Chapter 4 : Mysteries
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Harry was in the Great Hall. Ropes bound him to the Headmaster's chair. His scar was searing in pain. Blood was pouring down his arms as he struggled against the restraints. He opened his eyes and glanced around, looking for his wand. There it was, lying uselessly halfway across the room. All around him, other people were bound to the other professor's chairs, they were surrounding Harry in a circle. A cloaked figure was circling around the outside of the circle, while other cloaked figures stood stationary around the room. Bodies lay in pools of blood on the floor.
Harry glanced around at the other people bound to the chairs. The person directly across from him had long red hair. Harry screamed. “NO!!!! Ginny!” He looked at the other people. “James! Albus! Lily! Take me instead, not the kids!”
The hooded figure looked up and entered the circle. He stood directly in front of Harry. “Well, well, someone's decided to regain his consciousness. As you see, the rest of them didn't fair too well without you. Most are dead. But I've saved your dear family for last. I will torture them and kill them. And then, I shall kill you. At last, I've waited so long. You should have known you couldn't kill me.” Voldemort rounded on the smallest child tied to a chair.
“Crucio!” he shouted.
“NO!!!! Do it to me instead! Lily!” Harry screamed. His scar started to hurt even worse, it burned so bad he couldn't keep his eyes open anymore.
Harry awoke with a start. He was covered in sweat and his heart was beating fast. His hand automatically went to his scar, but he was not in any pain. He shakily got out of bed and went to the window.
'Will it never end?' he thought. The nightmare kept returning, but why? It was always the same one. It had been going on ever since the last battle. Only before he had kids, the people surrounding him were Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna. As soon as James was born, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna disappeared. Once Albus was born, he appeared too. Same with Lily.
Harry had no idea what the dreams meant, and neither did anyone else. Harry could think of only one person who may have been able to explain it, Dumbledore. However, as soon as Harry had a few of these dreams, he had gone to see the portrait in Dumbledore's office. He was only 18 then. Unfortunately, Dumbledore had no useful explanation. Since Harry was no longer a Horcrux, he couldn't possibly be seeing into Voldemort's thoughts. Especially since Voldemort was dead. But the dreams continued.
Tonight's dream had been more vivid than any of the past ones. Maybe it was because Harry had spent all day reliving the horrific scenes from his childhood to various DADA classes. He wished he hadn't done that now. Oh, how he regretted it. But he'd have to put up with it the rest of the week, seeing as it wouldn't be fair not to tell the other students.
Harry walked away from the window. He slowly walked into the corridor. His whole body was clammy. He needed a sleeping draught. He'd been relying on these more and more as time went on. 'I really should learn how to brew them myself,' he laughed to himself.
Walking through the corridors at night brought back many memories. He still felt like he was disobeying the rules, even though he was now a professor. It seemed like Snape was right around the corner waiting to catch him doing something wrong. Harry climbed the stairs to the hospital wing. He hated to wake Madam Pomfrey at this hour, however he knew he'd never get to sleep without it. Maybe she would give him a large supply to keep in his office.
Harry walked into the ward, only to see that Madam Pomfrey was already up. She was tending to a girl in one of the end beds.
“Hello, Poppy,” he whispered.
“Oh!” Madam Pomfrey jumped, “You frightened me. I wasn't expecting you at this hour, Harry. You know, it's almost like you're a student again, coming in so late.”
“Yeah, I was thinking the same thing,” Harry glanced down at the girl, “Is she okay?”
“Yes, she'll be fine. Someone levitated her in her sleep. She screamed and that scared the student who did it to her, that student gave the countercurse, and she promptly fell onto the floor and broke her arm.”
“Wow, doesn't take very long for things to get interesting around here,” Harry said.
“Now, why are you here, Harry?”
“Well, er, remember after the battle and I had all those nightmares? They never completely stopped, and now they seem to be getting worse. I was wondering if I could have a sleeping draught. I'd also like to just have a supply of it on hand. I've never been much of a potion brewer and haven't attempted to make it myself. I just can never manage to get to sleep without one after one of these nightmares,” Harry explained sheepishly. He felt like he was a kid again. How could he, the wizard who defeated Voldemort, who was known as the bravest wizard of the times, be afraid of a nightmare?
A sad gaze fell over Madam Pomfrey. “You know, this kind of reminds me of how you were so susceptible to the dementors in your third year. I know most people think you're brave and nothing frightens you, but everyone has nightmares and being frightened is nothing to be ashamed of.” She walked over to a cabinet and came back with a large bottle filled with potion. “Here you go. Just come back to me whenever you need more.” She handed him the bottle.
“Thanks,” Harry replied, as he walked out of the Hospital Wing.
As he walked back towards his office, Harry thought about what Madam Pomfrey had said. He knew she was right, but he still couldn't help but feel weak whenever he had one of these nightmares. He just wished he knew why he was having them and what he could do to stop them.
When Albus awoke the next morning, Matt still hadn't returned from the Hospital Wing. John suggested that they go visit Matt before class, but since the two boys had gotten up late, they only had time to grab a quick bite to eat before heading to Potions in the dungeons.
“Good morning, class!” an old, round, professor greeted them, “I'm Professor Slughorn, your Potions Master. Today, we shall be learning about the basics of potion brewing, including the importance of proper stirring, heat, and ingredients. Please open your books to page 6.”
The class opened their books and spent the whole lesson listening to Slughorn and copying down notes.
“Well, we're pretty much out of time, so I'll see you all next lesson. Could I have Albus Potter and Rose Weasley please stop by my desk on their way out?” Slughorn told the class.
“I'll see you in Transfiguration, John. Tell Professor Patil where I am,” Albus told his friend. He had a feeling he knew what Slughorn wanted. James had warned him about it.
Albus and Rose walked cautiously up to Slughorn's desk after everyone else had left.
“Ah! Young Mr. Potter and Miss Weasley. Now, I would like to tell you about a little gathering I have scheduled for Friday. It's for the students in the school whose parents are, for lack of a better term, popular. Or those who have shown exceptional magical skill. Of course, I'd be pleased if the both of you would attend. I'm sure your cousins will be attending. They seemed to like them in the past years,” Slughorn informed them.
“Well, er, I guess we could make it,” Albus told Slughorn, while looking at Rose.
“Yes, we'll be there. See you next lesson, Professor,” Rose told him, as the two of them left the dungeon.
“I knew it was only a matter of time before we were invited to the Slug Club,” Albus groaned. James loved the Slug Club. It gave him a whole lot more attention and more people for him to tell his stories too. But Albus didn't like the fame. He would have rather skipped the party, but as James and his cousins were going, it would be hard not to.
“Well, maybe it'll be fun,” Rose stated in a hopeful tone. Albus rolled his eyes and the two of them went to Transfiguration.
Matt didn't show up in classes all day. Albus and John were really starting to worry. They decided to visit him before dinner. When they got into the Hospital Wing, they didn't see Matt right away. There was one girl occupying a bed with her arm in a sling. Madam Pomfrey was fussing over her.
“I really think you need to stay here tonight. You can leave in the morning!”
“But, Madam Pomfrey, I've been here all day. My arm's fine!” the girl exclaimed.
“No, I will not have it! You can leave in the morning,” Madam Pomfrey said in a tone that was not to be argued with. The girl pouted and stopped talking.
Albus and John approached Madam Pomfrey. “Um, where's Matt Eckerton? We brought him here last night,” John said tentatively.
“He's back there,” she said, pointing to a bed with the curtains pulled around it.
“Well, can we see him?” Albus asked.
“No, I'm sorry, but you can't. He's not in any state to have visitors at the moment. You can come see him this time tomorrow,” Madam Pomfrey said hurriedly.
“But could you at least tell us if he's ok?” Albus asked.
“He'll be fine in a few days. Now, you two should head down to dinner. You can see Matt tomorrow.”
Albus and John walked glumly down to the Great Hall. “That was strange. James said you can usually visit your friends when they're in the Hospital Wing,” Albus told John.
“Very weird. You know, I think Matt's keeping something from us. Madam Pomfrey seemed like she was expecting him last night, and now no one can visit him,” John told Albus in a worried tone.
“We'll ask him about it when he gets out of the Hospital Wing. I don't think he'll be inclined to tell us tomorrow,” Albus reasoned.
The next day, Gryffindor first years had DADA again. Nothing extraordinarily exciting happened during class. They mostly took notes on using Expeliarmus, the disarming spell. Harry said they would start being able to practice it on each other in the next class. John and Albus were really looking forward to this, as they really hadn't used their wands for anything yet.
Charms, however, was quite eventful. Professor Washburn started class by taking attendance as usual. He gave a menacing glare to all the Gryffindors as he called their names. But Albus thought he stared especially long at him.
“Take out your wands,” snarled Wahsburn, “we're practicing levitation today. Everyone take a feather.” Washburn waved his wand and a feather appeared in front of each student. “Remember to swish and flick.”
“Swish and flick,” murmured Albus from the back table. He waved his wand and said, “Wingardium Leviosa!” Nothing happened. He tried over and over again. Still, nothing happened. John, however, managed to do it.
“Look, Albus!” John exclaimed, “I've done it!” John's feather had rose a few inches off the table, and fell down again.
“Congratulations,” Albus said flatly, his feather still remaining quite still on the table.
“I've done it, too!” Rose shouted. Her feather had also rose off the table, but it managed to make it a few feet in the air before falling.
Washburn stormed out from behind his desk and rounded on the back table, where Albus, John, Rose, and Amanda were sitting. “Well, do it again!” he growled.
John and Rose looked at him nervously and picked up their wands. “Wingardium Leviosa!” they said at the same time. Both their feathers rose feebly into the air and fell down again.
“Pathetic,” Washburn muttered, “Potter! You do it!” he shouted at Albus.
“But, Professor, I haven't managed it yet,” Albus muttered quietly.
“You'll do what I tell you to do! Perform the spell!” Washburn seemed to be getting angrier by the minute.
Albus nervously picked up his wand. His arm was shaking, this would not turn out good. “Wingardium Leviosa,” he muttered very quietly. His feather leaped into the air and caught fire. The whole class, which had been staring at the back table for quite some time, screamed.
The flame from the feather caught onto Washburn's robes and set them on fire as well. “Bloody Hell!” Washburn screamed. He grabbed Albus's wand out of his hand and produced water from it to douse the flames. “Potter! You'll getting detention and 20 points from Gryffindor!” he shouted, glaring at Albus. “Class dismissed. Get out, all of you except Potter.”
Albus was visibly shaking now. The rest of the class quickly left, the Gryffindors glancing anxiously at Albus. He walked slowly up to Washburn's desk.
“Well, you seem to have a knack for causing trouble, Potter,” Wahsburn spat.
“I'm sorry, Professor, I didn't mean to,” Albus muttered, on the verge of tears.
“You'll be doing detention tonight, I don't care what other plans you might have. See you at 8pm.”
Washburn cut him off. “I said tonight, now get out!” he screamed.
Later that night, Albus trudged his way back to the common room after doing detention with Washburn. He had Albus do lines, so it wasn't too bad. But Washburn stared at Albus the whole time, his eyes like fire.
Albus climbed through the portrait and saw just who he needed to talk to. “James, I've got to ask you something.”
“What is it?” James asked, walking away from his friends.
“Why does Washburn hate me?” Albus asked. “During the first class, I thought he just hated all Gryffindors, but today he made it clear that it's me he hates.”
“Really? It's well known he hates Gryffindors. But he's always seemed to hate me more than everyone else,” James explained, “I always assumed it's because I cause so much trouble. You on the other hand, have always been so quiet. What did you do to him?”
Albus mumbled something incoherent.
“I set him on fire.”
James burst out laughing.
“It's not funny! I didn't mean to do it. We were doing levitation, and he asked me to levitate the feather in front of everyone, when he knew I hadn't managed to do it before. My arm was shaking so much I knew the spell wouldn't work. The feather caught fire as soon as I muttered the spell, and then it spread to Washburn's robes. I got lines and 20 points taken from Gryffindor,” Albus looked down, ashamed.
James looked stunned. “But that's a mistake any first year could have made. I do see how he got mad, though. I think you should just try to avoid him. Sit in the back, don't say anything. Ignore him in the halls. That's what I do. I still get way more detentions from him than any other teacher, but I think I've become immune to them. Well, I'd better get back to my friends. See you later.”
Albus contemplated this information. Washburn hated all Gryffindors, but he hated James and Albus the most. Why? It didn't make sense. Neither Albus nor James had met Washburn before Hogwarts.
“Albus!” John came running into the common room, “I've just been with Matt.”
“How is he?” Albus asked.
“Not good. He's covered in cuts and bruises. Said he'd tripped on his way to the bathroom. He kept avoiding talking about being ill. Just wanted to talk about what's going on in the school. So I told him about you setting Washburn on fire. He thought it was hilarious.”
“It's NOT!” Albus shouted. He was sick of everyone thinking it was funny. The story had already made it around the school and at dinner everyone was staring at him more than usual. Some students even high fived him and patted him on the back. It seemed like Washburn was disliked by many students.
“Okay, okay,” John said, putting his hands up, “Anyway, Matt said he'd be back in class tomorrow morning. Madam Pomfrey just wanted him to stay the rest of the night.”
“Good. Let's go to bed. I'm exhausted,” Albus said. He and John climbed up the circular staircase to the dormitory.
Thanks to everyone who has been reviewing! Thanks to my sister, Dancer_of_Starlight and midwinter_wolf! Feel free to leave a review. I know this chapter was short. They get a bit longer as the story progresses. Sorry for the lack of updates. Things got chaotic with the end of the semester, but it's over now, so I'm free to update all the time!
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