Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Second Fiddle

Phoenix Burning

by Crucio_Crusade 3 reviews

Harry Potter is aware of the wizarding world. The only problem is he grew up apart from it. When he explored the magical world, he found danger, wonder, and friendship.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Drama - Characters: Harry,Hermione,Neville,Voldemort - Warnings: [!] [V] [?] - Published: 2007-07-01 - Updated: 2007-08-15 - 5322 words

Disclaimer: This fan fiction was based on the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. I do not claim ownership on any character created by J.K. Rowling, and no money is collected from this story. This is one way I show appreciation to J.K. Rowling's works. Other names or places on this story are fictional. Any similarity to actual name is purely coincidental.

Chapter 25: Phoenix Burning

Back at Hogwarts, Hermione and George had reached Snape's office at the dungeon. They had been trying different unlocking spells to gain entrance, but none of them worked. George had one last idea, and he suggested it to Hermione.

"No, George!" Hermione said emphatically. "We will not blow up the door. We have to think of something else." She went back to studying the door, and considering some options.

"But, we have tried everything, Hermione," George said, frustrated. "We could be here the whole summer, and not find the unlocking spell. You know Snape as much as I do. He is a lying, conniving, sneaky, judgmental, greasy git of a Death Eater. It won't be easy to break his lock, not by us, anyway."

Hermione knew George had a point. They needed that Veritaserum fast. "You win George. Go blow it up," she said with resignation.

George's face was a caricature of emotions. There were expressions of joy, excitement, mischief, and determination all at once. "Glad you see it my way, Hermione. Now, since this has never been attempted before inside Hogwarts, I suggest we make it loud, noisy, and colorful. In short, it has to be spectacular. Fred and I missed our chance to make a grand exit during our seventh year. Remember Umbridge?" He saw Hermione nodded. "Yeah, we should have blown up something then. Leave a mark that will be remembered for all eternity." His eyes had a faraway look. "Wait here. I'll go get the explosives from our secret stash. We knew they would come in handy someday." He hurriedly walked away, sometimes jumping and pirouetting.

Hermione watched George disappeared round the corner. She was having second thoughts already, especially when she saw that manic gleam in George's eyes. Perhaps, she shouldn't have agreed so easily. Well, it was too late now. With nothing else to do but wait, her thoughts went to Harry. Worry, anger, fear, hopelessness, all the feelings she was trying to suppress surfaced. Her friends might think of her as unfeeling, when she didn't become over emotional in a situation such as this. But, it was far from the truth. Inside, her emotions were in turmoil. She was just good at hiding it. "Keep a stiff upper lip, Hermione," her father used to say. She immediately turned to the door, when she heard it open. Standing on the other side was a wizard she had never seen before. He was wearing nightclothes.

"Well hello there," the wizard said amiably. "I'm sorry I didn't hear you. I was asleep. Is there something I can do for you?" Hermione didn't answer. She just looked at the wizard with suspicion. The stout wizard laughed lightly. "Where are my manners? I haven't even introduced myself. My name is Horace Slughorn." Slughorn bowed slightly. "Are you a student here?" Hermione nodded uncertainly. "Then, you may call me Professor Slughorn. I am your new Potions teacher." Hermione continued to look with distrust at the new professor. "Or, I will be this coming September. Please, come in, come in. Don't be shy." The stout professor stood at one side of the door. Hermione, against her better judgment, complied. The new Hogwarts' Potions Master led her to one of his office chairs, before taking a seat himself. "Now, my dear, what can I do for you?"

Hermione had chosen a seat with the door facing her. "I'm so sorry to bother you Professor Slughorn. I thought this was Professor Snape's office."

"That's quite alright, my dear. Few people know of my posting as the new Potions Master. Tell me, why are you here?" Slughorn inquired curiously.

Hermione hesitated for a moment. She didn't know if the new professor could be trusted. It was doubtful he would have a ready truth potion. But, it wouldn't hurt to find out. She hoped. "Mrs. Potter sent me. She wanted a vial of /Veritaserum/."

"Is that so?" Slughorn looked at her dubiously. "And, where is Mrs. Potter now? Why didn't she come herself?"

"She's guarding Professor Snape. He betrayed Professor Dumbledore." Hermione saw a look of surprise crossed Professor Slughorn's face. "I know it sounds unbelievable. But, you can ask Mrs. Potter yourself. She's at the hospital wing right now with Madam Pomfrey."

For a moment, Slughorn gave her a considering look. It looked like he didn't believe her. Then, he stood up, and walked to the fireplace. In no time at all, he was talking to Mrs. Potter. She explained everything to the astounded new Potions Master. Hermione was relieved, when Slughorn willingly handed her the needed potion. It seemed Snape wasn't the only one who secretly kept a Veritaserum on hand.

Before Slughorn opened the door to show her out, he turned to Hermione. "That boy, Harry Evans, saved my life. I owe him a life debt. If there's anything more I can do.../anything/, please let me know."

"I will, professor. And, thank you for your help," Hermione answered gratefully. She was dying to ask how the new Potions Master owed Harry a life debt. But, she restrained her curiosity. Now was not the time.

Outside the door, they found George setting up the biggest selection of explosives Hermione had ever seen. He laid big sticks of explosives around the doorframe. When he found out they wouldn't need the explosives anymore, his face dropped. He looked so disappointed, she thought he would cry. Hermione, feeling sorry for George, assured him they would find something else to blow up. That brought a big smile to George's face.

Neville was relieved when he saw the vaulted spires of Hogwarts. It had taken them several trials and errors, but they finally made it. It would have been easier if Hermione accompanied them. She grew up as a muggle. Therefore, she would definitely know her way around London. Then, they wouldn't have to rely on Fred. He took too much pleasure sightseeing, than getting to Hogwarts. But, if Neville was honest with himself, he had to admit he also enjoyed walking around the muggle city. He was simply amazed how muggles built everything without magic.

With the thought of their journey at an end, Neville determinedly led the others along the winding dirt path to Hogwarts. Once they reached the top of a small hill, they had a clear view of Hogwarts' huge front door. The sight brought smiles on their faces, and gave strength to their weary bodies. They were still a few distance away, when they spotted a figure with long, wild, and tangled black hair. A dog was lazily sniffing the load in his arms.

"Is that Hagrid?" Neville asked uncertainly at no one.

Ron, who was walking at Neville's right, squinted to see well. "Yeah, I think it is Hagrid. I wonder what he's carrying."

Hagrid was standing at the steps of the front door. It looked like he was saying something to his dog. They saw Fang dejectedly walked away. Once in a while, the dog would look back at his master as if begging to go with him. But, Hagrid just sent Fang away. With one hand, they saw the Care of Magical Creatures teacher easily pushed one side of the huge door open. The cloak covering his burden suddenly slipped to reveal a head of a person.

Neville and his friends' curiosity were piqued. "Hurry up, mates. We have to see who he's carrying." He quickened his steps. The others followed suit.

As soon as Hermione and George entered the hospital wing, Lily immediately greeted them, and took the Veritaserum from the bushy brown haired girl. She coolly faced the Death Eater spy. "This is your last chance, Snape." The Potions Master just sneered at her in answer. Lily was about to point her wand at Snape, when an idea came to her. She turned to the young entrepreneur. "George, would you pry his mouth open?"

A mischievous smile graced his lips. "And, I thought you don't want my help, Mrs. Potter." George confidently advanced towards the tied up Potions Master. With a passable frown on his face, he drily spoke to his former Potions teacher. "My brother and I are always regarded as pranksters. What people don't know is that we also have a ruthless side...a dark side." George paused for effect. "This is your last chance to confess your despicable deeds, or suffer my wrath." He struck a pose reminiscent of one Gilderoy Lockhart.

Snape merely smirked at George. "You don't fool me one bit, Weasley. You are poor at acting as you are poor at potion-making. You are nothing, but an idiotic, cowardly buffoon."

For a moment, George glared coldly at Snape. Then, all of a sudden, he grinned wickedly. "You're right. Seen through my act, haven't you?" Snape's smug smile widened. "I knew I can't fool you." Behind him, Hermione, Madam Pomfrey, and Lily were looking at him as if he lost his mind. "Tell me... Was it my expression, or my voice? Honestly, I can't seem to act even if my life depends on it." As fast as a Seeker, he reached out and pinched the Potions Master's overly large nose. "Let's hear you insult me now, you greasy git." There was no trace of teasing in George's voice now. Snape desperately tried to free his nose, but George got a good hold on it. "Not so tough now, are you? What's that? Are you trying to tell me something?"

Madam Pomfrey just looked on apprehensively. As much as she disapproved of any form of violence, she understood the necessity of such an action right now. Besides, it's not like George was torturing Snape. It's more like humiliating him. She wondered if it was Lily's intention all along. There was no doubt in her mind the redheaded witch could easily pry Snape's mouth open. She anxiously glanced at Lily. The redheaded healer's face showed neither anger nor compassion. There was only determination. Suddenly, she heard a loud gasp. When she looked again at George and Snape, she saw the young prankster struggling to keep a broken piece of wand across the Potions Master's open mouth.


Lily, Madam Pomfrey, and Hermione, concentrated at the odd scene in front of them, instinctively jumped in surprise at the sudden noise. It was followed by a booming frantic shout. "Madam Pomfrey! Madam Pomfrey!" They promptly turned around, alarmed. George, now standing behind his former Potions Master, froze in place, his face showed extreme confusion at the intrusion. Snape took advantage of the momentary distraction to dislodge the fingers holding his nose, and spewed the broken piece of his wand.

"Hagrid, my goodness, don't scare us like that!" The kindly school nurse as well as Lily and Hermione slowly relaxed their grip on their wands. "What caused you to barge in here like a rampaging hippogriff?"

In few quick strides, the groundskeeper covered the short distance between them. He slightly stooped down to show his burden. "It's Madam Bones. She's badly hurt."

The witches gasped in horror, when they saw the pitiable state of the former Head of the Magical Law Enforcement. "Quickly Hagrid, put her on this bed." The groundskeeper gently laid down Madam Bones, and worriedly moved out of the way. Madam Pomfrey silently muttered a spell, and ran her lit wand over the ragged body of Madam Bones. "Miss Granger, I've prepared several healing potions in my office. Would you get them for me please? Oh, and don't forget a clean change of clothes."

When Neville opened the door of the hospital wing, he quickly scanned the room. He saw Mrs. Potter and Madam Pomfrey healing someone, lying on the hospital bed. His eyes also found George, Hermione, and Hagrid, anxiously watching the two healers. Snape was tied to a chair on one side. He was about to call George and Hermione, when his eyes suddenly widened, and backtracked to the Potions Master. He couldn't believe his eyes. Snape tied to a chair? There must be something right here.

"George! Hermione!" he called, a little too loud. Even before his two missing friends fully turned in his direction, Neville already reached their side. He was immediately followed by Fred, who happily hugged his twin. Ron, Luna, Ginny, and Susan were gladly greeted by Hermione. Cho came last, walking at a leisurely pace. It was a loud and happy reunion, especially for the Weasley twins.

"What are you doing here?" George asked his twin, puzzled.

"What are you doing here?" Fred answered his twin with the same question.

"Hermione wanted to see Harry," George simply explained, arching his right eyebrow.

"Neville wanted to see Hogwarts," Fred easily explained, arching his right eyebrow in return.

"And, I wanted all of you to keep quiet, or leave!" Madam Pomfrey was giving them a censuring look.

"We're sorry, Madam Pomfrey," Neville stepped forward, and sincerely apologized for his friends. "Please don't send us out. We promise to behave, won't we mates?" The teenage witches and wizards apologetically mumbled their assent. Madam Pomfrey dubiously regarded them for a moment, before returning to her patient. The school nurse summoned three, white dividers, and placed them on three open sides of the bed for privacy.

Hermione pressed her lips together in disapproval. The twins had stood on each side of the former Potions Master to supposedly guard him. Instead, they resorted to poking Snape with their wands. But, whatever spot their wand touched, it changed color. Fred poked Snape's hair, and it suddenly turned pink. She saw George shook his head, and poked Snape's hair. The pink color suddenly turned red. Snape was screaming his head off, but it was useless. The Silencing Charm only made him look like a mime. His every attempt to speak only provided the twins with more entertainment.

But, the twins' behavior was not the reason for Hermione's ire. It was Luna. She had stood with the twins, and cheerfully joined the fun. When she poked Snape's nose, it turned into a Toucan beak. Hermione wanted to do that. It was her secret wish, which she had shared to her friends.

"Who's the patient on the bed?" Hermione's brooding was broken by Ginny's question. She looked first at the divider blocking her view of the patient, before uneasily turning her attention back to Ginny.

"It's Madam Bones," Hermione replied softly.

"What!" Hermione was surprised Susan didn't break her neck, when she swiftly turned her head. Susan's eyes began to moisten with unshed tears. She would have run towards her aunt, if Hermione didn't grab her left arm. "Let me go! I want to see her!" An angry tear slowly rolled down her right cheek.

"Susan, listen to me. You'll only get in their way," Hermione said pleadingly.

"She right, Susan. Let Madam Bones and Mrs. Potter heal her first," Ginny concernedly added. "You can see her after their done."

As much as she wanted to see her Aunt Amelia, Susan realized her friends were right. Her aunt needed healers, not an over emotional girl. She stopped struggling, and lowered her head. The hand, holding her arm, released its hold. Two pair of arms enfolded her in a gentle embrace. The floodgates to emotions, she was trying to hold, suddenly burst. She cried with happiness and sadness over the shoulder of her redheaded friend.

"Shhh...everything will be alright. You'll see," Ginny said consolingly.

Behind the dividers, the Madam Pomfrey and Mrs. Potter were examining the stricken Madam Bones. The school nurse was shocked, when her curse identifying spell revealed Madam Bones had been subjected to multiple Cruciatus Curse. And, from the length of time she had been missing, this meant not only her body was damaged, but her mind as well. Right now, they couldn't do anything to determine the extent of her mental distress. They would have to wait, after she woke up.

Lily vanished Madam Bones' dirty clothes, and magically cleaned her body. The former Magical Law Enforcement Head lost a lot of weight. She was so thin it accentuated every bone in her body. Her pale skin gave her an appearance of a cadaver. If not for the uneven movement of her chest, she could be mistaken for dead. With care, Lily dressed the sleeping witch with a hospital gown. "What do think, Poppy? Shall we wake her to drink some of these healing potions?"

Madam Pomfrey heard the calm even voice of Lily. To other people, Lily's tone of voice might sound cold and impersonal. But, Madam Pomfrey knew the amount of emotional control Lily had to maintain, in order to perform her duty. It was true to all healers, including her. "Not yet. Let her sleep for a while. Let's concentrate on healing all her wounds and bruises. It's surprising she doesn't have any broken bones."

Madam Pomfrey knew Madam Bones would heal a lot faster, if she drank the potions. But, she first wanted to lessen the physical pain their patient might experience, when she woke up. One particular injury confuses her though. There was an angry swelling on the left forearm of Madam Bones. Her examination revealed it wasn't a magically induced injury. It felt hard to the touch. She wondered if it was an aberrant tissue growth.

"I'm ready to apply the salve, Poppy." There was a sad look in Lily's eyes as she gazed at the sleeping Madam Bones.

"Go ahead." Madam Pomfrey who had started closing some of the open wounds, briefly glanced at Lily. "Are you alright?"

Lily slightly nodded, and smiled reassuringly. She started applying the salve on their patient. "It will be interesting to know how she escaped."

"What do you mean?" Madam Pomfrey asked curiously, never pausing on her work.

"Well, as far as I know, nobody has ever escaped Voldemort's clutches..." Lily noticed Madam Pomfrey flinched a little at the mention of the Dark Lord's name. "...until now."

"Yes, it is curious." Madam Pomfrey looked surprised, when Madam Bones started moving agitatedly. "I think she's waking up." Lily helped her gently hold Madam Bones steady. "Madam Bones, Madam Bones, can you hear me?"

"Neville... Neville... Must find Neville," Madam Bones muttered brokenly, her body moving restlessly on the bed.

"Madam Bones, please open your eyes. You are safe now." Madam Pomfrey wasn't sure if her patient heard her. It could be the patient was only dreaming. She muttered a spell, and ran her wand over the patient again. All indications pointed that her patient was waking up.

Suddenly, Madam Bones opened her eyes. The first thing they noticed was the blank look in their depth. "Neville... I must speak to Neville." Madam Bones wildly looked around her as she sat up. "I must see Neville. I need to speak to him." As Madam Bones kept repeating her request, she grew increasingly agitated.

"You will see Neville, Madam Bones. But, for now, please relax. You have sustained serious injuries," Madam Pomfrey patiently said, while gently trying to make her lie down on the bed.

"No, no, no... You don't understand! I have something very important to tell him! Please, please, call Neville! I must speak to him!" Madam Bones pleaded emphatically.

"You will. But, for now, you must rest," Madam Pomfrey insisted with some concern. She didn't understand why Madam Bones needed to see Neville so urgently.

"I WANT TO SEE NEVILLE! BRING HIM TO ME!" Madam Bones had begun shouting her demands. Her behavior was becoming violent.

Neville and Ron had been watching Susan with concern. Neville also wanted to reassure his friend that everything would be alright. But, he felt a little uncomfortable with crying witches. All of a sudden, the scar on his forehead throbbed painfully. He visibly winced. "Mate, are you alright?" he heard Ron asked worriedly. Instead of answering, he reached up and vigorously rubbed his scar. He felt a tender touch on his left shoulder. From the corner of his eye, he saw a feminine hand. Then, Cho's face came into view. There was a worried look on her pretty face. He smiled reassuringly to alleviate her concern. She sought his hand, and comfortingly squeezed it.

Neville felt grateful. He wondered how he became so lucky, as to have a loving and caring girlfriend. He never mentioned it to anyone. But, since the start of their journey to Hogwarts, his scar had been pounding painfully on and off. The last hour had been particularly painful. Lord Voldemort was extremely happy. And, if he's that happy, that meant something bad was happening at the exchange site.

"I'm alright now." He grimaced, when another pain shot through his scar.

"You're not alright," Ron said anxiously. He surreptitiously looked around to see if any of their friends were looking at them. "It's You-Know-Who, isn't it? Can you tell what's he's doing?"

"Ron!" Cho rebuked him in a shock tone of voice. "This is not the time to ask him about You-Know-Who. Can't you see he's in pain?" Neville doubled over in pain, his right hand clutching his forehead. Cho quickly supported him. "Ron, help me get him to bed." Her frightened voice drew the attention of the other students. They quickly ran to his aid. Their own personal concerns were momentarily forgotten.

"What happened?"

"It's his scar."

"Quick, call Madam Pomfrey."

"No, I'll be alright. Madam Bones needs her, more than I do."

"But, Neville, you're hurt."

"She can't do anything about it anyway. No one can. Just let me rest. I'll be fine."

"Are you sure, Neville?"

"Yes, I'm sure. Snape's trying to escape from his bond."

"We're on it, mate."


Everyone was startled by the shout. They all looked with concern at the divider facing them, wondering what could be going on behind it. Susan's worry grew upon hearing her aunt's loud voice. She, then, decided to investigate. Neville, even though in obvious pain, swung his legs on the side of the bed, and unsteadily stood up. Seeing Susan couldn't be stopped by his other friends, he decided to see what was going on as well. He vigorously waved his friends away, when they tried to aid him. Showing them that he was alright, he willfully ignored the pain, and unsteadily walked to where Madam Bones was being treated.

"Aunt Amelia!" Susan was horrified at the scene before her. The two healers were struggling with her aunt to keep her on the bed. They were alternately pleading with her to calm down. "Aunt Amelia, please stop! You're going to hurt yourself." Her plea fell on deaf ears.


When Neville came around the divider, he almost jumped, when he heard his name shouted out loud again. He saw Mrs. Potter firmly holding on to one arm of Madam Bones, while her other hand was keeping the agitated witch from getting up. Madam Pomfrey, on the other hand, was having a hard time keeping Madam Bones' flailing right arm steady. The school nurse was trying to aim her wand at the struggling witch, but she was constantly kept off balance. Susan was crying just behind Mrs. Potter.

"Lily, keep her steady."

"I'm trying. She's a lot stronger than she looks."

"Hagrid!" Madam Pomfrey called over her shoulder. "We need your help." Hagrid moved the dividers out of his way, and anxiously stood beside the worried school nurse. "Just hold her steady, Hagrid. Gently, now."

Before Hagrid even touched her, Madam Bones screamed piteously. At the same time, Neville's forehead exploded in intense pain. He would have fallen on his knees if Cho and Ron weren't standing right beside him.

"Help me get near Madam Bones," he asked, breathing hard. His face was contorted in agony.

"But, Neville..." Cho began.

"No! We have to help Madam Bones." Even through the severe pounding pain in his forehead, Neville still managed to reach the screaming witch's side. "MADAM BONES!" he shouted to be overheard. "I'M HERE! IT'S ME, NEVILLE!"

Suddenly, Madam Bones stopped screaming, and laid still. She turned her tear streaked face towards him. In spite of the excruciating pain on his forehead, Neville couldn't help shuddering a little bit. Madam Bones was looking at him, but he doubted she's seeing him. Her face broke into a sweet smile. Again, Neville shuddered a little bit. Her was a smile only found on the faces of mad people.

"Neville, you are here at last." She turned her attention to the two healers. "You can let go now. I'm fine. I just like to talk to Neville." Madam Pomfrey and Mrs. Potter uncertainly loosened their hold on her. "Really, I'm fine now. You have nothing to worry about. I just really need to talk to Neville." Madam Bones gave them a reassuring smile. Seeing the former Head of Magical Law Enforcement had considerably calmed down. They had no reason to hold her. They stepped back, but still ready to spring into action if the need arose. Madam Bones turned to Neville. "Come closer lad. I have something very important to tell you. It is for your ears only." She raised both her thin arms, as if she's asking for a hug.

Neville, in spite of the warning bells ringing at the back of his mind, uneasily leaned forward. He felt Madam Bones firmly clasped his right arm. A gaunt cold cheek softly brushed his own. And then, he felt Madam Bones' tickling breath near his right ear. And, in a soft raspy voice, she said, "The Dark Lord asked me to deliver a message to you." Now, Neville's heart was pounding in time with his forehead. "He said, 'The Order of the Phoenix is burning'."

Susan watched the unfolding scene in hurt silence. She watched her aunt opened her arms, and beckoned Neville to get closer. She was expecting her aunt to ask for her as soon as she woke up. But instead, her Aunt Amelia adamantly kept asking for Neville. Susan tried to understand her aunt's odd behavior. Perhaps, whatever she was going to tell Neville was really urgent. But still, she couldn't quite dispel her hurt and jealous feelings.

She watched Neville as he stood beside her Aunt Amelia. But, her aunt motioned for him to lean forward. Her aunt rested her left hand on Neville's arm as she tried to raise herself. She saw her aunt brought her lips near Neville's right ear, and whispered something.

"What!" Susan heard Neville exclaimed as he slightly raised his head, alarmed. And then, they vanished. Neville and her Aunt Amelia simply vanished. She screamed in panic, and then, fainted. She was soon followed by Cho.

"What? How? What happened?" Lily's face clearly revealed her confusion, bewilderment, and disbelief. It wasn't only on her face. It was on everyone's faces. After a few moments, the reality of the situation set in their minds. They all turned their attention on Snape. Their eyes were burning in anger and hostility. "What did you do?" Lily strode menacingly towards the bound Potions Master. "Where did you send them? If you don't tell me, I swear I'll throttle you with my bare hands."

Snape sneered at her poor attempts of threat and intimidation. The Potions Master opened his mouth and spoke. No sound came out. Lily irately cancelled the Silencing Charm. "I didn't do anything." He contemptuously smiled at the redheaded witch. "How can I? I'm tied here remember?" He could see the cold fury in the healer's emerald eyes. He couldn't help provoking her a little more. "I wouldn't worry if I were you. Longbottom and Madam Bones are in the good hands of the Dark Lord by now."

Before Lily could interrogate Snape further, she heard warning shouts. "Madam Pomfrey... Mrs. Potter... Behind you!"

When she turned around, she saw a hawk and dove patronuses flew towards her and Madam Pomfrey. The hawk patronus dissolved into her as soon as it collided with her body. For a moment, both she and Madam Pomfrey looked like they were in a trance. Then, they blinked several times, when it was over. Whatever it was, it made them completely ignored Snape.

Madam Pomfrey hastily went inside her office, and came out with a basketful of potions. Lily, on the other hand, adroitly cleaned up the bed, which Madam Bones occupied several minutes ago. When they were done, the hospital bed was spotless, and ready for a new patient. Any evidence of its former occupant was gone. Healing potions lined up the bedside table. Madam Pomfrey and Lily had a mask of professionalism on their faces.

Hagrid, the twins, and Hogwarts students were all puzzled by this sudden change of heart. Only Snape seemed to have an idea on what was going on, because of the smug look on his face. As Madam Pomfrey waited gravely beside the newly cleaned bed, Lily purposely walked towards the sleeping Susan and Cho. Although Hagrid would have been the obvious choice, Ron had gallantly offered to put them on the hospital beds. As they gloomily watched Mrs. Potter examined Susan, and then Cho, they couldn't help wonder what the patronuses were all about.

"Mrs. Potter..." Hermione began hesitantly. "What are those..."

"You will know soon enough, Hermione," Lily immediately answered, instinctively knowing what the bushy brown haired witch was about to ask.

Snape who was amusedly watching their glum expressions, laughed aloud. As if waking up from a nightmare, everyone turned to the smirking Potions Master. "What was it you said earlier, Mrs. Potter?" Snape annoyingly pretended to search for the elusive memory. "I believe it was something about Dumbledore and Longbottom." As if finally remembering, he insultingly continued. "Aah yes... If I recall correctly, you believe your side will win this war, because you have Dumbledore and Longbottom. Tell me, Mrs. Potter, where are they now?" There was clearly a self-satisfied smirk on his face as he gazed at the smoldering eyes of Lily.

"Will someone put him out of his misery?" Ron asked angrily. "His oily voice is getting on my nerve."

Despite the grim situation, Fred and George grinned at each other. As if an agreement passed between them, they both pointed their wands at the haughty Potions Master. Grinning wickedly, they both shouted at the same time. "Stupefy!" A third voice almost overlapped with their shout. "Relashio!" Snape flew a couple of meters away, before landing hard on a cold stone floor, unconscious. The Weasley twins interestedly sought the source of the second spell. Since Ron, Ginny, and Hermione were disbelievingly staring at Luna, they turned their attention to her.

Luna was smiling sheepishly. "Sorry, I thought you were going to knock him away."

"No," said Fred, shaking his head.

"Definitely not," said George, also shaking his head.

"But, we like your idea. Shall we do it again, dear brother?" asked Fred with excitement.

"Don't mind if I do, dear brother," answered George, pointing his wand at the unconscious Snape.


The loud sound of slamming door startled Hagrid, Fred, George, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione. They relaxed a little, when they saw Auror Potter entered the hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey and Lily calmly met the procession of witches and wizards who grimly followed. The rank of Order members opened swiftly as Mad Eye Moody gravely walked through. Following close behind him, on a floating gurney, was none other than the ashen form of Albus Dumbledore. Hermione audibly gasped in shock, and then, fainted.
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