Busy chapter. Rated for language and for -attempted- rape. Dobby corrects a mistake, Harry pops the question, Dumbledore gets the bad news, Harry and the French Aurors have a little chat, the twi...
“Harry Potter?” Came a nervous voice.
Opening his eyes, Harry untangled himself from Hermione’s arms and sat up. Dobby was standing beside the bed, holding Harry’s morning cuppa.
“What’s up, Dobby?”
“Dobby has been very bad. Dobby is should be punished.”
Curious, Harry accepted the tea the little elf offered and took a judicious sip. Good! It was cool enough to drink and yet hot enough to enjoy.
“OK, what have you done?”
“You is being telling the elf’s that they is not to attend to Albus Dumbleydore, but you is forgetting that Snarlius Snap is being equally naughty, and so, Dobby is being telling the elf’s that you is being telling them to ignore Snarlius Snap and all the students in the castle who is carrying Voldey-mort’s nasty mark too. For telling the elf’s that you is being saying that, when you has not, Dobby is should be punished.”
“Damn!” Harry swore loudly enough to wake his lover. “I did forget that, didn’t I?”
“Forget what, Sweetie?” Came Hermione’s sleep-husked voice.
“I forgot to include Snivellus and the junior Death Eaters in my order when I told the elves to ignore Dumbledore.” Harry explained. “He’s just as much a prat toward them as the old man is.”
“So amend the order.” Hermione said reasonably, as though that settled the matter. She deftly stole Harry’s tea and sipped.
“Dobby already did that, and now he wants to be punished for giving the order without my say-so.”
“Dobby.” Hermione addressed the Jedi-elf. “There’s no need for punishment. You simply anticipated Harry’s wishes and made arrangements to accommodate them.”
That said, she handed back Harry’s nearly empty mug and slipped out of the bed, sashaying to the bathroom. Harry looked into the mug in dismay, then at her retreating and rather delectable backside.
With a snicker, Dobby snapped his fingers and refilled the mug.
When the door closed, Harry beckoned Dobby with a finger. “Dobby, I agree with Hermione. You’ve done nothing that requires punishment. On the other hand, I do have something I need you to do. Starting as soon as the current group is done in the forge room, which should be the seventeenth, I want you to take an elf with you, and each of you is to make a focusing crystal. I’m going to need another to practice with. So will you, for that matter, but I can’t afford to take a week off. As it is, tomorrow is going to be stretching it. Speaking of…are you ready to bring us to New York tomorrow?”
“Dobby is ready.”
“OK, then. On the seventeenth or eighteenth, you’ll make the focusing crystals and I’ll make the grips. Mine is to be just like the one I have now, as I’m already familiar with it, but yours can be however you want. Do you want your grips to be the same?”
“Dobby does, but Dobby has some improvements in mind. You is can include these improvements when you is making Dobby’s grip and when Dobby is using that one, Dobby can improve Dobby’s first grip.”
“OK. That sounds like a good plan.” Harry nodded in satisfaction. “Let me know what improvements you want to incorporate, before you go into the forge room. K? I may add them into mine too. ”
“Dobby will do.” He popped away and Harry began to dress.
Harry had the students run the grinder that morning followed immediately by about two thirds of the Aurors shooting at them. As he had in mid-March, Harry promised hundred galleons to any Auror who could score a hit on the central figures.
Unlike in March, none of the Aurors were able to claim that reward. The Jedi casualties were down to seven and they’d accounted for nearly all the Aurors in one form or another.
Harry was grinning fit to split his face.
As soon as he’s released the troops from lunch, Harry and Mack headed to the Granger’s flat. Judith was just returning from her Tai-Chi classes as they arrived.
“Hello, Harry!” She greeted him with a kiss on his cheek. “Have you asked her?”
“I’m going to ask her tonight.”
“Cutting it kind of fine, aren’t you?”
“I want to make sure that everything is taken care of, first. For instance, does she have a suitable dress?”
“Mmmhmm. One of mine. She’s always loved it, and now, it actually fits her. How about you?”
“Oh, I was planning to wear this…” Harry gestured toward his tan tunic and trews.
“You have got to b kidding!” Judith was appalled.
“Actually, I am.” Harry smirked. “I have a suit all ready set out. Dobby picked it up from Harrods and Winky tailored it for me.”
Mack barked out a laugh at how easily his lover had been caught. Judith returned the favor with a glare that promised pain.
Harry continued: “It’s all good then. The arrangements have been made, we have the ring and all there is left to do, is go there and enjoy the evening.”
“You realize she’s going to kill you for not letting her in on this, don’t you?” Mack offered.
“Ah, such are the trials of being a world-saving hero!” Harry struck a comically heroic poise, and both Grangers chuckled.
Following the day’s activities, Harry and Hermione were sitting in his office, having a cup of coffee when he asked: “Hermione?”
“Would you like to go out to dinner tomorrow evening?”
“What do you mean, Harry?”
“I want to take you and your folks to dinner somewhere that isn’t here.”
“Harry, there’s something you’re not telling me.”
“Most likely.” He grinned. “Tomorrow?”
“Where will it be?”
“Somewhere you’ll like.”
“Hmmm. Somewhere I’ll like. Alright then. We’ve been betrothed for months and you haven’t taken me to a nice restaurant yet!” She mock-pouted.
“Then we’ll make up for that tomorrow.”
“Is it formal?”
“Naah! We can transfigure our uniforms into whatever we need.”
“Very funny, Harry. If it’s formal, I’ll have to talk to my mum. She has this beautiful dress that I’ve always loved and…” Hermione broke off, stood and left the office.
Harry just grinned.
Hermione came back an hour later with an exasperated smile on her face. “Harry, eleven thirty in the evening is not tomorrow! It’s almost the day after, you great prat!”
“What do you mean, ‘eleven thirty’?” Harry was confused and more than a little concerned.
“Mum told me we have reservations at a restaurant in New York for six thirty in the evening.”
“Harry, you forgot the time difference. They’re five hours behind us. In New York it will be six thirty, here, it’ll be almost midnight!”
Hermione giggled and kissed him soundly. “It’s nice that you care, though.”
“Then get your arse to bed. I have something to show you!”
Voldemort clutched his head in agony as the two young lovers tested the limits of their flesh. Nearly screaming at the pain, Voldemort suddenly had something else to interest him. One of his Death Eaters was sipping from an all too recognizable bottle.
“Where did you get that?” He snarled, pointing at he little brown container.
“My lord, I bought it in Diagon Alley. It’s seven sickles per bottle.”
“Seven sickles? Here…” He tossed three golden coins at the black clad servant. “Go to Diagon Alley and buy me as many of those as you can.”
It was fortunate that the dark lord was as distracted, as normally he’d just send a bunch of his servants out to kill the shopkeepers and steal what he wanted.
“You have thirty minutes!”
The lackey returned in twenty, with seven bottles, two sickles and twenty eight knuts.
Voldemort killed him for not making up the price for an eighth bottle.
Harry woke to a loving kiss, followed by a tickle. He jerked at the feel of her fingers against his ribs, and fell out of the bed, to the tune of Hermione’s laughter. She grinned unrepentantly as he glared at her, and darted into the bathroom.
Grumbling about abusive girlfriends, he began to dress.
Several minutes later, slender arms encircled his waist and a warm head lay on his shoulder. “Good morning sweetheart, She whispered.
“Good morning, my love.” He turned and kissed her fully. Then broke away. “Ready for the day?”
Harry took his turn in the bathroom while Hermione dressed and together they descended to the main floor and out the great oaken doors.
As had become the norm, the entire class was waiting for them.
Stretching had become routine and so, when they were done, Harry led the Jedi Students on a blindfolded nature trail run.
The grinder followed and then they returned to the castle for breakfast.
That morning, he reviewed steps one through four of Ataru before moving on to steps five and six. He considered Ataru to be one of the most dangerous forms because of the aerial element. It was far too easy to miss a detail and slip. And having a lighted weapon in one’s hand at the time could be disastrous. In fact, in the past two days, the incidents of burns had increased from one, three days before, to sixteen.
He re-stressed the need for caution and…smiling shyly, ‘constant vigilance’. All the students snickered at that.
He also told them that because Ataru was as dangerous as it was, he’d be taking things a bit slower now. The students breathed a sigh of heartfelt relief. His schedule had been brutal! They’d given him what he asked for, but it had been far from easy. He wasn’t letting them off by any means, though, but he had to balance the advantages of learning Ataru against the distinct possibility of their being hurt, or even killed, while practicing it!
In Scotland, a demented old man searched everywhere for his socks.
He called for a house elf time and again but for some reason the little creatures would not come. He’d have to see about punishing the stupid little wretches for their insolence!
After lunch, Harry called his senior lieutenants into his office.
“I’m taking Hermione to New York, tonight, to ask her to marry me. Will you lot kept this place from blowing up?”
Tonks squee’ed nearly deafening Remus, who winced in pain. Seeing this, she glared and elbowed him in the belly for his seeming lack of romantic interest.
Luna smiled and nodded, though Harry didn’t understand why her smile had a wistful edge.
Harry took Dobby aside and asked him if he would like to dine with them. Dobby declined, saying it was necessary to keep his presence hidden from Rita, and her readers, but he’d be there to ensure security.
14th Apr, 11:30 PM, GMT (6:30 PM, EST):
Harry was wearing an Etro suit in navy, and Hermione, a sapphire one-shoulder gown with matching sandals, and a silvery blue shawl around her shoulders. Her hair was done up in an elegant cornet with a twist on either side, framing her face. Around her neck she wore a sapphire pendant, and a matching bracelet that would have made the Malfoy’s pale with envy. She carried a clutch that matched the shawl and Harry thought she looked like a million galleons.
Judith wore a similar dress but strapless, and in a lighter blue and her shawl was an off-white, and Mack’s suit was similar to Harry’s, though his was Jaeger.
Last minute instructions followed, and Carolyn took a few poised photographs, before she flooed to her office, where she presented Rita with a long distance portkey.
“OK, Dobby. Take us away.”
The little elf popped them out of the castle and within seconds they found themselves in the lobby of the Customs and Immigration’s office in Manhattan.
A tall man with a professional look, and wearing a dark suit, approached with a smile. Another stood several feet away but was clearly watching them.
“Yes, sir.” Harry was wary. He’d arranged for the contact, but he’d lived under the threat of Voldemort for too long to just take anybody at his word.
“Welcome to New York, Sir. I’m Special Agent Jackson Browne of the U S Department of Magical Affairs. This is Special Agent Alec Kinnison.” He gestured to the other man, who nodded, but kept his distance. The tall man held out a folder with a badge and warrant card displayed prominently. Harry could feel the magic of the document. The magic could not be duplicated and was actually the manifestation of the magical oath each agent took to protect and serve. Harry nodded in satisfaction and introduced his group, including Dobby. The Jedi-elf was a surprise to the American agents, as slavery was outlawed here, those elves who’d survived, had returned to their origins in Europe.
Harry explained that Dobby was bonded to him, but was by no means a slave. Both Hermione and Dobby backed him up, saying that Harry considered the elves bonded to his houses to be family. Brown was unconvinced, but Dobby told him he was returning to Britain anyway so the point was moot. With that, he popped away…and returned immediately, quite undetectable. Dobby was not going to trust Harry Potters safety to just anybody!
When Dobby had vanished, Browne asked: “Will you surrender your wands for identification scan?” Browne asked.
“Of course. It’s in a wrist holder.” Harry eased his fingers under his sleeve and withdrew the wand, passing it over to the agent.
Browne passed the tool through a square device that looked like a very small, thick, picture frame. The device beeped three times and said in a computerized yet feminine voice: “This wand has been used to cast a spell causing excruciating pain throughout the human nervous system.”
Browne arched an eyebrow.
“That would be the Cruciatus. Harry affirmed. And I cast it on a psychotic bitch, named Bellatrix Lestrange, who’d just murdered my godfather, in front of me. She’s an inner circle member of the terrorist group called the Death Eaters. Unfortunately, the curse requires the intent to make the victim really suffer, and apparently righteous anger wasn’t quite enough to make it work.” Everybody around Harry felt the magic pouring off the angry teen. In the background, they could see several agents reaching for wands.
Hermione wrapped her arms around her love and whispered: “Harry, calm down! Please calm down, baby!”
Browne held up his hand to stay the impeding battle, and said: “I understand.”
Looking into her expressive cinnamon eyes, Harry couldn’t help but relax. As long as she was by his side, nothing else mattered. She smiled softly and kissed him.
The DMA agent spoke quietly into a microphone in his lapel and listened before handing Harry’s wand back. “Please avoid using such a spell on any of our citizens.” Browne turned to Hermione and asked for hers.
He did the same test and returned the wand, but didn’t ask either Mackenzie or Judith to surrender one. He also didn’t ask for the lightsabers they carried. None of the Jedi trained, enlightened him.
“Thank you. Please enjoy your stay in New York.”
“Can you tell us how to get to ‘The View’ restaurant?”
“Of course. In fact I can show you the portal. It’ll take you straight there.”
“Thank you. Can my parents use it as well?” Hermione asked.
“Yes…” Suddenly Hermione was worried. She hurriedly added: “But they’ve known for years.”
Browne smiled. “Don’t worry, Miss. Granger. We don’t believe in obliviation unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s unethical and should be illegal. As to the portal, yes. Mundanes can use them as easily as magicals. In fact, we’re trying to get them licensed for mass production, but as you probably know, the US is built around the Automobile. A large part of our economy is based on cars. To suddenly shift from them to the portals would ruin that economy entirely. We have to phase this type of travel device in slowly so it doesn’t make too great an impact.”
“I understand.” She replied. “Is this from one of the Technomagery schools?”
“It is. It was designed at Los Alamos. In fact, the technomagery colleges are always looking for new blood, so to speak. They might even be interested in those lightsabers you’re carrying.”
Harry instantly stiffened, but Browne laughed. “Here in America, we believe strongly in the right to defend ourselves. Your wands are scanned so we have a record in case you do kill someone with one, but unless you’re going to start a fight here, you’ll be left alone. The fact that you’re willing to embrace mundane technology…however improbable…is to your benefit. I can’t see a lightsaber as anything but a defensive weapon, albeit a deadly one, if they’re anything like the ones in the movies, so we’ll ignore them unless you use them to harm or kill one of our citizens. I’m assuming you have a reason to carry them.”
“Yes. Hopefully, they’re going to help us end a terrorist war.”
“Mmmhmm, since the Death Eaters have never seen them before, they’ll be a shock to them. I’ve been training my people for the past half year and more to use them effectively, and hopefully, it’ll be enough.”
“May I see one?”
“Sure. But unless you can touch the force, you won’t be able to activate it…oh, by the way, is Rita Skeeter here? She knows about mine, but as far as she knows I’m the only one who has one.” Harry unbelted the weapon and handed it to Browne.
“Her portkey is scheduled to arrive in about fourty five minutes.”
Browne turned the emitter to the side and thumbed the switch. Nothing happened.
“Is it working?”
“Yes, it is.” Harry took the lightsaber and activated it. He handed the lit weapon to Browne and it immediately shut itself down. Harry fought a smile as Browne very nearly pouted. Mack handed his over and Hermione pulled hers out of her little clutch, which didn’t look anywhere near large enough to hold it, and did the same. The governmental types all gaped at the fictional weapons made real. The other agents, who also proved unable to activate them, were as envious as Browne had been.
“You can’t use it unless you can touch the force.” Harry explained again, as he belted the weapon.
“I tell you what…” Brown began, shaking his head in admiration. “If Lucas knew what he was starting…”
“I don’t think Lucas knows how close he really was.” Harry replied. “Did he get lucky, or was there something else?”
“As far as we know, he’s a mundane, but there are an awful lot of coincidences.”
Hermione and Mack retrieved their lightsabers from the American agents and belted them…or in Hermione’s case, poked it back into her little clutch.
Browne escorted them to an open area with several glowing blue doorways, each having a small control pad next to it. He pointed to one.
“These are portals. They’re actually a modification of the goblin ‘here-there gate’. This one leads directly to the restaurant. It is a popular destination, after all. Portals are considerably more comfortable than portkeys, floo or the British variant of teleportation, you call it…apparation?” At their nods, he added: “We’re hoping to get it licensed for the EU in time, but the British ministry has been stonewalling us.
“That won’t be much longer.” Harry offered. “The ministry is under new…and competent management. Madam Bones is willing to listen to any reasonable ideas, but it’s gonna take time. We’ve got a lot of things that need to be set to rights first.”
“Oh, yes. That Voldemart character.”
“It’s Voldemort” Harry chuckled. “And yes. Just now, Britain is dealing with two dark lords, one of which has been pulling strings from the shadows since the turn of the century.
“And that would have to be Dumbledore.”
“Just so. Don’t worry, he’s on his way out too.”
Browne showed them how to use the portal, and then took them through. As he’d said it was easier on the mind than most magical transportation.
On the other side, a man in a tuxedo awaited them.
“Lord Potter and guests?” He asked in a lightly accented voice.
Harry raised a hand slightly. “I’m Harry Potter.”
“Welcome to The View, Lord Potter. Your table is ready. This way, please.”
Hermione gasped at the view. The restaurant was on the fourty-eighth floor of the Marriott Magnus and showed the entire skyline of New York City. Needless to say it was breathtaking.
“Harry!” Hermione was ecstatic. “This is gorgeous!”
“Only the best for you, my love.”
The Maître’d showed them to their table, where Mack and Harry seated Judith and Hermione. Through the force, Harry felt Dobby arrive. The little elf sat himself on the windowsill beside a large fern and sank into meditation.
Dinner was a quiet affair, with warm friendly chat and thoughts of family. Harry was glad to see his beloved so happy and relaxed. Hermione was wondering why Harry had brought her all the way to New York, but knew if she poked too hard he’d clam up. He’d tell her when the time was right. Mack was trying his hardest to not spill the beans and Judith was nearly crying in anticipation.
Eventually dessert and coffees followed and when the plates had been cleared away and only the coffee cups remained, Harry began to speak.
“Hermione, in a little over two months, we’ll be facing Voldemort and his people. While I will do my utmost, my survival is not assured…”
“Don’t talk like that, Harry…” Hermione interrupted, not wanting the magic of the evening to end.
Unfortunately Harry thought this much too important to put off.
“I have to. We’re at war and like you told me not so long ago, in war, people die. I want my legacy…the academy, the Potter line and all that, to go on. In the unlikely event of my death, if you and I are not formally…magically married, and you aren’t at least carrying my heir, there is a better-than-even chance that fifty or sixty families will be fighting over the Potter estate like a pack of scavengers. I have to prevent that, for two reasons. First: Some of those families will be aligned with Voldemort, if not his marked servants. If they get hold of the Potter estate this whole thing will start over again. Second: If the academy is to continue, it has to have the best administrator it can… and that’s you. And you’ll need the funding to ensure it does continue.”
Harry pushed back his chair, knelt before Hermione and held out an open velvet covered box, with the beautiful diamond ring inside.
“And finally, and most importantly: I love you Hermione. I think I always have…ever since a little girl with bushy hair, large front teeth and a bossy, know-it-all attitude, came into my compartment on the Express, and asked if we’d seen a toad. You were cute then, you’re beautiful now, and by knowing you, my life has changed for the better. I want to live with you, and wake up to you each morning. I want you to be the mother of my children, and I want to father all of yours. I want us to grow old together, surrounded by family.
Hermione, will you marry me?”
Hermione was stunned. She’d expected something like this but not this soon. Harry had said after it was all over. She just gaped until her mother nudged her shoulder.
She whispered: “Oh Harry! Yes. Yes. Yes!”
As Harry removed the betrothal ring and slipped this one onto Hermione’s finger, polite applause around them told them they weren’t as alone as they thought. A flash went off followed by another letting Harry know that at least Rita and ‘Bonzo’ were there. Harry stood and pulled Hermione up into a passionate and yet completely respectable kiss. A several more flashes lit the area as photographers from several major papers took their pictures
A waiter quietly brought a bottle of Champagne in a gold trimmed, silver cooler, and placed four glasses on the table, before departing as discretely as he’d come.
Harry gestured to the Maître’d and instantly the small band in the corner began playing and three men began to sing: How Deep Is Your Love, by the Bee Gees.
Harry pulled the blushing Hermione onto the small dance floor she was certain hadn’t been there before, and they stood there, swaying to the music arms wrapped around each other, eyes locked and soft, loving smiles on each of their faces. A few more flashes fired as reporters took more pictures of the dancing couple.
The song ended to further applause, and both smiling teens returned to their table where Mack had poured the champagne. When he’d first seen the label, he’d raised an eyebrow. The sommelier appeared at his elbow and spoke softly.
“Too often people choose a champagne by it’s label or price. We’ve discovered that many of these upper level champagnes are better suited to people with more…sophisticated palates. For most, the sweeter, fruitier wines are a better choice. If you’d like however…?”
“No, no. This is wonderful. And I agree. These two are far too young to have developed a palate for wines, and many of the higher priced wines are…” He spoke behind his hand: “ruddy awful.”
Toasts were made to the happy couple, congratulations offered, and late that night, after the wine was drunk and the bill settled, Dobby reappeared and the little family portaled back to the Customs and Immigrations office, and from there, returned to Britain to face a war.
Albus opened the paper with a vague feeling of dread. This morning had not begun well. His robes had not been returned from the laundry, and the clothing in his hamper had not been removed. His bed hadn’t been made and the bathroom was hadn’t been cleaned. His quarters were beginning to smell! More, the elves still refused to attend him when he called. Fawkes was missing more often than no, and these days, the stupid bird would flame away whenever he came near.
Now, seeing the headlines, he sighed: “Wonderful!” in angry defeat, and tossed it aside. He stood and left the great hall in despair.
Minerva smirked thinly as the students began to react to the headlines.
“HARRY POTTER ENGAGED!
By Rita Skeeter.
Dear readers, writes Rita Skeeter, special correspondent to The Daily Prophet, it seems the dreams of witches across this nation have been shattered. This intrepid reporter was privileged to be a witness, as the Boy Who Lived asked long-time girlfriend Hermione Granger, the beautiful muggleborne genius, who has shared his school adventures for years, and presumably filled his heart, to marry him. The engagement dinner was held in New York City no less, and with the magnificent skyline to be seen from all sides, Lord Potter bent his knee and presented Miss Granger with a lovely diamond engagement ring. His precise words were: “I love you Hermione. I think I always have…ever since a little girl with bushy hair, large front teeth and a bossy, know-it-all attitude, came into my compartment on the Express, and asked if we’d seen a toad. You were cute then, you’re beautiful now, and by knowing you, my life has changed for the better. I want to live with you, and wake up to you each morning. I want you to be the mother of my children, and I want to father all of yours. I want us to grow old together, surrounded by family. Hermione, will you marry me?”
Needless to say, Miss Granger was stunned. Her mother, who chaperoned the dinner, actually had to break her out of her trance and when she had, she accepted his proposal with quiet dignity and grace. Lord Potter then led her to a small dance floor where they swayed to a lovely and quite romantic tune this reporter has never before heard…”
Throughout the Great Hall, sighs of angst and more than a few sobs could be heard.
In the headmaster’s office, Albus Dumbledore opened the special compartment where he hid many of his secrets, looking for the mudblood’s concubine contract.
He found it…or rather, he found what was left of it. The contract had been reduced to ashes. Fortunately the fire hadn’t spread too far and only a few of this other ‘valuable secrets’ had been damaged. Reparo wouldn’t save the contract, but it should restore other items.
What he failed to notice was that the parchment upon which someone had written the secret location of his treasure trove, a vault in Gringotts, not that he could access it, which included the Potter’s realwill, and the many items he’d ‘borrowed’ from them, was ashes now. With the loss of that slip of parchment, he no longer recalled that he even had such items.
Harry and Hermione slept in, with Remus and Tonks taking charge of the training runs for the day.
Awakening late, Harry and Hermione made love gently, but passionately.
At breakfast, as soon as Harry and Hermione entered the dining hall, the room erupted in a deafening ovation. The students had read Rita’s article and wanted to wish the newly engaged couple the very best.
Mackenzie entered their flat and found a grinning Judith with what seemed hundreds of glossy magazines spread out on the table. He greeted her with a loving kiss and said: “You seem awfully smiley today.”
“Silly man. Our baby is getting married. I have a wedding to plan!
“You do realize their magical bonding will be in less than a month?”
“Of course, but Harry told me I could plan the formal wedding for after the war.”
Neither wanted to voice the thought that Harry might not survive the war.
After supper on the fifteenth, two French Aurors, knocked on Harry’s office door.
“Harry answered to, curious to see why these officers were there.
“M’suer Potter, Je suis Gendarme supérieur …beg pardon, I am…senior…Auror Jacques Copeau, et ça c'est …and zis is…senior Auror, Sabine St.Laurent. May we…speak…wis you?”
“Of course, come in, please.” Harry gestured them in and asked Winky to provide coffee for them all. When they’d been served, St.Laurent began.
“Mister Potter, I speak English better than Jacques, so he has asked me to lead this discussion.”
“That’s sounds reasonable. What’s on your mind?”
“Mister Potter, you are preparing your troops to fight these Death Eaters, but how do you intend to handle your troops after they’ve killed?”
“I thought as much. Mister Potter, you have killed. Jacques and I have as well. In fact, all of les Gendarmes des Magiques here in Britain, have. I would imagine the other police officers here, have as well. The problem is that your troops are well trained, but few of them have any combat experience, and you will be having them engage in close combat, of the bloodiest kind, where they will see the immediate effects of their weapons on other people. They are going to be killing people, and more importantly they are going to be watching people die. Killing like this affects people…often badly.
We each handle the aftereffects of killing in our own ways. The first time I killed, I threw up for what seemed like hours, and I couldn’t eat for days. I blamed myself for that fool’s death. It didn’t matter that he was trying his damndest to kill me, I still blamed myself. It took my first training officer and three bottles of really horrible cognac to make me see reason. Killing never gets any easier, but the first time is always the worst.
You, as their general, have got to find some way to help them cope with what they can easily see as murder.”
Harry found himself thinking seriously about something he’d never considered. He’d killed…he’d killed Quirrell with his bare hands, but felt no remorse. He’d killed the shade of Tom Riddle, and found himself relived. While he’d initially been upset that he’d have to kill Voldemort, that upset had passed quickly as he realized exactly what Riddle intended. No, a blight like that was better off dead.
He only grieved when innocents were killed. Cedric’s death had crushed him and Sirius’ had almost destroyed him. It was only when he realized that Dumbledore had orchestrated both murders, that he understood that the old man was as guilty as Voldemort. That realization had taken the guilt from his shoulders and placed it where it belonged.
Now, for some reason, he thought the people he’d trained would be as little affected by the killing as he’d been.
“I’d hardly call it murder, but I can see your point.” Harry mused, then asked: “Have you any suggestions?”
“You will have to arrange a support system for them. Whether it’s talking, or crying, or screaming, or fighting, or loving, or getting blind drunk, you must have a support system in place. They will depend upon you to recover their…souls…for want of a better word. Your policy of allowing them to be intimate is a very good start, but it’s not enough. You need to have counselors here, perhaps even mind healers, to help your people confront their demons and defeat them, or at least come to live with them. Your people are all dedicated to the idea of eliminating Voldemort and his Death Eaters, but each of them must have an outlet for their feelings, and I can assure you, if your healers miss the contraception schedules, there are going to be many babies born in March. The reaffirmation of life is one of the most common ways people deal with killing, and the easiest and usually best way to affirm their lives, is through making love.”
“All right…” Harry mused. I do have a mind healer on site. I can talk to her and ask her to arrange for other counselors to make themselves available to the students. Doctor Granger and the rest of the healers here have already volunteered to help out when they’re needed, but having more around can’t hurt. I can open up the rest of the estate for unstructured play. That should help. How about some of the Aurors! Your troops have seen death. Can they help my people deal with their feelings?”
“A good question. I will see. In the mean time, you must begin culling your troops. There are some here that are too undisciplined to face combat without suffering from it.”
“I’ve already planned for that. I’ll make the final selection in early June. I’ve been reviewing all of my people in their training and personal interactions since I began this, and I have a good idea who is capable of what. And you’re right. There are some who I daren’t take along.” In his mind, Ron appeared. He was a good friend, and he had progressed more than anybody else, but he was still too wild.
“I’m only taking the twenty five or so, best qualified people with me.”
“That is good. I will contact my people and have them contact the others, to see if they have anything that can be done.”
“Thank you, Ma’amselle.”
“Call me Sabine.”
“Very well, Sabine, and thank you again.”
A soon as the two French Aurors had departed, Harry called for Winky.
“I want you to go to the major suppliers of firewhiskey and other magical liquors and buy them out! Bring the stuff back here and store it in the dungeons until we need it. I also want you contact Master Mindhealer…No. I can do that. Anyway, get enough liquor to float everyone here, for two months. I’ll be back.”
Harry strode from his office leaving a puzzled Winky behind.
Harry rapped on Lorelei Mentasus’ door and waited. Within a minute the aged mindhealer opened the door and asked him inside.
“You are troubled.” She began.
Harry nodded. “I have sixty students I’m training. Twenty five of them will be coming with me and those twenty five will be killing Death Eaters. It’s as simple as that. Since I’ve killed, I tend to think of my students as being much like I am in temperament, but I’m wrong. Few of them have killed, and while I’ve accepted that I might not survive, and taken steps to ensure this school goes on in the event I don’t, my students are going to need an escape, when we return. They’re going to need a way of dealing with the killing.”
“The simplest way is to not kill.”
“As much a I would love that, it’s a dream. We’re in a war, and unfortunately, war is little more than organized murder. The problem here is that as long as Voldemort and his Death Eaters are around…as long as the agenda they espouse exists, there will be a need for fighting…and that usually ends in death. It sucks but there it is. This battle will eliminate all of his marked killers, and that includes most of the blood-purists in Britain. Madam Bones has been working herself ragged to change things, so that when we’re done, there’ll never be need to do this again. It won’t eliminate the need to kill entirely, but doing this in such a brutal and final manner, will send a message to people who would take up the mantle of dark lord. Hopefully it will prevent someone like Voldemort from rising in twenty years.”
“You are determined to continue on this course you’ve set?”
“I literally have no choice. Voldemort believes a false prophecy, and as long as he does, he’ll keep coming after me until one of us is dead. His Death Eaters are like leeches. They suck the life-blood from the wizarding world and the more of them there are, the more want to join them. This has to end. If we are to have a future this…malignancy, has got to be excised.”
“And you are the one to do this? Why you?”
“Because Dumbledore refused to, and nobody else can.”
“Well, if Dumbledore won’t kill…”
Harry sighed. “Madam, I’m not here to debate legality or morality with you. For the legality angle, I have a warrant from the Queen herself, to destroy Voldemort and his servants. Madam Bones fully supports my programme. Madam Longbottom also supports what we all feel I need to do. For the moral side, each individual has to decide that, on his own. My decision was simple. Britain has lived in fear from these people for far too many years. It’s time to end that fear. I have promised Her Majesty that I will do that, even if it costs me my life. I intend to carry through with that promise, but that’s not why I’m here. What I’m here to do, is try to find a way to help my people deal with the inevitable death they must face. Can you suggest anyone to help them recover after this is all over? We can’t have twenty or more Jedi trained people all armed with unstoppable weapons, suffering from shellshock. That would be as bad as any dark lord!”
Mentasus Smiled softly. “You are very much like your mentors. Driven and determined to do what is right, no matter that it may cost you. I will speak to some people I know. When I have the answers you seek, I shall contact you.”
“Thank you.” Harry stood, bowed politely, and departed.
Behind him, Lorelei Mentasus smiled thinly. The boy definitely had promise. The next time that oddly speaking little creature entered her dreams, she would assure it that Harry Potter would not fall.
On the seventeenth, Harry watched as the first bunch of students wearily returned from their crystal making. According to the elves, most used standard stones…emerald, amethyst, sapphire and the like.
Except, of course, for the twins. The twins and the elves assisting them, were still in their meditative trance, all focused on one forge. It appeared that they were working in conjunction in the one forge.
Harry asked about them, but the elves in contact with their partners told him that the twins had said: “All is well”.
Harry sighed in frustration. He knew the twins had found a way to get around his order.
At Dinner, he called up the next group…eight, instead of nine, because the twins were till present and informed them they would be forging their crystals the following morning.
As before, the ovation threatened to deafen him.
Arthur called him over Amelia’s floo just after Harry had returned from the morning’s lightsaber training.
Seeing Arthur’s head in the flame, Harry invited him over.
When he arrived, Arthur wasted no time.
Harry, the twins’ clock-hands just moved to Mortal Peril! Can you tell me anything?”
To the best of my knowledge they’re fine…just deep in meditation. If you’d like, we can go see them.”
“Thank you, Harry.”
Harry led the way to the forge room where the elder Weasley found a group of students, including his daughter, and an equal number of house elves sitting, eyes closed, around several large beehive-shaped…things. Other house elves swarmed around the groups. At one, were the twins, both looking pale but still strong.
Harry explained that they were in a force meld and creating their own focusing crystals for their new lightsabers.
Satisfied fro the time being, Arthur thanked Harry and Dobby took him back to the ministry.
At four thirty in the afternoon, on the nineteenth, just as Harry was returning from his shower, Tessie popped into the bedroom, reporting that Fred and George Weasley and been taken to the hospital wing suffering from severe magical exhaustion. Harry assured her he would be there as son as he was dressed, and then, pulling on his trews, called for Sparkey and Jobber.
Winky appeared in their stead, as he was drying his hair, claiming the two elves he called or were also in the infirmary…completely exhausted. Harry sat on his bed and tossed the towel to the side, and slipped into his boots. Fastening their closures, he stood and stomped twice to settle his feet properly. Lifting the under-tunic from the pile of clothing, he asked: “Is there anyone who can tell me what those two lunatics have been getting up to?” and pulled it over his head.
“Stokes is can, Master Harry.” She avowed, as Harry tucked the shirt in.
“OK, thanks, Winky. Stokes!” Harry called, donning his over-tunic and arranging his emergency blankest over his shoulders and around his waist. Then, as he buckled his thick leather belt in place, Harry’s primary artificer appeared asking how he could help.
“Stokes, what have the twins been up to? They’re magically exhausted, and the elves they were partnered with, are in no better shape.” He hung his lightsaber from its clip.
“Stokes in not quite sure, Harry Potter. They has finished they focusing stones and they is sleeping now.”
“They’re not asleep, Stokes. They’re unconscious in the infirmary. They’re all magically exhausted…even the elves.”
“Stokes is being muchly worried. Elves is being more needing of they magicks than is humans. They is might die!”
“The healers will do everything they can to prevent that. Gimmee a sec. Winky!” Winky appeared immediately. As he asked how she could serve, Harry spoke.
“If there are any elves who can help Sparkey and Jobber, please have them go to the infirmary and do whatever they can.”
Winky nodded rapidly her eyes shining, and popped away.
Returning his attention to Stokes, Harry went on. “I need to find out what happened. Why are they exhausted? What happened in the forge room? Who were their support elves?”
Two elves popped in, announcing their names as Orange and Flavius.
“Have a seat, please.” Harry gestured to the couch and drew up a chair to face it. Stunned at he courtesy both elves plopped onto the couch.
“What happened with the twins that was any different than with any other human making a focusing crystal?”
Orange spoke. “We is not knowing what is going on inside the jewel-makers, but the funny Weezey’s is telling us they is needs to be staying a few days longer, because they jewels is muchly more harder to make.”
Harry sighed. “So, they found a way around my orders and made a different kind of focusing crystal…something that took them two extra days…” Harry thought hard before muttering: “Since it’s not ‘more’, that mean’s ‘bigger’.” Then in a louder voice, he asked: “Stokes, are the stones in the cooling ovens?”
“Yes, Harry Potter.”
In the forge room, Harry stepped around the second group of students making their stones and the elves who were cleaning the place. Angelina had Jobber to help her, Alicia worked with Fixer, Ginny was paired with Jewel, Katie was paired with Fern, Orla was with Blicky, Padma and Sparkey shared a forge, Anika had Noopy as an guide, and Anna was sharing with Gemma. The air around the beehive-shaped forges reeked from the accumulation of body odours and the like, but with the efforts of the house-elves, the place remained livable. One of the forges was unused, as the twins had been working there. The elves there were scrubbing diligently and one told Harry it wouldn’t be too long before the forge would once again, be ready for use. When it was, Dobby and his assistant, probably Stokes, would take their places there.
Passing by one of the forges, Harry absently checked the temperature and pressure settings and found them to be acceptable.
Turning to the ovens, he discovered that each of the focusing stones the twins had made were actually five differently colored stones bonded around a common axis, and melded into one, all surrounded by a diamond shell. For the life of him, he couldn’t see what the arrangement was for. Each of the crystals were the same size as the inner stones he’d designed, but with their arrangement, the outer shell was almost three times as large as normal.
Harry shook his head in irritation.
Thanking and dismissing the elves, he headed to the infirmary to see just how much damage the twins had wrought.
Harry entered the ward to see to his two jokers laying unconscious on their beds, being force-fed potions every minute. Harry was absolutely shocked! He’d never seen them so devoid of life!
Lavender spoke quietly to him.
“Harry, it’s going to be touch-and-go for a while. They’re exceptionally depleted, magically. Neither of the healers has ever seen such an extreme case of exhaustion before. We’ll be working ‘round the clock on them for the next couple days. If they recover…Harry, they could become squibs.” Lavender was clearly upset over this possibility. Though a half-blood, she’d grown up in a wizard’s home and couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be bereft of magic.
She added: “If they recover their magic, they can count themselves as graced by Maeve herself.”
“All right. Keep me informed?”
“Sure. I think we’re gonna have to miss a few sessions with Frank, though.
“Frank will wait. He’s been in there for fifteen year, this’ll be barely noticeable.”
Though the first group of students had all successfully completed their weapons, the atmosphere was tense. Their grips were mostly based upon his or Hermione’s, his being the longest used and most familiar and Hermione’ being a nice improvement on his.
Harry diligently tested them one at a time, but because of his concerns over les Jumeaux Terriblé it wasn’t the festive event it would normally be.
Harry and Hermione went to bed that night, very, very worried. They held each other warmly, and for the time being, that was enough.
This was getting ridiculous! Dumbledore cursed as he tried to find a clean nightshirt. That afternoon Severus had told him of certain Slytherin students having the same problems. Clothing was not removed for cleaning, beds were left unmade, rooms left uncleaned, the basic necessities of living unattended to! The names of the complainants were all familiar to Albus. Each and every one was marked. That made him suspect that Harry’d had a hand in this. The boy was proving to be as vindictive as Riddle! Only Severus was seemingly unaffected, as he had little to do with the house elves, but watching him at the table that evening, Dumbledore wasn’t sure. The grimace of disgust that graced Severus’ face told him that his spy had made an unpleasant discovery. During the conversation, Severus handed over the goblet. The wine inside was tainted by soap!
On the twentieth of April, Draco Malfoy stormed down the hallway, still furious about how the Deputy Headmistress had dared to humiliate him. Cleaning toilets! He was a pureblood! The acme of the social strata! If it weren’t for his orders from the dark lord, he’s have walked out of Hogwarts, never to return. That bloody Scottish bitch! He’d deal with her! Yes, he would! When the dark lord triumphed, he’d ask for permission to torture her to death! Yes! That would do perfectly!
In the meanwhile, Draco was still smarting from his detentions…and the huge loss of points heaped upon him because he failed to show for some of the ones assigned. Stupid squib! Problem was, until the dark lord did triumph, he knew he was nowhere near powerful enough to defy the wrinkled old bitch. She was as pureblooded as he, and could hand him his arse without blinking. His father had told him it was a safer bet to challenge Dumbledore than to get on McGonagall’s bad side. Dumbledore believed in redemption!
So, Draco was a bully in need of a target. Potter and his gang of mudbloods and muggle lovers were gone, and most of the other half and purebloods ignored him. He selected a group of his peers to assist him in some mudblood torture.
Theodore Nott, Malcolm Baddock and Pansy Parkinson eagerly accompanied him in search of a victim.
Unfortunately, like all bullies they located a target easily enough. In fact, it was one of the mudblood firsties who’d got him the detentions in the first place! She was alone in the corridor, headed toward the library. Too bad for her, they found the little vermin before she could scurry under a rock!
“Well, well, well!” His sneering voice echoed through the hall. “It looks like we have a little mudblood all alone! What do you think, boys? Should we have ourselves a little fun?”
Helen Dawson was terrified. She’d been warned about this one. He was a Death Eater, the son of a Death Eater, and the grandson of a Death Eater. Now, she regretted her decision to explore the library.
She backed away and drew her wand.
“Expelliarmus!” Draco sneered and the wand flew from her hand to his. He callously snapped the shaft in two and tossed the pieces over his shoulder. Helen was horrified. Her wand was her first link to the wizarding world, and this bastard had broken it!
“Mudbloods don’t deserve wands.” Draco spoke with utter contempt. “You scum are only fit to be our slaves!”
A quick step forward and a hard slap sent the eleven-year-old girl flying across the hallway. Her painful scream ended when she hit the stone wall.
“Drag her arse into that room! We’ll shag her, and then kill the little bint!”
In a castle some two hundred miles to the southwest, Harry Potter was sitting in silent meditation. He’d been feeling…off, for some hours, and needed to find out why. He thought it was only concern for the Weasley twins, but this was…different…elusive. He sank into the force. In his meditations, he relived memories in abrupt flashes. Old wounds given by his relatives. The trials he’d faced at Hogwarts. Hermione’s love. The camaraderie of his Jedi. The battle he had yet to fight. Again and again, Hogwarts figured prominently in his thoughts. He didn’t know what the trouble was but as he let himself drift in the force, he understood that Hogwarts castle, was where the danger lay.
In the headmaster’s office, Minerva was sorting through a pile of parchmentwork, as Dumbledore was in front of the Wizengamot, trying to convince them of the rightness of his decisions…for the greater good, of course.
How she hated that phrase!
A painted woman in a Victorian dress, dashed into an empty frame, shouting for the headmaster.
“Annette! What’s wrong?”
“Oh, Minerva, I need the Headmaster! It’s urgent!”
“He’s in London. While he’s gone I act in his stead.”
“Oh, in that case, four older students, three boys and one girl, have just abducted a first year! They’ve taken her into a room off the fourth floor corridor on the right-hand side. One said they were going to ravish the child and then slaughter her!”
Minerva was on her feet before Annette finished her tale. “Good heavens!” Rushing to the fire, she called out: “Filius Flitwick!”
“The half goblin was immediately there. “Minerva?”
“Four students have taken a first year. They’re going to rape and kill her!”
“Fourth floor. right hand side! Please open your floo!”
“Done!” Filius rushed from his office, as she flooed through.
Spinning to a halt in the Charms professor’s office, Minerva dashed out the door and up the flight of stairs to the fourth floor corridor. Filius was already there. They could hear the terrified screams from inside a locked room. She cast a signal dart towards the hospital wing before turning to her old friend.
“There’s someone holding it locked.” He explained. “I can blast it away but he or she might be hurt.”
“There is a child in there, possibly being raped. Whoever is holding that door closed, is helping them.” Minerva’s voice was little more than an animal growl. “Hurt them!” Filius understood. He felt the same way.
“Reducto on three then!” He called. “One…two…three!”
“REDUCTO!” Both teachers bellowed. The door exploded inward. Inside they found a nearly naked, and badly beaten child, a pantsless Draco Malfoy, and two of his friends in various states of undress, who had clearly been holding the child down, all staring at her…and an extremely battered pansy Parkinson, lying against the far wall, and filled with splinters. “STUPEFY!” All three boys fell to the floor. Pansy didn’t need it. Her injuries kept her from moving.
Helen’s screams became frightened wails.
Suddenly it was there! The fog lifted and he saw the danger clearly. A force user was about to fall to the dark side! He was standing before he was aware. Hermione, also, meditating, was feeling the same warnings, but like Harry, had been unable to locate the trouble. When he leapt to his feet, she noticed and jumped up as well, just as Harry called: “Dobby!”
Dobby appeared, immediately.
“We need to get to Hogwarts right now!”
“Take Dobby’s hands.”
With that, the three of them vanished silently.
Poppy arrived a few seconds later. Seeing the naked and bloody child lying on the floor, she ignored Pansy entirely, immediately transfigured some broken wood into privacy screens and turned to her victim.
Both Minerva and Filius started as Harry, Hermione and Dobby appeared without so much as a whisper.
“Harry! Hermione! What are you doing here?” McGonagall exclaimed in surprise. “Oh, hello, Dobby. I didn’t see you!”
“The force warned us of something truly dangerous.” Harry explained. “A force user about to turn to the dark side.”
Minerva pointed to the unconscious Slytherins, and said: “If any of them can use the force, I’d say they’ve already turned.”
As he spoke, the privacy curtain flew to the side and a little girl, now wearing a hospital gown, stood there, her eyes glowing with hatred and rage. Behind her, Poppy Pomfrey was lying on the floor, banged up but still conscious.
Helen saw the three Jedi standing there, and with a quick gesture, called Hermione’s lightsaber to her, activated it, and leapt forward to strike.
With a snap-hiss and a crash of energy, Harry’s blade met hers with a crackling, snapping buzz. Truth be told, he was having difficulty holding her back.
“Put it down, Helen.” He spoke in a soft, gentle tone, meant to engender trust. “You don’t want to do this!”
“NO!” She screamed, her hatred nearly palpable. She backed her blade and swung again. “They should die!” Harry blocked her blade again, and again as he tried to get part his guard.
“But not at your hand! Please Helen, put it down!” Again his voice was soft, but gently commanding. Helen met his eyes, and he saw pure misery there.
“They tried to…” She faltered. “They were gonna…” Suddenly the lightsaber fell, shutting itself down immediately. Hermione caught it with the force, and called it to herself. Deftly catching the weapon, she hooked it to her belt.
Shutting his own blade down, and tossing it to Hermione, Harry knelt before the traumatized girl and opened his arms.
Suddenly he had a screaming child in his arms. “Mummy!” She wailed. “Mummy! MummyMummyMummy!”
Harry held the screaming girl, rocking her gently, and humming a nonsensical tune, until her screams became whimpers. Touching her forehead, he whispered: “Sleep” and she slumped into his hold. Minerva felt a tear roll down her face. That a boy with no memory of love, could hold such love for another, was purely amazing! Miss Granger had clearly worked a miracle!
Poppy gestured to Helen. Harry shook his head and said: “I’ll bring her.” Nodding, she led the way to the hospital wing.
Hermione hooked Harry’s lightsaber to the clip on his belt as he passed, but remained behind, to survey the scene.
“Hmm. Whoever blasted the door open did some damage, here. I’m afraid Pansy is going to need plastic surgery to ever look good again…oh, wait. This is Pansy. Umm, nemmind.”
Despite the serious nature of the day’s events, Minerva felt herself smile…just a little.
Draco Malfoy, Theodore Nott, Malcolm Baddock and Pansy Parkinson would soon be expelled, if she had a word to say about it!
Seeing Helen sequestered behind privacy screens in the hospital wing, Harry etched seven sets of runes in a circle around the small enclosure, dripped some blood on each of the runes, and asked Hermione, Dobby Minerva and Poppy to place a drop of blood on each rune.
That seemed to turn the trick. Hermione and Dobby placed their blood immediately, with Minerva, a close second, but Poppy was shocked.
“Mister Potter! Blood magicks are illegal!”
“I don’t care. If Dumbledore gets to her, he’ll wipe her memory. If any of the Death Eater spawn here at Hogwarts get in, Helen will die. This way, we build a nearly impenetrable shield that only Hermione, Dobby, Minerva, you and I can get through. We can bring others through, but nobody else can come through unescorted…especially not a manipulative old bastard with a nasty habit of Obliviating people!”
It was actually Minerva’s cooperation that decided it for Poppy. She was as dedicated to her calling as any healer, and frankly, Dumbledore’s orders rankled…especially the orders pertaining to the young man standing before her. She knew Minerva was adamantly opposed to any dark magicks, and she’d seen far too much of Dumbledore’s machinations in the name of ‘the greater good’, to suit her. She sighed and cut her thumb. If she could prevent any further harm to this child, she was willing to risk prison on her behalf.
Blood spilt; Poppy knew she now had a stronghold against all comers…even the headmaster. She called for Ostie, the elf assigned to the infirmary, who appeared by her side.
“Ostie, would you bring us a tea?”
“Ostie would be most happy to do so. Shall Ostie bring some to the Lord and Lady Gryffindor and the frightened little girl?”
“Please do, but make hers hot chocolate with a peppermint stick, and a drop or three of calming draught.”
Ostie popped away.
In the infirmary, Harry seated himself at the foot of Helen’s bed. Watching the quiescent child for a minute, he spoke quietly but firmly. “Wake up!”
Helen woke instantly and opened frightened eyes.
“Relax, Helen. I’m here.”
Tears began to spill again. Once more, Harry held out his arms and Helen fell into them wailing in remembered terror. He rocked her gently and hummed nonsensical rhythms to her, in hopes of helping her to feel better.
When she’d stopped crying, Harry said: “Helen. I want to pull you out of Hogwarts and bring you to my Jedi academy.”
“Why?” The tearful child asked in a shaky voice, her face buried in Harry’s robes.
“Hermione calls it my ‘saving people thing’. You have the rare ability to touch the force. That ability was…‘forced’; please excuse the pun…to show itself, by Malfoy’s attempt to rape you, and by your anger and hatred afterward. Since the magical world is not aware of the force, they can’t teach you to control it. I can. Today, by wanting to kill those bastards, you took your first step down a very dangerous path toward the dark side. While I agree fully that they are a stain on the arse of humanity, allowing your hatred to rule your actions, is not the way. A Jedi is calm. A Jedi is at peace. A Jedi acts in harmony with nature, not in opposition to it. Your anger made you powerful, but your basic humanity, kept you from doing as your anger wanted. Do you understand that?”
“Yeah.” Helen nodded, meeting his eyes for the first time. Her face was bruised from the beating Malfoy had given her, and blotchy from her tears.
“What about…him?” She asked.
“Oh, have no fear. He will pay! Later on this year, in June, actually, I’m going to trick the Death Eaters into a single place where my troops and I will wipe them out. He’ll be there.”
“All right. I’m going to go talk to your parents, now. They were pretty excited to learn that you were a witch. Let’s see how much happier they’ll be, to find out you can use the force, too.”
For the first time that day, little Helen Dawson, smiled. It wasn’t much of a smile, but it was a smile.
In Poppy’s office, Harry spoke to Minerva.
“I want to take her out of here. We can see to her magical education, and since she is, as you’ve just seen, a powerful little force user, it’s best to train her with those who can anticipate her needs.”
“Are you certain that’s the right thing to do, Harry?”
“Minerva, she’s in grave danger of falling to the dark side. You saw what she as about to do. Had I not interfered, she would have slaughtered them like animals, and likely escaped…with Hermione’s lightsaber. From there, there’d be no telling what she was capable of. I think Judith is the best one to deal with her. Where are her parents?”
“They live in Amesbury”
“Who went to introduce her to the wizarding world?”
“Good. That keeps it tight. Let me see your memory of the encounter, and I’ll go there straightaway.” It was phrased politely, but Minerva understood that it was an order.
“Very well.” Minerva recalled her encounter with Helen’s parents, Janet and Dean. She felt the feather light touch of Harry’s mind probe, and shared with him the entire encounter.
He removed himself from her mind and gave her a quiet: “Thank you.”
He told Hermione what he was going to do and asked her to remain nearby…just in case.
They walked through the shield where Harry introduced her to Helen as his ‘lovely fiancée’. Hermione smiled at the endearment and sat down on the side of Helen’s bed. Helen stared in awe at the brown robed teen. “Are you really a Jedi?”
Hermione nodded. “One in training.” and then cast a glamour over herself to make her look like just another student.
Bidding Minerva good-bye, Harry and Dobby vanished.
“Minerva, why are my Slytherins locked in a cell in the dungeons?” Snape demanded.
“You are no longer a teacher here, Severus. They are no longer your Slytherins. As it is, your former students were caught in an attempt to rape a muggleborne student named Helen Dawson. They are awaiting the Aurors.”
“They did nothing of the sort! It is more likely the mudblood wanted to ‘try out a real wizard’. No matter, that’s all the mudbloods are good for anyway.”
Severus stumbled backwards as the sound of the slap resounded throughout the room. Minerva stood there with spots of red high on her cheekbones, and a palm that was bright red. “Severus Snape! That is the most appalling, disgusting thing I have ever heard you say! I was there! It was I who stunned them! How can you possibly excuse such horrendous actions? It’s no wonder none of the students wants to take your class! You are a bigot, a coward and a bully! In short, you are a Death Eater!”
Suddenly his face grew thunderous.
“How dare you!” He snarled, dragging his wand from its sheath. To his shock, a small, but immensely powerful had closed around his, with crushing force. To his side, Filius Flitwick glared at him.
“Think twice, Severus. I’ll - break - your – bloody - hand - off!”
“Unhand me, Troll! Or I shall have you killed!”
“Not gonna happen, Severus! The ministry won’t listen to you and Voldemort has more important things to do, than ease someone’s bruised pride!” Flitwick shoved hard, sending Snape bouncing into a wall, to fall on his arse.
Snape scrabbled for his wand only to find it in the hands of Filius Flitwick.
“I think I’ll just hold on to this until the Aurors get here!”
Knowing his situation was untenable, Snape decided to cut his losses and fled the scene. “There will be a reckoning, goblin!”
In her office, Minerva contacted Augusta and briefed her, both of the day’s events and of Dumbledore’s most likely reaction. To say Augusta was infuriated, would be an understatement of nearly biblical proportions.
“I shall convene the board and end this idiocy!” The dowager vowed.
Thanking her old friend, Minerva ended the call and went to await Dumbledore’s return.
Harry appeared in Amesbury. Walking up the path to the nice little bungalow, he rang the bell.
A thin man with receding hair and glasses opened the door. “Hello?” He thought he recognized the young man with black hair standing on his step. Helen had frequently spoken of the savior of the wizarding world before she’d gone to Hogwarts. The scar on his forehead confirmed his guess.
“Good afternoon, Mister Dawson. My name is Harry Potter and I’d like to speak to you about your daughter Helen. May I come in?”
“Helen?” Dawson was instantly worried. “Is she all right?” He gestured Harry to enter the house.
“No, she is not. Two hours ago, a blood purist bigot and his friends, tried to rape her.”
Dawson opened his mouth to bellow, but Harry held his hand up. “Relax. They were caught before they could. Still, Headmaster Dumbledore is not likely to protect her. He’s shown an appalling lack of concern lately, where mugglebornes are concerned. The deputy headmistress, Professor McGonagall has them sequestered and is pushing for their expulsion and prosecution for their crimes, but I believe Dumbledore is going to stall that as much as he can. The four of them are purebloods and he’s been showing a ‘sympathy’ toward their cause of late.”
“What will they do? The law, I mean.”
“Amelia Bones, our new Minister for Magic will do her utmost. She has absolutely no tolerance of that sort of thing, but there are a lot of well-entrenched blood purists, who believe mugglebornes should be slaves, or worse…exterminated. She’ll prosecute, but I’m afraid she’ll have a hard go of it. But that’s only part of why I’m here.
The rest of the reason, is what happened immediately after the attempt was stopped. Helen was able to call my partner’s lightsaber to her, activate it and was about to kill the boys. I stopped her.”
“Why?” Dean snapped. “Rapists deserve to be killed!”
“Yes, sir, they do. I agree fully there. One reason I stopped her was because she was able to use a lightsaber. That’s something only a force sensitive can do. I designed that protection into the weapons when I built them. She was able to call the weapon to her, using the force, and activate it. If she had been allowed to continue, four worthless examples of the very worst of humanity would have died, yes, but even more importantly, Helen would have begun her descent to the dark side.”
“What do you mean?” Janet asked, nervously.
“Helen was more than furious. She was ready to kill, and not in a good way. She was going to chop those four to bloody pieces. If she’d carried out her plan, we could well be faced with Earth’s first dark Jedi.”
Dean thought about that. He’d seen Star Wars, and knowing that the previously fabled magic was in fact a well-guarded secret; he had no problem believing that the force could be the same. Having seen what Vader, and later, the Emperor, did he thought he understood what a Sith was capable of.
He wasn’t even close.
“What can we do? Helen's a good girl!” Janet moaned. “I don’t want my baby to be like that!”
“I want to pull her out of Hogwarts. I want to transfer her to my Jedi academy. I have several well-qualified teachers there. She’ll be behind the rest, but she’ll have sixty older students to help her learn. She’ll also have two younger students to work with. Just now, she’s been through a horribly traumatic experience, but I have several qualified therapists on hand and access to the mind healers, to help her cope. I feel in time, once the memory fades, I can train her to be a Jedi Knight.”
“How do we know you’re for real?” She asked.
“Good question. What do you suggest?”
“Ummm…trans…mogrify something.” She fluttered her hand at the unfamiliar word. Harry snickered.
“Missus Dawson, I’m also a wizard. I can easily transfigure things.”
“Oh. Umm…OK. Float this table without a wand.”
“OK.” Harry leaned into the force and the table lifted, floated across the room and returned to its resting place.
His hands were resting on his belt.
“You said only a Jedi can use that lightsaber. Let me try it.”
“I said only a force sensitive could use it, but if you wish, you may. I’ve set it to minimum power. Just to show you it isn’t a toy, I’ll light it first and then have you do so.”
Harry pointed the lightsaber away from them and lit the blade. Checking quickly to ensure the blade was indeed at sparring power, he shut it down and handed it over. Try as they might, neither of Helen’s parents could activate it.
He cinched the deal by asking: “Missus Dawson, do you like amethyst?”
“Yes.” She replied. Very much.”
“That geode contains amethyst crystals.” He pointed to a round rock a bit over a foot across, that he’d seen on the way up the garden path. It was in a pile intended for a new fence. “Shall I open it?”
Curious nods indicated he should. Harry adjusted the power on his weapon, lifted the rock with a minor gesture and floated it towards him. A lightning swift stroke of his lightsaber and the geode was open, and layering its inside, was a small fortune in dark purple crystals.
Both Dawson’s were stunned speechless.
“Ok, now that I’ve convinced you of my bona-fides, may I take Helen from Hogwarts to my school? She’ll learn the same magic there as at Hogwarts, but she’ll be learning the regular subjects that Hogwarts does not teach, and I’ll be training her to touch the force as well.”
It really didn’t take him much persuading. From the second Harry had mentioned the attempted rape; Dean had wanted to pull Helen out of the school. Since Dumbledore couldn’t or wouldn’t protect her, and the famous Harry Potter claimed he could, he was more than happy to sign the transfer authorization. Anything to get her out from under Dumbledore’s control. That Harry encouraged parents to visit and even provided them portkeys to do so, didn’t hurt at all. No, not one single bit.
An hour later, Harry and Hermione arrived at Potter castle with Helen in tow. There, waiting for them, were Janet and Dean Dawson. Judith Granger, stood next to them. Around them were the McMichaels and the Dobbs’, Carolyn Chapman and Amelia Bones.
Seeing her mother, Helen immediately fell sobbing into her arms.
Harry nodded to all present. “Judith, would you take them somewhere they can relax?”
Judith nodded toward the doorway, and Dean lifted his little girl and carried her from the room.
Turning to the others, he smiled. “Hey Kids! That girl is Helen Dawson. She’s been through rather a lot today, but we just discovered she can use the force…just like you two.”
At the kid’s excited dancing, Harry hurried to add: “She’s going to need some time alone, but when she’s ready, I’d like you two to show her what you’ve been doing and maybe help her learn too. OK?”
Eager to please, both four year olds chirped: “OK!” Harry sent them along with their fathers but asked the mothers to remain behind.
“Ladies, Helen was attacked and nearly raped today. That’s how we learned she could use the force. She called Hermione’s lightsaber to her and was about to slice the four of them into bloody chunks. I stopped her, and yes, there is a part of me that regrets that, but I did. I spoke to Minerva and to Helen’s parents and we decided she’d be better off here. Judith is my first choice for someone to help her to cope, but that’s only because she’s already raised Hermione and you lot are still working on the littles. I’d like for you to keep yourselves and the kids as involved in Helen’s life as you can. Her parents will be here from time to time to see how she’s doing, and you can work with them whenever they’re here.”
Both mothers agreed and Harry Hermione Carolyn and Amelia adjourned to his office where he explained the situation, happy that they’d avoided a disaster.
At Hogwarts, Minerva and Dumbledore were having a heated discussion.
“Mister Malfoy claims she asked him and his friends to ‘show her the ropes’, as it were. All we have here, is his word against hers. I’m afraid I will have to rule in his behalf, as she is clearly unstable.”
“Albus Dumbledore, I have had enough! Your continued refusal to see justice done is utterly disgusting! For the past fifty years I have supported you, even when I didn’t agree with you, but for the past fifteen you have lost all connection with reality! No eleven-year-old child wants to ‘learn the ropes’ as you so elegantly put it. That does not happen! This time he has gone too far. Either you will expel Mister Malfoy and his friends, or I will convene a meeting of the Board of Governors as to see to your removal. Either way they will be gone!”
“I will not allow that! I rule this school, nobody else!” He bellowed.
“No longer, Albus!” A familiar voice sounded as Augusta entered the office, followed by Amelia Bones, Andromeda Tonks, Carolyn Chapman, and five Aurors.
“Given your decisions in the recent past, concerning active and avid Death Eaters, unqualified teachers, and unrepentant students who commit heinous crimes, you are ordered to step down from your post as headmaster. All twelve signatures are here and the entire board is waiting downstairs.”
“NO!” He bellowed. “I will not be forced out. I am the master of Hogwarts! I am the greatest wizard in the world! I am Albus Dumbledore!”
Albus drew his wand, shouting: “I am the…” He fell senseless to the heavy stone flags. A smirking, black-haired teenager, with a beater’s bat in his hand, muttered: “Stupefy!” before nodding to them all, taking Dobby’s hand and vanishing as silently as he’d come.
On the twenty first, the headlines signaled the ed of Dumbledore.
DUMBLEDORE OUSTED FROM HOGWARTS!
Dear readers, writes Rita Skeeter, special correspondent to The Daily Prophet, In a shocking revelation, the Hogwarts board of governors have announced the expulsion of Headmaster Albus Dumbledore for, amongst other crimes, failing to see to the security of the school and the safety of the students therein. (For a list of crimes and accusations against Dumbledore, see page 3)
This historical event, one never before seen in the thousand year history of the school, was precipitated by the headmaster’s abject refusal to expel four students, named as sixth year, Slytherin prefects Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson, and sixth year students Theodore Nott and Malcolm Baddock, for the crime of attempted rape of a muggleborne first year, who, due to her age, shall not be named. It should be noted that Baddock was temporarily detained by the DMLE on suspicion of the same crime in September, but Headmaster Dumbledore demanded his release claiming there was no evidence. Apparently now, there is. (For further information on the accusations against Baddock, see page 11)
The named students have all been formally expelled, but somehow managed to avoid capture by the Aurors and having their wands snapped, as required by ministry law. (See: Did the Ministry fail, or was it something else? Page 7) It should also be noted that former Death Eater, Severus Snape is also missing from the castle. Snape was removed from his position as head of Slytherin house in November, but apparently remained in the castle at the behest of…Albus Dumbledore . (See: Severus Snape… Death Eater or spy?” Page 7)
One wonders at the plethora of coincidences…
Voldemort was not happy. But he was not unhappy either. the young Malfoy had done as he'd ordered, which made him happy, but had exposed himself in the doing and that made him unhappy. Now the question was to punish or not to punish?
Several minutes of screaming later, Voldemort had Draco removed from his sight. He felt he was generous. He'd allowed the fool to live. That should be enough for him! He took a sip or three from his little brown bottle.
Late that next afternoon, Dobby stumbled wearily into the office. Harry immediately had the elf sit.
“The new focusing crystals is being ready, Harry Potter.” He mumbled, wanting nothing more than to lay his head down.
“Don’t worry, Dobby. I’ll have them together by the time you’re awake. Go to bed now.”
Dobby nodded in exhaustion. Winky appeared and wrapped her arm around her mate and led him away.
Harry smiled at the little couple, thinking how very much Dobby and Winky were like he and Hermione.
On the morning of the twenty-fourth, Harry and Hermione reported to the healers for their prophylaxis. Hermione took Merewether aside and explained that she will not be using the potion anymore. She told him that she must become pregnant…and why. Harry affirmed her explanation and their decision, and Merrifield congratulated them on their forthcoming children.
A half hour later, Dobby appeared, refreshed from his long nap. Wordlessly Harry handed him both his usual lightsaber ad the new one.
“I added the improvements you suggested to your grip already, and upgraded your older one…and before you ask, I did mine as well.”
Dobby just grinned.
That evening, Harry visited the infirmary again. An exhausted trio of healers told him the twins would survive and retain their magic. Harry breathed a sigh of relief as he looked upon the two sleeping redheads. He’d deal with them when they left the infirmary. For the moment, though, he had a floo call to make.
In his office, he asked Dobby to bring him to the Burrow. There, he found the Weasley matriarch waiting, as if he’d been expecting his visit.
She was smiling and tears coated her face, and he understood.
Hugging her, he said: “I take it the clock told you?”
“Yes.” She replied. “When can I see them?”
“Tomorrow afternoon, I think. Just now, they’re still asleep. I’m planning on tearing them new arseholes for being stupid. I’ll have Dobby bring you then, so you can join in on the fun.”
At five PM, on the twenty fifth, Harry entered the room shared by Fred and George. Before he said a word, he turned and cast a half-dozen privacy and silencing wards. The twins knew from the barely contained fury on his face that they were in major trouble.
“You two just can’t leave off your pranks, can you?” He snarled.
“Hey listen Harry…”
“NO! You listen! I don’t fucking believe you two! Your stupidity nearly cost you your lives. It could have cost you your magic! That’s why you’ve been in the infirmary for the past six fucking days! You came this close!” He held his fingers a half inch apart. “Worse, it could have killed Sparkey and Jobber too! But you never thought of that, did you? NO! All you thought of was having fun! Doing something brilliant, and showing off!”
Why do you think I set the forge schedules up so carefully, huh? It was to keep idiots like you from killing yourselves!” He bellowed.
“You two morons were damn lucky to survive! As it was, you very nearly didn’t. The two of you used more potions in the past six days than all of you put together over the past eight months! Your mother has been calling me every single day because your clock hands were stuck at Mortal Peril!
If you ever pull another stupid stunt like that again, I’ll have you in the tanks until the end of the fucking world! DO YOU GET ME!?!” Harry roared the last at full volume! The window in the room exploded outward from the whirling storm of magic.
Both redheads nodded as rapidly as any house-elf, as their leader showed them he could be just as terrifying as Voldemort.
As he left the room, Harry turned and added: “Oh, by the way, I’ve asked Molly to come by and have a little chat with you two idiots. She’s waiting outside.”
The twins paled. Harry left the room, as an exceptionally angry Molly Weasley entered, followed by her no-less-angry husband. Two minutes later, even through the silencing charms he’d erected, Harry could hear her shrieking.
Two days later, the much-abashed Gred and Forge approached Harry to show him their new lightsabers.
Harry is surprised at the odd multicolored beam. It shifted from color to color and he didn’t understand how. They explained that they’d created the stones to do just that. Each stone could handle the full output of the exciter circuit, but they’d arranged for a switching system to sequentially shift the exciter circuit from one light pipe to another in sequence, creating the revolving effect. Fred’s sequence was clockwise while George’s was anticlockwise.
Harry sighed in frustration. “Was it worth the risk of losing your lives…or your magic?”
Both shook their heads.
“Well, at least you’ve learned something.”
Testing them proved that the weapons were as solid as any, if a bit disorienting.
That evening, for the first time in their lives, the twins wanted no part of the spotlight, as Harry called them up to the front of the room and had them demonstrate their weapons.
Dismissing them, he immediately gave the order that nobody else was to try that, and explained that the extra time and concentration the twins had needed to create their unique focusing stones, had depleted both of their magical cores to nearly lethal levels. He explained how they’d come so very close to dying, and that if they hadn’t been so lucky, they could have become squibs. He also mentioned that as it was, it took them six additional days under the healer’s constant care, to recover.
The students unanimously decided that the twins had been incredibly stupid, and none of them wanted any part of that!
I recently read some unfriendly reviews of ‘The View’ restaurant, on top of the Marriott, and it appears things have changed. Some years ago (never mind how many) I took a girlfriend to 'The View' for dinner. It cost me nearly my whole paycheck, but the staff was friendly, courteous and quick, and the view was magnificent! For those of you who have been there recently and didn’t like it, I’m sorry if things have changed. I’m writing from a fond memory.
The meal. I intentionally did not go into the menu. Pick your favorite up-scale dinner and there you have it. Don’t forget your desserts and coffees.
Wines: I’ve had the rare experience of having a professional wine steward (sommelier) show me the differences between the good wines and those that taste good. I freely admit I have an uncultured palate, but I prefer a wine I can drink without wanting to spit the stuff out.
If you listen to the words of the song, you’ll see how appropriate it is.
The ‘make-up’ price for the eighth bottle would have been four Sickles and one Knut.
Rather an insult for someone as ego-prone as Voldemort.
St.Laurent’s reaction to the first time she killed, was mine…but the liquor was good Ol’ J&B..
The scenes here in the castle and the follow-up with Helen’s parents, actually wrote themselves in Chapter 23. The attack was both well within Malfoy's canon character and the perfect way to get Dumbledore out of the castle, but I felt January was a bit too early to use them. Helen will eventually be a Jedi student, but other than that she will be a walk-on.