Chapter 12 : Chapter 11-Part II: A Startling Desire
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The door shut with a click, plunging the room in complete darkness. His scar tingled slightly as his eyes adjusted to the lack of light.
“Lumos,” he whispered. The tip of his wand lit up and illuminated his surroundings.
He was in a very narrow passageway. He took a few cautious steps away from the door before going forward at normal speed. Every now and then his scar would prickle, but as soon as he mentally searched for the source it would disappear. Harry finally reached the end of the passage. When he reached for the doorknob, the door creaked open on its own. A blast of hot, sticky, humid air blew through the small opening.
Cautiously, Harry pushed open the door a few more inches and took care not to step over the threshold. Another lightless room. He held his wand high to illuminate the opening. A sort of steam or mist floated through the air.
“Sparsi.” The mist promptly vanished and Harry stepped through the doorway—only to fall several feet and land with a splash.
Spitting out the foul tasting water, Harry crawled out of the pool and stood up. The area was dimly lit, just enough to cast a dull glow across the landscape. A swamp—he had just fallen into a hot, bug infested swamp, saturated with the stench of rotting plants and fish. He thought a moment about casting a Bubble Head charm on himself, but decided against it. He needed to be able to say spells distinctly if he met anything, and there wasn’t any fresh air around to trap. He’d just have to suffer through it.
He shed his heavy, waterlogged outer robe and trudged forward—his wand relit. “She said all our stuff would meet us at the end,” he said to himself, rolling up his sleeves.
It was a swamp. Could anything really be surprising in a swamp? Harry had learned very quickly that Professor Amsel must have raided the lake and set up some agreement with Hagrid to get a load of creatures before setting this up. Sure, there were hinkypunks, dugbogs and grindylows, but the fire crab the popped out of an expertly disguised cave totally caught Harry off guard. His trousers managed to get singed in that encounter.
He was currently struggling through a particularly wet area of the marsh. The water was up to his knees. He could feel odd tickling as various unseen creatures swam, crawled, and other wise creeped by Harry as he tried to make it to the next room. He’d already pulled more leeches from his legs than he wanted to count. He ducked as two doxies zoomed close to his head.
“What’s the test?” he questioned out loud, irritated at his slow progress. There had to be some kind of trial to get to the next room. Or was this the test? “How long can you last in a hot,” he took a step, “buggy,” another step, “smelly,” another, “muddy,” one more, “swaaaAAMP!” His last step plunged him into a pool of cleverly disguised, slime encrusted, murky water that reached his neck.
He was immediately pulled under the rank fluid, sharp nails clawing at his face and body.
He struggled to reach the surface, the dark green slim stretching across his face before breaking, allowing him much needed oxygen. He reached out to the muddy weeds on the surface in search of his wand. But no luck.
He kicked at one creature that held on to the bottom of his foot, crushing it between his shoe and a wall then slammed his back into the opposite wall of the pool, crushing another. He cringed at the feeling of snapping bones against his body.
But the strategy worked. The remaining kappas and other unknown dark creatures fled, allowing Harry to escape his slimy would-be tomb.
He crawled out and slumped onto his back, breathing heavily. Rolling onto his side, away from the slime he spotted his wand just a few inches away. He grabbed it up and slowly rose to his feet, hoping he would find the end soon.
There was a light at the end of the tunnel. Only a few minutes walk from the kappa pool, a door seemed to materialize out of the murky, yellow-green smog of the marsh. But Harry had to get through the knee deep mud to get there. Each step created a shclop sound as he pressed his feet into the sludge. He’d tried every spell he knew to make the mud easier to traverse—even tried to transfigure it into water—but nothing worked. The ground just seemed to absorb the spell and continue to harbor the strength of a Hoover vacuum on his feet.
He finally reached the door, the mud now reaching his mid-thigh. The ledge it rested upon was suspended in midair. Stretching as far as his arms would allow, his fingers just barely brushed the handle. “Alohomora.” The door opened with a click and he pushed it open a few more inches. Using the door frame as a point of leverage, Harry pulled himself from the mud and up into the next room.
Any hope he had of taking a brief second to scourgify himself was lost when the door to the swamp slammed closed the moment his legs were through the door. Several clicks from the shadows of this new room echoed off the bare walls. In the dim candle light, Harry could make out a few large wardrobes and trunks tucked away in the corners of the room.
The temperature plunged to well below freezing.
Dementors! But—no that wasn’t possible, they couldn’t get in the castle.
“Boggarts,” he hissed. The boggart-dementor from the tri wizard tournament was foremost in his mind. He’d taken care of that one easily. Six would be slightly harder. Thinking back to the time when he, Ron and Hermione had all fallen asleep under their favorite tree after having an impromptu picnic last year, he started his attack.
“Expecto Patronum!” A huge stag erupted from his wand and galloped around the six dementors. Several of them stumbled over their robes, giving Harry the opportunity to get rid of them with a simple Riddikulus,--except, they didn’t all disappear. There was still one left and it had recovered from its stumble.
Harry racked his brain, trying to remember Larken’s lessons. Then it hit him. How could he have been so stupid?
“Lumos Solem!” A focused beam of sunlight shot out from his wand and plowed straight into the dementor, blasting it against the wall. With a blood curling scream the creature burst into flame and burned down to a pile of ashes.
“Damn Boggies.” Boggies imitated boggarts by taking on the appearance of the thing which you fear the most, but their weakness is sunlight, and are unaffected by the spell that repels boggarts.
He was still covered in the swamp mud and slim, but the door which had materialized to his left after he had vanquished the boggie was already starting to fade away. He didn’t have time to scourgify himself just yet.
He opened the door and got through just before the frame vanished. Amsel wasn’t kidding when she told them not to hang around after they finished each task.
Harry saw stars when he hit the ground. Someone had just punched him square in the temple.
“I knew you catch up sooner or later,” a cold voice sneered from behind him. The room lit up to a brightness that hurt Harry’s eyes as they tried to adjust to the new level of light. Despite his dizziness from the attack, Harry quickly got to his feet and faced his attacker.
“Malfoy,” he spat. “Just like a coward—attack your enemy when their back is turned.”
“I’m going to get you back, Potter,” he growled through gritted teeth. “You are going to pay for what you have done to my family.” Harry backed up a few steps and raised his wand at the ready.
“Don’t think you’ll win, Malfoy,” he warned. Malfoy just smirked and raised his wand. His first curse was silent and Harry rolled to the left as the jet of yellow light barely missed him. He took no time in retaliating with a silent disarming charm. Malfoy had already moved and Harry dodged a stunning charm that nearly blindsided him.
Harry saw Malfoy take cover behind a stack of wooden boxes and he took the opportunity to dive behind a large statue—a corner of which had just been blown away by one of Malfoy’s curses.
Harry almost laughed at the situation. Was this Professor Amsel’s version of a joke—forcing him to battle Malfoy and complete his test, covered in mud and slim from her bog?
This is ridiculous, thought Harry as he shot another disarming charm. I’ll never finish this test if I have to entrench myself against Malfoy. He rolled away from his protection and aimed for Malfoy’s boxes.
“Bombarda!” the boxes exploded in a shower of splinters.
“Stupefy!” Malfoy shouted back the moment he was clear of the debris.
“Protego!” The spell rebounded towards Malfoy.
“Protego!” He countered. The spell sped towards Harry faster than he could counter, he dove out of the way just before the crackling red light collided with the wall and blew away a large crater. Shards of stone filled the immediate area. Harry quickly placed a bubble shield around himself and the shrapnel harmlessly bounced away.
“Sectumsempra!” Malfoy’s curse rang out from the opposite side of the room, but the dust was still too thick and the spell only grazed Harry’s shoulder, leaving a deep gash in its wake. He cried out in pain and angrily retaliated with a banishing hex. Malfoy was catapulted off his feet and thrown into the stone wall—his collision marked by a sickening crunch. His eyes, unfocused and wide with surprise stared blankly out towards Harry. He slowly slid down the wall, a trail of blood marking his path downward, and slumped limply to the ground.
“M-Malfoy?” Harry called out. He couldn’t be…no…Amsel said that it was impossible to die in this test. “Malfoy!” he called out louder. There was no response. A trickle of blood seeped from his white parted lips. “Oh, no,” he breathed.
Two things happened just as Harry took a step towards Malfoy’s body: the limp form of Harry’s former enemy exploded into a million silver pieces, and the floor opened up beneath him.
The wind whistled in his ears as he fell faster and faster. His mind struggled to wrap around what had just happened, but he didn’t have time to think of Malfoy. He had to slow himself down.
He racked is brain for the spell Dumbledore had taught him last year to slow things down. His mind seemed to cloud up more and more the further he fell.
Block it out, he chanted to himself. Block out the fog and focus on the memory. There it is!
“Arresto Momen—” Too late—his incantation was cut off when he plunged into icy cold water. The momentum from his fall propelled him very deep into the water. He was descending too deep, the pressure grew rapidly against his chest and ears. With a very painful pop, the pressure abruptly subsided from his ears.
Ascendio! He shouted in his mind, pointing his wand downward. He quickly shot back up and out of the pool. He landed at the edge of the pool, groaning in pain.
“Lumos,” he whimpered. His ears were bleeding. He could feel the warm, sticky fluid trickling down his cheek. The pressure must have broken his ear drums. He groaned again as his head pounded. He felt as though a jackhammer was trying to break through is skull from the inside. And just for some added humor, he slammed the back of his head on the low ceiling when he tried to stand up.
“As soon as this is over,” he told himself out loud, crouching down below the opening of the tunnel, “I’m asking Madame Pomfrey for a book on pain relieving spells.” At least most of the mud and slime had been washed away by his sudden dunk into the icy bath.
But what of Malfoy? Had it really been him, or had it all been a part of the test?
“Damn,” he hissed. He should have known this was going to happen. The walls and ceiling were closing in on him. Harry wasn’t moving fast enough. He was lingering after a trial. His wand shown far enough into the next room that he could see something shining close to the exit of the enclosing tunnel. “Carpe Retractum!” Not a moment later he was pulled forward out of the passageway and into a dimly lit—but large—room. What was it with Professor Amsel and dark rooms?
He rose to his feet, his head spinning, and readied himself for the next task—whatever it might be.
“What will you do,” a deep voice called out from the shadows, “when all you are familiar with, is taken from you?” Harry’s wand vanished from his hand, as did his shirt and pants—leaving his boxers, socks and shoes as his only covering. “Will you run?” the voiced asked him, “Or will you fight?”
“That depends on the situation,” he called out, shivering in the cold, damp room. The small amount of light that had been present in the room was doused, leaving Harry shivering in the dark. What the bloody hell has this to do with defense against the dark arts? he asked himself angrily. The pain from his burst eardrums had subsided in the cold air, but blood still slowly dripped from his ears, falling to his shoulder.
“What kind of situation?” the voice asked him. Harry was shoved to the ground by an unknown force. “This kind of situation?” the voice taunted him from above. An invisible hand roughly wrenched him off the floor and shoved him into the cold stone wall, his face flush against the rough stone. “What will you choose now? Run or fight?” it asked in his ear.
He thought quickly. Throughout this whole test, he had been faced with several different tasks: the swamp with its dark creatures, the boggarts and his fear, his enemy (if dueling with Malfoy had in fact been part of the planned test), and the ability to think quickly when caught off guard—a task in which Harry knew he had failed. These were all direct tasks; tasks with a direct answer. This was totally different.
“When those I care about are in danger, I never run.” Pulled from the wall, he was forcefully pushed away and back to the ground.
“How very noble of you,” it taunted. “And how would you defeat the persons that threaten those you care for when you are left with nothing but your skin to protect you?”
“I’d die for them if I had to,” he answered, standing again.
“You can only give one life. What stops your enemies from killing them after you’re dead?”
“If it gives them a chance to get away and have another day to fight and defeat them, it’s worth it.”
“And if they don’t?” Harry didn’t answer. What if he died at the end of all this? Would Hermione and Ron live through a life under the dominion of Voldemort?
“Dieing isn’t the answer, Potter,” it said. “There is always a way to defend yourself and those you love, even when you thing there is ‘nothing’.”
“And that is?”
“Wandless magic,” he whispered to himself. The fuzzy feeling in his brain was growing. Like a great fog had clouded over his memories and knowledge. Professor Larkin had spent a great deal of last year talking about wandless magic, but he never got a chance to teach it. Harry had forgotten all about it.
The voice chuckled. “Very good. Now, defend yourself.”
“Defend myself?” he questioned. The voice didn’t answer, instead Harry suddenly found himself flat on his back, as his legs were kicked out from under him.
“How can I defend myself when I can’t even see you?” pushing himself up from the ground.
“Magic,” it answered. “It’s inherent. Magic is not controlled by a wand, Potter. A wand channels the magic you are born with. It allows a person to focus their magic. It’s a teaching tool. You don’t need it. Now, defend yourself!” Harry was shoved back to the ground, the invisible hands pressed his head against the stone floor. “Push me away,” it growled.
The test had suddenly become the teacher.
Harry knew, when using wandless magic, thinking the incantation of a spell or hex didn’t work. He had to focus on what he wanted to happen—on the end result.
He focused on the pressure the voice had placed upon him against the floor. He had to get up. The pressure had to leave in order for him to do that. The voice said ‘push’, so…
The pressure abruptly released him and Harry quickly stood up, ready for another assault.
“Very good, Potter. You may proceed to the next room.” The room lit up just enough for Harry to see the door at the other end of the room. His wand reappeared in his hand, as did his shirt, pants and tie—dry and clean.
He walked briskly to the door, remembering not to linger after a task, but just as he opened the door, the voice called to him again.
“Remember, Potter, you are never without a means of defense. Your magic runs in your blood, not in the core of your wand..”
Harry stepped into the next room and was summarily dropped, just as he had been after his duel with Malfoy.
Harry had the striking feeling that Professor Amsel was telling him to never be caught by surprise.
“Arresto Momentum!” he called out with no hesitation. He slowly fell into the fog far below him, and then gently touched down on the ground a few moments later.
One look at his surroundings and Harry knew exactly where he was. It was the dream from the train. He could see the tall stone pillars just a few feet away.
“Might I ask why you’ve been dreaming about Stonehenge?” a familiar voice called out. He spun around to face the woman immerging from the dissipating fog.
“Professor? What are you doing here?” he asked. The sky slowly lit up, like the dawn of a new day.
“I was just about to ask you the same question. But I suppose the best question to ask is: How am I here?” She looked at him sternly, a slight tinge of disappointment touched her features as she waited for his answer.
“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “It’s your test.” A short amused laugh escaped her.
“No, no, no…this isn’t my test. It’s your test. Everything that has happened in this exam has tested you in some form or another. My being here is a testament to your failure in one very important area.”
Harry was confused. The only part he was sure he completely failed in was the fall into the ice water pool. “I don’t understand, Professor. I know I failed at the ice water pool but—”
She raised an eyebrow and cocked her head at his response. “You really think I’d be here if you had failed something as trivial as that?”
“No,” he conceded. “I suppose not.”
She exhaled with impatience and locked eyes with his. “How do I know you have been dreaming about Stonehenge?”
“I don—Oh…” He was furious with himself. Suddenly it all made sense. The prickling of his scar at the beginning, the occasional cloudiness he felt when he tried to remember spells…she’d been using Legilimency on him.
“Michael Larken was a master legilimens and occlumens. From what the headmaster told me about your lessons with him, there shouldn’t be anyway for me to stand here, and yet I am. Explain yourself.” Her cold, stony gaze distinctly reminded him of Professor McGonagall. Harry didn’t really know how to answer.
“I don’t know. I don’t have an explanation,” he admitted. It was his fault. He hadn’t put up the strong barriers that Professor Larken had taught him. “I didn’t put up my barriers. It’s as simple as that.” An odd emotion passed through her eyes. Was that surprise? Whatever it was, it was gone faster than it appeared and replaced by an intimidating scowl.
“Simple, ay? Then I suppose thrusting me from your mind with be simple as well.” Harry stared at her. He wasn’t a master at Occlumency, he didn’t hold any delusions about that. How could he push her out after she had penetrated so far?
“I’d hate to think you would let the Dark Lord muddle around in your mind for so long,” she said, a dark expression holding her face. “Why am I still in your mind?” she hissed at him. “Is it because I’m not a threat?” The sky—fully lit with sunlight—darkened instantly, a bolt of lighting crackling across the sky.
“Aagh!” Harry cried in pain. His brain felt like someone had just driven a knife into it. “Am I enough of a threat to you now?” He shot her an angry look. He closed his eyes and focused on what Larken had taught him the year before. She was very far in his mind. He had to start from this memory and push out from here. Another searing burst of pain wracked his mind, breaking his concentration.
“You’re taking too long, Potter. The Dark Lord and his followers won’t wait for you.”
“I’M TRYING!” he shouted, his eyes watering from the pain that echoed through is brain. His ears were screaming in pain once again.
“No!” she snapped at him. “There is no try. Trying implies the possibility of failure. You don’t have that luxury, Harry. Now Force Me Out!” He glared at her but focused again on this memory. Like large blocks of thick ice, Harry built a wall around him and then expanded it outward.
The light was back. He wasn’t at Stonehenge anymore and Professor Amsel was nowhere to be seen.
Every trace of slime, mud and blood on his body was gone. His ears no longer pounded in pain. Had he finally reached the end?
He stood in a plain room, with only a few pictures of fruit baskets and a litter of kittens sparsely covered the red wallpapered walls. Harry drew out his wand, hoping he wouldn’t need it. He slowly scanned the room, turning in a tight circle, not moving from his position in the middle of the room.
There was the door. His book bag leaning against the doorframe and his black outer cloak folded neatly lying on top of it. He released a sigh of relief. It was over. He was done.
He took two steps towards the door, but was suddenly blocked by a huge mirror that had appeared out of nowhere. Harry backed up and instantly recognized the mirror.
“The Mirror of Erised,” he said aloud. “Where did she dig you out from?” he questioned, backing up a bit more for a better look. He took a moment to strengthen his mental barriers before setting his gaze on the image that was reflected to him.
Something had changed.
He didn’t see his parents, or his extended family gathered around him. He saw himself. A Harry Potter that had to be near thirty years old. His older self gave him a wink.
He watched in confused shock as a little boy ran up from behind and plowed straight into the back of his older self’s legs. A girl—who looked around nine years old—also ran to him and locked her arms around his legs. With her cheek flush with the older Harry’s right leg, she stared out at the seventeen-year-old that watched her. Her eyes were deep brown, accenting her flowing dark hair.
The scene morphed into a slightly different picture. The children were much older and he looked to be in his sixty’s. The dark haired young woman waved at him and smiled. The, now older, boy gave him a thumbs up and ran his fingers through his messy brown hair. The ends stuck up at all angles, just like his.
Was this what he wanted? Was this his greatest desire?
Harry wanted a family; his very own family. An arm wrapped around his older self’s waste, but before Harry could make out who the person was, the mirror disappeared with a small pop. Harry stood a moment, trying to wrap his mind around what he had just seen.
His heart’s most inner desire was to have a family.
The exit door opened, interrupting his thoughts. He needed to leave. He could think about it later.
He grabbed up his stuff from next to the door and walked out.
“Ron?” Ron and Susan Bones were standing just outside the door. “What are you still doing here?”
“Still?” Susan said. “Harry, it’s only been six minutes.” He stared at her. He looked to Ron, hoping she was just trying to kid him. But he nodded.
“I’ve been here for six minutes mate. Susan had only finished three minutes before me and Malfoy came out three minutes after me.”
“But—but that’s impossible!” he exclaimed. “I’ve been in there for hours!”
“I know, Harry. So were we. But if you look at your watch, you’ll notice that it has only been a few minutes since we entered the test.” He was right. His watch showed only five minutes had passed between the leaving the classroom and his exit from the test. Which meant that Ernie should be coming out right about…
The door swung open once more and Ernie came striding out. “Hello!” he called to them. “You haven’t been waiting for me this whole time, have you Susan?” She shook her head. Harry could have sworn he saw her roll her eyes.
“No, Ernie, I haven’t been waiting for you. And it’s only been fifteen minutes since I got out.” She and Ron explained to a very doubtful Ernie exactly what they had told Harry.
“Where are we, anyway?” asked Harry.
“Still in the South East tower,” Susan answered.
“But…I remember falling hundreds of feet. We couldn’t still be where we started.”
“Harry, your slipping again,” teased Ron. “This is magic, remember? It doesn’t matter what we think happened. The reality is that we are still in the South East tower.”
The door swung open again and out came Katarina, out of breath and rather pale. She braced herself against the wall, her eyes closed, and her chest rising and falling with each deep breath.
“Are you okay, Katarina?” asked Susan. She nodded her head in response but didn’t open her eyes.
“Just a little vinded is all.” She took a few more deep breaths before picking up her bag from the ground. “How long haf you been here?” she asked.
“Just a few minutes,” Ernie answered.
“We’ll explain it when Hermione gets out,” Susan told her after Katarina gave her a confused look.
“Speaking of Hermione, she should be here right about…now,” said Ron just as the door opened again, releasing its last test taker. Hermione looked flustered as she exited, her heavy book bag slung awkwardly over her shoulder.
“Don’t tell me you waited for me all this time?” she said looking to Harry and Ron. Harry smiled and glanced in Susan’s direction. She copied his smile and began to explain what she and Ron had figured out.
“A time warp?” exclaimed Hermione. “No way.” She looked back at the door she had just exited.
“That is not possible,” Katarina whispered. “It is only theoretical.”
“A time warp?” asked Ernie. “What is that?”
“It’s like a bubble of time,” Katarina explained. “No matter how long ve spent in the test, little or no time passed out here.”
“Three minutes, to be exact,” Hermione commented. She shook her head and glanced back at the door. “Magic dealing with time is the most complex, most confusing and most dangerous magic a person can dabble in. How in the world did she do it?”
“Three minutes,” Harry repeated. “So every time the door opened for the next person in line, it meant that the previous person had just finished.” Hermione nodded.
“So we waited in line for nearly an hour and half, only to have three minutes pass?” asked Ron.
“Yeah,” Susan answered.
“An hour and a half,” Ernie repeated.
“Seventy-eight minutes to be precise,” answered Hermione. “At least it was for me. I suppose it was seventy-two for you.”
“Then we better not hang around much longer,” said Harry looking at his watch. “We’ve only got twenty minutes to get all the way to charms.” The six of them quickly gathered up their stuff and jogged down the hall to the stairwell.
Later that night, Harry, Ron and Hermione sat at one of the back corner tables in the library, parchment and books stacked up all around them. Flitwick and McGonagall had really piled in on earlier that day and Harry knew the only way to keep from drowning in the work was to follow Hermione’s example (at least a bit) and break into the pile now. Ron, not wanting to be left out, grudgingly followed along.
“At least we don’t have homework from Amsel,” said Ron, pushing back from the table, stretching his arms high over his head. “I dread the kind of workload she’s going to give us.”
Harry smiled halfheartedly, but kept his eyes on his charms book. He hadn’t turned the page in nearly fifteen minutes. He wasn’t thinking about Charms, he was thinking about his test and the unsettling encounter with Professor Amsel.
Hermione glanced up at Harry and saw him frown. She knew he hadn’t turned the page in over fifteen minutes, and while she usually would have chided him for it, she had a feeling that something about his test bothered him and wasn’t allowing him to concentrate.
It didn’t take long for them to find out that all of their tests had been different. Susan had described struggling against a very angry yeti, while Harry told them of his unpleasant experience in a swamp. Hermione had faced a baby dragon in a decrepit forest and Ron fought some rather nasty fire lizards in a desert. Katarina declined to share most of her test, though she told them about an odd experience with a tree that wouldn’t let her pass unless she performed a certain kind of magic.
That was, of course, before Ron made an extremely rude comment that Hermione didn’t care to repeat, even in her mind. Katarina left their small group the moment they got to charms and sat at the opposite end of the classroom.
Both she and Harry had decided that trying to make Ron civil to Katarina was a futile attempt. But Hermione had made a point to not help him with the essay Flitwick had assigned.
“Sheesh,” Ron groaned, getting up from the table. “I’ve got to take a walk. I can’t write anymore, my hand is cramping up.”
“Harry?” Hermione called gently. “Are you okay?” He let out a tired sigh, dropping his quill to his half finished essay.
“I’m fine,” he answered. “I’m just tired. That test really took a lot out of me.” She gave him a sympathetic smile and reached out to his arm.
“I know you’re tired, Harry. All of us are.” She squeezed his arm slightly. “But I know that isn’t all that’s bothering you.”
Harry’s head dropped into his hands, his fingers running through his messy black hair. “I just…I don’t understand it.”
“Her! Amsel,” he said, his arms now wrapped around his own neck, his chin resting on the table. “She’s so cold and strict. I just don’t see how she could be V.”
“But her handwriting, Harry, it’s exactly—”
“The same,” he finished. “I know. But the girl in those notes is nothing like the woman in that classroom. I think we made a mistake. I don’t think she’s V.”
Hermione scooted her chair closer to him and rested her hands on his upper arm. “You’re disappointed, aren’t you?”
He nodded. “I thought this would be my chance to get to know about my mum—my other half. Everyone always tells me that I have her eyes, but what does that mean? Who was my mum, really? I just…” he let out a frustrated sigh, “I just thought: ‘This is my chance. Now I can know.’ But it isn’t her, Hermione. There is no way that Amsel is V.”
Hermione didn’t really know what to say. He looked so defeated. “Harry, look at me.” He unlocked his laced fingers and sat up, looking at her with his deep green eyes.
“You can’t know for sure that she isn’t V,” she told him. “Not unless you ask her.” He shook his head vehemently at the suggestion.
“No way, Hermione. You read the notes. You can’t tell me that you’ve seen the same girl in Professor Amsel.”
“No,” she conceded, “I can’t say that. But you must also admit that it’s been over twenty years since Professor Amsel was that girl. Time changes people, Harry. We have no idea what she has experienced since then. Don’t give up on her just yet, okay Harry?”
“I just can’t believe it, Hermione. I can’t believe that my mum would be best friends with someone like that. And if she really is V, why did she treat me like Snape always does? She made me think I had killed Malfoy, Hermione. The girl from those notes would have never done that.”
Hermione was at a loss for words. He had a very good point. She only squeezed his arm again and gave him a smile.
They returned back to their work just as Ron came back from his break.
Near one in the morning, Harry was lying in bed wide awake. Two things were mulling around in his mind: Professor Amsel, and the very startling desire he had seen in the mirror. The face of his older self floated in his mind’s eye. He had looked so happy and content—totally without worry.
“It’s what I want,” Harry said aloud, “It’s what I want.” He only wished he knew who had wrapped the loving arm around his waist.
Post Note: So what did you think of the test? Good? Bad? Was I too hard on Harry or too easy? I do hope you enjoyed it. I know I used some spells from the movies and games, but I rather like some of the ones used, so I hope that doesn't put anyone off.
I'd like to thank PROPMASTER for nominating me for trusted author status. Thanks so much for that! *Eli*
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