Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny followed Snape to the stone gargoyles that guarded Dumbledore's office.
"White chocolate mice." Snape told the gargoyles. They moved aside silently. Snape motioned them into the room but did not follow. Dumbledore was seated behind his desk. His hands folded on the desk. He looked up as they entered the room, and smiled warily.
"Ah, good evening." He said quietly. Harry heard Ron snort. "The five of you may all be seated." He told them, motioning to five chairs that appeared before him.
"There are only four of us." Harry pointed out. Dumbledore raised both eyebrows.
"Oh really?" He heard Draco drawl from behind him. Harry, Ron and Hermione spun around. Draco smiled. He held Ginny's hand reassuringly. Harry noticed, for the first time, just how terrified Ginny was.
"Why are you here?" Harry demanded.
"As a member of the Order I have every right to be here." Draco said. It took a few minutes for his words to sink in. When they did Harry turned to glare at Dumbledore.
"Why am I the only one here, who isn't in the Order!" He demanded, placing his hands on his hips. Dumbledore held his gaze, unblinkingly.
"I simply thought that you had enough to worry about, without the added stress of being a member of the Order." He told Harry calmly. Harry was furious.
"I'm the only one that deserves to be in the Order." Harry yelled, resting his hands on Dumbledore's desk. Dumbledore remained calm.
"I would be happy to discuss this at a later stage." He told Harry. "Right now, however, I should like to ask Neville about what he saw." Dumbledore motioned to the other seat where Neville was sniffling.
Harry sighed and sat in the seat next to Neville. "You ok, Neville?" Harry asked. Neville flinched at Harry's words but remained silent. Dumbledore turned his attention back to Neville.
He smiled kindly. "Tell me what happened." He spoke, gently. "And feel free to take as much time as you need." Neville's voice shook as he recounted his tale.
"I wasn't really tired, but I was bored, so I went to bed early." He began. "I laid in bed for a while and stared at my 'Nubulous Fungis'" he continued. "I was thinking bout the job I wanted to take next year. Professor Sprout told me I'd make a good teacher of Herbology.
"So I decided that I would do that, seeing as it's the only subject I'm good at anyways. I started to drift off to sleep when everything happened all at once." He trembled slightly at the memory.
"I heard footsteps on the floorboards. I thought Harry or Ron had returned. I already knew Dean and Seamus were asleep, so I figured that they were the only other one that would be moving around or bedchambers." Neville closed his eyes.
"I pulled back the bed-hangings. I had to ask about our Transfiguration homework, that's when I saw him." Neville was close to tears and Harry felt sorry for him.
Harry knew how scary it was to come face-to-face with the dark lord AND he knew how timid and shy Neville was.
"His eyes…" Was all Neville could gasp out, with a shudder, before breaking down into hysterical tears. Ron patted him on the back in an attempt of compassion.
"Thankyou, Neville." Dumbledore said, quietly. "Your grandmother is here to escort you home." He told Neville.
Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Draco waited silently while Neville left the office, followed by Dumbledore. Once he had once again seated himself, comfortably, did Dumbledore finally speak again.
"It would appear Voldemort is becoming desperate." Draco flinched at the name and Harry was filled with glee, knowing that something terrified him.
Dumbledore sighed, heavily. "Although I must say I did expect this. The time for the prophecy is almost upon us."
There was an instantaneous uproar among the group. "I wasn't told it'd happen this soon!" Ron roared.
"That doesn't leave me any time." Draco hissed.
"Why didn't you tell us this at the meeting?" Ginny wailed.
"I don't even know what books to start with!" Hermione screamed.
Yet Harry remained silent. Dumbledore's words had hit him hard. He had barely had time to adjust to the idea of what his birth meant, now he had to face what he didn't wish. How could he live knowing very well that he had murdered someone?
"So…" he tried to speak. "I… ah…" He fumbled for the words, but they failed him. Ron patted his back.
As though he knew what Harry was thinking, Ron responded. "You won't be alone. Hermione, Ginny and I are going to be at your side. We wouldn't let you face this alone." He assured Harry. Hermione and Ginny nodded in agreement.
"I'm going to help also." Draco spoke up. For some reason, Draco's words helped. Harry was no longer as afraid. Perhaps they could pull this off?
"I think it is best for you five to go to headquarters." Dumbledore told them.
He picked up an old Sneakescope and turned it into a portkey. "I need to make an announcement to the rest of the school and I shall be along momentarily." He explained.
The five of them landed on the floor of the hall in headquarters in a mass of limbs and robes and with a heavy thud.
Harry suffered the agony of landing on the bottom of the tangle. He had Ron's foot pressed into the side of his head, Hermione thrown over his legs and Draco's elbow digging into his ribs.
Ginny was the least to suffer, she'd landed, comfortably on top of the scrum.
Lupin came racing in as they worked to untangle themselves.
"What's going on?" He demanded. "You've not even been back at school for three days."
"You sound like our mother." Bill commented, chuckling. Ron grimaced as he pulled himself to his feet.
"I think I twisted my ankle." He grumbled.
"Oh, be quiet." Draco snapped, as he ran a hand through his messy hair. Harry suppressed laughter. He doubted Draco's hair had ever been messy in his life.
"What is this, son of a Deatheater, doing here?" Charlie questioned sharply, entering the room, eating some chips.
"Just because Lucius is a strong Deatheater does not mean I am." Draco told him defiantly.
"Fine," Charlie replied with a shrug.
A moment later Dumbledore appeared in the hall, in a cloud of smoke. "Every member of the order into the meeting room at once." He demanded, briskly.
Nobody spoke but did exactly as requested. Harry made no move. He wasn't in the Order so this had no application to him whatsoever. He turned on his heel, about to head up the stairs to his and Ron's room they shared.
Ron stuck his head out the door and looked at Harry. "Dumbledore said to hurry up and get in here. He has something important to say to us."
"I'm not in the Order, remember?" Harry told Ron, pointedly. Ron rolled his eyes.
"I reckon this has as much to do with you as it does us." Ron answered. "Besides… you never know… Dumbledore could be about to induct you." He told Harry with an uncharacteristic shrug.
Harry sighed and followed Ron into the kitchen…..
Sophia solo. Remember how I said the Pensieve is a bowl? Well it has been brought to my attention that it may actually be a bucket. Sort of like a pail. Or small bucket.
Chapter 12: A meeting of the Order
Harry followed Ron down into the kitchen, where almost every member of the Order was seated. Harry sat between Ron and Hermione. Ginny and Draco were seated on the other side of the table. Fred, George, Bill, Charlie, Mr and Mrs Weasley, Lupin, Mad- Eye, and Tonks were also there.
Dumbledore waited a few moments before speaking. He cleared his throat before starting. He handed Harry a piece of paper and told him to memorize it. Just like with Grimmauld Place.
'A member of the Order is sworn to protect the innocent and defenceless. They promise their lives to the elimination of death and hate. They promise to protect the other members of the Order and to put their life after others.'
Harry read and re-read the paper until he'd memorised it. He nodded and Dumbledore smiled.
"Close your eyes, Harry and think about what you read." Harry did as was instructed. "Do you agree?" Dumbledore asked.
"Yes." Replied Harry. Harry felt a shiver down his spine, as if he'd just received a small shock of lightning.
"Welcome, Harry, to the order." Dumbledore said. He then turned to the others. "It is clear now, that my school is in danger. Voldemort was caught, this evening in the Griffindor tower." He told the table. There was an instant and varied reaction from the group.
Fred, George, Bill and Charlie, each looked as though they'd been slapped in the face. Mrs. Weasley and Tonks had gasped and covered their mouths. Lupin and Mr. Weasley's jaws had fallen open in shock. Yet Mad- Eye looked non-plussed.
"Can't say I'm surprised." Moody growled. "What's going to happen with this lot?" He grunted to Dumbledore, inclining his head to Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Draco. Dumbledore stayed silent for a few minutes.
"They will return to Hogwarts and attend classes with their classmates, as though nothing has happened." He answered.
Mrs. Weasley rose from her seat, glaring at Dumbledore. "I will not allow you to send them back there." She told them furiously. "You said it yourself, Hogwarts is in danger. Vol… HE was there! I can't believe you want to send them all back, as if everything is fine." She yelled, tears running down her face.
"Molly," Lupin began quietly. "If the dark lord wanted to find Harry he would, no matter where he was."
"Besides, everyone's always saying that Hogwarts is the safest place besides Gringotts." Bill said earnestly.
"The best thing for us to do is pretend nothing is happening." Mad- Eye told Mrs. Weasley.
Mrs. Weasley sat down. "What if something happened to them?" She wailed.
"It's ok, they'll be fine." Charlie piped up.
"Yeah, mum." Ron added. "We're tough." He assured her with a smile.
Dumbledore then turned to Malfoy. "You will be able to begin the potion in the morning, I trust?" He asked. Malfoy nodded.
"Yes, but it won't be ready for at least two weeks." He told Dumbledore. Dumbledore nodded.
"It will be fine." He then turned to the group in general. "I think it best for us to get these five back to Hogwarts." He motioned to Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hermione and Draco. "It is late and they have classes in the morning."
Harry and the others stood, and headed out to the hall. They bent down and each put a hand on the portkey. Harry felt the pull and began speeding through the air. They landed in Dumbledore's office, they were all prepared this time and none of them landed face first on the ground.
McGonagall was waiting for them. "Each of you back to bed." She ordered, briskly. Not one of them complained. They each went to their dorms.
Once in the tower, Harry and Ron began pulling on their pyjamas. Harry yawned loudly.
"And to think I was worried about NEWT's." Ron said sleepily. Harry agreed.
"It seems NEWT's are the least of our problems." Harry said. "Do you really think Draco's changed?" Harry asked Ron.
Ron shrugged. "I guess it's like with Snape, isn't it?" Ron replied. Harry stared at him.
"What do you mean?"
"Well Dumbledore trusts him. I guess we should respect that and trust him too." Then Ron rolled over. Within minutes Harry heard Ron's snore. He was asleep.
Harry barely closed his eyes and he was asleep….