A Sixth year (pre-HBP) story: Harry decides the best way to fight back is to take the DA to the next level. He succeeds better than he thought he would. In this chapter, the Gryffindor girls' plan...
Monday, September 2, 1996
There had obviously been some late-night planning done in the girls' dormitories the previous night after the boys had retired. At 6:50, the Sixth year boys' room was invaded by Ginny Weasley. "ALL RIGHT, YOU SLUG-A-BEDS! EVERYONE UP!"
"Mum!?" a very frightened Ron Weasley squealed.
"No, it's not Mum!" Ginny stated firmly. "However, you'll wish it was if every one of you is not out of this room, and down in the common room, fully dressed, in fifteen minutes!"
"Why?" Seamus asked with a yawn.
"Because last night we all, at least the Fourth years and above, swore to follow Harry. We might not do this every morning, but by Merlin we go to breakfast as a House THIS morning." Ginny's fists went to her hips and she let loose. "NOW ROLL OUT OF THOSE BEDS!" She strode out.
"Frightening, isn't it?" Seamus asked Neville and Ron with a grin.
The Sixth year boys managed to get down the stairs by 7:10. The last drifters, boys from the Second year, were there by 7:15. Lavender Brown walked to stand in front of the entrance, but this was a very different-looking Lavender than the usually well-made up and coiffured fashion-plate. The older boys noticed with shock that none of the girls were wearing make-up, none of them had their hair done up. Those with longer hair all had it pulled back in knots or braids, even Hermione.
"Outside these walls," Lavender proclaimed, "our world is at war. We hope that by the time most of us have left Hogwarts, there will be peace. But that might not happen. And until we have peace, we DON'T have the time to paint our faces and polish our nails and do our hair every morning."
"Tough luck there, Finnigan," Sloper teased Seamus. Lavender had painted his toe nails once two years before, and none by-passed the chance to tease him.
"Well, that's a sacrifice I'll just have to make for the cause," Seamus retorted.
Lavender smiled as the rest of the group laughed. "If you want to do those things on your own during the rest of the week, fine," she said in a more normal voice, "but one day a week, we all go together like this. To make up for it, from now on, on Saturday mornings from Seven-thirty through Nine we'll have beauty time." She went on, "Hair-cuts and styling, nails, facials, the works. Boys who want to experience the beauty regimen are invited." That brought more laughs.
"Today, we're going to breakfast as a group to show our unity. Mondays are the hardest day to do this, so every Monday we will go like this. Starting later this week, the jogging club will be operating, but Mondays are for House unity! We go by years." She turned to the First years. "Sara Parker and Andrew Kirke, the Seventh year prefects will lead. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, the Sixth year prefects, bring up the rear. Ginny Weasley and Leo Wood are between the Second and First years."
The House started to line up. Sara Parker turned to Harry. "We're the prefects, Potter, but you are now the Leader of the House. Shall we go?"
"Actually, we should let Ron and Hermione lead, with the First years right behind," Harry said. "That way we can march right into our seats. We don't want to march around and look either stupid or too militaristic."
"Right," Sara said. "You heard the boss!"
"The Chief!" Four Fourth years yelled.
"And leave seats for Dean and the Creevys!" Harry ordered. "We won't forget them!"
"And yes, we do want to look a little militaristic!" Hermione called out from near the exit, to everyone's surprise. "It's not everyone's style -- many Ravenclaws and the Hufflepuffs, and even the odd Slytherin or two, are going to be just as committed as any one of us. But they will act and react different. That's one of the strengths to the Student Defense Association and Dumbledore's Army! We must play to our strengths as individuals and the group! We are the warriors!"
"WE are the Defenders of the True Ways of Witchcraft and Wizardry!" Ginny Weasley declared, taking up the call to arms and making Ron stare at her in shock. It was like seeing his mother as a teenager, still with all her fire and drive. Ron was not used to thinking of girls like Ginny, Hermione, or Lavender as steely warriors, rather than cuddly objects, but here they were, leading the charge. "The True Ways are Ways of culture and knowledge, not of power and blood! Down with Riddle and Death Eaters!" While of course having no desire to cuddle his sister, Ron realized that none of the girls were play-acting this morning, and they had not been merely posing the night before. He also noticed that Lavender, Parvati, and a number of other girls, who normally sported long nails, had filed them down, leaving sharp points.
Harry ignored the oblivious Ron and stood on a chair, swept up by the moment and the cheers that had greeted Ginny's speech. "Remember, we are a group, a family, not a mob!" he warned. The group quieted down a little. "And we are never acting for ourselves! Remember the Battle Cry of the War; we will say it every Monday before sitting for breakfast! REMEMBER CEDRIC DIGGORY!"
"REMEMBER CEDRIC DIGGORY!"
"And never forget our House response! 'AND REMEMBER THOMAS AND THE CREEVYS'!"
"AND REMEMBER THOMAS AND THE CREEVYS!"
Harry jumped down. "Let's go!"
It was a sight that had never been seen in the 1000 years and more that Hogwarts had been in existence -- an entire House on the march, as if for war.
The march created a magical synergy of its own. No orders were given to march in step, but by the time they hit the first set of stairs, all of the Gryffindors were in lock-step. Suits of armor snapped to attention and presented arms. The somewhat confused First and Second years were caught up with the excitement, but all the others were deadly serious. They would explain later to the youngsters who Cedric Diggory had been, who their own House martyrs had been, and if necessary, who Harry was.
Peeves took one look at the group and fled screaming in terror. Filch took one look, and decided it was time to at least consider retirement. Nick and the Bloody Baron stopped their argument and stared, and then to everyone who noticed surprise, the Baron drew and raised his sword in tribute. Harry saluted back. Students from Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw that they passed either rushed ahead or pressed back against the walls in amazement.
As was usual, one of the two doors in the great doorway was closed. It swung open on its own accord. Ron led his column down the left side of the table, Hermione down the right.
As the door swung open, it drew the attention of everyone in the great hall -- all the staff except the Divination teachers and Binns, and 3/4's of the students were already there. When the marching Gryffindors entered the room, still in perfect time, the staff stood, not in tribute, but in a combination of amazement and even a little fear. The same could be said of the students of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.
The fear factor was higher at the Slytherin table, at least amongst a select group.
As the Seventh year prefects stopped in front of their seats, Harry, Seamus, Parvati, and Lavender screamed, "REMEMBER CEDRIC DIGGORY!"
And the entire House responded, "AND REMEMBER THOMAS AND THE CREEVYS!"
In the stunned silence that came after, Severus Snape's voice was clearly heard. "What the HELL was that!"
Remus Lupin's voice was also clearly heard, "That, my dear colleague, was the beginning of the end of the Dark Lord."
The first class most Sixth years had was N.E.W.T. Charms on Mondays from 8:00 to 9:20, with 27 of the Sixth year taking the class. Seamus was the only Gryffindor not taking it, taking the vocational 'Practical Charms' instead.
Flitwick was known as an excellent and fairly easy-going teacher. He stressed, however, the importance of discipline in learning the more-advanced Charms and the theories behind them.
When he told the class to divide into threes, most were shocked to see the Trio not working together. While they would study together, Harry had already asked that they work with students from other Houses where possible. He wanted the Houses to integrate as much as they could reasonably be expected to.
Harry therefore teamed up with Susan Bones and Lisa Turpin from Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw respectively; Ron teamed up with Ernie and Justin and Hermione teamed with Terry Boot and Mandy Brocklehurst. Parvati and Lavender teamed with Su Li, a devoted follower of Cho Chang and Marietta Edgecombe, figuring that would be one way to keep an eye on the pair, and hopefully help Harry by dropping nice hints about Luna (a favor Hermione had asked them to do wherever possible). Neville paired with Hannah Abbott and Megan Jones, two students he knew well from independent work in the greenhouses.
Harry was glad to see that Malfoy was not taking this class. When the Gryffindors compared notes later that week, they discovered Draco was taking just 5 N.E.W.T. classes: Potions; Transfiguration; Defense; Runes; and Arithmancy.
The first meeting was basically organizational, and as they were let out early, Flitwick called Harry over. "Go on," Harry told the others. Ron had the N.E.W.T. Creatures class at 9:30, Hermione had the time free, and Harry had the N.E.W.T. Muggle Studies class (he would also attend the 1:00 Monday and Friday sessions of the O.W.L. Muggle Studies class, to make up some of the material, although he would have to skip Wednesdays).
"Quite a demonstration this morning, Mister Potter," Flitwick said.
"Yes, sir," Harry answered in a non-committal tone.
"I see," Flitwick mused. "Any way, the Headmaster would like to see you, and just you, at Eleven forty-five. The password is 'pumpkin pie'."
"Yes, sir, thank you," Harry replied. Harry stopped in mid-turn. "Professor Flitwick?"
"Yes, dear boy?" When Harry hesitated, Flitwick said, "I understand. Talk with the Headmaster, and then see me some time after he approves. We'll talk."
In part because of the coaching Hermione, Luna, and Ginny had given him, and of course because of his own background, Harry wasn't too far behind in Muggle Studies. The O.W.L. was basic culture and technology, the N.E.W.T. was politics and advanced technology. He didn't know any of the six girls well who were in the class with him very well (Mandy Brocklehurst, Su Li, Morag McDougal, Padma Patil, Eloise Midgen, and Sally-Ann Perks), although Padma Patil was one of the three Sixth year Ravenclaws Hermione had selected to be the seed members of the DA.
The girls seemed more interested in Harry's reasons for being in class than in anything, and he went over his reasons for the class. All six were Pure-Bloods of at least three generations standing, and Padma, backed up by Mandy and Morag, declared that he would be a valuable resource for the class. Su Li looked rather more doubtful.
Harry presented himself at the entrance to Dumbledore's office well-before 11:45. He had gone back to his room at 11:00 and dropped his books, so that he could go directly to lunch. Harry hesitated, and took his invisibility cloak. He slipped the cloak on, and went and watched the entrance. Harry knew the most likely reasons for the odd time was either that Dumbledore had a previous meeting, or he wanted other staff to be present.
Sure enough, at 11:40, Snape and Remus Lupin approached the gargoyle from different directions. Snape snarled a bit at Lupin, then the pair gave the password and went up to the Headmaster's office.
"Take that silly thing off and come along," Tomas Zoric said from behind Harry.
Harry jumped, but didn't say anything. He slipped the cloak off. "How did you know?"
"Various ways, which we will discuss sooner or later in your training," Zoric told him as Harry folded the cloak up and slipped it into the empty main pocket of his book bag. "We will do our sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting at One."
"Alright. I was hoping you'd be here, by the way," Harry said while his mentor said the password.
"I hope you think so after we're finished," Zoric said, hopefully teasingly, although Harry couldn't be certain.
"Come in!" Dumbledore called. "Harry, Professor Zoric, please sit." McGonagall was also present.
"Now," Dumbledore started, when he was interrupted by Snape.
"What the hell were you doing this morning, Potter? Trying to start a war?"
"Severus. . . ." Dumbledore started again.
"In case it has escaped your attention," Harry told Snape coldly, "there is already a war going on, Professor Snape! Now, I'm sure you won't believe me, but I had nothing to do with what went on this morning, except that I refused to try and kill it. What you saw is how the House of Gryffindor, at least the Fourth through Seventh years, feels."
"And you admit you did nothing to stop it!" Snape accused.
"That's right! We are not machines! We are not toys that you or the Headmaster or the Order of the Phoenix, or the Ministry can turn on and off! The feeling is there! Clamp down on it now, and it won't be there when you need it!"
"We cannot, will not, allow a paramilitary group of any kind in Hogwarts! I will not be dictated to by the students!"
"I didn't see you complaining, let alone helping the rest of the students, last year when all of Umbridge's storm troopers came from your House!" Harry snapped back.
"I. . . ." Snape yelled, standing up and turning rather red in the face. "I. . . ." He realized he had no defense he could proclaim. He had tried to reason with the students, told them not to join the Inquisitorial Squad, and he had failed. He was not about to admit to a failure in front of Potter.
"Now, we are not going to be the Order of the Phoenix's version of the Inquisitorial Squad," Harry said firmly, before Snape could come up with a phony reply or change the subject. "I will not stand for intimidation along the same lines they used, and I wouldn't want us to have the same prefectural powers they used and abused. We, and I don't just mean Gryffindor, have to be prepared to fight. What will happen if Death Eaters attack here, or Hogsmeade while we're there? We will be organized and ready. And if Voldemort. . . ."
"Don't say his name!" Snape demanded.
"If Tom Riddle Junior," Harry said in a very sarcastic voice, "is still active as we all leave Hogwarts, we will be ready to join in the fight, either through the Ministry or the Order or both."
"The SDA will NOT have prefectural powers," Dumbledore said quietly. "I will not allow intimidation of any kind, by either side again. However, Severus, I think you must admit that we have failed with some of the students, especially in Slytherin."
"Draco Malfoy was leading a minor Death Eater mission this summer," Tomas stated. "I would not be surprised if he already has the Mark."
"I don't believe all the Slytherins are bad, let alone that they would all back Riddle," Harry said to Snape, now in an almost pleading voice. "Help us work with the Slytherins that will help in the fight. Help us save them."
Snape looked torn.
"This isn't the way we operated in the last confrontation," McGonagall said softly, "but I think we all have to admit that we didn't fare terribly well then, either. I will keep an eye on the Gryffindors. Professors Lupin and Zoric will keep an eye on all the members of the SDA."
"Harry is right about one thing," Zoric added. "If we try and clamp down on the feeling of revulsion that created this militant feeling, we can never recapture it. I think it's a good thing. We will just have to keep a close eye on it."
"I will not forego my objections," Snape declared, "but I will not press them for the moment." He turned to Dumbledore. "Headmaster, if I am no longer required?"
"Sir?" Harry asked.
"What is it, Potter?"
"That's Mister Potter," Zoric growled.
"What?" Snape demanded.
"You and my apprentice have a bad history. I am trying to break him of the bad habit of not calling you Professor Snape; it would help if you addressed him properly as well."
"Very well, what is it, MISTER Potter?"
"We would welcome any information you might have for us about your House."
Snape's breath was taken away at Harry's audacity. Dumbledore finally said, "We shall discuss that and let you know, Harry."
"Shall we lunch?" Dumbledore asked those remaining. "Harry can then fill us in on his plans."
"And perhaps I can be told some things as well?" Harry suggested.
"Such as what staff I can consult?"
The SDA would meet Monday evenings. This first Monday, however, the group meeting was smaller. Harry and the five who had gone with him to the Ministry were meeting with Ernie Macmillan, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Susan Bones, and Hannah Abbott from Hufflepuff, and Lisa Turpin, Padma Patil, and Anthony Goldstein from Ravenclaw.
"First of all, I'd like to thank you all for coming," Harry said. "I know we can count on you."
"To do what, exactly?" Anthony asked.
"We plan on two interlocking groups," Harry answered. "The SDA is open for all students, Fourth year and above, along the same lines as the DA last year. We'll even encourage Slytherins to join, although we won't allow the more obvious bigots and pro-Death Eaters in. We would allow them, even Malfoy, to join the jogging club."
Seeing their understanding, Harry went on, "The DA will be those we feel we can really trust and who are really committed to fighting both Voldemort and his influence. The six of us are already committed, and we're hoping you will join us."
"You already have Justin's and my answer," Ernie said.
"That's right," Justin said. "I hope that doesn't mean we parade with you every morning, though."
Harry smiled. "No. As Hermione said to us this morning, in a sense the Gryffindors are more militaristicly inclined than the other Houses, although individuals may vary. We are going to march every Monday morning. Each House will have to find its own way."
"That's good," Padma said, "I don't see us marching in step."
"Are you more than interested?" Hermione asked. "Remember, fighting Voldemort can be deadly."
"If you want a blood oath, I'll give you one, Potter," Ernie said.
"I'll do it," Justin said.
"So will I," Susan Bones stated firmly.
"And I," Hannah Abbott said.
"I don't think that should be necessary," Harry replied.
"And what is Loo . . . err, Lovegood's position?" Anthony asked.
"Luna and Neville are on the Executive Committee, along with myself, Hermione, Ginny, and the House Captains," Harry stated firmly.
"I'd like to talk with my two colleagues here," Anthony said.
They came back a few minutes later. "We're interested. Go on, Harry," Padma said.
"Each House needs a Captain," Harry said. "We think it should be a Sixth year. Hermione is the over-all coordinator. Ron will be the Captain of Gryffindor. Ginny is in charge of intelligence."
"And that's the problem," Padma said. "There are two more people we need if we can even try and approach House unity, or at least prevent a great deal of problems."
"The easier one to convince would be Terry Boot," Lisa told them.
"I don't think Cho would be particularly interested," Luna said in a detached manner, "especially since she's dating Michael, who claims that the Dark Lord isn't as dangerous as everyone says he is, and she is even closer to Marietta than she was last year."
"Luna is probably right," Lisa said. "I don't think Ravenclaw, as a House, can be as supportive as Hufflepuff, let alone Gryffindor."
"Julia and Mark will support Cho," Padma said, referring to the Head Girl and Seventh year prefect. "Mitch will come along with us; I'm not sure about Maureen." Those were the Fifth year prefects.
"Well, why don't you work things out amongst yourselves," Harry said. "Lisa and I can talk after the auror's potions class."
Everyone agreed to that.
"What about us?" Susan then asked. "What do you have planned for Hannah and me?"
"Well," Hermione answered, "Hannah is supposed to be the best potions brewer in our class. . . ."
"Even Snape admits that," Hannah said with a grin, "and boy does he hate it when he has to!"
"We were wondering if you and Hermione could produce some potions for us, if I can get you the lab space," Harry asked her.
"Sounds great!" Hannah answered.
"You and Lisa have a friend we'd like to explore," Harry answered.
"Tracey?" Susan asked, referring to the new Sixth year Slytherin prefect.
"And through her Zabini and maybe even Greengrass," Harry answered.
"Maybe Tracey and Zabini," Susan said. "I don't see Daphne as an active supporter of You-Know-Who, but her uncle was one of the ones who was arrested last June. I know her father and he don't get along, but she still might be pretty neutral right now."
"Think about it," Harry said. "Lisa and I can talk after class Wednesday and maybe set up a meeting time for more of us. SDA meetings will be Monday evenings. Slytherin has been booked into the Monday night slot all year for all their practices, and none of the upper classes will have Astronomy practicals Monday nights."
"Alright then," Ernie said, "I guess we have our assignments!"
They all noticed that Harry walked Luna back to the Ravenclaw common room.