A New Generation of Priests
CHAPTER THIRTEEN – WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND
Silence reigned in McGonagall's office for a good minute, before a scream sounded through the room. Mrs. Weasley, who had been sitting in front of the fireplace with her husband, rushed toward her daughter, engulfing the little girl in a tight hug. Professor McGonagall was standing behind her desk, a hand on her chest as she gasped for air. Next to her, smiling serenely as always, was Professor Dumbledore.
"Welcome back, gentlemen," he greeted, before pulling out the Millennium Puzzle and the loose pieces from his robe. "I believe someone would like to know if you're all right, Mr. Mutou."
Yugi, shaking slightly as if he was about to break down any moment, went up to the elderly headmaster and took the Puzzle. Working with the experience of someone who had done it more than once before, he quickly replaced the jarred out pieces. As soon as the last piece was in place, Yami Yugi appeared, concern clearly etched on his face.
That was as far as the spirit of the pharaoh got. Yugi latched onto his other half, holding onto him and the Puzzle tightly, crying as he let out all the frustration and fear he had had pent up over the past few hours. Yami Yugi was caught off guard for a moment, but finally hugged his hikari back, rocking him back and forth and whispering comforting words in his ear.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Weasley had finally let go of Ginny, and was wrapping Harry, Marik, Ron, Draco, and Yami Bakura ("Get off woman!") in her crushing embrace.
"You saved her!" she exclaimed. "You saved her! How did you do it!"
"I think we would all like to know that," McGonagall added weakly.
Mrs. Weasley let go of them, and Harry looked up at Yami Bakura uncertainly. The tomb robber shrugged, his Sword balanced on his shoulder casually. The phoenix went over to rest on Dumbledore's shoulder as the young wizard hesitated a moment, before placing the Sorting Hat, the ruby encrusted sword, and the remains of Riddle's diary on the desk.
Harry then proceeded to explain everything that had happened over the year. For nearly a quarter of an hour he talked, explaining everything from him and Draco hearing the voice in the walls, to following the spiders in the forbidden forest, to finding the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.
"This is all well and good," McGonagall interrupted, "never mind that you've just admitted breaking at least a hundred school rules to pieces. But how on earth did you survive?"
So Harry told them of the events inside the Chamber. He told of the phoenix's timely arrival, of how he pulled the sword out of the Sorting Hat, how the Millennium Eye turned into a Sword. At that point, he faltered however. So far, he had avoided mentioning Ginny, Yugi, and Riddle's diary. He looked sadly at Ginny, before his gaze drifted over to Dumbledore, seeking some assistance.
The headmaster obviously got the hint. "What I would like to know," he began, his eyes twinkling, "is how Voldemort managed to enchant Ginny and Yugi, when my sources tell me he's currently hiding in Albania."
Yami Yugi's grip on his hikari tightened slightly, while Mr. Weasley let out a gasp of horror.
"Y-You-Know-Who? E-e-enchant Ginny?" he asked. "How?"
"It was the diary," Yami Bakura spoke up suddenly. "Riddle created it when he was sixteen. It kind of works like we do." He looked pointedly to Yami Yugi to indicate what he meant. "Over time, as a person writes in it, it becomes easy for Riddle to control that person. Now that the diary's been destroyed, however, he wont be able to harm ether her or little pharaoh again."
"I'm s-so s-sorry," Ginny spoke up suddenly. "I d-didn't realize… I found it in a b-book that Mum got me. I th-thought someone just forgot about it."
"I think," Dumbledore cut in before she could continue, "that Miss Weasley could use some rest and a mug of hot chocolate. You'll find that Madam Pomfrey is still awake. She's been handing out Mandrake Juice almost all night. I do believe the Basilisk's victims will be waking up shortly."
Marik jumped at that, looking like he just remembered something. He started making his way for the door, when he looked back to the others.
"Uh… I… um… I gotta…"
"Just go, Gravekeeper," Yami Bakura said, rolling his eyes.
"Right," Marik agreed. "See you guys later."
With that, he took off out the door, with Mr. and Mrs. Weasley following with Ginny soon after. Dumbledore turned his attention to Professor McGonagall.
"Minerva," he said, "I do believe all this merits a good feast, don't you agree?"
She inclined her head slightly. "I'll leave you to deal with these gentlemen while I alert the kitchens."
McGonagall swept out of the office as Yugi raised his head from where he had it buried in Yami Yugi's translucent chest. What had she meant by that? After everything that happened – after everything they had been through – surely they were not about to be punished for breaking the school rules!
Dumbledore focused on Harry. "I do recall telling you and Mr. Weasley that if either of you broke the rules again, I would have to have you expelled."
Ron opened his mouth to object.
"Which proves that even the wisest among us must eat our words," he finished with a gentle smile. "Awards for Special Services to the School will be awarded to all of you, and… I do believe two hundred points for your respective houses will suffice."
Ron quickly clamped his mouth shut.
"Someone, however, is being quite silent in his involvement," Dumbledore continued. "Why so modest, Gilderoy?"
Harry jumped; he had forgotten that Lockhart was with them! He turned to see that the professor was looking around, trying to figure out to whom Dumbledore was talking to.
"Er… Professor, there was a bit of an accident," Draco began. "Professor Lockhart tried to cast a Memory Charm with Ron's wand, and it kind of blew up in his face."
Dumbledore chuckled. "Impaled on your own sword, eh, Gilderoy?"
"Haven't got a sword, sir," Lockhart replied dumbly. He pointed to Harry and Yami Bakura. "They do, though. They'll lend you one."
Yami Bakura gave him a look that said even suggesting such a thing was not one of his better ideas. The headmaster chuckled again.
"Mr. Weasley, if you would be so kind as to escort Professor Lockhart down to the hospital wing," he requested. "Pharaoh, perhaps you should take your host down as well. I daresay he could use a bit of rest himself."
Yami Yugi complied, leading his hikari out of the office, and followed shortly by Ron and Professor Lockhart. That left Harry, Yami Bakura, and Draco alone with the headmaster. Dumbledore sat down, motioning them into some chairs next to him. Yami Bakura chose to remain standing, while Harry and Draco sat.
"First of all, Harry, Bakura, I want to thank you," the headmaster began. "You two must have shown me great loyalty down in the Chamber. Only that would have called Fawkes to you."
Dumbledore stroked the phoenix, who had fluttered down to perch on his knee. Yami Bakura's face broke out into a bit of a lopsided grin, reflecting both his and his hikari's reaction. Harry, however, was silent, lost in thought.
"Headmaster," he began, "when I first put on the Sorting Hat, it said I would do well in Slytherin. Everyone thought I was Slytherin's heir for a time too… because I could speak Parseltongue."
"Harry, you can speak Parseltongue because Voldemort – who is the only remaining descendant of Salazar Slytherin – could speak Parseltongue," Dumbledore explained. "If I'm not mistaken, I believe he may have unintentionally transferred some of his power to you when he gave you that scar."
Harry's hand flew up to the thunderbolt shaped scar on his forehead, horrified by the thought of having any part of the dark wizard inside of him.
"Then I should be in Slytherin," he said dejectedly. "The Sorting Hat could see Slytherin's power in me and it –"
"Put you in Gryffindor," Dumbledore finished for him. "Harry, you happen to have many qualities that Salazar Slytherin prized in his hand picked students: his own very rare gift, Parseltongue, resourcefulness, determination… a certain disregard for the rules." The headmaster grinned at that. "Yet the Sorting Hat placed you in Gryffindor. You know why that is, I think."
"It only put me in Gryffindor," Harry replied, "because I asked not to go into Slytherin –"
"Exactly!" Dumbledore exclaimed, pleased. "Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that define who we are, not our abilities."
The three boys stared at the headmaster, stunned.
"If you want anymore proof, Harry, that you belong in Gryffindor," Dumbledore continued, "I suggest you take a closer look at the sword."
Frowning, Harry got up from his seat and went over to McGonagall's desk, where the silver sword he had pulled out of the Sorting Hat was resting. He picked up the bloodstained weapon, looking it over, the rubies blazing in the firelight. That was when he caught sight of a name engraved just below the hilt.
"Only a true Gryffindor could have pulled that out of the hat," Dumbledore said, a bit of a twinkle in his eye at the irony of the statement.
Harry, Draco, and Yami Bakura just stared at the weapon, still stunned by it all, as the headmaster reached into Professor McGonagall's desk for a piece of parchment and a quill.
"What you three need, is some food and rest," he said. "Though, I would suggest going to the hospital wing and getting patched up before heading to the feast. In the meantime, I'll be writing to Azkaban; we'll need our gamekeeper back." A thoughtful look crossed his face then. "I'll also need to draft a new advertisement for a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Dear me, we do seem to run through them, don't we?"
Draco chuckled as he got up from his seat. "Just make sure the next one actually did the things he says he did, hunh?"
The three of them started to make there way to the door. As soon as Harry had his hand on the knob, however, the door banged open, sending the boys crashing into one another. Lucius Malfoy was standing on the other side, a look of absolute fury on his face. Cowering between his legs, wrapped heavily in bandages, was none other than Dobby.
"Good evening, Lucius," Dumbledore greeted pleasantly, not looking up from the note he was writing.
Mr. Malfoy stalked toward the desk, ignoring the boys and the house elf trying frantically to polish his shoes. Draco, for one, had never seen his father so enraged. Not only were the man's shoes half polished, but also his hair was disheveled and his traveling cloak was askew.
"So!" he exclaimed. "The governors suspend you, but you see fit to come back here anyway!"
"Well, you see, Lucius," Dumbledore began, smiling serenely, "when the other governors heard that Mr. Weasley's daughter had been killed, they thought it would be best that I return. It was like being caught in a hailstorm of owls, so to speak. Also, many of them seemed to believe that you would curse their families if they did not agree to suspend me in the first place."
Malfoy seemed to get paler, but that did not take away the look of rage on his face.
"So, did you stop the attacks?" he demanded.
"We did," Dumbledore replied.
"Well, who was it?"
"The same person as the last time, Lucius," Dumbledore answered, "only this time Voldemort was acting through another, by means of this diary."
He pushed the diary forward on the desk, keeping a close eye on the other man along with Draco and Yami Bakura. Harry, however, was busy watching Dobby. The house elf was pointing to the diary, and then to Malfoy, then hitting himself on the head.
"I see…" Malfoy hissed slightly.
"A clever plan, really," Dumbledore continued, "because if Harry and his companions had not discovered the diary, Ginny Weasley might have taken all the blame. No one could have proven that she had not acted of her own free will. And then imagine what might have happened. Arthur Weasley and his Muggle Protection Act would probably have become the laughingstock of the wizard community."
Lucius Malfoy shot the three boys a venomous glare, most of it focused on his son. Draco tried to glare back, but eventually shrunk under his father's gaze, bumping into Yami Bakura as he backed away. Dobby, in the meantime, was still pointing to the dairy, Malfoy, and then hitting himself behind his master's back. Suddenly, it dawned on Harry what he was trying to tell him. He nodded slightly, and the house elf retreated to the corner, twisting his ears as punishment.
"Don't you want to know how Ginny got that diary, Mr. Malfoy?" Harry demanded.
"Why would I care how a silly little girl got it?" Malfoy snapped.
It dawned on Draco what Harry was getting at. He stepped forward. "You gave it to her, didn't you?" he demanded. "When you picked up her Transfiguration book in Flourish and Blotts, you slipped it inside, didn't you?"
Malfoy sneered down at him. "You can't prove that, and how dare you speak to me that way," he snarled. Then, he motioned toward Harry. "You're actually helping this scar-faced imbecile? I taught you better than that."
"You taught me nothing!" Draco shot back. "You taught me how to be cruel to people, how to look down on them as if they were ants at my feet! That's not a way to live!"
"Oh, and have you found a better way?" his father replied, his voice rising. "Have you found a more rewarding way?"
Draco smirked in spite of himself. "How's the secret chamber under the drawing room floor?"
He had apparently struck a cord; Malfoy's face twisted down into an ugly look. Draco held his father's gaze, dimly aware that Harry was whispering something to Yami Bakura, and that Dumbledore looked ready to stop anything drastic from happening. His father's right hand twitched, as if it longed to grab the wand concealed in his diamond topped walking stick. After a tense moment, he decided against it, sweeping off toward the door.
"Come, Dobby!" he snapped as Yami Bakura went over to Draco, clutching something in his hand. The tomb robber gave it to him, and he stared at it in surprise before looking up at the spirit in shock. He really was a king of thieves!
"Oy, father, isn't this yours?" Draco asked.
He held up the handkerchief the tomb robber had given him, showing off the distinct "LM" embroidered in a corner. Malfoy whirled around, looking at the handkerchief in surprise, and searching the pocket it had been in to make sure it was the real thing. He was about to run toward his son to grab it, when Draco dropped it…
Just as Dobby walked past him.
The handkerchief landed on the house elf's head, making him pause in mid-step. Dobby slipped the handkerchief off his head, looking at it as if it were a priceless treasure. Malfoy, in the meantime, was fuming. That time, he really did snatch his wand from its hiding place, stalking toward his son menacingly. Dumbledore quickly stood up from behind the desk to stop him, but Draco was already way ahead of him, tearing his own wand out of his robe pocket.
Lucius Malfoy went flying backwards with enough force to send him smashing into the wall on the opposite side of the hallway outside the office. His wand clattered to the ground somewhere as Draco pocketed his, a satisfied smirk on his face.
"I really like that spell," he commented as his father shakily got to his feet.
"Well, Lucius," Dumbledore began, "I do believe you're not welcome here anymore."
Malfoy gave his son one last glare. "I never want to see you again," he snarled, before swinging his cloak about his shoulders and stalking down the hallway.
Draco managed to stay standing for a good minute before his knees collapsed him to the floor. Tears streamed down his face; he could hardly believe what he had just done. He gave a start as he felt a hand grip his shoulder, and turned to see Harry behind him, holding out a tissue. Smiling in spite of it all, he took it and cleaned up his face.
"I don't understand something," Draco began, his voice muffled by the tissue, as he looked up to Yami Bakura, "how'd you know that giving a house elf clothes sets them free from their master?"
The tomb robber pointed to Harry. "He told me," he answered, "and I took a wild guess that a handkerchief counted as clothing."
Dobby looked up at all of them, wide-eye. "You've all freed Dobby…" he said, tears coming to his eyes. "You've all saved Dobby…!"
"Just do us a favor, Dobby," Harry began, a grin breaking out on his face, "don't try to save us."
A faint stirring… a faint movement – oh, how wonderful it felt to move again! The arms… yes, one arm could move again, and the other was coming along. Next, the legs… yes, both legs were moving again, albeit with a bit of stiffness. Breathe… breathing again… and now the eyes…
Hermione slowly opened her eyes, finding herself staring up at a sweeping ceiling that reminded her of the library at Hogwarts. She sat up, glancing around to see that volumes and volumes of books were stacked all over the small room. There was only one door leading out, and she opened it to find a dark hallway on the other side with another door visible across the way. The other door looked ancient, and the only marking on it was the same as the one on Yugi's Puzzle: the Eye of the Wisdom of Darkness.
Curiosity quickly won her over, and Hermione went over, grabbed the handle, and pushed the door open. The room on the other side was simple, yet fanciful, with almost everything trimmed in gold. The one thing that stood out, however, was the woman standing in the center of the room, her hands clasped before her. Hermione gasped at her appearance; she was slightly taller than herself, with bushy black hair and gentle brown eyes. She smiled at her warmly.
"Not even Isis was able to open my door," she said. "I'm grateful."
Hermione blinked, caught off guard. "Who… who are you?"
"My name is Aishisu, priestess and soothsayer to Pharaoh Panseru," she introduced. Her smiled broadened at that. "Though, I suspect everyone will call me 'Yami Hermione'."
It was a miracle; Hermione was speechless for the first time in her life. Aishisu chuckled at her reaction.
"Perhaps you should return to the 'real world'," she said. "Someone is waiting to explain everything to you."
It was like waking up again – an odd sense of being in one place, and then suddenly appearing in another. Hermione woke up again to find herself looking up at a concerned pair of lavender eyes. Marik smiled warmly, wrapping her in a hug as he helped her sit up in bed.
"Welcome back, Hermi-chan," he greeted as he pulled away, relief obvious in his voice.
Hermione, still confused by what she had seen when she first woke up, felt something heavy around her neck. She looked down to see a necklace of sorts, with the eye she had seen on the door within her mind surrounded by two odd fins. Her gaze drifted back up to Marik, a bit of a frown creasing her face.
"You've got a lot of explaining to do," she declared.
Marik sweatdropped. "Oh, you have no idea."
The rest of the school year passed by in a blaze of warm sunshine, and Hogwarts had returned to normal once more with only a few differences. Not only were Defense Against the Dark Arts classes canceled, but also final exams had been dropped for that year as a school treat (much to Hermione and Seto's disappointment). Lucius Malfoy had been sacked as school governor, and was also under investigation at the Ministry of Magic for unethical practices. Hermione being the new owner of the Millennium Tauk was a bit of a shock, but at least her and Marik were walking down the halls hand-in-hand again.
The real shock had come one morning a few days before they would leave for home. Draco had not been in the Gryffindor boy's dorm when everyone woke up. The reason why became apparent at breakfast when he came to join everyone, sporting a bright red and gold Gryffindor crest on his robe.
"I tried on the Sorting Hat again," he explained as he sat down next to Yugi. "It's official: I'm in Gryffindor."
"All right!" Marik exclaimed, giving him a high five from across the table.
"There's only one problem," Draco continued, settling back into his seat, "I have no idea where I'm going to go for the summer."
"I'd offer for you to come home with me, but…" Harry began, a bit of a regretful look on his face. "The Dursely's complain enough with one wizard in the house. I'd hate to see how'd they'd act with two around."
Yugi scrunched his face up in thought. He jumped in his seat as an idea dawned on him.
"You could come live with us, Draco!" he exclaimed.
Draco blinked, surprised. "In Japan?"
Aibou, Yami Yugi began, patronizingly, are you sure Ojii-chan won't mind?
He didn't mind when he found out his grandson was possessed by a five thousand year old pharaoh, Yugi pointed out.
True, but I'm not another mouth to feed.
You act like it sometimes.
In the real world, Yugi started chuckling, getting weird looks from everyone else.
"Well…" Draco began uneasily, weirded out by the little boy. "I suppose… if you'll have me. I guess I'll go with you."
"Of course!" Yugi exclaimed, grinning. "Besides, it'll give you a head start on Muggle Studies next year."
Too soon, the journey home on the Hogwarts Express came. Harry, Yugi, Draco, Marik, Ron, Hermione, Seto, Fred, George, Bakura, and Ginny got a large compartment to themselves. The Egyptian spirits were out and about as well, and it was quiet cramped despite the size of the room.
At least they were all being civil to one another. Yami Yugi and Aishisu were quietly talking in one corner (probably catching up, Yugi suspected). Yami Bakura was sitting next to his hikari with his feet propped up on the seat across from him, and Yami Seto had somehow gotten a hold of Marik's GameBoy and was playing a game on it.
The twins were setting off the last of the Filibuster fireworks they had gotten last summer, and Seto had his nose buried in his laptop, catching up on the business his company had been doing. Yugi looked at all the statistics and graphs over his shoulder, trying to understand it all and failing miserably. Ginny kept taking sidelong glances at Bakura. He finally caught her one time.
"What is it?" he asked innocently. She just blushed and looked away. Yami Bakura snickered, elbowing him.
"Oy, hikari, looks like you got yourself a girlfriend," he remarked. Bakura blushed and looked away as well.
"And you accuse me of cradle robbing," Marik chuckled, his arm around Hermione as always. She frowned, however.
"What do you mean, cradle robbing?" she asked.
Marik blinked, confused. "I thought you knew. I'm sixteen."
"This isn't going to end well," Seto and Yami Seto commented at the same time, not looking up from their respective electronics.
The train eventually came to a slow stop, and the spirits disappeared into their respective Millennium Items (or hikaris, in Bakura's case) as Harry reached into his trunk for a piece of parchment and quill. He scribbled his number a few times and tore it, handing each of them a copy.
"This is called a telephone number," Harry told Ron. "I showed your dad how to use one last summer. Call me at the Dursely's okay? I don't think I could stand another summer with only Dudley to talk to."
Draco looked at the number from all angles, confused. "What's a 'fellytone'?" he asked. Yugi slapped himself in the forehead.
"Oh, we're going to have fun this summer," he commented dryly.
They made their way off of the train and joined the crowd of people waiting to go through the enchanted barrier. Draco turned his attention to Harry as they moved closer toward the Muggle world.
"Your aunt and uncle," he began, "they should be proud of everything you've done this year, shouldn't they?"
"Are you kidding?" Harry asked. "All those times I could have died, and didn't manage it? They'll be furious…"