Training and Confrontations


Story Summary:
A sprawling tale set in many places and dimensions, as Harry finds himself, finds his abilities grow, and trains for that final confrontation with Voldemort. A H/L/Hr tale, with N/G, R/T, and a paternal Ron.

Chapter 19

Chapter Summary:
A sprawling tale set in many places and dimensions, as Harry finds himself, finds his abilities growing, and trains for that final confrontation with Voldemort. A H/L/Hr tale, with N/G, Remus/T, and a paternal Ron. Part II continues on a different world.
Author's Note:
Harry is made an offer he feels he can?t refuse; Draco meets his Master; Dean appeals for help.

Chapter XIX

To Harry's surprise, Lord Dumbledore merely showed Harry into a small, private study he had never noticed before. "Harold, these three men are what we call Dragons. In some ways, they resemble what you would call aurors, hit-wizards, Unspeakables, and warrior monks. You may trust everything they tell you."

Lord Dumbledore then bowed his way out of the room.

"Our names are relatively unimportant," the oldest of them said. "For your purposes, Mister Potter, you may call us Two, Three, and Four."

"Who is Number One?" Harry asked.

"You would be known as Five, should you join us for a period of training," Two went on.

"What kind of training?" Harry asked, suspiciously.

"Magical training of an order you could barely understand the outlines of right now," Number Four answered.

"No outsider has been offered this high of training since the three Dumbledore brothers," Two went on. "Albus completed the Sixth of Nine Levels, the other two managed to complete the Second level. When he contacted us, we did not think we would offer you this training, but something more . . . simple and suitable."

"For one thing, a wizard of your age would not normally be considered for this training," Three went on. "What convinced us otherwise was the synergy of your group."

"All six of you contribute, it is true, but you supply the conduit, you supply the power. In return, the others contribute their feelings and talents. That has created a unique situation which, coupled with the possibilities of what your raw power may grow into . . . well," Two said, "that convinced us to make this change of plans."

"What Levels of training are you offering us?" Harry asked.

"As to that, your five friends and two trainers would only be given a very few aspects of the First and Second Levels, in order for them to understand something of your powers and training. As for you, well. . . ." Two shrugged, "considering the time constraints, you may achieve as High as full Third Level training, perhaps even most of the Fourth. We may wish to continue the training even longer, but we shall see."

"And what will my friends be doing while I'm doing this training?"

"It will seem a tad paradoxical, but to increase your group's power, we shall have to split you up for nearly three months," Four answered. "Each of the others will be given specialized training, according to their talents."

"Your friend Luna will be doing the promised training with the area's Sibyl," Three said. "Hermione will be studying with a powerful group of scholarly witches. Neville will be on a large island, which acts as a nursery for magical plants, studying with the herbalists and gardeners. Ronald will be given warrior training, and if he completes it, he will be able to find himself taken on by the hit-wizards of your Ministry. His sister will be given some of that same training, and you will be given more. She will also be schooled in some of the knowledge she desires to help Neville along his path."

Harry frowned.

"You forgot two people," Four prompted.

"Oh, right. Dora has a very rare gift, which she has developed quite well. We shall help her make her transformations with greater ease. I doubt we can improve her actual ability at all."

Harry stared at them, shocked.

The three men smiled. "We quickly understood her abilities," Number Two said, "just as we saw your guardian Remus Lupin is a werewolf on your world. We can do nothing for his condition, but he is also a very scholarly man, and we shall help him gain greater knowledge as well."

"And what do you get out of this?" Harry asked.

"Tom Riddle cannot win in your world," Two answered. "If he is thwarted long enough there without being destroyed, he may turn his attentions here. Even though we understand he is even more mentally disturbed than he had been in his first incarnation, he is still dangerous. We would destroy him if he comes here, but if he brings those dementors with him, they may multiply."

"We no longer have dementors here, and do not want them to return," Three stated firmly.

Harry thought about all that, and then asked, "How long will we be apart?"

"The mid-summer celebrations are in three days. You would separate on the Twenty-third. You would be brought together sometime before the equinox, say between the Fifteenth and Twentieth of September."

"It seems a long time now," Four said, "but it really isn't, in the larger scheme of life. We can promise you at least six, if not a score or more, of days more-or-less alone together afterwards, so that you may reacquaint yourselves, as friends or even as more than friends."

Harry sighed. "Well, it's what I came to this world for," Harry said. "I can't answer for the others." He smiled slightly. "I know Ron will be disappointed, at the least. He wanted to play Quidditch."

"You can always play Quidditch later. Talk to them tonight and in the morning," Two said. "Give us our answer tomorrow at noon."


"Well," Harry said to the seven shocked faces looking back at him, "say something."

"'Something'," Ron said. Ginny whacked his arm. "OW!"

"You're going, aren't you, Harry?" Neville stated more than asked.

"It's sort of what I came here to do," Harry answered in a regretful tone.

"That's true," Remus agreed.

"Three months. . . ." Ginny said, giving Neville a sideways glance.

"Well, we have until noon tomorrow," Hermione said. "Let's think about it tonight, and talk about it in the morning."

"Good idea," Ron said. "Pity if we have to miss the Quidditch season."

"This will look the same in the morning," Luna said, ignoring Ron. "It might just take until then to accept it."

Back in London

"Sit down, Draco."

Draco sneered. "Cousin, the Head of the Family might be illegally stuck in prison, but I still don't take orders from you."


Draco screamed in agony as he hit the polished floor of Julian Malfoy's new corner office.

After twenty seconds of torture, the curse was lifted. A silky voice said softly, "No, you take your orders from me, boy."

Draco stopped hugging himself and managed to look up, gasping in agony. His breath caught in his throat for a moment, and then he nearly vomited.

Draco had always imagined the Dark Lord to be either tall, slim, devilishly handsome, and charming -- or perhaps tall, broad, and ruggedly handsome. What he saw was inhuman, a monster. Tall, certainly, but more of a snake in human form, with blazing red eyes.

"Tell me everything you know of Potter and his friends," Voldemort commanded. "Tell it to me correctly, without embellishment or editorializing. Every lie, every exaggeration, every unasked for opinion, will get you two seconds of pain, all added together at the end. Every fact you tell me that actually impresses me will spare you one second of the agony. So, little prince, speak to me your story." Voldemort changed his eyes to gaze on Julian. "You have a suggestion?"

"If you have the time, Master."

Voldemort smiled. "I have an abundance of time today."

Julian bowed and turned to Draco, "If the Master agrees, I want you to tell him the story of your time at Hogwarts. Start from the moment you met Potter. Concentrate on Potter and his friends, but also tell us about the House dynamics, tell us about all the people in your year. Tell us about your teachers. Tell us . . . everything that will help the Master and his servants understand the current dynamics of Hogwarts, and what happens around Potter."

"And do not think I will not be meeting others who can tell me stories," Voldemort said with a hiss. "You will earn your place today. One way, or another."

Draco lay on the floor, trying to think, trying to come up with something to help himself.

"Sit up," Julian commanded. "Start with when you first saw Potter."

Draco sat up and thought for a moment. "It was either the end of July or early August," Draco said in a hesitating voice. "I was finally being fitted for my school robes. . . ."

Nearly six hours later, the exhausted, bruised, slightly broken body of Draco Malfoy was transported back to the luxury of Malfoy Manor, where Draco would need some time to recover.

Voldemort turned to Julian. "Concerned for your cousin?"

"No, Master," Julian said honestly. "I am pleased you were so merciful."


"You obviously learned a great deal more than I did, Master, to have spared him so much torment."

Voldemort nodded, "Yes, he is an arrogant little shite, isn't he?" Voldemort's face suddenly contorted in hatred, "Vile, spoiled little beast! How I loathed the type when I was at that school!" He recovered himself. "Perhaps your cousin has a better idea now of where he stands in the scheme of things."

Julian wisely said nothing, merely bowing his agreement.

"Tell me, what did you learn from his meanderings?"

Julian frowned. "Well, Granger must be even more remarkable than I thought."

"For what reasons?"

"I'm surprised Draco hasn't put things together yet, but that had to have been Potter and Weasley using Polyjuice their Second year. Granger must have made it, unless a teacher was helping them."

"That I doubt," Voldemort said. "I am certain the Old Man allows Potter and his friends a great deal of freedom. That would pass for his idea of training, no doubt. Yes, I am also certain Granger must have made the Potion. It is difficult. Young Crouch managed an E N.E.W.T. in Potions, and I still had to help him a bit with the Potion. For a mere Second year to have mastered it . . . remarkable." Voldemort glared. "What?"

"She must have made some sort of mistake with her own dose," Julian said in a hesitating voice.

"True. I did not miss that, either." Voldemort shrugged. "I doubt they had ideal laboratory conditions to make it in. It isn't difficult for a dose to be contaminated." Julian bowed.

"What else?" Voldemort demanded.

"The Weasley girl would likely be the most difficult to get a hold of," Julian answered. "The Weasley boy and Longbottom are certainly possibilities."

"Yes, I noticed how young Draco managed not to admit that the Weasley girl hexed him and most of his friends last June, leading the break-out in fact. She must be a feisty one." Voldemort hesitated, but then said, "However, we must still consider her as a possible target."

"Yes, Master."

"Young Malfoy didn't know the details, but his father arranged for a . . . device to be given to an unsuspecting First year. This device gradually gained partial possession of the Weasley girl, and launched the so-called Monster. If we do succeed in taking her, she might be easier to repossess."

Julian bowed yet again.

"Why not the Lovegood girl?" Voldemort demanded. "I grant you, Draco knew little about her."

"I am not absolutely certain yet, but it looks like she might be a full Seer, Master."


"Yes, Master. She is definitely on the desensitizing potion, but I haven't tracked down the dosage yet."

"Is that so?" Voldemort asked in a why that seemed to invite more. He knew that a full Seer could be difficult to trap.

"Yes, Master. I have inquired of Snape through Pettigrew about all Hogwarts students who are on the potion, but I haven't gotten an answer yet."

"You were wise to disguise your actual interest. It could be you have asked too much as it is."

Malfoy shuddered, but said nothing as he bowed.

"We shall see how things turn out. What else did you learn?" When Malfoy hesitated, Voldemort commanded. "Speak!"

"Are you satisfied with Snape's loyalty, Master?"

"Yes. I am satisfied he is a traitor of long-standing. It is useful to play him along. That was well-spotted, however. No one else has mentioned any such doubts."

"I hadn't many doubts until a few days ago," Julian admitted. "The portrait could not tell us much, but some of the little she was able to say made me wonder about him. If I had known four days ago what I know now. . . ."

"What made you do more than suspect him today?"

"I cannot believe the Old Man would tolerate the behavior described. I had thought Snape would act much more circumspect. He therefore either knew Snape was your servant and was using him, or he had turned Snape. What advantage would Dumbledore have in allowing a Snape loyal to you roam Hogwarts and influence young Slytherins at the least? There were few I could see, none outweighing the losses in Slytherin to your recruiting. I just don't see Dumbledore letting that happen. Hence, my questions about the House dynamics." Julian shook his head. "Draco should be smart enough to realize that Snape isn't encouraging the Slytherins in your direction, he's drawing them out."

"Exactly. Now, I have seen you glance at that pile of paper several times since I arrived this morning. What is so important?"

"I do not know, Master. They are reports from the Muggle detectives I have working on finding Potter, in case he is hiding in the Muggle world."

"I see. Well, see if there is any news."

"Yes, Master." Julian slit open the reports.

"Some news?" Voldemort asked five minutes later. He was impressed that this Malfoy knew how to behave, and also knew how to do his work even when he was being observed.

"Yes, Master, although I'm not certain if it's good news or bad."

"Well, at this point what we need in information. So, speak."

"Papers have been filed with the Muggle courts, Master. Potter and Granger have new guardians."

"The Weasleys, no doubt."

"Surprisingly enough, no, Master."

"Well, don't make me guess, boy!"

Malfoy quickly said, "Potter's is one Alastor Moody, Granger's is Lovegood's father, Daniel Lovegood."

"Moody is a rather broken-down retired auror. Clever, capable, but paranoid and crippled." Voldemort thought a moment. "He would offer the Boy little active protection, but actually could make a decent coach. I would imagine that the werewolf is with him, wherever the Boy is, helping to coach him as well."

"Most likely, Master."

"Is this Daniel Lovegood the auror?"

Malfoy was very glad he had recently found this out. "He was, Master. After the last of your followers' trials, Fudge, who was promoted to head the Exchequer, slashed taxes to promote growth, and therefore also slashed services. The aurors were cut by at least a fifth, probably more since they haven't hired nearly as many replacements as they should have for subsequent retirees. Lovegood was one of the first ones cut. He runs a very odd little scandal sheet. It's a weekly called The Quibbler."

"I see." Voldemort stood. "I have not felt even the slightest connection to the Boy in nearly five days. I suspect he has been moved far from Europe."

"Should I alter my searches, Master?"

"Actually, you may call off the searches in the Muggle world. Go back to my businesses here, and help that idiot Wormtail. Those should occupy you for the time being. At some point, the Old Man or the MLES will decide to break the Fidelius at Grimmauld Place. I am certain the Old Man must have left some trap door that will break the charm. When they invade the house, I want it ready to greet them."

"As you command, Master."

"You have played your role moderately well, Malfoy. Yes, you have earned a Mudblood or two to stud. Perhaps Granger, since you seem to have taken an interest in her. What has to be done next is beyond your talents, so go back to doing what you do so well. Enjoy your promotion."

"Thank you for allowing me to serve, Master." Voldemort disapparated. Julian fell back into his chair, and sighed a huge sigh of relief.

June 23, Day 54

"I don't want you to go," Hermione said, squeezing Luna hard. She only eased up when Luna squeaked a little.

"What, you're not going to miss me?" Harry teased.

"Of course I will," Hermione said, still holding Luna tightly, her head pressed against Luna's breast. "Just like I know you'll miss me. You'll just miss Luna even more."

"It is what we came for," Harry pointed out.

"I know," Hermione agreed. "We all need to gain as much knowledge and experience as we can."

"And a few months apart now may bring us over a century of togetherness," Luna said with some satisfaction.

"Is that something you see with your Inner Eye?" Hermione teased.

"No, that is what I hope for in my inner heart," Luna replied. "I love both of you dearly."

Hermione breathed in sharply and let go of her lover. Luna had said that just once in front of both Harry and Hermione (and the group), just like neither of them had said it in front of both of the others other than that one time.

"I do love you," Luna said, looking Hermione in the eyes. "You are smart, kind, honest, passionate, and zealous. Harry and I are both as honest and kind as you, if in different ways, but lack your passion for life and zealousness for abstract principle. Harry's passions are directed for helping people in concrete ways, just as you strive to help them in the abstract. You and I have passions for knowing the world, even if we look at that world differently. All three of us are passionate for each other, and for the concept of family."

Luna wrapped her arms around Hermione, and kissed her passionately. "My love and passions will wait for both of you." She squeezed Hermione again, and then leaned over and kissed Harry in turn.

"I love you," Harry said simply. Every time he said it, he said it with a bit of surprise in his voice, as if he were still surprised that anyone could hear him say it without rejecting him. "I love both of you." Hermione and Luna leaned in and kissed his cheeks.

"I love both of you, too," Hermione said, grabbing them in a hug.

"I'll see you in September," Harry said, and after a last hug, the trio broke up to say goodbye to their other friends.

Back in London
Friday, August 9, 1996



"There's someone here to see you."

Kingsley Shacklebolt frowned but looked up from his reports. "Who is it?" 'If it's that idiot Weasley,' he thought, 'I'll boot his arse back to Fudge's office so fast. . . ."

"His name is Dean Thomas."

Kingsley thought about that, and gestured that the clerk could show the teen in.

"I'm sorry to bother you. . . ." Dean said at the threshold of the small office.

"No, come on in, and shut the door," Kingsley said. "I did say you could drop by any time."

"I wasn't sure if you'd even be here. . . ."

"I might have to leave. Come in and sit down."

"Nothing I can ask about, right?"

"Not the specifics," the auror answered. "In short, we have a good idea of who put the finger on the Grangers and Potter's relatives. The problem is, he's never at home or on the streets. Unfortunately, we can't take him at work, for reasons I won't go into" -- the aurors knew that anyone in the Marvolo Building, now that they had figured out the connections to Voldemort, could escape before they got past the foyer -- "and he's traveling magically someplace else." 'Headquarters, no doubt, not that we can access the place now,' he thought.

"Oh, well, if you have to leave. . . ."

"I'm glad you understand. Is this just a social call, or is there something I can help you with?" Kingsley winced internally at how that must have sounded.

"I was just wondering if you could tell me any non-specific news of Harry and the others."

Kingsley smiled at that phrasing. "Actually, I found out just two days ago, and it wasn't very specific. Harry and his five friends, plus Lupin and another tutor are well outside Europe. I doubt if anyone besides Dumbledore and Moody have the slightest hint of where they are. I certainly don't."

"But they are safe?"

"They are."

"Good enough."

"Anything else? It seems like a long trip just to ask that, even if you were worried."

"I've decided to take you up on your offer."

"Which one?"

"I can use some dueling coaching."

"You did say you earned an O on your Defense practical," Kingsley pointed out.

"And I'll be taking Defense, but things happen around Harry, and I might be around him a fair amount. I need to be ready."

"You do," Kingsley agreed. "Let's set up some lesson times."

Author notes: Yes, 'Numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5' is a bow to the British series 'The Prisoner'. The students stay in this world through most of chapter 22.