Chapter 2 : Godfather
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The second day of watching Malfoy passed without incident. Malfoy worked with the shopowner without making a fuss. The three of them went back to Hogwarts in the chilly evening as usual from the Apothecary. They hurried to the castle from the gate in the dusk. On their way back, Andrew met them. He was panting after running down from the Quidditch pitch. “Mr. Potter, you’re back. I’d like to practice Quidditch with you.”
Harry turned around. “I’m sorry, I can’t. I’m on duty now, Andrew.”
“It will take just thirty minutes or so,” said Andrew. He looked anxious.
Harry stared at him for a while not guessing why he was in a hurry. There were still two weeks left until the match.
“Go on, mate. I’ll watch him,” said Ron nodding towards Malfoy.
“Thank you, Ron.” Harry left with Andrew for the Quidditch pitch.
“The first match will be in two weeks, right?” said Harry.
“Yeah,” said Andrew. He looked more restless.
“Andrew?” Harry raised his brow.
“Eh, Mr. Potter. I lied. To tell the truth, I just wanted to talk with you,” said Andrew sheepishly.
“What did you want to talk about with me?”
“I wanted to say thank you for your keeping the incident in the bathroom to yourself. I have been thinking of my stepfather, Phil, since then. Phil was also a Gryffindor. He died protecting my mother and me from Death Eaters. I want to be like him. I think he would not want me to seek revenge and he always played fair, so I’ll play fair, too,” said Andrew.
Harry envied Andrew. He didn’t envy him for the fact that Philbert Deverill was a famous Seeker, but he felt envious that Andrew had time to spend with his stepfather who loved him so much.“Well, I can understand what you felt when you lost your stepfather. I don’t remember when my father died, but I saw my godfather die.”Harry was suddenly at a loss for words. He could have spent lots of time with his godfather, Sirius if he hadn’t died.
“Mr. Potter?” Andrew asked Harry.
“Sirius…was killed by one of the Death Eaters.” Harry barely finished his words.
The pain he had held down inside his heart for years surfaced again. If Sirius was still alive, Harry could live with him anywhere they wanted like a real son and a real father.
Of course he respected his own parents and he loved them but it was Sirius who had let Harry feel that he was loved for the first time in his childhood.
“Was he a Gryffindor?” asked Andrew.
“Yes, he was a Gryffindor like my father. He was my father’s best friend. Well, do your best at your first match,” said Harry forcing a smile.
When they reached the Quidditch pitch, Harry pulled out his shrunk Firebolt from his pocket and enlarged it. Andrew summoned his broomstick from the shed. He took a used Snitch out of his pocket and said, “This was Phil’s exercise snitch. He gave it to me. Let’s play catch.”
“Sure.” Harry mounted his Firebolt, and kicked off the ground.
When he came back to the Head Boy’s room, Ron handed a piece of parchment to Harry and said, “We have a Sunday morning class again.”
Harry unrolled it and read:
Magical First-Aid Treatment Lesson for Trainee Aurors
By the Black Lake
“By the Black Lake? What do you think we will be doing?” said Harry.
“Dunno,” Ron shrugged.
Next Sunday morning Hestia and Dedalus came back to change shifts with Harry and Ron.
“Malfoy hasn’t felt his burning sensation at night so I don’t think we have to guard him. Don’t you agree?” Ron muttered yarning.
“I agree, but there still remains the possibility that he might be attacked by other house students. And I don’t think Umbridge and Lestrange have given up,” said Harry.
“Oh, yeah, you’re right,” said Ron.
The reflections of the mountains on the water of the Black Lake were so beautiful. Harry felt an autumn breeze blowing gently over the water. By the lake Madam Pomfrey and Neville were waiting for them. To their surprise they saw Hermione, Ginny, Luna, Cho, Padma and Parvati standing next to Neville. Parvati and Cho were wearing brand new Healer’s robes. Their clean lime-green robes were fluttering in the wind from the lake.
“I want to tell you what I’ve been studying for a few months. I was asked to help you with finding the stones which are useful for First Aid,” said Neville.
“I taught this lesson to the seventh year students on Thursday,” explained Madam Pomfrey. “I should have taught this lesson to all of you old seventh year students last year, but the Carrows didn’t let me. I regret that. I asked the seventh and the sixth year students to volunteer for playing the role of a victim who was supposed to be injured by Dark Magic. Volunteer students and trainee Healers will drink potions which will make their body temperature run high. Your task in this lesson is to search for the healing stone and engrave runes on it with your wand to activate the curing magic.”
“Blimey, curing stones! But aren’t they rare?” said Ron.
“Yeah, you’re right. They are very rare but I found out there were some here in Hogwarts, especially in the Black Lake,” said Neville.
“Here are sample runes to activate antipyretic magic. Please copy and engrave the letters perfectly,” Neville handed out the sample stones to them.
Harry looked at his sample stone. It was the same serpentine as at the Apothecary. A mystic rune was engraved on the stone. He glanced at Hermione who was already measuring the size of stone with her wand before engraving the letters. She copied the runes and started engraving them on to the new stone.
“On good quality serpentine, the rune works well for a cursed fever. This August, we found there were plenty of high quality serpentines in the Black Lake. Well, I have patients in my hospital wing, so I must leave soon. From now on, Mr. Longbottom and trainee Healers, Miss Chang and Miss Patil will guide you. If something goes wrong, use your patronus to send a message,” Madam Pomfrey handed the potions vials to Hermione and left them.
“If Professor Dumbledore was still alive,” said Neville, “he would ask the merpeople to get the serpentines from the lake. But we can’t understand Mermish so we’re going to get them all by ourselves. Mr. Roberds, head of Aurors, agreed this lesson was one of the required units for Auror training programs. When you’re attacked by Dark Magic on your duty, these Rune Serpentines will help you.”
“How about cuts and bruises?” asked Harry. He wondered if there were any rune stones for removing the scars on his body.
“It depends on how powerful the witch or wizard who cast the curse was,” said Cho smiling at Harry.
“You mean that no stones can remove the scars left by a powerful wizard like Voldemort?” said Harry.
The atmosphere was tense. Cho looked perplexed and opened her mouth. “Well, I’m not sure, but I heard that the old Druid clans had a lot of knowledge about rune stones for cures. We sometimes borrow rare rune stones from long-established Apothecaries like the one in Diagon Alley. Their curing stones were made by old Druid clans.”
“And of course Phoenix tears have healing powers. If you can get them soon after you were injured, you’ll recover. But it’s harder to get them. They are found only in Egypt, India and China,” said Parvati.
“Yeah, I know,” said Harry. The loyal Phoenix, Fawkes had left Hogwarts when Dumbledore died.
He missed Dumbledore and Fawkes.
“Well, let’s begin. We set up some tents, so change into your swimsuit in there. The left one is for wizards, the right one is for witches,” said Neville.
In the tent Harry changed into his swimsuit trying hard not to show his scars, especially the bigger one left by Voldemort’s curse on his left side of the chest.
Ron helped him to conceal them by standing in front of Harry. All the trainee Aurors reappeared in swimsuits.
“Blimey, it must be easier to swim in swimsuit than wearing a set of heavy Auror robes,” said Seamus, who shoved his wand in the pocket of the swimsuit.
“Did you learn the Bubble-Head Charm at Auror Headquarters?” asked Neville. All the trainees nodded.
“OK. Thank you. Merlin, we’re short of Gillyweed! It’s hard to gather them. Please search for the same sort of serpentine as the sample. You have thirty minutes,” said Neville.
“Thirty minutes? Is that long enough?” asked Ron.
“I think so. The water is cold. The victims will suffer from high fever. You must get back to the victims as fast as you can,” said Neville.
“If we can’t come back in thirty minutes, what will you do?” asked Harry who worried about the volunteer witches: Hermione began to drink and Ginny had already drunk her potion.
“I will use the rest of the sample Rune Serpentines, so please don’t worry,” said Neville.
When Harry flung himself forwards into the water after casting the Bubble-Head Charm, he expected he would gulp the icy lake water like when he had used Gillyweed at the Triwizard Tournament. But he didn’t have to. He looked around and saw Ron with an enormous bubble around his head swimming after Harry, deeper and deeper.
Harry remembered the time he had challenged the second task of the Triwizard Tournament. Harry’s task had been to retrieve Ron. He grinned at Ron who grinned back. They swirled around staring about at countless pebbles at the bottom of the lake, but Harry couldn’t find any serpentines. Then Ron touched Harry’s right shoulder. Ron swimming above him, was pointing at one place far from there. Harry looked up, squinting in the direction Ron pointed. Hannah and Susan were struggling with Grindylows disturbing the muddy water. Harry mimed to Ron that they should go to the rescue. Ron understood. They ascended the water towards Hannah and Susan. Harry and Ron took out their wands from each pocket of their swim pants and shouted “Relashio!” issuing large bubbles from each mouth. Then a jet of boiling water struck the Grindylows and they sank back into the six feet deep light-green weed forest. Hannah and Susan gestured “Thank you,” towards Harry and Ron. Harry gave them the thumbs-up to show “You’re welcome.” Then Susan pointed to a spot far away. She mimed “Follow me.”
Beyond the expanses of black mud, they could see now the Mer-people were singing a beautiful mer-song. Harry wondered why he could understand their song. The lyrics were English. And he was surprised to notice their melody was the same as the song Andromeda sang for Teddy.
My love, my love I will hide your cloak on the roof, While my dad cured his stallion’s injured hoof,
My mother Mary I found your cloak, My father’s wand was made of oak, Say good bye at the mouth of River Shiel.*
They were swirling over the deeper spot of the bottom of the lake singing a song. Susan pointed to a green spot. Harry swam faster towards the spot and he found it covered with serpentines. The song stopped, and he noticed the merpeople wore thick ropes of serpentine pebbles around their necks. Harry mimed to the Mer-people that he wished to take some stones away. Their yellowish eyes were not angry, so he took four serpentines and gestured,“Thank you.”
The Mer-people began to sing again as if nothing had happened. When they came back to the shore of the lake, Hermione and Ginny were lying on the ground. Parvati was watching over them. Luna and Padma were sitting next to Dean and Seamus who had been engraving the runes on the stones they had found. Cho Chang gave advice to Michael Corner and Terry Boot how to engrave the runes, and Neville was showing Blaise and Romilda how to engrave the runes. Justin and Anthony hadn’t come back yet. Harry and Ron returned the sample serpentines to Neville and approached Hermione and Ginny. Hermione was breathing quietly. Ginny’s face was flushed by a fever. They rushed to the tent and changed into their Auror robes. Ron knelt down by Hermione and said,
“Hermione, are you OK?”
“Yes, I’m fine. Engrave the runes as Parvati says, Ron,” said Hermione panting.
“Ginny, wait a second, I’ll do it. Parvati, tell us how to engrave the stones,” said Harry.
When Harry and Ron were ready, Seamus shouted, “Neville, our stones won’t activate. What shall we do?”
“Show me,” Neville walked over to them and grabbed the stones. He examined them and said,
“I’m sorry they are not serpentines. Blaise and Romilda, will you hand your stones to Dean and Seamus and go and search for Justin and Anthony? I’m afraid they might be lost.”
Ron had already put the Rune Serpentine on the Hermione’s forehead and cast the incantation. Padma, one of the volunteers, sat down on the ground, panting. Harry was at a loss. Neville was busy giving instructions to Dean and Seamus. Susan and Hannah followed Neville to ask questions about engraving runes.
“Neville, hand me the rest of the sample serpentines!” shouted Harry.
“Harry, use the Rune Serpentine you engraved, for Padma first,” said Ginny panting.
Harry hesitated to do as Ginny said, but did so. He put the Rune Serpentine on Padma’s forehead and cast the incantation. Then Neville walked back to the spot where Harry was waiting.
“Sorry, Harry,” Neville handed the sample Rune Serpentine to Harry.
Harry put the Rune Serpentine on Ginny’s forehead. He looked around and observed that the other volunteers had recovered in ten or fifteen minutes but Ginny’s face was still flushed with fever. Harry tried other sample serpentines, but they didn’t work at all.
“Parvati, Cho, come here, please! What happened to her?” Harry started to panic.
“Normally it works, but sometimes it doesn’t if the serpentine is of poor quality,” said Cho with an anxious look.
“Or Ginny might have been tired out. Did she practice Quidditch hard yesterday?” said Parvati.
“Yeah, perhaps. She will have the first game in two weeks. What shall I do? Can I use other serpentines you used?” said Harry.
“No, you can’t, Harry. The magical power must be charged for at least a day after they have been used once for the patient,” said Cho.
“Michael, Terry, do you have another one?” Harry shouted.
“No, we don’t. We could find only one in the Black Lake,” said Michael.
“When we can’t use magical tools, the only way is the Muggle way. Water, Harry. I’m sorry I don’t have an antifebrile now, I mean, Muggle medicine,” said Hermione.
Harry understood what Hermione meant, and chanted,
He dropped the dripping water from his wand to Ginny’s lips but it flowed down her face. Then he kept water in his mouth from his wand, let some water run into her mouth from his own without thinking. He prayed in his mind, ‘Ginny, drink this,’ let the fluid go, observed her lips with his beseeching look. He wasn’t sure if her lips moved.
“She drank. Do it again, Harry,” Luna said.
His lips touched her lips again and he let more water run into her mouth. She gulped it down.
Then Susan and Hannah came to Harry with Neville and said,
“Harry, we have just activated these serpentines. We’re sorry we took more time than we expected. Try them!”
Harry put one of them on Ginny’s forehead and chanted the incantation. It worked. Ginny’s face turned into its normal color in ten minutes or so.
“That was close,” Ron groaned.
Then the other trainees came safely back from the lake with Justin and Anthony.
In the Gryffindor Common Room Harry sat down on the sofa next to Ginny. He fingered his Rune Serpentine and said,
“Ginny, please don’t try to be a volunteer any more. I was so scared you wouldn’t recover.”
“Harry, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have practiced Quidditch for hours yesterday. But I was so excited ‘cause in two weeks Gwenog will come to see the match, you know?” said Ginny. She caressed Harry’s face with her hand. Harry understood why Ginny was excited. Gwenog Jones was a star player for the Holyhead Harpies.
“Yeah, I understand. But next time, don’t try to be a volunteer,” said Harry.
“Well, I was glad to join in your training. I like to see you work,” Ginny whispered and kissed him.
Harry kissed her back and said,
“Ron and me will join in the tracing team from next Saturday. Good night, Ginny. See you next Friday,” then he stood up, smoothed out the wrinkles in his Auror robes and left the Common Room.
He went back to Grimmauld Place using Floo powder. After taking his shower Harry entered the bedroom that his godfather Sirius had used. He sat down on the bed with a carved wooden headboard. He stared at many pictures of Muggle motorcycles and several posters of bikini-clad Muggle girls. He turned his gaze to the only wizarding photograph on the wall. Four Hogwarts students were wearing a set of Gryffindor robes. His father, James and his godfather, Sirius were putting their arms around each other’s shoulders laughing at Harry. He stared at the picture for a while then he lay on his side and soon fell asleep.
He had the weird dream again. This time he saw a silver-white doe in his dream.
Then she vanished. He noticed he was standing near the lake and whispered,
The wand-tip ignited and he saw a great silver cross on the bottom of the lake again. He saw his reflection on the water was a stag. He wondered. Since he had mastered his animagus after taking lessons from professor McGonagall, his Animagus form had been a horse, the same as Ginny’s patronus. He had expected it to be the same as his patronus; a stag, but when he actually succeeded, his Animagus form was a horse. He didn’t doubt the fact. He accepted that his animagus was a horse. When Snape had helped him search for the Sword of Gryffindor in the icy lake during the horcrux hunt, he had discovered that Snape’s patronus form was a doe like Lily’s. According to Dumbledore’s theory, it often happened that animagus magic was performed in the same way as patronus. The fact his animagus was a horse showed how much he loved Ginny.
Why was he a stag now? Was love for Ginny fading away?
“Ask your tree,” a familiar voice echoed from somewhere.
“Sirius?” Harry asked. Then he was awake.
Harry descended down the stairs into the kitchen earlier than usual. When he went into the kitchen, Andromeda asked Harry to look after Teddy for a while.
“I have decided to shut up Aunt Walburga’s portrait. She has annoyed me since I moved here. I will go up to the Entrance Hall to persuade her to behave nicely to you and your friends who might visit here, so hold him for a while, please, Harry,” said Andromeda and let Harry hold Teddy.
“But Andromeda, wait. I don’t think you will succeed,” he tried to halt her but she left them.
Harry was standing there holding Teddy in his arms awkwardly. He had never held a baby before. Teddy, who was sixth months old, was sleeping in his arms. His quiet sleeping face looked like his father, Remus.
“Hey, what will you become when you are eighteen? A Defence against Dark Arts teacher like your dad, or an Auror like your mum?” whispered Harry.
Harry felt the warmth of Teddy’s small body and smiled. How pleasant it was to hold a baby like this. Harry cradled Teddy in his arms for about half an hour. When Andromeda came back, Harry was alarmed to see her angry face. She looked just like her sister, Bellatrix Lestrange. He could feel her aura, burning with rage.
“Eh.., Andromeda?” Harry tried to ask. He reckoned she had failed.
Andromeda walked up to Harry and she retrieved Teddy into her arms silently, then she called Kreacher and ordered,
“Master Harry is going to the Ministry. Make breakfast for him and hang thicker curtains to cover up Mrs.Black’s portrait.”
“Yes, madam,” Kreacher bowed courteously.
Harry understood now the reason why Tonks had become Moody’s favorite Auror. Her mother, Andromeda was a powerful witch like Mrs.Weasley. At the same time he recalled the scene Mrs.Weasley had beaten Bellatrix Lestrange at the Battle of Hogwarts. Those witches might be stronger than any other wizards. And he was stunned again to think that Ginny was a daughter of Molly Weasley.
“I should not let Ginny get angry,” he swore to himself, shaking his head.
Author’s Note: *Mer-people song lyrics by StarFeather
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