With the attack on Andiron, the Daily Prophet had kept a constant update on the investigation into Harry Potter and his record. Dozens of wizards and witches kept sending in reports of various sightings which had the Auror Department being hard pressed to cover them all. The public was also keeping a sharp eye on Dumbledore and Potter, looking for any signs of foul play. Sturgis Podmore, one of Dumbledore's supporters had been arrested a week into October for trying to force his way into the Ministry. Shyamal only knew the tide was turning more and more each day against Dumbledore and Edward.
The report that his brother was back, alone, had a dramatic impact on Edward from the first moment.
Before, his temper had always had a leash on it, thanks to the presence of his mom and Professor Black who would talk to him when he needed it. Afterwards, however, was a different story; his temper had suddenly been brought up to the surface, simmering quietly for any little spark to ignite it. Theodore Nott had been the first victim when he had taunted the Boy Who Lived about his Death Eater brother and his dead siblings. Edward had snapped when Nott had switched to his mom. When it was all said and done Umbridge had assigned Edward detention with her while Ms. Davis escorted the dazed and hexed form of Nott to the infirmary for treatment. The one thing that puzzled Shyamal was the fact that the scars that should have been a pearly white on the back of his hand were still only faint markings, like an old scar. It stood to reason that perhaps he went to Mrs. Potter for medical supplies.
The full moon of October a few days later was completely different from the full moon in September. Professor Black seemed to be holding a grudge still against Shyamal and by default, his siblings. Shyamal had been surprised when he had received a not from the DADA professor warning them to stay in the dormitory that night. The next morning, Cosmas and Damian had told him they had been locked in the Shrieking Shack. Shyamal nodded, telling him that he would take it up with Professor Dumbledore later.
During the next couple of weeks, Shyamal's friendship with the Weasleys and Hermione had deepened even further. Cosmas and Damian could be seen hanging around with Fred, George, and Lee, making the others think they were being trained to become the new pranksters after the Weasley twins at the end of their final year. Hala hung around Dennis Creevey, Demelza Robins, and Jack Sloper who were all on the Reserve team. Shyamal had noticed that Hala had started to spend more time with them than with him, something that slightly saddened him. On the other hand, he was glad that Hala was developing more friendships.
Shyamal himself was hanging out with Ron and Hermione, now. The three of them could be found in the common room studying or out on the grounds talking mindlessly near the Seraphina paddocks. A few times, he found himself talking with Ginny about some mindless topics. With Ron, he was able to catch up on the latest Quidditch rumors and gossips. To him, it seemed the Chudley Cannons were as bad as ever. Hermione was able to teach him some different techniques in charms and transfiguration.
Everything seemed to calming down except for one little fact.
The first game of the season was approaching swiftly, evident in the increased time on the Quidditch pitch under Angelina's urging. The Weasley twins ensured him it could be worse, relaying stories under Wood's captaincy.
Already, the anticipation for the first game had been building in the week leading up to it.
The Saturday arrived with a slightly over cast day, the clouds gently riding the breeze. The Great Hall was a-buzz with excitement and happiness. Bets were going around on how Shyamal would fare in his first match at Hogwarts and against Slytherin. Last night, Angelina had made the decision for Shyamal to be the only one using a Firebolt in the game as he owned one. Reluctantly, the rest of the team agreed, knowing they would want to be known for their skill.
The news of the decision had swept through the rest of the students like fiendfyre, whispers following the team everywhere. A few Slytherins were even boosting that the Gryffindors would get squashed without the brooms as the entire Slytherin team were using Nimbus 2001. Ron simply replied back that it was to make up for the obvious lack of skills of the entire Slytherin team. For dramatic effect, George and Fred had polished their battered bats at the Gryffindor table the previous night, looking pointedly at the Slytherin Chasers.
"How bad can it be?" Shyamal asked the morning of the game, placing a spoonful of eggs onto his plate. "I've heard that the Slytherins will play dirty but exactly how dirty?"
"Just barely in the limits of the rules dirty and not even then." A fresh taunt came from a passing Slytherin who just happened to be walking by. "I wonder why they even bother. I've been handling them for three years on my own." Ron added more fried eggs and toast to his plate. If Shyamal hadn't already gotten used to the amount the boy ate, he would have been worrying if he could keep all that food down during the match without vomiting over the posts.
"Oy, is that Luna?" Ginny asked in shock, leaning slightly from her seat to look at the doors. Everyone in the immediate vicinity followed her line of sight. A girl that Shyamal had only seen in during meals and in the halls was striding toward them, her hat in the shape of a large red and gold lion.
"Wicked!" Cosmas breathed, taking in the sight of the life like animal. "When did you think she did that?"
The girl stopped before him. "I did it last night. I had planned to have it battling a snake and winning but there wasn't enough time sadly. But I was able to charm it do this." The girl pulled out her wand and tapped it at the base of her hat. Everyone jumped as it let out a realistic roar.
"Oh, you have to teach me how to do that."
"Guys, this is Luna Lovegood from Ravenclaw. Luna, you know my brothers and my friends. This is Shyamal, Cosmas, Damian, and Hala."
"Pleased to make your acquaintance." Luna said in a dreamy like voice. "I see you're not letting the Slytherins get to you, Ronald."
"After a couple of years, you get used to it." Ron stuffed some sausages into his mouth, chewing quickly. "They've been trying to sing that ridiculous song around me the last few days. The one about 'Weasley is our King'. Not working much but only to make me more inclined to prove them wrong."
"That's the spirit." Dean yelled, slapping the Gryffindor prefect on the back. "We know you'll do a fine job of protecting the goals.
Hala shook her head. "I can't believe they let the sportsmanship of a sport degrade to that."
"Well, it's relatively harmless." Hermione said slowly. "The worst was when Edward first joined the team. Everyone thought it was going to be a sure win for Gryffindor after the stunt Edward pulled in the first flying class. The Slytherin team was hexing team players left and right before the game. It didn't matter though, we still lost the game."
"If anyone tries to hex Shyamal, they're going to be missing a few parts." Hala said darkly.
"I don't think anyone is going to hex him or even try." Ginny turned to Luna. "I'll see you."
"Bye Ginny." The small girl left, not caring of the hisses aimed her way. She did, however, stop by a haughty female was whispering to her friends. Luna tapped the base again, causing the girl to spill some jam down the front of her blouse.
"Oh, she's good." Cosmas' eyes were still on Luna. "I have to find a way about that hat. It has some serious possibilities."
"You'd think so?" Cosmas leaned toward his brother and began whispering fervently.
Down the bench, Angelina stood up, her game face on. "Team, to the pitch." The Gryffindors screamed crazily as the seven players made their way past them.
"Is it always this crazy for a game?"
"Shyamal, it's a way of life here." Ron wrapped an arm around Shyamal's shoulders.
Thirty minutes later, the stands were filling up while the Gryffindor team stood just inside the tunnel. Angelina stopped before Shyamal and Ron. "This is your first game so it's alright to feel nervous. Don't let the Slytherins get to you. You both know to how to fly and this is the time to shove it into their face. Shyamal the only thing I ask for you to catch the Snitch. I don't plan on losing this Cup." She cracked a smile at them. "Make the Lion House proud."
All of them mounted their brooms, the gate opening. Seven red blurs swept out, quickly falling into a flyby form.
"Welcome to the first game of the season. Today it's the red House of Gryffindor versus the vermin infested House of Slytherin!"
"Mr. Jordan!" McGonagall said sharply, sternly looking at the student seating below her in the teacher's stand.
"Sorry, professor. Today's game is the first for Gryffindor's Shyamal Suha who is their starting Seeker and Ron Weasley, their new Keeper who will have to feel some very big holes left behind by the previous Keeper, Oliver Wood-"
Shyamal blacked out the rest of Jordan's commentary, angling his broom to meet in the center of the field. A second later, Draco dropped into his position, the customary smirk back on his face. "Alright there, kitten?" Draco started. "You might want to watch yourself. You're on my territory now."
"I don't have to watch nothing but the Snitch if you behave the same way like you did at the Dueling Club. But then again, it's kind of hard to slip in the middle of the air with no ground." Shyamal retorted, fixing his gloves so they were perfectly snug on his hands.
Malfoy reddened. "We'll see how you handle yourself, Mr. Suha."
"Take care of yourself, Malfoy. Wouldn't want you to get hurt."
Any further remarks were stopped as Madam Hooch made her way onto the field, carrying the trunk carrying the four balls. She dropped heavily into the white circle. "Now, I want a nice, clean game from all of you." She gazed at all the players, her hawk-like eyes boring into them. With a final nod, she mounted her broom, giving the trunk a swift kick to the side. The lid opened, the Bludgers quickly taking to the air, the Golden Snitch zooming away. She grabbed the Quaffle and with a flick of her wrist, the red ball was thrown into the middle of the teams and the game began.
Angelina took position of the Quaffle first, flying to the Slytherin goals where Miles Bletchley waited for her. As she neared, she quickly dropped the ball, Alicia and Katie right there to intercept from opposite directions. Slipping behind her friend, Katie caught the Quaffle while Miles took after Alicia, spinning it right into the left goal. A roar sounded from the Ravenclaw stands, no doubt Luna.
"Gryffindor scores! That's 10-0 to the House of Red and Gold! Nice play there by Angelina Johnson- Ouch Bludger sent by Fred Weasley knocks the Quaffle out of the slimy snake's hands-"
"Merlin! Look at the display on the Slytherin side!"
Shyamal turned just enough to see a Slytherin stand or what was a Slytherin stand. The green field was still there with its silver snakes with one major difference. A red and gold lion was among them, roaring silently as it twisted around. Then it leapt forward, disappearing from that Slytherin to the next one, the score following close behind.
Someone had charmed the banners.
Smiling, Shyamal flew over the Ravenclaw stands, eyes searching for any sign of the gold fluttering ball. He winced when he saw the large oaf Vincent Crabbe sent a Bludger straight into Alicia's side, sending the girl straight into the wall under a Hufflepuff stand. The crowd gasped and gawked as the Quaffle was taken up again by Slytherin Chaser Graham Montague and taken toward the Gryffindor goals. A crack right behind him kicked him into a dive, the second Bludger following him, passing another Slytherin Chaser, Adrian Pucey who was heading to support Montague. The Slytherin veered away as his mate lost the Quaffle to Katie who deftly swiped it from the back.
"Nice dive, Shyamal!" Fred grunted as he cracked the Bludger back to Warrington who was heading to intercept Katie.
"Another score by Gryffindor! 20-0!"
A dab of gold caught Shyamal's eyes. He sped after it, lying down along his broom, the wind whipping into his hair. It dove, heading straight for the tunnel in the tower stands. The crowd yelled, students diving to get out of the way as he followed the Snitch into it, barely missing a girl who tumbled back. The Snitch zoomed straight up; rounding the tower as Shyamal arced back, clearing the tunnel. But the Snitch had already disappeared.
"Guess it learns." He whispered to himself. Shyamal heard Draco zoom on past.
"40 to zero, Gryffindor in the lead. Quaffle taken by Adrian. Montague takes it, Slytherins score. 40-10, Gryffindor-"
The two teams continued to fight on back and forth, with the Slytherins using every trick in the book to regain control of the Quaffle. It was 70-30 when Shyamal caught sight of the Snitch again, hovering near the Hufflepuff stands. The Firebolt listened to his command, shooting around and gaining speed as he neared the previous ball. He could the Slytherins yelling at Malfoy but the words were lost in the howling of the wind.
The Snitch took off as if knowing it was on his radar, zooming to the ground and shooting to the middle of the field. Shyamal was forty feet away when it shot into a new direction, leaving the ground to the open air. But a second later, it was shooting back down to the ground. Shyamal dived, missing Warrington by scant inches as the boy flew past overhead, legs swinging wildly. Vincent Crabbe appeared right before him, bat swinging forward as the Snitch rocketed into another direction. Shyamal reached out, cold numb fingers closing around the fluttering ball to catch right before the burly Slytherin Beater but his momentum was too much as he tried to lift his handle up. The bat connected with the side of his head, white stars and flashes clouding his vision. The next second, pain exploded in his side, the Bludger sent his way by Goyle smashed into the side of his body. Green and brown came up to meet him as he landed roughly on the ground, rolling to a stop right before the Ravenclaw stands.
Hooch's whistle blew, the stands erupting in cheers as the score was confirmed. But the instructor was having none of it, landing near Shyamal. "What conduct! Mr. Crabbe, Mr. Goyle, come here this instant!"
Shyamal groaned, rolling onto his stomach, hissing in pain as his side was jarred, trying to get to his feet. He was sure a couple of his ribs were broken by the charmed iron ball. His side was on fire along with his head. He could feel his warm blood seeping down the side of his head.
"Out of my way!" Madam Pomfrey in her white medical robes pushed her way through the blue and bronze students beginning to surround them. She placed a gentle hand on his back, keeping him there from getting on his hands and knees. "Don't move, lad. Let me check you with a diagnostic spell so we can be safe there aren't any lasting effects from those tactics. Episkey." The wound stopped bleeding.
Thumps sounded nearby as the rest of the Gryffindor team landed, Angelina quickly going to her injured Seeker. "Shyamal, are you alright?"
"Yeah, as good as I can be after being slammed twice." Shyamal grabbed her hand, and in front of the Ravenclaws, handed her the Golden Snitch. "As ordered, Captain."
"When I said 'catch the Snitch', I don't mean to kill you're self in the attempt." Angelina said softly, trying to not smile.
Madam Hooch took the small ball from the Gryffindor captain, pocketing it in her white and black robes. "I believe Gryffindor wins. As for you, Mr. Crabbe, Mr. Goyle, your conduct in a game is astonishing. You could have killed Mr. Suha." The flying instructor held out her hands, their brooms zooming straight from theirs to hers. "You're here by banned from the game."
"I believe that is my responsibility." Umbridge waddled up to the instructor, coming up only to her chest. "Detentions can only be assigned by me as I am the High Inquisitor."
Hooch huffed, pulling herself to her full height, her yellow hawk eyes fixed solely the shorter woman. "That may be so, Professor Umbridge but your duties only apply to the students with your jurisdiction. Once the 14 students enter my pitch and enter the game, they are under MY jurisdiction, powers that you do not have the High Inquisitor. Only the Headmaster can overrule me. As they were still on the field of play and have yet to be dismissed by me, Mr. Goyle and Mr. Crabbe's punishments will assigned by me."
By now Umbridge was red, her toad face twisted into an ugly expression.
Madam Pomfrey finished her spells, satisfied that Shyamal wasn't in any dire situation. "Mr. Suha will be fully recovered by tonight." She handed him three vials. "One is for the broken ribs, the other is for the severely bruised muscles and bones, and the last is for the slight concussion you have from the bat."
Suddenly a commotion erupted in the crowd, right at the edge between the red and green students. The professors made their way forward, the students parting to let them through. They arrived just in time to see Draco getting blasted off of his feet by an enraged Edward.
"Mr. Potter!" Professor McGonagall whipped out her wand, a shield charm jumping into place as Edward's boil hex flew toward the stunned Slytherin Seeker. Her Disarming Charm caught him before he could cast another, his wand flying to her.
That didn't stop Edward. "Don't you dare belittle me, Malfoy!" Before Edward could take a step forward, Hala's wand was out, a Body Bind curse slamming into its target. Edward's legs and arms, snapped together and he would have fallen hadn't Dean caught him.
Lily Potter rushed through the crowd, followed closely by Sirius Black. "What is the meaning of this?" She thundered, quickly removing the curse on her son.
"Well the students please return to the castle at once. Any students not leaving in the next ten seconds will be losing points for their house." McGonagall barked. Despite the three Hourglasses were empty, the students nonetheless left out of respect for the Head of Gryffindor though some sent curious glances toward Shyamal, Crabbe, Goyle, Malfoy, and Potter.
"Your son has seen himself fit to curse Mr. Malfoy." Umbridge said pompously, recovering herself. "Both him and Ms. Suha will visit me in detention for hexing another student."
Pure anger boiled with Shyamal. Bitch was going after his sister despite him being her spy. Pulling on his teachings, Shyamal carefully molded his mask in place, appearing as if he was disappointed in Hala. Gingerly he got up, walking carefully to Hala's side.
"Malfoy was talking bad about my family."
"I was not." Draco fixed his robes, glaring at Edward.
"Enough!" McGonagall looked at Shyamal and Hala. "You heard Madam Umbridge, Mr. Suha. Your sister will be assigned detention with Madam Umbridge. You will receive the notification by lunch today. You're dismissed."
Shyamal didn't say anything, just nodding. Hala didn't complain or say a word as he led her back to the dressing room. It was already empty, no doubt the Gryffindor team organizing a party for tonight's celebration. As he changed back into the school robes, Hala stood forlornly next to the door, staring at the floor.
"I'm sorry, Shyamal."
"It doesn't matter."
"You're mad at me."
Shyamal gritted his teeth, tugging his shirt over his head and tucking it in. "Everything I've done was to keep you away from that bitch and you go hex Edward. You know how evil she is."
"He was going to attack that boy. I couldn't let him get into more trouble. It was already bad enough that he had already hexed him."
"It was over the moment Edward decided to listen to Malfoy. We can't get too deeply involved in this, Hala. Owain has limited contact with us and Akane is in Romania. Literally, we are on our own. One misstep and we can be thrown into Azkaban without a word and forgotten."
Hala's head snapped to his. "We can't forget that Edward is our brother, Harry." His eyes narrowed at the deliberate use of his lost name. "Even though it's been five years and a long road, underneath it all, he's still our brother. I can't forget and I won't. You may want to but I can't." Fury sparked up in Hala's eyes.
Shyamal sighed, dropping his head as he tugged on his black robes. "It's hard for me, Hala. I kept the worst of it from you but I can't forget what happened." He closed the locker door. "And I don't know if I can forgive." He sat on the bench. Hala moved, sitting next to him.
"So he's an arrogant berk. He doesn't have anyone with him, Shyamal. We all had each other but who did he have to turn to?" Hala laid her head on Shyamal's shoulder. "I would do it again."
"I know you would. You're not that type of person."
"Either are you. It's just hidden under all that ice."
Shyamal snorted. "Come on, I bet Cosmas and Damian are worried sick about you having detention with Umbridge."
That afternoon, Shyamal was standing before Umbridge. "What was the meaning of that, Madam Umbridge." His tone was respectful, knowing any sign of disrespect or contempt would work against him.
"The information you have been providing me is not enough. Something is going on between Dumbledore and Potter. Either you are hiding it or you are not a good enough spy to warrant my attention." Umbridge sipped her tea. "As such, I do not have to protect you. Ms. Suha will serve as a reminder of what happens if you don't follow the rules." A smirk tweaked the edges of her mouth but Shyamal still saw it.
So she thinks that she ate the canary. I wonder what she'll say once that canary starts pecking at her insides and with its talons. Shyamal didn't say anything, knowing it would make Hala look like a Potter sympathizer to Umbridge. "You're services, Mr. Suha are no longer required." Hearing the dismissal, Shyamal turned to the door to leave. "Be warned, I will be watching you." Shyamal cocked his head slightly to acknowledge the fact that he heard before leaving.
As he walked back to the Gryffindor common room, Shyamal tried to reason that this was inevitable. Nothing had happened between Edward and Dumbledore as far as he could see except for the extra lessons he was taking with Professor Black and the new set that were with Professor Snape for some odd reason. Something told him that these could not be disturbed and had to be kept from Umbridge.
What would she do with meaningless tidbits that Edward loved Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and Licorice wands? The Fat Lady looked down at him. "Saber Tooth." The portrait swung open to reveal a very empty room. He knew she was going to use those Blood Quills on his sister. He would soon have to make some Essence of Murtlap to set off the scarring from such a Dark object that she would no doubt be receiving a few hours from now.
Thankfully, Hala's hand had recovered by through the nine hours worth of detention with Umbridge, leaving no remnants of the twelve hours she spent carving words into her skin. It had also caused Cosmas and Damian to turn into vicious avengers.
Somehow, the corridor where the Slytherin dorms were had been charmed with a five hour boil hex and a smelling charm. Each time, the Slytherins walked into or out of the common room, the boils and smell would reappear. Professor Flitwick had been able to remove it that morning to the relief of the entire snake house.
Lunch saw the entire House table stuck to the bench, unable to get to their next class. Shyamal had been leaving when he saw Professor Snape storming down to the nearest student. Maybe that weekend, he would have the twins leave the snakes alone. The Weasley twins were another matter as he saw them planning something earlier.
Tuesday night saw Shyamal sitting upon his bed with silencing spells all around him, reading a large tome on Hogwarts to see any details about a rumor that could help him find a room for the defense group. One chapter was solely on the legend of the Chamber of Secrets, the book being a new edition.
Salazar couldn't have been the only Founder with a room of his own. The minutes ticked on by, pages slowly being turned one by one. Shyamal was on the goblin wars in Hogsmeade when a flash of bright red fire appeared in the air beneath the canopy, a large red and gold bird dropping onto his bed.
It was Dumbledore's phoenix.
The bird's beady black eyes locked onto his. For a minute they just sat there, staring at each other. Then, the bird turned around, the bright and elegant plumage spreading slightly until one single feather rested on Shyamal's left hand.
"You want me to go with you?" The bird nodded, a small note escaping the bird. Shyamal's anxiety decreased slightly, enough for Shyamal to set the book aside on his pillow. He let his wand fall into the palm of his right hand and with the other, grabbed the tail feather firmly but gently.
With a second flash, they were gone.
They appeared in a burst of flame, the elegant phoenix flying past him, the edges of his feathers brushing against Shyamal's cheek.
The thing that Shyamal immediately noted was the day seemed to be blurred, dull. He looked up into the sky.
The moon was continuously inching closer toward the blazing disk of the Sun, the day darkening as the eclipse approached. The phoenix trilled softly, the bird gliding into the forest away from the white beach. He followed, gathering his cloak around him as they went in deeper. He remembered from Astronomy that today was the total eclipse, where the sun was completely covered by the moon. He hadn't cared much for it as the eclipse would only be seen in Southern Asia. By the time England swung around to see the sun, the eclipse be over.
Shyamal was taken out of his thoughts as the mythical creature rapped his head slightly with a talon, before flying up into the canopy. He stood there, wondering what he should do. The red and gold bird came back down, trilling more firmly, shooting up alongside the trunk. Unsure, Shyamal did a partial transformation, letting the feline claws of his panther form to come out so he could grip the bark more easily. Little by little, he climbed the tree, thanking Master Miroslav for the strength and endurance training he had put Shyamal through. The moon was nearing the Sun when Shyamal saw the large nest, Dumbledore's phoenix sitting right next to it. As he came even, he was shocked to see the black phoenix that had saved them over five years ago was standing next to the red phoenix.
The black phoenix trilled softly, hopping over to Shyamal as he sat himself on a branch.
"Hello, girl." He fingered the feathers on the side of the black mask, wondering why the phoenixes had brought him here. Shyamal gazed into the phoenix nest, eyes widening in shock at what he saw.
Nestled among the discarded red and black phoenix feathers, gathered moss, and woven tree twigs and grass, lay an exquisite phoenix egg. Copper in the waning light with veins of red and gold, it glowed with an inner fire. It wobbled a bit, chirps and whistles coming from inside.
Shyamal flinched when a single crack appeared just as the Sun was kissed by the moon. A chirp sounded from inside the egg, muffled and soft.
He never noticed the two phoenixes flying off.
More cracks followed, a fleck of the shell chipping off.
He moved onto the tree, careful to move on firm, steady branches. Unaware of what he was doing, he started to croon softly to the hatchling inside, learning in close toward the nest. More shell flakes broke off, a small delicate talon disappearing back into the confines of the shell.
The moon was halfway across the Sun.
Another talon broke the shell, a large hole opening. He could see the wet black and white downy feathers before the mass disappeared back into the protection of the shell.
He watched in fascination as the phoenix hatchling continued to break the shell until just as the moon fully eclipsed the Sun in totality, the new phoenix tumbled free of its home for the past weeks, its small beady eyes falling on Shyamal for the first time, darkness and light exploding around him, his consciousness fading away. . .
Even as the phoenix's name popped into his head like a soft whisper. . . .