Wherein Harry and his Witches take the last NEWT exams and Voldemort strikes a royal target
Chapter 27 - Nastily Exhausting Witch Tests
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore studied the document before him.
A Petition to Reinstate Albus Dumbledore as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot.
Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot is a largely ceremonial office - more of an honorarium than a real position of authority, but the Chief Warlock is responsible for casting the deciding vote when they are short of a clear majority in the mage's House of Lords.
However, the "honor" was yet another drain on the headmaster's most precious resource, time.
Dumbledore sighed and placed his personalized Dicta-quill , nib first, on the parchment.
"Honorable members of the Wizengamot, after careful consideration I have decided that I must decline your kind offer to resume my seat at Chief Warlock so that I may devote my full efforts to the students, teachers and staff of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. . ."
With very few changes he'd sent the same message to the International Confederation of Witches and Wizards, declining the Office of Supreme Mugwump.
Now if he could just get Kingsley or perhaps Minerva to take over the Order of the Phoenix.
"Simplify, simplify." He mused, happy to have met Henry David Thoreau when he'd visited the Salem Academy as a boy. He planned to give his beloved copy of Civil Disobedience to Harry at the next opportunity.
Harry and Hermione smiled and capped the crystal flask without touching it or its contents - a perfectly brewed felix felicis potion.
Barring any unforeseen disaster, such as dropping the delicate container - which happens, oddly enough, more often than not, they were finished with the Nastily Exhausting Witch and Wizard Test for potions. And, by brewing the three most difficult potions imaginable, in record time, no less, they had secured both an"Outstanding" as well as Mastery of Potions.
Albus Dumbledore would be over the moon to learn that he had two potions masters in his school.
Voldemort was in aquandary. True, Bellatrix and her Cossack Guard were ruthlessly efficient, not to mention enthusiastic, in their pursuit of carnage. The Cossacks, however, would not take the dark mark, citing they had only one allegiance, and that was to the defunct royal family of Czarist Russia. It had been enough that they carried out his or Bellatrix's plans, but now there was a hitch.
The Cossacks flatly refused to carry out a mission.
In earlier, happier times, Voldemort would simply have killed one or two of the dissenting death-eaters and the others would fall all over themselves to obey. If he tried the same thing with the Cossacks they would rebel and he'd have to kill them all.
He could punish Bellatrix for their reticence but that would be ineffective for two reasons, one, the Cossacks adored their Dark Mistress - they would fly to her defense and again, he'd have to kill them all. Two, even if he got her alone, she enjoyed pain too much.
Bellatrix was uncharacteristically contrite, "I'm sorry my lord, the Cossacks simply refuse to endanger any member of a royal house."
Godsdamn stinking royalist sons of inbred bitches! He thought, outwardly calm, he said, "We must prove to the world that no one is safe as long as there are those who oppose us. . ."
Bellatrix raised her head and smiled.
Bellatrix smiling was enough to stop Voldemort in mid-rant.
"What is it, my dear?"
"What if we make an example of one of Prince Harry's schoolmates?"
The Dark Lord nodded,"Yes, if we capture and kill one of the young Royal's mates, it is as good as an attack on the Prince himself - for everyone will see that it /could/have been Prince Harry."
Harry Potter entered the testing chamber for his Defense Against the Dark Arts written exam, Madam Marchbanks was not surprised to see him accompanied by Lady Hermione, but was rendered speechless as nineteen additional ladies joined them.
"We've all been studying very hard for this exam for a long time now, studying and training together; any objection to our testing together, Zelda?"
Grizelda Marchbanks knew that Harry had been training with his Witches, and that they'd used turned time- three days for every calendar day for three months. This group showed tremendous drive - no surprise there, everyone knew that, in the end, it would be Harry against the Dark Lord. So he and his ladies been hard at work for nearly nine months, indeed, two of the Witches appeared to be quite far along in their pregnancies.
"I must, in good conscience, exclude two of your ladies from tomorrow's practical examination, Lord Potter."
Harry knew, but asked anyway, "Why?"
Exasperated, the old witch nearly shouted, "Because they're in a "family way," as you well know. And not to put too fine a point on it, it's not only possible that you'll get injured during the practical, it's practically a certainty."
She narrowed her eyes at the young lord, "Do you want that on your conscience?"
Three months before, real-time, Harry would have capitulated, but he knew better now.
"Madam, my Ladies are going to be exposed to danger simply for being my Ladies. Death eaters, assassins and just plain crazies won't care if they are pregnant or not. I will defer to their judgment as to whether they are fit to fight or not."
"Very well, Lord Potter. On your head be it."
The written exam took three hours, some of the ladies finishing earlier, Harry at about the two-hour mark and Hermione finishing exactly at the end of the time allotted.
"How do you think you did, Hermione?" Harry asked, knowing the answer.
"Oh, I don't know, Ithink I could have answered the question about synergy related to protective runes and potions a bit better and then there was the whole question of transfig. . ."
She stopped as Harry kissed her. Tenderly, deeply, completely.
When he finally broke the kiss she blinked and said, "Um, okay I guess."
"Okay," he agreed, "Lunch and then a few stretching and conditioning drills, nothing too strenuous, we have to be loose and ready for tomorrow."
Millie suggested, "How about some water work?"
"Great idea, but wait for at least ninety minutes after lunch, okay?"
The group entered the great hall and went straight to their house tables. The rest of the student body had gotten used to the ritual, every day the members of the coven would sit at their usual seats to catch up on the gossip and visit with friends. Of course all the really good gossip was about "Harry's Harem."
Stuart Biggs, one of the older boys in Ravenclaw, had made the mistake of stalking Lady Mandy Potter nee Brocklehurst. At first he'd just asked her out, which she politely refused. But the boy hadn't given up easily. When he went as far as to corner her in the library she'd admitted to being in a bonded relationship with someone - at the time it hadn't been common knowledge that a coven had formed around Harry. Biggs, a little put off, sneered and asked, "Does he share?"
Mandy explained that she was free to stay or go as she pleased, and that it pleased her to stay, and that that wasn't going to change in the foreseeable future.
"How do you know if you don't sample the goods?" Biggs had asked. He took a chance and kissed her.
And woke up in the hospital wing with Madam Pomfrey repairing his broken jaw.
"No means no, Mister Biggs. I suggest you spread the word."
Stuart mumbled an amazingly articulate plea - considering his multiple mandibular fractures - for pain potion to which Poppy had cheerfully responded, "No, that would interfere with the skele-grow. Besides, a little pain may help you remember to not touch what's not yours."
After lunch the group took a leisurely stroll around the lake to the glen where the coven had first formed. As usual the transfigured blankets and pillows were there, unmolested by forest creatures and not touched by the weather. Harry cuddled with Myrtle and Helena, both in their third trimester. Neither complained, other than to remark that they spent a lot of time going to the loo.
"Ninety minutes are up!"The Lady Patricia happily announced and gratefully took a handful of gillyweed from Winky before heading to the water. A shrug of her shoulders and her robe was on the ground, or would have been if not for Winky who caught the errant clothing on the fly.
Harry helped his gravid ladies to their feet and helped them disrobe.
"Harry, I think they can do that themselves!" Pansy smirked.
"Hush, sister," Helena grinned, "let the man enjoy himself."
As he removed their robes, and the simple singlets they had taken to wearing during their maternity, he kissed their taught, spherical bellies and spoke lovingly to the children, /his/children, therein.
All the Ladies present"Aawwwed" at Harry's attention to their children - the Ladies had all agreed that any children would belong to all of the Witches of the Coven, just in case it happened that one or more couldn't get pregnant.
Both pregnant ladies enjoyed their Warlock's attentions as well; he kissed their bellies and their swollen breasts and seriously large areolas - even their ankles, everything that had been made large by their pregnancies because, as Harry said, "It's all beautiful because it's all you."
Taking the offered gillyweed, all three joined their Coven Mates in the water, which was freezing until they swallowed the rubbery herb, then the air became uncomfortable and the water felt warm and welcoming. The first rush of oxygenated water through their gills was like the first breath of fresh cool air after leaving a hot, smoke-filled room.
Water work consisted of long, powerful strokes to the mervillage and back to the ten meter deep water near the shore. Half way to the shore Helena and Myrtle pulled Harry over to a flat shelf overgrown with long, soft water plants like long grasses.
One of the benefits of gillyweed was that it gave those who ingested it neutral buoyancy - in effect, rendering them weightless.
Myrtle swallowed Harry's flaccid cock whole and was delighted at how quickly he grew to full readiness. As Myrtle was occupied Harry pulled Helena into a deep, soulful kiss, before rotating her so that he could deep tongue her heated sex - a neat trick, seeing as how he had to creen his neck and extend his tongue to it's full potential length just to work around her large, round baby-filled belly. This put both Helena's and Myrtle's face in close proximity, so they took turns felating Harry.
The former Moaning Myrtle found herself spun about so that her sex was also in Harry's reach.
Helena, in an uncharacteristically aggressive mood (gotta love those pregnancy-induced hormones) grabbed Harry's unruly hair and guided his gifted tongue into her hot, swollen sex.
Myrtle used the opportunity to spin about and place her legs, scissor like, between his. This placed the throbbing gland up against her slick pussy lips. Hooking her ankles and bending her knees forced Harry's long, thick cock deep into her hungry cunt. As they tried to get as close and as deep as possible Harry continued to caress both his ladies distended bellies with his free hands.
To a casual observer it looked like Harry and his Witches were having a gentle, languorous three-way. A closer look would reveal that the gill slits, just below and behind each of their jaws, were working furiously to try to extract as much oxygen as possible from the water made turbulent from their activities. In fact Harry was working his tongue and fingers on Helena and his undulating cock and the fingers of his other hand on Myrtle furiously, trying to coax as many orgasms as possible from his beloved Witch mothers-to-be.
At that point it was arace to see who could get whom off most before the gillyweed-induced change forced them all to the surface.
Needless to say, it was arace with no losers.
Ludgrove School in the Civil Parish of Workingham Without was enjoying a clear, unseasonably warm late-autumn day. Most of the boys were out on the pitch motivating several footballs about without any real strategy.
The same couldn't be said for the six disillusioned Cossacks in the woods at the edge of the pitch.
Speaking Russian, one said, "The sun will be low in the sky soon."
"Remember to choose one of the older boys, no redheads."
Confirmatory grunts all around - the Prince's ginger hair was well known to Royal watchers.
As the light faded temperatures began to fall rapidly and the younger boys ran to the gymnasium.
Three or four played half-pitch two aside football near the coppiced border of the woods.
Norman Williams' head snapped up at the sound of the voice speaking a foreign tongue.
"Hullo, who's there?"
Two men in black Cossack uniforms appeared out of nowhere.
"W-who're you?" Norman asked, slowly backing away from the coppice.
"Stay vere you are, and you vill not be harmed." One of the men growled.
"Bugger that!" the boy said and sprinted toward the field only to be stopped by a stunner. Norman fell to his face and was still. The nearest Cossack kneeled by the boy and placed asmall disk on his blue and white jersey.
Just as the portkey was to activate the Cossack was bowled over by another boy who screamed, "Get away from him, perv!"
The dazed Russian brought his wand up and froze. He was facing Prince Henry of Wales.
Harry shook his classmate, "Norman, Norman! Wake up, mate!"
As the Prince was trying to revive his friend the portkey activated taking both boys away.
The Cossacks looked at the pitch where half the boys were running toward them and the other half were running away, presumably to get help.
Two visible and four disillusioned Russians ran into the woods before apparating away.
Harry arrived early the next morning to try to scope out whatever challenges the NEWT DAtDA Proctors had prepared for him and his Ladies. It looked suspiciously familiar, a bit too much like the maze of too-tall shrubbery in the Tri-wizard Tournament.
He was not surprised to see Zelda, looking frail as ever, leaning heavily on her staff. Harry conjured a thick shawl and placed it over the nearly bicentigenarian's shoulders.
She nodded gratefully. "I didn't remember it being so cold in years past."
"Zelda," he said, gently,"You usually test in June, its November."
"Ah, yes. That would explain it."
"If you go inside the castle where it's warm I promise to let you see my pensive memories of the test."
"Oh, very well, then. May I have two of your ladies help me inside, you two, perhaps."
Helena and Myrtle each took an elbow.
And the three of them disappeared.
A disembodied voice called out, "The test has begun. Three people have been captured by Dark forces. Find them. Try not to die. You may begin."
"Spread out, tri-form cover formation. Maintain your situational awareness at all times."
The Witches spread out so that there wouldn't be a large group to form a single target. Each group of three had two pairs of eyes focused out and one pair in to cover her sisters.
"Millie, can you see over these damned hedges?"
"Only just, Harry, and what I see are more hedges."
"Harry, three of our triads are incomplete, normally Myrtle would cover for Trisha and Su, and Helena would cover Luna and Millie, and Minnie would be with Alicia and Angelina."
Harry quickly scanned his assembled witches, "Three witches out of twenty-one, reform your triads; we'll have six groups of three. Luna, Tricia and Su, with me. I need to concentrate on my core, see if I can give us a direction, everyone else, establish aperimeter."
It was a testament to Harry's leadership that no one questioned his decisions.
Harry concentrated on his magical core - which had grown from the original single light to twenty-two, two of the lights had smaller glowing pin-pricks within them, signifying his quickening babies. He could tell they were close, but faint echoes of what he should be feeling.
"Search and destroy, ladies, keep your groups alert and shielded at all times. Stun anything that moves."
He looked up at the cloudless sky.
"Hermione, take your group North, Millie, go West, Susan, south, and Pansy, East."
"What about us?" Padma asked.
"Padma, I need your group to watch the skies."
Padma took charge of her group immediately, "Tracey, Mandy, keep looking up, I'll cover you both."
Just then a red, rubber ball bounced into the clearing and six "finite" spells were cast, simultaneously.
Harry checked it, no enchantments. It was just a red rubber ball.
Without warning hundreds of red, rubber balls bounced in from all points of the compass. When some of them hit a Witch she would fall stunned.
Harry created a chicken wire barrier with holes too small for the bouncy missiles to pass.
The ball barrage ceased.
"How many did we lose?"
"Regroup. Who's the odd witch out?"
Megan Potter nee Jones shrugged, "Looks like I'm out."
"Megan, my love, please make our sleeping Witches comfortable, and stand guard over them, if anyone, and I mean anyone tries to approach them, stun first and ask questions later. My password will be the last thing you said to me Wednesday night."
Megan thought for amoment remembering "Oh sweet mystery of life I have found you!" and then smirked, "Message received and understood, Harry."
The Hufflepuff nodded and set about conjuring camp beds and blankets for the fallen.
Then it began to rain -hard. This forced Harry and his witches to erect a shelter for the fallen. He let Hermione take the initiative. The brightest Witch of her age transfigured, charmed and conjured a hospital tent - complete with a large caduceus symbol on its roof.
The kiss she received in gratitude promised several screaming orgasms when they finished testing.
As the water fell in torrents Harry said, "Okay, me beauties, we've been on the defensive long enough. I'd say it's time we started offending!"
"Aye!" Chorused a dozen voices.
"These shrubs are in the way; let's have a trim, shall we?"
Four groups of three, plus Harry began to disassemble the maze, shrubbery by shrubbery.
Meanwhile the Warlock kept trying to pinpoint his missing witches - it was almost as if they were ghosts again. But that wasn't possible, if he'd lost them, even for a little while, he'd feel their going.
So why couldn't he sense their direction?
He saw a movement to his left and dove to the ground just in time to duck a stunning beam.
"Millie, banisher south by southwest."
Millicent's powerful shockwave bowled over two disillusioned figures. Before the men could get up they were surrounded by Millie's team.
Harry wanted to question them, both wearing the maroon robes of DMLE Aurors, but, before any of the Coven could stop them, the Aurors took deep swallows of a potion that knocked them out.
"Search the prisoners; see if they have anything that we can use."
Hermione pulled a small, square mirror from one of the Auror's inner pockets.
"Signaling Mirror, Harry."
"Another one here, milord."
"I'll take them both, meanwhile keep defoliating."
Just then both mirrors began to buzz.
"Jones, this is Scotty"
Harry made his voice low and gravely, "Jones here, Scotty, we got all the students in the clearing, call in the troops."
"You okay, you sound hoarse."
"Got a face full of verge when they blasted it is all."
A chuckle from the other mirror, "I guess they weren't so tough after all."
Harry pocketed the mirror and smiled, "I need twenty Witches of the Coven, laid out in neat little rows in the mud over here."
Su and Hannah, the best in the Coven at quick transfigurations, cheerfully turned fallen shrubbery into replicas of the Witches. Padma and Cissy levitated the poppets into position and Luna arranged their limbs so that they looked comfortable, gently cooing to each manikin as she did so.
Susan smiled down at her sometimes-odd Coven Sister, "That's sweet, Luna."
"Just because they're not real doesn't mean they shouldn't be treated with kindness," Luna said, kissing the forehead of the last replicant, "besides, now each of them have a magical signature of their own."
Susan looked shocked for a moment, of course, the aurors would be able to detect transfigured decoys, but by giving each manikin a unique magical signature, a "presence", any standard scans would reveal exactly what the aurors would expect to see.
"Luna, you're like, agenius."
The petite Ravenclaw smiled, shrugged and placed her wand behind her left ear.
When Scotty and the other nine Aurors arrived at the clearing in the center of the maze they were alittle disappointed to see a score of mud-splattered, unconscious witches. Jones, with his back to the approaching aurors, seemed to be surveying the area.
"I guess no one will be getting their NEWTs awarded today, eh Jones? Uh, Jonesy?"
But it wasn't Auror Jones who turned around, it was Potter. He was smiling, and not pleasantly.
Neither were the other twelve Witches who undisillusioned themselves and cast "Petrificus totalus"spells on the entire company.
"No potions this time, /mate/. Just tell me where my wives are and you'll get to keep your family jewels."
The auror wanted to say something but was petrified.
"Oh, sorry." Harry said, then un-froze the man's head so that he could speak.
"I really can't tell you. I don't know."
"Did you know that Lady Hermione here has her potions mastery?"
The auror's eyes grew wide.
"And did you further know that veritiserum doesn't have to be ingested? Nope, it can be administered by a simple patch, a little something from the muggle medical world, a small square plaster infused with the serum. . ."
The Auror felt the patch being applied to his neck.
". . .and wait ten seconds . . . three, two, one, and tell me Auror, what's your name?"
"Smith." And Auror Smith realized he was well and truly buggered.
"Thank you, Auror Smith. Where are my Ladies?"
"How can they be nowhere?"
"They're not being held in a place."
"If they're not in aplace where are they?"
"I really can't say."
Hermione stepped up,"Where were they taken?"
"To the infirmary."
"Are they there now?"
"I don't know."
"Why can't I sense them?"
"Because they aren't anywhere, yet."
Hermione grinned, "/When/are they?"
Auror Smith grimaced and answered, "Three hours ago."
"So, if we go to the Hospital Wing and ask Madam Pomfrey where my missing Ladies are, she'll be able to tell us?"
"Thank you, Auror Smith. Goodnight. /Stupefy/!"
The rest of the Witches began to gather around until Harry snapped, "Resume your positions, we haven't won, yet. Myrtle and Helena are still not back with us where they belong."
The triads re-formed and spread out, very alert.
"Glynda, Bella, and Cissy- with me, everyone else, find some cover and disillusion yourselves."
Not a word was spoken, none were needed. The Witches of the Coven had drilled long and hard for just such a challenge.
Harry and his group moved the nine petrified Aurors into the hospital tent, then set a fidelius charm, choosing Megan as the secret keeper. He gave Megan one signaling mirror and kept one for his own use.
Once outside he turned to his three Vipera and smiled, "Group hug!"
The three Witches all hugged Harry tight as he phased them all to the hall just outside of the Hospital wing.
Using sign language, Harry told the girls, "I'll go high, Bella will go low, Glenda and Cissy will follow us and stun everything that's not us in the room."
"On three, two, one, now!"
Harry seized the door with his magic and ripped it from its hinges, flinging it into the hallway. Abang, followed by obscuring smoke and the rescuers flung themselves into the center of the room.
To find Myrtle and Helena sitting to tea with Zelda Marchbanks, trussed up like a turkey and glaring daggers at the two pregnant witches. Poppy Pomfrey beamed with pride for the young lord and his ladies.
"What do I love most about you both?" Harry asked, not lowering his wand.
Helena smiled, "Other than the fact that we carry your first born, you love everything we hate about ourselves, the bloat, the belly, the stretch marks. Need I go on?"
"No, you're Helena all right. Um, Myrtle, should a witch of such advanced years be hanging upside-down like that?"
"Well, Harry, it's like this. Madam Marchbanks, or whoever this is, is a little too spry for someone approaching their third century - if ten more minutes go by and her polyjuice doesn't wear off I promise to apologize profusely. Tea?"
Harry smiled and said,"Of course, no milk and one sugar." Then he pulled the confiscated signaling mirror from his pocket.
"Megan, this is Harry."
"Go ahead Harry."
"In ten minutes, have the rest of the Coven take defensive positions in the hospital wing corridors."
"Roger, Harry. Megan out."
Harry enlarged the small table to accommodate four more people and sat to tea.
As the minutes crawled by the Warlock began to worry that maybe, just maybe, this really was Grizelda Marchbanks. Oh well, he could always move to Australia.
Just as he was about to cut Zelda loose the old Proctor began to groan and writhe as her features began to melt away to reveal a puffing, panting Amelia Bones.
"I, Amelia Samantha Bones, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, do hereby confer upon Harry James Potter, the title of Master of Defense against the Dark Arts on this, the Third of December, in the Year Nineteen and Ninety Five, Common Era. Now, would you be so kind as to untie me, son-in-law?"
Harry nodded to Helena, who undid the bindings with a casual flick of her wand.
"Anytime you or any of your Ladies wish to work with the DMLE, just let me know."
Just then a glowing white mist in the shape of a large cat ran into the room. In the voice of Nymphadora Tonks the patronus said, "We need all hands back at the ministry, young Prince Harry of Wales has been kidnapped. Magic was definitely involved."