:






THE MIRROR OF ERISED 2



That third night he found his way more quickly than before. He was walking so fast he knew he was making more noise than was wise, but he didnt meet anyone.

And there were his mother and father smiling at him again, and one of his grandfathers nodding happily. Harry sank down to sit on the floor in front of the mirror. There was nothing to stop him from staying here all night with his family. Nothing at all.

Except

Soback again, Harry?

Harry felt as though his insides had turned to ice. He looked behind him. Sitting on one of the desks by the wall was none other than Albus Dumbledore. Harry must have walked straight past him, so desperate to get to the mirror he hadnt noticed him.

I didnt see you, sir.

Strange how nearsighted being invisible can make you, said Dumbledore, and Harry was relieved to see that he was smiling.

So, said Dumbledore, slipping off the desk to sit on the floor with Harry, you, like hundreds before you, have discovered the delights of the Mirror of Erised.

I didnt know it was called that, sir.

But I expect youve realized by now what it does?

Itwellit shows me my family

And it showed your friend Ron himself as head boy.

How did you know?

I dont need a cloak to become invisible, said Dumbledore gently. Now, can you think what the Mirror of Erised shows us all?

Harry shook his head.

Let me explain. The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it and see himself exactly as he is. Does that help?

Harry thought. Then he said slowly, It shows us what we want whatever we want

Yes and no, said Dumbledore quietly. It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. You, who have never known your family, see them standing around you. Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of all of them. However, this mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible.

The Mirror will be moved to a new home tomorrow, Harry, and I ask you not to go looking for it again. If you ever do run across it, you will now be prepared. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that. Now, why dont you put that admirable cloak back on and get off to bed?

Harry stood up.

SirProfessor Dumbledore? Can I ask you something?

Obviously, youve just done so, Dumbledore smiled. You may ask me one more thing, however.



What do you see when you look in the mirror?

I? I see myself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks.

Harry stared.

One can never have enough socks, said Dumbledore. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didnt get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.

It was only when he was back in bed that it struck Harry that Dumbledore might not have been quite truthful. But then, he thought, as he shoved Scabbers off his pillow, it had been quite a personal question.

 

13. NICOLAS FLAMEL

 

Dumbledore had convinced Harry not to go looking for the Mirror of Erised again, and for the rest of the Christmas holidays the Invisibility Cloak stayed folded at the bottom of his trunk. Harry wished he could forget what hed seen in the mirror as easily, but he couldnt. He started having nightmares. Over and over again he dreamed about his parents disappearing in a flash of green light, while a high voice cackled with laughter.

You see, Dumbledore was right, that mirror could drive you mad, said Ron, when Harry told him about these dreams.

Hermione, who came back the day before term started, took a different view of things. She was torn between horror at the idea of Harry being out of bed, roaming the school three nights in a row (If Filch had caught you!), and disappointment that he hadnt at least found out who Nicolas Flamel was.

They had almost given up hope of ever finding Flamel in a library book, even though Harry was still sure hed read the name somewhere. Once term had started, they were back to skimming through books for ten minutes during their breaks. Harry had even less time than the other two, because Quidditch practice had started again.

Wood was working the team harder than ever. Even the endless rain that had replaced the snow couldnt dampen his spirits. The Weasleys complained that Wood was becoming a fanatic, but Harry was on Woods side. If they won their next match, against Hufflepuff, they would overtake Slytherin in the house championship for the first time in seven years. Quite apart from wanting to win, Harry found that he had fewer nightmares when he was tired out after training.

Then, during one particularly wet and muddy practice session, Wood gave the team a bit of bad news. Hed just gotten very angry with the Weasleys, who kept dive bombing each other and pretending to fall off their brooms.

Will you stop messing around! he yelled. Thats exactly the sort of thing thatll lose us the match! Snapes refereeing this time, and hell be looking for any excuse to knock points off Gryffindor!

George Weasley really did fall off his broom at these words.

 

Snapes

refereeing? he spluttered through a mouthful of mud. Whens he ever refereed a Quidditch match? Hes not going to be fair if we might overtake Slytherin.

 

The rest of the team landed next to George to complain, too.

 

Its not

my

fault, said Wood. Weve just got to make sure we play a clean game, so Snape hasnt got an excuse to pick on us.

 

Which was all very well, thought Harry, but he had another reason for not wanting Snape near him while he was playing Quidditch

The rest of the team hung back to talk to one another as usual at the end of practice, but Harry headed straight back to the Gryffindor common room, where he found Ron and Hermione playing chess. Chess was the only thing Hermione ever lost at, something Harry and Ron thought was very good for her.

Dont talk to me for a moment, said Ron when Harry sat down next to him, I need to concen He caught sight of Harrys face. Whats the matter with you? You look terrible.

Speaking quietly so that no one else would hear, Harry told the other two about Snapes sudden, sinister desire to be a Quidditch referee.

Dont play, said Hermione at once.

Say youre ill, said Ron.

Pretend to break your leg, Hermione suggested.

 

Really

break your leg, said Ron.

 

I cant, said Harry. There isnt a reserve Seeker. If I back out, Gryffindor cant play at all.

At that moment Neville toppled into the common room. How he had managed to climb through the portrait hole was anyones guess, because his legs had been stuck together with what they recognized at once as the Leg Locker Curse. He must have had to bunny hop all the way up to Gryffindor tower.

Everyone fell over laughing except Hermione, who leapt up and performed the countercurse. Nevilles legs sprang apart and he got to his feet, trembling. What happened? Hermione asked him, leading him over to sit with Harry and Ron.

Malfoy, said Neville shakily. I met him outside the library. He said hed been looking for someone to practice that on.

Go to Professor McGonagall! Hermione urged Neville. Report him!

Neville shook his head.

I dont want more trouble, he mumbled.

Youve got to stand up to him, Neville! said Ron. Hes used to walking all over people, but thats no reason to lie down in front of him and make it easier.

Theres no need to tell me Im not brave enough to be in Gryffindor, Malfoys already done that, Neville choked out.

Harry felt in the pocket of his robes and pulled out a Chocolate Frog, the very last one from the box Hermione had given him for Christmas. He gave it to Neville, who looked as though he might cry.

Youre worth twelve of Malfoy, Harry said. The Sorting Hat chose you for Gryffindor, didnt it? And wheres Malfoy? In stinking Slytherin.

Nevilles lips twitched in a weak smile as he unwrapped the frog.

Thanks, Harry I think Ill go to bed Dyou want the card, you collect them, dont you?

As Neville walked away, Harry looked at the Famous Wizard card.

Dumbledore again, he said, He was the first one I ever

He gasped. He stared at the back of the card. Then he looked up at Ron and Hermione.

 

Ive found him!

he whispered. Ive found Flamel! I

told

you Id read the name somewhere before, I read it on the train coming herelisten to this: Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragons blood,

and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas Flamel!

 

Hermione jumped to her feet. She hadnt looked so excited since theyd gotten back the marks for their very first piece of homework.

Stay there! she said, and she sprinted up the stairs to the girls dormitories. Harry and Ron barely had time to exchange mystified looks before she was dashing back, an enormous old book in her arms.

I never thought to look in here! she whispered excitedly. I got this out of the library weeks ago for a bit of light reading.

 

Light?

said Ron, but Hermione told him to be quiet until shed looked something up, and started flicking frantically through the pages, muttering to herself.

 

At last she found what she was looking for.

 

I knew it! I

knew

it!

 

Are we allowed to speak yet? said Ron grumpily. Hermione ignored him.

 

Nicolas Flamel, she whispered dramatically,

is the only known maker of the Sorcerers Stone!

 

This didnt have quite the effect shed expected.

The what? said Harry and Ron.

 

Oh,

honestly,

dont you two read? Lookread that, there.

 

She pushed the book toward them, and Harry and Ron read:

 

The ancient study of alchemy is concerned with making the Sorcerers Stone, a legendary substance with astonishing powers. The stone will transform any metal into pure gold. It also produces the Elixir of Life, which will make the drinker immortal.

There have been many reports of the Sorcerers Stone over the centuries, but the only Stone currently in existence belongs to Mr. Nicolas Flamel, the noted alchemist and opera lover. Mr. Flamel, who celebrated his six hundred and sixty fifth birthday last year, enjoys a quiet life in Devon with his wife, Perenelle (six hundred and fifty eight).

 

See? said Hermione, when Harry and Ron had finished. The dog must be guarding Flamels Sorcerers Stone! I bet he asked Dumbledore to keep it safe for him, because theyre friends and he knew someone was after it, thats why he wanted the Stone moved out of Gringotts!

 

A stone that makes gold and stops you from ever dying! said Harry. No wonder Snapes after it!

Anyone

would want it.

 

 

And no wonder we couldnt find Flamel in that

Study of Recent Developments in Wizardry,

said Ron. Hes not exactly recent if hes six hundred and sixty five, is he?

 

The next morning in Defense Against the Dark Arts, while copying down different ways of treating werewolf bites, Harry and Ron were still discussing what theyd do with a Sorcerers Stone if they had one. It wasnt until Ron said hed buy his own Quidditch team that Harry remembered about Snape and the coming match.

Im going to play, he told Ron and Hermione. If I dont, all the Slytherins will think Im just too scared to face Snape. Ill show them itll really wipe the smiles off their faces if we win.

Just as long as were not wiping you off the field, said Hermione.

As the match drew nearer, however, Harry became more and more nervous, whatever he told Ron and Hermione. The rest of the team wasnt too calm, either. The idea of overtaking Slytherin in the house championship was wonderful, no one had done it for seven years, but would they be allowed to, with such a biased referee?

Harry didnt know whether he was imagining it or not, but he seemed to keep running into Snape wherever he went. At times, he even wondered whether Snape was following him, trying to catch him on his own. Potions lessons were turning into a sort of weekly torture, Snape was so horrible to Harry. Could Snape possibly know theyd found out about the Sorcerers Stone? Harry didnt see how he couldyet he sometimes had the horrible feeling that Snape could read minds.

Harry knew, when they wished him good luck outside the locker rooms the next afternoon, that Ron and Hermione were wondering whether theyd ever see him alive again. This wasnt what youd call comforting. Harry hardly heard a word of Woods pep talk as he pulled on his Quidditch robes and picked up his Nimbus Two Thousand.

Ron and Hermione, meanwhile, had found a place in the stands next to Neville, who couldnt understand why they looked so grim and worried, or why they had both brought their wands to the match. Little did Harry know that Ron and Hermione had been secretly practicing the Leg Locker Curse. Theyd gotten the idea from Malfoy using it on Neville, and were ready to use it on Snape if he showed any sign of wanting to hurt Harry.

 

Now, dont forget, its

Locomotor Mortis,

Hermione muttered as Ron slipped his wand up his sleeve.

 

I know, Ron snapped. Dont nag.

Back in the locker room, Wood had taken Harry aside.

Dont want to pressure you, Potter, but if we ever need an early capture of the Snitch its now. Finish the game before Snape can favor Hufflepuff too much.

The whole schools out there! said Fred Weasley, peering out of the door. EvenblimeyDumbledores come to watch!

Harrys heart did a somersault.

 

Dumbledore?

he said, dashing to the door to make sure. Fred was right. There was no mistaking that silver beard.

 

Harry could have laughed out loud with reliefHe was safe. There was simply no way that Snape would dare to try to hurt him if Dumbledore was watching.

Perhaps that was why Snape was looking so angry as the teams marched onto the field, something that Ron noticed, too.

Ive never seen Snape look so mean, he told Hermione. Look theyre offOuch!

Someone had poked Ron in the back of the head. It was Malfoy.

Oh, sorry, Weasley, didnt see you there.

Malfoy grinned broadly at Crabbe and Goyle.

Wonder how long Potters going to stay on his broom this time? Anyone want a bet? What about you, Weasley?

Ron didnt answer; Snape had just awarded Hufflepuff a penalty because George Weasley had hit a Bludger at him. Hermione, who had all her fingers crossed in her lap, was squinting fixedly at Harry, who was circling the game like a hawk, looking for the Snitch.

You know how I think they choose people for the Gryffindor team? said Malfoy loudly a few minutes later, as Snape awarded Hufflepuff another penalty for no reason at all. Its people they feel sorry for. See, theres Potter, whos got no parents, then theres the Weasleys, whove got no moneyyou should be on the team, Longbottom, youve got no brains.

Neville went bright red but turned in his seat to face Malfoy.

Im worth twelve of you, Malfoy, he stammered.

Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle howled with laughter, but Ron, still not daring to take his eyes from the game, said, You tell him, Neville.

Longbottom, if brains were gold youd be poorer than Weasley, and thats saying something.

Rons nerves were already stretched to the breaking point with anxiety about Harry.

Im warning you, Malfoyone more word

Ron! said Hermione suddenly, Harry

What? Where?

Harry had suddenly gone into a spectacular dive, which drew gasps and cheers from the crowd. Hermione stood up, her crossed fingers in her mouth, as Harry streaked toward the ground like a bullet.

Youre in luck, Weasley, Potters obviously spotted some money on the ground! said Malfoy.

Ron snapped. Before Malfoy knew what was happening, Ron was on top of him, wrestling him to the ground. Neville hesitated, then clambered over the back of his seat to help.

Come on, Harry! Hermione screamed, leaping onto her seat to watch as Harry sped straight at Snapeshe didnt even notice Malfoy and Ron rolling around under her seat, or the scuffles and yelps coming from the whirl of fists that was Neville, Crabbe, and Goyle.

Up in the air, Snape turned on his broomstick just in time to see something scarlet shoot past him, missing him by inchesthe next second, Harry had pulled out of the dive, his arm raised in triumph, the Snitch clasped in his hand.

The stands erupted; it had to be a record, no one could ever remember the Snitch being caught so quickly.

Ron! Ron! Where are you? The games over! Harrys won! Weve won! Gryffindor is in the lead! shrieked Hermione, dancing up and down on her seat and hugging Parvati Patil in the row in front.

Harry jumped off his broom, a foot from the ground. He couldnt believe it. Hed done itthe game was over; it had barely lasted five minutes. As Gryffindors came spilling onto the field, he saw Snape land nearby, white faced and tight lippedthen Harry felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up into Dumbledores smiling face.

Well done, said Dumbledore quietly, so that only Harry could hear. Nice to see you havent been brooding about that mirror been keeping busy excellent

Snape spat bitterly on the ground.

Harry left the locker room alone some time later, to take his Nimbus Two Thousand back to the broomshed. He couldnt ever remember feeling happier. Hed really done something to be proud of nowno one could say he was just a famous name any more. The evening air had never smelled so sweet. He walked over the damp grass, reliving the last hour in his head, which was a happy blur: Gryffindors running to lift him onto their shoulders; Ron and Hermione in the distance, jumping up and down, Ron cheering through a heavy nosebleed.

Harry had reached the shed. He leaned against the wooden door and looked up at Hogwarts, with its windows glowing red in the setting sun. Gryffindor in the lead. Hed done it, hed shown Snape

And speaking of Snape

A hooded figure came swiftly down the front steps of the castle. Clearly not wanting to be seen, it walked as fast as possible toward the forbidden forest. Harrys victory faded from his mind as he watched. He recognized the figures prowling walk. Snape, sneaking into the forest while everyone else was at dinnerwhat was going on?

Harry jumped back on his Nimbus Two Thousand and took off. Gliding silently over the castle he saw Snape enter the forest at a run. He followed.

The trees were so thick he couldnt see where Snape had gone. He flew in circles, lower and lower, brushing the top branches of trees until he heard voices. He glided toward them and landed noiselessly in a towering beech tree.

He climbed carefully along one of the branches, holding tight to his broomstick, trying to see through the leaves.

Below, in a shadowy clearing, stood Snape, but he wasnt alone. Quirrell was there, too. Harry couldnt make out the look on his face, but he was stuttering worse than ever. Harry strained to catch what they were saying.

d-dont know why you wanted t-t-to meet here of all p-places, Severus

Oh, I thought wed keep this private, said Snape, his voice icy. Students arent supposed to know about the Sorcerers Stone, after all.

Harry leaned forward. Quirrell was mumbling something. Snape interrupted him.

Have you found out how to get past that beast of Hagrids yet?

B-b-but Severus, I

You dont want me as your enemy, Quirrell, said Snape, taking a step toward him.

II dont know what you

You know perfectly well what I mean.

An owl hooted loudly, and Harry nearly fell out of the tree. He steadied himself in time to hear Snape say, your little bit of hocus pocus. Im waiting.

B-but I d-d-dont

Very well, Snape cut in. Well have another little chat soon, when youve had time to think things over and decided where your loyalties lie.

He threw his cloak over his head and strode out of the clearing. It was almost dark now, but Harry could see Quirrell, standing quite still as though he was petrified.

* * *

 

Harry, where have you

been?

Hermione squeaked.

 

We won! You won! We won! shouted Ron, thumping Harry on the back. And I gave Malfoy a black eye, and Neville tried to take on Crabbe and Goyle single handed! Hes still out cold but Madam Pomftey says hell be all righttalk about showing Slytherin! Everyones waiting for you in the common room, were having a party, Fred and George stole some cakes and stuff from the kitchens.

Never mind that now, said Harry breathlessly. Lets find an empty room, you wait til you hear this

He made sure Peeves wasnt inside before shutting the door behind them, then he told them what hed seen and heard.

 

So we were right, it

is

the Sorcerers Stone, and Snapes trying to force Quirrell to help him get it. He asked if he knew how to get past Fluffyand he said something about Quirrells hocus pocussI reckon there are other things guarding the stone apart from Fluffy, loads of enchantments, probably, and Quirrell would have done some anti Dark Arts spell that Snape needs to break through

 

So you mean the Stones only safe as long as Quirrell stands up to Snape? said Hermione in alarm.

Itll be gone by next Tuesday, said Ron.

 

14. NORBERT THE NORWEGIAN RIDGEBACK

 

Quirrell, however, must have been braver than theyd thought. In the weeks that followed he did seem to be getting paler and thinner, but it didnt look as though hed cracked yet.

Every time they passed the third floor corridor, Harry, Ron, and Hermione would press their ears to the door to check that Fluffy was still growling inside. Snape was sweeping about in his usual bad temper, which surely meant that the Stone was still safe. Whenever Harry passed Quirrell these days he gave him an encouraging sort of smile, and Ron had started telling people off for laughing at Quirrells stutter.

Hermione, however, had more on her mind than the Sorcerers Stone. She had started drawing up study schedules and colorcoding all her notes. Harry and Ron wouldnt have minded, but she kept nagging them to do the same.

Hermione, the exams are ages away.

Ten weeks, Hermione snapped. Thats not ages, thats like a second to Nicolas Flamel.

But were not six hundred years old, Ron reminded her. Anyway, what are you studying for, you already know its an A.

What am I studying for? Are you crazy? You realize we need to pass these exams to get into the second year? Theyre very important, I should have started studying a month ago, I dont know whats gotten into me

Unfortunately, the teachers seemed to be thinking along the same lines as Hermione. They piled so much homework on them that the Easter holidays werent nearly as much fun as the Christmas ones. It was hard to relax with Hermione next to you reciting the twelve uses of dragons blood or practicing wand movements. Moaning and yawning, Harry and Ron spent most of their free time in the library with her, trying to get through all their extra work.

Ill never remember this, Ron burst out one afternoon, throwing down his quill and looking longingly out of the library window. It was the first really fine day theyd had in months. The sky was a clear, forget me not blue, and there was a feeling in the air of summer coming.

 

Harry, who was looking up Dittany in

One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi,

didnt look up until he heard Ron say, Hagrid! What are you doing in the library?

 

Hagrid shuffled into view, hiding something behind his back. He looked very out of place in his moleskin overcoat.

Jus lookin, he said, in a shifty voice that got their interest at once. An whatre you lot up ter? He looked suddenly suspicious. Yer not still lookin fer Nicolas Flamel, are yeh?

Oh, we found out who he is ages ago, said Ron impressively. And we know what that dogs guarding, its a Sorcerers St

Shhhh! Hagrid looked around quickly to see if anyone was listening. Don go shoutin about it, whats the matter with yeh?

There are a few things we wanted to ask you, as a matter of fact, said Harry, about whats guarding the Stone apart from Fluffy

SHHHH! said Hagrid again. Listencome an see me later, Im not promisin Ill tell yeh anythin, mind, but don go rabbitin about it in here, students aren spposed ter know. Theyll think Ive told yeh

See you later, then, said Harry.

Hagrid shuffled off.

What was he hiding behind his back? said Hermione thoughtfully.

Do you think it had anything to do with the Stone?

Im going to see what section he was in, said Ron, whod had enough of working. He came back a minute later with a pile of books in his arms and slammed them down on the table.

 

Dragons! he whispered. Hagrid was looking up stuff about dragons! Look at these:

Dragon Species of Great Britain and Ireland; From Egg to Inferno, A Dragon Keepers Guide.

 

Hagrids always wanted a dragon, he told me so the first time I ever met him, said Harry.

But its against our laws, said Ron. Dragon breeding was outlawed by the Warlocks Convention of 1709, everyone knows that. Its hard to stop Muggles from noticing us if were keeping dragons in the back gardenanyway, you cant tame dragons, its dangerous. You should see the burns Charlies got off wild ones in Romania.

 

But there arent wild dragons in

Britain?

said Harry.

 

Of course there are, said Ron. Common Welsh Green and Hebridean Blacks. The Ministry of Magic has a job hushing them up, I can tell you. Our kind have to keep putting spells on Muggles whove spotted them, to make them forget.

So what on earths Hagrid up to? said Hermione.

When they knocked on the door of the gamekeepers hut an hour later, they were surprised to see that all the curtains were closed. Hagrid called Who is it? before he let them in, and then shut the door quickly behind them.

It was stifling hot inside. Even though it was such a warm day, there was a blazing fire in the grate. Hagrid made them tea and offered them stoat sandwiches, which they refused.

Soyeh wanted to ask me somethin?

Yes, said Harry. There was no point beating around the bush. We were wondering if you could tell us whats guarding the Sorcerers Stone apart from Fluffy.

Hagrid frowned at him.

O course I cant, he said. Number one, I don know meself. Number two, yeh know too much already, so I wouldn tell yeh if I could. That Stones here fer a good reason. It was almost stolen outta GringottsI sppose yehve worked that out an all? Beats me how yeh even know abou Fluffy.

 

Oh, come on, Hagrid, you might not want to tell us, but you

do

know, you know everything that goes on round here, said Hermione in a warm, flattering voice. Hagrids beard twitched and they could tell he was smiling. We only wondered who had

done

the guarding, really. Hermione went on. We wondered who Dumbledore had trusted enough to help him, apart from you.

 

Hagrids chest swelled at these last words. Harry and Ron beamed at Hermione.

Well, I don spose it could hurt ter tell yeh that lets see he borrowed Fluffy from me then some o the teachers did enchantments Professor SproutProfessor FlitwickProfessor McGonagall he ticked them off on his fingers, Professor Quirrellan Dumbledore himself did somethin, o course. Hang on, Ive forgotten someone. Oh yeah, Professor Snape.





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