Harry decides to go proactive in his Sixth year, with help from a tutor and his friends.
I've written a lot of HP fan-fiction (probably too much). While I think the middle sections of my two trilogy stories (Relations and Harry and Hermione) and large chunks of To the Rescue and Smoke/White Warlock are better than Dumbledore's Army considered as a whole, DA is still a very good story, and seems to be the one readers remember with the most fondness. It's certainly the only novella of mine that has been recognized with any sort of award (although one of my shorts was read as a podcast).
In any case, with the addition of a short story showing how Ron and Hermione started dating as a prologue, here is the 2003 novella
DUMBLEDORE'S ARMY AWAKE
Ron Weasley suddenly became aware of his surroundings. His left side was in agony, and he had by far the worst headache in his life. He was groggy, and his eyes wouldn't focus properly, although he managed to see enough to know he was being moved through the corridors of Hogwarts. He shut his eyes, and passed out for several hours.
Two dreams were fighting for control of Ron's mind. One was of a large-scale model of the solar system. He, Ginny, and Loony were trying to hold off several Death Eaters. The dream was playing in a loop. He was trying to protect the girls, and then he'd be hit by a spell that intoxicated him.
At the same time, images were assaulting his mind; images that he couldn't begin to describe. It was as if he were smelling, tasting, and seeing music; hearing butterbeer, and smelling the kiss Hermione had given him for luck; and all the while his sense of touch was burning.
Ron fought against both, and managed to become aware of the outside world. Before the dizziness overcame him, he saw Madam Pomfrey fire-talking. "No, they are not all fine, but none seem seriously injured, or at least not beyond what I can handle. Potter sustained a number of minor contusions and the like. Longbottom and Lovegood were both a bit more banged up, but I already have them ambulatory. Except for her ankle, your girl wasn't quite as damaged as either of those two. She'll be out after she rests some more."
'She must be talking to mum or dad,' Ron thought. 'Hermione's parents can't fire-talk.' He was glad the others were fairly undamaged, but it made him worry about Hermione.
"That's good to hear," he heard his mother say. "But how are Ron and Hermione?"
"They were hurt the most," Madam Pomfrey admitted. "Ronald was apparently hit by some sort of confusion or intoxication spell. This apparently disoriented him to the point where he meddled with some sort of dangerous creature without thinking."
'Brains!' Ron remembered vaguely. 'It was those brains in a tank!'
"He has a large number of lacerations along his left arm, shoulder, and flank, some of them very deep," Pomfrey continued. "None are life-threatening, but they aren't responding to treatments yet, other than those preventing infection. I should be able to do more once I learn what attacked him."
Ron wanted to call out the answer, but even though his entire left-side felt like it was on fire, he wanted to hear more about Hermione.
"Miss Granger was hit by a very serious hex," Pomfrey went on. "She apparently muted an attacker, but he tried an unvoiced hex. It was most likely a very powerful but miscast severing hex, or perhaps even the Death curse, but the effect was actually like a localized crushing curse."
Molly Weasley's intake of breath was clearly heard by her son.
"She sustained multiple internal injuries, fortunately all bruising rather than severing of the internal organs, especially her spleen, and to a lesser extent her liver, lungs, and diaphragm. Had it gone a few centimeters higher, it would have hit her heart and killed her. She'll be in a fair amount of pain over the next week or so, but we'll nurse her through it."
"That's good to know," Molly said with relief.
"Here, I have it all written out for you to send to her parents," Madam Pomfrey told her.
"Is there anything you can tell me about why they were there?" Molly asked.
"No," Pomfrey admitted. "You'll probably find out from Arthur before I hear anything in any event." She sniffed angrily.
"If I do, I'll try to let you know," Molly told her, breaking the connection.
"Thank you, Molly." Madam Pomfrey stood and turned around. "Well, you're awake. Do you know what attacked you?"
"Brains," Ron whispered. "Brains in a tank, with tentacles." He slipped back into unconsciousness.
When Ron woke up again, he heard a girl crying. It didn't sound like Ginny or Hermione.
"Luna," Ginny said gently, "it's alright."
"No," the crying girl said, "it's not. Sirius Black is gone; we almost lost Hermione. I almost lost you and Ronald."
"You saved me and Ron," Ginny insisted. "Between Ron's goofiness and my broken ankle, we would have been killed or captured. You helped Harry; he would have been killed without your help."
"But. . . ."
"Now look, Luna," Ginny said very sternly, "it's bad enough we have to put up with Harry's nobility complex. We can't do everything. We can't save the entire world; we can only work together to try and save each other."
"You don't blame me? I mean, your ankle. . . ."
"Yes, I was hurt when you blew up that planet, but if you hadn't, that Death Eater would have killed me. Given the choice between a slightly broken ankle and death, I have no complaint dealing with a little pain," Ginny said. "I mean, we know there's something after, but who can tell what it is? The Afterlife can't be all that great, or else we wouldn't be so against the idea of getting there."
"I don't know if it's that, or just that it will be different," Luna said. "In any case, Harry's godfather is gone."
"I know," Ginny said soberly. "But it could been so much worse."
Ron couldn't hold back a moan. The two girls moved over to his bed. "Feeling awful, huh?" Ginny asked.
"Very," Ron answered weakly. "Where's Hermione and Harry?"
"Harry is brooding all around the castle," Ginny said. "Hermione is in the next bed."
"She's really hurt," Ron said.
"We know," Luna agreed.
"Did I hear you say Sirius was. . . ."
"He's dead," Ginny answered simply. "Neville told me. There was a big fight in that room with the arch and veil. Bellatrix Lestrange hit Sirius with a hex, and he fell through the veil."
"And that . . . killed Sirius?"
"Beyond the veil is death," Luna said simply. "There is no return."
"Poor Harry," Ron said.
"Poor Sirius," Ginny replied drily.
"How does Hermione look?" Ron asked worriedly.
Luna pulled the privacy curtain so that Ron could see.
"She looks. . . ."
"She's not, Ronald," Luna assured him. "Madam Pomfrey said she would recover."
As if responding to her name, Madam Pomfrey appeared, and chased the two girls away for the evening. She managed to slip a wide-range of potions into Hermione, and then unwrapped the bandages on Ron.
The wounds looked as nasty and extensive as they felt. "We don't know exactly how to heal these," Madam Pomfrey admitted. "The Headmaster will inquire at the Ministry in the morning. I have eight different salves on parts of them, and at least one of them is bound to help. Hopefully more than one."
Ron felt queasy just sitting up; looking at the wounds made him feel worse. He was happy to drop back onto the bed and fall asleep.
He was not happy for long.
Images. Thoughts. Deep thoughts that Ron couldn't understand; he only knew they hurt. His lacerations hurt, even if he was asleep.
Suddenly, Ron's images turned warm and soft. His eyes opened, and he saw, "Hermione?"
Hermione, pale, wan, in great pain, looked up into Ron's eyes. "You were having a nightmare," she managed to say. Somehow, she had maanged to cross over and now laid by his side.
"But . . . how? You were unconscious."
"Was I? Every time I woke up, you were unconscious."
Ron wrapped his right arm around Hermione's shoulders, and squeezed. "We survived," he managed to whisper. "Maybe not much more than that, but we survived."
"We didn't do a very good job," Hermione agreed. "Although, under the circumstances, we were lucky none of us were killed."
"Ginny and Luna said Sirius . . . didn't make it."
"I thought I'd heard that," Hermione admitted. "I had hoped I was wrong."
"You? Wrong? Hardly ever!"
Hermione managed a weak smile. "We'll have to be there for Harry."
"I know," Ron agreed. "Hermione?"
"I'll be here for you, too."
"Yes, Ron?" Hermione asked, sounding very tired.
"I . . . I love you."
She smiled. "And I love you."
Ron managed to kiss the top of Hermione's flattened curls. Hermione looked up again, and although every movement was agony for both of them, they kissed each other on the lips for the first time, and then they fell asleep.