“…and then, poof, no feather!” said Dawn. “And there was a hole in the floor.”
“More like a BANG!” said Harry. “My ears are still ringing a bit.”
“Most interesting,” said Professor Dumbledore. “What did you sense, Harry?”
“There was this sudden surge in Dawn’s power,” said Harry. “It wasn’t like anything I’d ever felt before. I mean, when I meditate now, I can feel the power all around me—everyone has their own glow—but Dawn’s feels…different.”
“And you drew on that power?” asked Dumbledore.
“I didn’t mean to,” said Harry. “It was just so…bright. I had to do something to shield myself from it, so I channelled it all into the feather.”
“And boom!” said Dawn.
“Did you feel Harry drawing the power from you?” asked Dumbledore.
Dawn thought for a moment, trying to remember what she had felt in that moment. “No… It felt like I was drawing power from somewhere…and then it was just…gone.”
“Hmm…” Dumbledore thought for a bit. “I was planning on showing you this later, but…” He rose from his seat behind his desk, and went to his cupboard. He opened it, and pulled out his Pensieve. He brought it back and set it on his desk.
“What’s that?” asked Dawn. She looked curiously at the mist swirling inside the stone bowl.
“It is called a Pensieve,” said Professor Dumbledore. “It contains memories. At the moment it contains several memories that Miss Rosenberg let me borrow, for the purpose of teaching Harry how to control his magic.”
Dumbledore started to stir around in the Pensieve with his wand. “Now, where was that memory? Ah, here it is!” He pulled his wand free, with a wisp of mist hanging off the end of it. “This is one of Willow’s cautionary memories. Now, Harry, I want you to clear your mind…”
Harry sat in the centre of the floor in a darkened room, surrounded by a circle of green sand. He was aware of the people behind him, Kennedy was climbing back to her feet after the last blast of power that had burst from him. He could sense that Dawn was still unconscious from it.
“Via, concursus, tempus, spatium, audi me ut imperio… Screw it!” shouted Harry into the empty air above him. “Mighty forces, I suck at Latin, okay? But that’s not the issue! I’m the one in charge, and I’m telling you: open that portal now!”
“It’s not happening, Will,” said Xander.
“Give her time,” said Kennedy. “She’s getting it.”
“Or something’s getting her,” said Xander. “Will, I think you better back up a little.”
“No!” Harry knew he was close. He just needed a little more power. He reached out with his mind, seeking what he needed. There was almost no magic in Xander, and Dawn was unconscious. He could feel the potential power of the Slayer burning in Kennedy, and the latent demon in Anya. He flung his hands back toward them, and ripped the power he needed out of both of them. He channelled it into the air in front of him. The portal opened as they collapsed to the floor.*
“Oh!” Harry slumped in the chair and grabbed his head when Professor Dumbledore pulled the memory out of his head. “That was… God, what a headache.”
Dumbledore looked sympathetic, and picked up a bowl from his desk. He held it out to Harry. “Lemon sherbet?”
Harry shook his head, and instantly regretted the sudden motion. “Oh…no thank you, Professor.”
“You really should,” said the Professor. “It will help with your headache.”
“Alright.” Harry took one of the candies, and popped it into his mouth. He felt something soothing pass through him, and his headache did fade to a dull throb. “What was that?”
“You tell us,” said Professor Dumbledore.
“Er, alright.” Harry concentrated for a moment, bringing back the memory. “I— No, Willow, was trying to open a portal, and she needed more power, so I—she just ripped it out of Kennedy and er…I think her name was Anya?” He looked at Dawn, and saw the unhappy expression on her face. “I’m sorry, I—she hurt you.”
“What?” asked Dawn. “No! It’s not that! I mean, yeah Willow did hurt me a bit, but she was doing it to save Buffy, and the blast that knocked me out was just a side effect, not a deliberate power suck like what she did on Kennedy and Anya. It’s just…Anya. She didn’t make it. She was killed in the fight with the First.”
“Oh,” said Harry. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” said Dawn. “And it wasn’t you who did that, it was Willow.” She looked at Professor Dumbledore. “So why did you show him that memory?”
“Earlier today, when you pulled the power from Dawn, did it feel like what Willow did that time?” Dumbledore asked Harry.
“No, it was different,” said Harry. “The power was bursting out of Dawn already. I just grabbed onto it. That other time, I— Willow reached into Kennedy and Anya, and ripped it out of them.”
“Interesting.” Dumbledore turned his attention back to Dawn. “Do you know what you did to release that power?”
“Not really,” said Dawn. “I was trying to focus on it, and it kept slipping away, and then, suddenly, whoosh!”
“Er, I might have had something to do with that,” said Harry.
“What do you mean?” asked Dawn.
“Well…I could sense it,” said Harry. “It was flickering there inside you, and I wanted to encourage it, so I reached out…and wham!”
“Hmm,” said Dumbledore. “I wonder if we can reproduce that.”
Harry looked at the floor. “Er…how much do you like this rug?”
Dumbledore chuckled. “It is long overdue for replacement, but I hope to avoid that. I want to see what happens if we just let the energy from the Key umm, do its own thing?”
“That may not be such a good idea,” said Dawn. “Last time the energy from the Key got released they had to fill a twenty foot wide crater in the middle of Sunnydale’s main street, and rebuild City Hall. They were just about ready for the grand reopening, when the city fell into the Hellmouth.”
“Hopefully we can avoid that too,” said Professor Dumbledore. “If I understand correctly the circumstances surrounding that incident were rather special.”
“Uh, yeah, once in a thousand years, and I had to bleed into a spot a hundred feet off the ground.”
Dumbledore smiled. “I hope that there will be no bleeding involved this time.”
“Me too,” said Dawn. “I’d hate to have to ask Buffy to kick your ass.”
“Yes, I would hate that too.” Dumbledore gestured with his wand and a couple of cushions appeared. “I believe you prefer to do this sitting on the floor.”
“Uh, yeah,” said Dawn. She looked at Harry. “So, shall we?”
Harry sighed. “I guess.”
Dawn and Harry sat facing each other on the cushions, with their legs crossed. They both started their breathing exercise, with their inhalations and exhalations synchronized. Dumbledore moved back to his desk chair, and sat down to wait.
Dumbledore watched Dawn and Harry carefully. He could see the slight glimmer in her that he had seen that day in the Leaky Cauldron, that he had seen once before, fifty years earlier during a journey through Czechoslovakia. He knew that those blessed with second sight, or mad men could see the Key. He sometimes wondered which category he fell into. Many had accused him of both over the years. He himself wasn’t sure. Sometimes he just knew things. When Severus Snape had come to him all those years ago, to renounce his allegiance to Voldemort, and to volunteer his services as a spy in the enemy’s camp, Dumbledore had just known he was telling the truth, and that he could be trusted. Many had called him mad at the time. Years later, people had called him mad for letting a small band of eleven year old children go against Voldemort, but he had known that it was the right thing to do. And now he sat and watched as two young people attempted to release a power that could destroy worlds—in his office. It seemed mad, but he knew that it was the right thing to do.
He could also feel the fluctuations of magic around Harry. He had studied magic in all its forms for nearly a century and a half, and he was one of only a half dozen or so wizards who could feel the magic that Harry was manipulating. It had taken him many decades, studying with wiccans like Amelia Harkness, and Willow Rosenberg, and already Harry had better control over the ancient magic than he ever expected to have. He had been quite amazed by what he had felt when he experienced Miss Rosenberg’s memories. Her power was breathtaking.
Dumbledore was brought out of his reverie when he saw a stirring in the Key. He leaned forward, his eyes narrowing. He felt the magic around Harry strengthen, and wrap around Dawn too. The Key flared, and Dumbledore didn’t need his inner eye to see it anymore. Dawn was bathed in emerald light. A pinprick of light appeared, at about eye level, midway between her and Harry. It grew slowly, until it was about the size of a Bludger. It floated in the air between them.
Harry opened his eyes first, and looked at the glowing sphere in front of him. “Brilliant!”
“Yes, it is, rather,” said Dumbledore.
Dawn opened her eyes. The green glow around her faded, but the sphere stayed where it was. “What is it?” Tiny crackles of lighting flashed around it. A faint whistling could be heard from it, and there seemed to be a slight breeze of air, moving around her, and toward the sphere.
“I believe, Miss Summers, that that is a portal.”
“A portal to where?”
“An excellent question.” Professor Dumbledore got up from his desk. He picked up his peacock quill and came around it. He bent down for a closer look.
“Um…touching portals often leads to badness,” said Dawn.
“Yes, I am aware of that.” Dumbledore poked at the glowing sphere with the feather end of his quill.
A flash of lightning ignited the feather. Professor Dumbledore dropped it to the floor, and extinguished it with his foot. There was another loud crack and the sphere vanished.
“So, what just happened?” asked Harry.
“I think that Miss Summers opened up a portal to…somewhere,” said Dumbledore.
“It doesn’t seem to be very useful…” Dawn looked down at the scorched peacock quill on the floor. “…unless you don’t like feathers. It certainly wasn’t big enough to go through.”
“Well, yes, I think it will take some time for you to get more control over it,” said Dumbledore. “None the less, this was an excellent beginning.”
* Willow’s memory was taken from the Buffy episode Get it Done
|Chapter 48: Of Keys and Feathers||Contents||Chapter 50: Kidnapped!|