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Chapter 24

Confessions of a Tattered Diary

Harry stared at the page, stunned. His mind was reeling for a moment. Rick Evans wasn’t his grandfather!? He tried to recall everything he knew about his grandparents. He had been told all his life that his grandfather, Rick Evans, had died when Lily was about 12. His grandmother, he was told by his aunt, had died just days before his parents’ “car” accident. But now it turned out that Lily’s father was this Alex… the thought paused in Harry’s head.

“The vault was left to Alex Nightley upon Ellen Schellden’s death!” Harry exclaimed aloud, pieces of the puzzle were making a little sense. What didn’t make sense was that if Ellen lived as a Muggle, how did she meet a wizard, and if Rick was Petunia’s father, and Petunia was older than his mother, then how did Ellen come to have a child from Alex? What had happened?

Harry closed the book and shoved it into his pocket. He wanted answers to so many questions… but who could answer them? This all seemed to get messier the more he thought about it. He wanted to speak with Anastasia Schellden. After all, she was Ellen’s mother and Harry hadn’t had an opportunity to speak with her during his stay at Grimmauld place after he found her in that vault. Thinking about the vault made him remember that Professor Donovan had been involved. Did he say something about Alex when they spoke at the Leaky Cauldron? Maybe he ought to ask him as well. Now Harry wondered what Dumbledore knew about all of this.

Harry reached for his invisibility cloak and the Marauders’ map, just in case he stayed out past curfew. He raced down the steps and ignored the calls from Ron asking where he was going. He reached the headmaster’s office and entered using his password. He went up the spiraling moving staircase, and knocked on the door. He heard the voice of the headmaster. “Come in.”

“Ah, Harry, how can I help you?” Dumbledore asked setting down his quill, and closing a book he was writing in.

“I wanted to speak with you about my grandmother Ellen, and about what you knew of my grandparents,” Harry said as he stood in front of the headmaster.

“I must tell you that I personally didn’t know much about your grandparents, except what I learned from Lily herself. I did have a chance to speak with Mrs Schellden’s portrait, and I have done a little looking into it myself. I was hoping to learn more so I could shed some light to this mystery about your mother’s side of the family,” Dumbledore invited the youth to sit down.

“I actually came for the same reason. I have some questions I’d like to ask my great-grandmother. Do you think Headmaster Nigellus would be willing to bring her here?” Harry said sat down.

“Certainly. I would like to ask more questions also. I can share with you all that I have been able to find out as well,” Dumbledore said and turned to look at Phineas’s portrait. It was empty. Dumbledore’s eyes sparkled. “If you just wait for one moment, I will go to Grimmauld Place and contact Mrs Schellden. Phineas has been spending quite a bit of time at his other portrait, dare I say,” Dumbledore said as he threw a pinch of Floo powder into the fireplace. “12 Grimmauld Place,” he called and he stepped through.

The house was empty at that moment, so Dumbledore went straight upstairs to the drawing room. There was an awful amount of giggling coming from the portrait although there was nobody in it, and Albus could hear Nigellus’ low voice speaking from somewhere in the portrait as well.

“Oh… you Devil!” Mrs Schellden exclaimed.

Dumbledore cleared his throat, and held his composure as Phineas’s dishevelled head appeared behind the couch of Mrs Schellden’s portrait.

“Albus!” Phineas exclaimed as he stood up abruptly. His robes were undone to mid chest. Anastasia looked up from behind the couch as well, and blushed furiously.

“I am sorry to interrupt. I was not expecting… well… I just came to see if Mrs Schellden would have a moment and come to Hogwarts for a short visit. Harry is in my office right now and has some questions about Marie, and he was hoping that you would provide some help,” he said directing his twinkling eyes full of amusement onto Anastasia.

“Oh, of course! Please tell Harry that I will be there momentarily,” she said as she smiled, and blushed again.

“Phineas, would you be so kind and escort Mrs Schellden to my office?” Dumbledore asked.

“Yes, I shall do so,” Phineas responded as he clumsily tried to straighten his robes.

“Very well. I shall see you shortly,” Dumbledore replied and headed back down to the fireplace.

Back at the office, Harry pulled out the diary to read a little bit more while he waited for the headmaster to return.

July 30th 1967


I know this is stupid, but I have no other way of talking to you. I always believed that you are here with me, and that somehow you can read what I write.
Today Lily used magic, and I fear that Rick will notice her strangeness and will begin to ask questions. I have never told anyone about my family, my past, but I am certain now that unlike me, Lily will not be a Squib, and I think is it because of you. I know you never told me, but I am sure you were a wizard. I found your wand once, but I never said anything, since I never told you anything. Lily will most likely receive a letter from school when she turns 11 and I am not sure how I will be able to explain things to Rick. I just wish you were alive so you could see her grow too… I wonder if Alice will get a letter too? She’s never shown a sign of magic…

The rest of the page was torn. Harry turned another page. He read more notes about Lily as she grew up, but several pages were missing, or torn, or burned. He could only get glimpses of Lily’s life through his grandmother’s notes, and it seemed that she had written this diary for Alex, as a way of speaking to him about their daughter.

May 15 1969

… when I inquired about her I received word that my mother has died. I can not go to the funeral of my own mother, and is much more than I can bear. How I wish my father would let me say goodbye to her. He still refuses to acknowledge I exist, and will have nothing to do with me or my daughters…

July 30th, 1971

She just received a letter from Hogwarts today, and Lily is thrilled. Alice tried to convince Lily not to go. Three years ago Alice received a letter too, and I was stunned then, for I never thought Alice had any magical ability, and was like me - a Squib. She did go to Hogwarts for a while, but returned home before her first year ended and decided not to return, for what reason, I will never know. She said she wanted nothing to do with magic, but I am sure she kept her wand. Now Alice does not want Lily to go, but Lily said she will at least try it. I guess I will find out if magic suits Lily or not.

… Rick has been so supportive of her. I was so afraid for so many years that once he learned the truth he would walk away. I finally confessed the day Alice got her letter. You would not believe his reaction! He was fascinated. He was a little disappointed when Petunia refused to go to Hogwarts and do any magic, but we never questioned her. Now Rick is like a little kid. You should have seen him and Lily when she came back for Christmas break. My Lily is so talented!

… She brought some of Bott’s beans… I haven’t had any for years… I was lucky and got a strawberry flavoured one…


I wish you were here to comfort me. Late last night I received a phone call from the hospital. Rick was in an accident on his way home from work and he is in really bad shape. The doctors don’t think he will make it through the night, not even the Mediwitch that Professor Dumbledore sent thought there was much that could be done for him in St. Mungo’s…

… it was so hard to lose Rick. Now I am all alone without him, and without you. But this was so hard on Alice and Lily…

Harry snapped the diary closed when the flames in the fireplace burst green and Dumbledore stepped out. Dumbledore used a quick spell to clean the ashes from his robes.

“Mrs Schellden will be here shortly, ah here they are,” Dumbledore said pleased as he noticed Phineas appear in his portrait with Anastasia.

“Harry dear, how nice to see you again. How is school going?” she asked as soon as she saw him.

“It’s great so far,” Harry said grinning at her. It was a bit of comfort to him to have some relative to speak with, even if she was only a portrait.

“Harry, I think that we should start on hearing Anastasia’s story, then after that we can work on whatever questions you have. But let’s not forget that Mrs Schellden is only a portrait. There might be some things she does not know,” Albus reminded Harry. Harry nodded.

“Please, Professor, call me Ana,” the portrait lady encouraged him.

“As you wish Ana, and I would ask you refer to me by my given name, Albus. After all, it has been over 70 years since I last taught you,” Dumbledore chuckled.
Harry looked surprised; this was something he hadn’t known.

“Let’s start from the beginning,” Dumbledore added.

Ana nodded. “Well, as you know, Professor, I am the daughter of Augustus and Marietta DeVarak, I was born in 1905 and I attended Hogwarts from 1916 to 1923. Charles Schellden proposed soon after I left Hogwarts and I married him. I had three boys and Charles was very happy. We decided not to have any more children, but I became pregnant again in 1940 and gave birth to a girl. I don’t know what happened, but Charles was not happy that we had another child or a girl at that. Our marriage became very difficult and at that time I would not accept the belief that Charles hated his own daughter,” Ana paused and sighed.

She smiled as she remembered. “I named my little girl Marie Ellen,” and now she scowled, “but I had to beg Charles to give her his name. Soon after Ellen was born, Charles informed me that the Potters had agreed that their son, Harry, was to marry Ellen at the age of 17.” It was easy to tell that Ellen had not readily agreed to this. Her expression softened.

“Despite the ill treatment from Charles and two of her brothers, Ellen grew up loved by me and her brother Jeremy. Charles was very strict and never let her out of the estate, but she was happy. The staff loved her, even the house elves… but things would take a turn for the worse after her 11th birthday and the problems started. To Charles embarrassment, Ellen had turned out to be a Squib and was not sent a letter from Hogwarts. This was great cause for shame to him, and it only made Ellen’s life more difficult. She had to stay home and was forced to learn magic, but to no avail. Charles somehow convinced the Potters to agree to marry Ellen with Harry, despite her lack of magic ability. Harry went on to Hogwarts, and we didn’t see him again. When Charles told Ellen about the arrangement of her wedding, she refused and she ran away from home the night she was supposed to meet Harry again when he left Hogwarts,” the portrait lady had to pause.

She tried to remember all that her real self had told her all those years ago. Portraits were merely an imprint of the person they used to be, and often repeated catch phrases the real person was known to say. But Mrs Schellden’s portrait knew more than many portraits usually did, thanks to numerous recording charms done onto her.

“Lets see… I was devastated when she left, and Charles then disowned my Ellen. Instead of letting anyone know that she was a Squib and had ran away, Charles faked my daughter’s death, even had a funeral and there is an empty grave with her name in our family graveyard. The Potters were sad that their son’s fiancé had passed away, and Harry was a very pleasant young man. I wanted so many times to tell him the truth for he kept in touch with our family. Many years later, Harry married Eloise Grant and that was the last time I saw him. I tried hard to find my daughter behind my husband’s back, but I never did get any leads. She had disappeared, and was gone completely. I never heard anything more about Ellen before this portrait was made, and I don’t know if my person did learn anything after either. If she did, she never told me or any of my other portraits. I know I passed away in 1969, and to the shock of my husband,” Mrs Schellden said with a smirk, “I had left all of my fortune to Marie Ellen Schellden and to my son Jeremy, for he was the only one that had loved my Ellen dearly, and not one single Sickle would go to Charles or my other sons. Charles took everything that had belonged to me and locked it away in a vault. All of my portraits that my sons had were destroyed. Only Jeremy kept his and one other, so I spent most of my time as a portrait in his house.” Ana stood up and paced as she spoke.

“It wasn’t until 1980, when my husband was killed, that I learned more about what had happened to Ellen. My son Jeremy came home after the funeral and told me that he had recognised her at the funeral and he had followed her. When she appeared to the private meeting to claim her inheritance the next day, he met her there. I had begged him to bring her and he did. We all cried at being reunited and we talked for hours, and Ellen told us her story. When she left the house at sixteen she met a young man who took her to France and she bought some fake documents, but he was killed a few years later and she decided to return to England. When she returned, she met a man named Richard Evans, a Muggle. She never told Rick about her past and was living as a Muggle. They were married and had two little girls, one was named Alice Petunia and the youngest was named Lily Marie. She told us about Rick’s death in some Muggle contraption in an accident, and very briefly about Lily’s years at Hogwarts.” Mrs Schellden paused again and tried to recall more information stored in her.

“Ellen said that her daughter Lily was then married to James Potter, the son of Harry Potter.” Mrs Schellden smiled a bit, she turned to look at Harry who was absorbing every detail of the story. “She said that they were so happy, except for the fact that Lily had lost some of her babies,” she said with pity.

This came as a shock to Harry. He hadn’t known his parents had tried to have children before he was born. He had always assumed he had been the first. Harry tuned back to listen to Mrs Schellden.

“Ellen wanted to keep my portrait, so Jeremy gave it to her since he had another, but she had not told anything to either Alice or Lily. The two of them transferred everything, along with me from the vault that I had left to Ellen into another vault. We agreed that I would stay in the vault and she would be back to get me later. It wasn’t until a few months later that she returned with Jeremy, and they told me that a Dark Lord had sent someone to kill her and that she was going to go into hiding. She told me that Lily and James had gone into hiding with their son Harry, and that she would be back as soon as it was safe. That was the last time I saw her,” Ana finished now reduced to tears.

“It wasn’t until now, when Harry found my portrait that I learned that she was dead, and that this Voldemort had killed Lily and James,” she sniffed, as Nigellus gingerly handed her a handkerchief. “Thank you.”

“Thank you for your story, Ana. I had taken the liberty of investigating more about your background since our last conversation, and your story is as much as I could find. You are right; Marie did purchase fake documents for her name, and lived as a Muggle in France. The man you mentioned was killed in a Muggle robbery at a bank where he worked. Marie never confessed to anyone about her origins, so all of us who knew Lily believed her to be a Muggle,” said Dumbledore and continued, “Marie was killed when leaving Gringotts that day after setting up her vault. She and a man named Jeremy Schellden were both victims of an attack in Diagon Alley that day, but I don’t think Voldemort meant to kill her. She was Lily and James’ Secret Keeper at that time and was no use to him dead,” Dumbledore added sombrely.

“It never occurred to me that Jeremy was related to Marie. I simply believed he was an innocent bystander caught in the fire line. Now I know he was her brother. Since learning that you were Marie’s mother, I looked into your family. I am sorry to say Mrs Schellden that your two oldest sons are gone. It appears that they joined the Death Eater ranks shortly before your death. Jason was caught by Aurors and sentenced to the Dementors’ Kiss in 1981. He passed away shortly after that. Lucas, along with his family, was murdered when he had struck a deal with the Aurors to deliver those other Death Eaters who eluded Ministry officials. I am sorry,” Dumbledore said, and Anastasia nodded, but she didn’t speak.

After a moment of silence Harry spoke up. “Professor, do you know anything about my grandparents being separated for a while before my mum was born?” he asked tentatively.

Professor Dumbledore looked at Harry intently, as if trying to discern his question.
“No Harry, I am not aware of such a thing. May I ask as to why you believe this may have happened?”

Harry took out the tattered diary. “This was my grandmother’s diary. I have only read the first few pages that are legible. A lot of it seems destroyed, but if you read the first entry you will know why,” he said as he handed the small book to Dumbledore.

Dumbledore’s eyebrows rose up into his forehead in surprise. He took the offered book and opened it to the first page. He read the same entry that Harry had read just before coming here.

“Mmmhm,” Dumbledore exclaimed as he flipped through some more pages and read several more entries. He didn’t want to read all of it, for it was personal information that was Harry’s right to learn first.

“Have you looked into information of Alex Nightley?” Dumbledore asked as he handed the book back to Harry, and Harry nodded.

“Yes, Hermione did for me. He died in 1962, and had no surviving relatives that we could find,” Harry replied.

“Who is Alex Nightley? You asked me about him before?” Ana asked.

“He’s supposed to be my mum’s real father. It says here that my grandmother Marie met Alex Nightley, but he disappeared for some reason, and when he left, my grandmother was pregnant with my mum. She went back to her husband, my grandfather Rick, and I think Rick is my aunt Petunia’s dad. So either my grandmother had an affair, or my grandparents were separated at that time,” Harry replied.

Ana looked scandalised. “An affair! Lily was a child of another man?! That is ridiculous!” she said alarmed.

“Please, Mrs Schellden… calm down. If you wouldn’t mind Harry, I would like to see into Alan Nightley’s history and see if I can uncover anything of use to you.”

“Yeah, that will be all right, Professor,” Harry answered.

“For now I think it will be best if you head back to your dormitory. It is almost curfew time, and you don’t wish to be caught by Professor Snape.”

Harry stood up. “Thank you Mrs Schellden.”

“Oh Harry, it would mean so much to me if you called me Grandma Ana,” the old lady said her eyes brimming with tears.

“Ok Grandma,” Harry said, and she couldn’t help the tears. Nigellus again extended a handkerchief to her.

“Goodnight, Harry,”

“Thank you, Professor. Goodnight,” Harry said and turned to leave the office unanswered questions swirling through his head about the history of her mother’s side of the family. Come to think of it, Harry didn’t know much about either side. He hadn’t even known that his grandfather on the Potter side had been named Harry, and his grandmother was named Eloise Grant. Did Harry have distant cousins if Eloise had brothers and sisters? Harry thought his Potter grandparents must have been dead by the time his own parents died, or surely Dumbledore wouldn’t have said that Petunia had been his only remaining relative.

Harry descended on the spiral escalator and exited through the stone gargoyle which moved back into position to conceal the entrance. He wrapped his invisibility cloak about him and pulled out his map.

“I solemnly swear I am up to no good,” he said as he tapped his wand.

He scanned the empty hallways for any sign of Mrs Norris, Mr Filch or any professors. Almost everyone was in their common rooms with only a few students here and there hurrying back to their dormitories. Satisfied that the coast was clear, he was about to close the map when he noticed a name that caught his attention. On the third floor in the same room where fluffy was once locked up, on one side of the room, a tiny dot in a corner read Bianca Malfoy. Harry knew that Ginny had been looking for her all day and wondered why she was in this particular room. He was about to clear the map when he noticed that Bianca’s dot was not moving. He had the gnawing feeling that something wasn’t quite right. He decided to investigate. Harry ran up a set of stairs to the third floor corridor and neared the door he remembered so well from his first year at Hogwarts. Memories flooded his head about the time he, Hermione and Ron had gone after the Philosopher’s stone. He opened the door and braced himself, he still expected to hear fluffy growl at him. He smirked inwardly and shook his head. Harry looked to the dark corner where the map said Bianca should be, and he could barely see a black shoe sticking out of the shadows. What was she doing here?


No answer.

“Lumos,” Harry called for his wand to light up and walked towards Bianca. Harry was startled to see her gagged and tied up, leaning against the corner. His nostrils detected the sour smell of urine, and, with pity, he saw her sitting in a pool of her own liquid. Her eyes seemed puffy and her cheeks were red, stained with tears. She was actually sleeping right now, probably tired herself to sleep after struggling all day to free herself. Ginny said that she had been missing since lunch.

“Bianca?” Harry called shaking her awake. She woke up and began to thrash and scream, bewildered with fear. She could feel someone touching her, but she couldn’t see anyone, except for a wand floating in mid air.

“Shhh, shhh, calm down. It’s me, Harry,” He said trying to calm her down as he slipped off his invisibility cloak. Once she realised who it was, she visibly calmed down and began to cry. Harry gently undid the gag tied on her head, and undid the cords tied around her ankles. He helped her to her feet, and with a quick drying spell, he cleaned up her wet mess, dried up her uniform and the floor. He undid the rope around her wrists, and Bianca lunged at him, wrapping her arms around him and crying.

“What happened?” he asked as he held her a bit awkwardly.

Bianca was too embarrassed to speak at first then began to mumble incoherently while still sobbing. She explained how some Gryffindors were teasing her, so she ran away from them, then a few second year Hufflepuffs had caught her after class this morning and had tied her and gagged her, then dumped her inside this room and told her that here lived a horrible three headed beast. She had crawled to the corner and had screamed for help, but nobody could hear her.

“How did you know I was here?” she asked after she finally managed to calm down. Harry picked up her schoolbag which was just a few feet from the entrance.

“I got a tip,” he sort of lied. He wasn’t about to tell her of the map.

“Thank you… for coming. I don’t know if anyone else would have,” she said hanging her head. “Everyone hates me,” she said as she began to sob. Harry didn’t know how to handle girls’ tears. He shifted uncomfortably on his feet, before he offered her a hug so she could cry.

“Ginny was looking for you all day, and Hermione was helping her look for you. Hey, even Ron asked around a bit. Ginny’s been really worried. I think that if you didn’t turn up by curfew, she was going to go to Professor McGonagall,” Harry said trying to reassure her.

Bianca sniffed, and smiled a bit. “Why do people hate me and my brother so much?” she asked wiping her nose with her arm.

“Well, your brother is a git, and he can be really mean. Nobody likes Slytherins and I guess everyone just assumes you are like him, and since they can’t pick on Malfoy, they pick on you,” he offered a reasonable explanation.

“I wish I knew Ginny’s Bat Bogey Hex to defend myself,” she huffed quite mad. She had already heard of her legendary charm. Harry had to smile at her.

“Maybe you should ask her to teach you,” he offered and looked at his wristwatch. “Let’s get back to Gryffindor. It’s almost curfew for you,” Harry said and guided Bianca out of the room. They walked back in silence

“Can I go to the toilet first?” Bianca asked as she blushed.

“Sure, let’s go back to the second floor. That’s the closest toilet around,” he said to her hoping she wasn’t about to wet herself again.

“But that toilet is out of service,” she said with a questioning glance at Harry.

“No, it’s not out of service. It’s just haunted, but I know the ghost,” Harry guided her back down the set of steps and went in with her.

“Myrtle?” he called and the transparent figure of Myrtle came out of the piping in a toilet.

“Who’s here bothering m… OOOOO….Harry! Why haven’t you been back to visit me?” she asked pouting then noticed the blond girl with him. “Who is that?” she asked with mad expression and crossing her arms.

“Relax, this is just my friend and she needed to use the toilet. I just wanted to ask if it was ok to use your toilet?” Harry asked.

“Sure, you only come by when you need my help… is that it? Huh?” she screamed at him, “nobody cares about poor old whining, moaning Myrtle! FINE! See if I care… you are very mean, Harry… and I have been nothing but good to you…” she began wailing.

“Myrtle… stop. I promise I will come back to visit you… ok?” he said, feeling quite annoyed.

Myrtle laughed with joy and floated about in happiness. “Ok! You better come back. I will go visit my friends in the lake. See you soon, Harry!” she said and splashed down the toilet.

“I’ll be waiting outside,” Harry said to Bianca who nodded. He left the toilets, and took the opportunity to check the map; he was glad to see Mrs Norris prowling on the first floor, while Filch was in his office. Professor Snape was down in the dungeons. Harry noticed Remus was in his office, and then his eye caught the dot labelled Lillian De Valerio in the DADA classroom, but Professor Donovan wasn’t with her. The only other person out was someone named Vincent going up the main staircases. Harry thought it was odd that only his first name showed up, his last name was a garble of ink, and it couldn’t be read. He wondered who that was, and if there was something wrong with the map. Was it Goyle? Harry knew there were several ‘Vincent’s in the school. He peered closely at the last name and made out the first letter to be an L. So it wasn’t Goyle. He didn’t give the name a second thought as he stuffed the map in his robes, when Bianca came out. He thought there was a Vincent Lutjen in Ravenclaw, but wasn’t sure. Harry did make himself a mental note to talk to Lupin about the map. He remembered then that Joséphine didn’t show up on it. He was curious to see if she showed up now, but he would have to wait to check on that.



“I think it will be best if you don’t say anything to anyone. I don’t want stir trouble, and it will only make things worse for me if I rat on those second year Hufflepuffs,” Bianca said dejectedly, but then her face showed some resolve. “I will deal with this myself,” she said with determination.

Harry nodded. They walked in silence down the hallway, up the moving staircases and reached the portrait hole of the fat lady. When they entered the room, there were a quite a few people still up. Hermione, Ginny and Ron included.

“Bianca!” Ginny exclaimed as she saw her. “I was just about to go to McGonagall to tell her you were missing. Where have you been all day?” she asked, quite relieved to see her. Harry spoke before Bianca had a chance.

“She got stuck in the room in the forbidden corridor, so I went to get her.”

“How did you end up in that room?” Hermione asked.

“I was trying to run away from some boys who were teasing me. I didn’t pay attention where I was going. I didn’t mean to worry anyone and I didn’t think anyone would notice or care that I was gone,” she said and blushed. Ginny and Hermione looked at each other, and then glared at Ron.

“What?” he asked, annoyed.

“Well, you better get to bed, I can help you with your homework tomorrow or Sunday,” Ginny offered. Bianca nodded, but turned before she headed up the staircase. “Ginny, would you teach me the Bat Bogey hex?” she asked uncertainly.

Ginny grinned. “I’ll teach you some very useful hexes. Nobody will want to mess with you again,” she said with enthusiasm.

“Thanks!” Bianca said and flashed a big smile at her. “Goodnight” She turned and fled up the stairs. Ron mumbled something about not wise to teach a Malfoy a hex.

“Where did you go?” Ron finally asked when Ginny left to go to bed.

Harry explained all that he had learned from the diary, his great-grandmother, and his talk with Dumbledore. After the trio discussed more about this revelation, Harry began to feel really tired. It was nearly midnight by the time they went to bed, and for the first time since last year, Harry had nightmares about Voldemort, but when morning came, he couldn’t remember them.


The morning of the 28th of September was a bit chilly, but third year students and higher were gathered to go to Hogsmeade. Harry noticed that almost all of the professors would be going to Hogsmeade as well, and the students had been given instructions to not leave the main district without letting a professor know. Harry, Ron, Neville, Parvati, Lavender, Dean and Seamus were all going together. Ginny joined them, along with Luna Lovegood. They walked along the path to the town, and Harry noticed Professor De Valerio walking a few steps upfront, while Professor Donovan walked with Professor Snape trailing behind the group. Snape seemed upset and it was obvious that he was reluctantly agreeing to watch over the students. He did seem to be listening to Donovan as the man spoke.

“Where should we go first?” Neville asked.

“I need to stop by Honeydukes for sure,” Ron replied.

“I want to check out Zonko’s as well,” Seamus added.

“Let’s go to Honeydukes first, then we’ll meet Hermione at the Three Broomsticks when she gets back from Apparating lessons,” Harry said and the group agreed.

They re-grouped at the Three Broomsticks to plan where to go next. Hermione had now joined them.

“I read in the paper that there was a small rare and used bookstore that opened up in Hogsmeade this summer, so I’d like to go there…” Hermione began and noticed the rolling of the eyes, “…sometime. I can go while you go to Zonko’s. I see enough joke items after confiscating too much of the twin’s merchandise,” she added a bit annoyed.

“I’ll go with you. Maybe they have a book that could be useful for… the DA,” Harry offered to Hermione. She knew he wanted to look for more information on the veil.

“I’ll go with you guys,” Ron added.

“All right, how about we meet back here in about two hours?” Neville offered.

“Sounds good. We’ll see you in about two hours then,” Ron answered and the group split into two. They informed Hagrid where they were going and he nodded, barely paying attention to them as he was speaking with Madam Rosmerta.

Hermione, Harry and Ron made their way down the main street and turned right on the less used, dark and gloomy street that lead to the Hog’s Head.

“Why would anyone put a bookshop on this street?” Ron wondered as they stopped in front of a small shop with blackened windows. A sign hung above the door that read Gathoka Rare Collections.

The trio entered the store, a little bell ringing as the door opened and alerting the owner of new customers. The shop seemed empty of any patrons, but was cramped with bookshelves, tables, and stacks of books everywhere. Besides books, there were all sorts of odd objects; vials full of who knows what lining the shelves around the walls. Behind a glass case counter, a tall black man stood. He had been arranging the objects inside the counter.

“Welcome. My name is Zibiki Gathoka (pronounce ZeeBeeKee Ga-ta-ka). Is there anything I can help you find?” he asked, closing the glass door of the counter.

“Yes,” Hermione said pulling out a list, and Ron looked at her and groaned. The list seemed quite large.

“What?” she asked him. Ron put his hands up and mumbled ‘nothing’. Hermione turned back to the store owner. “I have a list of topics that I would like to see what books you might have on them.” She walked forward along the narrow space between the tables and stacks of books. Ron and Harry followed behind as they curiously glanced at all the things around. Hermione handed the piece of parchment to Zibiki.

“Yes…yes…yes… oh yes… mmm,” the man muttered as he read the topics down the list. He looked up from the parchment and turned to Hermione, “Are you interested in becoming an Animagus?” he asked with interest. “Or just information on the topic?” he clarified.

“I didn’t think there were any books that talked on how to become Animagi,” she replied quite perplexed.

“There aren’t but I have something better, if you can make it work,” Zibiki said as he turned around and began to scan the bookshelves behind him. “Ah, here it is,” he said pulling out small red leather-bound book. There was no title to it. He handed it to Hermione.

She opened the book to stare at the blank pages. “What is this?” she asked.

“It is a diary of a man who claims that one can become an Animagus in thirty days. It is all in here,” he said pointing to the diary.

“But how do I read it?” Hermione asked very interested. The man smiled a mouth full of brilliant white teeth that contrasted with his dark skin.

He took the book from her and breathed on the first page. Harry, Ron, and Hermione crowded around to see letters appear faintly. He breathed again and the letters now formed dark enough to read.

“It’s a riddle!” Hermione exclaimed.

“Yes, but no one has ever solved it. Until you answer the riddle correctly, the words will remain hidden,” he said. “If you want, you can purchase it. I have a money back guarantee. You solve the riddle, you keep it. If not, return it to me for a refund,” the man tempted Hermione.

Harry was weary of a diary with blank pages. He took the diary to take a closer look.

“Can I write in it?” Harry asked innocently.

“No, the diary if full, and it’s charmed so nobody can write on it,” Zibiki said and proceeded to demonstrate. He took a quill, dipped it in ink and tried to write on it. The ink simply glided across the sheet without staining it. Harry seemed relieved.

“All right, I’ll take it,” she said and the man nodded.

They walked around the crammed space and Hermione bought some more interesting books on topics from DADA spells, to Ancient Runes. Finally there was only one topic left.

“Elvish script? I don’t know if I have anything in my collection about this. Of course, I don’t know what Elvish looks like. Do you have a sample of the script?” he asked and Hermione pulled out the picture of the veil she had from the newspaper cut-out.

“See these scratches on this? I think that is Elvish,” she said.

“This is what you call Elvish? Ah, yes, of the banished race. I may be able to find something on this, but it will take time. I may not find it,” he cautioned.

Hermione’s eyes gleamed with excitement. “Will you look for it?” she asked hopefully.

“It will cost you,” he replied.

“How much?” Harry asked.

“I don’t know. Anywhere from 200 to 1000 Galleons. Depends on what I can do,” he replied.

“If you find that book, we’ll get the money,” Harry said with conviction.

“Very well. I will send you word when I know something,” he replied and charged them for the books Hermione bought.

“Thank you,” Hermione said receiving her change, they were about to leave when Hermione spotted some titles on a stack of books that caught her attention.

The bell to the shop jingled and Johana Moon walked in. She walked to the counter and Zibiki greeted her. “I wanted to return this book I bought this summer, really didn’t help…” Harry heard her say. He didn’t quite catch most of the conversation, but heard her ask:

“… anything on passages and ways to find them?”

Zibiki replied something.

“I’ll take it,” Johana said, Harry heard the clinking of coins, and then Johana walked past them ignoring them. Harry was getting rather bored waiting for Hermione, and Hermione noticed.

“Sorry, that was just talking about Arithmancy and Mathematics… shall we hit the road?” she asked and Harry and Ron quickly agreed. They were about to leave when Zibiki called to them.

“Wait… I was looking through my inventory lists,” he said motioning to a rather large book detailing the contents of his shop. Several items had words of ‘sold’, ‘lost’, or ‘stolen’ written across them, but the vast majority of them didn’t.

“I didn’t know if I had sold it, but I do have one more text that you might be interested in,” he said as he motioned upstairs. The trio followed him apprehensively; Harry stuck his hand in the robe of his pocket and felt his wand. They were surprised to see a room full of books from floor to ceiling. Zibiki disappeared among the stacks, to return later with a huge bundle of rolls of parchments.

“This here speaks of The Magic Planes, and of portals that connected our world to these planes. I think that arch in that picture is one of these portals…” Zibiki paused when he heard the bell to the door ring again.

“You may look through this and see if you are interested. I will be right back,” Zibiki said as he left the group. Hermione quickly undid the knot tying the scrolls, and unrolled them on the floor. She began to quickly scan the text.

“This is interesting. I am not sure if it really has anything to do with the veil, but I think I want to get it, just to read it over. What do you think?” she asked. Both Harry and Ron shrugged.

They helped Hermione to roll the parchment, and they headed downstairs. As they neared the bottom, they heard the voice of a girl.

The trio entered the room, and they saw Sally-Anne paying Zibiki for a purple book that was in her hands. She looked at the Gryffindors, waved uncomfortably and turned around and left the shop. Hermione thought that this was the first time she had ever seen Sally-Anne without her friend from Ravenclaw.

“Did you decide?” Zibiki asked.

“Yes, I think I will take it. It should make for some interesting reading at least. I do want to ask you some more questions,” she said and the trio spent about another hour in the shop by the time Hermione was done. Hermione took out a bit more money and paid Zibiki for the scrolls, and one extra book on beauty magic.

“Remember, you have the option to return anything you don’t want to keep,” he reminded them.

“Thank you.”

“Please come again soon, and I will send post when I have found anything on the Elven texts,” he said and smiled pleasantly at them.

“OK, we will come back on our next Hogsmeade visit,” Hermione replied and the trio left the book shop. They hurried along the lone, dark street when they heard footsteps behind them. They turned around, but there was no one there. They began to walk faster, trying to reach the safety of the main street. They could hear the footsteps echoing behind them, now walking faster as well. Harry, Ron and Hermione pulled their wands, when three figures stepped in front of them.

“Accio wands! Going somewhere?”

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