Chapter 08, Conversations with LIVE People
Chapter 08, Conversations with LIVE People
Hogwarts, Scotland, Night-Time
"Magic is real?" Mary said in a tone of voice and facial expression that screamed 'yeah right, pull the other one it's got bells on'
"How else did I get us here?" Harry asked reasonably.
Mary didn't seem to have an immediate answer to that one. So Harry pressed on. “The world as you know it is split straight down the middle. On one side you have people like you, we call them Muggles.”
“I'm not sure I like that” Mary commented with a slightly icy tone. “Somehow it makes me feel like a fool.”
“Yeah, it's not a great word but better than some.” Harry told her honestly. “Then there are Magical people like me. You guys don't know about us as a general rule and I'm breaking about a million rules telling you all this.”
“So why are you then?” Mary asked carefully.
“Because, and I'm so sorry I didn't realize this sooner. You're a target now.”
“A target, why?”
“Because of me and who I am.”
“And who are you Harry?” Mary asked seriously. “Some sort of rock star or political figure.”
“A strange combination of the two actually, some see me as the savior of wizards, others think I'm a kook. Other's still hate me just because of who my parents were, or rather weren't.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
“I'm a half blood. It means that my mum was a muggle born witch and my dad was a so called pureblood. Often Muggle Born witches and wizards are found in the 'muggle' world and brought into ours. Obviously unions happen; the pureblood elitist bastards think that's disgusting. Wizards or witches born as muggles are known as Mudbloods, but that's a very nasty word to describe it.”
“Sounds like the Hitler youth movement all over again.”
Harry clicked his fingers at her, “Got it in one. It's a sham too. Purebloods are likely to be getting weaker, not stronger. They're so inbred at this point that I think their DNA is starting to suffer. All this Pureblood is best is total crap. One of my best friends in a muggle born witch and is widely believed to be the cleverest witch in the last few 'centuries'!”
“So why am I in danger because of you? That's the bit I still don't get?”
“When I was just a baby, something happened to ... no I'll have to start earlier than that. There is something called a Dark Lord in our world. It's a wizard who has turned to the dark side of magic, pure evil he's butchered families because of their blood lines, attacked muggles for nothing more than fun and had committed atrocities in his name. The latest Incarnation is called Lord Voldemort. I won't go into the whys right now, because it’s safer for you not to know right now. But he targeted me as a baby. To get to me he killed my mother and father, but something happened. No one and I mean no one has ever managed to stand up to this evil bastard and live before. Somehow when I was a year old I did it. His spell reflected off of me and hit him. Even then it didn't kill him, just put him out of action for a while. Now there's this whole thing where he's back and after me again and I think he was going to use you to get to me.” Harry said, panting slightly at the end of the long diatribe.
“So because we...” Mary trailed off with a slight smile on her face.
“Basically, I didn't even know he knew about you. I'm so sorry. But now...” he trailed off.
“What?” Mary asked, slightly worried.
“Now I'm afraid we've got to come up with a plan to protect you. He'd kill you in a second to get at me, just to make me suffer.”
Mary smiled slightly, even though the entire situation was freaking her out. “It would then?”
“Hurt me?” Harry asked for qualification. Mary merely nodded and so did Harry.
“That's sweet Harry but... I can take care of myself and what we had was great but...”
Harry winced slightly but kept himself in business mode, “The question is Mary do you want to die a horrible and painful death?” he said with a flat voice. “Whatever your feelings towards me, I think of you as I said before, as a friend at the very least.” he gulped slightly and pushed on. “And you were doing well against those death eaters but there were about to drop you. If I hadn't turned up...” he trailed off his meaning clear.
Mary looked at Harry very seriously for a long moment, “So what do you suggest.”
Harry sat back in his arm chair and steepled his fingers before him. “Stay here with me. This castle is the safest place in England at the moment. I'm not sure how we'll manage with the anti muggle charms all over the ...” he trailed off with a smile on his face.
Mary smiled slightly, “What's going on in that handsome head of yours Harry.”
“I've just remembered something and had a bit of an idea.” he told her getting up he walked over to his chest and beckoned her towards him. “Come with me.” he told her.
Mary confused but willing to play along walked over to him and stood before a large chest. Harry popped open the lid and Mary's eyes flared open. Inside was what looked to be, for all the world, a staircase leading down? “Close your eyes. I'll have to lead you down. Otherwise you may see things that aren't actually there, to put you off as it were.” Harry said. In truth he wasn't sure what protective charms were on the chest himself. So he just wanted to be sure. Mary looked at him dubiously, but complied. She felt she could allow him some trust. From what he'd been telling her it sounded very much like she owed this younger man her life. The least she could do was a small show of faith.
Harry felt her hand rest on his shoulder and had to suppress a delicious shiver at the still electrical contact of her hand. He talked as he led her slowly down into the depths of the huge trunk. “I've got an idea about your presence here that I think will fly with my headmaster.
“This is a school!” Mary said in surprise, almost opening her eyes.
“Yep” Harry answered with a grin. “Possibly the most ... enchanting school you'll ever see”
“It just looks like a spooky old castle to me.”
“That's because we've yet to truly open your eyes.” Harry told her. “We'll be dealing with that shortly.”
“It's not going to hurt is it?”
“Honestly, I'm not a hundred percent sure on that. Don't worry though; I'll make sure your safe first.”
“Thank you” she said, her voice soft.
“This is all my fault Mary. The least I can do is spare you any more inconvenience” he told her honestly.
“I seem to remember that I picked you up” Mary said, a note of amusement in her voice.
Harry chuckled slightly. “Here we are” he told her coming to a stop. “I'm not sure what you'll see, but we are in fact inside a magical trunk. I find it a useful place to come and think.”
Mary opened her eyes and looked around. “Its pitch black in here, I saw the stairs, but now...”
Harry moved across the well lit room, at least it was to him and retrieved the disk chest. He fished around for a moment and selected the disks he'd need and carefully studied them with his magic. He could see no way in which they would hurt Mary so he took them back over to her. She was reaching out as if she were in a dark room and searching for a wall.
“Just hold still Mary and close your eyes again. Otherwise this will be seriously upsetting to you. Now I'm going to put something in your hand and you'll feel a tingle. Tell me when the tingle stops and I'll move onto the next and so on, until we're finished.”
Mary nodded, “What is it you're doing.”
“I'm making it so you can see past the Anti-Muggle wards and see what truly exists here and in all of Hogwarts. You'll need that if you decide to stay here for a while.”
“I have a choice then” Mary noted.
“Of course, I just hope you'll stay here. I won't lie I like you Mary, as a friend if that's all you're willing to be or more.” he trailed off flushing slightly. Mary laughed throatily.
“Friends is good, and it's not like I have anywhere else to go. I was just kicked out of my house.”
“I'm so sorry.”
“Sometimes Parent's suck”
“Not having them sucks more.” Harry told her, and then put the first disk in her hand before she had time to respond.
Mary felt a strange tingling sensation crawl up her forearm and stay there for a moment before it faded back down again. “Done” she said, in a somewhat awed voice.
Harry repeated the actions with all of the five disks until finally Mary reported that the last disk had done its work.
“Okay then, now open your eyes.” Harry told her.
Mary did so and her jaw dropped.
“Wow” she managed after a few seconds.
Harry smiled at her, “Now do you believe in magic.”
Mary half nodded, “I don't know what to think to be honest.”
Harry fished in his robes and pulled out his fake wand. “Take a look at that.”
Mary took it from him and looked it over, “Those men, they had these bits of wood too.”
“They're wizards. Death eaters, Voldie's cronies to be precise, pretty much bastards the lot of them. So they have wands.” Harry held out his hand for his faux wand. “Watch”
He gave it a word and concentrated, he didn't use the schoolboy like saying of the spell, he merely focused his will. He'd have to remember to try and use the worded spell form in class. But here with Mary he really didn't need to bother. An armchair appeared from nowhere and he took a seat, and then conjured one for Mary, “Take a seat Mary, we've got a lot to cover in order to craft a decent cover for you.”
Mary sat down. “Why do I need one?” she asked shifting around in the seat and eyeing it warily.
“Because I didn't come to save you tonight” Harry said bluntly, “Some one called Cervinus did, or that's what we're going to be telling my headmaster at any rate. I don't really what him to know I can get in and out of Hogwarts, that's the name of the school by the way, without him knowing. Cervinus is a ... friend. He won't mind covering for us. Talking of which... GARTH you can come out now.”
A small reptilian head poked out from Harry Scarf and surveyed the room, latching onto Mary. It gave a slight nod and Garth's blazing eyes settled on her for a long moment. Then the miniature dragon curled up on Harry's shoulder and appeared to go to sleep.
“What the hell is that?” Mary said, pushing herself back in her chair.
“This is Garth and he's a dragon. Normally he's a wee bit larger than this, but Cervinus had to shrink him in order to get him out of a ... tight spot. And please, he's a he not an it, Dragons are very noble and honorable creatures that you don't want to get on the wrong side of.”
“Okay, yeah, sure!” Mary said, “Sorry urm... Garth.”
The dragon flicked his tail, the only indication that he either forgave her or was in fact taking any notice of what was going on. “You wouldn't have been able to see him before the disks. Dragons are magical creatures and have their own way of hiding from muggles.”
“Can you NOT call me that?”
“The other phrase I've heard is Mundane. Is that any better?” Harry said with a smirk.
Mary's dark hazel eyes narrowed slightly at him. “You're actually enjoying this aren't you.”
“Talking to me about all this, it's giving you a kick isn't it.”
“It does feel good to share it with someone I'll admit.”
“I feel ... strangely honored that you have to be honest. You're placing a lot of trust in me Harry.”
“I know” was Harry's only answer.
Dumbledore's Office, Hogwarts.
Professor to the school for many of his hundred years and still Dumbledore wasn't entirely sure what all of the wards and alarms did. Which was he was puzzling over one little doodad in particular. It was one of the few items that had survived Harry's destructive moment at the end of last year. A phase that luckily the young man seemed to have move on from, of course, it was in the majority of cases a simple case of a Reparo spell. Some had to be shipped to specialist repair shops but Dumbledore was happy to do it. After all the young man, or rather back then the boy had been under tremendous pressure. It was little wonder that he had lashed out. But this single item still puzzled him. His predecessor was none the wiser of its function either.
It hadn't been until he'd asked on of the oldest of the headmaster's portraits that he had finally found out what the device did. It measured a type of magic that hadn't been felt on the planet in nearly 2000 years. No one was entirely sure what the school of magic was called, or how it came about. Only that it was said to have been employed by none other than Merlin himself.
This was all well and good. What Dumbledore truly could discern was why the damn thing had been making like a dinner gong for the last half an hour. He had returned to his office to find the infernal contraption making all manner of noise and it had only just stopped.
He would have to spend some time in the library in the morning and try to puzzle out what was happening with that device.
Perhaps it had been damaged by Harry after all.
“So you're clear on the plan?” Harry asked.
Mary smiled and nodded; “Yes for the third time, I've got it.” she told him a twinkle in her eye.
“Sorry; it's just that while they mean well the professors and the headmaster in particular like to curtail where and what I do. For my own safety of course, “Harry told her, “It's just... for the better if they don't find out that I'm able to get out of the castle whenever I want. Let alone travel to London and back the way I did.”
Mary reached out and put her hand on Harry's knee. “It's okay. I understand. You try living with an over bearing mother and you'd get it too.”
Harry smiled, “I've had a taste of that I reckon.”
“So now we go and see this headmaster of yours?”
Harry nodded, “Yeah. I'll tell him that Cervinus made it so you can see your way around the castle if you don't mind. Those disks are another little secret I'd like to keep.”
“I can understand that. They must be worth a few bob.”
“Never thought of it that way to be honest, I know that they took a long time to make and if anyone knew who made them...” he trailed off before smiling. “Let's just say that people would be VERY interested.”
“Fair enough, I owe you big as it is.” Mary told him.
Harry shook his head, “No; you really don't. If it wasn't for me you wouldn't be in this mess.”
“Hey I wasn't complaining at the time was I?”
Harry smirked. “Only when I stopped for a breather.”
Mary twinkled at him.
“Come on. Let's go see Professor Dumbledore. I expect he's still up.”
“Even this late.”
“He always seems to be up and about to be honest.” Harry replied with a fond smile.
“I get the feeling that this Dumbledore and you are close.”
Harry paused before nodding, “Yeah. I suppose we are actually. We've had our rough patches but he's like a sort of grandfather to me. By the way I warn you now. Whatever vision in your head you have when you think of a Wizard. He's it and more.”
“Well that was weird” Mary said just as they arrived at the top of the moving circular staircase at Dumbledore's office.
“Yeah, I suppose I'm just used to it all now. I've been here for like 5 nearly 6 years now.”
Harry reached out and knocked on the door. They didn't have to wait long before Dumbledore's voice rang out inviting them in. Harry had sent a quick MEM off to the man to make sure he was in fact up and about and had been MEM'd back the password. 'Barley Sugar’ Though Harry had purposefully been vague in the details as to why he wanted to meet with his head and now employer.
Harry opened the door with Mary tucking in behind him, her eyes shooting wide again at the strangeness of it all.
She had seen everything from moving paintings to staircases with minds of their own so far. None of which she had seen on the trip to Harry's room before. Before the castle had seemed just that, but a broken down and haunted type of place. Now she knew for certain the damn place was haunted. She had met a ghost called Sir Nicholas for god’s sake! She was still uncertain if she had pulled an Alice or not at this point. Was she down the rabbit's hole for sure or was she asleep by the river? Mary had decided that despite Harry being in some of her dreams of late, they hadn't been engaged in some of the activities that they had in her normal dreams of him. Which now that she came to think of it was somewhat of a shame. He felt like he'd put on a lot of muscle somehow since she had last seen him without any clothes on.
Mary shook herself slightly and gazed in stunned amazement at the perfect wizard, or rather what fit her mental image of one. Long white beard, robes and pointy hat included.
“Ahh Harry” Dumbledore began to say before trailing off and looking at Mary.
“This is Mary” Harry said by way of introduction. “She's just been the subject of a Death Eater attack.”
“And how did you come to be here?” Dumbledore asked her.
“Cervinus saved her and brought her to me” Harry said for her. “I know I'm not supposed to go out on my own but I met him at the edge of the wards and brought her in.”
“Is this the same Mary that you became involved with?” Dumbledore asked sounding serious.
“As you are now a member of staff you may call me Albus, or Al if you prefer, Harry.”
Harry blinked, “Al?” he said having just had his thoughts totally derailed.
“I've found it a useful recently. It puts people at ease outside of the school.”
“She knows about us sir. It was hard for her not to with being attacked and all. Cervinus didn't want to Obliviate her for obvious reasons, so he did something to allow her to see the school and all the magical things inside sir. She's not a muggle as such anymore as he explained it to me. She now has a small core of magical ability herself.”
Dumbledore's eyebrows shot up into his hairline, or at least that was how it looked to Mary. “I see, that is most singular.”
“From the discussions that Cervinus and I have had, he is a singular man.” Harry said, almost laughing.
“I see, then what is your proposition and where are my manners, lemon Drop Miss?”
“Smith, and yes please.” Mary said, still somewhat in awe of the man and the office and having totally missed the part about her having a small core of magic herself now. It wasn't true as such, Harry had allowed her to see past the wards but he had plans for giving her access to some magic for herself. She would after all need to be able to protect herself. If for no other reason than she was virtually a muggle in a magical school. He couldn't see people like Malfoy liking that too much.
Dumbledore smiled like all his Christmas's had come at once and the bowel full of lemon drops virtually skipped over to her. Mary eyed it warily but took a sweet nonetheless.
“I think it would be best if we made room for Mary here at the castle. We've talked and she hasn't anywhere else to go, and until I train her she has no idea what to do with her magic.”
This time Mary didn't miss it but decided, wisely, to let Harry answer that question to her later in private.
“I believe that could be arranged. You wish to do the training yourself then Harry?” Dumbledore said with twinkling eyes.
“It's my fault that she's in this mess to begin with sir. I owe her.”
Mary looked at him and smiled at him. “It's not your fault.” she told him simply.
“If I may ask Miss Smith.”
“Please, call me Mary.”
“Than by all means call me Albus or as I said Al.”
Mary smiled prettily at the older man who slightly melted. He could certainly see why Harry had been so taken with her. The question was, was he still? “What opinions were you able to garner about our mysterious friend Cervinus?”
“I'm afraid it was all a bit of a blur”
Harry felt a brush against her mind, a mind he was personally shielding and frowned slightly. Nothing the headmaster saw but a frown nonetheless. He placed an altered image of the fight in her mind for Albus to find and then withdrew, only monitoring the situation carefully.
“I see, that's a shame, Cervinus is gaining quite the reputation for what he did at the bank.”
“What did he do erh... Al?” Mary asked, interested in finding out more about Harry's friend.
“He saved the bank rather a lot of money and captured quite a few Death Eaters in the process. The goblins are calling for him to make an appearance so they may reward him in some way.”
Harry looked a little surprised at that, but then he supposed it made sense.
“We also wish to talk to him.” Dumbledore said to Harry in particular. Harry quickly took his full meaning. 'So the order wants Cervinus to work with them do they?' Harry thought to himself with an internal laugh. 'Maybe later' he added to his musings. He really had to make another appearance now. Something that would show for sure that Cervinus was on the side of light, some sort of strike at the Death Eaters was in order.
“I will have one of the house elves prepare the room next to Harry's suite. I'm sure that the two of you have a lot to discuss.” the headmaster said with a mad twinkle in his eyes.
“Thank you... Al” Harry said with a cheeky smile.