Two's Company, Three's a Crowd
"Before I elaborate however, I do have some items to disperse amongst you," Dumbledore continued as he made his way over to Harry and Adonna. The professor handed over a toned-down boys' Hogwarts uniform to Adonna minus the tie and robes, for "when they leave." He also gave her a long crimson-coloured wand. The healer's eyes lit up and she reached out delicately for the object saying, "My wand! When Ministry took it at trial, I wasn't sure I'd ever see it again.…" as she reverently inspected it. "How did you get it, Professor?" she inquired incredulously.
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled mischievously as he said, "The mysterious power of persuasion, Donnie. Suffice it to say, someone saw fit to release some misbegotten items back to their rightful owners, via yours truly."
Then he turned toward Harry saying, "It's also how we got your clothes, Harry. Ministry was holding your entire lot of property as 'evidence'. The operative word being 'was,' of course," the older man said with a wry look on his face.
"Yeah, I was seriously beginning to wonder where everybody was getting my clothes.…" Harry replied skeptically.
"This does bring back memories though," said Adonna softly, looking at Harry's uniform.
"I take it you used to be a Hogwarts student then?" asked Lupin.
"Yes, but it's something more than that…" the healer answered, giving Dumbledore a significant look.
The headmaster gave a small smile and explained, "Miss Donnie Tonks, the only student in Hogwarts history to stage a great 'trouser caper'. She and her female friends raided the laundry and stole all the boys trousers they could find, and wore them to class the next week. The only pairs not nicked were the ones already in the dormitories. What, pray tell, would cause such an otherwise respectable group of young ladies to behave in such a fashion?" He turned toward Adonna on the floor, who was trying not to blush as well as keep a straight face.
"It was in protest because wearing girls' uniforms in the dungeons was freezing cold! Plus, I just hated skirts.…" she said, holding out her hands helplessly. "You do stupid things when you're young," she mumbled. They all laughed with the hapless healer and the elder professor turned toward Harry and pulled out something from under his robes.
"I heard you were having trouble with visibility dispersal and passing through things, so I managed to get ahold of this for you," he said. He was holding up a beautiful shimmering white gossamer cloak, which resembled the black one Harry inherited from James.
Tonks appeared to have recognised it immediately, as she whistled and said, "Ghost Net! They let you have one?" she was clearly impressed.
"What's 'Ghost Net'?" Harry inquired, very intrigued.
"Think of it as a 'Disinvisibility Cloak'. It operates on similar magic principles as Invisibility Cloaks, just in reverse. It's also only effective on spirits. Instead of using gravity to pull it down, it repulses off the ionic static surrounding ghosts," said Dumbledore.
"It's what we Aurors use to catch dangerous Poltergeists," Tonks went on, "gives us something to hold onto, instead of trying to remove them the hard way. Ghost Net is so rare only three cloaks exist, and the Ministry keeps close watch over them all. Just imagine that stuff in the hands of a nasty ghost.…" the Auror shook her head. "I'm sure the professor has removed the Seize Jinx from it, though."
"The what?" Harry replied warily. He had just been about to step into the special cloak when he leaped away reactively instead.
"It sort of turns into a straightjacket because of that charm, but I'm sure you have nothing to worry about. After all, Dumbledore got it to help you, not to hurt you."
Still more than a bit cautious, Harry backed up into the gossamer fabric that the headmaster was holding out for him. He could tell the thing was actually covering him, almost the way real clothes felt. Thankfully, it wasn't grabbing him or anything, like a Seize Jinx would have caused it to. Someone then stood behind him and…rested their hands on his shoulders. He started in astonishment. "Are you actually…" he looked down at Tonks's hands on the cloak, "you are! That's not…I'm not making you freeze?"
The young woman smiled quirkily and shook her head. "The miracle of Ghost Net. Now if you think that's cool, just try these on," she reached back as Dumbledore handed her something. Harry turned back around and the Auror held out some matching gloves for him to wear. "Can't have troublesome ghosts vanishing their hands now, can we?" Sliding the gloves on, Harry turned his face back up to Tonks as she held out her palm and said, "Now slap me five."
Harry just shook his head once, drew back his gloved hand and…slapped the Auror's hand without having to concentrate, but most importantly without making her shiver with cold.
"Good show!" Remus observed, thunderstruck.
"This stuff is amazing!" exclaimed Harry.
"It sure is," Adonna agreed, and then she turned to address Dumbledore. "Professor, how did you know I would need these particular clothes? I vaguely remember Tonks telling me you sent her to spy here three days ago, but from what I can tell, even she didn't know I still looked like Harry. How did you know I was…not me?" The healer looked askance, even by her own question.
The professor reached into his robes again and pulled out a rather battered piece of newsprint. On the very front page of The Quibbler screamed the headline, IMPOSTER POTTER PSYCHES PUBLIC? Underneath it was a picture of a defiant-looking Harry standing in the main foyer at the Ministry building. "I'm telling you," shouted his picture-image to the surrounding people, "Harry Potter is not dead!" Adonna gasped and said, "That's me! I didn't know anybody got a picture… After the Wizard Wireless announcement, I didn't know where else to go…" she said in dismay, as she recalled the events of the past. Harry knelt next to her again and read the story.
Ministry of Magic, LONDON by Rita Skeeter
hours following the devastating announcement
of the death of Harry Potter, this unidentified person
was spotted in the Ministry building. Whomever it
was caught instant attention, as anyone who happened
by was mesmorised by the sight of the Boy-Who-
Once-Lived. Ministry officials quickly apprehended
the individual and made the hasty yet unsatisfyingly
vague pronouncement this "sort of thing happens all
the time when important celebrities or officials die."
is this reporter's belief that all Ministry's press
releases and declarations concerning anything to do
with Harry Potter or his case have been a complete
farce, designed to throw everyone off and distract
them from the actual truth. The person at Ministry
never once claimed to be him, only that he wasn't
actually dead. A conspiracy theory is the only
The article went on to expound upon three rather stunning conspiracy theories, each more unbelievable than the next. It was rather obvious the story's introductory author didn't write the theories, however. But the overall gist contained in the header was indeed true…Rita Skeeter had actually published the truth concerning him again. The biggest problem was that it was still printed in The Quibbler.
"Most people thought it a sick joke for Skeeter to say what she did about Harry's death, at least firstwise. Regardless, I noticed something with that picture," explained Dumbledore.
They all looked at the moving snapshot together and said simultaneously, "No scar."
The professor looked right at Adonna and said, "I knew nobody trying to properly impersonate him would make such a glaring oversight, so I played a hunch. And here you are. Even before finding out the full truth about Harry, we were already going to free you tonight, Donnie. I knew what you were being subjected to could hardly be good. I only regret it couldn't be sooner."
The headmaster looked at her very kindly and placed a hand on her forehead. It was a gesture Harry had experienced from Dumbledore many times, and it served as a reminder the headmaster always tried to watch out for those once under his tutelage.
"I know I promised you an explanation for Psychromancy, Harry. It will come, but the fact remains we really must depart. We are going to leave in three shifts so as to avoid attracting attention; Kingsley will be escorting Neville, Dean, Susan, and Luna, I will be accompanying Hagrid, your double, and Ginny, and the four of you are to leave last. I suggest you keep your heads covered at all times, Harry and Donnie; the last thing you want to do is attract attention to your faces. So here is another cloak for you," he produced a dark grey cloak and gave it to the healer, "as we do need the Invisibility Cloak for Harry's counterpart," and he took the black drape from Tonks, who had slung it over her shoulder. "Donnie might be able to walk out of here, but I know Harry's double can't. Also, I doubt I need to remind you to take the stairs," ended the professor.
"Yeah, we know our jobs," Tonks responded, a titch irritatedly. "I assume the cars will be circling the block, since parking them could attract Muggle attention," she said, as the elder man nodded. "So leave already, she needs to change," the young woman went on, pointing to Adonna. Tonks was quite clearly back in full "Auror" mode again. It appeared mild annoyance while fully focusing on one's tasks was a family trait.
Harry noticed the tearoom witch was back at her counter again as he exited the hallway with Dumbledore and Lupin. Remus turned to the older man and inquired, "Where's Moody and Snape, Professor?"
"Moody is indisposed at the moment. Severus is currently on assignment, dealing with most pressing concerns of a time-sensitive nature. Suffice it to say they will both be meeting us in the graveyard at the appointed time." And that was that.
Remus threw Harry a slightly surprised glance, evidently as taken aback as he was that Dumbledore's answer had been short and left absolutely no room for discussion. Harry tried to read any thoughts from Dumbledore but as he did, he became aware the headmaster's mental discipline and power ran at a much deeper level than anyone else he had come across thus far. Dumbledore exuded that calm assurance and it was clear the man would never accidentally leave a peripheral thought for anyone to read. Harry didn't even know what it was he was sensing from Dumbledore, but it felt very ancient, time-honoured, and…huge. No other word remained for it. The professor's power was all-encompassing in nature. Small wonder Voldemort was scared of him.
The first shift of people had already left so Hagrid, Jamie, and Ginny were the only ones remaining. Jamie was still down and out, and Lupin helped Hagrid slide the Invisibility Cloak over him. Dumbledore said, "I hardly think I need to tell you to act like you're not carrying anyone, Hagrid."
The half-giant replied with mild indignation, "It's no' like he weighs a lo' anyway, Professor. Besides, wha' good's a hal' giant who can't do a lil' haulin'?" And then he smiled widely at the rest of them, evidently quite pleased with his task of 'Harry-bearing.' They couldn't help but smile back at him.
Ginny looked at Harry's new cloak and asked, "What is that?" She was clearly dazzled by it.
Harry grinned and replied, "Ghost Net. Here, let me show you," and he reached out and trailed a gloved finger down Ginny's cheek. She gasped and said, "Brilliant! You didn't even freeze me! I wonder…" then she reached out and grasped his arm. "Bloody hell! I can touch you, too!" Ginny was positively exuberant, and Harry grinned even more broadly at her reaction.
"Miss Weasley, we must depart now. We'll meet you all on the street below," Dumbledore assured, "give us ten minutes, Remus. Then the rest of you take your leave," he finished as he walked with Hagrid and Ginny to the stairwell door entrance. The red-haired girl gave Harry a final "see you later" as the door shut on them.
Lupin was just about to tell the women in the corridor it was nearing time to leave when the door opened and they walked out, Adonna leaning heavily against Tonks. Remus instantly took up the other side of the healer to balance out her unsteady gait. "So this is where we are…" said the healer, looking around at the tearoom, "I was wondering." When they got to the stairwell, Adonna looked down at the steps in utter alarm.
"Oh no…ten flights, how could I have forgotten?" she said disparagingly.
"Nobody's going to begrudge you some major assistance," Remus told her caringly, "especially not considering what you've been through as of late. Please, allow me the honour?" He reached out his arms for her again as she considered, nodded, and finally slung an arm around his shoulders and he picked her up.
"It's okay Donnie, Lupin is really strong…he's not your average human being. Besides," added Tonks, "it's not really that critical you need to walk until we get to the main floor."
Harry could tell it was really hard for the healer to accept such help, but she wasn't too proud to realise they all really needed to get the hell out of St. Mungo's. Setting Adonna down, Remus and Tonks gave she and Harry the once-over, making absolutely certain their charges' faces were concealed. Harry also made it a point to keep staring down at the floor so as not to attract attention.
It was odd; he had spent time as a ghost under the assumption that he could still function like a normal human being. Now that he had some semblance of corporeal nature back due to the special cloak, he still feared he could mess it all up somehow. All it would take was someone accidentally running into him. Then again, nobody had much cause to run into what they thought was a solid object, did they? This must be another reason why Dumbledore procured this Ghost Net for Harry…so he could just be another nameless face in the crowd, rather than trying to navigate his way through it as a ghost. It was hardly an intelligent thing for Harry to mess with his own visibility, as he still hadn't quite got the knack of switching invisible.
Adonna was almost as apprehensive as he was. After all, it was the image of his face that had caused her to be thrown in here in the first place. They all made their way slowly yet uneventfully though the main foyer, and Harry felt a great sense of relief wash over everybody as they passed through the exit waterfall. Mercifully, he felt nothing other than mild pressure as he walked under the ethereal stream.
Harry looked up and saw that Hedwig was still on her street lamp perch. He waved at her a silent greeting and she hooted at him. Good old Hedwig, who had made it through the accident and found Harry…
The four of them had waited only less than a minute when two non-descript vehicles pulled up to the side of the curb and two very familiar people exited from each of the driver's doors. They took one look at Harry and Adonna, walked up to them and said dazedly, "There's three of you?"
"—brill!" the pair exclaimed, characteristically finishing one another's phrases.
Their chauffeurs were none other than Fred and George Weasley.