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The Confession

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She woke up in the Infirmary, Harry in the bed to the right of hers. There were presents covering every flat surface near their beds, candies and pastries and flowers—and a toilet seat hanging from one of her bed posts, a red ribbon tied primly around it and a note that read, Get well soon! F&G, causing her to laugh.

“Yes, I thought I’d let you see it before we returned it to its home,” a voice came suddenly from Calla’s left side, and she startled, snapping her head around to see Professor Dumbledore sitting there watching her with a serene face, complete with that mischievous twinkle in his eye. “They were quite insistent that it would bolster your healing.”

Calla relaxed when she saw who it was, letting instead a tired smile make its way onto her face. “We’re all okay.”

It wasn’t a question, but Professor Dumbledore nodded anyway. “Yes, indeed. You, your brother, and Mister Weasley are all recovering just fine. Your brother is supposed to wake up soon, and Mister Weasley has already been released from the Infirmary.”

She turned to look at Harry, his face slack in sleep, the cuts on his face gone, all healed and gone without a trace except for the one scar he’d always have. Something in her released at the sight.

“Thank you,” she said, returning to Professor Dumbledore.

“No, I believe we all owe you a great thanks,” he said, shaking his head with a small smile. “You and your friends have kept a very powerful tool out of the darkest hands until I could return.”

Calla blushed, looking down to twist her hands in the thin blanket covering her. “It was nothing.”

“It was not,” Dumbledore said, amusement clear in his voice, “But your humility is commendable, Miss Potter.”

He went on to tell her more, about how everyone was worried—that was a new feeling—about how the Sorcerer’s Stone was to be destroyed, about how Nicolas Flamel agreed to die, the Mirror of Erised was moved to a new home. It was a lot to take in, but it seemed that everything turned out for the best. A happy ending.

There was just one thing.

“Professor,” she said, right before he could slip away. Professor Dumbledore paused, looking back at her with raised eyebrows, and suddenly Calla was a lot less sure about her decision.

She hadn’t done anything wrong, had she? It wasn’t—it wasn’t like she’d been the one doing all the terrible things Voldemort and Professor Quirrel did. She was just… seeing them. Before they happened.

She tried again. “Professor, I need to tell you something.”

But then her voice failed, and she ended up chewing her lip and twisting the blanket again. Professor Dumbledore’s face grew very serious, then, the smile melting into a frown as he once more took a seat in the chair he’d been occupying beside her bed.

“What is it, Calla?”

“I…” Her voice was very small as she continued. “I saw it. Him. I saw Voldemort on Professor Quirrel before.”

Professor Dumbledore’s frown deepened. His blue eyes were piercing. “Where did you see this?”

“In a dream, sir.”

At once, Professor Dumbledore looked away, staring out the Infirmary window, clearly thinking deeply. Calla watched him, her lip being chewed raw, desperately hoping she wouldn’t get sent to the loony bin—or worse, prison.

Then, Professor Dumbledore spoke. “I see. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.” His voice was carefully measured. He still wasn’t looking at her. “Has Harry had any such dreams?”

“No,” Calla said. “Just me, since I was little.”

Professor Dumbledore hummed. “You will have to learn to control this skill. Strengthen your mind.”

“Okay,” she said. Then, “How?”

Dumbledore stood. He turned to face Calla again, but his eyes were determinedly fixed on the space just beside her face. “I will get you a teacher. Next year, you will have private lessons in Occlumency. This summer, I will send you home with a book.”

Calla swallowed, nodded. “Okay.”

Professor Dumbledore gave her a nod in return, his smile returning, but this one was a much smaller, more conflicted thing, and the twinkle in his eyes was gone. “Get some rest, Calla.”

And then he walked away, leaving her even more confused than before.

The end-of-the-year feast went well. Gryffindor won the House Cup, which was exciting. She ate until her stomach was bursting and laughed until she could hardly breathe at her friends’ antics. Her back was patted so many times it started to get sore, but that was okay, because the ache filled her with a warmth in her chest that she treasured.

But one thing was strange—Professor Dumbledore still wouldn’t look her in the eyes. When she looked up at him at the teacher’s table, grinning and exhilarated from their contribution to Gryffindor’s win, he smiled and nodded to her, but kept his eyes firmly locked on someone else the whole time.

Her dreams… visions… whatever they were, clearly they weren’t normal. They had Professor Dumbledore uncomfortable. She wished, not for the first time, that they would just go away.

Of course, even when she went to the wizarding world, she would still be a freak. Of course, she could never just be normal. Of course, she had to ruin things with her bad dreams and her dramatics.

She should have just kept quiet. Maybe then, Professor Dumbledore would actually look her in the eyes when he congratulated her, instead of avoiding her like her strangeness was contagious and just looking at her was enough to spread it.

But it was too late to do anything about it now. She’d dug her hole by being dramatic and not being able to keep quiet, and now she’d lie in it. But Professor Dumbledore gave her a lifeline out of that hole: her lessons in Occlumency. Whatever that was.

She would read the book her gave her, strengthen her mind through the lessons, and be so good at Occlumency that the visions would stop and she could just be normal for once.

At least, that was the plan.