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Chapter 16 : The Hearing and the Halloween Party
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Disclaimer: JK Rowling has Harry Potter copyrighted, but this is a free country, and this site hasn't been sued by her army of lawyers. Therefore, I am assuming she approves of our exercising our free will in writing all of these stories.
Author's Note: Get ready for laughter, as I'm delivering it in spades! My Editor and I thought up this Halloween party one night, and decided we'd work it in this story. Warning! Van Helsing makes an appearance in this chapter. This will also be a long chapter, as it goes from the Hearing to Halloween.
Chapter 16: The Hearing and the Halloween Party
Harry walked into courtroom ten at the Ministry at eight in the morning, looking very well rested. His clothes looked freshly pressed and crisp. He sauntered confidently into the room and sat down in the chair in the center of the room. The chains covering it clanked alarmingly, but didn't move to bind him. He looked up at the Witches and Wizards watching him, and smiled disarmingly. Fudge smiled back, and then the door opened again. Albus Dumbledore walked in, looking for all the world like he had better things to do. He conjured a chintz armchair and sat down next to Harry. Harry felt the waves of hate and fear emanating from Dumbledore, and couldn't hold his tongue.
“Excuse me, honored members of the Wizengamot, but can I have a different representative?” Harry asked. Everyone turned to him and Fudge replied, “Why would you ask for someone else?” Harry glanced at Dumbledore for a second before he replied, “Because in the muggle world, the lawyer is supposed to work in the best interests of his client. My lawyer, however, is going to try his damnedest to get me expelled, and possibly incarcerated in Azkaban by lunchtime.”
Dumbledore glared so hatefully at Harry that Fudge nearly granted his request, until a toad-faced woman whispered in his ear that it was unheard of for a defendant to ask for a new representative, especially if said representative is Dumbledore, who is famous for giving second, third, and even fourth chances.
“Sorry, but you're stuck with him, Mr. Potter,” Fudge replied. Dumbledore smirked. Harry nodded and sat back down.
“Now begins the Hearing set for August the Twelfth at eight a.m. The defendant is Harry James Potter of Number Four, Privet Drive, Surrey. Is that correct?” Fudge stated formally.
“Yes, that is correct,” Harry confirmed.
“This Hearing is for the use of underage magic in full view of a muggle. Mr. Potter, did you perform the Patronus Charm on the night of August 2nd?” Fudge continued in the same vein.
“Yes, I did,” Harry once again confirmed.
“Why did you perform the Patronus Charm in front of a muggle?” Fudge asked.
“Because five Dementors attacked me and my muggle cousin. I used the Patronus to chase away the Dementor trying to Kiss my cousin, and then four more surrounded me. I had to use it again to chase them away,” Harry stated, drawing surprised looks from most of the Wizengamot. He distinctly saw Amelia Bones' monocle fall out, her eyes were so wide.
“What would five Dementors be doing so far outside Ministry control and attacking innocent muggles indiscriminately?” Dumbledore suddenly broke in. Harry rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Personally, I think this story was made up during those long nights my...client...spent making out with his girlfriends,” Dumbledore continued with an evil sneer for Harry.
“Request permission to hex my so-called lawyer,” Harry growled. Fudge glared at Dumbledore and said, “Allow me.” Then he cast a Stinging Hex on Dumbledore, causing him to cry out in pain. While Dumbledore was nursing his stinging cheeks, Harry stated, “For the record, I don't have one girlfriend, let alone two or more.”
“Let us take a pensieve memory of the night in question, and we'll clear this up quickly,” Fudge said. Harry nodded gracefully and extracted the memory of the Dementors' attack. The Wizengamot viewed the memory and they all agreed that it was genuine.
“Very well, Mr. Potter, you're free to go,” Fudge said. “All charges are dropped. However, Dumbledore, you need to stay here. I'd like to talk to you.” Dumbledore sauntered over to Fudge, but the arrogant confidence was ruined by his cherry-red cheeks.
“Yes, Minister?” he asked. Harry decided to stay and watch out of vindictive pleasure, and saw the entire Wizengamot rip into him for his treatment of his client. One voice rose above them all, high and furious, “You should be deeply ashamed of your actions! You betrayed your client, and acted more like a prosecuting member of this body than this body itself did!” Dumbledore winced, and looked up at the portrait that had spoken. It was Phineas Nigellus Black, and he was enraged. Harry stuffed his fist in his mouth to keep from making any noise. It wouldn't do for him to be caught now, so soon after being cleared of all charges.
He watched as Dumbledore left the room, as furious as Harry had ever seen him. He knew he'd better watch out, as Dumbledore would not let this humiliation rest. Harry followed him from the room silently and invisible in the shadows. He beat Dumbledore back to Grimmauld Place.
Sirius was extremely proud of Harry when he told him that not only had Fudge cleared him within an hour, the Minister had also hexed Dumbledore. The Weasleys were celebrating, though Ron was doing it halfheartedly. Molly had forgotten all about Harry being invited to the last Order meeting in the face of his Hearing, though she did try to make sure he wouldn't be at the next meeting by keeping him with Ginny. Harry managed to throw off the youngest Weasley and retreated to his bedroom for an early dinner.
He was just draining the bottle when the door creaked open. His empathy powers fully extended, Harry knew immediately the identity of the newcomer. It was the Black Family house-elf, Kreacher. The elf stopped short when he saw the bottle, and his bulbous eyes widened when he saw Harry's fangs still dripping. He bowed low to the ground, his bat-like ears brushing the floorboards.
“Master Potter, Kreacher is sorry he interrupted, but mail has come for you,” Kreacher wheezed. Harry put the bottle back and looked down at the still-bowing house-elf. He retracted his fangs and said, “Please don't tell anyone about this, I'm trying to keep it a secret from others here for a while longer.” Kreacher stood back up, nodded and said, “Kreacher will never tell anyone about Master Potter. Here is Master Potter's mail.” He handed Harry a letter with the Hogwarts Seal on it and left.
Harry opened the letter and saw the standard notice that the train would be leaving Platform 9 ¾ at King's Cross Station at eleven in the morning on September first. He glanced at the book list and groaned. Ron came in at that moment. “You've seen the book list, right?” Ron asked. Harry nodded, keeping his mouth closed lest Ron see the fangs, which extended again with Harry's anger. He retracted them quickly and said, “I'll bet it was that toad-faced woman at my Hearing who did that. Fudge would want his own people at Hogwarts to keep Dumbledore from raising a coup against him.”
“I can see why Dumbledore would want Fudge's job, I'd give anything to have that much power,” Ron said almost wistfully. Harry looked more closely at his friend and said softly, “Remember Ron, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Ron, daydreaming about being Minister of Magic, never heard him. Hermione ran in, squealing, and holding a badge. “Look at this! I made prefect! Oh, which one of you got one?” Ron shook his head to clear his thoughts and tell Hermione he hadn't been made prefect.
“Harry, if it wasn't Ron it has to be you,” Hermione said. Harry dumped his letter, not expecting to find anything, but the badge did fall out. He caught it before it hit the ground and held it up. “Let me guess, McGonagall put her foot down,” Harry said in surprise.
“I knew it would be you, mate!” Ron replied enthusiastically, as though to make up for letting his true feelings show too much. I've got to be more careful. If Harry had any brains he would have figured me out after that, Ron thought to himself.
“Congratulations, Harry! You're obviously the best one for the job, but I won't let you slack off,” Hermione said, slightly cooler than is usual for her. Harry felt her bitterness over their fight the previous week, and it hurt him more than either of his friends would ever know. “Come on, let's go downstairs to show everyone else,” Harry said.
Once they got downstairs, they found Molly in the drawing room trying to deal with a boggart. She was sobbing hysterically, and Ron tried to go help her. Harry's vampire senses heightened, and his eyes seemed to glow slightly. “No Ron, stay back. That's a boggart in there, and it's already had a chance to get stronger off of your mother's fears. For you, it would probably become several spiders,” Harry said firmly. He turned to Hermione and continued, “Keep Ron out here while I go in and help her.” Hermione nodded, scared of the thought of a strong boggart showing her worst fear several times over. Harry went in, stalking quietly like a cat, and joined Molly in the middle of the room.
“Mrs. Weasley, go, run! It's getting stronger by feeding off your fears! Let me deal with it!” Harry commanded in a loud voice. He pushed Molly behind him and called out to the boggart, “Why don't you pick on me!” The boggart suddenly became a werewolf and advanced on Harry, teeth dripping saliva, but Harry stood firm. He raised his wand and cried out, “Riddikulus!” The boggart-werewolf suddenly found itself wearing a collar and attached to the far wall by a length of chain. It whined piteously when it found it could not attack its prey, and Harry laughed. The boggart was destroyed, and Harry turned to see Molly still there, crying. By that time, others had gathered. Harry helped Molly to her feet and out of the room. Ron and Ginny came forward to comfort her, and Harry retreated once again, but this time it was to preserve his own sanity. Molly's despair was hitting Harry hard because his empathy was still fully-extended. After he put a lid on his powers, he rested a little bit.
Sirius came up and said, “I'm very proud of you, Harry. You are definitely your father's son. I just have one question for you.”
“Shoot, but please not me,” Harry replied, trying to joke even though he was emotionally exhausted. Sirius laughed and said, “Your boggart is new, isn't it?” Harry nodded and Sirius continued, “Does this new boggart have anything to do with Remus?”
“No. It's because werewolves are really about the only thing that can hurt me now,” Harry said. Sirius nodded and looked Harry up and down. “I can see why. One day, you're going to make some girl extremely happy.” Harry controlled a blush and said, “There's only one girl for me, but she doesn't know I can even feel that way about anyone.”
Sirius nodded knowingly and said, “She'll come around. Your mother did, eventually.” He sat down on Harry's bed and relaxed against the wall, obviously knowing what Harry was about to ask him.
“How did my parents get together?” Harry asked.
“Simply put, James showed her that he was more than she had thought,” Sirius began. “It all started with my mistake. I told Snape how to get into the Whomping Willow in the beginning of our Sixth Year. He went down there, determined to catch Moony, but instead met a full-grown werewolf. James had found out what I had done and went down there after him. He pulled Snape back, saving his life, and that showed Lily that no matter how cruel our pranks may seem, James is not, nor ever could be, a murderer. I was nearly expelled for what I did, and Remus didn't talk to me for two weeks. Over the rest of that year, Lily looked past the surface of our pranks and she and James grew closer. By Seventh Year, they were going out.”
Harry's eyes were shining with the love his parents had for each other, and even for their enemies. Remus came up then and said, “Molly is now coherent, and she's asked who saved her. No one's told her yet that it was Harry.” Harry nodded and said, “I'll go down myself.” When he walked into the kitchen a few minutes later, he saw Molly sitting at the table with a cup of tea. Moody had just arrived, with Arthur, and they both looked at Harry as he entered.
“Mrs. Weasley,” Harry cleared his throat, “It was I who fought that boggart.” Molly dropped her cup, splashing tea everywhere and said, “Harry, no, you couldn't have done that. You're still underage. You'll get in so much trouble.”
“It was me, and I haven't gotten a warning letter yet, or been summoned to another Hearing,” Harry replied. Arthur nodded and said, “It's true, Molly. Fudge seems to be considering Harry of-age after that Patronus last week. And besides, this is a Wizard house. The Ministry can't tell if magic used here is being used by a child or an adult.” When that news sank in, Molly threw herself at Harry, hugging him and thanking him for helping her. Moody managed to get her off him when he said, “The meeting's about to start. Dumbledore's going to be here in about fifteen minutes.” Molly and Arthur left the room immediately to call other members, like Bill and Charlie, who was attending this meeting.
McGonagall stepped into the center of the room and transformed back. “Most of us are here, what say we start this meeting?” Everyone nodded, then Cedric Diggory arrived. “Merlin, he's insane!” Cedric wheezed as he ran in. “What happened?” McGonagall asked.
“Snape happened. A bunch of us were just ambushed by Death Eaters, and Snape started cursing anything that moved, including Order members. We need help!” Cedric wheezed in reply.
“Incoming Weasleys!” Moody reported, his magical eye watching the door.
“Harry, go with Cedric back to the battle, and bring our people home!” McGonagall ordered.
Cedric grinned in relief. “Those Death Eaters are screwed!” he said. Harry got a cloak with a hood and followed Cedric to the battle. When they got there, Harry immediately separated from the main body of combatants and went around. When Dumbledore saw Cedric he said, “Diggory, I thought I told you to go for help!”
“I did,” Cedric responded. “I expect the Death Eaters to realize they're screwed in a few minutes.” Dumbledore scoffed at that and kept fighting. He never saw the black shadow dart into a large group of Death Eaters, but he did see the results. The Death Eaters scattered, but one of them turned back to try and curse their attacker. There was no one there.
“What?” Dumbledore muttered, mystified by the Dark Wizards' actions. A Death Eater came up behind him, and Dumbledore heard a muffled cry of pain and spun around. A dead Death Eater lay there, his throat cut. He knelt to take the Death Eater's mask off and saw that it was Yaxley. “Something's killing Death Eaters,” he said to no one in particular. The sounds of battle abruptly stopped and Dumbledore turned around when he heard the crack of a twig behind him. His wand came up in a sweeping motion, ready to do battle with whoever was there.
He saw a black-cloaked person standing there, apparently unarmed. He stood up, wand still raised, and said, “Who are you?” The cloaked figure chuckled and reached up to lower his hood. “Did you miss me?” Harry Potter joked. “Just kidding, I know you'd only miss me if you knew I was here all along.” Dumbledore looked around at all the Death Eaters killed or captured and whistled. “When you get into fights with your comrades, you go all out, don't you?” he asked. Harry's face contorted, and Dumbledore raised his wand higher, erroneously believing it was because Harry was angry. “That one behind you was going to kill you. I stopped him,” Harry said coldly, and then he left. When everyone returned to Headquarters, the meeting started. Harry attended, but he was hidden in a corner in a shadow. Dumbledore never knew he was there.
* * *
Harry's Fifth Year at Hogwarts started almost uneventfully. He attended classes and kept a close watch on Dolores Umbridge. The weeks passed slowly, with the Defense Against the Dark Arts classes going the slowest. Umbridge kept trying to provoke Harry, but he never rose to her bait. He kept his temper in check, though it was simmering just below the surface because of Dumbledore's increasingly snide remarks behind his back. Harry knew he was just leading up to something big, he just didn't know for sure what it was.
Finally, Halloween arrived. Dumbledore announced a costume party would be held in the Great Hall on Halloween night, and that prizes would go to the most imaginative costumes. When Harry heard that, he grinned inwardly. He had an idea, and was going to ask Hermione if she would cooperate. “Hey, Hermione!” he called out to her after their prefect's meeting was over. She turned back to him, her eyebrows raised. “Do you want to go to the costume party with me?” he asked. She saw his mischievous grin, and couldn't help smiling back. Vampire or no, there's nothing I can deny him when he smiles that way, Hermione thought. He stepped closer to her and whispered in her ear, “Great, here's my idea...” Her eyes widened and she playfully smacked his arm. “Harry! That might cause a panic! We're prefects!”
“Did that ever stop anyone?” Harry asked, still grinning.
“No, it didn't,” she admitted. “Alright, we'll do it. Dumbledore won't know what hit him.”
On the night of the Halloween Party, a strange man came to Hogwarts. Dumbledore admitted him to the castle in secret and whispered, “I've tried getting rid of him myself, but he's too strong and too smart.”
“Do you know what breed he is?” the stranger asked.
“Heinrich Weisen came a couple of years ago. He said it was a Black Forest,” Dumbledore replied. The stranger whistled quietly.
“You do have a problem, but what about other teachers?”
“He's already enchanted my Deputy and a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. He's also attacked at least two people that I know of, though he hasn't turned them, to my knowledge,” Dumbledore replied.
“Alright, I'll attend your party, and deal with him when the opportunity presents itself.”
When the party started, students came in wearing some of the most outrageous costumes. Luna Lovegood came in as a “Crumple-Horned Snorkack”, Cho Chang came in as a Valkyrie, and Colin and Dennis Creevey came in as a pair of M&M's. But those weren't even the most imaginative; Fred and George Weasley, and Lee Jordan came in as the Three Stooges from Muggle TV. They were some of the last to come, and Dumbledore thought that Harry would stay away, that perhaps he sensed the presence of the surprise guest. Then the doors banged open for the last time. Two people walked in, a boy and a girl. The boy was holding the girl's hand out on front of them, and they walked across the floor matching each other's pace. The murmur of conversations died down slowly as the pair's strange costumes sunk in.
The male of the duo was pale and well-built, and his eyes seemed to stare right through people. His female companion was slightly less pale, and her eyes were just as piercing. Those who looked closely enough saw that both had fangs, but the female's were shorter than the male's. The male had claws, but the female didn't. They strode to the center of the Hall, where the dancing would be, and the male swept his female companion into the dance. They danced very well, very gracefully, almost hypnotically. Soon, others joined them on the dance floor. After a while, they stopped dancing, and started mingling.
“Wow, Harry, is that you?!” Ron Weasley exclaimed. Luna Lovegood came up behind Ron and said, “Don't you recognize your friends, Ronald?” Ron jumped, and turned around, startled. He looked at Luna as though he had never seen her before, then he turned back to his friends. “Merlin, Harry, Hermione, how did you do that?” he asked, still stunned.
“We got some help from Sirius and Remus,” Harry lied. “They haven't arrived yet because they wanted to give us a chance to get everyone's attention before they fall over laughing, they said. They'll be here soon.” Hermione looked over to the doors they had left open when they made their entrance and said, “Here they are, and they brought a friend.” Harry and Hermione waved to Sirius, Remus, and Heinrich Weisen.
Dumbledore was looking over the most recent arrivals with a look of mingled shock, anger, and resentment. When he glanced over at the two vampires talking to Ron Weasley, his heart nearly stopped. He crossed himself, and caught his own guest's eye. He nodded over to Harry and Hermione and muttered, “He's the one I told you about. She's his girlfriend, I think.” Van Helsing nodded, and stalked over to the two vampires. Heinrich saw him coming and paled
“I don't believe it! He's called Van Helsing!” Heinrich swore quite colorfully, then went over to Harry and Hermione. As soon as he got close enough, he realized that Hermione wasn't actually a vampire, but rather a carrier of the retrovirus that caused it. That meant that for one reason or another, Harry had bitten her to feed, and had transferred enough to her so that she'd show some characteristics if she was stressed out, or if Harry activated it himself. Clever boy, Heinrich thought, concealing a smile.
“Hello Harry, do you remember me? I'm Heinrich Weisen,” Heinrich said. Van Helsing stopped.
“Yeah, I remember you! You're the one who came a couple of years ago,” Harry said with a smile. He surreptitiously signaled Colin and Dennis, who grinned. A few minutes later, word had spread. Students backed away from Snape so fast some fell over. Snape glared around at the kids, and approached Draco Malfoy. Malfoy couldn't get away fast enough, but he tried. He ran away, looking horrified. Snape stopped and turned to glare at Hermione when she giggled. He stalked over to her threateningly.
“What did you do, Granger?” he snarled. Harry stepped in front of her and snarled back, “She didn't do anything. It was me. I told everyone you were a vampire.” Heinrich inwardly gloated as he confirmed, “Yes, I've said it once, and I'll say it again. I do believe that you are a low-grade Romanian.” Van Helsing started looking Snape over speculatively, and then grinned menacingly as he advanced. Snape didn't see him coming, because his attention was focused on Harry and Heinrich while he growled in rage and subconsciously bared his teeth as though they were fangs. Ron backed away quickly, trying to stop laughing but failing miserably, then he tripped over his banana costume.
Van Helsing came up behind Snape and tossed holy water on him. It didn't work as he'd expected, then Harry said to Van Helsing, “Toss some shampoo on him now and we'll see what color his hair actually is.” Snape spun around, still baring his teeth, drew his wand and screamed, “CRUCIO!” Everyone ran for the exit when Snape attacked, and Harry saw Dumbledore run out into the courtyard where the garden was during the Ball the previous year.
“Hermione, what say we go pay Dumbledore a little visit in the courtyard?” Harry asked her with a grin. She nodded; her eyes alight with passion and humor. “Yes, let's go talk to him.” They step back into some shadows cast by a light, and vanished. A moment later they stepped out into the courtyard in front of Dumbledore.
“Where the hell did you come from? Hell?” Dumbledore demanded as he stepped back in shock. Harry bared his fangs and snarled, “Neither of us came from Hell, old fool.” Hermione bared her fangs, too, and said, “I really think you need to apologize to Harry for being so cruel to him. That was low, bringing in Abraham Van Helsing.” Dumbledore retreated another step and stammered, “I-i d-don't k-know w-what y-you're t-talking a-about,” while crossing his fingers behind his back. Hermione zipped around behind him and grabbed his crossed fingers.
“Crossing your fingers, are you? What, can't tell a very poor lie without doing that?” Hermione asked with a slightly evil smile. “Maybe I should bite them off.” Dumbledore blanched and yanked his hand away. He drew his wand and backed far enough away so that he could see both of them, stalking toward him.
“We're actually not here to hurt you, Headmaster. We just wanted to try to talk some sense into you,” Harry ground out.
“Yes, but every time you see Harry, you have the annoying habit of trying to end him. That's not very nice,” Hermione continued for Harry.
“I've done nothing to harm you, and even saved your miserable little life,” Harry went on in the same vein.
“When he could very easily snuff it out like a candle,” Hermione pressed two fingers together like she was doing just that.
“But instead, I have dedicated my death to making sure you don't join me,” Harry finished. Both of them were now several steps closer to Dumbledore, as they had advanced one step for every time one of them spoke. Dumbledore had backed away an equal number of steps, and Harry could feel his fear as though it was tangible.
Harry and Hermione joined hands and cast a joint spell on Dumbledore. This spell branded the Dark Mark on Dumbledore's left forearm, and it wouldn't go away until he realized he was wrong.
“That new tattoo will stay until you come to your senses, however long it takes,” Hermione said. She backed into a shadow and waited. “You will actually feel it burn when He summons you, and you will be forced to go to him,” Harry whispered as he joined Hermione in the shadow and transported her back to the Great Hall. No one knew they had ever left.
Dumbledore came in a few minutes later and announced, “The winners of the contest are Harry Potter and Hermione Granger for their Dracula and Bride costumes. Second Place goes to Ronald Weasley and Luna Lovegood for their banana and undiscovered creature costumes. The prizes are homework passes.”
“Did you know, Ronald, that Crumple-Horned Snorkacks eat bananas? It's their favorite food,” Luna said dreamily. Ron backed away from her slowly and fell over again.
* * * * *
EDITOR’S NOTE: Just as a warning so people don’t sue us, the name Abraham Van Helsing is owned and copyrighted by Bram Stoker in his novel Dracula. We are not making any income or profit from the use of the name, and thus no copyright infringement is being committed or intended.
Thanks for reading, please review.
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