Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter
Harry, for all intents and purposes, was unsure how the rest of the year was likely to pan out. He had managed to free Dobby months before the original timeline. The basilisk was dead so nobody was getting petrified in the halls which, had the unfortunate side effect of Colin Creevy continuously catching him unawares. From the rumours he had heard, the photos of him that caught him in a good pose went for quite a bit of money amongst the members of the Potter Fan Club.
He'd since made a solid effort to avoid paths where first year students tended to wander.
The Potter Fan Club, while entertaining in its own merit, had started to become a bit more forward with their advances towards him. He had been asked to Hogsmeade by a number of girls, a number of which were more than aware that he did not have permission to do so. On three separate occasions he had found chocolate on his bed which he had Ron test first for any form of compulsion spell.
Surprisingly, only one of them had.
He had consequently tossed Ron into the lake to cool off while Neville had approached Professor McGonagall for a counter agent.
Then, in one singular instance, he had been dragged into a broom cupboard. Head known that it was bound to happen sooner or later. The perpetrator however turned out to be Luna of all people, the first year student treating it as if it was a game and that she was deserving of a reward for having caught him unawares.
He had snuck into Honeydukes and purchased her a large bag of treacle tart. Just because he wouldn't go with any of the students that had invited him didn't mean that it was impossible for him to access it on his own.
Harry knew that he'd have to dissuade them at some point before he found himself taking a petrification spell in the back and dragged off somewhere unsavoury. He wouldn't force them to disband or anything of the sort, people had to have their hobbies after all (even if said hobby centred about stalking him). All he needed to do was infiltrate their hideout during their next meeting and persuade them to alter their tactics before they did something reckless.
Appearing in the middle of a room full of hormonal girls who wanted to snog him, sound plan that one. Maybe he could send Neville to be his mouthpiece.
On a completely different sidenote, a temporary Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher had been appointed. They were an auror by the name of Janice Lipler and had taken the position knowing that it would only last a handful of months before she could return to her prior position. Harry had to admit that while the auror knew what it was that she was talking about, she had no real knowledge of how to properly speak to children. It created more than a few entertaining moments when she addressed the students as if they were fully trained operatives and when someone asked her a rather simple question she tended to pause before remembering where she was.
"Is there a reason you're not taking notes Mister Potter?" asked Professor Snape, the potions master making himself known as he stared at the blank parchment in front of Harry.
"Sorry Professor," apologized Harry as he set about taking the notes he knew like the back of his hand.
"Just because the potions you present can be classified as, adequate, does not give you permission to slack off. Am I clear?" drolled Snape.
"Crystal," replied Harry, not looking up at the imposing figure standing over him.
Harry had, for the most part, enjoyed the lessons spent in the dungeons. Without spending every spare second terrified of Slytherin's Head of House, he had found the curriculum rather informative. He also found it rather amusing that the potions he presented at the end of the lesson would be heavily scrutinized by Snape only for the professor to be unable to find anything wrong with his work.
The first few times Snape had questioned him about his work, getting him to explain what he had done step by step. After several weeks with Harry handing in near perfect potions, Snape had stopped pestering him and just accepted that Harry's work would receive a passing grade.
Harry had also recently informed the rest of Potter Club that there was to be no interfering with anything to do with potions. Due to the potential for explosions and, as a result, injury, Harry had gotten his members to swear that they wouldn't do anything that could disrupt any of the ingredients that could end up acting in a volatile manner. While a number of the members had been moderately annoyed at the ruling, they had understood and accepted his terms.
Which made the following seconds incredibly difficult to understand as the walls around them started to audibly tick causing the students to look around in confusion. Snape reacted swiftly, his arm swinging out in a wide arc that gathered the attention of everybody in the room. "Students, evacuate the room immed..."
His words however were cut off as firecracker blasts erupted from underneath the chairs that the students were all seated on. Squeals of terror and fear rang out as children couldn't figure out whether to flee as instructed or to remain in place lest something else happened.
Malfoy was one such student to fully believe that fleeing was the correct option, running straight towards the exit and placing his hand on the handle. This however caused the second year student to get blown off his feet backwards, soaring several feet before crashing upon the ground.
Snape moved forward, casting a shield over Malfoy to prevent any further harm from befalling him before going about trying to find out just what was occurring within his sanctuary. Needless to say, it was clear to everybody looking at him that he was furious. As the final explosion went off, thick wads of smoke began to seep out from beneath the storeroom where all of Snape's ingredients were stored. If he was furious before, it was clear that he was now absolutely livid.
Harry to was experiencing something akin to fury. His eyes darted abouts to where Hermione was looking around them in shock. To her left, Daphne and Tracy were checking the wellbeing of the students around them. Three members of Potter Club who had been caught in whatever this had been.
Harry could already start to connect invisible dots. He didn't believe for a single second that this was done by any of the members of Potter Club. The blame however would fall soundly on their shoulders and the question would be raised if this had been a prank gone too far or perhaps a prank gone wrong.
Harry fully believed that this had been done by older students to deliberate injure children. That, without a doubt, was unacceptable!
"Everybody, outside!" instructed Harry, taking charge of the situation. "We don't know if another attack is set to happen. Hermione, scan the corridor for any additional spells, runes or wards. Crabbe, Goyle, once she's done that carry Malfoy to the hospital wing. He's hopefully in nothing more than a state of shock but we need to take every precaution. Inform her of what's happened here and that we may need her to check everyone over, whether here or there I don't care."
There was dead silence as the second year students looked at Harry as if he had grown a second head, completely shocked by this sudden change in demeanour. "If none of you are going to use your own two legs then I will happily levitate the lot of you out the door myself, now move!" ordered Harry, thrusting his arm towards the door.
This time, the students leapt into action, scampering about the classroom and doing as they were instructed until it left Harry alone in the room. Running his fingers through his hair, Harry lowered himself to the ground and looked beneath the seat he had been sitting on. As expected there was a rune schematic emblazoned into the chair and it didn't take him long to deduce that each and every one of the seats in the classroom likely had the same rune on them. He'd have to inform Professor Babbling to come down here and see whether or not she would be able to trace the work back to anybody in particular.
Footsteps swiftly alerted Harry that he was no longer alone and he shot up to his feet to see Snape staring at him. "How bad is it Professor?" he asked Snape.
"Most can be salvaged," said Snape slowly. "The more delicate substances will need to be replaced."
"At least it wasn't everything then," said Harry as he planted his hands on his hips.
"Tell me, what did you discover?" asked Snape.
"Runes," said Harry, not hesitating for a moment. "We'll need to get the Runes Professor down here to inspect the chairs before they are either cleansed or destroyed."
"Professor, and I'm asking your genuine opinion on this matter, you don't believe this was the work of Potter Club, do you?" asked Harry sincerely. He needed to know what the Professor thought of it all. While the word of the students whispering amongst one another was one thing, if the faculty members thought they were guilty as well then there would be little hope.
"I do not believe so Mister Potter," stated Snape. "While their work may not bring a smile to my face, their goal is to entertain. This to me was nothing more than an assault on my classroom and my students." Harry simply nodded before turning towards the exit. "Before you go Mister Potter, I must say that I was impressed by your leadership skill in a situation where your peers could do nothing but panic. You used your head, instructing them to be cautious and to not simply charge out of this room blindly. As a result, I award five points to Gryffindor."
Harry found his eyes widening before he quickly composed himself. "Thank you sir," he said before he resumed his journey towards the exit. Knowing the faculty as well as he did, he could only imagine how quickly they would react and more importantly how they would react.
Hence he needed to act quickly.
Word spread like fiendfyre in regards to what had happened and the result was instantaneous. Nobody could ignore the cupped hands of students as they whispered amongst one another what they believed had gone down.
Katie Bell found herself seated an one of the numerous benches, her head lowered as she tried to block out the voices all around her. She knew what they were saying, she knew what all of them were saying but no matter how loud or how quiet they said it she refused to listen. She had done so much alongside the other members of Potter Club and she refused to believe that one of them would turn around and do something like this.
This wasn't what the Potter Club stood for!
Katie wasn't the only one who was avoiding the crowds. Cho Chang and Susan Bones had both holed themselves up in different bathrooms while if anybody looked towards the Weasley Twins they would find them strangely silent. Lee Jordan too was one student who had seemingly vanished and if anybody tried to locate him they would have found him in the owlery.
"Katie, sounds like Professor Dumbledore's called for us to go to the Great Hall," said Alicia Spinnet, Katie's Gryffindor quidditch teammate.
"Do we have to go?" asked Katie, not particularly wanting to hear whatever the Headmaster had to say.
"I believe so," said Alicia as she put a comforting hand on Katie's shoulder. Katie couldn't find words to respond and merely allowed Alicia to guide her down the halls. The closer they got to the Great Hall however, they found that their progress was becoming slower and slower.
"What's going on? Why's nobody moving forward?" Alicia asked of a nearby student.
"The doors are shut, that's why," they responded before trying to shuffle back a touch.
"Why would the doors be shut if we're meant to be meeting there?" Alicia asked nobody in particularly.
Katie however was already on the move, sprinting up a nearby staircase and past a number of other students in order to get a better view of the scene. Once she had ascended the flight she gazed down at where a majority of the student populace were gathered around the giant doors which prevented entry.
As far as she was aware, the only real time the doors were closed was for dramatic effect such as when the first year students were marched in front of the school. For them to be closed now...Katie could only imagine the reason why.
The reasons she was conjuring in her brain however were all centred around something very, very positive. She felt as if she was clinging on to hope but Katie believed that somebody had gotten into the Great Hall and closed the doors behind them. If that was the case, it had to be somebody incredibly powerful and brave enough to stand in front of all of the professors.
The more she thought about it, the more she found herself wondering whether or not this was the best case or the worst case scenario.
Harry stood in place, adorned in the cloak and mask that he wore to the Potter Club meetings. For all intents and purposes, so long as he continued to wear these then there was no real chance of those in front of him learning of his identity.
Still though, the people in front of him were not looking all too happy to see him. Professor Lipler had reacted swiftly to a masked man in a black cloak and had tried to apprehend him when she had first laid eyes on him. Harry had defended himself before shooting white sparks in the air in an attempt to show that he didn't mean any harm.
Despite that, the trained auror still had her wand locked and ready to fire at a moment's notice.
She wasn't the only professor to have their want pointed at Harry, with a number of the adults in attendance ready to strike.
Unsurprisingly, it was Dumbledore who broke the silence. "While I can assume your title, I think it would be best for all of us to hear what you have to say," he said calmly.
Harry gave a low bow of the head but ensured that his eyes didn't drop too far. "Headmaster, Professors, as you may have assumed, I am Potter Club."
"I take it that you have a reason for appearing before us today," stated Dumbledore.
"Indeed I do Headmaster," replied Harry. "There is much to discuss."
Hope you enjoyed.