In which the man in the grey mist reflects, Harry makes a discovery and a new ally, and two women thought lost converse.
Chapter Seven: Chess in His Head
Harry stretched and climbed out of bed. It was nice, to sleep on a bed again, instead of the floor. He grabbed an outfit the same as the one he had worn yesterday (he and Nimi had transfigured a load of them then) and walked into the bathroom adjacent to his room, looking very much forward to a long hot shower.
When he had finished he toweled of his hair and ran a brush through it, looking at himself in the mirror.
Dumbledore, the stupid bastard, had given Harry permission to use magic over the summer back in July, and Harry had found the Oculus Charm in a book and performed it, perfecting his vision.
Speaking of magic... An unknown fear clenched his heart for a moment before he realized what was wrong. His wand. The Ministry had snapped his wand.
"Damn," he muttered, leaning forward and grasping the counter. Then a thought struck him. He had cast a warming spell on his sheets last night. How...
Something occurred to him. He pointed a finger at his toothbrush and muttered "Wingardium Leviosa." The Rune felt warm for a second, and the toothbrush lifted. Breaking the spell, Harry sat with a thunk.
"Think Harry," he whispered. "Either you can do Wandless Magic, or..." He glanced at the Rune on his hand. It was a magical marking... And the only reason people couldn't do wandless magic was that then they had nothing to focus their magic through... Could he be using the Rune as a focus?
About an hour later, at five AM, he had decided he was. He had tried doing spells without thinking of the word used, only the effects; that had worked. He had tried not even pointing at the object; that had worked too. All he had to do was concentrate for a second, like he was casting a spell with his wand.
There was a knock on the door. He slipped on his cloak and pulled on his hood before calling "Come in!"
The door opened to reveal Nimi standing in much the same outfit as yesterday, with her hood on as well; they had transfigured a load of clothes for her too. "Hello Harry," she said. "I thought that perhaps you'd want to find out about your friend today?" At Harry's confused look, she elaborated. "The one that you said wasn't at your trial and might think you innocent."
Comprehension dawned. "Right! Very well, I s'pose we'll be going to Hogwarts."
The Previous Night at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place
Dumbledore stood in front of the Order. Ron and Hermione had recently joined, so they were there as well. He sighed heavily. "Quiet!" he called out. Almost instantaneously, there was silence.
He was, for a moment, at a loss as of what to say. He didn't think that they were ready to hear that Harry had died. Remus especially. The werewolf was no longer as convinced of Harry's guilt as he had been, and Albus could tell. He decided to just say the rest of what the lord Azkaban had told him.
"Well," he said with another gusty sigh. "The Lord Azkaban has refused my offer and revoked my citizenship."
There was an instant commotion. Everyone but a select few were shouting and yelling; in fact, only Remus Lupin and Severus Snape were still sitting, calmly looking at him. "SILENCE!" he thundered. He had it immediately, and smiled. "That's better."
"Sir, why would the Lord do that?" Hermione called out.
Dumbledore shook his head. "From what I could gather, he knew about Sirius' innocence and thought that I should have known better."
Hermione was outraged. "So he refuses to help the world because we sent one man to Azkaban when he was innocent?"
Dumbledore shook his head. "No. He just absolutely refuses to help the Order. He says that he shall fight Voldemort on his own terms."
"That's crazy!" Ron shouted. "Why would he do that?"
"I do not know, Mr. Weasley," Dumbledore said, shrugging helplessly. "I just do not know."
The Next Morning: Just Outside Hogwarts Castle
Harry took a deep breath.
"You ready?" Nimi asked.
He nodded, and with a wave of his hands the once-thought impenetrable doors to Hogwarts opened. He strolled in as though he owned the place, and then opened the door to the Great Hall, Nimi behind him.
Harry stormed into the Great Hall, his cloak billowing behind him but his hood not moving, still shadowing his eyes. As Dumbledore stood, he raised his hand and showed the Rune. "As Lord of Caer Azkaban, I have a right to demand audience with any magical subject of Great Britain, America, and all other nations that signed the Azkabanian Peace Treaty in 1403" he said in a cold voice.
Dumbledore nodded, ignoring the chill going up and down his spine. "I would be happy to give you an audience, Lord Azkaban. Have you reconsidered my offer?"
Harry laughed coldly. "I really do not see why I would wish to speak with you, and I will never reconsider your offer. No, I need to speak to Miss Luna Lovegood."
Ignoring the whisperings and Dumbledore's look of shock, Luna stood and confidently strode over to the Lord Azkaban, her blond hair floating behind her. "I would be honored to have an audience with you, Lord Azkaban."
Harry grinned, and due to his outfit, it looked as though the Grim Reaper was leering at them. "Excellent. Nimi" the girl stepped forward "Please escort Miss Lovegood to the carriage. I shall be along shortly."
She nodded, and smiled at Luna, showing her out of the Hall and to the carriage. Harry turned back to Dumbledore. "She may be returning here- she may not. Either way, it shall be of her own decision." Harry turned to leave when Dumbledore spoke.
"Why are you doing this, Lord Azkaban"
Harry turned, his grin widening. He had been awaiting this question with much anticipation. "Well, as it seems quite possible that she's one of the only wizarding citizen of Great Britain with any sense, I've decided to make her my Secondary Advisor if she'll accept."
Once again ignoring the mutterings of shock, the Lord of Caer Azkaban and the Druid Isles swept out of the room, chuckling.
He stepped into the carriage, not before calling out to the driver "We'll just be going back to the Castle."
"Right away, m'Lord," came the reply, and soon they were moving again. Once they were all seated in the carriage, Harry faced Luna's questioning gaze.
"I need to ask you a question, Miss Lovegood. Do you believe in Harry Potter's innocence?"
Luna raised her head. "With all due respect lord Azkaban, I do."
Harry laughed softly. "Good I had hoped so." And he pulled back his hood.
There was silence for a moment as Luna stared at him. "Harry? You're-"
He nodded. "I didn't so it."
She hurriedly agreed. "I know. Remus and I- well, just Remus really, but he showed me- found the spell they used."
He looked at her as though she'd grown a third head. "Remus Lupin? But he thinks I-"
Luna shook her head emphatically. "I don't know if he believed it at first, and maybe he did, but now he's positive you're innocent."
A grin broke out over Harry's features. "Perfect! I needed another Secondary Advisor." At Luna's questioning look, Harry's smile widened. "That's right! You weren't in the Hall when I announced it. Luna, will you be one of my Secondary Advisors?"
Luna stared at him. "What?"
"I need two Secondary Advisors for my Council," Harry said as though it were the most important thing in the world. "And I want you to be one of them. I know I can trust you, and you have good advice."
"But-" she stammered, "I'm not a citizen-"
Nimi interrupted. "Harry has the power to make anyone a citizen. You could stay at Hogwarts or the Isle if you wish."
Harry nodded. "Right. The Castle Azkaban has a lot of spare room, and Nimi and I can tutor you with fifth year knowledge. She's taken fifth year and passed her OWLS already, too, haven't you?"
She nodded. "Yep. I passed the OWLS a few months ago."
Luna looked deep in thought, and then nodded. "I would be honored," she said softly. "And I really don't want to go back to Hogwarts."
Harry nodded. "We'll set you up in the Castle as soon as we get there, which'll be in a few moments." he pulled up his hood, and the rest of the ride was passed in companionable silence.
She looked up at the man taunting her and somehow mustered the strength to spit in his face. "You bastard," she panted out.
The man laughed. "Yes, I am, but I know for a fact you are too."
She sneered, and for a moment looked uncannily like a good-looking version of Snape. Well, they were cousins. "Lucius, rot in hell."
Malfoy laughed again. "I'll see you there, Fillibuster."
She glared. "I hate your guts."
"That's what happens when someone beats you as much as I have."
"Leave her alone," came a weak-sounding voice in the corner. Both parties involved in the argument turned to look a the other woman chained to the wall in the corner. "You've already done enough."
"What, no half-breed here to save you?" Malfoy asked, sneering at the blond.
"He's more of a man than you'll ever be."
Lucius snarled and bitch-slapped the woman. "Don't you be speaking to me that way girl. I have your life in my hands."
"And we all know you won't kill us," the chestnut haired woman replied. "Your half-blood master wants us alive."
"CRUCIO!" Malfoy thundered.
The woman just stared at him, her teeth clenched in pain. Finally he lifted the curse, and she took in several deep breaths with no energy to speak and insult him again.
Lucius smiled broadly. "Don't mess with me, girl." He swept out of the room.
"You alright?" the blond called once Malfoy was gone.
The chestnut haired one nodded. "I will be." There was a pause, and then "He shouldn't have said that. We both know that he isn't a half-breed."
The blond sighed heavily. "I know, but it still hurts, ya know?"
The other woman nodded. "Prob'ly better than anyone."
The two woman sat in their cell in companionable silence.
The man in the grey mist was playing chess in his head. "E-4", he muttered to himself.
She had taught him the trick. It worked well against Legilimens. They couldn't read your mind with all the numbers and letters running through it. He remembered what she had said then... "I'll be right there with you, playing chess in your head."
He hadn't played chess since then. Since she had died. It always made him think of her. He thought of her all the time anyways, but chess was just too great of a reminder.
They would always play chess when it snowed. Sometimes they played when it rained, but only after they had one out and swing danced in it. Everyone thought they were crazy for that; either that, or that it was incredibly sweet. Every time it rained, without fail, you could look out the windows of Hogwarts and find them.
But when it snowed, they would ask a House Elf to bring them a huge pot of hot chocolate with raspberry syrup and marshmallow and drink it while concentrating on the game. The whole of the tower would gather around and watched them; the game always lasted at least an hour. They each knew how the other thought, and as a result it took a lot of work for one to outsmart the other.
No matter who won, the tower would cheer and everyone would take turns roasting marshmallow over the fire in the Common Room, even the First Years would be helped out by the upperclassmen. Then they would make s'mores, and either she and him or one of their best friends would end up with a string of marshmallow connecting their lips and everyone would laugh.
But what was the point reflecting on the past? Only one of his friends was still alive, and he would never see him or any of the rest of them ever again. When his last friend died, he would join the others, leaving him here, alone, in the grey mist.
It always came down to that; it was what he had reflected on in Azkaban, when he was in so much pain over the deaths of four people he cared about and the betrayal of another.
He would always be alone.
A/N: End of this chapter....