254 The Second Private Tour

If you want to read ahead, you can check out my Patreón @

[ https://www.patreón.com/fictiononlyreader ]

The link is also in the synopsis.

.

-*-*-*-*-*-

.

HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED RETURN

In a brief statement Friday night, Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge confirmed that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has returned to this country and is active once more.

"It is with great regret that I must confirm that the wizard styling himself Lord — well, you know who I mean — is alive and among us again," said Fudge, looking tired and flustered as he addressed reporters. "It is with almost equal regret that we report the mass revolt of the dementors of Azkaban, who have shown themselves averse to continuing in the Ministry's employ. We believe that the dementors are currently taking direction from Lord — Thingy.

"We urge the magical population to remain vigilant. The Ministry is currently publishing guides to elementary home and personal defense that will be delivered free to all Wizarding homes within the coming month."

The Minister's statement was met with dismay and alarm from the Wizarding community, which as recently as last Wednesday was receiving Ministry assurances that there was "no truth whatsoever in these persistent rumors that You-Know-Who is operating amongst us once more."

Details of the events that led to the Ministry turnaround are still hazy, though it is believed that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named gained entry to the Ministry of Magic itself on Thursday evening, during a time when a select band of his follower (known as Death Eater) wreaked havoc at a muggle gathering, thus keeping the DMLE forces away from the Ministry of Magic.

Death Eaters raided a muggle carnival circus, and in a horrid turn of events, ten muggles were spelled dead while dozens were left mortally injured. It took a large portion of Auror forces to contain the scene while the Ministry Oblivators and St. Mungo's healers remedied the situation.

According to our sources, Minister Fudge will soon meet with the muggle Prime Minister (leader) to inform him of the grave situation.

Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, reinstated member of the International Confederation of Wizards, and reinstated Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, was unavailable for comment last night. He has insisted for a year that You-Know-Who was not dead, as was widely hoped and believed, but recruiting followers once more for a fresh attempt to seize power. Meanwhile, the Boy-Who-Lived —

Quinn closed his copy of Sunday Prophet onto the Ravenclaw house table and sighed as it slid across the tabletop. As the newspaper title suggested, it was Sunday, and it had been a couple days since the Ministry received the Dark Lord as its guest and had a short play date with Dumbledore.

The same topic had become the mainstay in the newspapers and magazines since the Friday issue and was the only topic everyone seemed to talk about.

'Which is to be expected,' he thought.

Even Luna had cornered Harry in the corridor and had all but dragged him into taking an interview for Quibbler. It was a bit surprising for Quinn when she asked him to vacate the office so she could take the interview, which Harry wasn't opposed to providing.

"If there's going to be something about me out in the papers, it might as well be something I have actually said," had said the Boy-Who-Lived.

Quinn glanced at an indexing column on the front page,

'Exclusive Interview with Harry Potter, page nine. . .'

Xenophilius Lovegood, after publishing the interview in the Quibbler, had sold it to every newspaper publishing house who contacted him. And it sold well enough to fund the expedition trip to Sweden the father-daughter pair had planned for the summer break.

Quinn glanced up at the staff high-table at Dumbledore, who looked as merry as ever; not a hint on him that he had just fought Voldemort. He wondered what it was like, but alas, he wasn't there, and neither did he want to be if it wasn't strictly necessary.

'I wonder if the Prophecy is still at the Ministry or if he took it with him,' he thought, 'or if Dumbledore broke it front of him. . . does Voldemort know?'

In the originals, Voldemort had given up the pursuit of the Prophecy after it broke, but if that wasn't the case, then Voldemort would still be motivated to seek the Prophecy.

Alas, Quinn sighed; he didn't know the current status of the Prophecy situation, and it was most frustrating for him. The most he could do was go to the Ministry and see for himself if the Prophecy orb still sat on the Hall of Prophecy's shelf.

There was only one thing that was confirmed,

The Second War had finally begun.

.

- (Scene Break) -

.

The castle seemed very quiet, even for a Sunday. Everybody was clearly out in the sunny grounds, enjoying the end of their exams and the prospect of the last few days of term unhampered by studying or homework. Quinn walked slowly along the deserted corridor, peering out of windows as he went. He could see people messing around in the air over the Quidditch pitch and a couple of students swimming in the lake, accompanied by the Kraken.

The hot sun hit him with a blast as he walked across the lawns. He, too, had nothing to do at the end of the year — neither did he want to do anything; it was his annual downtime.

Students lying around on the grass sunbathing, talking, reading the Sunday Prophet, and eating sweets looked up at him as he passed. Some called out to him or waved, thanking him for the notes, again an annual thing. Quinn nodded and smiled back as he passed by to find himself to find an empty patch of green.

He laid down on the grass face up to enjoy the delightful heat. He closed his eyes to relax but squinted them open to see the sun glaring down at him. He raised his hand, waved to the side, and the rays of sun shifted around him, changing paths, dimming its glare just for him.

Quinn placed his hands behind his back, crossed his legs, one top of another, and again closed his eyes with a smile, listening to the ruffle of the grass from the gentle breeze.

Time passed, and just as Quinn was about to slip into a nap, he heard the crunching of grass coming closer to him step-by-step. His closed eyes felt a shadow over them; he cracked them open a bit, lazily looking at the cause of the shade to see red hair shining like ruby as the light bounced off them.

"Hmm," he vocalized.

"You seem relaxed."

"Hmm," was said with the barest of a nod.

"It's rare to see you out here, don't have anything to do today?"

Quinn shook his head lightly.

"It does seem to be a good day to nothing."

"Hmm."

". . . Okay, that got old very quickly. Speak."

Quinn opened his mouth open and sighed, "You know when you don't open your mouth, and the lips get sealed — they stuck to each other. Yeah, I just lost that."

"So, what're you doing?" asked Ivy, sitting beside him.

"As you said, I'm doing nothing," he closed his again. "How about you? What are you doing here?"

"Fred and George are passing their 'pranking wisdom,'" she did the air quotes, "to Harry and Ron while Hermione's is spending all her time in the library before we have to leave."

"Ah, I see," Quinn smiled, "today's the farewell party."

Every year, after the end-of-the-year examination, the seventh year would be treated with a send-off — two farewell parties, one in the great hall (which was being prepared as they spoke) where the seventh-years would enjoy one final celebration with the professors, and another one, the unofficial farewell party that happened in all four common rooms with the seventh-years partying with their juniors.

"Excited for the party?" she asked.

Quinn sighed, "I don't like parties."

Ivy hummed an, "Is that so," before asking, "So did you complete that Cursed Vault — the Architect's Vault."

"Yes, I did," said Quinn, a delightful groove in his voice. Even after weeks, Quinn, from time to time, went down inside his briefcase and stared at his treasure horde full of gold and jewels to bask in the golden sheen.

Ivy's green shined as she perked up in her spot. "Really? Then, it's time to fulfill your promise," she smiled widely.

"Promise? Ah, you mean that. . ." He recalled that Ivy had somehow (technically)taken a promise out of him when she found him in the Architect's Vault.

"Yes, that. Let's go," Ivy sounded excited. She had been inside the secret area only once, but that time had caught her curiosity and interest completely.

Quinn thought about it. He could argue that he only promised to 'tell' Ivy about the vaults; there was never a mention of actually taking her into the vault.

"Alright," he got up from the ground, "let's go."

Both of them walked to the Architect's Vault with the Ivy in charge of guiding them to the location without being spotted with the help of the Marauder's Map (Quinn's request/demand.)

"It's beautiful," said Ivy, watching Quinn put the ring against the wall, which glowed up in a special shade of glowing teal.

"Come in," said Quinn; he had long gotten used to seeing the sight.

After solving the first room from atop a silver disc, the staircase revealed itself, and the duo went down to the second room.

"W-What happened here?!" Ivy gasped at the sight of the altered second room.

Quinn stepped onto the bridge that connected the entry to the exit. "Ah, this wasn't here before, was it? I solved all the material blocks, and the room changed — it was an amazing sight, a bit scary because I was in here what happened."

Ivy hesitantly stepped onto the railing-less bridge and walked straight down the middle of blocks, keeping close to Quinn as she peered to the side, trying to avoid looking down, but her eyes seemed to like the idea of staring down the frightening height.

"I have gotten really good at transmutation," said Quinn, "if you were ever need something made, like a statue or something, come to me, and I'll craft a masterpiece. You can sell it a decade or two later at an exorbitant price."

They reached the third room, and Ivy walked into Quinn, who suddenly stopped in his path.

"Oww," she rubbed her nose, glaring up at Quinn through teary eyes, "why did you stop?"

"Alright, listen to me carefully," Quinn said somberly. He pointed at the trapped room while staring unblinkingly at Ivy. "We're going to travel in a straight path, and you're only going to step where I walk, don't deviate from where I'm walking because if you do, something will try to take off parts of your body. And watch your step; the floor sinks."

"O-Oh, okay." Severe Quinn was scary Quinn.

Quinn walked the straight part, stepping on tiles he knew wouldn't shoot projectiles at him. Why? Because he had taken out chunks from the attacks so that they wouldn't loop.

Ivy stepped on her first tile and almost lost her balance when the tile sunk beneath and had to grab onto Quinn's shoulder to stabilize herself.

"Sorry about that. What's this room about?" she asked, looking around, following Quinn, who walked slowly to be extra safe.

"The entire floor is one giant trap minefield. When the floor tile sinks, a trap triggers, and something dangerous attacks you. I found a way to disable them, so as long as you follow me, I'll only step on the disabled tiles.

The majority of this floor is still active," said Quinn, making Ivy gulp silently. She had seen him duel, and if Quinn was cautious about something, she needed to be careful about it.

After a careful tread, both finally made it to the final room, and Quinn finally let up and smiled, "Well, here we are at the end. What do you think?"

Ivy didn't reply as she took the site in front of her with a stunned expression. Her eyes jumped from the gold statue in the center of the room to sculptures lining the walls to the paintings above on the dome ceiling.

Quinn didn't interrupt her. The room was indeed a sight to behold. He had missed its charm the first time around because of the mental fatigue, but he had come to appreciate the artistry in his subsequent visits.

And that's why he brought her here.

"I thought it would be a waste if only I got to see this," he said, "I don't know if the Architect did all this or if he commissioned artists, but I think that every individual piece here is a work of art. I don't want to take anything out of here, so I think it's nice that someone else sees it before the next challenger, who I don't know when they'll come along."

'If they do come along, they're going to be so disappointed. At least they would get to see this,' thought Quinn. "Come on, let me show you the reward," he said and walked to the statue's base to push the tile square down.

Ivy watched in another wave of surprise as the sculptures came to life and began vacating a place in the wall to reveal the hidden room's entrance.

"There's nothing in here?" said Ivy, standing in the empty room. "Where's the reward?"

"I already took it," said Quinn, grinning. "It was a big treasure chest full of gold and jewels." Which was true in the sense that he indeed took treasure chests, but it was like equating a bucket of water to a lake.

"Here, take a look at this," he reached into his pocket and took out a gold coin he kept as a memento.

"Wow, you really got gold," she said, looking at the strange galleon in her hand.

"Yes, wow," Quinn nodded, "along with a few books that the Architect wrote back in his day."

"Hermione would hound you if she knows that you got a book from a thousand years in the past. I'm sure she'll come to your home if she knew where you lived."

"I know, so don't tell her."

"I won't, but let me have a look at them."

". . . Alright."

Ivy tried to give the coin back, but Quinn shook his head. "You can keep that. It's a cool historical artifact, and well, even though it was minuscule, but you were a significant part of my vault experience. It really shocked me when you stumbled in, so yeah, keep the coin as a remembrance."

Ivy looked at the coin, then at Quinn, and silently nodded when the realization stuck where they actually were and what the situation was. She clenched her hands; maybe this was a good place.

'Only I know this place.'

After spending some time in the final room and Quinn promising to share the pictures he had taken of the paintings and sculptures, both headed out. Ivy stopped beside the teal portal entrance when they reached the first room.

"Quinn."

"Yeah?" Quinn said, turning with a smile on his face. As he expected, it was more fun to tell someone alive about the vaults than to Friar.

This was the last chance for her, she thought. After this, she would have to wait for an entire summer break to try again, and she wasn't in a place where they could meet throughout the break, but a certain Slytherin was in such a position. If she stopped

"Ivy?"

She looked up, unsuccessfully tried to calm her beating heart, stepped forward.

Actions were louder than words, and nothing would be louder than this right now.

Quinn watched as Ivy stepped to him, stood on her toes, and before he could make sense of what was going on, her lips were on his, and for a moment, his brain shut down; when it came back online, his first thought was that her lips were soft, pillowy against his, and he could feel the gentle tickle of her breath beneath his nose.

Ivy's heart soured when she didn't feel Quinn kiss her back, and even though she had expected it, she still felt the sinking feeling, but the next moment, her eyes fluttered open when she felt him reciprocate, alas it only for a brief magical moment as Quinn pulled himself back jerkily.

"What. . . what was that?" he asked while taking a deep breath as he stepped away from Ivy.

Ivy pursed her lips and clenched her fists as she spoke, "It was what it was."

"No, no, no, no, that's not an answer. I know what it was, but. . . why?" Quinn asked with an incredulous look on his face.

"I like you."

". . . What?"

"I like you," she repeated; the last few seconds had given her newfound courage.

"I'm with Daphne."

Ivy shrugged.

Quinn opened and closed his mouth a couple times before finally speaking, "What did you think would happen? What were expecting to accomplish by doing. . . this."

"I don't know," she said, staring him square into the eyes, "only that I had to do something before I regretted not doing anything."

Quinn stared at her speechless, and after a spell of silence, he stepped aside.

Ivy understood what he wanted and walked towards the teal exit, but before she turned and spoke, "I'm serious about how I feel, and I'm not about to give up so easily, so remember that." After saying that, she exited the vault leaving him alone, stunned.

Quinn pursed his lips, and he could still feel the kiss. He closed his eyes and scrunched his nose, and internally berated himself for losing control of the brief moment.

'Why did I kiss her?' It was something he shouldn't have done, not when he was going out with Daphne. 'She can't know this happened,' he looked around the dull room and decided that this incident was going to stay buried in this vault.

"Nothing happened," he said, assuring himself, "yes, nothing happened."

.

-*-*-*-*-*-

.

Quinn West - MC - His day went through a 180-degree change.

Ivy Potter - Bold & Brave - 'I did it,' she thought.

FictionOnlyReader - Author - That was messed up, right?! I can't believe that happened!

.

-*-*-*-*-*-

.

If you have any ideas regarding the magic you want to see in this fiction or want to offer some ideas regarding the progression. Move onto the DISCORD Server and blast those ideas.

The link is in the synopsis!

Next chapter