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Chapter 12 : The Early Bird
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Disclaimer: Harry Potter is copyrighted by JK Rowling. And I am not JK Rowling.
Author's Note: From now on, it's going to be more action-packed, but I will have some romance. Of course, for any who are wondering, the main pairing, the ship I support above all others, is Harry/Hermione. However, that pairing will not really come into play until later. Warning: minor language in this chapter.
Chapter 12 The Early Bird
Still weeks after the almost-disastrous First Task of the Triwizard Tournament, people were coming up to Harry and congratulating him on his cleverness in attempting to transfigure himself and flying to escape the four dragons. Ron was walking next to him to the Great Hall during one of these encounters. “Harry, mate, don't let it get to you. It'll die down, it always does,” Ron encouraged him. Harry simply nodded, and then his head started pounding suddenly. He swayed, and Ron caught him and lowered him to the ground. “You've got to get this headache checked out,” the red-head said exasperatedly. At that moment, Sibyll Trelawney, the Divination teacher, swooped down like an overgrown dragonfly.
“What is the matter, my dears?” she asked in her best mystical voice.
“I don't know, Professor. He keeps getting a headache, but won't go to the Hospital Wing,” Ron answered.
“My dear Mr. Potter, it looks like you are experiencing the beginnings of clairvoyance. Have you been getting headaches often?” Trelawney asked, still sounding mystical, but with a touch of glee. It wasn't often she got her hands on true Seers before Dumbledore did.
“I've had a recurring headache for the past three days,” Harry replied grumpily. He already suspected he might be clairvoyant; he'd had that vivid dream before the Quidditch match. He accurately predicted the presence of the Dementors the night before the match, helping him to prepare for it. He suddenly cried out, and got a flash.
He and Ron were crouching behind a stone reindeer, listening to Hagrid tell Madame Maxime about his giantess mother. There was a strange beetle on the nose of the reindeer, seemingly also listening. They crept away from the reindeer and the private conversation, and instead found another one. Snape and Karkaroff were conversing quietly about something sinister, Harry could feel that much, even through the vision. Fast forward to the Astronomy Tower, a few years later, Snape holding his wand and looking murderous-
Then the vision ended. Harry lay panting on the ground, feeling drained of energy. Hermione had come when Harry cried out and was there during his vision, holding his hand and trying to soothe him. Trelawney was helping him to stand and trying to get him to tell her what he saw. Harry, however, had no intention of telling anyone other than his friends. When Trelawney finally walked away, Harry spoke.
“Would you guys believe me if I said Trelawney was right?” Harry asked quietly. Hermione replied in a voice that clearly said what she thought of the whole thing, “You know what I think about Divination, and about its teacher, Harry. Professor McGonagall said it's a very woolly subject, and I believe her. Trelawney is a fraud.”
Ron actually looked a little excited at the thought. “You mean you actually are a Seer?” Hermione huffed, and Harry said, “To put it bluntly, yes. I am.”
“Wicked!” Ron whooped. He pumped his fist in the air and immediately asked, “Hey Harry, when's the next quiz in Potions and what are the right answers?” Hermione scowled as Ron pulled some parchment and a quill out of his bag.
“Ron, I'm not going to help you cheat, and my vision wasn't even about anything like that. I saw the near future,” Harry replied in the same tone as Hermione. Ron looked put out, and replaced his quill and parchment in his bag.
“Then what did you see?” Hermione humored him. Harry knew she was humoring him. It hurt, but he hid it, as always.
“Ron, you and me were listening to a conversation between Snape and Karkaroff. It looked bad, like they were planning something-” Hermione snorted at that, but before she could interject something, Harry continued, “-then it skipped forward a couple of years, I suppose because the next incident was directly related to that conversation. I saw Snape on the Astronomy Tower, holding his wand, and looking like he'd like nothing better than to kill whoever was on the other end of his wand as painfully as he could.”
Hermione's eyes widened, then she remembered second year. Harry had asked her how evil she thought Snape was, and she had replied, quite rudely now she thought about it, that Dumbledore wouldn't have hired him if he was evil. She thought about all Dumbledore had done, up to and including setting four Hungarian Horntails on Harry. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, they say. I've been a fool. Snape could very possibly be evil, like Quirrell was, and this just about proves it, Hermione thought. She nearly burst into tears, but she did throw her arms around Harry's neck. “I'm so sorry, I've been a fool about Snape, and I've treated you rudely whenever you said anything about him,” she cried. Harry rubbed her back and whispered soothingly into her ear, missing Ron's scowl.
For the next week, Hermione seemed to be trying to make amends for her earlier disbelief. She did just about anything Harry asked her, and put in several hours of research into Seers and prophecies. She actually found some interesting things that she wanted to talk to Harry about. When Harry walked into the library, he made a beeline straight for her. She looked up as he approached, but didn't say anything because he looked ready to speak.
“Hermione, c-can I ask you a question?” Harry mumbled bashfully. She was so surprised by his manner that she merely nodded. “D-do you want to g-go to the b-ball with me?” he stuttered. He looked down at his hands, which were twisting almost frantically. He looked so bashful and sweet she couldn't give any other answer than the one she did. “Yes, alright,” she replied with a dazzling smile. Harry was so relieved, it seemed to Hermione that he was briefly projecting it to her, but it stopped, like a lid had been thrown over it. She decided to do some checking into that later.
“Thanks so much, Hermione! I promise, this dance will be fun, since we're going together!” Harry replied enthusiastically. She giggled, and neither of them noticed Ron glaring at them from behind some bookshelves. He crept away unseen everyone except McGonagall. She looked suspiciously at him as he left.
The Yule Ball started on Christmas Day at eight p.m. with a feast. Harry waited by the stairs to the girl’s dormitory for his date to come down. Other boys came down, grabbed their dates, and left. Ginny Weasley came down, looked longingly at Harry, who kept his eyes firmly locked on the door to the girl’s dorms. Finally, Hermione came down. She was wearing a soft pink dress that gathered at the waist and then floated down to her ankles. Her hair was up in soft ringlets, and in Harry's eyes, she looked like the most beautiful girl who ever lived. Ginny flounced out angrily, not accepting that the Boy-Who-Lived would pick someone more deserving than her as his date, that he would pick someone he could have a good time with, someone he could have an intelligent conversation with.
Once they were seated at the table with the other champions and the judges, Dumbledore leveled a cold glare at them. He ordered his dinner, expecting Harry to cause a scene by trying to order his food of choice, but Harry simply ordered the pork chop. Hermione ordered roast beef, and glanced to either side of them as it appeared. She saw Karkaroff glance at Snape, who was sitting at another table talking to Moody. She touched Harry's hand and his gaze followed hers, as though they were linked more deeply than even the closest set of twins. He saw Snape and Moody both glance at Karkaroff, who nodded imperceptibly—that is, to anyone but a vampire.
The Ball started, with the champions opening the dancing. Harry swept Hermione onto the dance floor just like he had two years ago at Nick's Deathday Party. He never stepped on her toes, and he always looked her in the eye, and held her lightly, as though afraid she would break. Harry signaled with a slight up-tilt of his eyebrow that he was going to spin her around. She smiled beautifully, and he spun her. She spun away gracefully, and then he spun her back with a deft twist of his wrist. He dipped her, and her leg came up next to his thigh by reflex. When she came back up, she looked deep in his eyes, and a warm feeling shot through her body. Everyone else had stopped dancing to stare at them.
“Harry, everyone's staring at us,” she whispered, not wanting to break the mood that was forming between them. Harry drew her close, and put his mouth close to her ear, and whispered back, “Let them stare. They're just jealous.” When the first dance ended, everyone else surged onto the dance floor and stared dancing exuberantly. Harry and Hermione noticed that people were giving Fred and Angelina a wide berth as they danced enthusiastically enough to injure those around them. In fact, Fred spun Angelina so hard she knocked into Professor Moody who was barely doing a two-step with Sinistra. He stumbled, and dropped his hip flask, which shattered on the ground. Harry was there almost in an instant to pick up the shards of glass. The liquid which splashed all over the floor was hardly liquid at all. It was a gluttonous substance that looked suspiciously like a potion. He looked up at Moody speculatively as the Defense teacher whipped out his wand and cleared up the mess. Moody glared at him for a moment before moving away.
“Did you see that, Hermione?” Harry asked her when he had rejoined her.
She nodded and replied, “Yes, I did. You know, that looks like Polyjuice Potion, but I can't be sure.”
At that moment, Ron came up to them. He grinned at Hermione, who smiled back, and then he asked Harry, “Mind if I cut in?” Harry saw the hope in Ron's eyes, and the look in Hermione's eyes, and replied almost sadly, “Of course.” Hermione looked as though she floated over to Ron with Harry's eyes never leaving her. He turned away regretfully, and immediately found Ginny there. “Hey Harry, do you want to dance with me? I know you can do much better than her,” the red-head asked with a mischievous smile. Harry guessed that she didn't want to dance so much as she wanted to make out with him. He didn't even consider her offer before he said, “No, Ginny. Why don't you go back to Neville? I think he's looking for you.”
“Oh, Harry, you can do so much better than her. Anything she can do, I can do better; and besides, I'm so much better for you than that nobody Hermione Granger,” Ginny said snootily.
“Ginny, I said no. Go back to your date. Remember, his name's Neville Longbottom, and he's looking for you?” Harry snapped. He stalked outside and decided to sit down by the stone reindeer in the garden. Just like in his vision, there was a strange-looking beetle on it, and Hagrid and Maxime were sitting on the bench by the fountain. Harry got up and wandered up the path. It wasn't long before he found Snape and Karkaroff conversing. He crept closer under cover of darkness to overhear them better.
“It's getting clearer, Severus. He's coming back. You must have noticed,” Karkaroff was saying.
“Of course I have noticed, Igor. Don't fret, He'll welcome us back and put our information to good use,” Snape replied silkily. Then they walked on, and Harry heard some rather disturbing things about how Dumbledore would fare when “He” came back. Harry heard a rustling in the bushes, and a large black dog stepped out. Harry grinned, and followed the dog to a quiet place. Padfoot soon transformed into Sirius, who greeted Harry affectionately. “Remus said 'hi', by the way. Now, I'm going to assume you also overheard that conversation.” Harry nodded, and said, “Voldemort's coming back, and he's going to welcome Snape and Karkaroff back into the fold. Snape is going to try to kill Dumbledore, who wouldn't believe the greasy git's betrayed him until after he's killed, and maybe not even then,” Harry muttered angrily.
“Harry, this can be stopped. I hate asking you to do this, but with your...skills...you could pull it off easily: keep Dumbledore out of trouble. If he's walking into mortal peril, follow him. If you need to, kill whoever is endangering him,” Sirius said firmly. “Soon, it's going to be war. In wars, shit happens.” Harry met Sirius' eyes, and nodded.
* * * *
EDITOR’S NOTE: So Harry may be killing some people later on. He won’t mind much, though, considering he’s a vampire.
And how do you all like the Harmony in this one? Those two other, accursed, thrice-damned ships may have won, and the USS (I’m American) Harmony may have sunk, but me & the author are still manning our posts. After all, torpedoes work underwater .
Thanks for reading, please review.
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