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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry potter! (did you really think i did? No, just what I thought...) All is credited to the wonderful JK Rowling. Nor, unfortunately, do I own Middle Earth, The Shire, Hobbiton, or Frodo Baggins, or Hobbits... I think you get the picture! JRR Tolkein's Lord of the Rings the Fellowship of the Ring is his and his only. Voldemort knows this and is merely visiting briefly, he knows not to meddle too much in a world that is not his own!

A/N: anyway, onto the story... i give you chapter 6 of The Realms of Fiction: An Unexpected Arrival. Enjoy!






Chapter 6 - An Unexpected Arrival

With trembling hands, Ginny opened the dusty book onto the first chapter, entitled ‘Parallel Worlds.’ Her eyes started scanning the first paragraph, the curly script engrossing her from the very beginning.

‘Ginny?’

The slightly faint voice of Harry startled her from the book. Hearing his footsteps coming nearer, she quickly stuffed it out of sight into her bag. She was drawn to the mysterious book, feeling she should read it, yet at the same time knew that she shouldn’t tell Harry, or anyone, about it yet.

‘There you are!’ called Harry with a smile, appearing from behind a row of shelves. ‘This place is as big as a cathedral, I thought I’d never find my way back to you!’

Ginny grinned and flicked back her long, red hair. ‘Did you manage to find it?’

Harry nodded and took out the Prince’s potions book from inside the folds of his robes, holding it up triumphantly. ‘Yep!’ he exclaimed, coming forwards and wrapping an arm around her waist.

She turned to face him, looking deep into his sparkling emerald green eyes. ‘Brilliant,’ she replied softly, her thoughts no longer on books.

Harry’s eyes melted into her gaze. ‘You sure are, Gin.’

He kissed her, and she deepened the kiss lovingly. The room around them began to change, sensing their thoughts and desires. It became a softly lit room, with a thick pile carpet, a cosy fire, and a large comfortable couch. The Prince’s potions book fell to the floor, temporarily forgotten, as Ginny and Harry had only thoughts for each other...

***.

Harry sat in the Great Hall a week later, eating breakfast with Ron, Hermione and Ginny, when the post owls arrived in a flurry of feathers and hooting. To his surprise, a large speckled owl swooped down onto the table, almost knocking his bowl of cornflakes over in the process, and stuck his leg out with an envelope addressed to Harry.

The note read:

Dear Harry,
Come to my office at eight o clock this evening. The password is melon.
~ Headmistress McGonagall 


‘I wonder what she wants?’ Harry asked Ginny, who shrugged her shoulders.

‘Dunno, maybe something to do with the Order?’ she answered distractedly. ‘Look at my buffoon of a brother!’

Harry looked past her to where Ron and Hermione were sat opposite Neville, and laughed. Ron was stuffing his face with food as usual, and having a heated discussion with the Head Boy about his duties and how he takes them too seriously, whilst Hermione looked on with an expression of disgust (at the thought of duties being taken too seriously) and adoration (at Ron’s enthusiastic eating). Poor Neville was pink in the face from indignation, but arguing back in good humour. He had gained a lot more confidence recently, from his position of responsibility.

‘Looks like they’re having fun,’ remarked Harry with a grin.

Ginny grimaced. ‘He is so immature!’ she exclaimed humorously.

Harry kissed her. ‘Yep, but that’s Ron for you…’ He paused for a moment, then smiled wickedly, and teased, ‘…immaturity must run in the family!’

Ginny’s eyes twinkled. ‘Hey!’ she objected, and slapped him playfully on the arm. ‘You watch what you say, Potter!’

He grinned obediently. ‘Yes, Miss Weasley.’

*** 

That evening, Harry reluctantly left Ron, Hermione and Ginny in the cosy common room, and made his way to the stone gargoyles that guarded the revolving stairway that led to the Headteacher’s office.

‘Melon,’ he said quietly, wondering why McGonagall had chosen that for a password, and the gargoyles sprung obediently aside. He stepped confidently onto the revolving stairway, the familiar feeling of moving upwards bringing back memories of all the times he’d been summoned to this office in the past…

At the top of the stairs, he made to knock on the door, but hesitated. He had known this office to be Dumbledore’s for so long that he wasn’t sure how he would feel upon entering. However, he couldn’t just walk away, and McGonagall was expecting him, so he took a deep breath and knocked on the door.

There was no answer. After waiting a while he knocked again, but apart from a whispering of voices from the portraits within, all was quiet. He looked at his watch. It read eight o' five. Puzzled, he opened the door, and called out.

‘Professor McGonagall?’

No one answered; the office was empty.

He stepped inside.

It hadn’t changed much since Dumbledore had resided there. The various instruments and ornaments were still in place, including the phoenix perch, upon which McGonagall’s owl now sat.

In fact, the only difference seemed to be the new personal items and paperwork that occupied the desk. It seemed as if at any time Dumbledore would come striding in…greet Harry…

‘Good evening, Harry,’ came the familiar calm, deep voice.

Harry jumped. That wasn’t possible, how could Dumbledore be greeting him?

The voice of Dumbledore chuckled heartily. ‘Behind you, Harry!’

He looked around, and into the smiling face of his former Headmaster, who was looking down at him from inside his large picture frame, peering through his half-moon glasses.

Harry felt a tug at his heart. ‘Professor Dumbledore!’ he exclaimed.

Dumbledore laughed again. ‘Yes, that is my name…or at least, I think it is. How are you, my dear boy?’

‘I’m fine sir.’

‘I am glad to hear it. And Miss Weasley?’ Dumbledore’s eyes had a twinkle to them.

‘She’s great too. How did you know about our relationship, Sir?’

‘I didn’t. Now I do! I am glad that you are with her, Harry, and gave her another chance. She loves you very much.’

‘And I love her too, Sir.’

Dumbledore smiled. ‘That is good to hear. Ah the power of love is great indeed. You will need it in times to come, treasure it dearly, Harry, for it will be your saviour, and Voldemort’s downfall, in the end.’

At the mention of Voldemort, anger rushed to Harry’s mind. If it weren’t for him, Dumbledore would still be alive. Or rather, if it weren’t for Snape, he would still be alive.

‘Sir, Snape killed you! He betrayed us!’ Harry burst out.

Dumbledore sighed as if he had expected this, and his smile vanished. ‘If I were to tell you that Severus killed me on my orders, that I was dying anyway, that he was loyal to me right until my end, would you believe he is innocent?’

Harry couldn’t believe what he was hearing. ‘No I wouldn’t! He killed you! Whatever you say doesn’t change that. How can you still support his actions, trust him, after all he has done?’

Dumbledore looked sad. ‘Ah, Harry my boy; you haven’t changed one bit. If that is how you think then there is no point in me trying to persuade you otherwise. You will discover why in the end.’ He paused, and scratched his nose thoughtfully. ‘How are you getting on with the task I left you with?’

Harry was happy enough with the change of subject. ‘Not much further yet, Sir. I had to tell the Order everything, and they persuaded me to come back to school. In the busyness of the first week back I haven’t had the chance to search anywhere yet.’

Dumbledore smiled at the apologising look on Harry’s face. ‘No matter, there is no rush, Harry. It is important that you continue your education. However, do not forget about the task you must do, as is easily tempting. However, I know I can trust you not to.’

Harry nodded. ‘I will get to work on it tomorrow.’

‘Very well,’ smiled Dumbledore. ‘If you need any help, or ever want to talk, do not hesitate to come and visit me. I would like to hear how you get on, and will be able to advise you to a certain extent. Though remember I am a magical portrait, not the real person you once knew. My knowledge is somewhat limited than it once was in life. My liking for lemon drops, however, has not changed!’ He took a sweet out of his pocket and put it in his mouth.

Harry grinned. ‘It’s been nice to hear your voice again, Professor.’

‘I am glad you missed me,’ Dumbledore answered. ‘It was nice to see you again too, Harry. Now, shouldn’t you be getting back to the common room?’

‘But Professor McGonagall wanted to see me,’ said Harry, confused at the Headmistress’ lateness.

‘No, dear boy, it was I who wished to see you. Minerva just passed on the message.’

Harry smiled and turned towards the door. ‘Night, then, Sir.’

‘Good night, Harry,’ came the soft reply.

***

Voldemort took out a ring from his pocket, fingering the small, light, shimmering dragoona metal, and sensing the fragment of soul hidden inside. Looking around him, he scowled at the bright and happy feeling that surrounded this place. The fields were too green, the rounded hill houses too cute, and the smooth pipe music playing in the background just damn annoying. But he was in Hobbiton today for a reason. For in this small village in the county of Shire, within Middle Earth, and inside Tolkein’s book ‘Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’, was a small and silly hobbit called Frodo, who was holding a ring in his house. Not just any ring, but the one ring.

Voldemort was sorely tempted to go and find the evil he could sense coming from Mordor and Mount Doom, to go and join the bad wizards. But again, this was not his war to fight, and his magic would not work in an intervening way within this fictional world. Plus, he had to hide his ring in the hands of Frodo, who would never let it out of his sight; swap the one ring for his ring, thus re hiding horcrux number two.

Sighing, he made his way across the cobbled bridge that arched over a bubbling, sparkling river, towards the house named ‘Bag End’.

A group of fat, fluffy brown haired child hobbits stared at him as he glided up the path, but at a glare from his evil looking red eyes, they ran away giggling into the barley fields.

Voldemort cackled softly as he reached the garden of Bag End, and swung the small wooden gate open. Luckily, as planned, the little hobbit house was empty, and as he ‘alohomora’d the round, green door and made his way to the trunk in the front room, he found without hassle the envelope containing Sauron’s evil ring.

And at that moment, within the plot of the story, Voldemort’s horcrux ring became the one ring that belonged to Sauron, despite it being made of the dragon scale metal. Smoothly as Nagini’s slither, it became the precious.

***

Draco Malfoy trudged through the woods behind Hogsmeade, his clothes torn and dirty, and his feet aching. Snape had insisted that he travel to Hogwarts by foot, so as to appear in a bad state. If he looked as if he’d been on the run and uncared for, they would be more likely to trust him, he had said. Draco wasn’t so sure about that, but he had followed Snape’s advice, and was certainly ready to collapse at the Hogwarts gates by now. His journey had been made all the more difficult by having to stay out of sight in case a spy on Voldemort’s side spotted him, mostly meaning travelling by night. He would be glad even to see Potter right now, if it meant safety, food, and warmth.

After stopping for a slight rest to lean against a tree, he moved on wearily as fast as he could in the direction of the Hogwarts gates, a silent figure trudging through the star lit night.

***

Hagrid was on the early morning patrol outside the main gates of the castle. The air was crisp and clear, the ground sparkling with dew in the golden sunlight. He walked along, arms swinging, whistling to himself and watching Fang, his huge boarhound, run along up ahead, sniffing the ground. The dog bounded up to the gates, where he pushed with his nose at something lying on the ground, then turned to Hagrid and barked.

‘What is it, boy?’ asked Hagrid, frowning as he spotted what looked like a pile of clothes on the floor. ‘What’s that slumped against the gate?’

He strode quickly over, and gasped at the body of a bedraggled, cold, and sleepy Draco Malfoy.

‘Must-see…Headmistress…me, dead…’ he managed to gasp out.

Hagrid didn’t hesitate. He scooped the young wizard up in his arms and set off up to the castle, Fang trotting at his heels.

***

Ginny sat curled up on her bed in the 6th year girls’ dormitory, the curtains pulled around the bed so that no one would interrupt her, and the morning light streaming in through the window that was against one wall of her bed. She was reading Vevarius Kendor’s book, ‘The World As A Story’, that she had found in the room of requirement, finding herself shocked yet fascinated by the ideas that the author implied. Yet as she read through chapter after chapter, feeling horribly like Hermione, she found herself being drawn into the idea that there were parallel worlds, and that these worlds including her own were fiction, stories upon stories based on the original novel.

And it wasn’t long before she began to believe, began to realise that she wasn’t in control of her life, and that she, among everyone else in the world, was a fictional character.

***

McGonagall, Hagrid, and Madam Pomfrey stood silently around a private bed in the hospital wing. Lying sleeping beneath the sheets was Draco Malfoy, now cleaned up and dressed in fresh clothes, his eyes closed and face peaceful beneath his sweep of blonde hair.

‘Poor thing,’ muttered Madam Pomfrey. ‘Lucky you found him, Hagrid, he looked like he hadn’t eaten in weeks!’

‘I was jus’ doing my duty,’ shrugged Hagrid, remembering the last time he had carried Draco to the hospital wing, after the boy had disobeyed instructions and got himself slashed by Buckbeak the Hippogriff. Mr Malfoy had then pressed charges against the creature, Hagrid’s favourite, ending in execution, which was only narrowly avoided by the help of Harry and Hermione. He certainly had no sympathy as such for Lucius Malfoy’s son.

McGonagall, also, was looking sceptical. The boy seemed as if he’d been on the run and suffered greatly, was acting innocent enough, yet she knew for a fact that if it weren’t for his behaviour last term in trapping Dumbledore and letting death eaters into the castle then Dumbledore wouldn’t be dead. Last she had heard he had gone on the run with Snape. So why had he suddenly turned up here, half starved and looking as if he’d been through a shipwreck?

Malfoy stirred, and his eyes flickered open. Upon seeing the three members of staff, he sat up, rubbing his arm where the dark mark was burned into his skin.

‘Ah, Mr Malfoy, you’re awake,’ said McGonagall, briskly.

‘How are you feeling, dear?’ asked Madam Pomfrey, ignoring the Headmistress.

‘I’m fine- now, thank you,’ he answered gratefully.

Hagrid and McGonagall looked shocked, and glanced at each other. Since when had Malfoy ever thanked anyone in that manner?

‘Can you tell us what happened, Draco?’ asked McGonagall, a little kinder than her previous tone.

‘Yes, I can. But it includes important information that is best kept quiet, so could I have a private word, please, Professor?’ asked Malfoy, with a sense of urgency, implying he wanted to get whatever was bothering him out into the open as soon as possible.

McGonagall looked thoughtful, yet still doubtful. ‘Very well,’ she answered eventually. ‘Rest in here for this morning, to recover some of your strength, and I will see you in my office this afternoon. Is that alright?’

Draco nodded. ‘Thank you,’ he said once more, causing the astonished teachers to exchange looks again as they moved back into the ward through the curtains surrounding the bed.

‘Keep an eye on him, Poppy,’ McGonagall murmured quietly before leaving. ‘He seems changed, and probably means well, but we mustn’t forget that he is a Malfoy, and has been quite a nasty piece of work in the past.’

The nurse nodded. ‘Right you are, Minerva, I’ll see that he sleeps some more and stays where he is.’

‘Thank you, Poppy,’ the headmistress replied.

***

Harry had just finished classes that afternoon, and was coming out of the transfiguration classroom with Ron and Hermione, when McGonagall hurried up to him.

‘Harry?’ she asked quietly. ‘Can I have a word?’

Harry nodded, then looked towards his friends. ‘I’ll see you later, guys. Tell Ginny I’ve gone to speak to McGonagall will you?’

Ron nodded. ‘Sure Harry, see you later.’

‘Bye Harry,’ called Hermione, and they both continued along the corridor to the main staircase.

‘What is it, Professor?’ muttered Harry, once they were out of earshot. The Headmistress seemed bothered by something.

‘Best not to linger, let's walk up to my office as we talk,’ she replied.

They started walking towards the back staircase, leaving the main body of students behind. ‘We have a strange situation to deal with, Harry,’ she continued in a low voice. ‘Draco Malfoy appeared at the gates this morning, Hagrid found him. He was half starved and in a terrible state as if he’s been on the run.’

Harry looked at her, astonished, with a flicker of anger. ‘What’s he come back here for?’

McGonagall smiled slightly. ‘He claims to have escaped from Snape’s clutches by faking his own death. Apparently Voldemort thinks he is dead, so he is in danger if he’s discovered alive by any of Voldemort’s spies. He says he wants us to keep him safe, hide him here at Hogwarts, and that he has important information that he must tell you.’

McGonagall looked at Harry, who frowned. Then she continued.

‘I am not sure whether to trust him or not after his behaviour in the past, but he insists that you will believe him.’

Harry seemed thoughtful, playing through in his mind the moment up in the tower, Dumbledore talking to Draco, Draco unable to kill…

‘I think, Professor, that he may be telling the truth. You see, when he had cornered Dumbledore up in the tower…’

Beside him, McGonagall winced at these words.

‘…He couldn’t kill him. No matter what his intentions had been or the pressure he’d been put under, he couldn’t kill. Dumbledore offered him a way out, said he could hide him and his mother too, asked him to come over to the good side. And Malfoy was tempted, Professor, he had actually seemed to accept the idea of the offer. But then the other death eaters arrived and it was too late to do anything. I know Malfoy has always seemed evil, into the dark arts and such, and it disgusted me, but I think he was like that because it made him appear cool and feared, because of the influence of his father. When it came down to the real business he found out the reality, and didn’t like it.’

Harry turned to look at the Headmistress, who was watching him with a strange expression, as if she were proud of his words. ‘Professor?’ he asked.

McGonagall blinked hard, and her normal expression returned to her face. ‘You know Harry, you sound so much like Dumbledore when you say something like that. He was also one for seeing the best in people. But remember, Malfoy almost killed Ron Weasley and Katie Bell last year in his desperation to get to Dumbledore, and he let death eaters into the castle.’

‘I know,’ Harry interrupted. ‘But what if it was desperation to complete a task assigned to him under pain of death if uncompleted? What if he was forced to do all that? I’m not saying what he did was right, but I do believe that he has had a hard time and learned his lesson. I will never like him…but I think we should hear what information he has to tell me and take things from there. The least we can do is give him a chance.’

They had now reached the gargoyles at the entrance to McGonagall’s office. She paused, and put a hand out to stop Harry. ‘Very well. If that is your decision on the matter?’

Harry nodded.

‘Then I fully agree with you. Mr Malfoy is waiting in the office; you can talk to him now. Melon.’

In front of them the stone statues moved apart, and Harry followed McGonagall onto the revolving stairway, thinking about Malfoy. He felt a certain sense of loathing from years of habit, yet also pity. However, any funny business from him, or anything to make him doubt his sincerity, and Harry would order McGonagall to kick him right back out into the clutches of Voldemort.

***

So let me get this straight,’ Hermione said late that evening, after the rest of Gryffindor house had gone to bed, as the four friends sat in the common room discussing the day’s events. ‘Malfoy was being held captive at Voldemort’s head quarters, and overheard important information regarding the Horcruxes, he escaped by faking his death, and made his way to Hogwarts where he hopes to be kept safe. Am I right?’

‘That just about sums it up, yes,’ answered Harry, staring into the flickering orange and gold flames in the fireplace.

‘And you trust the scumbag?’ asked Ron incredulously, looking baffled. When Harry nodded, he exclaimed; ‘But you hate Malfoy! We all do! How can you trust him after all he’s done?’

Beside him, Hermione squeezed his hand. ‘Ron, hate is a strong word, why shouldn’t we trust him?’

‘But- but…’ sputtered Ron.

Ginny spoke up, interrupting his objections. ‘I think you were right to give him a chance, Harry. But what information did he have for you? Maybe if you tell us, we’ll understand his motives more.’

‘I was coming to that,’ said Harry. ‘He told me that he overheard Snape telling Voldemort that I know about the horcruxes and are on the trail to finding them. Voldemort was angry, as expected, and decided to hide them somewhere else. Malfoy then heard him explaining to Snape that he wants to re-hide the remaining horcruxes somewhere I would never find them, somewhere not in this world.’

At these words, Ron looked puzzled, and Hermione interested. Ginny however, consciously aware of the thin line that was everywhere, the substance that separated them from the other worlds that she knew existed, immediately knew what ‘not of this world’ probably meant, but felt disinclined to share her new knowledge with the others at the moment.

‘How is that possible?’ Hermione asked, voicing Harry and Ron’s thoughts.

‘I don’t know exactly…Malfoy said that Voldemort managed it though, asking Snape to help him by looking after Nagini while he was gone, as the snake can’t get wherever Voldemort was going…’

Ginny avoided meeting any of the others’ eyes, again knowing exactly what this meant. From reading the book she knew that in order to get into the ‘outer’ world, you had to realise you were a fictional character. Animals mentally don’t know about fiction or reality or anything that human, so could not realise they were fictional characters. Therefore Voldemort’s snake wouldn’t be able to accompany Voldemort on his horcrux hiding journeys.

‘Ginny, are you all right?’ asked Hermione, looking at her in concern.

Ginny shook herself out of her thoughts and smiled. ‘I’m fine, just a little tired.’

The others seemed satisfied with this answer, and Hermione was about to suggest that they go to bed, seeing as it was late and Ginny was tired, when a sudden low, drawling voice startled them all.

‘Well well well, what do we have here? The night time Potty gang?’ 





A/N: Well well well indeed! ;) I hope you are enjoying this so far! I shall be continuing to write this over the summer, when i commence writing again after my exams end. I cant wait to sink my teeth into it again! Thanks for reading!

Rose :)

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