Content Harry Potter
  • Previous
  • Next

Standard Disclaimer.

Harry and Hermione walked through the darkened forest with Ron following a few feet behind them muttering to himself.

"Why aren’t you guys afraid? I’m terrified!" whispered Ron.

"We’ve said the magic words that protect us Ron," Replied Hermione smugly. "We’ve told the readers that the authors don’t own the Potterverse and they should know that."

Harry looked up watching a shooting star for a moment.

"Can I say those words Hermione?" whined Ron.

"No Ronald, this is the part of the disclaimer where you must die."

"Hermione dear?" said Harry calmly. "It’s time for us to toddle off, that asteroid looks to be aimed at Ron"

"Yes dear, I know."

Harry grabbed Hermione and apparated away.

"What’s an asteroid?" asked the perplexed Ron.

Sunset Over Britain
Chapter 20

Breakfast, Great Hall…

Harry seemed preoccupied as he sat with his friends at breakfast. To his right, Hermione was still in a bit of a state of shock from yesterday’s news. The fact that later today she’d be seeing her parents did little to allay her fears. She was convinced that Dolohov would be storming through the front gate of Hogwarts any moment. Harry tried talking to her about it before breakfast, but he didn’t seem to make much headway.

Now Hermione sat nervously and her eyes kept darting to the entrance of the Great Hall. Harry sat staring at his plate, not saying a word. Draco watched the two for most of breakfast without saying anything before he decided to intervene.

"You know, Granger," he drawled in a snide tone, "I can’t quite recall a time when I’ve ever seen you do something dumb… until today that is."

Everyone except Harry turned to stare at Draco. Hermione expression grew angry and she glared at him.

"Oh come on, Granger. Think!" Draco snapped.

"What’s that supposed to mean?" Hermione asked in an icy tone.

Draco rolled his eyes. "Alright, you want it spelled out, here it is. Dolohov is now the head of the MLE. First thing he needs to do is consolidate his power base both within his department and within the Ministry. That means he’s going to put out arrest orders for anyone who’s a threat to his power base, and fire those people he can’t arrest. As far as Dolohov is concerned, you are a low priority mudblood. And no, I won’t apologize for using the term. Think Granger! You’ve got one of the best minds in this school! What would you do if you were now in control and part of a group that looked at its allies as suspiciously as it looked at its enemies?"

Hermione frowned in thought. "So you’re saying that I’m not important enough for Dolohov to bother with?" she asked hesitantly.

"Exactly! He’s got more important things to worry about. First, he needs to set up a spy network, both inside and outside of the Ministry. He needs to make sure my father won’t stab him in the back. Then, he has clean up the department of those people he can’t trust. It’s going to take him weeks or more to accomplish all that," Draco replied.

The tenseness seemed to ebb away from Hermione and she shot the blond a grateful smile. "I can understand what you were trying to do, Draco, but do you have to be so insulting when you do it?"

"I had to get your attention first. You’re almost as bad as Harry when he gets involved in something… like he is right now. He hasn’t a clue what’s going on,"

Hermione blinked and glanced at her boyfriend. Harry had gotten rid of his plate and sat in front of what appeared to be a map of Hogwarts and the surrounding area. His eyes were blazing with power and he was carefully tracing a line around the castle with his wand. The wand left a small golden wall on the map a few inches high.

As he completed the circuit on the map, the wall became a golden dome over the castle. His actions were attracting a number of interested onlookers, including several of the staff.

"Aegis circum-saepio interiora," he intoned softly over the golden dome. His wand flared and crackled and began to smoke from the power pouring through it. The dome flared from gold to a pure white before it faded, leaving just a line around the castle on the parchment.

Harry hissed in pain and dropped his smoking wand. He gripped one hand in the other as the exhaustion hit him and he sagged in his seat. Hermione and Ginny grabbed him to keep him from sliding to the floor.

Harry reconnected with the world a few minutes later as an anxious Madam Pomfrey waved something vile smelling under his nose. Behind her stood Professors McGonagall and Flitwick.

Madam Pomfrey corked the bottle and straightened up. "Well, I don’t pretend to know what you’ve done to yourself this time, Mr. Potter. However, except for being exhausted, you’re fine. Your magical core is at full strength, as far as I can tell. The only thing I could offer you by taking you to the infirmary is a bed to sleep on, and you have one of those in your own quarters."

Harry tried to sit up, but he was leaning against Hermione and she held him fast to herself.

Professor McGonagall looked at the curious faces watching everything and made her decision. "Mr. Longbottom, Mr. Black, why don’t you two help Mr. Potter to his quarters? We’ll be able to discuss this better there, I think."

Neville and Draco stood and went to help Harry. "The map. Don’t forget the map," Harry murmured with a gesture towards the parchment.

A few short minutes later Harry found himself sitting in the Gryffindor Head Suite, sipping a cup of hot chocolate and facing a very curious group of friends and teachers. On the table was his map, which Hermione had placed there for everyone to see.

"Now then, Mr. Potter, would you kindly explain exactly what you thought you were doing in the Great Hall? I shouldn’t have to remind you that your display of power was fairly intimidating," McGonagall said sternly.

Harry took a sip of his drink, then placed his cup on an end table. "Things got a little out of hand, Professor. I was experimenting with an idea and had no idea the final incantation would require that much power," he replied. He gestured then and his wand appeared. It was still functional, but he had come close to burning it out, as the scorch marks showed.

Frowning he placed his wand down next to the map for everyone to see.

"Just what did you do, Harry?" asked Professor Flitwick.

"Tell me, sir, have you ever looked into magics from other cultures?" Harry asked.

"Not much, Harry. Charms seem to be charms, no matter what the originating culture," replied Flitwick.

Harry looked thoughtful for a moment, almost as if he wanted to debate the statement, then he shook his head and smiled gently at the little Professor. "I guess I should start at the beginning, then. In reading a book about muggle sciences, I came across an idea that interested me. The muggles called it the principles of similarity and, put into its simplest form, it means that if two objects are similar in appearance, then the objects are from the same group. What affected one object of this group, would affect another. This sounds crazy, but it really makes sense if you think about it.

"Anyway, the idea reminded me of something I had heard about, so I started looking for a magic based on this idea and found it in a magic practiced in the southern United States and the Caribbean.   The Haitians called it voodoo. Voodoo isn’t a form of magic like charms or transfiguration. It’s mostly curses and hexes. But the adherents of Voodoo have a particularly nasty hex using a doll. They consider it dark magic and, to the extent that they use it, it is dark magic. But the underlying idea isn’t dark at all.

"The map," Harry said, pointing to the parchment, "represents Hogwarts. By drawing a line around the image of the castle on the page, I’ve placed a real ward around the castle. As long as the parchment exists undamaged, the ward remains safe and strong…unbreakable."

The group stood, stunned for a moment. Flitwick’s legs collapsed under him and he sat with his head barely visible over the edge of the table.

"An unbreakable ward? And he did it without help?" squeaked the little Professor, staring at McGonagall.

Harry looked sadly at his scorched wand on the table. "I’m not sure I want to try that again using my wand though."

Flitwick reached up and grabbed Harry’s wand, examining it carefully. "Quite so, Harry. I think we best get a start on your staff project."

Harry yawned, his eyes drooping. He looked over at Flitwick and nodded, too tired to care that his Professor couldn’t see him through the table.

"What kind of ward did you place on the school, Mr. Potter?" Asked McGonagall.

Harry sat back in his chair, his eyes half closed. "You know," he murmured, "that’s the really interesting part. I placed a detection ward, Professor, but I could have placed anything from an anti-muggle notice-me-not ward to a line of death and it wouldn’t have used any extra power. The type of ward isn’t what uses the power, it’s the laying down of the ward itself."

Hermione eyed Harry before turning back to the others. "We leave for Grimmauld in a few hours and I think Harry should try to catch a nap before we go."

"I think you’re too late, Hermione," Ginny said with a soft snicker. She pointed to Harry, who had fallen asleep in his chair.


Grimmauld Place (First Weekend in March)…

It was still early morning when Tonks portkeyed back to Grimmauld with company. Remus was at the top of the stairs when Tonks and Amelia appeared. Seeing them carrying a large box between them, he hurried to help.

"Tonks? Amelia? Why are you home early?"

The two women moved the box to one corner of the foyer, out of the way of anyone else portkeying in. Amelia looked up at Remus, who stood a few steps up on the stairs. Her robe was disheveled and scorched in places. Remus examined her appearance with surprise and concern.

"Remy, call the others down and we’ll talk about this in the kitchen. No sense explaining it multiple times," Tonks replied evenly.

Nodding, Remus went to collect everyone, while Tonks and Amelia went into the kitchen.

A few minutes later, Dan, Emma, Remus and Narcissa joined them. Tonks and Amelia sat at the table, between them was a bottle of Ogdens, used to add a bit of a kick to their tea.

Amelia looked up as everyone sat down and shook herself slightly. "I have been in law enforcement for over sixty years and I have never, not once, considered the possibility that I would become a wanted criminal…until today that is," she said softly.

Startled, everyone, except Tonks, stared at her. "When I heard that Dolohov was being put in charge of the MLE, I knew I had to get to everyone who worked on Harry’s case, and I had to hide his files. That’s what is in the crate in the foyer. I got out of the Ministry about five minutes before a warrant was issued for my arrest on the suspicion of treason!"

Remus shared a look with Tonks. Harry’s files were important, but as far as Harry was concerned, the people meant more.

"Amelia," Remus said, "Harry and his friends will be here in a few hours for a meeting. I think he’ll be very happy to find out you’re safe, even if you are wanted by the so-called government. You won’t be the first person he’s cared about who’s been on the run."

Amelia nodded and sighed heavily. "I’ll probably lose everything. The home where Susan I live, all our possessions… Merlin how many times have I confiscated someone else’s home in the name of justice? And now it will happen to me…"

"Actually, that won’t happen, Amelia," Tonks offered the older woman.

Amelia turned to stare at Tonks, confused.

"Harry took some steps over the holiday. The homes of certain friends of his are now under the protection of Gringotts. He placed a bond on your home so that, should the home ownership ever become contested, he would purchase it and have it interdicted. Your home will be protected and preserved," Remus said softly.

Amelia slumped back in her chair in relief, a single tear rolled down her cheek.

Tonks was topping off Amelia’s cup with a shot of Ogdens when the door to the kitchen opened and Bill and Arthur Weasley walked in. Arthur’s forehead was cut and he was leaning heavily against Bill. Had anyone stopped to think on it, they would have realized that it was the first time since the Order had been evicted that Arthur Weasley had stepped foot in Grimmauld Place.

Tonks and Emma jumped from their seats and rushed to help Bill steer Arthur into a seat. Amelia and Arthur exchanged rueful glances.

"What happened to you, Arthur?" asked Tonks.

"I found him wandering in front of Gringotts this morning. He’d been roughed up before he even got to work. He wasn’t too coherent with his explanation either," Bill said.

Narcissa ran a few diagnostic spells on Arthur. "He’s got a concussion and more than a few bruises and cuts. He’ll need to see a real healer, but I can deal with his cuts and bruises at least."

Narcissa healed the cut on his forehead and cast a spell to reduce the bruising as well as the pain. Then she glanced at Tonks, who nodded. Tonks would contact Danni shortly.

"Arthur’s department has been taken over by one of Lucius’ cronies. Thomas Crabbe, I think. If I know Crabbe, he probably had Arthur beaten before throwing him out of the Ministry building.

"Arthur has been added to the wanted list," Amelia said. "All the Department Heads have been, and so have key members of the Wizengamot. Within a few days, a week at the most, they’ll control the entire Ministry. Miles Pickerton was arrested this morning and sent to a holding cell at Azkaban. And rumor has it that some of the dementors have returned to Azkaban also."

Remus looked at Tonks, his expression concerned. "Tonks, you better think about resigning. And I think we need to start shuttling people to Padfoot." When she nodded, he turned to Amelia. "What about the people you’ve co-opted? Can you reach them without risking getting arrested yourself?"

Amelia frowned and nodded slowly. "I think so. We’d set up a dead drop for such a contingency when it looked like the Wizengamot might choose Richfield."

"How many people do you have, Amelia?"

"Twenty nine Aurors, not counting Tonks. Another dozen or so promising Auror cadets and their families. Figure less then one hundred total. Only myself and three others are privy to Harry’s plan for the Ministry, but Miles Pickerton was also in on that part of the plan. Is there anything we can do to help him?"

Remus ran a hand through his graying hair. "I’m not really sure. I don’t think Harry will be willing to let Miles rot in that place, but I don’t know what he can do about it and we certainly do not have the people to storm Azkaban," he replied with a heavy sigh. "Harry and his friends will be here in a few hours. Let’s talk to him about it then. In the meantime, let’s get Arthur into bed."

"Looks like our meeting will be bigger than we expected. I’ll talk to Dobby about making extra food," offered Emma.


Grimmauld Place, Later That Day…

Remus looked up from his seat in the living room when he heard the loud thump of noise from the foyer. He stood and walked from the room in time to see Hermione helping Harry, who was sprawled on the floor, stand up.

"I don’t understand this, Harry. You can blow through anti-apparation wards, you can tandem apparate, but you can’t use a simple portkey?" He said with a laugh.

Harry looked up at Remus, still on one knee. "I can’t help it, Remus. And it doesn’t help that one leg isn’t what it used to be."

Remus couldn’t help but notice the trace of bitterness in the comment. He walked over and easily lifted Harry to his feet. "Don’t worry about it, Cub. We have more important things to worry about," he murmured to Harry, who nodded grimly.

Remus turned to everyone. "We’re setting up in the kitchen for this meeting." His eyes sought out the young redhead in the group. "Ginny, your dad is upstairs. He got roughed up pretty good this morning when he was… fired from his job and replaced with Crabbe. Danni McNeil has seen him and he’ll be fine, but you might want to stop in and say hello to him. Second Floor, third bedroom on the right."

As Ginny bolted up the stairs, the rest of the group moved towards the kitchen. Remus grasped Harry’s arm, holding him back. Harry looked at him in curiosity, Remus waited until they had all left the foyer before he began to speak.

"Harry, Miles Pickerton was picked up this morning and thrown into a holding cell at Azkaban. So far, he’s the only person caught who was in on part of the plan. Amelia had briefed him on the Ministry operation," Remus said quietly.

Harry sighed and rubbed his face with a hand. "We can’t leave him in there. I won’t let that happen to him. His knowledge and abilities could be useful to us."

"We don’t have the people to stage a breakout of Azkaban. And rumor has it that some of the dementors have returned to the prison," Remus said worriedly.

Harry placed a hand on the older man’s shoulders. "I need you to stall the meeting. If Danni is still here, don’t let her leave. Miles may need her."

"What are you going to do?" asked Remus, alarmed at the idea of Harry attempting to get to Miles alone.

"What I should have done with the Grangers when they were captured," Harry replied grimly, then he gestured as if reaching for something. In his hand appeared his father’s invisibility cloak. Remus blinked in surprise and then followed as Harry walked into the first floor study.

Harry sat on a footstool, breathing deeply for a moment. His eyes flared bright green as he reached out with his senses, trying to find the aura that belonged to his friend and teacher.


Azkaban Prison, Prisoner Holding Area…

To call them holding cells would be a compliment. They were little more than cages and they were rapidly filling up with unlucky inhabitants. They weren’t inside the prison walls, but outside, exposed to the elements. Set in neat rows of ten cages each with an aisle between them, there were nearly one hundred of these new holding cells. Each cell held between four and six unfortunate victims. Above the cells and in the aisles floated several dozen dementors.

The wind ripped through the holding cells, adding to the cold caused by the dementors and a chilled drizzle fell on the island. The only sounds came from the screams of the newly imprisoned, and the moans of those that had been here for a few hours.

It was into this hell that Harry apparated. With the invisibility cloak around him, no one noticed when he landed in a cage that contained six people. It was uncomfortably crowded and the effects of the dementors hit Harry like an onrushing train. Despite his skill with Occulmency, which lessened the effects of the dementors, the presence of so many of the creatures in close quarters made it difficult for anyone to hold onto their thoughts.

Harry nearly pitched to his knees as he heard the scream of his mother and a great wave of sadness and depression swept over him. The Dementors, spotting him through his invisibility cloak, converged on the cage. They could not get to him because of the bars, but the power brought to bare by several dozen dementors nearly overwhelmed him.

Struggling to stay on his feet, Harry stuffed his invisibility cloak in a pocket and started to search the faces of his fellow cellmates. The dementors had affected his ability to see auras. After checking three people, he found Miles, unconscious. Grabbing him firmly by the hand, Harry threw every last bit of his energy into escaping.

He began to glow bright silver. As he did, the light moved quickly to surround Miles as well. There was a bright flash like that of a flashbulb before Harry and Miles vanished. Into the cacophony they’d left behind, a new sound now intruded as the dementors began to screech as if in pain. One by one, Miles’ former cellmates looked up in wonder, the dementors continued to screech and wail. Whatever Harry had done, he somehow removed the dementor’s ability to hurt anyone.

Into the hell of Azkaban, someone had just introduced hope.


Grimmauld Place…

Remus paced the study worriedly, wondering how he was going to explain to everyone that Harry had gone off to Azkaban. He glanced up like a deer caught in headlights when the door to the study opened to admit Tonks and Hermione.

"Remus, what is going on? And where is my ward?" asked Tonks. Hermione stood behind her, frowning.

Remus started to stammer an explanation when the room turned blindingly bright. The light lasted only a second or two, but it left everyone blinking away tears as their eyes tried to cope with the onslaught.

Once they vision had cleared, they saw Harry and Miles standing next to Remus.   Both were swaying dangerously on their feet. Harry managed to push Miles over into a chair, before he stumbled over to the couch, where he collapsed.

"Danni!" Tonks shouted and Hermione sprinted from the room to seek out the healer.

Less than a minute later, Danni rushed into the room with Hermione, Dan, Emma and Narcissa close on her heels.

When Harry finally realized where he was, he was leaning against Hermione and she was slipping little slivers of chocolate into his mouth. He sat up and she handed him a much larger piece of the sweet before scowling at him. He mentally cringed and waited, knowing what was coming.

"Harry, I love you dearly, but have you lost your mind? You can’t just pop into Azkaban Prison and start breaking people out of there! And if you think that not telling me you were going was smart idea, you’ve got another thing coming!" Hermione said angrily.

Harry sighed and glanced at her for a moment before looking over at Miles. "Danni? Will Miles be alright?" he asked, reminding Hermione that he hadn’t gone off on some fun excursion just to annoy her.

Danni looked up from her patient. "Yes, I think he will. His Occulmency shields protected his mind enough. If it’s all right with you, I’ll get him to a bed upstairs and give him a dreamless sleep potion. He should be better by morning."

Tonks offered to show Danni to a room they could put Miles in. He was exhausted and barely awake, a condition Harry could sympathize with. He watched Danni and Tonks get Miles up and move him out of the room with Remus following. He tried to stand up then, but Hermione pushed him back on the couch and glared at him.

"We’re not done talking about this, Harry. You took a big risk tonight and got lucky. The next time you go off without consulting anyone, I’ll make you wish I were a muggle!"

He looked up into her eyes and could see the anger and, more importantly, the fear, burning behind those soft brown eyes of hers. He pulled her into a gentle embrace.

"You’re right, Hermione. I should have talked to about it first. I’m sorry, I jumped without thinking. You and I both know I had to do it, but I should have talked to you first," he whispered to her.

She relaxed into his arms. "You promise you won’t run off like that again?"

There was a moment of silence before he replied. "No, but I will promise that, from here on, I will ask for your opinion whenever possible before I run off again. I can’t see the future Hermione and something similar might happen again. But I promise I’ll talk to you before rushing out again if I can."

Dan looked up as the kitchen door opened and Emma walked in, looking smug. "Are Harry and Hermione alright?" he asked his wife.

"They’re negotiating," replied Emma with a smile.

"Negotiating what?"

"I think one of your movies says it best, Dan. ‘Learn balance, Daniel-san!’ and that’s what they are doing. She tried to lay down the law and he offered a counter position. They are both very strong willed people and they need to learn to compromise with each other…to find a balance they can both live with."

"They’re more mature than any other Hogwarts couple I’ve seen," McGonagall offered quietly. "Harry’s more like his mother than his father, and Hermione…" she stopped as the door opened to admit Harry, Hermione, Tonks and Remus. On their heels came Danni and Ginny.

Remus did a quick head count. "It looks like everyone’s here now, except for Arthur and Miles, who are recovering upstairs. With Richfield taking control of the Ministry, we’ve had some drastic changes in the twenty-four hours. Amelia, Arthur and Miles are all wanted by the MLE. More than twenty five Wizengamot members have disappeared. On top of all that, Dan has some information he needs to share. It’s what we originally set this meeting up for in the first place." Remus helped Dan unroll a map of Britain on the table, and then nodded for him to begin.

"Before I begin, let me state that most of my information comes from sources that the Wizarding world is unfamiliar with. But I can assure you that they are valid and reliable sources.

"First off, the towns that I’ve circled in black have been attacked by dementors," he said, gesturing at the map, which contained about thirty large black circles on it.

"At this point, I’m estimating nearly forty thousand victims," he added, then pulled out a notebook.   "At first, the muggle Government was using a cover story of airborne anthrax, but now both the CDC and the WHO are pushing NHS to declare this a virulent strain of African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness. Now we all know it isn’t that at all. But it shows the muggle medical establishment is trying to cope with a problem by borrowing from what they do know."

Dan gestured to the map again. "Why these particular towns were attacked, I am not sure. There is some sort of pattern, but I can’t recognize it. Mind you, most of this information is not coming from the Government, which has imposed a total news blackout. What else I can tell you is just as frightening. The American State Department has issued a Travel Advisory for American Citizens in the U.K. In addition, the American Military seem to be evacuating dependants of service personnel and relocating units to NATO installations on the continent. Holy Loch, for example, has been completely emptied.

"The quarantine imposed by the towns has broken some major overland arteries, which has resulted in shortages of food and supplies in some areas. On the streets of London people are frightened. The best I can describe it is as very tense."

Dan leaned back in his chair and watched as the group digested his information. Remus coughed lightly, catching everyone’s attention.

"Before we discuss what Dan had to report, I think it may be important to hear what Harry saw at Azkaban today,"

Harry sighed and looked down at his hands for a moment, then he shivered. "I don’t know what Azkaban was like, but they have hundreds of cages out in the open and they were shoving four, sometimes six people to a cage. It was terrible. There was no shelter and the wind added to the chill of the dementors that patrolled above the cages. There were six people in a steel cage barely big enough for three. I found Miles and got out of there as fast as I could," he said in a low monotone. He shivered again, even though the room was warm and comfortable.

McGonagall conjured a blanket and wrapped it around his shoulders. Danni handed him another piece of chocolate.

Harry was sure one or more of the adults would start tearing into him for his rescue of Miles, but he was saved by a popping sound from behind him. Turning, he saw Dobby looking up at him in obvious distress.

"Dobby? What’s wrong?"

"Master Harry, Dobby is sorry for bothering yous. But Dobby has a problem. Many elves come to Dobby today. Theys lost families or been unbonded, Master Harry. They has no where to go," Dobby said softly, looking up at Harry hopefully.

Harry glanced over at Hermione. She was biting her lip and listening.   When she met his eyes, he raised an eyebrow and she understood.   He was leaving it up to her.

"Dobby, how many elves need help?" Hermione asked softly.

Dobby scratched his head for a moment. "Mores than twenty, Miss Hermione."

She closed her eyes and nodded, whether in acknowledgment of Dobby’s answer, or to Harry’s unanswered question wasn’t clear, but Harry ran with it anyway.

He turned in his chair. "Remus, talk to the construction people at Padfoot. I want to make sure we have a building capable of housing at least a hundred elves," he said, and then he turned to Dobby. "Dobby, take your friends to Padfoot for now. Tell them that families will soon be available for them and, in the meantime, they can consider themselves bonded to the house of Potter-Black."

Dobby beamed at Harry and vanished with a pop. Hermione smiled weakly. He looked at her, well aware of how repugnant she found the house elf slavery.   "First we get them used to being treated right. Then we’ll start making them think for themselves," he told her quietly.

She nodded. "Between Hogwarts and Dobby’s friends that’s over sixty elves so far."

"You’re stealing Hogwart’s elves?" McGonagall exclaimed.

Harry reached for a biscuit on the table and chuckled. "No Professor, we’re not. What we’ve done is tell them that, if the castle falls, then can come to Dobby to find new homes."

McGonagall relaxed and sipped her tea thoughtfully.

Remus coughed again. "I hate to bring us back to the subject at hand, but we need to start moving up our plans. I’d like to move Narcissa into Padfoot tomorrow and have her start to oversee the stocking of the hospital. She has the basic training even if she isn’t a healer. Emma could join her as well," Remus offered.

"Arthur should stay here," Harry said thoughtfully. "We’re going to need him on team Weasley. We need Amelia here as well, to coordinate our Ministry Team. Miles should go to Padfoot though. He can get a start on putting together the Operations center."

"Operations center? Would you explain that, Mr. Potter?" asked Professor Flitwick.

Harry looked up at the ceiling for a moment, debating with himself. "It’s like this, Professor. The area around Padfoot has been broken up into three sections. There’s the town, which includes a modest fifty bed hospital, a primary and intermediate school, the manor house and the Operations center, which will include training areas as well as other features."

"But what’s the purpose of this Operations center?" asked the small Professor again.

"It’s the place that we’ll use to take back our country, Professor. It’s going to be where we make plans to bring the war back to Voldemort," Amelia answered for Harry. He nodded gratefully to her.

"Professor, you, Professor McGonagall and quite a few others will be in on many aspects of what we’re doing. But some things must be kept secret, if for no other reason than protecting the people involved. Surely you didn’t think we were all going to just run away from what’s happening here? That’s why Harry turned the Chamber of Secrets into a private place that only we can reach…a headquarters here in Britain and another in Ireland," replied Hermione.

"What we’re doing, Professor, is planning ahead. We may have to run from this fight now, but that doesn’t mean we’ll keep running. Now, unless anyone has any further suggestions, I think we should turn in. Winky and Dobby have prepared rooms for everyone. We’ll be able to return to Hogwarts first thing tomorrow."

"Actually, I have a comment I’d like to make, Harry," Dan said softly.

At Harry’s nod, Dan glanced at the others around him. "None of us know what it’s like to live under a totalitarian society. With Voldemort now running the Ministry, we have to expect certain behaviors from the government and take steps accordingly."

"What do you mean by ‘behaviors’?" asked Remus intently.

"Once Voldemort’s consolidated his hold on the Ministry, which we’re seeing right now with what’s happened to Amelia, Arthur and Miles, he’ll branch out. He’ll look outside the Ministry for groups of people that he thinks will be a danger to his power. That means media outlets like the Quibbler and the Wizarding Wireless Network and organizations like the Order of the Phoenix. And don’t expect just the individuals to be swept up. He’ll eventually start sweeping up whole families."

Expressions around the table turned grim as everyone contemplated what Dan told them. "Alright then," Harry said, breaking the silence at last, "if we can intervene and prevent someone from going to Azkaban, we do so. I’m not saying we expose ourselves needlessly, though. Hermione, can you come up with a loyalty oath like you did with the DA? Only this time, make the punishment suitable? If we’re going to have to offer a safe haven for the likes of some of the Order members, I want their loyalty guaranteed."

Hermione nibbled on her lip for a moment before nodding.

McGonagall glanced at Flitwick. "Harry, I think it would be best if Filius and I return to school tonight. Tomorrow’s Sunday, so I expect to see everyone back in school before dinner tomorrow."

Harry nodded. Grabbing a teacup, he murmured, "Portus," and passed it to McGonagall. Flitwick walked around the table to grasp one edge of the cup. In a second, they were gone.

Amelia pulled out a small cell phone from her pocket and began to type in a text message. Curious, Hermione watched her enter ‘regnum est deficio’ and press send.

"Madam Bones? The kingdom is failing?"

Amelia looked up at Hermione and smiled at her. "It’s a code message. Someone I trust in MI5 will pick it up. That person will, in turn, forward it to a new destination. The same person will then send a double E message to a central distribution point, where it will be forwarded to a bunch of people."

As Amelia spoke, both Harry and Dan’s eyes lit up. Dan had managed to transfer his love for the James Bond series of books and movies to Harry over the summer, and this was pure spy stuff!

Hermione looked even more confused with Amelia’s explanation. "Double E message?"

"Escape and Evade," Harry murmured, his eyes shining. Dan nodded approvingly, his eyes also shining.

"She sent a double message, Hermione," said her father. "The first message obviously had two meanings."

Amelia chuckled at Dan’s expression. "Boys. They never really grow up. To be specific then, the message is a prearranged phrase that will tell the muggles that the Ministry of Magic can no longer be trusted. The message will also be sent to Ministry Aurors and operatives whom I trust. It tells them to go to ground, not to contact the Ministry, to hide."


Across the United Kingdom…

About the time Harry and Hermione climbed into the bed in his room and went to sleep, Amelia’s message was waking people up all over the country. Within hours, nearly one hundred wizards and witches and their families had vanished, gone into hiding. The next stop would be making it to known safe houses where they would hopefully find instructions on the next step…escape.

The first recipient for Amelia’s message had some additional duties to perform based on the message content. Amelia hadn’t been quite honest with Harry and Dan. The message didn’t just mean the Magical Ministry couldn’t be trusted. It meant the Ministry had fallen to a hostile force.

Her message generated a series of prearranged actions on the part of the Muggle Government. Her four aging Polaris class ballistic submarines would be preparing to put to sea by noon the next day. At the same time, the Queen would announce an extended trip to Balmoral Castle.


Grimmauld Place, the next morning…

It was the coughing that finally nudged Harry into consciousness. He was laying in bed, naked and quite comfortable with Hermione, also naked, draped over him. He blinked again and the room swam into focus. Harry looked around for a moment in that strange, uncomprehending state people have between wakefulness and sleep. Then he stiffened in surprise.

Hermione, her head on his shoulder, could feel the tenseness suddenly flow into him. She lifted her head to look at him curiously.

Harry wasn’t looking at her. No, he was looking at the door and making a strange strangling sound. She looked towards the door and then buried her head in Harry’s shoulder while frantically trying to pull the blanket over the both of them.

"So, you’re sleeping with my daughter, eh Harry?" asked Dan in an icy tone.

Harry looked down to see Hermione pull the covers up over her head and realized that he’d get no help from that quarter. Steeling his resolve, he looked at Dan. "Yes, I am, Dan. We’re both of age in the muggle world and will be considered adults in less than a year in the magical one as well," Harry replied firmly.

Dan made a move to speak, but Harry waved him to be quiet.

"I don’t want us to be enemies over this and I don’t want to fight you. I have a great deal of respect and no small amount of love for both you and Emma. But understand this. I love your daughter and, if I survive Voldemort, I intend to spend the rest of my life making her the happiest witch on the planet. No one, not Voldemort, and not you, is going to come between me and the woman I love."

As Harry spoke, his magic began radiating off him in waves. Hermione lifted her head and stared at him as he spoke to her father.

"It’s entirely up to you, of course. You know I’ll never hurt her deliberately and you know I’d give my life to keep her safe," Harry said quietly.

Dan’s shoulders sagged and he rubbed his face tiredly with one hand. "She’s my little girl, Harry."

"She always will be, Dan," Harry replied. "But she’s grown up into a fine, strong woman who will someday give you grandchildren to love and cherish. She’s so special I haven’t the words to describe it, but I shouldn’t have to. You know how special she is. She loves me, and I love her," Harry said a little defiantly.

"And well you should, Harry," said Emma, who appeared behind Dan in the doorway. She then looked up at her husband with a mixed expression of love and annoyance. With a sigh, she reached up and grabbed Dan by the ear.   "Now if you’ll excuse me, I want to have a few words with my husband," she said firmly, dragging Dan out of the doorway.

Harry sighed and waved his hand shutting the door and placing the strongest locking charm he could think of on it before he turned to look at Hermione. She had her head propped up by a hand and was staring at him with a look of wonder.

"I can’t believe you just did that," she whispered.

Harry brushed her hair out of her eyes and looked at her. She was beautiful! "Did what?" he murmured distractedly.

"You stood up to my father."

He wrapped both arms around her and held her tightly to him. "I’ll stand up to anyone who tries to come between us," he said simply.

They both laughed as they heard Emma berating her husband through the walls. Deciding they were up, they dressed and went downstairs to the kitchen.

Once there, they found most everyone up and having breakfast. Arthur, sitting with Ginny, shot Harry a profoundly grateful look.

"Harry, I…"

"It’s alright, Mr. Weasley. You get yourself better so when the time comes you can help your sons with their jobs," Harry said, cutting the older man off gently.

Ginny leaned into her father and hugged him. Harry and Arthur were developing a bit of a friendship, but it was unlike what they had once had. Now it was more a friendship between equals.

Harry sat down and was reaching for a platter of eggs when a large Eurasian Eagle Owl flew in a window and landed in front of him, offering him a leg. Taking the parchment, he absently reached for a sausage and offered it to the large bird. The bird stared at the morsel for a moment before snatching it from his fingers. It quickly swallowed the sausage and then sprang for the window, unobserved by Harry who was busy reading.

Everyone sat watching Harry. The last few days had been nothing but bad news and they figured this was just more of the same. After five minutes of silence, Hermione broke down. "Harry! What is it?" she asked in exasperation.

Harry glanced up from the parchment. "Hmmm? Oh this! It’s from Ragnok at Gringotts," he replied absently.

"Well? What does he say?"

Harry glanced at the parchment again. "He’s thanking me for the tip we gave him at Christmas time. He goes on to say that, because of the advance warning, he was able to save Gringotts nearly one billion galleons and he wants to give me a one percent ‘consultation’ fee for ‘services rendered’. He also says that the money has already been deposited in my primary account at Stonewall Lane. Finally he says that the Ministry has been acting like they own everything and he’s seriously considering declaring the Treaty of Kent null and void, but that I won’t have to worry about that because of my ‘special relationship with the goblins’."

Harry reached for a slice of toast, ignoring the fact that a shocked silence reigned in the kitchen. He stopped when Hermione gripped his arm painfully.

"He’s thinking of doing what, Harry?" she whispered, her face pale.

"Declaring the Treaty of Kent null and void. What’s the big deal about the treaty?"

"Don’t you ever listen to Professor Binns? The Treaty of Kent, signed in 1785, specifically ended the last Goblin war with our Ministry. If the Goblins void the treaty, they’ll close all the Gringotts branches in the country."

"I don’t see why you’re surprised, Hermione. You heard Ragnok at Christmas. If they were going to move all their hard cash asset accounts to another country, then they obviously planned on eventually closing Gringotts here in Britain," Harry replied. To him it was a logical move on the part of the Goblins.

"Harry, don’t you see? Closing Gringotts could start another Goblin/Wizard war!" Hermione exclaimed.

Harry leaned back and sipped at his tea for a moment, frowning. "I don’t think it’ll come to that. If I understand this right, Gringotts will close down here in the U.K., but will remain open in the other countries, doing business as usual. If the British Ministry complains to the other Ministries, the Goblins can claim it’s strictly a local matter and they have no wish to begin another war. The other Ministries will do anything to avoid another Goblin rebellion."

"I think Harry has the right of it. As long as the Goblins go out of their way to tell the other Ministries that this is not a reflection of the global wizard/goblin relationship, there should be no problem," Dan said. He and Emma had entered the kitchen during Harry’s reading of the parchment and Dan’s comment, while correct, was also obviously a peace offering to Harry.

Harry shot Dan a grateful look while Hermione looked thoughtful.

"I think I’ll owl Ragnok and suggest that to him, just in case. I’m sure he’s already considered it. But I’d like to stay on his good side," Harry offered.


The Shrieking Shack…

The sound of someone apparating into the shack caused Snape to look up from the book he had been studying.

"Severus?" called a voice.

"I’m upstairs, Headmaster," Snape called back in annoyance. The old man wasn’t supposed to show up today!

Closing the book, he looked up as Dumbledore stepped into the living room area of the shack. Snape blinked in surprise, as the normally meticulously dressed Dumbledore appeared disheveled and only partially clothed.

"Headmaster?" he asked in alarm, starting to rise.

"Be at ease, my boy. I am fine and will be better once I speak to Minerva."

"But Headmaster, your appearance…"

"Yes, yes, I know. It seems that the new Minister of Magic is consolidating his power base by arresting members of the Wizengamot. I awoke this morning to find a number of Aurors at my house, seeking to place me into custody," Dumbledore said, then he sighed. "I’m afraid that once again I am a fugitive, like last year."

"There are several unused rooms here, Headmaster. I don’t see why you can’t use one of them," Snape offered, despite the pain it caused him.

"Thank you, my boy! Now, if you will excuse me, I will pop into one of those rooms, clean it up, then send a message to Minerva. The Order must be warned," Dumbledore said walking into an unused room.

Snape watched the older man leave and he resisted the urge to hurl the heavy book he held against a wall. The last thing he wanted was Albus Dumbledore as a roommate!

Sighing, Snape opened the volume again and went back to reading about power amplification rituals.


Hogwarts Charms office…

As promised, the Outcasts had returned to the school before dinner. Now that dinner was over, Harry joined Professor Flitwick in his office to discuss the staff they were going to make. Hermione, ever curious, decided to accompany him.

The components were laid out on a long table as Flitwick dashed from one end of the room to the other, muttering to himself. Both Harry and Hermione smiled at the antics of their little Professor.

Finally, Flitwick turned to Harry. "Now Harry, with a wand, we have a single core and, because of the single core, the wand must select a wizard most compatible with the core’s magic. The core of your wand is a phoenix feather, a most powerful talisman, capable of channeling large amounts of magical energy. But it’s not enough in your case.

"In a staff, we have more than one core. Multiple cores enable the staff to channel more energy than a wand is capable of channeling and still provide the focus that the wand provides.

"Not much is known about staves anymore. There hasn’t been a wizard needing one in hundreds of years. Legend says the staff should be as tall as you are, but the lengths of wood we have fall far short of that mark. I don’t think it will be a problem, but at some point in your life you will probably need to make a full sized staff.

"According to Ollivander’s book, the user of the staff must be involved in it’s making. I have taken the liberty of preparing as much as I can, but at this point we need to select the core materials."

Harry looked at the table, feeling the same pulling he felt the other day. "Professor, I do feel some sort of attraction to some of these core materials," he offered.

The little Professor beamed. "Wonderful! That will make it much simpler, Harry! We can use the core materials that you feel the attraction for."

"Professor, can anyone use a staff? I know Harry needs to use one, but can a regular wizard or witch use one? And would it provide any benefits over a regular wand?" Hermione asked. The whole idea of a staff intrigued her greatly.

"That’s hard to say, Hermione," said the little Professor. "It should be easy enough to find out though. A staff isn’t as keyed to a person as a wand is. Once we’re done here, we can run a few comparative tests and see if there’s a difference."

Harry walked over to the table and eyed the core materials carefully. He could feel some of them pulling at him. The question was, which ones?


"Hmmm?" she said looking up from Ollivanders book.

"Could you help me a moment? Some of these materials are calling me, but I can’t figure out which ones."

Hermione conjured a box and walked over to the table. There, she placed all of the core items into the box and moved it to the far end of the room. "Can you still feel the attraction, Harry?" she called.

"Yes, but its less now."

"Good. Wait there a moment," she replied, then she put the box on the floor and pulled out of the box one of the core items. She carried the core back to the table, placing it in front of him.


He shook his head.

She nodded and put that core to the side, then went back and retrieved another core.

"That’s one," he said softly with a slight smile. "I can feel it coming closer."

Nodding she placed the core next to the box and picked up another. When they were done, Harry had selected three cores, which were now lined up in front of him on the table. Strangely, Hermione had pulled two others out and set them aside as well.

Flitwick watched them separate the core materials out with a smile. Harry had chosen a vial of ground Basilisk fang, Dragon heartstring and hair from the mane of a Sphinx.

"Miss Granger, can you tell me why you set aside two of the cores Harry rejected?"

Hermione looked somewhat self-conscious. "Well Professor, I don’t know exactly what Harry means by being attracted, but these two cores," she said pointing at them, "pulled at me. The Unicorn hair and Griffin feather seemed right. I could feel them vibrate in my hand."

Harry looked very interested. "You should have enough power to use a staff, Hermione. I think it’s a brilliant idea!"

Flitwick beamed at the two of them. "I don’t mind helping make two Harry, but can you be sure she has the power needed?"

"Yes Professor, I think I can. She’s probably one of the strongest witches in the school," Harry replied with confidence.

Under Professor Flitwick’s direction, each began work on their staff. Harry chose the Heartwood shaft and Hermione chose the Yew. Using a spell, they split the shaft lengthwise into two pieces. Then the core materials were levitated into depressions carved from the shaft half. With the cores carefully positioned, the two halves were rejoined and magically sealed.

Hermione chose a plain platinum end cap for the top of her staff, while Harry selected a more ornate crystal orb. Harry’s staff was further enhanced at the bottom to keep the wood from being damaged as he leaned on it.

Creating the basic staff had been the easy part. The hard part would take them several weeks, as they both had to inscribe runes on the staff, runes they would need to select and carve themselves. Even though each staff was fully functional at this point, the runes would further enhance and strengthen it.

Hermione looked at her staff critically for a moment, then she lifted it, murmuring, "Lumos!"

The end cap of her staff flared to life and she grinned broadly. The end cap cast a powerfully bright light, far brighter than her wand could do.

"Oh marvelous, Miss Granger! Simply marvelous! Twenty five points to Gryffindor for a job well done!" said Flitwick, positively dancing with glee.

Harry grinned at her as she put out the light and looked at him expectantly. Harry frowned for a moment, considering what spell to cast. "Better be ready to cover your eyes," he warned them. Taking a deep breath, he whispered, "Lumos."

The crystal orb at the end of his staff flared with an eye blinding brilliance. Harry shut his eyes and cried, "NOX!" The light was extinguished instantly.

All three stood blinking away tears and waiting for their vision to return to normal. Finally Harry broke the silence. "You know, if I could cast that light in a beam, I’d have a non-lethal weapon."

"My word! If that was a whispered light spell, I’d hate to see what a shouted one would do, Mr. Potter. Excellent work! Another twenty five points to Gryffindor!"

Harry smiled and tested the balance of his staff. When the door to the office opened admitting Professor McGonagall, they all turned towards her.

Her serious expression was enough to interrupt their activities. "I had a visit from Professor Dumbledore who, it seems, is now wanted by the authorities. He told me he is staying nearby, and asked that I send word to the Order to maintain a low profile. He fears that the government will soon begin to go after the Order membership."

Harry sighed. "We’re not ready to offer the Order safe haven, Professor. Maybe in a few days, if Hermione can get that loyalty oath done. But even then, I’m reluctant to let them have the run of Padfoot without any supervision. No, I’m afraid the Order is going to be on their own for a while."

McGonagall nodded. "I agree, Mr. Potter, I just wanted you to be aware that Dumbledore is somewhere in the vicinity of Hogsmeade, and what his fear is. Now, if you and Miss Granger are done for the evening, I’ll escort you both back to your house."

Hogsmeade (Second weekend in March)…

Susan Bones and Terry Boot walked down the road from Hogwarts to Hogsmeade. Like so many other students on this blustery Saturday, they needed to escape the tense atmosphere that had become Hogwarts. The Aurors who had been providing additional security at the school had vanished without a word early in the week. And the news being reported spoke of arrests of long time government officials and families going into hiding. Several new laws restricting non-humans had been passed and another law was already introduced that would classify Muggles as non-human.

The Wizarding Wireless Network had also reported a number of attacks by Death Eaters scattered around the United Kingdom. Strangely enough, there were no reports of any arrests.

Tension in the school was rising as muggle born and half blood banded together to defend themselves from the pure blood racists who were suddenly making their views known. Long time friendships and more than a few romances were broken as full bloods turned on their friends in an effort to appear to agree with the government.

The Outcasts were targeted by both groups since they contained Muggle born, half and full bloods, but few people wanted to tangle with Harry Potter and his friends.

Terry and Susan needed a break from the castle. As enjoyable as it was to be with their friends, their relationship was reaching a point where it demanded a little privacy now and then. Susan didn’t know it, but Terry was intending to take her to Madam Puddifoots.

Madam Pomfrey also walked down the road towards Hogsmeade on this early morning. She had an appointment with Healer Symthe to pick up a new spell book and she needed to restock some of the supplies and potion ingredients for the infirmary. She sighed and wished she’d managed to convince Minerva to join her today. But with things being what they were, Minerva felt she couldn’t leave the school. Privately, she admitted that Minerva was probably correct, but she was worried about her friend. The woman hadn’t had a single day’s break since the Headmaster had been suspended!

It was a quiet time in The Three Broomsticks. Madam Rosemerta was cleaning up and getting the large pub area ready for the days trade. It was nearly noon before the first customers started to trickle in for a hot-spiced butterbeer and some lunch.

The first sign of trouble came from the direction of the train station.

Rosemerta looked up curiously. She could have sworn she’d heard a scream come from outside, but it was hard to say for sure over the noise in the pub. Two of her customers were arguing over the prospects of England attending the Quidditch World Cup this year and their conversation was quite loud. She moved closer to one of the front windows to see if there was anything going on.

Poppy Pomfrey paused coming out of the apothecary and wondered if that was a scream she had heard. She nodded pleasantly to several people passing her, including a couple of students. Then she turned and stared intently in the direction of the train station. The ground under her feet shook slightly and she could have sworn someone screamed again.

She moved down the street towards the station. There. A motion caught her eye and she spotted what looked like a person flying through the air. The ground shook again and she clearly heard someone scream this time. Several people came running up the road from the direction she was heading.

She checked to make sure she still had her medical bag with her and strode purposefully down the street. If people were hurt, they’d need her.


Madam Puddifoots with Terry and Susan…

Susan was a bit shocked. She and Terry had tried on several occasions to arrange for a romantic interlude and each time something had happened to prevent it. Susan was afraid. She didn’t consider herself to be pretty and smart like Hermione, or having that wholesome look like Ginny. Even Luna had an odd sort of beauty that made the Hufflepuff feel less than adequate.

What Susan didn’t know was that those same women she envied, envied her for her long hair and hourglass figure. All Susan knew was that every time she tried to take her relationship with Terry further, something had happened to interfere and it had shaken her confidence.

Thanking Madam Puddifoot when she delivered the platter of cookies and steaming mugs of hot chocolate, Terry reached over and gripped one of the Susan’s hands in his own. Susan was a childhood friend of his and, in his opinion, the most beautiful girl in the school. Susan’s Aunt had been key to helping his muggle family understand what the Wizarding world was like.

"Susan," Terry began, really wishing he had a Gryffindor’s courage. "I wanted to tell you how pretty I think you look today. I’m glad you agreed to come with me."

Susan blushed and stared down at her plate for a moment. "I’m glad I came too. I wasn’t sure you’d want to continue going out with me," she said in a whisper.

Terry frowned, upset by her words. "Why wouldn’t I? Don’t you know how I feel about you?"

"I know, Terry, but I thought you’d be angry with me. Every time we try to arrange for some time for ourselves, something happens."

"But that isn’t your fault, Susan. You have to know that. Besides, we’ll have time for ourselves," he replied, then he suddenly turned shy, "Would you like me to ask Harry for those portkeys?" he asked, his voice tinged with both hope and fear.

She nodded and smiled softly. Glancing down she frowned when she noticed the liquid in her cup was rippling.   Terry followed her gaze and frowned, and then he stood up and walked to the window. His actions caught the attention of several other patrons and Madam Puddifoot. Every few seconds they could feel the ground shake.

"Giants!" Terry exclaimed loudly, the shock he felt evident in his voice.

He looked at the people in the small teashop and performed a quick head count. Eight students, Madam Puddifoot and her helper, not counting himself and Susan. He rushed back over to the table. "We need to get everyone out of here. Do you think you can make a portkey like Harry showed us, Susan?" he asked desperately.

"I think so," she said nervously.

"Good, use the tablecloth and get everyone in here to Hogwarts, then alert Harry and Professor McGonagall. I’ll see if I can find any more students and use my portkey to Harry’s place," he said.

From outside, screams and the sounds of breaking wood could be heard. Susan nodded reluctantly and pulled out her wand. As Terry left Madam Puddifoots, he heard her instructing everyone to grab hold of the tablecloth.


Hogsmeade, near The Three Broomsticks…

Rosemerta peered out the window, looking for the source of the disturbance. Several people had run by the building and the building continued to shake, but she still couldn’t see anything. She was about to open the front door and go out into the street when a corner of the pub exploded inward.

A large shard of wood impaled Rosemerta’s leg and she collapsed against the wall. Helplessly, she watched as a giant reached into the gaping hole in the building and lifted out one of her customers, still screaming.

The giant looked at the man curiously for a moment, then hurled him out of the way. With another swing of his club, the giant hit the building again. Rosemerta gasped as the building tilted. She tried to get up, but her injury prevented it. Another blow came crashing down on the building and it slowly and inexorably collapsed, burying Rosemerta and several of her customers under the wreckage.

Poppy Pomfrey watched in horror from the street, then dashed sideways to avoid the slow moving giant as it walked away from the collapsed building. Giants were incredibly dangerous, but were slow and lumbering. Poppy was easily able to avoid the giant as she ran to The Three Broomsticks. She fingered her emergency Infirmary Portkey for a moment, and then started pulling pieces out of the pile of wood, searching for a way to get to the people trapped within. She never noticed the shadow that fell over her.


Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry…

Susan Bones arrived in the front courtyard of the school with Madam Puddifoot and nine other people. Turning to the group, she instructed them to get everyone inside the school, then she sprinted on ahead, heading for the Gryffindor Head Suite.

Susan burst into the little common room to find Harry and Hermione, both studying. They looked up, startled at her arrival. Seeing her expression, Harry stood up and faced her, the concern written on his face.

"Harry," she panted, "there are giants in Hogsmeade! Terry sent me back to the school with some students. I don’t know where he is!"

Harry turned and held out a hand. His staff flew from the corner, coming to his hand like a tame bird. He nodded to Hermione then, saying, "Take care of Susan. There’ll be more students in town and I have to find Terry."

Susan stumbled over to Hermione, who grabbed the girl, as Harry vanished from sight.


12 Grimmauld Place…

Alarms screamed in the building to announce an emergency portkey arrival. Tonks, Amelia and Remus bolted from various parts of the house to the foyer, wands drawn. Remus skidded to a halt, spotting several former students of his. It was a small group, only five people. All were covered in dust and several were bleeding. Terry Boot stumbled to the front of the group.

He was bleeding heavily from a cut on his forehead. "Giants, Mr. Lupin…giants in Hogsmeade. I just had time to grab these four from Honeydukes and portkey away," he said, swaying.

Remus looked over the group. "You did the right thing, Terry. Amelia, Tonks, help me get these kids into the living room and we’ll floo them to the school. Tonks, I think you might want to see if we can get a hold of Danni. They are going to need as many healers as possible, I think."

They moved everyone into the living room where Remus opened up a floo connection to the Headmaster’s office at Hogwarts.

Hogwarts, Headmaster’s Office…

Minerva McGonagall looked up from the desk of the Headmaster’s office to see Madam Puddifoot and her assistant enter. She had not yet adjusted to sitting behind this particular desk, but the Board of Governors expected her to use the office. She frowned and shuddered to think what would bring Madam Puddifoot to Hogwarts. The last time the woman had shown up it was to complain about the Weasley twins, Fred and George, who had turned her shop into a gingerbread house.

"Madeline," Minerva said with a smile, "won’t you come in? A cup of tea, perhaps?"

The stout woman shook her head. "Minerva, there is no time for…"

The woman paused in mid-comment when Minerva’s floo flared to life and a pair of students stepped through, followed by another pair, then Remus Lupin, helping Terry Boot.

Minerva stood in alarm. Some of her students had been injured!

"Giants are attacking Hogsmeade, Minerva. Terry grabbed these four and portkeyed to Harry’s house," Remus said urgently.

"Susan, she went to get Harry Potter," whispered a pale Madam Puddifoot.

Remus and Minerva exchanged a look. Minerva turned to Madam Puddifoot. "Madeline, would you be a dear and escort these students to the infirmary? I’m sure you remember where it is. Mr. Lupin and I need to get down to Hogsmeade to help out."

Numbly Madam Puddifoot nodded as Minerva and Remus used the floo to return to Grimmauld.


Harry Potter appeared on the outskirts of Hogsmeade, not far from the Shrieking Shack and The Three Broomsticks.

Moving in a loping trot, he headed south towards the popular pub and the main road. He could feel the ground shaking and the sound of screams and breaking wood. He slid to a halt in the middle of the road and looked east. He could clearly see one giant not too far away, facing away from him, and another coming towards him from the far edge of town. The closer of the two giants had a small child in his hand and the child was crying hysterically.

Harry scowled and raised his staff. He would have to time this carefully. The giant raised his arm and hurled the child to the ground.

"ACCIO CHILD!" Harry shouted.

The small girl hurtled downward at a frightening pace, then suddenly shot off perpendicular to the ground into Harry’s arms. The force of her speed was enough to spin Harry around several times before he was able to put her down. The giant never noticed that the girl never hit the ground.

Harry put the girl down, then knelt by the crying child. "Stay behind me, do you understand?" he said intently.

Sniffling back tears, she could only nod at him. He smiled gently, then stood and turned to face the giant again.

His mind raced. Giants were magic resistant. What could he use against it? Most likely an explosive hex or cutting curse would bounce off or just irritate it. Thinking back to his third year and what Remus had taught them about magical creatures, he considered his options, and then he glanced at the wreckage of The Three Broomsticks. Several still forms lay in the dirt near the building, but he refused to think about them.

He levitated a large wooden beam out of the wreckage. It had broken in half and was only about twelve feet long with one jagged end. Turning to face the Giant, he took a deep breath and concentrated.   Then, in a quick move, he sent the beam hurling towards the hulking creature.

The twelve foot long missile hit the giant with an explosive force, plunged through his back and burst out from the giant’s ribcage with a spray of gore.

The giant paused and looked down at the four feet of wooden beam sticking out of his chest. The giant roared in agony for a moment, then blood burst from his mouth. He teetered for a moment, then slowly pitched to his knees and collapsed.

Harry sighed in relief at the death of the giant, but looked up in surprise a moment later when the giant at the far end of the town bellowed in anger and started a lumbering run up the street, straight at him! He looked around frantically and the little girl gripped his pant leg, making whimpering sounds as the other giant drew closer and closer.

He couldn’t spot a suitable beam to use and there was no time to make one. The giant was nearly upon them when he panicked. Pointing his staff he shouted, "Wingardium Leviosa!"

The giant suddenly hurtled upwards at an incredible velocity. It was barely a speck in the sky before Harry regained control of his spell and halted the giant’s upward flight. Aiming carefully, he moved the giant slightly, and then cancelled the spell.

He smiled. With a little luck and if he aimed properly, the giant should land between the Shrieking Shack and the Whomping Willow.

Harry watched as the huge figure hurtled earthward and was glad he wouldn’t be anywhere near the impact zone. He and the little girl watched as the giant impacted and the ground shook. Then he took the girl’s hand and walked towards The Three Broomsticks, looking for injured.

Hogsmeade, near Madam Puddifoots…

Remus, Tonks, Danni and Minerva apparated to the front door of what used to be Madam Puddifoots, but now was a splintered wreck. Bewildered, the four looked around at the devastation. Hogsmeade looked like it had been hit by a tornado. Here and there, people could be seen combing through the wreckage, looking for survivors. They could clearly see the damage the giants caused. Of the creatures themselves, there was no sign, but they all felt a single massive ground tremor, then nothing.

Remus motioned for Danni and Tonks to pull up the hoods on their concealment cloaks, then they went about trying to help where they could. They were nearly an hour into organizing the townspeople to help each other when Ministry Aurors and Healers from St. Mungos finally began to arrive.

With help now pouring into the town, Remus and Tonks went in search of Harry, fearful of what they’d find.

Harry knelt in the dirt next to the body he had found near The Three Broomsticks, tears flowing freely down his cheeks. The little girl stood nearby watching the man who had saved her cry. Harry felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up from that gentle touch to see Danni standing there, her own eyes misty from unshed tears.

Harry looked down again at the body and he straightened out her arm, and then brushed the hair away from her eyes. Minerva, spotting Danni and Harry, motioned to Remus to follow then rushed to the pair. She gasped when she saw the motionless form of Poppy Pomfrey.

Harry looked up at her, his face twisted in sorrow. "I didn’t get here in time, Professor. I’m so sorry," he said with a whimper, and then his shoulders shook as sobs wracked his body.

Tonks scooped up the little girl and passed her to a member of the town council who’d been helping them.   "Find her parents. We’ll deal with Madam Pomfrey," she said huskily.

The townsman nodded and went off in search of the little girl’s family. Minerva steeled her expression and walked to Harry. She gently helped him stand and turn away from the sight. Danni knelt down and double checked Poppy, but it was too late. She looked up and shook her head at Remus. Tonks buried her head into Remus’ shoulder and wept. Poppy Pomfrey had been the healer at Hogwarts for nearly thirty years and she had touched many lives.

Remus conjured a stretcher and Danni levitated Poppy’s body onto it. With the stretcher leading the way, Remus and Tonks fell in behind it, then Harry and Minerva, with Danni bringing up the rear. Harry placed an arm around his Professor’s shoulders, giving and taking comfort. Minerva smiled gently up at her student. Slowly the group of them followed the stretcher up the road. They were taking Madam Pomfrey home to Hogwarts for the last time.

"Does she have family?" asked Harry quietly.

"She has a daughter now living in America, but no one local. Poppy’s husband died in the sixties. She has no one else," Minerva said.

"She has us, Professor," Harry said softly. "Hogwarts is her family."

Minerva sniffed and wiped a tear away. "Aye Mr. Potter, then we’ll take her home to her family."

Behind them, other students who’d survived the attack on Hogsmeade lined up, following on the walk back to school.

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry…

Hermione stood with some of the outcasts in the Entrance Hall. Madam Puddifoot was talking to Professor Flitwick. News of the attack had spread like wildfire throughout the school, but no one knew the extent of the attack.

"There’s someone coming up the road!" shouted a student standing in front of the school.

Professor Flitwick and everyone else surged out the great doors to look. Coming around the bend in the road was a small group of students and adults. They were following what appeared to be a levitated stretcher. It wasn’t until they got closer that a collective gasp rippled through the crowd. Several students started weeping.

Hermione, who was further back in the crowd, could see Harry, Remus and Tonks, but it wasn’t until the crowd parted and she was able to see the stretcher that she understood. Her hands flew to her mouth and her eyes widened.

Harry broke away from Minerva and he walked to her. She could see the sorrow etched on his face. He wrapped his arms around her and buried his head in the hollow between her neck and shoulder. She held him tightly and they both wept.

Later, in Great Hall, dinner was served to a very quiet student body. When dinner was complete, Professor McGonagall stood to catch everyone’s attention. The day had aged her more than even the attack at the end of Harry’s fifth year where she had been injured and sent to St. Mungos.

"By now you all know of the loss we have suffered this day. Classes will be cancelled on Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, after breakfast, there will be a memorial service for Madam Pomfrey.

"Healer Danni McNeil has agreed to help out here at Hogwarts until we can locate a permanent replacement for Madam Pomfrey. Healer McNeil asks me to tell everyone that she has calming draughts available, as well as sleeping potions, if necessary. The next few days will be difficult for all. I would ask that everyone do their best to help each other."

 Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry…

Tuesday morning came with a bitter wind and a heavy overcast. After breakfast, Harry and the Outcasts, dressed in their finest school robes, walked with heavy hearts out to the Quidditch Pitch. The attack had shocked the Wizarding world to the core. Ministry spokesmen were spending most of their time trying to answer the question of why they had been so delayed responding to the disaster. The death of Madam Pomfrey and over one hundred residents of Hogsmeade had people screaming for answers.

On Sunday, the Wizarding Wireless Network had announced the memorial service for Madam Pomfrey and mourners had been arriving at the school since dawn.

Harry and his friends took seats in the section set aside for current students as the stands filled with mourners from elsewhere. On a small raised platform was a bier with Poppy and a small podium for the speakers.

Harry sat stoically. He and Hermione had cried themselves to sleep the night it happened. That night he had clung to her, crying and blaming himself for not getting to town in time. Now that blame was turning into a cold anger, another name to be added to Voldemort’s bill, and Harry had every intention of collecting what was owed.

The crowd hushed and Harry turned to see Minerva McGonagall approach the podium. With a quick flick of her wand she performed the Sonorus spell, then turned to face the crowd.

"Students, teachers and friends, we are gathered here today to celebrate the life of Poppy Pomfrey. Many of us remember her as the gruff healer of Hogwarts. I can tell you now, she was anything but gruff. Poppy’s life was dedicated to helping others and she died in pursuit of that goal.

"Many of you will remember your experiences with Poppy, and that is why we are here today, to remember. She came to work for Hogwarts shortly after her husband died, and for nearly thirty years she nursed homesick students, healed broken bones and fixed curse damage. For nearly thirty years she put the health and welfare of the students of this school above her own. I remember one year when we had a bad case of wizards flu sicken half the school, including Poppy. But she never once took to her bed. No, she worked, caring for her patients, until she was ready to collapse. Then she’d pick herself up and start over again.

"Poppy Pomfrey may be gone, but she lives on in the hearts and minds of everyone she has touched. And now we must go on without her. It will not be easy, but life is never easy. Join with me as we send our dear friend on to her reward."

Minerva turned and faced the bier. She bowed once and lifted her wand.

"Ut silenti etc nos narro bonus," she said, her voice carrying to the crowded pitch. From her wand shot a single pinprick of yellow light. The little orb sped out to the bier and started to slowly circle it.

Minerva turned to face the audience and she motioned with her hand. People in the stands stood and repeated the incantation. With each repetition the bier was slowly surrounded by a ring of light.

Hermione stood and added her farewell to Madam Pomfrey, then turned to see Harry still sitting. "Harry?"

"I’m not sure I should, Hermione. I didn’t bring my wand, and wandless or with my staff, it might be overpowering," he murmured.

Hermione frowned for a moment, then she smiled softly. "I don’t think she’d mind, Harry. She knew how you felt about here."

Harry nodded and stood. "Ut silenti etc nos narro bonus," he said softly. The crystal at the end of his staff flared briefly and a blindingly white orb the size of his fist flew out to join the ring of circling lights around the bier. When it joined with the ring, the ring flared to white and thickened until the entire bier was hidden behind the curtain of light.

A house elf appeared near the bier and, facing it, he bowed low before raising his hands to ignite the pyre. As the fire burned, a line formed up and people came forward to toss a single flower into the flames.

With an arm wrapped around each other, Harry and Hermione turned away from the sad sight and walked towards the castle, their grief stricken friends following.

Author’s Notes:

Yes it’s the author’s notes. It is that point in time were we warp space and twist time, coming up with lame excuses for perceived screw ups. We say perceived because we don’t see them as screw ups. We prefer to call them Literary Oopsies.

For all those reviewers telling us they just found the story. Welcome! Now, what took you so long?

Thank you for the suggestion about turning Snape into a snake and Dumbledore into a mongoose. It was a wonderful suggestion possibly caused by too much medication on your part. Cut your dosage and see your doctor.

What was the point of the comment: 'The students names are being withheld pending notification of the Nott, Goyle, Crabbe, Parkinson and Goldstein families.'?   Simple, really.   One, they're Death Eaters and, in the opinion of the Editor of the Quibbler, their identities shouldn't be protected.   Second, the editor of the Quibbler is a Lovegood.   Did you really expect him to do anything else? (Here’s a minor hint: Humor)

To our British readers that complimented us on keeping your roads correct. Unlike some authors, we’ve learned the value of Mapquest. But thanks for the compliment!

Draco was really the only one capable of explaining house elves to Hermione. He comes from that rarified part of Wizarding society and knows about that sort of stuff. Besides, it was his turn according to my notes to say something. (Just kidding)

Our two previous stories, Dumbledore’s Army and Spiritus Crystalus are still online at While we do plan on putting them online here, we won’t put them online until AFTER this story is complete.

Yes folks, there is a Death Eater in charge of the Ministry and he’s taking charge of things similar to what good ol’adolf did to Germany after he was elected chancellor.

We tried to get Arthur and his twelve knight to help but they had already booked another engagement. I think they are assisting the Japanese in repelling another Godzilla attack.

Pet Peeves:

I was reading a long story the other day, (greater than 200K words) and I was enjoying it, until I started to notice a definite pattern. The author was enamored with the idea of super powers and decided that EVERYONE deserved at least one super power and Harry got one every three chapters. Mindspeakers, beastspeakers, stereospeakers, empaths, soul readers, scanners blah blah blah. ENOUGH ALREADY!!! It was a decent story, but it quickly descended into the realm of stupidity.

Super powered Harry. In our book that means he has a few minor abilities, like lots of power and the ability to read and retain information better. Oh sure, we buffed him up and took away his glasses, but those aren’t super powered things. Of course, this is our opinion. Your mileage may vary and we aren’t paid to think your opinion is any good. If you want to pay us, we’re willing to listen to your opinion.

It really peeves me off when you run across a Super Powered Harry story where the author isn’t content to make Harry super powered, but also has to throw in every power of every comic book they have ever read. It’s not necessary folks, really. Super Powered stories are hard enough to write and make believable without giving Harry laser beams for eyes, retractable claws and cat fur.

  • Previous
  • Next