Disclaimer: Harry Potter is copyrighted by JK Rowling. Don't tell her I'm making Harry better than the Weasleys...
Author's Note: Sixth and Seventh Years will be shorter than the previous years, I think. This is mainly due to my writing longer chapters. Also, I will skip the day-to-day mundane things. Some of the major points I will be addressing are Christmas, the poisoning, Snape attempting to jinx Harry, and of course the events of the Battle of the Tower. Note, the prophecy is from the Order of the Phoenix, chapter 37, US edition. And I'll bet you thought I had forgotten about that...
Chapter 23 Amortentia
On September first, Harry boarded the Hogwarts Express and went to the Prefects compartment. He saw that Hermione hadn't arrived yet, but he wasn't unduly concerned because the Weasleys always arrived late. Other Prefects trickled in, along with the Head Boy and Girl. Hermione was among the last to arrive, her hair windblown and her cheeks rosy. She sat down next to Harry and glanced at him admiringly. During the meeting, they were given the schedules for patrolling, and Harry and Hermione left to begin.
“Why did you leave the Burrow?” Hermione asked.
“I couldn't stand it there anymore. Ginny's not listening, you and Ron all over the place was revolting, and Molly's incessant whining is enough to drive a guy mad. I'll bet that's why Bill and Charlie left the country,” Harry answered, slightly coolly. Hermione looked at him sharply at his tone.
“You said me and Ron all over the place was revolting. How would you know that? You left the first day,” Hermione asked suspiciously.
“Hermione, I'm an Empath and Seer, and the Burrow is like an emotional hub,” Harry replied, covering up his deep pain, but Hermione could see a hint of it in Harry's eyes. She discovered then that the eyes are really the windows to the soul, but she still believed that Harry had no soul... When they reached the compartment Ron was sitting in with Ginny, Ron asked loudly, “Hey, Harry, do you know who the team Captain is? Angelina left last year.”
“I'm the Captain, Ron. I'll be putting the Tryouts notice on the bulletin board in a week or two,” Harry said as he glanced suspiciously at Ginny, and then walked away. While he was looking for a compartment to sit in, he overheard Draco Malfoy talking. His interest piqued, he decided to listen at the door. He put on his Invisibility Cloak and hunkered down just close enough to hear without any problem. He heard a great deal about Draco's job for Voldemort and a hint of Snape's involvement. He decided to confront Draco about this as soon as possible.
Finally, the train stopped and the students disembarked. Draco slid open his compartment door and let his cronies leave first, but he left it open long enough for Harry to sidle in. “Explain about your new job, Malfoy,” Harry commanded threateningly. Draco looked around and whispered, “He's plotting against Dumbledore. I-i don't want to kill him.” Harry looked long and hard into the blonde boy's eyes, then nodded. Draco scurried out and Harry followed a few moments later. On his way off the train, he met Tonks. She was inspecting the compartments, her pink hair bouncing as she moved quickly from compartment to compartment.
“Hey, Tonks, any problems?” he asked. She looked up and smiled.
“Wotcher, Harry. Just checking for students or stowaways. What are you doing still here?” she asked in response. He stepped closer to her and said, “Draco Malfoy has been given a mission by Voldemort, but he doesn't want to complete it.”
“Well, it sounds like you have it under control,” she said with a wink. They left the train together after Harry informed her that no one was hiding on it. During the walk to the castle, they saw the gates close with a loud clang, and the chains locked it firmly.
“Well, good luck getting in. I need to go now,” Tonks said mournfully. Harry, who was in tune with the flows of magic, could tell that while he could poof onto the grounds, there were wards up preventing even that mode of transportation into the castle itself. He poofed to the doors, and then raised his wand high above his head and incanted, “Expecto Patronum!” The gigantic silver stag galloped out of his wand and Harry said simply, “Knock, knock.” The stag bowed its antlered head to Harry and shot through the wall into the Great Hall.
Albus Dumbledore had been enjoying the Welcoming Feast, right up until a silver hoof planted itself in his mashed potatoes. He heard the voice issuing from it and looked startled. He had thought that since Harry hadn't come in with the other students, he had suddenly decided to skip school. He got up to answer the door himself.
“Harry, I thought you weren't coming,” Dumbledore said bemusedly to Harry after he had opened the great double doors.
“Of course I came. Did you really think I'd pass up a chance to ruin Snape?” Harry answered mischievously.
“Why didn't you come in with the other students?” Dumbledore asked instead of answering Harry's rhetorical question.
“Because I discovered a plot to kill you,” the young vampire said calmly.
“I already know about Draco Malfoy. Severus told me,” Dumbledore said triumphantly. Harry simply shook his head, a chuckle on his lips. “It's Snape who's going to do it,” he said.
“I trust Severus Snape,” Dumbledore retorted. Harry rolled his eyes and muttered, “What was that line Hermione used? Oh yes, 'Polly want a cracker?'” Dumbledore winced.
“Just get in the Great Hall,” the Headmaster said, mock scolding Harry. “Oh, Harry, I've taken the liberty of arranging private lessons for you with me. Come to my office on Wednesday nights unless I tell you otherwise.” Harry nodded and walked into the Great Hall.
Wednesday arrived soon enough, though it was Sunday. On Monday, Harry had NEWT level Defense Against the Dark Arts, during which Snape attempted to jinx him. He was still chortling inside over how easy it had been to jinx Snape right back and let the rest of the class think it was simply self-defense. Snape had even had to go to the Hospital Wing to get the jinx removed, and he had heard from Madam Pomfrey that she had never seen such a powerful Confundus Charm. On Wednesday, people were still whispering about Snape wobbling up to McGonagall and telling her in a loud voice how he'd always been in love with Bellatrix Lestrange. Harry grinned when he remembered, but then he had to give the gargoyle the password. Unfortunately, Dumbledore seemed to have forgotten to tell him what it was.
The glowing silver stag careened into Dumbledore's office and asked in a voice eerily reminiscent of the Fat Lady, “Password?” Dumbledore looked up, startled, and then went to let Harry in. “Sorry about that, Harry. The password is Acid Pops.” They both entered and Harry sat down in the chintz armchair in front of the desk.
“What are these lessons going to be about?” Harry asked curiously.
“I will be teaching you about Voldemort,” Dumbledore said. Harry sat up straighter. “First, I must begin with a prophecy made about you before you were born.” He pulled a silver strand of thoughts out of his temple and deposited them in his Pensieve. An echo of Trelawney appeared, revolving in the basin, and she spoke.
“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies...” (OP 37)
“Interesting,” Harry commented after a lengthy silence. “I'll assume you didn't tell me before because you either thought my death would be permanent, or you were convinced I was serving Voldemort.” Dumbledore cheeks developed a red tinge when Harry said the second choice. “I thought so.”
“Harry, you must understand, I had no reason to think you were anything but a Death Eater,” Dumbledore said plaintively.
“I understand,” Harry said kindly. “It just hurt, not being trusted.” Dumbledore understood that was his cue to drop the subject. He pulled a vial out of his desk drawer and poured it into his Pensieve after he had removed the memory of the prophecy.
“Now, this memory is from a man named Bob Ogden, who was investigating a muggle attack...” Dumbledore said as they both fell into the basin. About an hour later, Dumbledore pulled them both out and explained to Harry the aftermath of that visit.
The next day Harry walked down to the Potions dungeon alone. His mind was still processing the startling information he had received the night before. He had not known that Voldemort's witch mother had used a love potion to seduce his father, or that Tom Riddle had walked out on his wife and unborn child. I get the nasty suspicion the use of love potions might run in that family, Harry thought to himself. He walked in the door and immediately detected a pleasing aroma. He smelled parchment, ink, and cherry-scented shampoo. Now where have I smelled that before? he thought sarcastically. Of course he knew where he had smelled it: he smelled it every time he went near a certain beautiful young witch.
He took his seat next to Hermione, as Ron had been unable to score high enough on his OWL. The required score was an E or above, and Ron had gotten a D. Harry and Hermione had both gotten good grades. Slughorn welcomed them to their first Advanced Potions lesson, and proceeded to ask the class about the potions left simmering on the desks. Harry and Hermione both raised their hands. Slughorn nodded at Harry, who pointed at the mother-of-pearl potion. “That's Amortentia, there. The most powerful love potion ever created. You can tell by the color, and the steam rising in spirals.”
“Very good Harry! Take ten points for Gryffindor!” Slughorn said enthusiastically. “What about this gold potion?” Hermione's hand shot up, but Harry was already answering. “Felix Felicis; basically liquid luck, but a real chore to brew.” Slughorn was nearly hopping at Harry's answer and gave Gryffindor another ten points.
“Now what do you all think this mucky potion might be?” Hermione's hand shot up again, Harry's came up just as fast, but he had smiled at her. When Slughorn looked ready to call on Harry again, he gestured to Hermione, and Slughorn picked her, much to her surprise.
“That's Polyjuice Potion, it turns the drinker into an exact copy of whoever they took hair from,” Hermione rattled off, sounding like a textbook. After Harry let Hermione answer the next potion (Veritaserum), they started brewing potions for a competition. Harry successfully brewed the Draught of Living Death and won the tiny bottle of lucky potion.
As they walked out of the classroom, Hermione sighed. “Ron never showed up. Where do you think he might be?” Harry looked askance at her and said, “He never told you?”
“Told me what?” Hermione asked sharply.
“How many OWLs he received,” Harry clarified.
“No, it must have slipped his mind,” Hermione said with a forced look of fondness in her brown eyes. Harry noticed this and couldn't stop his mental cheering.
“I got a peek at his score sheet. He got five OWLs. An E in Astronomy because he was copying our star charts, an E in Care of Magical Creatures, an E in Charms and Defense Against the Dark Arts, and an A in Herbology,” Harry ticked off on his fingers.
“What about you?” she asked.
“I got a total of ten. All were O except for History of Magic, which I got an E in,” Harry replied proudly. Hermione beamed in pride and pleasure, her brown eyes lighting up her face. Harry quickly quashed the desire to kiss her right there. “Wait, what was your tenth?” she asked after some mental math. “Ancient Runes,” he replied. “I did an independent study because I wanted to surprise you.”
Hermione stopped short, her eyes shining in happiness as she looked at Harry. “Ron I don't think cares enough to do something like that,” she whispered. “Oh Harry!” She threw her arms around his neck and he spun her around. There was flash from a camera and Colin Creevey said excitedly, “Are you two finally official now? Did I win the pool?”
“Pool, what pool?” Harry asked, slightly loosening his grip on Hermione's waist.
“The bets on when you two are finally going to get your acts together,” Colin explained patiently. “I think McGonagall has fifty galleons on within six months of your graduation; Dumbledore has forty-eight on 'never in a million years'; Ron and Ginny have a total five sickles behind Dumbledore; and I have eight galleons on the beginning of this year.” Hermione started giggling and Harry shook his head.
“Sorry Colin, Hermione's dating Ron.” Colin looked like he was going to be sick. “I'll let you know if our dreams come true,” Harry finished, not looking much happier about it than Colin. The three of them continued on to lunch and sat down.
Hermione immediately started berating Ron for failing all his OWLs and then not telling her. Ginny sat down next to Harry at the same time Hedwig dropped a letter on his lap. Colin started talking seriously to his brother, Dennis, and Harry saw them looking almost hatefully at Hermione and Ron. While Harry was reading the note from Sirius, he saw, out of the corner of his eye, Ginny quickly pouring something into his pumpkin juice. She withdrew her hand quickly and looked triumphantly at Hermione, who was still arguing heatedly with Ron.
To make a point, Harry looked directly at Ginny as he drank a big gulp of his juice. She had no idea that he hadn't actually consumed anything, because his ring vanished it on the way to his mouth. She simply looked in his goblet and smiled winningly at him. He looked once more at the missive from Sirius, which read:
About our earlier conversation, I have found an entry in the birth registry for August 10, 1981: a girl, parents unknown, and died the on the 11th. It would have been easy for the two girls to be switched, and one killed. I think you might be right, much as I hate to say it this time.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you can’t make sense of the note right above, don’t worry: I can’t either. I’ll try and get the author to post an explanation in her note for the next chapter.
So, aside from that, what do you all think? Review! And thanks for reading.