Albus Dumbledore keeps a secret that may be the very downfall of the wizarding world. Will Voldemort learn of this secret, which Dumbledore values more than the prophecy? Or, will someone find ou...
Chapter 9: Chosen Ones
Although the planned birthday party for Harry Potter would be for the next day, number twelve Grimmauld Place was already cleaned, and decorated. A big, birthday banner was already hanging, in the enlarged sitting room. Balloons were tied everywhere. A lot of gifts, from well-wishers, were already heaped in one corner.
“Sirius, hurry up! We’re going to be late!” Remus shouted from outside Sirius’ bedroom. He had been waiting for over ten minutes. He was beginning to wonder, what his friend was doing, when the door was suddenly yanked opened. Without greeting his friend, Sirius went straight toward the staircase, hurriedly combing his hair. Remus, with a sigh, followed at a sedate pace. When he reached the ground floor, he gave the impatient-looking Sirius a conspiratorial smile. “Are you giving the gift we bought from the twins?”
“Yes,” Sirius answered, grinning wickedly. “I’m sure Neville won’t mind, once he sees his real gift.”
“Come on. We don’t want to be late.” Remus and Sirius headed to the fireplace, and flooed to Longbottom Manor.
Once they exited the fireplace, they noticed a great number of people, milling around. It seemed they arrived on time. They saw several familiar faces. They saw Tonks waving at them, from one side of the main hall. They decided to join her group.
Tonks introduced them to her friends. “You, two, sure like to be fashionably late,” she said teasingly. A house-elf approached, and offered them drinks. They took the same kind of drink, Tonks and her friends were sipping... pineapple punch.
“What can I say? Remus and I are on a class of our own,” Sirius jokingly replied. “So, where is the birthday boy? We come bearing gift.”
“Oh, he’s probably off somewhere with his friends,” Tonks replied unconcernedly. “You can put your gift on a table in the sitting room. You can’t miss it. There’s a mountain of gifts in there.” She uninterestedly pointed at a door on her right.
“Well, if you’ll excuse me, I have a gift to offer.” Sirius handed his drink to Remus, before proceeding to the sitting room. He opened the door Tonks carelessly pointed, but it wasn’t a sitting room. It was a study room. He was about to close the door, when a voice suddenly addressed him.
“Looking for someone?” Sirius directed his eyes to the source of the voice. He saw a teenage boy, standing near a bookshelf, on the left side of the room. He was partially obscured by shadow. That’s why he didn’t notice him, when he first entered the room. He closed the door behind him. For some unknown reason, he walked closer to the boy. Sirius closely studied his face. The teenager looked familiar with his messy black hair, his wire-rimmed glasses, his brown…no…green eyes.
Sirius eyes grew round, his heart skipped a beat. “Harry? Is it really you?” he whispered disbelievingly. Without waiting for an answer, he closed the gap between them, and tightly hugged the boy. A feeling of joy filled his heart, his eyes moistened with unshed tears of happiness. After a few moments, he stepped back, but didn’t remove his hands on the boy’s shoulders. “I thought I’ll never see you again, Harry. I have been looking for you for fifteen years. Dumbledore won’t tell me, where you are. I…” The door suddenly opened, and a head appeared.
“Sirius, are you in here?” It was Remus. He was curiously looking around him, when he spotted them. “Sirius, there you are. The party is about to start…”
“Remus, come here,” Sirius happily called out. “I found Harry.” Remus, with a puzzled expression on his face, joined Sirius and a teenage boy. “Remus, I want you to meet Harry.”
Remus gave Sirius a wondering look. “Sirius, I already saw Harry. He is not Harry. He doesn’t even remotely resemble Harry.”
Now, Sirius was the one confuse. “What do you mean? Remus, look at him. He’s the spitting image of James. And, he has Lily’s eyes.”
Remus closely studied the boy’s face. He could tell the boy felt uncomfortable. As much as he hated to admit it, the boy did resemble James. And, his eyes…They were Lily’s eyes. “I admit he looks a little bit like James. But, I’m telling you, he is not Harry,” Remus firmly declared.
Sirius frowned at his friend. Then, he turned to the boy. “I know you are Harry Potter, my godson. I can feel it. Will you tell my friend here, that he’s wrong and I’m right?”
The boy uncertainly looked from Sirius to Remus, and then, back again. “I’m sorry. My name is Harry Evans,” the boy said apologetically.
Remus felt pity for his friend. He wanted to find Harry so much. He was willing to accept anyone, who slightly resembled their dead friends. He saw Sirius’ face turned from shock to anger. “I don’t believe you. You’re lying! Why are you lying? Did Dumbledore tell you to lie? Harry, you don’t have to be afraid. I will protect you.”
Remus saw the boy’s face was expressionless, but his eyes were full of questions. He wouldn’t be surprised, if the boy thought Sirius was some kind of a lunatic. He grabbed a hold of his friend’s arm, and pulled him toward the door. “We’re sorry for bothering you. My friend here is a little tired. Please, enjoy the party.”
When they were standing outside the study room, Sirius seemed to awaken from his shock. He pulled his arm free, and was about to enter the room again. But, Remus hastily blocked his path, and firmly gripped his shoulders. “Sirius, No! That boy is not Harry.”
“And, I’m telling you, he is.” Sirius tried to get past Remus. He also grabbed a hold of Remus’ shoulders, and tried to push him out of his way.
“There you are.” A feminine voice interrupted their little wrestling match. They both turned around, and saw Tonks watching them with a puzzled expression. “The party is about to start. And, guess what? Harry Potter is Neville’s main guest of honor. They’re in the main hall right now.” Sirius and Remus briefly looked at each other in surprise. Then, as one, they rapidly walked to the main hall, with Tonks following close behind.
The main hall was crowded. Everyone seemed intent to squeeze themselves a little closer, to the middle of the room. Being tall, Sirius had no problem, seeing over everyone’s head. He saw Neville, his parents and grandmother, his Hogwarts friends, Professor Dumbledore, and a tall, athletic-looking teenager.
Sirius moved closer to get a better look. Some wizards and witches didn’t like being pushed and shoved, but he didn’t care. He was intent on getting a little closer. Unfortunately for him, he reached as far as he could go, without stepping on anyone’s toe. But, it was enough to study Harry’s face. It didn’t take him long to decide. He knew deep inside, that the boy standing beside Dumbledore wasn’t Harry. It was a patsy. The real Harry was in the study room.
Sirius turned around, and went back the way he came. As usual, some of the witches and wizards protested, as he walked through them. Remus, seeing Sirius headed toward the study room, followed. When Sirius entered the study room, it was empty.
“Sirius, what’s wrong?” Remus asked with concern from the doorway.
Sirius laughed a bitter laugh. “I was right, and you were wrong.” With a sense of loss, he turned around, and faced his friend. “That Harry, the one with Dumbledore, is not the real Harry. He’s a fake.”
Remus stared dubiously at his friend. “How do you know? How sure are you that the Harry with Dumbledore is a fake?” he asked persistently.
Sirius sadly dropped his gaze, and shook his head. “I can’t really explain it. It was just a feeling I got, when I looked at him.”
Remus considered his friend’s statement. As much as he wanted to dissuade Sirius from his feeling, he didn’t see any reason not to believe him. “Well, if you feel the boy who was in here, a while ago, is the real Harry, we can just visit him at the twins’ joke shop.”
Sirius slowly raised his head. He had a confuse look on his face. “Wait a minute… Why will Harry be in the twins’ joke shop?”
Remus’ lips slowly broke into a lopsided smile. “I saw him there. I didn’t actually meet him. Fred just told me, he’s their version of Harry Potter.” The werewolf marauder chuckled. “If he’s really your godson, those Weasley boys don’t know they hired the real Harry Potter.” Remus saw Sirius smiled amusedly. “We just have to make sure we befriend him first. If we scare him, he might run away.”
Sirius grinned excitedly, as he nodded his head. “And, when the right time comes, I know the best way to prove, that he is the real Harry Potter.”
On the night of July 31st, at number twelve Grimmauld Place, everyone and everything was ready and waiting for the birthday celebrant. The house was full of Order members, and a few select DA students. Here and there, witches and wizards excitedly talked about finally meeting The-Boy-Who-Lived. At first, they were disappointed. Harry Potter didn’t arrive as planned. But, it soon turned to excitement, especially for the witches, when it was announced there would be dancing. And, Harry Potter would pick his dance partner, randomly.
Up in his room, Sirius was rapidly boring a hole on his carpet. He couldn’t sit still. He was nervous, and at the same time excited. Remus and Tonks watched him with amusement. Tonks was apprised of the situation that morning. So, she had some idea of what would happen.
“Sirius, will you calm down,” Remus said, amused at his friend. “Harry will be here soon. I specifically asked Fred and George to drag him here, if he refused.”
Sirius suddenly stopped, and looked with horror at Remus. “You didn’t? Remus, we agreed to let him get to know us first, at his own pace.” He saw Tonks and Remus broke into gales of laughter.
“Sirius, you should have seen your face. That was priceless.” Remus and Tonks continued laughing, while Sirius exasperatedly glared at them.
“Ha, Ha, Ha… You think that’s funny, don’t you?” Sirius started pacing again. He couldn’t help cracking his knuckles too, while he paced the floor. Once in a while, he would pat his cloak, to feel a small object in his hip pocket.
“By the way, is our gift to ‘Harry’ ready?” Sirius raised his hands, and signaled quotation marks in the air, as he said the other Harry’s name. Remus turned to Tonks, who gave them a puzzled look. Sirius looked expectantly from Remus to Tonks. “Well?”
Tonks continued to look oblivious. Remus finally glared at her. “The gift? Oh, the gift for ‘Harry’… got you.” She mischievously winked at both men. “Yes, it’s ready. It will be the main gift opening of the night.” Sirius, Remus, and Tonks smiled conspiratorially. All of them clearly remembered Neville’s birthday party the night before…
It was interesting, to say the least. Neville excitedly opened their gift first. He wanted to see, what his training instructors gavehim. As was advertised, small balloons, fireworks, confetti, and party hats flew out. The box unraveled, and completely exposed the chocolate cake, with lit sixteen candles. Fred and George’s voices were heard singing an out-of-tune birthday song. Everyone was shouting, clapping, and cheering. Everyone was having a very good time.
What happened next was totally unexpected. As soon as Neville blew out the candles, the chocolate cake exploded…candles and all. It completely covered Neville’s face, and splattered his expensive dress robe. All the laughter and cheering suddenly stopped. Nobody moved. Nobody even made a sound. Everyone held their breath in complete shock.
Neville delicately removed gobs of chocolate from his eye. Then, very slowly, he opened his eyes. For a moment, he looked in surprise at his party guests. Suddenly, a couple of snorts broke the eerie silence. This turned into a full blown laughter of the Weasley twins. They were bent over clutching their stomach, as they laughed. They were laughing so hard, tears were streaming down their cheeks.
“Fred, George, how could you?” Mrs. Weasley yelled at them in a scandalized voice. She barreled her way to their side, and angrily pinched their ears.
“Ow, Ow, Ow… Mum, it wasn’t us… Let go… That hurts,” the twins protested in pain. They tried unsuccessfully to pry their mum’s fingers from their pain-red ears.
Everyone just watched the odd scene. Nobody seemed to know how to react. Neville, on the other hand, found the situation funny, and laughed heartily. This broke the tense atmosphere. And, everyone laughed with the birthday celebrant.
Sounds of knocking brought them out of their own reveries. Sirius giddily opened the door, and found Ron standing outside his bedroom. “I hate to disturb you, but Professor Dumbledore and Harry Potter have arrived.”
“Thanks, Ron. We’ll be down in a minute.” Sirius gently closed the door, and turned to his friends. “Well, it’s show time. May the Mistress of Mischief grant us her blessings...”
“…And laugh upon our misdeeds.” Remus intoned dramatically. It was the marauder’s battle cry, so to speak.
They went downstairs, and found everyone in the enlarge sitting room. Dumbledore saw them, and cheerfully beckoned them to come to the front. The headmaster was smiling widely. His blue eyes were twinkling brightly.
“Sirius, Remus, I would like you to meet Harry Potter,” the headmaster said grandly, as an introduction.
Sirius and Remus politely shook Harry’s hand in turn. This Harry was roughly the same height as James. He possessed the general facial features of both Lily and James. His eyes were green, but not the same shade of color as Lily’s.
“After so many years, I finally meet you,” Sirius said with a friendly smile. “Did Professor Dumbledore mention I’m your godfather?”
Harry smiled cordially. “Yes, he did. I love to have met you sooner, but Professor Dumbledore is worried about my security. I’m glad we get the chance to meet now.” Sirius just nodded noncommittally.
“Oh, before I forget, I like to show you something.” Sirius brought out a small crimson box, and showed James’ signet ring. “This belonged to you father. He gave it to me, before they went into hiding.”
Harry reached for the ring. But, when he touched it, a shock went through his fingers. He swiftly pulled back his hand, and tried to shake off the pain. For a moment, anger flitted across his face, before it quickly vanished.
“It shocked me!” Harry exclaimed in disgust.
“I’m so sorry, Harry,” Sirius hastily apologized. “It does that to everyone.” His voice deceptively conveyed his concern. Dumbledore, on the other hand, was slightly suspicious.
“Harry, you have a birthday to celebrate. Why don’t you start the party, so that you and Sirius can have a private chat afterward?” Remus interrupted cheerfully. “My only request is you open our gift first.” He saw Sirius pressed his lips together, so he wouldn’t laugh.
“I will, Remus,” Harry said charmingly. He turned to his guests, and addressed them. “Thank you all for coming. I was very excited when Professor Dumbledore told me I would celebrate my birthday here. Looking at all the decorations, it must have taken a lot of effort to prepare all these. Thank you very much.”
Harry’s speech was greeted with loud applause and cheering. A large table, carrying a very large cake with sixteen candles, floated inside the room. The cheering and clapping grew louder. Soon, the room reverberated with the singing of a birthday song. When the song was finished, the crowd grew quiet, until Harry blew out the candles. Then, the room exploded again with loud clapping and cheering.
The first birthday gift Harry opened was from Sirius and Remus. Like what happened at Neville’s birthday party, the chocolate cake exploded. The Weasley twins laughed uproariously. Mrs. Weasley yelled at the top of her lungs. And, everyone broke down laughing.
The hilarious scene was never witnessed by the two marauders. They were busy looking for Harry Evans, hired hand of the Weasley twins. They found him in Sirius bedroom, looking intently at the moving photograph of James and Lily on their wedding day.
“There you are,” Sirius said aloud. He was sorry as soon as he spoke. He saw Harry jumped in alarm, and very nearly dropped the photograph. “What are you doing in my room? The birthday party is downstairs. Never mind, it’s boring anyway.”
Harry looked at him in surprise. “Isn’t he your godson?”
“How did you know he’s my godson?” Sirius inquired curiously. He didn’t wait for an answer. He stood beside Harry, and looked at the photograph. “It was the happiest day of James and Lily’s lives…” Sirius paused, as if remembering something. “No. The happiest day of their lives was when their son was born.”
“What happened to them?” Harry asked him somberly.
“They were killed by Voldemort.” Sirius noticed Harry didn’t flinched. He smiled inwardly. He was brave like his parents. “James left me this for safekeeping.” Again, he brought out the small box containing the signet ring, and opened it. He noticed the intense gaze, Harry was giving the ring. “Here…” Sirius proffered the box to Harry. “Take the ring out, if you want to closely study its facet.” He saw the boy slowly reached for the ring in fascination. But, at the last moment, Harry changed his mind, and withdrew his right hand. The boy just contentedly looked at the signet ring. Sirius felt greatly disappointed. “You can take the ring out of the box, if you like. I won’t mind at all.”
Again, he saw Harry slowly reached out. Sirius unconsciously held his breath in anticipation. But, instead of picking up the ring, he reached for the lid, and closed it with a faint click. “Thank you for offering me to hold it. But, I can’t really. That right belongs to Harry Potter,” Harry said with a very faint hint of emotion. “The ring…it looks very nice.”
Sirius surreptitiously glanced at Remus, who was standing behind Harry’s left side. He didn’t get the proof he needed. But, he strongly believed, more than ever, that this boy was really Harry Potter, his lost godson. He would just have to find another way to prove it. “I understand.” Sirius momentarily examined the ring himself. “The ring does look nice, doesn’t it? I promised James I will give this to his son, once he reaches his age of majority.” Sirius regretfully slid the small box to his pocket. Unsure of what to say to each other next, he and Harry briefly lapsed into uncomfortable silence.
“Hey, why don’t we all go downstairs, and eat? I don’t know about you, two, but I’m starving,” Remus said cheerfully, a little bit too cheerful. “With these many people, I won’t be surprised, if we run out of food.”
“What do you say, Harry?” Sirius asked brightly. “You feel hungry?” Harry’s stomach growled. “I take that as a yes. Come on. Ron may be just a teenager, but he’s got a stomach deeper than Eldon Hole.” Sirius led the walk down to the kitchen.
Except for a few Order members, six Hogwarts students, and the fake Harry Potter, all the guests left. The two marauders found time for a relaxing tea. Sitting quietly in Sirius’ study room, both men were in deep thought.
“So, what happened to letting him get to know us first?” Remus asked teasingly. Sirius just carelessly shrugged his shoulder, and turned his attention to the flickering flames in the fireplace. “What are you going to do now, to prove Harry Evans is really your godson?”
The dancing light of the flames reflected on Sirius’ face. His sad blue eyes seemed to be looking at some distant memories. “I don’t really know,” he uncertainly replied, after a moment of silence. “It’s funny. I have been searching for him for a long time. Now that I’ve found him, I don’t know what to do. If he will only admit he’s Harry Potter, everything will be alright.” Sirius musingly shook his head. “I mean it’s so obvious with that last name of his. Evans is his mother’s maiden name.”
Remus slowly nodded, understanding his friend’s feelings. “What about Professor Dumbledore?” he asked, looking at Sirius over the rim of his cup, as he took a sip.
“What about him?” Sirius asked quizzically, as he turned his eyes towards Remus.
“He obviously lied to us. He doesn’t know where Harry is, either. He hid Harry from us, when he was a baby. But, somehow, through the intervening years, he too lost Harry. He didn’t even recognize Harry, when he briefly talked to him. And, to cover his mistake, he was trying to pass off this impostor, as the real Harry Potter.” Remus was breathing hard, when he was done enumerating his observations. Anger blazed within his yellowish eyes.
“We will leave Professor Dumbledore for now. We can’t do anything about it anyway,” Sirius said evenly. “What we shall do…”
Remus suddenly signaled Sirius to stop talking. He slowly stood up, and quietly walked to the door. He carefully listened for a second, before quickly turning the doorknob, and yanking the door open. Neville, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Susan, and Luna tumbled to the floor on top of each other.
“It’s not what you think,” Hermione said immediately, as she hastily scrambled off the floor. “We… ah…”
“…Dropped some galleons, and we are trying to find them. Some of them rolled near the door,” Ron quickly added. The others glared at him for his pathetic excuse. Ron just apologetically shrugged his shoulders.
Remus sternly looked at them. “You may as well come in.” The six students hesitantly walked inside the study room. Remus firmly closed the door. He cast both Locking and Privacy Charms at the door. It was an oversight he didn’t intend to repeat. “Find yourself a seat.” The six snoopers picked extra chairs, footrests. In Ron’s case, he just sat on the floor.
“So, how much did you hear?” Sirius curiously asked. He watched them uncomfortably squirmed, and glanced at each other.
“Well, we heard that you suspect Harry Evans is really Harry Potter.” Hermione contritely dropped her eyes to her hands. She was obviously embarrassed.
“I can’t believe it. I’ve been talking to Harry Potter, and didn’t even know it.” Ron looked in awe.
Ginny soundly cuffed him in the head. “Didn’t you hear what Hermione said? Auror Black suspects… suspects. Now be quiet. And, this time, just listen.” She determinedly ignored the angry blustering of her brother.
Sirius chuckled with amusement. For a moment, he thought of a way to explain to his students, the gravity of the situation. Even if they promised not to breathe a word they heard, Dumbledore could just pull the information out of their minds. “Now then, I want you all to promise me not to tell anyone, and I mean anyone, anything you hear in here. The knowledge you possess is a danger to yourself, as well as to Harry. If Voldemort ever finds out, well, I don’t have to tell you what will happen.”
The six students blanched. “Well, do I have your promise?” Sirius waited expectantly to hear them promise. He wasn’t disappointed. “Good. Starting tomorrow, we will add Occlumency to your training.”
Hermione was excited. The others were confused. “Hermione, would you please explain Occlumency to the others?” Sirius requested with a smile.
“Ahem… Occlumency is a magical way to defend the mind against outside mental intrusion or influence. It is a defensive counter against Legilimency, which required direct eye contact to successfully perform,” Hermione recited proudly.
When she was finished, the others were looking at her, as if she had grown six heads. “Thank you, Hermione. I advise you to study Occlumency, as if your life depends on it.” Sirius seriously looked at each student. “Since you haven’t learned anything yet, I don’t want you to look Snape or Professor Dumbledore, straight in the eye.”
Hermione gasped, horrified. Her reaction caught the attention of her classmates. They confusedly saw her face turned from horror-struck to rage. “How dare they?!”
“Hermione, what’s wrong?” Ginny asked with concern. She never saw Hermione this angry, except when she was arguing with Ron.
Hermione looked at them with anger burning in her brown eyes. “Remember how we talked about Snape or Professor Dumbledore seemed to be looking inside our heads? Well, they were doing just that. They were looking inside our heads using Occlumency.”
“WHAT?” the other students shouted in unison.
Neville began thinking of situations, where Dumbledore or Snape were probing their minds. “That’s probably how they know things, before we even tell them.”
“So, all this time, they really knew we were lying, or telling the truth?” Susan was surprised at the revelation.
Sirius and Remus let the six students assimilate, what they had learned about Snape and Professor Dumbledore. In order to protect Harry, Sirius had no choice, but to open their eyes to the danger within the Order of the Phoenix itself.
“One more thing…” The six students turned their eyes to Sirius. “…Don’t bother Harry Evans with questions, concerning his true identity. He might leave, if someone is getting too nosy about his personal life. Do we agree on that?” The students answered affirmatively. “If you find out something, just tell it to me or Remus or Tonks. Now, since ‘Harry Potter’ will be staying here till school starts, be careful what you say around him. He is Professor Dumbledore’s pet.”
“Auror Black, how did you know he is a fake? You said it yourself. You haven’t seen him for fifteen years,” Hermione inquired curiously.
Sirius brought out the box, and showed the signet ring to the students. He gave the box to Hermione, who passed it to Neville, and so on, until it reached Ron, who decided to touch the ring. He yelled painfully.
“Unless you are a Potter, it won’t let you touch it. The Harry Potter, who Professor Dumbledore brought here today, received a shock, when he touched that ring.” Sirius took the box from Ron, and slid it inside his pocketed. “Lily Potter, Harry’s mum, couldn’t touch it either.”
“Well, maybe it was Professor Dumbledore’s intention to bring a fake Harry, as a security precaution. After all, You-Know-Who’s spies are everywhere.” Hermione couldn’t altogether accept that in a few short minutes, the wizard she admired so much might have feet of clay.
“Oh come on, Hermione. Death Eater spy here in the headquarters?” Ron asked dubiously, his ire clearly showing in his face. “The only spy here is Snape, and he’s on our side. You said so yourself.”
Hermione still remained doubtful. “Auror Black, did Mr. Potter, Harry’s father, specifically say only a Potter can touch that ring?”
“Yes,” Sirius answered with a puzzled look on his face. “What are you trying to say, Hermione?”
“You said, Lily Potter, couldn’t touch that ring?” Hermione looked questioningly at Sirius. She received a nod as confirmation. “She was magically married to James Potter?” Again, she received a nod. “Well, I find it hard to believe, she couldn’t touch that ring, because in essence, she was a Potter. A magical marriage, which basically binds a witch and a wizard’s magic making them as one, grants her access to all Potter properties.” There was a look of concentration on her face, as if she was trying to remember something. “The officiating wizard, in magical marriages, always says… Let no earthly material or want, divide your magic in two… as the couple joins their blood by holding each other’s bleeding hands.” She looked expectantly at Sirius. “Mrs. Potter couldn’t touch that ring, if it was enchanted for Mr. Potter’s use only.”
“It could have been enchanted to include Harry also,” Neville speculatively commented.
“Is that the usual practice of pureblood families?” Hermione interestedly asked her friend.
“Well… No… The Head of the Family usually waits till the heir is of age,” Neville answered hesitantly.
Hermione earnestly turned her attention to Sirius. “Did Mr. Potter tell you Harry can also touch that ring, without any unpleasant reaction?”
Sirius was at a loss for word. Actually, he didn’t know for sure. He just assumed. He looked at Remus’ direction, his eyes asking for support. But, his werewolf friend just wickedly grinned at him. He looked again at Hermione. Now, he definitely knew why this witch was at the top of her class.
“No, he didn’t.” He saw a look of triumph crossed her face. “Hermione, I know you have strong faith in Professor Dumbledore. I, too, believe in him, even if I don’t agree with him, from time to time. He is a great wizard. One of his strengths is his deep concern for the wizarding community. But, sometimes, he gets carried away with his good intentions that he fails to see the pain, he causes to some people. You have to remember, hell is paved with good intentions.” Sirius gave the bushy-haired witch a searching look. A clock on the fireplace mantle softly chimed eleven times. “It’s getting late. I want you all back to your own beds. We have a busy day tomorrow.”
With the Locking and Privacy Charm removed from the door, the six students tiredly piled out of the study room. “Do you think it’s safe for them to know something this important?” Remus asked apprehensively.
“I have a feeling they will play an important role in Harry’s life,” Sirius said mysteriously.
Remus looked at him with mild amusement. “Like the feeling you had, when you told James, Lily would love his perfume?”
“That was a miscommunication. I told him hate, not love,” Sirius clarified quickly.
“Like the feeling you had, when we got caught sneaking out of Hogwarts for some butterbeers?” Remus cheerfully reminded him.
“See, that wasn’t my fault. If Wormtail hadn’t stepped on the hem of the invisibility cloak, we wouldn’t have been caught,” Sirius defended himself.
“Like the feeling you had, when you charmed James’s broom to go faster?” Remus was almost grinning.
“How was I supposed to know the broom would go out of control? Besides, if Prongs had been a skillful flyer like me, he wouldn’t have any trouble at all.” For a moment, Sirius’ eyes held righteous anger. Then, he slowly dropped his head and shoulders in defeat. “You’re right. It is risky trusting them with Harry’s safety.”
“I thought so too. But, I have a feeling they will play an important role in Harry’s life,” Remus commented sagely. He sedately walked toward the door, leaving Sirius with his mouth hanging wide open.
“Hey, you just repeated what I said earlier,” Sirius loudly protested at Remus’ retreating back.