Chapter Nine- Strange Occurrences
That evening in the common room, the subject of the new teacher seemed to be in everyone’s conversations.
“Barmy that one” Ron said, whilst thinking of some horrifyingly gruesome death for his divination homework. So far he had came up with being burnt half to death by a dragon and then being dropped head first into the great lake to be slowly devoured by merpeople; he was quite please with it, ‘one of his better days’, he had described it earlier.
Harry thought about this, “He’s weird, there is something about him but…I don’t know.”
“Wonder why Dumbledore hired him”
“Haven’t the foggiest.” Harry replied as he worked on his potions essay, which would be a lot easier with Hermione’s help, but she was in the library. She had been in a funny mood, Harry thought it was because the teacher had told her, and her alone, off.
“Why don’t you ask him?”
“Oh yeah, ‘Hey professor I don’t trust your choice in staffing this year, I have a strange feeling he is probably going to end up killing me so if you could just fire him it would be really top notch’.” Harry said jokingly, causing in him and Ron to completely forget about their homework.
“Why did you just say that, and why at breakfast?” Ron asked then looked round and lowered his voice even more, “It really upset Hermione and Ginny, and the way you said it was like you knew they would try and… you know….”
“Well, only first year they tried to kill me, second year he tried to make me loss my mind, third year, it wasn’t Remus’s fault but he did try to kill me, fourth year he did help me but only so I could die at the right moment, and last year, Umbridge wouldn’t have thought twice about it.” Harry said, matter of fact, counting them off on his fingers as he went. “Do you really think Professor Desdemona is going to be any different?”
“Lets hope so mate, just can you try not to talk about people trying to kill you so well casually, it kind of freaks us all out, Hermione looked like she wanted to cry after you said that before, and my comforting sort of made her worse, Ginny gave me a right look.”
“Sorry.” Harry said sincerely, “For worrying you all, not Ginny giving you an evil glare.” He clarified.
“To be honest I am not sure which is worse” Ron joked but cast Harry a look which said ‘Don’t tell her I said that’ as she arrived in the common room.
“Hi” She said to them as she flopped down on the floor so her back was leaning against the foot of the sofa where Harry and Ron were sat.
“How was the start of your owl year?” Ron asked her.
“Ugh, the professors don’t half go on do they?” She replied as she rested her head backwards on the seat of the chair. She looked very tired, even worse than Harry, or so Harry thought.
Ron seemed to notice as well, “How’d you sleep last night, Ginny?” Ron’s attempt at making his concern sound natural was failing epically.
Ginny seemed to notice as she said plainly, “Fine” , also giving Harry, the king of using fine as an excuse a look which said ‘don’t criticize my answer.'”
The door to the dormitory swung open at this point and exposed a tired looking Hermione. In her hands were multiple books, some thousands of pages thick.
“If she has gone and got herself another timeturner again.” Ron said so only his sister and Harry could hear.
Hermione came over to them giving them all a small smile, “Harry it’s nearly 9.00.”
“Oh, shoot” He said, standing up quickly, Ginny, having not been present for Harry explaining his previous dream which he did earlier that morning to Ron and Hermione, looked confused. “Got to see Dumbledore” Harry answered as he collected his potions essay and looked at the clock; he was going to be late. Ginny held out her hands and took the work when Harry didn’t give it to her. “Ron will put it upstairs for you” She said, throwing it at Ron, hitting him in the face. Harry tried to disguise his laughter with a cough as he left.
As Harry knocked on the headmaster’s door he couldn’t help but feel apprehensive as he thought of last years lessons with Snape. He desperately hoped his lessons with Dumbledore were going to go a lot better. “Hello Harry” Dumbledore said as he greeted the pupil. “How was your first day?” Dumbledore asked as he and Harry took their usual seats.
“How did you find you defence against the dark arts instructor?”
The thought of his previous conversation with Ron. Made him smile, Dumbledore waited patently.
Dumbledore chuckled lightly but didn’t comment.
“Can you tell me what Professor Snape taught you about occlumency last year?”
That didn’t take long; Harry enjoyed how Dumbledore looked momentary taken back by how little Harry knew.
Dumbledore then went through some relaxation exercises with him. It was a completely different experience than last year’s lessons with Snape. Harry hadn't felt so relaxed in a long time. After a long time, or so it felt, Dumbledore said, “Ok, Harry, I am going to try legimens now, if your ready?” Harry opened his eyes and hesitantly nodded.
“Ok, on three, one, two, three.” Harry felt an odd pulling sensation in his head; it was different than with Snape. Different memories came into his head. Unlike last year they were happy memories, and strangely enough Harry didn’t mind Dumbledore seeing them. He saw Ron and Hermione the most, then Mrs. Weasley and at the burrow, him and Cho last year just before they kissed, Harry had the feeling he was going to be very uncomfortable if the head master witnessed his first kiss, then the scene changed suddenly again, he then saw him and Sirius, Sirius was asking him to live together once Sirius was free, Harry felt his insides tighten as he remembered how t was no longer possible now , then it changed abruptly it was him and Remus, just talking but they were both smiling warmly at each other. Then he saw him and Ginny at Grimmauld place, and then he saw memories of him and Dumbledore. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Harry was feeling a little embarrassed. It was obvious Dumbledore was making him she all the happy memories Harry had, some were random, just he, Harry, laughing with Ron and Hermione, he saw Fred and George, Mr. Weasley and him at the ministry. The oldest memory was Hagrid telling him he was a wizard, Harry noticed how that was the earliest memoires they witnessed, Harry just hoped Dumbledore didn’t notice it.
After quite a pleasant session of nostalgia, the office came back into view. The room was the same, both Harry and Dumbledore were still seating on opposite sides of the desk. Dumbledore was looking over his half moon glasses at Harry his eyes shining brightly.
“Well done, Harry, although you couldn’t push me out of your mind, you did manage to have control over how much of the memory was shown by changing which memory I saw, I’m very impressed.”
“But you still got in.” Harry said, feeling guilty about accepting his praise.
“Ah, but you had control, when memories you didn’t want me to witness where revealed, you distracted me by showing a different one, considering you are fairly inexperienced at occlumency, it was a very advanced feat.”
Harry felt immensely grateful that Dumbledore wasn’t commenting on what was shown and Harry also felt very grateful he different have any more embarrassing memoires, he thought, but made a mental note to try a lot harder if he had any more self-conscious experiences, the thought of me and Lupin’s conversation in the bathroom came to mind and Harry sighed with relief.
“In… a weeks time, we shall have another lesson, I advise you to practice as I will increase the effort gently each week. In order to keep Voldemort out of your mind, I think you should practice occlumency each night and at any available moment. Using the thoughts and memories you saw before will help you.”
“Earlier on, in summer you said I am not ready yet… to …kill…Voldemort…will this help me?”
“It will contribute” Dumbledore said mysteriously.
“Oh and sir, I was thinking about the prophecy and well, you know how it said neither can live whilst the other can survive, well does that mean that I can’t…”
“Die unless Voldemort performs the deed himself?” Dumbledore finished for Harry, “Yes, I believe so, but it is debateable, as it says ‘at the other’s hand’, if a death eater tries, surely he would do so for Voldemort’s interest, so one could argue it was at Voldemort’s hand because Voldemort, himself, would be partly to blame.” Dumbledore said carefully before adding, “But knowing so does not means you should be whimsical or over confident, that is very important Harry and, I urge you to remember that.”
Dumbledore then raised his Harry slightly, revealing a very confusing looking watch, “Goodness, time has gotten the better of us Harry; I shall see you in a weeks time. Be quick to bed as it is late, do not wander, and remember to practice your occlumency, goodnight Harry.”
Harry nodded and thanked his professor for his time, and left. As he walked the long route back to the Gryffindor tower, he had the strangest feeling he was being watched. The castle was dark and it felt longer to walk back to the common room. The castle felt darker and gloomier than it had in previous years at night. Harry could feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and he shivered. The castle also seemed strangely empty. As Harry turned on to the staircase, he realised all the candles lining the stairs had been extinguished and it was only lit by shadows caused by the passing moon, shining through the windows. Harry was sure Filch was lurching somewhere as he was so sure he was being watched, he stopped suddenly and was sure he distantly heard breathing, he withdrew his wand, cursing himself for not getting it out sooner. As he was about to cast the lumos spell a sudden voice, made him jump and drop his wand.
“Morsus!” Snape’s voice came suddenly form near Harry.
A light suddenly came on, from Snape’s outstretched wand. The stair case was the same as ever, Harry and Snape stood alone half way up. There was no one else, or any indication there had been. Morsus? Harry thought quietly. What was a Morsus?
“Potter!” Snape snarled his eyes wide.
“Sir?” Harry replied as innocently as he could.
Snape looked at him cautiously but also his eyes kept twitching around the stairs, as though he thought he were being watched, “What are you doing out of bed?”
“I was with Professor Dumbledore”
“And why were you walking up a staircase in the dark?”
“The candles weren’t lit.”
Snape bent down and picked up Harry’s wand, who felt quite uncomfortable to now have Snape’s and his wand pointing towards him, Harry opened his wand in the action of wanting in returned to him, Snape’s eyes glinted as he held both wands. “Why didn’t you think of using your wand?” Snape asked patronizingly.
“I was about to when you turned up?”
“Are you alone?” Snape asked, his eyes fixed squarely on Harry, who had the feeling of being x-rayed.
“Your friends? Are they upstairs or wandering as well?” Snape asked instantly, Harry was momentarily stunned that Snape hadn’t reprimanded him for his one word answer.
“Well,are you alone?” Snape asked again, inpatient now.
“Obviously.” Harry said plainly.
“Obviously, sir” Snape corrected, “Well I shall have to assort you back to the Gryffindor common room then to make sure you don’t get…lost on your way.”
I was a strange experience to get accompanied by none other than one of his worse enemies. Harry had the feeling Snape had a hidden objective behind it, but didn’t know what. They passed Filch, with Mrs. Norris at his heals, on the way but no one else. When they arrived at the portrait hole, Snape unwillingly so it seemed gave Harry his wand back, only leaving when Harry was safely inside. Did Snape not trust him that much? Harry wondered internally.
Ron and Hermione were waiting for him; they seemed to be as confused by Snape’s behaviour as he was.
“Maybe he just doesn’t want you wondering off.” Ron suggested, fighting a yawn.
“Well why didn’t he give me a detention, why did he walk me back?”
Hermione seemed to not be very troubled by this and asked about his lesson with Dumbledore. Harry felt guilty when he explained because he purposely missed out the part about discussing the prophecy, but he really didn’t think he could. How come it was easier to tell Lupin than it was to tell his best friends. The thought of not telling his friends the prophecy seemed to weigh him down heavier than Voldemort, but the more time passed the more his mind was made up that he shouldn’t, he already regretted telling Remus, but he couldn’t take that back now, it was done. His friend’s smiles hurt him more than the cruciatus curse; he couldn’t tell them and doubted he ever would be able to. Harry wondered how he could drive a bigger wedge between them than Voldemort himself. And as he returned the smile he had never felt lonelier, as he kept the biggest secret he ever had from his friends, but it was for their safety, or that was what he was telling himself.
As he got into bed that night he did as Dumbledore asked and thought of happy memories and found it was nicer than thinking about the present. He thought he could live in the past forever. So much for an easier year, he thought to himself. For the first time Harry could remember for a long time, he fell into a thoroughly dreamless sleep.
A.N.- Hope you enjoyed it- it took less time than I thought, I sort of put off my homework. Had my first review, Yay. Hope it’s the first of many (yes that was a not so discrete hint) When I checked my review page I went from 0 views to like 224 but on the later chapters it says 39, I love every single one of you though. Don’t worry its great motivation to finish it, ill write a new chapter tomorrow sometime. Is it bad that I have sort of already got a sequel planned and it’s HUGE. :D. Well I’ll wait to see what you all think of this when it’s finished. I hope you are not too frustrated it takes me a while to write, I’ve got all the ideas but I have to sort of put things in-between them so it’s not too much action all the time. For Draco fans- there is going to be a lot of Draco in the story but later after Christmas (in the story Christmas, not actual reality my time Christmas- after Harry’s Christmas) Hope you are all enjoying it. That really is my main aim of the whole writing of the story. Forgive any type-Os. You can ether have it published quickly or properly spell checked. Thanks for your time, Claire xxx
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