Ashes of Chaos
Year 3: The Blackest of Truths
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots, and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to my editor Athena Hope as well as my other betas 3CP, Fezzik, Luq707, Raven, Regress, and Yoshi89 for their incredible work on this story.
Self-Promotion: I have a Discord server where you can chat and read all of my chapters early. The next FOUR chapters are currently available to anyone who joins. If you would like to join, simply copy the link on my profile. You can do likewise to follow the ACI100 Twitter account — @ACI_100 — for live updates and to check out my official website.
If you enjoy this story and would like to support me directly, I now have a P*T*E*N page! You are by no means obligated to support me, but for those generous enough to do so, you will be receiving Patron-exclusive benefits and getting chapters even earlier than Discord! The next EIGHT chapters are currently available to those who sign up. The link to do so can be found on my profile.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I have launched a fundraiser on the Discord server to support the charity Doctors Without Borders — a medically focused, international humanitarian organization that does work in conflict zones and disease-impacted areas all around the world. There are incentives to donate that can all be found on the Discord server. Just head over to the ‘Server News’ channel and give it a look. Any little bit of support would be greatly appreciated.
Harry Potter and the Ashes of Chaos
Year 3: The Blackest of Truths
Chapter 15: Confronting the Faceless
September 4, 1993
An Abandoned Classroom
Harry’s raven hair was plastered against his forehead by the time Hestia’s wand clattered to the floor. It had been a long and drawn-out duel with a lot of sharp and sudden movements on both sides. Hestia had pushed the pace and stayed on offence for much of the affair, which had left Harry to take on the altogether more taxing role of playing defence.
The now sixth-year Slytherin was talented, but it did feel to Harry as though she had grown slower over the summer. This was of course not true, but after spending the bulk of the break duelling either Grace or Evan Rosier, Hestia felt like a much easier opponent than she truly was.
She knew this, too. It became evident early on that Harry’s skill had grown in leaps and bounds, which had been what had forced her to adopt the more offensive style. She had done her best to crowd Harry and take away any time he would have to cast anything more elaborate than simple spells. It was unfortunate for her that Rosier had not taught him many spells that were particularly elaborate. It was all about efficiency with Rosier. Use less energy than your opponent and do so while causing damage. That was the key to victory, according to him, and it had served Harry well today.
His hair resisted him for a moment, but he managed to sweep it free of its current state as Hestia stooped and retrieved her wand. “You’ve gotten better,” she said with a curt nod.
“I’d hope so,” said Harry. “I’d be a tad miffed if I’d been knocked around for the better part of two months for nothing.”
“We’ll need every bit of that improved prowess of yours, it seems,” said Cassius, who had been watching this round while Calypso duelled Flora.
A silence fell over the room then. The shadow of Emily Nigma and what she had done that first night in the common room hung over all of them. Harry watched each friend’s face and waited for the proverbial pin to drop.
“Oh, come off it,” said Hestia after the delay, “you know about Nigma.”
“Not much,” said Harry.
Calypso caught his eye from not far away and Harry almost jumped out of his skin.
How could he have forgotten? He had not been the only student down in the Chamber of Secrets who had not been forced to forget the entire ordeal. Charlus wouldn’t remember a thing about the Heiress of Slytherin and Grace was no longer at Hogwarts, but Calypso had been there. In all the chaos of the summer and the stress over what Emily Nigma’s opening move had meant, Harry had not stopped to consider that he was not the only one in the castle who knew the truth.
It was… liberating — perhaps the lightest he’d felt since winning the trial against his father and Dumbledore early in July. It was someone else who knew what they were up against. It meant that not the entirety of their group would be moving blind.
“Not much you know,” asked Cassius, “or not much you can tell us?”
Harry caught Calypso nod from the corner of his eye. “The latter,” he admitted.
She seemed to be thinking in much the same way he was with his friends. If they led the others in the right direction, perhaps they could make some accurate assumptions. Figuring out that this new girl was actually a student from fifty years ago named Emily Riddle seemed like a bit of a stretch, but to deduce that she had been the alleged ‘Heir of Slytherin’ last year? That was a potential assumption that seemed at least somewhat reasonable. If the others could figure out at least this much, it would at least alert them to the true knowledge of what it was that was lurking about in their common room.
The Carrows seemed to have gotten it. They were glancing between Harry and Calypso with conspiratorial expressions. Cassius was a touch slower to pick it up, but Harry saw his eyes widen by just a Martian. He could practically picture the gears turning inside Cassius’s head as he slowly put the pieces of the puzzle together.
It was odd when their session ended some fifteen minutes later. Cassius and the Carrows just filed out of the room without a word, leaving Harry alone with Calypso as if it had been planned that way all along. Really, it was just a bit of improvising, but now was as good a time as ever.
“I hadn’t expected her to show up at Hogwarts,” Calypso admitted.
“I don’t think any of us did,” said Harry. “Lockhart seemed as surprised as us.”
“You’ve talked to him.”
Harry scowled. “Thursday night.”
“What did he want?”
Calypso tilted her head. “Do I dare ask?”
“It started normally enough. We chatted aimlessly and tried to be polite to each other.”
Calypso’s lips tugged upwards. “That must have been interesting after last year.”
“We got on swimmingly, I assure you.”
“I’m sure,” said Calypso with a grin.
Harry pulled a face. “He apologized, somewhat. Still had the gall to say that he made reasonable assumptions, but he apologized. It… devolved a bit after that.”
“Oh, dear. Please don’t tell me you had a row with the headmaster the first day back?”
“Not a row, no. I told him that I forgave him and wouldn’t hold it against him… I also just told him he had no right to assume what he had and that he wasn’t qualified to run the school.”
Calypso actually laughed at that. “I’m sure that went over swimmingly with the man who had posters of himself hanging in his office last year.”
“Still does, the prat.” Calypso hid what looked suspiciously like a giggle behind her hand. “He actually took it well, to his credit; didn’t even disagree with me.”
“As tense as that must have been, you still haven’t mentioned what he wanted.”
“No, I haven’t, because this was when I brought that up. It was painfully obvious and he was putting it off.” Calypso waited and Harry tried to decide whether or not there was a way to word this in a way that wouldn’t be quite so jarring. It took about three seconds for him to realize there wasn’t and that the best approach was just to rip the bandage straight off. “He asked me to watch Riddle for him.”
“He asked you to do what?”
Harry’s smile was sharp, but there was no humour in it. “Funnily enough, I asked him the same thing.
Two nights earlier, in the Headmaster’s office…
“You want me to do what?”
Harry’s voice was deathly quiet but in the empty stillness of the room, he might as well have shouted from the peak of a mountain. Most of the portraits hung around the room really did seem asleep, but Harry could see one of them — a pale man with high cheekbones, slick black hair, and a haughty air about him — stealing glances every now and then. Harry decided to steal one back when the man occupying the frame had closed his eyes. He was apparently named Phineas Nigellus Black.
Lockhart sighed. In that moment, he looked scarcely a day younger than the man whose position he had slotted into. “We both want the same thing,” he tried.
“Do we, Headmaster, or do you just not want to get your own hands dirty?”
“We both want to make sure Riddle doesn’t become the monster who killed members of our families.”
“Funny. A minute ago, you said how you wanted to keep an eye on Riddle and monitor her. I hadn’t realized you meant to do that by endangering a student.” Harry looked pointedly towards the professor. “Wasn’t that the entire reason you got the position as Headmaster? For getting students out of danger?”
Harry could see a vein begin to pulse in Lockhart’s jaw, but he was incensed by now and here was an opportunity to take months of frustration out on someone. The best part was, Harry knew he had him. He could say anything he wanted now and Lockhart would do nothing. If he reacted, he would immediately throw away any chance he had of convincing Harry to work with him.
“When you first became the Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor last year, I thought you were a fraud. I thought you’d made all your stories up and that you were profiting off of lies.” Harry sneered in a way that would have made both Snape and Malfoy proud. “It turned out that I was closer than I thought.”
“Was this what you wanted?” asked Lockhart. “To vent months of frustration? I’d have let you get all of that off your chest before—”
“You hadn’t been a hypocrite before now, Headmaster.”
“If you’re hung up on hypocrisy, you won’t go far. The wizarding world is built on it, Potter. You best get used to it now because you’ll never be free of it.”
“Some would say you should have given up on a lot of things.”
“Yet I’m here.”
“And we just covered how that happened.” Harry leant back in his chair. “I’ll be honest with you, Headmaster, I have absolutely no reason to agree to this. I don’t like you, I respect you less by the minute, and you’re asking me to put myself in danger and deal with someone who I’d rather not be in the same castle as. And I think you knew that going into this conversation. You’re a lot of things, but slow is not one of them. I think you knew that I was never going to agree under any conditions you set out. So,” said Harry, his eyes gleaming, “what is it you’ve hidden up your sleeve and been hoping not to use? What is it that you’re going to offer me?”
Lockhart’s face was impassive as he stared back towards Harry, but his eyes told the story. There was no sparkle, no traces of the jubilance that usually shone through them. There was just a dull sort of nothing; a vacant air that depicted exactly how resigned Lockhart was.
“Two things,” he said. “The first is an… extension of the school’s rules, and the second is information that I think you might find… useful.”
“What kind of extension in the school rules would I be interested in? I’m guessing you’ve put together how much I snuck around the school last year?”
“I have, yes, but I’ve also heard rumours that you took up duelling this summer with a rather decorated instructor.”
Harry’s expression gave nothing away. “And if I did?”
“Well, it must be unfortunate now that you’re unable to meet up with your tutor. Leaving the castle has never been more difficult. What, with the aurors posted in Hogsmeade and the dementors blocking most of the exits…”
“Tempting,” Harry admitted. “Not tempting enough to risk my life over, but tempting. What is this information?”
For the first time during the course of the conversation, Lockhart actually grinned. It was much like Harry’s smile from a minute or so earlier; no kindness and all teeth.
“Agree to watch this Riddle, and I’ll tell you exactly how the other one survived Samhain of 1981.”
Harry’s expression was a masterclass in Occlumency — it took a tremendous effort to stop his blank expression from wavering. “Fine,” he said, “you have a deal.”
Back in the present…
They had agreed that Lockhart would part ways with the information the first time Harry reported to him about Riddle. It had not been an agreement the youth was keen to make, but Lockhart had sworn his side. Vows had their flaws, but something this black and white didn’t exactly lend itself to creating loopholes.
Of course, he told Calypso nothing about the last part of their agreement. That was something for him and him alone.
“So you agreed?” she asked.
“I did,” Harry confirmed.
“May I ask why? As good an instructor as Father is, I wouldn’t have expected you to agree so easily.”
Harry ran a hand through his hair as he sighed. This was something he himself had pondered often in the past two days. Had Lockhart not offered him the information pertaining to Voldemort, Harry doubted he would have accepted, but he found himself less adverse to the idea now that he had thought about it.
The spending time near Emily Riddle bit wasn’t something he was thrilled about, but there were positives. If he was going to be sharing a common room with her, he would prefer to be as informed as possible. He had also spent the bulk of second year using her old notes in the Speaker’s Den. Harry wasn’t positive those notes had been taken by the age she was now, but watching her could still teach him something.
So long as she didn’t catch onto what he was doing and decide she was sick of it, that was. That could get… messy.
But Riddle had been keen to learn about him last year. She had gone as far as to kidnap him and had sought to make him a part of her twisted ritual. Even whilst setting up for the biggest moment of her life, she had taken the time to try and pull as much information as she could from him.
If she had been so interested back in June, Harry doubted that had changed in the months since. It was at least something he could use to his advantage. It would hopefully serve as an in and a way for him to make some ground without getting himself into a great deal of trouble very quickly.
He still wasn’t sure how he was going to do this. His immediate reaction was to spy on her, but that seemed… risky. Her older self had been an outstanding Legilimens. It was very possible her senses were even more sensitive than Charlotte’s. If that was true, hiding from her would be next to impossible, even if he could learn something like the Disillusionment Charm. The Marauder’s Map would certainly be helpful, but it would not stop Riddle from detecting his presence.
The only other option he could see was to actually approach her, but it was not a prospect he looked upon with any amount of anticipation. Dread clung to him at the very thought and weighed him down like lactic acid. The thought of willingly putting himself in the same room as her seemed mad. The thought of doing that enough times to even hope to glean any information seemed suicidal.
“I should find out as much as I can. Not for Lockhart, but for me.” He looked pointedly towards Calypso. “And if I know you, you’re not going to drop your plans just because of Thursday night, are you?”
Her lips pressed tightly together as she shook her head. “I’m not afraid of her. I was distracted and it was a spell I’d never seen before. She would have a harder time doing that face to face.”
Calypso’s confidence was admirable, Harry only wished he shared it. She was an incredibly talented duellist, but he wasn’t sure she was on Lockhart’s level and he had been unable to disarm Riddle down in the Chamber even whilst she was operating at far less than one hundred percent capacity. The thought of Calypso being able to outduel Riddle… he supposed it wasn’t impossible, but he didn’t love her odds.
“You don’t think I can beat her, do you?” asked Calypso.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to try. Not one on one, anyway.”
“Are you proposing an ambush?”
“I’m not proposing anything yet. I’ll watch her and try to piece together what I can. We’ll give it a couple of months, and then we can decide how we want to try and deal with her, but I don’t think brute force is the answer. Not brute force from one witch, at least.”
Calypso knew he was right — Harry could see it in her eyes — but she was stubborn and the last thing she wanted to do was admit it. “Fine,” she acquiesced, gesturing that the two of them should begin back towards the common room, “we’ll do it your way.”
September 6, 1993
The Defence Against the Dark Arts Classroom
Professor Dawlish was waiting for the third-year Slytherins in the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom their first Monday afternoon back at Hogwarts. Everyone was punctual today, which drew an approving nod from the Senior Auror.
“We’ll be tackling the boggart today, just like I promised,” said Dawlish. “There’s an old wardrobe in the staff room that has one. I’ve asked Headmaster Lockhart whether we could use it and he gave the okay. Now, follow me.”
Dawlish led them all from the classroom and down a number of corridors. When they finally arrived at the staff room, Harry could not help but remember the last time he had been here.
He’d snuck into the room and hid under the guise of both his ring and a Notice-Me-Not Charm to overhear one of the staff’s most important meeting. It had been at the height of the Chamber of Secrets drama and Harry remembered the tension very well.
It was odd that today, he was nearly as nervous as he had been then despite the fact nothing was at stake this time around.
It wasn’t so much that Harry dreaded facing what he feared the most, he just dreaded not knowing what it was he would face.
It was something he had put much thought into since Dawlish had announced the lesson last week, but still, he had come up almost empty. Vernon Dursley was dead and no longer scared him. Voldemort did, but there were other things that put him much iller at ease.
The conclusion Harry had come to was that the boggart would not be taking on the shape of a person. A dementor wasn’t quite right, either, but he was struggling to think of anything it could turn into that would scare him more. Perhaps that wasn’t a right answer and a dementor would be the least incorrect answer the boggart could come up with. It was difficult to say or imagine until he was faced with it. That was a reality that would come to be sooner than he would like.
Harry was far from the only one who looked unsure of things. Blaise was as stiff and expressive a statue. Even for him, this was a bit much and Harry thought he would have better off trembling. That would have been less obvious to those who knew him than the state he was in now. Tracey actually was trembling, though she was doing a good job at playing it off like she was shivering. Pansy looked like she would be sick but was doing a decent enough job at holding it all together, and Daphne was the most composed of all of them sand Harry on the outside. The only thing that showed how unnerved she really was was that her hands would not stay still. Her fingers laced and unlaced, they tapped upon her hip, they twirled a strang of long, honey-blonde hair.
Harry had always thought that colour was strange, but he thought it suited her now as they stepped into the staff room and the light streaming in from outside made Daphne’s hair shine like liquid fire. It was a nice shade and oddly difficult to look away from, but Dawlish’s sharp voice pulled him back into the present.
“Right, the first question I should ask is, how many of you know what a boggart is?” Harry’s hand hit the air along with Daphne’s, Blaise’s, Pansy’s, and most of the others. Dawlish nodded. “Greengrass, what is a boggart?”
“It’s a magical creature that can transform into whatever witches and wizards fear most. It will do this as soon as you approach it.”
“I’ll never understand how it does that,” Tracey whispered. “Is it reading our mind, or something?”
That… was actually interesting and it was something that Harry had never considered. How exactly was the boggart able to decide what each of them feared? Was it Legilimency? If it was, surely Occlumency could keep it at bay? He wondered whether his was good enough; it would certainly be an effective way of dealing with this particular lesson.
“Correct,” said Dawlish, “and who here can tell me how to fight a boggart?” His eyes were sharp as they found Harry a second before the man indicated for him to answer.
“There’s a spell called Ridikulus that forces the boggart to take any form the caster wants. It’s best to make it something amusing because humour is what really beats a boggart. It’s the opposite of what makes them powerful.”
That was esoteric magic at its finest. Boggarts fed off of fear and despair. It was what sustained them in many ways. Overloading them with the exact opposite of what it was they craved was unbearable for the creatures. They would retreat after long enough and sometimes, in extreme circumstances, they were even known to be destroyed. At least for a time, anyway.
That did bring up, another question as Harry realized just how little he had considered about this kind of magic.
“That’s correct,” said Dawlish. “I’m assuming you know how to cast the spell?”
“Yes, sir. It’s just like Transfiguration, but easier. You need to clearly imagine whatever you want the boggart to become. It’s said to be a simple spell to cast.”
“It is,” the auror agreed. “What’s less simple is keeping your head on straight long enough to cast it when your worst fear is staring you straight in the face. It’s a very sobering experience and many people lose their composure. That’s the last thing you want to do with a boggart. Not only do you know when it happens and not only does that make it next to impossible to recover, but the boggart knows and understands when you’re at your weakest and it will have no mercy.”
They all shuffled uncomfortably under his stare and under the weight of what was inevitably to come. “Do any of you have questions?” He pointed to Harry.
“Mine… is a theory based question, Professor.”
“Go on, Potter.”
“Do we know where boggarts come from?”
Several students gave him strange looks, but he shrugged. Harry couldn’t help but notice the way Daphne looked so fond yet so exasperated all at once.
“We ‘know’ very little about boggarts,” said Dawlish. “Almost everything we teach about them is theoretical, but the leading theory is that boggarts are like poltergeists. Poltergeists form out of the manifestation of things like chaos or order. Boggarts are believed to be something like that, but they manifest with the help of dread and fear. Does that answer your question?”
“Now, before I let you all take out your wands and practice the incantation, let me explain to you all how this is going to work.I’m going to release the boggart. Then, one by one, you’ll each make your way up to the front. Each of you will face the boggart. Once you force it to shift into a different form or fail to, the next person will take your place.”
Harry almost choked on his next breath. They were going to face their worst fears in front of every housemate they had in the year? That could not be legal.
“Sir,” said Blaise, who must have had the same thought, “what if we’re… uncomfortable doing this in front of others.”
Blaise was no longer stiff and rigid. Harry saw that he was fidgeting and that his eyes were a touch wilder than he was used to.
“You will have to deal with it. Having this many people around will confuse the boggart and make shifting its form easier. It would be irresponsible to let you all face it one on one the first time you meet it.”
“But, sir,” said Harry, “don’t you think letting everyone in the house know what our worst fear is also irresponsible?”
“I think it’s character building,” said Dawlish. “If Black breaks into this school, it won’t be one man who takes him down. Learn to trust those around you.”
This was idiocy. This was complete and total idiocy. Harry had never despised a professor quite as much as he despised John Dawlish in that moment. Blaise too seemed apoplectic with rage. It was the first time Harry had truly seen him unsettled. It was odd to see him shaken, surreal almost.
“If those are the last of your questions,” said Dawlish, “we’ll begin. If anyone has a problem, they can leave and take it up with the Headmaster. I assure you that I’ve gained his approval for this lesson.”
And that sealed the deal, really. It was a polite way of saying they had no choice in the matter and that any resistance they posed would be crushed by a higher authority if need be. The whole thing made Harry sick as he and Blaise jostled for the position at the back of the line. Harry won their staring match and took the position, clearing his mind of all thoughts and trying to think about exactly what the boggart would become whilst he aimlessly watched the other.
It was like he was watching a television program in the background whilst doing something all-consuming. He was vaguely aware of what was going on: Lillian Moon causing a zombie to fall apart and for its rotten flesh to become a pile of grey-coloured silly string, Crabbe banishing a hulking man who must have been his father by transforming him into a pouting toddler sucking on a pacifier, Goyle turning a hulking werewolf into a yapping chihuahua, and finally Millicent blinding a dark assassin who was sneaking through shadows with a burst of vibrant sunlight.
All of this played in the background while Harry tried to internalize his own thoughts. There were no other thoughts in his mind as he focused harder than he could remember focusing before.
And then it came to him.
The tightening of his chest as Uncle Vernon threw him into his cupboard and locked the door. The forceful trembling and shaky breaths after Selwyn and his goons had bound him in chains. How hard he had needed to occlude wen Riddle had tied him up down in the Chamber of Secrets.
Harry feared being powerless and helpless above all other things.
Pansy was now stepping up to face the boggart and Harry diverted just a bit of his attention to observe what it is she would face, but he turned away just as fast. It was painfully predictable — a tear-streaked version of herself traipsing around in something that resembled house elf garb. It was Pansy, stripped of her name, her wealth, and her prestige.
Harry refocused on himself during the time it took for Pansy to dispel her boggart.
What was it the boggart would actually transform into? What could it become that would represent helplessness and a loss of power? His mind was drawing a complete and total blank, which was going to make this exercise extremely difficult. It was hard to prepare for a boggart if you didn’t even know what the boggart was going to transform into. How was he supposed to ponder how to make something entertaining if he didn’t know what he would need to transform in the first place?
Daphne was up next and Harry blanched at her boggart. It was him… among others. He was lying face up with his eyes wide open and void of the emerald light that usually shone behind them. Tracy was lying beside him, her body broken and her frame appearing small and frail. A thin stream of blood trickled from her mouth and pooled soaked into the white trim of her favourite black travelling cloak. Charlotte laid on Harry’s other side, her final expression one of complete and utter terror. The Greengrass family was there, too — Cyrus and Celia mangled beyond recognition and Astoria looking as peaceful in death as any girl ever had in life.
It was both surreal and unnerving to see himself so obviously dead. His heart froze at the sight of Tracey and Charlotte, but he forced it clear just as fast.
This was not real! It was just another’s boggart and deserved no more of his attention.
Back on track… his boggart. Perhaps trying to anticipate exactly what it would be was the wrong tact. Maybe there was something categorically amusing he could transform it into no matter what it was. He wished he was Dudley right about then. The boy had about half as many brain cells as Mrs. Figg had cats and he found just about anything funny. Harry was harder to amuse and he had never been more annoyed by that than now.
Daphne must have been successful fending off her boggart because Tracey was stepping forward now. She looked worse than anyone who had come before her. Pale as a ghost, as small-looking now in life as her imitation had been in death, and shaking like an airborne leaf caught up in a strong autumn breeze. She must have known what her boggart would be. Harry envied the certainty, but not the state it left her in. She was clearly unprepared for whatever she expected to face a moment later.
Harry understood the second the boggart shifted forms. Harry had never seen the woman that now stood before Tracey, but he remembered the story she had told him after his first year well enough and it did not take a genius to connect the dots.
The girl had blonde hair brighter than Tracey’s, but they resembled each other greatly. This woman was older, too. In her 20s, by the look of it. Harry did not entirely understand, though, until Julie Davis opened her mouth and spoke.
“I expected better from you, Tracey. I gave my life for the daughter I loved, not for a failure.”
Tracey reared back as though she had been struck and staggered. The woman advanced on her with accusation in her eyes and in her voice.
Harry tried to clear his mind again, tried to pull his attention back onto his own problems as Tracey attempted in vain to fend off the approaching boggart. This round was different. All the others had either been of no meaning to Harry or else he had been sure they would fend the boggart off.
This was maddening.
Tracey wasn’t going to be able to fight the creature off, that much was obvious. She was floundering under its pressure and looked like she would collapse at any moment. Harry glanced towards Dawlish to make sure he was seeing what was happening, and that was what did it.
Dawlish stood off to the side and watched with a pensive expression. The auror had not yet made any move towards his wand and he watched the entire debacle with cold, uncaring eyes.
“Hey!” called Harry, summoning his wand with a flick of his wrist and stepping around Blaise to face the boggart. “Try me!”
It was foolishly Gryffindor of him. Harry wished he could kill that part of himself and he was sure that Occlumency would one day allow him to do it. Alas, he was his father’s son no matter how sick to his stomach the thought made him. Watching his friend tormented by the ghosts of her past in front of the entire class had made him angrier than he had been since the night in the common room last year when he had brutally assaulted Draco Malfoy.
Julie Davis spun so fast to face him that her hair whipped across her daughter’s face. Any living woman would surely have quelled under the flaming green glare Harry was levelling her with, but this impression did not flinch. She only cocked her head to the side and considered for a moment before there was a loud CRACK and Julie Davis was no more.
Harry had no idea what to expect until it stood before him but upon reflection, he really ought to have guessed what he would face, especially after looking into the Mirror of Erised almost two years earlier.
It was almost like the opposite of that at first. In the mirror, he had stood tall and proud, draped in a silvery cloak that seemed to flow like water and armed with a long, dark wand that looked like the weapon of legends.
This Harry was thin, frail, and wearing a battered pair of Dudley Dursley’s old hand me downs. He shivered despite the warm classroom and his face was a swollen mess. Blood trickled from his nose and his right eye was swollen. His hair was shorter than Harry had ever has his — other than the night Aunt Petunia had cut it herself.
Harry’s eyes flashed not with fear, but with anger. The sight stabbed at his chest, but he did not let it break through. He had Occlumency and he had a purpose; that was all he needed to overcome this particular obstacle.
The room gasped at the sight before them, but Harry did not stay for their reaction. He had stormed out the door without a backwards glance before the collective gasp had filled the air, leaving a classroom filled with stunned students and a shocked-looking professor staring at the bloodied form of a battered Vernon Dursley hanging from a noose behind him.
I know this chapter is a bit short. There were originally going to be two more scenes in this chapter, but it ended up being a bit longer than I expected and honestly, I can’t not leave it off there.
I’m not entirely certain if you’ll see the full lesson, but you will at least see some of the Gryffindor’s version of this lesson in the next chapter as well as two rather important meetings.
Please read and review.
PS: The next password will be released next Friday. THE NEXT FIVE CHAPTERS ARE AVAILABLE FOR PATRONS RIGHT NOW, AND CHAPTER 75 WILL BE RELEASED FOR PATRONS TOMORROW! If you want to read all of those chapters early, head on over and sign up to my Patreon page.
Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.