A/N: I am sorry about the long wait for this chapter, and I would like to explain my reasons.
First and foremost, I have been working on my first novel like crazy. My novel takes priority over fan fiction, since it will be more rewarding in the long run, and I should be writing while I have the inspiration.
I hit a major roadblock with this story. I simply could not figure out where to go next. I have the ending planned, but I've always had trouble with the middle of stories, how to get from point A to point B. I have also, unfortunately rather lost some motivation with this story. It sometimes feels like a chore to be writing it. Fan fiction would be about complete enjoyment; at least that's how I look at it.
I'm not saying I've given up on this, but don't surprised if I go months without updating, or if I eventually stop writing for this all together. I'm going to try to get through this, but I make no promises.
Disclaimer: I do own Harry Potter or W.i.t.c.h.
Breaking at the Seams
It was obvious to everybody immediately that something had happened between Malfoy and Elyon, by the way they shot poisonous glares at each other when they passed in the halls, and especially because Elyon no longer called him by his first name. He was Malfoy once again. They never spoke to each other, but the unspoken hatred was loud enough on it's own. Yet Elyon would not tell them what happened, not even Cornelia.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione's relationship with Hagrid was, if possible, deteriorating even more rapidly. The three avoided him if at all possible. They had no doubt that if he could, Hagrid would follow them around the castle constantly to make sure they didn't do anything. As it was, they only had to deal with his stern stares during Care of Magical Creatures and meals in the Great Hall. While Hermione couldn't bring herself to, Harry and Ron would stare challengingly back.
"We'll get in trouble." Hermione hissed at them one day as they walked back to the castle from Hagrid's class.
"We can't get in trouble for staring at him Hermione." Ron muttered, kicking at a stone on the ground.
"He doesn't trust us Hermione." Ron replied as justification.
"And for good reason." Hermione growled, rolling her eyes.
"We can't just give up on this Hermione. You said yourself; Lavender and Pavarti could've been killed by what happened to them. Whatever is going on, it obviously isn't under control." Harry said.
"I know that." Hermione replied, sounding exasperated. "The only reason they survived is because they must actually have a strong gift in divination, but it obviously was a strain on them. They still are rather weak. Have you noticed how pale Lavender is?"
"I thought you hated divination. How come you know that?" Ron asked.
"Just because I hate something doesn't mean I shouldn't learn about it. It could prove to be useful." Hermione said with a dismissive shrug. "As I keep saying, I just don't like this. If this keeps up, we may even make an enemy of Hagrid."
"We've made a lot of enemies over the years." Ron pointed out.
"Yes, but never of someone who was our friend. And Hagrid's been a good friend for almost seven years now."
"Some friendships don't last forever Hermione." Harry said grimly.
They had another meeting to discuss their next move a few days later. They met in the Room of Requirement, deciding that it was beginning to be risky to meet on the grounds. For their meeting, the room was very much like one of the school common rooms, and they all lounged on the couches.
"All right, any ideas?" Hermione said to begin the meeting.
"It seems like we've done everything we can. Unless we actually go up into the tower, I think we've run out of options." Cornelia replied, being the only one standing in the room, with her arms folded. "And I don't think that's a good idea."
"For now, that's probably true. We're probably being watched. If Hagrid's noticed, he's probably said something to Dumbledore." Will agreed, leaning against Harry on one of the loveseats.
"So we just keep watching and waiting? That's just like doing nothing." Ron grumbled.
"Maybe nothing is exactly what we should be doing." Cornelia said.
"What?" Will asked, straightening up and looking at Cornelia with confused eyes.
"I mean that one incident happened. No one died, everything's back to normal. I'm sure the teachers have it under control now, and with the ministry here-"
"Cornelia, what are you saying? Hermione said that Lavender and Pavarti could have died-" Irma started.
"But they didn't. And after something like that happened, the teachers have probably increased their efforts to keep whatever's going on under control. It's their business, not ours. It's not our job to get involved in everything." Cornelia interrupted stubbornly.
"Cornelia, our job is to protect earth as well as the Veil and Metamoor." Will said in a tone of authority.
"But they've got measures in place here. We don't even know if Voldemort is involved. Nobody's heard anything about him since the end of the last school year."
"Which is exactly why we should be worried. If he's laying low, not letting himself be known, he's plotting something, something big, and when he does come out of hiding it might be too much to handle." Harry argued.
"Again, we don't even know that he's involved."
"He knows a lot more than you would think. Every time something strange happens, every time there's some secret being kept, he finds out about it, no matter how hard the ministry tries to keep it hushed up. He's got spies everywhere, not to mention he's got a vast knowledge of the dark arts-" Harry shot back.
"He's cocky, over confident. That means he's more likely to make mistakes."
"Cornelia, there could be a threat here." Taranee said. "Some students were already harmed, if it happens again-"
"There's no evidence to suggest it'll happen again! We don't even really know what happened! We don't know that what happened on Halloween is connected to the divination tower!"
"It was Trelawney who possessed Lavender and Pavarti! She teaches divination! She lives in the tower. She's been gone all year. The tower is off limits. How can they not be connected!" Hermione exclaimed.
Cornelia was silent, eyeing them all with a deep frown on her face. "Fine. You do what you want. I'm sick of getting involved it everything. I'm here to learn, not to be a policewoman. It's more than likely taken care of. From this point on, I'm not involved. Anyone else with me?"
A long silence met her question.
"Fine then." She turned and headed for the door.
"Wait, Cornelia," Will said, standing. "If something is going on, and we do need you, will you help then? Will you preform your duties?"
Cornelia paused, and turned to face Will, the frown still on her face. "You know I will. If you need me." And with that, she left the room.
A silence fell for a moment, before Ron broke it.
"So, what have we accomplished by all this? We just lost one of our "team", Hagrid's doesn't trust us anymore, Malfoy's our enemy again, Dumbledore probably knows about the sneaking around we've been doing, and Elyon is pretty much comatose over there."
All heads in the room turned towards Elyon, who was sitting in a chair in the corner of the room, a frown on her face, looking like she had not been paying attention at all.
"If Dumbledore knows we've been sneaking around, why hasn't he stopped us?" Will said slowly.
Now all heads turned to her.
"Well, I mean, if he knows, shouldn't he have stopped us? Kept us from investigating any further? Spoken to us? Something?"
"Maybe…" Hermione said quietly. "Maybe he wants us to keep investigating. Maybe he wants us to find out what's going on. Wouldn't it make sense? He knows we've been a great help in the past."
"I'll speak to him." Harry replied firmly. "I'll find out."
"But if he doesn't know about what we're doing, and you tell him-" Hay Lin started nervously.
"We already came to the conclusion we're basically out of options unless something happens. And we don't want something else to happen. I think talking to Dumbledore is our only choice at this point." Harry explained, biting his lip momentarily.
After a moment of deep silence, everyone agreed.
The next day was a Hogsmeade trip, and it was unanimously agreed it was the best time for Harry to see Dumbledore. There wasn't really much of a plan, except for Harry to wait outside the stone gargoyle in front of his office, under the invisibility cloak, for an opportunity to enter the office. Will would stay behind as well, so that if Hargrid noticed that Harry was missing from the company of Ron and Hermione in the village (and they he would), they could explain he had stayed behind with Will.
Harry waited about an hour after the other students had departed before he ventured out. Will gave him a kiss for good luck; he slipped the cloak on, and left the common room to make his way to Dumbledore's office.
Luckily the trip there was uneventful, he only had to tiptoe around a grumbling Filch and change course when he saw Professor Flitwick coming up the hallway he had been about to go down. Once outside the office, he stood outside, and waited quietly. He didn't know how long he would have to wait, or even if he would be able to get in at all.
However, after a few short minutes, the gargoyle leapt aside, revealing the spiral staircase behind it. Nobody had come to go inside, and nobody was coming down the stairs. This made Harry cautious, but, in the end, he decided to go inside.
He walked softly up the stairs, and stopped outside the door to Dumbledore's office, waiting. What for, he wasn't sure.
But the door opened on its own, and Dumbledore's voice floated from inside. "Come in Harry, I've been waiting for you."
Harry stepped inside, taking off the cloak. He really should have known he wouldn't have been able to sneak inside, not with Dumbledore involved.
Dumbledore was sitting behind his desk, smiling pleasantly. "You really didn't have to do that Harry. I would have let you in if you'd simply asked."
"Hermione was right. You know about everything." Harry observed simply.
"Oh yes, and you've been doing a marvelous job as detectives, as you usually do."
"So… is it that you want us to find out what's going on? If that's the case, why haven't you just told us what's going on?" Harry asked.
Dumbledore stood, going over to pet Fawkes. "Well, I'm afraid I am a teacher at heart. I wanted you to try it yourself, you wouldn't learn if I gave you all the answers."
Harry gave a lopsided smile, unable to deny that Dumbledore's answer made sense and was true. "But then you must not think the situation isn't that urgent."
"It isn't as of yet." Dumbledore answered. "But since you already know so much, I think it's time I let you in on the secret."
"So it is the Piece of Heaven then."
Dumbledore turned to Harry and nodded. "There is another reason I did not tell you."
Harry waited patiently.
"I do not want the ministry to know that you have been involved, although Kingsley and Nymphadora suspect what you've been doing. They have not reported it to the ministry. It was most fortunate that Cornelius sent them to keep watch here. If the ministry knew that students have gotten actively involved in this matter, they would likely take disciplinary action against myself and you." Dumbledore explained. "I do need eyes outside of ministry control watching."
"So, do you think Voldemort will get involved somehow?"
Dumbledore paused a moment, and then nodded. "I think he will."
"Why will he want this?"
Dumbledore gestured to the seat in front of his desk, and Harry moved to sit in it without question. "The Piece of Heaven, as I'm sure you already know, brings out the true nature of a person, but that is not all it does. It enhances the person's greatest strengths."
Harry felt a shiver go down his spine as his eyes widened. "So that would mean, if Voldemort gets a hold of it, his powers would be even more dangerous than they already are."
Dumbledore nodded grimly. "It does work both ways, however. It also amplifies a person's greatest weakness. Both an advantage, and a disadvantage for whoever holds it."
"Why is it being kept in the divination tower? Shouldn't it be locked in the Department of Mysteries, or somewhere in the ministry?" Harry asked.
"It was being kept there, but after the infiltration of the ministry two years ago," Dumbledore gave Harry a look that had a hint of pride and amusement to it. "It was decided that it was no longer safe to keep it there. It has been moved from place to place. Finally, it was decided that it should come to Hogwarts, one of the last safe havens from Voldemort. And as the Piece of Heaven is an object of the divine, it was placed in the divination tower, the place in the school where the divine is hardest at work."
Dumbledore gave a great sigh. "She is keeping watch over it, in the tower. However, it has been a great strain on her, being in contact with it for so long. It has increased her powers greatly, and she has seen, I believe, what will happen to the Piece in the future. That is why she possessed Miss Brown and Miss Patil on Halloween. To warn us of what is coming."
"But she could have killed them."
Dumbledore sighed again. "Her mind is slipping because of her exposure to the Piece. I fear that when this is over, that she will either be insane, or she will die. She knew the risks, she chose to accept them, even though I was thoroughly against it."
Harry glanced downwards. He'd never really liked Trelawney, but he'd never disliked her either. The fate of insanity or death wasn't one he would wish upon her. She had never really been that bad.
"I have a question for you Harry."
Harry looked up to meet Dumbledore's blue eyes. "Yes sir?"
"All information pertaining to the Piece was removed from Hogwarts. I'm curious, how did you figure out what it was?"
Harry's breath caught in his throat a moment. "Sirius. Sirius told us."
Dumbledore's expression grew stern. "I think you had better explain, Harry."
Harry returned to the common room, under the cloak, in a rush, intend on telling the others about their new mission, about everything he had just learned.
When he arrived, he found Will was still the only one in the common room, sitting in front of the fire, turning it different colors with a wave of her wand, clearly bored. She was on her feet quickly however. "What happened? What did Dumbledore say?"
"We've got a mission Will. Hermione was right, Dumbledore does want us involved. And, he told me everything."
Will's lips twitched upward in a small smile. "Mission. That's actually become one of my favorite words."
A/N: Written while listening to The Avengers soundtrack. I have been completely out of my mind obsessed with The Avengers since I first saw it last month. Not to mention the three other times since. And I'm still not bored with it.
I will try to have the next chapter up sooner than I had this one up. I don't think I can make any promises, but I will try. I would like to thank you all for your patience, for sticking with me through this, and some of you for occasionally reminding me that this story actually exists.