"Where are we?" Daphne asked as they reappeared without a hint of a stumble.

She knew that they had apparated but didn't recognise the room that they were now standing in.

It was huge, with cavernous ceilings which had her thinking for a moment they were back in the chamber of secrets, except for the fact that it was filled to over flowing with, well the best she could describe it was junk. It was everywhere, piled in large stacks that looked like they would collapse if you looked at them the wrong way.

Calling it junk maybe a little unfair, but on closer inspection the items were definitely used, some maybe second or third hand or more, and definitely gave the appearance of being discarded or abandoned.

Where they had disapparated was a small, roughly circular clearing of about six feet in diameter, one of many that she could see with narrow winding paths between the mountains of junk connecting the clearings.

Not getting an answer she turned to question Harry about the room but he had wandered off, looking at the base of one of the piles. She saw him sway as he bent down to retrieve something from underneath the seat cushion of an old armchair. She raced to his side just in time to catch him.

Easing him down into the armchair she looked at what had been so important, it was his wand holsters and his phoenix feather wand.

"Where are we?" she asked again as she covered him with an old, moth-eaten crocheted blanket that she had found draped over a matching arm chair at the base of a neighbouring stack.

"It's the Room of Hidden Things" he answered sleepily which just left Daphne with more questions.

Whilst Harry was tired from his encounter with the dementors, he didn't appear to have the splitting headache that he got last time, so that was progress. She smiled to herself remembering how quickly the dementors had disappeared at his command, chased by his sunburst spell. Hopefully it will keep them in line for a few months, maybe even until Christmas break.

"Well, you just get some rest" she said quietly and tried to brush the hair out of his eyes. It refused to obey.

She watched him sleep for a couple of minutes before she carefully moved the blanket to look at the wound in his thigh. She drew a sharp breath at the mess that horrible spell had left. She enlarged the hole in his jeans so she could get a good look at the wound. The skin was grey and where the blistering had burst there were odd sized craters. But she was pleased to see that Harry had indeed stopped the curse by overpowering the magic in it. And that same magic had started the job of repairing the wound, with fresh pink skin around the edges.

She rocked back on her heels thinking, should she try to fix it or leave it to Harry's magic which seemed to have made a start it repairing the damage? Making a decision, she took the essence of dittany from her potions belt and pouring three drops onto the wound, watching the green smoke billow up. When the smoke cleared, the wound was half covered in a thin taught layer of new skin. She added another three drops which had the desired effect, with the entire wound covered with fresh skin.

Satisfied with the results, she decided that it was best to do no more except...

"Reparo" she repaired his jeans, after all, they were his favourite pair.

She straightened up, she had one more thing to do. She looked around for the door without any success. The lighting was low, just small puddles of light over each clearing between the stacks of discarded items. But it must be close she reasoned, after all Harry wouldn't have ventured to far into the room to hide his second wand, he just didn't have the time with the countdown to his duel only leaving a few seconds to spare.

Frowning now, she didn't know how this room worked. Unless…

She held her wand up and gave a small push of her magic "Door!"

A door in a door frame instantly appeared right in front of her in the middle of the clearing. She eyed it suspiciously, walking all the way around it, unsure if this was a joke or something.

She sighed, and reached for the door handle, wand still out unsure what to expect. The door swung on its frame and behind it was, well darkness.

"Lumos" she stepped through the door, laughing at what she saw. It was the inside of a broom cupboard. The one on the fifth floor if memory served her correct.

"Oh" she thought as it dawned on her as she looked back out to the room where Harry slept. This was the room of requirements, just in a layout that she had never seen before, but judging by the number of discarded items in the room, it was a configuration that had been used many times by countless generations of students. So much so that it had its own name that it was known by, the Room of Hidden Things.

Harry in his need to hide his second wand before apparating to his duel had stumbled across the room in the same way as all the other users of the room had, a desperate need to hide something.

Focusing on the task at hand she reached into her book bag and grabbed some vials with cork stoppers and placed them on one of the shelves next to the cleaning materials.

One by one she carefully filled them with copies of her memories of the night's events, some were the full night, some just the duel, and others with various parts of the dementor incident and returned them to the shelf, evenly spaced in the correct order.

Reaching into the bag again she retrieved some parchment and a quill and set about writing a note for each of the vials. She wrapped each vial in the appropriate note for the memory it contained before tapping them with the tip of her wand sealing the parchment with her own personal wax seal, addressing them and placing them back on the shelf. The seal was extremely difficult to fake or replicate, it contained her magic which would assure the recipient that the note was indeed from her. It would also let her know when the seal had been broken and by whom. It was one of those ancient charms that Hannah had discovered and shared with the group.

With all the preparation completed, she pulled Harry's cloak from her bag and threw it over herself, making sure she would not be seen.

"Dobby" she called out and a few seconds later Dobby appeared.

The house elf looked around the broom cupboard not seeing anyone. He smiled and almost laughed at the joke before restraining himself. She is such a clever girl he thought, and bowed towards the corner where Daphne was standing. He didn't say anything though. No, no, no because there was no one there, and he could honestly say that he had not seen or spoke with anyone, especially not Daphne.

He looked around trying to determine why he was called, but it only took a second or two before he saw the tidy row of parchment parcels sitting on the shelf, each individually addressed. He carefully picked them up and secured them in the hidden pocket inside his jacket before a final nod to that empty corner where he could see no one standing and then vanished to begin his deliveries.

With the memories done, she removed the invisibility cloak and folded it carefully and returned it to its place in her book bag. She exited the broom cupboard, shutting the door behind her and watching it disappear.

Figuring there was nothing more she needed to do or in fact could do that night, she carefully levitated the matching armchair from the other stack, thankfully the stack did not collapse without the support of the armchair, and set it up facing Harry who was breathing quite loudly in his sleep from all the dust in the air that she had disturbed moving things around.

Putting her feet up onto Harry's chair next to him, she lifted his legs from the floor and put them beside her so he would be more comfortable, pulled the tail of the crocheted blanket over herself and she settled in for the night.

She raised her wand.


"I bet he is in Azkaban" Ron argued.

The others at the breakfast table looked amazed that even with the wide latitude they gave him, Ron still had the ability to shock them with his stupidity.

"I mean it make sense. Doesn't it" Ron ploughed on ignoring the looks he received "That is why Dumbledore called the dementors – to take him away for what he did to Seamus. That is why Dumbledore is not up there" he pointed to the teacher's table at the head of the hall.

"Best thing for him after that display" Ron pushed on, it seemed like there was no stopping him. "Don't want someone like that running around the school"

"Ahh mate" Dean interrupted his flow "you do realise that it was Seamus throwing around those flesh melting spells, don't you?"

"Yeah, all Harry did was return them to Seamus. In case he wanted them for later or something" Colin added trying his best to keep a straight face.

Unsurprisingly, the Harry versus Seamus duel, and the dementors interruption, the previous night was the only topic of conversation at breakfast. All sorts of rumours were flying around.

Harry's non-appearance at the breakfast table, his seat conspicuously empty, had fuelled Ron's Azkaban rant that showed no signs of stopping.

Then there was the disappearance of the dementors, not a single sighting had been reported. Fred and George had even ventured to the top of the astronomy tower to get a better view, something that in the past months would have ended with a close encounter with one or more of the dementors. The twins however had returned unscathed to report that even from that lofty perch, there wasn't a single dementor to be seen.

At the Hufflepuff table they were discussing how lightly Seamus had got off.

"Potter showed remarkable restraint" Cedric admitted. "Considering the spell Seamus was using against him, I am genuinely surprised that Seamus is still breathing"

"Yes," Ernie agreed "With the power Harry demonstrated, he could have taken Seamus apart without breaking a sweat. It was just unlucky that the spell exploded back at Seamus, but Harry's first instinct was to save him and it seemed pretty successful"

"Hey Neville" Cedric called down the table "Your Potter's best mate, what do you think? Potter as a Badger?"

"Well..." Neville started to answer before Susan cut him off.

"Never mind about Harry, I am surprised Neville is in Hufflepuff with his Gryffindor tendency charge into danger to save the damsel in distress"

Neville started to protest before from across the table a cough that sounded suspiciously like "mountain troll"

"Can you do that?" Penelope Clearwater asked down the length of the Ravenclaw table. "Actually cast a shield onto your hand to catch a spell?"

Surprisingly her question was met with a lot of shrugging of shoulders, no one had ever seen or read about the likes of it.

"I mean we all saw him do it, caste the shield on his hand which then caught the spell and held it while he burnt it within the shield" She just couldn't get her head around it, she had tried that morning to cast a shield centred on her hand will little success. "And what is the significance of the blue flames?"

Hermione stared down at her bowl of cereal desperately wanting to give the answer but not sure any one would believe her about Harry's abilities, after all she had trouble believing it herself despite the evidence of her own eyes.

No one in Slytherin was buying into the Azkaban theory, most thinking that Potter had been more seriously hurt than it first appeared and had to go to St Mungo's where it had been confirmed that Finnigan was currently being treated.

This line of thinking lead to discussions about the magic that Harry had displayed the previous night. They had seen enough of Potter to know that he as good as any of them with a wand and was quick to stand up for his friends and take revenge for any perceived slight to his name or honour, but until last night they had never seen his dark side.

The way that he had caught Finnigan's spell in his hand before combining it with whatever the hell the sun spell was, mixing them together in that crucible shaped shield of his as if he was brewing some nightmare of a potion, before unleashing it on Finnigan with devastating effect.

Few would forget the smell of burnt flesh, the screams of agony, and the sight of Finnigan clawing the skin from his face in a desperate but futile attempt to stop the spell consuming him.

And few would forget the cold way Potter had stunned him to stop the screaming that was obviously offending him and how he had put Finnigan's body on display like some form of trophy.

Then the way he had growled at the School's healer like some feral beast, wand drawn threatening her for trying to touch his trophy, only relenting when Professor Snape had intervened.

As Angela Flint had succinctly put it, Harry Potter marching down the piste with a wand in his hand, his magic crackling around him making his hair stand on end, holding that molten ball of fire and light and flesh-eating curse was one of the most terrifying things she had ever seen. Also, the most exciting.

Nobody else would admit to such sentiments in public, but privately more than a few agreed.

Marcus Flint sat quietly lost in his thoughts. Malfoy's plan failed, and it had failed spectacularly. Potter on the other hand, after that performance last night if Potter turned up whole, with no body parts missing in the next few days, there would be few that would dare go against him.

The students' musings were interrupted by the appearance of the morning mail, surprising everyone. The owl mail had been notoriously unreliable all term, however with the disappearance of the dementors it seemed that normal service had been resumed.

Some of the owls were struggling under the weight of their mail backlog that they were at last free to deliver.

Tracey was sitting at the Slytherin table doing what she did most meal times, observing and making mental notes of everything and everybody. She saw that Hedwig was not among the owls that were swooping down, dropping copious amounts of letters and parcels all over the tables.

There was so much mail being dropped haphazardly on the tables that students were having to fish in their bowls of cereal to save the parchment before it got too soggy to read.

"Bloody hell, Errol" the refrain coming from the Gryffindor table where Fred had to fish what looked like an old feather duster out of the oversized porridge cauldron in the centre of the table, but was actually the ancient family owl, the weight of his deliveries - a terms worth of mail for five children now scattered all over the table - proving too much for him.

Tacey watched as George got out his wand and cleaned the majority of the oats off the owl that Fred was now holding up by the wings, muttering under his breath "You know, you can be a right menace sometimes" the fondness in his voice at odds with his complaining.

Hedwig's absence got her thinking about Daphne and Harry again. Neither had returned to the common room last night after Harry's duel but unsurprisingly no one seemed to notice in the confusion of the mass evacuation of the students. And when they had gotten back to the Slytherin common room quite a few of the students went back to their dorm rooms.

Finally, all the mail owls had completed their deliveries and had departed to retire to the owlery for a well-earned rest, two of the larger owls assisting a freshly cleaned Errol with the journey.

This allowed the Daily Prophet delivery owls to swoop in and complete their deliveries, doing it with such precision that all the papers landed on the tables simultaneously with a resounding thud. After all, they were professionals, and they hoped that their display went some way to restoring a bit of faith in the owl service after the debacle that they had just witnessed from the other owls.

Tracy picked up her paper as she took a large slurp out of her goblet preparing to dissect it from front to back.

"Ewww, pumpkin juice" she shuddered quickly returning the goblet to the table and flicked open the paper where the headline leapt off the front page at her.

"Dark Magics at Hogwarts"

Dumbledore awoke with a start, his nightmares so vivid that he was bathed in a cold sweat and his heart was racing.

Looking around he was relieved to see that he was in his own quarters but that did nothing to lessen the feeling of dread that had forced him awake. He was still fully dressed from the previous evening, so someone must have got him back from the Great Hall. But how? He had no recollection of events after the dementors arrived.

The dementors. He groaned. They always had a bad effect on him when they caught him off guard without the chance to prepare his mind.

He got up slowly and headed towards his office. He slumped into his chair behind his desk that was covered with an unusually large pile of mail, he had been pushing it aside all week promising himself that he would deal with it over the weekend. Yet here it was Sunday morning and the mail was still untouched.

He sighed. It would be the usual mix of complaints from parents about something trivial, or people asking him to do something for them. It was always the same. Except...

His eye was caught by a neatly folded piece of parchment sealed with a wax seal. This was not the usual practice for irate parents. He picked it up and waved his wand over the seal and was surprised by the sound of a young girl's voice in his head.

"Correspondence from Daphne Greengrass"

A charm from times past that had fallen out of use - but none the less effective and powerful. There was no doubt that it was indeed from Miss Greengrass.

Breaking open the seal he saw that the piece of parchment was folded around a vial that obviously contained a memory. There was a single paragraph of text.

"You seemed indisposed last night and may not recall all that happened. I have enclosed something that may jog your memory."

Dumbledore stared at the memory dreading what it might show. He pushed it away, not wanting to deal with it now. He called for a house elf, who appeared instantly.

The house elf bowed low, like the Headmaster liked them to do in his presence, all the time watching the him closely.

"I will take my breakfast in here this morning" the Headmaster said imperiously "I have lots of correspondence to deal with" he waved his hand at the huge stack of letters in front of him.

"Of course, Headmaster" the elf bowed even lower keeping the expression on his face neutral, inside he was just about bursting. The stories that were being told amongst the house elves this morning as to what happened to the Headmaster the previous night, oh my. Seeing the state of him this morning would mean that he would have his own stories to tell.

He disappeared for an instant and then reappeared with a silver tray upon which sat a pot of tea, a small jug of milk, a delicate teacup, and a rack of toast. The butter and the Headmaster's favourite ginger marmalade in their own individual dishes on the side as the Headmaster preferred.

Placing the tray on the desk in front of the Headmaster, he waited until the Headmaster was pouring his cup of tea from the ornate tea pot then carefully placed the folded copy of the Daily Prophet on the desk next to the tray, and without appearing to do so stared intently at the Headmaster. He was well rewarded as the Headmaster glanced at the paper reading the headline and back to his tea before he performed a panicked doubletake, dropping the teapot, knocking over the teacup in the process.

The elf disappeared, having seen the look on the Headmaster's face. Another story to tell the voracious gossips amongst the house elves.

Dumbledore hand shook slightly as he reached for the paper where the headline threatened to completely destroy what had already started to be a disastrous day.

"Dark Magics at Hogwarts"

Daphne was awoken by the alert her magic received letting her know that Dumbledore had read her note. Oh, how she wished she had been there to see his face. The smile that she gave at thought was a strange mix of satisfaction of a plan well executed and an evil grin of mischief.

"What have you been up to?" Harry asked her seeing her expression.

"No, no, no, Mister" Daphne shook her head with a laugh "You have a whole heap of explaining to do before you can even think about asking me questions."

Harry laughed in return "What do you want to know. My life is an open book" using his oft repeated retort.

"Prat" Daphne tried to keep a straight face "How about you start from how we ended up here in amongst all of these treasures" she waved her hand around at the piles of discarded things.

"It was all Dobby's fault" Harry started. He saw the look on her face. "What? It was. Dobby and his damn cryptic clues."

"So, we had just left the Room of Requirements and you and Dobby vanished, I turned around and the door to the Room had appeared again. Well, time was running out so I stepped through the door into this room which is exactly what I needed, if a little over the top. Hiding the wand was no problem, along with the wand holsters. I mean look at this place."

"But how did you apparate into the duelling piste?" Daphne asked. She had already worked out the room of requirements providing a place to hide his wands, that was obvious. But you cannot apparate in Hogwarts.

"You cannot apparate in Hogwarts" she told him.

"That is true" Harry agreed "But strictly speaking I didn't apparate in Hogwarts. Well, that is not strictly true either"

He laughed at the look on her face at the nonsense he was speaking.

He took a deep breath and changed tack.

"Remember what Dobby said, 'the wards within the wards' well he was right"

"This room, the Room of Requirements, it doesn't show up on the Marauder's map, right?"

Daphne nodded her head.

"And you remember I had Hermione study up on the duelling competition?"

Daphne nodded again, not sure where Harry was going. She had read the notes that Hermione had put together about the duelling competition and can't recall seeing anything about apparition other than it was permitted but seldom used in duels as it left the apparator vulnerable at the instant of reappearance.

"Well, it appears that when the Headmaster reinstated the duelling championship, he did what he always does - the bare minimum. When it came to setting up the duelling piste, all he did was just reactivate the old wards used previously used in competitions past."

Daphne agreed, that sounded exactly like the Headmaster.

"An interesting feature of these old duelling wards is that when they are activated, the actual piste is not part of Hogwarts. They were originally set up way back in an era of mutual distrust, when duels were always fought on neutral ground. It was the same for the school duelling championship, the wards were set-up to be independent of the school."

"In that stack where the arm chair where I hide my wand was, there is a old beaten-up copy of Hogwarts, a History which jogged my memory of what Hermione had discovered."

"Anyway, long story short, I apparated from this room to the duelling piste. From one set of wards independent of the Hogwarts' wards to another."

"the wards within the wards"

"That is quite brilliant" Daphne said, genuinely impressed that Harry figured that all out and acted on it in a split second.

"Always the tone of surprise" Harry responded trying his best to look hurt but unable to keep a straight face and ruining it by laughing.

"Come on then genius, I will buy you breakfast as way of an apology" Daphne said grabbing his hand and pulling him up out of his chair.

The Great Hall was buzzing with the murmured comments from the students engrossed in their newspapers as Daphne and Harry entered and made their way towards the Slytherin table.

They almost made it too, and were just about to sit down when they realised that the murmuring had stopped.

Looking around they saw that everyone from the three other tables had stopped reading and were now looking at them. Well not them, but at Harry.

They sat down across the table from Tracey and gave her a questioning look. In reply, she just shrugged and pushed the Daily Prophet across the table towards them as around them the noise level rose significantly as most had finished the article just as they spotted Potter who was now the sole subject of conversation.

Harry and Daphne both reached for the paper with the screaming headline.

"Dark Magics at Hogwarts"

Author's Note:

With FanFiction stats not working and with the notification of new chapters emails stopped, I have no idea if anyone is actually reading this any more.

I will however, keep putting up chapters.