Chapter 5 : Hogwarts' Finest
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Harry did not think this Apparation business would be so tricky. This was the third class of the week, and he still was not able to move an inch. Most of the other Hogwarts students have gotten the hang of it, their instructor at the Ministry of Magic knew what she was doing. But for some reason, he just couldn’t do the damn thing. He cursed softly under his breath. Everyone was watching him, and he knew that a lot of them were snickering behind his back. Hermione had a puzzled expression on her face, and Ron was quite befuddled. Ron had tried to show him the ‘easy’ way to do it, after all, Fred and George taught him how to apparate, and therefore on the first day of class was the only one to get their provisional permit. In another month, all of them would have to return and do an exam and apparate over a substantial distance, reappearing in a certain target area. Their instructor, Ms Hutchinson was watching Harry closely, knowing that there was something…differentt about him. After a whole week and no improvement she decided to tell him to return another time to have a crack at it again, instead of forcing himself now. Her instincts were telling her that something was not right about this.
“Okay, Harry, take it easy, some people take a bit more time to get used to it,” Ms Hutchinson told him soothingly. “Maybe you can come back next week, when you’re a bit more relaxed. You seem tense,” she added.
Harry did not respond. He was tense these past few days. Malfoy had mailed him back, saying that he would come to Lionheart just to prove that he could beat him in Quidditch. Knowing the first part of his mission was complete gave him a bit of relief, but on the other hand, the real task had now begun. Draco may not know it, but in the Order’s bingo book, he was classified as an “S” class threat, and was not to be underestimated. Harry did not particularly like the sound of that: ‘S’ class threat ? What the hell?
“No, I can do it,” Harry gritted through his teeth, his eyes closed tightly. He couldn’t believe it- all the magic he has learnt, all the impossibly hard techniques he’s mastered, but after days of trying he couldn’t even apparate?? It perplexed him. Why was it so difficult? For wizards, this was a routine spell, but here he was, on the last day before the school term began, and still could not do the short jump to the target area twenty feet away.
“I’ll make special reservation for you next week, Harry. Don’t force it,” said Ms Hutchinson, getting a bit more worried. What was that tingling feeling in the air?
“I can do it,” Harry said again. Hermione was looking at him intently, something was happening to Harry. She frowned, and came across to his side.
Ron was leaning on the wall, lounging with the other seventh years. He didn’t want to, but he was feeling pretty good about himself. Here he was: watching Harry struggle to do something he could do ever since last summer. It felt like he finally got one up on his best mate. Sometimes it wasn’t fair how Harry was able to do everything so effortlessly. At least, Ron knew he was better at doing something other than chess. He continued talking with Luna and Seamus as they quarrelled about the second half of the Quidditch season. Harry’s Lionheart strikers were high up in the table, four spots below Krum’s first place Lionheart United. The Tornadoes were having a great season, and were the main title contenders to Lionheart United. Ron’s gaze fell on Hermione, who was now clutching Harry’s sleeve urgently.
“Harry, listen, maybe you should listen to her…you can come back another time, please?” she said softly, her eyes filled with concern. He ignored her as well, his eyes clenched tightly. Now that she was so close, she could feel the pulsing energy of the Solidus Charm building up inside of him. “Harry, stop!” Hermione shouted. Ron dashed forward, something was happening-
Before he even knew it, he had fallen down in the middle of an open field, alongside all of the other seventh years. Everyone was either face down or flat on their back, and Ron took a moment to realize what had happened. A heartbeat ago, they were in the Department of Magical Transport training facility. Now, he was looking at setting sun falling behind the hills of a vast rolling field. Someone screamed at the shock of it all and a large flock of white birds suddenly took off into the sky, disturbed by the sudden appearance of so many intruders in their resting zone. Harry alone was standing, looking utterly lost.
“What the ?” Ron exclaimed. The others were slowly getting up, all of them just as clueless to what has happened.
“Harry! I warned you!” Hermione scolded, sitting up in the poppy field. “What you were trying wasn’t apparation, it was-“
“-Teleportation,” Ms Hutchinson finished in awe. Dark magic such as this was outlawed since the days of the founders- the most useful tool kidnappers used during the Goblin Wars. How was he able to do this?
Harry looked at both of them, completely lost. What did they just say? “Teleportation?” he asked. Ms Huchinson approached him carefully, writing down the time, date, and location of her magical compass. It read:
Current location: Stockbury Hill, England.
Target Location: M.O.M. London, England.
Total Distance: 81 Kilometres due South South-West
Target Distance: 20 metres due East north east.
There was a look of astonishment on her face, and her eyes darted back up to Harry. Harry was freaking out- and tried his best to look at what she was frantically scribbling down on her notepad. She quickly hid her notes, and cleared her throat.
“I’m sorry Mr Potter, but this ..um…incident…is serious business. It will have to be reported, and I’m afraid that there will be a review to determine if you would be allowed to continue apparation lessons.”
“But- it was a mistake- honest!” he sputtered. She gave him a look through her beady eyes, not believing one word he said.
“Just be grateful that everyone seems to be okay, and we didn’t end up in another time – or worse yet, a different reality.” Ms Hutchinson looked at him strangely, and Hermione bit her lip in worry. “EVERYONE!” The instructor called out. “Please wait while I head back to the Ministry to get a Portkey License for you lot. Do NOT and, let me make this clear, do NOT wander off, or your provisional permits will be revoked and you will not be allowed to retake the exam,” she said in a stern voice.
Everyone went dead silent.
“Be back in a few minutes!” she added cheerfully, and with that, she Dissaparated with a crack!
Hermione wrapped her arms around Harry, giving him all of her support. She read up on Teleportation in the Ancient Tome of Sorcery the book she found by Salazar Slytherin. It was all piecing together now. The signs were there, from the sudden and dramatic increase of magical ability- the mood swings, the memory lapses –and most importantly, the few times he told her that he was hearing a voice- a voice she herself had heard once- that day, at Sirius’ one year memorial. Harry had just given back Gryffindor’s sword to Albus Dumbledore- then, out of nowhere, she had heard it in her head- that strange voice Harry used whenever he was in his trance state:
Fool. Our work is not yet done.
Harry just stood there, his expression one of deep contemplation. He was still trying to comprehend what happened ere. It was just like when he was going to the Dursleys at the end of year five, when the apparated the lot of them and the car to the house. He thought that was some unexplainable mishap, but now that he had done it again, he began to worry. He cursed softly, looking at all of the faces staring apprehensively at him. He hated this!
“Hermione, what is happening to me?” he asked in frustration, holding her closely. His life felt so out of control….
“Shh... It’s okay, Harry, we’ll sort this out together,” she consoled him, looking about at the vast expanse of untamed land. She held on to him tightly, and decided that there was no other way: As soon as she got back to school, she will need to have a word with Professor Dumbledore. Someone had to help him, and her Occlumens training was not enough to solve this problem. Hermione was suspecting it all along, but it felt that her suspicions had more weight than she realized. The headmaster needed to be informed that Harry was slowly, but surely, being possessed.
On the Sunday before the opening of the new school year, the entire Order of the Phoenix was congregated in the Room of Requirement. They were all summoned to this very important meeting by their founder, and headmaster of Hogwarts: Albus Dumbledore. All were seated around a large conference table, their expressions dead serious with the matter at hand. Sean Creevey, one of the survivors of the battle of King’s Crown, and also their shadow man from the Ministry’s Unmentionables Auror squadron, was giving his report.
“The destruction of Azkaban has the Minister of Magic and the entire community on edge. We have all been working day in, day out to get to the bottom of this mystery. The mere fact that Azkaban was destroyed is a dilemma that no one has ever predicted, far less thought possible. The entire fleet of Aurors, including us: the Unmentionables are doing all we can, but from the evidence gathered, the pattern of destruction is consistent with the blast area of the most powerful spell- the Reducto Ultima. ” He paused, looking at all the wizards present. ”Which now leads us to believe that there are wizards other than Professor Dumbledore and a handful of other ‘S’ Class magi alive, and unaccounted for. This may be a problem, depending which way he or she swings. Professor? What is your take on this?”
“Indeed this may be a problem,” Albus Dumbledore nodded. “It is imperative that we are prepared for this possible threat, alongside the difficult task of helping the re-capture of the escapees. We must find more clues to whoever this Dark wizard may be. Also- I fear this is tied in to the group who attacked the train at the end of the previous school term. The “Followers” as they called themselves, are also another problem to be solved. Because of the attack; the new Hogwarts express will be heavily guarded on the journey to and from King’s cross. Even though the escort has already been decided by the Ministry; I personally am going to ensure that all of my students arrive safely. Amelia, any news of the escapees themselves?” Dumbledore asked Madame Bones, a witch who worked alongside the Legislative division of the Wizengamot.
“From our records, there are quite a few of Voldemort’s men who may have been alive at the time of the escape. ‘B’ ranked Death Eaters Macnair, and Rodulphus Lestrange: who- get this- has been in and out of Azkaban numerous times, which is saying something. There has only been one person to escape from Azkaban: Sirius Black. But this man, Lestrange, has never really ‘broken out’. Hear this, he was released on claims he was under Voldemort’s Imperius curse, recaptured after the Department of Mysteries Incident, then sub sequentially escaped a few months later on transit to execution by the Veil of the Unknown. That was the second time he has gotten away. Then he was recaptured once again by Auror Trainee Harry Potter and Ministry employee Arthur Weasley on New year’s Day of this year, then,” she laughed grimly at this: “now is again at large due to the fall of Azkaban. In and out of Azkaban three- count ‘em, three times. Slippery as a fish that one….”
Dumbledore pursed his lips. He remembered young Lestrange’s and Sirius’ rivalry in Hogwarts. For some reason, Sirius was the only one to get detention when they were caught fighting. Rodulphus, on the other hand, usually got off. Not a particularly gifted student, Rodulphus Lestrange was a master at deceptive and manipulative magic. His penchant for the impossible was also a knack he excelled at, give him something that was supposedly never been attempted before and he will do it. Was it possible that somehow he was able to destroy Azkaban from the inside out? A Possession spell to enlist aid from the outside, maybe? Dumbledore pondered on this new train of thought: destroying Azkaban was supposedly impossible, and he seriously doubted Lestrange was the one who pulled it off….
“We need to continue recruiting more members, Professor,” Mr Weasley added. “The Ministry is stretching out its resources in this mass manhunt- and by doing so, our effectiveness is cut almost to half. Lionheart has given us a shortlist of promising graduates from this past year.” He pulled out a roll of parchment.
Bill Weasley cleared his throat. “Oh, and on a brighter side of things, Harry seems to have settled nicely into Lionheart. This is good news, his instructors Jeremy Kingsley and Jacobsen have high hopes for the lad.”
“But you may recall, Professor, he was once considered a liability by most of the Order. Actually, at one time it appeared that he was on the verge of self destruction- remember what he did to our guys from the ministry earlier this year…” Sean Creevey objected, still not totally confident of someone so young being inducted into the Order of the Phoenix.
“That was different, he was provoked into fighting!” exclaimed Tonks.
“That doesn’t matter, Tonks. The magic absorption technique he used is pretty difficult to pull off- and I doubt Ulrich Ferdinand would have exaggerated…” another Auror added.
Dumbledore put his fingertips together and inhaled a deep breath. It was true: Harry was becoming more and more unstable as the year passed on.
“Professor,” Remus intervened. “Do you think that he would be able to keep Malfoy under control? Putting them together in the same place may backfire on us. Maybe we should have handled this ourselves…”
“Remus, my friend, this may come as a shock, but it is already beyond our control. Young Malfoy’s Infernus ability has rapidly multiplied upon itself, and even I may not be able to defeat him if it came down to a duel. I believe giving him direction and purpose would be the best course of action. Hunting him down would only result in more bloodshed. Who knows? Maybe he will apply himself diligently to his studies. There’s something more than meets the eye about Draco, and I daresay Harry is our only hope in keeping him under control….”
On the beginning of the new term at Lionheart Order of Sorcery, one young man was sweating profusely. Things were not turning out the way it supposed too. What was he to do know? The gaffer was already taking roll.
Shit. He was late.
Was he really coming?
Dammit Malfoy! You better show up!
Harry was seething. He should have been here almost half an hour ago. He just hoped that Draco did not do something stupid like throw away his letter, or worse, thought that it was a prank. It was meant to goad him, yes- but it was still intended to be quite serious. Hopefully, he wasn’t too thick and dim-witted just to laugh it off.
His name was going to be called next. And he was the last one on the list before Draco’s on the S.T.A.R. division shortlist. Drill Sergeant Jacobsen was a bit funny about the time. If you were late, you would soon find out that he could be just a friendly as an ingrown hair embedded deep into the anus. If Draco didn’t show up now, he definitely was going to have a rough year.
Harry acknowledged the roll call, nodding at ‘Drill Sergeant” Jacobsen. He may be disagreeable at times, but all in all, he was a just and fair man.
“Psst…Harry…” someone whispered in his ear. Harry jumped- then turned to look at the girl next to him. How in the world does she do that? A few seconds before, there was only a tall wizard on his right. Where did she come from?
“Fleur!” Harry smiled as he gave her a brief hug. “ Never cease to amaze me, how you could sneak up on people like that.”
“I got in! I got in!” she whispered excitedly. “Finally, I can make daddy proud…” Harry grinned. She may be a bit forward, but they had become pretty good friends over the past few months. Fleur had more to her than met the eye. Hell, anyone smitten with Draco Malfoy had to have something special about her.
“DELACOUR, Fleur!” said Jacobsen. He scanned the crowd, and made eye contact with her. She smiled at him, and Harry was not surprised when the instructor blushed slightly. He stifled a laugh. Jacobsen quickly looked down at his roll of parchment and the list of names there. He focused low down the page, did a quick head check of the Auror trainees in front of him, and frowned.
“One is missing. Where is …” he checked the name again- “Malfoy, Draco?” He glared at the lot. “Well? Anyone here knows where this bloke is?”
Suddenly, the great entrance doors of the Lionheart Order of Sorcery flung open and slammed against the walls with a tremendous BANG. Everyone peered down the vast hall at the figure silhouetted in the morning sunlight. Murmurs of annoyance began to rise from those wizards who bustled about, hurrying to get to the respective classes. Who was this person who dared cause such commotion in the Auror academy?
“What the fuck…?” Jacobsen grumbled, immediately now in a bad mood. “Who the hell is that?” Everyone turned to face at the young man dressed in black wizard robes, his swagger and attitude screaming arrogance and a big “fuck you” to whoever didn’t like his grandiose entrance. Fleur was all starry eyed, and Harry shook his head in bewilderment. He looked at Draco’s face, and shook his head in annoyance.
Draco, you dumb git. You just had to be the center of attention don’t you…
Draco Malfoy strode towards the main security desk, signed his name with a flourish, then marched straight to where Harry Potter and the others were standing. Jacobsen’s jaw dropped with the utter irreverence of it all. How dare he barge into his main hall and create a scene!
“Come here! Who the hell are you?” Jacobsen threatened.
“Malfoy. Draco Malfoy,” he bowed his head gallantly, mocking the older man. “And who, dare I ask- may you be?” he countered, looking directly into Jacobsen’s face.
The two wizards glared at each other, and amazingly, Jacobsen’s face broke into a slow grin.
“You got spunk. Very good. You got attitude, that’s also good.” he said. “But, I already don’t like you. You got that, you little fuck?” he whispered. In an instant his face reverted back to its regular stony expression and he screamed into his face. “NOW GET YOUR ASS BACK IN LINE! AND DON’T YOU EVER, AND I REPEAT, EVER QUESTION ME AGAIN!”
“Yes, sir!” Draco said, a twinkle in his eye. As he turned he caught sight of Potter, and the girl next to him. When his back was turned completely to Jacobsen, he snapped his fingers softly under the cover of his expensive cloak. Harry frowned as he saw him do it, what was that about? Draco made his way across to Harry, and both of them for a moment just stared at each other. Harry’s battle instincts began to take over, and his heart began to race. The air was heavy with tension, both young men jaw muscles tightening in animosity. Their eyes bored into each other, and all time stopped, their eyes locked in a battle of wills.
What was Draco going to do? Was he about to start something right here, right now? Harry surreptitiously put his hand in his pocket, his fingers closing around his Phoenix core wand..
They glared at each other, their faces dead serious.
“I have something to say.”
Harry just raised an eyebrow.
“I hope that loud-mouth has some strong sphincter muscles- because I secretly hexed him with a Diarrhoea curse.”
“Huh?” said Harry, completely lost. Draco smiled evilly.
“Well Potter, you noticed when I snapped my fingers didn’t you? That was a little greeting present for our esteemed teacher. I created a diversion so I could get close enough without raising his suspicions. The stupid mudblood,” Draco added with a sneer.
“You know him?” said Harry, his interest piqued.
“My, my, it seems that you catch on quicker than usual. My old man told me about him. He did that same little trick to my father back when they were studying in Lionheart together. Alas, he never got a chance to repay the favour. A son must carry on the family torch of his father, isn't that so? Give it a few seconds.” Draco grinned. He got into line, and folded his arms. Draco did not even seem to notice that the girl on either side of Harry was frequently glancing in his direction. While Jacobsen was barking out names, Draco sized up the splendour of the halls of Lionheart’s Order of Sorcery. He looked at Harry straight in the eye.
”Ah, so it boils down to this,” his voice all business once again, his expression blank.
“Boils down to what?” asked Harry. He was thinking about what Malfoy just said: A son must carry on the family torch of his father... Suddenly, Jacobsen broke off the roll call, and sweat began to bead on forehead. Harry’s eyes widened as face began to burn red, his posture going rigid. Without warning, Master Jacobsen dashed off in the direction of the bathrooms. Draco smirked knowingly. Harry began to laugh. The group dispersed, and both of them walked off, followed by a very nervous Fleur Delacour. Harry glanced back at her, but she was walking behind them timidly. Quite out of character for her (in Harry’s opinion).
“What do you mean?” Harry asked again after Draco failed to answer.
“Yes, Potter. Destiny…you and me: it is the return of Hogwarts’ finest.”
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