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Harry Potter and the Sect of the Serpent by LacyBlu and Branu
Chapter 28 : Reunions
 
Rating: 12+Chapter Reviews: 104


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CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT: Reunions

Gryffindor Tower was not a very pleasant place to be for the remainder of the Christmas holiday. The fireplace was empty, the post owls infuriatingly absent, and Harry's mirror from Remus ominously silent. A letter from Ron's parents arrived on the second day, but it contained only empty words of consolation and promises of lost socks to be sent soon.

Harry promptly tore the letter up and fed it to the fire. With Ron's full permission, of course.

Harry and Ron played a lot of chess silently in front of the fire while Hermione was buried in her books, often glancing more at the boys than at the words in front of her, and Ginny was off on her own much of the time. Nothing changed the following day, or the next, or the one after that. Mostly Ron won at chess, but he did not keep count of their games. The pieces began to grumble and rub sore shoulders every time they were set on the board. Harry and Ron did not notice.

The very stones of Gryffindor Tower were holding their breath, waiting. When the other students returned at the end of the week, their hellos and holiday greetings were answered in monosyllables. Seamus made the mistake of asking Hermione what she could possibly be working on. She mumbled something about Arithmancy and logical conundrums, and he gave up and walked away. Dean asked after Ginny, but Ron only shrugged noncommittally; no one really saw her until the first day of classes. Neville went from one to the other, trying to figure out what had happened. The strange thing was that the four of them seemed to be avoiding one another, yet none of them seemed to be fighting...

In addition, whenever anyone tried to sit near the fireplace in Gryffindor Tower, Harry and Ron would glare as angrily as their chessmen until the offender got up and moved, and every morning when the post came, they scanned the ceiling, watching the owls delivering the letters to their intended recipients. It was almost as though the boys were expecting something.

The first day of classes dawned grey and rainy. Ron and Harry were hunched over their bowls of porridge when Hermione entered the hall, heavily laden with her books.

"Still no word," Harry said sullenly before Hermione even asked. Hermione dropped down onto the bench without a word and pushed a sheet of parchment across the table to him.

"What's this?" Harry asked, glancing down at Hermione's tidy script.

"Well," Hermione said, "it's half of your amulet. The half I understand."

Harry raised an eyebrow as he started to read. "What is sweeter than honey, what fiercer than lions? What binds us together, both pauper and scion? A bond that's eternal when freely bestowed. A harvest more plentifully reaped than when sowed."

"Oh good," Ron snorted. "I thought it was going to be something silly."

Hermione made a face at him. "It's a riddle you idiot."

"But what does it mean?" Harry asked. He thought back to the Sphinx in the maze during the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Her riddle had been hard, but it had seemed a lot more straightforward than this one.

"Perhaps you should ask Gwyn," Hermione said pointedly. Harry turned in his seat and saw Gwyn walking into the hall with Padma and Luna. He raised his hand to wave, but Gwyn wasn't looking at him. In fact she was looking everywhere but at him. Padma glanced over and gave him a little half smile. Luna was staring at the ceiling looking every bit as vague as always.

"Go and talk to her," Hermione pressed. "You haven't talked to her all holiday."

Harry swallowed audibly. He hadn't written to Gwyn even once over the holiday, even though he’d promised to. Smiling wanly at Ron and Hermione he stood and walked heavily towards the Ravenclaw table.

Gwyn was sitting with her back towards him. Her hair seemed longer; the blonde curls hung prettily against her black school robes. Harry noticed that the pink streak was gone.

Padma was giving him a rather bug-eyed look, trying to tell him something. He smiled at her uncertainly as he approached the table.

"Hullo Gwyn," he said cheerfully as he slid into the seat next to her. "Have a good holiday? How was London?"

"Pass the salt, would you Luna?"

Harry blinked at her. "What's the matter with you?" he asked.

"Nothing," she answered coolly. "I just don't see why I should speak to you."

Harry glanced across the table at Padma who was avoiding his gaze, and at Luna, who was humming to herself, having made no move towards the salt.

"Er, possibly because you missed me and we haven’t spoken in more than a fortnight?" he ventured, still trying to steady the pounding in his chest, though he was becoming more and more certain that he’d made a terrible mistake.

Gwyn finally turned and studied him with an icy gaze. "And whose fault is that?" she demanded. Harry’s stomach turned. He had a strong suspicion that whatever he came up with would not be the correct answer.

"Well," he said very carefully. "Plans changed at the last minute and we went to the Burrow for Christmas--"

"And they don't have pen and paper at the Burrow?" Gwyn continued in the same dangerous calm. Harry frowned.

"Well, you didn't write to me either," he said defensively. Gwyn raised her eyebrows at him. She bent under the table, dug around in her bag and produced two thick letters which she unceremoniously threw at Harry. "It's hard to deliver something to Harry Potter, care of Hogwarts when Harry Potter isn't actually at Hogwarts."

Harry felt his face begin to burn uncomfortably and he shifted in his seat, desperately trying to think of something that would satisfy Gwyn.

"In any case," Gwyn continued, finally looking away from him and concentrating on her breakfast, "I certainly hope the two of you had a good time together while I was sitting all alone with nothing to do in my dad's flat in London."

"The two of us?" Harry said without thinking.

Gwyn looked back at him sharply. "You and Ron. Or am I mistaken in my math as well?"

"Oh. Right." Harry quickly looked away.

"Why?" Gwyn asked suspiciously. "Who else was there?"

"Oh," Harry said quickly, trying to force a light tone. "Well, loads of people. Ron has a huge family you know. There was Ginny, and Ron's brothers, and Remus showed up. And Hermione and her parents came too."

"I thought she was going home for Christmas!"

"She was. Like I said, plans changed and she stayed here with me."

Harry chanced a nervous glance at Gwyn. He wasn't exactly sure what he was afraid of; only, he didn't want her to yell, or cry, or make a scene. Especially not in front of all these people. In the chaos of the Burrow, he’d completely forgotten to write to her, and he had no better excuse than that.

"You and she stayed here -- together -- ALONE?" Padma asked incredulously.

Harry winced at her. "Well when you say it like that..."

"Like what, Harry?" Gwyn asked placidly. "Like the truth?"

Harry frowned angrily. "Nothing happened over the Christmas holidays, OK? Nothing... er... happened..."

Gwyn turned very slowly to look at him. Harry wondered vaguely what sort of death she was plotting for him.

"What didn't happen?" she asked, her voice low and unsteady. He couldn’t meet her wide eyes, and so turned to Padma.

"Nothing," he said quickly. "I mean..." He glared at her for want of anything more to say.

"Tell me the truth, Harry," Gwyn said. The anger seemed to have drained out of her voice and had been replaced by something unexpected: fear.

"Honestly," Harry said in what he hoped was a soothing tone. "It was nothing." But one look in Gwyn's huge blue eyes and he knew he was going to tell her everything. He sighed deeply.

"Fred and George put up this stupid charmed mistletoe that would get you stuck if you stood under it for too long and I got stuck and couldn't get away without getting a kiss."

Padma gasped dramatically, but Gwyn didn't make a sound. She was just watching him. Suddenly, Luna giggled.

"Did Ronald have to kiss you, or Hermione?" she asked. Harry hadn't even realized that she was paying attention to the conversation.

"Er... Neither," he replied sheepishly. "It was Ginny."

All three of them stared at him and then Padma shifted her gaze over Harry's shoulder towards the Gryffindor table and Luna followed suit. Very slowly, Gwyn turned in her seat. Harry was certain he knew what, or rather who, they were looking at. He silently groaned and followed their gazes.

Sitting off by herself at the Gryffindor table, Ginny was halfheartedly poking at her breakfast, her head resting on one hand, her long burnished hair hanging down in a straight curtain, her expression blank as she stared at the wall behind them. When she noticed them all looking at her, however, she blushed brilliantly red and bent her head to study her porridge.

Abruptly, Gwyn grabbed her bag out from under the table and got to her feet. "I'll see you in class," she said, obviously speaking to Padma and not to Harry, before rushing for the door.

"Oh dear," Luna said sadly. "I think we upset her."

"It was no big deal!" Harry exclaimed, looking to Padma for support. "She was just--"

"Kissing you?" Padma offered disdainfully. She sniffed and began stirring her porridge. "Really Harry. You're a clever enough person. Couldn't you have found another way out?"

"Couldn't you have kept your mouth shut?" Harry snapped, getting to his feet. "Some friend you are!"

"Some boyfriend you are," Padma retorted angrily.



The grey weather and Harry's mood persisted throughout the week. His lessons were just as he had left them: difficult and demanding. Professor McGonagall began teaching the sixth years’ extensive human transfigurations, and she looked ever so slightly relieved after Harry and Ron paired up yet again, but spent the hour laughing rather than blasting spells at each other. Professor Lindell had begun lecturing on the craft of writing original spells, which excited Hermione so much that she was practically unbearable to be around; and Hagrid worried them all by giving actual notes and homework on a singularly disturbing topic: the chimera.

"Is this your doing, Hermione?" Ron asked as they sat around the fire on Thursday night, persuading their copies of A Monster Book of Monsters to sit still while they paged through them looking for what Hagrid had called "useful bits o' information" on chimeras.

"Not at all," Hermione said earnestly. "Though I can't say I'm unhappy that Hagrid's finally decided to take my advice about proper lesson plans after all this time."

"OK, what do we know?" Harry asked around a yawn.

"Chimeras are bloody ugly brutes," Ron answered promptly. "Head of a lion, body of a goat, and a nasty looking serpent for a tail." He smirked. "Real hit with the ladies, they are. Not unlike someone else I know."

"Shut up, Ron," Harry growled.

"Has she spoken to you yet?" Hermione asked sympathetically. Harry shook his head wordlessly. Gwyn had barely even looked at him, let alone said anything.

"I really think it might help if I had a word with her," Hermione insisted.

"Forget it, Hermione," Harry said a bit more fiercely than he'd intended. "It won't do any good. Can we just get back to work?" Hermione frowned but held her tongue as they silently skimmed through their books for a few moments more.

"Chimeras are highly volatile creatures and known for their unpredictable temperaments," Ron read aloud. "They're quite like girls in that regard, wouldn't you say, Harry?" He laughed at his own joke.

"Think that’s funny, do you?" Harry demanded hotly. "Laugh all you want. What if she wasn’t jealous of Hermione at all? What if I told you that she’s really annoyed because I kissed your sister?"

Ron's smile slipped off of his face as abruptly as though he'd stepped on a patch of black ice. "What?"

"You kissed Ginny?" Hermione blurted.

Harry rolled his eyes at her. "Why don't you tell the whole house, then!” He sighed and looked resigned. “Yes I did, but it was an accident, really.”

"What?" Ron squawked again, his eyebrows shooting up into his hair.

"It was only to get me out from under that stupid mistletoe!" Harry insisted. "Really that’s all."

"Did you tell Gwyn that?" Hermione asked.

"Of course I did,” Harry snapped. “I'm not a complete idiot."

Hermione gave him a doubtful look, but let the comment slide. "Well, hopefully she'll be reasonable and get over it before too much longer."

Harry sighed deeply. "I think I was better off stuck."

Wisely, Ron chose not to comment on that. The three of them quietly returned to looking through their books.

"You don't suppose Hagrid has an actual chimera, do you?" Hermione asked tentatively after a while.

"Harry?"

Harry glanced up, startled by the new voice. "Remus?" he called eagerly, glancing into the fireplace, expecting to see Remus' head nestled calmly amongst the flames.

"Over here, Harry."

Harry swung around and saw Remus and Professor McGonagall striding towards them across the common room. The few other students still around were watching avidly as the professors headed for Harry. He jumped out of his chair and rushed to meet them.

"What's going on?" he demanded. "Who got hurt? What happened?" He heard Ron and Hermione throwing down their biting books and hurrying up behind him, eager for Remus' answers.

"Everyone is going to be alright," Remus said seriously.

"What about the rest of it?" Harry pressed. "Why hasn't anyone told us what's been going on?"

"All in good time," Remus replied. "And with fewer people around," he added in a low whisper. "I just wanted to let you know I was here. I'll be going to your Occlumency lesson with you tomorrow morning."

"To see Professor Lindell," Harry concluded.

"To observe your lesson," Remus corrected in a firm voice, but he winked at harry Harry as he spoke. "I'll meet you in the Entrance Hall after breakfast. OK?"

Harry nodded, and Remus smiled wearily. "It's good to see you, Harry," he said.

When you’re not too busy shoving me out a Floo, Harry thought. "It's good to see you too," he said only a little grudgingly.

Remus nodded and turned to go. Professor McGonagall put her hands on her hips, glaring at Ron and Hermione.

"Enough eavesdropping!" she said firmly. "I seem to recall giving my sixth years extra reading on the difficulties associated with self-transfiguration. Don't tell me you've already finished it; I might think I haven't been giving you enough to do!"

Hermione opened her mouth to say that she had, in fact, finished it, but Ron promptly trod on her foot, smiled brilliantly at McGonagall, and dragged Hermione back towards the fire.

"I trust you will exercise some modicum of discretion, Mr. Potter, in discussing Mr. Lupin's visit," Professor McGonagall said coolly, eyeing Harry sharply as he nodded and headed back towards the fire.



That night, Harry didn't sleep well. He woke several times drenched in cold sweat, his heart pounding and his legs shaking as though he'd just been running for his life. Try as he might, however, he couldn't remember the dreams that had been driving him. The third time it happened, in the grey hours before dawn, Harry dug his Centre out of his bedside drawer and tried to calm his mind. It didn't seem to work.

The next morning, Harry fidgeted through breakfast while Ron and Hermione argued over their Transfiguration reading and the ethics of using self-transfiguration to look like someone else.

"All I'm saying," Ron said around a mouthful of toast, "is that it would be a bit of a lark to pretend to be someone else for a while. A musician maybe. Or a famous Quidditch player."

"How can you even say that?" Hermione asked. "I mean, it would be immoral to go around impersonating someone else without their knowledge!"

"Like using polyjuice Polyjuice potion to interrogate Slytherins?" Ron asked pointedly.

Hermione blushed. "That was different," she said simply. "We were doing that for a good cause."

"Oh I see," Ron said with a grin. "So impersonating someone for a good reason is OK, but just doing it for fun isn't."

"Exactly."

Harry rolled his eyes and grabbed his satchel. "I'm off," he announced. Ron waved at him dismissively.

"Be sure and tell us what happens," Hermione called after him as he approached the door.

"Ready?" Remus asked briskly as Harry approached him. He fell into step next to Harry as they headed for Professor Lindell's office.

"So what happened?" Harry pressed as soon as they were out of earshot of the few students wandering around the halls. Remus paused and walked quietly for several steps before answering.

"Nothing good," he finally replied.

Harry frowned when nothing more seemed forthcoming and watched his feet shuffling along the corridor. "You're not going to clam up, are you?" he asked. "If you stop telling me what's going on..." He left his thought unfinished. "I mean, you're all I've got," he finished lamely.

Remus looked at him sideways. "All you've got?" he repeated. "Harry, it seems to me that you've got an awful lot of people on your side."

Harry shrugged. "Not who trust me," he said flatly. Remus stopped suddenly and Harry went on several steps before realizing he'd left him behind. He turned back to look.

Remus was staring at him. "Is that what you think?" he asked quietly. "You think we don't tell you things because we don't trust you?"

Harry felt foolish saying yes, so he just shrugged again noncommittally.

Remus frowned, but not at Harry. He started walking again, catching up to Harry easily. They continued in silence; Harry could tell that Remus was thinking hard, so he did not press for more information. There would be time enough for that later.

Before Remus could say anything more, they had reached Professor Lindell's office -- Remus' old office, Harry realized, as he reached up to knock on the heavy wooden door.

Remus opened his mouth to speak, but before he had a chance, the door swung open. Professor Lindell appeared in the doorway. She blinked twice and raised one of her eyebrows at them.

"Professor Lupin, I presume?" she asked, holding out her hand as she stepped back to allow Harry and Remus to enter her office.

"Just Remus now," he responded, accepting her hand. He looked around the office wistfully as he spoke.

Professor Lindell inclined her head and gestured to a chair. "Well, come in Mr. Potter," she added. "It won't do to have you lurking in the doorway."

Feeling sheepish, Harry followed Remus to the leather wingbacks and sat in his usual chair. Professor Lindell moved around behind her desk, eyes on them at all times.

"Did you receive the package I sent you?" she asked, eyeing Harry keenly.

Harry nodded. "Yes, I..." How could he possibly thank her? He knew that she was a private person. Remus had been right when he'd said that the memory was a very personal gift. "Thank you," Harry said emphatically, willing his professor to read the meaning behind the words. She nodded once, the faintest hint of a smile playing at the corners of her lips.

"So," she began, folding her hands together on top of her desk. "To what do I owe the honor of this unexpected visit?"

"As Dumbledore may have mentioned, I'm quite keen on learning basic Occlumency," Remus began. "He suggested I observe your lessons with Harry. After all, there's only so much one can learn from a book." Remus shifted in his chair. “And he seemed to think you could help me.”

Professor Lindell raised an eyebrow at him interestedly. "It seems the headmaster had quite a lot to say to you about me, and yet he’s told me precious little about you." She paused, studying Remus over the tops of her glasses. "Help you with what?"

“Occlumency, of course,” Remus responded immediately.

“Really?” Professor Lindell looked at him shrewdly. “Professor Dumbledore mentioned several days ago that he might be sending a friend along to discuss regenerative magic and healing potions.”

Remus smiled slightly and spoke slowly, " Potions have never been my forte."

"Ah." Lindell looked thoughtful for a moment. "But why ask me? Surely Dumbledore should have sent you to see his potions prodigy down in the dungeons?"

Remus smiled wryly. "Likely he would have tried, though I doubt Professor Snape would have been very keen on helping me."

This comment merited the raising of Lindell's other eyebrow.

"The feeling is mutual, I assure you," Remus admitted blandly.

Harry looked from one to the other, feeling like the muggle at a Quidditch match.

"I like you all the more for it," Lindell replied. "And this particular branch of magic requires… something… more.” She studied him for another minute. “But the headmaster was unclear as to the purpose of this project. Such a thing would be very valu--"

"--would be for private use only," Remus interjected.

She nodded, eyes glazed over looking at something beyond the crowded office. Then she began to speak almost to herself. "It would have to be a combination spell -- potions, charm work, definitely requiring astronomy principles. But for a spell with almost unlimited regenerative potential, you'd have to start with a base element that already had inherent regenerative properties." She waved her hand around enumerating the possibilities. “A branch of lifewood, phoenix fire, unicorn, vampire, or werewolf blood, Elixir of Life perhaps… but none of those is legal or even possible to obtain.”

Remus nodded.

Lindell rubbed her nose reflectively, then relaxed and continued. “Phoenix Fire is deadly to the touch, lifewood all but extinct, I believe I read that the only Philosopher’s stone in existence was recently destroyed.” She glanced at Harry. “Which leaves--“

"Blood of a unicorn, werewolf, or vampire," Remus said. “And stealing the blood of a unicorn carries an ancient curse."

Lindell shook her head. "Vampire blood is much too volatile. The last thing I need is to have half the school blown up."

"Which leaves werewolf blood," Remus said calmly. Harry turned to stare at him openly.

Professor Lindell looked at him sharply. She rose from her chair and wandered over to her cabinet where she opened the bottom half and began digging through a pile of scrolls.

"You’ve got my attention, Lupin," she said from within the cabinet. "Something like this would be… very interesting." A moment later she reemerged with a large scroll in hand. "Of course, you realize that Werewolf blood is a controlled substance, and that possession alone carries a mandatory six month sentence in Azkaban?" Remus nodded unconcernedly. "Therefore, I trust we are only speaking about this hypothetically," Lindell added with a sly smile.

"Of course," Remus replied.

With a flick of her wand, Lindell sent the scroll she had retrieved across the room to the only bare spot of wall, unrolled it, and stuck it to the stones. The parchment was covered in a complex series of runes and symbols that Harry didn't recognize at all. It looked as though one of Hermione's Arithmancy textbooks had exploded all over the page.

Remus turned in his chair to look at the parchment as Lindell studied it with her back to them. "It wouldn't be easy," she said at last, tapping the parchment with her wand and shifting a few of the equations as though they were pieces of a puzzle. "That kind of spell would require a strong recompense to counteract the malignancy inherent in the Werewolf magic."

"An infusion of aconite, perhaps?" Remus said, standing as well and walking over to the parchment.

Lindell gave him a sharp look. "You’ve done your research," she said. "Yes. That might work. Of course, you'd have to factor in the temporal aspect..."

"Working with the lunar influence, rather than against it."

"And it would need something... Something to isolate the healing properties." Lindell rearranged another few equations and then tapped her lips thoughtfully with the tip of her wand. "But it could work," she pronounced finally.

"Well," Remus said, slipping his hands into his pockets, "if anyone could make it work, I'm inclined to think you could. Dumbledore was right to send me to you."

Lindell shrugged modestly. "It's a moot point. We would need the blood as a starting point, and you hardly seem the type to be running around buying illegal substances on the black market."

"I have a source," Remus said evenly. He was awfully good at this, Harry mused; he had to be.

Lindell arched her eyebrow at him. "You're positively full of surprises, aren't you, Mr. Lupin?" Remus stared back at her impassively.

"I'll think about it," Lindell announced finally. "But for now, I think we've taken up far too much of Mr. Potter's lesson time with speculation and fancy. After all," she said, glancing at Remus sideways, "you did come to observe our Occlumency lesson, did you not?"

Remus nodded and sat back in his chair. Lindell studied him for a moment more before shifting her attention to Harry.

"Right then, Mr. Potter," she said briskly, drawing her wand out once again. "Let's show Mr. Lupin what he came for. Clear your mind, please."

Harry instinctively closed his eyes and pictured his Centre. He'd been practicing lately without the aid of the crystal physically present, and had been doing quite well.

"Legilimens," he head Professor Lindell say. The familiar rush of memories crashed over him, and he struggled to remain in control. Images flashed at him so quickly that he could barely even recognize them. He tried to concentrate on the little ball of smoke deep in the heart of the Centre in his mind, but something was poking at it, prodding it outwards, pushing against him.

Suddenly, a memory leapt to the fore. There was a round room, dark and mysterious, with a raised dais in the center, on which an archway sat, a wispy veil fluttering in the oppressive stillness of the room. Harry recognized it at once, and recoiled from the image, fighting against it, fighting to regain control.

But the memory pushed harder. Suddenly, in the grey darkness, a pale hand reached out from behind the veil. The fingers reached, tendons flexing desperately, grasping for something, anything to pull it free from the veil. Harry's breath caught and he felt himself slowly relinquishing control, ceasing to struggle as he was overcome with horror.

A second figure emerged from the darkness of the room, striding purposefully up to the dais. The figure was cloaked and hooded, swathed in shadow, but Harry did not need to see his face to recognize him. His scar burned painfully as Voldemort walked calmly up to the arch, extended an arm, and sent the outstretched hand falling back beyond the veil.

"SIRIUS!" Harry screamed. He tried to move, to run towards them, to reach for his wand, but he was rooted to the spot, frozen against his will. High-pitched laughter echoed through his mind as his vision went dark.

"Harry!"

The voice calling Harry back from unconsciousness sounded so familiar, hurt and hoarse. Harry wanted to tell the voice not to worry, that he was all right, and that it was peaceful where he was, when the world snapped back at him like a rubber band. He groaned and opened his eyes, reaching up to rub his burning scar.

"Harry!" Remus had left his chair and was bent over Harry’s, his hands on Harry's shoulders, shaking him gently. His face was ashen, eyes wide with concern. "Harry, are you alright?"

"Yeah," Harry replied groggily. "Yeah, I think so." He blinked several times, trying to clear his head before glancing across the desk at Professor Lindell. Her face was absolutely white, her grey eyes wide and horrified.

"What was that?" she asked, her voice shaking ever so slightly. “Have you… Have you been in that room?”

"It was..." Harry fought to place the images he had seen. "It was a dream," he said as he realized it. "A nightmare I had last night." He glanced back at Remus. "Just a dream."

"Just a dream?" Remus repeated, staring at him intently. "Or a dream from Voldemort?"

Harry opened his mouth and then closed it again. It could have been from Voldemort. He couldn't be sure.

Lindell took a deep breath as though to steady herself. "Mr. Potter," she said, regaining some of her usual composure, "as I understand it, the very purpose of this exercise is to prevent you from having these... disturbing dreams. Have you been practicing clearing your mind at night?"

"Yes," Harry said wearily, "but it doesn't always work." He sighed. Memories of the nightmares were now fresh in his mind, and he was reliving the helplessness he'd experienced over and over again alone in the dark. "Once I get into the dream, it's like all my practice was for nothing," he said, trying to explain. "I don't even remember that I know Occlumency, let alone how to do it..."

"You've been showing such progress in our lessons..." Lindell said, frowning. "Tell me: the last time I was able to break into your mind, had you been having strange dreams the night before?"

Harry thought back, trying to remember. Oddly enough, he remembered that the last time Lindell had been able to get to him like this was the day he had practiced his Legilimency with Gwyn. The same day he'd had the very strange dream about Sirius and himself as a baby. He nodded, brow furrowing in thought. But surely that one couldn't have been from Voldemort as well...

"The dreams weaken his defenses," Remus said quietly.

"Then we'll simply have to change our strategy," Professor Lindell replied briskly. "I think that should be all for the day, Mr. Potter." She looked at him empathetically. "You look done in."

Harry nodded, gratefully, feeling his sleepless night catching up to him quickly, and he stood to go.

"Get some rest, Harry," Remus said quietly. He still looked deeply shaken and passed a hand over his face. "I'll see you later tonight."


---------------------------- A/N: Well! It's been a busy week, which is why this chapter is a little late in reaching you. First of all, I'd like to announce that Sect has been chosen as the recommended story of the month thanks to my friend and loyal reader, Janina Podgurski. (If you think you recognise her name, you're right; Janina was my 100th reviewer here, and I jokingly said she should get a prize. She asked to have a character named after her, and now she's everybody's favorite muggleborn Hogsmeade witch.)

So! If I've been a little distracted, I hope you'll forgive me. The new readers on this site have been rolling in at an alarming rate, but I'm still trying to respond to everyone individually. Just want you ALL to know -- old friends and new -- your reviews and constructive criticism really mean a lot to me as I got my first flame EVER this past week. So thanks also to "x," whoever you are. But actually, I'm 23, not 12. ;c)

Anyway, must say goodnight and get on with the posting. I LOVE YOU ALL! Lacy


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