Chapter 2 : Chapter 1: Dark Tidings
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They have chosen the Burrow as it is the place that they have truly got to know each other and it is the place that Ginny had decided irrevocably that it is Harry Potter she wanted to be with even at the age of five. They have also decided to forego the lavish wedding details that were given to Bill and Fleur’s. They do not have billowing marquee or famous band. They simply had a simple arc made of lilies. The full moon provided the romantic lighting and the natural sounds of the night were their music.
They have chosen the time in memory and in honor of Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks who gave their life to give their child a brighter future. They were quite sure that Remus and Tonks are probably laughing wherever they are now.
A lot would have chosen to attend the ‘wedding of the century’ as George calls it but it was given the tightest security the Ministry could. Also, the date and time were held in secret until an hour before the event. It was for this reason that no guest except for family members and those in the know were dress appropriately.
The Weasley and their extended family stand in the front with Hermione and Andromeda Tonks. All the men were wearing formal dress robes. The ladies were breathtaking in their white gowns. Fleur Weasley and her sister Gabrielle had an impish smile on themselves as they turn their veela power in full force, making at lot of men look longingly in their direction. Teddy was adorable in his tux as he wiggles in Andromeda’s arms. Aunt Muriel was slouching on a high back chair muttering about how inappropriate the time and everything else is in the wedding.
The Hogwarts teacher represented by Minerva McGonagall, Filius Flitwick, Rebeus Hagrid, Horace Slughorn, Madam Hooch and Madam Pomprey were dressed in what ever robes they managed to pull on themselves when they received Harry’s patronus message. Slughorn’s night cap can still be seen peaking out of his pocket where he stowed it absentmindedly in his haste. Professor Sprout plucked the proverbial longest straw and was left in charge of Hogwarts.
In attendance also were members of Dumbledore’s Army. Luna Lovegood was wearing a neon yellow nightdress and was looking at the couple dreamy eyed, not the least bit offended by the stares she is receiving from the other attendees. Neville Longbottom and his grandmother stood behind her. The first looking over her protectively while the older woman harrumphed in distaste. Dean Thomas was splendid in his muggle clothing as he received the message while partying in a bar in London.
Susan Bones and Lavender Brown were wearing their auror uniform. They had thought they were escorting the head of Wizengamot, Rebecca Clause to some clandestine meeting. They were quite surprise, however when the Minister had tag along and they were asked to apparate to the Burrow.
Cho Chang stood beautifully in a glittering gown she was wearing in a gala she was attending with her father, the ambassador of China to Great Britain. She was looking whimsically at the couple, imagining the possibility that it could have been her who was standing up there beside Harry if she hadn’t only blew it the first time around. Seamus Finnigan, her date was fidgeting in his tux while the Patil Twins were crying tears of joy behind them, wearing cloaks in identical shade of green that clung to their shapely body. Most of the boys in the event were debating whether they are wearing anything at all under their cloak.
The Order of the Phoenix was also in attendance. Hestia Jones and Dedalus Diggles lead the group in their formal cloak with a phoenix insignia printed on the back. They have been assisting the aurors to police the wizarding world while the Ministry is still trying to stand on its feet. And it was a surprise to them when Kingsley ordered them to the Burrow tonight. Until they have apparated to the garden, they had thought the Weasley were under attack.
Kreacher, whose joy was palpable in his old eyes, was literally bouncing from one person to another serving drink which most people ignored. They were all quite captivated by the couple illuminated by moonlight as if being blessed by heaven itself.
Harry Potter was wearing an ordinary green dress robe much like what he wore during the Yule Ball during the Triwizard tournament. The only difference was the medal of Order of the Merlin First Class which he wore around his neck and the happiness he exudes. He was dashing despite his wild hair that ruffles with the night wind. Cho Chang couldn’t help by sigh for lost opportunities.
Ginevra Weasley was breathtaking. Her flaming red hair was held up like a crown on her head with glittering white rubies magically strewn all over it. The rubies glistened with the moonlight, making an illusion of stars shining from her hair. She was wearing a green satin gown that hugged her body and ended just above her knees. She was blushing and radiant with just enough make up to make her glow more. Dean Thomas was having a hard time figuring out how he could let such a girl go. Her beauty was even enough to compete with the veela aura being exuded by Fleur and Gabrielle or the sultriness of the Patil Twins.
“As eternal and everlasting as the burning sun, so is the love that these two shares.” The wizened old wizard droned. He was literally shaking in excitement of being able to wed the Chosen One. “As the rings they now wore in each other’s fingers signify the bond that they share, so shall their magical essence be magically bound. As one grows stronger so shall the other. The success of one becomes the success of the other. Two destinies are now intertwined and made one. So it has been for centuries, so shall it be tonight…” He lifted Ginny’s right hand and placed over it Harry’s left. Immediately, shimmering lights enveloped both hands. Hiding his surprise, he continued. “Harry James Potter hence forward you are no longer alone. All that you are, all that you will be are now undone as you twine your future with this remarkable woman which you now call your wife.” He paused before turning to Ginny. “Ginevra Molly Weasley hence onward you are not alone. Everything that you have, everything that you shall have are now stripped away as you twine your destiny with this outstanding man you now call your husband. Henceforth as it will always be, you are bonded as one.” As the wizened wizard intoned the age old wizard wedding binding rites and much to the amazements of the guests, the lights surrounding their hands shimmered brighter before toning down until it only focuses on the rings they wore. With one final glow, the light settled into the rings which slowly melted into the couple’s fingers. “Harry, you may now kiss your wife.”
Grinning foolishly, Harry cupped Ginny’s face and kissed her softly in the lips before she grabbed his head and deepened the kiss, much to the laughter and wolf whistling of the guests.
The wizened wizard was about to cough discretely when Harry suddenly pulled away from Ginny, pain etched in his face as he clutched at his forehead.
“Harry…” Ginny was about to reach out when Harry fell to his knees and with his face uplifted to the moon screamed in agony. The wizened wizard only manage to pull Ginny away before bright blue flame erupted from Harry’s scar, making a lightning-like pillar that towers over the astonished guest.
As Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley ties the knot, Sybille Trelawney was assisting the New Head Boy Elphias Bode of Hufflepuff settle the first years who have woken up crying even as Professor Sprout have asked them to ensure that no students wanders from their House. The headmistress office has been blown away and the culprit might still be roaming the school.
“Preposterous” She muttered to herself as she administered the dreamless potion to a hysterical Gryffindor first year. If she hadn’t seen it for herself, she wouldn’t have believed it but there it was. Instead of the headmistress office, there was a gaping hole in its place.
She had been sleeping in her tower when a prickling of her Sight told her that something was amiss in the school. She was about to go down her ladder and inform Pomona when the blast shook her off her feet. When she had finally managed to go down to the main part of the school, she was met with pandemonium and confusion.
“What do you think happened, Professor?” Elphias Bode asked. He was tall for his age and was already wearing his hair and beard long. But his eyes tell you that he is still a student and not quite ready to be in charge yet. “What happened to the headmistress’ office? And why all younger students woke up crying? Even us older ones feel like cowering in fear and crying. Though some of the seventh year just tossed and turned in their sleep. ”
“Really, Elphias, you need to…” Without warning, her eyes rolled over until you couldn’t see anything but white. Her voice also became deeper and hoarse even as beads of sweat appeared in her forehead. “The one whose hands are marked by death has once more risen. Unbeaten, unconquered, he will seek that which gives him power. And he will cleave the one that which escape death’s embrace thrice. The one whose hand…”
“Professor…?” Elphias Bode slowly backed away in fear. “What are you talking about, ma’am? Are you alright?”
“..is mark by death has once more risen…”
With a last fearful glance at the Divination professor, Elphias Bode ran from the dormitory to fetch Professor Sprout.
A few corridors away, the Grey Lady was floating serenely, ignoring the bustle and hustles that seems to permits within the very wall of the school. Of course she had felt the school vibrate as the headmistress’ office was blown apart. She had also felt the fear slowly crept into every nook and crevice of the castle. But such things are beyond the concerns of ghosts such as her. She, who have live since the days of the Founders, have better things to do than concern herself with the affairs of man.
She had visited the Ravenclaw dormitory of course. It was her duty and she never fails in her duties. Her failure in her duties as a daughter has taught her that. To fail in ones appointed duties means eternal damnation. Perhaps when she has done well as the Ravenclaw House ghost, perhaps she could move on then. Like that Professor Binns when he decided to finally stop teaching, he just vanished one day. And everyone all knows the ghosts cannot leave their haunted place. So it only means one thing. The old professor had moved on.
“Why meander here all alone when you could be helping calm the students, Helena?” The Bloody Baron walked out of a wall and stopped floating in front of her, blood glistening silver all over him. “As House Ghost…”
“My house has already been calmed down.” She answered disdainfully. “The younger students are now back lying in their bed and the Ravenclaw prefects are doing their best…”
“And what of the student of other Houses?” The Bloody Baron floated nearer.
“That is why all Houses have individual ghost.” She tried to float pass through the Bloody Baron but he instinctively reached out and tried to grasp her hand but instead of passing through it, they stared in shock as his hand curled around her wrist. “What trickery…?”
“I don’t know…” He immediately let go as he saw tendril like substance sprouting within his hand and are now crawling into his wrist and up. He saw the same phenomenon happening to the Grey Lady. “I swear I did not do this…I…”
“They are veins…” The Grey Lady raised her arm in wonder as one by one vein, followed by bones, muscles, blood and finally skins filled her incorporeal arm. “Amazing. Can you not feel the nerves in your arm again?”
“I feel it.” The Bloody Baron watched horrified as his arms too became tangible. He can feel the same occurrence in other part of his body. “What is happening to us, Helena? What does this all means?”
“We’re getting our body back!”
Below, in his ground classroom, Firenze gazed at the stars even as the wave of fear and despair rippled around him. Something dark and malevolent had invaded the school and it had left its mark on everybody.
“Mars is bright tonight.” He murmured. He had tried to ignore the signs in the sky for weeks now. Wizardkind had just survived a great war and he did not want to tarnish such victory with visions of doom. He knew it was wistful thinking more appropriate for humans to do than for centaurs. He was foolish to remain quiet. He should have at least warned Dumbledore.
He sighed. After what happened to Hogwarts tonight, the signs can no longer be ignored. He knew Bane, Magorian, Ronan and other centaurs in the Forbidden Forest must be seeing the same signs that he is especially tonight of all night when Mars, Jupiter and Pluto are aligned. It didn’t help that Mars is exuding so much aura that it envelopes the alignment in red haze. From here on earth the alignment looked like a blood red sword hanging in the sky.
He grimaced in fear. It wasn’t long ago that his father had shared to him the knowledge of his pack that was shared from one centaur to another. Centaurs and all magical creature, may they be wand bearer or a simple garden gnome must fear the blood red sword in the sky and what it could wrought amongst all magical beings.
“The blood red sword has finally come at last.” He shook his tail woefully and cantered out of his classroom. The headmistress must be informed at once.
“How is he?” Ginny asked the healer as he came down from Ron’s old room. They had managed to levitate Harry to the room once the fire in his forehead had subsided. Much to their surprise, there wasn’t any burn marks on him. Even his hair wasn’t singed. The Minister himself has disapparated and fetched a healer, the same one that treated Harry the last time. They were then asked to wait in the sitting room as the healer looked him over.
The Weasley and Hermione had chosen different spot in the sitting room as Ginny paced in one corner. It was a testament in their trust to the healer that they have left him alone with Harry.
“He is still out.” Healer Augusto Pyre said. He had been surprise when the wards in his private flat were breached by none other than the Minister of Magic himself and his auror escorts. What didn’t surprise him was finding out who his patient would be. Of course, it would be the Chosen One who warrants the Minister’s personal attention. And by his experience, Mr. Potter’s case is always baffling and challenging, the last time was so bizarre that it shook the foundation of his pre conceive beliefs in healing.
“Is he in a coma?” Hermione asked. They have tried all reenergizing spells while waiting for the Healer and none had work. She feared that Harry might have lapsed into a coma and was only now voicing such fear.
“Coma? You mean the muggles description when a patient sleeps without assurance of waking up?” Healer Pyre asked upon which Hermione nodded. He had also studied extensively muggles ailment and their treatment ever since he tried to treat Mr. Weasley’s snake bite a few years ago. “I don’t think that would be an apt description of Mr. Potter’s condition. Yes, he is unconscious but he’s not trapped in his own mind. Muggles’ coma condition could easily be cured by any restoration or reenergizing spells. It appears that Mr. Potter is in a trance like state. It is like he is having a vision or something.”
“Could this be an effect of their union?” Minerva McGonagall asked. She had consulted with the wizened wizard before he went home, the only one who left so far. All of the other guests were staging vigil in the Burrow’s garden. “I suspected that what ever happened to Potter is related to the shimmering light that covered their hands. The wizened wizard claims that the lights and the ring melting wasn’t a trick of his. He was quite astonished in fact. He claimed such occurrence only happens in legends and myths.”
“When the ring melted, I felt like…it’s hard to explain. It was as if his soul and mine were suddenly connected. It was as if I was melded to his very essence and he to mine.” Ginny stopped pacing. “That was why it was so natural for us to see the ring melting. We are not wearing it physically. It is as if our soul is wearing it.”
“I don’t know the meaning of it. I’ll need to consult with Dumbledore. He is the expert on the power of love. But I surmised that Potter and Ginevra here have been bonded far deeper than simple marriage could do.” Minerva explained. “Could this have been the effect of their magical essence combining?”
“I don’t think so.” Healer Pyre spoke. The headmistress’ theory had merit but he doubted whether Mrs. Potter’s magical essence would be enough to cause Harry harm. “Mrs. Potter’s essence is vast, I felt it radiate from her when I casted the spell to check Mr. Potter’s magical essence as I too had suspected overloading flow of magical essence but Mr. Potter’s magical essence is greater by far than hers. In fact greater than anyone I have ever examined. She has more to gain in terms of magical essence in their union. It would have been natural or rather more acceptable if it was she who was affected by such an influx. I fear this is something else entirely.”
“Is there anything we can do to help him?” Kingsley asked. He has still to fully recover from his ordeal under the hands of Salazar. He was still thin and usually couldn’t stand long.
“For now, we can do nothing but wait. I fear that what ever is keeping him from awakening is within his mind. His body is as healthy as it could be. There was no lasting effect of the mysterious fire you said burst from his scar. In fact my diagnosis before hasn’t change. Harry can’t be physically hurt. He heals as soon as he is wounded.” The healer shook his head and gathered his things. “I’ll try to research on his condition. Perhaps other healers have encountered similar if not fully the same circumstances. I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon, hopefully with good news.”
Ginny and the others were quiet as the healer left. Most of them lost in their own thoughts. Most of them confused why Harry is till healing himself. He had already explained that the Philosopher Stone was destroyed during the last battle. Could this be a new power of Harry? Or had he absorbed too much of the philosopher stone’s power?
Ginny paid this new information little thought .She wanted so much to go to Harry’s side now but first she must first face the guests. It seems that Harry won’t be waking up tonight and there is no need for their friends to stand in the cold outside waiting. She was about to stand when an owl flew into the opened window and landed on Minerva McGonagall’s lap bearing a letter with Hogwart’s seal.
“It is from Pomona.” She wonders what event would prompt Pomona to write her a letter in this godly hour. She hastily opened the letter and read it. As she read the contents, her eyes bulged not believing what she was reading. She slowly paled and she clutched her chest in shock. “Merlin’s beard, is this true…?”
“Minerva, are you all right? what happened?” Kingsley had been watching her as she read the letter. He, too, had considered it weird that Professor Sprout would contact them at such an hour. He went and kneeled by the Headmistress’ side.
Silently, she handed him the letter which he read hastily.
“Could this be true, Minerva?” He asked, standing up after perusing the letter.
“What happened?” Mr. Weasley asked from his wife’s side.
“Hard to believe but Pomona’s letter brought more bad news than good.” Minerva spoke, not really looking at them. “It seems, among other things, my office was blown apart by an explosion.”
“WHAT!” The elder Weasleys stared at her in shock while Hermione looked at her as if she was barking mad.
“What happened to Albus and the others?” It was Phineas who asked. Without waiting for an answer he walked to the edge of his portrait but found he couldn’t leave. He turned back to the headmistress, his eyes suspiciously moist “Minerva…”
“Pomona said no portrait survive the explosion.” Minerva spoke softly, tears in her usually stern face.
“All those headmasters…” Phineas was openly weeping now. “The knowledge they had…They were my colleague, my friends…”
“Professor Everard and the others have other portraits all over the country.” Hermione said, her mind working fast. “They could have escaped the explosion and survived. The DA and the Order are out there in the garden. We could ask them to look for and gather the missing headmasters.”
“And I’ll be taking Minerva and the aurors to Hogwarts. As much as I hate leaving Harry, this needs to be investigated.” Kingsley stood up, offering his hand to the still shocked Headmistress while trying to share more of the letter to the Weasley. “A lot more happened in Hogwarts. Pomona also reported that the school has all but gone down into anarchy. Baffling cases are sprouting all around the castle. All younger students have woken up crying and the older ones are reporting that they feel like cowering and hiding in fear. They can’t shake off the feeling. Even the professors are feeling it. It is as if an aura of dark cloud of fear has settled over Hogwarts. Professor Trelawney has also been confined to the clinic. She is having a real vision about something this time. For better term, she is stuck in ‘vision’ mode. She kept on repeating and repeating her prophecy. We’ll be taking Madam Pomprey with us to see her. Firenzy also sent warning that the ‘blood red sword’ hangs above us now, though Pomona is not sure what it is. Grawp has also left the Forbidden Forest and reported pandemonium among the centaurs. Some are crying into the moon, others are running all over the forest without any purpose at all and some even tried to kill themselves only to be stop by their saner kind. Most baffling case is that it seems the Grey Lady and the Bloody Baron has regained their physical form.”
“Perhaps Pomona has gone mad?” George asked, trying to inject mirth in an already tense situation. “I mean ghost becoming flesh and bones again? Come on, it didn’t even happen to someone as old as Binns.”
“Does anybody know if Dumbledore and Snape have other portrait?” Ginny asked softly, ignoring her brother. Her heart was filled with dread as realization sink in to her. This was not just a random set of events. She is convinced somebody took down Harry and the headmasters, the very people who knew of the impending third war before anybody else. They are under attack!
“Albus usually leaves his portrait. So I guess he could have survived the explosion.” Minerva answered as she was escorted to the door by Kingsley. “But Severus…”
“One at a time Minerva.” Kingsley murmured as they left to fetch Madam Pomprey and other Hogwarts professors. They would need all the help to contain what ever is happening in the school. Hermione stood up too.
“I probably should give them a hand.” She said as she kissed Ron and followed after her headmistress. After all, Ginny might be on leave but she’s not.
“I’ll organize the DA and start the search.” Ron said as he followed Hermione out. “We probably need to activate reserve DA members as well.”
“And I should probably gather the Order.” Mr. Weasley sighed and gave Molly a chaste kiss on the forehead before following Ron and Hermione.
“Never a dull moment.” George smirked as he too stood up and followed after his brother and father. He was quite sure Ron would need all the help he could get if he’s leading the DA. He’s not Harry after all who could inspire followers by just his presence.
“Maybe I should help Dad.” Bill was about to stand and follow after his father when another owl swooped from the open window and landed on the table beside’s Fleur. Seeing as Fleur was holding a sleeping Victoire, he went to her and took the letter from the owl. Scowling, he turned to Fleur. “Damn! What more could go wrong?”
“What ‘appened Beel?” Fleur asked.
“The owl was from your mother.” He balled the letter and threw it against the far wall of the room. “Death eaters in France finally captured your dad.”
Disclaimer: Everything belongsto JK Rowling :)
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