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A/N: Thanks to everyone who has read this, and to those of you who've reviewed! Your words are an encouragement to me! Here's the next part. TTFN

Chapter 19

Dreams of Black, White, and Shades of Gray


Bianca Malfoy walked next to Ginny as other students glared at her. A few of the older students taunted the young girl and she hid behind Ginny, who defended her. As the group walked down the hall to the moving staircases, Draco Malfoy caught up to them.

“Bianca!” he called and the girl stopped. Ginny turned to face Malfoy.

“What do you want, Malfoy? You are holding us up,” Ginny said, her hands on her hips in what Fred called her ‘Molly-ish way’.

“I’m not talking to you, weasel,” Draco spat. He was obviously in a very bad mood.

Ginny turned to Derek, the other 5th year Prefect. “Guide them up to the tower. I’ll wait for Bianca,” she said and Derek led away the large number of first years. It seemed that many parents had wanted to send their children to school now that Voldemort was officially back. A lot of them remembered those dark days when Voldemort had been in power. They had known then that Hogwarts was the safest place in the Wizarding world, and now they knew their children could be better protected by Dumbledore. It was also a result of a false sense of security that, despite the fact that the Ministry had conceded to Voldemort’s return, said Dark Wizard had yet to do anything. It definitely wasn’t like it used to be when he was in power 16-20 years ago.

Bianca was now with Draco, and Ginny waited a few paces away. She was quite annoyed at the things Draco was yelling at Bianca until she had enough.

“… and keep away from the mudblood lover and his mudblood bitch,” Draco warned a cowering Bianca.

“We need to go, now!” Ginny exclaimed walking towards the pair.

“This is none of your business,” Draco spat at her.

“Oh yes it is. I am supposed to take your sister to her dormitory, and you are holding her up, ferret,” Ginny said wrapping her hand around her wand and pointing it straight at Draco.

Bianca stared at Ginny with horror. She could not believe that anyone ever spoke to Draco like that; but the truth was that Bianca had never been around anyone else besides Tinky, her mother, and her aunt.

“You filthy…”

“Is there a problem, Mr Malfoy?” Professor Dumbledore asked, walking down the hallway towards them. Everyone noticed the ominous and cloaked wizard that stood a few paces behind Professor Dumbledore.

“No Professor,” Malfoy replied pocketing his wand.

Ginny spoke then, “Malfoy was just wishing goodnight to his little sister. We were about to leave, Professor.” Ginny grabbed Bianca’s hand. “Come on, I’ll show you how to get to Gryffindor. Good night Professor, Ferret,” Ginny said and left. Malfoy clenched his fist and gritted his teeth in anger. Dumbledore’s eyes simply twinkled as he looked through his half moon spectacles. Malfoy turned around, didn’t even bother to answer Dumbledore, and headed back to the dungeons.

****

When Harry returned to the common room it was almost deserted. Most people were inside their rooms unpacking. He noticed Ginny saying a few words with Bianca Malfoy as she showed her to her room. Ginny waved at him, and Harry waved back. He walked up the staircase to his dormitory, and paused in front of the door, which bore a new sign that said ‘sixth year dormitory’. He smiled weakly; he was, once again, home.

He entered to find Seamus and Dean arguing about something. Soon enough Harry knew that Dean was trying to compare his favourite football team, West Ham, with Seamus’ Quidditch team. Seamus was feeling offended by it.

“Will you two shut up!?” Neville said sounding exasperated. “You are upsetting my Mimbletonia!”

Harry turned to look at the potted plant on Neville’s bedside table and, sure enough, it seemed to be quivering and emitting some alarmed noises. Neville was patting it reassuringly.

Seamus and Dean stopped arguing and turned to look at Neville. There was silence for a split second, and then they burst out laughing.

“It’s not funny! Mimby is not mature enough to defend herself! That’s why she’s quivering… she’s…”

“Mimby?” Dean questioned and laughed harder.

“Hey! HEY!” Harry finally stepped in. “Leave Neville alone,” he said and watched them stop laughing and then apologize to Neville. Harry was a little surprised that they had actually listened to him.

“Listen Neville, we didn’t mean anything by it,” Dean began walking closer to Neville. The potted plant seemed to be calming.

“So you really named it Mimby?” Seamus asked, and this time he didn’t laugh.

Neville blushed, “Yeah, I found out that my Mimbletonia is a female, and they are really smart. Sometimes I think she reacts to my moods, and, well… I dunno… I guess I just started calling her Mimby… I guess that’s a bit stupid, huh?” Neville said grinning, clearly embarrassed.

“No, it’s not stupid!” Seamus said to Neville. “Dean calls that ball thingy of his Billy!”

“I DO NOT!” Dean snapped turning bright red.

“Oh yes you do! You don’t think I’ve heard you?” Seamus asked him and proceeded to make a horrible imitation of Dean talking to his football.

Harry couldn’t help but laugh at Dean’s facial expression; this seemed to be a signal that everything was ok, and they all laughed. Dean included.

The four of them began to unpack their things once again. Ron arrived a while later after finishing with his Prefect meeting.

“How was the meeting?”

“Boring,” Ron said as he let himself fall on his bed.

“Who’s the Head Boy this year?” Dean asked.

“Terrence Granchester from Ravenclaw,” Ron answered, “but that’s not the worst part!” he said turning onto his stomach and rising onto his elbows. “The Head Girl is Philippa Hinson!”

“What? That cow from Slytherin!?” Seamus said with horror.

“What the bloody hell was Dumbledore thinking appointing a Slytherin Head Girl!?” Dean exclaimed disgusted.

“This year’s going to be terrible! Slytherins are going to get away with more than they already do!” Neville said with a groan.

“Let’s hope not,” Harry said.

“Oh, McGonagall wants so see us during lunch tomorrow,” Ron said to Harry sounding a bit nervous and excited.

“Why? What for?” Harry asked with nerves as well.

“She told me to ask Fred and George too, and said that she had contacted Jack Sloper and the others. I think she hasn’t picked the Team Captain yet! At least, Katie said it wasn’t her, and it is neither you nor me, so…”

Harry’s face fell, “I was banned from Quidditch for life…”

Dean interrupted him, “By that Troll Umbridge! You really didn’t think that Dumbledore…”

“Or Professor McGonagall...” Ron emphasized.

“… was going to do nothing about that? That would have been a little thick of you!” Dean finished.

“You really think my ban has been lifted?” Harry asked hopefully. It just dawned on Harry that his Firebolt was still chained somewhere in the dungeons. He had completely forgotten about it, and last year he hadn’t honestly cared about it. Not after Sirius… No! He mustn’t think about that now.

“I’m sure it is!”

“Of course!”

“Yeah mate!”

“Are you nuts?” the others responded simultaneously.

“I really hope so! Hogwarts isn’t Hogwarts without Quidditch.”

“Hear, hear!”

“Oh, remind me to ask Professor McGonagall to get my Firebolt from the dungeons,” Harry said and then felt a pang of guilt. Sirius had given him that Firebolt, and Harry had forgotten about it. Suddenly his most precious possession became even more priceless.

“I think I am actually going to ask for it now,” Harry said becoming worried that something might have happened to it.

He left the dormitory, raced down the staircase and ran out of the common room. He figured he would start out at the staffroom. He walked briskly down the steps, remembered to jump over the trick step, then ran when he reached the bottom. He headed down to the entrance hall and walked down the marble steps then turned to go to the staff room. He ignored the gargoyles challenging him to enter.

Harry knocked on the door, and the new Professor from DADA opened up. She was still wearing that bright yellow cloak, her face hooded.

“May I help you?” she asked with a heavy accent. Harry couldn’t quite place it.

“Erm, yes, I’m looking for Professor McGonagall…” Harry said nervously, feeling that the new Professor was staring at him under her shadowed cloak. She nodded and opened the door wide for him to enter. Harry noticed Snape was there, the same expression of extreme loathing on his face. Harry hadn’t quite faced Snape outside of the classroom since the incident in which he had pried into one of his worst memories. Professor McGonagall was sitting by the fire.

“Erm, Professor McGonagall, I’m sorry to bother you but I was wondering if I could ask you something?”

“You just did,” the Witch answered serenely.

“I mean, in private,” Harry said, his eyes darting around the room. He noticed Professor Sinistra was there. Professor Binns had just floated through one of the walls. “Perkins,” he said in greeting as he passed.

“All right. Come to my office then,” McGonagall said as she rose from her chair. Harry followed her out of the staffroom, up the marble stairs, then down the hallway to her office on the first floor. She held the door open for him, and his eyes widened as he saw his Firebolt on her desk, glinting as if it had been cleaned and polished just recent.

Harry looked back to Professor McGonagall and a rare motherly smile was on her face.

“I had Professor Flitwick check the broom over before he left, just to make sure it hadn’t been tampered with. I knew you would want it back when you returned.”

Harry didn’t know what to say and simply managed to say, “Thank you.”

“Did Mr Weasley inform you of the meeting tomorrow?”

“Yes.”

“Good, we will see you tomorrow then. Good night,” she said and opened the door for him once more.

Harry gingerly took his Firebolt, and headed out. He turned once more to Professor McGonagall. “Professor…?”

“Tomorrow, ask your questions tomorrow,” the old Witch said a bit sternly again.

“Good night, Professor, and thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” she replied and closed the door behind him.

Harry couldn’t resist the urge to try out his Firebolt again. Instead of heading back to the moving staircases, Harry raced down the marble steps, opened the great oak doors and stepped outside. The air was crisp and clean, the smell of rain lingering in the air. Harry dropped his Firebolt which hovered next to him. He mounted, and pushed up with his feet. He heard the wind soar, and felt the cool night air rush past. He had missed flying terribly, he now realized. This was something that Harry had always been good at, from the first moment he ever climbed on a broom. It was this reason that had made him the youngest Quidditch player in over a hundred years during his first year here.

Harry flew above the castle, and headed to the Quidditch Pitch. He performed several manoeuvres around the stadium, weaving in and out of hoops, flying as high as he could, and diving as fast and low as he could before pulling up at the last minute. He lost track of time enjoying the activity. He didn’t mind the wet rain as it began to drizzle a little. He finally looked at his watch and realized it was 11:30, and way past curfew.

Harry zoomed towards the castle, and headed to the Gryffindor tower. He circled slowly around the tower in between floors avoiding the windows, but as he came up the side of the tower, he glimpsed through a window and he had to do a double take. Standing on top of a bed, and brandishing her wand was Hermione. She seemed to be giving some sort of speech, and Parvati and Lavender were sitting cross legged on the floor giggling and clapping. Harry noticed Sally-Anne Perks was watching from her own bed, but wasn’t joining. The other sixth year Gryffindor girl didn’t seem to be around.

But what stunned Harry was to see Hermione, Lavender and Parvati clad only in their underwear. Lavender launched a pillow at Hermione and it hit her square in the face, she fell back onto her bed laughing. The two girls didn’t see three pillows floating in the air behind them, and Hermione suddenly flicked her wand, causing the pillows to beat up Lavender and Parvati. Soon the view was obscured by a cloud of feathers, and Harry could hear the screams and shrills from the girls. He was completely taken aback by Hermione’s actions. He had never seen her acting… this way before, not to mention that it had been quite a shock to see her in her underwear. Harry suddenly wondered why he hadn’t really seen Hermione as a girl until tonight. She had always just been Hermione. Harry flew higher up the tower and began to knock on the window. Ron’s face peered out and he looked relieved. He opened the window to let Harry in.

“Where’ve you been!? I thought Snape had caught you or something!” Ron said as Harry climbed in through the window.

“I actually went out to try out my Firebolt; to make sure it was all right,” Harry said sheepishly. Ron looked hurt.

“You went on a night fly and didn’t come get me!?” he bellowed at Harry.

Harry felt bad for a moment, but he really had wanted to enjoy the flight alone.

“I’m sorry Ron. I thought about it, but I just felt like I wanted to be alone for a while,” he said sincerely.

“Oh, all right,” Ron said grudgingly, “but next time you better come get me!” He warned.

“I promise,” Harry said with a grin.

Ron climbed back into bed, and resumed his reading. Seamus and Dean were still down in the common room, and Neville had fallen asleep already. Harry placed his Firebolt on his bed, and began to unpack a few things from his trunk, took out his book, quills, parchment, and stuffed them in his bag. As he took out his pyjamas, a small, old, tarnished square mirror fell onto the bed. Harry looked at it with sadness, and regret. He had repaired it last June when it had shattered after he threw it in his trunk. If only he had opened Sirius’ gift before, he would have known how to contact Sirius when he needed him. He would have never gone to Umbridge’s office and Kreacher would have never been able to lie to him.

Harry stared at the mirror as he changed. He put away his things, and hung his Firebolt on the wall above his bed. Dean and Seamus had come back and gone to bed already. Harry picked up the small mirror and wished Sirius’ laughing face would appear in it. He lay in bed with the mirror in his hand and waited to hear everyone else asleep.

“Sirius?” Harry softly called once again at the mirror, and waited. But as it had happened every time before, Sirius’ face didn’t appear in the mirror. Harry closed his eyes and clutched the mirror close to his heart. This was the last thing Sirius had given to him. With that thought in mind, he fell asleep.

“Haarryyy.”

Harry turned in his sleep as he heard the familiar voice calling him.

“Harry.”

Harry screwed up his eyes trying to block the dull light beating against his closed eyelids. He must have slept late, Harry thought as he fluttered his eyes open. His eyes opened wider when instead of seeing the ceiling of the Gryffindor dorm room, his eyes saw a pale grey sky, white fluffy clouds moving slowly. Harry bolted upright. He stared with horror; he was still lying in his four poster bed, but the bed appeared to be in ruins. The curtains that he had closed last night were gone; instead, dull grey rags hung on one side of the bed.

Harry looked around and noticed that the room he was in was supposed to be his room, but it was as if Hogwarts was the remnant of an ancient castle long since destroyed. There was no floor in his room, only a small slab of the floor on which his bed rested. Harry looked down and he could see all the way down to where the common room should have been. He looked around and he could see outside, the castle grounds were a wreck. Large sections of the forest were gone, only white skeletons of trees remained. Of the Quidditch Pitch, Harry could only see one single hoop leaning as if frozen in the act of falling. The stands, the locker rooms, the pitch itself were nothing but rubble.

The many towers and buildings that were Hogwarts were mostly destroyed. Some walls, and pillars remained, but the whole school was in ruin. The only thing that remained the same was the lake, its dark, almost black waters glinting under the bleary glare of the sun. Harry then noticed something peculiar: there was no colour. As he looked around the landscape, he could only see black, white, and shades of grey. The only thing that contained any colour was himself. His pale blue pyjamas seemed to glow against the grayscale monotony of the place he was in, contrasting against the dark grey of his bed. His skin as well stood out against the black and white landscape.

“Harry,”

Harry whirled around to the sound of his godfather’s voice. By his bed stood a large, square, and tarnished mirror. Harry realized it was the same as the one he held in his palm, but this other mirror was large, at least seven feet tall. Inside the mirror stood the outline of a man, his features were darkened as if he was hiding behind shadows.

“Sirius?” Harry’s heart beat faster, but as the reflection of his godfather began to clear, and Harry saw Sirius, he screamed.


“Harry? Harry?”

Someone was shaking him awake.

Harry opened his eyes to see Ron’s worried face over him. He was breathing hard, and he was covered in sweat.

“Are you all right?”

Finally Harry found his voice. “I saw Sirius, he… his … it was rotting…” Harry proceeded to tell the dream to Ron.
“It was a nightmare… I think. I had gone to bed thinking of him…” Harry said in a disconsolate voice. Ron frowned, and asked a bit frightened.

“Was it… You-Know-Who who gave you that dream?”

Harry thought for a moment,. “No, I don’t think so… my scar didn’t hurt,” he answered, and if to confirm it, his hand touched his scar.

This seemed to satisfy both Harry and Ron. “Let’s get back to bed. It’s only 1am,” Ron said and took the mirror from Harry and placed it back in Harry’s trunk as Harry lay back down. Harry was afraid to go back to sleep; he didn’t want to see Sirius like that again. After fighting the urge to sleep, Harry didn’t notice when he finally dozed off half an hour later.

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