Wow! Sorry this has taken me so long! I have been busy but this chapter is SUPER LONG so I hope that makes up for it!
Chapter 2 Summary: Two weeks into the new year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry classes have been going well for Harry Potter and his friends, or as well as can be expected with John Pritkin teaching the new Defense Program. The Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin "eighth" years decide to try and set aside their differences to further interhouse cooperation. Hermione's birthday comes and goes and proves once again that Harry Potter knows her above all others. Dumbledore's Army is back in action with tons more members (including some Slytherin's) and Ginny finally finds a chance to talk to Harry about his time at Hogwarts over the summer and John Pritkin finds out some of what happened during Harry, Ron, and Hermione's "extended camping trip". And once again the unexpected occurs during the Halloween feast when a young woman arrives during the middle of the feast along with a witch and ghost in tow, while complaining about vampires who hide things from you. And from the eyes and mind of John Pritkin: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, or why he hates Mircea Basarab.
Chapter 2: And yet again Halloween is not what we expect…
Two weeks had passed by in a whirlwind for Harry Potter and his best friends. This beautiful Thursday afternoon found Harry, Ron, and Hermione doing their strength training for their new (and improved) Defense class—which was currently working on physical fitness. They only had a few more minutes before they needed to freshen up before classes resumed. It was still nice enough out for them to work out outside but soon the chilly weather would hit and the whole class wondered where they could work out during that time. Harry, Ron, and Hermione knew that technically they could use the Room of Requirement but being there…it was too close to where Fred had died and they all had trouble going to that part of the castle even after nearly five full months. A quick Scourgify each and they were ready to head to their classes: Charms for Harry and Hermione and Transfiguration for Ron.
The day before had been Hermione's birthday and while they had had a small cake in their room to celebrate they were saving the big celebration with presents for the coming Saturday. Harry and Ron had already gotten permission from McGonagall to let Luna and George into Gryffindor Tower for the night and they had asked Winky to make another cake for her. Her parents had sent her gift to Harry after he had sent them a letter with one of the school owls. He had given it to her on Wednesday morning as they had asked. Even now on their way to Charms he could see the glint of light from the ring they had given her for her nineteenth birthday. He still couldn't believe that she had turned nineteen and he and Ron had turned eighteen. It felt like only weeks had passed since they were eleven years old and saving her from a Troll in the girls' bathroom.
Once classes were over on Thursday they were all excited for Friday to be over and done with. Everything except for Defense passed by quickly because they were covering the different types of Muggle weapons there were. Pritkin even went over a few Hermione hadn't heard of (and as anyone who knows anything about Hermione Granger you know that that is not easy) and they raced to dinner after class.
That night a bunch of the "eighth" year students were getting together in their own lounge to talk. Of the forty students that were in their class twenty-three had returned and they knew that as the oldest students they needed to set their differences aside and work toward interhouse cooperation. That's why between a group of twelve students with at least two people from each house were meeting. After all, if Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy could set aside their differences for one night, then who's to say that they couldn't do it for the rest of the school year?
"I'd like to thank all of you for coming tonight." Harry said once they were all seated looking specifically at Draco Malfoy and Daphne Greengrass, who were (obviously) representing the Slytherin's at this gathering. "I know we all have had our differences but in the wake of everything that happened over the past few years we need to show a unified front. So I'd like to be the first in offering an olive branch from Gryffindor House to Slytherin House. Having been made the official Gryffindor representative…" Harry stood and held out a hand to Draco to shake.
After a brief whispered conversation with Daphne Greengrass Draco stood and shook Harry's hand. "Seeing as I am currently the official Slytherin representative I accept your olive branch…and offer one of my own." After another quick pump of their hand shake the two let go and the representatives from Hufflepuff (Susan Bones) and Ravenclaw (Padma Patil) offered their own olive branches to Slytherin and received theirs in return.
"Alright, now that we have that out of the way, we need to get to the next part of our meeting. Hermione and I have been thinking we need a way to deal with student issues internally to avoid…well things like the confrontations that have happened between Malfoy…I mean, Draco and I since…we met. And we came up with an idea a student council. Now normally these have a president and a vice president and such but because there is still a lot of division among the students each would only vote for someone from their house and that's not fair so the idea of a council chair was suggested. The chair will be chosen by a majority vote of the other council members. The chair will nominate his or her's vice chair and the council secretary."
"Harry, what will the council do exactly?" asked Ravenclaw's Michael Corner.
"I think I can answer that question. The council will intervene in disputes between students. The students can be in the same house or different houses. The disputes can range from bullying to stealing personal property." Hermione said.
"So how will we go about elections?" Daphne Greengrass asked.
"Each house will have two reps one male and one female. You can't just be appointed a representative. Each member of your house has a vote and to keep things fair two people of each gender must run for the position. The positions will only be open to sixth and seventh year students and yes before anyone asks that does mean that you are allowed to run if you have an interest in it. Please tell the other years about this. Elections should be held for all houses by September 29th with the first meeting occurring on September 30th. We feel that this endeavor should be kept a secret from the staff, at least until we have proof that it actually works, so please don't say anything to any of them. There is one last bit of business before this meeting is officially adjourned. As many of you remember during our fifth year I ran a small group in learning Defense. On the first day of classes Professor Pritkin asked me if I would consider reinstating the DA. I have agreed and on Monday, October 1st, the DA will meet in the Great Hall. All," Harry said placing extra emphasis on the "all" and looking directly at Draco, "houses and years are eligible to attend and after the first meeting which days they attend will be based on their year. Is there anything anyone would like to add?"
No one said anything so Harry dismissed the meeting and they all headed back to their common rooms. Once in the Gryffindor common Harry got everyone's attention.
"Alright you lot, that means you two over in the corner with your lips fused together also. There are a few things you all need to know. First, no more trying to provoke the Slytherins."
There was a loud chorus of groans and someone shouted "But Harry! They're Slytherin's! It's in our nature as Gryffs!"
Harry looked at the person who had said that and responded. "Alright, fine, but don't come crying to me when you've created the next Dark Lord because you wouldn't give the Snakes a chance. I'm not saying that we can't have some fun with them anymore, I just suggest saving it for the Quidditch Pitch. Second, On September 29th, we will be holding elections here in the common room for Gryffindor's two representatives in the new student council. The positions are only open to sixth and seventh years and there can only be two female and two male candidates. We will use an impartial judge to choose the best two if there are more than two of one gender that sign up. If you wish to be a part of this please see Hermione tonight to put your name down on the list. Please remember that this is a secret from the staff. Finally, for those of you who remember it, or have heard of it, I am pleased to announce that the DA is back. For those of you, who don't know what it is; well to make a long story short it's a Defense group I ran during my fifth year. The first meeting is on October 1st and I expect to see all of you there. That's all so good night!"
Harry hopped off the couch and made his way through all the people to Genford's portrait. Ron, Neville, and Ginny followed him through immediately and they took up seats on the couches laughing and joking until Hermione came in about half an hour later. She threw a piece of parchment into Harry's lap as she went to put her bag on her chair and then crossed the room to sit on the couch next to Ron.
"Good on you for signing up, Nev." Harry said looking over the list.
"Your only competition in Reddington and he's a stuck up snob that no one really likes." Ginny said, "Vane's running? Why?"
"Because," Hermione said from her place next to Ron, "She thinks that Harry's running and that this is her opportunity to steal him from you."
"Then I guess I'll have to run, won't I?" Ginny asked with a smirk worthy of a Slytherin.
Hermione agreed and they added Ginny's name to the list. The five agreed to post it on their way to breakfast the next day. They spent the rest of the night just sitting and talking in front of the fire and it was nearly one before Ginny went up to her own bed. The next morning found Harry, Ron, and Neville up before Hermione (which was a very difficult feat). While Harry went down to let George through the gates (since he was one of the few people outside of the Headmistress and Deputy Headmaster to have access to the gate's unlocking spells) and pick up Luna from Ravenclaw Tower Ron and Neville were busy decorating their little common room with Ginny's help. It was a good thing to since Hermione started to open her door and almost saw the decorations they had been putting up.
"Hold it right there, Hermione!" Ginny half shouted, "You can't come in here without a blindfold on. Otherwise all of our handwork will be blown!"
"But I need to use the bathroom, Ginny!"
"Then take this. And tie it around your eyes."
She said handing Hermione a streamer that she transfigured into a blindfold. After Hermione was safely ensconced in the bathroom for a shower Harry came back into the room with George and Luna. They were just waiting for Hermione to come out so that they could go to breakfast. After a few minutes she came out in a pair of blue jeans that had embroidery on one leg, a pair of bright green low topped sneakers and a black tank top underneath a sheer blouse that was the same color as her shoes. Her hair was pulled up and off her neck by a braid that had been wrapped into a bun. She went back into her room to drop off her pajamas (keeping one hand to the wall since her eyes were still blindfolded and when she came back out she paused.
"Ron," she said uncertainly, "Can you help me walk across the room? I don't want to spoil the surprise but I'd rather not trip and ruin the party before it has begun."
Ron laughed and walked over to help his girlfriend. Once they were through the portrait and into the Gryffindor Common Room Hermione was allowed to take the blindfold off. After sticking the candidate sheet to the notice board the group headed down to breakfast. Anyone who had been in the school when Fred and George escaped from Umbridge after setting off their entire stock of Weasley's Wild Fire Whiz-Bangs™ waved to him on their way to the Hall. Anyone who had known George well knew that it was hard for him to be here without Fred—but he was managing. The group of seven had a brief breakfast and then wandered out into the Entrance Hall.
"So, what are we doing?" asked George.
"That's up to the birthday girl," Harry said, "It is her day."
"Let's just go out and enjoy the weather. Maybe play some games or read some non-school books." She said.
Since it was unusually nice out for mid-September in Scotland they agreed and Harry sent Winky to get a blanket and other necessities for the day. Ginny was the first to notice it as Hermione walked past her towards the doors. It was a large spot on Hermione's back right in between her shoulders and reaching onto her neck. She couldn't make out exactly what it was because of the blouse.
"Hermione, what's that on your back? There's a spot in between your shoulders!" she exclaimed.
"What?" Hermione asked confusedly. Her brow furrowed before clearing in understanding. "Oh! It's a tattoo, Ginny. I got it during the summer after I went to get my parents from Australia."
"What is it?" Neville asked.
"I'll show it to you once we're outside."
They all headed outside and found a secluded spot by the lake. Harry discretely set up some privacy charms as Hermione showed the others her tattoo. It was a Calla lily with a banner over it that read In conmemorationis de omnis illud depereo. At the bottom of the lily there was a small pool of blood with another drop falling from the flower's stem.
"What do those words mean?" George asked.
"It literally means 'In commemoration of all those who departed' but a better translation would be 'In memory of all those lost.'" she said.
For a group of people that use Latin almost daily…it's a wonder they don't teach it here at Hogwarts she added to herself.
"Thank you." Luna said giving Hermione a smile.
Everyone looked at Luna strangely but Hermione was the only one to catch a small lopsided smile on Harry's face. Ginny suddenly rounded on Harry and Ron who were standing side by side.
"Did the two of you know about that?" she asked.
"Of course we did." Ron answered not seeing Hermione violently shake her head, "We're Hermione's best friends. How could we not notice a piece of art on her back?"
Ginny looked at Harry who could only nod his agreement, once Ron had spilled the beans there was no point in lying. "We were with her," he added. "And I got one too."
"Where is it?" Ginny asked, upset that there was something about her boyfriends body she didn't know (mind you there were plenty of other things about it she didn't know).
"My right calf." He said reaching down to pull up his pant leg. Drawn there in ink was a small heart-shaped flower with what looked like a drop of blood coming off it. Written around it was the same thing that Hermione's tattoo said.
"Why didn't you tell me about this?" she asked.
"It was a spur of the moment kinda thing, "Harry replied, "I didn't think that it mattered that much. Just something to remember all the people we lost."
Ginny's anger pulled up short at that comment. How could she act like that when one of the people Harry was honoring was her brother? She nodded and said: "I just wish you had showed it to me." She turned to Ron. "Did you get one too?" she asked.
Ron's answer was interrupted by Harry and Hermione's insane laughter. "R-Ron? He...ahahahahahahahahaha….f-f-fainted at the…ahahahahahaha…sight of the needle!" Hermione managed to get out around her laughter.
"I think that enough time has been spent on tattoos," George interrupted, "Now, it is our lovely Hermione's birthday and we need to celebrate! Now who is up for a rousing game of Exploding Bull!"
Everyone looked at George funny before he explained the game. It was styled off a Muggle game called 'Bull shit' only you played it with Exploding Snap cards. They played a few rousing rounds of 'Exploding Bull' in which George and Ron both lost eyebrows. The group just laid on the blanket talking about what they planned to do after they finished school (or heckling those plans in George's case). It shocked no one that Ron and Ginny both wanted to play professional Quidditch, that Luna wanted to work for the Quibbler as a reporter or that Neville wanted to teach Herbology at Hogwarts (really it was at any of the magical schools but he would prefer Hogwarts). It did shock Ron and Ginny that Hermione wanted to leave the Wizarding world for a while and go to Uni and get a Law Degree to work towards Magical Being rights. What shocked almost everyone were Harry's future plans.
"I think I'd like to teach Practical Defense." He said.
"What?" a group of voices chorused.
"What about being Aurors? Harry, you've always wanted to be an Auror!" Ginny exclaimed.
"I haven't though. Not for a while. I don't like politics and that's all that working at the Ministry is—politics. Besides, I've had enough of fighting Dark Wizards. I want to do something helpful…and what's more helpful than teaching Defense?"
"I don't see what's so shocking about it." Hermione said, "I've known for a while that Harry had no interest in working for the Ministry. After the way that Fudge treated him and covered up Umbridge's wrongdoing and everything else the Ministry has done? I'd have been more shocked if he had decided to become an Auror after everything that has happened."
Both Neville and Luna nodded as Ginny and Ron sat there gob smacked. They had both thought they knew Harry yet here he was proving them wrong. Ron was doubly shocked…Harry was his best friend and he thought he was Harry's best friend and yet his own girlfriend had just showed him up. Ginny couldn't believe she didn't know Harry as well as she thought she did. She was his girlfriend for Merlin's sake! George quickly distracted everyone knowing the thoughts that were currently running around his younger siblings heads.
A few hours later they were sitting down to dinner and then heading back to the Tower for cake and gifts. Her favorite type of cake, a pound cake lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with raspberries, was sitting on top of a table with a pile of gifts next to it.
"You remembered!" she cried running towards the cake.
"Of course we did." Ron said.
"How could we forget?" Harry added, "It's not often Hermione Granger admits she likes cake."
Over the course of what was now bordering on eight years of friendship Hermione had once admitted that while she didn't mind cakes with frosting on them, like the ones Mrs. Weasley made for Harry's birthdays, she much preferred cakes that had fruit on top of them…especially raspberries. The group sat and each had a piece of cake and everyone except for Harry marveled at how good a cake with a fruit topping was. Once the dishes had been vanished with a mutter of Evanesco and a wave of Harry's wand, it was time for Hermione to open her gifts. Ron grabbed a box and handed it to her. Inside was a sterling silver charm bracelet with a small red crystal heart shaped charm.
Ginny went next and handed her a small box that was attached to a larger flat box by a golden ribbon. Inside were two charms for her new bracelet (an "H" and a "G") and a recent photo of the "Ministry Six". George handed her a few boxes. "The top two are from Mum and Dad" he said by way of explanation. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had given her a #1 charm and a small pair of earrings. She got a box of WWW merchandise and a wand shaped charm from George. Luna merely handed her two small boxes both of which held charms for her bracelet. One was a cat and the other was a very odd shape. "The cat is Crookshanks and the other one is a Crumple-Horned Snorkack." She said before Hermione could ask. Her first gift from Neville was a plant. "It's a new plant that I've been helping Professor Sprout with. She said I could name it and the first thing that came to mind was 'Hermione's brain'. I hope you don't mind." He said embarrassed. "I love it, Neville that was very sweet of you." she replied opening the second box knowing at this point it would be a charm. This particular charm was shaped like a toad…for Trevor. The amphibian had been one of the war's many casualties—he had been killed by Slytherins in an attempt to bring Neville out of hiding.
The next package had Harry, Hermione, and Ron worried. It was a package that held a shiny silver sword with some small sapphires set into the hilt. There was no name but there was a note: You will need this soon. It belongs to you now. They all agreed that they should have McGonagall and Flitwick and perhaps even Professor Pritkin look over it before she touched it. Last, but certainly not least, Harry handed her his gifts. The smallest box held a book shaped charm. "I wanted to have it inscribed with Hogwarts, A History, but that would have been very difficult to explain to a Muggle jeweler." He said. The second box held a silver locket with pictures of both Ron and Harry. But the third gift was by far one of the most special and meaningful gifts she had ever—or would ever be given. She tore the wrapping off to find a leather bound, first edition copy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
"Oh Harry," she whispered, "You shouldn't have."
"I don't get it! It's a book. What's so special about that?" Ron asked in his usual belligerent manner.
"Hermione has a lot of books. What makes this one so different from all of the others?" Neville asked.
"This," she said reverently, "Is a first edition copy of my favorite Muggle novel. It would be like if Harry gave you a first edition copy of Quidditch Through the Ages, Ron. This is something very special."
"It was nothing. I saw it in a bookstore while you were in Australia." He said. "It was practically screaming your name. Besides, it is the least I can do for you."
Ginny and Ron both frowned but no one noticed the small smile on Luna's face.
The following day things went back to normal in Gryffindor Tower—or as normal as things ever get in Hogwarts when Harry Potter is around. The days passed quickly and the following Saturday found the whole Tower sitting in the Common Room. It had been a hard week of campaigning for Neville and Ginny but They were sure they would win the elections. Neville won with barely any competition from his opponent William Reddington—who had managed to alienate most of the Tower due to his arrogance. Ginny had some competition from Romilda Vane but she also won in the end. At dinner that night Susan Bones and Luna both dropped by the Gryffindor table to "talk" and slip Hermione the names of the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw elected. It was harder for Draco to get word to them, since it was a secret from the faculty, but he managed to surreptitiously slip a piece of parchment to Harry.
The first meeting to the Hogwarts Student Council took place the next day. In a shocking move Luna had been voted the Chairwoman of the council and had proceeded to appoint Daphne Greengrass her Vice-Chair and Hufflepuff Andrew "the Hammer" O'Ryan as the council Secretary.
"O'Ryan is so annoying!" Ginny exclaimed that night in Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville's private room, "He's partially upset because the other Hufflepuff beater Tiffany Stephenson didn't beat out Susan."
"I'm still trying to figure out how he beat Justin." Neville responded.
"He's apparently pretty well-liked in Hufflepuff." She added looking over at Harry and Hermione who were still sitting at their desks pouring over some parchments, "What are you two up to? I thought you already finished your homework for the weekend?""
"We did." Harry said looking up and smiling at his girlfriend. "This is some stuff for tomorrow's DA meeting."
"Oh. The meeting is tomorrow isn't it?"
"Yes, it right after the third, fourth, and fifth years are out of their evening classes. It starts at nine-fifteen and should only last about fifteen to twenty minutes." Hermione said. "Harry please remember to ask Professor Pritkin for grades tomorrow so we can see who from the original DA is eligible to help instruct."
"Help instruct?" Ron asked.
"Yeah. There's too many students for the three of us to teach on our own. So we figured we could enlist the help of some of the original DA members. As long as they have an Exceeds Expectations and keep that grade in this year's Defense course they're allowed to help instruct the 6th years and below. Cause it's you, Hermione, and I for the 7th and 8th years." Harry said.
Monday October 1st was very busy for Harry. The Headmistress made Harry announce that the first meeting of Dumbledore's Army, or the DA for those who hadn't been around during Harry's fifth year, would be that night. No wands would be necessary though some parchment and a quill would probably be a good idea to bring since this was merely an informational session. Next he had to ask Pritkin if he could access the grades for anyone who was in the original DA and decided that they would like to help instruct. He spent his Wizarding Studies and free period in the Library with Hermione looking up information on the House Elf Bond. And to top it all off they were brewing in Potions Fleur had them brewing Blood Replenishing Potions for the Hospital Wing and Harry just knew that the next time he was there and needed a BRP (or Burp as he liked to say) he'd get the one bad potion that slipped past Fleur. Once Potions was out he headed to the Great Hall and scarfed down some food before returning to the Library to work on an essay for Transfiguration: Why It Is Impossible For Anyone to be a Magical Creature Animagus. Hermione joined him at his table not long after dinner ended with Ron, Ginny, Neville and Luna in tow. They all worked quietly (with the help of a silencing charm on Ron to alleviate everyone from his huffs and puffs) until 9 when they headed back to the Great Hall for the first DA meeting.
The circular tables had been replaced with desks that all faced the front of the room. Harry started to get nervous…he'd never been good at explaining things to people. Perhaps he could have Hermione do it!
"Hermione, how about you talk to everyone?" He exclaimed
"This is your club Harry. All we can do is help. Everyone will be here to hear the "great" Harry Potter speak."
The boy will head willingly into danger and even walk head on into a Dark Lords Killing Curse but is terrified of speaking in front of a bunch of people who adore him. Hermione thought.
The room started to fill and by nine-fifteen almost every desk was full and it seemed as if most of the school was sitting in the Great Hall. At exactly nine-fifteen Harry stood up in front of everyone.
"Wow." He stated, "I didn't expect so many of you to be here. There wasn't nearly this much interest last time around. As most of you know I'm Harry Potter and this is the DA, which is short for Dumbledore's Army. I know anyone in the fourth year and up knows what that was…or has at least heard of it but I'd like to explain in detail what the DA was and is. The DA is a student run group that helps students regardless of age or house affiliation to learn Defense. I, with the help of my best friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, created the group during our fifth year because the Ministry stuck us with a toady" –everyone who had had Umbridge as a professor snickered here remembering that she looked like a toad—"for a professor. The Ministry didn't want us learning spells…because they didn't believe me or our Headmaster at the time, Albus Dumbledore, when we said that Voldemort had returned."
"Why didn't they believe you?" asked a younger student, A first year Muggle born Harry surmised, mostly due to the lack of flinching and knowledge of Voldemort.
"The Fudge Administration didn't want to believe that he was back because that meant that bad times would return to the Wizarding World. During Voldemort's first reign of terror things had been very bad and very scary and there wasn't much the Ministry could do. So instead of believing former Headmaster Dumbledore and I they chose to try to discredit us and make everyone think we were lunatics. The DA was formed to help those of us who were going to be taking our O.W.L's and N.E.W.T's that coming May. Just knowing theory wasn't going to help us when it came to the practical portion if we never practiced how to perform the spells themselves. Some of you may remember that it was partially reinstated last year as a rebellion under"—he paused here not wanting to say 'under Snape's tenure as Headmaster' since he now understood the pressure Snape had been under the previous year—"under Voldemort's cronies. Last year Neville Longbottom helped to protect many students from harm and I thank him for that."
Harry could practically feel Neville's blush from behind him as nearly every pair of eyes turned to look at the wizard.
"This year I have been asked by Professor Pritkin and Headmistress McGonagall to bring the DA back. As I understand Professor Pritkin is a very demanding teacher and he will accept nothing less than perfection. This time around the DA's lessons will be based around what each year is learning in their classes and need to know spell-wise. The upper years will have informal and formal duels to practice their spell work, foot work, and spell knowledge. These duels will be refereed and graded by Professor Flitwick and the results and grades given to Professor Pritkin so that he can help anyone who needs it. The lower years will learn how to combat certain dark creatures and spells. The DA is here to help everyone whether they think they need the help or not. It is not mandatory to be part of the DA but you may find it helpful and you may just find yourself making friends with students outside of your house."
Harry saw shock in eyes of some of the upper years—they knew exactly what he meant by that. He wanted them to make friend with the Slytherins? Had he lost his mind after all?
"Now as for the schedule…you may want to write this down. All sessions of the DA will take place here in the Great Hall. Monday nights from 7PM to 8PM first years will have their instruction. Tuesday nights from 7PM to 8PM second years will have their instructions. Wednesday nights from 7PM to 9PM will be the sixth years. Thursday nights from 7PM to 10 PM will be the all of the seventh years. There will be no DA on Friday nights. Saturday the third and fourth years will share the time from 1PM to 3PM unless—unless" he said shouting over the groans he heard, "There is a Quidditch game or Hogsmeade weekend then the lesson will be from 5PM to 7PM. Sundays the fifth years will go from 11AM to 12 noon and then again from 1PM to 3PM. I know it seems very complicated but trust me this will work."
He took a look atthe glazed eyes in front of him. He made a note to himself to have Hermione get a copy of the schedule to all of the council members to distribute among their houses.
"I'm almost done, I promise. The first DA meeting will be this coming Sunday, October the 7th with the fifth years. This last part is just a small notice to former DA members. If any of you are interested in helping to instruct the younger years please let Hermione or myself know so that we can look at your current Defense grade. As long as you have an Exceeds Expectations or higher you can help. But you must keep that grade all year. That's all for tonight. I'll see the fifth years at 11 on Sunday."
As everyone was leaving the Great Hall Padma Patil walked right up to where Harry was standing talking with his friends.
"Excuse me," she said waiting for a lull in the conversation, "Harry, I was wondering if I'd be able to help instruct. I'd like to help out."
"Sure Padma. I'll have to go through some papers and check your current Defense grade but I'm sure it'll be fine. I'll send you a memo through Luna alright? All the council members have a way of communicating to each other. I'm sure Luna wouldn't mind passing you a message, right Luna?"
"Of course not Harry." The blonde girl replied in a dreamy voice, "You do know of course that I too want to help teach."
"I did, Luna. Alight, we all have homework so I'll get that memo to the both of you as soon as possible." He said grabbing his bag from the floor beside him and slinging an arm around Ginny's shoulders.
Later that night Harry used Ginny's council book to send a message to Luna saying that both she and Padma would be able to help instruct the DA. Harry was upset though that Ginny had no desire to help with the DA. A couple days later she caught him alone for the first time in nearly a month.
They were hiding out in an empty classroom…catching up. She pulled away from him and gave him a hard look.
"Harry, what are you and Hermione hiding?" she asked suddenly, pulling away from him. "I know there's something you're not telling us about the time you spent here over the summer."
"It's nothing, Gin." he replied.
"It must be something if you don't want me or Ron knowing."
"It's nothing important, I promise you."
"Harry! If it's nothing then just tell me!"
"We had trouble sleeping in the castle. We couldn't sleep here in the Tower and neither of us could go near the Room of Requirement, so we took rooms at The Three Broomsticks."
Ginny was silent for a moment as she comprehended the implications of that statement. They had gotten rooms—plural. She understood why they didn't want to say anything. Most people—including Ron—would think that they had slept in the same room, and some of the Wizarding Public (*cough* Rita Skeeter Fans *cough*) might believed that they had even shared a bed.
"Then why didn't either of you say anything?" she asked.
"It was our own issue. After the issues with Ro—running about the country for nearly ten months it wasn't something we wanted brought up."
Ginny laughed and gave Harry a kiss.
"I can't believe I thought you would cheat on me with Hermione—or do that to Ron." She said looking down at her watch. "Oh! I've got to get out…it's almost time for practice!"
"Right." He said softly looking down at his hands as she left the room, "I could never do that to Ron."
On Saturday the 6th the council had another meeting. They had decided that unless there was an emergency they would have one meeting at the beginning of the month. The following day Harry, Hermione and Luna met the first batch of new DA members and Harry and Hermione were both pleased to see some silver and green ties among the members. Everything ran fine until Thursday night during the 7th and 8th year defense meeting. It was just the Trio running things and Harry and Hermione overheard Ron starting to run his mouth about things that had happened during their time in the tent and almost mentioning the horcrux—and conveniently skipping the fact that he had left them for a period of time.
During their free period the following day Hermione pulled Harry into an empty classroom.
"Can you believe Ron last night?" she asked. "Going off about what happened last year? I've half a mind to obliviate him."
"I know—" he started but she just continued on.
"I don't see why we can't just tell everyone the truth! I'm sick of lying to everyone about Ron!" she nearly screeched.
Harry poked his head out of the room they were in and checked the hallway to see of anyone was coming.
"I know, Hermione, but of we did do anything most people would think we were liars. We've pretended that nothing happened out there also." he replied.
I know, Harry. But he's acting as if everything is all fine and dandy. He acts as if he never left us out there in the middle of the woods! He acts as if he have both forgiven him for that!" she exclaimed.
"You haven't?" Harry asked.
"Not completely. I love him but I'll never forgive him for leaving me…you..us. He walked out on our Trio. I was happy that he saved your life when he came back but honestly I was—am—still angry at him." she whispered, "He left because he wasn't happy and neither of us cared about his little tantrum. Have you forgiven him?"
"In a way. He saved my life…when he pulled me out of that lake I was so happy to see him. I can never fully forgive him for leaving us like he did…but I have to try…he was my first friend. I agree with what you said, Hermione. I hate that it's like this now. I had to partially forgive him then but I suppose that you have a point. He left because we didn't care about his horcrux born tantrum." Harry said.
"So we're both saying that we can never truly and completely forgive him for leaving but we were happy that he came back?" Hermione asked.
"Yeah. What do we do about it? We can't pretend forever."
"We try. We go as long as we can before we snap. And hope it happens at a convenient time."
Harry just nodded his agreement and slung an arm around Hermione's shoulders. They left the classroom and proceeded to the Library without looking back. Had they looked back they would have seen John Pritkin materialize just outside the door to the room they had just occupied.
The rest of the month ran smoothly until Halloween. That was the day they had their physical test in Defense. The muggle-born and muggle-raised raced through Pritkin's obstacle course with little to no difficulty while the purebloods had a lot of trouble since they weren't used to having to run long distances (or at all). Ron was the only pureblood to place in Pritkin's top ten overall, and that was only due to his friendship with Harry and Hermione.
That was not the big moment of the day though. That occurred at the Halloween feast. It started off normally but that all changed during dessert. Harry had a forkful of pumpkin pie halfway to his mouth when two and a half figures appeared between the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff tables. Harry dropped his fork and whipped out his wand. Seeing what he had done Hermione and Neville instantly reacted and pulled his own wand.
In the aisle between the two tables was a young woman with blonde hair and clear green eyes wearing just a dark colored button up shirt. Holding onto her was a woman who seemed to be about the same age but maybe a little older, with olive skin and dark hair. The third member of the party was a male ghost dressed as a cowboy.
Just as Harry was about to shoot off a stunning spell, Pritkin came rushing down the aisle.
"Cassie? What are you doing here? Where is Jonas?" he asked.
"Stupid…good for nothing…secret keeping…vampire." She muttered seeming not to hear him.
The other woman with her whispered into Pritkin's ear and after their conversation he gently laid a hand on the girl, Cassie's, arm. This seemed to wake her and she looked around before turning to Pritkin.
"Where are we?" she asked.
"Somewhere safe. Was there an attack? Is Jonas alright?"he asked.
"Jonas is fine. No attacks since the race that I know of but Mircea has been keeping things from me so who knows what I don't know."
Pritkin turned back to the head table and addressed McGonagall.
"I will be taking Miss Palmer to my rooms to discover what exactly is going on here. I shall meet you in your office before breakfast in the morning to explain." He said before grabbing the girls hand and nearly dragging her out of the Great Hall. He turned back around when he reached the doors. "You may put your wands away Miss Granger, and Messers Potter, Longbottom and Malfoy. 5 points to each of your houses for your quick reactions however."
It was at that point that Harry recognized the girl. She was the girl in the picture Pritkin had hidden in his office on top of one of the bookshelves. But there was still a question that needed to be asked. Who was this girl and how did she get through the wards?
From the eyes and mind of John Pritkin: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, or why he hates Mircea Basarab.
Hidden and invisible in the back of the Great Hall John Pritkin watched Harry Potter teach. He knew now that his former suspicions were correct. Potter would make an excellent Defense teacher, and Granger wouldn't be too bad at it either. They understood how to get students to grasp the concepts in a way even some teachers couldn't. He didn't attend many DA meetings since he felt that Harry and Hermione had it in hand.
He couldn't believe what he had overheard Potter and Granger talking about a few days later. Now he knew what they had been hiding about the Weasley boy. He had left them alone in the woods after throwing a "horcrux" related tantrum. He wasn't quite sure what a Horcrux was but he was sure that Jonas would have some information on it so that question went into his ever growing letter.
Also in the letter were the content from the first physical test his defense classes took on Halloween, along with a long section on why Jonas should be lucky that Pritkin hadn't killed him yet. He sent the letter off right before the feast on Halloween and then headed down to the Great Hall for the mandatory event.
Things had proceeded fairly normally for Halloween. There were bats and pumpkins and skeletons and ghosts everywhere and even seated at their tables the students seemed a little more rambunctious than usual but nothing truly out of place seemed to be happening—until he saw Potter whip out his wand and trained it on two figures in between his table and the Hufflepuff table. Pritkin immediately recognized the duo as Françoise and Cassie Palmer and hurried down to them even as Longbottom, Granger, and Malfoy drew their wands.
Even as he reached her he could tell something was wrong. She seemed to be muttering and wasn't answering his questions. He hoped that there had been no attacks from Apollo. And if she was here then where the heck was Jonas?
He heard Françoise's breathy voice in his ear explaining that Cassie had returned to her room where they had been staying for a couple days before her first true court appearance and had ordered Billie Joe back and instructed them to grab on. He finally got her attention and after a brief conversation they headed back to his rooms.
Once she was settled in front of a fire with a cup of tea in her hands and a blanket over her lap he began questioning her.
"Cassie, what are you doing here?" he asked.
"I found a photo album a while ago and there were pictures of a girl in it. I met her today, and I had to get out of there. So I used a concept Jonas has been trying to teach me. Instead of shifting to somewhere or somewhen…I shift to someone. I did it today…I shifted to you."
"I knew you were the only one who would be on my side."
That idea stopped Pritkin in his tracks for a moment. Before he could delve into it any further however, she spoke again.
"She's his daughter." She whispered, "He's claimed me and yet he never mentioned that he has a child. A daughter who is over 400 years old!"
"He has a daughter?"
"Yeah. I accused her of sleeping with Mircea too."
"That must have been interesting."
Cassandra Palmer was stepping out of the shower in the master bathroom of Mircea's Manhattan apartment when she heard the door close. Assuming it was either Mircea or Françoise returning from their shopping trip she continued drying off and wrapping the towel around herself. She exited the room and stepped into the hallway where she ran into a young woman that didn't look much older than her. They stood for a moment staring at each other before Cassie placed the other girl.
"It's you!" she said, "The girl from the photo album! You're Mircea's mistress!"
"No….just no…I'm not involved with Mircea."
"You have to be! Why else would he have an album full of pictures of you? You're sleeping with Mircea!"
"No, I'm really not." The other girl replied.
"Okay. First off, I don't know if you've met him but I'm kinda fucking Louis-Cesare and he's kinda made of awesome. And secondly, there's no way in all the levels of hell that I'd sleep with Mircea, cause he's kinda my dad."
"I called back Billie Joe, told Françoise to grab on. I focused on you and…here I am. Speaking of here…where is here?"
"There is more than one type of magic in the world. There is the kind I use, the kind the other war mages use, and then there is the kind that the people at this school use. This is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
"Oh…" she said looking down at the cup in her hands, "Can I stay here with you and just shift to Jonas for my lessons? It hasn't felt right not having you nearby as my bodyguard."
He looked at her before answering.
"Of course, Lady Cassandra. Just tell me one thing…how did you get my shirt?"
"I found it. It appears you left it behind when you moved out of Dante's."
Early the next morning Pritkin met McGonagall in her office. He explained who Cassie was and how she got through Hogwarts' wards. He also said that she would be staying with him for a period of time and asked if he could have another bedroom onto his rooms. McGonagall agreed and said that the room would be added on by the end of classes that day.
All in all John Pritkin had decided one thing. Now, he really hated Mircea. Not just because he had power over Cassie. But because he had abused his power over her and hidden things form her.