Fred, George, Harry, and I slowly made our way through the tiny tunnel toward Hogsmeade, guided only by the light of Fred’s wand.
“How have you managed to get into Hogsmeade so many times without a single soul seeing you and telling someone at Hogwarts?” I asked the twins.
“Because we don’t go into Hogsmeade,” George replied with a sly smile.
“Then we should probably turn around because we’re heading straight toward it,” Harry joked.
“Oh no, Georgie, we accidentally took the wrong passage!” Fred said sarcastically.
“So if we’re not going to Hogsmeade, where are we going?” I asked.
“We’ve figured out a spot in the tunnel that’s outside of Hogwarts bounds, which makes it possible for us to apparate in and out of the tunnel rather than showing our faces in Hogsmeade constantly,” George explained.
“I’m actually slightly impressed,” I said, only slightly surprised at my brothers’ cleverness.
“So how do you make sure that you apparate into the right spot rather than further down or in an entirely different tunnel? Tunnels tend to look rather similar,” Harry said.
“We’ve got the spot marked,” Fred replied, “Which you can see just up ahead.”
I saw what he was talking about up ahead, but couldn’t make out what it was until we got closer. Etched into the stone wall was the symbol for Fred and George’s joke shop.
“Once again, slightly impressed,” I said. The twins grinned.
“So where are we apparating to in Diagon Alley?” Harry asked.
“The back room of our shop with the fireplace attached to the floo network,” George answered. Harry and I nodded in understanding.
“Alright. See you there,” Fred said before turning on his heel and vanishing with a pop. George followed suit almost immediately, and Harry and I were not far behind. Another small pop, and I found myself standing beside the other three in the Twins’ shop.
“Fred and I will obviously be staying here to run the shop, but you two can go wherever you like,” George said as we walked out into the shop.
“Leave whenever you like, but come back this way once the shops close. If we leave at the same time, we might as well leave together,” Fred added.
“Sure, mum,” I said, rolling my eyes. Fred gave me a look, but turned and walked toward one of the employees, followed quickly by George.
“So where do we want to go?” Harry asked as we made our way through the many displays toward the front of the store.
“Well, we have all day, since it isn’t even noon yet. We can go pretty much everywhere,” I replied.
We ended up wandering around between shops for the rest of the morning. Around lunchtime, we headed toward the Leaky Cauldron to get food.
“So are you feeling better now that you’ve gotten away from campus for a couple hours?” Harry asked as we began to eat.
“Definitely,” I replied. “It’s relaxing to not have to worry about anything. And I’m glad you decided to come.”
“Me too,” Harry grinned. “It feels like we haven’t hung out in a while.”
“Huh?” I raised an eyebrow. “We see each other every day.”
“I know,” he replied. “But lately, with Hermione and Ron being all weird with the Draco thing, it feels like we’re all a bit more distant.” Harry shrugged. “And plus, you’ve been spending more time with Draco. I was starting to think you were forgetting you had a best friend.”
I rolled my eyes, knowing he was kidding, and we both laughed. “Exaggerate much?” I said.
“OK, maybe that was stretching it a little bit,” Harry conceded, “but you have to admit that everyone’s friendship is a little strained right now.”
“Yeah, I know.” I sighed. “I’m hoping that everything that happened this morning fixed that. Or will at least help it.”
“I think Hermione’s coming around. Ron will be harder to convince. He’s already protective over you, but the fact that it’s Draco makes it worse,” Harry replied.
“But I can take care of myself,” I said firmly.
“Yes, you can,” Harry said. “Which reminds me…” He paused, seemingly wondering whether or not to continue.
“Spit it out,” I said, slightly concerned about what he was about to say.
“That day when you had that accident… and you said that you couldn’t tell me what happened…”
I stiffened, realizing where he was headed with his statement.
“Is there any chance you’d tell me what was going on? I’m worried about you,” Harry said.
I vehemently shook my head. “No. I’m sorry, Harry, but I just can’t tell you. But please don’t worry about me. I’m fine.”
“Well, you obviously weren’t fine when you fell off your broom and basically broke your body,” Harry shot back.
“You still haven’t told me what you were doing this summer, and I was worried about you too,” I pointed out.
“Fine,” Harry replied. “You tell me what happened to you that day, and I’ll tell you what I did over the summer.” He frowned slightly, possibly wanting to take back what he’d just said, but didn’t say anything else.
I thought about his proposition for a second. Yes, I was definitely still concerned about what he’d been doing in secret all summer, but that had to be nothing compared to what I was hiding from him. “Yeah, all along, you thought you were the only chosen one, but it turns out that I was too and because of that, Voldemort’s not actually dead after all and he’s probably plotting his return to power right now as we speak. But enough about me, what did you do this summer?” Yeah, I could see that conversation going over really well.
I shook my head. “Sorry, Harry, but I can’t tell you. Not now, at least. Maybe eventually, but I just can’t right now,” I said. Harry frowned slightly, but didn’t continue trying to convince me to tell him. “You’re not upset with me, are you?” I asked.
“No,” he replied slowly, “but it concerns me that you still won’t tell me. I’m concerned that it’s something more serious than I previously thought.”
He looked at me, as if expecting me to confirm or deny his assertions. “I’m not telling you anything,” I replied. “Sorry.”
“I didn’t mean to be pushy,” he said. “I just want to help. And I want to stop worrying about you.”
“You don’t need to worry about me,” I said. “I can take care of myself.” Harry frowned again, but this time, he didn’t continue on.
From then on, we completely avoided the topic of my accident, which made me feel significantly better. We spent our afternoon looking around in the shops, staying in the Quidditch supply shop longer than we should have. After successfully stopping each other from buying nearly everything in the shop, we proceeded to buy ice cream and spent nearly an hour just sitting and laughing and talking about non-secretive topics. By the time the shops began to close in the evening, neither of us were ready to leave, but we still made our way back to the joke shop. We browsed around for a few minutes while Fred and George shut everything down but soon, Fred and George called out that it was time to go, and the four of us apparated back into the tunnel. One after another, we once again made our way back through the tunnel toward Hogwarts, and climbed out of the statue.
It was slightly past dinnertime, but none of us had eaten, so we made our way to the Great Hall to see if there was any food left. When we got there, there were still a good number of people inside, most of them finishing up their meals. After a quick glance down the table, I saw that Ron and Hermione weren’t there. Across the room, I saw Draco. I grinned and waved at him, receiving disapproving looks from the twins. The four of us found a spot at our table to sit, and I saw Draco, who had already finished eating, stand up and start walking in our direction.
“Ahem,” came the noise of someone behind us clearing their throat. I looked up to see Professor McGonagall standing directly behind me.
“Potter, Jacobsen, Weasleys, please come with me to my office,” she ordered. I glanced at Harry, realizing that she must know that we had been to Diagon Alley all day. Harry shrugged, and I wondered how she could know.
The four of us stood up, and I glanced back to Draco, who had stopped walking in our direction and was looking at me with a quizzical expression on his face. I shrugged and followed Professor McGonagall out into the Entrance Hall. We snaked our way through the corridors to the Headmistress’s office.
“Dumbledore,” Professor McGonagall commanded. The eagle guarding the entrance sprung to life, spiraling upward toward the door. We climbed the stairs and followed Professor McGonagall through the door into the large office. She took a seat at her desk and we stood facing her as her icy stare bored through us, before she finally began to speak.
“I have received correspondence from no fewer than five wizards today informing me that four of my students were in Diagon Alley today. Three of them claimed to have seen you, Miss Jacobsen, and you, Mr. Potter, this afternoon in The Leaky Cauldron. The other two saw you two,” she turned to Fred and George, “inside your joke shop. What do you have to say for yourselves?” She stared all four of us down, and I became too nervous to even move. Harry didn’t seem to want to say anything either.
George, however, seemed to be bursting to speak. “It’s not fair, Professor! We have a business to run! We can’t spend all of our time here and leave our shop in someone else’s hands!” he exclaimed.
“Fair or unfair, those are the rules, and you must follow them, Mr. Weasley,” Professor McGonagall retorted.
“Can’t we just work something out? We have to be able to run our shop,” Fred begged.
Professor McGonagall looked at him thoughtfully, possibly trying to gauge her reaction.
“Perhaps, Mr. Weasley, but the fact is that today, you have broken the rules. All four of you will receive detentions. You’ll receive a note stating the date and location of your detention,” she said. “Now out!”
Fred, George, Harry and I made our way out of McGonagall’s office, disappointed at the rather sad turn that our day had taken. We were making our way back toward the common room, when I heard a voice calling out my name. I turned to see Draco hurrying toward us.
“Go on, I’ll be there in a minute,” I said to the other three, who continued down the hall.
“Why did McGonagall want you in her office?” Draco asked when he caught up to me.
“Well… Harry, Fred, George, and I went to Diagon Alley for the day… and some people saw us and told McGonagall. She gave us detention,” I admitted. For a few moments, Draco didn’t say anything, but just frowned.
“What did you do that for?” he asked.
“What do you mean?” I asked, confused. “I just wanted to get away for a little while.”
“I mean that it wasn’t exactly a smart thing to do. You’re lucky you didn’t get in a lot more trouble,” Draco replied.
“It’s not a big deal. I just needed to get away for a little while after dealing with all of this drama. You can understand that, right?” I said, surprised that he was practically scolding me about going to Diagon Alley.
“You could’ve gone somewhere else on Hogwarts grounds rather than going to Diagon Alley and risking getting caught,” Draco suggested.
“I don’t see why this is a big deal. It’s just a detention, and it was only Diagon Alley,” I said defensively, becoming annoyed with him. “It’s not like you’re my dad or something.”
“No, but I’m your boyfriend, and I’m worried that you’re being unnecessarily reckless,” Draco replied.
“Reckless?” I asked. “Taking a day trip to Diagon Alley isn’t reckless! It isn’t dangerous. I just wanted to go.”
“You didn’t seem so keen to go to Diagon Alley when I suggested it,” Draco retorted.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“When I suggested going to Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade for our date, you said they were too risky,” Draco explained. “But clearly you’re completely up for risking detention to go to Diagon Alley with Potter.”
“So that’s what this is about,” I said, rolling my eyes at his jealousy. “You’re just still worried that I like Harry, even though I told you that I don’t. How do you expect to maintain this relationship if you can’t just trust what I tell you?”
“It’s not that I don’t trust you, Carrie-”
I cut him off, becoming more and more angry. “Then why can’t you just believe me when I say that I don’t like him? If I liked him, why would I be dating you? Do you have any idea how awkward it’s been to be around Ron and Hermione because they don’t approve of our relationship? I’ve defended you to them countless times, and I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to get to know you and actually growing to like you, and you still can’t get over the idea that I like Harry. Do you realize how childish that is?”
Draco just looked at me with a slightly sheepish expression on his face.
“And also, if it matters at all to you, Harry decided to go with the twins after I did. But clearly, I did some great mind reading and went only because he did,” I said. I turned and walked away, fuming about all of the drama I’d dealt with that day. I couldn’t believe, that after all of the trouble I went to in order to convince my friends to accept my boyfriend, he thought I’d rather be dating Harry.
I made my way up to the Gryffindor Tower and rather than stopping in the common room, continued up to the girls’ dormitory. If I’d had to sit through another dramatic conversation, I might have cursed someone. I flopped down onto my bed in frustration, finding myself in virtually the same position I had been in earlier that day. I wished I could turn back the clock and just stay in bed all day rather than dealing with all the drama.
It was then that I realized that one of my problems had been solved.
Professor McGonagall had said the password to her office. I almost gasped at the realization. I knew the password to the Headmistress’s office. It was Dumbledore. I could get in there and talk to Professor Dumbledore! I just needed a plan. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. I just needed to figure out when she was teaching class and make sure no one was watching while I opened the door. It wasn’t foolproof, but it also wasn’t a bad plan.
I hopped out of bed and hurried down to the common room to the bulletin board, where schedules for the younger years were posted. It looked like Professor McGonagall would be teaching the entire morning the next day. My best bet would be to try to get in at ten, since that was my free period, so no one would be missing me from class. Before anyone could ask me what I was doing or scold me for my trip to Diagon Alley, I hurried back upstairs.
The next day, I woke up feeling nervous. If I got caught, I’d have to explain myself. I wasn’t sure if I should make up a story or tell Professor McGonagall the truth. She needed to know sometime, right? But at the same time, I didn’t think I could handle telling her the truth. And I didn’t know if I wanted anyone else to know the truth yet. I figured I would just let it happen when the time came. Well, if the time came. I was still hoping that I wouldn’t have to explain myself.
The day started out just as it normally did, with Harry, Hermione, Ron, and I meeting in the common room to head down to breakfast. However, my morning derailed itself when we got down to the first floor. We reached the Entrance Hall and found Draco standing outside of the doors to the Great Hall.
I paused, unsure whether or not I wanted to talk to him after his explosion the day before, but Harry, Hermione, and Ron continued on without me, and before I could catch up, Draco had stepped in front of me.
“Please, let me talk to you,” he said. I folded my arms and glared at him, but didn’t say anything.
“I’m sorry, Carrie. I was being ridiculous and completely overreacted. Forgive me?” Draco begged.
“If this relationship is going to work for any length of time, you’ve got to chill out a little,” I said. “I need my independence, and I need you to trust me. The whole jealous boyfriend thing doesn’t work with me.”
Draco hung his head. “I know. I feel really bad about what I said. I didn’t mean it,” he said. I raised an eyebrow, skeptical at that claim. “Alright,” he admitted, “I kinda meant it. But it was one of those suppressed gut feelings that I didn’t want to admit that I felt. But then when I got angry, it just all came out.”
“That still doesn’t change the fact that you feel that way,” I pointed out. “I need you to trust that what I tell you is the truth. I’m not going to lie to you.”
“I know. I’m working on it. It’s just- I’ve always been convinced that you had feelings for Harry and that was why you kept saying no to me. It’s a hard habit to break. But I’m trying,” he replied.
“I kept saying no to you because you were a git,” I said, to which he gave a slight nod of acquiescence. “But now you’re not. Mostly.” Draco looked embarrassed again. “If I didn’t want to be with you, I wouldn’t be.”
“I know,” Draco said. “I believe you. Just let me know whenever I’m getting into the jealous territory. Or if I’m being too overbearing.”
“Trust me, I will,” I replied.
Draco smiled. “I trust you. Am I forgiven?”
“I guess,” I replied, to which he smiled and hugged me.
“I’ll give you some space to eat with your friends. See you in Defense Against The Dark Arts,” he said. We walked into the Great Hall and went our separate ways.
The rest of the morning was back to normal. Harry, Hermione, Ron, and I ate breakfast and then continued on to Defense Against The Dark Arts, which continued to be just as easy and frustrating as ever. I was surprised that Hermione hadn’t received detentions for as many times as she interrupted class.
After class, I told Harry, Ron, and Hermione that I’d be going somewhere with Draco, and then told Draco that I needed to go work on homework. I made my way to Professor McGonagall’s office, passing by the Transfiguration classroom to make sure that she was in there. As I approached her office, I checked in each direction and saw that there was no one around.
“Dumbledore,” I said to the stone eagle, which immediately sprang into motion. I climbed the stairs up to the door of the office. After listening at the door and not hearing any movement or voices, I opened the door and stepped inside.
I immediately glanced up at the portraits of past Headmasters and Headmistresses to see if they would cause any sort of commotion, but nearly all of them seemed to be napping in their frames. A couple frames were empty, and the few who were awake didn’t seem to care that I was in the office. For all they knew, Professor McGonagall may have sent me here. But the only portrait I cared about was the one hanging directly behind Professor McGonagall’s chair. Albus Dumbledore sat straight up, wide awake, gazing at me over half-moon glasses with the hint of a smile on his face.
“Professor Dumbledore?” I said, approaching his portrait cautiously, concerned he might scold me for breaking into the office.
“Good morning, Carrie. What might I do for you? I’m sure you didn’t come just for the sweets?” Dumbledore replied pleasantly.
“Not quite, sir,” I replied. “Some things have been happening, and I fear that Voldemort is growing more powerful. A couple weeks ago, I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder and then blacked out and saw his eyes. I’m worried about what’s to come, and I don’t know what to do.”
“I see, I see,” Dumbledore said vaguely. “And have you divulged any information about your situation to any of your family or perhaps your friends?”
“No sir, I haven’t told anyone at all,” I replied. “I don’t want them to worry.”
“I believe, then, that you’ve found the place to start. He is becoming more powerful, and it won’t remain a secret for much longer. It’s better that they know so that they can prepare. When anything of the sort happens again, I believe it will be time to tell them,” Dumbledore replied.
“And… Professor McGonagall… does she know?” I asked.
“No,” Dumbledore replied solemnly. “Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to divulge that information to her before my death. But if your scar is hurting, I believe it is time to let her know. I can tell her, if you like. It will be easier coming from me.”
“I would appreciate that greatly,” I said, relieved that Professor McGonagall was one person who I didn’t have to tell. “But Professor, what do I do to prepare or to know when he might be coming. There must be something, mustn’t there?”
“Do not seek him out, whatever you do,” Dumbledore replied. “Let him come to you and he will be more vulnerable. But there isn’t much else you can do. There are no other horcruxes, just you and Voldemort. The only way to combat him is to have as many people as possible to help you stand against him and whatever allies he can muster.”
“And that’s all I can do to fight against Voldemort?” I asked. Dumbledore nodded.
“I believe in your ability to defeat him, Carrie. Perhaps, yes, he may have learned from past mistakes, but he can be defeated,” Professor Dumbledore replied.
“And what will happen when you tell Professor McGonagall?” I asked.
“She will probably call you down to discuss a plan of action. I will, of course, give my own humble opinion, which I have just given, but you are at your own liberty to not listen to either of our advice,” he answered.
“That would be rather foolish,” I replied.
“Yes, I would have to agree so myself,” Professor Dumbledore chuckled.
“Thank you for your help, Professor,” I said.
“You’re welcome, Carrie. I have a feeling I’ll be seeing you soon,” Dumbledore replied.
“See you soon,” I said. I hurried out the door and down the stairs, checking the corridors before walking out.
For the first time in several weeks, I felt a little more at peace. Sure, I didn’t really have much more to go off of to defeat Voldemort, but I had Dumbledore’s blessing to tell Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I was still slightly wary, deciding definitely to wait until another scar episode occurred, but for once, the prospect of having someone I could fully lean on didn’t seem so far away.
I hope y'all enjoyed chapter 10 of The Secret Lightning Scar! I've gotten back into a routine of writing these, so they'll return to being posted every two weeks!
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