TWNETY-FIVE: A SNAKE IN LION’S CLOTHING
January ended with a drizzle as the rain washed the month away. Professor Proudfoot was a great Defence Against the Dark Art’s teacher. Everybody loved him; his lessons usually complimented the Defence Club, which was allowed to run as Proudfoot taught it with a guest every week. Though Harry was still banned from Quidditch this year (Professor Flitwick said he would reinstate him next year), he was still just as busy. He had etiquette classes with Narcissa every Saturday, then with Hermione taught the younger years about the Wizarding world.
“I am sorry I have not got to speak to you sooner, Mr Black, Lord Rendlesham, but taking over as Headmaster is a bit more hectic than I thought,” Professor Flitwick admitted to the two teenagers from behind his desk. The headmaster’s office had changed entirely, now it felt almost light and airy. All the curiosities and odd items had disappeared, making the space seem more open. Of course, an extensive collection of Books remained, but these were on charms and other innocent books compared to Dumbledore’s books on Dark Art’s.
“No worries, Professor, I cannot imagine how hard it is running a school,” Draco said smoothly while sitting next to his Head of House, Rolanda Hooch. Surprisingly, she had become quite welcomed into Slytherin House; she was pretty fair with them all. He looked over at Harry, giving him a disapproving look as the teen wandered around the office. Minerva McGonagall smiled indulgently at Harry.
“Yes, well, the reason I bought you here was to see how you are doing as well as to let you know I have lifted the ban on Quidditch,” the small Professor told them.
“What?” Draco’s jaw dropped. Harry would have sniggered at how common Draco acted if he were not busy examining some artefacts Professor Flitwick kept in his office. Instead, ignoring the hat, he stared at Gryffindor’s Sword encased in a display case. As he stared, the name Godric Gryffindor shifted, first into Runes then into the name Excalibur. It lasted about ten seconds before it reverted back to Gryffindor. Harry gasped out loud.
“Yes, I was pretty appalled by Dumbledore’s decision to maintain your lifetime ban, so you shall be playing Quidditch. I have spoken to the Team Captains, and they are willing to take you back without quibble,” Flitwick responded incorrectly, responding to Harry’s gasp. The boy blinked, then gathered himself before returning to his seat.
“Thank you, Professor; I love being on a broom,” the dark-haired teen admitted honestly.
“James was exactly the same, as was Sirius,” Flitwick admitted remembering the two brilliant students.
“How was Cary’s first transformation?” Harry asked the new Headmaster.
“By all accounts, it went well; I am surprised Mr Lupin did not tell you; he was working with Cary and Colin,” Flitwick admitted.
“I, erm, have not sent him any letters recently,” Harry blushed, knowing he had been distracted by Hermione.
“Ah, young love,” the small man said, sighing. They continued to talk for a bit longer before the half-goblin looked at his watch. “Well, I won’t keep you from Hogsmeade much longer; Madam Puddifoot’s needs the business.”
“Thank you, Professor,” The two teens thanked the man leaving the two Head
’s in the office. Once they reached the bottom of the stairs, Draco pulled the brunette aside into an empty classroom.
“What was that about?” Draco demanded.
“What?” Harry tried to appear innocent.
“The gasp? I knew it had nothing to do with Quidditch,” Draco demanded.
“I do not know if I believe it myself, but when I looked at Gryffindor’s sword, the name changed first to runes, then to Excalibur, before reverting back to Gryffindor,” Harry explained reluctantly. Most people thought he was crazy, so what was one more thing.
“What!” Draco said again, his mouth dropping.
“You are right; I probably imagined it after your story during the Christmas break,” Harry misinterpreted Draco’s look.
“No, there have been people for years claiming Gryffindor’s Sword was really the lost sword of Arthur. One legend says the sword will reveal itself when a leader is needed in Britain; another suggests King Arthur will return.”
“Tall Tales,” Harry scoffed, but it got him thinking.
“Maybe, maybe not, but will you let me do research on the sword to find out anything about it,” Draco looked at his quasi-brother.
“OK, but do not say anything to anyone. I really do not Hermione harping on at me for believing in legends and myths,” Harry gave the other boy a wry grin, “Now, I want to see my girlfriend as it’s valentines weekend.”
“OK, lover boy,” Draco laughed, and the two walked down to the main entrance together, talking and joking. Draco said goodbye and went off down to the Dungeons.
Hermione had woken up to a large bouquet of flowers, then had proceeded to snog the living daylights out of Harry. They slept in the same bed together, but it was all relatively chaste and proper. Harry was taken Professor Flitwick’s warning about them being too young to heart. As she approached Harry at the bottom of the stairs in the main entrance, Riley Monahan shoved past the older teen.
“How has Riley been?” Hermione asked, sighing. She had watched the boy several times over the last month, and he was conflicted. She could clearly see how he watched the other firsties having a good time and wanted to join in but was held back by his dad’s training.
“Still ignoring me, he hates that I was chosen to be his mentor for the program,” Harry returned as they walked down to the carriages for Hogsmeade. They were planning a romantic date, as Valentine’s Day fell on a Wednesday.
“Harry,” Hermione hesitated, “did you have anything to do with becoming Riley’s mentor?”
“I did,” Harry blew out some air, “I asked Professor McGonagall specifically because I think Riley needs a strong hand guiding him. I can see his Aura; he could be a great light wizard.”
“But what about his father?” Hermione asked.
“I do not know, maybe we can get him away from the boy, but he is a bit like Draco at that age,” Harry answered.
“Do not let Draco hear you say that” Hermione giggled.
“Say what?” the boy in question popped up behind them.
“That you are an arrogant twit,” Harry quipped.
“You forgot Handsome,” Draco pretended to preen as the other two just laughed at him.
“How are you finding your mum teaching Potions?” Hermione asked.
“She’s a damn sight better than Snape. I am actually learning stuff,” Harry responded before Draco could as they reached the carriages. Draco followed them inside.
“He was my godfather, but yes, it is a bit more pleasant now without having to be pushed to sabotage your potions,” Draco grinned at the other boy.
“Where is your better half? Did he not fancy going on a date with you?” Harry’s smile got even wider as he teased his cousin.
“He is doing some makeup Herbology for Sprout, did not do well enough on the recent homework. He will meet up with me later, I suppose,” Draco replied, ignoring the other boy. After a quick ride in which the three chatted about everything, they were soon stood in Hogsmeade. After seeing off Draco, they wandered down Hogsmeade main street. Harry visibly noticed an increased Auror presence.
“Are they worried about the recent breakouts?” Harry was looking at a team of two Aurors in red robes.
“I suppose, but I am sure Voldieshorts has them on a tight leash,” Hermione replied. Harry looked at the love of his life and cracked up.
“Voldieshorts?” he asked between laughter.
“I hate using You Know Who, and Voldemort makes me shudder,” Hermione replied, shuddering to prove her point, “so, I heard your dad use it and decided to adopt it.”
“So, what is the plan for today?” Harry asked, guffawing, knowing his girlfriend would have planned their ‘date’ down to a T.
“Do you want to go to Madam Puddifoot’s?” Hermione asked as they passed the Tea shop. Harry could see the place looked cramped, and the décor was a little tacky.
“Er, if you want to,” Harry swallowed his pride, but Hermione merely laughed at him.
“Do not worry, I am not going to force- “She was cut off as someone hailed them.
“Hi Harry, how are you?” Cho Chang asked, a blush creeping up her face. She was holding hands with a boy Harry did not know.
“I am good thanks, are you heading inside?” Harry gestured towards the teashop. He felt Hermione’s hand tighten on his, taking note of Cho shifting glances between the pair.
“Oh, yes, it is so romantic. I love valentine’s day,” the vapid girl gushed. Harry wondered how he could ever have liked her. He had noticed all she seemed to talk about was Quidditch, boys, makeup, and clothing.
“Well, have a good time,” Harry smiled, leading Hermione up the road, who once again burst into laughter.
“Oh, it’s so romantic,” Hermione simpered like Cho, “She is such a barbie doll; she was clearly trying to flirt with you.”
“You what?” Harry looked at her, confused.
“She still has feelings for you; after Cedric, she tried to latch on to you,” Hermione explained, looking at his blank face. “Clearly, you never noticed,”
“I never noticed; I only had eyes for you,” Harry answered honestly.
“You are really sweet,” she snuggled into him, trying to get warmer on the cold Saturday. Snow had fallen the last few days, making it a beautiful but chilly day as they walked the Shrieking Shack path. Their breaths came out in little puffs of steam. Harry thought Hermione never looked more beautiful with rosy red cheeks and her eyes alight.
“You look beautiful today,” Harry commented. Hermione’s smile widened as she took him in her arms and kissed the boy soundly. He loved kissing Hermione; though he felt uncomfortable with the oversized coats they were wearing; he could not get closer to her. He felt her tongue lick his lips, so he allowed her to venture inside, sharing their first French kiss. The kiss became a little more heated, so Harry took a step back, gently caressing Hermione’s face.
“I love you,” he told her innocently.
“I love you too. I do not know how I met such a sweet guy, even after what Dumbledore put you through. I still feel guilty about what I made you go through at the end of last year,” She turned away to look at the abandoned shack.
“It was not your fault, Hermione. The old goat manipulated you and charmed you into ‘dating’ Ron,” Harry reassured her. “Soon, you will be Lady Black, and we will forget about everything that’s happened.”
“Do you think we are moving a little quick, getting married?” Hermione asked.
“I know we are still young, but it is for your protection. However, I do not think I want to be with anyone else but you for the rest of my life,” Harry told her sincerely. Then he tried to distract her, “now, what have you got planned for the rest of the day?”
“Well, I was thinking, especially with the articles in the paper recently, that you need to tell your side of the story,” Hermione started chewing her lip, “that is why I have contacted Rita Skeeter for you to give an interview.”
“You what?” Harry hated any publicity or attention, but now Hermione wanted him to give an interview to a well-known sensationalist.
“I think it will be right for you to be seen and the public to hear your story; Luna’s father has agreed to publish a story at the Quibbler,” Hermione ploughed on. Harry was just getting ready to respond when they heard several pops then Harry was hit by a Curse before he could react. Pain flooded his side as he collapsed to the ground.
“Wittle Baby Potter got blindsided; I thought you were better,” a taunting voice was heard from the trees as Hermione tried to help the teen up. The pair looked up to see Bellatrix Lestrange enter the clearing with several other men, none wearing the usual white masks. Harry instantly recognised Derrin Monahan; his son looked so much like him. Rodolphus Lestrange was also sneering at the teen before them.
“Avada Kedavra,” Monahan yelled before anyone could say anything. Instantly Harry knew he could not outrun the curse, so he conjured a rock, the only known defence against the Unforgivable Curses. The explosion when the green curse hit the rock was massive. Hermione and Harry were blown off their feet as the rock shattered into hundreds of pieces.
“You’ll pay for that, Potter,” Bellatrix shouted as the dust cleared, allowing the two teens to get to their feet. Bellatrix had white powder all over her but remained unharmed. Most likely a shield Charm, like Harry had used, but Derrin Monahan lay severely wounded, bleeding on the ground, turning the snow red. Harry grabbed the necklace he was wearing, muttering the spell Amelia had taught him the day after the Ball.
“Confringo,” a new voice entered the fray, but not from any Aurors. Draco was on the path from Hogsmeade. One of the Death Eaters was on fire, trying desperately to put it out.
“Crucio,” Bellatrix cried, but instead of hitting Harry, it hit Hermione. The bushy-haired witch screamed in pain, writhing on the ground as Harry remembered this was the Dark Witch’s favourite curse. He used an old Anglian curse with a dark blue light, but Bellatrix simply dodged the spell, though dropping her own. Hermione now lay panting on the ground.
“Expulso,” Harry fired at the ground, causing a shower of dirt hiding the pair from view as Draco continued to fight a couple of Death Eaters by himself. Harry wandlessly placed a shield around Hermione as he drew his other wand. His cane now lay forgotten on the ground as he faced off against Bellatrix, Rodolphus and another Death Eater.
“Oh, Baby Potter is ready to pway,” Bellatrix taunted in her baby voice.
“Ignis Brynewelm,” Harry snapped off once again, causing a wave of fire to erupt from his second wand. Rodolphus and two other Death Eaters got caught up in it, burning furiously. It also gave Draco a breather, who appeared shattered. Bellatrix cried out, using a spell to fire water over her husband, but the fire seemed to feed on the water. In little more than a minute, Rodolphus had collapsed to the ground a charred husk. Bellatrix turned back to Harry, her eyes blazing with hatred.
“You’ll pay for that,” she yelled as she fired the Death curse. Harry managed to roll to the side, jarring his injured thigh. Luckily, she had aimed at Harry and not Hermione, who still lay on the ground. Before Bellatrix could fire again, several more pops announced the arrival of a company of Aurors. The dark-haired woman yelled in frustration and disapparated away, leaving behind a charnel house. Five Death Eaters dead, three captured. Draco was leaning heavily against a tree.
“Are you alright?” Harry crawled over to his future wife, holding her hand. Tears tracked down her face.
“I do not want to come to Hogsmeade again,” she grunted.
“Why is that?” Harry asked.
“Every time we come, we get injured,” She answered. Neither knew who started it first, but the pair were soon laughing hysterically. A Healer attached to the Auror company pushed Harry aside to tend to Hermione while another started looking over Harry. Amelia approached them.
“How are you feeling?” she asked the pair of them.
“Could be better; my leg is killing me,” Harry answered, sitting on the ground. He felt some liquid in his eye. Brushing it away, he realised it was blood. “Where the hell was the Aurors stationed in Hogsmeade?”
“That’s what I would like to know,” Amelia was angry.
“You have cut your head, Lord Rendlesham,” the Healer told him, using a spell to sew up the skin.
“Can you tell me what happened?” Amelia asked, getting a glare from the Healer.
“- I wonder why she kept calling me Potter? She must know I’m a Black by now,” Harry finished telling the story of what had happened.
“She was driven half-mad in Azkaban; I doubt she got the Prophet or was told,” Amelia suggested as she got all the names of the Death Eaters.
“I feel sorry for Riley; that was his dad I killed,” Harry gestured towards the man who had bled out. Before he realised Harry had a bundle of brown hair hugging him as the other Healer complained about ‘patients who would not stay still’.
“YOU did not kill Monahan, he attacked you, and you defended yourself,” Hermione told him sternly.
“But I could have ducked out the way,” Harry tried lamely. Hermione pulled his face towards her.
“Get it through your thick head; you did not kill Derrin Monahan,” Hermione told him firmly.
“OK, Lady Rendlesham,” Harry said with a grin, his humour returning.
“Good, I will remind you of that,” Hermione replied saucily, winking, “Remember who wears the trousers in this relationship.”
“She’s a keeper,” one of the Healers said as Harry’s jaw dropped. He had never seen Hermione act like this. Maybe the curse had knocked her silly.
“I will find out about the Aurors and will let you know what the investigation finds out,” Amelia added as they all started to head back to the castle.
14th February 1996
How are you feeling? How’s Hermione? The attack really frightened me, but Bellatrix is crazy. We are looking into how they knew you would be in Hogsmeade, but we think there may be someone in Hogwarts working for Voldemort, so please be careful at the school, even around the first years. I have spoken to Amelia; apparently, the Aurors in Hogsmeade were lured off elsewhere, so the attack was not quite spur of the moment. Someone has been watching you.
I was glad to hear that your tutoring lessons with the younger years are going well. Hopefully, they will better contribute to society now they know what to expect and deal with, especially with the older families. Narcissa has also passed on reports about your lessons; you seem to be picking up things well with her. But I would like to know about the detentions you got with Professor McGonagall last week; Narcissa said you were using some Weasley Products in the Great Hall. That is not an excellent example to the firsties (Great Work though, the old cat’s a tough nut to crack). OK, OK, Amelia has just told me you better behave, or I will have to ground you until next year.
On to the big news, we had our second Wizengamot session of the year, where they finally voted on the repeal of the Werewolf Act. Thirty-six voted in favour, which means we won. So, this coming Friday, the amendments to the law will go into effect. That means Werewolves can freely get Wolfsbane from the Black Foundation. They can get jobs and not be automatically labelled criminals. While this is not a complete repeal of the Act, it is a step in the right direction.
On another note, your interview with Rita Skeeter has gone down well; I have heard the discussions about it while we were waiting for the Wizengamot session to start. Fame is a fickle thing, and the magical population seem just as erratic because they seem to be on your side now.
I best finish now, but before I go, I got a letter from Gringotts. They want to know if you are available as they have some information on the contract. Hopefully, it is a way out of it.
Your loving father,
P.S. Tell your brother to write back to me, please.
Riley Monahan stood at the bottom of the stairs looking at the Great Hall. It had been over a month now since his father’s death, yet the school still expected him to work with the boy who killed his father. I will avenge him, Riley thought.
Ah, but are you really like your father? Are you indeed a murderer? A niggling voice asked.
Of course, I am. I have blue blood running through my veins, he retorted though a hint of doubt lingered in his mind. He shook his head, trying to ignore any doubts as he proceeded to stare at the noticeboard—the list of Mentors and Mentee’s taunting him like they did every day.
“How does it feel to have a murderer as your mentor?” a cold voice spoke from behind him. Riley turned to find the fifth year Blaise Zabini watching him.
“I hate him.”
“Oh yes, he killed your daddy, but a little traitor like you will just embrace him,” Zabini continued to circle the boy watching him like a predator watches their prey until he was stopped by an unlikely source.
“Leave him alone, Zabini,” Cepheus Black stepped up to the pair. Zabini thought the boy had balls of steel to confront him. No eleven-year-old got away with that.
“All you Gryffindor’s are the same, bull right into to something without knowing the dangers,” Zabini sneered. “Think about it, Monahan; your father was true to the right side.”
“Is there a problem here?” Hermione Granger came up behind the boy observing Zabini.
“No!” the teen bit off, turning around to stalk off into the Great Hall. Riley glared at the pair, annoyed they had interrupted the older boy. He was quietly muttering about stupid Harry’s when he passed the fifth year Gryffindor’s. Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas seemed to be in deep conversation while Parvati Patel watched Dean dreamily, completely ignoring her boyfriend though few people seemed to notice. Riley huffed, taking a seat at the table. Perhaps he can get information and pass it on to the Dark Lord.
“Good morning,” Harry chirped as he took a seat next to Riley. The eleven-year-old merely glared at the older teen,
“I hate you, Black!”
“There’s too many Blacks around here,” Draco whined as he sat opposite with Ceph by his side. Riley knew he could not get away, so he tried to focus on his dinner.
“Well, that’s one way to be greeted,” Harry commented as if he was speaking about the weather, helping himself to some Lasagne.
“You and the Mudblood will not win,” Riley hissed, “The Blacks have turned traitor on the true lord; I shall kill you for my fathers’ death.”
“I would be very careful about what you say,” Harry suggested, though his voice sounded dangerous. Dean and Seamus briefly looked up, then went back to their previous conversation. Neville, from Ceph’s other side, watched the pair carefully.
“Dumbledore was a Mudblood lover too; you will all get what’s coming to you,” Riley spoke, ignoring Harry’s warning.
“I told you not to threaten me. Voldemort is a half-blood himself. A filthy half-breed of Muggle and Wizard. But your death would not come at my hand, but at his,” Harry spoke so quietly none of the others could hear. He whispered an incantation then grabbed Riley’s hand.
Riley found himself no longer in Hogwarts but in the hall of a once-great house. The building now appeared ancient and unloved. A voice drew his attention to the front where a raised dais was standing. Lord Voldemort, the most powerful Dark Wizard in the world, looked at him.
“Welcome to my service, Riley Monahan. Your father was one of my best fighters and my greatest ally, but I do not tolerate failures easily. You shall suffer for your fathers’ death,” Voldemort purred evilly. With a ‘Crucio”, the boy writhed in agony, feeling every bit of the curse sent by the evilest man in history. He had never felt so much pain in his life; even his own father just used stinging hexes on him. When Voldemort ended the curse, Riley looked up with golden brown eyes smouldering with fire.
“That is the kind of passion I want on my side, Hatred,” Voldemort leaned forward, pressing a long white finger to the flesh of Riley’s left arm. When the boy looked down, his skin was charred, but he had a Dark Mark now writhing on his arm. He swallowed the vomit down that threatened to overwhelm him. He was terrified but tried to hide it from his new Lord.
“Now it is time to celebrate; let us welcome our seven new recruits,” Lucius Malfoy suggested as the music began to start from somewhere in the big ballroom. Riley looked around, seeing heavy draperies closed to the view outside though they appeared moth-eaten. Draco Black approached him with a smile.
“Welcome to the Brotherhood,” the older teen handed him a goblet, then led him to a small group of other teens. “When do we have our initiation?”
“Tonight; Parvati, Cho and Justin are coming later. I really hope I get some action with Parvati tonight; she’s getting bored with Finnegan,” Dean answered though he looked uneasy about something. “We’re also waiting on Weasley.”
The vision or dream, or whatever it was, shifted so that he stood in the high street. Thick smoke plumed in the sky as one of the houses was on fire. Riley saw Dean flourish his wand performing a Crucius on a child. Beside him, Draco was now pushing aside the body of a young girl. Riley realised they were stood outside a building that had a sign for an orphanage on it. Sickened, he turned away from Draco to find Dean had taken a boy, probably a year or so younger than himself, and had pushed him up against the wall kissing him. Laughter drew his attention to Parvati, who, along with Blaise Zabini, was using a flame spell to set the orphanage alight. Riley heard the terrified screams of children coming from the building. The boy looked ready to vomit when Lord Voldemort arrived with Lucius Malfoy. Malfoy was holding up Theodore Nott. A second Death Eater was holding up some seventh year Slytherin.
“Ah, my junior Death Eaters. Are you having fun, Master Black?” Voldemort sneered the last name.
“Yes, my Lord, this is the most fun I have had in ages,” Draco replied, appearing giddy.
“Master Thomas, would you do me the honours of killing one of these blood traitors?” Voldemort asked.
“Certainly, my lord, Avada Kedavra,” the Muggle-born intoned. With a flash of green light, the seventh year had died.
“Now, Master Black, Pack Leader, I offer you the chance to kill Mister Nott.” Lucius Malfoy bowed to his son, offering Draco, his former boyfriend, to him.
“Please, no!” Theodore cried out. Riley saw the uncertainty in the blond teen’s eyes but thought no one else did,
“My Lord, this is Pups first outing with us; perhaps he would be better suited to take the blood traitor’s life,” Draco suggested.
Then Riley came out of the vision, his stomach heaving. Riley gasped loudly, not able to look at the other fifth year students as he scrambled from the table though the boy knew people were staring at him as he ran from the Great Hall, finding the nearest toilet. He slammed into the first cubicle and immediately vomited up what little food he had eaten, his stomach heaving. As the boy began to dry heave, he heard the door swing open, then the sound of a muttered incantation.
“It’s not a nice truth, is it?” a voice said, then offered him a wet cloth. Harry looked at Riley in sympathy as he wiped his face then his mouth. “But this is what your father did.”
“Thank you,” Riley replied shakily as he took the conjured water, “c-can I ask you a few questions?”
“How did you do that?”
“I used an old Black spell to twist reality to make you see what service with Voldemort would really be like,” Harry shrugged as if it was an everyday occurrence.
“My cousin is all huff and puff; he’s very uncertain. He still has some loyalty to his father,” Harry responded.
“How do you know this?” the boy asked.
“I am an Empath, so I can feel Auras. But I recently discovered I am well adept at Leglimency; while I am not as good yet, I can still read surface thoughts,” Harry explained.
“Patel, Tomas, Chang and Finch-Fletchly?”
“Voldemort has several spies, even here in Hogwarts,” the teen responded guardedly, “be careful who you trust.”
“I’m sorry for treating you like shit; I loved my father even after everything he did to me,” Riley sobbed as he came to the realisation that his father was not a nice man. Harry pulled the boy into a hug allowing him to air his emotions. Harry knew the vision would not wholly change the boy, but it would help him on the way to healing.
After the boy had cried himself out, Harry led him from the door to find Hermione, Draco, Neville, and Ceph with Mark.
“Are you alright?” Ceph asked the other boy, concerned. Riley looked almost panicked, but Harry just smiled at him.
“Riley’s not feeling well. Do you boys’ think you could take him back up to the dorm? I am sure he could do with some friends today,” Harry suggested.
“Sure, we’d love to be friends,” Mark Evan’s said enthusiastically. He put a hand on the other boy’s shoulder. Harry watched his little brother and neighbour lead the boy back up to the Gryffindor tower.
“What was that about?” Neville asked.
“I’ll tell you, but you have got to keep quiet. Let us go up to mine and Hermione’s suite, then we can discuss it with a bit more privacy,” Harry proposed. The other three nodded their consent, so Harry led them through the castle up to the seventh floor. Just beyond the Gryffindor Tower was a painting of a Griffin watching over a valley. It watched them approach with very human-like eyes. Hermione stepped up to portrait, whispering a password. Though Hermione or Harry thought the two boys were trustworthy, they knew some ‘spies’ were in the castle.
Hermione led them into a comfortable sitting room decorated in red and gold; there were three doors beside the one they had entered. Neville gathered they were the bedroom, bathroom, and another room he could not guess. However, he was wrong when they showed their friends the bedroom with an ensuite bathroom. A study which had two desks and a back wall full of books. Neville grinned at Hermione when he saw the books. The third room turned out to be a dressing room with one side for Harry, and Hermione’s was the other side.
“Wow, pretty nice set up you have here,” Neville commented.
“I like it,”
“Too much red and Gold,” Draco grumbled as they all took a seat in the lounge. A Black House elf popped in with tea and cakes.
“You’ve got one of the Black House Elves?” Neville asked, noticing it was Noj.
“He helps out as we don’t trust any of the Hogwarts elves,” Hermione responded.
“So, what was that with Riley?” Draco finally asked the question he, Hermione and Neville wanted to know.
“I gave him a vision of what the future could be like if he joined the Death Eaters,” Harry explained casually. Neville and Draco’s jaw dropped.
“How? I would like to know about what happened at Christmas as well,” Neville asked.
“Well, Narcissa started us on Occlumency over the summer, but something was blocking me from fully Occluding,” Harry told his story, “But sometime after Hermione’s birthday, something just snapped, whether it was Dumbledore’s binding I don’t know.”
“I thought they got rid of all the bindings?” Hermione asked; she knew part of the story but not everything.
“I thought they did too, but the Saturday after Hermione’s birthday, I had a private lesson with Narcissa when suddenly I was not occluding, but in Narcissa’s mind. I was somehow performing Leglimency. All the adults agree that I am a natural because of my Empath abilities, which seemed to have come into their own.”
“So, you’ve fully come into your Empathic abilities?” Neville questioned.
“Yes, I can detect auras, which is how I know there are two vampires, and two werewolves now at the school. I also can detect peoples’ moods,” Harry shrugged.
“What did you do to Riley?” Draco eyed him carefully.
“I gave him a waking nightmare. Basically, I used Leglimency to warp his reality to show him what it would be like if he became a Death Eaters, using people I have been observing,”
“Observing? There are Death Eaters in Hogwarts?”
“I get a hint of people’s minds every now and then, so I know Blaise Zabini has a network of spies throughout the school, including in Gryffindor. His ‘handler’ is Severus Snape,” Harry revealed.
“Snape’s a double-agent, though,” Neville put forth. “He cannot do much now that he’s gone.”
“I think he is a triple agent; regardless of how he spun it, he still works for Voldemort. Though I think your right, his usefulness is up now that he has gone from Hogwarts, at least as a spy,” Harry considered, then added, “sorry Draco, but I gave Riley the impression you didn’t know whether you wanted to be a Death Eater or not.”
“Speaking of Death Eater’s, I contacted them. I have got an audience with Voldemort soon,” Draco divulged.
“Do you think he will believe you, especially after you have been friendly with Harry and changed your name?” Hermione questioned.
“I think so. My Occlumency is good, so he shouldn’t glean any knowledge I do not want, but I’m planning on offering him something he can’t refuse,”
“A way to get to Harry,” Draco surprised the pair, but Harry already knew.
“We are going to trap him, reveal him to the Magical world,” Harry added, seeing the surprise on their faces. They spent another half-hour discussing all sorts before Hermione kicked them to do some studying before bed (It was O.W. L’s year, after all).