The Snitch of Secrets Three

The Barrier Breaks

Remus and Kate were running towards the clock tower entrance. There was a horrible cold feeling in the air, "send a message to the others – they've broken the barrier."

Kate cast her patronus, a silvery lion, "They've broken the barrier – they're coming."

The lion pounced down the corridor and out of sight. "Nice patronus, Stone."

"Thanks," Kate smiled as they continued down the corridor towards the clock tower entrance. They're breath was freezing in the air as they walked towards the dementors.

When they reached the tower's entrance, Kate gasped in shock. There were at least fifteen dementors gliding towards them. "Bloody hell."

Lily and James had broken into the Ravenclaw common room. "How did you know where their common room was?" Lily asked.

"Er… Emmie," James replied.

Lily nodded.

"Good job I had you with me though – I'd never have been able to work out that riddle."

Lily laughed gently. "You really are ridiculously clever," James continued, "I'm surprised that you weren't put in Ravenclaw."

Lily smiled at the compliment, "thanks."

"I hope no one's left a window open," James sighed.

"Should we check?" Lily asked.

"Yeah," James nodded. They quickly went from dorm room to dorm room closing windows. They almost got caught when a second year boy woke up. He'd been having a nightmare. Luckily James and Lily were hidden beneath the invisibility cloak. They quickly did the same in the Gryffindor dorms before patrolling the sixth floor.

Several minutes later a silvery lion came bounding towards them. "They've broken the barrier – they're coming," they heard Kate's voice.

"Sweet patronus," James whistled.

"This is all clear – what do you want to do James? Should we join them near the entrances?" Lily asked.

"I don't think they'll be able to get in here," James agreed. "We should check on Alice and Frank."

They began running up the corridor towards the Astronomy Tower.

"Confringo," Snape called out, aiming his wand at the Gryffindors in front of him.

Mary and Peter blocked the curse. "Mucus ad Nauseam," Mary shouted at the same time that Peter cried out, "Petrificus Totalus." Snape's body bound together and fell to the floor mid sneeze.

The two Gryffindors picked him up and threw him into a broomshed before Mary locked it with a spell. Seconds later Kate's patronus bounded up to them, "They've broken the barrier – they're coming."

"We should go help them," Mary sighed.

They quickly began running towards the third floor, wands raised high. Mary thought of her happy memory; she thought about a time when she had been younger. She had spent a whole day with her family at the beach. It was long before her mother had died. They had had an amazing day. Mary tried to focus on the memory as they ran towards their friends and the dementors.

Sirius and Marlene were hiding behind a tapestry as they overheard the teachers talking in the corridor. "Do you think Potter is correct?" Flitwick was asking.

"I'm not sure," McGonagall replied. "They are particularly active tonight."

"What do you want us to do Minerva?" Madam Pince asked.

"I'm not sure," Minerva McGonagall sighed, "Patrol the corridors. I warned the aurors. They are all outside – I'm going to go check what they think."

Minerva McGonagall made her way out into the grounds to speak to Moody and the other aurors. Seconds after the teachers had gone the lion patronus came towards them, "They've broken the barrier – they're coming."

Sirius sighed, "come on… we better cover the entrance hall."

Marlene nodded as they ran down the corridor.

Professor McGonagall stood outside. It was pitch black. She couldn't so much as see her wand in front of her, "Lumos."

She looked around for the aurors. The rain was pelting down and within seconds she saw a large group close to the astronomy tower. She ran towards them. As she approached she realised that the aurors were not alone. They had their wands out pointed at a group of second year Slytherin boys. "Alistar? What's going on?" McGonagall asked.

"These boys were running around out here," Alistar Moody told the deputy headmistress. "Nearly got themselves killed."

"Right – I'll take them to my office," McGonagall nodded, "how is everything else?"

"I'm not sure," Moody sighed, "I've got aurors searching the grounds. The barrier seems weaker tonight – I have a feeling these idiots were merely supposed to distract us."

"Oh dear," McGonagall sighed. There was a loud crackling noise, "What's that?"

She looked up as the barrier around the castle fell, "Oh no – right you lot let's get you to my office. I better warn the teachers." McGonagall directed her wand at the second years. "Quickly!"

They began to run back towards the school. They made their way into the Entrance Hall. Sirius and Marlene were in the Entrance Hall. "What are you two doing here?" McGonagall asked.

"Er… we're just hanging out," Sirius lied.

"Right well make yourselves useful. Take these second years to my office," McGonagall told them. "Lock them in." She handed them a key. "When you've done that come back here and watch the door. I'll deal with all of you later."

She rushed away, leaving the Gryffindors to handle the Slytherins. They walked them to her office before closing the door on them, locking them in.

The four Gryffindors stood at the top of the Astronomy Tower were surrounded by dementors. The Gryffindors stood trying to block the stairs down into the school. They took it in turns casting the patronus charm. Alice's fox was slinking around them, keeping the dementors at a distance. Keeping the charm going was exhausting. Frank cast his own patronus so that Alice could have a break. A large badger began to hiss at the dementors making them back away slightly.

"There's too many," Lily breathed.

"Do you think we could combine out charms to make a barrier?" James asked.

Lily frowned, "I don't know. It's worth a go."

The four students cast their patronus charms at the same time. A silver stream of magic erupted from each of their wands, joining together. The thick silvery stream erupted into a beautiful waterfall of magic, creating a magical barrier around them and the stairs. The dementors tried to come closer but they couldn't pass the barrier.

The dementors tried several times before giving up. Something lower down the castle caught the dementors attention. They began to glide away, leaving the Astronomy Tower completely clear. "What should we do?" Lily asked.

"We need to help the others," James told the others.

"We can't leave this entrance unprotected," Alice frowned. "If we stay here in case they comeback, you two can go help the others."

James and Lily nodded before running down the stairs towards their other friends.

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