Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Phoenix Eclipse

Chapter Thirteen: Dark Reality

by Spyridon 2 Reviews

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres:  - Characters:  - Published: 2010/04/25 - Updated: 2010/04/26 - 5362 words

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Chapter Thirteen: Dark Reality
__________

Shyamal was rudely awakened by someone screaming.

He rolled out of bed, wand falling into his hand as he searched for the source of the screams. A thump sounded as Neville fell to the ground, his blankets coiled around his feet. Ron, Dean, and Seamus were climbing out from their beds, throwing the curtains around their beds back. Shyamal's eyes flicked to the last bed, the curtain unmoved and the source of the screams.

In five strides, Shyamal thrust the curtains back to see Edward convulsing slightly on top of the bed sheets, hands clasped tightly to his forehead, still caught in the throes of spasms. Ron took a peek over his shoulder, taking off in the next second to get Professor McGonagall.

"Potter! Wake up!" But Edward did respond, convulsing even harder as the attack strengthened in force, his back arching.

"What's wrong it him?" Dean asked in horror.

Shyamal didn't answer. He leaned over and gave him a shake. It didn't do anything. "Potter! It's a nightmare! Potter!" He shook harder but the boy still didn't respond. A dull ache began to build in Shyamal's head but he steadily ignored it.

"Do you think he's going to die?" Neville asked worriedly.

"No he's not." Shyamal stepped back raising his wand. "Aquamenti!" The jet of ice cold water struck Edward in the side of his face, the drop in temperature forcing him out of the vision. The teen rolled off the bed, spluttering as he tried to shake off the affects of the vision. Shyamal dropped to one knee next to him. "Potter, are you alright?"

"Don't fucking touch me!" Edward tried to stand but he fell limply against the side of the bed.

Shyamal wanted to say nothing but the steps clamoring up the stairs stopped him. A few second later Professors McGonagall, Dumbledore and Potter were bursting through into their dorm. Already the noise had attracted the rest of the fifth year boys, quite a few trying to glimpse what was going on.

"Back to your dorms; Mr. Weasley, help the other prefects to herd all of them back to their respective dorms." McGonagall ordered briskly. Grumbles and moans could be heard as one by one the boys were forced back.

"Edward, are you alright?" Lily touched her son's wet face, searching for any sign of injury.

"Would someone like to explain what went on here?" Professor McGonagall said, her gaze going from one student to the next.

"We woke up when Potter began to scream. Shyamal was the first one there.' Seamus reported, shifting nervously.

Shyamal stared at McGonagall. "When I opened his curtains, it looked like his forehead was bothering him as he was holding his hands tightly there. I tried to rouse him by shaking him slightly but he wouldn't stop screaming. I had to use a Water charm to get him out of whatever state he was in."

Dumbledore looked down on the boy being held by his mother. "It is anything you like to say, Mr. Potter?"

"Yes sir but not here. I need to talk to you in private." Edward whispered quietly. Shyamal's ears perked up at this but knew he couldn't say anything.

"Perhaps we should move this to the infirmary so Madam Pomfrey can look you over for anything injuries." Dumbledore said gravely, giving the Boy Who Lived a once over. Turning to the other boys, he addressed them. "I believe I don't have to stress of how important it is that none of you speak about this past this point." The five teens nodded. Dumbledore gave them one last look before leaving, the two professors and Edward following.

"Bloody hell, what do you think that was?" Dean asked all of them, eyes wide.

"Do you think he has a disease?"

"I don't think so, Neville." Shyamal went back to his bed. "Whatever it was, it's important for Dumbledore to know so it has to be something big. And we won't be able to solve it tonight so it would be best if we go to bed." The others took the hint, climbing back to theirs and closing the curtains.
__________

Smoke was still rising from a number of burning ruins that had once been Wizarding homes just an hour before when James Potter appeared in the town center. The small village of a hundred wizards and residents had been razed almost to the ground, only a few building still left standing if not unscathed. Aurors and Hit-wizards were moving about the area, searching for any survivors and transporting the injured to St. Mungo's which had been alerted when the call came. Another squad was circling the perimeter, making sure that no muggle accidentally stumbled on them.

James dropped the used Portkey on the ground, searching for his Deputy Auror. Since Sirius was now teaching at Hogwarts, he had promoted Kingsley Shacklebolt to the position, knowing the man had a head about him as well as a large repertoire of spells and skills. It was an added bonus the man was also part of the Order of the Phoenix.

The dark-skinned man was speaking with two Senior Aurors, getting reports from their respective areas. As James neared them, he could start hearing snippets.

"-are you sure they knew who they were seeing?"

"The lady seems to be bloody positive." The tall built man said, his dirty blonde hair spilling over into his light brown eyes. "She swears on her mother's grave and is even willing to have an Obliviator come and take her memory as evidence."

"Kingsley." The three wizards turned to him, the two Senior Aurors paling slightly. "What's the news?"

Kingsley sighed. "At about 9 pm, a wizard in Death Eater robes appeared in the town center. Reports vary in the exact details but the basics are the same. He started to ignite the houses in the immediate vicinity, blasting down the wizards and witches that spilled out onto the streets. Even the dogs weren't spared. As of right now, the tally is thirty eight dead, fourteen in critical condition, another eleven with injuries, and thirteen missing. The rest of the residents were able to flee as far as they're concerned, a couple of which have returned once the Dark wizard left when the Aurors responded. I have a team of Aurors checking for survivors that are still here."

"Do we know the identity of the Dark wizard and was it really only the one?" James' eyes roamed over the damage, knowing that even a group of the standard ten Death Eaters couldn't do this much damage, not even Bellatrix Lestrange. Maybe Voldemort but so far he was keeping a low profile. Would he really risk revealing himself to an ignorant public that still believed he was gone for good? His eyes snapped back when he saw the Senior Auror who was speaking before wince just slightly. "You know something."

The Senior Auror blinked, eyes flicking toward Kingsley who nodded. "The Dark wizard left one of his victims alive, presumably because of the arrival of the Auror response team. It seems he was toying around with her, enjoying in her pain. She says she can vividly remember the eyes, the emerald green eyes of her tormentor. She also states his voice sounded young, a teenager's voice. And that he was doing this was only one step towards the destruction of everything his brother holds dear."

James froze, instantly realizing the implications of the words. "She swears that the Dark wizard who did this is-?"

"Harry Potter." Kingsley whispered softly, knowing this would be hard on his friend and boss. He had seen his reactions when he had told the Order of seeing Harry disappearing with the group of Death Eaters who had killed his younger siblings. The man had flipped between a dark fury and numb denial. "It seems with everything happening, Harry Potter has finally decided to come back into the view of the public."

"He never was a Potter." James spat, an ugly taste filling his mouth. "I want that woman's memory and her testimony. Make sure nothing is tampered with it. I also want a breakdown of the timeline of this attack, the exact times he came here and when he left." The Senior Aurors nodded. "Escort the lady to the Department of MLE." With nods, the two left.

"Once Fudge finds about this, you'll know what he will do."

James swept a hand through his graying black locks. "I can't believe it. After all this time, he's been waiting." His eyes roamed over the ruins again. "This much power isn't possible for a normal fifteen year old boy."

"Not naturally, but with some Dark rituals yes, unless of course, he's another Voldemort or dark Dumbledore." Kingsley rubbed his chin. "They're smart. This is sure as going to smear your name through the mud, discrediting you even further if you don't handle this case right. If you try to pile this under other cases, the public will cry out that you're just trying to protect your blood. Then there is the fact that he is your son; someone that you will have to find, capture, and imprison, assuming he doesn't force you to kill him when you try to bring him in."

"He's not my son, Kingsley."

"You may think that, but as a father, your heart is telling you the opposite; caught holding the wolf by the ears, unable to let go."

"When did you become a philosopher?"

"Hmm, when I joined the Aurors."

Anymore jokes were interrupted when a house further down the street suddenly exploded, bits of wood and bricks flying through the air. Aurors and Hit-wizards quickly ran to the house, James and Kingsley following. The red flames sizzled as jets of water sprouted from dozens of wands. Inside, screaming could be heard, no doubt a victim caught inside. The fire burned, jumping back despite various Aguamenti charms, defying to be put out.

No matter how much they tried to move toward the building's screaming occupant, the fire grew back. After a few minutes, the screaming stopped, no doubt having died from the fire. Defeated, the Aurors and Hit-wizards watched the flames, preventing it from jumping to other buildings as it continued to burn.

"Kingsley?" His Deputy turned to him. "As of this moment, Harry Potter is Undesirable Number One." The grim face his friend did nothing but intensify the feelings inside of James.
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When the Daily Prophet arrived the next morning, the school erupted in whispers and rumors. Shyamal saw Edward pale considerably out of the corner of his eye as Hermione read out loud from her copy.

"- the attack on the village Andiron, thirty-two miles North east of Bristol, has left forty seven dead, ten in critical condition with another seven injured and seventeen missing, including three victims who were killed when a booby-trapped house exploded. The remaining survivors have been taken to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement for their testimonies and protection while temporary safe havens are being searched for.

An informant inside the Auror Department has confidently stated the person who killed so many last night was none other than Harry Potter, the boy who mysteriously disappeared over five years on the night his younger siblings were brutally murdered by You-Know-Who's supporters. It was revealed that the second Potter child was in league with the Death Eaters and has since then not be seen.

Head Auror James Potter, as of this morning, has declared his estranged and Death Eater son, Harry Potter as Undesirable Number One, the highest decree for a wanted criminal. "In light of recent events, the Auror Department and the Department of the MLE seeks the immediate capture of Harry Potter."
Hermione stopped, eyes sliding across the page. "They go on to talk about what happened in August 1990 and the last time anyone ever saw Harry Potter alive. It seems Fudge is stating the tragedy of the Triwizard Tournament and the death of Cedric Diggory is due to Harry Potter."

"Do they even have evidence to that fact?" Damian asked, eyebrow rising as he leaned over Hermione's shoulder.

"I don't see any concrete fact in this article, just really vague statements from the Minister." Hermione frowned. "They could be saying that to alienate the Potters even more. Who will listen to the family whose son helped to kill one of the best students at Hogwarts? The public will just believe that the Potters are trying to spread rumors that Voldemort is back to cover up their son's activities."

A look of disbelief crossed Ron's face. "Do you think that's possible? I mean, Auror Shacklebolt did say that Harry disappeared with the Death Eaters that night when his siblings were killed."

"What do you think, Shyamal?" Ginny asked, noticing the blank expression on the older student's face.

Shyamal sighed. "It is likely that Fudge is trying to cover his arse but without further evidence, I can't really say. With magic, the possibilities are quite endless."

"If the Dark wizard is Harry Potter, he's powerful." Seamus Finnegan noted, looking at the moving picture on the front of the page. "So much damage and all because of one Death Eater."

"That's way the war was so bloody during the first war." Hala stated, moving bits of eggs around on her plate. "Powerful wizards on both sides of war, so many deaths."

"But what if Voldemort is really back?" Neville quietly asked. "The Death Eaters would never try to attack Wizarding homes for fear of repercussions from the Auror Department. Now suddenly they're starting to become active. Four attacks within the past six years, three in the last year alone."

"The first attack was a group of them, numbering over thirty." Shyamal rested his head on his hands. "That was on the tenth birthday of Edward Potter. The activity at the World Cup started this, followed by the death of Diggory at the end of the Tournament, and now it's starting to look like the Death Eaters are coming back with this single Dark wizard causing so many deaths. Either they have found a new leader for the time being or Voldemort really is back."

"If it's a new leader, it could be Harry Potter."

Hermione shook her head at Dean. "I doubt it would be him. He's only fifteen, not old enough or knowledgeable enough in duels to lead a vicious group of wizards and witches. No, it has to be one of the older Death Eaters, someone who knows what they're doing. Harry Potter is just a supporter at this stage."

A dark expression crossed Neville's face. "It could be Bellatrix Lestrange. Remember, she did escape from Sirius Black and Remus Lupin when they rescued my parents." Neville closed his eyes. "Everyone knows she's crazy and loyal to Voldemort to the point of fanaticism. She'll do anything."

"It's a good thing that both Lestrange brothers are in Azkaban." Ron muttered.

"It can't be Lucius Malfoy as he's still being watched by the Ministry and Potter. Same with the Goyles and Crabbes." People starting throwing out names, some quickly thrown away and others bounced around.

"Class is going to start soon. We won't be able to solve this anytime soon and neither will the Aurors unless the Death Eaters mess." Damian noted, rising from his seat. "I do have Snape today and I don't want to lose any more points for Gryffindor."

Ron snorted. "It's not like we can go below zero at this point."

"It's Umbridge. You never know." The group split, each heading for their respective classes. Shyamal followed Hermione up to Arithmancy while Ron started up the stairs for his Divination class with Edward right behind. On the way up, Shyamal could already hear rumors and heated murmurs dancing around.

Sitting through Arithmancy, Shyamal dully answered a few questions here and there. Hermione kept shooting him glances every few minutes as if knowing what he was thinking.

Which was the attack.

He pulled out his quill, ink bottle, and a scroll of parchment, taking down notes and bits of pertinent information from the lesson Professor Vector was giving.

What Voldemort was doing was simply ingenious.

By placing Harry Potter back into the national spotlight, he was forcing James Potter to deal with the threat of his own son raining destruction down on the Wizarding world. If he didn't, the rest of the public would believe that he was trying to protect his Death Eater son.

Shyamal could feel the resentment burning in the air from the rest of the school, quite a few sending Potter heated glares. While he was climbing the stairs he heard one whisper that Potter probably allowed his brother to kill Diggory.

Voldemort would not show the full scope of his army until his base was secure and stable. Whoever the imposter was would be sent again and again to keep the political pressure on James Potter and the Auror Department. There would be a chance that the public would demand the removal of Potter for fear the Head Auror would be partial to his second oldest child.

And there were the students of Hogwarts.

Teens who still did not know the world beyond the iron gates guarded by griffins that they would be going into once they left the school for the last time. Sheltered and hidden, they knew nothing of the real horrors of war. It was not to say they were not affected by it. Quite a number had lost relatives and friends during the First Wizarding War. But seeing the reality was so much more, to see a beloved friend fall under the claws of Dark werewolves or a relative's life being ended in a bright flash of green.

So much more final, the darker side of human nature.

Left, untrained, the teens that were wondering the halls of Hogwarts today would be like lambs to the slaughter, felled one by one until nothing was left of this generation. This was the fate the Ministry was condemning them to for fear of one single politician.

He could change it if he took it upon himself to train them whatever capacity he could. If they learned from him, maybe a couple would survive.

Why should he care about them?

They were nothing to him, just students that went to Hogwarts. People he saw in class every day.

The door to the classroom opened just then. Professor Dumbledore stepped in, followed closely by an Auror with a grim expression. "Professor, can you please excuse Ms. Jones. We need to speak to her."

The Hufflepuff girl in question paled, a hand drifting to her trembling white lips. "N-no, professor, please- tell me my family are okay." Professor Dumbledore's eyes saddened just enough for the message to become clear.

With a wail of despair, the girl collapsed from her chair, burying her face into her hands. Professor Vector rushed to her as the students looked at each other. "Class dismissed." Chairs screeched as they were shoved back, the students quickly putting their things away. No one dared to look at the distraught girl. The Headmaster and the Auror moved toward Ms. Jones, letting the students quickly file out the door.

Shyamal caught Hermione's eyes and nodded once.

He could feel the burden on his shoulders grow just a tad bit heavier.
__________

It was Saturday and Shyamal found himself in Hogsmeade that weekend, sitting inside the dank bar of the Hog's Head. He had received special permission from McGonagall to bring Hala down with them, after hearing another Gryffindor ask her the same thing. It also helped that he was Hala's parental guardian.

"How many people are we looking at?" Shyamal rolled his neck around his shoulders, feeling the bones crack a bit.

Hermione frowned at him. "Just a couple. Nothing really big."

"How bad can it be?" Cosmas asked, clanking down the five butterbeers and a pint of sugared milk onto the table, handing them out. "Who would want to take defense lessons from a dark and evil Durmstrang student much less four of them?"

"So all of you can duel?" Hermione asked, sipping hers.

Evangeline reached for her pint of milk. She had given a fit of Shyamal not letting her sneak a butterbeer but had to give in. She had bartered for a pint of milk with an amount of sugar. She knew she was going to by hyper. Serves Shyamal right. Wait until next year when you're thirteen. She whispered sarcastically in her head. Sighing she answered Hermione. "Yup, not as advanced as Shyamal, but we can duel at the basics. I just started last year so I only have a years experience compared to Shyamal's four.

Sunlight speared into the dank pub as the door opened, a rush of people coming in.

Shyamal was surprised to see Neville leading the group with Ginny on his arm, followed by Dean, Lavender, Seamus and the Patil twins from Gryffindor house. He did a double take to the Asian girl who came in with another nervous Ravenclaw girl. Dragging his eyes away, Shyamal counted about twenty six people heading toward them from the various houses besides Slytherin, which didn't surprise him much.

Cosmas wiped the dust off his butterbeer. "That looks more than a couple of people, Hermione."

The Gryffindor prefect blushed. "Well the idea was quite popular when I was talking to them."

Fred Weasley walked up to the stunned barman who had frozen in wiping the grime off one of his glasses. "Hello, there chap. We would like twenty six butterbeers." The barman threw down his rag, glaring the whole time he was retrieving the order. "Come on, I don't have enough money to pay for all these." Fred held out his hand to collect the money as he handed out the drinks.

"Ron, can you start getting more chairs?"

"The only problem now is how we are going to hide a group of thirty two people practicing DADA away from Umbridge. I don't she'll let us use a classroom for something mundane without her being there." Shyamal noted as the large group moved over to their table and began sitting down.

"We'll find out." Hermione whispered at him before turning to face the expectant faces around her. "Hi." The gathered teens stared at Hermione who slightly hesitated in her speech. "W-w-well, um, you know why we are here- Um, ever since the Inquisitorial squad appeared, they've, um, been commandeering the halls of Hogwarts and with that hogwash that Umbridge teaches, we can't really defend ourselves. And I for one will not let that happen" — "Hear, hear." A Ravenclaw boy said, Hermione giving him a brief smile before continuing on slightly stronger than before — "I thought it was time that we, the students, took back the halls." A pause, Hermione glanced at Shyamal, who motioned with his drink to go on. "The only way we can do that is if we teach ourselves how to fight back."

"What about the OWLs? Those are coming up this year for us fifth years and you want to pass those too." Another Ravenclaw boy asked.

"I do want to pass the OWLs but now, learning DADA has taken on a whole new meaning. You saw what happened yesterday in the Daily Prophet. Once we leave Hogwarts, it's going to be a whole new and ugly world-" Hermione took a deep breath "especially now that there's a possibility that Voldemort is back."

Shyamal wanted to scream in frustration when he saw everyone react to the name. The girl who was with the Asian girl shrieked in horror, spilling some butterbeer all over herself. Neville tried to cover up his yelp by coughing into this hand. Most of them just simply winced or shuddered.

A blonde Hufflepuff spoke up. "Who said that Voldemort is back? Do you really believe Potter after what happened on Wednesday?"

Shyamal leaned forward aggressively, dark brown eyes flashing in warning. "Even you must see that a fifteen year old boy cannot come up with all the ideas behind these attacks. Someone with the experience, knowledge, who knows how to fight is behind all of them." He met the eyes of every single person sitting at the table. "It does not matter if it's Voldemort or another Death Eater. In the end, they are just as dangerous if not more so as they can blend into the ignorant public. And they are willing to kill anyone who does not agree with them, whether it is a muggle-born or a neutral pureblood. I, for one, don't want to go so easily into an early grave, not without giving them one hell of a bloody fight."

A Hufflepuff Prefect banged his butterbeer on the table. "Hear, hear!" The others shifted in their seats, fear and uncertainty etched on their faces. "I may not be a Gryffindor but I will learn how to fight!"

"But what makes you qualified in teaching us how to fight?" The blonde Hufflepuff spoke up again.

"Who are you?" Ron butted in, annoyance written all over his face.

"Zacharias Smith." He pointed at Shyamal. "I think we have a right to know more about this boy who will be teaching us. All we know is that he's from a Dark school."

"You've seen him duel Potter." Hermione stated calmly. "All of you were there and can agree that he knows how to fight-"

"Potter was trained by Professor Black." Neville interjected quietly. "And Shyamal was able to easily beat him."

"- as Durmstrang's standards for dueling are more advanced than Hogwarts, who focuses more on academics than practicality." Hermione continued.

"I won't be teaching you Dark Arts." Shyamal stated quietly but firmly. "The only reason why many people consider Durmstrang to be Dark was because Grindalwald came from there even though he never graduated. If you apply the same logic, then you can say Hogwarts is a Dark school as Voldemort did graduate from here." Shyamal leaned back, closing his eyes. "You don't even need to know the Killing curse to kill someone anyway." The other students paled.

"See! Look what he's saying!" Smith pointed at Shyamal, eyes dancing wildly.

"When someone comes calling one night and it down to you or him, what are you going to chose?" That shut Smith up. "All of you have to understand the times have changed in a course of six months. People are going to die. There will be times where you will have to protect the ones you love at any and all costs, even if it means killing another human. That's a fact of war whether you like it or not."

The group was silent.

Hermione turned to the others, hands wringing slightly in front of her. "Moving on . . . are all of you going to join us and learn how to fight from Shyamal?" One by one, the students nodded. "Okay, now we have to agree on how often are we going to meet and so on-?"

"These lessons can't class with our Quidditch matches." Angelina interrupted.

"No, nor with ours." Zacharias added.

The Asian Ravenclaw nodded. "Nor with ours."

"Fine but I think fighting to save our lives and to defend ourselves from Voldemort and his Death Eaters is more important." Hermione murmured.

"I agree!" Macmillan said loudly, causing the Asian girl's friend to jump slightly. "I see no benefit from the Ministry hoisting such an individual as Umbridge on us when we have a perfectly good DADA professor in Mr. Black."

"The reason why the Ministry is keeping an eye on the DADA classes is because they are afraid of Dumbledore creating a private army within Hogwarts." Ginny answered.

"Why would they think that?" Zacharias asked scornfully, shrinking a little at the glares he received from Hermione and Ron.

"Look at how much power Dumbledore had before the Tournament." Damian tapped the table. "Before Dumbledore could have said one word and Fudge's reputation and political power would have collapsed right then and there and he knows it too."

"That and the fact Fudge has a private army of his own." Luna said dreamily.

"What? I didn't hear that." Dean asked, eyebrows scrunching together.

"He's got an army of heliopaths under his command."

"No he hasn't." Hermione argued.

Luna's eyes flicked to her. "Yes he has."

"No, he doesn't."

"What are heliopaths?" Seamus asked.

"Spirits of fire. Heliopaths resemble giant Oryx that are tall creatures who gallop across the battlefields and burn everything within reach. They-"

"Don't exist." Hermione interrupted, looking slightly ruffled.

"Yes they do!"

"There is no proof that heliopaths exists." Hermione shot back."

"Just because it's not listed in a book in the library does not mean it's not real!"

"Hem, hem!" Everyone jumped up, searching for Umbridge. Not seeing her, they glanced at each other as they sat down. Ginny smiled. "Perhaps we should get back to the topic at hand?" Everyone laughed, the tension relaxing.

"Once a week sounds cool." Lee stated, finishing his drink. "We seventh years have important things to do." Hermione gave a noise of assent as everyone nodded in agreement, writing it down.

"Where are we going to meet?" Hala asked, finishing her pint of milk.

"The library?" Katie offered a few seconds later.

Damian shook his head. "Madam Pince will Avada Kedavra us all if we do anything in her precious library. Imagine if we accidentally burned a book or something?"

Dean scratched his head. "What about an unused classroom? McGonagall might let us use hers."

Shyamal shook his head. "Too open. Umbridge would probably be able to find us."

"That and I don't think she would be too chuffed in letting us use hers for rule-breaking." Ron added grimly.

"The Forbidden Forest is too dangerous to do it in there." Cosmas looked up at the ceiling. "And the Towers are too constrictive. If we're caught, there'd be no way of us being able to escape."

"We'll find out a way." Hermione said confidently, writing notes on a spare piece of parchment. Setting it to the side, Hermione pulled out her satchel, rummaging through it as she looked for something. "Before I forget, I think everyone should sign this." She pulled out a long piece of parchment and set it on the table. "So we know who came. Once you sign, however, you are agreeing not to tell Umbridge anything about this from the location to who's in it."

The looks of uncertainty came back.

"Um, I'm sure Ernie will let me know." Shyamal looked at the Hufflepuff prefect who was staring at the parchment warily himself.

"What if this parchment falls into the wrong hands?" Ernie asked Hermione.

"Do you really think I would leave this parchment lying around for Umbridge to find?" The Gryffindor Prefect asked icily.

"No, no, it's just." Ernie took a deep breath, steeling himself. "I'll sign."

The parchment was passed around. Shyamal was the last to sign it. He took out his wand and placed the tip on the surface. The names began to fade until not a single ink mark was left, leaving behind a parchment that looked brand new and unused. "There, now no one but Hermione can read it." Everyone relaxed a bit, Ernie giving Shyamal a small smile of thanks.

Fred whistled before standing up. "Well, time's a burning and we got things to do."

The others quickly bid their goodbyes, leaving in the groups this time.

"Well that went more easily than I thought." Shyamal stated, drinking the last of his butterbeer.

"Where did you learn that trick to wipe the parchment clean?" Hermione took the parchment from Shyamal and looked at it. There was no sign of it having been written on. "I should have thought of that."

"I'll teach you how to make the names appear tonight." Shyamal slid his wand back on to its holster. "So are there any sights worth seeing in Hogsmeade or is the Hog's Head it?"

Hermione and Ron glanced at each other before turning back to the four Suha siblings with grins.
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