Chapter 11: School Again
The next morning Harry used his D.A. galleon to inform everyone that there was to be a meeting in the classroom that Minerva had given them.
“We’re going to meet already?” Ginny asked him as she watched him changing the message on the coin.
“Yeah, well we only have two months, don’t we? There are a few things I would like to go over. We have to explain what’s been decided concerning the Order. Plus I would like everyone to recruit people they think might be interested in joining. Most of us will be leaving after August,” he replied.
They walked down to breakfast, meeting up with Ron and Hermione along the way. They were hailed from all directions by students wanting to congratulate or thank them. For the most part they tried to ignore it. They perused their class schedules while making their way through the food in front of them. Their day was packed as classes were extra long.
Ron looked like he was going to be sick and said, “Blimey, we’re going to have so much homework tonight.”
“What did you expect, Ron? They’re trying to cram an entire year’s worth of learning into two months,” Hermione responded, rolling her eyes.
Harry looked over to the Slytherin table. It was practically empty, with only a few students sitting there. Draco was sitting next to Pansy, although it looked as though he wasn’t too happy with whatever she was saying to him. She kept trying to put her hand on his, but he kept pushing her off. Finally he leapt back, rising from the table. He looked at her angrily and said something to her before stalking away. He looked briefly up to the head table and mouthed “I’m sorry” to his mother.
“Wow, you don’t think….” Hermione whispered to Ginny, also having caught the exchange between the couple at the Slytherin table.
“No way! I wonder what his mother thinks,” Ginny said. Narcissa had a pained but resigned expression on her face as she continued to eat her breakfast.
“What on earth are you two talking about?” Ron asked. “Must you always talk in code?”
Ginny rolled her eyes and said, “Didn’t you just see that conversation between Malfoy and Parkinson? They’ve obviously had a row. It’s been whispered that they were promised to each other by their fathers when they were born.”
Hermione nodded and said, “Yeah, and they both always seemed to be okay with it, happy even. I wonder if this has anything to do with the battle here last month.”
“Do you think he just broke it off?” Ginny asked her. “I mean, look at Mrs. Malfoy. She doesn’t look like she’s too happy, but she doesn’t seem surprised either. Perhaps with Lucius in Azkaban she’ll let Draco choose his own wife?”
“Maybe,” Hermione mused.
They all chuckled a bit at that, continuing with their breakfast. About five girls and four boys approached Harry before they’d finished eating. They seemed to be second or third years from the look of them.
One particularly young girl looked at Harry adoringly, then looked at her feet and asked, “Could you sign my chocolate frog card?”
He realized he should have known better than to think that his days at Hogwarts might be somewhat normal. He looked at Ginny for a moment, who had an amused look on her face, before turning to the girl. He finally said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think you really want my autograph. I’m just a normal person.”
He’d tried to say it firmly, but kindly. The girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and Hermione said, “Harry, just sign their cards. It’ll be easier, and I don’t think refusing is going to stop people from asking.”
He opened his mouth with a rebuttal, but thought better of it. Resigned, he said, “Sure, do you have a quill?”
The girl got very excited and with her face alight with glee handed him her chocolate frog card and the quill she’d had in her hand. He gave signatures to the rest of the students, while they all then went to Ron and Hermione to sign the cards with their pictures on them. Hermione looked like she wanted to protest, but Harry reminded her of her own advise to him. This earned him an eye roll and a teasing frown from her.
Ginny, meanwhile, was laughing hysterically. Harry turned to her once he was done signing his name for all of the students and said, “Don’t forget the cards coming out for the Silver Trio.”
Her laugh disappeared almost immediately. But upon catching Neville’s eye from across the table the two burst into laughter again.
“I don’t think they’ll want our signatures,” Neville said with a plea in his voice.
“Who would have thought they’d want ours?” Ron asked, as though this was perfectly obvious.
There was another explosion of laughter, before everyone began heading to their first classes. Ginny reluctantly said good-bye to Harry as she headed to the dungeons for Potions. Harry, Ron and Hermione took off for their Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Narcissa hadn’t decorated the room in any way, but Neville told them that at least the nasty things that had been in the room the previous year had been removed. Draco and Pansy were sharing a table, but neither was speaking nor looking at the other. Narcissa began the class listing some of the spells that they would be working on and emphasized the necessity of learning non-verbal spells. Harry couldn’t help but think that she was much more thorough with her explanation than Professor Snape had been. Then she set them a 3-foot essay on describing non-verbal spells and their advantages.
At the end of the class she unexpectedly said, “Potter, may I see you for a moment?”
Harry told the others to go ahead to their next class without him before approaching the front of the classroom. “What’s going on?” he asked her.
“Everything that you’re expected to learn for your N.E.W.T.s I can do and I believe I can teach the class to perform the spells, except for one charm, I’m afraid,” she said, lamely.
Harry hazarded a guess and asked, “The Patronus Charm?”
She nodded and replied, “Yes, unfortunately I never managed to produce a fully-fledged Patronus and even that was a long time ago. How am I going to teach the students how do something that I can’t do myself?”
“I can help you,” Harry said. He’d just added to his own workload he realized. “Fortunately, most of the students in this class already know how to produce one. It was one of the things we went over a few years ago privately. I have a meeting to go to tonight, but if you want I’ll come to your office tomorrow evening to help you.”
Her relief was apparent and she said, “Thanks.”
Harry turned to leave and she stopped him, saying, “Thanks for everything.” She exited the classroom.
As Harry came upon the corridor outside of the library, on his way to Charms, he found a squabble in progress. Theodore Nott, Millicent Bulstrode, Harper Vaisey and Malcolm Baddock had Draco pinned to the ground. There were boils popping up on his face and then his legs began dancing in a demented tarantella. Pansy was crying softly a short way down from the rest.
“What’s going on here?!!” Harry shouted, silently throwing up a shield between Draco and his attackers.
“Nothing to do with you, Potter,” Nott said with a sneer.
Harry raised his eyebrows and reminded him, “I’m head boy here, if you’ve forgotten. Now, I would suggest you tell me what the problem is.”
“He’s nothing but a traitor and a coward! Now he’s gone and broken the betrothal laid out for him by his father! You dishonorable wretch! STUPIFY!” Millicent screamed, sending her spell at Draco. Harry’s shield held though, and the spell rebounded against her, throwing her into the wall.
“Enough!” Harry said, then turned to Draco. Harry aimed his wand Draco, causing him to wince. Harry whispered, “Finite.”
Draco’s legs stopped dancing and he sat on the floor panting.
“It’s all his fault that Crabbe’s dead!” Harper said angrily, raising his wand again.
Harry caught him before he could try to curse Draco again, “I wouldn’t try that if I were you. In case you hadn’t noticed the shield I cast made Bulstrode’s spell backfire and will simply do the same to yours. Now, if you wish to put the blame on someone for Crabbe you can blame me. Unfortunately we couldn’t get to him in time. But, really it was Crabbe’s own fault for starting Fiendfyre in that room and not knowing how to stop it in the first place. Draco and Goyle would have died in that fire as well if Ron, Hermione and I hadn’t gone back for them. Now, I’m afraid that I’m going to have to call your head of house.”
Harry produced a Patronus and sent it to Slughorn, who came waddling towards them a few minutes later. Harry explained the situation to Slughorn who became extremely angry and rounded on his students, saying “So would you say I’m a traitor?”
The students all shook their heads looking at the floor angrily. Slughorn’s eyes narrowed on them and said, “There’s enough of this nonsense going on and I won’t have it anymore. I fought against the Dark Lord and unless you wish to call me a traitor to my face I’d better not hear that you’ve done anything like this again. I will know; detention for all of you for the next week, starting tonight at seven in my office. Get to your classes now.”
“Come on, Draco,” Harry said. “I’m afraid that I don’t know how to get rid of those boils, so you’d better go to the Hospital Wing. I’ll tell Flitwick where you were.”
Slughorn handed Harry and Pansy a note to take to Flitwick with them. None of the other Slytherins involved in the attack took Charms, so Harry and Pansy set off silently. They slid through the door as quietly as possible. Harry gave the note to Professor Flitwick with a quick apology and explained what had happened to Draco, before taking a seat next to Ron. He could see Pansy sit at an empty desk and put her head in her arms, obviously breaking down into sobs again.
“What was that all about?” Hermione mouthed.
“I’ll explain later,” Harry whispered back.
Flitwick spent the class going over the Muffliato Spell and Muggle-Repelling Charms, setting them another essay to be handed in the next day. At least these were spells that they’d used practically every day, Harry thought. They could probably do them in their sleep, although that wouldn’t stop them from having to write the essay.
As they sat down to lunch, Harry waited until Ginny joined them before explaining what had happened after class and in the hallway.
“So, we were right!” Ginny said, conspiratorially. Harry nodded, looking over at the Slytherin table. There was a lot of glaring in his direction, but Harry didn’t particularly care. Draco didn’t even head over to his house table before going directly to Harry.
“Thanks, again,” Draco said as he reached Harry. He looked sheepish as he asked, “Do you guys mind if I eat here? I really don’t think I can handle sitting at my own table right now.”
Harry wondered whether or not Draco would be able to eat anything as he looked nauseous, but said, “Go ahead.” Harry scooted over a little closer to Ginny to give him room. Draco breathed a sigh of relief, sitting down.
“Are you okay, Malfoy?” Ron asked, looking surprisingly concerned.
Draco grimaced and replied, “Yeah. I’m kind of glad my father’s in Azkaban right now or else I could probably expect to see a howler later.”
“What about your mother?” Ginny asked.
He shrugged. “She’s not that fussed, to be honest. I went to see her after the Hospital Wing and she told me she never liked Pansy anyway. I think she just said that to make me feel better, cause she was always nice to her. Anyway, I liked Pansy, until recently. But now I don’t want to marry her and I really don’t think I want to raise kids with her, ya know?”
They all nodded, looking at Pansy with her head in her hands once again while she sat the Slytherin table. They sat in an awkward silence as they ate their food. Hermione decided to break the silence and addressed Harry. “See, what did I tell you? You make a great Head Boy. You even used the proper channels to punish them.”
Harry laughed and said, “Yeah, well I almost cursed them myself. Then I remembered Minerva yelling at Moody, well Crouch, about taking matters into his own hands.”
Ron changed the subject then as well, mentioning the amount of homework they already had. Once they’d finished their lunch, Ginny asked Draco “Do you want to walk to Muggle Studies together?”
Draco actually broke out in a pained grin and said, “Going to protect me from attack?”
She returned the smile and said, “Sure!” They walked off to their class together. As Draco had so much to catch up on in Muggle Studies, Minerva had decided to put him in the sixth year class. He could remain at the school until he felt comfortable taking the N.E.W.T. she’d told him, at Harry’s request. They arrived at the class without fanfare and Ginny directed them to the front of the classroom. She knew that this would be Dudley’s first class and hoped that a familiar face would help him to get over any nervousness. He had put up some movie posters and set up some muggle devices that they would be expected to recognize around the room.
“I don’t know how I’m ever going to get an ‘E’ in this class,” Draco confided. “I know absolutely nothing about muggles and always tried to keep it that way.”
“Well, it’s usually a pretty fun class,” Ginny said. “I guess I’m kind of like my father that way, finding muggles fascinating.”
She giggled a little as Dudley came into the classroom. He began by writing ‘Professor Dursley’ on the blackboard with a piece of chalk, before turning to face the class.
“Good afternoon, class. I’m Professor Dursley. I’ll be helping you understand the muggle way of life and how to interact with it,” he said before taking the roll call. He smiled at Ginny when he got to her name.
He continued, “Okay, so as you may have noticed I myself am a muggle. My parents were responsible for….housing….Harry Potter until he came of age. They hated magic, my parents. I’m sorry to say that their impression rubbed off on me and, spoiled brat that I was, I took great pleasure in tormenting Harry. But for the past year we had to go into hiding so that Voldemort couldn’t find us. The Order thought it possible that the Death Eaters would go after my family and me in order to get to my cousin. Through this time I learned a great deal about magic and found an appreciation not just for Harry but for the Wizarding World in general. Since I have experience with both prejudices, some people felt that I might be able to teach this class.” Dudley looked directly at Ginny as he completed his last line. She barely suppressed a giggle and looked down at her desk to compose herself.
“Wow, so what was it like living with Harry Potter?” one Ravenclaw student asked.
Dudley looked at her with a piercing gaze and said, “This class is to discuss muggles and not my personal relationship with my cousin or my parents. I just told you that to give you an idea of why I’m teaching this class. Some things may come up as we talk about how to deal with the prejudices, but now is not the time to discuss that.”
It was obvious that the class didn’t like this answer, but all the hands that had been in the air were lowered reluctantly.
“So today, I thought we would just go over a bit of muggle entertainment, which I’ve been told is very likely to come up on your N.E.W.T. final,” Dudley explained. He walked over to a television that had been sitting on display. He began to show them how the television worked and then pointed to one that had been disassembled next to it. When it came to questions, people wanted to know why anyone would want to watch a television. It didn’t look terribly interesting with a blank screen.
“Well, obviously it won’t work in here because magic tends to goof up electricity, which is necessary to run the telly. But when it works, there’s a picture on this screen here along with sound that comes out of these speakers,” he indicated the speakers on the sides of the screen. “It’s rather like a Wizarding Wireless, but instead of just hearing the program you can also see it. Are there plays in the Wizarding World?” He looked at Ginny.
“You mean like theater? Yeah,” Ginny said.
“Well, it’s like that, but it comes through on the television,” he told them.
When one student asked what kind of programs you could watch Dudley began going into detail about his favorite show.
As fascinated as the class was, Ginny finally whispered, “Dudley! I mean, Professor Dursley, do we really need to know about specific shows?”
He went red in the face and shook his head. He brought the class back to the things they were supposed to be discussing and answered any questions that the students had. Ginny hung around for a few minutes after class.
“That was really good, Professor Dursley,” she praised.
“Thanks. I’ve been talking with Professor McGonagall about it since I left the party the other night and she let me see what sorts of things would be on the exams. It was kind of fun. You don’t have to call me professor though, Ginny. It’s just Dudley,” he said to her.
“Well, perhaps it would be better to call you professor during class because I wouldn’t want to undermine your authority.”
He nodded and said, “So, if you guys aren’t busy on Saturday would you all like to hang out in the evening?”
She agreed readily and left the classroom to head over to the greenhouses for Herbology.
Meanwhile, Harry, Ron and Hermione left lunch to go to their Transfiguration class. Minerva was reviewing human transfiguration. This was the class Harry had been dreading. He’d always found it to be a rather difficult class and he wasn’t sure if he could catch up enough to get a decent grade on his exam. She briefly recited some of the things they would be going over before the end of the term. They practiced for a bit trying to turn themselves into pieces of furniture. Although Harry could remember Slughorn having done so when he went to see him with Dumbledore, he was unable to successfully complete the spell himself. He did find that his legs had turned into spindly wooden legs for a table he’d been trying to turn himself into, before Minerva reversed the spell. Ron naturally laughed at this, although he hadn’t been able to perform the spell either. Most of the students who had been at school the previous year seemed to be doing well, and unsurprisingly Hermione managed to transfigure herself into a small decorative desk. Harry and Ron were given homework to practice the spell in addition to the essay that had been assigned to the entire class.
As she dismissed the class, Minerva called to them “Potter, Weasley, Granger, a word please.”
They approached her desk at the front of the classroom. Minerva said to Harry, “I thought that you did rather well earlier with Malfoy. Horace was just explaining to me what happened, Harry. Now, I know that you and Ron have not had transfiguration in the last year at all and it has never been your best subject. If you find that you need private instruction beyond what Hermione can provide please let me know. You will need an ‘E’ to successfully get through your Auror exams. On another note, tomorrow I assume you’ll be wanting to pick up your godson, Harry?”
He nodded. She said, “Of course, the password to my office is ‘Lemon Drop’ right now.”
Harry roared with laughter and said, “You decided to use Professor Dumbledore’s method of selecting passwords?”
“Well, I must admit that I was feeling a bit reminiscent when I chose the last password,” she said, her lips twitching.
“I wanted to ask you something, Minerva, if you don’t mind,” Harry said, getting her assent. “I know that we won’t be having any Quidditch this semester, but I was wondering if we might be able to have, like, a Gryffindor alumni game. We can take care of the planning and everything. I just thought it might be a nice way to get everyone’s minds off of things and George had mentioned a desire to play on a real Quidditch pitch.”
He and Ron gave her pleading looks. Minerva sighed and said, “Very well, but with teaching duties on top of everything else, I’ll have to leave it to you to do all of the work to set it up. Just let me know which day you want and I’ll make sure the pitch is yours that day. If you’d like the team to come for the day, that’s fine with me.”
“Thanks!” Harry said, jubilantly. “Do you think I could book the pitch for Saturday afternoon just for some practice?”
She nodded and then addressed Harry and Hermione, “I just wanted to let you know that I’ve given Malfoy permission to share his mother’s quarters. After what happened this morning I didn’t feel comfortable with him sleeping in his dormitory.”
They nodded their agreement before taking their leave.
“Welcome back, seventh years,” Slughorn said jovially as he entered the potions classroom. He indicated instructions on the blackboard before walking among the students.
“So, you three,” he said, approaching the table they were working at. “I was hoping to have a Slug Club party next Saturday. You will be there, of course?”
Harry knew there was no way to get out of it and so nodded his agreement. It might be best to get this whole autobiography thing over and done with anyhow. To his surprise, his potion actually came out pretty good. Being Polyjuice Potion he wouldn’t know whether or not he’d gotten it completely right for another month, but felt that it looked about right.
“Well, that wasn’t too bad,” Ron said, yawning as they left the classroom to head for dinner. “How on earth are we going to get all of this work done though?”
“I know, I feel like I have a headache coming on,” Harry said, massaging his temples as they sat down at their table.
“So, is there really a meeting tonight, Harry?” Luna asked, sitting down next to Dean to join him for dinner and pecking him on the cheek.
“Yeah, we won’t have much time, so I thought it best to start off right away,” Harry told her. Everyone started nodding and excitedly discussing the upcoming meeting in hushed tones.
“Meeting?” Draco asked as he once again joined them for the meal.
“Private meeting,” Harry explained.
“Like meetings you guys used to have?” Draco asked, knowingly. “Don’t worry. I don’t want to know and it’s really none of my business.”
Harry nodded and they all went back to their meals and their usual dinnertime conversations.
After dinner Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione set off for the classroom where they would be having the first meeting for Dumbledore’s army. It wouldn’t begin for another hour, but they thought they’d check things out ahead of time.
“It’s a bit barren, isn’t it?” Ginny commented. There were standard desks along with a teacher’s desk at the front. The walls were bare save for the portrait that Harry had asked to be commissioned for the room. The minute that Minerva had expressed the desire for the group to continue he’d asked Aberforth if he could have a duplicate painting made of Ariana.
“Well, we can fix that. Why don’t we turn it into more of a common room?” Hermione suggested. She began with the desk beside her, turning it into a comfortable sofa. Catching on the other three began to repeat the transfiguration until all of the desks had been turned into more becoming objects. As they finished Hermione said, “You know, I really liked the banners for all of the houses when we were in the Room of Requirement.”
“Excellent idea, Hermione, but could you make one for each of the four houses and not just the three that were there?” Harry asked. She nodded appreciatively and began hanging banners.
As they all sat down in the squashy armchairs before the fireplace that Hermione had conjured, people began filtering in. Most of them Harry recognized, although there were some new people that he thought must have been recruited over the previous year. Ginny nodded at him once everyone had assembled. Neville proceeded to introduce those new recruits to Harry, Ron and Hermione before regaining his seat. Hermione grabbed a piece of parchment, ink and quill to take notes.
“Thanks for coming, everyone. I can see that everyone found the classroom okay, which is great. Before we start this meeting I would like you to notice the portrait of Ariana Dumbledore that adorns our wall along with banners for all of the houses,” Harry began. “To begin with, I insisted that we include the Slytherin banner because there are the great and good in that house just as there are in the other houses. Hopefully we can find some trustworthy Slytherins over the years that we may be able to include in this group. Now, as to the portrait of Miss Dumbledore; many of you may recognize it as the one that hangs in the Hog’s Head which led to the tunnel into the Room of Requirement.”
There were some murmurs of agreement. Harry nodded and began to explain why he wanted the portrait there. “It might have been easier to have a new portrait of Professor Dumbledore made, however I believe that the message of Ariana’s story is an important one and something that should be passed on down through time.”
He then said, “I would like us all to remember that anyone can make mistakes, and that just because you make mistakes doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person or that you can never make amends. Professor Dumbledore was able to overcome his personal weaknesses and become the great wizard that we know him to have been. Instead of becoming bitter because of a love that went wrong or because of the way his sister was treated at the hands of muggles, Professor Dumbledore went on to encourage people to love and to fight for the rights of muggles and muggleborns. This is a legacy that we each need to embrace and understand.”
Harry explained the tale of Ariana’s life, in conjunction with Dumbledore’s. There were quite a few tears throughout the room as Harry’s story concluded. Harry turned to the portrait and asked, “Could you go get your brother for me?”
She nodded and moved sideways out of her painting. Harry said, “It should only take a few minutes, but I thought that there was a person who should be included in our meeting before I go any further.”
A moment later, Albus Dumbledore appeared in the painting with Ariana beside him. There was a round of applause at his entrance. He beamed at his former students and nodded for Harry to continue.
Harry smiled back before turning to his classmates. “So we have a few matters of business to attend to today. Dumbledore’s Army has now been sanctioned by the school and is included in the charter.”
There was some angry chatter at this announcement. Many people were frowning at the notion and Dean asked, “Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of the group?”
“No, actually it doesn’t. It just makes us official. We are completely autonomous from the school. The faculty and staff will have absolutely no say as to what goes on in this room. Minerva, excuse me, Professor McGonagall has recognized the fact that in order to help prevent corruption such a group as Dumbledore’s Army needs to exist. If the group continues on through time then if something goes wrong within the school there will already be defenses against it,” Harry told them. He outlined what had been discussed in regards to Dumbledore’s Army at the Order meeting. “Are there any questions about that?”
“But what if we have another situation like the one with the Carrows or Umbridge? I mean, right now we’re allowed to use this classroom, but what if we get kicked out?” Lavender pointed out.
“Hermione?” Harry asked, looking at her. He sat down to indicate that he wanted her to explain the ideas that she’d been formulating.
“Well, I had a few notions of what we can do to prevent that. First of all, I’d like to suggest that we hide the room. We could use a similar charm to what is used for bewitching other doors in the castle. Instead of a portrait or a statue, I was thinking more along the lines of what looks like a solid wall. There would be a small recess in the wall where members would insert a sort of key. Then the door would appear,” she said.
Everyone looked impressed with this and Luna asked, “What kind of key do we want to use?”
Harry smiled and asked, “Did everyone bring their chocolate frog cards? Raise your hand if you don’t have one.”
Only two people didn’t raise their hands and Hermione said, “That’s okay, we brought a few extras. Could everyone pass them over to me so that I can charm them? I’ll put a small ‘X’ on the back so that you know this one is different from the other Dumbledore cards.”
Dumbledore’s chuckle rang through the room, his smile wide, as everyone passed their cards over to Hermione. Harry smiled back up at him before Dumbledore said, “You know, Hermione, perhaps you might also put a password on the door. Anyone could steal one of those cards and if they had an idea of what they were used for could easily breach this room.”
She looked thoughtful and said, “Yeah, we could put a password on the door as well if you’d like.”
There was a murmur of agreement to this.
“Now, these cards will act in the same way that the coins did. We’ve been talking about this quite a bit and have decided that as great as the coins were, they’re like relics now. I think that only the original D.A. members should have a coin for that reason. We are the original members of Dumbledore’s Army and we all believe that that should be something sacred. Next I thought we ought to discuss what to do in an emergency. I would like everyone to keep the Room of Requirement a secret. I know that may be difficult as it was used as an escape route last month, but because the entrance was in a different place most people wouldn’t be able to find it again. I would suggest that we swear to deny that it even exists if anyone asks. I thought that we should pass on the secret of the room to the leader of the D.A. and a secondary person only,” Harry said. He wasn’t sure this would go over well.
Ernie, predictably, spoke up and said, “Actually, I think that’s an excellent idea. It would then always be a back-up, but not something that everyone knows about. With Hermione’s fantastic ideas for how to protect this room I doubt that anyone would be able to get in here, but you never know what could happen.”
There seemed to be a general consensus. Harry continued, “So, I also think that we ought to have a second and perhaps even third in command within the organization. Perhaps a President, Vice President and Secretary would work.” He looked at Ron and Hermione as he said these words. “Well, I guess we already really had that, as Ron was always my support and Hermione’s always been like our secretary."
There was a great amount of laughter at this as they all knew the three of them well. Harry collected himself and said, “The President and VP would hold that information that we have deemed to know be a secret, and in times of great need the Secretary would also be included in this.”
This was agreed to readily, so Harry said, “I also think that we should continue with our level of secrecy and protection. Anyone who joins must sign a contract saying that they will never reveal the secrets of our organization. The curse makes it very obvious who the traitor is and Hermione can pass it down to the future leaders.” There was agreement with a great deal of laughter, remembering that Marietta had been unable to rid herself of the spots that Hermione had cursed her with.
Neville chimed in with, “Perhaps it should only be the president that knows those secrets. The more people in on a secret the more likely it is to be broken.”
Harry was wondering if anyone would ask that. “Yes, but you cannot guarantee that that person will not be….well…that person could always die, under any circumstances. Although it’s not good to put all of your secrets in one basket, so to speak, you have to make sure that there will be someone who can pass on the correct information,” Harry said. He looked over to Dumbledore who nodded appreciatively, looking slightly abashed.
As there weren’t anymore questions regarding how many people would be aware of their secrets, Harry continued, “The secretary would keep a log and file it in that cabinet over there. I think it would be important that we would know who former members were. There’s always the chance that all three leaders could be killed. In that case I think it’s necessary for there to be someone that the remaining members can contact. If we have files, then there’s a way to do that.”
With no dissent to this Harry continued, “Okay, so I thought it would be important to inform everyone that the Order of the Phoenix will also be recognized by the Ministry of Magic, much in the way that we are by the school. They have asked those of us that were of age to join them in their fight. Although this is a long way off for some of you, I just wanted you to know that it may be an option for you in the future. We, within the Order, have decided that we will go on a case by case basis for including members of the D.A. into the Order,” Harry told them.
“The Order is the group that Professor Dumbledore founded to fight against Voldemort, right?” Jimmy Peakes, one of the beaters from Harry’s 6th year Quidditch team, asked. Harry nodded and so Jimmy continued, “So, who’s in that group and who leads it now?”
“Well, there aren’t many members left. Most of them you may not know, but Professor McGonagall, Hestia Jones, Dedalus Diggle, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley (Ginny and Ron’s parents) are all members. All of those members of the D.A. that are of age and will no longer be in school after the exams in August have now joined. Right now, they’ve asked me to be the head of the Order,” Harry explained. This seemed to come as no surprise to anyone and there was a simple nod of understanding.
“The last thing I really wanted to address tonight was the fact that we’re going to need some new members. The vast majority of us will be leaving in two months and we’re going to need replacements. Before we disband for that last week in August, we’ll have elections. I would like everyone to invite people that they think are trustworthy and interested to join the group. Keep in mind that the group should continue to include about 20 people. Any more or less might ultimately defeat the purpose. I’ll let you know when the next meeting will be, probably sometime next week,” Harry finally concluded. He collapsed back into his seat, feeling drained. Hermione passed the chocolate frog cards back to everyone and sent around a piece of parchment so that everyone could renew their vow of loyalty to Dumbledore’s Army.
“Well, why don’t a few of us go and put the enchantments on the door and test them?” Hermione suggested to Harry.
He nodded his agreement as she and Neville left the room. He addressed the rest, saying “I think that’s going to have to be it for tonight. I’m sure everyone has about as much homework as the rest of us.”
Before they left for the night, Dumbledore’s portrait called, “Harry, would you mind always sending Arianna to me for a meeting? That was most delightful.”
“Of course, Professor,” Harry said, smiling at his mentor.
“Don’t you think it’s time you called me Albus, Harry?” the portrait called to him as he and Ginny headed to their room. Harry felt a strange pull to stay and speak with the portrait, but reminded himself that it was just a portrait.
The next morning at breakfast found the members of the new D.A. whispering excitedly once again about the new things that they’d discussed. They were all quite careful to make sure that no one could overhear them though.
Remembering the relaxed atmosphere in the D.A. common room, he realized that they couldn’t always be going there to hang out together and that there really wasn’t anywhere in the castle that they could all convene. After a brief discussion with Ginny, Ron and Hermione, Harry approached the head table.
“Yes?” Minerva addressed him with a raised brow.
“Have you ever given thought to creating a ‘common’ common room?” he asked.
She looked at him oddly and asked, “What do you mean?”
“Well, a lot of us have made friends over the years, and although I suppose we could just meet in the library to study and hang out together, I thought it might be easier if we had a common room where anyone could hang out regardless of house,” Harry tried to explain.
“Once again, I would assume that Miss Granger has hit upon a point that none of us have even thought of,” Minerva mused.
“Well, no, believe it or not, I came up with the notion last night at the first meeting….well, never mind about that, but it would be very nice to relax with everyone and not just those in my own house,” Harry said.
“I think we can arrange for that. I think I’ll put it on the other side of the castle from the room that has since disappeared?” she said knowingly.
“How many others besides you know of the room’s location?” Harry asked.
“None. I made quite sure of that. I was very impressed, by the way, when I walked past today. Hermione did a good job in hiding the room.”
“She did, of course,” Harry said, smiling at Hermione’s abilities.
“You know that I will never speak another word about it to anyone else, knowing what I do,” Minerva told him quietly. He nodded in understanding. He felt as though he’d gotten another insight to Minerva that he hadn’t thought there. Although she’d sometimes almost laughed during some of their antics, she was very reserved. He realized that her dedication to the school was as complete and whole as Dumbledore’s had once been. If harboring a secret organization would ensure that school’s protection then she would allow it to flourish and even encourage it, just as he would have. Harry’s respect and affection for the woman increased just a bit more. She then said, “Yes, I think I can say that we can have this ‘common room’ that you’ve asked for to be ready by this evening.”
He smiled at her, and could have sworn he got one in return as he headed back to his own table.
The rest of day passed rather smoothly. Harry and Ron only had Charms and Herbology that morning, so after they’d finished eating lunch Harry asked Ron if he’d like to go with him to the Burrow to collect Teddy. They went into Minerva’s office, which was empty and took the Floo. Molly and Andromeda were sitting at the table with a cup of tea as Harry and Ron rolled out of the fireplace.
“Hello, dears!” Molly exclaimed, coming over to hug them. “I never even got to say good-bye to you at the station.”
Harry immediately reached out to Andromeda who handed him his godson.
“Sorry, Mum, things were a bit crazy. By the time we were shuffled to the train there was no use trying to get back off to try to find you,” Ron said, looking guilty.
“Oh, I know! I was barely able to get out of there myself, but Auror Robards assured me that you all had gotten on okay. So, I didn’t worry about it and apparated home,” Molly explained. “Would you two like a cup of tea?”
“Sure,” Harry said. “We have the afternoon off. We just thought we’d stop in for a bit and get Teddy.”
Teddy was playing with the small stuffed wolf that Harry had gotten him before he’d left for school. Harry whispered, “I know your dad might not have approved, but I couldn’t think of a better way to keep you in touch with him.”
Andromeda chuckled and said, “You know, Harry, he won’t let that thing out of his sight! I took all of his toys out of his crib last night because he wouldn’t go to sleep, but he wouldn’t let go of that little wolf.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if his Patronus is a wolf someday,” Harry said, thinking aloud.
“Yeah, eh, Prongs?” Ron said with a bit of a tease in his voice.
“Yeah,” Harry said, laughing. “Sirius and Remus were always so proud of that too.”
He shook his head slightly. He was beginning to be able to simply discuss his parents and the others he’d lost with fond memories.
This wasn’t lost on Molly but she deflected the conversation anyhow, “So, how’d your first few days go? Did you call Dumbledore’s Army together?”
This was really the last thing they expected Molly to ask, but Harry and Ron proceeded to tell them about their classes and the D.A. meeting.
She grabbed both of them by the cheeks and remarked, “Well, you’re both starting to fill back in, thank God! You were so thin when you came home, I wondered if you’d ever look full and healthy again.”
In unison Harry and Ron both said, “Mum!”
Ron continued, “Seriously, we’re okay. It was a few months on the run and we’ve been eating normally since then.”
She scoffed and handed them another plate of sandwiches, that they had no problem devouring. Who could resist her sandwiches, after all?
Once they’d finished their tea they explained that they’d better head back for dinner before Ginny and Hermione wondered where they were. Molly and Andromeda shared amused looks as Harry and Ron rushed to leave so that they wouldn’t get in trouble. Andromeda had already packed a bag for Teddy which Harry slung over his shoulder as he and Ron stepped into the fireplace. Upon reentering the Headmistress’ Office they found Minerva seated behind her desk.
She smiled slightly and told them they’d better get going on the homework she’d set for them before they left her office. They headed down to the Great Hall. Ron had taken Teddy and was telling him a story about how Tonks used to entertain them when they were all staying at Grimmauld Place when it was the Order Headquarters. Harry and Ron were laughing hysterically at some of the memories as they got to the Gryffindor table.
“Teddy!” Ginny screamed with delight, snatching the baby from her brother. “We missed you so much,” she told him as he smiled at the sound of her voice, his hair matching hers.
Harry smiled as he and Ron joined their ladies. Harry asked the group at large, “So what do we want to do this weekend?”
“Well, you do realize that we have a ridiculous amount of homework, don’t you?” Hermione asked.
“Well, yeah, but I say we try to get as much of it done tonight. Then we can hang out tomorrow and if we haven’t got it all done yet we can finish it on Sunday,” Ron said indifferently. Hermione seemed to be placated by this.
Harry didn’t see much difficulty with completing their assignments that evening. Most of the essays should be pretty simple with the exception of McGonagall’s and they’d even already made some headway with that one, which would be due Monday morning.
“So, Dudley asked us if we wanted to hang out with him on Saturday. I told him that would be cool,” Ginny said.
“That’s fine. In the afternoon, though, I have something else planned,” Harry said, deliberately not elaborating. Ron smiled knowingly.
“What?” Ginny asked excitedly.
“You’ll see,” he said slyly.
Her eyes narrowed at him before she said between her teeth, “You know I hate it when you do that!”
“Nah, you love it,” Harry told her. She began to sulk until Teddy found her hair and started tugging on it. This was a sufficient enough distraction. By the time she’d managed to get his fingers unlocked from her tresses and pushed her hair behind her out of his reach, she’d forgotten why she was angry. So Harry turned to Draco, who was still taking meals with them, “I thought you might have some ideas of where we could look for some of those Death Eaters that are still missing.”
Draco just shook his head and said, “I honestly don’t know. If I think of something I’ll let you know though. Maybe I should ask my mother. She might have some good ideas. I deliberately kept her out of the thing at our house because I didn’t want her involved, but this would only be information and she’s pretty well protected here. They would protect her if someone tried to attack her here, right?”
“Yes, the school is well enough protected. Min…Professor McGonagall will see to it,” Harry said, reassuringly.
Draco was obviously relieved by this and said, “I’ll see you guys later. I’m off to the library. Lots of muggle research to do.”
He laughed along with everyone else as he got up from the table, although his eyes narrowed a bit menacingly at Harry. The rest lingered over the meal for awhile, before heading to the new common room to begin their own homework. The room was crowded, but it seemed as though the most favored seats, next to the fireplace had been left for them. The vast majority of people that were there were members of the D.A, as the rumor of the new room had spread quickly. Most waved at them as they took their seats and began to pull out their assignments. Teddy got passed around the room as students took breaks from their work to relax. Harry and Ron, with some coaching from Hermione, had finally mastered the transfiguration spell. They continuously transfigured themselves into sofas, armchairs and tables before feeling fully confident with the spell.
“Well, Minerva will be happy with that. Half the time she used to give me extra work I never had the time to even try it. Even when I did practice I almost never managed to master the spell,” Harry said as he returned to human form from the position of an end table.
“I certainly hope you’ll be attending to your studies now. There’s no excuse for not getting your work done,” Hermione intoned.
Harry gave her look of utter indignation and said, “Hermione, does it look like I’m not getting my work done? But honestly, I ought to head over to Malfoy’s office now to help her with producing a Patronus.”
He kissed Ginny and walked over to where Neville was playing with Teddy to give his godson a quick good-bye before heading up to the DADA professor’s office. Harry thought about the number of times he’d been in that office. Like Narcissa’s classroom, it was rather nondescript. He could see a few photos of her wedding and quite large number depicting Draco at various stages of life. It was a bit odd to see Draco as an innocent toddler.
“Professor Malfoy?” Harry said to announce his presence.
“Ah, Harry. Thank you for coming. I’m still not sure why you asked me to ask the staff to find a Boggart, but Filch did manage,” Narcissa said upon seeing him.
“The primary purpose of a Patronus is to ward off a dementor even though it has other uses,” Harry told her. She stood up from her desk and came around to him with her wand out. “Okay, so we’ll practice the charm without the Boggart first. The words are ‘Expecto Patronum.’”
“Expecto Patronum,” she repeated.
“Now, in order to get the charm to work you need to concentrate on one single extremely happy memory,” Harry repeated from his own lessons with Lupin. “When you’re ready, and with that thought firmly in place, you will cast the charm.”
She looked thoughtful for a moment before closing her eyes and, wand raised, called, “EXPECTO PATRONUM.”
A slight silver mist erupted from her wand. “That was really good,” Harry said. “But, I don’t think that memory is quite strong enough. Try it once more.”
The second attempt was quite as feeble as the first. So Harry knew he had to try a different tact. “I know that this might seem like a very personal question, but what memory were you using?”
She looked uncomfortable and said, “I was thinking about when Lucius and I were married. It seemed a fitting memory to use.”
Harry thought for a moment before saying, “What about how you felt when Draco was born?”
This seemed to dawn in her mind and without thought she closed her eyes once more and cried, “EXPECTO PATRONUM.”
But this time, instead of an unformed figure, a scorpion came flying out from the tip of her wand.
“I did it!” Narcissa cried excitedly. She caught hold of herself though and schooled her expression.
“Very good!” Harry said. “Now, I’m going to have to think about how to do this so that you can learn to use it against an actual dementor.”
He considered the logistics of the situation. He asked her, “What is it that fears you the most? What would the Boggart become for you?”
She thought for a moment before saying, “I don’t know. Perhaps my sister.”
“Bellatrix or Andromeda?” Harry asked her, curiously.
“A-A-Andromeda. Over the past few years, I came to hate Bella. I mean, I loved her because she was my sister, but I hated what she’d become. She would frighten me. I’ve missed Andromeda for a long time now, but I don’t think she would ever forgive me for the things we all did to her…” Narcissa broke off, staring into space.
Harry wasn’t sure what to say to this. He knew that the family had turned their backs on Andromeda when she’d married Ted. Instead he decided to ignore her comment and said, “Well, we need the Boggart to become a Dementor, which is what I fear most, if we’re going to use the Patronus Charm properly.”
He moved her to behind the cabinet which held the Boggart, so that the Boggart/dementor would be in the room when it saw Harry, but wouldn’t become confused. She would still be able to feel it he reckoned. “Are you ready?” he asked her.
“Yes,” she said nervously.
He felt an enourmous amount of dread as he pulled the cabinet door open to reveal the Boggart within. The dementor came into the room. The lights flickered and Harry could feel the fire die.
He ran through the graveyard. He saw his mother standing over his crib. He watched Bellatrix send a killing curse at Ginny. He saw Ginny lying as though dead in the Chamber of Secrets. He watched as the light behind Snape’s eyes died. He saw Lupin and Tonks lying dead…
He fought not to produce a Patronus. He fought to stay upright and in charge of the situation. He could hear Narcissa sobbing from the other side of the cabinet. He knew that if he’d seen that much that she hadn’t been able to fight. He summoned the image of Ginny into his mind and sent his Stag to overcome the dementor, shoving the Boggart back into the cabinet.
He walked around the cabinet and knelt beside the weeping form of Narcissa.
“Narcissa, it’s okay. It’s not real,” Harry said.
“Draco being tortured, forced to watch as…” she sobbed uncontrollably. “Lucius…gone…”
Harry pulled out one of the chocolate bars he’d stuffed into a pocket of his robes and told Narcissa to eat it. She’d managed to sit upright when Draco suddenly walked into the office.
“Mum, I need some help with this assignment…” Draco stopped as he found his mother and Harry sitting on the floor. “What’s going on?”
Harry chose to answer, pushing Narcissa’s hand that held some more chocolate up to her mouth, “We’re working on the Patronus Charm. I was just using a Boggart to practice on.”
“Oh,” Draco said, apparently confused.
Narcissa had managed to pull herself together and got to her feet, her movements decidedly unsteady. She said, “It’s alright, Draco, I need to learn how if I’m going to teach the students to do it properly. Are we ready for another try, Harry?”
Harry considered it for a few moments. Finally he asked, “Are you sure? I’ll try to stay more focused and give you instruction this time. Draco, unless you want to feel the dementor, I would suggest that you come back later.”
Draco ran for the door immediately, wanting no part in their lesson. Harry once again asked if she was ready and before he opened the door to the cabinet decided to try to use Occlumency to block out the dementor. This seemed to be the method that Professor Snape had tried to teach them back in Harry’s 6th year. He couldn’t be sure if it would work, but it was worth a shot. He pulled the door open. The dementor loomed over him, but he pushed the onrush of thoughts from his mind. It seemed to work.
“Come on, Narcissa, you can do it. Think of Draco and only Draco! Think of the joy that he’s brought to your life! Come on!” Harry encouraged.
Sobbing, Narcissa pulled into herself and finally screamed, “EXPECTO PATRONUM!” The scorpion easily found its way to the dementor, which faltered in its step. Harry pushed it back into the cabinet. He once again walked around the cabinet to find Narcissa on the ground.
Handing her another piece of chocolate, he pulled her to her feet. “That was excellent!” he told her. “We never got around to that part when I was teaching everyone before. Are you going to be alright?”
“Yes, I’ll be fine,” she said shakily, trying to smooth her hair back down. “Go ahead now, we’ll figure out another day to try again next week.”
Harry was unsure if he should leave or not. Her already pale skin looked even whiter than usual.
“Very well, Professor, but please wait until I come back here to try again,” Harry advised, before letting himself out of the room. He realized that he’d been using her given name during the lesson, but if she hadn’t corrected him he wasn’t going to worry about it.
He made his way back down to the entrance hall and was careful before reentering the common room. Sinking into the seat beside Ginny he closed his eyes briefly.
“What’s wrong?” Ginny asked.
“Just trying to fight dementors,” Harry replied. He realized that in his haste to help Narcissa he had neglected to eat any of the chocolate himself. Taking a bite of one of the bars in his pocket he felt the familiar warmth spread back through his body. Ginny handed Teddy to him and Harry felt the rest of the demon leave his body.
She, Ron and Hermione were looking at him with concern. Finally Hermione asked, “Dementors? What do you mean dementors?”
Harry realized that he hadn’t explained his lessons with Narcissa and outlined the plans he’d made.
Ron gulped and said, “So, you taught her how to produce a Patronus and she was banishing the dementor?”
“Yeah, but I got lost the first time,” Harry explained dejectedly. “I would have thought that with Voldemort out of the way, I would no longer have a problem with them. But I still relived the most dreadful moments in my mind.”
Harry sighed and looked at his best friends and his fiancé, who all had looks of sympathy on their faces.
“You know, before that last battle I would remember horrible things from my life, but I can’t even really imagine coming face to face with a dementor now. It would be like replaying that battle over and over again,” Hermione said fearfully.
Ron patted her arm. His mouth opened and closed a few times, trying to come up with words of comfort, but he gave it up as useless. Instead he pulled her onto his lap, letting her cry into his shoulder as he buried his face in her hair.
“How did you manage, Harry?” Ginny asked, putting her arm around him.
“I just shut them out in the same way that I shut out Voldemort,” Harry explained. “I could still hear and somewhat see the images, but I tried to ignore them. It did work, because I was able to get Narcissa to produce her Patronus eventually.”
“Really?” Hermione asked, still sniffling. “I didn’t think Occlumency would work against dementors!”
“I guess it kind of makes sense,” Ginny said. “But you couldn’t stop all of the effects obviously, right?”
She looked at Harry, who just shrugged. Hermione still looked totally perplexed and said, “I wonder if there’s anyone we could ask.”
“Maybe Dad or Kingsley,” Ron suggested. “Actually, I don’t know if Dad’s that familiar with dementors. I would think Kingsley was the best choice. Even if he doesn’t know the answer he might be able to find the correct person who does.”
Harry scribbled a brief note to Kingsley asking that very question and sent Fawkes off with it.
“Maybe the fact that it was a Boggart makes a difference as well,” Hermione pointed out.
They all thought this idea had some merit, but as they had no way of really knowing it still wasn’t a real avenue of inquiry. They returned to the work they were supposed to be completing before heading off to bed.
Harry and Ginny climbed the steps to the Head Boy dormitory with Teddy late that evening after having an enjoyable time with everyone in the common room.
“So, are you going to tell me what you have planned for tomorrow?” Ginny asked him.
Harry’s only response was to raise his eyebrows at her. She scowled at him before getting into the bed.
A/N: So there doesn't seem to be much of a consensus concerning the idea of multiple novels, so I've decided that this will remain one darn long story but in parts. I'm really happy that people seem to be enjoying this book though and although I'm slightly ahead of HPFF in terms of chapters, it may be a few days before the next post as I work out the remainder of this particular part. They're just validating way too fast! We can't really complain about that, though, can we? Thanks for the reviews, guys, I will try to keep responding when I can!