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Kjkit - Harry Potter and the Marcello School
Chapter 28 - The DA
Chapter 28: The DA
Hermione flipped another page of the defence book Professor Lupin had given her earlier that day, grazing her eyes over spells and their purposes and placing a torn piece of parchment in the pages she felt could be taught to the DA in the following weeks.
She was sat on one of the arms of the sofa in front of the Gryffindor common room's fire and sighed, glancing at her watch before tearing off another slip of parchment and marking the page of a jinx that would give the unfortunate victim the impression that everything they saw was reversed, like a reflection in a mirror. Shortly after, she heard the familiar stomp of Ron's footsteps as he ran down the stairs from the boy's dormitories, his fringe still wet from the shower he had just had after Quidditch practise.
"Thanks for waiting, Hermione." He said, slightly breathless, as he headed straight past her for the portrait door.
Hermione smiled at him, and shook her head in mock exasperation. "Don't you think you are taking on just a little bit too much?" she asked as they hurried down the corridor towards the Room of Requirement. "I mean, running the DA? Quidditch captain? Not to mention all the work we have been given for the NEWTs…? Do you think you're going to be able to cope with all this?"
Ron looked at her, disappointment clear in his face. "Do you think I can't cope?" he asked.
"No!" Hermione exclaimed. "Of course not… its just… well, Ron, it's barely the end of the second week, and already you're rushing around in a panic..."
"You didn't seem to have a problem when you took on all those extra courses in our third year." He puffed as they climbed some stairs.
"That's because I had that time turner to help me." She said. "And it's not something I'm going to even think about doing again anytime soon. I was exhausted!"
"Well, I have you to help me with the DA." He said, and then sent an unsure glance her way. "You will help me, won't you?"
"Of course, Ron…
"And Ginny has already been a big help with the Quidditch team." He continued quickly, his talking speed matching the pace of his long legs along the corridor. "She's helped make some plans for the practises, and we're holding try-outs for more chasers tomorrow…"
"Ron! Stop!" Hermione pulled herself to her halt in the corridor, and took hold of his arm, forcing the tall red-head to stop also. "Why are you doing this?"
"Pushing yourself like this." Hermione said, concern showing in her voice. "What are you trying to prove?"
Ron stared down at her blankly for a few minutes, before a frown creased his face and he shook his head at her in disappointment. "You don't believe I can cope."
Hermione shook her head, but couldn't help thinking that Ron was right. She ran a hand up over her face and started rubbing her eyes. With a start she realised that it was a movement she had seen Harry do many times before when he was tired, and also Dumbledore at the meetings during the summer. She looked up at Ron who was staring at his feet, his bottom jaw jutting out slightly, and sighed. She could see that he had changed a lot over the summer. After going to the Order meetings and learning what a war against Voldemort entailed, he had become more serious and thoughtful. And Harry's disappearance had hit him hard, making him realise how easy it was to lose someone he was close to. Hermione was sure one of his reasons for taking on so much extra work was not only to create his own identity, but also to prove that he was no longer the youngest brother, but a young man who could and would do anything to help those he loved.
He had grown another couple of inches over the summer as well, but now carried his weight differently. No longer the lanky and slightly clumsy teenager he had been, he was now stood up tall and determined, almost proudly, Hermione mused. And now possessed an inner Gryffindor strength that could be compared to that of Harry's.
She stepped a little closer to him and he looked up, wide-eyed and startled at how close she was. "You know something?" Hermione asked, her voice barely audible. "You've changed. A lot. And you're right. You can cope with all this." She gave a small laugh. "Especially with Ginny and me here to help." She stood up on her toes slightly and lightly kissed the corner of his mouth. "C'mon." she said slightly louder. "Lets get to the meeting. They'll begin to wonder where you've got to."
She led the way into the Room of Requirement, leading a slightly dazed Weasley by his hand as the students in the greatly enlarged room looked up at them as they entered. Ginny and Neville walked towards them, Ginny raising an inquisitive eyebrow at their linked hands before Ron came to his senses and quickly pulled his hand away, turning slightly pink around the ears.
"What have we got planned for tonight?" Neville asked. He had also changed a lot since the incident in the Department of Mysteries, and had been more than enthusiastic about offering his help with the running of the DA, if only to improve his own skills.
He, Hermione and Ginny all looked towards Ron, who pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of his robes. He threw a small apologetic glance towards Hermione, who smiled at the condition of his lesson plans, and quickly scanned the notes he had jotted down. "I think we are going to go over the things that Harry had taught us last year again." He said. "Some of the fifth years were still having problems with the easier blocking spells, and it couldn't hurt to have more practise with the Patronus." The corner of his mouth lifted slightly. "Even I could do with a bit of work on that one."
Hermione smiled. "Maybe we should announce that to the rest of them." She said, indicating the forty or so students that were sitting around the room talking.
Ron nodded, and took a deep breath, before making his way to the front of the room, his friends following closely behind him. He reached around his neck for the whistle that the room had provided for him and gave a short but quiet blast on it. Almost immediately, every pair of eyes in the room turned to him and Ron steeled himself to talk to them.
"Hi again," he said. "Today we're going to work on the same sort of things that we did last week, just to make sure it's all sunk in. If you're okay with it, then move around the room and help those who aren't. Next week Hermione and I have planned a few relatively easy curses that might prove useful in a duel…" he hesitated slightly and looked desperately to Hermione at his side for further explanations.
She smiled encouragingly at him and stepped forward. "But we'll explain about those in more detail next week. If all those who want to practise disarming go with Neville and Ginny over to the far end of the room, those wanting to practise shields can go in the middle, I'm sure there will be enough of you there to remember how to do it, if not come find me. And Ron and I'll head over there to work on the Patronus charm." She pointed to the opposite corner of the room. "Are there any questions?"
Almost immediately one of the male Slytherins, Alex Turnball, stepped forward, causing the attention of the room to turn to him. "Did any of you read the Daily Prophet this morning?" he asked.
Ron glanced at Hermione who nodded sadly. There had been an article in it about Harry and his absence from school and they had anticipated that the DA would eventually ask them about it. The reporter had expressed his concern that the loss of the boy-who-lived could symbolise the loss of all hope for the wizarding world. The Gryffindor table had been outraged at the story, and had been telling anyone who would listen that placing the fates of the wizarding world on Harry's shoulders was wrong and unfair. Hermione and Ron had just sat silent in the middle of the table, sharing occasional looks that communicated one thing – the prophecy.
Hermione sighed and was about to step forward to try and explain the situation without giving too much away before Neville beat her to it, startling most of the room with his sudden bout of courage. "I've seen Harry fight…" He started strongly but his voice died away as if he had suddenly become aware of what he was doing. Hermione watched as he visibly pulled back his shoulders and started again.
"I've seen Harry fight, maybe not against You-Know-Who, but it was against Death Eaters. He's not any different from any of us. He hasn't got any special powers…" Ron shot a quick glance at Hermione, who refused to meet his gaze. "… nor is he capable of any spells that we can't all learn and perform here. It's unfair to send him to face V-V-Vol…" he took a deep breath and calmed himself down. "Voldemort by himself…" Ron watched as a look of pride crossed Hermione's face at Neville's achievement, and even Ron had a sense of respect for the habitually timid Gryffindor. "… and expect him to win. Not without our help." He said.
He took another deep breath. "He can't do it alone." He said. "He may be a symbol of hope for us wizards, but we can't depend on him. He's only human, and…"
His voice died away as he ran out of things to say.
"I think what Neville is trying to say…" a dreamy voice from the back of the room said, and everyone turned to see Luna sitting there, her hands placed on her knees and a strange pink and yellow scarf tied around her neck. "… is that Harry will need support when Voldemort comes along. And its up to us to make the rest of the wizarding world realise that."
"Up to us?" a seventh year Hufflepuff prefect asked, frowning. "What can we be expected to do to help?"
"Well, we all agree that Harry shouldn't be the scapegoat in all this." Ginny said. "I vote that we ought to write a letter to the Prophet, tell them what we think, as his friends. Make them realise that Harry is only a boy, one of us…"
Ron and Hermione looked at each other morosely as the room suddenly exploded in a cacophony of sound as people discussed ideas between themselves, each one wanting to be heard above their neighbour.
"What are we going to do?" Hermione asked, leaning closer to Ron and whispering in his ear. Ron's shoulder shivered slightly as her hair tickled the side of his neck.
He shook his head. "I don't see any harm in letting them do this." He said. "I think Harry would appreciate the truth to be printed. You know how much he hates publicity…"
"But in a way the truth has already been printed." Hermione said. "He is the saviour of the wizarding world… well, might be…"
Ron laughed slightly, though he was very much aware of what that "might be" could mean. "It's all such a mess." He said. "I'm actually quite glad he isn't here to see any of this."
Hermione nodded in agreement, before nudging Ron with her elbow. "We'd better stop this." She said, indicating the arguments that were being flung across the room. "Else we'll never get anything done tonight."
Ron brought the whistle back up to his lips and blew it once more. It took longer to get people settled this time, but eventually the room was quiet enough for his voice to be heard. "I think telling people about the Harry we know is a great idea." He said, and a number of people shot smirks at their neighbours. "But I don't think we need to make so much of a big deal over it," he blew the whistle again as the room disagreed with him loudly. "I don't think Harry would appreciate it" he explained. "He hates publicity as it is, and the less he's in the papers the happier he is." The room stayed silent this time.
"We propose that only a couple of us send in letters to the Prophet." Hermione said. "And that maybe Luna's dad will allow a small article to be put in the Quibbler…?" Luna nodded enthusiastically. "Meanwhile…" Hermione continued. "I think we should get on with tonight's practise. We only have another hour before curfew. So make the most of it."
Almost immediately the room stood up and moved to the respective areas of the room. Ron walked beside Hermione as they moved to the corner where she had allocated the Patronus practise. "You think that the rest of the year is going to be like this?" he asked.
Hermione shook her head. "I hope not," she said. "I could do with a quiet year to prepare for the Newts."
"Isn't that tempting fate?" Ron asked. "I mean, things have hardly been normal so far. Not with Harry going missing. Things can only get worse, right?"
"Or they could get better." Hermione contradicted optimistically. "Harry could be turn up tomorrow at breakfast, safe and sound with an excuse that he just had to get away to think things through. And Voldemort will kill himself off by eating a poisoned apple or something, and everyone will live happily ever after." She examined her wand and sniffed slightly. "It's not going to happen, is it?" she said in a broken voice.
Ron laughed and put his arm around her shoulders. "It's doubtful, but we could always hope." He said, and pulled his own wand out. He shut his eyes and sifted through his memories, trying to find one that would be happy enough to produce a Patronus. A small smile crossed his face as he remembered the quick kiss Hermione had given him in the corridor before, and cried "EXPECTO PATRONUM". He heard Hermione's squeal of delight and opened his eyes to see a bright silver cloud in front of him.
"Well done, Ron," she said. "It almost had a corporeal form that time! What memory did you use?"
Ron smiled at her enthusiasm and just shrugged slightly, raising his wand again to give the charm another go.
A/N – Well, there you have it. A bit of soppiness, etc, but I'm glad to announce that this was the last of the "fill in" chapters, as I have called them. Next chappie gets back down to the brunt of the plot, and I already have the next 6 chapters written – I'm going to pace the postings, though, just to make sure I have time to write the next lot of chapters, and so you lot don't have a long time to wait between updates. I really can't believe you are all still liking this story – it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! I just wish that writing my dissertations would have the same effect. Oh well – onto the reviews. There are a lot of you today – not that I'm complaining, I love to hear from you all! Mwah! Kit. Xxxx
Prongs – OMG – you're breeding. Lol. I'm glad you are liking my story, and maybe you could pass some of those adjectives onto me – I'm having a case of the "smiles slightly" – might not make sense to you, but I seem to be writing that phrase down every other paragraph! Hope to hear from you again soon. Xx
NoAlias – to be honest I don't make too much of the whole Sheridan/Horus thing in the rest of the story. I think I'm too scared of the flames I might get ;-) No, the real reason is that they come across as really good mates, and to give them a reason for hanging out with Kat and not fancying her, but I'm not going to really take it any further than that.
Blip-dragon: hello again. And to answer your question… um… to be honest I don't know how to go into it without giving the plot away. I think the next two chapters will answer a lot, and the Doyen will come onto the scene a bit later – but I guess you'll just have to wait!
Rahl:I shall certainly do my best to keep them together, but you know what life's like…. ;-)
Padfoot: Why, hello again! Still promoting my work, I see. How much was I paying you again? I think you need a raise! I like your idea of the DAM – but I don't think I'm going to call them that, if that's okay with you. Lol. As you are so dedicated to my story, I'll let you into a little plot secret - Harry's next letter comes soon, with an added surprise! Okay, so that really doesn't tell you much, but I hate other people telling me what happens in a story, and I love the suspense. Hear from you again soon! Xxx
FrozenWings: I'm glad you're happy – and I know there were a lot of typos in that chapter – I was pretty tired when I typed it, and even though I went through it about 5 times before I posted, sometimes your eyes just glaze over what's there. Let me know if there are any major ones, though (especially if I get names muddled up and stuff), and I'll repost the chapter. Tata. Xxxx
Irin: Lol. Keep asking away – I love telling people that I daren't give the plot away. Anyhow, some questions I can answer, like Harry's skills come across in the next bundle of chapters, and the Doyen will appear on the scene eventually – I'm just not going to tell you when! Hope to hear from you soon. Xxx
Wytil: Did I say that? I can't remember. I meant it to come across that they set aside the first Sunday of every month free for themselves, but when Harry suggests using the time for group training, they increase it to every week... Actually, reading back, I can see how that is a little confusing. Sorry. Thanks for pointing it out though. And the area by the lake – well, more history comes out about that later – but meanwhile, Harry just feels like it is his little space, you know? Again, I mention that again in a later chapter. Hear from you again soon. Xxx
CountessMel: I'm really sorry you feel that way. But don't worry, I'm not taking any further than it got in this chapter. Read NoAlias' comments above as well, but really my main reason for their relationship is to give Kat some friends without them having a romantic interest in her. I mean, a school full of fit boys? I know I would find it hard not to be a titchy bit interested in any friends I made there. Anyway, as I said, their relationship doesn't feature that greatly in the rest of the story, I hope you can ignore this chapter and keep reading. Xxx
SPASH Panther: Most are around 16 – early 20s. The six boys Harry had just made friends with are all about 16-18, Leo is a bit older though. And, no, my intention is not to do alternate chapters, most are going to feature Harry, but with the occasional insert to remind people that Hogwarts is still there. Hear from you again soon. xxx
Elvenears13: And number 3! Lol. Thank-you for the review. I sometimes like to take a break from reading the fics so that there are more chapters to read when I do get on line, so don't worry about missing a chapter review – though I do expect to hear from you occasionally! And don't worry about posting, I promise that, providing there are no technical hitches, I will put up a new chapter regularly as the next 6 are written and waiting. I'll probably post when I have a decent number of reviews to respond to, and that doesn't seem to be too much of a problem at the moment! Hope to hear from you soon. xxx
A big THANKS also to: Muggle, Gaull, Victoria: That review was perfect – thank you. I'm glad you are enjoying the story and hope to hear from you again soon, Candidus-lupus-full Moon, solar, FroBoy (x2 – lol), Hunta, Horsecrzy, and last but no less important: Chocoliciouz!