Getting To The Problem
DISCLAIMER – I took my ebony wand and gave it a flick and said Accio Robert Patterson and Daniel Radcliff. Suffice to say that didn't work. I tried again and said Accio, the rights to Harry Potter. That didn't work either. So that means that I do not own anything except the plot of this story.
DISCLAIMER 2 – some of the character will be OOC. This is because I do not feel that I should stick to what Rowling's did. If I wanted to be sued, I would plagiarize her work. So the character attitudes will be to MY liking.
PLEASE – Do not flame me because you do not like the story. I humbly ask that if this story is not your cup of tea to switch to coffee or soda. Flaming me due to slash, stats, or other wise things you don't like, will not do any good. Also, I humbly ask that if you do pass an insult to do it at me and not my readers. It is unfair to those that are actually enjoying the story to be bashed because you don't like it. Thanks for your consideration.
Chapter 11 – Getting to the Problem
Lucius went off and began the work on acquiring the best trackers around Britain to start the search for the old fool. It was not long before Lucius had the tracker at the Manor. He brought the person before the Dark Lord and began his reasoning.
"You are here today for one simple task," said Lucius. "You are to find and trail Albus Dumbledore. When we are ready we will send out a team to capture him. Your only job is to get information as to what he is doing and where he is hiding out."
"Show me your face," said Voldemort in a hiss. "I don't take kindly to people hiding from me. Therefore, you will let me know who you are and whom I am dealing with."
The man pulled back his hood and revealed the face of Bill Weasley. Voldemort raised his eyes in shock for a few moments before he put on a serene expression on his face. This was definantly an unexpected surprise.
"I am sure that you have your goblin co-workers that are going to be assisting you in this endeavor," stated Voldemort simply. "It would be prudent if you were to keep Lord Potter in the loop of all information that you find. You are a Vassal of his House and I will not harm you, but you will do your job to the best of your ability or there WILL be hell to pay."
"I will do my job," replied Bill with confidence. "Thank you for giving me the chance to play a part in this fight. I am positive that I will be able to keep close tabs on the old fool and help you and Lord Potter to bring him to justice once and for all. I am tired of people like him using my family to further his own aims. At least being in your presence, I know that my skills are actually wanted for a good cause rather than for the disruption of the world of magic."
"Should you and your team succeed, you will be handsomely rewarded," returned Voldemort. "You may leave and begin your task. Make sure that you send me word no longer than every three days. The longer you take to send me word, the sooner the old fool has of getting away again. We want him caught at all costs."
"I will make sure that you and Lord Potter have the information as soon as I get it," explained Bill before turning away. "Even if it's to let you know where I am, I will see to it that every other day, you get some kind of information. This is why I am the best and the most sought after. I never leave my clients wanting for some kind of word."
Voldemort nodded his head in satisfaction at this proclamation. He gave a pleased nod to Lucius before he turned back to his other work. Lucius didn't stick around. He still had things he needed to do as well. The insurance that things were going well in the castle were part of his top priorities. He may work for the Dark Lord, but he loved his family.
Over the next few days, reports were flying back and forth between all parties involved. Bill had immediately picked up the trail of Dumbledore and was tracking him and making sure that the old fool was not up to anything dangerous. As of yet, the old man was just trying to find a hideout that he could safely use.
Harry and Hermione went with Severus into the Chamber of Secrets where they met up with a group of goblin already working hard on the carcass of the basilisk. The goblins were extremely happy about the size of the beast. They happily were filling crates, vials, and other carrying devices with the different parts of the dead snake.
Griphook walked over to Harry and handed him the one thing that he asked for more than anything else. A small hole was drilled into the end of the fang and a silver cord was laced through it to act as a necklace. Harry thanked his goblin brother and immediately put it around his neck. He and Hermione, along with Severus donned protective clothing, and they assisted with the harvesting. Hours later, they were done.
"We will ensure that you get top dollar for this," said Griphook. "The items that you requested are already being sent to Professor Snape's quarters. The armor that you asked for will be delivered within a few days. The rest will be sold. Do you have any thought on what you want done with the money?"
"Have most of it placed in the school budget vault," requested Harry. "This way, we can get new brooms for the school and other things that are needed to make this place better. Also we want to send a small portion of the proceeds to Voldemort. It was his snake after all that I killed. He deserves to be compensated for it. I think five percent should work for him. Send a small portion to Myrtle's family as well. They should get something for the murder of their child by this beast. I think five percent for her family should help."
"I will see to it personally," said Griphook smiling at Harry. "You are a very generous man. I have yet to hear you ask for anything for yourself money wise."
"That is because I don't need it," said Harry shrugging. "All I want is the protective clothing that I asked for. Other than that, the school will profit from the carcass. The education of the students is more important than filling my coffers."
Everyone that was working with Harry beamed at the young man. Harry knew that what he asked for would happen. Thus was the relationship between Harry and the goblins of Gringotts. Both parties trusted the other and they knew that what each side promised would happen.
Time flew for Harry. He was receiving reports on Dumbledore from Bill Weasley. He was also looking forward to another quiet day romancing his wonderful wife. Harry and Hermione were both getting top grades in the school. However, due to their diligence and hard work, the rest of the school was benefitting from their tutoring sessions as well. By the time that February hit, the lowest GPA in the school was a high Acceptable. The professors were all very pleased with this. It meant that more parents would be prone to send their children to Hogwarts to learn. With the fact that the GPA was as high as it was, it was determined that students were getting all of the required assistance they needed in order to make something of themselves for the future.
It was nearing Valentine's Day when Harry talked with the professors again of the school.
"I was wondering if we could hold a Valentine's Day dance?" suggested Harry. "It will serve to reward the students for their hard work and dedication to their studies. It will also let them know that what is going on beyond the castle walls is not something that they should be worrying about until after they graduate."
"I can see that this would work out for both of those suggestions," admitted Minerva smiling. "The students HAVE been working hard. Studying and study groups are often found all over the place. We as the professors have been walking in on these little groups all over the place. It is hard to punish students who are out of their dorms after a certain hour when we catch them if all they are doing is studying. Therefore, we have just been sitting with them and giving our opinions and help and then sending them off when a certain hour hits."
"Hermione and I have been doing the same thing," said Harry grinning. "We have been working with many of those groups ourselves to improve what they are either researching or discussing. Even Madam Pince has been letting students use the library up until eleven at night to study and work. As long as they are not being loud and disruptive, she has been looking the other way if they are actually working to improve their grades."
"I am also impressed with the students that have been coming to me for healing studies," said Poppy. "The amount of students that come to me for training is wonderful. I find it hard to turn them away when they are so dedicated to learning what I have to offer them."
"We have placed notices on the house bulletin boards that state that a student may be out of their dorm up until eleven thirty provided they are either studying or heading towards their dorm from a study group," chimed in Severus. "I must say that the fights, rules breaking, and other misconduct have severely diminished since we allow them to do this. There are still students that get into trouble, but it is rarely for anything serious."
"I am not able to do much for the students on the weekdays," said Pomona. "However, I have been giving my free time on the weekends to help those that want to improve with their grades in Herbology. I noticed that Hagrid has been doing the same thing with Care of Magical Creatures. It is wonderful to see so many students working with the staff. It makes me wish I were a student again so that I can live with what is happening now that wasn't there when I was a student."
The sentiment was echoed from most of the professors sitting in the room. They knew that much was needed to be done before the school was perfect. They also knew that the school would never be perfect. What was happening now was what most of the professors became teachers for in the first place. This was a place where the students wanted to learn what the teachers had to teach them.
From time to time, the professors brought in guest lecturers. DADA was seen to have Lucius Malfoy, Voldemort, and members of the Auror Squad. Wizarding Etiquette was seen to host Madam Longbottom, Madam Bones, Madam Malfoy, and other influential members of the Wizengamot there to help all muggleborns and half bloods learn what was needed to improve their station when they graduated.
"So we are in agreement then?" asked Harry. "Can we have the Valentine's Day Ball?"
"I see no reason to deny you your request," said Minerva looking around at her nodding co-workers. "The student body has more than earned it. As it is about ten days until Valentine's Day, I think we should make the announcement this evening at dinner so that the student may go and get their gowns and dress robes and such."
"Hermione and I would be honored to escort some of the younger students to get their robes and such if you want," offered Harry while Hermione nodded in agreement. "We are so far ahead of our own schooling that I think we can take a day off to do something other than study for once."
"Ahead?" asked Minerva with an uncharacteristic snort. "Shall I break it down for you? We have Hermione that is studying at a seventh year level in DADA, Herbology, Potions, Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, COMC, Transfiguration, History of Magic, and Wizarding Etiquette."
"Wow Hermione," said Harry with a grin. "That is very impressive. What kind of grades is she getting? I hope that she is at least getting an EE or an O."
"She is getting an EE in History of Magic, Wizarding Etiquette, and DADA," reported Severus. "She is getting an Outstanding in everything else. Even more impressive than that is your own scores Mr. Potter."
"Oh do tell," exclaimed Hermione with a small giggle. "I am eager to see how well my husband is doing in his own grades."
"Hmm," said Minerva playfully. "Lets see. He is studying and working at a seventh year level in everything except Ancient Runes, DADA, and Charms. He is at a fifth year level in Ancient Runes and University level in DADA and Charms. The only subject he isn't getting an O in is DADA and that is because he is working at a higher level. He is passing the courses with grades higher than we can give him. He does need to brush up on his Wizarding Etiquette. He isn't doing as well there, but that is probably because he is doing so much all over the place that he is getting a first hand experience rather than the book experience."
"So that means that Harry has the highest GPA in the school," said an astounded Hermione. "I thought we were equal in grades."
"You are," assured Minerva. "His course studies are just a little bit higher in level than yours. He is scoring a four point average in his level range. You are scoring a three point nine five in your level. The difference is so minimal, that we are not even bothering to put one over the other."
"We expect Mr. Potter to take his NEWTS in DADA, History, Transfiguration, Charms, Arithmancy, and Herbology instead of his OWLS," said Severus. "Mrs. Potter, we expect you to take your NEWTS in Potions, Herbology, Transfiguration, Charms, and Muggle Studies instead of OWLS. We have already cleared it with the Wizengamot and Board of Education."
"That will give us an easier time for next year and seventh year," said Harry. "That way, we can do more tutoring than we are now because we will have more time to spare for the other students. This is magnificent."
Hermione smiled brightly at this. She knew that Harry was intelligent, but she had no idea he was THAT intelligent. When she tallied it up, Harry would still be taking Potions, Ancient Runes, COMC, and Healing while she would be taking Healing, COMC, History, Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, and DADA.
During the days that lead up to Valentine's Day, Harry and the staff all made short work of all of the secret passageways into the school. Thanks to the Marauder's Map, they all knew which tunnels were where and how to access them to keep all unwelcomed visitors out of the school. Lucius did something wonderful for Harry and bought and donated the Vanishing Cabinet from Borgin and Burkes. It was his was of saying thanks for taking care of all of the students and for giving him the chance to prove that he wasn't such a bad person to work with.
Finally Valentine's Day was upon the castle. The classes were only a half day. None of the professors were worried about a slip in grades as the students were always working hard on their lessons. Homework was always done the same day and it was always with groups working together to look up facts and such. If a student wasn't towing the line in the groups, they were kicked out and not allowed back in. However, that happened rarely and all students worked hard to accomplish what they set out to do.
That evening, Hermione was working with the girls in Gryffindor Tower when the portrait opened and Luna came in wrapped in a stolen pillowcase. She was given the password to Gryffindor Tower as she was considered a little sister by Harry and Hermione. When Hermione saw the condition that Luna was in, she immediately flew into a rage. The younger woman was covered in dirt, paint, and in some cases marks from hexes. She was battered and bruised to the point that Hermione had Lavender and Parvati race to get Madam Pomfrey and Minerva.
It wasn't long before all of the people that needed to know something bad happened were assembled. Professors Flitwick and Snape were also present as was Harry. Even the professors took a step back when Harry was told what happened.
"I was entering my common room when I heard Pansy Parkinson and Millicent Bulstrode arguing," said Luna. "Pansy was insinuating that Hermione was doing illegal things to Harry still. Millicent was defending Hermione. Pansy went on to say that Harry and Hermione were cheating on their tests and that is why they were getting such good grades. It ended up with Millicent slapping Pansy and calling her a stupid cow before storming off."
"I am glad that Miss Bulstrode stood up for Harry and Hermione," said Severus making a mental note to get his hands on Pansy Parkinson. "This doesn't explain how you ended up in the state that you are in now."
"Well after Millie left, I heard Pansy talking to some Ravenclaws," said Luna in a voice that was barely above a whisper. "They were plotting to get to and take down many of Harry's closest friends and supporters. These people included me, Hermione, Seamus, Draco, Millicent, Hannah, and Susan. I was trying to figure out how to leave where I was hiding when I was spotted by Pansy and the other girls. They started hexing me and banished my clothes. When I got back to the dorm, all of my stuff was missing. Thankfully, Harry had my wand as he was using it to disprove the theory that you can't successfully use someone else's wand or that would have disappeared as well."
"You have named Miss Parkinson," said Minerva furiously. "She will be dealt with. However, I want the names of the Ravenclaws that were in on this as well."
"I don't know all the people who were involved in the destruction of my property," exclaimed Luna through her tears. "I do know that Cho Chang, Marietta Edgecombe, and Padma Patil were the ones that were talking with Pansy and started hexing me. They don't like me and started calling me Looney Lovegood. They said I was nothing but a second whore for Harry and it was due to him that I was accepted into the school. They used Biting Hexes, Burning Hexes, and Stinging Hexes on me. Cho even used an Insect Hex that I never heard of before."
"That would explain all of the bee stings and ant bites," said Hermione wrapping a protective arm around Luna. "I was able to use some of the Healing that Madam Pomfrey taught us to heal most of those. Parvati, Lavender, Katie, Angelina, and Alicia helped up while we were waiting on the professors to get here."
"This is what we are going to do," said Filius in anger. "Mr. and Mrs. Potter, you will take a group of Gryffindors and you will escort Luna to Hogsmeade. You will get all of her books, clothes, and other personal items replaced. I will write a note that you will have the store owners send me the bill. From there, I will ensure that the girls responsible for this reimburse me for this travesty."
"I will go with them," said Minerva. "I am sure that between us, we can get this problem situated by the time of the dance. Poppy, please see to it that Luna is in full health before we leave. Severus, I will leave the problems with the attackers to you, Filius, and Dolores. I have never been more disappointed than I am right now."
"I will also send a letter to the Ministry of Magic," stated Dolores. "Now that Cornelius has been fired, we can make sure that Madam Longbottom and Madam Bones know of this. It would not surprise me that these girls don't get expelled should it be proven that Miss Lovegood's story is accurate. I have no doubt that she is telling the truth, but we must make sure. Severus, I am sure you have some Veritaserum on you."
"I always have a bottle on me," assured Severus. "Filius, shall we head to Ravenclaw Tower first? The sooner we deal with your girls, the sooner we can deal with Miss Parkinson."
"It might be best of Dolores speaks for me when we get there," said Filius through gritted teeth. "I am so angry right now, that I may say something that I might regret."
The other two nodded as they headed out. Harry and his group left once Luna was dressed in some borrowed clothes by one of the girls of Gryffindor that was about her size. Parvati was in shock that her sister could do something so vicious to such a kind person as Luna. Yes, Luna may speak about unusual things or space out from time to time, but that was due to her being a true seer and was always seeing visions and such. To hear that people were actually being cruel to the younger woman for being different after all that she had done for the school was astounding to many.
Poppy did a scan of Luna and then dosed her with a few potions to clear up the remaining troubles that the young Ravenclaw had. From there, Minerva and company took her out of the castle to go shopping for new things to replace her destroyed items.
"I am sad that my cork necklace was destroyed," whispered Luna sadly. "It was the last thing that my mum and I worked on before she died. It has a lot of sentimental value to it. I shall miss it."
"Then we shall have to make you another one," declared Harry passionately. "I know that it will not replace your mother's, but I figure that the memories that family and friends helped you with this one will help with the sadness a little bit."
"I shall personally buy the supplies for it," said Minerva kindly. "I know how much that necklace meant to you and if it is any consolation, I am truly sorry for its destruction. I know that it meant the world to you."
"Thank you all for helping me and making sure that I get a new necklace," stated Luna smiling slightly. "It makes me feel a little better knowing that you all love me as much as my mum did. It is like having a family that I didn't have growing up. It is a relief knowing that people like you all care about me and don't think I am strange."
"I don't think you are strange," assured harry tugging on her blonde locks lightly. "You may be quirky, and definantly unique, but strange is not an adjective I would use to describe you."
"Don't listen to my husband Luna," whispered Hermione conspiratorially while the other girls giggled. "He is daft in the head sometimes and a bit off his rocker. Therefore, nothing that he says can be counted as set in stone. He is just a big old softy at heart and loves you like a little sister. He doesn't have the mental facilities to just say that."
"Be quiet wife or I will have to throw you in the lake," threatened Harry with a mock glare that made Luna giggle. "I would hate to have you get wet at this time of the year. All that sneezing and hacking is not attractive on someone like you should you catch a cold. Plus I would not want you to get snot all over my dress robes tonight."
"HARRY POTTER I AM GOING TO GET YOU FOR THAT," she yelled chasing after him with her wand out. "THAT WAS COMPLETELY OUT OF LINE AND YOU SHALL BE PUNISHED."
Minerva, Luna, and the rest of the shopping party were in hysterics at this. Minerva knew that this was just what Harry wanted to help make Luna feel better. Suffice to say, it worked like a charm. A few moments later, a subdued but grinning Harry joined them in the shops to purchase all of Luna's replacement supplies.
A few hours later, Luna had a brand new set of everything and it was floating along behind Harry in a new trunk. The Gryffindors took to Luna like a little sister that needed protection. Minerva made sure that all of the shop owners knew that temporarily the bill would be sent to the school. Some of the shops donated stuff to Luna after hearing what happened to her. That Harry Potter was claiming this girl as his sister made them feel better. It helped that they were getting an autograph of the most popular couple in the British Isles to assist with the decision to aide the young Ravenclaw.
Meanwhile up in the Ravenclaw Tower, Filius, Severus, and Dolores were busy tearing into the bullying girls. Every girl in the Ravenclaw Tower was spoken too. After a few moments, the most antagonistic of the lot were brought forth and ratted out by the others.
"What gives you all the right to pick on someone that is obviously not going to defend her self?" asked Severus furiously. "She shouldn't have to defend herself period here in the castle. You lot have added insult to injury by being her dorm mates. She has NEVER done anything to harm or belittle any of you. I have personally witnessed her assisting many of you with your Charms and DADA lessons."
"Rumor has it that Miss Parkinson was the one to talk you all into it," said Dolores. "This will be going on all of your school transcript records. It WILL affect how you get employed in the future when it is shown that you have been a bully for four years to an innocent girl."
"She is nothing but an oddball," stated Cho emphatically. "We don't want her in this house. She is not a true Eagle. She needs to be sorted into another house. She doesn't fit in here and she has no friends. We should not be punished for her being so strange."
"One hundred points from Ravenclaw," said Filius in a deathly quiet voice. "Each and every female that has taken part in this is going to learn a very valuable lesson today. From here on out, the only female prefect in Ravenclaw will be Miss Lovegood. All other prefects are to hand in your badges immediately. I will not have bullies in a place of power."
"Next you will all serve detention with me for the rest of the year," said Severus. "I will make sure that it is the most disgusting thing that I can come up with. You will start this evening by scrubbing all of the toilets of the school by hand without magic. I shall have some of Lord Potter's elves watching to make sure that you do not try anything funny."
"None of you will be going to the Ball this evening or the one that is in a couple of months," added Dolores. "All quidditch spots will be revoked. All trips to Hogsmeade are now cancelled. Furthermore, one hundred points will be taken for destroying her belongings. Some of them were irreplaceable."
"Furthermore," stated Filius. "All girls of fourth year are now going to share a room with the fifth year girls. Miss Lovegood will have this dorm room all to herself. You will all begin by cleaning this room from top to bottom. I shall have a list for you within a few moments of how I want this room decorated and set up for Miss Lovegood. If I have any more trouble out of you, I shall suspend you if not expel you."
With that, he waved his wand and had a diagram set up. He got a few house elves to watch out over them as they manually moved the beds to the fifth year dorm. From there, he made sure that each girl took a part in the set up of Luna's suite. It was rare that Filius got angry, but now was one of those times that he was downright furious. Once they were done, he had the elves ward the room so that no one from Ravenclaw could enter without permission from Luna. He did this to ensure that her belongings would suffer in her absence again.
Later that evening, Severus had the girls working in the restrooms on different floors to ensure that all of the toilets were cleaned by hand. He set house elves to watch out over them with instruction to make sure that when they were done with all of the toilets, which they were to be sent to, do more work elsewhere. Should they not finish this night, they would pick up where they left off on the following day.
Severus headed to the dungeons and made sure that Pansy was punished just as severely as the rest of the attackers.
"Miss Parkinson," said Severus while the rest of the house listened. "You are hereby being deducted fifty points for harming Miss Lovegood. You are hereby losing fifty more points for encouraging others to do your dirty work. On top of that, I will take fifty for destroying the property of the young woman in question. You are to report to the bathrooms of each and every dorm of Slytherin House and you are to scrub and clean each of the toilets, shower stalls, and sinks by hand until they are all cleaned. You are hereby relieved of your Prefect status. Your prefect duties will be picked up from here on out by Miss Greengrass. You are not going to the Ball tonight. You will be to busy. You will report to me tomorrow night and each night from there from eight pm until midnight until the end of the year for detention. If you are caught anywhere near Miss Lovegood again, you will be expelled and your wand snapped. Winky Potter will be overseeing your detention for this evening as my presence is required at the Ball. You may begin."
With that, he turned on his heel and left the common room. The others were looking at Pansy furiously. Not only did she lose their house one hundred and fifty points, but she also hurt a fellow student that was a good person and very helpful. Daphne and Millie had taken Luna under their wing and were always helping the younger girl. They sneered at her as they got their stuff and headed to Gryffindor Tower to get ready for the Ball.
AUTHOR'S NOTE – I have my muse back for this story. Now the flow is getting better for me. I had to rework some of my ideas for this story. Please forgive me for the delays in updating, but I have so much going on with real life and getting updates for my other stories going. This chapter is shorter than most, but I have much going for next chapter. Thanks for the support.