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Old October 23rd, 2012, 2:17 am
jmunay10  Male.gif jmunay10 is offline
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Join Date: 01st September 2012
Posts: 59
Re: Harry Potter and the Hellfire Potion

Chapter 13 ~ The Short Version

"And why exactly would I permit you access to my office when I am not there?" demanded Minerva McGonagall, her nostrils flaring. It was mid-morning and she took a seat at the kitchen table, where Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny were sitting, eating a late breakfast of sausages and eggs. Mr. Weasley had gone to work at the Ministry several hours earlier and Mrs. Weasley had yet to surface. Professor McGonagall had arrived by Floo powder moments earlier in response to Harry's owl, requesting an urgent meeting. She had brought Hedwig back with her, rather than making her fly back to the Burrow and her beautiful white feathers were now a murky grey colour from the soot. Harry and Ron looked at each other thinking the same thing, should we tell her? Ron gave Harry a small nod. Harry took a deep breath and said,

"We need to talk to Professor Dumbledore - and it doesn't matter if you're there...or not," he said, looking Professor McGonagall squarely in the eye.

"I see, oh thank you, Miss Granger," she said, as Hermione placed a mug of tea in front of her. Hermione lifted Hedwig gently out of the Professor's hands and took her to the sink where she began to brush the soot out of her feathers. Hedwig hooted at her and softly nipped her fingers in thanks. "And why exactly do you want to talk to him? Or should I ask," McGonagall added shrewdly, "why do you need to talk to him?"

"Well, it's a long story," said Harry, "but believe me - we wouldn't be asking unless it was really important."

"I see," said Professor McGonagall again. She took a sip of her tea and set the mug carefully back down on the wooden table. She interlaced her fingers and leaned forwards, looking Harry equally as squarely in the eye.

"Then you had better give me the short version."
***
"This is hopeless!" screamed Bellatrix Lestrange, flinging the magical book into the fire. After scouring its pages she had still not found what she was looking for, even though she was not quite sure exactly what it was she needed to find. A shriek escaped the book as its pages curled and blackened in the green flames. She looked at it with contempt. Yes, it had contained some truly awful Dark magic, but it was not enough. She wanted to make Potter really suffer, feel pain beyond pain - beg for death. The book did not contain that sort of punishment. No...she would need to take from him what he loved most. Perhaps she should kidnap one of his little friends...the filthy Mudblood Draco had told her about? Or perhaps the red haired imbecile...or his annoying little sister? Potter seemed very enamoured with her... Looking up, Bella caught a glimpse of her misshapen face in the shattered mirror above the fireplace. It was her custom to destroy any mirror in her sight, ever since the Dark Lord had punished her. In the few shards of glass that remained in the frame, she could see her ugly, melted skin and sunken, hollow eyes. She was exhausted.

"I need rest," she murmured to herself, sinking onto a filthy sofa with rotting fabric and drawing her travelling cloak around her for warmth, "tomorrow will be the day I find the magic to destroy you, Potter..." and comforted by that thought, Bella drifted off to sleep.

She was walking on damp grass, in a very dark forest. The only light came from the full moon directly above. She shivered as she looked around, hearing footsteps to her right - then her left - wait! Right behind her! Bella stumbled as she swung this way and that, trying to locate the cause of the footsteps. A soft sigh echoed through the trees. Bella gasped in fear, groping for her wand.

"Lumos!" she breathed, her heart thumping in her ears, "Who's there?" she asked, backing up until her spine made contact with something solid. "Aargh!" she jumped with fright, letting out a sigh of relief, discovering it was only an old oak tree.

"Bella..." her name whispered through the dark.

"Show yourself!" Bella demanded, beads of sweat dotting her brow.

"Bella..." her name was called again, growing stronger with each syllable. Bella heard the footsteps again and swung once more to her right, brandishing her wand. There was no-one there.

Slowly turning around on the spot, she came face to face with -

"Narcissa!"

"Bella..." Narcissa, Bellatrix's sister, murdered by Voldemort months before, was standing right before her, looking whole again, her white blond hair fluttering out behind her, even though there was not a breath of wind stirring in the trees.

"It-it can't be!" stammered Bella, staggering backwards, nearly falling to the floor in her attempt to put some distance between herself and her dead sister. She stared at Narcissa, whose skin was a pearly grey colour. She seemed to be hovering a few inches from the ground and held her hands out to Bella imploringly.

"Bella...my sister...I do not have much time..." her voice made the hairs on the back of Bella's neck stand on end. "I have come to warn you...you must cease before it is too late..."

"What do you mean? Cease what?"

"You must lay this feud to rest. You must not continue down this path...it will be your destruction,"

"What do you mean? What path?"

"Your attempts to destroy Harry Potter...in the end they will only destroy you. Bella," she implored as she glided closer to her sister, "I am in a state of permanent torture for the evil deeds I have committed. There can be no redemption for me, but for you, if you continue with your plans, there will be everlasting torment and hell. The path you have chosen will lead to your ultimate doom. I have escaped for but a few moments to warn you...to beg you to stop!"

"How can you say that? The Dark Lord was all-powerful, we lived to serve him! I must avenge his death - I must! Potter must not be allowed to live," she spat with contempt.

"Bella, Bella - " Narcissa glanced fearfully over her shoulder, at what Bella could not see, "My time is nearly up. Please think about what I have said. You must stop this - now! Please Bella, please!" she cried desperately as her outline began to blur.

"Narcissa?" screamed Bella, as she reached out a hand to her sister, "Cissy? No! Come back! Cissy!"

And with a start Bella woke up, heart racing and drenched in sweat, to find herself still on the rotting couch in the Riddle house.
***
"Well, the thing is Professor, I need his advice. I think we might still be in danger from the Death Eaters that the Ministry haven't caught yet. I need to know what Dumbledore thinks," said Harry, making it sound like the idea had just popped into his head, rather than being visited in his dreams by their dead Headmaster.

"I see," said Professor MacGonagall looking gravely concerned, "well perhaps you should also talk to the Minister, Potter. The Auror Squad ought to know about your concerns."

"Yeah, well there's no way that I'm going back to that place anytime soon," said Harry, wryly.

"Now Potter - Harry," her gaze softening slightly, "I know how you feel about the Ministry, and I believe I share the same views as you," she said, with a hint of a smile, "but you must realise that to capture the remaining Death Eaters, you will need Auror's on your side. You are still weak from your battle with You-Know - You-Know - oh drat - Voldemort and as such I think it would be prudent to discuss matters with the Minister."

Harry opened his mouth to protest once more, but Professor MacGonagall interjected swiftly,

"And yes, you may visit my office to consult with Professor Dumbledore's portrait. You are always welcome." she finished, reaching over to pat his hand, "Albus thought a great deal of you Harry, a great deal, and I know he would be extremely proud of all you have accomplished so far." Her eyes misted over for a moment, before she snapped back to her usual brisk self. "Anyway! I must be getting back to Hogwarts. There is much to do to prepare for the new term. Good day to you all," she said, nodding to all of them in turn. Stepping towards the fireplace, she threw in a pinch of glittering Floo powder, and with a cry of "Hogwarts!" she was gone.

They watched her disappear. Turning to the rest of them Harry asked: "So...what do you reckon? Should we go to the Ministry?"

"What, those pillocks? Nah mate, I reckon we can handle her by ourselves!" said Ron confidently.

"Are you insane?" said Hermione angrily, "Bellatrix Lestrange has avoided capture for the past three years! Harry, " she said, turning back to him, "you've got to be careful that you don't underestimate her - she's extremely powerful, extremely evil and we know she would stop at nothing to do you in!"

"Ah come on Hermione!" said Ron, cutting Harry off, "if Harry can defeat a great git like V-V-Voldemort, he can definitely take care of one witch!"

"And that's where you're wrong!" Hermione near bellowing stood up suddenly, knocking her chair over as she did so. Hedwig ruffled her feathers in alarm and Crookshanks shot into a nearby cupboard. Ginny, Ron and Harry stared at her with their mouths open. "In case you hadn't noticed, Harry is a mess! You've barely recovered from battling Voldemort! You're thin as a rake, you get tired after being up for only a few hours and you're still dealing with this whole thing mentally! Bellatrix Lestrange is not just 'one witch'! She is pure evil! Look what she did to us! Look what she did to Sirius! And if that's not enough," she shouted at the top of her lungs, her face a dangerous shade of red now, "LOOK AT WHAT SHE DID TO NEVILLE'S PARENTS! DO YOU THINK THEY ENJOYED BEING TORTURED INTO INSANITY?! DO YOU THINK IT'S FUN FOR THEM, NOT KNOWING WHO OR WHERE THEY ARE? NOT RECOGNISING THEIR OWN SON? SHE HAS THE ABILITY TO BRING VOLDEMORT BACK AND YOU REFUSE TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY! YOU ARE SO - "

"THAT'S ENOUGH!"

Shaking, Hermione turned to find Neville and Luna standing in the doorway of the kitchen, both wearing horrified expressions.

"Oh Neville, I-I- I'm so s-sorry," mumbled Hermione, hanging her head in shame, the colour draining rapidly from her face. Neville on the other hand was steadily turning scarlet, his eyes wide.

"That's okay, Hermione. You're right. You should be taking this seriously," he pointed a trembling finger at Harry and Ron, "that's the only way to get her. You c-can't underestimate her, or she'll k-kill you, or make you wish she had..." he trailed off and hurried out of the kitchen, with Luna close at his heels.

Ginny reached down and picked up Hermione's chair. "Sit down," she said gently, breaking the tense silence in the room and tugging on Hermione's arm. Hermione sank into the chair looking positively ill.

"Now look," Ginny said sternly (reminding Harry for one scary moment of Mrs. Weasley) "Hermione and Neville are right. Harry," she said, rounding on him, "you told me that Dumbledore said you had to get better before you rushed off to fight Bellatrix, right?"

"Right..." said Harry, feeling rather small.

"And are you better? No!" she said, not waiting for an answer. "And you," turning on Ron now, "You can barely say Voldemort's name without flinching, so stop making out you're so cool with all of this. It's scary and it's okay to admit it! Now, we will defeat her, because we have to, but if we rush off without thinking then we might as well walk up to Bellatrix without wands and ask her to kill us! Now I don't trust the Ministry any more than you do, but we have to talk to someone there - and yes, I know you don't want to, but tough! We're going - "

She stopped abruptly. A large eagle owl had just swooped in through the open kitchen window and landed on the draining board. Hedwig blinked at it interestedly as Ron moved towards it to remove the letter it carried, keen to avoid a further ear bashing from Ginny.
"It's for you, Harry!" he said passing the letter over, as the owl gave Hedwig a wink and a hoot, then took flight once more. Harry tore the letter open and read the official looking parchment within.

"Well, it looks like you two got your wish," he said, looking at Ginny and Hermione.

"What do you mean?" asked Hermione meekly, speaking for the first time since her outburst.

"It's from Scrimgeour. He wants to see me, right away, says it's urgent. It's to do with Dumbledore."


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