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The Weight of the World by bobrollin
Chapter 3 : The Meeting of the Minds
 
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Chapter 3 -- The Meeting of the Minds

Harry stood up and began to brush the soot off of him when Dumbledore magically
lifted his trunk and Hedwig's cage up to his dormitory.

"Harry there is a very important meeting I would like for you to attend
this afternoon if you think you are up for it." Dumbledore said.

He nodded and Dumbledore then continued.

"Good, I figured you would be. It will be up in my office at 3:30, the password is Honeydukes. I'll see you
then." He turned to walk out, but then stopped again. "Oh and Harry,
I know what you heard this afternoon may have disturbed you, but I want you to
know that you should feel no different about who you are. As I have told you on
countless occasions Harry, we are who we choose to be."

And after Harry nodded at him again, he walked out of the common room.

Harry went up to his new dormitory and looked around. The fifth year rooms were
a bit bigger and he seemed to enjoy the fact that he would have more space for
his things. He lay down on his new bed and began thinking about his newly
discovered family tree. He wondered what was going on in his uncle's head as he
drove back home. Would he tell Petunia and Dudley? Harry
thought that if he did it might give them both heart attacks.

After unpacking all of his things with no great rush, Harry realized that it
was a quarter after three. He figured he'd better start towards Dumbledore's
office to make sure he wasn't late. Plus he was so curious to find out what
type of meeting might be taking place that involved him that he wanted to try
to find out what it was about as soon as possible.

When he walked out of the common room, the Fat Lady gave a startled gasp.

"My goodness! How did you get in there? Where did
you come from???" she said.

Harry smiled realizing that she didn't know about him using the floo. "I took the floo from
The Leaky Cauldron. Dumbledore must have set it up so I would come straight to
the common room."

"Oh! Well, I guess you'll be staying here for the summer then?" she
said.

"Yes I will. Do I need to get a password from Dumbledore to get back
in?"

"No dear, I'll let you in until the rest of the students get back."
She replied smiling.

"Thanks!" Harry said.

Harry made is way hastily up to the gargoyle entrance and as he was about to
give it the password, he heard a yell from behind him.

"Harry!" It was Ron standing next to his mother and father. He could
see Bill and Charlie behind them walking through the main entrance.

"Ron! Hello everyone! What are you all doing here?" Harry said as he
shook Ron and his dad's hand and then was given a bear hug by Ron's mom.

"We are here for the meeting with Dumbledore" said Arthur as he
ruffled Harry's hair.

"Hello Harry. Anyone know what the password is?" Bill said staring at
the gargoyle.

"Honeydukes." Harry said as the statue
started its rotation.

"You invited to this meeting I take it Harry?" Charlie said as he
jumped on behind his dad.

"Yeah, Dumbledore asked me to come this afternoon. What's it about
anyway?" he asked.

"I don't really know for sure, I have some idea though" said Ron's
dad Arthur.

As they all gathered at the top of the staircase, Harry noticed several people
that he recognized, and a couple that he didn't. Mad-Eye Moody, Professor
Lupin, Mrs. Figg, Professor Snape, and two others he couldn't place. Harry
stayed at the back of the room with Ron while everyone finished their hellos
and subtle conversations.

"What's this all about Ron?" Harry whispered.

"I don't know for sure. Just that it involves something that's going on
with the Death Eaters. Dad wasn't going to let me come but Dumbledore asked
that I be here. He was really surprised until I told him that you were here
too." Ron said.

"That's strange." Harry said softly. "Do you know who those two
men over there are?"

Ron gave him a shrug. "I only know Lupin, Moody, and Snape."

"The old woman over there is Mrs. Figg. She used to watch me for the
Dursley's when I was younger. I found out that she is a witch just this
morning. Evidentially she moved to Surrey after my
parents died to make sure that Voldemort didn't find me."

Ron was about to say something when Dumbledore came out of his private office a
floor above everyone. He came out to the balcony and everyone stopped talking
at once. He smiled then looked over the small group and began to speak.

"Welcome friends. First of all I would like to make sure that everyone is
acquainted. I think we all know Arthur and Molly Weasley. You may not however
know all of their children that are present here. Bill, Charlie, and Ron give a
wave to everyone."

All of their ears seemed to turn red at the same time. Harry had seen Ron's
turn red on several occasions so it didn't surprise him to see his older
brothers do the same thing when nervous.

"Standing in the back with Ron is Harry Potter. I think everyone in this
room has seen him at one point, but for some of you it has been many years.
Harry, I think you know Arabella Figg, but you don't know these two gentlemen
next to her. This is Mundungus Fletcher, and Belty Archer."

Harry gave a quick smile to Mrs. Figg and a quiet nod to both Mr. Fletcher and
Mr. Archer. Both men looked very old, but very formidable at the same time.
Fletcher seemed very weathered. Not quite as much as Moody, but he looked as
though he had dealt with a dark wizard or two in his time.

"Now that we have all been introduced, I have a few quick words before I
ask each of you to report in. We are all aware that the Ministry would not
condone meetings such as this, which is why I must ask all of you to remain
silent at this point regarding these discussions. We are all risking very much
but hopefully all understand they are necessary risks. I would like for
everyone to know that Harry Potter will be staying here at school for the
summer, and that information won't be disclosed to anyone outside of this room
for his protection. Having said that I, will open up
the floor to Arthur Weasley so that he may tell us the goings on inside of the
Ministry."

"Thank you Dumbledore." Ron's dad said as he walked towards the
staircase. He took a few steps up so that everyone could clearly see him.

"As Dumbledore said, Fudge can't be counted on for support. He has already
had numerous meetings to try to un-seat Dumbledore as head of the school, but
the governors aren't having any of it. They all know what Dumbledore stands for
and they all feel safe knowing that their children are here under his roof so
to speak. At this point I don't think we will get much friction from Fudge and
the others, but they surely won't be of any help. I have recruited a few
workers at each of the important departments of the ministry to keep me
informed of any friction that may arise there. They all can be trusted and will
keep us one step ahead of them. I think that's about all I have."

Arthur looked at Dumbledore for a second and nodded at him before he went back
beside Ron's mom, Molly.

"Thank you Arthur. Lupin, is there anything you need to share with us in
your findings?" Dumbledore said.

"Just a couple of things, yes. I have been
spending some time in some of the dark spots like Nocturn Alley and the West
Pub in Hogsmeade. It seems that some of the Death Eaters are looking for
recruits. We know that their numbers are small right now and until they make a
run at Azkaban, they aren't very formidable with their current numbers. I have
had contact with a few of them. Some have been seeking me out for help in the
area of Hogwarts information. It seems that the report of me being a werewolf
that came out last year, thanks to Professor Snape, may come to our
advantage."

As Lupin finished that last sentence Snape looked as though he wanted to jump
head first out of the tower window. Lupin however continued, taking the
attention away from Snape.

"They are thinking I may hold some sort of grudge against the school and
Dumbledore for me not being able to teach here anymore. It seems as though some
of them have been given assignments from Voldemort to try to build their
numbers. I think this is why there hasn't been anything public from them yet.
They must know that we don't have the ministry on our side yet and may want to
make a move only after they have the numbers to make a larger bang before the
ministry begins to prepare."

After his last sentence, Lupin made his way down the stairs and winked at Harry
as their eyes met.

"Very interesting Lupin thank you. Severus, I do
believe we would like to hear from you next."

Snape made his way to the same step that they other speakers had walked to then
looked at everyone with the same cold look that Harry
had seen on a daily basis in his dungeon classroom.

"Thank you Headmaster. I can tell you that Lupin is correct. Right now the
Death Eaters are only trying to gather intelligence and numbers before they do
anything in the public eye. Most of them are still very reluctant to ask
Voldemort as to what his plans are. Many of them still fear that he may strike
down on them at any time for not helping to return him to power sooner. As for
me.." Snape stopped for a second and looked as
though he was trying to swallow something very large before he spoke again.

"I have been asked to report the goings on of these meetings and the
whereabouts of Harry Potter. Obviously I have been working with Dumbledore on
how to address these answers as to not draw any suspicion to the fact that I am.. doing what I am doing."

Snape said nothing more and made quick steps to the back of the room, not too
far from where Harry and Ron were standing.

"Thank you Severus. I think I speak for everyone in once again saying
thank you for your sacrifices and your risks."

"With that I will be meeting with you each individually. Let's all make
our way to the Dining Hall for some refreshments."

As they all started making their way to the staircase, both Harry and Ron
waited for everyone else to make their way past them. Fletcher and Archer both
shook Harry and Ron's hand as they made their way past them to the staircase.
Mrs. Figg gave Harry a hug.

"Harry, Harry, Harry!" she said. "I am so glad you are doing
well. I hear you are doing good with your studies. You
don't know how many times when you were younger I was tempted to tell you about
your parents. I knew them both very well. Sometime when we get a few minutes
we'll have some tea and I'll tell you some stories about them. I knew those
Dursley's wouldn't be able to tell you much. Do take care of yourself. I'll see
you down stairs.

"Yes ma'am. Thank you" Harry replied with a fake smile. He didn't
feel much like smiling even though stories regarding his parents did interest
him.

After Dumbledore walked past them, Harry and Ron were the last to leave. They
were about to make their way down the stairs when they noticed that Snape was
still in the room with them. He seemed to be staring at nothing in particular
up on the wall.

"Ron, go on I'll catch up with you." Harry said.

Ron saw that Harry was about to be alone in the room with Snape and he had an
open mouthed look on his face.

"You sure about this Harry?" he said.

"Yes I'm sure, I'll be right down."

Ron walked slowly down the stairs hoping his friend would hurry to follow him.

Harry then turned back to Snape who was still staring out into space.

"Professor, can I talk to you for a second?" Harry asked very softly.

Snape didn't move his eyes at all but spoke anyway.

"No one is stopping you Potter, what it is?"

"Well, sir, I just.. I just wanted to say thank
you sir."

"Thank me for what Potter?"

"For what you're doing sir. For
going back to them. What you are risking I mean."

Snape's eyes came back into focus and then he turned his head to face Harry.

"I know what he does to them. I was there remember, when he came back. I
saw what he did to them. When he hurts them."
Harry said with a shaky voice.

"Potter, both of us are in bad positions in this. Neither one of us is
going to have an easy ride. I assume that we can only do what we can to make it
easier on one another."

"Yes sir." Harry wasn't sure what he meant, but he knew that his
thank you was welcomed. For the first time in his life, Snape's ripping look
wasn't directed at him. He imagined though from this point on, that they may be
able to set their difference aside.

"Well, see you downstairs then." Harry said as he turned to walk down
the staircase.

Snape didn't reply, and returned his eyes to his spot in space.


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