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Chapter 6 : We Can Win This
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I know there's a Hogsmeade visit planned for this Saturday. Make sure you are at the stile at the end of the road out of Hogsmeade (passed Dervish and Banges) at three o'clock. Make sure you're not followed.
Harry frowned. This letter clearly meant Sirius was in Hogsmeade. What was he thinking? If the Dementors found him he would be back in Azkaban before he could say 'innocent'. If he was lucky. Last year the Ministry had given the Dementors permission to perform the kiss if they found him. On the other hand, Harry would be very happy to see Sirius. He had only met his godfather in person once, when he was still convinced he was a deranged mass murderer who betrayed his parents, but his letters were a huge comfort to him through the Triwizard Tournament. The fact that there was an adult out there who cared for him and looked out for him like a father would, was a feeling Harry never had before he met Sirius. He shoot a glance at Ginny who was looking at him questioningly.
"Come on, let's go", he said. They left the crowded Great Hall and Harry led his girlfriend outside and walked in the direction of the lake.
"Harry, what is it?", Ginny asked. "Who was that letter from?"
"It was from my godfather", Harry answered.
"You have a godfather?" Ginny looked positively dumbfounded. "How come you never told me?"
"It's a long story", Harry said. "Just let me finish, okay?" She nodded with a curious expression on her face and he continued to tell her everything from the time he overheard Professor McGonagall saying Sirius was his godfather until the evening in the Shrieking Shack and Sirius' escape from the Dementors.
Ginny was looking at him with her mouth wide open. "Wow. And he was Ron's rat?!"
"Yeah." Harry frowned. "If we hadn't let him escape Sirius' name would have been cleared right now. He wouldn't have to be on the run. We could live together." Harry still thought from time to time about the life he could have had if Peter Pettigrew hadn't escaped. "Anyway, we kept contact and he wants to meet me Saturday in Hogsmeade."
"Oh", Ginny said, looking a bit disappointed. "No problem."
"I'm not blowing you off, Ginny", Harry said quickly when he realized what was bothering her. "I'm not meeting him until three o'clock and, well, I thought maybe you'd want to come to?"
Ginny smiled. "Of course I want to come. Wouldn't he mind though?"
"Of course not! Ron and Hermione will want to come too I think, they'll want to see him."
They were walking back to the castle when Harry said: "I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier. I didn't know if – ". He hesitated.
"If I would believe you?", Ginny asked with raised eyebrows. "You should know better than that!"
"I know. I guess I didn't know how you would react."
Ginny stopped and pressed her lips to his. "Don't worry about it. You told me now. And I'm glad you did."
When Saturday morning came, Harry couldn't help but feel a bit nervous. Although he had been seeing Ginny for several weeks, this would be their first real date. He looked over to Ron's bed. His best friend was still snoring loudly with his mouth wide open. Ron asked Hermione to go to Hogsmeade with him and she gladly accepted. Although they went to the Yule Ball together, nothing had happened between his two best friends. Ron still lacked a lot of confidence. Harry knew Hermione liked him, but she was still waiting for him to make the first move. If it was going to keep moving forward at this rate, they wouldn't be a couple until seventh year.
Harry and Ginny enjoyed their time together in Hogsmeade very much. They went to Honeydukes and Zonko's, where they met Fred, George en Lee, and went to have lunch in the Three Broomsticks. When they found a table the door opened again and Ron and Hermione walked in. They had lunch with the four of them and then left together to meet Sirius. When they got there a large black dog was waiting for them. He looked from Ginny to Harry.
"It's okay. She knows", Harry said. "Ginny, meet my godfather."
Ginny nervously petted the dog in front of her. He wagged his tail before he turned around and led them to a cave outside of Hogsmeade. When they entered the cave they met Buckbeak, who was looking extremely bored, being locked up in a cave. The four of them bowed nervously. After he bowed back, Hermione and Ginny started stroking his feathers. Harry and Ron turned to the dog who had changed back into Harry's godfather, Sirius Black.
"How are you doing?", Sirius asked with a grin. "Leading the Triwizard Tournament now, huh? I wouldn't expect less from you."
Harry laughed and hugged his godfather. "What are you doing here? What if they find you?"
"What's life without a little risk", Sirius smirked. "Besides, the Aurors have absolutely no idea about my whereabouts. They probably think I fled to another country and won't risk to come back. Besides, I still have the best disguise a man could need. But I believe introductions are in order?" He looked at Ginny questioningly.
"Oh yeah. This is Ginny Weasley. She's Ron's sister and my girlfriend", Harry said, blushing lightly.
"Girlfriend, huh?" Sirius was grinning broadly, seeing Harry's discomfort. "Well, nice to meet you! I'm Sirius, but you already know that of course."
"Nice to meet you", Ginny said with a small voice.
"Don't be shy, I won't kill you. Broke off the habit", Sirius joked. Harry, Ron and Hermione were laughing out loud and Ginny smiled.
"I'm sorry", she muttered.
"Don't worry about it", Sirius said. "People are bound to react this way after hearing that I'm a murdering lunatic for all those years. You're taking it quite well, actually. You should have seen Harry when he first saw me. He tried to kill me!"
After the ice was broken, the afternoon passed in pleasant conversation. Harry was enjoying spending time with his godfather immensely and was reluctant to go back to the castle when it was five o'clock. Promising he would write soon, Sirius said goodbye and the four friends returned to the school.
When Harry woke up Monday morning he decided he had to talk to Dumbledore. He had had a dream that night about Voldemort and Wormtail again. This time Voldemort had punished Wormtail because of a mistake he made. He had said that his mistake had been rectified by his trusted servant at Hogwarts. This wasn't the first time Harry dreamt about Voldemort and Wormtail and he knew Dumbledore would want him to tell him. After his last class of the day, Transfiguration, Harry stayed behind to ask McGonagall the password to get past the gargoyle. Then he walked straight up to Dumbledore's office.
"Ah Harry. To what do I owe this pleasure?"
"I wanted to talk to you, Professor", Harry said nervously. He hesitated. He didn't want Dumbledore to think he was worrying needlessly about a simple dream.
"Sit down, Harry. Tell me what is bothering you."
Harry told him everything about the dream he had that night and the other dreams about Voldemort. A long silence followed. Dumbledore seemed to be thinking deeply about what Harry told him. Harry noticed his headmaster was looking worried.
"Sir?", Harry said at last. "You don't think this dreams are really happening, do you?"
Dumbledore looked at him. "As a matter of fact, I do, Harry. You see, the night Voldemort tried to kill you, he transformed some powers of his own to you, as I told you before. That is the reason you can speak to snakes. I think that scar on your forehead is a connection to him. It is my believe that that is the reason you have these dreams."
"But I've had that scar since I was a year old. I never had these dreams before." Harry pondered for a moment. "Do you think Voldemort is getting stronger, sir?"
Dumbledore looked at him worriedly. "I think you already know the answer to that, Harry."
Harry's insides were turning. "Do you think he will come back?"
"Yes.", Dumbledore stated simply. "I have always known that Voldemort was bound to find a way to return. He never succeeded, because he was weak and alone. All his followers had abandoned him. You know he tried to steal the Philosopher's Stone with the goal to recreate a body of his own. His plan failed, thanks to you, but now he is no longer alone. He has a faithful servant by his side again and I am afraid this time he will succeed."
"It's my fault", Harry said solemnly. "I convinced Sirius and Professor Lupin to let Wormtail live. If I hadn't, Voldemort wouldn't be getting stronger."
"Don't blame yourself, Harry", Dumbledore said sternly. "You did the right thing that night. Wormtail owns you a life debt and you can be sure that that will make a difference. As for Voldemort, I believe his return is inevitable, with or without Wormtail."
"Professor", Harry said. "Voldemort mentioned that there was a Death Eater at Hogwarts in my dream."
Dumbledore didn't look surprised. "I had my suspicions."
"Do you think it was him who put my name into the Goblet of Fire?", Harry asked.
"Him or her. Though what Voldemort's intentions are, I do not know. If only I knew who it was."
Harry was thinking about what Sirius had told him in the fire of the Gryffindor common room. "You don't think it could be Karkaroff, sir?"
"I am quite certain it is not Professor Karkaroff, Harry", Dumbledore said. "According to Professor Snape he is more frightened the Dark Lord may return than most of the magical community. I am certain you know about his past, but he gave a lot of names of Death Eaters to keep himself out of Azkaban. He would not be welcomed back into Voldemort's inner circle and most likely be killed."
"Snape, sir?", Harry asked puzzled. "How would Snape know?"
"Professor Snape, Harry", Dumbledore corrected him. He looked at Harry for a minute and said: "What I'm about to tell you should not be commonly known, Harry. It would not do for too many people to know." He hesitated before he said: "Professor Snape used to be a Death Eater."
Harry was shocked, but after a minute he thought he should have realized it all along. "No one stops being a Death Eater", he said firmly.
Dumbledore chuckled. "I can see you have been talking to Sirius Black a lot since you met him. He is already rubbing of on you! But I can assure you Severus is not loyal to Voldemort, Harry. He changed sides more than a year before Voldemort's downfall. He was spying for our side."
Harry decided to not argue with Dumbledore about it. He went down to the Great Hall for dinner and silently told Ginny, Hermione and Ron about his conversation with the headmaster.
"Snape was a Death Eater?", Ginny asked shocked.
"We should have known it!", Ron exclaimed. "How could he not be? I can't believe Dumbledore trusts that git!"
"Ssh Ronald!", Hermione said sternly. "If Dumbledore trusts him, who are we to question it? He's the greatest wizard in the world. Snape wouldn't be able to deceive him."
The weeks passed quickly and the third task of the Triwizard Tournament was approaching. Harry didn't hear anything until a month before the task, McGonagall informed him the presence of the champions was required at the Quidditch pitch at eight o'clock that night.
When he got there the other champions were already waiting for him with Ludo Bagman.
"Now that we're all here, I'll inform you about the third task. Anyone care to guess what we're growing here?" He gestured to the pitch which was covered in what seemed to be short hedges.
"A maze?", Cedric offered.
"Exactly! It's very simple. The Triwizard Cup will be placed inside the maze and the first champion who reaches it, wins the tournament!"
"So, all we have to do is find our way through the maze?", Harry asked sceptically. It didn't seem dangerous enough to be a task in the tournament, especially if it was the last one.
"Well, of course they'll be extra obstacles" answered Bagman. "They're will be spells, enchantments to get past. And Hagrid is providing us with some magical creatures."
Harry and Cedric were looking at each other. They knew exactly which sort of creatures Hagrid would consider appropriate for this task. "I swear if I see one Blast-Ended Skrewt…", Cedric said. Harry laughed out loud, while Bagman, Fleur and Krum looked at them inquisitively.
Harry, Cedric and Fleur walked back to the castle together, while Krum was walking back to the ship quickly. He was being even more silent and gruff than before. There had been a lot of rumours about the boy he had rescued out of the lake during the second task. There were whispers he would have been more than a friend and Rita Skeeter had of course written an animated article about it in Witch Weekly.
The weeks leading up to the third task, Harry and Cedric trained together. They used empty classrooms, until Professor McGonagall who had found them several times, offered to use the Transfiguration classroom so they wouldn't get into trouble. They practiced disarming and stunning, and several curses. Harry was fairly confident. He knew it would be difficult, but he thought they were well prepared and the nature of the task allowed Harry and Cedric to work together again. They were both glad, because it meant they either both won, or none of them did.
The evening before the final task, Harry saw his old vision of winning the Triwizard Cup, only this time Cedric was beside him and the girl looking admiringly at him wasn't Cho, but Ginny.
"In union there is strength" – Aesop Fabulist
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