Chapter 13 - A Six-Pack of Slytherins
Draco was feeling a bit anxious. He was confident the incident with the two first year Gryffindors would not get back to him but it was never his intention for those two kids to be beaten so badly. Yes, he wanted them to be beaten but to teach them a lesson, not beat them to the point of near death.
According to what he heard, it was a miracle they survived. The five Slytherin third years he used went too far and he still wasn’t sure why. He certainly wasn’t going to ask. He’d played it well up to this point and was not interested in fowling that up. The five third years had no idea it was he that directed them to attack the two young Gryffindors. The note he left wasn’t in his handwriting and it did catch on fire and burn up completely after they’d read it. Therefore, there’s no way he could be implicated in this attack.
This was one of his better plans and he’d be proud of himself if it weren’t for the fact those third years went too far. Now more attention would be paid to the attack than Draco had intended. “I need to remember to keep my Occlumency shields up just in case,” he thought, “and be more specific in the future with instructions. Who would’ve thought third years could be so violent?” pondered Draco.
“Please, please take your seats everyone. Before we take part in tonight’s lovely dinner, I have a few things to share,” announced Professor Dumbledore. He waited until the noise died down and everyone found his or her seats. He noted that Harry, Kevin, and Lucy were still not present. Staring at the students until they were quiet, he began his announcement.
“I’m sure some of you are aware already of the attack early this morning on two of our most delightful first years from Gryffindor House. Lucy Monroe and Kevin Johansen were beaten nearly to death this morning and left to die in the cold. If it weren’t for a couple of our seventh years from Hufflepuff who found them when they were out for a stroll this morning they certainly would have died. Fortunately, they were taken to Madame Pomfrey in the nick of time where she was able to save them and cure them of their horrible injuries. Our Professor Potter was also able to help some in the healing of these young Gryffindors.”
“He took it personal that someone would attack any of his students. If you recall, Mr. Potter is currently teaching defense to all the first and second year classes. In addition, he’s helping third through seventh year students with Defense during meetings with the group he and Miss Granger started. It’s called the Defense Association or DA for short. This has been very helpful since we are currently without a full time Defense professor. He’s currently watching over his students in the infirmary while they rest.”
“Mr. Potter realizes how close he is to his students and has agreed to let me handle the investigation into the persons responsible for this heinous crime. Rest assured, I will get to the bottom of it, and the culprits will be found out. It would be wise if the ones responsible just stepped forward and owned up to their viciousness but I doubt that will happen. What they did was an act of cowardice.” He let his eyes pass over all the students for a few seconds before concluding.
Dumbledore started to signal for the food to appear but stopped.
“I will give you one warning before we eat. If I were you, I would tread lightly around any of Mr. Potter’s students or friends. He’s very protective and you shouldn’t do anything to make him angry. Do I make myself clear?” There were quite a few nods from most of the students. “Then let’s eat, shall we? Tuck in.” The food appeared on all the tables so everyone dug in.
About ten minutes later, Harry, Lucy, and Kevin walked through the doors into the Great Hall. They stopped because all noise ceased and everyone was staring at them. Professor Dumbledore stood up and started clapping. He was joined by Professor McGonagall and then the rest of the faculty. Soon all the students were standing and clapping as well, except for some of the Slytherins. All the first and second year Slytherins joined in though.
Harry lead his two students to a spot at the Gryffindor table where they all three could sit together with Hermione, Ron, Ginny, and Neville. Harry planned to keep an eye on the two for quite a bit longer and appreciated the extra protection that his karate students could provide. They had saved Harry a seat and just moved over some more when he brought Kevin and Lucy with him.
“How are you feeling Lucy?” asked Hermione.
“I feel great, Hermione! I feel better than I did before I was attacked. I’m not sure what Professor Potter did to me but it sure works. I’ve never felt this good before. Right now I’m just really hungry.”
“Well, alright then. You’d better tuck in little lady because I just might eat it all,” added Ron.
“That’s okay Ron. The elves will just bring us more,” said Kevin.
“Right you are my man,” said Ginny. “Not even my brother here can eat more than the elves can cook.”
“You look like you’re pretty hungry yourself, Kevin,” said Neville who was sitting across from him.
“I sure am. This is actually my first meal today. I wasn’t awake during breakfast or lunch so I’m very hungry now,” Kevin said to Neville then looked up at him. He froze his movements then leaned slightly to the right to see around Neville. He spotted someone across the Great Hall. Standing up he said, “Excuse me for a second will you?” never taking his eyes off the one person across the room. Kevin quickly walked over to the Slytherin table until he came up behind a third year.
Harry watched as Kevin left in a bit of a hurry and went over to the Slytherin table until he stopped behind a third year. What happened next had Harry and the faculty scrambling to get over there. Kevin grabbed the third year by the hair and dragged him backward off the bench where he was eating. As soon as he landed on the floor, Kevin kicked him right in the gut. Then he jumped on top of him and started pounding him with his fists as hard as he could go.
One of the other third years threw Kevin off his friend and was just about to attack Kevin when Harry picked the third year up from behind by the back of his robes. Harry lifted him clear off the floor with one hand. “SIT DOWN NOW!” yelled Harry then plopped him back on the bench. Harry then went over to Kevin and checked on him.
“Kevin, are you okay?” asked Harry.
“Why did you attack this boy?” asked Dumbledore who had arrived right behind Harry.
“He’s one of the ones who attacked Lucy and me,” replied Kevin. “When I saw him it just all came flooding back. I remembered how bad they beat Lucy and I just lost it.” No one noticed the red face of one Lucy Monroe when she heard what Kevin said.
“Given what you have been through today Mr. Johansen I’m quite surprised you had the energy to do what you did,” replied McGonagall. “I see that you didn’t do near the damage that was done to you or Miss Monroe but I suppose that will have to do for now. After all we don’t condone this sort of behavior.” Kevin looked down at his feet. “I believe Professor Dumbledore is heading up this investigation so why don’t we let him take it from here, shall we?” She led Kevin back over to Lucy and the other Gryffindors so he could finish his meal.
Harry picked up the third year Slytherin that Kevin had attacked and stood him on his feet. He looked up at Professor Dumbledore and said, “He’s all yours, Professor.” Harry walked back over to his seat and joined the others once more to finish his meal. After he sat down, he put his arm around Kevin’s shoulders and gave him a squeeze. He leaned in close to Kevin’s ear and whispered, “You can be on my team anytime you want. I’m very proud of you.” Kevin smiled big then dug into the food he’d been ignoring since he sat back down.
Dumbledore stunned and tied up the third year Slytherin and left him right there on the floor, where he landed. He then went back to his seat to finish his meal. When all were just looking at him he said, “He’s not going anywhere and I would like to finish my food. I’ll take him to the infirmary after I’ve finished. Eat up!”
After about 5 minutes, Harry stood up.
“I realize this is unusual,” he said loud enough for everyone to hear, “but I’d like to propose a toast.” They all stopped and looked at Harry. Harry raised his glass of pumpkin juice high and said “To Kevin Johansen and Lucy Monroe, I salute you! You’re true Gryffindors. This morning we weren’t sure if you were going to make it but here you are tonight good as new. Kevin even faced one of his attackers and gave him what for. Now if that’s not a Gryffindor I don’t know what is. SALUTE!”
There were many “here, here” replies and “salutes” in response but pretty much everyone (other than a few Slytherins) took a drink to toast the two young Gryffindors. Kevin and Lucy turned red in the face at all the attention. The praise coming from their Professor Potter meant the most to them though.
Professor Dumbledore was in no hurry to collect the accused Slytherin. He took the opportunity while eating to observe the third year Slytherins behavior in regards to their fellow Slytherin laying on the floor next to them. There were quite a few who looked at the accused Slytherin in a worried manner but there were four third year Slytherins (Mr. Pugh, Mr. Cram, Mr. McGruder, and Mr. Spencer) who kept eying him the most. Dumbledore took note of this.
When done eating the Headmaster unceremoniously left his seat and floated the third year Slytherin to the infirmary where he let Madame Pomfrey heal the young man’s minor injuries caused by Kevin. He then had the young Slytherin walk with him to his office where Dumbledore invited Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape to join him. Professor Dumbledore began to question him about who else was involved in the attack.
“So tell me Mr. Whiddon, who else was involved besides yourself in the attack on Lucy Monroe and Kevin Johansen?” asked Dumbledore. “We know that there were five of you involved and that you are all third year Slytherins. Care to enlighten me?”
Dumbledore was tempted but refused to use legilimency on the child. He was hoping Samuel Whiddon would own up to his actions and give a reason for them. Besides, he was still waiting on a report from a trusted house elf who he sent looking for evidence. Given the severity of the beatings there’s no way the culprits escaped without getting some blood on their clothes. He suspected he would be hearing from that house elf soon.
“No, sir. I will not give up my friends that easily,” replied Samuel Whiddon respectfully.
“Ah, that is as I expected, Mr. Whiddon. I will be sure to tell the Aurors that you were uncooperative in regards to giving up your partners in crime,” replied Dumbledore. “I’m sure that will get you off the hook with your friends.” Samuel Whiddon began to look very worried at the mention of the Aurors getting involved.
“Have no fear, Mr. Whiddon. We shall soon know the names of the other four shortly,” replied Dumbledore. “Surely you didn’t think I was totally dependent on your testimony, did you? As soon as we have all five of you together, we’ll summon the Aurors to arrest you. If found guilty of the crime, you and your friends will be expelled from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in addition to whatever punishment is deemed necessary by the Wizengamot. So tell me Mr. Whiddon, why did you and your friends attack Miss Monroe and Mr. Johansen? Keep in mind that there’s no question about your involvement in this. There’s an eye witness that will testify to that after all.”
Samuel Whiddon thought about it for a few seconds then finally giving up he replied. “We received a note but didn’t know who sent it. It was very convincing. It told us we should beat up Monroe and Johansen so they would be taught a valuable lesson and that we should do it in a manner that they would not know who attacked them. Given they were just two Gryffindors, a mudblood and a half-blood, we didn’t need much convincing. The note burned up and disappeared right after we’d completed reading it.”
Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore both bristled at the statement “Given they were just two Gryffindors…” showing the Slytherin’s obvious bias against another house and blood purity.
“But, why, Mr. Whiddon,” asked McGonagall, “did you and your friends beat them so severely then strip them of all their clothes and leave them naked in the freezing temperatures to die? What would ever possess you to do that?”
“We were sure that Johansen saw us so we didn’t want to leave any witnesses,” replied Samuel. “Besides, after we got started kicking them it was difficult to know when to stop.” Even Snape raised his eyebrows at this statement from the third year. “They didn’t look like they were going to make it anyway.”
After this statement, there was a pause so the professors could collect themselves.
“Severus, please take this student to the empty classroom across from my office and stay with him to make sure he can’t leave. I’m expecting a visitor,” said Dumbledore with a heavy sigh. “I’ll see you shortly.”
Snape led the student to the classroom as instructed. As soon as they were out of the office, a house elf appeared in front of Dumbledore. It was Dobby. “Headmaster, sir and Madam Professor, Dobby has the information you was looking for.”
“Thank you, Dobby. You may proceed,” replied Dumbledore.
Dobby pulled from behind his back a sack with several robes, shoes, and socks that had a lot of blood on them. He placed them on the floor in front of Dumbledore. “I found these clothes and shoes covered with blood sir. They belong to five third year Slytherins just as you suspected. Their names is on their robes but Dobby can tell you who all five is if you want Headmaster, sir.”
“Yes, Dobby. Please let us know the names,” asked Dumbledore. “We will allow the Auror office to sort through the evidence without the rest of us touching it.”
“Sir, the names of the five third year Slytherins is Charles Spencer, Samuel Whiddon, Isaac Cram, Roger Pugh, and Timothy McGruder. All of them had bloodied clothes that they had hidden but Dobby knows how to find hidden things.”
“Thank you, Dobby,” replied Dumbledore. “You’ve been of invaluable service to the school. A great job as always, Dobby. You may go now.”
Dobby bowed and made a soft pop as he left.
“Oh, Albus,” said McGonagall, “what is wrong with these kids today?”
“I suspect it has a lot to do with their parents, Minerva. Come with me please,” said Dumbledore. He led her to the empty classroom where Snape was holding Samuel Whiddon. “Severus, I want you to come with me to Slytherin House to collect Mr. Whiddon’s friends. That will be Mr. Spencer, Mr. Cram, Mr. Pugh, and Mr. McGruder.” Samuel Whiddon hung his head after hearing they knew exactly who else was involved. “Minerva, I would like you to stay here with Mr. Whiddon until we come back with the other four. Come Severus.”
“Yes, Albus,” answered McGonagall.
Snape and Dumbledore walked together to Slytherin House to collect the other third years. “Severus, since you are the Head of House then I will allow you to handle collecting the students we are looking for. I will simply accompany you.”
“Thank you, Headmaster,” replied Snape. “If you can bear with me I’d like to say a few words while we have their attention.”
“Certainly, Severus, I expected you’d need to do just that.”
Snape and Dumbledore entered the Slytherin Common Room and all noise stopped. Everyone looked at the two professors with worry.
“House Meeting,” announced Snape loudly. “Make sure everyone gets down here right now.”
They waited for a few minutes as all the Slytherin students gathered in their common room. Snape stared hard at the four third year Slytherins. “Roger Pugh, Charles Spencer, Timothy McGruder, and Isaac Cram will come forward and surrender your wands to the Headmaster. You will then stand here next to me until we leave.”
All four did as they were told and waited patiently by their Head of House with their heads hanging down. Once the four were in line next to him, Snape addressed the rest of his house.
“See these four before you and remember Samuel Whiddon? These five students have brought shame to the House of Slytherin. Let me warn you all. Be very careful you do not do the same,” he spoke slowly with a menacing tone. Several of the Slytherins shuddered at the look and tone of Snape’s address. “By the way, Mr. Whiddon did not give up his friends. He refused. But, he didn’t have to. There is plenty of evidence against them.”
“Follow me, please,” said Dumbledore to the four students. “We have a few questions for you.”
Dumbledore led them to the classroom where McGonagall held Samuel Whiddon. The four Slytherins followed behind him with Snape bringing up the rear. When they reached the classroom, they saw that Mr. Whiddon was seated in a chair and very quiet with his eyes staring down at the floor. He looked up at his friends when they entered the room.
“I didn’t tell them, I swear.”
“We know, Sam,” replied Roger Pugh. “Professor Snape let the whole house know that you didn’t give us up.” Whiddon looked only slightly relieved.
Dumbledore had the four boys sit down in chairs as well so he could question them. He sent McGonagall to floo the aurors while he talked to the five Slytherins. No one knew the identity of the sixth who sent the note. It was troubling that there was one more out there that they couldn’t track down. One thing that was certain is the one who sent the note was likely older, especially since the note burst into flame and disappeared completely after it was read. It’s doubtful the attack would have even taken place had the five third years not received the idea from the one who sent the note.
The aurors arrived and collected the five boys along with the information and evidence Dumbledore had gathered. They took the boys with them back to the Auror office. The five Slytherins were still very young but the crime was very serious. The Wizengamot would have to put them on trial and decide their fate.
McGonagall fetched Lucy and Kevin, who insisted Harry come along too, so they could meet with Dumbledore in his office where he informed them of the five boys who had all been arrested and taken to the Auror office for questioning and trial. Dumbledore let Lucy and Kevin know that it was very likely they would be called upon to testify at the trial but he would let them know if and when that was necessary. He then wished them a good night and had Harry escort them back to their common room.
Dumbledore met with his staff early the next morning to bring them up to speed. They also wanted to know what caused the castle to shake but Dumbledore assured them that secret was not going to be revealed no matter how many times they inquired about it.
“But Albus that is a potential threat to all of us when something can shake the entire castle. Would we not have the right to know what caused it?” asked McGonagall.
“Normally, Minerva, yes you would, but in this case the cause is a highly kept secret that must not be revealed. Rest assured the problem has been rectified so it will not happen again but I cannot reveal the cause, at least not at this time. That will have to be sufficient for all of you for now.”
The staff did not like it but they could see the Headmaster was not going to budge on this. They all filed out and went to breakfast.
A couple days after the five Slytherins were arrested, Auror Tonks showed up at the school on official business. She told Harry she was there to speak to Madame Pomfrey about the incident involving Lucy Monroe and Kevin Johansen in regards to the injuries caused by the attack. She then would need to get a statement from Kevin and Lucy as well. Harry asked if he could accompany her and she agreed. They found Kevin and Lucy and asked them to join them as they all walked down to the infirmary together.
Tonks took Madame Pomfrey’s statement in her office with Harry while the two first years waited in the infirmary so they didn’t overhear Pomfrey’s statement. After she gathered all the medical facts from Pomfrey, all three joined Kevin and Lucy in the other room.
“Now, Mr. Johansen and Miss Monroe I just have to ask you a few questions and take your statements about the incident that occurred a few days ago,” said Tonks pleasantly. “There is a good chance that you will not have to attend trial. We believe that your statements and medical record will suffice. Now don’t be nervous. I just want to chat with you for a bit.”
“Yes, ma’am” they both said together.
“Oh, we will have none of that,” exclaimed Tonks. “My name is Tonks. Well, actually, that’s my last name but it’s what I prefer to be called and Harry will not utter a word, nor will Madame Pomfrey, letting you know my given name. If they know what’s good for them.”
Madame Pomfrey and Harry snickered a bit but straightened up when Tonks gave them the stare. Tonks then turned back to the kids with a big smile. “So, just call me Tonks and we’ll be great friends!”
“Okay, Tonks, you can call me Lucy.”
“And, you can call me Kevin.”
“It’s a deal Lucy and Kevin. Shall we get started?”
Harry was impressed with Tonks’ easy way of putting the kids at ease and leading the conversation so she could get the facts she needed. Of course, Kevin had a bit more to add due to him recognizing the attackers, especially Samuel Whiddon, and his subsequent attack on the third year. Harry added his involvement, playing down his healing ability for the statement. He didn’t mind Tonks knowing but the rest of the wizarding world could wait. When they were done, Tonks promised she would be back later for his class and Kingsley planned on attending as well. All his karate students were excited about the new lessons that included magic and looked forward to them.
Things seemed to slow down a bit, at least excitement wise, for a few weeks. It appeared the Slytherins were afraid to put a toe out of line so they were being quiet. Most every Gryffindor kept an eye on Lucy and Kevin then all the other first years were put on the protection list as well it seemed. If a first year was seen walking down the hall alone pretty soon you would see an older Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw, sometimes two, offer to walk along with them and start up a pleasant conversation. The first years never knew they had so many older friends.
The trial of the five Slytherins came and went. Lucy and Kevin were thankful they didn’t have to testify. The evidence was overwhelming and the young third years were not very good at hiding their guilt although they were a lot more tight-lipped around their parents and their lawyer. The defense lawyer did not want the two first years there either since he was afraid they might garner sympathy so it was in agreement to keep the two Gryffindors at Hogwarts and spare them the ordeal of the trial.
When all five were pronounced guilty on all charges, Professor Dumbledore announced immediately that they were no longer welcome at Hogwarts and officially, they should consider themselves permanently expelled. The Wizengamot on the other hand took strongly into consideration their age and decided that all five would simply have to pay a fine of 1,000 galleons each and be under house arrest for the next 6 months.
The parents were instructed to keep a very close eye on their children. They were warned that another infraction and the boys would not get such a lenient sentence. Of course, it was obvious the Wizengamot was not going to do much to the Slytherins. None of the families would have a problem paying the fine and the purebloods had the numbers on their side in the Wizengamot.
Later on, the rumor was that all five boys were now attending Durmstrang. At least they were no longer at Hogwarts and that was acceptable to most of the students who found their behavior against the two young Gryffindors appalling. Harry thought the Wizengamot was too lenient on them but knew the nature of things at the ministry and took what he could get.
Things went back to normal and everyone settled back into the day-to-day routine until one Saturday morning at breakfast Dumbledore made an announcement.
“Today will be a Hogsmeade day.”
He paused and waited for the noise to die down.
“By announcing it at the last minute we will not give the Death Eaters a chance to plan. You will find a few aurors and professors in Hogsmeade today and I believe our Mr. Potter and his DA will be around as well. In addition, no students will be allowed to owl any messages until this evening after the Hogsmeade visit. That should hinder any word getting into the wrong hands. Nevertheless, be careful and come straight back to the castle at the first sign of any trouble. Be sure and let any third year students and above who did not join us for breakfast know about it. You are welcome to leave when you are ready. Have a great day!”
Everyone was excited and talking about their change of plans but Harry quickly left to go to the front entrance. His friends decided they had better follow him. Luna saw them leave as well so caught up as they were headed out the front entrance and onto the grass. Harry stopped there.
“Why did you suddenly come outside the front entrance and just stop, Harry?” asked Hermione.
“Ah, your question came just as I expected. Funny you should ask too,” replied Harry.
“What’s so funny about that Harry? Hermione always wants to know what’s going on if she hasn’t figured it out yet and I must say neither have I… figured it out I mean. You did just leave suddenly without a word,” added Ron.
“I don’t mean funny ha, ha, Ron. I meant… you know… it’s just a phrase. Anyway, the reason I came out here quickly is because I want to catch all the DA members going to Hogsmeade to remind them to stay alert and to remember their training should anything happen. Since all of you followed me as the great friends you are, although I suspect it was more out of curiosity than anything else, then you are welcome to join me and talk to the DA members as they exit the castle and head toward Hogsmeade. We also need to have them pass along the message to any others we might miss.”
“And you want me to see if there is anything I can do with the coins to send this message?” asked Hermione.
“Yes, Hermione. I doubt there’s a way but knowing you, I would have to let you have the final say on that. I’ve noticed you know a lot of tricks and can figure out how to do amazing things.”
“Thanks, Harry. That’s very kind of you to say. However, there’s no way I can make these coins do that unless we came up with a number that all the DA knows about. We could then assign that number or come up with a few numbers that we assign to different generic messages. This one could be ‘Stay Alert,’” replied Hermione.
“See, what did I tell you? I knew you could figure it out. So, we can’t use it today but if we come up with a few numbers, we could use it next time. We probably should use no more than five different numbers for five different messages. After that, it may get difficult for some to remember more unless they kept a cheat sheet, which would not be a good idea. I would not want them to have to write any of this down.”
“I like that,” said Ron. “If we think this through carefully we could come up with some very good messages that instantly go out to all the DA then we’ll all be on the same page at the same time, ready for whatever.”
“Very good, Ronald,” said Luna. “I like how you’re thinking.”
“Uh…, thanks?” replied Ron.
“I see one,” said Ginny as she hurried over to catch a DA member headed to Hogsmeade.
“I see a couple more,” said Neville as he did the same.
“Okay, let’s spread out and cover the entry from both sides. We should be able to go ourselves in a short while after we catch enough to spread the word to everyone,” said Harry.
They split up with people on both sides until they told about thirty people and asked them to spread the word. A few other DA members hung back and helped catch others as they left the castle. This prompted Harry to decide that it was time to enjoy Hogsmeade for themselves. They all went in a group together up to the small town and reminded any other members they ran into.
No one really expected to see trouble today since it was a surprise outing, plus the aurors and professors milling about served as a deterrent to any would be Death Eaters. However, there was never an excuse to slack off being alert if there was a possibility for trouble. After all, you can enjoy yourself and maintain a level of alertness at the same time.
Harry and his friends were enjoying themselves in Hogsmeade visiting the different stores and just generally hanging out together, having a great time. Their day was about halfway over and they had just come out of Honeydukes when Harry spotted Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle walking near the post office. (Draco had just tried to send an owl but was not allowed.) “Give me a minute guys,” said Harry. “I need to speak to Malfoy.”
Harry headed over to where Draco Malfoy and his goons were. Of course, Harry’s friends decided they would tag along just in case.
“Malfoy,” said Harry when he got closer to him, “a word, please.”
Draco stopped walking and waited on Harry to reach him. “What do you want, Potter? I’m trying to enjoy my day in Hogsmeade.”
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist, Malfoy. I just want to ask you a simple question.” Harry stopped within a meter of Draco.
Malfoy put his mental shields up as strong as he could get them. “Well, what do you want to know?” Draco said with his typical sneer.
“I want to know if you had anything to do with the attack on Lucy and Kevin. We know there was another person involved, someone older. I want to know if it was you, Malfoy, because my gut tells me it was. They humiliated you and these two as well,” Harry said indicating Crabbe and Goyle. “You certainly had the motive, now did you do it?” Harry was staring Draco right in the eyes.
“Oh, sod off Potter,” replied Draco. “That’s not my style. When you let us off the hook that day I realized how close I came to getting kicked out of here. And, if I’m expelled from Hogwarts, my father will kill me and I mean that. I haven’t done anything else since then. Now, leave me alone so I can finish enjoying my day.”
“Somehow, I don’t believe you. I have no proof though so there is nothing I can do. Let me tell you this,” said Harry taking a step closer, which caused Draco to flinch even though he was determined to stand his ground. “If I ever find proof that you did instigate that attack there will not be enough of you left to give back to your father.”
Harry stared at him for a few seconds before turning around and walking away. Harry stopped after a few steps and turned back around.
“Oh, enjoy the rest of your day, Malfoy. You too, Crabbe and Goyle. Hopefully, it won’t be your last Hogsmeade visit.” Harry then joined his friends again and walked away down the street.
“When did Harry Potter get so scary?” asked Goyle.
“Yeah, did you see his eyes?” asked Crabbe.
“Oh, shut up you two!” demanded Draco. “Potter’s not going to do anything because I had nothing to do with what happened to those first years. He will never find any evidence against me.” The three of them walked on down the street putting distance between Harry and his friends.
“Harry, do you really think Malfoy had something to do with the attack on Kevin and Lucy?” asked Neville.
“Yes, I do,” answered Harry, “but I have no proof so he’ll likely get away with it.”
“He’s such a wanker!” exclaimed Ron.
“Language, Ronald,” interjected Hermione sounding just like Molly.
“Blimey, Hermione, you sounded just like Mum!” Ron quipped.
“Sorry,” replied Hermione sheepishly. “It just sort of came out that way.” Then they both slowly started grinning at each other. Everyone else in the group began staring at the two of them.
“Would you two like a moment?” asked Ginny.
“We can always wait for you over there,” added Neville.
“Be careful,” said Harry. “If you ever get them started they may never stop.”
Both Hermione and Ron looked at Harry with a shocked look on their faces until Luna put in her two cents. “That wouldn’t be a problem, Harry. Eventually Ron would get too hungry.” They all started laughing after that.
They decided to head over to The Three Broomsticks for a bite and something to drink. Harry remembered he needed to pick up some more supplies for potions.
“Hey, I need to run to the Potions Shop for more supplies. I’m running low so I’ll meet you guys there. Save me a seat?”
“Sure, Harry,” replied Hermione.
“I might need some more myself,” said Ginny. “You mind if I tag along, Harry?” Ginny didn’t really need any more supplies but no one else needed to know that.
“Not at all, Gin. You’re welcome to come with me. We’ll see you guys in a few minutes.”
Harry and Ginny walked together to the Potions Shop making small talk while the others headed over to The Three Broomsticks.
“What do you need to get?” asked Harry.
“Uh, well, I… uh… don’t exactly remember but once I see the supplies it should come back to me,” Ginny replied with a nervous smile.
“Oh, okay. Well, I definitely need a new utensil for stirring. I let Neville borrow mine and he somehow melted it. I’ve also been thinking about setting up a potions lab of my own so I can work ahead on some more advanced potions. The pace in class is too slow for me. Of course, I need a place to setup my potions lab. I’ll have to give that some thought…”
As Harry continued to talk about potion supplies and his plan for a potions lab Ginny’s mind drifted to more important matters, in her mind anyway. She’d been slowly noticing a change in her feelings toward Harry. He was definitely a different person from last year and she freely admitted (plus Harry already knew) that she’s had a crush on him since she was a little girl but that had now changed. If anything though, her feelings were even stronger. After all, the changes in Harry didn’t take away from his yumminess but had actually added to it. She also realized that when she was a little girl, she had a crush on The-Boy-Who-Lived but now that she knows the real Harry she no longer moons over The-Boy-Who-Lived. She believes with all her heart that she has fully fallen in love with the real Harry Potter.
However, it was obvious to her that Harry was not quite ready for that. While he was very intelligent and could learn things at an amazing pace now, his emotional state, when it came to girls at least, was still that of a young teenager. In addition, he had that horrible upbringing with his relatives that didn’t help the situation. Harry was never shown love when he was with the Dursleys. He had it now at Potter Place, but even then, that was from elves and portraits, not regular people.
Being so young still and a little wise beyond her years due to past experiences, she realized this could just be a first love that is not meant to last but as far as she knew right now she was very committed and the opportunity to pursue it had not presented itself yet. She resigned herself to be patient and see where it goes.
Harry, on the other hand, was an enigma. She had no idea how he felt about her besides being a good friend and Ron’s little sister. Harry used to wear his emotions out so everyone could see. He just couldn’t hide them and he was very easy to read. Now, with the change in him his emotions were not out in the open anymore. She could not tell how he felt about her other than being good friends and little Ginny Weasley wanted so much more from the hunk she was walking next to. She let out a sigh and thought “Oh well, I will just have to be patient.”
“Did you say something?” asked Harry.
“Oh… uh… no, I didn’t say anything,” replied Ginny.
“Sorry, it appears I’ve been running off at the mouth and probably boring you with my less than stimulating conversation.”
“No, Harry. That’s not true. I always enjoy talking to you and you’re never boring.”
“Thanks, Gin. You’re too good to me.”
“There it was again,” thought Ginny. “He called me Gin… again. I get shivers from my head to my toes whenever he calls me that. No one else has ever called me by that name and if anyone ever tries, they’ll find themselves on the end of my Bat-Bogey hex. Of course, the twins have sometimes called me Gin-Gin. My parents call me Ginny (sometimes Genevra or Genevra Molly Weasley when I’m in trouble). Bill calls me Ginny or some other pet name most of the time. Charlie calls me Ginny as well but Percy, the great git, calls me Genevra. Ron calls me Ginny too. I only want Harry to call me Gin so he’s the only one I’ll allow that privilege. Oh, that man, I’m just going to tackle him some day because I’ll not be able to control myself…. Keep it together Genevra.”
Harry and Ginny were able to pick up their supplies in the store. Ginny found something cheap to buy that she pretended she needed. Harry went ahead and purchased extra, plus some additional cauldrons of varying sizes for his lab he wanted to create. He went ahead and paid for Ginny’s since it was just one small item. When they walked outside Harry had quite the load in is hands. He started to shrink the items so he could put them in his pocket but he got a better idea.
“Dobby?” Harry called out.
“Pop!” Dobby appeared before Harry and Ginny.
“Yes, Harry Potter, sir? What can Dobby do for the Great Harry Potter and his Wheezy?”
“Dobby, so nice of you to come. You are looking quite spiffy today with all your hats and socks. Can you do me a favor?”
“Why, yes Harry Potter sir! Dobby will do anything for the Great Harry Potter!”
“Thank you Dobby. I would like you to take all my purchases and place them on my bed since I now have too much to carry. Could you do that for me?” asked Harry.
“Dobby will be most pleased to do that for the Great Harry Potter. Does Harry Potter’s Wheezy need Dobby to take hers back too?”
“Gin, do you want Dobby to take your purchases back to your dorm as well?” asked Harry.
After she slightly shivered again she looked at Dobby and said “Why, yes, Dobby. That would be great if you could do that for me.”
“Right away, Miss Wheezy. Dobby will send your packages to your beds. Is there anything else Dobby can do for the Great Harry Potter?”
“No, Dobby. That will be all. I very much appreciate your help. I don’t know what I would do without you,” replied Harry.
Dobby blushed and snapped his fingers. Dobby was gone along with their purchases.
As they were walking to The Three Broomsticks, Ginny said, “It’s so funny how he calls you ‘Harry Potter, sir’ and ‘The Great Harry Potter’ all the time.”
“I know. I’ve tried numerous times but I’ve not been able to get him to stop calling me that. Dobby’s a free elf and has no master so I don’t know why he insists on it.”
“Weren’t you the one that freed him?”
“Yes, but he’s free now. He’s a friend and not a servant or slave. All the elves back at Potter Place are bound to the house but they call me Harry as I requested them to do. Dobby, on the other hand, is a completely different story.”
“From what I know about house elves they are all bound to a family, a house, or a person. Granted we never had one so my knowledge is somewhat limited. If I had to guess, I’d say that Dobby somehow bonded himself personally to you Harry. He may be free but it’s likely he did this without knowing it because it’s natural for house elves to be bound. He certainly doesn’t seem to mind and he holds you in the highest of regards. I don’t know how he would come when you summon him otherwise.”
“Thanks, Ginny. That helps a lot to understand my relationship with Dobby. You know, I don’t mind having him around either. I could do less with the worship but I pretty much ignore that now since he won’t stop doing it.”
“He is kind of cute and very helpful,” she replied.
“That he is.”
They arrived at The Three Broomsticks and found it extremely crowded. It took a few seconds for them to find their friends at a table in the back of the room. They walked over to them to sit down but only saw one chair.
“What happened to all your stuff?” asked Hermione. “And, I thought you were getting more at the Potions Shop?”
“I did Hermione,” replied Harry. “I bought a whole lot more including extra cauldrons and extra supplies. I’ll tell you guys about that later. They were going to be too bulky even if I shrunk them so I called Dobby and asked if he could take them back to my dorm for me. He took mine and Ginny’s as well. It was very nice of him.”
“So, just because Harry asked for you to save him a seat and I didn’t, you only saved a seat for Harry?” asked Ginny.
“No, Ginny,” replied Ron. “The place is so busy there is only one extra chair we could save for you guys.”
“We can share,” said Harry. He sat down on half the chair and indicated for Ginny to take the other half. She tried but the chair was too small for both of them so she and Harry stood back up.
“Harry, this is not working,” said Ginny. “I want you to sit back down on the chair fully.”
Harry sat back down and looked up at Ginny.
“Perfect,” she said then promptly sat on Harry’s lap. She sat cross ways with her right arm around Harry’s shoulders and her legs hanging off the side of his to the right. This way Harry’s right arm was free for him to use and Ginny would just contend with using her left.
“Ginny,” said Ron. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“What Ron?” asked Ginny. “As you so eloquently pointed out there are no more chairs available so Harry and I have to share this one. Is this uncomfortable for you Harry? Do I weigh too much?”
“No, not at all Ginny. You hardly weigh anything. I’m very comfortable. I hope you are too.”
“I’m very comfortable Harry or maybe I should say you are very comfortable since I’m sitting on you.”
“Well, I’ve been called many things before but ‘comfortable’ has never been one of them.” Harry knew he could simply conjure another chair or even expand this one but what would be the fun in that? Moreover, he had no desire for certain people in the room to see he has those advanced abilities.
They had some Butterbeer, sandwiches, and crisps. Harry and Ginny had to turn the chair sideways so that Ginny was facing the table head on and Harry was sideways to it but could reach everything so he could eat and drink without too much hassle.
After they finished eating and the small talk continued Ginny decided to see just how comfortable Harry was. She scooted down so she could lean into Harry and rest her head on her arm and his neck. It was not too much longer that she fell asleep. Her breath was caressing Harry’s neck where she rested and it was all he could do to pay attention to the conversation. Some chairs became available as people started leaving. Ron decided that his sister had sat in Harry’s lap long enough.
“Ginny, you can get your own chair now,” announced Ron.
“Ron, be quiet,” replied Harry in a quiet voice. “She fell asleep. She must be tired so leave her alone for now. I’ll wake her when we’re ready to leave.”
Harry had already put his left arm around her back and had his hand on her waist to support her. He now used his right hand to hold onto her legs to keep her from sliding off. “This is more like it,” thought Ginny. She really had not fallen asleep, not completely anyway. She was just dozing and taking advantage of her situation as best she could. She heard perfectly well what Ron had said but ignored him of course. She appreciated what Harry said and really appreciated his touch to make it more comfortable. Ginny just snuggled in closer and let out a sigh pretending to still be asleep. Ron quieted down and left his sister alone for now.
They finished up there food and drink and decided it was time to head back to the school. Harry began quietly talking to Ginny to wake her up. She really had fallen asleep this time and snuggled up closer to Harry automatically. He kept talking to her and told her it was time to wake up so they could head back to the castle.
“I hope you enjoyed your nap, Gin, and I hope my lap was comfortable enough,” Harry told her. She finally woke up all the way.
“Sorry, Harry. I didn’t mean to fall asleep on you but I must confess you’re very comfortable. I hope it wasn’t too much trouble with me curled up in your lap like that.”
“Not at all. I’m glad you were able to catch a nap. It was no trouble for me. Let’s head back everyone.”
When they were walking back to Hogwarts, Hermione asked the question she had on her mind for the past couple of hours. “Harry, why do you think Malfoy had anything to do with the attack on Lucy and Kevin?”
Harry told them about what was done to Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle outside his classroom that day when he let them go without telling McGonagall or Dumbledore, and how his first years humiliated Malfoy and his two goons.
“When have you ever known Malfoy to let something like that go?” he asked. “It was maybe two weeks later that the attack happened. Plus, when I was questioning Malfoy, I probed his mind and he had it locked tighter than a drum. He has obviously been taught occlumency but there were no tricks or an attempt to subtly hide anything. He just put up a wall. I was not going to force my way into his mind. I just wanted to verify whether or not he was lying. I backed off when I found the wall so he would not suspect I was probing. I still think he’s guilty. We know an older student was involved. Who else had a motive? Maybe he didn’t intend for the five Slytherin third years to go that far but I’d be willing to bet he was the one who gave them the note.”
“You may be right, Harry,” replied Hermione. “You just have no proof, like you said, so you can’t do anything.”
“It’s very frustrating,” said Harry, “but I imagine he was extremely careful this time so he’d not get caught. McGonagall told him he’d be kicked out of Hogwarts if he messed up again. To Malfoy that just means he should not get caught. I doubt her warning even slowed him down. And, I seriously doubt Malfoy even knows how to do the right thing and be good. As far as I can tell he’s never shown any interest in that regard.”
“I agree with you on that, mate,” Ron said. “Malfoy is one piece of work.”
In an unknown location…
Voldemort was standing on a slightly raised platform in front of one of his followers. This particular Death Eater had long white hair and was one Lucius Malfoy, father to Draco Malfoy. Currently he was bowed low on the floor in front of his master hoping against all hope he would not have to experience again his master’s wrath. If there was one thing Lord Voldemort was good at it was the Cruciatus Curse. This curse might even be the Dark Lord’s favorite. If not, it ran a close second to the Killing Curse. He throws that one around quite frequently as well, thought Lucius.
“Yes, my lord? I am here to serve only you,” he said groveling.
“Do not fail me this time, Lucius. I have an important task for your spawn. Draco is his name, correct?”
“Yes his name is Draco, my lord. What would you have me do?”
“Have Draco spy on Harry Potter. I have heard some interesting rumors about our young Harry Potter and I need eyes in Hogwarts to find out what is true about him. Apparently, he is different from last year. Have Draco find out all that he can. I want to know what Harry Potter is up to.”
“Yes, my lord. Right away, my lord. I will not fail you and I will make sure my son does not fail you as well.” Lucius remained where he was in his submissive stance.
“Go. Leave my presence and see to this matter. I am looking forward to what information Draco can provide.”
Lucius scooted back away from his master before standing up and quickly walking away. Voldemort was known to Crucio you even when you were leaving just for the heck of it. Lucius was hoping he could get out of the room before that happened. He was just about to turn the corner when he heard his master call him.
Lucius Malfoy stopped suddenly with a grimace on his face. He slowly turned back around and meekly said, “Yes, my lord?”
“Send in Wormtail on your way out,” commanded Voldemort.
“Yes, my lord.” Lucius let out a big breath after he turned the corner. He was very relieved he wasn’t hit with another Crucio. He found Wormtail quick enough and instructed him to go see the Dark Lord as requested.
Wormtail went to his master right away as he knew how bad it could be if you kept the Dark Lord waiting. Going up to his master, he dropped to his knees and bowed low before him. “You wish to see me, my lord?”
“Rise, Wormtail. I have a job for you….”
Draco received an owl from his father telling him what the Dark Lord expected of him. It was sent with a warning to not fail on this assignment. His father assured him he would not like the consequences. Draco began planning right away. Spying on Potter could be very dangerous, he thought, but Draco wasn’t worried. He was a Slytherin after all.
After some thought, he wrote his father back and told him he would need an invisibility cloak to really pull this off. In addition, he wrote about what he already knew. He told his father about Potter somehow getting rid of Umbridge the first week she started, and how he now was teaching Defense to the first and second years, along with his DA group for everyone else. He sent it off with his own eagle owl and went back to planning.
The next day, Draco began sitting as close to Potter or one of his friends whenever he could, hoping to pick up any information that the Dark Lord could use. It wasn’t easy. Gryffindors and Slytherins usually sat the furthest away from each other just to keep things more pleasant and prevent fights from breaking out. This was especially true for Malfoy and Potter. Nonetheless, Draco did what he had to do. He even drafted Crabbe and Goyle into the mission and instructed them to listen to any conversation they could involving Potter or about Potter but make sure they didn’t get caught. They were to report everything to Draco.
Later that night after everyone had gone to bed, Harry had another vision of that hallway and door that he saw when he saved Mr. Weasley. This time there was no one in front of the door. He just had a strong desire to open it and go in. Harry would repeatedly continue to have this dream over the next few weeks. Try as he might he could not figure out what the vision meant.