Harry Potter - Series Fan Fiction ❯ Harry Potter and the Werewolf Prophecy ❯ POLTERGEIST ( Chapter 29 )
Harry had just finished a class with fifth years from Hufflepuff and Slytherin, and was feeling slightly nervous. Several Slytherins had been cheeky, and he’d docked them a number of points. “Was that the kind of thing Snape used to do?” he thought. Snape. How did he feel about him? “I still pretty much loathe the man,” popped unbidden into his head.
Discipline wasn’t that much of a problem, though a number of older pupils who’d known him when he was at school found it difficult to accept him as a professor. The big problem was teaching the NEWTs course. He kept telling the classes that he wanted them to know how to defeat dark magic in practice – but the pupils would have to take their exams at some stage. The OWLs class weren’t a problem. Everything in their course was something Harry had experienced himself. The NEWTs course was different. How were vampires to be dealt with, for example? A stake through the heart, yes, but how does one actually go about it? He shook his head. He knew that as always, he’d end up having to ask Hermione about it.
He felt a sudden push in his back and nearly fell. There was a raucous laugh and a familiar figure flew past his head. It was Peeves, of course.
“Potty Potter’s a professor now!” he cackled. “Thinks he’s so clever!”
“Go away, Peeves,” said Harry. “I’ll get the Bloody Baron.”
Peeves ignored the threat. “Thinks he’s so clever, but he hasn’t even got a wand!”
Harry reached for his holder and swore. His wand was gone. He looked up at Peeves, who was waving it just out of his reach, a huge grin across his face.
“Peeves!” he yelled. “Give that back this second!”
“Should be more careful, Professor Potty,” screeched Peeves.
“I’ll freeze you for a month!” shouted Harry. He was furious. He’d lost so many precious things, so many friends. Hedwig, Dobby, Sirius – it sometimes seemed as if his wand was the only thing he’d managed to cling onto. It had been broken, seemingly irretrievably, and then miraculously repaired.
“Freeze me with a spell, eh? Need a wand to do magic, Potty!” Peeves fled down the corridor, and Harry chased after him. Students leaped aside as Harry ran past them, his face white with anger.
Peeves seemed to be enjoying himself. He scooted up a staircase that had just begun to shift, and Harry had to leap across a three-foot gap to keep up with him. So furious was he that he didn’t even notice the dizzying drop.
“Keep up, Potty!” he called. “Don’t fall behind – or fall below!” He sped down a deserted, dusty corridor. Harry thundered after him. They ran past a series of closed doors, until they came to a dead end. Peeves had nowhere to go.
“Give me my wand, Peeves!” Harry yelled.
“Have to catch me first, Potfessor!” Peeves tapped the wall, and a gap opened, about a foot wide. Peeves squeezed through. Harry gritted his teeth and followed.
What he saw surprised him. The gap led into a cosy little study. There were two armchairs in front of a small fireplace. On a table between them was placed Harry’s wand. Peeves was sitting in one of the chairs.
“Please sit down, Harry, and we can have a little chat.” It was Peeves speaking, but it wasn’t his voice. Harry watched in amazement as Peeves began to change shape, his features melting and reforming. After about a minute, his face settled into the familiar lines of Professor Dumbledore.
“Please do sit, Harry,” the figure said, in Dumbledore’s unmistakeable mellifluous voice. “I can assure you that this is, in a sense at least, me. On the other hand, I remain, unfortunately, dead. I would not wish to give rise to any false hopes.”
Harry sat, staring at what appeared to be his former headmaster.
“I realise that this might be, at the least, a surprise to you,” continued Dumbledore. “You will no doubt be looking for an explanation. Perhaps I had best begin with a brief dissertation on the nature of poltergeists.”
Harry felt a sense of certainty that this was Dumbledore – or at least some trace of him.
“When you were a small child, Harry, you began manifesting magic in a somewhat uncontrolled way. Usually this is harmless enough, but in the case of a wizard or witch with exceptional power, it can manifest itself destructively.”
For the briefest of moments, a look of enormous sadness crossed Dumbledore’s face, immediately replaced with his familiar benevolent smile.
“The founders of Hogwarts soon realised that having assembled a large number of untrained magical children in a single place, that chaos and confusion would be ever present. They decided that it needed to be if not controlled, then at least focused and contained.”
Dumbledore gestured at the table and a pot of tea, two cups and a plate of biscuits appeared. The pot raised itself and poured into the cups.
“The phenomenon of the poltergeist was first noted by Muggle parents raising magical children. They assumed that the inexplicable events were down to a kind of ghost – which they named a poltergeist, or ‘noisy ghost’. Of course a true poltergeist is in a way the opposite of a ghost. A ghost is a remnant, what is left after somebody dies. A poltergeist manifests the excess magic of someone fully alive. In rare cases, this manifestation is of an actual human-like figure.”
Dumbledore reached across and picked up his cup, and took a sip. “Excellent! Darjeeling. So Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin found such a figure, created by the most powerful of their pupils – a boy named Peeves. It was a shadowy, insubstantial thing, but they directed all the loose, disorganised magic into it. It became what is still the most powerful, most substantial poltergeist that has ever existed.”
Harry picked up his cup and took a sip. He assumed that Hermione would have known all this. It was another of the many stories of the Wizarding world that continued to surprise him.
“Ideally, Peeves’ poltergeist would have used all this power for something useful and constructive. Alas, that proved impossible, and if it was impossible for the four greatest wizards who have ever lived, I can’t see how it could be done. But at least the dangerous magic was limited to jokes and mischief. Annoying as Peeves might be on occasion, his nonsense is nothing compared to what can happen when a powerful wizard… or witch… loses control.” Again, the look of sadness shot across his face.
“My own family have been prone to this uncontrolled release of magic. It is an indicator of great power, and when I came to Hogwarts as a small boy, oh so very many years ago, I was an exceptionally powerful magician.” Dumbledore drained his cup and held it out for the teapot to refill.
“I was also very curious. I was conscious of the power leaving me, and decided to trace its direction. When I found out where it was going, I then attempted to control it. A very difficult, very challenging exercise, Harry, but I was an exceptional wizard.” Dumbledore dunked a biscuit energetically in his cup.
“I found that I could impart a little of myself in the transfer of power to Peeves, and maintain a kind of link to him. A fragile link at first, but over many years it became stronger.”
Dumbledore raised the soggy biscuit to his mouth but before he could bite, it collapsed and fell on the floor. “As Headmaster, Harry, I am a conspicuous figure. People are on their best behaviour around me. Peeves, on the other hand… well, nobody contemplating mischief worries about being seen by the chief mischief-maker. I was always able, whenever I needed, to cast my mind into Peeves and to see what he saw. It meant, for example, that when a worried boy sought his family in the mirror of Erised, I could seek him out and offer some good advice.”
“So Peeves was you all along?” asked Harry.
Dumbledore shook his head. “No, Harry, most of the time he was just as you have known him – an irresponsible jokester. The link was hard to maintain for any length of time. There is another difficulty. Staying linked to Peeves for any length of time, and one tends to adopt a somewhat irresponsible attitude to life. One certainly becomes quite anti-establishment.”
“But now, you’re – well, you are Dumbledore, not Peeves, aren’t you?” asked Harry uncertainly.
“For a very short while, yes,” said Dumbledore. “I have been fortunate, in some ways, Harry, in having foreknowledge of my own death. My foolishness in falling into Lord Voldemort’s trap has led me to focus my mind. I have had to plan in great detail, rather than do as I have done for most of my life – react to events as they happened.”
For a moment Dumbledore’s features twisted a little out of shape. He shut his eyes for a moment, and sat perfectly still. His face returned to its normal appearance. “It took considerable effort to control Peeves to this extent, Harry. To control him at all required great effort, and a degree of negotiation. To project that control years into the future, to embed part of my own persona inside him, was nearly impossible. To placate him, I had to allow him to snatch your wand. Stealing wands is something he’s been forbidden to do for over a thousand years, so it was something of a treat for him.”
Dumbledore took another sip from his cup. “I also had to agree to serve you Wee-Wee Tea from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.”
“What!” yelled Harry, jumping to his feet.
Dumbledore smiled. “Don’t worry, Harry. You have another fifteen minutes before the urge becomes uncontrollable. I suggest making use of the girls’ bathroom on this floor. I’m sure Myrtle won’t mind.”
Harry sat down nervously. “I’m going to explode Peeves later,” he muttered.
“The closeness of the girls’ bathroom is not unplanned,” continued Dumbledore. “It is the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets, and that is what I wish to talk to you about.”