It's the start of a new year. Dumbledore and Snape do not like how it starts as Harry's plans engulf them.
She Who Must Be Named and her minions own the Potterverse. I just play here.
Ron was of course gleeful that Lucius Malfoy was dead. Eventually, Arthur had to take Ron aside for a little fatherly talk. When Ron grumbled to Harry, Harry would only say that, because of the double-standards at Hogwarts, Ron should not start anything with Draco, and should certainly never say anything anywhere where Snape might be listening. Ron had to agree with that reasoning, even if he still didn’t like it.
It was only a short time between the World Cup and September 1. Harry spent as much time as he could flying. He was grateful he had bothered doing his homework, as it meant he could spent much of his remaining time with Hermione and not scribbling away, as Ron was having to do.
Harry was pleased to see Luna talking to Ginny on the Platform, and he invited the pair of them to join the Trio. That in turn pleased Ginny and Luna, and Hermione was glad that she and Harry would have two reenforcements on Ron’s behavior, as she was certain he would try and make trouble. Harry agreed, but he privately thought it might be better if Ron made trouble on the train than at Hogwarts. He was afraid that doing it Hermione’s way was just delaying the problem, but he agreed to go along.
To Harry’s slight surprise, Draco showed a little sense and stayed away during the trip. The five students had a basically good time, although Hermione was a bit confused by Luna, and Harry hoped that this signaled that some part of the upcoming year might be better than he anticipated.
The peace around Harry lasted through the downpour they had to make their way through to get to the castle.
Harry noticed Malfoy and some of his cronies lurking on one side of the huge entrance hall, rather than going into the great hall for the feast, which was pretty suspicious on its own. A slight movement in the shadows convinced him that Snape was lurking against the wall.
“Two weasels, a loony, and a Mudblood,” Draco snapped. “Low company, even for you, Scarhead.”
“Little boy, mind your manners,” Harry answered calmly. “I know you’re acting bravely only because your Head of House is behind you, waiting to pounce. Grow up.” Draco reached for his wand, and Harry snapped, “Don’t be stupid.”
Draco continued the draw and Harry simply stepped forward and took it away from him, to Draco’s shock.”
“That will be. . . !” Snape started to call out, emerging from the shadows. When he saw Potter was grinning at him, however, he launched a silent Legilimency attack. Snape’s gleeful expression lasted less than two seconds, as he then screeched in agony for several seconds as Harry planted a prepared mental program and series of hexes he had created, knowing this confrontation would happen sooner or later (although he had planned on it happening later) and then Snape passed out.
“H’mm,” Harry stated dispassionately, “Professor Snape seems to have fainted. Typical of any Slytherin; they have no guts. Come on; I’m hungry. Hey, Malfoy, how’d you break your wand?” Harry pointed at the broken wand at Draco’s feet, where he had broken and thrown it down as everyone was distracted by Snape’s falling. He started to force his friends to disappear into crowd that had gathered.
“What is going on!” Dumbledore demanded, approaching Harry.
Harry moved up to the Headmaster, his eyes wide in faux surprise. Like Snape, Dumbledore instantly tried to enter Harry’s mind, rather than using passive Legilimency. He also passed out after Harry planted a more complicated program. Harry ‘tried’ to catch Dumbledore, taking both of them down. “Someone get Madam Pomfrey! and either Professor Flitwick or Sprout,” Harry called out. Harry pocketed the elder wand in the confusion.
It was a very unorganized Sorting and Feast, as both Dumbledore and Snape were not there. Still, the rest of the staff got the students Sorted, fed, and settled in their common rooms as best they could, considering the events before the feast, the announcement of the Tournament, and the startling arrival of ‘Moody’ during the Feast itself. The staff then trooped to the medical wing.
“What happened to them, Poppy?” the concerned McGonagall asked.
“Both were hexed,” Poppy stated, “Severus multiple times and Albus at least once. I can not tell what the effects might be, as the hexes are very advanced – more than any I’ve ever heard of, let alone actually have seen! All signs point to Albus now being naturally asleep, and I think he should be allowed to awaken naturally. We will wait for him before deciding what to do with Severus.”
“Shall I stay here?” ‘Moody’ asked.
Poppy shook her head. “The extra wards here should be more than sufficient.”
“We should search the castle!” McGonagall stated. “If the hexes were this advanced, there must be some outside agent in the castle!”
Needless to say, the staff found no traces of an invader.
Albus Dumbledore was trying to wake up, but instead, he found himself bound at a student’s desk, in a mock-up of the history of magic classroom as it had appeared when he was a student.
“Welcome, Albus,” a vague figure in the front of the classroom stated. “This is just a vision I planted in your head, so you can’t ask anything, only listen, as difficult as that it for you to do.” After a pause, the figure stated, “You may call me ‘Shadow.’ I am a collector. I have just completed a very important collection . . . the so-called Deathly Hallows.”
That shook Dumbledore to the core.
“I made a deal with young Harry for the cloak, and of course I have won the wand from you. You cannot be trusted, so all you get is this vision. Harry got a much better deal, although he does not really remember me beyond what I have done for him. I am sure you also want to know, ‘what did Harry get’?”
After his concern over the elder wand, that was indeed Dumbledore’s main question at the moment.
“Well, the answer is many things; far more than you have ever done for him. All you have ever done was insure he was abused and unloved for ten years.” The Shadow paused. “You are either one sick motherfucker or a secret Dark Lord, unless you’re simply an incompetent and manipulative old bastard. First, I taught him Occlumency. Second, I told him the Prophecy.” To Dumbledore’s shock, Shadow recited it perfectly. How could this person have known?
“If you are wondering how I knew it, remember, I collect things. Harry is almost as cross about the Prophecy as he is about learning that his parents’ will forbade the Dursleys from having any input into Harry life, or benefitting in any way from their deaths. Lily Potter knew the disadvantages of growing up purely Muggle and wanted Harry spared that, and knew that her sister hated magic, even if she had no idea how cruel and abusive she and her husband would be. How much allowance did you make to them, even if you didn’t steal from Harry to do so? If you sent nothing, that would account for some of the abuse he endured; and considering they still claim Harry as a dependent for Muggle taxes and how little they spent on him, they still ‘benefitted’ to a degree.”
Dumbledore squirmed, but the voice went on.
“I also told Harry about the Horcruxes.” Dumbledore’s shock at least stopped his squirming.
“Just so you know, Riddle deliberately made six Horcruxes and made a seventh by accident. The first was the diary, which Harry destroyed. The second was Slytherin’s ring, which was also, ironically, the third Hallow.” Dumbledore shuddered. If Tom had known that fact, he might already have returned. “I collected that and broke the Horcrux, and it was that event that led me to Harry, and now to you.”
After brief pause, Shadow went on, “I may have the rest of them slightly out of order, but the next three were Slytherin’s locket, Hufflepuff’s chalice, and Ravenclaw’s diadem. I broke the Horcruxes on Slytherin’s locket and Ravenclaw’s diadem.” In truth, Harry had only done the latter that very night as Dumbledore recovered. “The first I returned to its possessor with thanks, the latter I have not yet decided what to do with.”
The being shifted slightly. “The last two are unusual, I must say. The sixth or seventh is of course Harry’s scar. Harry actually asked that I not remove the scar Horcrux, believing that having the Parseltongue gift and the fact that it made a fine Voldemort detector was worth it, but finally agreed that I break it.” In fact, the combining of the two versions of Harry had destroyed the Horcrux. “To our surprise, Harry still has Parseltongue. Hopefully the scar itself will fade away now.” The older Harry had known he would keep the Parseltongue, while losing the scar Horcrux itself would release his limited metamorph skills and increase his wandless abilities slightly. “The remaining Horcrux is Voldemort’s familiar, which was certainly a stupid thing for Voldemort to do. A living Horcrux is a contradiction in terms.” Dumbledore had to agree there. He was quite shocked to learn that Harry was no longer a Horcrux, which pretty well destroyed what passed for Dumbledore’s current plan.
“You should be thinking about how to get Hufflepuff’s Cup out of the Lestrange vault in Gringotts.” Dumbledore’s heart nearly missed a beat: to know what all the Horcruxes were, but knowing that at least one would be almost impossible to get. “Don’t make a boy do your work, you lazy bastard. Get the Cup; that is your assignment. Harry can access the dead basilisk and get you the venom you need to destroy it. ” Dumbledore nearly growled.
“As for the last thing I traded for the cloak. . . .” A wave of Shadow’s hand and the chalk board filled. “Do you recognize the first incantation?”
It was clear Dumbledore did, but the voice merely went on. “I taught Harry, and Harry used it on both you and Snape. I cast the remaining spells on Snape, and tied them to Harry. I then partially revived you and then disarmed you, claiming the elder wand.”
The voice had not been friendly, but only now did it actually threaten. “Two more things. First, keep Snape in line, Dumbledork. His actions have helped an entire generation of Slytherins go Dark. Reign him in, especially how he treats Harry. Harry is under my protection, and Granger, Longbottom, and Lovegood are under his. He now knows that the Weasleys, especially Ron and Molly, befriended him in part because of your orders, and the little girl’s obsession bothers him. Second, you had better have more than an age line protecting the Goblet of Fire. You may trust Snape, but while his loyalties may be more to you than to Voldemort, they are above all to himself. Afterall, Snape will not be the only one with the Mark in the Castle, as you well know. And I would not be surprised if there aren’t going to be more than two. If Harry is entered into the Tournament, then there will not be hell to pay, there shall be Armageddon in the British and Pureblood worlds. In fact, the Pureblood agenda, which you still partially subscribe to, will soon be under threat.” The voice now was clearly sneering. “I know you like to pretend to be tolerant and Light, but you are a Pureblood bigot at heart, almost as much as you were when you were Gellert’s lover, and I know that you are at least as grey as one can be without being considered Dark. I wonder, is your Phoenix enslaved?”
And with that, Dumbledore woke up in the Infirmary.
It was late in the morning before Dumbledore woke Snape up, who instantly demanded that Potter be expelled.
“For what?” Dumbledore asked mildly. “For calling your planned ambush out as the juvenile exercise it was, or defending himself against your illegal attack?” Dumbledore had, for once, actually asked what had happened rather than relying on Snape.
Snape’s jaw hung open from the shock.
“It has been pointed out to me that while you have indeed had to provide yourself with cover in your actions, I have allowed you far too much leeway. You will cease your vendetta against Harry and his friends, and you will instill some discipline into your Slytherins, as I fear it is far too late to instill any common sense or intelligence.” Seeing Snape’s jaw set, Dumbledore added, “Or would you prefer someone else take over as Head of Slytherin?”
“Good. Now, as to what Harry did to us. Yes, to both of us,” Dumbledore added. “Harry had something someone very powerful and knowledgeable wanted, and I must admit he made Harry a fair trade.” He glanced at Snape. “Part of the trade directly concerns the two of us. Tell me, Severus, have you ever heard of a hex called Odin’s Defense?”
Snape frowned and then admitted, “I have not.” He glowered. “Potter hexed me, and you demand. . . ?”
“Yes,” Dumbledore snapped, “I demand, or you should walk from Hogwarts now. Odin’s Defense was actually, in a sense, a defense against Odin, who is credited according to legend with developing Legilimency. It can only be used against those using active mental attacks, and I remind you, active Legilimency is an active attack and so is also considered a crime. In any event, as I said, the hex can only be used against those attacking with active mental magic, such as Legilimency or the Imperius, and it can only be used by the very powerful.”
“Then that leaves Potter out,” Snape snarled.
“May I remind you what he did against the dementors last spring?”
“Do you really believe he chased away even one dementor?” Snape demanded.
“No, I have proof he drove away a hundred and eight,” Dumbledore snapped back. That startled Snape, who knew that few wizards were powerful enough to chase away even a half dozen dementors. “Now, for the effects of the hex. Should either of us ever use any mental magic on Harry, even a memory charm or passive Legilimency, we would drop dead.”
Snape was outraged. “Potter is going to kill me?!”
“Not if we do not use mental magic on him,” Dumbledore pointed out. “In addition, Harry’s mysterious new patron has put you under several other hexes.”
“How?” Snape demanded.
“I have to admit I do not know,” Dumbledore admitted. “Still, I was able to determine at least two of the hexes he claimed to be on you actually are present.” Without the elder wand, Dumbledore lacked the power to determine what the other hexes were. “Severus, your life is in the hands of this person . . . and yourself. Both of those hexes are tied to your Dark Mark, and I imagine the others are either tied to the Mark or directly to your magic or your life force, or perhaps even your soul. One of those hexes, if activated, would burn off the end of your arm at the Dark Mark, while the other would induce a heart attack. There are at least two other hexes on you, more likely three.”
Snape was trying to understand his position.
“Worse, from your view point, they were tied by this person to Harry. Harm him or those under his protection, and any of these hexes may be activated.”
“I don’t believe it!”
Dumbledore sighed. “Fine. Don’t believe me, and you will drop dead, perhaps instantly, perhaps after a few minutes of agony. If that is your choice, I cannot stop you.” Severus was making himself unneeded to Dumbledore in this new situation with his refusal to listen to reason.
Snape swallowed nervously. He was not very worried about being dead, unlike Voldemort. Still, he was in no hurry to die. “How many are under Potter’s alleged protection?”
“Granger, Longbottom, and Lovegood,” Dumbledore answered.
Snape was surprised. “Not Weasley?”
“No.” Dumbledore sighed. “His patron discovered that I had Molly put Ronald up to befriending Harry on the train. That is one of many reason that Harry is likely nearly as upset with me as he is with you, although the fact the Weasleys have come to genuinely like Harry hopefully helps there.” Dumbledore’s face hardened. “Six Deatheaters were killed last week, Severus. You know as well as I that many of the successes of the Deatheaters, at least when Voldemort himself was not present, occurred because people were too frightened to fight back. Harry’s patron and apparently Harry himself are also not afraid to fight back. It is time your Slytherins find their alleged subtly.”
At that point, a very frightened-looking McGonagall hurried into the private room. “Albus! You must come, quickly!” She glanced at Snape. “I hope you are recovering, Severus.”
“What has happened?” Dumbledore demanded.
“You have to see, and I have the others searching the school.”
“Come along, Severus. Let us see what is going on.”
McGonagall led them to the great hall through a slightly roundabout route. There, on the back wall behind the Slytherin table, in blood-red letters, was the statement: SIX ARROGANT PUREBLOODS DEAD: HOW MANY MORE NEED TO BE KILLED TO SAVE MAGIC? Next to the letters was a large P in a circle, with a slash through it.
“Why is that still there?” Dumbledore demanded.
“We cannot erase it,” McGonagall admitted.
“Then get the elves to do it,” Snape said with a shrug.
“Ah. . . .” McGonagall summoned the head of the cleaning elves.
“Professor Ma’am?” the elf asked.
“Tell the Headmaster why you cannot clean that wall,” she ordered.
The elf frowned. “Elves cleaned the wall three times already, Professor Ma’am.”
“Get those words off!” Snape demanded.
The elf glanced at the wall. “The wall is as Hogwarts commanded,” the elf answered.
“Punish yourself for your back talk!” Snape ordered.
Before Dumbledore or McGonagall could intervene, the elf answered, “The Master of Hogwarts commanded no punishments without his permission.”
“And who is the Master of Hogwarts, other than the Headmaster?” Dumbledore demanded.
“Headmaster is temporary head of the school,” the elf answered. “The school is in Hogwarts, but it is not Hogwarts. Elves belong to Hogwarts, not to school or Headmaster.” The elf disappeared.
McGonagall sighed and said, “That slogan is also apparently in the Slytherin and Ravenclaw common rooms. There are also numerous other slogans, both there and in various corridors, such as CLEAN THE MAGICAL GENE POOL; KILL AN ARROGANT PUREBLOOD TODAY and WHY DID PUREBLOODS ALLOW VOLDEMORT TO BRAND THEM? BECAUSE THEY ARE AS INTELLIGENT AS CATTLE. One even says, KILL A DEATHEATER AND WIN A KNUT. Most common is the rather ungrammatical DOWN WITH PUREES; presumably ‘purees’ being those who believe in the so-called Pureblood agenda. That symbol is all over.”
Snape, stunned, stirred and said, “I should meet my next class.”
“I cancelled your classes for today,” McGonagall told him.
“Take today off, think about what I told you,” Dumbledore told him. He gestured at the words. “Also remember, the so-called Purebloods account for perhaps two thousand of the twenty thousand magic* users in Britain, yet they and their allies control the magical government and economy. Their children make up just under half the students here, and represent nearly all the Pureblood children in Britain who are not home-schooled or sent abroad. About a fifth of our students are first generation magic users, representing all the Muggleborn. The rest of the children here, however, represent just a fraction of the rest of the magical children. Britain is perhaps the most restrictive magical society of all, and most of the magic users are only seen on tax roles and at Quidditch games. They prefer to send their children to the Irish Free School, which is the second largest in Europe even though we like to pretend it does not exist, to one of the North American schools, or, if they have any language skills, to the Swiss Ecole, which is the largest school in Europe, Africa, or Western Asia. We, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang are preeminent mostly only for our age, not the number or quality of our students. Durmstrang only survives by taking full-blooded students from all over Europe. Beauxbatons, like us, survive on a portion of old Pureblood families, the Muggleborn, and the children of the Muggleborn until they learn enough about magical society to send their children elsewhere.”
McGonagall started, “We are the premier school. . . .”
“A premier school is defined by educating children through the N.E.W.T.s or their equivalent, and we are the only school allowed to do so in Britain,” Dumbledore interrupted. “The three regional schools can only educate through the fifth year.” These were St. David’s, St. George’s, and St. Andrew’s, in Wales, England, and Scotland. “Together, they have more than twice as many students in those years as we do, and as I said an even greater number travel overseas from the start. We also lose about a tenth of our students to foreign schools for their last two years. When was the last time we had a student from one of the regional schools, or anywhere other than Durmstrang or Beauxbatons, come here for their N.E.W.T.s?”
“That’s allowed?” Snape asked, surprised.
“Of course it is,” Dumbledore answered. “The answer is 1962. Look at the rosters of the British Quidditch teams – nearly all are British or Irish born, and nearly every one of them has at least a few N.E.W.T.s. And yet less than a fifth of them attended Hogwarts – even if every Hogwarts Quidditch player turned professional and played for over five years each, that would not be enough players to provide a full roster for all the teams! Despite that, over ninety percent of the Ministry workers came to Hogwarts, with most of the rest being home-schooled or from Durmstrang or Beauxbatons, and although the Muggleborn make up a fifth of our school population, they make up less than five percent of the Ministry employees – nearly all in Accounting, with a few scattered in Law Enforcement and the Department of Mysteries, and all in areas where skill and knowledge count most. Nearly all the Wizengamot members were educated here, and the rest were educated at Durmstrang, Beauxbatons, or were home-schooled, and that has been true throughout my lifetime.”
Dumbledore made a face. “That’s why no one in the Ministry or Wizengamot will listen. That’s why Voldemort nearly succeeded, and why I so fear for us should he regain his body. Most of the Government sympathize with his supposed goals, just not with his methods. To be honest, probably most even sympathize with his methods, but just didn’t, and wouldn’t, want to share the power they already have with him and his followers.”
He looked at the two. “I do not know who this ‘master of Hogwarts’ is, although I will strive to find out. He claims to be here to help Harry, and identifies me, not to mention Severus, as obstacles. Harry has little reason to trust me, and no reason at all to trust Severus. If pushed, this person might be able to use Harry to rally the population, not just against Voldemort but against the current power structure.” He looked at McGonagall. “May I remind you, you are as much a part of that power structure as we are.”
McGonagall looked both confused and resentful.
“When the International set up its own Certificates of Mastery in the 1960s, none of us went and took the exams,” Dumbledore pointed out. “Severus is the only one with a Mastery in his teaching field – mine is in alchemy rather than transfiguration – although Sinistra’s Muggle doctorate in astronomy is considered an equivalent degree, none of us took the teaching certificate, which every staff member in the regional school has. None of the rest of us would be considered for employment at a large regional or premier school outside of Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, or Durmstrang.”
The pair looked dumbfounded at this information.
“This is all very public information,” Dumbledore pointed out gently. “Anyone looking through the Confederation’s periodical ‘Education Quarterly’ would know this. We do subscribe, you know. Granted, Irma has told me I am the only staff member who reads it, but a few students do every year, mostly from Ravenclaw, and most of them leave here after their O.W.L.s.”
Dumbledore looked at Snape. “In any event, do not think a revolution from the Muggleborn, Half-bloods, and Full-bloods cannot occur, Severus. If it starts at a bastion of privilege such as Hogwarts, with a symbol like Harry as its leader, I shudder to think what might happen. If you would consider some Muggle examples, I would suggest you look by looking at the French Revolution.”
“Then we had better stamp down hard on this,” Snape insisted. “Some idiots will be mouthing these disgusting slogans, so we should start there.”
“And if you take points for using ‘Puree’, will you also take points for ‘Mudblood’?” Dumbledore asked.
“She already does,” Snape pointed out, looking at McGonagall.
“Then I shall announce that anyone caught by a member of the staff using either phrase will have a point removed,” Dumbledore decided. He looked at both his teachers. “And I do mean, either. No favoritism on this. Am I understood?”
The two nodded, Snape a bit reluctantly.
“Then I shall inform the rest of the staff, and the Heads of House will have special meetings today at four thirty to inform their students.”
* As we all know, in the Potterverse, numbers just don’t add up. This is yet another attempt to ‘square the circle’ of the various statements made in canon. You are welcome to come up with your own ideas, or just ignore the major problems, as ‘She-Who-Must-Be-Named’ did.