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Harry Potter and the Final Riddle by Timechild
Chapter 19 : The Second Search
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 7


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After Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione had finished questioning the still quite sleepy Jayson, they discovered that he knew no more about the subject of Mundungus Fletcher than he had already announced…namely that he found out that Harry was looking for him and that he had been discovered in Istanbul. The letter had come from Ron’s brother Charlie. He had found Fletcher peddling wares in a street corner in the West side of the city.

“Are we through, now? I would like to get some more sleep, thank you…” Jayson had semi-snarled through his teeth.

“Aw….not used to getting up this early?” Ginny asked snidely.

“Bloody right I’m not…and I was up quite late last night.”

“And what kept you up so late?” Ginny pounced on him with that question, when she heard a small “hem-hem” at the side of the Room. Ginny turned to see Pansy Parkinson standing there. Ginny had not yet realized what she was doing there until that exact moment. “YOU?!?!” She shot a look of complete horror at Jayson, and then pointed at Pansy to Hermione; who turned around and calmed Ginny down. It took several more minutes, and Jayson finally crawling out of bed and practically pushing everyone out (except Pansy) and closing the door, to get everyone out.

“Thanks again Hermione…” Pansy said as she waved and the door clicked shut. Everyone then heard her squeal for about half a second before all was quiet again.

“Thanks for what?” Ron asked.

“I told her it was okay to accompany Jayson to the wedding.” Hermione calmly replied.

“WHAT!?!?!?” Harry and Ron shouted together. McGonagall, however, simply nodded.

“That was very nice of you, Hermione; given everything she had said and done.” She said.

“Thank You, Minerva.” Hermione responded. “I was assured by Jayson that she will be no trouble at all. I trust Jayson, although I am still astonished he took so to Pansy…”

“I’m not…it’s called horny.” Ginny said coldly.

“I don’t think so, Ginny. I picked up Jayson’s feelings at the time. He seems genuinely interested in helping to reform Pansy. And, make no mistake, he is completely in charge in there and….oh my!” Hermione’s face turned beet red when she realized how what she had just said sounded. Everyone laughed, including McGonagall.

“That’s all right love…,” said Ron cheerily, “we know what you meant…”

“Good…” Hermione retorted, “But I am still amazed. One second, she’s hitting him with Curses, the next he’s hitting her with a broom-handle and the next…” Hermione stopped there.

“They’re hitting each other.” Harry said with a wink. Hermione was now very red in the face.

“Harry!!!!” She yelled.

“Well? We we’re all in there, and saw the same thing, didn’t we?” He retorted to her.

Hermione buried her face into Ron’s shoulder, very embarrassed. Ginny nudged Harry in the ribs and gave him a look.

“Harry James Potter…how could you say something like that?” She glared at him, but then smiled and kissed him.

“Couldn’t be helped, my love. It is about time she realized he was going to do that…sometime…with someone. Although, I am as surprised as all of you are that it was Parkinson.” He thought at her.

“It almost makes sense…” Hermione said after lifting her head from Ron’s shoulder.

“Why is that, Love?” Ron asked.

“Pansy is different, rebellious, a loner, very bright, and extremely pretty…perfect combination for Jayson…especially pretty.” Hermione retorted.

Ginny smirked, while Harry tried unsuccessfully to stifle a laugh or two of his own. Ron simply rolled his eyes, but Hermione was actually being serious.

“I mean it…look at all of what has happened to him and who crossed his path. He went for me, and I was probably the least liked person in school…and now Pansy…same exact situation almost. Let’s face it…he likes rebels, and Pansy Parkinson likes strong personalities. Look at all she gave up for Malfoy. It can’t be on account of his charm…he hasn’t any. Pansy likes to be…how do I put this…”

“Controlled is the word you are trying to mask, Hermione.” McGonagall stated quite clearly. “The question is weather or not Mr. Livermore is actually going to dominate her in the way Mr. Malfoy did.”

“I don’t think so, Minerva…he certainly didn’t with me, and he could have easily. No, I think Pansy is not only quite safe, but in good hands.” Hermione said.

“Now that all that is settled…we need to think about Istanbul.” Ginny stated quite emphatically.

“Right…now here is what we need…” Harry started to lay out the beginnings of a plan.

***

The four of them left for Istanbul the next morning via Floo Powder. Charlie was there to meet them.

“Why Floo-Powder, Charlie?” Harry asked. “I would have preferred to apparate.”

“Not safe here, Mate! That sort of thing draws too much attention…the wrong kid of attention, if you know what I mean.” Charlie responded.

Harry knew exactly what Charlie meant. He meant that this was a stronghold for Riddle’s forces and Harry might have as well painted a neon sign on his back.

“So, where’s Dungus Charlie?” Ron asked.

“Haven’t a clue, little brother. He did a disappearance right after I sent the note. I sent it to the school so that, if it was followed, it wouldn’t lead straight to any of you. I figured you were all still at Harry’s…” He responded.

“Well, we had a little bit of fun at the Rehearsal.”

“That’s putting it mildly…” Ginny guffawed. She then went over, kissed Charlie on the cheek, and explained everything that happened the last few days.

“And he kept her? Man, he either has to be good or really hard up?” Charlie said

“I’m betting on both…” Ginny replied.

“Ginny!!!” Hermione said, totally shocked.

“Hey, he admitted being alone for years…” Ginny pointed out.

“Yes, but that doesn’t mean he would just jump the first girl he got his hands on…literally in this case.” She then realized what she had just said…and blushed.

“Anyway!!!” Harry chimed in, “back to Mundungus Fletcher…so you’re telling me he escaped.

“Not completely…he has to be in Istanbul somewhere, otherwise he would have been caught by quite a few people. He’s here somewhere, we just don’t know where.” Charlie replied.

“Okay then, we’ll split up. Ron, you and Hermione take the East End, Ginny and I will go West.”

“And I will send a team into the South, because that is a pretty rough area…” Charlie chimed in.

“OK, good hunting everyone…let’s go.” Harry announced.

They searched the city for several hours; combing side streets and dark avenues that made Knockturn Alley seem cheerful by comparison. Finally, the four of them re-united in the main square of town.

“No sign of him…in any guise.” Said a very exhausted Harry.

“That’s odd, we should have been able to pick up some idea of where he is hiding…” Hermione retorted. She was breathing heavy as if she had been running, which is probably because she had been.

“Not really, Love…” Ron replied and kissed her, “if Dungus doesn’t want to be found…he is very good at not being found.”

“That’s the problem…Dungus can see us and keep changing positions. What we need is a way to search for him without his being able to detect it.” Ginny exclaimed, and then her face lit up. “Of course…Buckbeak; we could search in the air and Dungus wouldn’t see or move fast enough…”

“Way ahead of you Ginny…we found him!” Charlie came into the conversation. “Our dragon patrol spotted him Southeast.”

“Dragon Patrol?” Ron exclaimed. “You ride dragons?”

“Only the less aggressive ones…” Charlie said with a wink.

Ron just groaned as the others laughed. They at once followed Charlie to a very deserted and condemned section of the town that was slated for demolition. Inside the fourth decrepit building they looked into was a very frightened Mundungus Fletcher.

“Hello ‘Arry…good ta’ see ya.” Fletcher said somewhat not convincingly.

“Hello there…you dirty, thieving son-of-a…” Harry said as he grabbed Fletcher and drove him into the wall.

“Harry!!!” Hermione shouted.

“We need him in one piece, My Love. Don’t kill him…yet.” Ginny thought to Harry, who nodded.

“Good Point, Ginny…OK Dungus, you’re going to get one…and only one…opportunity to get yourself out of this with your head still on your shoulders. I want everything you stole from the Black House…starting with a certain locket…” Harry glared at him with a look that shocked everyone…including Charlie. Fletcher, however, did something surprising. He stood up straight and looked Harry right in the eye.

“You can have the rest of the stuff, but I’m keeping the locket. I didn’t steal it; it was given to me by the House of Black before it passed to you. Here….” Dungus dropped his satchel at Harry’s feet. “is all of it…but the locket is mine, fair and square. I will never sell it nor give it up!”

Harry stepped back and raised one finger. Suddenly Fletcher went straight up in the air. “That’s a load of crap, Fletcher! Sirius didn’t give you that locket….I want it back…Now!”

“You cannot take it from him, Mr. Potter, for he speaks the truth. I gave him the locket of my own free will before Sirius died. That means he does not have to hand it over, so kindly put him down.” The voice came from a hooded man who appeared from the shadows. No one could see inside the hood. The man came directly up to Harry and lifted the hood. His face was completely blackened and scarred; as if he had walked through fire. Hermione and Ginny gasped. Ron looked like he was going to be sick.

“This guy looks like Dumbledore’s arm did last year, except all over his body.” He announced.

“That is a very good analogy, for it amounted to the same thing. The fact that Dumbledore only charred his arm is a testament to his superior skill as a Wizard. Allow me to introduce myself…my name is Regulus A. Black. Sirius was my brother.”

“That’s impossible! Regulus Black is dead; he died years ago…when he…stole the Horcrux…” Harry said, and then took a closer look at the charred individual.

“I see that you found my replacement and the note inside. As I wrote to the Dark Lord, the Horcrux has been destroyed. I attempted to destroy it in almost the same manner as Dumbledore. I, however, am not anywhere as good a wizard as he was. The cost to me was far more than my arm. It was to remain in this miserable existence the remainder of my days. I wish it had killed me. If I wasn’t so much of a life-loving coward, I would have killed myself a long time ago.”

“You are certain that the Horcrux is destroyed?” Harry said to him

“I am…the spell worked perfectly, but it was the backlash that did this to me. I was unable to contain it.”

“Fletcher, let me see the locket. I wish to confirm this.”

Black nodded to Fletcher, who pulled the locket from his chest. Harry cast several spells on it, then returned it to Fletcher.

“It seems you are good to your word, Black.” Harry said to Regulus. “Why didn’t you make your presence known to Sirius? He would have helped you.”

“And it would have cost all of you considerably. The Dark Lord knows that I have turned away from him. If he realized I was still alive, he would have used me to get to the Order of the Phoenix. It was better this way. I only wish that I had some of the family trinkets myself to sell, though no one would likely buy from me…” Black retorted.

“Are you angry that I got the house and the fortune?” Harry asked.

“No, I would never have been able to claim it anyway. I’m dead remember. I have to stay dead. If you have some spare gold, though, I would appreciate it. I have not eaten in a while. Gold will make almost any vendor put up with my…appearance.”

Harry reached into his belt and pulled out a bag. He threw it at Black.

“There are five thousand galleons in that bag. I was holding it in case we needed to find lodging. As our work is done here, you can have it. That should last you quite a while. As for you, Fletcher…” Harry shot him a look, “you will never appear at my house again unless summoned. You may keep that junk.”

“Thank you, ‘Arry” Fletcher nodded and groveled.

“Let’s get out of here, people. This place gives me the creeps.” Ron stated quite clearly.

“For once, I wholeheartedly agree with my brother.” Ginny said. “The smell has gotten fouler with each passing minute.”

“And it is going to get even fouler, Muggle-lover!” A snarl came from behind them. They turned around and there stood Draco Malfoy. He had a sneer on his face. Behind him was a mob of walking zombie-like creatures. “I trust you know what Inferi are?”

The mob began to walk towards our fair group...slowly but deliberately. They began to chant as one…”kill, kill, kill…” Ron stepped up and drew his wand.

“EXPECTO PATRONUM!” He commanded. Suddenly a silver Hawk flew out of his wand and dove straight for the mob of Inferi. One of them was completely destroyed. The others kept coming.

“Nice one, Mate.” Harry said.

“Thanks, but I was hoping for more.” Ron answered back.

“You must think the Dark Lord is stupid. Why do you think I have Inferi this time, because you can’t use that silly spell to dispel them in mass. I only wish that sword swinging maniac was here to die too.” Malfoy continued to sneer.

“I can always call my brother, and you will have your wish…” Hermione said, then thought a second and added, “But I think that he and Pansy would prefer to be alone right now.”

That shook Malfoy, whose face contorted. “You’re lying! She wouldn’t…”

“Yup, she did.” Ginny said with a laugh as she used her bat-bogey hex to stop another one. “She found Jayson much more challenging than you ever were. She was positively cooing when we left them in the West Tower guest room…”

“Get Him! I want him dead!” Malfoy shouted. He was furious as the news set in; he knew instantly that they were telling the truth.

Hermione petrified another one, but the mob kept coming. Fletcher apparated out immediately afterward, but Black stayed, although he did not have a wand out.

“I am of little help to you, Harry. But I can take one out hand to hand.” Regulus vowed.

“That will not be necessary…nor will calling Jayson, Hermione. Let him enjoy his time with Pansy. I have had enough of this…and of you Malfoy. You have troubled me for the last time…AVADA KEDAVRA!!”

The green light shot out of Harry’s wand and hit the Inferi with a flash. The whole room lit up for a second and then went dark again. When everyone could see again…the Inferi were gone.

“Harry, what have you done?” Hermione said in complete shock.

“I used the Death Curse, which I will be using soon enough anyway…to kill Riddle. Besides, these were not alive, just animated. Now for you, Malfoy...”

“Don’t bother Potter; I will be leaving soon enough. I must admit, I am surprised…and impressed. Only the Master does it better. He didn’t think this would work, but I got what I came for anyway.”

“Oh, and what would that be?” Ginny demanded with that hard, blazing look on her face and her wand pointed directly at Malfoy.

“You…” He said with a laugh.

“What the bloody hell are you talking about?” Harry shouted.

“You gave your secret away, Pot-head! You and that Red-Headed tramp are bonded. I didn’t want to believe old man Vane when he said it to my mother, but now I got to. I also gotta go...bye!”

Malfoy disappeared into a puff of smoke. Harry tried to stop him with a spell, but it went through the smoke. Harry stood there with a look on his face. He wondered what this all meant…and what he was going to do about it. His greatest fear had arisen again, and he was NOT ready for it. Despite how strong they had all become, he could not shake the feeling of dread. He slowly turned to Ron.

“So, what happy memory got you to a corporeal Patronus?” Harry asked him.

Ron started to answer, but Hermione saw the memory, sprang to him, and covered his mouth.

“Never Mind!” She said quickly. Ginny and Harry laughed. Ginny went over and kissed Harry with a passion.

“Ignore Malfoy, Dear Heart. He did not tell us anything we didn’t already know. Don’t let his words worry you; we will defeat them…for our son.” She thought lovingly at him.

Harry smiled at her…she had noticed his doubts, and reminded him of his promise to trust her. He nodded, and then thought for a moment.

“Okay…the Cup, the Ring, the Locket, the Diary, Nagini, Riddle himself…that makes six of the seven. I only wish I had a clue where the last one is…” He said aloud.

“It is closer than you realize, Harry.” Regulus Black answered and slowly limped out the door into the street.

“What did he mean by that?” Ron queried, and started to chase Black, but Harry stopped him.

“Let him go…I get the impression he may be right, but he doesn’t know anymore than that. Let’s go back to Hogwarts.”

***

When they finally arrived back at Hogwarts, the Headmaster, who had a rather devious looking smirk on his face, greeted them.

“You might want to follow me to the Room of Requirement. You may find the exercise happening right now to be somewhat…amusing.” Fudge managed to get out without laughing too hard.

“What do you mean, Cornelius?” Asked Harry.

“Well, it seems your poker-playing friend is in a bit of a pickle, thanks to Mr. Longbottom and Miss Lovegood.” Fudge replied, the smirk now going from ear to ear.

“Jayson wouldn’t have any trouble with Luna and Neville; they know he’s on our side.” Hermione said clearly.

“Besides, with that sword of his, they’re no match for him.” Ron added with a feeling of somewhat disgust.

“That’s just it, Mr. Weasley. The couple has him pinned in a position where he cannot reach his sword. In addition, it seems that his immunity to curses does not apply to certain jinxes. It seems Miss Lovegood and Mr. Longbottom are successfully…what is the term…“playing keep away” with his sword.”

“Uh-Oh…” Ginny thought to everyone, “I bet he’s getting mad too. We already know what he’s capable of when he’s angry…we had better get in there and break this up.”

“Easier said than done Ginny, for Jayson doesn’t give up easily. It may get to the point where he simply takes shots to get at his sword and then all you-know-what breaks loose.” Hermione commented.

“Who else is in there?” Harry asked off-handedly…hoping no one.

“Why, your class, of course…” Fudge replied.

“WHAT?!?!?” The four of them shouted together and took off on a dead run. They needed to get there now.

They arrived in the Room with wands drawn to end the game when they saw a strange sight. Luna and Neville were indeed throwing hexes and, in Neville’s case, a Patronus or two, at Jayson. However, standing with Jayson, throwing spells of her own back at them, was Pansy Parkinson. Jayson was beginning to look very annoyed at this whole scenario. The class was behind a protective bubble surrounding the participants.

“I see the Ravenclaw kids used the Watchtower again.” Ron surmised. Quickly confirming that, the four then sat down and watched the scene unfold. Jayson was indeed pinned behind a stone table, while Pansy was throwing some basic hexes at Luna and Neville. On the other side, the couple were throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Jayson and Pansy.

“How long has this been going on?” Harry asked Alex Robbins.

“About an hour Professor Potter, sir and…” Alex pointed to McLaggen, who was grinning from ear to ear with glee, “Some in here are enjoying it for all the wrong reasons.”

“How bad is Jayson hurt?” Hermione said.

“That’s just it, he isn’t. He has taken some good shots and been thrown backward a few times by Neville’s Patronus, but he has not really suffered any damage. His pride sure has, though.” Prada Patil said with a wink to Ginny and Hermione.

Indeed, the look on Jayson’s face was one of frustration, not injury. His eyes were set in much the same manner that she had seen when he was losing to Lynch at poker. It was almost as if he was angrier with himself for not being able to remedy this situation sooner.

Jayson look around and saw the four in the room. At first, his eyes rolled in exasperation at seeing Hermione watching him. Then, all of a sudden, his face brightened up. He turned and whispered to Pansy, who nodded. She then rose up and started firing rapid fire bursts of shock waves everywhere and anywhere in Luna and Neville’s direction. Immediately, Jayson jumped and went somewhat towards his sword, but in an off-hand direction.

Neville ducked away and called up his Patronus again (an elephant?), which charged at Jayson. This time, however, Jayson jumped to the left and flip-flopped backwards so that the elephant missed completely. He then landed on his feet and sprang forward, again diagonally to where he passed the elephant directly behind him; which got him to some broken pieces of rock. He then thrust his hands forward and the rocks shot out towards Neville. Luna instinctively hit the rocks with a jinx, which let Pansy use the Expelliarmus spell to disarm Luna. One of the rocks actually caused Neville to duck, which dispelled the Patronus. Jayson leapt forward and grabbed his sword. The light was blinding once he had made contact.

When everybody could see again, the bubble was gone, and Jayson was back in armor. His face did not portray a happy countenance.

“Just what the bloody-hell was that all about?” He shouted before realizing that he was audible again. He lowered his voice a bit. “Just whose bright idea was it to trick me into this stupidity anyway? Yours???” He pointed a finger at Luna, and then went to Harry.

“I had no idea this was happening, Jayson.” Harry said flatly. “I don’t see any reason to put the whole school in danger for a silly game.”

“Actually, the idea was mine…and it was rather bright of me, wasn’t it?” Dumbledore’s Portrait said.

Everyone turned to the painting with looks of shock, except Jayson, who was now seething.

“Calm yourself, Mr. Livermore, for this exercise was quite necessary for all four of you…but you especially.” Dumbledore announced.

“EXPLAIN YOURSELF OLD MAN!” Jayson raised his sword and it began to shimmer. Hermione gasped, as did Ginny. Harry and Ron reached for their wands, only to find Pansy point at them standing next to Jayson.

“You get him only through me!” She cried.

“SILENCE!!!!!” Came a roar from the middle of the Room, and everyone, including Dumbledore turned to see the ghostly form of Merlin stepping out of his portrait. Even Jayson was struck dumb. “Put down your weapon, Scion of Asymol, Dumbledore had excellent reasons for this drill…hear him out.”

Jayson stared at the Ghost for a moment, and then re-sheathed his sword. He motioned for Pansy to lower her wand and she did so. Harry and Ron also lowered theirs. Hermione and Ginny breathed a sigh of relief…as did the entire class.

“I’m waiting for this explanation…and it had better be good. I come in here, after literally chasing some dumb owl that drags me out of bed, only to have my sword snatched and this…this…farce thrust upon me with everyone having a good old time laughing at me.” Jayson walks to the edge of the painting and stares Dumbledore eye to eye. “And now I find out that you were behind this? What gives you the right to pull a stunt like this?”

“Well, actually, he can. Because of his special situation, he still retains his prerogatives as Headmaster.” Fudge said clearly and more calmly than he was feeling right now.

“Hear me out, Mr. Livermore. If my explanation does not measure up to your standards, then you have my permission to rip this portrait into shreds…and no one will stop you…am I understood everyone?” Dumbledore stared at the crowd who were in even more shocked then when Merlin stepped out of his picture.

“Albus…” Ginny protested.

“No, no, Ginny, Jayson is right, he was rather mistreated this morning. He would be well in his rights under Wizarding Law to take such action. However, I do not think he will, when all is said and done. Please be seated, Jayson.”

Jayson reached and, suddenly, two chairs slid over to where he and Pansy were standing. He offered the choice to her, and she sat down. He started to sit down when he caught a feeling of shock and looked over at the startled face of Hermione. It was then he realized that this was the first time he pulled out a chair for a woman in her presence…and it was not for her.

“I figured you would want to be with your husband, and the chairs are right behind you.” He thought at her. She turned around and, seeing the chairs, turned back to him and nodded.

“I guess the shoe is on the other foot this time.” She said…and smiled.

Jayson nodded and took a seat. When he saw that everyone had gathered around, he looked once again at Dumbledore’s Portrait.

“All right, what’s this all about?” He asked, in a far more tolerant a tone than before.

“The entire point of this exercise was to find one’s limitations, and you have just discovered that you have them. Since you have arrived, you have had very little trouble taking on several opponents of various levels of power…including the father of one of my students who should have fared better against you…but did not.”

“So?” Jayson asked, somewhat curious.

“Simply put, you have had it too easy. You have not been challenged, and you need to be. If you do not realize what the limits to your powers are now, you will be an easy target for any of the superior Dark Wizards that we face. Make no mistake, my friend, Voldemort knows you are here and is very interested in you. If Mr. Malfoy did not tell him, then Mr. Lynch certainly did.”

“I thought that scum-bucket was in that Wizard’s prison.” Jayson scowled.

“He was, until Voldemort broke him out. I thought it rather odd that he would take Mr. Lynch, who is not that powerful, over Draco’s Father…until I realized that Lynch could provide him with information that Lucius could not…information concerning you.”

“What would Uther Lynch know that would be of any help to the Dark Lord? The guy is a total slime-ball, even by Slytherin Standards.” Pansy asked.

“You know Lynch?” Jayson asked, somewhat shocked.

“Unfortunately, yes. He’s a Death Eater wannabe. How he got the Dark Mark on his arm no one knows…but he tried to flirt with me at one of my father’s parties once…when I was nine.”

“Ewwwwww!” Said all of the first years.

“Yeah, seeing as he’s about, what, thirty-five now. You’re seventeen...so that was about eight years ago which would have made him…” Jayson started before Hermione interrupted.

“Old enough to know better!” She snapped in disgust.

“Lynch didn’t care…he likes them younger. Which is why he was in the Muggle world, my father caught on and chased him clean out.”

“Anyway…back to the point of this. What would Lynch have about me that would interest this Voldo-whoever?” Jayson re-queried Dumbledore.

“Voldemort and what he would have is exactly how long it took you to throw off the Imperius Curse…as well as three plus years of experience on how you think.”

“And why would he want that…to destroy me?”

“Why no, of course not…he wants to curse you himself.”

Jayson gave Dumbledore a look. “No one is going to be able to hit me with anything as long as I am close to my sword.”

“Yet that is the point, Jayson. You cannot stay in this form forever, and you can be separated from your sword.” Merlin said as he approached him. “The fact is, you were not able to call the sword to you yet…you had to resort to trickery; although the telekinesis with the rocks was a good sign.”

“You mean I will be able to call and the sword will come to me?” Jayson asked surprised.

“In time…you and the sword are still new to each other. You are just now beginning to grow into what you can do…with and without the sword in hand. You already had gifts before you came to it, now you need to learn how to control them.”

“And yourself,” said Harry, “we like Hogwarts intact, thank you.”

“So what are you saying is that I am not ready for this fight?” Jayson looked at Dumbledore as if he was hearing the worst news of his life.

“No, dear boy…” It was the voice of McGonagall all heard from the back of the room, “he’s saying it isn’t your fight to begin with. Your destiny lies elsewhere…as does Miss Parkinson’s. Neither of you were meant to be in this battle. Because if it goes ill, then you two…along with a few others, will have to be alive to carry on…” When Jayson looked at her with shock, she continued. “Did you never know why you were such an excellent thief?”

“You know about that?” Jayson guffawed.

“Oh, yes…we have been keeping tabs on you for years. Anyway, the reason is that you are a natural seer. You really do have the gift of sight. It was that gift that warned you when danger was approaching and to disappear…or cloud men’s minds to make your escape.”

“You were a thief?” Pansy said with raised eyebrows.

“There were times when I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from. As McGonagall just said…I was good at it.”

Hermione, Ron, Ginny, and Harry came over. Hermione took Jayson’s hand in hers and looked at him sadly.

“I told you we were traveling different paths, big brother,” She said.

“I guess so…” He responded.

“We want you to start taking instruction on various subjects that are applicable to your situation…which is unique. You will report to Firenze in the mornings to work on your sight. In the afternoons, you will be with Professor Slughorn working on Potions. And in the evenings, you and Miss Parkinson will be in here where you will both be working on various subjects – namely hexes, jinxes and, especially for you Mr. Livermore, telekinesis. We will have you calling that sword of yours yet. Is there any questions?” She finished with that stern look that caused the other students to giggle.

Jayson looked around and surveyed the situation. He had been completely frustrated for the last seventy-three minutes…and now he knew why. It was the one serious flaw in his character…he did not like not knowing what was going on or to be embarrassed. He had been both so often with his parents that it angered him even now. Here he was, after all these years of keeping his life in order the way HE wanted it, was someone…anyone…telling him what to do again. He did not want people setting his schedule…that is why he became a poker player. However, he could not return to that life…knowing what he knew now. He would be no better than Lynch would. However, here were people expecting him to just happily follow along with the program…and stay out of the biggest battle of them all. They wanted him to sit on the sidelines while others…especially Hermione, whom he had protected always until fate intervened, will be in the front lines. He could not bear to think this, nor have everyone looking at him. He walked out the door and closed it behind him.

“Well, at least Dumbledore is in one piece still.” Ron said.

“What is the deal with him? What is so hard about this?” Ginny asked.

“What was so hard about staying behind when Harry went to Australia?” Hermione reminded her. “It’s even worse with Jayson. We are literally asking him to stand by and watch as everyone he has cared about longer than a week charges head-long into death’s jaws.”

“Oh, yeah I guess that would be really hard.”

“I was expecting him to yell almost.” Hermione said.

Suddenly…Pansy Parkinson giggles and takes off out of the room. Everyone shrugs wondering what has gotten into her until all hear her say…

“Accio Nimbus” She yells.

Then they hear Jayson yelling “What? Pansy, what are you doing? Get me off this thing! I don’t ride brooms”

“We’re going for a joy ride…” Pansy says in a sweet singsong voice.

Harry just shook his head. “Was that Pansy Parkinson I just heard singing like an eight-year-old?”

“Yes it was…” Hermione said. “I hope she knows what she’s doing, because Jayson is not in a good mood right now.”

“Pansy!!!” They heard Jayson yell. “Put me down…what are you doing? This thing is too thin to ….ummmmmm” Suddenly, there was dead silence.

“Wanna bet?” They heard Pansy say sweetly. Then silence again.

“Oh my God!” Prada exclaimed. “On a broom? Is she nuts?”

Alex just nodded, “Sounds like fun.”

“Alex! There is no way you are going to get me to try that on a broom!”

Ginny’s eyes went wide when it suddenly dawned on her what Alex and Prada were getting at. As soon as she thought it, Harry and the others picked it up too.”

“Nah! They couldn’t balance!” Ron said.

“Bad on the back!” said Harry

“The broom would break…” Ginny exclaimed

Hermione just stood there, her eyes glazed over, for almost three minutes.

“I am going to kill them both.” She said as she stomped into the middle of the courtyard and yelled at the top of her lungs. “JAYSON LIVERMORE, YOU BRING HER DOWN THIS INSTANT AND KNOCK IT OFF. I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND I DO NOT WANT TO SEE ANY MORE. YOU TWO GET YOUR BUTTS DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!”

In the distance, everyone could hear Jayson laugh aloud. “That will teach you to spy on me, little sister, now you know how it feels!” They saw Jayson, standing on the broom, descending slowly to the ground. Pansy was straightening out her clothing.

“Party Pooper.” She said to Hermione.

“Another word like that, and it’s fifty points from Slytherin.” McGonagall said.

“I am afraid you can’t do that, Professor McGonagall, not anymore.” Pansy replied.

“And why not?” McGonagall asked with disbelief.

“Because I am not in Slytherin anymore…I was kicked out this morning.” Pansy said with a calm voice, but the tear was already forming in her eyes.

“That is not good. Slytherins are not exactly known for their forbearance. I am surprised you are intact?” Fudge said astonished.

Pansy motioned over to Jayson and added, “They wouldn’t dare, because they don’t have the guts. They know full well what would happen to Slytherin if they did something bad to me.”

“Why didn’t you react when they kicked her out? This is a dishonor!” McGonagall said.

“To you maybe, but to me it is about the only compliment they ever gave her. They said, in effect, that she was no longer sleazy enough to be one of them.” Jayson countered.

McGonagall laughed aloud. “Well, now you have to be in classes…absolutely.”

“Why?”

“To protect Pansy…the fact that you might pick up a trick or two on your own will be just between you and the professors.”

Jayson thought about this, looked at Pansy, then turned back to McGonagall. “I don’t do textbooks…I always hated studying.”

“You won’t have to, yours is going to be more hands on.” McGonagall replied.

“But you can carry mine for me…” Pansy said sweetly and batted her eyelashes. Everyone laughed…including Jayson.

“I guess I really do not have a choice, do I…Professor?” He said with exasperation. Hermione walked over and took his hand…and Pansy’s.

“Come on you two, we need to return to the Room. There is much to prepare for.” She said with a note of pride.

“I still don’t like the idea of just watching you go into battle.” Jayson said to her.

“I know, and I love you for it, but I am grown up now…and you have to make sure the work goes on.”

“So it seems…” He replied. With that, they all returned to the Room of Requirement.



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