Story: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Rune
Chapter 8: Stones
Dawn wasn’t sure why she stayed awake. Ever since she’d started meditating with Jocelyn, her sleep was easily disturbed. Most of the time she’d get up, walk around the suite, and crawl back in bed.
Tonight the walls of the castle hummed. She allowed it to wash over her. Sirius had just gotten to sleep and Jocelyn had been in bed for a long while. She grabbed her wand. Dressed in pajamas bottoms and a three-quarter sleeve shirt, she slipped on her trainers and walked out of the suite.
She followed the magic down several corridors. Her footsteps echoed in the dark around her. Something was stirring, setting off tiny ripples in the magic of Hogwarts castle. It wasn’t strong, and without having touched the stones weeks before she wouldn’t know what she was feeling. She stopped when the sound of growling reached her ears.
She was standing at the end of the third floor area which had been deemed off limits. She looked around, feeling for any presences. Only the canine presence through the door on her left registered. She looked around once more; making sure her eyes agreed with her other senses.
Dawn placed a hand on the door. Energy spiked around the door, sharp and hot. She pushed the door open the width of her hand. There was a harp directly in front of the door and a huge three-headed dog growling. With a flick of her wand the harp began playing a soft melody that often got caught in her head.
Almost immediately the Cerberus-like dog started stumbling. The eyes on all three of its heads began drooping and within a minute the dog was asleep. Opening the door wider she stepped in and looked around. It was a small, dark room, barely accommodating the dog.
She studied it carefully. There were no windows, no other doors. She felt a slight ripple in the floor near one of Cerberus’s paws. She moved forward focusing her eyes on the spot.
“A trapdoor,” she moved quickly towards it. She was hit in the face by the worst dog breath she’d ever come across. Grabbing the ring she struggled to pull the door open. When the trapdoor finally crashed to the floor, she took only a second to look, because the creature awoke. She jumped into the dark hole without a second thought. The door slammed shut and the dog started barking – and she heard the sound of harp strings snapping.
She landed on something lumpy. It smelled burnt. She managed to stand and avoid the damaged limbs that tried to grab her.
“Someone’s been here,” she felt her heart jolt. “Voldemort? Here?” She tried to figure out what would make him determined to go after the Sorcerer’s Stone now. Then she remembered: Dumbledore had left for some reason – summoned away. There was nothing but the wards Harry had said the teachers put in place.
And one of them was already down. She rushed down the small stone corridor. The fluttering of wings made her stop. Looking up she saw flapping wings… she watched them as she edged towards the door. But she found it locked.
“Damnit,” she turned full to examine the wings. There was one barely keeping up the pack. It looked badly damaged. She looked at the broomsticks floating nearby. She couldn’t fly. Whatever fun her husband and children got out of it she couldn’t understand.
Another idea struck her and she crouched down, morphing into her tiger form. In this form she studied the limping wings like prey. On instinct she ran the length of the room and bounded for the wall. Quickly she twisted her body and pushed off, heading straight for the limping wings. It’s a key,
she realized when it was an inch from her face. She clamped her teeth around the key and immediately felt the air of the room change. The other winged-keys dived for her. Dawn ran for the door, transforming as she went. She unlocked the door and threw herself through it, slamming it shut behind her.
Suddenly her vision on Jocelyn’s birthday flashed through her mind, it was this. She was in a small room, barely six foot by six foot. The entire place was covered in runes. She started reading the passage in front of her. Beware
Only a true sorcerer
The sorcerer was written with the runes of control and power. She glanced around, noticing that the room had shrunk. Glancing around looked for the symbol she’d shown Hermione earlier that day. She found it at knee height on the right wall and pressed it. The wall slid aside, letting her out.
Dawn stood at the far end of a chessboard. The game had recently ended. The cloud of dust hadn’t settled. As she started across the board she was stopped by the sight of a pair of legs near a fallen horse – she never could remember the name of chess pieces.
She ran for them. “Oh my god, Ron!” There, in a maroon shirt and khaki pants, was Ron with a nasty gash in his leg. She checked that he was alive.
“What are you doing…” Dawn gasped. “No. No no no no no no!” She looked around, no signs of Harry or Hermione to be seen. There was a door, she hurried to it.
Only to see it open as she reached it.
“Professor!” the frizzy haired girl said. “What are you doing here?”
“Where is Harry?”
“He continued through, there was only enough potion for one. I couldn’t go with him. I have to help Ron and send message to Dumbledore.”
“Why were you down here?”
“Snape is going after the Sorcerer’s Stone. We had to stop him.”
“Stop him?” Dawn shook her head. “Go, get out of here, help Ron.”
“Where are you going?”
“To get my son,” she yelled as fled through the door. She jogged past the putrid body of the unconscious troll.
She stopped in a room with a curtain of fire. She backed up and transformed into her tiger form. She prayed and ran for the flames. Leaping as high as she could, she cleared them, though her belly burned. She ignored it and focused on the scene before her.
Quirrell, sans turban, had his back to Harry. Harry stood, eyes transfixed to the back of Quirrell’s head. Where there was another face, malicious looking and talking to Harry.
“…Now…,” the face was saying, “why don’t you give me that Stone in your pocket?”
Dawn focused on Harry’s pocket and where there was a lump roughly the size of a small ball.
“Don’t be a fool,” snarled the face. “Better save your own life and join me… or you’ll meet the same end as your parents… They died begging for mercy…”
“LIAR!” Harry shouted. Dawn crouched low, keeping her position a secret for the moment.
Quirrell was walking backwards at him. So that Voldemort’s smiling, evil face could see him. He was talking but she was focused on finding a place neither face could see her.
“NEVER!” Harry leapt in her direction but was immediately grabbed by Quirrell. Just as quickly the teacher screamed and let go. His hand was smoking, the skin had turned ashen. He smelled of death, sour and decaying.
He went to Harry again at his master’s urging.
Dawn could see the murderous intent. She sprung into action with a mighty roar. She caught him around the waist as his hands splintered and burned from touching Harry. She stood atop him, his faces looking either way.
She leaned down, her tiger teeth inches from Quirrell’s true face. Her weight securely pinned him to the ground. He tried to stand but she wasn’t going to let him.
Harry moved forward, placing a hand on her head. She continued to growl, but watched from the corner of her eye. He examined his hands, the one at his side and then the one on her head. He leaned down and placed his free hand on Quirrell. The professor started screaming and degrading to ash in front of them.
The one on Dawn did nothing. She felt the body beneath her weaken and she poised to move. Below her the ashes spread and became formless and her feet met the ground.
Turning her face she rubbed against Harry. He looked shaken and pale. She pushed him back, away from the remains of Quirrell/Voldemort.
Harry’s eyes widened as he looked over her shoulder. She turned, putting her furry body in front of him. There was a shadow, evil and dangerous. It shrieked and came for them.
Dawn thought she knew pain, knew what evil could inflict on a person. But when she felt the soul of Voldemort pass through her she felt dread and the worst sickness. She felt Harry fall behind her. Her last act before passing into unconsciousness was to transform back into a human.
Harry woke to something golden glinting above him. He batted for it.
Then he focused to find it was in fact Dumbledore leaning over him. Looking around he reached for his glasses on the bedside table.
“Sir,” he began, “what happened… the last thing I remember… The stone!”
“Calm yourself,” Dumbledore stopped him. “Madam Pomfrey will throw me out if she believes I’m upsetting either of her patients.” He turned, “isn’t that right, Professor Black?”
“Hmmph,” Dawn stretched from the bed next to Harry. She winced and placed a hand on her stomach. “If I had the strength, I’d help her toss you out.”
The old man simply smiled.
Harry looked at the metal bed frame, the mattresses covered in white linens. At the end of his and Dawn’s beds were trays full of goodies.
“Tokens from friends and admirers,” Dumbledore told him. “What happened between you two and Quirrell is a secret. So naturally the whole school knows.”
“How long have we been here?” Dawn asked.
“Three days. Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger along with Sirius and Jocelyn will be glad to see you’re okay. They’ve all been extremely worried.”
“But sir, the stone-” Harry began.
“I see you will not be distracted,” he sighed. “Professor Quirrell does not have the stone. I arrived after his demise. You and Dawn were holding him off on your own, I must say.”
“You got the owl Hermione sent?”
“Must have passed each other in midair. I had no sooner arrived in London than I realized I was truly needed here. I arrived just in time to pull Dawn off of you as you both fell unconscious. For a moment I believed I was too late.”
“You nearly were,” he admitted, “Quirrell was determined to get the stone.”
“He doesn’t mean the stone, Harry,” Dawn sighed. “He means you. We were close to losing you.”
“Both of you, I believed,” Dumbledore nodded. “As for the stone, it is going to be destroyed.”
“Destroyed? But Nicolas Flamel–”
“You know about Nicolas?” he said surprised. “You did do this properly. Well, Nicolas and I have had a little chat. He has a small stock of the elixir. And when it is gone he and his wife will pass on.”
“Couldn’t have just destroyed it a year ago and avoided all this. Voldemort getting into Hogwarts…” Dawn snapped, “That’s a real smart plan Albus, especially if three first year students could get through it.”
“Ah,” Albus nodded, “it was a poor decision on my part. And as I recall you were the one who gave them the answer to the Sorcerer Riddle.”
“And I gave it to Quirrell,” she reminded him. “I didn’t even know what it was. Hell, I didn’t even know it was here.”
“Sir,” Harry said, “I’ve been thinking… even with the stone gone. That’s not going to stop Voldemort from trying to find a way back. He’s going to find other ways, isn’t he?”
“Which is what you feared ten years ago, when you wanted Harry to live with his aunt,” Dawn sighed. “He’s not gone, is he?”
“No, he is not. He is out there right now, likely looking for another body. Without being truly dead, he cannot be killed. He left Quirrell to die; he shows little mercy for his followers or his enemies. You may have only managed to delay his return, but if the next chance is delayed and again and again, he may never return to power.”
“There are some things I’d like to know the truth about,” Harry said.
“The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution. However, I shall answer your questions unless I have a very good reason not to, in which case-”
“You’ll tell him anyways,” Dawn said. “It’s been ten years and I want to know why this evil is back. Anything he asks you’ll tell him.”
“He is only eleven years old, he has been through enough.”
“And Voldemort will not stop until he has a body back and Harry is dead. You’ll not keep anything from him.”
“Why would he want to kill me in the first place?” Harry cut in.
“Of course,” Dumbledore sighed, “you’d have to ask a question I would rather not answer.”
“You don’t have to,” Harry said.
“Yes he does,” Dawn countered. “I want to know why a beautiful family was pulled apart to kill a fifteen month old.”
“A prophecy,” he said. “One that suggested a child born at the end of July would be marked the equal of Voldemort. Likely the only one able to destroy him.”
“Prophecy,” she growled. She was breathing through gritted teeth as she held her stomach.
“Voldemort was told only a portion of it, enough to hunt down the people who had a son born at the end of July. And he marked him as his equal.”
“Self-fulfilling,” Dawn leaned over to touch Harry’s forehead. “He heard a part of it and went after one of the two possibilities and propelled the very prophecy he set out to prevent.”
“Two possibilities?” Harry said.
“Neville’s birthday is a day before yours,” she explained, “His parents and yours were fighting the first war together. Voldemort went after you, and after his fall, his followers went after the Longbottoms.”
“So he’s after me because of a prophecy?”
“One that suggested his defeat,” Dumbledore nodded.
Dawn was shaking, something in her was livid. “I want that whole prophecy, Albus. I want to be able to study it.”
“Before the end of term, sir,” she managed. “Harry do you have any other questions for the Headmaster?”
“Quirrell said Snape-”
“Yes, him – Quirrell said that he hated me because he hated my father.”
“Well they did detest each other,” Dumbledore explained. “Not unlike you and Mr. Malfoy. And then your father did something unforgiveable to Snape.”
“He saved his life.”
“It’s funny how the mind of people work, isn’t it? Professor Snape couldn’t bear being in your father’s debt… I do believe that is why he worked so hard to protect you this year because he felt it would make him and your father even. Then he could go back to hating your father’s memory in peace.”
Harry looked puzzled.
“Sir, the stone…”
Dawn stopped listening. Her eyes unfocused, she felt the energy of the castle. It had settled, no longer did the barking of Cerberus or the movement of the wards protecting the stone echo in the magic of the castle. There were things moving around, the universe itself was adjusting to the circumstances.
And that scared her. The quiet that followed something like this meant it would gear up again soon… only to explode again next spring. For Buffy it had happened seven times. Would it for Harry? Would his childhood, his school years, be one battle after another? Was there anything she could do? Could she fight in his stead?
Even as she hoped she could, she knew it would be hard. This was why she was here. This was why the Powers had sent her back, not just to raise the baby boy into the man he was meant to be. But to see that he was prepared, that he wouldn’t fight alone.
Madam Pomfrey was a strict woman. So it took a portion of the afternoon to convince her to allow Ron, Hermione, Sirius, and Jocelyn in for five minutes. Dawn had already whispered to Harry that he was to tell Ron and Hermione anything he wished, but that she would like to keep her ability to transform a secret.
So with Jocelyn sitting on the edge of the bed, she had listened to Harry retell the tale – leaving out the tiger.
“How is it you knew about the Runes?” Harry asked Hermione.
“Dawn told me,” Hermione said. “She showed me the runes she was deciphering for the true version of sorcerer.”
“Why were you coming to me that day?” Dawn asked. “I meant to ask you then, but you left too quickly.”
“I was coming to…” she looked guiltily at Harry and Ron, “tell you about what we had found. I thought we were getting in over our heads. Then you said that you solved it and told Quirrell… I believed he’d tell Snape.”
“Don’t go beating yourselves up over that,” she said. “It’s a little too easy to blame the man who hates your very existence. He made himself a perfect target.”
“You all need to leave,” Madam Pomfrey swooped in. “It’s been more than fifteen minutes.”One more chapter and this story is done. I have all of Harry's second year written. It's the third year that is kicking my butt... any ideas on what to do when Sirius isn't an issue? I've got a few things written, but it's taking it's sweet time in becoming a comprehensive story :-)