Chapter Thirty-Three: Thankyou
Just over a month later, it was the 31st of August, and tomorrow morning the Hogwarts students would be returning to school. Harry was somewhat a nervous wreck. Even watching them flood the Dursleys house in the Muggle Studies department did nothing to make him feel better. He sat in his rooms, reading through his lesson plans over and over, though it was doing nothing to calm his worries. By eight o' clock in the evening, he had given up, and was pacing around the room, thinking of all that had happened over the summer.
Kainda hadn't minded much when Harry told her about his new job. She seemed happy, and started talking about a house in Hogsmeade that her grandfather had left for her in his will. She could live there, she said. Harry could come home every weekend, and Dumbledore wouldn't mind if Kainda dropped in to see Harry sometimes. Sirius was a little disappointed that Harry was leaving, but he soon understood how important this job was to his godson. He wasn't letting Harry go quite so easily though. Just the morning after Harry announced he was going back to Hogwarts, Sirius came bouncing downstairs and said he was going to be permanently visiting Lupin. Once Ron and Hermione found out that Harry was moving to Hogwarts, close to their house in Hogsmeade, they were delighted. Draco pretended to be reluctant as he found a room he could rent in Hogsmeade, but secretly, they all knew he would much rather be away from all the muggles in London.
Harry's next task, after sorting out who was where and who with, was to start his changes with the dungeons. One Saturday, Hogwarts was filled with the sounds of explosions as dozens of decorating fireworks went off all throughout the dungeons, and Professor Flitwick had to be called when one of the stone pillars gave way and nearly brought Hogwarts to the ground. Luckily, they managed to get the rocks held up with some good charms, put in a new pillar, and that was that. The main lab in the dungeons was no longer dark grey and black, but white and light grey, with clean stone tiles and plenty of light. Harry chose a nice red and cream colour scheme for his private quarters, with the help of Hermione and Mrs Weasley, and then he took some gold from his Gringotts account to buy some furniture. He got a proper fireplace put in, had it linked to the floo network, and had a House-Warming Party in his new rooms. He also added a lot more candles to the dungeons. Once the place was lightened up significantly, it wasn't quite so spooky. Harry then had the endless and useless corridors to nowhere blocked off, so no dark creatures could hide in there again. He even tried to convince Snape that the Slytherin common room was a bit dark and dingy, but Snape was having none of it, and put his foot down.
While Harry was tearing the dungeons apart in his little decorating spree, the Hogwarts professors kept dropping in to see how he was. His first visitor was Professor Alrister, who congratulated him on his O in Pure Arts, and asked if he was free for any demonstrations to the students. Professor Pebblebank came to see him and helped him shift some furniture, then Lupin, who showed Harry around the half-built Dark Arts Hall. Of course, Snape spent a lot of time in Harry's quarters, mostly complaining about the decor, but also helping him prepare to teach.
Snape had been a great help with Harry's lesson plans. They divided the year up into every week, and then set when Harry would be teaching what to who, what he would need, and what problems there could be. Harry had a diary of the year now, and all his lesson plans were neatly ordered, slotted inside. Snape helped Harry sort out any textbooks he would need, then passed the list onto McGonagall. He also assisted Harry in getting over the shock of seeing the school timetable for Potions lessons. Harry received his Time Turner from McGonagall, and then had to come to terms with teaching up to three classes at once. Snape said it got a lot easier after several long and tedious years of doing it. Harry wasn't very comforted by this. He also got some new robes from Hogsmeade, trying to make himself look as though he hadn't just graduated and actually knew what he was doing. Dumbledore also gave him permission to give and take away house points, after making him promise not to be biased towards one house, as their previous Potions master had been.
And it was now the day before all the students arrived at Hogwarts again. Harry flicked through his lesson plans yet again, then just gave up with them, and left his quarters. He made his way up to the Defence Against the Dark Arts corridor, knocked and made his way in. Snape had clearly been expecting him.
"First time teaching nerves?" he said, idly, looking up at Harry from his book.
"I can't stand this," said Harry. He sat in the armchair next to Snape. "Tomorrow morning, they're all going to be there. And the day after that, their education is in my hands. Why did I take this job?"
"I asked myself the same thing for eighteen years," said Snape calmly. "I still don't know the answer."
"Comforting," said Harry with a slight smile. He took the glass of pumpkin juice that Snape handed him, had a sip, and then looked up at the older wizard. "Um... Professor?"
"Can I call you Severus now? We're colleagues after all. And you're not legally allowed to order me around any more."
Snape gave an amused huff. "Very well. You may. But the first time I hear you call me 'Sev' will be the last you ever have use of your vocal chords. I will make sure of it."
"Okay," said Harry, smiling. "Severus."
"Potter," said Snape. He thought for a moment. "Harry, if I must call you that."
Harry smiled into his glass and had another sip of his juice. "Oh, I meant to ask you earlier... how's your scar thing doing?"
Snape raised an eyebrow. "I thought we agreed not to talk about that."
"Yeah, well," said Harry, feeling the colour rise in his cheeks. "I just wondered... Kainda noticed mine. She didn't say anything though."
"Mm," said Snape. There was quiet for a moment, before he spoke again. "If you must know, it is still there, and will not be going for a long time." Seeing the look on Harry's face, he explained. "It's rather like the scar on your forehead. A form of curse scars. Whatever mix of Pure Arts and Psychic Arts caused the fire, it was still crackling through you when you grabbed me and lifted us into the air. It scarred us both." He stood up. "Let me see yours. I might be able to do something about it, though I doubt it."
Harry undid the top few buttons of his robes. He slid the material off one shoulder and turned around so that Snape could see his left shoulder blade. There were some odd marks there, slightly reddened, as though Harry had recently been gripped very hard on the shoulder. Snape traced his fingers over it.
"Identical to mine," he said. "In every way. I don't think it will ever fade. It isn't exactly a scar, more of an eternal mark."
Harry nodded. "There's nothing we can do about it?"
"No," said Snape, shaking his head. He sat back in his armchair as Harry pulled his shirt back over his shoulder and did up the buttons. "Unless it becomes uncomfortable, try not to dwell on it."
"How exactly did I cause that fire?" asked Harry. "And why weren't we killed? I don't quite understand it."
"I've been thinking about that myself," said Snape. "I'm not quite sure what it was. Probably Pure Arts, though the flames were extremely like those used in Pyromagic. A form of Psychic Arts. I think that the bond perhaps broke through a few barriers in your subconscious, to save my life. And oddly enough, we were killed. Though of course, Black was still alive. He was the last man standing, and therefore, we won. So we lived. There is something I'm rather stuck on though... the Dark Lord was killed in the fire, as was Malfoy. Though several years before his first downfall, Voldemort performed a rather dangerous enchantment upon himself. At the time, he was obsessed with the human heart and how frail it is. He used an ancient charm to encase his heart in a fire-proof black rock known as Ardorite, the strongest substance known to man. Even muggles are unaware of its existence. His body will have been burnt away by the flames, though his heart should have survived the blast. Hearts encased in Ardorite always have extraordinary magical abilities... however, when we came around, there was no sign of the heart in Ardorite. I checked for it. I can't understand how it simply disappeared... and if it has somehow got out into the world, and one of Voldemort's supporters locates it and uses it, we have quite a problem on our hands."
Harry shrugged. "We could go back into my mind to have a look around. It might have been lost in the maze. Oh, that reminds me. They found Rookwood's daughter, didn't they? How did she end up with the ankh?"
"Andralyn told me recently," said Snape. "Ever since Rookwood raided Jendayi's tomb, stole some of the last treasures and took them back to his manor, it has been with Morgan. He emptied his pockets upon reaching his manor. Most of the items were taken to Voldemort, who deemed them worthless. The Shani Theoris was found by Isabis though. She thought it was something that Rookwood had brought back for her, and gave it to Morgan as a sign that their family would be happy from now on."
"And so she's had it all along," said Harry. "But Rookwood must have realised she had it... and gave it to Voldemort."
"Precisely," said Snape. "I don't think there's any point in looking for Voldemort's heart in your mind. If it is there, it is safe. The Shani Theoris has been taken away by the ministry, and locked deep within Gringotts, where even I could never reach it. Nobody will ever be forcing you into your mind again."
"So the heart is really safe," said Harry.
Snape nodded. He offered Harry another drink, and then they started to go through their lesson plans for the next week. Within minutes, Harry had forgotten all about Voldemort's heart, encased in Ardorite, lying within his mind.
But Voldemort's heart was not in his mind at all.
Sirius had decided to get rid of the trousers he wore on the day in Harry's mind. They were covered in ash, and scruffy. He had bundled all his old clothes into a bag, and taken them to a wizarding charity shop in Hogsmeade one day. The woman behind the desk smiled and accepted the clothes. She went through the pockets, and came across the Ardorite heart. She had no idea just what it was. Presuming it was some sort of ornament, she put it up for sale, at a very cheap price. An antique collector in an odd lacy black hat bought it the next day, and took it away from Hogsmeade. There was no real way of saying just where it was now. It could be halfway across the world. Though wherever it was, the Ardorite heart was sitting and waiting for somebody to realise just what it was. It could be thousands of years until then, perhaps never.
But for now, Harry James Potter wasn't bothered about any of that. After all, his job was done and out of the way. Voldemort was gone, and at last, he could simply sit by the fire with a friend and enjoy his last few hours of calm, before the students arrived in their swarms, and Harry's new life would begin.
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