Chapter 3 – Dumbledore's Secret
Harry woke up the next morning feeling even more confused about what had happened the night before. He hurried to get ready for breakfast, his stomach felt really empty despite the feast the night before; he also wanted to talk to Ron and Hermione. He found them downstairs in the common room waiting for him, "Hi Harry." said Hermione sleepily, "Shall we go to breakfast?" Harry decided to tell them about the photo album first, he called them to the corner of the room. "I've got to tell you guys, something really strange happened last night." Harry had their attention, "I was sitting looking through my photo album, and I was sucked into it!" Ron snorted and Hermione blinked in surprise, "What do you mean?" Harry's face flushed, "I saw my parents, I was there and they were looking through the photos." Ron's grin faded from his face, "You're serious." Harry nodded, "I don't know how or why it happened, but Sirius was there too, and then…" Harry paused wondering whether or not he should tell them, "Wormtail came and my scar hurt, then I was back in my bed." He added quickly. Hermione gasped, "Oh Harry!" Ron frowned with bitterness; he'd always taken his rat's true identity as a personal insult. Harry looked at his friends in desperation, "What should I do?" Hermione bit her lip and said "Go to Dumbledore Harry, he should be told, we don't know what this means." Harry nodded slowly but he felt that he didn't really want to trouble Dumbledore with something so small. Ron saw the doubt in his friend's face and added, "Harry, he always wants to know when your scar hurts, it's important!" Harry agreed and the three friends went down to the hall for breakfast. They entered the hall and noticed the tall witch who was sitting at the teachers' table, Harry took a step back in surprise, it was the auror. He grabbed the sleeve of Hermione's robes and whispered, "That's the auror who questioned me in the summer!" Ron shot a glance at the witch and then back at Harry, "Really? Why do you think she's here?" They realised that they were still standing in the doorway as a group of 6th year Slytherins barged past them almost knocking them over. They hurried to the Gryffindor table and sat next to Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnegan who were sitting staring at the auror holding half eaten slices of toast halfway to their mouths until Neville Longbottom nudged them as their friends sat down. The hall seemed much noisier that morning, but silence fell over the students as Professor Dumbledore rose and began to speak, "Good morning students, I realised this morning that I had neglected to deliver an important announcement last night, I am sure, vigilant as you all are, that you will have noticed that we have been joined this morning by a new addition, Professor Inigma. As some of you may have guessed, Professor Inigma will be our new Defence against the Dark Arts teacher." And with that Dumbledore instigated the applause and sat down, Professor Inigma simply waved discreetly and went back to her breakfast. Harry's mind was racing once more, "So, this must be what she meant by later," he mumbled to himself, "What was that?" Asked Ron stuffing a fork of scrambled eggs into his mouth. "Oh, I was just thinking aloud," muttered Harry, he ate some bacon but felt strangely full after a few mouthfuls,
"Eat up Harry!" Came the voice of Alicia Spinnet from behind him, "You'll need your strength for quidditch practise later. I'll be organising extra practices now that I'm captain."
"Well done Alicia!" said Harry hearing at last who the new captain would be, "And don't worry, I'm aching to play again!" Alicia grinned and left the hall with a bounce in her step.
The students didn't have any classes that morning, Dumbledore had given some spiel about the teachers being needed to help arrange a trip to Hogsmeade with extra precautions due to Voldemort's return for the next weekend as a boost for morale. Harry used this opportunity to talk to Dumbledore himself, he managed to catch him on his way to his office and Dumbledore seemed happy to spare the time. As they entered the small circular room, Dumbledore having given the password "Canary Creams" and chortled mischievously at the look of surprise on Harry's face Dumbledore sat down behind his desk and smiled at Harry, "So, what was it you wanted to see me about Mr Potter?"
"Well, there are a couple of things actually,"
Dumbledore rested his head on his hands and smiled at Harry, "Go on." "Well, firstly I was wondering whether or not it was a coincidence that the auror whose been appointed defence against the dark arts teacher is the same one that investigated what happened last year."
Dumbledore smiled wanly at him and Harry saw the twinkle return to his eyes, "Harry, you should know by now that little that happens around here is coincidental!"
Harry's jaw dropped, Dumbledore smiled, "I suppose I can entrust a secret to you can't I." Harry nodded slowly.
Dumbledore's smile widened, "Hmmm, well I'll tell you anyway, Professor Inigma has been sent here by Fudge to 'keep an eye on things', well, more truthfully to keep an eye on me." Harry nodded, he'd suspected as much. "So, what was the other question you had for me Harry?" Dumbledore asked, "Well, when she questioned me Dawn said that you hadn't been helpful, and she didn't seem to believe you, or me for that matter." Dumbledore's face wrinkled as if he were trying to suppress a grin, "Harry, I think you'd better refer to her as Professor Inigma, and yes, I know what you mean, it's a commonly used technique, she needed to get the truth from you." Harry almost chocked, "You mean she did believe me?" Dumbledore smiled, "I guess she must have, why else would Fudge have allowed me to stay?" Harry stared at Dumbledore who now commenced to smile widely, "You can go now." Harry left with a lot more to think about and he'd completely forgotten to tell Dumbledore about his parents.
Harry met up with Ron and Hermione who had been playing a game of wizard's chess, (Ron had been winning of course) and the three of them trooped down to Hagrid's hut. Hagrid positively beamed when he saw them and welcomed them in whilst trying to restrain Fang "Come in! I 'f been waitin' for yeh t'uh come!" They sat down and Hagrid gave them some tea, "You said you had something to tell us." Said Harry whilst a now frantic Fang leapt upon Ron and Hermione. "Oh, y'eh, well, I was wondrin' when yeh would ask me bout my summer vacashun." Harry stared, "You mean you're allowed to tell us about it?"
Hagrid grinned, "Yeah, Dumbledore said I could tell yeh, said yeh'd ha found out anyways." Hermione and Ron had successfully placated Fang and now joined the conversation, "Well, do go on then Hagrid," Hermione breathed gazing intently at Hagrid. Hagrid sat down heavily at the table, causing Ron's cup to spill half it's contents as the table shook. Hagrid didn't seem to notice and began "Well, Madame Maxime an' me, we went to offer the hand of frenship to the giants as Dumbledore's rep'resentives, we travelled north for days and eventually we found a settlement of giants. They was friendly enough, let us stay and heard what we 'ad to tell 'em. In the end I think they were happy ter join our side!"
Hagrid's chest was swelling with pride, Harry looked impressed, "You managed to convince them?"
Hermione grinned, "That's wonderful news Hagrid!" Ron was trying to mop up his tea but looked up briefly and nodded in agreement.
After listening to Hagrid's account of events, which Harry secretly thought were exaggerated, the three friends made their way back to Gryffindor Tower, they were chatting about all that Hagrid had told them and it took a while before they noticed that Gryffindor Tower was silent and deserted. Harry was first to realise this and grabbed Ron's arm, "Where is everyone?"
They split up to search the dormitories but found no one, "What on Earth do we do now?" sighed Ron. Hermione frowned, "This is very strange, what do you think Harry?" Harry sat down heavily in one of the chairs next to the fireplace and rubbed his head, he wondered whether this had anything to do with Dumbledore and Dawn. "I think we should stay here," he said finally. Ron stared, "What! You mean do nothing!" Hermione glanced at Ron but Harry simply sighed tiredly, he wasn't sure why he was tired but he had a killer headache. Ron shook his head and looked pleadingly at Harry, "We can't just wait around here, I mean, what if there's something wrong?" Hermione put a hand on his arm and lead him away from Harry, "Can't you see he's tired, I don't think he's in the mood to go looking for danger and adventure somehow." Ron frowned but then melted to Hermione's determined glare and nodded mutely, "Okay, we'll wait here, one of the teachers is bound to notice we're missing." And so the three of them sat round the fire, waiting in silence.