All recognized characters belong to J.K. Rowling
Everything else is mine.
R – for violence, language and adult content
Contains male/male pairings- That's SLASH... you know, GAY
Harry Potter and the Parliament of Dreams
Chapter 19 – An Epiphany of the Mind
Colin woke up slowly, too warm and cozy to really want to move. It took him a few moments to realize it was because he was wrapped tightly in his Irish boyfriend’s arms. It was a decidedly wonderful feeling.
Seamus, who was apparently already awake, was making small swirling motions with his hand across Colin’s stomach.
Colin sighed in contentment.
“Awake at last, hmmm Colin?” Seamus asked in his sensual Irish lilt.
“Yes. Would you mind if I got a picture of you laying here like this?” Colin asked shyly.
“How about we get someone to take a picture of the two of us together?”
“I like that idea better.”
Neville stuck his head into the curtained off bed, his eyes were bloodshot and he looked really tired. “I don’t suppose you’d be kind enough to remember silencing charms next time?”
Colin went bright red and Seamus grinned evilly. “Aye Neville. You just wish that you had Colin for yourself.”
“Do you have any Irish in you?” Seamus asked Colin.
“No,” Colin replied slightly puzzled.
“Want some?” Seamus asked, grinding against Colin slightly.
Colin went an even darker shade of red.
Neville started to shake his head as he withdrew.
Seamus stopped him, “Neville, would you take a picture of the two of us please?”
Neville looked at them entangled for a moment before nodding. He grabbed Colin’s camera, which was on the nightstand next to Seamus’s bed. Both boys smiled as Neville lined the shot up in the viewfinder and then clicked off the picture.
“Thanks Neville. Sorry about the noise last night,” Seamus said seriously.
Neville smiled, “Just don’t forget again you Irish bugger.”
“Aye, I’m that all right!”
Neville rolled his eyes as he headed to the lavatory.
“What time is it?” Colin asked.
“Nearly lunchtime, I’d imagine,” Seamus replied quietly.
“Then we should shower and go eat, since we have Dueling class.”
Colin rolled his eyes.
Justin Finch-Fletchley, freshly showered, gave the password to Professor Weasley’s portrait. The old man winked as the portrait swung open and Justin blushed slightly.
“There you are! I woke up and you were gone. I was afraid that after last night… you’d… oomph,” Percy started talking nervously a mile a minute and Justin cut him off effectively by clamping his lips over Percy’s.
“I guess not then,” Percy sighed quietly as Justin pulled away.
“Of course not. Don’t be a prat Perce.”
“I… well… I don’t have a very good record with relationships.”
Justin shook his head. “Relax. I needed to get fresh clothes for today and I took a shower in my dorm while I was there. You looked so good when I woke up this morning that I just didn’t have the heart to wake you.”
Percy blushed, “Thanks.”
Justin smiled, “Care to walk to lunch with me?”
“Of course,” Percy replied while straightening his robes.
Albus Dumbledore looked up at the sound of the chime that indicated the lower door to his office had been opened. He was mildly surprised to see that it was Professor McGonagall.
“Albus, I’ve been thinking again about your new apparent policy regarding students’ sexual behaviors. I am uncomfortable with the precedent you seem to be setting.”
“In what way?” Albus asked quietly, while settling back into his overstuffed chair.
Minerva sat down gracefully across from the headmaster before continuing, “It has always been the policy here that we acknowledged that students had sex, but we went out of our way to try to reduce the likelihood of that occurring.”
“And now with Potter and a few others, you are actively encouraging them.”
“Yes? Is that all you have to say about it?” she asked huffily.
“Yes. The benefits for all of us outweigh the drawbacks by a fairly wide margin.”
“But Albus, I’m not comfortable with the idea that our students are engaging in frivolous rutting behavior.”
“I’m still encouraging Professor Snape and Mr. Filch to break up anything going on in the school. Only a few set groups of people have someplace more private and they are all in committed relationships. Draco and Harry, in particular, are important. Their power has combined in such a way that the total is greater than the sum of their individual parts. It is quite an interesting phenomenon. Would you like some tea?”
“No thank you, I’ll wait for lunch. Their power has what?” Minerva asked in a tone that clearly stated that she thought the Headmaster’s constant topic wandering was annoying at the moment.
“Their power has combined into something far more powerful that either of the individual powers alone would have suggested possible. They have both exhibited emerging powers in areas other than standard magic taught within these walls. They both seem to have telepathic and empathic abilities as well as having demonstrated some limited wandless magic control.”
“I heard them say it, but I didn’t really stop to think about the implications,” Minerva stated, her eyes wide as she now thought out what she had heard.
“I’ve already talked to Remus about it. He taught Harry and Draco how to center their focus. It will help them control some of their errant thoughts, but he didn’t have the time to show them wandless magic. He is adjusting his Defense Against the Dark Arts class so that he can teach it to them this week. It will also be beneficial for all of the students to have that taught to them now, rather than their seventh year.”
“We need to be careful here. I do not trust Draco Malfoy at all,” McGonagall scowled.
“It is Harry we have to be careful of now, I think. Draco Malfoy is totally committed to Harry and vice-versa. I’m afraid, however, that Harry is developing his powers faster than Draco, which has made him unstable. For now, I’m leaving it to Draco to keep Harry balanced. I think we should remove them from their houses before tonight. How do you feel?”
“I don’t like the idea of those two boys being alone together in a place where we have no ability to supervise. However, I think you may be right in the necessity to keep Draco safe. Especially if he is Harry’s tenuous grip on reality.”
“Excellent. I’ll inform Severus at lunch and have the house elves transfer both boys’ personal belongings to the Gryffindor Flat by dinner.”
“I just hope you’re right Albus,” she said as she walked out the door.
A few moments after the door to the hallway below clicked shut he sighed, “So do I.”
Harry and Draco were still curled up with each other on the couch hours later when Dobby appeared carrying Harry’s trunk followed a second later by Winky who was carrying Draco’s trunk. They both jolted awake when Dobby dropped the trunk on the floor, causing a great boom.
“Dobby is sorry Harry Potter.”
“It’s ok Dobby. What is going on?”
“Professor Dumbledore says it is time for you two to live here now.”
Draco sat up straight nearly dumping Harry to the floor, “We get to live here from now on?”
“Dobby is told that you boys is to live here. Dumbledore thinks it is safer. He also says Mr. Filch will be installing the new portrait tomorrow.”
“Thanks Dobby,” Harry said.
“Harry Potter is most welcome. So is Master Draco,” Dobby smiled oddly before he and Winky disappeared with a cracking noise.
“Why does he still call you Master Draco?” Harry asked Draco, suddenly remembering the questions he wanted to ask Draco about Dobby.
“I was always nicer to him than the rest of the family was. Though, to be honest, I was still a real prat to him. Perhaps he thinks that you are a good influence on me?”
“Perhaps he does. It would appear that we are now roommates.”
Harry smiled. “That is some good news. I can keep you all to myself.”
“Greedy famous boys,” Draco started but was cut off when Harry locked his lips with him.
Harry and Draco woke up at the same time. Dobby had appeared in the room with a tray with orange juice and glasses.
“Time for breakfast Harry Potter. You have classes today,” the little elf called out before disappearing with a cracking noise, leaving the tray on the table.
Harry stumbled out of bed wiping his eyes. He was half way to the table before he realized he forgot his glasses. He turned around to get them when Draco stopped in front of him carrying his glasses.
“Thanks,” Harry smiled at his boyfriend.
“Your welcome,” Draco smiled in turn.
Harry looked at Draco’s platinum blonde hair going every which way and stifled a snicker.
Draco caught the mind image from Harry and cuffed him upside his head.
“You do look sexy and well ravaged like that. But I do prefer that only I get to see you like that.”
“And then some,” Harry returned with a smile.
Harry left it there and walked to the table and noticed an envelop on the tray as well as the juice. It was addressed to them both.
Mr. Potter (Order of Merlin, Third Class) & Mr. Malfoy,
It was announced last night to the entire school that you two have been assigned to new housing for security reasons. It was implied, though not said specifically, that you are in separate locations. I suggest you stick to that illusion if asked by others. After discussing things with Professors Snape and McGonagall, I have decided to ask you, Draco, to eat your meals at the Gryffindor table when you feel that it is no longer wise to eat at the Slytherin table.
I also wanted to let you know that it is okay for you to have overnight guests in your flat. Although I prefer you do not doing it during the school week, I think that for this week it will be permissible. Please see me if either of you needs to talk.
I assisted Mr. Filch this morning in the installation of your new portrait door. The portrait is of Orthello Nicholas Gryffindor, Godric’s favorite grandson. The poor boy was killed in an accident at seventeen, leaving behind his pregnant wife. The boy that was born was your ancestor. The portrait was painted when the lad was only sixteen and has been imbibed with some special properties. The password is “Erised Syob”
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confederation of Wizards)
Harry started laughing.
“What about it?”
“Look at it closely.”
“That man is a nutter,” Draco snorted and then added, “but I like it.”
“We should eat and then get dressed. I don’t want to be late to potions. Professor Snape will skin me alive.”
“He’s not that bad.”
“Not to you perhaps. You’re a Slytherin! He likes you.”
They ate quickly and managed to squeeze a shower in before they dressed. They rushed down the many flights of stairs to the dungeons and arrived just ahead of the breakfast crowd. They took their assigned seat side by side in the front row.
The other students filed in and sat grumpily with their partners as Professor Snape stormed into the room. He looked rather crotchety and his dour face tightened further when he saw Draco and Harry sitting in their seats, prepared for class.
“Today we will be making a hex reflection potion. It is absolutely critical that you get this right,” Snape started while glaring at the Gryffindors in general and Neville Longbottom specifically. “This potion is the base for the one we will be making later this week.”
Snape spent the next thirty minutes explaining how to create the potion and then sat glaring at everyone as they started their potions.
“Potter! I said ‘four anticlockwise stirs’ NOT ‘ten’. Start again; you have ruined it. Malfoy, don’t let Potter screw up again!” Snape snapped at them as he went by.
Harry bristled noticeably and looked as if he was about to snap something back at Snape when Draco laid his hand on Harry’s arm. He removed it almost right away, but it was enough of a reminder to Harry to stay calm that he immediately cooled.
Nearly an hour went by with only a few loud outbursts from Snape. Draco had taken over the lead in doing the potion so they were just about done.
“Longbottom! Stop!” Snape yelled loudly just before a loud explosion went off.
When the smoke cleared, Neville’s cauldron was gone. Neville and Blaise were in a tangled pile with each other on the floor and all the students in the immediate area were covered in black soot.
Snape reached down and checked both boys. They were both breathing slowly. He conjured two stretchers and levitated a boy onto each stretcher. Snape brought them to the front of the room where he left them hovering for a moment. He walked over to Draco and Harry and looked at their potion.
“You two are complete. Please bring those two up to the infirmary,” Snape ordered quietly.
Draco and Harry both picked up their bags and directed their wands at the stretchers. Harry took Neville’s and Draco took Blaise’s. They got them straight to the infirmary and left them in the care of Madam Pomfrey.
“I should head up to Divination,” Harry moaned quietly as soon as they were out of the infirmary.
“Okay. I need to go to Arithmancy, but I’ll see you soon.”
Harry nodded and headed off towards Trelawney’s distant tower.
Harry met up with Draco again for lunch in their flat. Harry was holding a conversation with his ancestor from the inside of the flat. They found that they got along remarkably well.
Their lunch went by far too quickly and it felt as if they were being pushed straight to the next class. In this case, Harry was looking forward to it. Defense Against the Dark Arts, taught by Remus Lupin, was his favorite class.
Harry and Draco arrived to class just before everyone else and separated. Harry sat in the second row where Ron and Hermione had been sitting so far this year. Draco sat directly behind him. Seamus was the first to arrive and he sat down on the far side of Harry, smiling at the black-haired boy.
“Hey Seamus. You look cheerful today.”
“I woke up with my arms wrapped around a boy with a good heart. It was enlightening.”
“Aye,” Harry replied with a thick Irish accent.
“Git,” Seamus mock-growled as he smacked Harry’s shoulder.
“You’re right,” Harry said in the accent followed quickly by sticking out his tongue.
“Don’t stick that out unless you intend to use it,” Seamus said while wiggling his eyebrows.
“I hope you aren’t planning on taking him up on that,” Ron said as he plopped into the seat next to Harry.
Hermione rolled her eyes and sat gracefully into the seat next to Ron.
Harry sent the thought to Draco of Seamus snogging Ron.
“Potter, that was NOT funny,” Draco groaned out loud.
Harry remained looking straight ahead but had a half smirk on his face when Ron snapped his head around to stare at Harry.
Professor Lupin entered at that moment cutting off any further chance for discussion on the topic.
“Good afternoon everyone. I have been asked to alter the syllabus a little for the fifth and sixth year classes. Normally the topic I’m about to teach isn’t covered until seventh year. However, it has been decided that it would be a useful topic for some of our more advanced students. The topic is wandless magic.”
“But professor, you can’t use magic without a wand,” Lavender Brown protested immediately.
“Actually, you can. The problem with wandless magic is that it is very difficult to control. For most students, it is actually impossible to control. The magic wand, you see, provides the focus for magic and the gestures and words release the power. In older times, wizards were far more powerful than they are now.”
“It’s those worthless Mudbloods and Muggles that are diluting our purity,” Pansy Parkinson whispered to Millicent Brustrode.
“Ten points from Slytherin,” Lupin snapped immediately. “It would do well to remember that my hearing is keener than most.”
Pansy glared at Lupin and Lupin returned the look. Pansy finally looked away without saying anything further.
“As I was saying, in the older times there were many forms of magical control. The three most basic were Vocal, Gesture and Thought. Over time, we have lost conscious control over Thought controlled magic. It then became necessary for wizards and witches to start using a wand to provide a magical focus that Thought magic had previously provided.”
“Is there more magical fields besides those three?”
“There is Telepathy, Empathy and Telekinesis to name a few.”
“Are those powers still in wizarding society?” Hermione asked.
“They are rather rare, but the gift still turns up now and again. Unlike some other types of magic, those last three can’t be simply learned. You must be born with the powers to use them. Though, it is interesting to note that Thought magic, Telepathy and Empathy all have a common requirement. You must learn how to center yourself. It is an advanced from of meditation, really. It is much easier to do, however, after you have passed through wizard’s puberty and become aware of your own power levels.”
“So, you are saying that if we can center ourselves, we can use magic without our wands?” Harry asked in a curious tone.
“Not quite Harry. In older times, I’d imagine that was how it worked. A wizard simply thought of the spell effect they wanted and waved a hand or spoke a power word and it occurred. For us, if we practice a spell heavily without our wand we will be able to do it. It has to be a fairly simple spell and we have to be very familiar with it. If you are powerful enough, you can learn one or two spells you’ll be able to cast without your wand.”
“Why would we want to learn this then, if only a few people would get anything out of it?” Dean Thomas asked sounding slightly puzzled.
“Everybody would benefit. If you can learn to center yourself, you’ll be able to learn and retain wand magic far easier.”
“They why wait until seventh year to teach us?” Ron grumped.
“We waited until seventh year to teach you in the past because only a few people can successfully learn to center at your age. But we felt that if you knew how and practiced, you’d learn to do it faster and it would benefit you.”
Lupin then proceeded to explain how to center. He had everyone close his or her eyes and relax. The Slytherins snickered amongst themselves once, but a quick deduction in five more house points stopped that.
No one was able to center except Harry and Draco, but neither of them admitted that they could.
The class scattered as soon as Lupin released them.
The next two classes breezed by, mainly because Harry slept through History and worked his tail off in the self-defense class. Draco was whining slightly when they reached the Gryffindor flat.
“Erised Syob,” Harry told the portrait.
Both boys walked into the flat and Draco continued his complaints. “I still don’t understand why we need to take that stupid class.”
Harry wrapped his arm around Draco’s neck and pulled him up tight against him.
He whispered menacingly into Draco’s ear, “It is so you can protect yourself, Draco.”
Draco froze and made no effort to escape. Harry released him.
Draco just stared at him.
“I wouldn’t hurt you Dragon,” Harry said sincerely.
Draco shook his head a few times before saying weakly, “Sorry, it has been a long day.”
They sat at the table and ordered their dinner.
“I’m going to spend time in Gryffindor tower tonight. Ron asked me to do homework with him.”
“That’s a good idea. I need to do some studying and I could use the quiet time.”
Harry smiled at his boyfriend as he continued his meal.
They parted ways about an hour later. Harry made his way quickly down to the Gryffindor tower. The fat lady let him right through and he bumped straight into Colin and Seamus.
“Hi Colin, hi Seamus.”
“It’s not the same around here without you,” Colin said quickly before thrusting some newly developed photos into Harry’s hands.
Harry looked at the top picture and blushed. But that’s okay, the picture Colin blushed quickly too as he covered himself and pushed the picture Seamus to the foreground.
“Neville took a picture of us yesterday and I developed it last night in Snape’s photo lab.”
“Snape has a photo lab?” Harry asked in surprise.
“Who else would have the correct potions for developing wizard photos?” Colin asked rhetorically.
Harry shook his own head at the stupidity of the question he had asked and was about to respond when Ron came up and dragged him over to the couch.
“Harry, we need to do the Divination homework and I’m having trouble coming up with new and gruesome ways to get killed.”
“Perhaps a nice slow death by knifing. I think that is new and neither of us have used homicidal muggle maniac before.”
“Good idea Harry,” Ron replied whilst scribbling it down in his messy script.
“Death by lightning strike. Have we used that one yet?” Harry asked while snatching some parchment and a pen from Ron.
Ron snickered, “I think you used that last year. Try death by faulty Divination.”
“You two really should do that properly,” Hermione said when she looked up from her book.
“Yeah,” Seamus said as he dropped into Harry’s startled lap.
Harry shoved him off and into the seat next to him. “Your boyfriend is over there.”
Seamus rolled his eyes. “Do you think Draco is up for a foursome?”
Harry’s mouth open and closed twice before he squeaked, “I don’t think so.”
“Bloody shame, that.”
Ron was staring at Seamus like he had grown an extra head.
“Don’t be such a prude Ron. It’s fun,” Seamus said while wiggling his eyebrows suggestively at Ron.
Ron’s face screwed up tight like he tasted something sour, “No thanks. I’ll stick with Hermione.”
Hermione’s eyebrow arched, “What are you implying Ronald Weasley?”
“Ooomph!” Harry groaned as Colin jumped across his lap to crash face first into Seamus’s lap. Colin ended up lying across Harry and Seamus, his face in Seamus’s crotch and his crotch on top of Harry’s.
“Threesomes are good too, Harry,” Seamus quipped.
Harry tried pushing Colin off on to the floor, but he resisted causing them both an undo amount of friction as they rocked back and forth. Harry turned red in frustration and embarrassment as the inevitable occurred.
“Get off Colin,” Harry groaned lowly.
Colin, whose face was still planted in Seamus’s lap, made no effort to go anywhere.
Seamus was leaning back with a look of bliss on his face.
Ron and Hermione’s faces both displayed stunned shock.
“Flippendo!” Harry growled, waving his hand vaguely forward.
Colin flipped out of his lap, bounced across the table and landed in Ron’s lap.
Ron was jolted out of his shock and the first thing he did was push Colin off his lap and on to the floor.
Colin sat up and sort of weaved about before laying back down. “Tell me when the room stops spinning please,” he groaned.
Seamus hopped off the couch, crossed over to Colin and pounced on him. In a remarkably short period of time, the boys were snogging and generally unaware of everything around them.
Harry shook his head and went back to creating strange ways to die.
Ron settled back down moments later.
Hermione, looking up from her book, asked casually, “Did you cast that without a wand?”
“Huh?” Harry asked thickly.
Hermione replied, “Never mind.”
Harry shrugged his shoulders and went back to doing homework.
Several hours later Harry was ready to leave. Fred and George appeared in the commons room just in time to walk with Harry.
“Hi there Harry. I miss our morning showers,” Fred winked at Harry.
“Me too,” Harry snorted in response.
“Wonderful timing wasn’t it?”
“Us leaving just in time to walk you safely back to your flat.”
“Funny that,” Harry shrugged, refusing to be drawn into that mystery.
George smiled when Harry didn’t take the bait, “It is part of being family. You always take care of your brother.”
“Always,” Fred agreed.
Harry smiled at each twin in turn. They walked in silence the rest of the way back to the flat. The twins left once Harry was safely inside. Draco was waiting for him.
“I was just going to bed.”
“Good, I’m fagged out,” Harry sighed.
The next day roared by surprisingly fast and in no time at all Harry found himself sitting with Draco, Zavien, Justin and Percy waiting for the Order of the Phoenix meeting to begin.
They were in a large conference room located up the stairs from the Headmaster’s office and it was the first time they had ever seen it.
Professor Dumbledore walked in with Fawkes flying behind. Fawkes landed in front of Harry and broke immediately into a short phoenix song.
“Well that is one down,” Dumbledore said cryptically.
Fawkes hopped over in front of Draco and continued to sing.
“Excellent,” Dumbledore commented as he smiled at Draco, who was entranced with the phoenix song.
Fawkes hobbled his way to the spot in front of Zavien. He stared deeply at the by for a moment before bursting into song again.
Dumbledore looked pleased.
Fawkes stopped his song and then hopped to the space in front of Justin. After a long silence, he broke into song again.
Dumbledore nodded and smiled.
Fawkes stopped in front of the former Head Boy and sang again.
“Excellent. Fawkes has determined that your true intention is to help us. We can now begin this meeting. The rest of you may enter now,” Dumbledore said in a louder voice.
A great crowd of people entered into the room. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Mundungus Fletcher, Arabella Figg, Professor McGonagall, Professor Snape and Professor Lupin were amongst the attendees. They all whispered amongst themselves when they saw who the students were that were joining them.
“I’d like to introduce the students that will be joining the Order today. Percival Weasley, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Lawrence ‘Zavien’ Higgs, Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy,” Professor Dumbledore stated, pointing to each boy in turn.
“Albus, I really must protest the inclusion of the Malfoy boy,” Fletcher said sharply.
“He has passed the phoenix test, rather quickly I might add,” Dumbledore replied.
“His father is in Voldemort’s inner circle,” Fletcher snapped back.
“He is, but I am not my father,” Draco replied after a moment.
Harry moved his hand to join it with Draco’s on the table. The gesture spoke volumes to those in the room. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley looked mildly surprised, Arabella’s eyebrows went up and Mundungus looked absolutely scandalized.
Percy reached out at that point and joined hands with Justin, who was looking kind of pale sitting there.
This prompted more shifting among the gathered wizards.
“I didn’t realize you were running some sort of bender’s brothel Dumbledore,” Fletcher snapped at Albus.
Before Dumbledore could reply, Harry responded to the anger he was feeling from Fletcher in a magnified manner. Draco sagged backwards under the mental strain of keeping Harry’s errant empathic power surge constrained. Harry’s eyes dilated to nearly all pupil in his effort to control his erratic outburst. He managed to calm it, but a substantial surge of venomous anger poured out and slammed into Mundungus like a tidal wave. Fletcher fell back into Snape like a speared animal. His eyes went wide in shock.
Harry slumped over into Draco who tilted over into Percy who held up both boys.
“What did I tell you about controlling your outbursts?” Dumbledore asked rhetorically in clipped terms.
“I can see what you mean about Harry’s erratic control. I must say he is doing very well for having such a powerful gift. How long have the boys been connected?” Arabella asked, missing nothing.
“Since this past summer. It is through the connection that the additional powers have developed.”
Justin was looking over at the other two boys with a surprised look on his face. He had known that they were together but he didn’t realize the additional magical consequences for them. Justin then looked over to the silent Ravenclaw boy. Zavien shrugged vaguely at Justin in response.
“Let’s finish this meeting quickly, shall we? Mr. Potter and Mr. Malfoy will be training in addition to Mr. Finch-Fletchley and the younger Mr. Weasley. All four will become Animagis. Potter and Malfoy have further training to complete so that they can control their emerging powers. I might add Mr. Higgs to that list, but several tests still need to be performed prior to that decision. Any updates from the rest of you?”
“I will become Minister of Magic on November 1st . Minister Fudge is in a hurry to accept his retirement in a land far, far away. It will be nice to have his obstructionist policies gone so that we can focus directly on countering You Know Who,” Arthur Weasley reported.
“Sirius and I had a bit of a sticky problem with meeting contacts, but overall things are progressing as we wish. He is currently visiting some friends of mine in the Irish branch of the Ministry,” Arabella reported.
“Anything else?” Dumbledore asked.
Everyone shook his or her heads.
“Very well. This meeting is adjourned.”
Dumbledore revived the two boys while Snape worked on snapping Fletcher out of his shock.
The boys were kind of groggy but otherwise fine. Percy and Justin escorted them back to their flat and then went to bed themselves.
The next day was a little more hectic than Tuesday, but it passed quickly enough. Harry invited Ron and Hermione to come to the flat and spend the night. Harry rationalized the middle of the week all night visit with his current problems and Hermione gave in fairly quickly when Harry said he really needed his friends around.
Hermione and Ron went straight to the flat after class so that they could eat dinner with Harry and Draco. Dinner went well despite some minor tension between Ron and Draco.
Around nine that night, Fred and George left Gryffindor tower and went to their secret laboratory. Fred stayed for almost an hour before telling George that he was going to meet Zavien so that they could talk. George smiled to himself as Fred exited the lab whistling happily.
Fred used various secret passages until he arrived at the designated classroom. Zavien arrived shortly afterwards and they hugged each other in greeting. They broke apart and started to discuss a wide range of topics.
It was getting fairly late in the Gryffindor commons room, where Colin and Seamus were the last two Gryffindors still up. They were doing homework and otherwise lounging about.
“Colin, I’m a little hungry. Do you want to run with me down to the kitchen?”
“You know where it is?” he asked in surprise.
“Aye, Fred told me where it was and how to get in. The house elves bend over backwards to spoil us.”
“Of course I’ll go with you,” Colin said excited. “Can I bring my camera? My parents have never seen a house elf!”
Seamus laughed indulgently as he reached out and ruffled Colin’s hair. “Of course you can.”
Colin gave him a pouting look.
Seamus leaned forward and kissed him soundly. “Let’s go you nutter.”
Hermione looked up from the book she was reading. Ron and Harry were sitting across from her playing chess. Draco was also reading, sitting on the floor in front of the fire.
“I’ve just read something that makes me think of you Harry.”
At her words, all three of the other boys in the flat turned to look at her. She blushed lightly.
“What is it then?” Harry asked quietly.
“It is an ancient Egyptian blessing. ‘God be between you and harm, in all the empty places where you must walk.’ *. It seems rather appropriate for you Harry.”
Draco looked at the ceiling in a thoughtful way before looking back at Hermione and saying wistfully, “The ancient Egyptians had quite a way with words.” He turned to Ron, “Weren’t you in Egypt a few years ago?”
“Yes,” Ron answered shortly.
Harry looked across at Ron with an almost pleading look on his face.
Hermione gazed at her boyfriend with a slight frown on her face.
Ron took the looks for almost a minute before adding, “Egypt was rather interesting.”
“I’ve never been to Egypt. What was it like?” Draco asked Ron with genuine interest.
Ron, who was not used to this new Draco yet, stared blankly for another moment before starting to talk again. “The country has the feel of magic to it. It is almost overpowering to the senses when you are near the Great Pyramids. The curses they created were quite interesting.” Ron stopped and laughed. “Mum stopped the twins from shutting Percy up in one of the pyramids.”
Draco laughed a softly, very unlike his sneering snicker, “I can’t imagine why.”
Harry snickered at Percy’s expense. Ron laughed as well. Hermione merely shook her head and said something under her breath that sounded suspiciously like “boys.”
“My brother Bill works down there for Gringotts as a curse breaker. Mum wrote in her last letter that Bill was likely to get reassigned back to Britain now that Dad is going to be the Minister of Magic.”
“What do you think of having your father be Minister of Magic?” Draco asked, intensity in his eyes as he locked gazes with Ron.
“Honestly?” Ron sighed, “I’m worried. It will make him a bigger target and I don’t want to lose my father.”
Draco nodded but didn’t say anything further.
Ron looked like he was going to ask something but stopped.
“I think it is time that we got to bed. Are you two definitely staying tonight?” Harry asked.
“I think so,” Hermione said after glancing at Ron.
“Good night then. Coming Draco?”
“Soon,” Draco replied dryly. He stood from the couch and strutted towards their bedroom with his usual aristocratic walk.
Harry shook his head and Ron snorted. Harry walked into their room just ahead of Draco.
Ron watched and commented, “You know, it often looks like he walks with a broomstick up his…” and he stopped dead. His face paled and then he cleared his throat, “Well, that was an image I could have lived without. Forget I said anything Hermie.”
“You’re such a goof sometimes Ron Weasley.”
“Thanks,” Ron replied with a goofy grin on his face.
“Boys,” she muttered as she pressed him back into the couch with a large kiss.
“Mmph,” was all the noise that Ron was able to make.
Fred and Zavien were still in the classroom an hour later talking quietly to each other. Fred’s back was to the door and his body blocked Zavien’s view, so neither of them saw the black-clothed man sneak into the room while they were talking.
The person grinned maliciously as he raised the Quidditch beater’s bat and nearly chuckled aloud at the irony as he brought it down sharply on the back of Fred’s head.
Fred crumpled immediately to the floor without making a sound.
Zavien stared in shock at the intruder dressed all in black with a black skin-tight mask on. His attention was drawn to the shimmering knife that had replaced the beater’s bat in the intruder’s hand.
“People who betray their families pay the price,” a gravelly voice growled as he lunged forward.
Zavien, who had been taken by surprise, was not able to move aside fast enough. The knife plunged straight into his stomach. The pain was unbelievable. His vision blurred immediately and he had trouble trying to catch his breath. Hot blood flowed freely over his hands as he clutched desperately at the hand holding the knife protruding from his belly.
The intruder chuckled coldly as he jerked the knife free. He moved to the crumpled form of Fred Weasley and viciously kicked the boy’s chest several times before sauntering away. “Stupid meddling Weasleys,” the man sneered.
Zavien crawled the short distance to Fred before the blood loss became too great and he slipped into the inky blackness. The last thing he saw was Fred’s still body.
George, who was working on an experiment in their laboratory, jerked straight up in his seat. He jumped to his feet so fast that the stool he was sitting on flipped over and crashed into the other workbench. The beaker of bubbling blue liquid that he held in his left hand crashed to the floor and shattered into thousands of pieces.
He grasped his wand in his right hand as he burst out the door to the secret laboratory and went running down the hall as fast as he could.
His pounding feet could not keep pace with the pounding of his heart. He had the sudden, absolute knowledge that something was very seriously wrong.
The young man dressed in black moved purposely towards the main entrance hall of Hogwarts so that he could slip back out and get away from the school. He made it most of the way without seeing another soul. He sneered sadistically when he noticed two Gryffindors chomping on food they just got from the kitchen.
The positioning was perfect as he was behind the two boys. He smiled when he realized he’d get to have a little fun with an annoying Gryffindor half-breed and his Mudblood friend. He followed them for a few moments deciding how to strike.
Seamus and Colin had gotten their fill from Dobby. Dobby had taken a special liking to the Gryffindor boys, but he wouldn’t say why. All he knew was that it had something to do with Harry.
They left the kitchen still finishing up the pastries that the house elves had provided at Dobby’s prompting (not that they needed the prompting).
Seamus never heard the person following them until it was far to late. There was a faint whistling noise that caused him to spin around, but he only made it part way. The blow that had been aimed at the back of his head smacked squarely into his face. His nose broke with a spray of blood as he crashed limply to the floor.
Colin spun around as well, his wand in his hand, “Stupefy!” he yelled but too late as his wand arm was knocked upwards at the last second causing his spell to shoot harmlessly into the air.
“Stupid Mudblood!” the man growled.
Before Colin had a chance to try another spell, the man brought the beater bat down sharply on the center of his wand arm. The resounding crack signaled his success. The man closed the distance between him and the younger teen then moved his bloody knife into view. Colin staggered back as far as he could. The other man followed him and pressed into him in an almost intimate way, holding Colin against the wall.
“One less Mudblood to worry about,” the man rasped.
Colin’s eyes were wide with terror for a moment before they narrowed in pain. The man plunged the knife into his lower belly and he twisted a little before yanking the knife out.
Colin collapsed where he stood, blood running freely from the wound in his stomach.
The man jerked sharply towards the nearest portrait that gasped in surprise and disappeared from her frame. He hissed in response and slashed at the portrait twice before turning to make a break for the main door. As he started to pass Seamus, he snapped the beater bat downwards as hard as he could into his shoulder. He smiled at the cracking noise that resulted. “Stupid half-breed.”
He sprinted past several suits of armor and a house ghost as he burst out the main door. He immediately jumped onto the broom he had hidden outside and flew straight towards the Forbidden Forest.
The castle was left behind in a hailstorm of activity as the ghosts and the portraits aroused every person in the castle.
End of chapter 19
* The blessing was quoted by Babylon 5 creative consultant Harlan Ellison in his short story, "Paladin of the Lost Hour." It appeared in several of the Babylon 5 episodes. So it is definitely not mine.
** Centering and grounding are two terms that are used by Mercedes Lackey in her Valdemar series. I have used the terms and you might find them vaguely familiar if you have read those books. Though with everything else on FF, I took literary license.
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