Chapter 1 : Last of the Mhrriad
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CHAPTER THE FIRST
The Unexpected Guest
“Attention please. Attention!” The Great Hall’s excited roar of chatter lowered to complete silence at Dumbledore’s request.
“Now I have a few announcements to make to commence the year. First, as a school record I believe, this if the first year that no new items have been added to Mr. Filch’s Forbidden Items list. Due to last year’s events, students are asked not to go within ten feet of the Forbidden Forest, or else to risk expulsion. On a brighter note, we have three new members of the staff. It is my pleasure to reacquaint you with an old alumnus. Oliver Wood will be joining us as our Defense against the Dark Arts professor, as he takes a hiatus from his Quidditch career due to a torn arm muscle.” As he said this, a tall, muscular man of about nineteen stepped forward. Oliver had been the Quidditch captain for Gryffindor two years back, and had played for the Puddlemere Reserve team the previous year. Voices (mainly female) rose as the handsome old classmate resumed his seat, but fell at the clearing of the silver-haired headmaster’s throat.
“It is also my great sorrow to announce Professor Flitwick’s retirement to I believe…Aruba. However, we have another familiar face filling in to teach Charms – Fleur Delacour. She is unable to be with us tonight, but I am sure that you will all see her tomorrow.
Finally, we have a new class this year, to be offered as an enrichment course to students and teachers alike. The newest discovery of magic will be taught in Telepathy and Other Means of Magical Communications, taught by an exchange student whom we are guesting, Cerise Volcane. She has recently graduated from Salem’s Academy of Sorcery in the United States of America, here for advanced study of Herbology. Cerise, would you mind coming forward?”
A curvaceous, red robed young woman glided to the center of the room, next to Dumbledore. Her face was framed in waist-length wavy black hair. Almond-shaped, slightly tilted green eyes and full, plump lips accentuated her honey-tan skin, and she smiled at the crowd, revealing two rows of perfect white teeth. Nodding her head, she took a seat next to Wood’s at the Head table.
“With all that ado, let the feast begin.” At the last word, gold plates of savory food appeared along the four house and the head tables. A cheer erupted as everyone dug into serving platters strewn with roast beef and chickens, slices of ham, and cutlet of lamb, as well as a vast array of seafood, and an even more impressive selection of side dishes, soups, stews, and almost every food imaginable to the starving pupils.
Oliver became soon engaged in conversation with the beautiful girl on his right.
“Well, I’m from Lanai – that’s an Island in Hawaii. Not many people live there; most are on Oahu, where Honolulu is. That’s where most of the tourists go, too. There’s not much of a wizarding community; I live in the rainforest, next to a waterfall. It’s really quite beautiful there, that’s why I love herbology so much. Unfortunately, Salem didn’t have such a great Herbology department; it was mainly based upon potions, divination and transfiguration. We had a world acclaimed Arithmancy program, too. So you went here, did you? What made you take on the Defense job?”
“Yes, graduated two years ago. I always liked Defense best. Only class I was good at besides Quidditch, if that counts. Had ruddy teachers though. Lupin, in my seventh year, was the only good one. Actually, Gerard O’Malley, in the first three years, wasn’t bad. He got killed by a chimera a few years back, though. So then there was Quirrel, worked for You-know-who, Lockhart in my 6th year, a bloody loon. Sorry, didn’t mean to bore you.”
“Oh don’t worry. So who are the staff? I know Albus, but the rest… brief me.”
“Umm… okay. Down there, that’s Severus Snape. Nasty greasy haired git. The staff can’t stand him, none of the students can either, except for the Slytherins, but they’re a bunch of slimy greasy haired gits themselves… not to prejudice you though. He’s the Slytherin head of house. Next to him, is Trelawney. She’s divination professor, don’t see her often. Says we cloud her ‘inner eye’. Load of dung if you ask me. Minerva McGonagell, head of Gryffindor and teacher of Transfiguration. Strict, but really kind. Definitely kind, she put up with me all through my seven years, plus she’s got the Weasley twins. Sprout, you’ll like her. Head of Hufflepuff and she teaches Herbology. Bit of a pushover though, really. I’m sorry, I’m just giving you the student’s point of view, never worked with them before as a peer.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll probably see them the same way. And the one there?”
“Professor Vector, of Ravenclaw. He teaches Arithmancy, but…”
The feast soon ended, and the students filed out of the Great Hall. Professor McGonagell led Oliver and Cerise out of the Hall and into a long, winding corridor Oliver did not remember from his school days. He smiled as Cerise’s eyes darted all over the walls, talking in the moving suits of armor and the paintings along the walls, looking mildly impressed. As they approached a large and magnificent painting of a sea nymph, Professor McGonagell conjured it away to reveal an oak door, intricate carvings adorning the four front panels. With a wave of her wand, she attached a small brass sign to the front of the door.
O. Wood / C. Volcane
“I’m afraid that none of the other offices are in condition for inhabitation, but as this is a duplex suite, I’m sure it will do.” She opened the door to reveal a white and cream room, trimmed in Gold leaf, and divided in two by a wall three feet shorter than the width of the room. At the back of each section was another carved door, each with similar intricate designs.
“These are your offices – a sound-proof charm ensures privacy for the two sections. Wood, there is an additional office for you off of the Defense classroom. The doors in the back lead you to separate chambers that share a bathroom. I will see you at eight o’ clock tomorrow morning for breakfast. Goodnight.” With that, she walked back into the hallway, shutting the door behind her.
Cerise and Oliver stood and looked at each other after McGonagell left. After a very awkward pause, Oliver said, slightly nervously, “Well… G’night then.” Flashing her pearl white teeth in a relieved smile, Cerise replied, “Good Night.” In a voice reminding Oliver of honey, it was so smooth and clear. He watched after her as she walked through the left side office and through the doorway, hips swaying tantalizingly. He continued to stand there a few moments after she closed the door, then recollecting his wits, proceeded to the room on the right.
His chamber was large and decorated in the same manner as the offices. On one end of the room were two cream couches and a coffee table, in front of a roaring fire. On the other, a king sized elegant mahogany bed swathed in sheets of varying shades of cream. The walls were lined with enormous white curtained windows, edged in gold. Oliver noticed his trunks piled in the far corner of the room. Brown leather and of common design, they didn’t match at all with the décor, but then again, neither did he. Oliver wouldn’t have minded sleeping in the Quidditch field. Actually, he would have preferred it. As he undressed and readied for bed, his thoughts fell on Cerise. Beautiful, graceful, she fit right in with this environment. But as he thought of Cerise, a funny feeling spread over him, and his heart skipped a beat. Brushing it away, he blew out the candles, and fell asleep as soon as his head hit the downy pillows.
A/N: Well there it is, the beginning of my very first fanfic. Review Please! Well, at the end in any case because the WHOLE FIC is done! And it doesn’t stay this fluffy the entire time, I promise. But a good amount of fluff I think. Also, I need a beta-reader, so anyone interested can E-mail me at email@example.com. Greatly appreciated! And as a little bit of info you don’t care about, Cerise is supposed to look like a very tan, Eurasian Scarlett O’Hara. See, I told you that you didn’t care. And any gross ideas you have about the origin of her name, yeah, don’t even go there.
CHAPTER THE SECOND
A Golden Song
“Oliver. Mr. Wood. Oliver.” Oliver felt a hand on his shoulder, gently shaking him. As he groaned an opened his eyes, two almond shaped, slightly tilted deep green eyes met his, looking shiny and enormously awake for whatever damn early hour it was.
“Oliver, breakfast is in half an hour. You need to get up.” He sat up abruptly. It was Cerise, wearing a short, low-necked bathrobe, and as far as he could tell, nothing else.
“Sorry about waking you up and all that, but I figured that you wouldn’t want to oversleep and make a bad impression. The bathroom’s over by the back left corner of the room. I’m all done with it, so you can take whatever time you have left. Meaning not much.” She was now opening all the curtains so that yellow sunlight poured into the room. Maybe it wasn’t as early as he thought. As he sat up, she wove her hand over a glass vase and a bouquet of pink and yellow roses appeared. She set it on the table.
“What? How – how did you do that? You didn’t use a wand, did you?” Cerise shrugged.
“I don’t know, a sort of talent. I never needed a wand or anything for magic. I suppose it’s just a very innate form.”
Oliver began to rise out of bed, but stopped as he realised that he wasn’t wearing anything. Cerise smirked at his panicked look, and ran her eyes over his bare upper body, then laughed as though she had a joke all to herself.
“I see. Well, I’ll just leave you then.” And flashing her brilliant smile again, she strode out of the room.
Cerise headed into Greenhouse Six, basket in hand. This was the most dangerous greenhouse the Hogwarts grounds had to offer, filled with plants that refused to just stand there prettily, but had characteristics that severely risked the lives of those trying to control them, or just unluckily happen to wander into their path. Due to the risk factor in keeping them, Salem Academy had disposed of many of the plants about fifty years ago, when several students, as well as the teacher, were mauled by a particularly vicious, oversized Venus Flytrap.
Therefor, Cerise claimed she had come to Hogwarts to study and attempt to tame the wild and lethal vegetation, but that wasn’t the main reason she was here. Her task today was to conquer the Carnivorous Razorvinus. In a far corner, she spotted it, a terracotta pot with toothed tendrils waving wildly. Each vine was as wide as her waist, and twice as high as the twenty-foot ceiling, decorated by orange and yellow teeth the size of her fist. In the middle of this dangerous whirling dervish was a black hole surrounded by forty rows of teeth. In the depth of this hole was a single orange blossom, that resembled an orchid, known as the Coeur du Monstre. It was this that Cerise intended on obtaining, though previous attempts had resulted in death – that of the pursuer. But Cerise was not just another witch, and she knew how to subdue the gigantic plant.
Opening her mouth, she began to sing a wordless song. Her voice was not just beautiful, the way a choir of nymphs’ might be, but it was magical. Gold dust billowed out of her mouth and the arms of the Carnivorous Razorvinus drooped, the rows of teeth stopped their swirling, and Cerise plunged her arm inside the black hold and summoned the blossom into her out stretched palm. She left one petal so that it would grow back and not harm the plant, but her voice was growing hoarse, and tendrils were beginning to stir again. She dropped the blossom into her basket, and gave out a last wavering note as she shut the door behind her.
Professor Sprout entered the Greenhouse soon after and noticed a pale gold dust on the floor. Bending over, she pressed her finger to the ground then lifted it. The shimmer lingered for a minute, then absorbed into her finger, leaving not a trace. The plump woman became confused. The only others allowed in here were Dumbledore and Cerise. But the first class hadn’t even begun, and neither of them had been in here yet, she was sure of it. Putting aside the thoughts for a later date, she drew out her wand and began to water the plants.
Heart racing, Cerise ran up into her chamber. In the corner, a large, half-full, golden cauldron lay simmering over green flames. She pulled out the vibrant orange blossom and shredded it between her fingers, sprinkling it into the solution. The formerly acid-green liquid fizzed, then turned a lavender color. She let out a sigh of relief. Everything was going exactly as planned.
And the Plot thickens… dun dun dun. Well sort of. Haha this is so much fun to write. The idea for the magical singing comes from Terry Brooks’ The Wishsong of Shannara. I’ll be calling it the wishsong later, but that’s just a bit more disclaimer stuff. Review! Review! Review! And the Shannara series are greatly recommended. Also, sorry for such a short chapter. Review!!
CHAPTER THE THIRD
Trials and Triumphs
It was nine-thirty, Oliver’s first class. The Gryffindor and Ravenclaw seventh years filed into the room, Fred and George Weasley first. He noticed the two twins take seats in the front row, and Oliver knew there was going to be trouble. It was common knowledge that those two particular Weasley boys lived for havoc and disorder, and Oliver knew it better than most. He had been their Quidditch captain two years ago, and he couldn’t count the pranks they’d played on him on his two hands and feet. Their devilish grins confirmed his suspicions, in addition to their choice in seating.
“Alright. I’m Oliver Wood, as you know, and you can call me Oliver. This is Defense against the Dark Arts. So. Today we’re going to begin learning about how to fight Dark Beings like hags, vampires etc. You’ve learned about them, But just not how to fight them. Right, O.K. So. We can start today with Banshees. Characteristics of a banshee? Anyone?” Fred’s hand shot up into the air. Regretting it even as he did it, Oliver called on him.
“Well, its cry drives people mad. Ollie, that sort of reminds me of you in the shower after a good Quidditch match. Your singing in the shower drove George here nutters. Hasn’t been the same since. Nor have I, come to that.” George confirmed his brother’s statement with a ‘possessed’ face. Oliver could tell it was going to be a long class.
“Hello.” Cerise looked up to see Oliver wood sitting down next to her at the Staff Table for lunch. She smiled back. Massaging his temples, he continued, “That was awful.”
“Oh, it couldn’t have been that bad.”
“Oh, trust me, it was.”
“What was so horrible, then?”
“It. Them. Mostly them.” Pointing down at the Gryffindor table he said, “See those two?” he was gesturing at the Weasley twins. “They’re more trouble then you can imagine. I’ve known those two forever and I think they went out of their way to disrupt the class. Not badly, mind, just making the class and I laugh every three seconds, innocent stuff like that. They’ll save the dungbombs and hexes for Potions I believe.” Cerise grimaced.
“Don’t tell me that.”
“ I have my first class today. I just got the list. Over one hundred students and they’re two of them. Eurgh, I hate British food. What is this?”
“Bangers and Mash. Not bad. Hmm. Wonder why they’re joining. Probably looking for a way to plot during class, mentally, you know? Or maybe they wouldn’t be taking it if say, McGonagell was teaching it.” He smirked and raised his eyebrow. With mock indignation, Cerise smacked him with her napkin.
“All right then. Who’s on your list?”
“Let’s see… Gryffindor, we have Weasley, Weasley, Weasley and Weasley, all related I assume. Granger, Patil, Brown, Thomas, Longbottom, Jordan, Creevey and Creevey, and Potter.”
“Potter? I heard he’s been my successor as Quidditch Captain.”
“You play Quidditch?” The glassy stare that covered Oliver’s face whenever he thought about Quidditch appeared. Since he was six years old, Oliver Wood had been obsessed with the wizarding sport of Quidditch. It was his life. If it wasn’t for an extremely bad muscle tear, he would be playing now with the Puddlemere United team.
“Of course I play Quidditch! I went professional last year, but I ripped a muscle in my arm, and the hospital said I had to take a break. So here I am. You play?”
“Well, not Quidditch. The American sport, Quodpot. But I also race brooms, and I follow Quidditch in the papers. I’ve always wanted to play.”
“Umm… I have an idea. I’ll come to your class tonight, that’s around three, right? And then afterwards, we can go down to the pitch and I’ll teach you how to play Quidditch.”
“Sounds like a plan. What broom should I bring?”
“What do you have?”
“Pretty much all of them. I always liked to collect brooms.”
“What? Well whatever you prefer.” The news that she had basically every broom on the market was a bit much to handle.
“Well, I’m off to prepare for my class. Good luck in your next one. No Weasley twins, right?”
“No. But I’ve got a bunch of Slytherins. Twice as bad. Well I’ll see you in a few hours then.”
CHAPTER THE FOURTH
A Hidden Target
On one particularly crisp, sunny October day, the first school Quidditch match took place. It was Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw, and the entire school had assembled to watch. The Quidditch cup had been cancelled last year due to the disastrous Triwizard Tournament. The year before that, the Captain, and Keeper, Oliver Wood, had graduated. This year, Professor McGonagell herself had selected Harry Potter as Captain, and he had conducted a mandatory evaluation of the entire house to make sure this team was as good as before, if not better. Fred and George Weasley, veterans of the Wood days, retained their positions as beaters, as did Katie and Angelina as Chasers, and Harry as Seeker. However, to everyone’s surprise, the new Keeper was Hermione Granger, who had put to use Muggle physics to predict the movement of the balls with this knowledge, and was enormously effective. Just as surprising was Colin Creevey, a Muggle-born fourth year, who worshipped the ground Harry walked on. Though last year’s chaser, Alicia Spinnet, was held in such high esteem by Oliver, Harry had decided that due to a few injuries, she didn’t quite make the cut, and so Colin was brought in.
Oliver sat in the stands, ready to watch rather than play in the first Hogwarts Quidditch match in seven years. Biting his nails, he wondered if Potter had chosen the best team, but abruptly stopped as he felt a warm, hard body slide down beside him.
“Nervous?” Cerise’s long black hair was pulled into a messy bun, and she was wearing a much less revealing outfit than when they usually played Quidditch; Tightly around the neck of her short leather cloak was a read wool scarf, and her hands were concealed in a matching wool muff. It almost made up for the short sweater dress she wore underneath, as well as the matching leather boots.
The captains came together to shake hands. Cerise noticed that Harry’s and the Ravenclaw captain’s, Cho Chang, hands stayed together unusually long, as well as Harry opening his lips and flicking his tongue through his teeth in a suggestive way. Plus Cho’s affectionate stroking of his hand with a gleam in her eye. By the disapproving look on Oliver’s face, she could tell that he had noticed this exchange as well. Sliding her right hand along his thigh, she leaned over and whispered,
“What’s wrong Ollie?”
Wood took in a sharp breath of surprise. Then again, since he’d me Cerise, his life had been full of surprises. She was now rubbing his thigh with her thumb, and while it relaxed his mind, it awoke other feelings inside him – feelings he wasn’t sure he wanted the teacher’s box to be aware of. He tried to ignore it, but as her thumb inched up and into his inner thigh…
“Cerise…” she looked up at him, feigning innocence through long eyelashes. He sighed and took her hand in his. She smiled, sidled up to him and said,
“Watch the game.”
While he’d been otherwise distracted, Angelina and Colin had scored forty points, and Hermione had blocked three attempts to score. Harry and Cho were whizzing around the pitch. It was the fastest game of Quidditch that Oliver had ever seen at Hogwarts, and he was frankly a bit jealous. Harry was an exceptionally apt captain and seeker, and his team’s skill reflected that. In the middle of a loop-de-loop, however, Harry held up his right hand and Oliver could see the beating wings of the Golden Snitch.
“They did it! They did it!” Oliver jumped out of his seat and shot his arms into the air, pulling a very surprised Cerise along with him. After a short, awkward victory dance that caused Sprout to collapse into giggles, Oliver sprinted onto the field to congratulate Harry, on the fastest capture of the snitch yet.
Cerise smiled as Oliver raced down the pitch and embraced Harry in a bear hug, then she outrightly laughed at the impatient look Cho was giving Harry as he and Oliver discussed game tactics. She wrapped her cloak around herself and buried her chin into the warm cashmere around her neck. The previously joyful atmosphere had disappeared, and out of the corner of her eye, she sensed six tall cloaked figures. Dementors. But no one else noticed them; they seemed to be under a large invisibility cloak. But they were moving towards the pitch, and they were not alone. A man was with them, and from his thoughts, Cerise could tell he was not rushing forth to congratulate the teams.
Racing down the steps, she stepped through the curtains, hoping it wasn’t too late. Hidden from them behind an oak tree, she could read their thoughts clearly now. Her eyebrows shot up in alarm as the figures neared the pitch towards Dumbledore.
A low, sweet note rang from her lips. A cloud of silver dust encased her body, making her more invisible than a cloak could have made her. For a few brief moments, she was little more than a cloud of silver dust, emotions scattered so that the dementors could not detect them. As she paused for a breath, a strong arm clasped around her now solid waist. A shrill harsh cry broke from her and in a breath the dementors and her assailant disappeared, along with however many others there may have been. Panting, she swept a strand of hair off her sweating face. Not what she had expected from her reaction. They should have been petrified for further inspection. Dumbledore’s blue eye caught hers, and by the cold, wary look, she knew he was aware of what she had discovered. Running, she took off towards the Forbidden Forest. If Dumbledore was the next target, time was running low.
Oliver had just enough time to congratulate Harry on a spectacular victory before the man of the moment had been lead off the field by Cho for a private celebration. Noticing his best friend’s absence, Ron grabbed Hermione’s hand, attempting to lead her off to the grove by the lake for a similar purpose, but at a glare, slipped his arms around her waist and sighed. Subconsciously, Oliver looked around for Cerise, but she had disappeared entirely. Shrugging, Oliver thought ‘All for the best,’ and headed back towards the castle. He needed to figure a few things out.
CHAPTER THE FIFTH
Originally planning to correct papers, Oliver gave up around eleven o’ clock that night. Leaning back in his armchair, he relaxed his mind and let his thoughts drift. The first thing that came to mind was Cerise. His lips twitched into a smile as he thought her green eyes, full mouth, curving body…
He sat upright and grabbed an issue of “Quidditch Today”. He couldn’t keep thinking these thoughts. But the magazine smelled of orchids, of Cerise. She had borrowed it. Why was he so confused? Just because she had crossed the line between friendship and something else, the line she’s been testing since that first feast when she sat unusually close to him, casually but purposefully brushing her hand against his arm to send chills up his spine. But he’d never thought of her like that – except it seemed that his friendship with Cerise was nothing like those between other girls who were just friends. Alicia, Angelina, Katie, he had never felt so awkward and foolish with them, even when he’d had a brief crush on Alicia back in third year. They were still a group of girls with whom he could keep his head, drink a butterbeer with, then go play a game of Quidditch. He doubted that a thirteen-year-old Oliver would have dared to pull Cerise’s piggytails as he had pulled Alicia’s. But even when playing Quidditch the day before, he had noticed how well robes defined Cerise’s breasts, and how, even as she was aiming the Quaffle at his ear (he had the bruise to prove it), he had found himself longing to kiss those two perfectly glossed red lips. The more he thought about it, the more apparent it became that yes, he had been… in love? With Cerise since he met her. Well not love, he didn’t know what love was quite, and it was certainly too soon to tell, or was it. But once Oliver Wood set his mind to something, he would get it. And he would have Cerise.
Cerise woke up the next day to a ray of sunshine beaming through her open window. Next to her bed she noticed a red rose lying on top of a piece of parchment. On this was scrawled
We need I’d like to talk to you. Meet me at lunch in my office, the one next to the classroom. This is kind of important.
At this she raised an eyebrow and laughed gaily. Love? Ollie? He hated her calling him that. She knew exactly what this was all about. And anyone telling her to meet him – well only he could get away with it. As she woke up and stretched, she noticed a low-necked pink cashmere sweater, brown tweed pants with a matching open fronted robe draped across her dressing table chair. Along with another rose. So he’s gone as far as to pick out her clothes! Normally she would have been infuriated, but today she just dressed, kissing the roses as she lay them in water. He’d have his meeting alright.
“Homework: research illness inducing curses and their counters. One parchment scroll, due Thursday.” Eleven fifty-five. Five minutes until lunch. Oliver had let out his class early to give him time to race to his office. Not that location was an issue, he had relocated to the tiny room across the hall for convenience – but it was messy beyond imagine. He wanted to perform a tidying charm before she got there. As soon as Fred and George left foot of the classroom (he didn’t trust them alone for a minute) he ran across the hall to his paper strewn broom closet to find Cerise, patiently sitting on the leather office chair. She stood up, drawing to her full five foot, two inch height. Even though she was over a foot shorter than he, she was much more intimidating than a dozen bludgers. Why oh why had he chosen the outfit, he thought, gulping. Ash she was looking at him expectantly and amused, he started.
“Euh… Cerise” I wanted… talk…you… and…” he squeaked. Her eyebrow raised and her mouth formed a smirk.
“Why don’t you start again?” she purred, taking a step closer.
Taking a deep breath and gathering all the resolve he had, Oliver cupped her chin with steady hands and lowered his lips to hers.
He found himself lost in her. The smell of ginger flowers and orchids surrounded him, and nothing existed but himself and the girl he was kissing. Growing bolder, he freed his right hand from her cheek and snaked his wrapped it around her waist. To his relief, her arms snaked around his neck in response. Her fingers entangled in his hair emboldened him, and he ran his tongue along her lower lip, asking for an invitation to enter. Her lips parted, and Oliver was raised into a higher state of delirium.
The kiss seemed to last forever, until Cerise had to move her mouth for a breath. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Oliver staring at her, wide eyed as a deer in headlights.
At those words, he pivoted and fled the room, leaving Cerise standing there.
Oliver had no idea where he was running, all he knew was that he had to run – somewhere – fast. He soon found himself gasping for breath in the Gryffindor Locker Room. Funny that the familiar place of triumph and defeat gave forth so much comfort. Why had he done that? He hadn’t meant to.
“The plan was to tell her how you felt, you big prat, not to just go and snog her out of nowhere.” Great, now he was talking to himself. What had made him do something so stupid? Hell, why was he so stupid? If he hadn’t been nervous, he wouldn’t have been so stupid, but why the bloody hell was he nervous? Aside from Quidditch, Oliver prided himself on being fearless about everything. Quidditch was another story, but girls – Oliver remembered his first kiss at the age of fourteen. He was in his third year, she in her fifth. Her name was Isabella Mulch, a Slytherin prefect. She had been infuriated with him after kissing her, but he had the nerve to try again. Oliver had spent the next weekend in the hospital wing after she’d hexed him so that he had to be carried to Madam Pomfrey – and couldn’t walk for a week. He’d had no qualms about asking Angelina out in his seventh year, and even less in kissing her when she had declined outright, disgusted. No, Oliver had never had any fear in wooing the opposite sex.
But no other girls were anything like Cerise. None had her cool composure, or could best him in Quidditch like she could. She had a way of commanding the attention of an entire room, just by entering it. No others he’d met had the presence. But none were so forward either – he wasn’t used to having a girl leading him around on strings, hanging onto her every word. Oliver sat against the lockers for some time, steeping in his emotions that he couldn’t untangle, then quietly stood up. He had to save face and pretend that nothing had happened, no matter what. Now he had a class to teach.
Things hadn’t gone bad at all, thought Oliver as he soaked in the bath. He’d been avoiding Cerise, but subtly enough that no one would question him. He just couldn’t stand facing her. He would just keep reliving the day nearly three weeks ago, and couldn’t forgive himself for it. He could keep this up for a while – it was November Eighteenth, in a month and a half, it would be Christmas break. Dumbledore had offered a new room in the New Year, and Oliver felt that he would take up on the offer. He avoided the offices in front of the chambers now and sat on the opposite side of the staff table. She didn’t seem to mind. For some reason she was preoccupied with Dumbledore and sat next to him at every meal. Oliver had caught her eye but once, and they both ignored it. Oh well. He did miss her, but probably, it was meant for the best. He couldn’t be with her, he turned into a bag of nerves, and he didn’t like not having control over anything, least of all himself. As the bath water became tepid, he pulled the rubber stopper, abandoning his thoughts.
Swirls of amber glitter rotated around the cauldron as Cerise absentmindedly stirred with her wand. How dared he? She was fuming at Oliver’s ignoring of her. Why the hell was he being a stupid mindless git? She couldn’t remember being so angry since…
In rage, she threw a crystal orb across the room. It neatly broke into two pieces, releasing an opaline gas.
“Damn.” She muttered and shot a beam of light out of her left hand, which restored the orb to its normal condition, bringing it back to its place on the window sill. She picked up a bottle of mulberry bark and tipped its contents into the swirling mix. It swirled faster and gradually turned green. No matter what, her temper would not get the better of her. Never again. Last time, it had been disastrous…
Sighing, she left the potion to simmer and held the white orb, a moonstone, against her forehead. Instantly, her wrath was gone, replaced by a cool serenity and determination. That boy wasn’t getting away with this any longer.
Oliver was lying in bed when a gold ball of light appeared in the far corner of his room. Slowly, it illuminated the area around it to reveal…
“Cerise!” Oliver sat straight up in bed. The ball of light was suspended in the air, dancing between two hands. Its light revealed its holder to be Cerise, clad only in a black, lacy negligée.
“Cerise, what are you… How did you…? Why…”
“I don’t think I’m the one who should be giving explanations here.” She walked over to the unoccupied side of his bed, and with a wave of her left hand, the light extinguished. From a cold draft he realized that she was getting under the covers with him.
“I’m not wearing anything!” She let out a breath of frustration.
“You think I care? Fine, if it makes you feel better…” A thin garment fell on his face. For a few moments, Oliver just sat there open mouthed, but then
“Well?” Apparently she had spoken while he had been in shock.
“Why have you been acting like this? Ignoring me? Full explanation now, please.” He gulped.
“I, er… I… um OK. That… that day…” She made an impatient clicking noise. “ Well, I didn’t mean to… to…”
“To kiss me?” Thank Merlin it was dark, he could feel his face going pink.
“Er… that. So… I … I thought you… Well, that you didn’t like me like… that. And I couldn’t face you and… I’m sorry.” Oliver lay down and raised the quilt to his chin.
“So you didn’t mean to kiss me. Well what in Cliodna’s name did you mean to do?”
“Erm… well… I… Do you feel that way?”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Everything. Tell me?”
“Because… Oliver, think with the right head! What do you think?’
“And why would that be?”
“You’re in bed with me and you’re not wearing anything.”
“Hmm. Didn’t think of that one. So?” He let out a deep sigh.
“Cerise, do I have to spell it out?” If it wasn’t pitch-blackness, he could have sworn he saw a smirk.
“Cerise… I love you.” Did he just say that? It had just slipped out. He had never said that to a girl before… but now that he’d said it, yes, he was very in love with her. Why hadn’t he seen it? After a very pregnant pause, she said,
“Well, then, in that case, I accept your apology.” She moved over and kissed his lips gently.
“And for the record, I love you too.” And with that, she curled up in the crook of his arm and immediately fell asleep, her yards of hair across his shoulder. After a few moments, Oliver slid his had to the small of her back and soon fell asleep as well.
CHAPTER THE SIXTH
A New Beginning
Oliver woke as the first rays of sunshine peeked through the cream silk drapes. The pressure on his chest reminded him of the night before. And that it was a Saturday and he had all the time in the world. The bed sheets had shifted down around his waist over the night, and for the first time, Oliver had full view of what her clothes had revealed in glimpses and hints, but never in full.
Cerise was not a thin woman, but there was a slimness to her flowing curves that would drive men wild. While her shoulders and hips were broad, her waist was minute. Her breasts were full, but not to the point of where she may have been deemed a buxom woman. Her bronze skin stood out from Oliver’s pale complexion and underneath that smooth, soft skin, was a hardness of muscle that had no doubt resulted from Quidditch. His hand moved to her cheek and he slid down to kiss her lips softly, tenderly.
“Mm… Ollie?” She opened her eyes slowly and a smile crept onto her face. But not the seductive smirk Oliver had become accustomed to, but a sweet, satisfied grin. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she eased him onto his back and rested her head under his chin.
“Ollie?” he was preoccupied with running his fingers through her thick glossy hair.
“One thing you didn’t make clear. Why were you avoiding me for the last eon?” He stopped. Raising two fingers, he slowly stroked the side of her chin.
“I think I knew for a while that I loved you, maybe since we met, but I’ve never been in a real relationship before, or had feelings like this, so I was nervous. But you didn’t help, you know, you can be quite intimidating. But… I’m fine now!” Cerise laughed outright at the look on his face. He reminded her of and eager puppy. She stopped mid-giggle at his raised eyebrow. Looking deeply into his chocolate brown eyes, she lowered her lips to his.
Oliver enjoyed this kiss more that the first. Sucking on her lower lip, he successfully opened her mouth and tentatively brought his tongue in. Cerise delighted in his inexperience as he probed her open mouth with his tongue, drew her hand down his chest, past his stomach…
A sharp breath broke their lips. Oliver stared at her, scandalized, but Cerise was already caressing his jawbone with her mouth, moving it down his neck, across his collarbone, down his chest to his nipple and proceeded to gently bite it, releasing a faint moan. Then a half gasped,
“Cerise, what the bloody hell are you trying to do?” Slowly closing her lips, she glanced up impishly and murmured,
“Seducing you.” He grinned and roller her over so that he was on top.
“Not if I can help it.”
She sat on the side of the bed and watched his well-muscled stomach heave up and down as he gasped for air. Arranging herself into a cross-legged position, she stated with a touch of amusement,
‘You’re a Virgin.” Raising one eyebrow, he propped himself up on an elbow and said in the exact same tone,
“Well, not anymore thanks to you.”
Fire flickered on the hearth. Cerise lay on the long couch staring into the flames. Flicker, flicker. She and Oliver had rid their “offices” of the separating barriers and desks, moving in Cerise’s sofa and armchairs obtained via the House Elves and made the area into a cozy sitting room. Five o’ clock. Ollie should be here by now, thought Cerise. He was working too much; taking on teaching with a fervor formerly associated with Quidditch. She tuned into his mind. He was correcting more papers. Again.
Can’t you do that here, love?
Cerise! You know, this telepathy thing is unnerving. No, I can’t. You’ll distract me.
I won’t! Promise!
You can’t help it, you always distract me.
Well, come back here then. You can correct those… essays tomorrow. You already missed dinner.
I’ll see you later.
Oliver, it’s eight-thirty. If you think I’m waiting up again until 11, well you’re dreaming.
Fine, love, I’m coming.
She broke the connection and smiled to herself. She had him wrapped around her little finger. Then again, she was equally wrapped around his.
She sat up. The potion! She nearly forgot. She ran to the gold cauldron and poured half a teaspoon of silvery liquid into the swirling magenta mixture. Absentmindedly, she dropped a Roc’s egg into the concoction, causing it to splash her stomach.
“Fuck.” It had burned a hold through her sweater, which spread as the fibers disintegrated. She ripped it off and threw it into the fireplace. A large purple sore blistered above her navel. She touched it and it receded into a round scar. Crossing the room to her wardrobe, she found all her sweaters gone. Why had she sent out her wash today? Oh well, she’d have to borrow one of Oliver’s. She lifted the Unicorn tapestry, her secret path to his room. Selecting her favorite dark grey mock turtleneck sweater, she pulled it over her head, rolled up the sleeves, and strode back to the sofa. Right before she sat down, a decidedly weary Oliver staggered into the room.
“Hello, gorgeous.” She sauntered up to him, twined her arms around his neck.
“ Like my sweater?” She whispered in his ear as she bit it affectionately.
“Careful, you left a scar on my shoulder last week.”
“Oops, sorry.” She led him to the couch and lay him down, placing his head in her lap. Massaging his temples, she murmured,
“You work too hard.” He sighed, placing his hand on her knee.
“You worry too much.” Expecting a lecture on how he’d wear himself out, how he was going through too much anti-stress ointment, he was surprised by a moment’s silence.
“I know something you don’t know.” He abruptly turned his head.
“I don’t know if I want to tell.” At an imploring look, she relented.
“Oh, all right. You’re taking me to the Yule ball.”
“There is no Yule Ball. No Triwizard Tournament.”
“Back by er… shall I say, popular demand. There were dress robes on that list for a reason.”
“Well, I didn’t get a list. Plus, all my dress robes are at home.” She kissed his forehead.
“Good thing there’s a Hogsmeade weekend tomorrow. And, I believe someone has a birthday coming up.” As she lightly drew her fingers in circles over his temples, she noticed his eyelids beginning to droop. If he kept this up, he would exhaust himself. Oh, wait, he already had.
“C’mon, Bed. You need it badly.” His eyebrows shot up.
“Honestly, Cerise, I doubt that’s going to improve my state of wellness.” She slapped his cheek playfully.
“Oh, you know what I mean. None of that tonight.” His eyes sparkling wickedly, he said,
“Well, that’s a first. Are you sure you’ll be alright?”
“It’s a good thing you’re cute, you know. Bed. Now.”
CHAPTER THE SEVENTH
Many Happy Returns
“Happy Birthday, gorgeous.” Oliver woke to a long, passionate kiss. He reached around her waist, and pulled his ‘assailant’ down to him. She had already dressed. Untucking her shirttails, he slid a hand under it.
“ ‘Rise, it’s my birthday,” he teased as he smiled impishly. She kissed his neck, then his ear, then said, “I know. And that’s why you have to open presents.” She led him over to the couch, in front of which was a pile of wrapped boxes. She sat behind him, wrapped her legs and arms around his stomach and chest, and then rested her chin on his shoulder.
“Open mine last.” He proceeded to carefully unwrap the first box and neatly fold the paper into a square.
“Oh, give it here.” She chucked it into the fire.
“Honestly, ‘Rise. So patient.”
“You shut up.” As a new set of Quidditch robes, and enchanted Quaffle for practice, and other presents piled up, a long thin golden box appeared.
“That’s from me.” Untying the scarlet ribbon (which Cerise then tied around his head) he turned around and said,
“You didn’t just take the dress robes you gave me back and wrap them up again, did you?”
“Don’t be silly. And leave that ribbon on.” Oliver lifted the cover of the box to find the most spectacular broom he had ever seen. It was long and lithe, with a s-curve to the stick, and the entire thing was covered in a thin layer of frosted gold. Up by the handgrips at the top, swirling black letters read:
Oliver thought he had never seen a finer broom in his life. It was lighter than a feather and the aerodynamics was superb. His awe was interrupted by Cerise’s clear voice saying,
“The Firebird 3X. Of American make. The best broom on the market, though not very well known.”
“Flashy. I thought American brooms were built for distance, not for speed.”
“This one has both. Only the industry types are just sturdy. And the gold is to reflect tampering.”
“Cerise – I can’t take this. I mean, it’s too valuable.”
“Don’t be silly. I want you to have it. Besides, it’ll be a good two years before these babies get on the market.” At a suspicious look, she shrugged.
“I know the maker… connections.” Oliver started again, but stopped at the look on her face, knowing that he wouldn’t win this one.
“Thank you. I love it, it’s beautiful. You’re beautiful.”
“So are you, Oliver Wood.” He turned around then pulled her down on the couch with him and kissed her.
“Happy Birthday,” she whispered against his mouth.
“I think I like this present best.”
“You. The best present. By Merlin, Cerise, I love you.” He kissed her again as the snow danced outside.
Oliver scanned the staff table for Cerise as he sat down for lunch. Fleur noticed his searching eyes from across the table, and giggled, tossing her white-blonde hair.
“She ees not ‘ere.” Oliver stared.
“Well… where is she then?” Fleur shrugged.
“I do not know. I theenk she ees coming later. She has some, euh, work to take care of. Also, you ‘ave a ribbon on your ‘ead.” Quickly, he ripped it off before anyone else noticed, but it seemed as though the entire table was already snickering. As he craned his neck to the side, still searching, Fleur giggled even harder.
“Really, what’s this all about?” He was getting annoyed. Severus Snape, to his great displeasure, took Cerise’s usual seat. In a low mutter, he said,
“Good God, Wood, if you’re having rendezvous with her, that’s one thing, even if it is against school policy. But advertising it…” He glanced at the right of his neck, then stood up and left, leaving Oliver even more bewildered and annoyed than before. Oliver noticed funny stares all throughout lunch. On the way to his classroom, he was affronted by Fleur, who was thankfully much more relaxed than she was at lunch.
“ ‘Ere.” She handed him a small mirror and tilted it so he could see his neck. Right below his earlobe was a large purple blotch, surrounded by Cerise’s trademark scarlet lipstick.
“And ‘oo gave eet to you?” Her blue eyes sparkled with amusement and anticipation.
“Oh, Gosh, did I do that?” Cerise’s head was strained to see her handiwork. Fleur’s jaw dropped in mock astonishment, though Oliver didn’t pick up on the sarcastic manner.
“You? You and ‘im? Ah, but you realize zat you are breaking about five ‘undred rules, no? Does Dumblydorr know? Ees zat why you ‘have adjoining bedroo –“
“Fleur, you can’t tell anyone!” A mischievous smirk appeared as she rolled her eyes.
“I wasn’t planning to. But be assured, I zeenk ze school ees aware already.” And with a flip of her hair, she strode towards the Great Hall.
Oliver stood there for a few moments, open-mouthed, then heard a hysterical laughter from behind him. He twirled around to see Cerise doubled over, tears running down her face.
“What do you think is so funny? We could both be sacked for this!” Attempting to catch her breath, she gasped,
“Merlin, Oliver, you’re so uptight.” Frustrated, he went and leaned against a door. Cerise had finally managed to stop laughing, but was still was having difficulty breathing. She crossed the hallway and wrapped her arms around his waist, pressing he body against his.
“ ‘Rise! We’re right in the middle of the hallway!” He felt her left hand move, and the door suddenly opened behind him as she pushed him into a dark classroom. She kicked the door closed.
Oliver ran into his classroom to see the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff fourth years sitting in their seats. As he lectured the class on Dark Objects, he noticed Harry looking at him, rubbing the side of his own cheek. Absentmindedly, he rubbed the same spot on his, then noticed a red stain on his fingertip. Damn her lipstick! Turning to the chalkboard, her pointed his want at his face and said “Deletrius.” Turning back to his class, Harry gave him the thumbs up.
“Alright. So the Headmaster would like me to inform you that the Christmas Ball is to be held in exactly one month from today, December 25th. Now, only fourth years and above, you may invite a younger student. A Hogsmeade weekend will also occur next weekend so you may pick up any… er… last minute items and such. Lost me so far? Questions? Lavender?”
“Who are you going with?” As soon as she said this, she clapped a hand over her mouth, giggling. Regretting it even as he said it, Oliver replied,
“Er… if you must know, Cerise. Miss Volcane that is.” Lavender giggled even harder. Now Parvati’s hand shot up. He called on her.
“Do you like her? Like, really like her? Because Padma said…” To Oliver’s great relief, the bell rang as her last word was said.
“Have a nice day!” He laughed, quite relieved not to find out what Padma said as the shuffled out of the room, Parvati looking severely disappointed, Lavender still giggling.
CHAPTER THE EIGHTH
Of Dancing and Daring
Cerise stood in front of the mirror. Muggle makeup was such a pain, but you didn’t get the same results with the magical type. She glanced at her wall clock. Five forty-five. She was meeting Oliver in and Hour and ten minutes at the Grand staircase. Well, that’s what he thought anyway. She didn’t intend upon arriving for five minutes afterwards so that they could arrive at the ball at exactly Seven O three, just as everyone was entering. But Oliver wouldn’t approve, he didn’t like a lot of attention unless it was on the Quidditch pitch or in the bedroom, best do it secretly.
Looking at herself in the full-length mirror, Cerise felt something was missing. She held her hands in front of her and spun golden glass formed a glittering orchid on a black ribbon. With that and her orchid-gardenia perfume, she could be home. Tying it around her neck she thought,
‘Now if I can just find something to do for the next hour and fifteen minutes…’
Oliver tapped his foot as he waited at the bottom of the grand staircase. He had micro managed his grooming so that nothing, from his dark brown hair to his grey-blue dress robes was out of order. If he had been a Muggle, he may have had been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder.
Finally, he saw her at the top step. She was breathtaking, clad in scarlet dress robes that fit like a glove, with a mermaid bottom skirt, sleeves slightly flared at the wrist. Her neckline plunged in a deep V to the spot below her breasts where the ribs met. Around her neck, the spun orchid, sparkling like a diamond and set off by her rich hair, set in loose waves. She smiled at him with Cherry-red lips and placing a manicured hand on the railing, glided down the stairs, exposing gold stiletto sandals beneath the folds of her skirt.
“You look gorgeous. Absolutely beautiful.” Taking his offered arm, her kohl-rimmed eyes dancing, she murmured,
“You don’t look half bad yourself, lover boy. Shall we carry on then?”
She had timed everything perfectly. The ball had not entirely commenced, but everyone was seated at white clothed tables. As they entered the Great hall, a hush rushed over the students. Heads turned as their young professor walked steadily down the aisle between the tables, the stunningly beautiful student teacher on his arm. They took seats at an empty table for two near the front, and the conversation rose again. At Dumbledore’s lead, the hall ordered their meals from the woodland sprites hired for the occasion.
Fleur seemed to have taken and active part in the planning of the event. In the Four Corners of the room were diamond ice sculptures of a lion, eagle, badger and serpent. A chorus of water nymphs provided dinner music, and fairy dotted garlands ran around the room.
Oliver watched Cerise chewing her filet mignon. He couldn’t believe that he, Oliver Archimedes Wood, was the escort of the most gorgeous woman in the place. Oh, yes, Fleur was certainly enchanting, but she didn’t have the charisma, the attitude, and the pure sex appeal of his love. He also preferred brunettes.
Cerise, over Oliver’s shoulder, saw Fleur flirting with her newest toy-boy, a Beater of Italy’s Quidditch team, Giuseppe Fiori. She had been babbling about him for ages, and Cerise could see why. Tall, tanned and chiseled, the Italian looked like a model for the Muggle magazine, Vogue. But he didn’t hold a candle to her Oliver. Though her lover wasn’t a pretty-boy, he was a ridiculously attractive man who reeked of sexiness – was it the Scottish accent? She smiled at him as he twirled his pasta absentmindedly, his eyes never leaving her face.
At half eight, the food magically disappeared, and the choir sang its last wavering note. A group of witches took the stage.
“Who are they?” Cerise was unfamiliar with British Rock Bands. Knowingly, Oliver said, “The Weird Sisters. They’re quite popular on the WWN. They played at last year’s ball according to Potter. Let’s dance.” He reached for her hand and led her to the floor where several couples danced to a slow beat. Her arms in the familiar spot around Oliver’s neck, Cerise noticed pairs of those that she knew. Harry was snogging with Cho in the corner, Ron and Hermione rotated near the stage, Ron angrily eyeing Ginny who was pressed up against Draco Malfoy. Fred and Angelina, and George and Alicia were weaving around the floor, viciously and ‘accidentally’ breaking couples apart.
“Eeeeeeew!” Oliver whipped his head around to see what was disgusting her partner. Closer together than any of the students were Snape and Trelawney, while McGonagell and Dumbledore looked on disapprovingly. Even though they were even closer.
She laughed, then stretched her neck to kiss Oliver’s chin. He looked down with a grimace.
“I think I’m mentally scarred for life.”
“Then don’t look, silly.” A faster, Latin beat took up. The students uncertainly took to the sides.
“The British don’t know how to dance, hm?”
“This one does.” And he led her to the center of the room with a smirk. Oliver was suddenly thankful for the dance lessons his mother had put him though as a boy. She had decided that her son would one day have to take his place at the great gala events she often held at the Wood Manor. Fortunately, he had so far managed to avoid his mother’s balls, but he was glad to put his skill to use here at such a relaxed environment. And the girl could dance. Her hips rotated to the salsa beat, her hand lifting her skirt to show off her fast fancy footwork.
As the last note played, a round of applause erupted from the hall. Oliver laughed as Cerise took her bow, slightly out of breath. He pulled her close and kissed her, hard, on the lips. If Trelawney and Snape were doing Godknowswhat in the rosebushes, he could kiss his… girlfriend… whenever he pleased.
A slow waltz struck up. Cerise broke off the kiss, taking his hand with her left and placing her right gently on his shoulder. Couples crept back to the dance floor, making paths for Neville Longbottom, who managed to step not only on his partner, Eloise Midgen’s toes, but on everyone else’s as well.
The clock struck eleven-thirty. Cerise was nestled in Oliver’s arms, sitting on his lap on a stone bench in the entrance hall. Easing her to a standing position, he then led her out of the Great Doors, indicating that they should be silent. The crossed the snow-laden grounds to the Quidditch field and Oliver conjured up a woolen blanket, which he lay next to the pole of a scoring hoop. She sat herself between his legs, leaning back against his chest, her eyes half closed. She felt him fumble in his robes for a moment, then put one arm around her waist.
“Cerise?” She turned her head slowly. He brought out a small velvet box and began to open it as he murmured,
“Will you marry me?” On a black satin cushion lay a ring of white gold with a large black diamond. Upon closer examination, it was a thousand tiny diamonds that built up…
“An orchid? Wherever did you come up with that?”
“I, uh…. Noticed a bit of an obsession of yours.” He slipped it onto her finger, then turned her around so that she straddles his abdomen and rested her head against his collarbone. After a moment,
“It had to be in the Quidditch field, hm?” Confused, Oliver raised one eyebrow.
“One of the most romantic moments of your life, and it has to be on a Quidditch field.” He gave her his lopsided smile and said,
“Where else? How about getting married on broom – “
“On the field at least?” She laughed.
“We’ll see.” This seemed to appease him.
“I love you.” She kissed his cheek in response.
CHAPTER THE NINTH
Of Dreams and Dimensions
“Welcome back from Christmas break. Today we are having out telepathy test. Don’t worry,” Cerise assured panicked faces, “It has nothing to do with marks. Telepathy is much like Divination; many cannot do it unless they have the inner means. When I call your name, sit at the chair behind the screen. Remember the relaxing exercises we’ve practiced, and project a colour into my mind. If I respond, you remain in the class. If not, I will shoot up Red sparks and you may leave.”
Wry looks spread across the room. The worst would be to be sent out in front of everybody. Including a number of teachers.
“Snape, Severus.” The class watched anxiously as the greasy-haired Potions professor stepped behind the red sheet hung in the corner then stifled giggles as he slumped out of the classroom.
“Minerva, McGonegall.” Cheers erupted as she sat back in her scarlet armchair. Students’ names continued.
“Weasley, Ginny.” She stood up and after a lifetime, Cerise heard
You may resume your seat. Ginny received unanimous applause as she seated herself on Draco’s lap. Cerise laughed at Hermione restraining Ron from saying a few choice words. That boy would never give up.
“The final list is: F. Delacour, M. McGonagell, O. Wood, H. Adder, L. Brown, T. Boots, C. Chang, D. Creevey, J. Ennis, J. Finch-Fletchley, H. Granger, M. Karol, D. Lumier, E. Macmillan, D. Malfoy, S. O’Reilly, P. Parkinson, Padma Patil, H. Potter, C. Quentin, R. Renault, L. Turpin, T. Va’alda, F. Weasley, G. Weasley, R. Weasley, and V. Weasley. Open your text to chapter forty-four.”
While giving her lecture on relaxing the senses, Cerise noticed Harry wincing, his hand rested across his forehead. As everyone filed out the door for supper, she said,
“Harry, could I have a word with you in my office please?” Warily, Harry followed her to the corner of the room she had dubbed ‘her office’. She sat on the gray office chair and indicated for Harry to sit down. She opened a desk drawer and began rummaging through it.
“Harry is there anything you want to tell me?”
“Erm… no, professor, nothing at all. Why?” She closed the drawer and placed a roll of parchment and a vibrant purple quill on the desktop. Harry eyed it shrewdly.
“Yes, Harry, it’s a Quick Quotes Quill. Don’t worry, I’m no Rita Skeeter. I’m asking because I have… suspicions… that Voldemort is making plans. Harry, it’s crucial that you tell me – any dreams, rumors from Sirius –‘ He sat up.
“How do you know about Sirius?” he hissed. Cerise’s eyebrows knit together in a frown. With a gesture of her hand, the door flew closed and locked. She leaned forward and whispered,
“I know more than you think. Yes, I know all about Wormtail and Voldemort’s reincarnation. Yes, I know the answers to the questions that even Dumbledore doesn’t know. And you will find them too, when it is time. Now, about Voldemort –“
“You say his name?”
“I have little reason to fear him. Now, speak.” Harry fidgeted with his glasses.
“I’ve been having dreams… my mum and dad… in one they told me I needed life from death – to find it. I have no idea what it means. Also, to find the fourth of the lost kingdom… Cedric told me that. Don’t laugh.”
“I have no intention of doing so. Continue.”
“I… last night I had a dream – a nightmare. Voldemort… he…” a frown of frustration crept upon his face.
“I can’t remember.” Cerise reached to her waist and pulled a small iridescent swirling orb on a chain to the desk. She next took out a shallow half-clam shell. Holding the stone to his temple, above the right arm of his glasses, she said,
“It’s a moon stone Harry. Created when the rising mist of Avalon Lake captures a beam of moonlight on an eclipse night. Needless to say, not many are in existence. I like to collect them. These stones are talismans – one of their many uses is in the production of pensieves. You are familiar with pensieves. Let me probe your mind, it can find things the memory is unaware of.” She pulled it away and along trail of shiny liquid silver followed. She suspended the stone over the shell as the swirling material dripped in and began to form vague images.
“Are you ready?” Cerise reached out for Harry’s hand. With a determined nod, he took it. She dipped a long finger into the spiraling silver…
An Empty graveyard. Mildewed stones lie scattered in the mists. The nearest reads:
Lily and James Potter
A Dream Harry reaches out to the stone, to touch it. A figure approaches him and lays a light hand on his shoulder. The Dream Harry turns around and the figure morphs into two: Harry’s Parents. He reaches out to them but as he does; they disintegrate and reappear several inches from the original place. They simultaneously open their mouths and a hollow chorus says:
“Harry. The Dark Lord is rising. He gathers new allies now. His goal, to destroy the one he fears will keep him at bay. And so it will come to pass, the heir of Merlin shall give up his life for his chosen. This will lead to chaos and disruption, unless out of the chaos comes good. Good from evil, love from hate, hope from despair. Unless life may come from death, the tables will be turned.”
The Dream Harry reaches out, but he falls over a hidden cliff. He lands before another figure. To his right is another tombstone – it reads:
The figure too opens its mouth, emitting the hollow chorus.
“And so it will come to pass. Find the fourth of the lost kingdom. Among the myriad the fourth will stand. Th e liquid fire of the fourth’s life flow shall provide protection, the Gift it bears as your savior. But beware of one you hold near – one who is in the dark is veiled in the light.”
The shapes change. A murky stone paved room. A mahogany throne lies at the center. The walls are bare, but a large table map with carved wooden animated figures, much like those of wizards’ chess stands in the middle. Three dark figures are gathered around this table. Two are cloaked and masked. The tallest of the three is unmasked and has the face of a serpent. He is unmistakably the leader. It speaks – hisses.
“Lucius, Wormtail. Why is it that the last campaign was unsuccessful?” One of the men quivers and falls to the floor. The other looks at him disdainfully. From behind the mask, a voice boldly says:
“We are not sure, my lord. The Dementors were destroyed. Your follower – the Frenchman – Jacques Mortir, we found his body in the forest. Avery and Bullstrode are now useless – “
“Dementors can’t be destroyed! A good Patronus could kill three, but no more!”
“The fifty sent are all now destroyed. Strewn in parts beyond recognition. They were found alongside Mortir.”
“Why was Mortir Destroyed? Why not just mindless like the other two?”
“From the imprints we’ve found magically from Bullstrode, a girl was there – she fronted them off. Mortir went for her – tried to stun her – but she screamed. They all disappeared, turned up in the forest three days later. Mortir is now one big charcoal briquette, the others were found in pieces. We can’t explain – “
“Quiet you fool!” The writhing figure tentatively rises to his knees. The tall one strides over to the window. He mutters, in his cold, dead voice:
“Yes… but it can’t be – they’re gone. There was… No.” He points his wand to the table. A new figure appears in front of a tall one with a beard. Its arms are pointed upwards, together holding a blossom….
Harry’s head was spinning. Now he remembered. But what did it have to do with anything, it was all so cryptic. He looked at Cerise. Her eyebrows were knitted together so that you could almost see her thinking. She was pacing by the window, every so often rolling the moonstone between her hands. He ventured to ask,
“Cerise – what, I mean, where was that? The second place.” She stopped pacing and sat at her desk, where she focused a piercing stare at his emerald eyes. After a long pause, she spoke.
“Harry, that was Voldemort’s headquarters. It’s called Castle Aquinoch.”
“If you know where it is, why don’t you go there and…”
“If I went, I would find a crumbling ruin. It’s not in this world, Harry; it’s in another dimension. This world – all worlds for that matter, have multiple dimensions. And enormously powerful wizard of witch can travel to certain ones. But others can be made impermeable. I believe Voldemort’s requires a talisman of some type. I have a theory that there are many spells woven into that Dark Mark – it’s more that a tattoo. One of those spells probably allows the crossing into the dimension. But no one’s tried…”
“Well, why don’t you?”
“Harry, there’s only one current wizard with the power to dimension-hop, and that’s Dumbledore. And we can’t have him going into potential peril. Harry, do you know what the failed campaign was for?” Slowly, Harry shook his head.
“It’s to kill him Harry. Yes, he knows. That’s one reason why I’m here.” Harry shot her a patronizing look.
“What do you think you can do that Dumbledore can’t?” She opened her mouth, ready to fire back and answer, then closed it, like a goldfish.
“I don’t know.” But Harry could tell that she did, and that she wasn’t telling him something. And that she hadn’t said how many witches had the ability to cross the dimension lines.
“Cerise? Cerise, Love, Are you paying attention to a word I say?” Oliver was hard at work working on