Title: Legacy of the Father (15/?)
Spoilers: First four books; contains some elements introduced in the 5th book, but is set during Harry's 5th year.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Chapter Fifteen – Through the Phoenix
Lee returned to Gryffindor Tower as the celebrations of the successful mission were winding down. Only a few people greeted him, his part in this whole ordeal having remained hidden. Harry nodded his thanks, while Fred and George praised the brilliance of his performance.
But Lee and the twins' brilliant performance was not considered a cause for celebration for Professor Dawlish. Fred's magic had ended not long after Dawlish had locked Lee, posing as Fred, in the Infirmary. Madam Pomfrey had been given strict orders to keep Fred in his bed until Dawlish came back for him but she had not been told anything about Lee. He marched out whistling, a carefree attitude so routine to him. It didn't seem too unbelievable that in all the commotion that came with bringing in a Weasley twin that one of his friends could have slipped in unnoticed.
Madam Pomfrey had been the first to sound the alert. She had gone to check on her most recent addition, only to find no one there. Dawlish instantly suspected more trickery out of the twins and Harry Potter. He stormed up to Gryffindor Tower, only to be turned back by the Fat Lady. She refused to open the portal door without the password, headmaster or no headmaster.
As it was Saturday, students were more likely to rest than to rush to breakfast, so Dawlish was forced to wait for the Gryffindor early risers to start making their way to the Great Hall for breakfast. Hermione, Ron, and Harry were among the first to wake up that morning, but they made their way to the Great Hall with many of the other Gryffindors.
"Mr. Potter!" Dawlish called out as the group passed through the Fat Lady's door.
"It's not yet noon, Professor, and I haven't done anything during the night, surely."
"Where is your friend Mr. Weasley? Mr. Fred Weasley? I don't see him here with you this morning."
Harry made to answer, but Angelina beat him to it.
"Fred has been with the seventh years since classes let out yesterday afternoon, Professor. We can all attest to that."
"I was speaking to Mr. Potter, Miss Johnson. If I had wanted for you to answer, I would have asked you. But, seeing as you seem to know just about everything about Mr. Weasley's activities of late, where is he now?"
"In bed, I suppose. We didn't see him in the common room when we left."
"Scheming in his room, is it? Who is the prefect for Gryffindor?"
Hermione stepped forward.
"What is the password?"
"We were told not to tell anyone outside of the House, Professor, after what happened last year and all. It's for safety."
"Oh, yes. A common co-conspirator with Mr. Potter was what the report said of you."
"I am Harry's friend, yes. But many here in Hogwarts are, for good reason. He tries his best to help people."
"Miss Granger, Mr. Potter, you two will join me to my office. The rest of you better go to breakfast."
Harry was already serving one detention. Now he might be serving another for saying nothing at all. And Hermione might be joining him just for being his friend and standing up for him.
In Dawlish's office, Harry remembered that the Welling Mirror was still in his bag, right under his Quidditch outfit. Dawlish, though, didn't seem to know that it was missing yet, and Harry hoped that that would remain true for some time yet, at least through this meeting and his detention.
"Well, what have you to say about your rudeness, Miss Granger?"
Hermione looked at Harry, took a deep breath and answered.
"I spoke only what I thought I must, Professor. I was trying to help you to see why I and many others have a friendship with Harry. When you used the word co-conspirator, it made it sound as if Harry has been doing terrible things and everyone who was his friend was helping him."
"That is precisely what I meant, Miss Granger. Mr. Potter is a troublemaker, and those who are so avidly his friend must be too."
Hermione, who had tried to force Harry to hold his temper yesterday morning, was finding hard to control herself. Harry could no longer be silent. After all, he was already on Dawlish's black list; there was no need to add Hermione or anyone else.
"That is not true, Professor. Hermione is my friend because she is kind and wishes me to be the best I can be. She is not a troublemaker at all. She is far too busy with classes and studying to even think about troublemaking, as are we all. Look at her grades. Could someone who spends her time making trouble make the grades she does?"
"Fomenting conspiracies against the Ministry doesn't take so much time or intelligence. Even silly children can do it, if they know they can get away with it and if properly encouraged."
Harry knew where this was headed: straight to Dumbledore. Remus and Sirius were right; Dawlish was so blindly loyal to the Ministry that he believed all the lies and half-truths Fudge had been spouting over the summer. No wonder nothing Harry said or did could convince Dawlish to see what was right in front of him.
Harry grabbed Hermione's hand to stop her.
"Don't bother, Hermione. There's no use now. What is it you want of us, Professor?"
Dawlish eyed Harry carefully.
"You will serve your detention this afternoon, Mr. Potter. And Miss Granger will accompany you."
"Very well. May we go to breakfast now?"
Dawlish waved his hand. Harry and Hermione were in a noiseless reverie all the way to breakfast. Each was in their own thoughts. Harry was thinking about Dumbledore's office and what needed to be done there; Hermione was subtracting all the hours now lost from her planned study time.
In the Great Hall, all the students had finally arrived for breakfast, including Fred and George. Word had obviously spread quickly about Harry and Hermione's run-in with Dawlish this morning. Hermione and Harry ate without answering a single question or comment. Ron finally had to shoo people away for them. Except for the Slytherins, no one was very happy about the situation. Hermione was nearly as well-liked as Harry was popular; punishing them both for such small incidents was repulsive to most of the students and staff.
Hermione made her way to Professor Fletcher's office as soon as breakfast was done. Ron and Harry followed, Harry following just to speak to someone friendly about this latest development. Fletcher's door was open, so Hermione knocked against the doorway.
"Come in. Close the door behind you. So, what can I do for you three this beautiful Saturday morning?"
"Is there a way to send Dawlish packing?"
Fletcher just looked at Hermione for a moment, as if in shock that she would ask a question about so unrealistic a task.
"Send him packing? It's possible, but are you sure you want to be doing that? I mean, he is here to ensure that greater lengths are taken to secure the school."
Harry coughed down his contempt for the thought of Dawlish as protector.
"Okay, it's safe to say that Dawlish isn't well liked, but there are reasons for him to stay here."
"I heard, Professor, that Dawlish's being here means that the Ministry is planning something big here at Hogwarts. Is that true?"
Fletcher sat up in his chair, and his expression grew serious.
"What little bird told you that?"
"Remus told you that? Well, I would have expected such reckless behavior out of Sirius but not Remus."
"Why do you call it reckless for us to be told, Professor?"
"You kids shouldn't be concerned with such matters. Now, don't you have studying to do?"
Hermione put her book bag on the floor and took a seat, while Ron and Harry made themselves more comfortable in their chairs. Fletcher sighed.
"Well, first, what Remus told you is not far wrong. Dawlish is one of the top Aurors at the Ministry, but even with all his power and knowledge, he would be no match for Dumbledore directly. You see, Fudge thinks that Dumbledore is going to lead a coup against him, and with a few choice supporters, Dumbledore could do it easily, if he wished. That's one of the reasons why Fudge is trying so hard to discredit you, Harry, along with Dumbledore."
"You have impressed everyone who has their ear to the ground, even if they don't know all the gory details. And you're not afraid to speak out, a quality Fudge detests and you and Dumbledore have in abundance. Anyhow, Fudge is a bit insecure about his position; he isn't an especially powerful wizard nor is he especially learned. Dumbledore's power and influence has always disturbed him, so he has tried to keep Dumbledore reined in. And in light of the events of last year, Fudge is seeing you as Dumbledore's protégé, another thorn in his side."
"So he sent Dawlish to do what exactly? Control Harry?"
"To be sure that no one allies with Dumbledore against the Ministry. In case you hadn't noticed, some of your fellow students are quite strong. People of Dawlish's power and experience are nice to have on your side in a fight, but Dumbledore would rather have people who understand how to use their heads and fight together on a united front, all differences aside. The students here, with a few exceptions, have the ability to band together in just such a way. Look at the Tournament last year, for example; Cedric Diggory was from Hufflepuff and Harry from Gryffindor, but all of Hogwarts cheered one or both of them on. There were also some friendships made between students here and from the other schools. While Fudge can't speak out against them, these friendships can lead to alliances, should a battle ensue. Fudge has spent much of his time as Minister engaged in policies that have driven many away. Dumbledore has been working to keep the friendships intact and strong; he knows we will all have need of friends and allies in the coming years."
Hermione was the first to figure it out.
"So, there may be a way to help Harry after all: by using their fears against them."
"Keep going, Hermione. You're well on the way. Be warned, though; don't be too friendly with anyone in particular. You three are targets, and so is anyone who appears sympathetic to you."
"Especially professors. As a headmaster, Dawlish has the authority to fire a professor."
"What about you? Does Dawlish suspect anything about you?"
"Of course. Dumbledore asked me to teach, so I am very suspect. As is Professor Figg. But there is a problem with firing us both; he would have to find replacements."
"Everyone thinks that the Defense Against the Dark Arts position is cursed, so he would be hard-pressed to replace you."
"Remember, he is a top-notch Auror; Defense Against the Dark Arts is his specialty. Now, off with you, all of you. Go get ready for your detentions."
Hermione and Harry whipped around in disbelief, but the door was already closed and locked. Hermione checked her watch; it was still early enough to make a trip to the library before going to Dawlish's office.
"Come on. We have work to do."
When Harry and Hermione reached Dawlish's office just before noon, they found Professor Dawlish in the hallway just outside his office, waiting for them.
"You both showed up and not late, either. Come on. Your work area is this way."
Dawlish led them up several flights of stairs, and down a few, until they reached a hallway on the sixth floor, by Harry's reckoning. It was a place that seemed to get few if any visitors and the dust of the years and magical residue of times long ago didn't help add to the desire of staying here too long.
"I want this entire hallway to be spotless. No magic is to be used. There are a few cleaning supplies and tools in the bin at the end of the hall. I'll check back ever so often. And neither leaving nor having your friends help you are allowed; there are measures in place to prevent both."
Hermione looked at the bin of cleaning supplies. They were all Muggle cleaners, not designed for cleaning the residue of magic. Harry and Hermione each picked up a bottle of the most powerful cleaner and a few rags and started to work.
"This is just to discourage others. We're being made examples of," Hermione groaned as she worked.
"I know, Hermione. Trust me; I know. Our names and reputations were reported and he took them at face value. Best thing for now is just to get this done and keep on the lee side of him from now on."
Harry began dusting and scrubbing around one of the few portraits in the hallways. It was covered in a few layers of dust, but, remarkably, it had no residue on it.
"You sure let the dust gather before returning to visit me, James. But thank you anyway."
Harry stopped. Even Hermione, scrubbing her way down the hall, stopped and listened. They were used to talking portraits, though none of the others in this hallway had spoken a word other than a few gripes about the roughness of Harry's scrubbing.
"Why do you look so surprised? Is something wrong?"
"I'm not James."
"Come off it. I know James Potter when he stands..."
The man in the portrait leaned forward and peered more carefully at Harry.
"James had blue eyes. So who are you? His brother?"
Harry was still somewhat surprised. The man sank back into his chair again.
"Forgive me. Your father found me here when he was here at school. He made sure that my portrait was clear of dust and magical residue; in exchange, I told him much about history, spells, and Hogwarts. You know, he and his friends actually tried to make a map of Hogwarts?"
"The Maruaders' Map, you mean?"
"That's it. Clever boys. Only James and Sirius ever came up here, though. I get the feeling that they were like brothers, those two."
"The way Sirius tells it, they were. Sounds like they spent quite a while up here talking to you."
"Heavens, yes. I was a teacher long ago, when Hogwarts was still a fairly new school, so I had some knowledge about me. They wanted to know all about the castle. I think they were looking for something, though they never told me anything of it. At first, they came by only about once a month or so to talk; after I told them how to get through that passage, they came almost every day to talk about more of the castle and their studies. It was nice to have someone to talk to."
"You seem very lonely, so why don't you visit the portraits in the castle?" Hermione asked.
"I must remain here, as I promised to do long ago. I still hear some things, but they come to me slowly. That's why you must forgive me lack of current knowledge. I knew James had left school and I had heard about what had happened. When I saw you, though, I thought they must have been wrong about James."
"It's okay. It's sort of nice to speak to someone who doesn't know all about me already."
"Well, I've heard your name mentioned around the castle, but I didn't connect it to James, you see. Potter can be quite a common name, after all. But of you, it would be hard for even someone like me to not have heard something of you and your deeds."
"That passage you told my dad about, can you tell me about it?"
"Well, according to some rumors, the door is at the end of the hall. It's supposed to lead to the headmaster's study. James and Sirius never confirmed it solidly with me, but I assume it is true."
Harry's face lit up, and Hermione wasn't the only one to notice it.
"James had the same look. You must be on the same search he was on. I'll tell you what I told him. The door is pretending to be a wall, but if you run your finger down the wall behind that vase, the door should open up. On the floor is some sort of marker. I don't know anything else from there."
"Well, there is one thing: you have to have either very old, strong magic you can draw upon or another wizard or witch to help you in order to come back here."
Harry looked instantly to Hermione.
"No. Harry, we're already in detention. Do you really want to make it worse?"
"Come on, Hermione. We've found the way to Dumbledore's office. We can talk to the Sorting Hat and be back before Dawlish suspects a thing. It wouldn't take long at all."
"No, Harry. Absolutely not. Everyone, even you, have said to stay out of trouble with Dawlish, especially from here on in. Will you not listen to them? To your own words?"
Harry stopped. He had said those words before he knew how close he was to getting into Dumbledore's office without notice. It was just down the hall.
"I know what I said, Hermione. But I have to find some way into Dumbledore's office, which will cause enough trouble. Why not do it now? We are already here, so there is no funny questions we have to answer about that. And I'm pretty sure neither Dumbledore nor Dawlish know anything about this. The risk is as low as it's ever going to be."
Hermione hated to admit it, even in thought, but Harry's reasoning could not be refuted. She walked to the end of the hallway.
"Well, let's just do this and get it over with."
Harry smiled. He ran his finger along the wall behind the vase and the wall creaked open. They both walked inside the dark room. Hermione wasn't sure she wanted to close the door, but if Dawlish came back, he would certainly notice an open bit of wall. She shut the door quietly. As soon as the door was closed, the torches around the room lit and the lion statue in the corner moved towards them. He walked up to Hermione, sniffed her hand, then did the same for Harry. He moved behind Harry and nudged him towards the opoosite wall. There, carved into the stone and not more than a couple of square inches in size, was the Hogwarts seal. Curious, Harry began to run his finger across it. When his finger reached the shield in the middle, the floor beneath him vanished. Unprepared, he fell to the floor of the office below.
Harry had been to Dumbledore's office many times, so it was with a certain familiarity that Fawkes and the portraits greeted him. He looked around for Dumbledore, but the headmaster was apparently out. Harry quickly sighted the Sorting Hat and raced to speak with it.
"Reconsidering your move to stay out of Slytherin, Potter?"
"Not in the least. I need to ask something of you. Do you know anything about any other secret rooms in Hogwarts besides the Chamber of Secrets?"
"All the Founders had secret rooms, but Ravenclaw's was closed by her own hand. Hufflepuff's daughter closed hers, on her mother's orders."
"And I have already been to Slytherin's, so I need information about Gryffindor's."
"But I have none to give."
Harry sighed. He figured if he asked the Sorting Hat about the rooms, he would get a response. He pulled the poem out of his pocket, where it always stayed. Harry whispered it quietly to himself, trying to see if he and Hermione had made some sort of error, but there was none to be found.
"What is that you are murmuring? Speak up!"
Harry read the poem to the Sorting Hat. After all, what could it hurt? He thought. At the end, the Sorting Hat laughed.
"Why didn't you say so earlier? Listen carefully:
Your knowledge is solid, that I can tell
But be you my Heir, my descendent as well?
So I send you on another hunt
And your past you must confront
When you are so very close to base
Find within you the family face
Adult, then child, then down on all fours
The next hint shall then be entirely yours
Does this mean anything to you?"
"Not yet, but it will with some work. Thank you."
"Only doing what was asked of me."
Harry went back to where he fell.
"Hermione. Hermione, I got it. Hermione?"
"Harry, I can hear you, but I don't know how to get you back up here. And you need to hurry. I think Dawlish is coming."
Harry looked all about the roof and the floor and around the office, but nothing seemed to be a way to return to the room above.
"Looking for something, Harry?"
Harry wheeled around, afraid Dawlish may have discovered him after all. It was Dumbledore. Harry breathed a sigh of relief.
"Nothing, Professor. I just fell in here from the room above. I was trying to return."
"To finish your detention or to tell Miss Granger of your discovery?"
Harry smiled guiltily.
"Fawkes, can you reopen the doorway Harry passed through earlier?"
The phoenix gently winged his way to the roof and tapped the ceiling with his beak. The ceiling disappeared and the room above came into view. Harry stepped under the opening and was rushed back into the room. The floor of the room returned and Harry sat for a moment to write down the poem the Sorting Hat had given him. Hermione watched for a moment. Then they both heard a voice in the hallway outside.
Hermione and Harry rushed out of the room. Dawlish was only a few paces away.
"Caught trying to escape."
"Professor, we were told by the portrait down there that there was a secret room behind the door acting like a wall. We didn't believe it, so we did like the portrait said and ran our finger down the wall behind the vase and found ourselves in a dark room. The door shut up behind us and we have been working to get out ever since."
"A likely story. Very likely. And how, Mr. Potter, is it that you came to be released just as I return?"
"We finally got the right spell, I guess."
Harry looked at Hermione, and she at Harry.
"We're not sure. We were running through them so fast, trying to get something to work, it's hard to tell what finally did it," Hermione said.
"You two have work to do anyways. Best to get to it."
They returned to their rags and began to scrub and polish again.
"He's a bit of a grouch, isn't he? Is he a professor here?" wheezed the portrait of the teacher.
"Oh, dear. I'm terribly sorry that you kids got such an awful one."
The old teacher taught them much as they worked. Harry and Hermione agreed that the company, and the lessons, were very welcome. When the hall was as clean as they could get it, Dawlish sent them on to dinner, their minds swirling with new information and plots on how to use it.