Chapter 16 - Panic

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Summer classes be damned, Harry and Draco had abandoned everything else and gone straight to the library. They spent all morning frantically searching for anything to do with Harry's revelation. It seemed so obvious that someone had to have investigated it before. There had to be a way to protect Hogwarts.

"What on earth are you two doing?"

Hermione's voice made Harry look up from the huge tome he was trying to read and barely making head or tail of. The language was definitely not modern English.

"What does it look like," Draco said, without taking his nose out of the book he had; "trying to find some information."

"Well, tell me what you're looking for and I can help," Hermione said and Harry was reminded again of what a good friend she was.

[Do we dare?] he asked.

[Not out loud,] Draco replied. [someone might overhear.]

[I could write it down,] Harry suggested.

[Even worse. Just write down that we can't tell her yet and I'll make something up for possible eavesdroppers.]

"It's to do with Harry's problem with Apparating," Draco said out loud as Harry scrabbled for a quill. "He had a very bad reaction this morning and so we came to see if we could find anything that might help."

Harry could feel Hermione's eyes on him as he wrote, but she didn't ask what he was doing.

"Do you think there is some way Hecatemae have shielded themselves in the past that we've lost?" Hermione asked. "I would have thought that was something the department would have kept on record."

"You'd think so, wouldn't you," Draco replied, "but Hilde says they don't have anything. It may be that it's because Harry hasn't been brought up to know how to shield from a young age, so he's susceptible, but we had hoped there might be something we had missed before."

Harry held up his message.

'I discovered something,' it read. 'Can't explain now, too dangerous. Have to keep it a secret from everyone, sorry.'

"Have you tried the Restricted Section yet?" Hermione asked, taking the parchment from Harry and borrowing his quill.

'Find any useful information?' she wrote.

'No.' Harry wrote back.

"Not yet," Draco continued the verbal conversation.

'You should speak to Dumbledore,' Hermione jotted down. 'His office is secure and if it's that dangerous he needs to know.'

"Maybe you could try later," she said.

[She has a point,] Draco agreed as he read the note.

"Good idea," Harry said, screwing up the note and putting it in his pocket; he would burn it once they were out of the Library.

"Right now, though," Hermione said, "you really should come to lunch unless you want the whole school talking about you."

The last thing they needed was more attention.

"Good point," Draco said. "We'll just get these books to a safe place and we'll be out."

"Thanks, Hermione," Harry said and she nodded at him.

* * *

"Gentlemen," Dumbledore greeted as Harry all but dragged Draco into the headmaster's study, "to what do I owe this pleasure?"

Harry knew he was being a little irrational, but the fact that Hogwarts was wide open for an attack was rather playing on his mind. It was all he had been able to think about over lunch; the ideas just going round and round in his head.

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