Actually, Harry did make it into the most secure room in the Dept. of Mysteries at the end of his Fifth Year.
The Face in the Pool
Harry Potter watched, a lump of emotion in his throat, as the Hogwarts Express pulled away from Platform 9 3/4, taking his sons to Hogwarts, Al for the first time.
Harry's vision blurred, and suddenly he was back in what most people thought of as the most secure room of all within the Department of Mysteries. His eyes hurt, and he ached all over from the running battle he had escaped from.
He had needed to get the prophecy away from the Death Eaters, just as he needed to find help to fight those same Death Eaters. He was hurt, and he suspected his friends were hurting worse,
wherever they had scattered to. He did not know how he had opened what had seemed just an instant before a very tightly secured door, but he had taken the chance and come in.
The chamber was huge, and somehow it felt ancient, far older than Hogwarts, or even the odd arch they had come across earlier that night. The chamber was empty, except for what looked like a shallow pool of water. When Harry had approached it, however, the face of a woman had appeared.
Harry thought for a moment it was some sort of communications device, but if it was, it was communicating with some place Harry couldn't really mentally grasp. The mind of the being in the pool had suddenly reached out and grabbed Harry's mind more thoroughly than Snape ever had in their so-called 'Occlumency' lessons. She had then ripped through his mind, made a 't'sk
t'sk' noise, and said into his mind, "Let me show you the most likely future you would have had if you had not passed by the door, and I had allowed you in."
The being had not waited for Harry to agree or question. Harry had then seen the next two years in amazing detail, and yet he believed this was, or at least would have been, his future had he not entered this room: even now, seeing Sirius fall through the Veil; hearing the bloody prophecy; his learning of Riddle's past and the Horcruxes; Snape murdering the Headmaster; the year in hiding as he and Hermione, and at times Ron, bumbled about collecting the Horcruxes; made him shiver. He could see himself walking to his death, but somehow surviving; see Fred and Remus and Tonks and so many others, dead. The next nineteen years had flashed by more quickly, until the final scene at the train station.
"Nothing to say?" the voice asked.
Harry blurted out, "I can't believe I would marry Ginny, or name any child Albus Severus." Then he flushed, knowing he should have said something less shallow.
The voice laughed at him gently, and then asked, "Well, why not Ginny?"
"She's . . . she feels more like an annoying little sister," Harry answered, but he couldn't block out the dead faces from his memory. Ginny was not important to him right now.
"Well, your most likely future has changed now," the voice told him. "You may still make the same major choices, but I doubt if you will allow yourself to be led around now. Your future is in flux. How you act tonight will determine the most likely paths you will follow."
Harry frowned and looked at himself. Not quite sixteen, he was hardly the man, or wizard, he had felt himself to be just a short time before.
"Yes, it feels as if three or four years have passed," the voice agreed. "However, it has been less than three minutes since you entered this chamber. It has been over fourteen hundred years
since the one you called Merlin trapped me in this ancient snare to study me. You are only the fourth person I have offered to help. You have seen a version of the future, Harry Potter. It
is up to you to decide what to do about it. Another set of gifts I give you."
Harry straightened up, strengthened.
"You now truly know all the magic you observed over the other path's life time. You have the power you had then as well. Use it well. You showed so much promise to this point, but you would have coasted magically the next two years, relying first and Dumbledore and then on Granger, and then you would have relied too much on the Elder wand. You have the power right now to surpass both Dumbledore and Riddle, if you choose to exercise it. And remember the lecture Percy Weasley gave you two days after Voldemort's fell."
Harry frowned, and then remembered.
Harry smiled a very nasty smile, which grew as the other memories made connections for him.
"To be safe, young warrior, a small untraceable gift."
Harry blinked as a very short grey-white wand appeared by the side of the pool. "That will work only for you."
"Thank you," Harry whispered, stunned.
Harry took the wand, bowed solemnly at the pool of water, and walked out of the Chamber of Times. Just before he left, Harry turned and asked, "Can Riddle make any more of his Horcruxes?"
"No," was the answer. "Well, he could, but that would leave his body immobile. If given time, however, he could reabsorb one or more Horcruxes and then re-split his soul pieces."
"Thank you," Harry replied simply.
As the door shut, the entity in the pool murmured, "I was good this time. Next time, I get to be bad again . . . but I must admit, this could be more fun to watch than anything I have ever
set in motion before."
Harry had only gotten a few yards away from the door when the Lestrange brothers came around the corner. "Surrender, Potter!" one demanded, as they both raised their wands. Both still
expected the frightened student they had thought they would encounter in the Hall of Prophecy, the changes in the boy they should have seen had been shrugged off. Still, even if they had
expected the Harry of less than half an hour before, it would hardly have prepared them for the Harry they now confronted -- a Harry ruthlessly determined to avoid the bloodbath these people
had caused, a Harry who had mastered the use of deadly magics, even beyond what he had been taught has a senior Auror.
Neither heard the hiss as Harry sent the Killing Curse at them in Parseltongue. As escaped criminals condemned to Azkaban for life, they could be killed by any means. However, Harry, using Parsel-magic and the mysterious new wand, would not have to worry about being found out. The two were dead before they even knew what was happening.
Harry felt more than a twinge of remorse at having to kill them, but he was not about to allow the high death toll amongst his friends that he had seen in the vision.
"We cannot stay and wait much longer," Dolohov growled.
"The Master. . . ."
"Silence," Lucius Malfoy hissed. The other five students had been captured, but while bruised they were not injured and still untortured -- for the moment. Malfoy had sent most of the others off to find Potter and inform him that if he did not come and give up the prophecy, his friends would be tortured. Now only Dolohov and Bellatrix Lestrange were with him, guarding the
"Don't you. . . ."
"Silence!" he hissed again. "I hear something."
"The corridor is getting dark," Dolohov pointed out, puzzled.
"It is," Harry Potter's voice stated. "Surrender, or die. Hurt my friends, and you'll die wishing your Master was torturing you."
"Aw, da baby tinks his balls have dwopped," Bellatrix sneered.
The three Death Eaters' eyes went wide as the dead bodies of the Lestrange brothers were flung out of the darkness. Dolohov's wand was moving before the corpses had stopped sliding, but he
never got to fire a curse, as a violet spell disemboweled him. He fell screaming to the floor as two other spells flew out of the darkness. Malfoy was disarmed and flung against a wall. A
multi-hued green spell had struck Bellatrix.
The some-what stunned Lucius watched in shock and terror as the spell pulled Bellatrix' lungs inside out and then out through her nostrils. She died from the extreme trauma, writhing, a few
Harry walked out of the shadows, and only Luna and Hermione could see that he was only now finishing pulling his wand out from his belt. A flick of his wand freed the five. All of them were nauseous, but only Ron and Ginny vomited as Bellatrix continued to die.
"Damn, Harry," Neville murmured, both horrified and impressed.
Harry sent ropes to tie up Malfoy, silently cast a spell on the prophecy orb, and then smashed it and disrupted the memory as it emerged.
Hermione was scandalized. "Harry!"
"It was given to Dumbledore," Harry said. "He can tell me, if he wants to, but we're not wasting any more effort to protect it. Come on. Ron, can you float Malfoy?"
Still shaken, Ron nodded.
"Make sure he doesn't hit his head on any corners . . . at least not too hard," Harry told his friend.
Ron managed a wan smile at that.
Harry led them out of the Department of Mysteries, and towards the atrium. As the lift was drawing close, Harry said, "I need you five to do one last thing, exactly as I order."
The five, still somewhat stunned from Harry's earlier performance and his current air of command, nodded. "We trust you," Luna added.
"Ron, when we get to the atrium there'll be a stone planter to the left. Drag Malfoy over there. Oh, I almost forgot." Harry added a gag to Malfoy, who was still groggy from his head hitting several corners.
"If anyone comes behind us, they should be on our side. Tell them to stick to cover and stay out of what will be happening." He turned to the other four. "I expect Voldemort is in the
atrium. We need people to acknowledge he's back, or else Fudge will let Lucy here buy his way out of trouble again, and we're all likely be facing expulsion or worse. So, stay under cover
but grab the pots of floo powder and make your way to the fireplaces."
The four all started to protest, but Harry cut them off. "No, you're not running away. I want you to throw powder in every fireplace and call out, 'alpha emergency, class one recall,
Merlin three'. Repeat it."
"Neville or Ginny, make it 'Merlin Prime' on your first fire call. Neville, Ginny, go left. Hermione, Luna, go right. One grabs the pot and throws the powder, the other calls into the
floo as the potholder goes on. Got it?"
"Got it!" they called.
The lift doors open, and Harry strode out straight into the atrium. "I know you're here, Riddle! Come out!" Harry could hear the other elevators were coming, which meant the Order of the Phoenix would soon arrive to reinforce his friends.
"Come on, you half-blood bastard! And we both know both are true! Your idiot purebloods failed, as they always do."
Voldemort came out of the shadows at the far end of the atrium. "Very brave, and even more foolish, Potter," he growled.
"I figure you've been hanging around purebloods long enough to pick up their stupidity."
Voldemort looked confused, missing the opening elevators and flames of the floo network.
"Come on! Was Binns as bad in your time as he is now? Magical society is parasitical on the Muggles. We might have more power, but it makes us lazy. Who was the last powerful and innovative wizard who was not at least partially raised in Muggle society? You and Dumbledore both were, and so am I."
"You're insane, Potter, and you are about to die!"
"You tried that before, you know," Harry said mildly.
There were a number of screams, and Albus Dumbledore came forward, managing to make his voice heard over the yelling and shouting, "You'll pay for that, Tom!"
Then the entire atrium went silent. Voldemort's eyes went wide with shock; Harry Potter was starting to stand up. "That bloody well hurt!" Harry snapped, and he sent three silent curses at the Dark Lord. Voldemort's shield held the first, but the second curse destroyed the shield and the third turned the bones in Voldemort's left arm and shoulder to dust. Voldemort
disappeared, screaming, before hitting the floor.
Harry ignored the growing crowd, especially Dumbledore, and walked straight to Fudge. "Did you see him?" Harry demanded.
Fudge could merely nod, his jaw too slack to make sense with the noises he was making.
"I expect an apology from you, Umbridge arrested for using a blood quill on me and sending those dementors after me last summer, a blanket pardon for myself and my five friends, and a
license to hunt Death Eaters and Voldemort by noon today, or else I'm leaving Britain and YOU can fight the Dark Lord and all his toadies all by yourself. I also need a license to apparate and make portkeys as soon as I can show the Department I can do so safely. Oh, by the way, Sirius Black is innocent. You don't need to pardon him, I guess, since he was never convicted of anything. If you need more proof than my word, which I gave you two years ago, that Pettigrew is alive and a Death Eater, get it out of Malfoy here, or Nott or Crabbe, who are tied up downstairs. Maybe you should give them some truth potions instead of taking their money. Now, come here."
Harry dragged the shocked Minister over to the very angry and frightened Lucius Malfoy. Harry bared his forearm between the ropes and hissed in Parseltongue.
The Dark Mark showed clearly.
As Fudge was staring at the Dark Mark, Harry dragged Ron away. Dumbledore was trying to get his attention, but Harry ignored the Headmaster. He also refused to look in Sirius' or Remus'
directions, fearing he would lose his composure.
The crowd opened in front of Harry, and his other four friends quickly made their way to him, wearing what Harry now knew were magical shackles designed to prevent magic use. They had
obviously been captured by Aurors, to be charged with illegal use of Ministry emergency codes.
A flick of Harry's wand and the shackles fell off. The Aurors present were confounded, as only Aurors should be able to do that. That made them hesitate to move on Harry or his friends.
Of course, none of the Aurors had just survived a second killing curse and they weren't about to say anything to Harry without prompting.
Harry glanced around and frowned. "Hermione, may I have your necklace?"
Hermione blinked. She would have been willing to bet neither Harry nor Ron had ever noticed her small locket, since she thought it was always under her clothes. She took it off and
wondered if she had been right in thinking Ron a more likely partner after all.
Harry just held the necklace for a second and then had them all touch it.
An instant later, the six students disappeared.
"What the hell just happened?" Sirius demanded. He paled as everyone realized that Sirius Black was among them.
"What the hell just happened?" Ron demanded.
Harry was pacing in front of the room of Requirement. "I got you into trouble, and I got you out. Come on."
Harry led them into a very comfortable sitting room. "Dobby!"
Dobby appeared, wide-eyed.
"No one can come in and out of this room without my permission. How can I make certain no one can force you to reveal my location?"
"You could hire me, Harry Potter, sir, or . . . or you could bind me."
"I'd rather hire you, but what you would prefer?" Harry asked, ignoring Hermione's hiss of disapproval.
"Dobby would work for Harry Potter, sir?"
"Yes, for as long as we both want."
Dobby hugged Harry's knees.
"We need some light food, like soup and sandwiches," Harry said.
Dobby nodded and disappeared.
"We all need showers," Harry said. He pointed to the six doors in the opposite wall from the now-blank wall they had entered from. "Six doors, six suites. I'll have Dobby put the food in
each room, in case you want to think things over or be by your selves."
In the alternate time stream Harry had seen, Neville would become a strong and confident wizard, steeled by the adversity of his seventh year. This Neville had turned the corner of that path with the DA and was firmly going in that direction.
Seeing Harry deal with Lestrange and the others, not to mention Voldemort, made Neville even more sure that he was on the right path. Harry, his friend and leader, was the Chosen One.
Still, Neville was tired. As he picked up a mug of soup, he decided to talk with Harry when they woke up later that morning.
Ginny Weasley was still stunned and in shock as she stumbled out of the shower. She admired Harry, and was still crushing on him as well, or had been when they left for the Ministry. Still, she was the youngest of the group, 23 months younger than Hermione, 17 months younger than Ron, 13 months younger than Harry and Neville, 10 months younger than Luna.
More than any of the others, she had seen the events of the night as an adventure, even after they had been captured. Death, to Ginny, was still something that happened to the old and infirm who simply fell asleep and never woke up, or those who died bloodlessly in battle.
The blood and stink of Dolohov and Bellatrix Lestrange's deaths had sickened her beyond measure. The Ginny who had endured the next two years of the now-alternate time stream would have steeled herself and struck down someone just as harshly, but she was not up to it yet.
Ginny was now more frightened by Harry than infatuated with him. She crawled into bed, shivering and with blood and guts on the floor in her mind's eye.
Luna stood in the little bathroom, naked and holding a damp towel, thinking. She had never had real friends before, but she knew that Harry and Neville were her friends, and Ginny and
Hermione might be as well. Her crush on Ron was long over, and she had admitted to herself months before that he disliked her.
What should she do?
"What matters tonight is Harry," she muttered. Having decided that, she put on the white pajamas, thick socks, and robe provided in the room. She extinguished the lights and opened the
door to the sitting room a crack, and waited to see what happened.
Harry came out of his room less than a minute later, a sandwich and a bottle of lemonade in hand. He sat on a sofa, and waited.
Silently, Luna watched and waited as well.
Ron was confused. He was very happy to have gotten out of the events of the evening before with just some serious bruising, both to his body and to his pride.
Generally, Ron preferred to only think about a few things: Quidditch; chess; food. When he tried to think of new things, especially disturbing things (potions, You-Know-Who, girls) his
mind often seemed to shut down. Now, he was forcing himself to think about Harry.
Ron hated to admit it, but he was as conflicted as always about being the close friend of 'the Boy-Who-Lived'. Being friends with Harry was fine, as it often involved Quidditch, beating
Harry at chess, and, at the Burrow, larger meals served all around to put some meat on Harry. Ron knew he was attracted to Hermione, but although she was filling out in interesting ways,
she was still too dedicated to two things: school work and Harry.
That bothered Ron.
The whole 'Boy-Who-Lived' aspect of Harry bothered Ron a lot as well. Harry hated the attention, and Ron was finally able to admit he was jealous of the attention Harry got. Ron wouldn't want to go through half of what Harry did, but it did seem to Ron that he went through about a third of what Harry went through, and got about one percent of the attention.
That bothered Ron.
Harry's performance that night bothered Ron a lot as well. When had Harry managed to get so powerful? He was past Flitwick and McGonagall powerful, he might be edging towards, or even beyond, Dumbledore and You-Know-Who powerful.
That frightened Ron.
It did not occur to Ron as he ate everything on the platter provided to seek Harry out and see how he was doing. Once his hunger was partially sated, he merely thought, 'I'm tired. I
hope there's food here when I wake up,' and he went to sleep.
Hermione had been banged up pretty badly, but not seriously injured. She spent a few minutes healing herself, and then a very long time under a very hot shower. When she finally came
out, she dressed the night clothes provided, steeled herself, and opened the door to talk to Harry. If she knew Harry as well as she thought, he would be waiting for someone to come to him. If not, he would be brooding someplace, and she would track him down.