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Kjkit - Harry Potter and the Marcello School
Chapter 24 - Another meeting
Chapter 24: Another meeting.
"You think they've found anything this time?" Ron asked as he and Hermione made their way out of his room and headed for the stairs.
Hermione shrugged. "I doubt it." she replied. "I'd imagine we would've heard something by now if they had."
Ron nodded in agreement and paused halfway down the stairs as he saw Ginny heading up towards them, her arms wrapped protectively around her body and her eyes red from crying.
"Hey, Gin." Ron said softly, holding his arms out. His sister readily climbed up the last couple of stairs and fell into them, resting her head on his shoulder as they held each other for a few moments.
"Mum still won't let me come to the meeting." She said, pulling away with a sniff. "Its really irritating being the youngest! I'm going to be the only Weasley not in there, and he was my friend too." She sighed. "I just want to know if he's alright."
Hermione nodded, and placed her hand comfortingly against the girl's shoulder. "If there's any news about Harry, we'll tell you," she promised. "But you'll have to understand the other Order business will probably have to stay secret."
Ginny nodded. "Thanks, Hermione." She said, "I appreciate it." she took a deep, steadying breath and wiped her eyes on the back of her sleeve. "I had a couple of owls from Neville and Luna this morning. They read about Harry's disappearance in the Daily Prophet, and wanted to know how we were, and if there was any news."
Hermione looked at Ron. "Maybe we should write to them." She suggested. "After all, they did show their loyalty to Harry in the ministry."
"I don't see what we can tell them that wasn't already in that article." Ron pointed out.
"But they'd appreciate being brought into the loop." Ginny replied. "You know how hard it was last year when no one would tell us anything."
Ron nodded. "Okay." He said. "We'll write to them tonight."
Ginny nodded. "I'm sure they'd appreciate it." she moved past Ron and Hermione and continued up the stairs. "I'll be in my room when you're done." She added quietly and disappeared down the corridor.
Staring after his sister Ron gave a sudden, frustrated cry and balled his fist, hitting it into the banisters a number of times before Hermione stopped him, preventing him from injuring himself. "Ron. Ron!" she said, pulling him close and wrapping her arms around him. "Settle down!"
"I just hate this not knowing." Ron said, frustration evident in his voice. "What with Harry going missing, and Snape telling us that he had been tortured within inches of death, and then there was your dream the other night." He sighed, the fight going out of him as he sagged in Hermione's arms. "I just feel so helpless."
"But we promised Dumbledore we wouldn't try anything." Hermione reminded him gently. "And, to be honest, there isn't really much we can do. Not until we know where he is. All I can suggest is that we keep hoping and praying that he is okay, and hope he'll contact us soon."
Ron nodded slightly, and was unwilling to let go of Hermione's waist as she smiled and gently pushed away from him. "Let's go to the meeting." She said. "Maybe Kingsley and Tonks have brought some news from the ministry."
The two of them continued down the stairs and made their way into the study, taking their seats and nodding a couple of greetings to those they recognised. A few minutes later Dumbledore arrived, Fawkes flying from his shoulder and settling on a perch that had been conjured for him in the corner of the room. They were followed closely by Snape who was supporting the weight of a very faint looking Lupin. As the Order took in Remus' condition they all began to talk at once, throwing questions at one another and at the three men who took their seats on one side of the long table.
As soon he had seen Remus settle tiredly into his chair, Dumbledore raised his hand to bring quiet to the room. "The mission at Riddle Manor has been compromised." He said. "But I'll let Remus and Severus explain further."
He sat down, nodding to the potions master who threw a concerned glance at the injured werewolf before standing and giving a brief account of the past two days he and Remus had spent hiding in the balcony corridor of the Riddle Manor Hall. "Just as the meeting was about to start, five Death Eaters, including Malfoy and Lestrange, left the hall…."
"Malfoy?" Hermione interrupted, causing the potions master to glare at her. "But I thought he was apprehended at the ministry with the other Death Eaters?"
Dumbledore shook his head with an icy glint in his eyes. "I'm afraid Minister Fudge let Malfoy go soon after the incident at the ministry. It is evident that there are more important things to Fudge than the safety of other wizards. Money and an influential vote being two of them."
Ron clenched his fist again. "But that's wrong!" he exclaimed.
"But it's life." Snape shot back. "Now, if I may continue?" Ron gave a short nod of his head and the potions master took a deep breath before launching back into his story. "As I said before I was rudely interrupted, the five of them left the hall moments before the meeting started. This in itself is a suspicious occurrence. From past experience I know that the Dark Lord likes a full audience before he starts to entertain. But then this appeared." He threw a feather that he had pulled from his pocket onto the table in front of him, and held up the crumpled parchment that had arrived with it.
"It's the same as mine." Ron exclaimed, pulling his own crumpled feather out of his pocket and holding next to the other one to compare the two. He had been reluctant to leave the feather in his room, and was often caught by members of his family and Hermione gently stroking the golden plume as a reminder of his missing friend.
Snape nodded, "and the message that came with it was written by Harry, also." He said, ignoring the shocked looks of the Hogwart's students as he used Harry's first name. "It simply says "Get out of there, they can see you." and is signed with his initials." He passed the parchment to Kingsley who sat on his right, letting the other Order members examine it. "We both recalled the truth in the warning that appeared at the Burrow," he continued, watching the parchment make its way around the circle. "And so we both took heed, and made to escape. Even with the warning we were cutting it fine, and Lupin was hit by one of Avery's daggers, though we were able to get far enough away from the wards to activate the portkey Albus had given us." As he spoke he pulled a silver knife from his pocket and threw it onto the table next to the feather. "I think you'll find that to be the one of the knives that turned Potter's torso into a sadistic work of art." He added, and sat back down.
Silence fell on the room as they digested what Snape had just told them. Hermione, her mind working faster than most, spoke up first. "What do you think he meant by "they can see you"?" she asked.
"I'd imagine he had a vision of some sort." Dumbledore replied. "These have always observed from the immediate vicinity around Voldemort, sometimes even through his own eyes. Before Harry disappeared, he spoke with Lupin and told him that these visions were getting more frequent, from both point of views. He was supposed to be coming to Hogwarts to work on his Occlumency with me, I can only hope he gets an opportunity to learn wherever he is now."
Hermione nodded slightly, and took a deep breath before speaking again. "Do you think he might be strong enough to cause other people to have visions?" she asked. Ron looked at her, realising what she was getting at, and reached over to hold her hand as a sign of support. Hermione flashed him a quick smile before explaining further. "I mean, he gets these visions from Voldemort via his scar, but do you think he's strong enough to cause other people to see what he sees, even though they aren't connected to him by any obvious magical means?"
Dumbledore narrowed his eyes at the female Gryffindor and leant forward slightly. "What are you saying, Ms Granger?" he asked.
Hermione glanced around at all the eyes focused on her, and licked her lips nervously. "I had a dream a couple of days ago. It was of Harry. He was in a large room, with some other boys, and a beast of a man was standing in front of him. I think must've been a teacher of some sort."
"And what happened in this dream?" Dumbledore asked.
Hermione drew in a shaky breath. "He was being beaten." She said. "He was made to stand with his arms out in front." She dropped Ron's hand and held up her own arms to demonstrate. "And was holding a book in his hands. He was told not to let the book drop below the level of his shoulders, and then was caned across his forearms." She shook her head slightly. "The pain was intense, but he refused to give in. Just stood there and took the blows. It seemed so unlike normal nightmares that I wondered whether or not he might have been thinking about me and Ron at the time and projected his thoughts out to us?"
"Did Mr Weasley have a similar vision?" Dumbledore asked, turning to Ron.
Ron shook his head. "I was awake at the time." He admitted. "I was thinking through a few things."
The headmaster nodded his head in understanding. "It could well be a vision." He admitted. "But I'm afraid that there isn't much in the way of detail that we can use to rescue or contact Harry."
Hermione nodded. "That's what I thought." She said. "But I was just wondering."
"Let me know if you, either of you, have another dream like this. After seeing what Harry was capable of in Privet Drive, I'd say anything could be possible."
The two Hogwart's students nodded their promises, and Dumbledore moved the meeting onto other reports, finding out more about what was going on at the ministry from Tonks and Kingsley, and Bill Weasley spoke of his negotiations with the goblins at Gringotts.
After Charlie Weasley had taken his seat after talking about the possibility of introducing dragons back onto the grounds of Hogwarts, an idea that Hagrid seemed particularly eager to support, Dumbledore stood to draw the meeting to a close.
"I have nothing more to add to this meeting that has not already been said today or at previous meetings." He started. "We all know Voldemort is getting stronger daily, both in a magical sense and in confidence. I fear it won't be long before he drops his search for Harry and sets his sights higher, attacking the ministry, the hospitals and the schools." He let the silence fill the room as each member of the Order contemplated his words.
He took a deep breath to speak again, but hesitated as the silence was broken by the faint sound of phoenix song. He glanced over to Fawkes, who had raised his head and had inclined it to one side, as if concentrating on the sound. It was clear that the phoenix in the room was not the origin of the warm song.
The tune began to grow louder, and the members began to glance at one another before a small flash of flame appeared in the centre of the table, and a heavy roll of yellow parchment fell from the air, a single phoenix feather floating down to land innocently on top of it as the phoenix song died away.
The Order members stared in shock at the scroll, many experiencing an increasing sense of dread as they compared the feather to the one that still lay on the table from when Snape had placed down previously.
Dumbledore's hand shook slightly as he reached out to pull the scroll closer. He carefully lifted the feather and gently placed it to one side before lifting the rolled parchment and inspecting it. There was no address or name written upon it, though a quick sketch of a lightning bolt had been made on one side of the roll, which made the headmaster smile softly.
Hermione noticed the soft twinkle appear in her headmaster's eyes and spoke out into the silence. "Is it from Harry?" she asked.
Dumbledore looked up at her and nodded. "And I believe that this is more of a social letter than his previous correspondence." He said as pulled at the string and unrolled the parchment. He quickly glanced over the first few paragraphs before smiling even more. "It's not addressed to anyone specific," he said to the occupants of the room who were leaning forward in baited anticipation. "So I shall read it aloud.
"Dear All. I'm sorry that this letter isn't directed to any one person in particular, but as you all deserve to know how I am, and what I am doing, and so I decided that a general letter was needed, though I may add a few personal notes at the end.
"As for how I am, there is no need to worry: I'm fine! I know that this information will be a relief to some and do nothing but increase the anxiety in those that really know me, but I beg you not to worry too much. I admit that these past few weeks have not been the best in my life, and I have lost count of the number of times I wished some of you could have been there to help me through it. But I feel things will get a lot worse before the end of this war.
"I'm sure Snape has explained to you what happened at Tom's. I was injured badly and I guess I must've gotten confused as I apparated out of there. I am assuming that Snape did eventually end up at Hogwarts, as I saw him with Remus in a vision. What possessed him to go back to Riddle Manor I don't know, but I'm glad you are both safe. I, however, ended up here. Though where exactly "here" is I don't know, so I can't really tell you. All you need to know is that this place has been hidden for hundreds of years, and I'm sure you could appreciate how hard that would make it for a certain person to locate me. For the meantime, I aim to keep it that way, but I promise to return when I can.
"As for what I am up to – I'm afraid that must also remain a secret. I suspect that many of you will notice some changes when I return. The power that I unleashed at the Dursley's was immense, and hurt like hell, but I haven't experienced it since so I'm guessing it was a one-off, or something that only happens when I'm faced with Tom. I have, however, discovered a few neat tricks, and I can't wait to show them to you when I return. One of them, I'm sure Professor Dumbledore, and Snape to a lesser extent, would appreciate, is my mastery of Occlumency. It was suggested that I try a different approach to "shutting down my mind" and mastered it almost instantly (don't be too shocked, Snape, I have discovered that I'm pretty good at picking things up when I put my mind to it…). Though there is no one here who can test me with Legilimens, I've found that the only time I experience a vision now is when I've been injured, I guess that's because I don't have a chance to prepare before I slip into unconsciousness.
"That really doesn't sound good does it? Honestly, don't worry about me, I'm not on my own here, and there are people keeping an eye over me. Let Hermione know that I am continuing with my studies, and that there is the biggest library here… And if you can let Ron know that he is welcome to use my Firebolt in this year's quidditch games, if it survived the blast that is. And tell him that I've discovered something that brings a whole new perspective to flying!
"The only thing I really have left to say is to Mr and Mrs Weasley… Arthur, Molly, I'm really sorry about what happened at the Burrow, I only wish that I there was more I could've done to save it. All I can suggest is that you use some the money I have in my vault at Gringotts so that you can rebuild as soon as possible. I know you won't accept the money as a gift, so think of it as a permanent loan in return for the love and support you and your family have given me over the years. The only condition I want to include is that you build it just as it was, and that you welcome me home whenever I come to visit.
"I'm going to say goodbye now, but I do hope that you take me up on my offer, and that this letter has lowered the amount of worry you others may have. I'm not sure when I can write again, but I promise you that I'm working hard to learn all I can before I'm ready to return. I'm determined not to fail you guys, as you all mean so much to me and I miss you all loads. I can't wait to see you again. Harry."
Well, this was just a quick posting just to give you all something to read before I head home for the weekend. I've got another to post as soon as I get back as well, so that you'll know when I've started writing again!
Thank you to:
Elvenears13- glad you listened to your friend (am I right in assuming this was padfoot?) and read my story, and I'm glad you've enjoyed it! Hope I can keep up the standards for you. xx
Padfoot – Lol, thanks again for your amazing reviews. It brings a smile to my face everytime I read one from you! Thanks for your dedication and hope you continue to like the story. Xx
Arual- Lol, I'll take that as a compliment!
FroBoy – Good luck, I have a month to go before my exams, but also have two dissertations to write – it never stops does it? lol.
Gaull – Not telling. :-P
Hunta – yep, he should be. Come back again in a couple of chapters definitely (I know, I've just written it!), as well as few more new characters.
Chocoliciouz – all reviews mean things to me, gives me the guts to keep writing, and I'm so glad you are all enjoying it so much. Given me a lot of confidence and motivation to get it finished. So, a big thanks to you! xx
NoAlias – thanks for your imput – I agree that chapters are getting a bit short, I really should make an effort to pad them out with details and descriptions! This chapter, again, was a bit of a quickie, but I shall take my time on future ones. xx
Wizardmon92 – AU = alternative universe I think. AN = authors note… that's about the only two I know to be honest. They're well confusing aren't they! Hope you enjoy the rest. Xx
Frozenwings – um. Good question! In chapter 16 they are all in the amphitheatre and I wrote that there were about "thirty pairs of young men"… mmmm, I like the sound of that…..
Pink-Fogg – you weren't supposed to consider it – it was supposed to be a surprise! Sheridan is a little older than harry – I was thinking younger than percy though, if that makes any sense. So probably around 20ish. And thank you for your support and praise, its greatly appreciated! Xx
CountessMel – Lol. well, I figured it made him human again, there have been a few concerns about too much "super-harry", I guess a little detail like that brings him down to earth! xx
Thanks also to: Blip-Dragon, J, Digi Bonds and, of course, Candidus-lupus-full Moon. xxx