The Snitch of Secrets Three

Check Under The Beds

The ten aurors were stood outside the castle working hard to replace Dumbledore's charm. It was proving harder than they expected. They'd already been going at it for approximately an hour. "I think we need help," Moody suddenly muttered.

"But who?" Alisha Wilson asked.

"I'm not sure," Moody admitted.

"The teachers have got their hands full inside," Greengrass frowned.

"What about the village?" Robert McKenna suggested, "I could send word via patronus."

"It's worth a try," Moody nodded.

Robert cast his patronus and sent it to the village. "I hope someone comes," he muttered under his breath before returning to his position, helping his colleagues cast the charm.

The clock tower entrance had been barraged by the dementors repeatedly. One or two had even gotten passed the four students and Madam Hooch but they had quickly regained control and pushed them back again. Mary was beginning to shake at the pressure of having to keep the charm going. "I can't do it," She began to cry.

Peter grabbed her hand with his wandless hand, "You can. I believe in you." Peter himself looked exhausted. His eyes were dark and there were beads of sweat on his forehead. "Not much longer now… just a little longer Mary."

Professor Salazar was stood at the Stone Ciricle Entrance when he saw twenty or so dementors coming towards him. This isn't what I signed up for, he thought to himself. He made a split second decision as he realised he couldn't keep them all at bay alone. He stepped aside allowing them to pass him. His patronus stood on guard to protect him. Seconds later he realised what he had done. He realised that he had endangered the children he had sworn to care for. He swore at himself before running after the dementors. He had to protect the school; he had to protect his students.

At least twenty villagers had come to help protect the school. Aberforth Dumbledore at the head of the crowd. "Right what do you need?" the old barman asked.

"I need you all to cast patronus charms," Moody told the villagers. "Then I will try binding them all together into a protective charm for the school."

The villagers nodded before joining the aurors. "Expecto Patronum!"

Alastair Moody began casting Albus Dumbledore's charms, hoping that this time it might work. After another gruelling ten minutes they had successfully put up the barrier. The villagers looked exhausted, "now what?"

"Now we need to search the school. Some are bound to have gotten in. Break up into groups of five – each group take a floor. When you've cleared your floor meet in the Entrance Hall."

The aurors and villagers quickly ran towards the Entrance Hall. They found several students there still fighting the dementors off, forcing them out of the castle with their patronuses. "Fancy seeing you here Potter," Moody barked when he noticed James was amongst the students.

James merely nodded his head as he sent his patronus towards a group of dementors coming up the stairs from the dungeons.

"Right – we'll take it from here," Moody told the students. "Go rest. You've done enough." The aurors and villagers were running up and down stairs going in search of dementors.

"I can't sir. I need to speak to my father," James replied.

"Yer'll be lucky. He ain't answering anyone," Moody frowned, "no replies from my patronus."

"Sir… When Professor Lifflilee predicted this… she also predicted that there would be an attack on the muggle prime minister."

"Bloody hell," Moody replied. "No wonder it's all kicking off in London."

"What's happened sir?" James asked.

"I don't know. I just know there have been several attacks tonight."

Professor McGonagall ran towards them, "the barrier is back up?"

"For now," Moody replied. "It isn't the strongest. When Dumbledore gets back we're going to have to sort this out for good."

Professor McGonagall nodded, "I've had the teachers search the school for the missing Slytherins. The second year boys are in my office, Mr Snape is in a broom closet, Avery, Macnair and Mulciber are in their common room and the sixth year boys are in the library. Sadly Mr Burke was attacked by a dementor – he received the kiss." Several people gasped in shock. There really was nothing worse. "Do you know where the seventh years are?"

"They're still missing?" James asked in shock.

"I can answer that one," Moody laughed, "Locked them up didn't we – locker rooms over at the Quidditch pitch."

Professor McGonagall sighed in relief, "Ok… I don't know what to do… James can you gather your friends together and meet me and the teachers in the staff room in ten minutes?"

"Yes Professor," James broke into a run, pulling Lily along with him. Sirius and Marlene followed closely behind.

"That boy is going to be the death of me," McGonagall complained. "It's a miracle he doesn't get himself killed."

Moody laughed, "just like his father – bloody lucky."

McGonagall laughed, "Indeed. Like father like son."

They were all stood in the staff room waiting for Professor McGonagall. The Gryffindors felt slightly out of place, stood awkwardly in the corner. Professor McGonagall rushed into the room, her robes billowing behind her. "The threat has been evaded. However, I must tell you that Wayne Burke received the Dementor's Kiss tonight. Professor Slughorn could you please inform his parents?"

"Of course Minerva," Slughorn nodded.

"I don't see much point in moving the students tonight," Minerva continued, "I think it would be better to let them rest. Lessons will be cancelled for the next week as I think we all need a much earned rest. Dumbledore will have returned by morning and I am hoping that with his help, the help of the villagers, the aurors and yourselves we will be able to extend the protective barrier to cover the entire grounds – not just the castle. I may even ask a few students to help… it will be good practice for them." James was certain that McGonagall had winked at him. "There have been several attacks in London – I will give you more details as soon as I know them. Until then rest."

The teachers began to leave the staffroom, "Professor?"

"Yes Black?" Minerva turned before leaving.

"I… don't be too hard on Regulus. He's just a kid. He doesn't really know what he is doing."

"The same could be said for you, Sirius. At thirteen you chose to defend your school. At twelve you chose to defend a muggle-born. At eleven you helped thwart an evil plan at the Potter's ball. Must I continue… it is a choice my dear boy. Your brother seems to be making all the wrong choices… and there has to be consequences." She looked incredibly sad. "I have yet to decide what I am going to do with you all. James Potter – you never learn do you?"

"No Professor I don't," James sighed.

"I'm glad – although I hate to admit it, your school needed you tonight. Your school needed all of you." With that she left the Gryffindors alone in the staffroom.

"Bloody hell," Peter almost laughed, "did that really just happen?"

The other Gryffindors laughed gently. "I don't know about you lot but I'm exhausted," James yarned. He led them through the corridors back to Gryffindor Tower.

"Shouldn't we be with the others?" Lily asked, "In the Great Hall?"

"You can if you want to but I'd much prefer my bed," James laughed.

"I guess you're right."

"They're only there because they're asleep," Alice nodded in agreement, "We're awake…"

"And the castle has been searched," Frank yarned.

"Exactly," Sirius stretched before telling the Fat Lady the password. "Well ladies… if a dementor attacks you in your sleep – you know where we are." The boys quickly made their way up the boys staircase leaving the Gryffindor girls looking at each other in fear. They knew that the castle was safe but they were scared all the same.

They ran up the boys stairs and knocked on their door. James answered, "is everything alright?"

"Could you check our room for dementors?" Alice asked.

"Sure," James tried not to laugh.

He quickly followed the girls up the girls' staircase and into their room. He checked their wardrobes, under their beds and in their bathroom, "Its all clear," he smiled kindly.

"What if it's in one of the other dorms and comes down the stairs," Lily blurted out.

"Oh Merlin! I didn't think of that," Alice practically cried.

"Girls – do you want to sleep in our dorm?" James offered.

"You wouldn't mind?" Mary asked, already grabbing her pillow.

James laughed, "nah of course not. You might struggle to get the other guys to give up their beds but one of you can have mine. I don't mind the floor too much."

"Oh James," Alice smiled, "You're such a great friend."

They followed James back to the boys' dorm, "Sorry guys – get out of your beds…"

"Why?" Sirius moaned.

"The girls are scared. So we're being gentlemen and giving them our beds."

Sirius groaned loudly, "you better wake Peter…" He pulled his duvet and pillow off his bed before lying on the ground.

"Wait Sirius – I have an idea," James told him.

"Dolor Culcita," James pointed his wand at the floor and an inflatable mattress began to blow up before their very eyes. Once it had grown to full size, Sirius fell onto it.

"Ta James," Sirius said into his pillow. Marlene took Sirius' place on his bed and quickly fell asleep.

"Oi Peter get up," James almost shouted, "stop being a git and wake up."

The boy didn't move so James inflated a mattress and pushed him off the bed onto the mattress. "There you go Mary."

"Thanks James," Mary said barely stopping herself laughing.

Remus had offered Kate his bed before copying James' spell and making himself a bed on the floor next to her. Alice had taken Frank's bed leaving Lily with James'. Lily couldn't help but feel awkward. "Thanks for this Potter," Lily said before sitting getting into bed.

James nodded, "any time Evans."

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