"Could I have your attention please? Settle down now. Please be seated."

The Order of the Phoenix ignored Dumbledore for the first time in memory.

They were much too agitated to behave, full of joy and sorrow, a wild bipolar effervescent mix of feelings that demanded release. They boiled together, combining and recombining into little knots of conversation, trading fears and rumors with first one comrade then the other.

They thought their nemesis was dead. They thought him dead alongside the Potters, as dead as the Prewett twins, as dead as Fenwick, Meadows, and countless others.

He wasn't.

Dumbledore sighed and set off a cannon blast charm. It wasn't his best thought out ploy to regain command of the meeting, loud noises and traumatized combat veterans are not known to go well together.

A further ten minutes passed before everyone who had been stunned was revived and everyone had vastly apologized to everyone else. It took nearly no time to repair the curse damage to their meeting place. It had only taken that long because Albus wasn't able to help. He had to contain Moody, whose mental health had suffered quite badly as a result of the brawl that ended with the capture of the Lestrange family and that wretch, Crouch the younger.

The best Albus could do with Moody was to get him seated at the table again. Moody refused to put his wand away. He sat with his back to the wall, his magical eye spinning, wand in one hand, hip flask in the other.

"Very well. Now that we have that bit of tension out of our system, let us begin. I should like to hear a report on the current status of outstanding Voldemort supporters. Who remains at large Alastor?"

"Dumbledore would know Death Eater!"

Immediately, predictably, a blizzard of combat magic flowed from Moody's wand. If Alastor wasn't absolutely soused, if he hadn't just been released from St. Mungo's with a peg leg, if he wasn't trying to fight the greatest wizard in the world, he might have had a chance. As it was, Alastor, the room, and it's inhabitants took another beating.

Their very battered meeting room was slowly restored to order while the Order argued what to do with Moody. Molly kept her wand trained on the Master Auror while Arthur bounced tiny Ginevra on his knee.

No wonder we almost lost the war. They couldn't organize a picnic much less combat operations.

The membership eventually reached consensus, deciding to leave Moody bound and petrified, propped against a wall.

"Let us resume our meeting with no further interruptions!"

They rustled about a final time and stilled themselves. Expect for Molly whose wand tip glowed a sickly orange as she concentrated on Moody. It would go very badly for Alastor should he break free and begin casting again.

"The traitor Black has been placed in Azkaban as you all know. The Lestrange family and young Barty Crouch will go to trial in the next week. It is to be hoped that Madam Pomfrey will be able to further stabilize Master Auror Moody. His testimony will be important to gaining a conviction for horrendous crimes committed during the heinous assault on poor Frank and Alice. Arthur? What can you tell us of the Ministry?"

Arthur stopped cooing at his daughter and folded her tight to his chest, arms crossed over her protectively. He sighed and shook his head before beginning to speak in a firm measured voice.

"The Ministry is in chaos, the Wizengamot is awash in Death Eater gold. The Eaters are popping an Imperious on one another and bribing like mad hoping to secure their freedom. It will likely work if they can find enough honest politicians. I'm sorry to say that Bagnold is just barely honest enough. Crouch's career is ruined, he has some very embarrassing questions to answer."

Albus hadn't expected quite that level of honesty.

"Arthur, my boy, cynicism does not become you. We must hope for the best! I'm sure we all recognize that those willing to deny their allegiance to Voldemort may be willing to change their allegiance to the Light. We must work not only for justice, but for redemption. We are the Light! Vengeance is not ours."

Ginny had nearly been hit in the brawl with Moody and Arthur was vastly out of sorts. He wasn't about to let such inspirational waffle pass.

"Albus, you didn't start spouting redemption until the deal was done. Clearly the deal was in three parts. Part one was gold for Bagnold and the Wizengamot. Part two was Death Eaters either go to Azkaban or renounce their Master, pay off Bagnold and her lot, and don't interfere with your plan for Potter. Part three was your control of Potter. You've given up too much for that baby! The time to fight them is now! We must finish them while they are disorganized and leaderless! Demand an Unbreakable Vow renouncing He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named from every Death Eater claiming Imperious!"

He is so easily underestimated and in such hot water with Molly.

The room filled with murmuring as they whispered to one another, making up their minds. As if that would change anything. The deed was done, Potter was tucked away, beyond their reach.

"They are not leaderless. I am sorry to say that our little hero, young Harry, did not vanquish Voldemort. The Dark Mark remains on the arms of his sworn followers. His body was destroyed, but yet he endures, horribly weakened, very nearly finished, but not totally defeated. He will return."

All the good humor left the room on the heels of his statement. Podmore raised his hand and Dumbledore nodded to him, "Please give your attention to Sturgis."

"What's this about 'our young hero' Albus? The babe is what? Fifteen months? Obviously it was Lily and James that did for the bastard. They were the heroes. What protection did they use? We need to know, especially if He's coming back. A magical defense against the Killing Curse? We REALLY need to know."

A sense of loss swept the room, tumbling them into their memories of brilliant Lily, of the laughing Prewett twins, of Edgar.

"I fear it is not something accessible to us. It was old magic, called by Lily's extraordinary sacrifice to protect her son."

Vance frowned, "What about James? He gave his life as well. Is that what enables this defense? Many of us have had someone give their life to save us. How do we go about creating this thing?"

Albus felt a headache building and thought, this is getting out of hand.

"I'm afraid a sacrifice in battle won't do. Lily gave her life without a fight, a pure sacrifice. It was this purity that called the old magic into being. As you know, such an occasion is rare indeed."


They all turned to stare at Dung which displeased him immensely. Their concentration on him meant he had to quit trying to pry Moody's hip flask free.

I smell firewhiskey damn it! We're comrades! He wouldn't mind me having a wee nip now would he? Course not! I'll just..encourage debate!

Dung patted Alastor's cheek, as you would a baby, then threw an arm over the Master Auror's shoulders. Coincidentally the hand Dung began patting held the hip flask. Strangled groans burbled from Moody and were ignored by all. He shouldn't have been so free with his wand. Dung initiated evasive maneuvers.

"What are you pushing Dumbledore? That Christian nonsense has as much to do with old magic as Santa Claus. Old magic is blood magic, ritual magic, before wands. Lily gave her life's blood to protect her blood, so did James. Both valid. Both needed. The defeat didn't have a damn thing to do with fighting or not fighting, didn't have a damn thing to do with the baby cept as a focus for the ritual they must have done. Right Albus?"

"There may be some truth in what you say.. I look forward to learning just how you attained intimate knowledge of ritual and blood magic Mundungus. I was not privy to all Potter's efforts nor am I an expert in matters of ritual blood magic as is our very surprising Dung. Such magic is a Dark art, one we must abjure. We are of the Light! In any event, it is immaterial, the fact remains that little Harry Potter destroyed Voldemort's body."

Vance spoke again, with her firm grasp of the obvious. "But.. The baby didn't do it. Besides, you said he was killed by his own reflected Killing Curse. I'm willing to blood adopt everyone here and do a protection ritual since it will give us some magical protection against the AK. Don't see a damn thing Dark about that."

Molly lit up, seeing hope, protection, and perhaps the far off glitter of gold.

"OH! That's such a wonderful idea! We can adopt each all our families! You will need to bring Harry to the next meeting Headmaster so he can be included as well!"

Dumbledore watched that idea percolate through the assemblage. There would be a torrent of will amendments if they went forward. That or the Weasley clan would be as rich as the Malfoy's in a generation.

It was a hopeful plan. Unfortunately it would negate the protections currently on the child of prophecy. Young Potter would live in the magical world if this went forward. This was not what the prophecy required.

Their meeting place was nearing collapse by the time he got everyone stunned and began the Obliviations.