Ring Around the Slytherin
Disclaimer – Harry Potter and its affiliates are the sole property of JK Rowling.
Disclaimer – Merlin and Morgan Le Fey are characters in History and Myth. They do not belong to me either.
Disclaimer – Sun Runner abilities are the property of Melanie Rawn.
Chapter 15 – Ring Around the Slytherin
"What do you mean he was kidnapped?" asked Harry furiously. "How could they just sneak up on us when we had so many here?"
"I do not know Harry," said Moody dejectedly. "I am just as upset about this as you are. Taking it out on us will not solve anything."
Harry stood there frozen in shock. He looked around the rest of the assembled group with a look of complete horror on his face.
"I don't think Harry is taking anything out on anyone," said Draco angrily. "It would appear that you are looking for a scapegoat. I will not have you blaming Harry for anything. Were it not for him, many of us would not be alive at this moment. So I suggest you back the hell up or I'll do it for you."
By this time Harry was crying again. Severus glared angrily at Moody and then went to comfort Harry. They could here the older wizard whispering quiet words of assurance to him. Albus meanwhile had stepped up and laid a comforting hand on Draco.
"Fighting among ourselves will not solve anything," he said. "Alastor I think you should apologize to Harry. I also do not think he was taking anything out on anyone. In this matter I think you are just as upset as everyone else and you are looking for someone to blame. Harry should not have to shoulder that responsibility."
Alastor looked saddened by Albus' words. He knew that Dumbledore was right. The loss of Blaise hit him hard. He walked over to Harry and laid a hand on his forearm. Harry looked at the old Auror and placed his hand over Moody's. The apology was given and accepted without having to utter one word. The tension in the clearing eased slightly.
"What can we do to get him back?" asked Draco. "He was my friend in school both before and after I started working so closely with Harry."
"Well that should not be to hard I think," said Albus. "After all both you and Harry can spot a Runner with the eyes of your Animagus forms."
"That's right," said Harry excitedly. "We can see if we can find him that way."
The rest of the group started getting excited by this.
"Albus I will need you and Severus to be at the school dealing with the injured," said Harry. "Severus, make sure St. Mungo's gets paid for their services today. Take it out of my vault. Griphook knows you well enough to allow the transaction in my absence."
"That will not be necessary," said Albus. "We have a budget for that at the Ministry. Do not worry Harry they will get paid. I doubt however that they are looking for payment. After all, you have donated millions to the hospital. In any case I will see to it for you. You and Draco should hurry before they get too far with Blaise."
"We are on it," said Draco.
With a pop a beautiful silver phoenix and a silver dragon stood in the clearing. Both Animagus jumped into flight and took off in opposite directions. Meanwhile, Albus sent the rest of the Aurors back to the Ministry of Magic and then he and Severus with the rest of the group went back to the castle. Severus made his way to the Head Master's office and Albus made his way to the infirmary to check on the injured.
"Ah Albus," said Poppy. "She was hit with a cutting curse. I can not seem to do anything for the damage. Maybe Harry can do something."
"Just make sure she stays comfortable," said Albus. "Harry is on a reconnaissance mission at the moment. When he returns, I will send him here immediately. How are the rest of your patients?"
"She is the only one I have at the moment," said Poppy sadly. "You said Harry was out on a mission. Who was taken?"
"Blaise was kidnapped," said Albus sadly. "Harry and Draco are in their Animagus forms looking for him right now."
"I hope they find him," said Poppy serenely. "That young man has made such an impact on the Auror department."
"Yes, he turned out to be a fine young man," said Albus with a sigh. "I am sure that Harry and Draco will do everything in their power to find him. In fact, I have another idea. I happen to know that Miss Granger can turn into a magical Animagus as well. Please excuse me Poppy. I will talk with you later."
Poppy nodded and turned back to Fleur. Gabrielle was sitting there holding her hand and watching intently as the nurse cleaned the wound and placed a fresh bandage over it. Albus hurried through the corridors of the castle hunting for Hermione. He found her in the Great Hall dealing with the students. With Harry absent, it was up to Severus and the other heads of house to award the house cup and the student and teacher of the year awards.
"The house cup this year goes to Ravenclaw," said Severus. "Congratulations to Ravenclaw. This year the student of the year award goes to Dudley Dursley. Congratulations Dudley. The teacher of the year award goes to Mrs. Hermione Weasley. Congratulations Mrs. Weasley. I want all students off to their dorms to finish packing. Prefects and Head Boys and Girls I want patrols every fifteen minutes."
The students were getting to their feet and heading back to their dorms. The prefects and Head Boys and Girls were gathering stray members of their houses and escorting them to their dorms. Albus made his way to Hermione.
"Miss Granger," he said. "First let me offer congratulations on your award."
"Thanks Minister," said Hermione brightly. "It is an honor."
"I have a special mission for you my dear," said Albus.
"OH," she said. "What can I do to help you?"
"I need you to shift into your Animagus form and scout the forest," said Albus. "Blaise Zabini was taken and you can spot Runner colors while in your Animagus form."
"Sure I can do that," she said. "Severus will you take over Dudley's lessons for me this evening?"
"I will," he said. "Just be careful Hermione. Harry has the forest on a truce at the moment, but there are still Minotaurs out there."
"What if I fly over her in the same direction?" asked Ron.
"You will lose me in the trees," said Hermione. "Don't worry Ron. I will be fine. As a unicorn, it will only take me a few hours. I will check in with Severus on an hourly basis."
"Severus, how about I take Mr. Dursley's lessons for the evening while you wait for word from Harry, Draco, or Hermione?" asked Albus.
"That might be best," said Severus. "I do not want to slight Dudley. I will be worried about our three Animagus."
"Why Severus," said Hermione brightly. "I didn't know you cared."
Severus rolled his eyes at her. He smiled and gave her a shove towards the front of the castle while Albus and Ron chuckled heartily.
"For you information Mrs. Weasley," said Severus. "I care for you all more than you realize. You are all like the family I have never had. Do be careful."
Hermione nodded and transformed quickly into the bright unicorn that was her Animagus form. She galloped out of the front door of the castle and within moments disappeared into the forest.
Every hour on the hour, Severus received a report from Hermione, Harry, or Draco on the status of the search. Three hours had passed so far with no luck in finding Blaise. As the fourth and then fifth hour passed, Severus became really nervous that Blaise would never be found. Finally as the sixth hour approached, Hermione sent word that she had found Blaise. Severus quickly sent word to Harry and then Draco that he had been found.
Harry transformed into his human self and sent word to Draco. When he got word to him, Harry apparated to where he was at with a brief pop. When they were finally together, he wrapped his arms around Draco and apparated both of them back to the castle.
"What are we doing here?" asked Draco a bit confused.
"We need reinforcements," said Harry. "Severus, gather the rest of the group. It is time to show Lilith and Terry that we mean business."
"Should I get Excalibur while I am at it?" asked Severus.
"It can't hurt," said Harry. "That reminds me. I have something for Draco, Hermione, and Pomona."
Harry rushed upstairs to his private lab and came back down a few moments later with three wrapped parcels. He went to the case and grabbed Godric's sword and then headed downstairs to meet the rest of the group. When he got to the group, he quickly conjured a table and laid the sword and the packages on the table.
"I have found some interesting artifacts in the castle," said Harry. "Before I tell you about them I have one more thing to do. ACCIO, Merlin's Sword! ACCIO, Harry's Sword!"
There was a whistling in the air and two swords flew into the clearing. Harry lifted his hands and caught both swords by their pommels.
"I found this under Merlin's body," Harry explained holding out Merlin's sword.
The sword was a golden color, but hard as steel. Harry look over at Albus who had come out to see what was going on. Harry lifted his hand and the sword rose into the air. With a guided wave of his hand, Harry caused the sword to float over to Albus. Albus grabbed the sword by the pommel and looked at it in awe. A golden glow surrounded Albus.
"I Harry James Potter," began Harry. "Bestow to you the Sword of Merlin. May your blade never dull."
Harry placed his own sword on the table. The sword was astoundingly beautiful. In the pommel was a ruby, emerald, sapphire, and onyx. The cross guards were made out of silver and gold over lays. The symbol of the lion, badger, eagle, and snake was engraved into the blade. Harry barely glanced at his sword.
"Griphook had the goblins make this for me," he explained to the stunned group. "However these I found here in the castle."
Harry, unwrapped the cloth from the packages on the table. Swords that was identical to Godric's lay on the table. The only difference was the gem stones in the pommels. Salazar's had an emerald, Helga's had an onyx, and Rowena's had a sapphire. Harry picked up Salazar's sword. He walked up to Draco and handed the sword to him. An emerald glow surrounded the sword and wizard. Harry walked over to Ron and handed him the sword of Godric. A ruby glow surrounded both sword and wizard. Harry then walked over to Pomona and handed her Helga's sword. Just like the rest, a glow, this time in onyx surrounded both her and the sword.
"Rowena's sword is for Hermione," explained Harry. "I have given you the swords of the four founders of Hogwarts. While there are heirs for each sword, my claim on them is stronger. Therefore I charge you with the use of them and the proper care of them. They are now yours. When you desire to no longer carry them, they are to come back to the school."
Each witch or wizard nodded in acceptance of the charge. Harry looked over to Dudley and smiled at him. Dudley smiled back. Harry walked over to him.
"The sword of Salazar Slytherin could have gone to you, but I have something better for you," Harry told him. "Here is a Gryphon emerald. It will tell me when you are in danger and when you need me."
Harry clasped the necklace with the emerald on it around Dudley's neck. It glowed green for a few moments and then went out.
"It was meant for you," said Harry. "It did not glow like that for Ginny. We have work to do. Dudley I want you to help Remus, Tonks, and Poppy guard the castle. If you need me use the emerald."
Dudley nodded and took up his post at the front door. Remus and Tonks stood with him. Harry had the rest of the group hold hands and with a twitch, he apparated them to where Hermione was hiding in the forest. With a small pop the group appeared behind Hermione. She held a finger to her lips and pointed to the Minotaurs. Harry handed her the sword of Rowena. When she grabbed it, a sapphire glow surrounded her. With that, Harry stepped out into the clearing. He raised his sword and looked pointedly at the twenty five Minotaurs in the clearing. They bellowed at him and rushed forward. He waved his hand and created a brick wall in front of the leading bull men. They ran right into the wall and knocked themselves out cold.
"Five down, twenty to go," he said as the rest of the group entered into the fray brandishing their swords and wands simultaneously.
The battle in the clearing was oddly uneven. There were more bull men there, but with the powers of wand and sword, the favor was with Harry and his group. Harry seemed to be everywhere at once brandishing his sword with a flurry. Severus was just as deadly with his own blade. After about thirty minutes, the field was littered with injured and dying Minotaurs. Harry quickly sent a patronus to the glen where Aragog lived and told them of the feast awaiting them. By this time, there were a few wizards that had come out of the cave. One had Blaise by the throat with his wand pointed at his throat.
"Drop your sword and wand Potter or the Slytherin here gets it," said the man holding him. "Back you team off or we kill him."
Harry looked to the others and then he laid both sword and wand on the ground. Another person in dark robes rushed to pick them up. When they touched the wand and sword, they screamed in agony and dropped them.
"My possessions do not like to be touched by those that are not allowed," said Harry with a twisted grin. "Picknese, now that I have laid my weapons on the ground and backed off my group, why don't you let Blaise go."
"I don't think so Potter," said Picknese. "He is an advantage for us. Put your hands in the air Potter. I don't want any funny business from you."
The memory the words triggered Harry so much, that he reacted on impulse. With a flick of his wrist, he wrenched Blaise out of the startled hands of Picknese and flung him as gently as he could into the brush protectively under a shield. With a second flick of his wrist, he had both sword and wand in hand.
"AVADA KEDAVRA," screamed Picknese.
Harry laughed and deflected the spell with the blade of his sword.
"You should know by now, that when it comes to that particular spell I am never going to die by it," said Harry. "STUPIFY!"
The powerful force of his casting was such that every one of the ten dark robed people in the clearing was knocked unconscious. Albus and the rest of the group walked over and started pulling the hoods off of them. Harry transformed into his phoenix Animagus form and looked at each in turn. Only one had the power to be a runner. He reached and shredded the colors before the person could be awakened. He transformed back into himself and sat heavily on the ground. Draco sat beside him. This was the normal routine after the loss of life or the shredding of colors. Draco did not even have to say anything. He just sat there with his arms around Harry rocking him.
"Millicent Bulstrode," snarled Blaise. "She is the one that grabbed me."
Albus had summoned the Aurors to the clearing. They were walking around conjuring handcuffs for the different prisoners as they went.
"Well at least we know that she was up to something," said Severus. "Plus we caught a few of the last remaining Death Eaters."
"Harry," said Dumbledore. "How did you incapacitate this entire group of people using one spell? I have never seen the likes of it before."
"Albus," said Harry. "When are you going to realize that the normal rules of things do not always apply to me? I would have thought by now that nothing that I do surprises you by now."
Everyone in the group started laughing. They all knew that Harry was indeed and extraordinary person. The power that radiated from him was not matched by anyone. Not even Albus when he was angry could come close to what Harry gave off when he was just being Harry. The Aurors gathered all of the prisoners and left. Harry could here the spiders coming to the clearing. He gathered his group and backed them to the cave. When the spiders saw that Harry was still there and that he had a group of people with him, they saluted him and each grabbed a Minotaurs quickly and turned to leave. When they left and had not touched anyone from Harry's group, he let out a sigh of relief. The pact made with the acromantulas was solid. The rest of the group all let out a sigh of relief as well. Everyone but one person had a smile on their face. That person was Ron and he was out cold on the ground. At the first sign of Aragog's children, he passed out cold. The others laughed at this. They conjured a stretcher for him and placed him gently on it. After a few pictures were taken, Harry revived him. After a scared glance around, Ron breathed in relief and stood up shakily.
"I hate spiders," he said.
"We know," said Hermione. "You tell us all the time."
"Lets get back to the castle shall we?" asked Harry in amusement.
The rest of the group all nodded in agreement and each person grabbed the hand of the rest. Harry transported them all safely to the Great Hall. Dudley met them with a horrified look on his face. Harry immediately took alarm.
"What is it Dudley?" he asked.
"That man in the forest has to be at least eighteen feet tall," he said.
"There is a giant in the forest?" asked Hermione confused.
"I'm telling you that man was at least eighteen feet tall," he repeated.
"Don't worry Dudley," said Harry. "We are on it. Let's go everyone."
Everyone that could transform into an animal all did so. Harry transformed into a lion. Dudley was impressed with this. Harry looked at him and then glanced at his back. Dudley looked confused for a moment.
"I think he wants you to get on," said Pomona. "He wants you to ride."
"Oh thanks," said Dudley climbing on Harry's back.
Other members of the group were busy climbing on the backs of those that could carry another and they trotted off into the forest. It was not long before they found the giant. Harry shrugged his shoulders and Dudley got off. He transformed back and sent up blue sparks into the air to let everyone know that there was no threat. About ten minutes later, they all emerged and after their passengers got off, transformed.
"Grawp?" asked Harry.
The giant looked over at Harry and smiled. He sat down next to Harry so that they could be closer to eye level.
"Grawp went to other giants," he said. "Grawp found female friend. Grawp want her to come live here next to Hermy and Harry."
"She is more than welcome," said Harry. "Just remind her that she has to follow the same rules that you do."
Grawp nodded his head in understanding.
"We will enlarge your cave for you tomorrow so that she will fit," assured Harry. "Right now we have minotaurs in the forest. So be careful. If you see any, try to capture them and bring them to Aragog."
"Grawp will do that," said the giant.
Harry and the rest of the group all transformed back into animals and carried their passengers back to the castle. Harry made his way to the hospital wing and then went to check on Fleur. She was awake, but was upset that part of her hand was missing. Bill was next to her trying to assure her that it did not matter.
"Harry," said Poppy. "She was hit with a cutting curse. I can not get the bleeding to stop. Maybe you can help her."
Harry walked over to her and grabbed her hand. He mumbled a few different spells. After a couple of moments, the bleeding stopped. Harry still held on to her hand. He mumbled a few other spells. He altered different words to fit the situation. Severus and Albus both smiled. The fingers that were missing from Fleur's hand regrew. She looked at her hand in wonder and then reached over and hugged him. He smiled at her. He was very pale in the face, but he was smiling. Draco and Severus both took an arm and helped him to his feet. They assisted him to the Head Master's office. Draco helped Harry into the shower and helped to clean him off. When he was done, Severus helped Draco get him dressed into clean clothes and put him to bed. Harry was out within moments.
Dudley had followed the two up and wondered what he could do to help. To see the most powerful wizard in the world out like a light after casting a few spells had shaken him up. When Severus and Draco had come downstairs into the office, they saw his face.
"What is it Dudley?" asked Severus.
"Why is Harry so fatigued after casting some spells?" he asked. "I thought Harry was the most gifted wizard in the world?"
"He is," said Draco. "However, even the most powerful wizards get tired after doing to much in one days time. Also the spells that Harry cast to regrow Fleur's fingers are entirely new. They have never been cast before. That type of magic takes a lot out of one person."
"Harry will be alright though?" asked Dudley with a worried look. "Is there anything I can do to help?"
"Harry will be fine," assured Severus with a smile. "He just needs to sleep. If you want to help, you can assist the prefects by making sure none of the students are roaming the castle tonight."
"Sure," said Dudley. "I can do that. I will bring the first years across tomorrow to the train also."
"Perfect," said Draco. "Right now I could use a shower and some sleep myself."
"As could I," said Severus. "Goodnight gentlemen."
All around the castle, the people were telling each other goodnight and heading off to their rooms for showers and their beds. All were delighted to know that one more Dark Runner was defeated this night and that they had helped stop a horde of Minotaur and rescued an Auror in the process. People like Pomona, Ron, Hermione, Albus, and Draco all examined their swords for a little while. Albus decided to stay the night in the castle and would stay for part of the day so that he could help see the students off to the train. Each runner in the castle gave thought to Harry. Each was privately thinking different things about him.
Minerva was remembering the time she put him on the Gryffindor quidditch team in his first year. Ron was remembering Harry getting past the dragon. Hermione remembered Harry helping save her from the troll in their first year. Severus remembered the feeling that went through him when Harry removed his dark mark. Draco was thinking about the love that Harry always showed him each day. Pomona remembered how polite and delightful he was as a student. Neville remembered Harry saving him from being shadow lost. Luna remembered when Harry was nice to her and helped defend her in the Department of Mysteries. Albus remembered the excitement on Harry's face when he became a professor in the school. Remus remembered Harry fondly while he was sleeping in James' arms. Molly remembered all the wonderful things that Harry did for her family. Bill and Fleur were discussing what Harry did for her this very night.
Each person was thinking one thing in common. They were all thinking about how much they loved Harry and how important he was to each and every one of them. They all knew that Harry was essential to stopping the heirs of Morgan Le Fey. Each vowed that they would give their lies to help Harry stop this threat.
Author's Note – I know I rambled a little, but I wanted to give a little more plot. I hope you enjoy this chapter. Please keep sending me the wonderful reviews.