Forlorn Hope

Fire, Water, Earth and Sky

34 : Fire, Water, Earth and Sky

He paced the length of the room, trying to figure out what he would tell Dumbledore. Not that he was thinking of a cover story… Merlin no! He wouldn't lie to the man for the life of him, but honestly, he had to make the truth at least sound somewhat believable! The portraits watched his nervous walk, each sporting a different expression. Some showed sympathy, others distrust or dislike… no matter, as long as Dumbledore believed him. Dumbledore would believe him, right? Merlin he hoped so. But back to what happened…

Well, the crystal thingy broke, he pushed at his memory, hating India at the same time. Why anyone in their right mind would declare the entire country an anti-apparating zone was beyond him, uncomfortable as hell being not far from his mind as well. At a time he needed to report to Dumbledore as soon as possible… to spend a month, hell, another few weeks and it'd be two! It was already late February; the twenty-er-sixth, or was it the seventh? He wasn't really sure, having sort of lost track when he fell asleep while hiding in a cargo car or some train; about a week without fresh air or sunlight… moonlight… whatever.

"Ah Sirius… I am so glad of your return."

"Thank you sir."

"Have you found it? No matter, other things require your attention…"

Sirius grew confused at the words, but he couldn't let himself dwell on what Dumbledore could possibly find more important than the stone. True, he didn't have it, but…

"I've spoken to the seer sir."

"You have?" Shock. The one emotion Sirius had never expected to see on Dumbledore. But if he hadn't expected him to succeed then why had he send him? Was he trying to preoccupy him? Keep him away from Harry, his Harry? No. Not Dumbledore. If anyone honest was left, it was his old headmaster.

"Yes sir, he – er- left a message for you sir, said I need to tell you what I heard him say- a prophecy."

"Prophecy?"

Sirius nodded, his eyes clouding over.

"Fire, Water, Earth and Sky,

Through them all man's evils die.

In the one these four reside,

Powers beyond all others bide.

The Blazing Lion will wake his might,

Queen of Ravens grant him flight,

Earthly Badger clear his sight,

In Silver Serpent he'll find light.

The lion, Serpent, offer home'

Each he chooses, each alone.

When all four he hath unite,

The peace he forged; no end in sight. "

"Mother of Merlin…"

"Do… do you know what it means sir? Is it… is it about Harry?" Sirius questioned, the fog leaving his mind as the spell ended.

"It is about many things my boy," Dumbledore replied slowly, his voice far off and thoughtful, worried and unsure… very un-Dumbledore-like. "many things indeed."

"Sir?"

"It speaks of Nature, Hogwarts and the one who will bring order to it all."

"Hogwarts sir?" Sirius asked doubtfully, Hogwarts?

"Lion, raven, badger, snake… what do you believe they represent?"

"The houses?"

"Indeed," Dumbledore nodded, "a red lion- blazing, a raven- queen of the blue sky, a badger- of blackest earth, and the serpent- in silver waters. The house colors, animals and elements are all tied together… the founders did not simply pick them at random my dear boy."

"Wouldn't air be silver though, and the waters blue?"

"No no my boy, a clear sky is a beautiful blue while rushing waters are sparkling white. The elements in the prophecy work on more than color; they mimic the very attitudes of each house… or perhaps the house traits follow those of the element would be closer to fact, for the elements do not bend to the will of this castle or those of the founders, the founders bent to them."

Sirius listened, still skeptical of the notion of elements.

"Just think of it my boy," Dumbledore continued, a cheerful tone replacing the man's serious one. "Gryffindors become easily 'fired-up' as it were; quick to turn violent and unpredictable- like fire. Hufflepuffs are calm yet determined; unmovable as mountains when needed. Ravenclaws are sure minded and open to new views and ideas- like a clear sky. Slytherins… Slytherins are like a raging river- violent and unstoppable, powerful and destructive yet the only thing that can keep a flame from turning into an inferno. They are also secretive, the turbulent silver surface hiding what lies beneath; the dangers or the beauty."

Sirius nodded, wondering who'd ever think Slytherins beautiful…

"But 'all hopes lie' on Harry's shoulders… he unites them, right?"

"No." His old headmaster replied, the statement firmer than any he had heard from this man, as if he almost condemned the very thought. "This is not about Mr. Potter."

"Then who?" Sirius demanded respectfully,

"Of that I am unsure. It all depends on the interpretation Sirius. I know of two boys who can literally control elements, all four I believe, but perhaps it does not need to be taken verbatim… Perhaps… no," Dumbledore paused, "there is no such person."

"But it talks about Voldemort's destruction, right? 'Peace he forged'…"

"Perhaps. Never take anything for granted in such riddles Sirius. Total domination brings peace as well my boy, this could as easily signal Voldemort's ultimate reign."

"But-"

" The light he is to find in the Silver Serpent could as easily mean that in evil he shall discover his calling as it can mean that in the dark he will find good… If Slytherin is to be seen as evil that is, if not it could also mean in the house he will find one who makes the peace he will create, the weapon he uses, or simply that the element of water or even a literal snake .We cannot know."

Crap! And here he had thought he had most of it figured out!

"Prophecies are eternally tricky, most becoming clear only after the events occur." As Dumbledore said this, there was an uneasiness in his voice. Something in the prophecy, something he had found in between the lines evidently worried him, but the headmaster seemed extremely unwilling to share his anxiety about what he had deduced.

"Sir?"

"Forgive me Sirius, I seem to have lost my train of thought. This information certainly was unexpected… I fear this will have to be filed immediately. Forgive me. I am sure you wish to see your godson, I suggest you consult Severus as to his whereabouts… excuse me." And he left. Just like that he left Sirius all alone in the man's office, dumbfounded. A gazillion questions raced through his mind, from what had made Dumbledore so worried to why he had been told to ask Snape of all people about Harry … if that git had hurt him…

"Draco, you don't understand!"

"Oh, I think I do. You like him Lea, don't deny it… the only thing I don't understand is why you are trying to push him away."

"It's complicated… very complicated."

"Sure… you're just afraid Miss brave Gryffindor, at least have the guts to admit it!"

"Like I said, you understand nothing! You are just insensitive and blind!"

"Oh? Enlighten me then, oh great one…"

"You think it's so simple…"

"Don't deny you like him, everyone and their house elf can see you do!"

"I do. Bu-"

"But you're afraid."

"t- I'm not sure what the feelings really are."

"Well, I am."

"Oh for Merlin's sake listen, will ya?" A moment of silence, "Thank you. Now, I've told you before how… how similar… Horris and Harry are; eerily so in some respects and total opposites in others…" She paused a moment again, "I've felt- something- for Harry before he disappeared and I don't know if what I'm feeling for Horris is because of him or because he reminds me of -"

"Potter." Draco finished, sneering the name.

She nodded, "I wouldn't be able to live with myself if it turned out to be that and I had pursued Horris."

"You're an idiot." Draco stated flatly, "After all he's done for you, what's Potter done, except almost get you killed on a dozen or so occasions? He treated you only marginally better than I treat Goyle for Merlin's sake! He dumped you when the first opportunity to get the hell out of here presented itself and you know it."

"It wasn't like that."

"Sure…"

"Harry had to leave, he left the one place he thought of as home so that one day he'd be powerful enough to save this world, because every bloody idiot expects him to. Harry has really had a hard life and he is really a good kid Dragon, just leave him alone. This is none of your concern."

"Yes it is."

"No. Who I like is between that boy and me, you are farthest from this matter as far as I'm concerned."

"Listen Granger, Horris is my friend. He's the first one I've had that hasn't only been concerned with using me or getting used by me, so I am not about to stand by and let you do this to him."

"I'm not doing anything Draco, he's my friend too."

"That's probably what Potter thinks of you as well…"

"Shut up."

"Truth hurts Lea."

"Will you leave Harry out of this, only cowards talk about people when they aren't there to defend themselves!"

"The entire world does it for him Lea, you included!"

"And here I thought you changed!"

"It's you who's changed Lea, You changed because of Horris."

Remus quickly readied himself to Floo to Dumbledore, the headmaster having called him moments before. He had seemed truly worried, making Remus' haste not unfounded.

What could have happened he wondered, even as he passed through the fire and into the very familiar office.

"You wished to see me, sir?"

"Ah, welcome Remus, pumpkin tart?"

"Thank you sir." He smiled, taking the offered pastry. At least whatever he was summoned for was not a life and death situation though too important for a lemon drop…

"You have always enjoyed riddles my boy, would you care to puzzle over one I hath recently acquired?"

"A prophecy, sir?" Remus asked; he's always loved them, tricky bastards that they are… but why had Albus seemed so…so… urgent? He took the offered parchment, scanning over its contents once, twice… "This… this is… I've never read this one sir."

"No one has." Albus replied, "This is the only copy, and I have written it only moments ago."

"Who predicted it sir?"

"An old acquaintance who told it through your oft partner-in-crime, Mr. Black."

"A convey charm?"

Albus nodded,

"So the copy is surely word-for-word?"

another nod,

"Merlin!"

"You understand it then, I take it?"

"I believe so sir, but…" Remus swallowed, it was about Horris, he was sure. "I think I have a matter of grave importance sir, I had planned to tell Horris of it first , but if this says what I believe it to… what do you know of Lily sir?"

The headmaster raised a curious brow, the twinkles dying in his eyes.

"You think this prophecy is of Horatius my boy?"

"Yes sir."

Sirius treaded the halls in his canine form, slowly heading in the general direction of the dungeons. He was truly in no hurry to face the slimy git, especially on his home front. But he wanted to see Harry, and by Merlin he would… even if it meant talking to a Snape.

"Just shut up, will ya!"

He heard a far-off voice, Hermione's voice- he was sure of it. Looking toward it, he saw shadowed figures arguing on the distance

Hermione and Ron he figured, Things never change…

"Just wait till Harry comes back!"

"If he comes back!" a second voice countered, definitely not Ron's.

"He will come back Draco!"

Draco? Sirius thought, confused for a moment, Malfoy? He realized to his utter horror, sprinting at the slimy Slytherin.

"Arrgh!" The devil's child yelled as Sirius charged, teeth poised.

"Si- Snuffles!" he heard Hermione call out, worried. "Snuffles no!"

NO? he actually stopped, looking to her for an explanation.

"Don't hurt him."

"Friend of yours?" Malfoy's silky voice questioned from behind, making Sirius spin to face him. "That's Potter's mutt, isn't it?"

"Er… in a way, I guess. Just back off, both of you."

Sirius kept his ground with a defiant bark, Malfoy not seeming to relent any more than he.

"If he's looking for Potter he's missed him by a few months… Merlin only knows if the idiot is still alive…"

Alive? Sirius repeated the word in his mind, Harry had bloody well better be alive, you stupid Slytherin! What came out was a series of vicious barks, making the blonde effectively shut his trap.

"Don't even think that!" Hermione called out behind him,

"Why would they accept Horris then, the headmaster must have known Potter wouldn't be coming back if he granted Professor Snape's request!"

Snape!

He was off before he even heard the end of the comment. He had to find out what was going on, he had to maul that greasy bastard and he had to leave a pile of…surprises… in Malfoy's bed; inside the pillowcase perhaps…

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