Chapter Six: The Break-Out
Legolas let out a sigh, watching them leave the Headmaster’s office, which was not lost on Haldir or Dumbledore, both glancing at the quiet Elf questioningly. Legolas didn’t say anything, glancing at Haldir before looking away. He watched the Order Members and teachers leave, talking amongst themselves about the outcome of the meeting.
Soon, it was just the three of them, and Dumbledore looked at the two Elves thoughtfully. ‘That must have been trying news for you both to hear. Are you all right?’ the old Headmaster asked, frowning at them.
Haldir seemed unaffected by the news, whereas Legolas was the opposite, pacing behind where Haldir was standing in front of Dumbledore’s desk. ‘I am fine, though I cannot say the same for Legolas,’ Haldir answered, turning to his companion. ’What troubles you?′ he asked.
Legolas stopped pacing, taking his place next to Haldir. 'There are more, Haldir. We should have sensed them, but I cannot. They have aligned themselves with the Dark Lord of this time. You ask what troubles are clouding my mind? How are we to protect those children from that many? If all our kin ally themselves, we have no hope in protecting anyone,′ Legolas explained, wringing his hands unconsciously.
Haldir looked at him, tilting his head thoughtfully. 'Do not fret,′ Haldir answered calmly, and Legolas looked up at him with a frown upon his brow. 'If any of the Elves were to ally, it would be the Moriquendi Elves, the dark ones. The Calaquendi Elves would never ally themselves to evil,′ he said, turning back to Dumbledore. ‘I beg your leave, Albus. There is much to do,’ he told the old Headmaster, receiving a nod in return.
Haldir nodded at Legolas before making his way to the door, but his companion’s worried tenor made him pause. 'We do not know them anymore, Haldir. They left us to suffer for a crime we did not know we committed,′ he said, and Haldir turned back to look at him. 'Evil may have corrupted them all,′ Legolas added, his eyes trained on Haldir’s.
Haldir looked away, his eyes saddened. He turned back, his hand on the handle, opening the door before stopping. 'Then let it be so,′ he said in a calm voice with determination.
Legolas frowned when the door closed, lowering his head. ‘Care to explain?’ Came a voice from behind him and Legolas turned to look at Dumbledore. He had forgotten the Headmaster was present in the room. ‘It sounds to me like your companion is unhappy with the circumstances,’ Dumbledore stated, looking at Legolas questioningly.
Legolas nodded. ‘He is not. Haldir was one of those who believed all Elves were good and kind. He even felt the Moriquendi Elves must have redeeming qualities,’ he answered, walking over to the window and looking out. ‘He is too trusting...’ the Elf paused, considering his next words carefully, ‘Yet, he does not trust the men of this age,’ Legolas finished, watching a snowy white owl fly past the window towards the Quidditch Pitch.
‘That is quite understandable,’ Dumbledore answered, and Legolas turned to him in confusion. Dumbledore stood, pacing while he elaborated, ‘The world you knew has changed and is no longer comfortable. The men you acquainted yourselves with are gone, and we are different from them. I understand it will take a lot for you to trust us.’
Legolas nodded. ‘Yes, we are finding it difficult. We know nothing of this time. We never took the time to get to know the technicalities of your age,’ he answered. There was a short pause before he spoke once more, turning to Dumbledore, ‘I would like to know. I fear Haldir has yet to find a reason for this, and it may take him longer to appreciate this time and era,’ he said thoughtfully.
‘You need his consent?’ Dumbledore asked him in slight shock.
Legolas shook his head. ‘Not his consent, just his willingness to take part. Haldir has become like an older brother to me over these long years. We have never separated, except to hunt,’ he answered calmly.
‘Ah, I see,’ Dumbledore answered, stroking Fawkes along his back, and he turned back to the silent, thoughtful Elf. ‘How do you like Hogwarts? I have not had the chance to ask,’ he asked him curiously.
‘It is pleasant. The children are inquisitive, always a good aspect. They are attentive in our class and are curious and willing to learn our ways. The girl, Hermione, has much intelligence, though she seems somewhat withdrawn. Young Harry is also intelligent, though I have noticed he often does not apply himself much. Ronald is an odd one. He has intelligence there, but he does not seem willing to show it, whereas his friends do. Any particular reason for this?’ Legolas asked curiously.
Dumbledore tried to keep a straight face when he answered, ‘I suppose it depends on what class he is in and what time of day it is. We also know that when Mr Weasley is hungry, his concentration lacks,’ Dumbledore answered with a chuckle.
Legolas’ mouth twitched. ‘Ah, that would explain much. Well we must make sure he is well rested, fed, and watered before class so that he may apply himself more thoroughly,’ he answered, earning a chuckle from the old Headmaster, and he walked towards the door. ‘If that is all, I will take my leave,’ he said, opening the door.
‘Farewell Legolas,’ Dumbledore said pleasantly.
Legolas turned his head. ‘Farewell for now,’ he whispered, leaving and closing the door softly behind him.
‘Good afternoon, class!’ came the squeaky voice of Professor Flitwick from where he stood atop his mass of books and a chair to be able to see over his desk.
‘Good afternoon, Professor Flitwick!’ came the answer from the class while they shuffled about, opening their books and readying their quills and ink.
‘Today we are going to learn the Darnia Charm. Can anyone tell me what this is?’ the small Professor asked, looking around at the few raised hands. His eyebrows shot up when Neville also put his hand up, and the Slytherin’s snickered at this, but Flitwick called upon the shy boy to answer.
Neville lowered his hand, looking around the room nervously before answering, ‘It’s a Charm to give the caster a feeling of hope for a while,’ he said quietly, and Harry and Ron looked on in shock from their seats next to him, and Hermione beamed proudly.
Professor Flitwick smiled. ‘Correct Mr Longbottom! Have five points for Gryffindor!’ he said ecstatically, looking around once more. ‘Now, can anyone tell me who invented this spell and why?’ he asked, and only two hands went up this time.
The class gaped while Ron looked around, his hand in the air, from where he was sitting next to Hermione. Ron almost lowered his hand back down, but the surprised Flitwick called upon him to answer. Hermione dropped her hand in bewilderment, staring at Ron, and his ears turned bright red when all eyes turned to him, and he nervously replied, ‘Well, sir... Crecia Wishlette invented it in a moment of panic when she couldn’t say the Stunning spell. Crecia ended up saying gibberish instead, but the newfound hope helped her to fight off Grindelwald’s followers. When the spell wore off, Kent Lokedly killed her while she had her back to him. This spell is now used in dark times to give scared wizard’s, witches and, in extreme cases, Muggles a sense of hope. So, they feel there is always going to be a light at the end of the tunnel,’ he finished to the applaud of everyone, except the Slytherin’s.
‘Well done, Mr Weasley! Well done! I think that earns you 10 points for Gryffindor for such a thorough answer!’ Professor Flitwick clapped along with the rest of the students who were applauding.
Harry clapped him on the back and Hermione beamed at him proudly. ‘I knew you had some brains in you!’ she said quietly.
He blushed at her compliment. ‘Thanks,’ Ron said, and his ears turned so red they rivalled his red hair.
Flitwick called for hush throughout the classroom and, once everyone settled down, he smiled at them all in turn. ‘Okay, we are going to practice this spell today. I want you all to turn to page 308 in your books,’ he said, and the sound of rustling pages filled the room for a few minutes. Flitwick waited for quiet again before speaking, ‘Performing the Darnia Charm involves a sequence of complicated swishes and sharp movements with your wand and the incantation, “Darniastupfy”. This is a complicated spell which isn’t usually taught until 7th year, but taking the circumstances into account, you are to learn it this year,’ he explained, motioning for them to stand and partner with the person next to them. He swished his wand, and the desks moved back against the walls, giving them ample room to cast the spell.
Flitwick looked at the students while they paired up, tutting to himself. He shook his head, swapping people’s partners with others he believed would be equal to their intelligence, magical quality, and grade in his class. There were complaints, especially from Hermione and Draco when he partnered them together, but Flitwick shushed them, and after he was satisfied he allowed them to begin.
Draco eyed Hermione with open hatred, swishing his wand lazily in the way Flitwick showed them and muttered, ‘Darniastupfy!’ and pointed his wand at Hermione.
Hermione felt nothing when the pale blue light engulfed her before dissipating, and she felt no more hopeful than she did before. She knew the spell was complicated and Draco was half-hearted when he attempted it.
She looked at Draco who was pissed off because he failed his attempt, and Hermione hid her smirk, you’re not so perfect now, are you Malfoy? She thought, lifting her wand and making the exact swishing movements with her wand. She brought it to a stop with a sharp flick of her wrist, incanting, ‘Darniastupfy!’ and a pale blue light left her wand, engulfing him in a bright shimmering aura which melted into his being. Draco’s eyes widened in surprise, feeling a strong sense of hope fill him and he stared at Hermione, dumbstruck. Hermione smiled, lowering her wand eyeing the shimmering blue light surrounding Draco’s person. Only the two of them could see being the spell-caster and the one on the receiving end of the spell, but Flitwick could see it because he cast a Charm around the room allowing this.
Flitwick stared in amazement, watching the shimmering glow dissipate and fade into Draco, but he snapped out of his shock and beamed at Hermione. ‘Well done, Miss Granger! Once again you have proven to have exceptional spell casting and wand work in this class. I think this earns you 20 points for Gryffindor!’ he said, and she smiled when Harry and Ron beamed at her from where they were practising. ‘Now, if you could just help Mr Malfoy with his pronunciation and wand movement? He’s almost got it,’ he asked her with an encouraging smile towards Draco. She nodded, moving to stand next to Draco who was looking at Flitwick like he wanted to murder him.
Draco turned to Hermione. ‘I don’t need help, Mudblood,’ he said in a bored tone, looking at his wand.
Hermione rolled her eyes. ‘Yeah, like I want to help you, Ferret,’ she retorted with a glare.
Draco sighed audibly, getting back into a stance for performing magic. ‘Let’s just get this over with,’ he answered, and Hermione almost fell over in shock, not believing he was allowing her to help.
Hermione nodded, stepping closer to him. She was so close he could smell the shampoo in her hair, raspberry with a hint of cinnamon, and the smell of her perfume wafted to his nose, momentarily distracting him. He was so distracted he didn’t even notice her hand covering his and moving it, so he was making the correct wand movement.
She stepped away, and he pointed his wand at her, saying the incantation correctly this time, and the pale blue light engulfed her once more. Hermione felt hope rise in her as the shimmering aura around her glowed, and she couldn’t help the bright smile on her face when he grinned widely at his achievement. She loved seeing people being successful at something as complicated as this, even if the person who had done it was an arrogant, snobby git.
‘Well done, Mr Malfoy, a great improvement. 20 points to Slytherin,’ Flitwick announced, and then Harry managed to perform the Charm on Ron as well, earning the same amount for Gryffindor. They were the only three who successfully performed the Charm, but Flitwick advised them they would continue learning the spell until they all got it.
Harry and Ron were in a discussion about Quidditch once more when they filed out of the classroom with the rest of the Gryffindor’s.
Hermione rolled her eyes, freezing when Legolas and Haldir walked past, followed by a flock of girls. She was, sickeningly, reminded of her fourth year when the same thing happened with Viktor Krum, and anger erupted within her from nowhere. She stormed down the hall towards the Great Hall, ignoring the shouts from Harry and Ron asking her to wait up.
‘What in the name of Merlin was that about?’ Ron asked, sitting down across from Hermione, between Dean and Ginny who were cuddling.
‘Hey! What the hell Ron!’ Ginny shouted, almost shoved off the bench, but her shouts were ignored.
‘Why did you storm off like that?’ Ron continued, ignoring the glares he was getting from Ginny and Dean for separating them.
Hermione sighed. ‘I don’t know. I just felt angry and needed to get away. It happens. End of,’ she answered, and this answer seemed to satisfy Ron, but Harry was not convinced.
He was about to say something when an Owl screeched overhead. All the students on the Gryffindor table turned, watching as the Weasleys’ Owl Errol crashed into the table. He rolled across it, knocking plates, cups of pumpkin juice, and bowls of food over on the table. Ron hid his face in his hands in embarrassment while Errol got up, shaking himself off. He dropped the Daily Prophet in front of him like all the commotion had not just happened. ‘Bloody bird... all that just to give me the paper? Sometimes I think he does it on purpose,’ he muttered, pulling free the string keeping the newspaper rolled up and opening it. His eyes widened, and he dropped the paper in horror, his face paling to become a horrible contrast to his hair.
‘What is it?’ Harry asked, but Ron didn’t answer, he just pointed to the newspaper. Harry frowned, picking up the paper, and reading the headline;
DEATH EATERS ESCAPE FROM AZKABAN – IS THIS THE WORK OF HE-WHO-SHOULD-NOT-BE-NAMED?
Full story on page 3-4
By Kinga Lortingale
Harry dropped the paper, paling just like Ron had. Their pale expressions concerned Hermione; they looked like they were about to throw up. Curious about what caused this sudden change in her two best friends, she reached across the table and picked up the Prophet to read the headline herself. Shock and dismay were the only emotions which appeared on her face, but she managed to keep herself together. She opened it, turning to page 3 to read the article, but before she managed to read the first line, Ron looked up. ‘Read it aloud, Hermione,’ he whispered, still in shock.
Hermione nodded, looking back down at the paper, and she started reading, not realising many of the students fell silent to listen.
'“Death Eaters Escape Azkaban by Kinga Lortingale.
Late last night, the Death Eaters caught in the Ministry of Magic raid the previous year escaped. Said to be the work of powerful Dark Magic, these Death Eaters are considered extremely dangerous.
One of the Gate Keepers guarding Azkaban said this morning, ‘Couldn’t believe it, still can’t as a matter of fact! The Dementor’s just vanished, except for one who was giving the Kiss to many of my fellow workers! It’s as if the thing went mental! I was lucky to escape, and I hid behind a wall when a hooded and cloaked figure appeared right in front of old Lucius’ cell! Gave me a right scare, that did! It’s a known fact no one can Apparate in or Disapparate out of Azkaban!′ the guard, who wished to be left unnamed, refused to say anything else. From his short reprieve, it is clear to this reporter this is the work of He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named, who was only last year proven to be back.
The Ministry is trying all it can to stop the riots amongst the Wizarding Community. Many have congregated outside of the Muggle entrance to protest. The Minister of Magic has sent out his best to quench these riots, but even the great Chekov Guard is having a hard time dealing with this situation. The Minister of Magic was unavailable for an interview."'
Hermione put the paper down, looking at the moving pictures off to the side. One showed the Minister going into his office and closing the door, refusing to talk to the reporters. Another was of Azkaban, the ominous Dementor’s who usually circled the perimeter of the enormous structure was missing. The last one showed hundreds of people congregating beside the red phone box, which was the Muggle entrance to the Ministry of Magic. They were holding up banners, fighting, and even some were conjuring up flaming objects and lobbing them at the seemingly abandoned building behind the phone box. Chunks of debris from the small explosions fell into the crowd.
‘This is horrible,’ Hermione whispered, looking to the side where there were pictures of the Death Eaters and their names underneath. She looked down them, one face and name making her freeze when she looked into his black eyes. His picture smirked back up at her evilly, and he winked, causing Hermione to throw the paper away in disgust. Her heartbeat quickened while she stared at the untouched food on her plate. All the Gryffindor’s who heard Hermione reading the Daily Prophet were all quiet, their minds processing what happened.
Eventually, Harry sighed in defeat, and everyone turned to look at him while he pulled the newspaper towards him, scanning the article again. He looked at the column dedicated to the Death Eaters who escaped, glaring at them before pushing the paper away in disgust. More silence followed this while many of those who were watching Harry believed he was about to speak, but the dark-haired Gryffindor remained silent, prodding and poking at the food still on his plate with his fork.
Hermione looked at Ron who was staring at his food silently, and he looked up, meeting her eyes. She gave him a pleading look, nodding in Harry’s direction, and he sighed, turning to Harry. ‘What are we going to do, mate?’ he asked Harry quietly.
‘There’s nothing we can do,’ Harry said, his tone defeated which made the Gryffindor’s around them cringe.
Hermione shook her head, covering his hand with her own. ‘We are going to be starting the DA again this year. We could study and train extra hard,’ she suggested.
Harry shook his head sadly. ‘It wouldn’t be enough,’ he whispered, and Hermione was about to respond, but Harry looked up at them and stood. ‘Don’t you all see? His army is huge, and it is growing every day,’ he stated, looking at Hermione and Ron, before lowering his voice, ‘You were at the meeting with Dumbledore. Snape went through all the different categories of allies he has at his side. He also said the Wood-Elves are allying themselves with him! We only have Legolas and Haldir on our side, and from what they have told us, they are outcasts to their Kin. I hate to say it, but there is no way we will be able to compete. Even with all the training Dumbledore’s got planned for us this year,’ Harry finished, looking at all the Gryffindor’s looking back at him in disappointment. Harry sighed, why did they have to see him as the leader? He wasn’t good enough to lead anyone. More silence followed before Harry got up, picking up his bag and leaving the Great Hall.
‘I would never have thought Harry would ever give up,’ Seamus said from a few seats down from Ron.
Hermione sighed. ‘He won’t give up, he just needs a motivation boost,’ she said to them. ‘We can give that to him if we can prove there will be a way to defeat You-Know-Who’s army,’ she told them.
‘How are we going to do that?’ Neville asked from his seat next to George.
‘We could use the Gondoling Gobbies,’ came an airy voice from behind Hermione, and she turned to look at Luna Lovegood who was reading the Quibbler upside down, red radishes hanging from her ears as per usual. Luna lowered the magazine down, and Hermione noticed a necklace made from corkscrews dangling around her neck.
‘What?’ she asked in disbelief.
Luna smiled at her. ‘Gondoling Gobbies. They are creatures who have the body of a monkey and the head and tail of a snake. They lock onto their victim, confusing them with their hypnotic stare. They could convince Harry not to worry about You-Know-Who’s army,’ she told them all, but she was unaware the students were staring at her in confusion and bewilderment.
‘Okay, Loon... uh... Luna, we’ll try that. Maybe,’ Hermione answered, clearing her throat, and she was about to speak again, but another not-so-welcome voice interrupted them.
‘Oh look, it’s the Gryffindor idiots planning their next gang-bang,’ Draco Malfoy drawled, walking past them to take a seat at the Slytherin table while his friends laughed at what he said.
‘Shut up Malfoy,’ Ron growled, motioning for everyone to ignore the git behind them.
‘Is that the best you can come up with, Weasel?’ Malfoy asked, sneering at the red-head.
Ron spun around in his chair, giving the blonde a smirk which would have made Salazar Slytherin proud. ‘What is this putrid drivel I can hear? Oh, shit, I just realised it’s your voice, Malfoy,’ Ron retorted to the laughs of everyone at the Gryffindor table, except Hermione who was looking down at her plate and sighing. This did not go unnoticed by Malfoy who looked at her with a frown before looking back at Ron. ‘See Malfoy, the thing you need to remember is when you get a sex change, it’s better to get your voice softened, so you sound like the girl you’ve become. Just a tip, you know,’ he told him as the laughter from the Gryffindors’ increased.
Malfoy ignored him, his eyes glued to Hermione who was glaring at Ron now. What was her problem? He snapped back to the here and now when what Ron said registered in his mind. Furious he said, ‘At least I could afford one if I so desired to get one!’ He was genuinely pissed now. How dare the cheap whelp talk to him with such disrespect.
Ron laughed, raising his eyebrow at the Slytherin. ‘Is that the best you can come up with? Has it not yet crossed your idiotic mind money means nothing to me anymore? There are more important things than having wealth, Malfoy. Friends and family, for example, are much more important than money. You can’t buy them; they are just there. Of course, I wouldn’t expect you to know anything about that,’ he retorted to the chuckles of the Gryffindors’ again, and the Weasley twins patted him on the back for what he said.
‘Our respect for you just went up,’ Fred said, patting Ron’s left shoulder.
‘Way up,’ George said, patting Ron’s right shoulder.
‘Guys, my arms are going dead,’ Ron groaned, swiping their hands away and rubbing his shoulders. It was then Ron noticed Hermione was looking at him with disappointment and disapproval shining in her eyes. ‘What?’ he asked her in confusion.
‘Why do you do that?’ she asked, and her tone caused Malfoy to stop what he was doing and listen.
‘Do what?’ Ron asked her.
‘Pick fights! Why can’t you just ignore him for once in your life! Harry and I do! You are the only one who fights back with Malfoy these days. You always take it one step too far, and it’s harsh! Just ignore him for crying out loud, and bloody grow up!’ she shouted, standing up and storming out of the Great Hall leaving the shocked Gryffindors’ and a single shocked Slytherin behind.
She shook her head, storming towards her Ancient Runes classroom which she had next. She walked in, not even looking up, and she bumped into someone and fell back, but two quick arms shot out to catch her before she hit the ground. She looked up into a beautiful face and a striking pair of bright blue eyes.