Hogwarts and the Wolf in the Fold

Voldemort puts a spy into Hogwarts.
Set during the year of the Half-blood Prince.

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21. Conversations Overheard

 Conversations Overheard

The following Monday saw nothing of note happen to David. He spent most of his free time in the library, mulling over the conversation he had with Voldemort.
It was only on the Tuesday morning that he had a bit of luck. He was in the herbology greenhouse that housed the snargaluffs when he caught a snatched part of conversation between Harry Potter and his two friends.
David and Susan were working behind the three Gryffindors that day. The students were each attempting to extract snargaluff pods from inside the vicious gnarled, but innocent-looking stumps.
Susan had gone to fetch goggles and pairs of protective gloves from the stores, when David heard the name ‘Dumbledore’ mentioned by Ron Weasley.
David ducked down under the bench that he was working on and moved a little closer to the three students. He pretended to be looking for something on the floor.
Although he didn’t know it, Harry and his friends had forgotten to cast the muffliato spell around them and David was able to catch the last part of their chat. He heard Harry say something like.
“He says it’s all important and it will help me to survive”.
Then Hermione replied.
“I think it’s fascinating. It makes absolute sense to know as much about Voldemort as possible. How else will you find out his weaknesses?”
David’s heart leapt as he heard the Dark Lord’s name mentioned. He now knew that Dumbledore was training Potter to fight against Voldemort. Dumbledore must have some idea of the types of spell that Voldemort could and couldn’t perform.
He was training Potter to duel!
The conversation then turned to some stupid party that Hermione Grainger had been to. David wasn’t interested in the details, so he carefully stood up again in time to see Susan walking towards him and beaming broadly.
She handed him a pair of dragonhide gloves and said.
“Your turn first.”
They both looked at the stump that sat there peacefully.
After half an hour of fighting with the plant, David and Susan managed to extract a pod each. They stood gasping and looking at the slime-covered pulsating green pods.
Professor Sprout shouted for the students to get the precious tubers from inside the pods and the pair used a sharp silver knife to pierce its tough skin. Eventually they had a bowl full of the wriggling tubers and they took them up to the Professor.
The lesson ended with the students being given another essay to write on flesh-eating plants. One full sheet of parchment was required, but at least they could fill a large part of it with what they had learned about the snargaluffs that day.
Charms and transfiguration didn’t yield any more information for David, as they were all too busy with the difficult spells now required at NEWT level. Susan partnered David throughout the classes and indeed it was becoming difficult to separate the two friends.
Susan had a lot in common with David, though she did not know it. They were both parentless and didn’t have many friends inside or outside of school. Susan also didn’t know that David’s parents, like her own had been killed by Voldemort’s followers.
They didn’t openly flaunt their friendship, but spent long hours working together in the common room or library, or taking walks outside in the school grounds. Each night they would say goodnight with a passionate kiss.
David was careful not to kiss Susan too often in front of Dusty, because he wasn’t certain how the familiar would react to someone else getting all of his attention.
The rest of the week passed quickly and the talk in school was all about the weekend quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Katie Bell was out of the match and was to be replaced by a boy that David didn’t know much about.
It turned out that Harry Potter hadn’t attacked Katie at all. She had been hurt by accidentally touching a cursed necklace. It had been inside a paper parcel that she had found in the girls’ bathroom at the Three Broomsticks.
Susan told him that the replacement’s name was Dean Thomas and that he was going out with Ginny Weasley, the sister of Harry Potter’s friend Ron. David already knew that they had both been members of the DA.
This reminded David that he needed to steal the photograph that Hagrid had shown him and that the Dark Lord wanted to see. He decided to enter Dusty that weekend and to get it while Hagrid was watching the quidditch match.
His plan was to feign sickness and to tell Susan that he would be having a lie down in his room. If he were lucky enough he would still be able to watch the quidditch, but would have a bird’s eye view of the match.
Sure enough, on Saturday David met Susan for breakfast but didn’t eat anything. He persuaded her to go to the match herself, so that she could tell him all about it later.
With a thrill of excitement at his first real piece of planned spying, he went through to the Hufflepuff common room and on to his own. The place was deserted, as everyone was clothed up ready to go down to the quidditch stadium straight after breakfast.
David locked his door and studiously looked at Dusty, who was preening himself by the open window.
“Sorry that I’ve been neglecting you lately, Dusty.” He told the bird.
“But now we can go out and do a little work on behalf of the Dark Lord.”
He opened the window a little wider, as he didn’t want to catch his wings as he flew through and he knew that he wasn’t much of a flier yet. He then lay down on the bed and began the familiar routine of holding his wand tightly and speaking the special incantation inside his head.
“SPECIALIS LOCOMOTOR EX…”
The words were no sooner said, than he swoosh-ed out of his prostrate body and into that of Dusty.
He took a second to get used to the new form that he had taken and then had a look round at his body lying there inert on the bed. He had to suppress a giggle at the thought of himself flying around and looking down on all the other students without them knowing he was there.
He guessed that in the excitement of the match, nobody would pay any notice to a single bird flying high in the air.
David tested his wings by flapping them furiously, then jumped out towards the window and the cold air outside.
He found that the frosty morning was more refreshing and invigorating than uncomfortable. He rejoiced in the freedom of soaring high up into the air and then swooping down low over the lawn.
His first thought was to follow the students down to the quidditch stadium and to try to find Hagrid, just to make sure that he wasn’t in the hut when David went looking there. Hagrid wouldn’t be hard to find, even in the midst of a throng of waving students.
He set off and made his way up and along the side of the castle. As he passed a tall window on the seventh floor, a movement inside the building caught his eye. It was the shining blonde hair of a student hurrying along with two small girls in tow.
‘That’s a bit odd.’ He thought to himself. ‘I wonder who it is.’
He banked over to the window and landed on the ledge, peering inside and finding that it was a long corridor.
He then recognised the boy as Draco Malfoy, the student in his year about whom David had yet to find out more. He had always been aloof with David and hadn’t offered to make his acquaintance, if he passed him in the corridor. David felt strangely drawn to the boy, but since he had found out that Malfoy hated Harry Potter, he had still not attempted to have a proper conversation with him.
David was curious to find out why Malfoy wasn’t watching the quidditch match, indeed he surely should have been playing in the match. Didn’t Malfoy play seeker for the Slytherin quidditch team?
What on earth was he doing in a corridor at school when he should have been out on the pitch? And what were the two girls doing with him?
He watched as Malfoy stopped walking and turned to the girls. He couldn’t hear what was said, but Malfoy was pointing up and down the corridor and waving his arms animatedly.
The smaller of the two girls then went and stood sulkily on one side of the corridor. She leant against the wall and David could now see that she was holding something tightly in her folded arms. It was a jar. He couldn’t tell what was inside it at this distance, but he itched to find out.
The second girl then slouched back along the corridor, towards the staircase and the window where David perched outside. She soon went out of sight as she went down the stairs.
David stared in and saw Malfoy looking up and down the wall on the right-hand side. He now seemed to be muttering to himself and pacing up and down. Then without warning a door suddenly appeared in the wall in front of Malfoy, who reached for the handle as if he had been expecting it all along.
Malfoy opened the door and went in to the room behind. The door closed then and melted away as if it had never been there. David could not believe his eyes. What had just happened? The small girl walked over to the now empty wall and gave it a kick.
This was just too weird. There must be a hidden room in that corridor and Malfoy knew how to open the door to it.
David thought about it for a minute and then decided that a hidden room in a magical castle was maybe not so surprising after all. Perhaps it was just another classroom, one that he never used for his studies. The only curious part of the affair was the two girls being kept outside. Why did they go there with him in the first place? He made a not of the small girl’s face and then leapt backwards from the window ledge.
He arced over to his left and saw the last few stragglers making their way into the quidditch stadium. He swept over behind them and then looped up above the topmost stand.
The sight that caught his eyes as he entered the stadium was unbelievable. There was a roar of noise from the crowd and he saw the two teams walking from the changing rooms and out onto the pitch. The stands were a mass of bright colours representing the two teams. There was mainly scarlet and gold for Gryffindor, with green and black for Slytherin.
David could see the twinkling reflection of sunlight on Harry Potter’s glasses, as he led his team out to the centre of the pitch. Madame Hooch was waiting there, with the box containing the quaffle, bludgers and golden snitch.
‘I’ll just watch fro a little while.’ David told himself and settled down on top of the stand. He felt the hairs stand up on the back of his neck, as the teams got into their positions and the balls were released.
Immediately, Harry Potter raced up into the sky almost at a level with David. His speed on the firebolt broomstick had to be seen to be believed. David watched greedily as the game went into full flow and he could see the players moving around like pieces on a chessboard.
He came out of his reverie and took a look around at the crowd, hoping to spot Hagrid. Sure enough the giant man was in the middle of a group of Gryffindor students, shouting and waving his massive arms.
With a nervous gulp, David turned away from the match and lifted off towards Hagrid’s hut. There was nobody around and even as he squeezed in through an open window, even Hagrid’s huge dog Fang didn’t wake up.
David flitted silently into the room that he thought held the photograph and he took a look around. It was a plain bedroom with a big bed and several wardrobes and chests of drawers. There was a bedside table with several books dumped on top higgledy-piggledy. He recognised one as the monster book of monsters. It was snoring away gently.
He then spotted what he was looking for. The photograph was propped up against another picture of a tiny man and a giant of a woman. In the picture, the man was being thrown up and down by what looked like a giant schoolboy. It must have been Hagrid. The two looked happy enough, smiling and laughing for the camera. The woman had a rather sour look on her face though.
David grabbed the photograph in his beak and flew through the hut and out of the window. His heart beat fast as he suddenly thought how obvious it would look if anyone saw him. Why would a raven be flying through the air carrying a large photograph?
He flew as low as he could and by the straightest route towards the castle. Then he hopped and scuttled along the edge of the lawn and back to his room. Thankfully, nobody had seen him.
Once he was back inside, it was only a moment before he had returned to his body and was taking the photograph out of Dusty’s beak. The bird cocked his head and looked at David quizzically.
“Don’t ask, Dusty.” Said David.
He took the photograph and hid it inside his trunk, at the very bottom and placed carefully inside a pair of pants. He had done it! His Master would be extremely pleased with this piece of work.
David unlocked his door and made his way to the great hall. He needed a snack and something hot to drink. After all, flying was thirsty work.
When Susan got back after the match was over, there was a lot of excitement about what had happened. Harry Potter had caught the snitch and won the game for Gryffindor, but there had been a lot of needling between the two teams and a lot of fouls taking place.
Zacharias Smith had been commentating and apparently had been smashed into by Ginny Weasley on her broomstick at the end of the match. Everyone could see that she had done it on purpose and poor old Zacharias had been stretchered off to the hospital wing with a concussed head.
Susan linked her arm through David’s and asked him if he felt better.
“Yes, thanks.” David had replied.
“I think the lie down did me some good. I could eat two lunches one after the other right now.”
Susan giggled and their eyes lit up as the afternoon meal duly arrived on the table. Roasted chicken and mashed potato with thick brown gravy to pour over it. David tucked in heartily and sneaked a sly glance up at the head table, where Hagrid was laughing and chatting merrily with the other Professors.
He was once again lost in thought and staring at the Professors when he came to his senses and realised that he was looking directly at Professor Dumbledore. The headmaster was looking right back at him.
David froze in shock and embarrassment when he realised that Professor Sprout was standing right beside Dumbledore and that she must have pointed him out and told the headmaster who he was.
Dumbledore raised his glass of pumpkin juice towards David, in recognition of his attention but David was caught like a rabbit in a car’s headlights.
Dumbledore was used to the effect that he often had on new students. Most of the time they were in awe of him and so it was no shock to him to find that David just sat and stared back with open mouth.
The headmaster smiled politely and then resumed his conversation with Professor Sprout. David quickly looked away, with a worry that the headmaster had read more in David’s look than was good for him to let on.
He needn’t have worried though. Professor Dumbledore’s thoughts were elsewhere and his first view of the French exchange student was only of mild interest to him. Dumbledore made a note to introduce himself to David at some point and to welcome him to Hogwarts, but only if he should chance to meet him in a corridor.
Hagrid had not had the chance to have a long conversation with Dumbledore since his return to the school, so he had never mentioned the fact that David had a ‘familiar’. This of course would certainly have been of real interest to the headmaster.
Susan put her hand on top of David’s and the warm touch made him look up at her. Her large brown eyes were filled with the dancing light of the candles surrounding them. David looked at her and his heart melted with happiness.
Neither of them saw that Dumbledore had looked back over towards David and was watching the two friends. He was contemplating the look in Susan’s eyes as she gazed adoringly at David. It filled him with an inner joy to see that amidst all the darkness and adversity, there was still the light of love and kindness blossoming and growing.
Dumbledore raised his glass again in a silent salute to love and friendship then drank the contents in one go.
David didn’t mind missing out on the first quidditch match of the season, because there was the prospect of Hufflepuff playing against Ravenclaw on the following weekend.
Although this wasn’t one of the ‘glamour’ matches of the season, it was generating a lot of interest in the Hufflepuff common room. Hufflepuff had not won the quidditch cup at Hogwarts since 1761 and they were usually the favourites to finish bottom, thus receiving the wooden cauldron as a booby prize.
David and Susan had watched a few practice sessions for the Hufflepuff team, but these had been outside in the grounds, rather than inside the stadium. It rankled with the Hufflepuff captain that Gryffindor and Slytherin seemed to be given priority when it came to booking the stadium for practice.
Still, on the day of their first match the Hufflepuffs all made their way to the stadium in a happy mood.
The atmosphere was more subdued than that of the previous match. Not many Gryffindors had made the effort to come and watch. Mostly they were members of the quidditch teams who wanted to spy out the opposition. No Slytherins were there.
David and Susan jumped up and down as the two teams emerged and walked in line down to the middle of the pitch. It was his first real-life experience of competitive quidditch and he loved it.
Hufflepuff played really well and although they had been well behind in terms of goals scored, their seeker managed to grab the golden snitch and with it the accompanying victory by 280-200 points.
This put Hufflepuff in second place and the crowd had gone wild with glee at such a good start to the season. David had become hooked on the game and he dreamt about playing for the Hufflepuff team himself.
Susan laughed, as they sat together at the Hufflepuff table that night at dinner and David talked of nothing but that afternoon’s game. He recalled every goal, every save and every bludger that had been hit.
“You’re turning into a quidditch commentator.” Said Susan and tickled him under the chin.
“I’d have loved to have seen the quidditch world cup final.” He said.
“Are there any recordings of it?”
Susan thought about it for a while then replied.
“I did read that some people were selling memories of the game, but you have to have a special viewer for watching them. I think it’s called a pensieve. They’re really rare and expensive to buy.”
“Sounds brilliant.” David enthused.
“Yeah, but you never know what you’re going to get when you buy a memory like that. You could end up with something completely different to what you’re expecting.” Susan warned him.
“Oh well, we’ll just have to go and watch the real thing next time around.” He said and looked at her expectantly.
“Boys and quidditch!” She tutted.

 

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