A Sixth Year Story: Voldemort's Return brings in the International Confederation and a team from the North American Wizarding Confederation to take control. In this chapter, the Ravenclaws are pun...
At that point, Madam Pomfrey came in. "Headmaster? Some of the girls are awake."
The parents made moves towards the door, but the aurors held them back. Myrddin and Dumbledore exchanged a look, and Myrddin nodded.
"Professor Spellman? Would you please interview the girls and see what they have to say?" Dumbledore asked. Tabitha nodded and followed Madam Pomfrey.
The group waited in silence. Harry stood behind the now-seated Luna, his hands softly massaging her shoulders. Hermione and Ginny sat on either side of her, holding her hands. Luna was not pleased by all this attention, but decided it was easier to put up with it than to fight it.
Tabitha was back about twenty minutes later. "The girls did not all shoot reductor curses at Ms Lovegood's possessions. Ms Chang and Ms Smythe did, however, while the other girls projected shields, which explains why they were not more seriously injured. They were not trying to destroy Ms Lovegood's possessions; they believed the reductor curse would break the commercial spells on her trunk. They weren't certain it would work, which is why they also projected the shields."
"Ravenclaws," Ginny sniffed.
Tabitha ignored that. "Then they hoped they could hex her clothes, to embarrass her as they have for the last five years. The reason, of course, is pure ignorant malice and the fact they enjoy bullying someone they perceive as 'different.'"
The parents made noises of protest, but Spellman, Jones, Myrddin, Dumbledore, and Flitwick all stared them down, while Lawrence kept an eye on the students, who were all (except Luna) giving the parents dirty looks. When the parents quieted down, Myrddin asked, "Why would they believe a reductor curse would break the hexes on the trunk?"
"Because they were told that by someone they believed a reliable source."
Myrddin frowned. "Who was that?"
Spellman, Flitwick, Dumbledore, and even Hermione and Ginny, all answered togther. "Michael Corner."
"I see." Myrddin looked at Hermione and Ginny, and then decided. "Ms Weasley, perhaps you will explain who Michael Corner is to me."
"Michael is a Sixth year Ravenclaw," Ginny answered. "I dated him last year, and then Cho started dating him last June."
"And why would he be considered a reliable source?"
"His family makes and sells the trunks," Ginny answered simply.
"I see." Myrddin turned to Jones. "Professor Jones, could you locate Mister Corner?"
"Perhaps Professor Flitwick should go as well, bringing Mister Corner's close friend, Stephen Cornfoot, as well," Dumbledore suggested.
"Of course, Headmaster," Myrddin agreed. "Thomas, go with them as well."
"May we see our daughters?" Mrs. Edgecomb asked.
"They're asleep again," Madam Pomfrey told them. "All will fully recover, although Miss Chang and Miss Smythe will take two or three days, while the others should be out of the Infirmary either tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday morning."
Professors Flitwick and Lawrence came back twenty minutes later. "Mister Corner and Mister Cornfoot have disappeared," Flitwick reported. "Their possessions are also gone. Professor Jones is finishing his investigations, and asked that one of these aurors see him before leaving."
"I see." Myrddin looked at his watch. "It's almost Six."
"Would you and your escort care to stay to dinner, Councillor?" Dumbledore asked.
"Yes, that might be best." He and Dumbledore looked at Harry and his friends.
Harry stood. "If we could be excused for dinner, Headmaster?"
"Very good, Harry." Dumbledore turned to the parents. "I will have food sent up. We will discuss disciplinary action later."
"So Corner and Cornfoot were working for Voldemort?" Harry asked much later that evening. He was seated in the Headmaster's office, along with Jones, Lawrence, Spellman, and Myrddin.
"That seems the only likely explanation," Jones answered. "If they were under the Imperius, I don't doubt that they would have been released to try and explain themselves. They must have been under orders to cause an incident, if only to hurt the school, and discredit both Dumbledore and our involvement here."
"What happens to Luna's torturers?" Harry asked.
"That seems a bit strong, Harry," Dumbledore responded.
"For four years of extreme bullying? I don't know what else to call it!" Harry retorted, adding a "sir" as an afterthought.
"Do you really wish them expelled, Harry?"
"Isn't that the automatic penalty for the use of a reductor curse, Professor?"
"No, that is the automatic penalty for one directed directly against a student," Dumbledore answered. "Expulsion may be considered for this offense, but it is not automatic. The seven students are not being expelled. They are being relocated to their own room, and they will all stay segregated during their remaining time at Hogwarts, even the two Fourth years, Miss Robin and Miss Saint Claire. They may not earn any points for Ravenclaw for this academic year, although they may still lose points. If there are any further major violations, they will be expelled. If there are any against Miss Lovegood, no matter how minor, they will be expelled. Does that satisfy you?"
"Yes, sir," Harry answered.
"Harry," Tudor Myrddin broke in, "no one had any idea that Corner or Cornfoot were allying themselves with Voldemort. Is there any student, other than the children of known Death Eaters, you have any suspicions of?"
Harry thought for a moment, then said, "Zach Smith, in Hufflepuff. Just from his general attitude and the fact that he seemed friendlier with Corner and Cornfoot than with anyone in his House. Nothing concrete."
"Thank you, Harry," Myrddin said. "Good luck with your classes."
"Thank you, sir. Goodnight; goodnight Headmaster, Professors."
The runners jogged inside the castle, the stairs compensating for a shorter running time. They managed to reach breakfast by 7:35, and the three Sixth years simply handed Hermione their schedules, knowing she would tell them what to do in any event.
"Charms this morning at Eight," she told them. "Ron -- you, Harry, and Neville have Creatures at Nine-thirty. Neville has Herbology at Eleven, and you have Divination at One. We meet at Three and again at Seven to study for the anatomy test."
"It will be interesting to see how Spellman is as a regular teacher," Hermione told her friends on the way to class.
"I don't think she'll be much different from Flitwick," Harry mused. "As long as no one fools around or causes trouble, it should be fine."
There would have been 30 students in the N.E.W.T. Charms class. Corner and Cornfoot were gone, however, and Li and Edgecomb were still in the Infirmary. Draco might have been tempted to cause trouble had he had his usual group of supporters, but Crabbe, Goyle, and Nott were not in the class. With only Pansy available for support, Draco was not about to call attention to himself, at least not yet. The class itself went smoothly, and while most of the Sixth years liked and respected Flitwick, they agreed Spellman was good, too.
Ron, Harry, and Neville were glad to see Draco had dropped Creatures. Crabbe, Goyle, Nott, and Bulstrode were still in the class, but seemed unwilling to make a scene without Malfoy there to egg them on. Since they were studying magical birds that term, it seemed unlikely they would have to face anything too dangerous, at least until after Christmas.
Harry managed to squeeze in a little quality time with Luna between finishing dinner and the 7:00 study session. Things were still tense amongst the Ravenclaws, and it would no doubt grow worse when some of the Clique were released from the Infirmary the next morning.
To make matters more difficult, N.E.W.T. Transfiguration was Tuesday mornings at 8:00. Professor Jones had hoped to teach N.E.W.T. Transfiguration, but after a long private interview with Professor McGonagall, he had happily agreed to take the Sixth and Seventh year 'Household' Transfiguration classes instead. There had been 19 students signed up for the Sixth year N.E.W.T. Transfiguration class (although again Corner and Cornfoot were gone). Six of the eight students signed up for the Medical class were also in Transfiguration, including Su Li, who was trying to make herself very inconspicuous in the back of the class room. After forty minutes of working the students hard, McGonagall had let them out early, so that the medical students could prepare themselves mentally.
Su Li tentatively approached Harry and Hermione, and said that she would be apologizing to Luna later that morning, although she admitted all of the other students were refusing to do so. Harry thanked the girl, and then he and Hermione made a point of wishing her good luck on the exam.
The anatomy exam was thorough and detailed. Even Hermione took nearly the full 75 minutes to complete the exam. They would learn their fate Friday morning.
While the Sixth years were suffering in the anatomy exam, the Fifth year Gryffindors and Ravenclaws were meeting their first History class. Most of the class was in place (since it was their first class of the day as well) when Professor Lawrence strode into the room. "Good morning!" he called out. The class responded with a rather unenthusiastic "Good morning," in return.
"Come now! It's not like this is an Eight o'clock class," Lawrence gently chided them with a friendly smile. He was either a morning person or had had a lot of strong coffee. A number of the students managed a wan smile in return. He was about to continue when Binns drifted in through the chalk board.
"May I help you?" Lawrence asked.
Binns blinked. "Are you lost?"
"No. Are you?"
"There's a different class assigned to my class room?" Binns asked in surprise.
"No, there's a different teacher assigned to this class. Remember, Professor? This year you're only teaching the First through Fourth years."
"What? What is Headmaster Longbottom thinking! I've been teaching here for over a hundred years, and I have never been so insulted!"
"Professor, Headmaster Longbottom retired a hundred years or so ago, and while you may have indeed taught for over a hundred years, you've been holding classes for slightly closer to two hundred than one hundred. You died in the early part of this century, which, if you haven't noticed, is almost over. Now, please do NOT interrupt my class again."
Binns looked at Lawrence in shock. So did the students, for Lawrence's easy going-manner of his entrance was gone and the students decided then and there that they would not be able to catch up on their other homework in History any longer. Binns, meanwhile, had nodded and left the classroom.
Lawrence turned to the students. "Now, as I am certain you are all aware, and have already been reminded, this is your WT, I mean your O.W.L. year. Now the British history O.W.L. is, unfortunately, partially governed by the Hogwarts curriculum instead of the other way around, which means about three-quarters of it will be geared towards Goblin Rebellions, interesting inventions, and International Conferences and various codes. I've read over your text book, and I must say it is the worst-written magical history school text I have ever seen. It rather reminds me of a typical American attempt at an education text. I also sat in on three of Professor Binn's lectures yesterday, so I have some idea of how he taught you and how well you all probably paid attention in class. Miss Weasley, Miss Hughes, could you come up here please?"
Lawrence handed the two prefects large stacks of paper -- the first photocopies most of them had ever seen. "Please distribute these. The top two pages are an outline of the Goblin Rebellions, the third is a list of the inventions which might be covered in the O.W.L., while the last three pages list the major conferences, codes, and other events covered by the exam. By the start of the Christmas break, you will turn in two reports. In the first, you will write at least one paragraph on each of the Goblin Rebellions, explaining how you can distinguish it from the others. You will also list the major participants on each side and any agreement or treaty. In the second, you will write one paragraph on each of the inventions listed. Make certain they are legible, succinct, and complete."
"Now, by the start of the Spring vacation, you will turn in a report on all the events listed on pages four, five, and six, in the same format as the report on the Goblin Rebellions. That will cover what Professor Binns was going to be rehashing this year."
He glared at the class. "Now, why do few Hogwarts students manage to earn O's in their History O.W.L.?"
The group looked back, none willing to try to lay the blame on Binns' poor lecturing. They all understood that, while true, this was not the exact answer Lawrence was looking for. Finally Luna raised her hand.
"Yes, Miss Lovegood?"
"If Professor Binns only teaches us Goblin Rebellions, inventions, and conferences, codes, and conventions, and that only amounts to three-quarters of the materials on the exam, what's the remaining quarter of the material?"
"Exactly, Miss Lovegood. One point to Ravenclaw. The answer is wizarding culture and the history of the magical peoples." Lawrence started walking back and forth behind the desk, forcing the students to watch him and so pay attention to what he was saying instead of pretending to take notes. "Professor Binns only touches on it in passing, usually on the way to discuss some Conference or Convention or set of regulations. He has you do a report on the Muggle witch-burning crazes for summer homework before your Third year, for example, so he can teach you about the important regulations regarding Muggle-wizarding separations. He does not teach you about the mixed cults of witches, mostly Muggle-born or of mixed ancestry and actual Muggles that inspired some of those witch-hunts in the first place, trusting that you'll pick that up from the text. He also does nothing with the pre-medieval history of magic. You know nothing of the Old Believers or the Old Belief, nothing about the ancient magics of Egypt or Mesopotamia, let alone the rest of the world! It's as if you think magic started in the European Dark Ages, instead of having a world history going back more than five thousand years in recorded history, and of course back before that into the mists of pre-history."
He stopped and looked at them. "Get out your ink and parchment." He waited a few seconds, and then gave them a smirk. "Now you are going to learn some history that you need to know. Today, the pre-history of magic, or thirty-thousand years of shamanism in fifty minutes or less. I hope you have a lot of ink!"
Two groups of dazed students met at one of the large sets of stairs. "What's wrong with you?" Hermione, who was about the only person not in shock in either group, asked.
"History," Colin managed to say.
"That was the most intense, but interesting, lecture I have ever heard at Hogwarts," Luna said thoughtfully.
"Really?" Hermione asked.
"Really," Ginny agreed. "Lawrence gave us three huge sets of written assignments and then launched into this lecture on shamans." She shook her head. "It was interesting, but there was a lot of it."
"Binns never lectured on shamans, and there was a short essay on them on the O.W.L.," Hermione stated.
"He's out to fill in all the gaps Binns left," Luna told Hermione.
"I wonder what Binns would think of that."
"He's not thinking about much right now," Ginny said with a smile. "Lawrence chased Binns out."
"He what?" Harry roused himself to ask.
"He chased Binns out when Binns tried to teach the class," Colin answered. "I wish I'd had my camera!"
Harry would have liked to have taken Luna to 'their' room, but she still had classes in the afternoon, and that night Harry had some security patrols.
Wednesday was a more leisurely morning, at least for Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It was not one they were looking forward to, however. The N.E.W.T. Law and Regulations class would meet from 10:00-10:50 and the Defense class would meet from 1:00-2:20. While Jones would no doubt be tough, the trio (and Neville) knew him and had some idea what to expect.
No, the challenge would be the Law and Regulations class, with part-time Professor Percy Weasley.
The class on Law and Regulations (usually simply called 'Regs' by the students), was larger than the Trio had expected. Besides the Trio, twelve other students gathered in the small classroom (Seamus Finnegan, Margot Rivers, and Doreen Spinks from Gryffindor; Blaise Zabini from Slytherin; Marietta Edgecombe, Kevin Entwhistle, and Mandy Brocklehurst from Ravenclaw; and Ernie Macmillan, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Susan Bones, Eloise Midgen, and Megan Jones from Hufflepuff).
"Interesting group," Hermione said as they settled in the back of the room. For once, she decided that it might be best in the back. She had spent a lot of time so far that week convincing Ron to just grit his teeth and say nothing if Percy was provocative.
"How so?" Harry asked.
"Except for you, me, Seamus, and Justin, everyone else has a parent or close relative working for the Ministry."
Seamus turned around. "My Mam's oldest brother works for the Ministry, but in Ireland."
"And actually, didn't Sirius say he and your father went through auror training, even if they wound up not joining?" Ron pointed out.
"There are a number of magical families known as the 'Ministry families'," Susan Bones commented. "Those included the Potters, Harry." The class then went silent as Percy swept into the room, a disgruntled look on his face.
"Good morning," Percy said rapidly, "Since you were all Third years when I was Head Boy, you all know who I am. I also know who all you are. You are all either from families who have worked closely with the Ministry for some generations, or are new to our world. You are all at least seriously considering careers within the Ministry. A N.E.W.T. in this class is not required for a career in the Ministry, but failing to get one for those taking the class will almost destroy any chance of a Ministry career. Getting an E or O will advance your initial level within the Ministry, other than with the aurors, and even there it will up your pay-level after the three year training period."
Percy paused, mostly because he had run out of breath. He seemed to settle himself, and then went on, now very intent on making his point. "Why do we have rules, laws, and regulations? Because they are needed if any society is to function. If everyone did as they pleased, there would be nothing but chaos. An individual may be able to live like that, but a society can not. Our society is currently under attack from someone who believes that he should make the rules for everyone. That the rules don't apply to him. Think about that, when you wonder why there are rules."
"Some of you have reputations for not believing in the rules, or at least believing that they can flout the rules at will." Ron stirred somewhat angrily in his seat, but held his tongue. Percy looked Harry in the eyes. "I probably have the reputation of only caring about the rules. Well, rules are there for a reason. Perhaps some rules are bad rules, or are there for a bad reason. No matter, the rules are the rules. If you break one, even if you have a good reason, even if you're right, that doesn't mean you can get away with it with no consequences. If you break a rule because you think it's the right thing to do, don't expect the rest of the world to agree with you."
He then switched his attention to Ron. "You are all going to learn the basic rules and regulations, along with the structures of the British Ministry and the International, over the course of this year. Next year, we will be going over the fundamental laws of both our Ministry and the International. We will not just learn the rules, but learn why they are the rules. If you know the rules, the regulations, the laws, you will learn you can function more easily in nearly every situation."
He turned his attention to Hermione. "But, some of you will say, sometimes we are faced with a situation outside the rules. Or we are faced in a situation where the rules seem to conflict, or where we believe the rules will cause much greater harm than good. Until this past year or so, I would have said, 'go to your superior.' Well, I have learned that is not always possible, or the best solution. When faced with that situation, you might have to make a choice. Just remember, it may not be the right one. And, if it is the right one, it may not be the correct one according to other peoples' interpretation of the regulations or laws. If you break the law, even if you have right on your side, you must be willing to take the consequences. If you are not willing to learn and follow the rules, if you aren't willing to take the consequences for both following the rules, and breaking them, you don't belong in government service."
Percy took a step back and took a deep breath. "Now, we're going to start by learning the Ministry flow chart. Please take out your parchment and quills."