Headology 101 - Chapter 3 - Dumbledore's New Role (Part 2 of 2)
One by one, the sixth year Gryffindors had their tutorials with Professor Dumbledore and when it was Harry’s turn he made his way back to the Defence Against The Dark Arts classroom. Knocking gently, the door swung slowly open and stepping inside Harry saw Dumbledore sitting at his desk at the head of the classroom.
‘Ah Harry, do come in,’ smiled Dumbledore, putting down his quill. Harry approached the desk and stood before the Headmaster, causing him to smile amusedly. ‘Please, take a seat.’
Harry sat down and looked at his Headmaster who frowned slightly as he looked the young man up and down.
‘Are you all right Harry?’ he asked. ‘You look a little flushed.’
‘I fell asleep in the library,’ said Harry meekly.
‘Ah, I myself have often found the peaceful environment of the library to have a certain soporific effect, but I am sure Madam Pince did not share this viewpoint.’ Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled mischievously as Harry grinned slightly. ‘But as fearsome to students as our dear Madam Pince may be,’ continued Dumbledore. ‘I do not think she is the cause for your ruffled state. Tell me Harry, when you slept, did you dream?’ Upon mentioning this, Harry looked almost confused as to how Dumbledore could know, but he had long ago stopped being too surprised at the extent of his Headmaster’s knowledge. Nodding weakly, Dumbledore looked satisfied that Harry was not going to hold back.
‘I dreamed about Sirius,’ said Harry quietly.
‘I thought you might,’ said Dumbledore sympathetically. ‘He was a good man and an important part of your life; it is only natural that you dreamed about him.’ Breaking eye contact, Professor Dumbledore pulled out a piece of parchment from his desk and quickly wrote down a few lines, covering the parchment with his hands as soon as he was finished. ‘So tell me Harry, what happened in your dream?’
‘Well, I didn’t know I was dreaming at the time,’ said Harry.
‘Very few of us do,’ said Dumbledore. ‘But please, tell me what happened.’
‘I was working in the library with Ron and Hermione when I saw something in the corner of my eye. I didn’t know what it was at first but then I saw Sirius walk right in front of our table and smile and wave at me.’
‘Go on,’ said Dumbledore, listening intently.
‘He turned and walked away so I started calling after him, quietly at first but louder and louder when no one told me to be quiet.’
‘What happened then?’ asked Dumbledore.
‘I followed him through the library but he still wouldn’t answer me, then when I caught up with him he just turned around and said nothing.’
‘Where was Sirius going?’ asked the Headmaster.
‘He was heading towards a door at the far end of the library,’ continued Harry. ‘I couldn’t remember seeing it before but I started to feel really bad about it, like I knew he shouldn’t go near it.’
‘And did he?’
‘Yes,’ sighed Harry. ‘He went through the door and when I opened it all I saw was the library wall, as if the door had never existed.’
‘What do you think this means?’ asked Dumbledore.
‘I’m not sure,’ said Harry, shaking his head slightly. ‘But it must have something to do with Sirius dying.’
‘Well done Harry,’ nodded Dumbledore. ‘It is clear to me that the door in your dream refers to the veil that Sirius passed through when he died.’ Dumbledore paused momentarily to look over his glasses at Harry before continuing. ‘Forgive my bluntness Harry, but I would imagine that you are tired of people treading on eggshells around you, I know I would be.’
‘It’s okay, Professor,’ said Harry.
‘Well, what I want you to do now is read this parchment, then I think you will know what it is I have in store for you.’ Professor Dumbledore handed Harry the parchment that he had written on moments before and sat back as Harry began to read:
“I was working in the library with Ron and Hermione when I saw something in the corner of my eye. I didn’t know what it was at first but then I saw Sirius walk right in front of our table and smile and wave at me.”
Harry blinked at the off yellow parchment while the words he had not long ago spoken sat plain as day in Dumbledore’s flowing script. He looked up at Dumbledore, then back down at the parchment, and slowly realisation stared to dawn on him.
‘You…you’re a…’ stuttered Harry.
‘Legimens,’ nodded Dumbledore.
‘I know Harry,’ said Dumbledore. ‘I should have made the responsibility of teaching you Occlumency my own in the first place, but I thought, foolishly I will now admit, that it would be a good test for Professor Snape as well.’
‘What do you mean?’ asked Harry, remembering with a shudder when Professor Snape had caught him observing embarrassing moments from the Potions Master’s past.
‘It is no secret, to those of the Order at least, that Professor Snape has a colourful past and that were it not for my intervention he would have surely been tried as a Death Eater.’ Harry repressed a slight surge of anger as he recalled the numerous times that Professor Snape had treated him unfairly but he also kept in mind that as much as he did not like the Potions Master he was putting his life in danger on a regular basis in order to provide The Order of The Phoenix with valuable information as to the movements and activities of Voldemort’s Death Eaters.
‘At any rate,’ continued Dumbledore. ‘It was as important for Professor Snape to let go of certain aspects of his past as it was for him to teach you the art of Occlumency, unfortunately some of Professor Snape’s darker moments run far deeper than I had anticipated. He is, after all a skilled Legimens.’
‘So, does this mean I’m going to start learning Occlumency again?’ asked Harry.
‘Yes, as part of your Defence Against The Dark Arts education we will be meeting once a week to go over your progress and test your abilities. I will set you reading each week but I am not going to make you write essays and such, knowledge written is not always knowledge remembered, and it is imperative that you learn as much as you can.’
‘Thank you Professor.’
‘Don’t thank me just yet,’ said Dumbledore. ‘This is not going to be an easy road, you are going to have to absorb an awful lot of information and it will no doubt get stressful at times, but I would not be proposing this if I did not think you could handle it.’
‘I’ll try my best,’ said Harry, nodding determinedly.
‘I sincerely hope so,’ said Dumbledore, pulling out another sheet of parchment. ‘This is the book I want you to start with, show Madam Pince this parchment and she will allow you to check books out of the Restricted Section.’
‘Thank you Professor,’ said Harry, pocketing the parchment.
‘Thank you Harry, I shall see you next week.’ Getting up from his chair, Harry left the Defence Against The Dark Arts classroom and made his way back to Gryffindor common room, expecting to see Ron and Hermione, but they were not there. Approaching one of the armchairs, Harry enquired with Neville Longbottom as to their whereabouts.
‘I think they said they were going to visit Hagrid,’ he said.
‘Cheers Neville,’ smiled Harry, as he made his way to the portrait hole.