Chapter 15 : Little Birds 2
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“Abeos Mumius!” she cried out and the smoky stream ran head long into a faint golden dome that was erected around Harry. The stream continued its assault for a few seconds more until its power was drained and faded away. Then the smartest witch ever to come out of Hogwarts waited for the next.
And the next came. And another, and another. The sheer amount of curses and charms that must have been affecting Ron was daunting. A small library of foulness. She preserved though and kept on blocking anything that the globe through Harry’s way.
Midway through the healing Lily had left the room to get Hermione something to snack on and to drink. The Professor was obviously becoming very fatigued so she thought a good cup of joe would do the trick. Not that she was fond of the Professor, but she wasn’t so callous as to not hope that her husband lived. Plus she was her father’s best friend and had saved his life dozens of times. Or so he told her. It was only polite to help Professor Weasley out.
She tip toes back into the room to see that Harry was still working on the tall red head in the bed. Professor Weasley was valiantly waiting for globe to spit out its next curse when Lily sat the sandwich and cup next to her. Hermione looked at her gratefully, but they didn’t say a word. She just nibbled at the snack and took a couple sips of the strong java. Lily had spiked it with a bit of pepper-up potion that worked wonders on the Transfiguration teacher. Hermione was tempted to give the girl a hundred points for her thoughtfulness, but another curse had built up and Hermione let the though fade away.
It didn’t take an hour for Harry to do his work. It took two. Two long grueling hours of delving into the scattered mind of his best friend and pulling him back from the brink. Giving him the strength to hang onto life. The globe hadn’t spat out anything for close to an hour and Hermione was resting on the bedside, holding Ron’s clammy hand. Lily was laying against Mark and Juliana against her. They were all dozing off, having been lulled to sleep by the soothing hum of the spell that Harry was performing.
When Harry finally opened his eyes he was greeted by the sleeping form of Hermione resting her cheek against Ron’s hand. He was bone weary from the delving so far into his friend’s mind and he almost fell asleep right after coming out of his spell. He broke the connection with his wand and a loud bang woke everyone up with a jump.
“Harry!” “Dad!” two voiced sounded out. There was a pattering of feet and he was pounced on by two females.
“Harry, will Ron be ok?” “Dad, are you alright? I was so worried!”
Harry was laughing weakly as he pried the arms from around his waist and neck.
“Ron will live, and I’m fine, just really tired. I could use a pepper-up.”
“RightawayI’llberightbackleaveittoLilyeverythingwillbefine!” she darted out of the room.
Harry and Hermione looked at each other before blurting, “What?”
“I think she went to get some pepper-up potion for you sir.” Juliana told the two confused adults.
True to word, Lily was darting right back in the room a minute later with the bright red drink.
“Here you go!” she thrust it into Harry’s hand. He looked at wryly for a moment before downing the drink.
“Can I ask what happened?” Hermione broke into the father-daughter moment.
“Well, to put in simply so everyone here can understand I bridged the gap between mine and Ron’s mind. I was able to find his buried consciousness and talk to him. I told him what was going on and led him back to a place in his mind that would let him wake up. Eventually. Now, it won’t be quick. He’s going to be out for probably a month. His body should be healed by that time. All he needs is some peace and quiet.”
“That’s it? Just peace and quiet?”
“Harry, that magic…I’ve seen a lot of things, but that was. I don’t know how to say it. Simply incredible.”
“Yeah well, it was originally made as an instructing spell. I just altered it a bit.”
“How do you think I learned so much so quickly? You don’t remember me being that bright do you? I had a lot of the knowledge put directly into my head by Dimplewat.”
“Harry, that’s cheating!”
“It wasn’t a test, Hermione,” Harry laughed, “it was just like class. Only faster.”
“It still sounds like cheating.”
“You’re just jealous that you spent years over books and I spent years sleeping.”
Hermione didn’t reply, just gave him a lofty stare and moved back to her husband.
“Can I stay with him?”
“You can. Just don’t make any loud noises. I’ll leave some instructions with the healers on some potions that will help him along.”
“Don’t be too long Harry. You have somewhere to be tonight.”
“Somewhere to-? Merlin, that’s right. Ugh, I’m not looking forward to this.”
“You’ll be fine, Harry. I’ll let Molly and Ginny know that everything’s fine now. You should escort out three truants to the school.”
“Right. Gather your things you three. We’re leaving.”
“What about Professor Weasley’s husband? Aren’t you going to stay with him?”
“He’s out of danger and it helps no one to halt our lives entirely to stand by someone who’s going to be sleeping for the next several weeks.”
“I expect all three of you in my office first thing tomorrow morning.” Hermione told the three students. “Don’t think that we’ve forgotten that you left the school without permission.”
“Yes, Professor Weasley,” they replied. Harry gathered them up and they left the room.
The sun was just beginning its final fall towards sunset when they walked through the front doors of Hogwarts. Harry and decided that since they were already out some ice cream and a nice lunch was in order, since they missed theirs. They spent some time in the Leaky Cauldron and Harry got the opportunity to gauge Lily’s friends.
They were very quiet and shy at first, but the more Harry joked with them the more they opened up. Harry found them interesting, but vastly different than the relationship that he, Ron and Hermione had. For one, Juliana wasn’t nearly as bright as Hermione and tended to stay out of the spotlight. She wasn’t competitive at all. Mark on the other hand hated to lose at anything and always had to try and be better than his peers. He always seemed to have a better story than the next person. It was annoying, but Harry could tell that he was a younger brother that was shoved into the back of the room a lot.
Lily, he knew very well and could tell she was the ring leader. She had picked up his penitent for not following the rules and doing what she thought needed to be done, regardless of the consequences. Admittedly he had pushed that attitude forward in her, but she had taken the bait and the pole too. At one point, in her first year at Academy in the states she was so out of control that he had taken drastic measures to reign her in. She wasn’t nearly as impossible anymore, but spending two months in the frozen Canadian wilderness with no one but your father putting you to work doing every manner of grueling thing he could think of tended to knock that out of a person.
He still had to keep a tight leash on her though, as today proved it. In reflection he decided it might be a good thing, him being forced into the teaching position. It would let him finish the work he had started last year.
When they walked through the doors McGonagall was waiting for them. Her arms were folded and she had that ‘look’ on her face that Harry remembered far too well from his own days of getting into trouble.
“Mr. Wallace, Miss Everson, Miss O’Dowell. So kind of you to return to Hogwarts.” They flinched, all except for Lily, who mistakenly believed she would be spared all but her father’s wrath.
“Harry. You’re late. The three of you left St. Mungos over an hour ago. Surely it doesn’t take you that long to floo here.”
Harry fidgeted a bit before his former head-of-house. “Well, the kids missed lunch so I decided to treat them a bit. You can consider it like the last meal of a dying man.”
She pursed her lips and narrowed those wizened eyes of hers. “Somehow, I find it hard to believe that, that was the reasoning behind the holiday. We can discuss this later. I need to speak with you in my office before we sort things out.”
“I understand, Professor.” Her eyes then darted to the three youngsters who were standing silently behind him.
“Go to your common rooms. You’re not to leave them at all today.” They hurried away without a word. Lily paused just briefly to hug Harry and then was right behind her friends. McGonagall studied Harry for a moment and then stepped forward to embrace him like a mother who hadn’t seen her child for years.
“Harry, I’ve missed you so.”
Harry was startled. At the party she had just popped in, forced him into a job and then popped out. She had never shown him this much emotion before. He awkwardly returned the hug and patted her back a bit. When she finally pulled away he saw the tell tale sign of a possible tear in her left eye.
“It’s good to see you too, Professor.”
“Oh, please. Call me Minerva. We’ve been through too much together to stand on formalities.”
“I think I’ll find that hard Professor. I don’t think I can stop seeing you scolding me from behind your desk when I got caught past curfew.”
She laughed a merry sound and reached out to touch his cheek fondly. A couple of passing students looked at the scene oddly, but didn’t recognize Harry. McGonagall took his hand and lead him through the halls to her office.
“Lemon drop,” she said to the gargoyle. Harry looked at her curiously.
“Lemon drop?” he asked
“In honor to his memory. I try to keep some piece of him in the school. His flights of fancy and his whimsical nature. It’s hard to do, but dozens of little things like this do well.”
Harry thought he was prepared for the feeling of stepping once more into the Headmasters office. He was wrong. Such a torrent of emotions surged through him that he had to fight to stay upright. The room was different of course. There was no plethora of gadgets and magical devices. No perch that held a Phoenix, but there was something that reminded him strongly of Dumbledore. A smell of candy and freshly a groomed beard. A set of books placed just so. A bowl of Lemon drops on the corner of the desk. A curtain on a window that was torn and burnt in some unknown past. Little things like that and one large thing. Right behind the large desk sat his portrait. Larger than all the others.
Minerva stepped aside so as not to interrupt the reunion.
“Professor Dumbledore?” Harry managed to croak out. The old face jerked up a bit and those twinkling blue eyes opened and peaked through the bushy eyebrows. He saw Harry and the eyes flew open.
“Harry? Harry! My boy! Merlin, but you have grown into a fine man!” Harry smiled and took a few steps closer to study the painting better. The small joy about Wizarding portraits was that you got to see the person as you remember and not as they got older and older. Yes, the eyes twinkled and beamed at Harry. A smile as wide as a river broke open the cracked and wrinkled face behind the thick white beard.
“Thank you, Professor. It’s good to see you again.”
“Not nearly as good as it is to see you, Harry. I do not think I can count the times that I badgered and cajoled Minerva to seek you out so that I might have a word or two. As ever, our Illustrious Head-mistress maintained, rightly so, that your privacy is your own and that we should not breach upon that age old tradition. That of respect. I will admit that, while understanding, I have been very impatient to speak with you and see how you were getting on with your life. My curiosity, an unfathomable engine of trouble, led Minerva and myself into quite a string of arguments.”
Harry smiled at the long winded speech. Just like he remembered. That intelligent banter that marked Dumbledore as a man of distinction and character.
“I’ve had a great life, Professor. I even have a daughter.”
“A daughter! My word, really? Congratulations, Harry. Who is the lucky lady to have captured your heart? Miss. Weasley perhaps?”
“Umm, well no one really, Professor. I adopted her. It seems that Professor Snape had adopted a little girl prior sometime during the war. When he died, she had no one, so I looked after her. I felt it was the right thing to do.”
“You would be correct, Potter. It was the right thing to do. I worry for her intelligence however, having to be subjected to your less than ample wit and skill.”
Harry whipped his head around in surprise to see the portrait of none other than Severus Snape. His jaw was dropped and he couldn’t formulate any sort of response at seeing the bitter face and hooked nose of his once most hated Professor.
“Please close your mouth Potter. As usual the past seven years have done little to open that narrow mind and lacking personality. Still an uncouth lout I see.”
Harry pressed his lips together and glared right back. Few things changed it seemed. Even death couldn’t rid the man of his mocking and insulting manner. Harry said as much.
“How are you enjoying the space, Professor? Is it big enough for your ego, or do you need something larger? Like a wall perhaps?”
“Ah, it seems the years have somewhat improved on your social skills. You could almost keep up with a first year now. Pretexts and rivalries aside, how is Lily? You have kept her safe and healthy at least? I dare not ask if she can read or write, being under your care for so long.”
“I’ll have you know that she is very smart and strong. She is healthy and safe. Well as much as I can keep her safe with the trouble she gets into.”
“Merlin, forbid! If you have imprinted her with youe penitent for rule-breaking, then you have already done far too much harm.”
“Gentlemen, Gentlemen. Please, calm down. You can both bantering to your hearts content another time. For now Severus, please let me speak to Harry. I am sure Miss. O’Dowell has been raised in the finest setting and under the finest care.”
“So tell this doddering old patch of mismatched paint what you have been doing all these years. My curiosity is starved for information.”
“Well, you should curb that Professor. My curiosity got the best of me and I made a right fine mess of things because of it.”
“Why am I not surprised?” sneered Severus, but Harry ignored him.
“Is that so, Harry? What seems to be the trouble?”
“Ummm, could you excuse us please Professor?” he asked Minerva who nodded and left into the side room of the expansive office.
“This must be serious, Harry.”
“It is. I set the Council of Phyre into motion.” Dumbledore’s brows furrowed a bit and his face grew serious.
“I’m surprised that you know that name, Harry. Very few people do. Maybe a dozen outside the council itself knows of its existence. Set them into motion you say? That does not bode well my boy. Not well at all. I assume then, that you found a way into the Pyramid?”
“Yes sir and you won’t believe how!”
“Enlighten me, my boy. Enlighten me!”
“I transfigured the wards.”
“Ha! You said it! I got you to say impossible. I never once heard you say that word before!”
“Hmmm, you are right. I always tended to shy away from that word, but in this case, what you are saying is impossible. You can’t transfigure raw magic Harry as it is undefined and there is no solid base from for which to anchor the spell into another form.
Harry decided to burst the old man’s bubble and went into the long discussion of his travels and his work. Many time he had to stop to argue with the man, or be corrected on one point or another. It took the better part of two hours to catch up with his Grand-father like figure. It was two hours well spent. Even Snape joined the conversation and grudgingly admitted that Harry had become slightly proficient with magic. Even Imperius couldn’t get that man to give any real praise at all.
Harry then spent the rest of the night talking to Minerva about the term and his expectations as a Professor of DADA. She went over staff meetings, grading, OWLS, NEWTS, detentions, the point system, punishments and homework. They both missed dinner as a result, but had something brought up to them. When Harry finally trudged to his staff quarters he found that Kretcher had already brought most of his things and connected his fireplace to his home on the private Hogwarts network. That way he could be there in seconds ‘when’ the council finally made a bid for the book.
As Harry settled down on the bed his mind wandered towards tomorrow morning. He would have to deal with whispers and fan girls again. More so he would have to deal with Lily. She wasn’t going to be happy about this, but life was tough. She would get through it. He had decided to just let the truth out. It might make her a target for the council, but at least then he knew she might be a target, rather than expending a lot of effort on the possibility they would go after her. He wasn’t using her as bait. He would never to that to her. He was just removing unneeded complications from the equation. Simplifying things for the battles to come.
As he settled down into sleep he wondered how Ginny was doing. He never got to say good-bye and they had barely talked since last night. They needed to straighten things out; Ron needed to wake up, Hermione needed to get her head straight and the Council needed to be dealt with. A lot of things that needed to be done, but no idea how to do them. His dreams that night were a mixture of pleasant and nightmarish.
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