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, Harry's Hide-away, bugging...
Sunday, September 8, 1996
After dinner Sunday night, Harry escorted Luna out of the great hall. Most of the students and staff watched them leave, as only a few students had already made their way out.
"Astronomy Tower, do you think?" Pomona Sprout speculated.
Professor Sinistra sniffed. "If so, I shall catch them soon enough. I am resolved to keep most of the Tower clean of such goings on this term! Perhaps one of the nicer greenhouses?"
"Even I never thought of the greenhouses as romantic, or even usable! except perhaps in late May and June," Sprout retorted.
"I just hope they stay away from the dungeons," Snape sneered.
"Severus, even the most devoted Slytherin potion-maker stays away from your section of the dungeons when planning an evening's diversion," Madam Hooch said with a smile. "Perhaps the Quidditch stands? It's a very pleasant night."
"Now, now," Flitwick said, reproving them lightly, "I have always found Miss Lovegood to be a fine, if somewhat eccentric, lady. There is no need to believe they are off for anything more than a nice walk."
While some softly jeered, one voice rose above the others. "True," Snape agreed with Flitwick, surprising all of them, "and as arrogant as Potter is, he is very unlike his father in the romance department. I had thought he might actually graduate unkissed."
"I must agree with Filius," Dumbledore said, standing. "We should not speculate about any of our charges in this manner." As he edged out, he leaned over Remus Lupin's shoulder, whispering, "You did give Harry an extra copy of the Map?"
Remus blushed, for the first time in many years. "No, sir," he admitted, equally softly, "I thought he should have the original. I did make the three copies. It was just as easy to enchant a copy to update the others as it would have the original."
"Fine, fine," Dumbledore said softly, patting Remus on the shoulder. "Then I am certain Harry will come up with a more original, comfortable, and secure, trysting place than our colleagues were suggesting."
Unaware of this by-play, Harry and Luna slowly walked the rest of the way out of the enchanted hall, hand-in-hand by the time they went through the doorway. "Mister Potter, sir?" a small voice said.
Harry looked around, and saw the speaker was a First year Gryffindor, Ieuan Caradog. "You can call me Harry, Ieuan," Harry said.
"I . . . I got a letter from home, and, well. . . ."
"And your parents don't want you to play with Potty?" a familiar sneer stated from the doorway behind them. "Wise advice, little piggy. I take it they aren't Mudbloods, at least, just the usual Gryffindor trash?"
Before Harry could say anything, the small chubby dark-haired boy, his dark blue eyes flashing, stood up straight and looked right into Draco Malfoy's shocked eyes. As usual these days, Crabbe, Goyle, Nott, Parkinson, and Bulstrode were backing Malfoy up, and they looked surprised at the small boy's actions as well.
"I am Ieuan Caradog, descended from Druids and kings long before the Romans came to these Islands. If such things matter, the Muggles are much closer to YOUR bloodline, you Norman scum."
"Why you little. . . ." Malfoy reached for his wand.
"MISTER MALFOY!" A roar of multiple voices stopped Draco before he could actually pull his wand and curse the small boy.
As a group, the Slytherins slowly turned and looked behind them. Professors Lupin, Zoric, and Snape were looking at them. "Five points from each of you," Zoric said, "Crabbe, Goyle, Nott, Parkinson, and Bulstrode."
"One detention for each of you as well," Lupin said. "As for you, Mister Malfoy," he started.
"I shall take care of that, Lupin," Snape said. "Mister Malfoy, you are confined to the Slytherin common area, from Six-thirty at night until Seven-fifteen in the morning every morning; and Tuesday through Sunday evenings until further notice. Monday evenings, you have until Eight, to accommodate Quidditch practice. Every minute you are outside the area, you will be docked one point. Tonight, however, you all have ten minutes to make it to the common room. I suggest you are all in the common areas before I arrive. Now go, all of you!"
It was rare for Snape to turn his anger on his own House, but Draco and his followers knew better than to argue. They fled, under Snape's stern gaze.
Snape turned to Harry, and curled his lip. He nodded to Harry, and said, "Miss Lovegood, Mister Caradog." Remus and Tomas also nodded to Harry and the others, Remus warmly and Tomas rather stiffly.
"Watch yourself, Ieuan," Harry warned. "Malfoy is a sneak, and he bears a grudge."
"Thanks, Harry," Ieuan said. "I'll keep an eye on him for you."
"That's not what I meant, and you know it. Now, what was it your parents wrote?" Harry asked.
"Never mind, Harry," Ieuan said. "I don't think it matters anymore. I am marching with you. No one insults my family or me."
"That was quite impressive, Severus," Remus said as they entered Severus' office.
"What do you mean, Lupin?" Snape demanded, while wondering what Zoric's sudden wand motions were meant to do.
"Three years ago, you would have yelled at Harry and taken points from him, not the Slytherins."
Zoric jotted down a note and handed it to Snape, who read it and showed it to Remus. Snape then wrote a few words and handed it back to Zoric, all the time saying, "I would have preferred giving Potter and that smart-mouthed First year a detention, but it was too obvious that Malfoy was in the wrong. I don't know what's wrong with the boy! I warned them not to back Umbridge, that she couldn't last. This year, he's worse!"
"If they stay as blatant as they were tonight, we might start disbelieving you when you claim they are not active supporters of Voldemort," Remus pointed out.
"If you think the Dark Lord would long tolerate followers who act as openly as they did tonight, then you deserve your job even less than I thought! I have little doubt that if they were His followers, and He learned about their stunt tonight, he would have them disemboweled."
"Who has easy access to your office, Snape?" Zoric asked.
"No one, except . . . why are you asking?"
"There are two Listening Orbs concealed behind Chameleon Charms, and a tendril of a Scribe Plant in this office, over amongst that medicinal moss. As the Muggles would say, you've been bugged."
In a closet deep within the dungeon labyrinth that made up the Slytherin common and dorm areas, a Third year given the job of listening in that evening, said, "Oh, shite!" and went to warn Draco.
"It's a very nice mirror, but why are we here?" Luna asked.
Harry stepped up to the mirror, and said, "Show me what lies behind the reflection." The mirror slid aside. Harry gestured, and Luna went in, followed by Harry.
The mirror slid shut, and a line of magical torches lit up. They showed a small landing, and a set of stairs leading down. Harry held his hand out, and Harry and Luna went down the stairs together. Two floors down, they were on a wider and much longer landing.
"The stairs keep going down," Harry said. "They used to lead to a tunnel that went all the way to Hogsmeade, but that collapsed about five years ago. I checked it from both ends two years ago, and the cave-in might be as much as a hundred yards long. This side is certainly undisturbed; I checked this morning. You can see from the arch here that this used to open out onto the second floor, near the classrooms. I think some of the staff must have lived in Hogsmeade at one time, and commuted this way in bad weather, or even stayed over-night."
"This is quite a long landing," Luna agreed. "How did you find all this out? From that Map you told me about?"
Harry nodded. "Professor Lupin gave it back to me. He did say that there were three copies made. He has one, Professor Dumbledore has one, and Professor Zoric has one. They'll know we're here, but no one else will."
"But why would we want to be here?" Luna asked, puzzled.
"Ah!" Harry said with a smile. "I found some things out that the makers of the map didn't know, and neither did the Weasley twins. There are three hidden rooms off this landing. Reveal lavatory!"
A door near the bricked-up former exit appeared. "Inside are two smaller rooms," Harry said. "One with a large tub, and one with a toilet and sink. Reveal parlor!" A door next to the stairs appeared. "A really nice sitting room, two comfy chairs, two large sofas, a fainting couch, tables, bookcases, and a fireplace. One of the house elves told me that it was hooked up to the internal floo system. The floo location is 'The Travelers' Common.'"
"And the third room?"
Harry mumbled something. "What was that?" Luna asked.
"I said, I don't know what it was originally used for, but right now, it's set up as a bed room."
"Oh. Well. . . ." Luna blushed. "I think we can ignore that for now."
"Probably a good idea."
Luna smiled. "Shall we look at the parlor?"
"If you'd like to. . . ."
"I have a confession, Harry," Luna said seriously as they walked into the room.
Harry reminded himself to thank Dobby for cleaning it up for him, and turned his attention to Luna. "What's that?"
"I really wanted to kiss you under the mistletoe last December."
Harry gave her a small smile. "I wasn't ready to appreciate you then. I wish I had been, and that we had. I would have saved myself some heartache."
"Perhaps," Luna agreed, "but you are worth waiting for, Harry."
"I love you," Harry told her for the first time.
Luna smiled and sat on a sofa. "And I you." She held out her hand in invitation.
Monday, September 9, 1996
Since nearly all of the House had been running every morning since Thursday, most of the Gryffindors were a bit more awake on this second Monday of September. They were again lined up at 7:15 for the march to the great hall.
Harry stood on a chair and addressed them. "Is there ANYONE here who is not comfortable with this march?"
"NO!" the Gryffindors yelled back.
"Are you sure?" Harry asked, looking right at young Caradog.
"Alright! I don't want you to get into trouble with your parents, but I also want you prepared! Who are we?"
"What are we?"
"THE BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE!"
"Remember Cedric Diggory!"
"AND REMEMBER THOMAS AND THE CREEVYS!"
The march took a few minutes to reach even a portion of the magic it had generated the week before. Yet as they marched down the second set of stairs, the air again almost crackled with the magic. If the raw enthusiasm of the previous week was now lower, the determination was higher. A lone, elderly half-blood witch had been killed the previous Friday. All afternoon Saturday and all day Sunday, the discussions had rippled across Hogwarts.
The DA leaders, led by Hermione, laid down the party line -- it showed how cowardly the Death Eaters actually were. It reminded a number of students at least that they should realize that the business at hand was serious. Innocent people were going to die. Attitudes that made them wince when mouthed by the likes of Draco Malfoy had consequences in the real world, and some wondered at more moderate versions of Pure-Blooded prejudice expressed or held by some in Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.
As a consequence, when the Gryffindors strode into the great hall, more than half the Hufflepuffs and almost a quarter of the Ravenclaws stood. When the Gryffindors halted, eight of the Hufflepuffs yelled, "REMEMBER CEDRIC DIGGORY!"
The Gryffindors responded, "AND REMEMBER THOMAS AND THE CREEVYS!"
As the students broke up from breakfast, Draco and his gang approached a small group, but addressed themselves to Susan Bones and Ernie Macmillan. "I have never had much respect for your House," he drawled, "but I would have thought Pure-Bloods like yourselves would know better than to follow a half-breed like Potter!"
Just as Ernie was opening his mouth, Harry interrupted from behind Malfoy and his gang. "That's rich, coming from you, Malfoy. You're the slave of a half-blood, after all."
"WHAT! No Malfoy is ANYONE'S slave!"
"Of course you are," Harry said. "Voldemort is. . . ."
"DON'T YOU DARE SAY HIS NAME!"
"Fine," Harry said with a shrug, "Tom Riddle, then."
"THERE IS NO SUCH PERSON AS TOM RIDDLE! That interview was all LIES!"
Harry's face split into a wide grin. He grabbed the startled Malfoy by the arm. "Come on, everyone!" Harry called.
Such was his gleeful enthusiasm that a large portion of the students still eating breakfast got up and followed Harry and the protesting Malfoy. Harry headed straight to the trophy room.
"You claim there was no such person as Tom Riddle, huh? Read that plaque!"
"Leave me alone!"
Draco glanced at it. "T.M. Riddle," he mumbled.
"Right! T.M. Riddle! Now, look at the list of Head Boys over there. Read it right here!"
"Nott! Why don't YOU read it?"
"Tom Marvolo . . . Riddle," Nott read with a shaking voice.
Harry shoved Malfoy away and drew his wand, causing the crowd to gasp. In large letters of fire, Harry wrote, 'TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE,' and with a touch of his wand, the letters rearranged themselves into 'I AM LORD VOLDEMORT.'
The students all stood there is shock. After a few moments, Harry spoke again. "Check all you want, Malfoy. Check any where you want. Tom Riddle was named after his father, his MUGGLE father. His mother was the heiress of Salazar Slytherin, which is how a half-blood got to be in Slytherin. As you can see, he was even Head Boy. That's who opened up the Chamber of Secrets more than fifty years ago."
"No," Malfoy whispered.
"Yes," Harry said firmly. He looked around. "Voldemort once told me that there is no such thing as good or evil. Only power. This isn't about Pure-Bloods versus Muggle-borns, let alone saving wizarding culture! This is about power. The Pure-Bloods have it, and are afraid of losing it. If you believe in fair play, in the rule of law, in justice over power! oppose these people, these so-called Death Eaters! If you don't fight them, if you join them, just remember, there can only be one master in Voldemort's world, and it won't be you!"
"Very passionate, Potter," Snape's cold voice said. "You each have less than five minutes to get to your classes. I would advise all of you to be there!" The students fled.
Finally, there was only Harry and his five major supporters, and Snape. "Go on," Harry said. His friends left him, giving Snape the eye as they passed, even Luna.
"Not going to Charms, Potter?"
"Yes, sir. I thought there might be something else you might want to say to me first."
Snape thought a moment. "Why, Potter?"
"The opportunity arose, and I thought they should know who and what they're fighting for, or against." Harry's voice became very sad. "I wish I could have told them last year, but they would have believed even less."
Snape blinked in surprise. He finally understood; Harry truly wished he could have stopped nine students from taking the Mark that summer. Even Malfoy.
"You're going to be late, Potter," Snape said softly. "One point from Gryffindor -- and five for Gryffindor for the intelligent use of an opportunity." Snape swirled around, and left Harry alone.
Harry smiled, and hurried to class.
That evening, after dinner but before Quidditch, nine shadowy figures met in a secret room. Three of the figures seemed very troubled.
"Will you two stop moaning!" one figure finally demanded.
"But what if what Potter says is true," a second voice whined.
"It isn't!" the first voice said petulantly.
"And it doesn't matter if it is," a third voice said simply.
"What!" four voices demanded.
"I don't care about the Master's birth, or his rebirth for that matter," the third voice stated firmly. "What matters is the power that he promises."
"And it does help you and me," a fourth voice mused to the third.
"Quiet!" the first voice insisted. "Explain!"
"You in Slytherin have to recruit, we in Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw have to calm. We'll encourage the belief that Potter has defused support, that people don't need to join that stupid SDA," the fourth voice said smoothly.
"Of course, it would help us if you would keep your bloody mouth shut," the third voice snarled. "We all know you hate Potter. Get over it! Unless the Master tells you to do so, I think you should leave him alone! Don't attack him, don't attack Loony, don't attack baby Gryffindors, don't let him play the hero!"
"You have no authority over me!" the first voice stated firmly.
"True," the fourth voice said, "we don't. But don't forget, we don't take orders from you, either. You follow your chain of command to the Master, and we'll follow ours."
"So go play Quidditch," the third voice sneered. "Try and beat Potter for once." Two figures left the room.
"Blasted peasants," the first voice said.
"Practice?" a fifth voice asked rather stupidly.
"Yeah, practice?" a sixth asked.
The first teen sighed. "Alright. Let's go to practice."
At the same time the nine young Death Eaters were meeting, two others were meeting in equal secrecy.
The two stared at each other for a few seconds, then Zabini broke the silence. "You wanted to see me?"
"If you're interested in helping us, yes," Harry said frankly.
"My family does not, and never has, supported Dark magic, Potter," Zabini growled.
"True," Harry said, "but your family is the main importer between all the countries in Western Europe. Various ministries have suspected some members of you family of smuggling . . . certain items across national boundaries." This information had been supplied by Zoric.
Zabini frowned, but kept his temper. "Even if I was a smuggler from a family of smugglers, Potter, that doesn't mean I'd be a junior Death Eater."
"True," Harry said. "You do know all of your dorm mates now have the Mark?"
Zabini bit his upper lip. "I don't know if you're right or not, but I admit I wouldn't be terribly surprised. Then you should also know it wouldn't exactly be easy or safe to spy for you."
"True," Harry agreed. "Of course, if they ever did have to open Hogwarts to an attack, you'd be the first person they would have to kill."
"THAT just tempts me to join them," he pointed out.
"Do you think they'd trust you now?"
"It would be to their advantage," Zabini said.
"Tell me, since you know them better than I do," Harry inquired in honest curiosity, "do you think any of them, even Malfoy, would have the brains to figure that out by themselves?"
"Probably not," Zabini admitted, "at least not since Ted gave in." Zabini shook his head. "His father isn't really a Death Eater; it's his uncle that was caught. But I tell you, Potter, it isn't easy. And yes, I think they would kill me."
"I know you can't really work with us," Harry said, "but we're here to help you when you need it."
"I promise we'll at least try," Harry said firmly. "We're not at war against Slytherin."
"Good enough. I might be able to send information through Tracey."
"That would be great," Harry answered. "Just watch out for Bulstrode."
"If guts and determination counted more than breeding and looks, she'd be in charge," Zabini agreed.
"Good luck, to all of you," Harry said.
"Believe me," Zabini said, "we'll need it."