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Summary: Harry must deal with the repercussions of Lockhart's charm failing. Hermione and Ron remember clearly at last.

( First Chapter ) | Previous: (Tom Riddle, away again. )

Some time passed. Harry, Hermione, Ron (and Lockhart, Harry supposed) were all probably in the Hospital Wing. Harry recognized the way the light shone in and the smell of freshly pressed linens. He barely registered the rest until someone touched a hand to his shoulder.

“Harry Potter…you are awake, I trust? Your glasses are on the bed-stand.” Professor McGonagall said softly. “We must discuss what happened.”

Harry looked toward his teacher. Without his glasses, everything looked soft-focused…a blur of colour and light. He couldn’t make out her expression. “You didn’t get Tom back.”

She sighed. “Listen to me; this is very important for you to understand. Mr. Riddle…he was no student.” McGonagall told him severely. “We’re fortunate that no Death Eaters made it to the path. Perhaps it’s for the best…we could not keep him here. He is not part of our school.”

Harry propped himself on his elbows to frown better. “I knew that. Snape knew that; probably you all did! You were willing enough to go along with what Dumbledore said just this morning. Now that you’ve lost Tom, you’ll change your mind? Why? So you can say you’ve not lost any more students?” Harry glared.

McGonagall folded her hands tightly. Her voice was only slightly shrill. “Please contain yourself, Mr. Potter. Tom Riddle was a spy; he has no place here.”

“He isn’t! He wasn’t!” Harry said furiously. “And even if he was sent to be, Dumbledore trusted him. If that’s enough to keep Snape in everyone’s good graces, why isn’t it enough for Tom? We need to get him back. You’ve no idea what they’re going to do to him!” Images of silver brands came to mind.

“Nor do you.” McGonagall said tersely. “First. We at the school have to protect you; all of the students. Dumbledore believes that You-Know-Who is back. Mr. Riddle was practically proof of that. If You-Know-Who starts to think that his bid for secrecy is up, there’s no saying what he’ll do. We need to keep the castle safe and out of the influence of Death Eaters.”

“So you’re going to chuck out Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle, and Nott and…all the rest?” Harry demanded. “I don’t think so.”

“Listen to me!” McGonagall snapped. “Today, we’ve lost our Defence teacher to madness.” She paused for this to sink in. “He’s to be sent to St. Mungo’s as soon as he’s stable; the High Inquisitor is to take his place. She may already be on her way. The Ministry will be at Hogwarts. You must be careful!”

Harry turned away. “I’m not convinced you’re doing anything.” Harry snatched for his glasses, fumbling.

“Well, you’ll just have to trust in Dumbledore and the decisions he makes.”

“Did Dumbledore make this decision then? Dumbledore would let a student be spirited away by that thing? That’s rubbish. He would never--”

There was a rustling noise from the other side of the infirmary. “Professor McGonagall. Mr. Potter needs to rest. This conversation can continue at a later date.” Madam Pomfrey bustled over.

Harry glanced at the door, wondering if she meant to warn them that Umbridge was coming, or if Madam Pomfrey was being her usual self. “There’s nothing wrong with me.” He said.

Madam Pomfrey shook her head, her lips pressed firmly. “Is that so? So you suppose you yourself can determine if you’re fit to leave the Hospital wing then?”

“Yes. Yes, I would say I can.”

Madam Pomfrey harrumphed. “You’re not leaving. Not yet.”

Harry leaned back on the pillow and crossed his arms.

Madam Pomfrey ushered Professor McGonagall from the room, and as soon as she was out of range, Harry swung out bed and tip-toed over to where Ron and Hermione were. Hermione still slept, and Ron sat in a chair at her side. Harry sat on the end of her bed.

“So.” Harry said bitterly. “You think Tom ought to be left kidnapped too, then?”

Ron scowled. “You’re my best mate Harry, but sometimes, you make no sense. What do you see in him?”

Harry matched Ron’s expression. “Well you know, I knew he was new and probably a spy from the beginning. I’ve had two months to argue and watch him. He wasn’t doing anything—except watching me, but everyone does that.”

Ron was not impressed. “That’s not helping.”

“He didn’t try and chuck me at the Beast after it dropped him the first time.” Harry replied. “And he didn’t curse me once, but I tried to curse him a couple of times.”

Ron swore.

“And he didn’t know about the Chamber, not properly. Or about Quirrel. If he was a spy, he’d have heard all about it. All of it, up to last year…in the Graveyard. Him not knowing anything…not ever leaving Hogwarts until today? And when he did, he gets caught! He’s not with them. He’s a victim.”

“I don’t know about that, Harry…” Ron said, growing red in the face.

Hermione stirred, and Harry looked at her expectantly. “Wake up already!” he teased. “I’ll let you sleep after.”

Hermione mumbled something incoherent.

“No one ever wakes you up after something happens.” Ron said irritably. “Not even last year, when we were trying to figure out if you were ok—”

Harry shrugged. “I wouldn’t have minded if you did. I could have figured I wasn’t dead a bit faster.”

Ron stared at him. “…the things that come out of your mouth…”

Hermione sat up quickly, she glanced around the Hospital Wing, and eyed Harry’s rumpled covers. Her eyes travelled to the curtains drawn around another cot at the far end of the room. She seemed to be thinking very fast.

“I’ll get some tea.” Ron muttered.

“Harry,” Hermione said slowly, “what happened? Was Hogwarts—did they get in?” Her face was wan.

“The Beast took Tom. No one else got hurt but us. No one in the castle anyway. I don’t think technically the Beast touched the Grounds—just the path outside the gates. We’ll probably be stuck inside Hogwarts all year now.”

Hermione said nothing until Ron gave her a cup of tea. “Is that where Lockhart is?”

“Yeah. That’s him there.” Ron supplied. “He hasn’t woken…they’re saying he might not. But they’re also saying he’s not right in the head, so he must’ve woken at some point. Else how’d they know?”

“How long have we been…asleep?” Hermione asked tentatively.

“Er,” Ron said. “I dunno. A day? Less. Um. A few hours I guess.”

Hermione turned back to Harry, frowning. “You’ve been secretly dating Tom Marvolo Riddle.”

“Er. Were we dating?”

“You know what I mean!” She snapped. “How is it possible? Why did we believe that rubbish about him having always been here?”

“There was a spell tied to Lockhart. There were two spies sent here; Lockhart and Tom, only Tom wasn’t partial to spying, so he didn’t. He got in trouble with Voldemort, as far as I can understand, so the Beast came when Lockhart sent a signal to take Tom away. Unfortunately for them, they lost their other spy due to…uh…”

“Mental breakdown?” Ron suggested.

Harry squirmed. “You know that’s what they’re saying about me.

“Nah.” Ron said forcefully. “They’re all nutters. You’re just…uh…”

“Not broken.” Harry replied.

“Yeah.” Ron agreed.

Hermione shuffled noisily with her blankets and set her cup aside. She flung her arms around Harry. “Don’t do anything stupid!” After a moment, she released him. “I can’t believe Hogwarts has been infiltrated like this! What exactly is he? The Diary was destroyed.”

“Um.” Harry said. “He said he was a Horcrux. But I don’t know exactly what that is. It wasn’t in the books I read.”

“Which ones did you look at?”

“Oh, I don’t know…”

Hermione shook her head, curls swaying. “I haven’t even heard of it…but we’ll figure it out. Tell me about the memory charm.”

“Tom said it was set on Lockhart, tied to him. He said that Dumbledore finished it to make it complete and accept Tom into the castle without prejudices. He said that this was our time to, uh, what was it. Make friends. Turn him over to the light side, or something like that.”

Hermione considered this slowly. “Dumbledore thought he could be swayed then. Like Professor Snape.”

“Or he was just saying that so Tom could let his guard down.” Ron suggested. “And he was really watching him the whole time—‘friends close, enemies closer.’ That sort of thing.”

Harry frowned. He hadn’t thought of that.

“What was Professor McGonagall talking to you about earlier? You were shouting a bit.”

“She said Tom wasn’t a student and didn’t deserve to be rescued.”

“Did she really?” Ron leaned forward. “This is serious, Harry. How do we know anything?”

“I’m going to talk to Dumbledore.” Harry insisted.

Some time passed with the three of them silent. Ron moved to sit by Harry, and they stared gloomily at the lump that was Lockhart.

Eventually, Madam Pomfrey returned, checked their temperatures and gave them each a draft of potion. “This is for your nerves. That spell of the beast was an odd one—you shouldn’t be casting any magic for today. Rest. I’ll have you overnight for observation, but if you wear yourselves out, it’ll be a week.”

When she didn’t make them return to their own beds, Hermione and Ron settled next to each other, and Harry dragged a pillow over to the foot of the bed. He jabbed at the mattress, hoping for an expanding spell.

“Harry! She just said not to do magic!” Hermione whispered.

Harry hastily set his wand aside. “I wasn’t!”

Madam Pomfrey returned, eyeing Harry suspiciously. She had a basket of chocolates and other sweets. “You’ve had visitors. Eat up, and then sleep; the school will be fine without you for today.”

They each took a chocolate frog. Harry glanced briefly at his card-- Andros the Invincible—and unwrapped the frog. It had one good jump before he caught it, examined it, and nibbled a toe. Words jammed the edge of his consciousness, but he managed not to think too much of them.

Ron was busy scanning the items in the basket. “This one’s from Luna. It looks like…chocolate toadstools? Oh! And there’s a really big chocolate bar from Neville…”

Hermione was staring into her teacup. “Neville and Ginny have been getting on pretty well, haven’t they?”

“Yeah. I guess so.” Ron replied.

“You know they’re doing this…group. It’s a DADA club, sort of. They meant for it to be like Lockhart’s, only with actual instruction.”

Harry considered this. He remembered them talking in the common room, and was surprised to find that they’d actually done it. “That sounds really good.”

Hermione sniffed. “No, it sounds really dangerous. You know what Umbridge is like. If she finds out—”

“What, are they practicing in corridors, empty classrooms?” Harry asked, thinking of the tournament.

“That’s it exactly. They’re bound to be caught…we need to tell them to be more careful.”

Ron took another bite. “Eh, they asked me if we wanted to come.”

Hermione bristled. “And you didn’t tell me?”

“I forgot! There’s been a lot going on.” He glanced at Harry.

Ginny. That’s right…she knew about Tom too. Don’t you remember? She’s been throwing hexes at him and following him around, you know. We couldn’t figure out why she was allowed to remember…”

Hermione sighed. “It’s obvious. You and Ginny are the only students who’ve got a close connection to You-Know-Who. Ginny was possessed by him, and you’ve been his target since you were a baby. Spells like that have to have a focus—for example, forget everything you know about Voldemort.” She shuddered. “We can’t because he’s too much of our lives—it’d be impossible without wiping everyone’s memories. But if you say, forget everything about Tom Riddle being a student fifty years ago, that’s a bit easier. It only affects the adults—our teachers—and Harry and Ginny. Ron and me…I don’t know.”

Harry thought about it. “Well, you did listen better than most people. Everyone else just…didn’t hear. But you two would listen, catch on, forget, and then pester me to change the subject. It was a lot more active…easier to see on you two.”

“There must have been times we remembered, then.” Hermione mused. “The locus of the spell was broken at points—that could be why it fell, you know. Too many of us remembered and broke the key.”

“It’s not like you knew. It’s like you knew that I thought he was Voldemort, and that’s what the spell told you was wrong. I think the spell breaking had more to do with Lockhart giving himself away.”

“In any case,” Hermione insisted, “You need to stay away from Tom Riddle. He’s obviously not on our side—he left on his own. He wasn’t kidnapped.”

Harry shook his head. “But why? Why leave now? Nothing’s changed. It doesn’t make sense.”

“Everything’s changed! Lockhart revealed himself, blew his cover. Tom can’t stay, and he’s manipulating your feelings for him by masquerading his departure as a kidnapping. He’s never been your friend, Harry. He was always tricking you.”

Ron looked from Hermione to Harry with a dubious expression. He didn’t look convinced either way.

“I don’t believe it.” Harry said.

“Harry, you always believe the best of people. But you can’t keep doing that—”

“No I don’t! You’re the one who believes in Snape.” Harry stuck out his chin. “He’s a bloody crow—”

“You don’t trust him because he obviously doesn’t like you, mate.”

“Professor Snape and you have been at Hogwarts together for five years now, and he hasn’t once hurt you. Not in Occlumency lessons, not in Quidditch, not in class. And Dumbledore trusts him.”

“Dumbledore trusts Tom!”

“Did he actually say that? Honestly, did he?”

“I don’t know! Probably. He said Tom should get on with studying and not being left out, or being left in the dark. We can go ask him!”

Ron let out a low whistle. “Harry, Voldemort is up to something. And I think you’re right not to trust Snape and all. I mean, he hadn’t got a reason to hurt you before, but now You-Know-Who’s back, and Snape was a Death Eater. We know that without a doubt. Personally, I think you’re right—they ought to chuck out all Death Eater kids. They’re like, sons and daughters of Death Eaters club.”

“If I wasn’t in the castle, Voldemort wouldn’t have reason to attack it. And I didn’t say they should chuck them out. I said they were being unfair by only chucking out the one.”

Hermione shook her head furiously. “That’s not what we’re talking about. I’m telling you to be careful. Don’t trust him without any reason—and you’ve got reason to trust Professor Snape. You need to focus on what Dumbledore said. You’ve got to learn Occlumency.”

“Right. And I’ve got to keep my head down, stay out of the way of the Ministry Woman, who’s going to be our teacher, you know. The Ministry will be in Hogwarts. It almost sounds like that’s as bad as Voldemort being here, you know.”

Suddenly, Ron grinned at Harry. “You know, you’re…almost normal today. I mean, you are normal. Do you think it was a curse? Like Lockhart’s memory thing was twisting your reason or something? Maybe you’re better now.”

“I dunno.” Harry replied. “I don’t feel any different…”

Ron looked hopeful. He didn’t say anything else.

“Let’s get some rest.” Hermione said.

“Right.” Harry wondered if he’d be letting them down if he couldn’t remember what exactly ‘normal’ was. Adrenaline and self-righteousness already seemed to be draining away. Without something to focus on, the whole world was different. And focusing on just part of it…maybe he should do that. Maybe then no one would notice.

He lay on his bed, staring up at the ceiling. Hermione and Ron were both trying to sleep—but their beds were much closer than his, and he could sometimes hear parts of whispered conversations. It all sounded strange. He drifted to sleep thinking of birds in flight and cold, calculating eyes.


The Memory Charm Breaks. (Breath 16)
Archive links: Archive of our Own, and fanfiction.net

Bullet; Green dA archive: See the Folder | Chapter 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 7.0 | 7.5  | 8.0 | 8.5 | 9.0 | 9.5 | 10 |   11 | 12.0 | 12.5 | 13 | 13.5 | 14.0 | 14.5| 15.0 | 15.5 |

Hi again!
Sorry for the delay...school has eaten me and won't give me up. @.@ But I found time to write today, and shall hopefully find time to write again soon...but updates shall perhaps be more irregular than before. T_T

So! Thoughts on Ron and Hermione? Or predictions for the future? ♥
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Spring is coming!

Journal Entry: Wed Mar 19, 2014, 1:07 AM


Happy spring~ it's the equinox! :floating:

Have you been enjoying the cool and warm weather? I've been trying some lovely sweets--   sakura flavored icecream and   rose flavored icecream. Yummmm. :heart: Also been cooking a lot! Do you like to cook? What are some of your favorite recipes?  

So, as some of you have probably noticed, I've been drawing some more "kanzashi girls" recently. :nod: it's great fun.  I've also been writing on two fanfics: one Kuro, one Harry Potter, and that has been hard...you know it takes a lot of energy to plot out a story, and even more time to write it out. ^^ I've been swinging back and forth about whether or not I have confidence in myself, so...yeah.

I keep reminding myself: confidence cannot be given. So that makes me wonder: how do you think a person gets confidence?

Which brings me to my question:

1) What's one thing you are confident in about yourself?  
2) How did you become confident in it? Story please?

or if you prefer, what do you want to have confidence in?

Also! I'll be leaving Japan in August. ^_^ I'm mentally preparing myself for that. It should be a fun venture, but there's a lot I'll miss. How about you guys? Anyone else starting a new journey?

  • Mood: Optimism

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smallsmiles
Tara
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United Kingdom
I love to write, love to draw. Sometimes I wonder which one to do when...

Current Residence: England




:iconthanksllamaplz: You don't have to say thank you. I know~ llamas are cute. :iconnothanksforllamaplz: :iconyourewelcomesignplz:

:iconfloatingplz: :iconfaven1::iconfaven1: HOWEVER, feel free to thank for faves. ^_~ I like talking about art...and some interesting conversations start from thank-yous on art. :D
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:iconx-bloodyprincess-x:
X-bloodyprincess-X Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

*take off my hat then place it on my chest * thank u 4 joining my group :icongothic-wonderland: ! i hope you enjoy it there !

     

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Please check our general rules for art submissions !

 

feel free to recommend or request something or if you have any questions about anything by sending me a note !

 

we are having a competition right now feel free to participate !

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3laughingladies Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you so much for the llama!!!!!
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XSweetDemonsX Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Thank you for the llama 
I enjoy you art work
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smallsmiles Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014
aww, thank you. ^^

Llama Emoji-09 (Drinking Tea) [V1] llama is happy you liked him. ^_^
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XSweetDemonsX Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014  Hobbyist Interface Designer
:)
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:iconlillyleaf101:
lillyleaf101 Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, I was wondering if it would be alright if I posted some of your Harry Potter art on my HP tumblr? With credit and links back to you of course! Thank you for reading!
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:iconsmallsmiles:
smallsmiles Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014
Oh, that'd be awesome~ leave me a link at your tumblr so I can look at it~ (:
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:iconlillyleaf101:
lillyleaf101 Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Not sure when I will get around to posting your art but here is the tumblr lillyleaf101snitch.tumblr.com/
Also I notice you are into fictions (and slash) so if you want you can check out my Ao3 (same username as here) where I have Harrymort fics if you want :)
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