The Department of Mysteries was one of the very few divisions of the Ministry of Magic that bore a certain level of anonymity and autonomy to its name. Despite being a part of the British Ministry, this shadowy department, and the Unspeakables working in it-enjoyed a certain level of freedom from the unwanted chains of bigotry, power plays and political turnovers that rules over Wizarding Britain. Ruled by Wilbert Croaker, or should one say, "konig' Croaker- as in German for King, the department and its activities were simply his child and under his sole jurisdiction-at least officially. Unofficially, there existed a 'council of shadows', comprising of power brokers of the magical continent. Shadowy entities that advised Croaker about the various issues which the Department needed to deal with. In one way, what happened in the DOM, remained in the DOM. The real world was better off ignorant without them.
At level Nine of the Ministry of Magic, a single, lone corridor ran around two hundred yards until it hit one single door with a large hollow silvery sphere in the center of it. This was the main entrance door for the Department of Mysteries. The entire corridor was empty, with blank walls painted in grayscale on both sides. For a mysterious department, the frontage left a lot to be desired in richness, beauty and security. As unfortunate as it was, only the Unspeakables knew the true reasons for the blank walls and the true security of the area.
If an intruder could get past the oak door without claiming his 'wizarding life insurance', he would find that he had entered a circular room that had three doors on the three adjoining walls in front of him. The one on the left was the official section for the Unspeakables, and hosted their office and conference rooms. The door on the right led to the 'training grounds'-though no Auror save Alastor Moody had ever put a foot into them. The door directly opposite though, led to a labyrinth that crisscrossed through various other rooms of the Department—some real and some illusionary, some natural and some supernatural-some measurable and some... anyway, we are interested in the door to the left.
Opening the door, one would find a minor labyrinth that in ways more than one, would remind one of the muggle corporations. Wooden cubicles stood there, with each cubicle having direct contact with three others, in a complex polygonal shape. The individual cubicles also have oak doors on them. The story begins with one such door on a normal day, precisely the one that read- 'Charms and Experimental magic.'
Someone knocked the door. Twice. Two sharp distinct strokes.
"Come in." A silvery voice answered. The door opened noiselessly as a man entered the room. He was nearly six feet in height, and was quite handsome to look at. Considering his looks, it was no wonder he was a ladies' man while in school.
"Sirius, come in." The voice, belonging to an extremely beautiful woman answered in recognition. Her flaming red hair fell over her shoulders in curls all over, as she cut a very enticing figure, her emerald green eyes only helping to cast a striking effect.
"Lily, I got your message. What is it you wanted to talk about?"
Lily shook her head. "Take a seat." She let out a deep sigh. "Dumbledore came to our manor the previous evening."
"It is better I show you." She insisted, waving her wand towards one of the closets, which opened up as a saucer-like structure-a pensieve floated out towards the desk.
"That bad?" Sirius grinned.
"See for yourself." Lily countered, her expression still unchanged. Sirius nodded as she drew out a tiny strand of memory from her temples and placed it within the silvery waters of the device. He got up and reached the sides of the device, and finding the appropriate runes, he channeled some of his magic through them, activating the function. The memory expanded out of the device, almost as he was standing right there in the memory itself.
Dumbledore stood with the Potters in their drawing room. The old man looked quite calm and composed, even though a small amount of erratic behavior could be seen in his anxious face. "James, Lily, there has been a prophecy. A prophecy about Voldemort. And it points towards two babies..."
"Hold on one second Headmaster." Lily interrupted. "-and do you mean to say that one of those two babies is my Harry?"
"Perceptive as usual, Lily. But unfortunately yes, one of the two babies is young Harry!"
"Sorry Professor, but what you are saying makes no sense. My Harry is just a year old. And even if there might have been a real prophecy, how does that matter anyway?"
Dumbledore gave a long sigh. "There has been a prophecy about a baby born as the seventh month dies, and will have a power the Dark lord knows not."
"But that means," Lily exclaimed, her bright mind figuring it out quickly, "-the other baby is Alice's son."
Dumbledore nodded sadly. "And unfortunately, a death eater was able to hear the prophecy..."
"WHAT?" Both Potters yelled out in indignation.
Dumbledore nodded sadly. "And I believe that He now knows about it. Hence I believe you should go into hiding."
"You are referring to the Fidelius, aren't you Professor?" Lily pointed out.
Dumbledore let out a smile. "I am. Perhaps you should consult among yourself and select a secret-keeper."
James nodded, his mind now racing ahead too far to pay any attention to Dumbledore's words.
"Take the action quickly. I believe I should leave for now." Dumbledore nodded and Floo'ed away.
The memory ended as Sirius found himself back in the cubicle, his knuckles white with palpable tension-his gray eyes widened as the truth of the situation got to him.
"What do you think?" Lily asked. Her calm demeanor was still etched on her face.
"I... I am not sure... I mean, Dumbledore seems to believe in that thing... and by the way, he sounded, Voldemort believes in it too. But-"
"You think Dumbledore is hiding something." Lily finished his line.
Sirius chuckled. "You know me too well, Lily!"
"I like to think so. Dumbledore was overtly sure that the news of the prophecy was going to reach Voldemort, but-"
"He did not name the spy. You think-" Sirius interrupted.
"Dumbledore is keeping secrets." Lily finished for him.
"You too are so creepy when you do that! Are you sure you aren't a master Legilimens?" Sirius asked, amused. Lily snorted. "No, just an adept. I know you well Siri, too well. James and you might spend all your time together but-"
"He has no idea that we both are Unspeakables."
"I still feel guilty, having to lie to my brother and best friend."
"It comes with the job, Sirius. Besides", her lips quivered in amusement, "James would laugh on your face if you tried to make him believe that you are an Unspeakable."
Sirius grumbled good-naturedly.
"Your mother would have a heart attack if she knew that her lad was an Unspeakable and the future Lord of his family."
"She would. She thinks that I am the worst vermin on earth-incapable and unworthy of the Black line." He paused. "If not for Grandfather-", he ignored the twinkle in Lily's eyes-"I would have perhaps stuck to being an Auror in full capacity."
His face suddenly shifted to a serious demeanor. "What are we doing about this?"
"Fidelius." Lily sighed. "Dumbledore's advice makes sense. Besides, I am going to put up with some personalized protections of my own creation." Sirius's face shifted as if he had just tasted something downright nasty, as he countered "I do not want to know, do I?", knowing very well how innovative and crafty the redhead was.
"You don't." Lily returned. Her lips twisted into an amused expression. Getting up from her plush chair, she inclined at him. "Follow me."
The two friends and Unspeakables reached the Labyrinth, the room of doors, which led to the more fascinating rooms in the entire Department. Their destination-the Hall of Prophecy. They passed through the antechamber of the Time Room and entered into what was possibly the largest chamber that existed in all Ministry.
"Wait here!" she expressed, before apparating away. Exactly thirty seconds later, she reappeared, this time carrying baby Harry in her arms. Sirius looked midway between astonished and overjoyed. Astonished because Lily had brought her son right into the Department of Mysteries, and overjoyed-well, his godson was in front of him.
"Prongslet!" he exclaimed, "You brought him here, of all places. Are you insane?"
Lily gestured with her fingers to indicate-'Little bit'. Sirius rolled his eyes. "The prophecy refers to my son, Sirius. Without him, we won't be able to touch it."
Sirius looked aggravated for a moment, but his curiosity got the better of him. "No point wasting any more time, then." Lily nodded. The pair walked past rows of shelves, with each shelf holding hundreds of prophecy orbs. Finally, they turned a corner and found the shelf they were looking for.
There on that particular shelf, stood seven glowing prophecy orbs, each with some grayish smoke circulating within them. One of them-the third from the left was the object of maximum fascination. It read-
S.P.T to A.P.W.B.D.
Dark Lord and (?)
"It doesn't say it's Prongslet, Lily!" Sirius admonished. "This is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and by your own actions, you are making your own son the object of this prophecy."
"My son is already the subject of this prophecy, Sirius. Just because it is not mentioned here yet, doesn't make it false." Lily countered sternly. She calmed a bit. "I have thought about it for long, and conducted some of my own experimental tests-it is Harry, and not Neville."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Because his aura showed a slight flicker when I exposed him to chronomantic waves."
It was a good thing that the Unspeakables wore their hooded robes-their hoods in particular. The hoods were enchanted in such a way that without express permission, no one would be able to know and recognize who it was under the hood. The same even applied to sound. When two Unspeakables talked to each other in official capacity, their robes created a privacy ward around them-keeping the conversation inaudible to others. It was a good thing-else Sirius' voice would surely have commanded the attention of more than one Unspeakable working around.
"What's with you and shouting, Sirius?" Lily admonished. "It was just some experimental magic, and the tests were conclusive. My child has been touched by Destiny-he has been marked as an object of a Prophecy. I do not know about the Longbottoms, but Harry can touch the orb without being harmed."
"If you say so." Sirius replied skeptically. Lily rolled her eyes. "Time to test it. Harry baby, please pluck that orb for Mummy." She cooed, as she reached close to the shelf, enough that the baby could reach out and draw that particular orb. His little fingers reached the silvery sphere, and with one single pull, the orb came out of the tray seamlessly.
"That's my baby boy!" Lily cheered. She took the orb from his little hand, and gave it to Sirius to hold. "I will be back, shortly." She apparated again, leaving Sirius alone to grumble good-naturedly about her abusing her freedom to apparate at will inside the Department. She returned shortly, and playfully snatched the prophecy orb from him. Raising another high-powered privacy ward around them, she pressed the Prophecy orb on the sides, as a disembodied voice with grating tones spoke out from within it.
"The one with the power to vanquish the dark lord approaches...
born to those who have thrice defied him...
born as the seventh month dies...
And the dark lord will mark him as his equal,
but he will have power the dark lord knows not...
And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives...
The one with the power to vanquish the dark lord will be born as the seventh month dies. . . ."
"It is quite ambiguously worded, but then Prophecies are wooly things." Sirius commented, but Lily did not show any reaction. Her mind was racing miles ahead, trying to determine every single event that the prophecy had given the slightest premonitions on. Vanquish the dark lord... Power... It was sure that her baby packed a ton of power- his magical aura was proof of that. Whether that power was comparable enough to the dark lord-it was subject to speculation. Besides, her pragmatic mind told her that it was simply impossible that nature had given the dark lord all that power right as a baby- the probabilities were simply too low. Tom Riddle Junior must have undergone several rituals; to create the myth of Lord Voldemort with all his miraculous powers- it made sense. While she did not, in fact have any kind of abhorrence towards rituals, but the esoteric requirements behind them simply made her feel nauseous.
The seventh month was the main point that led to the ambiguity- both Harry and Neville were born at the end of July, though Harry was born later than him-making it slightly inclined towards his side—not that she wished it was. The next few lines made all the difference-
And the dark lord will mark him as his equal,
but he will have power the dark lord knows not...
And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives...
The power the dark lord knows not... what could it be? She wondered, her mind racing through the different forms of esoteric magic and the unique ways in which it manifested itself in wizards and witches. She was sure Dumbledore perhaps, would pronounce this power as Love of all things-she mentally snorted, as if Love would solve the issue. She placed the old man's reasoning as mere speculation.
I have to conduct certain tests on my baby...
"Sirius, I want an unbreakable vow from you."
It was such actions that made Sirius Black feel scared of Lily Potter. The pragmatic, cunning witch-worthy of a Slytherin, he admitted to himself, was simply unpredictable.
"An unbreakable vow?"
"And what exactly does this vow entail?"
Lily smirked. "All kinds of interesting things."
"Step aside, silly girl! Step aside and I will spare your life!"
The woman, Lily stood defiant. "Please, don't kill Harry. Kill me. Let my son live."
The Lord Voldemort laughed in amusement. Was this the unspeakable Lily Potter? She did not even have her wand with her. It was lying fallen somewhere in the debris. He whipped his wand, causing her to bodily crash against the wall. Her temple bruised and blood was oozing out.
Surprisingly the woman jumped back in front of him. "Please, leave my child. Let him live. Kill me. Take me instead."
Something churned in the air around him. Magic was in the air.
"Move aside girl!" He fired a severing curse, a non-lethal one. It was amusing. He did not think that he actually managed to remember something non-lethal.
"Please don't kill Harry! Let him be alive! Kill me instead!"
"Last chance girl! Move aside!"
"Please! Let Harry live! Not Harry! Not Harry! Not Harry!" she chanted. It was getting ridiculous. The air was being saturated with magic. Even the chalky substance on the floor seemed to be glowing. His eyes widened. This was a trap.
His face twisted into a maniacal scowl. "You try to trap me, mudblood?" he roared.
He hoped that it was his imagination. Surely, he had not seen Lily Potter smiling when he fired the killing curse at her.
Silence. The air too was normal. The chalky substance had stopped glowing. Whatever Lily Potter had attempted, had failed miserably.
Waste of magic.
Time to finish what he had begun! The baby!
The baby Potter was sitting in his crib. His eyes, still in shock as he watched his dear mummy fall down. The dark lord could feel the magic swirling inside the boy. Powerful magic!
He could have become a fearsome wizard! Such a waste!
The baby let out a yell 'MUMMY!' and the dark lord felt the magic in the air stir again. No, he will not fail. He would kill the child.
November 1, 1981.
"I've come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're the only family he has left now."
"You don't mean — you can't mean the people who live here?" cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four. "Dumbledore — you can't. I have been watching them all day. You could not find two people who are less like us. They have this son — I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!"
"It's the best place for him," said Dumbledore firmly. "His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he's older. I've written them a letter."
"A letter?" repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. "Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He'll be famous — a legend — I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter Day in the future — there will be books written about Harry — every child in our world will know his name!"
"Exactly," said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half-moon glasses. "It would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something
he will not even remember! Can't you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it?"
Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, wallowed, and then said, "Yes — yes, you're right, of course. But how is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?"
"Hagrid's bringing him."
A frown on her face showed that Minerva Mcgonagall did not agree with his decision, but she kept quiet. Hagrid's motorcycle roared as it flew down on the ground, the giant held up what seemed to be a small package, and there he was—little Harry Potter, wrapped up in a red blanket. Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead, they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning.
"Is that where —?" whispered Professor McGonagall.
"Yes," said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever."
"Couldn't you do something about it, Dumbledore?"
"Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well — give him here, Hagrid — we'd better get this
over with." Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned toward the Dursleys' house.
"What about Black? I still can't believe that-"
"I do not know what to say, Minerva." Dumbledore sighed. "Perhaps blood does matter-I thought he was a Gryffindor, but perhaps it was all a façade. Poor Pettigrew!" Dumbledore sighed. He had been completely shocked when the Fidelius broke- that along with the fact that Pettigrew was killed, made just one thing certain- Sirius Black was working for Voldemort. He was the spy.
"Black and James were like brothers." Minerva sobbed. "I can't believe that he betrayed them!"
Dumbledore did not reply.
He stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door. He laid Harry gently on the
doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry's blankets, set up a protective ward around the baby and then came back to the other two. For a full minute, the three of them stood and looked at the little bundle; Hagrid's shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall blinked furiously, and the twinkling light that usually shone from Dumbledore's eyes seemed to have gone out.
"Well," said Dumbledore finally, "that's that. We have no business staying here. We may as well go and join the celebrations."
Taking one last look at the sleeping boy, he whispered before apparating away. "Good luck, Harry Potter."
Never in his wildest dreams, could he have imagined that would he have to return to the very same place once again that very night.
Apparating back to his office, Dumbledore sat on his chair, elated. After over a decade of fighting with Voldemort, the world had finally achieved a modicum of peace. It was essential that Harry Potter would have to be kept safe. What better than family when it came to safety?
Suddenly, his attention turned towards the odd artifact on his table. It looked like a collection of multi-colored orbs, but in actuality, they were sensors. Sensors based on blood magic, which would help him determine Harry Potter's well-being. The red sensor was glowing and producing a crimson smoke.
That should not be possible. I just set the blood wards. There is no way the wards would be at breaking point!
He reappeared at Privet Drive, as he felt his world crumble into despair.
Harry Potter was not there.
SIXTEEN YEARS LATER...
The headlines for the Daily prophet on September 19, 1997 were indeed interesting.
NICHOLAS AND PERENELLE FLAMEL DEAD!
MANGLED BODIES OF THE WORLD'S MOST CELEBRATED ALCHEMIST AND HIS WIFE FOUND!
SORCERER'S STONE STOLEN?
In a shocking discovery the previous evening, the mangled and mutilated bodies of Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel were found inside their own manor. The celebrated alchemist who had very recently celebrated his six-hundredth birthday (exact age 608) was found along with his wife, inside his own manor. Their dead bodies—mutilated and mangled that could make any witch or wizard nauseous-were found near the dining table, with blood splashed all over. Clearly, whoever had done this was some deranged psychopath.
Albus Dumbledore- Headmaster of Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry had been present on the occasion as he was closely linked with the Flamels. The Headmaster was once Flamel's own apprentice and had jointly discovered the twelve uses of Dragon's blood with Nicholas. The Aurors determined, and Dumbledore clarified it- the dead bodies were indeed the Flamels. As of now, the seat of the Ancient House of Flamel shall go dormant.
Another interesting development that was discovered, and possibly much more interesting, was that the famed Sorcerer's stone-the very object that gave the Flamels their pseudo-immortality, was found missing. The severe protections around the stone were found broken, and the stone stolen. It is speculated that whoever committed the murder of the Flamels wanted to steal the stone, and has apparently been successful in the effort. Despite the forensic procedures conducted, we are still at sea about the identity of the murderer.
There is a ray of hope though. Just beside the broken protections of the stone, was found a calling card. A king of spades. Aurors believe that this card belongs to the killer, and upon investigation, the card magically revealed one single word- we speculate that it is the name of the killer who is taunting our agencies and our government.
The Auror Department speculates that this is the name of the killer, who stole the Sorcerer's stone. This person is now thus, is now the owner of the legendary substance that offers unlimited riches and eternal-youth. The ministry has notified that the citizens are supposed to inform the ministry should they find anyone acting peculiar. This event can undoubtedly be considered as the biggest heist in Wizarding history. We hope that this killer finds his way up to Ministerial custody and Azkaban soon enough.
The Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge had commented-"Nicholas Flamel was a legendary contributor to the Magical society. His death will not go in vain, and we shall do our best to get back the legendary stone back to where it belongs. Orion will be caught, though I have strong suspicion that Sirius Black might have been involved."
The Minister's point about Sirius ORION Black has set off a flurry of speculations. Notorious as You-know-who's right-hand man, Sirius Black is of course, known for his betrayal of the Potters, leading to their deaths; and then, being the first person in wizarding history to break out of Azkaban just an year after his incarceration. The Ministry had pronounced that Black could break out because You-know-who had vested upon him, all sorts of miraculous powers and skills. Whether this is true or not, the point lies that Sirius Black was never seen in Magical Britain after he broke out of Azkaban in December 1982. That of course, brings us back to the sad memories of our dear Boy-who-lived-Harry Potter, who was kidnapped away from his relatives a few days after Halloween 1981. Until this date, the Ministry has failed to provide any kind of information about the possibility of him being alive.
The Minister was seen in the presence of Albus Dumbledore- a quite contradictory situation, since he and Dumbledore have been at odds ever since the previous scholastic session, when Dumbledore announced to the school that You-know-who in fact, had miraculously returned from the dead. Minister Fudge has been most insistent in proclaiming that this is Dumbledore's tactic to overthrow the government and take his place. Whether Dumbledore is lying about it or not, it seems that, the death of the Flamels have brought two political adversaries on the same side... The question remains-
Who is ORION and what has he done with the legendary 'Sorcerer's stone'?
#### Hello everyone, I had a sudden epiphany the previous evening, and an entire story came to me in matter of minutes. Being the kind of HP-enthusiast that I am, I couldn't help but put it down to words. Well, this is the first chapter of the story. Hope you like it. And as always, read, review, follow and favorite.