and several quills rattled onto the floor.
The entire class jumped.
“I am aware,” Moody started without
preamble, his gravelly voice just as rough as his face and wild hair, “that
last term I told you I would only teach here for a year. Things change. I’m
giving you all one more year, and then it’s off to other business.”
Harry, Ron and Hermione exchanged
“I taught you curses last year.” Moody
swept the class with his gaze, beady eye glinting darkly. “You learned them
from a master. It had better do you some good.”
Moody looked down at the desk and
picked up the parchment with the class register on it, then abruptly tore it in
two. “Don’t need this. I know who you all are. Always be aware of the people
surrounding you. Keen observation is the key to surviving any dangerous
situation.” As though to illustrate his point, the magical blue eye rolled back
into his head, then rotated sideways into view again, focused now on the door.
Dean Thomas glanced at Harry with a
half grin, and soundlessly shaped the well remembered words, ‘Constant
Thomas!” Moody barked, and Dean jumped, flushing crimson.
Harry thought that, Polyjuice potion
aside, Barty Crouch had obviously had a lot of experience dealing with Moody
before assuming his identity. The personalities matched exactly. That was why
he had managed to fool even Dumbledore until the very end.
“This class is not going to be fun,”
Moody practically growled. “You will not be learning textbook fluff this year.
You will learn practical -” he thumped the desk with one fist - “real” - he
thumped it again - “and potentially dangerous defensive magics. I fully
expect you to have to use them, times being what they are.”
Harry wondered if he only imagined
that Moody’s roving blue eye momentarily fixed on him, but figured gloomily
that he probably hadn’t.
Moody picked up the object he had
slammed onto the desk on entering, and held it up now for the entire class to
see. It was a silver disc, no larger than the rim of a tea cup, hanging on a
“This,” said Moody,
“is an Auris Medallion. It is an artifact, created by the wearer, to serve as a
defense against dark magic. It will warn its creator of dark magics being
worked upon him, and in some cases warn him of deception being perpetrated by
those around him. It is a very difficult item to create, but you are all going
to make one.”
The class was staring at Professor
Moody in shocked silence, a bit intimidated by what he was saying. Everyone
that is, except Hermione, who whispered something eagerly under breath. Harry
didn’t need to hear to guess what it was probably about.
“Making an Auris Medallion is very difficult,”
Moody went on. “Because of your lack of experience, your Medallions may not be
as powerful. But make them you will, and if you’re very lucky, some of you
might actually end up with a useful talisman. “
Suddenly, Moody’s wand was in his
hand. Harry blinked in surprise. Either Moody had silently summoned it from
somewhere, or he had moved so quickly that retrieving the wand from his clothes
had seemed instantaneous. Given everything Harry had heard about Moody’s past
accomplishments as an Auror, he didn’t know which to assume.
Moody waved his wand at a trunk in a
corner of the room - a very different trunk, Harry noticed, from the one that
had been in his office last year. The lid popped open, and dozens of silver
discs zoomed out of the trunk, whizzing through the air to land perfectly in
the center of each student’s desk.
Moody’s dark eye narrowed at the
class. “Now listen carefully, it is important that you follow my instructions
Harry watched Moody, listening
intently, and tried not to get too distracted by the way Moody’s magical eye
kept restlessly rolling about in its socket.
The minutes rolled on and on, and
they hadn’t even touched their discs. In fact, when Seamus Finnigan tried
surreptitiously to pick his up and inspect it, Moody spotted him and zapped his
fingers with a freezing charm, which he dispelled only after giving them all a
long lecture on following instructions to the letter. No one attempted to touch
the discs after that.
Moody told them all sorts of things
about Auris Medallions. He told them that while the Medallion would warn the
wearer, by turning numbingly cold, whenever dark magic was being worked against
them, this was not always as useful as it might sound.
He reminded them that if a dark wizard were to use one of the Unforgivable
Curses on you, for example, those Curses worked so quickly that by the time you
noticed the Medallion’s warning, it would be far too
late to do anything about it. Where the Medallion might help, was if someone
was attempting to keep you under the influence of a glamour or illusion, or if
you were being slowly poisoned by some undetected potion. An exceptionally well
made Medallion could also work somewhat like a Sneakoscope, warning the wearer
if he was in the presence of a dark wizard, though not even the strongest
Medallion could pinpoint an exact culprit. Moody, however, seemed grimly
certain that none of them would be able to make such an effective Medallion.
Harry wondered to himself why they
were being forced to make them if Moody was so sure they’d fail at it.
And then Moody told them the worst
“You may not even succeed in
completing the Medallion at all, if you fail in the most important step. Each
of you must choose a word, one word only, which has great meaning to you. A word that gives you confidence. Something, in short, which
you feel belongs on a talisman to ward off dark forces. If this word is not
truly significant to you, if it does not inspire you in some way, then not only
will your Medallion be useless, it may very well explode when you try to
inscribe the word on it.”
“Oh no,” Neville Longbottom moaned
But this concept, at least, Harry
had no problem understanding. He remembered when Professor Lupin had taught him
the Patronus Charm, how the spell didn’t work unless he was focused on a truly
happy, truly meaningful thought. This sounded very similar.
“Defensive magics are not easy to
master.” Moody swept his gaze sternly over the class, eyes moving in separate
directions. “But you will only learn by experience. Most of you will probably
fail this assignment, but you’ll all learn.”
The whole class was staring at Moody
nervously, hands kept well away from their silver discs. Only Hermione looked
enthusiastic about tackling the project.
The silence was broken by the
magically carried sound of bells chiming which signaled the end of class.
Several people sighed with relief, but Moody wasn’t finished. He thumped toward
the door, still talking as they gathered their books and quills.
“You can touch the discs now. Keep
them near you. Silver has a very specific resonance, and must be well tuned to
your wand. And start thinking about the word you’re going to choose. You’re all
dismissed, then. Go on.”
He stood by the door as the class
filed out, most people clutching their silver discs tightly. Neville, however,
had fumbled and dropped his on the floor, and Hermione was standing in front of
him, trying to shield him from Professor Moody’s view while he picked it up
again, having apparently forgotten how useless such an effort would be in
“That was intense,” Ron muttered
quietly to Harry.
“Yeah,” Harry said absently, eyes
glued on his disc. Slowly, he picked it up. The silver was smooth and cool, and
Neville had finally managed to get
his disc safely tucked away in his bag, but he was murmuring anxiously to
Hermione, “I don’t understand, why do we have to make
this if it probably won’t do us any good?”
“Because.” Moody’s rough voice broke over them, and Harry
turned around to see that they were the only four students left in the
classroom, and that Mad-Eye Moody was limping towards them. “The talisman
itself is not as important as what you will learn about yourself while making
it. Do you think that only stupid people fall to the temptation of Dark magic?”
Moody looked at them with both eyes forward now, gravelly
voice very gruff. “The most intelligent and knowledgeable wizards have
turned bad, all their defensive spells useless, because they didn’t have the
conviction to fight, the inner strength. They lacked faith in themselves. But
if you can see your own strengths and weaknesses clearly enough to choose the
right word for yourself, then maybe that’s just what you’ll learn.”
For a moment, his eerie gaze fixed on Neville, who gazed back, pale, but