Chapter 43: Who Says Poking a Dragon Isn't Fun?
The end of May approached suddenly and Harry found himself thinking of school more and more. He may have been destined to destroy the darkest wizard of all time whilst leading an army, but he was also a seventeen year old boy who wanted to finish his schooling.
While the other students were being taught by the founders anything that they would have learnt at school, those doing their OWLS and their NEWTS were starting to get edgy, obviously wondering if they would be able to return to Hogwarts to do their exams. Hermione particularly could frequently be seen pouring over books, her hair sticking out as her tired and frazzled face studied complex transfiguration and potion texts.
In short, between planning for the war, attending meetings with their allies and studying for school, the DA was exhausted. The adults had tried to help out where possible, but most of them had jobs and didn’t go to the castle very often.
Surprisingly, Draco had taken on a role of instructor, having learnt many forms of battle magic at his father’s hand. He was able to give valuable insight into the abilities of the surviving Death Eaters which Harry was then able to pass onto the founders. He was also surprisingly patient with students when they couldn’t get a spell right, merely getting them to try again until they succeeded. Ron was not entirely convinced that he was trustworthy and the two bickered whenever they were in the same room, but even he had to admit that the additional experience of the Slytherin was handy.
Harry and Ginny had allowed the patrol roster to slip on the nights when full training sessions were held. The founders didn’t attend due to the fact that all members were present, students and adults alike. But Harry and Ginny as well as the senior members of the DA put everyone through their paces.
Everyone was always flayed by the end of the training sessions and usually slept for a good 12 hours, grateful for the rest. During those nights, Harry, Ginny and the founders patrolled the castle and grounds since they did not need to sleep.
It was on one of those nights that a dark shadow moved through the castle and out to the garden. Moving swiftly through the trees the black cloaked figure knelt to the ground, pulled back their hood and placed a glowing red ball down. Squaring their shoulders they whirled their wand intricately at the ball muttering hastily under their breath.
Instantly a grey mist sprang out of the ball, assuming the shape of Lord Voldemort, “Ah, you finally deign to make contact my pet.”
Bowing their head almost to the ground, the cloaked figure begged, “Please forgive the lateness of my report Master, but Potter is far better at security then I could ever have given him credit for. I underestimated him to my own stupidity.”
Voldemort ran a long white finger over his lips, “Yes, Potter has proved on more than one occasion that his grasp of war is impressive. Be thankful you are not in my presence to suffer my impatience! Now, report.”
Bowing low again the Death Eater began, “My Lord, Potter has amassed an army of wizards equalling 110. Around 40 are still school children and another 20 are barely out of school. It would seem that Potter commands loyalty from his peers but not many others. However, he and his little girlfriend, the Weasley girl, have been holding training sessions to teach the newer members how to fight us. I am loathe to admit it, but he is very good. Their progress has been amazing and I think that any one of the members is a match for our forces.”
Voldemort growled, “It matters not how well they fight. We outnumber them and I cannot be killed!”
“Yes My Lord!” the fervent reply came, “Shall I continue?”
“Well, two weeks ago the Malfoy boy appeared at the gates half dead. He spun his blood-traitor aunt a great sob story about his poor mother and his good-for-nothing suck-up-father and how he turned his back on our great cause a long time ago. He said he escaped from the prison but I am not sure he was telling the truth. It could be that there is another spy somewhere within our ranks My Lord.”
Voldemort laughed, “Oh I have no doubt of that. Malfoy may have been a traitor, but the more I think on it the less convinced I am that he was the one who passed on the information about our St Mungo’s attack. For starters, he was at none of the planning meetings, being in Dover at the time and secondly, no matter how much he hated the man I very much doubt he would have tipped Potter off to kill his father.”
The black figure nodded, “Yes My Lord.”
“Very well, so we now know the location of the Malfoy brat. What about the Ministry, how are they taking the actions of Potter?”
A derisive snort emanated from the kneeling figure, “My Lord they scamper around like a bunch of dogs with their tails between their legs. Potter’s title, and I don’t know where that came from, scared them all. Unfortunately the new minister seems to be quite the leader. She has already rid the majority of the ministry of your followers as I am sure you are aware. She is starting to work through the sympathisers now.”
“I take it then that she is a member of Potter’s little army?”
“Yes Master. Her niece is one of the original members from two years ago.”
“Needless to say we must eliminate the new minister. I doubt very much she will allow us to manipulate and control her. I will have someone take care of that particular obstacle, perhaps Severus. Now, how accessible is Potter’s castle? Could we attack it with our allies and win?” Voldemort asked.
After a moment of silence there was a hesitant nod, “Perhaps My Lord. The wards are formidable not to mention the structure itself. If we attacked we would lose a good proportion of our forces, but Potter and his army would be overwhelmed eventually. I am not sure if attacking the castle would be the best plan though Master, perhaps trying to draw them out would be better?”
“I will decide what is the best course of action, not you.” Voldemort said calmly, a lethal undertone causing the Death Eater to prostrate themself on the floor.
“Of course my Lord, I would never presume to try and dictate to you.”
“I know, and that is why you are my most loyal follower, not to mention still alive despite your somewhat dishonourable past.” Voldemort crooned. “Alright, I will consider a plan of attack, send me via Shasa all the information regarding the castle and its wards immediately. The sooner Potter is dead the sooner the rest of the wizarding community will submit to my rule.”
Even in the complete darkness the grin on the Death Eater’s face could be seen, “When Potter is dead, ultimate power shall be yours my Lord.”
“You have done well, once again you have proven to me your usefulness to the cause.”
The cloaked figure sat on their haunches, moonlight casting silver rays across a pale face. A flash of pink, disappearing under the hood could be seen. Voldemort gestured with his hand, “Rise Nymphadora, return to the castle before you are missed.”
Climbing to her feet and bowing low she replied, “Yes my Lord. I will report in as soon as I can. You shall have the required information by tomorrow night.”
“Very good. Now go.”
Tonks turned quickly, securing her hood over her face and hastened back up to the castle. If she had turned around she would have seen two red eyes and a forked tongue hissing angrily. As soon as she disappeared into the castle a large green snake slithered out of the thicket that it was hiding in, moving silently through the moonlight until it reached the front gate.
Blurring for an instant, the snake transformed into an extremely angry Salazar who took off through the castle. If anyone had of come across him then, they would have ducked into the nearest room to avoid his fury. Like a thundercloud he burst into his living quarters, shooting off three snake patronuses.
Pacing the floor for five minutes in a visible effort to calm himself down Salazar muttered gruesome ideas under his breath. Finally, the door to his rooms opened and in rushed the three other founders all looking worried.
Godric exclaimed, “What on earth Salazar? I don’t think I have heard your patronus than angry since Laxathan killed Marie!”
Turning angry eyes upon the three he snarled, “I know who the traitor is.”
“And...?” Helga asked gently.
Salazar’s face darkened so much that even the others looked slightly nervous and he spat, “Someone who we never considered because their closeness to Harry and the others. Someone whose betrayal will crush Harry and his friends.”
“Dammit Salazar, who is it?” Godric demanded.
Helga hissed slightly but Rowena asked instantly, “Which one? We have three living here now!”
Helga sat down heavily, “Why though? Why would she betray us like this?”
Salazar shrugged, “I think it has something to do with her parents. She referred her mother as a blood-traitor, didn’t even call her mother but as ‘Draco’s aunt’”
“So you think she was disgusted with her mother for marrying a muggleborn?” Godric asked.
“Possibly.” Salazar replied, “It doesn’t matter the reason, all that matters is that she is a traitor and I am going to strip the flesh from her bones for doing this to us.” He sighed, “but right now we need to return to Hogwarts as soon as possible. The castle is compromised, Voldemort is trying to plan an attack here.”
“Well we should get Harry then, he’ll get the DA relocated quickly.” Rowena replied.
“But if we get Harry to move the DA to Hogwarts won’t Tonks get suspicious?” Helga asked.
Salazar shook his head, “Not necessarily. All Harry needs to do is tell the DA that the students need to return to the castle to do their exams and that it is easier for everyone else to go there as well instead of everyone bouncing around the two castles. That should be enough to quell any suspicions that Tonks has.”
“Well, let’s leave it until morning to tell him. I am not looking forward to telling Harry that a woman who he has considered a big sister is a traitor and wants him dead.” Godric murmured.
Nodding in agreement the others stood up, Rowena replying, “Well, let’s get back to our patrols, morning will come soon enough.”
And so it did, with mere hours later the sun peeking over the treetops and casting warm golden rays of light at the stonework of the castle. Harry and Ginny were found eating breakfast and talking quietly in the dining hall.
The founders entered in almost at the exact same time each in a sombre thoughtful mood. However, seeing the two teens at the table, they made their way over and sat down next to them.
Harry looked up and grinned, “Hey guys, guess what? Ginny reckons that by the end of the day we’ll have finished a new batch of cerebrum boosting potions. Hopefully that will help some of the people in my duelling group overcome their blocks with the shield breaking curse.”
Nodding noncommittally the founders each reached for food, concentrating on eating without saying anything. Harry frowned, “Alright, I’ll bite. What’s up? You all look like your best friend died.”
Salazar gave a wry smile, “Considering that we are 1000 years past our own time Harry, all
of our best friends have died.”
Harry raised an eyebrow, “You’re avoiding answering.”
“And you are too nosy.” He replied.
Harry shrugged, “Well you guys shouldn’t have taught me to be so observant. So, are you going to tell me what is wrong or am I going to have to keep guessing?”
Helga sighed, “Let’s go somewhere private where we can’t be overheard. We have some bad news for you.”
Frowning in concern Harry stood up, “Alright, let’s go to your quarters then, they are private.” When they had entered the lounge room and sat down he pierced them with a serious stare, “Okay, what is it?”
Godric, for the first time in his life, tried to skirt around an issue, “We need the DA to move back to Hogwarts. We have reason to believe that this castle has been compromised.”
Ginny frowned, “And how is Hogwarts any safer? Voldemort himself has been there before!”
Salazar inclined his head, “yes, but if Hogwarts is attacked, the ministry will be there in seconds to help defend it. I doubt very much that such support would occur here.”
“But why do you think Potter Castle has been compromised?” Harry asked. The founders looked at each other nervously causing the black haired teen to sigh, “Never mind keep your secrets, I’ll trust you for now. But I am going to have to say something to the DA to convince them of the need to leave. After all, many have just gotten comfortable here, they aren’t going to be pleased to be uprooted again.”
Rowena nodded “Simply say that the students are going back to do their exams and that the others can live in the Room of Requirement so that we are all in one place.”
An eyebrow went up, “And McGonagall? How do you suppose I explain to her why I have brought back the group of renegade students that made her look like a fool?”
“Simply tell her that you feel that education is still important even in the war and that just because your followers may be fighters, they also deserve the chance at normality as well.” Salazar replied.
Harry nodded, “Alright I can do that. When do you think we should move by?”
“End of the day would be good.”
Ginny said “That is possible. The additional house elves that the council sent will be able to pack up all of our stuff fairly quickly. Assuming that the Room of Requirement can make itself into a large facility, we shouldn’t have too much problem.”
Helga said, “Let us go to the Room first, we’ll be able to get it to form the insides of a large mansion.”
Harry grinned, “You don’t want to make a replica of Potter Castle in there?”
“A castle in a castle? You never want to do anything by halves do you?” Rowena asked, amused. “Anyway, it isn’t necessary; the students will be able to sleep back in their dorms, so only the adults who aren’t living at their homes will need to be housed.”
“Alright then, well, I’ll call another meeting and tell everyone what is happening.” Harry stated, getting to his feet and walking out of the hall.
Ginny certainly hadn’t underestimated the speed at which the house elves could work. Even with several storage facilities worth of potions and plants, not to mention all of the member’s belongings to be packed up, the DA was ready to leave Potter Castle by 3pm.
Few questions were raised about the move, with most trusting Harry and his reasons. The majority of the students were excited about returning to Hogwarts and seeing their friends again. Those like Hermione were also looking forward to seeing how far ahead of the work they were.
The founders kept a close eye on Tonks throughout the day, particularly making sure that she wasn’t suspicious. However, it seemed that her confidence in her own spying ability had blinded her to the most obvious. Still, they weren’t complaining about the little bit of luck.
While Harry let the DA adults into the Room of Requirement secretly through his portal, he thought it would be best if the students approached by the front gate so that McGonagall would be aware of their presence.
Walking up to the gate Harry sent off his patronus towards the Headmistresses office telling her of his arrival and requesting that the gate be opened. They weren’t waiting long, with the hall doors bursting open and McGonagall hustling down the steps and out to the gate.
Stopping in front of them she looked at Harry through wide eyes, “Potter! I must admit I am surprised to see you here. What brings you and the younger members of your little band to Hogwarts?”
“May we talk inside of the gates please ma-am? These times are not as safe as they once were.” Harry replied softly.
She frowned, “Prove to me that you are Harry Potter and I’ll consider it.”
He rolled his eyes, “Very well, in second year when Ron and I told you that we wanted to see Hermione in the hospital wing after she was petrified you started crying saying that you had forgotten that the attacks were hardest on those friends of the victims.”
She nodded and hastily undid the wards, opening the gates and letting them in. Once sealed she turned her attention back to Harry, “Alright Potter, explain if you please.”
“I want the students to do their exams.”
McGonagall gave derisive snort, “You expect me to believe that you and your little followers have returned simply because you care about your education? Weren’t you continually telling me that the war was more important?”
Harry laughed, “Of course, and it still is. But a couple of days of sitting down and writing on a piece of paper isn’t going to hurt the war effort ma’am. You will find that the DA will be able to pass all of their subjects without any problems so you needn’t worry about them continually asking for additional help.”
She still looked unconvinced so Harry decided to push a little, “Just reminding you Ma-am, you cannot deny us entry. Remember who you are talking to after all.”
Immediately bristling she snapped, “I am well aware who I am talking to. I am talking to a person who I have watched grow into a man who I was proud of and then within the space of a year turn into an arrogant and power-hungry individual who places no value on people’s lives.”
Instantly forty wands appeared and Ron hissed, “Watch who you insult Ma’am. You may have no respect for Harry, but we will not stand for you slurring him before us.”
She sighed, “Very well, come in. I am sure that your housemates will be very happy to see you all.” Not even waiting for a reply she turned around and stalked back up to the castle.
Harry turned and grinned at his friends, “Alright all, I am sure you know where you live! Attend your normal classes. If I need you I’ll call a meeting in the Room of Requirement, otherwise have fun!”
Laughing, the rest of the students rushed up into the castle and split up, searching for their friends. Harry led the leaders of the DA to Phoenix Nest, showing them how to access the secret room. The founders were already seated, conversing seriously amongst themselves.
They stopped abruptly when the other entered and sat down happily. Harry grinned, “Well I think McGonagall is rightly pissed, but the students are happy to be back.”
Ginny leaned back into her seat, “So what now? Are we just going to wait around for Voldemort to attack or actually try and bring this war to a head?”
The founder’s shared looks before Salazar spoke, “That is actually what we have been discussing. I think we should try and bait Voldemort into attacking Hogwarts. That way we
set the scene and we can wipe out his followers and hopefully kill the bastard himself.”
Harry nodded, “Fantastic idea in principle but the execution I think will be a little more difficult. Remember this isn’t just some stupid power-hungry individual. Voldemort is extremely intelligent, powerful and shrewd. He will suspect a trap if information falls too neatly into his lap and if it’s not good enough he won’t even consider it.”
Salazar gave a wry grin, “Of course he is like that he is a Slytherin. But so am I. I think I can come up with something that will make him jump.”
Neville frowned, “Ok, let’s for argument’s sake say that we have a brilliant plan to get Voldemort to attack us. How do we get the information to him? Last I heard Madam Bones had gotten all of the Death Eaters and sympathisers out of the Ministry and holding a loud conversation inside the Hog’s Head seems far-fetched.”
Again the founders shared glances and Harry slapped his hand to his head, “Alright! Enough with the nervous looks, whatever it is just tell us! You obviously have come across information that you are loathe to share, but if we are going to make a battle plan we need every little bit of data.”
Ginny nodded in agreement, “Whatever it is, we can handle it guys. We have seen and heard so many things, I doubt anything you could say would shock us.”
Godric stared at his hands, “I wouldn’t be so sure of that Ginny. It’s a real doozy.”
Luna in her peaceful voice assured the lion founder, “We are not going to hold you responsible for your information you know. We are beyond that; now tell us what it is.”
Salazar sighed, “Last night I discovered a conversation between the traitor and Voldemort. That was why we needed to leave Potter Castle, information was being passed that would allow Voldemort to attack the castle.”
Harry’s back had stiffened and a guarded look had appeared on his face, “I assume you also discovered the identity of the traitor?”
Salazar nodded, dropping his eyes slightly.
Ginny got up and knelt by him, putting her hands on his face she raised his head, “Salazar, who is it? We have been prepared for the knowledge of a friend’s betrayal.”
“Trust me, you haven’t been prepared for this. I
wasn’t prepared for it, and I pride myself on my ability to take anything in my stride.” Salazar replied. Physically bracing himself he looked Harry straight in the eyes, “It’s Nymphadora Tonks.”
Shock rippled across Ginny’s face and Hermione and Ron let out gasps of denial but Harry simply sat there, staring straight ahead like a frozen statue. Helga got up and sat next to him, “H-Harry?”
He slowly turned his head to look her in the eyes and she struggled to maintain her composure in the face of such grief, anger and loss which was swimming in emerald pools. Letting her mothering instincts kick in she enveloped him in a hug, letting him hide his face in her shoulder as his body started to tremble.
Hermione was shaking her head in denial, “I don’t
believe it, I refuse to believe it! This is Tonks we are talking about, the woman who sat at the dining table making funny faces at us to cheer up the conversations. There must be some mistake, perhaps she is spying for us or something like that?” the desperate hope in her voice was obvious to all and Ron put his arms around her.
Salazar sighed, “No Hermione, I wish I was wrong, I know how much you all care for Tonks, but there is no mistake here.”
Ginny had gotten up and was sitting by Harry, holding his hand so tight that their skin was turning white. Finally re-surfacing from Helga’s shoulders Harry’s face was once again a mask of calm. His eyes were still betraying the emotions running through his mind but his voice was steady as he uttered a single word, “Remus.”
Luna spoke up for the first time, “As long as we are all here to help him, he will recover eventually.”
Harry shook his head, “No, I don’t think you all understand. He loves her, he was going to propose as soon as the war was over; he told me last week. He has already had one friend betray him in his time; this is going to completely destroy him.” Harry’s face hardened, “She had better hope that someone else kills her before I get to her, because if I face her I am going pull her head off and use it as a soccer ball!”
The founders shared confused glances so Hermione clarified, “A muggle sport, a round ball roughly the size of a human head is kicked around on the ground.”
“Ah, well assuming it isn’t a one person game I’ll join in.” Helga replied.
Neville, finding his voice, asked, “Okay, so now what? Do we just let her walk around here or what? Because I do not think I could control myself if I came face to face with her right now.”
Rowena shook her head, “Above all we must not let her know that we know where her allegiances lie. If you do not think you can control your emotions, avoid her at all costs. She is going to be our witless messenger, baiting Voldemort into a trap that will destroy him.”
“Yes, I think having a staged conversation where Tonks hears about Harry and Ginny training by themselves out by the Forbidden Forest should do it. A tempting target, separated from their forces, Voldemort won’t be able to resist.” Salazar stated.
Harry frowned, “He will suspect a trap, even if Tonks ‘hears’ purely accidentally.”
Salazar raised an eyebrow, “Oh, then how do you propose we bait him?”
Harry grinned, “The same way, but before Tonks hears about it we should play around with the link a bit. It has been too boring not being able to feel his emotions. I reckon it’s time to let him know that he isn’t the only kid in the sandpit. We piss him off enough through the link, he’ll be ready to spit fire and any chance to destroy me and he’ll jump!”
Salazar gazed at the black haired teen for a moment before throwing his head back and laughing, “Ah Harry, you are definitely one of my descendants! Very well, I agree with your proposal.” He looked at Rowena, “Do you also agree? I can’t control the link without your help.”
She rolled her eyes, “Yes I’ll help. I just hope that this isn’t going to backfire. Harry may get hurt in the process. If we open the link it means that Voldemort will be able to send his emotions through it and we all know how that turned out last time!”
Harry butted in, “Firstly, my Occlumency shields have gotten stronger, I should be able to block most of the pain and secondly... well...I have dealt with pain through my link before, I’ll survive. It’ll be worth it anyway.”
Ginny grabbed his hand, “So when is the best time to do this then? We don’t want to leave it too late, each day see’s Tonks passing more information to that bastard.”
Salazar shrugged, “That’s up to you. We can open the link at any time so basically tell us when you want to chat with old Moldywarts and we’ll get too it.”
Harry frowned, “After dinner would be good I think. I want to talk to the adults who are staying in the Room of Requirement. I know you set it up really well for them, but even still I expect they will get twitchy in there. I want to ask them to stay hidden in the Room for now as I don’t want McGonagall to know we have our entire human army operating in her castle. She thinks that it’s only the students for now.”
Neville nodded in agreement, “Yeah, I know for a fact that the twins wanted to go explore their old haunts again.”
Ron rolled his eyes, “Now why doesn’t that surprise me? In fact, I bet they have already snuck off to the kitchens and are probably planning a little trip to Honeydukes.”
“All the more reason for me to get down there and give them the heads up; if they want to get to Hogsmeade they can use a passageway from Hogwarts to the Hog’s Head. Aberforth told me about it when we were staying there. Apparently if you wish for food a portrait passageway will appear linking the castle to the town.” Harry replied.
“Sweet!” Neville exclaimed, “That is awesome! I wonder who figured that out? I mean after your time of course.” He gestured to the founders.
Harry grinned though there was no real humour in it, “From what Aberforth told me, I think Albus discovered it in his second year. Apparently our headmaster was a bit of a late night wanderer. Probably why he never got me in trouble the times he caught me out of bed.”
Rowena sighed, “Alright, off with you all then! See you after dinner, and make sure you bring a couple pepper up potions and pain reliever potions with you. We still haven’t had time to unpack and you’ll probably need them after we have opened the link.”
Nodding in agreement the teens got to their feet and farewelled the founders, exiting Phoenix’s Nest and walking swiftly to the Room of Requirement. As expected, most of the members were already bored but Harry quickly explained the necessity of remaining hidden.
If he had of made the request a month ago, most would have rebelled but their respect for the black haired teen had increased so much that without any complaints they had settled back down into their new living quarters, determined to make the best of it.
Harry had then shown Fred and George the passageway to the Hog’s Head after dragging an oath out of them not to show it to anyone. The last thing they needed was for Tonks to learn of a failsafe way to bring Death Eaters into the Castle.
After scoffing a rather hasty but delicious dinner the leaders of the DA returned to Phoenix’s Nest. The walk back to the living quarters of the founders was quite quiet with each person in their own thoughts.
Harry noticed that Ginny seemed nervous and he clasped her hand, “Don’t stress Gin, everything will be fine.”
She shot him a smile, “As long as I don’t have to hear you scream like you did the last time Voldemort spoke to you through that bloody link I agree. But I swear, if you make my heart stop like that again, you are going to wish you had never been born!”
He gave a slight grimace, “I can’t promise that Gin. My shields have increased by I am still only a beginner when it comes to Occlumency. I have too much Gryffindor in me to be any good at the subject, no matter how much Helga and Salazar try to bang it through my head. Pain is an inevitable part of this cursed link I have, useful though it is. If you don’t want to be there I’ll understand and I am sure Helga will keep you company in one of the other rooms.”
An eyebrow went up, “You seriously expect me to simply leave the room when you start to chat with the most evil wizard on the planet?”
He grinned, “Well when you put it like that...”
Entering into the Nest they put the potions down that they had collected and sat next to the Founders who had stopped talking when they opened the door.
Salazar pierced Harry with a serious stare, “You ready to do this?”
Nodding in agreement Harry stood up, “Yeah, let’s just get it over and done with. I am hoping that I can break through when there are others around Voldemort. It’ll shake up their confidence in their prestigious leader a bit.”
Salazar gave a grin before turning to look at Rowena. She stood up and clasped Harry’s left forearm while Salazar imitated him on the right. Harry was slightly confused but didn’t say anything as they pointed their wands at his head and started to mutter fast in Latin.
All at once the brightly coloured room swirled away and Harry felt his eyes roll back into his head as a wave of pain and anger not his own swept through his consciousness. Blinking twice he found himself staring at a dark room with a circle of Death Eaters around him.
It took him a moment of consternation to realise that he was looking through Voldemort’s eyes and that the Dark Lord had not yet realised he was present. Deciding to use that to his advantage, Harry took a deep breath and shouted as loud as he could through the consciousness of the Dark Lord, “BOO!”
Instantly the room jerked, indicated that Voldemort had jumped in surprise. He whipped his head around looking for the source of the sound before Harry felt Voldemort click, “Potter!” he hissed.
Harry struggled to maintain his calm face, the pain that Voldemort instantly started to send through the link was intense. Still, he gave a feral grin, “Howdy Voldy! How’s things? It’s been so long and you never call, you left me heartbroken.”
“Oh you foolish boy. Your wit will not save you from my possessing your body and sending you off a cliff. How stupid you are, trying to control the link.” Voldemort spat angrily.
Harry gave a cheerful laugh, “Oh my dear Tom, I am not trying to control the link. I am nowhere near talented enough at Occlumency to do that. No, I found someone else who knows just a little bit about the subject. Consequently, I am in charge here, not you. No longer can you plot inside of my head, but I can in yours!”
The snarl that burst from the Dark Lord’s throat was enough to make the Death Eaters in the room look at each other in consternation and a tall masked figure stepped forward “My Lord? Are you ok?”
Harry felt Voldemort’s eyes fix themselves on the Death Eaters, “I do not require assistance Severus. Return to the circle, I merely have a little distraction in the form of Potter.”
Harry saw Snape’s eyes widen slightly, “Potter My Lord?”
Voldemort turned his head towards Snape once again and the spy shut up abruptly. Harry grinned, sending mirth through the link, “Oh Voldy, I thought you would be more gracious to the greasy haired traitor. After all, he is only trying to help. Though you might want to wash your clothes afterwards, who knows when the last time his skin has seen soap?”
Gritting his teeth Voldemort replied, “I am going to kill you Harry, slowly and in great pain. You have gotten lucky so many times, but eventually luck must run out. And when that happens, know that I will take great pleasure in stripping the flesh from your bones and feeding it to the crows.”
Harry rolled his eyes, “You have been threatening me with death for the last seventeen years. You haven’t succeeded yet and frankly your threats are starting to get boring and repetitive. Perhaps you need to hire yourself a speech writer to come up with more exciting ways to intimidate people.”
Voldemort merely snarled again causing Harry to chuckle, “Oh it’s nothing to be ashamed of Voldy, everyone gets old eventually. You are simply past your prime, no longer that handsome young man that could manipulate old men out of their knowledge. Still, everyone has to lose their touch eventually. Well, everyone except Albus Dumbledore that is.”
“SHUT UP POTTER!”
“Ooh, touch a nerve did I? What, don’t you like knowing that even in death, Dumbledore can still run rings around you?”
Growling Voldemort replied, “Get out of my head Potter, before I make you!”
Harry laughed again, knowing that the sound would incense the already irate Dark Lord, “Go ahead, try and throw me out, see how far you get!”
An almost overwhelming wave of agony coursed through his system and he gave a slight moan of pain. Dimly aware of Voldemort’s knees collapsing and crashing to the ground as he struggled to eject the teen’s awareness within his own brain, Harry tried to send back as many positive emotions as he could, knowing that it would pain the Dark Lord.
Sure enough, Voldemort gave a cry of pain and Snape one again hastened forward, “My Lord! Please let me help! I can assist you in ridding yourself of Potter’s thoughts.”
The Dark Lord ground out, “I...do...not....need....assistance Snape.” He desperately sent through another wave of agony. This one was much greater than before and Harry gave a cry, mentally curling inwards, trying to protect himself. The room disappeared, quickly being replaced with another dark, empty room.
He raised his shields up as far as they could go, willing Salazar and Rowena to help him block out some of the pain. Instantly they materialised inside of his thoughts each holding one of his arms and raising him to his feet. Rowena said softly, “He cannot hurt you if you ignore whatever he is feeling.”
Suddenly, Voldemort appeared inside of his own consciousness. Harry felt his eyes widen, “Well that has never happened before.”
The Dark Lord looked as stunned as Harry felt but Salazar smirked, “It’s because we are here. We have made the connection stronger. As of this moment, Voldemort is unconscious on the floor of his base and his Death Eaters are panicking.”
So was Voldemort evidently as he raised his wand at Harry, “W-What did you do Potter! I demand you tell me!”
Harry rolled his eyes, “I didn’t do anything Tom. I told you, my abilities in Occlumency are novice at best. No, you can thank my friends for this little meeting.” Looking around him he shook his head, “I must say, for an extremely intelligent individual your mind certainly is empty. A plain dark room? Is that the best you could think of to house us?”
Voldemort focussed his eyes on Salazar and Rowena, “Who are you?”
Rowena gave a sweet smile, “We have met already. My blade has tasted you flesh and it thirsts for it again.”
His eyes widening in recognition he stammered, “But w-who are
Salazar smirked, “Your worst nightmare.”
Voldemort looked genuinely frightened and Harry grinned, “Wow, I wish I could record this. Voldemort, ready to pee his pants inside his own head. What would your followers think if they could see you know? Perhaps I’ll send them a copy of my memory.”
Letting his anger and hatred overwhelm his fear Voldemort drew himself up, “You have made an extremely unwise mistake coming here Potter. I will destroy you and all your friends.”
Rolling his eyes Salazar commented, “Not one for originality is he?”
Harry shook his head, “No, not really. I think that with everyone kissing his hem all the time he has forgotten what it is like to have someone stare him in the eyes and not be afraid of him.”
Voldemort sneered, “Only those who are fools are not afraid of me Potter! Something that you seem to have forgotten. Never mind, I will take great pleasure in teaching it to you again. Perhaps starting with your pretty girlfriend? Ginny isn’t her name? Yes such a fiery little thing from what I have heard. I am sure she would provide great entertainment.”
Harry twitched and Salazar’s arm tightened around his arm, “Easy Harry, he is trying to bait you to lose concentration.”
The black haired teen snarled, “Yeah, well it’s working.” He fixed Voldemort with an icy stare, “Your time is coming Tom. You will not be around for much longer but I swear, you hurt any of my friends and you death will not be quick or painless. Whatever it is that you planned to do to me, know that I can do far worse to you!”
With that final threat he nodded to Salazar and Rowena and they cut the link. The dark room that represented Voldemort’s mind disappeared and Harry’s eyes burst open. The first thing he saw was a pair of beautiful, concerned brown eyes looking deep into his own.
Groaning, he sat up, only vaguely aware that he was on the floor. Ginny wrapped an arm around his back and helped him up onto one of the sofas. Looking at Salazar and Rowena he saw them being helped by Godric and Helga.
Seeing him looking at her Rowena gave a wan smile, “Well done Harry. Not only did you manage to get him angry and afraid in a single instant but you also held your own. Salazar and I didn’t actually have to do that much, your abilities are better than you thought.”
Harry shook his head, “That may just because whenever I am around Voldemort I find the abilities that we share are amplified.” He paused and then grinned, “When you two appeared I thought he was going to have a heart attack.”
Ron asked interestedly, “So do you think he will act rashly now?”
Salazar nodded, “Beyond any doubt. Not only did Harry refute any threats that he made, including one towards Ginny but he turned them back onto Voldemort scaring him in the process. Voldemort is going to want Harry out of the way sooner rather than later.”
Ginny didn’t even flinch when she heard that Voldemort wanted to go after her, merely asking, “So when do we proceed with our ‘conversation’?”
Harry looked into the fire, “As soon as possible. Perhaps if we plan for the two of us to be out at the Forest in four days time, so we need to get the information to Tonks before then.”
Godric looked unsure, “That doesn’t give her much time get the information to Voldemort though.”
“But that is why it’ll work. If we let her hear about something that is happening a month away she would get suspicious. This way, she will think that it is just something that we do every week and she’ll make damn sure it gets to old Voldy. Besides, it is easier for her to sneak information to him from here than from Potter Castle.” Harry replied.
Helga clapped her hands, “Righty-oh then, who is up for a bit of role-playing?”
It took the better part of the next day to determine where Tonks would be at any particular time. Luckily she had a fairly regular routine so the day after the four teens found themselves leaning against a corner behind a corridor that she usually walked alone.
Luna and Neville were across the hallway keeping an eye out for her. Harry had asked for them to keep out of her sight, but to signal them as soon as they saw here. It wasn’t long before the meaningful glance came their way as the other two slipped out of sight.
Harry, giving a slight grin at Ron said in a normal voice, “So what do you and Hermione want to do while we are out?”
Hermione snorted, “Knowing Ron probably go to the kitchens and stuff his face. He is so unromantic.”
“Well at least I don’t drag you out to the Forbidden Forest to practice sword fighting for dates.” Ron shot back.
Ginny giggled, “It is really fun. Let’s Harry know who is boss. Besides it is only for a couple of hours. We have to wait after curfew since you two keep nicking Harry’s invisibility cloak to go sneaking off to who knows where.”
“Ginny!” Hermione yelped.
“What? It’s true! Anyway, we’ll be back inside of the castle by 3am so don’t bother waiting up. Just try and have the common room cleared out for us.”
Hermione complained, “Why can’t we come? We love sparring with you two. It is always so much fun.”
Harry gave an exasperated sigh, “Because it is the closest thing we get to a date Herm! Since the DA got fully rolling, we hardly get any time together anymore. We can spar in the Room of Requirement at any time. This is just me and Ginny time.”
“But...” Hermione protested.
“Oh leave them alone Hermione. Harry is right, they have been run off their feet for the last month or so. Let’s give them a break. One night alone out by the Forest is not going to kill them. We all know that they can take care of themselves and Grawp is still around if the centaurs get fresh.”
Hermione looked at Harry and Ginny, “I guess you’ll be taking your brooms?”
“Of course. I am not running all the way from the castle to the forest and back when I can fly.” Harry replied, grinning.
Ginny looked at her watch, “Shoot! If I don’t hurry I won’t get to the dungeons in time for potions class.” She stood up on her tiptoes and kissed Harry on the lips, “See you at lunch!” with that she dashed off.
Harry grinned at Ron and Hermione, “What is it with her and rushing to and from Potions?”
Ron shrugged, “She is your girlfriend, you ask her!”
“Oh come on you two. Transfiguration’s next and McGonagall is already looking for an excuse to get us into trouble.” Hermione scolded.
Harry laughed, “Yeah, and since we are acing every single assignment she sets us she is starting to get frustrated.”
“We can thank Roarer for that. I don’t think I would ever have understood human transfiguration without his help.” Ron said fervently as they started to walk towards the Transfiguration classroom.
Out of the corner of his eye Harry saw Tonks quickly duck behind a wall to avoid being seen. Pretending like he hadn’t seen anything he punched Ron in the shoulder, “Perhaps you should get him a box of chocolate or something. Goodness knows he loves Honeydukes’ stuff.”
With that they entered the classroom, sitting down at their desks with Neville who gave them a satisfied grin. Daydreaming the easy class away, the teens completed their assignments in record time and left as soon as the bell went.
Making their way towards the Nest they chatted quietly about the various strengths of the castle and where it could be defended from. As soon as they opened the portrait they saw the four founders grinning triumphantly at them.
Harry raised his eyebrows, “Success then?”
Helga nodded, “She was extremely engrossed in your conversation. As soon as you left she dashed off into her quarters. They are very well warded, took us a good five minutes to get through them. We only caught the last part of her conversation with Voldemort, but I am pretty confident she convinced him to attack you during your ‘training’ session.”
Harry clapped his hands, “Fantastic! Finally this war can be brought to an end.”
Neville frowned, “What happens if Voldemort doesn’t show up? What happens if it is just his followers?”
Harry shrugged, “Voldemort wants to kill me himself. If that happens and his followers have orders to capture me and bring me before him at least we will be able to take out a fairly good chunk of his support base. Especially since he won't underestimate our abilities. He will send a good number of people even though it is only supposed to be the two of us.”
Ginny burst into the room, “So? How’d it go?” she panted.
Harry grinned, “It worked. We will be ambushed in two nights time.”
She rolled her eyes, “Only you Harry could make it sound like a good thing.”
A/N: *raises hands in surrender* now, before some of you aim your wands at me, intending on cursing me into oblivion please listen! I had to have someone as a spy and I always intended for it to be someone close to Harry. Tonks was the logical choice considering her bloodline.
Anyway, please REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
P.S --> check out my one-shot 'Tales of a Silver Arrow' I am quite proud of it because it is such an unusual story. I don't think I have come across a story like it on HPFF and I actually think it came out quite well!