Beyond The Veil
"Harry!" Ginny cried as Harry and Hermione appeared in the library with the veil. She ran up to Harry and gave him a hug.
"Ginny, I'm so glad you're okay," Harry replied, giving Ginny an affectionate kiss on the lips.
"Erm, Harry?" asked Hermione, sheepishly.
Harry turned around to face Hermione, a big grin on his face and an arm around Ginny. "Thanks Hermione, for helping me with the veil."
Hermione smiled, satisfied with herself, and left the library with Ginny to find Ron.
As Hermione and Ginny left the library, Dumbledore entered.
"Ah Harry, I just wanted to congratulate you on a job well done ..."
Harry cut him off, "That's okay sir."
Dumbledore carried on, "and to warn you that Tom won't be surprised about your strength again. Be careful Harry, Tom was trying to throw us off his real goal when he attacked Hogsmeade. With you now in possession of the veil, he will most likely attack the muggle world to show his followers he isn't afraid, but mainly to take his frustrations out on the unexpecting muggles, and will possibly start recruiting magical creatures along with witches and wizards from around the globe to build up his army of followers."
"Is there anything we can do to protect the muggles Professor?"
"Mr Weasley will be arranging a meeting with the muggle Prime Minister to discuss how to guard prime targets using Aurors, and of course Order members," replied Dumbledore. "May I enquire as to what you are planning on doing with the veil?"
"Voldemort wanted it for a reason and I'm going to find out what that reason is and see if I can use it against him," replied Harry surely.
"Keep me informed Harry." and Dumbledore left Harry alone in his library with the veil.
Harry spent a few hours roaming his library, largely built up on books acquired from Malfoy manor, searching for any books related to the veil. The only book he found regarding the veil was a notebook written by Tom Riddle with extra notes in the margins written by Lucius Malfoy.
Reading through the notebook, Harry found a couple of references to an ancient text but was unable to find the book in the library. Frustrated, Harry decided to leave in search of Professor Snape and Draco to find out if any books were missing.
Just as he was leaving, Hermione, Ron and Ginny entered the library.
"Oh," said Harry, "can you three do me a favour please?"
"What is it?" asked Hermione.
"Hermione, can you read through the notebook that's in front of the veil to find any references to any books we might need and jot them down? Can you two," Harry said turning to Ron and Ginny, "try and find those books either in here or the school library please? I'm going off to find Snape and Draco to find out if there's anything missing."
"No problem," replied Ron and Ginny.
Harry returned to his tower a little while later, unable to find Professor Snape and Draco. He went straight to his bedroom and retrieved the marauder's map but again, was unable to find Professor Snape or Draco anywhere in the castle.
Frustrated, Harry went down to his library to see how everyone was getting on with the tasks he set them.
"Sorry Harry," replied Hermione, "I found reference ..."
Harry cut her off, "To an old text but couldn't find it anywhere." Hermione nodded. "Yeah, I expected as much."
"What's wrong Harry?" asked Ginny.
"I don't know dear. It's probably nothing but I can't find Snape or Malfoy anywhere in the castle."
"Have you tried your mental thing?" asked Ron.
"No point. Since the first time I tried that, Snape's been blocking me somehow and I think he's taught Draco how to block me as well."
"Well, Severus is a very private man Harry," replied Hermione.
"I don't like it. They're up to something," replied Ron.
"Oh Ron, you've never trusted Severus and he's never really done anything to prove he's untrustworthy."
"Hermione, he's a Death Eater!"
"Ron, he WAS a Death Eater!"
"Dumbledore trusts him so we should," Ginny said.
"We've had this discussion before. We need to concentrate on accessing the veil. Ginny, can you go and get Luna please?"
"Luna?" asked Ron, "Why her?"
"Because, besides me, she's the only one who can hear voices coming from the veil. She might know why and also how to access the veil."
"Okay," Ginny replied and set off to find Luna.
"Why have you got something against Luna?" Hermione asked.
"I haven't, she's just a bit weird that's all. Besides, you don't like her." replied Ron.
"Yes I do!"
"No you don't!"
"Yes I do!"
"Oh, give it a rest you two!" Harry replied.
Both Hermione and Ron shut up, both with their bottom lip stuck out like little children. Harry just shook his head and sat down in front of the veil wondering how to contact Godric and wondering if it was really possible to bring back anyone who had passed through the veil, namely Sirius.
Ginny arrived back with Luna and Neville. Luna went straight up to Harry and sat down on the floor next to him.
"Do you hear anything?" she asked Harry.
"Yes," replied Harry, "but there are too many voices to understand any of them."
"You need to relax," Luna replied, then she moved in behind Harry, one leg either side of him and started massaging his neck and shoulders.
Ginny was about to protest, but Hermione put her hand on Ginny's shoulder to stop her. Ginny turned to look at Hermione with a defiant look in her eyes. Hermione shook her head then led Ginny out of the library, Ron followed leaving Harry and Luna alone in the library together, with Neville who was suddenly interested in a rather large selection of Herbology books he'd spotted on the shelves.
"Ginny, you mustn't get jealous of Luna. She's helping Harry to relax," explained Hermione.
"I can help him to relax," replied Ginny sternly. Ron nodded, then looked at Ginny suddenly wondering what she meant.
"Luna knows about the veil and Harry loves you not Luna. We need to leave them alone for a little while to see if they can find out anything about the veil." replied Hermione, "In the mean time, we can go to the room of requirements to see if we can get it to give us any books about the veil, okay?"
"Okay Hermione but I'll jinx her if she tries anything."
"Neville is in there with them remember, and Luna's suppose to be your friend." Hermione said, putting her arm around Ginny and leading her towards the room of requirements. Ron following again.
"Relax Harry," Luna said in a soothing voice, "Try to single out one voice, any voice, bring that voice to the front and push the other voices back. Don't try to concentrate on a particular person, just pick the strongest voice."
Harry did as Luna suggested and picked out the most prominent voice. After a good ten minutes of Luna's relaxation techniques, Harry managed to make contact with the voice. However, this was a very brief contact but it gave Harry a renewed hope about the veil.
"It's locked!" Hermione exclaimed.
"Can't be!" replied Ron.
"It can if someone's already using it," explained Ginny.
"But who?" asked Hermione.
"Snape and Malfoy probably!" exclaimed Ron.
"Thank you for your help Luna, I really appreciate it," Harry said, but Luna had already returned to her dream-like state, staring at the veil.
Harry went downstairs to his common room like living room where he met up with Ron, Hermione and Ginny.
"Harry!" Hermione exclaimed, "How did it go?"
Harry sat down next to Ginny and explained about it not being too bad for a first try and asked the rest what they had got up to. Hermione explained about not being able to get into the room of requirements.
"I don't like it," said Ron.
"Oh, don't start that again!" exclaimed Hermione, "It might not have been them."
"Okay, we'll have our practice tomorrow as usual but I won't do anything that isn't already mentioned in the Auror training manual. How about that?" asked Harry. Everyone nodded. "Right, that's settled then. I'll also hide the veil so no one can find it just to be on the safe side."
"Anyway, it's getting late, we'd better get down to the feast."
As with past Halloween feasts, the Great Hall was lined with exceedingly large pumpkins grown by Hagrid in his garden with eyes and mouths lit up and flickering by the ever lasting candles inside them. As usual, Harry had a suspicion that Hagrid had used an engorgement charm on them.
The Hogwarts ghosts were floating around happily and the headless horsemen were charging about in between the tables.
Harry noticed a couple of empty places. One seat was empty on the head table and one on the Slytherin table. Snape and Malfoy were missing.
Harry wasn't the only one who noticed. Ron started arguing with Hermione again, as he'd obviously noticed too.
Harry however noticed a couple of extra people at the head table, who Harry hadn't expected. Mad-Eye Moody and Tonks were seated on each end of the table. Tonks seemed to be glancing at Remus Lupin quite a lot.
After the feast, Harry and his friends retired to his tower where a crate of butterbeer was waiting for them.
After talking for a couple of hours in Harry's living room, Harry announced "It's been a long day so we'd better be getting off to bed." Everyone nodded in agreement. Hermione and Ron apparated back to the Gryffindor common room, but Ginny stayed behind.
"Why Miss Weasley, don't you think you ought to be getting off to bed?" asked Harry.
"That's just what I was thinking!" Ginny replied, pulling Harry off the settee and up the stairs.
The next day, everyone met up in the great hall for breakfast. Harry spoke to Hermione and Ron about what he wanted the AD class to be doing. "I would like the AD class to be trained Aurors by the end of the year. I know it will be hard work but I believe it's necessary for the protection of the school. Anyone that doesn't cut it, send them to me for remedial training on Thursday's, okay?"
"But Harry, that's our Anim..."
Harry cut Hermione off, "I know but you've already learnt enough to carry on by yourself."
"Hang on a minute! Why ain't I doing Animagus training?" asked Ron.
"Did you manage any of the Animagus tests in Transfiguration?" asked Hermione.
"Well then, stop moaning!"
"Sorry mate, but Hermione's right. If you didn't show any signs in Transfiguration, there's nothing I could have done for you."
Ron seemed to accept this and the whole group set off on a steady stroll towards their training ground.
Once they got there they all noticed the temperature get colder and noticed the flowers in the clearing suddenly die.
"Dementors, wands out!" Harry exclaimed. No one needed telling twice.
Neville and Luna appeared as soon as Harry and the others pulled out their wands, so they did too.
All of a sudden the group was surrounded by an army of dementors who started closing in on them.
Harry sent off a message using the same charm Dumbledore uses for Order emergencies, then fired off his patronus as the others also fired off theirs.
Harry's patronus was as strong as the one he cast in his third year when saving his Godfather, but it wasn't working as well, even with the other patronus'.
After only five minutes, the dementors had regrouped and started a fresh assault. Hopes of any help coming faded making all but Harry's patronus fade into nothingness.
Then, out of nowhere, a bright phoenix patronus appeared along with an assortment of other patronus' chasing away the army of dementors.
The Aurors had arrived along with Dumbledore and half a dozen Order members.
"Nice patronus Potter. Don't beat yourself up about not being able to handle all those dementors. Even Dumbledore's patronus wouldn't have been able to handle that many dementors without a little help." Mad Eye Moody said as he approached Harry.
"Yes Harry," Dumbledore confirmed, "and it showed a good strength of character to send for help. Don't worry about Mr and Miss Weasley or Miss Granger, they are being taken to the hospital wing where Poppy will take care of them."
"What happened to them? And where are Neville and Luna?" asked Harry, suddenly feeling panicked, looking around for his friends.
Dumbledore raised his hand, "Ron, Ginny and Hermione collapsed due to the amount of magical energy they used to fight off the dementors. They will be okay in no time. Neville and Luna have been escorted out of the forest and are probably, by now, having tea with Hagrid."
"Do you know where Professor Snape and Draco were yesterday evening?"
"Severus escorted Draco back to his family home."
"Okay sir, thank you."
Dumbledore escorted Harry to Hagrid's hut where Neville and Luna were waiting. On the way, Harry told Dumbledore about his brief contact with someone on the other side of the veil. Dumbledore was curious about this but still adamant that no one can return from the veil.
When they reached Hagrid's hut, Neville and Luna were outside waiting with Hagrid. Harry waved to Hagrid, who waved back in return, then Dumbledore and Hagrid entered the hut together.
Harry, Neville and Luna slowly wandered up to the hospital wing together to see how their friends were doing.
"So much for that training session!" exclaimed Ron.
"Is it just me or do you think the dementors are getting stronger?" asked Hermione to no one in particular. No one answered, but all had signs of thought and concentration on their faces, including Luna.
After a few minutes of eating chocolate, Madam Pomphrey announced they were well enough to leave the hospital wing, "Come on, all of you out. You're taking up space that someone who actually needs help can use."
Everyone left the hospital wing and followed Harry back to his tower, too tired to even apparate back.
When they got to Harry's tower they all sunk into the settees and relaxed, talking about the up and coming quidditch game against Slytherin.
After chatting and a brief nap, Harry, Hermione and Ron went up to the library to take another look at the veil to try to unlock its secrets. Neville and Luna went up to the potions lab to make a start on their anti-polyjuice potion and Ginny went back to the Gryffindor common room to finish off her homework.
Harry sat down in front of the veil, closed his eyes, slowed his breathing and started his search for the strongest, most prominent voice coming from the veil.
It didn't take long however. This time he managed to get a name from the person in the veil before he lost the connection, "My name is Augustus Porter.."
Harry told Hermione at once that he'd got a name for her to look up. "I think he said Augustus Porter, or it could have been Potter!"
"It's not much to go on Harry. I'll see if I can find either of them. Professor McGonagall should be able to help me find him in the list of ex-Hogwarts students." replied Hermione.
"The veil is older than Hogwarts so he might not be in the records. Or he might have gone to a different wizarding school." Ron said.
"True. But it's a place to start." replied Hermione, getting up from her seat.
Harry relaxed again and started concentrating on the voices in the veil. After only a few minutes, Harry single out another voice, this voice sounded familiar and clearer than the last voice. The voice however seemed in distress, "Arrrggg... nnnoooo!"
"Hello! Who's there?" Harry asked the voice.
"What? Who's that! Help me!"
"Who are you?" asked Harry again.
"I'm in hell!"
"Who are you?" Harry repeated.
Harry, who was getting rather frustrated, lost his concentration and banged the floor with his fists.
"Harry? What's the matter?" asked Ron.
"I've just managed to contact someone else but it sounds like they'd got mad or in trouble or something... The voice sounded kind off familiar as well!"
"Who do you think it was then?" inquired Ron.
"You'll think I'm mad if I tell you, or tell me I'm just hoping." Harry said quietly.
"Sirius?" asked Ron. Harry nodded. "Well get back on it then!" Ron said incredulously.
Harry tried again, this time it took a little longer to concentrate then before. The voice came back. "Arrrggg!"
"Sirius? Concentrate on my voice!"
"Sirius? Are you there? Can you here me? Concentrate on my voice!"
"Harry? Is that you?"
"GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!"
"We're trying! You'll have to stay put for a little while longer."
"I CAN'T! THIS IS HELL!"
"Can you talk to anyone in there with you? Anyone that can help?" Harry asked, hopefully.
He'd lost the connection again. Harry collapsed on the floor sweating profusely.
Ron ran up to him. "Are you okay mate?" he asked.
"Never better." Harry answered, sarcastically. "It was Sirius... He's in hell... We have to help him!"
"We will. You rest for a while before trying again. I'll go and find Hermione."
Harry stayed where he was, lying on the floor in front of the veil, waiting for Ron and Hermione to come back. He desperately wanted to try again but the amount of strength needed to concentrate on the veil was too much for him.
Harry closed his eyes for what seemed like only a minute or two. He felt his shoulder being shook. He opened his eyes, it was Hermione.
"Hermione? I did it! I ..."
"I know," Hermione cut Harry off, "Ron told me."
"I would never have thought it possible, but then again, I am wrong occasionally."
Harry looked up and saw Dumbledore. Harry stood up, with a little help from Hermione.
"I came here to let you know that your training will start tomorrow morning. It will be every morning, except on the weekend, until you no longer need the training. The afternoons remain your own to do with as you please."
"Thank you for letting me know sir. I thought I was supposed to receive a letter by owl post sir?"
"You were, but we have recently found that owls are being intercepted and sometimes murdered... their blood drained from them and their packages stolen."
"Yes, Harry. I believe so." Dumbledore paused for a second, "Do you mind if I stay awhile, while you contact the veil again Harry?"
"Of course not sir."
Harry tried again. "Sirius?"
"Harry? There's so many souls in here, I won't be able to fight them off for long!"
While Harry was connected to the veil, Dumbledore removed a number of strange whirring silver objects from his robes and set them down in front of the veil. Every time Sirius spoke, the objects whirred louder and spun faster. Dumbledore suddenly got up and exited the room.
A moment later, Dumbledore returned with a person no one recognised. Harry had disconnected himself from the veil again.
"Harry, this gentleman is Arturo Porter from the Department Of Mysteries, he's an Unspeak..."
Harry cut Dumbledore off, "Porter? Any relation to Augustus Porter?"
"Yes actually. He was my Grandfather. How do you know of him?" asked Arturo slightly taken back.
"He's in the veil. I spoke to him briefly," replied Harry, "only enough to catch his name though." Harry added quickly.
"Well, this is unexpected." said Arturo.
Dumbledore carried on from when he was cut off by Harry, "Arturo is an Unspeakable. I'm sure he'll be of great help to you in unravelling the mysteries of the veil."
Arturo opened the billowing curtains covering the veil revealing a black rectangle of nothingness.
"I think I'll leave you to it. Please keep me informed." And Dumbledore left the room.
Harry, Arturo and Hermione discussed and swapped ideas about the veil and Hermione drew up a plan.
Hermione moved a chair close to the veil, said an incantation "Lumos Maxima" and placed her wand on the chair facing the veil. A steady, bright stream of light shone into the veil whilst Harry relaxed and contacted the veil once more.
Arturo set up a few extra strange instruments around the veil and kept checking them and writing something down on his parchment notebook.
Harry managed to find Sirius again and proceeded with Hermione's plan. He tried to get Sirius to see if he could find the light coming from Hermione's wand, the reply wasn't a comforting reply.
"It's so dark here... so cold... THERE ISN'T ANYTHING HERE!"
Hermione picked up Harry's wand and forcefully pointed it at the veil and shouted "ACCIO SIRIUS BLACK!"
Harry heard an "Ug... What the hell was that!".
"What happened?" asked Harry.
"I... I felt a... It felt like someone trying to pull me!"
Harry spun round to Hermione, "He felt it!"
Arturo spoke "I'll help Hermione. Harry, you try and contact Sirius again."
Harry nodded and contacted Sirius once more. "Hold on." he told Sirius.
"On a count of three Hermione... one... two... three..."
"ACCIO SIRIUS BLACK!"