The Many Faces of Harry Potter 35

“The Many Faces of Har—er, Adira Potter: Chapter 35”
By = Fayanora

Chapter Thirty-five: The Date and The Sleepwalker

Note 1: Text in 'Italics and British quotes' is Parseltongue.

Note 2: Once more, I apologize for the bits and pieces of canon dialogue/narration here and there. But some canon scenes are just too good to change much.

Note 3: I have different styles for the internal speech of Alastair, Adira, Zoey, #Iliana (bold, italic, underlined, and now between hashtags/pound signs because some people's computers don't do the B.I.U.).# , {Tier}, ~Chandra,~ and %Mother%.

Note 4: All hail Our Lady Of Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling!

Note 5: A guest commented “You got rid of the main character, so to me this is no longer a Harry Potter fanfic.” My comment: “SIGH. Harry is transgender in this fic. Harry is a trans girl in this fic. Her new name is Adira. This is not the same thing as getting rid of Harry as a character, it's just a change to the character. I really wish people would stop making ignorant comments like this.”

And frankly, even if I had gotten rid of Harry and replaced him, it would still be a relevant plot point. In our own collective, we're not actually sure whether or not our “host” (the “original” person in this body) is even still alive, because we're not sure Tempest is actually the host or not. It's complicated why that is, too much so to get into here, but still... we aren't sure. And we personally know at least one other collective where their host isn't exactly dead, but is so shriveled and weak for Reasons that she might as well be dead. It's kind of sad, actually, because her parents think she's the same person as before but no, the host left someone else in her place to pretend to be her.

That said, I'm not going to do that with this fic. More likely I'll save it for one of my original stories.

*FAYANORA*

“The Many Faces of Har—er, Adira Potter: Chapter 34”
By = Fayanora

Chapter Thirty-four: Turmoil

*FAYANORA*

On the morning of the Friday before the Hogsmeade weekend, Iliana got an owl from Healer Young at breakfast. She was confused, as she hadn't been expecting a letter from him. She opened it and read it.

Dear Adira,

I want to express my anger on your behalf over that horrible Skeeter woman's article about you. She truly is a disgusting human being, and I'm sorry you have to put up with her lies.

I was also wondering if it would be alright if I could send the Prophet a letter to the editor correcting some of her ridiculous lies and half truths on your behalf. I won't include any information from our sessions, obviously. Just what I know of you from times we've met outside of sessions. Is that fine by you? If not, I'm sorry I brought it up.

If you agree to this, let me know which parts of the article I should and shouldn't address.

Yours in fellowship,
Healer Yonas Young

It was difficult to know what to have him address or not, especially now that Iliana and Luna had planned a date for the next day, but with some help from Iliana and the others, working off and on through the day, they got a list together for him and sent it off with Hedwig.

~

During their next occlumency class with Dumbledore later that day, they had a vision of Sirius's library at night, which they recognized from a previous session. A few minutes later, they saw a scene from the Hogwarts library at night, in a part of the library they'd certainly never been to at night, as far as they knew. This added to Adira's existing suspicions about the cause of their increasing number of tired days. Iliana wasn't convinced, though, and Al scoffed at the very idea.

Are you trying to say you think there's someone in our head that only comes out at night? Who manages to drive the body while it's asleep and sneak into the school library at night without getting caught? How can you be sure one of us isn't just sleepwalking?

I can't, yet, but now that I'm suspicious, I'm remembering some other things. That book that was missing from Sirius's library for a while before mysteriously showing up again, the books we had to stop reading because of massive amounts of deja vu, and books in our collection we didn't recognize, for starters.

Sounds like circumstantial evidence at best, to me. Maybe we're just forgetful. There's a whole bunch of us, and some of us were missing for a while.

Yes, well... it's enough to justify further investigation.

I guess that's a fair point. How do you plan to investigate?

I don't know. But I'll work something out.

# I might as well help out, # Iliana said.

~

Before going to bed the night before her date, Iliana put a sign on the doorknob just in case they were right about someone new sneaking around at night. The sign said “Whoever you are, we know you exist. It's safe to talk to us. You don't have to hide.”

When she woke up the next morning, the sign was undisturbed. This didn't prove or disprove anything, unfortunately.

She got up and looked around the room for any signs of the hidden Other having been here. It took her almost half an hour, but finally she found a possible clue: there was some bunching in the rug that indicated the trunk had been shoved out of position and whoever had done it hadn't bothered to put it back right. But as clues went, it was pretty much useless; one of them might have done it without realizing. So she looked for more clues, but nothing else was apparent.

Now that I think about it, if this person is hiding, it stands to reason they're not going to respond to us, as that would kind of give them away. Assuming there's actually anyone there.

Fair point, that.

Iliana got ready for her day, dressing for her date with Luna, and went down for breakfast. On the way, she ran right into Professor McGonagall.

“Sorry, Professor.”

“It's alright, Miss Potter, I'm not hurt. Are you?”

“No. You going to breakfast too?”

“No, I've already eaten. I was, in fact, coming back from the Great Hall. It's a bit late in the morning for breakfast, isn't it?”

“It's still going, isn't it?”

“Well, yes. But you're usually such an early riser, aren't you?”

“No Quidditch this year. I've been sleeping in.”

“I see. Well--”

“Speaking of that,” Iliana interrupted, “we think there's another new person in our collective. Well, relatively new. They've been sneaking into the library at night all school year long, we think. But the evidence is pathetic; just some images in our head sometimes. We tried getting confirmation last night, but it didn't pan out.”

“Oh? What did you try?”

“We left a sign on the doorknob inviting them to stop hiding, but when we woke up this morning, it was still there. The only other thing was a rug bunched up a little. Lame, I know.”

McGonagall looked thoughtful, though.

“Wait, do you know something?”

“I'm not sure, Miss Potter, but there have been odd things going on around the school since you started here. Filch has been complaining about Mrs. Norris taking longer than usual in the library for the last few years, like she can smell something but not well enough to catch anyone. During the same span, Ms. Pince has been complaining about finding books slightly out of alignment, like someone was putting them away in the dark. Percy Weasley once mentioned having bumped into someone invisible by the library, weeks after the fact when something reminded him of it. He'd been distracted at the time by Peeves, who threw ink in his face.

“Then,” she continued after clearing her throat, “speaking of Peeves, last year he claimed someone was sneaking around down by the Slytherin dorm entrance. Made a huge racket about an intruder at the height of the Sirius Black panic, brought a dozen teachers and prefects running. When Professor Snape questioned him, he indicated in his usual infuriating manner that someone invisible had been sneaking around, and tried to hex him. At the time, we attributed it to his usual mischief-making, but there have been other little things here and there to indicate the mysterious night-time library visitor was visiting the Slytherin corridor as well.”

“Really? That's odd.”

“Well, it's possible they were on their way to the kitchens and got stopped by Peeves that one night.”

“Huh. Well the plot thickens, as they say.”

“Of course, it's entirely possible these are all unconnected incidents, but as you say, you suspect someone in your group of sneaking around at night. So it's a logical possibility.”

“Yeah. Years, though? That's odd. I only became aware of the possibility this year.”

“Yes, a great many little things that make sense together, Miss Potter. Even Mr. Rahasyamay's astounding demonstration of practical arithmancy, when he unstuck Misters Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle from one another.”

“Really?” she asked, intrigued. “Why do you think that's relevant?”

“Well, unless someone in there is teaching themselves Arithmancy at a high level and passing it on to Mr. Rahasyamay at least, I don't see how else he could have peeled apart that spell without it exploding. Come to that, I don't see how he'd even know it was possible without knowing at least some arithmancy.”

“Makes sense I suppose. Were there any other reports?”

“Oh let's see... only other thing I can think of offhand is the occasional misplaced book in the library that Ms. Pince was certain were in their right places when she closed up the night before (most of which have been arithmancy books lately).”

“Huh. Well I can only remember one of us going to the library at night, and it was just one time. Adira – Harry at the time – went into the Restricted Section to try to find out about Nicolas Flamel, and had the misfortune to open a screaming book.”

“Ah yes, I remember hearing about that from Filch. It wouldn't have mattered which book you'd chosen, either; in that section, they're all spelled to scream if someone opens them without authorization, especially at night.”

“Good to know. By the way, if you had all these reports like that, how come nobody ever accused us of doing it? We're the only body in this school known to own an invisibility cloak.”

“Well Professor Snape suspected you, of course, but there was never any proof, and the Disillusionment Charm exists, so we never accused you. Also, Professor Dumbledore indicated at least once that if you were skilled enough to leave no more trace than that and not get caught, then that was an impressive accomplishment in his opinion.”

“Uh, okay,” Iliana said, her stomach growling. “Anyway, I gotta go if I'm gonna get breakfast, Professor.”

“Enjoy your meal, Miss Potter,” McGonagall said with a small smile before walking off.

Iliana nodded, and went on to breakfast.

Sitting down across from Hermione, she immediately began piling food onto her plate as fast as possible and held her plate away from the table in case the house elves whooshed it away before she could eat it. Hermione watched this, looking up from her newspaper every now and then. When Iliana finally put her plate down on the table again, her eating slower now, Hermione slid the newspaper over to her.

“Here, read this,” Hermione said.

“UGH! What now?” she said, voice weary with resignation.

“It's good news. Read the 'letters to the editor' section.”

Iliana opened the paper and scanned it until she saw what Hermione was likely talking about. It was a letter from Healer Young.

Subject: Inaccuracies in a recent article.

Dear Editor of the Daily Prophet,

I am writing to address inaccuracies in a recent article by one Rita Skeeter. Specifically, I am responding to her article about 'Harry Potter' being attention-seeking and manipulative. First, I wish to point out that Skeeter is using the wrong name. The child formerly known as Harry Potter is legally now named Adira Potter, and should always be referred to as such, for her previous name is no longer relevant as it is no longer her name. I find it very hypocritical of Ms. Skeeter to claim to be defending transgender people while using the wrong name and pronouns for a now openly transgender individual.

I can also say with great confidence, having met the Potter collective on several occasions, that every personality living in that body are kind and gentle souls who despise their fame, hate the attention it brings them, and want nothing more than to be as normal as possible. None of them would play around with someone else's emotions; it wouldn't even occur to them to do so. They are all honest and up-front with their friends, and naturally defensive around people like Ms. Skeeter who consistently tell falsehoods about them.

On that note, I can attest that Ms. Skeeter's claim that “none of the top experts at St. Mungo's” have heard of Potter's condition is a lie, because I am a Mind Healer at St. Mungo's and am as much of an expert in the condition as it is possible to be, without having the condition oneself. The condition may be relatively unknown in the wizarding community, but the Muggles are much more aware of it. Awareness of the condition, called Multiple Personality Disorder – or Multiple Consciousness Complex as I prefer to call it – has even permeated their popular culture, even if these popular depictions are highly inaccurate in an often malicious way.

Yes, there are many in the Muggle sciences of psychology and psychiatry who disbelieve in the condition, but those communities also have a great many people held in high esteem who believe in the condition. There is even more evidence of the condition from the Potter collective. During the First Task, they cast multiple corporeal patronuses at once, and each member of the Potter collective has a different patronus. From previous experience with the same charm, all their patronuses are consistently tied to a particular individual. As the majority of experts on the Patronus Charm will agree, the patronus is a reflection of a person's soul. There is no known way, even by the likes of Dumbledore, to purposefully change your patronus. Nor has anyone on record ever cast multiple patronuses at once. The fact that they can all make different Patronuses – and many patronuses at the same time – tells us that there are multiple souls in that one body, however this came to be.

But on a less esoteric level, Ms. Skeeter's claim that the Potters lost their temper during a civil conversation is patently false. I spoke with several witnesses of the incident in question, and the conversation was far from civil. Along with Ms. Skeeter using the wrong name and pronouns for the individual whose face was presented at the time, the conversation started with Iliana Potter overhearing Ms. Skeeter talking about falsifying an article about Ludo Bagman and calling her out on her lies, as well as berating Ms. Skeeter for violating the privacy of one of her friends, Mr. Hagrid, whose kindly character was falsely assassinated by Ms. Skeeter in this paper. Ms. Skeeter's response to this was to again use the wrong name and try to leverage Ms. Potter into an interview by offering to give a truer account of Mr. Hagrid, which Ms. Potter naturally declined, seeing as Ms. Skeeter seems incapable of telling the truth. What finally precipitated the argument turning to hexes was when Ms. Skeeter insulted another friend of Ms. Potter's, right to this very friend's face. The hex in question was a harmless one, sticking Ms. Skeeter to the ceiling, which was surely more annoying than anything else.

Furthermore, I spoke with everyone I could find at the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, and none of them have any recollection of being called to Hogsmeade that day, or any other day within that week. The spell that Ms. Skeeter insists required such imaginary assistance wore off in 20 minutes, as she knew it would, Ms. Potter having told her so. And from eyewitness reports, it seems the spell even made her drift slowly to the ground, so no harm was done. Ms. Skeeter's only wound from the incident was, by all accounts, to her pride. What's more, the spell only affected Ms. Skeeter, which makes sense; Ms. Potter had no quarrel with Ms. Skeeter's photographer.

As to the relationships held by the members of the Potter collective, they are of no concern to anyone but the people these relationships involve, and such speculation is best left to the pages of gossip magazines, not to serious newspapers. Perhaps the editors of the Daily Prophet should put a tighter reign on what their reporters write, to avoid low-quality writing getting into their paper.

I would like to end with a reminder to Ms. Skeeter that Ms. Adira Potter and her godfather Sirius Black are both very wealthy individuals, and that – understanding I do not speak for anyone but myself – if I were to have their riches, I would be very tempted to sue both Ms. Skeeter and the Daily Prophet for libel, if Ms. Skeeter were writing such lies about me.

Sincerely,
Healer Yonas Young

Iliana burst out laughing at this, Ron grabbing the paper from her as she fell off her seat onto the floor, laughing fit to burst.

“Miss Potter!” an annoyed voice said, bringing her to attention. It was Snape.

She immediately stopped laughing and got up off the floor.

“Miss Potter,” he said more quietly now that she was sitting up. “If you do not wish to miss your Hogsmeade trip today, I suggest you keep the noise down in the Great Hall.”

“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.”

“Good. Ten points from Griffindor, Potter.”

She nodded, but he was already swooping away like a human bat. She sat back on her chair and went back to her food.

Halfway through her hurried meal, Luna came over and stood next to her, looking a little nervous, but excited.

“Sorry to come bother you during your meal, Iliana. You can focus on your food. I just wanted to sit over here until you were ready, if you don't mind.”

Swallowing, Iliana said, “Sure thing, Luna. I don't mind at all. In fact, I welcome it.”

“Oh, good. Thank you, Iliana.” Luna sat down primly next to Iliana.

Iliana noticed that Luna was dressed nicer than usual. She hadn't done anything new with her hair, but she was wearing a dress that was a riot of sunflowers. Luna's shoes were also shiny and black and flat-soled. Everything else was the same for Luna, necklace of butterbeer corks and radish earrings included. Iliana felt better now about her own simple blue dress, black shoes, and silver earrings. She also wondered what Luna's 'nicer things' that she left home looked like, if this was the nicest of her normal clothing she brought to school.

“Excited?” Iliana asked, as something to say.

“Yes. I've never been on a date before. I never thought I would, either. Even if I had, I never would have expected it would be with another girl. But I like you a lot, Iliana, so it feels good.”

“Ditto to all that. What should we do?”

“I don't know. What do people usually do on dates?”

“No idea. Only thing any of us have been on that might have been considered a date was when Al went out to eat once with Javier. So I don't really have much experience.”

“We could eat somewhere in Hogsmeade later, if you want. That sounds lovely.”

“I agree. So that's one thing added to our plan for the day. Er... we could also go to the shops. Like Honeyduke's, Zonko's, and some of the others. I know there's a place to buy wizarding equipment and supplies, as well.”

“I've been to Honeyduke's before, that's always fun. I haven't been inside Zonko's before, though. A little too noisy for me, but if you want to go, I can tolerate it for you.”

“Oh? Well, I don't really get anything there usually. It's more Zoey's thing.”

They kept talking about possibilities as Iliana finished and they went outside and started going down to Hogsmeade. They walked a bit awkwardly at first, but as they got into the flow of conversation, that eased up somewhat. Luckily, their tardiness in getting started meant that there was no sign of Malfoy or his goons.

“So I like your dress, Luna. It's very colorful, and nice.”

“Thank you, Iliana. Yours is nice as well.”

“Not nearly as nice as yours, just a plain blue dress. By the way, how are those modifications to your trunk going for you?”

“My things have stayed put since then. The trunk keeps most of the nargles away from my things. Though sometimes I forget to put things back, and they go missing again.”

“What are you missing now?”

“I'm currently missing my beetle earrings, some stripey socks, and a book called 'Easy Spells to Fool Muggles.'”

“Okay, I'll help you find them later. For now, though, we're almost to the village.”

When they got into the village, the first place they went was Honeyduke's, which was packed with people. Luna stood close to Iliana the whole time, looking uncomfortable with the noise, or perhaps just the closeness of it all. Iliana noted privately that if Honeyduke's was enough to bother her, it was no wonder she didn't like Zonko's. Aside from being more packed than Honeyduke's most Hogsmeade trips, it was also louder to begin with, with the bangs and pops and other loud noises from the prank items.

While they were at Honeyduke's, Iliana bought Luna a blooming chocolate rose made of actual chocolate, which doubtless utilized a spell similar to the one that animated the chocolate frogs. Even better, it smelled like a real rose. Luckily, rose petals are edible anyway.

After Honeyduke's, they checked out Dervish and Banges, the wizarding equipment shop, admiring the various items on display. Luna told her about a store at Diagon Alley that was also a wizarding equipment shop, but catering to people like Luna and her father. Iliana smiled at this, curious what such a place would look like.

Next, they wandered to Tomes and Scrolls, a bookstore. Unsurprisingly, Hermione was there, browsing their selection. She tried pretending she couldn't see them, to respect their privacy, but it was plain she was curious how their date was going. They didn't stop to talk, though.

They'd each bought books there, and Luna didn't have anywhere to put her own books, so Iliana put them in her little bigger-on-the-inside bag around her neck, which Luna was so fascinated by that they went back to Dervish and Banges to get one for herself. It was a bit too expensive for her to get herself, so Iliana offered to get it for her.

“You already got me that chocolate rose, though.”

“A trifle,” Iliana said. “I don't mind buying this for you. Whether we're girlfriends yet or not, we're still friends. Let me get this for you.”

“Oh, well... if you want to, I suppose so.”

“Good. I don't like to tell people this, in case they think I'm bragging, but my parents left me a fortune, so this is no issue for me. Heck, we're the source of all those Nimbus 2001's the school got back in second year. Er, I guess that would've been your first year.”

Luna's eyes went wider than usual. “Wow, Iliana, that must have cost a lot.”

“Most expensive thing we've ever bought. Was very nearly physically painful, spending so much, even though we knew we could. Even what I spent on that chocolate rose is more money than we used to have in our whole life, with the Dursleys.”

“Well thank you very much, Iliana. I hope, whatever happens, we'll always be friends.”

“Me too.”

They'd started so late that by then, it was lunchtime. So they went over to The Three Broomsticks to order some lunch and butterbeers. Iliana looked carefully around the room, but didn't see a certain annoying reporter or her sidekick. So they sat down and ordered, talking idly while they waited for their food, then between bites as they ate.

They talked about this and that; Luna talked of how her father's magazine, The Quibbler, was doing, and some of the content of it. Iliana was having so much fun she didn't notice most of the people looking at the two of them; either these others were remembering the Prophet article, or word had gotten around about their date. She found she didn't really care, either way.

One person in particular she failed to notice was someone she would have liked to have known was there, a certain someone who spotted them leaving the Three Broomsticks hand in hand and walking down the main street again, talking and exploring. A someone who grinned to herself and began to follow them, to see what she could dig up.

“So what should we do now?” Iliana asked. “We've been to Honeydukes, been to the book store and the wizarding equipment shop, and we just ate. What else is there to do around here?”

“I don't know. The Owl Post Office, a greengrocer's, I think there's an herbology store, a hat shop, a potions shop, and I think there's a sports equipment shop as well. Oh, and Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop, but I don't like that place. Too small and cramped, and it's much too popular with couples.”

“Yeah, and Gladrags, Ollivanders, the hair salon... not many useful options. Well, I'm out of ideas, Luna. For now. I'm sure I can think of something later. I think my nerves are freezing my brain a little.”

Luna paused, standing still and thinking for a few moments. Then she took Iliana's hand again.

“Come on, I want to show you a nice little place I know about.”

“Er, okay. Lead on.”

Luna led her down the main road of Hogsmeade and down past the stile at the end of it. They hung a left after a few minutes and walked along a dirt path that looked carved once by simple wear and tear of people's feet, but was now returning to nature. The path climbed up a hill covered in dry grass that had patches of snow on it, winding around the hill in a vague spiral. The climb was rather steep, the path getting narrower and narrower, rocks and even small boulders becoming more common as they got higher up. Iliana strongly suspected this path was a deer path, as both she and Luna were sweating and panting with the effort of the climb, and the going was slow because the path was so narrow.

After nearly a quarter hour's difficult climb, they came out at the relatively flat top, where a huge oak stood tall, its barren branches only just starting to turn green with buds.

The view from under the tree showed them the whole village, and the castle in the distance. It didn't look quite as nice as it probably did at other times in the year, this being only the beginning of March, but it was still a very nice view. Beautiful, in a transitional sort of way.

“I like to come up here on Hogsmeade weekends,” Luna said. “It's nice and secluded. Strangely, nobody else seems to have found it. At least, I've never seen anyone else up here. But then, it is a bit of a climb.”

“That's an understatement, Luna. I'd call that a hike.”

There was a raised spot by one side of the tree that turned out to be the perfect spot for the two of them to sit and just watch the idyllic scene together while leaning back against the trunk of the tree.

“We're not out of bounds up here, are we?”

Luna shrugged. “Is it important? As long as we get back to the school before dinner, nobody's likely to look for us up here.”

Iliana's face felt hot to her, then. She wasn't sure why Luna had brought her up here. As much as she liked Luna, she didn't want to rush into anything. Especially since she wasn't entirely sure she could avoid exploding again, and an explosion up here could send Luna or them both falling to their deaths.

Luna leaned her head against Iliana, watching the village below. Perhaps hearing Iliana's heart beating fast, she said, “Just relax, Iliana, and enjoy the view. You said before that my energy is placid and calming to you, when you let yourself get lost in it. Well this scene is like that for me. You should try to feel the same way. I promise that's the only reason I brought you here. For today, at least. Remember, I'm new to all this, too.”

“Oh. Well that's a relief,” Iliana said, and felt herself relax. She made a mental note to not relax too much; they didn't need to fall asleep up here and get in trouble.

After a minute, Luna added, “Well, there's also the fact that I know you don't like attention from people who aren't friends, and there's not much more private a place to spend time in Hogsmeade than up here.”

“It's lovely, Luna. Thank you for showing me this place. I can see the little buildings in the distance, like those collectible model houses you often see around Christmas time, except it's mostly spring now. Still cute and pretty, though.”

“Yes. And all the little people walking around down there, too.”

“And the grass and trees, the light and shadows. And it's just the two of us, nobody to bother us.”

“Yes, we'd see them coming before they could surprise us. But I don't think anyone will; I don't think anyone else knows about this place.”

Iliana nodded, sighing contentedly. Glancing down, she saw a fat beetle crawling on her left hand and flicked it away hard with her right, irrationally irritated by the insect's intrusion. The beetle hit a small boulder and fell to the ground by Luna's leg, on its back and looking very dazed by the impact, but eventually it managed to get back up on its feet, though it still looked very concussed, wobbling around drunkenly on its feet.

'What is this? Do I smell lunch?' came a quiet voice from inside Iliana's jacket. Aqua, their pet grass snake, slid out of her master's jacket and toward the concussed beetle, flicking her tongue at it hungrily. Oddly, Iliana thought she felt a spike of panic from the beetle before it hurriedly flew away, Aqua just missing it and bit air instead. Iliana frowned at this oddity, but was too drowsy and relaxed to think about it.

A strong breeze wafted through, making both girls shiver. Iliana cast warming charms on them both, and silently chided herself for not dressing more warmly. But then, she hadn't known they would be climbing to the top of a tall hill today. The chill woke her up some, so they were able to snuggle and talk again for a while.

“Any chance I could meet your dad over the summer, Luna?”

“Maybe. I haven't told him about us going on a date yet. He wouldn't mind, it's just that it didn't really feel real until now. But I think when I get back to my dorm, I'll write him a letter about it all.”

“Including my explosions?”

“Yes. He'll find it fascinating.”

“Have you written him about us before?”

“Oh yes. I told him about Chandra, and Al, and you, and Adira. I told him how you helped me keep track of my possessions by having people you trusted put strong wards on my trunk. Daddy is quite pleased that I have such good friends.”

“What did he think of the Yule Ball?”

“He was glad I had fun, even if I didn't have a date for it. Oh that reminds me, he wanted me to tell you 'thank you' for convincing me to go to the ball, because he hadn't seen me so happy in a long time.”

“I think I know how he feels. I like seeing you happy.”

Luna smiled more, which looked funny to Iliana because her view of Luna was upside-down. But Luna didn't have anything else to say just then, so she just snuggled closer to Iliana.

The wind through the tree's branches and the dry grass was soothing, like a lullabye. With the warming charm making them nice and toasty, nothing to talk about at the moment, and to sounds of nature soothing them, the two girls' eyelids got very heavy. Soon Iliana had Luna's regular breathing to add to the soporific sounds lulling her into an unplanned nap.

Iliana dreamed of flying through the air, without a broom, holding hands with Luna as the two of them swooped through the sky. In the way of dreams, they were trying to find somewhere specific, and kept getting turned around or distracted by things. Sometimes the dream had them underwater instead, but in a brighter-lit and more colorful place than the Black Lake.

Then they were flying again, until they began floating on a cottony cloud, but warm, Luna cradled in her arms as the warm, uniform light illuminated some passing geese flying in a V formation. One of the geese broke formation and flew right at her, but instead of honking, it shouted at her.

“MISS POTTER! WHERE THE DEVIL ARE YOU?”

She and Luna jolted awake, Iliana's wand out and pointing at the sound, which had emanated from a silvery cat, a patronus.

“Professor McGonagall?”

“IT'S ALMOST DINNERTIME AND NOBODY'S SEEN HIDE NOR HAIR OF YOU SINCE LUNCH! ARE YOU SAFE? ARE YOU STILL WITH MISS LOVEGOOD?”

The patronus winked out, then.

“How the heck does she expect me to reply? I don't know the talking patronus trick.”

“Well, try just talking to your regular patronus.”

“They usually go charging off before we can talk to them.”

“You usually expect it to do so. Try expecting it to wait.”

Nodding, Iliana concentrated on her patronus waiting for a message. “Expecto patronum!”

Her first few tries yielded nothing, as it was difficult thinking of a happy thought and expecting the patronus to wait at the same time, but on the fifth try, she got it.

Her shining silver Muggle-style Chinese dragon patronus burst out of her wand and then turned its head toward her, waiting.

“Um, tell Professor McGonagall that Luna and I are safe, and we'll be there soon as we can. We, er... we lost track of time.”

It cocked its head curiously at her, still not moving, otherwise.

“Well, go on, go tell her.”

It nodded, then flew off on a direct path to the village. As it did, she and Luna stood up, stretching to get the creakiness of sleeping against a tree out of their bodies. Luna was still stretching when Iliana looked at the treacherous path they had to climb down with apprehension. She was about to say something about it to Luna when McGonagall's cat patronus returned.

“Your rather clumsy talking patronus attempt aside, it's good to hear you're safe. I won't punish you this time for your tardiness, but try not to make a habit of it. Just come back safe. I'll be waiting at The Three Broomsticks for you.” Then it winked out again.

“Luna, how are we going to get down? I don't fancy the climb down now that I'm looking at it.”

“Oh, we don't need to climb down, silly,” Luna said, pulling her wand out from behind her ear.

“Why not?”

“Because I'll just cast Featherlight Charms on us, and we'll jump down.”

“Er, is that safe?”

“Sure it is. We'll float down to the ground like feathers. It'll take us no more than five minutes.”

“Well okay, I trust you. Hold on a moment first, though.”

'Aqua? Where are you?'

'I am back in your warmth, human,' Aqua said from inside Iliana's clothes. Now that she'd heard this, she felt the snake wrapped around her arm up against her skin.

“Okay, my pet snake it still with me. We can go.”

Luna first cast the charm on Iliana, then on herself. Iliana stood at the edge and looked down, too anxious to move. She'd never defied gravity without a broomstick or other visible means of support, before, except obviously in dreams.

“Do you need a push?” Luna asked.

“That would help, yes.”

Bracing herself against the ground first, Luna pushed Iliana off. There was a spike of panic, but luckily it didn't trigger any transformations before she realized she was floating, and felt the fear disappear.

By the time Luna jumped off, the top of the hill was already passing the top of Iliana's head. Luna used her wand to pull herself down a little faster so she could get close enough to Iliana to take her hand so they could float down the rest of the way together.

“By the way, Luna,” Iliana said as they floated down toward the ground, “I forgot to ask when your birthday is. We know Ron's, and Hermione's, so it's a huge oversight we forgot to ask you when yours is.”

“My birthday? It's the day before Valentine's Day.”

“Oh, sorry about that. I'll get you a belated birthday gift by owl order.”

“There's no need for that. You got me this nice pouch necklace. The fact you didn't know it was a birthday gift at the time makes no difference.”

“Er... well, maybe that's true for you. But I feel it's the intention as much as the gift itself. I want to get you something specifically for your birthday.”

“If you want to. But you don't have to. It's not your fault you didn't know. You've had a busy year.”

“Yeah, but we met last year, remember? So that's two birthdays I missed.”

Luna smiled. “You're such a generous, kind soul. One more thing to love about you.”

A sudden gust blew them off course, Iliana clutching Luna in a panic. Luna, though, calmly used her wand to pull them back on course.

“Well, er... happy belated birthday, Luna. You're 14 now, right?”

“Yes, I'm 14. The same age as you, until July 31st.”

“Oh crud, so I didn't know your birthday but you knew mine?”

“Hermione mentioned it in passing, once.”

“Wow, I feel like a bad friend.”

“Don't say that, Iliana. I don't like it when anyone bullies my friends, even when it's themselves they're doing it to, okay? You've got at least five different lives to juggle, it's only natural you'd forget or overlook a few things.”

Iliana blushed. “Er, sorry, Luna.”

Luna gently pinched Iliana's cheeks with a smile on her face. “You're forgiven, silly.”

Their feet touched ground, then. Before they could get blown away again, Luna canceled the charms and they were back to their normal weight.

When they got to The Three Broomsticks, a rather worried looking McGonagall spotted them and suddenly became more cross than worried.

“Took you long enough. Where were you two?”

Iliana looked at Luna, who smiled and nodded at her.

“We were on top of this tall hill with an oak tree on it, on the outskirts of the village.”

McGonagall blushed deep red, which made the two girls giggle. “You were on Makeout Point? Doing what, dare I ask?”

“Oh it has a name?” Luna said, interested. “I just knew it was a nice place to look at the village.”

“Yeah, that's all we were doing, was looking at the scenery,” said an embarrassed Iliana.

“Yes, it's called Makeout Point. I'm just rather surprised you were up there. Nobody's been there in decades, to my knowledge. A few too many people got hurt climbing up or back down again, it was banned for a decade, and strictly enforced enough that it's long since been forgotten.”

“We were just leaning against the tree, taking in the sights. We didn't do anything else. Er, except fall asleep, that is.”

“I believe you, Miss Potter. By the way, if you were all the way up there, how'd you get back so quickly? I was up there once in my youth, so I know it takes at least 20 minutes to climb down.”

“We floated down. A couple featherlight charms from Luna, we jumped, and floated down.”

“Really? Impressive spell-work, Miss Lovegood. Ten points to Ravenclaw. Well, come along before we miss dinner.”

“We weren't out of bounds up there, were we?”

McGonagall paused, thinking. “No. The ban was never actually made official, so it's not in any rule books anywhere. Just be careful, try not to get hurt, and don't stay up there so late next time.”

“Understood, Professor.”

As they walked back up to the castle, they explained how Luna had kept them from being blown away by the wind, to which McGonagall merely nodded. Then Iliana and Luna talked with each other while McGonagall pretended she couldn't hear them.

“Sorry we ended up spending most of the day asleep, Luna.”

“I had a lovely time, and that's what counts. What about you?”

“I had a wonderful time as well, Luna.”

They were passing through the gates of the school when Iliana leaned close to Luna's ear to whisper something to her. “If you go over to the Fat Lady's portrait after dinner, I think I can whip you up a belated birthday party. Then you can stay past curfew, and I'll sneak you back to Ravenclaw under my invisibility cloak. Between that and the Marauder's Map, we probably won't get caught. How does that sound?”

“Oooh,” Luna whispered back. “A birthday party? Well I suppose since it's not really my birthday anymore, it would be an un-birthday party. Sounds fun!”

“So you've read Lewis Carroll, I take it?” Iliana said aloud.

“Oh yes. I'm most fond of his Jabberwocky poem.”

Iliana laughed. “Doesn't surprise me at all, Luna.”

# Zoey, I believe we have a theme for our party, now. #

Excellent, because we're all mad here! NO ROOM! NO ROOM!

After dinner, sure enough, Zoey had enlisted the house elves to move away the furniture in the Griffindor common room and replace it with several tables in a row, with a great many chairs along them. The tables had tablecloths on them in lurid designs of purple Mad Hatter hats and Cheshire Cat grins, and the un-birthday feast was a grand tea-party complete with cakes, biscuits, pies, and fairy bread (that thankfully was NOT made of real fairies). Zoey was dressed as the Mad Hatter, of course, and costumed Luna as the March Hare (by her request), Hermione as Alice, Ron as the Mock Turtle, Fred and George as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Dean was the Dormouse, and the rest just came as they were.

For the first 10 or 15 minutes or so, Zoey, Dean, Luna, Hermione, Fred and George, and a couple others who knew the book acted out part of the Mad Tea-Party scene, which confused most of the others but amused many of them anyway. Then with that out of the way, it was time for Luna's un-birthday cake. It was a double-layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting with the words 'Happy Un-Birthday, Luna!' written on it. Zoey had transformed fourteen candles into 'Alice in Wonderland' character candles and put them on the cake, lighting them with her wand. Then Zoey and Hermione and Dean started singing 'The Un-Birthday Song,' the others joining in as they got the feel for the song, at the end of which Luna blew out the candles, or tried to. Zoey had made them into trick candles.

“If birthday candles blow out, un-birthday candles don't, of course!” Zoey said in a reasonable sort of tone.

Luna took her wand to the candles, and somehow their fires seemed to be sucked away through a pinhole from within.

“If you blow birthday candles out,” Luna explained calmly at their incredulous looks, “then it seems reasonable for un-birthday candles to be blown in.”

Zoey burst out laughing at this display of Ravenclaw wit, starting off a chain reaction. When everyone settled down somewhat, the cake started to get doled out.

They spent the rest of the time eating and drinking and celebrating, Zoey occasionally shouting “No room! No room!” at which point they would rotate places around the table like a game of musical chairs. And adding her own weird bit of flair to the proceedings, Zoey brewed up tea in a very large teacup, ladling it into very small teapots, from which everyone had to drink their tea unless they could convince her to change theirs into a cup, but of course Zoey was using Mad Hatter logic, so such discussions were frustrating yet amusing. However, she always ended up changing their teapots into cups in the end anyway, while stubbornly drinking her own tea from her own tiny teapot.

It was nearly midnight before the un-birthday party wound down, the house elves cleaning up and putting things back how they were before. So Zoey switched back to Iliana so the redhead could escort Luna back to Ravenclaw tower.

The entrance to the Ravenclaw dorm rooms was, of course, an eagle-head door knocker that asked riddles. The riddle it asked them this time was “My thunder comes before the lightning; my lightning comes before the clouds. My rain dries everything it touches. What am I?”

Iliana stared at the Eagle-head in confusion, then at Luna. Luna was looking thoughtful.

“Hmm... that's a tough one. Hold on...” she stood there for over a minute, Iliana getting more nervous by the second, shifting around anxiously and looking back at the Marauder's Map every few seconds, since they'd had to expose their heads to activate the knocker. Luna kept trying to work out the riddle, but Iliana heard a noise down the hall and lost patience.

“A thunderstorm in a time reversal!” she blurted out in panic.

“Well reasoned,” the knocker said, the door opening.

“Aha!” Luna said as she went in. “A volcano!”

“Correct,” said the knocker.

“G'night, Luna, see you tomorrow.”

“You too, Iliana. Thanks for the lovely time today.”

“You're welcome. You too. 'night!”

Iliana put the invisibility cloak on again hurriedly as Luna closed the door into the Ravenclaw dorms behind her, then headed back to her room, not relaxing until she got back inside. How their secret hiding sleepwalker could sneak out so frequently without massive anxiety strong enough to wake up the whole collective baffled her. But soon enough, she was back in bed and drifting off to sleep.

~

The next morning, they felt weird before they'd even started to wake. Their eyes opened, and they started groggily trying to figure out why they felt so weird. The first thing they realized was that Tier was the one driving. He opened his mouth to talk, and found he was having his usual difficulty talking.

He reached up to grab the body's hair, expecting Adira's or Iliana's hair, and finding short hair instead. Much too short to be from anyone but maybe Chandra. Curious, he got up and went over to the mirror.

Tier blinked at his reflection. It was a blast from the past: it was the form he'd changed to that one time they'd gotten stuck as a hybrid between himself and Iliana, once the hybridization had faded and they'd been left as Tier. He tried going back In, and found he couldn't. Zoey tried as well, to no avail. They were stuck. Tier sighed with resignation and went down to breakfast.

When he sat down at the Griffindor table, Hermione and Ron didn't immediately recognize him.

“Hey, who said you could--- wait, who are you? You look familiar,” Ron said.

“Tyair,” Tier said, mangling his own name.

“Woah, I recognize you now. Man, that was a long time ago. Wasn't that form from back in second year?”

Tier nodded.

“Oh wow, and Iliana was gonna hang out with Luna again.”

Tier nodded, more slowly, his eyes wider. It gave a distinct feeling of being sarcastic.

“What about Zoey?” Hermione asked.

He grunted.

“Oh, right. Of course you already tried that. Well, Luna will probably be thrilled to meet you.”

“Is it everyone who struggles to talk when you're Out?” Ron asked.

Tier nodded again, and started to eat.

“Hmm... I wonder why this happened to you.”

Grabbing his wand, he conjured a parchment, then with a tap of his wand put words on it.

“'I have a suspicion, but nothing more,'” Ron read out. The rest of the parchment's text explained about the sleepwalker they thought existed.

“But why would this sleepwalker get you lot stuck like that? You said they left the note on the door the other day. Wouldn't doing this to you be a bit of a dead giveaway?”

Tier shrugged.

Luna came over then.

“Hello Ron, Hermione. Have either of you seen Iliana?”

Ron pointed at Tier, who paused his eating. “They woke up as an old form of Tier for some reason.”

“Oh,” she said, turning to Tier. “Hi there, Tier. It's very nice to meet you. I'm Luna Lovegood.”

Tier bowed his head at her. He tapped the parchment with his wand again, getting her attention.

“'I am pleased to meet you as well, Luna. My condolences on Iliana being unavailable today.'”

“Oh that's alright, you can't help it. You and I can spend time together if you'd like. I understand you have difficulty talking, so I can help you with that.”

Tier raised an eyebrow.

“My mother would sometimes go mute from stress, for minutes to days at a time. So she taught Daddy and I Wizarding English Sign Language of the UK, or WESLUK for short. I could teach it to you. My mother died years ago, but Daddy and I still use it in her memory.”

Tier blinked wide-eyed at her, then bowed his head and torso at her. She smiled.

“We can start after breakfast, then, if you feel up to it.”

“Essaylawnt,” he said.

“Good,” she said. “Hermione, would you please pass the bacon?”

~

Tier was stuck in that form for two weeks, right through nifflers with Hagrid and curse deflection in DADA. The others were still there, of course, and could help, but it was difficult having to function during school days without being able to talk properly. He managed by tying a blackboard to his chest, using his wand to change the words on it.

Luna was either a really good teacher or Tier was a fast learner or both, because by the end of the two weeks he was stuck like that, the two of them were able to have complete conversations in the wizarding sign language she was teaching him. In fact, on the day before the stuck period ended, Professor Flitwick pulled a box out of a filing cabinet and from it, the tiny man gave Tier a magical artifact that strapped to his hand and translated his sign language into speech.

'Thank you, Professor, this good gift. This of good use. Why it speak strange though? Something wrong with its speak.'

“Well, Mr. Potter, wizarding sign language doesn't have the same rules as English, since it is its own language. For one thing, it takes a lot of shortcuts. You don't sign out a lot of the smaller words like 'is,' 'be,' 'the,' and so on, because the language is difficult enough without adding unnecessary words to it. As long as your meaning is clear, that's what matters in sign languages. And because you are speaking a different language, after all, and the device is only capable of literal translations, the translation is going to sound peculiar as a result. Lastly, your vocabulary is still improving. The translation will improve as your vocabulary in your new language improves.”

'I understand. Thank you Professor. A question though. It have off-thing? Don't know sign word. Thing turn it off? Want speak Moon L without all hear me. And how do names?'

“The off switch is also the on switch, right there. Then next to it is a volume knob. Some models can do multiple languages, but since most people here speak only English, those models weren't necessary. And you can program new words and names into it with your wand. Stay after class today and I'll show you how to do that.”

Tier nodded. 'Will do, Professor.'

Once he could program new words and names into the device, Tier started coming up with signs for everyone he knew. Luna's sign he knew already, the sign for 'moon' followed by the letter L. For his own name, he decided on the sign for 'animal' followed by the sign for 'smart' and the letter T.

After dinner on that last night of being stuck, Tier, Ron, and Hermione went down to Hagrid's and he showed them the signs he'd programmed into it. For Ron, he took inspiration from Chandra and so Ron's name was basically 'knight' signed with his hand in the form for the letter R. Hermione's was 'brain' with his hand signing the letter H. Hagrid's sign used both hands doing the letter H to outline a beard. Dumbledore was just the sign for 'headmaster' using the letter D. And so on from there it went.

“Do you have names for the Others?” Hermione asked.

'Some I have. Others still not made. Al is just A plus L. Then this for Chandra,' he said. The sign he made for Chandra's name was 'moon' plus a C, signed with the left hand.

“Intrestin', Tier. But it's gettin' late, yeh lot. Yeh should git back up ter the castle.”

~

At the end of two weeks, Adira woke up in her bed and her version of the body, Tier back inside where he likes it. But his sign language translator was still on her wrist; apparently he'd forgotten to take it off.

'Hello Adira. Good morning. Please leave device on. I want speak sometimes. You and others speak, please let me speak.'

“Fine, fine. But can we not have conversations aloud?”

{This is acceptable to me.} Tier said in their head.

She got up and got ready for her day.

~

They spent a relatively normal, for them, amount of time until the Easter holidays, the weirdest part of which was Zoey's birthday party for the Weasley Twins, which had gone until midnight and gotten McGonagall involved because of the noise. Contributing to the chaos, Zoey had managed somehow to smuggle some fire whiskey into the castle for the twins and others to drink, though none of the Potters had any of it themselves.

For Easter they took the Floo to Sirius's house, having Ron and Hermione over as well. The weekend was fun but ordinary for them, with the exception of waking up at noon on Sunday tired like they'd been partying all night, and some odd-looking dirt in the soles of their shoes.

“Sirius, do the wards keep a record of our comings and goings?” Adira asked as she walked into the kitchen where Sirius was cooking.

“At night they do, at least. Why?”

Adira told him briefly about their suspicions concerning 'the sleepwalker,' and about the dirt in their shoes.

Concerned, Sirius got up and went to the hearth in the drawing room, which was the location of the main controls for the wards. After a couple minutes checking them, he went still for a moment, then turned to Adira.

“Someone used your authorization, pup, to leave at midnight and come back at two am. See, there's a picture of them,” he said, pointing.

Adira moved into position to see. The image was... her. A moving image, too. Only, it didn't move like her. Whoever was driving her body at the time moved with a grace and precision she'd certainly never possessed.

“What's more, pup, I have these wards set to alert me to anyone coming or going between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am, even with authorization. But the alarms never went off. Your sleepwalker has to be very skilled in both runes and arithmancy to get past the alarms. And here's another image, of them coming back.”

This time, the person driving her body was carrying half a dozen old books tied together in a bundle with string, holding the bundle with one hand while deftly using their wand with the other to manipulate the wards again.

“Well I'd say we have a hole in our security that needs fixing, pup. That shouldn't be possible. In fact... I'm gonna fire-call Gringott's.”

Sirius did just that, and half an hour later Fangslaughter and Benedict Snaggletooth were back, reviewing the logs.

“Merlin's bollocks!” Snaggletooth exclaimed, watching the footage. “How the ruddy hell did you do that, Ms. Potter?”

“Blast if I know. None of us were in control at the time. It was the one we call the sleepwalker. Why? What's so weird about it?”

“These are the best wards money can buy, Ms. Potter. It would take a team of goblins working together to crack them so expertly, if they didn't already know their own wards. A powerful enough wizard could blast through them with enough time and effort, but it would set off an unholy racket in the process, and damage the house, giving you time to escape. I've never heard of a human being able to get past these alarms like that. It ought to be impossible.”

“Why do you think it's impossible?” Sirius asked.

“Because the arithmancy needed to do this is beyond the capabilities of anyone I've ever heard of. Not saying it's merely difficult, I mean I don't see how any human could possibly do the maths fast enough to not make a mistake. Unless... do you see any Muggle computers or calculators in the footage, Snaggletooth?”

“No. She appears to be doing it all in her head. You can see her cocking her head, thinking.”

“That's assuming,” Adira said, “that the sleepwalker is even a girl. Or even has a gender at all. They may just take on the form of whoever was last using the body. With all of us asleep, it would be child's play to do so.”

“Will you look at that precision of movement?” Snaggletooth said. “Whoever that is has got a remarkable degree of control over their own movements. I wouldn't be surprised if they could walk a tightrope over a 30-foot drop and make it look easy.”

Well now that the cat's out of the bag, Al said, they're not going to be happy that they slipped up. The sleepwalker has been very carefully hiding from us for years, and now we have proof they exist.

“What books are those they're carring?” asked Sirius.

Fangslaughter zoomed in on the picture and gasped.

“Dark Arts books!” Snaggletooth said.

Adira looked, too. “They look like books about ritual magic to me.”

“It's the same thing, girl. Ritual magic is a subset of the dark arts.”

“All of it?”

“Pretty much. There are some things the goblins and the Ministry do that are pretty benign and can't be done any other way, but yeah, most ritual magic is classified as dark arts.”

“Your sleepwalker must have gone to Knockturn Alley.”

“Then we just have to ask around to find out who's seen me there recently.”

Fangslaughter and Mr. Snaggletooth both laughed.

“What's funny?”

“First of all,” Snaggletooth said, “nobody from Knockturn Alley is going to admit they saw anyone anywhere, nor admit they were there themselves. And secondly, given who you are, if your sleepwalker managed to go there and not be spotted, they must have changed their appearance. Had to have, or you'd probably be in a hag's belly now, or in a worse spot of bother even than that.”

Fangslaughter was staring very hard at something on the footage.

“What is it?”

“The last book on their pile... they're not going to get much use out of it. I know that volume; the goblins of Gringott's have several copies. It's in an unbreakable cipher, lost to the ages. Must've cost them a fortune, though. Wasting your money, they are. Gringott's has had teams of arithmancers on the job of cracking that cipher for over 100 years and we've never gotten anywhere on it.”

“What's in it?”

“Not sure. But it's rumored to be a lost volume of ritual magic. Said to involve human sacrifices. Dark stuff, that. Not sure I want to know why your sleepwalker is interested in that sort of thing.”

Sirius looked very disapprovingly at Adira.

“What? I didn't do it. I don't know anything more about this sleepwalker than any of you do!”

“We need to find these books they brought home, and right---”

“Don't bother,” Fangslaughter said.

“Why not?”

“Another bit here in the logs, shows an owl carrying a package was sent away from one of the bedroom windows a couple hours after your sleepwalker got back into the house. Clever, that. No idea where they sent the books to, or why. But they used your owl, Ms. Potter.”

“Hedwig?”

“Yes. Your owl must have thought they were you.”

“Moving like that?” Snaggletooth said. “No magical owl is stupid enough to miss that kind of difference.”

“Yes, but the owl trusted them enough to take the package, didn't it?”

“There's some evidence,” Adira said, “that the sleepwalker has been around since my first year in Hogwarts. So maybe they earned Hedwig's trust.”

“I suppose. I just hope it's not misplaced.”

There wasn't much more that could be done at that point. The two Gringott's employees would need to go back and try to figure out how the sleepwalker got past the alarms twice before they could plug up the hole. In the meantime, Sirius was very worried, and kept talking about keeping an eye on them at all times.

“Well that'll be great, Sirius, up until it's time to go to school again. We have our own room, which is necessary. And even if we didn't, it seems this sleepwalker wasn't deterred by living in a dorm full of several other boys, and can sneak around Hogwarts without leaving much trace behind, and without getting caught.”

“Damn, but you're right. In that case, I'm going to go tell Dumbledore about this. Until we know what that sleepwalker is up to, he should know as much as we do.”

She nodded, standing there confused, thinking about this development. It made her feel... weird. Almost dirty. Someone was living in her head, a person who she knew little about, who was into the dark arts, doing Merlin knows what at night with her body. She didn't mind Al and the others, she knew them as well as she knew herself. But this sleepwalker... what were they up to? They weren't working for Voldemort, were they?

Aqua poked her head out of Adira's sleeve and looked at her.

'What bothers you, human?'

Adira blinked at Aqua, and had a sudden inspiration. Aqua slept around their arms so much at night that if anyone knew something about the sleepwalker, it would be Aqua.

'We have found proof of another controlling our body at night, for years. We call them the sleepwalker. Have you met them?'

Aqua looked very nervous at these words. 'I... well...'

'What do you know? Tell me, Aqua! I demand to know, as your Mistress.'

The snake drooped its head. 'The violent one told me not to tell. She told me to keep her secret.'

'Violent one?' Adira asked. That didn't sound good. 'What did she threaten to do if you told? Come on, you kept your end of the bargain, we found out about her on our own, you won't be breaking your vow. And anyway, you already let slip it's a girl.'

'Curses! The violent one will be angry now. She threatened to gut me and feed me to your owl, if I told.'

'If she does that, I'll know she's not to be trusted. But don't worry about it, Hedwig knows not to hurt you. What does she do at night, this Violent One?'

'She will gut me! She---'

'Surely she knows it's not your fault. You weren't the one who gave her away. Now that we know, you need to tell us what she does!'

'I cannot! I fear her. Much more than I fear you. Sorry. I am ending this conversation now,' Aqua said, slithering back into Adira's dress.

“Don't worry,” Adira felt Chandra saying aloud to her. “There is another who can tell you more.”

Who?

~Me, of course.~

In that moment, Sirius came back into the drawing room, with Dumbledore behind him.

“Sirius told me everything you know. It is most distressing to find out one of your Others is into the dark arts, we must---”

“Fear not, Silver Grandfather,” Chandra said. “She is not evil. She merely does not agree that entire branches of learning should be kept secret and judged when there is use in them. And I trust her.”

“You trust her?” Sirius said. “You trust this sleepwalker? Why? How? I thought none of you knew about her.”

“Mother and I have been keeping her secrets and our silence. But now keeping these secrets would do more harm than good. I can feel her agreeing with me, angry as she is that she has slipped up.”

“Hey, how come you can feel her and we can't?” Adira asked aloud.

“Because that is how she wishes it to be. Come, let us all sit down. I will tell the story from the beginning.”

Endnotes: Aha! Finally the sleepwalker is revealed! Finally we will learn her story! And of course, Iliana's and Luna's first date.

I find myself wondering what would happen to all of Rita Skeeter's mass if someone squashed her when she was in bug form. Not going to kill her off in this fic, just curious.

I don't know much sign language, just a few things in ASL (American Sign Language). But I've been around people using it enough to know how they come up with names, and to know some things about the structure of the language, as outlined in this chapter.

I want to note that if I ever forget, like Rowling did, about one of the birthdays of the Trio or Luna or other important friends again, just assume Zoey never forgets birthdays and always has something cool for all her friends' birthdays, including the Weasley Twins' birthday and the birthdays for Sirius and Remus. Heck, I can even see Zoey sending Percy something for his birthday, too!

Also, I have become convinced, by powerful arguments ( https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-of-your-Harry-Potter-the... ), that Luna was meant to be autistic in canon. And it's a strong possibility that canon Hermione is autistic as well. I'll have to ask Rowling if I ever meet her in person. If anyone else reading this meets her in person, can you remember to ask her for me?

And last but not least: According to the word count of this story on FanFiction.net and an online calculator that converts word count into pages, this story is just about 937 pages long at this point. Probably longer, given the spaces between paragraphs.

The reason I pointed this out is that I want some opinions on whether I should make this story “complete” on FF.net an AO3, and have subsequent chapters be in a new story or whatever they're called. After all, 1000 pages is a good long book, and most of the fanfic authors who write novel-length stories end up splitting their stories into at least two parts. I don't know what I would title the continuation yet if I do it. And if I did split it up, I'd obviously do it at the end of their fourth year rather than cutting it off mid-year. I don't know how many more chapters this fourth year will take, but I've already got 36 and 37 pretty much done, so probably at least three or four chapters past that, possibly more; after all, we still have Mr. Crouch's madness, the third task, the graveyard scene, and the immediate aftermath of that left to get to. So it'll end up being over 1000 pages long in the end.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts!



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