When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd,
And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,
I mourn'd, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.
The last Hufflepuff scurried out of my classroom; I went to my own
gathered my materials, and reported to Albus’s office. We sat down
worked silently over intelligence reports. After about three hours,
broke the silence. “Theron is having the rest of the family over for
I put down my quill and stretched. “Yes, with the exception of
“Are you ready to break for rations yourself?”
My stomach gave my answer.
He chuckled and rang for a house-elf, who bowed deferentially and
away to fulfill the order. A painting of a past headmistress awoke
her snooze and said, “Albus, dear, someone’s at the bottom of the
He nodded, both at the portrait and at me. I stuffed the papers
a folder and took it with me to the alcove in the corner – it was
visible to those who knew of its existence.
A moment later, young James Potter entered. Greetings were
and Potter lost no time in getting down to business. “Sir – we’re
– is there anything we can do for the effort?”
Albus said firmly, “You may continue doing well in your classes.
is power, Mr. Potter – keep learning.”
“Nothing more – immediate?”
“Did you have something in mind?” Albus looked at him keenly.
I watched Potter; he seemed to be hesitating. He finally blurted
“Sir, if we just monitored the Slytherin common room – ”
Albus held up a hand. “Mr. Potter, that is out of the
“But, sir – ”
“Mr. Potter. People only become trustworthy by being trusted. I
not have any student in this school feel like they are being
by the faculty. Learning is our purpose here, not acts of espionage
– if you will forgive the expression – witch hunts.”
Potter said nothing.
Albus seemed to soften. “Go back to your dormitory, Mr. Potter –
have a big day tomorrow.” A Quidditch challenge – not one of the
matches – was being held after school tomorrow in response to a
issued to Potter by the Ravenclaw captain. It was the cause for much
among the students.
Potter brightened. “Yes, sir!” I couldn’t help but smile at his
– the faculty was secretly as excited about it as the students
Albus said, “Between ourselves, I understand that Ravenclaw is
some problems with one of their Chasers.”
Potter nodded. “I’ve heard something to that effect – we’ve been
“The best of luck to you, then.” Albus rose and escorted Potter
While he was gone, a house-elf popped in with a tray. I set it on
desk and waited for Albus to come back. When he did, he was smiling
wistfully. I said, “Are you going to invite him to join the
“I think so,” he said meditatively. As he did not elaborate, I did
press the subject.
We ate and worked straight through until around midnight. I
brought my nose out of my papers and stretched; my back let out a
crackle. Albus said, “Time for bed, I think.” We carefully stowed
our papers, and I left, feeling exhausted.
I made my way down the dark, deserted corridors, lost in my
– in my mind, I was still going over those reports. I –
A sudden, violent chill ran down my spine, and I stopped an
before I ran smack into a suit of armor. It was as though I had
been thrown in to the lake in December and shaken mercilessly by the
squid. I rested a hand on the wall, trying to catch my breath. After
few moments, I was able to continue. I said under my breath,
running over my grave – that’s all.”
And I went to bed.