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Chapter 9 : Year Eight - Hermione's Year Two
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Draco Malfoy’s words sent a chill down the spine of Hermione Granger. This was saying something as she had helped Harry Potter stop Voldemort from acquiring the Sorcerer’s Stone. She had plenty of courage, but this was something totally different. She looked at the cat, Mrs. Norris, who was hanging from a hook completely petrified. If Muggle-Borns were next, she didn’t have a prayer. Unconsciously she began to rub the golden locket that she always wore around her neck. Malfoy was sneering right at her. He was about to say something when his eyes beheld a sight that he never thought he would see again, the tall stature and face of Jayson Livermore.
Jayson looked ready to kill the first thing that crossed him. It was obvious that he was quite upset for whatever reason he was here, and he was going to get to whose fault it was. It was about this time that the staff had arrived at the scene, including Filch.
“Mrs. Norris? Mrs. Norris! I’ll kill who did this, so help me I will! I’ll…” He shouted
“Shut it Filch, now!” Jayson said in a tone of authority. The year that Jayson had been away from Hogwarts had hardened him. He wasn’t looking for trouble; he had enough of that looking for him. Filch took one look at him and shut up fast. The staff arrived just then.
“Jayson, what a pleasant surprise…when did you arrive?” McGonagall asked.
“Just a moment ago, Minerva. I was summoned here and, the moment I get here, Filch is going on about killing students.” He looked at Dumbledore, “Albus, a pleasure as always.”
“Jayson, it is good to see you.” Dumbledore answered.
Jayson looked at Snape. “Severus…” He said
“Livermore…” Snape replied with a scowl, “What brings you back to these hallowed halls.”
“I will find out once someone tells me.” He turned then walked over to Hermione and gave her a hug. “It’s good to see you, Mi-Mi.”
“Hi Jayson, I didn’t mean to call you. I guess I did it without thinking about it.”
“It’s alright, Mi-Mi. Now, what caused you to call me?” Jayson asked.
Hermione pointed to the wall. Jayson looked up and saw the ominous message that had been written.
THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED
ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE
Jayson walked over to the wall and inspected the writing. “It’s blood, Albus, and fresh blood at that. Is anyone missing?” He asked the headmaster.
“No one fortunately; I assume that it is animal blood of some sort.” Dumbledore replied.
“Exactly the conclusion I came up with.” Gilderoy Lockhart intoned.
“Lockhart?” Jayson walked over to Snape. “Just what is he doing here?” He asked.
“He is the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.” Snape scowled.
Jayson scowled right back. “Tell me you’re joking.”
“I wish I was.” Snape replied. Jayson rolled his eyes.
“Jayson, as you are already here, we would appreciate it greatly if you could apply your skills to this problem. I hear you have crafted a reputation as a top flight investigator.” Dumbledore asked with a soft tone.
“You don’t need to butter me up, old friend. I will stay and investigate this further. I will need the Floo Network so I can inform the right people where I am.”
“That can easily be arranged. We also have guest quarters for you to sleep.”
“That will make things easier. I accept. I will go back to my home to get some changes of clothes. But for now…” Jayson went over to the message, put up his hands, and concentrated. The part of his skills included being one with the second sight. When he left Hogwarts, it still wasn’t fully developed. After a year of needing it to help with his work, he was now quite proficient at it. His eyes glazed over for about one minute as his hand scanned the writing on the wall. When his eyes returned to their normal color, He turned to Dumbledore.
“I heard words, Albus, but in a language unknown to me.”
“I was afraid of that.” Dumbledore replied.
“I could have told you that. What do we need him for?” Lockhart complained.
Jayson just glared at Lockhart, and said very quietly, “Charlatan.”
“What did you say? What did you say?” Lockhart screamed. To Jayson’s surprise, Snape grabbed Lockhart’s arm.
“I wouldn’t challenge him, Gilderoy. Jayson’s skills also include telekinesis. In fact, he is widely known as a formidable telekinetic fighter. There is a short list of wizards who might stand a chance against him. We are not on that list.” He said is a low but distinct tone.
“Really? Thanks for the warning.” Lockhart said back.
Jayson just smiled a very sinister smile. Hermione was almost shocked to see that smile come over Jayson’s face. She had not seen him since he graduated last summer. His work had kept him so busy that he was never seen at home or anywhere else.
“Jayson?” She called out softly. Jayson turned to her and his gaze softened considerably.
“Yes, Mi-Mi?” He answered.
“What has happened to you? You were never so…mean before.”
Jayson smiled at her. “I grew up fast, sweetheart. I found out in a hurry that if I don’t get tough, I am going to get killed. There have been many times where there were people who did not want me finding out what I was charged to find out. It is just real-world reality that has hardened me a little. But I am still the person you know. That part of me is still here. I just don’t use it when I am working.”
“Oh, ok.” She said, slightly worried. Jayson, not wanting her to be afraid of him, reached over and tickled her. She squealed and pushed his hands away playfully. “No fair, I can’t tickle you.”
“Nope, won’t work.” Jayson said smiling, and then hugged Hermione warmly. “Now what got you so scared about this stuff on the wall? You have seen things this bad before.”
“It was something Malfoy said. He said ‘you’ll be next mudbloods’ and I don’t want to get petrified. He sounded so certain. I don’t know what this is, and it worried me enough to rub the locket unconsciously. I mean, look at Filch’s cat.” She pointed to the petrified cat suspended on a hook.
“Yes, I can see why you would be worried.” He looked at the cat, and then turned to Malfoy. “You will keep your trap shut…understand me?” Malfoy just nodded and then backed away fast. “Albus, get the students out of here now. They don’t need to see any more of this.”
“Agreed. Prefects, lead your houses back to your dormitories immediately.” Dumbledore intoned. He then pointed to Hermione, Harry Potter, and Ron Weasley. “Except for you three.”
The students left and the trio stood looking at the Headmaster and fidgeting back and forth.
“Honestly sir we had nothing to do with it!” Harry Potter proclaimed.
“We swear!” Hermione confirmed.
“Nonsense, they did it. I want to see some punishment here!” Filch screamed.
“Shut it! There’s no way they could have done this, they haven’t the skill or knowledge to be able to. Shells, I can’t do this, and I have gained a considerable knowledge of the Dark Arts over the last year. This is advanced stuff. I don’t know anyone who can do this.”
“You know the Dark Arts?” Hermione said fearfully.
“Had to learn some of it to do my job, Mi-Mi. Unless you’re going to replace Madame Pomfrey here at Hogwarts, then someday you will too. Moody taught me.”
“Oh” She said.
Jayson put both hands on the wall and focused once again. He went into some sort of trance, and then quickly came out of it. “I see a chamber and a young girl.” He intoned.
Dumbledore suggested they all get some sleep and work on it tomorrow morning. Everyone agreed and went to their quarters. Dumbledore showed Jayson where the guest quarters were.
Jayson began his investigation immediately on the first light of day. He soon found the slaughtered roosters that had supplied the blood for the note. Dumbledore was pleased at the efficiency Jayson was displaying towards this case; as he did not want to report this to the Board of Governors without some concrete answers.
To everyone’s surprise, Jayson chose to eat with the Gryffindors rather than sit with the staff. Snape was shocked, Lockhart was delighted, McGonagall was bemused, and Dumbledore was content that Jayson was doing it as part of the investigation. Part of it was that, but it was mostly because he hadn’t spent any considerable amount of time with Hermione in the last year, and this allowed him to do so. She talked about school and the adventures she has had up to that point. She told him about the incident with the troll, which Jayson looked at her in surprise.
“What possessed you to go looking for a troll?” He asked her.
“Shush” She said, and then in a whisper told him “It found me in the girl’s bathroom, but I took the blame so that Harry and Ron wouldn’t get into trouble.”
He was suitably impressed at her loyalty to her friends.
While he was investigating, he partook of a chess match or two with Dumbledore, where he gave reports on what he had found.
“It has to be one of the students, Albus. I cannot fathom it being anyone else. But who, that is the real puzzle. Also, I keep hearing that noise, but I can’t make it out. I don’t speak the language.” He said.
“I think that the trio may have something to tell you soon enough. They are planning a little spy mission into the Slytherin Common Room to, what is the term, ‘pump Mr. Malfoy for information’”
“Oh, joy. I cannot wait to hear this tale.”
Suddenly a student came into the office huffing. It was Ron Weasley.
“Jayson, you need to come to the hospital wing. It’s Hermione.”
“What do you mean?”
“Uh, well, you gotta see this for yourself.” Ron answered meekly.
Jayson spun Ron around and put his hand on Ron’s shoulder. “You will give me a full and detailed explanation while we are walking to the hospital wing – including what information you pumped from Malfoy.”
Ron told him everything they had learned, and Jayson listened carefully while walking to the wing. When Ron got to the part about Hermione’s error, Jayson could barely contain himself. When they reached the Hospital Wing, he told both Harry and Ron to go back to the dorms. He then walked in and went over to Hermione’s bed. He stopped just a moment to compose himself. Before him was Hermione cover in black fur with yellow eyes and pointed ears poking through her hair. Hermione had been turned into a giant cat. Jayson almost lost it when he saw the tail. He reached over and did the only thing that made sense, he started scritching her ears.
“Hmmmmm” Hermione said before she started to make a sound almost like purring. Then she realized what was happening. “Stop that! It’s not funny”
“Well, to a point, yes it is. But I didn’t come here to laugh at you. I must admit though the tail is cute. You make an adorable cat, Mi-Mi. Maybe I should start calling you kitten.”
Hermione slapped at his hands and started to cry. “It’s not funny! I could have been stuck in this form forever.”
Jayson reached over and hugged Hermione tightly and shushed her. “It’s alright, Mi-Mi, everything will be all right. I will talk to Madame Pomfrey and make sure she has enough of the antidote. You will be fine.”
“You got one that works faster? Madame Pomfrey said hers takes weeks.”
“I’m afraid not. This isn’t something that can be fixed quickly. You have literally become part cat.”
Hermione was not thrilled to hear that, but accepted the truth of it. She was able to tell Jayson what Harry and Ron told her. So he rocked her gently for the most of the night, and then sang her to sleep with the old lullaby he used when she was younger.
Jayson had finished interviewing most of the school, but had gotten no farther in discovering the cause of the people being petrified. Now Colin Creevy had been attacked. What’s more, Lockhart was beginning to say that he would have gotten the answer by now; which made Jayson even more frustrated.
He was sitting in the Gryffindor Common Room with Harry and Ron, waiting for Hermione. It was a little after seven in the evening.
“What’s keeping Hermione? I’m hungry.” Ron said.
“You’re always hungry.” Jayson and Harry said together.
“I just wish I knew what the monster was saying, that seems to be the key to solving this puzzle.” Jayson said in disgust. “But I don’t understand the language.”
“The voice coming through the walls, it keeps saying it wants to kill.” Harry said
“How do you know that?”
“I hear it every now and then.”
“Why didn’t you say something? What languages do you know?” Jayson asked impatiently.
“None that I know of.” Harry replied.
“Unless you count Parseltongue, but talking to snakes doesn’t count.” Ron quipped.
“Snakes?” Jayson thought for a minute, and then a thought hit him. “That’s it! I have to find the headmaster.” He ran out of the dorms with lightning speed. He began searching for Dumbledore everywhere. He finally found him in a hallway. “Albus, I have the answer. We are dealing with a Basilisk, aka one big snake. How it’s been getting around I have no idea, but that would explain why everyone has been petrified. We’re lucky no one has died yet.”
“Well done Jayson, but we were looking for you too. You must come with us to the Hospital Wing quickly. Your talents are going to be put to the test.” Dumbledore said and then led him to the Hospital Wing. Once they were there, Jayson saw a sight that chilled his blood. In a bed, completely petrified, lay Hermione Granger. There was a paper in one hand, a mirror in the other. “We found her just a few minutes ago, Jayson. She was using the mirror to look around corners.”
Jayson ran his hand over Hermione’s form and concentrated hard. He saw the moment that she was petrified. He then looked at the paper in her right hand. “I bet this is information on a Basilisk. She was always fast and clever. She also knew of Potter’s ability to speak Parseltongue, which I just found out about.” He fought back a sob.
Dumbledore placed a hand on his shoulder. “She can and will be revived, Jayson. Madame Sprout has a supply of Mandrakes that are ready for brewing. She will be restored.”
“Mandrake juice can be made stronger by the blending with Marshroot.” Jayson said.
“Alas we do not have a supply of Marshroot to blend with.” Snape intoned as he entered the conversation.
Jayson looked at Snape, and then looked at Dumbledore. He stared for several moments then he said, “I can have a sufficient supply here by the morning. I know someone who can get his hands on it quickly. I will be back as soon as I have it. Then we can brew the potion together and it will work even better.”
Dumbledore placed a hand on his shoulder again. “Relax, my young friend, we will wait for you. Go now, use the floo in my office.”
Jayson was off like a shot. He managed to get there in seconds by “phase-shifting”. He leapt up the stairs three at a time. He grabbed the Floo Powder and was instantly away.
He arrived back at Hogwarts just before breakfast the next morning. Dumbledore was waiting for him. He showed a bag that contained the Marshroot.
“Excellent, then you and Severus can begin.” He said.
“Yes sir.” Jayson replies with a tone.
“Now now, Jayson, Severus is Potions Master here and excellent at brewing as you are. He is willing to put aside your differences. The least you can do is the same.”
Jayson looks at Dumbledore for a minute. “Alright, Albus, I will set aside my…differences and work with Severus.”
“Excellent, then get started immediately please. We need that potion badly.”
Snape and Jayson set about the task of brewing the potion. They used the recipe from on of the older texts that Snape had on hand.
“Have you ever come across this text Li…Jayson?” Snape asked.
“No, wherever did you get it?” Jayson asked back.
“From a rare book store. It cost me several thousand galleons to acquire it. You may never see one of these texts again, for it is that rare. We are using it only because it is the sole book that has the potion mixture with the Marshroot.” Snape said.
“I am sure Albus appreciates your efforts, Severus. I am also sure those who to be revived will as well…as do I” Jayson replied.
“Indeed, or have you forgotten that one of those petrified is Hermione, who is absolutely dear to me.”
Snape gave Jayson a look as he crushed the plants and placed them in the cauldron. Jayson was stirring and chanting as well.
“Incantations Mr. Livermore? That’s something new.” Snape commented.
“Anything that works Mr. Snape.” Jayson replied.
After about an hour of stirring, Snape finally puts in the Marshroot into the Mandrake juice. Jayson continues to stir, but something is wrong. The mixture is supposed to turn a shade of purple and it is still black. Neither of them can understand why.
“We followed the directions exactly.” Jayson implied.
“It should have changed and, if we want to keep our reputations, we had better fix this.” Snape replied.
Jayson thought for a minute. “I wonder…” He then did something odd, he stirred the opposite direction one turn. The color changed a little. He kept stirring forward about five stirs then stirred in the other direction again. The potion changed color again. Jayson kept this up until the potion was the exact purple color it was supposed to be.
“If that book wasn’t so rare, I would say make a notation that corrects that mistake Severus.” Jayson said.
“What possessed you to do that Jayson? Nothing even suggested such an idea.” Snape asked.
“It was dumb luck mainly and a little bit of desperation.” Jayson responded as he headed to a chair with a box on it. He grabbed several syringes that had no needles.
“What made you think of that?” Snape pressed for a better explanation.
“All right, if you must know, I remember reading it in a book somewhere. Don’t ask me where because I can’t remember right now. Now then…” He handed Snape a syringe. “Fill like so.” He stuck the head of the syringe into the cauldron and pulled the plunger up. The liquid quickly filled in the chamber. He then held up the syringe and looked at Snape. “This makes the potion go down the throat faster and with less chance of spillage. Madame Pomfrey!!!”
The Mediwitch came in. “Yes Jayson?” She asked
“Grab a syringe and load up. We have patients to attend to.”
“I can guess the first one you’re reviving.” Madame Pomfrey said.
“You would be correct, Madame. But with three we can get all of them quickly and completely.” With that he went over to Hermione and stuck the syringe in her mouth and pushed gently on the plunger. By the time the syringe was empty, Hermione had started to swallow on her own. Jayson then went over, refilled the syringe, and continued to administer the potion along with Snape and Madame Pomfrey.
Hermione finally sat up about ten minutes later to find Jayson sitting at the foot of her bed smiling at her. She saw the apron on him and deduced that he was the one that made the antidote.
“You saved my life again.” She said.
“With the help of Professor Snape and Madame Pomfrey.” Jayson replied.
Snape cleared his throat and Jayson turned to see Dumbledore walking in to greet all who had been revived. Filch followed and went straight to Mrs. Norris. He picked up his cat and left immediately.
“Very well done to all of you. Very well indeed.” Dumbledore intoned.
Jayson began to laugh as everyone tried talking at once. Suddenly, he got a flash in his head. Everyone stopped talking as soon as Jayson’s face went white.
“Albus…” Jayson started to say, but Dumbledore cut him off.
“Yes, I know…the chamber has been opened.”
Two days later the school held a big feast in honor of those being revived. Little if anything was mentioned about the Chamber other than that is was no longer something to be concerned about. Jayson was laughing as the students were trying to determine what exactly happened; although everyone had deduced that Harry Potter was involved somehow. They figured this out because Harry was keeping quiet on the subject, which made it a dead giveaway. Dumbledore rose and spoke quickly.
“Jayson, you are hereby invited to join us in partaking of this feast.” He said.
“Thank you, Albus, I accept. Now it is just finding where to sit.” Jayson answered. As soon as he said that, everyone slid down the benches to make room next to Hermione.
“Actually Jayson…” Snape’s voice rose high above the others. “I would like it if you joined me at the teacher’s table. I have already reserved a space for you between myself and Madame Sprout.”
The hall had gone deathly quiet. Most everyone knew that any relationship between Jayson and Snape was strained at the best of times. The group looked at Jayson waiting for his answer. He bent down and kissed Hermione on the forehead.
“Very well, Severus, I accept your generous offer.” He walked over to that side of the table. As he passed Dumbledore, he gave a signal to see if he had any idea why Snape was being so nice. Dumbledore simply shrugged. Jayson took his place at the main table and the feast began.
As the feast got into full swing, Jayson found himself being congratulated from most of the staff. He found this attention to be somewhat disconcerting. “Honestly people, it was a team effort. Professor Snape was also brewing the potion with me, and Madame Pomfrey was involved in the administration of it. They deserve as much credit as I do, if not more.”
“Modesty, I am pleasantly surprised Jayson. It seems you have grown up.” Snape said.
“Thank you Severus, I shall take that as a compliment. Now then, why don’t you tell me why you wanted me next to you?”
“Yes, I did have a reason. Your seer skills tell you that?”
“No, just common sense. What can I do for you, Severus?”
“You mentioned that you had read about adding a clockwise stir from a book. I am wondering if you know of the Half-Blood Prince.” Snape asked.
Jayson looked at him for a moment. He saw no deception or subterfuge of any kind, so he decided to play it straight. “In fact, I have come across his writings. I found him to be an excellent researcher and extremely helpful. I do not know who he is, but I have benefited from his work.”
“Such as when you brewed that Draught of the Living Death on me several years ago…” Snape asked.
“Yes, I admit, I followed the Prince’s instructions. Why do you ask?” Jayson asked back.
“The Prince is someone very…close to me…I would like the book returned to me as soon as possible.”
Jayson looked at Snape with shock, but immediately regained his composure. “I can exchange it. I replaced the book with a new one so that you still had the same number. If I am to return this book to you, I would like the text I replaced it with.”
“That is easily arranged.”
“Tell me Severus, if this book is so valuable to you, why was it sitting on a shelf collecting dust with other sixth year books?”
“I was hiding it to make sure that no one who was searching for it found it. Tell me Jayson, how you found it.”
“By pure luck, I must admit.” Jayson replied.
“When can I expect to receive it?” Snape asked in his usual monotone.
“In two days, for I need to get home first; which is somewhere I have not been in a while thanks to this case.” Jayson replied.
“Very good, I will see you two days hence. Will that be enough time for you to copy items down from the pages?”
“I have most of his worked transcribed into notes already. What little is left will take me maybe an hour to write down.”
“One more thing, I want your word that you will tell no one of this research. It was meant only for a select few.” Snape requested.
“You have my word on it Severus.” Jayson replied.
They made the switch exactly two days later. Jayson handed over the text that belonged to the Half-Blood Prince and Snape gave him the new copy of the text in return. Neither man said anything to the other, but simply nodded.
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