To be brave is to love someone unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. To just give. That takes courage, because we don't want to fall on our faces or leave ourselves open to hurt.
Madonna, O Magazine, January 2004
To say that Kiana’s mind thought often of Harry Potter would be an understatement. Ever since the infamous moment in the dueling room, Kiana had been replaying the dream or vision she had seen over and over in her head, but she couldn’t come up with any possible conclusions to why it had occurred.
“It was nothing more than a dream from your subconscious, and Harry was in it because he had been knocked out with you,” Madam Pomfrey remarked crisply as she looked Kiana over in the Hospital Wing. It was the morning after the dueling match, and both she and Harry had been forced to be seen by the school physician by an anxious Hermione.
“You’re in good shape,” Pomfrey told Kiana after a quick analysis. “You’ll probably experience some headaches from your collision with the wall, but the ‘explosion’ you described has not hurt you physically. You are free to return to your classes.”
Kiana was hardly listening as she watched Harry converse with Hermione and Ron at the end of the Hospital Wing. Harry had been given a clean bill of health first, though Pomfrey had not cured his sour disposition. He continued to appear distressed and on-edge, and the looks he passed Kiana were nothing less than distrustful.
Kiana’s heart sank. She knew what he was thinking without being told: he was considering every possibility carefully, and the one forefront to his mind was something along the lines of Kiana placing that vision somehow in his mind. Kiana was merely confused about the fact that she and Harry had so obviously been a couple in the vision, but Harry was suspicious.
It was then, through out the next few days, that Kiana made it her sole goal to be on good terms with Harry Potter again. She didn’t know why it mattered to her so much – if Harry didn’t trust her or believe she was innocent, why should she care? – but she firmly believed that this was one person she didn’t want as an enemy.
“He doesn’t hate you, Kiana,” Hermione told her with utmost seriousness when she had come to visit Kiana at the Hufflepuff House table one evening. “He’s just…confused. The vision you both witnessed is not normal, and I’ve looked in every book I can that has to deal with curse aftershocks and rebounding spells, but I’ve found no answer.”
“Do you think I planned to have this happen, Hermione?” Kiana hissed, digging her fork into her chicken. “I was as caught off guard at what happened as Harry was. If I had wanted to weaken Harry during the duel, I would have found a slightly less embarrassing way! Does he think I hit on guys this way or something?”
Although her question was humorous, Hermione remained solemn and shook her head. “Don’t think like that, Kiana. Harry doesn’t think of it that way…”
“His glares sure don’t support that,” she muttered, glancing sideways at the Gryffindor table to find Harry’s cold eyes, once again, on her.
Hermione shook her head again in irritation, her thick, wavy hair flying about her face. “I don’t know what’s gotten into him. He shouldn’t be acting this way, especially when he has no proof whatsoever that this is your fault.”
“Haven’t you talked to him, Hermione?” Kiana asked. “Haven’t you told him that I’m as innocent as he is, and that I hate that vision as much as…”
“Of course I have,” Hermione cut in fiercely. “He isn’t listening. His mind is obsessed with his own assumptions, which makes him completely biased and closed-minded if you ask me. I’m hoping now that it’s just a phase and one day he’ll wake up to the truth. He can’t hold grudges against you forever!”
Kiana nodded, more out of respect for Hermione instead of in agreement. She decided that she had to take matters into her own hands. She would take one more shot at her goal, and if Harry continued to judge her, she would forget him forever. She wasn’t about to let one boy destroy her hopes for a good first year at Hogwarts.
Kiana pretended to obediently jot down notes on parchment as Professor McGonagall lectured on the technicalities of the transfiguration of inanimate objects into live beings. In truth, she was staring hard at the boy sitting three seats down from her. He was taking notes religiously - to avoid her gaze completely, she figured - but that didn’t stop Kiana from trying to get his attention. She had been testing him all day, trying to give him smiles or ask him a question, but he acted as if she had blended into the wall.
Hermione, who was sitting next to him, was trying to help Kiana’s cause, but Harry was successfully ignoring her, too. By the end of the class, Kiana had learned nothing new about transfiguration, but she knew that now was her moment. She had to forget all her subtle advances and be aggressive.
And aggressive she was as she cornered Potter in a less populated corridor. He merely raised his eyebrows in surprise, like he had no idea why this random girl was tracking him down.
“Okay, Potter, this is the last time I try to be friendly,” she told him, trying to suppress an angry sneer. “Your actions are completely uncalled for, and it’s nothing less than rude to suggest that I had something to do with the consequences of our duel. I judged you prematurely, but you’re doing exactly the same thing now! How well do you really know me, Potter? How do you know I’d try to get your attention by creating a…scene of you and me?”
Kiana was waiting for him to get defensive and angry, but she was taken aback when his shoulders slumped and his eyes darted away from her, as if in embarrassment. “You’re right,” he finally said. “I don’t know you so well to assume you’d do something so…impolite.”
Kiana remained tense, not willing to forgive him so soon. “Then why have you been acting like this? You’ve been sending me death glares for days, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you paid the Slytherins to get me expelled.”
Harry shook his head slowly, still not meeting her eyes. “‘Death glares’ is a bit much, Kiana. But I admit I haven’t been that friendly to you, and I apologize. That whole situation in the dungeons has made me a bit – err – uneasy. I’m used to visions of myself being attacked by Voldemort, but when he was suddenly after you…It just didn’t make sense. Nothing about it makes sense.”
Kiana pursed her lips in deliberation. She wasn’t sure how to respond to his words, but she knew that – however much she enjoyed it – she couldn’t continue to hold grudges against him. Doing that would only make them both more uncomfortable.
“Well, I agree with you there – nothing makes sense. But as long as it doesn’t continue, which it hasn’t, let’s try to put it behind us. Can we be casual friends at the very least? I promise not to stalk you anymore if you promise to stop glaring at me.”
Harry finally looked directly at her and smiled shyly. “I guess it’s a deal.”
Kiana thought that, once she was on good terms with Harry again, her constant OCD thoughts about him would stop. But, to her discouragement, she continued to think about him until he followed her into her dreams. She couldn’t pinpoint why, but Michelle voiced her own opinions loud and clear –
“You like him, Kiana!” she told her out on the grounds one windy afternoon. Her Gryffindor scarf flapped behind her as she hugged her arms to her chest. “There’s obviously more than one reason why you want to be friends with him. You can’t stand the thought of him hating you, so you can’t let it go!”
Kiana huffed indignantly, though she tried to hide her face behind the book she was reading in case her cheeks were red. “Thank you, Nancy Drew, for your careful observations,” she muttered. “So what if I like him, it’s not like he’s going to come waltzing up to me and ask me to go to Hogsmeade with him. Have you not seen him staring at that redhead girl all the time? What’s her name…Virginia?”
“Ginny,” Jenny supplied rather boastfully. “It’s obvious that she likes him, but I didn’t know the feeling was mutual. I guess we’ll see if he starts wandering over to her more frequently during meals.”
Kiana ignored her and flipped through pages with exaggerated concentration.
“You’d better get to him first, Kiana, before Ron’s little sister does,” Michelle said with a teasing smile. “She’s rather popular and can charm people easily. I’ve seen her perform some quality jinxes; I’m surprised she didn’t win the…”
“If you two are going to yap about that little twerp, then go to your dormitory and do it,” Kiana snapped, slamming her book down on the grass. “I’m trying to study! I’m sorry if you two don’t care as much about your future grades.”
Instead of reacting in anger, the sisters simply exchanged knowing glances. “She’s got a little bit of a temper when we talk about her rival,” Michelle told her sister. “I hope Ginny doesn’t make a move soon or else we’ll have to live with a temperamental Kiana for the rest of our lives!”
Kiana threw her book at Michelle’s retreating back as the sisters rushed away in a fit of giggles. Kiana moodily went to retrieve her book, but she couldn’t concentrate on the words anymore. She was almost offended that Michelle had suggested she had feelings for Harry. What an immature...
“Oh, Kiana, I forgot to give this to you.”
Michelle was back and holding a folded piece of parchment in front of Kiana’s face.
“What is it? A love note from Harry?” Kiana asked with rude sarcasm.
“It’s top secret, if you must know,” Michelle replied with a roll of her eyes. “From Dumbledore himself. He probably wants to give you more lessons or something. Didn’t he teach you a few things to catch you up when we first came here?”
“Yeah,” Kiana said with a shrug. “I guess I must have done poorly. He said we wouldn’t be meeting again.”
“Maybe Harry’s anger has returned and he told Dumbledore some great lie and he’s going to expel you.”
Kiana glared at her friend as she grabbed the note and read through the words quickly. “He wants to meet me immediately,” she said softly. “I wonder what could be so urgent.”
“Go and see, and tell me if you need help packing.”
Kiana slugged her on the shoulder and Michelle laughed before rushing away to find her sister.
I wonder if Dumbledore would expel me for vomiting all over his marble floor, Kiana thought as she approached the Headmaster’s office. ‘Cause that’s what I feel like doing right now.
Once she was awarded entrance, she approached the Headmaster’s desk with careful steps and a mind overflowing with trepidation. Although Michelle had been obviously teasing her, Kiana couldn’t help but fear the worst. What if Dumbledore somehow heard what had happened in the duel with Harry and was going to punish her? What if he, like Harry, thought she had something to do with the spell collision?
Dumbledore, apparently unaware of her nerves, smiled kindly and motioned toward the high-backed, cushioned chair across from his desk. She sat down and studied the aging Headmaster with as much ease as she could.
Despite Dumbledore’s pure white beard and wrinkled hands, looking into his blue eyes was like peering into the eyes of a much younger adult. Dumbledore could appear as weary as his age dictated sometimes, but at other moments he could be as vivacious as a child. Kiana had received five lessons from him since the beginning of the school year, and his masterful skill with his wand and other magical forces astounded her to no end. If she was certain of anything in her life, it was that Albus Dumbledore could perform any spell and do it perfectly.
Dumbledore surveyed her over the rim of his half-moon spectacles. “So, Miss Karn, I guess you are wondering why I called you here after I claimed I wouldn’t be summoning you again.”
Kiana nodded slowly, for her throat had closed up. As kind as Dumbledore was, she couldn’t help but feel intimidated by the Headmaster. It was different to speak to a powerful wizard than to an adult back home. The worst punishment she could receive from a teacher in the Muggle world was a detention, whereas an adult wizard could perform the worst kind of transfiguration…
“Well, you see, I have found myself to be in a sticky situation.” His tone had changed, which increased the churning in her gut. He sounded dismayed, almost weary. “I need assistance from someone who is capable of reaching my desired goal. I believe that person is you.”
Kiana swallowed hard and gazed with amazement at the Headmaster. “Me, Sir?” Her voice was weak and feeble compared to his.
He smiled warmly again, slightly easing the tension. “Yes, you. You have proved yourself capable of this task by performing admirably in our lessons. I don’t doubt that you will succeed.”
“B..but, Sir…” she stammered. “I am not as skilled as some in my year. I haven’t mastered a patronus yet! Isn’t there someone else who…”
“No.” He cut her off with a flick of his hand. “There is no one else. Only you can help me now.”
Further arguing was useless, so instead she asked, “What do you wish of me, Headmaster?”
His smile vanished and a gloom settled in his eyes. “I need you to attend the gathering of Death Eaters tonight and discover what Voldemort is plotting. Severus Snape has forewarned me that Voldemort is gaining crucial information that will hurt the Order of the Phoenix and put Harry Potter’s life in danger. Voldemort will seek to use this knowledge to plan an attack as soon as possible; he has grown frustrated in the fight since Harry escaped from him last year in the graveyard. He is more determined than ever to finish him off.”
Kiana hardly comprehended Dumbledore’s words after, “…attend the gathering of Death Eaters tonight…” Despite the seriousness in his tone, Kiana found herself laughing.
“That’s funny, Headmaster; that really is. You expect me, a mere transfer, to attend a Death Eater meeting and have a little chat with Voldemort? Will it be over tea, perhaps? And biscuits? We may be able to discuss politics before he divulges all aspects of his plot to little ol’ me.”
Dumbledore remained silent, allowing her to release her confused, mixed emotions. When she had further read the seriousness in his gaze, her smile disappeared and reality hit her with a powerful force.
“You must know by now, Miss Karn, that I never joke about anything as serious as you coming in close contact with Lord Voldemort. I know that the news is a shock to you now, but understand me when I say that you are prepared for this seemingly insurmountable task. Severus has cleverly spread rumors among the Death Eaters that a talented transfer to Hogwarts is experienced in the Dark Arts and seeks for ways to use her talent in more profound ways. Voldemort has been intrigued by these rumors and has personally requested Severus to bring this transfer to him so that he may test her. Truthfully, he will be shocked to discover that this student is a young American girl, but when he realizes the power you could bring to his army, he will quickly accept you as his own.”
Mouth agape, mind reeling, Kiana slowly pushed her chair back and headed toward Dumbledore’s office door. At first she walked, but as Dumbledore’s words further sunk into her head, the walk became a run. She was a foot from the door when it shut and locked on its own. She turned back to the Headmaster with tears in her eyes.
“How can you ask this of me?” she hissed, anger boiling deep within her soul. “You know the Dark Lord is proficient at Legilimency. He will see right through my act and murder me on the spot.”
“Not if you offer him your soul and dedication,” Dumbledore replied quietly. “Voldemort will perceive the doubts in your mind as normal for a teenage girl. He will be more determined by it, for he seeks to purge each Death Eater of his or her weaknesses and develop blind obedience within them. He will want to mold you into one of his talented killing machines. Your plea will also become stronger if you offer him this…” He threw a small ring to her, which she absentmindedly caught. She studied the silver metal with increased curiosity. The ring was created to resemble a coiling snake, its mouth wide to reveal razor-sharp fangs. Its eyes gleamed red and Kiana couldn’t tell if they shone from hidden jewels or an inner magic.
“So Voldemort will accept me because he wants to add this ring to his jewelry collection?” she scoffed.
Dumbledore smiled weakly. “This ring was another crafted by Salazar Slytherin himself. It supposedly was passed down through his lineage, but no one saw it again after Slytherin’s death. You will claim to be part of that lineage, having received the ring from your own father. Voldemort, as you know, judges people mainly on their pureness of blood, and he will be pleased to see that you come from a powerful line.”
“But I don’t…”
Dumbledore raised his hand for silence. “I understand that, but Voldemort will be blind to the truth because of this ring. Do not question anything but take my information as fact.”
Kiana’s eyes revealed her doubt, but Dumbledore ignored this. “Severus has kindly agreed to bring you to the gathering. Stay close to him and you will be safe.”
Kiana almost huffed at this remark, for she was not blind to Snape’s hatred toward her and her American friends. He had held a prejudice toward her from the very beginning, and Kiana could never figure out why. She could envision Snape tossing her to the Dark Lord, saying, “My lord, I have brought you a tasty snack to replenish your energy. She is a Mudblood so she is not as scrumptious as we, but her American flesh will be a change from the norm. I ask that you kill her slowly and cruelly; I have longed to hear her scream for mercy.”
“Surely you do not believe I would hand you over so quickly? I would wait until you’re weakened by the Dark Lord’s tests and then offer you up as a sacrifice.”
Kiana almost screamed as Snape’s low, silky voice hissed in her ear. She bolted from his reach, shaking with embarrassment and anger as she grasped her wand in her pocket. How dare that foul bat read her mind while she was unaware of his presence!
“Ah, there you are, Severus.” Dumbledore ignored the little exchange between the two and walked calmly toward them, hands clasped at his chest. “I presume all is in order for tonight?”
Snape bowed slightly as he mumbled, “Yes, Headmaster.”
“You are prepared to go through with this, whatever may occur?”
“Of course, Headmaster.”
Kiana gulped at Dumbledore’s words. Whatever may occur? Didn’t Dumbledore have every detail memorized and planned?
“Excellent. Miss Karn, if my wristwatch is behaving properly today, I believe it is a quarter past six. The Death Eaters are scheduled to arrive at nine o’clock in the Little Winging Cemetery. Severus will be alerted as to the exact moment when Voldemort beckons him, and he shall Apparate with you at that time. For now, he shall bring you to his office and mentally prepare you for what is to come.”
Kiana’s headache returned with all fierceness. She couldn’t imagine a worse situation…trapped in Snape’s office for hours until she is properly escorted to her torturous death by the most powerful Dark wizard in ages. And the only spell she felt confident at performing was Incendio!
Write a Review Among Enemies: The Request of Dumbledore