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Chapter 33

The Sixth Elemental Mage


Harry knocked on the door to the DADA classroom, and heard Professor Donovan’s voice allowing him to enter. Joséphine wasn’t there yet.

“Take a seat Potter,” Donovan indicated and Harry sat down. “I wanted to ask how your lessons with Professor Snape were going.”

“You mean Potions?” Harry asked uncertain.

“No, the Headmaster informed me that you are taking Occlumency lessons from Professor Snape. I had approached the Headmaster about instructing you and Joséphine on Occlumency to help control the connection between the two of you,” Donovan replied.

“The lessons aren’t going as good as Professor Snape said they should. I’m useless in Occlumency. I can’t block him, unless I accidentally jinx him.”

“Would you mind if I gave it a try?”

Harry felt uncertain. He didn’t want Donovan to be swimming around his head looking at his memories. Donovan noticed his hesitation.

“I am actually surprised that you haven’t mastered Occlumency. As I’ve explained before, psionic magic resistance is an ability inherent in all Mages. It should have been easier, not harder for you to learn Occlumency. I will begin working on your psionic resistance, and I wanted to see how far advanced you are in Occlumency, or Legilimency. I promise not to intrude if you are unable to block me.”

Harry thought about it for a moment, then nodded.

“Begin your preparations…” he said and Harry closed his eyes to clear his mind, to focus on each thought and dismiss it. When he looked back at Donovan, he noticed the slight frown in his face.

Donovan raised his wand, and whispered, “Legilimens.” It struck Harry how different his approach was from Snape’s. Snape would begin the spell as if he wished to physically beat Harry with the incantation. Harry certainly felt like a blow was given to him whenever Snape began his lessons. Also, Snape barely gave him time to prepare. Harry’s thoughts were interrupted as he felt Donovan’s invasion into his mind. Again, he was completely unable to stop the intrusion, and immediately a memory of him asking Hermione if she was dating Terry cropped into his mind. He tried to block Donovan, but before he even could try, and before the image of Hermione’s blushing face had switched to something else, it stopped.

Harry knew he hadn’t done anything to stop it. He looked back at Donovan, whose frown had seemed to darken.

“Did you…”

“Yes, the moment I felt you unable to stop me, I terminated the connection.” Donovan said. “Tell me Potter, exactly what does Professor Snape do when you practice Occlumency?”

Harry explained how they went about the lessons, and what Harry’s assignments were.

“With the amount of lessons that you have had, I had expected you to have more progress than what you’ve shown tonight,” Donovan said as he sat back on his desk to think for a moment. “Professor Snape is a good Occlumens, I would have thought…” Donovan caught himself before he berated a fellow professor, but his thoughts still continued, it is apparent he is a very poor—or unwilling— teacher. Another thought entered Donovan’s mind. “Have you posed any resistance to his teaching?” he asked and watched Harry’s reaction.

“I…”

“I will take that as a yes,” Donovan said and paused to think for a moment. “I had hoped that your lessons in Occlumency would make it easier for us to begin working on Psionic resistance, and that at the same time it would increase your success in Occlumency. I see now that is not the case, so we will start from scratch. I must tell you Potter, that you must be willing to close your mind; if you resist it, or have a preconceived reluctance to the teaching, it will not work and…” Donovan was interrupted by a knock on the door. Joséphine entered the classroom, and Donovan instructed her to continue working on the Psionic magic summoning exercises that they had begun last time. Joséphine nodded and went to the other side of the classroom to begin working. Donovan returned to Harry.

“I want you to start with the Occlumency spell and we will try again.”

Harry frowned. He didn’t know anything about an Occlumency spell. “Professor…”

“Professor Snape taught you the Occlumency spell, that’s where he should have begun…” Donovan said surprised.

“No, Snape—

“Professor Snape—“

“—Professor Snape just told me how to clear my mind and began using Legilimency on me,” Harry said. Donovan muttered something that he couldn’t quite hear.

“Then I will start from the very basics. Try to bring your mind to a blank state. I don’t mean try to dismiss your thoughts, because minds a made for thinking and it is impossible to not think of anything. What I want you to do is bring your mind to a neutral state. By neutral I mean in which you are not consciously trying to think or not think any thoughts. Just let your mind wander for a moment. When you feel settled in your thoughts, I want you to grab each hand onto one end of your wand, then say Occlumens. Let’s give that a try, and take your time… I will begin whenever you are ready. We have three hours,” Donovan said and Harry nodded.

Harry took out his wand, grabbed each end with his hands and closed his eyes. After several minutes, he said, “Occlumens.” In a flash, Harry felt a wave of energy leave his right hand, and immediately felt it again on his left and traveling up his arm. Faster than the blink of his eyes, he had felt something settle upon him. His mind seemed to be blissfully blank, so blank he felt he couldn’t consciously think. Harry opened his eyes and saw Professor Donovan raise his wand at him, and mutter, “Legilimens.”

Harry felt as if an invisible hand was trying to scoop his memories out of his brain. He fought it.

“Don’t fight it, let the spell do the work… you just concentrate on how it feels, and analyze the effects of the Occlumens spell.”

Harry heard Donovan’s voice, and he immediately stopped struggling against the invisible hand. Harry could feel where Donovan was prodding into his mind, but there was some sort of barrier preventing him from actually reaching any memories. It was as if a crystal, unbreakable dome had settled in his brain protecting it. The prodding sensation stopped and Harry opened his eyes.

“Finish the spell, Potter.”

“Finite Incantatem,” Harry muttered and his brain felt back to normal.

“You have now experienced how efficient Occlumency actually is against Legilimency. The Occlumency spell is rather effective, but wizards performing Legilimency on a person rarely ask for permission, or give a chance for the Occlumency spell to work. Of course, if you find yourself in a situation where you know beforehand of the attack, this spell can buy you time. The draw back to using Occlumency in this way is that it also affects your own ability to process thoughts, and it’s not very useful to Occlumens yourself and blotch your ability to duel or defend yourself.”

“Also, this is very basic Occlumency. Any experienced Leglimens will know it and sooner or later they will brake through. Another thing is that the Occlumens spell blocks everything from a Legilimens. This of course makes it evident to any Legilimens that you are trying to block your mind; just as if you had a sign posted on your forehead saying: I’m using Occlumency. You can appreciate why this is not a desirable thing. The purpose of Occlumency is to defend your mind, however, it is most advantageous to an Occlumens to be so good, that no one will know when or if he’s using it at all. The sign of a great Occlumens is when you can selectively hide specific memories and thoughts, yet your mind appears to be as open and vulnerable as ever. Just as a great Legilimens can search someone’s mind and no one notices it. Subtlety is a coveted trait of the Occlumens and Legilimens.”

Donovan left Harry trying to re-create that feeling of protection in his mind, without actually using the Occlumency spell, while he went to see Joséphine’s progress. Donovan later returned to have Harry try one more time. This time, Harry had a little more success, until Donovan prodded harder. Again, once Donovan broke through Harry’s defenses, he immediately stopped. Donovan explained that it was no use continuing to attack Harry’s mind. It was futile to force Harry to stop the attack, when he couldn’t even do it from the beginning. It was much harder to push a Legilimens out of his mind, than it was to block one and maintain the block, especially for an untrained Occlumens. Also, he had no intentions of invading Harry’s mind more than necessary.

“So what’s the use of it once my defenses have been broken?” Harry asked with a frown.

“Don’t misunderstand me Potter. It can be done, and it is more likely that you will be pushing a Legilimens out of your mind, rather than blocking one from the beginning. You have done it, but you also know the amount of effort that you’ve had to use to be able to do it; and because you are inexperienced, you resort to hexing your attacker. But outside of lessons, you don’t always know who the attacker is. And before you can get to the level of repelling a Legilimens completely, you must start by being able to block one completely before they have a chance to take hold. At this point in time, you are not advanced. But you have potential. You are a Mage, after all,” Donovan said and smiled.

Harry thought that his Occlumency lesson with Donovan was completely different than with Snape. Even Harry could tell that he had accomplished some progress… more progress in two hours than several months’ worth of lessons with Snape. This brought up to surface an immense amount of questions. Why didn’t Snape start out from the beginning? Why was he forcing Harry to block him when it was almost impossible to do when he was so inexperienced, as Donovan put it? Also, why did he continue to flip through Harry’s memories for so long?

“How are you feeling Potter?”

“I feel a little drained,” Harry said in honesty.

“Let’s stop this exercise for tonight. I will take the last hour to give you more history on Mages,” Donovan said and had Harry take a seat while he went to check on Joséphine. Harry sat down and pinched the bridge of his nose. He could feel a headache beginning to develop, and was glad that they had stopped with Occlumency. He looked up when Joséphine sat next to him, and greeted her. Donovan conjured a chair and sat down in front of them.

He did a brief recapitulation of what they had so far learned: about Magic, the different kinds of Mages and some history of Mages. Tonight, he was going to explain more in depth about the different kinds of Mages.

“Like I’ve explained before, there are two main Magekinds: Elemental and Non-Elemental. Elemental Mages are named after each element of Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Light. And there is a sixth Elemental Mage that is called Aezhrian. Non-Elemental Mages known are Arcane, Morphean and Daiteran,” Donovan began and spent about ten minutes describing Arcane and Morphean Mages.

“As you know Jopsephine, your Mageability is that of a Daiteran Mage. You may recall, Daiteran Mages were the first to be persecuted because of the mayhem caused by Autrius. Daiteran Mages were feared, and killed without second thought. As a result, anyone who believed he had Daiteran capabilities would hide this knowledge, and with time, less and less Daiteran Mages practiced yellow magic, and they nearly ceased to exist. Daiteran Mages not only can resist Psionic magic like all other Mages, but they can specifically wield it to the fullest extent of its power.”

“Daiteran Mages are best known for their ability to control the minds of creatures. Another thing that Daiteran Mages can do is move objects with their mind, and they can also manipulate and freeze portions of time. Also, Daiteran Mages are proficient in any form of mind magic, including memory and thought alteration. One reason Daiteran Mages were fiercely feared was because some of the unforgivable curses are based on yellow magic, and because of the harm done by them, this magic was considered dangerous and outlawed. And since Daiteran Mages were the only ones who could wield Psionics, they were persecuted for it.”

“You may think that a lot of the things a Daiteran Mage can do seem to be on the dangerous side. However, there were very few Daiteran Mages who actually used their powers for evil. It says in the scrolls that Daiteran Mages were most often those who performed acts of what muggles now term ‘exorcisms’ on victims believed to be possessed. Sometimes these muggle victims were actually suffering the effects of a curse, and a Daiteran Mage was able to amend damages done to their thoughts or memories…” Donovan said and proceeded to explain other things that Daiteran Mages were known for. After finishing speaking about Daiteran Mages, Donovan allowed Harry and Joséphine to question him about what they just heard. When the two teenagers satisfied themselves, Donovan turned to Harry.

“We are certain that you are an Elemental Mage Potter, and the last few weeks I’ve been instructing you on handling elemental magic to try to discover which kind specifically. As I’ve explained before, Elemental Mages make use of Elemental magic, with predominance in one element, and knowledge of the others. All Elemental Mages can wield Battle (red) magic in its most basic form, and purple magic, tailoring it depending on their element of nature. Red Battle Magic is behind the control of the elemental magic of air, water, fire and earth. This magic was actually first created by dragons, and very little is known of it since dragons became silent thousands of years ago. There is a legend that claims a Dark Wizard cursed the dragons to silence, for they refused to teach him the secrets of Red magic.”

“Air Mages are dedicated to the element of air. Air magic is the magic of motion, often creating motion from nothing. Air Mages are perhaps the best wielders of purple magic.”

“Water Mages are the masters of the element of water. Water magic is the magic of flow and it controls motion that already exists. It works well with air magic. Water Mages can control natural wind while an Air Mage can create wind effects from virtually nothing. So you can see how well an Air and Water Mage can work together. However, Water Mages are the rarest type of Elemental Mage. They specialize in spells that are somewhat ‘weird’ and different. Spells such as Reflectance and Scrying are just an example of how Water Mages make use of red magic, but only as far as the water element is concerned.”

“Earth Mages mostly deal with reshaping anything that is solid. They are experts at transmutation of solid objects, raising walls from the ground, and so on. However, altering solid objects on large scale requires massive amounts of magical power, so Earth Mages often work best in teams, more so than any other type of Elemental Mage.”

“Fire magic was the most commonly used in war, as it centers on setting things aflame, blowing things up, and so on. It is the magic of energy – even making things colder is considered part of fire magic. So naturally Fire Mages are associated with magical destruction and energy manipulation. They use a combination of red, purple and some blue magic, as far as manipulating the element of fire.”

“Light Mages are rare too. They based most of their magic on White magic, and are often healers. White magic is restorative and protective in nature and it can clear the mind of troubled thoughts, relax an individual or put one to sleep. White Magic is also the best magic to protect against Dark Arts. The best example of this is type of magic is the Patronus Charm. The most obviously known skill of Light Mages is to light dark places. Light mages, however, can tailor white magic to allowing limited sight in dark places, through walls, or at a great distance, and for detecting spies.”

Harry’s attention was engrossed in all of the information that Donovan was quickly dispersing. He wondered which elemental kind of Mage he was. So far they had worked on manipulating air and water mostly, but he’d had a few tries at the other types of elemental power. He didn’t particularly excelled in any one of them, so Donovan had as of yet exposed his Magekind. Donovan had been rather surprised that Harry could wield water elemental magic with the same proficiency as the other types since Water Mages were rare. He had Harry work on white magic as well to see if Harry manipulated that element, and had seemed pleased to see Harry’s Patronus charm.

“Potter, in our last session I told you that I might have an idea of which Elemental power you wield. I have reason to believe that you, are an Aezhrian Mage. It is the sixth Elemental Mageking. This Magekind has control over all five elements and their Elemental magic. It is the only Mage that can learn to wield Blue Magic entirely and interestingly enough when an Aezhrian Mage masters blue magic completely, it is said that the curse that separates dragons from wizards is lifted, and he can speak to dragons. The legend says that when this happens the secrets of the Red magic are revealed. Also, an Aezhrian Mage can wield Purple Magic, which makes the Aezhrian Mage the most powerful Elemental Mage. It says in our history that every legion of Elemental Mages was guided by an Aezhrian Mage,” Donovan said and he turned his eyes to focus on Harry.

Harry was shocked to hear that. Dumbledore had said that the Sorting Hat had called Harry an Elemental Mage, and Donovan had also said it and had worked with Harry on developing his abilities around the elements of earth, water, fire, air, and light. But so far they hadn’t figured out which kind he was.

“Why would you say that?” Harry asked astounded.

“My first clue was that you don’t excel in the use of one Elemental Magic alone, but you actually have dominance over all. Like I said, Aezhrian Mages can control all 5 Elements, and their Elemental Magic. My second clue was that I recently learned that you speak Parseltongue. Snakes are closely related to dragons, and I know from legends that Parseltongue is a form of Dragonmime. Dragonmime can only be learned by Aezhrian Mages…” Donovan began explaining.

A horrible thought entered Harry’s mind and he interrupted. “Voldemort is a Parselmouth,” he exclaimed. “Does that mean that he could be an Aezhrian Mage?”

“No, this Dark Lord is not a Mage. For one thing, if he was, the Mage Council would be taking a more active and public role aiding in the fight against him regardless of the Wizarding community’s belief against us. Another reason I know that Lord Voldemort is not a Mage is because of the history of Parselmouths as it is written in the Book of The Mage Code. Speaking Parseltongue doesn’t categorize you as being a Parselmouth, according to Mage law,” Donovan said as he stood up and began to pace.

“I thought that you could only speak Parseltongue if you were a Parselmouth,” Harry exclaimed confused. Dumbledore had said that he became a parselmouth because Voldemort transferred that ability unto him sixteen years ago.

“That’s what the wizarding world believes, but let me tell you what the legend of Aezhrian tells: our Scrolls tell the story of a Mage called Aezhrian Galdenzar, who was the first Mage to discover the control of Blue magic and learned to wield all five elemental magic. Aezhrian was friends with the dragons and the he forged an allegiance with Ekzar, the King of Dragons. This was before, when men and dragons existed in harmony. In return for Aezhrian’s services, King Ekzar showed Aezhrian all of the secrets of Red Magic, and to speak Dragonmime, the sacred language of Dragons.”

“Galdenzar went on to become the most powerful Elemental Mage of his time. With the use of Red Magic, Aezhrian mastered all 5 Elemental Powers. Then a Dark Wizard wishing for that power sought Ekzar and demanded the knowledge so freely given to Galdenzar. Ekzar refused, and the Dark Wizard fought him.”

“In an effort to seal the knowledge from the Dark Wizard, King Ekzar cast a spell: only the sons and daughters of the line of Aezhrian Galdenzar would ever keep the knowledge of Red Magic and inherit everything that Aezhrian had been given. The Dark Wizard cursed the Dragon King then, but the curse was not complete because Aezhrian came to defend Ekzar. In the end, Aezhrian was slain. The Dark Wizard attempted one last time to steal the knowledge from Ekzar, and succeeded only in obtaining Parseltongue, the common language used by Dragons to speak with the ‘lesser’ races, not only snakes, but other reptiles as well. Ekzar tried one last time to counter the attack and cursed the Dark Wizard to live among snakes. No one really knows how it happened, but King Ekzar was cursed into silence. Dragons then became wild untamable beasts.”

Both Harry and Joséphine were enthralled. Donovan continued.

“The Dark Wizard fled after the battle, barely alive. Nobody could understand his speech, and the legends say that he could only speak to snakes and lizards, and he could possess snakes and command them. Still, he somehow took to himself a wife and his wife bore him a son. The child could not only speak like men, he could also speak Parseltongue and had the same control over the snakes as his father. Since then the Parselmouth trait was passed through blood lineage. And wizards or witches ever born a Parselmouth have been, for the most part, known to be lured by the Dark Arts.”

“When Aezhrian was killed, he was survived by a son and three daughters, and because of the spell cast by the Dragon King, his children were supposed to inherit what their father knew. But because of the curse on Ekzar, only the son inherited the knowledge. Aezhrian’s son went on to have five daughters, neither of them learned from Aezhrian’s son. But then, the youngest daughter had two sons, but only one inherited all of the gifts of Aezhrian. So as the generations passed, the traits of Aezhrian Galdenzar have only been passed to one boy. In time they became known as Aezhrian Mages, and the line of Galdenzar has been the most prestigious line of Mages. The legends say that Aezhrian Mages can speak Dragonmime, and that they can learn to speak Parseltongue, but they are not Parselmouths.”

“Because you speak Parseltongue, wizards assume that you are a Parselmouth, but it isn’t true. You speak Parseltongue because you are an Aezhrian Mage. Lord Voldemort was born a parselmouth, the trait passed down to him from his mother or father, whom had to be a direct descendant of the Dark Wizard who cursed the dragons to silence. But Lord Voldemort is not a Mage, I assure you.”
Harry breathed a sigh of relief. He had enough problems with Voldemort; he didn’t need to add him being a Mage to his list of worries. He couldn’t quite believe that he would be an Aezhrian Mage. Dumbledore said that Voldemort passed the Parseltongue trait to Harry when he tried to kill him as a baby; but maybe being an Aezhrian Mage had allowed him to learn it. He kept his thoughts to himself and didn’t share them with Donovan. He was making Harry very uncomfortable by referring to Voldermort as Lord Voldemort, and because he had no qualms saying his name.
“Zhat was really interesting to learn,” Joséphine exclaimed as the two walked back to Gryffindor.
“I really found the story of Ekzar and Aezhrian intriguing. It would be cool if someday I learn to speak with dragons,” Harry replied. He remembered all too well the time he encountered a dragon during the first task of the Tri-Wizard tournament. Would it have been easier had he known Dragonmime? He wondered.
“Vous really can speak Parseltongue?” Joséphine asked.
Harry nodded.
“What do snakes say?”
“Well, I don’t know… I’ve only spoken to a few. There is a little green garden snake at the Dursley’s. Sometimes I’d find her when I was working the garden. I’d tell her about my rotten day, she would complain about the hunting. She did ask me that if I saw another green snake around to give him her address,” Harry chuckled.
“Really?” Joséphine asked amused.
“Yes, I thought she was kidding, but she was serious. One day when my cousin Dudley was annoying me I told him the snake was poisonous. You should have seen her; she had fun chasing Dudley as if she was a Cobra, hissing and everything…” Harry said and Joséphine laughed.
Harry and Joséphine always enjoyed conversations on their walks back to Gryffindor after detentions with Donovan. They talked a lot about their life at home. They each understood what it was like to live with a family that despised them. Joséphine had a younger adoptive sister, who was as nasty as Dudley was, although not in front of their parents. They enjoyed abusing them, and thinking of what they could do to them. Harry thought he was really looking forward to turning 17. He wouldn’t have to worry about any Statues of underage usage!
“Can you say something in Parseltongue?” She asked with curiosity.
“It’s easier if I have a snake,” he replied feeling weird, like being on exhibition.
Joséphine pointed her wand at the floor and said, “Serpensortia.” A small snake landed on the floor in front of Harry.
“Ssssseehhh ssshah zeth shouzzzacia.”
Joséphine listened as Harry spoke to the snake, and watched the snake approach him. Harry held his arm to it, the snake coiled on Harry’s hand, and hissed back at him. Harry smiled, set the snake on the floor, and watched it slither away.
“What did you say to eet?”
“Oh, nothing… I’ve been meaning to get back at Malfoy for something he did in my second year.”
Joséphine gasped, “But isn’t eet poisonous?”
“Oh no, he said he looked like one, but that he wasn’t. I told it to be careful. Just a little scare…” Harry grinned with mischief.
Joséphine smiled at him, and Harry turned to look at her. He had to fight the urge to move a golden lock of her hair from her face and tuck it behind her ear.

Joséphine blushed from the intense gaze, but looked away. “We should ‘urry, Fred is waiting for me,” she said not looking at Harry.

“Oh,” Harry said visibly disappointed, and feeling a little bit like an idiot. What was he thinking anyway? He liked Veronica. That reminded him… he wanted to catch up with her at the library right before curfew.

“Right, uhm. I need to see someone...” Harry said to her, regretting embarrassing himself with Joséphine, who fancied Fred, not him.

“Oi!” Ron called as he rounded a corner and spotted the pair.

“What are you doing here?” Harry asked.

Ron looked at him quizzically and flashed his badge.

“Oh, right.” Harry said. “Listen, I need to get to the library, can you accompany Joséphine to the common room?” Harry asked.

“Sure, just make sure you don’t stay past curfew. I just saw Snape prowling the fourth floor hallways. See you back in Gryffindor,” Ron said and left with Joséphine, while Harry made his way to the library. Harry walked towards a shortcut to the fourth floor down the Charms corridor. He heard voices coming from the Charms classroom.

“—Headmaster, he’s the same one!”

Harry thought Lupin’s voice sounded as if he was about to lose his temper. It was so uncharacteristic to hear Remus like that, that it surprised Harry for a moment. He paused in front of the door. He wondered why they hadn’t charmed the door.

“Remus, there is no reason to believe that what you propose is true. It has been years since you have last seen him.”

“I never forget a scent. Dumbledore…”

“I can’t act without proper proof, but I promise you that I will look into it. My hands are tied about this issue. Nothing happens in this castle that I am not aware of, so Remus…” Dumbledore paused, and sighed. “You can come in Harry,” he said and Lupin whirled to see Harry opening the door, looking like a rabbit caught in a snare.

“What can I do for you, , and almost at curfew no less?” Dumbledore said with a twinkle in his eye.

“I was on my way to the Library from being in detention with Professor Donovan…” Harry began. “I guess I better go…” Harry said and turned to leave.

“Wait, were you spying on this conversation?” Remus asked him.

“No! I just heard you shouting and stopped and Professor Dumbledore said for me to come in… I really didn’t hear anything,” Harry said.

Dumbledore gave him a searching look, frowned, but didn’t say anything. His expression changed. “Off to bed with you Harry. I am sure Professor Snape is waiting for you in a hallway,” Dumbledore said with his signature twinkle in his eye.

“Yes Professor. Good night Professors,” he said and fled the classroom before they could ask more questions. He raced up the steps and went to the Library. It was empty, and Madame Pince shooed him out the door as she locked it.

Harry began to walk back to the Gryffindor tower. He cursed under his breath that he didn’t make it in time to see Veronica before she left for her common room. But he was also wondering what Remus was talking about. He heard the chime of a clock signaling his curfew time. He felt his wristwatch glow warm and pushed the button.

“HARRY RUN! Snape is coming just around the corner, run towards the main hallway!” Ron’s voice came over the link. He had gone to Harry’s trunk to get the Marauder’s map.

Harry didn’t think about it twice and raced down the hall in the opposite direction.

“He’s running after you! Hurry!!!” Ron encouraged.

“POTTER!!!” Snape’s voice could be heard behind him and around the corner, his footsteps running after him. “I know it’s you!!!” Snape yelled and Harry put forth a burst of speed.

Harry felt as if his lungs would burst, and there was a stitch in his side. He needed to lose Snape. He couldn’t go to the staircases; he would be a sitting duck for him.

“Look out! Proffessor De Valerio, straight ahead of you!” Hermione’s voice shrilled.

Too late Harry saw Professor De Valerio appear suddenly from the darkened hallway, running full speed towards him. Harry slid to a halt, and scrambled to his feet. He was trapped! It all happened so fast, as she ran with the grace of a cat, making no sound despite the fact that she was running in high heeled boots. In an instant, she had taken her whip out, snapped the leather snake onto one of the timber rafters from the ceiling of the hallway, and was swinging towards him. Harry didn’t have time to get out of her way when she caught him by the waist with one arm, and the two of them swung in an arc upwards, and towards the next rafter. Professor De Valerio landed gracefully onto the rafter in the ceiling, and gently placed Harry on the spot next to her.

“Sshhh!” She whispered to silence him, while with practiced movement, she quickly coiled her whip. Harry looked down, eyes wide in surprise, shock, excitement and fear. His heart was thumping wildly, and it had happened so fast for him to think a coherent thought. He watched as Snape ran past underneath them, his footsteps echoing down the hall until they disappeared. Ron was going crazy rambling something in Harry’s wristwatch but Harry couldn’t pay attention.

“Professor!?” Harry exclaimed.

“No need for thanks; Severus’ reputation precedes him. You should be more careful next time; I may not be around to save you,” she spoke with a quiet, yet strong voice. She dropped from the ceiling, landing on the floor in a crouch. She sprung back up to her feet, looked up towards Harry, nodded, then began walking away silently, and vanished in the shadows of the hallway.

Harry’s mind was blank, up until that instant he had not been aware of her body pressed against him. The skintight leather suit only accentuated her hard sinewy body, and there was nothing to imagine about the curves pressed against his back just a moment before. It wasn’t until she left that he had realized all this.

“Harry? Harry?” He was snapped by Ron’s voice. He turned to look at his wristwatch and saw Ron’s confused face.

“What happened?” Ron asked.

“I am not sure. Proffessor De Valerio just saved me from Snape… uhm… I am stuck in the ceiling rafter now. She left me here!” He exclaimed once he realized where he was.

“You’re not making sense.” Ron said.

“How am I going to get down?” Harry hissed as he saw no other way but to jump.

“Honestly Harry! Levitate your self or something,.” Hermione’s voice came through.

“Right,” Harry said and pulled out his wand. “Where is Snape now?” Harry asked.

“Go back the way you came, then take the long route. We’ll guide you.” Ron said and Harry nodded.

He levitated himself onto the floor, and looked up. How did Professor De Valerio jump from that high? He didn’t take time to ponder it and began to run the same way he had come, at the end of the hall, he took a right, Ron updating him about Snape’s and Filch’s whereabouts. Harry had to hide behind a tapestry in the 7th floor because Snape was keeping watch, hoping to catch Harry as he entered the tower. Finally, about half an hour later, Filch came to tell Professor Snape that he had caught a 7th year Slytherin out after curfew. Snape looked around incensed, and left with Filch.

Harry ran to the portrait hole. Ron opened from inside the moment Snape was out of earshot.

“So you were out!” The Portrait Lady gasped. “I had told the Professor that I thought I had seen you enter earlier, but I must have been mistaken…” she said and the door closed behind Harry.

“That was close…” Harry grinned at Ron, and the two headed up the staircases to their rooms.

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