Chapter 34 : Realizations and Riddle Hunting
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Realizatons and Riddle Hunting
Dorian, Tav, Jane, and Emily all leaned over Severus' shoulder as he read the Prophet. Over at the Gryffindor table, Lily, Frank, Alice, Remus, and Pete were doing the same thing. Caddaric was sharing his copy with Irene.
"That means Mr. Black's a real hero then, huh?" Pete asked. "Not like those Quidditch players James and Sirius had up on their walls."
"Exactly right, Pete," Remus said. "I never can understand why people think athletes are heroes. What's so heroic about tossing the Quaffle through a hoop?"
"I'll bet he gets the Order of Merlin, First Class," Frank said.
"What's the Order of Merlin, First Class?" Lily asked.
"It's the highest medal you can be awarded in the Wizarding World," Alice explained. "It's usually only awarded to people who risk their lives to save others in a dangerous situation."
"Oh!" Lily said. "It's like the Victoria Cross or the Congressional Medal of Honor the American Muggle President awards their heroes. We learned about that in the Muggle school I went to."
Over at the Slytherin table Severus put down his paper and said, "Well, at least we know where Reg went last yesterday."
"I wonder if Sirius still thinks his dad is an evil git," Dorian said.
"This should prove to him that all Slytherins are not automatically evil and dark wizards," Emily remarked.
"I don't know," Jane said sitting back down. "Black's pretty much a bonehead."
"Yeah, he might not think his dad's evil anymore, but he'll probably still think the rest of us are," Tav added.
When they met later in the Room of Requirement, they decided they would send Reg a card to give to his dad. Severus drew the illustrations for it and Lily did the wording and everybody signed it, wishing Mr. Black a fast recovery.
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Charles Potter was sitting at the dining table reading the front page story; he snorted and tossed the paper aside. "I can't believe what garbage is in the Prophet these days! I ought to cancel our subscription to it."
"I say we definitely need to have a new Minister of Magic too," Mavis said. "Anybody who would proclaim a dark wizard a hero needs to be run out of office! What on earth kind of an example does that set for our children?"
"I still don't understand how Black got into the Auror Academy in the first place!" It still galled Charles after 20 years that he hadn't been accepted, but Orion Black had. "He was always dark and then he married that even darker cousin of his."
"I know, dear. Those Black's are rotten with darkness from stem to stern!"
"He probably told his Death Eater cohorts to attack that Muggle school and then changed his mind and started stunning them when the light Aurors like Moody arrived."
"I don't doubt you're right, dear.
Charles got up and gathered up his coat and brief case. "I'll be going and see what the news is at the Ministry. No doubt everyone will be gossiping about this." He gave Mavis a kiss and said, "I'll see you and Jamie tonight. Tell Jamie to have a good day."
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Sirius and Reg sat waiting outside their dad's room at St. Mungo's. Their mum and their dad's healer were inside.
"I'll bet Dad gets the Order of Merlin, First Class, Siri," Reg said.
Sirius shrugged and remained silent; his guilt was chewing away at him again.
"Still think we're all evil just because You-Know-Who and his buddies came out of Slytherin?" Reg asked in exasperation.
"No, but what about people like Avery, Wilkes, Rosier, Crabbe, Goyle and the Lestrange twins? They think Purebloods are better than everybody else."
"They're morons too!" Reg exclaimed. "They can barely bend over and tie their shoe laces properly."
Walburga came out of Orion's room. "You boys can see your father now, but he's still in a lot of pain so be very careful when you hug him."
Reg ran into the room while Sirius followed him, walking slower. Reg gave his father a careful hug. "I was so scared when Professor Slughorn told me you'd been hurt."
"Well, it will take a lot more than a bone breaking curse to stop me," Orion said. He noticed Sirius hanging back and opened his arms, "Come here, son."
Sirius ran over to him and was enfolded in his embrace. There were tears in his eyes. "I'm sorry, Dad. I'm sorry I thought you were evil. I shouldn't have listened to Potter."
"It's all right, Sirius. We all make mistakes. The important thing is that you're sorry and we can forget it and start over again."
"Okay, Dad," Sirius agreed.
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Minerva knocked on the door of Horace's office. "Come in, Minerva," he called. Minerva opened the door and came inside. "I was wondering if you'd heard anything about Auror Black's condition."
"Come in, sit down and have a cup of tea, Minerva," he said. He poured her a cup of tea and added a chocolate biscuit to it. "As a matter of fact, I spoke with Walburga today. She said Orion is recovering fine, but he's still in a lot of pain. He's going to be in St. Mungo's for awhile."
"Did she say anything about Mr. Black?" Minerva asked taking the offered cup of tea.
"As a matter of fact she did. She said Sirius was buckling down to his studies with Mr. Finchly. I recall him …a Ravenclaw, wasn't he?"
"Yes, and he was a very good tutor while at Hogwarts though a bit on the pompous side," Minerva said. "I'm glad they're taking this whole thing seriously."
"More than the Potters are, I daresay."
"Well, Albus did tell them that unless Mr. Potter and Mr. Black show a great deal of improvement they won't be coming back next September and I will hold him to it."
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Lily, Alice, Frank, Remus, and Pete got up early the next morning planning to talk with the portrait of Godric Gryffindor. It was located hanging over the fireplace in the common room. The man in the portrait appeared to be a bear of a man with long red hair and a wild red beard. He was dressed in leather and a fur-lined cape. He held his sword securely between his hands even as he appeared to be asleep.
Lily cleared her throat nervously and said, "Excuse me, Lord Gryffindor, may we speak with you?"
Gryffindor opened his eyes and stared down at the five children cowering below his portrait. He smiled. "Come, come, children there's nothing to be afraid of. I don't bite or I haven't for a long time at least," he chuckled. "What may I do for a group of noble Gryffindors?"
"We wanted to ask you about what you might know about the Grimoire of Elements," Remus said.
"We were asked by the ghosts to find it so it could be returned to Helena Ravenclaw," Peter added.
"We've been following the riddles Lady Ravenclaw left behind and we've managed to solve one of them, but now we're stuck on the second one," Frank explained.
"We know from speaking with Lady Hufflepuff that you and Lady Ravenclaw were quite good friends and since you spent so much time with her, we thought you might be able to give us some ideas about what this riddle means," Lily said.
Remus read him the riddle and Godric laughed delightfully, "True Rowena! Well, the riddle is about trickery; about something that appears to be absolutely true, but is not or perhaps the opposite – something that doesn't appear to exist, but does."
They thanked Godric for his help and made their way down to the Great Hall for breakfast. They waited in the Entrance Hall for the Slytherins to come up from the dungeons and Caddaric to come up from Hufflepuff and Irene to come down from Ravenclaw Tower.
When everybody had arrived, Remus quickly summarized what Godric had told them as they walked to the Great Hall.
"Does he mean the Room of Requirement?" Caddaric asked. "There's nowhere to hide a scroll case in there aside from the two we already have,"
"But we're only seeing the room in the form we want, Caddaric," Emily pointed out. "It makes itself into a comfortable study room for us so we've never seen what its real form looks like. It may be a lot bigger."
"I see what your saying is we need to ask the room to appear as it normally does," Severus said.
"But is that the only room of its kind or are there other rooms on other floors like it?" Frank asked.
"Why don't we try the Room of Requirement first and if we don't find it there, we'll need to do some research to see if there might be other rooms like it in the castle." Lily said. "Maybe the ghosts could tell us."
"Yeah, but we have to be careful if there are other rooms because I've heard of rooms appearing and then disappearing not to appear again for a hundred years. We don't want to be trapped inside one of those," Dorian warned.
"If we don't find what we're looking for in the Room, we'll ask the ghosts if they know of any other rooms like it," Tav suggested. "And we'll ask them if they're dangerous – if they disappear for a hundred years or anything like that."
"That sounds like a plan," Peter said.
"I've got another idea," Irene said. "Follow me." She led them into the Great Hall and over to the Ravenclaw table. One end of it was empty and she sat down and then motioned for the others to sit down too. "I think we should be able to sit together wherever we want."
"I think Irene's spot on," Dorian said sitting down next to her.
"Yes, the headmaster's always preaching about unity. Perhaps it would be a good time to show him what unity actually is," Severus agreed sitting down.
Lily sat down next to him with Alice, Remus, and Peter next to her. Frank, Tav, Caddaric, Emily and Jane sat down across from them.
"I think we should sit at the Gryffindor table for lunch," Lily announced.
"We can sit at my table for dinner," Caddaric said.
"And sit at ours tomorrow for breakfast," Dorian said with a grin. "Avery will probably piss his pants!"
"Once he figures out what's going on, but that'll take him half the day at least," Tav snorted.
Up at the head table, Dumbledore's eyebrows went up at the group all sitting at the Ravenclaw table. Horace chuckled and leaned over to Albus, "You're always preaching about unity between the houses. Don't tell me you're shocked to see it in action."
"Of course not, Horace, Don't be ridiculous," Albus said, but he was uncomfortable with so many Gryffindors being friends with so many Slytherins. It just wasn't the natural order of things.
Once the professors had dispersed to their various classroom or offices, Albus walked over to the Ravenclaw table. "Mr. Lupin and Mr. Longbottom, would you mind stopping by my office after your last class?"
Frank looked at Remus who looked back at him in confusion, but then Remus answered, "Of course, Sir."
"Good. I will see you at 3:15 then," Albus replied. "The password is Chocolate Frog."
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Jeremy Cadwaller, the tutor the Potters had for James, was very frustrated as he confronted Mavis about James' continued absences from his lessons. "Mrs. Potter, I cannot help James if he refuses to attend my tutoring lessons."
"I'm sorry, but James hasn't been feeling well," Mavis apologized.
"Mrs. Potter, you do realize if James does not pass these classes, he will not be able to attend Hogwarts next September or if he is allowed to, he may have to repeat his second year."
"I'll talk to him, but we, his father and I that is, feel he was unfairly suspended."
"I'm sorry you and Mr. Potter feel that way, but the fact remains that James must pass these classes if he has any hope at all of being re-admitted to Hogwarts."
"I'll talk to James, but I can't promise you he's going to feel any different than he does now."
"Fine. I will be back tomorrow at the same time and I do hope James will be ready to began his tutoring."
Mavis waited until James came back from Quidditch practice. "Jamie, dear, Mr. Cadwaller was here today and he was quite put out that you weren't here."
"Mum, I've got to keep up with Quidditch so I can get back on the Gryffindor team next year. We can't let those rotten snakes win the House Cup."
"I know how important that is, Darling, but Mr. Cadwaller seems very worried you won't pass your tests."
"Cadwaller's a slave-driver and a worrywart!" James scoffed. "I could pass them right now without breaking a sweat!"
"Jamie, if you do what Mr. Cadwaller asks just so the man stops his incessant whining; I'll talk your father into buying tickets for the Quidditch World Cup in Spain this year."
"Really, Mum?" He frowned. "I guess I could let Cadwaller think he teaching me something new even though I already know most of this stuff," James bragged. "Besides he might be reporting back to my godfather."
"He'd better not be unless he wants to find himself without a pay packet at the end of the summer!" Mavis replied.
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After their last class Remus and Frank made their way up to the Headmaster's office. "I wonder what he wants," Remus said.
"Well, I agree with Sev. I don't trust him," Frank replied.
They gave the password to the Gargoyle who jumped aside, revealing the spiral staircase. Remus and Frank stepped onto it and it began moving upwards. They reached the top and knocked on the cherry wood paneled door of Dumbledore's office.
Albus opened the door. "Good afternoon, boys. Please come in and have a seat."
Remus and Frank followed him in and sat down in the squashy armchairs in front of his desk.
"Care for a lemon drop?" Albus asked offering them a candy dish full of hard yellow candy. "Lemon drops are my favorite Muggle candy."
"What did you want to see us about, Professor?" Remus asked.
"Well, I've noticed over the last two years that you've become quite good friends with some of the Slytherins. What about your housemates? I'm sure you've made friends in Gryffindor too."
"Sure, with Pete and Barry Middleton," Remus replied. "And Lily and Alice of course."
"What about Mary MacDonald?"
"No thanks, Headmaster," Frank said. "She's my partner in Potions and I thank Merlin at the end of each class that she hasn't blown up her cauldron and either killed me or scarred me permanently!"
"She tried to copy off of me in the Defense exam last year," Remus said. "I would have helped her study if she'd asked me, but I don't like cheaters."
"Do the Slytherins that is, Mr. Snape, Mr. Andrews, Mr. DeLuca, Miss Lillibridge, and Miss Dewhurst ever talk about Lord Voldemort?"
"You mean that guy that says nasty things about Muggleborns, Muggles and Half-bloods?" Frank asked and shrugged. "Sev and Dorian are Half-bloods and Emily a Muggleborn so why would they pay any attention to him? Jane and Tav are Purebloods, but they've both said they don't accept any of the talk they've heard."
"The only ones I've ever heard saying nasty things about Muggleborns and Half-bloods are Potter, Black, and MacDonald," Remus added.
"Well, you will let me know if they do say anything that makes it seem as if they are supporting Lord Voldemort. Thank you, boys. You may go back to your dorms now."
Remus and Frank waited until they got to the seventh floor before Frank exploded. "Did I hear him correctly or was he asking us to spy on Sev, Dorian, Tav, Jane, and Emily?"
"And report back anything unfavorable that we might hear," Remus added.
Frank crossed his arms with a mulish expression on his face. "We'll I'm not going to do it. He can find somebody else to do his dirty work!"
"I agree," Remus replied.
They gave the password to the Fat Lady and climbed over the portrait hole wondering what the headmaster was up to now.
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Sirius was sitting next to his dad at St. Mungo's. Walburga had brought him with her and then decided to go upstairs to get a cup of tea from the hospital tea parlor. The card the children had sent Orion was prominently displayed on the nightstand next to his bed.
"Reg was out flying today and he saw Potter practicing with his Quidditch coach. I guess he's not concentrating on his classes."
"No, and he'll be the one that flunks all his classes and if he's accepted back into Hogwarts, he'll be doing this year over again."
"Aquinas says I'm doing a lot better at Potions. I just never understood the theory behind it I guess; why you have to put everything in the cauldron in a certain order and let it brew for a certain amount of time before you can add other ingredients. I know Snape explained it more than once, but I refused to listen."
"I think you owe Mr. Snape and his friends an apology when you go back to school." Orion said.
"Yeah I know; that's going to be the hardest part after all the awful things Potter and I did to them."
"I think as long as your apology is heartfelt they'll forgive you. From what Reg has said they don't sound as if they're the types to hold grudges."
"I guess I'll find out," Sirius replied glumly.
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The children lingered in front of the Room of Requirement, wondering what to say to have the room appear as a hiding place. They had stationed Jane to keep a watch and make sure nobody, especially MacDonald, came this way and to warn them if she did.
"Maybe, we could tell it we need somewhere to hide something," Emily suggested.
"That might work," Severus said. He walked back and forth three times in front of the blank wall opposite the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy, wishing for a place to hid something important.
Suddenly the double doors appeared. Tav motioned to Jane to come over and she walked quickly over to them.
Severus pulled open the door and they saw mountains of junk; old furniture, books, statues, old clothing, and even some old, rusty weapons, but everything was covered in a thick layer of dust.
Frank looked dismayed. "How the heck are we supposed to find a scroll case in here? I wouldn't even know where to start looking!"
Caddaric peered into the room. "Maybe if we had three or four lifetimes we could find it, but it's doubtful."
"If there was only some easy way to sort what we're looking for from what we're not looking for," Alice said.
"Wait, there is!" Lily exclaimed. "There's a charm in that advanced charm book your grandmother gave me for Christmas, Sev. You're supposed to be able to summon things you need or are looking for with it," She explained. "Let me try it." She stood just inside the doorway and in a strong, clear voice called, "Accio scroll case!"
It worked, but the only problem was that it worked too well; two scroll cases flew out from within the room, heading right for them.
"Duck!" Peter yelled, hitting the floor.
Dorian and Tav quickly transfigured an old moth-eaten curtain into a mattress and then dived out of the way. The scroll cases landed safely without any damage or damage to any of the children, on the mattress. There was one silver case and one gold case.
"Grab one and step outside," Severus directed. Lily and Caddaric each picked up one of the scroll cases and left the room. Severus shut the doors allowing them to disappear again before he walked up and down the hall three times, asking for a comfortable place to study. The double doors appeared again and when he opened them it was their usual study room. They laid the scroll cases on the coffee table in front of the couches.
"Which one do we open first?" Irene asked.
"Well, the first scroll case was bronze, the second one was silver so I'm betting the gold one," Lily decided. "I'll open that."
"I'll open the silver one," Remus said. He used a simple unlocking charm to get it open and then carefully removed and unrolled the parchment inside, scanning it quickly and then shook his head. "No luck here. I think it's a letter somebody wrote home from some battle. Interesting and valuable possibly, but not what we're looking for."
Lily cast an Alohamora on hers and heard a distinct click as it unlocked. She took out the piece of parchment inside, read it silently and then said excitedly, "I think this might be it."
What's it say, Lily?" Severus asked.
"They come to witness the night without being called, a sailor's guide and a poet's tears. They are lost to sight each day without the hand of a thief,"* Lily read aloud.
"Well, it's kind of romantic, but what's it mean?" Alice asked.
For the moment nobody had any ideas.
*The previous two riddles were composed by Snapegirl. This one is courtesy of Lifetaker .
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