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 40

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 IV (Chapters 35-44) goes from the start of the New Year through the end of June.
Author's Note:
Harry meets with Dumbledore et al about Rookwood and Malfoy; Molly considers the past and future; Rose reveals a gift.

Chapter XL
Monday, March 24, 1997

Harry came jogging back to the Burrow after his morning run, foreshortened that morning because there had been a full moon at 4:45 that morning. Harry and Ron had both gotten up early and had run with Remus in their animagi forms until the sun had transformed Remus back to himself. Between the two animagi, the Wolfsbane, and the short time transformed, Remus was in good shape. Harry had run back from the Lovegoods (a short run for him) while Ron had stayed to have breakfast there.

Harry did his stretches, and took off his running trainers and put on his slippers. Molly did not want him tracking mud into the house again, even if he was now allowed to use magic to clean up after himself.

Coming into the kitchen, Harry was surprised to find it well-occupied. Normally at this time, only Molly Weasley would be in the kitchen. Arthur would have just left and the rest of the household would still be in bed.

This morning, however, Arthur was still in the kitchen, as was Albus Dumbledore and, to Harry's even greater surprise, Snape.

"Headmaster," Harry said, suspiciously, "Professor Snape."

"Good morning, Harry," Dumbledore said. "Please shower and dress, then we have something to discuss."

Harry came back down the stairs less than fifteen minutes later. "What's happened?" Harry asked, sitting down and looking over his bowl of porridge.

"There was an interesting development Saturday evening," Dumbledore said. "Augustus Rookwood and Julian Malfoy arrived at Hogwarts and surrendered themselves."

"Rookwood . . . isn't he Voldemort's tame Unspeakable?" Harry asked.

"He was, at least until last week," Snape said.

"He was at the fight at the Department of Mysteries," Harry said. "Malfoy is the one who let the Death Eaters into Privet Drive. Didn't he also have something to do with Hermione's parents being killed?"

"He did the surveillance on their house, if nothing else," Dumbledore said. He paused, and added, "He was also indirectly behind the attack on Miss Lovegood and Mister Longbottom."


"Remember, Mister Malfoy said Montague thought they were going to play a prank on you?" Harry nodded. "That was not a 'pranking device', it was a Muggle bomb that would have killed Montague and his followers as well as you and yours."

"Draco was most fortunate not to have blown himself up disposing of it," Snape snarled.

Harry kept his eyes on Dumbledore. "And they came to Hogwarts, and surrendered to you?"

"They did."

"May I ask what kind of deal they got, and for what kind of information?"

Snape curled his lip a bit, but Dumbledore merely said, "While I cannot tell you everything, that is why I am here, Harry."

Harry smiled. "And when does some of this come out in The Daily Prophet?"

"Potter!" Snape protested angrily.

"On Friday," Dumbledore said calmly, which made Snape look at Dumbledore in surprise. The Weasleys were already in shock. It was clear this was all news to them.

"Both men were essentially given a form of probation and exile," Dumbledore went on. "Should they ever transgress the law, Wizarding or even Muggle, we can reinstate a full prosecution, with their signed confessions."


"They both have to leave Europe for good, and the local magical authorities have been notified."

"I'm sure they both want to get as far away for Voldemort as possible," Harry said drily.

"They are both intelligent men, especially Malfoy," Dumbledore agreed.

"I don't suppose you could tell me where they're going?"

"No," Dumbledore said, "I do not think that would be wise." Rookwood had stashed away a small fortune decades before. While other Death Eaters had indulged in killing Muggles for fun, Rookwood had stolen from the Death Eaters' victims. He was heading for Bolivia. Julian Malfoy had built several trapdoors into the MHC, and would be taking nearly half a million Galleons with him to the Bahamas. The MHC would be bankrupt, with Muggle investigators taking it apart, within three months. Neither had mentioned their arrangements, of course.

"Well, I'm sure Malfoy at least took enough of Voldemort's money to live an easy life," Harry said bitterly.

"He probably has," Dumbledore agreed. "Auditors from both the Muggle and magical governments are already swarming all over the Marvolo Holding Company. Malfoy did tell me he spent most of his spare time in the autumn and early winter doing two things. One was helping Pettigrew lay traps in Grimmauld Place. The curse-breaking team is making very slow progress."

"I really don't want the place anyway," Harry said. "I wouldn't mind them getting Sirius' motorcycle out if they can, but that's about it. Am I paying for this team?"

"You are paying part of the costs," Dumbledore acknowledged.

"Then donate the house and contents to the Ministry or Gringotts or whoever, other than the motorcycle. They can use it for practice, and then do whatever they want to with the . . . thing." Harry had moderated his language, in deference to Mrs. Weasley and Professor Dumbledore.

"I'm certain Alastor can work something mutually agreeable," Mr. Weasley said.

"I agree," Dumbledore said. "I will see that you get the motorcycle, any of Sirius' personal effects, and all the books. I'm certain you, Miss Granger, and Miss Lovegood would want those. Now, I will fill Remus in on this later. Alastor already knows. The main reason the pair were let off easily is in part because they told us what Voldemort has planned for the night of the Thirtieth of June."

"A Dark ceremony?" Harry asked.

"Very Dark," Dumbledore agreed. "He has found a way to steal the life force and even some of the magical power of his followers. That is, in fact, the primary flaw in the ceremony. The victim must be a sworn follower. Unfortunately for Voldemort, Rookwood recognized the preparations. Malfoy did not, but was asked to take the Dark Mark."

"Which goes against most of what the Dark Lord claims he stands for," Snape put in.

"Indeed. That made Malfoy suspicious. He observed the others, and decided, correctly, that Rookwood knew what was happening and wished to flee, but did not dare to. Malfoy encouraged Rookwood, and the pair fled together. They also left notes behind to the others, telling them to flee for their lives."

"Now remember, Voldemort fled with twenty-three Death Eaters and Malfoy. Four had attempted to desert even before this, and were killed by Voldemort."

"Killed very slowly, of course," Snape reminded Harry and the Weasleys.

"This is what accounted for Rookwood's reluctance to act on his knowledge. As of an hour ago, at least twelve more of Voldemort's Death Eaters have fled. Six were killed, and three managed to surrender. We currently have no information on the other three."

"As best we can tell," Snape said, "the ritual needed at least a dozen followers to be sacrificed to be fully effective. If he tries it with six, it could fail, it could injure him, or it may just strengthen him slightly. Of course, there may be other followers about whom we know nothing, but it does not seem likely."

"Thank you for telling me," Harry said. "In the worst case scenario, I guess we'll find out in just over three months."

"There is one other thing," Dumbledore said. "Malfoy accounted for some of the money Voldemort spent over the last three weeks. However, he said Voldemort spent over two hundred thousand Galleons that he could not account for. He also took a hundred and fifty thousand British pounds, and spent it while they were passing through Afghanistan. Malfoy's impression, and that's all it was, is that while Voldemort was not planning on confronting you directly before the end of June, both sets of money were going for just such a purpose." Molly made a small, shocked sound.

"Well," Harry said, "there's not much we can do if we have no idea what's going on, is there?"

"No, there is not," Dumbledore agreed. "Still, I thought you should know."

Harry smiled. "There's only one thing I can do."

"And that is?" Snape asked.

"Why, practice 'constant vigilance', of course!"

It warmed up enough that afternoon to allow Sirius and Rosie outside to play. Molly watched out the kitchen window, Fleur and Tonks were having tea with her. "It's difficult to believe they know the threat that's over Harry," Molly said.

Tonks stood up and looked out the window. She smiled at the sight. Remus was napping in the sun on a chaise-longue, covered by a heavy blanket. Ginny Weasley, in terrier form, was laying on his lap, surveying the scene. Hermione was in parrot form, perched above Remus' shoulder, doing the same. Neville was also in his animagus form, giving a ride to Rosie, with Tracy and Luna walking on either side of her, keeping her steady.

Harry and Ron were in their animagus forms as well. Sirius was taking a nap a top the world's largest living teddy bear, with Harry on his back and Sirius curled up on his chest. Ron was laying next to them.

"I bet you never thought you'd be happy seeing a grandchild in the arms of half a ton of bear," Tonks teased Molly.

"No, I have to admit I would have thought anyone crazy. Of course, I would have thought they were crazy if they said I have a three-year-old grandson by Ron before he left Hogwarts."

"We really are sorry," Tonks said, for at least the twenty-seventh time.

"I know," Molly said. "And I do still blame you and Remus and Dumbledore and even Harry a bit. I blame Arthur and myself, because I thought we had raised Ron better than this. Still, it was mostly Ron's fault."

"Is Sirius at all like your boys?" Fleur asked, in part to distract Molly.

"He's a bit like Bill and Percy," Molly said. "He likes to sit back and observe, and then get involved, like they do. The twins, well, as you can imagine, they were into everything from the time they started crawling."

Tonks and Fleur nodded their agreement.

"Charlie, Ron, and Ginny were always following their older brothers around, but Bill and to a lesser degree Percy studied the situations first, then got involved. Sirius does the same thing. I'm glad Rosie is older, it tends to get Sirius involved."

"Is she at all like Ginny?" Tonks asked.

"Not at all," Molly said. "Ginny ran after everyone, demanding that they pay attention and if they didn't, she had ways of getting their attention. Rosie is the most inquisitive child I have ever run into other than the twins, but she doesn't get into trouble like they did. If Arthur left some bit of Muggle nonsense on the floor, the twins would as like as not have it torn apart in twenty minutes. Rosie would study it and then quiz Arthur about it."

"Uh oh," Tonks said suddenly. Rosie had jumped off Neville and run over and leapt on Harry. "Good thing Harry is relatively tame."

The three women smiled, as Sirius squawked about being woken up. Soon, however, Harry was walking around on all fours, Rosie sitting on his back and Sirius sitting in front of her. "Harry is going to be a magnificent papa, is he not?" Fleur asked.

Molly looked out at Luna and Hermione, sniffed, and said, "I suppose he might," and went over to the counter to start work on meat pies. Tonks and Fleur looked at each other and shrugged, unconcerned.

Thursday, March 27, 1997

Dumbledore joined Harry for breakfast again, although this morning the pair ate alone. "I have learned more about the ceremony Voldemort intended to perform," Dumbledore offered.

"Does this mean he can't perform it?" Harry asked.

"That I do not know," Dumbledore admitted. "But what few accounts we can track down, he does need at least a dozen committed followers. At least three of his remaining six known followers tried to desert. One escaped to us, and we have no information on the other two. Of the early three escapees we had no information on, two were found, murdered, presumably by bounty hunters employed by Voldemort. Still, he may choose to try the ceremony any way, hoping to benefit to some smaller degree."

"Do you think he'll push the ceremony up at all?"

Dumbledore shook his head. "No. All the accounts are clear as to the timing, which is tied to the period at and just after the summer solstice. It is a long ceremony, and the preliminaries must start at the instant of the solstice itself."

"So there's nothing we can do until then?"

"There is nothing you can do until then," Dumbledore corrected, "other than to be careful. We are still hoping to track Voldemort down. At the very least, the escaped Death Eaters have helped up us track down many of Voldemort's bolt holes."

"Are all the Death Eaters getting exile?" Harry asked, trying to keep the ice out of his voice."

"Actually, none are. They are getting lighter sentences than they deserve for surrendering, but they will spend at least twenty years in prison, for they are all murderers. Rookwood and Malfoy both contributed to many crimes, including murder and torture, but did not directly commit them."

"Rookwood must have killed someone to have been Marked," Harry pointed out.

"And he spent fourteen years in Azkaban, with the Dementors," Dumbledore returned.

"I understand, but that doesn't mean I like it very much," Harry stated. "You didn't see the . . . the . . . the glee in Malfoy's eyes as he held that knife to Rose's throat. He was hoping to hurt or kill her."

"I know, Harry. If that is truly part of Malfoy's nature, he will not be able to suppress it. The local Magical authorities will be keeping a close eye on him."

"I just hope some little girl, or considering what he did with Colin, some little boy, doesn't have to pay the price," Harry said, glad that made Dumbledore wince.

"If so, it will be no comfort to the child to know that had Rookwood and Malfoy stayed with Voldemort, many children would have been tortured to death in the reign of terror Voldemort would have initiated after the full ceremony."

"I know," Harry admitted. "I'm just glad I'm not the one who has to make those decisions."

"Just remember," Dumbledore said, "some day you almost certainly will be."

Harry gave Dumbledore a small twisted smile. "I think it would take me, Hermione, and Luna, all wrapped up into one, to be able to do that."

"Perhaps that is one reason the three of you are drawn together," Dumbledore suggested. Harry seemed rather dumbfounded by the suggestion.

Saturday, March 29, 1997

"Do you have to go, Daddy?" Sirius asked.

"I'm afraid so," Ron said. Even though Ron was kneeling on one knee, Sirius still had to look up into his father's eyes.

"When will you be back?"

"I'll be back for a few days in less than three months," Ron said, leaning forward to hug his son. "Hopefully, we'll be together for a while after that."

Rose had her arms around Harry's neck, listening. She twisted around and looked Harry in the eye. "Yes, I'll be back for a few days then, too," Harry said.

Luna and Hermione leaned over and kissed Rose on either cheek. "We'll all be back," Luna said. "If we're not here in late June, we'll be here in early July."

"I hope so," Rose said, uncertainly making her voice quiver. More kisses were exchanged and then Tracy flooed off to the Leaky Cauldron, where Alastor Moody was already waiting. The other teens, Remus, and Tonks disapparated.

Sirius went to his room (once Percy's), a pout on his face. Rose went to her room (once Bill's), a worried look on hers.

Tracy and Ginny were staying in the one spare room over the twins original store, while Ron and Neville were staying in what had been the twins' room, since the twins now slept at Gambol's. Hermione and Luna went to the Lovegoods' apartment over The Quibbler. Harry went with Moody to the apartment across the hallway, which Moody was renting.

"So, lad, can I trust you not to leave this floor tonight?" Moody asked his ward.

"Yes, sir," Harry said, "as long as there's enough food over in the Lovegoods' for tonight and tomorrow morning."

"What, you don't like my food?" Moody asked.

"The last I knew, all you had here was oatmeal, haggis, and firewhiskey."

"Well, I'm out of firewhiskey," Moody growled. "Didn't Molly send along enough food to feed an army?"

"She packed enough for an army, but Ron might have taken most of it," Harry pointed out.

"Fair enough," Moody allowed. "Go see if the lasses have enough food. If not, I'll take one of 'em shopping. If they have, I want none of you to leave."

"Good plan," Harry said.

Ron had indeed taken enough to feed his quartet enough for four meals (as opposed to the two needed), which still left more than enough food for the remaining trio. They were therefore happy to agree to stay in until Moody came for them early the next morning.

"Where's your father?" Harry asked Luna.

"Daddy's trying to track down one of the deserting Death Eaters," Luna said. "He might get an exclusive! He stopped by the cottage last night and told us. He won't be back while we're here."

"Really?" Harry asked with a slight leer in his voice.

"Really," Luna confirmed.

"What ever shall we do?" Harry asked.

"It has been some time since you brushed our hair," Hermione pointed out.

"Oh, is that all you'd like me to do?" Harry asked.

"No," Luna said, "that's where we'd like you to start."

The rest of the evening passed in a variety of pleasures, found in the shower and kitchen as well as in the pleasures of the bedroom. By 9:45, they were too sated to consider partaking in any more pleasure and not quite tired enough to consider going to sleep. They therefore dissected their vacation, their friends, their situations, and on and on.

At one point, Luna turned serious. By that point, all three were in bed and starting to seriously think about sleep. "Before we stop talking for the night, there is one thing I believe I need to mention."

"What's that?" Hermione asked tiredly. Harry just made an inquiring noise.

"Harry, this may be important. I should have mentioned it before, but I just wasn't certain how to bring it up."

"H'mm?" Harry asked. He started to pay more attention to what Luna was saying instead of how comfortable he was spooned against her.

"It was a feeling I received from Rose several times," Luna said. "I thought I might be imagining things the first few times, but I really felt it today."

"Felt what?" Harry asked, now mostly awake.

"It cannot really be described with words," Luna said.

"Well, what do you think it means?" Hermione asked.

"Well, if I did feel what I think I did, it would mean Rose is some sort of Seer," Luna said. "And if I felt it coming from her at her age, it would mean she has a lot more than a touch of the Gift. In fact, today . . . I think she might have had a flash of the future."

"When she wasn't certain if she'd see all of us in June or July?" Hermione asked.

Luna nodded. "It's very frightening, and something I'm glad the potion still mostly stops me from Seeing."

"What happens?" Harry asked.

"You never did pay attention in Divination, did you?" Luna asked, amusement in her voice. "You covered this at the end of your Fourth year."

Harry managed a shrug.

"Imagine this situation. Ten people are in a room. Their leader asks for five volunteers. The five step forward. To the person with the Gift, suddenly four of the five are in shadows. Two are in a little shadow, one in a deeper shadow, and one totally obscured. The one obscured is in the deepest danger. That doesn't mean that person is doomed; it doesn't mean the one left in full light is totally safe. It simply means at that moment, those are merely what the currents of probability show at that moment."

"So if we asked her. . . ."

"All she could say was who was in the greatest danger at that moment, and we would likely frighten her," Luna said. "And, for all we know, it might have been that Ron was in the greatest danger because he was thinking about his mother's meatloaf instead of thinking about apparating correctly."

"Is that likely?" Hermione asked.

"No," Luna admitted. "More likely, there will be some sort of attack. Still if we are all prepared, there would be a good chance for even the person in the greatest danger to avoid it. One more thing."

"Yes?" Harry asked.

"She was looking around when she said that," Luna pointed out. "She didn't seem to be looking at you or Hermione. The person most likely in danger was one of the rest of us."