Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Black Vengeance - 1

Of Proposed Expansions and a chat with Hermione

by maidros 9 reviews

Harry discusses the expansion of the DA and has a heart to heart talk with Hermione.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Harry, Hermione, Theodore Nott - Published: 2007-01-31 - Updated: 2007-02-01 - 2457 words

Black Vengeance - 3

Of Proposed Expansions and a chat with Hermione

Nott cut in, "That reminds me - are you planning to expand the DA?"

Daphne nodded, "Many more Slytherins will join now." Her lips quirked, "Your stock is particularly high at the moment. People are really beginning to see you as the only possible obstacle to the Dark Lord."

"I don't care what they think! They will see me as the hero until the next time the Prophet makes me out to be an attention seeking brat."

Nott nodded thoughtfully, "Quite true. Which is why you should act when you are the darling of the masses. Public sentiment is muddle-headed, eminently unsound, and rarely lasts two weeks, but any alliances you make in that time are likely to last longer."

"Why should I care about making alliances?", snarled Harry.

"Potter, the Dark Lord is gathering an army, and you are going to need one if you are to face him. The only way to do that is to recruit when you are strong."

Harry sighed, "I am not popular in Slytherin. How many of your dorm mates will join me, Theodore?"

"Whom are we targeting for now?"

"Fifth and sixth years", returned Harry thinking carefully. "The seventh years will be too busy with their post-Hogwarts plans, and the lower years would only slow us down for any meaningful training over summer. Don't think Malfoy will join us, do you?" he added sardonically.

Nott winced, but nodded, "It is true that chances are not very bright among the fifth year Slytherin boys. Of my four dorm mates, the only one even remotely possible is Zabini, and he is no picnic either. He probably won't take any sides. Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle all probably have their Dark Marks already; if not, they will be getting them pretty soon. However, you overlook how much Malfoy is hated among the lower years - even among the sixth years, to an extent. With Snape's help, he was lording it over all the others in the Slytherin Common room - most of the people hate him, except for a few that are hardcore supporters of the Dark Lord. Among sixth years, there are probably a couple you can get on your side; Terrence Higgs is definitely willing to join your side - he refused to help Umbridge's goon squad and got his arm ripped for his trouble. Urquhart hates you too much to join, I am afraid - you have beaten Slytherin too many times at Quidditch. That leaves Septimus Westway and Jonathan Vaisey - they are rather iffy, but a definite possibility."

"You are much more popular among the girls, Harry", smiled Daphne. "Among my dorm mates, only Pansy Parkinson is a lost cause - she is too sweet on Malfoy. Tracey Davis is pretty likely to join since her family has never had connections with the Dark side - she is a half blood. Millicent Bulstrode is a borderline case - I know she gets a nasty reputation, but she is also a half blood and is most likely following Malfoy just to keep any harassment out of the way."

"Among the sixth years, I am not so sure. Andromachne Sweet is the only one who is likely to join. Lizzy Cameron may just agree to join, but Camerons have traditionally held themselves above all us lesser mortals. That leaves Paula Collingwood, Electra Linton, and Melissa Caruthers - Paula and Melissa have Death Eaters or dark side sympathisers among their immediate relatives. I would not approach them willingly. Electra - she is a strange creature. She has never spoken much with anyone, but we can try, I suppose."

"How soon can you find out about your House mates?"

"Do you mind Malfoy, Snape or Dumbledore catching wind of this?"

Harry considered the question. He did not really think Dumbledore would be happy if he, Harry, went away from Privet Drive to practise defence spells over summer. No, in fact, he would have to find a way to get around any of his Order shadowers if he was to do anything worthwhile. He answered, "No, try to keep a low profile. Once school starts again, we can go public with our idea. But for now, talk only to those you are certain of. We have four days before the term ends. We will have one last DA meeting on the morning of the day we leave."

"Very well, Potter. Goodnight, then." With that, both Nott and Greengrass rose and disappeared towards the dungeons.

"Well, Hermione, it seems that you have got your wish of uniting all the four Houses", smiled Harry, as he watched the retreating backs of the two Slytherins. "I would never have believed that Slytherins would be offering us their support."

"Whom are they representing, Harry? Do we want Death Eaters with us"

Harry thought for a moment - one of those moments when a decision is irrevocably made, all based on a hunch. He had reviewed his entire time with Hermione and had found very few reasons to suspect her of being Dumbledore's agent. Praying to whatever Gods that watched over him that Hermione was not already reporting to Dumbledore, he answered, "Come with me, Hermione. Let us take a walk - we need to talk."

Harry did not explain anything until they had left the castle, and had moved down to the shore of the lake. Once there, they sat down on the edge of the water and Harry cast a silencing charm and began talking - he had bottled his feelings and emotions for too long and he simply poured his heart out. Harry did not hold back anything of significance once he started talking to Hermione. He told her of his connection with Voldemort, of the blood protections at Privet Drive, of Dumbledore's manipulations of his life, of the reasons behind his having to study Occlumency, and Snape taking advantage of those lessons to batter Harry's mind. Harry broke down when he spoke of the prophecy, and wept into Hermione's shoulder. She held him close while he sobbed, and finally, he composed himself as he finished, "Dumbledore said he has been watching me closely, Hermione. I think he knows everything of what was done to me by the Dursleys. Why did no one intervene when they were torturing me, Hermione? Do you think he wants me tortured by the Dursleys?"

Hermione bit her lip, "Harry, I have wondered often why no one bothered to check on you at the Dursleys. Even if Dumbledore did not bother, there are plenty of witches and wizards - not necessarily hostile to you - who would have loved to visit you, simply because of what you are. Why did you never get any fan mail?"

Harry stared at her - it was true. He remembered the first time he had visited Leaky Cauldron - he had been swamped by nearly everyone around. Why had no one cared to visit him at Privet Drive? "Do you think no witch or wizard can visit me without the permission of the Headmaster? Owls to me are being intercepted?"

Hermione shrugged, and Harry continued, "Hermione, do you realise what this means? Dumbledore knew of the prophecy since my birth, and yet he made no attempts to train me to face Voldemort. I don't think he has any plans to prepare me - he said nothing about any coaching over summer. How can I ever face Voldemort without knowing how to duel?"

Hermione gazed mutely at him, horror in her eyes. She was seeing his burden in its stark proportions and it terrified her. Harry continued, "Dumbledore has manipulated my entire life, Hermione. Most of my life has occurred as he arranged. He left me with the Dursleys for ten years so that I would have no information of the wizarding world. Even when I came to Hogwarts and met Quirrell and Voldemort for the first time, he ensured I would have no special skills. In fact, if I have survived in Hogwarts for the last five years, it is due to the help from Ron and you, not because of Dumbledore - it is in spite of him. The meeting with the Weasleys in King's Cross was most likely no coincidence - why would Mrs. Weasley speak the words Platform nine and three quarters loudly in the middle of muggles, after Hagrid conveniently forgot to tell me how to get on the platform. Mrs. Weasley has never done it again after that incident. No, he arranged for me to befriend the Weasleys - the only question is whether they are willingly helping in manipulating me. Who else around me is working for Dumbledore? Whom can I trust?"

Hermione saw that Harry was sliding away into deep paranoia and it broke her heart to see him in misery. She needed to restore his trust in his friends soon. He needed them and they needed him. If she failed, it was very likely he would try to go alone against Voldemort, flee the wizarding world, or in the most unlikely and worst case, simply make a deal with Voldemort. She drew her wand and said, "Harry, take the end of the wand in your hand."

Surprised, Harry acquiesced. Hermione spoke quietly and clearly, "I, Hermione Jane Granger, do swear by my life and magic, that I shall speak only the truth to Harry James Potter. I have never betrayed and shall never betray any of his secrets to anyone without his permission." A flash of blue erupted from the tip of the wand, wrapping itself between their hands For a moment, both of them glowed an eerie blue, framed clearly against the darkening sky. There was a moment of total silence; Harry was gaping at Hermione in stupefaction. Finally he found his tongue and spoke, "Are you mad, Hermione? Do you realise what you just did?"

"Harry, I chose your side five years ago when you saved my life from the troll. I owe you a life debt and my present oath could add no more to what I already owe you. Besides, Harry, you need to trust someone - you cannot push everyone away."

"No! I cannot let you come with me ..", began Harry.

"Harry! What makes you think I am going to let you go alone against Voldemort."

"Hermione, it is too dangerous. Look, you were almost killed in the Ministry. I am sorry I led you into Voldemort's trap ..."

"Harry, you did not lead me. I chose to follow you there .."

"Hermione, I could never forgive myself if something happened to you", burst out Harry. "I can take chances, but I cannot put you in danger."

"But I am already in danger, Harry. I chose your side five years ago, and nothing I can do or undo now will change that. If leaving you meant I would not be in danger, it would make sense. The Death Eaters will hunt me down because I am a `lowly mudblood'."

"But, Hermione .."

"Harry James Potter! Why do you think I will be in less danger elsewhere, than with you?"

Harry wrung his hands in agony and frustration, "I cannot bear to see you hurt, Hermione."

"So, let me get what you are saying - `I will go alone after V-Voldemort and all his minions, and get myself killed, and being dead, it will not matter to me what happens to the others.' Is that it?"

Harry groaned as Hermione continued, "Getting yourself killed will not save us, Harry. You need a plan to fight the Death Eaters."

Harry sighed in defeat, but nodded, "I have been thinking about this over the last few days, Hermione. I have been worried about the effectiveness of the Order. Their attempts to persuade the giants failed. They could hardly convince anyone that Voldemort had returned. All this year they have been waiting and watching, doing nothing. In fact, it was the interview you arranged in the Quibbler that was far more compelling. They were supposedly guarding the prophecy, but both ourselves and the Death Eaters were able to get to the Room of Prophecy without difficulty. Why did we meet no Order guards when we went to the Ministry? In fact, they have done nothing right at all. I cannot but wonder if the Order is really up to the task of taking on the Death Eaters."

Hermione looked appalled, "Harry, if we cannot trust the Order, then what .."

Harry shrugged, "I am open to suggestions. That is one reason why I did not refuse Nott outright - I am willing to listen to what those defectors from the Death Eaters have to say. But I am not sure we can trust or depend on the Order."

"But, Harry, it could be dangerous."

"I agree, but there are not many options for us now We can at least listen to their proposal."

Hermione bit her lip, "Harry, about Ron ..."

"What about him?"

"Don't you think you are judging him too harshly, Harry." Harry opened his mouth to protest furiously, but Hermione cut him off, "Let us assume you are right about Mr. and Mrs. Weasley working on Dumbledore's orders. That does not mean that Ron is spying for Dumbledore. He has been loyal to you for the last five years, Harry. He has nearly died for us. And Ginny - she owes you a life debt. I don't think she would betray you to Dumbledore."

Harry retorted, "Maybe, Hermione. But am I justified in asking him to make a choice between his parents and me? The Weasleys have already lost Percy to this choice."

"Harry, I think you should leave the choice to him."

"I will think about it, Hermione."

"Come, now, Harry, you can give him and Ginny a chance and watch them. If they prove faithless, you can throw them out."

"I will think about it, but I am making no promises."

"Now, Harry, about what Nott said about Mme. Bones .."

"Yes, we need to warn Neville and Susan."

"Are you sure we don't need to warn the Order? Maybe they could help .."

"I am not going to Dumbledore", snarled Harry.

"Okay, maybe we can just tell McGonagall. Just that we know from an anonymous source that there will be an attack on the Longbottoms and Mme. Bones. Also, we could talk about some protection for my parents."

Harry wanted to refuse, but the thought of Hermione's parents being defenceless against the Death Eaters stopped him cold. He owed them some protection, and the only group capable of providing it in the short term was the Order. He sighed, "Alright, we will just warn McGonagall."

"May I borrow Hedwig, Harry?"

"You want to warn your parents?" At Hermione's nod, Harry consented.

"Thanks, Harry", smiled Hermione. "Let us now return to the castle."
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