When the disorienting sensation of time travel has subsided, Harry took in the office surrounding him. Initially he wasn't sure if he had overshot his intended time. The grandfather clock showed 6:57. "Pretty good timing," Harry thought wryly. He used the additional few minutes to examine the office carefully. He put on Dumbledore's glasses and looked at all the bookshelves, artifacts and furniture. There were several interesting magic emanations that Harry was itching to investigate. Just as a click sounded at the oak door indicating that visitors were about to enter, Harry realized that he didn't want to worry Dobby by showing up in another part of the castle under an invisibility cloak. He ducked down behind a low plant stand that held some kind of spiny cactus. He had just hit his knees when Dobby, Professor McGonagall, and "Harry" came in. Harry kept his head down as Dumbledore asked for a moment alone with Dobby. As Dobby's instructions were given, Harry glanced around the office again. Wearing Dumbledore's glasses, and from his kneeling position, he was startled to see a fine, bright-red line extending along the upper alcove stair. He found that if he raised even an inch, the phenomenon disappeared. He had to be on exactly the right level to see the line. Curiosity coursed through him. He knew he could sneak across the room as soon as Dobby was gone. No one would be able to even tell that he was there. As he toyed with the idea, a voice sounding much like Hermione's, warned him that if there was something there, he could just wait and ask Dumbledore in a few short minutes. The Hermione/conscience voice won out and Harry settled in to wait for the office to clear. Harry watched "Harry" arrive, receive instructions and go back to the night before. From under his invisibility cloak he watched as a second "Harry" appeared from beneath an invisibility cloak, ate his meal, made explanations and plans, walked past him, and left through the broom cupboard. As soon as the room was empty, Harry stood up and took off the invisibility cloak. He strode across the room to the desk, sat down, pulled the meal toward himself, took a swallow of the muscle restorative potion (still disgusting), and began to eat.

"Welcome back Harry," said Dumbledore without any hint of surprise. "I assume that you are back to continue your education."

"Yes," said Harry. He was devouring the breakfast as if he hadn't eaten in days instead of hours.

Dumbledore watched with interest for a few moments and then made an observation, "Judging from your clothes and appetite, you seem to have been through a trying experience. I suggest that you take some time to read or rest a bit."

Harry found that he agreed completely with Dumbledore. He ached, he was sweaty, his arm hurt and he was tired. "I think that's a good idea," said Harry, and without further encouragement he went to the armchair in front of the Headmaster's desk. He cleared his mind, relaxed all his muscles and raised his wand, "Gemynd," he uttered while concentrating on the slight disconnection he had noticed between Armando Dippet and Tom Riddle. For good measure Harry included the recollections he had of Voldemort. The room faded and Harry started to sort the intersections his life had with both Tom Riddle and Voldemort. As scenes settled into categories, he recognized an oddity that he had never noticed before. The more he turned it over in his mind, the less sense it made. It was definitely worth asking Dumbledore about. When he felt he had completed the comparison, he refocused his mind and said, "Finite."

"Welcome back Harry," said a smiling Dumbledore. "You seem to have mastered new abilities. I trust that you feel a little more rested?"

Answering Dumbledore's implied question Harry said, "Yes. You arrange for Headmaster Dippet to teach me the Gemynd spell, and it has made me feel much more rested. But how can that be? It's only been, what, five minutes?" Harry looked at the grandfather clock and saw that once again, over an hour had passed.

Dumbledore, who had watched Harry's glance at the clock, smiled and said "Time does seem to pass quickly as one puts order to thoughts. I should give you one further caution about this magic. That is the fact that until you emerge from the enchantment, you are completely oblivious to the outside world. For example, while you were on your last foray into your mind, Professor McGonagall came to call. I believe that you were unaware of her visit and that fact should give you cause to use caution concerning where and when you perform this spell. I believe you are safe here in this office but in most circumstances you would not want to yield your ability to react to outside influences. It would not be prudent, not to mention potentially dangerous."

"Thanks for the warning," Harry said sincerely, "I will be very careful about using this magic. However, I do have a question about something I noticed. Is there time to discuss it right now?"

"Well Harry, if you come back when I asked you to, you should be arriving in about fifteen minutes. That gives a little time to discuss a few things. But before we begin, you need to determine your next area of study. You will have two hours after your morning brunch during which you may pursue your own course."

Harry was intrigued at the thought of having a bit of time to explore his own interests. He immediately thought of Ginny. As much as he wanted to see her, he knew he had made a time commitment to Dumbledore. Harry considered the things he had seen the last few, "what was it...days?" Harry thought. "May I go outside the castle for a short while?" he finally asked.

"That would be possible providing you are careful to avoid being seen, and remember to be on the lookout for danger. The world has changed," cautioned Dumbledore.

"That should be no problem, considering where I would like to go," said Harry cryptically.

"In that case I see no problem other than how you plan to get out of the castle," said Dumbledore.

"About that," Harry began, "could I possibly borrow a broom?"

"Yes, that can be easily arranged. Now I believe that you had a topic you wanted to discuss," said Dumbledore.

Considering the things weighing on his mind, Harry made a quick decision on what he wanted to talk to Dumbledore about. The Riddle/Voldemort anomaly could wait, indeed it might be a better question for Professor Binns, Harry concluded. Addressing Dumbledore's portrait Harry began, "I have noticed something here in the office. There is a fine red line running the length of the upper alcove. It only appears when I look through your glasses. Is it something with which I should be concerned?"

Dumbledore smiled, "Yes indeed, very observant on your part Harry. There seems to be two separate questions here; one asked, one unasked. The asked question is a simple matter. The red line is the manifestation of a very specific magic. The line is indeed very fine and can only be seen when viewed at exactly the correct aspect and with the correct magic in place. The answer to your question is no. You need not be concerned with this magic here in this office. However, if you were to encounter this magic elsewhere, I would advise caution. That brings us to the unasked question... "What is this magic?" To be frank, Harry it is a magic that I will be teaching you sooner than later."

Harry noted the 'sooner than later' rather than the normal 'sooner or later.' "Is there time to learn a new magic before the other Harry arrives?" wondered Harry. "I don't think so. Silence and patience may be my best course." Accordingly, he did not interrupt as Dumbledore continued.

"There are many ways to become difficult to detect, some would say invisible. You have used several of these magics already...disillusionment and invisibility cloaks, and I believe that you witnessed Fred and George Weasley's successful attempts to charm objects to render a portion of the wearer invisible. The intent of each of these magics is to alter the ability of the human eye to detect the object. Professor Binns will cover invisibility with you as you study the course book entitled Magic."

Harry realized he had never been told what his class schedule was with Professor Binns and he asked, "When is my next session with Professor Binns?"

Without skipping a beat, Dumbledore continued, "You will see Professor Binns at 2:00 this afternoon. If you apply yourself, you may well be able to finish the class today. If unforeseen challenges arise, the classes will conclude next week when regular term ends. Now, back to the matter at hand, this fine red line is a manifestation of a masking magic that mimics invisibility. Though not exceptionally difficult to master, it is none-the-less rarely taught."

"Why is that?" interrupted Harry.

"There can be... consequences," Dumbledore stated. "We cover that when we have the opportunity to delve the magic in detail. As for right now, you need to prepare for your arrival back from your excursion into the forest. You will be here momentarily."

Harry looked at the grandfather clock and saw that Dumbledore was correct. "It is only a matter of minutes he (I?) would (will?) be coming through the broom cupboard door and back into the office. This is the most bizarre feeling dodging myself," Harry thought, still trying to get his mind around time travel. "I understand the need for caution and the need for hurrying. If I can borrow a broom, I'll be off," said Harry.

"Good luck, Harry and please be back within two hours time," said Dumbledore.

« Chapter 16 - Time for Thought   Chapter 18 - Ogram »


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