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SIYE Time:12:43 on 13th August 2022


Moody's Blues
By gryffins_door

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Category: Post-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Harry/Ginny
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance
Warnings: Death, Mild Language, Sexual Situations, Violence
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 31
Summary: The adults in Harry's life start acting more like adults; in the meantime, Harry discovers something special in Ginny. Starts late in OotP; mostly canon to that point. Total AU after Book 6. H/G, mentor Moody.
Hitcount: Story Total: 8614; Chapter Total: 538
Awards: View Trophy Room




Author's Notes:

In case you wondered about the absence of the Prince's Potions textbook; it is not planned to leave its dusty cupboard for the duration of this tale. The mystery of its author is gone and Harry's not going to have access to all the Prince's little tricks; he was channeling his father a little too much.


Concerning Dumbledore, he is a richly complex character who says things like "From here on in, Harry, I may be as woefully wrong as Humphrey Belcher, who believed the time was right for a cheese cauldron." No one writes like that except JKR. The filmmakers' response was to omit the scene entirely, skipping the first memory and inserting inane small talk such as Dumbledore asking Harry if he's dating Hermione. No idea what they were thinking. I try to portray him honestly, but I know when I'm out of my depth.


The lyrics of this Moodies' song imply a sort of mentor relationship and the mystical funk sounded like Dumbledore theme music to me. Enjoy!


Ch 8 in which Harry plays with his new toys…





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-

Steppin' In A Slide Zone

"Help me please!" I thought I said
Then something happened in my head
Music came from all around
And I knew what I had found

Standing in a slide zone
Falling through a time zone
Steppin' in a slide zone
He had me falling through a time zone

- The Moody Blues

o o
o

"Professor, I am terribly sorry about your wand - I didn't mean to -"

"Harry," Dumbledore said, "do not concern yourself over it. I still have my excellent wand crafted by Ollivander in his younger days. As for the Peverell wand, if Xenophilius told you anything of its history, you know that it does not stay with anyone forever."

"But I thought it was supposed to be mostly for dark magic - I don't understand - How did you -"

"While a particular wand may show a greater propensity for one type of magic over another, you should remember that intent is most important with magic, and the type of magic performed by this wand speaks more about the person wielding it than the wand itself. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir, I think so, but… is this really Death's wand?"

"That is the difficulty of separating fact from fiction - what part of the tale is reality and what part is the author's own creation? And that leads to another question - does the fact that a story is completely imaginary mean that it contains no truth at all?"

"So… what do we know about it?" said Harry, more perplexed than ever.

"Very good, Harry, a much better question to start with," said Dumbledore, nodding. "I do, in fact, know a fair bit about it, having had many years devoted to its study. It is made of elder wood with a core of thestral hair - a very tricky combination and possibly the only one of its kind, but not beyond the capabilities of a very talented wandcrafter, as Antioch may have been. As you are familiar with thestrals, you are aware of their connection with death, which may have been an inspiration for Beedle the Bard as he created his tale. Alas, the trail of the wand through history is strewn with many fatalities as well, earning it the 'Deathstick' moniker, among others."

"But I didn't kill you, so how did it become mine?"

"Fortunately in this case, legends do not always bear out in reality. Would it surprise you to know that the last three possession changes did not involve a death?"

"Really? How did you get it?"

"You have heard of Gellert Grindelwald?"

"Didn't you fight him to end - oh, that's when you got the wand, isn't it?"

"Yes, and he now has the ignoble honor of being the only prisoner in his own prison. He acquired the Elder Wand as a young man by stealing it from the wandmaker Gregorovitch."

"I've heard of him - he made Krum's wand."

"Indeed, he is retired but again still very much alive. I do not know how he obtained it, but returning to your question of how it became yours, you were the victor in a magical contest of wills, at least as the wand saw it."

"You make it sound like the wand is actually alive!"

Dumbledore chuckled. "There is much evidence that wands have a limited degree of sentience, probably not much more than a plant that knows how to find the sun, for instance, but Ollivander has a favorite saying -"

"The wand chooses the wizard. Yeah, he mentioned that."

"Correct, Harry, and this wand has chosen you. We can speculate as to why it switched its allegiance and we may never know with any degree of certainty. However, I do believe that you are strong enough of character to avoid the pitfalls of its legends, and it will be an aid to you as you become accustomed to its idiosyncrasies."

Harry stared dubiously at the wand. "You mean like it has odd behavior?"

"The wand has exhibited some unusual characteristics for both myself and for Gellert - it was different for the two of us, and I suspect it may vary for you as well."

"Such as?"

"Ah, that would be telling - I wouldn't want to spoil it for you." He sat back, eyes twinkling again, nodding toward the wand.

Harry wasn't sure why he was so reluctant to pick up the Elder Wand - he had held it just a few days earlier with no issues. Would acceptance of it change him somehow? Would his holly wand still perform as well as it had for the last five years?

Praying for the best, he reached across the desk and took it between his fingers.

He remembered the rush of warmth from his first contact with the holly phoenix wand in Ollivander's shop. This was almost the opposite.

A coolness like a drink of iced water on a hot day flowed through his body; every vein and sinew seemed more alive and eager to perform - like he was a predator stalking its prey, a potter forming the clay, a musician with instrument in hand -

And then the instruments were playing.

"Sir, are you hearing music?"

"Why, no," Dumbledore beamed expectantly, "I'm not hearing a thing. Can you describe it?"

"Well, it's not like anything I've heard before, but there's lots of different sounds all layered together. Some are very pleasant, like nice harmonies, but there's others that sound… well, angry, is the best I can describe it."

"Fascinating! Does it vary at all?"

Harry turned about, moving the wand this way and that. "Yes, it acts like some kind of sensor, but I don't know…"

He pointed it at the ring that still sat on the desk. "There's a certain sound that gets much louder with the ring. It's one of the pleasant musical sounds."

"Maybe the wand recognizes its brother Hallow."

Harry thought that would be a good idea to explore and pulled out his invisibility cloak, putting it before the wand. "You may be right, professor, the sounds are very similar, like the same instrument and part of the same chord."

"Extraordinary! A sound signature for different kinds of magic?"

"I reckon that's as good a name as any. I wonder…"

Harry brought the wand up to the lightning bolt scar on his forehead. "Oh, that sounds terrible - that's the angry music I'm hearing."

"That does seem appropriate for a curse scar," said Dumbledore, who then held out his right arm. "If you would?"

Harry tried not to let his revulsion show at the headmaster's withered, blackened hand that looked to be already claimed by Death. He held close the Elder Wand, but the combination of furious discordant sound, its wasted appearance and a faint odor of decay caused him to withdraw after only a moment.

"Yours is almost as bad as mine, sir. It's still angry, but not as deep sounding, and more… scratchy, I guess."

"This is a most remarkable discovery, and I hope you will continue to investigate its capabilities. I believe you should now try a few simple spells to gauge how your magic interacts with it."

Without really thinking about it, Harry uttered "Lumos" and was surprised at the brightness and coolness of the light. Various charms and transfiguration spells all worked more or less as expected, until Dumbledore stood and asked him to try some dueling spells.

Offensive spells came hot and fast and his shields were stronger. Harry could tell this was a wand for fighting.

"Very good, Harry," Dumbledore said at last. "Our last task is to ensure that no one recognizes this as my previous wand. Unfortunately, a transfiguration would not be possible on such a magical object, but a confundus might keep people from guessing that you are using a different wand. Shall I do the honors?"

Harry placed the Elder Wand back on the desk and Dumbledore muttered as he passed his original wand back and forth over it. As Harry watched, it seemed to look more and more like his own holly wand.

"That should pass inspection," Dumbledore said in a pleased tone, then cancelled the charm. "However, it would be wise to have the ability yourself should the need arise."

Harry patiently learned the charm and accomplished it a couple of times by himself, the last time outperforming even Dumbledore.

"I believe your familiarity with your holly wand has me at a disadvantage," Dumbledore said proudly. "There is one more gift I have for you, at Alastor's request, no less. He refused to work with you if a buttock was endangered, or something to that effect."

Harry smiled, "Yeah, he didn't like that I carried my wand in my back pocket."

Dumbledore said, "This should alleviate his concerns."

He presented Harry with not one, but two Auror-grade forearm wand holsters - specially charmed to secure the wand from removal by force and undetectable when worn - one for each arm.

"Thank you, sir! These are amazing," Harry gushed, becoming more thoughtful as he slipped the holsters on his arms, Elder Wand on the right, holly on the left. "But, what should I tell my friends about all these things - the Hallows? Hermione will probably go spare if she finds out they're real."

"And who are we to deprive Miss Granger of the opportunity to have her worldview upended?"

They shared a small laugh before Dumbledore lowered his voice.

"I leave it to your discretion when and to whom you share, remembering that a larger circle of knowledge may evolve into a target upon your back. Even the fact that you now carry two wands would raise questions better not asked. Tom's history is also highly sensitive information, which will become more obvious as we delve deeper into his own personal actions. Do you understand, Harry?"

"Yes, sir, thank you." Harry lifted the Peverell ring with the Resurrection Stone for one more inspection, then slipped it onto the middle finger on his left hand. He let the Elder Wand jump back into his right and he used it to cast a disillusionment charm on the ring.

"Very good, Harry," said Dumbledore. "Regarding the stone, I can only say that I hope it will help to bring you peace."

At that moment Harry found it very difficult to meet Dumbledore's eyes. "Thank you again, sir."

o o o

It was very nearly curfew by the time Harry passed through the portrait hole into the Gryffindor common room. He was dismayed to find that much of the house was still there, relaxing, playing games, or even a few dedicated to revising on the first Saturday night of term. There was no privacy to discuss anything with his friends.

The Elder Wand also had a lot to say - a chorus of overlapping textures and tones played through his mind as he walked across the room. He managed to focus enough to quiet the noise to manageable levels by the time he reached his friends in front of the fire.

"Hey, mate!" Ron called, "how was detention?"

Hermione scowled at him. "Maybe Harry doesn't want to announce it to the whole house."

"Sorry, mate," Ron said, grinning unrepentantly. "Surely he wasn't as bad as Snape or Filch?"

He glanced at Ginny's table and made sure he had her attention before turning back to Ron and Hermione. "No, it wasn't bad, just tiring," Harry said, holding his hands in specific poses - right hand with thumb and forefinger extended unobtrusively toward his watch - 6 o'clock - while his left index finger pointed to the floor - meet here. A meaningless pose unless someone was looking for it. "I think I'm gonna turn in early. We can talk about it tomorrow."

Harry ignored their weak protests as he headed for the stairs, checking that Ginny had positioned her thumb on her chin - a 'thumbs up' of acknowledgement that only Harry would notice - while she was chatting with her dorm mates. She didn't even look up as he left.

o o o

"Let me guess, he turned your detention into the lesson he was promising."

"I knew I had a brilliant girlfriend, but that was spot on. You are amazing, you know?"

"I know," Ginny replied with a proud smirk and a deep kiss from her boyfriend. They were back in the fourth floor room with Harry's version of the Weasley settee. "What pearls of wisdom did he share?"

"We took a pensieve trip and got to meet Tom's mother, uncle and grandfather - the worst excuses for pure-blood wizards I've ever seen. And even his Muggle father -" He outlined the memory from Bob Ogden while Ginny listened in fascination.

"And Mr. Gaunt is wearing this ring with what he called the 'Peverell coat of arms' and it's got that symbol of the Deathly Hallows Mr. Lovegood showed us."

"How curious! Whatever became of it?"

Harry described what little he knew of the three Peverell brothers and their artifacts. "And I'm now the only one left the last Peverell line -"

"So this ring really belongs to you now?"

Harry removed the disillusionment on the ring, "According to Dumbledore, it does."

Ginny gasped and grabbed his hand. "That's it! It's the stone, isn't it?"

Harry sat back, still tired from a long, listless night. "And that's not all of it." He described the result of disarming the headmaster after the feast and how the Elder Wand, the Deathly Hallow of the eldest brother, was now his as well.

He brought out both wands and removed the confundus on the Elder Wand.

Dumbfounded, Ginny could only stare at the ring and the wand and imagine what they were supposed to represent.

"And now it sings to me."

"What?!"

He tried to describe the way the Elder Wand reacted to magic nearby and the different kinds of sounds he heard from it.

"Wow, Harry," said Ginny, "that might be a very useful trick. It's a good thing you can turn it down or you'd probably go round the twist."

"You're assuming I haven't gone round the twist already," Harry mused. "Ginny, I can't hide this from Hermione and Ron, but I don't know how to -"

"Oh, Merlin, you're right, Hermione's going to have kittens! This is so incredible! Can I be there?"

"Of course, you might need to hold her down for me."

That set both of them laughing while they worked out a strategy for sharing the reality of the Deathly Hallows and surviving the aftermath.

o o o

After breakfast full of excuses and apologies, Harry led Hermione, Ron, and Ginny to the Room of Requirement. Harry paced three times in front of the blank wall until a door appeared. Opening it, Harry invited them into a comfortable sitting room complete with a small, crackling fire in the hearth.

"This is very nice, Harry," Hermione said. "Now why all the cloak and dagger about your detention."

"First off, it wasn't really detention. And everything we discuss stays between us four."

Ron looked at his sister. "Are you sure about this, Harry?"

Hermione was about to come to Ginny's defense, but Ginny was faster.

"After the D.A., after the Ministry, after spending summers together, you really need to ask that?"

Harry added, "Her experiences also make her uniquely qualified, in case you forgot - like I did."

Suitably chastised, Hermione and Ron would never question Ginny's inclusion again, Harry thought. He gave Ginny a quick wink when the others were looking down.

Harry began by explaining that Dumbledore had promised him lessons on how to win against Voldemort and that detention was just a convenient subterfuge.

"And you're going to get personal training from Mad-Eye?" said Ron, "If you can survive that, I suppose you're good for pretty much anything."

"Well, I haven't had any yet," Harry returned, "so I don't really know." He then described in detail the pensieve memory of the Gaunts and their sorry state of existence, how the daughter had potioned a handsome Muggle and fathered the future dark wizard.

"That's fascinating," Hermione said, "how an infusion of Muggle genes into an obviously long-inbred magical family could produce such a talented wizard."

"One who became a psychopath, but yeah," Harry agreed.

"What do Muggle pants have to do with anything?"

"Oh, Ron," Hermione chuckled. She briefly tried to explain human genetics - genes, not jeans - but after a few minutes gave it up as a bad job.

Harry glanced quickly at Ginny, who gave a small nod in return. "The thing is," he began, "I'm worried about the headmaster."

"Oh? Why do you say that?"

"You've seen his hand, right? I think it's getting worse."

"Everyone has noticed," Hermione said. "It looks like some kind of curse, obviously not easily cured, or it would have improved by now. Did he say how it happened?"

"Not yet, but it happened between the end of school and when he picked me up from the Dursleys'. He also acquired that ring that belonged to the Gaunts about the same time - and he implied that it had curses on it."

"What happened to the ring? Does Professor Dumbledore still have it?"

"No, he gave it to me." Harry cancelled the disillusionment and handed the ring to Hermione. "Apparently it's a family heirloom."

"Then why would the Gaunts have it?" Hermione said, looking at it closely.

Suddenly she gasped. "Harry James Potter!" she cried, facing him stormily. "What are you playing at?"

Harry returned her gaze. "I'm not playing at anything."

"This ring has the same symbol that Luna's father was talking about - those ridiculous Deathly Hallows - and you're telling me this is not a prank?"

"No prank, Hermione. Marvolo Gaunt called it the Peverell Coat of Arms. I forgot to tell you in all the mess after, I saw the grave of Ignotus Peverell in Godric's Hollow and his marker has that symbol too."

"The youngest brother? The one with the -" Hermione's eyes grew and seemed ready to leap from their sockets. "Are you implying your cloak is the cloak?!"

"I wouldn't have believed it either, but Professor Dumbledore said it was, that a Peverell daughter married a Potter centuries ago -"

"No, no, no, no, NO!" Hermione insisted, jumping to her feet. "It's a fairy tale!"

"A fairy tale inspired by real events. Listen, Hermione, Dumbledore said something last night that I had never thought about before. Just because a story is made up, it doesn't mean that there is no truth in it. The Peverell brothers were real and they created some very powerful magical items that still exist, all confirmed by the headmaster. The part about meeting Death on a bridge was probably the Bard being dramatic or something."

Ron had been sitting in quiet amazement but his curiosity got the better of him. "You mean there really is an all-powerful wand?"

"I'm not sure about all-powerful, but the Elder Wand is real. Professor Dumbledore has been using it for the last 50 years." As he was saying this, he placed the well-known object in question on the table, and Harry almost laughed at the way each of their mouths were open halfway to the floor.

Hermione whimpered and managed to say, "How?"

"He won it from Grindelwald, who stole it from somebody else. That's why no one can know I have these things, or they'll be coming after me."

"But why do you have it?"

"It apparently chose me when I disarmed the headmaster after the feast."

"Harry, that makes absolutely no sense -"

"He's dying, Hermione. That curse - he told me nothing more could be done. He didn't say it, but I could tell. It may be weeks or even months, but I'm pretty sure it's fatal and that's why he's passing all of what he's learned to me."

Ginny gasped. "You don't think he'll live to see the end of the war."

"No, but he knows that I have to be there, so he's doing what he can to help me."

They stared at each other, contemplating what this meant for Harry, for the headmaster, for each of them.

Ron, uneasy with the silence, finally spoke. "So, how good is this wand?"

Harry shook his head, smiling at his best mate. He told them how it felt when he first picked it up, of the spells he had tried and how they performed, and how the wand acted as some sort of magical sensor for him.

"He said it was different for him and Gellert -"

"Wait," said Hermione, “the professor called the Dark Lord Grindelwald by his first name?”

"Yeah, maybe they got to know each other after the war. He seemed particularly pleased that it sounded like music -"

"He would," said Ron. "He's the one who made us sing the school song to our own tune at the same time."

"Yeah, the wand is a little like that when I listen to it. What is it he says at the end?"

"Music, a magic beyond all we do here," quoted Hermione with a wry grin.

"Barmy, he is," said Ron.

Harry took Hermione's hand and slipped the ring from her grasp. He looked slowly around at the others, searching their eyes. "You guys are my closest friends, and I need you here, right now, because I don't think I can do this next thing alone."

"Harry? Are you sure about this?" Hermione said skeptically. "Does the headmaster even know if it works?"

Harry recalled the Dumbledore family grave he had seen in Godric's Hollow. "I think… he may have used it himself."

They all gathered around him, hugging him in support, and held on to his arm or shoulder as Harry looked down at the ring in his hand.

He closed his eyes and turned it three times.

The others gasped as a figure with long tousled hair became visible before them.

"Merlin's mangy mustache," muttered Ron.

"Well, I didn't expect to see you lot for another century at least," said the figure in greeting.

Harry opened his eyes, drinking in the sight he thought he would never see again.

"Sirius…"

o

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