'Big Brother' gets a bit of a bloody nose
One Wizard Too Many
A Bad Day for the Aurors
Returning from vacation is always difficult.
It becomes even more arduous when those returning from leisure and paradise are forced to resume their prior lives surrounded by contempt and mortal danger. Fortunately Harry and Hermione were both quite used to being held in contempt and nearly killed on a regular basis.
That’s not to say they enjoyed it, however.
Luckily for them, a combination of short days, an increased scholastic workload, general public apathy, and mutual support managed to cause January and most of February to slip away quickly.
Time may have passed speedily, but passing time does not heal all; or indeed alleviate a constant source of angst.
“Harry. You have to calm down. And what did that dinner roll ever do to you, anyway?”
He realized he was smashing an inoffensive hunk of bread in his fist as he contemplated his problem. Angrily, he hurled it down the table towards Ron, who shrugged as he picked a few pieces out of his hair and ate them.
“I can’t calm down. All I want to do is hex a bloody swathe through the fools who thought up this task.”
She sighed. “Is it still the ‘sorely miss’ thing again?”
“Yes! It most certainly is, thank you very much!”
“We don’t even know what they mean to take. It might be something like your broom or some other object. Won’t you feel stupid if I’m not the hostage?”
“But Hermione, what if they do go with the hostage thing?” Harry asked, a slight tinge of exasperation to his voice.
“Well, then maybe I’m not a hostage. Maybe it’ll be someone else?”
“Who else can it be? Besides you, Remus, Sirius, and maybe Neville, everyone else magical can go happily buss my blind cheeks! What’s worse, stupid me has gone and made that fact abundantly clear to all who would listen!”
She smiled slightly, trying to jolly him up a bit. “It could be someone else. Magicals are notoriously inobservant. What if it’s, I don’t know, Ron?”
She didn’t get the expected chuckle at such an absurd idea like she was hoping for.
“No freaking way. I’ve pretty much announced that I wouldn’t spare the piss to put him out if he was on fire. It’s you. It has to be you!”
“Harry, relax! So what if they do pick me? I mean, I don’t want to be stuck at the bottom of Black Lake in the middle of February. Who would? But I can’t see Professor Dumbledore letting anyone get hurt. And mind your language, by the way.”
The pair sat at their usual places along the Gryffindor table, apart from the other students and allowing another heavy Hogwarts dinner to digest before the students were dismissed to their evening activities. Being as it was the evening before the Second Task, Harry knew his evening activities would most likely involve a lot of nervous energy and a sleepless night, maybe a little anger and ass whupping if Ron managed to piss him off. At least the ass whupping might be kind of fun.
Harry ignored her admonition to relax. “Dumbledore is a man. He’s fallible like any other. I don’t want you put into a dangerous situation.”
“Why is that? Don’t think I can take care of myself?” Hermione asked, a dangerous glint to her eyes. She was trying to be supportive, but his whinging was starting to grate on her nerves.
“No! Wait, I mean yes you can take care of yourself, I’ve seen hard evidence of that fact several times over the years. It’s just that this all seems so ridiculous! Haven’t we been in enough real danger? Why should you have to expose yourself to some fake danger due to some stupid contest? Sorry about the p-word.”
Hermione was somewhat mollified, but still pouted. “Okay, I see your point. But you face real danger in this tournament, why can’t I be with you for once?”
Harry sighed. He knew watching him battle the dragon in the first task must’ve been very difficult for her, what with her utter inability to help him. Fortunately, the RPG warhead made the task relatively quick and painless, for him at least.
Call it a primal urge, male chauvinism, or just a protective nature; Harry just really really did not want to see her be ‘kidnapped’ and placed in a position of danger at the bottom of that bloody lake!
Besides, it really would be safer for everyone if they just left her alone. Less of a chance Harry would have to kill anyone, really.
Hermione saw how torn he was over the whole thing and figured that maybe she should dial down the ‘warrior princess’ routine and soothe his fragile male ego a bit.
“It’s so cute of him to be so worried!”
She took his hand and rubbed it gently.
“Listen, I’m sure everything will be fine. Just stay calm and focus on what you have to do!”
Harry calmed a bit, but was still far from happy.
“Yeah, rescue my girlfriend from the floor of some stupid freezing lake!” He muttered.
“If you manage to cheer up a bit, I’ll make it worth your while.” She replied in a flirtatious undertone.
“Oh?” He asked, brightening. “Whatever did you have in mind?”
“Well, I’m thinking that some of your hot kisses tonight are just the thing to keep me warm tomorrow during the task.” She blushed a bit and gazed at him through lowered lashes.
“Hmm. If I really must, I suppose.” Harry pretended to mull it over, grinning the whole while.
She giggled and stood up with him, taking his hand as he began to lead her back to Gryffindor Tower.
Fifteen feet from the door, the couple was intercepted by Professor McGonagall and a smug looking Percy Weasley.
Just as Harry’s mood had rebounded at the thought of some ‘prime cuddle time’, it was trashed by fate and the stupid tournament. A pair of stunners would solve the problem nicely, but zapping a professor and a ‘valued ministry official’ without provocation might be a bit much.
McGonagall cut right to the chase. “Miss Granger, I’m going to need you to come with me.”
Harry immediately became defensive, stepping between his girlfriend and his head of house.
“Why do you need Hermione, Professor?” He asked in a low tone.
“I think you know, Mister Potter. Now please, step aside.”
“Why, so you can dump her in the lake?” He asked with some heat.
“Harry!” Hermione called from behind him, trying to calm the irate wizard by stroking his shoulder.
“It’s all part of the tournament; Miss Granger will be perfectly safe.” McGonagall replied in a soothing manner.
“Safe? What’s that like? Pretty rare around here, safety is!” Harry muttered cynically.
Just then, a sneering Percy decided to weigh in, making the situation even more tense.
“Stand aside, Potter! You’ll get all the attention you want tomorrow.”
An already stressed Harry did not take kindly to the comment.
“Why don’t you piss off ‘Weatherby’? This has nothing to do with you!”
Percy huffed. “It most certainly does! I’m here as official Ministry representative!”
“Awesome for you. Why don’t you go and wank off over a report about cauldron bottoms or something?”
“Mister Potter! Enough! Mister Weasley, please! Allow me to handle this.” McGonagall tried to take back control of the situation.
“Yeah, trust the stupid Ministry to screw up a free lunch!”
Harry had little love for the Ministry of Magic. Any chance to vent his spleen on a supercilious drone was one to be cherished.
Percy was unamused. “We’re the premier magical government in the world! How dare you criticize us like that?”
“I dare because I’m a constituent, you ass! It’s my fucking job to criticize!” Harry’s time with Hermione had granted him greater insight into some of the ‘bigger picture’ problems of the world, like the duties of the government to the governed.
Harry’s outburst earned him a light smack from Hermione for his ‘blue’ word choice, and a withering glare from McGonagall for his temerity.
Percy, however, responded with a typical ‘Weasley’ rejoinder.
“Oh, always so arrogant and entitled, aren’t you Potter? Ron was right when he said you were stuck up!”
The Weasley situation worsened when Ron, upon hearing his name, approached the group from the Gryffindor table side, behind Hermione.
“Yeah! Stuck up! Always so high and mighty, with your fancy broom and mudblood girlfriend and stuff!”
Hermione, who up until now had been desperately trying to calm Harry down, turned to address the ginger prat.
“What did you just say? And why are you a part of this conversation?”
And Ron proceeded to sign his own death warrant with a flourish.
“Shut up you mudblood hussy, the men are talking here.”
Percy ignored Ron’s comment, while Harry and McGonagall were momentarily stunned.
Hermione, however decided the best retort to that comment was a very hard right cross to the face.
Whap! Ron staggered and fell to a seated position on the floor near the Hufflepuff table, his nose pouring blood and a dazed look on his face.
“Nice!” Harry always appreciated a good overhand right. The fact it came from his lovely girlfriend just made it a bit sexy.
It was now Percy’s turn to be stunned as his mouth flapped open wordlessly.
Ron just looked up at the group from the ground.
“Hey Harry, I’ve got a chess set here, fancy a match?” He slurred, before slumping into unconsciousness against Susan Bones’ leg.
Harry was fighting a grin as McGonagall began to chastise Hermione.
“Miss Granger! While I can understand being upset…”
A red faced Percy took this opportunity to lunge at Hermione.
“You mudblood bitch! You just assaulted my brother!”
Harry reacted instantly and violently, shoving Percy away from Hermione.
Suddenly, a curse whizzed by Harry and smacked into the wall.
Someone from the Slytherin table shouted. “Potter is attacking the Ministry!”
“Oh fuck, shit just got real!” Harry felt that familiar adrenaline surge.
McGonagall shouted. “Students! Stand down!”
Her warnings did not prevent the Slytherins from firing off a couple of hexes in the general direction of the Gryffindors. A few of the lions went down from stunners or freezing curses. McGonagall shouted for her house to not escalate the situation and lower their wands. Dumbledore and Flitwick, who were halfway across the hall and approaching to lend assistance to McGonagall, stopped and began trying to calm the hex-happy snakes.
Harry was by this time crouching over Hermione near the shelter of the Gryff table. Both of them had wands out and were looking intently toward the Slytherins. It wasn’t until he heard the beginning of an incantation that Harry glanced towards Percy to see the angry red pointing his wand right at them.
Harry swiveled and threw up a hasty shield to block the blasting curse. The shield held, but threw Harry and Hermione hard into the table. The area effect of the blast also knocked McGonagall off her feet, as well as sending a few cowering firsties sprawling.
Harry’s vision began to turn red around the edges as the fighting madness began to creep up on him. He rolled to his knees and fired a few stunners at Percy. His shield deflected the curses.
A voice from the Slytherin side, sounding a lot like Malfoy called out. “Potter and the mud are trying to assassinate a government official! Let’s get them!” Curses began to rain in from the other side of the hall.
“Fackin pricks!” Seamus yelled as the Gryffindors began to return fire.
In the center portion of the Hall, the Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs, and Beauxbatons contingents tried to cower or flee as some of their number began to drop from being caught in the crossfire.
The gentlemen of Durmstrang and their headmaster merely put up some shields and watched the fun; looking the most animated they had been since their arrival in Britain.
Harry meanwhile, had repulsed another blasting curse from the irate Percy, which had managed to knock McGonagall unconscious, and decided indirect action was worth a try. A blasting curse of his own aimed at the wall behind Percy showered the former Head Boy with fragments of masonry, distracting him enough for a stunner to connect and end their little part of the fight.
Hermione was by this time crouching behind Harry and shielding him from the Slytherin barrage. When she noticed Percy had been put down, she grabbed Harry and pulled him towards the Gryffindor table.
“Let’s push the table over! Give the lower years a shot at some cover!” She shouted to him over the din.
He nodded and grabbed the corner of the table. A strong heave from him and a few of the older boys knocked the stout wooden surface on its side and created a passable oaken shield. A few lions caught on the ‘enemy’ side of the table hopped over and continued to respond to the Slytherin attacks.
From behind the barrier, Harry shot a few hexes at the snakes and thought about the situation.
“I have to get Hermione and get out of here! I still have that portkey from the ball, but I need to get us away from the castle for it to work!”
“Hermione! We have to get the hell out of here!”
She fired a curse over the barricade. “Agreed. Where and How?”
He grinned and showed her the portkey, which happened to be a postcard from Jamaica. “I have a plan!”
He pointed his wand in the general direction of Gryffindor Tower. “Accio Firebolt!”
He turned back to Hermione. “When the broom shows up, I need you to make those windows go away!”
“Right. Why wait though?” She half rolled towards the ornate stained glass windows in the clerestory of the Great Hall. A few blasting curses and a vanishing charm removed the glass and the chain tracery within. In the general chaos, no one noticed.
Dumbledore and Flitwick were, by this time, struggling to set up some area shields between the warring factions while shielding themselves from random sniping attacks. McGonagall was still out cold, and Snape was sitting with the Durmstrangers and Karkaroff, idly commenting on the prowess and technique of the combatants. The other professors, including Madame Maxime, were not present for this set to.
After about a minute and a half, the firebolt appeared speeding through the anteroom and into the Hall through the open doors.
“Finally! Time to get the fuck out of here!”
Harry’s joy was short-lived though, for as the broom neared the Gryffindor barricade, a stray blasting curse impacted the center part of the handle and blew the magical vehicle in half.
“You fucking bastards! That was a gift!” He fired off a ‘siege engine’ curse at the Slytherin table, breaking part of it into several pieces and sending a few of the snakes flying through the air.
Hermione pulled him down into cover. “We’ll get you a new one! What about plan B?”
She rolled her eyes. “Goodness! I know you can be dim, but come on! Plan B is we run for it!”
He grinned and kissed her fiercely.
“I might be dim, but you love me anyway!”
“Yup, I’ve always had a thing for guys with brute strength and low foreheads!”
He took her hand as they scuttled up to the part of the table near the doors.
He paused to fire off some suppressing fire over the lip of the table. “So you’re saying I should be wary of Crabbe and Goyle stealing you away then?”
“Stupefy!” Hermione fired off a curse at an exposed Pansy Parkinson, who dropped out of sight unconscious. “Yeah, those two are right sexy, they are! Like a slightly smellier version of that troll from first year!”
Harry grinned as he sent a bludgeoning hex at Flint, who was shooting of blasting curses like a particularly ugly machine gun. The bludgeoner sent the Quiddich Captain tumbling away in a spray of blood from his even more misshapen nose. “If I’d known you were into stank, I would have given up showering! Think of all that time I wasted!”
“Ha! And here I thought you were wanking during those half hour Malfoy-esque showers!”
“Well, if I was, I blame you for being so damn sexy!”
She blushed. “Oh Harry. Crude but sweet, I love it!”
He kissed her again quickly. Who knew combat could be such an aphrodisiac?
“We’ll have to capitalize on that later! Have any good smoke charms?”
The area between the end of the table and the doors consisted of a thirty foot gap of exposed floor in full view of the belligerent Slytherins. A diversion was needed.
George Weasley, who prior to this had been lobbing some sort of ‘magical grenade’ like things with his twin at the Slytherins, offered a solution to their problem.
“Hey guys! Try this!” He handed an object to Harry that looked a bit like a muggle rubber bat. The 'squeak and flap around' kind as opposed to the 'hit things' sort.
“What the hell is this?”
Fred chucked a rubber drumstick, similar to what people buy for their dogs as a chew toy. When the strange object landed amongst a cluster of Slyth sixth years, an oddly colored gas spewed forth that transformed a few of the snakes into chickens. The confused and transfigured students began to cluck and scurry around aimlessly.
Harry looked at George. “What? I throw this at Draco and it turns him into a mini-Snape?”
George took it back from him. “Even we’re not that cruel!” He tossed the bat into the exposed area in front of the doors. It bounced once and began to pour out a thick pink smoke.
Harry was impressed, even if the pink smoke put one in mind of the flashy entrance of a flamboyantly gay magician.
He shook his head and got his mind back on task. “George! Sorry about Percy and Ron!”
The red head smiled sadly. “No worries! Always knew they were both arses!”
Harry nodded, and then took Hermione’s hand. When the pink smoke filled the area, they both sprinted for the doors.
A few hexes whizzed overhead, but they both made it successfully into the ante room. A few of the younger years followed them out of the war zone, where they were confronted by Stone Molly the caryatid reminding them that running was not permitted in the halls.
“All right. Let’s head for the front doors.” Harry grabbed Hermione’s hand and started jogging towards the exit.
Suddenly, their path was blocked by two red robed aurors. One was tall and blond, the other short and with dark hair.
“Damn! Held up by Mutt and Jeff!” Harry didn’t really feel like taking on aurors today, or any day really.
“Hold it there Potter! We heard you started a riot here.” ‘Mutt’, the big blond said.
“It wasn’t me, I swear!”
Across the room, Stone Molly leant her support. “My Harry would never misbehave so egregiously as to start a riot!”
The aurors were unamused. “Shut it lady! Potter, you and your little tramp are coming in with us!”
Hermione huffed a little at being categorized as a tramp, but Harry really started to get mad.
“I don’t think so, officers. I do think you would be wise to let us pass, though.”
A few students ran by trying to escape the conflict raging in the Hall.
“Don’t you think you should be getting in there? People are getting hurt!” Hermione tried a little logic on the thick pair.
‘Jeff’, the smaller and marginally more intelligent one, nodded and began to drag his partner towards the sounds of battle.
Just as Harry and Hermione breathed a sigh of relief, a most unwelcome sight emerged from the pink smoke.
Hermione muttered. “Malfoy, the poncy git!”
Draco took in the scene before him, and began shouting. “Aurors! Arrest those two! They attacked a ministry official!”
Mutt and Jeff turned back to look at the retreating couple.
Harry smiled nervously, and whipped off a pair of bludgeoning curses.
He grabbed Hermione’s hand. “Run!”
Jeff flew back into the wall and slumped over, but Mutt was only slightly fazed. Unfortunately for him, he managed to stumble into Stone Molly, who grabbed him and began trying to spank him for ‘poor manners and rudeness’, as the motherly granite simulacrum put it.
Malfoy fired off a parting curse at the fleeing couple, but Hermione managed to snap off a bludgeoner on the run. Draco caught the curse in the face and was immediately knocked out.
He would have time to mull over his altered profile later, at least until the obliviator showed up to make him forget all about the ouchies.
Harry and Hermione sprinted down the corridor, quickly altering course when they spied more aurors emerging from a cross passage. A few curses erupted from the group, but only managed to chip the walls behind them.
“Harry James Potter! I can’t believe you attacked an Auror! Two aurors! What are you thinking?”
Hermione was a bit upset.
Harry growled back. “I’m thinking that if the stupid Ministry can’t manage a simple kidnapping, I sure as hell don’t think they can manage keeping you safe in the lake!”
“Okay, point. But how the devil do we get out of this?”
They skidded around a turn and pounded up a set of stairs.
“I get you out of here!”
“I don’t know!”
An auror popped out of an alcove and sent a stunner whizzing their way. Hermione threw up a shield to deflect and Harry snapped off a bludgeoner at the man’s legs. The auror took the hit badly and fell against the wall.
“This is getting nuts!” Hermione could hold her own, but running battles through the halls of Hogwarts were a bit much.
“Agreed. Look out!” Two more aurors came boiling out of an office less than twenty feet ahead of them. Harry engaged the one on the right, shielding a stunner and catching the man with a petrificus totalis after a blocked jelly legs jinx. Hermione handled the left hand auror by ducking his stunner and connecting with a human to marble transfiguration.
“Nice! Let’s head left, towards the quiddich locker rooms!” Harry pulled Hermione’s hand to guide her down a side corridor.
Behind them, they could hear other ministry troops baying in pursuit. “Potter and the mudblood went this way!”
Hermione jerked Harry’s hand right. “This way! Down these steps and across the atrium! It’s a side door leading towards the greenhouses!”
They jumped down a few steps and pounded towards the door at the far side of the atrium. Escape was in sight.
Naturally, right then is when everything went to shit.
The blasting curse impacted the floor beneath Hermione’s feet, sending the girl flying through the air to impact the wall with a heavy thud.
“Hermione!” Harry was sent sprawling, but scrambled to his feet. He sent a blasting curse back at the auror who injured his girlfriend. The familiar looking official shielded the spell.
“Give it up, Potter!”
“Dawlish?!? I’m going to fucking kill you.”
Dawlish tried to stun him, but he shielded the red curse.
“Fragmentum!” The bone breaker curse caught the auror in the lower leg. The man shouted in pain, but Harry’s follow up piercing curse to the gut really got him howling.
“Shut up!” A stunner stopped the man’s wailing.
He hurried over to a fallen Hermione. She was unconscious, but breathing well. He wiped a little blood from her cheek and felt the madness begin to overtake him. His vision gained a completely red cast and he could hear his own heart beat in his ears.
“Oh goody, it’s murder time.” He muttered to no one in particular.
He heard the auror contingent reach the top of the stairs near the atrium. Harry stood and leveled his wand. When the first pair of aurors appeared, he sent off a ‘siege engine’ curse, splintering the masonry steps and lacerating the men. The screams continued as he loosed a few blasting curses and piercing hexes. One red robed policeman tumbled to the atrium floor and began to rise. A cutting curse to the chest and a bludgeoner stopped his efforts and put him ‘hors de combat’.
Harry pulled Hermione into cover and knelt next to her. A few stunners came hissing down the passage, as well as a few more serious curses.
An auror emerged from the stairwell holding a metal shield. Harry’s piercing curses dented the artifact, but a severing curse directed at the man’s exposed lower extremities literally ‘cut him off at the knees’. The screaming man was silenced by the ever useful stunner.
Harry stood up and approached the beleaguered aurors. As he ascended the first step a distant thought tucked away in the back of his mind realized he was starting to enter ‘berserker mode’, and might start to become careless of his safety. The rest of his enraged mind merely wanted to create a waist high pile of bleeding bodies.
“Fuck the Police!”
A blasting curse sprayed stone chips into the crowd of aurors.
“One Eight Seven on a motherfucking cop!”
A severing curse cut someone off at the elbow.
“Harry! Wait!” A feminine voice sounded from his left.
“What?” He turned to see two aurors emerge from a doorway in the atrium.
He raised his wand and moved back into the atrium, but stopped when the woman and her largish partner had their hands up. The woman’s hair was cycling through a number of bright colors. Both she and her big, dark skinned partner appeared more than a bit concerned, but collected.
“Ah, you must be Remus’ friend Tonks, right?”
“Yes Harry, and this is my partner Kingsley.” The large man nodded.
Harry shrugged. “Great to meet you guys, but right now I’m busy performing a little ‘social Darwinism’ on some of your colleagues. They hurt my Hermione, you know.”
Tonks gave him a sad smile. “We know, and that was wrong. We want to get her some help, but first you need to stop injuring the policemen.”
“Why? They started it.”
“And they’ll be punished for that. But right now, you should put that wand away.”
Harry could feel the madness start to ebb from the soothing sound of Tonks’ words. He slowly began to kneel to put his wand on the ground.
Just then, a cutting curse ripped from the stairwell to his right. It caught him in the chest and burned like hell.
Tonks shouted. “McLeod! What the fuck do you think you’re doing?!?”
“Fuck!” Harry groaned in pain, before swiveling to the right and catching this McLeod in the throat with a piercing hex. The treacherous auror grabbed his neck and gurgled in agony.
“Harry! No! Stop!” Tonks was frantic as she watched her détente fall apart spectacularly.
Kingsley threw up a shield and grabbed her arm to pull her into cover.
Harry grabbed his chest and felt the warm wetness. Looking down, he saw the blood pouring off him at a steady rate. Consciousness was already starting to slip away from him.
More aurors appeared at the foot of the battle torn stairs. He shielded a few curses and wounded a few more people.
“Come get some, ya fucks.” He slurred. Why was he suddenly so tired?
Just as he was tottering on his feet, he noticed a strange shimmering to his far right.
He spun to engage this new target with his fading strength and caught a stunner to his chest.
Falling backwards, he struggled against the oncoming darkness. A quick apology to Hermione flashed through his mind for getting her mixed up in this mess.
Before falling into the void, he noticed the unforgettable sight of ‘Mad Eye’ Moody leaning over him.
“G’night Potter. Well done lad.”
A/N: Sorry if this chapter seems a bit dark. Hopefully it satisfies all you violence junkies out there. If the idea of one kid holding off scores of aurors seems a little farfetched, just remember that he had them at a tactical disadvantage penned in a stairwell. He also had a ‘force’ advantage, in that berserker Potter was not confined to non-lethal spells, whereas aurors seem to be limited in their spell choices (something other fan-fics tend to capitalize on regarding auror-death eater matchups). And finally, yes, it’s plenty farfetched. But then again, we’re talking wizards and magic here! Thanks for the reviews!