A/N: Okay, I’ve been trying really hard to update more frequently, so here you go!
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything to do with Harry Potter. Except this plot.
Something clicked in Harry’s head. He knew why he wasn’t sent to live with Professor Argilla. There are so many reasons to not send him to live with Professor Argilla. So many plausible reasons why it seemed...wrong.
“No. No, it’s not. It’s...it’s actually more than possible.” Harry said quietly.
“Somebody knew.” Harry stated. He, Ron and Hermione were sitting on a bench in the Entrance Hall. After Hermione and Harry had told Ron about their discovery, they had just drifted over to a seat, and had been rapidly throwing out possible reasons and ideas why this was all such a secret. The hall was fairly empty; a few students drifted here and there, but the majority of people were catching a late lunch or were in class.
“But who?” Ron asked.
“Dumbledore. Dumbledore knew. I...I don’t know, but it just...fits. If he could be feared by the darkest wizard of all time, we can assume that he knew things that we can only dream of knowing.” Harry explained.
“Like what, Harry? What are you saying?” Hermione raised her eyebrows.
“A while back, I was in the library. And I remember, this book, it caught my eye. I have it in my trunk, “The Magical Mysteries of the Ministry”. The second I saw it, I knew it have something, anything, in it about The Veil. Just as I started flipping through it, Argilla came up to me. And he automatically recognized the book I was reading, and he knew the specific chapter I was interested in. He could tell – something told him that I was looking for information on The Veil.”
“That’s odd. How would he know?” Ron scratched his head.
“He knew because Dumbledore told him that we’d be interested in The Veil.
“Dumbledore’s dead, Harry.” Hermione said softly.
“I’m aware of that! I’m not bloody ignorant! I’m saying that Dumbledore told Argilla while he was still alive. While Sirius was still alive. Dumbledore knew that now, at this point in our lives, Sirius would be beyond The Veil, and we would be trying to save him.”
“But why would he tell Argilla?” Hermione asked.
“Because Argilla’s been through The Veil before.” Harry responded. Hermione’s eyes widened.
“Harry, that’s it! From what we know, The Veil’s dangerous. Extremely dangerous – and knowing Dumbledore, he would’ve wanted to prevent us from ever entering it. Dumbledore told Argilla because...because...Argilla’s been through it before, yes, but why?”
“I think Argilla has been through The Veil a long time ago – I don’t think this is anything recent.”
“Well of course not. Why would Argilla go through it now? He obviously had reasons before.”
“Before...I think Argilla’s gone through to save someone before. I think he’s really well acquainted with what we’re attempting now.” Harry added.
“You mean to tell me that, 20 years ago or whatever, Argilla went through The Veil to save someone else? But who?” Ron asked.
“Well, I don’t know. It’s plausible, yes. But we can’t be sure – unless we get him on our side. Unless we get him to tell us. Which one of us is closer to him?”
“I think we’d have a better chance of getting him to tell us if we all went together – I think it’ll make us more effective in getting him to reveal things.” Hermione suggested.
“It’s settled then. After we eat, we’ll find him. It’s not like we have a class to get to or anything.” Ron smiled.
“But we do, Ron.” Hermione frowned.
“Guys, we’ll just go tonight after dinner. That way, we don’t miss any classes or any food.” Harry smirked.
Ron shrugged and entered the Great Hall with Harry and Hermione, prepared to eat the mounds of food that awaited them.
It was colder out now; the early winter air was crisp and froze patterns on the window panes. The light from the windows slowly faded away as they descended down the stairs. Harry, Ron and Hermione walked down the corridor in the dungeons until they reached Professor Argilla’s office.
There was a still silence as the trio stood before the door. There was a shared nervousness among them; this was it. Argilla may or may not tell them anything significant, but it didn’t matter, because Harry Potter had a living, magical relative sitting on the other side of the wall that separated them. Harry gave a quick nod and Hermione knocked on the door. The thirty seconds in between Hermione knocking on the door and the door actually opening was filled with the steady tapping of Ron’s foot on the cobbled floor. The answers were all there, but it was unclear if these solutions were at their own disposal. The door swung open and Argilla stood there, hair rumpled, eyes dancing by the light of the wall sconce next to him.
“Hello, Ms. Granger, Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley. How can I be of assistance?” He posed this knowingly; it was blatant that he knew what they wanted. He gave a small smile and motioned for them to enter.
The office was quite small. There was an oak desk centred in the room, papers piled atop it, slightly askew. The room was littered with various materials; seemingly hundreds of quills, stacks of books, models of rare potion ingredients and vials of bubbling substances. The room was lined with bookshelves filled with numerous texts and open encyclopaedias, each illuminated by the faint glow of the oil lamps mounted periodically on the walls. The stiff, wooden chair behind the desk contrasted greatly with the plush armchairs placed in each corner, well worn and overused.
Argilla sat behind his desk, perched on his chair, and gestured towards the armchairs for Harry, Ron and Hermione to sit. He smiled at them. “So. What do you three need?”
Hermione responded. “Well, er, Professor, we’ve been doing some...some research lately, and we were wondering if you might be able to help us out. You know, verify a couple facts for us.”
Argilla’s smile faltered, but only for a mere second. “Of course, Ms. Granger.”
Harry ran his hand through his hair and Ron sat firmly on his hands. Hermione blinked, phrasing sentences in her head to get them just right.
“It’s the Potter family, sir. We...er...we believe there’s some relation between you and Harry’s family.”
“You are a bright witch, aren’t you?” Argilla’s shoulders lowered a little and he sighed. “I’m glad I didn’t have to bring this up to you, Harry. I’m much happier that you three figured this out for yourselves.”
“We think you’re Harry’s uncle.” Ron blurted out. Hermione shot him a look for his forwardness.
“That I am, Mr. Weasley. That exactly.”
“But sir, why don’t you explain to me why I never knew you were part of my lineage!” Harry exclaimed. He had his theories, but he wanted to hear the real story, word for word, from someone he felt he could trust.
“Well, when I was younger, I was different. I went to school here with James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter, you know, the Marauders. But I was always in the background; I was quiet and often left out. When I say I was different, I mean that I liked to experiment, to create things with magic. In fourth year, I began experimenting with more dangerous magic; I wasn’t in it to create bad things, no, not that at all. I was simply curious, and I had thousands of ideas that I didn’t have outlets for.” He sighed. “I was always off hiding, creating things, while everyone else would be studying or playing Quidditch. When my family found out, they disapproved. Your mother was ashamed of me, as were my parents, because of what I was interested in and because of my ‘isolated existence’, as they often phrased it.”
Argilla pushed his chair back and stood up, walking over to one of the bookcases. He pulled out a notebook, bursting at the binding. He passed it to Ron.
“That was my sketchbook...I filled it with all of my ideas. Feel free to flip through it.”
Ron looked numbly at each sketch; he obviously couldn’t understand the gist of whatever the young Argilla had wanted to create. The Professor continued his story, slowly pacing the length of the room and then walking back again.
“In fifth year, I was introduced to some darker magic through one of my experiments; I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I wasn’t aware of the dark magic at the time.” He ran his hand through his hair. During the pause in his story, Hermione’s eyes flashed with realization.
“I know what happened with that experiment...you – you created...” She broke off after Argilla smiled.
“Yes, you do know. All three of you do, in fact. This is where my story meets your story.”
“What do you mean our story?” Ron demanded.
“You three are planning to go through The Veil.” Argilla stated. Harry’s eyes widened and Ron’s mouth fell open slightly in shock.
“Has that book been useful, Harry?” The professor smirked. He sat on the corner of his desk. Hermione shifted in her chair and looked pointedly at Harry.
“I didn’t tell him!” Harry exclaimed. “He just...knew. To be honest, sir, it’s really frightening me how you already understand what we’ve been planning to do.”
“The dark magic that I encountered in my fifth year resulted in me ultimately creating something powerful and dangerous. Your plan revolves around my creation. The Veil is mine.”
Hermione took a deep breath.
“You were right, mate.” Ron patted Harry on the shoulder. Harry stood up.
“Well, yes, that was my original theory...that you knew something about me, about the Veil, about its power...but now – now I’m just finding all of this a little hard to believe.” Harry stated.
“You have every right to not trust me, Harry...”
“But I do trust you, sir.”
“Good, then you should believe me when I say that the Veil is my invention.”
“But then why didn’t you save Sirius from entering it when he died?!” Ron exclaimed.
“For many, many reasons.” Argilla sat down again, as did Harry.
“After creating the Veil, I realized its potential. Going beyond the Veil stopped time; my friends and I could use it to escape the world. Escape work, teachers, teenage angst, everything. One thing that we didn’t realize, however, was that each time we exited the Veil, it became more and more difficult. The magic of the Veil was growing increasingly more powerful with each use. One day in sixth year, I entered the Veil with Sirius. When we wanted to leave, I left first.” Argilla stopped talking for a second. He shut his eyes and took a deep breath.
“When...when Sirius attempted to leave after me, he couldn’t. The Veil had become too strong. Sirius was stuck, and he soon realized that it would no longer be safe for anyone to enter or exit the Veil without putting themselves in extreme danger. I sent him owls bearing messages from me, bringing him news and informing him of possible escape routes. I would listen to his replies through the voices that the Veil expels. I also must mention that there’s another thing you don’t know about me.” Argilla frowned slightly and rubbed his eyes. “I’m a Metamorphagus.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Ron said incredulously.
“But I’m not, Mr. Weasley. Sirius and I agreed to my plan, and from then on, I was Sirius Black. It took a lot of energy to pretend I was someone else for as long as I did. The public believed that once something went wrong with my invention, I was so ashamed that I went into hiding. In reality, I re-entered the public eye dressed as Sirius Black, saying that Prescott had disappeared after the malfunction, and that he did not wish to show his face. As Sirius, I told Dumbledore the whole story, and he said that he could do nothing to reverse the Veil. He concluded that if the Veil was destroyed, Sirius would be stuck within it forever.” Argilla glanced over at Hermione, who seemed to be taking mental notes of everything that he said. Harry was blankly staring at a wall, trying to absorb all of these new developments.
“However, Dumbledore was able to link Sirius and myself with a mind-binding spell that he had created. Sirius and I then had a connection; he would tell me how to act and what to say, and he could hear everything going on around me. I never returned to Hogwarts and Dumbledore had the Veil moved to the Ministry for safe-keeping. For over a decade, I lived as Sirius with Dumbledore’s help. As soon as things seemed to be running smoothly, though, I was sent to Azkaban on accusations about what happened to Peter Pettigrew.” Ron shook his head in disbelief. How had all of this gone unnoticed?
“When you two rescued Sirius from Azkaban in your third year, it was really me you were helping to escape.” He motioned to Harry and Hermione. “Though, to be fair, it was the real Sirius acting through me. Everything I said was really Sirius’ words.”
“So you mean that the only Sirius that I’ve ever known was you?!” Harry demanded, bewildered.
“Sadly, yes. But it truly was Sirius telling me what to say. He really is your legal godfather.”
“And when we were fighting with the Order in the Ministry in our fifth year...that was you?” Hermione questioned.
Argilla nodded. “I, too, am a member of the Order. I found it to be a perfect opportunity to try and rescue Sirius from the Veil. Before I actually went to fight, I talked with Dumbledore. He told me that since the Veil had been dormant for so long, it could have developed strong Dark magic that would reject my body from staying in the Veil very long. When we were fighting with the Death Eaters in front of the Veil, I let myself get hit by Bellatrix knowing that this was the only way I could safely get towards Sirius. Once I was in there, I quickly explained everything to Sirius...we got our stories straight. When all of you and the Order left after the fight, I exited the Veil again, although this time as myself. As the whole world thought Sirius was dead, I could safely enter the public eye again, saying that I had chosen to come out of hiding. I met with Dumbledore; he told me that since I didn’t have enough time to save Sirius within that small fraction of time, it is only you, Harry, that is capable of saving Sirius now. He realized that the power of the Veil was growing steadily stronger, and soon only you would be powerful enough to penetrate it.”
A thick silence fell over the room, and nobody moved. Everyone stared solemnly at different features in the office, thinking about the intensity of their current situation, and how drastically one scenario can change with just one story. Ron was the first one to disrupt the reflective quiet.
“I guess it makes sense why we never knew you existed, Professor.” He said with a small smile. Harry was leaning forward in his chair, looking at his feet with his elbows resting on his knees. He sat up.
“Thank you, Professor. For telling us all this.” Harry nodded appreciatively. He looked emotionally drained; his eyes were sharp and intense, yet he was reacting numbly. Nothing seemed to be really sinking in.
“Well Harry, I felt obligated to share. I mean, we are family.” Argilla stood up. “Dumbledore knew that you’d be interested in the Veil. He said it would only be natural for you three to want to help Sirius. Dumbledore trusted you, Harry. I’m sure wherever he is now, he still does. He told me that I shouldn’t help you. Dumbledore thought of you as his child, and he believed that you had so much potential. And he was right. Because of this, I’m not going to stop you from saving Sirius. As Albus told me, you are the only one strong enough to get through the Veil and to get Sirius out. It will be dangerous, so the only advice I can give you is to be careful.” Argilla gestured towards the door.
The Trio stood up. “Thank you, Professor.” Was all Hermione said. Her mind was whirring; she could barely concentrate on the things going on around her, for her mind was abuzz with new discoveries.
“Thanks, sir.” Ron handed the sketchbook back to Argilla as he exited with Harry. Harry, Ron and Hermione ascended the stairs from the dungeons and re-entered the Entrance Hall. It was dark outside now, and the torches on the walls had been lit and were emitting strong orange and red flames. Filch bolted the doors to the Great Hall and headed down a corridor, and a few prefects were climbing the staircase. There were no words, it seemed, that could describe what the three of them felt right then. They could only stand there and examine the routines of others, while quietly coming to the conclusion that it must be bloody boring to have a normal life.
A/N: Thanks for taking the time to read this chapter, I hope I didn’t make it too confusing. Things will clear up within the next few chapters, don’t worry. Don’t forget to leave a review!
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