Chapter 6 : Problems
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She seemed to snap out of a reverie as her eyes swam back into focus and her forehead furrowed in concern.
“Of course I am!” she snapped. Moving over to the chair by the fire, she sank into it, looking exhausted. Harry continued to pace the length of the common room, his mind working furiously to concoct a plan.
“Why does he need a wand?” Ginny asked breaking the silence. “I mean, he’s still a Muggle, right? He doesn’t have the energy yet; he shouldn’t need or want a wand.”
Harry whirled around to face her; he had forgotten to tell her the entire situation.
“He doesn’t need a wand, but that’s the point!” Harry explained, his agitation becoming evident. He does not even know about the energy that he is meant to possess yet. I have been tracking his activities all day,” he sat down in the chair opposite Ginny, leaning forward. “He has been to The Leaky Cauldron and has visited Diagon Alley four times and all those times, he has been standing outside Ollivanders to observe the shop. He knows that Mr. Ollivander is alone all day, now that the school is open and there are very few customers. Xenon has been tracking Ollivander since the past month! I went back and tracked his recent activities and what do you think I found? A lot of time spent on researching wands! He knows about everything magical that exists and he has been monitoring Voldemort’s activities too.”
“But I thought that Xenon had no interest in working with, for or even against Voldemort? I thought he wanted to replace him?” Ginny leaned forward too, confusion apparent in her face but interest sparkling in her eyes now.
“Exactly,” agreed Harry, his expression grave, “He does want to replace Voldemort as the next most powerful dark wizard and, for that, he needs a weapon, one that will make him equal to Voldemort’s magical power.” Harry looked into her eyes, mentally willing her to understand what he knew and what he did not want to say out loud.
“How will a wand help him when he has no power?” Ginny asked, her frown deepening. Then, suddenly, her eyes cleared and her frown was replaced by an expression full of realisation and dread. “Your wand,” she whispered, finally comprehending.
“He’s planning to steal your wand?” she continued. “But how can he know about the twin cores? Only Ollivander knows about those! At least, in this time he’s the only one who does! Not even Voldemort was aware of that until Ollivander told him when he was kidnapped!”
Harry stood up his anxiety getting the better of him. “I know! That’s what has been bothering me! There is another person who knows all this and whom I can’t seem to track; another person who has been telling Xenon everything about the Wizarding World, one who has to be stopped.” he explained, looking directly into Ginny’s eyes to convey the gravity of the situation.
“Alright, then there is another person who needs to be stopped. But first, we need to stop Xenon – he is our chief priority here,” said Ginny, standing up as well. “We need to find out his plan and then make our own accordingly. We can’t let him steal your wand if you have to buy it in your first year.”
Harry nodded. “I already know his plan. He is planning to steal it on Saturday. And he does not plan on sneaking in. He is planning on ordering it from Ollivander.”
Ginny’s eyes widened, “How do you know all this, Harry?”
“They’re teaching new ways of tracking people in Auror training; I can sense people’s intentions, even from far away. That is why I know what he’s planning but can’t figure out who’s helping him.”
“Let’s stop Xenon from stealing the wand first and then we can worry about who’s helping him and track him too.”
“We can’t do anything tomorrow morning because of classes, but, tomorrow evening, we’ll go to Dumbledore and ask his help.”
Ginny shook her head, surprising Harry. He hadn’t thought that she’d disagree with him on this, of all points.
“We can’t ask for his help. We can’t tell him anything.”
“You have any better ideas?” he demanded, his voice dripping with scepticism.
“I have different one,” she said, ignoring his sardonic tone.
“We’ll go to Dumbledore as you said but all we’ll ask of him is to give us permission to leave school for our mission on Saturday. We’ll go to Ollivanders, tell him what’s about to happen and protect the wand at any cost.”
“You want to tell Ollivander everything but not Dumbledore?”
“Harry!” Ginny seemed exasperated, “You can always erase Ollivanders memory! Dumbledore, on the other hand, already knows too much!”
Finally understanding what Ginny was trying to say, he acquiesced reluctantly. “Okay, you’re right, but won’t Dumbledore ask for a reason for our day out?”
“We’ll tell him it’s confidential and concerned with our mission here; I’m sure he won’t argue with that.”
“Fine, we’ll do as you say.”
“Good,” Ginny said and turned around, making her way towards her dormitory. It was clear the conversation had ended, when Harry mentioned what he knew she had been avoiding, yet had completely forgotten in light of the current situation with Xenon.
“I don’t like how you’re responding to Sirius.”
She stopped in her tracks and Harry knew that she would not like what he was about to say but he also knew that she knew that he was right.
“You know who he is and I thought I made it clear that you can’t get attracted to him; it’s disgusting and unnatural.”
He moved closer to her still form, wishing he could see her face and try to make her understand his feelings and comprehend hers. Before he could say anything else, she turned around, her face hard and her lips set in a rigid line.
“I know you are right but I think you know just as well as I do that I can’t exactly help it and I certainly can’t control it. He may be a father figure to you but he’s nothing of the sort to me and I want you to know that, unlike my first time, I really want to enjoy the sixth year this time. But that being said, I also want you to know that I'll definitely try to stay from him.” Saying this, she turned around and stalked away, leaving Harry staring behind her feeling stunned.
What had just happened? Why was she acting like this? He could feel panic rising in his chest. She was sixteen and so was Sirius. He was definitely more attractive to her than Harry was and it was obvious that it did not matter to her that she was in the past being drawn towards her current boyfriend’s godfather. Harry shook his head to clear it as he, too, headed towards his dormitory, realising that he hadn’t counted on so much happening in the past and he had absolutely not counted on his own godfather becoming his own competition.
He turned away from the portrait hole, not at all sure about what he had just heard. His mind was reeling and his thoughts fuzzy. Their conversation had made zero sense to him and, as he walked along the length of the corridor and down the stairs, he tried to comprehend the meaning behind their words. They had been talking about a wand – his own wand? Which was at Ollivanders? But then whose wand was he using right now? And who in Merlin’s name was Xenon? They were taking Voldemort’s name! They didn’t seem afraid of him, unlike everybody else, even the Death Eaters. Why?
The trail of questions went on and on and his mind refused to supply any answers to the barrage of queries the conversation had elicited. Despite his ingenuity and his highly rational thought process, he had not been able to figure out much. The only thing he had ascertained was that he had accomplished what he had initially wanted. He had made them drift apart and now she was attracted to him rather than her boyfriend. She was now his prey and he smirked to himself, thinking of her svelte figure, her sexy grin and her burning eyes that had him uncharacteristically fascinated, pretty much from the word go. He replayed the scene in the corridor; he could not comprehend why he had almost lost control. He had always been able to stay so calm and had done everything right, letting the girls lose themselves in his heady presence and let their hormonal sides take over. But this had never happened before: he had never lost conscious control with anyone; never wanted anyone more than he wanted her and, now that he knew that there was something about them that he needed to figure out, he knew what he would have to do.
Stepping out into the still night, he inhaled deeply, trying to relax his tense muscles. He was calm now. He knew that he would figure it out, just as he always did. Forgetting his worries at that moment, his eyes roamed the grounds and took in the full moon. Out of the corner of his eyes, his saw a white stag approaching from far away, its body coruscating in the moonlight. Grinning in excitement and anticipation, he walked forward and had suddenly morphed into a the large black dog that was his Animagus form, which joined the stag and the rat that had not been visible before and bounded with them into the night, ready to unite with one of their very own.
Harry stood in front of the gargoyle that led to Dumbledore’s office, waiting for Ginny. He was exhausted from spending too much time in the library. The day’s lessons had been long and tedious, seeming never-ending. He had been waiting for the day to end throughout their lessons, just so he could actually do something about their mission. He was extremely worried about his wand. He knew that he had to stop Xenon and, deep down, he knew that he would succeed as he had actually bought the wand on his eleventh birthday which meant that it had not been stolen in his past. He was anxious to get it over with because he really wanted to find out who was feeding Xenon information. Kingsley had not told them anything in detail about the events that had actually taken place in the past and he was worried that they would have to do much more than just stopping Xenon in May. As Xenon already knew about magic, he knew that he would try a lot more than just stealing a wand to get hold of magical power.
Harry looked up, distracted from his thoughts as Ginny ran over to him.
“Sorry I’m late,” she panted, “Couldn’t get rid of Alice and Kate.”
“Alice?” Harry knew who Kate was, as Lily had introduced him to her on their first day but he hadn’t heard of an Alice before.
“Yeah, Alice Kingsleigh,” Ginny muttered, still out of breath, “Neville’s mum.”
“Neville’s mum is here?” Harry asked incredulously.
Ginny nodded, looking at him as if he was too dumb to understand simple English.
“Then his father should be here too!” Harry had gotten excited for some inexplicable reason.
Ginny let out a sound of exasperation. “Frank was a highly qualified Auror, Harry,” she reminded him, somewhat irked, “so he’d be a few years older than your parents.”
“Oh, yeah,” Harry responded, his excitement deflating.
“Acid Pops,” said Ginny, ignoring him and turning to address the gargoyle. It nodded and moved away, allowing them to climb the stairs and face Dumbledore’s office door.
Harry and Ginny entered to see Dumbledore standing by his window.
“Good evening, Harry, Ginny,” He did not turn around but continued to smile at the sunset. “How are your lessons going?”
“They are going well, sir,” Harry responded, choosing to stand despite Dumbledore’s gesture towards the chairs. Ginny stood beside him.
“I take it that you have something of importance to discuss with me?” Dumbledore asked turning to face them.
“Actually sir, all we need is permission to leave school for tomorrow,” said Harry, trying to keep the conversation short.
Dumbledore’s piercing blue eyes narrowed, his gaze boring through Harry.
“May I ask why?”
“An unforeseen event has taken place that requires our immediate attention, sir.” Harry hoped Dumbledore would not ask any more questions; he thought that it would be best that the people in the past knew as little about him and Ginny as humanly possible.
Dumbledore scrutinized them for a few seconds, deep in thought. Then his face cleared, though his expression remained grave.
“Very well, you may go,” he said. “Though I want you to give me a guarantee that you will not meddle with time more than you were sent here to do.” Harry heard the warning in his voice and was careful to avoid any misconceptions.
“Yes, sir. We are only going to help someone before they make a terrible mistake that will drastically affect the timeline.”
Dumbledore nodded. “I understand. Take care of yourself and be back by nightfall,” he advised and smiled, his eyes twinkling, adding, “Don’t forget, you are now my students nonetheless.”
Harry and Ginny reciprocated his smile and then exited the Headmaster’s office.
“Well, that went well,” said Ginny, as they went back to the common room. Harry smiled.
Two hours after dawn, the shops on Diagon Alley were still opening. Many of them had been boarded up for the past few months; they were only really needed during the holiday season. Ollivanders was one of the few shops that were open on the now-eerie street. The atmosphere on the street was increasingly sinister, with the death rate climbing higher and higher everyday and Lord Voldemort steadily rising to power. Ollivanders’ was one shop that was still open, despite the constant fear. Looking up at the sign and the windows of the shop, Harry could not help but feel a little apprehensive with what was about to come. He was absolutely against the idea of informing Mr. Ollivander of another danger looming over his head when the wizarding world was already in crisis. However, Ginny had convinced him that they had no other way of keeping his wand safe from Xenon and, taking Ollivander’s character into account, she was certain that he would not tell anyone.
The shop was just as Harry remembered it from his first year. A tinkling bell rang in the shop as he and Ginny entered it. It was the same tiny place, thousands of boxes piled neatly right up to the ceiling. The dust and the silence of the shop were just as he remembered.
“I remember when I came in here to get my wand,” whispered Ginny in the silence that pressed upon them. “Mum was buying me a new wand because she didn’t want her only daughter to go to school with a hand-me-down,” she told him, sniggering at the memory.
Harry smiled. “I also remember when I was here with Hagrid.” His eyes glazed over. “So long ago, but still an unbelievably vivid and extraordinary memory.”
“I’m afraid I don’t recognise you two,” came a soft voice from behind them. Harry and Ginny jumped, startled at his sudden appearance. An old man was standing before them, his face pale and his eyes shining through the darkness of the shop. His face was less wrinkled than Harry remembered it and he looked a lot healthier and more at ease than Harry had last seen him at Shell Cottage a few years back in his time. He had forgotten that Mr. Ollivander had an exquisite memory and remembered every wand he had ever made and its consequential owner.
“Mr. Ollivander,” Harry began, “You will not recognise us. You have not seen us before.”
“Yes, I haven’t,” said the man. “I’m sorry for eavesdropping but I heard you mentioning your first time here. If I haven’t seen you before, I wonder...” He trailed off, staring at Harry and Ginny, his eyes penetrating.
“Yes, we have indeed been here but in the future.” Harry knew that a direct approach was the best option he had. There was no point in beating about the bush.
Ollivander’s eyebrows shot up and he moved closer to them, his expression intrigued. “Indeed?”
“Yes, we were here in the future and bought our wands from you,” said Ginny, causing the elderly man’s eyes to shift from Harry to her.
“May I see them?” he asked.
“I’m afraid not,” replied Harry, taking charge of the situation now. “We are from the future and have travelled back in time to stop a person from committing acts that affect the future. One of those acts has brought us here and we need you to cooperate with us so that we can stop him and save your future and our present.”
“A fascinating story but how do you expect me to believe you?” asked Ollivander in his same soft voice.
Harry looked at Ginny, trapped. They had proof but they had deliberately tried to keep this from coming up in order to protect both the wands, but apparently, it was inevitable.
“Mr. Ollivander, there is a wand in this shop of yours,” Harry began, “Holly and phoenix feather, eleven inches, ni-”
“-nice and supple,” finished Ollivander his eyes widening. “How do you know about that wand, boy?” he asked, his voice hoarse with fear.
“I told you, sir. We are from the future and I have that very same wand.” Harry pulled out his own wand, handing it to Mr. Ollivander who stared at it as if he had seen something completely ethereal. He held the wand with reverence; his eyes showing that he had indeed recognised it as his own make. Then, suddenly, he turned around and, still holding the wand, vanished into the depth of the shop, reappearing after a few seconds with the same wand Harry had presented to him. He was looking at them incredulously, his expression unbelieving yet exultant.
“This wand has done great things.” He looked up at Harry, handing him his wand back. “It has been in great hands and has suffered a lot with its owner,” he continued, grasping Harry’s shoulder zealously. “I believe you boy.”
Harry sighed with relief. Step one accomplished.
“Thank you,” he said and pointed to the newer version of his wand in Ollivander’s hand. “That is the wand we have come here for. We need to protect it. There is someone trying to steal it and he is going to attempt the theft tonight so we have to ask you to give the wand to us for safe keeping until it is out of harm's way,” Harry paused sensing Ollivander’s discomfort.
“Someone wants to steal this particular wand? Why? How do they know about it?”
“We don’t know how they know yet, sir,” Harry replied. “However, I do know that he knows about the twin cores and, in order to conquer You-Know-Who, he needs this wand.”
Ollivander appeared more frightened than Harry had seen him before.
“The twin cores?” He seemed reluctant to believe them.
“Yes. So please, sir, give us the wand; otherwise, we won’t be able to protect it here.” Harry moved forward, expecting Ollivander to hand over the wand but he backed away, jerking the wand away from him.
“No!” he said fiercely. “I trust no one with this wand! I will not hand it over to you; complete strangers. I am perfectly capable of protecting my own creations and I will certainly take good care of this one.”
“You don’t understand!” Harry was getting impatient. “The wand is not safe in this shop!”
“You don’t know where I will keep it,” he muttered, turning his back on them and moving towards the back of his shop. “Now be gone! I will protect this wand until you come to buy this in the future.”
He vanished in the darkness of his own shop, leaving Harry and Ginny standing rooted to the ground shocked at the dismissal and the unexpected failure of their mission.
James Potter stared at the stands, filled with hopefuls who had put down their names for the Quidditch team. Sirius Black was standing beside him, his Nimbus 1000 on his shoulder, gaping at the stands too.
“Who knew you would be THAT popular, Prongs?” Sirius grinned at him.
James looked around at him with a smug expression on his face, his hand instantly shooting up mess up his hair. He had his broom, the Nimbus 1001, mounted on his shoulder too and, together, they walked onto the Quidditch pitch, much to the delight of the crowd gathered there.
The audience in the stands was growing by the minute and it was evident that many of them had also come out to enjoy one of the rare pleasant Saturdays in frigid Scotland. The slight breeze ruffled their hair as they made their way towards the centre of the pitch, the members of the previous year’s Quidditch team already in the air.
James and Sirius mounted their brooms and were in the air in an instant. Sirius began flying around the pitch, doing what he called were his “warm ups”. James looked around at the people already flying. He could see Kate Jones shooting the Quaffle and the keeper, Hayden Cornwall, expertly defending the goalposts and sending her shots whizzing away. The hopefuls in the stands were mostly female and, looking at them, James groaned inwardly. Sure, they were fun but they simply did not get Quidditch. Even now, from his advantageous point of view, he could see heads following Sirius as he flew laps around the pitch. Resigning himself to a long morning, James blew the whistle he had borrowed from Madam Hooch to kick try-outs off.
He had decided to initially test all the players on their brooms, which turned out to be good idea as the first few groups of ten that tried out were no good. They had no idea how to maintain their balance and James could see that they had a one track brain which would be unable to handle Quidditch and flying at the same time.
Numerous shouting matches and a considerable number of bruises later, James had actually made some progress. Kate Jones made an amazing comeback to the team after a brilliant trial and he had found another brilliant Chaser to join Kate and him; a spectacular third year called Ophelia Bell who had outflown all the competition and scored thirteen goals to boot. After the Chasers, the keeper, Hayden Cornwall had also retained his position on the team by saving twenty three goals, most of them shot by the Captain himself.
Sirius Black rejoined the team soon after with his trusted beaters’ bat, his aim exceptional and shots powerful. Another beater, a fourth year by the name of Edgar Bones, who looked peaky but aimed well, had also joined the team. Only the Seeker tryouts were left after three hours of the trials and, as James looked at the stands, he sighed with relief. Around ten people were left and he could clearly see Chris Parker sitting among them. James frowned. He had seen Parker play before and he knew that he was an extremely good seeker with excellent reflexes. Yet, he was Evans’ boyfriend. The dilemma was killing him but he knew that Chris would get a fair trial; Quidditch mattered more than being a git to him.
Hovering in the air, James blew his whistle and Parker, flying alongside the already-selected team members, began searching for the snitch.
“I’ll get him for you!” Padfoot yelled at James as he flew by. James grinned. Sirius, for one, did not have to care about being fair. And sure enough, he saw Padfoot take superb aim and hurl a Bludger at Parker which hit him square in the head and knocked him down, causing him to fall twenty feet before Cornwall and Bones caught him.
“Chris!” The shout was unmistakeable. He just wished that it hadn’t been for Parker. Lily Evans came running onto the pitch to look at Parker who was now lying pathetically on the ground, surrounded by Madam Hooch and a few other students.
His eyes on Evans, James landed on the ground too. She was now supporting Parker and helping him get off the pitch.
“See how pathetic he is, Evans?” James could not help saying. “Leave him and go out with me; then you won’t have to deal with me being a clumsy, careless, good-for-nothing git!” He smiled at her, knowing that he looked awesome due to his windswept hair and his Quidditch robes.
“No, I won’t have to deal with all that,” she replied coolly, “I’ll have to deal with an arrogant, bullying toe-rag who insults everybody within hearing range and does not care one bit for anyone else apart from himself and his three stooges!”
She pushed him away and half-carried, half-dragged her barely conscious boyfriend off the pitch.
“You’ll fall in love with me!” James shouted behind her, smirking to himself. She could not get enough of insulting him and he could not want more of it.
Another competent seeker was difficult to find: Fabian Prewett was not as good as Parker, but his talent was no any less either. He caught the snitch ten times in less than ten minutes, earning applause from his teammates and well deserved claps on the back.
“Good job, everyone! You all flew very well today!” James shouted to all of them. “Practicel Wednesday evening at 7!”
Sirius accompanied him to the changing rooms.
“Where’s Jackson and Watson?” he asked James.
“How am I supposed to know that, brother?”
“I thought he said he’d sign up for the team.”
“He did but he didn’t turn up; lost his chance.” James shrugged.
“There’s something suspicious about them,” Sirius wondered out loud.
“They are not werewolves or vampires,” James said nonchalantly. “I have already looked for signs.”
Sirius grinned. “Too bad; they could have joined our gang.”
James laughed. “You have a thing for the girl, don’t you?”
“She’s taken,” Sirius agreed, nodding. “What is more appealing than an attractive, unavailable young woman, Prongsie?” He rubbed his hands together, relishing the prospect. “I’ll get her soon.”
“Wish I could say that too,” James heaved a sigh.
“She’ll fall in love with you soon,” Sirius assured his best friend and grabbed his shoulder. “I know that.”
Throwing his arm over Sirius’ shoulder James smirked, his eyes twinkling. “Funny. I know that too.”
“What if he really can protect it?” asked Ginny, her head in her hands.
Harry, who was sitting on the pavement beside her, staring up at Ollivander’s shop, shook his head.
“I know he can’t. He’s aged; he has no idea of what is coming for him and what to protect the wand from and he has no idea who’ll turn up with Xenon.”
“We don’t know that either, Harry,” said Ginny, annoyed.
“Yes!” said Harry. He was fuming slightly too. “We don’t but we are fully qualified Ministry officials who know about half of the threat and who are ready for whatever is to come!”
Ginny lapsed into silence again. They had been sitting in front of the now closed shop all day, looking out for Xenon or any other suspicious being that would be sent to do the dirty work. However, they had been unsuccessful again and were slowly losing the little patience they had left. It was way past sunset and hours past the time Harry had known as the arrival time of Xenon. Nothing had happened since then and there had been no sign of any activity whatsoever in the shop.
“I think we should just go in check on Ollivander,” Ginny muttered, exasperated, when she finally dared to speak again.
Harry turned his face to her, his expression beyond annoyed now. Looking at the fear on her face, he softened and resigned himself to the fact that she was right.
“Yeah, let’s do that,” he agreed, getting up. “I am sick of sitting here anyway.”
She got up too and, reaching the locked door, they peeked inside. The shop was dark and there was no sign of life in there.
“Allohomora,” Harry whispered, unlocking the door easily.
“Lumos.” Both of them lit their wand tips and cautiously entered the shop. It looked even more eerie at night, the atmosphere of the small place dark and damp, causing the hair on the back of their necks to prickle.
Moving further in, Ginny grabbed the back of his jacket. Harry strained to see through the darkness. He lifted his foot to take another step when it hit against something. Lowering his wand impulsively, he heard Ginny gasp.
There on the floor lay Mr. Ollivander. He had been Stunned.
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