|SIYE Time:13:39 on 17th August 2017|
Category: Pre-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, All, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Other, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape, Sirius Black
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, General, Humor, Romance
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence/Physical Abuse
Summary: Harry had never friends, so he imagined one: a red haired girl he kept forgetting to name. Ginny imagined a shy boy with untidy hair and bright eyes, who knew nothing of magic, so she told him. He dreamt of a world of magic and of a girl who wanted to be his friend. She dreamt of a boy who loved to hear her voice, no matter what. Then dreams become a reality when Harry met Ginny.
Rating changed for later chapters.
*Nominated for 2014 November/December DSTA for Best New Story and Best Romance* *Nominated for 2016 January/Feburary DSTA for Best Comedy, Drama, and Romance*
Hitcount: Story Total: 82493; Chapter Total: 860
An Orphan ≠ A Monster
The sun rarely shone there. It was always raining, and if it wasn’t raining, the sky was a dull gray that was the color of numbing self-mutilation that cast an empty light upon the yellow grass.
One boy sat on a swing, his feet dragging aimlessly on the ground as he watched a pair of rats fighting each other over a morsel of bread. It wasn’t even cheese. The sky was that same numb gray. The boy tilted his head to the side, and the two rats fell down dead.
The playground was always empty too. Children didn’t play there anymore. They were too scared. The boy didn’t know if they were afraid of the Nazis or him. He lifted his gaze up to the sky. He wondered if the sirens would sound again tonight. He wondered if the bombs would hit the orphanage. He wondered if anyone would die.
Years went by. Not that many, but to a child seven years felt like seventy. The boy grew up. The Nazis kept dropping bombs on London, and he kept wishing the rotten and dark building that was his prison would be destroyed, but the Germans failed him every time. He returned in the summer, he sat outside on that swing and killed rats and other small animals often with just his mind. He wanted to do more magic, but he’d been warned that the wizards would take away his wand if they caught him doing magic outside school. And he would be caught, he was promised. He’d been caught.
The swing creaked as he sat on it. It was cold for June. The fools that ran the orphanage thought it was just the lack of sun, but he saw the Dementors haunting the streets of the city, feeding on the depression of the mother’s whose sons had stupidly let themselves get blown up or shot and the fear of the wives who just wanted their husbands to return home. The Dementors didn’t go near here. The cold reached the orphanage, but they didn’t dare touch the playground. He could tell they could fear him.
He liked it.
“Tom! Come inside, now!”
The boy didn’t lift himself from the swing. The woman shouted again, and the boy clenched his jaw. He was sick of this place. He cursed the Nazis for their failure to raze this place to the ground. They’d had so many opportunities over the years. It was a shame, really. Now he would have to do it himself, and he didn’t think the beasts of the orphanage and their watchers really deserved his particular attention. He was important now. He was making a difference in the world.
The blood of these children would be the fuel, and their bones would be his foundation.
“Tom! Come on!”
He untangled his arms from the chains of the swing. A thin stick of wood nearly slipped from his sleeve, but he quickly shoved it further up. He hugged his body against a gust of wind, kicked aside the dead rats and started back towards the building.
He needed the sirens to blare. Then everyone would rush down to the basement and lock themselves in a bomb shelter that only barely protected them from missiles that practically had their names written on them. No one would be able to escape. Except him, of course. It would be a glorious escape, he thought, as he crossed the dead grass back to the orphanage to where a fat old woman stood waiting for him, her gnarled and veined arms crossed over her sagging bosom, a scowl upon her thin lips that were painted a garish pink. The boy walked past her, his arms dropping to his sides as he entered the building. He caught sight of a small group of children sitting on the floor, waiting for the woman to resume their lessons so they could learn to read and write and add together 2 and 2. He felt no pity for them. They’d scream like the pigs they were when the fire caught them, he thought.
He returned to his room and sat down on his bed. He played with the ring on his finger, pulling it off and putting it back on and replayed the memory of the Muggles realizing they would be dying that evening, the fear in eyes he resented for their similarity to his. A dinner bell rang eventually. He didn’t move. He waited. Night fell, and he waited with baited breath. There hadn’t been one the entire summer.
The wail of the air raid sirens woke him from his doze. A smile grew upon his face as the sounds of frightened children running for the bomb shelter filled the orphanage. A girl his age threw his door open and ran to his bed. She grabbed his arm, her fingers made his skin crawl as she tugged on him.
“Riddle, get up, the sirens!” she cried.
He threw her off him. In the chaos, no one noticed the green light from his wand, no one heard the dull thud of her body hitting the ground or the sound of her soul escaping her body. He pulled the small box from his pocket and held it up, whispering words that weren’t audible over the scream of the sirens and the children. The box glowed, and he tucked it into his pocket.
There were two hundred and fifty children and adults running for the bomb shelter, give or take. By dawn, there would be one. He kicked the girl’s body out of sight, then followed the hordes down and out, the fat woman who’d called him in from the playground ushered him inside the shelter, and he found a seat as near the entrance as possible. The woman shut the door, and didn’t notice him locking it with his wand. The children were quiet but for the sound of their heavy breathing. The bomb shelter smelled like unwashed bodies and vomit. The lights flickered. The sound of a bomb hitting the ground nearby made several children scream.
Voldemort turned his wand on the old woman. She looked at it, her brows furrowing.
“Riddle, what is that?” she asked.
“Avada Kedavra,” he said in a calm voice. The green light filled her eyes, turning brown into a color that made him think of acid or hellfire. The box was in his hands and it was glowing as her body crumpled. Someone shouted, then a small girl screamed as the dead body fell on her lap. Voldemort killed her next.
It took perhaps ten minutes. The bodies smelled better dead than they had alive.
“Especially how to escape it.”
Harry glanced at Ginny, then back to Mrs. Vance. Her blind eyes were still fixed on him, unseeing but still unsettling.
“So, you know how Voldemort came back to life?” Ginny asked.
Vanessa nodded. “Before we were captured and I was still an employee of the Ministry, I was able to study somewhat the book that Brom used to bring back the Dark Lord. This was one of the first fifty copies, so not every spell that was in the original was in it, including most of what he used. But there was a small piece, speaking of how the new body was formed.”
“How?” Harry asked.
“It was to begin as a simple golem. A living body must be provided, then carefully emptied of its soul.”
“You mean they had to kill someone?”
“Yes,” Vanessa rasped. “But in a very specific way. The body then has to be preserved, while it is enchanted. Normally, it would be charmed in a similar way to Inferi, however to ready it to host a new soul a different and more complex ritual must take place. This was not specified in the copy I had access to, however.”
“So, Voldemort’s current body used to be someone else’s?”
“Technically,” Mr. Vance answered this time. “Except after all the enchanting and rituals that the body went through, it changed completely to suit the soul of the Dark Lord.”
“I thought that he would have grown himself a new body,” Harry murmured. “I wouldn’t expect him to accept the body of another to be worthy.”
“It is not yet known how to grow a full adult body,” Vanessa said. “The most that has been achieved is a homunculus.”
“What’s that?” Ginny asked.
“It is Latin, for ‘the little man’,” she answered. “When first the Sinestras found his spirit wandering the earth, they had me create a homunculus for their master.”
“That was what he — lived in, I guess, before?” Harry said.
“Yes,” Vanessa nodded. “A homunculus, however, is not meant to house a human soul for so long. It decayed, or so I was told.”
“It did,” Ginny answered. “Heavily.”
Vanessa inclined her head. “As I said, it was not meant to house such an energy. Especially not one so fractured and explosive as the Dark Lord’s.”
“Which brings us to what I have gathered you all to discuss,” Dumbledore said. “Abraham told us at the end of June that Voldemort had created Horcruxes, and through my research, I have confirmed it.”
“He has at least one more,” Mr. Vance said. “The snake he has with him at all times contains a piece of his soul.”
Dumbledore gave a nod. “And another, as Harry has already destroyed one.”
Harry looked up sharply, a frown growing on his face. Dumbledore reached into a drawer of his desk, and withdrew a battered and ink stained black book, rigid and bearing a hole in its center as if bored through with acid. Or a venomous fang.
“The diary,” Ginny said.
Harry caught her hand before it could go to clutch her left arm. He held it tightly, then squeezed it twice quickly.
“Indeed,” Dumbledore said. “From what I have gathered, this was the first of his Horcruxes.”
“It contained half of his soul, and the boy destroyed it?” Mrs. Vance asked.
“Half?” Ginny said, her voice rising in pitch.
“I believe so,” Dumbledore answered with a nod. “Adding to the testament of your strength of will, Mrs. Potter, that you were able to resist its commands for so long.”
“Two months is long?” Ginny asked, her shoulders deflating.
“Nearly a year,” Dumbledore corrected. “You were only briefly possessed each time, and after each occasion you regained full strength. It took nearly a year for half of his soul to weaken yours to the point that he could even attempt taking over your lifeforce completely.”
“Forgive me, but are you saying that Ginny was possessed by the Dark Lord?” Mrs. Vance asked.
Ginny looked up at her, trying to remember when she had told the blind woman her name.
“She was, during her second year here,” Dumbledore confessed. “Lucius Malfoy slipped her this diary, a Horcrux as we have established, and over the course of the school year she was possessed at separate intervals.”
Mrs. Vance raised a hand, reaching out in her direction. Ginny felt tempted to step back, but Mr. Vance gave her a nod, and Ginny reached out her own hand, taking the blind woman’s. Mrs. Vance cupped Ginny’s hand in hers, then took her other hand and turned it, tracing her fingers over Ginny’s palm. Ginny glanced at Harry, then at Dumbledore, confused.
“I can sense the trace of him still in her,” Mrs. Vance murmured, still clutching Ginny’s hand.
Ginny grew even more concerned. “How can you tell?” she asked in a low voice.
“It is faint,” continued Mrs. Vance, as if she hadn’t heard Ginny’s question, “a ghost at the very most.”
“Memories,” Ginny said. “Of his years at school.”
“You have them, in your own mind?”
“Yes,” Ginny said. “I try to stay out of them.”
Mrs. Vance released Ginny’s hand, and Ginny tried not to pull it back too quickly. She stepped closer to Harry, who put his arm around her waist. She caught the look of sorrow crossing Mrs. Vance’s face, and regret in Mr. Vance’s eyes.
“The timeline set in the memories she has is what makes me think that the diary was his first Horcrux,” Dumbledore spoke.
“Then it would be half of his soul,” Mrs. Vance murmured. “My dear girl…”
She didn’t finish, and Ginny didn’t ask. Dumbledore cleared his throat, then put the destroyed diary away. “Continuing,” he said, snapping Mr. and Mrs. Vance’s attention away from them, “I have made guesses how many more Horcruxes he has. During the summer, I did my best to track down where he went after school, and have constructed a further timeline. I am able to say that he has at least two more Horcruxes, perhaps even three.”
“But that would mean, to this day, he created at least four,” Mrs. Vance croaked. “And if he tore his soul in half each time…”
“There is very little of the original man in Voldemort today,” Dumbledore said softly.
“This is all well and good,” Harry said, catching their attention, “but what use is it to us how many he has if we don’t know what they are and where they are as well?”
Dumbledore gave a nod. “You have a good point, my boy. I have looked into that as well, of course. I have good reason to think that his second Horcrux could be hidden near the home of his father. In Little Hangleton.”
Ginny raised her eyebrows. “Hangleton?” she repeated. “You mean, where Harry —”
“The graveyard,” Harry said. “The headstones had the name Riddle on them.”
“Yes. Since June, I paid a visit to the graveyard in Little Hangleton. Tom Riddle Sr. and his parents are buried together, all of them having died on the same day. I asked around, and the nature of their death seems to be a mystery to the Muggles to this day.”
“He killed them, did he?” Harry asked.
“And created another Horcrux from it,” Dumbledore affirmed. “I believe that it will be hidden nearby.”
Voldemort killed his dad, Ginny’s thought to herself.
He’s a monster. Of course he did.
I know, it’s just, I never thought of him as having a dad. Or a mum. I guess I just thought that he’d always been around, always evil. God, I wonder if he has baby pictures…
A corner of Harry’s mouth twitched, then he glanced down at his feet. Ginny squeezed his hand briefly.
“I also visited the orphanage where he grew up,” Dumbledore went on.
“Orphanage?” Harry asked, stunned.
“Yes. His mother died shortly after bearing him.”
Ginny looked over at Harry, seeing him frown and his gaze fall to the ground.
“His father was buried in a Muggle graveyard,” Harry said.
“His mother died from giving birth.”
Harry looked at Ginny, then at Dumbledore. “Was he… he wasn’t a Muggleborn, was he?”
“Half-blood,” Dumbledore answered. “His mother was a witch, though I have yet to confirm her lineage.”
“Half-blood,” Harry repeated in a whisper. “Half-blood.”
“Yes,” Dumbledore sighed. “When I spoke to the matron of the orphanage, she gave me his records. It seems that even as a child, Tom Riddle Jr. was very unsympathetic to other children. Even cruel on occasion.”
“And you let him come to Hogwarts?” Harry asked, his voice rising.
Dumbledore looked taken aback. He stared at Harry a moment, then leaned back in his chair and folded his hands over each other. “He was a child, Harry. I had hoped that learning that there were others like him would aid him in growing. I had hopes for his life, his future, Harry.”
Ginny felt the regret stemming in Harry’s mind for saying what he did. He dropped his gaze again and nodded vaguely. They had never stopped to consider the child Voldemort, nor the fact that Dumbledore had been his teacher as he was theirs. Part of Dumbledore must feel responsible for unleashing the horror of Tom Riddle upon the world, and even more so for failing him as a mentor. For the first time since realizing they were there, Ginny wished that she had looked through the memories of Voldemort’s childhood.
Dumbledore gave a sigh and pressed his lips together. “I begin to doubt that he hid a Horcrux at his place of birth,” he said, “but there are several accounts of the orphans taking field trips in his records, and on three occasions these field trips were cut short by accidents that seemed to somehow, impossibly so, involve young Tom. I have not yet visited these three sites, but I think I might find some things there.”
“Where did his mother live?” Ginny asked.
Dumbledore turned his gaze on her. “I am not yet sure,” he answered. “I know her name, and her father’s name, but no a family or surname.”
“Marvolo,” Ginny said. “It was his grandfather’s name.”
“It was,” Dumbledore answered. “And his mother’s was Merope. Both are names found not uncommonly in the family trees of the Pureblood families, but uncommon among Muggles, which is where I was led to suspect that she was of wizarding descent.”
“Did the records not have her surname?” Harry asked.
“No,” Dumbledore answered. “At least, not a maiden name. She is registered as Merope Riddle on his birth certificate.”
Ginny bit at her lip, thinking. Harry glanced at her and frowned. What? she thought.
You want to search his memories, he said.
It might help!
Yeah, and it might start flooding your brain with all his worst and best memories; I’m not sure which of those would be worse for you!
I would be careful.
You weren’t even thinking of them when it happened to you two summers ago.
That was two years ago. I’m stronger now.
More stubborn is more like it.
Ginny raised an eyebrow at him. He shrugged. It’s true.
“What are you thinking?” Dumbledore asked, his brows raised.
Ginny turned away from her husband, looking to Dumbledore with apprehension. “I was wondering if I ought to look through Tom’s memories,” she said. “For anything that might help.”
Dumbledore looked uncertain. “I am not sure that would be a good idea,” he said. “Those memories are still hostile towards you, are they not?”
Ginny gave a shrug. “I can handle them, I’m sure. Besides, haven’t you been training us in Occlumency for this very thing?”
“It is one thing to ward off your mind against another’s thoughts,” Dumbledore said. “It is another to go on the offensive towards something that is part of you.”
Ginny gave him a look of indignation. “They are not part of me,” she said. “I don’t care if they’re in my head, they’re not mine. I can handle them.”
Dumbledore gave a nod. “Still,” he said. “I would rather you not have to delve into them if we can avoid it.”
“Perhaps you can take them from her,” Mr. Vance suggested. “And place them in your Pensieve.”
Dumbledore looked to him. “I considered that,” he said. “However, I am concerned that attempting to take such a large portion of memory from her mind would not result well.”
“Yes, yes, of course…” Mr. Vance looked to her, his thick eyebrows knit together.
“You never tried,” Harry said.
Dumbledore fixed Harry with an even stare. “Not on your wife, no.”
Ginny could sense something in his tone that made Harry back down. She looked at him out of the corner of her eye, one eyebrow raised. He looked slightly sheepish.
Mr. Vance cleared his throat. “Talk is good and all, but I assume you did not summon us here to chat about the Dark Lord’s childhood.”
Dumbledore shook his head. “I did not. My research into his life aside, I have found three possible locations of the two Horcruxes that I know he made after leaving school. As I said, I have not been able to search them myself, and unfortunately I have even less time on my hands what with this debacle in America.”
Sounds to me like America needs to sort out its own problems, Harry grumbled. Ginny hushed him mentally.
“I wished to ask you if you would search these locations.”
Mr. Vance glanced between his wife and Dumbledore. “Professor, my wife is still very weak. I cannot take her traipsing across the countryside looking for what will likely be heavily guarded objects.”
“I do not ask you to bring her along,” Dumbledore said, raising a hand, “nor do I ask you to attempt to take the Horcrux once finding it. I simply wish you to check these places, and say whether or not you believe the Horcrux to be there. With your knowledge of him, and what you have learned from your wife, you would be one of the best searchers for a Horcrux.”
Mr. Vance looked torn; he gripped his wife’s hand in his own heavily scarred and burned one, then slowly shook his head.
“I cannot leave her,” he said. “I spent the better part of the last decade separated from Vanessa, and now she is unable to defend herself. I want no field work or front line position. I am willing to help you, Professor, but I must consider my wife’s safety above all else.”
Dumbledore’s expression became guarded, however he gave Mr. Vance a nod. “I accept this, Abraham,” he said with a soft sigh. “I do wish it were different, though I suspect that even if I offered to care for her myself, you would refuse.”
Dumbledore nodded once again, his glasses flashing in the light. “Very well. I shall work another solution.” Dumbledore turned back to Harry and Ginny, and seemed to suddenly realize that they were still standing. He drew his wand and gave it a flick, conjuring an armchair for them. “Please, sit, do forgive me of my oversight in the lack of chairs.”
“It’s fine,” Ginny said, though she didn’t quite mean it. She did hope that Dumbledore did not realize that, however. She and Harry sat, and Dumbledore gave a satisfied nod.
“Now that I have shared with you all my guesswork,” Dumbledore began, “I come to the final point of our meeting, the reason we needed Mrs. Vance to join us.”
“Ginny has the gift of prophecy,” Mrs. Vance said before Dumbledore could reveal it dramatically.
“Yes,” Dumbledore said, looking only the slightest bit put out.
“You want me to train her,” Mrs. Vance continued.
“Yes,” said the Headmaster, the slightest trace of discomfort in his voice that she knew already. “Yes, I do.”
“I will,” Mrs. Vance answered. “But I shan’t teach her necromancic divination.”
“Necro what?” Harry said.
“It is a branch off of necromancy,” Mrs. Vance answered. “It involves the calling of the spirits of the dead, opening a door into the land of the dead.”
Harry fell back in the chair, and a thought flashed through his mind at the same time as it did Ginny’s; “Imagine how it would make the boy feel if the first time he spoke to his parents was through their ghosts?”
“You mean, like a séance?” Harry said. “You can actually talk to — to people who have died?”
“Yes,” Mrs. Vance rasped. “It was this that caused the Sinestras to capture us, in hopes that I could contact the spirit of the Dark Lord.”
“Does it work?” Harry asked quickly.
Mrs. Vance’s white eyes stared into his, and slowly, she nodded. Harry glanced at Ginny, his eyebrows raised and mind racing.
“How does it work?” Harry asked her, his voice eager.
“I will not teach this, I have said this,” Mrs. Vance told them, her voice growing sharp. “It is too dangerous for someone inexperienced to perform, and in my blindness I would not be able to officiate properly.”
Harry’s shoulders fell, and he dropped his gaze. Ginny squeezed his hand gently.
“I would not ask you to teach Ginny this,” Professor Dumbledore said, “but I had intended to ask you to attempt it yourself.”
Mrs. Vance swiveled her head towards Professor Dumbledore, a frown deepening on her face. “What for?”
“To speak with Merope Riddle.”
Mrs. Vance raised her eyebrows. “I have said, I am not capable of officiating the ritual.”
“I believe that you are lying, Vanessa.”
Professor Dumbledore’s voice was soft, but at the same time firm. He was standing by his request.
“She said she wouldn’t do it,” Mr. Vance said.
“But she can,” Dumbledore said. “This office is warded, Mrs. Vance, no falsehoods can be spoken without my knowing of them.”
Crap, Ginny thought.
We’ll deal with that later, Harry told her, listen.
“It is dangerous.”
“I am aware. I researched it myself when your husband told me of what happened to you.”
“No, you are not aware,” Mrs. Vance snapped. “You think you are, but you cannot know fully how dangerous it is. The land of the dead contains more than human souls, and something that is opened can be held that way from the other side.”
“I am aware,” Dumbledore insisted. “I had your notes from the Ministry brought to the castle, so I have your own descriptions of the danger involved. I know what happened the first time you tried, and I also know what happened the second time.”
Mrs. Vance shut her mouth with a snap of her jaw. She sat there silent for a moment, then let out a deep exhale. “You do not know what happened the third time.”
Dumbledore inclined his head, then said aloud: “This is true. You could tell me.”
“Not with these children present.”
Ginny’s nostrils flared. “We’ve seen some things, Vance,” she said. “We’re not really children anymore.”
Mrs. Vance turned to stare at her, her scarred eyes once again sending a shiver down Ginny’s spine. “There is earthly evil, and there is something darker beyond that. You are still children, and you will be until you have lost the hope of your youth.”
Ginny faltered. The blind woman’s words took her by surprise, part disturbing part elegant eloquence. She fell back in the chair, choosing not to reply. Mrs. Vance continued to hold her unseeing gaze until Dumbledore cleared his throat.
“I will not ask you to divulge what happened on your third attempt while the Potters are still here,” he said to her. “I will neither as you to decide now whether you are willing to make a fourth try or not.”
Mrs. Vance nodded slowly. “Thank you, Headmaster.”
Dumbledore leaned back in his chair, sighing softly as he did. “All Hallows’ Eve draws nigh,” he said, his gaze still locked on Mrs. Vance’s unseeing one. “From your notes, I gather that it would be the best time to perform the ritual. I will ask that you make your choice by then, and if you are willing, then we shall attempt the ritual on the 31st.”
Mrs. Vance gave him a nod, then touched her husband’s arm. “I assume that you have no further need of us?”
“That is correct,” Dumbledore answered. “You have found your rooms at the school already?”
“We did,” Mr. Vance answered.
“Very good. Mrs. Vance, if I could ask you to see Ginny on Saturday evenings for teaching?”
She nodded again, and Mr. Vance rose from his seat, then helped his wife to stand. She curled her arm around his, and he led her from the office. As the door closed behind them, Professor Dumbledore turned to Ginny and Harry. He raised his eyebrows, then smiled softly.
“I do hope that you have still been doing your mental exercises in my absence.”
Ginny guessed that Harry’s cheeks were coloring. She knew her own ears were getting warm.
Did you do any?
In the last week?
Dumbledore chuckled lightly as he shook his head. “I expected as much,” he sighed. “Your homework load was quite heavy this past week, was it not?”
“Yeah,” Harry said. “Yes, there was a lot of reading work.”
Dumbledore raised one eyebrow. Then he exhaled and leaned forward on his elbows, looking at them over his glasses.
“Shall we practice a little while before I send you off to bed?”
“Yes,” Ginny said. Dumbledore nodded and looked her in the eye. She quickly swathed her thoughts in barbed wire and waited. She felt a prodding, the smallest inclination of her teacher’s presence in her thoughts, and she quickly sent a few of Harry’s giant laser bearing robots after it. The touch faded, then appeared another place. The robots chased it down, but it slipped away from her. Ginny blinked, and Dumbledore leaned back.
“Good try, Ginny,” he said. “I advise that you keep closer guard over your memories of the person with whom you are interacting in the future.”
“Yes, Professor,” she said, leaning back.
“Harry?” Dumbledore asked, looking to him. Harry gave a nod, and the two of them began to hold eye contact. Ginny listened to his thoughts, waiting. Then: Dumbledore smiled with satisfaction and gave Harry a clap. “Very good, my boy. I like your strategy of the trapped thought.”
Ginny frowned, looking at Harry. “Of what?”
“He intentionally allowed me access to one thought, then turned it on me and used it to push me from his mind.”
“Oh,” Ginny said.
That wasn’t intentional.
Ginny tried not to smile as Dumbledore checked his watch. “Well, it is getting late. I wish you a pleasant evening, and I hope that I will be able to meet with you again next week.”
“Good night, professor,” Harry said, rising from the chair. Ginny stood, taking his hand again, and they started from the office. Near the door, Ginny paused, then looked over at Dumbledore.
“What exactly is happening in America that’s causing so much trouble?” she asked.
Dumbledore sighed. “Their Congress was considering repealing a part of Rapport’s Law, finally making friendly relations with Muggles legal again. Unfortunately, there was a resurgence of Scourers’ this year and the bill was turned down. This caused stir with the citizens, then one of the offices of the Congress was attacked by Scourers.”
“What’s a Scourer?” Harry asked.
“A group of Muggles,” Dumbledore answered, “who are aware of magic and are allied to exterminate it.”
Ginny raised his eyebrows. “Wow,” she said.
Dumbledore sighed. “Yes, wow indeed. However, with the help of our Ministry, the Americans have rounded up a great deal of them. Our Aurors will be returning by the end of the month, however.”
“Good,” Harry said. “Sirius keeps trying to convince Remus that we don’t actually need to do all the things in the routine Tonks left for us.”
Dumbledore smiled. “I thought he might. I told Remus so, but for some reason our Professor Lupin can’t seem to think too badly of Professor Black.”
Then Dumbledore gave them a wink. “Goodnight,” he said.
“Goodnight, professor,” Harry said, a small amount perplexed.
Do you think he suspects?
Ginny shook her head as they left the office.
I think he knew while they were still in school.
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