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 fallout from Draco's r...
Saturday, September 14, 1996
"Everyone back to bed," Hermione Granger ordered. "Ginny, get those girls out of here! Leo, get those boys back to bed! Upper years, clear off! Seamus! Intercept McGonagall and then go warn Madam Pomfrey Harry might need her! Kirke, go with him, in case McGonagall needs to send someone to the Headmaster."
She stood, majestic despite her wild hair, thin summer pink pajamas, faded green bathrobe, and fuzzy blue slippers; five foot two of commanding power. "GO!" Everyone went -- fast.
She turned and looked at Harry. Ron was embracing him. After he had screamed, Harry had vomited and then seemed to pass out in a cold sweat, struggling weakly. Neville had just finished cleaning Harry, Ron, the bed, and the floor with scouring and cleaning charms.
For the first time, Hermione saw Ron's resemblance to his mother, rather than his father. He was hugging Harry protectively, gently rocking the still-struggling unconscious Harry.
"What has happened, Miss Granger?" McGonagall asked from the door.
"Harry was having a nightmare," Neville answered instead. "Then he screamed, vomited, and passed out."
"Everyone showed up, but I sent them back to bed," Hermione went on, taking up the story. "I sent Finnigan to warn Madam Pomfrey she might be needed, and Kirke there in case you wanted to send for the Headmaster."
Harry starting convulsing more strongly. McGonagall turned to the Seventh year. "Run, Mister Kirke! Longbottom, run towards the Infirmary and hurry Pomfrey along!"
"No, Luna!" Maureen said, blocking the door.
"Harry needs me," Luna stated in a very powerful voice, much different than her usual tones. "Stand out of the way, or I shall have to resort to force."
Deborah and Merry joined the prefect in blocking the door. "I'd like to see you try it!" Deborah stated.
The Headmaster hurried towards the Gryffindor common room. He had sent house elves to fetch Lupin and Zoric. As he turned the last corner to the common room, Dumbledore could see there was a slight figure in nothing but a short white nightgown standing in front of the portrait, sweating and panting from exertion and staring at the Fat Lady.
"Miss Love. . . ." The portrait suddenly opened, and Dumbledore hurried to catch up to the Ravenclaw.
Luna seemed to know her way by instinct. She brushed past the gawking Gryffindors, who retreated behind their doors when they saw the Headmaster running up the stairs behind her.
Luna ran into the Sixth years' room, knocking McGonagall out of her way. "Miss Lovegood!" McGonagall remonstrated from the floor.
Luna looked very un-Luna like, covered in sweat with her fine dark blonde hair streaming in every direction, her wide-eyes even more un-blinking than usual. She then grabbed an open-mouthed Hermione and dragged her towards Harry's bed with one hand and then the equally-startled Ron Weasley with the other.
Madam Pomfrey, who was now tending the now-strongly convulsing Harry on his bed, was also shoved aside and Luna started giving directions. "Ronald, on the bed on the far side; hold Harry. Hermione, hold Harry from this side, make certain you have contact with both Harry's and Ronald's skin."
The pair just looked at her. Luna, still running on an adrenalin rush, ripped off Ron's pajama top and then picked him up and tossed him to the far side of the bed. She then did the same to Hermione, first throwing open Hermione's robe and ripping the buttons on her pajama top. Ron's eyes went very wide as Luna dropped the squeaking Hermione on the bed. Luna blocked his view as she ripped open Harry's vest, then threw her own nightgown on the floor, and climbed on top of Harry.
"He's under a psychic attack," Luna said. "If you love Harry, think about those feelings you have for him. It will strengthen him."
Dumbledore helped McGonagall and Pomfrey to their feet. "Is it possible, Headmaster?" Pomfrey asked.
"Observe," Dumbledore said. Harry's convulsions had ended, and his struggles now seemed more organized than random. After nearly two more minutes, Harry took a deep cleansing breath, and opened his eyes. "I love you three," he said softly. Luna kissed him gently on the lips, while Hermione kissed him on the cheek. Ron leaned forward, his forehead against his skull. "And we all love you, Harry," Hermione whispered.
Harry struggled to a sitting position, managed to wash his mouth out and take a drink of water, then he fell back and quickly fell asleep. "You may rise, Miss Granger," Dumbledore said.
Hermione adjusted her robe and rolled off the bed. "I don't know how to explain it -- we could feel Harry's struggles, but I don't think Voldemort was in Harry's mind. Harry was in Voldemort's."
"Voldemort and Harry have both been practicing Occlumency," Luna said from the bed, where she was still hugging Harry protectively. "The link between them is always there, only blocked by both of them. For some reason, all of Voldemort's shields fell tonight, letting the connection only flow in one direction. Harry invaded Voldemort's mind. He managed to get a strong hold, I'm not certain how or why. Perhaps it was pure instinct." She bit her upper lip to think, and then went on. "I think Harry tried to kill him. Voldemort fought back. That's when I somehow became not just aware, but awake."
She paused again. "I've never had Vision like this before. I hope I never have to have it again. Voldemort was injured, but he has had more practice and discipline. Harry started to lose just as we entered the common room. The situation became serious just as we came in here. The three of us managed to support Harry to fight back. I believe he, Voldemort that is, is even more injured now, but I could be wrong about that. I don't think Harry has been harmed."
She looked up. "We should stay here tonight, in case there is another attack. Harry should be strong enough tomorrow to protect himself then."
"You certainly may NOT stay here tonight!" McGonagall cried, "especially not . . . like that!"
Dumbledore picked Harry's robe up and draped it over Luna's nude body. "Mister Weasley, you may get up now."
Ron rolled off the bed, and Dumbledore closed the curtain of Harry's bed that faced into the room. "Miss Granger, help Miss Lovegood put her nightgown on. Professor McGonagall, please see if Miss Brown or Miss Patil has an extra dressing gown for Miss Lovegood to wear in the night, if necessary. I shall arrange for her clothes to be brought over. Madam Pomfrey, I believe you know which remedies need to be supplied in the morning."
McGonagall and Pomfrey both nodded their understanding, too shocked to comment.
"Now," he went on, "Miss Granger, you may stay here the rest of the night. I do NOT expect this to become a habit for any of you. I shall have Misters Longbottom and Finnigan sleep elsewhere, and will have notices posted in the four common rooms announcing that the jogging club shall not jog this morning."
He left the room shooing McGonagall and Pomfrey out the door, which he closed. As soon as it shut, Luna opened the curtain. "I need to stay in close contact with Harry," she said. "Just cover us up, please."
"Would it help, if, well. . . ."
Hermione flushed, but she pulled off Harry's pajama bottoms, then covered the pair up. She turned, and saw Ron holding out his best Cannons t-shirt, his eyes averted. "Why?" she asked.
"Well, your top. . . ."
Hermione took off her robe and pajama top, making Ron turn the brightest red he had ever turned. "Come on," she said, "we need some sleep. It's almost Two o'clock."
"Come along, Poppy," Dumbledore said to Madam Pomfrey. Professor McGonagall had been left behind to settle the Gryffindors down.
"Where are we going?" she asked, slightly out of breath as they left the common room.
"To check on Professor Snape, of course." At that point, Lupin and Zoric came across them, since they didn't know the Gryffindor password, and they were taken along, protesting.
Poppy Pomfrey did not know the details, for there was no reason for her to. She did, however, know that Snape was a fellow member of the Order, and was engaged as a double agent. If He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had let his own Occlumency shields drop to the point where a sleeping Harry Potter could invade and attack his mind, something must have happened to seriously distract the Dark Lord.
Since the revelation that the Dark Lord was a half-blood, the Order had hoped the Death Eaters might rebel at some point. If that had happened this night, Snape might know. If so, Snape might very well be injured.
Dumbledore opened the door to Snape's quarters, and it occurred to him for the first time to wonder how Lovegood had opened the Gryffindor common room entrance without using an audible password. He set that problem aside, and headed towards a light coming from Snape's small pantry.
A very worn Snape stepped out at the sounds of their entrance. "Headmaster; Madam Pomfrey; Professors."
"Are you well, Severus?" Dumbledore demanded.
"Barely," he said, drinking what Pomfrey thought was a strengthening potion. "From the looks of this, it was Potter who interfered?"
"Is Harry alright?" Lupin demanded.
"Yes, although it might have been a closer thing than I at first thought," Dumbledore said.
"Then we might have a different student to worry about," Snape said, drawing everyone's eyes back to him. "Draco was at the meeting. I believe he might be seriously injured. His portkey should have brought him to the castle entrance near the dungeons, but let me check his room first."
"Go," Dumbledore said, "we will search for him if it is necessary."
Snape found Draco collapsed outside the entrance to the Slytherin common room. "So, you survived," Snape said.
An exhausted Malfoy opened one eye. "Yes; thank you for your help, Godfather. I never thought. . . ."
"Exactly. You didn't. I would have thought you might have learned one important lesson by now. Very little is black and white. Nearly everything is gray. However, once you make a choice, many choices become impossible. Your only two choices now are a very devoted, even slavish, following of the Dark Lord -- either real or pretended -- or going to Dumbledore and confessing, offering to work for him as a spy. That would be a very dangerous game, and if the Dark Lord suspects you, he will kill you. Slowly."
"But that would also mean working for Potter," Draco managed to spit the name. "I will stand by my vows."
Snape gave Draco a small vial, keeping two others in his pocket. "Drink that; it will help. Then go to bed."
"You found Mister Malfoy?" Dumbledore asked.
"Yes; he was exhausted but not seriously injured."
"Poppy, I believe you will have to use some time to prepared Mister Potter's treatments?"
"Yes, sir," she said, taking the hint and leaving.
The three professors looked at Snape. He sighed. "There was a large meeting tonight. Potter's revelations had sparked much discontent. Draco's rebellion against being commanded by a half-blood was merely the most vocal. Lucius Malfoy, Rookwood, and a few of the oldest members of His various followings revealed that they knew his status, and followed Him because of his power and His devotion to the Pure-Blooded ideals. This caused something of an up-roar, and Draco demanded to know how, if He is so powerful, Potter could keep on defeating Him. This got Draco Crucioed for a few seconds. The Lestrange brothers then tried to hit the Dark Lord with the killing curse. They missed, but He was hit by the reflections of it off the wall."
Dumbledore took up the story. "The escalating meeting must have made Voldemort drop his defenses to the point where Harry became aware of what was going on. His nightmare awoke his dorm mates, and somehow awoke Miss Lovegood. Once Voldemort was hit, Harry started a psychic attack on Voldemort."
"Damn!" Zoric said. "We should have trained more to block those possibilities."
"You may begin next week," Dumbledore said. He turned to Snape. "Continue, please."
"The Dark Lord started to curse Rastaban, but then seemed to stumble. That would no doubt be when Potter started his attack. Lucius and Bellatrix then killed the Lestrange brothers, but I won't swear who killed whom. Then suddenly it seemed like everyone was throwing curses, most more to even out old scores than for any reason directly connected to the meeting. I'm not certain what spell Voldemort used, but it knocked us all down. He was obviously under a great deal of strain. He was still most . . . intimidating and inspiring, however. Even if any number of the fellowship still resent his birth, I don't believe it will surface for some time."
"Then he swept from the room."
"What happened to Harry?" Lupin demanded.
"When Voldemort engaged Harry with his full attention, Harry screamed, bringing the other Gryffindors to his room. Miss Granger soon took command of the situation. By then, the struggle was in earnest, and Harry was convulsing from the strain. These apparently worsened just as Miss Lovegood and I approached."
"She was there?" Zoric asked, surprised.
"She has Second Sight, and she loves Harry," Dumbledore reminded them. "That combination is very unpredictable; they obviously have developed a deep connection. She brought herself, Miss Granger, and Mister Weasley into physical contact with Harry, and with herself as a bridge, they gave him the strength he needed to extricate himself. Miss Lovegood believes that Voldemort may have suffered some additional injuries from this battle."
"Amazing," Snape admitted.
"Voldemort was very fortunate," Dumbledore said. "Had this occurred while Harry was awake, he may have succeeded in actually killing Voldemort via the link."
"We can't count on His being so seriously injured again," Zoric pointed out.
"True, but this was twice Harry nearly killed Voldemort this way, forcing Voldemort to break off the engagement -- the first was at the Ministry, remember. At the very least, this should ensure that He does not try additional psychic attacks on Harry."
"There is every chance that the Dark Lord will step up his attacks on other opponents," Snape informed them.
"To both bind His followers closer to His leadership, and to give them all the chance to prove themselves to Him," Zoric observed.
"Exactly," Snape agreed.
"Will young Mister Malfoy desert?" Dumbledore asked.
"Only if he can find a more Pure-blooded alternative," Snape said sadly.
"Does he need any medical attention?"
"No," Snape said firmly. "I gave him a weak strengthening potion; let him understand what the Cruciatus curse is really like. After a slight taste, he might be less inclined to use it for fun."
"Very well." Dumbledore sighed. "Thank goodness tomorrow is not a class day."
Harry woke up shortly after 6:00. The memories of the night before reminded him why he was so stiff and sore that morning. As he stretched, he realized he was not alone in the bed.
Luna lazily opened her eyes. "Good morning, beloved."
"Thank you," Harry said simply, remembering how she had led Ron and Hermione into his mind to fight the demon.
"You're welcome," she answered, kissing him deeply. Harry then realized they were both naked.
After nearly fifteen minutes of mutual, although non-sexual, pleasure, the pair stopped. They certainly did not want to stop, but both knew that if they didn't, they would go too far.
Luna stood, and at Harry's sharp intake of breath, she stopped and showed off for him. Luna had never thought she was in any way attractive, but she now knew that she was beautiful in Harry's eyes. She walked back towards him, and handed Harry his glasses. She leaned over and kissed him one more time. "If I can't find you later, I expect you'll be alone in our place, thinking of me. If you can't find me, I'll be there, thinking of you, my love."
Harry blushed, but acknowledged to himself that she was likely correct. He watched as Luna dressed in the clothes the elves had left during the night. She kissed Harry again, and left.
Harry stood and stretched. "Good morning, Harry," Hermione said softly from Ron's bed. She sat up.
Harry opened his eyes, so shocked by Hermione topless condition that he forgot his own state of undress.
"How are you feeling."
"Stiff," Harry said, thinking of his sore neck and back.
"I can see that," Hermione said with a giggle. "I'd be flattered, if I didn't know it was all because of Luna."
"Eep!" Harry said, crouching and covering himself.
"I have my eyes closed, Harry. Put something on."
Harry opened his eyes and saw Hermione was putting on her buttonless pajama top, so he quickly got dressed. By then, Hermione had her robe on as well.
"If you don't mind my running up to my room to get dressed," she said, "we can meet in the common room, and I can tell you what happened."
"Good idea," Harry mumbled, still embarrassed.
Hermione smiled. "Harry, first of all, we might very well spend at least part of next summer of the Zorics' Adriatic island, so we might as well not be embarrassed now. Secondly, we might love each other like siblings, but we aren't. It's okay to look, as long as it doesn't go any further."
"Thanks," he said, feeling a little less guilty. "Then I'll just say this; you are very beautiful, Hermione."
She stood even straighter and smiled. "Thank you. And you are a very well-put-together young man."
Luna Lovegood entered her dorm room. Two of her roommates were still asleep. Three were still petrified. "Oh, dear," Luna said softly. "After I un-hex you, let's go down to the common room and talk. Then I have to take a shower." She looked down. She had forgotten to wear slippers the night before.
Blaise checked and saw that Malfoy had returned, even though he had slept through the alarm. He dressed, and left to allow the junior Death Eaters to sort out their problems. Seeing the notice that the jogging club would not meet as a group, he went off to run anyway. All the usual Hufflepuffs were there, but all the Gryffindors were missing, as were all of the usual Fifth year Ravenclaws girls and of course the other Sixth year Slytherin boys.
Hermione and Harry gave the early-rising Gryffindors an edited explanation of what had happened, and repeated it an hour later to the rest of the House. Such was the cohesion of the group that none ever spoke of the events to anyone outside the House.
Harry finally made his way towards the great hall for breakfast alone at 8:30. He ran into Luna and her dorm mates. Similarly, none of her roommates, not even the two who had slept through the whole event but who had already been told what happened, would ever reveal what had happened.
They invited Harry to eat at the Ravenclaw table. This was not an uncommon event, especially on the weekends, but it was only acceptable if you were invited to another House's table and only for breakfast.
Gryffindor's Quidditch practice would not be until after lunch that Saturday, so after breakfast, Harry and Luna disappeared into their hidden suite, where they rested in each other's arms until it was time for lunch, luxuriating in mutual affection.
After practice, Harry was invited into Professor Dumbledore's office, along with the officers of the DA. Harry recounted his experience in greater detail than he had to the Gryffindors, but while it gave the Headmaster more details of the experience, it really offered little new knowledge.
Luna wasn't certain how she got the painting to open, but Dumbledore had his own ideas about that. When it came to Harry, the castle often seemed to help him along without prompting.
Voldemort had weathered an attack on his authority over his followers. The question now was what he would do to reassert that authority.