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Chapter 28 Another Dream “’Ello Harry, Ron, Hermione,” Joséphine greeted the trio. She had been sitting with a friend from Hufflepuff for the past few days during the meals. She was still not speaking to Fred, who at the moment was looking down the table longingly at them. “Hello,” Hermione greeted; Harry and Ron voiced the same thing. “I receeved a note from Professeur Donovan. He is not ‘ere tonight, mais Professeur De Valerio will ‘andle zee detention,” she said handing the note to Harry. “Is she a… you know?” Ron asked the pair. Harry shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. She’s never been around during our time with Professor Donovan. But she could be, I s’pose.” “You could be having real detention for once,” Hermione commented seemingly to be worried, but the amusement was evident. Joséphine and Harry looked at each other for a moment. It hadn’t occurred to them. “I guess we best be off. We’ll see you later,” Harry said and left the dinning hall with Joséphine. They reached the DADA classroom and found Professor De Valerio standing by the window looking out to the school grounds. She was wearing a snow-white hooded robe. The hood was lowered, gently resting on the top of her back. Her hair was tied in a tight bun, with metal chopsticks forming an ‘x’ on the back, securing it in place. Harry could make out white high-heeled boots under the hem of her cloak. “Please close the door, Mr. Potter,” she said when they entered the room. Harry did as told and Professor De Valerio turned to face them. Her robe was open in front to reveal her signature skin tight leather outfit. Today it was white. Harry noticed she was not wearing any of her usual weapons. “Thank you. Professor Donovan was called away this evening so he has asked me to handle your detention with him. I am a not a Mage, if you are wondering, so I will not be able to help you further your training in that area this evening. However, I do know a thing or two in armed combat, so I decided that tonight I will teach you of the different weapons available and a few handling techniques,” she said as she motioned to a large trunk and a crate that were standing on one end. Harry recognized the crate that Filch had dropped that first night when Professor De Valerio had arrived at school. The Professor flicked her wand and opened the trunk. Harry and Joséphine stared at all of the weapons neatly arranged within. “You may be wondering why would there be a need for weapons such as these when we have wands,” she said as she walked towards the trunk. She picked up a long, thin wooden stake. “The reason is that there are certain magical creatures that can not be defeated by use of magic alone. Take Vampires for example. The only way to truly kill a Vampire is through the use of a wooden or silver stake through the heart,” she said as she put the stake back. She picked up a small crossbow with a silver arrow nestled in the chamber. “Werewolves are other creatures that can not be killed by magic when they are transformed. As we all know, silver is deadly to them - do not be alarmed Mr. Potter, these arrows are meant for other, darker, more ancient werewolves that are no longer human, and every once in a while they break free of their designated territory. They can only be killed by a silver arrow, or with the use of silver bullets,” she said motioning to the assortment of guns she had in her repertoire. “These Muggle creations are very useful for such purposes,” she said and proceeded to explain each of the different weapons she had available and different creatures that could be killed by these weapons. Anything ranging from a Naga, to a Roc, to a Dead Knight, the list goes on . “Excusez-moi Professeur, but why do you ‘ave many weapons?” Joséphine asked tentatively. “If you haven’t guessed by now, I am a Creature Hunter,” she replied leaning back against the desk. “You’re a what?” Harry asked puzzled. “A Creature Hunter. I was working with Spain’s Department of Magical Creature Control and Regulation when Michael informed me his appointment to Hogwarts and his need for a substitute. But I mainly dealt with the dangerous and dark creatures that escaped or eluded Ministry Control. The majority of these can not be controlled by magic alone, and if they became a threat or injured anyone, my assignment was to bring them in at all costs or to terminate,” she explained. Harry noticed that she referred to Donovan by his first name, which made him think that they had known each other from before. He must trust her to let her know about their Mageabilities. “Eet must be dangerous,” Joséphine exclaimed in awe. “Perhaps… but maybe it’s not as dangerous as being a Dark Wizard hunter. Sometimes creatures can be more predictable than humans. But enough chit chat. Pick a weapon and we can get started.” Joséphine had always found fascinating the pair of sais that Professor De Valerio carried with her. She spotted a pair in the trunk and picked them up. They were a little bit heavier than she had expected. “Excellent choice. These are my favorite,” Lilian said with approval. Harry was debating on whether to pick a whip or a sword. He smiled inwardly as an absurd picture entered his mind. He was wearing a white button up shirt, tattered and stained, with a pair of cargo pants, and some old dusty boots. A leather hat was on his head, and he had a whip in his hands. The Indiana Jones theme began to play in his head Harry Potter and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Harry couldn’t help himself when he began to laugh. “What is so funny Mr. Potter?” De Valerio cocked her head and raised an eyebrow. Harry tried to calm down, “I’m sorry Professor, just had an image of myself as Indiana Jones,” he said with a grin. “Who?” “Never mind. I think I’ll try this sword,” he said picking up the sword instead and unsheathed it. “Have you handled a sword before? You seem very comfortable with it,” Professor De Valerio commented. “Erm, once… in my second year.” “Really? May I ask on what occasion?” she asked curious. “Well, a possessed diary from Voldemort had released a Basilik that petrified several students, including Hermione, then the memory of Voldemort took Ginny Weasley so I went into the Chamber of Secrets and Fawkes, Dumbledore’s Phoenix, brought me the sorting hat which released the sword of Godric Gryffindor and I used it to kill the Basilisk,” Harry said in one breath. “A Basilisk!!! The Chamber of Secrets!!! Gryffindor’s sword!!! Harry, do you have any idea how extraordinairy and unbelievable that sounds?” she asked with amazement. “Yes,” Harry said nodding. De Valerio smirked, “But I don’t doubt you. I’ve heard about the petrified students and the rumors that the Chamber of Secrets had been open. You must tell me of this tale; it sounds fascinating. And you faced a Basilisk alone! There have been very few persons ever known in history to have escaped alive once faced with a Basilik,” she said quite impressed. She was, after all, a Creature Hunter and had an extensive knowledge of magical creatures. “Well, Fawkes helped me. He gauged the Basilisk’s eyes out, but the Basilisk tore a hole in my arm with its poisonous fang.” “How did you ever survive!? A Basilisk’s poison is lethal!” “Fawkes healed me,” Harry replied. “Of course, the tears of a Phoenix. You are lucky,” De Valerio murmured. “What ‘appened with Ginny?” Joséphine asked. She had been captivated by the conversation. “Harry, why don’t you start from the beginning? I would really like to hear the whole story,” De Valerio said sitting on top of the desk. “Uhm, well… all right,” Harry said and began with the story of Lucius Malfoy slipping the diary at the book shop. They didn’t practice anything the rest of the evening as it took Harry the whole time to give a detailed account of his second year. Joséphine watched Harry as he spoke. Her heart stammered as she learned of the dangers he had faced. She had seen a few of his memories the last time they had connected accidentally. Now some of them were making sense. Still, she could not believe how brave, and unimaginably curious this boy was. Nonetheless, she listened with rapt attention. Just before curfew, Professor De Valerio sent them back to their common room. Harry and Joséphine ran into Malfoy as he was heading down to the dungeons. By the looks of him and his smell they realized that Filch had made Malfoy clean up the owlery. Harry couldn’t help but snigger. “You find this funny, huh, scarface? I guess you won’t find it so funny when you get your girlfriend in trouble. If I was you, I’d watch out for her…” Malfoy sneered and Harry scowled. “Harry is not mon boyfriend,” Joséphine exclaimed. “Shut up you French bitch. I was not talking to you,” Malfoy spat at her. “Don’t talk to her like that!” Harry jumped in defense of Joséphine. Malfoy pulled out his wand, at the same moment that Harry did. “I am on to you Potter. Don’t think I haven’t noticed that no one knows what you do for your detentions,” Malfoy seethed. Harry tried to suppress his shock, and he managed it. “If you have a problem with my detention take it to Professor Donovan or Dumbledore,” Harry replied glaring at Malfoy. “Is there a problem here?” Professor Lupin asked rounding the corner and coming upon Harry and Draco pointing wands at each other’s faces. “I am watching you,” Draco said to Harry and turned around leaving the group. Harry’s blood was boiling. Malfoy irritated him! Remus placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Let it go Harry. That’s what he wants, for you to hex him. You know you will be the one to get in trouble.” Harry nodded and pocketed his wand. “You better hurry along. It is almost curfew and I know Minerva is walking around here somewhere,” Lupin said as he smiled at the pair. “Good night.” “Good night Professor, and thanks,” Harry said as he and Joséphine began to run up the stairs, heading back to Gryffindor. The pair entered the crowded common room and made their way where Ron and Ginny were playing a game of chess. Harry noticed Bianca was sitting on a chair next to Ginny watching the game, but she was almost unnoticeable. Bianca spotted Harry and waved shyly at him. Harry smiled at her. Hermione was nowhere in sight. Harry and Joséphine made their way towards the group, when Fred intercepted them. “Jo, do you have some time so we can talk?” He asked her. “Hi Harry.” “Hey Fred.” “I ‘ave work on Transfiguration, mais I can talk briefly,” she said a bit stiffly. Harry left the pair alone and plopped on a couch next to Ron. “Where’s Hermione?” he asked. “She is in her room reading some scrolls,” Ginny replied. “Aha! Check,” she exclaimed with glee. Ron rolled his eyes and made his move “Sorry sis, check mate.” “What!!!?” “You should know better than try to beat me!” Ron said as his queen punched Ginny’s King and knocked his crown out. “That’s my sixth game tonight,” Ron said triumphantly. “Harry, you up for a game?” “No thanks. I already got beaten three times this afternoon.” “I’ll play,” Bianca blurted. They all turned to look at her. She hadn’t spoken a word all night and Ron had completely forgotten about her being there. “Come on, I doubt a Malfoy has enough brains to make it five minutes,” Ron retorted annoyed. Bianca’s little pale face turned red, but she stood up. “I bet I can beat you,” she said defiantly. Ron laughed. “Yeah, right.” “Afraid of a challenge?” she mocked him, her cheeks still pink. Ginny, and the rest, was a bit surprised by her confidence. Ron scowled. “I’m not afraid. I was simply thinking of what I would do if I won.” “You mean thinking what you would have to do when you lose,” Bianca replied with a sneer. She looked like her brother when she did that. Ron’s anger boiled. “You want a challenge you little spoiled brat, you got it!” Ron screamed as he ordered his chess pieces to their places. “What are you betting?” Ginny asked with excitement. “If I win you will do anything I say! Like disappear or something!” Ron glared at Bianca. “And if I win you promise you will do anything I say!” Bianca replied. “Deal,” Ron spat before he thought about it, and shook her hand then let it got just as quick. Bianca sat with a determined face. Ron had given her the white side, and she moved her pawn. Ron didn’t waste a second and made his move. He didn’t even tell his piece to move and simply picked it up and moved it himself. The little pawn was indignant. Students began to gather around as Ron and Bianca began to move pieces faster and faster as they slammed them. They didn’t even let the pieces move or beat each other as was part of the game. The chess pieces wriggled in their fingers and complained loudly when they were slammed. Harry looked back and forth and could not keep track of their movements. Suddenly Ron pulled back with a look of pure shock and horror on his face. Bianca looked up. “Check mate,” she said slowly and gloating a little; the whole crowd gasped. Then there was silence, and only the complaining from the chess pieces could be heard. Ron had never lost a game to anyone in the six years he had been here. Not even to that Ravenclaw kid that had bragged about his chess skills. Ron had even beaten Professor Dumbledore in a game of chess during a holiday break a few years ago. This was unprecedented. “How?” Ron asked with disbelief and standing up. “I can’t believe I lost! And to a Malfoy!” Ron exclaimed still in shock. “Bianca, you did it!!!” Ginny was the first to react from the onlookers, and jumped up and down. “Blimey Ginny, I didn’t know you sided with her!” Ron scowled. “Oh give it up, it’s about time someone beat you in that game!” Ginny exclaimed. Harry could still not believe it. The crowd began to murmur and talk about what they had just seen as they dispersed. Bianca blushed. “I only won because you were too hasty.” “What do you mean?” Ron asked skeptical, with a scowl still on his face. “Uhm, you moved your bishop too early,” she said as she reorganized the board to a few steps before she had won. “If you would have moved your knight here, I would have been trapped.” She showed him. “How did I miss that!?” Ron fumed. “But you won, fair and square I guess,” he said looking at Bianca with a sense of respect. “You know, I’ve never played a game like that since granddad died. He’s the one who taught me and game my chess set,” Ron admitted sitting back down. The crowd dispersed and it was only Harry, Bianca, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione. She had come out when she had heard the commotion and had found a crowd cheering on Ron (everyone else despised Malfoy). Harry, Ginny and Hermione looked at each other in wonder. Bianca smiled, “My granddad was the one who taught me too. He gave me my first chess set too. Can I show it to you?” she asked hopeful. “Sure,” Ron shrugged although he seemed to notice who he was talking to. Bianca raced up the steps and came back within minutes. She was carrying a medium sized case of gold. Ron stared at the box. She opened the box to reveal a set of chess pieces made from black onyx stone, and white marble. The King and Queen of each color sported real gold crowns, while the knights rode horses of silver. The pieces blocked the light out with their tiny hands and grumbled at the brightness. “I haven’t played with this set since I left granddad’s house. He was the only one that would play with me,” she said as sadness entered her eyes. Ginny felt pity for her. “Was he your father’s dad?” she asked feeling nostalgic too as she remembered her grandparents. “O no! No. Grandfather Malfoy barely acknowledges that I existed. No, he was my mom’s dad. Granddad Alph,” she said remembering him. “Alphard Black?” Harry asked curious. “Yes, you know of him?” she replied surprised. “Sirius told me about him,” Harry replied remembering the time him and Sirius had seen the Black Family tree on the tapestry. “Yes, my granddad was Sirius’ uncle. I’m really sorry about what happened to him.” “You knew him?” “No, but I heard about him from my aunt Andromeda,” “I thought your family did not speak to the Tonks family,” Hermione wondered. “Well, I lived in granddad Alph’s house until about a year ago. Aunt Andromeda came to visit a lot.” “Didn’t Alphard Black die a long time ago? Before you were born?” Ron blurted out interrupting Harry. Bianca blushed. “Y-yes,” she stammered. “Bianca what is wrong?? Ginny asked seeing that she was close to tears. “I… I…” Bianca stuttered then ran away, up the steps and into her dormitory room. The four remaining students looked at each other. “What the bloody hell was that about?” Ron asked perplexed. “I don’t know. Maybe I should go talk to her,” Ginny said standing up. “Better give her some time. Who knows what she didn’t want to talk about,” Hermione advised. “It’s obvious that someone else must have given her that chess set. She said her grandfather had given it to her, but he was dead before she was b…” “Excuse me? Excuse me? Since none of you seemed interested in playing, would you mind and close the box?” The white queen from Bianca’s set interrupted. “Oh, right. Sorry” Harry apologized and closed the case. “Here. I can keep that and give it to her,” Ginny said and stood up. “I am going to bed. I have potions first thing in the morning. Good night.” “Good night.” The trio replied. “Hey Ginny! Wait!” Ron frowned when he saw Dean Thomas catching up with Ginny. He whispered something in her ear, and Ginny giggled. She gave him a quick kiss on the lips and went up the staircase to the girls’ dormitory. “I’d appreciate it if you would not snog my sister in front of me!” Ron growled at Dean as he approached. “That was not snogging!” Dean exclaimed at the overprotective brother. “It was a quick kiss goodnight. You’ve been hogging her all to yourself all night. I just wanted to say goodnight. Sheesh!” Dean replied as he plopped on a chair. “Still, I don’t want to catch you snogging with her!” Ron glared and crossed his arms. “Fine, we will just have to go into closets and dark places to snog,” Dean retorted. Ron’s face paled, and then quickly contorted to rage. Dean quickly added, “I’m just kidding. Calm down Ron. I respect your sister. I wouldn’t do anything that you wouldn’t want to do with a girlfriend.” Ron relaxed a bit at Dean’s words, and then he couldn’t help himself when he turned a dark shade of red. “Blimey,” Dean exclaimed with mouth open. “Ron! Why are you so red?” Then it dawned on her. Her eyes widened, “Oh!” Hermione exclaimed her eyebrows rising in surprise. Her hand went to cover her open mouth, “RON!” “That is exactly why he doesn’t trust you Dean!” Harry managed to say amidst guffaws. “Shut up!” Ron yelled and left the group. “What’s wrong with him?” George asked now joining the group. Dean quickly explained expecting to see George crack up. Instead George narrowed his eyes at him. Dean quickly lost his laugh. “You better have a cleaner mind than my dear brother, or else!” George threatened. “I swear I haven’t done anything!” Dean exclaimed with fear. “I meant it when I said that I respect Ginny, besides even if I wanted to, she’d kill me first…” “Uh oh,” Harry exclaimed looking at George. “That was the wrong thing to say.” “Run Dean!” Hermione shouted at the same time. Dean jumped over the couch as George went to grab him. He ran up the steps dodging a few spells with a furious George following behind. “I didn’t mean it like that!” “Come back here! I just want to make sure you can’t do anything even if you wanted to!” ““Nooo, Arrrgh!” Poor Dean endured the wrath of the Weasley twins. The school did get a good laugh at Dean’s expense for a few weeks. It all came to a screeching halt once Ginny finally learned the truth and ended up hexing Fred with her famous Bat-Boogie hex. Hermione had had no choice but to deduct five points from Ginny, but Ginny simply grinned and understood. No hard feelings. **** Harry, Ron and the Quidditch team came back from practice late Friday night. “I’m going straight to bed. I’ll work on Defense Against the Dark Arts and Transfiguration tomorrow.” Harry said as they entered the tower. “Yeah, me too,” Ron agreed. Harry hung his broom above his head, changed into his pyjamas and crawled into bed. He fell asleep within an instant. Harry’s dreams were pleasant. He dreamt that he was in Hogsmeade and Veronica was with him. The day was beautiful with the blue sky littered with white puffy clouds. The sun was bright in the late afternoon as it was setting. The streets of Hogsmeade were full of happy couples enjoying a stroll through the main district. “I’ve really missed you Harry” Veronica said embracing him around the waist. Harry had one arm around her shoulders as they walked. “I’ve missed you too. I’ve been writing you everyday for the last week. I am glad you could come” he said and kissed the top of her head. Veronica stopped and turned to face him, her arms still around his waist. Now Harry placed his arms around her waist. “I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity to see you for the world,” she smiled at him. Harry tilted her chin with his fingers and lowered his head to take her lips in his. They kissed for a long time in the middle of the street not caring about anyone or anything. Veronica was beaming when they parted. Harry felt his chest swell with emotion. “Vero, I l…” “Oh look! It’s those flavored beans!” Veronica exclaimed as she looked past Harry. She rushed to the burlap sack just outside the candy shop full of the little candies. She picked one up. “What do you think this pink one is?” she asked as she sniffed it. Harry frowned. He was about to tell her that he loved her, but she had avoided his gaze. “I don’t know. Last pink one I tried was not very pleasant,” Harry cautioned. Veronica popped it in her mouth. She grinned “Watermelon. That’s my favorite sweet flavor. Here try one,” she offered a red one to Harry. Harry looked at the red colored bean. He didn’t want to eat it, but Vero encouraged him. He shrugged. The moment he bit into it he felt surge of metallic flavored liquid that began to pour into his mouth. He coughed up the fluid that was choking him. His eyes widened as he saw that he was spitting blood. Harry tried to take a breath but he couldn’t. He bent over again as he vomited more blood. It was burning his throat. Harry coughed. “Vero… help…” he managed to say and when he looked up he saw that Vero was gone. He was no longer in Hogsmeade, instead he was back in that same cavernous room that he had seen Pettigrew treat Voldemort’s injuries. Harry wiped his mouth and saw his hand stained red, his clothes were stained with blood. “So pleased you can join me Harry. I was beginning to miss your company,” Harry felt his own lips move, but the voice was Voldemort’s as he hissed. Harry walked up to a seat and sat down. Harry wanted to move, but he couldn’t. “Since you have graced me with your presence, I thought it appropriate to have a talk with you. After all, we almost became family…” Harry’s own hand moved against his will and motioned towards the door. He saw as Peter came in dragging a young woman. She was crying. It was Veronica! “No more, please!” Veronica pleaded. “No! Let her go” Harry’s mind screamed at Voldemort. He felt his mouth laugh with that maniacal laugh, and Veronica cowered. “But I just finally found my long lost daughter… and all thanks to you Potter,” Voldemort spat as he got up and walked towards Veronica. “But it is most unfortunate that she can’t be allowed to live. She was never supposed to live,” Voldemort sneered and with a quick motion pointed his wand at Veronica who was struggling to get free. “Father….” Immense hatred rose within Harry as that word seemed to penetrate through Voldemort. Harry’s hand slapped Veronica hard across the face. She whimpered in pain. Harry fought to escape Voldemort. This isn’t real. It’s another dream… just like Sirius’. “Oh is it now?” Pettigrew seemed to be cowering at Voldemort’s madness. He was as if speaking with someone. Still, he held the girl in his arms, who was crying and had ceased struggling. “It’s time for my dear daughter to die,” Voldemort said lifting the girl’s face to meet him. He forced her to look into his eyes. Veronica was looking with terror straight at Harry. She was fearful, then seemed confused… then she was shocked. She saw him! Not Voldemort, him! “Potter,” she snarled in shock and Voldemort jerked back stunned, he raised his wand and screamed, “AVADA KEDAVRA.” “My…!” Veronica’s gasp of surprise was cut short as the jet of green light impacted her in the chest. Veronica jerked back and with a blank look of surprise she slumped and Peter dropped her. Her eyes were lifelessly staring at him. “NOOOOOOOO! YOU BASTARD!” Voldemort screamed, making Peter jump startled. Voldemort was caught off guard by Harry’s powerful emotion. This time he had taken precautions to avoid the same incident as last time, but it was more than he could bear. The boy had overpowered him momentarily. “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!!!” Harry struggled with whatever force was keeping him motionless within Voldemort’s mind, and felt himself taking control of Voldemort’s body even though the pain was more than he could bear… Voldemort fought against Harry taking possession of him, and fell to his knees. He said through gritted teeth, “Don’t be a fool, boy. You will be the one to meet your end at my hand. But first, I will enjoy killing every one of your precious friends starting with that fool of a Weasley and the Mudblood!” Peter backed away from Voldemort. Voldemort was struggling to get up, beginning to overpower Harry once more. Harry felt a surge of power and an inner strength and felt his bonds brake loose. It was as if someone was giving him their magical energy. Harry forced Voldemort’s head to look up at Peter Pettigrew. “I will not forget this Peter!” Voldemort screamed at Peter, and raised his wand. Peter’s eyes grew wide and he jumped back. Voldemort’s eyes had turned a vivid shade of green. Suddenly they flickered, and the red slits re-appeared. Harry struggled one last time to make Voldemort move. “MASTER!” Peter screamed in fear, and before everything went dark, Harry glimpsed at the spot where Veronica lay, but her body was no longer there. Instead Bellatrix Lestrange was sprawled on the floor. A black mist seemed to envelop Harry, and everything went dark. Voldemort stood in front of Harry now against a pitch blackness, he seemed surprised, but he recovered quickly and raised his wand. It was only then that Harry realized that they were facing each other, and he was no longer in Voldemort’s body. He tried to dodge away from Voldemort. —Crucio— Harry didn’t have time to dodge the curse and the spell caught him. He fell down wriggling with agony. —Give up Potter, and I will kill you painlessly— NO —CRUCIO!— AAAAARRGGHHH Harry wriggled in pain. He was trying to block the mental connection, but he was becoming weakened as Voldemort hit him again with the Cruciatius curse. Harry felt that he was barely holding onto consciousness. —It’s your turn to die! AVADA K— Voldemort didn’t finish the spell as a jet of red light impaled him in the chest and he was sent soaring into the darkness. He reappeared again. —You’re dead! — He screamed with fury at someone. Harry opened his eyes to see a blurry vision of a woman as she stood before him protecting him from Voldemort. She held her wand pointed at Voldemort. Harry could see her profile. Her delicate pale skin, her auburn red hair, and he saw her eyes. Those sparkling almond shaped green eyes. Mum Harry whispered. “Not Harry… have mercy…” “Let ‘im go.” “Stand aside silly girl!” —You will not save him this time! — Voldemort pointed his wand at Lily. Lily extended her arms towards Voldemort and he screamed in agony. Suddenly, walls rose out of nowhere and formed a cube around them, separating Voldemort from Harry and his mother. Lily turned to Harry and Harry raised a hand trying to reach her. She was smiling at him; she looked just as she had in the Mirror of Erised. The image floated in front of him then dispersed as a girl with blond hair, blue eyes knelt next to him. She wasn’t smiling, a look of pure terror was in the face that seemed unfamiliar to Harry. “Harry! Wake up!” Lily’s voice spoke with urgency in the background. “Wake up! Eet’s too strong… he will kill us both! You must… wake up! I can not ‘old the barrier for long… The walls began to crumble around them. Voldemort laughed with a maniacal laugh. Harry saw a flash of green light. “MUM!” Harry bolted in his bed. He was drenched in sweat and he felt his body writhe with agony. He realized then that he was holding tightly onto a pair of hands that were clutching him almost painfully, and then whoever it was holding him went limp. He was breathing hard as he recognized Joséphine unconscious on his bed. It was her hands who had been grabbing his face and head, but she had passed out as soon as he woke up. He recognized her voice now, in his dream urging him to wake up. “Harry!?” Ron called for him as he opened the curtains from the opposite side. He stared at Harry and at an unconscious Joséphine. “Help…!” Harry called as he tried to pull her up, but he screamed involuntarily. It hurt to move. Just then Ron noticed the blood coming from Harry’s nose, his mouth and his ears. By now, Dean, Seamus and Neville had woken up. “What the bloody hell!?” Seamus cursed as he lit his wand and saw what was happening on Harry’s bed. “What happened?” Neville said reaching for Joséphine as Harry let go of her hands and she began to slip off the bed. Harry’s head began to swim in dizzying spots. He felt like he was losing his hold on consciousness. “Ron… Dumbledore… Voldemort killed Veronic…” Harry fell back into his pillow unconscious. **** Harry woke up into the bright light of the Hospital wing. He blinked a few times and reached for his glasses on the nightstand. His gaze focused on the smiling face of the Headmaster. He seemed relieved to see Harry awake. “Professor…” Harry began to try and get up. Professor Dumbledore gently prevented him from getting up, “it will best if you rest Harry. There is plenty of time to speak when you feel better.” Harry nodded but his eyes began to tear up as he remembered what Voldemort had done. “He… he killed her.” “No Harry, it was just another dream. Veronica is safe.” “But… how?” Harry asked, hope showing on his face. He was afraid to believe it was true. “I did not send Veronica back without pre-cautions. I had set up an emergency transatlantic Portkey a few months ago to use in the event that Voldemort had discovered Veronica’s identity. Death Eaters attacked the school on Friday night. Veronica is a clever girl. When she realized that the school was under attack, she knew they had come for her. She wasn’t able to reach the designated pick up point where Director Hernandez waited with the Portkey. The Director was killed and she was almost apprehended. But Muluc came to her and side-along Apparated safely to my office. I was rather surprised to see her arrive in such a fashion. I had not counted on the loyalty and abilities of her Macaw. I am sure Voldemort had counted on his Death Eater’s success and that Veronica would be dead by the end of the night, so he acted upon his plan without waiting to know if she was dead, before he invaded your mind.” Dumbledore finished. “She’s here?” Harry said with joy and relief written all over his face. “Yes, she just left a few moments before you woke up. I told her I would send word if you woke up. She kept a vigil all day yesterday, and I finally persuaded her to take some rest,” “What day is it?” Harry asked blinking. “It is Sunday, the sixth of October,” Dumbledore replied. Harry nodded. He had been unconscious for two days. “Do you know what happened to me?” Harry asked as he tentatively tried to move his muscles. They felt cramped. It also felt as if the insides of his body had been stirred with an electric beater, and his nerves tingled making some muscles twitch. Dumbledore’s smile faltered and he became grim. “You were hit by the Cruciatius curse many times,” “But how? I never left my room,” Harry inquired not understanding. “The Cruciatius curse does not really do any direct physical damage. The effect of Crucio is to make your brain believe that you are feeling that pain, and the stabbing pain that you feel is a reaction caused on your nervous system. It is a very powerful spell of mind control. The mind is a powerful thing Harry, and it is our own bodies that cause the damage, because our brain reacts to that stimulation. When Voldemort invades your mind, he is able to influence your subconscious. He doesn’t have to hit you with the curse physically, but he can make your brain believe it. It is the reason why your nightmares feel so real.” Harry nodded. He looked up to the Professor when he remembered, “Joséphine! I head her voice… she was on my bed when I woke up… I think it’s because of her that I woke up when I did,” Harry exclaimed worried. Dumbledore again nodded with a grim expression. He looked towards the bed next to Harry’s. Harry turned to see Joséphine lying in the hospital bed. She had some weird magical machines hooked up to her. Harry gasped “What happened? Is she going to be all right?” He knew that Joséphine had saved his life by severing the connection between him and Voldemort. How she did it, he didn’t know. She must have used that strange connection that happened between her and him when they touched. “We don’t know. She was unconscious when she arrived here. This morning she went into cardiac arrest and lapsed into a coma. We will be transporting her to St. Mungo’s tonight. It appears that she suffered the effects of the Cruciatius curse along with you. She also did something dangerous. She channeled her own magical energy onto you, almost all of it. I don’t know how she knew of what was happening with you, but she used her MageAbility and tried to use psionic magic to help you. But she is inexperienced. It may well cost her life,” Dumbledore explained, the grim expression darkening upon his face. “I’ve sent word to Professor Donovan to return as soon as possible. He may shed some light into what happened and perhaps help us save her.” “Jo…” Harry whispered. He felt horrible inside. This was his fault. She had saved him… and they even didn’t know each other that well, and he couldn’t do the same for her. He somehow felt like something was missing, not seeing a smile on her face. Then it hit him, and made him worry even more, the fact that he could not feel the sensations or her presence whenever they were near each others. Please don’t die. “Can they save her? At St. Mungo’s?” “We don’t know. The odds are against her,” Dumbledore replied, the twinkle in his eyes was lost. At the moment Madam Pomfrey approached them. “I’m sorry Albus, but Harry needs to rest,” she said as she uncorked a bottle filled with a neon green liquid. “Drink this Harry.” She placed the liquid to his lips and Harry felt a cool sensation glide down his throat. In a matter of seconds he began to feel drowsy. He closed his eyes but didn’t fall asleep immediately. Harry heard unfamiliar voices in the room. He couldn’t catch all they were saying. It seemed they were examining Joséphine. ”… her prognosis is not good Headmaster…” “Is there anything that can be done?” “I am afraid that our options are limited. We will take her to the hospital for observation, and if the trip doesn’t kill her, we will do what we can… but almost everything that can be done has been done…” Dumbledore looked down to Joséphine before she was taken away by the Mediwitches from St. Mungos. He sighed and looked towards the window when the flutter of wings caught his attention; he stepped towards the window and looked out. He scanned the skies and sighed again when a white pigeon landed on the sill. He pulled a few seeds from the pocket of his robes and fed the pigeon. He hoped this was a good omen for Joséphine. **** The next day Harry was released from the Hospital Wing, but he was excused from attending classes that day and told to rest. He slept most of the day and when he was awake, he appeared to be confused. He complained of a headache, and he also felt very weird. He felt stuffy and at moments felt weird sensations all over his body. Harry sat down on the dinner table that evening joining his classmates. He received many greetings and expressions of well wishes and students said they were glad to see him up. There was, of course, plenty of taunting from Malfoy and his coons. “Hey Harry. Feeling any better?” Hermione asked with worry. “A little. At least I am somewhat hungry. Food smells good,” he said as he began to fill his plate with food. “But this weird headache won’t go away. Did you guys hear any news on Joséphine’s condition?” He hadn’t been able to think of anything else when he was awake. Hermione shook her head “Professor Dumbledore told us her condition has not improved. He’s gone now, probably to see her,” she replied grimly. Harry looked up to the head table and noticed that Dumbledore’s chair was empty. “Hey,” someone spoke behind Harry. Harry turned around and smiled at Veronica. He made room for her to sit next to him. Veronica hugged him tightly. “It is good to see you up and about,” she said genuinely happy to see him all right. “Yeah, I am a bit better,” he said and his chest swelled up with emotion and he focused on her… he thought she had died. He had been racked with guilt the moment he woke up. He believed he had been responsible for another death, just because he was alive, just because she was close to him. He thought she was gone, but here she was in front of him. The two looked at each other for a moment, speaking without words. They were interrupted by someone clearing his throat. “So, Hermione…” Ron began breaking the spell between Harry and Veronica. Harry smiled at her and reached for her hand. They turned to pay attention at Ron and Hermione’s conversation that soon turned into an argument. Harry ignored them then, and turned to Vero. “How was your first day of class?” He asked as she reached for a pastry. The sight of the pastry made Harry feel disgusted, as if he loathed them. It was weird because Harry loved treacle tart. But he masked and ignored this feeling. “It was fun. I really liked the DADA Professor. She is much better than mine was back at IMHEMCA,” she answered. “Well, she is actually just taking over for a few lessons. We have two DADA Professors, but Professor Donovan is away on Ministry business.” “That is what Cho said.” “Cho?” Harry asked as he felt his stomach give a jolt. “Yes, we pretty much have the same schedule of classes. I sat with her through all of my classes today. She is a really nice girl. She’s been showing me around the castle grounds,” she replied taking a bite of the tart. Harry felt nauseated for a second at the sight of her taking a bite. What the hell’s wrong with me? It didn’t help that at the same time he felt very weird thinking of his current girlfriend making buddies with his ex-girlfriend. “So, it is true that you went out with her last year?” she asked nonchalantly. Harry almost chocked on his pumpkin juice. “What!?” he blurted caught off guard. “We started talking about school, and somehow the topic changed to you and she mentioned that she had gone on a date with you, and how disastrous it turned out, I don’t think she realized that I’m with you then, but now she knows. That’s all,” she said and smiled. “I’m not jealous. I swear.” She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. “I have to get going. I have to meet with Professor McGonagall to catch up on a whole month worth of assignments that I have to do. I’ll be in the library until late so if you feel up to it, maybe I’ll see you tonight,” she said and stood up. “Maybe. I am feeling a bit weird still so I may go to bed early. I’ll probably just see you tomorrow,” he said and she smiled at him. She bent down and kissed him on the lips. “See you tomorrow then,” she said and waved goodbye to the rest of the Gryffindors and headed back to her seat next to Cho in the Ravenclaw table to pick up her things then left the Great Hall. Harry had thought that she would end up in Slytherin being Voldemort’s daughter. But her mum had been a Ravenclaw. Seamus whistled when Veronica had left. “When I heard that she was your girlfriend I didn’t believe it. She is gorgeous Harry,” he said and clapped Harry on the shoulder as he took the spot previously vacated by Vero. “Where did you meet her?” Seamus asked. “I met her this summer while she was on vacation here. She went back to her home country to school, but transferred here just this weekend,” Harry replied. Her identity was to remain a secret. “Must have missed you terribly to move here!” Seamus replied. “What’s with all the foreigners anyway?” he asked. Harry forced a grin and shrugged. Dean, Parvati and Seamus began to enumerate the people in school from different countries. Harry focused on his meal and looked down at his plate full of food and felt ravenous all of the sudden. He was about to take a bite when something really strange happened. “Eww… disgusting,” he dropped his fork before he even took a bite. Ron and Hermione turned to him and were looking at him as if he grew a second head. Harry picked up his fork as if nothing had happened although he seemed a bit confused. He took a bite and began to chew. “What?” He asked the pair watching him. “Ahm, nothing,” Ron replied and proceeded to eat, and Hermione returned to read her book, but kept glancing at him. Harry took another bite of his food, and then seemed to gag and spit it back on his plate. “How can anyone eat this!?” he exclaimed and pushed the plate back and the food vanished. Ron and Hermione were staring at him, others around him turned to look at him as well. There was a different quality to his voice and the way he spoke. Harry blinked twice and was startled. “Hey, what happened to my food?” he looked befuddled and looked about to see who was pulling a prank on him. Ron and Hermione and the others thought that Harry had fallen off his rocker. “Are you all right mate?” Ron asked worriedly. “Yes, I’m fine and starving but my food disappeared!” Harry said as he began to pile his plate with food again. Suddenly he lost his appetite, seemed to become a bit pale and began to sweat. He felt very uncomfortable, and he felt as if his clothes were too tight. His head began to pound. “Harry you don’t look too good,” Hermione said standing up. “I don’t feel so good all of the sudden. I think I better go lay down. Maybe I should have stayed in bed,” he said as he got up. “We’ll go with you,” Ron offered and Hermione stuffed her book into her bag and followed after Harry. “You sure you don’t want to go to see Madam…” “No! I’ve had enough of Hospital Wings…” They accompanied Harry to his room and Harry began to see spots swimming in front of him. He seemed to fall asleep mid air towards the bed. Ron and Hermione took his shoes off and covered him. They closed the door. “Do you reckon we ought to get Dumbledore? He didn’t look good,” Ron expressed his concern. “I am afraid that last dream with Voldemort and the connection with Joséphine might have hurt his mind, or brain… but yes, I do think that Dumbledore needs to kn…” Her sentence was cut short as they heard Harry, high-pitched and frightened, scream. ~*~*~*~*~*~ A/N: Thank you for reading this far! I want to ask you for a moment of your time. I would love to read your comments on the story line/plot so far. Also, I'd like to know if you think my new characters are believable and if they fit with canon characters. What do you think of my take on how the canon characters behave? Any criticism to help me improve my writing is dearly appreciated. TTFN Perseias

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