Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Echoes of Power, Part I: Anger

1. Playing Nicely With Others

by moshpit 9 reviews

Chapter 1

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Andromeda Tonks, Angelina Johnson, Arthur Weasley, Barty Crouch Jr., Bellatrix, Bill Weasley, Blaise Zabini, Cho, Colin Creevey, Crabbe, Dean Thomas, Dobby, Draco, Dudley, Dumbledore, Ernie, Fleur, Flitwick, Fred, Fudge, George, Gilderoy Lockhart, Gi - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2006-12-30 - Updated: 2006-12-31 - 6664 words

Chapter 1: Playing Nicely With Others

1 September 1995

"Do you mind if we join you?" the gangly red-headed boy asked. The only occupant in the compartment - a black-haired boy in flat black robes - shrugged in reply. "Thanks!"

The peace and quiet of the compartment was lost as the tall red-head was followed by a bushy-haired brunette and a slightly chubby boy of medium height. Another red-head, this one a short female, and a honey-blonde girl soon brought up the rear, closing the door behind them. After a few moments of chatter and confusion as trunks and other things were stowed away, the two red-heads and the brunette sat across from the black-haired boy while the blonde and chubby boy sat beside him..

"By the way, I'm Ron Weasley!" the red-head said, extending his hand.

The dark-haired boy looked at the proffered hand for a moment then reached out and shook it with surprising strength.

Jerking a thumb at the girl sitting across from him, Ron said, "That's my sister, Ginny." He then pointed to the brunette beside him and said, "This is Hermione Granger. Try not to let her questions run you over." Everyone chuckled slightly at this, while Hermione shot Ron an annoyed look. "That's Neville Longbottom and Hannah Abbot." The two sitting next to him nodded in turn.

The black-haired boy nodded in turn as each of them was introduced. "I'm Harry."

Hermione shot Ron another look of irritation before turning back to Harry. "I didn't know Hogwarts took transfer students. Where are you from? What year are you in? We're all fifth years."

Harry gazed curiously at Ginny, then at Ron before asking, "Fraternal?"

While Ron and Ginny looked at Harry in confusion, Hermione laughed. "No, they're not twins. Ron's birthday is in early September like mine, but Ginny's is in mid-August. Hogwarts will only accept you if you're 11 years old before September 1."

"Twins?" ask Ron. "What kind of barmy question is that? Do we look like twins? I'm a boy, for Merlin's sake, and she's a girl!"

Harry smirked at Ron and gestured toward Ginny. "Trust me, I realized that she's a girl. Now if you were one, you've got to be one of the ugliest girls I've ever met."

Ginny let out a muffled chuckle while Neville and Hannah started laughing outright.

Hermione smacked Ron in the back of the head. "No, Ron! Fraternal twins! It's when two eggs are fertilized at the same time. Identical twins, like Fred and George, or Parvati and Padma, are the division of one egg. Fraternal twins never look alike and frequently aren't the same sex."

Ron looked puzzled, as did Ginny and Neville. "What? Twins that don't look alike? Is that some kind of Muggle thing?"

It was Hermione's turn to look puzzled. "What do you mean? Have there never been fraternal... err, non-identical twins in a magical family before?"

Ginny shook her head.

"That's impossible! I'll have to ask Professor McGonagall about it. Surely it's happened at least once... unless the magic is why... but Muggles... Squibs?..." Hermione trailed off, muttering to herself about what the implications of magic itself causing identical twins might be.

Ginny looked back at Harry and asked, "Are you going to answer Hermione's questions?"

Harry winked at her. "Sorry, I don't know how to use magic to make twins. I just know how to make them the old-fashioned way."

Ginny glared at him while Hermione continued to stare into space; Hannah giggled. Neville merely shook his head in resignation.

Harry shrugged. "I've been, err, home-schooled, I guess. I don't know what year I'll be in if it's based on ability. But if it's just based on age, then I'll be a fifth year too." Harry looked at Neville. "Do they test for natural gifts before putting you in classes, or just let you find out as you go along?"

Neville shook his head. "I've never been tested, and I haven't heard about anyone else being tested. Have you been tested?"

Harry decided that that bit of information was definitely not getting out. "Err, no, I've just heard about it."

Hannah leaned back a bit before entering the conversation. "Why were you home-schooled? Everyone I know who got letters of acceptance to Hogwarts actually went to Hogwarts! Only the best students can attend! I guess there are other schools, but they're much smaller and don't have the reputation that Hogwarts does."

"Oy! Home-schooled! That means no Quidditch!" exclaimed Ron with a horrified look. "That's just wrong!"

Harry just shrugged in response. "It's a complicated story, and I'd rather not get into it. There were really good reasons for it, reasons that stopped being good recently, so... here I am." The abrupt closure to the line of inquiry seemed to put Hannah off but only seemed to perk Ron's and Ginny's interest.

"Ooooh," said Ginny. "You've got /secrets/... I can't wait to tell Fred and George. You'll be begging to tell them before they get finished!"

Ron laughed at her, and motioned for Harry to come closer.

"Fred and George are our brothers. They prank anyone, anytime, for any reason. And they pride themselves on finding out every secret..." Ron smirked at Harry before continuing. "If we just happen to let slip that you're holding major secrets, well, it's not like we would be doing anything to you, is it?"

Harry chuckled. "So, the Weasleys like to ferret out secrets? You know the ferret is part of the weasel family?" Most of the group laughed. "You're welcome to tell Fred and George. Just be sure to mention that if they want to pull pranks, I'm certainly not going to take it quietly. I will retaliate and escalate."

"Harry, Harry... you have no idea what you're getting into here." Neville shook his head sorrowfully. "I've been pranked by them ever since I started Hogwarts. What shall we put on your tombstone? 'Here lies Harry, he thought he could prank the Weasleys!' It doesn't sound good to me. What's your last name, by the way?"

The conversation stopped short when the sliding door to the compartment was thrown open after the merest suggestion of a knock. A pale blonde boy stood in the doorway.

"So, is it true? My father said that Harry Potter would finally be on the train to Hogwarts, and this is the last compartment to check. That would be you, would it?" the boy asked, looking directly at Harry after glancing around at the others.

Harry merely quirked one eyebrow, inviting further information. Everyone else in the compartment just stared in shock, either at the blonde or at Harry.

The blonde boy smiled broadly, knowing that Harry had yet to identify himself to the others. This further shocked the other students who thought the blonde incapable of anything but sneering. "I'm Malfoy. Draco Malfoy. I'd like to help you adjust to the Wizarding world. After all, there are those of us with more history in the Wizarding world than others, and I'd like to help you learn about all the traditions and important things. Interested?"

The blonde boy may have been smiling and speaking politely, but Harry could feel the undercurrents in his statements. Looking Draco in the eye, he asked, "And how would what you offer be any better than just reading A Modern Guide for Life in Magical Europe?"

Hermione shot Harry a funny look, but Harry was not about to admit to Draco that he made the book title up on the spot.

Draco smirked superiorly. "That old book? Surely you realize that it was written by someone with lesser knowledge than many of the older families possess. So you can see that it would be better to learn the truth about things in person. After all, very few families have as rich and as deep a history to draw on, when compared to ours." His slightly smug expression indicated that only an idiot would refuse such generosity. Harry just laughed under his breath at Malfoy's implication that he had read a fictitious book.

Draco then gestured to the two large boys behind him. "My friends, Crabbe and Goyle. They're also from proud families with a long history of noble traditions."

Harry studied the way the two boys positioned themselves and realized they were less friends and more muscle to be applied as needed. The two boys eyed Harry up and down before nodding briefly at him. Harry wondered if they were atypical in the magical world and actually knew how to fight rather than just look imposing. Most of the people who were magical that he had encountered in or out of fights had been completely clueless when faced with someone who knew what they were doing.

Harry looked back at Draco, "Let me see if I understand what you're saying. I'll sum up, shall I?" Draco gave a decisive nod, as though working with a particularly obedient dog. Harry gave him a bland smile. The others in the compartment felt quite worried that Harry was smiling, as it seemed likely that he would follow Draco out. After all, Harry never smiled like that with any of them.

"You, Draco Malfoy, are offering to tutor me in history and customs of the Wizarding world, to make sure I don't do something wrong." Harry paused while Draco nodded.

"You, Draco, son of a Death Eater, proponent of racism and bigotry, will offer to be my best mate in order to report back to your father and incompetent half-blood master what I'm doing and capable of." Draco started turning red as Crabbe and Goyle moved to stand next to Draco rather than behind him.

"You, slime ball extraordinaire, are suggesting that those of less than so-called pure blood and substantial wealth are barely worthy of serf status. So you're also offering to try and brainwash me into your tripe-laden beliefs. I think I'd have to say that's a big NO in reply."

Turning away from Draco, who had become nearly Weasley-hair-red in his embarrassment and anger, Harry looked at Ron and continued their conversation as if they hadn't been interrupted. "So, what were you saying about Quidditch, Ron?" Ron just continued to stare slack-jawed at Harry.

Draco hissed vehemently and gritted out, "You'll meet the same end as your parents, Potter. Your days are numbered. Just remember I offered you the chance to be great."

Harry just laughed at Draco and waved him off with his hand. "Run along, Draco. You're not even a credible threat, and your efforts at intimidation are quite feeble."

This proved too much for Draco, who gestured to Crabbe and Goyle. The two large boys stepped in front of Draco and started to reach for Harry.

Faster than anyone could register, Harry shot to his feet, forcing the two boys to stop and refocus on his new location.

"If any of you try to touch me or use magic on me, I am publicly warning you -- I will treat you as life-threatening attackers and respond accordingly. Back off." The cold tone of his voice would have given any reasonably aware person pause, but it just seemed to egg on the trio of Death Eater sympathizers.

Draco sneered. "Time for a lesson in humility, Potter."

Crabbe and Goyle each took one step forward to crowd Harry, but even before Ron, Ginny and Neville could reach for their wands, Harry exploded into action.

His right foot shot forward and around, slamming into Goyle's jaw and knocking him backward, crashing into Draco. As Crabbe was throwing a punch, Harry swept his right hand across his body, deflecting the punch and trapping it in his own hand, drawing Crabbe's arm to full extension. Harry's left forearm came down from his head in a hammer blow and slammed forward through Crabbe's elbow, pushing his elbow far beyond where it would normally stop. Crabbe's scream of pain as he fell to his knees, clutching his ruined elbow, was quickly shut off as Harry's left knee slammed into the back of Crabbe's head.

As Draco pushed Goyle off of him and both boys got to their feet, Harry was turning to continue his attack while Crabbe fell to the floor unconscious. Draco was drawing his wand as Harry planted his left foot, locked his hips, and shot his right heel in an extended thrust kick to the center of Goyle's face. The sickening crunch was accompanied by a bright spray of blood from where his nose and teeth used to be. As Goyle fell backward, bouncing off the wall, Draco's arm shot forward as he screamed "Diffindo!"

Harry spun slightly to Draco's left side as his left arm knocked Draco's wand hand toward the ceiling. The slicing curse cut a deep trench through the ceiling of the compartment as Harry slid his right palm under Draco's chin, forcing the head straight up and backward. Draco completely lost his balance and fell against the corridor wall, and Harry pulled the wand from Draco's hand with his left hand. Switching Draco's wand to his right hand, Harry laughed at Draco.

"Ooooh, look, the pureblood Death Eater sycophant thug who licks the arse of a half-blood tyrant got his own arse beat by a half-blood who didn't even need to use magic."

Several other students had rushed into the corridor as they heard the scream from Crabbe and the sounds of a major fight. They gaped in astonishment at the sight of the Prince of Slytherin leaning on the wall, completely embarrassed.

Draco surged up in anger and tried to throw a punch at Harry, but Harry blocked the attempt with his left arm while driving his right hand forward at Malfoy's chest. Draco's wand shot off sparks and started hissing as Harry used it like a spike to nail Draco's shoulder to the wall. The blonde boy started screaming in pain, eyes widening in horror as Harry then snapped off the half of the wand sticking out, tossing it at the boy's feet.

"Here's your lesson, Death Eater-in-training. Don't try to attack me again, or I promise you, I will kill you. Enjoy the rest of the trip, /Draco/." Harry stalked back into his compartment and threw the bodies of Crabbe and Goyle out of it. Glaring at Draco's piteous moans, Harry grunted in irritation. "If you don't shut up, I'll be forced to magically silence you. Suck it up, nancy boy, and take it like a man." Draco immediately ceased groaning and just sat sniffling and breathing heavily. Harry then slammed the door closed, effectively scaring off any would-be questioners.

Wiping some of Draco's blood off his hands and onto his pants, he looked back at the very shocked people in the compartment, who were in various stages of immobility and half out of their seats. Harry casually sat back down. "What were you saying about Quidditch, Ron?"

"You... you... you're Harry Potter?" Ron asked in a whisper.

Harry just sighed, looked at them all, and flipped his hair up to expose the scar.

"Blimey!" muttered Ron. Ginny said something that suspiciously sounded like "Eeep!" while Neville just leaned away from Harry. Hermione's eyes became bright and focused on Harry, while Hannah was pale as a ghost.

"I've read about you! You're in-" Hermione began.

"It's all bullocks, Hermione. Just because you read it doesn't make it true. I've read most of what the main books have said about me, and it's all fiction. Anything you read about me specifically was entirely made up." Harry stared at her while she slowly reddened.

Sighing again, Harry concentrated on the scenery passing by the window. "Look, we were getting along fine before you found out I'm some sort of mythical savior. No one really knows why that event happened, and I don't think it's right for me to take credit for my parents' sacrifice. So can you all please just forget all that Boy-Who-Lived nonsense?"

A rather heavy silence settled over the compartment. Harry sighed in resignation. He just knew that actually living in the magical world was going to be very challenging to his limited patience and tolerance for stupidity. One of these days he was going to have to let go of his frustrations, but not today.

"Err, why didn't you come to Hogwarts before?" Hermione asked slowly.

Harry just shrugged and repeated himself. "I already told you that it's complicated. Maybe someday we'll talk about it, but maybe we won't." Harry decided the safest place to rest his eyes was on the ceiling; that way, he was less aware of the intense scrutiny of the other people in the compartment.

"Harry?" Ginny asked quietly.


"How did you learn to fight like that?" Harry could hear the indrawn breath of several of the students.

"I've been in training for years. It's something in general called martial arts, but my particular fighting style is aikijujitsu. It's what the traditional Japanese samurai trained in a long time ago." The silence permeated the compartment.

"Harry?" Ginny started again.


"Is it possible... uh, would you consider... uh, teaching that?" Ginny paused before continuing in a rush. "I'd really like to learn."

"Why?" Harry asked, still staring absently at the gash in the ceiling left from Draco's curse. Based on the depth and length, Harry suspected it would have been fatal to more than just him had he not knocked Draco's arm out of the way.

A sudden rustling of shifting bodies caused Harry to look back at the other students. Everyone seemed distinctly uncomfortable. Ginny was staring at the floor, and Hermione looked a little scared. Ron was clearly trying to figure out how to talk about something when Neville spoke up.

"There have been a lot of ... altercations ... over the past four years. There is a professor who is ... less than fair, and he's head of Slytherin house. No matter how physically aggressive his students get, he won't punish them and the Headmaster ignores the problem." Neville shrugged awkwardly. "If we try to fight back with magic, we get in trouble. A couple of times when we've ... been physical in response, we haven't been reprimanded. Problem is, none of us really know how to fight very well."

Harry looked closely at the eyes of each student. He saw mostly despair and frustration, but there was a glimmer of hope. "You want me to teach just you guys?" Harry asked.

Hermione shuffled her feet and cautiously replied, "Well, Draco and his crew kind of run over everyone... Would you consider teaching others who need to learn too?"

Harry put his head in his hands and sighed again. "Look, I haven't agreed to teach anyone yet. I'll think about it, right? But if I see any kind of crap going on, I'll definitely put a stop to it. I think I can handle Draco and his friends. If Snape is such a problem, he's likely to be hard to work around. I'll think on how to do that. Good enough for now?"

Ginny smiled weakly. "We'll ask you again in a few days, shall we?"

Harry nodded briefly. "Do you want to tell me just how far this problem has gone?" he asked.

Now everyone except Harry was looking at the floor. Harry decided that he would just have to wait them out and resumed his study of the ceiling damage.

"Well," Ron started quietly. "A lot of us have learned to travel in groups. The - uh - pure-blood supporters are left alone, but most everyone else..." Ron tapered off, looking out the window.

Neville picked up where Ron left off. "There are rumors of beatings, or .. ahh .. overly affectionate advances, you know?" Harry looked at Neville impassively. Neville felt a little ashamed about the situation. "We've complained to the professors, to the heads of our houses, but nothing really changes. And last year, well, people who complained wound up making a lot of trips to the Hospital Wing." Neville rubbed absently at his left arm, which made Harry think he had suffered some of the more aggressive behavior directly.

Harry looked directly at Ginny, who was still looking at the floor. "Ginny." She glanced briefly at Harry before averting her brown eyes again. "Ginny, look at me." Ginny reluctantly lifted her gaze to Harry, her face blushing slightly. "Why haven't you fought back in other ways? Ambush? Physically beating the crap out of them? Sabotage? Something?"

Ron opened his mouth, as did Hermione, but Harry shot his hand out, palm facing them. Harry only wanted to hear Ginny's response.

A sharp rapping on the compartment door caused everyone to look at the door, where a pretty Asian girl was looking through the glass. Ginny got up and opened the door. "Cho," she said while nodding briefly.

Cho stepped in and glanced at everyone before settling her gaze on Harry. "Err, Harry Potter, right?" she asked hesitantly.

Harry glanced at the shiny badge on her robe and realized that she was some kind of authority figure among students. Nodding briefly, he waited to find out what was coming.

"Err, look, regardless of how I feel about it, I've been told to collect you for what you did to Draco and his goons. You've got to come with me, okay?"

Harry shrugged, waved vaguely at the other students and followed Cho to the head of the train.

As the door was closing, Harry heard Hermione asking Ron, "What were those silver emblems on the shoulders of his robes...?" Harry smirked, looking forward to how the Headmaster was going to explain to his students what was coming.

The staff was already aware of his arrival, and Harry was pleased that some of his preparations would be coming in handy within hours. He was mildly surprised Draco had ignored the embroidered mace on his left shoulder and the dagger on the right, given his prattling about traditions and history.

As Harry passed compartments, he took note of the many grinning faces. Several students would look up as he passed to give tentative nods or smiles. A pair of red-headed boys shot him a thumbs-up gesture and a salute.

"Uh, Cho, was it?" Harry asked the pretty girl. She looked at Harry and nodded. "I thought people were anxious or hesitant when I watched them milling on the platform, but now they're all smiling. Why? It's more than just being happy about going back to school, isn't it?"

Cho laughed quietly and said just one word. "Malfoy."

"Ah." Harry reflected a few more moments before realizing that the new train car they had stepped into seemed to be filled with green-trimmed students, and they were all either outright hostile in appearance or carefully blank in expression. "The Slytherins seem rather concentrated," Harry noted as they left the car.

"They don't believe in mingling with inferiors," Cho replied. Then she stopped outside of the very first compartment on the train. "You're going to be portkeyed to Hogwarts with Malfoy and his two goons. Professor Snape is waiting for you in there. Good luck." She smiled briefly at him. Harry nodded at her and stepped into the compartment.

A tall but stooped professor with matted black hair that looked rather unclean glared at Harry as he entered. "Potter... We meet at last," he said in an icy tone, a deep sneer on his face. "Attacking other students and not even at school yet. I shall see you expelled for this, I think."

Harry merely yawned at the Professor, under whelmed at the attempt at intimidation. As Harry continued to gaze impassively at the man, he suddenly felt a brush against his mental shields. Yelling inwardly in triumph, Harry merely raised one eyebrow and waited for the man to realize he was doomed to failure. After all, Harry had shields constructed after extensive training by the best tutors money could buy for five years now. Nothing could get in; even multiple attacker scenarios were useless.

Glaring hard at Harry, Snape gave up the attempt and pointed to the rope which connected the three injured and unconscious students. "Take hold of the portkey. We're going to Hogwarts now."

Harry shifted his gaze to the tall man with a shaved head and dark skin standing in the corner. Snape flicked his eyes in the same direction. "Auror Shacklebolt will be accompanying us. You didn't think a vicious assault on students would go unpunished, did you?"

Harry lazily grabbed the rope and watched as Snape waited for the Auror to touch it. Snape then tapped his wand against it, whisking them all straight to the Hospital Wing.

Harry landed lightly on his feet and took a quick glance around the room. The matron of the Hospital Wing was standing nearby and quickly levitated the three injured boys into beds to begin working on them.

Snape sneered at Harry and pointed to the doors. "We're going to the Headmaster, Potter. Move, or I'll have to force you." Snape smirked at Harry, but Harry merely rolled his eyes and gestured for Snape to precede him.

Snape turned sharply, his cloak billowing behind him and stalked through the doors. Harry followed at a quick pace, hearing the tall Auror fall in behind him, and started pondering on how to manage Snape.

Considering what Ginny and the others told him, Snape was a major part of the problem with characters like Malfoy. Either by directly supporting or indirectly turning a blind eye, it was people like Snape who encouraged the blood purism dogma that was poisoning the magical world in Europe. The man's casual use of Legilimency was definitely illegal, and Harry was curious just how far he could get Snape to go before hanging himself with his own rope. At the very least, Harry felt he could make a hobby out of finding ways to force Snape into better behavior, a sudden stroke from stress, or maybe just prison.

The trio entered the offices of the Headmaster, who nodded briefly to acknowledge their presence. Dumbledore looked at Harry for a long moment then pointed to the lone chair in front of his desk. As Harry sat down, Dumbledore pointed to each person in the room in turn. "Mr. Potter, these are Professor Sprout, Head of Hufflepuff House; Professor Snape, who you have met, is Head of Slytherin House; Professor Flitwick, Head of Ravenclaw House; and Professor McGonagall, Head of Gryffindor. Behind you is Senior Auror Shacklebolt, who is here as an official witness and, if necessary, to press charges and arrest anyone that will require trial or expulsion. Is this clear?" The twinkle Harry had heard about was nowhere evident in the Headmaster's eyes. Harry nodded his acceptance.

The Headmaster surveyed Harry and then continued in a very serious tone. "Mr. Potter, you are being accused of attempted murder on three students. If you are unable to defend your actions, you will be charged and arrested."

Snape looked ready for murder. "Headmaster! There were witnesses! Why is there even a discussion?! Potter should be expelled, his wand snapped, and charged with attempted murder!"

The Headmaster glanced briefly at Snape before looking at the Auror. "Kingsley, as Head of the Wizengamot, I am asking you to commit your memories of these events to a judicial pensieve for later examination by the full Wizengamot for any trials that will be necessary. Do you agree to this?"

"Yes, Professor Dumbledore." Harry was mildly surprised that the tall Auror had a lighter voice than was expected - rather than the rumbling bass he expected from such a physically powerful appearance; it was milder and, in some ways, almost melodious.

"Very well. First, Mr. Potter, I would like to hear the events that transpired from your point of view. Please be aware that you will be subject to questioning, and all of our conversations may be used in any courtroom actions resulting from today's meeting."

Harry casually surveyed the people in the room. Sighing slightly, Harry thought it was time to start cleaning up problems. "Before I do that, I would like to get on the official record as to what Hogwarts will do to any student who attempts to violently assault another student. This is outside of whatever the Ministry or law may do. The Slytherin head indicated expulsion and wand snapping. Does everyone in this room agree with that?"

Dumbledore looked momentarily surprised before his features settled back into in a blank mask. Each of the heads of House agreed in turn that any student would be expelled and their wand snapped if found guilty for such an offense. Snape seemed to be positively gloating.

"Okay, now is that just for today's little scrimmage, or does that apply to all students at all times when officially in the care of Hogwarts, be it the train, field trips, classrooms, and what not?" Harry was looking forward to using this conversation many times in the future.

Again the various professors and headmaster all agreed with this comment.

"Excellent! Then I'm happy to tell you first that I am innocent of such charges, and that I expect to see Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle expelled with broken wands shortly!" Harry sat back and smiled in satisfaction

Snape lost whatever composure he was holding on to. "What?! Potter, your delusions or fancy stories won't save you. We have over a dozen witnesses to your assault on Draco Malfoy!"

Dumbledore held a hand up to quiet Snape and looked carefully at Harry. "Do you have any evidence of this?"

Harry smirked at Snape, winked at Dumbledore, and reached into his robes to withdraw a small, silvery orb no larger than a Muggle golf ball. "This is one of my many sensory monitors. I generally have one running at all times. As you all know, this device will capture everything I see and hear in an unalterable format and is admissible for courtroom evidence." Harry paused here to enjoy Snape's rather sallow complexion growing even paler. "Few people recall that these also record magical activities, such as the signature of spells cast. Correct me if I'm wrong, Auror Shacklebolt, but don't most Aurors carry these while on duty and turn them in at the end of every shift?"

Shacklebolt stirred slightly. "Senior Aurors do, yes. Most junior Aurors do not, as the time it takes to review so many is too much for too little reward. The exception to the rule are those Aurors on special assignments, such as investigations. We use them because unlike pensieve memories, they cannot be altered or tampered with in any manner that doesn't visibly alter the sphere."

Harry nodded politely to the Auror. Snape was now chalk white, and Dumbledore had some of his rumored twinkling in his eyes. Harry handed the sphere to the Auror and asked him, "Would you please verify that this remains unaltered and has not been tampered with?"

The Auror spent several minutes examining the sphere and casting a series of spells on it. It was clear to everyone that all the tests came back negative and that the sphere was in perfect condition. Shacklebolt handed it back to Harry. "It's fine. No tampering has taken place. My own sensory monitor has recorded these tests, and I assume you'll be allowing me to copy yours when this meeting is over."

Harry nodded in affirmation. Pulling out his wand, he set the sphere on the edge of Dumbledore's desk and then looked directly into the Headmaster's eyes. "I started this recording when I arrived outside the entrance to the King's Cross station. I will now play it back. I ask your indulgence, as I've never learned how to speed up the playback, so unless someone here knows how to skip to the relevant bits, we're going to have to watch about 30 minutes of unrelated activity before the relevant events transpired."

Dumbledore pulled out his own wand and smiled at Harry. "Allow me, Mr. Potter. I can adjust the playback rate. Simply tell me when the events will begin to unfold." With a flick and jab of his wand, the sphere projected a scene of bustling Muggles in front of King's Cross station. As Dumbledore began making erratic motions with his wand, the playback accelerated to nearly ten times normal rate.

Harry watched passively until the train got underway, then motioned to the Headmaster. "If you could slow it down a bit, it won't be long now." Dumbledore dropped the playback rate to a mere two or three times normal, and Harry tried to recall the conversation on the train. "Right about now, sir," Harry said, "if you would release it...?"

Dumbledore gave a final flick, and the sphere returned to a normal projection of what Harry was seeing as well as hearing. The assembled people watched in silence as Draco and his followers attacked Harry despite his public warning and how Harry defeated each of them soundly.

When Draco surged up to continue the attack and Harry drove the wand into his shoulder, Professor Sprout let out a short gasp. Right after playback-Harry slammed the door to the compartment closed, Harry looked at Dumbledore. "Please stop it here but don't reset the playback. There will be more we need to discuss after we deal with your expulsion of Draco and his mates."

Snape was gaping at Harry and Dumbledore like a fish out of water. Shacklebolt showed no reaction, but Harry had the distinct impression that he was privately entertained. Dumbledore was closely watching Harry, and while his oft rumored twinkle was not apparent in its legendary brightness, there was no doubt that some of that twinkle was definitely discernable.

"Well," the Headmaster started, "it seems that Mr. Potter was defending himself from a vicious attack. It seems to me that Mr. Potter is correct - based on our earlier agreement, Mr. Malfoy, Mr. Crabbe, and Mr. Goyle are facing expulsion and wand snapping. Does anyone disagree with this?"

Harry looked up. "I do. I also expect full charges to be pressed for attempted murder by at least Draco on six counts - if his curse had hit anyone, it would have in all probability been fatal, and based on the damage, it would have taken more than one person out."

Snape was clearly fuming at this point. "Come now, Potter, that curse couldn't have been fatal."

Harry merely pointed to the paused playback which showed a deep gash across the metal ceiling of the train compartment. "Is that not a two-inch wide and several-foot-long gash in metal I see created from his curse?" Harry looked contemptuously at Snape. "Auror Shacklebolt, do you agree that at a minimum I can press charges of six counts of attempted murder on Mr. Malfoy and attempted assault of my person on Mr. Crabbe and Mr. Goyle?"

Shacklebolt simply nodded his head. Dumbledore look resigned to the situation. "Very well, Mr. Potter, I hereby declare those three students expelled and for their wands to be snapped. Moreover, I remand them to the custody of Auror Shacklebolt for processing as soon as this meeting is over. Is there anything else related to these events we need to deal with, or may we release Auror Shacklebolt at this time?" Dumbledore was looking expectantly at Harry, as though there was nothing else to be discussed.

Harry looked at Snape with a large, fake smile. "Oh, there is one other thing. Auror Shacklebolt, is it still the law that any attempt to use Legilimency on another without consent or a direct order from the Wizengamot is an offence punishable by at least a 1,000 galleon fine and one week in Azkaban?"

Snape became motionless, as the Auror gave Harry a hard stare. "It is. Why?"

Harry smiled even more broadly at Snape. "Is it also still true that to perform these acts upon a minor without said authorization or a legal guardian's consent makes the fine 10,000 galleons, the prison sentence six months, and an automatic restraining order of 50 meters for the perpetrator on all minors when not accompanied by an Auror guard?"

Snape was now frantically looking at Dumbledore, who was frowning sharply at Harry. Shacklebolt, however, had no choice but to reply, as his own sensory monitor was activated upon entering Hogwarts so that all of these events would be used for evidence. "Yes. Are you accusing someone of these acts?"

Harry looked right at Dumbledore before nodding his head. "Professor Snape attempted Legilimency on me when I was taken to him on the train. I hereby officially declare that I am pressing those very charges against him. If you would be so kind as to advance the playback, you will see the evidence in the sensory monitor. As you all should know, Legilimency will cause a unique azure blue aura to appear around the caster and an aura of gold around the recipient. You will find that Professor Snape did attempt Legilimency upon my person without warning or consent, and that I am clearly a minor as all the world is aware."

The silence in the Headmaster's office was complete. Even the phoenix in the corner was motionless. Dumbledore looked at Harry and almost begged him with his eyes. "Mr. Potter, are you sure you wish to press such charges against Professor Snape? He has many duties, many of which simply cannot be replaced by another."

"No one man is that important, Headmaster. I am pressing the charges. I ask you again, as Chief Wizard of the Wizengamot, to advance the playback to the point where your Professor Snape attempted Legilimency upon me and to bear witness to his unlawful behavior."

With a resigned sigh and a cautionary look at Snape, Dumbledore adjusted the playback on the sphere until everyone could easily see the indicated auras and the complete evidence damning Snape.

Auror Shacklebolt stepped up to Snape and extended his hand. "Severus Snape, I hereby charge you with unwarranted mental assault upon a minor without provocation or authorization. Hand me your wand, and I'll accept your word of compliance to accompany me along with the students already being charged."

Snape looked at Harry with pure loathing and such profound hate that Harry was surprised the phoenix failed to react in any way. Handing his wand to Shacklebolt, Snape stared hard at Dumbledore before moving toward the door.

"One moment," called Dumbledore. "Is there anything else, Mr. Potter?"

Harry shook his head. "No. Auror Shacklebolt, please make a copy of my monitor, as I wish to retain the original in my possession for safekeeping."

Shacklebolt extracted a second sensory monitor, placed it next to Harry's and cast a short charm. The new sphere glowed bright yellow for nearly two minutes before it returned to a silvery color. Picking up his copy, Shacklebolt nodded to everyone and stood by Snape at the door.

"Mr. Potter," Dumbledore began, "if you would please wait here for a few minutes. I must accompany Auror Shacklebolt to the Hospital Wing to hand out the punishment to your attackers, and then I will be back. There is much I wish to discuss with you. Do you mind? It will be some time yet before the other students arrive."

Harry shook his head indicating he was willing to wait. Dumbledore looked at the other professors. "Minerva, as Deputy Headmistress, I need you to join me. If the rest of you wouldn't mind waiting here, we will return shortly. Feel free to ask the house elves for refreshments."


To make it clear, I have tampered with the birthdays of Ginny and Ron compared to JKR's canon - yes, they are both in fifth year.

A big thank you to my genius betas who have valiantly strived to make this story better, despite my crafty attempts to make it incomprehensible. Immeasurable thanks to cwarbeck and Chreechree.

FicWad's story import also seems to really dislike my source files. Maybe it's because I use Linux. Hmmm.

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