Chapter Thirty-Three: Visions and Divisions
"Why have you brought her with you, Bellatrix?
"My Lord, Antonia has news..."
"My Lord, Kingsley has been found out by the Order..."
"You are certain, Antonia?"
"Y-yes, Milord, Alastor Moody himself told me."
The shadowed figure of Voldemort raised his wand "Cru--"
Harry sat up with a gasp, his scar burning viciously, but was spared the pain of the Cruciatus or even the echo of it in his vision-dream.
He hurriedly got up and went to his desk. "Lumos."
"H-Harry?" Seamus sat up sleepily in the other bed.
"You all right?" Seamus was instantly fully awake and looked at Harry worriedly.
"Yeah ... Bellatrix LeStrange had a hand in controlling Kingsley. Her and another woman named Antonia."
Seamus was up. "So do we go to Dumbledore or Snape and Lupin?"
"Snape. Then we'll take Snape with us to Dumbledore."
Severus glared at the Gargoyle that refused to move as the trio of Gryffindors tried sweet after sweet, both Magical and Muggle, to no avail.
"Blood flavored lollipops!" Seamus finally snapped in disgust.
The gargoyle moved.
Dumbledore, who had been asleep in the overstuffed chair in front of the fire, startled awake. "Severus? Remus? Harry, Seamus? What on earth?"
"Potter had a vision."
Dumbledore frowned, listening to Harry's description of the limited vision. "Severus, by your own accounting Bellatrix is quite mad and barely able to formulate a coherent sentence. Nor is the name Antonia mentioned anywhere in any of our intelligence. I suggest you resume your Occlumency study, Harry. The very idea that Alastor Moody would give any information to a Death Eater is utterly preposterous. It seems that Voldemort has managed to get into your mind again, dear boy. Now, it is very late; off to bed with all of you."
Harry turned on heel and stalked from the Headmasters office, too furious to allow himself stay.
"Albus ... I am regarded with extreme suspicion, and the only reason I am tolerated at all is my potions skill ..."
"Nonsense," Albus insisted. "I have far more faith in your abilities than that. You, Severus, are far too paranoid at times and give your abilities far too little credit."
Seamus gave the Headmaster an incredulous look before heading out of the office wordlessly after Harry.
"Potter, are you absolutely certain this was a vision?"
"Hogwarts pulled me out of it before Voldemort began cursing the women. I could feel him gathering his magic to cast the Cruciatus. When he's trying to mess with my mind I can't feel the curses or the magic, it's more--just like watching a movie."
Remus and Severus stared at the boy confused. Seamus nodded. "Makes sense."
"It does?" Severus demanded.
"You know muggle cinema? Movie pictures?"
Both older men shook their heads.
"It's basically the difference between just watching and actually feeling what happens," Harry tried again. That seemed to make sense to Harry. "I don't think Antonia is marked, though. Bellatrix brought her and Voldemort wanted to know why ..."
"She simply could have not been summoned, as I wasn't."
"How many female death eaters are there who are actually marked though?" Remus wanted to know.
"As far as I know, Bellatrix is the only woman to carry the mark," Severus frowned.
"So more than likely she isn't marked." Remus sighed. "I can't think of anyone named Antonia though ... Bella was a seventh year when we were in first. She could have had any number of friends who were already out of school."
"I have the Slytherin student records for the last two hundred years in my office and those going back to the beginning of Hogwarts in the archival room beyond it. I don't have the full copies that Dumbledore would, only what the Heads of Slytherin deemed worthy of recording and copies of grades, but it is somewhere to begin."
"So, we start the decade before Bella began school and go through from there. First forward to our school years then even earlier if necessary," Remus decided.
Severus nodded tiredly. "To bed, Potter, Finnegan. You've your normal studies tomorrow and Dumbledore will be watching that you haven't gone off on some flight of fancy over this."
"Why won't he listen?" Harry snarled, having glared at a spot on the wall while Remus and Severus were speaking. Remus doubted Harry had heard a word.
Severus shook his head. It was pointless to say anything of the numerous times Dumbledore hadn't listened to anyone. McGonagall and Moody were amongst the few who could readily name dozens of times, Poppy as well. Albus' brilliance and reputation tended to have most people bowing to his judgment even if they disagreed. Few would openly argue with Dumbledore over things. Not even Minerva did often, though she'd get in at least one sharp protest at the time and usually a private "I told you so" at the earliest possible opportunity.
That Albus was dismissing this as the same sort of vision that Harry had months before ... To compare it to ... Even Severus had to admit he believed this, and could see the difference, in reaction, rationale, and over all emotional control. His whole attitude and demeanor were so completely changed from other false-visions that Voldemort had sent him.
Potter's vision didn't at all add up to with what Severus himself had seen when summoned. Potter's description of Bellatrix had her far more coherent than Severus had seen her since her escape from Azkaban. However, that didn't disprove Potter's vision, as Dumbledore insisted. In fact, for Severus that seemed only to confirm that the boy was probably seeing correctly this time. Severus had not quite reconciled the flashes of keen speculation in Bellatrix' eyes with the raving madwoman she supposedly had become. Yes, she was insane, but calculatingly insane, not stupidly insane, as she had been acting.
As often as Severus was summoned, he couldn't be sure he was summoned every time, and honestly, he was certain he wasn't. Potter's vision confirmed Severus' own paranoia, not what he had actually witnessed.
"Finnegan, calm him down and get him to sleep. We'll let you know if we come up with anything," Snape ordered.
"Seamus isn't my keeper."
"You need one," Severus snapped.
"And so do you," Remus said quietly. "You need to at least get a couple of hours of sleep before we get started searching for who this Antonia might be."
Severus glared at Remus.
"Harry, rested and with a clear head, you will accomplish more, and more quickly, than exhausted and in the frame of mind you are now," Remus pointed out.
"Where have you two been?" Draco demanded when Harry and Seamus entered the common room of the apprentice's tower.
"Vision. We went to Snape and Remus, then Dumbledore, who wouldn't listen. Why are you down here?" Harry shot back. "I didn't know I had to report my every movement to you, Malfoy."
"Dumbledore is trying to annul our marriage," Draco snapped.
"WHAT?" Harry and Seamus both gaped.
Draco held out the parchment. "This was sent over just a bit ago by Tynan. He tried coming in person but the gates and floo are blocked."
"Bloody Hell, Seamus, get everyone up." Harry sighed.
"If he manages this, the girls will go to that Weasley cow," Pansy said. Her voice shook with fear and fury and her eyes were teary.
"No wonder he was in his office, he was up waiting for word on this ..." Harry growled. "Draco, when Luna gets down here I want you to have her get Hogwarts to let Tynan in. Have Dobby and Winky get tea and coffee, and they might as well get breakfast too, we're up for the blasted day. I'm going to get Snape and Remus ... have either of you ever heard the name Antonia? Possibly connected to Bellatrix LeStrange somehow."
"Cousin Regulus' wife was named Antonia. She was a LeStrange, home schooled like all LeStrange daughters were ..."
"Bloody hell, Pansy, you deal with the elves. Draco, get your lineage book."
"Antonia LeStrange Black. Regulus Black's wife and sister to Bellatrix's husband, I think. Dumbledore's trying to annul Draco and Pansy's marriage," Harry burst out even as Snape continued.
"Have you ever heard of knocking, you impossible brat? You do not just barge into my private quar--what did you say?"
Harry breathlessly repeated what he had said. "You're Draco's guardian, well, sort of ..."
"Go wake Minerva."
Harry stared at Snape blankly.
"McGonagall. Go wake her and have her come to your tower," Snape snarled.
Minerva McGonagall pulled on her dressing gown hurriedly; her heart hammered a wild tempo as she made her way to her chamber door, which was being pounded on wildly. It was two in the morning ... door beating at this time of night was never good.
"Draco ... Pansy ... annul."
"What? Mister Potter?"
Harry managed to pant out his explanation of Draco and Pansy's pending annulment and that Snape had wanted her present as well.
"I should think Mr. Malfoy and Ms. Parkinson would be delighted," Minerva managed when she finally managed to process Harry's tumble of words.
"Well they're bloody NOT!" Harry glared.
When she arrived in the Apprentices' tower, Minerva was shocked by the group she encountered. Severus and Remus were both sans robes or dressing gowns, in their nightshirts. Millicent, Luna and Pansy were in nightgowns, the boys in no more than pajama bottoms--
"MISTER ZABINI!" Minerva gasped as the final member of the Apprentices came into the main room with his uncle following behind.
Blaise stared at her bleary-eyed and confused. "I need caffeine, what's with her?"
"You are in your underwear, Mr. Zabini," Snape pointed out drolly. "I do believe the Professor is unused to seeing her students running about in boxers with vampire bats and 'Bite Me' scrawled across the bum."
"Severus, Remus--" Minerva began, outraged that propriety was quite literally being thrown out the window amongst this group.
"Its not worth pursuing; there's other problems to be addressed."
"The annulment--I should think Mr. Malfoy and Ms Parkinson would be overjoyed."
"You stupid bitch, I'll be killed and my sisters will go to that stupid cow!" Pansy screeched.
Blaise winced. "Can you be any more bloody shrill, Parkinson? You'll wake your sisters." Well, truthfully she wouldn't with the soundproofing wards they'd layered through the common room after the Vision Harry had had.
"What is that senile old bastard up to? Is he trying to make our lives even more hellish than they already are?" Draco snarled. "What bloody right does he have to even consider filing this?"
"Draco," Severus snapped warningly.
"I think it's probably his way of apology for binding you to the castle and not fighting the marriage to begin with," Remus sighed.
Minerva blinked as the House-Elves began popping about serving the teens, who were now settled about on the sofas for the most part. Draco was the exception; he was pacing back and forth behind the sofa on which Pansy was seated, her knees drawn up to her chin and arms wrapped around her legs. Harry and Seamus were on the largest sofa. Blaise was sprawled across another sofa. Luna had seated herself on some cushions on the floor next to the sofa; the odd Ravenclaw girl was stroking the small spot of floor stone exposed and whispering at it. Neville took on the end of the sofa where Blaise was sprawled after roughly shoving the Slytherin boy's legs out of the way to make room. Millicent perched on the arm of the sofa where Pansy was, her arm around the other girl's shoulder.
Winky frowned slightly and the furniture rearranged itself, producing an overstuffed chair for Tynan with a large low table in front of it and another for Minerva. "Mister Remus, Mister Severus, you is sitting on Mister Neville and Miss Millie's couch," the elf ordered.
The elves didn't bother to look who was where, they knew. Moreover, they knew who preferred what without being told, which spoke of a regularity to late night gatherings that Minerva did not like.
Severus sudden gasp stilled them all.
"He's got the Dark Mark," Blaise told his frowning Uncle. "He spies for the senile bastard. You're his attorney too."
"ZABINI!" Severus snarled.
"Harry?" Seamus frowned.
"Be careful," Harry looked up at Snape with haunted eyes.
"Harry, your scar!" Remus gasped, staring at the mark, now angry red and blistering before his eyes.
Seamus reached for Harry as the smaller boy began to scream. Minerva gasped in shock, both from the violence of whatever Harry was suffering and the speed with which Blaise went from sprawled bonelessly ten feet away to Harry's side helping Seamus lower him to the floor. Draco had his wand pointed at the floor casting quick cushioning charms. Minerva glanced about again; the only one without a wand besides herself was Severus. The children all had their wands. The girls had theirs twisted in their hair, the boys seemed to prefer tucking them in the waist of their pajama bottoms. How had she missed that?
"Sir, he's just going to be more upset ..." Neville spoke up.
"Hogwarts connected the fire here to the Professor's," Luna offered.
"Come along sir, let's get you dressed."
"Draco, the next step in the Wolfsbane needs to be done precisely at six thirty," Severus directed.
Minerva could only stare in shock and horror as Neville Longbottom led Severus through the floo, ostensibly to dress him for the Death Eater meeting, while Harry was quite literally tortured by the physical manifestations of the vision.
"Pen, go back--"
"Pansy we heard screams--"
"Go take care of the girls, Pansy," Draco said quietly. Then hr quickly cast another charm to move the coffee table out of the way of Harry's thrashing.
"C'mon girl, can you block it? Please girl?"
Luna's pleading with the floor momentarily caught Minerva's attention. Then her jaw dropped when Draco began demanding what could be done to stop Dumbledore's attempt to have the marriage annulled.
Tynan shook himself from his own shock and managed to turn his attention to Draco.
Penelope said they had heard the screams drifting downward not up from the common room, which had layers of soundproofing spells completely disconnecting it from the upper levels of the tower audibly. Those had been put in place after the last major physically manifested vision Harry had had. All the tower apartments had soundproofing that kept sound from going out not in, so one could hear a shout in the tower corridors but not any screams due to nightmares or visions carried. Karkaroff's rooms were the only ones not covered with soundproofing charms, so it must be his screams filling the tower.
"Go back with Paysh and Seph," Pansy shakily ordered Pen. "I'll go see--"
"It's his arm--"
"Yeah," Pansy swallowed with a nod. "Keep the girls in our chambers. Alright?"
Pen actually obeyed, she was that frightened. Pansy steeled herself and headed up the stairs. "Oh Merlin," she stared in horror. Karkaroff had attempted to amputate his arm with Merlin only knew what .... there, a broken piece of glass. It was a mangled bloody mess, and Karkaroff's animalistic screams continued as he clawed at the Mark that still sent agony through him.
Pansy yanked her wand from where she'd twisted it into her hair, wincing as more than a few strands of hair went with the wand.
"Don't you dare die. We haven't sorted out what we're doing with bodies yet!" Pansy screeched nonsensically at the man on the floor. Karkaroff was so lost in his own agony her words were beyond his tiny world of pain. "Coagulation spell ... what the bloody hell is that again?" she muttered almost hysterically to herself after casting a petrificus totalis to keep Karkaroff from doing himself further damage.
Minerva reluctantly returned to her rooms to dress and get ready for the day not long after dawn. Draco had gone to the dungeons to complete the final stage of the Wolfsbane. Harry had been taken, unconscious, to his room once the vision had ended. She wanted to have him delivered to the Hospital wing, but as a one the present students had balked. Neville was apparently waiting at the apparition point for Severus. Blaise had gone up to check on Pansy and the girls at Draco's request and hadn't returned.
"Where are the Apprentices?" Albus frowned.
"I excused them from study for the day. Miss Bulstrode will of course do her assigned tasks caring for the creatures in the stables, but that is all. Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy are discussing with their lawyer how to go about stopping the annulment petition, which was filed without their knowledge, much less with their consent. Mr. Potter is recovering from a vision. Mr. Finnegan is tending him. Mr. Longbottom and Mr. Zabini are needed by Professor Snape."
Albus' cocked his head. "When did Mr. Morrigan arrive?"
"Last night," Minerva said coolly.
"Albus, they are bound to the castle, they can override your manipulation of the wards, and your trying to bar them from legal counsel is not endearing you to them."
The twinkling light went out of Albus' eyes. Minerva suppressed a shiver at the ice-cold look in them.
"I saw Harry after his little dream, and he was perfectly fine when he came to my office."
"There was a second vision, Albus."
"What? What of? Why wasn't I informed?"
"Well, Harry has yet to regain consciousness."
"When do Draco and Pansy propose to leave?"
"A half hour ago I believe."
Gladys Binks was surprised at the small crowd outside her office door. "Good Morning, Arthur."
"Morning, Gladys, sorry about all this."
Gladys raised an eyebrow, wondering what exactly 'all this' was. The High Judge of the Ministry's Domestic court was normally a very minimal position. Divorce was nearly unheard of in the Wizarding world. Usually it was only rare cases of an orphan needing to be placed with relatives that crossed her desk. Twenty years earlier, her office had been busy, and it was unfortunately likely to be again. "You're a Morrigan, aren't you?"
"Tynan Morrigan. These are my clients, Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy,"
"Ah, here about your annulment. Come on in. We can get it taken care of lickety split."
"We don't want an annulment, and we also want to file lawsuit against those petitioning for it," Draco sneered.
Gladys blinked; she looked over at Arthur Weasley, who sighed and shrugged. Then she frowned as another woman approached. "Amelia?"
"I'm not quite sure," Amelia Bones frowned.
"Lily Potter never changed her will. Dumbledore knowingly placed Harry in the care of someone whom Lily was convinced killed his own Daughter for being a witch. According to her diary, she made Dumbledore swear a Wizard's Oath to never let Harry anywhere near Vernon Dursley," Tynan said coolly.
"Hearsay," Gladys frowned.
"Well this certainly is not hearsay."
The Cupboard under the Stairs.
"I don't understand--"
"This is proof that Dumbledore knew Harry was kept in a storage cupboard meant for coats and boots; this is his first Hogwarts letter."
"Albus has assured me that the Dursleys have never done any such thing. They're disagreeable muggles, but ..."
"Mrs. Weasley, did your sons not pull bars off Harry's bedroom window and take a very malnourished boy to your home four years ago?"
"He was just thin from refusing to eat, pouting."
"In my office ..." Gladys sighed.
Four hours later, Molly Weasley and Amelia Bones were both furious. Gladys wasn't much better, truthfully, but she was struggling to maintain a veneer of professionalism.
"Mr. Morrigan, what do your clients request?"
"That the annulment petition be dropped with extreme prejudice. Followed by an injunction against Albus Dumbledore, to keep him from filing any sort of suit on behalf of my clients. Further, a restraining order against Molly Weasley. She is not allowed near Penelope Parkinson, aged ten, Patience Parkinson aged five or Persephone Parkinson aged two years. She may of course have supervised visitation at Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy's discretion and your convenience; we would request you or a representative from your office to bring Mrs. Weasley to see the girls if she so chooses and a time has been arranged, and I will be present as well."
"That's outrageous! Leaving innocent children with that little Death Eater Bastard!" Molly howled.
Draco's lip curled up in a sneer. He rolled up his sleeves. "I do not carry the Dark Mark. Both Pansy and I grew up under the shadow of the bloody Mark. You're the one who left innocent children in the care of a murderer with the Dark Mark--in Pansy's case, for sixteen years. Do not put your own guilt on us. You knew your father was a Death Eater and you knew he had murdered four of your siblings already, badly mistreated your mother and yourself, and yet you did nothing once to help Pansy, her mother or her sisters. Such a fine display of Gryffindor courage when it's convenient. Another remark like that and I will have that falling down disgrace of a rubbish heap you call a house and every knut in Gringotts of yours as well as ever knut your poor henpecked husband makes for the rest of his life for damages due to slander."
Tynan put a restraining hand on Draco's shoulder.
"Madam Binks, here is the copy of Lily Evans Potter's Will, binding Amelia Bones as his guardian. It has not been changed or amended in any way."
Gladys paled as she cast a verification charm on the document. "Mr. Morrigan, I was shown a very different document by Albus Dumbledore."
"I believe that. And for the record, Dumbledore is also a master of Legilimency and Occlumency."
Gladys' eyes widened. "This must--"
"We will have Dumbledore removed from Hogwarts by noon--"
"We are not seeking that," Tynan said quickly.
"Why ever not--he must be stopped, this is an outrage!" Amelia glared.
"Voldemort is back. Albus Dumbledore is one of the most respected wizards in Britain, however misguided he may be at times. The Ministry's removing the Headmaster from Hogwarts will cause unnecessary panic and perhaps cause numerous children not to be returned to school. The muggle born children especially are much safer at Hogwarts than their parents' homes. The Wards of Hogwarts are now bound to both the Heir of Slytherin and the Heir of Gryffindor; both Mr. Potter and Mr. Longbottom were unwittingly forced into the binding by Albus Dumbledore."
Gladys saw red.
"The Allegiance bind between Narcissa Black Malfoy, Aisling Morrigan, Alice Kendallwood Longbottom and Lily Evans Potter is bound to the line of the first born. Dumbledore intended only to bind Mr. Potter against his will, but by some sort of accident and the allegiance bond Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy were both bound to Hogwarts, as were Neville Longbottom, Blaise Zabini, Nymphadora Tonks, Seamus Finnegan and Luna Lovegood. The wards and protections of Hogwarts are safely held and not in the hands of a man whose advanced years seem to be causing questionable judgment, no matter how good his intentions."
"How dare you call Albus senile!" Molly screeched.
Tynan ignored her and continued to explain. "His appearance of being in control and protecting Hogwarts is best for public morale with the Dark Lord's return hanging over everyone's head. We do however request that any recommendation Dumbledore makes on the placement of an orphaned child be treated with extreme skepticism and thoroughly investigated by your office, in addition to his complete inability to interfere in any legal matters concerning any of my clients--which include Professor Severus Snape, Mr. Remus Lupin, Professor Nymphadora Tonks, Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy, Mr. Potter, Mr. Longbottom, Mr. Zabini, Mr. Finnegan, Miss Lovegood and Miss Millicent Bulstrode."
"Arthur?" Gladys looked at the quiet man who seemed to be the calmest in the room.
"I don't doubt Albus' methods were--well, he meant to do good. The results are quite unfortunate."
"UNFORTUNATE!" Draco snarled. Tynan clamped his hand down on the boy's shoulder again, forcing Draco to stay seated in the chair Tynan was standing behind.
"I do agree that publicly holding Albus accountable for his actions at this time will, while bringing justice to those directly involved in this, do more harm than good as a whole both to Hogwarts and the Wizarding World at large," Arthur said carefully, earning himself a glare from his wife.
"We also request that Albus Dumbledore not be allowed to interfere with any of the Mastery Apprentices' study or the other programs such as the Teaching Accreditation and the proposed Pre-Healer studies and Pre-Auror Studies programs. The course study of those should be managed by a panel of six --Minerva McGonagall, head of Gryffindor and Deputy Headmistress, Filius Flitwick, Head of Ravenclaw, Flora Sprout, Head of Hufflepuff, Severus Snape, Head of Slytherin, Madam Pomphrey, the school nurse, and Nymphadora Tonks, fully trained Auror and the Defense Against Dark Arts professor. Professor Tonks is also the staff member bound to Hogwarts itself. That should cause no questioning; after all, the Headmaster is aging and quite busy. It is also best for the students in these programs to have a diversified outlook on how their studies are decided."
"Arthur, go fetch your boy. He's the Education Secretary; we'll need his signature on a thing or two." Gladys sighed. "I must say, for the record, that stringing Albus Dumbledore from the highest tower of Hogwarts might be too good for him considering what you've presented, Mr. Morrigan."
"Harry?" Seamus said anxiously at the groan from the bed. "Harry, you waking up? It's almost noon ..." Seamus worriedly went to the bed, checking on his friend.
The scar was blistering again; a raw, barely audible thread of sound came from Harry's lips, his throat too raw and sore from screaming earlier to scream once again.
"Merlin, no," Seamus swallowed. "Can't you fucking do something you pile of rocks!" Seamus screamed at the castle, then cast a Petrificus Extremis on Harry to keep him from thrashing about. He'd had trouble breathing with the Petrificus Totalis earlier and Seamus didn't dare cast it again.
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