By: Rita Skeeter
For the past two months Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been plagued with attacks by a person claiming to be the heir of Salazar Slytherin. These attacks were base around muggleborn students and those whom Slytherin would have referred to as ‘blood traitors’. Yesterday morning, following a string of attacks against a signal family at the school, Minister Fudge heroically led a detachment of Aurors to Hogwarts with the aim to arrest the prime suspect: Harry J. Potter, age 12; a second year Gryffindor. Potter, known worldwide for his survival of the Killing Curse and defeat of You-Know-Who, was reportedly found at the scene to nearly all the attacks which led Professor Severus Snape, age 33; Head of Slytherin House and Potions Master of Hogwarts, to inform Ministry officials that Potter had once confided in the professor that he was a Parselmouth. Parseltongue, the ability to speak with snakes, is a gift commonly associated with Dark witches or wizards and was Salazar Slytherin’s most renowned ability. It was even rumored that You-Know-Who himself was a Parselmouth; however, such claims were never substantiated.
“I thought it was my duty to the school to give [the Ministry] any information that could lead them to the heir no matter how unlikely it [was] that Potter [was] the heir.” said Professor Snape when asked by this reporter.
The victims of the attack that prompted the Ministry to arrest Potter were Penelope Clearwater; 15 Ravenclaw, Michael Corner; 11 Ravenclaw, Hermione Granger; 13, Percy Weasley; 15, Fred Weasley; 14, George Weasley; 14, and Ronald Weasley; 12, all Gryffindor. When asked by this reporter; Arthur Weasley, Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Department, had no comment. Neither did Tyler, Department of Magical Games and Sports, or Marissa Clearwater, Teen Witch Weekly. So far, no deaths have occurred from these attacks. The twenty-three students who have been attacked are merely petrified. Professor Pomona Sprout, 68; Head of Hufflepuff House and Herbologist, has been working on growing plants that will allow for a potion to be brewed and have the victims unpetrified. This will hopefully help build a case against Potter by identifying him as the attacker as well as shed some light on how he petrified the students in the first place which has baffled Dark Arts experts.
Potter is currently being held in a holding cell at the Ministry awaiting for charges to be brought up against him. Auror Dawlish, 45; arresting Auror, says that Potter has declined our offer for an interview. Is Harry Potter going dark? Did the Minister and our valiant Aurors just prevent the rise of a new Dark Lord? We’ll have more on this story as it becomes available. (See page 4 for more details about the arrest as well as eye witness accounts)
-- (December 14th, 1992) --
Things had gone from bad to worst since the beginning of the school year for Neville Longbottom. The attacks had only increased infrequency after Harry had been arrested and Dumbledore had been forced to leave Hogwarts. There were only seventeen Gryffindors, nine Hufflepuffs, and twenty-three Ravenclaws left unpetrified. Still no Slytherins had been attacked by the ‘heir’, however, they were being attacked by vigilante students trying extract revenge for their fallen housemates. Hogwarts was going to the dogs.
Neville stopped and listened as he heard voices up ahead. He groaned as he recognized them and sped up to a jogging pace. As he neared the end of the corridor, he was not surprised at what he saw since it had become almost a daily occurrence since Harry and Dumbledore had left.
Michael Corner and the rest of the first year Ravenclaws had surrounded Luna.
“Go home you freak!” spat Corner. “You’re the reason these attacks are happening. You probally doing something to make your weirdo of a father’s stupid magazines appear legit.” The others murmured in agreement.
“I wouldn’t be surprised he had written about something like this happening in that trash,” continued Corner.
“The Quibbler is not trash!” sniffed Luna, tears running down her face.
“You just don’t know when to quit, do you Corner?” growled Neville.
Five heads jerked towards Neville, Luna’s obviously showed relief while the others showed slightly of fear.
Neville was considered the tenth best duelist in the school and since everyone knew how poorly he had done in is first year; that was quite an accomplishment.
Neville had awoken up one morning to find he could remember the memories of the night his parents were tortured. They were only bits and pieces, but instead of traumatizing him like the Healers had thought they would, the memories strengthened him. They gave him more confidence and determination. that coupled with a new wand and his experiences fighting Quirrel besides Harry had made him transform over the summer from a quiet little boy into an outgoing, fiercely loyal, and well liked person. Neville began running during the summer to build up endurance and try to lose some of his pudginess. The running had defiantly changed his physical appearance and his self esteem. His grades had sky rocketed and he was no longer intimidated by Snape, Malfoy, or any of the other Slytherin’s which had proven to be a good thing these last few weeks. Neville was greatly respected amongst his peers and no longer only because of his close relationship with the Boy-Who-Lived.
“You’d stay away from her if you knew what was good for you, Longbottom,” warned Corner.
“Everyone who has tried to become friends with her has ended up petrified or arrested. Potter, Granger, Clearwater, the Patils, Boot, Brown, Bones, the Weasleys,” a kid by the name of Jostens listed. “It’s only a matter of time before Ginny, Diggory, Chang, and you are attacked as well.”
“She’s a jinx and should be expelled!” shouted a girl Neville didn’t know by name but knew was a stuck up spoiled Pureblood.
“Her place here at Hogwarts is ultimately up to Professor McGonagall, since Dumbledore is gone and she is Deputy Headmistress,” said Neville. “This is your last warning. If I find out you lot harass her again, I’m going straight to McGonagall and Flitwick. Stay away from Luna!”
“Nice to see you protecting your girlfriend, Longbottom,” sneered a voice from behind Neville.
Neville subtly drew his wand and turned around. “Malfoy, I thought I smelled something coming our way, must have been the smell of self righteousness and pompous arses’. Of course inbreeding over the years may cause a Death Eater spawn to give off nauseating odors,” smirked Neville. “And yes I’m protecting Luna. It’s in my job description.”
“You would like a freak like her,” growled Malfoy with an upturned nose.
“While you would settle for dating a pug like Parkinson,” retorted Neville rolling his eyes and shacking his head. “Aren’t you betrothed to her?
“At least my parents were smart enough to get me a pureblood fiancée,” said Malfoy, starting to get riled up.
“But isn’t she you cousin or something?” asked Neville, feigning ignorance. The first years all gave Malfoy disgusted looks.
Malfoy glared at Neville, then smirked. “At least my parents are sane,” he retorted.
Neville stiffened and his eyes darkened. “You're right, Malfoy,” snarled Neville advancing slowly. “I have your aunt to thanks for torturing my parents into insanity.” The first year boys just stared between Malfoy and Neville while the girls all gasped. “Know this, though. I’ll kill Bellatrix Lestrange. I’ll kill her even if it is the last thing I ever do.”
Neville and Malfoy glared at each other for a full minute before Neville said, “Come one, Luna, I’ll walk you back to your common room.”
“Run away, Lovegood. You don’t belong in Ravenclaw,” shouted one of the first-year girls.
“Aw shut it yah bloody inbred,” Neville yelled back.
Once they were a few corridors away, Neville said, “Don’t listen to them, Luna, their parents have brainwashed them into thinking they are better than us because would don’t think it is sanitary to marry our relatives. They are also afraid. Afraid of what they don’t understand and can’t explain. So they blame it on something in an attempt to make it explainable. It’s human nature. Has been for thousands of years and will be for thousands more. No matter what they say just remember, you belong here as much as any of us do.”
Luna was quiet for awhile. Then she spoke so softly that Neville didn’t think he was supposed to have heard it. “Hogwarts, maybe. They’re right, though. I don’t belong in Ravenclaw.”
Luna took off running so fast that Neville couldn’t keep up. He could here her sniffling as she turned the corner. Neville tried to follower her, but when he rounded the corner, she was gone.
Neville sighed. He thought about checking the Marauder’s Map but figured Luna just needed some time to herself. He would look for her later.
Luna had ran as far and as fast as she could. When she finally collapsed, she broke down in tears. Neville was pretty much the only friend she had left. Ginny had been acting weird all year, Harry had been arrested, and the others were petrified. She was terrified that the same would happen to Neville. Luna knew she would run away if Neville was attacked. Life at Hogwarts wouldn’t be worth staying if Neville wasn’t there. She hadn’t told anybody, not even Ginny, that she had a huge crush on Neville. Luna had heard stories of who Neville had been last year and, try as she might, she could barely make a comparison between the two. It tore her up inside because she was afraid that Neville didn’t like her back. Neville was an enigma to say the least. He was very hard to read when it came to feelings towards others. Unlike Harry and Ron who were obviously had crushes on Ginny and Hermione. Actually, Harry was different. Luna knew he liked Ginny as more than a friend. The natural Legitimacy Luna possessed, told her it was much deeper than that of a crush. In fact, the only thing she could describe it as was… love; not the brother/sister kind of love that Harry and Hermione seemed to share, but something so much deeper, that Luna couldn’t even fathom it.
Luna sighed. Ginny was lucky that Harry felt that way towards her, even if she didn’t realize it. Luna had no clue how Neville felt towards her. She refused to use Legilimency against him for two reasons. 1) She was afraid of what she might find. 2) She wasn’t sure if she could stand being around him if he didn’t like her that way.
She sighed again. She would have to take things one step at a time. Right now she had to go talk with her head of house….
Filius Flitwick was pleasantly surprised to see one of his favorite first-year students had come to talk with him. Though at times Luna completely baffled him, he had to say she was the only witch he knew who potentionally could pose a threat to Hermione Granger at having the Brightest-Witch-of-the-Age title. Flitwick had talked with the rest of her teachers and all of them, with the exception Snape whose opinion Filius didn’t really respect anyway, agreed that Luna and Ms. Weasley were the rising stars of Hogwarts only out shined by Ms. Granger and Mr. Potter.
“Luna!” he said happily. Filius made a point to call ‘his Ravens’ by their first name and, if they had gained enough of his respect, he would allow them to call him by his first name by their fifth year though very few ever felt comfortable enough to do it. “What can I do for you?” he asked, eagerly.
Luna shuffled her feet nervously. “I… I have a hard question to ask. I’ve t-thought about it a lot lately, especially these last few weeks and…” she paused.
“Go on, Luna,” said Flitwick with an encouraging smile.
With out looking at him she mumbled something incoherent. He frowned and leaned closer, “Could you please say that again, sweetie? My ears aren’t nearly as good as they once were.” he explained.
Luna looked straight into his eyes and in a voice that was barely above a whispered; said, “I’ve come to ask for a resorting.”
Flitwick’s eyes widened in shock and he nearly fell over. “A…a r-re-re-s-sorting?” he stammered.
Luna nodded, adverting her eyes away from the tiny charms professor.
“But-but-but… may I ask w-w-why?” he said in complete shock.
“Personal reasons,” muttered Luna. “I don’t think Ravenclaw is the right house for me.”
Flitwick was gaping at her. “Are you sure?” he asked.
“Yes,” was Luna’s reply
“Can I assume you already know which house you want to be resorted to?” he pressed.
“I think so,” she scrunched her nose and frowned. “It’s defiantly not going to be Slytherin, if that helps any.”
Secretly, it did but you’d never hear him say it.
“Are you sure?” he asked again.
“Yes,” she replied again.
Flitwick sighed and walked over to the fireplace. “Minerva?” he called out.
Professor McGonagall’s face appeared in the flames. “What is it, Filius?” she asked.
“Call all the heads together,” said Flitwick.
McGonagall paled. “Was… was there another attack?” she asked.
“No,” said Flitwick, shaking his head. “I have a student with me who wishes to have a resorting.”
“A resorting?” asked McGonagall in surprise, “We’ve haven’t had a resorting in over thirty years,” She said, reminiscing. “Bring the student to my office. I’ll call Pomona and Severus.”
Flitwick shut down the Floo and turned to Luna. “Follow me, please,” he squeaked.
After a long walk to McGonagall’s office, Luna and Flitwick entered. They saw that the other two heads were already there, as was the sorting hat.
“Well, Miss Lovegood,” started McGonagall. “Since you know that you may have a resorting in the first place, can we assume you know the rules?”
“Yes,” nodded Luna. “When I go through the resorting, whatever house I end up in is the house I stay in for the rest of my years here at Hogwarts.”
“Have you thought what this means?” continued McGonagall. “Do you realize that you are only a first year and that your feelings might change in one or two years?”
“I love Ravenclaw. I’m intelligent enough to be one,” stated Luna, “but having the qualities that define your house doesn’t necessarily mean that house is right for you. And if I’m in an environment that is not right for me, I can never expect to achieve my full potential thereby robbing myself out of what I could be.”
The teachers all gazed at Luna in amazement. Then Snape spoke up, “First Potter, now Lovegood. What are the house elves putting in the pumpkin juice? Back in my day, kids here at Hogwarts didn’t spout out philosophical phrase. These kids are getting more like Dumbledore ever day, something which completely terrifies me.”
McGonagall, Flitwick, and Sprout stared at Snape with confused looks.
“One Dumbledore is bad enough. Now he’s corrupting the students. Just you wait, next it’ll be my Slytherins running around quoting him or saying things like he would. It’s just not right,” said Snape answering the unasked question. The heads all shrugged, but were wearing identical smiles.
McGonagall cleared her throat. “Well, since it is obvious that Miss Lovegood knows what she is getting into, I think we should… how do the Muggle say it? ‘Get the ball rolling?’ Yes! That’s it. Let’s get the ball rolling. Miss Lovegood, if you would please step up and place the sorting hat on your head.”
Luna moved towards the desk and picked up the hat. She hesitated briefly before placing it over her head, just as she had done over four months ago.
(Ah… Miss Lovegood. What a surprise to see you again,) said the hat.
(Hello, Mr. Floppy Hat,) replied Luna cheerfully.
The hat chuckled, (You know, very few people over the years have called me anything but hat or sorting hat. Now I got three of you in the last century. Two of you in the last year.)
(Two?) asked Luna, curiously.
(Why, yes. Your friend, Mr. Potter.)
(Harry talks to you?) asked Luna, raising her eyebrow curiously.
(He did on a regular basis until Albus disappeared. I guess the guards refuse to let anyone in until he returns. Pity. I rather enjoyed my talks with young Harry. Can you believe he’s started calling me Sophocles? Apparently, I’m an intellectual. Something to which Albus denies being.)
Luna giggled (Sophocles. That’s a nice name. Although I think I’ll stick with Mr. Floppy Hat for right now.) She then turned serious. (Harry was removed from the school the same day and Headmaster Dumbledore.)
(What! Why!) asked Mr. Floppy Hat.
(They think he is the heir of Slytherin and is attacking the muggleborn students.)
(That’s absurd! Everyone knows that the Potters are direct descendents of Godric Gryffindor!) ranted Mr. Floppy Hat.
“What!” Luna yelped in surprise, causing curious glances from the staff.
(Ok. So apparently not everyone knows,) mumbled Mr. Floppy Hat.
(Mr. Floppy Hat, I doubt anyone knows that otherwise Harry wouldn’t have been arrested.)
(Yes, well that is neither here nor there now is it?) said Mr. Floppy Hat.
(No, it is not,) replied Luna.
(Not let’s see why you want to be resorted,) Mr. Floppy Hat was quiet for a moment before sighing. (As young and innocent as children are, they are also very cruel.)
(Quite right with that assessment,) agreed Luna, sadly.
(Poor Rowena. She’d be so disappointed in her house,) sighed Mr. Floppy Hat. (Well, there is only one other house you could belong to.)
(I had thought as much,) said Luna with a slight smile.
(You shall do well in…) “GRYFFINDOR!” shouted Mr. Floppy Hat.
(Thank you, Mr. Floppy Hat!) said Luna as she pulled off the hat.
(No problem, Luna. Tell Harry to come talk to me once he has returned.)
“I’ll be sure to pass along the message,” said Luna out loud. She looked at the staff. Flitwick was smiling at her weakly, Sprout looked a little disappointed, Snape looked a little relieved, and McGonagall had on her patent thin smile.
“Welcome to Gryffindor, Miss Lovegood,” said McGonagall in a surprisingly warm voice.
“Thank you, Professor,” replied Luna politely. “So, when do I get to move into Gryffindor Tower?”
“Tomorrow evening. Have your things together by about four o’clock or so and the house elves will deliver it into the first year dorms. I’ll tell all your teachers and your new housemates about the switch. I’m sure you’ll receive a warm welcome, especially considering who your friends are.”
“Thank you, Professor,” said Luna. “My things will be ready on time. Have a pleasant evening.” Luna left the officer to make her way back to her dorm and pack her things.
‘One more night,’ she thought. ‘Just one more night.’
Back in the officer, McGonagall turned towards the sorting hat. “You wouldn’t happen to be willing to tell us why she wanted that resorting, would you?”
“You know very well, Minerva, that I’m sworn to uphold the privacy of others thoughts and memories. Godric, Rowena, Helga, and Salazar made sure of that when they made me. I could only tell you if Luna allowed me to, which I doubt she would,” said Sophocles. “Now that that is cleared up, would someone mind telling me why Harry was arrested?”
“The Ministry thinks that he is the heir of Slytherin,” supplied Snape, shifting uncomfortably.
“The Ministry has about as much sense as a bucket flobberworms. Voldemort is the heir of Slytherin,” Everyone in the room gasped, and they all shudder at the name; except Snape who hissed. “Harry Potter,” continued Sophocles “is the heir of Godric Gryffindor.”
The occupants goggled at Sophocles.
“This is great!” exclaimed McGonagall. “We can bring you to the Minister and you can tell him so yourself. That along with the continued attacks should be enough to bring both Harry and Hagrid back.”
Sophocles chuckled. “Are you really that naïve, Minerva?” he asked. “Do you think Cornelius will readily agree to releasing two people whom he has more than likely campaigned as being responsible for these attacks? Cornelius is a proud man and from what I gathered from Luna, he personally led the Aurors to arrest Harry and Rubeus. Therefore, this wouldn’t be an accidental arrest by the MLE, but a Ministry blunder. The press would have a field day. I can see the headlines now: Minister Imprisons Boy-Who-Lived on False Charges. No, Cornelius would never listen and he would publicly destroy anyone who tried to sway others. Cornelius has made his own bed and some day he’ll have to sleep in it. For now, however, all we can do is wait.” With that, the Sophocles fell silent; allowing the each of the Heads to pondered his thoughts.
-- (December 15th 1992; Gryffindor Tower) --
Neville was sitting in the common room tutoring some first years in Herbology when he noticed the entrance open out of the corner of his eye. He turned to see McGonagall and Luna coming into the room.
“May I have your attention? Everyone may I please have you attention?” called out McGonagall. When everyone was looking her way, McGonagall continued. “I am proud to introduce you to are newest Gryffindor,” Neville’s jaw dropped in surprise. “Yesterday, Miss Lovegood here asked to have a resorting and the sorting hat has placed her in our house. Some of you already know her personally. For those of you who don’t, I ask you to become acquainted with her. Treat her like you do you any other fellow housemate. That is all. Have a pleasant evening.”
Neville made his way over to Luna. Luna was shifting awkwardly in her place.
“I tell you to talk with Professor Flitwick and what do you do? You go and get yourself resorted,” said Neville shaking his head with a smile. “I’ll never understand girls.”
Luna sighed in relief. “If boys were meant to understand girls, that would take all the fun out of life.”
“Maybe,” shrugged Neville. “but at least life would be less confusing.”
Luna was about to reply when she was tackled by a red blur which was squealing like mad.
“Oh, Luna! We’re in the same house! This is so cool! Now we can stay up late talking! Oh we’re going to have so much fun! This is so cool!” gushed Ginny.
“Can't wait til Harry and the others find out,” said Neville. He looked around, then quietly said “The Marauders are all Lions once again.”
The girls smirked mischievously.
“That reminds me,” said Neville. “Harry said we would be ready for the revealing potion by Christmas. Well, we’ve all been doing our practices, so let’s go test it out.”
Neville led them up to his dorm room. “It’s been a little too quiet without Harry, Ron, Dean, or Seamus in here,” sighed Neville, sadly. “Anyway, Harry showed me where the potion was a few days before he was arrested.” Neville rummaged through Harry’s trunk until he found three small vials. He handed one to each of the girls and said, “Bottom’s up,” before gulping the purple liquid. The girls followed suit. Suddenly, Neville felt very dizzy and collapsed. He entered an almost dream like state.
In his ‘dream’, he was in a forest somewhere, running along quickly on all fours. He could feel all his muscles working easily with each other. His sense off smell was incredible and his hearing wasn’t far off. He could smell water towards his left. As he approached a stream, he caught his reflection in the water.
Neville was abruptly pulled out of the trance. As he staggered to his feet, Ginny moaned besides him and got up. Together they waited for Luna to come back. After awhile, they started to get worried.
“Do you think she can’t become an animal?” asked Ginny, almost terrified.
Before Neville could reply, Luna began to stir.
“Well? Did you see anything?” asked Ginny excitedly.
Luna nodded hesitantly, looking a little pale.
“I’m a tiger!’ exclaimed Ginny. “I think from Africa or something.”
“I’m a bear,” smiled Neville. “North American grizzly bear by the looks of it.”
“What about you, Luna? What animal are you?” asked Ginny.
“Animals,” corrected Luna. “What animals am I,” Ginny and Neville stared at her.
“I didn’t know you could have multiple animal forms,” whispered Neville.
“Apparently, you can,” smirked Ginny, happy for her friend. “So spill already, girl. What are you?”
“North American bald eagle, a grey wolf, and a…” Luna began playing with a lock of hair in nervousness.
“Go on,” encouraged Neville.
“And a… Swedish Short-Snout,” she murmured.
“That’s bloody brilliant!” exclaimed Neville after a moment of shock.
“Congratulations! Harry will be so proud,” said Ginny. “Two Marauders with magical animals!”
“Hey,” said Neville. “What’s this? I haven’t seen this before.”
In the trunk next to the other vials was an envelope. Scrawled in Harry’s messy handwriting was a single word: Striker
Neville tried to open it, but couldn’t. Ginny tried next, but yielded the same result. Luna, however, managed to easily open it. She read it quietly and gasped.
“He knew!” she whispered as she showed them the note.
Hey Luna! If you are reading this then you have taken the Animagus revealing potion. This also means I was not around to give it to you. I wrote this letter after a vision I had in September. With all the attacks, I wasn’t sure if I’d be around when the time came. Hopefully the rest of the New Marauders are there to celebrate with you. And celebrate you should! You are probally confused as to why you have three forms. I can’t answer that because I don’t know. Technically, it is supposed to be impossible; but then again, so is surviving the Killing Curse and the Black Phoenix Curse. However, you and I have both proven it to be very possible to have multiple forms. Yes, I too have more then one form. In fact, I have seven. Surprised? I sure was. I can’t wait to show you and the others what they are. They’re pretty wicked!
Now as for the opening. Why this letter is written to ‘Striker’? Well, that is your official Marauder name. This is based off your eagle form. I like to think that the first animal we see is our ‘main form’ and thus our nicknames should be related to that form. Below are the nicknames I have chosen for each of the New Marauders. If they have taken the potion, you and they will be able to see their nicknames. I hope to be seeing you all soon.
“GINEVRA!” screeched Ginny. “I TOLD HIM NEVER TO CALL ME THAT! WHEN HE GETS BACK, I’M GOING TO KICK HIS ARSE!”
Luna and Neville both erupted with laughter. “Chill out… Huntress,” said Neville with a smile.
“Koda’s right,” said Luna. “Nightwing is just joking around.”
“I know he is, but he should know better than to call me Ginevra I don’t call him Harold, do I?”
“Well, you shouldn’t. His name isn’t short for Harold. It’s just Harry. I saw it on a genealogy chart. Even though that chart only went back to the eighteenth centaury, I reckon it is pretty accurate,” said Luna.
“Yeah, you don’t see Harry calling you Virginia. Besides, he called Fred, Fredrick and Ron, Ronald. So it’s not like you’re alone.”
Ginny scowled, and then smiled. “You’re right, Koda,” Then she thought for a moment. “Huntress… I like that! It makes me sound like a fierce predator!” Ginny hissed and made clawing signs in the air.
“I think Harry could have called you fluffy-whaffy and you wouldn’t have minded,” snickered Luna.
Ginny blushed as both Neville and Luna burst out laughing. After a few moments, they all began to joke around, planning for future pranks, and the holidays. Neville surprised everyone when he asked if Luna wanted to come stay with him for the winter break since her dad was coincidentally going to Sweden on a follow up report on something or another. Luna agreed since she would otherwise be staying at Hogwarts alone. Ginny was returning to the Burrow, she joked on how she was afraid her mum wouldn’t let her come back. On the plus side, Bill was coming home for Christmas. This would make two years in a row that she saw her brother over the holidays.
While the three newest official Marauders were having a good time; hundreds of miles away, on a cold desolate island in the North Sea, a small smile slid across the sleeping face of Harry Potter.