Harry Potter And The Castle Of Fear
Chapter 1-The Mystery Letters

It all began with the letter. And quite a curious letter it was:

Dear Mr. Potter:

You may not remember me, but I certainly remember you. Not a day has passed that I have not thought of you, and the great destiny which awaits you.

I will be seeing you again soon. There is a matter of considerable urgency we need to discuss, but for reasons you will come to understand, it would be prudent to do so in the safe confines of Hogwarts.

Until then...

Sincerely,

Roma

Harry puzzled over the letter for several weeks, and took the initiative of asking about in the hopes of discovering something more about this mysterious Roma. It seemed everywhere he turned, he found more questions and not one answer

Then came the second letter:

Dear Harry:

Please accept my great apology. Due to an unfortunate series of events, I shall be arriving later than I expected.

I shant be much longer, but I have taken the precaution of entrusting Brownsby to your care. In my stead, he can assist you with anything you need to know. Indeed you will find, he is not your run-of-the-mill-owl.

As for his own necessities, there is nothing to concern yourself about. He is quite self-sufficient and very much prides himself on that.

Soon...

Roma

Weeks passed and it was once again time to return to Diagon Alley. Harry was as glad as he ever was, as this meant he would not have to see the Dursley's again all year. Harry made his way to London to join Ron and Hermione at the Leaky Cauldron. Not seeing them on his arrival, he seated himself at the nearest available table. No sooner than did Harry take out the mysterious letters, he caught sight of his nemesis, Draco Malfoy.

Harry started reading the letters and had become so engrossed, he failed to notice Malfoy sneaking up behind him. The next thing Harry knew, the letters had been snatched out of his hands by Malfoy.

"Well, well, Potter," Draco sneered upon reading the letters. "What have we here? Letters from a secret admirer? Perhaps that mudblood Granger?"

Harry felt a hot surge of anger. "Give those here, Malfoy. And don't get Hermione involved." Harry demanded.

"Or what?" came Malfoy's reply. "You'll cast one of your third-rate spells on me?"

"Don't sound so smug, Draco," countered Harry.

"You seem to have forgotten, Potter," countered Malfoy back, "That I am the one who beat you in our duel during second year."

"You did not beat me Malfoy!", Harry exclaimed incredulously "Snape put a stop to it, remember? What's happened Malfoy? You take too many Bludgers to the head?"

"Care to try again, Potter?" challenged Malfoy.

"Try what?" Harry replied, confused.

"Our little duel. The one I defeated you in, remember?" Malfoy said smugly.

"No, thanks, Malfoy." Harry said defiantly.

"Why? Afraid you'll lose?" Malfoy asked.

"No, I dueled Lord Voldemort and won. Remember last year?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Malfoy replied coldly.

"It means I have experience. And besides, I don't want to see you lose." Harry replied, fighting a smile.

"All right, Potter. Let's duel. Right here, right now." challenged Malfoy.

"Sure you're up for this Malfoy?" questioned Harry.

"I'm game for anything." Malfoy said, showing no sign of fear.

"Except for losing." Harry said with a certain air of authority.

"All right, Potter. That does it." Malfoy said angrily.

"Let's end this, Malfoy. Once and for all." said Harry coldly.

"May the best wizard win. Of course that would once again be me." retorted Malfoy.

"I plan to." replied Harry.

Harry and Draco had pulled their wands and were about to cast their first spells when a tall woman with red hair and eyes like emeralds suddenly appeared and in one swift motion sent both their wands literally flying over their heads, catching them in midair. Taking the letters from Malfoy, she handed them back to Harry.

"The next time I write you letters young man," she intoned sternly. "I expect you will take more care as where and whence to read them.

As Harry attempted to protest, she curtly interrupted him with a silencing hand and turned towards Draco.

"And as for you, Mr. Malfoy...I shall personally see to it you receive sufficient punishment for your astonishing lack of judgment and civility. I can't imagine you will be in good standing with your house, which I know is Slytherin by the way you have just acted, after I take away the number of points you likely just cost them."

"You wait until my father hears about this. He will not be happy."

"No, Mr. Malfoy, I imagine he wont. After all you did take someone else's property and challenged them to a duel."

Draco looked at Harry and Roma with fury in his eyes. He then turned on his heel and stormed out, leaving his wand behind. Harry stood fixed to the spot, unable to move, trying to comprehend what had just happened.

Finally, Roma spoke, cutting through the silence.

"As you most likely have guessed, Harry, I am Roma."

"I'm sorry," said Harry. "But I don't remember you."

"As may be. Of course, your parents were unable to tell you about me. Sirius Black is still on the run, and I understand you not spoken to Remus since third year.

"And Peter Pettigrew is a servant of Lord Voldemort."

"Very true, Harry. We were close, the six of us. Your parents, Remus, Sirius, Peter and I. It was like we were almost a part of each other. But it seemed I was not quite a part of Peter's little circle. Neither were the others. I always closer to your parents, Sirius and Remus"

"Not to be rude or anything, Roma, but where have you been for the past fifteen years."

"I am sorry, Harry, but after Voldemort killed your parents, Sirius was wrongly accused of murdering those innocent people, and Peter escaped capture, I had no recourse but to depart."

"But I don't understand," said Harry."

I am sorry, Harry, but I cannot say anymore. At least not here. We will have to wait until we are in the safety of Hogwarts."

"What do you mean "we"? You already left Hogwarts, didn't you?"

"That is true. But I will be returning for the time being."

"For what reason?"

"The reason being, I am your new Defense Against Dark Arts teacher."

Harry nodded. "OK, I think I understand now."

"Are you sure?" Roma questioned.

"No, I'm not." Harry admitted.

"Harry, as I said in the first letter, I have a matter of considerable urgency I need to discuss with you. But here is not safe. Hogwarts is. And do not worry yourself, Harry. You will understand more. But with Lord Voldemort risen once again, we have to be very careful.

Harry nodded once more. Then he asked hopefully, "Roma, will you be on the Hogwarts Express?"

"Yes, Harry. Indeed I will. That was always my favorite way of getting to Hogwarts and I couldn't imagine getting there any other way. But I must also ask you a favor."

""All right," said Harry.

"That from now on, you call me Professor Ringwhite while in class or with your friends, Ron and Hermione, unless we are alone, all right?"

"OK. That's all right."

"I take my leave now, Harry, as I have important business to attend to, as I am sure you do also."

"Yes, I do." said Harry.

"I'll see you on the Hogwarts Express on the first of September. Good-bye, Harry."

"Professor Ringwhite?

"Yes, Harry?"

"Can I ask you a question? Or two, actually?"

"Of course."

"Can I have my wand back?"

"Of course," Roma said, smiling, handing Harry his wand, who put it back inside his robes. "On one condition, though."

"What's that?" asked Harry.

"That you promise me you never let Draco Malfoy get to you and anger you like that again.

"I promise."

"Good. Now what is your second question?"

"What are you going to do with Malfoy's wand? He never took, it back before storming out."

"I think I will show it to Lucius and let him know what his son has been up to. I seriously doubt his father will be happy with him. Or Malfoy's house for that matter.

"Speaking of which, will you really take points away from Slytherin?" Harry questioned eagerly.

"No, Harry, I am sorry to disappoint you, but that was merely a threat. I honestly wish I could, and would like nothing more to do so, after what Malfoy did, but I cannot, considering Slytherin doesn't have any points yet to begin with."

"Good point," said Harry. "That would give the Slytherins a negative score and make them even more unhappy with Draco.

"Very true. Well I must be off. See you on the first of September. Good- bye, Harry."

"Good-bye, Professor."

"Oh...and Harry?"

"Yes?" asked Harry.

"Happy Birthday."

"Thank you!" Harry exclaimed, smiling, his green eyes shining.

"You are very welcome, Harry. Good-bye."

"Good-bye, Professor."

Roma turned to leave, walking a few steps. Then, turning back as Harry also began to depart, she added, "Oh, and Harry?"

He stopped and turned back to face her, curious. "Yes, Professor Ringwhite?"

"Try to avoid trouble if you can."

The remark was spoken rather cryptically with a similar expression crossing Roma's face. But as Harry could not deduce much more than that, he responded the only way he thought he could, also rather cryptically, "I'll try."

Harry spent the rest of the summer with Ron at The Burrow. He, as always, had the best month of his life. But it passed all too quickly, and before long, it was time to return to the only home Harry had ever known. He was happy, because he loved Hogwarts and wanted to see Roma, but also scared, because he didn't know the whereabouts of Lord Voldemort.