Harry & Hermione
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MattD12027 - Harry Potter and the Eternal Right
Chapter 3 - Niveus Tumbus Expositus
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related plot events and characters are the property of JK Rowling.
Summary: PostHogwarts. Harry must deal with the horrors of war, and in doing so he will embrace his heritage and leave a lasting legacy on the world.
A/N: I hope you enjoy! Please take the time to review if you can.Chapter 3: Niveus Tumbus Expositus
"What!" Ginny heard Harry yell. He flashed brilliantly for a moment and then returned to his normal state. He was staring at Professor Snape with his mouth hanging open. Ginny couldn't hear what they were saying when they were talking at normal levels, but the open disbelief and shock on Harry's usually guarded face was surprising. Something wasn't quite right. Ginny looked around at the others, all of whom were staring at Harry and Snape like she had been.
"What's wrong with them?" Hermione asked, fretfully. Ron just looked at her.
"Do you always have to worry so much?" he asked her. She shot him a dirty look and ignored him.
"I wonder what they're talking about…" Hermione trailed off, receiving more scowls from Ron. She put her hands on her hips and held her chin high. There was slight humph. Ron shook his head.
Ginny glared at them. "What the hell is wrong with you two?" Hermione stared at her, somewhat shocked. Ron just eyed her. "We just ended the bloody war and all you can do is go back to arguing, the second it's over. Ron, stop being such a prat and be civil. Hermione, the war is over. Stop worrying so damned much." She walked off towards Harry and Snape. Hermione and Ron watched her go.
They turned toward each other and mumbled, "Sorry."
When Ginny was approaching Harry and Snape, they both turned toward her and came running. Harry grabbed her arm and pulled her along with him toward everyone. She gave him a questioning look. Harry perceived it as somewhat desperate, but she really just wanted to know what was going on.
"I'll explain in a little while," he quietly said to her.
Snape had already gotten to the group as Harry and Ginny arrived.
"—to Hogwarts immediately. The Aurors should report back to the Ministry and explain what has happened. Take him-," Snape said, rather disgustedly, as he pointed to Voldemort, "-to Azkaban."
There was a bustle of motion. Aurors were Disapparating – two with Voldemort – back to the Ministry in London. They had to tell everyone the extremely good news that the war was over. Harry and Ginny looked around, curiosity filling their faces.
"Where are we off to now?" Harry asked.
"Back to Hogwarts. All of you should Apparate into the faculty dining area. When I get back I will round up the rest of the staff and they will meet us there," Professor McGonagall instructed. There were Disapparitions left and right as Snape, McGonagall, Tonks, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny left. Harry hung back for a moment.
A slight breeze picked up across the grassy field, blowing the grass and his hair around. Harry marveled at nature – it was so unaware and unconcerned with people like Voldemort and what he had done. It just continued on like it always had. He stared over the hedges at the fortress. Voldemort was gone. Most of the Death Eaters had been killed or captured. Snape hadn't died. Dumbledore…was…alive… That's impossible, Harry told himself. Don't get your hopes up. Snape wasn't making any sense. Whatever happened down there must have addled his brains. It was impossible for Harry to not get his hopes up, though. If he is alive…no…it can't be true…Just don't think about it right now.
Harry sighed. It was a deep, contented, yet strangely hollow sound. His responsibility to the world had been fulfilled, but somehow he knew that he would always respond to the call if it were needed again. He just was that kind of person: selfless, kind, and humble. He would never admit these things to himself, which accounted somewhat for the hollowness. There was something missing – there always had been. He looked around wearily for a moment. I guess it really is over. Harry Disapparated.
Harry looked around the staff dining room. All those that he had come to know and respect during the war were seated in this room. His friends, his mentors, his teachers, and people who had fought alongside him were all here. School was still in session as it was only the middle of April. They had left in the middle of class two days earlier because the Order had finally determined that the time to strike was right.
They never planned on letting Voldemort make the first move, because everyone knew how devastating that could have been. If he had made a real strike against Hogwarts, the war could have been lost. They had all agreed that, when the time was right, they would strike against Voldemort and his fortress, driving deep into the heart of darkness. Except for those that had been at the fortress, none in the room knew what had transpired yet. Some were looking eager; others were looking fearful.
"Alright, I have some news-" Snape started, but he was cut off by McGonagall.
"Before we hear any news, I'd like to know what happened down there. They said you…died." She looked quickly toward Harry. "What happened?"
The question was more directed at Snape than Harry, but Harry answered.
"I'll tell you what I know, and then Snape – that is, Professor Snape, can fill in the rest." Harry desperately wanted Snape to continue what he'd been saying about Professor Dumbledore earlier, but he knew that these people had a right to hear what had happened first. He took a deep breath and plunged into the story, beginning with their arrival at the fortress and ending with their arrival in the dining room. He left out some details, such as what he supposed was the true extent of his new power and his tantalizing kiss with Ginny. He didn't feel comfortable with everyone knowing about those, yet.
When he finished and looked closely from face to face, some were looking at him with gratitude, others with wonder, and the rest were looking at Snape curiously. Harry had told them how he had seen him die, and then had seen him alive, but offered no explanation. He had none. He still didn't know what happened.
"So, Professor Snape-" Harry began, but Snape cut him off.
"Please, Harry, and you three as well, call me Severus," Snape said, smiling a little mischievously with his thin lips. His angled features looked even sharper when a genuine smile creased his usually scowling lips. Harry thought the change was remarkable.
"Er, alright, Severus…what did happen down there? I – we – saw you get hit with Lucius's Avada Kedavra."
Snape sighed. He wasn't sure what happened. He had already replayed the scene in his mind a hundred times since Harry had revived him – I still have to ask him how he did that, he thought, distractedly. He looked up and saw all of the faces had turned toward him, staring expectantly.
"Well, I'm not sure exactly," Snape began. "It was just those four and I in that last antechamber. There were twelve Death Eaters, just waiting there. They immediately started firing at us, so we didn't have any time to think.
"I started countering and attacking immediately, as did you four. It was tough, but it was going smoothly until there was only Lucius and Pettigrew left. Neither had done much until that point, but it was immediately evident that their abilities had vastly improved.
"I'm not sure how to describe it. The air was completely filled with the Killing Curse. They were firing them off quicker than I'd ever seen. I remember seeing you four doing your best just to stay out of their way, and I wasn't faring much better. They were everywhere. It's weird, being surrounded by death like that. The Killing Curse does not discriminate – it destroys whatever it touches.
"After a few minutes of that, Harry tried to stun Pettigrew, but it connected with a Kedavra and they exploded. We were all distracted for a moment, and that was all Lucius needed. He rounded on Ginny and fired one, but I saw there was no time. I leapt in front of it. I saw it hit me…" Snape said, thinking about the last second before everything went black. He couldn't understand why it had spared him…wait…that must be it.
"The essence of Avada Kedavra is kind of a sickly whitish-green color. It's impossible to not recognize if someone is using it. That is definitely what it was. But there was something else, right at the end before everything went dark, which was different. The leading edge of the curse, the part that hit me first, flashed an emerald color. That is the last thing I remember, until Harry woke me up." Snape looked at Harry, focusing briefly on his eyes.
"Come to think of it, the emerald color that I just described is exactly the same color as Harry's eyes."
Necks audibly creaked as everyone turned their heads to stare at Harry, but he didn't notice. He was staring at Snape.
"My eyes? That doesn't mean anything—"
He stopped. An exasperated sigh from Hermione had cut him off. He looked at her and giving her his sweetest expression, said, "Yes?" He was tempted to bat his eyelashes at her.
Hermione heard some sniggers from around the room, but chose to ignore them. "It's pretty clear what happened, Harry. I'm surprised that you couldn't see it." She glared at him. He said nothing and did nothing. His face was passive, except for the corners of his mouth. They were twitching slightly. She saw that he was doing all he could not to laugh at her.
Hermione rolled her eyes and continued. "To me it is, at least. Anyways, the emerald flash that Severus was just describing reminded me of your aura – you know, the one that happened just before you…broke Voldemort. I think that was just a subconscious manifestation of what you could do. Snape was going to die – the curse was going to directly for him – so your mind took action of its own accord and blocked enough of it so he could live." She stopped talking and sat back, looking quite pleased with herself.
Harry looked at her for another second, and then shrugged his shoulders. "Sounds reasonable. I had no idea what happened, so it had to be subconscious, if that really was what occurred."
"Avada Kedavra is supposed to be unblockable and uncounterable, though," squeaked Professor Flitwick. Everyone knew that he was a dueling champion and couldn't resist a little trivia on it.
Hermione scowled at him for a moment, forgetting briefly that he was one her teachers. "Weren't you listening to what Harry was saying?" Surprised by her own vehemence, she continued, more lightly, explaining to a surprised Flitwick what Harry had done. He still didn't look convinced.
Harry saw this and said, "Well, let me demonstrate it. Everyone move back here. Severus, if you will?" He raised an eyebrow at Snape, who nodded and moved over to him.
"Wait just a minute! What do you think you are doing?" McGonagall yelled at them, obviously a bit flustered. "You can't fire a Killing Curse in Hogwarts. It's…it's just not right!" she finished. She was red in the face. She didn't believe they had the gall to use Avada Kedavra in her dining room.
Snape laughed lightly, and his lips curled back into that same smile. "Don't worry, Minerva, I'm sure Harry here can handle it. Besides, how could he resist a chance to show off?" Harry shook his head and marveled at Severus's newfound ability to joke with him. It would be awhile before he got used to it.
McGonagall glared at them very coldly for a few moments, but humphed her approval.
"Thank you," said Snape, rather serenely. He looked at Harry. "Shall we?"
Harry nodded and closed his eyes. Dumbledore is alive! He has to be. Snape seems so confident about it! That was all he needed, and went through the transformation. It was very rapid this time, taking only a few seconds to complete. He ignored the shocked gasps from those who hadn't seen him like this yet and looked to Snape. He nodded again.
"Alright," Snape said, coldly. He closed his eyes for a moment, picturing Lucius Malfoy. It was all he needed. He raised his wand and pointed it away from everyone, toward the back of the room. "Avada Kedavra!" There was a rushing sound, like the air escaping from a sealed tunnel, and a sickly green light flew from the end of his wand.
Just as it was about to hit the back wall, Harry put up his hand. It stopped. There were more shocked gasps from behind him, louder this time. Flitwick could hardly contain his excitement. He was looking from the green light to Harry and back again, almost jumping where he was standing. Harry beckoned and closed his hand, drawing it toward him and shrinking it. He puffed out a little breath and it was gone.
There was a noise and a scurrying behind him, and then he was surrounded. People were pummeling questions into him, very rapidly. He descended, as if it would make a difference, and tried to get them all to listen to him. Flitwick wanted to learn how to do it, McGonagall was still scolding him for such a dangerous exercise on school grounds, and the other Professors were saying similar things. Harry, Hermione, and Ginny just watched with smiles on their faces as Harry was bombarded.
Harry put his wand to his throat and muttered, "Sonorus." He cleared his throat, and everyone could hear it. They slowly stopped their yammering and all was momentarily silent. "Listen, I'm not sure what's going on, so please do not ask me to test these powers until I have had a chance to sort a few things out. I don't want to hurt any of you or anyone else in this school. So, for now, why don't we all just sit back down and listen to what Severus has to say. Quietus."
Most of them were thinking the exact same thing: He sounds so much like Dumbledore. That was enough for them, so they all took their seats again. Harry sat down next to Ginny, slid his arm around her waist, and smiled at her. She smiled back.
"Alright, now that Filius has had his curiosity fulfilled, shall I get on with it?" Snape asked, coolly. The nods he received were enough for him, so he continued on. Harry could hardly contain himself. This is what he had been waiting for since Snape had told him the impossible.
"As I told Harry a little while ago, I have some news for you all. I'm sure it will shock most of you, but I'm glad to say that it is extremely good news." He looked around, watching as the curiosity grew on most of the faces that were now turned toward him. He caught Harry's eye and saw a twinkle. It caught him off guard. It reminded him so much of—
"Well?" said Remus Lupin, very impatiently. Lupin was usually a very patient man, but something about the way Snape was talking had him more than a little excited. He had his arm around Tonks, who was also waiting for it.
"Dumbledore is alive," said Snape, flatly.
Silence. Deafening silence. It took a moment for everyone to register what Snape had said. When they did, though, the deafening silence turned into a deafening squawk. People started shouting at once. Food and drink went flying as people waved their hands rapidly. Poor Flitwick was knocked backwards when he tried to stand on the table to get a better look. Ron caught him and set him back in his chair, smiling at his Professor's antics, but also extremely animated about what Snape had said. Dumbledore. Alive? Bloody hell!
Snape looked on for a few moments, smiling inwardly at the chaos the simple sentence had caused. He couldn't blame them, though, because all of them believed that he killed the man he had just announced was alive. And if Dumbledore really were alive…then everyone would be happy. Snape snorted to himself. Happy is an understatement. He held up his hands for silence. They slowly quieted down, but not completely.
"How can that be?" demanded a red-faced Ginny. Dumbledore had always told Ginny that he'd be there for Harry and the others, but he had left them at the end of last year. Ginny still had a hard time believing that she'd never see his kind old face and his twinkling eyes again – well, I think I saw those eyes again today, she thought as she glanced at Harry. He was looking intently at Snape.
They all quieted down as Ginny had asked the question that was on all of their minds.
"It is not my place to tell you that, Ginny," Snape said, using her first name for the first time. "If you all would accompany me down to the lake, I'm sure someone would like to explain." They all looked at each for comprehension, but resigned themselves to following the mysterious Snape as he led the way out of the dining room. They passed through the Great Hall, dodging a thousand questions from everyone who was eating lunch.
"Everyone will remain seated and continue eating! We will be back shortly," McGonagall said, very loudly. They all quieted down and returned to their lunch, but their curiosity was not hidden from their faces. Many looked to Harry for answers, but he seemed to be focused intently on something. They passed out of the Great Hall and through the large Entrance Hall, and finally out onto the grounds.
Snape was striding forward, toward the west side of the lake. It took a second before many realized where he was heading as they followed, but as the white marble got closer they understood. They were going to the White Tomb. They were going to Dumbledore's final resting place.
Snape stopped a few feet from it, and they all assembled behind him. He turned around to face them.
"I promise that all will be explained very soon. Harry, will you please come here?" Snape asked.
Harry did as he was asked, even though he had no idea what was going on. His brain was on fire – could it really be true? He stood beside Snape, who had turned back towards the imposing marble structure.
He started speaking very quietly to Harry, so that no one else could hear. "See those two smalls knots at either corner of the Tomb?" Harry nodded. "When I say to, place your wand in that one over there. Twist it and say Niveus Tumbus Expositus. Got it?"
Harry looked at him, a thousand questions showing on his face. Snape could see it.
"Just trust me." Harry nodded. This man had given up his life willingly for his friends once, so he knew he could trust him. "Alright, go put your wand there."
Snape walked to the other end of the Tomb and placed his wand in the small notch. Harry did the same, opposite of him. He looked at Harry, who nodded.
They both twisted their wands and said, "Niveus Tumbus Expositus!" They stepped back.
Nothing happened right away. There was just a silence. There wasn't even a breeze that could break the warm monotony of a nice April afternoon. Then, with a low rumble, the Tomb started to vibrate. The rumbling became very loud and a dark dot appeared near the top of the front of the Tomb. It quickly spread, racing in a line around the Tomb. It was separating the lid from the rest of the structure.
There was an intensely bright flash, and the lid was gone. There had been marble there before, but now it was just gone. The Tomb now stood open from the top. All watching held their breath. Some secretly were disgusted that the Tomb had just been defiled, but they hoped upon hope that what Snape had said was true, even if it was impossible.
Harry waited. He looked at Snape, who was staring expectantly at the top of the Tomb. Harry looked around and saw that most of the rest were doing the same. Ginny, however, was looking at him, with a deeply questioning look in her eyes. She looked a little hurt that Dumbledore's tomb has just been opened like that. Harry shrugged apologetically and turned his eyes to the Tomb. He was about to say something, but stopped and gasped. He heard others do the same thing.
Fingers appeared over the edge, followed by the back of a crinkled hand. The top of a purple hat then came into view. And then, the profile of a man rose into sight. Harry heard a few cries of surprise and happiness.
"Harry, my boy! It's so good to see you!" Dumbledore exclaimed.
The words of the mentor and friend that Harry thought he had lost forever turned him into a blubbering idiot. He was absolutely gob smacked.
"Wha…?" Harry questioned. It wasn't exactly directed at anyone in particular, even though he was staring up into the face of none other than Albus Dumbledore. His brain had ceased to function – no coherent thoughts were present.
Dumbledore merely smiled that familiar knowing grin, and said, "I was expecting something of the sort," he said, referring to Harry's slack face. He looked around at the others and most of them had the same expression. Dumbledore chuckled.
"Some welcome this is! People! Friends! How are you all?" he said happily to them. Some were dislodged from their stupor and immediately began yammering things at him and others around them.
McGonagall was the first to address him directly. "Albus! What in the name of Merlin is going on here?" Her voice choked a bit, adding an interesting dimension to her usually set face. "We thought…Harry saw…you die?" It was more of a question than a statement. Dumbledore shook his head knowingly.
With grace that belied his age, he put a hand to the edge of the Tomb and propelled himself over the edge, landing on the ground with soft thud. He smoothed his robes. The others had mostly quieted down now and were looking at him. He was about to open his mouth and say something, but all that came out was oof!
Someone had launched himself into him from behind. Dumbledore turned slightly in the firm hug a young man was giving him, and saw immediately that it was Harry. He smiled down at his young charge.
"Harry, Harry, how are you, my young friend?" Dumbledore queried. He heard a muffled response and saw Harry look up at him. His glowing green eyes were a bit wet.
"How is this possible?" Harry asked him. I saw him get hit with spell. I saw the life swept from eyes.
"All will be explained, Harry. All will be explained," Dumbledore said, calmly. Harry took a step back and watched as he turned to address the rest of the people scattered around. Harry suddenly felt another wave of emotion wash over him. It wasn't happiness – it was something more. It was relief. The war was over, yes, but Harry had felt very bitter since the night of his mentor's "death". Not at Snape, though. We know why he had to do it. Just at everything that could have been different if he had been here. Molly, Arthur, the Aurors…ugh. Now that Dumbledore was apparently – and shockingly – alive and well, Harry felt a small void in him fill up.
Dumbledore held up his hands. His commanding presence was felt at once, reminding them all that this was their Headmaster in front of them. They shut up quickly and paid rapt attention.
"The answers to your questions will come. I would just like to take a moment here and revel in the fact that the war is over."
Wait, what? How could he possibly know that, thought Harry. There was obviously a lot more to this than Snape had ever let on.
"Now, let us congregate in the faculty dining area. I promise to explain this all there." Dumbledore strode off towards the castle.
McGonagall found her voice. "Albus, wait. The wards in the dining area have been tuned to members of the Order and also to Professors. We tuned them to your magical signature as well. You can Apparate straight there."
Dumbledore raised and eyebrow at her, sparking the twinkling in his eyes. He gave a quirky smile and Disapparated. Most people were still too stunned to say much, so they quickly followed him. Harry and Ginny were the last two. She walked over to him, watching as he just stared off towards the castle.
"What are you thinking?" she asked quietly.
"I said, what are you thinking?"
"Oh, just…wow." He quirked an eyebrow at her.
"Yeah, I know how you feel."
"What the hell just happened?" he asked, more to himself than her.
She smiled. "I have no idea, but I'm sure he will tell us. Let's go." They both Disapparated into the dining area.
The din in the room was a drastic change from the calm down by the lake, where there had only been a slight breeze to disrupt the air. In here, however, people were running around frantically, trying to gather their thoughts and also to talk to Dumbledore. He just stood there calmly for a few moments, silent chuckles in his eyes, and listened to everyone talk at him at once. Harry and Ginny took their seats and watched this. Dumbledore glanced at them and then help up a hand.
"Ah, I think Harry and Ginny have the right idea. Why don't you all take a seat? I will begin the explanation at once." Dumbledore strode to head of the table and promptly ran into McGonagall, who had been striding to the same seat.
"Oh, sorry Albus. Habits die hard…"
"Not to worry, Minerva." And, more quietly, to her he said, "It's great to see you again. You don't a look a day older." Harry saw a small smile on McGonagall's lips as she took her seat adjacent to Dumbledore, who had sat down in the head chair. People hushed and looked to their Headmaster, curiosity and shock still written on many faces.
Dumbledore smiled pleasantly at each of their faces, stopping briefly at Harry's with a small wink, and launched into what he had to say.
"First off, I'm curious as to what you already know?" he asked everyone.
Silence greeted him, however. Some people knew very little, and others knew much more, which still wasn't a lot.
"Not much," Harry began. All eyes turned to him. "Severus came back last fall, saying that he had been found out by Voldemort and that he had to go somewhere. He was incoherent, and was actually in danger of being killed here. Everyone knew what he'd done…" Harry trailed off, thinking about that night once again. The green light, the expression on Dumbledore's face, him flying off the wall…
He looked around and saw that people were still looking at him, so he continued. "Anyways, he told us that it had all been planned and that you," he said, looking at Dumbledore, "had wanted him to kill you. You can imagine the reaction that that news got, so he consented to using the Pensieve to show everyone the memory, as well as some Veritaserum."
Harry was watching Dumbledore carefully, who just nodded for him to continue. "There were obvious holes in the memory, but the memory itself clearly wasn't tampered with. We saw you telling him what you wanted him to do, regardless of what might happen." Harry finished. There was something bothering him, though, and Dumbledore could tell.
"What is it, Harry?" he prodded.
"Something is quite clearly weighing on your mind. Go ahead and ask if you want."
Harry sighed. Albus Dumbledore was one of the most perceptive people he had ever known, and his time away from everyone – whatever may have happened to him – did not change that fact.
"It's just, I can clearly remember you…pleading for your life," Harry said, looking intently at the older man's face and forgetting the others in the room for a moment. He could still hear that voice in his head, and he never wanted to experience it firsthand again. When Dumbledore resulted to pleading, it didn't mean good things.
The old man only nodded at Harry, however. "A good question, and one that I will most certainly answer. I was not pleading for my life – on the contrary, actually. I was pleading for Severus to follow through with our plan."
"But what was this plan?" interrupted McGonagall. She looked a little miffed.
Dumbledore looked thoughtful for a moment. "I guess it is good to start from the beginning." He paused, holding his audience captive, and then continued on. "Severus and I have been discussing for years the consequences of Voldemort killing me. Voldemort's powers are not – excuse me, were not – limited to normal spells and incantations. He had the ability to inhabit the soul of the person he killed, as I think you all know, to create a Horcrux. Undoubtedly, if he had succeeded in getting to me, he would have attempted to do so.
"Excusing my modesty for a moment, I am a wizard of formidable powers. None of you in this room, with the possible exception of Harry, have a true idea of what I can do. If Voldemort had gotten a hold of those powers and made my body a Horcrux after destroying my mind, he would have had a fairly indestructible segment of his soul.
"You might be asking yourselves why I couldn't just use these powers against him to defeat him, and yes, I could have, but then his followers would have been exposed to it and future Dark Lords would have known about it. They would have tried to use it in themselves; it would have only taken a few years for them to figure out how to unlock it.
"But, I digress. Severus and I have been working on a potion for years that has one use and one use only – upon getting hit with an Avada Kedavra the drinker is immediately rendered unconscious, rather than killed. This unconsciousness is so deep that the drinker – me – appeared to be dead. This was the plan. I would drink the potion and, because I knew the deal that young Master Malfoy had made with Voldemort, use him as the means to my end. I saw my opportunity and took it, but Draco hesitated.
"Severus came upon us at that time and observed what was happening. I could tell that he, also, wasn't going to follow through with it, even though he had made the Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa." He looked at Harry. "The pleading that you heard was for Severus to carry on with our plan. I did not want him losing his life for the Unbreakable Vow and I knew that it was time for the potion to be of use.
"What you saw, Harry, was not Severus killing me in cold blood. I am sorry to have made you watch that, but it was not what you thought. He was merely acting as a catalyst for the potion, and unfortunately hitting me with a Killing Curse was what he needed to do."
Silence greeted Dumbledore's pause, in which heavy breathing could be heard. People were trying to process what he had jus told them all – he had "sacrificed" himself so that Voldemort wouldn't get a hold of his powers.
Harry was suddenly furious. He couldn't explain it to himself, but he was beyond angry. It wasn't a cold fury or even a temper tantrum; rather, it was absolute disbelief fueled by the longstanding knowledge that his mentor had been killed before his very eyes. He could feel something happening to him, but he ignored it.
A fist slamming the table startled everyone, and they looked to the source. Harry had gotten up and was standing over the table, leaning on it with two hands and glaring at Dumbledore, his chest heaving. They could feel a trickle of power slowly building from him.
"Is that all you have to say?" Harry demanded of him. "You thought it was best to hide your powers so other Dark Lords wouldn't find out? Excuse me for saying this, Albus, but I don't accept that. We could have used you. Do you have any idea how many people lost their lives because you weren't there?" Harry was breathing very heavily now, almost gasping with each breath.
Dumbledore eyed Harry calmly for a moment, taking in this new power that was coming off of him. It was something like…anger? Disbelief? He had no idea, but he knew that it was about to break loose any moment.
"Harry," he began, calmly, "if you would just take a moment to think-"
"No!" Harry bellowed, surprised a little at his own outburst but unable to control the way he was feeling. Molly's face popped into his mind, and he felt a familiar drop and all went blank for a second. When he was aware of himself again, only a few seconds later, he briefly noticed that people were staring at him in shock. Why is there a red glow in here? Harry thought to himself, before continuing on.
"I don't want to hear that other Dark Lords couldn't know about these powers. What about this one? How many people could you have saved if you had taken care of this one? The future is the future, damn it! Now is more important than the future. If you had thought of all of those people maybe they would have a fucking future!" Harry rarely used that word, and never in the presence of adults, but he was too angry to even notice.
"Think about Molly… and Arthur… and everyone else! They died for this war. They gave up their bloody lives so that we could all live on, and you can sit there and tell me you could have ended it ages ago? What about Sirius, huh? He stayed locked up in that shithole headquarters for months until he went crazy and got himself killed. How many times in those months could you have gone out and finished it?" Harry paused to take a breath, and noticed that Dumbledore had an expression Harry had never really seen on his face before. Open shock.
"What? Didn't think I had it in me to yell and throw a tantrum at you? Well, I've got news for you, I fought this bloody war and I've watched my friends suffer and lose their lives. How did you expect me to take it?" However, Harry got the feeling that this wasn't why Dumbledore was staring at him, because everyone else had the same look. He finally had the sense to take a moment and turn his brain back on. Something felt different.
Harry looked down at himself, and what he saw was more than a little of a shock. He immediately new that he had "ascended" to his higher power, but it was not the same as before. His aura was a deep, boiling red, which had caused the air around it to burn and sizzle as if it were on fire. His robes whipped against his body and his hair was flying around. Little shards of the aura shot off into the air and turned black before dissipating. Er…oops, he thought, rather resignedly.
Harry huffed out a breath and let the power drain away, returning to his normal state. He sat down slowly, never once returning his gaze to Dumbledore. When he had been yelling, he wasn't thinking. Now that he actually heard what he had said again in his my mind, he was ashamed of himself. Dumbledore had never lost it with him like that, and Harry had flown off the handle. He heard someone clear their throat, and looked up into the sparkling eyes of Albus Dumbledore. Harry was a little surprised to see a sad smile on his face.
"I knew that many of you would feel that way, and I'm truly sorry for all the pain and anguish that I have caused you all." He looked at Harry, who cringed away from his gaze very slightly.
"I am not upset with you, Harry. I am glad that you have found the need to express your emotions a little more freely than you used to. A lot more freely, actually," he said, eyeing Harry with some interest. "As I once told you, I am a foolish old man and much of what I do comes out of the want to protect the younger generations. I should have known better, though. Harry, you have seen as much at 17 as I have in all of my life. Maybe more. I should have known how you would take this and all that I can say is that I'm truly sorry." When Dumbledore finished, there was a slight huskiness to his voice.
No…once was enough. I'm not going to make this man cry again. Harry stood and walked over to him. He looked at the Headmaster before him for a moment, and then embraced him a tight hug. There were some barely audible sighs around the room, but for the most part everyone had remained strangely quiet.
So that only Dumbledore could hear it, Harry apologized. "I'm sorry, Professor Dumbledore. I don't know what happened. I shouldn't have yelled at you. I know that you always have our best interests in mind, and for that I'm grateful."
Dumbledore patted Harry on the back. "Call me Albus. And not to worry, Harry, I'm much more interested in what you just showed me than what you said to me. Everyone has a right to vent their frustrations once in awhile, and I do not hold it against you."
Harry leaned back and looked at him. He was sincere and Harry nodded at him. "Now, I'm curious, is that how you beat Voldemort? Those powers?" Dumbledore asked.
Harry smiled and shook his head. "Not exactly, but something to that effect." Dumbledore nodded and Harry returned to his seat, trying to avoid the stares of everyone in the room. He was quite embarrassed about his little outburst.
"You will excuse Harry for what he said. He had every right to it. Now, where were we?"
"So you were just in that Tomb for a year?" asked Hermione, her curiosity overcoming her shock from Harry's words.
"Precisely, my dear. Severus would open the Tomb, thereby waking me, when the time was right. That time was either when Voldemort was dead or when I was desperately needed as a last resort. And if you had died, Severus, the secret wouldn't have died with you, would it have?" he asked, looking at Snape. He had remained quiet throughout this entire proceeding, letting Dumbledore inform everyone of what they had planned. Severus shook his head.
"His will includes a full explanation of this and listed the names of people that should be informed about it if he had died. I am very thankful that none of that was needed, however, and that my return could signal the end of the war rather than the desperation of it."
"It almost went to my will," Snape said, very quietly. Dumbledore looked at him, curiosity filling his lined face. "If not for Harry, Lucius Malfoy would have killed me. Harry's ability to counteract the Killing Curse is the only thing that saved me." Dumbledore looked at him for a moment, and then nodded in understanding.
"Alright, I would like to call a meeting for every student and Professor in the Great Hall. Some things need to be explained to everyone," Dumbledore said to Minerva. She tapped her throat and muttered something to connect her to the school's magical loudspeaker.
"Attention, students. This is your Headmistress—er, Professor speaking. I would like to have all students and faculty report to the Great Hall for a meeting. This will take place in five minutes. Drop what you are doing and report at once. Thank you." She tapped her throat and disconnected herself.
The Great Hall was filled with everyone currently at Hogwarts. All of the seats were filled with curious faces, looking up to the podium to see just what was going on. These assemblies, while not unheard of, were rare and usually meant something big had happened. Many knew that Harry and his friends had left a few days before because of something to do with the war, so they expected something about that. Also, few had failed to notice McGonagall referring to herself as a Professor rather than the Headmistress, and wanted to know the reason behind this.
McGonagall stepped up the podium and raised a hand, silencing the Hall in a heartbeat. "I know that you're all wondering why I've called you hear on such short notice, but I think that explanation is best left to someone who knows it better. I am very happy to present to you, once again, Headmaster Dumbledore!" Shocked gasps greeted her words and even sharper sounds met the appearance of their long-thought-dead Headmaster as he strode out of the faculty dining room.
Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny couldn't help but snicker to themselves as they watched the reactions. Their faces had most likely been mirror images only an hour ago when Dumbledore had appeared from the Tomb.
The noise grew in intensity as Dumbledore neared the podium, reverberating off the stone walls and amplifying itself. It was cacophonous, to say the least, but it abated instantly when he held up his hand.
"What a wonderful sight, indeed. So many familiar faces – I am glad to have returned to you all. I know you all have questions-" he was saying, but was cut off by an anxious fourth-year Ravenclaw.
"We were all told you were killed! We went to your funeral!" she said, very loudly.
Dumbledore smiled at her and continued. "As I was saying, I'm sure you all have questions, and I thought that that one might be the first. I was not killed, as can be seen, and I'm sorry that you had to attend my funeral. I was doing important work for the war, and I could no longer jeopardize the safety of Hogwarts and you all with my presence. I had to leave and make it appear that I wasn't coming back."
"So why are you back now?" another anxious student called out.
"Because, my friend, the war is no longer a threat," he answered, simply. The looks of confusion were expected, so elaborated. "Voldemort-" half the audience cringed at the name "-was destroyed earlier today and the Dark Forces are scattered and will be rounded up. The war is over." Dumbledore watched as pandemonium broke out in the Great Hall, smiling ever so slightly to himself as he did. He knew that his words would have this effect, but there was no way around it. They had the right to know the war that had been raging for all of their lives was now over. They did not have to live in fear anymore. Oppression, tyranny, and discrimination were no longer a threat.
He held up his hand again, and was instantly rewarded with a silent hall. It still amused him that his hand could have that kind of effect. "It is Saturday afternoon. With this news comes a bit of a holiday for you all. All classes until next Thursday are canceled. You may take this time to visit with your families. Thursday night at 7 o'clock there will another meeting here, when things will be explained more fully. For now, enjoy your time off and be safe. Leave the grounds only if you plan to go home for a few days." He left the podium and walked down the Great Hall to the seventh year Gryffindor table.
He felt the gazes of many people on him as he passed, but it did not bother him. When he arrived at the table where the four who had ended the war sat, he said, "Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny – would you oblige an old man and meet him in his office at 8 tonight?" he inquired of them.
They looked at each other briefly and nodded. Harry said, "Yeah, Albus, we'll be there."
"Good. I'm looking forward to it. Oh, and bring your wands." His eyes twinkled mischievously, and he turned on his heel and left.