Insanity for Two
A synchronized gasp escaped every throat at Harry's revelation. The people who had been protesting clapped their jaws shut, and nobody said anything. Not one word. Silence reigned supreme.
What did I expect? Harry had wanted their undivided attention, and now he had it. But what to do with it? First he'd better get his friends out of danger just in case something happened, however.
"Time for Plan B," he muttered to Dumbledore as he flew back down the steps and grabbed Hagrid and Lupin to pull them back onto the platform. The headmaster did absolutely nothing to deter him, and merely lifted his eyebrows and held up both hands in regard; Harry had complete charge of the situation.
The half-giant and Remus hung back, and as Harry had no weight to use against them, he urged them forward with a bit of his magic instead. It was quite easy because the air was packed with feelings and thoughts to focus and manipulate. The two men were somewhat startled as to what he was doing, but they followed him back onto the dias anyway.
As he did this, Ginny was spurred to action of her own kind. She had run over to the other students that had been with her and Harry on their sojourn tonight. Still nobody said anything as the teenagers poured onto the stage behind Harry and encircled themselves about an amazed Lupin and Hagrid. Neville, Ginny, Dean, Susan, Justin, Luna, Seamus, and Michael stood in a perimeter around the two men, effectively providing a human shield for anyone who chose to try something stupid. Their message couldn't have been clearer: To get to Remus or Rubeus, you have to face us first.
Harry stared as they completed their circle and looked to Ginny. She looked back at him with a face full of seriousness at first but then smiled and winked at him. That did it. Harry returned her looked in a gratified instant. He'd told her earlier he hadn't wanted to kiss her, but he sure as hellfire wanted to kiss her now—multiple times, in fact. The girl had read his mind and intentions again for the millionth time that night. They truly made quite a team, he and Ginny.
Harry spun about and addressed the audience again. The crowds remained quiet, apparently spellbound by the very angry, very powerful spirit of Harry Potter. Rubbish, thought he, morons just need someone to give them a good talking-to. Harry sighed. If it has to be me, so be it.
"Now I believe the Professor explained we had a demonstration for you," he said, walking over to Donnie and Jamie, who were still hidden.
The healer reached into her robe and retrieved her wand. Carefully sliding open the Invisibility Cloak just enough, she exposed Jamie's arm and applied her wand to the crook of his elbow. When she pulled the wand away, Harry could see the tip glistened red. Madam held her other hand out for Harry's broken wand and put her wand tip to his in three different places: Top, middle, and base, just above the handle. Now they had three drops of living blood, to complete and reinstate the magical connection. Harry could sense a mix between confusion and realisation start within the crowd.
He took the wand back from Adonna and stood in the original spot he had taken on the dias. Holding his wand up again, he nodded to Dumbledore who had also readied his wand and placed himself for the appropriate spell.
"Priori Incantatem!" exacted the headmaster, aiming his wand tip directly in front of Harry's.
The end of Harry's wand presented a series of ephemeral images and sounds to everyone, the most disturbing of which was Bellatrix's laugh at Harry's failed Cruciatus Curse against her. Nobody who wasn't at the Department of Mysteries that night recognised it for what it was, however. Then the last phantom spell poured forth and it happened to be Harry's Patronus; the charm which he had performed for his O.W.L.s. a month ago. Nothing the Ministry claimed Harry had done was evidenced in the spell memory of his broken wand.
Most of other people realised this too, and the adults knew that the only way for such spells to be recalled required living blood from the wand's owner. They wanted to know what was going on but appeared to fear another outburst from Harry. Murmurs of astonishment were streaming actively throughout the gathering.
"I know what you're thinking," Harry called to the crowd. "You're thinking that this means the half-covered person laying on the dias has to be Harry James Potter, the very same person whom you all believe to be dead. And here is the proof of death, right?" Harry pointed to his chest, "Here his spirit is, yelling to you all. So how could he possibly be alive?"
Unable to stay still, Harry began prowling the perimeter of the platform like a caged white bengal. Everyone quieted again and stared at him like the apparition he was.
"I have a story for you all," he continued, making this up as he was going along. He didn't have a clue what in blue blazes he was doing, merely flying by the seat of his trousers. He decided it was simply best to make it pedantic and explain things from the start of the whole fiasco.
"Once upon a time," began Harry, "there was a wizard boy who got into a car crash." He continued his pacing, "A car crash Ministry accused him of deliberately causing for murderous intent, and which you have now seen for yourselves is a complete lie, as evidenced by his wand's spell memory."
It pleased him to say this aloud, even if it was to a group of people who had believed in his innocence before the proper evidence was presented to them. At least they had got one thing right in that regard. Harry also could pick out faces in the crowd that he recognised; most of them were looking at him with a semblance of satisfaction.
"The true instigators of the car crash escaped notice until tonight. This wizard was hardly the only wronged party in the course of his trial by Ministry, unfortunately." He placed his hands behind his back and paused. "A healer by name of Madam Adonna came to his aid the night of the crash," he went on, and once more discerned a recognition amongst the crowds at the healer's name.
Dumbledore had explained that these people in particular had been made aware of just what Madam had done concerning Harry by maintaining his steady life force. It had helped Donnie very much to know that at least some people cared about what Ministry had done to her, considering her only crimes were social deviance and trying to safe a life. Two more points up for this otherwise tolerance-challenged group of people, Harry thought begrudgingly.
"It was bad enough the healer's license was revoked because of her selfless action to try and save this wizard. But four days later, that wizard was declared dead anyway. So Madam Adonna went to Ministry in attempt to tell people her response to their wrongful declaration. For she knew one thing that nobody else did."
Harry whirled around to face Madam and asked her purposefully, "And what was your message, Donnie?"
She was almost nonplussed at being directly addressed by Harry and automatically answered him quite softly, "Harry Potter is not dead."
"Louder," Harry gave her a lop-sided smile and said confidently, "so they can see and hear you."
She looked at him incredulously from under her cloak, carefully got to her feet, and slid back her hood.
"Harry Potter is not dead!" Donnie exclaimed to the assembly, finally unafraid of doing so. Harry could also tell that Madam was also trying to do him justice, out of respect to his image that she was wearing. Harry was amazed that she would still think of him first, at a time like this.
The crowd became electrified with sharp intakes of breath and subdued speaking at the sight of Madam Adonna's altered face. Was this how Harry Potter could be alive? They all seemed to be thinking.
"Truth being stranger than fiction," shouted Harry over the din, "Ministry locked the healer up in St. Mungo's not because of her message, but because of her image. The very image they condemned her to keep, after prematurely severing the Gemini Stasis Charm between her and the wizard boy."
Exclamations of outrage once again started permeating the air, but it was in defence of someone, rather than accusation. "They made her look like Harry" a few said, "So she'd have to look that way forever?" others asked.
"Not even the wizard boy's soul knew that he wasn't dead."
Automatically the crowd hushed themselves again, finally getting the point it would be better to just listen to Harry's story. Truth be told, it was a bit surreal to explain this part of things to everybody, but it had to be done. Harry's story format of third-person speaking thankfully made it somewhat easier.
"His spirit was roving around London, and inadvertently came across his funeral here in the graveyard tonight."
People became even more subdued at this. They couldn't imagine what it was like for someone to witness their own funeral.
"A few of his friends in the graveyard found the soul of this wizard, after everybody else had left. Not even the spirit of this boy could bring himself to believe he wasn't dead." Harry walked up to his proud circle of friends, "'What if?' his friends began to wonder anyway," Harry continued, omitting the details of the gift box. "'What if you're not really dead?' they told him."
Harry whirled back around to face the assembly again. "Eight teenagers helped the wizard's spirit find his body," as he paced around the stage, "thereby proving something he himself could not believe."
For the first time since starting this charade, Harry faltered. He had just caught sight of Cedric Diggory's mother and father in the crowd. Scarcely allowing himself to think why they were here, he shut his eyes and drew strength from the assembly. Cedric might be gone, but Harry determined in some small way that he could make it up to his parents by going through with this ceremony.
Much more humbly, but no less meaningfully, Harry projected, "The wizard's body was found, but it wasn't a happy occasion. He'd been starved, tortured, alone, and left for dead. In fact, he was so far gone, the wizard boy's spirit swore it was impossible to bring him back."
Harry looked down and pressed his lips together for a moment and looked back to Hagrid and Lupin. They gazed back at him intently as Harry still continued. "He was wrong, however," he said, and resumed his pacing.
"Two of his most trusted friends, men whom most of you refer to as beasts," he clipped the last word to the crowd, "healed the wizard's body and reclaimed it from certain death. If it weren't for these men," Harry enunciated and aimed his hand pointedly, "the wizard would not have his body to go back to."
Harry turned to Dumbledore, who had been observing him with characteristic attention, but also a certain…fatherly pride. The headmaster seemed to have anticipated Harry's request as they both went over to Harry's body on the platform. Donnie sank back down and removed the Invisibility Cloak from around Jamie and the professor helped to reposition him to be supported and half-sitting up against Adonna's chest. Harry's voice had roused him, just as it had in the chamber. Jamie stared out at all of the gathered people, darting looks around fearfully. Rippling sounds of more shock and wonder emanated from the crowd. It was impossible for Harry not to read the one dominant thought: He's alive!
"Yes," Harry answered them all intently. "Harry Potter, although divided, still lives. And it is entirely attributable to a motley crew of school children, deviants, and people whom the Ministry calls savages," he nearly choked on that last word. "People who, like me, are more than used to having others not listen to what they have to say. People who are accustomed to being thought of as weird or mental."
Harry brought everybody in with a sweeping gesture, making sure to address the main who spurred this thing on. "You even called Professor Dumbledore 'insane' over this. So, I ask you all now, why are you here?"
Murmurs started at this as people seemed to want to answer him. "Don't be shy," Harry said, "why are you all here?"
The man answered him again, much more timidly, "We're here for you , Mr. Potter." And everybody else gave various signs of agreement, whether it be through word or action.
"Me," replied Harry in disbelief, "a person whom the Ministry declared a murderous raving lunatic?" This is for you, Sirius, thought Harry toward the heavens. "Me, not only a convict who should have been thrown in Azkaban, but also happens to be legally dead?"
Again the affirmative answers from the crowd reached him on the platform.
So Harry smiled sardonically and proclaimed with grim amusement, "Well then, if you ask me, we're all bloody crazy."