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 Ravenclaws attack, and...
After the first SDA meeting, and a short DA officers' meeting afterwards, Harry and Luna strolled slowly towards the Ravenclaw common room, hand-in-hand.
Luna was a bit puzzled. Her 'Second Sight' was a combination of many abilities, including some empathic powers. It was rare for her to be able to directly 'read' anyone's emotions, however. Still, as she had told Harry that summer, she could read him when they were in physical contact.
Luna was feeling something in Harry she had never felt before, and it took her a moment to identify it. Once she had, she realized why she had had a difficult time. It was contentment, not a feeling she was very familiar with herself.
Harry was content. This was not because he was in any way unaware of his problems. He was especially aware that the inertia of the depression he had felt over the previous June and July was lurking, waiting to freeze him in its grasp if he wasn't careful. On the other hand, he knew Luna and especially Hermione were keeping a close watch on him, which made him feel like he had a safety net. Just finally realizing that people actually cared for him helped a little.
His first week at school had also helped him keep above the depression. The enthusiasm the Gryffindors had displayed made him think he might just succeed, and even survive. While the Weasleys had accepted him, his new-found relationship with Hermione made him feel more like he had a family. Remus Lupin and Tomas Zoric were much closer to him than any adult had ever been before. Neither took the place of Sirius, but the two made him feel more secure than Sirius had, if not as loved.
In any event, Luna took care of the 'love' aspect very nicely, as far as Harry was concerned.
The gym still wasn't ready, but the jogging club seemed popular, even with the Slytherin Quidditch team and some others from that House. Harry's first two lessons with Zoric had gone very well. On top of everything, the SDA meeting had also gone very well, and was very well attended. Harry and Dumbledore had discussed the meeting place twice the previous week, and Dumbledore had finally decided to assign the SDA a disused part of the dungeons, close to the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs, and far from the potions labs.
All thirty-six eligible Gryffindors had attended. Of the forty-five eligible Hufflepuffs, twenty-seven were participating, in large part because of Georgia and Gin's heavy recruitment amongst the Fifth and Fourth years. Six of the ten Sixth years attended. Eighteen of the forty-five eligible Ravenclaws attended, which was more than Harry had feared, but not as many as he had hoped. Six of the eleven Sixth years attended, but Cho had persuaded all of the Seventh years to boycott. All the Fifth year girls were attending, having decided to back Luna rather than to tease her. No Slytherins had even tried to attend, which did surprise Harry just a little. Harry was more surprised that none of the students he knew or suspected as Death Eaters or serious sympathizers in Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff had attended. That seemed a bit short-sighted on their part, but he wasn't going to complain.
Five members of the staff had attended: Zoric, Lupin, Hagrid, McGonagall, and Flitwick. Harry had explained that at least one would be attending each session. That night, the group had spent an hour on the basic blocking and shielding spells. Everyone wanted to lessen the possibility of injuries. Hagrid, brandishing a new wand, and Harry had acted as demonstrators (although actually Hagrid was learning the basics from Flitwick and Zoric on his own).
As Harry had reminded the students, all curses, spells, and hexes could be deflected. When a Fifth year Ravenclaw reminded Harry that one reason the three Unforgivable Curses were unforgivable was because they couldn't be blocked, Harry had simply raised his bangs. "The Death Curse was partially blocked once, even though it was at a very high price. If it could be partially blocked, in can be totally blocked, we just don't know how. The Imperius Curse may or may not be blockable, but it is certainly defeatable. I'm not the only person who can throw it off, let alone resist it. Aurors and hit wizards must at least be able to resist it." She had merely nodded at Harry's explanation and smiled at Luna.
All the faculty and officers of the SDA were happy with the session, and the students seemed satisfied as well.
As the pair slowly came close to the entrance to the Ravenclaw common room, Luna noticed there were several people standing in front of it. Luna's noticing made Harry notice.
"What's happened?" Harry asked Professor Flitwick. He and Luna had been walking slowly, and had taken a 'scenic route' back to Ravenclaw. The pair then noticed that the little professor was very angry. The three female prefects (Padma, Maureen Hughes, and Head Girl Julia Collins) stood behind the angry professor.
"This is none of your concern, Potter," Collins said firmly.
"Really?" Padma drawled sarcastically.
"It is his concern to a small degree, Miss Collins," Flitwick said firmly. He looked up at Luna. "While we were at the SDA meeting, someone entered your dorm and destroyed all your property." Flitwick turned to face the Head Girl. "All girls present in the dorms at the time of the incident are restricted to the common areas until further notice. Have them all assembled in the House library in fifteen minutes."
"But. . . ."
"GO!" Flitwick ordered. He turned to Luna. "I am very sorry, Miss Lovegood. Miss Hughes, would you go with Miss Lovegood and see what is salvageable?"
"Yes, sir," she said, taking the shocked Luna with her.
"Miss Patil, would you please talk with the SDA students, and see if they've heard anything?"
"Yes, sir," Padma said. She gave Harry an apologetic look and fled.
"I can understand why you are upset, Mister Potter," Flitwick said gently to the shocked and seething Harry. "Normally, Ravenclaw is very tolerant of eccentricity. For whatever reason, Miss Lovegood has never been as accepted as our other eccentrics are."
"And the fact that she's my girlfriend has nothing to do with it?" Harry asked, obviously disbelieving.
"It probably does," Flitwick admitted. "That no doubt contributed to the ferocity of the attack, but not for the attack itself. They were stealing her possessions long before she met you, Harry." He frowned. "I have never seen this type of dislike. I have been searching for a solution for three years. We must try harder."
Flitwick looked up at Harry. "Things have escalated; we will protect her, I promise."
Harry's good mood had crashed.
Tuesday, September 10, 1996
"Harry, wake up!"
"Go away, Ron."
Harry's toneless voice surprised Ron and the others in the room even more than his mild curse. "But, Harry. . . ."
"I just don't feel up to running today, Ron. Go; you can't be late."
"But, Harry. . . ."
"I'll be up by the time you get back. Go on!"
"At least sit up," Neville asked.
Harry sat up and managed to open one eye. "Are you all happy?"
"Get up and get dressed . . . please," Seamus said.
Harry stood, "Go on, don't be late."
"Alright, Harry," Ron said. "Come on, everyone."
Harry managed to get dressed fairly quickly. He started to go down to breakfast, but hesitated -- all the Gryffindors, third year and above, were out jogging. Luna probably would be as well, if she could salvage the right clothes.
Harry had been standing blankly near the portrait exit for some time when he suddenly felt two soft hands hold his. Looking, he saw Sudipta Patil holding his left hand, Irena Zoric his right.
"Hi, Harry!" Irena said with a warm smile.
"Hi," Harry said weakly.
"Will you come to breakfast with us?" Sudipta asked.
"Some of those slimy Slytherins bug us if we go down before the joggers come back," Ieuan Caradog said from behind Harry. Harry turned and saw Ieuan and his mate Marvin Budd both standing there.
"Please, Harry," Irena said in the voice that sometimes bent her parents and siblings to her wishes. "I know you must not feel well, if you're not out running, but if you don't feel too bad, could you please?"
"I'm bloody hungry," Budd stated.
Harry sighed and squared his shoulders. "You four walk ahead; I'll be right behind you. Don't look back, and don't worry."
"Well, well, well; look at what we have here. Four little piggies, far away from their swineherds." 'Nott,' Harry thought.
"Leave us alone," Irena said firmly.
"Oh, I'm so afraid," Malfoy sneered.
"You looked afraid after my sisters beat you up," Irena stated. 'Whoops,' Harry thought, 'she shouldn't have said that.' He moved into the shadows around the corner where he could see what was going on. The usual Slytherin gang was present.
"You little bitch!" Malfoy snarled, raising his wand, starting to pronounce a muting spell at the quartet. Harry projected a group shield in front of the students, but nothing seemed to happen. Instead, the Slytherins stood there, frozen.
From behind the Slytherins stalked Tomas Zoric. "Harry, take these four to breakfast, please," he said in his most emotionless voice. Harry came forward and herded the children in front of him. "Decent shield," Zoric told him as they passed.
"Bulstrode, Parkinson, Crabbe, Goyle, five points off each," they heard Zoric say. "Twenty off each for Nott and Malfoy. As for you, Mister Malfoy, let's hear you explain to Professor Snape why you're out a little early. . . ."
"You're not eating," Irena pointed out to Harry.
"Not very hungry," Harry mumbled.
"You look sad," Sudipta said.
"He is," a nasty voice said from behind Harry, "but not in the way you mean."
Harry turned and looked at Marietta Edgecombe. "My, you're looking remarkably uncolorful this morning," Harry told her. She looked puzzled for a moment, then flushed and walked away.
"That was uncalled for, Harry," Cho said, Su Li nodding her head at Cho's side.
"It's amazing how well you've always pointed out Harry's faults while ignoring your friends'," Hermione said, walking up to the table.
Cho gave an undignified snort and she and her friend stalked away. "I heard about Luna's possessions," Hermione said. "I'm sorry."
"Did anyone confess?" Harry asked, pushing his eggs around his plate.
"Of course not," Hermione said. "I should have set hexes on everything. Spiteful vixens."
"Flitwick said everything was destroyed," Harry said slowly. "Did that include the quilt?"
"Slashed with a knife." Hermione confessed, "I never thought of that one. Professor Flitwick fixed just about everything, including the quilt." She paused. "I never saw him angry before."
"I hadn't either," Harry agreed.
"Why did someone do that?" Irena asked. "She seems so nice."
"Because Luna is different," Sudipta said. "Some people don't like that. And probably because someone is jealous that Harry likes her." Irena blushed.
Harry didn't really pay attention to the First years. "We can guess who did it, but we can't prove anything, can we?"
"No," Hermione agreed, "but some good came out of this."
"Her roommates are furious," Hermione said.
"That's right," Harry remembered, "all of them joined the SDA last night. So they couldn't have done it. That's good, at least."
"No, they were innocent victims, and some of their things were slightly damaged when the person, or persons. . . ."
"'Person or persons unknown,' huh?"
"Exactly," Hermione agreed. "Anyway, they threw some of Luna's things about, and that damaged some of the others' things. Some of their books were damaged, too, and you DON'T damage a Ravenclaw's books."
Harry felt a hand on his shoulder, and knew it was Luna's. "Whomever this person was is sick," Luna said softly in his ear, "and whomever she is, she must have hated me before last night. This wasn't your fault." She lightly kissed his ear, and Harry sat there blushing, while the First years giggled. A wave of whispers swept across the great hall -- it wasn't unusual to see students holding hands in the hall, but it was more than rare to see one student give even a light kiss to another.
'At least that seemed to jar Harry out of his bad mood,' Hermione thought, 'I'd better keep an eye on him the rest of today, though, at least until he goes off to meet Professor Zoric.'
Meanwhile, Professor Snape was confronting an irritating problem alone in his office. "What in the name of our Master is wrong you!"
"I beg your pardon?" Draco demanded, insolently. He was shocked when Snape slapped him sharply across the face.
"I was forced to disturb our Master the other night to discuss your behavior. He was NOT pleased. He told me that you had no orders except to observe Potter and to obey my orders unless He directed you differently. You were NOT told to plant listening devices in my office, and you WERE told to cause no problems unless directed to; to plan, but not to execute. Are you stupid, or insane?"
"I do not take orders from anyone except my father, and from him only until my next birthday. Don't you ever dare strike me. . . ."
Snape grabbed Malfoy's left wrist and twisted it and pulled up the sleeve, making Malfoy gasp in pain. "We both know what's hidden there, boy! You chose to obey our Master two years early. You begged your father for permission. You begged against his and my advice. Do you think this a game? The Dark Lord will crush you like a bug if I report one more infraction after today!" Snape shoved Malfoy into a chair.
"If Potter can beat the Half-blood, then He can't be all that powerful," Draco said with great contempt, standing up again.
Snape sat heavily in his own chair, stunned. "Very well, Draco. You leave me no choice."
"I expected better from you, Professor Snape," Draco snapped, and swept out of the room.
"And I expected much more from you," Snape said aloud. Silently, he added, 'I still think Potter did the right thing yesterday morning, but I didn't think the consequences would be so painful.'
With a heavy heart, Snape wrote out a report between classes, and made a recommendation. That afternoon, he took a wooden model of an owl, and touched it with his wand. The owl gripped the report and disappeared -- it was an emergency portkey. Snape then went to the owlery and sent a copy to a contact, who would give it to Lucius Malfoy.
Only then did Snape take a second copy to Dumbledore. He wouldn't like what Snape had done, but Snape knew it was the only chance Draco Malfoy had to live past that Halloween, or perhaps even until the next week.
Harry dragged through the day, although Hermione saw that he wasn't really depressed. While Harry was having his lessons with Zoric (he was still working on Occlumency and dueling), Hermione sought out Luna.
"I thought he was looking rather melancholic this morning," Luna said. "Not to mention his failure to run with us this morning."
"Ron said they could barely get him out of bed," Hermione told her.
"Then it was very wise of Ronald to at least force him to go to breakfast. Don't forget to praise him."
Hermione flushed. She had forgotten. "Thanks," she managed to say. It was sometimes hard for Hermione to acknowledge help or good advice.
"It's rather . . . unstatistical that four of the six of us are only children, isn't it?" Luna said suddenly.
"I suppose it is," Hermione acknowledged. "Why?"
Luna's face was frowning in concentration. "What is that Muggle term. . . . Ah! Dysfunctional. Harry, Neville, and I are all from rather dysfunctional households, especially Harry. The Weasleys are hardly dysfunctional, but they are so numerous that Ginny's needs were sometimes lost in the shuffle, and Ronald was just plain lost in the crowd at times. You were raised to disbelieve in everything we take for granted, and I would imagine your parents still have a difficult time accepting magic."
"And your point?"
"It should not surprise any of us that we six cling together, as a group, as couples, or that you, Harry, and Ron form your own trio. All six of us, even you, although you are the most stable, need these supports. Don't feel shy in bringing Harry's problems to me. Or your own. You can't be the rock for all of us without some help." She held out her hands. "May I See, Hermione?"
Hermione hesitated, bit her lower lip, and gave Luna both her hands. Hermione felt a magical warmth, as Luna concentrated on her for over two minutes.
Finally, Luna spoke. "You love Ronald as romantically and at least as sensuously as I love Harry, but you are too shy to show it often. You are a bit afraid of your sexual nature, which is warm and very passionate. You love Ronald and Harry equally in every other way, and as I love Harry. If Harry is your twin brother, Ginny is your little sister, and Neville your little brother."
Luna opened her eyes. "You don't know what to make of me. Well, Ginny has become more my sister than just my casual childhood friend this past year. Maybe you and I can be friends, real friends."
"I'd like that," Hermione said, shyly.
"I think you should find Ronald and praise his wise move this morning," Luna said.
"You know, he really hates being called Ronald," Hermione pointed out.
"I desire a lover, a sister, and a close friend," Luna said. "Ronald would try to be my big brother, and order me about as he tries, so unsuccessfully, with Ginny. I called him that for a while, because it was habit; I call him that now to keep that slight distance between us."
Hermione smiled. "Fine, I'll go praise Ron; you go and comfort Harry."
Luna released Hermione's hands and smiled her enigmatic smile. "Until later, then."
"Where are we going?" Harry demanded. "It's been a long day."
"I have a surprise for you," Luna said, taking him to their 'secret place.'
"Err, Luna. . . ." Harry said nervously as she took him to the bedroom.
"No, Harry," Luna said softly yet firmly, "neither of us is ready to take things to that level, in any fashion." Harry was mostly relieved, although a little disappointed.
"Take off your blazer and shirt," Luna instructed. Luna wasn't wearing her blazer, instead she had on her work robe. She slipped that off, and then kicked off her shoes, and waited for the blushing Harry to finish.
"Take off your shoes and that vest, too," Luna added, rolling up her sleeves. "Lie on the bed; on your stomach, Harry!"
"Why?" Harry asked, complying, removing his under-vest.
"I thought a nice massage might restore the proper flow of your positive energy," Luna said, taking some scented oil in her hands. "And if it doesn't, it will still feel nice."
"You're looking better, mate," Ron said as they sat down for dinner.
"Thanks, I'm feeling better," Harry replied. "You're looking pretty chipper, for that matter."
"I guess it was just a decent day," Ron replied, spooning a tiny amount of green beans on to his plate. Hermione always scolded him if he didn't take some veggie. Ron hesitated. "Err, Harry. . . ."
"No offense, but is there some reason you smell like lavender?"
Lavender, Parvati, Seamus, and Ginny all gave Harry very strange looks. Hermione merely smiled.
"Luna likes the scent," Harry growled.