5. Mi Casa es tu Memoria
A/Ns: I hope this teaches all of you a lesson. I can't write background stories on command or even on wishes from reviewers ;) I'll be speeding up the story from here on. Maybe it will be easier to read, then.
Harry's dream was supposed to be a separate fic called 'Doggy Style' but I couldn't find it in me to write something funny. The dark-haired girl and the boy are taken from Rumiko Takahashi's 'Inu Yasha'.
2nd September 1996
Harry groaned, rolling out of bed. He hadn't slept very well that night. After everything he'd heard at the Headmaster's office the other day, the still mystery of Ron and Hermione's fight, and the fact that Snape had dared to put a Silencing Charm on him had occupied his dreams.
He had seen Sirius fall through the veil, but this time, there hadn't been Lupin there to hold Harry back. Harry had followed Sirius through the arch and found himself in a large meadow amidst a forest. The sun stood low on the horizon, causing the huge oak trees to cast long shadows. Harry stood in the middle and looked around himself. He could see a small girl with long black hair and a sailor outfit shouting at something that looked like a cross between a boy and a hag; the boy had white hair that neatly covered his bum and he wore something like a red dress robe.
A sound to the right made Harry whirl around and stop abruptly as he caught sight of the greasy Potions master, who'd just appeared out of thin air. He was sneering down on what Harry realised was Sirius' Animagus form, Snuffles.
"Now be a good doggy-doggy or there won't be any biscuits later on," sneered Snape, reaching down and grabbing a leash Harry hadn't seen earlier. "Get a move on, flea sack!" Snape snarled, dragging Sirius over to the dark-haired girl who was now waving cheerily at the Potions master.
"Ah, Professor, finally!" the girl exclaimed with a smile, beckoning Snape nearer. "And this is the problem, then?"
"That's one way of saying it," stated Snape dryly.
Sirius barked in protest.
The white-haired boy sat hunched over on a large rock, crossing his arms sullenly. "I don't know what I am supposed to do here. I've got better things to do than help you with your little projects!" That was the first time he could be heard talking, and Harry thought his voice resembled more of a growl than Lupin's one day before the full moon.
"He needs to learn some manners," Snape sneered, nodding at Sirius. "Though I haven't held my hopes very high."
"One can't teach an old dog new tricks," said the boy, jumping to his feet with a grace unequalled. "Now if you'll excuse me-" He couldn't finish his sentence, as the girl turned narrowed eyes at her companion.
One second later, the boy was smashed face-down into the grass, landing with a muffled "Oof!"
"Wandless," said Snape, raising one eyebrow. "Impressive."
Harry shook himself out of his dream and back into the present. He sighed, raking a hand through the mess he called hair. Grabbing his dressing gown, he gave the stack of school books a passing glance. He had forgotten about them, even though Dumbledore already told him last year that he'd provide them. The thought of Dumbledore brought Harry's musings back to the previous evening and the things he'd heard. He was so immersed in his thoughts that he didn't even hear a throat clearing. Only as the person spoke up did Harry flinch.
"Morning." Hermione was standing near the door leading down to the common room, fiddling uncertainly with her fingers. She was alternately gazing at the floor and at Harry's left shoulder.
"Hi," said Harry, because he didn't know what else to say. He quickly surveyed the room, but realized with a bit of surprise that all beds were already empty. He hadn't even heard his dorm mates getting up, and Ron was usually as late as he was; and Harry was quite early on this Monday.
"Look," said Hermione, taking a big breath to prepare herself for a longer speech. "I don't know whether you and Ron talked and what he might have told you, and it's not my place to talk to you about Ron and his problems with me and... I just wanted to tell you that it has nothing to do with you and that I don't want to lose you as a friend just because Ron is acting the way he does. Not that I blame him – even though I don't understand him. I'm sorry, Harry, I was acting horribly yesterday and I didn't want to take it out on you."
Harry used her second intake of breath to his advantage and asked quickly, "Where's Ron?"
Hermione's gaze dropped again. "I don't know. I was waiting in the common room but he must have already left before I got up." She shrugged uncomfortably. "After what he said... on the train... I'm not sure why I thought..."
"I know how it is to be wrongly accused of something," Harry said carefully. "So I'm not going to ask whether it's true, okay?"
Hermione glanced up, smiling despite herself. "I don't know why he thinks... well, I can guess, but..." she trailed off and made an uncertain hand movement. "I don't even know why Ron's getting so worked up again. I mean, I could somehow understand why he was so angry about Krum but that's over... I've got a boyfriend. I thought Ron would be happy for me."
Harry cringed inwardly at Hermione's confused eyes. "Oh." Of course, Ron wouldn't be happy for Hermione and her new boyfriend. The girl might be a know-it-all when it came to school work, but in the romantic fields she could be as blind as the proverbial bat.
"Obviously, he isn't. I really shouldn't talk to you about this before I cleared it out with Ron."
"Yes," Harry found himself agreeing. He watched Hermione smile weakly and leave the boys' dorm.
Ten minutes later in the shower, Harry blinked blurrily, wiping the water out of his eyes. Then he reached for his shampoo, squeezing a general amount into his hand. As he started lathering his hair, Harry thought he heard Snape's voice from his dream, "Wandless? Impressive." He shook his head – now he was hearing voices again – and rinsed his head. Then he made to grab the soap, but missed; it slipped out of his fingers. Harry bent down to pick it up again when there was a second voice, Voldemort's, "Spineless? Impressive."
Harry shot back up and whirled around. Through the fog in the bathroom, he couldn't see clearly. He reached for his glasses (Hermione had put a permanent anti-fogging charm on it last year) to improve his sight, but there was nothing. He was alone in the bath.
Harry exhaled shakily and started rubbing the soap over his skin. This wasn't a good sign, not at all. When he was this instable already, how would he behave in front of Voldemort when it was time to destroy him?
Harry held his left arm under the hot spray of water, clearing the foam away, and then he heard a third voice – one he had only heard once before. "Spotless? Impressive," said Mark.
Harry almost jumped out of his skin at that. Talking mould spots that followed him around? He had often listened to voices no one else was able to hear, but this was different. It wasn't coming from within the walls, and neither was a Dementor responsible. No, Mark – as well as Snape and Voldemort – seemed to come out of Harry himself.
The boy turned the water to cold, trying to get a clear head again. This had to be Voldemort's doing; he was trying to drive Harry insane by breaking through his mental defences. Harry decided to put as much work into his Occlumency lessons as possible.
This late afternoon, before he could put his resolve into action, Harry barely had the time to close the door to Snape's office when he was already assaulted. Snape didn't even bother to count to three – or two and attack then – no, he obviously preferred the out of the blue version this year. Harry's mind was a tumult of confused thoughts, and he hadn't got the chance to clear them. It had been a busy day with Herbology, Care for Magical Creatures and Transfiguration, adding to the strained situation with Ron, so it came as no surprise when Snape managed to breach his mind so easily. Harry would have considered himself lucky, if he could have been sarcastic, that he could still brace himself against the door. Images were flashing before his mind's eyes, too fast to decipher. Was Snape searching for something particular or was he just trying to show that he had the control to overpower Harry?
"Not very impressive," Snape drawled, the words slowly seeping through Harry's haze of a mind.
Not very impressive... Impressive... A jolt of anger surged through Harry – how dare Snape use this word, unknowing or deliberate – and he forced the intruder back, focusing with all his might to throw Snape out of his head. Five seconds later found Harry breathing hard, hands on his knees, as he recovered from Snape's intrusion. He couldn't see the images the Potions master had looked through; only the accompanying emotions were still prominent. He felt sad and angry and depressed and violated – all at the same time.
When Harry looked up from his hunched-over position, he realised with a start that Snape looked as worse for wear as he felt from this encounter. The boy merely had the time to think that Snape must have seen some of his darker memories that had shaken his greasy core – and then they made eye contact and Harry found himself in a dark, unfamiliar cellar. The ceiling hung low and the dilapidated walls gleamed damply in the dim light. Harry looked around. Where was he? And where was Snape? As if on cue, Harry heard approaching footsteps coming down the stairs. He turned around, and in doing so, whirled up the heavy layer of dust covering the floor. Harry coughed, wiping his mouth in disgust. Then he grimaced and pulled a long, silvery hair from his tongue.
This wasn't dust, Harry decided, taking a closer look. The whole room was covered in fur and right in front of him there was a large claw. Harry had no time processing what he had seen, because just when memory Snape reached the floor, frowning and muttering, "Lupin," the real Snape pushed Harry out of his head and back against the door.
"What do you think you're doing?" the Potions master snarled, shoving Harry back. "Finding no time for practise, but then deciding to snoop around again?" He was furious, that was clear, but he wasn't beyond it - yet.
"When – where was that?" Harry asked quickly. "What happened to Remus?"
Snape merely sneered and let go of Harry's shoulder. He went back to his table and said, "Prepare yourself for the next round. You've got five seconds. One."
"You can't just-" Harry said. "Is he in danger?"
"The only danger Lupin is in is his own fault," Snape drawled, brandishing his wand. "Five. Legilimens!"
And Harry was, once again, pressed against the door. Images of blood and emotions of fear rushed through him. The small interlude in Snape's head had done nothing to ease his own thoughts, Harry concluded, trying to clear his head. Could have something happened to Remus and Snape was unwilling to tell Harry?
Obviously, the Occlumency session was no success.
"Where're we going?" Harry asked rather unenthusiastically. Occlumency always left him drained and usually Harry would go to sleep afterwards. This year, though, his busy curriculum dictated otherwise. Hagrid was going to be one his 'special trainers', and the half-giant was currently leading him through the castle.
"Yeh'll see," Hagrid said gruffly. "Not supposed ter talk too much in the hallways, Dumbledore said. Could be more listening than just yeh and me."
Harry grunted noncommittally. He could wait – but only for so long. Hagrid was in the Order, after all, and he was Harry's friend. Surely that meant he'd tell him if anything happened to Lupin.
Harry didn't realise they were heading to the Room of Requirement until they were right in front of it. Then the small door grew, so Hagrid would fit through it. The room was a small chamber with nothing more than two chairs. It didn't look like the training room they had used for the DA last year, at all.
"So, Harry," Hagrid said, ushering the boy in and closing the door after himself. "First lesson's gonna be theory, alright..."
"Before we start, can I ask you a quick question?" Harry interrupted. "It's about Remus..."
Hagrid's expression became genuinely puzzled. "What about Remus?"
"Did anything happen to him? Did anyone attack him?"
"Why would you think such a thing?" Hagrid said. "Who told you Remus was attacked?"
"No one told me..." Harry said slowly, relieved. Hagrid's face didn't give away anything, convincing Harry that the half-giant was telling the truth. Hagrid couldn't lie if his life depended on it. But what had Harry seen in Snape's memory, then? Had Remus shaven his werewolf fur? Or was it natural for a werewolf to loose his fur after a transformation? Harry voiced that last question.
Hagrid looked blankly for two seconds. "Yeh didn't learn anything with Umbridge, did yeh?" he grumbled, shaking his hairy head. "'Course, werewolves get new fur every transformation. It'd be pretty uncomfortable if the hair had to re-grew under yeh skin, I say."
Harry nodded, frowning. This only answered part of his problem, but at least he now knew that Remus wasn't in danger. Why Remus had transformed in this strange cellar, and why Snape seemed so – almost concerned – was a whole new question, though. One Harry was determined to figure out.
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