Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Induction :: 14 :: Knowledge Is Power

14 • Knowledge Is Power

Harry stretched luxuriously and rolled over, deliberately ignoring the lingering sense of discomfort he felt from the previous night’s activities. He knew it was well past the time he normally awoke and that he was being unusually self-indulgent, but he didn’t particularly feel like getting out of bed just at that moment. For once he did not allow any feelings of guilt to colour his mood.

Eventually, however, the things he was of a mind to attend to during his free weekend had him sliding out of bed and padding sleepily into his bathroom. As he passed the mirror it responded with a low whistle, causing him to double back to take a good look at himself, and flush deeply almost as soon as his gaze connected. All along his neck were raw red marks, a legacy of last night’s dissipation of his ignorance.

After giving the mirror a sheepish grin, he resumed his journey to the shower and stripped down. A short time later—he’d figured out how to disguise the condition of his neck—he was enjoying a simple breakfast in front of the fireplace. When he had conscientiously cleared away after himself, Harry was ready for his morning exercises. As had been the case since he’d received his book trunk with the additions from Remus, he had two goals: getting over his mild phobia of portkeys, and trying to train away his tendency toward being a slugabed in the mornings. Given that Remus had a muggle parent, Harry wasn’t entirely surprised at the man’s unique answer to the issues Harry had given voice to.

Though he would have normally used a candle for this, the fireplace would serve as a suitable substitute—he hoped. From his book trunk he produced the magical recording device Remus had provided as an aid and set it on the table. Seating himself comfortably, Harry activated it and focused his gaze on the flicker of flames and began to listen to his own voice coaching him.

It had taken him a few days to get the patter down, having felt more than a little silly during his initial attempts. But, after several tries, and with his goals firmly in mind, he had pushed aside such inconsequentials and settled down to come up with something that worked. And now, as he gazed at the flames, he could feel himself easing into a deeply relaxed state that would allow him to speak directly to his subconscious mind and tell it what he wanted to work on.

The first few times he’d tried self-hypnosis he’d experienced—to him—alarming gaps in his memory he couldn’t account for, even though he appeared to making minuscule progress toward his goals. In consequence he had re-recorded his spiel to assure that he would remember everything that happened to him during his experiments. It wasn’t that he was worried he’d somehow inadvertently mess something up, he was just uncomfortable with rendering himself so unaware of the passage of time. It reminded him a little too strongly of what had happened to Ginny when she’d been abused by the memory of Tom Riddle.

An hour or so later, awake and alert, Harry packed his device away from prying eyes. And as an afterthought, remembered his intention to move the trunk to his closet, and took care of that before he could forget. Then he tackled the issue of a new password, eventually settling on something simple and having a short talk with the serpents. He wandered out of the dungeons well pleased with his morning and went to find the headmaster, and when he found him, they retired to Dumbledore’s office to talk.

“So, I changed the password on my door, sir, but it was brought to my attention that it might be wise put in place an emergency override password. I used Parseltongue, you see. And even though I’m not quite sure what could happen to me in my rooms, I see no reason to disagree with the suggestion,” Harry explained.

“Yes, I can see why it came up,” said Dumbledore, “and it presents no real problem in execution. I can take care of that myself today.”

“I just want to make sure that it’s only for an emergency,” Harry stressed. “While I feel comfortable with certain people being included in this, sir, I don’t think it should be a widespread deal. You, sir, of course. Professor Snape, certainly. Perhaps even Remus. But I’d hate to think that every staff member or Order member could intrude on my privacy for the flimsiest of reasons. I mean, part of the reason I chose Parseltongue is so that it would be more or less impossible for the average person to guess the password. I don’t even intend to tell my friends what it is, though I don’t object to visits, you know?”

“I quite understand, Harry, and I agree. Personally, I would consider adding Professor McGonagall to that roster as she is my Deputy, but aside from that, there is no reason for the majority of people to even be aware an override exists, never mind know the password. You are no longer a student of Hogwarts, though you are housed here, and as such you should be able to feel confident of your privacy.”

Harry smiled in relief. “That makes me feel a lot better, sir. It’s not that I want to cut myself off from people, but I know that there’s so much I need to be doing this year, and it will be good to have a quiet place to retreat to and relax.”

“Do you wish to know what the password will be? No? All right. As you do not have a conventional portrait guardian, has anyone taught you how to render your door transparent so you can see who’s knocking?”

“That’s a one-way spell?”

“Indeed. It’s very simple, Harry. All you need to do is. . . .”

*

After lunch, Harry made a visit to the owlery to check on Hedwig and see how she was faring after her flight to the school. She was quite pleased to see him and they spent a short time together before Harry returned to his rooms. His only real regret over his housing was that Hedwig had no way to enter and exit his quarters without assistance and could therefore not share them with him with any degree of comfort.

Harry spent a comfortable few hours at his desk writing letters to his friends, both to keep in touch and to thank them for their gifts. By the time he was finished bringing his friends up to date and had set the letters aside to be delivered the next day, Harry realized he was at a bit of a loss for something to do. Since dinner was hours away yet he made a trip to see Hagrid and spent several more hours getting an impromptu lesson in carving. He learned that while his hands were sure and steady when dealing with ingredients, he was hopelessly inept when it came to the meticulous practice of creating miniatures, and spent a great deal of time laughing at himself and his mistakes.

It wasn’t until he finished dinner that Harry got out his broom and took to the skies, flying through the encroaching twilight and into the darkness. When he’d become nothing more than a shadow he dismounted outside the main doors with a flourish and trekked back to his rooms disheveled and happily tired out. After a bath and a bit of reading, Harry went to bed. The next day was spent in much the same fashion, keeping mainly to himself and doing the kinds of things that were rewarding without necessarily being . . . necessary. Reading for pleasure figured largely in his day, though he did set aside time to take his letters up to Hedwig for delivery.

When Monday morning arrived Harry was up early and without undue trouble. He’d resolved to use the time before breakfast each weekday for more than just having a wash—he could also use the time to revise for the day, which is exactly what he did by skimming through the small book he’d been given on the principles of apparation.

The lesson actually took place on the outskirts of Hogsmeade with Remus as his primary instructor. Harry affected not to notice the cadre of Order members hanging about as though innocently enjoying the day, and paid close attention to all that Moony had to say. As he’d expected, visualization was essential to the art. Though some people had the ability to apparate with only a sketchy idea of their target, it was strongly discouraged and considered sloppy and dangerous.

Harry’s first attempts at transporting himself even a short distance away within line of sight were shockingly loud, enough so that he felt slightly embarrassed despite Moony’s reassurance that it was normal. He was not surprised, however, that he was able to increase his range fairly easily, or that visualizing his destination was as simple an exercise as imagining his mental defenses. The one’s practice had transferred over nicely to this new application.

On the way back to the castle Harry asked Remus how long he thought it would be before he could take the exam for his license. “If you keep going at this rate, not more than a week or two at most,” Remus replied with a grin.

“That’s what Professor Dumbledore said, too.”

“Well, now that you have the basic idea down, we can work on expanding your range. After that we’ll move away from line of sight and have you apparating to and from different spots in Hogsmeade that you’ll have to visualize from memory.”

“When do you think the other training will begin?”

“Not until after this,” Remus said, shaking his head slightly. “It’s something we can incorporate into that, though it will be partly theory since Hogwarts isn’t the best place for it, and I don’t think it would be a good idea to use Hogsmeade. The residents might get upset with us popping around and firing off spells.”

“I can imagine,” said Harry with a smile as they passed through the main doors to the castle. “It’s a shame, though, the restrictions. But I guess it would be as well to wish that none of this was necessary to begin with, huh?”

Remus clapped him softly on the back. “One day, Harry. We just need to get there.”

Yes, Harry thought. Preferably without losing any more people we love.

In his rooms after lunch, Harry got a feel for how his lab was set up. While some of the books Severus had given him did contain potion formulas, they tended to focus almost exclusively on history and theory. The Mastery exam was much more than simply showing you could brew a potion or could name all the aliases of the same ingredient.

One needed to be able to reel off formulas just from the potion name, know how different ingredients would interact, and how that would change depending on varying conditions. Knowing who created a potion was important, as well as what breakthroughs had to be accomplished and what problems had cropped up during testing.

So, Harry was pleased to see that in addition to those books, his lab was stocked with a fine selection of formula texts. The shelves were labeled according to type; medical potions were in one section, those commonly used in law enforcement in another, and so on. Cabinets at the back held just about every conceivable ingredient he could want or need; shelving and cupboards boasted cauldrons of every size and material, racks of vials, bottles and beakers; drawers opened to reveal sealing wax and stoppers, plus stirrers, knives, and other implements; and several scales decorated the counters and worktops.

He was even more impressed than he’d been when he first looked in. And it reminded him that Severus had not given him any kind of a revision guide for the year. He had Hermione’s gift, but he wanted his mentor’s opinion on what was important, having far more faith in that. With that in mind, he shadowed Severus after dinner, following him right into the professor’s quarters.

“What is it that you need, Haze?” asked Severus once he was seated by the fire.

“Hermione gave me a book for my birthday—a revision guide for the Mastery exam—but I’d feel more comfortable learning from you what my progression ought to be. You are a Master, after all.”

“Yes, I could see why you would want my opinion. It has been some time since I took my own exam, though. It might be wise if I were to look over the guide your friend got for you to see if it lacks things I consider important,” Severus suggested.

“Would you? And yes, your opinion is important to me. If you don’t think the guide is suitable, I’d rather use something you did approve of. I want to do well—on both exams.”

“And I have every expectation that you will. In fact. . . .” Severus pinned him with those liquid, dark eyes and said, “Haze, go under.”

Harry felt himself go curiously blank, and his eyes closed for no reason he could discern. He was perfectly content to just sit there and wait. When he heard a very familiar voice say, “Haze, open your eyes,” he obeyed without question, and opened them to gaze into those of his mentor. Some distant, detached part of his mind took careful note of what was occurring, but made no move to do anything else.

“Haze, you still feel an intense desire to do well at your studies, don’t you.”

“Yes,” he said, wanting very much to agree with this man.

“And isn’t it right that all you need to do is read something once and you’re able to recall the information without any difficulty?”

Harry nodded.

“That’s right, Haze. It makes you feel very good, doesn’t it, being able to keep track of so much so easily.”

“It does,” Harry agreed while that corner of his mind turned things over, such as how the professor was calling him Haze.

“And you like to feel good. Isn’t that right, Haze?”

“Yes.”

“The other night you told me you wanted to know what you were missing. Do you think you know now?”

“I do, yes.”

“You obviously feel old enough. What do you think about it?”

“I want to do it again.”

“With who?”

“You.”

“Just . . . me, Haze?”

“Yes. Just you.” Harry watched as a smile formed on the professor’s face and felt a corresponding sensation of pleasure sweep through his body, knowing he’d pleased the man.

“You’re such a good boy, Haze. Such a good young man. Haze, wake up.” After a split second pause he said, “I think you won’t have any trouble at all. I think you’ll make the both of us proud. I suggest you drop off that gift within the next few days so I can look it over and let you know if it will be a suitable guide.”

Harry, who felt a great deal like shaking his head, nodded instead and said, “I will do that. I should be able to get it to you sometime tomorrow, after my lessons.”

Severus nodded. “Was there anything else you needed to discuss this evening, Haze?”

Harry looked off to the right, then shook his head. “No, that was it. Thank you.” He produced a smile and said, “I’m going to get started on the next of the books you got for me.” Harry stood up. Before he opened the door to the hallway he glanced back over his shoulder and said, “After all, I wouldn’t want to disappoint you,” then left.

Outside he slumped against the wall for a moment, then continued on to his own rooms. When he gained that dubious privacy he sat on his couch and stared at the fire and tried to make sense of what had just happened. He felt shock; there was no doubt about that. He felt strongly inclined toward anger, but found it strangely hard to work up or maintain. He felt—he wasn’t honestly sure what he felt.

With a start he realized he’d been sitting there for at least an hour and had decided nothing at all. He wasn’t tired and it was hours yet before he’d normally head to his bed, so Harry got up and fetched a number of items, then returned to his lounge and looked around. The only rooms he had with a single entrance were his bathroom and the lab, and he chose the lab to work in. Once through that door, he closed it, locked it, and warded it against intrusion with every spell he knew of.

The candle he carried was set on a worktop and a stool pulled into place. A notebook and writing supplies were also placed down, along with his recording device. After roughing out the additions he wanted to add to his original patter, he made the necessary modifications. As soon as he felt ready, Harry lit the candle and started the device.

Over an hour later he had pages of his notebook filled and ready to read. The protections were removed from the door, the candle blown out, and everything he’d brought in was taken back to his bedroom and packed away except for the notebook. Harry drew himself a bath and got a tall glass of chilled pumpkin juice from his kitchen, then settled into the sloping embrace of the tub.

Harry had been very deliberate in what he’d done and that was reflected in the pages of text. Recorded from his memory were a list of commands Severus had implanted in him, including a series of triggers designed to prompt an immediate response from him. What surprised him the most was the directive for him to not remember any of the times that Severus had taken him under. Harry could only speculate that his weeks of self-hypnosis—where he’d specifically reinforced his remembrance of the episodes—had clashed with and won over what his mentor had intended. Granted, he remembered writing these things down, but reading them while fully awake and aware was a different, more emotional experience.

Again he wanted to be angry. He wanted to feel strongly enough that he’d storm into Severus’s rooms and cast Imperio on the man. But he couldn’t, not quite. Reading further, he shuddered when he saw the command that ensured his honesty and obedience, and again when he saw what Severus had done in conjunction with his parents’ wedding rings. There were a lot of questions forming in his head he wanted to ask directly of Severus.

Flipping the page he began to read the most important part—he’d asked his subconscious a number of pointed questions—and not knowing exactly what he’d find, Harry had instructed himself to write it all out then read it, and use that information to continue. The answers were listed out neatly, though apparently he should have told himself to separate them. He knew the questions, and now he had the answers.

And he had to agree with his subconscious—he did trust Severus, despite not actually knowing why he’d implanted certain directives and trigger phrases. Regardless of the reason for them, they didn’t appear to have any relation to Voldemort or his Death Eaters, so Harry didn’t see them as anything other than personal. Most of what his mentor had done was intended entirely for his own benefit and Harry had unmistakable proof that it had worked and continued to work.

Severus had made one telling mistake, though, which made Harry almost sneer to think of. His mentor had done a very sloppy job with his sealing commands, and should never have included Harry himself when it came to who was allowed to hypnotize him. But, one man’s mistake was another man’s opportunity, and Harry had every intention of capitalizing on it.

What made him feel the most relieved was his realization that Severus had not forced him into feeling anything in particular about him. He’d only suggested that things would go much smoother if Harry remained respectful, and that he would derive pleasure from honesty and obedience—Severus had not tried to sway his emotions toward the personal attachment that had actually developed. In fact, seeing Severus in private was like watching a knight remove his armor and expose himself to a very select audience. Harry’s newfound remembrance also told him that this had begun in innocence, though it had not remained there for very long. Severus had made the first move, but it had been Harry’s own decision to act while awake.

And though it raised some very interesting questions in Harry’s mind, he knew that he would be better served by undoing some of what Severus had done, without leaving himself open to exposure. A smirk spread across his mouth as he recalled that he could lie, and with creative reconditioning of his own design, his mentor would never need to know he’d been found out.

Feeling renewed energy he stepped out of the tub and dried off, then padded into the bedroom with his notebook in one hand. Since it was not yet his normal bed time, Harry grabbed his tools again and headed back to lab, not at all bothered by being dressed only in a towel. He had several quite specific goals in mind: removal of the directive to be honest and to obey; removal of the directive to not consciously remember what happened each time Severus took him under; to continue to list each of the currently existing directives even though he was about to remove two; to not reveal the truth about his tampering; to not reveal any current or future plans regarding the reversal of the situation for his own advantage; and most importantly, to remember what he wanted to remember when he looked at his parents’ rings.

By the time Harry had finished tinkering with his subconscious he was tired and a bit strung out, and made a mental note as he got ready for bed to ask Remus for more of the recording devices when he saw him the next morning. He decided to sleep on the idea of turning the tables on his mentor.