Headology 101 - Chapter 9 - The Wrong Ron (Part 2 of 2)
Harry had faced Voldemort at least three times and encountered numerous dangers since starting at Hogwarts, but having The Dark Lord parade around as his best friend with nothing he could do about it was quite possibly the hardest thing Harry had ever had to do. The struggle to keep his thoughts and emotions from betraying him was a terrible strain and by the time he climbed into bed that night he was exhausted. He fell quickly to sleep and it was not long before the dreams came.
Harry found himself wandering the corridors of Hogwarts, fully dressed as if he were moving from one lesson to another, but there was no one else around. Every classroom and every corridor that he found himself in was totally empty. Even the portrait frames were bereft of their usual occupants, and not a single ghost appeared through any wall or door, not even Peeves who could always be counted on to break any silence, Hogwarts was empty.
Walking the halls, Harry started to become aware of a feeling that he could not shake, he was not in fact alone. The more he walked the more intense this feeling became, until Harry was circling in the middle of a corridor looking for something, anything.
You know, don’t you?
The words came to him on the cusp of hearing, as light as a whisper but with them came a cold dread that filled his body like cold, dark ink. Staring this way and that, Harry looked wildly around for the owner of the voice but all he saw were shadows and the empty corridor in which he stood. Breathing rapidly, Harry nearly yelped the next time the voice sounded in his ears.
I know you know.
Spurred by fear, Harry started to run, he didn’t know where he was going but his instincts told him to get away from where he was, and as fast as possible. Passing endless classrooms and stairways, Harry ploughed through the corridors of Hogwarts before he collided full force with a solid object that he could swear should not be there. Sitting in a crumpled, sweaty heap on the floor, Harry adjusted his glasses and looked up to see what he had run into.
Fighting back the shock, Harry thought back to the conversations he had had with Dumbledore about Sirius’ recent presence in his dreams and how it was quite possibly his late godfather offering what little help he could in the fight against Voldemort.
‘Sirius, Voldemort’s here,’ said Harry, still somewhat out of breath from his impromptu sprint through Hogwarts. ‘He knows I know, I can hear him. What do I do?’ Sirius said nothing, but instead smiled warmly at Harry before his body started to shift, indicating that he was transforming into animal form. Harry had seen this numerous times in the past so it didn’t shock him, but instead of the shaggy black dog that Sirius usually changed into a unicorn stood where the man had been, its shimmering body almost too bright for Harry to look at.
‘Sirius?’ said Harry, cautiously, wondering whether this really was his godfather. The unicorn dipped its head in a gesture that seemed to confirm that it was indeed Sirius and before Harry knew what was happening the unicorn stopped low and slid its muscular neck in between Harry’s legs, lifting him easily onto its back. As soon as Harry was seated across the powerful creature it took off, hurtling through the castle at breakneck speed. Sparks flew from under its hooves as Harry clung for dear life on to the silvery mane of the mighty beast and in no time at all they were out of the castle and the unicorn had leaped the stairs and landed effortlessly on the grassy slope. With not even a second’s pause the animal was powering on, heading in the direction of Hagrid’s cabin. Harry hid his head in the smooth locks of the mane as the cabin became dangerously close, and when Harry was sure they would slam into the solid wood the unicorn reared up and kicked the door in as if it were nothing. Looking up Harry saw Ron and Hermione sitting on Hagrid’s massive bed and no words needed to be spoken when Harry saw the cruel and malicious grin crease Ron’s normally amiable face.
Harry awoke once again with his sheets in tangles and his dorm mates surrounding his bed, now looking more perturbed than concerned. Harry reached for his glasses with a shaking hand as Dean Thomas addressed him with an annoyed tone.
‘For God’s sake Harry, can’t we get one decent night’s sleep without you screaming the place down? Voldemort’s dead, give it a rest will you?’
‘No, he’s alive,’ said Harry, as he flung the sweat-drenched sheets off of his legs and started towards the door.
‘What are you talking about?’ asked Dean, fighting back a yawn, but Harry did not answer. Instead he took off out of the room at a run, Hagrid’s cabin his destination. Sunlight streamed through the windows as he bolted down corridors and staircases, almost knocking several people over as he rocketed past. When he reached the entrance hall he saw Dumbledore striding purposefully towards the main doors, wand in hand.
‘Professor, it’s…’ began Harry.
‘I know, Harry,’ said Dumbledore, not even looking back at the boy. Running out into the mid-morning sunshine Harry blinked as he focused on Hagrid’s cabin, sitting at the far end of the lawn, just on the border of the Forbidden Forest. He had to jog to keep up with Dumbledore’s long strides as they approached the cabin and without a moment’s hesitation Dumbledore flung the door wide open to reveal Lord Voldemort sitting on Hagrid’s bed with a terrified Hermione sitting next to him.
‘And so it begins,’ hissed Voldemort.