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Chapter 25 Planes of Magic An older grubby looking wizard with dark brown hair had his wand pointed at the three youngsters, just as their wands flew from their hands, and neatly into his. “This part of town is not for little children,” another said, his hair hung limp, the blonde color grimy and greasy. “Don’t waste time! Get their money!” The other man, slightly younger, nervously berated the other two. “You heard ‘im. Hand over the gold,” The man with dark hair demanded, they each had their wands trained onto the three youngsters now. Harry sighed with relief when he realized that these were not death eaters, but that they were simply being robbed. “We’ll give you all our money if you let us go, unharmed,” Harry said trying to buy some time. The three men laughed. “I don’t think you are in a position to make demands,” the one that had spoken first said to Harry. The dirty blond man approached Hermione from behind, and reached for her hair to smell it. “We should take this one with us,” he said with a look of lust in his face. Hermione shivered with disgust, as his foul breath blasted her face. This angered Harry and Ron, and with one knowing glance they all three acted simultaneously. Hermione stomped on the blond man’s foot with great force and elbowed him in the ribs, as Harry lunged at the man with dark hair going after his wand, while Ron went for the younger one, tackling him to the ground. Hermione whirled about and landed a solid knee into her attacker’s groin. He crumbled to the floor in pain, dropping his wand as he clutched his crotch, and Hermione swung the heavy bag with all the books at his head, knocking him back. Their reactions had caught the three assailants by surprise and they were not used to fighting without wands as a first resource. Harry had landed a strong punch to the dark haired man’s face, and using his training from private sessions, summoned his wand with his hand. As soon as he felt his wand in his hand, he shot a stunning spell at the man, but he dodged it, and he aimed a spell at Harry. Ron had managed to knock the wand from the younger man’s hand, but had received a punch to the stomach. Ron managed to tackle the young thief before he got to his wand, and the two were on the floor fighting. DADA practice was beginning to condition Ron’s body, increasing his strength, while years of fighting with older brothers had taught him a few moves. Especially when magic was not allowed and they had to resort to physical brawling, but the man was stronger than Ron. Hermione searched frantically for her wand, when the blond man grabbed her by the hair, and punched her in the face, silencing the shrilling scream she had given when he caught her hair. Hermione landed on the street, stars dancing in front of her eyes, but she spied her wand just within reach of her hand. She reached for it, and just as the man was about to grab her again, she stunned him. She jumped to her feet to help Ron, who was being choked by his opponent, but the blond man had dodged her stunner and reached for her foot, unbalancing her and she fell forward, bracing her fall with her hands and scraping them against the rough stone paved street. “Stupefy!” Someone cried from behind the group, the blond man went limp and released her ankle. Hermione turned to see Zabiki running towards them, his wand outstretched. Hermione quickly aimed her wand at the man choking Ron, and stunned him. The man crumbled onto Ron. Harry screamed Expelliarmus and the magic behind it was so strong that his assailant went flying a few feet away, his wand flying out of his hand, just as Hermione had shot a stunning spell while he was in mid-air. “Are you two okay?” Harry asked helping Hermione to her feet, she was on her knees. “I think so,” she replied looking down at her scraped hands. Harry helped Ron to his feet. Ron massaged his ribs with one hand while the other massaged his throat… “Yeah, I’m alright,” He said coughing from having his neck choked, “Just a few punches to the ribs and head, that’s all,” he said hoarsely. Zabiki reached the group and asked if they were ok. He had heard Hermione scream and had come when he peered out of the door. “Yes, we’re fine… sssss,” Hermione said and sucked her breath at the pain as she felt her tender cheek where she had been punched. The three students and Zabiki turned to the sound of running footsteps. Professor Donovan was running towards them, and rounding the corner, Professor Lupin was coming as well. Donovan had heard Hermione’s scream and had rushed to see what was happening, while Lupin had seen Donovan running towards the street that lead to the Hogs Head. “What happened?” Donovan asked as he arrived. He had seen Harry disarm the last man standing when he rounded the corner and saw Hermione stun him in mid-air. “These men were trying to rob us,” Ron said now hovering over Hermione. “We were going back to The Three Broomsitck after visiting Mr. Gathoka’s book shop, when these three guys jumped us and tried to rob us,” Hermione explained at the same time. Lupin arrived out of breath and they retold the events as they had unfolded. Donovan bounded the three men, and being a Ministry official arrested them for aggravated assault, and robbery attempt. “I’ll deliver these men to the Ministry. Maybe you should return to Hogwarts and go see Madam Pomfrey,” Donovan said noticing the blood in Hermione’s hands, the trickle of blood on both of Ron’s and Harry’s lips, and the bruises that were beginning to darken, “someone will be in contact with you later to get your testimony as well,” he added. “We’re fine. I don’t want to let this incident ruin my day. We’re not harmed too badly, so I think we could go to meet our friends and spend the rest of our day like we were supposed to. We can just get some ice or something.” Harry argued, shaking his sore hand. It hurt to punch someone square in the jaw. Donovan seemed to pause and turned to Remus. “I’ll take them to Madam Rosmerta’s,” Remus offered. “All right,” Donovan said and nodded. “You should at least clean those wounds. Professor Lupin, would you see that they get those scratches looked at? I will take these men in,” Professor Donovan requested and Lupin nodded. Donovan created a portkey. “By they way… excellent work. If you wish, you could write a detailed account on the events of today for extra credit. I would like to see how you analyze your defense technique, and what your thought process was in this situation. It could be very educational for the class as well,” Donovan said and disappeared with the three men. “Blimey, we get jumped and he assigns homework!” Ron exclaimed with disbelief. “Honestly Ron! It’s not homework. You don’t have to do it, unless you want extra credit,” Hermione huffed. Harry introduced Professor Lupin to Zabiki, and thanked him for coming to their help. Lupin conjured some cloths and a disinfecting potion to wipe the scrapes from Hermione’s hands, a small cut on Harry’s eyebrow from a punch he received and his lip, and some cuts on Ron’s lips. They gathered the books that had spilled about the street after Hermione had been knocked down. They bid goodbye to Mr. Zabiki. As they left, Zabiki called to them. “Miss, you forgot a book,” he said and handed a bright purple book to Hermione. “Thanks,” she said and added it to her bag. They were bombarded by questions from their friends once they saw the battered students as they arrived at the Three Broomsticks. “Why don’t we go find a table first? I’d like to sit down for a while,” Hermione interrupted. Her head was beginning to ache, and she wanted to get a bag of ice to place on her cheek. News of the assault traveled like wild fire on a windy day, and the tavern was packed to the brim, everyone crowding around Harry, Ron and Hermione asking questions. Hermione had ice on her cheek, while Harry was icing his swollen knuckles. Ron was gladly describing all of the glory details, wincing when he moved too much. Fred and George were cheering him after every dramatic punch. Suddenly several Professors from the school rushed into the Three Broomsticks. Professor McGonagall used the sonorous spell to have her voice amplified. “All Hogwarts students are to return back to school grounds immediately. Report to your common room. Prefects please ensure all students are accounted for and report to me in the Prefects Lounge in an hour.” “Professor, what’s going on?” Ron asked Remus who was making his way to Harry. “We need to get you back to the school. Do as you are told,” he said as he began to usher the students. The teachers seemed to be extremely upset, but they wouldn’t divulge any information about why the students were being asked to return to the school. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong or going on. “All right, that’s every one of the boys,” Ron ticked the names of every boy that had signed out to go to Hogsmeade. “Everyone is here except for Sally-Anne,” Hermione said as she frowned looking at the list. “Who?” Ron asked. “Sally-Anne Perks, 6th year. Honestly Ron,” Hermione shook her head at him. “Oh, her. Hey, wasn’t she at Zabiki’s? That’s Sally-Anne right? Or is that the bald one?” He said remembering the girls from the store. “No, that’s Johana, but you’re right, Sally-Anne was there as well,” Hermione said as she turned to the students. “Have any of you seen Sally-Anne Perks today in Hogsmeade?” She asked. “Or if she returned?” Pavarti answered “I saw her heading down to the direction of the Hogs head a while after you left to go to that bookstore.” “Yeah, we saw her in the same bookstore, but we there for a while longer after she left.” Ron commented. “And since?” Hermione asked. Nobody seemed to have seen her. “You might want to ask Jessie Bank in Ravenclaw, they’re inseparable,” Lavender offered. “I’ll do that, but I’ll check upstairs one more time,” Hermione went upstairs to check her room once more, but didn’t find her there. “I saw this on top of my bed. It was sticking out of the bag of books I brought from Hogsmeade,” she said “So? You bought lots of books,” Ron said confused. “Not this one. This is the one that Sally-Anne bought.” “Isn’t that the same one that Zabiki gave to you saying you had forgotten one?” Harry said recognizing the bright purple cover. “Why would Sally-Anne buy a book and drop it as she left the shop… unless…” Hermione said and her eyes widened. “Oh my God! Do you think those guys jumped her, the same ones that tried to assault us?” Hermione asked with worry. “We better go to the meeting Hermione. We can report Sally-Anne as missing and you can tell Professor McGonagall about your theory,” Ron said as he noticed the time. Ginny, Derek, Hermione, Ron and the two seventh year prefects left to attend the meeting. By dinner time the whole school was already informed of the incident with Harry, Ron and Hermione. It seemed the only item up for discussion. This annoyed Harry and Hermione as they were pestered with stupid questions or with the same question over and over again! Ron loved the attention. “Did Professor McGonagall say what happened in Hogsmeade?” Harry asked trying to ignore the questions. “Nope,” Ron answered. “They simply asked for a head count to see who was missing. We told her Sally-Anne was missing. It seems she’s the only one. Then we were dismissed and sent down to dinner,” Hermione replied. Dean leaned over and asked a question. Hermione rolled her eyes. “I think I am going to go to the common room. I can’t take all of this silliness anymore!” Hermione grumbled as she put her spoon down. “Plus, I want to get into those books that I got,” she said and this thought brought a smile to her lips. She winced a little at her sore cheek. It hurt to make facial expressions. “I think I’ll come up too. I want to read more of my grandmother’s diary; I’ll probably go to bed early too. I am tired.” Harry replied to her standing up as she did. “Yeah mate, kicking some villain arse was definitely tiring,” Ron agreed as he also stood up and yawned. He winced with pain as he stretched his bruised up torso. “Ow,” he said standing straighter. The three students returned to Gryffindor and Hermione retired to her room. She decided to do her reading in her bed since she wanted to avoid those already gathered in the common room. Harry and Ron went up the stairs to their dormitories each going to their respective beds. Ron pulled out a copy of Quidditch Monthly and it wasn’t even 5 minutes when he was snoring. Harry shook his head and closed Ron’s curtains and placed a silencing charm on them. He returned to his bed and picked a comfortable position and opened up the diary. Just as he was about to flip the page, there was a burst of fire in front of him and a red phoenix feather gently fell on him. Veronica had sent a letter! Harry’s heart began to burst with excitement! With school just beginning, things had become hectic and Harry had found himself without the time to write the long letters he used to. Especially after he started dreaming about Sirius, he wanted to learn more about the veil. He had finally written to her again last week. He realized that he had missed her cheerful letters, and her wit. Now here was his response. Harry also knew that his heart beat with trepidation. He knew that eventually the physical distance between them would lead to one of them making the decision of ending their relationship. There would not be a chance for him to visit her where she was, and it was too dangerous for her to return to England. Was this the letter? Would she want to remain friends? Would he accept that after her breaking up with him? Harry closed his grandmother’s diary and took his invisibility cloak, just in case. It was still before curfew, so it was okay for him to go over to Dumbledore’s office. When he arrived, the gargoyle leapt aside to allow him entrance. Harry found that Dumbledore’s office was empty, and that Fawkes had gone as well. Muluc was perching on Fawkes stand, without a head. The macaw heard Harry approach, and lifted its wing, allowing its head to come out. “Hola. Carta para Harry,” the bird croaked and extended his leg. Harry took the letter, and scratched the back of Muluc’s neck. Muluc’s feathers puffed as he curled his head forward to allow Harry better access. “Gracias Muluc,” Harry said to the bird. Muluc looked up, “mañana,” Harry said indicating that tomorrow he’d be sending his reply back. Muluc seemed to nod and disappeared with a crack. Harry made it just in time to the tower, and bid Hermione and the others good night. She had come down from her room and was sitting with Ginny, Lavender and Parvati. It looked like she was helping Ginny with homework, while Lavender and Parvati seemed to be updating them on the latest gossip. Harry wondered how they could get homework done while gossiping. He saw Hermione roll her eyes a few times, and he grinned. He raced up to his room, and closed his curtains. He opened the envelope and pulled out a smaller blue envelope from within. It looked like a howler, only it was blue. He was a little puzzled as he opened the second envelope. He pulled out a letter and a photograph fell from inside of it. It was a picture of Veronica in her school uniform. She was laying at the foot of a huge Guanacaste tree, and asleep. Harry smiled. “Hey,” he said softly and Veronica’s photo woke up. She smiled brightly at Harry and waved as she stood up and straightened her robes, then stretched. She looked at Harry and spoke. Hello Harry, how are you? Harry was startled. “Veronica, how’s this poss…” the photograph continued speaking, and Harry realized that it was some sort of recorded message. He looked at the letter written in Veronica’s small handwriting. The photograph was reading the letter. Harry smiled as he focused on the picture and watched her facial expressions as she told him about her school and new friends she was making. She talked about his letter and how much she missed him. One of her new friends was originally from Denmark, and her parents had moved to Honduras just this year because of some charity project they worked on. She had learned this way of correspondence from her, and was really excited about it. She hoped Harry could make it work as it took a while to get it done right, and that she looked forward to hearing his voice. I miss you terribly, Harry. I love you, and I wish we could figure out a way to see each other again. I know I am supposed to stay away from England because of… him, but couldn’t you go to Italy over the summer? My father had a stepbrother who now lives there, and I plan on going to visit him this summer. I also have a grandmother who lives in Spain. Please Harry, can you find a way to visit? I want to see you. I miss you. Veronica Harry read the letter three times. The instructions said that he needed to tap the photo with his wand to get her to start reading the letter again. He had almost forgotten the sound of her voice, and it was nice to hear her again. It made the letter more real as he could see her expressions as she spoke. He finally put the letter away, and transfigured a few old quills into a picture frame and placed her picture on his bedside table. He found that he couldn’t get to sleep, so he decided to resume his earlier plan of reading the diary. He flipped the pages until he came to the last entry he had read, then flipped to the next page. He was very careful not to tear or do any more damage to the fragile diary. He began to read several snippets about Lily’s first years, and became engrossed in the diary. He was so hungry to learn more about his mother, his family, and the entries seemed so real. Most pages were burnt about half way, and Marie didn’t write everyday, but the information contained in those pages was precious to Harry. Harry read bits and pieces from the old tattered pages about Lily’s years at Hogwarts, and about her summers in between school. It made him feel as if he knew his mother a little more. There was mention of his father meeting his grandmother Marie once over Christmas break of Lily’s 6th year. … Potter. He seemed like a nice boy. For three years now I have heard Lily complain about him often enough to know that one day she will realize she likes him. Potter, now his name sounds familiar… Anyway, we bumped into him in London while doing some Christmas shopping. I personally liked Remus better. The little one was a true gentleman for being so young. He was funny too but the clown one was Sirius. The one I can’t figure out how he fits with this group is that creepy Peter. I don’t know if I should judge based on one meeting, but he didn’t give me a very good first impression... … I left; Lily and Angelina went with them for a bit while they had some ice cream. I watched them for a little bit before I came back. Lily seemed to get along the best with Remus…. were doing a good job of entertaining the crowd. Sirius is such a show off… he just doesn’t seem to fit Lily’s type, although I could see that he fancies her. James too, I say, but Lily says she can’t stand him. She claims he is so immature and arrogant. But he is only 16, what can you expect?...” October 15th 1978 Alan… I wish you could see her. She seems so happy. She was really excited about her last year at Hogwarts, and guess what? She wrote to tell me that she went on a date with James! Last summer she couldn’t stand him, and I have no idea what made her change her mind. I had thought that Remus would be the first one to get a date with her, but I guess not. … she still has not decided what to do once she leaves school. She is still together with James. This has been a hard year for him… Lily said that she is glad she can be there for him… …I believe he accepted his offer to study as an Auror once he leaves Hogwarts. She has an offer to study to be an Auror too and to work at Gringotts, but I am afraid about her being an Auror. I have heard some things about a dark lord from Lily and… Harry’s head jerked forward and he snapped it back becoming awake. He had been reading for quite a while. He closed the diary and decided to go to bed for the night. Everyone else was already sleeping and he wondered what time it was. He was surprised to see the alarm clock display that it was 1:12 a.m. Good thing tomorrow was Sunday and that he didn’t have to get up for class. He switched his robes to his pajamas, and placed the diary inside his trunk. He crawled into bed and fell asleep immediately. **** Harry was swamped with homework. Those free periods he and Ron had thought they would spend in blissful laziness had been a very short lived dream, and now homework time was even spilling all the way into Sunday. Not only did they have a mountain of homework, they were having a quiz in DADA class about the last three weeks of theory given in class, then Tuesday morning they had the test involving the obstacle course. Also, Ron had scheduled a Quidditch practice on Sunday. By dinner time, Harry and Ron were mentally and physically exhausted. Still, they had trudged up the steps to get their books to do some more homework. Harry lay down on his bed, just for one second. He fell asleep immediately. Ron had practically fallen asleep on his way to sit down on his bed. Hermione had come up to see why they were taking so long, but didn’t disturb them when she found both of them asleep. She took off their shoes, covered them each with a spare blanket and closed their curtains. She took their unfinished essays back with her to proof for them. Harry awoke to a strange noise. It sounded like someone was whispering, although it seemed like angry whispers. He turned his head to look at his clock. He wondered who would be arguing in hushed tones at 4 in the morning. He tried to ignore the whispers and go back to sleep, but it sounded like they were right next to him. He was becoming annoyed. “Would you shut up?” He yelled angry, but either they hadn’t heard him or they were ignoring him. The whispering still continued. This made Harry really grouchy. “Did you not hear me?” He sat up and pulled back his curtains fully. His eyes widened in surprise and horror. Everything was the same; the beds were in their proper place, cupboards, trunks, and desks, everything in its proper space. But he was no longer in the Gryffindor tower; instead the room around him had a high vaulted ceiling. The walls were lined up with seats arranged in a theatre style. Right in the middle of the room, a dais stood with the arch and veil slightly fluttering in the middle of it. Harry stared with disbelief. How did he get into the Department of Mysteries!? “Who are you yelling at?” Harry turned towards Ron’s bed. He had pulled his curtain open and was rubbing his eyes. Harry saw the shock register in Ron’s face when he realized where they were. “Will you go to back to bed, people are trying to sleep!” Seamus yelled from behind his curtains. “SHhhhhh. Shut up Seamus!” Dean yelled as well. “Hey… what are you all screaming about?” Neville mumbled and pulled his curtains open. “Harry?” He asked with fear as he realized where they were. “Everyone, grab your wands! Now!” Harry screamed with urgency and jumped from his bed. He grabbed his wand from his bedside table where he kept it. “It’s 4 frigging am in the morn…” Seamus began then his face paled when he opened his curtain. “What the bloody hell!?” He turned to see Harry, Ron and Neville out of bed already, their wands in theirs hands as they looked about the room obviously upset. “Where are we?” Dean whispered in fear. “In the department of Mysteries at the Ministry! Now get up and get your wands!” Harry responded again as he surveyed the room looking for anybody. “The Department of Mysteries! How did we get here?” “I don’t know. I woke up to hear whispering, and opened up the curtains and here we all are. Be alert, Voldemort may be behind this,” Harry said and everyone paled. “V—V—V—Vol—Volde--Voldemort?” Neville choked in horror. “What are we going to do? We can’t fight him!” Dean said; he seemed about to cry. “We’re dead… we’re dead…” Seamus repeated trembling. “We are not dead! Not yet, and not if I have anything to say about it!” Harry yelled at them frustrated. “There’s no time to be afraid now, get yourselves together! We’ve been preparing for this, come on…” Harry encouraged and the group nodded. “Ron, you and Dean and Neville go to that side and check the doors. See if one of them is open,” Harry directed them, and Ron and Neville dragged Dean with them. “Seamus, you’re with me.” Seamus nodded. They climbed up the stairs to check all the doors but none would open. Harry tried blasting them away with a Redactor curse, but nothing would happen. “There’s something weird about this place,” Harry muttered as they made their way back down the stairs. So far there was no sign that anyone was there with them. They checked the doors at ground level, the ones Harry assumed where used to bring in the prisoners, but those too wouldn’t open. They gathered again amidst the beds. “Any luck?” Harry asked. “Nothing, we’re trapped” Ron replied. “There’s gotta be a way out!” Dean objected. “Can we go through there?” Seamus asked pointing at the veil. “NO!” Harry, Ron, and Neville screamed at the same time. “Anybody that goes through never comes back,” Neville added. “Why are we here? Who brought us here?” Ron began to question. “Shhhh. Listen,” Harry quieted them down. “What?” “Do you hear that?” “I don’t hear anything” Ron replied. Harry was once again hearing the whispers coming from the fluttering veil. He walked closer to it. “Can’t you hear them whispering from in there?” He said and pointed to the veil. The boys shook their heads. Harry was standing a few feet in front of the veil. The boys walked closer to him to see if maybe they could hear something. Harry Suddenly someone jumped from inside the veil and grabbed Harry by the waist. “AAAARRRGHHHH!!!” They all screamed. The body that grabbed Harry seemed to be in a state of decomposition. Rags covered his body; pieces of rotting flesh were missing from his arms, long black hair was covering the figure’s face. They could only see half of the zombie’s body, as the other half was still within the veil. “Harry…” “SIRIUS!” Harry screamed as he recognized the voice and the disfigured face of his godfather. “There’s no time… hurry…” the hoarse voice of the man pleaded with urgency. Something was pulling Sirius back into the veil, and Harry felt a tug. He could hear what sounded like angry and agitated whispers but couldn’t make out what they were saying. “No, Sirius!” Harry screamed as he grabbed a hold of his arms. Harry had to keep from vomiting when his tight grip squished the flesh in Sirius’ arms through his fingers like pudding and he let go as a reflex. Sirius slipped from grasping Harry. Harry reached instinctively again, this time holding onto Sirius’ wrists. The flesh once again squished through his fingers, but Harry didn’t let go and he was now holding directly onto the bones. He didn’t have time to think about the bile he felt rise in his throat. Harry pulled trying to keep Sirius from going back in there, but whatever was pulling him back, it was dragging him with Sirius. Harry fell forward and landed on the floor, his head and shoulder’s disappearing through the veil. The other boys had been petrified to their spots when Sirius had jumped out. Seamus had thrown up when he saw Harry’s hand squish through the flesh. It had all happened so fast, but now Ron reacted as Harry fell forward. “HARRY!” Ron screamed and jumped and as he landed he grabbed hold of Harry’s ankles. “DON’T STAND THERE! HELP ME PULL HIM OUT!” Ron yelled and the three others joined him. Ron was pulling by the ankles and Neville grabbed a hold of Harry’s waist, while Dean and Seamus each took a leg. They could all now hear Harry’s screams, and Sirius’ voice. “Let go Harry. Find a way out first!” “I’m not letting you go!” Harry screamed to be heard above the noise. It seemed to him as if they were caught in the eye of a tornado. Black and gray mist swirled with gale winds about them, forming a dark and stormy tunnel. Loud cracks and bolts of electricity seemed to crackle within the walls of the tunnel. Sirius seemed to be dangling, as strong force was pulling him. “Hurry,” A great force suddenly tugged on Sirius; it pulled all five students in through the veil. The jolt had been so strong that it had snapped Sirius’ wrists and he had fallen, twisting and disappeared in the black mist at the end. “NOOOO!” Harry screamed as he still clutched Sirius’ hands in his. They were all screaming as they felt being sucked along the round tunnel towards the black pit. They felt as if they landed with a great splash into water and all five of them bolted in their beds, and sat up screaming. “It was a nightmare!” Seamus screamed relieved when he woke up in his bed, in the 6th year dormitory room. Ron jumped from his bed and went to see if Harry was there. That was not an ordinary nightmare. He opened the curtains to find Harry sitting on his bed, trembling. All others had jumped out of bed as well and were staring in horror at the pair of hands that Harry was clutching tightly. Harry seemed to realize what he was holding and he dropped them, but Sirius’ hands never reached the bed, they had turned to dust and vanished before the tiny particles hit the sheets. The door to their room was suddenly blasted open, and the students whirled about to find Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape, Lupin, and Donovan entering the room, wands pulled out. It seemed that the whole Gryffindor tower was behind them, but Professor DeValerio was trying to hold them back. They all spoke at once. “Are you all right?” Dumbledore asked seeing the other students gathered around Harry. “Harry, are you ok?” Remus asked concerned. “What was happening in here?” Snape asked while Donovan and McGonagall searched the adjacent bathroom. “Professors?” Harry asked. They were all still in shock from the nightmare. But it couldn’t have been a simple nightmare because all of them had dreamt the same thing. “Fred and George came to alert us. You had been screaming and shouting in your sleep and woke up the students above and below you, but nobody could open the door. We have been trying to find a way in for about half an hour. We feared of what might be happening in here.” “It was a nightmare,” Harry responded. “Then why didn’t someone just open the door?” Snape said with disapproval. “You don’t understand, we were all in the same nightmare,” Harry responded irritated. The professors all looked at each other. “What was the nightmare about?” Professor Dumbledore asked with concern. “Sirius,” Harry said and looked towards Remus. “Sirius? What about him?” Remus asked bewildered. “I think he needs help.” Dumbledore put his hand on Harry’s shoulder. “Harry, nobody can help Sirius now.” “But he told me, just before we were all pulled into the veil! He said that I needed to find the way out first. That there wasn’t much time, he said to help him!” Harry yelled frustrated. The other four boys added their comments to confirm Harry’s words. “The veil!?” Remus exclaimed. “I think it will be best if you can all tell us your dream in detail,” Dumbledore said, “but first… Minerva, would you order the rest of the students to their rooms?” Professor McGonagall nodded and ushered the students crowded outside the door to their rooms. Professor DeValerio had kept them from coming inside. “Miss Granger, you too.” “Please, I just want to know that they are ok,” Hermione pleaded. “You can see them once we are gone, or you can speak with them tomorrow. They are all fine, but Professor Dumbledore wishes to speak with them,” she said her lips pressed into a thin line, then her features softened. “If you wish I will inform you when we are done. Please return to you room,” the Professor added. Hermione nodded and thanked her. She suddenly remembered her watch. She went back to her room and tried to contact Harry, but Harry had taken his wristwatch before taking a shower after Quidditch and had forgotten to put it back on. Ron, on the other hand, had fallen asleep with all of his clothes, so he answered Hermione’s call unobtrusively when he felt his wristwatch vibrate. The boys were telling the dream in every detail. “Is this the first time that something like this has happened?” Professor Dumbledore asked. “No,” Harry replied, “it happened a few weeks ago as well, but we were all awake and in the bathroom, just before Defense class. I saw Sirius behind me in the reflection in the mirror but then I turned around and there wasn’t anyone there. I left and came back when Neville and Seamus screamed, and we were arguing that they had seen someone in the shower, when Ron went to pull the curtain away, Sirius was standing there. He called my name and we all heard it. He left two wet footprints that vanished after a few seconds. Like the hands, I woke up with Sirius’ hands in mine, but they disappeared,” Harry finished his explanation, then he remembered his first dream of Sirius this summer and re-told it along with the one he had on the first night of school. It was obvious to see that he was extremely upset. Harry couldn’t discern the faces of the Professors as they listened to him. Snape had disbelief etched on his face, while Lupin looked concerned. Donovan seemed lost in concentration. Dumbledore frowned. “Professor Donovan, I understand that as an Unspeakable you are unable to share details about your work, but is there anything you could tell us about this. Has this ever happened before with someone going through the veil?” Dumbledore asked, and Donovan thought for a moment. “No, there has never been a reported case of this kind or any type of contact from someone who has gone through. But there is no history of the veil beyond the first known case of someone being sent through the arch. We don’t know where the veil leads, but it has been ancient knowledge that those who pass never return.” He paused, and everyone thought he was through speaking. “But…” “But what?” Snape asked surprised. “Everyone ever recorded to pass through has never carried a wand with them.” The room was silent as they had all been stunned by the implication. “So Sirius could be trapped who knows where, instead of being dead!?” Harry asked alarmed. The boys had talked about this being a possibility and it was the reason why they were interested in finding anything about the veil. But now that Professor Donovan was implying that because Sirius had a wand with him he may have found a way to contact Harry, it only served to make him believe his suspicions were true. Sirius was alive, only he was trapped somewhere. “We need to find a way to get him out of wherever he is!” Harry jumped from his bed. “Harry, we have no way of helping Sirius,” Remus tried to reason. He didn’t want to believe that there was hope to save Sirius and be dealt another devastating loss. “He said I had to find a way back first, so he must think the answers are here in this world! You didn’t see how he looked, he is dying… he said that there isn’t much time… we have to do something!” Harry screamed frustrated. “Calm down Potter! Have you thought of the possibility that all of this is just another trick of the Dark Lord? What if he wants you to believe that you can go after Sirius and you will voluntarily kill yourself and go through the veil after him? You would be doing him a favor,” Snape snarled at Harry. Harry stared at his professor. He hadn’t thought of that possibility. But it all just didn’t make sense, and he couldn’t ignore the fact that all of them had seen the dream, all of them had seen Sirius that time in the shower. How could Voldemort do this? Besides, his scar never hurt in either of these dreams. Harry was positive Voldemort had nothing to do with this. “You raise a good point Severus. We must be certain of what this phenomenon is. But right now there is nothing we can do. We will look into this matter, and I will request information from the Ministry and other sources. You should return to bed for now. We will speak more of this as soon as we learn more,” Dumbledore said and stood up. Everyone gathered to leave, and Remus was the last one to exit the room. He had shared a few words of comfort to Harry, but they hadn’t had an effect on him. Harry couldn’t take his mind off the possibility that Sirius was alive somewhere. I have to find him! Harry thought to himself. “What do you reckon this business with Sirius is, Harry?” Ron asked now seated at the bed with Harry. The other boys were standing in front of the pair. They were alone again. “I don’t know. If Sirius is alive, he won’t be for long. You all saw him, he was like the living dead. He said that we must find the way back first, but from where!” “I might have an answer,” “Hermione!” Harry exclaimed as he saw her strolling towards them, her arms full of books and the large bundle of parchment rolls she had bought from Zabiki. “I’ve been reading this parchment…” she began as she dropped the pile of things on Harry’s bed. “And it talks about Planes of Magic.” “Planes of Magic?” Harry asked. “Yes, it says here that our world is connected to not only other dimensions of space and time, but also to the primary and ethereal planes of magic. Whoever is the author of these scrolls believed that there are about 99 Planes of Magic. Some are primary, with secondary planes surrounding them, and the lesser planes connect the primary planes. But the most interesting part is this,” she said as she unrolled one of the long parchments and showed them the schematic drawings on it. “That’s the archway! The Veil in the Department of Mysteries!” Harry exclaimed as he saw the drawing. “It says here that these are Monolith Portals used to travel between the Planes,” she explained. “So that’s actually a portal?” Neville asked. “To where?” Seamus asked. “I don’t know. It says here…” Hermione unrolled more parchments until she found the one she was looking for, “that there were a total of 6 portals that were known to remain here on earth. Five of them were to each Elemental plane, and one ethereal plane,” she added. “But that’s all I’ve been able to read so far,” Hermione said pointing to the four sheets from the large bundle of rolls. “I still have to go through these,” she pointed to the huge bundle of parchments. “That’s got to be thousands of pages!” Neville exclaimed. “Don’t worry,” Ron countered, “this is just a bit of light reading for her. She’ll be done by tomorrow,” he said as he patted Neville on the shoulder. Hermione huffed. “I can’t read quite that fast! Although, I am a fast reader. Just give me time to read through them. In the mean time I think you should do a bit of research on planes of magic and see what you come up with,” she directed to Harry and Ron who groaned simultaneously. “I want to help,” Neville piped in. “Yeah, me too.” “And me.” Both Seamus and Dean offered. “All right, but not a word to anyone else you hear me?” Harry warned them. They all nodded. “We better get to bed. It’s almost time to get up,” Hermione exclaimed as she saw the time. It was 5:50 am. “We can get together in the library and plan what we’re going to look for,” she said as she began to gather all of the papers she had brought with her. They went back to bed and all of them fell asleep before their heads even hit their pillows, all except for Harry. It was a long time before he could calm down enough to get to sleep. Sirius was not dead. He believed it fervently, and Harry vowed that he would do everything to get to Sirius, even if it meant to cross over the veil itself. With that promise in mind, he fell asleep.

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