"A field trip to the Ministry of Magic," Luna said, spinning around. "Oh, this will be such fun!"

"Will it?" Blaise asked, raising an eyebrow. "Will it though?"

"Yes," Luna said firmly. "We will get to see new and exciting things we have not seen before. Why would that not be fun?"

"Some of them might be terrifying," Harry pointed out. "What if Greyback is there in disguise and decides to try and take us out when he sees us?"

Luna paused. "…perhaps we have different definitions of fun."

Susan and Hermione laughed.

They Floo'd to the Ministry Atrium. While there were many people still about, it wasn't anywhere near the crush of workers Hermione had expected. When she mentioned it, Blaise and Harry exchanged a wicked grin.

"Seems we managed to avoid the morning rush," Blaise said, shrugging. "Lucky timing on our part."

"Is that why Harry insisted on breakfast first?" Hermione asked. She shook her head, amused. "You could have just said we should wait a while."

Blaise winked at her. "But where's the fun in that?"

The coven made their way across the Atrium to the security booth, where a tired-looking witch resided.

"Wands, please," she asked them.

They handed over their wands, which the woman weighed on some sort of intricate scale. She looked them over, raising an eyebrow as she took in their ages.

"Names and purpose today?" she inquired.

"Susan Bones, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Blaise Zabini, and Harry Potter," Susan said firmly, stepping forward. "We're visiting the Hall of Prophecy in the Department of Mysteries."

The witch pushed a few buttons on some other device, and there was a horrible, screechy rattling sound as five pieces of metal were spat out. The woman handed them to Susan.

"Please take your badge and attach it to the front of your robes," she instructed. Hermione took a moment to look at hers. It was a square silver badge, reading:

Hermione Granger
Mysterious Visitor

She suppressed a laugh as she pinned to the front of her robes.

"Enjoy your day at the Ministry of Magic," the witch bid them, handing back their wands. "Have a good day."

Susan and Hermione led the way to the elevators, everyone snickering as soon as they were out of earshot of the security witch.

"'Mysterious Visitor'?" Harry said, grinning. "I expected 'Mysteries Visitor', maybe. But this makes us sound like we're harbingers of some dark omen."

"Maybe we are," Luna said, amused. "Who knows?"

"Surely she read them, though?" Hermione asked. "And she didn't think to correct them?"

"It was probably close enough that she didn't care," Blaise pointed out.

"I don't think she actually picks what they say – the official visitor's entrance to the Ministry also dispenses visitor badges. The telephone spits them out," Susan told them as they waited for the lift. She looked grim for a moment. "That's undoubtedly where Greyback got his. No one would have mindlessly handed a badge like that to a person."

"A badge like what?" Harry asked, frowning.

"His said 'Fenrir Greyback – Terrorist Attack'," Luna reminded him.

"Oh," Harry said. "Err—yeah. That makes sense."

The elevator finally arrived, surprisingly empty, which made Hermione grin.

"I'm more and more a fan of us waiting till after breakfast," she said cheerfully, holding the door open for the others. "I'm rarely in here without being crammed and cramped."

"See, Hermione?" Blaise said, smirking. "Benefits of sleeping in."

Hermione laughed. "You say that like it's a bad thing I'm a morning person!"

Harry snickered. "That's 'cause it is."

Hermione feigned horror and betrayal, and they all laughed while Susan pressed the appropriate button, elevator lurching into action.

When they reached "Level 9 – Department of Mysteries" with a pleasant ding, they carefully filed out into the hallway. The walls here were black-tiled and bare, with no windows and no doors, save the lone ominous one at the end of the corridor.

"Well, this isn't creepy at all," Blaise quipped, folding his arms.

"It isn't?" Luna asked, peering up at him. "I think it's rather creepy myself."

"Let's go," Hermione said firmly, leading the way down the dimly lit hallway. "The sooner we get there, the sooner we're out of this creepy corridor."

The door at the end of the corridor opened into a large round room with twelve identical doors. After they all were in, Hermione closed the door, leaving them lost.

"Now what?" Harry hissed.

"We would like to go to the Hall of Prophecy," Hermione said firmly, to the room at large.

The room spun around them, doors blurring before slowing down, a door directly in front of them opening.

To her astonishment, instead of the door opening to a room with brilliant dancing lights from clocks, it opened to a large room with big displays on the wall, many Unspeakables gathered around, pointing at things and discussing. Hesitant but not knowing what else do to, Hermione led her coven out.

The room was large, with odd-looking instruments at one side on the wall. One looked to be a seismograph, while another looked like a barometer. There was a large board with slats, and tiny tiles with runes inscribed on them were inserted into different columns and rows, not unlike a scrabble board, forming a configuration. From the extra tiles nearby, it seemed like this configuration was frequently changed.

The Unspeakables were all looking at the wall at a giant map, and Hermione was jolted to realize it was a map of the ley lines of the UK and the North Sea. A chart was on the wall next to the map, with different levels of something Hermione didn't know being measured on it, and there was much discussion.

Suddenly, someone noticed they were not alone, and they hurried over to them.

"What are you doing here?" the Unspeakable demanded. They checked Hermione's badge. "…mysterious visitor?"

"We're trying to get to the Hall of Prophecies," Hermione explained, wincing. "I—I expected it the room would deposit us in the Time Room, but it sent us here, and I didn't know how to make it take us somewhere else—"

The Unspeakable swore.

"If the bloody room can't bloody think for itself, what's the bloody point?" the Unspeakable muttered. "Blasting all sense of secrecy and confidentiality to hell, brilliant, excellent security measure then, isn't it?" The Unspeakable refocused on them. "The Liminal Room probably brought you here because the Keeper of the Hall of Prophecies is here right now. It probably expected you to need him, even though anyone in the Time Room could have given you the access you needed. Wait here."

The Unspeakable promptly trotted across the room to another Unspeakable. This Unspeakable was holding a glass orb, talking to another, and when the newly-arrived one began speaking, the Unspeakable tilted their head to look at Hermione and her group. Luna smiled and waved.

"What is all this?" Harry marveled. "They look busy, but I don't even know what they're doing here."

Hermione bit her lip.

"If I had to guess," she said quietly, "I'd say this is the Power Room. Where they measure and monitor raw magical power."

Blaise shot her a sharp look, but just then an Unspeakable came over to them, still holding a glass orb.

"I'm told you want to visit the Hall of Prophecy?" the Unspeakable said. Somehow, despite the voice modulator, the Unspeakable sounded friendly.

"Yes, please," Susan said. "We've been informed a number of us have had prophecies made about us, and we'd like to see those, please."

"Oh, of course, of course!" the Unspeakable said. "Please, follow me."

The Unspeakable led them from the large room with the instruments into a room that had a giant tank of water with brains floating in it, then into the room with the sparkling clocks in it. They followed the Unspeakable across the long room with the clocks to a series of offices off of the room, then down the hall to the one at the end labeled Prophecy Keeper. They were all ushered inside, where they sat down on a lumpy couch and assortment of mismatched armchairs while the Prophecy Keeper settled in behind the desk.

"What do you know of the Hall of Prophecies?" the Unspeakable asked.

"It's where echoes of all the prophecies are stored," Susan said, tentative. "And you can only listen to prophecies that have been made about you."

"Not quite," the Keeper said. "You can only take prophecies made about you. Once the prophecy is off of the shelf, anyone nearby can hear it if you trigger it."

"Trigger it?" Harry repeated.

"Generally, just tapping it with your wand is enough," the Keeper said.

"We each want to see the prophecies about ourselves," Hermione said firmly. "We're comfortable all going together, and then, if you have a conference room or something, we can listen to them all together. We'd like to write them all down."

"The Hall of Prophecy is not a library, Miss Granger," the Keeper told her. "We do not just have conference rooms available."

"Would you prefer we sit down on the floor of the stacks?" Hermione countered. "That seems like a safety hazard."

The Keeper considered.

"I will escort you to a Testing Room," the Keeper conceded. "That is the safest place for you to do your recording."

"Testing Room?" Blaise questioned.

"We have rooms set aside for experimentation and discussion off of the Department of Truth," the Keeper said. "At least one of them has a table with chairs. You can do your business there."

"Excellent," Susan said brightly. "Shall we collect our prophecies, then?"

"Not quite yet," said the Keeper, pulling parchments from the desk. "First, you must sign a disclaimer stating that the risks of listening to a prophecy have been explained to you."

The Unspeakable handed them each a sheet of parchment, which Hermione read.


ASSUMPTION OF RISK

1. I understand that not all prophecies come true. I understand that time and timelines are complicated, and events predicted in the past may be for a different future than the future for the timeline I am currently on.

2. I understand that the very act of knowing a prophecy may cause that prophecy to come true, intentionally or unintentionally, for better or for worse.

3. I understand any illegal activities undertaken in a quest to fulfill a prophecy are not inherently excusable. 'Fulfilling a prophecy' is not a viable legal defense.

4. I understand that prophecies are very squirrelly with words. I understand that it is my own responsibility to look for loopholes and double meanings within prophecies, and if I do not catch one, the blame is no one's but my own.

5. I understand that if I lift a prophecy from the wall that my name is not linked to in some way that I will go insane. I have been warned that I will become a useless, gibbering mess, and that this condition is incurable. I am aware that if this happens to me, I will likely be used as an experimental subject for the Department of Mysteries until such a time that I expire, whereupon my body will be returned to my next of kin.

6. I understand that knowledge of a prophecy in which I am involved may contribute to the Placebo Effect, the Nocebo Effect, the Pygmalion effect, the Fatalism Fallacy, and the Excalibur Effect. I understand that it is my own responsibility to be aware of these possibilities and avoid falling prey to them.

7. I understand that ignorance can be bliss, and that it is my own deliberate choice to become aware of a prophecy. I acknowledge that I am choosing to do this despite any psychological damage or harm it may cause me.

I certify that the risks above have been explained to me, and any questions I had have been answered. My signature below indicates I acknowledge and accept these risks and free the Department of Mysteries of responsibility or culpability from any unfortunate outcomes that may befall me due to knowledge of a prophecy.

Signed _
Date _
Witnessed by _


"Any questions?" the Keeper of the Hall of Prophecies asked them.

"Err—does the going gibbering insane bit happen often?" Harry asked, his eyes wide.

"Not anymore." The Keeper sounded amused. "Generally the threat and awareness of the effect is sufficient to prevent people from attempting to access prophecies they shouldn't be touching. More commonly, now, it's Unspeakables themselves who are being nosy in an unauthorized way that end up going mad."

"The Unspeakables?" Susan repeated, shocked. "But surely they of all people know—"

"Unspeakables become Unspeakables because they don't know how to leave well enough alone," the Keeper said. "Many think they have figured out a loophole in the security of the prophecies. They discover they were wrong at their own peril."

"It says 'any prophecy not linked to me in some way'," Luna read. "So that means the prophecy doesn't have to be about me, does it? It could have been made to me or by me, correct?"

"Yes," the Keeper confirmed. "If your name or initials are on the label, you're permitted to lift the prophecy."

There was a silence as the coven members all exchanged looks. No one seemed to have anything else to say, but they all seemed hesitant to sign the document now, with so many risks spelled out so plainly to them.

"If there are no further questions," the Keeper said, "I'll lead you to the Hall of Prophecy as soon as you sign your forms."

With a sigh, Hermione took a quill from the desk and signed her name, dating the form as well.

"It's always better to know," she said. "Ignorance may be bliss, but I'd prefer to not be blissful if it means not being blind."

"Well said," said the Keeper, sounding pleased.

The others also signed their forms, which the Keeper collected, quickly scrawled their own signature on each form quickly as the 'Witness', and shoved the stack deep into the desk somewhere. The Unspeakable stood.

"Let's go," they said. "I have other business in the Power Room to attend to today."

Hermione and the others followed the Keeper of the Hall of Prophecies through the glittering Time Room to the entrance to the Hall of Prophecies, which was dark and cold by contrast. The Keeper pulled a basket from a hidden alcove to the side of the entrance, handed it to Luna, and withdrew a clear glass orb from their robes.

"Susan Bones, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter, Blaise Zabini," the Unspeakable said clearly. The orb began to glow an opaque white and lifted itself into the air, and the Keeper turned back to the group. "This will guide you to the prophecies made about you. You may—"

"Made about us specifically, or any with our name on the label?" Luna interjected, Blaise stealing the basket from her to hold.

The Unspeakable paused.

"…any with your name on the label," the Keeper conceded. He sounded perturbed. "That might be a bit of a problem with you."

"I can always ignore ones I don't want to review," Luna said, shrugging. "Just want to know what we're in for."

"…right." The Unspeakable shook their head. "Regardless, when you are done, the orb will guide you back to this doorway. Once that happens, wait here, and the orb will come seek me out to come and get you. Do you understand?"

They all agreed, and the Unspeakable nodded.

"I will return for you," they assured the group. "Be sure not to touch anything you shouldn't."

The Keeper of the Hall of Prophecies left them there, turning and striding back into the Time Room, leaving the coven alone in the tall, cold archive.

"I can't believe he just left us here," Harry said. "We're children. And they trust us?"

"I think they trust us to act in our own best interest, with or without supervision," Blaise said. "Which would involve not touching things we shouldn't so we're not driven to gibbering madness."

Harry paused. "…good point."

They followed their guide through the shelves to the main aisle in the middle of the room. The glowing orb first led them to the prophecies that had Susan Bones in the label. There was only one.

a.f.c to c.r.b
amelia bones and susan bones

Hermione was up next, and she was unsurprised to be escorted to row 97 once again. The orb hovered in front of a prophecy Hermione was intimately familiar with now:

l.m.l. to x.l.l and g.h.o.; h.j.g.
(?) hermione granger

Next, it hovered in front of another she knew of:

p.a.e.l. to x.l.l. and l.m.l.
luna lovegood and (?) hermione granger

"This one's got Luna's name on it too," Harry said, curious. "What are the chances of that?"

"Given we're all in a coven together?" Susan said, quirking her lips. "Probably higher than you'd think."

To Hermione surprise, the label on the other prophecy she was familiar with had changed:

a.g.e. to x.l.l. and l.m.l.
hermione granger

Hermione felt a chill shiver down her spine. She was certain – originally, that label had held the names of Susan and Luna as well. Had the Unspeakables come back and changed it after the siege of Azkaban? Had they definitively figured out it was her that had killed the dementors, then? If so, why weren't they telling anyone?

"Shall we get Harry's while we're here?" Susan asked. "This one's got your name on it, Harry."

"It does?" Harry peered closer, the others looking as well.

s.p.t to a.p.b.w.d
dark lord and (?) harry potter

There was a heavy silence.

"We might as well," Blaise said finally. "Save us time later, maybe."

Eyes wide, Harry carefully lifted the prophecy orb from its resting place and put it in the basket, Blaise shifting the orb to keep it apart from the others. Harry looked disturbed.

"If a prophecy was made about me and Voldemort," Harry said, "why didn't Dumbledore ever tell me?"

"Maybe the prophecy told him not to tell you?" Susan suggested. "We'll have to wait and see what it says."

The glowing orb led them to row 65, and Hermione was surprised to discover there were more prophecies about her here.

a.f.c. to o.r.m.
hermione granger; the fourth (?); three (? ? ?)

And

a.f.c. to m.g.m.
hermione granger and charlatan (?)

"Popular girl, aren't you?" Blaise teased.

"Too popular," Hermione said, biting her lip. "I feel like I'm going to end up like Oedipus with all this prophecy messiness."

Blaise laughed. "Hopefully, that won't happen," he assured her. "We'll be here to help you to make sure of it."

Luna's turn took a while. They were constantly led down different rows for prophecies, only to see l.m.l. on the label instead of Luna's name written out.

"I don't want prophecies I made," Luna told the orb. "Just ones about me."

The orb didn't seem to understand and continued presenting her with prophecies she'd either made or been privy to, provoking many sighs.

"I get you're a Seer," Blaise said at one point, after another false start, "but how come you've heard so many prophecies as well? Most people never hear one, and you've heard like five."

"Seers tend to react when other Seers are nearby," Luna said, shrugging. "I don't know why – temporal energies combining or something, probably. I haven't taken Divination yet."

They finally found two new ones with Luna's full name on them, not just her initials, which made Luna brighten.

a.f.c. to a.p.b.w.d.
luna lovegood

h.b. to p.a.e.l.
luna lovegood

Luna happily took them from the shelves and handed them to Blaise, who neatly slotted them into the basket.

"My turn," said Harry grimly. "Let's see what doom I have foretold…"

The orb carried them back to the empty slot in row 97, to their irritation, before taking them to row 119.

o.d.w to m.j.m.
Harry Potter; other (?)

"I wonder what this one's about," Harry said, taking it down, weighing its weight in his palm. "I didn't even know this one might exist."

"We'll all find out together at the end," Hermione said. "Just Blaise left, I think."

Finding Blaise was a quick trip – there were three in succession with his name on them in row 74:

h.b. to e.z.
elora zabini and blaise zabini

h.b. to e.z.
blaise zabini

h.b. to t.m.r.
blaise zabini; (?) her; (?) betrayer

Blaise neatly plucked each one from its stand, settling them into the basket. Their glowing glass guide they had been following turned green and began to float higher, leading them back the way they'd come.

"Are we done?" Harry asked. He eyed the basket. "I have to admit, this is much more of a haul than I thought we'd have."

"I'm guessing so," Susan said. She was carrying the basket now, having traded off with Blaise at some point. "Good. These things are heavier than you'd think."

The orb led them back down Row 53 to the entrance they'd come in through. They waited at the doorway as the orb floated off, as instructed, peering into the Time Room as they waited.

"How do you think the orb gets through doors?" Luna asks.

"Maybe it hits people in the head until they open the door for it," Blaise suggested. "Do you see that hummingbird? I feel kind of bad for it."

The Prophecy Keeper returned a short while later to get them.

"You stayed," they said, sounding pleased. "Excellent. Please follow me."

The Unspeakable led them back down the Time Room, then through a doorway into a vast, dark room that seemed like an amphitheater. There was a cold gust in the room, and an archway in the center of the room. They stayed on the top level, though, exiting back into the Brain Room, and then going through another door into a new room.

"Welcome to the Department of Truth," the Unspeakable said. "Here is where we conduct experiments and seek out the truth. You'll be able to listen to your prophecies in here."

The room itself was a large, square room. One wall was covered in symbols and drawings – an ankh, a Viking rune, an eye with a drop coming from it – and it was only when they were more fully in the room could Hermione see it said TRUTH in the center of the wall. There was a large drawing of a woman wearing a blindfold, but peeking out from under the cloth to see.

"Every culture has some term of symbol for truth," the Unspeakable said. "We collect them here."

It seemed more to be an art piece than anything functional, in Hermione's opinion.

There were large drawings of circles on the floor, and Hermione was careful where she stepped as they navigated through the room. She didn't want to get caught in a Truth Circle.

"The testing rooms are just through here," the Unspeakable said, taking them into another hallway. "I think the one room is down here…"

The Unspeakable led them to the third door and pushed it open, revealing a gigantic, barren stone cave.

"Oops, not this one," the Keeper said, closing the door. "Next one, maybe…"

The fourth door led to what looked like a muggle conference room. A large wooden table dominated the space, with eight cushioned and wheeled chairs around the table. There was a giant whiteboard on one of the walls, to Hermione's amusement, and it even had an enchanted window made to look outside.

"Excellent," the Keeper said, nodding. "Once you're done here, take the main exit door. It will return you to the Liminal Room, which will return you to the Ministry of Magic." The Unspeakable turned to look at them all – an odd thing, Hermione thought, when she couldn't see the Unspeakable's eyes under their hood. "I highly recommend not getting 'accidentally lost'. Terrible things befall those who meddle unknowingly in things they cannot comprehend."

The Keeper closed the door as they left, leaving the five of them in the conference room. Slowly, they all moved around the room and took chairs.

"Well!" Susan thunked the basket of prophecies down on the table, looking around at them brightly. "Shall we get started?"