Categories > Books > Harry Potter > When Vernon Didn't Miss

A Crisis Approaches

by DrT 18 reviews

Harry realizes Ginny is in trouble, and then learns exactly how much.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Draco,Dumbledore,Harry,Hermione,Luna,Snape - Warnings: [!!] [?] - Published: 2008-01-12 - Updated: 2008-01-12 - 3389 words - Complete

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters, ideas, and situations created by JK Rowling and owned by her and her publishers. I own the original elements & characters. No money is being made by me, and no trademark or copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter XI

As Christmas ended and time moved on towards the New Year, there were many puzzled or confused minds in and around Hogwarts. Tom Riddle, or what part of Tom Riddle was contained in the diary Horcrux, was both puzzled and confused.

The consciousness inside the Horcrux had been mostly dormant for nearly forty years, when it had awakened with a shriek of pain as the body which it had been hived off from had been destroyed. It had not been fully aware for what turned out to be nearly another eleven years, but the magic Voldemort had added to the diary when he had entrusted it to Lucius Malfoy was reinforcing the desire of the semi-conscious Horcrux to come forth once Voldemort's body had been lost. The diary, in short, had been used by Voldemort as a fail-safe.

Voldemort had added copies of some memories to the diary between 1942 and 1981, but not many. These included the locations of and protections around the other four Horcruxes he had made before 1981, and copies of some locations where Voldemort had stored treasure or important items.

These memories had not been integrated into the Horcrux mind at the time. That was one of the things the Horcrux mind had been occupied with during August and September, after Ginny Weasley had first written in the diary, fully awakening the copy of the mind of 16 year old Tom Riddle. In addition, besides of course befriending the Weasley girl, Tom had managed to get the story of how 'He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named' (how he enjoyed the fact that the girl did not even dare write Voldemort!) had been defeated.

When Tom had learned the dates of the various events, he had been disappointed, no, shocked even that by 1981 he had not succeeded in at least taking over magical Britain. Even more shocking was the tale that he had been somehow defeated, physically destroyed even, by a fifteen month old toddler. Knowing he had been defeated, Tom had anticipated having been brought down by a mighty international coalition, or at least a powerful sorcerer like Dumbledore, not achild barely able to walk!

Fortunately perhaps, his correspondent was obsessed with Harry Potter, and happily wrote in every bit of data available to the public and what she had gleaned from her brothers. The information seemed conflicting -- the boy had nearly been murdered by his Muggle relatives yet had apparently defeated a version of himself the year before, with some help from his correspondent's braggart brother and a Mudblood.

Once Tom had made it into Ginny's head a few times, his views of Harry was even more conflicted. The scrawny scarecrow Ginny had seen at the beginning and end of the boy's first year had been less than impressive. The more fit boy who had come to school this year was at least impressive for his age.

More worrisome were the people around Hogwarts. Individually, Tom cared nothing for any Druid. Collectively, however, he had to acknowledge they were dangerous. Tom also knew enough about the Druids to recognize that many of those Ginny had seen wearing Druid tartans were anything but Druids, but some sort of mages from Africa or the Middle East. Voldemort would have had a good guess, but Tom did not. Still, he did know enough to be wary.

Tom was also not exactly happy with the girl his diary had been given to. Ginny was just too strong-willed to be easily controlled for long periods, at least so far. She had actually managed to set the diary down for the period between the last attack and Christmas night, worried about the 'visions' she was experiencing. Only the sight of Potter holding hands with the Mudblood had driven her to him.

Tom wondered how the boy had managed to curse the Malfoy brat. He didn't want to admit it, but he couldn't convince himself that he would have been able to do that bit of magic even at 16. But then, to Tom Riddle, as to the later Voldemort, Parseltongue was just atool and a symbol, not a totally different field of magic. Voldemort had always been mostly self-educated. So, while he was widely and deeply read, there were some significant gaps in his knowledge.

Riddle decided he might have to push and take over the girl as soon as possible. It might be too dangerous to seek detailed information about The-Boy-Who-Lived.


"Tell me, Severus, what do you think would happen should we try to expel Harry?" Dumbledore asked, sitting back in his chair and folding his hands in his lap.

"I don't know what you mean," Snape hedged.

"Nonsense," Dumbledore nearly snapped. "In any sort of fair hearing, the Board of Governors would not uphold the expulsion, even if Minerva or I agreed to it, which I do not. If you wish to ask Minerva, you may." Snape made a face at that suggestion. "In any event, there is no evidence that Harry did anything, let alone anything Dark."

"Malfoy doesn't have the imagination to create such a tale," Snape pointed out in turn.

"Perhaps not, but perhaps he did somehow manage to invoke some sort of oath upon himself. The magical signature is similar."

"But not exact. Something unknown was cast on Malfoy, something Potter picked up from his friends."

"Perhaps." Dumbledore shrugged. "Do you think they would allow him to be expelled?"

"Do they control Hogwarts now?" Snape demanded.

"In most senses, no. However, do not make the mistake of believing they can be easily thwarted. Some of them would kill me, let alone you or young Malfoy, without batting an eyelid if they thought it necessary."

"But. . . ."

Dumbledore held up his hand. "In our world, the rule of law is very tenuous. Might does not make right, but might usually gets its way. I warned you, Severus, and I believe you warned your House. Young Malfoy spoke out of turn, and it is possible that he will not know where Harry or Miss Granger are . . . a tactical disadvantage, to say the least."

Snape could only nod. After a moment, he said, "Is there nothing which can be done?"

"Assuming neither Harry nor Miss Granger cast anything. . . ."

"Granger! With her cookbook approach to magic? Unless there is some book on the open shelves which detail this, she could have had nothing to do with it."

"While I believe in general you underestimate her imagination, Iadmit I believe you are likely correct in this instance. You must not allow your biases to lead you to the conclusion that Lily Evans was the only Muggle-born with true magical talent. Be that as it may, assuming this is something Mister Malfoy did to himself, no matter how inadvertent, the answer is no, there is nothing more we can do."

"And if Potter did do something?" Snape demanded.

"Would Mister Malfoy apologize?"

"Very likely not," Snape admitted.

"Then let us hope that whatever happened wears off."


It didn't take long for Fred and George to spread the story of Draco's apparent cursing of himself to their friends once classes restarted in January. Numerous people kept their eyes on Harry, Hermione, and Draco, but after a few days, even Snape had to admit that, if anything Draco's inability to see the pair (or Harry or Hermione individually as it turned out) actually made for a more harmonious atmosphere. Snape was surprised that Potter did not act take advantage of Draco, as his father would have taken advantage of him.

That made Snape think.

The one person who didn't take things quietly was Pansy Parkinson. A week after her return, she flounced past the two Gryffindors and hissed, "Draco is so lucky. I wish I didn't have to see inferior people," before moving off, her squat nose held high.

Only Hermione caught the hiss of Harry's Parseltongue under his breath, even if she was not sure what it was. Only on their way to the library after dinner could Hermione ask what he had done to her.

"Why, I gave her what she asked for. Of course, the only really inferior person I could think of was her."

"You mean. . . ?"

Harry nodded. "She can't see herself in any mirror attached to the castle."

The two smiled and held hands on the way to study.

Snape kept a close eye on the pair of them, hoping to have a reason to punish them that even the Brotherhood couldn't object to. However, the pair only held hands moving about the corridors, which was well within the rules. Snape was not to know it, but beyond that, the pair merely lightly kissed 'good morning' in the common room, and lingered a bit over a kiss before leaving the common room at night.

Ron, Seamus, and a few of the other boys would have liked to have teased them about it, but one look from Harry quelled not only Fred and George, but even a nasty-tongued Sixth year. Most of the older girls thought Harry and Hermione very adorable, and kept a close eye on Hermione when Harry was practicing or training.

Ginny Weasley was seen to keep a close eye on Hermione as well, her face expressionless, but only Luna seemed to be worried about it. Ginny said nothing, but scribbled in her diary.

As for Pansy Parkinson, Tracey and Daphne reported the next morning that her screams had been heard through the Slytherin area. Not only couldn't she see her self in any mirror attached to Hogwarts, no one else could either.


January seemed like a quiet month to most of the students, once Pansy had stopped checking her reflection in a little makeup mirror. Harry was the only student to know what the staff knew, that the Druids and the Brotherhood members, patrolling alternate nights, had each chased something or someone several times, but it had gotten away. Both groups had observed unnatural groupings of spiders, but there was no set pattern or point they seemed to be fleeing from.

By the end of the month, Cobra and Jason, now joined by Scorpion, patrolled the castle every night, along with the alternating patrols. Two pairs of vampire elders in bat form perched outside both Harry and Hermione's windows every night from midnight until just before dawn, one ready to turn into smoke and enter through the cracks in the windows should trouble arise, the other to raise the alarm.

Harry and Hermione knew little of these precautions. However, near the end of the month, Luna confided to Harry that she was now certain that Ginny's aura was changing, growing darker overtones and a very different underlying appearance.

Harry realized that he should have mentioned this before. So on that last Saturday afternoon of the month, he brought Luna to his meeting with the Brotherhood. The two brothers did not scold Harry, but their looks said it all -- he may have missed something important.

The next afternoon, the 31st, Osiris and Cobra met with Harry and Luna. Osiris demonstrated the use of a pensieve, and he examined Luna's memories of Ginny's aura. Harry was disappointed to learn that he couldn't see auras, at least not yet, even with Osiris'coaching.

Osiris was too pensive to give Harry any sympathy. Luna was thanked, questioned about Ginny's habits, encouraged to keep an eye on Ginny in case she exhibited any further changes, and then gently sent on her way.

As soon as the door shut behind Luna, Harry's shoulders slumped. "I messed up, didn't I?"

"Yes, but probably not seriously," Osiris said bluntly. "We could not keep a close eye on her, and Luna's gift is not yet developed enough to have caught on much earlier than she did, no matter how much we encouraged her." He turned to Cobra. "Did you catch the most salient fact?"

"I believe so."

Osiris turned to Harry. "And did you?"

Harry thought for a moment, and then he realized what it was --Ginny was often seen scribbling away in her room. "She might have Riddle's Horcrux diary!"

"Exactly." He and Cobra exchanged looks. "This could prove interesting."

"At least I'm out of it," Harry said with feeling.

"Aren't you forgetting something?" Cobra asked.

"Probably," Harry admitted. He thought again. "The Prophecy?"

"Precisely. No doubt others can destroy the Horcrux, but not with the comparative ease you theoretically could, at least with our help."

Harry sighed.


The next Saturday, Harry was surprised to be only meeting Cobra in the room set aside for such meetings. Even more surprisingly, Cobra disappeared from the room, taking Harry with him.

"You look surprised, Harry."

Harry blinked, looked around, and blinked again, knowing he was in the Brotherhood's camp. "This may sound stupid, but Hermione says that Hogwarts: A History claims that you can't apparate in or out of Hogwarts, and that didn't feel like a Portkey."

"All true," Osiris agreed. "What we do when we wish to access Hogwarts might be called 'popping'; it's what house elves do when they travel. Now, the magic is related to apparating, but it is abit different. Very few magi have the power to imitate elven magic. It is also only good for us for about eleven of your miles or so."

"Oh." Harry looked at the room full of Brothers, plus the senior druids. "It's bad, isn't it?"

"It is," Osiris agreed. "Miss Weasley has Voldemort's diary Horcrux. Worse, she has partially bonded with it."


"Meaning it is leeching the life and magic from her. At this rate, in a week or two at most, the soul fragment will be able to restore itself in material form, and Miss Weasley will be dead. He will then seek out the main soul segment, which we still believe is in Albania, and join with it, bringing Voldemort fully back with some additional Dark magic and a blood sacrifice. No doubt, he would then create at least one more Horcrux at that point."

Harry started to open his mouth, but Osiris raised his hand. Harry therefore kept quiet. "If we were to destroy the diary tonight, we could prevent most of that."

"Most?" Harry asked.

"Because of the bond, the entire soul fragment inside Horcrux would likely be drawn into Miss Weasley if the Horcrux shell is destroyed at the moment. Now wait," Osiris cautioned Harry, who was about to ask another question. "You were not really made into a Horcrux. Your scar was the actual Horcrux, although it had a type of bond to you. In this case, Miss Weasley would be the entire Horcrux. There would be no way to separate her. She would have to die."

Harry's eyes went wide.

"Over time, probably several years to a decade or so, Voldemort would come to first dominate and then totally control the Horcrux that had been Miss Weasley. She would be lost."

Harry controlled himself, for the moment.

"The entrance to the Chamber of Secrets is in a girl's lavatory, for some odd reason. Cobra?"

"There is a steep stone slide, which I took rather than risking any more magic. The door to the Chamber was ajar, but it is activated by snake-magic. The ritual transformation area to materialize himself is almost ready. It needs a very clear pattern of symbols, which he has had Ginny draw partially in simple pencil and partially in her own blood. A bit more blood, say a pint instead of the several cups he had bled from her these past few weeks, and all will be ready."

"Your Valentine's holiday is a week from tomorrow," Jason said, picking up the story. "That idiot Lockhart has arranged three days of foolishness. Normally, most students would be distracted by this, and the staff distracted by the students. The older students will be in Hogsmeade next Saturday, and there will be a feast next Sunday. Most likely, he will make his move one of those two nights."

"Miss Weasley will be safe to rescue only in the hour to two hours it should take Tom Riddle, as we should no doubt call this fragment of him, to materialize. We can do many things, but it is likely safest if you were to be the one to destroy the Horcrux. At the very least, it would be prudent for you to be there, if you are willing."

Harry started to nod, but stopped. Instead, he bowed and said in his best early Egyptian, "As my lord Ahk Shir-rusch commands."

"There is no need for that, Harry, at least not over this," Osiris said gently. "Do you still wear the ankh I gave you last summer?"

"Of course, sir," Harry answered, fishing it out by the chain.

"Very good." He held the ankh for a moment and then dropped it. "We and our allies here will be keeping a discreet eye on Miss Weasley. We will know each time she goes to the Chamber. Two of our Druid allies are also Parselmouths. They and Brother Cobra will be able to infiltrate the Chamber. Should the ceremony start, your ankh will vibate. When you can, touch the ankh with your wand, and you will be transported to the lavatory, where Scorpion, Jason, and Iwill be waiting. Do not bother changing, we will take care of it there."

"I understand, sir."

Osiris looked very serious. "Harry. . . ." Harry looked worried."There is something you need to understand."


"This is a ceremony Riddle cobbled together from several different sources, rather brilliantly, I must say. We do not believe Riddle could have done this before he was in his forties. So, that means either our time-line for his making the Horcruxes is off, or he added information to this one. Considering the form, that is certainly possible."

Harry merely nodded.

"Our estimation is that the process should take longer than an hour. We could be wrong, especially if Miss Weasley is even more under his control than we believe."

"Which means?"

"Which means we may not be able to save her, Harry. It will not be your fault if we don't."

"If I had told you about Luna. . . ."

"At the point where Miss Lovegood was likely to have noticed that degree of aura change, they were already linked, Harry. We would be where we are, except with more notice. Understand?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good. Be prepared, Harry."

"I will be, sir."


The next week was a very hard one for Harry. Ron was hurt, because Harry seemed more withdrawn from him than usual. Hermione and Luna could tell Harry was both worried and agitated, but took the hint and did not press him. Hermione was especially worried, as Harry was on the one hand totally uncommunicative, and on the other, seemed to need her near by.

Luna woke Hermione up early Thursday morning, a little after 5:30, and led her down the stairs. "I don't know why I woke up, but Idid," Luna whispered. "Either a nargle brushed by me, or I dreamt one did. In either case, I went to the common room, just wanting to walk around a bit before trying to get another hour's sleep, and there he was."

"He? Harry?"

Luna pressed her finger to Hermione's lips and they entered the common room. Harry was laying on the largest sofa, near the fireplace. His face was scrunched up, and he was obviously having a bad dream.

Hermione felt Luna's lips against her ear. "Take care of him, Hermione," she whispered, and then she went back up the stairs.

Hermione went and sat on the edge of the sofa. She hesitated, but then ran her fingers through Harry's hair, something she had thought about for almost a year. She was so gentle, he did not wake up.

Instead, Harry quieted, and then fell into a deeper sleep.

Hermione continued stroking his hair, giving Harry some peace. Obviously, something was building up, which he was not allowed to talk about.

Hermione hoped the crisis would soon pass, whatever it was, and that it would cause as little damage as possible as it did so.
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