One day, Penny woke to find herself looking into her cat's eyes. Morris, her cat, had assumed a post on her chest, and was looking at her expectantly.
"What?" she said. "Did I forget to feed you last night?"
Her cat looked at her with that sort of "shows what you know" look, leaped off the bed, and went to sit in front of Penny's closet.
Once there, he began to mew uncontrollably.
"What Morris? What is it baby?" And with that, Penny groaned, and dragged her tired thirty-three year old body out of bed. She went to where Morris was mewing, and looked down.
There on the floor was what looked like a stick. Or more aptly, a wand. Odd, Penny though, never had one of those. I wonder where it came from?
Morris began to nudge it with his nose, and meowed up at Penny. "What, baby? Am I supposed to pick it up?" Morris purred at her.
Taking this as a 'yes', she picked it up. There was a note attached to it. It was written on old, yellowed parchment and was written in green ink. Wierd, thought Penny.
Wierder still was what the note said. It read:
"Wave me around. Albus."
Penny read the note several times over, which didn't take very long as there was little to read.
Not being one to disbelieve the supernatural, or the bizzare, she did so. She closed her eyes and began flicking her wrist as if she were conducting a symphony of stringed intstruments. She heard cellos and violins, a few fiddles for good measure. She opened her eyes.
Morris had jumped into her arms, purring softly, and green sparkly dust was flowing out of the wand. It seemed to float in the air, falling on her hair and clothes. She studied it more closely. It was winding it's way around her and Morris, spiraling it's way from head to toe, with Penny in the eye of it all.
Penny heard a voice: "Just close your eyes, dear, it'll be over soon..."
She did so, and the world went black.
* * *
Penny opened her eyes.
She saw before her a gorgeous room, with portraits of old people on the walls done in great detail, a jewel encrusted sowrd laying against a bookshelf filled to the brim with books; books with titles like: "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them", "Quidditch Through The Ages", "Magical Me" by Gilderoy Lockheart, and the list went on and on. Some of the other books looked quite old. One was called "Muggles, Who Are They?". It looked to be older than her, judging by the spine of the book.
There was also a roaring fire, with two comfortable overstuffed highback chairs in front of it, a perch beside the chair to the right. On that perch was a bird of fire.
Penny remembered something from Philosophy class in high school (she shuddered inwardly) about the bird called a Pheonix. This must be one, surely, she thought. And in the centre of it all was a man.
He was very old, with a pointed green hat, a long silver beard and silver hair. He had on half-moon spectecles and a happy grin. He was wearing robes of a deep gold, and they shone in the firelight.
Penny noticed his eyes last. Those are the eyes of a powerful man, she thought.
"Ah, Penny!" the man said, "you've come at last! I trust your trip was safe?"
"Ah...duh?" Penny said. Not the most intelligent response, she thought.
"Oh, yes, this is all a bit of a shock, isn't it? Sit down, sit down, let me explain. Sherbert lemon? They're quite good, aren't they? Yes, hello Morris! And how are we, my pet? Good good, shall we begin Penny?"
"Still shocked, I can see that. Never fear. Here goes: You are in Hogwarts my dear. The school for Witchcraft and Wisardry, and I am Professor Dumbledore."
"Ah. I had an aunt that came here. Aparently. I just thought she was making it all up."
"Ah, yes, Hortencia! Quite a good Quidditch player, you know!"
"A quiet ditch player?"
"No, dear, Quidditch, but an explination of that will come later. Back to bussiness: We would like to offer you a position as a professor here. A coveted position at that. We would like you to be the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher!"
"You mean like dark witchcraft, and that kind of thing?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes."
"But I don't know the first thing about magic! I'm not a witch! I'm a laywer for crying out loud!"
"Ah, but you see, there comes the point! We would like someone to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts from a Muggle standpoint."
"And that is?"
"A non-magic person."
"Yes dear, like you."
"Ah, I see."
"At any rate, we feel that in a witch and wizards education, one must show them the Dark Arts from both sides. That is why we would like to have a Muggle teach the class, let the children know what exists as Dark Magic in the Muggle world, for they must also prepare themselves for that."
"But how am I going to teach without any supplies?"
"Simple. Just think of any book you might need, wave your wand around and it will come to you."
"Well of course dear!" Albus laughed.
"Wow," Penny said, "better than a bookstore!"
"So, Penny, can we count you aboard?"
"What will my title be?"
"Why, that should be obvious, Penny! It would be Professor Dredfule!"
* * *
Penny Dredfule Part Two
The Reading List
Penny looked at the list of books that the students were supposed to use for the course. She was sitting in her office, the minutes ticking away to the start of term. As she watched students pass by her open door, she realized how nervous she was. It wasn't every day that a Muggle taught a course in a school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In fact, it was never. 'Oh well', thought Penny, 'leave it to me to start a trend.
A tall, greasy looking man with black hair, pale skin and long flowing black robes entered the room. He looked Penny up and down. "Oh, I see they sent a woman to take up the position of Defense Against the Dark Arts" he paused, "and a woman at that. How delightful!"
"Um, hi." Penny said, "Can I help you?"
"Allow me to introduce myself. I am Professor Snape. I am the Potions Master at this school."
"Ah. Okay. And you want what?"
"I'm sorry?" Snape was not used to being addressed in such a way.
"What did you want?" Penny was beginning to loose her patience. She couldn't stand ignorant men.
"I have come to see how you are fitting inbeing the only Muggle professor can bring a person down."
"I'm doing fine." Penny wanted him to go away. Now.
"May I see your reading list? Perhaps I could offer a few suggestions?"
"No. I don't want your help, thank you." Penny sighed, why doesn't he go away? And can't he bathe, honestly!
Snape looked at Penny again But this time in a new light. This one was feisty. Snape liked feisty.
"Well, I must be goingcall if you need anything, Miss Dredfule." He purred, "What a wonderful name. Can I call you Penny?"
"No, you may not."
"As you wish. Until later, Miss Dredfule." And he slipped out of the room, his black robes flowing behind him.
Penny watched the door close and shuddered. "That's all I need," she said, "a gross man with a crush. Let alone a man that doesn't bathe! Ugh!" she shuddered again. She seemed to be doing a lot of that lately.
She glanced down at the reading list.
"Werewolves and Their Habits."
"Gnomes and Children, Why The Two Shouldn't Mix."
"Blenders and Other Weird Muggle Things."
"The Special Books of Curses, Why They're Bad, and Why You Shouldn't Use Them."
Penny blinked. She didn't know anything about this kind of stuff. She thought she had a better idea of what she would need for the course. Now where was that want?
She looked around. The office was full of wood. Wood desk, chairs, floors, and bookshelves. It was all a glorious shade of scarlet, Cherry Oak being the main ingredient of wood in here. It even smelt like cherries, and a little bit like apple blossoms.
She finally saw the want underneath her desk. She would have to keep an eye on that. She picked it up and waved it around. Nothing happened.
"You have to think of what you want." Said a voice at the door.
Penny looked up. This was the woman who must be Professor McGonagall. She looked strict, in a sexy kind of way. She had her black hair pulled into a severe bun that accentuated her facial features. Very nice.
"You have to concentrate on what need, Professor Dredfule. How are you getting along?"
"Fine, I think, Professor McGonnagall."
"Call me Minerva."
"I'll call you anything you want.." Penny said under your breath.
"Oh! Nothing, I was just saying 'Can I think of anything I want?"
"Yes, that's the general idea. Whatever books or supplies you need, just wave it around thinking of what you want, and it should appear post haste. Must be running along, have to get the first years to the Sorting Ceremony."
"Oh! Yes, I quite forgot, you'll be wanting to see that. Meet Professor Dumbledore at your quarters in half an hour, he'll take you to the feast. Perhaps afterwards, I can show you around Hogwarts?"
"That would be wonderful. I'm sure you know all the mostspecial places?"
Professor McGonnagalls thin mouth curved up in a small smile. "Yes, you could say I do. See you soon, Penny."
And Professor McGonnagall swept out in a whirl of green robes.
"Well," Penny said to herself, "this is certainly shaping up to be an interesting job." She looked down at her cherry wood desk. Think, think, what would I teach? What would I deem to be something to defend yourself against?
She waved the wand, and concentrated. This time gold glittery sparkles fluttered down, and on her desk popped a book. "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus."
"Hm, close, but no. To gender biased." She tried again.
"Get In Touch With Your Uterus." Penny squealed. She tried again.
"Muggles, and the Mind Games They Play." Ah! Thought Penny, now we're getting somewhere!
Penny Dredfule Chapter Three
Trelawny's Replacement and Her Prediction.
Penny looked down at the list of books she had magicked out of her wand.
"Muggles, and the Mind Games They Play"
"Bobby, the Muggle Who Thought He Was A Stud, and Wasn't"
"Muggle Dating, Does It Make Sense To You?"
"Muggle Men, the Secrets Behind Their Words"
"Muggle Women and Their Love For Life."
"Hmm" she said out loud, a little to gender biased. But it'll have to do. " She sat down exhausted. Doing magic takes a lot out of a lady, she thought.
Morris jumped up on her lap. "Hey baby, hows my special man?" he purred loudly and rubbed his head against her hand. "You want some lovin'?" she smiled and began to pet him right between the ears.
There was a knock at the door. Professor McGonnagal opened the door, and stood there in a robe of flowing red. "I thought I'd wear something a bit more festive. It's not to much is it?"
Penny looked McGonnagal up and down. "Not at all." She said smiling.
"We should get going," McGonnagal said, "The sorting ceremony is about to start. Morris can stay here, if you like, or he can lounge in your quarters."
McGonnagal laughed. "Where did you think you would sleep? On your desk? Come, I'll show you your rooms before we head down."
Morris seemed to understand that there would be a bed in the rooms, because he jumped up into her arms and let out a cute little mew, to show his appreciation.
McGonnagal led Penny down long corridors and brought her in front of a painting. In the painting, a lovely woman in white was standing next to an old well, surrounded on all sides by trees and a lake. The womans white dress seemed to move, it was so well painted. Penny paused. The womans dress WAS moving.
"Hello!" the woman said, "My names Brigit! Welcome to your room, Professor Dredfule! Oh, and what would you like your password to be?"
"Password?" said Penny.
"Oh, yes," said McGonnagal, "every Professor has a password to protect their rooms privacy. As do all the dormitories. Security reasons too, as well. You can pick anything you like. I'll plug my ears while you whisper it to Brigit."
Penny thought for a moment. Password, password, password. My kingdom for a password! She thought for a little bit, and a word came to her. She leant over to Brigits ear and whispered:
Brigit gasped. "My Lady," she said, "I haven't heard that word spoken for several years. How did you come to know of that word?"
"I just thought of it."
"Yes, Brigit, why?"
"That word is a powerful word from the Before, only able to be spoken by a powerful Enchanter! It is said, that when the Enchanter is very young, and he or she whispers that word, their magic shall bloom!"
"Your pretty knowledgeable for a painting."
"I may be a painting, my Lady, but I've been around."
"But I just thought of the word, that's all."
"It is said that when the magic is ready to be used, the word will come to them. Truly I have been blessed to guard such a woman as yourself."
"Um, kay." Penny said. "Minerva?"
McGonnagal unplugged her ears, and came over to Penny. "Yes?"
"Repeat after me, Fireska."
McGonnagal tried to say the word, but her tongue couldn't manage it. She tried again. Her tongue seemed to grow in size. As soon as McGonnagal stopped trying to say the word, her tongue shrinked back to normal size. "That was fun dear," she said, "but highly unproductive. Shall we look at your room?"
Penny looked at Brigit. Brigit winked.
The painting opened up to reveal a large spacious room of Dark CherryOak. A large four poster bed hung with blue gauze draped over it's poles. There was a beurau with a mirror, large and beautiful, and a small bathroom off to the side. It was a magnificent room.
Morris, sensing comfort, leaped down from Penny's arms, and settled down for a nice snuggle with the down comforter.
"It's beautiful" Penny breathed.
"Glad you like it. I oversaw the decorating myself. I felt it needed another womans touch."
"But aren't there other woman professors here besides yourself?"
"Oh, yes. There's Professor Sinistra, the Astronemy profssor, and Professor Trelawny, the Divination Professor. However, Trelawny is off on holiday, thank the Gods, and we have a replacement. Another new professor such as yourself."
"Yes, Professor Sherryl Townsend. Quite a wonderful Clairvoyant. You'll be meeting her at the Start of the Year Feast. Shall we go?"
* * *
The sorting ceremony was over quickly, and all the new students were sorted out into their houses. Slytherin, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw and Heffleump. Everyone looked really happy, and glad to eat after such a long trip.
Penny was seated in between Albus Dumbledore and McGonnagal. Across from her, there was an empty seat.
McGonnagal and Dumbledore chatted pleasantly with her, and Hagrid, who was to Pennys right, kept shouting out for more wine. He seems like a nice enough fellow, Penny thought, if a little lonely.
She looked down the table at those she had been introduced to. Professors Flitwick, Sinistra, Binns, Sprout and Snape were at the table. The others were seeing to the state of the dormitories, and readying them for the students, old and new.
Professor Snape kept winking at her, and made some lewd gestures with his fingers and his tongue. She looked away quickly with a shudder. That'd be like shagging a mule, she thought.
There was a bit of ruckus as a woman came up to the professor's table and sat down across from Penny. "Sorry I'm late everyone," she said a little short of breath, "Peeves thought it was great fun chasing me up and down the corridors!" she looked around merrily, and her gaze stopped on Penny.
The other woman was quite pretty, with curly brownish blonde hair that hung to her shoulders, a kind face with dark eyes and a ready smile. "You must be Penny?" she said, "I'm Sherryl. May I see your hand?"
"May I see your hand?" she said, "Please?"
Penny gave Sherryl her hand. Sherryl looked at her hand.
"Oh, to hold the hand of an Enchanter!" Sherryl whispered.
Penny choked on some cocoa. "But I'm no Enchanter, I'm a Muggle!"
"Oh, on the contrary dear," she said, "for you have the mark of the star on your left palm. Did you never wonder about this?"
Penny looked at her hand. There, as always, were the grooves of her lifeline, her love line, and the lines of the planets. They all formed a five-pointed star.
"You're quite a powerful one at that, to judge by the lines. Usually, with Enchanters, the lines are broken in places. Your lines make a solid, five-pointed star. Well, well," she said, "this is going to be an interesting year."
"But I'm NOT an ENCHANTER!"
The rest of the Professors at the table looked at Penny. "Sorry, " she said, "just, um, voicing my opinion."
The conversation resumed around them. Sherryl leaned in close to Penny. "I know quite a bit on this. See you in my rooms later?" she smiled, leaned back, and began talking to Hagrid, who was complementing her on the way Sherryls hair seemed to glow like fire flies flying over a patch of dried grass.
Penny sat back and guzzled down her glass of cocoa. An Enchanter? She thought. "But how is that possible?."
Penny Dredfule Chapter Four
Dreams of Penny Dreadfuls
Penny made her way to her rooms after the Start of the Year Feast without incident. Penny wanted to have a little lie down before she went to speak to Professor Townsend. She did have one slip up however; Peeves decided to introduce himself to her.
She saw him coming towards her, a white apparition with an insatiable appetite for mischief. Up close, he was about her height and slightly bald. Well, as much as it was possible for a poltergeist to be bald, thought Penny.
"Eeeee! It's Penny pookey poo!"
"You must be Peeves." Penny said. No insults came to mind.
"And, how are WE Penny pookey poo? You smell like poo! HA HA HA HA!!!!"
"Oh," said Penny with a wry smile, "do I? How lovely!"
This made Peeves stop his laughing. "What did you say, Miss Poo?"
"I said that was lovely. And everyone has told me SO much about you, you must be quite fun to talk to! You know, I was interested in writing a book on ghosts and apparitions! I'd just LOVE it if I could interview you!"
That did it. Peeves didn't know whether to howl, cry, laugh or what. He wasn't expecting it. Someone was actually being NICE to him! Him! Peeves! He couldn't believe it!
"Um," he said.
"You must have been so HANDSOME when you were alive. Slayed all the ladies, I bet!"
"Um, yes," he said, "well, um, must be, um, going that way" and he disappeared with a pop.
Penny chuckled to herself as she walked towards her rooms, and let the portrait of Brigit close behind her. Peeves appeared again in front of the painting. "I think I'm in love" he whispered.
* * *
Once in her rooms, Penny gave Morris his obligatory pet and sat on her bed to take a quick rest. She closed her eyes almost immediately.
Her dream was an odd one, even for her. She entered into a large library. It was beautifully done, like something out of a fairy tale. Large floor to ceiling bookcases filled the room, a large picture window in front of her showing a picture perfect day. Then what the hell am I doing in here, she thought, if it's such a beautiful day?
She wandered around the library looking at all the books and titles, different coloured covers, gilded gold and inhaled the smell of aged paper. She explored every inch of the library shelves, and so absorbed in what she was doing that she was doubly startled by what she saw next.
It was a small glass case, in the center of the room. How could I not see that before? She thought. She approached it with eagerness and something bordering on anticipation. On the front door of the glass case it read:
THE COLLECTED WORKS OF PENNY DREDFULE
Which of course was ridiculous, she had never written a single story in her life! She opened the case, as her curiosity was getting the better of her.
She reached inside, and pulled out the first of what looked like twenty or thirty books. Small little chaplet books, piled in the case, some with blue covers, some with red covers, some with green covers. The one she now held was a yellow covered book entitled "Rosa's Lust".
Penny shrieked. "WHAT?!" and looked at the cover again. It was definitely titled "Rosas Lust", but Penny couldn't think what the little book could contain. She opened the book to the first page.
And closed it almost immediately.
"SMUT?" she yelled, "I write smut?!"
She picked out another book. It was entitled "They Came At Midnight". She felt it safe enough to flip through this one.
It turned out to be a mystery story about her hometown, Laurenceville, London. It was about a group of children that she had known as a child. She had always suspected them of being aliens from another planet, as they were always rather weird. Not the most original conspiracy theory, she thought, but then again, I was only nine.
She saw a groups of three books that were done up in a box set. The covers were coloured a dark green. The titles read "Harry", "Hermione" and "Ron". When she opened them, she found them to be completely blank
Her gaze was then drawn to one book in particular. It was covered in black leather, and looked quite old. Putting down the other three books, she went to reach for the black book.
That was as far as she got. The star on her left hand began to throb, and it felt like her hand was burning. It was burning! Her hand was on fire! Her hand was-
* * *
She woke with her painful hand clutched to her breast. She lowered the hand to look at the star. It was now etched in black, as if someone had taken a pen to it, and filled in the crevices of the lines. She heard Morris mew irritably.
"What baby? What is it?" she said, her voice quavering.
Morris then jumped up on her bedside table, and rubbed his nose against a book that wasn't there previously. She picked it up absently. It was a thin book covered in orange cloth this time. The title of this book was "How I Love Serveus Snape".
She screamed, and dropped the book as if it were on fire. "When the hell did I write that?!" she shrieked. "How could I write that? How could I have written that without vomiting?!" she shuddered.
Morris mewed again. He was pawing at the door to go out. Of course!, she thought.
Penny grabbed her wand, the book, scooped up Morris, and headed off to see Sheryll.
* * *
Penny Dredfule Chapter Five
Death Does Not Become Him.
Penny found Sheryll's room fairly easily, almost as if her feet were guided. Perhaps they were. Things such as this were beginning to lose their surprise factor.
Then again, she thought, maybe not. She turned around, trying to force her heart back into her chest, and Peeves was standing in front of her.
"Peeves, I'm not really in the mood right now. What is it?"
Peeves began to fidget. "Um, nothing, um"
"What IS it Peeves?"
"Well, I, um, just wanted to say.um," he reached forward and grabbed her nose, "GOT YOUR CONK!!!" and flew away through a stone wall.
Penny sighed and resumed pace.
* * *
"Stupid, stupid, stupid!" Peeves said to himself, "why am I so stupid?" He paused for a moment in thought. "But I touched her nose!" he sighed.
* * *
Penny looked at the painting in front of her. It featured a crystal ball. Inside the crystal ball was a note. It read: "tickle me". Penny did so.
The painting began to laugh and giggle, and opened up for her. She stepped into a lovely room draped with purple gauze and gold cotton cloth. Penny thought it was lovely. Sitting amongst a pile of pillows, petting a large brown and white cat, was Professor Townsend.
"Ah, Penny!" she said, "I was wondering when you'd show up! Come in, come in, make yourself comfortable!"
"I'm surprised I found your room." Penny said, sitting down.
"I'm not, but I'm a clairvoyant after all!" she smiled again, filling the room with her brightness. "Now, down to business. What can I help you with?"
Penny began explaining about the weird dream she had, the books, especially the black one, and handed her the orange covered "How I Love Snape".
Sheryll sat for a while, holding the book with a smile on her face. After some time, she said "Odd, I didn't think he was into that." She smiled and stood up. "I believe a cup of tea is in order, two sugar, no cream?"
"Yes please". Said Penny as Sheryll magicked up two mugs of hot steaming tea. She handed one to Penny, and sat back down. "So, I expect you want to know what I think?"
"It would help."
"Ah, I suppose it might. Here's how I see it: these books are part of you."
"Excuse me? You lost me there."
"These books are your thoughts, your dreams, they're part of you."
"You mean I have books inside my head?"
"Not only books, dear. These books are part of your inner self. Everyone has one, it's just we can't see it. But you are an Enchanter!"
"I'm a Muggle!" Penny said stubbornly.
"Now, Penny, you know Muggles can't do magic, or work a wand. I KNOW you know that, stop being so stubborn."
"Now as I was saying, you are an Enchanter. One of the most powerful kinds of wizards and witches known to us. There are very few in existence. You, Penny, are one of them. Your library, or perhaps a better term is your Memory Palace, is a place where your dreams and thoughts reside. Dreams are powerful magic on their own, you know."
"Yes, but that doesn't explain why I was able to bring a book back! Or who the black book belonged to?"
"Well, I can't know EVERYTHING! I'm a Clairvoyant, not a genius."
"Forgiven. Now, I suggest you go and rest. It's your first class tomorrow, and you want to be rested for it." She paused, "besides, I have to give Poly his bath." At this, her brown and white cat hissed and growled. "Oh, Poly, stop! I KNOW you hate the water, but you love the bubbles, and that's consolation enough isn't it?"
Penny left smiling, her wand and book in her robe pocket, Morris in her arms purring contentedly. She did in fact have a lot to think about. And one of those things was walking towards her.
"Penny, darling!" Snape gushed, "And how are we tonight, dove?" he came up close to her, and smiled. Morris took this time to flee as if there was a ghost at his heels. "Cheater." She said under her breath. "See if I brush you ever again."
Snape smiled again. "I find you most lovely tonight, Penny."
"Yeah, you mentioned that. Anything else?"
"I feel the urge to kiss your lips and proclaim my love?"
Penny squealed and fled to her room faster than Peeves could have even done it. When she stepped into her room, she saw that it had been adorned with candles that lit it with warmth and filed the air with the scent of warm wax.
Floating in front of her was a scroll with poetry written upon it. Flowers adorned every possible surface. Hearts were glittering down from the ceiling.
Morris, surrounded by flowers, did not look happy.
Penny screamed, magicked it all away, and ran from her room.
* * *
Albus Dumbledore opened the door to his rooms to find Penny with her arm raised in a fist. "Penny dear," he said, "if you with to pound me to a pulp, I would suggest you do it when my back is turned. It would have a better effect that way."
"Oh, Albus, he's driving me up the bloody wall!"
"Oh, goodness, heaven forbid it's bloody! I can't condone so much carnage. Now, why don't you come in and explain what the problem is."
Penny sat down in one of the high back chairs, now comfortable with familiarity, and was enjoying her fourth cup of tea when she finished explaining about Snape. " I mean, when my aunt came here, he was apparently a nasty piece of work!" she finished.
Albus simply smiled. "I feel I should take some blame. I have some explaining to do." Dumbledores smile faded, and he looked quite serious as he began.
"You see Penny, when Lord Voldemort was in power, he marked all of his followers with what we know as The Dark Mark. It's actually a skull and crossbones that was burned into their skin, and some say their souls. It was to ensure that all followers would be truly faithful to Lord Voldemort. For you see, when he died, his followers died with him. There was one catch however." He paused, "Snape didn't die. For some reason we cannot name, Snape has lived. By all account, he should have died. In fact, we all thought he was going to. But he didn't! He lived!
Penny sat in silence for a while thinking for a time on what she had heard.
"Okay," she said finally, "but how exactly does this explain the way Snape is behaving?"
"Snape was forever living in fear, Penny. Imagine, knowing all the time that Voldemort had not died, constantly living in fear of his previous master. Snape lived in a metaphorical prison, always living in fear for his life, and the lives of the students and teachers of Hogwarts."
"Okay, I'm with you so far. So, he didn't die." She paused. "He has a new lease on life, doesn't he?"
"Exactly Penny! Exactly! Snape felt so renewed, no longer in his prison. No longer a prisoner of choice. He worked for a year towards Voldemorts death, positive he was going to die. He was willing to sacrifice his life for others. When he did not die, he felt he should enjoy life to it's fullest." Albus smiled, "and it seems he's over doing it. But never fear, I'll have a word with him."
"But, Albus, what did he do for the year away from Hogwarts.?"
"Ah, my dear, alas, the first question you ask me I cannot answer. There may come a time when you feel comfortable to ask him yourself, but I cannot answer for him." He smiled. "Now, I feel you should go and get a good night's rest. You teach your first class tomorrow! I can't wait to hear how it goes! On that note, let me give you this."
He went to his desk, and brought her out a book entitled Wizards Without Magic: What They're Capable Of, and How To Protect Yourself", by Albus Dumbledore.
She looked up at him. He smiled. " I wrote it years and years ago. I thought it might come in handy for a course one day. Every student has a copy, along with their reading list. They get a copy of it during the summer, so they can buy the books." He smiled, "and study them if they wish. Read it through, I think it's a wonderful read, if I do say so myself! As well, here is a copy of your timetable and student list for each class. As well, feel free to add what books you choose to the second term. It would give them a little bit more to think on, don't you agree?" He chuckled and showed her to the door.
* * *
Outside Howarts Castle, a figure stood in shadow at the edge of the Forbidden Forest. It observed the castle for a moment, and retreated back into the trees. The time had come.
* * *
Penny laid down, relaxing in comfort. Morris was lounging by her head, purring contentedly.
Penny was exhausted after her first full day at Hogwarts, and she had not even taught her first class. She closed her eyes, the orange book beside her on her night table, and hoped she would have a dreamless sleep.
Penny Dredfule Chapter Six
Dreams and Conversations
Penny was dreaming again.
She found herself in the huge library. This time the curtains to the big picture window were closed, throwing the room into shadow. The glass case was still at the center or the room and seemed to glow with it's own light, almost as if it were glowing from inside itself.
"Why a library?" she wondered out loud as she made her way to the glass case, "Why not a bar, or perhaps a strip club. Goodness knows my sex life has been suffering lately."
"Why would you go to a strip club?" said a voice.
Penny whirled around. Behind her, hidden in the shadows, was the shape of a man. He seemed to be writing in something, hurriedly, as he spoke.
"I'm sorry?" she said.
"Why would you go to a strip club? You have many admirers here, don't you?" his voice made it sound as if her were smiling. "Snape is quite a catch, to be sure, power and money and fame. Or perhaps Peeves is more your taste, slightly dead and buried. Or, do you fancy McGonagall? She'd make a good bed partner, wouldn't she?"
"Who are you?" She said, "Show yourself." Penny was getting frustrated with the amount of stupid people in this place, and she was about ready to scream very loudly. It wouldn't solve anything, but it would make her feel better.
"My apologies, of course. It's not often I find myself in someone else's head. It's thrown me for a loop, I suppose." He came out of the shadows.
He was a tall, thin man with long blonde hair and hazel eyes. His lips were pouty, even while smiling, and he looked very sure of himself. She looked at his hands.
He was holding the black book. Penny looked down at her left hand. The star seemed to be throbbing in answer to the books call. She could feel the book, even this far away from it. It was something of emense power, of that there was no mistake.
"Who are you?" she asked again.
The man held up the black book. On the cover, in gilded gold, was the name "Keef Quirrell".
"Now you know my name," he smiled, "do you feel better?"
"Not really," Penny said, "I still don't know why you're inside my subconscious."
"Wizards and witches can travel anywhere they please, Penny."
"But not inside other peoples heads!" Penny screamed, "That's not right, there has to be a law against it!"
"Oh, and there is." Quirrell purred, "And I'm breaking it. I just had to see you."
"You had to see me?"
"Because, when I heard that you were teaching here, I knew it was my chance to finally meet you. I need your help, Penny."
"Doesn't everyone? What happened to the strong macho guy? Sheesh, you'd think chivalry was dead, or something."
"Will you help me?"
"I don't know what you need help with, Keef, and right now I don't care. I have a class to teach. How do you get out of here?"
"You're the Enchantress," he said pouting, "you figure it out." And he tossed the book to her. She picked it up. Keef had been writing every word of their conversation. Every word that she had thought, every thing she had felt, it was all there.
Even as she was thinking this, the book was writing itself. 'I want to leave', thought Penny. The book began writing something else after that thought.
"I WANT TO LEAVE", THOUGHT PENNY. THE BOOK BEGAN WRITING SOMETHING ELSE AFTER THAT THOUGHT. PENNY LEANED IN CLOSE TO READ THE WORDS, ALTHOUGH THERE WAS NO NEED. SHE LEFT THE ROOM THROUGH THE DOOR BEHIND HER.
Penny looked, and indeed there was a door.
PENNY LOOKED, AND INDEED THERE WAS A DOOR. SHE PUT THE BOOK BACK INTO THE CASE FOR SAFE KEEPING, AND LEFT THE ROOM
Penny had in fact left the room by this point. Keef was standing by the window, his gaze directed to the glass case. He had no need to read the words that were being written in his book, for he knew what they said.
.LEAVING QUIRRELL ALONE IN THE SHADOWS. HE DIDN'T MIND. IT GAVE HIM TIME TO THINK. IT GAVE HIM TIME TO PLAN.
* * *
Penny got ready for class quickly, her wand tucked in the pockets of her robe, and ran to the classroom her own copy of "Wizards Without Magic" tucked under her arm.
She reached the classroom five minutes before class and expected to have a nice breather before the students arrived. How wrong she was.
She walked into a quiet room, and it was filled with students. They all watched her approach the desk with something bordering on awe. Penny placed her book down, and looked around. "My name is Professor Dredfule".
"Magic," she said, "is something that can be fresh, exciting, fun. It can also be dangerous. Magic is not something to be fooled around with. But then again, neither is habitat. One day, some of you might live in the Muggle world. Perhaps because of occupation, or choice. Whatever the reason, some of you will be living there. And you won't be able to use magic." She paused. The class seemed riveted to her every word. "As you know, there are wizards and witches already living in the Muggle world, and they have found ways to protect themselves. There are ways to protect yourselves against what darker wizards and witches might do, and that's what I'm going to teach, among other things. For the first term, we will be looking at how to live without magic and how to protect yourself against such things as arson, protection of your house, bomb threats and the like. Second term will have us studying Muggles a little closer, and how to protect yourself on a more personal level. Everyone clear? Good. Now, I'll read off the class list."
Penny read down the list, reading off all the names, including 'Granger, Hermione", "Potter, Harry", and "Weasley, Ron".
The bell sounded for the end of the class. "I want everyone to write me a little something on what they would do to protect themselves if they were in a building that was on fire!" she called out over the noise. "Not too long, just a page or two! Due next class!" and the class shuffled out.
* * *
"So," said Hermione, "what do you think of her?"
"I don't know," Ron replied, "she seems to be pretty knowledgeable for a Muggle."
"Yeah," Hermione agreed, "and did you see her wand sticking out of her pocket? Why would a Muggle have a wand?" she paused, "What do you think Harry?"
Ron and Hermione looked over at Harry, who had his face in his hands. "Harry!" Ron said, "What's wrong?"
"My scar hurts." He said simply.
"But Voldemorts dead, Harry!"
"I know that," he said, "we killed him remember? But it still hurts."
"Do you think something is going to happen Harry?" Hermione asked.
"I don't know," Harry said, "but I'm getting a little tired of this 'evil comes, scar hurts' dilemma."
"I'll find my copy of Magical Ailments, and we'll see what we can find."
"Trust Hermione to think of an answer being in a book," said Ron, "honestly, she should have a special plaque in the library just for her, she's there so often!"
Hermione sighed. "Boys." She said.
At that moment, Snape was coming towards them, walking in a jaunty way. He stopped in front of them and smiled.
"Harry!" he said, "How ARE you?"
"Huh?" Harry said.
"And Miss Granger! Lovely day, isn't it?"
"What?" Hermione said.
"And Mr. Weasley! I just LOVE what you've done with your hair!"
"Duh?" said Ron.
"Do you like my new robes?" He said, motioning to his robes of dark blue, "I thought they'd bring out the colour in my eyes. Lovely day children, must run! Tootles!" he said, and wandered off merrily.
There was a pause. "What's with him?" Harry asked.
"I don't know," Hermione said, "but if I had to hedge a bet, I'd say he was in love!"
* * *
The day went well for Penny. Her opening classes had gone well, and the students seemed to like her. "Although," she thought out loud getting ready for bed, "I'm starting to wonder whether or not these robes make me look fat". She sighed, and her head hit the pillow.
* * *
Back in her library, she opened the case. She took out the books labeled "Harry", "Ron" and "Hermione". She flipped open the latter.
."BOYS" SHE SIGHED. HERMIONE CONTINUED ON HER OWN WAY. SHE HAD ARITHMANCY NEXT. WHY WEREN'T THEY WILLING TO EXPAND THEIR MINDS? SHE WONDERED GRUMPILY.
"Cute." Penny said. She flipped open the one titled "Ron".
AS RON WATCHED HERMIONE WALK AWAY, HE WONDERED, DID SHE SEE HOW I COMBED MY HAIR DIFFERENTLY? DOES SHE NOTICE ME AT ALL?
Penny blushed, and opened the one titled "Harry".
.WAS VOLDEMORT BACK? HOW DID HE LIVE? HARRY WONDERED. WHY WAS HIS SCAR HURTING? I'M GOING TO HAVE TO WRITE TO SIRIUS, HE THOUGHT..
Penny shivered. There was something happening here and she wasn't sure what it was. She put the books back and headed for the door.
* * *
He waited. Time was something that he had plenty of. He looked at Penny's window, safe in the knowledge that she knew nothing of what she was getting into. He retreated back into the trees. Now to find Snape, he thought idly.
* * *
Penny woke. There was something she needed to know. She went to find Sheryll.
Penny Dredfule Chapter Seven
Explosions of Smut
Sheryll wasn't in her rooms when Penny arrived. She had tickled the crystal ball, and entered to find the room empty, except for Sheryll's cat Polly resting comfortably on the bed.
Penny looked around the room, trying to get a sense of who Professor Townsend was. It was a hodge podge of a room; all sorts of books and trinkets strewn around, making the rooms seem welcoming and comfortable.
Penny was about to leave when she noticed something on the windowsill. It was a book, bound in black leather. She picked it up. On the cover were the words Penny Dredfule. Penny turned to the first page, an eerie feeling setting in.
.WHEN PENNY WAS FOUR, SHE FOUND HER MOTHER SITTING AT THE KITCHEN TABLE WITH A GLASS OF VODKA AND ORANGE JUICE.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING MUM?" PENNY ASKED.
"GIVING THE BEST PERFORMANCE OF MY LIFE, PENNY. THE BEST PERFORMANCE."
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN MUM? ARE YOU GOING TO BE IN A MOVIE? LIKE SCARLETT O'HARA?"
"NO PENNY. I'M GOING TO DIE. FOR DEATH IS THE ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE"..
Penny shut the book with a gasp and ran from the Sheryll's room.
* * *
"What could the book mean?" Penny thought out loud as she towards the Great Hall. "Why would Sheryll have a Memory Book about me? It's not like my life is readable or anything." She paused. "Well, at least it's not a smut bookthough being in a smut book would be fun, I think."
"I would love to read about you in a smut book." Said a voice.
Penny whirled around to find Snape stalking towards her in billowing robes of green. He looked like a giant green beetle and it made Penny want to burst out in laughter.
He had also washed his hair, by the looks of it. It was clean but incredibly poofy. It stood out in his head like a perm gone wrong and made him look rather like he had gotten his nose stuck in an electrical socket. It made Penny want to laugh more.
"Just think, my precious, we could read the book and try out the positions, could we not? It would be great fun and a great way for reading to broaden ourhorizons?"
Penny lost it at that point. She laughed so hard she cried, her ribs shaking with the effort of breathing and laughing at the same time.
"Thanks, Snape," she said, "I needed that. Smut book! HONESTLY!" and she continued on her way to the Great Hall for dinner.
* * *
At dinner, McGonagall sat next to her, and engaged Penny in lively conversation. Penny complimented Minerva on the gown she was wearing; it was a periwinkle coloured silk gown that flowed beautifully and accentuated her figure. McGonagall had even worn her hair down in flowing brown ringlets that framed her face and high cheekbones.
"You look beautiful tonight, Minerva."
McGonagall blushed. "And you always look beautiful, Penny."
There was a silence, and then conversation resumed for the rest of dinner. After the pudding Penny stood up, intent on a stroll around the grounds of the school. McGonagall stood as well. "Going for a nightly constitutional?" she asked.
"Yes," said Penny, "I'm starting to get holster hips that even flowing robes can't hide."
McGonnagall laughed. "Mind if I join you?"
"I'd be delighted."
* * *
Snape watched Penny and McGonagall go off together towards the doors leading to the grounds. "Hmm," he thought, "so she prefers the more feminine touch, does she? That's the ticket!" and Snape did something that few thought him capable of. He smiled.
* * *
"Harry, Ron, look!" Hermione pointed to the head table. There the three of them saw Snape, smiling and nodding to himself.
"He must be ill." Said Ron.
"I didn't think his facial muscles would allow him to do that." Harry said.
They all laughed and speculated why Snape would be smiling. "I wonder who he's in love with." Hermione asked, "She must be someone pretty special."
"I guess," Harry said, "I'm still trying to get over the fact that he spoke to us!"
"I know," Ron said, "Like he didn't hate us or something."
There was a pause in the conversation. "Your hair is less poofy tonight, Hermione." Ron said.
"I said it's less poofy. Normally you look like Crookshanks took a nap on your head, but tonight it looks real nice."
Hermione squealed, and stomped off.
Damn, thought Ron.
* * *
"It's a beautiful night." Minerva said. She and Penny were strolling side by side, enjoying the stars and the night sky.
"Yes," said Penny, "it is."
They continued walking until they reached the place where the Whomping Willow used to be. They both sat on the stump, as it was big enough for four to sit side by side.
The silence of the night was calming and neither Penny nor McGonagall felt the need to fill the night with conversation.
* * *
Keef saw Penny and Minerva from the shadows of the Forbidden Forest. His plan was almost ready to begin. He would just have to be patient. And it was a relief that Penny didn't know what she was capable of. Being an Enchantress, she had all the power she could want at her fingertips. Only she didn't know it. That would be his greatest asset.
* * *
"Can I ask you something?"
There was a pause. "Would you kiss me?"
"I've never met anyone like you, Penny. I've always been cold, strict and firm. You make me feel a warmness inside that I haven't felt for a long time. I just wanted you to know that."
Penny turned towards her and looked at Minerva with an unflinching gaze. She leaned and kissed Minerva softly, perhaps trying to rekindle the emotions which McGonagall had bottled up for a long time.
It was an amazing kiss; tender and soft, full of want and need and affection. When they parted, they looked at each other for a moment before Penny said "Your rooms or mine?"
"Which is closer?" Minerva said, a faint flush on her cheeks.
"Lead the way." Minerva said smiling.
* * *
Peeves saw Penny and McGonagall heading for Penny's rooms, and sniffed. "How do I get her to notice me?" he said out loud as he floated along. "What can I do? I can't compete with humans!" he sobbed. "Why won't she notice me? Perhaps it's because I'm transparent?"
Peeves was in such a surly mood that, to cheer himself up, he tied a great many bright coloured bows on to Miss Norris's tail. Peeves let out a dry chuckle at Miss Norris's torment but he didn't feel any better.
* * *
Penny's classes sped by at a rapid rate. Before anyone knew it, Christmas holidays were only a few days away. Today she was teaching her students about greed and what money would do to Muggles in the Muggle world. Harry, Hermione and Ron were in the front row.
"Money can be a dangerous thing," Penny said, "It has ruined many people and more have been seduced by the greed it causes."
Harry thought of the money he had in his Gringotts vault and was thankful that he was not a greedy. In fact, he tried to share as much as he could.
"Money can ruin peoples lives and it forces many people to turn traitor on friends and family."
The bell rang. "I want one roll of parchment on what you would do with money in the Muggle world! Due when you guys get back from Holidays! Happy Christmas everyone!"
"Here's our chance." Whispered Hermione.
"For what?" said Ron.
"To ask how she can do magic!"
"What if she doesn't want to tell us?" Harry said.
"We'll have to live with that, but the least we can do is ask her!"
The three of them walked up to the front of the classroom where Penny was putting things in order. "Professor Dreadfule?"
"We wanted to ask you something."
"What is it, dear?"
"Um, well, we wanted.um" Hermione was at a loss for words.
"How is it you do magic?" Ron blurted out.
Hermione glared at him. "You couldn't be gentle about it, could you?"
"Is that what you were doing? I thought you were doing an impression of Crabbe. Sorry, my mistake."
"Why you!" Hermione composed herself. Penny chuckled lightly.
"It's alright dears, you can ask, but I don't really have an answer for you."
This made the trio pause. "What do you mean, Professor?" Harry asked.
"Truth is, I don't know how I can do magic. I just do."
"But Muggles aren't supposed to be able to!" Hermione shrieked, "It says so in Hogwarts: A History!"
"I know," Penny said, "it's a pretty weak answer, but, c'est la vie!" she shrugged and held out her hands as if to say 'I don't know', and Hermione gasped. There was a black star on Professor Dredfule's left hand!
Before Hermione could ask Penny about it, there was an earth-shattering explosion coming from the dungeons.
"What the hell was that?" Penny said.
"Beats me," said Ron, "but it came from the dungeons!"
They wasted no time. The four of them headed down into the bowels of the castle
Penny Dredfule Chapter Eight
Seduction of the Mind.
Snape was busy in his dungeon. In front of him was a small jewel box encrusted with sapphires and rubies, with silver scrollwork around the edges. Snape had enchanted the box with a song. Penny would love it! He thought.
Give me smut and nothing but!
A dirty novel I can't shut,
Pornographic pictures I adore.
Indecent magazines galore,
I love them more
If they're hard core.
(Bring on the obscene movies, murals, postcards, neckties,
samplers, stained glass windows, tattoos, anything!
More! More! I'm still not satisfied!)
Give me smut and nothing but!
"This will get her mojo running!" he laughed. "Ah, Penny, this will make your Valentine's Day! That, and my little get up!"
Snape whirled around to face the mirror, his pink robes flowing around him. His hair had been teased to the point of pain. It was even more poofy than before; if that was even possible. It had been dyed a bright red, to match the colour of his lipstick.
He had put on some fake eyelashes, purple eye shadow, blush, eyeliner and dark mascara. "I make the perfect woman!" he laughed with girlish delight. "Although, I wonder if I got my breasts right. The right one's a little lower than the left. Hmm. Oh, well!" He laughed again. "I wonder if I'm feminine enough for her. Let's see. I've got hair, make-up, breasts, feminine colour schemeI wonder if I should have shaved?"
He continued tinkering with the box which he lovingly referred to as the "Smut Box", singing to himself in an off tune sort of way. So intent was he on his experiment that he did not know there was anyone else in his dungeon until the other person was right behind him.
"Hello, Snape." The voice said with ice on its breath.
Snape whirled around, his face a mask of shock and his hand to his forehead. "Keef? KEEF? What are you doing here?!" he asked. And the world exploded.
* * *
Keef made sure that he was well away from Snape's dungeon at the time of the explosion. He had used a deadly combination of Essence of Nightshade and Explosive Arsenic. A deadly combination to be sure. But not deadly enough. Not yet. He had plans for Snape. Big plans.
* * *
Penny, Harry, Hermione and Ron arrived at the doorway of the dungeons to find Snape on his back with his dress up around his knees. He wasn't wearing any underwear.
"That explains the big wand." Ron said solemnly.
Penny made her way carefully over to Snape skirting around potion bottles and spilt substances. She held out her left hand to catch herself as she tripped over a vine of Witches Weave that was working its way out of a bottle when something happened.
The five-pointed star on her left palm began to pulse and glow a soft purple. Penny gasped.
"Professor Dredfule!" Hermione shrieked, "What does that mean?"
"I don't know, Hermione. It's never done that before."
"Maybe it's to let you know you're getting to close to someone with bad body odor." Ron said.
Hermione looked over at Harry who had been very quiet. He was very white and was clutching his head. "My scar" He said, "My scar hurts." His breathing had become very shallow and he was leaning against the stone wall to stable himself.
Penny than did something that she couldn't explain. She reached out and placed her left hand on Harry's scar. Harry's breathing returned to normal.
"Thanks." Harry said weakly. He then looked at Penny's hand. "Um, Professor Dredfule?" he said, pointing.
Penny's hand was now glowing a soft amber colour. She then went over to Snape's still form and pressed it to his forehead. He woke instantly. His eyes flickered and he took in the surroundings. He looked at his dress, which was resting above his knees and then looked at Penny.
"Ah, so you fancy me after all!" he said smiling.
* * *
"I never thought men like him were capable of whimpering." Ron said.
"I just couldn't believe the size of his.wand." Hermione said, blushing.
"What was he doing in that get up, anyway? Snape in drag is an image I don't think I'll soon forget." Harry said.
"You alright, Harry?" Penny asked.
"Fine." He said.
"You sure?" Hermione asked.
"Yeah, sure." He said, waving her off.
"Professor?" Ron asked. They were now making their way up to the main floor. "Why'd your hand light up? I've never seen a Muggle hand do that before."
"Don't you get it, Ron! She's not a Muggle! Not if she can heal Harry's pain and wake Snape from sleep!"
"Give the girl a Kewpie doll." Penny said. "I wish I knew, Ron. This is all a little new to me."
"Do you know someone who can help you?" Harry asked.
"Yes." Penny said. "I do."
* * *
Sheryll was waiting for her when Penny arrived. "Took you long enough! Sit, sit, tea's ready! Just the way you like it! Roly Poly, get off of Penny! There's a good boySheryll was settled in a pile of purple and gold cushions petting the now subdued Poly . Penny sat across from her, her tea warming her hands.
"Um, Professor Townsend? I have some questions to ask you."
"Wondering about your hand? Your book? Along that line of thought?"
"Um. Yeah. Something like that."
"Where would you like to start? Your hand?"
Penny smiled. "How did you know?" she asked with mock sarcasm.
"I guess I must be physic." She laughed. "You are an Enchantress, Penny."
"Okay, I'm following you so far."
"You honestly don't know anything about what you are, do you? Do you know what your kind did in the old days?"
"Fill me in. I seem to be a bit sketchy on anything that isn't Muggle related."
"Enchanters and Enchantresses were known for their excellent magical powers. They were also known for finding and sensing evil. Your hand senses evil as Harry's scar senses evil. It's kind of a built in warning system. Kind of handy, really."
"But what was with the different colours? Amber and purple?"
"Each person requires a different healing. It just depends on the severity of the injury."
"Oh. Alright. And here I was thinking that my hand was a party light. Go figure. Does this mean I don't get to be the life of the party?"
Sheryll laughed. "Did you want to know about the book, dear?"
"I would. My life doesn't seem to fit in the bedtime reading category."
"Everyone has a book," She began "that details their life. Most don't know how to find it. Those that do see it as something else. A novel that they can relate to. I myself am partial to "Withering Heights". I always thought that Heefcliff was sexy."
"Fine, but why do YOU have it? You seem to know a lot about this stuff. I'm not working too hard at getting the answers; you seem to know them all."
"That is because I am also an Enchantress."
There was a pause. It hung in the air until Penny decided to speak again.
"You're also an Enchantress?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes. My official title is "Ki-Sheh-Soon", or Sun Sorcerer. I am head of the Enchanters. I'm here as your Guardian. I am here to look over you."
"Why do I need a Guardian? What do you know that I don't?"
"Besides everything?" she laughed. "I can't tell you Penny. You must discover it for yourself. But I am here to answer questions and be your guide."
"You still haven't answered my first question. Why do you have my Memory Book?"
Sheryll smiled. "As your Guardian, I have to guard you. All of you. I must know who you wereand who you are destined to become. Your Memory Book was placed in my care so that I may learn more about you."
"Do your books write themselves like mine and Keef's?"
"Keef? Keef who?"
There was another pause.
"You don't know about Keef? Keef Quirrell?"
"No. No I don't, and it's quite upsetting. I think we must go to Professor Dumbledore."
* * *
Penny and Sheryll found Professor Dumbledore reading a book in a high back chair in front of the fire. On closer inspection the book was called "Magical Mishaps: Comical Injuries in the Magical World".
Dumbledore was chuckling lightly to himself when he noticed them. "Oh, Penny! Sheryll! Come in, come in! I was just reading about an unfortunate Wizard who literally stuck his foot in his mouth! Great fun! What can I do for you?"
"Professor," Sheryll said, "Penny has some questions. About Quirrell."
"Professor Quirrell?" Dumbledore said darkly, "He has been dead for quite some time."
"What happened to him?" Penny asked quietly.
Dumbledore paused for a moment before speaking. "Professor Quirrell used to be our Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher here, the position which you now hold. After some time he became a servant of Lord Voldemort, only to die when the two of them could not defeat Harry. I have not thought of him for many a year. Why do you speak of him now?"
Penny spoke. She explained about the Memory Cabinet in her dream library, Keef's book that wrote for itself, and finding out about Sheryll's Guardianship.
"Yes, I knew the Guardianship would come up in conversation sooner or later. We can address that later, or, as Sheryll has suggested, let things take their course. But this Quirrell thing worries me. I'll see you both after the holidays. Are you both full from the Christmas Eve Feast? Save plenty of room for tomorrow feast! It will give me time to think on it. You both have a Happy Christmas!" he smiled and showed them to the door.
* * *
Penny got into her nightgown, and began brushing her hair for bed. Her mind was reeling with questions and she wasn't sure she could find the answers.
Morris was at her feet, meowing at her to pay attention. "What is it, baby? Has mommy been ignoring you?"
Morris meowed more urgently and padded over to her desk. On the desk was a book she had not noticed before. Morris was on the desk now, pawing at the book which now opened to the first page. It's title read simply: "Cats of Isis".
"Where did this come from, baby?" Penny asked Morris.
Morris responded by pawing at the pages. The next page he stopped at held a poem. It read:
TO OPEN THE TEMPLE OF ISIS
Green eyes, yellow, golden hue
Pierce your heart, see you are true.
Soul exposed before their look
Heart is open like a book.
Evaluating right or wrong
No place to hide, they are too strong.
Penny sighed. "Ah, crap," she said. "It doesn't stop, does it? You'd think this place would let a girl get her beauty sleep!" She paused. "And I still have to something about these holster hips."
Her tummy to full of Christmas dinner, and her mind to full of questions, Penny lay down on her bed to go to sleep. She would go see Dumbledore or Townsend tomorrow.
Tomorrow, Penny thought, was Christmas Day.
Penny Dredfule Chapter Nine
Christmas morning came amongst bright sunshine which seeped through the windows. Harry woke to find the usual pile of presents at the foot of his bed.
Ron and Hermione entered into the room giggling happily, smiles on their partially awake faces. "Oi! Presents!" Ron shouted, dumping his pile of presents on the floor and settling in to open them.
Harry went to his small pile and unwrapped the usual Weasley jumper, blue this time with a star on the front. His next package was from Hermione. Harry opened a box covered in pictures of Ron, Hermione and himself. Inside the box was a small Gryffindor Lion on the end of a silver chain. He looked up at Hermione with awe.
"Wow" He said, "Thanks Hermione. It's beautiful."
"I made it myself. I hoped you would like it."
"When did you have time to make it?" Ron asked, "You've been studying for so long, I thought that perhaps you might pass away from starvation. It really is nice, Hermione. It's beautiful, just like you."
Hermione blushed. "Thanks, Ron."
Harry, trying to suppress the urge to gag, continued opening presents. When he was done he had a box of mince pies, a small carving of an owl from Hagrid, a Nifflier training book from Ron, a safety pin from the Dursleys, a tea cozy from Dobby and a book of hexes and charms from Sirius. There was one small package left, however.
It was a thin box covered in blue velvet. When Harry opened the box, he nearly dropped it. Instead, he simply put it down and backed away from it.
"Harry?" Hermione asked. "What is it? What's in the box?" When Harry didn't say anything, she went over to the box and looked inside it.
Amongst more blue velvet was a ring. It was small and delicate, made from silver and gold. It was a Celtic band formed into two snakes that were biting each other's tails. One silver snake and one gold snake. It was a beautiful ring.
"Harry?" Hermione said, "What's wrong? Why are you afraid of this ring?"
"That ring," Harry replied after much swallowing, "belonged to my mother."
* * *
Penny woke to find a small pile of presents at the bottom of her bed. Sure beats a tree, she thought. There was a package of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans from Albus, a book on Muggle magic from Hagrid, a book of love poetry from Minerva and a home made set of candle holders from Ron, Harry and Hermione.
There was one last package which appeared to be a book.
Inside the packaging Penny did, indeed, find a book, covered in black leather. On the front in gold letters were the words "Keef Quirrell". A note was attached. It read:
THOUGHT YOU MIGHT BE NEEDING THIS. HAPPY CHRISTMAS. KEEF.
Penny sat there staring at the book. She then went to her desk where she had put the "How I love Severus Snape" and "Cats of Isis" books. They were all connected. She was sure they were. She just wasn't sure how.
Penny figured the only way to determine their relationship to each other was to read them. She settled down with Keef's Memory Book and began to read.
After some time she was roused from her reading by a man's voice outside her chambers.
"Miss Penny? Professor Dredfule? May I talk to you?"
* * *
"How do you know the ring was your mother's?" Hermione asked, "There's no way you could know that!"
"It's one of the things I remember." Harry replied. "I remember her wearing it"
"But you were one year old!" Ron said.
"It's one of the things I remember about her. She was always wearing that ring. I think my Dad gave it to her."
"Well then, who do you think gave it to you?" Hermione asked.
"I don't know, but it is my mother's." Harry plucked the ring out of the box and made to put it on.
"Are you sure you should be doing that?" Ron asked. "You've had a history of strange gifts. The invisibility cloak in your first year, the Firebolt in your third year; are you sure you should be trying it on?"
"It's my mother's." He said simply.
And slipped it on his right hand ring finger.
* * *
Penny picked up the three books and hid them in her desk. She went to the door and opened it to find Peeves standing there. Well, floating really. It wasn't possible for ghosts to stand.
"Peeves. . . . Hi!" she said, "What can I do for you?"
"Well, um, ah, um" he stammered.
"Did you want to come in?"
"I'd, um, love to."
Peeves floated in and settled into Penny's chair.
"So, what's on your mind?"
"Well, um," Peeves stammered, "I've been feeling very inadequate as a man lately."
"Oh." Penny replied. What is this? Poltergeist psychology? "Really?"
"Yes. It seems I don't have 'what it takes' any more. I seem to be losing touch with what I was."
Penny sighed. It was going to be a long day. "So, what does your manhood have to do with anything? Is there something bothering you specifically?"
"Funny you should ask that" Peeves replied, "You see, well, um, there's really no other way to say this"
"Say what, Peeves?"
"I'minlovewithyouandyoudon'tnoticeme!" he said all in one rush of breath.
"I'm sorry, what was that?" Penny asked. "What are you trying to say, Peeves?" Penny had the feeling that she really did not want to hear his answer.
"I'm. In. Love. With. You. And. You. Don't. Notice. Me." Peeves replied, an even breath between each word.
Penny thought for a moment before speaking. "But how can a poltergeist and a Muggle have a relationship, Peeves?"
"I don't know, but it has to be possible! I think of you every waking day and night! I think of nothing else but you!"
Peeves rushed to hug Penny and passed right though her.
There was a tense moment of silence when neither spoke nor moved. Then Penny heard Peeves sobbing.
"I'm suh-sorry, P-Professor D-Dredfule!" he wailed, "I'll be going now.Happy Christmas." He left something on her desk and glided out the door.
Penny sat there, torn between going after him or letting him be. She then looked at what he had left on her desk.
It was a rose in a vase, all made out of the same smoky substance as Peeves. The flower turned, the sunlight piercing its gray and white tones.
After a few minutes it just faded away and ceased to be.
* * *
Harry slipped the ring on his finger. Nothing happened.
All of them waited a few more minutes. Still, nothing happened.
"Well," said Hermione, "that's a new one. No catastrophe seems to be heading our way and nothing's exploded, no one's inflated, and no one's died. Odd."
"Damn," Ron said. "I feel slightly gypped, don't you?"
* * *
Penny had put Peeves out of her mind for now. She was thinking about more important things. She had the three books gathered in her arms and was heading towards Albus Dumbledore's study. She had attempted to find Sheryll, but she was out again. An Enchantress had a life, too, she supposed.
Penny had been wandering for what seemed a long time, twisting this way and that way. One of the things she had found out about Hogwarts was that sometimes the school did what it could to help you lose your way.
Penny turned a corner to find a stairwell that she had never seen before. There were wall torches lighting her way, the fire from the torches different shades of purple and amber.
She shrugged her shoulders and began the trek downwards.
The stairwell seemed to lead a long ways beneath the castle. There appeared to be no end to the stairs. She walked on for about another ten minutes, finally reaching the bottom
In front of her was a large door made out of hematite. There was a plaque on the front of the door, which read:
AND TRY TO FIND
THE CAT WHICH SITS
WITHIN YOUR MIND
WORDS OF CAT
AND FELINE GRACE
WILL LET YOU ENTER
IN THIS PLACE.
Penny stared at the door for a few more moments. Words of cat? What do they mean? She paced the small area in front of the door trying to think of an answer to the riddle. Then she felt her hand throb.
She looked down to find her left hand glowing amber and purple, a soft humming coming from the door in response.
Of course! Penny thought, looking at the books in her hand. Words of cat! She flipped open the "Cats of Isis" book to the poem she had seen before. She read aloud:
"Green eyes, yellow, golden hue
Pierce your heart, see you are true.
Soul exposed before their look
Heart is open like a book.
Evaluating right or wrong
No place to hide, they are too strong."
The doors answered the words with a louder humming, and the colours of Penny's hand intensified. She heard a click and the doors opened before her.
Penny peered into the dim room. She walked to the doorway to get a better look.
It was a large room, with high ceilings and gables. Everywhere she looked she saw cats. Cats made out of wood, out of sand, out of glass, out of clay. Everything was lit by amber light coming from the left and purple light from the right.
In the centre of the room was a woman. She was petite, with shoulder length black hair and a warm smile.
"Welcome, Sister," the woman said. "My name is Dinah and I am the living Goddess. Welcome to the Temple of Isis."
Penny Dredfule Chapter Ten
Temples and Drag Queens
Penny stood at the threshold of the great temple for a while, taking in the whole scene. The Living Goddess, Dinah, approached her with graceful steps.
"Welcome Sister, at last we meet. Your journey has brought you far, father than I think you would have imagined, yes?" Dinah asked.
"It would appear to be that way." Penny replied. "Why am I here?"
"It is you who should answer that question, Sister, for you have found it on your own."
"But what am I doing here? How could I find this place if I didn't know it existed?"
"I see you are full of questions. Questions are good. They lead you on the right path, the path to Feline grace and the beauty of understanding the mysteries. Do you now know what you are, Sister?"
"I'm an Enchantress."
"Do you not know which kind? Surely you must know which kind of Enchantress you are?"
"I didn't know there was more than one kind." Penny said meekly.
Dinah laughed. "I see you have much to learn. Come, Sister, we will sit and talk. I see it is necessary to cleanse your soul, young one."
Dinah led Penny to the altar where a couple bean bag chairs and pillows awaited. Sitting down, Penny was at last able to study her hostess.
The Living Goddess was a beautiful woman. Light radiated from her, producing a soft glow of amber and purple. She smiled again and her eyes shone with magic and power. But there was still that Feline grace that implied a beauty of the soul. Penny was awestruck.
"I am the Living Goddess," Dinah began, "The Living Isis. I am holder of her power, and servant to her beauty. And you are one of my Sisters."
"You keep saying that. What does that mean?"
"I am getting ahead of myself." She smiled again. "Isis is Goddess of Cats, and I am the Patron of Cats. Just as you are an Enchantress of Isis."
"But I don't know anything about Isis!"
"Ah, but she knows about you. Do you have a star somewhere on your body?"
Penny showed Dinah the five-pointed star on her left hand.
"A powerful mark, Sister. Make no mistake about that. Each Enchantress of Isis has a star somewhere on their body. Their fate is decided for them at birth, I'm afraid. But fate has a way of playing out events in The Goddess's favour. There are two of you here."
"I believe you call her Sheryll? Yes, she is the high Enchantress, the Ki-Sheh-Soon. She is the guardian of all Enchantresses."
"So, all Enchantresses have an affinity with cats?"
Dinah smiled. "Not necessarily, Sister. Each Enchanter or Enchantress has an affinity with a specific animal. It just so happens that you and Sheryll have an affinity with animals of the Feline species. "
Penny sat and relaxed for a bit. This place seemed to soothe the stress right out of her. She pondered on all that she had heard so far and it all seemed to make sense to her. It was as if she had already known the answers, but just needed them repeated to her for clarification.
"I still have one more question. Why is this Temple here? Surely it doesn't belong to Hogwarts?"
"There are many mysteries at Hogwarts that even I, The Living Goddess, cannot comprehend." She smiled. "But the answer to your question is simple. The temple goes where Sheryll goes."
"Isn't that a little too simple? What does Sheryll need with her own temple?"
"Sheryll is the Ki-Sheh-Soon, the High Enchantress. She needs a place to pray, Sister."
"Oh!" Penny said, wondering if she could have her own temple someday. She fantasized about taking her friends home and saying something like: 'I just got my new Temple put in! It has wall to wall carpeting to die for!' Penny sighed. The chances of that happening were pretty slim.
"What about the different colours? Purple and Amber? Do those mean anything?" she asked.
"In fact they do." Dinah replied. "Isis is the Goddess of Protection, Magic, Cats and Children. Whereas Amber is known for protection, so is Amethyst. They are both protective stones and will warn you of danger. For while you are a Sister of Isis, she will always protect you." She smiled again, filling the room with warmth.
"Now, Sister," Dinah said, "I suggest that you go and meditate for a while in the comfort of your own rooms. This might still be a shock to you, finding the Temple and all that you have learned."
"It's better than a kick in the head." Said Penny.
"Nothing, no worries. Thank you, Dinah."
"Your welcome, Sister. Now, go in peace and may Isis be with you."
* * *
When Penny reached her rooms, there was a note pinned to her door. It read:
Please come see me in my quarters. Albus.
Penny sighed out loud. "It just doesn't stop around here, does it?" she said, and headed to Dumbledore's rooms.
* * *
When Penny entered Albus's rooms, she found Albus and Sheryll enjoying a cup of tea and a plate of cookies.
"Ah, Penny!" Sheryll said, "You're here, good."
"Sit down Penny." Albus said, "I have much to tell you."
A high back chair much like the other two appeared, and Penny took a seat gratefully. "What is all this about? I must warn you, my brain is still a little riled up about the Temple of Isis thing. Both of you knew about it, am I right?"
Both Sheryll and Albus nodded. "We thought it best if you found it on your own." Sheryll said.
"Fine." Penny replied, "Now, what's this about?"
Albus put down his cup of tea, his face grim. "I have found out some information that may be privy to what is happening here. You need to hear it because you are involved."
The serious tone that Albus was using riveted Penny to the spot. She had no choice but to listen. His voice commanded her to.
"Through my sources," Albus began, "I have determined that Keef Quirrell is actually a relative of our late professor here. Turns out the Quirrell family is quite large and prone to practising dark Magic."
"What kind of a relative is Keef?" Penny asked.
"Keef is our late Professor's brother." Albus replied. There was stunned silence. Dumbledore continued. "Keef was an Enchanter for the Ministry of Magic. He is no longer an Enchanter, as he was stripped of his powers."
"What happened? Aren't you born an Enchanter or Enchantress?"
"Yes," replied Albus, "which implies he must have done something pretty dire to have his powers stripped. He still retains his origiinal magic, but none quite so powerful than the magic of an Enchanter."
"Can you find out how he lost his powers?" Sheryll asked.
"I can't." He replied, "But Penny can." Sheryll and Dumbledore looked at her.
"What?" Penny said, "How can I find out how he lost his powers? I don't know the first thing about being an Enchantress!"
"You seem to be doing very will thus far." Dumbledore chuckled, "But no matter. I believe you received his Memory Book as a little Christmas present?"
Penny blanched. "Yes. I did."
"Then the answer lies in that book. You must read it to find the answers, as I am unable to help you."
"But I can't read it!" Penny burst out.
"And why not?" Sheryll asked.
"Because," Penny paused, "because, I can't bare the evil that seems to ooze out of it. It hurts to even touch it. I can't read that book. You can't ask me to read that book, Albus. I'll do anything else, anything but read that book."
There was silence in the air for a while after that. Albus seemed to be weighing what Penny had said with what he thought was the right course of action. At last he spoke:
"No one can force you to read it, Penny. I want you to understand that. But you must read it. Not now, when you are ready, of course. It holds answers that only you can give us."
"Why can't you read it?"
"It is a magical book. It can only be read to the person it was gifted to. I ask you to think well on this Penny. You must read it, but only when you are ready."
With that, Albus dismissed her.
* * *
The weeks rolled by at a fast pace. Penny did the best she could to keep her thoughts grounded, especially during classes, but her mind was always thinking on the book.
At last, Valentine's Day arrived. Penny woke on that morning and almost died in her bed. She couldn't believe her eyes. She rubbed them and looked again. Oh my goodness, thought Penny.
Her room was decorated in red and white flowers, pink and white sparkles fell from the ceiling and hundreds of candles glowed a rosy colour.
Standing in the centre of it all was Snape. He was wearing a large wig, with the hair shaped to form a beehive style. It had been dyed purple and clashed horribly with the rest of his outfit.
He was wearing a set of large red and orange robes, and a green hat on top of the beehive hairdo. He was wearing enough make-up for twenty women. His eyes were painted in red and purple, which clashed with his pink blush and his blue lipstick. He had put on fake nails, several inches long, painted with stars and moons in bright florescent colours. Penny couldn't be sure, but she was positive he had breasts too, one slightly lower than the other.
"Happy Valentine's Day Penny!!" Snape crooned in a high falsetto voice.
Penny thought her spleen had ruptured.
"I have something for you," Snape continued. He presented her with the box. Penny thought her stomach was going to shut down any minute. She also thought her eyes would go blind from holding in the tears.
Snape opened the box which began to play its song and Penny couldn't hold it in anymore.
She laughed so hard and with so much force, Snape backed up and tripped over her chair. He landed on his back with his dress up around his knees, and Penny laughed harder. Snape tried to get up, tripped over his robes, and his left breast fell out and rolled across the floor.
Penny was now laughing so hard that she couldn't breathe. Snape, who was not laughing, gathered up his breast and left the room with haste.
* * *
When Penny had calmed down, she put the box on the desk and chuckled to herself. When she touched the desk, her left hand glowed amber and purple. "The Book", thought Penny.
Sighing with resolution, she opened the desk drawer, pulled out Keef's Memory Book and began to read.
Penny Dredfule Chapter Eleven
"Kee'fs life," the book read, "had been horrific. A devastating life for a child, actually. Therefore, it is no surprise that he ended up where he did.
As a child, Keef would often slide towards the darker side of thing,, preferring more the cover of night than the light of day. He was a child with a kind heart that had been stamped on too often.
He believed that one everyone deserved fair chances at life, even if they came from the gutter families of the wizarding world, although that opinion would change.
Keef's Mother, Gunwalda Alshomees, was an enchantress of notable talent. It was naturally assumed, and quite rightly so, that Keef would inherit her talents.
Keef's Father, one Lanshire Quirrell, was a mere wizard. This caused considerable stress in the marriage and Keef often suffered the brunt of both his parents anger.
His older brother didn't suffer, though. Duncan Quirrell was off in France studying Magical Defense. Alistair was spared his parent's anger and constant battles for power in the house. Kee'fs older brother had freedom.
The turning point in Keef's life came on the eve of his twentieth birthday. By this time he had established himself as a formidable Enchanter, capable of powerful magic.
Keef came home from working at the Ministry to find his parents in the middle of what would be their final argument. There had been arguments and fights before, but none as heated as this one.
His parents didn't notice his arrival, so intent they were on insulting each other. Keef hid behind the door to the kitchen and as he listened a cold settled in him. It chilled him to his bones. He felt he would never be warm again.
"Useless man!" His mother screamed, "All you think about is power and status! You can't deal with the fact that I hold more power than you!"
"Damn fucking right!" His father screamed back. Keef paled. He had never heard his parents swear. "All the time, its 'I'm the Enchantress, I'll decide'! You can't stand the fact that I might be right and you might be wrong!"
"But I have experience in these matters! Voldemort is coming to power and we have to stop him!"
"Why don't you just shut the fuck up!" Keef's father bellowed and struck his mother across the face.
A cold rage burst in Keef like a tidal wave. He rushed into the kitchen and began beating his father, fists flying, legs kicking, totally unaware of what he was doing. One thought kept repeating itself over and over in his head: 'No one hits my mother'.
He stopped suddenly when he heard screaming. He thought it was his own, but when his head cleared he discovered it was his Mother's.
Keef came back to an awareness that hurt. His father's dead body lay on the kitchen floor, blood soaking the tiles. Keef stared at his hands, dimly aware that he had just killed his father.
His mother was sobbing, clutching her robes to her bosom. He went towards her hands outstretched .
"Mom," He said, "Mom, it's okay, it's going to be okay"
"Murderer!!" She screamed at him, "Killer, you are not my son!"
"Mom?" He replied. Tears were streaming down his cheeks.
"Killer!!" She screamed at him, "I reject you, I denounce you! You killed the only person I have ever loved!"
The floodgates opened inside Keef. His rage was pouring over him in torrents; so much so, that twenty minutes later his mother's dead form was beside his father's, her neck broken.
Keef went outside at that point and fell to his knees in the grass. He screamed as loudly as he could, thinking it to be someone else.
As an answer to his scream of rage, the neighbourhood cats came to him. They came by the hundreds, even after his scream had died away. That's where the Ministry officials found him; asleep and wasted on his front lawn, surrounded by hundreds of cats.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Ministry ruled in the favour of murder. They were certain that Voldemort's Death Eaters were behind the killings, one more example of his growing power. To kill such a powerful Enchantress and a wizard was a testament to great power. Keef was never put in the light of blame.
A month after the incident at his home, Keef was approached by a man. Keef was sitting on his front porch, thinking, when he saw the gentleman approach.
Keef stood, unsure of why, but this man seemed to demand courtesy. As the man approached, Keef thought: 'And it starts'. He was not quite sure why he had that thought, but it turned out to be far more accurate than he could have imagined.
"Let us go inside." The man said, and Keef obeyed. The man seemed to know his way, and led Keef to the kitchen where he had killed his mother and father.
"This is where you did it." The man said.
"I didn't do anything." Keef replied.
The man laughed a high, cold, cruel laugh. "Oh, come now, we both know that isn't the case. I know your darkest secrets, Keef."
Keef swallowed. "Who are you?" He asked.
"I am many things." Said the man. "They used to call me Tom Riddle, but I have not used that name in many years. They now call me VOLDEMORT."
Keef stared in awe. Here was the answer, he thought. A man into whom he could pour all the dark feelings. A man who wouldn't flinch at the fact that he had murdered the very people who had given him life.
"I hear you have an affinity with cats, Keef. I would like you to do something for me."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Keef began to use his affinity with cats to Lord Voldemort's advantage. The cats would answer Keef's call, for he was an Enchanter with a connection to the feline species.
He used his powers to spy on those who would not follow Lord Voldemort's ways. It was the perfect revenge, thought Keef, on a world where no one seemed to care for him, where no one noticed him.
He was well liked, which only helped to mask his involvement in the deaths of several prominent wizards and witches. Keef knew this was a serious offense, but he didn't care. His soul had been eaten away by hate.
He wasn't smart enough, however. One of Lord Voldemort'srank, one Severus Snape, suspected something. Unknown to Keef, Snape was a spy for the revolution against Lord Voldemort. Keef's undoing came four years after he began his term with the dark side.
Snape found Keef in his house on that fateful evening. Keef wouldn't leave the home where his parents had perished.
Snape watched Keef from his vantage point in the bushes in front of Keef's house, his decoy ready to step into action.
His decoy, one Minerva McGonagall, was a registered animagus able to turn herself into a cat. The perfect cheese for the proverbial mousetrap. When Snape heard Keefs (Keef's) call to the felines, he sent Minerva in cat form to the front stoop of Keef's house.
Minutes passed while Snape watched the transference of information. When Minerva came back to the bushes and told what had transpired, he then alerted the Ministry of Magic.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The trial was quick. Keef was sentenced to life in the prison of Azkaban. He was also stripped of his Enchanter powers. To abuse your powers as an Enchanter was serious business. Keef would never have the power he once had.
Keef knew, of course, that Snape was behind his capture. When he was carried away by the Dementors, Snape saw his eyes.
They held no trace of life. The blue eyes were cold as ice and they pierced Snape's soul, marking him. Snape was now on Keef's death list.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Keef, of course, escaped Azkaban. Death was easy enough to fake. The Dementors never knew the difference between his body and another's. He was free. After twenty years in Azkaban, he was free.
And he knew just what he would do. Kill the man who put him there.
* * *
Penny blinked and reached for her mug of tea. She felt dirty all over and wasn't sure if she would ever be clean again. What she had read had changed her, made her more aware of an evil presence around the castle. She shuddered and looked down at the book.
There wasn't much left to read. She had to keep going, had to find out the rest of the story. How did Keef get here? How did he gain the power to enter her head and into her Memory Library? Without his powers he was not able to achieve such feats.
There was a knock at the door. She looked up and Sheryll entered the room. "How're you doing?"
"Almost done, but I think I need to speak to Professor Dumbledore right away."
"You won't be able to do that. He received an owl from the Ministry of Magic. Someone there has information on Keef, he went right away."
"He's not here? Why didn't he wait for me to read the book?"
"He couldn't be sure of when you would read it, Penny. Any information, any leads he could find, are few and far between. He had to answer this owl. It may save our lives."
Penny nodded. Her mind felt all dark and gloomy.
At last, Sheryll spoke. "I won't keep you. I just wanted to see how you were holding up. I believe I might have a little lie down. Come and get me when you're finished reading. Then we'll see what we can do."
"Right. Thank you, Sheryll."
Sheryll smiled and let herself out.
Penny sighed and kept on reading.
* * *
The Living Goddess Dinah was meditating in her temple. The stars had been troubled lately and Isis was displeased. Dinah intended to find out why.
Purple and amber light began to glow around Dinah. She was centering her chakras, trying to get all of seven of them in line. This required a lot of concentration. That being said, she was doubly frightened when she was jolted out of her meditative state by a cruel, cold laugh.
"Hello?" Dinah said. "Isis greets you! Show yourself!"
"PETRIFICUS TOTALUS!" Screamed a man's voice.
Dinah felt her entire body go rigid, her arms were stuck at her sides. She couldn't move her legs as they were stuck where they were. Dinah had become a human statue of the Living Goddess and the Living Goddess was deeply frightened.
A man approached her from the shadows of the temple. He was a tall, thin man with long blonde hair and hazel eyes. His lips were pouty, even while smiling, and he looked very sure of himself.
"Hello, Dinah". Said Keef.
Penny Dredfule Chapter Twelve
The Cat Call
There were only a few pages of the book left. Penny steeled herself to finish them, as much as it hurt to do it. It seemed the darkness would engulf her if she read much more, but she had no choice. She kept reading.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
But how would Keef kill the man who had killed his soul when he had no powers? Keef, being the resourceful sort, had an answer. He was, after all, an ex-Enchanter.
Keef searched for Snape and found him the place he least: Hogwarts. Snape had taken on a teaching position at the famous school of witchcraft and wizardry. How very droll, he thought.
Keef watched the school with great interest, for there had to be a way to get to Snape without arousing too much attention. That was the mark of a dark Enchanter.
One fateful day, however, his prayers were answered. An Enchantress had taken up a teaching position at the school as Defense Against the Dark Art professor. Penny Dredfule was her name, and in her lay the key. Although, it looked like a monkey wrench had been thrown into the works before they had started.
She was an Enchantress and with her came her Guardian. Her Guardian turned out to be the Ki-Sheh-Soon, Sheryll Townsend. Surely a powerful Enchantress required a powerful Guardian.
But as Keef watched Penny, he began to realise something. Penny had no idea of what she was, what she was capable of or what she would become. Penny had power in her that even Sheryll couldn't dream of. The mark of the five-pointed star on her left hand attested to that.
Penny Dredfule was higher than the Ki-Sheh-Soon. Penny was prophecy made flesh. Penny was the Goddess Isis reborn, in flesh and body.
And she had no idea what she was.
Once Keef had discovered this, his plan fell into place easily. He began to tap into Penny's powers. With enough determination, anything was possible. By tapping into Penny's powers, Sheryll was none the wiser. By using the form of a "Memory Book" Sheryll had assumed that they were all the same. And you know what they say about assumptions.
He had been growing stronger on a diet of Goddess magic, older than time itself and she had no idea This was something that Keef found most amusing, but that grew tired after a while.
So he turned it into a game. Leaving her the Snape book in her reality, talking to her while in her Memory Library. It had become a game of cat and mouse to Keef who had had nothing left to lose.
As he feasted on Penny's magic, he grew stronger.
It saddened Keef that it was almost at an end, for the final stages were in preparation.
When he gave the book to Penny for Christmas, it became the catalyst: the rolling ball of thunder that would undo them all.
* * *
Harry and Ron were sitting in the Gryffindor common room, enjoying a quiet afternoon. Valentine's Day was ending and Harry and Ron were glad to see the tail end of it. They had had enough of giggling girls and pink hearts. Just thinking of love poems made Ron want to gag.
They were discussing their Astronomy homework when Hermione rushed into the room looking excited.
"What are you so hyped up about?" Ron asked, "A book sale at the Library?"
Hermione looked at him. "All you do is insult me. Why can't you be nice to me for a change?"
"I do not insult you."
"Yes, you do. You know what that means, don't you?"
"No, why don't you enlighten me?"
"It means you like me." She paused, "In that special sort of way."
"And where did you learn that? In Hogwarts: A History?"
"No, just girl's intuition. Something that boys don't have."
"Humph." Said Ron.
"Go on, admit it!" Hermione yelled, "You like me!"
Ron looked at Hermione, a serious look on his face. They stared at each other for quite some time, all sorts of emotions running across their faces."
"Oh, Hermione!" Ron said.
"Oh, Ron!" Hermione said.
"Oh, please!" Harry said, "Stop it before I vomit. What did you want to show us, Hermione?"
Hermione composed herself, her face still flushed. "Look!" she held up a record. "I found it on my bed! My parents must have sent it. It's the Beatles' White Album!!"
"The who?" said Ron.
"The Beatles." Hermione replied.
"Like I said, who?"
"You've never heard of the Beatles?" Harry asked, stunned.
"No, what are they?"
"They're a musical group." Said Hermione, not believing what she was hearing.
"Cool." Ron replied. "When are they playing next? Maybe we can go see them in concert?"
Harry and Hermione stared at him. There was nothing they could say.
"Anyway," Hermione said finally, "I want to try something! My mother sent along a note with the record. She said that if we play it backwards, it says 'Paul McCartney is dead'".
"Who?" Ron said.
"Never MIND Ron!" Harry said, fed up.
"Anyway, I want to try it and see what it says." With that, she took out her wand and set to work.
"How are you going to do it, Hermione? We don't have a record player."
"That's okay, I learnt a new spell this afternoon in the library." She balanced the record on the tip of her pointer finger and aimed her wand at it. "LEVATUS!" She said. The record was suspended in the air.
"Okay, now what are you going to do?" Harry asked.
"Easy. Just two more spells: one to make it rotate and one to make it rotate backwards. Watch. ROUNDUS!" The record began spinning clockwise. "COUNTERUS!" and the record began spinning backwards.
They watched the record spin for a while before Ron spoke. "How're we going to hear what it's playing?"
"That's easy!" Hermione replied, eager to show off the new spells she had learned. "Watch!" She pointed her wand at the spinning record and whispered "Play."
Harry looked smug. "I should have guessed that one."
There was nothing at first, just the crackling of the record. But then they heard something: a voice. They listened.
Then the record stopped.
"I don't think your parents sent you that record, Hermione." Harry said quietly.
"Who cares who sent it!" she screamed, "Professor Dredfule is in trouble!"
The three of them rushed out of the common room to see if they could find someone who could help them.
* * *
Who they found was Snape. Or, more to the point, Snape had found them. He was wandering towards them, a hurt look on his face. He had make-up smeared on his face and mascara was running down his cheeks. He looked like a psychotic raccoon that had been hit by a lightning storm, as far as the hair was concerned.
As he approached the trio, they heard him muttering: "Loves herdoesn't love mesweet, sweet Pennymy little Goddess of Smut."
Hermione approached him. "Um, Professor Snape?"
Snape jumped, almost as if he was shocked to find someone else in the halls of the school. "Oh, Miss Granger. How are you?" he said softly.
"We're not doing to well, Professor." She proceeded to tell him what they had heard on the Beatles' White Album.
Snape snapped to attention. "The Temple of Isis? Are you sure that's what it said?"
"Yes, Professor," Hermione replied, "What are you going to do about it? We have to help her!"
"You stay here, children, stay right where you are. Stay in the common room, yes, I think that's best. I shan't be long, stay right here, alright children?"
He flew through the halls. As Hermione, Ron and Harry watched his retreat with great awe, they heard him say: "Don't worry, Penny! Your little Smut Boy will save you!"
* * *
Snape entered the Temple.
On the altar he saw a giant black book. Beside the altar was the Living Goddess. She had a terrified look on her face, which seemed to be telling him to stay away.
"Penny?" he said, quietly.
"Not quite," said a voice from the shadows, "but close enough. PETRIFICUS TOTALUS!" The voice roared.
Snape felt himself go rigid, much as Dinah had only hours before. Snape watched the figure from the shadows step into the light and gasped. "Who would have thought that spell would have worked twice?" The man smiled.
"Hello Snape." Said Keef. "Remember me?"
* * *
Sheryll was in her room, enjoying a cup of tea. Her nerves were on edge and she wanted to talk to Penny very badly. But she knew Penny wasn't finished the book yet and until then would not go to see her.
She wanted to help Penny, but there were things that Penny had to first. Sheryll, of course, knew what Penny would become, but Penny must discover that, and her powers, on her own. Sheryll could not push her. This much she knew.
But the waiting was killing her. Her tea wasn't calming her and her new book "It's Me! Gilderoy Lockhart! I Know Who I Am!" wasn't holding her attention either. She wished Penny would hurry up and finish reading so they could discuss what they would do.
As well, Sheryll knew who Keef was. She just wasn't sure what he was planning. That is where Penny could help her. Together they would stop him before it went too far.
Whatever "it" was.
Sheryll was pulled out of her thoughts by her cat, Poly. He was meowing incessantly, clawing at the door.
"What is it, Polly? Is mommy not paying enough attention to you?"
Poly continued to claw at the door. He then turned to face her and gave her what was unmistakably a look of impatience.
"What is it, Poly?" Sheryll whispered.
Poly pawed the door, and looked at her.
Sheryll got up and went to him. "Did you want to show me something?"
Poly gave her a look of happiness and meowed loudly. "Alright," she said, "lets go." Sheryll grabbed her wand and opened the door.
Poly seemed to know where he was going and was soon leading her to the bowels of the castle; right towards the Temple of Isis.
* * *
Penny had only two more pages to go in "The Book". So intent was she on her reading that she did not notice Morris.
He was pawing at the door and meowing.
Penny Dredfule Chapter Thirteen
It Ain't Over Till Isis Sings
Morris was meowing. And pawing at the door.
Penny looked up from "The Book" when Morris meowed in a particularly irritated way. "What is it baby?" she asked. Morris rubbed the door with his head. "Did you want to show me something, Morris?" Morris meowed again and butted the door with his head. He sat in front of the door and began howling. He looked at Penny with a look that said: "Get your fanny moving, do I have to do everything for you?"
Penny got the hint. She picked up her wand and followed Morris out of her rooms.
* * *
Penny rushed to follow Morris, who was leading her right towards the Temple of Isis. She was so intent on following Morris' small, black form that she did not see Sheryll until she had smacked into her.
"Temple of Isis?"
"Follow the cats!"
"Let's go, girl!"
* * *
Harry, Ron and Hermione were still sitting in the Gryffindor common room. Three hours had gone by and still no one had come back for them.
"There seems to be something missing." Ron said.
"I know what you mean," said Hermione. "Aren't we usually doing something?"
"My scar usually hurts about now." Said Harry. "And it's not hurting. Something's not right."
"Do you think we should go find somebody?" Hermione asked.
"Probably a good idea. All your ideas are great ones, Hermione." Ron replied.
"You think so?"
"I know so."
"Oh, for bloody sake!" Harry exclaimed, "Can we get going, please?"
They exited the common room and headed for the owlery. "What are we going to do there?" Ron asked.
"We have to tell Dumbledore!" Harry said, "He went to the Ministry of Magic!"
"Why would he do that?" Hermione asked.
"Idon't know." Harry replied.
"Don't we usually know more of what's going on before we charge in blindly?"
"Well," Ron replied, "what you going to do?"
They rushed towards the owlery and ran right into Professor McGonagall.
"Professor McGonagall! You have to come with us!"
"Why, children? What seems to be the matter?"
There was a pause. Then Hermione spoke. "We don't know, really, but we know that Professor Dredfule is in trouble!"
"Penny! Where is she, children?"
"In the Temple of Isis, Professor." Ron replied.
"Lead the way! We have to help her!" Professor McGonagall said.
There was another pause. "We were hoping you knew where it was."
"Oh, for bloody sake!" Professor McGonagall screamed.
"It's not like you to swear, Minerva."
They all turned around. Standing there, looking slightly out of breath, was Albus Dumbedore. "Quick," he said, "what's going on?"
Harry explained to Dumbledore what they had heard on the Beatles White Album. "So," he said in response, "Keef sent that owl. Quick, now. We have to help Penny before it's to late!"
* * *
Penny and Sheryll raced through hallways and down stairs, trying to keep up with Morris and Poly. "What do you think we're going to find there?" Penny asked.
"I don't know, Penny!" Sheryll gasped. "I don't know how powerful Keef has gotten, but I have to tell you something! You have power in you that you can not begin to dream of! You have to trust yourself to use it!"
"But I don't know how!"
"You have to find a way! I know you can, Penny! You just have to look within yourself!"
They stopped suddenly. They were at the entrance to the Temple of Isis.
* * *
The door opened, as if by Magic. Penny and Sheryll stepped in and looked around them. Dinah, the Living Goddess, was tied and bound, standing to the right of the altar. Snape was tied to the altar. Keef was walking towards them.
"Hello, Penny. Did you have a happy Valentine's Day?" He smiled.
"What are you doing here, Keef?" Sheryll asked.
"Can an Enchanter not take a vacation?" he asked. "Surely there's no rule against that?"
"You don't belong here, Keef."
"I know!" he said gleefully, "That's what makes it so delicious. Now, I'm sorry to get right to the point ladies, but down to business."
With that, ropes flew out of the air and tied Sheryll up from head to toe. She fell to the ground, the ropes cutting off her circulation. "You can do it, Penny." She whispered.
Penny looked at Keef with malice. "Can I ask a stupid question?"
"There's no such thing as a stupid question, ask away."
"What the hell is this all about? I know about you sucking power out of me, I know who I'm supposed to be, I know why you're doing all this, but what's this all about? Why do you have Snape tied to the altar?"
"If you had bothered to read further, Penny darling, you would have known. But, (take this comma out) I can't put you at fault for being a slow reader. The answer is simple. Revenge."
"For what he did to you? But why here? Why in the Temple?"
"Let me explain. It's really simple when you get to the nitty gritty of it. And I happen to love nitty gritty, don't you?"
He walked over to the altar, (take this comma out) and leaned against its edge, elbowing Snape in the ribs. "When you lose your power, it's a terrible thing, really. But it takes relatively little to get it back."
"You mean that's what's going on here? You're performing a spell?"
"Very good, Penny. You are a bright one, aren't you? Yes, it's quite a simple concept. First, I had to have enough power to do the spell. That's where you came in. Just think, you have a part in what's about to happen. Isn't that ironic?" He chuckled. "And (take out the word 'and') secondly, I have to kill the man who caused me to lose my powers."
There was a pause. Finally, Penny spoke. "You mean I have to save him?"
"That is correct."
"You've got to be kidding me!"
"No, I'm afraid not."
"Well, don't worry about it, Penny." Keef crooned. "I see no way you can save him anyway. It's quite tragic you being the hero. It's such a shame, really." He paused, as if in thought. "Oh well, as they say, it ain't over until the fat lady sings, is that not so?" He laughed at his own joke. "And I don't see any fat ladies here. Such a shame that things should turn out this way." He pulled a long knife out of his robes and went behind the altar.
Penny felt her self-worth wavering. What kind of an Enchantress was she, if she couldn't stop one man? She was supposed to have all this power and she had no idea how to use it.
Penny stared in desperation at Dinah's tied up body, unable to prevent desecration in her temple. The Temple of Isis. The Temple of.
Isis! She was portrayed as being a rather large woman! We DO have a fat lady, thought Penny. She turned to look at Sheryll on the ground. "Trust in Isis, Penny." Sheryll said, "Give yourself to and she will save you."
Penny concentrated. She had no idea how to summon Isis, but she had to try. She searched around in her head for something that would help her. Her brain stopped and thought about the Pagan Studies class she had taken in university. There had been an entire unit that covered Isis and all of her deeds. What Penny remembered most was a chant that had been in her textbook. It went like this:
Isis is the Earth of my Body
Isis is the Water of my Blood
Isis is the Air of my Breath
And the Fire of my soul.
"Isis is the Earth of my Body." Penny said aloud. A hum started to grow in the air around the Temple. It seemed to be coming from the very walls of the Temple, an answer to a long forgotten prayer.
"Isis is the Water of my Blood." Penny said, raising her hands above her head. She blinked her eyes. Her left eye glowed a soft amber colour. Her right eye glowed a sultry purple. The ground around her began to shake, as if it were encasing something that badly wanted out.
At this point, Keef looked up from what he was doing, held sway by the music of the walls around him and the ground below him. He had a worried look on his face.
"Isis is the Air of my Breath." Penny said. Except the voice did not belong to Penny. It was a voice that commanded respect. It was a voice older than time. The walls began to shake with glee, their Goddess was almost here. The very Earth could feel it.
Keef now looked terrified. And he had peed himself.
"AND THE BLOOD OF MY SOUL!" Penny screamed, although Penny was no longer. When Keef looked away and then back again, what he saw chilled his blood.
Before him, floating a few feet above the ground, was a beautiful woman. It was indeed Penny, but her beauty was enhanced by something that came before time. Her hair seemed to blow in a wind all her own. Her eyes, which before were only glowing, were now a blinding mix of purple and amber.
And her hands. Her hands glowed as well. Her left hand purple her right hand amber. The star on her left hand seemed to burn the atmosphere around her.
"WHY DO YOU PLAN TO DESECRATE MY TEMPLE?" Isis said. Her voice seemed to stroke the air around her, which whispered in response.
"Um, duh?" Keef replied.
"I REPEAT. WHY DO YOU PLAN TO DESECRATE MY TEMPLE? IT IS OLDER THAN TIME AND YOU PLAN TO DEFILE IT WITH YOUR WORTHLESSNESS! I ASK YOU, WHY!"
Keef, apparently, could come up with no satisfactory response.
"BE GONE FROM MY SIGHT! YOUR EVIL ENDS NOW!" The Goddess Isis thrust out her left hand.
A bolt of gold light shot out of the star on Pennys left hand and hit Keef squarely in the forehead. He fell backwards, stunned.
And Penny fell to the ground.
* * *
Harry, Ron, Hermione, McGonagall and Dumbledore flew into the Temple of Isis, only to find Keef stunned, Penny out cold on the ground, and Dinah untying Snape and Sheryll.
"Is everything alright here?"
"They will be fine." Dinah replied. "There is nothing to worry about."
McGonagall caught site of Penny on the ground and ran to her. She held her still form and rocked her slowly. "What happened, will she be alright?"
"As I said, she'll be fine. She is the Goddess Isis, and used her powers for a short time to stop Quirrell. That can take a lot out of a person. She just needs time to rest."
Dumbledore, in the mean time, had secured Keef with the very ropes he used to tie up Dinah and Sheryll. There was also a protection spell put on the ropes to stop Keef from escaping. There was a sound and Penny opened her eyes.
Ron and Hermione looked at each other and flew into each other's arms.
"Oh, Bloody Hell! Can't you people give it a break!" screamed Harry.
Sheryll and Dumbledore shared a good laugh, while Sheryll picked up Poly to give him a belly rub. Dumbledore, however, had stopped laughing. He was looking at Harry's right hand.
"Harry," he said. "Where did you get that ring?"