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Harry Potter And The Secret Of The Heirs

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					  Harry Potter and The Secret of The Heirs




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Prologue
'Now this bell tolling softly for another says to me, thou must die'
The bells were tolling.
The church tower appeared as though bewitched. It was all that remained of the old
medieval church that had been destroyed over and over again by constant war and
bickering of the people. They had not wanted to rebuild the church; most of them did not
even want to step anywhere near it. They were frightened of the bells. The inscription
said it all. They were just plain scared. There was no way to ring the bells, either.
Yet the bells tolled.
Local villagers knew what the tolling meant they were all aware of the superstition,
surrounding the enchanted old church tower. The bells would toll all night. They no
longer bothered to go and search for the bodies. It was rarely one of their people anyhow,
and even if they searched high and low they could never find the body. But they knew
what had happened. The inscription told them. And even though it was rarely one of
them, it did not stop children from running to their parents for comfort, nor did it stop
them from cringing every time they heard a bell after they had left the village.
The bells were tolling.
*~*
Miles away a young man awoke with a start. The pain was intense; he clutched at his
forehead in agony. The world around him was dark. All that was there was a sound of
agony. The pain overwhelmed him. The vision was haunting.
*~*
The traitor was running. He had escaped from those guarding him, only by a small stroke
of luck. He knew he had to run fast and hard to escape, but where could he go. He had
walked into a trap and they had caught him. They had thrown him in a cell, and then
questioned him for hours on end. He refused to talk. Then they had tortured him,
deprived him of food and water and still he refused to talk. Finally they had cursed him.
He tried to resist, however the temptation was too strong. He had told them everything.
He had not wanted to, however he had been weak, unable to resist. It would not matter
now. His master would be disappointed in him. His master would kill him, or send others
to kill him. His only hope was to escape and find a safe hideout. If only he knew where
he was. He could hear bells tolling; perhaps he could run towards them.
Perhaps death would be a better option. If his pursuers captured him, they would kill him,
it may not be painless, but at least it would be quick. If they did not kill him, he would be
placed in prison, where he would serve a life sentence. Another form of torture. If his
followers found him, they would torture him, his death would not be painless, nor would
it be quick.
He stopped to take a breath. He looked around. They were behind him, in front and on


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either side of him. He was surrounded. He began to scream.
One of his pursuers leant over and kissed him.
The local villagers could not hear the scream of the man, nor the deadly silence that
followed it.
The bells were tolling.
*~*
The traitor's master sensed something was wrong.
He knew that fool of a servant would betray him. He was weak and spineless.
'If only I had not been so stupid as to confide in him, but then he was the least suspected
accomplice.'
Thoughts plagued the master's brain.
There was nothing he could do about it now; he would just have to be careful for a little
while longer before the time came to strike.
Suddenly, he felt a sharp, stabbing pain attack his body. He was in overwhelming agony.
It felt like part of him was dying.
He vowed revenge.

Chapter One
A Time of New Beginnings.
Harry looked glum as he greeted the Dursleys at Kings Cross Station. He had not been
looking forward to spending this summer with them, but he was not yet of age. He had to
stay with them or stay with his godfather, Sirius. Now while it was possible for him to
stay with Sirius, he had wanted time to become reacquainted with his family, and to put
his affairs in order. So off to Privet Drive again for Harry, hopefully for the last time.
His aunt made some scathing remark about how disappointed they were that Harry had
not managed to get himself killed this year. The remark didn't bother Harry, he was used
to the constant abuse from his aunt and uncle, but what stunned him was Dudley's
response.
'Lay off him,' he yelled at his parents. 'How would you like it if you two had died and his
parents had treated me like you treat Harry? You've never even thought of how your
sister would feel about they way you treat even if Harry is a wizard. There, I'm not afraid
to say it. My cousin is a wizard and I'm proud of it. I'll even make a badge and wear it
around all the time that says; My cousin is a wizard! What do you think of that?'
Dudley was rebelling. He was sick of his parents. Whether or not he meant what he said
Harry did not know. He only wondered at the reason for the sudden outburst.


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Both Vernon and Petunia were shocked. The thought had obviously never crossed their
minds. However little they liked Lily and James, Petunia knew that there was no way that
they would have treated Dudley this way. They didn't know what to say. Harry broke the
silence by taking the opportunity to raise an idea that had come to his head.
'Aunt Petunia, are there any jobs I could do for you to earn some pocket money this
summer. On top of my ordinary chores, that is. And I would work cheaply as you have
been so kind to put me up for so long.'
Harry felt like gagging at the thought of how kind they've been, but he felt that he should
probably earn some money; his fortune wasn't going to keep growing if he kept spending.
To Harry's surprise Petunia muttered that she might have some work that both he and
Dudley could do to earn some extra money, and learn how to work together to achieve
something. She did comment that she wouldn't pay either of them very much though,
given that they were both lazy. Apparently Dudley's teachers had commented on the fact
that Dudley did not like teamwork too much. At least he had lost a lot of weight. I guess
that's what liking girls did for you. Dudley looked great.
Girls.
Harry's thoughts wandered to Cho and then to Ginny and finally to Lavender. Cho had
been devastated following Cedric's death, but had asked Harry out anyway. He was
extremely nervous about the whole affair. Harry just didn't feel secure around her at all.
The whole time they spent together in Hogsmeade Harry just felt guilty about Cedric
dying. He finally told Cho that he just couldn't be with her because of Cedric. Cho looked
as if her heart had been broken but had come around to see that Harry was right; things
just couldn't work between them.
Ginny, well that was different. She had run after Harry for as long as he could remember,
but it had just been a crush. Harry finally had seen Ginny in a different light, other than
just his best friend's sister who had a little crush on him. They had been dating for about a
month, when Ginny had told him she didn't love him and that she had realised that she
had just been infatuated with the idea of Harry Potter. She loved him dearly but only as a
friend. He should have seen it coming. She told him that she was sorry, she had never
wanted to lead him on, but she had come to realise that it had just been a crush. He was
such a good friend, and she didn't want to loose him but she realised that she didn't love
him.
That had hurt.
Harry had initially been heartbroken. It had taken him a long time to muster the courage
to kiss her and tell her how he thought he felt. Then, after her 'confession' it had taken
Harry some time, a glimpse of Ginny with another student, a glimpse of a stunningly
pretty girl and a long time spent crying in Hermione's arms to realise that he didn't love
her either. He had just been infatuated by how quickly she had matured into a stunningly
beautiful young lady. Harry realised that this had stemmed from the fact that Ginny
reminded him of his mother. Well not reminded so much, but looked like her in the
photos Hagrid had given him. He must remember to ask his aunt for any photos she


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might have. He felt a need to see them; he missed his parents so much.
And Lavender, well she was very pretty and Harry found himself spending many hours
dreaming about her.
Well to be honest, dreaming about the way she had kissed him at the Valedictory Ball.
That's what it had taken for her to get Harry to notice her.
Harry had grown up a lot during the time that had elapsed since Voldemort returned. He
had discovered girls, and it was actually this discovery of girls that had brought he and
Dudley together. Last summer, Dudley had been forever pestering him to make him a
love potion; Harry's standard response was along the lines of 'You know I'm not allowed
to do magic away from school, I'm still underage.' But Dudley wasn't so sure, as Harry's
green eyes glistened with a hint of mischief when he replied, and Dudley thought that if
Harry had the chance, he might just perform some magic, without the authorities
knowing, and if he was nice enough Dudley might just reap the benefits.
Soon they arrived at Privet Drive, when Harry finally pulled himself out of his dream
state. He was certain there would be plenty of time to daydream about what had happened
the past few weeks. Truthfully he had been on edge since the night he had had that vision
of Voldemort clutching in agony. Harry hadn't known what to make of the vision, nor did
he fully understand all the events that had unfolded that evening. He knew the result of it
meant that Sirius was now free, but Harry wondered at the cost. Voldemort had seemed
enraged, determined to seek revenge and what Harry feared, and had told no one, was the
Voldemort would seek his revenge on Harry. Sirius had asked Harry to be patient and
reassured him that when Harry came to stay they could sit down and discuss everything,
but warned him that if his scar hurt again to owl Dumbledore immediately. Harry had
thought that this implied that he wasn't able to look after himself properly. Basically that
meant Sirius would owl him when he was ready for Harry to come and stay with him, but
until then Harry should only bother Sirius if it was something extremely important.
Hence Harry would just have to put up with Privet Drive until then.
On reaching his room Harry owled his friends to let them know he had arrived safely and
got settled in for what could be a long wait. He hoped that Ron and Hermione could work
things out over summer; he really didn't care to spend the best part of the year acting as a
go between the pair of them.
*~*
A week later, Harry was feeling stronger, from the amount of physical exercise he and
Dudley had been doing. He had enjoyed the time working with Dudley, the boys having
spent most of the time reflecting on life at boarding school and of the two girls who had
captured the young men's hearts. However Dudley remained selfish and spoilt, and ended
up supplying company for Harry, instead of actually doing much work. Taking a break
from the English sun, Harry wandered inside for a drink, when two owls flew in with
letters for Harry. Harry recognised one as the owl he had bought Sirius, when he had
been pardoned and the other was possibly a school owl. Harry thought he had better read
the school one first.



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Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Dear Mr Potter,
I am writing to inform you that you have been selected as Head Boy for the coming
school year. It is a responsibility, which I know you will not take lightly. Your mother and
father would be extremely proud of you. If you wish to accept this position please reply
with this owl immediately.
The Head Girl upon acceptance of the position will be Hermione Granger.
Your fellow seventh year prefects will remain unchanged, however to remind you they
are:
Harry Potter and Hermione Granger from Gryffindor House
Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson from Slytherin House
Susan Bones and Justin Finch-Fletchley from Hufflepuff House
Terry Boot and Padma Patil from Ravenclaw House
I await your return owl,
Yours Sincerely
Minerva McGonagall
Deputy Headmistress
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Head Boy?
Harry hadn't even considered the possibility. He was ecstatic. He almost couldn't believe
it. And Hermione Head Girl. It was wonderful.
'Thank God Ron's Quidditch captain' He thought.
He quickly ran and grabbed a parchment and replied in the affirmative to Professor
McGonagall's letter before she had time to consider that he may not be the most
appropriate appointment.
Harry ran around the house yelling;
'Everyone, I just got a letter. I'm Head Boy'
Dudley wasn't surprised. Somehow he had always sensed that his cousin would achieve.
Perhaps that's why he didn't like him very much. He ran up to Harry and gave him a
congratulatory hug. Harry didn't quite know what had hit him. Harry felt awkward, this
was totally out of character.



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Then Harry was completely shocked by his aunt and uncle's reaction.
'You, Head Boy?' Petunia asked.
Harry nodded.
Petunia ran up and hugged him.
'This is so wonderful. We'll take you out to dinner tonight to celebrate. Somewhere
fancy.'
As Harry looked at her face, it was absolutely beaming with pride. He wondered whether
or not this turn around was because of what Dudley had said, because he had been
making an effort to get along with them, because they knew that he wasn't staying long,
or because someone had fed the entire a household a potion or placed them under the
Imperius Curse. Harry decided he didn't care; he was going to enjoy the time while it
lasted.
While everyone was rushing around getting ready for dinner, Harry opened his letter
from Sirius. Its contents just added to his excitement.
Dear Harry,
I have had time to sort everything out; your room is ready and awaits your arrival. I
assume you have quite a few things to bring with you, so instead of coming to get you on
my bike, I will borrow my sister's car and come and get you. Is Monday fine? Please send
a reply as soon as possible, so that I can make the arrangements.
I hope that everything else is going well, we will talk when you arrive.
Love
Sirius
Harry went and asked his aunt straight away if it was all right. She replied that she
thought it would be fine, as long as they could meet Sirius first, and he would have to
stay for dinner. The look on her face said otherwise though. When Harry walked out of
the room though he noticed a sad look on her face.
'Could his aunt really be upset he was going?' Harry wondered.
The thought would have been inconceivable to Harry a few years ago, but now the
Dursleys seemed somehow changed. He must remember to come and visit them after he
had left. Harry scribbled off a quick reply saying that that would be fine, except Sirius
would be expected to stay for dinner. Harry laughed thinking of Sirius's face when he
reads that. Sirius had never thought much of the Dursleys, but that had stemmed from
what Lily had told him about Petunia and Vernon.
'At any rate,' Harry thought, ' it would make for an entertaining meal, and it was only two
nights off.



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Dinner that night was also an interesting affair. They went to a fancy place in the village
and Petunia was introducing Harry to everyone she knew.
'This is Harry, our nephew. You know he's Head Boy at his school this year! We're taking
him out to celebrate.'
Harry was just waiting for someone to reply,
'Oh yes, Petunia, you must be so proud, Head Boy of a correctional institute, what did he
have to do to get that? Have the least number of detentions?'
Strangely enough, no one made that remark, although that is where everyone had thought
he had been they must have respected Petunia enough not to comment and just
congratulated the Dursleys on having brought up the two boys so well.
The meal itself was delicious, although his aunt and uncle seemed to be going out of their
way to be nice to him. They asked him questions about the subjects he was taking, his
friends, his responsibilities as Head Boy and his final exams at the end of the year. They
didn't even flinch when Dudley once again brought up the suggestion of Harry brewing
him a love potion.
'Surely they won't expel the Head Boy!' Dudley had joked.
His aunt and uncle had joined in, and then commented that Dudley shouldn't have to
resort to magic to get a girl. He was handsome enough to get a girl the traditional way.
'Perhaps,' he thought, 'they don't really want me to go. Maybe I should stay. Dumbledore
seemed to think it was safe. But then I won't get to know Sirius well and he is my
godfather. It would hurt him so much, he was so excited that night when I agreed to go
and live with him. And I want to learn more about my parents. I will go with Sirius, there
are things I need to do and Sirius will be able to help.'
Even so, later that night, Harry couldn't help but feel a little guilt about leaving them.
They hadn't exactly been generous, but at least they'd kept a roof over his head.
'I'll get those photos of my mum tomorrow,' he thought.
And with that thought he slept peacefully without the visions plaguing him for the first
time since Sirius had been cleared.

Chapter Two
Old Life meets New Life
Sirius Black sat in a corner of The Leaky Cauldron sipping Butterbeer. He had almost
tied up all the loose ends, except for just the one. He figured he should sort it out before
Harry moved in. The problem was that he didn't know how to sort things out.
Chrys.
He had been putting off seeing her until he worked out what he wanted to do and to do


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that he had to put his life in perspective.
Chrystal Àille had been a year below the Marauders at Hogwarts and had been more of a
friend to Lily than to the boys, despite having known the boys most of their lives. She
was an extremely clever witch, and in a way Hermione very much reminded Sirius of her.
She had been infatuated with Sirius, since she had met him as a young girl; she had
always been following him around. At first it was good having a kind of slave who would
do anything for you. But then when she came to school, his mates had started giving him
a hard time about, his admirer, he had started making fun of her in a kind teasing manner,
but enough to deter her from admiring him. Then Sirius had fallen for Lily, and his eyes
had been so clouded by Lily, that he hadn't seemed to notice her. When he saw her a Lily
and James wedding he had been shocked to see that his little admirer had grown up. They
had started a relationship that never really went anywhere by the time that Lily and James
had been killed.
Chrys was one of the Aurors who had responded the night Lily and James were killed.
She had arrived to find her best friend and one of her good friends dead. She had believed
that Sirius had been their secret keeper and had had a real go at Sirius when she saw him
later that night. Sirius pleaded his case but she had been too emotional to listen. Then the
next day, when Peter had screamed that Sirius had killed James and Lily, then killed 13
Muggles and faked his own death, she hadn't known what to believe. He knew that she
had been extremely disillusioned with the Ministry when he was sent to Azkaban without
a trial. She had come to see Sirius, just the once in Azkaban, telling him that she was
thinking of quitting her career as an Auror, playing Quidditch for a living and trying to
search for a loophole in the law to free Sirius. Sirius had been speechless. He knew she
was having trouble coming to terms with what had happened, but he felt her course of
action was perhaps a bit drastic. Not that he wouldn't mind being free. That was the last
time he had seen her. She had written him to tell him that she was going to remain an
Auror...
'There are still so many battles to be fought and I for one want to be able to help fight
them. I hope you understand Sirius, but there are important things at stake even though
Voldemort has fallen' Yes, Sirius had understood, and she had been right by saying that
there were still fight's to be fought, given Voldemort's return, but by staying an Auror,
Sirius felt she had given up him. 'An Auror just can't be with a convicted criminal. I do
love you, but you understand, don't you? I know you're innocent and if you ever are free,
then maybe, but for now.'
He was still resentful of the fact that she had thrown everything away and had never
come and seen him again.
It had been because she was an Auror that Sirius hadn't dared approach her while he was
on the run. Although he knew she believed he was innocent, he didn't think she would
have any qualms about turning him in. He could have been wrong, but he didn't want to
take the risk. Then at the hearing, she had flung her arm's around Sirius, kissed him
passionately, but hesitantly and blankly stared at him saying, 'Please see me again, Sirius.'
Up until that moment when he had seen her, he had convinced himself that he was going


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to end it if she still had any feelings for him. It would have been unfair on him to drag it
out any longer.
Yet, when he saw her that day he had been stunned. She was no longer the little
bookworm he remembered from their school days; or the smart Head Girl who had been
stunning as Lily's maid of honour; instead she had become surprisingly beautiful. Her
blues eyes glistened at the sight of Sirius, her caramel coloured hair shone in the sunlight.
She looked amazing. Sirius had forgotten the way she made him feel, and he had
remembered back to when she had been the centre of his attention, back when they were
children.
Two weeks later, nothing had changed. Sirius did not want to have to live without her,
but he needed to know how she felt. Things were still so awkward.
Chrystal Àille's hair shone was she walked into The Leaky Cauldron. She spied Sirius in
the corner.
'How typical. He's sitting in the corner planning what mischief he can get up to. I wonder
what happened to that map of his?'
Seeing Sirius made her heart skip a beat. Even though she was unsure how he felt about
her, she knew she loved him. His black hair and twinkling eyes always managed to make
her heart skip a beat. She had been hurt b the fact that Sirius had stopped writing to her
and that he had not tried to contact her after he had escaped from Azkaban. Even though
she was an Auror, he should have known she would not turn him in, and besides, she
wanted to know how he had escaped.
She had had to stop visiting him because when the Ministry found out that she had visited
him, they had threatened to sack her. She had cared then because she couldn't throw her
future away for something that may never be possible. She didn't have anything else to
live for when Sirius was gone, just the job. She didn't care what the Ministry thought
now. Too many years had been lost and the Ministry was crumpling under the rise of
Voldemort. They were being criticised for not sending all the Death Eater's to Azkaban,
and for the scandal surrounding Mr Crouch's involvement in freeing his son, a convicted
Death Eater. She didn't care to the extent that she was taking a year off and taking up
Dumbledore's offer to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts. She smiled at the thought of
it. Dumbledore seemed to like having Auror's to teach the subject and she definitely
needed a break, having been run off her feet in the past couple of years since Voldemort's
rebirth.
Chrystal walked over the Sirius and gave him a huge hug.
'I thought you were never going to talk to me again.'
Sirius laughed at the thought,
'How could I?' he asked. 'You'd probably arrest me and find someway to punish me by
sending me back to Azkaban.'



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'That would kind of defeat the purpose wouldn't it,' she mocked.
After a couple of minutes of silence, she spoke up, 'Actually, that's what I wanted to talk
to you about.'
Chrystal explained her disillusionment with the Ministry, a story Sirius had heard before.
She explained Dumbledore's offer and how she felt like she needed a break from chasing
Death Eaters full time, and being at Hogwarts, she felt she might be able to do something
useful for Dumbledore.
'Besides, you were never too keen on dating an Auror, if you're being honest, Sirius.'
This time Sirius was not struck speechless. He knew all too well what had been
happening. Dumbledore had kept him well informed. He imagined the Ministry would
have been furious when she'd asked for a year off; she was by far one of the best Aurors
out there. He decided now would be an appropriate time to spring some news on her too,
'It looks like we'll be working together then, darling. I've taken up a small position at
Hogwarts myself. Not large enough to take up a lot of time, but enough that the Death
Eaters don't come chasing me and it has me close enough to Dumbledore to keep working
on the project!'
Chrystal nodded. She was well aware of what had been going on and was no surprised
that Sirius was involved. The two of them became deeply engrossed in conversation, until
Sirius suggested that perhaps it was time to leave. He hesitated before he asked her back
to his place. Harry would be coming in a couple of days. He wondered about the kind of
example he would be setting for him, and the example he should be setting for an almost
seventeen year old.
'Oh Chrys,' he said hesitantly.
'What?' was the reply, her blue eyes fixated on Sirius.
'Harry is moving in, in a couple of days, we won't have any time for ourselves really. I
know this is moving rather quickly but do you want to come back with me. We can just
talk, no pressure.'
'Harry Potter?' was the reply.
'He's my godson, remember.'
'I'll come back, but if you try anything on me Sirius Black you'll wish you'd never been
born. No pressure hey? I seem to remember that if Sirius Black was involved there's
always pressure.' She smiled sheepishly.
They Apparated back to Sirius's where he prepared them some fancy drink concoction
and they sat down on the couch reminiscing. Things were fine one minute then suddenly
the next they became quite awkward. He was sitting there staring at her beautiful eyes
wondering hat it would take to pin her down. Suddenly she turned and kissed him with a
passion that Sirius had never felt before. Then she turned to him and said;


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'That's all you get now, Sirius Black, because even though your godson is moving in, I
want to pick things up where we left off, not just suddenly advance to a new level. Come
over for dinner tomorrow.'
And with that she Apparated.
'Women,' Sirius muttered under his breath. 'Why do they like to torture you?'
*~*
Hermione Granger spent that evening in fairly similar fashion to Harry.
Her parents were absolutely ecstatic that she had been named Head Girl that after she had
sent off her immediate owl, they had taken her out for a nice fancy dinner to celebrate.
She had had to get dressed up and enjoyed the time spent pampering herself. It wasn't
often that she got the chance to be spoiled rotten, her parents tried to make an effort when
she came home from school, but they weren't always able to given how busy they usually
were. They were however extremely proud of their daughter despite the fact that she
wasn't going to do medicine at Oxford now. She was treated to a lovely three-course
meal, while her parents included her in their discussion of current events, sensing that she
had indeed matured while she had been away. When they had returned, Ron's owl Pig
flew through her window. It contained a letter and a package from Ron. She opened the
letter
Dear Hermione,
Congratulations on your appointment as Head Girl. Ginny received her letter today
confirming that she will be a prefect this year, and it said that you and Harry are Head
Boy and Girl. Just like Harry's parents, it's kind of strange given that they were the Head
Boy and Girl the last time it was two Gryffindors. I know that you were definitely the
best candidate. And I hope you two don't both end up dead like them.
Harry will be coming to stay for the last week before school goes back; you're more than
welcome to come as well. I hope that you will. I promise to be good.
And Hermione, I just wanted to say I'm sorry for being such a git last term. I know that
you were right when you said that our relationship was over, and that we wrong to even
start it in the first place. I don't want to spoil our friendship, I was just so angry from
seeing Ginny with that git in the Charms classroom. Have you told Harry yet? I talked to
Ginny about it and I know she had already ended it with Harry, it just seems a bit wrong,
but perhaps I'm being overprotective of my little sister.
Please forgive me and let everything go back to normal
Love Ron
Inside the package was a small book on past Head Girls at Hogwarts. He had written her
name as the most recent entry.
It was a very Ron present. Thoughtful, something he knew she would appreciate.


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'He must be trying to make amends. I didn't want for things to end badly, nor did he, but
we just couldn't keep on lying to each other.'
And it kind of happened because they had been spending so much time together, just the
two of them because Harry had been running off with Ginny. Also probably because they
were both curious, just part of growing up.
She wanted to remain friends with Ron; he had just been so childish in the weeks
afterward. If she went to The Burrow, she hoped he would act his age. She was sick of
his lusting after her. It would be quite annoying.
She decided to go anyway, and perhaps Ron could come to terms with just being friends
before school started. And she was going to have to go to Diagon Alley to get her things
and she may as well go with Ron and Harry.
Hermione wrote a reply, confirming that she would come and stay, and thanked Ron for
the lovely present. Then she wrote to Harry congratulating him on becoming Head Boy.
After sending off the letters, she had time to think.
She knew that she had to put things in perspective before term started. It would be their
final year and Hogwarts and it was time to start making important decisions. She wasn't
sure what she wanted to do, and even with the record number of O.W.L.s she had
received she was extremely nervous about the upcoming N.E.W.T.s. She also needed to
work out how she felt about Harry. She knew how she felt about Ron, but given the
recent time spent with Harry she wondered if her feelings were changing. She had been
there for him when he and Ginny had broken up. Until then Harry had just been Harry,
and amazing wizard and friend whom she respected very much. Now she was wondering
if it was possible if he was becoming something more. She knew he didn't feel that way
about her, so she wanted to be sure before she potentially ruined another friendship. A
repeat of the Ron disaster was not high on her priorities considering that she would be
taking her N.E.W.T.s this year.
After her daydreaming, Hermione looked around to locate her book. She saw
Crookshanks sitting on the desk, leaning over her copy of The Daily Prophet.
'That's odd. I wonder if Half-Kneazles can read? I know that Crookshanks is definitely
not an Animagus.'
And with that thought she dug through her books to find her copy of Fantastic Beasts and
Where to Find Them.
*~*
Ron Weasley was putting away his broomstick after a hard afternoon of Quidditch
training. Ron was Quidditch captain for the following year and wanted to make sure that
Gryffindor won the Quidditch Cup, so he had spent the last couple of weeks practicing
manoeuvres with Fred and George. Ron had replaced Oliver Wood on the team as
Keeper, and then by a stroke of luck they had chosen him as captain, coming with strong



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recommendations from the twins. The Gryffindor team had not regretted the decision;
they had not lost the cup with Ron as captain.
Ron had found out today that Harry and Hermione were Head Girl and Boy.
'I guess they'll be spending more time together,' he thought with a sigh.
Ordinarily Ron would have been jealous of this appointment, but with the amount of time
he was spending playing Quidditch, both at school as well as, as the reserve keeper for
the Chudley Cannons and trying to come up with strategies for the Gryffindor team, he
wouldn't have time for any more responsibility. And if he was honest about it, he really
didn't want to spend much time with Hermione on his own. He knew that things would be
awkward because he had acted like such a git at the end of last year. And after the whole
Ginny fiasco, Ron didn't always feel exactly comfortable around Harry either. That
would change when they both came to the Burrow. Ron was going to come clean with
both of them and hopefully put everything back on track.
Ron was going to spend most of the summer, when he wasn't playing Quidditch, working
for the twins. Fred and George still had had another year at Hogwarts after they had
gotten that loan from anonymous tender. They had followed their father's advice to invest
the money and had been surprised by the amount of interest they had accumulated. It
certainly had been enough to set up their joke store. In fact, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes
was set up in Hogsmeade, and many Hogwarts students were known to visit there on their
Hogsmeade weekends. Somehow, they had managed to con Percy into managing the
store. It became custom that Percy would Apparate into the store just before closing time
(after he had finished his days work at the Ministry), look over the accounts, make sure
that the twins were doing everything by the book. Percy had surprisingly loosened up
over the past couple of years, it had been the combined efforts of Penelope Clearwater
and the offer of Fred and George which made him feel as though they accepted him as
part of the family. Percy had continued with his job at the Ministry, but no longer seemed
determined to be the youngest ever Minister of Magic.
Ron was looking forward to earning a bit of extra pocket money. He'd be able to afford
lots of sweets from Honeyduke's this year.

Chapter Three
Crossing the Lake
It was a warm night in the house just outside of Portree. Summer was always pleasant on
Skye, but for what reason no one had ever been able to work out. Chrystal had just
finished adding the final touches to the dinner she had prepared when Sirius appeared
into her kitchen.
'Right on time, Mr Black,' she remarked
'Well. I'm a sucker for punishment,' Sirius grinned. 'I need one last feed before I die. By
the way, I'm picking up Harry tomorrow; I have to have dinner with his Muggle family.'



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Chrystal laughed.
'That will be entertaining. From what Lily has told me I'm sure that'll be a pack of laughs.
I wonder if they're really as bad as Lily made out.'
'I think they're worse from what Harry has told me. One year they gave him a coat hanger
for Christmas, poor boy. Anyhow, I intend to enjoy it. I love poking fun at Muggles and
anyhow, I want to know what sort of people have been taking care of my godson. And
they think I'm a murderer so I think I'll have a bit of fun with that.'
'Will you ever grow up Sirius?' was the immediate reply to that statement.
Sirius turned and stared at her face
'You'll have to convince me,' was the very serious answer.
He gazed deeply into her eyes. He wondered what it would take to pin her down. He had
never been the settling down type, but that was after Lily and before Azkaban. Sirius felt
as if he'd gone through some type of transformation.
He could not believe how beautiful she was. Somehow she had transformed over these
years from a shy little creature into a goddess, like grains of sand coming together to
form a beautiful crystal. Sirius could not resist her any longer. He grabbed her, pulling
her close to him and kissed her.
'I've wanted to do this for so long. It's been absolute torture. Why can't we pick up where
we left off, what's so wrong with that?'
'Sirius, I don't want to get into an argument about it. I'm just not certain how much you
feel for me. I mean, you've been a dog for the beast part of sixteen years; anything would
look attractive to you. Besides I don't want to spoil dinner given that you'll practically be
untouchable for the next couple of weeks.'
'Chrys, that's hardly fair. After being in Azkaban, anything that isn't a Dementor is
attractive! And besides, I won't spoil dinner. I promise not to transform once!'
'I've heard that one before,' she replied.
Despite the laughter that followed there was a notable tension in the air. Chrystal just
wasn't sure if Sirius loved her enough. She'd never been sure. Despite the time that was
lost, she felt she could wait a little while before she became too wrapped up in him again.
As he was getting ready to leave Chrystal asked;
'What are you going to tell Harry about us? I assume you're not going to ignore me just
because you've got your godson staying, but I also acknowledge that you won't want me
just popping in anytime I choose. In fact, I take it I won't be able to use Floo to get there
and I'll probably have a lot of difficulty if I try to Apparate.'
'Yes, well for security reasons, I have taken my fireplaces off the Floo network, and you
will have trouble Apparating. It's just a formality really, Dumbledore's taking care of it as


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we speak, I mean, given that Harry's staying. Despite Harry demonstrating that he's able
to look after himself, I don't want to take any unnecessary risks. He was protected at his
aunt and uncle's and I want him to be just as safe with me. At the same time I don't want
him to feel like he's in prison. And about us, I haven't considered what to tell him yet. I
don't exactly know where things are going and neither do you. I don't suppose he knows
exactly everything that went on. He has been told bits and pieces and put them together.
Mind you I did get a rather inquisitive look when you kissed me the day of the hearing.'
'Well, Sirius, you have to consider that he's not a boy any more; he's a man. And you
don't know how difficult it is to be a father to a man,' she snapped.
'You don't either. In fact I couldn't imagine you ever knowing what it's like to be a father.'
It was just like in the old days. She would snap at him and he'd make a joke of it. She
turned to him and said:
'Shut up and kiss me before you leave, Sirius, then you can owl me when you're ready for
us to meet. Remember, we are going to be teaching together and the students may talk,
whether or not the talk is rumour or fact, they'll have a bit of fun when they discover we
went to school together. Your godson will be one of those students, Sirius.'
'Don't remind me,' was the quick reply.
He kissed her goodbye and then disappeared into thin air after hearing her say,
'Keep your eyes open for Peggs.'
She sighed as he left. Why couldn't things just go back to the way they had been before,
when James and Lily were still around and Sirius had never spent twelve years in
Azkaban.
'Lily,' she thought. 'I wonder if that's why?'
Life was complicated enough without Voldemort on the loose.
*~*
Harry's last night at the Dursleys' was a reasonably quiet affair. Having mustered up the
courage to ask if his aunt had any photos of his mother, Harry was surprised not only that
his aunt agreed to pull them out but also that she appeared very nostalgic. Petunia sat all
three men down and told them stories about when she and Lily were young, before Lily
had gone to Hogwarts. Harry was surprised by the brightness of her eyes.
Just like his.
Lily's eyes were like no one else's in the family. They were what made Lily unique. There
was something about Lily Potter's eyes that he just couldn't put his finger on.
Tears began to well in his eyes, as he listened to his aunt talk about his mother. They had
spent so many wonderful hours together as little children, then Petunia had begun to grow
up, a gap began to form between the two girls. Then Lily found out she was a witch.


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Harry sensed from the way his aunt had always referred to Lily that she had been jealous,
but Harry began to think it might run much deeper than that. Something bad had
happened to destroy the bond they had. Something much more than Lily being a witch.
Listening to the stories Harry became sad. He missed her; he missed both his parents. It
seemed like a strange feeling given that he couldn't really remember them. All he had
was bits and pieces of information that people had told him, memory flashes of the night
they died and a few photos.
Petunia saw that Harry appeared to be quite upset. She came around and held him close.
She finally spoke in a whisper,
'You can take some of these with you if you like. Consider them a birthday present. I
miss her too.'
The tears welled in his eyes.
'Thanks,' was the barely audible reply.
*~*
Sirius arrived on time for dinner the following night. Harry had wondered at the prospect
of how Sirius had acquired a driver's licence before he turned up, but Sirius arrived by
walking up to the front door and knocking. After Harry had answered the door and saw
there was no car he gave Sirius a confused look.
'I, um couldn't arrange a car licence and my sister would not let me borrow her without
one, doesn't trust me you see, so I Apparated to the village, walked here and we'll catch
The Knight Bus back so we can take everything you want to bring with you,' explained
Sirius.
Harry invited Sirius in. Sirius on seeing Petunia strolled right up to her,
'Sirius Black, Harry's Godfather. You must be Petunia. Glad to finally meet you at last.'
Petunia gave a quick reply and showed him into the dining room. Harry watched as she
eyed him over. She looked slightly disappointed, as if Sirius did not quite look the way
she expected. Not quite roguish enough. Harry wasn't surprised at her reaction; he knew
that his respectable aunt and uncle were dying to know what a convicted murderer looked
like. They had been whispering things like 'Do you think he'll have a tattoo?' or 'Do you
think we should allow Dudley to meet him?' all day. Harry hoped that dinner wouldn't be
too painful. He couldn't imagine what his aunt and uncle could possibly talk to Sirius
about. Harry hoped it wasn't Uncle Vernon's drills.
It turned out to be far worse.
Sirius opened the conversation, after praising Petunia on her wonderful meal.
'Tell me, I've missed so much of Harry's life, can you fill me on his first thirteen years.'
By this stage both Petunia and Vernon had had a bit to drink, so they were more than


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willing to tell Sirius about some of his exploits.
'Remember Vernon, how I used to try and cut Harry's hair and it would just grow back
overnight, so the next day it looked as though it hadn't been cut?'
'Or what about the time, do you remember Petunia, when Dudley and his friends were
chasing Harry and he just ended up on the roof?'
'What about the time when he freed that snake at the zoo?'
'Or the time when he exploded Aunt Marge?'
The night continued on like this, Petunia and Vernon describing episodes of Harry's
accidental magic. Harry was surprised that they were laughing. Sirius seemed extremely
amused. Harry was secretly glad his aunt and uncle were a little drunk otherwise they'd
probably be telling them how bad he was and how they'd really wanted to send him to a
school for the incurably criminal boys and in fact had told everyone that that is where
they had sent him.
Finally Sirius announced that it was time to leave. Sirius thanked the Dursleys for the
wonderful dinner and for taking care of Harry all these years. Harry said his goodbyes,
firstly a formal one to Uncle Vernon, thanking him for his hospitality, then he received a
boyish slap on the back from Dudley, asking him to keep in touch and to remember to
send him that love potion. Petunia came and gave him a big hug. She whispered into his
ear;
'Harry, I know that you will find this hard to believe but I am sorry to see you go. I know
we haven't always treated you right; your cousin was kind enough to point that out to us.
Perhaps one day I'll be able to explain more, there's a lot more to your mother than I think
you fully understand. Sirius may be able to fill in some of the gaps. I am very proud to
call you my nephew, Harry, despite you being a wizard. Whether of not Vernon will ever
accept it, I don't know, but I would be devastated if you did not keep in touch. Take care
of yourself, if not for you, please do it for Lily'
His aunt's nostalgia was extremely bizarre and Harry seriously wondered if someone had
put the entire family under the Imperius. He waved goodbye and walked out the door,
noticing that it was dark outside. They walked out of the house with all of Harry's things,
when Sirius cast a quick spell on his trunks.
'It makes them lighter,' Sirius explained.
Sirius led Harry to what looked like a deserted park and then he stuck out his wand arm.
A familiar bang sounded and The Knight Bus appeared. Harry gazed at the gold lettering
as the familiar face of Stan Shunpike appeared from behind the door.
'Ah, It's young 'Arry Potter and Sirius Black. Or are ya Neville Longbottom tonight son?'
Stan winked at Harry as he began to laugh. 'Hope you enjoy this trip more than ya did the
firs' lad.' Stan then looked at Sirius.
'Long time since I've seen you in person Sirius,' he said. 'Seen your ugly mug on the news


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a fair bit. Thought you'd look a bit more 'aunted than ya looking. Good to see you again'
Stan laughed.
'Really, that's very interesting' Sirius replied. 'Last time my godson rode this bus I believe
you said something along the lines of me being mad, a big supporter of You-know-who
and you were glad I was in Azkaban.'
Sirius looked extremely angry for just long enough for Stan to get uncomfortable enough
to mutter an apology, when Sirius laughed and suggested if he had been in Stan's shoes
he'd have probably have said the same thing.
'How much do we owe you?' Sirius asked.
Where are you off to tonight?' Stan asked.
'Padfoot's Manor, it's on the other side of the river from Godric's Hollow, you'd be best to
let us off next to the lake.'
'That'll be 'bout fifteen sickles each,' Stan replied. 'Hey Ern, look 'hoo's 'ere!'
Ernie looked around and gave Harry a wink.
'Nice ta see ya Neville,' he said.
Sirius pulled out some sickles, paid Stan and then headed towards their beds.
Sirius saw his godson's eyes fill with inquiry at the mention of Godric's Hollow. Sirius
had never mentioned to Harry how close he had been from his parents when they had
been killed. He looked at his godson seriously before he spoke,
'Harry, I know that there's a lot that we need to talk about, but I think it's important that
you get your rest tonight, so that I have your full attention. I promise you I will explain
everything, I don't want there to be any secrets between us. Okay?'
Harry nodded.
Sirius went to tuck Harry in, a gesture that seemed both strange and necessary; it
demonstrated a bond between the two did not need to be spoken. People on the bus
looked in amazement as they saw a middle-aged wizard tucking in a nearly fully grown
one, but no one stared long enough to ask any questions.
Not having to worry about people having just blown up his aunt, Harry enjoyed this trip
on The Knight Bus a lot more. He enjoyed seeing different parts of the United Kingdom,
which he hadn't spied before, before long however he was struggling to keep his eyes
open. Sirius was right about Harry being tired, once he shut his eyes, he fell asleep fairly
quickly.
About an hour later, Sirius gently shook him to wake him to tell him they had arrived.
'Harry, we're here. Come and have a look at your new home.'



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Harry opened his eyes, peered out the window to see where the bus had pulled over. They
were next to a lake, and over the other side Harry could see parts of a building. In the
darkness he couldn't make it out. Sirius leant over and said
'It's much easier to see from closer up. It's just safer to get out here. Come on, I'll levitate
your trunks over, grab Hedwig's cage and I'll show you how to cross the lake.'
'It's a bit tricky,' said Sirius when Harry emerged from the bus.
'You have to step on the right Lilly pad and then you can cross safely. See this one here,
that's got a slightly different colour?' Harry nodded 'You touch that with you wand and it
will let you cross. Just a little magic burglar alarm that Remus created for me. Keeps the
Muggles away and some uninvited witches as well.'
Harry observed Sirius. When his foot touched the Lilly pad a small footbridge emerged
from the water. Harry was glad, as he didn't really feel like swimming, and the lake itself
was not by any means a small lake.
Suddenly Sirius told Harry to wait. He glanced up ahead, as if looking for something.
Harry looked around, but he couldn't see anything. Perhaps Sirius was just being overly
cautious. Satisfied that nothing dangerous was ahead, Sirius continued crossing.
When they finally reached the other side, Harry got a good glimpse of Sirius's house. It
was a kind of cottage, but perhaps maybe slightly too big to be called a cottage. His
attention was drawn to a sign next to the door, visible from the oil lantern that was
burning outside the cottage. The sign indeed said Padfoot's Manor. Harry chuckled at the
sign. Whatever you may call this house it certainly wasn't a manor. Malfoy would have a
field day if he saw that. Harry could just picture it.
'Your godfather's house is called Padfoot's Manor, Potter. It's not even a manor. It's a
tiny cottage. Has he been taking lessons out of the Weasley Book of home design!' That's
what Malfoy would say.
'I'll take you straight to your room, so you can get some sleep. We'll talk in the morning.'
Sirius showed Harry upstairs to his room, which was bigger than Dudley's room at Privet
Drive. It was a very rich room, full of deep colours. The curtains and matching rug were a
deep scarlet colour, the four-post bed with a matching quilt. In a sense it reminded him of
the Gryffindor common room. There was a fireplace, which had a couple of logs burning
to warm up the room, with a comfortable chair sitting next to the fireplace. A table was
sitting next to chair in case someone had wanted to sit in front of the fire and drink or
read. A desk had been placed underneath the window, and Sirius must have dug out a few
of his old school books and placed them on the nearby bookshelf. The books looked
almost new, Sirius had probably never opened them. It appeared to Harry as though
Sirius had gone to a lot of trouble to make the room nice, yet homely and suitable for
Harry's needs, yet just grand enough for to spoil Harry a little which was a lot more than
he had ever been spoilt at Privet Drive.
Sirius left Harry to get ready for bed. Harry looked around the room, when an object


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caught Harry's eye. It was a silver photo frame with a picture of Harry and his parents on
his first birthday. Sirius had thought of everything. Harry located his pyjamas from his
trunk and headed straight for bed. Sirius was right; it had been a long day.
Sirius headed downstairs and gazed out the window.
He shook his head in astonishment.
The chestnut horse was still there, as if it had been watching their every move. Then just
as suddenly as it appeared, it had vanished

Chapter Four
The Revelations of Sirius
Harry awoke the next morning to the sun shining in his window. He had forgotten where
he was for a while; he'd never slept in a bed so spacious before. Then he remembered the
long night travelling and the sign on the door. The thought of it brought a smile to his
face. He pulled on some clothes, which surprisingly were no longer in his trunk. He
guessed that Sirius must have unpacked them last night. He decided to wander around the
house while he waited for Sirius to wake up.
The house was slightly larger than it had appeared from the outside. Harry sensed it must
be some kind of magic. He could sense that Sirius hadn't changed much, since he had
returned there. It looked like a bachelor pad that had been originally set up by his mother
then changed as much as possible, so the only resemblance was the furniture. There were
a few photographs hidden in a corner. They were of Sirius and James, or Sirius with Lily
and James, or ones with James and Remus, which also looked like Peter had been torn
out of them, or Sirius with some girl Harry hadn't seen before. She looked vaguely
familiar, and Harry wondered if she had been the girl from the night of the hearing. He
had been wondering who she was, but he felt that if Sirius wanted to tell him he would.
Finally Sirius emerged from his room. He led Harry downstairs to the kitchen, where a
little house-elf popped out from underneath the table.
'Winky?' Harry asked in surprise.
'Yes, Master Harry,' she said. 'I is here now. Dumbledore has been so kind to give me to
Mr Black. He is too kind to Winky after Mr Crouch. Winky never has to punish herself
anymore and she does not have to drink lots of Butterbeer to make herself feel better.'
Harry turned and looked at Sirius.
'You have a house-elf?' he asked, slightly confused. 'Don't they normally come with old
wizarding places?'
Sirius laughed but replied quickly. 'Well I'm kind of doing Winky a favour, you see - she
wanted to get away from Dobby, so Dumbledore gave her to me. I pay her in clothes, so
she's happy, and I'm happy because I don't have to do any cleaning. Now what have we
got for breakfast, Winky?'


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Winky brought out some omelettes she had prepared especially for Harry's arrival. They
were delicious. Harry supposed that her cooking would have had to be good, given that
she had been the Crouchs' house-elf.
After breakfast Sirius led him into the lounge room.
'Okay, Harry, it's time we had a talk,' Sirius said. 'First, I just want you to listen to me,
take in everything I've got to say and then you can feel free to ask me any questions.
Okay?'
Harry nodded his head.
Sirius began his explanation.
'Okay. I'll start with the hearing. It's the easiest place to start. I know you were there, but
there are still some things I need to explain. Peter wasn't there for a reason. And that was
because they were taking him to Azkaban. They had tried everything to get him to
confess everything, as he was still maintaining that I had been James and Lily's secret
keeper and he had transformed into a rat to save himself. They tried everything and he
still would not confess. In fact when he had the serum he didn't talk at all. They had to
revert to using Veritaserum on him to tell him to tell the truth. The stupid git was never
very good at lying. He used to lie by omission. They're not allowed to do that in a
courtroom, so that is why he wasn't there. While they were taking Peter to Azkaban he
transformed and escaped. Someone forgot to warn the Dementors that he was a rat
Animagus.'
The look on Harry's face was that of disbelief. They had gone to a lot of trouble to
capture Wormtail; in fact, Harry had almost died. Harry couldn't believe that he had
escaped.
'Hold on a minute Harry, he didn't get very far. The Dementors captured him and gave
him the Kiss. You don't have to worry about him anymore. He won't be giving us any
more problems; mind you, I thought that he might not have enough of a soul left to be
affected; however, Dumbledore has informed me that he is finished. So Harry, you
shouldn't have any more visions with Wormtail in them, so if you do, Harry, you should
tell someone straightaway, okay, because that means something is definitely wrong.'
Harry nodded. He seemed to understand that he was an integral component of the war
against Voldemort.
'Okay, that's Peter dealt with,' he said, sighing.
'Hang on, Sirius,' Harry interrupted. 'In the vision I had that night, I didn't see Wormtail, I
saw Voldemort. He was clutching his heart in agony. It was like part of him was dying. I
keep seeing it every time I close my eyes and try to sleep.'
Sirius nodded.
'You're linked to Voldemort through your scar, Harry, and Voldemort would be angered
at Peter's betrayal. Harry, you have to realise that he will probably want revenge, and


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because we were instrumental in Wormtail's downfall, he will probably come after us.
For that reason, I am going to keep my eyes on you throughout the year. I know you're
adventurous - in fact you and Ron are very much like your father and I, but I don't want
you taking stupid risks, like you did when we went after Peter. You're very important to a
lot of people and we don't want to lose you for doing something trivial. Promise, Harry?'
Harry turned and looked at Sirius, and after what appeared to be careful deliberation he
spoke.
'Sirius, I can't promise that. I know I'm impulsive - look at what happened the night that I
first met you. What I can promise is that I won't go looking for trouble, but I won't stand
still and let it find me either.'
Sirius replied,
'If that's the best that you can promise me, then I will have to accept it. But try not to do
anything stupid. Voldemort has been dangerously quiet for the past couple of years. I'm
certain he's waiting for the right time to strike. You know the European Cup is beginning
in January, don't you?'
Harry nodded.
'Well, at the moment, they're thinking of holding it at Hogwarts because it's considered
safe. It's Scotland's turn to host, you see, and while the Pride's home ground is
spectacular, it's not very safe from Voldemort or his Death Eaters. I'm fairly sure that this
year will not pass without further devastation. So, getting away from Voldemort, I am
going to teach at Hogwarts this year. That way, I'll be able to keep an eye on you and
Dumbledore can keep an eye on me. That way we both should be able to stay out of
trouble.'
'What are you going to teach? Defence against the Dark Arts?' Harry enquired curiously.
To be honest the thought of Sirius being a teacher was almost laughable to Harry.
'Well to be honest, Harry, teaching will be just a front to keep down suspicions,' Sirius
replied. 'That way, to the Ministry and the Death Eaters, which in some cases could be
the same thing, I have a legitimate job that keeps me occupied, but I'll be doing a lot of
undercover work with Dumbledore's operatives. So I'll be teaching a little
Transfiguration, as McGonagall's workload has increased. Those of age will have the
option of Apparition lessons, and to a selected few, I'll be giving private Animagus
training. But that one is top secret Harry, only the select few will know. I've registered
my form because it's better that everyone knows and that way I'll have a legitimate job.
By the way, Harry, you'll be of age soon, and I'm sure you'll want to have a big
celebration, as every wizard should. Have you given any thoughts as to what you want to
do for your party? Of course we'll have to have the house reconnected to the Floo
network for the day, but given the number of wizards that will be around, it should be
quite safe.'
Harry was shocked. No one had ever thrown him a party before, and he hadn't even given
it a thought. Eventually he spoke up.


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'Sirius, to be honest, I've never had a birthday party before, so maybe you should decide
what's best. I think I want a wizarding party, if there is such a thing.'
Sirius chuckled.
'Of course you've had a party, Harry,' he said as he laughed. 'I've got some photos of me
and my godson on his first birthday that Lily sent me. I'll find them for you in a little
while. And of course there's such a thing as a wizarding party. You come up with a guest
list, as big as you like, and I'll add a few important people that you should invite onto the
list, and we'll have a party to rival the Halloween Feast at Hogwarts. Besides, it'll be a
triple celebration really: me being freed, you coming to live with me, and you coming of
age. Wow, the wizarding world won't know what hit them.'
Harry laughed with a big grin on his face. Then he wondered who the important people
he should invite were. Would they be friends of his parents, or his grandparents, or would
they be Sirius's friends, like that witch who was snogging him at the hearing?
Harry looked up. Sirius had begun talking again.
'Now, Harry, there's still lots you don't know about, and in time you'll have to be told
everything. It's just that now is probably not the best time to do it. I know that you are
bursting with questions about your parents, and while I'll try to answer them as best I can,
you need to appreciate that there are times when I just don't need the questions asked, and
there are some questions that will be quite uncomfortable for me to answer. I'm sorry if
that sounds harsh, but if I tell you that now, you'll understand later if I don't answer.' The
seriousness of Sirius's tone faded. 'I hope you'll be happy here, Harry. I want more than
anything for you to be happy, as I know you've suffered so much already. Now if there is
anything troubling you, now's the time to bring it up. Tell me more about this vision.'
Harry thought long and hard before he spoke. He chose his words carefully.
'The night of the hearing was when it began,' Harry said. 'My scar was burning in pain. I
saw Voldemort. He looked angry. Then suddenly he was clutching at his stomach in
agony. He looked like a part of him was dying. Then everything blacked out and all there
was, was the sound of a man screaming. That was how it started. Now, before Voldemort
clutches at himself in pain, I can hear the sound of bells. Like church bells, but only they
sound more morbid. Does that mean that he's near some really weird bells?'
Sirius thought carefully before he answered.
'Few would know, Harry,' he said, 'the legend of the tolling bells near Azkaban. I
discovered this when I escaped and am not completely convinced that I fully understand
it. On the mainland, there is a small village. I sought refuge there for a couple of hours
after I swam across the water. There's an old church there, which has been totally
destroyed by war. There is an inscription on the tower in Gaelic, and I'm not entirely sure
what it means, but it's something along the lines of when the bell tolls, someone will die.
I could often hear bells tolling in Azkaban, but only when I wasn't Padfoot. They were
absolutely mournful. I did some reading and apparently they are historically linked with
the Dementors. I'm not sure how, and I'm not too sure the source is accurate. The


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villagers are very superstitious; I couldn't find out very much from them, due to
communication problems, as they only speak Gaelic, but basically they know that the
tolling bells means death, but they have never found the bodies. I'm looking into it a little
more.'
Harry contemplated for a while. Then he looked up seriously.
'Perhaps you should ask Hermione for help. She has the ability to find just about
anything,' Harry mentioned.
Sirius nodded.
'Perhaps I'll ask her. She's pretty intelligent. Reminds me a bit of Chrys when she was
that age.'
Harry looked at Sirius inquisitively.
'I know it's none of my business, Sirius,' Harry began, 'but is that who was snogging you
outside the Ministry?'
Sirius grinned mischievously.
'I was just getting to that, my young godson who appears to never miss anything. Chrys is
whom you should go to if you ever want to know anything about your mother. She was
your mum's maid of honour and knows pretty much everything there is to know about
Lily. She also was kind of my girlfriend when your mum and dad were killed. I'm not
sure where things stand with us anymore, and neither does she. We'll eventually sort
things out, but I think we both need to be patient. It's very hard to pick things up where
we left off after so many years. At times things are awkward and then it's like nothing
ever happened. Our main problem is that she is an Auror. Or maybe it's my problem,
Harry. I just don't know if I like the idea of being with an Auror. So she may be around,
but I don't want you starting any gossip about what happens at Hogwarts. She'll be
teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts this year; it would appear that Dumbledore likes
having famous Aurors teaching. The only other thing is, if you do ask her anything about
your mum, please be sensitive, as I know you will be, but keep in mind she was one of
the Aurors who responded to your parents' deaths. She may be a little touchy about the
issue.'
Harry nodded.
'Even if she didn't want to talk, it would be nice having someone else around who knew
my mum really well,' he thought.
'Now, what else was it that I wanted to know?' Sirius said reflecting, but with a slight
teasing tone to his voice. 'That's right; now tell me what happened with Ginny.'
Harry looked up at Sirius and said,
'There's really not that much to tell. Ginny used to follow me around all the time. She
positively adored me. Then suddenly over last summer I began to see her in a different


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light. She wasn't Ron's little sister anymore; she was this stunningly beautiful woman.
And she kind of looked a bit like my mum,' Harry confessed, with some shame.
'That's understandable,' Sirius replied, 'but that's not really a good reason to be with
someone.'
Harry nodded.
'I know that,' he said, 'and I think Ginny realised that it wasn't really her that I wanted. So
she broke it off, saying that she wasn't in love with me and that I didn't love her. A week
or so later I saw her kissing another student, in the Charms classroom. It was just a peck
on the cheek. I didn't have a problem with that, but it was who it was with that was the
problem.'
Sirius raised his eyebrows.
'Oh?' He asked.
'It was Malfoy,' Harry replied. 'I just couldn't see why she should be thanking him of all
people. But I had a long talk to Hermione and she helped me see that I wasn't in love with
her, so her kissing Malfoy shouldn't bother me.'
There was silence for a while, as if Harry was deciding to admit something else.
'There's someone else' said Harry, breaking the silence. 'Her name's Lavender Brown,
she's a Gryffindor.'
Sirius pondered for a moment.
'If you want to go on a date, that's fine, you don't have to ask,' Sirius said, 'but just tell me
where you're going. Better yet, invite her here so you don't have to watch your back. But
try not to put anyone in danger.'
Sirius glanced at his watch.
'We've been talking here for a while, Harry,' he said. 'I thought I'd give you some time to
yourself, to explore, to write letters or perhaps even do some homework.' Sirius chuckled.
'But we're going out tonight. I'm taking you to my parents to meet my family. Sorry if
you don't want to, but it's a formality. We'll have to use my motorbike to get there, as I've
disconnected the house from the Floo network. So be ready at about 4 o'clock, it'll take us
about an hour to get there. And write that guest list, because we'd better owl the invites
out tomorrow.'
Harry walked up to his room. He was trying to absorb everything that Sirius had just said.
There had been an edge to Sirius's voice which had disturbed Harry, like the night he had
met Sirius in the Whomping Willow. He knew Sirius was just trying to caution him, but
he had made Harry feel, just for the shortest amount of time that he was back at Privet
Drive getting in trouble for accidental magic.
First times first, Harry decided to write his list, and then he could owl Ron and Hermione


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when he got back later that night.
Party Guests
Sirius
Ron
Hermione
Lavender
The Weasleys (even Percy and Penelope?)
Angelina, Alicia and Katie
Seamus, Neville and Dean and partners
Probably Padma and Parvati (can't invite Lavender and not them )
Justin and Sarah
Ernie and Susan
Remus
Hagrid (and Olympe?)
Dumbledore and McGonagall?
Oliver Wood
'What would Sirius's parents be like?' he wondered. 'Will they like me?'
He knew also that Sirius had a sister, so did that mean he had, well... sort of, cousins?

Chapter Five
The Blacks
Harry found a robe that he thought worthy of the occasion, and then he called out to
Sirius,
'Sirius, what am I supposed to wear?'
'Whatever you like,' was the chuckled reply.
'A lot of help that is,' Harry thought. He ended up picking out a nice pair of pants and a
shirt that could look either casual or dressed-up, depending on the occasion.
Harry was actually quite nervous. He didn't know much about Sirius's family; he'd never
met them before (at least not that he could remember). He wondered whether or not they
would like him. He didn't know what they had even thought of his parents or what they


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thought of him. All he knew was that Sirius's father had died when Sirius was young.
And he had to ride on Sirius's bike. He had never seen, let alone ridden, on Sirius's bike
and Harry was slightly cautious about getting on the thing.
Harry called out again 'Sirius, do I need to wear a robe?'
Again Sirius laughed as he called out,
'Probably.'
Finally, Harry emerged from his room. He tried not to look anxious as Sirius led him out
to the bike.
'Now, Harry,' Sirius began, 'it's important that you don't panic. You've been on this bike
before and it's gotten you safely from one place to another, so there's no need to panic
now.'
Harry felt that somehow Sirius must have sensed his trepidation. Harry took a deep
breath in and hopped on the bike behind Sirius. Harry held on tightly as he felt the bike
fly into the air. He screamed as they took off, but only in a joking manner to let Sirius
know that he was enjoying himself.
'What does Ron's dad think of your bike, Sirius?' Harry called out.
'What he doesn't know won't hurt him,' Sirius replied. 'Hold on tight, it's getting a bit
windy. We'll be there shortly. Make sure you hold on really tightly for the descent. I
wouldn't want you to fall off; that'd make a really good impression. My sister would take
you away saying that I'm not fit to be a parent. She'd probably be right, too!'
Harry began to relax. Although the sensation of flying on a motorcycle was not the same
as flying on his broomstick, it was quite an enjoyable experience anyway. He was
beginning to enjoy gazing down below at the landscape they were flying over. Harry
began to point things out to Sirius as they flew over them. Sirius had quite forgotten the
feeling of flying over land like this.
Soon Sirius prepared for the descent. With Harry clutching him tightly around the waist,
Sirius plunged the bike downward. He then pulled up as the bike hit the ground.
Finally they had arrived.
Despite the wind that had plagued them while they were in the air, it was surprisingly still
back on the ground. The moon was rising slowly as the sun set over the distant
mountains. The orange blended in with the pinks and blues to give a spectacular show.
Harry could hardly believe the beauty of it.
'How's that for a good British sunset, eh, Harry?' Sirius said as they marvelled in the
beauty.
The Blacks' house was a large old stately home that appeared as though it had been in the
family for years. It was huge. Harry could imagine Sirius having fun growing up here.


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The house looked inviting, friendly but grand. Many windows, indicated that there had
probably been many rooms for Sirius to hide in when he had been in trouble, which
Harry guessed might have happened frequently. Lots of vacant land surrounded the house
for Sirius to practice Quidditch, play pranks on his younger sister and to have many
different kinds of adventures. The surrounding grass was the greenest Harry had ever
seen, but looked as though the meadows had been attacked. Then Harry saw the horses
and it made sense. There were at least a dozen beautiful horses, gazing at Harry. He'd
have to remember to ask why they had them; he didn't think it was usual for wizards to
keep horses.
Harry was sure that he looked scruffy and shouldn't have wasted his time trying to
impress them; the bike ride and wind had done some irreparable damage.
Sirius led Harry down a stone path, surrounded by glowing lanterns. The path was
completely bordered by rose bushes of every imaginable colour, to the front door. There
was moss overhanging from the above balcony, which provided a cool calmness when
you came near it. Sirius knocked on the door.
It swung open, almost immediately as if the person on the other side had been waiting for
them. Harry saw a cute little face that belonged to a beautiful six-year-old girl, with
flowing blonde curls.
'Hello, I'm Kaylah,' she said excitedly. 'You must be Harry. I've been waiting for you to
come. Can I have your autograph, please?'
Harry blushed. He hadn't expected to be greeted by admirers.
Sirius whispered in Harry's ear,'You'd better give her your autograph or she'll pester you
all night.'
Harry signed the little autograph book with a little embarrassment. Kaylah then spied
Sirius.
'Uncle Sirius, can you please give me a helicopter ride? Please, please, please? You'll be
my favourite uncle.'
Sirius laughed, replied, 'I had better be your favourite uncle, 'cause you've only got one!'
He picked up Kaylah, and then swung her around in circles for a while until she screamed
to be put down.
'Kayl' a voice called out, 'you're not tormenting your uncle already, are you? Sirius, come
through, we're all dying to see Harry again.'
Sirius led Harry through to a sitting room. Harry could see that they were an old
wizarding family. There were portraits of past family members hanging on the walls, and
more recent photos of family members all over the place. Harry noted that there was no
portrait of Sirius. A fire burned in the marble fireplace.
Standing in the room were a woman with the same long curls as Kaylah's but they were


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black, whom Harry assumed must be Sirius's sister; an older version of the girl who
greeted Harry at the door, whom Harry thought must be about ten or eleven; and a little
boy, about eight with thick black hair and bright blue eyes. The woman spoke.
'Hello, Harry, my name's Madeleine. I'm Sirius's baby sister. You can call me Maddie if
you like. I know you don't remember me, but we've met before, a long time ago. I've been
interested in following your life thus far; I've got lots of clippings from the Daily
Prophet! Now this mischievous little boy, who is far too like his uncle, is Troy, and this
sweetheart is Rechelleigha, but we call her Leigha. My husband Alec will be down soon.'
She turned and called out, 'Mum, Alec - Sirius and Harry are here.'
An older lady appeared in the door accompanied by a younger looking man. She didn't
look that old; Harry had thought that she would be older, so he was quite surprised when
he saw her. He was a very handsome man, but was quite the opposite of Sirius. He had
short blonde curly hair, and brown eyes. 'The girls must get their hair from him,' Harry
thought.
'Harry, oh you've grown so much,' she said as she walked towards Harry. 'Thank you for
never giving up on my son, I owe so much of his freedom to you. You have lifted the
shame from our family name. Thank you so much, Harry. You will always be welcome in
this house.'
Although slightly bewildered, Harry held this woman in his arms and muttered, 'Any
time, Mrs Black.'
'No, Harry, you must call me Heather. You are a friend and an equal.'
Heather Black let go of Harry and showed him into the dining room. A long table was
set, with an abundance of cutlery, glowing candles, beautiful roses that appeared to be
straight from the garden and a plate of something that smelt delicious. Harry was shown
to his seat and was surprised when Sirius sat down at the head of the table. Harry sensed
that this formal dinner had been put together for him, and to be honest, he was slightly
uncomfortable that they had gone to this much effort for him. No one really ever made
any fuss over him, a challenge he had to learn how to deal with when he first came to
Hogwarts and became a celebrity overnight. Yet he had never really managed to get used
to it. Sirius said what Harry could only assume was a wizard equivalent of grace (it was
in some strange language that Harry had never heard of), before Sirius motioned to him
that he should start the meal. Harry looked down at his plate to see something that
resembled an omelette, but when he took a bite it tasted more like beef and chives.
Whatever it was, it tasted fantastic. Then the main course was brought out by a couple of
smiling house-elves. It appeared to be a very traditional baked dinner, which Harry was
more than happy to enjoy. He was surprised at how good the food was, his experience of
food being mainly that of his aunt forcing him to cook, or the delicious food of the
Hogwarts banquet. At home the food was seldom like this. When the food was finished,
the conversation began.
'Have you seen The Daily Prophet today, Harry?' Maddie asked. 'I assume you haven't,
because Sirius hasn't mentioned it yet.'



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Sirius sprung to Harry's defence.
'I didn't receive it today,' he said. 'I must write and complain about the reliability of their
owls. Why, Maddie, what was in it today?'
'Just an announcement about what's happening at Hogwarts this year,' she replied slyly.
Suddenly Sirius turned toward Harry and looked at him strangely. It was almost a look of
hurt.
'Harry,' he started, 'don't tell me you got your letter and didn't tell me, because I know
McGonagall would not have published it in The Daily Prophet before she had had written
conformation of your acceptance.'
Harry slapped his hand to his head. With all the excitement that had passed in the last
couple of days, Harry had completely forgotten to mention it to Sirius.
'How did you know?' Harry asked Sirius.
'I'm a teacher, Harry. We get to veto these things. I was wondering how long it was going
to take for you to tell me,' Sirius replied.
A little person at the other end of the table was becoming overly curious.
'What's happening at Hogwarts? I don't want to go there if it's something bad,' she said.
Maddie and Sirius laughed, at the same time as Harry asked,
'You're going to Hogwarts?'
Leigha nodded.
'What's happening, Harry?' she asked. 'Has the Quidditch Cup been cancelled?'
Harry shook his head and joined in the laughter.
'No,' he replied, 'I'm Head Boy, that's all, and it would appear I'm in trouble for not
informing your uncle!'
'Oh,' was the relieved reply. 'What house are you in, Harry? What house do you think I'll
be in? Mum and Uncle Sirius were both Gryffindors. Does that mean I'll be in Gryffindor
too? Then again, Dad was a Ravenclaw, so does that mean I'll be in Ravenclaw? How do
you get chosen, is it some kind of test?'
'Whoa,' Harry replied, 'one question at a time. I'm in Gryffindor as well. Just because
your family is in one house doesn't mean you will be. It goes on individual qualities. As
for how you get chosen, that's a secret. You'll have to wait until you get to school to find
that one out.'
Leigha pouted in disappointment. It was clear that she had been hoping that Harry would
give her more of an insight than her parents and uncle had given her.



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After the conversation had died down a little, Sirius walked over to Harry. He shook his
hand in congratulations then hugged Harry. He then turned towards the table and raised a
goblet full of wine.
'I'd like to propose a toast,' he began, 'to Harry, to congratulate him for being named this
year's Head Boy. I am very, very proud of him and I know James and Lily would be also.
To Harry.'
'To Harry,' the family replied as they all raised their glasses.
Harry thanked them for their kindness, commenting that he hoped that he would live up
to his reputation.
On that note, when Leigha's inquisitive questioning got to be too much for Maddie, she
rang a bell, and a house-elf brought out a lemon tart and served it to the family. At this
time, with Leigha relishing every bite of her lemon tart, the conversation turned to other,
more 'important' things, than how people were sorted into houses. Harry used the time to
remark on the number of horses outside.
'I didn't think it was usual for wizards to own large numbers of horses,' Harry stated.
Alec smiled. He had been quiet for most of the night, but as this seemed to be his forte,
he spoke up.
'I breed the horses, Harry,' he said, 'for the wizard races. I assume you've never been to
one? Well, wizard horse races are slightly different from Muggle ones. For starters, only
witches are allowed to be jockeys, and secondly, wands are allowed, so the race is more a
test of a witch's skill rather than how quickly the horse makes it to the other end. Of
course, the spells are limited but still enough to provide an interesting race. There are
many obstacles that must be overcome as well. You two should stay tonight and come
with us to the races tomorrow. One of our horses is in its first race. It will be an
interesting event. What do you say, Sirius?'
Sirius was hesitant.'I'd love to stay, and from the look on Harry's face, I think he would
too, but is it safe?' Sirius asked.
'It's about as safe as anywhere else, Sirius,' Alec replied dryly. 'We don't know what his
plans are, and cannot guarantee anything. But there should be enough of us here to take
care of any unfortunate visitors.'
'Okay,' Sirius agreed, after what appeared to be a battle in his head. 'We'll stay tonight
and leave first thing after the races. We don't want to place you in any danger,' he added.
'Great!' replied Alec. 'We'll have an early start, so I think it's time for everyone to get
some sleep.'
On that note, Maddie led Harry upstairs to a guest room and brought him some of Alec's
pyjamas to sleep in, just in case he wanted to feel a bit more comfortable.
Harry lay in bed that night with visions of the races tomorrow. He hoped they would be


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as exciting as they appeared in his mind.
*~*
Hermione Granger was furious. She glanced once again at the front page of The Daily
Prophet. There was a large piece on the appointment of her and Harry as Head Boy and
Girl. Hermione hoped that Sirius had been wise enough not to let Harry see it. It
slandered Hermione's appointment, because she had Muggle parents ('Honestly, it didn't
matter seventeen years ago,' she had thought), then had appeared to be praising Harry's
appointment, mentioning his past achievements, namely defeating Voldemort and
winning the Triwizard Tournament, and then it began to slander Harry's appointment,
saying that he was nothing but a rule-breaker and suggested he had only been made Head
Boy because he was Harry Potter. It then went on to talk about his parents, the last
Gryffindor pair to be Head Boy and Girl, comparing Harry and Hermione to Lily and
James. It simply wasn't fair that Harry was continuously compared to his parents and if
Hermione was honest she didn't feel completely comfortable being compared to Lily
Potter.
Lily and James.
Harry and Hermione.
Was it fate?
*~*
The moon shone brightly, whilst the night was cold and still. Suddenly the wind began to
roar.
Lucius Malfoy approached his master timidly.
'Why did you let Wormtail be captured?' he asked.
Lucius did not dare look up.
'It was unavoidable,' he said. 'We walked right into a trap, Master. They had it planned
too well for his expertise.'
Voldemort looked at him furiously.
'You fool!' he cried. 'You have still not learnt to follow my instructions after all these
years. You are a fool, Lucius. I knew I should not have trusted you. It is time for you to
learn.'
Lucius bowed his head in atonement.
'Whatever is your will, Master,' he said.
Voldemort pointed his wand towards the wretched man and yelled,
'Crucio!'


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Lucius convulsed with pain. Even after all these years he could not get used to the sheer
agony that came with the Cruciatus Curse.
'Bring me your son,' Voldemort demanded. 'He will compensate for your mistakes.'
Lucius was filled with apprehension for his son.
*~*
Harry awoke with a start.
It was the middle of the night, and he had seen Voldemort perform the Cruciatus curse on
Malfoy's father. For some reason it hadn't bothered Harry too much.
'Perhaps it's something in the air here,' he thought, 'or maybe it's just because it's a
Malfoy.'
Suddenly Harry remembered what Voldemort had said after he had performed the curse.
'He will compensate for your mistakes.'
Malfoy.
He was going to have to serve Voldemort because of his father. Harry wondered whether
he should be worried. Except that it was something Harry had always expected, that
Malfoy would logically go on to become a Death Eater.
'Poor Malfoy,' he thought, 'he doesn't have a choice. He probably wants it anyhow.'
Chapter Six
At the Wizard Races
The two girls jumping on his bed awoke Harry early the next morning.
"Come on, Harry!" they shouted. "It's time to get ready to go to the races! Look, Mum's
left some clothes on your bed. Hurry up and get ready."
Harry told Leigha and Kaylah that he was not getting up before they left the room.
Reluctantly, they left him alone, with Kaylah ogling her idol as she walked out the door.
He saw some clothes, as well as a towel and soap, with a note that read:
The shower's down the hall on the left, wander down when you're ready. -Maddie.
Harry followed the instructions and found an empty bathroom, which consisted of a
mirror, a large tub, and a shower that looked like you could shower a horse in it. Harry
wondered if the kids had ever tried it; he suspected they had, because he could see that
they would if they could get away with it.
Harry showered and dressed, then headed downstairs, where he saw that a plate of
breakfast had been laid down for him at the table. Sirius was the only one still eating.



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"The others are outside getting the horses ready," he explained. "We'll be travelling by
Floo and are leaving fairly soon, I imagine, so eat up."
"I need to tell you something," Harry began, but as he opened his mouth to continue, the
children walked into the dining room and sat down at the table.
"We'll go and put a bet on later, Harry," Sirius said. "Meanwhile, you lot had better eat
up."
Harry obliged, he figured that Sirius had meant that they could talk later.
Soon everyone had finished their breakfast, they all lined up at the fireplace, excepting
Alec who had already left with the horses. One by one they jumped into the fire and
emerged at a racecourse, which to Harry's surprise looked very different from a Muggle
racecourse. In fact, apart from the sign that read "Loch Avie Racecourse" and a racetrack,
there wasn't much resemblance. The actual course was covered in obstacles and there
didn't even appear to be an apparent start.
By the name of the racecourse, Harry deduced that they were somewhere in Scotland. He
wondered how far from Hogwarts they were.
"Come to think of it," thought Harry, "I'm not even sure where it is that Sirius or his
family lives."
Harry was dragged out of his dream state, to be shown down to where they were
preparing the horses. Harry admired the horses; he had never really been this close to
horses before but had always had a secret love for the animals. He knew that his aunt
Petunia had ridden when she had been younger, and Harry vaguely remembered seeing
her ride when she was very young, but neither Harry nor Dudley had ever ridden. Petunia
probably didn't trust them. Leigha dragged Harry over to a beautiful white Arabian.
"This girl's mine," she said. "Her name is Tula, it's her first race today; I wish I could be
riding her. I can't wait until I'm seventeen and can ride them myself. I'll be the bestest
jockey in he world."
"You'll get there soon enough," Harry said, laughing at the little girl who was so full of
life.
Harry spent time admiring the horse; she was absolutely beautiful and Harry could tell
that she was well looked after. Then a pretty woman walked over and quickly introduced
herself as a jockey. The young witch that looked vaguely familiar to Harry.
"Hi, Harry," she said. "I was in seventh year when you were in first, a Hufflepuff so you
probably don't know my name, but I know yours. I'm Terri Hamber, the McLachlan's
jockey. I'll be riding a few of these horses today. Hope you enjoy the show."
Maddie led everyone up to the stands, to a box that said 'McLachlan' and they walked in
and took their seats. There was a table full of snacks waiting for their arrival. The
children moved to the front and took what they called their 'usual seats' then offered
Harry a seat at the front of the box, so they could explain to him everything that was


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going on. Before Harry could sit down, Sirius interrupted and said,
"Hang on a minute," Sirius said as he pulled Kaylah off Harry's arm. "Harry and I need to
place our bets. We'll take a wander, make sure we put money on your horse, Leigha, and
be back in time for the first race."
So Harry and Sirius left the box, leaving the sounds of the children arguing about who
was going to get the Dumbledore card in the chocolate frog behind them, as they headed
towards the betting arena of the racecourse.
Sirius pulled Harry over into a quiet little alcove.
"What's troubling you, Harry?" Sirius enquired.
"Last night I had another vision," Harry said softly so that no one but Sirius could hear.
"Voldemort was punishing Lucius Malfoy for letting Wormtail be captured. He put the
Cruciatus Curse on Mr Malfoy, which doesn't bother me so much; it's just that Voldemort
said that his son would have to make up for his mistakes. I'm worried about Malfoy. I
don't even like him, but somehow I have a sense that I should warn him, I feel like I
should be concerned. Especially given that Ginny's involved."
Sirius was quiet. Finally he spoke.
"It's a tragedy for anyone to be recruited, but especially for someone so young. It was
common when we were in our later years at Hogwarts. You should feel sad because a life
is being spoilt. I know what we should do about it - we can discuss it when we get back.
We'd better go and put some money on this blasted horse or I'll never hear the end of it.
Stupid thing, it will probably lose, knowing my luck."
Sirius led Harry to the betting arena, where they each bet a few Galleons on Leigha's
horse before they found their way back to the box.
Sirius was shocked as he walked into the box. Chrys was standing there. She walked up
to Sirius and gave him a hug.
"Well, well," she said. "Sometimes we get an unexpected surprise. I wasn't expecting you
here today, Sirius."
"Change of plan," he replied. "I notice that Maddie 'forgot' to tell me you were here. Not
that it's a problem, we were going to drop in tonight on the way back anyway. Harry, this
is Chrystal Àille, your new Defence Against th Dark Arts teacher. Chrys, this is Harry
Potter, my godson."
There was a big smile on her face. Sirius was right when he said she was beautiful. He
gazed at her twinkling blue eyes and shiny caramel hair.
"Hi, Harry," she said. "It's nice to see you again. It's amazing how much you look like
your father. Oh, I'm sorry, you must hear that all the time"
"Hi," Harry muttered, "nice to meet you too." Harry wasn't sure what he was supposed to


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say. She was Sirius' girlfriend, so he had to be polite, but she still was a total stranger.
"I, uh, hear you're teaching at Hogwarts," he muttered. "What, um, should I call you?"
She laughed in a manner similar to Sirius' when Harry had revealed his ignorance of the
wizarding world.
"Chrys is fine, or whatever you feel comfortable calling me," she said. "You could even
call me aunty Chrys if you want, given that your mother was practically my sister. You're
right about Hogwarts, so you'd better watch out for me. You'll have to call me Professor
Àille then, and I guarantee there will be no special treatment for you just because I knew
your parents!"
"Didn't think there would be," Harry sprang to his own defence. A thought rushed into his
head.
"Um, would you tell me about them?" he asked.
Harry saw the concerned look on her face and wondered if he had overstepped an
invisible line.
"I don't mean now," he sad.
"Oh, Harry," she began, "it's not that I wouldn't want to, it's just a surprise to hear you
ask. To be honest, Harry, I haven't spoke about Lily for a while. But if you want to know
everything, between Sirius and I we should be able to tell you. I, however, will need
time."
Harry nodded.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I didn't mean to upset you."
"That's okay," she replied. "Now let's get back to these horses. I guarantee you that you
haven't seen anything like this before."
Over in the other corner of the box Sirius and Maddie were oblivious to Harry and
Chrystal's discussion.
"Why didn't you tell me she was coming?" Sirius asked. "Did you think that by throwing
us together as much as possible we'd work everything out? That's not the way things
work, Madeleine."
"Sirius," Maddie began. "Don't be ridiculous, she's my friend as well. We've kept in touch
although you haven't. When you got hauled away she had no one. Not a single soul. Her
best friend was dead, her boyfriend was imprisoned for life and an Auror killed her
mother because she was a Death Eater. The poor girl needed someone to turn to. I was
going through a similar thing and we could be there for each other. I can't believe that
when you escaped you didn't even try and contact either of us. I know the two of you
have a few problems, but sort them out. She's been waiting for you for sixteen years, and
Lily... well, she's dead, so just get over her. You had twelve years in Azkaban to do that!"


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Her words struck Sirius harshly. Sure, he'd had feelings for Lily, but he felt that he was
well and truly over that by the time he and Chrys had become an item. She'd married
James, for heaven's sake.
"I don't appreciate comments like that," Sirius started. "Despite your soundproof charm,
there may be a way for your children to hear what you're saying. The bottom line is, I
love her, but we have a lot to sort out. We can discuss it later. Come on, let's go and
watch the horses. I apologise for snapping. We'll work things out eventually, one way or
another, and it will be for the best."
The children stared. They could see two conversations going on, but couldn't hear either.
"I wish I could break Mum's charm," Kaylah said mischievously. "She and Uncle Sirius
look kinda mad. It'd be funny to hear what they're saying"
"No," Leigha said harshly. "It would just be rude. Anyway, look, they're bringing the
horses out."
On that note, everyone focused their attention towards the racecourse.
Harry had never seen anything like it. There was a fanfare of music, trumpets blasting out
melodies, as a small round man walked out into the centre of the course. After he had
entered, the fanfare changed into concerto music, which sounded like an orchestra was
playing it. Harry looked around wondering where it had come from, but was surprised
when he couldn't see it.
"You wondering where the music's coming from?" Troy asked.
Harry nodded.
"You can't see it because they're on the roof," the young boy explained. "That way, the
noise fills the entire stadium."
Harry couldn't understand why it would fill the stadium by playing from the roof, but
nodded in agreement anyhow, and looked back at parade.
The round wizard was announcing the creatures as they came in. Creatures where
entering the centre of the course now. There were horses of many kinds and colours.
Harry spied unicorns prancing around the circuit. They were not being led or ridden, just
participating in a perfect choreographed routine that appeared to need no instruction.
They were followed by centaurs with bows and arrows, who began shooting once they
had entered the racecourse. Harry jumped in fright, before he saw that they were shooting
heather, and not actual arrows. The heather fell in the centre of the course, forming a
ring-shape. Horses followed the centaurs. Again, they did not have any riders. Harry
blinked, and then saw that they were winged horses. They flew up towards the sky, to the
level of the boxes. They threw heather branches at the crowds. Everybody reached up and
grabbed a branch.
"Put it on your cloak, like this Harry," Sirius said. He then demonstrated to Harry by
placing the heather branch through the join of his cloak. As Harry looked around he could


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see everyone placing their branches there. Harry assumed that it must be a tradition.
Suddenly Harry heard the rounded man spoke again.
"Introducing the Loch Avie monster," he roared. "She only comes out on special
occasions, so put your hands together to welcome her."
"Loch Avie?" thought Harry. "I thought it was the Loch Ness monster."
Harry gazed at the creature. It was kind of like a green dragon, except smaller. Harry
noticed that it had gills on the side of its neck as well as being able to breathe out of
water.
"It hides in the bottom of the Loch," Troy explained. "She's not quite as famous as Nessie
of course, but still pretty impressive."
Harry was mesmerised by the monster. It was an amazing creature, so graceful, and in a
sense, beautiful. Hagrid would have loved it.
Soon the creature was led off and was announcing the horses for the first race. It was a
winged horse event, so all the jockeys seemed to be covered in what appeared to be
protective robes. Harry could see that the course was set up with a few obstacles on the
ground, a few hoops in the air at variable heights, and each rider had a bucket of balls.
Harry figured that they must have to put the balls through the hoops. He wondered about
the ground obstacles though, given that they were winged horses.
Soon enough the question was answered. The round man announced that they would have
to complete the course on the ground before they were allowed to fly.
"On your marks,' the fat man said. "Set."
Bang.
The gun sound echoed through the air and the horses were off. The crowd started to cheer
in a deafening fashion. The horse and riders had to complete obstacles like jumps (similar
to an equestrian event), riding through narrow gates and then a segment of hill riding.
After the hills they grabbed their buckets of balls and took off into the sky. Harry glanced
over at Alec and Maddie, who had huge grins on their faces, so he figured their horse
must be in the lead from the way they were yelling and cheering.
Once in the sky, the riders had to place the balls through hoops in a complicated set
fashion (kind of like a dressage exercise). Up until this point, the spells had been pretty
sedate. Now the witches began to go crazy with wands pointing every direction and spells
going everywhere. The spells themselves were fairly harmless; they were things like boil
curses, or small gusts of wind to put the rider off course. Nothing too dangerous and
obviously no Unforgivable curses.
As the neared the end, Alec's rider was hit in the face with a downpour of rain. The rider,
who looked like Terri, was put off course and missed the hoop. She picked up a spare ball
and rode back to try again. At the same time she pulled out her wand and sent a large


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heavy wind in the direction of the rider who had overtaken her. The rider struggled to
stay on her horse, and Teri overtook her as they were flying down to the finish line.
It was neck and neck.
Then a loud cheer filled the stadium.
Teri had won.
The next few races weren't as exciting after that, probably because they were on the
ground watching. The riders had to get around obstacles such as lakes and streams,
objects that just appeared out of nowhere, boggarts, and some weird creatures that Harry
had never seen before. And, they had to contend with curses from the other riders. Some
of the curses were hilarious and entertaining. Harry wished he could hear what the riders
were saying. A new curse might come in handy next time Malfoy opens his smart mouth,
Harry thought to himself. Alec's horses didn't do as well, in these races, but it didn't seem
to matter. Everyone appeared to be having fun and Harry was certainly enjoying himself.
He hadn't seen anything like this before.
Finally, it was time for the last race of the day. This was the one that Leigha's horse Tula
was competing in. Harry saw that Leigha was getting nervous.
"Harry," she whispered. "I trained her myself. I want to be riding her, but I'm too young. I
don't know if Teri will do well on her."
Soon the race began. Tula was charging forward and Teri had her wand poised. She
began sending spells in every direction as she approached the first obstacle. Harry noticed
that most of the spells sent out didn't hit anyone, or hit the crowd rather than the rider, but
it was all in the spirit of the sport. Tula was one of the first horses to approach the water
obstacle. Just as they entered someone's spell hit the water and created a tsunami
engulfing the horses and riders. Leigha screamed. Harry was sitting on the edge of his
seat until he felt a wave of relief as he saw horse and rider emerge on the other side.
There were three horses in the lead group as the approached the final three obstacles. On
was a narrow gate that got smaller every time someone tried to pass through it. Someone
eventually hit it with a fire curse, so it was difficult for the riders to see where they were
going, despite being able to get past. Only two horses emerged at the end of it, Tula and a
black stallion. They approached the next jump, which created no problem. The final
obstacle was a boggart. The rider of the black stallion panicked and tried to scream
'Riddikulus,' but somehow could not, as she had been hit with a silencing charm. A
monstrous Hungarian Horntail dragon was facing her, causing her to fall off her horse.
That left Tula and Teri to finish first. Everyone was screaming and jumping up and down
in the box. Leigha was jumping up and down and hugging everyone.
"We'd better go and collect our winnings, Harry," Sirius said. "If we don't go quickly, the
goblins take off. Leigha must have some talent with horses because that's the best any of
their horses have done first time."



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He had a large grin on his face.
Harry nodded and smiled.
Then he asked,"So we're going to Chrystal's for dinner, are we?"
"Only if you're happy to," Sirius replied, "because if you aren't, we can go straight home.
Alec is going to borrow my bike for a few days, so I've reconnected my house to the Floo
network just for tonight."
"We can have dinner," Harry responded. "I don't have a problem at all with that. It will be
interesting to see what kind of girl my godfather goes for."
Harry had a smirk on his face.
"A crazy one," replied Sirius. "You'd better behave yourself or I'll clock you one, just like
I did to your father!"
Harry and Sirius arrived at the betting arena. Because it had been the horse's first race and
the trainer was virtually unknown (well, she's only eleven!) the odds had not been
fantastic; in fact they'd been fifty-to-one. Which meant Harry and Sirius had won 150
Galleons each.
As the wandered back to the box, they pondered what they should do with the money.
Sirius, ever the practical joker, decided he would buy a year's supply of Dungbombs to
put in his students' bags. Harry had other ideas for the money, which he decided to keep
quiet for the time being. They returned as Chrystal was announcing that they should
leave, so Sirius and Harry thanked the Blacks, Harry stating that he had thoroughly
enjoyed their time together and couldn't wait to see them again. It was true. They had
been so friendly to him that he had really enjoyed the time he had spent with them. Then
they jumped into the fire in the box and arrived a rowdy bar in Portree.
"My house is not on the Floo network, Harry," Chrystal explained. "Auror policy."
She led them down the streets of Portree until they got to a small alleyway where a car
was waiting. They hopped in and Chrystal drove them the ten miles to her house just
outside the city.
As Harry looked at the place, he was filled with warmth. It reminded him of a smaller
version of The Burrow. It was going to be an interesting night.

Chapter Seven
Harry's Date
Chrystal led them into the cottage.
"I'm not much of a cook," she said, "so I hope that what I make is fine for a growing
boy."
Chrystal led Harry around the small cottage, while Sirius fixed everybody drinks. The


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cottage consisted of five rooms, a kitchen, bathroom (which were both immaculately
clean), a study which was cluttered with books and papers about the Dark Arts and
Wizard Law, followed by a door which led into her bedroom. Chrystal led Harry back to
the formal lounge where Sirius was sitting on the couch holding a goblet of some
concoction Harry assumed he must have mixed up. Harry seriously wondered if he
should accept the goblet that Sirius held out to him. He grimaced then swallowed. It was
amazing - it kept changing flavour.
"What do you think Harry?" Sirius asked.
"Different," Harry replied. "What is it?"
"Just a little something I mixed up," he replied with a grin on his face.
"I hope you enjoy your evening, Harry," said Chrystal as she headed towards the door. "I
know this place is a little cosier than Sirius', but it fills my needs. Now I have to go and
finish dinner, so you two can sit here and drink Sirius' brew and I'll be safe in the
kitchen."
"What did she mean by that?" Harry asked after she had left the room.
"I was famous at Hogwarts for my delightful potions," Sirius replied. "I had a tendency to
just drop something into someone's drink and make it completely lose all appeal. By
seventh year no one would go near anything I had potentially made. Most of the time
there was nothing wrong with them, it was usually just on the rare occasions that I felt
like playing a joke on someone. And when that happened, it was usually your dad
anyway, but he managed to convince everyone not to touch anything I'd made. Spoilt all
the fun. I remember giving Peter a shrinking potion once and he got so small no one
could find him!"
Sirius was laughing and shaking his head remembering the old days.
"Did you ever think things would turn out like this?" Harry asked.
"We were living in a time that was fraught with danger," Sirius replied. "People would go
home and suddenly everything was different. There'd be a cold feeling in the air and your
family would be dead. If the Dark Mark was over your house, you knew what you would
find inside. We knew your dad was at risk, and we did our best to protect him, but I
always knew there was a chance. Especially as we thought that someone was betraying
us. We made a mistake. We thought it was Remus. James was like my brother, Harry. I
would have given anything to save his life. If only I'd found out about Peter sooner, we
wouldn't have made that fatal last-minute decision. I'm truly sorry, Harry. We thought it
was for the best."
There was a bond of understanding between the two. Harry finally understood the source
of Sirius' guilt. He had found out, but it had all been too late. Harry knew that Sirius
would never stop blaming himself for his best friends' deaths, just like Harry would never
stop blaming himself for Cedric's.



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Chrystal entered the room with three plates.
"Shepherd's pie," she said. "Hope it's okay, you don't have to eat it if it's not!"
Sirius and Harry thanked her and got stuck into their dinner. Compared with the night
before, it was awful, but no one commented. They did however finish their meals. The
night was filled with conversation about Chrystal's adventures as an Auror and Harry's
adventures against Voldemort. Sirius threw in a few yarns about his adventures as
Padfoot, but somehow the tales of a dog wandering around Hogsmeade weren't as
interesting compared to chasing Death Eaters through the air and trying to find the
Philosopher's Stone. A couple of hours passed very quickly to everyone's surprise, before
Sirius announced that if they didn't leave soon they wouldn't be able to travel by Floo. He
sent off Harry first, saying that he would follow soon.
"Thanks for tonight," he said. "It was very special, and you made Harry feel comfortable.
I'll pop in and see you sometime soon."
They embraced before he kissed her goodbye, before he stepped into the fire.
Chrystal heard the whisper of "Padfoot's Manor" as he left. For some strange reason she
felt a lot better. Things were going to be all right.
*~*
After their arrival Hedwig flew into the window bearing a letter to Harry. She pecked his
ear affectionately as he pulled out some owl treats that were always in the pocket on the
inside of his cloak. Harry blushed as he opened the letter.
Dear Harry,
Thanks for your last letter; I'm glad that you're at Sirius' safely. Congratulations on
being appointed as Head Boy, you'll always be the head boy in my mind.
I can't wait to see you again; I am going to Diagon Alley in three days, perhaps we could
meet, have dinner at The Leaky Cauldron and perhaps stay the night.
Let me know what you want to do, until then I send you hugs and kisses,
With love
Lavender.
Sirius looked up and saw Harry's red face.
"I take it that's a letter from the girlfriend," he said, "and I take it that it would be of a
personal nature and that I probably shouldn't read it. Am I right?"
Harry nodded.
"Well," Sirius began, "Chrys warned me that I would be fathering a man. Perhaps I
should have listened more carefully."


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"I'm not going to do anything stupid, Sirius", Harry said. "But, um, she wants, um, to
have dinner and stay the night at The Leaky Cauldron. I do want to have dinner, but I
don't know whether or not I should stay, it's not that we would necessarily do anything,
we've only been together since the Valedictorian's dance, and I'm not about to rush into
anything."
By this stage Harry was well and truly red.
"You don't have to explain to me, Harry," Sirius said as he looked at his godson
seriously," but if you do get slightly carried away, or think that you might be in a position
to, there's a potion, you can get it from the apothecary in Diagon Alley, to stop any
"mistakes" occurring. It's called the Sterilis Potion. It will provide contraception for
twelve months. I also believe Madam Pomfrey will give it to any witch who is of age. I
know what it's like to be your age, Harry, but I also hope that you have good morals
instilled in you and you'll do what's right. If you want to stay the night, you can, if you
just want to go and have dinner that's fine as well. It's your decision."
Harry was still flushed.
"Thanks, Sirius," Harry began gratefully. "I don't know what I want to do yet; I just got
her letter. But I would like to see her."
"Okay, Harry," Sirius said, thinking. "How about you go and have dinner, head over to
Diagon Alley in the afternoon, stay the night and pick some things up for me the next day
and then come back? I won't have to know what you decide to do. How's that?"
"Okay," Harry replied. "I should write back."
Harry went up to his room and replied
Dear Lavender,
Thanks for your letter, I'm missing you and can't wait to see you. I'll meet you for dinner,
and then we can decide what to do for the night later. I'll meet you outside The Leaky
Cauldron at 5 pm. Owl if that's not all right.
Until then,
Harry.
Harry tied the letter to Hedwig's feet and gave her some treats before he watched his owl
fly out the window. He wasn't quite sure what to do. He was attracted to her, but wasn't
quite sure how he felt about her yet. His emotions were still all tangled up. He'd wait until
he saw her. He felt confident he would know what the right thing to do was then.
He went to sleep that night, dreaming of the beautiful blonde-haired girl who was
brilliant at Divination. The nightmares ceased. Harry had come home.
*~*
Three days later, Harry was ready for his date. Sirius had kept his fireplace connected to


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the Floo network, except with extremely restricted access. Sirius said he'd keep it
connected like this until Harry left the week before school went back. It had become quite
the tradition that Harry and Hermione would spend that week at the Weasleys'.
He took his list from Sirius, which were mainly things from the apothecary, which Harry
noticed, did include the Sterilis Potion. He wondered if that were for himself or for his
godfather. He then jumped in the fire and felt himself twirling until he landed in Diagon
Alley. He was getting quite used to travelling by Floo. He got up, brushed the dirt off
himself and went to The Leaky Cauldron where Lavender was waiting patiently for him.
"Harry!" she squealed as she ran up to hug him. "I've missed you so much."
He bent over and kissed her for such a period of time that passersby were really no longer
curious but embarrassed by this very public display of affection.
Harry led Lavender inside and asked if they could be seated at a table in the bistro area of
the bar.
"Do you think it was a good idea to go somewhere so public?" Harry asked.
"Possibly not, judging by all the staring we're getting," she replied.
Lavender smiled as she gazed at Harry. Why was she so lucky to have caught him? She
thought back to the Valedictorian's dance, where it was as though the two of them had
seen each other for the first time. There was a kind of chemistry between them that said,
at the very least, that they were destined to be good friends. Lavender had reached up and
kissed him at the stroke of midnight. It was a private moment that few had witnessed, so
she understood his reluctance to go somewhere so public.
Both of them were privately relieved when they were seated at a table in the corner, out
of the sight of gossiping eyes.
"Tonight's on me, Lavender," Harry said. He told her how he had won one hundred and
fifty galleons at the races, which led into a long conversation about his visit with the
Blacks and about dinner with Chrystal.
"Was it uncomfortable?" Lavender asked. "I mean, isn't it kind of like your father
dating?"
Harry laughed.
"It was kind of uncomfortable at first," Harry commented, "but she was really nice and
made me feel at home. She's teaching us this year, actually; she's the new Defence
Against the Dark Arts teacher. She said to watch out for her."
"That will be very entertaining, the both of them teaching," she said mischievously. "I
wonder if they'll be running off to find an empty classroom as well?"
Harry blushed as he answered.
"Yeah, well, it's not supposed to be public knowledge. Anyhow, speaking of public


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knowledge, I think we should get two rooms tonight, but we don't have to stay in them,
okay?
Now Harry had a glimmer of mischief in his eyes. Lavender seemed to have gotten what
he meant. She didn't really know if she was ready for anything more anyhow.
"Okay," she answered, smiling.
They continued to talk about how they had spent their holidays. Lavender commented on
having helped her dad in his store, besides going out with Parvati and Padma a few times,
and most importantly, going with a group of Hogwarts people to a Weird Sisters concert.
Lavender told Harry all the gossip, especially informing Harry who Parvati's secret crush
was.
"Did you know that Katie Bell and George are going out?" she asked Harry.
"Yeah," he replied. "Ron's been working for the twins, and so I get all the gossip
firsthand. Actually, Percy and Penelope Clearwater are getting married in a couple of
weeks and Mrs Weasley's absolutely ecstatic. She's hinting at grandchildren already. I
never thought I'd say it - but poor Percy!"
Lavender joined in the laughter. They finished their meals and then headed up to their
rooms.
"I'll be in to tuck you in shortly," he said.
Harry got changed into a pair of boxer shorts and a t-shirt. Then he put his robe over the
top and crept down the hallway quietly. Harry certainly didn't want any photographers
taking his photo now. He opened the door to Lavender's room and snuck in.
"Hi, sweetie," he whispered as he gazed at her in her flimsy little nightdress. She looked
beautiful as the moon shone on her hair. He walked over towards her, never breaking eye
contact.
He sat on the bed and kissed her intensely. She responded to his initiation with as much
enthusiasm as he. Neither knew how long they were there kissing, before Harry slid his
hands down Lavender's back. He let go of her while maintaining contact with her lips as
he pulled his cloak off. She followed, by taking off his shirt. She pulled away and stared
at his naked chest. Her heart was racing madly. He certainly looked like he had been
working out. She pulled her shirt off and pulled Harry closer to her. They began kissing
again, as he began caressing her gently.
She bit her lip and kissed him. They began to fall down onto the bed; Harry could feel the
pressure rising inside him. Suddenly he felt a pang of guilt inside his head.
"Stop," he said suddenly but softly. "We can't do this, not here, not now. I could make
you pregnant, it's not safe."
There was an awkward silence.



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"It's fine, Harry," she whispered. "I've taken a potion. My dad's an apothecary; I obtained
it while I was working for him."
"It's not just that," he murmured. "I just don't think we're ready. I don't want to do this
before I'm certain that I love you. No matter how much I want to. I don't want to hurt
you, Lavender."
She collapsed into his arms.
"I understand, Harry," she said. "I think you may be right. Thank you so much, you're
certainly my prince now."
Harry held her in his arms and they fell asleep, with Harry holding her close. He didn't
want to let her go.
*~*
The next morning Harry awoke with this beautiful woman in his arms. He knew he had
done the right thing by not giving in to temptation. He sensed there was a calmness in
their relationship that had not been there the night before. She awoke and smiled at him
before she gave him a light kiss on the cheek.
"Thank you for last night," she said, as she gazed at him.
If Lavender Brown hadn't fancied herself in love with Harry the night before, she
certainly did now.
After showering and having breakfast, the two said goodbye and Harry headed down
Diagon Alley to pick up the things that Sirius had requested.
*~*
Lucius Malfoy had finished bargaining with the old shopkeeper. He was tired of this fool
of a man, but at least he kept secrets. He turned around to see a young woman standing
behind him. She was oddly familiar.
"Good day, Mr Borgin," she said. "I'm wondering if you have those books on European
Magical Theory in relationship to Dark Arts and Unforgivable Curses, Celts in the history
of Dark Arts and that one on Salazar Slytherin's threats to the Founders you mentioned?"
"Ahh, yes miss," Borgin replied. "I assume you're after the latest on each topic?"
"Yes," she replied bluntly. She glared at Lucius.
Borgin went out the back and located the books for her. Lucius glared at the woman
while he was gone. He couldn't work out where he had seen her. He knew that something
about her just didn't feel right; she wasn't the normal type of person you saw hanging
around in Knockburn Alley.
Borgin brought out the books.



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"2 galleons and 12 sickles, thanks," he muttered.
She paid and walked out of the shop. Lucius continued to stare. She was a damned Auror.
And she had seen what he had been doing. Lucius walked out of the store looking around.
The witch headed towards him.
"You'd better watch out, Lucius," she warned. "If I catch you in that store one more time
I might have to give poor Borgin Veritaserum. You're not authorised to have what I saw
in Borgin's hands. You're lucky I can't prove you were selling. And I'll be keeping an eye
on your son, making sure he doesn't live up to his family's reputation."
She left him standing there dumbfounded as she head into Diagon Alley.
~*~
Harry was struggling to find some of the ingredients Sirius had requested.
Suddenly a voice came from behind him.
"If you're looking for stuff for Sirius," the voice said, "it's bound to be in weird places. I'll
help you find it so we can get going."
Harry turned around to see Chrys standing there. She had a big smile on her face. He
agreed to her help and they quickly located the missing supplies then they headed back to
the Floo point to get back to Sirius'.
Before they left Chrystal said, "I was thinking of staying a couple of nights with you
guys. Do you mind?"
Harry was a little stunned at first. The thought of her staying was definitely something
that hadn't been on Harry's mind. But he agreed, because he knew how much it meant to
Sirius. And he felt intrigued to get to know this person who had been his mum's best
friend.
They arrived in Sirius' lounge room and Sirius enquired as to how dinner went.
"It was very satisfying," Harry, said. "We worked out a few things and set down some
boundaries."
"I don't want to know," Sirius replied. "My little boy's growing up. I just hope you can
put up with this girl for a couple of days. And remember, no gossiping or I'll clock you
just like I did to your father."
Harry gave Sirius the same grin before he headed up to his room. He decided to give
them a bit of time alone. Harry ran upstairs and grabbed his broomstick. He walked
outside to the deserted meadow and soared up into the air. He always loved the sensation
of flying. As he flew around the air he tried to work out what he felt for Lavender. She
was very beautiful, smart and had a knack for foreseeing the future, but did he really love
her?
*~*


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Hermione was staring at the front page of The Daily Prophet. The caption read
"Hogwarts' Head Boy out on the town with girlfriend?"
Hermione looked at the photo of Harry and Lavender.
"Why hasn't he told me?" she wondered, "and why do I feel so jealous?"
She curled up in bed and cried herself to sleep.

Chapter Eight
The Coming of Age
Harry awoke early on the morning on his seventeenth birthday. Usually, his birthdays had
been just another day, however since that fateful eleventh birthday that changed his life,
each birthday had become a little more special, to the point where he was actually having
a birthday party this year, and he was of age. Harry was so excited by the prospect; he fell
out of bed and landed on his glasses, which had been in his hands. He could legally repair
them now, though.
"Occulus Reparo," he said, pointing his wand at the glasses.
He smiled. Hermione would not legally be allowed to do that for another couple of
months. He wandered downstairs and was bowled over by what he saw. No one had ever
gone to this much trouble for his birthday. It was incredible.
Everything had been prepared for today. The invitations had been sent, and Sirius and
Chrystal had catered, although after her having stayed a week, he sincerely hoped she had
planned and not actually made anything. Her cooking was absolutely terrible. The night
before, Sirius and Chrystal had decorated the house, so that when Harry woke up he
would be confronted by symbols of joy and happiness, especially as he had never really
celebrated his birthday before. They had chosen for the theme, "fairy tales" for Harry's
party, but for what reason no one could remember. But this had resulted in numerous
owls requesting a fairy tale to be sent. So everyone who didn't have Muggle relatives
ended up being assigned a character.
The house was bewitched to look like a castle from the outside, and Sirius had arranged
for a bridge to cross the lake. The inside of the house was filled with fairies, glowing
lights and candles. It looked truly "magical" in the Muggle sense of the word.
Harry walked over towards thee kitchen, as Sirius and Chrystal had not woken yet and
was greeted by Winky.
"Tis Harry Potter's birthday!" she said, "You must sit down, and Winky will be getting
you breakfast master Harry. Winky knows it is Harry Potter's special day. Winky will be
taking care of you today. Winky will be keeping you out of Mr Sirius' hair."
Harry obeyed and sat down. Winky came bearing a plate of bacon, sausage, egg,
tomatoes and mushrooms, as Sirius and Chrystal came down.



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"Happy Birthday, Harry," they said as they entered the room.
"What do you think of the décor?" Chrystal asked.
"Winky has been ordered to spoil you today," said Sirius at the same time.
They came around and gave Harry a birthday hug, while Harry thanked them for the
decorations. Sirius well and truly looked like he was enjoying himself. His eyes had lost
that haunted look and now had regained the sparkle that Harry had seen in the pictures of
a younger Sirius.
By this stage Harry had gotten used to having Chrystal around. She was fun to be with,
and Sirius had been right when he said that Hermione reminded him of her, because in
some ways Chrystal reminded Harry of Hermione when she let her hair down. Harry
sensed there was an unspoken bond between them that hadn't been there before she
decided to "shack up" with them. Harry was happy for them and he got the occasional
tidbit of information about his parents as well.
The guests were scheduled to arrive in the midafternoon, in time for the dinner party.
Ron, Hermione and Lavender had been asked to come for lunch to help Harry get ready
for his party. Hermione had politely declined, her letters having become less frequent
since Harry had told her about Lavender. Harry wasn't sure if she'd declined because of
Ron or Lavender. So it was going to be Ron, Lavender, Sirius and Chrys for Harry's
birthday lunch. The Dursleys had been invited, but had politely declined, saying that it
was too far to travel, but they sent Harry a quite generous present anyhow. Or at least
Harry thought it was generous; he'd have to wait until he opened it later in the afternoon,
in the time Sirius had set aside for presents.
Ron was the first to arrive. He appeared much happier than he had been when Harry had
last seen him. He came over and congratulated Harry on being seventeen, and
commented on the decorations being amazing. Sirius and Chrys entered the room to greet
Ron, and Harry realised that he hadn't really explained the situation to Ron (not
completely anyhow). Ron gave Harry a knowing look as Sirius introduced them. Before
Harry could even open his mouth to ask Ron how the Chudley Cannons were treating
him or Ron could ask Harry what was going on with Lavender, she appeared from the
fireplace, giving Harry a long emotional kiss that embarrassed the other three people in
the room.
"Happy Birthday, my Prince," she whispered.
Sirius gave Harry a look, that questioned she's staying here tonight?, raising his
eyebrows at Harry, as he led everyone to the table where Winky had set out the food. The
table was full of delicious things to eat. It appeared that Winky had found out every
single one of Harry's favourite foods and made them.
"Don't worry if there's leftovers, Master Harry," said Winky, " Winky is serving it tonight
as well, with other stuff she is making so master Harry doesn't have to eat Miss Chrystal's
cooking."



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Harry and Ron looked at each other giving each other a look that said, thank goodness
Hermione isn't here to see this.
At the table, the conversation quickly turned to Quidditch. Lavender, being the only one
who didn't play, could at least offer comments about her favourite team, the Holyhead
Harpies, a Welsh club that was famous because it had only ever hired witches. Sirius
seemed very impressed that Ron was already playing for the Cannons. Although Ron was
enjoying the attention, he retained his modesty.
"I haven't played a real game yet," Ron kept saying, "I'm just the reserve."
Sirius' response was simple. "But their Keeper is so bad that they'll have to give you a
shot soon, then you'll be off playing for England. Better yet, we'll have the playoffs for
the English Keeper this afternoon, Ron against Oliver Wood. It will be spectacular."
Harry grinned at the thought. Sirius had watched their last Quidditch match of the year
and had been extremely impressed with Ron's tactics. Hence, Sirius had decided to have a
Quidditch match in the midafternoon. Harry had no idea where they were going to play,
but Sirius had put together two teams consisting of the oldies, (in which he counted
Chrystal and himself, as well as Wood) against some of the younger players. Harry
couldn't wait for the game; it would be great to be flying again.
Harry and Ron, having finished their lunch, headed upstairs to get changed into their
Quidditch gear. People would be arriving soon, and the game was first thing on Sirius'
schedule, so that people would have time to get into costume before dinner. No sooner
than they had pulled on their Gryffindor Quidditch robes and returned downstairs did the
guests start arriving. Those who were playing Quidditch arrived in their playing robes;
everybody else appeared to already be dressed for the dinner party later on. Sirius and
Harry were standing at the fireplace to greet the guests.
First to arrive were the rest of the Weasleys, so there was already enough to start a party.
The entire family arrived, and Harry was pleased to see that Fred and George had brought
Angelina and Katie with them, and Harry was quite pleased to see Percy and Penelope.
Percy looked good; Penelope's influence certainly had a visible effect on him. He was
now growing his hair, like Bill's, and Harry wondered what Mrs Weasley thought of that.
Harry was very pleased that Ginny had not decided to bring Draco. Seven of the arrivals
were dressed in robes and the namely Mr and Mrs Weasley and Percy and Penelope, who
were dressed like the King and Queen of Hearts and the King and Queen of Diamonds
respectively.
As soon as Harry had greeted the Weasley's, Lee Jordan and Alicia Spinnet arrived
together. Lee would be commentating their game (Quidditch at Hogwarts had really
suffered a loss when he left) and Alicia would be playing, Lee and Alicia's arrival was
followed by Dumbledore, McGonagall and Hagrid, who appeared to have come from
Hogwarts. Dumbledore was dressed as Merlin (so he wasn't really that dressed up!),
Hagrid as the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk and McGonagall as a Princess. She
motioned to Harry that she had a frog in her hand.
"I hope I don't lose him as often as Neville does," she said, winking at Harry.


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Hermione arrived next. She was dressed as Rapunzel, having done something to her hair
to make it grow extremely fast. She looked stunning, Harry couldn't believe it was
Hermione. And she had brought Crookshanks. She came over and kissed him on the
cheek and wished him happy birthday. She explained Crookshanks' presence by saying
that the cat had jumped into the fire with her; he had been doing lots of weird things
lately. Then she headed over to where Lavender was having fun as Sleeping Beauty.
"Wake up Lavender," she snapped.
Harry grimaced. He hoped that they could get along for once. Perhaps that's why she
didn't come for lunch.
Justin Finch-Fletchley arrived with his girlfriend, Sarah Fawcett, a sweet Hufflepuff girl
who had taken quite a fancy to him. They were dressed as Hansel and Gretel, and Harry
had to admit to himself that Sarah looked quite cute in traditional German costume.
Ernie McMillan and Susan Bones arrived soon after. They were kind of dressed as
gnomes (in Muggle pictures). Harry couldn't guess who they were, so ended up having to
ask.
"We're Tom Thumb and Thumbelina, we're trying to give the impression that we're
little," they replied with a smile.
"I know it didn't work too well," added Ernie.
Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas arrived next. Seamus would be playing Quidditch,
but Dean was dressed somewhat ridiculously, in rags.
"I'm Jack," he said. "Here are my magic beans, Harry. Where's my giant?"
Harry looked down and saw some Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans.
'You been talking to Hagrid?' Harry asked. He saw the confused look on Dean's face and
pointed towards Hagrid. Dean winked at him, leaving Harry to wonder whether or not he
had actually been talking to Hagrid.
Neville arrived dressed as a toad. Harry thought that he shouldn't have been surprised.
Parvati and Padma arrived. They were dressed exactly the same, and looked as though
they were enchanted.
"We're the Gemini, beware," they walked around whispering.
The last to arrive was Lupin. He was dressed like a wolf!
"Little Red Riding Hood, here I come," he said, chasing after Chrystal.
Harry guessed that Chrys' and Sirius' costumes must have something to do with Little
Red Ridding Hood as well. He only hoped that Sirius wasn't going to dress up as the
Grandmother.



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With Remus' arrival, Sirius led everyone outside, where he had converted the meadow
into a Quidditch pitch. It wasn't as good as the Hogwarts one, but Sirius somehow had
erected stands for the spectators to watch, and goal posts to score. Dumbledore had
acquired the school's Quidditch balls and the stadium, if you could call it that, or better-
called Sirius' monstrosity, had been bewitched so it was Muggle-proof.
Sirius held up a piece of parchment and pinned it to a stand.
"Teams are on the parchment!" he called.
The players moved over first. The teams were as follows:

The Team who is reaching their prime and should wallop the others
Keeper:
Oliver Wood (Puddlemere United/ England reserve team)
Chasers:
Sirius Black, captain (Azkaban Ants!!!)
Charlie Weasley (should have played seeker for England, but because he loves dragons
he can play chaser)
Alicia Spinnet (one of Gryffindor's finest)
Beaters:
Bill Weasley
Seamus Finnegan (both of Gryffindor; sorry, Seamus, you have to play with the oldies
because I can't split the twins up)
Seeker:
Chrystal Àille (no comment about this one, head's already big enough)

The Team of Young people who think they can win
Keeper/Captain: Ron Weasley (Gryffindor; Chudley Cannons' true Keeper)
Chasers:
Ginny Weasley
Katie Bell
Angelina Johnson (three lovely Gryffindor ladies)
Beaters:
Fred Weasley


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George Weasley (the horrid beater twins)
Seeker:
Harry Potter (son of James Potter, the English chaser)
Commentator:
The wonderful Lee Jordan
Referee:
Brave Arthur Weasley
Everyone had a laugh at Sirius' humour, especially the comment about the Azkaban Ants.
It was only then that Harry noticed the robes the others were wearing. While Harry's team
were all in their Gryffindor robes, Sirius had found varying silly robes for some of the
players.
Sirius for example was in fact wearing a robe with a big "A" and an ant of the front that
he must have crafted himself, and Seamus was wearing some bright pink robe with a
beetle on it. Charlie and Alicia were wearing robes that said, "I'm old," with the number
100 on them.
But Chrys, Bill and Wood were in proper robes, Bill was in Ron's Cannons robe, Oliver
in his blue uniform and Chrys in one he hadn't seen before, deep purple with a gold star
on the chest. Fred saw Harry staring at her. The twins began to shake their heads at
Harry's ignorance once again.
"Didn't you know she plays for the Prides, Harry?" Fred asked.
Harry shook his head.
"She played a couple for Scotland as well," George added. "You'll have your work cut
out beating her. So we'll have to score a lot. Don't worry, I'll whack a Bludger or two at
her."
Harry was a bit stunned, but then her cooking was so bad, something would have to make
up for it.
*~*
Once everyone had assembled in the stands, Arthur Weasley released the balls.
Suddenly people were flying everywhere. Ginny managed to grab the Quaffle and pass it
to Katie, who then had a shot at the goal. Oliver was too quick, and Sirius caught the
rebounding Quaffle.
Sirius passed to Alicia, as the twins sent a Bludger towards her and one towards Chrys.
Chrys dived quickly to avoid it but Alicia was hit, and Angelina caught the Quaffle and



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had another shot at the goal. This time she scored.
"Ten points for the goodies," Lee yelled, happy for once that he didn't have McGonagall
restricting his commentary.
Charlie grabbed the Quaffle and put a quick one through the hoop, while Ron wasn't
concentrating.
"I know your weakness, Ron," he called.
"Ten points for the baddies, scores are tied," Lee called. "Should have been a penalty
there, do you need glasses, ref?"
No sooner than Lee had spoken, Arthur did in fact call a penalty for Blagging. Sirius had
been pulled up for seizing the end of Katie's broom. Katie accepted the Quaffle and put it
through the hoop.
'Twenty-ten, Bell scores,' Lee called.
Harry saw the Snitch as Sirius grabbed the Quaffle. If he caught it now they'd win.
Trouble was Chrys had also seen it. She dived as Harry caught her eye. Harry dived but
lost sight of the Snitch, so he followed her dive, then she pulled up at the last minute and
Harry almost hit the ground.
'Àille pulls the Wronski Feint on Potter as Weasley scores. Twenty all!'
Harry regained his composure as he looked around for the Snitch, as Sirius was pulled up
for Blatching (flying with intent to collide), Angelina took the penalty and scored easily,
making it thirty-twenty. Alicia grabbed the Quaffle and started towards the goal post
when Fred hit a Bludger towards her, making another goal scored off a penalty shot.
Then Harry saw it. The Snitch was shining just above Wood's head. He dashed towards
it, just as Chrys did, but he was gaining on her. It looked as though she was going to
catch it. Harry raced towards the Snitch. He'd never live it down if Sirius actually beat
them. Harry was gaining ground. He was nearly there. He reached out and grabbed. He
felt the Snitch but also felt a hand. They looked at each other.
'Who caught it first?' she asked.
Harry shrugged his shoulders.
'I think you did,' she whispered. 'Happy Birthday, Harry.'
Harry held up the Snitch, with a smile on his face. They couldn't have a tie, and besides,
now he could hassle Sirius.
*~*
Once everyone else had showered and changed into their costumes (Sirius was not
dressed as the Grandmother; instead he was an axeman) Sirius invited them all to enter a
room, where there was food galore and many fairies buzzing around.


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"Grab a plate and eat," he yelled so everyone could hear him over the music that was
playing from something that looked like a gramophone. Everyone was commenting on
the Quidditch match, and suggesting that if Gryffindor didn't win the Quidditch Cup this
year, that something would be severely wrong. People kept mingling and catching up on
the holiday gossip, particularly Percy and Penelope's upcoming wedding, until Sirius
hushed everybody.
"It's time for speeches," he said, "and as Harry's godfather, it's my duty to embarrass him
a little."
"Harry was the most adorable baby, he always had a smile on his face, except for those
times when he was being a pain and yelling and screaming because he wanted something.
But I always loved coming over to see your family, Harry - you were so adorable that I
was always spoiling you rotten. And perhaps things haven't really changed that much,
because I missed out on so much of your life and feel sorry that you had to live with
those Muggles. But although I've missed so much, I am extremely proud of the man
you've become, even though I think I might have to pull you in line sometimes. When
you look around this room, you see all these people who care for you, because of the
person that you've grown into, and the credit must go to you. It would not be right if I
didn't mention Lily and James today. All Lily ever wanted for you, Harry, was to grow
into a young man that she could be proud of. You meant everything to them and I know
that they would be very proud of the person you've become. And James would be proud
of the fact that you have inherited some traits that your mother wouldn't be too happy
about." At this point Sirius turned and looked at everyone.
"So, on behalf on James and Lily, I would like you to raise your glasses to toast their son
Harry. To Harry." Sirius spoke as he raised his glass.
"To Harry." The room filled with the sound of resonating voices as everyone raised their
glasses in a toast to Harry.
Sirius motioned to Harry that he should reply.
"Ahh," he muttered, "um, I want to thank everyone for coming. Thanks for everything
you've done for me and I hope you enjoy the night."
Everyone applauded, though Harry didn't know why. Then Harry blew out the candles on
his cake (that Winky had made, and not Chrys, thank goodness) when everyone finished
singing Happy Birthday.
Sirius then motioned to everyone that it was time to dance. Lavender and Harry walked to
the centre of the room and led the first dance. Sirius and Chrys walked out and joined
them halfway through the dance. Harry was glad the two of them had briefed him on
what was expected. He knew he would have to dance with Chrys for the next dance. He
walked over and asked her if she would like the next dance, Sirius doing the same with
Lavender, this seeming to be a signal for everyone else to join in.
"Enjoying your party?" she asked.



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Harry nodded.
"It's the best party I've ever had," he said with a mischievous grin.
"Good," Chrys said, "but I see you didn't eat any of my cooking."
"Winky told me not to," Harry replied with a slight teasing edge to his voice.
"You're just like you father," Chrys said, with a hint of regret in her voice.
The song ended and Harry moved on. He was expected to dance with every female in the
room, so he had his work cut out for him.
With Angelina, Alicia and Katie, he talked mostly about Quidditch, Padma and Parvati
complimented him on improving his dance skills since the Yule Ball in fourth year, and
Parvati threatened that he had better not hurt Lavender or she'd hex him. He didn't talk
much with Susan or Sarah or Penelope, and Mrs Weasley kept telling him how proud his
parents would be, as did McGonagall. That left Hermione and Ginny.
Ginny was quiet, asking him a couple of questions about how he was feeling, if
everything was okay and did he like living with Sirius. But Hermione was strangely
quiet. She appeared to be gazing into his eyes, mesmerised by his face. He was used to
Hermione dropping bits of knowledge in every conversation, but she barely said a word.
After the dance had finished, it was time for most of the guests to leave, except for those
staying the night. After Harry had farewelled everyone, it was at last time for him to open
his gifts. He stared at the pile of presents for him. He had never been given so many
before in his life. He smiled as he tore the paper off the first one. The room gradually
became filled with paper wrappings as Harry opened all the generous gifts that he had
received.
It was the best birthday he had ever had.

Chapter Nine
Percy's Wedding
Hermione, Ron and Lavender spent the night. An awkwardness was obvious between
Lavender and Hermione, that Harry was quite glad to see everyone leave. Harry and Ron
farewelled them, Harry promising to keep in touch with Lavender before they jumped on
their broomsticks for a quick game of Quidditch before Ron was required to go to
Hogsmeade.
Harry and Sirius spent the holidays visiting places, during which Sirius taught Harry
about the wizarding world that he had been apart from for so long. There were frequent
visits to Sirius' family, Kaylah not losing her admiration for Harry, making very visit
entertaining. Chrystal remained; Harry sensed it was partially for his protection, but also
because she didn't want to leave Sirius. He began to feel extremely comfortable around
them, as they increased his knowledge of his past. Most evenings were spent in front of
the fire, or out in the garden with Sirius and Chrystal, reminiscing. Harry felt closer to his


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parents than he ever had before.
Harry's holidays seemed to fly by and soon it was time to go to The Burrow and to be a
guest at Percy's wedding. Harry left his room at Padfoot's Manor much more reluctantly
than he had ever left his room on Privet Drive. Harry clutched his trunk, his Firebolt and
Hedwig in her cage and travelled to The Burrow by Floo, assuring Sirius that he would
meet him on Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. When Harry arrived at the Weasleys' it
was in a state of turmoil. There were things lying around everywhere, and outside it
appeared Mr Weasley and Bill were trying to assemble something.
"Penny and Percy want an outdoor wedding," explained Ginny. "Penny decided she
wanted it here because she thinks it's beautiful. Come on, Harry, I'll help you take your
trunk upstairs." Ginny grabbed Hedwig's cage (Harry had let her out already) and his
broom while Harry grabbed the trunk and headed up towards Ron's room.
"It's funny, isn't it?" she asked.
"What, Ginny?" Harry asked.
"Well, that Percy's the first one to get married, and that he's having Gred and Forge as his
best men."
"You've got to be kidding." Harry looked at her in amazement.
"Nup," she shook her head smiling.
It was funny, but Percy had certainly started to relax since he began working with the
twins. Harry felt better after that. He knew things were going to be okay between Ginny
and him. They'd gotten over the awkward stage and were heading back into the friend
stage. Ginny had sensed that Harry hadn't felt too much for her; she'd seen the photos of
his mother and worked it out. She hadn't felt much either. It had always been just a crush
and it had taken working in the dungeon to pull up her potions marks to figure it out.
Ginny left as Ron burst in.
"Harry, great to see you!" he said. "Let's go to Diagon Alley to get our things so I can get
out of this madhouse."
Harry laughed. The Burrow was usually a madhouse and it didn't normally seem to
bother Ron. Just because there was a wedding tomorrow, didn't mean it should be any
crazier than normal.
They walked downstairs, Harry yelled out to Ron's parents that they were going to get
their school things and then they went to Diagon Alley.
"I can't wait til you can Apparate as well," Ron said. "It will be so much easier."
Harry agreed. He told Ron about the Apparating lessons, and Ron thought that it was a bit
unfair that he'd had to learn from Percy while Harry and Hermione would be taught by
Sirius.


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'When Hermione learns how to Apparate, she won't go near a broomstick again,' Ron
said.
They visited all the regular places, first Gringott's to pick up some money from Harry's
vault and to deposit some into Ron's vault that he had acquired when he joined the
Cannons, then to Madam Malkin's Robes For All Occasions, so Harry could get new
robes (he'd outgrown his old ones) and for Ron to get new dress robes for the wedding
tomorrow. This was followed by a quick trip to the apothecary to pick up some potions
supplies that they were lacking, then Flourish and Blotts, where the shop assistant for
once looked happy for once because Hagrid hadn't set them some biting book this year,
and then they visited Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour where they treated
themselves to some ice cream. Harry wanted to visit Quality Quidditch Supplies but Ron
looked at his watch.
"We'd better be getting back," he said reluctantly. "I expect dinner tonight will be
special."
They arrived to Mrs Weasley fussing because they hadn't been there when Hermione
arrived.
"Ron, Harry, sit down and eat," she said, "I've got to Apparate over to the Clearwaters'
and organise some last-minute things." Then she Disapparated.
"Been like this all day?" Hermione asked.
"All week," Ron answered.
After they had finished dinner, Ron led them up to his room where they had a whole
summer of stories to catch up on. Harry noticed immediately that the relationship
between Hermione and Ron had changed, like the one between him and Ginny. He was
fairly sure that Ron had apologised to Hermione for the way he had behaved. Now they
could return to being the gang of three again, and enjoy their last year of school.
"So, Harry," Ron asked, "what's with you and Lavender - when did it happen? Your letter
wasn't very informative."
"Sorry," Harry replied, "it just kinda happened. It was at the Valedictory ball, you didn't
notice because you were too busy bickering, but she kissed me at midnight and well I
kissed her back. I keep dreaming about her, it's very different from Ginny. I think I might
be falling for her, badly. Then we had dinner at The Leaky Cauldron and she's been over
to Sirius' a couple of times. That's all there is to tell."
Ron and Harry continued chatting about Lavender. Hermione wasn't really paying
attention. She felt like her heart was being ripped in two. Why couldn't Harry see how
she felt? He should just know; it should be obvious. And now she would have to spend
the whole year pretending.
"Herm," Harry was calling, "are you okay? We've been asking you the same question
about a hundred times."



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"Sorry," she said, "guess I just wasn't concentrating. What did you want to know?"
"We were talking about what Sirius said about the bells," Ron replied. "Obviously you
have no idea what we were talking about."
Harry went on to explain to them what Sirius had thought about the bells. For some
strange reason these bells were haunting Harry. He was dying to know what the ringing
meant. Somehow he sensed that it had meant much more than the Dementors.
"I've got no idea where to look," Hermione confessed. "If it's important, we can start
research as soon as the feast is over. How long have you been hearing it?"
"Since the night Wormtail was killed," Harry answered, "never before. It was soft at first,
but now it's getting louder."
Harry then continued on to tell them about Malfoy.
"Whatever Lucius did must have been really bad," Harry said, "because Voldemort was
really angry. He basically said that Malfoy would have to make up for his dad's
mistakes."
"I feel sorry for him," Hermione said. "It seems like he doesn't seem to have much say in
what he does in life, it's all what his father wants."
At this point Mrs Weasley bellowed up the stairs
"Lights out, everyone! You've got to be up early in the morning!"
Harry almost wished he had come tomorrow and missed the wedding.
*~*
In the middle of the night Ron talking in his sleep awoke Harry.
He could have sworn he heard Ron calling for Parvati.
*~*
Harry and Ron were woken by Hermione and Ginny, who thought it would be funny to
run and jump on them to wake them up. That and Mrs Weasley had told them to get the
boys up. Harry was taken aback by how pretty Hermione looked in her nightgown. What
was he thinking? This was Hermione. Harry composed himself before they headed
downstairs were they were practically force-fed toast, before being sent upstairs to
improve themselves.
"Remember to be ready by nine-thirty," Mrs Weasley called.
"Your mum will be glad when this is over," Harry commented.
"Mum?" Ron replied. "What about me?"
Harry laughed.


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The boys got into their dress robes, then Harry attempted to flatten his out-of-control hair.
It really was a losing battle. Perhaps he should ask Hermione to borrow some of that
smoothing stuff she'd used for the Yule Ball. Just as he was walking out to find her, Mrs
Weasley called for them to come outside to greet the guests. Harry and Ron just obeyed.
The two boys stood at the entrance to an enchanted garden that Bill, Charlie, Mr Weasley
and Mr Clearwater had been hard at work making over the last week. The weather
seemed to be perfect for perfect Percy, the sun shining, but not too hot that the guests
would all sweat to death. They welcomed guests and pointed them towards Ginny and
Hermione, who were showing people to their seats.
Everyone had arrived by ten, except the bride and her parents. Harry wondered how they
would arrive; he didn't think that they would just Apparate for the wedding.
Then he saw, they were arriving in a pumpkin that had been bewitched to be a carriage,
(Harry had sent the Weasleys Cinderella, and he wondered if that was where they'd
gotten the idea), with two horses in front. Penelope got out of the carriage; followed by
two girls he recognised from Hogwarts, but didn't know. Penelope looked absolutely
beautiful. She was wearing a pale blue dress that seemed to suit her complexion perfectly.
Her curly hair was piled on top of her head, with the odd curl hanging down, and lilies
interwoven in her hair. She was also carrying a bunch of lilies.
As she began to walk down the aisle, Harry glanced at Percy. He actually looked nervous.
Harry had never seen cool, calm, composed Percy nervous before. He was almost
shocked. Harry looked at the twins who appeared to be behaving themselves for a
change. Then the service began.
"Ladies and gentlemen," the wizard began, "we are gathered here today to celebrate the
joining together of this wizard and this witch in holy matrimony. If anyone can give just
cause as to why they should be wed, let them speak now or forever hold their peace."
Everyone glanced around. Harry was half expecting Fred or George to say something, but
there was nothing but quiet. The wizard continued.
"Percival Weasley, do you take this witch to be your wife, to have and to hold, love and
to cherish, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?"
"I do," Percy replied, his voice shaking.
"And Penelope Clearwater, do you take this wizard to be your husband, to have and to
hold, love and to cherish, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, as long as you
both shall live?"
"I do," she replied much more comfortably than Percy.
They exchanged rings and finally it was time to kiss the bride.
"I now declare you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride," the wizard proclaimed.
Percy, leant over and kissed Penelope, and only then did Fred and George begin to look


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like they were going to be sick.
After they had kissed, tables suddenly appeared in the enchanted garden. People were
seated as Mr Clearwater announced they would be taking photos.
"That's our cue to leave," Ginny said as she was pulling Ron away from the table.
After Ron and Ginny left, Harry and Hermione were left alone on the table.
"Are you okay Herm?" Harry asked. "You just seemed so distant last night."
"I'm sorry, Harry," she replied. "I just have had a lot of things on my mind. It' s nothing to
worry about, I'm just working through stuff, mainly Ron stuff and someone else."
"It's not Viktor, is it?" Harry asked. Hermione and Viktor had long since broken up, but
they had kept in touch. Harry and Ron had both sensed that Viktor wasn't quite over
Hermione yet.
"No it's not," she snapped. "I just thought I was falling for someone and now they're with
someone else."
"Ohh," Harry said, "do you mind if I ask who?"
"Yes, it's personal," snapping again. Harry sensed that he had probably overstepped the
line. Hermione wasn't in the mood to be teased.
"Sorry," Harry apologised.
Katie, Angelina, Lee and Alicia came over and joined them.
"Do you mind if we sit with you?" they asked.
"Fred and George have to sit at the bridal table, so you don't mind us here, do you?"
"As long as you leave room for Ron and Ginny," Harry replied. "I somehow sense that
they don't want to be stuck sitting with some of their relatives."
Ron and Ginny appeared, with Charlie and Bill,
"Glad it's not my wedding, more photos to be taken," Charlie said, "and Fred and George
have to be in every one of them."
Everyone laughed at the thought of Fred and George having to behave in every photo or
face the wrath of Mrs Weasley. It was kind of like the ultimate punishment for all the
years of torment that Percy had given them.
Soon enough the food was served and it appeared as though Mrs Weasley and Mrs
Clearwater had outdone themselves. There was plenty to go around and it was delicious.
Harry looked over to the Weasleys' table; he was pleased to see Mrs Weasley enjoying
herself.
"So," Bill said, "who'd thought that Perce would be the first to get married, I thought it


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would be Charlie for sure."
"Me?" Charlie exclaimed in surprise, "I don't even have a girlfriend. You do, even though
she's in Egypt, so you're still ahead of me. Anyway besides, I've always thought Ginny
would be the first. But let's hope she doesn't get married soon, otherwise she'd be
marrying that drip she thinks she has a crush on, and to be honest, I think a war would
start if a Malfoy married a Weasley. And I know who'd be on the winning side."
Harry was surprised Ginny had told her family.
"Oh stop it, Charlie," Ginny snapped. "He's not that bad, you just don't know him very
well."
Ginny glanced over towards Harry to make sure he was all right. Harry gave her a smile,
which said, "I am over you, you having my blessing."
"It's Malfoy, Ginny," he said, "come on, you've got to expect to cop a bit of flack for
that."
"Fine, fine," Ginny conceded. "I'm open, take your best shot."
"Nah," said Ron, "we're not in the mood, but if that piece of slime does one thing to hurt
my baby sister, he'll be dead before I can say Avada Kedavra, My looking at him will be
enough."
This seemed to amuse everyone at the table; the thought of Ron giving Malfoy a death
stare was simply classic.
When the time to dance came, Harry felt much more comfortable than he had at his
birthday. For starters, he didn't have to dance with everyone there, and he didn't have
people staring at him. Secondly, he could choose to not dance for some songs. Harry felt
far more comfortable dancing with Ginny this time, he kept teasing her about Malfoy,
and she kept blushing.
Before Harry knew it, it was time to cut the cake and then time to toss the bouquet. All of
the single girls rushed behind Penelope, were they stood poised to catch it. Harry and
Ron had never seen anything like it before, all these girls pushing ad shoving, until
finally Ginny emerged with the bouquet in her hands. Harry turned to Ron and shook his
hand.
"Congratulations," he said sarcastically, "you've got a Malfoy in the family."
Ron did not look impressed and Ginny shot him a dirty look.
*~*
Later that night, Harry and Ron fell into bed discussing the "did you see the such and
such" of the day. When they had exhausted every possibility, they fell asleep. Ron felt
much more comfortable around Harry, given the way he reacted to Ginny and Malfoy.
Ron hoped Harry wasn't angry because he hadn't told him, but he didn't appear to be,


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though. Tomorrow everything could go back to normal, or at least normal for The
Burrow.
Harry fell asleep that night forgetting to ask Ron why he had been calling out Parvati's
name in his sleep.
*~*
The remainder of their holidays were spent, by Ron, Ginny and Harry practising
Quidditch moves for Ron's new strategies for the team this year and Harry desperately
trying to master some of the moves Chrys had taught him, so that he could well and truly
beat the pants off Malfoy for the coming season, especially as it was to be their last.
Hermione spent a lot of time working, and came down to watch them play Quidditch
when she wanted a break. In the evenings they helped her try and find any information
about the tolling bells, but they didn't have very much luck. The night before they were
due to go Mrs Weasley cooked them a special dinner and was sobbing because after this
year she would only have one child at Hogwarts, and asking them to behave themselves,
reminding them to work hard because they should do well in their N.E.W.T.s and telling
them to stay out of trouble. Then finally when she had given them enough advice, they
headed upstairs to pack their trunks and have one last night sleeping in a room that was
covered in orange sports posters.
*~*
Everyone awoke early the next morning; there was always excitement in the air on the
first day back. Mr Weasley had found another car, so he drove Harry, Ron, Hermione,
Ginny and a nervous Mrs Weasley to King's Cross Station. The traffic was traditionally
busy, which left plenty of time for Mrs Weasley to offer them advice. Harry noted that
she hadn't commented on Ginny and Draco. Perhaps she didn't know.
They finally arrived at the station and pulled their things out of the car. They made their
way down onto Platforms Nine and Ten, and were about to go through the barrier when
Harry tripped on an invisible piece of string, or so he thought.
"I'll meet you there," Harry said to them, "I just need to gather everything back up."
All of a sudden Harry felt as if he was in alternate universe. Everything around him was
spinning. Then he looked up and saw a face staring at him.

Chapter Ten
Sorting Out the Future
"Young Harry Potter," the face said in a haunting voice, "you have a choice. Come with
me now to serve your Lord Voldemort, or face his wrath. If you come now you will know
your fate, otherwise you will be at my master's mercy."
Harry was bewildered. He didn't know whose face this was, or why people weren't
staring at them. His scar was burning. All he could see was this face, it didn't have a
body, and in fact Harry thought he was hallucinating, except when he went to walk


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toward the barrier it wasn't there. There was eerie music filling the air. A shiver ran up
Harry's spine, he wasn't anywhere normal.
"What have you done to me? Where have you taken me?" Harry yelled as he tried not to
show the fear he was feeling.
"You are floating in limbo Harry. Time is moving so slowly; you could remain here for
years before the Hogwarts Express leaves. No one on the platform can see you because to
them time is not progressing as quick."
Harry was starting to get confused. Time slowing? How was that possible? He knew that
it was hard to play around with time and from Hermione's experience that you shouldn't.
How had this thing got him here? It didn't even have a wand. It didn't even have arms.
What was it?
He looked at the face.
"I will never serve Voldemort," he screamed, "you tell him that, I will never bow before
him. Now let me go."
"Alright," the face said smiling, "the time will come young man when you will have to
make a choice which will change the world." The face's voice had changed; it sounded
like the face had become possessed. Then Harry heard a whisper;
"Finite Incantatum"
Harry was released from the curse and found himself flat on platform nine and ten again.
He gathered himself and ran towards the barrier not wanting to miss the train, but when
he got through no seemed concerned, in fact the train wasn't due to take off for another
fifteen minutes. Ron and Hermione were waiting for him so they could check in their
luggage. Harry was looking for signs of Lavender, he hadn't heard from her at The
Burrow but he couldn't seem to see her.
"Harry, what's wrong?" Hermione asked.
"I'll tell you when we get on the train," he replied.
They stowed their luggage, said goodbye to Mr and Mrs Weasley, then they heard the
train's whistle so they headed to the front where the prefect's compartments were. Even
though Ron was not a prefect, he was allowed to join them, as he was the Gryffindor
Quidditch captain, so they wouldn't be separated.
After the train had taken off Harry told them what had happened on the platform.
"It must be Dark magic," Hermione concluded, "for us not to have noticed you were
gone. And it said you would have to make a choice that would change the world. What
do you think that means Harry?"
"I've no idea Hermione" he replied, "somehow I don't think Voldemort's going to be as
quiet as he has the last couple years."


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"Well," she concluded, "you'll just have to be extra careful then."
Harry sighed. He knew what Hermione's idea of being careful was and it wasn't much
fun.
They spent the majority of the train trip discussing Harry's birthday and Percy's wedding
with a brief interruption from the plump witch with the trolley, stocking up on Bertie
Bott's Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs and some Cauldron Cakes. Seeing
Crookshanks asleep on a spare chair Harry asked why Hermione had brought him to his
birthday.
"He just sort of jumped in the fire as I sprinkled the Floo powder" she replied, "he's been
doing weird things lately, I don't understand. I'm going to ask Hagrid to have a look at
him, see if there's something wrong with the kneazle part of him."
They spent the rest of the trip discussing what could be wrong with Crookshanks,
developing lots of theories, the most popular being that he was upset because he hadn't
got to Scabbers before the Dementors. Ginny entered their carriage, saying that she had
had enough of the Slytherin prefects and wanted to join them for a while. They filled
Ginny in on what had happened on the platform and she was just as amazed as they were.
The whole event was just inconceivable, especially the part where the face had just let
Harry walk away.
'Perhaps' Ginny suggested, 'they want you to know they're going to strike. That way they
can instill terror at Hogwarts'
It was possible, but Harry couldn't conceive that Voldemort would want to put him on
guard.
Before they knew it, it was time to change into their robes. Harry ensured that he had his
Head Boy badge pinned on his cloak. He had polished it secretly last night after Ron had
gone to sleep. He didn't want Ron to think he was following in Percy's footsteps.
They walked out on the platform at Hogsmeade and saw the familiar face of Hagrid
calling out;
"Firs' yers o'er here."
Harry saw Leigha McLachlan nervously walk towards Hagrid and he gave her a smile,
which she returned enthusiastically.
'Can't you tell me ho we get sorted?' she asked for what could have been the hundredth
time.
Harry shook his head.
"I'll see you after the sorting, have fun on the lake," he said.
"Who's your little admirer?"
Harry turned around and saw Lavender behind him. He walked up to her and kissed her


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briefly.
"Got to set a good example," he whispered softly to her, before he said, "that's Leigha,
Sirius' niece. Cute little thing. You think she admires me you should she her sister."
She laughed as she replied;
"As long as they look and don't touch I'm happy."
Hermione secretly wished Lavender would drown in the lake, that or she'd get used to
seeing Harry and Lavender together. Although, the first option would probably be better,
as Hermione had never really ever liked Lavender that much.
They entered the castle and made their way to the Dining Hall, Harry and Hermione,
waiting for everyone else to sit down, so they could sit up the front to welcome the new
first years to their house. It was a different group that assembled there. There was Ron,
Hermione and Harry of course, Lavender who was trying to make it very obvious to the
entire Dining Hall that she and Harry were a couple, Ginny minus Malfoy and Parvati
was there because she wanted to sit near Lavender. Colin Creevey was trying to get near
them, but Seamus and Dean made sure he couldn't sit there. He had never ceased to stop
annoying their year.
Harry glanced up at the table and saw the regulars, Dumbledore, Snape (Harry
shuddered), Binns, Flitwick, Sprout, Madam Hooch, Hagrid wasn't there yet he was in
the boats with the first years and McGonagall would be meeting them, then he spied
Sirius and Chrys, and Harry looked twice. There was Charlie Weasley. What was he
doing there?
"Ron," Harry and Hermione asked at the same time, "what's Charlie doing there?"
"I don't know," Ron looked up in amazement. Charlie saw them staring at him and gave
them a wink, "wonder why he didn't say anything"
The doors to the Great Hall swung open and the nervous first years walked in. Harry
could understand their nerves, knowing that they did not know how they would be sorted.
He saw that Leigha was positively shaking.
'Hope she's in Gryffindor' he thought.
McGonagall placed the sorting hat on its stool and it began its song.
I know I am not pretty,
But that's cause I was darned
Thousands of years earlier
When dragons were barned.
Four founders lived back then,



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Each chose for their own
But who to choose when they were gone,
The answer came when I was sewn,
Gryffindor was brave and strong,
Courage his most treasured trait,
These ones will try to face,
The dangers that can't wait.
Hufflepuff was as loyal as can be,
She was your lifelong friend,
These ones will keep you secrets quiet,
Until the very end.
Ravenclaw was fair and wise,
With an every ready mind
In this house the cleverest
Witches and wizards you will find.
And Slytherin the shrewdest one,
The most cunning one of the lot,
Liked those, who like himself
Will not find the situation far too hot.
So put me on and I will find
Which house does suit you best?
Come try me on and see if you
Can put me to the test.
The school applauded the hat as McGonagall called the first name.
"Abbott, Tyrilly"
"Hufflepuff" the hat replied without a doubt. The Hufflepuff table cheered. Harry and his
friends went back into deep discussion, stopping to listen as the hat called out each name
and applauding as they gained new members. Seamus' sister, Katie was made a


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Gryffindor. Then Harry heard McGonagall call,
"McLachlan, Rechelleigha"
Leigha timidly made her way up and was visibly shaking as she placed the hat on her
head.
After what seemed like a long ten seconds the hat called;
"Gryffindor"
The Gryffindor table cheered, Harry saw Sirius secretly cheering out of the corner of his
eye. He motioned to Leigha to sit down next to him.
"That wasn't so bad, was it?" he asked her.
She shook her head.
The sorting ended with Zabini, Thomal been made a Slytherin.
'No surprise there' thought Harry.
Dumbledore banged his glass to hush everyone so he could make his start of term notices.
"Welcome to another year at Hogwarts" Dumbledore said, "first I would like to remind
you that the Forbidden Forest is forbidden as is the third corridor and the village of
Hogsmeade to those who do not have a signed permission slip. Anyone caught out of
bounds will suffer harsh consequences, as it is important that we take care of your safety.
Second I would like to welcome three new teachers to our ranks.'"
Harry looked at Ron questioningly
"I don't know anything," he whispered.
"The first is Professor Àille who will be filling the position of Defence Against the Dark
Arts this year. She is also a trained Auror, so I warn you not to get up to anything illegal
or you may be suffering from unexpected consequences."
"Look at Snape, he's not impressed," said Ron.
Harry glanced at Snape. He looked almost as mad as he had when Lupin had been
appointed. It appeared clear that Snape didn't like Auror's or anyone who had been
associated with the Marauders having anything to do with the Dark Arts position. Harry
wondered why Snape hadn't got it, if Dumbledore trusted him so much. He certainly
knew a lot about the Dark Arts.
"Second is Professor Black, who will be taking some of the workload off Professor
McGonagall, teaching some Transfiguration and taking over her Apparition lessons. He
will also be tutoring some of the seventh years in advanced Transfiguration to prepare
them for their N.E.W.Ts."



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Harry applauded loudly, although many students could be heard whispering "Sirius
Black?"
"Finally I would like to welcome Charlie Weasley, who will be teaching sixth and
seventh year Care of Magical Creatures, as Hagrid's responsibilities are increasing. He
has specialist training in dragons, and so will be of great benefit to our older students."
Ron and Ginny looked just as stunned as everyone else, it was cler that he hadn't had any
idea that Charlie would be teaching.
"Anyone wishing to play Quidditch should talk to Madam Hooch or their house captain.
And on that note might I suggest we tuck in."
The plates and cups filled with food and drink, and Harry was reminded that this would
be their last year.
'Strange' he thought, 'seems like yesterday we arrived'
As they left the hall, Filch grabbed Harry and Hermione.
"The other prefects can take care of this lot" he said "you two to come wit' me."
He led them up the passageway towards Dumbledore's office.
"Password's fizzing sherbets, best remember that" he said as he walked away.
Harry and Hermione entered Dumbledore's office. He was waiting there to greet them.
"Harry, Hermione," he began, "welcome. We just need to go through a few things then
you too can get to bed. We need to be extremely careful this year, which means you two
have to keep an extra eye on the students. The board of governors wanted to cancel
Hogsmeade visits, so you'll need to ensure that students don't go wandering off," he gave
Harry a glance, "I want you to keep me informed of anything strange that happens.
You're both very good at that, had a lot of practice. Also, I expect you to hold prefect
meetings on a Sunday evening every second week, alternating with our staff meetings, so
that if you have any concerns you can bring them to the staff meeting. Hermione you are
free to go, Harry, Sirius would like to see you. It's best not to wait Hermione, Harry may
be a while.'
As if on call Sirius walked through the door. Dumbledore turned to walk out the door but
Harry stopped them,
"Before you go" he said, and then he told them what happened on the platform. He
described the haunted face, the sound and what it had said. Neither Dumbledore nor
Sirius could hide their surprise.
"I knew they were recruiting" Sirius said, "I didn't think they'd be so bold as to approach
someone at Kings Cross, or to approach Harry. Looks like I'm in the right place to keep
an eye on you then Harry."
"We shall have to endeavour to discover how they are recruiting," Dumbledore began,


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"we must try and prevent students from being targets, as they were the last time around.
Leave me to it for now; we shall discuss it with Miss Àille tomorrow. And I shall set my
operatives to work tomorrow."
Sirius led Harry out of Dumbledore's office.
"I wanted to show you how to get to the staff quarters" he said, "so you can come and
visit me, but if you're going to make sure you knock first, and you'd probably be best to
wear you're invisibility cloak, so Snape doesn't bite your head off."
Harry nodded. He didn't need to tell Sirius that he had The Marauder's Map and would be
able to work out when Snape was around and possibly other times that would be
inappropriate to drop in. Sirius led him back down to the Great Hall, and then took him
up a winding staircase Harry had never seen before. He showed him to the entrance of the
Staff Quarters, a painting of a young lady in a tutu.
"Pavlova," Sirius whispered, "remember that Harry, but don't tell anyone"
Sirius entered and showed Harry to his room the second door on the right. There was a
sign that said "BLACK" on the door.
"No Padfoot's Manor eh Sirius," joked Harry, "or did Snape object?"
Sirius laughed at the thought.
"He didn't get a chance," replied Sirius, "I've got to be a grown up now. I still want to
hear about anything strange. Nothing is too small to bother me about."
Sirius bid Harry goodnight, as Harry walked back down the winding staircase toward the
Gryffindor common room. He saw his four roommates waiting for his arrival.
"We couldn't go in without you," Neville said, "we have to admire the seventh year sign
on the door."
"It's a ritual," Dean said, "we've all got to go in together."
Harry shook his head in disbelief. He walked over to Lavender, giving her a soft
goodnight kiss, as Ron called out;
"No PDAs please."
Harry replied by kissing her for longer before he said;
"I've got my marching orders; I'd better go now. Sleep well; make sure you dream of me!
See you at breakfast tomorrow morning."
They walked up the staircase to the top and indeed looked at the seventh year sign. It was
hard to believe it was their last year, that they had been there for seven years and that this
would be their last sorting ceremony.
They entered their room and saw that as per usual their beds had been made, warmed,


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their trunks unpacked and everything was in order.
*~*
After everyone else had fallen asleep Harry sat staring out the large window.
What was the decision he was going to have to make that would change the world. Harry
wished that he could have a normal life just for once. Then he wouldn't have to keep
looking over his shoulder for Voldemort.
Finally he managed to get to sleep, despite it being a very interrupted one. He kept
picturing Voldemort giving him a choice and Harry kept seeming to fail. Finally he
switched his thoughts to Lavender. That was better; he could at least sleep then.

Chapter Eleven
Defence Against The Dark Arts
Ron, Harry and Hermione found themselves joined by Lavender as they walked to
breakfast the next morning. Hermione and Lavender were chatting about what their
timetable would be like, while Ron was staring at Harry.
'Did you get any sleep last night?' he asked Harry.
Harry looked as though he hadn't slept in months.
'I tried,' Harry replied.
'If it's worrying you that much, perhaps you should get a sleeping draught from Madam
Pomfrey. There's nothing you can do Harry, even if it's true and we don't know that it is,'
Ron tried to comfort him. When they reached the Great Hall, they found their timetables.
'What?' Ron was almost shouting, 'this is going to be a great year if I have to start it with
double divination.'
Harry looked down at his timetable. Whoever had drafted their timetable had reached a
new form of sadism, not only did they have double divination now, but they would have
it every Monday morning.
'At least that gets it out of the way at the beginning of the week,' Harry said as he glanced
at his timetable again and saw that they had Care of Magical Creatures after lunch,
followed by Defence Against the Dark Arts.
'It's going to be an interesting day,' Harry commented to Ron.
Ron, Lavender and Harry made their way to the Divination classroom, as Hermione
headed off to Arithmancy.
'Beware, she's going to predict someone's death today' she called over her shoulder,
laughing.



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Lavender glared at Hermione. She didn't really appreciate Hermione's constant cracks
about Divination, as Lavender seemed to have a gift. She probably had made more real
predictions than Trelawney, but that didn't stop her admiration of the teacher. Harry
shuddered as he entered the tower. The crystal balls were sitting there again. Harry
groaned, before remembering that he had actually made an accurate prediction, he had
seen Buckbeak flying away unexecuted in their third year exam. It gave Harry some
hope, but Ron just groaned. Lavender made her way to the front where Parvati was
sitting. Neville sank towards the back of the classroom, where he joined Ron and Harry.
'So' began Trelawney 'you have reached the final stage of your training. You will
undertake your final exams at the end of the year. I expect you to put more effort into
them this year than the entire effort of the whole class last year combined. Now gaze into
the Orb and tell me what you see.'
Harry gazed into the orb. He saw nothing but haze. Trelawney was standing over his
shoulder,
'What do you see boy?' she asked.
'It's going to be hazy' he replied only somewhat sarcastically.
'Let me see' she pushed Harry aside. 'I can see more than haze, I can see, no,' she looked
at Harry sadly, 'The Grim.'
Ron turned around.
'That's enough you old fraud' he said. 'Harry is not going to die; you've predicting his
death every year. That Grim you're seeing is just an Animagus. A big black dog
Animagus.'
She looked glaringly at Ron.
'I shall see you after class Mr Weasley,' she said. 'Do you know a black dog Harry?'
'Yes' Harry answered.
'Perhaps I could be mistaken' she said, 'given the frequency of its occurrence, but you
should beware.'
The rest of the class passed as slowly as the beginning. Harry and Lavender waited
outside for Ron.
'Do you think he's in a lot of trouble?' Harry asked Lavender. 'You know Trelawney
much better, what do you think?'
'I think it had to be said Harry,' Lavender said smirkingly, 'She keeps predicting your
death and we can't have that can we have that can we?'
She leant over and kissed Harry as Ron emerged from the tower.
'I have to come and polish the crystal balls tonight,' he said. 'Without magic'


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'Hard luck,' Harry said.
*~*
After lunch they had Care of Magical Creatures, which was, as per usual, with the
Slytherin's. Ron looked extremely nervous, as if he was expecting the Slytherin's to start
firing insults immediately. As they walked down to the traditional area, where Hagrid had
conducted their lessons, Ron was exceptionally quiet. Everyone else however was
whispering about what Charlie would be teaching them. 'Would they be as awful as the
creatures Hagrid has?' or 'would they be doing real lessons now?' was coming from the
Slytherin side.
Charlie appeared.
He did not appear to have any blast-ended skrewts, so that was a good sign.
'Welcome to Care of Magical Creatures' he began. 'We will be working hard to ensure
you cover all the necessary components of the course, tat you have not covered already.
You have, however, covered a large number of creatures I would no have expected you to
cover yet, but you are behind, through no fault of Hagrid's but because you live in
Britain, on others. So we will start by studying dragons for three months, then we will be
visited by some, where you shall have a week of practical lessons.'
There was a buzz of noise around the classroom.
'Then once you are all dragon experts, we will cover the creatures not in Fantastic Beasts
that you have not already covered. Any questions?'
'Are we actually going to go and see dragons, Professor?' Pansy Parkinson, an ugly
Slytherin prefect who was always mooning over Malfoy, asked.
'Yes,' he replied. 'And you don't have to call me professor, it's too formal, call me Charlie.
Now today we're going to learn the basics about dragons'
Charlie waited for the buzz of excitement to settle down before he resumed the class.
Since dragons are illegal in Britain, Charlie pulled out some models of dragons, which
looked and acted like the real thing, except that they were smaller than even baby Norbert
was.
The class remained silent for almost the entire lesson; hanging on Charlie's every word as
he talked about breeds and makeup of dragons. He dismissed the class early and not one
Slytherin made a remark about the class. Even Malfoy appeared as though he had
enjoyed it.
After the class had finished, Harry, Ron and Hermione went up to greet Charlie.
'Why didn't you tell us you were teaching Charlie?' Ron asked. 'You definitely kept it a
well hidden secret.'
'I didn't tell you because; it's only been a last minute thing,' he explained. 'You see Ron,


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with everything that's been going on, I didn't feel too comfortable leaving Mum and Dad
there alone, when I was going to be s far away, Bill didn't either, so while we were here
for Percy's wedding we've been trying to see if we could get jobs here. Dumbledore
owled me just after you left, and I accepted right away, so I beat you to Hogwarts. Bill's
trying to work on a transfer, but he's got a lot more pulling him back to Egypt than I had
to Romania. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if there's another wedding to go to soon,'
Charlie winked at Ron. 'I hope you don't mind me teaching you Ron, but Hagrid's got a
few more things on his plate at the moment, said he wouldn't have time to properly
prepare your lessons.'
'It's okay with me' Ron said, 'but you have to promise to give Malfoy lots of detentions.'
Charlie, Harry and Hermione laughed at the suggestion.
'I was serious' Ron protested.
*~*
They then left Charlie to get ready for his next class, and headed up towards the Defence
Against the Dark Arts classroom. Harry didn't know quite what to expect. Chrystal had
told him to watch out for her, she wasn't going to be nice. He assumed they would have a
lot of homework; she was taking teaching very seriously. He wasn't quite prepared for the
sight that met him as he walked in the door.
Chrystal Áille was waiting there for them to enter; looking the most serious he'd ever
seen her. She looked stern and Neville appeared to be more frightened of her than he was
of Professor Snape.
'Come in and take you seats at once,' she said. 'We have a lot to get through, and I expect
everyone to be on time'
She waited for everyone to be seated before she continued. Harry felt that somehow the
Slytherin's were going to be quiet this lesson.
'I am Professor Áille and I will be teaching you this year. I understand you've had
teachers of varying ability so I am assuming you know nothing. It is up to you to prove
me wrong. Defence Against the Dark Arts is a very serious matter and anyone mucking
around in my class will be shown the door and not allowed to sit their end of year exams,
therefore not being allowed to graduate. Is that understood?'
The class nodded in silence. Seamus Finnegan was staring up at her.
'Do you have a question?' she asked. There was silence. 'You must if you are staring like
that. Shall I fetch some truth serum?'
'Are you a Celt?' he muttered,
'Would it be a problem if I was?' she asked. Seamus shook his head.
'What I am Mr Finnegan, is an Auror. I do have Scottish ancestry but that does not mean


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I am a Celt. Does anyone know why there are no Celtic Aurors?'
No one answered, nor even raised their hands.
'Can anyone tell me why there is a need to learn about Celts in relation to The Dark Arts,
or why we need to be able to defend ourselves against them?'
Hermione slowly raised her hand. Chrystal recognised her.
'Well, it is obvious Miss Granger knows, but the rest of you obviously don't, showing that
my assumption that you know nothing may be correct. You will therefore right me two
rolls of parchment, on why Celts are important to The Dark Arts by next Monday. You
may need books from the restricted section, I am happy to authorise their use.' She looked
around at the less than happy class.
Two parchments! She must be mad.
'Now shall we move onto our lesson? You may have noticed that you have a lesson with
another house, and the others are in single houses. The double house lessons will be
practical ones. We will be learning about how to deal with pain today. Can anyone tell
me what pain is?'
Hermione raised her hand.
'Yes Miss Granger?'
'It is our body's sense of something going wrong. Something has been damaged, or dying
or has been hurt in some way.'
'Spoken like a true Muggle, Miss Granger,' she said. 'But you are correct nonetheless.
Five points to Gryffindor. How can we beat pain?'
Hermione raised her hand. Chrystal looked at Neville.
'Do you think we cannot beat pain, Longbottom' she asked. The tone in her voice had
softened.
Neville shook his head.
'I don't think you can beat pain Professor,' he replied.
'I can understand your outlook Longbottom, and given your circumstances I respect that.
I will tell you honestly; now, that not everyone is able to completely beat pain, however
everyone should be able to reach a level of blocking it out. This is the aim for our lesson
today. You see to overcome pain, you need to realise that it is just a sensory modality.
Your body is just sending messages to your brain telling you that you've been hurt,
restricting your movement so that you don't hurt yourself anymore. Do you understand
what I' m saying?'
A few heads nodded. Harry's was one of them.



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'Mr Potter', she asked. 'What is my point?'
Harry cleared his throat.
'If we realise that pain is just a sense, then we can overcome it?' Harry asked. 'That we
can be unaffected by curses that cause pain like the Cruciatus Curse.'
'In a sense Harry is right. You can train yourself to block out pain. You already do in
times of great stress. So I am going to partner you with someone of the opposite house,
that way I know you will not be afraid of hurting each other, if Gryffindor-Slytherin
rivalry is still what it used to be. You will take it in turn using pain curses, preferably the
Afflictatios Curse and you will try and block out the pain. you may not use unforgivable
CURSES'
Professor Áille paired everyone off and strangely enough paired Ron with Malfoy.
'I'm going to enjoy this' he smirked. 'I'll give him a taste of what's coming if he mistreats
Ginny.'
'Does everyone know how to use the Afflictatios Curse?' she asked.
The class nodded, they had covered pain curses in fifth year.
'Okay class you may begin. If anyone feels that they cannot continue, please stop
immediately. I will be taking you all to the hospital wing at the end of the lesson.'
Harry was paired with Pansy Parkinson. It was his turn to curse.
'Afflictatio digitulus'
Pansy grabbed at her little finger. She did not appear to be able to control the pain.
'Finite Incantatum'
Pansy poised her wand at Harry.
'Afflictatio botulus'
Harry felt the pain begin in his stomach, he tried to block it out, and he kept trying until it
finally overcame him.
'Finite Incantatum'
Harry was released from the pain. If she was going to play dirty, he was going to hurt her.
At least he had been nice by starting in her finger. She had gone straight for his stomach.
'Afflictatio cervicula'
Pansy began to clutch her neck. She looked like she was in severe pain. Harry looked
over at Ron who was being cursed by Malfoy. It was amazing Ron appeared to be
enjoying it. He must have managed to block out Malfoy's curse! He looked back at
Pansy,


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'Finite Incantatum'
Pansy looked at Harry with hate. He had actually really hurt her; he could see the
beginnings of a bruise forming on her neck.
'Afflictatio cyoncephalus'
The curse hit Harry in his forehead, at the same time his scar began to hurt. He tried to
overcome the pain, but it was not pain from the Afflictatios Curse. He had had the
Afflictatios Curse placed on his head before but it hadn't felt like this. Harry tried to
block out the pain. It's only pain, it's not real, there's nothing hurting me.
Pansy released him from the curse. The pain was increasing. He blacked out.
Harry could see Voldemort. He was speaking to his servant, the face that had been there
on the platform.
'How dare you come back here, having failed me?'
'Where is Potter, why have you not brought him here, why did you give him a choice?'
The face was trembling; it had disobeyed its master.
'I have not hands, I cannot carry him,' it replied,
'Why is the boy so important my Lord?' it whispered.
'Because he always escapes, he is a danger to our movement. Can't any of you fools
comprehend that he has the ability to defeat me? If I defeat him, it is the end of a line; no
more will be able to stand before me. If he becomes my servant it is the same.'
'But he will never' the face interrupted. 'He said he will never bow down before you. He
would rather die..'
'Well then he shall indeed die,' Voldemort replied. 'Did you find the other two?'
'I have no idea who they are master,' the face conceded. 'If you have Potter, it is of no
importance. It is you or Potter master.'
Voldemort looked with anger at his servant.
'Despite the truth in that statement, yo disgust me. You were given two assignments and
have failed in both of them, you must be punished.'
'No master' the servant begged. 'Give me another chance.'
'Avada Kedavra'
There was a flash of green light. The face was gone.
Harry screamed.



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Professor Áille came rushing over.
'Stop that immediately Miss Parkinson,' she said.
'I have,' Pansy replied. 'I stopped almost immediately, I had stopped before he blacked
out'
'Harry, are you alright?' Chrystal asked.
Harry nodded his head.
'Okay class' she said, 'that's it for today, I am taking you all up to the hospital wing. Now.'
Malfoy was smirking.
'Potty can't handle the pain' she said to Pansy. 'Well done.'
Malfoy shook her hand. The action did not go unwitnessed.
'r Malfoy' Chrystal said. 'I shall see you in my office after I have taken everyone to the
hospital wing. Failure to show up will result in detention for the entire year.'
Once Chrystal had ensured that Harry was indeed fine and told him to meet her in her
office after dinner, she hauled Malfoy back to her office.
'That was uncalled for Mr Malfoy, but that is not why I have called you here. I shall be
deducting house points for that action. I need to discuss another matter with you.'
'Do you make your own decisions Draco?'
Malfoy was stunned; he wasn't quite sure how to respond.
'Because you don't appear to' Chrystal continued. 'Do you know that you're to be initiated
as a Death Eater this year?'
Malfoy shook his head. While the statement did not shock him, the deliverance of it from
someone who was supposedly an Auror did.
'How do you know that?' he asked. 'Or how do I know I can believe you? If you can see
the future you must be a Celt.'
'It has been foreseen Mr Malfoy, but not in the future. Do you know that Mr Potter's scar
links him to Voldemort?'
Malfoy couldn't see what Potter had to do with anything.
'What happened to him in class today, you saw he was clutching his scar. Well, he can
see what Voldemort is doing when his scar hurts, he watched your father receive the
Cruciatus Curse for betraying Wormtail, and heard Voldemort say that you would have to
make up for your father's mistakes. Is this what you want Mr Malfoy?'
Malfoy looked up at the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. She looked at him


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sternly.
'I don't know Professor' he answered. 'Why does it matter?'
There was an air of frustration in his voice.
'As I see it, there are too paths' she said. 'You can choose to serve the Dark Lord or
choose not to. If you want to serve him, so be it, that's your choice. If you don't however,
you have a further two choices. You can flat out refuse, and they will probably kill you
unless we can protect you. Or you can go undercover and spy; if they discover you they
will kill you. It is your decision. You can talk to me about it, if you want to be a Death
Eater, there's nothing I can do about it Mr Malfoy, but I thought important that you know
you have a choice.'
*~*
She had challenged him. No one had ever challenged him before; no one had ever given
him a choice. It was inconceivable; that he Draco Malfoy actually had a choice as to what
he could do with his life. He was expected to do whatever his father wanted him to do.
He ran down to the Potion Dungeons, where he was supposed to meet Ginny to tutor her.
He wasn't in the mood, but he wanted her, he wanted her to hold him and tell him that it
would be okay. He ran downstairs, his face strewn with tears. Ginny jumped when she
saw him.
'What's wrong Draco?' she asked.
'I don't want to be a Death Eater, Gin' he cried.
Ginny walked over and held him tight, telling him that it would be all right.
*~*
In his office, the potions professor was interested in the scene going on in his classroom.
Neither student knew he was there.
'So,' he said to himself. 'Mr Malfoy doesn't want to be a Death Eater eh?'

Chapter Twelve
Choices
Harry told Ron, Hermione and Lavender what he had seen. They were clueless as to what
it meant. None of them had ever heard of this creature before. The bells had been totally
forgotten in their search for the face.
'Let me get this right,' Hermione said. 'The face was still there, it said it didn't have arms,
so it couldn't cast a spell? How did cast one in the first place then?'
'I don't know,' Harry replied. 'I don't think it was human. I think it was some dark creation
of Voldemort's, but he just killed it, because it had failed.'



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'Wonder what the other task was?' Ron said. 'It failed in bringing you and something
else.'
'It said something about either you or You-know-who?' Lavender questioned. 'What do
you suppose that means? I'll have a look in the orb and see if I can see anything.'
She had kissed Harry and walked upstairs, sensing that Harry needed sometime with his
two best friends. And to be honest she didn't completely feel comfortable around
Hermione at the moment, there was a sensation about her that was making her feel
completely uncomfortable. She knew she was falling for Harry, she just hoped he felt the
same way. She knew she didn't want to lose him. She wished she didn't posses the gift of
being able to see the future. She didn't want to look, but she felt drawn. She had a taste
for glancing into the future and lately she hadn't really enjoyed what she had seen. Harry
was right when he sensed that You-know-who wasn't going to stay quiet forever. She
gave into temptation and gazed into the Orb. She couldn't believe what she was seeing. It
couldn't be true. It just couldn't.
*~*
Ginny was holding Malfoy close to her. It seemed like he had been sobbing into her
clothes for hours.
'It's okay Draco,' she kept saying. 'You don't have to do anything you don't want to.'
'They'll kill me' he finally said. 'If I don't they'll kill me, as soon as I leave Hogwarts. My
father would do it himself in a moment without any hesitation.'
Ginny had known that there was a chance that Draco would become a Death Eater; she
just hadn't thought it would happen so soon.
'What do you want to do Draco?' she asked.
"I don't know' he said. 'I just don't know. I know I don't want to be a Death Eater. I've
never had a choice, Gin. I've always done what's expected. Then Professor Áille told me
that Potter had seen that I was to be initiated today. What do you know about his scar?'
'I know that he can see You-know-who when it hurts' she whispered.
'That's what Professor Áille said. But I think she knows more than that. Father says she's
a Celt and a very dangerous witch. Father wasn't very happy with her appointment. She's
the only Celt in recent times to stay on the good side. I think she could sense that I don't
really want to serve the Dark Lord. She thinks I should spy. If they find out they'll kill
me, but if I refuse they'll kill me as well. Ginny, I don't want to lose you but if they make
me a Death Eater, I can't be with you. I don't want to huryou.'
'What if you spy?' she replied 'Will you break up with me then?'
Draco nodded his head slowly. His face looked entirely distraught.
'They'd make you a target. I couldn't put you at risk like that.'


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'Well, that's not good enough for me Draco,' she snapped. 'I'd prefer to be at risk and with
you, than be safe and without you. If you really don't want to be a Death Eater, then I'll
stand by you. If they try and kill you, they'll have to kill me first. You could even tell
your dad you're dating me to try and get information. And if you're that scared, we could,
you know, get rid of him.'
Draco stared at her.
'What do you mean get rid of him?' he asked.
'I don't know, perhaps you could think of something, but if he was going to hurt you, I
swear, I'd kill him.' She gazed into his sad eyes.
Draco was speechless. He'd had no idea Ginny felt so strongly for him. Her letters over
summer had been sweet, but brief, because both of them had been hiding it from their
parents. Then Ron today had been particularly vicious with curses today, threatening him
that he'd be getting much worse if he hurt Ginny in anyway.
Seeing Ginny made it clear what he would do. When the time came, he would give them
his father, and then it would be all right. There'd be no one to hurt him anymore.
'It's time for me to start controlling my life' he said.
*~*
Harry headed down the corridor towards the Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers
office. It had had many owners over the seven years.
When he arrived he saw Chrystal and Sirius waiting for him. Sirius shut the door behind
Harry.
'What was Voldemort doing Harry?'
Both Sirius and Dumbledore had learnt to take any pain Harry felt from his scar
seriously. He had foretold several things that had occurred already.
'The face that was there on the platform was there. Voldemort was angry; the face had
failed in its two tasks so Voldemort killed it. But it said in the same voice it had spoken in
when it said I would have to make a choice, it said that it's either him or me,' Harry said.
'You or Voldemort?' Sirius asked 'Is that what it said?'
Harry nodded.
'I wonder what that means.' Chrystal thought out loud.
'Did you hear the bells again?' Sirius asked.
'Only until he killed the face, they stopped afterward,' Harry answered. 'They were much
softer than when Wormtail was killed.'



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'What bells?' Chrystal asked.
'I think he means the bells of Azkaban, the ones I told you about,' Sirius answered.
'Right,' she hesitated for a moment. 'Harry I'm going to get Madam Pomfrey to give you a
sleeping draught, I don't want you to worry about it anymore tonight. Once you have
taken it, we shall go and speak to Dumbledore, we shall keep you informed Harry, but it's
best you get some rest. Okay?'
Harry nodded and allowed himself to be led to the infirmary for a dreamless sleep potion.
He had been given it once before, after the Triwizard Tournament, he knew he should
follow everyone's advice and take it; he wondered what Lavender was seeing in the Orb.
'Lavender's looking in the Orb,' Harry said.
'Don't take anything she says too seriously' Chrystal said. 'I know she's more accurate
than Trelawney, but unless she's a true Seer it doesn't really count for much.'
'I think she might be,' Harry said, 'but if she tells me what she saw I'll let you know.'
Madam Pomfrey gave Harry the sleeping potion, telling him to take it once he was ready
to sleep, then Sirius and Chrystal headed towards Dumbledore's office.
Harry headed back to Gryffindor Tower really not feeling any better. It was clear that
Voldemort was after him, but Harry sensed that there was more to it than Voldemort
disliking him. Like why he gone after his parents in the first place. Did anyone know or
were they just not telling him?
He kicked the ground in frustration.
'Great first day back,' he said as he entered the common room.
*~*
Severus Snape had overheard the conversation between Draco Malfoy and Ginny
Weasley with much interest. He knew Draco had been tutoring the girl in potions for her
O.W.Ls the year before, but he had thought it was because she was close to Potter and
therefore a potential source of information for his father. Snape had no idea that there was
anything going on between them, he trusted Draco not to steal his potions and often left
them alone. Snape knew what Draco was destined to be. He had retaken his position
spying for Dumbledore, and to all those concerned he was the Loyal Death Eater. He was
rarely assigned anything, except to keep Voldemort up to date with what was happening
at Hogwarts. That he could do easily, Voldemort could extract the information from The
Daily Prophet if he wanted. Truth was, Snape was probably safe from being found out
because Voldemort had no real use for a potions master.
But what he had just heard could be a turning point in their battle. If you could get inside
the inner circle, you'd know everything and Snape knew that Draco Malfoy was the
chosen one. Voldemort considered the boy his heir. The operatives had been largely
unsuccessful in the past two years; they were not able to get information quick enough to


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do anything, except in the case of the capture of Peter Pettigrew. Damn Potter being right.
Snape hated having to concede that the boy had been right and had taken it out on him in
class. This might be the turning point.
Snape went to Dumbledore's office immediately. He hoped that the damned Auror Áille
hadn't interfered too much. If she kept interfering she could jeopardise the entire
operation.
'Dumbeldore' Snape said, puffing as he reached the office. 'I think our luck may be
changing.'
Sanpe told Dumbledore of the events that had unfolded in the Potions Dungeon.
'If we could get him to agree to spy' Snape began.
'I know what you are thinking Severus' the headmaster began, 'but there's more to
consider here. If he is prepared to spy, then that must be his decision, we cannot influence
that. But if he esperately does not want to do either, we must hide him and Miss Weasley
as well. I had hoped that the Death Eaters would dare not approach students still in
school, but I guess that is too much to hope for. When is he to be initiated?'
'During the semester break, over the full moon,' Snape answered. 'We do not have much
time.'
At this moment Sirius and Chrystal burst into Dumbledore's office.
'We must speak with you immediately, sir,' they said when they entered, spying Snape
there.
'Sit down' Dumbledore said. 'I understand you had a conversation with young Malfoy
today Miss Áille.'
Chrystal nodded.
'It appears your words have had an impact on him. Severus, tell them what you
overheard.'
Reluctantly, Snape told them about what he had seen in the Potions Dungeon.
'Do you really think he'd spy Snape?' Chrystal asked.
'Yes,' he replied. 'I think he wants to get back at his father for the last seventeen years of
his life. He may be cunning and an arrogant pureblood but he's not evil. We don't have
that much time to convince him.'
Everyone nodded.
'We must work on a contingency plan.'
'What was it you wanted to speak about?' Dumbledore asked Sirius.



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Sirius told Snape and Dumbledore what had happened to Harry in their lesson that
afternoon, and what Harry had told them about what he had seen.
<>
'Where is Harry now?' Dumbledore asked,
'I sent him to bed' Chrystal said. 'With the aid of a sleeping potion. The boy looks
exhausted.'
'Do you know anything about this face or what it is referring to Severus?'
He nodded slowly.
'The face is a creation of the Dark Lord; it is a servant that undertakes his work. The spell
is not perfected yet.' Snape said. 'As for the choice, I'm not sure what it is referring to.
But Voldemort had a belief that James was the Heir of Gryffindor. I'm not sure how he
reached this conclusion, but if James in fact was the Heir of Gryffindor that means Harry
is also. There was a prophecy, which you may have heard of which involves the heirs of
the founders. Either the Heir of Slytherin or the Heir of Gryffindor will fall. Voldemort
will kill Harry to fulfil the prophecy. Unfortunately I don't know what The Prophecy of
Saoghal involves. I was never privy to the details, but if you could find out who gave it,
we may be able to find out what it means.'
'Is Harry the Heir?' Sirius asked Dumbledore. 'Is that why Voldemort was after them?'
'I believe so' Dumbledore answered. 'I have someone working on it, but the only Heir we
know for sure is that Tom Riddle is Slytherin's Heir. I shall have someone work on The
Prophecy of Saoghal, I think I know who originally gave it, but it will take time to work
it out. For know, we should watch Mr Malfoy carefully and if he does not come to us
with a decision before the holidays, we should put him into hiding. That should be all for
now.'
Dumbledore signalled that he would like to be left alone.
The three reluctantly walked out the door.
*~*
Sirius and Chrystal headed back to the staff quarters as Snape went back to the dungeons,
to finish the work he had been doing.
'I can't believe you had words to Malfoy' Sirius said.
'I could sense the boy did not really feel comfortable in the path chosen for him,' she
replied. 'Besides he may be an asset we can utilise. It is important tat the boy realises he
has a choice. Anyhow do you really think he will give us his father?'
'I don't know Chrys,' he said. 'Snape has a fairly accurate assessment of things, he was the
one who warned Dumbledore that James and Lily were a target, not that I think he was
too upset when James was blown up. If he thinks Malfoy can carry it off convincingly


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then I'm willing to try it. The Ministry's a complete waste of time, it's so infiltrated with
Death Eaters there's no point going through them, and the operatives have a much better
assessment of things anyhow. There's just one thing, are you technically still an Auror?'
'Why?' she asked.
'Because that would be to our advantage. Then you authority to destroy any Death eater
using whatever means, and they can't throw you in Azkaban for it.'
Sirius saw her cringe in response to that remark.
'Yes I am, I saw Lucius the other day and threatened to throw him in Azkaban. Sirius,
they can't afford to sack me, I'm the best air Auror they've ever had and they know it. I
just choose when to use that kind of thing. Some people need o realise that some people
can be dealt with harmlessly before you try and torture them.'
'Okay' he said. 'We had better keep a watch on Harry and Draco. And it might not be a
bad idea to make sure Miss Granger doesn't spend too long in the library trying to
discover the creature, I don't think she'll find it there, perhaps in the restricted section
maybe, but unless she becomes invisible I doubt she'd get in there.' He laughed. 'Do you
know anything about The Prophecy of Saoghal Snape's talking about?'
She bit her lip, hiding her hand as she answered,
'No, nothing,' she whispered. 'Just a feeling. I've got some work to do before tomorrow,
I'll see you later.'
She kissed him goodnight in the corridor then disappeared into her room. She closed the
door behind her as she let out her breath. No one had mentioned The Prophecy of
Saoghal for years and she had never believed it to be true, it had been so implausible. She
hoped that the prophecy she had heard wasn't the prophecy Snape meant. It couldn't
possibly be. Not if Voldemort believed it and he wouldn't believe the one she had heard.
No one had. And Harry had said it was either Voldemort or Harry. No mention of anyone
else. That's right, just them.
No reason to alarm anyone else. The time would come.
*~*
Sirius entered the room thinking about Chrys' reaction to the mention of The Prophecy.
She had heard it, he was sure of that. Was she afraid to speak it because of what might
happen to Harry? Or did she just sense something bad was going to happen? He'd never
held the fact that her mother had been a Celt against her, but now he was beginning to
wonder if there was more to the tale than she had told him.
Celts were very powerful witches. They had the ability to sense the future, in a way that
was different from Seers. But everyone Celt in the last five hundred years had turned
dark. Could she possibly be a Celt as well? She didn't act like one, but then Celt's used to
be a viable asset, perhaps she had learned to control her powers. She could be very
valuable if she was, provided she didn't turn.


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*~*
Once they had left his office, Dumbledore turned to the fireplace. He sprinkled some dust
over the fire and said;
'Arabella Figg'
Mrs Figg's face appeared in the fire. It was obvious she had not appreciated being
disturbed at that moment.
'What is it Dumbledore?' she asked.
'Arabella, I need you to tell me about The Prophecy, can you come to Hogwarts straight
away?'
'I'll be there tomorrow Albus' she said, 'Do you think it is time?'
Dumbledore nodded and thanked the old woman.
'I'll see you tomorrow then.'
She had given The Prophecy of Saoghal, only a few weeks before Trelawney had given
the prophecy saying that a baby would bring about the fall of the Dark Lord. No one had
believed her prophecy after Voldemort's downfall, but Dumbledore knew her Divination
skills were not to be taken lightly, she had predicted the fall of a few very important
wizards. Hopefully she would have the answers.
*~*
Ron was waiting for Harry as he arrived back in the common room. He saw the potion.
'Is that from Madam Pomfrey?' he asked.
Harry nodded.
'Is Hermione in the Library?' Harry asked.
'She's trying to find out what the face was?' Ron replied.
'She's wasting her time' Harry said. 'She won't find it there. Sirius is going to ask Snape.
Where's Ginny?'
'Haven't seen her. I think she's with Malfoy. I'm going to wait until she comes back.
Make sure that she's okay. If he does anything to her, I swear I'll kill him with my bare
hands.'
Harry nodded.
'Do you mind if I don't wait?' Harry asked.
'Go ahead,' Ron replied. 'We've got Quidditch Training in the morning, I need my Seeker
to get some rest okay?'


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Harry did as he was told, went upstairs, took the potion and was asleep before his head
hit the pillow.
*~*
A young woman was staring at the moonlight. She had sensed that things were changing
in the world. She pulled out a piece of parchment and began drawing triangles, finally
pulling out her book on Salazar Slytherin. She needed answers.
Another woman, not to far away also sensed the change. She stared at the sky
contemplating what was to come. She had seen it. She knew what lay ahead. She was
scared.
The Prophecy of Saoghal would resurface. The time was not too far away.

Chapter Thirteen
Quidditch and Animagus Training
Ron woke Harry up the next morning and they headed out to the Quidditch pitch. There
were no new additions to the team this year and Ron was keen to win the Quidditch cup.
Ginny and her friend Rose Heaney (another Chaser), looked like they could do with
another couple of hours sleep, they seemed to be struggling to listen to Ron's tactics.
Natalie McDonald, a fourth year who was the last Chaser, seemed to have almost as
much energy and kept asking Ron questions which served to annoy Harry, who really
wanted to just get the practice started. Seamus and Matthew Baker, the two Beaters,
looked like Harry felt.
Finally they mounted their brooms wholeheartedly, and went through the tactics Ron had
come up. Harry was sure they had come from his experience training with the Cannons
because they were difficult manoeuvres. It was good for Ron to be playing on such a
professional level, but he seemed to have raised his expectations of the Gryffindor Team
over the summer. Harry's muscle's well and truly ached by the time he landed his broom.
Ron put them through such a vigorous training session that Harry was relieved to head to
the Prefect's bathroom and soak in the tub for a good half and hour before he managed to
get out, get dressed and head down to the Great Hall. He was also thankful that Malfoy
wasn't there.
Lavender greeted him eagerly; after which Harry gave Ron a very hard time for the
training session. He reminded Ron that they weren't professionals, to which Ron's only
reply was;
'Do you want to win the Quidditch Cup or not?'
Harry just gave him a dirty look; there was no need to reply. Hermione didn't look happy
either. She was positively glaring at Lavender. Harry couldn't help but feel a bit
disconcerted that one of his closest friends did not seem to be getting on too well with his
girlfriend. They sat down to eat and soon owls arrived, which was enough to stop
everyone glaring at each other. It was far too early in the day for post. Harry wondered


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why there were that many 'special' deliveries.
Harry and Hermione received a letter that had an identical seal on it. Harry recognised it
as Sirius'. He opened his and read it.
This parchment has been bewitched so only your eyes can read it. You have been
selected, based on your previous demonstration of ability to undertake training for
Animagus Transformation. If you accept your first session will be in the Transfiguration
Classroom on Thursday evening at 8pm sharp. You are not to tell anyone about your
training.
Once he had finished reading it the writing on the parchment disappeared. Ever since
Sirius had told him about the Animagus Training, Harry had wondered who else had been
chosen. He knew it had only been a select few and that the board of governors knew
nothing of it, so it had to be kept under wraps. Hermione would be training, but as it
would appear, no other Gryffindors had been chosen. Harry secretly thought that the
couple of classes that Sirius would be teaching were really only so that he would be
around
'What's in the letters?' Ron asked.
'Prefect stuff' Harry replied quickly before Hermione could get a word in.
'Ginny didn't get one,' commented Ron.
'Seventh year Prefect stuff,' Hermione replied.
Harry turned Ron's attention to Hermione's copy of The Daily Prophet. There was an
article about the Cannons.
Cannons ammunition-less?
The Chudley Cannons will have a lot to answer for if they don't do well in next years
European Cup. The Cannons have recently recruited some fresh young players, who are
stacked with talent. Marcus Flint, who left Hogwarts two years ago should certainly add
some spark to the team, as should new reserve Keeper Ronald Weasley, the current
Gryffindor Team Captain who is currently completing his seventh year at Hogwarts. The
question remains however, why have these talented players remained on the sidelines?
They clearly have more talent in their little fingers than the rest of the team has put
together.
Ron didn't look impressed.
'Time to go to class,' said Ron quietly, putting the paper down.
Harry picked Lavender up and ran towards the History of Magic Classroom, with
Hermione and Ron tagging reluctantly behind them.
An hour with Binns, talking about the Rise of the Dark Arts, Harry couldn't believe his
luck. Now Harry had time to catch up on the sleep he'd missed from getting up so early


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for Ron's practice.
*~*
Although Harry was full of anticipation for Thursday evening, there was plenty to keep
him occupied until then. Not only had they been piled with homework, their teachers
thinking that they were under prepared for their final year, but also Ron was pushing the
Quidditch team to the limit, with one training a day, mostly morning in the first week of
term.
Harry was looking forward to Thursday evening partially he thought because Ron had
Cannons training and couldn't hold Gryffindor training that night. It was Harry's
salvation. His muscles ached and he hadn't had enough sleep. Harry was so glad that Ron
had been given special permission to leave school for training, given that The European
Cup was being held beginning in January.
Harry used the chance of a free evening, to sit down and catch up with his work, before
making his way to the Transfiguration classroom right on time.
He walked in the door and found Sirius inside waiting for him.
'Hi Harry' he began. 'We're doing lessons individually so that no one else knows who's
training. But I suppose you may know who a few of the others are, so try and keep it
quiet.'
Harry nodded.
'Today we're going to concentrate on growing hair, given that most animals have fur.
Have you given any thought as to what animal you want to become?'
'No' Harry replied. He hadn't really had a chance to give it a thought. Come to think of it
he didn't really know that much about Animagus Transformation, except that you turn
into an animal. 'Can I become whatever animal I want?'
'I'll give you a book to read that answers most of those questions Harry, but there's almost
no restriction on what animal you become. You cannot become a dragon, but you can
become a less dangerous magical creature, for instance a unicorn. If you have any
specific questions however, it's probably best to just ask me. Can't have you wasting time
with your head in a book when it's not necessary now, can we?'
Sirius winked as he handed him a book entitled 'So, you want to become an Animagus?
Important facts you need to know'.
'Right, time to start the lesson,' Sirius said. 'Okay, what I want you to do now is close
your eyes and concentrate on your hair.'
Harry did so. He concentrated hard on his hair. It was brown and messy, so messy in fact
that Sleekeasy's Hair Potion did not help.
'Concentrating?' Harry nodded. 'Right now I want you to concentrate on it getting longer,


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okay.'
Harry concentrated on his hair growing for the next five minutes or so, when Sirius asked
him to look in the mirror, his hair was as long as his back.
Harry almost couldn't believe the reflection was him.
'Right now Harry, I want you to make it short again.'
It took less time for Harry to shorten his hair; he just concentrated on it looking normal
again. Sirius got Harry to go through the exercise a couple more times before he decided
that was enough for the first night. Harry deliberately made it shorter than usual,
wondering whether or not anyone would notice.
'How long will it take me to learn do you think?' Harry asked. 'After I pick an animal that
is.'
'It depends how hard you work on it Harry,' replied Sirius. 'It won't take you as long as it
did your father and I, one because you don't have Peter Pettigrew dragging you down and
two because you have proper instruction.'
Harry headed towards the door.
'Before you go Harry,' Sirius said. 'Is Hermione any closer to finding out what the face
was?'
'No,' he replied. 'How did you know she was looking?'
'I have my sources,' Sirius replied. 'How are you feeling, Harry?'
Harry thought about how to answer this question. He was sure that he looked exhausted.
He certainly felt it.
'I'm feeling fine. Really Sirius, I am. I just wish I knew what was coming. Lavender said
she saw some weird things in the Orb, but she said it's not reliable. And Ron's pushing us
very hard because he really wants to win the Quidditch Cup; I've barely had time to
breathe. On top of all the work we're expected to do. Your girlfriends really mean by the
way.'
Harry gave Sirius a joking look, but Sirius seemed to take what Harry had said much
more seriously than he had intended. He had gained a somewhat serious look on his face.
'Take's her teaching almost as much as her studying does she? I'll have to have words to
her, because she'll have to find time to mark everything she's setting you and that means
that she'd have no time for me, then I would have to come and bother you, and you
wouldn't get your work done, then you would get in trouble and she'd be after me!'
Harry laughed.
'Seriously Harry, it can't hurt for you to be extra prepared when it comes to the Dark Arts.
Take what Chrys has to say very seriously. She's very experienced in that area, even if


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she can't cook. We had a talk with Dumbledore and Snape after we took you to the
hospital wing. Snape doesn't know very much but he's working on it. The face is a
creation of Voldemort. All we can guarantee at the moment is that Voldemort is after
you.'
'Great,' Harry replied.
'Just watch your back okay?'
After assuring Sirius that he would be careful, Harry headed back to Gryffindor Tower.
Ron had just returned from training, Harry spied Hermione but could not see any sign of
Lavender.
'Where's Lavender?' he asked.
'With Trelawney,' Hermione replied rolling her eyes. 'Trying to figure out what
something in the Orb meant. She's been gone since dinner.'
'We'll have to start without her,' Harry said.
Harry told them what Sirius had said. Ron's temper began to rise.
'That's just great Harry, can't they do anything faster than that. It's all very well to say
you're target, but why they can't say anything. What are they going to do, use you as
bait?'
Ron was almost on the verge of screaming.
'Hush Ron,' Harry said 'Do you want everyone in the school to know? I don't think
Dumbledore would use me as bait anyway. He just said Snape's working on it.'
'Dumbledore may not use you as bait' Ron snapped, 'but Snape sure as hell would.'
'Snape's not that bad, remember what happened last year?' Harry said trying to remind
Ron of the night that Wormtail had been captured. 'They would tell me; they wouldn't
keep me in the dark about something like that. But if they're not sure what's going on
they're not likely to say anything, which is where they are at I think.'
Harry was adamant, if they were going to use him as bait, they would tell him first.
'Come on Ron' he said. 'Lets do this bloody essay on Celts; Hermione must have a book
somewhere.'
'Over there' she snapped, 'and don't copy mine!'
'What's wrong with her?' Ron asked, rasing his eyebrows at her.
Ron and Harry sat down and got to work reading about Celt's. It seemed extremely
boring and pointless; who cared about stupid witches who could sense what was going to
happen. Then Harry looked over and saw Hermione was reading 'The Mysteries of The
Founders' and Harry was secretly relieved he was researching Celts rather than the life of


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Helga Hufflepuff, whom Harry had always thought was the most boring of the four
founders. After an hour Ron went to bed, tired from Quidditch Training and having
finished his attempt at a lesson, leaving Harry to wait for Lavender alone.
She eventually returned half an hour later looking extremely frazzled.
Harry reached out to her.
'What's wrong sweetie' he asked softly.
'Everything I see is confusing,' she said. 'I've been with Trelawney for the last two hours
trying to work out what it means. It's all so conflicting, everything points to a prophecy,
but Trelawney says that the only prophecy she knows about was you causing You-know-
who to fall when you were a baby. I just can't work out what it means. I keep seeing a
snake. And the snake is trying to attack a bird. I'll have to try looking somewhere else.
I'm just not sure what the bird symbolises. Are you guys any closer?'
Harry shook his head. He held Lavender close to him while she cried on his shoulder.
Somehow Harry sensed that Lavender wasn't telling him everything that she had seen.
She's obviously seen something that has really upset her, he thought. She'll tell me when
she's ready, or at least I hope she will.
As Harry held this girl close to him, he realised he cared very much about her. He
couldn't understand why, he hadn't even really known her until last year. Whether or not
he loved her or not, was yet to be seen. He was very unsure what his actual feelings were
for her but he knew that all he wanted to do was take away whatever was hurting her.
He kissed her softly, kept telling her that everything was going to be all right.
'I'm here Lavender, it's okay.'
Harry knew it was true, he knew he would do anything to stop her from hurting.
They fell asleep on the couch, Harry holding her tightly.
*~*
Hermione's birthday approached and Harry decided that they should celebrate her coming
of age in style. McGonagall had given them permission to hold a party in the common
room after dinner, but instead Harry and Ron opted to hold her a classy banquet, while
everyone else was at dinner, and then have a party afterward. They managed to convince
Dobby to bring food up to the Fat Lady's Portrait, and play waiter for them.
Harry and Ron had the afternoon off, and Hermione was in the library, so they used the
chance to decorate the common room with all the decorations that Fred and George had
sent them. Harry was extra careful with them, he was sure that the twins wouldn't pass up
an opportunity to play the odd joke on them. Ginny had recruited some of the younger
students to help them decorate.
The delight that was on her face when she entered the room made all the effort worth it.


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Hermione looked happy and in her element celebrating her birthday in style. Ron, Ginny
and Harry had a wonderful dinner with her, as Dooby kept bringing them food until they
couldn't eat anymore.
Then when all the other Gryffindor's came back from dinner, they saw that Sirius,
Chrystal and McGonagall had joined them. McGonagall had arrived no sooner than she
left saying that she had remembered something that she was supposed to do. She
reappeared soon after with Fred, George, Angelina, Alicia, Lee and Katie and a cake that
they had bought in Hogsmeade for Hermione. She was a bit dubious of the cake at first,
but after Katie assured her that it was fine, there was nothing wrong with it, she was
happy to try and blow out the candles. After about ten tries, she gave up, realising that the
joke was that Fred and George had given her joke candles.
A pile of birthday presents for the Head Girl had piled up in the corner of the room, while
everyone was singing Happy Birthday.
Harry could see tears in Hermione's eyes. She was touched by the gesture; birthdays
usually seemed to go unnoticed at Hogwarts. She leant over and gave Harry a kiss on the
cheek.
'Thanks for going to so much effort for me,' she said as she headed upstairs.
*~*
Despite their apprehension for what was to come, the days past quickly and before Harry
knew it, it was time for their first Quidditch match. It would coincide with the Halloween
Feast. They were playing Hufflepuff and should win quite convincingly, the Hufflepuff
team being almost entirely new. Sure they had played one game already this year, but
they had been absolutely flattened by Ravenclaw. Harry didn't feel the usual nerves that,
he thought it must be from exhaustion. Animagus training was draining, and Harry still
had not come up with an animal. They had so much homework to do and Snape was
being particularly nasty with the amount of work he was setting them.
Harry's nerves were just about right. They flattened Hufflepuff, their Chaser's were no
match for Ron, and they couldn't even get the Quaffle through the hoop once in the time
it took Harry to catch the Snitch. Lavender, Sirius, Chrystal, Hermione and Crookshanks
came to greet them.
'Why did you bring that thing?' Ron asked. He still wasn't too keen on Crookshanks, even
though he hadn't eaten Scabbers after all.
'He was pulling on my robes,' she shrugged her shoulders. 'I told you he's been acting
weird lately.'
'Perhaps he's become a Quidditch fan,' Harry suggested.
After Sirius had invited Harry to come up to his room after the feast, Harry, Ron,
Hermione and Lavender went to visit Hagrid. They hadn't had as much of a chance to
visit with Hagrid lately, especially as he wasn't teaching them anymore. Harry banged on



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the door loudly.
Hagrid opened the door in surprise.
'Is you, I'm glad ya've come'
Hagrid invited them in and offered them tea.
'I'm going off for a couple of months now right after the feast tonight' Hagrid said, 'now
Charlie's trained up a bit. I've got to go and do some work for Dumbledore, up north.'
He winked at them. It must be operative's work, perhaps something to do with the giants;
otherwise I'm fairly sure he'd tell us what he was doing.
Harry looked up as Hagrid continued to talk.
'I'll be gone until bout Christmas, then I'll be back good as new to take over the firs and
secon' years again. Ya brother'll have his work cut out until then Ron.'
Three of them knew better than to ask Hagrid where he was going, the three of them had
grown up a lot, given the additional responsibility Dumbledore had given them. They
realised that Dumbledore considered them as adult members of the operatives and if they
were to know about a mission they would be told. There were reasons why things were
kept secret.
They wished Hagrid goodbye, Lavender being particularly glad that Hagrid was going,
because that meant he couldn't find weird creatures for Charlie to teach them about.
They headed up towards the Great Hall with Crookshanks in hand reliving the heart
throbbing moments of the Quidditch match.
*~*
Draco Malfoy was sitting in Professor Àille's office waiting for her to return after the
Quidditch match. He had been doing a lot of thinking. In his hands he held the letter he
had received that morning.
He had known what it was immediately. It was sealed with a blood red seal, the seal of
the house of Malfoy. After he had found somewhere quiet he opened it.
You have been chosen to serve the Dark Lord. He has chosen you not only because you
are destined to be his servant, but also because you have shown that you have many skills
that will be beneficial in serving the Dark Lord. You will be initiated on the full moon
over Christmas break.
The time had come. He must make a decision.
The point of no return had arrived.

Chapter Fourteen



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All Hallow's Eve
Despite Ginny's kind words and advice, Draco knew that this was a decision he would
have to make this decision himself. He had been given the chance to make a choice and
he knew he must do the right thing. He had never thought twice about becoming a Death
Eater, this is what he had been brought up to do, until Professor Àille had given him the
choice. Now he knew, as he had always known that he didn't really want to be a Death
Eater. Sure, he was cunning and deceitful, malicious even but he wasn't evil. He didn't
want to hurt people. And they would hurt him if he didn't accept.
Could he really spy on them? Draco wondered whether or not he had the courage. He
didn't think he had the guts. He'd never really considered it an option. If he flat out
refused, they would use Ginny as bait, eventually they would kill her if he didn't follow
the rules. They would torture her first and then he would be greatly punished. He would
be cast out of the circle and would be no good to anyone.
He would have to live the rest of his life in hiding, even if The Dark Lord was eventually
defeated, he would still be seen as a traitor, and he would still live a life of fear. He and
Ginny could go into hiding, but she was too young to start her life like that. If he became
a spy, she could go into hiding after she finished school that is if she still wanted him
then. That is if she still wanted a man who had received the Dark Mark. He shuddered at
the thought of having to receive the Mark. He just knew it would be painful. Everything
associated with Voldemort seemed to be painful.
After agonising for hours Draco saw that if he didn't want to be a Death Eater, which he
didn't, there wasn't a choice. He couldn't put Ginny in danger like that. She was too
important.
Professor Àille walked in the door.
'Draco' she said astonished. 'What are you doing here?'
'I've made a decision,' he said firmly.
He handed her the letter, she read it slowly and deliberately, weighing up its contents.
'I take it, because you here, you do not wish to be a Death Eater.'
Draco nodded. He took a deep breath.
'I will spy for you,' he said it slowly and carefully although there was a detectable
element of anxiety in the voice.
'Are you positive?' she asked. 'You will be placing yourself in grave danger. They will
kill you immediately if they catch you. They will not even give it a second thought.'
'I understand and I realise that you don't know whether or not you can trust me,' he said.
'But believe me when I say, I am in far more danger if I refuse. You may be able to hide
me, but you cannot guarantee my safety. Look what happened to the Potter's. You no
longer know who is good and who is evil, you've got no idea who to trust. My father


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would be after me for the rest of his life. They would torture Ginny and then they would
kill her. Just to get at me. I cannot put her in that kind of danger. I will not. I do not want
her harmed. I know they will kill me if I'm caught, if I spy then at least I but myself some
time.'
She nodded.
'You are very brave Draco; I will inform Dumbledore of your decision. He will organise
your training. We have a mentor in mind for you.'
He wondered who that would be. It would obviously have to be someone who was
already spying for them.
'There's one more thing Professor,' he said. This decision had been far easier. Once he
had decided that he definitely did not want to be a Death Eater, he knew what the next
step would be. He would free his mother.
'I will give you my father.'
'What?' the tone of the question was that of someone who had received a shock they had
never expected.
'I want him punished for what he has done to me. I will give you proof of his Death Eater
activities, I will give testimony of his actions, and I will trap him into performing an
unforgivable curse, so that he gets life in Azkaban and I don't have to worry about him
anymore. I want my mother to be free from his abuse. I make my own decisions from
now on Professor.'
Chrystal Àille watched the boy walk out of her office. He was virtually sacrificing
himself for them. The boy was right. He had no choice; they would kill him and those he
loved if he did not conform. But there was too much of his mother in him for him to
follow Voldemort, despite his upbringing. The boy wasn't evil, despite everything else he
was. She just hoped that he would be faithful to them. He could easily become a liability.
But then that was a chance they would have to take. He could be extremely useful.
She would talk to Sirius after the feast.
*~*
The Halloween Feast was particularly spirited this year. The Great Hall as per usual was
decorated with giant jack-o-lanterns suspended in the air instead of candles. Hagrid had
done his best to ensure that they were large and rich in colour for Halloween. For some
reason, the experience of walking into the Great Hall at Halloween never ceased to amaze
Harry. It was like walking back into a fairytale land, where all your problems could be
left behind. Harry just hoped that something wouldn't happen this year to destroy the
feast.
The Gryffindor table was in high spirits after the Quidditch match. Everybody was
congratulating Ron on his efforts with the team, Harry hoped that it would mean that he
would now lay off them a bit, he loved Quidditch but at the rate Ron was pushing them,


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there wasn't going to be a team to win the Cup by the end of the season. It was also good
to see Ron getting the attention he deserved. Although it had never really been an issue
between them, Harry was aware that many people saw him only as his sidekick, as untrue
as that statement was. Ron had worked hard since he had taken over as Quidditch
Captain. His tactics were mind-boggling and had never failed to win Gryffindor a match.
Ginny appeared to be the only person not in very good spirits, despite her outstanding
form on the Quidditch pitch that day. Try as they would neither Harry nor Ron could
cheer her up and they both failed to understand why she would be so upset. Rose hinted
to Harry and Ron that she had been stood up after the Quidditch match and had been in a
foul mood since then.
Ginny just felt like she couldn't tell them what was wrong. How could she say, I think my
boyfriend is going to break up with me because I think he's decided to be a Death Eater?
They'd just turn around and say that they had warned her. He'd been so distant the last
week; Ginny was certain he'd decided to follow the Dark Lord. He'd been so unlike
himself lately. It just wasn't fair. Why did she have to fall for Draco Malfoy of all people?
Why did he have such an effect on her? Rose wasn't helping either. She was trying to
cheer Ginny up, but at the same time she was trying to catch Ron's attention very
unsuccessfully. It was unsettling that her best friend seemed to have a secret crush on
Ron.
Hermione was in the best mood that she had been since school her birthday. In light of
the Gryffindor victory and the fact that Lavender hadn't kissed Harry openly when they
had won had made her feel much better than she had in a while. She could deal with their
relationship as long as she did not have to witness it. She had even gotten over her insane
jealousy. Perhaps she had just been using the thought to get over Ron. Or perhaps the fact
that she hadn't kissed him meant that things weren't going so well between them. That
was an even better thought.
The house-elves had made numerous delicious dishes for them; the food was absolutely
exceptional (well, perhaps not as good as the Yule Ball in fourth year but pretty good
nonetheless). Harry dug into his roast pumpkin, the traditional Halloween side dish,
eagerly. It was a good thing he liked pumpkin. He wondered if it was a wizard thing,
there wasn't a witch or wizard he knew that didn't like pumpkin.
After the meal was served a young wizard band, called The Piping Pumpkins performed.
The band included Alicia Spinnet who was their lead singer. Harry and Ron had heard of
them in passing before, they were supposed to be really incredible. As the band started to
play, they noticed Lee Jordan hiding in the corner; he'd obviously come to listen to them.
They sang a few popular songs before performing some of their own compositions. Harry
smiled as he listened to her sing. Fred and George had always teased her about it when
they were at Hogwarts, but listening to her, he could understand why Lee had once
whispered that he fell for Alicia while she was singing.
The band was fantastic and gave the Great Hall a celebratory feel. Ron and Harry went
and talked to Alicia afterward, who unfortunately didn't have much time for them, but



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mentioned that Fred and George had managed to strike a deal for their store in Diagon
Alley, despite the heavy opposition they had initially received. Lee had a bit more time
for them, though not by much.
'We'll catch up with you next Hogsmeade weekend,' he said. 'By the way, great Quidditch
match. The commentating was shocking though.'
Lee had a big smile on his face as he and Alicia left Harry and Ron to get back to the
feast.
Harry and Ron intended to enjoy the feast and bask in the celebrations that were planned
for Gryffindor Tower after the feast, as it had been a long time since Gryffindor had won
a Quidditch game two hundred and fifty to nil. They would be put to shame if they didn't
celebrate. McGonagall hadn't really been informed, but they knew she would expect a bit
of post match celebration as long as it wasn't too loud and didn't carry on too long into
the night.
Neville had even managed to sneak in some Butterbeer that afternoon. Harry and Ron
tried endlessly to find out how he managed to sneak out and get in, then sneak it in
without being caught. Neville was keeping his mouth shut. He seemed to be very pleased
with himself. Harry was glad Neville was taking a few more risks; it was good to see him
having a bit of confidence in himself. His problem was that he just didn't believe he was
capable of doing something great, although everyone else in the school was certain he
would take out the Herbology prize.
Harry was flirting with Lavender, which was becoming a regular occurrence, people were
used to that. There was something else though, that surprised a few people. It was Ron
flirting with Parvati and Parvati responding that made a few people eyebrows raise. It
was extremely unexpected to the members of Gryffindor given that Parvati had treated
Ron with the utmost disrespect since he had basically ignored her sister at the Yule Ball.
And Ron, to be honest, had never shown the slightest bit of interest in Parvati at all.
Parvati leaned over towards Ron and whispered something in his ear, and his ear turned
redder than his hair. Poor Rose was glaring at Parvati. Her attempts to make Ron notice
her were going unnoticed.
It was going to be a very interesting night in Gryffindor Tower, Harry thought. He hoped
that the celebrations would be kept under control; he shuddered at the thought of having
to take house points off his fellow house mates. What was going on?
Finally the expected finale occurred with the Hogwarts ghosts well and truly in their
element. They flew in through portraits on the walls, some of the ghosts making
inappropriate faces as they soared through some of the ladies portraits. Nearly Headless
Nick looked like he was having the time of his life, or death, as it would seem. The
ghostly finale ended with the ghost forming a circle above all the students with Peeves in
the middle doing his own little dance routine. It made the entire hall burst into laughter.
The Gryffindor's headed up towards the Tower for the night's celebrations. Seamus ran
upstairs and produced his radio, a special one that was bewitched to play loudly when
hooked up to the Wizard Wireless. The Weird Sister's were the feature for this Halloween


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evening. Harry, Seamus and Neville immediately moved to relocate the furniture, so that
there was a bit of a dance floor, while Ron ran upstairs to find the supplies that Fred and
George had sent him. He let off an indoor firework, as Ginny and Rose filled the room
with non-explodable luminous balloons.
The party had begun.
Harry and Ron decided to start the dancing. Harry led Lavender onto the floor as Ron led
Hermione. They started the dancing and soon everyone else seemed to catch onto the
idea. Harry even managed to get Ginny to dance, which seemed an amazing feat given
her attitude at dinner, but then her mood had seemed to have lightened since dinner.
'What's up Gin?' he asked.
'Nothing really Harry,' she said. 'I'll be fine. I need to sort a few things out. Don't worry;
it will all be over soon. I have a feeling I'll be much happier tomorrow.'
She gave him a smile. It wasn't very convincing. Harry wondered if she was going to
break up with Malfoy. For Ron's sake he hoped the answer to that question was yes.
At the end of the dance she headed towards the staircase leading to the girl's dormitories.
Harry then got the chance to dance with Rose who seemed quite concerned about Ginny.
Harry had gotten to know Rose very well when he and Ginny had been a couple. She was
a sweet sixth year girl who was so full of life.
'What happened?' Harry asked.
'Draco ran off after the Quidditch match today,' she replied. 'They were supposed to meet.
She should get over it soon, I hope.'
Harry nodded. Ginny was a little sensitive like that.
'Do you think she's going to be okay?' Rose asked.
'Ginny's made of strong stuff,' he said. 'I just hope for Malfoy's sake that he doesn't hurt
her because I have no doubts that Ron will kill him, and he won't need a wand to do it.'
He finished the next dance and looked down at his watch.
'Sorry Rose,' he said. 'I've got to meet someone.'
Harry decided that it was time for him to briefly visit Sirius. He figured he'd only be gone
for half an hour, as the celebrations were starting to get very interesting. He grabbed the
Invisibility Cloak, he certainly didn't want Snape to see him. It would be just the excuse
he needed to give Harry detention for the rest of the year, despite him having permission.
He covered himself with the cloak and then realised he had forgotten to bring the
Marauders Map.
Damn, At least Sirius was expecting him. He shouldn't get any surprises.



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*~*
After the feast, Chrystal headed towards the Staff Quarters. She knocked on Sirius' door
and entered his room. He was sitting on the bed patiently waiting.
She couldn't understand why he had this effect on her after all these years, but she
couldn't understand why she was so fixed on the idea that he was still pining over Lily. I
mustn't think about it now, it will only upset me.
She walked into the room and sat down on the bed next to him.
'Well,' she began. 'Mr Malfoy has just been to see me; it appears he has made a decision.
He's willing to spy for us.'
Sirius let out his breath.
'Well, let's hope he fully understands what he's getting into.'
'I've explained the dangers and he's willing to accept that. He'd rather risk his life than put
Ginny Weasley at risk. The way he cares about her is astonishing. I admire his courage.
He's well aware of what they will do to her if he refuses. And I should add what they will
do to him.'
'We could put them into hiding,' Sirius suggested.
'Come on Sirius,' she was slightly annoyed. 'Be realistic. They're seventeen and fifteen.
It's one thing to put Draco into hiding but Ginny as well. And we can't just put Draco into
hiding, they'll kill Ginny. It's just like James and Lily again and we wouldn't want to
make a mistake like that.'
Sirius was a bit taken aback.
'Of course we don't want to make a mistake like that again. But they're not quite in the
same league as Lily and James were. Voldemort was after James and Lily for a reason. I
have always regretted that decision. I shouldn't have followed my instincts.'
'You thought Remus was the traitor,' he voice softened slightly. 'Sirius you have to
remember the situation you were in. You made the right decision; it was just the wrong
right decision. You knew someone was passing information; you just picked the wrong
guy. Come on, who would have thought pathetic little Peter Pettigrew, would have
enough guts to be a Death Eater. More like he didn't have enough guts to refuse.'
They were both standing by now. Neither looked very impressed. The past didn't really
need to rehashed.
'I will always hold myself responsible Chrys. I killed two of best friends, one was like a
brother to me, the other was'
He stopped dead in his sentence. Sirius bit his lip. He couldn't continue.
Chrystal glared at him. Why couldn't he be honest with her? She needed to know how he


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really felt; recent events had made it impossible to carry on this façade any longer.
'Go on Sirius' her voice rising. 'What was she to you? Why can't you tell me?'
'She was a friend; she was like a sister to me. She was my best friend's wife.'
'I don't believe you Sirius,' she spat. 'I know you carried a secret candle for her, don't
deny it.'
'Okay I won't deny it, but that's not the way it is now.'
'No?' she questioned. 'You just spent twelve years pining for her in Azkaban, so much so,
that when you get out you won't even approach me, then you get your brains back and
remember that she's dead and it was she who dumped you in the first place!'
'That's hardly fair Chrys,' Sirius defended himself.
'Just tell me this Sirius Black. What if Lily hadn't died, woud you still be with me? Or
would you be with her?'
Sirius was stunned. He'd never seen her so vindictive before, not even when she spoke of
her mother.
*~*
Harry found the portrait of the ballerina and whispered softly;
'Pavlova.'
He reached Sirius' door. A bad feeling began to creep up his insides. He could hear the
yelling.
'Just tell me this Sirius Black. What if Lily hadn't died, would you still be with me? Or
would you be with her?'
He was in disbelief. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. He dropped his Invisibility
Cloak in surprise. Now was probably not a good time to be here, even if he was invited.
Sirius hadn't replied. Chrystal opened the door and stormed out.
Harry didn't have time to move.
'Harry, what are you doing here?' she said as he saw him standing there. She ran off
crying, as Sirius called out the door after her.

Chapter Fifteen
Breaking Point
The Heir of Slytherin has returned again,
More powerful than ever,


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But who is there to face him now,
When most around him quiver.
The time will come for three to stand
To match the Dark Lord's power
But whom they are not one soul knows
In this earth's darkest hour.
'That's all I can remember.'
'That's all?'
'That is all I know Albus', the old Divination teacher said. There was an air of frustration
in her voice. 'I do not go around remembering prophecies, even if it was I who gave
them. In fact that makes me less likely to remember them. That is all I can see when I
look into the Orb, perhaps things will be come clearer in time.'
'I'm sorry Arabella, I am perhaps a bit impatient,' Dumbledore replied. 'I have not found
anyone who remembers The Prophecy, after Voldemort's fall, they did not believe it. If
you can keep trying to recall Arabella, I shall keep searching for the other two for the
moment. I think The Prophecy is of vital importance. We think that we can almost say
with certainty that Harry is Gryffindor's Heir.'
She nodded her head. She knew the consequences if The Prophecy was correct.
'The light or dark will fall'
*~*
'Chrys'
Sirius called out after her.
He saw Harry standing there. He was suddenly very embarrassed, having turned redder
than Ron had at dinner.
'Harry' he began. There was a look of despair on his face. 'I'm sorry, I know I invited you
up here tonight, but I have to sought this out right now or it will be a mess. Come and see
me tomorrow after your Prefect's meeting, okay? We'll talk then. I'm so sorry Harry.'
Harry nodded as he walked off.
Sirius was in love with my mum? My mum dumped Sirius? Was that for my dad?
Harry found it too bizarre to be true, especially after summer. He didn't really want to
believe that his mum had ever been the object of anyone else's affection but his dad.
Could Sirius love her? Could he still love her despite everything that had happened? Was


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it possible despite how much he professed to love Chrystal Àille?
He made his way back to Gryffindor Tower to rejoin the party. He wasn't really in the
mood. True to his earlier promise to Sirius, he didn't tell anyone of what he had
overheard but joined in the party like nothing was wrong.
He hoped that they would sort things out. He knew that Sirius has head over heels in love
with her.
e was surprised when he got back. Ginny had already disappeared, that was to be
expected she had headed upstairs when they had finished dancing. Neville was the centre
of attention on the dance floor, dancing with Natalie McDonald, the fourth year Chaser
and many of the students weren't doing anything but staring at her. Hermione was joining
in the celebrations dancing with Seamus and Dean, at the same time. That was certainly a
sight. Harry looked at her there dancing; it was hard to believe how pretty she had
become. Harry looked for a sign of Ron. He couldn't see him anywhere. He walked over
to Hermione and the boys, asking if he could interrupt them. They looked disappointed,
but reluctantly allowed it.
'May I have this dance fair lady?' he asked.
She giggled as she replied and Harry led her back onto the dance floor.
'Where's Ron?' He asked.
'Over in the corner,' she replied. 'I think he's a little drunk on Butterbeer, he's had at least
twenty glasses.'
'I hope your exaggerating, he couldn't possibly have had that much to drink in the short
time that I was away.' Harry said as he watched Hermione's eyes look up at him,
longingly. Harry looked twice; he must have been imagining things. Hermione would
never look at him that way. She only thought of him as a friend.
The song that was blaring through the Seamus' speakers came to an end; Harry looked
over toward the corner and saw Ron and Parvati snogging on a chair.
Lavender came over and whispered;
'Someone better have had a potion because I can only guess what they'll get up to
tonight.'
'Is she drunk too?' Harry asked Lavender and Hermione.
They both nodded.
''Fraid so' Hermione replied.
Harry looked at Hermione. She didn't look exactly happy since she'd looked over at Ron
and Parvati.
'Are you okay with this?' Harry asked


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'Yep,' she replied. 'Besides, I've got two men over there, happy to keep me entertained.'
She grinned as she pointed towards Seamus and Dean who were signalling for her to
come over. She waved goodbye and went back to the boys as a slow number started.
Even so Harry didn't believe her. The fake smile just wasn't convincing.
What could he do if she didn't want to talk anyway?
Harry held Lavender close and led her in the slow number. Glancing over the common
room of tipsy students, it was needless to suggest that Ron wouldn't be the only one who
scored that night.
Harry saw Ron and Parvati slip out
*~*
'Chrys'
Sirius called out again. She had slammed her door shut.
He knocked on the door.
'Open up Chrys, please, let me explain. Fine you give me no choice.'
He tried to open the door. It was locked.
'Alohamora' he whispered.
He was amazed it worked. Surely a Defence Against the Dark Arts Teacher would have
more security on her door. Perhaps she had been somewhat distracted lately.
He walked over to the bed and lifted her up. He walked out the door before he said
anything.
'I am kidnapping you and I won't hear a complaint. Okay?'
As angry as she was, she had to admit she didn't mind being kidnapped by Sirius Black.
Although, she still screamed for him to put her down.
Sirius carried her up to the astronomy tower, where he laid her down on the ground next
to the window. She finally stopped screaming.
'Do you see those stars out there?' he asked.
The sky was alive with bright shining stars twinkling at her. It reminded her of the way
Sirius' eyes used to twinkle before he was sent to Azkaban.
'My love for you is greater than the number of stars. Will you please promise to listen to
what I have to say? There was something I wanted to say to you tonight, your accusations
have not changed it but they have complicated it somewhat.'
He was staring at her longingly, almost with desperation to his look.



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She couldn't let him suffer like that.
'I will listen Sirius', she said reluctantly. 'But it had better be good.'
'I will not deny that I loved Lily,' he said placing the stress on the word loved. 'I did love
her at one point in time, but it was never meant to be. I never loved her romantically.
Ever. I am well and truly over the short relationship we had, I was over her before we
became a couple. I would never be with someone unless I could commit myself to them
completely. The love I have for Lily is that of a brother for a sister. She married my best
friend and I couldn't have been happier for them. Do you understand?'
She did not reply, she just stared at him.
Could she have been so mistaken? Could she have possibly misread him so incorrectly?
Sirius continued;
'You accused me of pining for Lily. You have no idea what was running through my
brain while I was there. Yes, I spent twelve years in Azkaban. It was not spent pining for
Lily, even though seeing her and James dead on the floor has haunted my thoughts since
that night. The thought that kept coming to my mind was your letter. Your words, 'An
Auror just can't be with a convicted murderer.' I kept hearing that in my head over and
over again. I had lost you. I had lost you because I valued my best friend and his wife so
much. I lost the most important thing in my life and I was innocent. Thinking about you
not wanting me anymore nearly drove me crazy. I tried to think about what I would do if
I ever got out, how I would make it up to you, come and watch you play Quidditch, help
you raise a family, play the odd practical joke, but the overwhelming thought of having
lost you kept returning. I hoped and hoped that you would change your mind, but you
never came. That's why I couldn't approach you, because I thought you'd changed your
mind Chrys. I promise you by these stars that I will always be there for you, for better
and worse, I will always love you. You, Chrystal Àille, no one else.'
Chrys had been taking everything that Sirius had said.
'You spent twelve years depressed beause you had lost me?' she asked.
He nodded.
Chrystal was finally aware of the consequences of her actions. Because she had been
scared she had pushed Sirius away. He had not tried to make contact with her, so she had
assumed he had been pining over Lily and didn't care about her anymore. She had wanted
him to write back and plead for her to reconsider, she had needed reassurance and there
was no one to give it. She had needed him to tell her that he loved her, her and no one
else. Yet at the time, he had not approached her because he believed she had moved on
with her life. She had never moved on, her life had just become even more complicated
than it already had been.
She just couldn't risk taking that kind of a risk on Sirius then, could she afford to do it
now? She wasn't sure with everything else going on that she could take that risk. The



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difference now was that she wanted to. She didn't care about anything else anymore.
Sirius was the most important thing in her life and she was not going to jeopardise their
relationship because she was scared.
She gazed at Sirius. She was sure. This was what she wanted.
Sirius had plagued her thoughts since her mother's death. The fact that something she had
no control over prevented her from being with the man she loved had hardened her, made
her determined to succeed in both Quidditch and ensuring that Death Eaters were brought
to justice. She had been one of the harshest Aurors around. Death Eaters feared the
consequences if she had discovered them.
Sirius had been the price she paid. She didn't want to pay that price anymore.
She reached up and kissed him.
'Can you forgive me?' she asked. 'I have believed that you have spent the last sixteen
years longing for Lily. I was mistaken. I trust you Sirius, you have given me your word
and I am prepared to accept it.'
She kissed him again and this time, he softened. He doubted whether or not this was the
most appropriate time to ask her what he wanted to ask, however he sincerely doubted
that where Chrystal Àille was concerned, there would ever be an appropriate time.
He broke away from her. She looked disappointed.
'You haven't finished have you?' she asked.
What could he possibly have to say now?
'No' he mumbled. 'Ah Chrys, there was um something I wanted to ask you tonight?'
The disappointment dropped from her face.
'Given what has just happened, I'm not sure if it's appropriate,' he said.
'Nothing's ever appropriate from your mouth Sirius,' she replied. 'Go on and ask me and
I'll try and answer as honestly as possible despite my earlier outburst.'
He looked at her and took a deep breath in. She was teasing him. She was no longer
angry. It was now or never. He'd never work up the courage again.
'I want you to marry me Chrystal Àille. Will you?'
She looked up at Sirius, it wasn't quite what she had expected, but it was what she had
wanted for twenty long years.
'Are you serious, Sirius?' she asked.
'I've never been more serious in my life,' he replied. The usual edge was not there, he was
serious that was certain.



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'Yes' she replied, as she leant over and kissed him again and again.
He pulled out a velvet box that held a ring, a single diamond solitaire.
'I wanted to find you a beautiful crystal to match your name,' he explained as he slipped
the ring on her finger.
'You can speak Gaelic then can you?' she replied. 'Thank you, it is indeed beautiful
Sirius. You've obviously put thought into this.'
She reached up and kissed him again. The feel of his arms on her back, awoke the power
that she felt for him. He shivered as he undid her cloak, as she reached up to undo his. He
kissed her again and again, each kiss igniting the passion inside him even more than it
had been before. He brought her closer towards him as the intensity increased.
She had been waiting for him for years.
She gave into her deepest desires and pulled him closer to her.
They awoke with the sunrise still in the tower, thanking the stars that it was Sunday.
*~*
Draco met Ginny the next morning after breakfast. She did not look exactly happy.
'I apologise for running off after the game. I needed to see someone,' he explained his
actions from the day before. 'Congrats, but you'd better not beat my team like that.'
'Whom did you need to see?' she asked. 'What was so important that you couldn't even
tell me where you were going?'
'Professor Àille,' he said. 'I wanted to catch her straight away. I told her that I'd made a
decision.'
'Oh' Ginny replied. There was an edge of disappointment to her voice.
Ginny didn't know whether or not to be pleased. Her heart raced. Was he going to
become a Death Eater? Could he possibly break her heart?
'What are you going to do?' she asked.
'I'm going to spy for Dumbledore. I've given it a lot of thought Ginny; I don't want to be a
Death Eater. If I refuse they will kill you and they will torture you first. If I do this I may
be of some help, I may even be able to help make it possible for us to be together without
having to look over our shoulders every couple of seconds. I don't want to go into hiding.
I don't want to do that to you.'
'Are you doing this for me?' Ginny asked. 'Because I'm not worth it Draco. There are
more important things than me.
'Yes and no' he began. 'I'm doing it for us, but for there to be an us I need to control my



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life. I am going to sacrifice my father for us. I need your help to enlist Potter's help.
There's no way I can convince him, he wouldn't believe me, but I need to use him to get
my father. This doesn't mean I like him.'
'Thank you Draco,' Ginny said as she embraced him.
She held out her hand and went for a walk around the lake.
On reaching the other side, they were obscured by bushes. Draco kissed her somewhat
awkwardly, he was much moreexperienced than Ginny. She was giving him an innocent
child look. She did look so innocent and naïve, that he wondered if he should change that.
*~*
Draco and Ginny finally emerged in time for the Prefect's meeting at eight o'clock. They
in fact had almost missed the start. They were by far the last two to arrive, and Harry had
observed this. He'd given Malfoy what could only be described as a death stare. He'd also
observed the glowing look on Ginny's face and the ruffled hair. He'd have to have words
to her, even if Harry was okay with it, if Ron saw her gazing at Malfoy the way she did
for the entire meeting, he would have an absolute fit. Harry was glad that Ron had a lot
on his plate, because Ginny's absences from the tower had gone largely unnoticed.
The meeting had been short, there was not much of importance to discuss given that the
Christmas holidays were fast approaching and everyone had behaved themselves pretty
well at the Halloween Feast last night. Well, Hermione and one of the fifth year
Gryffindor prefect's had been coping a bit of flack for last night's events.
'Ginny' he asked, as everyone was leaving. 'Can I have a word?'
'Don't let Ron see you like that' he said somewhat sarcastically.
'Like what?' Ginny asked trying to be naïve.
'You're positively glowing,' Harry answered. 'I don't want to know what you and Malfoy
have been doing, I don't even want to think about it, but Ron will kill Malfoy if he thinks
he's touched you.'
He paused for a moment.
'I don't mean to sound harsh Ginny, but it is Maoy we're talking about.'
Ginny left the room unhappily, but nonetheless reflecting on what Harry had said. How
could she get them to believe he'd changed?
Hermione had been waiting for Harry.
'Well that went well, all things considered,' she said.
'Really Hermione' he said. 'What were you thinking last night. Seamus? How long has
that been on the cards?'



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'Too much Butterbeer,' she replied. 'Seamus was never on the cards, and will never be.
He's not exactly my type, you know, the explosion things.'
'Well you're lucky I didn't shut the whole thing down' he said, 'McGonagall would've
flipped. Who smuggled in the something in the Butterbeer?'
'Don't know, but I think it was Neville.'
'Neville?' he asked in disbelief.
Hermione nodded her head.
'He's becoming a bit adventurous in his old age,' she replied.
'Perhaps I should have called it off then,' Harry commented. 'Seriously, when
McGonagall finds out we're in for it.'
'She doesn't have to know about the spiked Butterbeer, you're becoming sensible in your
old age Harry. You're father would be mortified.'
'Right,' he replied.
He picked her up and carried her over his shoulder, then span her round and carried her
up the flight of stairs that led to the common room.
'You're my next prank victim' he said. 'Better watch out; Harry Potter is onto you.'
He walked Hermione back to the common room, collected his invisibility cloak and made
his way back to the Staff Quarters. He had told Hermione that he wanted to see Sirius
alone, which she accepted but gave him a questioning look. He was quite concerned
about what Sirius would say. He was also embarrassed. It must have looked like he was
eavesdropping. He was lucky Snape hadn't appeared or he'd be doing detention for the
rest of the year. As he reached the Staff Quarters he saw that Sirius' door was open and
Sirius was waiting for him. Sirius looked happy. It was a good sign.
'Harry, I apologise for what you heard last night,' he said. 'It was unnecessary. Chrys had
no idea you were coming up. There was some truth to what she said. I did date your
mother for about a year in fifth year and I fell for her badly, but I wasn't in love with her.
Not the way Chrys thought. We have our tiffs Harry, just don't worry about it.'
Sirius wasn't going to mention anything else about the events the previous night. That
was clear to Harry. At least he didn't appear embarrassed and hence there was no need to
for Harry to be.
'Did you work things out?' Harry asked.
Sirius nodded. That was the end of the conversation.
'Sorry Harry,' Sirius said once again. 'Now where's that cup of tea I promised you? Given
anymore thoughts as to your animal?'



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He had.
He had often spent many hours just wondering what animal would suit him. He thought
he had an idea, but he wasn't quite sure. He had asked Dudley to send him a book on
animals, so that he could look at the animals' personality.
*~*
Harry made his way back to his room to see that Hedwig had just arrived bearing a letter
for Harry. He knew instantly where it had come from.
Dear Harry,
Happy Halloween! Do you really celebrate it, or is it just a stereotype? Thanks for your
letter, glad to know things are going okay. I've been working hard but I've spent a lot of
time staring at this pretty girl. Do you think she'd go out with me if I asked her? Can you
make me a love potion please Harry? I just want to see if it would work.
Mum said to ask you home for Christmas if I wrote to you. She's gone all funny since you
left; she's been crying about your Mum and calling for her in her sleep. Do you have any
idea why? Perhaps you can ask that friend of your mum's because I'm really worried
about her. And Dad's not very happy about it either. He's really angry that she's even
mentioning your mum in the house. He keeps sending me letters complaining about her.
Next time can you send your owl at night because I got a bit of a stare when she arrived
yesterday?
Write back and send me a potion,
Dudley.
Harry shook his head; Dudley was at the very least amusing. Perhaps he should send him
a love potion. He was still mean at times, but it appeared he was very worried about Aunt
Petunia. He decided to ask Chrys after Defence Against the Dark Arts tomorrow and then
reply to Dudley's letter.
*~*
They had a very interesting lesson with Charlie the next day and having covered all that
there was to know about dragons Charlie announced that they would have a special
couple of lessons, the week before Christmas, in which they would be dealing with the
real thing. Three dragons were being brought over from Romania especially for teaching,
so that the seventh and sixth years could have practical experience before their
N.E.W.T.s. Charlie had managed to have the Slytherin's hanging on his every word,
despite being a Weasley, however Harry missed the unpredictability of Hagrid's lessons.
Or perhaps he just missed Hagrid.
They headed up to the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom. Their classes hadn't
been quite as eventful following the first one, but they had had practical lessons in
dealing with different types of curses and hexes. The lessons had been helpful, but Harry


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wished he had gotten a chance to learn how to overcome the pain curse.
They learnt how to block complex Transfiguration curses today, but Harry really wasn't
concentrating. Hence he made several mistakes and Malfoy (who he was unfortunately
partnered with) made sure he paid for it. Harry was transfigured into a beetle, a rat and a
flower before the lesson was over, and he was almost stepped on by Goyle when he was a
flower. So not only was he humiliated, Malfoy managed to block all of his curses earning
extra points for Slytherin.
'I know how to beat Gryffindor at Quidditch,' he smirked. 'Just transform Potter into a rat
and he'll fall off his broomstick.'
The Slytherin gang laughed loudly as Harry failed to block Malfoy's next curse.
Finally when the humiliation was over, Harry told Ron, Hermione and Lavender that he
would meet them in the common room, so he was free to talk to Chrystal alone.
'Professor Àille?' he asked.
'I don't want to talk about Saturday Harry, so don't ask any questions,' she replied.
'It's not that. My aunt has been crying herself to sleep sine she showed me photos of her
and Mum as children,' he began. 'I was wondering if you had any idea why? My cousin
says she's been crying and calling for Mum in her sleep.'
'Petunia?' she asked. 'Calling for Lily?'
Harry nodded.
'Well,' she began. 'Lily said that she and Petunia were almost inseparable, then Petunia
began high school and they discovered Lily was a witch and suddenly an inseparable pair
never spoke to each other. Lily was always upset that they had grown apart and I guess
your aunt must have been as well. That and I don't think your uncle is a particularly good
influence. All this talk about magic being an abnormality and not a gift, he warped any
good thoughts she had about magic, which weren't many in the first place. I was never
fond of Petunia, Harry, but I feel for her now, because I think you've made her grieve for
the loss of her sister. Not necessarily Lily the witch, but Lily the little girl. Lily, the only
family she had.'
Harry realised that he understood. He resolved himself to write to his aunt and try to
console her. They both missed Lily, even though Harry could barely remember her. They
were going through the same thing. They could share their grief and Uncle Vernon would
never have to know.
As he left he glanced at the book in his hand. The book on animals that Dudley had sent
him. He opened it to the appropriate page.
He knew what his Animagus would be.

Chapter Sixteen


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Hogsmeade Under Fire
On Thursday, McGonagall announced that there would be a Hogsmeade weekend in four
weeks, the second last weekend before the holidays. Ron was excited, he needed to
restock his supplies of joke items, and he and Harry were looking forward to seeing Fred
and George again.
Over that time, Harry became worried about his two best friends. Ron would only talk
about seeing Fred and George, no mention being made of his Quidditch practices,
although given the Cannon's losing streak, Harry had considered Ron very unlucky not to
get a game. Ron had not mentioned what happened with Parvati, nor had he even spoken
to her. He wasn't noticing Ginny's absences and he looked like he needed some sleep. He
hadn't been pushing the Quidditch Team as hard as he had at the beginning of the year, he
didn't appear to have the time, and was always struggling to get his schoolwork done on
time.
Hermione on the other hand was becoming very uptight. She had copped a lot of flack for
snogging Seamus at the Halloween party, and she appeared to be very unhappy about it.
She always seemed to be reading that book on the mysteries of the Founders. Harry was
sure that she was upset because of Ron and Parvati and he figured that was the reason she
had turned to Seamus.
At least they were talking to him. If they hadn't been it would be a real problem. He
sighed, as he got ready for his Animagus lesson.
He had decided that he wanted to become a lion. The feeling had been growing inside
him ever since he had begun to think about what form to take. Harry couldn't explain
why. There was just a sense that seemed like it was calling him. A voice kept telling him
that he was a lion. He could see himself running through the woods as a lion with a pretty
girl on his back. He couldn't work out who it was, but he could sense that the lion was
him.
He walked in the door and told Sirius.
'A lion?' he asked.
'Is there a problem with that?' Harry replied slightly bewildered by Sirius' reaction.
'No Harry, it just suits you perfectly, you're a Leo for starters, you're in Gryffindor, and
you're full of courage. If it's a lion you're to be then today we will work on changing your
fur to gold.'
Harry closed his eyes and concentrated. He could see himself covered in gold fur. Then
he burst out laughing.
'What's so funny?' asked Sirius.
'I'm just remembering what Hermione looked like when she used cat hair by mistake in a
Polyjuice Potion,' Harry replied. 'It's okay, I'm concentrating now.'



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Harry closed his eyes again. He could see himself covered in gold fur.
Sirius stopped him immediately.
'Harry that was fantastic,' he said. 'I think you'll be ready sooner that we anticipated.'
Harry transformed again, this time it took him only seconds to transform into 'Harry
covered in gold fur.'
*~*
The end of term approached quickly, as did the Hogsmeade weekend. Everyone had been
looking forward to it and the sixth and seventh years were excited by the prospect of their
Care of Magical Creatures lessons involving real dragons in the week to come.
The morning of the Hogsmeade visit arrived at last. Ron asked Parvati to meet him at the
Three Broomsticks, at three o'clock, Harry doing the same with Lavender. To the surprise
of Gryffindor Tower; Parvati had said yes, despite having not spoken to Ron since
Halloween. That would give Ron and Harry some time, time in which Harry hoped he
could get Ron to talk. They would meet Hermione in the bookstore around lunchtime.
Ron and Harry headed straight for Weasley Wizard Wheezes. Fred and George were
waiting for them, and were happy to give Harry a grand tour of what had changed since
he had last visited. They pointed objects out to Harry, were utterly disappointed when
Harry told them he had already seen them from Ron and then sent the two off with free
samples.
'The best form of promotion' Fred said. 'You take them to school, everyone loves them,
and we sell more! Don't tell Percy.'
'We'll meet you at the Three Broomsticks at three' George said. 'We're bringing Katie and
Angelina. Lee and Alicia as well. Percy's bailing. He and Penny have 'work' to do.'
The look on George and Fred's faces were priceless.
'Great,' Ron called over his shoulder as they walked out the door. 'Charlie will be there as
well.'
After they had left the store, Harry decided he'd had enough.
'Okay, Ron' he said, 'spit it out, what's wrong?'
Ron looked surprised.
'What are you talking about?' he asked Harry.
'Well, you're tired, never around and never talk to me anymore.'
'Don't take it personally Harry' Ron said. 'I've just been really busy. They're going to let
me play, first game of the Christmas holidays. I'm nervous. They've been training me
really hard. I haven't had time to think let alone talk. I'm beginning to think it was a


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mistake. Playing while I'm still at school that is.'
'Sorry for snapping' Harry said. 'I'm worried about you and Herm. She seems worse than
you. She just seems so depressed.'
'I'm worried about her too.' Ron replied in agreement 'Think it's time we tried to loosen a
few screws, what do you think?'
'I want her to lighten up, if the two of us are going to be the only seventh years in
Gryffindor Tower for the whole holiday,' Harry replied.
As far as he knew, she was the only other seventh year staying; Dumbledore had
specifically requested that the two of them stay. Ron was going home because Bill had
managed to secure a job at Gringott's in Diagon Alley and Mrs Weasley wanted a big
family Christmas with the family all together.
They conferred for a few minutes over their course of action. They knew Hermione was
in the bookstore; she was looking for some book called 'Arithmancy and The Founders'.
(When they had discovered this they had told her she was too obsessed with the
founders.)
The first stop on their mission was Honeydukes. To cheer up Hermione (and themselves)
they would need lots of sweets. Once they had filled their pockets with every kind of
sweet that Hermione liked they moved onto the next step of their mission. This involved
trying to bewitch the sweets to do silly things, such as explode, dance and sing songs to
her. Then they entered the bookshop and bought the most ridiculous history book they
could find 'The Life of Helga Hufflepuff - an entirely factual account of the forgotten
founder.'
It was now time to find Hermione. They wandered around they store calling out
'Hermione, Oh Hermione, where for art thou Hermione?'
They received odd glances from other customers in the store.
Finally Hermione emerged.
'I found the book I'm after and it would appear I've found you' she said. 'Now can you
stop acting like fools? You really are making a scene.'
'Buy your book Hermy' Ron said. 'Then we are kidnapping you.'
'You are not.' She replied as she went and paid for her book. 'I need to find an ailment for
Crookshanks. He's getting much worse. And don't call me Hermy.'
'Sorry Hermy' began Harry, 'but the joke's on you, I told you that you were my next
victim remember.'
The two boys picked her up and carried her up to the Shrieking Shack, where they pulled
out the packages from their pockets.



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'You need cheering up' said Ron.
'We have presents' said Harry.
They gave her the packages and were pleased when she laughed at the sweets. Then when
she opened the package, she asked them;
'You do realise this book is a joke don't you.'
'Why do you think we bought it for you?' Harry said. 'A little light entertainment for
Christmas.'
They were glad to hear her laughter.
'I guess I did need a little cheering up,' she said. 'Anyway, I've got something to tell you.'
Ron and Harry looked at her in anticipation.
'I've found out what the face was.'
*~*
Severus Snape ran into the headmaster's office. He was clutching his arm.
'Dumbledore' he yelled. 'Something is going to happen today. I can feel the mark. Are
there any staff members in Hogsmeade today? The students are at risk.'
He looked around and saw that Dumbledore's office was empty. Except for a woman in
the corner.
'Professor Figg' he said startled. 'What are you doing here?'
'Working for Dumbledore' she replied. 'I'm not a Professor anymore Severus.
Dumbledore, incidentally, is in London. You'd better find that Auror he hired, there are
children who are indeed at risk, Mr Snape. It has been foreseen.'
He ran back to the Staff Quarters and began banging on Chrystal Àille's door. He couldn't
believe that his old Divination Teacher had been sitting in Dumbledore's office. He
wondered if she had anything to do with The Prophecy of Saoghal.
Tere was no reply. He tried Sirius' door, then Flitwick and McGonagall's. No one
answered.
Hopefully the Auror was already there.
*~*
Harry and Ron were listening in anticipation.
'A face is a creation of it's master. It is simply just that, a face. It usually has non-distinct
characteristics. That's not important, what's important is that it can only do magic at the
will of its master, but the master cannot control it. They are dark creations, which usually


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want to do evil, so Voldemort didn't anticipate the face letting you go. If he had he
probably would have killed you, I mean if Voldemort's after you, you'd imagined he
would have tried to kill you on the platform if he'd had the chance. But the face didn't
want to. It gave you a prophecy instead.'
'I will have to make a choice.' Harry said. 'Are their prophecies accurate?'
'That's the thing Harry,' Hermione continued, 'they are usually the exact opposite, they are
usually completely false, they predict the right thing but inform the involved with the
exact opposite so as to confuse them.'
'Then he doesn't have to make a choice.' Ron looked confused. 'What's going on
Hermione?'
'That's all I could find out. And to find out that I had to trick Professor Àille into signing
a permission slip so I could get into the Restricted Section. It was in the same book as the
one I used for our Celts essay. She didn't even look at the name though, she appeared in
fairy land.'
Hermione was okay, Harry breathed a sigh of relief, and it would appear that he wouldn't
have t make a decision. Things were back on track.
'Hermione and I think we should warn Ginny' Harry said.
'About what?' Ron asked.
'About Malfoy becoming a Death Eater.' Hermione said.
'Why does it matter?' They aren't together anymore.'
Hermione and Harry stared at each other in disbelief.
'Are you blind Ron?' Harry asked.
'No, what's going on.' His voice began to rise. 'She told me on Halloween that she thought
he was going to break up with her. Isn't that what happened? I haven't been worried about
her since.'
'Should you tell him or should I?' Hermione asked.
'You' Harry replied, 'then he can bite your head off.'
'Thanks Harry' she replied. 'They are certainly not broken up, he was all over her at the
last prefect's meeting.'
'WWWHAAATTTTT?' Ron screamed.
'Apparently they're still an item.' Harry said. 'So should we warn her?'
'We bloody well better. This is my sister we're talking about.'
Despite the seriousness of the situation they laughed. It was hard to believe how


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overprotective of Ginny Ron was. She was sixteen years old after all.
Once they had agreed to talk to Ginny that night, they made their way to The Three
Broomsticks where Hermione would in fact be meeting Seamus.
'It doesn't mean anything' she said, 'but you guys all have a date. I don't want to be alone.'
'Let's sneak up on them,' Ron said. 'Do you have your invisibility cloak? It would give
Parvati a little shock.'
Harry pulled the Invisibility cloak over the three of them. Lavender, Seamus and Parvati
were waiting outside. Ron poked at Parvati making her jump. He pulled off the cloak as a
grin appeared on his face.
'Ron Weasley,' she cried.
As they walked inside Sirius pulled Harry aside.
'I've got to tell you something' he said mischievously. 'Chrystal and I are getting married.
I know it's a bit of a shock, but we're going to announce it this afternoon so I thought I'd
tell you first.'
'What?' Harry asked. 'How, when?'
It was a bit of a shock, given that the last time Harry had seen them it together it had been
at the end of a screaming match.
'Halloween' Sirius replied. Harry most certainly raised his eyebrows. 'If you want I'll
explain more later, but your little girlfriend is glaring at me and if she keeps doing that I'll
have to let off a Dungbomb in her bag during the next apparition class.'
'Nah,' he said jokingly, 'She'd know it was you and never come back to class.'
Harry and Sirius headed over towards the table, where Lavender greeted Harry very
enthusiastically, whereas Sirius just gave Chrys a nod. Charlie looked like he had already
made himself at home. Harry joined Hermione at the bar, who was visibly not impressed
with the way Ron and Parvati appeared joined together.
'What's with them?' she asked. 'First they're snogging, then they're not speaking, then
they're snogging again. Honestly.'
'Don't ask me Hermione' he replied. 'Perhaps Ron doesn't know himself. But you are
sounding a little jealous.'
She gave him a look that said you've got to be kidding. Harry collected his and
Lavender's Butterbeer, before he walked back to the table, where the Weasley twins,
Angelina, Katie, Alicia and Lee had joined them.
'Gryffindor reunion' Fred called as Hermione and Harry walked over. Harry looked
behind him and saw that Sirius had beckoned McGonagall to come over.



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Sirius waited for the laughter to die down, before he dropped what he was sure was going
to be a bit of a bombshell.
'Hey everyone' he called as he tried to get everyone's attention. 'I am here to announce
that my quest is over. I have been pining for years, I have been searching high and low
since I escaped from Azkaban and I have found it at last.'
'What is it Sirius?' McGonagall asked. 'Or do I have to punish you the way I had to when
you were at school. When you could still use Transfiguration as punishment. You are
honestly so melodramatic sometimes Black.'
She transfigured him into a jester's hat. Everyone laughed hysterically. It wasn't often
McGonagall would do something like that.
Sirius stood up, having been transfigured back, looking like a little of his pride had been
stolen.
'I shall continue with my epic, instead of taking revenge on ye who will steal my pride,'
Sirius said laughing. 'What I was searching for was right under my eyes. It had been since
I was about a year old. I had been so blind. It is in fact right here in this pub.'
'Sirius Black' Chrys said. 'You are unnecessarily torturing everyone listening to you.
They suffer enough at the hands of Professor Binns as it is. Get on with it.'
'Okay' he said. 'Now that this witch has destroyed my story I may was well tell you that
I've decided to get married in the summer break.'
He paused.
'To the witch.'
He pointed at Chrystal.
There was a mixed vibe in the air, people offering congratulations, even McGonagall,
although she had a concerned look on her face when she looked at the ring on Chrystal's
hand. She offered her congratulations before leaving. Everyone else began shouting them
drinks amidst the congratulations.
Ron looked over and saw Ginny walk into the pub with Malfoy. Harry could see that he
was absolutely fuming. Charlie had noticed it too.
'Ron,' Charlie said, but he was interrupted.
'What's she doing here with him?' Ron said furiously. 'If she's going to go out with that
drip, the least she could do is have a discreet relationship.'
Malfoy had his arm draped around Ginny's shoulders, nothing that wasn't quite innocent.
Nevertheless it didn't stop on from fuming over.
'Malfoy,' he yelled. 'If you hurt her I'll kill you with my bare hands.'



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It took Sirius, Fred and George to pull Ron away from Malfoy's smirking grin before he
did something stupid. Harry was beginning to wish he had never said anything to Ron or
better yet that Ginny had decided to stay away from Malfoy.
There was no new news given afterward although it appeared that Charlie would have a
full working load a little while longer. Everyone knew that Fred and George had
managed to open the store in Diagon Alley, and people were only slightly surprised when
they found at that Lee and Alicia were going to run it.
'Thank goodness for Apparition,' Lee said. 'It doesn't matter where you work because it's
always easy to get to. And Lish, really needs to be in London, for the band.'
Then Angelina decided to drop her own bombshell.
'I've got a new job,' she said. 'As a Chaser with the Holyhead Harpies. I got sick of the
Wasp's never giving me a chance, so I asked to be traded. And I'm not a reserve either, I'll
be playing in the first game next year.'
There was a big grin on her face. Again everyone began to shout drinks.
Lee spoke up.
'Is there anything else anyone has to tell?' he asked somewhat tongue in cheek.
Then a sudden bang was heard. Everyone was screaming loudly. Harry looked around to
try and see if anyone was hurt. Everyone in the pub looked fine. Harry and Hermione ran
outside immediately looking for any students, while Chrystal and Sirius tried to find out
who was responsible.
They ran outside, and ran in the direction of the bang. They looked up. The Shrieking
Shack no longer stood alone on the hill. It had been blown to pieces.
The Dark Mark was hovering in the air.
A chill ran up Harry's spine. How many people had been in there? They had just been in
there, and they hadn't left...
'We were wearing the invisibility cloak' Ron was repeating over and over again. 'They
saw us go in, but not out. We went in but not out. They think they blew us up. They were
trying to kill us.'
Ron was becoming hysterical, while Hermione and Harry were trying to help the students
who had been near the shack when it blew. So far they had found six or seven students
lying around the shack all with minor injuries of varying descriptions.
Harry knew he had to ignore the thoughts that were running through his brain, so he
could help the students.
Chrystal, McGonagall, Charlie and Sirius came back to help Harry and Hermione who
were searching for students in the wreckage. There was an absolute look of terror on their
faces. Sirius had run into Neville, who had said that a group of fourth, fifth and sixth


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years were heading towards the Shrieking Shack half an hour ago on a quest to find the
ghost that haunted it.
As they sorted through the wreckage, the bodies became apparent. At first count there
were ten found, laying on top of the debris, all seem too stunned to move. They were all
suffering from some degree of shock, two were dead, fourth years that Harry did not
know, and eight that were injured. Some were critical; others had just minor injuries,
which could be tended to by Madam Pomfrey. Those with more serious injuries were
shipped off to St Mungos.
The group of Sirius, Chrystal, Harry and Hermione kept working while McGonagall and
Charlie took injured students back to Hogwarts. They especially made sure they took the
stunned Ron straight up to the hospital wing. Snape joined them in their attempt as soon
as he reached the village. They had come across six more students, two dead one of them
a Gryffindor Beater. The other students who were seriously hurt were immediately
shipped off to St Mungos. Soon there was just a little rubble left. Harry was exhausted
but there was something that kept him going. He reached for a large piece of debris and
lifted it up.
He saw the lifeless body of Colin Creevey lying there.
*~*
With the loss of five students, there was a depressing feel to the procession of students
back from the village. Their plan to talk to Ginny had been abandoned. Harry and
Hermione were summoned directly to Dumbledore's office.
As they entered his office, they could hear Dumbledore.
'Well,' he began, 'the Ministry cannot deny it any longer. People will realise that
Voldemort is back.'
He spied Harry and Hermione.
'Come in you two' he said. 'I'd like a quick word.'
Harry and Hermione sat down.
'I am sending the students home tomorrow. Their parents will be worried about them and
no one is likely to focus on their schoolwork. I also fear that we may become a target, if
we are not careful and wish to try and secure the school further. I will still require you to
stay over the holidays, however you will be the only two staying. Miss Granger, you will
inform your parents that you are safe, Mr Potter, I know your aunt and uncle are not too
concerned and Sirius will be staying here anyway, as I will require his help, so it should
cause too much of a problem. It is perhaps best if you head back to Gryffindor Tower
now. The Heads of Houses are addressing the students now. It is perhaps best if you are
there to help Minerva.'
Harry and Hermione reluctantly made their way back to Gryffindor Tower.



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'Do you think this could be the end of Hogwarts Harry?' Hermione asked him with an
essence of fear in her voice.
'If we do that,' Harry replied, 'then Voldemort has already won.'
Chapter Seventeen
Initiation
The entire school went home on a sombre note the following day. Their anxious parents
had, now called many who were staying, home. Harry and Hermione would be the only
students that stayed. They were required to attend the funerals of those students who had
died in the explosion.
Lavender didn't give him a very nice farewell. It felt to Harry like she was trying to
distance herself from him. He didn't know why. He hadn't done anything to hurt her. It
just felt like she was treating him as though he was a dead man.
Ron was visibly shaken; Harry could hear him at night;
'We were in there. They never saw us leave. It should have been us.'
He would scream it over and over until Harry suggested that this time perhaps it was Ron
who needed a dreamless sleep potion. He surprisingly took Harry up on the suggestion.
He and Parvati had a huge argument that night as well. He entered the common room
only to tell Harry and Hermione that it was over, he didn't want anything to do with her.
He looked exhausted as Hermione and Harry saw him off. He hoped that Ron would be
better once term began.
Harry wasn't sure he was exactly comfortable spending Christmas in Gryffindor Tower
alone with Hermione. She too had been shaken by the explosion, not as much so as Ron,
but she didn't seem to want to walk anywhere by herself. That and Crookshanks was
absolutely crazy, no one could work out hat was wrong with him and it seemed to be
distressing Hermione.
He didn't dare mention the fact that he had been dreaming about her constantly since they
had danced on Halloween.
Harry himself was a little shaken; they had only used the Invisibility Cloak because they
wanted to sneak up on Parvati. Harry couldn't help but think that if the Death Eaters were
indeed after him, there could have been far more casualties.
Harry did some of his holiday homework by the fire before saying goodnight to
Hermione and going to bed. As he looked out the window he saw the full moon shining
brightly.
*~*
The area was secluded, only the remnants of old buildings destroyed by war were visible
between the surrounding trees. It was dark, besides the full moon shining brightly in the


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sky.
The men were standing in a clearing, bowing down to their master.
'Nott,' the master said. 'Why did you fail me? Potter is still alive!'
'We didn't see him leave the building, master,' the man quivered in front of his master.
'You shall be punished,' said the master.
'CRUCIO'
'Who blew up the building?' the master demanded.
'Willie and Elton,' he replied.
'Step forward, Willie and Elton,'
Two men crept forward. There was a look of terror on their faces.
'Did you two use your eyes?'
They just bowed their heads in shame.
'Of course, Master,' one of them muttered.
'Kill them, Nott,' the master said. 'I do not tolerate failure.'
'AVADA KEDAVRA'
There was a flash of green and the two men fell to the ground.
'Where is the boy?'
The boy was brought forward.
His pale skin glistened under the light of the moon.
'You have been chosen to serve me,' the master said. 'Are you prepared to serve me?'
The young boy bowed his head in submission.
'I do, my lord.' He trembled as he spoke.
'You will now become joined to me,' the master said. 'Hold out your arm.'
The boy did as he was told.
'Morsmordre!' the master yelled as he pointed his wand at his new servant.
The boy grasped his arm in pain, as the mark of a skull with a snake coming out of its
mouth became clearly visible on the boy's arm.
*~*


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Harry awoke with a start. He'd just seen Malfoy get the Dark Mark. He was shaking. He
couldn't believe how much pain he had appeared in. He jumped as he heard a noise. He
looked towards the door.
Hermione was standing in the doorway.
'Harry,' she said, 'I was coming in to say goodnight, but you look terrible. What's
happened?'
'Saw,' Harry stuttered, 'Malfoy, Dark mark, Voldemort.'
Harry was still shaking as he tried to answer Hermione.
'You saw Voldemort give Malfoy the Dark Mark?' she asked.
Harry nodded as Hermione tried to wrap a couple of blankets around him.
'Are you going to be okay?' she asked as she poured him a glass of water from the jug
sitting next to his bed.
He simply nodded. He was going to be okay; he just wasn't expecting to see that.
'I guess our suspicions are true then?' Hermione asked. 'We have to get Ginny away from
him. But how? It's clear that she won't listen to us.'
Harry heard very little of what Hermione was saying. He was still shaken by the shock of
seeing Draco receive the mark. Hermione laid him down on the bed as she tried to get
him to sleep. Soon enough she had managed to clam him down. Her soothing voice had a
positive effect on his tormented soul. She pulled the covers off Ron's bed. Harry looked
at her questioningly.
'I'm sleeping here tonight, if you need me,' she said.
Harry closed his eyes and tried to sleep, only partially comforted by the fact Hermione
was sleeping next to him.
*~*
He slept little that night, finally falling to sleep as the sun rose. He kept seeing Draco
Malfoy strut around the Slytherin Common Room, showing off his Dark Mark while
laughing about how he was going to destroy Ginny. He couldn't let that happen, he would
have to do something to warn her.
He finally fell asleep as the sun began to rise.
Hermione came and woke him, just before lunch, as they had to attend the funeral for the
victims of the explosion of the Shrieking Shack, which was to be held in Hogsmeade.
Harry dressed in his school robes and met Hermione in the common room before heading
downstairs to meet Dumbledore. He had never pulled on his robes before with such a
heavy heart. True he had held himself responsible for Cedric's death but somehow this


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wasn't quite the same. It was hard to imagine that Colin Creevey was dead because of
him. Although everyone having found out that the Trio had been in the Shrieking Shack
earlier, had tried to convince them that the explosion wasn't their fault, no one had
appeared to penetrate that into their heads. At the end of the day they felt responsible.
They had entered and no one had seen them leave. The vision just added to his guilt.
Dumbledore greeted Harry with a concerned edge to his voice.
'You look like you're still not sleeping, young Harry,' Dumbledore said. 'You have to stop
beating yourself up, Harry. It is not your fault. You couldn't have prevented that. And you
have no evidence that they were after you.'
Harry nodded before he explained to Dumbledore the reason for his lack of sleep.
To Harry's surprise Dumbledore did not appear surprised. Nor did he say anything.
'Surely he can't stay at school?' Harry asked.
'He will,' Dumbledore replied. He saw the look in Harry's green eyes. 'There are some
things you don't understand, Harry, you will have to trust me on this one.'
Harry, although disappointed because it would have got Malfoy away from Ginny,
nodded in acceptance. He knew that he should trust Dumbledore's judgement, even
though he himself wasn't so sure.
They walked outside into the cold air. Everything looked gloomy as they made their way
to the village. The snow was pelting down, if snow could do such a thing. The cold
combined with the guilt gave Harry a feeling he'd never experienced before.
Dumbledore led Harry and Hermione to the medium-sized cemetery outside Hogsmeade.
Harry had always had a fascination with cemeteries, he'd always been searching for his
parent's graves and yet he'd never found them. He had used tombstones as places to hide
from Dudley and his gang of friends. He had for some reason considered it a place of
safety.
Now though there was an eerie feeling as he walked into the cemetery. There were five
holes dug in the ground, with five coffins, each one sitting next to the grave. A few of
them were smaller, an unmistakable symbol of the years of life that had been stolen.
Harry was beginning to fully comprehend what Mr Weasley had meant when he
explained the Dark Mark to them at the Quidditch World Cup. The terror that it instilled,
Harry had seen the way McGonagall, Sirius and Chrystal had reacted when they had seen
the Dark Mark above The Shrieking Shack. He could only imagine how Sirius and
Chrystal had felt when they saw the mark above Godric's Hollow. Pure terror.
Harry couldn't understand why people would do that kind of thing to people. What did
instilling terror really achieve? Why frighten an entire society like that? And more
importantly how could you live with yourself if you had been responsible for that?
The service for the five students who had been killed in the explosion was short and


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thoughtful. It was like the entire wizard world had been hit with a terrible truth that they
could now no longer deny. The Dark Lord was back.
Harry looked over and saw Dennis Creevey standing there, with his Muggle father,
crying for his brother. He wondered why Colin was being buried here and not in some
place more meaningful. Harry found it difficult to stand there and comfort these people
given the responsibility he was feeling. Looking over at Hermione he could tell that she
felt the same.
Harry shuddered as he watched the coffins being lowered into the ground. One of them
was very small, one of the shorter fourth years. Stolen life. Once taken never to be
returned.
Somehow they managed to make their way through the afternoon tea before Dumbledore
escorted them back to Hogwarts. Harry headed straight to the Prefect's Bathroom after
grabbing his towel. The school had a strangeness to it. An emptiness, a deserted feeling.
Harry wondered whether any students would be pulled out of school given the apparent
danger. He was certain Dumbledore would cancel all further Hogsmeade visits. That
didn't bother Harry so much, except that it made him think that the next target was more
likely to be Hogwarts. Imagine the devastation if they hit Hogwarts. It was almost
unthinkable.
Harry lay in the tub full of bubble bath as he contemplated the prospect of Hogwarts been
blown up. He decided after much contemplating not to ask Lavender to look in the Orb
for him. What must come will come. Knowing won't make it any easier. But Harry's
mind had kept repeating the words of the face to him.
'You will have to make a choice.'
This had been flowing through his head over and over again.
Despite Hermione's statement that the face often gave false prophecies, he was certain
that the thing had been trying to tell him something. He was sure he had to make a
choice. In fact subconsciously he had. He was not going to stand back and watch things
happen anymore. He couldn't risk that his friends and the only real family he had would
be blown up just like his parents had been. He was going to get Voldemort and he was
going to use Draco Malfoy to get him.
*~*
Chrystal and Sirius had made their way up to Dumbledore's room. They were both
concerned by the way Harry and Hermione had looked at the funeral earlier today.
Neither looked as though they had slept and they were getting worried about them.
Dumbledore greeted them not in an unfriendly manner, but something about the look he
gave implied to Sirius that he really did not want to be disturbed. He sat them down and
offered them some tea.
'What have you come to see me about?' Dumbledore asked.



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'Harry,' Sirius stated.
'Did he see Draco last night?' Chrystal asked.
'Yes he did,' Dumbledore said. 'He told me about it this morning. He seems quite
concerned for the welfare of Miss Weasley. He asked me if I was going to expel Mr
Malfoy.'
'I think it's time to tell Harry the truth,' said Sirius. 'He needs to know. We think it's been
kept from him for long enough and it's having an impact on him.'
'Arabella has not finished remembering The Prophecy,' Dumbledore warned. 'It may be
dangerous to tell him only half.'
'I'll give her another week,' he said, 'but then I'm telling Harry. It's not fair on him
otherwise.'
'Give her until Christmas, Sirius,' said Chrystal, 'then she's had seventeen years to
remember it. Seventeen years exactly. Perhaps that will be enough to jog her memory.'
'You know when it was given?' Dumbledore asked her.
'I remember parts of it,' she replied, 'but not enough for you to have anything concrete to
go on. It involves four people; you need to work out who they are. I think we can safely
say who two are.'
'Yes,' said Sirius. 'Harry and Voldemort. The two others would be women then?'
'The most important thing is The Prophecy given about The Prophecy of Saoghal,' she
continued. 'It said that a Prophecy will be given that will predict the fall of the dark or the
light. It said something along the lines of the end of the dark or light will come through
the hands of four, though a Covenant of the light will be formed. The world would be a
better place for it. Honestly, if the dark wins, I'd rather be dead. I'd gladly Avada Kedavra
myself before they get a chance. If Professor Figg can recall the rest of it, we may be able
to work out the consequences.'
'The Covenant is nearer than you think,' Dumbledore said, weighing things up. 'I have
been considering appropriate candidates. Weighing up when it should be performed. I
feel that the time is near. The path will be shown to us.'
'Do you know who the members should be yet?' Sirius asked.
'The time will come, soon I am sure, besides I would have thought that you two would
have a better idea than I.'
'If we can help, we are happy too,' Chrystal said. 'You know where we are. I think we
should try and cheer Harry and Hermione up. They really weren't looking too good at all
this morning.'
Dumbledore nodded as he dismissed them from his room. If he could only work out who
they were before Voldemort did, then he might just have a chance.


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*~*
Harry decided to owl Ron and let him know that Malfoy had been initiated. He and
Hermione had thought that perhaps Ron should know, but they felt, given Ron's short
fuse, that it wouldn't be such a good idea for him to say anything to Ginny just yet.
Dear Ron,
Last night I saw Malfoy get the Dark Mark. I know that with everything that has
happened we didn't get a chance to talk to Ginny. So why don't you watch her carefully
over the holidays, see if she's getting letters from him or anything. Yes I'm saying spy on
your little sister, but you need to find out how deeply she's involved. See if she's giving
any signals that she's involved with the Death Eaters. Then when you get back all three of
us can talk to her and try to get her to see reason.
And Ron, please try to get some sleep while you're at home. There's nothing we can do
now, we will just have to be more careful next time.
Good luck for the Quidditch match. Hermione and I will be listening on the wireless,
Harry.
Harry sent the letter off with Hedwig and tried to get some sleep in spite of it being
midafternoon. Even though he hadn't touched the homework they had received for the
holidays Harry wished they were over.
Harry felt someone shaking him. He looked up and saw Hermione there.
'Geroff, Hermione, leave me alone,' he said.
'Sirius and Professor Àille have invited us up to their quarters for afternoon tea. I think
your godfather would like to spend a little time with you.'
Harry reluctantly stood up and straightened his clothes. They headed towards the Staff
Quarters. Hermione was taking it all in, she'd never been invited up here before.
She gazed at the ballerina painting and stared at the corridor when they entered it.
Snape saw them enter the corridor.
'I want to speak to you two, quickly,' he said.
He took them through a door that had a sign "Snape" on the door.
Harry realised that it was the first time he'd ever seen inside anything that belonged to
Snape.
It was not exactly what you'd call elegant, or what you'd call messy. It was simple, yet
had an air about it. The only way Harry could describe it would have been Snape. The
bookcase was lined with books about Potions and the Dark Arts. There were few personal
mementos, a few framed photographs that was about it. There was a couch that was a


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pale blue colour, which seemed to add to the ice-cold feeling of the room.
As he told them to sit down, Harry got the feeling that Snape was not a man who liked to
share his feelings with other people.
'I heard that you saw young Malfoy be initiated last night,' Snape said.
Harry just nodded. He was afraid to speak.
'Did you see me there last night?' he asked.
'No sir,' Harry replied quietly. Snape's voice had a tone to it that Harry didn't really find
comforting.
'Well, I have decided to keep an eye on him,' Snape said. 'I would like the two of you to
do the same. I know it sounds like a baby-sitting job, but it's very important. If he does
anything that you find suspect, I'd like you to come and tell me immediately.'
Harry became slightly distracted from what Snape was saying. He had been looking
around the room, sick of the sight of Snape's greasy hair. He caught sight of a small,
framed picture out of the corner of his eye. He was gazing at the picture. The person
looked oddly familiar. He looked at it more closely. Why would Snape have that picture,
in a room that was relatively empty of personal mementos?
Snape had seemed to realise that Harry was not paying attention.
'Potter? Are you listening?'
Snape's voice made Harry jump.
'Honestly, I'm entrusting you with an important assignment Potter and you can't even pay
attention.'
'I'm sorry, Professor,' Harry said somewhat sarcastically. 'I'll pay attention to you when
you explain why you have a framed photograph of my other sitting on the table in the
corner over there.'
Snape looked over to where Harry was pointing. He walked over and grabbed the
photograph.
'There are some things you don't understand Potter,' he said harshly.
'That's what Dumbledore said this morning,' Harry snapped back. 'I think it's a legitimate
question. It looks like a photograph that you would keep of your lover, that's why I want
to know about it.'
'Your mother is the only reason that I put up with you Potter,' he replied. 'You are your
father all over again. I fail to see the slightest sign of Lily in you. Yet because you are
Lily's son, I owe it to you. I can't explain why, it's just fact. Lily and I weren't meant to
be, don't worry Harry we weren't romantically involved if that's what you're worried
about. The photograph is a memory to a friend. A friend who I would risk my life to save


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again if I had to.'
Hermione hadn't spoken. Harry looked at her. She looked clearly uncomfortable.
'Professor Snape, we are happy to help,' she said. 'Please forgive Harry; he's a little tense
at the moment. We both have had a rough couple of days. You realise that.'
Snape nodded, but it did not stop his glaring at Harry.
'I'm sorry, Professor,' Harry whispered. Harry had a thought. 'You're right when you say
there's so much I don't understand. I haven't been given the chance. I don't know my
parents Professor. But evidently you knew my mother. Perhaps you could give me a piece
of her.'
'Well if you can stoop so low as to ask me, Potter, I guess I should have the decency to
tell you,' he said. 'Come here when you check up on Malfoy, if you come alone, I'll tell
you about Lily and for free I'll give you a piece of mind about your father too. Now I
believe that Sirius and that Auror are waiting for you.'
They took the hint. Snape wanted them to leave. Harry was quite happy to do that. They
closed the door behind them.
'Harry,' said Hermione. 'Please don't mention this in front of Sirius this afternoon. I doubt
he'd be able to satisfy your curiosity and would probably fly off the handle if he knew
Snape had a picture of your mum. You know how volatile their relationship is. Please.'
He saw the pleading in her eyes.
'Okay Hermione, but if I don't get answers from Snape, I will ask Sirius.'
Chapter Eighteen
The Unexpected Christmas Gift
Harry held his tongue. Despite his reluctance to, he held his tongue. He really didn't want
to, but he knew that it would make Sirius' blood boil, and that wasn't exactly something
Harry wanted to do that afternoon.
They walked into Sirius and Chrystal's sitting room.
Sirius and Chrystal were waiting for them, in the sitting room that joined their two
bedrooms. Harry himself had not been in here before, usually he had just walked into
Sirius' bedroom. This sitting room was a large contrast from Snape's. It was somewhat
brighter, their was far more colour. The room itself was filled with pastels, the couch
being a light blue colour, the two arm chairs a pale blue. Chrystal's cat Maestro was
sitting comfortably on the sofa. Curtains hung by the windows and these again were blue,
but more a bluey-green colour. The room felt much more open, much more friendly. A
glass topped coffee table sat between the chairs, with a large bunch of lilies sitting in the
vase. The table had been set with scones, jam and cream as well as a pot of tea. Very Un-
Sirius like, must be Chrystal's doing.


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'Thank you for having us, Sirius, Professor Àille,' Hermione said as she and Harry sat
down on the sofa.
'Call me Chrystal, Hermione,' she replied laughing. 'I'm not your teacher now.'
'Okay, Chrystal,' Hermione seemed somewhat embarrassed as Chrystal poured tea for
them and Sirius offered them scones.
Sirius broke the silence.
'I owe you an apology Harry, for not telling you about Chrys and me sooner,' he said. 'I
just wanted to keep it to myself for a little while. But Chrys was getting impatient, as
women do. I'd like you to be my best man by the way.'
Harry was touched. But he was also very surprised. Sirius surely had closer friends; he
had a brother-in-law as well.
'Me?' he asked. 'Why not Remus? Surely there's someone else?'
'It would have been James,' Sirius said very quietly. 'Remus is a wonderful friend, but
he's not James. You and I have connected in a similar way Harry, I can't explain it, but I
feel closer to you than I do to Remus. And it's not because you look like your father.'
'I'd be happy to,' Harry replied. He really would be.
'Well now he's got a best man. I need a bridesmaid,' Chrys said laughing. 'Guess I better
start looking. Somehow I don't think a dead splitting image of Lily's going to appear from
the ground. At least I've got six months to find a new best friend.'
At what could have been construed sadly, everyone laughed. Harry was quietly relieved.
'I want you to wear a kilt by the way, Harry,' she said.
'A kilt?' Harry said in surprise. Somehow Harry couldn't really imagine himself in a kilt.
He didn't think he had the legs for it.
Hermione stifled a giggle. Obviously she was picturing Harry in a kilt as well.
'You should have told me this before, Sirius,' he said. 'Hermione obviously thinks I'll look
ridiculous.'
'No actually I don't, Harry,' she defended herself. She grinned cheekily at him.
'Sorry, Harry,' Sirius said. 'She's a Scot and apparently it's traditional for Scottish wizards
to get married in kilts. Alec did and I'm quite sorry I missed that one. The photos are
fantastic. I bet Maddie made him.'
Sirius winked at Harry.
'We'll do some leg shaping together eh?' he said with a laugh. Chrystal gave him a look
and Sirius quickly changed the subject.



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'Anyway, enough of that,' Sirius said. 'Let's get on to the real reason we asked the two of
you up here. You need advice on what to do with yourselves and as you both don't have
wizard relations, we're here to offer you our advice. It may no be good advice, but we're
going to give it to you anyway. And besides, you need to take your minds off
Hogsmeade.'
Harry quietly agreed to that. There was nothing more he'd like. He also had absolutely no
idea what it was that he wanted to do once he finished school and that was only six
months away. He felt his only real strength was Quidditch, but it wasn't like he could
play Quidditch forever.
To his surprise Hermione wasn't jabbering away, in a situation where she normally would
be. She seemed to be waiting for him to say something.
'What do you think I'd be good at?' he asked timidly. 'The only thing that I'm really any
good at is Quidditch and you can't play that forever.'
'That's true,' Sirius replied. 'Most players reach their peak in their late thirties and retire in
their early forties, but they all have another job as well. Chrys is an Auror as well as a
Quidditch player, or for now a teacher as well as a Quidditch player. James had another
job as well.'
Harry looked at him with eyes wide open.
'My dad played Quidditch?' he said. 'I knew he played as a Chaser for Gryffindor, but he
actually played in the league?'
'He played for England, Harry,' Sirius said. 'I forget that you don't know some things that
are simply common knowledge. Lily was an Auror by the way. I figure you don't know
that either.'
Yet another fact that Harry didn't know. Things that so many other children took for
granted, Harry had no idea about. He was learning so much, since he'd meet Remus,
Sirius and now Chrystal, although Hagrid had told him a bit as well. Next time anyway
made a crack about his father's career, he could tell them that he was an athlete.
Chrystal spoke up.
'I think you'd be a pretty good Auror yourself, Harry,' she said. 'That is if you can stand
the Ministry but there's nothing to stop you from playing Quidditch as well. Nowadays
you need another career if you're going to play Quidditch, given the wizarding lifespan.'
'Barty Crouch Junior said I'd be a good Auror,' he whispered. 'He said Hermione would
too. I don't know if he was serious or not.'
'You like to work things out, Harry,' Sirius said. 'You like to solve mysteries and you
protect the innocent. It's almost the perfect career for you, but you're the one who's got to
be happy. If you want to lay Quidditch, you ought to be applying for the Draft soon. Who
needs a Seeker or a reserve, Hon?'



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'Um, well the Prides don't, of course,' she said with a smile. 'I can guarantee that because
I don't intend to quit. The Appleby Arrows I think are on the look out for a reserve
although they might get that from trading. The Bats don't need one, their Seeker is the
Irish Seeker, so I think they'll be fine for a couple more years, the Cannons aren't looking
but should be, perhaps the Catapults, they're in Wales, their Seeker has just retired at the
age of fifty, should have retired years ago if you ask me. Then there are the Harpies who
are looking, but you're not a witch so you can't play for them. You're not the right kind of
person to play for the Falcons. The Kestrels need a reserve; they're in Ireland. The
Magpies are on the look out; they haven't had a decent Seeker since Eunice Murphy died
in forty-two. Puddlemere United may need a reserve; I believe you know their Keeper.
Perhaps you should ask him. There's also the Wasps, but they've just recruited Cho
Chang as their reserve, so you should probably stay away. The Tornados don't need either
I think, but the Wanderers are after a Seeker.'
'Hand on a minute,' Harry said. He was a bit overwhelmed. 'What are my options?'
'Well the best bet would be try to set up a private deal,' Chrys said. 'That is if you'd like to
go anywhere in particular. You probably need to know someone to set it up. Or you can
nominate for the Draft, and depending on how many Seeker's nominate you may be
picked up by someone. Understand?'
Harry nodded. He wondered if he could make a private deal. Who did he want to play
with anyway?
'So the teams looking for Seekers, starters or reserves are Puddlemere, the Wanderers, the
Kestrels, the Magpies, the Cataputs and the Arrows. Possibly the Falcons as well. I'd be
surprised if you're not approached before the Draft anyway, but you should nominate, so
that teams know you're thinking about it. That is if you want to pursue that path. Shall I
get you the paperwork?'
'Definitely,' Harry said. 'I may as well open all pathways.'
He'd better owl Oliver Wood, see what the situation was at Puddlemere.
Discussion turned to Hermione.
'Well, I'm not entirely sure what I want to do yet, although I've narrowed down the
options,' she said. 'I think I want to be a Teacher, an Auror or a Mediwizard. My parents
would like me to be a Mediwizard, they wanted me to be a doctor.'
Chrystal had a very serious look on her face.
'This applies to both of you,' she said. 'How do you feel about killing someone?'
Harry was shocked.
'I don't want to,' he said.
Hermione agreed.



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'Okay, I think I've phrased that wrong,' Chrystal said. 'If you were ordered to kill
someone, would you?'
'Whom am I ordered to by?' Hermione said.
This shocked Harry as well. Hermione would contemplate it. That was a bit of a shock.
He wouldn't, the only person he'd kill was Voldemort.
'Say you were given an order to kill every Death Eater, whether or not they were acting
under the Imperius or not. Because that is what will happen if Voldemort fall's again.
Whoever is in charge of Magical Law Enforcement will give that order. They can't risk
him rising to power again. Unless it's Alastor Moody of course.'
'I would try every other mean possible to bring them in before I would even consider
killing them,' Harry said. 'Even a Dementor's kiss.'
'But that is killing them, Harry,' Hermione said. 'You cannot live without your soul.'
'But it's not the same, Hermione,' he said. 'I wouldn't actually have to kill them.'
'If you were an Auror, I guarantee you will be placed in this situation,' Chrystal said. 'A
good Auror is one who will not kill because they have the power too. A good Auror will
only resort to those means if it is the last resort.'
Harry picked up on something, a vibe that was in the air.
'You were an Auror when Crouch gave you unconditional powers, weren't you?' he asked
Chrystal.
'That's right, Harry,' she replied softly.
'Did you ever use it?' Harry asked. 'Did you ever kill anyone?'
'Just one, Harry,' she said, even more softly than before. His face obviously showed a
look of surprise. 'Believe me Harry; I have regretted it for the rest of my life. I cannot
justify it, though I think almost anybody else would be able to. I didn't have a choice. It
was them or me, they would have gladly killed me, and there was no possible way to
restrain them. Yet, the guilt remains. It will remain forever.'
There was silence in the room. Harry glanced at Sirius. It was evident that he already
knew. Harry didn't know what to say, he had asked the question but he wasn't prepared
for the answer.
'Your mum was different,' she whispered. 'She never would have done it. She would have
rather died. But you're like me Harry, you would have, but you would still feel the guilt
now.'
Harry nodded. He knew all about guilt. The guilt he felt over Cedric's Death would
always haunt him, and the guilt he was feeling over The Shrieking Shack explosion
wouldn't either.



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Thankfully conversation turned away from guilt. Harry and Hermione made their way
back to Gryffindor Tower. The place was so quiet.
*~*
It was very weird having three whole weeks to yourself at Hogwarts. He and Hermione
got into an extremely bizarre routine. They would get up for breakfast, wait for the mail,
and then Harry would practice Quidditch for a couple of hours while Hermione did some
"light" reading or spent the morning with Chrys. It was quite odd the way that they were
becoming such good friends. Harry was getting quite fit, as well as perfecting the
manoeuvres that Ron had taught him. He needed to increase his skill level before the next
game if it was likely that people would come and watch him play. Harry would then
shower, meet up with Hermione and then they would make their way to the Library to do
some homework before lunch. After lunch it was back to the books for "research" as
Hermione called it, to try and find anything else they could about the face. Harry usually
spent this time writing letters or daydreaming. Mid afternoon they would go and visit
Sirius and Chrystal in the Staff Quarters for afternoon tea after which they made their
way outside to the Quidditch pitch for some exercise, or they would take a walk around
the grounds stopping in to check on Fang before dinner. After dinner they would relax in
the common room for an hour or so, telling each other stories about events in their past.
Harry realised how little he knew about Hermione. Gradually over the holiday he was
filled with a new admiration for her perseverance. Being around only Hermione was
having a peculiar effect on him. It was almost spine-tingling. Harry was beginning to
worry about what she thought of him, even more than he had before. The final part of
their routine was Hermione coming to tuck Harry in, a seemingly odd ritual that Harry
enjoyed because they would talk for hours before she would finally leave to sleep. He did
wonder about the appropriateness of him letting another girl come a sit on his bed, tuck
him in and give him a peck on the cheek before she left every night, but this was
Hermione one of his oldest friends. It didn't mean anything. Or did it?
*~*
A week and a half passed before Christmas crept up on them. Harry awoke before
Hermione, and ran into her room, jumping on her bed to wake her up, in a similar fashion
to the way Leigha and Kaylah had before the races. He saw a huge smile appear on her
face as he tried to kindle some Christmas spirit. She jumped out of bed and raced Harry
to the tree that was in the common room under which there was a mountain of presents
for the pair. They sat down in their pyjamas and opened their presents comparing what
they had received. Mrs Weasley had knitted them jumpers, again and Hagrid had sent
them some weird sweets from wherever he was. Sirius and Chrys had sent Hermione a
very thick book, Harry only guessed it had come out of one of their conversations that
they had had midmorning but the biggest surprise was the box that Harry received from
the Durlsey's. It came with a note;
Dear Harry,
Vernon doesn't know I'm sending this so please don't write back and thank me. I hope you



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have a lovely Christmas. This is something I thought you might like. It was your mothers.
I thought perhaps it's time you should have it.
Love
Aunt Petunia
Harry pulled off the wrapping and saw a thick old-fashioned book. Harry saw what it was
immediately. It was a journal. Or at least that's what it looked like initially. When he tried
to open it, he found it was a box.
When he opened it, he saw it was filled with sheet music. Hand written music. He
showed it to Hermione who gasped.
'It looks as though she wrote this herself Harry,' she said. 'It's amazing. I wish I had a
piano so I could play it to you.'
Yet another thing he didn't know about Hermione.
'You play?' he asked her.
'I've played since I was young,' Hermione said. 'My parents wanted me to have a very
rounded education. I take it you never have.'
He shook his head.
Harry couldn't believe how much there was that he didn't know about his parents. This
was just another example. But somehow this discovery made his mother more real to
him.
Harry could picture it in his head. His mother sitting at the piano with Harry in her lap
waiting for his father to come home. She would play and sing to him while they waited.
Harry didn't know whether or not this was an actual memory or just a dream.
'Is there a piano anywhere?' Harry asked Hermione who contemplated the answer for a
couple of seconds.
'Perhaps we should ask Chrystal at lunch?' she replied.
They spent the morning lazing about the common room, every now and again pausing to
look at the music again, when the time came to go and have Christmas lunch from the
Great Hall, they immediately asked Chrystal about the whereabouts of a piano.
'Happy Christmas to you too,' she replied. There was a reminiscent look in her eyes. 'I
know where one is. Lily and I used to sneak out so Lily could practice. I used to listen to
her play, sometimes I would sing as well, but usually I'd just listen. It was so nice to
listen to Lily. She was very talented. I'll show you where it is after lunch.'
They sat at the high table and enjoyed the Christmas feast that had been prepared for
them. Their number was few, Harry and Hermione, Dumbledore and McGonagall, Sirius
and Chrystal, Snape and Arabella Figg whom Harry was only slightly surprised to see.


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Somehow he had sensed she was a witch, before he had found out that he was a wizard
though. Harry shivered as he saw Snape. He still wasn't quite sure how to approach him,
especially after seeing that photograph.
Everyone else was gone for the holidays, or gone for the day in the case of some of the
missing staff members. They enjoyed the food before them, and everyone's spirits
seemed to have lifted for the first time following the recent tragedy.
As they left the table, Dumbledore happened to comment that Harry and Hermione were
standing under the mistletoe.
'You'll have to kiss her now, Harry,' said Sirius. 'I'll go first.'
He bent over and kissed Chrystal, before indicating that Harry should kiss Hermione.
Harry turned bright red as he looked at Hermione with a questioning look.
He bent over and kissed her on the lips. A small brief kiss but one that evoked a feeling
inside him, a surprising feeling that was different to that that of kissing Lavender. He
quivered as he stepped back.
'I can't be feeling like this,' he thought to himself. 'This is Hermione; she's just a friend.
I'm going out with Lavender. I lo, well I like her a lot.'
But he couldn't say he was in love with Lavender. It just wasn't true.
Chrys looked over and asked if he was okay before she led them towards a corridor that
neither had ever seen before. They walked up a spiral staircase until they came to a door.
'Lamentoso,' she whispered. The door opened to reveal a small music room with a grand
piano in the corner.
'I'll leave you to it,' Chrys said as she walked out the door.
Hermione sat down at the piano. She took out the top sheet of music. It looked old. Harry
saw the date on it. 15/10/1981. It made his heart flutter. Hermione began to play. She was
immersed in the music. The melody was enchanting. Hermione looked haunted. Then she
sang.
I'm alone,
There's no one around me,
No one to hold me.
I'm afraid,
Looking over my shoulders
Dreading the day.
It's time to take control of things,



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Don't be scared anymore
I feel pain,
There's no one to share it
No one to feel it.
Holding on,
Clutching to every moment,
Dreading the day.
And although I know things will change,
And the futures unsure,
It's time I took control
It's not time to cry,
Nor time to say goodbye,
It's not time to be afraid anymore.
It's time to stand up tall,
Time to answer the call,
It's time to live my life the way it's meant to be.
Not alone
There's someone here with me
Together,
We will stand,
We will face the future
Not afraid
And though I may fear for the day
With him to comfort me
Come what may.
It's not time to cry,
Nor time to say goodbye,



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It's not time to be afraid anymore.
It's time to stand up tall,
Time to answer the call,
It's time to live my life the way it's meant to be.
Love will make me strong,
Give me the strength to carry on
In times uncertain
When the heart is troubled,
I know where I belong.
It's not time to cry,
Nor time to say goodbye,
It's not time to be afraid anymore.
It's time to stand up tall,
Time to answer the call,
It's time to live my life the way it's meant to be.
The haunting melody ended. Harry felt somehow his mother had managed to elicit the
feelings that were inside so many people. Hermione had sung it with so much passion, he
sensed that it illustrated her feelings as well. Tears were welling in his eyes as Hermione
located the next piece of music.
Every night I lay in bed and
Slowly dream of things that haunt me.
And all that is there, is the one,
Who holds my heart within his hands.
You don't know the power he holds,
Over my life; can you feel it?
Then, he will come,
Steal my life
And he haunts my dreams,



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Steals my slumber.
And will take my life.
Time and time again I see him
Breaking into my surroundings
Then I'm left all alone crying
Wondering what's left for me now
How can he take my life like that?
Take away all those who love me.
Yes, he will come
Steal my life.
He'll haunt my days,
Till they're over
Please don't steal my life.
Hermione stopped. Here eyes too were filled with tears. She turned to Harry.
'Why?' Harry said.
'She knew,' she said crying. 'She knew that your dad was going to die. I think she thought
you would too. She knew Voldemort was going to kill him. Oh Harry, she was so scared.
She was facing life without the people that she loved. I know exactly how she feels.'
'What do you mean?' Harry asked somewhat resentfully. He sincerely doubted no one
could completely understand the impact that the melody had on him. 'It's not like you're
in exactly the same situation, is it Hermione.'
'I don't want you to die either,' she answered. 'Harry, I couldn't bear life without you.'
Harry didn't quite understand what she was saying. He was in complete denial of what
had come over him in the last couple of days. The music appeared to have touched her
almost as deeply as it had Harry. He was refusing to listen to her hidden message.
'Hermione,' he said, 'I'm not going to die. I'm not looking for trouble. I'm not going to
search Voldemort out. I'll be there for you. I'm your friend. Always.'
'But, Harry,' she said, 'I want so much more than friendship.'
He looked at her in surprise. He could no longer ignore what she was saying.
'What did you say?' he asked.



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Chapter Nineteen
The Prophecy
Slytherin the founder shrewd,
Fell out with all the others
His Heir would rise above the rest
And scare all under covers,
But he would fall upon the hand
Of a small baby fair,
The baby a young lion be
And also be an Heir.
Dumbledore was staring at the parchment. It was Trelawney's original prophecy. Her first
true prediction, the one that had made people stand up and listen to her. Dumbledore
sensed that there was more to it than that. It couldn't be that simple, not now that
Voldemort had returned. The prophecy only told half the tale. What the other half was,
still remained to be seen.
*~*
Hermione turned to the piano and began playing again. This time she did not use any
music. She played from her own head.
Because I love you so much,
When you're not here with me it hurts me so
And all I know about what I feel is that I need you here
Holding me near to you.
He looked at this longing girl. She looked so vulnerable siting there on the stool.
'Harry, if you're suffering as much as I am please tell me?' she whispered. There were
tears in her eyes.
'I don't know what to say Hermione,' he said.
'Please Harry.'
He walked over to the stool and sat down. He held her close. He wanted to comfort her
but once her held her, he realised that he could never let her go. He picked her up. She
gazed into his eyes as he carried her back to Gryffindor Tower.
She placed her gently on the couch before he kissed her. She did not draw away. There


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was a unique sensation in the air. He couldn't deny it any longer.
'I am suffering Hermione,' he said. 'I'm suffering in a way you'll never know.'
Shivers ran down his spine as he kissed her again. Her back hit the bottom of the couch,
as he kissed her again. She slipped her hands underneath his jumper, as she pulled it off.
She seemed so awkward with her hands, but she managed to get it off without too much
trouble.
He felt her hands against his skin. He wasn't sure what he should do. He knew that he
wanted this, despite everything else that was going on. Harry reached to slip off her
blouse; he was unsure how to go about it. The only time he'd been in a similar situation
before was when he had spent the night at The Leaky Cauldron with Lavender and she'd
been wearing pyjamas and he hadn't even taken them off.
Somehow, although he couldn't explain how, he managed to slip off her blouse.
It was then that he saw the look on Hermione's face.
'What's wrong?' he asked. 'We can stop if you want.'
'It's not that Harry,' she whispered. 'I want you, I really do, and it's just that I've never
done this before.'
'What?' Harry said. 'What about Ron?'
'We were only going out for such a short period of time that we didn't exactly get a
chance to. I'm just not sure what to do.'
Harry laughed. Hermione looked hurt.
'Sorry,' he whispered softly. 'Nor am I. How about we take things slightly slower? I'll just
hold you and we can fall asleep here.'
She smiled softly at him. Somehow he knew that their lives would no longer be the same.
They had found each other at last.
*~*
Harry awoke the next morning with a strange feeling plaguing him. He saw Hermione
sleeping peacefully next to him. The sun was rising in the window.
He didn't know how he felt. It was indescribable. He wasn't sure what had happened or
for what reason, he just knew there was a reason.
He stroked her beautiful curly brown hair as she slept peacefully in his arms. It felt
different to the time when Lavender had slept in his arms. That had been nice. This was
something completely different. There was a completely different sensation associated
with holding her in his arms.
He watched her sleep as he watched the sun rise.


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*~*
Dumbledore was madly searching his office for signs of the parchment on which he had
written Arabella's Prophecy. He had arisen early. He felt the prophecy awakening. He had
not felt it for many years, not since Voldemort's fall sixteen years ago.
He couldn't believe he had been so careless to have misplaced it. That was completely out
of character. Was he losing touch?
He didn't know why he felt it was so important. He just sensed that there was more to it
than just Harry. Sure, he was a powerful wizard, how could he not be when you look at
his lineage and achievements. But he felt the need to protect the young boy. A somewhat
paternal instinct that he could not explain.
At last he found something.
The world would celebrate the fall
Think that evil now was gone
But they were all deluded
As the boy in glory shone
The Dark Lord much more powerful,
Then the lion's slender frame
The Dark Lord would arise again
His supporters hide in shame.
Arabella's Prophecy. The second parchment. The first part of a four part prophecy that no
one would believe. That no one would even find plausible. Could it possibly be right?
Dumbledore himself had been reluctant to believe it, although he had never known
Arabella Figg to give an inaccurate prediction. If only he could remember the other two
parts before Sirius and Chrystal said anything to Harry.
If it was right, it could change the path of the future that looked bleak at the moment.
Dumbledore knew that Voldemort could be destroyed, he just was unsure how. He hoped
that The Prophecy could give him an insight as to how and why.
*~*
'Wake up Hermione,' said Harry as he shook Hermione gently as he tried to wake her.
She rubbed her eyes and smiled at Harry as she awoke.
'Where does this leave us now Mr Potter?' she asked with a pang of concern in her voice.
'Get dressed and we'll take a nice long walk,' he replied. 'We can talk in private.'



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'Harry, it's not like someone's going to disturb us here,' she said as she looked at him
questioningly. 'Okay then, if that's what you want.'
Harry wondered what the answer to that question was. He cared about Lavender very
much and didn't want to hurt her. She was fun to be with and she cared about Harry. But
he had to face facts. She just wasn't Hermione. And if he was completely honest he had
been seeing Hermione in a different light for months now. Since his birthday, if he was
honest. Being near her was simply intoxicating. But that didn't give him an answer to the
question. What should he do?
She appeared in his doorway ready to go. He took her hand and led her towards the lake.
A tremendous feeling of guilt was hanging over his head.
*~*
The Heir of Slytherin has returned again,
More powerful than ever,
But who is there to face him now,
When most around him quiver.
The time will come for three to stand
To match the Dark Lord's power
But whom they are not one soul knows
In this earth's darkest hour.
The part Arabella could remember. Dumbledore couldn't understand why it was that she
couldn't remember the entire Prophecy. Had her memory been wiped? It was possible.
Many memory charms are hard to reverse. One of Voldemort's operatives could have
erased her memory, so that they couldn't learn the truth. If that was the case there was
only one way to reverse it and it was very dangerous.
Dumbledore stood up. He was resolved to find Arabella. He had to find out the truth.
*~*
Harry sat there looking at Hermione. They were sitting by the lake. The sky was clouded,
mystical in appearance.
'I don't know where that leaves us Hermione,' Harry finally confessed breaking the
silence. 'Things are complicated, but I feel like yesterday my eyes were opened. This
happened for a reason Hermione, I don't know what it is but I know there is a reason.
However I don't want to hurt Lavender.'
She was looking up at him.



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'You really care about her don't you Harry,' she said. 'I thought it was just an infatuation. I
never understood why you didn't tell me about it.'
'I didn't know how I felt,' he said. 'I was trying to work it out but everything was
confusing me. I kept thinking about you. At first it was just her, but then you began
infiltrating my thoughts. Hermione I think I'm in love with you, but I'm not going to hurt
Lavender.'
'Just make sure you don't hurt her because of it Harry,' she replied. 'Be honest with her,
she'll come around eventually. I'll wait Harry as long as it takes. I will wait for you. I've
already waited this long.'
'Thanks,' he replied. He felt so guilty. How could he do this to her? How could he do this
to both of them?
*~*
The Heirs must rise to match his power,
This much had been made clear,
But how to find the Heirs right now
They are surprisingly near.
A perfect triangle is that which
The founder's Heirs will form
A triangle that doubles that
Of the ancestors we mourn.
There it was, lying on Arabella's desk. The third part of the prophecy. She had been
working on it. It had been given only weeks after the first one. It had been given only a
week before Trelawney's prophecy. Months before Voldemort's fall. It looked as though
it had been scrawled in a moment of control before the darkness had enveloped her. The
room was empty. There was no sign of the old Divination teacher.
Voldemort must have believed Arabella's prophecy. For him to have gone after James
and Harry like that, he had to have believed. If he had believed the other he wouldn't have
tried to kill Harry. Unless he was mad and delusional and just went around killing
everyone. But Harry had said that Voldemort had given Lily a choice.
The question remained; did Voldemort know who the others were? Dumbledore was
certain about one, but the other remained a mystery.
*~*
Harry was gazing into Hermione's eyes. She was so beautiful. Why hadn't he seen it
earlier? He tried to resist, not to tempt fate, but he couldn't. He leant over and kissed her.


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She replied by kissing him back.
*~*
Dumbledore made his way to the top of the stairs. Arabella was sitting there in the
Divination tower staring into the Orb.
'I wondered when you would join me Albus,' she said. 'I have consulted the Orb; you
know what you must do. It will be revealed.'
'It may destroy you Arabella,' he said regretfully. 'You will never be the same again.'
'I have foreseen it,' she said. 'What is meant to be will be. I am prepared to take the risk.
The information you seek is valuable. You will perform the spell and the final piece will
be revealed. Whether or not it will help you is to be seen however.'
With apprehension Dumbledore raised his wand.
'Recipero memoria oraculum.'
A flash of light filled the room before everything became dark.
*~*
A loud crack of thunder filled the air. A large crack of thunder that made both Harry and
Hermione shiver at the sound. They pulled away from each other. Rain began to pelt
from the sky as lightening struck the lake. They ran for cover, both spying Hagrid's hut as
they ran from the lightening.
*~*
Arabella's eyes became fixed straight ahead.
Her voice became low.
She looked as if in a trance. She was no longer herself.
A lion, Gryffindor's Heir will be,
The youngest of the lot,
Courage and nobility
Afraid the boy is not.
Hufflepuff's Heir, sweet and fair,
A young Seer she will be.
Faithful and loyal though,
There's far more we don't see.



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And finally the beauty Ravenclaw,
Like her ancestor she tries
To seek knowledge and truthfulness
As though the air she flies.
But who will fall we cannot see
The path taken is not clear,
And how to find those to face the snake
They are those who are so dear.
The Covenant will then be formed
When all the Heirs are found.
The triangle will members be,
Of the table, large and round.
The Covenant will stand for good
Its members proud and true
Will be the special chosen ones
That will the Prophecy fulfil.
Dumbledore carried the old lady to the hospital wing, barely alive. He assisted Madam
Pomfrey in tending to her. She would survive, but he did not know what the price had
been.
He then headed straight for his office to contemplate The Prophecy. Although that was all
that was given, he somehow sensed it was not complete. There was more. Who would
fall?
*~*
Harry and Hermione hauled open the door to Hagrid's hut and shut it tightly behind them.
They knew it would be empty; Charlie had been staying in it and had gone home as well.
They held each other tightly as the thunder and lightening continued to plague the outside
world.
'Something's happened,' said Harry.
'How do you know?' she asked. 'I think so too.'
'I sense it,' he replied. "Somehow I know it's got something to do with me. I don't know
how and I don't know why, I just know it's got something to do with me. It's not


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necessarily a bad thing.'
He looked over at Hermione. She was shivering and her lips were blue.
'We have to get out of these wet clothes,' he said. 'Why don't you find some blankets to
wrap ourselves in and I'll light the fire and make us some tea.'
Hermione nodded blankly as she went to find some blankets.
Harry reached for his wand, conjuring up a spark and soon there was a roaring fire. He
filled up Hagrid's kettle and then placed it on the fire. By the time he had managed to
locate and make them tea Hermione had appeared with a couple of blankets. She had
already wrapped herself in one. She pointed toward a room where Harry could strip off
his clothes and wrap himself in the blanket. He came back out and offered the tea to
Hermione. They drank their tea in silence, and then made their way to Hagrid's bedroom
where Hermione wrapped them in the third blanket. They held each other as they fell
asleep, trying to shake off the cold.
*~*
Dumbledore relayed The Prophecy to them. Sirius was only half listening. He knew it
involved Voldemort and Harry. Harry was obviously the lion. That made sense not only
was he a Gryffindor, he was also a Leo and soon would be a lion Animagus. But the other
clues didn't make much sense.
'So are we looking for two girls?' Snape asked.
'They're older than Harry Sirius,' Chrystal replied. 'Women. It clearly states that the lion
is the youngest. And so it's simple, we're looking for two women one who likes flying
and one who is faithful and loyal.'
'That should be so simple,' Snape snarled. 'Where should we start Miss Defence Against
the Dark Arts?'
'They're old or present Hogwarts students,' she replied. 'And they may or may not have
been in the respective houses of the founders. I would suggest they're not. And you could
consult Miss Granger's book, 'Arithmancy and the Founders.' It also makes reference to
this Prophecy. Hermione was asking me about it. It says they will form a triangle, double
that of the founders we mourn. Given that we don't mourn good old Salazar you should
investigate any triangles formed by other three founders. Additionally they will be from
old wizard families. Like the Potter's and Tom Riddle's mother's family. So you can rule
out most of the Muggle-born students unless their parents were Squibs.'
Chrystal saw Dumbledore flinch at the mention of Squibs. She raised her eyes at Sirius.
'Fine,' Snape said as he continued to scowl. 'I shall go and find a remedy to fix my old
Divination teacher and you can go and locate Miss Granger and her book. Trust you to
turn to a book when in doubt Miss Àille. Books don't have all the answers.'
Snape turned and walked out the door.


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'Will Professor Figg be alright?' asked Sirius.
'I can but hope,' Dumbledore replied. 'She will never see the future again however. I am
afraid the charm I used was far too powerful that it will have destroyed her ability to see
the future. It is unfortunate because you rarely find a true Seer. They're a rare and dying
breed. Trelawney is only a scratch on the real thing.'
'What is our course of action?' Chrystal asked. 'I apologise for upsetting Snape, I fear I
have a tendency to do that all too often.'
'Severus will recover eventually,' Dumbledore replied. 'He was very much opposed to
your appointment Chrystal and yours as well Sirius. Yet, he realises that we have to work
together to overcome Voldemort. There is much to do and never enough time to do it. For
now, I would like to talk to you alone Chrystal. Sirius can find Harry and Hermione and
bring them up here. We should speak with them before the night is over. The time has
come to move forward.'
Sirius left the room leaving Dumbledore and Chrystal behind.
*~*
They couldn't shake the cold. The wind was still roaring. Hermione leant over and kissed
him.
'I want you Harry,' she whispered softly in his ear.
He looked at her. She looked so serious. But she had never looked so beautiful.
'Are you sure Hermione?'
She nodded.
He kissed her again.
It was a little less awkward this time.
They fell asleep in each others arms.
*~*
Dumbledore looked down at her hand. The ring was still there, the one that McGonagall
had seen. It was in the shape of a tiny bird.
'Minerva told me about a ring you wear Miss Àille,' he said. 'Are you aware of its
significance?'
Chrystal nodded her head.
'You are unable to remove it I take it,' he said. 'Once it chooses an owner it remains there
until that person dies. It can only be placed on certain people's fingers. Where did you
come across it?'



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'It was my mother's,' she replied. 'I took it from her finger when I killed her. This you
know, you were there I recall.'
The look of despair was evident on the woman's face. She had been through so much, he
didn't want to drag it all up again but it had unfortunately become necessary.
'Perhaps I overlook things occasionally. How many know of the events that occurred that
night?' he asked.
'Only Crouch, you and my father,' she answered. 'Crouch kept it quiet, he didn't really
want his Auror's involved despite his security 'upgrades' and his authorisation of us using
The Avada Kedavra Curse to bring Death Eaters to justice. You wouldn't tell anyone for
similar reasons and my father certainly didn't want it broadcasted everywhere that my
mother had been a Death Eater. I was licensed to kill, but she was the only one I actually
did, and it was only because I was so angry. If I hadn't killed her, she would have killed
me. I know it doesn't make it right, but I have to justify it somehow. To be able to go on.'
'You discovering this ring would've coincided with you telling Sirius to forget all about
you,' Dumbledore commented. He saw the look on her face. 'I know a lot of things I don't
mention Miss Àille. I take it you knew immediately what the ring meant and the
implications associated with it. Hence you didn't say anything to me earlier in the year
when we discussed the implications. You don't want it to be true, do you?'
'Of course,' she replied. 'You understand my actions now don't you? How could I
continue our relationship with that hanging over our heads? Is it exactly fair for me to
bring a child into the world with that kind of risk?'
'Of course I understand,' he replied slowly. 'What I fail to see is why you would continue
it now, if I am guessing your reasons for terminating it in the first place.'
'Because I love him,' she replied. 'I can't live a lie, not anymore. I've wasted far too many
years trying. I am willing to take the risk. I am willing to take responsibility.' The look of
desperation on her face was moving.
'Does he know?' he asked. He watched her shake her head regretfully. 'Then I suggest you
tell him, sooner rather than later. He needs to know the truth, especially if you're going to
marry him. Please leave me now; I have much to think about. Return with Sirius, Harry
and Hermione.'
He watched her walk out the door. She was one of the many of the generation who had
been ripped apart because of Voldemort. Now it was destroying their children and their
future.
As soon as she had gone she was back with Sirius in tow.
'I can't find them,' Sirius said. 'I've looked everywhere; they're simply not in the castle
anywhere. And the storm's still raging outside. Do you know where the map is?'
A look of concern came over the old man's face.



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'We must find them immediately,' he said. 'I trust you Sirius, but one man cannot search
an entire castle, we will look again before we venture outside. If they are indeed outside I
am sure they have enough sense to find some shelter somewhere.'
They headed down the stairwell to try and find the missing pair.

Chapter Twenty
The Arithmancy of the Founders
The storm continues to rage all night, thunder and lightening hindering the search for the
missing pair. There was no light in the sky except for the bolts of lightening. The moon
and stars were covered by cloud.
The horse and the dog were searching. The horse in the air and the dog on land. Both
were wary of the lightening in the sky. Both were wary of the danger it brought. But both
needed to find the pair. The cat had remained inside, searching the castle high and low,
but the horse and the dog ventured into the wilderness. So far they had found nothing.
Morning would be soon approaching.
*~*
Daylight broke.
The sun streaming in the window seemed to revive Harry. Last night he had felt
completely drained of energy, but now he felt refreshed and renewed. Armed with his
mother's music and Hermione's love he was ready to face whatever challenges lay ahead
of him. He looked down at the sleeping girl in his arms. She looked so peaceful, so
beautiful. Harry couldn't believe his fortune. He was resolved despite the difficult path
ahead. He wanted more than anything else to be with her and he would do whatever it
took. He waited a moment before he tried to wake her. Then he shook her gently,
'Herm,' he whispered. 'It's time to get up; they're probably looking for us. Sirius will be
worried sick.'
She rubbed her eyes as Harry shook her gently.
'How long do you think we've been missing?' she asked.
'We went for a walk yesterday morning after breakfast and we didn't return. I'm fairly
sure it's morning again now. I can't tell, because it was mid afternoon when we got here,
and it was dark, but I'm fairly sure it's morning now.'
Hermione leant over and kissed him.
'I'd prefer to stay longer, but I'm sure people are worried,' she said. 'Our clothes should be
dry by now, I'll go and check.'
Hermione reappeared in the room a couple of minutes later, fully clothed.
'They're still a bit muddy,' she said, 'but they'll get us back up to the castle. I'll wait here


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while you get changed.'
Harry obeyed, walking out the door and pulling on his extremely muddy clothes. He
called out to Hermione and then they headed back to the castle. A large black dog walked
across their path. The dog looked wet and muddy, as though he had been out all night.
'Sirius,' Harry thought. 'How typical. I hope he hasn't been looking all night.'
They headed straight for the Great Hall where McGonagall, Dumbledore, Sirius, Chrys
and Snape were waiting for them.
'Where have you been?' McGonagall said sternly. 'We have been worried sick and have
been searching all night long.'
Harry glanced up and saw that Snape was fuming. He was waiting for Snape to suggest
that they should be expelled, but he didn't seem to say anything.
'We got caught in the storm,' Hermione explained. 'We ran to Hagrid's for cover because
it was the closest shelter. We fell asleep.'
Snape was still glaring.
'We have been searching for you all night,' McGonagall began, 'however I shall not
punish you, extenuating circumstances Severus. I am glad you are okay. Now go and
shower and change before breakfast and Miss Granger bring your book Arithmancy and
The Founders, we have a lot to discuss this morning.'
Harry and Hermione obeyed, making their way to their respective Prefect's Bathroom,
Harry giving Hermione a peck on the forehead before she entered.
'Meet you in the common room,' he whispered.
Harry made his way up to the fifth floor, four doors down from the statue of Boris the
Bewildered.
'Pine-fresh,' he whispered. Harry entered the bathroom, still as impressed with it now, as
he had been the first time he entered it in fourth year to work out the clue that was held in
the golden egg for the Triwizard Tournament. He turned on several of the bubble bath
taps filling the bath with as much foam as possible before hopping in.
Harry lay in the pleasant mix of warm water and bubbles while he contemplated the
events of the last forty-eight hours. Before Christmas day he had been Harry Potter, Head
Boy of Hogwarts, a member of Dumbledore's secret group of operatives and Lavender
Brown's boyfriend. He felt like so much had changed since then, he had been truly
awoken for the first time in his life. Harry was now a completely different person. He had
purpose, though he did not know what it was, he sensed that something had happened
yesterday that would shape his destiny. The face in a sense had been right; he knew that
he was destined to do something that would change the course of the future. How he
knew this, he did not know. He was no longer afraid of what the future might hold; he
knew he could face it with courage and with Hermione by his side. Although he didn't


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know how he was going to work things out with Lavender, he somehow sensed that it
would work out fine.
Harry jumped out of the bath, noticing something on his hip that he had not seen before.
It was almost like a tattoo, a golden lion on his left hip. Pondering this, he wrapped
himself in one of the towel before heading back to Gryffindor Tower to locate some
clothes. About fifteen minutes later he met Hermione in the common room. He noticed
she was clutching the book that McGonagall had asked for.
'Why do you think they want that for?' Harry asked.
'I'm not sure' she replied. 'I think it might have something to do that lightening bolt that
almost killed us yesterday.'
'Do you have a theory?' he asked, knowing her all to well.
'Not a substantial one,' she replied. 'There are a few things in this book I was telling
Chrystal about and she seemed fairly interested. There's supposed to be a Prophecy that's
associated with the founders and I think it involves Arithmancy and a Covenant.'
They made their way down to the Great Hall quickly so that they could discover what
was going on.
There was an eerie feeling in the air during breakfast that morning. No one said anything;
the Great Hall was in total silence. Harry ate quietly desperately wanting to break the
silence but for some reason he wasn't quite game enough. Finally Dumbledore broke the
silence.
'Harry, Sirius and Chrystal,' he began, 'you three come with me, Severus please continue
your work on that potion. It is vital to restore Mrs Figg's health. Hermione you are to go
with Minerva for now, you may join us in thirty minutes or so. You should as well
Severus.'
His tone was serious. Everyone in the room seemed to sense that the world had changed.
There was a very different feel to it than on Christmas Day.
Dumbledore led the three up towards Chrystal's office.
'I assume you've anti-bugged your office' he asked.
She nodded her head.
'As much as is magically possible,' she replied.
Dumbledore drew the curtains and motioned for everyone to sit down.
'Sirius and Chrystal are aware of parts of what happened last night,' he said. 'I sense
somehow that you young Harry are aware that something happened yesterday. You are
aware that that was not just any storm.'
'Something of great magnitude happened,' Harry replied. 'Something that will change the


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course of the future. I am involved somehow. Can you tell me?'
'Have you heard of The Prophecy of Saoghal Harry?' Dumbledore asked.
Harry shook his head. The Prophecy. He wondered if it was the same one Hermione had
mentioned. Even if it was he didn't know anything about it.
'The Prophecy of Saoghal was re-revealed last night,' Dumbledore said. 'You are a
component in two prophecies, which predict the fall of Voldemort. The first one,
Trelawney's first prediction, predicted the fall of Voldemort by a baby lion.'
A lion, did Dumbledore know his Animagus?
'You realise that you are the lion, you are a Leo, you are also a Gryffindor and you
defeated Voldemort as a baby. Trelawney's prophecy was fulfilled. There was a second
prophecy given shortly before Trelawney's, predicting his return and a final conquest
between the Heirs of the founders. The Prophecy of Saoghal. It also mentioned a lion, a
lion that would defeat the Dark Lord once and return to face him again. You are that lion
Harry, which also makes you Gryffindor's Heir. We have been checking this Harry and it
is certain, the Potter's are descended from Godric Gryffindor. This makes you part of the
prophecy given yesterday and therefore part of The Covenant of Light.'
Dumbledore glanced at him. Harry was trying to absorb the knowledge. The three sat in
the room and allowed Harry to come to terms.
'Had Voldemort heard this prophecy?' Harry asked. 'Is that why he tried to kill me? Is that
why he killed my father? He didn't want to kill my mum, he told her to step aside. It was
me he was after.'
'We believe Voldemort had heard this prophecy.' Dumbledore replied. 'And it is why he
went after you, why he continues to seek you out. However that is not of importance at
the moment. Voldemort knows you are in this prophecy and he will know that it was
revealed last night, as he is involved as well. You felt it as the lightening struck, didn't
you?'
Harry nodded again. He, the Heir of Gryffindor. No wonder he had pulled Gryffindor's
sword out of the Sorting hat. And as Voldemort was the Heir of Slytherin no wonder he
was after Harry. Just as Gryffindor and Slytherin were drawn against each other, so
would their Heirs be.
'What does The Prophecy say?' Harry asked.
'It talks about the Heir's of the Founder's joining forces to face the Heir of Slytherin. The
Heir's will form a triangle double that of the 'founders we mourn'. That assumes the
founders form a triangle of sorts. Hermione and Minerva are working on it at the
moment. I must warn you Harry that The Prophecy does not talk about who will win, just
that the Heir's will join forces. I suspect only part of The Prophecy has been given, that
more has been foreseen and that on of the heir's will predict the fall. Do you understand
the consequences of what I'm saying?'



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Harry nodded. He was still in awe of being Gryffindor's heir. His new sense of purpose
meant tat he was not afraid. He was willing to face whatever he had to destroy
Voldemort, even if it meant sacrificing himself. Dumbledore had called him the lion. The
lion. The tattoo.
'Professor,' Harry said. 'This morning I noticed a golden lion tattoo on my hip. It wasn't
there before. Do you think it's a sign?'
'I don't know Harry,' he replied. 'Perhaps Miss Granger may have more information for
us. I think I hear them coming now.'
Sure enough McGonagall and Hermione entered the room shortly afterward, as did
Snape.
'Minerva,' Dumbledore said. 'Have you filled Miss Granger in?'
McGonagall nodded in reply.
'What have you discovered?' he asked.
'The four founders' characters don't form a triangle, they reduce to nine,' Hermione said.
'However Gryffindor, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff reduce to a three, which is the first
triangle. And Slytherin reduces to a six; double that of the others and also a perfect
number. The Heirs, to equal Slytherin's power, should reduce to a six. That is a triangle
that is equal to Slytherin and also doubles that of the other founders.'
Harry wondered what Arithmancy had to do with it. It didn't help explain his tattoo. It
just meant that his character and two other unknown people's characters had to reduce to
six. He'd heard enough about Arithmancy before lessons had started and that had been
enough to put him off.
Hermione placed a piece of parchment on the table. It read;
Rowena = 9+6+5+5+5+1 = 31 which reduces to 4
Helga = 8+5+3+7+1=24 which reduces to 6
Godric = 7+6+4+9+9+3 = 38 which reduces 11 then 2
4+6+2=12 which reduces to 3 (a triangle)
Salazar = 1+1+3+1+8+1+9= 24 which reduces to 6 (a perfect number and triangle)
Harry = 8+1+9+9+7= 34 which reduces to 7
Heirs must reduce to 6
  totals can be 15, 24, (cannot be more because the largest total of three reduced
numbers is 27)
7 + x + y = one of the above.



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Taking 15
7 + x + y = 15
x+y=8
Taking 24
7 + x + y = 24
x + y = 17
If 24 is the case x and y must equal 8 and 9.
'How does that help us?' Snape snarled from the corner.
'It tells us what the totals should be,' Dumbledore replied. 'Once we locate another one of
the two, we shall be able to figure out what the third heir's total is, making it easier to
locate the third. Do you know anything about a tattoo Hermione?'
'According to the prophecy in here,' Hermione said as she held up her copy of
Arithmancy and the Founders, 'the true heirs will have their ancestor's symbol appear just
above their left hip, when the time nears for them to face Slytherin. So Gryffindor's heir
will have a lion, Hufflepuff's a badger and Ravenclaw's an eagle. And they should have
appeared yesterday.'
'There's your answer Harry,' Dumbledore said. 'That's where the lion came from. Do you
need anymore convincing?'
He shook his head. He didn't really think much of Divination, but this seemed to be an
old prophecy and he had known the occasional one to come true. He glanced down at the
open page of Hermione's book.
"Slytherin can only be defeated by the joint effort of the Heirs of Gryffindor, Ravenclaw
and Hufflepuff and even then it will be a grim battle with no foreseeable outcome."
'Do you know who the other Heirs are?' he asked.
'I think I know who one is,' Dumbledore said slowly and deliberately. 'I am working on
confirming this. I have no idea who the other Heir is. The only clue is that they're both
female and I would think from very old wizarding families. I am working on tracing the
family trees but that can take ages, they will both be older than you however Harry. I will
continue my search, you have all been enlightened, and I shall inform the other
operatives. You will know when the time comes Harry.'
Harry and Hermione stood up to leave but Sirius interrupted.
'Harry,' he said. 'I'd like to talk to you alone for a couple of minutes before you two take
off.'
Harry saw the serious, un-Sirius look on his face. Sirius led him to a room off the


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corridor.
'I know it's none of my business Harry,' he said, 'but what is going on between you and
Hermione?'
'Is it that obvious?' Harry asked before he could even think about denying it.
'There's definitely something there that wasn't there on Christmas Day,' Sirius replied.
'Just don't get yourself caught in an awkward situation if you can avoid it. Have you
broken up with Lavender?'
Harry shook his head.
'She's a Seer Harry,' Sirius said. 'You better hope she didn't see what went on last night in
the Orb.'
Harry went bright red. He didn't know whether Sirius was second-guessing him or not.
Could Sirius really know what happened?
'I didn't plan it,' Harry replied.
'A lot of things happen that we don't plan Harry,' Sirius said silently. 'If you want an
example, just look at my life.'
Harry was silent. He knew that Sirius had been through the woodwork for protecting his
family. Sirius had never planned on spending twelve years in Azkaban, nor did he intend
in falling in love with an Auror. Hence he should understand the situation he was in.
'I love her,' he said simply. 'I didn't intend to fall in love with her. But being with
Lavender just isn't the same. Lavender's a good friend, we have a lot of fun together and
we care about each other. But I don't feel the way about her that I feel about Hermione. I
didn't even realise it until Christmas Day.'
'I understand Harry,' Sirius replied. 'Just try not to hurt anyone because of it.'
Harry walked silently out the door. There was just over a week left before everyone came
back. He had just over a week to deal with everything he had just heard. Yet he couldn't
help but feel proud. He was descended from Godric Gryffindor, the greatest (in Harry's
opinion) of the four founders.
He made his way back o the common room, where he was greeted with a long kiss from
Hermione.
*~*
Snape approached Harry the next day. Harry was unable to hide his surprise.
'I'd just like a quick word,' he said. 'I'm probably telling you something that you already
know. I am the one who told Dumbledore that Voldemort knew you were part of The
Prophecy. I didn't do it for you; I did it for your mother. I am guessing you have figured
this out.'


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'Actually no Professor,' he said. 'You give me far too much credit.'
'Well, if I hadn't told you, Black would have,' Snape replied. 'Just don't go and get
yourself killed and make what I did worthless Potter.'
*~*
The holidays sped by after that. The only eventful happening was the temporary
cancellation of the European Cup, which was announced in The Daily Prophet. It had
been postponed until the summer holidays. Ron had written that very afternoon, to tell
them that all Cannon games for the rest of the season were cancelled until further notice,
because they weren't likely to make the finals. He hadn't even got to play a game yet.
They both felt sorry for him, but they could understand where the League was coming
from, given that Hogwarts was thought to be a target already and holding a Quidditch
Cup there would certainly make it one. Hermione and Harry slipped back into the same
routine again; the only difference being that Hermione would spend the night in Harry's
room, instead of just coming and tucking him in.
Although Harry had not worked out what he was going to do about Lavender yet, both he
and Hermione were resolved to talk to Ginny as soon as she got back.
'We don't want to put her in anymore danger than she already is,' Hermione had said.
They wrote to Ron immediately and he replied agreeing with them.
The holidays finally ended and Harry hoped that the three weeks he and Hermione had
spent together wouldn't be as obvious to the entire student body as it had been to Sirius.
Harry and Hermione patiently awaited the arrival of the others in the common room.
Both were silent. Hermione hadn't asked Harry what he was going to do about Lavender,
nor had she commented on The Prophecy. Harry felt that this had created a slight
uneasiness between the two of them today. He hoped that everything would go as
smoothly as he felt it would, the day after the storm.
Around three o'clock Harry could hear a noise in the corridor and soon enough students
were entering the common room. The chattering was a peculiar sound after having close
to three weeks of silence. Neville immediately greeted Harry.
'Guess what Harry,' he said excited. 'You know Natalie, in fourth year. We're going out.'
Harry offered his congratulations to Neville, light-heartedly saying that he was surprised
that Neville could remember, as he scanned the room for Lavender. She finally appeared
after what seemed like ages. She looked sad and upset. She walked over to Harry.
'I know,' she whispered softly in his ear.
Harry grabbed her hand and led her out of the common room to a quiet little alcove.
'I'm sorry,' he said.
'It's okay,' Lavender said softly as she tried to stifle a tear. 'You didn't mean for it to


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happen, I hoped that it wouldn't but I could tell by the way you were searching me out.'
Harry looked confused.
'I foresaw it,' she said. 'About a week before the explosion. That's why I was so cruel to
Hermione that day. I wanted to warn you, I hoped that you would resist and not give in to
yourself. You love her don't you?'
Harry looked at this poor girl. He could only imagine how she was feeling. He had
betrayed her, and she knew he was going to. She had spent her whole holidays
tormenting herself, tearing herself apart, and hoping that what she had seen would not
occur. But it was no good. It had. And now she was alone.
'I'm sorry Lavender,' he whispered. 'I can't live a lie and I can't lie to you and pretend. I
don't want to live that way. I just wish you hadn't found out that way.'
'I'll always be your friend Harry,' she said. 'It doesn't matter what happened. I enjoyed the
time we spent together, but I knew you didn't love me. If it weren't Hermione it would
have been someone else. Please lets not speak of it again. I want us to be friends.'
Harry nodded and hugged her. Then she ran off back into Gryffindor Tower. Harry
followed after her slowly. He felt awful, yet relieved. He hadn't had to actually break up
with her or tell her about Hermione. It made it slightly less unpleasant, if at all possible.
He re-entered the common room, spying Ron and Hermione sitting in the corner, waiting
for him to return. He gave them a look.
'Where's Ginny?' he asked.
'Having a stroll with Malfoy,' Ron replied somewhat sarcastically.
They filled Ron in on what Harry had seen the night Malfoy was initiated.
'We've got to protect her,' Hermione said.
They agreed to confront Ginny after dinner. She would have to sit near them anyway, so
they could corner her then. After that was sorted out, Hermione looked at Harry
questioningly.
'Lavender and I broke up,' he told them both. There was a look of delight on Hermione's
face, but Harry gave her a 'I want to talk to Ron alone' look.
Hermione seemed to get the hint, as she left them alone, telling them she'd meet them just
before dinner.
Before Harry could say anything Ron shocked him.
'It's because of Hermione isn't it?' Ron asked.
'What?' Harry asked.
'I could see it a mile off,' Ron said. 'Hermione's been staring longingly at you for months.


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Then there were moments when I thought you felt the same way, but you never acted on
it. I wondered how long it would take for you to figure it out. It's okay you have my
blessing.'
Harry couldn't believe it. How dim was he if Ron could work it out before he did?
'How did you finally figure it out then?' Ron asked.
Harry told Ron about his mother's music and listening to Hermione singing it. He told
Ron how he had been seeing her differently for months, and then finally he told Ron
about the storm and The Prophecy of Soaghal.
'Whoa,' Ron said. 'You had no idea?'
Harry shook his head.
'No one ever said anything,' he replied.
Harry then pulled his trousers down slightly so that the lion on his hip was more visible.
The lion was more prominent now than it had been. Ron stared in amazement.
'It's pretty cool tattoo anyway,' he said.
Hermione interrupted them at this point and the Trio left for dinner.
They waited until Ginny had finished her meal before Harry and Ron grabbed either side
of her and led her off towards the empty charms classroom. She protested the entire way;
it was in fact making quite a scene.
'Okay Ginny,' Harry said, 'we know you're a responsible young lady, but you just can't go
out with Malfoy anymore.'
'He's a Death Eater Gin,' Ron said. 'I don't want you hurt, but Harry saw him get the Dark
Mark.'
Ginny did not appear surprised. In fact the look on her face worried Harry.
She looked Ron straight in the eye.
'No he's not,' she replied angrily. 'I told him you'd be like this. He's not a Death Eater, he's
a spy.'

Chapter Twenty One
The Fate of The Heirs
For some reason that Harry could not explain, he didn't believe Ginny.
'Ginny,' he said gently, 'I saw him get the mark. He looked pleased with himself, like he'd
fulfilled his lifelong ambition or something.'
'In a sense he has,' Ginny said. 'By spying he's getting back at his father. He hates him


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you know. Absolutely despises him. He's going to betray him and teach him a lesson. I
told him that you guys wouldn't believe me if I told you however it's true. Draco doesn't
want to be a Death Eater. He may be a bad boy, but he's not evil. Anyhow, I care about
him. So it doesn't matter what you say I'm going to stand by him.'
And with that she walked out of the room and slammed the door behind them. As they
were about to leave the room, the door opened again. In paraded Malfoy, Crabbe and
Goyle.
'Well, well,' he said. 'What have we here, Potty, the Weasel and the Mudblood?'
Hermione looked as though she was fuming. 'How dare you accost my girlfriend like that
Potter, if you do it again I'll kill you. I don't appreciate you three planting ideas in her
head, nor do I appreciate being told by these imbeciles that Ginny's ex-boyfriend picked
her up and carried her to an empty room. Oh and incidentally Granger, is Potter a good
shag, now that you've got what you've been longing for all these years?'
Hermione's face went red.
Malfoy turned and walked out the door.
'I don't care what Ginny says,' Hermione said. 'That boy is unquestionably evil. How dare
he?'
They made their way back to Gryffindor Tower somewhat discouraged, until Harry
remembered what Dumbledore had said about Malfoy.
"There are some things you don't understand."
Perhaps Ginny was right.
Somehow Harry wasn't sure it was a risk that they should take. Except that Dumbledore
trusted him, and Harry trusted Dumbledore's judgement completely. If they were to trust
Malfoy, it would be going against the grain. It would be like his parents trusting Snape.
Harry wondered if Snape had heard The Prophecy of Saoghal and told Dumbledore.
Somehow, Harry couldn't see Snape caring enough about the Potter's, but what about the
other Heirs. If Snape knew whom one of them was, would he have betrayed Voldemort
for them, and then not tell Dumbledore who they were? If he wanted to protect them,
Harry knew he would do the same. He had to work out who the other Heirs were. It was
crucial.
*~*
The woman looked down at her hip. The eagle was there, just as it had been a couple of
weeks ago, getting brighter too. She didn't know how much longer she could hide it. She
didn't want it to be true. She was afraid, there was too much to live for now. If only there
was another way. She knew what The Prophecy of Saoghal meant, she knew more than
most. She had heard the entire prophecy and although it had been partially revealed a few
weeks ago, she knew the truth.
Two will fall and two will stand, each the same character will be.


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Was she destined for death, now of all times? All the signs pointed in the one direction.
*~*
Despite the cancellation of Hogsmeade visits, the school settled back into its regular
routine without too many problems. The seventh years in particular were hit hard with
work in preparation of their upcoming N.E.W.Ts but that was to be expected.
Harry and Hermione did however pass their apparition tests, Harry the first time and
Hermione the second. She had been so furious when she had failed, all because she was a
metre to the right of where she was supposed to have been. Now that they no longer had
to attend apparition lessons, they had Friday afternoons off and could join Ron in his
laying about in the common room afternoon.
Because school had been sent home early the week of their dragon visit, Charlie had had
to delay it until over the Easter break. Most of the seventh years were happy to have
lessons in the holidays, if it meant practical experience. It was better than not having it at
all. Only the Slytherin's complained.
Hagrid was still away, but the Trio made up for it by visiting Charlie and visiting Sirius.
Harry wondered where in fact Hagrid was. He had said he'd be back by Christmas, yet he
still hadn't returned and Harry had not heard from him, since receiving the Christmas
package. Charlie however, didn't seem so concerned when it was mentioned.
'Hagrid's been delayed,' he said. 'It shouldn't be anything to worry about; he'll be back
soon enough.'
Nonetheless, Hogwarts just didn't feel the same without Hagrid. Harry missed him
greatly.
Crookshanks appeared to have gotten over his craziness, content to just lie down and
sleep most of the time. Hermione figured he must have worn himself out earlier in the
year. She only would let him out hunting occasionally now, and usually only under
Sirius' supervision as Padfoot.
'He's getting older,' she said. 'I don't want him to get caught by some larger animal.'
'Then why do you let him out with Padfoot?' Harry asked. 'He'd be likely to eat
Crookshanks any day.'
Neither Harry nor Hermione had mentioned their Animagi Training to anyone, nor had
they talked about it between each other. Harry often wondered what animal she was
learning how to transform into. His lion form was progressing along nicely. Sirius kept
remarking that he shouldn't have too much longer to go before he was able to transform
at will, in just seconds. He hoped that he would be ready to transform by the time he
needed to escape from danger.
Ginny began ignoring them after their confrontation, which made things difficult for the
upcoming Quidditch match against Ravenclaw. Now that Ron didn't have Cannons
practices to deal with anymore, he began pushing the Gryffindor team harder again.


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Ginny was late to half the practices just to spite Ron. Things were not looking good; if
the team couldn't work well together then there was not a single chance that they could
possibly win, even though the new Ravenclaw Seeker was seemingly hopeless. Finally,
after the practice before the game Ron whispered to Harry;
'I think I've got to have words to Ginny or it's all going to end in World War Three on the
pitch tomorrow. Time to swallow my pride, I think.'
'Ginny,' Ron called. 'I need you over here for a second.'
She glared at Ron as she marched over.
'What is it?' she asked heatedly. 'Another accusation today?'
'Gin, I'm sorry for what we said about Malfoy,' Ron said. 'We just worried about you,
trying to look out for you. We do care about you, and Harry did see Malfoy get the Dark
Mark. It's just a bit hard for us to believe that he's really playing on our side. Can you
understand that?'
Ginny nodded slowly.
't doesn't mean that it didn't hurt Ron,' she said. 'If we're going to get anywhere we have
to trust each other, more than you realise.'
'Okay, Gin,' he said. 'Just don't let that creep hurt you.'
'Bickering behind us?' Harry asked. Seeing the nods he continued. 'Good, now let's crush
Ravenclaw tomorrow.'
After showering, the three made their way to visit Charlie, who was still staying in
Hagrid's hut.
It is not often that you get unexpected surprises, but today seemed to be full of them.
Harry, Ron and Ginny knocked on the door to greet Charlie and Hagrid himself opened
the door.
Harry ran to greet him.
'Hagrid you're back,' he yelled. 'I was worried about you.'
'Don worry bout me,' Hagrid replied. 'Ah've jus been taking care of business. Took a bit
longer than anticipated, tha's all.'
Hagrid invited them in and made them tea, while he filled them in on what had been
going on.
'Ye know a couple of years ago when we went and visited the giants?' he asked. 'Well we
went again, me and Olympe to ask them to help us stand against Voldemort. Dumbledore
thinks we need protection now, specially in light of Hogsmeade. Those poor kids Harry,
didn one of them use to follow you round and photograph you?' Seeing Harry nod he
continued. 'Dumbledore got the giants hiding in the forest's around Hogsmeade and a


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couple in the Forbidden Forest as well. Don know if they'll be any help but it's worth a
shot. At least they're not on You Know Who's side.'
Harry agreed. He had heard about what the giants had done when they were allied with
Voldemort and was sincerely glad that they weren't allied with him now. They farewelled
Hagrid early in the evening as Ron insisted his team get plenty of rest before the big
game tomorrow.
*~*
Harry and Ron were a bundle of nerves the next morning, despite both being extremely
competent Quidditch players. They had lost a Beater in the Shrieking Shack explosion,
hence were forced to promote one of the reserves (Dean Thomas), who had never played
a game of Quidditch before. The Quidditch match was due to start about an hour after
breakfast, so Harry and Ron forced down a little food before making their way down to
the Quidditch change rooms to prepare for their game.
Gryffindor was in a good position. Ravenclaw had beaten Slytherin, but lost to
Hufflepuff and Slytherin had beaten Hufflepuff a couple of week's prior. So the standings
were:
Wins Losses Games
Gryffindor 1 0 1
Slytherin 1 1 2
Ravenclaw 1 1 2
Hufflepuff 1 2 3
This meant that if Gryffindor won their next two matches, no matter what the margin was
they would win the house cup for the third time in a row, or fourth if you counted the
year before the Triwizard Tournament as well.
The Ravenclaw team was a better match up than the Hufflepuff team despite their recent
loss. Ron appeared to have his work cut out for him, the Ravenclaw Chasers having no
trouble monopolising on the Gryffindor Teams mistakes. When the score had reached
Ravenclaw sixty, Gryffindor ten Ron called a time out.
'What's going on out there?' he asked.
'Their Beater's are just whacking the Bludgers at us, quicker than Seamus or Dean can
handle,' Ginny replied.
'Any sign of The Snitch?' Ron asked.
'No,' Harry replied.
'Only grab it if we'll win,' Ron said. 'If they'll win and their Seeker is going after it, put
her off somehow.'


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'I know Ron,' Harry said somewhat frustrated.
Ron signalled to Madam Hooch that the time out was over. Harry began searching the
field for The Snitch again. There was no sign of it, as he swerved to avoid a bludger.
Honestly for someone who's so obsessed with sport, Dean is a pretty bad Beater. He
turned around and Ravenclaw had scored again. That meant they were sixty behind.
He spied it floating just above the grass. He also spied the tiny Ravenclaw Seeker who
was miles away trying to dodge the Bludgers that Seamus and Dean had began to
repeatedly hit at her, given that they weren't having any effect on the Chasers. Harry
dived immediately and pulled up just before the ground with The Snitch in his hand.
'I've got it,' he called.
Once again the fate of the Quidditch Cup would be decided by the result of the
Gryffindor - Slytherin game. Except this time, Gryffindor only had to loose by less than a
certain amount to win the cup.
*~*
That night the celebrations continued late into the night, however they weren't quite as
rowdy as the last. Somehow Neville hadn't managed to smuggle in any Butterbeer this
time, or perhaps he didn't feel it was necessary this time, given that he was looking cosy
in the corner of the room by the fire with Natalie McDonald. He was obviously
congratulating her on the Quidditch match.
'They make a cute couple don't they?' Hermione asked as she came up behind him and
gave him a big hug. 'Congratulations on your win today.' He turned around and kissed
her.
When he pulled away he noticed people staring at them.
'Why are they staring Hermione?' he whispered.
'Because you haven't kissed me in the common room before,' she whispered into his ear.
It clicked.
Harry had forgotten that. He had subconsciously not flaunted their relationship out of
respect for Lavender's feelings, but he wanted to b able to kiss the girl he loved when he
won a Quidditch match.
'Let's go dance,' he said.
He led her out to the area of the common room that had been designated as a dancing
area, as a slow number came over the wizard wireless. They moved slowly in time to the
music together, only pulling apart when the song ended. Harry felt a closeness that had
been there since he danced with her at his birthday. He kissed her when the music
stopped and took her of the dance floor.
'I'll meet you here in ten minutes with the Invisibility Cloak,' he whispered in her ear as


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he left her standing there. 'I'll hit you on the back when its time to go outside.'
He made his way upstairs looking for any sign of Ron and/or Parvati and unable to find
them he grabbed the cloak, threw it over his head, and then made his was down to
Hermione who was waiting patiently by the door. He patted her on the back, and they
made there way outside.
'Where do you think Ron is? It looks like he's picked up Parvati again.' Harry asked her
as he threw the Invisibility Cloak over her head.
'Potions dungeon,' she replied with a smirk on her face.
'Nup,' Harry replied. 'That's reserved for Ginny, my bets on Transfiguration.'
They walked toward the Transfiguration classroom and sure enough Ron and Parvati
were snogging inside. They left them to their own devices, as an idea came to Harry's
head.
'What if we spied on Ginny?' Harry asked.
'What?' Hermione asked.
'She wasn't at the party right,' he said. Hermione nodded in reply. 'Well then I can only
guess where she is and if we go and check up on them we can find out once and for all if
Malfoy is on our side.'
'I don't know Harry,' she replied. 'I don't want to see anything, it's different with Ron, and
we know he just sneaked away a couple of minutes before we did. We don't know how
long they've been gone.'
'Just a quick trip,' Harry gave her a 'you don't have to look and we could find out
something' look.
They wandered down towards the dungeon, Harry remembering he had The Marauder's
Map in his pocket. He pulled it out, said the password and showed Hermione the map. It
showed Ginny and Malfoy in the Potions Dungeon, but they certainly weren't snogging.
Nor did it seem that Ron and Parvati were either. They must have had another tiff. Ron
was back in the common room, talking with Rose.
'Perhaps she'll grab his attention tonight,' Harry said.
They entered the room and found Ginny and Malfoy sitting in a corner of the room
talking.
'They don't believe me,' she said. 'This was a stupid idea.'
'It wasn't a stupid idea Ginny,' Malfoy replied harshly. 'If I didn't do this I'd be in hiding
or worse, I'd be dead. Both are pretty bad. Either way I'd be away from you and that's not
what you or I want.'
'Well how can I get them to believe me?' she asked.


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'When I know something I'll go straight to Professor Àille,' Malfoy replied. 'Until then
you're going to have to be brave. We need Potter for this to work. It's the only way I can
get Father. He wants Potter. He knows that the Dark Lord will reward him, if he brings
Potter.'
There was a sheer look of hatred on Malfoy's face as he spoke about his father. Harry
glanced at Hermione, and then indicated that they should make their way out. Harry
glanced at the map, before confirming that they could make their way to the Astronomy
Tower.
'Well if Malfoy's fooling her then he's doing a good job,' he said.
'Let's not talk about Malfoy now,' Hermione said as she pulled Harry' face towards hers.
*~*
An eagle flew in the open window. It was clutching a letter.
It located the boy, sleeping in his bed.
The boy did not notice the parchment as it slipped to the floor underneath his bed.
*~*
Mail arrived the next Monday morning particularly early. Every seventh year received a
parchment from the Ministry, which read;
Ministry of Magic
Cornelius Fudge
Minister of Magic
Dear Seventh-Year Hogwarts Student,
As you reach the end of your school careers, we hope that you will consider a career
within the Ministry. Attached are the standard application forms for expressions of
interest for the Ministry positions.
If you wish to find out more about a department you may contact that head of
department.
Department of Magical Law Enforcement
Magical Law Enforcement Squad
Aurors - Alastor Moody
Council of Magical Law - Cornelius Fudge
Department for Transportation - Basil Whitherwood



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Department for Care and Control of Magical Creatures - Amos Diggory
Office of Misinformation
Beast Department
Disposal of Dangerous Creatures
Dragon Research and Restraint Bureau
Office of House-Elf Relocation
Werewolf Registry and Capture Unit
Centaur Liaison Office
Being Division
Goblin Liaison office
Werewolf Support Services - Remus Lupin
Spirit Division
Department of Mysteries - Cornelius Fudge
Department for Goblin Liason - Cuthbert Mockridge
Department for International Co-operation - Percy Weasley
Department of Magical Catastrophes
Department of Magical Games and Sport
Department of Accidental Magic Reversal
Experimental Charms - Gilbert Whimple
Missuse of Muggle Artifacts - Arthur Weasley
Improper Use of Magic - Mafalda Hopkirk
For all information regarding the above departments without a contact, you may contact
my secretary. I hope you will consider a career in the Ministry.
Completed applications will need to be submitted to The Ministry by the end of your
Easter holidays. Interviews will be held, after you have completed your Nastily
Exhausting Wizarding Tests in May.
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact my secretary,
Yours Faithfully,



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Cornelius Fudge.
'Should I tear this up Hermione?' Harry asked. 'Or am I going to follow in my mum's
footsteps?'
'Why would you want to do that?' Ron asked. Harry remembered that he hadn't heard the
conversation that they'd had during the holidays. Ron had a sour look on his face. 'I have
to apply for the Ministry. It's expected, but I don't want to go into Percy's or Dad's
division. Besides, there are more vacancies in the Ministry now than there ever have
been. Look at all the departments without a specified head. That's because there isn't one.
It's because no one wants to be in The Ministry, or at least, not under Fudge.'
Harry and Hermione nodded. They knew full well the problems with The Ministry,
especially now that Voldemort had gone public. They knew that once people found out
about the fact that Crouch had known since the end of the Triwizard Tournament.
'Harry,' Hermione said, 'I think you should apply, even if you don't intend on working for
them. You should make everything seem as normal as possible, even if you think it's not.
And Ron, you shouldn't do anything that you don't want to. Look at Fred and George. See
how successful they are, and they're not exactly doing what your mother wanted them to
are they?'
Harry therefore didn't tear up his letter but looked overwhelmed as he peered at the
application forms. There were so many openings; Harry figured it must be because
people were trying to get out, quickly. The Ministry certainly wasn't handling the
situation with Voldemort too well. He remembered what Sirius had said about Chrys
being very dissatisfied and preferring to work for Voldemort.
He looked at Ron.
'Well, it's time to face Trelawney and her Grims,' he said.
He kissed Hermione on the cheek before they headed up towards the dreaded Divination
Tower.
Trelawney was in a particularly bad mood that morning, and hence paired everyone off.
She paired her two best students with her two worst, meaning that Harry was paired with
Lavender and Ron with Parvati. Harry had certainly drawn the short straw.
Lavender was being her normal sweet self.
'No grudges,' she said. 'Now let's see what's waiting in the future today.' Despite the
apparent cheerfulness in her voice, Harry sensed that there was an element of fear she
was hiding. To be able to foresee the future could be a terrible burden, and she, so far had
seemed to have gotten the worst of it.
He watched her gaze into the ball. She seemed to be mesmerised by it.
'I can see a snake,' she said. 'He's sliding out of a bell. He's heading towards a bird, a
large kind of bird; I think it might be an eagle.'


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The snake, is that Voldemort? And the bird that must be the Heir of Ravenclaw.
'The snake looks angry; he's angered at the eagle. Wait! There's a lion as well. It looks
like the snake is actually heading for the lion. He wants to try and bite the lion. His bite
will kill it. A badger is running in front of the eagle.'
A lion and a badger. Gryffindor and Hufflepuff.
'What's going to happen?' Harry asked. 'Can you tell me who the animals are?'
'I don't know. It appears to be a final confrontation. They're in a dark room, with just the
light of a lantern. There's danger.
Lavender's voice changed, the way Trelawney's had when she predicted Wormtail's
escape,
Two will fall, one of each kind, each the same character will be.
Lavender was shaking. Her face had gone white, her lips had become blue. Harry
immediately grabbed hold of her.
'Professor,' Harry called. 'I must take her to the hospital wing.'
Trelawney gazed at them, before giving permission. Harry got Ron and Parvati to carry
her to the hospital wing. She was still shaking by the time they reached it.
'You two take care of her,' Harry said. "I've got to go to see Dumbledore immediately.'
Harry turned and headed towards the spiral staircase.

Chapter Twenty Two
The Final Quidditch Match
As Harry wandered back to Gryffindor Tower perplexed that Dumbledore had not been
more surprised.
Perhaps it's part of the original prophecy; perhaps Mrs Figg didn't give it all this time.
He shuddered. Did that mean Lavender would give the rest of it? She had seen some
things that she hadn't wanted to tell Harry about. Had they potentially been about him?
Two will die.
Who would the two be? And who were the other Heirs? He had to know, but how? Even
Dumbledore didn't know. He decided that he, Ron and Hermione should talk to Chrystal
after their Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson and if she wasn't any help they should
go and see Sirius that evening. The time was coming for action. Harry sensed it. There
was a growing feeling inside him, especially every time he glimpsed the lion on his hip. It
was clearer and clearer everyday and while Hermione thought it was cute and becoming,
Harry kept searching for an explanation as to why it would suddenly appear on his hip.



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They approached Chrystal after their lesson. Harry and Ron relayed what had happened
to Lavender in Divination. There was a concerned look on her face.
'Their character the same?' she asked. 'What does that mean? Two will be dark and the
other two light? It doesn't make sense, Harry. The three will join together to face the
power of Slytherin. That's The Prophecy. How can two characters be the same then?'
She didn't give them answers. The look on their face worried them. It was obvious that
both she and Dumbledore knew more about The Prophecy of Saoghal than they let on.
What had been said the first time? Harry thought it must have scared her, she would have
believed it to be talking about her best friends husband.
'Harry, here's your forms for the draft,' she said. She handed him a thick wad of papers,
which Harry looked at hoping Ron would be able to help him fill them out.
'Thanks,' he said.
She said nothing else. Instead she sent them out of the room, claiming the need for time
to think about it.
'Lot of good she is,' Ron said. 'I wanted to talk to her anyway, and she's sent us off.'
'I'm sure there's a good reason,' said Hermione. 'Besides you can talk to her another time,
it can't be that important. What was it anyway?'
'School work related,' he muttered.
It was clear from the look she gave him that she didn't believe him.
As they walked down the corridor they bumped into a flushed Malfoy.
'Midnight,' he whispered as he bumped into Harry. 'Potions dungeons come alone.'
Harry looked back over his shoulder. Malfoy was acting strange today. He had been
unusually quiet in their lessons that afternoon. Harry wondered what was up. One thing
was for sure, there was no way Harry would meet him alone.
He told them what Malfoy had said when they got back to the tower.
'I want you to come with me,' he said. 'We'll take the Invisibility Cloak and you two can
wait outside. If I don't come out you can kill Malfoy for all I care.'
At half past eleven they met in the common room. It was harder for them to all fit
underneath the Invisibility Cloak, now that they had all grown, but somehow they still
seemed to manage to do it when the time called for it.
They wandered down towards the dungeon. Harry pulled out The Marauders map and
ensured that Malfoy was in there on his own before he walked in.
'What do you want Malfoy?' Harry spat.



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'I needed to talk to you away from anyone else,' he said. 'Do you understand I can't be
seen with you? You know about this already.'
Malfoy rolled up his sleeve and revealed the Dark Mark. Harry's head ached when he saw
it, in a different way to how it did when his scar ached.
'Yes, I know about your Mark,' Harry said somewhat sarcastically. 'Do you show it off to
all the Slytherins?'
'Shut up Potter,' Malfoy whispered loudly. 'If I'm caught with you they'll kill me. I'm here
to warn you. About your initiation.' He saw the confused look on Harry's face.
'You didn't get the letter?'
Harry shook his head.
'That's strange. Well maybe it's coming. It's my father's idea. You, Weasley and Granger.
He's planning it for after the next Quidditch match. I need you to just play along. You'll
have to trust me on this; it's the only way for you to be spared. If you struggle or resist,
Father will kill you immediately. The Dark Lord does not know he's bringing you;
Father's trying to get into his good books by bringing you. We can get my father if you
play along. You have to be the last to leave the pitch. If you don't believe me you can ask
Professor Àille and Professor Snape. They're waiting for you in Snape's office in fact.'
Malfoy headed towards the door.
'I'll tell Granger and the Weasel to come in shall I?' he called over his shoulder.
Harry waited for Hermione and Ron to enter the room before they headed towards
Snape's office.
When they opened the door, Chrystal and Snape were sitting there. They didn't look like
they had really been enjoying each other's company too much.
Snape looked like his energy had been drained. Harry looked straight at him with glaring
eyes.
'Is what Malfoy says true?' he asked. 'If you're the spy, tell me.'
'Malfoy has received a letter from his father dictating the part he is to play in your
recruitment,' Snape said. 'He has confided the place his father intends to take you. It is
near Azkaban, on the mainland. Professor Àille will be waiting for your arrival, on
seemingly Auror business with a couple of Dementors. As soon as an Unforgivable Curse
is performed the Dementors have been authorised to perform the kiss. We need you to
play along for this to succeed. Just don't perform an Unforgivable Curse. Or you will be
kissed.'
Snape looked very concerned. Harry knew he was worried. He had risked his life for
Harry and his mother, and now Harry was going to be placed in mortal danger. And there
was nothing he could do about it.


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They left the room disheartened. They were going to use them as bait. What if Malfoy
had lied? What happens when they have to face Voldemort because Malfoy decided to
work for Voldemort? Harry had been looking forward to the Quidditch match, especially
as they were almost guaranteed the cup. Now he wasn't so sure he wanted the day to
come. Why did Voldemort want to initiate him? Especially if he had heard The Prophecy
of Saoghal. Harry was fairly certain that Malfoy had no idea about it because Harry was
fairly sure Voldemort would just order Malfoy to kill him when he wasn't suspecting it.
That might be the case. This was a setup to kill him, and Malfoy wouldn't know. What if
Voldemort had heard the end? If he knew Harry's fate he may be trying to give Harry a
choice. Die or serve him. Harry knew what the answer to that one would be. He would
rather die than serve Voldemort. He would kill himself.
But Malfoy had said that Voldemort didn't know. How were they to be initiated if
Voldemort wasn't involved? Unless Malfoy's father was going to make them prove
themselves before he took them to Voldemort. That was quite probable.
Lucius Malfoy probably wanted to bring him to Voldemort to redeem himself after the
Wormtail incident.
Why did these things always have to happen to him? It wasn't fair.
When they reached Gryffindor Tower Ron headed straight upstairs. He looked stunned.
Harry could understand why Ron couldn't understand why Voldemort would want him;
he was a Weasley after all. Harry looked at Hermione. He was risking her life, but would
breaking up with her even help. If they knew that he had feelings for her they would
come after her anyway.
'Herm,' he whispered softly into her ear. 'I don't want to put you in danger like this.
You've got the rest of your life to live; you don't want me hindering your dreams.'
'Harry James Potter,' she said harshly. 'Don't you dare even think about calling it off
because you don't want me hurt. I was aware of the risk when I got into this situation; I'm
prepared to accept the consequences.'
He held her tightly before he kissed her.
'I love you Hermione,' he said.
She kissed him again and again.
Things were going to be fine, just as long as he had Hermione.
*~*
Harry was struggling to stay awake. They were in their History of Magic class. As they
were in seventh year they were required to learn about the rise and fall of the Dark Arts,
which mean that Harry had to learn about his defeat of Voldemort. And to top it all off
he'd only gotten six out of ten for his essay on how Harry Potter defeated the Dark Lord.
Sure he hadn't taken it very seriously, but given that he was Harry Potter, he would have
thought that he would have the best idea of how he had defeated the Dark Lord. Still it


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was better than Ron's effort. Ron had written a colourful story about a battle with
dragons, fully illustrated with baby Harry riding a dragon towards Voldemort and a
colourful interpretation of how Harry blew Voldemort up. He received a one. Seamus had
written a paper that suggested Harry had not in fact beaten Voldemort, that it was all a
conspiracy theory. Binns have given him zero. Most of them sat in class wondering how
on earth they were going to write their final papers. They were sure that there would be a
question on Harry's defeat of Voldemort, but none of them could stay awake in class long
enough to listen to Binns' theories.
Hermione woke the two of them up before they headed to Potions
'Honestly you two,' she said.
They just smiled at them. Hermione had had seven years to get used to them sleeping
through Binns' rambling.
Snape was especially stern in their class today. He, as usual, was picking on Neville, who
was trying hard to get his potions right so that he could get a decent mark in his final
Potions exam. Unfortunately it wasn't helping very much. Malfoy, in a vindictive mood
after having just had to listen to Binns talk about Potter for the last hour threw a
Dungbomb into Neville's cauldron. It exploded of course, all over Neville and Dean
Thomas who he was working with.
Snape growled.
'Potter,' he said. 'I'm sure you had something to do with this. I'll see you after class.'
Malfoy smirked.
'You too, Malfoy,' he added.
Malfoy looked in pure surprise. Never in seven years had Malfoy ever been disciplined in
Potions. Perhaps things were looking up.
When the lesson ended, Harry indicated to Ron and Hermione that they should go on
ahead of him.
'I'm sorry to discipline you both, but I have to tell you that the initiation is official. You
are to help your father Draco. I have been asked to inform you. And Potter, you are to
cooperate or Lucius Malfoy will kill you. If I were you, I'd practice up on your Defence
Against the Dark Arts. Potter, I'd be happy to help.'
He stopped talking. The two boys were still standing there.
'You may go,' he added.
Malfoy walked out, smirking. Harry felt that Malfoy was going to enjoy holding him
prisoner. It wasn't exactly something Harry himself was going to enjoy.
'Why haven't you gone Potter?' Snape said when he saw that Harry was still standing
there.


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'You have another picture,' he said. 'I want to know why.'
'I think I've answered that question sufficiently Potter,' Snape snapped back. 'What I have
done with my life is none of your business. I certainly do not have to answer to you.
You're too much like your father for your own good. Now out!'
Harry left the room somewhat bitterly.
Should he accept Snape's help to prepare them? As a former Death Eater he would know
what they were likely to be subject to. But Harry couldn't shake the thought of the
pictures Snape had of his mother. He felt a need to know why, and the only people who
could answer that were Snape and his mother. Given that his mother was dead, it would
have to be Snape. Another Invisibility Cloak stunt to pull.
*~*
The next Quidditch match was scheduled just before the Easter Break. Harry had never
looked towards a day with more dread than he looked toward this day. Both he and Ron
struggled to see how they were going to go out there and play Quidditch, knowing what
was going to happen.
Harry was taking precautions. He scheduled extra lessons with Sirius and even for the
three of them with Snape. He could now hold his lion form for over an hour and a half.
He was fairly sure he could outrun any of the Death Eaters transformed. He, Hermione
and Ron practiced blocking several hexes, and Harry got Ron to continually hit him with
pain curses until he learnt to block out the pain. The first time he mastered it, he received
a huge shock. He felt himself floating above his body. He could see himself receiving the
pain, but he felt nothing. By the time the match crept up on them they were about as
ready as they were going to be.
Ron and Harry walked out onto the pitch for what would be their last Quidditch game as
Hogwarts students. Both tried to hide the apprehension they were feeling, but were
unsuccessful. Everyone just put it down to nerves about the Quidditch match.
'Here's the Gryffindor Team,' Ernie McMillan shouted over the loud speaker. 'Led by
their captain Weasley the Keeper, then we have Finnegan, Thomas, Weasley, McDonald,
Heaney and Potter'
The crowd erupted with cheers.
'Now for the Slytherin's. They're led by their captain Malfoy the Seeker, followed by
Crabbe, Goyle, Bulstrode, Zabini, Baddock and Pritchard.'
The Gryffindor area began booing as the Slytherin's began cheering.
The stands were decorated with lots of banners either declaring allegiance to Slytherin or
Gryffindor. Harry preferred to look at the Gryffindor signs; the Slytherin one's seeming
slightly overwhelming.
It looked as though the whole school had come down to watch the play out of the fate of


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the Quidditch Cup.
Madam Hooch made Ron and Malfoy shake hands before the game.
Seems ironic given what's supposed to happen afterward.
Harry saw Mr Malfoy sitting in the stands looking very pleased with himself.
They mounted their brooms and Madam Hooch released the balls and blew her whistle.
The Snitch was out of sight. Harry stayed high so he could look for any sign of The
Snitch. At least the Slytherin Chaser's didn't seem to be as good as the Ravenclaw ones.
Ginny had The Quaffle and put it through the hoop for the first score of the game.
'Ginny Weasley scores for Gryffindor, Ten points to zero. Zabini has the Quaffle for
Slytherin, she's soaring towards Weasley, but hang on Dean Thomas finally seems to
have managed to hit a Bludger in the right direction. She drops the Quaffle and Natalie
McDonald picks it up for Gryffindor who's heading towards the Slytherin Keeper
Graham Pritchard. She shoots, she scores! TWENTY ZERO GRYFFINDOR!'
Harry watched as Malcolm Baddock picked up the Quaffle and headed towards Ron, it
looked as though Ron had it covered, but he managed to sneak it in, due to a dirty hit
from Crabbe.
Trust Malfoy to make his followers Beaters.
'That was dirty, but legal. Slytherin score! TWENTY TEN GRYFFINDOR! Rose Heaney
grabs the Quaffle for Gryffindor and passes to Ginny Weasley who scores. THIRTY TEN
GRYFFINDOR.'
There was till no sign of The Snitch. Harry decided to try out the Wronski Feint on
Malfoy.
'Potter's diving; it looks like he's seen the Snitch. Malfoy's following him, Potter pulls up,
it' just The Wronski Feint. Take that Malfoy!'
Blaise Zabini had the Quaffle, he shot at the hoop. Ron held the broom horizontally with
one hand and one foot curled around the broom. Harry had never seen anything like it
before.
"Weasley performs the Starfish and Stick to save the goal. We haven't seen anything like
that at Hogwarts before.'
Then out of the corner of his eye Harry glimpsed the Snitch. Malfoy had seen it too.
'Potter's speeding towards the Snitch with Malfoy on his heels. THAT"S BLAGGING!
PENALTY!'
Malfoy was holding onto the end of Harry's broom. It meant a penalty shot for
Gryffindor, but Harry had lost sight of the Snitch.
'HEANEY SCORES! FORTY TEN GRYFFINDOR!'


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Millicent Bulstrode managed to get one past Ron, in the excitement.
'FORTY TWENTY GRYFFINDOR'
Harry caught sight of The Snitch again. Unfortunately Malfoy had too and was well on
his way towards it. He put on the acceleration.
'Look's like Malfoy's seen the Snitch; he's accelerating upwards rather quickly. Potter's
catching him. Whoever catches the Snitch will win the game for the team and possibly
the Quidditch Cup as well. Looks like it's going to be Malfoy. Hang on, Potter's diving,
Malfoy's following. I can't see the Snitch anymore. There heading straight for the ground,
they're going to hit. WAIT! Malfoy's just fallen off his broom and Potter' s holding his
arm up. He's got the Snitch. GRYFFINDOR WINS THE QUIDDITCH CUP!'
The stadium erupted in cheers as Harry held up the Snitch. He had won it for them, he
had won it for his best friend and it looked like he had damaged Malfoy in the process.
Sweet Justice.
Hermione ran over and kissed him, while it appeared that Ginny was trying to console
Malfoy half-heartedly.
'I'll meet you in front of the Quidditch change rooms okay?' he said.
Dumbledore presented Ron with the Quidditch Cup.
Ron had gotten his dream. The vision he had seen in The Mirror of Erised. Ron holding
up the Quidditch Cup with the whole school cheering, well apart from the Slytherin's but
they didn't count anyway. Despite his five older brothers Ronald Weasley had left his
mark on Hogwarts.
Bittersweet really.
Harry was certain that Malfoy would be even more vindictive now.
He and Ron headed towards the change rooms, showered quickly and turned around to
see Malfoy standing behind them.
'I'm here to make sure you behave,' he smirked. 'You victory won't be long; if you try and
get away I have permission to kill you. Especially you Potter. Now come with me.'
Reluctantly they followed Malfoy as he led them behind the change rooms, picking up
Hermione on the way, heading towards the Forbidden Forest.
Lucius Malfoy was waiting for them.
'You've brought me them Draco,' he said. 'Well done. You will most certainly be
rewarded. Hold them then touch the Portkey'
Draco grabbed them on one side, Lucius on the other. They held the Portkey and
suddenly they were whirling through the air and they landed in a deserted clearing.



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Harry looked around. It was the clearing from his vision. There were surrounding trees,
they looked dense and thick, if they tried to run they would probably get lost. He could
hear something faintly. A sound that was not entirely reassuring. He looked around for
any sign of Chrystal, Sirius or Snape but could see none. He couldn't see any Dementors
either. There was nothing but deadly quiet. Malfoy must have said the wrong place.
They'd been tricked.
Damn Malfoy. He'd played them all for fools.
Harry looked up.
Lucius Malfoy glared at them. Harry felt afraid; he didn't know what was going to
happen. Lucius seemed to pick up on this.
'Do you think you can just beat my son like that?' he asked. 'You are here because you
have been chosen by me to serve the Dark Lord. You have qualities that he desires. He
will reward me greatly for bringing you. We will expect him in a couple of hours, as it is
then that the moon will be full. If you refuse to serve him, you will be killed. If you
betray him, you will be killed. Do not bother trying to Apparate it is impossible from
here. Do you understand?'
Harry nodded.
Are we still supposed to play along? This wasn't exactly in the plan. That sound. It was
plaguing him. What was it? He'd heard it before he just couldn't remember where.
Harry felt a sense of power surge within him.
'Let them go,' he said. 'It's me you want, I'll do whatever you want if you let them go.'
A sadistic smile appeared on Lucius' face.
'I've got a better idea Potter,' he said. 'Draco, tie them up. You will do what I say Potter or
I indeed will kill them. What better way to get Potter than bribe him with his best friend,
a pathetic disgrace of a wizard and his girlfriend. Nothing more than a book smart
Mudblood.'
Draco tied them up to a tree. He removed their wands, whispering something in Ron's ear
that made him fume. Malfoy was smirking.
Must be about Ginny. Okay, concentrate, I've got to bargain. I can't concentrate with this
noise. What is it? It sounded like singing.
Nis clag sein sàmhach eile deir agam: tu 'sfheuder. Àille uile leóman clag marbh.
Nis clag sein sàmhach eile deir agam: tu 'sfheuder. Àille uile leóman clag marbh.
'Potter,' Lucius Malfoy said with a smirk. The noise was getting louder; it felt like it was
taking control of him. 'Are you willing to serve my Lord?'



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Nis clag sein sàmhach eile deir agam: tu 'sfheuder. Àille uile leóman clag marbh.
Harry looked him in the eye. The words kept ringing in his ear.
'Over my dead body,' he said slowly and deliberately.
Nis clag sein sàmhach eile deir agam: tu 'sfheuder. Àille uile leóman clag marbh.
'Fine then, I shall have to convince you.'
Nis clag sein sàmhach eile deir agam: tu 'sfheuder. Àille uile leóman clag marbh.
Àille uile leóman, àille uile leóman.
Clag marbh.
He pointed his wand at Harry
'CRUCIO.'

Chapter Twenty Three
Of Bells and Dreams
Harry began floating. He could see his body clutching in pain, but he felt nothing. He
could see Lucius holding him under the curse. It did not look like he was going to relent.
Harry felt like he was loosing strength. If only he could hold it longer. It was difficult. It
was too difficult. He felt like it was impossible. He had to give in. The pain was searing.
It was affecting every inch of his body. He felt like he was being consumed. Everything
was going black. He could faintly hear someone yelling.
'IMPEDIMENTA'
The spell hadn't worked but Harry was released from the curse. Harry saw Hagrid out of
the corner of his eyes having lifted Lucius up and dropped him on the ground.
'Malfoy you scum-suckin' worm,' he yelled. 'I'm gonna make sure you pay for that.'
'I don't think so,' Lucius replied a sly smile appearing on his face.
'AVADA KEDAVRA!'
Lucius Malfoy had his wand pointed at Hagrid. There was a flash of green light, as
Hagrid screamed in pain.
Everything happened so quickly, there was no time for anyone to react. Time seemed to
slow. Each second dragged on as Harry watched his beloved mentor perish in agony.
'NOOOOOO,' Harry screamed. But it was too late.
Hagrid was dead.
Malfoy's father had killed Hagrid.


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Hagrid who had been like a father to him, Hagrid who had told him he was a wizard,
Hagrid who had taken him away from the Dursleys. Hagrid who was always so kind and
generous to him.
Hagrid was dead.
Hagrid had died protecting Harry.
Harry fell to the ground and began sobbing. Hagrid couldn't be dead. He just couldn't. In
disbelief, he ran over towards the half-giant and began shaking him. It was of no use.
Lucius raised his wand toward Harry again.
'So what is your decision, Potter? Will you follow the Dark Lord or will you expire just
like your parents and your beloved Hagrid?'
Harry didn't get a chance to answer. A cold chill entered the air, and Harry realised that
Malfoy had not betrayed them. He saw Dementors emerge from the forest. As he saw
them, he heard Hagrid die again; he heard Cedric die and Voldemort being reborn. He
heard his mother and father screaming. Harry knew he could never possibly be happy
again. He could not even summon the strength to raise his wand to create a protective
shield.
The Dementors were surrounding the clearing; they were moving in on them.
The Dementors were headed for Lucius Malfoy. Harry breathed a sigh of relief. It would
be impossible for Lucius to get away. He was totally encircled by these depressing dark
creatures.
Harry's head hurt. He had been so caught up in what had been happening that the sound
had died away. But now, while there was a distinct silence in the clearing, it was there.
The sound was growing stronger and stronger, louder and louder. It was really beginning
to bother Harry. The music was not pleasant. It couldn't be connected to the Dementors,
he had not heard it on his previous encounters. Glancing around he noticed that the others
didn't even look like they were affected.
'Can't you hear the noise?' he yelled.
They shook their heads as Lucius tried to use the distraction to escape the Dementors.
'KISS HIM,' a scream came from the bushes.
A nearby Dementor was more than happy to oblige. It grabbed Lucius with its foul
rotting hands, lowered its hood over Lucius' face and kissed him. Draco looked on in
horror. Harry shuddered as he felt the surrounding air reach a new level of iciness.
'FATHER,' Draco yelled. He collapsed in sorrow. Harry had never before felt sorry for
Draco, however when he looked at the distraught look on Draco's face, he couldn't feel
anything else. Harry knew the pain Draco was feeling.



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Lucius Malfoy was now a soulless body, collapsed on the ground next to Hagrid. Draco
ran over and grabbed his father.
There were two young men holding the bodies of those who had been so influential in
their lives.
Tràth-sa bhos clag seinn sàmach bidh eilie deir chugam mi: thu 's fheudar teasd. A' àille
abaich a' leóghann ni sgrios a clag.
The sound was tormenting him. The words had changed. What was it? What did it mean?
It had been there before the Dementors had arrived. He felt like he was being haunted.
Harry looked over and saw Chrystal standing there. She had emerged from the bushes
when the Dementors had appeared.
'It's about time,' Ron said somewhat angrily..
He and Hermione were still tied to the tree. Draco moved to untie them and give them
back their wands. He looked distraught.
'You must leave now,' she said to the Dementors.
Reluctantly they left the clearing. The chill left the air, but Harry was still overwhelmed
by the sadness that he felt and the sound that was haunting him.
Tràth-sa bhos clag seinn sàmach bidh eilie deir chugam mi: thu 's fheudar teasd. A' àille
abaich a' leóghann ni sgrios a clag.
Chrys had ignored Ron's comment. She was looking at Harry.
'Can you hear them too Harry?' she asked.
He nodded.
'What is it?' he asked.
Tràth-sa bhos clag seinn sàmach bidh eilie deir chugam mi: thu 's fheudar teasd. A' àille
abaich a' leóghann ni sgrios a clag. Àille uile Leóman.
It wasn't singing he was sure of that. It sounded more like bells.
The bells!
The bells he had been hearing, it had to be them. Every time he saw Voldemort he heard
the bells. Since Wormtail's capture. Why were the bells so important to Voldemort?
'We have to find it,' she said. 'You three stay here and if we're not back in an hour go and
get help. Take Hagrid with you. And I mean it, stay here until then or until Snape turns
up.'
They ran into the forest. Chrystal looked at him.



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'Harry do you think you could carry me in your lion form?' she asked.
Harry was taken aback. No one had mentioned his form before, and he hadn't shown
anyone except Sirius what he looked like in his form. Nor had he ever tried to carry
someone.
'I don't know,' he replied. 'We can give it a try.'
Harry closed his eyes and transformed into his lion form. He concentrated hard. Chrystal
jumped on his back. The pain was extreme, she was heavier than he thought. Then he
began to run. Slowly but surely he built up speed. It was easier to run in this terrain in his
lion form, but he was still haunted by the bells.
Tràth-sa bhos clag seinn sàmach bidh eilie deir chugam mi: thu 's fheudar teasd. A' àille
abaich a' leóghann ni sgrios a clag. Àille uile Leóman.
What did it mean? Why did they have to find it? He couldn't explain why, but somehow
he felt that it was of vital importance that they find the source. Not just because Chrystal
had said so, but simply because there was a feeling inside him. The world depended on it.
Tràth-sa bhos clag seinn sàmach bidh eilie deir chugam mi: thu 's fheudar teasd. A' àille
abaich a' leóghann ni sgrios a clag. Àille uile Leóman.
The forest became thicker and thicker as they continued on. Clouds began to cloud the
sky; it looked like it was about to storm. The air became colder. Harry had lost all sense
of time. He didn't know where they were or how long they had been running.
Rain began to sleet down. He could feel the cool on his coat. The ground was becoming
muddy and sludgy. It was getting harder for Harry to keep running especially with the
weight of Chrystal on his back.
The bells kept getting louder. How much further could it be? They had to be close. He
rounded a corner and they entered another clearing. There stood a crumbling church
tower, with bells ringing, just like Sirius had said. He ran over towards it and then
transformed back.
He looked at the bell tower. It was old. It looked like it had been destroyed and rebuilt
several times before they finally gave up on it. Stones were falling down and it looked as
though if anyone tried to climb in to ring the bell that the whole tower would collapse.
Dark green vines had grown up the walls and were completely covering parts of the
tower. He looked were Chrystal was staring. There was an inscription on it.
Tràth-sa bhos clag seinn sàmach bidh eilie deir chugam mi: thu 's fheudar teasd. A' àille
abaich a' leóghann ni sgrios a clag.
Troimh bhos mallaich:
'Alius leo tintinnabulatus oblittero.'
'What does it mean?' Harry asked.


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'It's Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic,' she replied. 'It's my native tongue. Hang on I'm translating.
It's recent though. But it looks so old.'
Her concentration was totally directed at the inscription. He stared at the letters. They
were indisputably magic.
'Sirius was wrong,' she finally said. She looked like she had been carefully considering
the meaning of the words. 'Of course, I should have worked it out before; the bells were
silent for ten years. It's got nothing to do with Azkaban.'
She looked at Harry with desperation in her eyes.
'You have to help me Harry,' she said. 'We have to destroy this tower, trust me. I'll
explain later. The inscription says that àille, that's me and leóghann, that's you, have the
power to destroy the bells. We have to say the following; 'Alius abaich Leo
tintinnabulatus oblittero', and point our wands together at the tower okay.'
Harry nodded.
'Right. Are you ready?'
'Okay,' he replied. He knew he could trust her. If he could trust Malfoy, then he could
most certainly trust Chrystal.
He held his wand to hers and pointed it at the inscription.
'On three, one, two, three'
'Alius abaich leo tintinnabulatus oblittero.'
His wand was pointing at the tower. Joined with hers. A beam of light was streaming
from their wands.
A huge crack of lightening hit the tower. The blast pushed Harry backwards. The total
force was enormous. Harry felt as if a truck had hit him. His robe was destroyed; his shirt
and pants were barely hanging on his body. At least he was covered. He looked for any
sign of Chrystal. He saw her lying flat on the ground.
'Chrystal,' he called out. 'Are you okay?'
He ran over toward her, her robe having been completely destroyed by the blast, her
clothes as tattered as Harry's. She looked as though she was in pain. Harry tried to help
her sit up.
Something caught his eye.
'Harry, the ground's caving in,' she screamed.
Harry looked towards the ruin. The ground surrounding where the tower had been had
begun to cave in. The edges were falling in, the circle getting larger.



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'We have to get out of here Harry,' she shrieked. 'You'll have to jump on my back. I think
I'll be able to carry you far enough away. I shouldn't do it, but it's our only chance.'
He gave her a quizzical look.
Harry watched his teacher as she transformed into a beautiful creature. He stood in awe.
The Aethonan winged horse was waiting for him impatiently. He jumped on her back and
she soared into the sky as the ground they had been lying on collapsed.
'Look out for the others,' she said.
Harry kept his eyes on the ground below for a sign of the clearing. The ground around
where the tower once stood was caving in. Harry's scar began to hurt. A vision took hold
of him.
Voldemort let out an ear-piercing screech. He was in sheer agony. Part of him was dying.
He was crying out.
'NOOOOOOOOOOOO'
An integral part of his strength had died.
The howling continued.
The pain ceased.
Harry resumed his search for the clearing, where they had left the others. They were
finally away from the caving in earth.
The search was hard, on top of the dense rain; there was now thunder and lightening to
deal with as well. So far they had managed to avoid the electric bolts that were slicing
through the sky. Finally he saw the clearing. The horse went to swoop down.
A large bolt of lightening appeared in the sky.
Suddenly Harry felt himself plummet through the air.
He was falling; there was nothing to hold on to. They must have been struck by
lightening. He could hear the thunder and hoped that another bolt didn't decide to strike
them. He tried to reach for his wand, but the ground was approaching quickly, he put out
his hand to break his fall.
Crack!
His arm snapped. He was plagued with pain again, but this time he could cope with it. He
could push it out of his mind.
Then, he saw it again.
Hermione ran over and hugged him.
'Are you okay Harry?' she asked.


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'I'm fine what about Chrystal?' he said.
He was looking over to where she was lying on the ground. Sitting next to her was
Professor Snape.
'She's alive, but scarcely,' he said. 'I think we need to get you both back to Hogwarts
before she gets any worse.'
'When did he arrive?' Harry asked.
'I arrived a couple of minutes ago Mr Potter,' Snape replied. 'It was a precaution. I won't
ask what you were doing now, because it's important that we get out of here, but I do
have a few questions for you. Now Malfoy, where's the Portkey?'
Malfoy pointed towards the Portkey.
'Hold onto everyone's hand,' Snape commanded.
'Accio,'
Harry was whirling again. He didn't like the sensation of falling. The pain in his arm was
starting to get to him. They landed back in the Forbidden Forest.
'Malfoy, you help me carry Professor Àille to the hospital wing. Weasley, you help
Potter. And Miss Granger can you fetch Dumbledore and Professor Black please.'
It was not a request, Snape was in charge, he had commanded and they would obey.
No one noticed that they had left Hagrid's body lying there in the Forbidden Forest.
Madam Pomfrey put Harry to bed straight away. She mended his broken arm
immediately, and then gave him a pain potion.
'Try to sleep now,' she said. 'There's nothing you can do.'
She shooed Ron and Malfoy out of the room, asking them to wait at the door until
Dumbledore arrived.
Harry fell asleep. He was exhausted from the day's events. When he woke up he saw
Sirius sitting next to Chrystal's bed. He was holding her hand, as she seemed to be
talking.
'Sirius, I don't believe you,' she said. 'You're finally asking me out to dinner, why? Oh
that's funny.'
'Of course I'll go out with you Sirius. You'd better not pull any of those pranks on me
though. I'm not quite the same girl you think I am.'
'Sirius I've been searching for you all day. I have to tell you something important. I know
you won't agree with me, but I've decided to become an Auror.'
'Look Sirius it's my decision. This is what I want to do.'


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'Quidditch? Of course I'm not going to give up my spot on the team. I worked bloody
hard to get it. Crouch says I should keep playing. It will keep my level of fitness up.'
The room fell quiet. Sirius saw Harry looking at them. He walked over towards Harry.
'She seems to be reliving the past Harry,' he said. 'She's quite disturbed; I don't want to
leave her alone. Are you felling stronger?'
'I'm feeling fine,' he replied. 'All that was wrong was a broken arm that needed mending.'
'Can you come over and hold her hand while I go and get some dinner? I won't be too
long.'
Harry nodded, he walked over and sat by the bed and held her hand.
She opened her eyes and seemed to recognise him.
'James, what are you doing here? Where's Sirius?'
Harry began to protest, to tell her that he wasn't James, but she didn't seem to hear him. It
was if he wasn't even there.
'Oh that's okay then, as long as he's not charming other women.'
Sirius, charming other women. Harry almost laughed at the thought. She seemed to be
oblivious to anything Harry was saying, so he just sat there and held her hand.
'Has the project gone as planned? Okay, so what's the next step?'
'I was speaking to Lily yesterday, she looks so happy. I guess I have to offer my
congratulations then! It will be so wonderful for Harry to have a little brother or sister.
It's so much better than being an only child.'
Little brother or sister? She's talking about me. When is she remembering? Could that
possibly be true, why hadn't anyone ever told him? Voldemort had destroyed his family,
but not just his parents, but his sibling as well.
Harry was filled with a newfound hatred of Voldemort. He had had no right to do that to
Harry.
'By the way, I found a book on counter curses; I gave it to Lily yesterday. It's about
Hiding Charms. I know Dumbledore recommends the Fidelius Charm, but at least there
are others ways you can protect yourselves as well. I'll miss you both; hopefully this will
all be over soon. There's one that I think would be especially appropriate, under you
know which curse.'
What was she talking about now? A book. What book was she talking about? Were they
protected by more than just the charm Dumbledore had suggested? Is that why he hadn't
died?
'We'll have a big party, celebrate things like in the old days. Take care of Lily, Harry and


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the baby James.'
Harry's head was spinning. He was having trouble taking in what she was saying. Had
Sirius left him here on purpose? He looked toward the door as Sirius entered.
Chrystal began yelling.
'James, no, you can't be.'
'Lily, no. No, it can't be true. Why? Where's Harry?'
Harry was missing. Hagrid had taken him. Sirius had known where he was, but he
guessed that didn't mean Chrystal did.
She opened her eyes and saw Sirius. She began to yell at him.
'Sirius, was it you?'
'How could you do that, to James and Lily?'
'What do you mean it wasn't you? Who else would it be? It's not like they would trust
Remus at the moment and Peter can't even stand up for himself.'
'Peter? Why do you want to find him? Leave him alone; I'm sure he doesn't want to see
you after what you did today. I can't believe you.'
'Don't do it Sirius, it's not worth it. If you do that they'll take you to Azkaban for sure.'
'I've got to go, I love you Sirius. Promise me you won't do anything stupid. Please Sirius.'
She was quiet for a little while. Sirius sent Harry back to bed. Harry shook his head.
'I want to know what else she has to say,' Harry said. 'Please understand, I need to hear
this. I'll explain later.'
Sirius seemed to figure that she must have said something about James and Lily that
Harry hadn't known before.
'I've already told you I believe you Sirius, isn't that enough? I've decided, I'm going to
give up being an Auror just like you wanted.'
She was gazing at Sirius. Her eyes were open, but she didn't appear to be awake. Harry
was guessing at what she was talking about. Sirius had told him about her visit to
Azkaban to convince him that she believed him.
'Don't worry about money, I'll keep playing Quidditch and Dad said he'll help me. I'm
going to search for a way to free you, and then we can go and find Harry and we can
have our own children and live together in a big house in the forest away from prying
eyes. I love you.'
Her train of thought changed quickly. Her eyes were closed and she was talking heatedly.



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'What do you mean Mr Crouch? Surely that's unethical. I'm not exactly sure that people
will approve of it.'
'I guess you're right. They just want all trace of Voldemort gone. Okay, if that's what
you've authorised. I'll start tomorrow. Reluctantly.'
She was yelling again.
'What do you mean their bodies are gone? How many? And they've just disappeared?'
Harry looked over at Sirius and saw the concerned look on his face. This was obviously
part of the story that Sirius hadn't heard before.
Whose bodies were missing?
'What are you doing here? I told you I didn't need sympathy.'
Her voice was softer now. Sirius looked both confused and concerned. He called Madam
Pomfrey over.
'Can you go and fetch Dumbledore?' he asked.
She nodded and headed towards the door.
'Oh I'm sorry. What's that say? It's upset you, show me.'
'That's Lucius Malfoy's seal. Mother, what is Lucius doing writing to you? He's a Death
Eater. I've been assigned to catch him out. Let me see it.'
Mother? What did her mother have to do with Malfoy? Harry had a bad feeling about
what she was going to say. Sirius was sitting by the bed holding her hand tightly.
'Àil, Master is defeated. Will he have an Heir? Is our cause over? Mal'
Harry saw that Sirius was breaking out into a sweat.
'What is he talking about? Don't tell me, your involved in this. They were my best friends
Mother. Can you even understand this? I have nothing because of him. I have spent the
day in Azkaban consoling my boyfriend who has been wrongfully accused of betraying
the Potter's because of him. Why?'
'Fine, don't answer me then. I'll shove this down your throat instead. Is that what you
want?'
She was an Auror. Harry knew she carried Veritaserum in her robe. He had seen the
bottle of it smash earlier in the day. He could understand the drive she had to know. It
was the same drive that kept him sitting there.
'If that's the way it's got to be.'
'Were you involved with the Death Eaters?'



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'Why was Malfoy asking you about an Heir?'
'How could you do that? After everything that our family stands for how could you? How
could you betray Dad and me for that piece of scum? Was he worth it?'
'They were my life; they were my friends and family. They're all gone now, there's no one
else. I have nothing anymore. I don't even know where Remus is. Can you comprehend
what I've lost?'
Sirius looked like everything had finally clicked. Despite the concern, he looked like the
confusion had lifted.
'I'm sorry, but I've got to take you in. I'm an Auror, I can't stand for this. I won't let you
shame our family you dirty Celt.'
'Put your wand down Mother. Don't make me do this.'
'AVADA KEDAVRA!'
She had killed her mother. Her own mother. She had killed her because she had betrayed
them. Sirius had tears in his eye.
Dumbledore entered the room.
'What's this? Mother's ring. She never took it off. It's enchanting. I've always wanted it.
I'll just slip it on for a moment.'
'Dad, Mother's dead. I'm sorry.'
'No, no, it was me, I killed her.'
'I'm sorry, she was a Death Eater. I made her tell me the truth. I forced Veritaserum
down her throat. She helped kill my best friends; she helped them take Sirius away from
me. She betrayed us. Don't you see? I'm so sorry.'
'Dad, the ring won't come off. It' stuck.'
'Call Dumbledore, quickly.'
'Professor Dumbledore, I'm sorry, it's all messed up. Help me. Help me please I don't
know what to do. It's all turned out wrong.'
'Go to bed Harry,' he said. 'Everything will be fine now.'
He obeyed looking at the wreck of a man sitting by his fiancee's side.

Chapter Twenty Four
Hiding Charms
Harry awoke with the dawn the next morning. He pulled on his glasses and looked
towards where Sirius had been.


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He was still sitting there.
'Good morning Harry,' he said. 'It's okay; she's going to be just fine, eventually. Don't
rush; it's a Sunday. You've only slept a night.'
Harry wandered over to Sirius.
'Can I ask you a question Sirius?' he asked.
Sirius nodded.
'Was my mum pregnant when Voldemort killed her?'
'Harry,' said Sirius. He looked like death warmed up. Harry almost wished he hadn't
spoken. 'Please understand that we agreed not to tell you, Chrys and I, we were the only
ones who knew. We didn't know whether or not it was something that you really needed
to know.'
'Was it a boy or a girl?'
'Does it really matter Harry?'
'Yes,' he replied. Sirius didn't understand, he was mourning another member of his
family. Another life that had been stolen. It was over before it had even begun. He
needed to be able to put a name to it, even though he could never put a face.
'I don't know Harry,' he said. 'And I don't think Chrys does either. Nor do I think your
parents did.'
Harry looked at Sirius. He looked tired.
'Have you been awake all night?' he asked Sirius.
Sirius nodded.
'Did she kill her mother?' Harry asked. 'I can't imagine it.'
'Dumbledore says so,' Sirius said. There was still a trace of tears in his eyes. 'I had no
idea what she went through while I was wishing my life away in Azkaban. The victims of
Voldemort's first rein weren't just those who died or those who got locked up Harry.
Everyone suffered. Dumbledore told me everything that had happened last night, after
you went to sleep. I'll tell you because it affect's you too. And because you already know
that she killed someone and has tried to live with the guilt for the past sixteen years.'
Harry looked up toward Sirius. He looked as though he was in extreme pain. Harry
wished he could lift the burden off his shoulders. Sirius deserved to be happy and yet it
always seemed that he was having to fight.
'She killed her mother because she was Voldemort's Mistress; I think that you could have
deduced that from what Chrys was yelling. Her mother was a Celt, do you know about
Celts Harry?'


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'She made us write two rolls of parchments on them,' he replied. 'Everyone seemed to get
really bad marks as well.'
'Most Celts turn bad,' Sirius continued. 'Chrys held it against her mother her entire life.
Ever since she was old enough to understand. They were never close. Then when Chrys
found out about the Voldemort thing, well to put things in perspective, she'd spent the
whole day in Azkaban with me, and I wasn't very friendly at all, then Crouch had
authorised her to use whatever means she had to, to bring Death Eaters to justice, but
especially Lucius Malfoy. On top of that Crouch had told her that your parents bodies had
disappeared, along with about twenty others, I guess she just cracked. Dumbledore says
that her mother threatened her, and placed her under The Cruciatus Curse, so when she
overcame it she had no choice but to kill her. Apparently she's felt guilty about it her
entire life, but it's made her determined that people should be taught how to resist
Unforgivable Curses because she's certain that she would be dead.'
Harry now understood why she was one of the strictest and hard working Defence
Against the Dark Arts Teacher they had ever had.
'Harry, you saw the mark didn't you?'
Harry nodded.
'Do you realise what it means?'
'Yes,' he said slowly.
'Well you heard her talking about a ring, didn't you?'
Again Harry nodded.
'That ring will only go on one person's hand, and once it's placed on, it can never be
removed until the Dark Lord is defeated.'
'I've seen it before,' Harry said. 'Not on Chrystal's finger though. Hermione showed me a
picture in a book once. For some reason I remembered it. I didn't see it until last night,
when she was trying to pull it off. Is it true? I mean after what we did yesterday, I'd
almost certainly think it was.'
Sirius just quietly nodded.
It was certain.
Chrystal was The Heir of Ravenclaw.
Three down, one to go.
Harry looked at Sirius with pity. He was exhausted and Harry didn't know how to help
him. He thought he should, he thought he could but didn't know how.
'Harry, can you leave us alone? Come back later and bring Maestro. I think he'll be a bit
lonely at the moment.'


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Harry was silently relieved. He didn't feel like he could handle Sirius at the moment.
He had himself suffered a shock last night. For some reason, that Harry didn't understand,
the fact that his mum had been pregnant had made Voldemort killing her all the worse.
He needed to talk to Hermione. He had no idea what he was going to do next year,
especially with The Prophecy of Saoghal hanging over his head. On top of that he felt a
need to know what spells his parents had had protecting them. He wanted to know why
Voldemort couldn't kill him. He had always sensed there was an answer, but he had never
deduced if anyone actually knew what it was.
Hermione wasn't in Gryffindor Tower when he entered. In fact the only people in there
were Ginny and Rose. Ginny ran over towards Harry.
'Are you okay?' she cried. 'Ron and Draco told me everything that happened, I'm so sorry
about Hagrid.'
'I'm fine Ginny,' he said. 'I'm more worried about Sirius and Chrystal for now. Have you
seen Hermione?'
'No one's seen her all day,' Ginny replied.
'Damn,' Harry said. 'I need to find a book.'
'Can we help?' Rose asked.
Harry had wondered about that. Perhaps they needed some fresh blood. After all he, Ron
and Hermione had been searching for various answers for months, especially regarding
the face and had had little luck.
'Okay,' Harry replied. 'I need a book that you would give someone that has protection
charms, like the Fidelius Charm, but I'm specifically looking for one to do with the
Avada Kedavra Curse.'
'Does Hermione have a book like that?' Ginny whispered.
'Doubt it,' Harry said. 'It's probably in the restricted section. She'd know where to look
though.'
'No she wouldn't,' Rose said suddenly. 'She'd just have to look in our dorm. I've got one. I
got it out of the library for Ginny. I'm surprised it's not restricted with some of the things
in there.'
Harry looked at Ginny wondering why she would need a book on hiding.
Rose quickly walked up towards her room, returning with the book in her hand.
The book was old and dusty. It was titled Charms of Hiding. He wondered what Chrystal
had meant about what she had said presumably to his father. He looked at the index,
glancing at the contents. He found the page that he wanted. Harry opened it to the page
that spoke about Avada Kedavra


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There is no counter curse for the Avada Kedavra Curse, however many wizards have
been working on curses that might block the Avada Kedavra, so that it alters life force in
some other way than resulting in death. While there have been no success stories so far,
there appears to be some promising works eventuating.
It was no help. Harry looked at the date; it had been published in 1976.
'Was there anything else like this?' he asked Rose.
'I didn't really look Harry,' she replied. 'I don't think so. I just grabbed that one. I was so
glad that it wasn't in the restricted section.'
It was as he had thought. He was surprised that it was even in the accessible part of the
library. Harry felt that there had been a more recent publication. If only he could ask
Hermione, or better yet ask Chrys what the book was that she had given his mum. He felt
like he was close to finding the answer.
'What are you looking for Harry?' Rose asked.
'An answer,' Harry replied.
'To what?' she asked innocently.
He turned and walked out the door to try and find Ron. He suspected he was down
visiting Charlie.
Harry made his way down to Charlie's hut. He shivered as he thought of it being Hagrid's
hut. The shocking scenes of yesterday came back to his head. Poor Hagrid. An immense
sense of guilt passed over him as he thought of Hagrid.
Sure enough Ron was there. He had his pages of forms for the Ministry Application.
'Harry,' he said. 'You okay? Madam Pomfrey wouldn't let us stay. She was concerned
about us getting you over-excited.'
Harry thought that perhaps he would have been better off if they had been staying there,
instead of Chrys hallucinating.
'I'm fine,' he said. He wasn't going to tell Ron about what had happened last night. Not
just yet. 'What are you doing?'
'Well,' Ron grinned. 'Charlie's helping me with my application. I've decided what I want
to do.'
'Well?' Harry asked. 'Are you going to keep me in suspense much longer?'
'I'm going to be a Hit Wizard,' Ron said proudly.
'A Hit Wizard?' Harry asked. He had heard of Aurors, but wasn't quite sure what a Hit
Wizard was.



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'They're part of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad,' Ron explained. 'Their job is
basically to catch criminals. It's a job that I can do and still play for the Cannons as well.
I've spent a lot of time talking to Professor Àille about it. She reckons I'll be good at it. I
want to lead a team; I like playing tactics, that's why I'm so good at chess. I know I'll
have to start at the bottom, but I'm fairly sure I'll be able to work my way up fairly
quickly.'
Harry couldn't hide the look of surprise on his face. Although for some reason it seemed
perfect for Harry, Ron despised Dark Wizards and always seemed to be right by Harry's
side during his quest against evil.
'Do you know what you're going to do Harry?' Charlie asked.
'I haven't given it any thought,' Harry said. 'I'm not really good at anything except
Quidditch.'
'That's bull Harry,' Ron said. 'You should consider becoming an Auror; you're really good
when it comes to Defence Against the Dark Arts. And you seem to work things out.'
Yeah but after what Chrys says about the Ministry,' Harry didn't end the sentence. He felt
that he should wait until after he spoke to Dumbledore until he even thought about it.
Charlie offered Harry some tea, while Ron finished filling out the forms.
'So are you going to stay here?' he asked Charlie. 'At Hogwarts?'
'For the moment,' Charlie answered. 'Dumbledore has asked me to stay on for a while,
and for the moment it's probably a wise idea. Given everything that's going on, I'd like to
stay close to Mum and Dad. Besides it's always good to have a change and I only left in
the first place so that I could study dragons, not necessarily work with them. Ron's right,
about you making a good Auror by the way.'
'Barty Crouch Junior told me that,' Harry replied. 'But there are so many things I've
missed, that I should have picked up on. It makes me think that that's perhaps the worst
area for me. Then Sirius and Chrystal think I should head in that direction.'
Ron and Harry made their way back to Gryffindor Tower. Harry told Ron about the book
that Rose had. Harry told him that he suspected that there had been a later version that
Harry suspected Chrystal had given his mum.
'You know what you could do,' Ron began. 'You could sneak into her office, using the
Invisibility Cloak, and you could have a look, see if she has anything.'
'Ron,' Harry sounded shocked. 'She's lying unconscious in the hospital wing and who
says she'd even have it anyway. She gave it to my mum...'
'That's my point,' Ron began to defend himself. 'If she wasn't you could just ask her. I
think you should, I'll help you. I just don't think you should let Snape catch you. You
know he was really interesting yesterday.'



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'Snape?' Harry asked in surprise. 'Interesting?'
'He turned up a little while before you two did. He said he was making sure that Professor
Àille didn't do anything stupid. Then he saw Mr Malfoy and Hagrid lying on the ground.
He deduced what happened. Then he got all mad that you two weren't there. He started
swearing about Professor Àille, before Hermione asked him to stop. She was really upset
Harry. Not just about Hagrid, but she thought you were dead as well. Then when
Professor Àille got struck by lightening, and you began to fall, she really screamed. I
mean really screamed. She cares about you Harry, in a way she never cared about me.
You're very lucky.'
'I know,' he whispered softly.
'What do you think you'll find in this book?' Ron asked.
'Answers,' replied Harry. 'I want to know why I didn't die when Voldemort tried to kill
me.'
'You think that's in there?'
'I hope so,' Harry said. 'I have to meet with Dumbledore after dinner, so when I get back
we can try and find it.'
They stopped at the Fat Lady to give her the password before entering the common room.
Hermione was there waiting.
'Harry,' she said. 'What's going on? Ginny and Rose said something about hiding charms.
You're not going to disappear are you?'
Strangely enough, Harry had never considered going into hiding. Perhaps it was
something he should consider. But then look where it had gotten his parents. In a coffin
in a hole in the ground.
'Not yet, Hermione,' he said.
He explained to her the reason he wanted the book.
'Just don't get caught,' she replied.
*~*
'Ah Harry,' Dumbledore said. 'I'm glad you've come. I won't keep you long. Sirius and I
have been talking and we think it's best that you go into hiding after his wedding. Before
you object, Harry, Voldemort knows that it's him or you and will do his best to try and
kill you before it comes to a confrontation. I know you have a lot to consider, think about
it. Talk it over with a few people. You would need to find a Secret Keeper; that will be
the hardest thing.'
Dumbledore looked down towards him.
'Now Harry, I know that this may not be what you want, but I think it's something that


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you should at least consider. Or perhaps partial hiding. I would like you to at least look
into it before you give me a definitive answer. Keep in mind that they've already tried to
recruit you twice. Death Eaters don't like to fail. They're punished severely for failure. No
doubt someone will try again.'
Harry nodded. He knew that what Dumbledore said was right. If Lucius hadn't been
kissed, he probably would still be suffering the Cruciatus Curse right now.
'The time of The Covenant is drawing near Harry,' Dumbledore said as he reached for an
object on the nearby shelf. 'The time when the names will be revealed from this goblet is
near. The time for you to face Voldemort, therefore is near. Keep that in mind young
Harry.'
As he walked out the door, Harry thought about what Hermione had said earlier. It wasn't
just Sirius and Dumbledore who had been thinking that he should go into hiding; he
figured many others had as well. He wondered if Voldemort was expecting him to. If he
was, he was probably placing convenient 'Secret Keepers' around for him to consider. If
he used the Fidelius Charm, who would he have? What happens if that person dies?
Ron was waiting for him at the door with the Invisibility Cloak and the Marauders Map.
They stealthily made their way towards Chrystal's office, when Ron noticed the map.
'Look,' he whispered to Harry, as he pointed at a dot. It was Snape. But who was that with
him?
Harry glanced at Ron.
'Wonder how long that's been going on,' Ron said. 'I'd like to see a certain someone's face
at the moment.'
'I won't point out where Ginny is then, will I,' Harry said with a small smirk. Ron shoved
the map back in Harry's hands. 'Guess I'll have to search Snape's office some other time.'
They entered the office and looked around on the bookshelf. There was a copy there and
it looked a bit more recent than the one Rose had.
'Charms of Hiding,' Harry said. 'This is it, come on lets go.'
'Should be. Have a look for Snape first,' said Ron jokingly. 'It would be nice to have a bit
of dirt on him.'
'Not now,' Harry replied.
They headed back to the common room where Hermione was waiting for them. She
seemed a bit anxious.
'Oh there you are,' she said. 'Sirius just cancelled my lesson, and I really needed to have
one today.'
'Well Harry's having advanced tutoring too,' Ron said. 'Why don't you get him to help
you?'


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Harry and Hermione both realised at the same time that Ron didn't know about their
Animagus Training. Harry didn't care what Sirius had said; he wasn't going to keep it a
secret any longer. He trusted Ron; it wasn't like Ron was Voldemort's spy or anything.
'Ron,' he said, 'I haven't exactly been having advanced Transfiguration tutoring. Well,
actually I guess I have in a sense. I've been having Animagus Training.'
Ron looked at him with disbelief.
'I have too,' Hermione whispered.
'What?' asked Ron. 'For how long? And neither of you thought it was something you
might tell me?'
'Since the beginning of the year,' Harry answered. 'We were sworn to secrecy, while we
were training. But Chrystal has seen my form now, so you two may as well see mine.'
They left the common room and headed towards the Transfiguration Classroom which
they knew would be empty, as Hermione's lesson had been cancelled. Harry transformed
into his lion form.
He strutted around, then sat in the corner and began to clean his paw.
He looked at Ron whose face was looking on in awe. Hermione seemed impressed. She
came over to pet him. Harry transformed back.
'I think I should do that more often, you seem to like it,' he said to Hermione. She
blushed.
'What are you Hermione?' asked Ron.
'I'm not ready to show anyone yet,' she said. 'I did really need my lesson tonight. Lets go
up to the hospital wing and see how our Transfiguration teacher is doing.'
'Better yet,' Harry said. 'Let's go and get him some dinner, I bet he hasn't eaten. Then we
have to get Chrys' cat for her. I promised Sirius.'
They made their way down to the kitchen and got a plate of food and a couple of goblets
of pumpkin juice for Sirius.
They then made their way up towards the staff quarters, Harry whispered the password.
They located Chrys' door, and walked in. They saw the small black cat sitting there
waiting for his owner to return. Hermione walked over and picked him up. He meowed
softly as she picked him up.
'There there Maestro,' she said. 'It's okay darling, we're just going to take you downstairs.'
On entering the hospital wing, Harry could see that Sirius was still sitting there.
Hermione gently placed the cat on the bed. He curled up next to his owner.



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'She still asleep?' Harry asked softly.
'Yes,' Sirius said. 'She woke up briefly for a moment, but she's asleep again now. She's
going to be fine Harry.'
'What about you?' he asked.
'I'll be fine too,'
Hermione and Ron gave Harry a questioning look.
'Harry thought you may not have eaten,' Ron spoke up. 'We brought you this.'
Ron placed the food and the goblets on the nearby table.
'That's very nice of you,' Sirius replied. 'Harry, have you spoken with Dumbledore?'
'Yes,' he replied. 'You don't have to whisper I've told Ron and Hermione what you both
think.'
Sirius gave them a look of understanding. He had been in their position sixteen years ago.
'My problem is simple Sirius,' Harry said. 'You can't guarantee my safety anymore than
you could my parents. If I pick Ron or Hermione as my Keeper, they will be the obvious
choice, if I pick anyone else I don't know if I can trust them.'
'Actually, we need to talk to Hermione about that as well,' Sirius said. He looked at her.
'You realise that you will be a target if Harry does go into hiding. It may be best for you
to go into hiding as well. I'm just making suggestions. Harry, Chrys has a book
somewhere. The one she gave to your parents, perhaps you should read it,'
'I think Ron and I might have acquired it this evening,' Harry interrupted. He pulled
Hiding Charms out of his cloak. Sirius laughed. 'You don't think she'll mind if we borrow
it do you?'
'Mind if you borrow what?' said a voice.
Chrystal had woken up.
'It's okay Chrys, I'll take full responsibility,' Sirius said. 'You guys had better be off.'
'Hang on,' Ron said. 'Before we go, I've got something that might cheer you up. We saw
Malfoy's mum, on the Marauder's map with Snape. The dots were somewhat close,
wouldn't you say Harry,'
Sirius laughed.
'He doesn't waste time, does he?'
They left Sirius and Chrystal alone.
'What's wrong Sirius?' she asked. 'I'm okay.'


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'Chrys,' he said. 'You have no idea what you said while you were asleep.'
He sat down and told her what she had said. When he finished he embraced her.
'I still love you.'
They both had eyes full of tears.

Chapter Twenty Five
The Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests
The next couple of weeks flew by. The dragons came and went. Harry didn't pay much
attention, all he could think about was how much Hagrid would have loved it. The pain
he had felt when Dumbledore had asked the entire school to raise their glasses to Hagrid
was unlike any he'd ever known. Harry put in his application to the Ministry, applying to
be an Auror. Hermione wouldn't tell anyone, what she put on her application. Ron had
figured that as afraid that she wouldn't get it, and then she wouldn't have to live with the
disappointment.
Lavender was the only Gryffindor who didn't apply for the Ministry. She said that she
was going to remain at Hogwarts and train to replace Trelawney in a couple of year's
time. She had been really quiet since that Divination lesson before Easter. She was no
longer the gossiping girl that Harry remembered, nor the sweet pretty girl he had dated,
she had withdrawn and was slowly becoming a hollow shell.
The seventh years were becoming extremely nervous about their upcoming N.E.W.T.s. It
was understandable given the number of Ministry applications, but it added an air of
tension to the common room. Ginny spent a lot of time trying to lighten the mood.
'If this is what the N.E.W.Ts are like, I'm not going to take them,' she said. 'I'll save Mum
and Dad the stress and go and work for Gred and Forge instead.'
Ron usually gave the reply shut up to this comment.
To give Ginny credit though, she did manage to drag Ron out of the common room
occasionally, to get back on his broomstick. Harry, Rose and Ginny would pass the
Quaffle and try and score against him. That way Ron could keep his Quidditch skills up,
despite the temporary hold on the league.
Harry himself had never seen Ron work so hard. Given that he now had focus and
determination, Harry could see a new Ron emerging. No longer was he the sixth son, he
was the Keeper who had led Gryffindor to victory, he was the brilliant tactician, he knew
where he wanted to be.
Unlike Harry.
Harry hadn't opened the book they had taken from Chrystal's office yet. It was almost as
if he was afraid of what he would find. Perhaps he would discover that the Fidelius
Charm didn't work anymore.


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He decided to look at the book tonight. Ron actually had a Quidditch practice to go to, (a
rare occurrence these days) so he and Hermione made their way up towards the
Astronomy Tower, so that they could read it with some privacy.
The copy of the book was far more recent, than the one Rose had. It was dated 1980, so
Harry hoped he could find some answers in there. He found the page in the index and
once again opened the book to the page on the Killing Curse.
The Avada Kedavra Curse
There is no counter curse for the Avada Kedavra Curse, however many wizards have
been working on curses that might block the Avada Kedavra, so that it alters life force in
some other way than resulting in death. So far there have been many suggested theories.
The best of these is the work associated with Animagi. It has been postulated that
Animagi who wish to resist the Avada Kedavra Curse, may perform a protection spell
that will place them into an enchanted sleep, which lasts for about seventy-two hours,
after which they will unconsciously transform into their Animagus form and will be
unable to revert to form, until a witch or wizard forces them to reveal themselves. It has
worked in one case of an Animagus who was hit by the Avada Kedavra Curse who failed
to die, however when hit with the curse again, he was killed.
It is thought therefore that this charm will only work once in a person's life.
The Incarnation is
'Brevis curo latebra affectio currax.'
Once cast it will last for up to six months.
One should remember that the spell is still experimental.
The Philosopher's Stone is associated with the Elixir of Life, which causes the drinker to
become immortal. There is only one known stone in existence that was created by the
alchemist Nicholas Flamel. The Elixir of Life has not been tested against the Avada
Kedavra Curse however it is thought to provide protection.
As for other protective charms, while there have been no success stories so far, there
appears to be some promising works eventuating.
While that was very interesting, it did not explain why Harry had survived the curse. He
felt that there was possibly more to it than just the fact that his mother had sacrificed
herself for him. He turned to the page on the Fidelius Charm.
The Fidelius Charm
The Fidelius Charm is a complex and powerful charm that hides a person/persons
completely. It is still the best form of protection if one is in hiding.
When a person is under the Fidelius Charm they are completely hidden from the outside
world. The only person who knows their location is a designated Secret Keeper. If this


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Secret Keeper remains silent, the hidden person could remain hidden forever.
Placing the intended hidden persons name before the word Fidelius performs the
Incarnation. For instance, say I wanted to hide Katie, I would say;
'Katie Fidelius'
To reveal the hidden persons, you use the word 'Aperio'. If I wanted to reveal Katie, I
would say;
'Katie Aperio'
The Fidelius Charm only works as long as the Secret Keeper keeps the whereabouts of a
person a secret.
Harry looked over at Hermione. She looked like she was in deep contemplation.
'What are you thinking Hermione?' he asked.
She didn't reply.
'Hermione,' he called louder.
'What?' she jumped in surprise. 'Oh, sorry Harry, I was thinking about the Avada Kedavra
theory. Was this the book that Professor Àille gave your parents?'
'I don't know,' he replied. 'Although it is nice to know that there's a protective charm I can
use once. That just might work. I'll save it for when I face Voldemort.'
'Look Harry,' Hermione said, somewhat impatiently. 'Look at the inside cover.'
He glanced at it. There was a message.
Dear James and Lily,
Just a thought, there may be some useful information in this book.
With love,
Chrystal
'Your parents read this Harry,' Hermione said. 'Your dad was an Animagus. He could still
be alive!'
Harry didn't even want to think about it. He had thought his dad was alive once before,
the night they had discovered Scabbers real identity and learnt the truth about what
happened to his parents that fateful night. He had thought he had seen his dad, but instead
it had just been him.
'Don't give up, Harry,' she said. 'There are lots of things you can't understand Harry. You
don't have to hope, but you can at least acknowledge that it's a possibility.'



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'I've done that before Hermione,' he said. 'It wasn't true then, why should it be true now?
I'm not going to go through that again. Do you realise that, when I was little I used to
retreat to my cupboard under the stairs and dream about the day that my parents would
knock on the door and say Surprise, we're not dead after all, and they would take me
away from The Dursley's and nothing would ever go wrong again. No Hermione, I
cannot go there again.'
Hermione remained silent. There was an air of silent consensus. Hermione just looked at
his sad face.
'What are you going to do Harry?' she whispered. 'At the end of the year.'
Harry hadn't realised that he had made a decision until he answered her.
'I'm going into hiding,' he said. 'The time when I have to face Voldemort will be made
known to me. I will know when the time is right.'
He looked at the woman sitting on the ground with him. She had a look of sadness yet
resolve on her face.
'I'm coming with you,' she said.
Harry began to protest, but Hermione wouldn't have a bar of it.
'Don't you realise Harry,' she said. 'I'm in as much, if not more, danger than you are. If
you disappear they will kill me.'
As much as Harry wanted to deny it, he knew it was true. They would kill her to hurt
him, just like they would have done to Ginny if Malfoy refused to conform. That is why
he was spying. It all made sense.
He learnt over and kissed her. She made him feel safe.
*~*
The couple awoke with the sunrise the next morning and snuck back towards the
common room where they found Ron asleep on the sofa with Rose Heaney in his arms.
'Aren't they cute?' Hermione asked. 'She's been trying to get his attention for months.'
'They do look like a cute couple,' Harry remarked. 'Although I hope that's as far as they
went last night.'
Harry for some reason felt a protective surge over this girl. He had gotten to know her
very well when he and Ginny had been an item, or perhaps more appropriately when Ron
and Hermione were a couple.
'Oo,' Hermione teased. 'You sound like Ron when he's talking about Malfoy. She is very
pretty though. Better not be lusting after her.'
She was pretty. He would admit that, but it wasn't really the reason he felt drawn to her. It


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wasn't an attraction though.
'Come on Herm, you're stuck with me now,' he said as he picked her up and carried her
up the stairs, before running into his dorm and dropping her on his bed.
She ran out of the room quickly before Seamus, Neville or Dean had a chance to see her
there.
How lucky he was. Hermione cared about him that much to go into hiding with him. But
he was feeling quite reluctant about it. It would mean sacrificing both of their futures.
Then he thought of Ron lying on the couch. How was he going to tell Ron? Harry didn't
want to face the thought of telling Ron. He may never see him again. He couldn't make
Ron his Secret Keeper either. Despite his never-ending trust, Ron was the obvious choice,
if he wasn't the Secret Keeper, then even if they fed him Veritaserum Harry would still be
safe.
He knew that when the time came to face Voldemort, he would know. He had known he
had to destroy the bells, his lion had been burning and he suspected the reason Chrystal
had been holding her stomach was because her eagle had hurt as well. It was his calling.
Now all he needed to know was who the other Heir was. Mind you they hadn't told him
who Chrystal was, because they were trying to protect both of them. Perhaps they already
knew. It just would be nice to know whom he would have to face Voldemort with.
Harry grabbed his books and headed down to the common room and hit the books.
*~*
The seventh years were obviously jittery one the first day of their exams. They first exam
was History of Magic, an exam which Harry was sure would be as boring as their lessons.
Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests
History of Magic
3 hours.

Standard Credit
You must answer THREE out of FIVE questions to gain credit.
Question One is compulsory.

Question One
Discuss the British Goblin Rebellions of the 1600s

Question Two
Outline the history of the game of Quidditch, with specific reference to the evolution of
the flying broom.



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Question Three
Discuss the events that led to the break between the Wizard and the Muggle worlds.

Question Four
Discuss the impact of the defeat of Grindelwald by Albus Dumbledore on the world.
Include in your answer the events leading up to and following the defeat in both the
Wizard and Muggle Worlds.

Question Five
Discuss the history of Hogwarts to this date in detail.

Advanced Credit
You must answer this question with a mark of above 70% to gain advanced credit
.
Discuss the rise and fall of the Dark Arts in the twenty-first century. Describe how Harry
Potter defeated the Dark Lord Voldemort and speculate on the theories as to how a baby
could defeat such a powerful wizard.
Harry groaned as he looked at the paper. There was no way he could ever escape the
goblin rebellions. Harry couldn't understand why Binns was so obsessed with them.
Scanning the paper he could do question two well and thanks to Hermione he could do
question five well. So that as that part. He glanced at the advanced credit section. He
supposed he could give it a shot, despite Binns' reluctance to give him a decent grade for
any essay he had written about himself. Then it hit him. He should discuss The Prophecy
of Saoghal. Harry put his head down and wrote passionately for the first time in a History
of Magic exam.
He was actually surprised at how quickly the time flew. Harry had a smile on his face
when he walked out of the exam. Hermione gave him a questioning look.
'The Prophecy, Hermione,' he said. 'Binns has surely heard of it, even if he doesn't
believe it. He'll enjoy reading that one.'
They didn't have much time to relax as they had their charms exam that afternoon. It had
a one-hour written component, which was followed by a two-hour practical component.
This included performing many of the charms they had learnt over their seven years at
Hogwarts. Harry got through this fine, he had had lots of experience dealing with weird
and wonderful charms, and he wasn't worried about this component. He was more
worried about duelling with Flitwick afterward for Advanced Credit. Hermione had
managed to convince him that he should try for Advanced Credit in everything. He
doubted he would get it but at least it would open a lot of doors for him.
Harry knew that Flitwick had been a champion dueller in his younger days. He also knew
that he himself hadn't had much experience duelling, apart from the brief occurrence of


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the Duelling Club in second year and when he himself had duelled with Voldemort.
Hence, when his name was called Harry was quite a bit nervous as he entered the room.
Harry faced Flitwick and bowed.
They raised their wands at each other. Harry decided to try and hit him with a pain curse
to try and disarm him.
'Aflictiatio digitalis,' Harry called as Flitwick cursed him,
'Confundo.'
Harry didn't quite know where he was, or what he was supposed to be doing. He turned
around and said the first incarnation that came to his head.
'Densaugeo.'
The charm hit Flitwick. It was enough to break contact, as his teeth grew abnormally
large. Harry was released from the Confoundus Charm and began his attack.
'Stupefy,' he called. The spell hit Flitwick, who was still a bit surprised by the size of his
teeth.
Harry breathed a sigh of relief.
'Expelliaramus.'
'Ennervate.'
Flitwick was revived.
'Well done Potter,' he said. 'You've surprised me. Caught me off guard.'
Harry was quite pleased with himself as he walked out the door.
Hermione saw the look on his face.
'That wasn't so bad now was it?' she asked.
'I guess I underestimated myself,' Harry said. He didn't mention how he had duelled with
Voldemort, although the memory was still as fresh in his mind as it had been three years
ago. 'Come on, if I'm going to try for Advanced Credit for Transfiguration I've got some
work to do.'
Although Hermione looked as though she knew something Harry didn't; she kept quiet
and followed his request. Ron came as well.
'You'd better help me Hermione or I don't think I'll even get standard credit,' said Ron as
they were walking up the stairs.
*~*


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The next day they sat their Transfiguration exams. The day was going to be by far one of
the most draining. They had a two-hour written paper in the morning, which was
followed by a practical, for which the timetable had set aside all afternoon.
Harry knew what to expect for the written exam, McGonagall had told them it would
cover the theory, and he knew the afternoon would cover the basics of transfiguring many
different objects in a flag race style however he was clueless as to the format of the
advanced examination.
Harry gave Hermione a quick peck on the cheek before they walked into the written
paper. Harry was fairly sure they would be fine for this one, given that McGonagall had
been drumming Transfiguration Theory into their heads since day one. After that they
had a couple of hours to wait, as Gryffindor would be the last house to go through the
"course" that McGonagall had set for them.
Ron was getting exceptionally nervous as they walked into the room. Transfiguration
wasn't his worst subject, (though he was far better at Defence Against the Dark Arts) but
he was worried he would get stuck on an object.
'You'll be fine Ron,' Harry tried to reassure him. 'There's bound to be a couple there you
can't do, McGonagall's like that.'
Harry's assessment had been right. There were a few simple stations, followed by some
much harder ones. Harry managed to transfigure most of them within the given
timeframe, only missing a couple, Ron the same. Hermione naturally managed to
transfigure them all in the given time.
Those undertaking Advanced Transfiguration remained in the classroom. That was Ron,
Hermione, Harry and Dean Thomas.
'I will be examining you one at a time,' she said. 'Mr Weasley, you will go first.'
Ron walked into the room and appeared five minutes later, slightly less pale.
Dean Thomas was next followed by Hermione, the whole time Harry sitting waiting
nervously.
'Mr Potter,' he heard McGonagall call him into the room.
He walked in nervously.
'Show me your Animagus form,' she asked.
Harry relaxed, took a deep breath and imagined himself as a lion. He transformed and ran
around the room.
McGonagall seemed to be having a good look his form. Finally she indicated that she had
seen enough.
'Wonderful Potter,' she said. 'I'm very impressed. You've done well. We'll discuss your
registration later.'


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Harry walked out of the room, wondering what Ron had had to do for Advanced Credit.
As soon as he saw Ron and Hermione he asked.
'What did you have to do Ron?'
'I had to transfigure her,' he replied. 'She didn't specify what into. So I turned her into a
lollypop.'
'A lollypop?' Harry asked in disbelief. He could see Hermione laughing out of the corner
of his eye. 'You turned McGonagall into a lollypop.'
'Yep, a strawberry one, and she looked kind of tasty too.'
Ron had a mischievous grin on his face.
'Better not let Rose here you say that,' Hermione warned.
'I'm only joking Hermione,' he said.
Harry and Ron had arranged to play a bit of Quidditch with Ginny and Rose after the
exam so they left Hermione to study Potions and Astronomy, two subjects which Harry
felt he was ridiculously stupid to try for Advanced Credit, but some reason he enjoyed
letting Hermione push him into doing it.
It was a particularly nice afternoon on the Quidditch pitch, however Ron seemed more
willing to let Rose score than he did Ginny or Harry. At least he looks happy, even
though it is a bit unfair.
Then, to Harry's joy Malfoy appeared with his broomstick in his hand. Harry, Ron and
Hermione hadn't spoken to him since that fateful day before the Easter break.
'Mind if I join you?' he asked. 'Ginny said something about you guys having a bit of a
game.'
Harry glanced at Ron. He didn't look too happy about letting Malfoy play. Harry decided
that if they didn't break the ice now, they never would.
'Okay,' Harry replied. Ron shot him a dirty look. 'But if you play dirty, you're out.'
Strangely enough he didn't and the afternoon's practice session was quite enjoyable.
After they had finished Malfoy approached Harry.
'I hope you feel you can trust me,' Malfoy said. 'We're in this war together now. I hope I
can be of help.'
Harry was surprised at how sincere Malfoy sounded. He knew Malfoy was a very clever
wizard, a valuable asset if he stayed on the right side.
'As long as you never cross us you've got nothing to worry about Malfoy,' he said. 'We'll
look out for you.'


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Ron and Harry farewelled Malfoy, as they left Ginny and him on the pitch. There was an
unspoken bond that hadn't been there before he had sacrificed his father. Harry
understood the nature of his sacrifice. It was more than anyone should have to give for
any cause. Quietly, Ron, Rose and Harry went and joined Hermione in the common room
where Harry and Ron immersed themselves in star charts.
*~*
Care of Magical Creatures was the next exam that followed. Given that their Astronomy
exam had been held in the middle of the night, they had two days to recover before the
next one. Harry, Hermione and Ron weren't too worried. Charlie had hinted to them that
they shouldn't have too much to worry about given how much effort they had put into
their classes throughout the year. Nevertheless, Hermione held a last minute study session
where she practically quizzed the whole seventh year Gryffindor's on the entire contents
of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. When she was satisfied that the entire
common room knew the contents of the book, she whispered something in Harry's ear,
that made him blush.
Harry had a mischievous grin on his face.
'I forgot, I have to go and see Sirius,' he said.
'You don't fool me Harry,' Ron said. 'Just go and make sure you come back in time to get
some sleep.'
They snuck off towards the music room that Chrystal had led them to on Christmas Day.
They hadn't told anyone about the room and were fairly sure that they wouldn't be
disturbed.
They reached the room and Harry pulled the Invisibility Cloak of them.
'So, show me this Animagus Transformation Miss Granger,' Harry said in a pompous
school teacher voice.

Chapter Twenty Six
Revelation
Hermione giggled at him. The tone in his voice was funny. Far too school-teacherish for
Harry.
'Why would I do that?' she asked coyly.
'Because you whispered into my ear that you would,' Harry replied slightly exasperated.
'Okay, okay,' Hermione said. 'But you won't know what it is, I can promise you that.'
She was right.
Hermione transformed into a truly magnificent creature that Harry had never seen before.


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It was kind of a cross between a wolf and a tiger. She was sandy yellowish-brown in
colour, with black stripes across her back from her shoulders to her tail. Her head
resembled that of a wolf or perhaps even a dog. He thought that it was one of the most
interesting animals he had ever seen.
Harry walked over to pet her. Her fur was soft against his skin.
'Okay Hermione, what are you?'
She transformed back. She had a look on her face that said I told you so.
'I'm a Thylacine,' she said.
'A what?' Harry asked.
'A Thylacine,' she said. 'They've been thought to be extinct since 1936. You probably
have never heard of them. I heard of them when Mum and Dad took me to Australia for
one summer when I was about nine. There was a special exhibit dedicated to them at the
zoo we visited. I fell in love with the animal, and it just seemed to call out to me when I
was thinking about what animal to become. It's also called a Tasmanian Tiger or a
Tasmanian Wolf, but it's not really either.'
'Well,' Harry replied thoughtfully, 'you look very cute as a Thyl-whatever.'
'Thylacine,' she replied, with a smile on her face.
She never ceased to amaze him. He pulled her closer towards him and kissed her.
*~*
They luckily awoke in time for their Care of Magical Creatures exam the next morning.
Ron gave them a glare over breakfast, but Harry could tell he was glad that they had
woken up and he wouldn't have to try and find them before the exam.
They made their way down towards Hagrid's hut, where they were greeted with various
creatures set up at different stations.
When the entire class had arrived, Charlie addressed them.
'There are ten stations, one for each of you,' he said. 'You will each start at one station,
then after six minutes you will move onto the next station. Each station has five
questions. You're all sitting for Advanced Credit, those stations are clearly marked as
Advanced Credit. Right any questions?'
The Gryffindor's shook their heads and took their seats.
'You may begin,' Charlie said.
Harry glanced at the table below. There was a model of a Norwegian Ridgeback.
Dragon station.



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He could do this one. He got to work answering questions about the habitats of dragons,
the way to care for them and reasons behind the outlawing of dragon breeding in
England.
Soon enough, Charlie blew his whistle and it was time to move to the next station.
A Crup was sitting in a cage in front of him. He could handle this one as well. There
wasn't too much to them and the questions were basically centred on the removal of the
Crup's tail.
Harry jumped when he reached the next station. There sitting in a tank in front of him
was a Grindylow. He hadn't seen one of these since the Second Task of the Triwizard
Tournament. Harry wondered what questions Charlie could ask about the Grindylow,
there wasn't that much to them, in short you stayed away from them. Then Harry looked
at the questions and saw that the Grindylow was only on one of them, the other questions
were on Kappas, Kelpies and Fire Crabs, which are much higher to catch.
Moving onto the next station, Fawke's was waiting for him. Harry smiled at the bird and
hoped that he didn't burst into flames today. Harry wasn't quite sure about Dumbledore
being right about him being beautiful. He answered the questions about Phoenix's, and
Fwooper's.
Harry moved on. It was one of the Advanced Credit stations. There was no cage or
animal here. Harry shuddered as he read the questions.
1) What is the M.O.M classification for the Basilisk?
2) How is a Basilisk born?
3) Describe the appearance of a Basilisk?
4) What creature does the Basilisk fear?
5) How does the Basilisk cause death? What precautions must one take if they think they
are in the presence of a Basilisk?
Harry could answer the questions but the thought of the Basilisk brought back the
memories of the Chamber of Secrets.
He moved onto the next station where he was faced with a Cornish Pixie. He knew that it
would be unwise to take the Pixie out of the cage, thanks to Lockhart. He knuckled down
and answered the questions on Fairies, Pixies, Imps and Doxys.
The next station was the second Advanced Credit station. It was on the Golden Snidgit.
   Describe the appearance of the Golden Snidgit.
   Describe the unique skills of the Snidgit and explain the theory behind it.
   Why was the Snidgit originally hunted?



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   Outline the reasons why the Snidgit was used in the game of Quidditch.
   Why was the Snidgit close to extinction? Outline the steps taken to protect it.
Thanks to having read and reread Quidditch throughout the Ages Harry found this quite
doable.
He moved onto the next station, insects in a tank. Billywigs, Bundimun, and
Glumbumbles, the next was on Centaurs.
Harry approached the final station, and once again there was no cage or tank. Harry
glanced at the questions.
   What magic creatures must you place a Disillusionment Charm on and why?
   What is the distinction between a being and a beast?
   How has this distinction been achieved?
   Outline the Ministry of Magic Classification of Creatures.
   What steps are taken if a Muggle accidentally spies a magical creature?
Finally that exam was finished. Ron had a huge grin on his face, Harry was sure he had
done quite well. Hermione was smiling too. He gave her a peck on the cheek before the
three of them headed towards the tower.
*~*
The next morning, as usual Hermione's copy of The Daily Prophet arrived.
She gasped when she saw the front cover.
Explosions in London
Witches and Wizards everywhere can no longer deny the re-birth of the Dark Lord after
recent events in the last week. While the Ministry has requested that we refrain from
reporting the occurrences, we feel that we no longer can we do this for the sake of
people's safety.
Yesterday, the seventh such explosion of its type that has occurred since the Shrieking
Shack explosion in Hogsmeade, has killed Puddlemere's prize Seeker, Hamish Dalton.
Puddlemere was due to play in the European Cup which has been rescheduled for the
coming summer.
The explosion occurred in a non-wizarding part of London and appears to have been
targeted at the Quidditch star. The European Cup is once again in jeopardy. All witches
and wizards should remain on full alert until further notice.
Harry's heart sunk.
The Ministry had obviously done a very good job of covering up the other explosions.


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Harry wondered if there were particular targets or whether the Death Eaters were just
going on a killing spree. He didn't understand how the Ministry could continually deny
the reappearance of Voldemort. It didn't make sense.
*~*
The next couple of days passed rather non-eventfully, there were no unexpected surprises
for them. Harry was right in thinking he shouldn't even try for Advanced Credit for
Astronomy, having taken one look at the questions; he sealed his fate to never be an
Astronomer.
Most of the seventh years were relaxing a bit, despite the fact that Potions was their next
exam, but mots of them weren't stupid enough to try for Advanced Credit and were fairly
certain that Snape wouldn't fail them.
Potions was a complete surprise to everyone, including the Slytherins. It seemed like
Snape had gone softly on them, in light of the recent events. He hadn't even snarled at
Harry when he discovered that he was sitting for Advanced Potions. He and Hermione
were the only Gryffindor's to sit it, and it was only because Hermione had pushed him
into it. It wasn't that Harry disagreed with her philosophy, try and then you will at least
know what you can achieve. Ron wasn't that stupid. It was just that he felt foolish
attempting Advanced Potions.
'Look if in doubt,' Hermione had said, 'write about what went wrong with the Polyjuice
Potion.'
Snape had given them a list of Potions to learn for Advanced Credit. It wasn't so bad,
Harry had at least heard of most of them, but memorising them was another matter.
Hence they, being Hermione and Harry, spent the night before the exam memorising
Potions. Snape for some unknown reason had decided that the Advanced Students should
sit their exams first, and then, depending on how well they did, they may or may not have
to sit the Standard Exams the next day.
He hoped he would pass the first lot, just so he wouldn't have to sit the second.
Harry walked into the Advanced Exam. It was a solely practical exam.
The room was full of mainly Slytherin's. Snape told them to sit down. There was a list of
potions in front of them.
'You must make your potions individually,' he snarled. 'You must choose one from each
section. I will be testing every single potion made. If they both succeed, you will not have
to sit the standard exam tomorrow, you will automatically be given 100%. You will
complete your potion from Section A first.'
Harry swallowed. That meant that they were hard.
He glanced at the list.
Section A


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Mandrake Restorative Draft
Confusing Concoction
Polyjuice Potion (there are several lacewing flies that have been stewed for a certain
number of days, select the correct one to proceed)
Deflating Draught
Section B
Draught of the Living Dead
Love Potion
Veritaserum
Wolfsbane Potion
Any required elements that are unavailable in your own ingredient stores will be
available from the front.
They were all fairly complicated potions to make. Harry glanced at the list. He didn't
know how to make most of them. Polyjuice Potion. That was at least doable. He had had
prior experience with that one that Snape wouldn't know about. He sat about making that
one. He made his way to the front and collected Lacewing flies that had been stewed for
twenty-one days and some boomslang skin and fluxweed picked at the time of the full
moon. He tried to avoid Snape's glare as he took some boomslang skin. He continued
mixing it until he required a bit of someone to turn into. Hermione was standing next to
him, he laughed at the prospect of spending the next hour as Hermione. He pulled a bit of
her hair out, and she jumped, then gave him a glare and pulled out a bit of his. He added
her hair to potion, it turned a brownish colour.
Snape decided to pick on his potion first.
'What have we here Mr Potter?' Snape asked, though he knew full well what Harry had
been brewing.
'Polyjuice Potion Sir,' Harry said.
'And who are we turning into Potter?'
'Hermione, Sir'
Malfoy laughed. Crabbe and Goyle sniggered.
Harry drank the potion. It didn't taste as bad as the Slytherin one had. He looked down as
he had transformed. He had indeed turned into Hermione. Snape didn't look very happy.
He threw Harry a label that said 'Potter'.
'Put that on, so I don't confuse you.'


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The Slytherin's snickered as Hermione transformed into Harry.
Harry was surprised that they were the only two who had made Polyjuice Potion, most of
the others had made the Confounding Potion. It was very complicated and Harry wouldn't
dare try.
For the next section Harry opted to make the blasted Love Potion. He had made it for
Dudley, he didn't know if it had worked, but Dudley hadn't said that it didn't. At least he
had all the necessary ingredients.
He set to work straight away; it was a bit simpler than the Polyjuice Potion. He hoped
Snape wouldn't try it on him.
Harry was relieved when the desired action was achieved. (Pansy Parkinson falling all
over Draco Malfoy, it was a sight that everyone in the room, except for Malfoy seemed to
enjoy) No exam tomorrow. And an Advanced Credit in Potions. His mum would be
proud. More time to concentrate on Defence Against the Dark Arts. It wasn't like he
could study for Divination, no point; it wasn't going to help. He was hoping he could
ramble on about The Prophecy.
*~*
Everyone was in the dark about the format of their Defence Against the Dark Arts
Examination. They knew that it had a theoretical and practical component for standard
credit. However, for Advanced Credit they were supposed to duel against Professor Àille,
who to be honest wasn't exactly looking the best. She looked like she was still recovering
from the bolt of lightening that had struck her; it didn't look like she was going to be up
to a duel.
The entire seventh year would sit the written exam together in the morning.
The three hour paper covered theory on absolutely everything they had covered in their
seven years at Hogwarts, including a question on why they shouldn't let Gilderoy
Lockhart anywhere near Cornish Pixies. Harry almost laughed as he read that one. It
shouldn't be too difficult for anyone to answer.
Everyone had a practical exam sometime that afternoon. Because Gryffindor had been
last for the Transfiguration exams, they were first for the Defence Against the Dark Arts,
one. They made their way down to a course that was set up near the lake. It reminded
Harry very much of the maze that had been set up for the Triwizard Tournament.
Chrystal was sitting their waiting for them to arrive.
'Right everyone,' she said. 'You must make your way through this obstacle course to
obtain a pass for the practical component. It is far more complicated than it looks. You
may discuss matters with your other classmates, but you are not to undertake the entire
course with another member of the class. You will begin staggered, and will be timed but
there is no time limit in which to complete the course. Here is the map that you must
follow.' She handed out a map to each class member. 'There is a component in the water,



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if you cannot swim, now is the time to let me know.'
Nobody raised their hands.
'Right, Mr Longbottom you may begin now.'
Neville cautiously ran into the course. A minute passed before Parvati entered. Harry
looked over at Ron and Hermione. Somehow he felt that they would be the last to enter.
He whispered that into Hermione's ear, who nodded in agreeance.
Seamus entered the maze, leaving the three there by themselves.
'You're next Mr Weasley.'
Ron took a deep breath and ran into the maze. After Ron had disappeared, Harry kissed
Hermione.
'Good luck sweetie,' he said.
'You too Harry,' she whispered back. 'Am I next?'
'Yes, go ahead,' Chrystal said.
Hermione ran into the maze.
'You can go in a minute Harry,' Chrystal said. 'Good luck.'
Harry entered the maze following the path indicated by the map. Going through the maze
he encountered several dangerous creatures, as well as models of creatures. The models
wouldn't actually harm you, although they would stimulate the attack of the creature.
He felt himself being lifted upside down.
Antigravity mist.
He'd experienced this in the third task of the Triwizard Tournament. He knew to just
battle through it despite the slightly nauseating feeling it was giving him.
After what seemed like ages he got through the mist.
Harry had been wondering for about five minutes before he hit the water. He guessed that
this component was to teach them that they might have to deal with dark arts anywhere
and in any weather.
Harry encountered some curses; he couldn't see who was cursing him or where they were
cursing him. He hadn't come across any of his classmates yet; he found that kind of
strange. The obstacles were challenging, Harry found that he often had to improvise
against curses he was quite unfamiliar with. It would be a miracle if he got through
unscathed.
He turned a corner and came face to face with Snape. He raised his wand but Harry was
quicker.


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'Expelliarmus!' he shouted.
Snape allowed him to pass, and then he emerged on the other side of the course.
'Well done Harry,' Chrystal said as she inspected him from head to toe. 'We're only
waiting on a couple more.'
Harry walked over to Hermione and Ron.
'Can I see your maps?' he asked.
He glanced at them quickly.
'They're different aren't they?' Hermione asked.
'Yep,' Harry replied. 'I was wondering why we didn't meet up with anyone. What about
Snape at the end? I wonder what curse he would have tried.'
'Who knows?' Ron said. 'I hit him with my lollypop transfiguration charm. It was even
funnier than when I transfigured McGonagall.'
'Where did you find that charm Ron?' Hermione asked.
'Um well, Rose transfigured me and threatened to eat me,' he said. His ears had turned the
colour of his hair.
By that stage, everyone had reached the end and Chrystal dismissed them, reminding
those who were planning to sit for Advanced Credit that they should be in the Defence
Against the Dark Arts classroom by nine o'clock the next morning.
*~*
Harry, Ron and Hermione arrived at the classroom just before nine. Chrystal saw them
immediately.
'Harry you can go in now,' she said. 'No point waiting for everyone to turn up.'
He entered the separate room, which had been set aside. Lupin was standing there.
'Hi Harry,' he said laughing. 'Given that Chrys is not well enough to duel, you will be
duelling me instead. You are not to disarm me; you are merely to block my curses okay?
So shall we start?'
Harry nodded. They bowed and then commenced their duel.
'Afflictatio digitalis'
Harry accepted the curse and blocked out the pain, sending the curse back to Lupin to
show that he'd blocked it.
Lupin sent several more curses at Harry. Luckily he managed to remember the
appropriate counter curses for each curse before Lupin finally indicated that he had


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finished.
'Well done Harry,' he said.
Harry exited the room and sat and waited for Hermione and Ron to finish.
One more to go.
*~*
Hermione left the other Gryffindor's as she headed towards her Arithmancy exam. Harry
was dreading his Divination exam. He just knew Trelawney was going to ask him what
he could see and he would be unable to see anything, or would be unable to interpret the
Tarot reading. Lavender was holding a moon shaped charm around her neck tightly, she
was particularly nervous, it seemed like her whole future was riding on her receiving
Advanced Credit in this subject.
'It's for good luck,' she said. 'My dad gave it to me when my mum died, apparently it's
been in the family for years, and it makes me feel as though my mum's here.'
'Yeah,' Parvati said sarcastically. 'That and your little animal.'
Lavender blushed, as Sirius and Chrystal came over to wish them good luck for their last
exam. Chrystal was looking only slightly better, than she had been on the day of their
Defence Against the Dark Arts exam.
Harry walked into the tower with apprehension. It was particularly eerie, and Harry had
no idea what torture Trelawney was going to put him through. At least he wasn't stupid
enough to try for Advanced Credit, his exam would only go for half an hour instead of an
hour and a half.
Harry saw the Tarot cards lying on the table.
'Interpret the reading for me Potter,' she said.
Harry looked at the cards; groaning inwardly before he interpreted them to the best of his
ability, which wasn't very well. Trelawney frowned as he gave his answer.
'Look into the Orb,' she said.
Harry hated doing this. They had to do it every year, since they had begun Divination in
third year. Harry hadn't made an accurate prediction since he predicted Buckbeak's
escape. He gazed into the mist.
He saw himself. But he was a lion.
'I see a lion,' he said. 'It is running through a castle. It's searching for something. It doesn't
know where to find it.'
'What is it seeking?' she asked.



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'A snake,' he replied. 'And a person, it looks like a woman, I'm not sure who it is, her face
is covered.'
'Why is it seeking this?'
'It wants to fulfil The Prophecy for the good of the world.'
'What prophecy?'
'The Prophecy of Saoghal. The lion does not know the outcome, but is prepared to die for
the world.'
'Is the lion going to die?'
'I don't know. I cannot see that. It is having trouble finding the snake.'
'You may go,' she said suddenly in what seemed to Harry to be an instant mood change.
'You have seen enough.'
Harry walked out the door, wondering if he would have seen the outcome. He sincerely
doubted it.
*~*
She had been thinking about the conversation she had overheard. Somehow she just
knew. She tore through the papers on her desk, finally finding the one she was seeking.
The quest was ended.
She got up from her desk and ran towards his office. He was sitting marking exam
papers.
Chrystal Àille grabbed Sirius Black by the hand and dragged him up towards
Dumbledore's office.
'What's going on Chrys?' he asked. 'What could be so important that you drag me away
from marking my precious Transfiguration papers?'
'I'll explain when we get there,' she replied.
When they reached the top of the spiral staircase, she whispered the password and pushed
open the door. The room was empty.
'Fawkes,' she said, 'Where's Dumbledore?'
The bird did not reply, but then burst into flames somewhat spectacularly.
'Damn,' she said. 'You're always bursting into flames when I need something.'
Dumbledore appeared behind them.
'You look exhausted,' he said. 'What did you do, run all the way up here?'



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They both nodded.
'What is so wrong that you would hurry up here so quickly?' he asked. 'What danger lies
ahead?'
'I know who the Heir of Hufflepuff is,' Chrystal said.

Chapter Twenty Seven
The Heir of Hufflepuff
'Yes, Chrystal?' Dumbledore asked.
Sirius looked stunned.
'It's Lavender Brown,' she said.
'Lavender,' Sirius asked. 'Are you sure? I mean she's a Gryffindor.'
'Don't forget I was too Sirius,' she replied somewhat curtly. 'I am certain. I heard
Lavender and Parvati Patil talking about a tattoo that Lavender had. Parvati was
questioning her as to why she chose that particular animal and why she would want a
tattoo in that place. And then earlier this morning I noticed an amulet she was holding.
She said something about her father giving it to her when her mother died. I had a picture
in a book of the charms and trinkets worn by Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw,'
she ignored the look that Sirius was giving her. 'That's how I knew about the ring Sirius,
but when I saw Lavender's amulet I recognised it. I realised about half an hour ago where
I recognised it. I found the page and it matched. We have to decide what to do
immediately.'
'You have a book on the trinkets of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw?" Sirius asked giving her a
look of utter astonishment.
'Yes, and by the way Hermione was quite interested in it,' she replied.
'She would be,' Sirius replied.
'Well Chrystal, I think you should find Miss Brown,' Dumbledore interrupted. 'This
bickering will not help. Start with the Gryffindor common room, Minerva will tell you
the password. Then bring her to me. Sirius and I will be searching through the family
lines.'
Chrystal obeyed immediately. They all realised they could not waste time. They had to
act before Voldemort figured it out as well.
*~*
Hermione was the only person in the Gryffindor Common Room. Everyone else was
sitting exams. She had finished her Arithmancy exam and knew it could possibly be
hours before the others finished their Divination exams. She pulled out the book Harry
and Ron had given her on Helga Hufflepuff. It would make for entertaining reading while


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she waited.
She turned the page.
Helga Hufflepuff is the forgotten founder. She is merely one of the four and in truth she
did not live a very exciting life. She married the one man, bore him one child and died at
a ripe old age of one hundred and forty.
Her child, a daughter, married a man and again bore him one child. It was due to a curse
that had been placed on Helga Hufflepuff that for generations to come her offspring
could only bear one child, a female. Hence it is such; we do no longer know who her
descendants are.
Helga Hufflepuff knew this would be the case, her family would be virtually untraceable,
and hence she charmed an amulet so that it could only be worn by her descendants It is
shaped like a crescent moon, with a pearl in the centre.
That was the moment Hermione knew. And she had told Ron and Harry that this book
was a joke. But the answer to their question had been there all the time. The amulet she
had seen everyday for the last seven years.
Lavender was the Heir of Hufflepuff.
She grabbed a piece of parchment and began to write sums,
Now Harry
7+1+9+9+7
And Lavender
3+1+4+5+5+4+5+9
And Chrystal
3+8+9+7+1+2+3
that makes 7+1+9+9+7+3+1+4+5+5+4+5+9+3+8+9+7+1+2+3 = 102
which reduces to 3
that's a triangle.
If I add the sums of their names I get 7+7+1= 15
Reduces to 6 therefore a perfect triangle.
It was a possible combination, and with everything else she knew it was true.
At that moment Chrystal Àille burst through the door.
They looked at each other. There was something in the air that made them realise that the


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other knew.
'Lavender's not here Professor,' she said.
'Hermione, how many times to I have to tell you, you don't have to call me Professor,' she
replied. 'Where's Harry's map?'
'What?' Hermione asked.
'His map, The Marauder's Map,' se said.
'I knew what you meant, I just should have realised that you knew about it. It should be in
his room. I would suggest in his trunk or in the pocket of his Invisibility Cloak.'
The two of them ran upstairs to the seventh year boy's dorm and began sorting through
the contents. Chrystal located the map in the Invisibility Cloak.
'I solemnly swear I am up to no good,' she said.
She gazed at the map, searching for Lavender anywhere on the map. Something caught
her eye in Gryffindor Tower, something that Hermione had not seen because she was
pointing towards the Divination Tower.
'Look, she looks like she's sitting her exam,' Hermione said.
'Mischief managed,' Chrystal said. 'Hermione don't say a word to anyone, not even Harry
until you hear from Dumbledore, Sirius or myself. Okay? Just in case we're wrong.'
Hermione nodded.
Chrystal ran out the door. She glanced at the empty parchment again.
'I solemnly swear I'm up to no good,'
She glanced at the parchment. The name hadn't changed. They were still sitting in
Gryffindor Tower. She didn't understand. It just couldn't be possible. The Charm had
worked.
*~*
The entire Divination was sitting outside the Tower waiting for Lavender to emerge. She
had only entered a couple of minutes earlier and had just finished interpreting her Tarot
reading.
'Sit down at the Orb my child and tell me what you see,' Trelawney commanded.
Lavender sat. She began gazing into the mist that was surrounding her. At the moment,
everything was grey and unclear. It would only take a moment to pass.
The mist was rising, dispersing, although she could see the outside was misty. There were
four animals, once again. There were always four animals. They were in a kind of
dungeon. It was cold, dark and damp. There was a small ray of sun, weakly trying to


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penetrate the greyness. Out of the window there was a big drop to a moat, they were high
up in a castle. The landscape was unfamiliar, something that she had never seen before.
The castle itself was in ruins. It looked like it should have been condemned years ago.
The walls had been overgrown with green vines that had almost entirely covered the
stone of the decaying castle. There was an unmistakable cold chill in the air.
There was a snake. He looked mean and angry. He was powerful. He had an air to him
that made him so. He was hissing at the eagle, it appeared like he was accusing her of
something. The eagle didn't look scared. It was defending something. Lavender couldn't
see what it was. The eagle was hiding it from view. A lion burst in the door. It looked
proud and strong. Almost unbeatable though with an air of fragility about it. It was
roaring loudly as if to say, look at me. He ran over to defend the eagle with a badger at
his side. The badger looks scared. It was small in comparison to the lion, but it was
strong in different ways.
The animals were morphing. They were morphing into people. She knew who the badger
was, it was her. She had known it since she started getting these visions. Before the small
tattoo had appeared above her hip, as a source of endless torment from Parvati, she had
known. The amulet had given it away. She had seen a picture of it in one of her mother's
books. She never read them, but she had glanced at the pictures. She had seen the amulet.
She had known before she had even come to Hogwarts. She had been surprised that the
sorting hat had placed her in Gryffindor instead of Hufflepuff. It had obviously seen
something that she had not.
She could see her pale hair flittering in the tiny ray of sunlight that had entered the room.
Her eyes were no longer bright and shiny. They looked tired and sad. She glanced over to
see who the others were.
The lion was transforming. It had turned into, Harry. She felt her heart tear at the sight
of him, so handsome and regal. He didn't look like he was afraid. He didn't look
frightened. Did he know what was to come? He looked so brave. He had purpose. He
looked like he was on some sort of mission.
She glanced at the eagle. It too had changed. Standing there was her Defence Against the
Dark Arts teacher. The snake had been snapping at her. What had she done? She looked
more like a Celt than she had ever looked before. Her hair had darkened, her face looked
tired and gaunt, but her body looked somewhat plumper. She was handcuffed to the wall;
next to her was a girl who looked pale and starved. She was shaking.
Lavender glanced at the girl who was chained to the wall. It looked like someone she
knew, but she couldn't quite tell who it was. Just that the person was familiar.
She glanced at the snake. When she realised whom it was she shuddered. It was
Voldemort. He looked awful. Worse than she had ever imagined or had pictured in her
nightmares. She had never seen him before, but she knew that it was Voldemort.
Slytherin's Heir was rising to defeat them all. She felt like she could never be happy
again. Worse than the time the Dementor's came to Hogwarts.



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Everyone morphed back into animals. The sanke was yelling at the eagle. The eagle was
crying. The lion pounced to protect it. There was a scuffle. When the two emerged, the
snake had a gapping wound; the lion was covered in scratches. The badger remained
silent.
There were four people somewhere else in the castle. They were searching high and low,
but no matter how hard they searched Lavender knew they wouldn't be able to find them
in time.
Another two had entered the castle, after having managed to cross the dangerous moat.
They two would search unsuccessfully. They would be lucky to find the four before it was
too late.
The mist was rising. The tension was building. It would come to an end in the dungeon in
the tower.
They were human again. Suddenly all four of them had drawn their wands. She could feel
great pain. Someone was suffering badly. There was screaming, pain and hurt. There was
a flash. Two people were dead. Their characters were the same. She knew who they were.
She would never tell anyone. It was her secret to keep until the time came.
She blacked out.
Trelawney began screaming and shaking her. The girl wasn't breathing.
Those who were standing outside the tower entrance could hear the screaming.
'Should we go in?' asked Neville. 'She's had another premonition hasn't she?'
Harry and Ron looked at each other.
They both burst through the door with Neville and Parvati right behind them.
Lavender was lying on the floor unconscious.
'I don't know what to do,' Trelawney was saying. 'It was like she was possessed. I've
never seen anything like it before.'
Harry didn't have the heart to tell her that she had looked possessed last time he had seen
her accurately predict the future.
Harry, Ron and Neville picked up Lavender and carried her towards the hospital wing.
'Go and find Dumbledore,' Harry said to Trelawney. To Harry's surprise, she obeyed.
Lavender felt very heavy in their arms. Harry wondered if she was dead.
They reached the hospital wing to find McGonagall, Chrystal and Madam Pomfrey
waiting for them. Trelawney, Parvati and Seamus were standing behind them.
They placed Lavender on the bed, as Madam Pomfrey oversaw everything.



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'Everyone get out now,' she said once Harry, Ron and Neville had placed her on the bed.
'She will be fine given time. I suggest you come back in a couple of hours.'
They left looking dejected. Everyone wanted to see Lavender for a different reason.
Harry could guess why Trelawney was there, she wanted to know what Lavender had
seen, Harry and Ron did as well, but they were concerned as to whether or not she was
going to be okay. Harry wasn't quite sure why Seamus was there, Parvati saw him
staring.
'Seamus and Lavender are an item,' she whispered in his ear. 'Looks like you missed out.'
Harry was a bit put out by her comment but did his best to ignore it. McGonagall and
Chrystal motioned to Harry and Ron that they should come with them. They followed
silently behind the two teachers, as McGonagall led them to her office.
She closed the door behind them.
'What do you think she saw?' McGonagall, who knew about her earlier fit, asked.
'I think she saw the battle,' Harry replied. 'She looked exactly like she did last time it
happened.'
McGonagall nodded.
'Did you see the amulet?' she asked.
Amulet? Did they mean Lavender's charm? She never took it off; Harry knew this from
the night they had spent in Diagon Alley. Why did they care about the charm? Then
Harry remembered the ring that Chrystal wore. Could that mean?
'Have you worked it out yet Potter?' McGonagall asked him.
Harry nodded.
In the midst of all this, Ron looked very confused.
'Has he worked what out?' Ron asked.
'Lavender's the Heir of Hufflepuff,' Chrystal said. 'Hufflepuff was a Seer, it's only logical
that her Heir would be a Seer. It's a wonder we didn't work it out sooner. Imagine the
mess we'd be in if Trelawney was the Heir.'
Even though the thought was laughable, no one did.
Harry remembered The Prophecy. It had said that Hufflepuff's heir would be a Seer.
'If you wish to go and see her Potter, that's fine, but you shouldn't mention it to her, that
goes for you too Weasley,' McGonagall said. 'You should go and celebrate the fact you've
finished your N.E.W.Ts, but I don't want a wild party like that of Halloween,
understood?'



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Both boys nodded before heading to the door.
Had McGonagall known exactly what had happened on Halloween?
'Oh, Harry,' Chrystal called out, 'Sirius would like to see you tonight when you're done
celebrating. Alone. Sorry Ron.'
She had a concerned yet apologetic look on her face.
'Why am I always excluded?' Ron asked.
Harry looked at his friend. He knew that the answer was because he had been away at
Christmas, but instead he answered that question completely differently.
'It's because I'm getting you back for that month last year when you and Hermione were
dating. And also, the less that know, the less that can be told.'
'I understand Harry, really I do, it's just hard sometimes.'
His friend looked up at him. Harry had never seen the look on his face that he was seeing
now.
'I know you're not going to pick me as your Secret Keeper Harry,' Ron said quietly. Harry
began to protest but Ron interrupted. 'Even if you were going to, you shouldn't. I am the
obvious choice. They will force-feed me Truth Serum, Veritaserum even. If I don't know,
I can't tell, now can I? I will miss you both very much.'
Harry was deeply touched. He knew that what Ron was saying was right. He was being
noble. He was being the best friend a person could have. He was the obvious choice. It
had been eating at his heart. Who should he choose? He wanted to choose Ron, he trusted
Ron above everyone, he would trust Ron with his life, but Ron was predictable.
'Thank you Ron,' Harry said as he patted his friend on the back. 'You'll make that
tactician yet. And when you do, Hermione and I will be right beside you in support,
because we are not going to loose, we are going to rise above and win this war for good.'
Ron smiled, as they made their way up to the tower.
Hermione was there, waiting for them.
'How's Lavender?' she asked. There was a different tone to her voice this time than when
she usually spoke about Lavender.
'Madam Pomfrey says she'll be fine,' Ron answered. 'Seamus is sitting outside waiting for
Madam Pomfrey to let him in.'
'That doesn't surprise me,' Hermione replied. 'Do you know?'
The question was directed at Harry.
'You know?' he asked in reply.



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'I worked it out as Professor Àille did,' Hermione said proudly. 'Did Lavender foresee the
future?'
'I think she did, I think she knows the outcome,' Harry replied.
There was a seriousness to his voice that reminded them all that they were no longer
children anymore. They had been forced to grow up the day the Cedric Diggory had been
murdered. Why had it had to happen to them? They had been robbed of childhood, just
like the generation before.
Harry was determined to end this war. He would kill Voldemort for everything that he'
done, even if meant destroying himself.
*~*
Later that afternoon, the three of them headed towards the hospital wing to visit
Lavender.
She was crying.
'Harry,' she said as she spied him. 'You know don't you?'
Harry nodded.
'Do they know as well?' she pointed towards Ron and Hermione.
'Yes,' he said softly.
'I've told Seamus,' she said. 'I'm not telling anyone else. I know you believe you know
who all the Heirs are already Harry.'
Harry nodded.
At that moment, Madam Pomfrey cam and shushed them out. Harry said that he figured
that he should go and see Sirius now, when Hermione mentioned that Chrystal had
wanted to see her and Crookshanks.
'Why am I always left out?' Ron asked for the second time that day.
'It's probably wedding stuff,' Hermione said laughing. 'I think Crookshanks and Maestro
are going to do some weird thing that Chrystal had in mind.'
'I'd rather stay away then,' Ron said. 'All this wedding talk is driving me crazy Hermione.
Promise me that you and Harry will just elope when the time comes?'
Both of them were speechless.
'I think it's a while off,' Harry muttered. The silence remained in the air like daggers of
ice. Neither said a word as they walked Ron back to Gryffindor Tower, where Rose was
waiting patiently for him.
'Looks like we're the ones being left out if you ask me?' Harry said somewhat teasingly.


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Ron shot Harry a look.
Hermione walked upstairs and retrieved Crookshanks before they headed towards the
Staff Quarters. Again they walked quietly. Neither seemed determined to break the ice.
Sirius, Chrystal and Dumbledore were waiting for them.
Somehow Harry felt this wasn't to do with wedding business.
'Hermione,' Dumbledore said. 'How long have you had that cat?'

Chapter Twenty Eight
Lilies and Roses
Harry was shocked. What did Crookshanks have to do with anything? Sure he'd been
acting differently this year, really strange but that didn't mean anything.
'Five years, I got him from the Magical Menagerie, just before we began third year,' she
said.
'Dumbledore, it doesn't matter what you think, how implausible it is, I'm telling the truth,'
Chrystal was screaming. Harry had never seen so hysterical before. 'I am not making it
up, nor am I delusional. I saw it on their map. The silly map that James, Sirius, Remus
and Peter made. I saw her name.'
'It's impossible,' Dumbledore said. 'There is no solid proof. Knowing the creators of the
map, it's possibly a trick.'
'It's not. I gave her the charm. It could have worked. You don't know that it's not a
possibility. You've never tried the charm before have you?'
'The map doesn't play tricks like that,' Sirius added.
Harry and Hermione became mere spectators in this match.
'But we don't even know that she was an Animagus, Chrystal,' Sirius said calmly.
'You don't believe me?' she asked.
'It's not that, Chrys,' he said. 'It's just unbelievable. Improbable.'
'Just cast the spell, and you'll see.'
Harry had had enough.
'What are you talking about?' Harry said. 'Why do you need us here for this?'
'Lily,' said Sirius quietly. 'Chrystal thinks that Crookshanks is Lily.'
Harry just stared at them.
'I don't believe you,' he said slowly. 'She would have shown herself before now. I don't


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believe that she would just ignore me for so long.'
'Don't you see Harry,' she said. 'You've read the book. The book I gave Lily and James.
You've read the page on Avada Kedavra haven't you? I know how your mind works. You
were searching for answers. You read it and thought that James was alive because you're
sure they would have tried anything and you knew James was an Animagus. It's just that
Lily, well, she was one too. She trained for it as part of her Auror Training, it was a
secret, but most Aurors of the time had to train to be Animagi. It was a safety net. She
only told James and me, that's it. I've never believed she was dead, never, not since I
heard about their bodies going missing.'
Harry was trying to come to terms with what she was saying. He hadn't wanted to believe
that his father was alive. He'd done that once before and had been bitterly disappointed
when he realised that it was actually him. Now he faced the prospect of his mother being
alive he wasn't quite sure what to think. There was so much he wanted to know.
'Then I saw her name on The Marauder's Map today when I was looking for Lavender. I'd
seen Hermione's cat before, I thought at the time that the cat was familiar. Seeing her
name on the map today...'
'But I've never seen her name before.'
'Have you ever looked at the names in Hermione's dorm?' Sirius asked as Harry shook his
head. 'Besides, the map only shows you the names you want to see, you've been looking
for people who might get you in trouble I would suggest, or specific people. You need to
be open to the map. That's why you never saw Peter Pettigrew either. You saw a dot
labelled as Scabbers because that's whom you wanted to see. That's who the map
permitted you to see. That's because you had only ever known Peter as a rat. If Chrys
were right, then because you've never known the cat as Lily, you wouldn't see Lily. Nor
would I, or Remus or anyone who looked at the map who didn't know that she was an
Animagus. It was a safeguard we put in, in case anyone worked out how to get into the
map, well we didn't want them knowing about us. So they would have seen animal
names, instead of ours. Or for Crookshanks....'
It made sense. Harry got the map and looked at it. Sure enough sitting in that room were
Dumbledore, Sirius, Chrystal, Hermione, Harry and Crookshanks. It was mind-blowing.
He had to know the truth or else he'd keep harbouring up the hope. However something
struck his mind.
'When Voldemort and I tried to duel, the last spells he performed came out of his wand.
Both my mum and dad came out.'
'What are you talking about Harry?' Chrystal asked.
'Priori Incantatem,' Dumbledore explained. 'Their wands share a common core, from
Fawkes in fact. Harry, to answer your question, Voldemort performed the spell on your
parents and if this charm does in fact work, for all intents and purposes they were dead.
Only to be revived by someone who knew their Animagus form well.'



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Harry looked at Crookshanks. He examined the cat closely.
'The spell is harmless on animals who aren't Animagi isn't it?' he asked.
Sirius nodded his head.
'Then do it,' he said.
Chrystal pointed her wand at Crookshanks.
'Revalo.'
There was a flash and out thin air appeared Lily Potter.
Harry was surprised. It was unmistakable. It was Lily Potter. The long red hair. The
bright green eyes. But she looked older. Well not old, but older than the pictures.
'Thank you, thank you so much for freeing me Chrys,' Lily exclaimed as she grabbed her
in a generous embrace. 'I've been trapped for so long. I knew you were the only person
who would be able to free me since I lost James; I knew you would work it out. I just
tried to make you see me as soon as I heard that you were here.'
Lily let go of Chrystal. She saw Harry standing there.
'Harry,' she said. She was crying. 'I have wanted to show myself to you for so long, ever
since I saw you, Ron and Hermione walk into that shop. Harry I'm so sorry for everything
you've been through, but please understand that I have been helpless.'
She leant over and embraced him.
"I love you Harry,' she said. 'I am so very proud of you.'
Harry felt somewhat awkward as he tried to hug her. He didn't want to even think about
what she had seen while she was Crookshanks.
He looked up at her. Her green eyes seemed to be pleading for a response.
'It's okay, I understand,' he said. 'It's so good to have you back. Mum.'
A big smile came to both of their faces as she grabbed him and gave him a big bear hug.
'So Lily,' Chrystal said interrupting them. 'If you don't mind me asking I've got two
questions.'
'Go ahead Chrys,' Lily said laughing. 'Somehow I knew you would.'
'Okay, did you cast the charm on James? If you did, where is he? Why didn't you come
and find me straight away? And what happened to the baby?'
'That's more than two,' Lily replied. 'I'll tell you the entire story, from when we went into
hiding so you can understand. It's important Dumbledore.'



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He nodded.
'When we went into hiding Chrystal kindly gave us a book. It had become kind of a joke
that Chrystal always gave people books as a presents. I didn't think it was really
appropriate, as there wasn't much it could tell me that Dumbledore hadn't already, but
then she whispered that I should read the Avada Kedavra bit. I told Chrystal that I was
pregnant. I was scared, I didn't want to go into hiding, and I didn't want to bring another
child into the world under those circumstances. Chrystal assured me that it would work
out. She assured me that we would be safe. So I looked in the book. I was curious,
although James told me not to bother. I had to give it a try. I wasn't as sure as Sirius and
James were about us changing to Peter as our Secret Keeper. I thought it was worth a shot
and managed to convince James to use the incarnation as well. I mean, it wouldn't hurt.
We didn't know what was going to happen. When he came that night, I heard James
scream, I heard him die. I thought I was done for. When he told me to step aside, I knew I
had to save my son. I felt like I died. I felt as though I was completely drained of energy.
When I came to, I was in the Morgue at St Mungos and I was a cat. I looked very
ridiculous I can assure you of that. I was four months human pregnant while in my cat
form. I found James, he had become Prongs. He carried me on his back for a while, we
were trying to find you Chrys, you see we hadn't really understood about the whole delay
effect, then somehow, I don't remember how it happened but James and I got separated. I
haven't seen him since.'
She looked sad. Her eyes began to fill with tears again. She began to sob.
'I didn't know what to do, I felt so lost and so alone. And I knew that no one would
believe I was a cat while I was in that kind of condition. I can't understand why I didn't
loose the baby. Somehow I managed to survive on scraps until she was born. I licked her
clean and then left her on the steps of an orphanage, with a note giving her name. I
managed to befriend the kitchen staff there, but I only stayed there for a couple of weeks
before they sent me to a cat shelter. I was luckily picked up by a young wizard who took
me home. When he left home they left me at the Magical Menagerie. I was there for ages,
but it was long enough to see the paper, which explained that Sirius had broken out of
Azkaban. I was curious to know why Sirius was in Azkaban, when it should have been
Peter. Then it all dawned on me, you thought that Sirius had been our Secret Keeper
Albus. Then I saw the three of them walk into the store. I saw Peter on Ron's neck. I
jumped for two reasons, one I was surprised to see Harry, so much larger than I imagined
him and so much more like James than I imagined and I wanted to kill Peter. I was
ecstatic when you choose me as your pet Hermione; it meant I could be close to my son
and his friends. I knew it would only be time before Sirius was cleared and I hoped that
that would bring Chrys in contact with Harry and hopefully with Hermione. It was more
than I could dream for you to be teaching here. I kept trying to get you to see, I guess I've
got that map to thank for it.'
'That doesn't quite answer my questions Lily, but I'll let you off this time,' Chrys said
somewhat in jest.
The two women looked overjoyed to see each other again. They were weeping in each
other's arms.


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Harry was trying to put things straight.
'My dad's alive and I have a sister?' he asked. 'Is that right?' Harry was in shock.
'Well, James was alive sixteen years ago,' Lily said. 'And yes, you have a sister. Her
name is Rose. After me I guess, but that's what we were going to call you if you were a
girl. I'm Lily Rose, so I called her Rose Lily. Like you're Harry James.'
'Rose Lily?' Hermione asked. 'Harry, that's Ginny's friend.'
'Are you sure?' Harry asked.
Everyone else in the room was staring at them.
'Do you mean Miss Heaney?' Dumbledore asked her.
'Yes.'
'Hang on,' Lily said. 'Who are you talking about? How old is she?'
'Miss Heaney is a fifth year,' Sirius said. 'She'd be fifteen, perhaps sixteen now. Come to
think of it she looks like you Lily, except with dark hair.'
'Can I see her?'
'Patience my dear Lily,' Dumbledore said. 'We need to verify this. I will ask Minerva to
talk to her. We will undertake the necessary investigations, and then if she is your child
you can meet her then. I don't want to get anyone's hopes up.'
'I understand Dumbledore, but you understand where I'm coming from don't you?' she
asked.
'Of course my dear, I shall arrange it immediately.'
'Hang on,' Sirius said. 'Lily would be the perfect Secret Keeper for Harry and Hermione.
Think about it, no one knows she's alive, except us.'
'Wait a minute,' Harry said. 'I'm not going into hiding. Not if this charm works. Not
complete hiding. I will have to face Voldemort eventually. I know this. I'm not afraid
anymore.'
'Perhaps you should go into partial hiding Harry,' Dumbledore said. 'After all, this only
works once in a lifetime.'
'I want to play Quidditch,' he said strongly. 'I'm not going to be scared. I don't want to
hide. If the spell is cast and someone kills me, then I promise I will go into complete
hiding.'
'Fine Harry,' Sirius said. 'That's probably a good idea. Keep up a profile, so they don't
seek out your Secret Keeper.'
'Mum, will you do it?' Harry looked at his mother.


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'I've already given my life for you once Harry,' she said softly. 'I'd do it again any day.'
'I shall go and see to Miss Heaney,' Dumbledore said. 'Sirius, Chrystal, Hermione,
perhaps you have wedding plans to discuss.'
They got the hint and left Harry and Lily in Sirius and Chrystal's sitting room. There was
a somewhat awkward silence.
'I don't know what to say,' Harry confessed. 'I've once thought that Dad was still alive,
really truly, I thought I was saw him, but I've never dreamed you were alive.'
'I know it's hard to believe Harry,' she said. 'It's true though. And I won't leave you again,
if I can at all help it. So how did my sister treat you?'
'Varyingly,' Harry replied. 'Better since Dudley had a go at her for mistreating me. I think
she misses you.'
'I find that difficult to believe Harry. Actually I have a confession to make to you. When I
found out you were living with Petunia, I went and cast a charm on her and Dudley. It's a
charm that can wipe a persons memory. I went a wiped all her memories of me after I
went to Hogwarts. All she could remember was the time we spent together as children.
Of course she would remember that I was a witch, she just would be unable to recall her
feelings. I also cast a charm on Dudley to make him rebel more against his parents, just to
get back at her. I guess it did you a favour then Harry.'
She had a big smile on her face. She was beautiful.
Harry didn't bother to try and hide the surprise on his face.
'Petunia misses the little girl I was; she does not miss the witch. To be truthful Chrystal is
more my sister than Petunia. I am deeply sorry you had to live with her. That was never
intended. We thought that if anything happened you would go and live with Sirius, and I
privately hoped Chrystal as well. I guess my wish has eventually come true. I'm very
happy that they've finally seemed to work things out.'
'I think she's got a lot to tell you,' he said.
'I think you've got more,' she replied. 'Tell me everything Harry; I've got plenty of time.'
So the two sat, Harry told her his life story, Lily told him hers. Mother and son had been
reunited at last.
*~*
Rose had been quite disturbed when McGonagall summoned her to her office, so
disturbed that she took Ron with her. She hadn't done anything wrong and exams were
over. It was unlikely that she would have failed anything. She knew something must be
very wrong. McGonagall did not look impressed. And Snape was there. That was
extremely disconcerting. Rose had a hunch.
'It's about my parent's isn't,' Rose whispered. 'Just tell me straight, are they dead?'


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McGonagall looked surprised.
'I know they're not my real parents, but they're all I've got,' she said.
'Let me assure you Rose that as far as we know they are fine,' McGonagall said. 'I just
wanted to ask you some questions. They're not your real parents?'
'I don't know anything about my parents,' she said softly. 'I was left on the steps of an
orphanage when I was a baby, with a letter saying that my name was Rose. I know this
because I wanted to find my real parents, usually there's a record of names you see, but
for me there were none. They managed to find someone to adopt me quickly. My parents
had been trying to have a baby for years; they went away on holiday for a year and came
back with me. They told everyone Mum was pregnant when they left, and then they went
to orphanages trying to find a two month old baby. They found me and I've been so
lucky. They've never been anything but honest with me, I knew they weren't my real
parents, but the family never did. Why do you want to know this Professor?'
'We may have found your mother, but we don't want to get your hopes up. She's a witch
who has been trapped as an Animagus for years. I will explain more at a later date. We
need to run a few quick tests, for which all we need is a strand of hair. Do you want to do
this Rose?'
She nodded hesitantly.
McGonagall took a stand of hair and handed it to Snape. They headed towards Snape's
office, where they would perform the test.
Rose and Ron were left in the room alone. Tears streaked her freckled face.
'I'm sorry Ron,' she said. 'You can't understand what this means to me. I've wanted to
know why, my entire life.'
'It's okay, I understand,' Ron whispered softly. 'I couldn't imagine what it would be like
not to have my parents, as much as I complain about them, I'd miss them horribly.'
'How can you be trapped as an Animagus?' Rose asked. 'I thought that you were in
control of the transformation.'
'Harry found a charm that you can perform on someone who is an Animagus,' he said. 'It's
really a counter-curse to Avada Kedavra. In a later version of that book you had. Why did
you have that book in the first place anyway?'
At this point Rose froze, but Ron kept explaining.
'The charm works once in someone's life in a way that if they are cursed with the Avada
Kedavra Curse, they will look as though they're dead and then transform into their
Animagus form later. They then cannot take human form until someone forces them to
reveal themselves. We thought Harry's dad may have used the charm, but we don't know
what he looks like in his Animagus form, so we can't really find him, if he's alive.'



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'Who do you think my mum is?'
Ron looked at her closely. They'd been together since just Easter, but he had never just
stared at her for hours.
'Well, lets see sweetie; your hair is dark brown with a touch of red in it, so perhaps you're
related to us! Nup, there were no witch Animagi in my family that I know of. You have
the most gorgeous eyes I've ever seen, so bright and electric. Honestly I don't know.'
'It's just that I've wanted this for so long, and now that there's finally a chance, I'm
scared.'
'It's okay,' Ron whispered. 'I'll still be here no matter what. They just better not be a
Weasley because that would be terrible. I wouldn't be able to do this...'
He leant over and kissed her.
'We can't stop that can we now?'
Rose shook her head.
'You better not Ron Weasley, or you'll be in a lot of trouble,' she said with a grin on her
face.
At that moment McGonagall walked back into the room.
'Well?' asked Rose.
'She is your mother, it would seem,' McGonagall said. 'I'll take you up to her. You may as
well come too Mr Weasley. That is if Miss Heaney will permit it.'
Rose shook as she tried to stand up. Ron was very supportive as they walked up the
stairs.
*~*
Dumbledore had entered the room and told them that the test had revealed that Rose was
Lily's daughter.
Harry was stunned. Since the first time he'd found out that his mum had been pregnant,
he'd wondered what it would have been like growing up as a family. Whilst he would
never know that, he would at least get to know his family or most of it anyway.
The door opened. Harry saw McGonagall open it. From the look on her face Harry was
sure that Dumbledore had not told her who the potential mother was.
'Lily,' she cried in absolute shock.
Harry saw Rose standing behind her. She was looking in disbelief.
'Lily Potter,' she managed to stutter. 'But how?'



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'Lily, this is Rose, Rose this is Lily,' Dumbledore said.
Lily awkwardly hugged her daughter.'I'm so sorry Rose,' she said. 'I never wanted to
abandon you; I just didn't have a choice.'Harry went over and hugged them both.Sirius,
Chrystal and Hermione had entered the room.To everyone in the room, the fact that they
were a family was indisputable once you looked at them together. It was just that no one
had ever done just that. Or had ever thought to.Harry spied Ron in the corner. He had to
do something to break the ice.'Hey Ron,' he called out. 'If you ever hurt my sister, I'll kill
you. I won't even need my wand. I'll do it with my bare hands.'It seemed to break the
tension in the air. Harry's comment sounded very much like the one that Ron had made to
Malfoy.'The time of The Covenant is near,' Dumbledore said. 'I can feel the goblet calling
me. The names will be revealed tonight. You may attend, all of you in this room,
however I will warn you that if you are not selected the goblet will memory charm you
immediately. I will be bringing the goblet to the Great Hall at midnight. Until then Sirius,
I suggest you try and find James Potter. If he is still alive, he will be of some use to us. I
would suggest starting in the woods surrounding St Mungos. As to everyone else, speak
nothing of what had unfolded today. Ron and Hermione, I suggest you wait next door for
the Potter's to become reacquainted.'Everyone left, leaving Lily, Harry and Rose
alone.Gradually the awkwardness was overcome, as the three got to know each other,
again.

Chapter Twenty Nine
The Covenant
Later when Harry, Ron, Hermione and Rose had made it back to the common room,
Harry had still not been able to work it out.
'What's all this goblet stuff Hermione?' he asked his face showing his utter bewilderment.
'I'm about as clueless as you Harry,' she replied. 'But Lavender seemed to know
something about it. Can you remember the words of The Prophecy?'
'You bet,' Harry replied. 'Ever since I've heard them I can't get it out of my head.' He
closed his eyes and began to recite them.
'Slytherin the founder shrewd,
Fell out with all the others
His Heir would rise above the rest
And scare all under covers,
But he would fall upon the hand
Of a small baby fair,
The baby a young lion be
And also be an Heir.


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The world would celebrate the fall
Think that evil now was gone
But they were all deluded
As the boy in glory shone
The Dark Lord much more powerful,
Then the lion's slender frame
The Dark Lord would arise again
His supporters hide in shame.
The Heir of Slytherin has returned again,
More powerful than ever,
But who is there to face him now,
When most around him quiver.
The time will come for three to stand
To match the Dark Lord's power
But whom they are not one soul knows
In this earth's darkest hour.
The Heirs must rise to match his power,
This much had been made clear,
But how to find the Heirs right now
They are surprisingly near.
A perfect triangle is that which
The founder's Heirs will form
A triangle that equals that
Of the ancestors we mourn.
A lion, Gryffindor's Heir will be,
The youngest of the lot,
Courage and nobility



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Afraid the boy is not.
Hufflepuff's Heir, sweet and fair,
A young Seer she will be.
Faithful and loyal though,
There's far more we don't see.
And finally the beauty Ravenclaw,
Like her ancestor she tries
To seek knowledge and truthfulness
As though the air she flies.
But who will fall we cannot see
The path taken is not clear,
And how to find those to face the snake
They are those who are so dear.
The Covenant will then be formed
When all the Heirs are found.
The triangle will members be,
Of the table, large and round.
The Covenant will stand for good
Its members proud and true
Will be the special chosen ones
That will the Prophecy fulfil.'
'Wow,' Ron replied. Harry remembered that Ron and Rose had not heard the words of the
Prophecy in full before.
'That's it,' Hermione interrupted Ron's babbling. 'The Covenant. It's mentioned in
Arithmancy and the Founders. I'll just go and look it up.'
Ron rolled his eyes at Hermione as she raced upstairs to retrieve the book. She came back
with the page opened for all to see.

The Formation of The Covenant.



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Although there were times when the founders did not see eye to eye, they were all
adamant that wizards and witches alike should combine together on the fight against evil.
Salazar Slytherin himself had heard the Prophecy which predicted that his Heir would
rise and reap havoc among the Wizarding and Muggle worlds alike. Salazar, whilst being
prejudiced about the student selection, did not want his Heir to destroy the Wizarding
world he loved so much, just rid it of Muggle-borns. So he approached the other founders
about forming a covenant that would enable the members to rise above his Heir.
Despite the demanding magic it takes to form a covenant such as this, the other founders
quickly agreed, because they, like Slytherin did not want to see the Wizarding world
destroyed.
What incarnation was used to form this covenant is unknown; however it is known that it
is old and long standing magic. A goblet was left to choose those worthy of serving. It has
been handed down from Hogwarts headmaster to headmaster, lying dormant and silent.
When the time comes it will begin to slowly warm up, until it spurts flames and reveals
those to serve.
Hermione shut the book there.
It was sufficient for them to read that much then. Harry felt his head pound. They did not
need to know anymore tonight, nor did they have an inclination to. There was a sinking
feeling in the room.
*~*
Harry, Ron, Rose and Hermione hesitantly made their way towards the Great Hall at half
past eleven. They had only heard little of The Covenant, but they knew that a covenant
was a serious binding magical contract, if they were selected, then they must serve, they
would serve and they would die defending the things that The Covenant stood for. They
knew that Harry was a part of it, and if what Lavender had said earlier was true, then
there were others they knew involved. They didn't take her words too seriously however,
as Lavender had been groggy and exhausted at the time.
They entered the Great Hall quietly. Snape was there with Dumbledore, the goblet having
being placed on the staff table. Dumbledore motioned that they should sit at the table.
Gingerly they made their way. They were the first to take their seats. By the look on
Snape's face when he saw Rose there Harry figured that Snape hadn't been told about that
afternoon's events, which in Harry's eyes was a good thing, because since he'd found out
about his mum and Snape's fling, he didn't really want to think about what Snape would
do if Lily was still alive.
Harry stared at the goblet. It was quite different from the goblet of fire that he had seen in
his fourth year. It was wooden and had a strange writing carved in it.
We make this Covenant to serve the way of the light.
The founding members give a drop of their blood to the goblet so that it may choose those
who are worthy of the task to fight for goodness and the way of the light.


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SRHG.
Soon they were joined by Chrystal and Crookshanks/Lily, in her cat form. Dumbledore
saw Lily and spoke.
'My dear, you may as well transform,' he said to her.
She shook her head.
'She will transform later,' Chrystal spoke on her behalf. Snape looked very curious to see
whom the cat was, as Remus Lupin walked in the door.
'Is there going to be a large number of memory charms performed tonight, Dumbledore?'
Snape growled. 'Or will this just be a pack on imbeciles?'
'I believe you don't know the origination of the Covenant then Severus, if that is your
attitude,' Dumbledore said. Snape shut his mouth very quickly. 'You will understand after
tonight, I believe.'
Harry glanced at his watch. It was almost midnight and Sirius hadn't returned yet. Harry
knew this meant he hadn't found his dad yet. Harry's heart sunk. It was almost futile;
Harry figured that his father was probably mounted on the wall of some hunter by now. A
stag was perhaps not the most sensible animal to be if you were going to roam the woods
for sixteen years.
Draco and Ginny appeared hand in hand, both looking solemn and despondent. Harry had
never seen either of them look so down. He wondered if they knew or suspected the
reason that they had been summoned. Given that none of the four Gryffindor's who had
been in the room at the time had said anything, he figured that they probably didn't.
Finally Sirius walked in the room. Alone. Harry's heart sunk even further.
Harry watched him take his seat next to Chrystal, Harry observed a space between his
mum and Sirius. He figured that it must be his dad's place.
Harry wondered what the significance of the seating was. He had felt drawn to his seat. If
he looked across the table there was Remus, Snape, Dumbledore, Lily, a space, Sirius and
Chrystal. On his side there was Draco, Ginny, Hermione, Harry, Ron and Rose. Harry
was probably imaging it. There was probably no significance, he was probably just being
overly cautious.
'Well,' said Dumbledore. 'There are enough of us now, shall we begin?'
Everyone nodded the room was silent. The lights were extinguished and Lily
transformed. The goblet began to glow; unlike the Goblet of Fire the flames of this goblet
were different. They were bright orange. The silence was deathly still.
Then the goblet revealed its secret. Harry almost jumped when he heard it speak.
The members of The Covenant are to be revealed. They gave their blood to the goblet, so
that those worthy to serve could be chosen. The chosen ones would strive to correct the


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wrongs in the world. The Covenant could only be broken by the death of one of the
members. Today I shall reveal them. All members of the Covenant are skilled in fighting
the Dark Arts.
Those in the room became immersed in the words of the goblet, revealing the names of
those worthy to serve.
The room remained dark as the flame extinguished itself once it had finished speaking.
There was silence in the room. Then a voice was heard. It sounded like Snape.
'This is ridiculous,' he said. 'Lily and James Potter are dead; there is no Rose Potter either.
And what are we supposed to do with this information.'
Dumbledore chuckled. Then another voice was heard.
'No we're not Severus,' it said. 'If we were dead we would not have been selected for The
Covenant. This gives me hope. It means that it's possible James is still alive.'
The darkness lifted at that moment and the look of shock on both Snape and Lupin's faces
was a moment Harry knew he would never ever forget.
'Lily?' they both said in unison.
She smiled at them.
'Surprise!'
Harry saw Snape ogling his mother.
Guess I've got some things to get used to.
*~*
The Valedictory Ball is held at Hogwarts once a year on the evening that the N.E.W.T
results are published. It's not really a ball, but a dinner attended by the staff, current sixth
and seventh years, and the parents of the seventh years, who are finishing their schooling
life at Hogwarts. It is held in The Great Hall and usually coincides with the day that
everyone else at Hogwarts finishes their exams.
Harry was taking Hermione, Ron was taking Rose and Malfoy was taking Ginny. Ron
had commented that it looked like three Quidditch stars and their girlfriends, but
Hermione had given him a very deadly stare that he was quick to be quiet.
As the occasion called for dress robes, Harry and Ron spent a fair bit of time getting
ready. Neville came up and joined them.
'Can you believe that we're finished seven years?' he said.
Ron shook his head, as Harry looked over their dorm. Many things had happened in this
room, it would be sad to leave it behind, but Harry did know that it would be occupied by
some first years next year, for the next seven years.


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Finally he replied.
'Can you believe that you and Natalie are together?' he asked Neville, teasing him about
the fourth year Chaser. Neville shook his head in reply.
The five Gryffindor men made their way down to the common room where their dates
were waiting for them.
Harry stared at Hermione. She never ceased to amaze him. She was so beautiful. He took
her arm.
'Shall we go?' Harry asked the others.
They made their way down to the Great Hall.
The only difference in the Great Hall for this dinner was that the long tables were
replaced with round tables. The simplicity of the set up was what made the dinner
elegant. As Head Boy and Girl, Harry knew he and Hermione would be sitting at a table
close to the front of the room. He led Hermione towards the table, when she called out.
She had spied her parents. Harry had never met Hermione's parents before, so a bundle of
nerves began to form in his stomach. He wondered whether or not they would like him,
he wondered what they would think of him. He hoped he lived up to their expectations.
Hermione led him over to her parents.
'Mum, Dad, this is Harry Potter,' she said. 'These are my parents Harry, Dr and Dr
Granger.' There was a hint of laughter in her voice.
'Hello, Harry,' Hermione's mother said. 'It's lovely to meet you after all these years;
Hermione's told us so much about you.'
Harry returned the sentiment wondering how much Hermione had actually told her
parents about him.
Chrystal and Sirius made their way over towards the Grangers, just as Mr and Mrs
Weasley spied them.
'This is going to get interesting,' Harry thought.
The dinner itself was uneventful, as Harry suspected it would be. The food was delicious
and Harry nearly gagged at the thought of having to eat food that he and Hermione had
prepared themselves. He was an okay cook from the training the Dursley's had given him,
but he realised that he didn't know whether or not Hermione could cook. As he
contemplated this thought, the owls came soaring through the doors.
Results.
An owl dropped the letter into Harry's lap. He was feeling nervous, even though he had
realised that it really wouldn't have too much of an effect on his future given that he had
already been drafted. Yet he couldn't help but shake as he opened the envelope.



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Mr Harry Potter
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests
Results
Transfiguration Advanced Credit
Potions Advanced Credit
Defence Against the Dark Arts Advanced Credit
Charms Advanced Credit
History of Magic Advanced Credit
Herbology Standard Credit
Astronomy Standard Credit
Electives
Divination Standard Credit
Care of Magical Creatures Advanced Credit
Well that was certainly not any worse than he was expecting. Harry looked up toward
Hermione, who had a large grin on her face.
'Let me guess Hermione,' Harry said. 'Was it ten A's?'
She nodded. Her parents hugged her overwhelmingly. Harry whispered congratulations
and then left her parents to celebrate with her.
'What about you Ron?' he said.
'Well you know Divination,' he said. The two of them laughed. 'Five and four. That's
acceptable. I think Mum'll deal with that.'
Indeed she could. Mrs Weasley was absolutely beaming with pride.
'So what about you Harry?' Ron was waiting somewhat impatiently for Harry to share his
results.
'Six As and Three Ss,' he said. 'I think I owe at least two A's to Hermione. I can't believe
Binns gave me an A! Now all I have to worry about is the Quidditch Draft!'
So he bent over and kissed her gently on the lips. Hermione's parents looked at her
somewhat questioningly, but she just smiled at them with an 'I'll explain later' look.
Had she told them about the two of them going into partial hiding? How much did they


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really know about her life as a witch?
The dinner continued smoothly. Harry and Hermione gave their reports as Head Boy and
Girl, before Dumbledore addressed the students.
'Before, I say much more let me say I am very proud of all of you. This is an uncertain
time, yet all of you have managed to put your heads down and work hard to achieve your
goals. Many of these students will be taking up places in the Ministry of Magic, heading
into other professional areas, including Quidditch, and every student has received
outstanding results in the circumstances.
The times ahead may be difficult, and I have no doubt that you will be faced with many
challenges and difficult decisions. The staff at Hogwarts will always be there to guide
you.
Now without further ado, I will announce the leaver's prizes. These prizes are awarded
for outstanding achievement in a given area. I will remind those students sitting here that
they are not always awarded.
The Transfiguration award this year goes to Miss Hermione Granger for outstanding
achievement in this area.
The Charms award also goes to Miss Hermione Granger, for achieving charms that no
student has managed to master for many years.'
Hermione stood up carefully and made her way up to the high table to shake
Dumbledore's hand. The students were cheering loudly as she accepted her prizes.
'The Potions award goes to Mr Draco Malfoy for demonstrating a unique ability in this
field.'
Malfoy had a large grin on his face as he made his way up. Harry saw Ginny out of the
corner of his eye, clapping loudly.
'The Defence Against the Dark Arts award is awarded to a student who has shown a
unique ability and determination in this subject, Mr Harry Potter.'
Harry was slightly taken aback. He was surprised that he had received the award; there
were others who possibly would have been a much better option. He stood up and walked
towards Dumbledore as the hall was filled with applause.
'Congratulations Harry,' he whispered as he handed Harry and envelope. Harry quietly
made his way back to his seat.
'The Herbology award is awarded to Mr Neville Longbottom for amazing achievement.'
That was no surprise. Once Neville had actually discovered that he was good at
Herbology, he had achieved amazing results. He had a big smile on his face as he made
his way up to the high table.
'The Astronomy prize this year goes to Mr Terry Boot.'


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A Ravenclaw, no surprise there.
'The Care of Magical Creatures prize in awarded to Mr Ronald Weasley, for an
outstanding demonstration of knowledge and wisdom in this area.'
A big smile came upon Ron's face. He jumped up and almost sprinted to Dumbledore. He
had gotten part of his vision in the Mirror of Erised. Dumbledore congratulating him.
'And now for electives. The Divination award goes to Miss Lavender Brown who will take
up the position as Assistant Divination Professor next year.'
No surprise there. The students were still applauding as loudly as they had been for the
first award.
'The Ancient Runes and Arithmancy prizes are awarded to Miss Hermione Granger for
exceptional ability in this area.'
Hermione made her way up to Dumbledore again, to accept two more awards.
'And finally Quidditch, this award goes to the youngest Quidditch player in a century; Mr
Harry Potter.'
'I nominated you,' Ron whispered into Harry's ear as he stood up.
Once again the crowd applauded as Harry walked up to accept his trophy. Dumbledore
winked at him as he accepted the trophy.
The night was very different to the one the year before. Harry felt happier and more
content than he had in a long time.
Soon the evening was over. Hermione and Ron farewelled their parents, Harry hoping
that he had made a good impression on Hermione's parents. The three headed quietly
back to Gryffindor Tower.
'It's almost over,' Hermione whispered. 'We're no longer children anymore.'
'We haven't been children for a long time Hermione,' Harry replied.
'I know, it's just that leaving Hogwarts is so permanent,' she whispered.
'I know what you mean Hermione,' Ron said. 'I couldn't wait to come here. Then in first
year seven years seemed like such a long time and now it's over and suddenly we have to
be responsible adults.'
'You a responsible adult?' Harry said in surprise. 'Never!'
'I'm going to miss you both you know,' Ron said. 'I'm going to have no idea where you
are. It's going to be so weird.'
They said nothing in reply. None of them knew what challenges the next year would
hold. Whether or not they were ready they couldn't say. Only time would tell.



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Chapter Thirty
The British Quidditch Draft
Harry was extremely nervous. Since he'd put his name in the draft, he hadn't really given
it a thought. He had decided not to accept any offers; given the uncertainty of his
situation and now is Quidditch future was left in the hands of the draft. And given that the
postponed European Cup was to be held at Hogwarts over the summer, Harry's chance to
play in his first International Tournament were on the line.
'Should I go tonight?' Harry asked Chrystal, at afternoon tea, in Sirius and her sitting
room. They had been going over wedding plans yet again. Harry had seen the tartan for
his kilt today and was quite a bit shaken up already. And to make it worse, his mother had
just laughed at him.
'Well, I'm going tonight, to help Catriona McCormack chose the picks for our team. The
Prides did reasonably well, so we don't have many good picks. But we're not looking for
a Seeker anyway! You should go if you feel like sitting in a room of nervous Quidditch
players. Also most of the players will be there or at least those who are starters, so it's
possibly a good idea to go and meet the people you will potentially be playing with.'
'I'm going, now that I'm the only Keeper the Cannon's have,' Ron said. 'But it's also
because Katie and Angelina have managed to convince Fred and George to put their
names in the draft as well. They'll probably get picked up, but whether or not it's by the
same team is still to be seen. The Cannon's don't really want a Seeker, so they won't be
picking you up, Harry. They should though; you'd knock the socks off the one we've got.'
'Aren't Oliver Wood, Cho, Katie and Angelina going to be there tonight Harry?'
Hermione asked.
Harry nodded.
'Perhaps you should go then,' Sirius said. 'Hermione and I will go as your support team.
How's that Harry?'
'Okay, but I'd still prefer to take a Sleeping Draught and be read the verdict in the
morning,' Harry replied.
'Well Rose, Dumbledore and I will be listening to the Wizard Wireless, cheering you on
Harry,' Lily said.
'It will be fine, as long as Malfoy doesn't get picked up before I do,' Harry said. 'That
would be so embarrassing.'
'I still can't believe Malfoy's put his name in the Draft,' Ron said. 'He can't possibly
believe that he can make a career out of playing Quidditch can he?'
'Don't worry Harry,' Chrystal said, 'if it looks like no one's going to pick you up, I'll make
sure the Pride's do, that way you can have some experience, although I doubt you'll get a
game.' She winked at him. 'Then next year we can trade you, but I don't think it will come


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to that.'
'You'd better get ready,' said Lily looking at her watch. 'You've got to apparate, and to do
that you've got to walk to Hogsmeade.'
Harry smiled.
'It's okay Mum, I'll be ready on time,' he said.
'Harry James Potter, you'd better let me mother you,' she replied.
'Yes Mum,' he said.
Harry, Ron and Hermione made their way to get changed into their new robes that they
had bought. They weren't dress robes but they weren't every day ones either. Hermione's
was a pale blue one that matched her eyes. Harry's was dark blue and Ron's was black
with an orange crest on it, but that was because it was a Cannon's robe, which the team
members wore to game events where they were not playing.
They met Chrystal and Sirius in the Entrance Hall. Chrystal was wearing purple robes
that were different to those worn when they had played Quidditch at Sirius' and Sirius
was wearing deep red robes that were totally out of character. Harry did laugh when he
saw Sirius. They made their way towards Hogsmeade, so that they could apparate to the
Museum of Quidditch in London. The Draft, as per usual was being held in the Grand
Ballroom. It was tradition that when a player is selected if they attended then they would
walk over and join their new team.
They apparated into the Entrance Hall of the Museum. Harry and Hermione had never
been there before, but Ron had been there for the Draft the year before. The two of them
were staring at the elegant hall in disbelief.
'Come on you two,' Ron said laughing. 'I'll take you to the ballroom and introduce you to
a few people before thing get underway.'
Ron led them into a room that was even grander than the last one, if that was at all
possible. There were tables set up for each team, with sixteen places at each. Harry
figured that there was one each player, their partner and the coach and partner. In some
cases these were the same people, and in some cases, such as that of Angelina, their
partner was sitting at the draft tables. Harry saw Fred and George having claimed a table;
Ron signalled to them that they would come over later. Harry looked over to the wall and
saw the placing's for the last season.
    Ballycastle Bats
    Pride of Portree
    Wimbourne Wasps
    Puddlemere United
    Appleby Arrows


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   Falmouth Falcons
   Montrose Magpies
   Holyhead Harpies
   Tutshill Tornados
   Kenmare Kestrels
   Wigtown Wanderers
   Caerphilly Catapults
   Chudley Cannons
Looking at the list, Harry had to wonder why the Cannon's hadn't played Ron or Marcus
Flint at all that season. Perhaps they had already given up hope of qualifying for the
European Cup.
At that moment some came up and tapped Harry on the shoulder. He jumped in surprise.
'Cho,' she said in surprise. 'How are you? How are the Wasps treating you?'
'I'm great Harry,' she replied. 'The Wasps are great; I'm really loving it. How are things
for you?'
'Good,' he replied. 'I'm glad you're happy Cho.'
She looked really happy, happier than he had seen her since Cedric had died.
'I'm really glad you chose to play Harry, whoever picks you up is lucky.'
She headed towards The Wasps table where Harry saw her engaging in deep conversation
with a wizard he didn't recognise.
Hermione took Harry over towards the other wall that held the order of the picks.
Priority Pick Chudley Cannons for having won only one game.
   Chudley Cannons
   Caerphilly Catapults
   Wigtown Wanderers
   Kenmare Kestrels
   Tutshill Tornados
   Holyhead Harpies
   Montrose Magpies


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   Falmouth Falcons
   Appleby Arrows
   Puddlemere United
   Wimbourne Wasps
   Pride of Portree
   Ballycastle Bats
Due to the number of candidates in this years draft there will be no less than two rounds
of picks. The Cannons will only receive the priority pick in the first round.
'Well, it looks like you'll be picked up by the Catapults Harry,' Hermione said. 'They're
the first on the list that need a Seeker, remember Chrystal saying that they need a new
Seeker.'
'They're in Wales Hermione,' Harry said.
'Well you were born in Wales weren't you?' Hermione asked.
'I don't actually know,' Harry said. 'I think I was born in Scotland actually. And I guess it
doesn't matter where they are, given that I'll be apparating to practices.'
'Come on Harry, they're starting,' Sirius said as he approached Harry and Hermione. He
had been over with The Prides receiving congratulations for their upcoming wedding.
Harry wondered how many of the team would be coming to the wedding. They would be
seeing him in a kilt after all.
Harry, Hermione and Sirius made their way to the table that Fred and George were sitting
at. Katie was with them, but Angelina was sitting with the Harpies. Harry gave her a
questioning look.
'I'm not a starter, so technically there's not a place for me at the table,' she replied. Katie
played for the Harpies as well. 'I'll go over when George gets chosen, Angelina says I can
sit in Fred's seat.'
Suddenly, a loud voice came over the entire room.
'The British Quidditch Draft will now begin,' said the voice. 'The concessional pick will
be first.' Harry looked up and saw that the voice belonged to a wizard he had never seen
before.
The captain or at least Harry thought so, stood up and spoke.
'For our concesisonal pick we will take Frederick Weasley,' he said. 'And while I'm
standing, for our first round pick we will take George Weasley.'
The Cannon's table applauded as George and Fred made their way over towards the



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Cannon's table. Katie gave Harry a smile and ducked over to the Harpies table.
'The next pick will be the Catapult's first round pick,' the man said.
Harry sat on the edge of his seat in hope.
A man stood up from the Catapult's table.
'We will take Blaise Zabini,' he said.
'They must want a Chaser a lot more than they want a Seeker,' Hermione whispered.
'Because Blaise isn't that good.'
'The next pick will be the Wanderer's,' the man said.
A man with a meat-cleaver on his crest stood up.
'We will take Walter Parkin Junior,' he said.
'There's always been a Parkin on that team, since it began,' Sirius whispered to Harry.
Harry didn't care very much for trivia. He was getting nervous, sitting around waiting.
The Kestrels' were next, they needed a Seeker, but Harry didn't really want to play for
them, given that they were in Ireland, it would be more difficult to apparate there.
The Kestrel's made their pick, a Chaser that Harry had never heard of before, who looked
perhaps about twenty-five.
The Tornados didn't need a Seeker, so he knew there was little chance they'd go after
him. And the Harpies didn't hire men, so that meant the next possible team was the
Magpies. Hamish MacFarlan stood up. Harry knew they were looking for a Seeker.
However, they took a Beater instead.
Next were the Falcons. Harry hoped they didn't pick him up. Even though they needed a
Seeker, Harry didn't want to play for them. Chrystal was right when she had said Harry
wasn't their kind of player.
'We will take Draco Malfoy,' their coach said.
Harry was stunned. Malfoy had been picked up before him. Even though it was The
Falcons, whom Harry didn't want to play for, he couldn't believe Malfoy got picked
before him. He'd never live it down.
'Don't worry Harry,' Sirius whispered. 'They're not worth playing for. Besides the coach
was a friend of Lucius'. They were always going to pick up Draco. It's been a done deal
since about when he began at Hogwarts.'
Harry then remembered that Draco's part in his father's downfall was not publicly known.
The Arrows were next; they only needed a reserve Seeker, so it wasn't their top priority,
and after that was Puddlemere. They only needed a reserve as well.


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'We'll take Harry Potter thank you very much,' their coach said. Harry looked up towards
the table and saw Oliver smiling. He took Hermione's hand and made his way towards
their table where only a few people were seated.
'Welcome to the team Harry,' the man said as he shook Harry's hand. 'I'm Thomas Doyle,
the current coach of the team. Young Wood here speaks very highly of you. I'm very
happy to have you on board after watching you play.'
He handed Harry a navy blue robe with an emblem of two gold crossed bullrushes.
Harry sat down next to Wood. He knew there would be formal introductions following
the rest of the picks.
'You're a starter Harry,' Wood whispered in his ear. 'We lost our Seeker in the accident in
London earlier in the year. Hamish Dalton. It was a shame, but it means we get you! I
managed to convince Doyle you were worth a shot.'
'Thanks,' Harry whispered back.
They waited until the rest of the Draft had finished.
'Everyone, this is Harry Potter, our new Seeker,' Doyle said. 'Harry, you know Wood, this
is Marc Thomas, one of our Beaters, Ebony Fraser, a Chaser and this is Emma Gallagher
another Chaser. You'll meet the rest at Training on Saturday. We're one of the first games
in the European Cup, as we were the last British Team to qualify.'
'They only take the top four from each league,' Wood said. 'We just sneaked in.'
'It'll be a tough road to the finals, but we're confident that we can do fairly well,' Doyle
said. 'Enjoy the meal Harry; training is at 10 am on Saturday, at the Puddlemere ground.
You can apparate to the outside of the grounds. It's good to have another Potter in our
ranks.'
Oliver laughed as he saw the look on Harry's face.
'Glad to have you on the team, Harry,' Wood said. 'There's still a bit you don't know
obviously. I think Doyle'd love to have your dad on the team still. Anyway, it's nice to
have the Seeker that won me the Quidditch Cup in my last year at Hogwarts. We're
bound to do well in the European Cup now.'
'Thanks Oliver,' Harry said. 'I take it my dad played for Puddlemere then.'
'That's right,' Oliver replied.
After he had finished eating, Harry saw Chrystal beckoning him.
'Better go,' he said to Oliver. 'I'm Sirius' Best Man, Hermione's Chrystal Maid of Honour
and I think all those witches are going crazy because their Seeker's finally getting
married. I think I'm obliged to meet them all.'
'Well if you need rescuing, I'll come and save you,' he replied.


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He and Hermione made their way over towards The Pride's table.
'Harry,' Sirius whispered. 'Save me from their clutches, please.'
'Harry, this is the famous Catriona McCormack,' Chrystal said. 'This is Harry Potter,
Sirius' godson.'
'Nice to meet you Harry,' she said. 'If your half as good a player as your father, you're
going to make an impact. I can't wait until we play you. I'm fairly sure we'll come up
against you in the cup. Haven't got the draw yet though, they're cutting it a bit fine if you
ask me.'
Given that Harry didn't understand all the politics of Quidditch, he just nodded and
smiled. He'd have to ask someone to explain it later.
Harry, Hermione and Sirius played the niceties that were required, before excusing
themselves and sneaking away to the Cannons table, where Ron was ecstatic that his
brothers had finally joined the ranks. He hadn't had a chance to speak to Harry since he'd
been picked up.
'Fred and George, Harry,' he yelled. 'We've just got to place better next year now!
Congrats Harry, I can't believe you're going to get to play in the European Cup. Isn't it
amazing? Did Wood tell them to draft you?'
'Hang on Ron,' Harry tried to answer all of Ron's questions in one sentence. 'I think Wood
told them to draft me and I can't believe I'm going to get to play. And for my dad's old
team too.'
The excitement had dropped from his voice with the last sentence.
His dad. The Covenant had spoken. His dad was alive somewhere, somehow. No one
knew where he was, that he was even alive. It wasn't exactly something you just blurted
out. Would his dad be proud to watch him play? Would he be disappointed that he was a
Seeker and not a Chaser? Could his dad still play? Knowing his dad was alive and alone
was almost worse than him being dead.
Ron could obviously sense what was wrong.
'We'll find him Harry,' he said.
'We don't even know what he looks like,' Harry remarked somewhat bitterly. 'How can
we find him? It's not like we can try and transform any deer we come across.'
In that room that was full of buzzing and excitement, there was silence between the three
of them. There was absolutely nothing that could be said between the three of them. They
all knew it to true. It would be almost impossible to find him.
'Come on Harry let's go,' Hermione said softly. 'I'm sure your mum and Rose would like
to celebrate a little.'
'Yeah,' Harry said slowly. The three farewelled almost everyone they could find before


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they apparated back to Hogsmeade village. They walked silently to the castle before
making their way up to the room in the staff quarters that Lily was staying in.
The moment she saw Harry her face lit up.
'Congratulations Harry,' she said with a smile on her face. 'Puddlemere, it's perfect. Your
father would be proud.'
She had said the wrong thing but Harry didn't mind as she hugged him tightly. The
awkwardness was slowly disappearing between them but it both knew it would take some
time.
'I just hope I can live up to my reputation,' Harry said.
'You will Harry,' she said. 'You have no idea how proud I am of the man you've become.'
It was strange the way neither of them had mentioned what had gone on in Gryffindor
Tower that Christmas. Harry figured she must have seen something, and he couldn't help
but notice that Hermione was quite a bit uncomfortable around the person who used to be
her cat.

Chapter Thirty One
The Wedding
Harry was standing in Sirius' house in his kilt. It was clearly obvious that Chrystal had
planned the wedding. It was highly probable that she had been planning it since the age
of two. He looked at the socks that were laid on his bed.
Do I really have to wear these?
Harry looked at his legs. Well if Sirius was going to wear them, he figured he could give
it a shot. He pulled on the socks gingerly. Then he glanced at his reflection. He could see
a grown man wearing a skirt.
They didn't look too bad. They didn't look too good either.
Sirius walked in the door. He gazed at Harry with a smile on his face.
Sirius' family tartan was green, navy and white, the tartan of the Lamont Clan. It didn't
look too bad on either of them; it was just unusual to see the both of them in kilts. Harry
almost had to stifle a giggle as Sirius entered the room.
'Now Harry,' Sirius said. 'I hope for your sake there's no big gust of wind.'
'Actually,' said Harry. 'I hope for the people who are coming's sake there's no big gust of
wind!'
Sirius laughed although he looked visibly nervous.
'Okay, are we ready to go?' he asked Harry.



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'I guess so,' he replied. 'We apparating?'
'Yes,' Sirius replied.
The wedding was being held at Dunvegan Castle, Chrystal's ancestral home and the place
where she had grown up. The ancestral home of the MacLeod Clan. It was on the Isle of
Skye and hence was a fair way from Padfoot's Manor in Wales. Harry almost hoped that
he lost his socks or something while apparating, just not his kilt. He could just see
everyone laughing at him in that outfit.
They walked outside; Sirius explained to Harry in detail the location of Dunvegan Castle
and then they disapparated. Harry concentrated hard.
22 miles to the west of Portree on the Isle of Skye. A mile north of the village of
Dunvegan.
He closed his eyes tight, felt a tingling as he apparated and opened his eyes with relief
when he felt his feet on the ground.
Harry stood in amazement as he saw the castle before him. It was amazing. He was faced
by a grand castle on the top of the hill by the shores of Loch Dunvegan. The castle was
bound on three sides by rocky cliffs; grand and impressive Harry had never seen anything
like it before.
'Chrystal's family lives here?' Harry asked in amazement. 'How do you get in?'
Harry looked around for the entrance to the castle.
'Surprised Harry?' Sirius asked. 'The entrance is over there.' Sirius pointed towards a sea
bridge that faced the Loch. Then Sirius saw Harry gazing up at the flag. 'The fairy flag is
almost folk legend in Scotland, Harry. Dunvegan Castle has a strong association with
fairies. Legend states that a member of the MacLeod clan married a fairy and the couple
lived happily together for a long time. Over the years the man aged but the fairy didn't
and eventually it became time for her to return to her kind. They said their farewells at
the Fairy Bridge. That's it over there.' Sirius pointed to a bridge. 'To get into the castle
you must cross the Fairy Bridge, which Muggles have thought has supernatural
connections. They thought that the bridge had powers and Muggles were frightened of
the castle. That was the way the resident wizards could keep the Muggles away. Muggles
said that a horse could not be ridden or led across the bridge without losing control. It
was in fact charms that prevented entry. When she left, the fairy gave her husband a flag
that would grant the MacLeods three wishes. That's the flag you see flying up there
Harry. It dates back to the 7th Century, and apparently has miraculous powers. Now
whether or not the fairy story is true Harry, I don't know; you'd have to ask Chrys. But,
twice the power of the Flag has been used, once in 1490 at the battle of Glendale and the
second time in 1580 at Trumpan. Both times they were triumphant. It would be very
dangerous, I think, to let Chrystal near that flag.' He winked at Harry. 'We have a bit of
time, so why don't I take you in and we can have a look around part of the castle and I'll
try and find Chrystal's dad. I'm sure we'll be shooed away from any part of the castle she's
in.'


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They made their way up the path that led to the castle. They entered and felt the cool
breeze that was running through the castle. It was a relief after the hot sun. Harry hoped
that the garden where they were to be married would be cooler than the rock cliffs.
Inside there are family portraits galore of people that Harry had never even glanced
before. They all looked like important people and greeted Harry in a somewhat manner.
The rooms they passed were filled with antique furniture, books, trophies and weapons.
Sirius guided him into a room. He pointed to a frame on the wall that held a lock of hair
encased in glass.
'So?' Harry asked Sirius, raising his eyes. It was just a lock of hair.
'It's a lock of Bonnie Prince Charlie's hair,' he said with a laugh. 'They'll hold onto
anything, the Scots. Ah, here's the man we're searching for. Hello, Alasdair.'
Harry looked behind him to see a man standing there. He was an older man, perhaps in
his late fifties. His hair was grey, with white specks. His face was friendly, a big smile
greeting him. He also was wearing a tartan kilt and Harry felt much more comfortable
about wearing a kilt after seeing this man. The tartan he was wearing was different to the
ones Harry and Sirius were wearing. This one was yellow with black and thin red stripes.
Harry was secretly relieved that he didn't have to wear that one.
He must be Chrystal's father.
'Harry this is Alasdair MacLeod, Alasdair this is Harry Potter,' Sirius said, making the
introductions. 'Harry, Alasdair is Chrystal's father.'
'Hello Harry,' he said, extending his hand to Harry's. 'I'm pleased to meet you.
Sirius, it's time to stop the tour and head down towards the gardens.'
'Nice to meet you too Mr MacLeod,' he replied as Alasdair MacLeod led them down
towards the cascading waterfall through the castle gardens. They walked past shimmering
pools and burns, each time Harry thinking that they had reached the place and then they
would continue walking.
They finally reached the waterfall, after passing many pools of water and formal gardens.
Harry saw the reminiscing look on Sirius' face as he peered at the waterfall. He looked
like he was lost in a moment.
'What is it Sirius?' he asked softly.
'I'm just remembering Harry,' he said. 'It was here that Chrys first told me that she loved
me. It's amusing that she chooses here to get married after what happened then.'
'What did happen?' Harry asked curiously, interested to know how his godfather had
reacted.
'I pushed her in the water,' he replied, with a self-righteous look on his face. 'I might just
have to do that today as well.' He winked at Harry.


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Looking over his shoulders, he saw Alasdair MacLeod leading more people.
'Why's his last name different to Chrystal's?' Harry whispered softly.
'Not sure,' Sirius replied. 'Àille's Chrystal's mother's surname. But it means beauty in
Gaelic. Alasdair thought her eyes were like a beautiful crystal, so that's what he called
her.'
Even more people had made their way down by now. There were many people there,
some that Harry recognised, like the members of The Prides and some people Harry had
never seen before. Some people were wearing kilts; the others were wearing dress robes.
There certainly was a splash of colour amongst the green garden. There didn't appear to
be a Muggle in sight. Sirius began to pace.
'Are you nervous?' Harry asked him.
'Should I be?' Sirius replied.
'I would be, if I were you,' Harry answered.
'Perhaps slightly,' Sirius said.
Harry knew this was a lie. His hands were shaking. He was very nervous. In fact Harry
couldn't really remember seeing Sirius this nervous before.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Maddie and Alec. Alec too was wearing a kilt, the
red and black one that he knew Troy would be wearing. That must be the MacLachlan
tartan. He hoped he could get his head around all of them.
'Don't be nervous Sirius,' Maddie said as she came up and hugged her brother. 'You're
doing the right thing Sirius.'
Alec was looking up in the air, as he turned.
'That's my signal Sirius,' he said. 'No doubt your bride will arrive soon.' Alec made his
way to the back of the clearing where he picked up some bagpipes and began piping.
The things you learn about people.
As the piping became louder, Harry felt a huge gust of wind and looked up in the air to
see flying horses descend upon them. He quickly spied Leigha holding the reigns. The
horses were pulling a carriage like chariot behind them, and everyone could see the bride
and her attendants.
Kaylah was the first to step off the carriage, in her light sapphire coloured dress. Kaylah
had apparently wanted to wear pink and had thrown a tantrum until Chrystal had
threatened that she couldn't be involved at all. That had quietened her down. Troy
accompanied her, in a smaller version of what Alec was wearing. He was carrying a
tartan cushion, with the two rings and a piece of ribbon lain on top.
Hermione was the nest to walk towards them. She was wearing a more adult version of


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what Kaylah was wearing. The way the sun shone behind her made Harry gaze in awe.
She was the most beautiful thing Harry had ever seen.
Finally Chrystal made her way towards them. Harry knew that the white medieval gown
with gold trimming had been handed down to each of the Àille brides for many years.
The soft material flowed in the air as she mad her way to Sirius, who was still shaking.
The ceremony itself was short and simple, yet at the same time very elegant and Chrystal-
like.
Alasdair gave Chrystal away, making a remark about how it was about time she found
herself a husband. Sirius and Chrystal exchanged vows and exchanged the Celtic
wedding rings that had belonged to Sirius' grandparents. Then after the exchanging of the
rings Sirius picked up the ribbon that was lying on the tartan cushion. Harry sincerely
wondered what was happening with that as he noticed that it matched the tartan of Sirius'
kilt. Sirius pinned the ribbon to Chrystal's gown.
'Welcome to Clan Lamont,' he said as the Scottish witches and wizards applauded.
Sirius was then allowed to kiss his bride and Harry had never seen Sirius do something
with quite as much passion before. It embarrassed a few of the older guests.
As they went to sign the register Harry began to hear singing. He couldn't see the
musician. Looking around he could tell that nobody else knew where it was coming from
either, people were confused by the melody that was echoing in their ears. Suddenly
however he realised who it was. He had heard the voice before. In his dreams. His mum.
Harry had heard her sing before and he remembered it. He glanced at Sirus who gave him
a knowing look. He had lent her his Invisibility Cloak so that she could attend the
wedding in her human form, he didn't realise she was singing. Tears came to his eyes as
he heard the melody in the quiet surroundings yet it gave him a strange sense of comfort.
When the singing ended, Alec began piping again as the bridal party were led up to the
castle by Alasdair, with the guests following. They reached the sea gate where Alasdair
cut a huge white ribbon with his wand and turned to his daughter and said;
'I am setting you free, she's your problem now Sirius!'
As everyone arrived back at Dunvegan castle it was time for photos. Harry now realised
what Fred and George had meant when they had made remarks about posing for photos at
Percy's wedding. After what seemed like hours, and after everyone had gone inside they
posed for their final photo, for which Lily removed the Invisibility Cloak and the Potters
minus James posed for a photo with the bride and groom.
They were led into the ballroom of Dunvegan castle, by Alasdair following the photos.
Immediately, as they entered, food appeared on their plates and the feasting began. Harry
immediately dug in, knowing that it would probably be the last decent meal that he and
Hermione ate for a while. Again Harry reflected on his ability to survive in a world of
seclusion with only limited access to advice and counsel. It wasn't as if he had a real
choice, but Hermione did. And he didn't want to be responsible for holding her back.


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Harry felt an elbow in his arm. It was Sirius staring at the dazed look on his face.
'Not enjoying yourself Harry?' Sirius asked.
'I'm sorry,' Harry replied. 'I guess I just became lost in thought.'
'Try not to think about it tonight,' Sirius replied. 'After the speeches let yourself get
immersed in the dancing and then you'll have plenty of time to think. Have a good time
for me, and for your dad, he would've enjoyed it too.'
Harry was determined to enjoy himself after that and didn't let his thoughts wander.
After the meal, it was time for the speeches. They were quite entertaining, with numerous
references to the ex-con - Auror alliance, which many people found entertaining.
Additionally there were many Quidditch references, for which Harry was thankful that he
understood. What he didn't understand though were all their Marauder references,
especially the ones made by both Remus and Sirius in their speeches. There were also
many references to Chrystal and Sirius as children, a special mention of the first time
they met, when a three year old Sirius, who was ready to kill his newborn sister, was
shipped off to stay at Dunvegan for a couple of days. By the time Sirius came back home,
he didn't think that baby Madeleine was so bad compared with the terrible two-year old
Chrystal. Harry also found the mention of Chrystal racing Sirius around the castle on
broomsticks entertaining.
The speeches were followed by the cutting of the wedding cake, which after Sirius and
Chrystal had pushed the knife in the cake the slices appeared on everyone's plate.
'I wouldn't want to be a house-elf at a wedding,' Hermione whispered to Harry as the cake
appeared.
Harry bit his lip, having learnt earlier that when it came to Hermione and house-elves that
one should keep their mouths shut.
After they had finished their cake, Sirius led Chrystal onto the dance floor, and Harry
knew what was coming next. It was time for the garter throwing. He tried not to blush as
he watched Sirius struggle to pull the blue garter off Chrystal's leg with his teeth. He was
relieved when Sirius had finally managed it and then tossed it into the air. Harry looked
around to see who'd caught it, having a hard laugh when he saw Snape emerge with the
garter.
And with that the Ceilidh began.
Harry had never been to a Ceilidh before and was overwhelmed by the Scottish dancing
that was involved. Chrystal and Sirius started it followed by Alasdair and Heather Black.
Harry and Hermione were then required to join the dancing with their only instructions
being just have fun.
So Harry and Hermione just tried to imitate the others movements to the piping that filled
the room, and while it was entertaining they were relieved when a few more people
started dancing which meant that they could discretely sneak off to find Ron and Rose.


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Ron greeted them eagerly, but then whispered;
'When are you two leaving?'
Harry eyed Hermione as he answered;
'Straight after Chrystal and Sirius leave. We'll come and get you, okay?'
Ron nodded and Harry murmured something about going to talk to other people. So he
and Hermione went and basically said their 'goodbyes' discretely, getting a chance to talk
to Malfoy and Ginny and then Snape whom given that he wasn't Harry's Professor
anymore, Harry was more than happy to ask him who the lucky lady was. They got a
chance to farewell McGonagall and Dumbledore, McGonagall asking them to 'be careful'
and Dumbledore just winking at Harry, before he told them that he would see them soon.
Then Harry and Hermione went back onto the dance floor, this time with Ron and Rose
and tried to attempt to look like they knew what they were supposed to be doing. The
four of them had fun, as they had an attempt at the strange dancing and before they knew
it, it was time for Chrystal and Sirius to leave.
Harry and Ron moved over to the side after farewelling the couple, to watch the
bloodbath that unfolded as all of the single witches tried desperately to emerge with the
bouquet. Hermione came running over towards them with the bouquet in her hands.
'Look Harry,' she said. 'I caught it!'
'Great,' Harry said sarcastically under his breath.
'You realise that means you have to marry Snape,' Ron said.
'Yuck,' Hermione squealed. 'Anyway, we'd better sneak upstairs.' She had lowered her
voice so that no one could hear. Ron and Rose nodded before walking over toward their
table. They returned and Harry led them upstairs to a room that was quite deserted.
Lily Potter appeared from underneath the Invisibility Cloak.
'I guess it's time then,' she said.
Harry and Hermione nodded. What followed was mass hugging of everyone in the room.
Hermione had already farewelled her parents. Not wanting to worry them she had told
them she was undertaking study that required her to be segregated from the normal
population for a while.
When the hugging finished, Harry turned to Ron.
'You take care of my sister for me you hear?' he said to his best friend. Somehow Harry
could not bring himself to say goodbye. Ron nodded.
'You take care you each other,' he replied. 'See you at the European Cup.'
'It's time,' Lily said quickly. 'Stand over there.' She pointed toward the corner. 'I'll cast the


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charm on you two first and then I'll memory charm you two.' Ron and Rose nodded.
Harry swallowed nervously, wondering what the charm would feel like.
'Harry and Hermione Fidelius!'
The charm had been cast. They had disappeared to the two spectators in the room and
with that they apparated to their new home.
'A chapter became closed and another chapter began,' Lily whispered. 'What will happen
we do not know; we can only wait and see. Take care my son. I love you.'




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Prateek Bhuwania Prateek Bhuwania
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