Small Prayer

Written by Chibikan

Summary: The sequel to "Held". Lessons officially begin for Harry and all the rest of the students who were removed from Hogwarts. School also begins for those students who have remained in Hogwarts. And Tom tells the wizarding world the truth about Dumbledore. Will they believe him? Will they take the word of the Boy-Who-Lived? Will Dumbledore finally get what's getting to him? And will you read and review? I don't know, let's find out, shall we?

Chapter 1: In Which Harry and the Others Begin Lessons

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
- "Desiderata"; Max Ehrmann; 1952

The sun rose upon the small town of Little Hangleton. The light streamed in through the windows of the large manor on the outskirts, waking the occupants on the beautiful Indian Summer morning. In one room however, two young boys struggled NOT to get up.

"Harry, dear." hissed a rather large snake. "Time to wake up, you've got lessons today."

Harry moaned. "Uhhhh, just a few more minutes, Nagi…"

Nagini used the tip of her snout to prod Harry. "Come on now, dear. Your father is waiting, and your friend needs waking. I'm afraid you're the only one who can wake him, he's too frightened of me."

Harry finally opened his eyes and sat up, yawning. "Sorry, Nagi, we'll be there in a few minutes."

As promised, Harry and Ron (with his hair still a mess as Harry didn't give him a chance to brush it) arrived in the sitting room. Several teens were already there. Theodore Nott, Pansy Parkinson, Blaise Zabini, Draco Malfoy (glaring at Ron and vice-versa), Gregory Crabbe, Vincent Goyle, Ginny Weasley (as Arthur refused to let Dumbledore use their family any longer and after hearing what really occurred from Lupin and Snape, decided that he would trust Voldemort to teach his daughter) and the twins, and of course Hermione were among them.

"You're late boys." came the silky-smooth voice of Tom Riddle.

Harry nodded. "Sorry, sir." Although he knew that Tom was his father, and that James Potter had been nothing but an errant asshole to his mother, he couldn't bring himself to consider either of them such. For as long as he had been alive he had thought James was a man of dignity and had loved him as a son loves his father, no one would be able to take his place so soon. "It won't happen again." He and Ron sat down.

Tom stood up. "I'm sure there is no need to introduce myself, but for manners-sake, I shall. I am to most of you, Lord Voldemort." He clearly saw several students. So even they bought a lot of Dumbledore's lies, if they too feared his name. "But for the duration of our time during lessons, you shall refer to me as Tom. It's much easier to say." He added, hoping to lighten the atmosphere, he was quickly learning that the way to teach was not through intimidation. The students had to be relaxed around him, as Lupin had put it, in order for anything to sink in. "The lesson we're going to discuss for the next two hours will cover advanced transfiguration. I trust you each have a copy of Transfiguration for Dummies which I instructed all of you to purchase, along with the other books on your list." Each student held up his or her copy. "Good, now, turn to page 21 Unit One, Chapter 1, Section 1."

Meanwhile:

Dumbledore had actually been surprised at the feast the last night. All but a small handful of Slytherin students had been absent. Of course, after only a few moments deliberation he had figured out why. Voldemort, of course, must have told his Death Eaters to remove their children from the school. He also noted that the two Weasley children had not been at their table, neither had Hermione Granger. This could turn into a problem. He needed to do something, but none of his attempts so far had succeeded. He would need to enlist some help from someone, someone who might to destroy the boy, someone with enough to do it quickly before anyone could stop him. He then had an idea. He slipped out from his office and went down to Hagrid's hut.

Two hours later found the students out in the gardens of the elaborate mansion. They were having an hour break, before their animagus training began (taught by Peter Pettigrew, as he was an animagus).

"Well, I must say, he is a very good teacher." Hermione stated, as she had all summer after their tutoring sessions on the ranch. "I learned so much from him."

"That's not surprising Granger." Pansy stated, shocked to find that Hermione made very good company. At least she was intelligent, unlike Crabbe and Goyle who sadly had not inherited the brains of their fathers.

"Harry, you need to eat something." Ron prodded. "We didn't even eat breakfast."

Harry nodded, although he didn't really feel like eating. He hadn't felt like eating a lot since the day he was released from the hospital after the incident with the bull. He looked up, intending to find something to change the subject about. And he found it. "Hey, look, it's Hagrid!" He stood up with grin, although not stopping to think how Hagrid had gotten there. Harry ran over to the half-giant, followed by the others. "Hey, Hag….." He stopped as he noticed the empty look in Hagrid's eyes. They were glazed over, he knew that look…

AN: Well there you have it, chapter 1 of the sequel to Held. I hope you enjoy it, and please read and review. I like reviews, seeing your comments makes me feel good.