Harry fights back!
SPECIAL DISCLAIMER: The meeting at Snape's house between Narcissa Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange and himself is based on the meeting that took place between them in Book 6. However, read it and you'll see how things go much differently in this fic... Oh yeah, and that "Sectumsempra" spell makes an appearance, although not like in the book...
FURTHERMORE, the following magic spells are of my own creation and therefore belong to me: The Nose-Enlarging Curse (/"Nasusaugeo"/); the Barrier Dome, (/"Saeptumtholus"/); the Bubble Shield ("/Solidabulla/"); the Lightning Wave (/"Fulmenvexatio"/); and the Filth-Conjuring Curse (/"Illuvies"/).
CHAPTER 10: THE HIDDEN POWER OF HARRY POTTER
Standing there on the threshold with a smug look on her face was Dolores Jane Umbridge, one of Harry's most hated people in the world. But she wasn't alone. Standing there like bodyguards were most of her Inquisitorial Squad: Draco Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle, Theodore Nott, Pansy Parkinson, Millicent Bulstrode, and Warrington. Harry knew they would look for any excuse to fight him, since he wasn't popular among the Slytherins and at least half of them had fathers who were imprisoned Death Eaters.
"What are you doing here?" Harry asked, taking a neutral stance. However, he made sure he was ready to defend himself if he had to.
"I just had to come by and put you in your place," Umbridge sneered, making her face look even uglier than before.
"You really ought to be careful, Umbridge," Harry retorted, "especially with all the enemies you keep making. One of these days, someone is going to have enough with you and do something to you."
Umbridge's eyes bulged out of her head. "THAT'S A THREAT!" she shrieked, madly pointing at him for all to see. "That's a threat, Potter! I'll have you reported to the Ministry of Magic for harassing and threatening me!"
For just a split second, Harry was worried. Could the Ministry of Magic possibly have the right to punish him for something as insignificant as that?
But then he remembered that vow which he made to himself not so long ago, in his room at Number Four, Privet Drive. How he vowed not to let others walk all over him... just as Umbridge was doing right now.
That's it, Harry thought. No more.
"That was not a threat," Harry said without raising his voice, but with such an edge to it that it managed to silence Umbridge.
"I wasn't threatening you, Umbridge," he reiterated. "I was just pointing out how you've made plenty of enemies and other people who'd love to see you go down in flames after everything you've pulled.
"You also have quite some nerve, Umbridge," he continued. "You come after me without getting all your facts straight, you go out of your way to make me miserable, you say all these nasty things about me behind my back... and now you can't stand it when I rightfully criticize your actions?" He took a moment to scoff in her face. "You're quite a hypocrite... big nerves, thin skin. Not a good combination..."
"ENOUGH!" Umbridge shouted, her face now beginning to redden from the anger swelling inside of her.
"Ah, Dolores Umbridge," came George's voice from the side.
"Who would have thought you would be willing to come to our humble abode?" Fred added.
Both twins walked out in the open, looking distinctly unhappy. In fact, they looked just the slightest bit angry, which was never a good sign.
"I seem to recall our products such as our Portable Swamp and Wildfire Whiz-bangs giving you a hard time last year," Fred commented, raising one eyebrow.
"We're rather surprised you'd want to come back here at all," George added. "Perhaps you have an exceptionally high tolerance level?"
"And although we're still a bit miffed at you over last year... we still feel inclined to thank you in a way."
"Yes, because if it wasn't for you, we may not have had as much of a good incentive to try out our inventions, especially on someone who really deserved them."
"Rubbish," she lied, not wanting to give them the benefit of knowing that they had managed to make her tenure as the so-called "Headmistress" truly miserable. "I could see right through your childish antics!"
"Lady, Professor Trelawny has more foresight than you do, and that's saying something!" Ron called out. There was a smattering of laughter, but Hermione in particular was laughing hard at Ron's clever taunt.
"Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!" Umbridge screamed like a little girl having a hissy-fit. "How dare you, I'm the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister -"
"Not for much longer, you're not," Harry retorted. "Also, I don't think the Minister is very pleased with your performance lately, judging by how he acted earlier..."
"No, no, NO!" Umbridge screamed. "You're lying, Potter! You've been lying ever since the end of the Triwizard Tournament, after that stupid Diggory boy got himself killed -"
"NASUSAUGEO!" shouted a very angry voice; Cho had apparently cursed Umbridge in a fit of rage.
Umbridge's nose now began to grow in a very Pinocchio-esque fashion. She screamed and clutched her face as it grew longer and longer while everyone else (minus her Slytherin goons, of course) laughed. Harry privately applauded Cho for her interesting way of dealing with Umbridge.
After realizing how potentially dangerous Umbridge's constantly-growing nose would be to everyone else, Cho reversed the process, albeit somewhat reluctantly. Harry and Cho briefly looked at each other and saw brief amusement in each other's eyes.
Umbridge, however, looked ready to kill. She then had that horrible wide grin of hers as she slowly raised her wand. "When will you people realize? /You must not support Harry Potter./"
A light suddenly blossomed at the end of Umbridge's wand, and with reflexes so quick for her no one saw it coming, it then shot out at the general crowd before anyone could respond. Being as good at magical defense he was, Harry dived in the way while simultaneously casting a Shield Charm. As it bounced back, Harry could somehow feel how Dark her magic was, which somehow confused him, since the Shield Charm was primarily designed for minor, legal, less powerful curses. Amazingly, though, the shield held nonetheless, and dissipated after the curse bounced back at its corrupt caster.
The earsplitting shriek that ensued a minute later told Harry that it somehow worked; Umbridge now had big, ugly boils popping up all over her body.
Umbridge quickly muttered a spell to heal herself, and the big, brown boils all disappeared. "Well, Potter," she exclaimed, "Maybe I can teach that lesson to one of your other admirers."
Before Harry could respond, there was a loud BANG!, and ropes shot out of her wand, towards Cho. The girl screamed as the thin cords wrapped themselves around her. A wave of Umbridge's wand levitated Cho towards her. Warrington slung Cho over his shoulder and gagged her with a cloth. The Squad and their leader then raced out the door. But as they were out the door, Malfoy threw at the ground some of what looked like that Instant Darkness Powder which Fred and George had mentioned earlier.
For the briefest of moments, Harry was unsure of what to do. But even before he had made up his mind, he was already running after them. He heard his friends call out to him, but he hardly paid them any heed as he ran through the darkness, into the late afternoon light which shone in the alley.
Other people in the street scattered as the Boy Who Lived pursued the Senior Undersecretary and her cronies with a look of utmost fury on his face. The Squad and their leader had stopped in a circular plaza which was currently under construction; it was about thirty meters in diameter, with a couple of benches and a fountain in the center. Harry chased them with his wand out, and if he had turned around at any point, he would have seen Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville and Luna doing the same.
Umbridge smiled with that sickeningly-sweet smile which only she could accomplish. "Right into my trap." And then she shouted and unfamiliar incantation, apparently activating something. "SAEPTUMTHOLUS!"
A huge blue electrical barrier ran the circumference of the plaza, and then formed to become a dome. Lupin, Mrs. Weasley and the other adults were trying to break through it, but not none of them could do so. "Try all you'd like!" she gloated to them through the shimmering barrier. "It won't work unless I release the spell or if something happens to me!"
Meanwhile, Harry Summoned Cho away from Warrington as Hermione muttered, "/Finite Incantatem/." The ropes that bound Cho disappeared. "Are you alright?" Harry asked her.
"Yes, I'm fine," Cho responded, smoothly drawing her wand while getting up.
"So, you think you know more than me, Pothead?" Umbridge hollered at Harry. Her goons chuckled.
"More than you, since I had to teach defense to my fellow students because you refused to do so, Dumbridge," Harry shot back. His friends and the gathering spectators laughed.
Umbridge looked truly murderous now. "Get him," she growled to her minions.
Like two opposing waves, her Squad clashed with Harry's group. He and Malfoy automatically sought each other out and fought like tigers. Malfoy sent several Stunners at Harry, who swiftly dodged them. Malfoy went to one side to get a better shot when Harry, all in the space of about seven seconds, hit him with a Trip Jinx and blew a crater in the ground, which Malfoy then fell into with a groan.
"I owed you that," Harry muttered as he ran to help out his friends.
The battle ranged on for a dozen minutes or so. Spells flew as the crowd watched in amazement. Umbridge, on the other hand, watched from the side with growing unease as her cronies fell, one after another. Ron and Ginny produced a Bat Bogey Hex so dense that Crabbe and Goyle were punching each other in confusion. Hermione succeeded in giving Pansy the face of a pug, and watched with a distinct pleasure as the latter barked but was unable to articulate a single spell. Neville successfully Stunned Nott, and was helping Luna do the same to Bulstrode. However, after a few minutes of fighting, Warrington then slammed into Harry, and was about to bring down a building stone on his head, when Cho Stunned the Slytherin thug.
"Thanks," he said weakly as his attacker fell to the ground.
Cho was about to respond when Umbridge screamed, "EXPELLIARMUS!"
Harry was lifted off his feet and sent backwards into the barrier. He felt the painful electric charges surge throughout his body. He fell to his knees, doubled up with pain and breathing raggedly.
"Give up yet, Potter?" Umbridge simpered tauntingly.
Sudden rage shot throughout Harry, replacing the pain. As he got up, he saw the Squad quickly form a counterattack against his friends. He also saw Malfoy trying to strangle Cho.
At this sight, Harry's mind seemed to slip away. All heads turned towards him as he got up. Warrington leered and shouted, "Not had enough yet, Potter?" and then he leapt at Harry.
Harry responded as though he had expected this. "EXPELLIARMUS!" The sloth-faced brute yelled as he went flying through the air as though he had been shot from a catapult. He then turned his attention towards the others.
However, while Harry was going after his enemies, Umbridge was going after his friends. With a wave of her wand and an incantation which none of them had ever heard before, she managed to weaken them with a kind of pink mist which made them tired and fatigued. However, Cho managed to avoid this herself with a Full Bubble Shield (/"Solidabulla!"/); this was similar to a Bubble Head Charm, except it encompassed a person's entire body, and was specifically designed to keep out any dangerous or unwelcome gases.
And so while Cho went after Umbridge, Harry went after the rest of them.
Predictably, Crabbe and Goyle lunged at him. "WINGUARDIAM LEVIOSA!" The stone which Warrington tried to use earlier smacked Crabbe in the face. Goyle was a foot away from strangling Harry when he used the Impediment Curse; a moment later, Goyle was completely frozen and unable to move.
Harry moved like the wind, using his Quidditch-raised reflexes, avoiding spells and fists alike, all that time with that determined look on his face. He systematically blocked his enemies' attacks before he went at them. Although they were currently incapacitated, his friends gaped at his fighting skills (except for Cho, who used this opportunity to go after Umbridge herself).
After dodging Nott's attack, Harry sent a strong Stinging Hex at him, which hit the weedy Slytherin in the arm. There was a hissing sound, like acid eating through fabric, and Nott howled in pain, cradling his arm.
Bulstrode then charged at Harry next. He got her with a Conjunctivitus Curse. She shrieked in pain while clutching at her eyes, and tripped over an unconscious Crabbe.
Pansy screamed, "Take this, Potter! /STUPEFY!/"
"/PROTEGO!/" Harry blocked the Stunner. "No thank you, but why don't you? /STUPEFY!/" Pansy was actually lifted off her feet and landed about a meter away, completely knocked out.
This left only him and Malfoy. Before his adversary could even do anything, Harry roared "/SERPENSORTIA!/" An enormous snake the size of an anaconda shot out of his wand. He commanded it in Parseltongue, "Get him! Don't let him get away!" The snake obeyed, made to wrap itself around a shocked Malfoy, who honestly wasn't expecting Harry to summon such a big snake.
However, as it was wrapping itself around Malfoy, the blond Slytherin managed to think quickly and do something with his free hand and his wand. "Sectumsempra!" he shouted, and the snake suddenly released its grip on him and fell to the ground, writhing in pain. Looking more closely, Harry could see that the snake's belly had been sliced straight down the middle, and was now beginning to bleed.
As the snake gave one final scream of agony and disappeared, Harry and Malfoy continued their battle.
However, when both of them shouted "Expelliarmus!" at each other at the same exact moment, both of their wands went flying and landed some distance away. Undaunted by this, both of them settled for a fistfight instead.
Both of them threw punches, although after that, it turned a bit more brutal. After Harry managed to trip Malfoy, the Slytherin quickly snatched up a nearby rock about the size of a Muggle softball, got back up and struck Harry in the temple with it.
As Harry yelled and clutched his head where he got hit, Malfoy made to run into Harry and push him back into the magical barrier; however, the Gryffindor, in spite of the now-throbbing pain in his head, grabbed Malfoy by the arms and used his own momentum to swing him into barrier instead.
A moment after that, when Malfoy staggered back and stood there, stunned, Harry sucker-punched him in the nose, which jolted Malfoy back to full consciousness as he felt the pain as well as his nose beginning to bleed.
Harry then tackled Malfoy to the ground, and both of them rolled off to the side, where Malfoy was able to kick Harry off of him and reclaim his wand. Now Harry was crouching, and stood perfectly still as he noticed Malfoy's wand pointing at his neck, with its owner looking victorious, although he also had a sort of fiery gleam in his otherwise cold gray eyes.
"You know, Potter," he said softly yet firmly, "I was always better."
Harry didn't care at the moment who was "better," but was more concerned about just defeating Malfoy. However, Harry then noticed his wand lying there, in a small pile of dust created by a few of the building stones which had been crushed during the battle.
Thinking and moving fast, Harry used his foot to kick up the small pile of dust into Malfoy's face. As the Slytherin automatically moved to cover his face from the dust, Harry knocked the wand out of his nemesis' hand with his own left hand, and clutched his own wand with his right hand. Finishing it now, Harry pointed his wand at Malfoy's chest and yelled, "EXPELLIARMUS!"
At such close range, the spell appeared to have a more powerful effect. Malfoy was lifted off his feet and flew back in a low arch to where the fountain was. He collided against the fountain's centerpiece and was completely knocked out; the moment after that, he landed face-down in the water.
Breathing a huge sigh of relief, Harry then went about reviving his friends and tending to them. However, he still noticed how Cho and Umbridge were fighting, both magically and verbally.
Cho and Umbridge were still dueling, going back and forth with an impressive array of spells. At one point, Cho sent a flock of quick little birds at Umbridge to try and peck and annoy her (/"Avis!"/), but Umbridge just electrocuted them all with a Lightning Wave Curse (/"Fulmenvexatio!"/), and so they fell to the ground and twitched for a moment before disappearing. Umbridge then retaliated by conjuring filth to try and slow down and distract Cho (/"Illuvies!"/), but she easily Vanished it all before it could become a problem (/"Evanesco!"/).
"How fitting for a mud-slinging politician, you awful liar!" Cho yelled at Umbridge. "Even if you told me that the sky was blue, I'd still have to look up and check!"
"And you have an awful problem with believing liars, girl!" Umbridge snapped. "Believing that awful liar Potter!"
"ARE YOU COMPLETELY INSANE?" Cho screamed. "Or are you just unwilling to accept reality?"
"Oh, I remember what happened quite well, thank you very much! But, if you want, I can make you forget it! OBLIV -"
But in the couple of seconds between the emphasis on the word "forget" and the beginning of the Memory Charm, Harry felt a sudden warm wind surround him, and a fiery righteous fury swelled inside of him. He knew what Umbridge was going to do. With a sudden red-gold glow in his eyes, he dropped his wand, raised his hand, and roared "NO!"
A gigantic fireball which vaguely resembled a lion's head, or at least in Harry's opinion, shot from his hand towards Umbridge. She screamed as it engulfed her and as Cho jumped to the side. Before he fainted from the combined shock and exhaustion, the last thing he saw was the barrier fading, the muttering of the crowd, and Cho rushing forward to help him.
Two robed figures made their way through a deserted street in a dingy Muggle village.
"Are you sure he lives here, Cissy?" one of the robed figures asked her companion. "In this Muggle dunghill?"
"Yes, I'm /sure/, Bella," the other robed figure snapped back at her. "And yes, I'm aware of what this place is."
"We must be the first of our kind to ever set foot here..." Bellatrix Lestrange started to rant.
"I'm positive that he only hides here in this village," Narcissa Malfoy clarified with an impatient tone growing in her voice. "I am sure that he lives in much nicer settings than this place..."
"Even whatever building he hides in, as you say, must be a nicer place to live in than Azkaban," Bellatrix muttered.
"It is often wise to try and hide in a place where you would least be expected to be," Narcissa pointed out.
Soon enough, they came to the last house, which looked like the most miserable of them all. Even though its windows were not broken or boarded, it still had a very dreary quality to it even with the dim light which glimmered from a downstairs room.
Narcissa discretely knocked on the door, with Bellatrix furtively looked around at the same time. A few moments later, the house's sole occupant opened the door just a crack to see who it was.
"Narcissa! Bellatrix! Please, come in."
And so Severus Snape let the two sisters in his "home."
Practically no one had ever given much thought to that mean, cruel Professor Snape having a "home" outside of Hogwarts, where he kept to himself in his beloved dungeons. If they did, however... they would be very surprised, to say the least. The living room alone looked pathetic, with all of its old, worn and rickety furniture. However, it did not look as though any of these things had been used much, which acted as a clue to the two current visitors that Snape may not have actually lived here at all.
After pouring some wine for the three of them and toasting to the Dark Lord, Snape got down to business and asked them why they were here. "Are you here on orders from the Dark Lord?" he asked them.
Bellatrix gave a strange sort of dark chuckle which puzzled Snape. "The Dark Lord does not even know we are here," she said by way of explanation. "But Narcissa just felt that she had to come and do this..."
"There's nothing I wouldn't do these days!" Narcissa said suddenly, starting to act hyper.
"Of course, I also warned her about who it was she wanted to visit..." Here, Bellatrix looked pointedly at Snape.
"Oh?" Snape responded with polite interest, subtly raising an eyebrow. "What about me?"
"The fact that I don't trust you, Snape, as you very well know!" Here, Bellatrix's eyes began to gleam with a kind of dark light, if that was at all possible.
However, Snape didn't look the slightest bit bothered by her proclaimed lack of trust in him. "May I ask why you feel that way?" Snape asked as he reclined back in his worn leather chair, as though he was politely curious.
Bellatrix rattled off a whole list of reasons against him, a kind of litany, like some twisted parody of an elected official reading off a list of charges in a judicial court.
Snape soon found himself in a sort of interrogation conducted by Bellatrix, with Narcissa as an unofficial witness, in which he explained why he had done this or he had not done that...
Where was Snape when the Dark Lord fell? At Hogwarts, where he was supposed to be.
Why did he never make any attempt to find him when he vanished? Because, like everyone else, Snape mistakenly believed him to be completely gone.
What had he been doing all those years when he'd lived in Dumbledore's pocket? Collecting and accruing useful information.
Why did he stop the Dark Lord from procuring the Philosopher's Stone? Because all he saw was a greedy and unworthy Quirrell attempting to steal the Stone for himself, but had Snape known about where Quirrell's loyalties truly lay, he would not have tried to thwart him.
Why did he not return at once when the Dark Lord was reborn? Because if he had left Hogwarts immediately to return to the Dark Lord, especially when he was not supposed to, that would have led to very unpleasant questions asked to him by Dumbledore.
Where was he a few weeks previously when the rest of the Death Eaters battled to retrieve the prophecy for the Dark Lord? Again, at Hogwarts, but this time, because the Dark Lord himself had ordered him to stay behind, because if he had joined the Death Eaters in the fight against Potter's friends and the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore would have definitely noticed, and that would have been the end of it.
And finally, the last question... Why, Snape, was Harry Potter still alive, when he had had him at his mercy for five years? Because trying to murder the Potter boy right under Dumbledore's nose would have not only been suicide, but also quite possibly unsuccessful. But as Snape also added, sparing the boy's life for the first four years proved to be a wise decision, especially seeing as the Dark Lord eventually needed him for the rebirth (although Snape confessed to not having foreseen the Dark Lord's plans for the boy); as for the boy's fifth year, Snape spared him still, because he knew how the Dark Lord wanted to finish off Harry Potter himself.
"I certainly hope I have sufficiently answered all your questions, Bellatrix," Snape said pleasantly once she was done. He allowed himself to smile a little as he leaned back in his chair, calmly clasping his hands.
However, Snape's new, pleasant demeanor only seemed to help annoy Bellatrix further. "Curse it, Snape..."
"Bellatrix," he said with a subtle edge in his voice. "The Dark Lord trusts me, completely. In which case, shouldn't that be enough proof for someone as -" Snape was originally going to say "fanatical" but caught himself just in time "- devoted to the Dark Lord as yourself, Bellatrix?"
Bellatrix looked like she was going to say something, but ended up saying nothing at all.
"So," Snape said, sitting upright again, "back to why you are both here..."
And soon enough, the story came out: How the Dark Lord wanted young Draco Malfoy to carry out an important task, crucial to their plan. Narcissa began to sob about how it was vengeance for Lucius' mistakes, while Bellatrix scoffed at her sister, saying that if she had any children, she would be proud to sacrifice them to the cause of the Dark Lord, which only made things worse for Narcissa.
"Ladies, please," Snape said, although a little forcefully. "Control yourselves."
Bellatrix reluctantly calmed herself down while Narcissa composed herself.
"What I mean, Severus," Narcissa said, "is... well, I was wondering... since you're so trusted by the Dark Lord, could you possibly -"
"No, I am sorry, Narcissa, I cannot," Snape said, allowing himself to look a little apologetic. "You know the Dark Lord cannot be persuaded in regards to matters like this... and I am not foolish enough to attempt persuading him."
Narcissa began to cry in earnest. Bellatrix was going to repeat how proud her sister should have been, but one look from Snape warned her not to say anything.
"Severus," she sniffed. "I don't suppose... you could protect my son?"
Snape raised an eyebrow. "I have always looked out for your son... you know that, Narcissa. In fact - and please don't take this the wrong way - but it has been my protection and intervention which has prevented him from getting into countless fights with Potter and his friends."
"Unfortunately, I do have to admit that Draco could use some more foresight," Narcissa admitted quietly. Over the years, she had come to consider Severus as her son's unofficial godfather.
"It's not just because of that," Severus added. "We all know that Dumbledore is a powerful wizard - but when I say that, I do not mean that he is invincible or unstoppable. We all know that he is old and still getting older... and weaker. But then again, another powerful wizard might come along to replace him. I believe that that wizard could be - as much as I hate to even suggest it - Harry Potter."
Both women looked just the slightest bit miffed. "That brat!?" Bellatrix scoffed. "The one who does so poorly in your Potions classes, second only to that Longbottom boy!?"
Snape nodded. "I know, I know... But then again, Potter does have this peculiar knack for getting out of trouble, not to mention escaping the Dark Lord many times. The prophecy also states that he is the 'one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord,' which is why we must be even more cautious. He has some sort of hidden power, which no one, not even Dumbledore himself, can begin to understand or comprehend. If he could defeat the Dark Lord, Merlin forbid, then what would stop him from coming after all of us when he's done and using that same power on us?"
"Surely the Potter boy can't be that powerful," Bellatrix reiterated.
"Oh, so it was your own weakness which allowed him and his five friends to get the better of you in the Department of Mysteries before the Order of the Phoenix showed up?" Snape sneered.
"I didn't say that," Bellatrix said quickly, caught off guard.
"Back to what I was saying," Snape went on. "Obviously, Dumbledore favors Potter above all others. I am so sure that he has been training the brat privately whenever no one's looking, that I would bet half of everything I own against a bent Knut on it.
"Having said all that, we come back to my original point... how I've been protecting young Draco all this time, especially from powerful wizards like Dumbledore and Potter."
Narcissa was silent, looking down at the ground. "Actually... I want to make sure you'll be able to help Draco, especially with his mission." Taking a deep breath, she then said, "I want you to take the Unbreakable Vow."
Bellatrix suddenly burst out laughing. "Oh, this should be interesting!" she cackled. "I bet that slippery Severus over here might find some way to get out of doing it!"
"Will you do it, Severus?" Narcissa asked him as she looked him straight in the eye, pleadingly. "Will you take the Unbreakable Vow, Severus?"
Snape looked thoughtful for a moment, and then opened his mouth to answer her -
But suddenly, all three of them felt the Dark Mark burn on their lower forearms. "The Dark Lord is summoning us," Bellatrix muttered, stating the obvious.
The next moment, however, the fireplace burst to life. "Quickly!" Snape hissed to them. "Get out of the line of sight!"
The two sisters did just that, and a few moments later, a person's head came into view.
"Severus?" came the voice of Albus Dumbledore himself.
"Headmaster!" Snape breathed. "I'm afraid now is not a good time... I've just been summoned by the Dark Lord."
Both/ of my "bosses" calling me at the exact same time,/ Severus thought exasperatedly. What are the odds of /that happening?/
"Sorry, my boy," Dumbledore said, now starting to look and sound a little urgent. "But something has just come up. Umbridge decided to pick a fight with Mr. Potter in the middle of Diagon Alley, at the Weasley twins' joke shop. She set up a trap for him, but Mr. Potter and his friends beat her and her 'Inquisitorial Squad' in front of dozens of witnesses, at the very least."
Snape looked a little surprised. "What do you mean, her Inquisitorial Squad?" Off on the side, Narcissa trembled a little.
"Young Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, Nott, Parkinson, Bulstrode, and Warrington took it upon themselves to 'help' her, as it were," Dumbledore said grimly. Narcissa stifled a cry.
Curse it! Snape thought vehemently. My Slytherins are supposed to be clever and cunning, able to keep themselves out of trouble, not get themselves into it!
"Is there anything else I should know, Headmaster?" Snape asked Dumbledore as calmly as he could, trying to keep his emotions in check.
"Yes. It would seem that young Mr. Potter might have some special... talents we would have never guessed of before."
Snape's eyes nearly bulged out of his head, in spite of himself. "'/Talents/?' As in /powers/?" In their hiding spot, Bellatrix and Narcissa looked at each other, stupefied and recalling Snape's words from mere minutes before.
"It's too early to tell," Dumbledore said. "But I'm looking into it, even as we speak. Good-bye for now, and good luck."
"Thank you, Headmaster." And with that, Dumbledore's head disappeared, and Snape's fireplace went back to normal.
Snape turned back to the two women, still reeling from everything which had just happened.
"See?" he said, allowing himself a tiny smirk. "I told you that working for Dumbledore has its uses."
"My son, my son," wailed Narcissa.
"I'm sure he'll be fine, Cissy," Bellatrix told her.
"Well, what are we waiting for?" Snape snapped. "The Dark Lord has summoned us, remember? Let's go to him before he becomes really irritated by our tardiness!"
As they all went outside to Apparate to the Dark Lord (the house had anti-Apparition wards on it), Snape thought to himself about their conversation.
Personally, Snape himself refused to believe that Harry Potter just might be all that powerful or all that special. The only way that idiot boy could have survived was by that insane Gryffindor luck which he had inherited from his no-good father.
But he would have to deal with that boy for as long as he had to, and soon enough, that would be the end of it.
Preparing his mental shields with Occlumency, Snape went with Narcissa and Bellatrix, and Disapparated from Spinner's End.
Albus Dumbledore had lived for many years and had been to many places throughout the world. He had seen many amazing things and had done quite a few amazing things himself.
However, this was quite unlike anything which he had encountered before.
Harry's friends, as well as various witnesses outside the circular barrier, claimed that after Harry became seriously hurt, he suddenly became more powerful and started to overpower his spells.
You never cease to amaze me, Mr. Potter, he thought privately. If Dumbledore didn't know any better, he might think that Harry had the potential to become as powerful as himself.
Dumbledore had kept careful note of how Harry had managed to survive all the harmful and deadly things which he had encountered during his time at Hogwarts. In his second year, that one basilisk fang went deep into his arm, and the wound and poison should have been enough to kill Harry within mere seconds, but Harry managed to hang in there just long enough for Fawkes to heal him with phoenix tears. During his third year, he managed to survive the terrible effects of the dementors all at once during that Quidditch match in the storm without going insane or becoming seriously mentally scarred. A few months later, he was able to produce a corporeal Patronus, something which even many adult wizards could not manage.
And, of course, his ability to defeat and survive Voldemort time and time again is equally impressive, he mentally added.
As he paced around his office, he noticed the sword glowing again.
First Harry's hidden power began to surface, and now the sword of Godric Gryffindor began to act up again...
Of course, Dumbledore was not blind to the possibility that Harry may indeed be this "Heir of Gryffindor" which the Sorting Hat spoke of. Still, when Dumbledore told him years ago that "only a true Gryffindor could have pulled that out of the hat," he meant it in the sense that only a true student of Gryffindor House could achieve such a thing. He certainly didn't mean a relative or descendant of Godric Gryffindor himself.
Nevertheless, Dumbledore vowed that he would fully look into it.
However, there was one other concern which mattered to Dumbledore. Should he tell Harry about this?
The wise old Headmaster was certainly not keen on repeating last year's mistake of not telling Harry important secrets or other information... but on the other hand, he certainly did not want to create entirely new mistakes, either.
However - and here was the irony of it all - Dumbledore did not really know anything at the moment about this entire situation. He could not simply go running off and telling Harry how, because of some wild hunch, he just might be this "Heir of Gryffindor" because of a coincidence between Harry's emerging unknown powers and the sword's strange new behavior.
No, all he could do for now was do research and look into it.
A point which I have been trying to make all these years, Dumbledore privately mused. How no one really stops learning new things, no matter /how old they are./
(End of Chapter 10.)
A/N: This chapter and its notable battle scene have undergone a few edits (not to mention the two new scenes added in), but otherwise, I think it still retains its essence. (Thanks to realfanficts for beta-reading this.)
The thing with some jerk saying nasty things to you (either verbally or through messages), you politely telling that jerk to stop with the nastiness, and then that jerk threatening to report you to someone for "harassment" just because you responded at all? It does happen sometimes, folks. I've had to put up with occasionally myself from an idiot here or there. Often, the people who pull that kind of stunt are hypocrites who have the nerve to dish it out at others but don't have the stomach to handle it themselves, or so I've noticed.
Regarding the curse which Cho used on Umbridge... the "Nasusaugeo" spell? Well, remember that "Densaugeo" spell which Malfoy used on Hermione in Book 4, which made her teeth grow? This spell did the same thing to Umbridge's nose. (Cue the "Pinocchio" jokes...)
When Harry mutters about owing Malfoy one, he's referring to the Trip Jinx which Malfoy used on him in Book 5. I also extended the fight between Harry and Malfoy, and their fistfight was subtly inspired by the fight between 007 and Janus in the climax of the movie /GoldenEye/.
As for the circular area with the fountain... it's just something I came up with. The part with knocking out Malfoy and knocking him into the fountain was inspired by something I did years ago when I tried out the demo for Power Stone for the SEGA Dreamcast. Without even intending to, my final hit KO'd my opponent and sent him flying backwards, hitting the thing in the center of the fountain before landing face-down in the water.
Regarding Harry's power and potential... I'm going to make it so he'll be powerful enough to hold his ground against Voldemort with enough training and experience, but not so insanely powerful that he can take him out with a mere snap of his fingers. He'll have a special power or two, but won't be utterly devastating.
Regarding the conversation between Narcissa, Bellatrix and Snape... I didn't put so much detail into it since I figured it really wouldn't be all that different from in the actual book, although you see how I changed a few things, especially towards the end.