Chapter VIII: Taming the Dark Arts

Chapter VIII: Taming the Dark Arts

A Chapter by Ashleigh

Harry learns the Dark Arts from Bellatrix and Dumbledore does something shocking.


               As the weeks turned into months and the green and splendour of summer slowly turned into the grey and dead of winter, Harry's Dark Arts training with Bellatrix intensified. She now had him casting dark spells, including the Unforgiveable Curses. Of course, they only practiced on enchanted objects. Harry found it barbaric to practice the Dark Arts on animals or anything else that was alive, and Bellatrix agreed with him. Today's lesson wasn't going as well as he wanted, though.

                "No Harry. You're moving your wand the wrong way. Like this." Bellatrix raised one arm behind her in an arc, with her wand hand pointed straight out in front of her, her feet spread out like a warrior about to attack.

                "I am doing that!" Harry protested.

                "No you're not. Your wand arm is bent slightly, and you're not balancing yourself properly with your feet positions," she sighed. Bellatrix was surprisingly patient with him, but she could become exasperated sometimes.

                "Alright. I'll try it again." Harry tried again to position himself how Bellatrix had told him. He glanced over at her with an anxious look on her face. She just raised her eyebrows and shook her head. Apparently, he wasn't doing it right.

                "Let's stop for today," she said. "Maybe you'll be able to focus better after a rest."

                "No. I can do it now," Harry protested. He didn't want to stop and take a rest. He wanted to get this done right.

                "Harry, there's just no point when you're this exhausted! Trust me; being pushed to the brink of exhaustion isn't something I ever want to experience again. I don't want anyone else to experience it, either, least of all you." A shadow fell over Bellatrix's dark, thickly lashed eyes and Harry's heart gave a sympathetic lurch. Of course, Rudolphus' abuse must still be fresh in her mind. Also, he was secretly glad that she cared about him that much. He gave in.

                "Fine. I guess I'll go feed Hedwig," he sighed. He left Bellatrix in the vast ballroom to ascend the long flights of stairs to the aviary. Upon arriving at the aviary, Harry noticed that Hedwig wasn't there. He shrugged and walked to his room to change out of his sweaty clothes. As he was pulling on a fresh set of robes, he noticed a letter he had been sent a few weeks ago lying on his dresser. Frowning, he picked it up and read over it again.

Dear Mr. Harry James Potter,

You have been called to a hearing at the Ministry of Magic on September the fifth at precisely 10:35am to discuss the matter of your recent absence from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Honourable Amelia Bones will be presiding over your hearing. Please do not be late.

Yours Sincerely;

Cornelious Fudge (Minister for Magic)

*   *   *

                Harry walked into the courtroom at the Ministry with a determined gait. He immediately sat in the chair in front of the elevated Amelia Bones, who looked kindly down at him. Harry gave a polite nod of his head. Fudge however, merely scowled.

                "You are Mr. Harry James Potter; is that correct?" Amelia Bones asked for record-keeping purposes.

                "Yes, I am," Harry replied.

                "Very well. Mr. Potter, you are currently sixteen years of age; is that is correct?" she asked.

                "Yes," Harry replied.

                "You are aware that wizarding law states that all witches and wizards under the age of seventeen must attend school, Mr. Potter?"

                "I am," Harry replied again.

                "Then why have you neglected to follow wizarding law by choosing to be absent from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for nearly an entire year?" she asked, bewildered.

                "With all due respect Mrs. Bones, even though I'm sixteen, I've been declared a legal adult. Therefore, I am legally entitled to choose to end my schooling if I please," Harry replied. All that reading in the study had come in handy for Harry.

                "This boy is deliberately defying the law!" Fudge shouted. "He should be arrested at once!"

                Amelia Bones gave Fudge a severe stare and Fudge spluttered and reluctantly sat down.

                "Thank you for your input Mr. Fudge, but I am the judge here and I will decide whether he is in compliance with the law or not," she said coldly. She then turned to Harry. "Mr. Potter, your circumstances are quite unusual, and I will need a few minutes to look over some things before coming to a decision," she said, before gathering up her notes and walking into a separate chamber.

                She was only gone for five minutes or so, but it seemed much longer to Harry. The entire time, he could feel Fudge's glare penetrating him and it made him rather uneasy. Finally, she reappeared and sat down, scratching her nose in contemplation.

                "Mr. Potter, I have done some research into this and it seems your situation falls under the loophole in the law. The law states that any adult may only continue schooling if they so desire, and since you are a legal adult, you are in compliance with the law. You are free to go, Mr. Potter. Thank you for your time," she said politely.

                "Thank you, Mrs. Bones," Harry said, relieved. Fudge looked livid and merely stomped out of the room, looking very ill-tempered.

*   *   *

                Harry sighed heavily and crumpled up the parchment before tossing it into the waste bin. He turned around to see Bellatrix standing in the doorway.

                "Sorry for walking in, but you didn't answer when I knocked. I thought maybe something was wrong," she said with a slight pinkish tinge to her cheekbones. Harry realized that she had been worried about him and barely suppressed a smile.

                "Oh... er, no. I'm fine. Just daydreaming, I guess," he replied lamely. He wished he wouldn't get so tongue-tied whenever he had to speak to her. She smiled and nodded.

                "Good. Oh, by the way, I actually came up here to apologize to you, Harry," she said.

                "Apologize for what?" Harry asked, confused.

                "For snapping at you like that down in the ballroom," she replied. "I should have been more patient."

                "Don't worry about it. I shouldn't have been so stubborn, either," he admitted. Bellatrix gave a sweet, tinkling laugh that made Harry's heart skip a beat.

                "Yes, but the Potters are known for their stubbornness, aren't they?" she replied jokingly. Harry chuckled.

                "Yeah, I guess we are," he replied.

                "That's not always such a bad thing, you know," she smiled, giving Harry a wink before walking back down the main staircase.

                Harry sat down on his bed, deep in thought. He knew he had feelings for Bellatrix. He wasn't sure if it was love, but he couldn't deny that he felt something. The big question was if Bellatrix felt something for Harry. A part of him said, of course not! She probably thinks you're a little kid! She's old enough to be your mother, but another, deeper part of Harry reminded him of the way her cheeks would darken slightly around him, and how her eyes seemed to glow a bit brighter when he walked into a room...

                Harry shook his head and tried to push Bellatrix out of his mind, but she was always there, ready to jump back into his thoughts at every possible opportunity.

                Later that night after dinner, Harry and Bellatrix were once again reading in the study. This evening reading time had become a regular occurrence. Harry looked up from his copy of The Dark Arts: The Way of Power, to see Bellatrix focusing intently on her reading material.

                "What are you reading?" Harry asked. Bellatrix looked up and gave a sweet smile.

                "A love story," she replied simply. When Harry kept looking at her, she put the book down and leaned slightly closer to him. "It's about a young Prince who falls madly in love with a convict in his father's dungeon, but of course, their love is forbidden. Eventually, the convict woman escapes and the Prince is free to be with her, but..."

                "But what?" Harry asked, his heart beating faster than usual.

                "She is much older than the Prince," Bellatrix sighed. "The Prince doesn't know if the woman will love him back because of this, even though she does. You see, the woman is afraid the Prince won't love her for the very same reason," she whispered sadly. Their faces were barely two inches apart now.

                "What happened in the end?" Harry breathed. He had a feeling where this was headed and made no motion to stop it.

                "I haven't gotten that far," she said softly with a faint smile.

                Harry didn't know what made him do it. Maybe it was the fact that she was so close to him, or that the full moon shining through the window illuminated every attractive feature in her face; perhaps it was the way she had told her story with such emotion and longing. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that Harry leaned forward that last inch and kissed her. The kiss was soft and light, merely a slight brushing of the lips and lasted barely a second, but it was enough to send an electric shock through both their bodies.

                "Harry..." she began awkwardly, pushing a strand of hair behind her ear.

                "So... er... does the woman feel the way the Prince feels about her?" Harry asked. His mind was reeling and he couldn't focus on any specific thought. He was still finding it difficult to breathe properly after that fleeting kiss. Bellatrix smiled and gently placed her hand over his.

                "Yes," she replied.

*   *   *

                Dumbledore sat behind his desk, drumming his fingers impatiently on the sleek, polished oak. He was waiting for Nymphadora Tonks. He wanted to meet with her and discuss her concerns for his mental well-being.

                "Where is she?" he muttered irritably, tapping his watch to be sure it was ticking properly. Just then, he heard a knocking at the door of the office, and Dumbledore waved his wand to open it.

                "Kingsley told me you wanted to see me?" Tonks asked suspiciously, walking across the threshold to sit down in front of him.

                "Ah, Nymphadora. I've been expecting your visit," Dumbledore said with a forced smile, standing up to welcome her. He waved his wand again and two wine glasses and a bottle of Madame Rosmerta's finest mead floated towards Dumbledore's desk and placed themselves down on the oaken surface. "Would you care for a glass of mead?" he asked politely.

                "No, thank you," Tonks replied cooly. "I'm on duty. This is my lunch break."

                "Ah, of course. How silly of me. I do apologize," Dumbledore chuckled, putting the alcohol away.

                "I need to be back at the Ministry shortly, Dumbledore. What did you need to see me about?" she asked, folding her arms across her chest. Dumbledore gave a deep sigh and placed his hands on the desk in front of him, giving Tonks a penetrating stare that made her shiver.

                "I'm afraid certain issues have arisen concerning you and your loyalty to the Order," Dumbledore said gravely, taking a seat behind his desk and folding his long fingers in front of him. Tonks' heartbeat began to quicken. Surely he didn't know that she was spying on the Order for Harry? If he did, that would mean the end of her career as an Auror, and even a lifelong sentence in Azkaban!

                "Oh?" Tonks replied in a voice of mock confusion. Dumbledore's forced smile immediately slipped from his face and he loomed over her threateningly.

                "Nymphadora, do not pretend to have no knowledge of the matter!" he exclaimed. "I know for a fact that you have voiced your concerns about my mental stability to Minerva. I don't appreciate being made to look like a fool."

                A wave of relief washed over Tonks. Is that what all this was about? That she hurt his feelings? Tonks suppressed an elated sigh. She still had her job and she was still a free woman.

                "That wasn't my intention when I told Minerva about my concerns," Tonks replied easily. "I have voiced the same concerns to you, so I really have no idea why you would call me from my job to come and meet with you." Dumbledore's strained face turned into a cold glare.

                "I will not tolerate disobedience," Dumbledore threatened. Tonks' cheeks flushed an angry shade of red and she stood up abruptly, jaw clenched.

                "I am not your dog!" she hissed venomously, turning around to stalk out of his office, her robes swishing behind her.

                Tonks wasn't prepared for what happened next. As she headed out of the office, her back turned to Dumbledore, she felt something break through the barriers of her mind. She gave a cry of pain and fell to her knees, clutching her head. Of course! She should have remembered that Dumbledore was an accomplished Occlumens!

                Images of her entire life flashed within her mind. Memories that she didn't know she still had suddenly resurfaced. Her entire childhood was being played through in her head like a movie reel. She had to get him out of her mind before he found her conversations with Harry! She managed to focus on her training as an Auror and will his power out of her head, pushing it out with all the mind-power she had. As she did this, she enclosed solid walls around her thoughts, eventually forcing Dumbledore out of her mind.

                Immediately, Tonks sprang to her feet, whipping out her wand and pointing it at Dumbledore's throat. They were both panting and sweating. On the inside, she was completely shaken, but Tonks kept her glare determined and her wand steady. Being a metamorphmagus, she involuntarily transformed in her rage. Her skin went milk white; her hair went from straight and bubblegum pink to spiky and black. Her eyes went blood red, with no distinction between pupil, iris and the whites of her eyes. It was truly a terrifying sight and Dumbledore's eyes widened in disbelief.

                "If you ever attempt anything like that again, I'll personally arrest you for invasion of privacy and attack on a Ministry official," she warned. Dumbledore didn't reply, but merely collapsed, heaving onto his desk. He had grossly underestimated her strength, it seemed.

                Without another word, Tonks fled from the castle, morphing back to her usual appearance and only when she was safely outside the Hogwarts grounds did she allow herself to clap a hand to her mouth and let out a terrified sob. She slid down a nearby wall, shaking violently. Having your mind invaded was a terrible ordeal to go through, because if you don't feel safe within your own mind, there's nowhere else to turn.

                Back in his office, Dumbledore banged a shaking fist on the table. "Damn!" he muttered angrily.

© 2008 Ashleigh

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Added on December 16, 2008



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