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Chapter Twenty Seven

Harry glanced down at the Marauders Map which was like his best friend this past week, what with Snape after him half the time to break into his mind and then the rest of the time he had Mad Eye or Tonks after him trying to control him. He had found out a few days earlier that Remus just didn’t have it in him to control him, although he had put an excellent curse on Malfoy which had had him slapping Snape repeatedly at breakfast one morning.

On the map Harry could see that Snape was two floors up, Remus was in his office with Mad Eye and Tonks was following Malfoy. He grinned and cast his eye about the seventh floor, which he was currently on. Just around the next corner Neville and Professor Dumbledore were talking and Harry watched them to wait for one of them to move but after twenty seconds both were still stood where they had been before. Curiosity overtook Harry and he crept down the corridor with his back pressed to the wall, hoping to stay unseen by the almost omniscient professor. The closer he got to them the more of their conversation he could hear…

“So would you like to visit your parents then, Mr Longbottom?” Dumbledore asked.

“I’d love to, Sir.” Neville managed, “But I’m afraid of going into Death…”

“Nothing to worry about.” Dumbledore said lightly, “After all, you’ll have your parents there to protect you.” He smiled kindly at him. “And you will, of course, be able to come back at any time you wish.”

“Must I go alone?” Neville asked quietly.

“By no means. I shall escort you to the gateway and into Death with you, although once you’re reunited with your parents I daresay you’ll want me out of the picture.” Dumbledore said.

“Professor…” Neville said and paused, it seemed to Harry that whatever it was that he wanted to ask he felt very awkward about doing so, “In life my parents were…” He swallowed, “Insane.” He added softly. “Will they…?”

“No, in death the mind is fixed.” Dumbledore informed him. “Anything else?”

Neville shook his head. “No Professor.” He said, there was a small smile on his face.

“Excellent!” Dumbledore said cheerily, “Come to the front entrance at about midday on Saturday and we shall go then. Goodbye for now, Mr Longbottom.” Neville murmured a goodbye as Dumbledore walked away and round the corner.

“Ah, hello Harry.” Dumbledore said to the boy who hid behind a tapestry to the side before walking off down the corridor with a slight smile on his face. Harry emerged, his head reeling from all he had heard… Neville was going into Death to see his parents… He turned and walked quickly down the corridor and down the stairs, intending to go straight to Remus. He stopped on the fourth floor and suddenly memories hit him hard. Harry fought back and in his irritation with Snape, who had leapt out from behind a stone pillar, he stunned him, put him in the full body bind, tied him with Devil’s Snare, froze him into a block of ice and took his wand, sticking it to the ceiling with a handy sticking charm he had learnt from Dean a week ago. After having done this he raced down the corridor and down more stairs until he reached the second floor where he ran inside Remus’ office and found his guardian sat with his back to him on the windowsill. The little dragon was jumping about energetically on his fingertips and occasionally fell off. Harry closed the door quietly behind him and walked over to Remus and put his hand out to his shoulder and to his astonishment his hand went straight through it. Harry jumped back a step before moving to walk around the man and saw the strange Wizarding version of a hologram sat on the windowsill with a hologram of the dragon with him. He heard familiar laughter behind him and felt a pair of hands on his shoulders. He turned round to Remus who grinned.

“How did you do this?” Harry asked him. Remus smiled and pointed his wand at Harry.

Effingo” He said quietly and on the end of his wand a golden trail came from it. Remus gave his wand a gentle flick and a new Harry materialised next to him. Harry stared at it, amazed at how solid it looked, although he knew that if he reached out to touch it his fingers would simply go through the magic it was made of. “Ennervate” Remus said, putting his wand through into the magical hologram and instantly it began to move, exactly as Harry did and Harry stared at his duplicated self in amazement, whilst it stared right back at him. Remus grinned before touching it again and murmuring “Finite Incantatem” Harry was still quite stunned at seeing himself in a holographic form.

“Can you do that with anything?” Harry asked him, wondering at the possibilities it may hold to be able to create such things.

“Anything at all, yes.” Remus replied, “Although it works best with solids, but liquids work as well.”

For a few moments Harry was silent, wondering at all the possible ways in which he could use this against Malfoy and perhaps help him evade Snape during the remainder of the week, which was only a couple of days.

“So what did you come here for, anyway?” Remus asked Harry and for a moment he couldn’t remember the reason he had raced here to see him.

“Oh yeah…” Harry said, “Anyway, I was up on the seventh floor, trying to get away from Snape and—”

Harry told Remus exactly what had happened and when it was all told then they were left stood in the middle of the room, just looking at one another. Remus felt quite stunned – Neville was being allowed to visit Death to see his parents. Why had Harry never been allowed that privilege? Why had he, Remus, never been permitted into Death to see Lily and James when he had been suffering under the grief of their loss so badly? Would they be allowed to go now? What was the gateway of which Dumbledore had spoken? Did he mean the gateway to Death or merely the gateway into the grounds…?

Remus’ head began to hurt as all the thoughts raced each other around his head and he found himself being seated by Harry after staring hard at the floor for almost five minutes. He blinked and jumped slightly when he realised that he was sat down in the chair behind his desk and Harry was sat on the windowsill watching him with the little dragon wandering over his hand.

“So what are you going to do?” Remus asked Harry eventually. Harry looked at him in confusion.

“What do you mean?” He asked.

“Well you know when Neville is going to go to Death and you know where he will be meeting Dumbledore…” Remus said, “Will you follow them?”

“I don’t know… Dumbledore didn’t say that I couldn’t.” Harry said quietly.

“He didn’t say that you could either.” Remus pointed out, “Although he did know that you were there.”

“Will you come with me if I follow them?” Harry asked Remus, who looked at him with surprise evident on his face. “And I know you’re a teacher and you don’t really go in for the whole stalking your colleagues thing but…”

Remus smiled slightly. He was a good teacher when it came to actually teaching but when it came to setting a half decent example around the school he wasn’t very good at it: twice this week he had cursed Snape in the corridors and once he had cursed Filch who had been threatening a small Gryffindor in the first year for hexing a Slytherin and now here he was, contemplating following his employer with the boy whom he was a guardian to around the school into what could be Death.

“I suppose I will come with you.” Remus sighed, “But only to keep you out of trouble.”

Harry laughed. “Yeah, right.” He smiled, pleased that Remus had consented to come with him in his stalking of the headmaster. He touched the little dragon with his wand and murmured “Effingo”. A small golden thread fell from his wand to around the height of the little dragon and Harry gave his wand a flick as Remus had done and a duplicate of the dragon appeared next to the real thing which stared at it and then tried to head butt it. Harry smiled and brought it to life with the same incantation Remus had used and watched the dragons move in sync and become very confused until Harry ended the spell. Suddenly Harry realised what he was going to do with his new found spell and who it would be practiced on of course.

“Anyway, don’t you have charms now?” Remus asked Harry who glanced at his watch and saw that he was going to be late unless he started to move, and pretty quickly as well. Harry had forgotten that it was Thursday and had been pretty convinced for some time that it was Wednesday which meant that he would have had a free period for his last lesson, but unfortunately he was one day behind everyone else and was going to be late for his last lesson of the day, which was up on the sixth floor.

“Yeah, I’ve gotta go!” Harry said, grabbing his bag from the table and slinging it over his shoulder, “I’ll see you later!”

“See you.” Remus echoed and smiled as Harry ran from the room and down to the mirror at the other side of the second floor. He murmured a password and ran up the passageway, with people in the battle scene along the wall occasionally shouting at him to run faster or usefully informing him that he was late for charms again. Eventually he reached the sixth floor and almost fell out of the mirror at the other end. He walked quickly inside the charms classroom and sat down; relieved to see that he was not the last person to reach the class.

“Try to reach the lesson on time in future, Harry.” Professor Flitwick said to him as he sat down in his seat between Ron and Neville and waited for the lesson to begin.

“I hope they start doing that reversal spell soon.” Sirius said to Frank, Alice and James who all sat along the sides of the room, watching Neville and Harry freezing various things, or in Neville’s case, get them quite wet and cold. Harry was already drenched and shivering by the time Neville had cast three spells.

“So do I.” Alice said, “Although I don’t doubt that our Neville will end up speeding up time or something along those lines.” She smiled as she said it and looked fondly at her son who had just managed to successfully freeze his quill.

“I can’t wait to see Neville.” Frank said quietly and then remembered with a jolt who he was with and wished he’d kept quiet,

“I hope Dumbledore lets Harry and Remus come with him.” James said, “Although I’ve never heard of this gateway he mentioned.”

“Me neither.” Alice said thoughtfully and looked back at her son who was panicking because he had just frozen his hand solid and Harry was melting the ice carefully with a warming spell.

“What have I missed?” Lily asked, appearing beside them. James and Sirius scowled at her; she was meant to be following Remus. “He’s over there.” She replied to their complaints at her deserting their friend to watch Harry in her favourite subject.

They looked in the direction she pointed to see Remus, Mad Eye and Tonks. They all stood at the back of the room, disillusioned and then next to them Snape appeared a moment later. Remus cast a cold look at him and then glanced back to the class.

“You missed Neville freezing Harry’s hand but that’s about it.” Frank informed her.

“I’m going to get Snape the moment he dies.” James said as he watched the man take out his wand and point it carefully at his son.

Harry sat at the front, oblivious to the four people at the back of the room and the five deceased who sat to the side as he concentrated on freezing the small fire that he had conjured a moment before. Suddenly all the memories of death he knew came flooding back to him and he realised too late that Snape was somewhere in the room. He blocked them all as best he could but not before his desk had set on fire and Neville put it out by attempting to freeze it. Harry glanced round and when he looked closely at the back of the room he saw the three wizards and one witch who stood there, two of them smiling, one of them with a blank expression and one of them scowling darkly at him.

The lesson drifted along. Snape tried twice more to break into his mind but Harry managed to block him much more effectively than the first time to Snape’s great annoyance. Malfoy sat at the back of the class with Crabbe and Goyle, neither of whom had managed to freeze anything, although some of Malfoy’s things had set on fire due to some of their poorly performed charms. To everyone else’s annoyance, Malfoy had succeeded in mastering the charm and took to freezing something around the room every now and again, such as Professor Flitwick’s mouth, which Harry melted quickly and earned himself thirty house points for, whilst Malfoy lost thirty. Soon Remus tired of seeing his pitiful attempts at freezing Harry across the room and decided to do something about it.

Imperio” He muttered quietly and pointed his wand at Malfoy.

At the front of the room, Harry had turned around to see whether Malfoy was trying to curse him still and saw that Remus had his wand pointed at his enemies back and decided to watch what happened. Suddenly Malfoy pointed his wand at his own face.

Gelotrium Totalus!” He said loudly and in a moment his head froze into a solid block of ice. Harry burst out laughing and everyone glanced at him in puzzlement until they turned to where he was looking and saw Malfoy’s shocked expression at having frozen his head in a large ice cube. Crabbe and Goyle looked utterly stunned by this and decided to try and unfreeze his head in a variety of ways. Crabbe managed to conjure a small portable fire which he put on the top of the ice cube and Goyle decided to lick the ice cube to see what it tasted of. Unfortunately for Goyle, his tongue stuck to the ice and he panicked as he saw the flame his friend had conjured was quickly melting the ice and moving towards him. He pulled away from the cube and managed to break away from Malfoy just as the top of the cube finished melting and Draco’s hair set on fire.

By this time Harry was close to hysterics once more and he was not alone. Ron was already on the floor laughing so hard, so was Dean and Neville was clinging to the desk to stop himself from falling off. Even Hermione was laughing hard and at the back of the room Mad Eye was grinning lopsidedly, Tonks was screeching with laughter, although she was unheard by those not disillusioned, and Remus was doubled over with laughter.

“Nice one, Moony!” James laughed at Malfoy as he waved his arms frantically and tried to get up. Even Lily found it amusing that the boy who had been so awful to her son in the past currently had his hair on fire and was running blindly down the side of the room.

“Mr Malfoy!” Professor Flitwick shouted at the boy and ran over to him as quickly as his small legs would carry him. He had left him until he had run blindly about the room and eventually fallen over an outstretched foot (Potter’s he believed) and had landed on his frozen face. Unfortunately he could leave things no longer. He stretched out his wand and defrosted the block of ice that remained and an infuriated Draco Malfoy lay on the floor with his head still burning. Professor Flitwick also put out the small blaze in his hair and left the boy on the floor as he went on with the lesson. Eventually Malfoy got up from the floor at the feet of the deceased Sirius Black who had been attempting to kick him repeatedly but due to his still being living, he had failed. Malfoy glared around the room and at the sight of Malfoy with half his hair singed or missing Harry burst out laughing again.

“Think it’s funny do you, Potter?” Malfoy hissed.

“Yeah, I do.” Harry grinned.

“You’ll get yours, don’t you worry about it.” Malfoy said, moving slightly closer to him so that no one would overhear what he said, “After all, the Dark Lord doesn’t allow humiliation of his loyal servants to go unpunished…”

With that he marched off out of the room and Harry distinctly heard Professor Flitwick mutter “Good riddance” quietly as he left.

“Like Voldemort’s going to be infuriated because he got his hair set on fire.” Harry muttered and Hermione and Neville grinned, whilst Ron hissed at him not to use that name. The rest of the lesson passed without much more excitement due to Professor Flitwick’s having asked his colleagues at the back of the room to please leave their cursing of the students until they were out of his classroom and all four grudgingly consented, and Tonks and Remus stayed until the end, although Snape marched out of the room and down to the dungeons and Mad Eye left also, and Remus strongly suspected that he had gone after Malfoy to try and curse him some more.

Malfoy ran as quickly as he could down the corridor, trying to get to the hospital wing as quickly as he could before any of the lessons ended and anyone saw him with a large bald patch in the middle of his head where his hair had been burnt off. Behind him he could hear a slight clunk on every other step someone took and he knew without looking who it was, after all, who else had a magical wooden leg in the school but Mad Eye? Moody waved his wand at the boy and he stopped still suddenly. He was frozen to the spot. The ex-auror grinned at his work and then marched on past the boy to the staff room.

Some time later when the lessons all ended for the day and everyone headed down to the Great Hall for dinner, Malfoy was discovered in this state by none other than Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dean and Neville, who laughed at him and left him lying there, half bald for the rest of the school to find.

Around twenty minutes later, Malfoy had the curse removed from him by Snape who was marching down to the Hall. Malfoy got up and walked into the hall with him, forgetting about his ridiculous hair until the Gryffindor table erupted in to laughter. Malfoy turned and ran back out into the main entrance but he was met with a huge tidal wave of water coming his way. He screamed loudly and ran back into the Great Hall where he collapsed onto the floor and the huge wave of holographic water washed over him, leaving him just as dry as before. The Gryffindors were struggling to breathe with hysteria by this point in time and Malfoy was lying, half bald and utterly terrified in a ball on the floor. Harry cleared up the water that he had spilt on the table and grinned. It had been a hologram of the cup of water he had infront of him that had chased Malfoy, only expanded to a very large size. No one knew this however, well maybe Remus. Glancing up to the table Remus was trying not to laugh at Malfoy and every now and again his eyes would flicker in his direction but whether this was because he knew he had done it or not he wasn’t quite sure. Both of them laughed along with most of the school as Malfoy was taken down to the hospital wing by Professor Snape a moment or two later.

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