Headology 101 - Chapter 6 - Christmas with the Order (Part 1 of 2)
After Lord Voldemort’s surprise visit to Hogwarts at the Halloween Ball, Professor Dumbledore deemed the school to be unsafe for students to remain within over the Christmas holidays. So, while he set about revamping the school’s magical securities, all Hogwarts students were sent home for Christmas, and for those who usually stayed at school arrangements were made for them to stay with the families of friends.
This being the case, Harry was all set to spend Christmas with the Weasley’s at The Burrow but on the day before everyone was due to leave for home he was called to Professor Dumbledore’s study. Having finished packing his trunk, he made his way to the appropriate corridor, whispered the password to the awaiting gargoyle and ascended the stairs.
‘Come in,’ said the familiar voice of Dumbledore before Harry could even lay a knuckle on the ornate wood. Opening the door slowly, Harry stepped inside the study and made his way over to Dumbledore’s desk where the Headmaster was waiting patiently, his piercing blue eyes fixed on the young Gryffindor.
‘Take a seat please Harry,’ said Dumbledore, pressing his fingertips together as he gazed over his half moon glasses, the portraits of Headmasters and Mistresses past either snoozing or taking mild interest in the proceedings. Harry sat himself down in the available chair and waited for Dumbledore to speak again. ‘First of all Harry I feel I must once again apologise to you.’
‘Yes Harry, apologise. Since the sad demise of your parents I have regrettably underestimated the strength of the connection between yourself and the Dark Lord that was forged on that fateful night.’ Harry fought the immediate surge of emotion at the mention of his parents and continued to listen to what Dumbledore had to say. ‘Anyway Harry, I am currently looking into ways of how to solidify the protection here at Hogwarts but I will confess that Voldemort’s appearance at the Halloween Ball has unnerved me, I did not think it possible.’ Harry waited a few seconds for the conversation to continue but Dumbledore seemed to have trailed off, his usually serene gaze taking on a more troubled look.
‘Err, are you alright, Professor?’ ventured Harry.
‘What? Oh yes, fine,’ said Dumbledore, snapping back to reality. ‘Now, in the light of this recent revelation I feel it will be far safer for you to spend Christmas with The Order at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place.’
‘Oh, okay,’ said Harry, feeling slightly disappointed that he would not be going to The Burrow.
‘Now don’t worry,’ smiled Dumbledore, his manner returning to its usual genial nature. ‘It may please you to know that your good friends Mister Weasley and Miss Granger will be joining you at Grimmauld Place.’
‘They will?’ said Harry, perking up instantly.
‘Yes Harry, they will. As I am sure you will agree there is strength in numbers and I would personally feel better if you were under the watchful eye of The Order. Also, Molly has all but demanded that you spend Christmas with The Order, and you know it does not do to disagree with her.’ Harry smiled as Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled mischievously, spending Christmas at Grimmauld Place would not be so bad if Ron and Hermione were going to be there.
‘So I shall see you on Christmas Day then Harry,’ said Dumbledore, standing up.
‘I will?’ asked Harry.
‘Of course, The Order has a meeting scheduled for Christmas Day. What is it that Mister Moody is always saying? Constant vigilance.’ Harry nodded, happy in the knowledge that he would be seeing Dumbledore for Christmas. The Headmaster led Harry to the door, shook his hand and returned to his desk, the troubled look in his eyes returning. As he worked, one of the former Headmasters regarded the current appointee from his ageing frame.
‘The connection is too strong isn’t it Albus?’
‘I fear so,’ replied Dumbledore.
* * *
Sitting almost motionless before a miserable looking fire, Lord Voldemort was lost in thought, the dying embers going completely unnoticed. The muted crackle of the fire was the only sound that could be heard, until the door on the far side of the room was opened and closed by a nameless Death Eater, who approached the fireplace with caution.
‘Master, a word?’
‘Yes?’ replied the Dark Lord tartly.
‘Well,’ ventured the Death Eater carefully. ‘Everyone is of course most impressed with your well executed appearance at Hogwarts but, well…’
‘What is it?’ demanded the Dark Lord.
‘Well, people are wondering why we do not just mount a full attack on Hogwarts…’
‘No!’ shouted Voldemort, snapping forward in his chair and fixing the Death Eater with a cold, piercing glare. ‘I cannot do that!’
‘But you said your connection with the Potter boy was…’
‘It is,’ spat Voldemort. ‘But…you do not understand.’
‘What is it, Master?’
‘Be gone from my sight!’ hissed Voldemort.
‘Yes, Master,’ said the Death Eater quickly, scurrying hurriedly from the room.
‘Why did she have to come here?’ asked Voldemort to himself when he was alone again. ‘Why now? It was all going to be so perfect.’
* * *
Due to safety precautions implemented by The Order of The Phoenix, Harry was unable to travel to Grimmauld Place by Floo Powder but luckily Professor Dumbledore had arranged an unofficial Portkey to transport him to the back garden of Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, where Ron and Hermione were waiting for him.
‘Alright mate?’ beamed Ron, as Harry appeared on the lawn, his trunk landing heavily beside him.
‘Hi,’ smiled Harry, as he enchanted his trunk to levitate towards the house.
‘How are you Harry?’ asked Hermione, who unsurprisingly had a large book tucked under her arm.
‘Oh not too bad, you?’
‘Okay, considering,’ shrugged Hermione. ‘Professor Dumbledore said it would be better if I spend Christmas here. I do miss Mum and Dad but I guess he’s right.’
‘Anyway, lets get your stuff upstairs,’ said Ron, putting his arm around Harry’s shoulder and leading him up to the house.
Harry was pleased to see that the entire Weasley family were present at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, and after enduring the inevitable hugs from Molly Weasley he, Ron and Hermione adjourned upstairs to unload Harry’s things.
‘I didn’t know you all be here,’ said Harry, as he placed Hedwig’s cage on top of his dresser.
‘Yeah well,’ shrugged Ron. ‘Dumbledore reckoned it’d be safer.’
‘I think it’s great,’ smiled Harry. ‘I love spending Christmas with you guys.’
‘Yes I’m sure we’ll all have a wonderful time,’ said Hermione cheerfully, causing Ron to blush slightly.
‘And it’s great that you’re here too,’ said Harry. ‘Isn’t it Ron?’
‘Yeah…definitely,’ mumbled Ron, as he turned a brighter shade of crimson and fixed his gaze on anywhere but Hermione. An awkward silence permeated the room before Hermione spoke again.
‘Well I’ll leave you to pack,’ she said. ‘I want to finish this chapter before dinner.’
‘Okay, see you downstairs,’ said Harry.
‘Yeah, see you,’ said Ron quickly. As soon as Hermione had left the room Ron’s gaze snapped to Harry and he fixed him with an accusatory glare.
‘What?’ asked Harry.
‘You know bloody well what,’ said Ron irritably. ‘Just knock it off, alright?’
‘I’m sorry,’ said Harry. ‘I thought you were going to tell her how you felt.’
‘Slow down there mate, I had just about plucked up the courage to ask her to dance at the Halloween Ball before You-Know-Who decided to drop in.’
‘Yeah, that was a real shame,’ nodded Harry.
‘Tell me about it.’
‘Well you’ve got to do something,’ said Harry as he sat down next to Ron on his bed. ‘Otherwise it’s just going to eat away at you.’
‘I know,’ sighed Ron.
‘Besides,’ grinned Harry. ‘You’re getting to be a real pain about it.’ Ron punched Harry playfully in the arm before the voice of Molly Weasley could be heard calling them down to dinner.
‘I’ll try and talk to her over the holiday,’ said Ron.