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Chapter 11: A Warning Delivered.Part 1
AN: I do not own Harry Potter the Universe is the creation of JK Rowling.
Chapter Eleven-A Warning Delivered. Part One.
Inside the castle of Hogwarts students were stirring and preparing to go about their weekend plans. Minevera McGonagall winced as she stepped into the brightness of the Great Hall, squinting up at the sunny ceiling she thanked every deity she knew that it was a weekend and so, for the present, relatively empty. As she reached the raised dais the headmaster greeted her cheerfully and with that damnable twinkle in his eye, deciding there was safety in silence she ignored him and reached for a jug of black coffee as she sank down. The man would not be deterred though and was rambling on in-what was to Minevera-an offensively cheery manner, she raised her head to glare at him and was forced to blink. The man had the nerve to wear-on a Sunday morning mind you-a hideously vibrant purple robe trimmed with primrose yellow. Abandoning her glare Minevera closed her eyes in disgust feeling the colours burned into her eye, the pounding in her head return full force and her gut start rolling.
Pushing sharply to her feet caused her to have to grip the table for several seconds, when her equilibrium returned she left the Great Hall rapidly, neither noticing or caring that she nearly flattened Peter Pettigrew and Narcissa Black. As she reached the main doors to escape the castle, she was brought up sharp, receiving a severe shock. She closed her eyes slowly and then opened them to peer carefully at the illusion, it had not changed, James Potter and Lucius Malfoy had sauntered in, having obviously spent the night under the stars. Not feeling up to trying to understand this alternative arrangement she merely smiled at them, transferring the shock back to the twosome, and upon seeing their surprised expressions felt mildly better. Not, however, well enough to return to the Great Hall and face the headmaster again, his rambling or his robes. So nodding to the two still silent boys, she slipped from the main doors and into the extensive grounds of Hogwarts, a slender hand to her temple.
Since she was focused on her search for somewhere shady, quiet and undisturbed she failed to notice three male figures sneaking into the castle via a supposedly secret side door, her eyes been cast to the floor she failed to notice one figure stop and gaze after her momentarily. Her feet finally carried her to a clearing at the edge of the Forbidden Forest and to her surprise; she detected magic warding carefully placed around its perimeter. Relaxing slightly as the magic welcomed hers, Minevera removed her outer robe, leaving her standing in knee length boots, clinging leggings, and a double layered velvet and silk low cut tunic, heedless of the state her robe would be in she dropped it to the ground at the base of a large tree, smiling gently as she heard it’s beading clatter gently. With very little effort and in contrast to the image she presented she pulled herself into a tree and manoeuvred quickly onto a well worn but comfortable branch. Settling against the sturdy trunk behind her Minevera started to carefully uncoil her intricately plaited hair, feeling strands fall free and small glass beads clink as she unpinned it. She sighed in relief as the head and neck ache lifted slightly as the mass of waist length dark hair swung free, resting her head against the bark behind her she tried to draw it’s peace around her like a blanket and failed. She had passed an uneasy night and had woken up in the previous night’s clothes, memories foggy, loneliness in her heart, cramp in her back and hips, along with a pounding headache. That the ache in her heart had something to do with her foggy memories and a sense of loss and shame that had lead her to drink was all she really knew of the night before. To proud to ask anyone for help she had changed and left her quarters without taking a pain-relieving potion, determined she would cope. Her lips quirked in a mocking smile as her eyes closed, maybe some sleep will help she thought. Maybe when I wake I will not feel so lonely. Thinking of the warmth that had embraced her as she stepped into the wards she slipped into sleep, firmly supported by the boughs of the tree, and a lone crystalline tear trickled down her cheek.
Severus and Sirius had been awoken by a bleary eyed Remus and were embarrassed to note they had fallen asleep wrapped around each other. When their heads cleared a little they noticed that when he was questioned Remus merely shrugged and kept repeating the need to return to the castle. Sirius noticed his friend’s haunted look had returned and cursing the nightmares of the past three months questioned him openly, cursing mentally as they had all thought the nightmares had receded recently. Remus merely looked at him with a grim smile and asked if they could please return to the castle before he fell asleep where he stood. Severus was looking puzzled so on the walk back to the castle Sirius explained-in whispers-how Remus never slept outside, preferring to be awake in case anything happened, and how he’d been more edgy than ever these past months. Remus, walking ahead, heard every word and beyond smiling grimly and mockingly did not correct his friend’s assumptions. Remus’ plan was simple. Loose the other two, make his way to the headmaster’s office, deliver the message, make good his escape and then spend however long it took looking for his mate. When they reached the castle Sirius dragged them round to a secret entrance, just as he was about to duck through the door a sweet scent reached Remus. The smell of old wood smoke mixed with honeysuckle, and sweat caused him to draw up sharply, he looked around in anticipation forgetting the words he’d heard last night for a few seconds, seeing no-one but his Head of House his wide shoulders slumped and he followed the other two boys into the cool of Hogwarts. His minor distraction had gone unnoticed and with Sirius basking in Severus’ admiration Remus was able to slip away undetected.
It took the two boys several minutes to notice his disappearance and then they shrugged and made their way to the Great Hall thinking he’d meet them their. They luckily bumped into Lucius and James in the Entrance Hall and since no one else was present all four boys smiled at each other before the two Slytherins entered the hall just before the two Gryffindors.
Albus had been overjoyed to see Minevera that morning, as she was a great debater with an intriguing, if set mind. He greeted her with enthusiasm, hoping she would distract him from his worries so he frowned slightly at her snub before throwing himself into a topic she would not be able to resist discussing. After several minutes of his one-sided conversation she had looked up, seemed to glare in disapproval at his robes before flouncing from the Great Hall nearly ploughing through two students. Albus clucked to himself, he would have to talk to her about these dramatics, she was very touchy at the minute about everything. He drifted into a brown study again and so failed to register that his drivel over house unity was at work where three sets of students were concerned.
Albus had been sitting with his chin on his hand for several minutes when he felt his office wards chime and a charred piece of parchment landed on his cold eggs. his bushy eyebrows rose as he read the name. Remus Lupin had voluntarily gone to his office. He must have been doing something right as the boy normally avoided him at all costs, in fact had never come to him about anything. He rather suspected the Head of Gryffindor House deliberately made sure the brats in her care either went directly to her with their problems or were too independent. Albus whistled merrily to himself as he walked to his office. He had something else to berate Minevera about.
At the top of the moving staircase he rearranged his face into a more sympathetic mien. He pushed open the door and stepped into the room, looking around impatiently for Remus Lupin. He became annoyed as he noticed that the boy, despite clearly hearing his entrance, had ignored the door opening preferring to keep talking to Fawkes, the stupid phoenix. Albus cleared his throat and sat himself regally behind his desk waiting as the Lupin child muttered nonsense to the bird. The boy was, he reckoned, probably a savage so it was only fair to not expect him to have manners, but the phoenix belonged to him how dare it ignore him for the wolf boy. Albus was startled when the phoenix let out an angry trill and landed protectively on the boy’s shoulder, glaring at his master. Remus approached the desk and stood over the headmaster looking down at him coolly with amber eyes. Just shy I expect, thought Albus, missing Fawkes’ scoff.
He turned on the grandfatherly twinkle and beamed at the young Gryffindor. “Remus my boy.” he exclaimed, “what a delight it is to see you. Have a seat my boy, have a seat!” He gushed, “would you care for a cup of tea son? Maybe a lemon drop.” Albus trailed off noticing the young werewolf had neither moved nor responded to his prattle. In fact Remus was merely staring at him with those harsh golden eyes and gently petting Fawkes, who was still perched on his shoulder.
As Albus watched Remus’ face became as cold as his eyes and he leant forward, placing both callused hands on the headmaster’s desk. His presence cowed Albus and the wolf in Remus seemed to sense this as a fleeting sneer crossed his face. Fawkes crossly nipped his finger, causing the young wolf to chuckle, “Sorry Fawkes, just couldn’t help it.” The phoenix seemed satisfied, but Albus was left wondering what it was the young Gryffindor could not help. Remus wandered away to the Phoenix’s perch and coaxed him onto it with gentle words and soft whispers. He stood with his back to the headmaster, mulling over the advice he had received just before the man had wandered into the room. He gently ruffled Fawkes’ feathers in thanks and strode across to the headmaster.