Chapter 72
No Title

Author's Note: Because the timeline is different in my story, thanks to the correction of the calendar, the start of classes begins on a Friday, and not Monday like in the book. Hopefully this clears any confusion. Also, unlike the previous years in this story, the class schedule this year follows the book almost accurately, with small changes.

Also because of chronological order, Sirius' discussion with Augusta Longbottom won't be in this chapter, and Moody's first class won't be for a chapter or two.


Friday, September 2nd, 1994

(Harry)

The storm had blown itself out by the following morning, though the ceiling in the Great Hall was still gloomy; heavy clouds of pewter gray swirled overhead as Harry and his friends made their way down to the Great Hall the following morning. Professor McGonagall was walking along the tables passing out class schedules. Soon, she made her way over to Harry's portion of the Gryffindor table and handed them their schedules.

"Fourth years," Professor McGonagall said, "It is my duty to inform you that today's History of Magic class will be instructed by Professor Dumbledore."

"What's wrong with Professor Binns?" Harry asked.

"Yeah," Ron asked, "Since when do ghosts take sick-days?"

"Professor Binns is currently on a teacher's strike," Professor McGonagall said, "If things do not change, every History of Magic class after today may be canceled."

Harry, Ginny and Ron grinned at each other, while Hermione looked sullen.

"However," Professor McGonagall said, "That does not mean you won't have any work to do. If cancellation is in order, all assignments will be given to you in packets over the next two terms. It will be expected that you treat the scheduled time as a study break and not free time."

Ron groaned silently. Hermione smiled then raised her hand. Professor McGonagall raised her eyebrows and nodded toward Hermione.

"Professor," Hermione said, "Do you know what is going on with Professor Binns?"

"I'm afraid I do not, Miss Granger," McGonagall said.

The Head of Gryffindor moved on before anyone else could ask questions.

"This is certainly very odd," Ginny said.

"Yeah," Harry said, "Professor Binns is highly dedicated to his work. So dedicated that he kept on teaching after he died."

"Maybe he was exorcised," Luna said. "Like Sir Nick talked about."

"But Luna," Hermione said, "Wouldn't it be common knowledge if Professor Binns was suddenly exorcised? I mean, no one would see him. It might cause panic, especially amongst the staff."

"Unless it isn't common knowledge," Harry said. "Maybe Professor Dumbledore did exorcise him, and he is keeping it a secret."

"He wouldn't do that!" Hermione said.

"Nick was sure afraid that he would," Ron said.

Hermione frowned and said nothing else; instead she looked at her class schedule. Harry glanced at his as well.

Monday:
8AM – 9:30 – Herbology – Professor Sprout (Gryffindor/Hufflepuff)
10AM – 11:30AM – Care of Magical Creatures – Professor Hagrid (Gryffindor/Slytherin)
11:30AM – 1:00PM – Lunch/Free Time
1:00PM – 4:00PM – Double Arithmancy – Professor Vector (Mixed)

Tuesday:
8AM – 9:30AM – History of Magic – Professor Binns (Gryffindor/Slytherin)
10AM – 11:30AM – Transfiguration – Professor McGonagall (Gryffindor/Ravenclaw)
11:30AM – 1:00 PM – Lunch/Free Time
1:00 – 4:00PM – Double Potions (Professor Snape – Gryffindor/Slytherin)

Wednesday:
8AM – 11:00 AM – Double Charms – Professor Flitwick (Gryffindor/Hufflepuff)
11:AM – 1:00 PM – Lunch/Free Time
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM – Ancient Runes – Professor Babbling (Mixed)
11:00 PM – 12:30 AM – Astronomy – Professor Sinistra – (Gryffindor/Ravenclaw)

Thursday:
9AM – 11:30 AM – Double Transfiguration – Professor McGonagall (Gryffindor/Ravenclaw)
11:30AM – 1:00 PM – Lunch/Free Time
1:00 – 4:00PM – Double Defense (Professor Moody – Gryffindor/Slytherin)

Friday:
8AM – 9:30AM – History of Magic – Professor Binns (Gryffindor/Slytherin)
10AM – 11:30AM – Charms – Professor Flitwick (Gryffindor/Hufflepuff)
11:30AM – 1:00 PM – Lunch/Free Time
1:00 – 4:00PM – Double Potions (Professor Snape – Gryffindor/Slytherin)

"Ugh," Ron said, as he looked through his schedule. "Double Potions this afternoon, and with the Slytherins. Why couldn't Dumbledore exorcise Snape instead?"

"Because he isn't a ghost, Ron," Hermione said, in a tone of disbelief.

"He sure resembles one half the time," Ron muttered.

Hermione rolled her eyes.

Midway through breakfast, the first owl post of the term came into the Great Hall. An owl swooped toward him and dropped a Daily Prophet newspaper in front of him. He opened and began to read through it as he continued to eat. However, he could not find any news on a Barty Crouch, Junior sighting or arrest. If there had been, it would have been big news, since he was thought dead and buried at Azkaban.

So it seemed Crouch, Junior was still out there somewhere. The question was... where was he?

Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione and Neville were in the History of Magic Class a few minutes before class was due to start at eight. The desks were in pairs, so Harry and Ginny sat together, while Ron and Hermione took a couple seats in behind them. Neville sat alone, however not for long.

"Can I sit here?" a familiar voice asked.

Harry looked over his shoulder and saw Draco Black standing by the empty desk beside Neville. Neville looked at Draco, then at Harry. Harry nodded, and Neville looked back at Draco.

"Er... sure, Draco," Neville said.

"Thanks," Draco said.

Harry studied Draco for a moment, and noticed that he had dark circles around his eyes. It seemed he hadn't slept much the previous night.

"Thank Merlin this class is first," Draco said, "I can get some sleep and Binns won't notice."

"You didn't hear?" Harry asked, "Binns is on teacher's strike. Professor Dumbledore is teaching today."

"Brilliant," Draco muttered, sarcastically. "So much for sleep."

Uh-oh, Harry. Ginny said, Trouble.

Harry looked up to see Theodore Nott, Gregory Goyle and Vincent Crabbe walking toward them. They stopped near Draco's desk.

"Knew you were a blood-traitor, Malfoy," Nott said, "Sitting with these other blood-traitors and Mudblood."

Ron made to stand up, but Hermione pulled him back into his chair.

"Should have stayed with Daddy," Goyle said, "Might have a better year with him."

"The name is Black," Draco said, "And we'll see who is coined blood-traitor when all is said and done."

Nott looked ready to strike when a noise was heard. Someone had cleared their throat, and it was soon evident who had done it. Professor Dumbledore walked into the classroom, and glanced over at Nott, Crabbe and Goyle.

"Take your seats, boys," Dumbledore said, "It is doubtful your fellow housemates would like to see negative points in Slytherin's jar on the very first day."

Nott, Crabbe and Goyle bristled and headed over to three empty chairs on the other side of the room.

"I assume everyone is here?" Dumbledore asked, as he made his way to the front of the class. "But to make sure, I will take attendance."

When he reached Harry's name, he said it with but a passing glance and moved on. This made Harry rather curious. It almost sounded as if the headmaster was angry with him.

"Excellent," Dumbledore said, once he finished, "Everyone is here. If you didn't hear the news, then I'm sure you are surprised to find me here. I am your substitute today, while Professor Binns is indisposed. Yes, Miss Granger?"

Hermione had risen her hand. "I'm sorry, sir, but I find it very peculiar that Professor Binns is not present. I've never heard of a ghost taking a sick day. There have been rumors going around that – erm – you gave him an exorcism."

Dumbledore chuckled lightly. "The rumor mill has worked its gears quickly this year. And most humorously as well. Miss Granger, I have never performed, nor do I have the knowledge of performing, an exorcism. Professor Binns is an excellent staff member and I do hope he returns to his position as soon as possible."

He's lying, Harry said.

How do you know? Ginny asked.

I just do.

You really think he exorcised Binns?

No, but I think he could do one if he wanted. I also have a feeling he is not very pleased with Binns right now.

"I'm sure you've also heard from Professor McGonagall herself," Dumbledore said, "that Professor Binns may be indisposed for a while. I fear this is true, however I couldn't possibly explain why."

He could, Harry said, he just won't.

You don't know that Harry. Don't assume so much.

My assumptions are usually right.

"Today's class may be your only History of Magic lesson for a while," Dumbledore said, "At the end of class, I will hand you a syllabus of your assignments for the rest of the term. It is expected of you to do every assignment and hand each assignment in at the end of term before you take your end-of-term exam, or whenever Professor Binns returns."

He reached into his robes and took out a wand Harry didn't recognize, and waved it around. Behind the desk, two large stacks of books hovered in the air and glided toward each of the desks. When the book landed in front of Harry's desk, he looked at it. It was The Tales of Beedle The Bard.

"Please be careful with these books," Dumbledore said, "They are borrowed from the library, and Madam Pince would not appreciate it if the books were damaged."

A few of the students murmured and whispered to those around them, each sounding confused why Dumbledore had lent them the books.

"Now, you may be wondering why there are books of fairy tales in front of you," Dumbledore continued, "A simple explanation: many fairy tales you have read over the years of your childhood are in fact true stories. Beedle The Bard, Bartemius F. Able, and even Muggleborn wizards, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. All of these authors took some of their stories from experiences from real life. Some they may have experienced themselves, others were experienced by someone else. Raise your hands. Tell me the title of a story and I will tell you if it is a true story or a fairy tale."

A few of the students raised their hand.

"Miss Brown?" Dumbledore said.

"A Fountain of Fair Fortune," Lavender said.

"A true story, and the first to tell the tale of a marriage between a witch and a Muggle," Dumbledore said, ignoring a few of the scoffs from the Slytherins, "Also when it is put on stage, it is fantastic! Mr. Weasley?"

"Babbity Rabbity and the Cackling Stump," Ron said, blushing when a few students snickered.

Dumbledore chuckled. "Fairy tale. Though it is rumored cackling stumps can be found all over the world, even here in our Forbidden Forest! Mr. Zabini?"

"The Tale of the Three Brothers," Blaise said.

Dumbledore smiled and looked at Harry for a mere second, before turning back to Blaise.

"True story," he said, "Ten points to Slytherin for guessing the subject of today's class!"

There were a few murmurs and whispers about how such a story could be considered true. Dumbledore raised his wand, and gold sparks flew out, silencing everyone.

"Turn to the story of the Three Brothers in your books, please," he said; when all the students did as was asked, he continued, "Who here is not familiar with this fairy tale?"

Nobody raised their hand.

"Excellent!" Dumbledore said with a smile, "We can begin then since everyone knows the story. As I stated, the Tale of the Three Brothers is in fact a true story. Can anyone name the three brothers who inspired Beedle's tale?"

Harry, Ginny and Hermione were the only ones who raised their hand.

"Curious," Dumbledore said, as he smiled at the three of them, "Miss Granger, can you tell us?"

"Cadmus, Antioch, and Ignotus Peverell," Hermione said.

"Fifteen points to Gryffindor!" Dumbledore said, "Excellent, Miss Granger. Yes, the three Peverell brothers are rumored to be the men who inspired Beedle to tell the story. In fact, some believe it is more than rumor. Another show of hands, who here is familiar with the Deathly Hallows?"

Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione and Neville raised their hands.

What is he doing? Harry asked, staring at Dumbledore in disbelief, The Deathly Hallows are supposed to be a secret!

I don't know, Harry. Lets just listen.

"This time I am not surprised," Dumbledore said, "You see, there are very few people in the whole world who believe in what is known as the Deathly Hallows. These people are known as Questers. They believe that the Tale of the Three Brothers is in fact – to use the Muggle term – a road map of the Deathly Hallows."

Dumbledore pointed his wand to the blackboard. A single line drew downwards in chalk.

"The Elder Wand," Dumbledore said; Harry expected the headmaster to look at him again, but the man only closed his eyes; Dumbledore flicked his wand again, and a circle drew in chalk. "The Resurrection Stone." A triangle now; "The Cloak of Invisibility. This symbol before you, is the mark of the Deathly Hallows."

"This is rubbish!" Theodore Nott scoffed.

"Excuse me, Mr. Nott?" Dumbledore asked, opening his eyes again.

"A wand and an invisibility cloak, I can believe in," Nott said, "Whoever heard of a stone that can bring loved ones back from the dead?"

Dumbledore smiled softly. "Yes, Mr. Nott. It does sound like rubbish, doesn't it? That is why very few believe in the Deathly Hallows. It is why most believe that Questers are, in fact, insane."

A few of the students looked toward Harry and his friends with wry grins. Apparently they assumed that since Harry and his friends rose their hands, they were Questers.

"But I am not here to teach you about the Deathly Hallows," Dumbledore continued, "I am not here to make you believe in them. In fact, it is probably best you never try to search for them. It is, more or less, a fool's errand. I am here to teach you why the Tale of the Three Brothers is a true story. Look in enough history books, and you'll find that the Peverell brothers, in fact, did exist and that there were three. At least one of them resides now in a cemetery in Godric's Hollow. What most history books won't tell you is that there are descendants of each brother living today."

Oh, no, Harry said, Please don't tell me –

"One of those descendants," Dumbledore continued, "is a student in this castle. No, I will not tell you who they are."

Oh, thank goodness, Harry said.

A few of the students murmured in disbelief. Dumbledore raised his hand to stop them.

"I am only doing this out of privacy for said student," he continued.

"It is obviously a pureblood," Theodore Nott said, "Someone from a long bloodline like that would never taint themselves."

"Mr. Zabini," Dumbledore said, "I am said to inform you that your ten points you earned earlier have been deducted due to Nott's comment."

Blaise glared at Nott while a few of the Gryffindors snickered.

"While the Deathly Hallows are not real," Dumbledore said, "The three objects in the story were real. The stone did not do exactly what Beedle suggested. Some suggest the stone had a charm on it that made the holder hallucinate. Cadmus merely hallucinated the image of his dead love, and his depression led to suicide, but not before he continued his bloodline somewhere before his life ended."

"Wait," Draco said, "He killed himself because of this vision of his true love, but he had an affair that produced an heir to his name?"

"Alas, the story of what happened aside from that which centers around the stone is not clear, Mr. Black," Dumbledore said. "Antioch found a wand beside the river. The wand was made of a wood and core he had never seen before. He thought it was rare, so he boasted the power of a rare wand. It got him killed. Again, before his death, he continued his bloodline. Yes, Mr. Zabini?"

"But, I thought the wand turned out to be the Wand of Destiny?" Blaise asked.

"Take your ten points back," Dumbledore said, "That story is true, Mr. Zabini. The wand did turn out to be the Wand of Destiny, also known as the Deathstick."

"And Ignotus?" Harry asked.

"Ignotus Peverell," Dumbledore said, "found an invisibility cloak near the river. Some say it was the very first cloak ever made. He made it his life's mission to use it to make a long-lasting cloak. In fact, his life lasted quite a while solely on the fact that he was trying to finish his quest. The day he finished making a long-lasting Invisibility Cloak, he handed it to his son, and died of old age that very evening."

"Murder, suicide, and natural death," Ginny said, "Three different ways of dying."

"Yes," Dumbledore said, "It sounds so fantastic, so unbelievable, that many never believe the story is in fact true. It also doesn't help that it is poisoned by the myth of the Deathly Hallows. Your assignment for today: the wand, stone or cloak; which one would you have chosen? Make the choice and write a ten-inch essay why."

Everyone began writing, and soon Professor Dumbledore walked amongst the students to see how they were doing. When he reached Harry's desk, he placed a hand on his desk, and looked at Harry's essay for a moment. He then moved on, leaving a narrow strip of parchment on Harry's desk. Harry picked it up and read it.

Harry and Ginny,

Come to my office Saturday at noon. Password is Never Prosper

Harry looked up at Dumbledore who glanced back at him with a wink. Harry nodded and turned to Ginny showing her the note.

Odd choice of password, Ginny said, He usually uses the names of candy. Hmm... 'wand of elder, never prosper'. Is this a hint? Does he want to discuss the Elder Wand?

Well, if he does, he can think again. I'm not discussing it with him. Nor will we discuss the future.

Ginny nodded slightly in agreement. The pair then continued on their assignment.


(Sirius)

It was the middle of the morning when Sirius walked through the street of a neighborhood in Reading, England. He had come to visit Bartemius Crouch. Earlier that morning, he went to Crouch's office at the Ministry, where Crouch's secretary – a young man who had just left Hogwarts – told him that Crouch hadn't come to work that day. So Sirius decided to go to Crouch.

He only hoped he wasn't too late. He had meant to find Crouch as soon as he had come into work that morning, but he had waited, for the sole reason that he thought the mysterious author who outed Henry Keller might write him again. Every day, he waited for a letter. And like every other day, no letter had come.

While he had waited for the letter, he had written a letter of his own to Augusta Longbottom, inviting her for dinner with him and Amelia the following evening at the Leaky Cauldron. Augusta sent a reply back soon after accepting the invitation.

He had long expected Bartemius Crouch to live in a Manor, like many pureblood wizards of high society like him. However, there wasn't a manor in sight. On each side of the street, two-story houses that were nearly identical in every way sat next to each other with perfect front lawns and grand cars in nearly every driveway.

All except for one. In the center of the neighborhood, on the right side of the street stood a house with no numbered address. The houses on either side of it were numbered seven and nine. Across the street,He there were numbers six and eight. It didn't seem as if there were any missing numbers to Muggle eyes like that at Grimmauld Place.

The unnumbered house was same as every other house around it. Except for a couple of differences aside from having no number. One, there was no car in the driveway, and two, the house seemed to shimmer due to the traces of magic coming off of it. Sirius knew at once. This was indeed the home of Bartemius Crouch, and he had a feeling nobody but a magic-user could see it.

Sirius drew his wand and walked down the sidewalk. When he made his way to the front door, he rapped his knuckles on the front door. The door immediately opened as soon as he touched it.

That is never a good sign, he thought.

Sirius walked inside the house with his wand pointed in front of him, and found he was in a sitting room. It was empty, so he listened for footsteps. Suddenly, he heard footsteps coming from the next room. He slowly walked forward toward the next room.

When he arrived, he found Bartemius Crouch standing at a stove with his back turned to him.

"Crouch?" Sirius asked.

Crouch turned around slowly, but didn't say anything. Sirius then saw that Crouch's eyes were blurred over. He was under the Imperius Curse. Sirius muttered a complex Finishing Charm that would stop the Imperius Curse. A moment later, Crouch blinked his eyes rapidly and shook his head. Then he gasped, inhaling and exhaling breath, and looked at Sirius.

"Black!" he rasped, "Thank goodness! Wh-what are you doing?"

Sirius had his wand trained on Crouch still. He knew it was possible that Crouch's son could be impersonating his father. He muttered a few detection spells under his breath, but there were no shimmers of magical trace. This was indeed Crouch, Senior.

"Explain yourself!" Crouch said. "Coming into my house and –!"

"I know everything, Barty," Sirius said. "I know your son is alive. I know you switched him for your wife at Azkaban. I know you had him under the Imperius Curse for years."

Crouch stammered and stuttered, shaking his head.

"He broke free, didn't he?" Sirius asked, "He became stronger. Your son broke free of the curse. He put up the Dark Mark at the Quidditch World Cup."

"H-how?" Crouch stammered, then looked at the floor. "You don't understand!"

"Where is your son, Bartemius?" Sirius asked.

"I-I don't know," Crouch said, "Pettigrew! Peter Pettigrew! He showed up at my house a couple weeks ago and attacked me! He found my son, and – Pettigrew's insane!"

"I'm sure he is," Sirius said, "What did he say?"

"He told my son that the Dark Lord had come for him," Crouch said, "That he wanted him to help, he would be very useful. But he's insane. The Dark Lord? You-Know-Who is dead! Gone!"

"Pettigrew put you under the Imperius Curse?" Sirius asked.

"Yes," Crouch said, "I don't know if it is because he must not be very good at it, or if it was just his intentions. But I could be myself under the Curse. I could act like myself. I just couldn't tell anyone what had happened. He made me go to work every day just as I always did."

"Wanted you to keep up appearances," Sirius said, "Why didn't you go to work today?"

"I was starting to break away from the Curse, I suppose," Crouch said. "I've practiced breaking away from it, just in case you know. Every few days, Pettigrew would come back here and put it back on me. I-I heard you and thought it was him..."

"Good news, Mr. Crouch," Sirius said, "You are safe, and I'm going to make sure you stay safe. You're going far away from here."

"I am an important man, Black!" Crouch muttered, "The Triwizard Tournament, I am supposed to be a part of it!"

"Someone else will take over the job," Sirius said, "You are going far away for your protection."

"But Pettigrew will find out!" Crouch said, "He's dangerous!"

"I'll have one of my best Aurors on the job," Sirius said, "He'll disguise himself as you. We'll need a few of your hairs. He is resistant to the Imperius Curse."

"So you're going to capture Pettigrew?" Crouch asked, with a sneer, "Last time you tried, he got away. You really think you're up to the job."

"I'll have it under control," Sirius said. "Pack a suitcase or two, Mr. Crouch. You're going on a much needed holiday."

Sirius' mind whirled with thoughts as he watched Crouch pack some bags. He knew Pettigrew was needed for the end-game for Harry and Ginny's mission. Pettigrew was the reason Voldemort would be in the graveyard that night. He couldn't allow Pettigrew to be captured, but he needed to know where Crouch, Junior was at this moment.

"Black?" Crouch said, turning back to Sirius. "There was one thing I heard from Pettigrew the last time he was here. I just realized it might be important."

"What did he say?" Sirius asked.

"A ship," Crouch said, "He mentioned something about a ship."


Hmm... the plot thickens!

A lot of what happened in this chapter might not seem too important – in fact it might seem random – but you'll understand it as the story continues.

Next chapter: Harry and Ginny meet with Dumbledore, and Sirius and Amelia have dinner with Augusta Longbottom. Moody's first class might be in the next chapter, but it might be in the one after. I don't know yet.

Another reminder to Reddit members about my subreddit dedicated to discussion centered around my fanfiction. Link can be found in my profile.

Hope you liked this chapter!