But At Least The Building Is Still Standing
Harry Potter levelled his wand at the chest of drawers in the secret room carefully. He knew he really shouldn't, but he needed to practice. The chest shook violently for a moment, then stopped. What a cruel thing to do, mused Harry grimly yet he still wanted to do this. He breathed slowly and walked back a few paces, ready to do it, no matter what he thought.
A burst of red shot out of his wand without a spoken command, throwing open the top drawer. Something small and unreal whizzed over his head, causing Harry to duck hastily. He spun while still close to the ground, aimed up and hesitated.
Some other part of him took over and Harry gasped out, "Avada Kedavra!"
The flash of green light blinded him, but only for a second. Lying on the ground in a distrubed grace was the Bowtruckle offered no more resistance. Tiny and made of tree-like substance, it hadn't been easy finding something this small and agressive. They were usually found in Wessex, but Harry had picked this one up through one of Hagrid's many..."friends".
Drained, and maybe a little anxious, the Boy Who Lived picked it up gently and settled into a box. He then pushed it along the desk and watched as if in a dream, for the creature to stir. No such thing happened. A hesitant victorious smile crept onto his face.
"No way Voldemort can stop this one," he muttered, pulling out another long piece of wood. "Two times is the charm."
Harry pressed the wands together side by side. They matched each other perfectly, except his second one was a darker shade and meant for other business. Priori Incantatem wouldn't get any where near this other - who would think Potter had a second wand anyway?
Ron waited for Harry to return to the common room, passing the time by stealing Hermione's completed practice exams and copying them for himself. The room emptied at a steady pace, each student excited for the Quidditch match the next day - wasn't anything high key, just Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff. But still, he wanted Harry to have a good night's sleep.
Harry hurled himself through the portrait hole and managed, "I'm here!"
"Finally," Ron muttered under his breath, then went over to help Harry to his feet. "Where do you go sneaking off, stranger? I coulda sworn you went missing moons ago. Besides, the bookworm's getting worried."
Emphasis on the last sentence. This surprised a laugh from Harry who shifted through Ron's scribbled notes. "Looks to me like you're smitten with her, not I."
For written casually across the top of the parchment was: Ron 4 'Mione.
"You know," added Harry grinning. "She doesn't like to be called that."
Ron's ears went red. "Shut your face, you, and get to bed. Quidditch tomorrow."
Harry and Ron, bedecked in scarlet and gold, were arguing in whispers as they made their way out of the changing rooms. The subject of their disagreement was Hermione. Again. But the heavy footfalls approaching them along the decking seemed foreboding. Harry, frowning slightly (wouldn't everyone be at the stands?), beckoned Ron to peek from behind a pole.
The moment Snape appeared, the flamed-haired boy wanted out. But Harry hrabbed the back of the Gryffindor Keeper's robes to stop him from going. Dumbledore had appeared now, a silver cane strong in his grip and digging only slightly into the grass.
"Hogwarts is no longer safe," Snape was saying, sweeping the area with his menacing eyes, an alien emotion on his face. Conern? Worry?
Dumbledore did not look about his surroundings, did not contradict Snape, only said, "The hourglass is broken."
Once the odd pair had disappeared around the side, Harry yanked Ron with him to where they would launch on their brooms. The twins were already on their somewhat battered brooms, evil grins on their faces.
"Look, it's the mini-Oliver," cracked Fred comically. "He's late. Can't have that in a Quidditch Captain can we?"
Harry mounted his Firebolt, throwing them dirty looks. He was still thinking about what Dumbledore had said. 'The hour glass is broken'? What the hell could that mean? Did Dumbledore mean a Time-Turner or just a normal hour glass? He had no more time to think as both teams flashed out onto the pitch in to a sea of waving fans.
There was no more life in Harry's game anymore. He watched Ron pull off the Starfish and Stick with a smile, but then returned to his contemplative state. He saw the Snitch dart daringly in front of his nose, grabbed it without trying. A roar, that of a triumphant lion, rose to his ears, threatening to overwhelm him. So this is what it meant to be alive again! The rushing sensation of winning filled his eyes, nose and ears. All those nights of sneaking thorugh the restricted section and learning the Unforgivables seemed like a big waste of time. For the moment.
For the moment, the hour glass was broken.
Harry, being his nosy self, after pulling on his school robes grabbed his broom to find out if he could listen into any more conversations about hour glasses. He had half a mind not to ("just what am I doing?") but tthen cast this aside as bookworm logic. He expected to find no answers at all, but luck would have it that he sighted Dumbledore in one of the corridors, talking to Professor Flitwick.
Hovering just out of view from a window, Harry put his wand to his temple and muttered, "Audio!"
"...don't see how You-Know-Who could penetrate Hogwarts," came the sweak of Flitwick. "It seems beyond reason, Albus. I do hope you're not right about this..."
Dumbledore's words seemed forced as though he could barely speak. "Do not let Fudge fool you with flighty fantasies that Hogwarts is safe. Charms in the towers will be required tonight. If the matter is kept quiet, no student need know of it."
Harry grinned to himself, but let it slide off into a frown. The Headmaster made it sound as though Hogwarts was in danger. Having been biting his tongue, Harry was surprised at the coppery taste of blood in his mouth. He spat down at the ground and hit an unsuspecting Hagrid below.
"Oops." Harry sped off - it took him a moment to breathe.
It had been a near thing as Hagrid did look up only moments later. He'd forgotten to take the Hearing spell off so it was no wonder he nearly fell off his broom when he heard an unfamiliar voice. "So you've got the counter-charms for the castle?"
"Yes, if it so pleases our lord."
At this Harry blanched. He was sure he knew the second voice! But where was it from?
"Good, good...Our master will be pleased."
Wondering what was going on, Harry peeked his head around. The window curtains were drawn tightly, betraying the fact it was the Divination classroom. Forgetting he had the spell, he pressed his ear to the window, eager to hear more. The second voice quavered, "Any changes in the tea leaves?"
"Why, yes, now that you've asked," remarked the other voice. "What's this? An hour glass...yes, yes this castle will break! Now this is peculiar..."
A horrible silence followed. Harry shifted uncomfortably on his broom, impatient for any snippet of information about the reading. The reader's voice back strong and challenging, "It says the Boy Who Lived will live no more."