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Sorry for the little delay, hope you enjoy this next chapter
The days turn into weeks as we progress into the school year. Every afternoon we have free, Hermione and I are in the library, looking for information on Nicolas Flamel, whoever that may be. Sometimes Harry and Ron join us, but we still don't manage to find anything. Quidditch practices are continuing, although Wood has laid off a little now that we don't have another match for a few months. I've done a few more lessons with Dumbledore and McGonagall, but it's mostly been just telling them more about my growing up. By the third lesson, I was able to pretty much completely relax, and my story came out easier. The professors had held true to their word, and they never mentioned anything to do with our sessions outside of Dumbledore's office. I found myself going into more detail in my recounts, my mind wanting to get everything out. Dumbledore would sit quietly and patiently, not saying anything until I finished, or needed a breath. McGonagall was mostly the same, although sometimes she would let out a gasp or a word of protest. I was learning to see another side of the woman outside of teaching. Of course, she didn't show it in class, but I can see a relaxed and compassionate side to her, that's quite motherly and affectionate. Sometimes when I told a particularly hard part, she would come up beside me and wrap her arm around me and hold me as I spoke.
When classes are done for the day, I retire to the common room for some rest before dinner and my session with Dumbledore tonight. I relax in one of the armchairs in front of the fire, and I find my eyes slowly drooping. Trusting someone to wake me up later, I give in to the pull of sleep. Unfortunately, my subconscious has other ideas, and I am tugged into a waiting dream. Unlike most of my other dreams, in this one, I have a bird's eye view over the scenery. I gasp when I realise what I'm seeing.
A younger Albus Dumbledore, accompanied by an equally younger Minerva McGonagall stands outside a muggle house. In each of their arms, a small bundle lays. From the one in Dumbledore's arms, a cry sounds. Humming quietly, the professor rocks the baby in his arms, urging the child back to sleep. Finally, the crying stops, and reluctantly, Dumbledore lays the bundle on the ground in front of the door. He places a note in the blankets the baby is wrapped in and whispers something.
"I'm so sorry my dear boy, I hope one day you can forgive me for this. Good luck, Harry Potter."
Blinking back tears, I watch as my brother sleeps on the doorstep of Number Four Privet Drive. I want to go to him and snatch him away, to stop him from growing up in that terrible life. But I know it's just a dream, and I can't do anything about it.
Dumbledore then turns to McGonagall, and I gasp as I look at myself as a baby, wrapped in blankets and snuggled in the older witch's arms. Dumbledore wipes a tear from McGonagall's face, blinking back the wetness in his own eyes.
"Be strong Minerva. We have to do this; it is the only way to keep them safe," he consoles.
I can tell he is fighting himself against this idea, but sense wins out. He grasps McGonagall's arms and they lean down together to place baby Isobel down next to Harry. Dumbledore pulls out a note, reads it, then goes to seal it in an envelope. Before he can though, something flies past him and sheds a red feather. It glides through the air, eventually landing amongst the black mess of my hair. My eyes widen as it disappears. Dumbledore smiles the smallest smile, then seals the envelope and places it in baby Isobel's blankets like he did Harry's.
"I didn't want to do this," Dumbledore whispers to the baby. "Stay safe, Isobel."
The professors straighten up reluctantly, and McGonagall tries to hold back a sob. The older wizard wraps her in his arms, and they embrace, before finally apparating away. As they do, I feel a hand on my arm.
I blink, disorientated from my dream. In front of me, Harry stands, looking down at me with worried eyes. I weave my hand into my hair, finding the red strand with my fingers. Could it -? No. I shake my head to clear it of the dream, then smile at him.
"Hey," I say, getting up from the chair.
Harry doesn't reply, instead, he reaches over and wipes a tear from my cheek, frowning.
"You were crying," he says.
I quickly wipe the rest of the tears from my cheeks.
"It was just a dream," I reassure him.
He nods, but the worry doesn't leave his eyes. I lay my hand on his arm.
"I'm okay, really," I say, not breaking my gaze from him.
I can see he's still bothered, but most of his worry abides.
"It's dinnertime," he says softly.
I nod, and we exit the portrait hole together.
"How are you?" I ask, trying to make conversation.
We've been around Ron and Hermione so much recently that we haven't spoken just with each other much. It's different from what it was at the Dursley's, where the only entertainment we had was each other.
"I'm alright," he says, smiling a little. "What about you?"
"I'm good," I say nodding.
We walk in silence for a little bit. I glance over at my brother and see him opening and closing his mouth like he wants to say something, but then decides against it. I roll my eyes.
"Spit it out," I say impatiently.
Harry looks a little guiltily at me.
"I was really worried about you when you fainted. Ever since then, you've been a little distant. I can't help but think you're hiding something from me."
I falter a little in my steps. I knew this would come eventually, but I wasn't sure when.
"Have I?" I feign confusion.
Harry buys it and nods.
"You're not talking as much with the three of us, some nights you disappear for hours at a time, claiming you forgot something, or you need to study. But I don't think you're that forgetful, and you get plenty of study in after classes and dinner."
I don't reply. I really want to tell him what's happening. But I know that I shouldn't. Dumbledore told me not to, and he seemed insistent. Although I know he's not telling me a lot of things, I trust him.
"I didn't realise. I guess I've been so invested in learning everything there is to know I've been forgetting things and not socialising with you guys a lot. I'm really sorry," I say innocently.
The confused look leaves Harry's face, replaced by happiness.
"Oh, I didn't realise. For some reason, I thought you were hiding something from us. But of course, you're just distracted. I can never pull you out of a book once you've got your nose in it."
Harry smiles jokingly. I laugh a little, relieved that he bought it. By now we've almost reached the Great Hall, so we don't talk anymore. We walk inside to the Gryffindor table, where Ron is stuffing his face and Hermione is shaking her head at him. We sit down, and I start talking with Hermione about what we did in classes today. Quite quickly, people seemed to realise that we were, not to be boastful, the tops of the grade. I seem to be better at Transfiguration, Charms and Defence Against the Dark Arts, but we are pretty evenly matched with the rest of the subjects. Dumbledore says a few words, then we dig into dinner. Upon seeing Dumbledore, my dream comes back to me. I can't help but wonder why the professors had such different reactions to putting me down then Harry. Unconsciously my hand winds into my hair again and plays with the strands. Did they know I would be more powerful? Did they know what would happen to me? I shudder at the thought, pushing it away. I release the foreign strand my fingers had found, then return to my dinner. Afterwards, we get up to return to the common room. Before we can though, I deliver my excuse.
"Um, guys. I was, well, I was thinking about maybe spending more time with some of the other houses. So I was going to um…well –"
"That's alright," Hermione cuts me off, sending a glare to the protesting boys. "You can do what you want."
I smile gratefully at her. The boys avoid my eyes, and I feel a little guilty. They go ahead of me, as I look around at the other house tables to make it look like I'm considering which house to hang out with. Once they are gone, I look back to the Staff table. I catch Dumbledore's eyes, and he nods a little. About a minute passes before he gets up and leaves the table. I soon follow, and I walk slowly to his office. When I get there, the gargoyle is just moving aside for McGonagall. She greets me, and we ascend the steps together. McGonagall knocks on the door, and a second later we enter.
"Ah," Dumbledore says when he sees us. "Perfect timing."
McGonagall takes up her regular stance beside Dumbledore, and I stand in front of them.
"Isobel," McGonagall starts.
I am surprised by her name use. I have no problem with it, in fact, I invited them to use my name in private company, but she had never used it before except when she was comforting me.
"Are you ready?" she continues.
I swallow, realising what she means. The past few lessons had been me telling the professors a few more things about my upbringing. But Dumbledore had suspected there was something I hadn't told them yet, and he was right. I hadn't brought myself to tell them because I didn't want to relive it, or even accept it. I certainly didn't want anyone knowing. But the Headmaster and his Deputy had convinced me to tell them in the next lesson, the last lesson. That meant I would have to reveal it tonight.
"I uh…" I reply.
Dumbledore looks at me kindly.
"I understand that this is very hard for you Isobel, but I think it is important for us to know," he says softly.
I look into his twinkling blue eyes and see nothing but kindness and patience in them. Deep down I know I can tell them. I know they won't judge me. They won't think less or more of me. They won't hurtfully use this against me. But every fibre of my being tells me not to. Screams at me to leave the room and never come back. The very thought of telling them makes me shudder. It brings back the memories that I never want to remember. But I can't push it back. If I don't face it, it will consume me. So, with a great, shaking breath, I tell the horror.
Sorry! I know this chapter is a little short and left on a cliff hanger, but it was a really good spot to cut the chapter. I'll try and update again soon, but until then. Hope you enjoyed:)