Chapter 19: It Is OUR War As Well As Yours
“Hurry up Ron, we want to get going.” Hermione called up the stairs into the boys’ dorm. It was the last Hogsmede trip before Christmas, and everyone wanted to finish off buying presents. Hermione, Harry and Ginny were waiting in the common room for Ron who has still getting dressed.
“I’m coming, keep your knickers on.” He mumbled, walking down the stairs.
Ginny snorted, “She may not want to Ron, not with you around anyway.”
“Ginny!” Hermione yelped, blushing deeply.
Harry snickered, “Come on you lot, I don’t particularly want to hear about Ron and Hermione’s sex life. I would like to get to Hogsmede before Christmas!” He offered his arm to Ginny who took it, giggling slightly.
He was still stumped with what to get Ginny and it was starting to bug him. Ron and Hermione were easy to buy for, since each had very obvious interests. But Harry didn’t think that there would be anything remotely romantic as a book for Ginny, even though she did enjoy reading.
Not even the founders were helpful, merely laughing at him with Godric saying that all men suffered the same problem and he needed to do it himself. The women were just as unhelpful saying that Ginny was sure to love whatever he gave her, merely because it was from him.
Harry had tried to talk to Ron about his woes, maybe comparing sob stories, but to his chagrin Ron had already bought Hermione her present and didn’t seem too interested in helping Harry.
So Harry found himself walking to Hogsmede, without any clue about what he wanted to get his girlfriend.
“Come on Ginny, let’s leave the boys and get our shopping done first. I reckon they don’t want us around anyway.” Hermione said the instant they arrived at the small village. Ginny nodded and kissed Harry goodbye before turning and following Hermione.
Harry shouted after them, “Meet us in the Three Broomsticks at 12!”
They nodded and waved, grinning back at the two boys. Harry looked at Ron, “Where do you want to go first?”
Ron shrugged, “Dunno, someplace warm though, I am freezing out here.”
“Sure, I was actually planning on getting Ginny’s present from there anyway. You got any ideas what to get her yet?” Ron asked, curiosity lining his face.
Harry shook his head, “Not a clue. I don’t know what I am going to do if I can’t find something here. I am running out of time too.”
“Eh, don’t sweat it; I am sure something will catch your eye. Anyway, let me just grab some stuff, are you getting anything from here?”
Harry nodded and proceeded to raid the shelves of Honeydukes. For the next couple of hours he and Ron wandered up and down the main street of Hogsmede, peeking into different stores. Harry bought presents for everyone of his friends except for Ginny. He had even managed to get something for the founders, a present that he thought would make them laugh, particularly Godric.
As 12 o’clock approached, they made their way towards the Three Broomsticks, Ron almost moaning in anticipation for a couple of bottles of butterbeer. Harry, being of age now and not Head Boy was more looking forward to a shot of firewhisky, if only to warm him up.
“Harry, Ron! Over here!” he heard Hermione shout, and spotted her and Ginny waving. Also at their table was Neville, Luna and Parvati.
“Hey you guys, have fun?” Harry asked, giving Ginny a quick kiss before turning a curious stare onto Parvati. She was not normally one to hang around with them, more preferring her twin and Lavender.
She gave him a nervous smile, “hey Harry, I hope you don’t mind, but Padma and Lavender had something to do and told me to bugger off.”
He grinned back at her, “Na, no probs. So did you all get your presents?”
Hermione nodded happily, “Yeah, though I think Ginny was having problems judging by the amount of time she spent in…ouch! Ginny!” she rubbed her foot and glared at the red haired girl.
Ginny smiled sweetly back, “That’ll teach you for trying to give away where I got someone’s present from.”
“Can we get our drinks now?” Ron pouted, looking longingly at Madam Rosmerta’s…face.
Hermione slapped him lightly on the head, “For that, first round is on you!”
Looking outraged Ron opened his mouth to complain but Harry interrupted, “No it’s alright, I’ll get this round. What does everyone want?” They quickly placed their orders and Harry walked up to the matron who smiled at him and immediately started pulling out bottles.
He carried them back to the table, trying not to spill the drinks over everyone’s laps. He had sat down and was about to take a sip out of his drink when Hermione exclaimed, “Harry! Just what
do you think you are drinking?”
He looked at her in confusion, “Um, firewhisky? Why, what do you think I’m drinking?”
She looked furious, “Harry, you should not be buying such strong drinks, you are still in school! You should be setting an example for the younger students.”
He didn’t reply, merely slamming the drink back in one, “How was that for an example?” He asked, grinning at her.
The others laughed but Hermione merely scowled in disgust and Harry sighed, “Herm, do not take this the wrong way, but screw being an example! I hate attention, and I refuse to live my life afraid of what people think of me. I am of age, I do not hold a position of authority at school unless you count being the head of the DA and I like the taste of the drink.”
“Hear hear!” Ron toasted, taking a swig out of his butterbeer.
Hermione looked genuinely angry, “B-But…”
“Hermione, give it a rest! It is only alcohol for crying out loud, it isn’t like he is doing drugs or anything.” Parvati exclaimed, Ginny and Neville nodding.
Obviously out voted, Hermione slumped into her chair and glared at everyone. Harry was just opening his mouth to soothe her feelings when a scream pierced the air. He whirled towards the door so fast he got a crick in his neck, but ignored it, going straight into alert mode.
He got up from the table and made his way over to the window, his wand already in his hand his other was grasping for the DA galleon he always kept with him. As he looked out, he saw many Death Eaters approaching from the far end of Hogsmede, shooting out spells at the panicking crowd.
Harry turned to the others who had followed him to the window and were obviously waiting to be told what to do, “Right, Parvati, Luna and Neville, I need you to get out there and try and round up as many of the DA as possible that are out there and try and halt their advance. Do not take any unnecessary risks though!”
They nodded and immediately left, running from cover to cover, shouting out to various people and shooting off spells at the rapidly approaching Death Eaters.
He turned to Ron and Hermione who immediately shook their heads, “No, we are not leaving you!”
He couldn’t help but grin, “Sorry, but I need you to go and warn McGonagall and also see what the situation is at Hogwarts. For all we know, this could be a diversion and the real attack is happening up there. If that is the case, stay and help with the defence, otherwise get your asses back here quick smart!”
Hermione looked torn but Ron nodded, “Ok, Ginny, Hermione, lets go!”
“Ron, Ginny is staying with me, I need her here.” Harry interrupted, as Ginny wrapped her arm around his middle in defiance.
Ron looked shocked and angry, “What? You think I am going to let my little sister stay in the middle of a battle with you?”
Harry frowned at him, “We don’t have time to argue Ron! Yes, I do expect that, and you will agree, unless you want to stay behind and send the two girls off by themselves back to Hogwarts?”
Obviously not liking that idea at all, Ron scowled and started to walk towards the door, Hermione on his heels. He just opened it before turning back, “You watch out for her Harry, you hear me?”
Ginny bristled but Harry merely nodded, “I always do. Now get going!”
They left and Ginny looked up at Harry, “Ready to show ‘em what it means to mess with Harry Potter?” she asked, grinning.
He shrugged, smiling down at her, “Ready or not, here I come!”
They charged out of the Three Broomsticks, ducking for cover as three spells were shot at them. Harry looked around, taking in the situation instantly. There were around 15 Death Eaters, 12 of which were engaged in pretty heavy battle with the DA. The other three were busy setting fire to several buildings. Harry made his way towards them, Ginny watching his back.
Suddenly a young child ran out screaming straight into the Death Eaters. Harry watched in horror as one of them cast the cruciatus curse onto him, the others laughed in glee.
Fury coursed its way through Harry’s body and he tore towards them, “Oi! Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?” he yelled.
They whirled around, shock etched on their faces. The one holding the curse on the boy shouted, “It’s him! Get him!”
“Ginny! Cover now!” he yelled, casting shield over the two of them. She reacted instantly, conjuring a giant boulder and placing it between them and the Death Eaters. Harry dropped the shield and peered over the edge of the rock quickly. He looked at Ginny, “If we don’t act soon, they are going to kill that kid.”
She nodded, “I’ll skirt round the edges and try and set up a ward to stop them from disapparating, but I’ll need you to keep them busy for me.”
He gave a humourless grin, “I think I can do that, after all, I get the feeling they came here for me anyway. Good luck, and be careful!”
She raised an eyebrow, “Aren’t I always?”
He rolled his eyes and turned back to the Death Eaters who looked like they were going to start torturing the boy again. He took careful aim and cast a reductor curse at the ground near them causing them to cast a barrage of dark curses back at him. He ducked behind the boulder again, breathing heavily in an attempt to calm his heart rate.
Suddenly he heard the two words that he dreaded, “Avada Kedavra
A black cloud seemed to colour Harry’s vision as he hurled himself to his feet and raised his wand. His eyes refused to focus on anything but the child, whose blank eyes would forever reflect terror and pain.
Momentarily forgetting about Ginny and her plan, he unleased a torrent of curses, most of which not even the Death Eaters knew of. They ducked away, relying on their shields to protect them from Harry’s wrath. Within a few seconds, their faces reflected fear and Harry fed on it.
A second array of spells were launched from behind the Death Eaters, and Harry knew that Ginny had succeeded in her task. He gave a feral grin, “Are you lot ready to die?”
Obviously not expecting such a comment, one of the Death Eaters yelled back, “You wouldn’t know the first thing about casting the Killing Curse Potter! You’re just a pampered and lucky brat who the Dark Lord will take great pleasure in killing!”
The other two were obviously not as confident as their partner and tried to disapparate only to find they couldn’t. “They have erected a ward! We can’t get out of here!” one yelled out.
Harry’s grin became more pronounced, “You picked the wrong side, and you are about to find out just how wrong it was!” He raised his wand and fired off three of Godric’s favourite shield breaking spells to open up the way for Ginny’s three solidifying spells.
The three Death Eaters keeled over instantly, obviously trying to scream but no sounds were coming out of their mouths. Ginny ran over to Harry, who was staring down at the young boy with regret, “I couldn’t save him Gin, I just couldn’t get there in time.”
She held his hand, “You did all you could. We will have time to grieve later, but first we need to clean up the rest of the Death Eaters. I know the DA was doing well before, but things might have changed.”
He nodded and turned towards the main part of the town where the sounds of battle could still be heard. They rushed into the middle of the fight, firing off many lethal spells and dropping several of the enemy. After a few minutes, the Death Eaters realised that they were losing too many people and fled.
The DA cheered, obviously thrilled that they had managed to fend of the enemy. Harry couldn’t help but smile at the enthusiasm displayed as he made his way over to Neville. “What is the situation Nev? How many did we lose?”
He grinned and shook his head, “No one that I know of! Luna got a nasty cut and I think Justin got hit with the electrocution curse, but other than that I think it is only scratches and bruises.”
Harry nearly wilted in relief, “Thank goodness.” He murmured. He looked around at the DA who were approaching him with confident looks on their faces. The residents of Hogsmede were just starting to come out of their houses and were staring at him in awe.
Rosmerta stammered, “M-Mr P-P-Pott-ter, y-you k-k-killed-d several
The DA members who were not aware of this gasped and stared in surprise at their leader. Harry shrugged, “In this game it is kill or be killed ma-am. And I have no intention of being killed!”
Neville shouted, “Hear hear! Three cheers for our leader!” the DA once again cheered loudly, masking the sounds of the apparating teachers.
Harry turned and watched as McGonagall strode towards him, Ron and Hermione on her heels. “Mr Potter, what on earth…?”
“Professor, we had 15 Death Eaters attack the town. Half fled, the other half are dead and need to be disposed of. We have at least one known civilian casualty, and two semi-serious injuries from the DA.” He rattled off quickly.
Non-plussed she simply stood and stared at him. After a moment she gasped out, “D-dead, what do you mean dead? How did they die?”
He raised an eyebrow, “I, well, Ginny and I killed them.”
“WHAT?” Hermione burst out, looking utterly appalled, “How could you Harry?”
He turned burning eyes onto her and she almost took a back step. Before he could say anything however, McGonagall intervened, “Alright, if you do not mind Harry, I would like the DA to go around and find any citizen or student that has been hurt or….or worse and to bring them up to the school, but leave the Death Eaters. Same goes for any resident who has had their house destroyed. We can keep them in the hospital wing for now.”
Harry nodded in assent and turned to the DA, “Alright, you heard her! Move it!” The DA jumped to attention and scampered off, bursting into all of the homes and combing the streets for any sign of life.
McGonagall turned to the teachers, “Can you gather the bodies of the enemy and bring them to the dungeons for examination please? I don’t particularly want them paraded around before the students either.” They nodded and headed for the centre of the town.
She turned back and looked at Harry, “Are you injured Mr Potter?”
She nodded, “Well, that would be a first. Still, you are pretty filthy, please return to the school and get cleaned up. I will wish to talk with you, Miss Weasley, Mr Weasley and Miss Granger later on.”
He sighed, “Yes Ma-am.” He turned to Ron and Hermione, “Do you mind helping with the clean up? I know it isn’t glamorous, but Luna is hurt and Neville will need some help co-ordinating everything.”
Ron nodded, “Sure thing Harry. Come on ‘Mione.”
They said goodbye, and Harry and Gin slowly made their way up to the castle. Instead of returning to Gryffindor however, they made their way straight to Phoenix’s Nest.
Helga was the first to see them and she nearly fell over in shock, “What on earth happened
to you two? You look like you have been in a battle! And is that…blood?” Realisation slammed its way onto her face and she turned and screamed out, “YOU LOT HURRY UP! I NEED SOME HELP HERE!”
Harry smiled tiredly at her, “We aren’t hurt Helga, just tired and dirty.”
The door to the lounge flew open and the other three founders rushed in, “What is it Helga? What is….oh it’s you two.” Salazar said, taking in the scene quickly.
“What happened?” Godric asked, looking over them quickly.
“Hogsmede was attacked by the Death Eaters. We fought them off and they fled, but there were some casualties. None from the school thankfully, but at least one of the residents died.” Ginny explained hurriedly.
Rowena walked over to them and waved her wand quickly, vanishing most of the dirt and blood. The smell of death and battle was replaced with a fresh scent of lemon.
Harry breathed in the small, “Thanks Rowena.” He then collapsed into the nearest chair, the adrenaline gone. He could barely keep his eyes open and Ginny looked to be just as tired.
Salazar walked into the kitchen and pulled out two vials of some clear potion. He handed one to each of them saying, “here, this should pick you guys up. You look dead on your feet.”
Helga frowned at him, “That isn’t funny Salazar!”
Harry raised his hand, “it’s ok, I know what he meant.”
“So? Are you going to tell us what happened in detail?” Godric asked, looking both enthusiastic and sympathetic.
Ginny gave a tired grin, “We kicked their asses! Almost half of them were dead, the other half fled like cowards when they realised Harry and I were willing to play by their rules.”
“You killed half of them?” Helga whispered.
Harry nodded, closing his eyes in an effort to block out the images that were coursing before him. Helga got up and wrapped her arms around him, Rowena doing the same to Ginny. Salazar sighed, “I know that this was your first time taking a life and I know you probably want to gouge your own eyes out. There isn’t much we can say to alleviate the pain. But always remember, it is the less of two evils, and they deserve nothing less.”
Harry cracked one eye open, “I know, and believe me, I am not going to stew over their
deaths. It is more the image of the innocent little boy who died purely because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Helga hugged him tighter, “Well, always remember, he is now at peace and in a place where no one can hurt him ever again.”
“Are either of you hurt at all?” Salazar asked.
Ginny shook her head, “No, just buggered.”
“Language young lady!” Rowena scolded, loosening her grip slightly on the red haired girl.
Giving a sheepish grin Ginny replied, “Sorry.”
Harry pulled himself out of Helga’s grip, which was no easy thing to do, “We had better go, I know McGonagall wants to talk to us, and I do not think she is going to be pleased. We’ll come back later tonight, but it might be a little later than normal.”
Godric nodded, “That’s ok, you two have had enough excitement for a single day. We won’t be doing your normal classes anyway I don’t think.”
Harry smiled at him and said a quick goodbye, before he and Ginny left. They walked slowly towards the hospital wing, hoping to catch some of the DA and to tell them how pleased they were.
However, they were only halfway there when they heard McGonagall’s voice call out to them, “Mr Potter! Miss Weasley!”
Stifling a groan, Harry turned towards the Headmistress and replied, “Yes Ma-am?”
“If you are not doing anything right now, I would like to see you in my office.” Her tone left no room for arguments and Harry was not interested in starting one just yet.
They followed her to the office and were surprised to see several people already there, including Ron and Hermione. Remus and Tonks were also there as well as Kingsley, Moody and Mr and Mrs Weasley.
Sitting next to Ron, Harry gave a small smile to Remus as a greeting and received one in return. Harry turned to McGonagall, “Now, there was something you wished to talk to us about Professor?”
“Yes, I – that is, we – the Order, need to discuss your actions during today’s battle. It was, in a word, unacceptable. Not to mention morally appalling!” she spat out.
Harry had to keep a firm grip on Ginny’s wand hand to keep her from drawing her wand. He forced himself to keep a calm look on his face as he asked, “Please explain what you mean by that Ma-am, I do not really understand.”
Her eyes narrowed, “Do NOT play coy with me boy! You know very well what I mean. You used DARK magic on them, you murdered 8 Death Eaters!”
Harry’s eyes flashed but he kept a steady gaze onto McGonagall’s face, thereby missing the look of consternation that was working its way onto Ron and Hermione’s faces. “Ma-am, I am no boy.” Was all he said in reply.
He felt Ginny shake in silent laughter at the comment as McGonagall’s face darkened in fury. Moody spoke up, “Do not take that tone with her Potter! You may be of age, but in terms of experience and knowledge you are
just a boy. And a spoilt, arrogant one at that!”
Hermione gasped, clapping her hands over her mouth and the roles between Ginny and Harry were reversed, with Ginny holding onto Harry to stop him from cursing Moody back to the stone age. He had lost all control over his facial expression, and even Moody looked a little worried at the look of pure hatred being directed himself.
Mrs Weasley intervened, “What he means Harry, is that you are too young to be doing this! You are not even out of school, and worse than that, you are teaching even younger students to fight! It is just wrong!”
Harry turned his gaze to her and said mildly, “I do not think that is what he meant Mrs Weasley, but I am not going to push the issue. Merely to say that the last time he and I came to blows, I came out on top!”
Moody looked furious, but a calming hand from Kingsley kept him silent. McGonagall exclaimed, “Mr Potter, I demand an answer!”
He turned his head to the side, “Perhaps if I knew the question I could help you Professor.”
She glared at him, “I have several, one, where did you learn such magic? Two, when did you decide to play god? And three, who else have you taught this mentality to?”
He looked her in the eyes, “None of that is really any of your business Ma-am, but I suppose I could answer them none the less. I learnt the magic at Hogwarts, I have never decided to play God, and I have not taught this mentality to anyone as yet. Hence why no one other than Ginny were killing the Death Eaters.”
“Ginny…you killed…?” Mrs Weasley whispered looking horrified.
Her daughter had a defiant expression on her face, but she was squeezing Harry’s hand extremely tightly, “Yes I did, and I have no regrets about it either!”
Before Mrs Weasley could say anything else, McGonagall broke in, “What gives you the right to determine if a person lives or dies? Not even Professor Dumbledore ever killed in a battle, he always incapacitated them. The use of Dark Magic is evil Harry, you of all people should know that!”
“With all due respect Professor, but don’t you DARE bring Albus into this. YOU betrayed HIM!” he jabbed a finger at the sleeping Headmaster. He could have sworn he saw the painting twitch, but didn’t draw attention to it.
McGonagall had paled slightly and the others were a mixture of outrage at Harry and confusion. However, Harry didn’t let them get a word in, “The Death Eaters are evil! I did not start killing them until they had murdered a little boy who could not have been more than 7. Who are you to call me evil, when I am trying to defend the innocent? What are you doing? Absolutely nothing! I am willing to fight and to kill for what I believe in, and the only way that this war is going to be won is if more people fight the same way.”
He took a deep breath and looked at Tonks, “Did you not say that the Aurors are allowed to use the unforgivables on known Death Eaters Professor?”
She nodded straight away, “Yes indeed, in fact in certain situations, we are encouraged to kill rather than capture. You agree Kingsley?”
He reluctantly nodded, “But that is a different situation! We are trained professionals, not kids in school.”
“There is no difference at all!” Ginny exclaimed, “How many more people would be killed by those Death Eaters if they had of gotten away? Who knows how many countless people Harry has saved by eliminating those enemies?”
McGonagall shook her head, “It is the principle of the matter Miss Weasley. If we kill, then we are no better than the enemy.”
Harry sighed, “If you truly believe that then you are more of a fool than I initially believed. How can you expect to win this war if you do not use offensive techniques?”
“Professor McGonagall was right though Harry, Dumbledore did not use Dark Magic, he never needed to.” Mr Weasley said softly.
“I can raise two flaws to your argument. One, who here is at the level of Professor Dumbledore? Who here has his knowledge and raw power? And two, for all of his dedication, hard work and brilliance, he didn’t
win the war. It is still going on, and guess what, HE DIED!” Harry yelled.
The others flinched, but McGonagall kept a steady gaze on his face, “So you think that we should all turn ourselves into monsters, just so that we can live? How on earth does that make us any better than You-Know-Who?”
“VOLDEMORT!” Harry yelled, “His name is VOLDEMORT, for crying out loud! Well, actually it isn’t, but it is his title I guess. Anyway, I don’t understand how killing someone in the heat of battle is going to turn you into a monster? How can you compare me to them? I am not torturing children, raping women, murdering people in cold blood! I am killing people in battle who are trying to kill me, and I am defending the people that I love.”
McGonagall shook her head, “There is no difference Harry. You took lives today, that makes you a killer.”
“A killer yes, but not a murderer!” he exclaimed, becoming frustrated.
Ginny stroked his back gently as Hermione interrupted, “Can you at least tell us where
you learnt the magic? They weren’t killed by the killing curse were they?”
Harry shook his head, “No, I did not use any of the unforgivables, and I have already told you, I learnt the magic at Hogwarts.”
“And Ginny…?” Mrs Weasley interrupted, starting to look angry, “Did my daughter also learn such magic here?”
They nodded, Ginny smiling sadly, “I had to mum. You forget what I have been through. I am not a girl anymore, and I refuse to be tortured again. I will fight for what I believe in, and I will kill for what I believe in. And I believe in Harry.”
Ron glared at her, “That is little girl speak Gin! Besotted with a hero like some love-sick puppy!”
Ginny looked like she wanted to yell at him, but Harry put a calming hand on her shoulder and she settled back down. Harry looked at McGonagall, “Professor, obviously we have arrived at an impasse. I have my beliefs and you have yours. They are not compatible, so I suggest we simply try and stay out of each other’s way.”
She shook her head, “I am sorry Harry but I cannot do that. You see, you are a student at this school, as is Miss Weasley and the DA, therefore you are under my jurisdiction. I cannot allow such behaviour to continue. From this point on, all DA meetings are to be monitored by myself or Professor Tonks or another adult that I deem trustworthy. Is that clear?” she fixed him with a stern stare.
He raised an eyebrow, “Are you honestly so foolish as to think we cannot go behind your back? Professor, we were just starting to mend the bridges, do not burn them again so quickly.”
Her nostrils flared, “Do not take that tone with me Mr Potter. You leave me with no choice whatsoever. You kill without any remorse, you have no qualms about using Dark Magic, and you are leading the next generation down the same path. That I cannot tolerate! Now you will either obey me, or I will expel you right here, right now!”
His lips pursed, “That threat again Ma-am? We have already established the fact that no matter what I do, you will not expel me, because you would loose all knowledge of my activities.”
She nodded, “You’re right, ignore the expulsion. Instead, you would be in detention every single night, until you come to your senses.”
Harry shrugged, “So be it. You want me to fail my NEWTS, fine! See if I care. But you are not going to change my mind, and any fight I partake in, I can promise you, there will be a string of bodies behind me!”
He got up, breathing heavily in an effort to contain his anger. He snarled, “Let me leave you with a single thought. How is this war to end if someone doesn’t kill
Voldemort? Because believe me, locking him up for eternity is not a feasible option.”
With that, he turned around and stomped out of the office, Ginny, Ron and Hermione trailing him. What he missed however, was the looked of horror and fear that the latter was giving him, obviously aghast at the cold heartedness he was displaying.
A/N: There you go, a bit of action and this time the bridges are REALLY burnt lol. Hope you liked it! Let me know one way or the other please!!!!!!!!!!!!!