On the Other Side
Just a week into his third year, Harry comes up with a rather reckless plan involving the Slytherins. Its consequences change the course of this school year more than he could ever have suspected...
No, I do not own Harry Potter and I do not get any money for posting this story.
In spite of her busy life kbinnz has agreed to beta my story, I really appreciate that! Thank you for all your help!
Author notes and warnings:
This is an AU story. It starts after the first week of Harry's third year has passed.
There will be some (inter-student) violence in this story and some corporal punishment later on. However, neither of these are the main focus of the story.
And now, enjoy!
'They've seen him! Not far from here!'
Harry swallowed his mouthful of porridge and looked up at the source of the yell. Seamus, instead of eating breakfast, was staring at a copy of the Daily Prophet.
'Who has seen whom?' Harry asked irritatedly.
'Sirius Black!' said Seamus excitedly, skimming through the article. 'And here they say: "The Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, assured the public yesterday that the Ministry takes the security of the wizarding population very seriously, especially that of underage wizards. That is why extraordinary steps have been taken to protect Hogwarts. However, the Minister did not directly address the question of whether Hogwarts is suspected to be Black's desired target, and, should that be the case, for what reasons the mass murderer would want to go there." '
Seamus lowered the newspaper. 'Well, if you ask me, placing Azkaban's dementors around the school means they must be pretty sure Black's on his way here, but I really wonder what he's after?'
Harry, Ron and Hermione exchanged glances. They knew only too well what Black was after. The concerned faces of his two best friends made Harry swallow. A few days had passed since their first Divination lesson and Professor Trelawney's prediction of his death, and he had successfully managed not to think about it too much. Now, however, he couldn't banish the thought any longer. The Grim, he thought, and shuddered.
Seamus wasn't the only student in possession of a newspaper, and the news that Black had been sighted spread quickly. All over the Great Hall sudents excitedly debated Black's possible whereabouts and objectives. It was more than Harry could stand at the moment. He shoved his almost finished plate to the side. 'Not hungry anymore,' he muttered and got up. Ron and Hermione hesitated only a second before they followed him. They had barely left the Great Hall, when they heard a familiar voice behind them.
Harry spun around. As he had expected, there was Draco Malfoy, flanked as usual by Crabbe and Goyle. 'What?' Harry asked.
'So, Potty,' Malfoy drawled, 'what's your plan? Going to try to find Black yourself?'
'What are you on about?' Hermione asked sharply. 'Of course not. Harry's not stupid!'
Draco sneered at her. 'Don't talk about things you don't know anything about, Granger ... such as honour. Well, I suppose, you cant't really be blamed, it's just a fact that ... Muggles ...' he grimaced as if there was a bad smell in the air 'lack the necessary pride to understand what a man needs to do.'
For once, Hermione was at a loss of what to say and just stared at Malfy, confused. The blond boy went on.
'So what about you, Potty? Do you have any pride left in spite of being raised by Muggles? Or are you too scared? I only know, if it was me, I wouldn't hesitate, I'd want revenge!'
'What are you talking about, Malfoy?' Harry asked sharply.
Draco made no effort whatsoever to hide his glee. 'You don't know, Potter? You, of all people, don't know? Nobody bothers to tell you things that concern you, do they?'
'Shut up, Malfoy!' said Ron fiercely.
'And you, Weasel?'asked Draco mockingly. 'You're kept just as ignorant as Potter. Daddy doesn't trust you with any adult subjects? Or doesn't he know himself? I wouldn't be surprised, probably every first year Slytherin learns more secrets in our common room than your father is trusted with, given the nobody he is at the ministry!'
Harry and Hermione reacted too late. Before they could hold him back, Ron's fist shot towards Draco's face. Draco's reflexes, however, were excellent, and he quickly jumped to the side so that Ron's punch missed him.
The cold, quiet voice froze Ron, who was just preparing to have a second go at Malfoy, as well as Harry and Hermione, who had been about to draw their wands..Snape, who had just come around the corner, quickly walked over to where they all stood.
'Ten points from Gryffindor, Mr Weasley, and you should thank Mr Malfoy for his reflexes. Had you not missed him, it would have been twenty and a detention.'
'He was provoked, Professor,' Hermione protested.
'Was he really, Miss Granger', Snape said uninterestedly. 'Your quarrels are your affair, however, your fights are mine. Now go, before I dock any more points!'
They hastened to obey.
Harry found it hard to concentrate during the lessons thar morning. Not only did the news about Sirius Black unsettle him, he had to admit to himself that Draco's words had struck a nerve. Nobody bothers to tell you things that concern you, Draco had said. Yes, it had been in order to rile him up, Harry knew that, but that didn't make it less hurtful, because there was a lot of truth in those words. Yes, Mr Weasley had told him that Black was after him, but he had also told Harry that he wasn't supposed to tell him. Just great, Harry thought bitterly, obviously I am old enough to be the target of a mass murderer, but the ministry, Dumbledore and McGonagall obviously think I'm not old enough to know it.
Ron's mood wasn't one bit better. Harry was sure that his friend was still brooding about the insult Malfoy had thrown at him about his dad. I wouldn't be surprised, probably every first year Slytherin learns more secrets while in our common room than your father is trusted with, given the nobody he is at the ministry! Try as he might, Malfoy's words wouldn't leave Harry's head and he was sure that it was the same for Ron. A plan began to form in his mind...
'You know what, Ron', he said during the afternoon, while they were sitting together trying to fight their way through the pile of homework that they had.
'What?' Ron asked, not annoyed in the least about being interrupted while struggling with his essay.
'You know that git Malfoy, I really want to know what it is that he knows. So I thought, I might sneak into his common room again and listen.'
'What, you want to use Polyjuice again? But it takes a month to brew and honestly, we were lucky we weren't caught last time when we were transforming back, and that was during Christmas break when the Common Room was almost empty!'
'No,' said Harry, 'I don't want to use Polyjuice. I thought I would just use my Cloak and slip in. I mean, this time I don't want to ask a specific question, I just want to listen to the conversations generally. With the article in the Daily Prophet today, they're bound to be talking about Black.'
'Yes, that could work,' said Ron thoughtfully. 'Hey, why can't I come with you?'
Harry hesitated. 'I wish you could, but it would make it a lot harder not to be caught. You see, the room is going to be full and I'll probably need to quickly jump to one side or the other in order not to collide with anybody. We couldn't do that with the two of us under the cloak.'
Ron nodded reluctantly. 'Yeah, you're probably right. Well then, make sure you get to hear everything they talk about! Maybe you'll even overhear something we can use against Malfoy!'
Hermione interrupted him. 'You boys cannot be serious!'
'Why not?' Ron and Harry asked together.
'You can't do this! First of all, Harry's right, the room is going to be full! He is bound to get caught! And even if he's not, it's just not right, listening secretly to other people's conversations!'
'Ah, come on Hermione, it's only Malfoy and his thugs,' argued Ron. 'And you have to admit, he practically invited us with what he said today. Don't you want to know as well what it is that Harry should know about Black? I mean, he's got a right to know!'
'Oh come on, Ron, Malfoy probably doesn't know anything, he just wanted to rile you up, both of you. You know what he's like. And even if he does know something, doing what you're planning, Harry, is just wrong!'
'Oho!' said Ron. 'Who was it last year who had the idea of disguising ourselves as Crabbe, Goyle and Bulstrode and trying to find out things in the Slytherin common room?'
Hermione blushed, but insisted, 'That was different! We were all threatened by the heir of Slytherin, and Harry was suspected, but this time you are just curious!'
'Harry is also threatened, by Sirius Black this time.' Ron wasn't convinced in the least by Hermione's arguments. 'So, mate, when will you do it?'
Harry shrugged. 'Right after dinner today, I'd say. I think the biggest trouble will be getting through the entrance undetected.'
'Maybe I can come with you down there,' Ron offered. 'I could start quarrelling with a few of them and cause a diversion so you can get in.'
Annoyed, Hermione noisily shut her book. 'Well, you boys just go on and do what you think you should do. But when you are caught, Harry, don't come to me to complain about the number of detentions you'll have to serve with Professor Snape.' With these words she left rather huffily.
Harry and Ron looked at one another. 'Well, I suppose I really shouldn't get caught', Harry said slowly.
'You won't', said Ron bracingly. 'Remember, with your cloak we've been in quite a few tight spots already, and it always went well, didn't it?'
'Yes, I suppose. The good thing is that nobody knows I've got it, so they can't suspect anything.'
The boys were so pleased and excited with their plan, that it was with a certain reluctance that they finished their homework. Hermione was so annoyed with them that she didn't talk to them all afternoon and throughout dinner.
'You know,' said Ron, when, after dinner they were hurrying upstairs to get Harry's Invisibility Cloak, 'she acts like she's our mum or something.'
Harry silently agreed. He hid the cloak under his robe and they both hurried down the stairs and out of the common room, heading towards the dungeons. On their way they walked into a deserted corridor, where after a careful glance around to check if they were really alone, Harry made himself invisible.
'Okay', Harry said. 'Let's go. You better go first and I'll be right behind you, so nobody will bump into me when I turn a corner.'
Ron nodded and without any incident they made it to the aisle where they knew from the previous year the Slytherin Common Room was located. Carefully they peered around the corner at the place were they knew the stone door was concealed.
'Any idea what the current password is?' muttered Ron.
'Okay,' said Ron with a determined expression. 'This is what we will do. You go over there and stand in that alcove next to the door, and I'll stay a few steps away from the door and start a discussion with somebody. Hopefully they will leave the door open long enogh for you to pass through.'
'Good thinking', whispered Harry. 'Thanks, Ron, I'll go there now.' He quickly went past the entrance to the Slytherin Common room and pressed himself into the small alcove Ron had indicated. He swallowed. His heart was hammering, but he wasn't exactly frightened. Nervous, yes, but the excitement about his adventurous scheme was not a bad feeling at all.
Ron approached the door and looked around. Quick footsteps could be heard and two small boys, presumably first years, entered the corridor from the same direction that Harry and Ron had come. They shot Ron a curious look when they went past him but didn't say anything to him. The smaller of the two took care to speak the passsword in a low voice to make sure Ron couldn't hear it. Harry was much closer to them, but to his disappointment, he didn't understand it either. He could just make out that it was a rather long Latin word.
Ron's timing was perfect. He waited until the door had slid open, but before either of the two had stepped in. 'Oy!' he called out.
Both turned around. 'What?' the smaller one asked.
'Would you two do me a favour?' asked Ron. They both exchanged a surprised glance, but Harry had no time now to follow their conversation. Trying not to cause the slightest noise, he carefully went to the open door and just wanted to step through when the taller of the two Slytherins stepped forward. Hastily Harry avoided him and hurried into the common room, pressing himself against the wall instantly and slowly sneaking sideways.
The first year student called loudly from the door, 'Malfoy? You're wanted out here by somebody. I think it's a Weasley!'
There was a sudden silence in the common room, when almost everybody looked at Malfoy. Draco, feeling so many eyes upon him, got up with a well practiced nonchalance and walked to the entrance. Harry held his breath, wondering what Ron intended to say to Malfoy and why his friend didn't just leave until it struck him that of course Ron couldn't see him either. Therefore Ron couldn't be sure if Harry had already been able to enter and he was trying to give Harry as much time as possible.
'What do you want, Weasley?' asked Malfoy coolly. The other Slytherins hadn't left their seats, but they listened intently in order not to miss a word.
'I just wanted to suggest you look into a mirror, Malfoy,' Harry heard Ron's voice clearly carry through the open door.
'And why should I do that, Weasley?' Malfoy asked slowly.
'Oh, I thought that maybe before going to sleep you might want to see the world's greatest git.' Then there was just the sound of somebody running away. Harry almost laughed out loud. Yes, Ron had indeed been brilliant. To his utter surprise he could see several of the Slytherins grinning, too,. The two first years that had opened him the door were positively giggling. Malfoy shot them an icy glare.
'Very funny', he said trying to appear as if he didn't care at all and, strutting back to the sofa he had vacated earlier he added, 'must be the Weasley type of humour, well, what do you expect from a bunch of uncouth idiots?'
Harry wanted to punch the prat, but right now he had more pressing matters. The common room door was closing and the two first years were heading towards him. If he didn't want to get caught, he'd better find a safe place soon where nobody was likely to walk into him. And then he could start what he had come for.