During the train ride before third year Harry has a close encounter with a dementor that causes him to absorb the soul fragment within him, granting both knowledge and power. Features Harry with a ...
I I I
Hermione fretted visibly, soaking inside of her teacher's tub. Warm steam filled the room like confusion filled her thoughts.
All of the immediate emergencies had been taken care of. She had taken Trelawney's nightgown and put it on, drunk the polyjuice and now resembled her. She'd read books she'd found in the teacher's quarters until she judged it about time the professor would have to rise to get ready for her day, then reclaimed the wizarding photograph in a tricky bit of work that had to have her in the bed, resting where Trelawney had been, and (reasoning that the teacher had to be able to use magic in her own room) summon the photo using Trelawney's wand, after disillusioning it so the portrait watching her room wouldn't notice the switch.
Then the real hard part had begun, rising and pretending to be Trelawney.
All her own clothes had been shrunken and placed in a pocket of an outfit that she'd found in Trelawney's closet, the one she could recall their teacher wearing from that day they'd had her class. Dressing before she left the bathroom, as she didn't want a portrait peeping on her, even if it was one of a girl, and even if Hermione wasn't in her own body, the disguised girl left the sheltered toilet area and went back into the bedroom.
She found breakfast waiting on a handy side table, and sat down to eat, still embroiled in heavy thoughts. The polyjuice had worn out hours ago, but she'd hardly noticed at all, as there was hardly any effort in keeping her teacher's form. So distracted was she, she hardly noticed this improvement of her skill.
Finishing quickly, and in no mood for tea, so leaving the cup steaming alone in the bright light of a no longer nearly so early morning Hermione stood, trying as she had been for hours to recall all she could of their first Divination lesson, although it seemed a week ago now. Actually, it was only a couple of days, in spite of being today. Was this why all fey were so barmy in stories? They couldn't keep their facts straight because, to them, they WEREN'T straight? You'd think it would be easy enough to keep track of what day it was, but already that was one of the more complicated parts of their lives!
Shaking herself out of a rapidly growing funk, the girl focused herself on the task at hand. Ok, so she couldn't recall exact specifics of the lesson, only bits and pieces, and being alternately impressed and put off by the teacher. Trelawney hadn't acted as assured or comfortable at teaching as she ought, but had almost constantly come through with surprising insights.
Hermione paced back and forth, pondering how to go forward with this. She had committed the class textbook to memory as a matter of course before even coming to school this year. She did that with all of her books. So she knew the material therein, and the teacher had stuck pretty closely to it... maybe that was because it was Hermione teaching herself all that lesson?
Okay, that settled it. She now knew why fey were barmy.
'Wait,' she realized, stopping herself. 'It's a class on DIVINATION!Seeing the FUTURE!' Of course, knowing a bit of your future was hardly difficult when you were already living in your own past!
Hermione smirked, already deciding that, yes, she could do this. Moments later a bell rang, alerting the school to the need to be ready for first class.
I I I
"Now I already know all of your names," Hermione/Trelawney told the class, trying hard to keep a superior smirk off her expression.
"You dear," the current Hermione/Trelawney directed a look to the Hermione of the past, human and from what felt like so long ago. "You are thinking what a cheap trick that is, no? Memorizing students names and faces?"
Well, it was one. A cheap trick, that is.
Nevertheless, Hermione/Trelawney loomed close over Student/Hermione."Oh yes, you are. But then how do you explain how I know that your father last scolded you when you were seven? Or that it was because you'd spilled tea over a medical encyclopedia that he said you shouldn't be reading?"
Student/Hermione jerked as if stung, obviously revising her opinions of this teacher and subject as no longer woolly. Hermione/Trelawney smiled and surveyed the rest of her little class. Passing close to Ron, she couldn't resist herself and stated, "You, Ronald Weasley, are an obnoxious little beast and shall come to a very bitter end."
Addressing the class, she said, "Ronald Weasley is an immature jerk almost totally driven by greed and jealousy. He is one of those arrogant louts who is actually proud of his own ignorance - as proven by the fact that he ridicules anyone who knows or does more than he, which is almost everyone. He is not a fit mate for woman or beast, and it would ruin any girl to go out with him. He does not appreciate his friends - he would not appreciate a girl. Any girl. If you want respect, love or loyalty, look elsewhere."
Lavender and Parvati, along with most other girls, giggled. Ron's ears flushed red in anger, and Harry looked confused. Student/Hermione frowned, not able to agree with her 'teacher's' prediction. Oh well, she'd learn.
Hermione/Trelawney could no longer conceal her smirk at having destroyed any chance for Ron to get a date while at Hogwarts. It was petty, but this revenge for having backstabbed her and Harry did make her feel better, and she continued softly floating on light steps about the room as she addressed the class. "He, like many others, are taking this subject for easy grades."
The Hermione posing as the teacher stopped to meet Harry's eyes, and saw the student jump, as that HAD been the reason he'd once signed up for this course, on Ron's urging.
By now Hermione/Trelawney was having fun, shocking her friends, fellow students and housemates. She paused, as if looking off into a far distance."Ah, two late students will be joining us in a moment, and another one minute and twenty seconds later. They are, in order of appearance, Hanna Abbott, Susan Bones, and Justin Finch-Fletchley."
The two girls named scrambled up the ladder into class just moments after she finished speaking, all huffing and puffing, out of breath for having gotten lost on the way.
Then they wondered why so many people were staring at them.
Hermione/Trelawney noted triumphantly out of the corner of her eye her student self taking out a watch and timing her prediction for the third. But she had no fear of getting caught. She knew it was accurate!
It was easy to know. She'd been through this class before.
"Only two of you have read the book," Hermione/Trelawney pompously declared, knowing she was right. "Hermione Granger, who did so of her own volition, and Parvati Patil, whose sister Padma made her study ahead on her subjects. A few of you have paged through the text, to a degree, but none aside from those two remember anything pertinent to today's lesson. Now if you will all turn with me to page seven, you will find that is where Parvati left the bookmark she has lost, and once Mister Finch-Fletchley joins us you will all discover his older brother scrawled a dirty picture on that page in his."
Justin joined them right on time, tried unsuccessfully to slip into an unused seat without anyone noticing (most of the class had been watching for him, not a few with watches out and timing this - but the teacher's prediction was bang on the dot), and asked his seat mate, Ron (Harry was sitting over at a table with Student/Hermione) what page they were on.
Half the class rose and was looking over his shoulder as Justin opened it, and the blush on his face and burst of laughter from those watching was proof enough of the scrawled picture's presence, but Justin's outburst about why his brother did things like that to him was final proof in the pudding.
Seeing her student self staring at her, wondering if this was a clever setup, suddenly Hermione/Trelawney had a flash of insight as to why her younger self had been alternatively both shocked beyond words and dismayed about this class. So shocking was this revelation that the girl posing as teacher gave up on her plans to stick religiously close to the material, and ventured into a bit of something a whim caused her to make up on the spot.
"Attention class," she drilled them with a hard gaze through Trelawney's bug-like glasses. "One of the first rules of Divination that should be known by all who aspire to learn this art is this: Don't forget that you may not like what you see. The future is what is it. If it is not what you like, do not blame me. We actually avoid those fields that grant certain knowledge of the future, as if it is certain it cannot be avoided. And where is the use in that? Knowing ahead of time that you will have a miserable, unhappy marriage is of no use to anyone unless that can be avoided. That is why we seek warnings instead of harsh, unalterable predictions of Fate."
Hermione/Trelawney saw some students scribbling this in their notes. She would later go over her own notes from this class and find it there.
Standing behind Ron's chair, and putting her hands on that chair back, she spoke over his head to declare to the rest of the class, "However, if you know that someone is a hurtful, heartless, demeaning, worthless jerk that has never and will never change, you know better than to marry him and give him a chance to trap you in that miserable marriage." She patted Ron on the head, and the clueless jerk didn't even realize that she'd just insulted him (although all the girls in the class except Student/Hermione were giggling).
Ah, Student/Hermione actually resented her saying things like that about her friend! It would be tragic if her future self didn't know she'd be clued in by Luna to some of Ron's backbiting. As it stood it was hilarious!
Smiling far more serenely now, Hermione/Trelawney drifted on soft steps around the room, still instructing, "That is why it is far better to know what is, or has been, than what will be. Predict the future too perfectly and it can be a trap. Predict the past or present with perfect accuracy, however, and all you have gained is knowledge. Often knowledge that can be productively used to prevent an unpleasant future."
Shaking herself out of the odd whim that had caused her to wax poetic about a subject she knew next to nothing about, and wondering where those words had come from in the first place as she'd never thought of them before saying them (and had forgotten that part of this lesson), the girl acting as Trelawney busied herself, hurrying around to her desk and awkwardly fiddling around for a moment before sliding back into comforting bossiness.
"Now, who can tell me what the uses of palmistry are? Susan?"
The Hufflepuff girl smirked at her performance. "Couldn't you tell ahead of time that I wouldn't know the answer to that question?"
The class erupted in giggles, and some male laughter.
Hermione/Trelawney just smiled winningly back. "Of course! That is why I asked you." Seeing herself now surrounded by pale faces, she once again got seized upon by a strange urge and waxed poetic. "I could tell you all what your grades were going to be, not just in this subject but any others. Yet what is the use in that? Since I avoid absolute predictions they would not be locked in place, and those I told would have high grades might slack off on the confidence that gave them and not actually achieve them. While those I told would do poorly might not put in any effort at all and learn nothing! What is the point in my writing down marks in my gradebook before you even show up? No, I am not here in the capacity of a fortune teller, but as a teacher. That means I am more likely to single you out if you have not studied, on the hopes of getting you to cover the material to avoid shame the next time!"
Twirling a finger lazily around the top of her crystal ball, Hermione/Trelawney gave an unfriendly smirk to the class. "No, you will do your homework, or you will learn that I know every dirty secret you ever did, even things you've forgotten, and have no compunctions at all about embarrassing you in front of the rest of your peers."
Faces had gone white all around her.
"So much for the easy grade," Ron whispered to Justin. "This just become a hard class."
Shaking herself once more as the odd urge of whimsy departed, the girl posing as their teacher once again centered herself in the material she'd memorized. "Now Miss Granger. You know the uses of palmistry. Ten points to Gryffindor, and would you kindly tell the rest of us?"
I I I
Hermione/Trelawney stood in Dumbledore's office, having forgotten to leave she'd been having so much fun, and gotten so caught up in teaching classes that the elves found her before she'd left the castle.
Strangely, Trelawney seemed to have a dedicated House Elf assigned to her. It wasn't her elf, she couldn't command it any more than any staff member could command any Hogwarts elf, and probably less than most. Hermione was smart enough to figure out the creature was probably part of the security arrangement Dumbledore had around his precious seer. Fortunately, the little creature seemed to expect Trelawney to be confused, so the undercover girl's first startled and confused reactions to it were taken as normal.
So in a way it was good that she got surprised, as she couldn't have planned to have those reactions, and if they were normal not doing them would've brought down suspicion upon her.
Actually, Hermione would've preferred to have avoided the situation entirely, and had tried to leave several times. However no sooner did one class end than ten minutes later another began, and between lingering students who hung around chatting with each other, or wanted to ask her questions about their assignments (or boys, a surprising number of girls wanted her to make love predictions for them) there had been no opportunity to slip out between the official periods, and then Trelawney had apparently built up her own cult of devoted up-and-coming future fortune tellers who spent lunch with her as a head start on their early afternoon private lessons together.
She'd been locked in all day until the House Elf arrived to take her away to Dumbledore's office. Now she was stuck there, waiting for the Headmaster to arrive, unable to stop a guilty feeling clawing at the bottom of her tum, sure that she'd been discovered.
The poor girl had no idea that Dumbledore was as yet unaware of her switch or the abduction of his true oracle, and that he'd merely called her there for a prediction. Also that in spite of her memory being tampered with, the lady had a lingering apprehension of the Headmaster and his office, left over in her subconscious despite all those memory wipes.
So Trelawney fretting nervously and acting apprehensive in his office was perfectly normal behavior for the Divination teacher.
Sadly, Hermione was unaware that her act had been perfect to this point and was anxiously fretting, unaware that she was upholding her act perfectly by doing so, and wondering if she'd given herself away by telling all of'her' prize pupils at those private lessons in detail about Snape's deaths that day - well in advance of those deaths actually happening.
The disguised Hermione was tying herself up in knots of nerves when a house elf popped in, one of the Headmaster's personal ones, and began setting out the Headmaster's tea.
Belatedly, the girl realized that she'd worked through lunch with Trelawney's star pupils, and that Potions class came afterwards - the very Potions class Snape had died in. The Headmaster was most probably late dealing with that. Harry did say that it took some dark rituals to recover from.
Fighting down her nerves, knowing it was going to be a while before the old man came back to his office to expose and question her, Hermione turned to the elf before it could leave and pointed to the Headmaster's bookshelves. "Do you mind if I read while I wait?"
The elf thought it over for a moment, as if consulting someone via telepathy or something, before nodding. "Mistress can read."
Grabbing a book while the elf vanished, the disguised Hermione flung herself down on her padded guest chair and cracked open the volume, almost not caring what it was.
Then she spied the Headmaster's tea, all laid out for him.
Slowly, almost unable to believe her own daring, the girl reached into her pocket and withdrew her invisibility cloak, copy of Harry's. Shrunken like this, it looked almost like a pocket handkerchief. Especially with the collar parts crumpled up in her hand it looked like just a square scrap of cloth.
Dipping it several times in the Headmaster's tea, she wiped a spot of grime on the cover of her book, as if trying to remove it, then fanned herself with the damp cloth as if to sooth her troubled brow, before replacing the cloak in her pocket and settling down to read.
Now she had a chance, not much of one, she knew. But some was better than none. And at this point, with Trelawney gone, even if Hermione got destroyed Harry would still have a chance. That, too, was a source of comfort.
Very shortly she got absorbed in the book. It was rare, and a very good one.
I I I
Albus Dumbledore loved information. The more of it he had, the more powerful it made him, and the more easily he could detect other's schemes, plan to take advantage of them or counter with his own, and predict what people would do. It was at the heart and core of his control of the magical world. So he strained even his expanded capacity to absorb information and packed himself to the gills with sources constantly feeding him.
It was unfortunate in one aspect - once he'd fallen behind, like having been taken out by a poisoned chicken bone (mere sleep did not stop him from processing the information flow, but unconsciousness out of severe wounds or poisoning did), it was doubly difficult to catch back up to where he ought to have been without that interruption.
And, to compound that disaster, the first days of school everyone was more talkative than usual, so there was more information to be learned. So he was more behind than usual, at a time of year he regularly lagged behind.
To use a metaphor, his mental inbox was crammed full, and it would be some time after things settled down that he could deal with it all. But to him every scrap was precious, and would be dealt with in good time.
The priority alerts he would listen to first, and one of the abnormal signals he got during the first day after his recovery was to check in on Severus Snape, who'd died unaccountably in his classroom trying to mind rape Harry.
The Headmaster had been dealing with the Potter Problem, and his sudden and entirely unwelcome changes, as well as his newly closer relationship to a potential 'twice golden watcher'. He'd only just called for an elf to take Trelawney down from her quarters for a prediction so he could deal with the problem teenager when the call came in from the castle about Severus.
Trelawney would have to wait in his office until he returned.
Dealing with his Potion Master's sudden execution raised certain questions, none of which Dumbledore had time to properly delve into, as Trelawney became a complete wreck if left alone in his quarters too long. He knew she was unaware of why she reacted so negatively to him, though it did keep her from coming down to take meals in the Great Hall too often; which he found convenient, as it limited her scope of movements rather sharply to stay in her tower virtually all of the time.
But, due to the things he had to do to her mind to keep her unaware of her own predictions, it was unavoidable that she feel unaccountably leery of him and nervous in his presence - or anxious trapped in his office, and if he left her there too long she could grow too distressed to make a prophecy for him despite all of the spells of Delphi in his arsenal.
A terrified mind closes up and shuts down, and if she did succumb to her well earned apprehensions waiting for him there would be nothing he could do to her to make her predict a way to reassert his control over Harry until she had calmed down, which could take days.
So after raising Professor Snape, and being raised in turn, the Headmaster hurried back to his office to get that prediction done so he could set his plans against Harry in motion, before rushing off to investigate what had killed poor Severus.
Egad! Already so far behind, when there was so much to be investigated!And nothing could be put to rest until he had wrung every scrap of detail from it!
Dumbledore entered his office and spied his tea set. Casting a quick warming charm he gratefully drank deeply of his cup, desperately needing the calming potions the elves included for him, as well as other potions for reinforcement to his grandfatherly persona, thus avoiding further upset to Trelawney. He could not afford to shut her down before he got that prophecy he needed!
Hermione/Trelawney secretly twinkled, face down in her book, knowing that the Headmaster had just drunk malaclaw venom released into his tea from when she'd dipped her cloak in it.
If HE was unlucky, she now stood a chance.
Dumbledore drank confidently, knowing that the portraits would've warned him if anyone tried doctoring his food with any potions, pills or powders. Then he got straight to work.
Contrary to her expectations, the Headmaster drew his wand (which, as she had half-expected from what she'd learned earlier, was Elder) and without a word of preamble, cast a spell on her in Greek.
The girl immediately resolved to learn that tongue as her next language lozenge.
Dumbledore followed with more waves of his wand and Greek, then demanded in English, "Speak! Oracle, speak! Harry Potter grows more troublesome by the day. Tell me how I might return him to my control!"
The Headmaster then jabbed his wand at her and spoke more Greek.
A strange lassitude came over the girl. Feeling like she was in a dream, the girl found that she was being pushed to say something, but hadn't the foggiest notion what to say.
Then a bit of whimsy gave her an idea. No sooner had it entered her head than whatever magic force was on her seized upon it, and Hermione threw her head back and declared:
"The webs of an old, white bumblebee
have caught a green-eyed lion.
But a chicken sets it free.
"Snake and bumblebee both stung lion
but their venom loses potency.
"Bumblebee revealed as spider, and snake to be a worm.
Chicken hunts spider, preys upon both bug and worm."
Albus scowled, for many reasons. For one, it had been a long time since his oracle had been so clear, there was virtually no room for interpretation in that prophecy at all. His own name, Albus Dumbledore, when Albus was Latin for white, and Dumbledore in 18th Century English meant bumblebee, made that portion far too clear for his peace of mind. But far more troublesome was that she had used that clarity to declare bad news!
It had been ages since she'd had anything so bad to say!
Inwardly, Hermione was astonished, although she'd wisely kept all but her confusion off the face she was wearing. What she'd wanted to do was tell the old man that he was being exposed and going to die. But the words for that had come from... somewhere else.
She'd honestly expected to have to scramble for them, and they would have come out vintage Hermione, which someone who knew her surely would have recognized. But before she could think much further on that subject, the Headmaster had jabbed his wand at her and spoke more Greek, before telling her in English, "Tell me, how might the chicken be destroyed?"
Already her head was back, and she rather vindictively told him, "Neither spider nor worm have that power! Both are prey to the chicken."
Dumbledore's face paled, and he made the mistake of pondering aloud,"Not spider, nor worm... but what about the lion?" Another jab of his wand and more Greek followed. "How might the lion be induced to destroy the chicken in time to save the spider?"
One of her father's cruder statements jumped to mind and Hermione wanted to tell the old bag of bones to go piss up a rope, but somehow, she'd guess because of the magic he'd used, that came out differently.
"The lion hunts not whilst bound by webs, and the webs shall survive the spider."
Dumbledore pondered for a moment, before again casting his spell and asking, "How might the spider regain his sting and become the bumblebee once more? A creature that can evade the chicken?"
"The care of the bumblebee is not for flowers but for webs. It shall remain a spider evermore." Hermione stated strongly.
At this Dumbledore smiled to himself. "But the bumblebee has another name: Wulfric, an Anglo-Saxon term for 'wolf power', and chickens are prey to wolves. But I've pressed this enough, already going beyond the recommended three questions. My dear Sybil, we shall continue this another time, when you will tell me how to prosper as the wolf. For now... Obliviate!"
Hermione was left blinking, wondering why she recalled everything clearly just after a memory spell she was sure was meant to erase this little interview and the questions he'd asked (but more particularly, her responses to them).
She was just wondering what to do, and if the Queen's 'absolute defense against Legilimency' had anything to do with her remembering everything up to and including the Headmaster casting an Obliviate spell at her, when Albus got a message from Snape, and left the room in a rush muttering about an intrusion and coleslaw.
I I I
Neither party is going to think of this, so I'll tell you straight out. The spells Albus uses to control his oracle and wring predictions out from her are based on a form of mind control - and mind control simply does not work on fairy creatures. Nothing that would function on mortals, anyway. They have their own rules for that sort of thing, and these spells do not apply it.
It is possible to make fey do things, but that's compulsion, not mind control. They stay fully in command of their faculties and senses while carrying out those instructions - and thus can freely interpret and twist them.
So various mind magics (as Albus specializes in) are ineffective, and things like Obliviates (a magically enforced command to forget) simply fail.
The rest of those spells for wringing predictions out of oracles, without the mind control aspect, twist and become rather weird as a key ingredient has gone missing. If you put something other than flour in a breadmaker, you get out something other than bread.
Of course, like Harry said last chapter, those new bodies of theirs did not come with instruction booklets, so the trio are ignorant of most of their own powers.
And yes, they are true metamorphamagi. They've just had zero time to learn to use those powers - just like you can't hand someone a set of skis and a mountain and expect them to be instant, expert skiers, they are new to this and will take some time to be fully proficient. So for the meantime they have used the shortcut of polyjuice potions to learn new forms.
And, at the moment, they happen to be out of polyjuice (don't expect that to last long).