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Chapter 17: An Army Is Formed

The next day Harry’s friends took it upon them to alert the students they had decided to ask to join Dumbledore’s Army. That evening after dinner, they gathered in the common room to go over the state of affairs. Luna had already told them she would be joining when they saw her at breakfast that morning.

“Padma and Terry are both in.” Parvati said. “Terry wants to bring two of his friends. Cho has also agreed and wanted to bring one of her friends too. I agreed on the terms we decided this morning.”

Harry nodded. That morning they had agreed that if anyone would want to bring friends, they should be able to. However, because of the importance of secrecy they had told everyone they would have to sign a magical contract that would swear them to secrecy about anything that was discussed and done during meetings. “Very good. Thanks Parvati.” She smiled at him sweetly and Ginny raised her eyebrows. “What about the Hufflepuffs?” Harry asked. He looked over at Seamus and Dean.

Seamus answered: “Smith and Hannah both wanted to join. I think you’re right about Smith though.” He looked at Ginny. “Seems like a real git to me, but he wanted to come. Hannah wanted to bring Susan Bones and apparently Ernie and Justin want to come too.”

“That’s good. So we’ll have students of every house except Slytherin then.” Harry said. “But I guess the grand majority will still be Gryffindors?” He looked over at the twins who nodded.

“Yeah.” Fred said. “Lee was all for it and our three Chasers want to be part of it too.”

“There’s one more thing, Harry.” Parvati said. “Colin Creevey overheard me talking to Cho and he and his brother want to join too. I said I didn’t know if you would be okay with it, but that I would ask you.”

Harry looked troubled. “They’re young.” he said.

“Colin is in the same year as Ginny and Luna.” Hermione pointed out. “They are both members.”

“Yeah, but Dennis is only a second year.”

“What about this Harry.” Ginny said. “You let them join so they can train with us, but in the unlikely event something really happens, Dennis has to bring himself to safety.”

“Alright, they’re in.” Harry said reluctantly. “Friday night eight o’clock will be our first meeting.” He explained to everyone how they could find the Room of Requirement and how they could get in and the others promised him to pass on the message. After that Harry had to leave, because he would be late for his first lesson with Dumbledore.

When he arrived in the office of his headmaster, Dumbledore was sitting behind his desk with his Pensieve in front of him.

"We're gonna use your Pensieve?" Harry asked surprised after greeting his headmaster.

“Indeed.” Dumbledore said. "We will not need the Pensieve today, but in future lessons I am certain it will come in handy.”

Harry looked at the Pensieve a bit anxiously as Dumbledore put it away in a cabinet. “So Harry.” his headmaster said. “We have arrived at your first private lesson of this year. I sense you are a bit anxious about what will come.”

Harry smiled slightly. “Maybe a bit, sir.”

“Well Harry, in these lessons we will try to learn as much as we can about Voldemort’s past.”

“Why, sir?”

“Because only by analysing his past, we can find a way to destroy him. However, we will have to postpone those plans seeing as I have not been able to see the full picture myself and it would be counter-productive to tell you everything before I am absolutely sure what we are dealing with.”

There followed a short silence after that cryptic remark.

“For now, we will concentrate on improving your magic. Although I am very sure you have a very competent Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher this year, I am afraid that the stuff you will see in class will not suffice to face Lord Voldemort. I should make it clear to you though that some spells that I will teach you should not be used too frequently out in the open. It would not do good for too many people to know that you can do such magic as there are extremely powerful spells and curses among them.”

Harry looked at Dumbledore eagerly. He couldn’t wait to learn the stuff his headmaster had described to him just now.

“We won’t start with such spells today however”, Dumbledore continued and Harry felt slightly disappointed. “Today I will show you how you can incapacitate your opponents with more basic magic like stunning spells and reductor curses.”

Harry looked at him puzzled. “I know how to do those spells, Professor. I learned them when I was training for the Triwizard Tournament.”

“I am very aware of that, Harry”, Dumbledore smiled. “Please do not think I underestimate your abilities! But what you can do is simply stun your opponent and although that is very useful, they could easily be awakened by a friendly wand or wake up on their own accord.”

He walked up to another cabinet and pulled out a target to practice on. “If you use a stunning spell and you hit your target in the stomach or any other body part, they will wake up fairly quickly or can be immediately woken up by a friendly wand. When you hit your target with your stunning spell in the right place of his chest, around his heart for example or in the head, he will be out for a very long time and it would take a lot of effort from someone to wake him up. Do you understand?”

Harry nodded. He spent the following thirty minutes firing stunning spells at his target, until Dumbledore was happy with his aim.

“Now for Reductor curses.” Dumbledore said. “They are far more dangerous. You do not need an Unforgivable Curse to kill a person. I do not want to encourage you to kill, Harry, but there might come a time when you do not see another way out of a tight spot. I must encourage you Harry to never use lethal force deliberately unless there is absolutely no other way out.”

Harry nodded. “Of course.”

“Alright. A powerful Reductor Curse can take out an opponent just as much as a Killing Curse. No matter if it hits the head, the chest or the stomach, if a Reductor Curse is powerful enough to reach deeply, it can damage vital organs, which can lead to incapacitation or worse.”

Harry spent the remainder of the lesson on practicing the Reductor Curse. When he returned to his four-poster in Gryffindor Tower, he was extremely tired but satisfied.

Friday night eight o’clock, Harry was in the Room of Requirement facing a large group of students. He was getting a bit self-conscious when he saw all those faces looking up at him. “Well er, you all know why we’re here.” He explained them about the request Dumbledore made him and about their decision to form Dumbledore’s Army to protect the Hogwarts students from harm.

“I just don’t understand why Dumbledore needs students to protect his school.” Zacharias Smith said.

“I think you can fill the library with thinks you don’t understand, Smith.” said Seamus heatedly.

“No, it is a fair question.” Harry said. “Dumbledore wants a group of people who he can trust completely. I don’t have to tell you that the teachers aren’t always to be completely trusted, seeing as you all know which teachers have been here the previous years.”

“But how does he know he can trust every one of us?” Zacharias asked.

“He doesn’t.” Harry simply said. “But he trusts me.” There followed a long silence. “I trust everyone in this room. You are either friends or friends of friends. However we can’t afford to take chances. Therefore we asked all of you if you were prepared to sign a magical contract. Every one of you has agreed to do so and now is the time. Hermione, the list?” He looked over at Hermione, who was holding the list on which Harry had written the names of all the members. She gave it to Neville to  pass it along. “Just sign beneath your name.” Harry continued. “Now, I am seeing some new faces and I’m sure I can’t be the only one so maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea if everyone introduced themselves.”

After a short round of introduction, Harry asked everyone to pair up and practice Disarming. After about thirty minutes he switched over to the Impediment Jinx. Then he saw it was already forty minutes after curfew and he ended the meeting for that day.

Harry and Ginny stayed behind in the Room of Requirement  for a while. Harry walked over at the wall where the parchment with all the names of the members was hung. He saw Hermione had written ‘Dumbledore’s Army’ in curly letters above the names. He didn’t expect himself to do anything like this before Dumbledore asked him, but as he watched the list with the 28 names of the members, he felt proud about starting the group for the first time.

 Ginny came standing beside him and pulled something out of her pocket. She pinned it to the wall next to the list. Harry saw that it was a picture of the original Order of the Phoenix. Harry recognized his parents, Sirius and Lupin among many others. “Where did you get that?” he asked softly.

“Sirius showed it to me during the summer.” she answered. “I asked him if I could keep it. I wanted to show you, but I was a bit scared how you would react.”

Harry smiled. “It’s amazing.” Suddenly he realized that a great lot of these people had died since that picture was taken. Suddenly the realization that Voldemort was back and people would be disappearing and dying again hit him hard. He squeezed Ginny’s hand as he kept looking at the picture. “I won’t let anything happen to you.” he whispered.

Ginny didn’t have to ask what he meant. “I know.” she whispered back as she pulled him close. When they let go of each other, Ginny was happy to see a smile on Harry’s face. “We should make a picture with Dumbledore’s Army too.” she said smiling.

“The next generation!” Harry laughed. He looked at his watch and sighed. “We’d better go, if Filch catches us we’re toast.”

“We should have brought the Invisibility Cloak.” Ginny grumbled.

Harry smiled, took her hand again and led her out of the Room of Requirement.

When they were almost at the corridor of the Fat Lady, Ginny suddenly stopped Harry. “Ginny, what?”

“Sst!” she said. “Listen.”

They heard a soft crying coming from an empty classroom on their right. They saw the door had been left ajar. Ginny looked at the door indecisively, but Harry walked over to the classroom and softly pulled the door open. He was shocked when he looked into the big grey eyes of Jacinta Malfoy. She sat on a desk, like she was just following a class. Only it was more than 10 o’clock in the evening and her face showed traces of a serious beating. Her left eye was closed up and it was bruising quickly, while her nose was bleeding profusely. It seemed to Harry it had been broken.

“Jacinta!”, Harry moved over to her quickly and kneeled in front of her. “Who did this to you?” She shook her head.

He heard Ginny, who had followed when Harry had hurried inside gasp as she saw Jacinta’s face. “Harry, we have to get her to the hospital wing!”

Jacinta fiercely shook her head which seemed to hurt her, seeing as her eyes narrowed in pain. Harry sighed. “Jacinta, you’ll have to come with us. We can get you fixed up. You do understand we can’t leave you here like this, don’t you?”

After a lot of coaxing from Harry, Jacinta finally agreed to go with them to Madam Pomfrey. The whole way down to the hospital wing Harry and Ginny tried to question Jacinta about what happened to her, but she didn’t say a word. It was apparent that she had received quite a beating. This weren’t just the injuries of an enthusiastic first-year who had been to careless. They had to bang on the door of the hospital wing for several minutes before an agitated Madam Pomfrey opened the door.

“What is – Oh Mr Potter! I thought two weeks was a bit long before having you over. What is it now?”

“I have nothing, Madam Pomfrey, it’s Jacinta.” he gestured at the little girl who was holding onto his hand and Madam Pomfrey seemed to notice her for the first time.

“Oh Merlin, what has happened to you, dear? Come in, quickly.”

Harry was happy Madam Pomfrey ushered the three of them into the hospital wing quickly. He had been afraid Madam Pomfrey would be annoyed with them for turning up on her doorstep that late, but she didn’t even comment on the fact they should have been in their houses a long time ago. Harry reckoned her motherly instincts had played up the moment she saw the little girl.

After she had fixed Jacinta’s injuries, she pushed her down onto the bed and told her to rest. Then she gestured for Harry and Ginny to follow her to her office. Once there she closed the door and immediately asked what happened.

“We have no idea, Madam Pomfrey.” Harry said.

Ginny told the matron how they had found Jacinta in an empty classroom, apparently afraid to return to Gryffindor Tower.

“Look I get a lot of first years here.” Madam Pomfrey said. “They are still a bit more playful than older students and they tend to get quite a lot of injuries. Of course one more than the other.” she added glancing at Harry. “But these are not injuries from a simple fall or running into something. This isn’t something she received playing around.”

“She was beaten.” Harry said.

“It seems so.” Madam Pomfrey said.

“Malfoy.” Harry said through clenched teeth.

“Harry,” Ginny said, “we don’t have any proof it was him. Jacinta hasn’t said one word since we saw her.”

“Of course, she wouldn’t want to say anything if it was her own family, would she? You know how that family is. Do you think they are very happy with her after she was put into Gryffindor?” Harry was absolutely livid that someone would do something like that to an eleven year old girl.

“Mr Potter,” Madam Pomfrey soothed, “I understand your anger, I really do. I am appalled myself, but we must not jump to conclusions. I will report to the headmaster first thing in the morning and we will see what we can do about this. For the moment there is nothing you can do for her, she is in good hands.”

Harry and Ginny nodded and left the office together with Madam Pomfrey who wanted to check up on Jacinta. When the three of them reached her bed, they saw she had already fallen asleep. Harry carefully tucked her in before he left with Ginny. Madam Pomfrey looked one last time at the girl before she put out the lights and returned to the back.

When the door to Madam Pomfrey’s office closed, Jacinta Malfoy opened her eyes again. She looked at the door of the hospital wing through which the boy she had been brought up to hate just left. All her life her parents had said anyone whose blood wasn’t pure was not a worthy member of the wizarding society. All of her life, her brother had said that Harry Potter was a worthless egocentric kid who didn’t care for anyone but himself. Two weeks at Hogwarts had already proven both statements wrong. Harry Potter was probably the only one in this school who knew what it was like to be in her shoes. He must know what it’s like being brought up in the wrong family too, she thought, as she cried herself to sleep.

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think” – Margaret Mead          

A/N: There are ten more chapters after this one before the story is finished. Thank you for reading this and especially those who have left a review. I love to hear what you think about it and I really appreciate every comment.

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