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 first Hogsmeade weeken...
The Daily Prophet for Friday, October 18, ran four stories on its front page. One was Skeeter's article, one was a press release from Fudge's office, and the third was a very factual chronology of Fudge's term of office, with each time he had favored the extreme Pure-blood positions pointed out. The fourth, which then went on to fill two back pages, made it seem as if Fudge was either a fool, a dupe for the Death Eaters, or perhaps even a secret Death Eater himself. The paper had made its choice.
Saturday's edition showed that Hermione had been correct: Percy had been the only Ministry official sent to her family's funerals, and an even lower member of Fudge's office had been sent to Seamus' family. Fudge and all his entourage had gone to the Patils, and other Ministry employees (like Mister Weasley) had been forbidden to take time off. Skeeter's article that day was very damaging to the Minister and his allies in the Ministry.
Over the next week, letters to the paper and to the Ministry ran five to one against the Minister, who claimed that "while the situation is still serious, we still maintain that we are gaining a handle on it. Lord Thingy had his best chance, and has missed the bus for a real attack against any major wizarding targets, although isolated individuals and unwarded families are still in grave danger."
Harry's initiation as Hogwarts Champion was of course a secret from everyone who did not need to know. Neither Hermione nor Luna could detect any real change in Harry afterwards, and Harry claimed not to really notice anything at first.
Over the next week, however, Harry grew to 'know' the castle. Running tests, usually with Luna and sometimes Hermione, he compared his knowledge with the Marauder's Map, and was correct each time by the following Friday. While he did not yet have the intimate knowledge of Hogwarts Dumbledore had, knowing the map showed him some things that even Dumbledore didn't know about.
Harry was curious if that was why Dumbledore had wanted a copy of the Map, but it turned out, when Harry asked him, that he wanted it for any future headmaster who did not have his own relationship to the castle. Dumbledore assured Harry that his own powers would not change dramatically, but would increase faster than was normal for him at that age.
Saturday, October 26, 1996
The first Hogsmeade weekend was welcomed with slightly less enthusiasm than usual. The SDA, staff, and a few others would be patrolling, although Hermione had arranged things so that no student had to patrol more than two one-hour shifts.
Shortly before 11:30, two groups met by arrangement in the deserted area near the Shrieking Shack. The larger group consisted of Cho Chang, Marietta Edgecombe, Michael Corner, Stephen Cornfoot, Su Li, Julia Collins, and Paula Paine from Ravenclaw, and Zach Smith from Hufflepuff. The smaller group was Megan Jones, Eloise Midgen, and Amanda David from Hufflepuff, and Rita Coal and Doris Robin from Ravenclaw. The Neutrals and the Pacifists.
"Are you going help us stand up against Potter's militarism?" Zach asked.
"No," Megan said simply. "We, and that includes the others in our group, are going to help the SDA in any way that we can that doesn't directly cause violence."
"I see," Stephen Cornfoot mused. He looked about, and saw they were apparently alone. He turned to his best friend and said, "It's your move. With the Cause, or against?"
Michael Corner took a deep breath and pulled his wand. Zach and Stephen pulled theirs.
Corner turned to Cho. "AVADA KEDAVRA!"
"Stupefy!" Zach cried. "Use 'Stupefy!'" he said, stunning a second Pacifist. "It's quicker."
"Run!" Megan cried, putting herself between the three attackers and Robin, the youngest person there.
"Stupefy!" Zach called.
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" Michael cried.
Corner had killed two, the other eight were stunned.
"Why kill them?" Zach asked. "The dementors will be here any minute you know, and that will finish them off!"
"You don't know how annoying that chink could be," Corner snarled. "When she wasn't whining, she was crying, and when she wasn't crying she wouldn't put out. And she wouldn't betray Potter any more than the Weasel bitch would."
"Let's get to a meeting place," Zach said. "We don't want to be in the way."
Parvati, Padma, Lavender, and Lisa moved out from under Harry's invisibility cloak. "I can't believe the little shite killed them!" Padma said. It had been over before the quartet could react.
"We can't rescue them all," Lisa added.
"We save the Pacifists and go warn Harry," Lavender said, taking command. "If someone has time to come back for the idiots and traitors, fine. If not," she shrugged.
Lavender was nothing if not ruthless, in love and war.
As they maneuvered the students from the area, Parvati made a slight detour. Just in case Corner woke up before the dementors came, she kicked him twice in the testicles.
Draco Malfoy was simply waiting, along with Ted Nott, Pansy Parkinson, and Millicent Bulstrode, watching one of the people he currently disliked most.
As best Draco could tell, there were three minor flaws in the Mudblood's plan of surveillance, the first of which was she probably assumed people would not notice the surveillance. Probably no one other than Millicent had, and she had pointed it out to Malfoy within minutes of their hitting the village. The second was that she could not assign enough people to provide one-on-one coverage, unless people gave up their day for the project. The third possible flaw was yet to be shown as one, as it depended on Crabbe and Goyle sneaking up on the current three watchers.
Malfoy looked at his watch and gave a signal, which he hoped would find that Crabbe and Goyle were ready. Three soft 'thuds' proclaimed that Crabbe and Goyle had used their beater bats to good effect.
Malfoy smiled. A tiny bit of satisfaction was at hand, and Pansy would be very grateful -- she had even more grudges than he did. "Shall we?" Draco said softly, pulling his wand.
Pansy smiled and did the same.
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" Two bodies dropped, and Millicent gasped in shock.
"Come off it," Malfoy snapped. "We needed to get rid of the pair of them." He signaled, and Crabbe and Goyle ran up, their bloody bats still in their hands. 'At least they didn't put them back in their robes like that,' Draco thought as he cleaned the bats off with a spell. "Okay, split up and get to the pub. We have less than ten minutes before the dementors show up."
As soon as they were out of sight, a nearly hyperventilating Millicent pulled Ted over to the side of a building. "What?" he demanded.
"What? Merlin, Ted! They killed. . . ." She couldn't finish.
"What did you think was going to happen? That we could win by twisting Granger's arm again?"
"I THOUGHT we had agreed to go along with Draco, not JOIN him!" Millicent hissed. "The next thing you know, they'll all have the Dark Mark and want you to get it, too!"
"We already have it," Ted told her, throwing her hand off his arm. "Pansy will get hers this summer, and she SAID you would, too."
"Oh, gods!" Millicent moaned.
Ted looked at her. "Are you with us, or against us?"
"I thought you loved me!"
"That doesn't matter," Ted said through clenched teeth. "Now decide! Dementors will be through here soon, Kissing everyone they can find!"
Millicent ripped open her robe, heavy jumper, and blouse. She jerked up her bra. "Then go ahead and just kill me," she hissed. "At least I won't be damned! Kill me, or help me go to Dumbledore!"
Ted looked regretfully at the huge breasts. He liked breasts, especially ones like Millicent's, and she knew that was the main reason they had been dating. While not stupid, he was a boy of simple tastes. Nott frowned in sadness, pulled his wand, and pointed it between the largest, firmest breasts at Hogwarts. "Stupefy!" Millicent collapsed with a very surprised look upon her face.
"Harry, sit and enjoy your lunch," Ron complained. "You haven't sat still all morning."
"Just worried," Harry said, not wanting to reveal he was physically missing being at the castle.
"Finish your stew," Luna said. "We'll go right after that."
At that point, a Third year Ravenclaw ran into the pub at a full sprint. "Harry Potter! Harry Potter!"
"Sounds like Dobby," Ron said with a grin.
Harry stood, giving Ron a dirty look. "What is it?"
"We were . . . going to see . . . Shrieking Shack. . . ." the boy panted.
"You were going to the Shack, go on."
"Padma Patil . . . others . . . stretchers. . . ." the boy panted. "Said dementors coming. . . . Come here . . . get help . . . Harry Potter. . . . Then she said . . . to say . . . quiche."
Even Ron's smile faded at the code word. "Send code plan three," Harry told Hermione. She took out the faux galleon she had created, and sent the message. The SDA would make a quick tour, moving as many other students out of the streets as possible, but quickly move to the Three Broomsticks. Eleven students would stand outside, half the remaining SDA would be inside, ready to provide reinforcements, the younger half would secure the inside. Harry went and spoke to Madam Rosmerta, who would warn Dumbledore by fire call.
The staff and others in the village would also have received the alarm. They would act as they thought best, but knew the SDA plan.
Harry and Luna stood outside the front door. They met Malfoy and Parkinson, Crabbe and Goyle a few paces behind them. "Problem, Potty?"
"Just the dementors coming. Go on inside, if you think it will be safe."
Malfoy hesitated. The surprise attack was obviously no longer a surprise. The students in the Three Broomsticks were, equally obviously, already on alert. He decided there was just enough time to make it to the Post Office, the other safe meeting point. He turned to Pansy. "Let's go owl your cousin. Maybe the atmosphere will improve here later on."
The quartet moved away, towards the Post Office. Harry looked, and saw no sign of Malfoy's shadows. "Gin! Georgia!" he called.
"Commander?" Gin asked, seriously.
"I don't see Malfoy's shadows. Gin, bring me two bags of Hermione's auto-keys. Georgia, wait here with Luna and Gin. If Nott and Bulstrode show up, bring them in and hold them." He turned to Luna. "I'll be right back. Portkey the people the Patils are bringing in, and debrief the group."
"Of course," Luna said.
Hermione had made a large batch of one-way portkeys, originally made and set for Hogwarts' infirmary. Only she, Harry, Luna, and some of the staff could activate them. The staff had been so impressed (portkeys were normally activated by touching, timing, or either general or individual activation; this was this first time multiple but selected access worked) they had voted Hermione 50 House points. She had then managed to overlay more than one destination, which was difficult to do, although not as novel for real experts.
Harry took one bag and left Gin by the door. He quickly moved in the direction Malfoy had come from. He passed by a very stunned-looking Nott, who apparently didn't notice him.
A slight change of direction, based on Nott's path, brought him to Bulstrode's body. Harry pulled down her bra and revived her. "Potter?" she managed to say.
"Where are the boys who were following Malfoy?"
"Alley behind Gladrags," she said. "Vin and Greg . . . beater clubs. . . . But Draco and Pansy . . . they killed. . . ."
"I'm going to have stun you again," Harry said. "Just to be certain."
"Don't leave me. . . ." she begged. "The dementors are coming! Take my wand, if you have to, but don't leave me here."
"I'm going to stun you and portkey you to the Infirmary," Harry said.
"Wait," she said, fumbling in her robes. Harry kept his wand on her. She pulled out a pencil and a scrape of parchment. She wrote, 'leave me stunned, I can't be trusted' and signed her name. She pinned it on her robe. "Go ahead."
Harry stunned her, took her wand, and portkeyed her away. He moved to the alley behind Gladrags, and found the three students. All three were in bad shape, and Harry didn't think one was likely to survive the massive head injury. He portkeyed them away as well.
Then he saw the two dead bodies. Harry cautiously approached them. That's when Harry felt it, the wave of coldness and fear. He looked around, and saw one dementor. Harry smiled, and tossed a portkey (they were all silver sickles) at the dementor. A scabby hand reached out and grabbed it.
Hermione had read that dementors would react like that, since although a knife or arrow hitting a dementor couldn't kill it, they could feel some sort of pain by being pierced. A dementor could, and would, grab an arrow in flight. This dementor had caught the sickle.
"Porto inferno," Harry said, pointing his wand. The dementor would reappear in the middle of an active lava flow in the South Pacific. Harry took off towards the Shrieking Shack at a run.
When he arrived, there were thirty dementors, some engaging students in the Kiss, others obviously just having finished some off. Harry stared for just two seconds, shocked, and the remaining three feeders dropped the limp bodies.
"Expecto Patronum!" The silver stag drove the dementors past the Shrieking Shack.
A hex flew past Harry's head. Harry spun and set up a shield, which blocked a second hex.
"Well, well, well, a bonus this. . . .!" Harry recognized the voice. It was Antonin Dolohov.
"Tiho!" Harry commanded, using a spell Zoric had taught him that caught the Death Eater unawares. Dolohov was once again mute.
Dolohov raised his wand against Harry, as he had when he had nearly killed Hermione at the Ministry. Harry moved faster, making his own slicing motion. "Sjeci!" A deep cut appeared on Dolohov's right hand and forearm, and he dropped his wand in agony.
Moving under cover of the nearest building, Harry walked up to Dolohov. "You hurt my friend," he said coldly. "You enjoyed hurting my friend, didn't you? I should really castrate you."
Dolohov's eyes went wide in fear. Instead, Harry tore open the man's left sleeve, rolling it up to reveal his Dark Mark, showing since he was acting under the Dark Lord's orders. "If I ever fight you again, you won't get off so easily." Harry portkeyed Dolohov to the auror's holding cell -- the third location programmed into the portkey -- a person could be portkeyed in, but no one could get out without an auror's help.
A slight movement caught Harry's peripheral vision, and he ducked as a hex went past him. He managed to block the next one.
"Aw, wook, da widdle Pottie tink he stwong," Bellatrix mocked, stepping into view. Her face hardened. "Here's one you can't block, boy! Imperio!"
Harry could have laughed, but waited until Lestrange stepped closer. He could feel the connection, and he started the feed-back technique he had discovered by accident practicing Occlumency the previous August. Harry wondered if it would work as well with the Imperius curse, since they both created a connection.
It did. Harry could feel the memories of pain in Bellatrix' mind. He used his own pain to link her memories together. "Know what a circuit is, Lestrange?" Harry asked. Her worst feelings and fears rising up inside her, she could only shake her head. She couldn't stop the spell or fight back. "Of course not," Harry mocked, "it's a Muggle concept. Your mind keeps your memories separate, and your feelings under control. I discovered, while practicing Occlumency, that I could trace the spell back without using Legilimency. I also learned I could suck people into my darkest fears, triggering theirs off. But that didn't work with your Master. It shocked him, but he's seen too much for my fears to work against him."
Harry walked up to her. "But I saw where he kept his. I was nearly able to link those together, without the breaks of his mind. He managed to fight back. I wonder if you can?"
"No!" she pled. "Please!"
"Why shouldn't I?" Harry asked, easing up just a bit.
"Anything! I'll do anything! I'm still beautiful. . . ."
"You're ugly to me, and I have more than enough love and beauty in my life; more than I deserve."
"What do you want? Do you want me to beg? Do you want money? Power? Do you want me for your sex-toy? I'll do anything!"
"Can you give me Sirius back? Can you give the Longbottoms back their lives?" Harry made the final connections. He didn't know if this would be permanent or temporary, and he didn't really care. Bellatrix Lestrange collapsed, screaming. "Thought not."
Harry looked at regret at the bodies the dementors had fed off of and the two dead. "Sorry, Cho," he said sadly. He rushed back towards the Three Broomsticks.
Peter Pettigrew transformed into his human shape. He could have perhaps saved Bellatrix by attacking Harry, but he decided that, by not interfering, he had paid Harry back in full. His Master still favored Bellatrix. If she could still be saved, the Master would have to do it. He portkeyed away with the now-whimpering Bellatrix.
The students, staff, and many townspeople had accumulated at the pub. A number of Patronus were just managing to keep what looked like several hundred dementors at bay. Many of the people could only hold off one dementor. Most of the people were just able to produce the silver mist that merely helped in the effort. Hagrid's Patronus, for example, was a very baby Norbert; distracting to a dementor, but not enough to deflect it.
A few, such as Hermione's otter, were able to take on three or four. Luna's platypus was keeping five at bay, while McGonagall's tiger and Zoric's brown bear were doing more than blocking the dementors, they were crunching on individual dementors, driving them away looking rather bent.
Harry sensed a presence near him, but before he could hex it, saw it was Professor Dumbledore. "Help herd them over towards the Post Office, Harry," Dumbledore said grimly. "On three."
Harry's powerful stag was joined by Dumbledore's phoenix. The staff and advanced students joined in the push. As the dementors were confined to a relatively small area, Dumbledore gave a signal, and the staff started shouting something Harry couldn't quite hear. "Close your eyes and look towards the ground, Harry," Dumbledore said calmly.
Harry did so. He was still nearly blinded by the tremendous flash of light.
"You may look, although there's nothing much to see," Dumbledore said.
When Harry's vision cleared, he saw the dementors were gone. "Destroyed?" he asked.
"Probably only a few at most," Dumbledore answered. "It would take a great deal more heat and light than that burst, but that would have injured many of us as well. While dementors may not disapparate as we know it, they can automatically retreat to a pre-planed hide-way. Please brief me before I take any other reports."
Harry did so, and when he was finished Dumbledore truly looked his age. "You did well, Harry," Dumbledore acknowledged, if sadly. "While it is a shame we were unable to save those students, there is little more you could have done."
"Sir," Harry answered, "you had no real choices either. No one really believed an attack on Hogsmeade was likely. The Ministry refused to send aurors; most of the staff were grumbling; and the SDA acted as if it were a fun exercise. No doubt that's how Crabbe and Goyle were able to attack those three Fourth years."
"Ah, yes; Miss Bulstrode's information. We shall have to check on her and her story before Mister Malfoy and friends realize she's alive."
"Nott probably did it. But sir, I think Malfoy and either Nott or Parkinson may have killed Blaise and Tracey. That's who I saw just before the single dementor showed up. It looked like . . . the Killing Curse."
"I shall check into this immediately," Dumbledore said. "Tell your mentor I want him and any one he needs to bring Malfoy, Parkinson, Nott, Crabbe, and Goyle to the castle. Check the alibis of the other known Death Eaters; if they aren't firm, I want them there, too."
"Yes, sir." He hesitated. "It looked like Smith, Corner, and Cornfoot were caught by the dementors."
"Ah," Dumbledore acknowledged. "They were likely not entrusted with the code words of power. They would then be treated as any other person, since this was obviously set up as a mass, indiscriminate, attack."
"Lord Thingy has missed the bus" refers to Neville Chamberlain's statement about Hitler in early 1940.