Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Deceptive Appearances

Battles and Visions

by ShadeDancer 0 reviews

Chapter 5

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Harry, Snape - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2005-10-21 - Updated: 2005-10-22 - 4412 words

Disclaimer: I bet you realize I don't own Harry Potter by now.

"You're not Albus Dumbledore" Harry spoke up, ignoring the fact that he had just interrupted the man in the middle of whatever he was saying.

A buzz went up in the classroom as Dumbledore stopped and looked at Harry.

"Whatever do you mean child" he asked Harry.

"You are not Albus Dumbledore" Harry repeated with conviction though he said no more.

"I assure you young Harry that I am Dumbledore and am not under any charms, potions, or spells that would alter my appearance in any way" the blue eyes twinkled and Harry could see that the man was enjoying this repartee.

"I didn't say you aren't a Dumbledore" Harry retorted smugly "I just said that you aren't Albus Dumbledore as your carefully chosen words would have us believe. Everything you have told us is the truth, but vague enough that the lies behind them aren't noticed for the truth that is present. You are not Albus Dumbledore but his brother, Aberforth Dumbledore."

The Dumbledore standing in front of them grew serious and gave a few slow claps.

"Congratulations Mr. Potter" he said "I am indeed Aberforth Dumbledore and I will be your Defense teacher this year. No one in the other class I had today was able to pick up on my half-truths even as I made them more blatantly obvious towards the end of the lesson. Your lesson today and for the next few classes will concentrate on being aware of your surroundings and detecting falsifications as well as examining magical disguises, casting them, and how to detect them."

By the time class ended Harry wasn't sure what to make of Aberforth Dumbledore. He had expected the professor to be much like his brother, but Aberforth didn't seem to possess the manipulative nature of Albus; though that of course could be an act. Harry wanted to study Aberforth a bit longer but he couldn't keep McGonagall waiting for however long it took him to get a good impression of the professor. An irritated cat animagus was not a pretty sight and he had already left the classroom while his thoughts had wandered.

"Concentrate Mr. Potter" professor McGonagall snapped half an hour later and Harry resisted the urge to roll his eyes; he was concentrating, just not as hard as she wished.

He was trying to fight the complete change that wished to overcome him and so his attention was divided, leaving him open to McGonagall's displeasure. He was tempted to ask who had stepped on her tail and felt his own twitch at the thought. He was sitting comfortably in a nest of pillows in case his balance was thrown off during his changes. Currently dark-ash and golden fur rippled all over his body, his hands and feet were paws with claws he could extend and retract at will, his newly grown tail flicked lazily, and his whiskers and ears twitched as his enhanced senses examined the room. Most disconcerting though was the pale green his eyes had become. As a human his eyes had already seemed to pierce the soul, but with the feline cast they had assumed it seemed as if he was looking right through a person.

"Begin to change back" McGonagall instructed and Harry complied, changing bit-by-bit until he was once again his normal self.

"Good Mr. Potter" she complimented stiffly, even in a one-on-one lesson like this she would not relax into a more familiar manner "you seem to have practiced over the summer as you were told and are closer to the final transformation than expected. Next lesson you will complete the change and the next week will be spent fine tuning your ability. Please be prepared Mr. Potter."

~~ ~~ ~*~

Harry sighed as he watched the members of the Gryffindor and Slytherin Quidditch teams arrive for the meeting. It was early November and school had been in session for two months now, but Harry was still having trouble getting the Slytherins and Gryffindors to cooperate. The chairs he and Draco had arranged in a circle before transfiguring them from hardwood into something more comfortable had been pulled away to form two separate groups. The house rivalries were really getting ridiculous. Harry turned his attention to the Slytherin team sitting proudly in their chairs, trading the occasional quiet remark or glance.

No one could accuse the Slytherin team of going for brute strength this year. Millie and Blaise had made Chaser with Draco, who was the Captain, joining them so that Harry could be Seeker. Theo would be the backup Chaser for when Draco had to play Seeker and Crabbe and Goyle were playing as Beaters while Miles Bletchley was Keeper. The group also flew very well together and employed cunning instead of merely disabling their opposing team with foul moves.

The Gryffindor team had suffered though and needed new players. Harry was of course Captain and Seeker, placing a happy Ginny in the position of Chaser for the time being. Jack and Andrew were there, but they were unsure if they were going to continue to play that year; Harry was going to work with them a bit and convince them that they were good enough for the team. Then of course Ron was still keeper, though with the way their friendship was currently going Harry wasn't too sure how playing on the same team would work out. Harry made a mental note to post tryout posters for all positions so that they had the best players for each position as well as backup players in the event of injury. Harry turned to Draco and nodded to his brother, time to get this meeting over with.

Nearly an hour later Harry slumped into his chair with Draco perching on the arm next to him, lending support. It hadn't taken long to inform the teams of the arrangements that had been made for Harry and the players had accepted things pretty well, except for Ron. Ron had gone on and on about how they wouldn't be able to trust Harry not to throw a game in favor of Slytherin and how they would soon see Gryffindor tactics being used by the Slytherins. Ron didn't even seem to realize that it could work both ways, that Harry could use Slytherin tactics for Gryffindor's gain. Thankfully the rest of the players on both teams realized that Harry respected the game of Quidditch too much to do such a thing and believed him when he said he would give each team his all. Against his better judgment Harry had finally used his rank as Captain to shut Ron up, mentioning to the redhead that if he didn't trust him to play fairly on both teams then perhaps it wouldn't be good for team morale to have such friction between them. It was a veiled reference of his ability to kick Ron off the team and thankfully it had been understood without him speaking plainly. Of course it seemed that everyone else had understood before the youngest Weasley male, but in the end Ron had quieted his protests in order to remain on the team.

"It could have gone worse" Draco spoke suddenly while idly playing with a few strands of Harry's hair, something everyone seemed to want to do lately "the whole team could have revolted on you."

Playfully Harry reached up and tugged on a lock of Draco's silky hair that was thankfully free of hair gel "might have been better if they had, then I would only have Slytherin to play for and could force someone else to worry about player tryouts."

"Come on" Harry cheered up a bit "let's set this room to rights and fence for a bit. A trouncing would do you good."

Draco scowled good-naturedly "I don't intend to be the one trounced, a Malfoy never loses."

"Then we have a quandary brother mine" Harry grinned "for I too am a Malfoy and one of us must lose."

'Clash Clang Schhht'.

Their swords join in a flurry of sound as blade scraped along blade. For a moment they pressed their weight against the other's blade, deadlocked, before snapping back quickly to break apart. The moves were well practiced; a series they often engaged in to see if either could break the stalemate. So far neither had been able to, or perhaps they were unwilling to. The stalemate gave them a reason to keep opposing each other. They had just flown at each other again when a shrill ringing echoed through the castle, startling them, only to be followed by a magically amplified voice.

"Hogsmeade is under attack. Fifth year and below will remain in the dorms, Sixth and Seventh year report to the Great Hall."

Flitwick's voice echoed on strong magical waves and no hint of a squeak could be heard. Harry and Draco exchanged glances.

"Hogsmeade" Harry said decisively and they made their way to the passage leading to Honeyduke's.

Let their classmates defend the castle; it was best to try and head the attack off before it reached Hogwart's gates, if it was even headed in that direction. They shot out of Honeyduke's and directly into the middle of the fray, hoods up and spells falling from their lips. A few Death Eaters fell to their spells but Harry and Draco knew they were sorely outnumbered and fell back to the shadows, using guerilla tactics along with their swords to take out their opponents. Nearly an hour later their skin practically buzzed with the magic that filled the air around them and blood as well as chunks of flesh marred the once bright edges of their swords. Two more masked figures approached, but this time Harry and Draco held back.

"Dad and Mr. Parkinson" Draco hissed quietly in recognition and Harry nodded.

Though it didn't seem so, they were being careful on whom they took out, not wanting to accidentally get the wrong Death Eaters. About a dozen or more Death Eaters were disloyal to Voldemort, feigning submission in order to protect their families and spy on the Dark Lord's plans.

"Take out Mr. Parkinson" Harry instructed Draco "he'll never be allowed to hurt Pansy or her mother again. I'll pretend to engage dad incase something goes wrong."

Harry sent heat through his ring to warn his father he was there before attacking. They dueled back and forth for a bit, testing each others skills' without throwing spells that would seriously maim while Draco fought Mr. Parkinson. Both Harry and Lucius were ready to leap to Draco's aide should he need it, but Draco's righteous fury protected him and kept him fighting. It was to Draco's sword that Mr. Parkinson finally fell, and they left his corpse lying in the street as they ducked back into the refuge of the shadowed alley Harry and Draco had been fighting from.

"What are you two thinking" Lucius demanded as he hugged his sons tightly to him "you need to get back up to the school before you get hurt or are missed. Go now, I'll watch your backs. You don't want Dumbledore or his Order to catch you out here."

"What about you and the others" both boys demanded only to be pushed roughly in the direction of Honeyduke's.

"I'll be fine" Lucius assured them "Parkinson was in charge this time so I'll grab his body and call a retreat, I've kept most of our loyals to the rear. Everything will be fine, now go."

Both boys doubted Lucius, knowing how free Voldemort was with the Cruciatus curse, but there was nothing they could do about it as sections of Hogsmeade were currently going up in flames. Wood burnt and stone melted as they stumbled toward the secret passage way, hoping their escape would not be blocked, the smell of frying flesh mingling with the aroma of Honeyduke's finest chocolate. Harry and Draco made it back into Hogwart's without any trouble and hunted down Millie for a report on what had happened while they were gone in case any questions arose. Thankfully Millie, who was a brilliant tactician, had the insight to loiter near the humpbacked witch, waiting for them along with Goyle. Quickly they filled each other in. Millie telling them how the Sixth and Seventh years had been instructed to patrol the halls in pairs while Harry and Draco informed the gleeful girl of Mr. Parkinson's demise.

"Pansy will be ecstatic" Millie grinned "especially since you were the one to defend her honor Draco."

Draco blushed slightly which prompted a slightly ribald round of teasing at his and Pansy's expense.

Hogsmeade had suffered damages but was being rebuilt even as the inhabitants mourned their losses. It also wasn't that unusual to see the older Hogwarts students in the town during a free period to lend a hand. It was a shame that most of the aid offered by the Slytherins was mistrusted, for they had many useful spells tucked up their sleeves that would make the renovations move faster. Harry could often be found in either Hogsmeade or in the dungeons brewing healing potions for the people injured in the attack that hadn't been taken to St. Mungos. It was what the people expected of the boy-who-lived, yet for Harry it helped gain their support and gave him a greater position in wizarding society. He just hoped it would be enough, he didn't know exactly where he stood in the eyes of the wizarding world as most of the mail he had been receiving since the article about his adoption had aired was now being diverted in order to be screened by the teachers. Thankfully, amongst the people of Hogsmead his actions were managing to dispel any doubts about his sanity, and without Rita Skeeter writing on how unbalanced he was Harry's life grew slightly easier.

The other reason Harry spent so much time in the dungeons supposedly brewing potions was to escape the female population of the school and some of the male as well. Sure he had been considered a catch before, but now since his looks had changed the overtures were more blatant and he had received many hints from people willing to sleep with him. Thankfully most of them wouldn't follow him into the dungeons, though whether it was because of the atmosphere or Snape he didn't know, but his bet was on Snape. The professor practically exuded menace and intimidation, yet Harry no longer really noticed; he saw past all that now and couldn't help but remember Snape crooning softly to Fluffy. In that moment his visions of a greasy, bitter man had been destroyed and replaced with the man Severus really was. Speaking of the devil-

"Why am I not surprised to see you down here again" Snape gave a smirk that could almost be called a grin "to what do I owe the pleasure of your company this time?"

"Planning a prank" Harry replied offhandedly as he kept a close eye on the bubbling cauldron in front of him "and hiding from Draco, he and Pansy are cloyingly sick in their affection for each other lately."

Severus eyed Harry suspiciously "this won't cost Slytherin any points will it?"

Harry shook his head and added a mixture of cascara segrada made from the dried root of a thorny shrub to the now simmering potion turning the concoction a clear color "I don't plan on getting caught, but it will cost Gryffindor just as many if I do."

"So what's the prank" the Potions Master couldn't resist asking as Harry removed the cauldron from the fire and cooled it with a spell.

"Clear, odorless, tasteless" Harry indicated to the potion he was ladling into a group of waiting vials "and will give the consumer the runs for hours."

Severus smirked in appreciation but noticed what he believed to be a flaw in the plan "how do you intend to slip the potion to people since they would be wary and suspect you if you walked to the different tables?"

Harry gave a sly smile and winked "There are always those willing to be helpful no matter what house you belong to."

Severus laughed, quickly catching on, and made his way to his desk to begin grading the essays he had collected from the third years the day before while ignoring the fact that Harry had decided to claim a corner of his desk in order to do homework. Normally he would have snapped at anyone who presumed to take such liberties, but he had become comfortable with Harry's quiet and unassuming presence in his classroom and office. For the longest while silence was the only sound ringing through the classroom until Harry gathered up his essays and bade Severus a goodnight. He had almost made it through the door when the low, silky voice gave him pause.

"Do try and get the old coot for me" Severus made the request, never once looking up from the papers he was grading.

"Oh, I intend to" Harry smirked before vanishing through the door, missing the small smile that crossed the potion master's lips.

~~ ~~ ~*~

"There you are" Draco exclaimed as Harry walked into the Great Hall for dinner "where have you been all day?"

"Plotting" Harry smirked.

"Plotting?" Draco raised an immaculate eyebrow in question but Harry merely continued to smirk.

"You'll find out soon enough" Harry hinted before delving into his dinner, surreptitiously casting a spell to make sure his food was free of any taint.

And indeed near the end of dinner, Draco did find out as various people all over the Hall began to stand and make a mad dash to the nearest restroom. To Harry though the most satisfying thing was seeing Dumbledore stand up and walk with stately grace out of the hall, a twinkling smile pasted firmly upon his face. Harry would have bet his firebolt that the moment Dumbledore was out of the sight of students he began to make a mad dash to the bathroom.

"That was cruel" Draco crowed with laughter as yet another student ran from the hall "bonus points for that one Harry."

Harry looked up at the head table where Severus was still sitting, eating placidly with a tiny smirk etched upon his face. As if sensing that someone was watching him, Severus looked up and caught Harry's eye, his smirk widening into a near smile. Harry couldn't help but smile back as he melted ever so slightly inside. He hadn't realized before what a smile the older Slytherin had until it was directed at him like this. It was then that Harry knew he was in trouble, deep trouble.

~~ ~~ ~*~

"I want the spy Lucius" the serpentine voice of Voldemort hissed as he hit Lucius with another cruciatus curse "someone must have leaked about the raid. I expect an answer by the New Year. Also, continue your work to bring your newest son into the fold; I am still displeased that you took such an initiative and have not yet turned him over to me, but this idea of yours might work-or it may cost you your life."

"Y-yes Master" Lucius was trying to control the pain induced quaver in his voice "I-I won't f-fail you."

"See that you don't" Voldemort's tone was silky now as he dismissed Lucius "or you'll wish you had died along with Parkinson."

Lucius scraped his way out of Voldemort's throne room and Riddle turned to Wormtail.

"Send for Bella and Avery" Voldemort whispered the command "they too will help find the traitor among us, but Lucius is not to know."

Wormtail gratefully scampered away as Voldemort began to hiss at Nagini "sssoon my pet. Ssssoon we will have the ssspy and the Potter boy."

Harry jerked awake, sweat coating his trembling body as the fires of the vision experienced cruciatus ran through him. He had to tell Dumbledore of his vision even though he wasn't at all comfortable with the man right now. Dumbledore had been trying to get back into his good graces even as the old coot set into motion plans designed to manipulate him. Yet he had to go to Dumbledore, it would look suspicious if he went to Severus first and not the Headmaster. Sighing Harry pulled himself from bed, clenching his fist in a futile effort to stop the trembling as his muscles continually seized. Shuffling until his feet slipped into his slippers, Harry decided to forgo his invisibility cloak and merely wrapped his everyday cloak about his cold body. It was ironic how even though the visions always left him sweaty, his body was always so froze afterwards and the winter chill of December that haunted the halls of Hogwarts wasn't helping any right now. Harry's mind narrowed down to the single thought of getting to the Headmaster's office as he thoughtlessly traversed the night-darkened corridors to come to a halt in front of the gargoyle. He didn't know the password, couldn't think of it through the one-track haze his mind had become.

"Please open" he sighed to the stone creature "I must tell of what I've seen."

Surprisingly the gargoyle moved and Harry moved stiffly forward; he could have sworn the gargoyle gave him the tiniest of nudges to get him onto the revolving staircases but passed it off as his imagination, the wall had already closed behind him. Finally the stairs came to a halt and Harry found himself wearily knocking on the door to Dumbledore's office, entering when bid to.

"Harry my boy" Dumbledore motioned for him to take the empty chair next to Severus "what brings you here? Tea?"

"I had a vision" Harry's voice felt thick and he was surprised he wasn't slurring his words "he knows there is a traitor and has commanded dad, Bellatrix Lestrange, and Avery to find the spy. He has until the new year."

Dumbledore's face grew grave as he glanced at Severus "and you have heard nothing of this?"

Severus shook his head "no Albus, I have not."

"I'm afraid for dad" Harry accepted the tea and pulled his cloak tighter around him to keep his teeth from chattering as he spoke "Voldemort did not say he suspected him, but called him in separate from Bellatrix and Avery. He doesn't know the other two are working to find the spy. There was just something about the way that Voldemort looked at dad that worries me."

"Are you alright" Severus suddenly spoke to Harry, he had seen the boys' trembling hand as he had reached for the tea "you're trembling and barely seem coherent."

Harry's trembles were becoming more visibly pronounced now and Dumbledore came around his desk to remove the tea cup from Harry's hands before the boy spilt it all over himself "what's wrong my boy?"

"Torture" Harry chattered "Voldemort tortured dad with cruciatus."

Realization dawned in Dumbledore's eyes as he answered Severus' unspoken question "Harry feels the torture he sees Voldemort use in his visions. How many times Harry? How many cruciatus curses were used?"

Harry forced his closing eyes back open "s-ssix."

"Six" Dumbledore and Severus were horrified.

"Maybe more" Harry struggled to remember before trying to shrug.

"Severus" Dumbledore took charge "fetch an after-cruciatus potion and we'll take Harry to the hospital wing."

"No hospital wing" Harry shook his head, trembling and pulling his cloak tighter "Madam Pom-f-frey-"

"It would probably be best to return him to his own rooms" Severus broke in, realizing what Harry was trying to say "I will stay with him and it will keep unwanted visitors from trying to sneak into the hospital wing to disturb his recovery. It's probably best to keep this quiet anyhow and tomorrow being a Saturday gives him an excuse for being absent."

Dumbledore frowned, but nodded "I believe you are right Severus, but if Harry has not shown improvement by tomorrow evening he will have to be moved to the hospital wing."

"Come along" Severus helped support Harry as Albus returned to his desk to take care of some work "I don't want to give you the potion until you are lying down."

Severus waited until they were down the corridor and away from the gargoyle before removing his own cloak to wrap around Harry before picking the boy up. It would be faster this way and he would have done it sooner except he had an image to uphold, even in front of Albus.

"Thanks" Harry gifted Severus with a wane smile as the man carried him to his rooms and tucked him into bed, it was nice to see how Severus could be when he considered you under his care.

"Here" Severus rummaged through a bag full of vials he had pulled from somewhere "this will ease the pain and send you into dreamless sleep. I'll stay with you while you sleep."

Harry nodded and knocked back the vial Severus had handed him, grimacing at the taste even as he felt warmth flow through him. He didn't have time to notice Severus catching the vial before it fell from his limp hand as he was already being sucked into a gentle cocoon of sleep. He also missed the soft smile that played over Severus' lips as the man straightened the covers around him and placed a fleeting kiss upon his forehead before settling down in a chair next to the bed with a book in his hands.

Even as Harry slept peacefully, Severus continued to glance up at the boy, occasionally brushing an unruly strand of hair from the sleeping figures face. He was glad Albus had allowed him to return Harry to his rooms instead of taking him to the hospital wing; it would have been too suspicious if he had sat all night next to Harry's bed then even though he was fiercely protective of his Slytherins. As far as Albus knew he was completely loyal to him and would never go against orders, but what the old coot didn't know was that for some he would openly defy him. Harry was one of the few that could make him defy Albus Dumbledore, one of the few he would die for. Severus slipped down lower in the chair he was sitting in and pulled his cloak over himself like a blanket, allowing the steady rhythm of Harry's breathing to lull him to sleep.
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