Chapter 20 : Investigating the Truth
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Dark Days Pass But Are Never Forgotten
Hello everyone…surprise!!! I’m updating early due to a request made by a few loyal readers who are heading out of town tomorrow. Today I happened to be sick so I had some extra time to work on the story. This chapter is more of finality to the events that happened in the last chapter.
Now, Noel’s potion is basically a love potion that she altered by combining a few other potions. I think potions would be rather like chemistry. The proper ingredients in the right proportion can accomplish basically anything you want. Only you need to test it sometimes, because like all science, there sometimes can be side effects as Noel discovered.
I tired to explain what the potion did by using Susan’s meddling but I think I just confused everyone. Susan caught Noel, the potion she described to Susan is not the one she was actually working on, now it was similar, but not exactly
Noel created and used a time limited love potion that physically forced Harry to NEED her. No, they didn’t do anything. The bleeding heart is a side effect of a love potion. I read a brilliant story somewhere that used that and I loved it…. Yes, the effect could have killed Harry, but as long as Noel kept contact with Harry for the duration of the potion the condition would stay controllable. Noel actually didn’t leave Harry till about an hour after the potion was complete. Harry was knocked unconscious by the pain at the end and therefore Noel’s conscience kept her from leaving. She’d never admit that though. She did leave Harry once she knew he was stable, but he doesn’t remember any of it.
Noel is in deep lust with Harry….kinda one of those thing you want what you can’t have. Imagine what’s going to happen when and if Harry and Cho start talking again. That’s all I’m saying for now.
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Investigating the Truth
Noel felt her pulse racing through her veins as she ran as quietly though the corridors away from her crime. She stumbled slightly as her feet glided down the stairs. Her face felt like a warm stove as her color hadn’t quite returned to normal, and though she tried to fight a smile played against her numb lips.
“The potion couldn’t have gone worse.” Noel bit her lip at this thought, it could have gone worse of course, but she didn’t want to think about how much worse things could have gone. Harry was going to be fine, a little bruised up but fine. With any luck he wouldn’t remember a thing.
She was confident her memory charm worked, it was something she’d always been rather talented at, but she couldn’t be positive, she had always been talented at potion making too. She sighed as she muttered the password to the dormitory and rushed into her bed. Luckily nobody was present. She assumed Susan and Michael were in one of the practice rooms. It was approaching a late hour, and she hoped Harry wasn’t discovered until morning.
Noel lifted her wand as she grabbed one of Moody letters. With a quick swish her wand she bewitched her quill to forge his handwriting. She scribbled a note onto a spare bit of parchment and un-cursed her quill to hide any evidence.
With a sigh she folded it up and set it on top of her desk before slipping out of her Auror robe.
“Noel,” Susan said as she entered the room with a smile, “Where’s Harry?”
Noel lifted her chin trying to look like she had nothing to hide, “Don’t know, I haven’t seen him in hours.”
“You don’t know? But I thought the two of you were meeting Master Moody tonight?” Susan asked.
Noel nodded, “Yes, so did I, but Master Moody never showed. The bloody fool became impatient and left.”
“Well, he hasn’t been back. Michael and I went to get a bite to eat down in the kitchen,” Susan explained, “We’ve been in the dormitory all night.”
Noel took a deep breath, “Well, he said he was going to get Master O’Riley. He thought it was a bit odd that Master Moody didn’t show up on time, and I must admit I wonder what could have happened to him myself. Perhaps Harry decided to have a chat with my aunt.”
Susan shrugged, “Perhaps.”
Michael entered a moment later and collapsed onto his bed, “How did your meeting with Master Moody go?”
“He didn’t show up,” Susan answered for her.
“Didn’t show? That doesn’t seem right,” Michael commented, “Where’s Harry?”
“She doesn’t know,” Susan answered again.
Noel waved her hand in an annoyed fashion, “I’m sure he’s fine.”
Michael propped himself up on his elbows and frowned, “Do you think we should go look for him?”
“No,” Noel said quickly, “I’m sure he’ll be back soon.”
Michael looked at her curiously then shrugged, “What did you and Harry have a secret snogging session you don’t want anyone to find out about.”
Noel gave a disgusted grunt, “Don’t insult me.”
Michael laughed before smashing his head back into his pillow.
Susan studied Noel’s face before letting a grin cross her face, “Hold on Michael, I think you may be on to something.”
“What do you mean?” Michael asked.
Susan raised an eyebrow, “Odd isn’t it. Master Moody sends you a mysterious letter and never shows. You and Harry and both missing for hours, and now you two show up at separate times. Sounds like a romantic rendezvous to me.”
Noel rolled her eyes, “I don’t know, nor do I care where Potter is.”
“Then why are you glowing?” Susan teased.
Noel was about to give Susan more of an answer than she bargained for when the entrance to the dormitory opened and December O’Riley stepped inside. She scanned the room and relief washed over her face.
“Noel, are you alright?” December asked looking as her niece.
Noel nodded, “Why wouldn’t I be alright.”
She had to be very cautious, her aunt December was very talented at legilimency.
December seemed to judge her question before finally answering, “Harry was attacked tonight. He told Miss. Chang that the last thing he remembered was leaving meeting room seven to come get me. Were you suppose to meet Master Moody this evening?”
Noel nodded again, “Master Moody sent me a owl earlier telling me that Harry and I were to meet him tonight.”
“Did Master Moody ever show up?”
Noel shook her head, “No, I waited until just here recently, but he never showed. Harry left after we’d been waiting about half and hour. I thought it to be disrespectful to disobey a superior’s orders.”
December agreed slowly, watching Noel with a suspicious eye, “Do you still have Master Moody letter?”
Noel walked over to her desk and picked up the letter she had just written moments ago and handed it to December.
“We summoned Master Moody not long ago, and he’s been monitoring his prisoner all day. He claims he never wrote to you or Harry,” December revealed.
“Is Harry alright?” Susan asked.
December turned her attention to Susan and Michael who were both watching December and Noel’s interaction with great interest.
“He was hit by a powerful curse, but he should be alright. He’s under a sleeping draught right now. Miss Chang is waiting for him to awake, she’s helping me conduct this investigation.”
“Investigation?” Noel asked, “He probably just fell down and hurt himself. Nobody can actually get into the Academy.”
“Oh, it appears somebody did. Or else somebody inside the Academy attacked Mr. Potter,” December said in a dangerous tone. “I need to hear your entire account of what happened tonight. Would you come with me to my office?”
“Of course, Master O’Riley,” Noel said slowly rising to her feet.
The two walked silently down the corridor and up the stairs towards December’s office. Noel didn’t even flinch or show any sign of her nerves as she walked in a prideful stride. She focused on keeping her mind clear, knowing December was attempting to break her will. She wouldn’t let her in, no matter how much she wanted.
“Sit,” December said sharply pointing at a seat in front of her desk.
“What exactly do we need to discuss?” Noel retorted, “I’ve already told you what happened, and apparently so did Potter.”
December narrowed her eyes staring her niece in her eyes, “What are you not telling me?”
“I have nothing to hide,” Noel snapped, “and I don’t appreciated being accused on not telling you something.”
“I know I haven’t exactly been the best aunt,” December started.
Noel snorted, “So you brought me in for one of those personal talks I suppose.”
“You’re bitter and angry, and given what you’ve been through I don’t blame you,” December continued, “If you ever need to talk to someone, you know I’m here.”
“What would you like to talk about dear aunt?” Noel replied with a sarcastic tone, “Perhaps my dead father? What killed him exactly?”
“You can’t base everything in life off the death of your father,” December said softly, “I know it wasn’t easy for you.”
“I know it was a werewolf, and do you know why he was trying to find a cure for lycanthopy?” Noel hissed.
December’s body shuddered involuntarily, she knew very well why her dear brother sacrificed his life; “He did it to help those who were in need.”
“He did because his beloved little sister was in love with a werewolf,” Noel spat, “Mum mutters it all the time, how you’re poor broken heart over Sirius Black was too much for him to bare and he decided to help your poor werewolf lover.”
“That’s enough,” December said in dangerous tone.
Noel narrowed her eyes, “A tame werewolf. One who didn’t want to rip the throats out of people.”
“I said that’s enough,” December said rising from her seat and raising her voice.
Noel smirked, “Glad I can talk to you about anything.”
“I admit that your father took up the challenge to find a cure to lycanthopy because of a friend of mine, but just because an accident took his life during his quest doesn’t make his work un-noble.”
“It has nothing to do with nobility. My father was killed because he was foolish,” Noel spat.
December narrowed her eyes, “The details of your fathers death are classified and sealed. We may never know truly what happened, but don’t you dare dishonor his memory by calling him foolish.”
“Oh, I forgot how close you were,” Noel retorted, “After all, I am cursed with your name sake.”
December shook with anger as she lowered her head; “I think that is all for tonight. Cho Chang will be in contact to see if your story matched Harry’s.”
Noel tore out of her seat slamming the door as she closed it behind her. She felt a twinge in her chest as she thought about the conversation she had just had with her wonderful aunt. She hated her. She hated everything about her.
The hospital was empty except for one bed that was occupied by a messy haired boy. Cho Chang sat alone in the nearly empty ward watching his chest rise and fall. A soft hand touched her shoulder and she looked up with her red swollen eyes.
“I brought you some coffee,” Mario Fortez said as he handed her a cup.
Cho smiled as she took it, “Thank-you.”
“You need to get some sleep. I can fix a spare bed for you if you’d like,” he offered watching her sip her coffee.
Cho shook her head, “I need to be here when he wakes up. The details will be the clearest when he first awakes.”
Mario sighed, “It could be awhile before that happens. The potion we gave him won’t allow him to wake until the pain subsides.”
Cho smiled again and focused her eyes back on Harry, “I’m fine really. If I get tired I’ll take you up on the offer.”
Mario pulled a chair up and took a seat next to her reaching out to grab her hand in his, “Cho, we’ve known each other since we were kids.”
“The havoc we caused,” Cho reminisced.
“I don’t want to see you unhappy. You’ve read what they’re saying about Harry Potter. I just don’t want you to get your heart broken again.”
Cho frowned, “You can’t believe everything the Prophet says. You don’t know Harry like I do.”
Mario nodded, “If he hurts you let me know. I know a good head shrinking potion.”
Cho chuckled, “I’m not here because of personal reasons. My mentor is in charge of the investigation to find out what happened. It’s my responsibility to be here.”
“You may fool some people with that excuse, but I know you better than that,” Mario replied rising from his seat, “I still think you need some sleep, you look awful.”
“Thanks doc,” Cho retorted.
Mario leaned down and placed a swift kiss on her forehead and sighed, “Don’t drink that coffee to fast.”
It seemed like days had passed as Cho watched Harry in his dreamless sleep. She didn’t know what he’d say when he finally awoke. In fact, she didn’t really cared as long as he woke up so she could see those startling green eyes once more. The thought of Harry’s eyes drifted across her mind as her eyes fluttered close and her small frame gave into exhaustion.
She didn’t remember dreaming or even falling asleep, but suddenly she felt a squeeze on her hand and her eyes flew open.
“You stayed,” Harry whispered in a weak voice, but his smile was anything but weak.
Cho felt her cheek turning red as she glanced down at his hand that was playing with hers, “Yes, err… December was put in charge of the investigation and asked me to talk to you when you awoke.”
Harry’s eyes lowered towards their hands, “I’m glad you stayed.”
“Do you remember anything that happened,” Cho asked quickly, not wanting to get off her purpose.
Harry bit his lip, “I remember you finding me.”
Cho sighed, “Before that…”
Harry suddenly looked up, “Is Noel alright?”
Cho shook her head, “She’s fine. December had a talk with her earlier and her story matches your initial version. Do you remember anything else about that night? Do you remember who cursed you?”
Harry shook his head, “No, the last thing I remember is reaching for the door handle.”
“So you don’t actually remember leaving the room?” Cho asked.
Harry shook his head, “Maybe I got hit when I stepped out.”
“That would be a bit odd wouldn’t it? Why didn’t Noel hear anything?” Cho asked as she stared down at her hand, which was now interlaced with Harry’s.
“So Noel does remember me leaving then?” Harry asked in a stained voice.
Cho nodded, “But what I don’t understand. Why didn’t your attacker just leave you in the corridor if that is where you were attacked?”
“I don’t follow,” Harry admitted.
Cho bit her lip in deep thought, it was her Ravenclaw logic, and she was piecing a puzzle together in her mind.
“Maybe whoever attacked me was trying to kill me,” Harry offered
“That still doesn’t make sense, why did they drag you back into that meeting room. If they had wanted to kill you, why didn’t they hit you with a killing curse?” Cho asked still looking like she was in deep thought.
Harry shifted slightly letting a slight moan escape, “Maybe they wanted to see me suffer.”
Cho sighed, “Why didn’t they attack Noel if she were in the meeting room waiting, why did they wait until she left.”
“Maybe they were hoping nobody would find me,” Harry suggested looking down and rubbing his thumb over Cho’s hand.
Her breath caught slightly in her throat as she felt Harry’s touch.
“So, December is trying to figure out what happened?” Harry asked, turning slightly pink.
Cho nodded, “I think Fudge is just trying to keep her busy.”
Harry stopped moving his hand to look at her, “Why would Fudge want to do that?”
Cho raised her eyebrows, “Haven’t you heard? Dumbledore asked December to be his campaign manager.”
Harry sighed, “No, I didn’t know.”
“You aren’t upset are you?” Cho asked delicately, watching Harry’s face suddenly harden.
“Why should I be upset? It isn’t like I really planned on running or anything,” Harry replied flatly.
Cho took a deep breath, “Dumbledore is only running to give you an easy way out, he told December the thought he owed it to you.”
“As long as Fudge doesn’t get reelected again,” Harry continued turning his head away.
Cho smiled as she studied Harry’s expression, “At least you won’t have to worry about that horrid Skeeter woman reporting lie about you.”
Harry’s head snapped back towards her at her words, “I suppose.”
Cho’s insides sudden turned to ice as he moved her hand away from Harry’s touch, “I best be going, I need to finish this report.”
“You don’t believe what Skeeter was saying about me, do you?” Harry asked quickly.
Cho bit her lip, “Of course I don’t.” She made a move to leave when she sighed, “Tell Ginny Weasley I wish her the best.”
“Cho,” Harry called out, but she had already left the room determined not to look back.
Her back fell against the wall as she took another deep breath, willing herself not to cry. She had already said her goodbyes to Harry, she wouldn’t let herself get hurt again.
Closing her eyes she followed the wall to the floor with her back and pulled her knees into her chest.
“Are you alright?”
Cho looked up and saw Mario kneeling down beside her with a concerned expression.
She shook her head, “I’m fine. Everything is well.”
Mario placed a friendly arm around Cho’s shoulder and helped her to her feet; “I’ll walk you back to your dormitory.”
Cho shook her head; “I need to go finish my report while it’s fresh on my mind. I’ll be alright, I promise.”
“Cho, I know you aren’t fine,” Mario insisted, “Either rest or I’ll talk to Auror O’Riley about giving you a dreamless sleep potion.”
Cho forced a smile, “I promise I’ll rest as soon as I finish my report. You will find me if Harry’s status changes. I want to be notified if he’s released.”
“I promise, if you promise you will rest,” Mario offered.
Cho nodded and headed towards the door or the hospital wing. She sighed as the cool air of the corridor touched her face and the first of her fought back tears fell.
Lucius Malfoy took a sip of his goblet and looked down at his plate with a shaking expression, “My son, did you see him?”
Luna lowered her head in respect, “No, master. I merely caught a glimpse of him. I think he’s being followed.”
Lucius smirked, “I’ve already told you, I’m not your master…yet.”
“Parkinson said he wishes to be back in the circle,” Luna whispered, pleased with Lucius response.
“But he’s being kept close to those fools at the Ministry. Alastor Moody would be my guess. When was the last assassination attempt on dear old Mad-Eye?” Lucius continued.
Luna raised her eyebrows, “If I am not mistake, it was during the Tri-Wizard tournament.”
“Has it been that long? Well, that simply will not do will it? If nobody is threatening his life, the he might lose his edge and we can’t have that, can we?” Lucius asked in a suggestive tone.
Luna nodded following, “Should we use the Vampires again?”
Lucius shook his head, “Moody would be prepared for something like that. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was sleeping with a stake and a clove of garlic after what happened in Diagon Alley.”
Luna smiled in delight as she asked the second option, “Do you want us to take care of the situation, my lord?”
“It must be planned carefully. Moody is always ready for an attack, but once we get him under our control. Then we can find a new use for my son,” Lucius explained, “Funny, how history has a habit of repeating itself.”
Ron stretched as he threw his legs up on the couch in the corridor and started reading his Flying with the Canon’s book for the sixth-seventh time. As far as he was concerned it was research and an important part of his job.
Ron’s eyes flickered slightly as the pictures danced around in circles trying to catch the snitch and block the quaffle. Suddenly something bushy brushed up against his dangling arm. He snapped up and caught sight of orange ball of fluff dashing off in the direction of the kitchen.
Throwing his book aside he followed the creature. When he opened the door that revealed the stairwell leading down towards the kitchen he smiled.
“Crookshanks, what are you doing here?” Ron asked as the flat-faced cat looked up at him making a loud meow type sound.
Ron crinkled his nose and looked around before proceeding down the stairs. Crookshanks followed meowing loudly at each step. Ron opened the pantry and pulled out a can of sardines for the feline.
“Will you shut-up now?” Ron asked.
Crookshanks didn’t bother to answer as he divulged into the can of treats.
Ron sighed as he made his way back towards the stairs. There could only be one reason Crookshanks was there. If Hermione’s cat was at Grimmauld Place, than so was Hermione.
He passed Neville in parlor, but he hadn’t seen Hermione. Ernie and Justin were playing a fairly intense looking game of wizard’s chess. Ron decided not to ask them if they’d seen Hermione and walked on passed them without interrupting them
The girls had moved out few weeks before so he knew the room Lavender, Parvati and Padma had shared would be empty, as well at the room Cho had once occupied. Those seemed the most logical place to look first.
Ron started to open the former girls’ room when he heard crying coming from further down the hall. He followed the sound that seemed to be coming from behind the door to his own bedroom.
There she was on his bed with her head in her hand and her back moving in an erratic pattern as she sobbed.
“Oh Ron,” Hermione started, “It’s terrible, just horrid.”
Ron’s anger towards her melted immediately, and he approached placing a clumsy hand on her back. Hermione lunged forward engulfing him in a tight hug.
“It’s alright,” Ron attempted, feeling slightly puzzled as to why Hermione was here in his room crying.
Hermione pulled back after a moment and took a deep breath, “I quit.”
“You quit what?” Ron asked looking even more confused.
Hermione rolled her eyes and sighed, “Healer training. What else would I quit, Ronald?”
Ron breath a sigh of relief, that definitely wasn’t his guess, “Oh, I don’t know our relationship maybe.”
Hermione threw herself back down onto Ron’s bed and began to sob, “I didn’t know where else to go. It was horrible Ron, just horrible. There was this foul man…”
“Did he say something to you?” Ron asked, “Because if he did…”
“He was being so awful to his house elf. He kicked him,” Hermione began.
Ron suddenly pulled back away from her with an annoyed expression, “This isn’t about SPEW again is it?”
“It isn’t SPEW…. it stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare,” Hermione said quickly between sobs.
“You quit because someone was being mean to his house elf?” Ron asked.
Hermione tutted, “I told him he was being a bully, it just turns out he is one the program’s largest financial contributor. My instructor actually wanted me to apologize for meddling in Mr. Tarhill’s affair.”
“Karl Tarhill? The president of Bubbling Mead the largest producer of Butterbeer anywhere?” Ron asked with wide eyes.
“He’s a foul man,” Hermione stated defiantly wiping her eyes off with the back of her 'hand.
Ron glanced at her and couldn’t control himself; the situation was suddenly very amusing.
“What’s so funny” she demanded.
Ron shook his head, “Well, you can’t get on my case about not having a high paying job now, you quit Healer training because someone was kicking his house elf.”
Hermione didn’t find it funny at all and popped her head up with an annoyed tilt, “That isn’t funny, Ronald. I don’t plan on staying unemployed for long anyway. I’m going to start up S.P.E.W again only this time I’m going to stick with it.”
“You’re insane, you know that?” Ron said softly letting his finger brush Hermione cheek.
Hermione frowned, “This isn’t about house elves it’s about injustice. What right do wizards have to boss creatures around…”
Ron closed the distant between them, letting his lips slip onto hers. It was the only way to shut her up when she got on one of her elf rants. Hermione’s eyes flickered close as she felt that familiar warmth wash over her.
Ron finally pulled back with a cheeky smile, “I take it you aren’t still made at me.”
Hermione suddenly glared up at him, “Is it true you tried to break Harry’s nose?”
Ron shook his head, “He lied to me.”
“No he didn’t,” Hermione argued.
“He snogged, Ginny! Then the bloody fool got it on the front page of the Prophet. I bet poor old mum had a heart attack when she saw it.”
“Did you give him a chance to explain?” Hermione asked.
Ron frowned, “What do you have something going on with Harry now?”
Hermione crossed her arms firmly across her chest, “I knew it! You were angry with Harry because you think I fancy him.”
“No I don’t,” Ron argued.
“Honestly, how daft can you possibly be?” Hermione spat.
Ron took another deep breath, “If you fancy Harry, I’m fine about it.”
Hermione froze as her face suddenly soften, “I don’t fancy Harry.”
“Who do you fancy then?” Ron asked his facing growing red.
Hermione laughed lightly, “Do you honestly not know the answer to that question.”
Ron felt Hermione’s hand interlace with his as she moved closer.
“I’m sorry, Hermione. I’ve been a real prat,” Ron mumbled.
Hermione nuzzled her face into his neck pulling his arm closer to her, “I knew you were an insensitive prat before I fell for you, Ronald Weasley.”
“Fell for me?” Ron asked looking slightly taken back.
Hermione sighed as she pushed her lips against his. This was not the right time to have this kind of conversation. He wasn’t ready yet.
Well, hope everyone enjoyed that little chapter. Is it still playing out like a soap opera. I don’t mean it to. I think it is all these POV I’m jumping to. Well, hope everyone hangs on with me. The angst is coming trust me.
NEXT UPDATE 07/11/04 at the latest……I probably won’t update early this time.
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