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Chapter 15 : Close Your Mind
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Albus and his friends spent the next few days trying to avoid Malfoy. It wasn't difficult since most of their spare time was spent in the common room doing homework. Matt was especially leery of Malfoy and made sure to hide behind John, who was a head taller than him, whenever they passed Malfoy in the halls. Despite this, Matt seemed to act like the confrontation with Malfoy had never happened, and did not appear to want to tell Albus or his other friends what his secret was. John did not seem surprised at this, but Albus had thought that maybe after what had happened with Malfoy, Matt might want to confide in someone. Amy also had started keeping a close eye on Matt after this event, which was odd because during fall term, she would often go a day or two without talking to Matt. Now it seemed that she was checking up on him at least once a day.
"Hi, guys," Amy greeted Albus and his friends on Saturday evening. Albus, John, Matt, Rose, and Amanda were all clustered around a table in the common room, working on various homework assignments. "What's everyone up to?"
"Homework," Matt groaned. He was working on a particularly difficult essay for Potions.
"Well, some of us are working on it," Rose chimed in, glaring at John.
"What?" John smiled innocently, "I've got all tomorrow to do it."
Rose sighed, "You'd do better to start it today."
"I know," John agreed, "But right now I'm enjoying watching you study, while I sit and do nothing." Rose groaned and went back to her reading.
"So," Amy started, as she sat down next to Matt, "How are you?"
"I'm fine," Matt replied, "But I'd be better if you'd do this essay for me."
"Not gonna happen," Amy grinned, "I'm glad you're doing good. Have you all been staying away from Willinson? He hasn't bothered any of you, has he? If he has, I'll get Victoire to put him in his place."
"No," Albus answered, "Haven't talked to him since the train. Strange, really."
"Well, good," Amy said, "Hopefully it'll stay that way. But don't go alone anywhere. He doesn't give up this quickly."
"We know, Amy," Matt snapped, "You're not our mum."
Albus looked up from his work at the sound of the impending argument. He could have sworn he saw Matt's eyes flash gold, but they were back to their usual blue within a second.
"Jeez, Matt. I'm just making sure he doesn't bother you. Mum said-"
"I know what Mum said!" Matt cut her off loudly.
"Could you please be a bit quieter?" Amanda asked in a frazzled tone.
"Sorry," Amy and Matt mumbled and continued arguing in softer voices.
Albus glanced over and saw that she was working on her astronomy charts. She had been having a tough time in astronomy all year. "Need any help?"
"Ugh," Amanda groaned, "It's astronomy. I'm rubbish at it. I've been doing this chart for the past hour. Anyone know when the next full moon is?"
Both Amy and Matt jerked their heads toward Amanda. "Two weeks from tonight. The 24th," Matt whispered quickly, then looked back at Amy. Amy glared at him and they resumed their argument.
"Uh, thanks," Amanda looked cautiously at both Matt and Amy, and then started writing furiously on her chart.
Albus glanced across the table at Rose, who was already trying to catch his attention. The cousins looked at each other for a few seconds, and then quickly returned to their homework. Nobody said anything for a few minutes, with the exception of Amy and Matt, who were still arguing. However, they were doing so so quietly that Albus was unable to make out any of the words.
"Blimey!" James had walked over to the table and standing behind Rose. "Who died?"
"Huh?" Albus looked up from his work.
"You're so quiet!" James replied.
"Oh, uh," Albus glanced at Amy and Matt, "They were arguing about something."
"Ah, sibling love, it's a wonderful thing," James grinned, "So, you ready to get your mind read by Aunt Hermione?"
Albus looked up at the clock, it was quarter to eight, "Bloody hell, I forgot about that!"
"Good thing I remembered," James said.
"Yeah," Albus put his books into his bag and got up, "I'm ready."
Rose got up as well, "I'm going too. I want to see Mum."
"Ok," James turned around and started walking towards the entrance.
"Good luck," John waved as Albus followed his brother. Amanda waved, but didn't look up from her work. Matt and Amy were too busy arguing to notice Albus and Rose leave.
Albus, James, and Rose left the common room to find a deserted corridor. "Good, no one's out here," Rose whispered.
"Why?" James asked.
"Wanted to talk to you two alone about our, er, research," Rose answered. "Have either of you found anything?"
"Nope," Albus told her, "I've been reading bits of McGonagall's book before I go to bed every night. It's the only time I can do it in secret. I just pull the hangings closed, and everyone thinks I'm sleeping."
"I've been doing the same thing," Rose revealed, "But I haven't so much as read the word 'Hallows'."
"Er, I haven't even found a book to read yet," James confessed.
"Well, find one soon!" Rose scolded, "We've got to find out what our parents are hiding from us!"
"I know, I know," James said.
"I've read a couple so far, and Madam Pince keeps eying me when I check them out," Rose told them, "But I've got a feeling we're not going to find anything in books."
"Really?" James grinned, "Are you doubting books?"
"Shut it, James," Rose warned, "I'm going to start looking at the old Prophet articles they have in the library."
"Sounds good," Albus said as they rounded the corner and walked towards the transfiguration room.
When they walked in, Hermione was standing near a stone basin that Albus recognized as the Pensive. Hermione was pulling thoughts out of her head with her wand and placing them into the basin. Albus wondered if maybe those thoughts had to do with what his parents were keeping from him. If only he could see the memories without Hermione knowing.
Hermione turned around when Albus shut the door behind them, "Hi, boys!" she greeted.
"Hi," James and Albus said back.
"Oh, and Rose, you're here too!" Hermione walked over to her daughter and gave her a hug.
"How's term going?" Hermione asked.
"Oh, pretty good," Rose answered, "Loads of homework, but I'm getting it done. I'm afraid I lost a few points on the last Charms essay. I hope I didn't, though."
"I'm sure you did fine on it," Hermione reassured her. "How about you two? How are your classes going?"
"All right," James replied, "But I'm afraid I lost more than just a few points on my last Charms essay." James laughed.
"And I'm not so sure you did fine on it," Hermione responded, "And you, Albus?"
"Oh, it's going well, I suppose," Albus told his aunt, "And I'm afraid I completely failed the Charms essay."
"Don't worry, I'm sure you at least scraped a passing grade," Hermione said.
"I dunno, Washburn hates me."
"Professor Washburn, and I don't think that's true," Hermione told him, "But that's not why we're her tonight. Tonight, you will start learning Occlumency. Rose, are you staying?"
"Can I?" Rose asked, "I've read a bit about Occlumency and it sounds very interesting."
"Of course you can stay. I don't think I will have you do any practical work, but you're welcome to learn the theory," Hermione informed her.
"You mean, we're going to have reading to do?" James asked disgustedly.
"Of course," Hermione laughed, "What did you expect?"
"I dunno, Dad's Occlumency lessons were all practical," James reminded her.
"I know, but I feel it's better for you to learn the theory as well," Hermione informed them, "Now, could you all sit down?"
Albus, James, and Rose all sat at the table closest to the teacher's desk.
"Good, now I've got some books for you," Hermione picked up two books and placed them in front of Albus and James, "Rose, I didn't know you'd be studying this as well, so I don't have a book for you. You can look on with your cousins and if you decide to keep coming to our lessons then I'll get you a book, too."
Albus looked at his book. It was entitled, Legilimency and Occlumency: The Art of Seeing Others' Thoughts and Protecting Your Own Mind.
"Creative title," James whispered and they both laughed.
"Open the books to page five, please," Hermione told them, "Now, as you are both aware, Legilimency is what is used to see into another person's thoughts, or as some say, read their minds. When the spell, Legilimens, is used, a person can see into another's thoughts. This can be done if the person getting the spell performed on is awake or asleep. When the person is awake, they feel an odd sensation in their head, kind of like a headache, but not exactly. They often also see their own memories. If the person is asleep, then they often have strange dreams or dreams about their memories."
"Hey, Voldemort's in this book!" Rose exclaimed. Albus notice that she was leafing through the first chapter.
"Yes, he is," Hermione responded briskly, "Lord Voldemort, although he was a horrible, evil person, was one of the most skilled Legilimens and Occlumens the Wizarding World has ever seen. He is a perfect example of why Legilimency and Occlumency are both very dangerous if used in the wrong way. Voldemort was able to tell exactly where his Death Eaters loyalties really lay, as well as keep others from knowing his innermost thoughts and secrets."
Hermione continued her lecturing for a half hour, giving a brief overview of the first chapter. This chapter explained what Legilimency and Occlumency were and went over the basics needed to try Occlumency. James and Albus were expected to read the first chapter and answer a few questions before the next class.
"Now, for the next half hour, I'd like to start the practical aspect of this lesson," Hermione stood up and picked up her wand. "Who wants to go first?"
James and Albus looked at each other. "You're older, you go first," Albus told his brother.
"All right," James stood up and pointed his wand at his aunt.
"Remember, there's no spell. You've got to close your mind. Take a few minutes to try to clear all thoughts from your head."
James lowered his wand and started to stare directly at the wall behind Hermione. After a few minutes, a blank look appeared on his face.
"Good," Hermione said, "Ready?"
James looked back at her with a nervous look on his face, "I suppose."
"Legilimens!" Hermione shouted.
James looked horrified as he stared at his aunt. He dropped his wand and pressed his hand to his forehead. Hermione continued to point her wand at him, but it was obvious that he wasn't succeeding at closing his mind. He had sunk down to the floor, with his hands on his head. Hermione lowered her wand and walked over to him.
"Are you all right?" she asked, extending her hand for James to grab.
"Fine," James mumbled as he took Hermione's hand and stood up again, "It's just, that's exactly what it felt like when someone did that to me during detention."
"That's because that was what someone did to you during detention," Hermione explained.
"But I didn't hear anyone shouting 'Legilimens'," James told her.
"They were doing it non-verbally. We'll get to that point in our lessons eventually, but for now I will do it verbally so you know what's going on," Hermione said, "Now, that was a pretty good attempt for the first time. You see now how hard it is to close your mind."
"Yeah," James agreed as he sat back down.
"Your turn, Albus," Hermione announced.
Albus had momentarily forgotten that he, too, had to have his aunt read his mind. He got up, his heart beating fast. He had never had Legilimency performed on him while he was awake, and he did not know what to expect.
"Try to clear your mind," Hermione told him as she walked a few feet away and turned around to wait.
Albus tried to clear his mind, but it was hard. His thoughts were consumed with whether Matt was a werewolf or not. He was also constantly thinking about what 'Hallows' could possibly be. Not to mention the reason why he was having these lessons in the first place. It was difficult not to think about someone seeing his thoughts.
"Ready?" Hermione asked. Albus nodded with a nervous look on his face.
"Legilimens!" she shouted.
The classroom seemed to disappear as Albus was thrown into his own memories. He was four years old and James had stolen the toy broom he had received on his birthday. James was flying it around while Albus chased him. The scene changed and he saw the time he dropped a sharp knife onto his foot, but instead of slicing it open, the knife just bounced off it. He had been four then, as well, and that was the first magical thing he did. The scene changed yet again and Albus was seven and was playing with his cousins at the Burrow. Then he was at home, reading his Hogwarts letter. The scene changed for a final time, he and Rose were sitting in Rose's bedroom at the Burrow, researching about werewolves. Albus's heart beat faster. He couldn't let his aunt see that.
"No!" Albus exclaimed, and the classroom reappeared in front of him. He glanced around and was half surprised that he was still standing up, since James had collapsed during his attempt.
Hermione was looking at him and then she glanced at Rose, then back to Albus. She had obviously seen a bit of the last memory. "Well, you actually managed to stop me, although not by normal means of Occlumency. But that is very good for a first try. What was that last memory?"
"Nothing, nothing," Albus replied quickly, averting his gaze from his aunt.
"Very well, I think that is enough for tonight. Albus, James, keep practicing. Try to close your minds before you go to bed. I'll see you all on Tuesday. Good luck with all your classes. And try to behave yourselves during Charms," Hermione added.
"We do!" James insisted, "Professor Washburn just doesn't like us."
"Be that as it may, you do need to pass his class," Hermione reminded them, "Good night."
"Night," Albus, James, and Rose said as they left the classroom.
"So, what was that memory that you didn't want my mum to see?" Rose asked curiously once they were out of earshot of the classroom.
"Later," Albus whispered, glancing at James.
"Blimey, that's some strange stuff, Legilimency and Occlumency," James announced after a few moments of silence, "But you seem good at it, Albus."
"Maybe," Albus responded.
"Better than me. I couldn't do anything during it. Just kind of forgot everything except the memories I was seeing. Couldn't think of anything to do about it," James explained.
"You've just got to practice it," Albus told him, "Plus, this was just the first time. And anyway, I've got to think of something better to do than just shouting out random things. People will think I'm a nutter if I'm just shouting out 'no' all the time."
James laughed, "Well, I already know you're a nutter."
"Oh, shut it, James," Albus laughed and punched James in the arm. James punched him back and they continued that until they reached the Fat Lady. Rose followed behind and muttered something that sounded like 'boys'.
When they arrived back at the common room, James immediately went to his dormitory so he could tell his friends about the lesson.
"So, what was the memory?" Rose whispered to Albus.
"When we were researching about werewolves," Albus told her, "I didn't want Aunt Hermione to know about that."
"Why not?" Rose asked.
"I dunno, really. I mean, it's not like she had a problem with Teddy's dad. I guess she just came awfully close to seeing our other research," Albus explained.
"Good point," Rose agreed, "But you know, you've got to practice this. What if she does find out about that? She'll tell Uncle Harry."
"I know, I know, I'll practice," Albus assured her.
"Good," Rose seemed satisfied, "Now, we'd better get to bed. Good night."
"Night," Albus said as he walked to the door to the dormitory. As he lay in bed trying to get to sleep, listening to Bilius's snoring, he tried to close his mind. 'Think about nothing,' he kept repeating in his mind. But it didn't work, because Albus yet again had the same nightmare.
A/N: Hope everyone liked it! I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I have been typing my own sister's username wrong in the past few Author's Note I've done for this fic. Her name is Dancer_Of_Starlight. I must be mixing it up with another site. So thanks, Dancer_Of_Starlight for reading this and helping me with it! Thanks also to my other sister and my brother. Thanks as well to inkheart, for the review, you're awesome! Please read and review, everyone!
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