The bright green light flew slowly towards him, very slowly, almost hovering in the air it was travelling so slow.
He heard the woman's voice again, calmer this time, not like the passionate curse of defiance abruptly cut off he had heard before.
"Mum?" he asked.
"It is ok Harry, I am here" she whispered soothingly in his head "He cannot harm you"
"You are safe" the man's voice this time, no longer angry. At peace now. Dad? "Your mummy is very clever, a lot smarter than he is"
The green light was almost upon him.
"We must go now" she said, her voice turning sad.
"But we will be with you, always" he reassured him.
The green light struck him.
Harry's eye flew open and he sat bolt upright. He looked around, he was in the infirmary, he recognised the bed as Madame Pomfrey seemed to use the same one for him every time.
Daphne was sitting on a chair beside his bed, she had a freshly healed wound on her forehead. Other than that, she looked great.
"Harry!' she exclaimed.
"Daphne, are you ok?" he asked.
"Yeah, just a bump on the head, all fixed now." She said getting up and sitting on the edge of his bed. She took his left hand and gave it a squeeze.
"How did we get here?" Harry asked.
"Professor Lupin had an emergency portkey" she replied "He stayed on the train in case the dementor came back"
Harry shook his head to get the final cobwebs out.
"The train arrived about an hour ago" she continued "From what I overheard, there are a lot of scared children. Professor Sprout stopped by her on the way to Hogsmeade to meet the train. Cleaned out Pomfrey's entire stock of calming draughts. Madam Bones is there with a group of aurors, supposedly to interview the children about the attack, but I bet it was to make sure Susan Is ok."
Harry agreed, Amelia was very protective of her niece.
Daphne continued "The story doing the rounds is that the dementor was a rogue one, and was not meant to search the train. But I heard a couple of the paintings talking, word is that someone in the Ministry sent it. Maybe the same Ministry official that helped Lucius escape."
Harry nodded, he was always amazed at the amount of information Daphne could pick up. He understood how her ability worked, be absolutely still and slow down your breathing, then open your senses to the space around you, subtly attuning your own body's rhythm to vibrations in the room until in all intents and purposes you disappear whist still being in plain sight. It never worked when he tried it, he didn't have that inner calm. He had to rely on his cloak. He shuddered to think how she would be once she could do the disillusionment charm as well.
"Draco is here too" Daphne whispered, looking across the room to where there was a privacy curtain around another bed "The dementor went after him as well. Apparently Professor Lupin saved his life. He was in a pretty bad way when they brought him in. His mother and Pansy are with him"
"Well that makes no sense, if Lucius Malfoy has an ally in the Ministry that helped him escape, I can see them sending a dementor after me for revenge, but not Draco" Harry was puzzled.
His thoughts were interrupted by Madame Pomfrey coming out from behind the curtain where Draco was and bustling across the room.
"Good to see you awake, Mister Potter" she said coming towards him casting diagnostic spells at a rate that a top dueller would be proud of.
Harry wondered what would happen if he caste a shield to block her diagnostic spells, he would have to ask Hermione later, he didn't dare try it now. He sat there silently as she went about her work.
"Well there is nothing wrong with you that a good night's sleep won't fix" she said grudgingly "Dementors, are they mad? Well you won't be the last one in here this year suffering from the effects of those things"
"You two are good to go." She said after give Daphne another quick once over. She headed back to the other side of the room and disappeared back to where Draco was behind the screen.
Harry jumped out of bed, checked his wands were in place and took Daphne's hand. "Let's get out of here before she changes her mind"
They were heading for the door when a commotion in the corridor outside stopped them in their tracks. The door swung open with a crash and Roxanne and Cyrus marched in, Roxanne was berating the Headmaster who was following the pair. "Don't you try and play games with me Albus Dumbledore, I will see my children whenever I want to. I can't believe that you put them in danger again."
Roxanne saw them and raced over pulling Harry and Daphne into a hug "Are you both ok?" They tried to assure her that there was nothing wrong with them as she gave them a once over. Once satisfied that they were ok, she turned her head and glared at Dumbledore again. Cyrus hugged Daphne and placed a hand on Harry's shoulder and whispered to him "We will talk properly later, there are way too many people around to get a memory to take with us though."
"We will send one with Hedwig first thing tomorrow" Harry replied
Cyrus gave Harry's shoulder a squeeze "Good man"
There was more noise coming from outside as through the door came the Minister of Magic, with Amelia Bones on one side appearing to be giving him a right bollocking as well, and on the other was a short toad of a woman the Harry recognised immediately. Umbridge.
"You can't talk to the Minister like that dear" Umbridge said sweetly to Amelia. "After all, you do work for him, he is your boss"
Amelia gave her a look that would have had any sensible person reeling in fear for their life, Umbridge just stared back with that sickly-sweet smile on her face.
"I am not one of the Minister's toadies" Amelia replied, the use of that term seemed to penetrate Umbridge's defences as the smile slipped. "I work for the Ministry, I uphold the law regardless of who the perpetrator is" she stared at the Minister who spluttered his outrage.
"Surely you are not suggesting the Minister has broken the law?" Umbridge asked with an edge to the sweetness in her voice.
"The Minister does not have the right to assign dementors to guard Hogwarts and he knows it" Amelia said with a challenge in her voice "It would require the Wizengamot to vote on something that significant where it affects an institution like Hogwarts."
Dumbledore took this as an opportunity to get away from Roxanne's glare, there was something about strong women that disconcerted him. "You are correct Amelia, as always. But in this case, I asked the Minister for assistance in keeping Hogwarts safe against the threat that Lucius Malfoy represents to the students. Surely you would agree that it is vital to keep the students safe?"
Amelia rolled her eyes, she could see the Minister nodding along and the victorious smirk on Umbridge's face.
"But if that was the case Minister, surely your office would have advised the DMLE in writing, as required by law"
The Minister turned to Umbridge and gave her an enquiring look.
Amelia continued, this time staring straight at Umbridge "I mean without that notification, the actions of the dementors would be illegal. Imagine if a child got hurt, criminal charges and a compensation claim would not be out of the question. Not to mention retribution from the family" Amelia's face took on a look of surprise "Oh, wait a minute" she turned to look at the screen on the other side of the room then at where Harry and Daphne stood, Cyrus standing behind Harry, his hand still on his shoulder and Roxanne hugging Daphne. All four were staring at Umbridge with barely concealed disgust.
Amelia watched the look of horror cross Umbridge's face as it dawned on her that it would be her that could be held responsible. Amelia put her out of her misery "Luckily it was a rogue dementor that attacked the children." The relief that Umbridge showed almost made Amelia laugh.
"I expect to see that paperwork on my desk within the hour." Amelia said with an edge to her voice. Umbridge stood there looking between the Minister and Amelia before Amelia prompted her to "Hop to it"
Umbridge took a quick look at the Minister who nodded his agreement. She turned on her heel and started walking towards the infirmary door. Every time she took a step her shoes made a loud croak, very much like a toad would make. She stopped, the croaking stopped. She looked around and her eyes fell on Harry. She stared at him but his face was the picture of innocence and there was no wand in his hand. Gritting her teeth, she continued walking towards the door, her steps getting faster as the croaking continued with every step. She was just about running by the time she slammed the door behind her.
Daphne was trying her best not to laugh, she gave didn't dare look at Harry as she was sure it would set them both off.
"Headmaster, surely the wards would provide sufficient deterrent to Lucius Malfoy if he was stupid enough to try and enter Hogwarts grounds?" Harry queried trying to keep a neutral look on his face. He already knew what that answer to that was.
Everyone looked from Harry to Dumbledore, the boy made a fair point.
"Ahh, well…" Dumbledore began "It is not as easy as that…" his voice faded off.
Roxanne stepped in to help "What the Headmaster is trying to say is the wards are a shambles. According to the report from Gringotts that the Board of Governors commissioned, 'Too many modifications of the wards over recent years have left them barely fit for purpose.' Almost as if someone was trying to reduce their effectiveness, make it less safe for the students."
"Albus has years of experience, Roxanne. I am sure he knows what he is doing" the Minister pointed out.
"Oh, I agree" Roxanne replied "I am sure Dumbledore knows exactly what he is doing"
"What are you suggesting?" Dumbledore his voice rising in volume, the friendly old man act slipping slightly.
"You know exactly what I am suggesting" Roxanne narrowed her eyes.
Roxanne and Dumbledore glared at each other.
Harry was watching the two wondering if the long overdue day of reckoning for Albus was at hand. Cyrus was definitely bristling for a fight, Harry could feel Cyrus' magic beginning to pool around him. Cyrus and Roxanne versus Dumbledore would be something to see. Great wizard or not, Dumbledore was well past his prime and with his recent heart attack would have weakened him further.
Madame Pomfrey came out from behind the curtain around Draco "If you don't keep your voices down, I will be forced to evict you from my infirmary" she said very sternly. She gave Dumbledore a withering stare, their discussion about her feelings on the subject of Dementors guarding the school still fresh in her mind.
"I think she could do it, too" Daphne whispered to Harry who agreed.
Her interruption gave everyone a chance to gather themselves and for tempers to be brought back under control.
"Well Amelia, you seem to have things in hand here, I should get back to the Ministry" the Minister said, eager to get away. He had done enough to ensure a positive story in tomorrow's Daily Prophet. "Minister Rushes to Defend our Children" or some such nonsense.
"I will walk you out, Minister" Dumbledore was just as eager to get away and get his blood pressure under control.
While the damage to his heart had been repaired since his heart attack in the chamber of secrets, it would take a while for his magic fully restore its strength to what it was. The older he got, the longer it took for his magic to repair his aging body.
He involuntarily looked at his wand hand, it was finally returned to normal, a year after the polyjuice incident left him with Quirrell's hand, the magic flowing through it properly again. In contrast, Daphne's and Harry injuries that Lucius had inflicted on them were already healed. Their magic young and strong.
He was starting to feel his age.
"So, Mister Potter, Miss Greengrass" Amelia said "Can you tell me what happened?"
Amelia had led Harry and Daphne into the infirmary office with Roxanne and Cyrus following them. She put up privacy shields to ensure they weren't overheard. She would have preferred to interview them back at the Ministry away from Dumbledore's snooping but that would not happen at this point.
Daphne and Harry told her what had happened in the carriage.
How they had been sitting in their compartment with Luna regaling them with stories of her wonderful, but ultimately unsuccessful expedition to Russia.
Then the train screeching to a halt, all the lights going out, and the temperature dropping to freezing point. Almost immediately something broke through the wards and boarded the train a couple of carriages further up.
Everyone was terrified, sitting in the dark not knowing what was going on. Harry and Daphne had gone to the door of the compartment to check out what was happening when the dementor had ripped open the door at the other end of their carriage and forced its way on.
Daphne opened fire a faction quicker than Harry who took the time to seal every compartment door in the carriage to stop any inquisitive children poking their heads out of compartment doors and getting hurt. It never occurred to him to seal themselves in a compartment. But he needn't have, the dementor seemed to have no interest in anyone but him, even ignoring Daphne who was firing every spell she knew at it to no effect.
They told Amelia of the fight, how none of the spells they tried worked as the dementor floated closer and closer, until it grabbed Harry around the neck and leaned in to kiss him.
Then there was some sort of explosion, next thing they knew they were in the infirmary.
"I see…" Amelia said, convinced they had told her the truth, just not everything "And you have no idea what happened to the dementor?"
"No idea" they both said in unison. They looked at each other and smiled before looking back at Amelia.
"Hmmm" Amelia was convinced that there was more to it than they were saying "What spells did you use before this explosion?"
"Incendio" they both said again in unison. Daphne realised how that looked "Honest. We were both running through the same series of spells trying to find one that would work."
"Blasting spells to start with which only slowed it fractionally." Harry started running through the spells "Then cutting spells which strangely had no effect on it, and finally incendio which it didn't seem to like. But by this time, it had me by the throat with my feet about a foot of the floor of the carriage. So, my memory may not be that great"
"And if I checked your wand, it would show all this?" Amelia asked him.
"If you really think that is necessary, sure." Harry said cautiously.
"Surely that won't be necessary, Amelia" Cyrus asked, sticking to the old adage of never submitting to any investigation until you know exactly what will be revealed.
"For now, your statements will suffice" Amelia agreed looking at Daphne and Harry closely. She had not had much to do with the pair except for when incidents happened. And they seemed to happen around this pair with disturbing regularity. However, her Susan was close friends with them and she couldn't deny the positive impact they have had on her. If she continued to progress the way she had, Susan would surpass both her parents in ability. And that was saying something.
"Dementors" Amelia finally exclaimed "Has the old fool lost his mind? Well I have to get back to my Aurors, they should be done by now' She paused for a minute, seemingly making a decision before she asked "Roxanne, Cyrus, can I drop in sometime this week? I am not happy with what Dumbledore is doing here at Hogwarts and I get the feeling that we have some common opinions on the matter."
Cyrus started to say something but was interrupted by Amelia who added "I have a couple of days off this week, so it will be as a concerned guardian, not in any official capacity"
Roxanne studied her for a moment before agreeing "We would love for you to visit. We have plenty to talk about"
Amelia took down the privacy shields as they exited the infirmary office, she excused herself and headed towards the door.
"Can you give me a moment?" Harry asked. He headed towards the curtain around Draco's bed. Madame Pomfrey heard him coming and quickly came out to see if he was ok.
From across the room Daphne watched him. Whatever he was saying was not going down well with Pomfrey who was shaking her head. Daphne watched as Harry turned serious, his arguments more passionate. His gesture towards the curtain was greeted with more shakes of her head. Finally, Narcissa and Pansy came out from behind the curtain and Harry turned and argued his case with them as well.
Narcissa's face lit up. First with surprise, then with gratitude. She pulled Harry into a hug, soon to be joined by Pansy. The hug ended and all three turned to look enquiringly at Madame Pomfrey who grudgingly seemed to agree with a curt nod of her head.
Harry gave the three ladies his winning smile as he left them and returned to where Daphne was standing, hands on hips staring at him.
"Do I even want to know?" she asked. Cyrus and Roxanne were just as interested.
"But that would spoil the surprise?" Harry replied with an innocent look on his face.
"Welcome to another year at Hogwarts" Dumbledore stood at the lectern looking out over the great hall "I'd like to say a few words before we all become too befuddled by our excellent feast. First, I'm pleased to welcome Professor Lupin who's kindly consented to fill the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Good luck, professor."
Dumbledore was surprised at the amount of applause that filled the hall at that announcement. Remus stood and the applause increased. And the applause was coming from every table. Everyone having already heard about Professor Lupin's heroics on the train battling with the dementor, and by now every house table had heard the stories from their house mates who had spent the summer being taught by "The Professor" at the boot camp. Their stories shared on the train about how great a teacher he was had the students looking forward to their DADA class for once. Finally, it looked like they may have a DADA professor that knew what he was doing.
"Yes, well" Dumbledore said as he waited for the applause to die down. He gave a Remus a less that pleasant look that Remus just ignored. "Our Care of Magical Creatures teacher has decided to retire in order to spend more time with his remaining limbs. Fortunately, I'm delighted to announce that his place will be taken by none other than our own Rubeus Hagrid."
This was greeted with a less enthusiastic response, most of the children having little to do with the overly large, wild looking man, who despite his reputation for being friendly, still scared the daylights out of them.
"Finally, on a more disquieting note, The Ministry of Magic has requested that Hogwarts play host to the dementors of Azkaban, until such a time as Lucius Malfoy is captured."
Harry quickly looked a Daphne, no surprise that Dumbledore would blame the Ministry for the dementors.
"Potter" Harry heard Flint call quietly him from down the table. Harry turned around. "Is it true it tried to kiss you?" Flint asked. "I mean, it actually tried to kiss you?" Flint asked incredulous.
Harry tried to laugh it off, wanting to stop any rumours before they started "Don't be daft. I wouldn't be here gracing you lot with my presence if that was the case"
"But you couldn't blame it if it tried" a recently sorted first year girl said giving Harry a smile and a small wave.
"Angela" Flint growled from the top of the table. The girl, Angela apparently, just stuck her tongue out at Flint before breaking into a laugh.
"Angela Flint" Tracey said in a low voice from across the table "Marcus's sister. Same father, different mother"
Harry was grateful for the interruption, as the interplay between Flint and his sister distracted from whether Harry had almost been kissed by a dementor or not.
"The dementors" Dumbledore continued "will be stationed at every entrance to the grounds. Now whilst I've been assured that they will not enter the grounds, a word of caution. Dementors are vicious creatures. They'll not distinguish between the one they hunt and the one who gets in their way. I must warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you. It is not in the nature of a dementor to be forgiving." Dumbledore stopped and looked around the hall "There will be small changes to student activities to limit potential contact, but now is not the time to worry about that, we have a great year to look forward to." Dumbledore continued "For now, enjoy the feast"
He waved his hand and the torches on the great hall's walls flared filling the room with light as the feast appeared. Dumbledore smiled to himself, an impressive display of wandless magic. That should squash any rumours about him being weak after his heart attack.
"You know that means us" Tracey whispered to Daphne and Harry.
"What?" the Harry exclaimed quietly
"Yes" Tracey responded "I have it on good authority that Dumbledore has demanded that the Professors curb all non-sanctioned practice of magic. That means study groups. Oh, Dumbledore is claiming it is for the safety of the students, not wanting to attract the Dementor's attention etc, but basically he is shutting us down."
Harry looked at Tracy, not doubting her word. She was the most reliable source of information in the castle. He turned to look at the Teacher's table, looking down the line of Professors, letting his eyes pass over Dumbledore who seemed to be watching Harry out of the corner of his eye, a slight gleam of victory in his eye. Harry had schooled his face to not give away his anger and just continued looking down the row of Professors, until reaching Snape on the end.
He turned to look at Daphne and sighed "And here was me thinking it would be a normal year for once."
Daphne just laughed and took his hand "But Harry, this is a normal year for us"
"What have you done to your hair Potter" Flint asked Harry as he entered the Slytherin common room.
"Cursed by a witch, sadly" Harry responded watching as Flint straightened his sister's robes as she went to line up with the other first years.
Flint turned to Daphne with a smile "Finally coming to your senses are you Miss Greengrass?"
"Maybe, but if I had known he would look this good with hair like that, I would have done it years ago" Daphne responded before she laughed "No, not me. Hereditary curse. Apparently, the Potter men have always had a way with the witches going back generations"
Flint laughed "Well you are going to be easy to spot in this crowd now" he said to Harry.
Professor Snape swooped into the room with a slam of the common room door and a swish of a flaring robes. Harry had still not figured out how that worked, he guessed it was a charm that Snape had invented himself.
Every one lined up, first years one side, the rest on the other. Snape walked along the lines giving everyone a once over, stopping to have words with Crabbe and Goyle who looked like they just rolled out of a trough. Without Draco here to keep them in line they were hopeless, Harry thought.
He gave Harry's hair a sideways glance, a look passing across his face which Harry couldn't interpret, was that a smirk? Snape did not comment on it though, and walked on.
He got to the end of the line and spun on his heel. "Dementors." he said with his soft voice dripping with menace that got everyone's attention. "Dementors" he repeated "do not care what family you come from. Dementors do not care if you are pureblood or muggle born. Dementors do not care if your family is light or dark or grey. Dementors have one purpose in life and that is to drain all the magic from whoever they consider to be their enemy, leaving them an empty husk devoid of all magic and barely clinging to life."
"Therefore, it would be wise for you to not give them a reason to think of you as an enemy. Do not approach them, stay as far away from them as possible. They are drawn to groups where emotions are running high." his lip curled in disgust as he said this, as if the thought of letting one's emotions run high was the most repellent thing he had heard of. "So, in an attempt to mitigate this, the Headmaster has seen fit to place restrictions on all student gatherings" He paused and looked along the lines catching more than a few people's eyes, not just Harry and Daphne's.
"However, Quidditch matches will proceed as normal. Be aware that I am expecting a better result than last year. Second place is not good enough." He looked at Flint, who winced at the expression on Snape's face, before continuing with his usual start of year talk on the principles and values of Slytherin house.
When he had finished, he turned the common room over to Flint who had received outstanding results in his three NEWT subjects the previous year and was back to complete the remaining subjects this year. He should have been Head Boy, but again missed out, Dumbledore had of course picked the insufferable Weasley boy.
Flint stepped forward and looked around, studying the faces before him, he knew them all so well, their strengths, their weaknesses, what motivated them. More so than Professor Snape, for Flint was one of them. His last year leading the house. One more year to complete the job he had been tasked with. Influencing a generation and keeping the dream alive of a world where blood purity meant everything. He had split his NEWTs year in two to gain the extra year of influence. He had done everything in his power to put the house of Slytherin on top. They had won the Quidditch every year – except for last year. They had matched Ravenclaw in exam results every year. They had won the house competition every year, even if it was because of Potter and Greengrass exploits gaining them extra points last year.
He was determined to make it another winning year before handing over to… well that was the question wasn't it. There was enormous pressure on him to name Malfoy as his successor, even with the downfall of Lucius. True, Draco would only be a fourth year next year, but Marcus had taken the position when he was a fifth-year student. But he had proven his worth with his wand so there were few dissenters. Draco had one year to convince everyone he was up to the task.
Flint looked around "Where's Malfoy, not in the infirmary still" he asked the crowded Slytherin common room. "That is three years in a row he has spent the first night in there".
Harry stepped forward "Actually, the last I saw he was headed towards his private quarters with his newly betrothed. I am sure they had plenty of things to discuss" He said with a not so subtle wink "Hopefully he will have regained enough of his strength to put in an appearance at breakfast"
That brought roars of laughter and a smattering of crude comments.
Harry settle back into one of the large arm chairs with Daphne in his lap to watch the traditional first year duel. Flint's sister Angela was demolishing one of the other first years who had been running his mouth off. She was very good for a first year, as vicious as her older brother, but looking so sweet and innocent. The duel had been over in the first exchange of spells, and now she was just toying with her victim, inflicting a great deal of pain and humiliation. Harry wondered when Snape would step in to end it. Snape however, didn't really seem inclined though. Another one of life's lessons taught his Slytherins.
"So that is what you were discussing with Madame Pomfrey. You got Draco moved to his Lordship quarters." Daphne said quietly to Harry while everyone one else was distracted by the action.
"Yes" Harry admitted "Draco is not the enemy. By helping him retain a bit of his reputation costs me nothing yet it may mean he is not constantly trying to prove himself in the common room. One less thing to worry about as we focus on our study. It is going to be exceptionally hard to get the study group together this year, so what we achieve in our own common rooms will be even more important. Oh, we will be keeping an eye on Draco alright, make sure he doesn't try anything too stupid. Hopefully the duelling tournament this year, and whatever plan he has come up with to win it, will keep him busy."
"I agree" Daphne said "Draco is not the enemy, Dumbledore is. Weakening the Hogwarts wards and by extension the Hogwarts Express' wards, getting dementors stationed at Hogwarts and using that as an excuse to stop our study group."
"Then there is the hiring of patently unsuitable people as DADA professors every year, weakening generations of witches' and wizards' ability to defend themselves." Harry added his anger flaring.
Daphne hugged Harry tighter, feeling him relax "Well that back fired on him this year, he thought he was hiring someone who hadn't practiced magic for a decade and would be hopeless. Instead we get our first brilliant DADA professor."
"Dumbledore is getting more obvious with his scheming and manipulations" Harry sighed a little deflated "Aided by a complicit and corrupt media and an uninformed populace."
"But we are making a difference" Daphne said "You've seen what our friends can do. Our generation will be different" she stated, unaware that she was voicing the refrain of every generation of youth.
"Hey you two, stop snogging in the corner there" Tracey interrupted them "Look, Millicent is dismantling Higgs" she said pointing to the duelling piste where Millicent was in top form against the year six seeker and was indeed making Higgs wish he had stuck to Quidditch.
They emerged from Remus' memory of the train ride and took their seats again, quietly thinking over what they had seen. Remus had managed to slip them a memory in the confusion of children and Aurors crowding the Hogsmeade platform. They were still waiting for Daphne's and Harry's memories to arrive.
Sirius was the first to talk "That was an impressive patronus by Remus, far better than I could have done, even before I went to Azkaban. Now, well I can get plenty of mist to appear, but it won't take a form."
"Well Remus has a lot of happy memories to draw from" Cyrus said "If the stories about his exploits in the muggle world are true"
Sirius looked at him agog "Really? Shy little Remus?"
Roxanne answered him "Well he does have those rugged good looks to go with his brains and gentle nature. Then there is the beast lurking just under the surface. I am sure he did very well amongst the football mums of his students"
Sirius looked at her lost for words, this was Remus they were talking about. At Hogwarts they never saw him with a girlfriend.
"But what happened to the dementor that attacked Daphne and Harry. Remus' memory does not show anything but an explosion" Cyrus asked "Can dementors explode like that?"
They all turned to look Croaker who was sitting quietly thinking over what they had seen.
"Firstly, it was not a rogue Dementor." He said "It was sent by the Ministry, although that information is not widely known so keep it to yourselves for now. The order was given by the head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. But he was under the Imperius curse and can't remember a thing."
"It seems that Harry was the primary target and the Dementor probably mistook Draco Malfoy for Lucius, especially now that Draco has taken the Malfoy Lordship ring. An unexpected consequence."
'We will get word to Harry, tell him to be more vigilant" Cyrus said "Although after that attack I don't think it would be necessary"
"We should pull them out Hogwarts, except they would not leave with their friends still there." Roxanne said "So tell us everything you know about dementors."
Croaker leaned back in his chair as he searched his memory for every bit of research, information, story, and rumour he had ever heard about dementors, organising his thoughts.
"It is generally thought that a Dementor feeds off all your hopes and happiness. Understandable given that when they are around, all those good thoughts and feelings disappear and you feel like you will never be happy again. But what is actually happening is the dementors are drawing out of you all your dark thoughts and feelings. As they are forefront in your mind, it leaves the impression that it has taken the good feelings, but that is not the case."
"Dementors have this magical shield that surrounds them, so strong that at times it is visible as if they are surrounded by mist or smoke. It is a powerful and evil field of magic that feeds off those dark thoughts and feelings. That is why offensive spells don't work on them at all. The harmful intent in them strengthens that shield. The more powerful the curse, the stronger their shield."
"For example, there have been a few wizards that have tried to ward them off by throwing killing curses at them. Not many around to tell the tale however, all that dark magic strengthening and enraging the dementor until…. well you get the idea."
"That is why the patronus charm works so well, it is the opposite of an offensive spell, it is a spell designed project your most positive feelings. Cast a powerful enough one and a dementors defensive shield would disappear, all that dark magic negated by such a strong force of positivity. The dementors can feel this as their protective shields weaken and flee from a patronus, not the patronus driving them off as a lot of people think."
"Well, I can get the Board of Governors to have learning the patronus charm added to the list of skills taught in the Defence class. Remus has proved he is more than capable of producing one." Roxanne said "With Augusta taking the spot that Lucius Malfoy so graciously gave up for the diary, it shouldn't be a problem."
"The patronus is hard to cast, even with the skills the kids have" Cyrus said "It requires a large investment of time and magic to learn and even then, some won't be able to. That is why most wizards don't bother learning. A dementor turns up, you just disapparate away, taking your kids with you. If someone throws up anti disapparation wards, you just run to the edge of the wards and then go. Of course, dementors in large numbers makes that problematic."
Croaker rubbed his hand over his chin, he was thinking the same thing. It comes down to time versus reward, there are better things the kids could be learning than the patronus charm. "It is a hard decision, a patronus could save their lives, but so could the 30 other spells they would learn in the same time."
"By why did it explode?" Cyrus asked again.
"That is new to me" Croaker admitted "I have never heard of one exploding like that"
With a loud screech, Hedwig burst through the wards and flew into the room, she hated the extra security around the manor. Landing on the table, she hopped up to Roxanne, always a good source of owl treats.
"Hello girl" Roxanne said as she smoothed Hedwig's ruffled feathers and took the bag of owl treats from her pocket, fishing out two to give to the beautiful snowy owl. She always had a bag of them in her robes when the kids were at school, knowing that Hedwig could make an appearance at any time. But this time Hedwig was not just expected, she was eagerly awaited by those around the table. Roxanne however took time to rub the feathers on the owl's chest, something Hedwig always seemed to enjoy. She took the memory vials attached to Hedwig's legs before calling for Tilly.
"Tilly, can you please organise something to eat for Hedwig" she said when the little elf appeared "she has a long flight back to Hogwarts and I would hate for her to have to do it on an empty stomach"
"Of course, Mistress" Tilly said "Tilly has just the thing for Heddywiggy" and she left with Hedwig hopping along closely behind the little elf who she knew would have something special for her.
Roxanne took the vials and leaned across to the pensieve. "Daphne's first?" she asked.
They entered the pensieve, instantly feeling the cold and dread as they stared along the corridor of the train carriage at the dementor that was approaching them. It was dark, with just the barest of moonlight coming in through the ice-covered windows.
Daphne's breath appeared as a cloud of steam as she cast the first spell, her blasting spell racing towards the dementor as all the carriage doors along the corridor sealed with a loud crash from the locking spell cast by Harry.
Daphne's blasting spell impacting the dementor who stopped for a fraction of a second before continuing towards them. Her second blasting spell was matched by Harry's and this time the dementor did not even pause as it continued to glide towards them.
Daphne cast again, her cutting spell sliced through the air, travelling at speed towards the dementor running diagonally across the corridor from top left to bottom right. It was quickly followed by Harry's running on the opposite diagonal, top right to bottom left. The combined spells formed a large "X" that raced down the corridor until it struck the dementor... and nothing, the spells disappeared without leaving a mark.
By this time the dementor was almost upon them, but had turned away from Daphne towards Harry. It extended an arm, the skeletal hand reached towards Harry. Daphne fired an incendio which caused the Dementor to scream, or at least that is what it sounded like, but it now had Harry around the throat and had lifting him into the air, its face inches away from Harry's, its breath rattling in its throat. Harry was yelling at it, forcing out the words.
Daphne continued firing incendio after incendio at it to no avail, she was screaming in rage and fear and frustration. Until suddenly the dementor seemed to fill with bright light before it exploded with the shock wave abruptly ending the memory.
They all exited the memory and sat back in their chairs, not saying a word. The silence finally interrupted by Sirius "Well that was bloody scary, but I still don't understand where the light came from, and why it exploded."
They all looked towards Croaker who was had a thoughtful expression on his face. He just said "Let's watch Harry's memory"
They entered Harry's memory, which if anything was even more terrifying, especially when they got the close up view of what was under the dementor's hood. But again, the memory was abruptly ended by a bright light and an explosion of energy.
Again, they all sat back in their chairs, but this time they all rounded on Croaker who still had that thoughtful expression on his face. "Ok, we will view Daphne's again" he said "I want to be sure."
They all entered Daphne's memory, and watched the dementor getting closer and closer. All except for Croaker who was watching Harry. They turned to see what he was looking at as the dementor had Harry by the throat and Harry was trying to yell at it through his constricted throat.
"There!" Croaker exclaimed pointing to Harry's left hand. They all looked down, Harry had his thestral wand held at waist height inside the dementors robes, tip forward and the entire length of the wand was glowing bright red. They watched as Harry slowly push the tip towards the dementor, seemingly encountering resistance as the tip touched the dementors protective shields. Harry yelled again and the wand glowed brighter red and pushed forward, the resistance broken. Then Harry yelled a final time, the red glow contained within the wand surged forward filling the dementor with light just before it exploded and the memory ended.
Croaker was the first to find his voice as they all sat back in their chairs. "So now we know how to kill a dementor, just force your wand through its shields and blasted it from the inside"
Cyrus was the one to add "In parseltongue"
Sorry for the delay guys, this is the biggest slump I have been in writing this story.
I have tried all the tricks to no avail, the words refuse to flow.
But I will persist and try and write through it.
Hopefully the chapters won't be too painful to read.