Disclaimer: All aspects of the Harry Potter universe belong to JK Rowling and Warner Brothers Entertainment. I shamelessly twist, bend, and snap this universe to suit my own needs.

Summary: Harry recognized the need for the DA in his first year rather than his fifth. With a group of powerful friends, unexpected allies, and the planning to overcome age old enemies and meddling Headmasters as well, can these students traverse the dangerous halls of Hogwarts and the world outside of them? Can they defeat the Dark Lord and his followers while fighting for communal reform?

"I still can't believe how lucky we were last night," Hermione said to Ron and Harry at the breakfast table. "I mean, we nearly died. Where were the professors?"

"Arriving just in time to take credit?" Harry offered. "And it wasn't luck — did you see Ron with that club?"

She had, in fact, seen him drop the club on the trolls head quite clearly. She'd forever mark it as the day her life had been changed.

"That was right awesome, wasn't it?" Ron asked, looking rather chuffed.

"No, it wasn't — we got lucky! We don't even know any defensive spells because Defense is-" Hermione began before stopping. "Because it's not-"

"Because Quirrel's a worthless teacher?" Harry posed.

"That's not what I meant," she defended hotly. "I just don't find his teaching style…agreeable,"

"That's the nice way of putting it,"

"Can't get a bloody thing from him with that stutter," Ron complained over a mouthful of food.

"And I can't understand a word you're saying when you talk with food in your mouth," Hermione said while giving her redheaded compatriot a disgusted look.

"I said, 'can't get a bloody thing from him with that stutter,'" he spoke up louder around the same mouthful of food.

The brunette looked, if possible, more disgusted before she turned back to Harry.

"I've been reading the textbook and even that's not very good," Hermione said, looking as if the words pained her.

"No textbooks are," her newest red-headed friend grumbled.

"I know what you mean," Harry told her, ignoring Ron. "All theory, no spells."

"I'm sure it's because we're only studying the first year curriculum but I think I'd like to know some real spells now that I know how dangerous it is here. I've made a list of a few but I haven't tried any of them," she confided.

"Could be interesting, some real magic. Give Malfoy something to really complain about,"

"You shouldn't let him get to you," she lectured. "He's absolutely foul but rising to his pettiness is only going to make things worse for you,"

"Have you heard him though?" Harry asked. "Always going on about his father."

"He does come off as rather entitled,"

"You mean he's right spoilt," Ron corrected, waving the slice of ham he'd speared inelegantly with his fork. "All those Malfoy's are. Bad all around, the lot of them. That's what my dad says."

"It seems wrong to judge the whole family," Hermione contradicted.

"Unless they're all like him," Harry grumbled.

"True," Hermione agreed, shrugging when Harry shot her a surprised look. "It'd still be good to practice actual spells," she added after a moment.

"Let's do it then,"

"Well we don't exactly have the room for it and I doubt the upper years would appreciate first years practicing defensive spells in the common room,"

"You know, there's a pretty large room at the top of the corridor up the stairs to the left of the common room entrance," Harry noted. "We could use it for practice."

"I don't remember a room there,"

"I pushed against a frame and the painting opened up — I'll show you after class,"

"Why haven't you shown me, mate?"

"I only go really early in the morning," Harry told him. "To exercise. It's a pretty cool room,"

"Exercise? What're you doing a thing like that for? You could just play Quidditch,"

"Quidditch isn't a full workout, Ron," he told his friend. "And I tried inviting you one morning and you refused to get up. Shouted something about ginger snaps,"

Hermione rolled her eyes.

"Besides, I always went for runs at the Dursley's,"

"The Dursley's?" Hermione asked.

"My aunt and uncle," he said tersely, leaving it at that. His friends didn't know that he exercised frequently to get a leg up on Dudley and his gang for their favorite game of Harry hunting.

"We can go after potions," she decided.

"Hey mate," Seamus spoke up from two seats down on Ron's left. "You mind if we join you? Wouldn't mind a bit of extra defense practice myself. Don't exactly have the luck of the Irish in me, think I can use all the help I can get,"

Neville, painfully shy as he was, nodded in agreement.

"As long as you don't blow anyone up, Seamus," Harry joked.

"We could make a study group," Hermione said happily, eyes brightening. "We can meet every other day and-"

"Woah Hermione," Harry interrupted. "I've got Quidditch practice and homework too. I'd like time to breathe. Maybe twice a week if we really have to,"

Hermione looked disappointed but worked to tamper her enthusiasm.

"Besides, I don't think I've ever done so much school reading in my life," he continued. "We have to have time for classwork too."

"Agreed," Lavender Brown spoke up from the next bench over; she had to lean forward quite far to get Harry, Hermione, and Ron in her sight. More than a few Gryffindors in the vicinity nodded along with her.

"Are you guys all listening in?" Hermione asked indignantly after surveying the nodders.

Lavender gave her a raised-brow look to say that the answer should be obvious.


"How're you hearing from so far down there anyways?" Harry asked in a wary voice.

From the opposite side of the table, a mousy brunette spoke up with more spunk than he expected. "Eavesdropping charms, of course."

"Or hearing improvement charms," Lavender chatted.

"Eavesdropping charms? Hearing improv-" Harry cried out. "Ugh, just, never mind. Does anyone else want to join a hands-on defense study group?"

More than a few hands went up at the Gryffindor table.

"You've got to tell us about the troll though, Potter," the brunette spoke up again.

Harry looked at his plate before shaking his head. "Who're you, anyways?"

"Fay Dunbar, second year," she answered. "Mind if I bring a friend? She's a Hufflepuff,"

"…sure," Harry agreed slowly, looking to Hermione.

"I don't think the houses are meant to divide students; it's not just a Gryffindor study club,"

"Well no slimy snakes," Ron pitched in.

Hermione shot him an angry look. "We're not banning Slytherins, Ron. Two months ago you stood next to them and waited to get sorted just the same. They're just people — eleven year olds aren't automatically evil once they're sorted into Slytherin,"

"They're not all good!"

"There's been some evil Gryffindor's," she reminded. "Merwynch the Wild in 1205 murdered 15 light witches and he was a Gryffindor,"

Ron looked mildly reproached but continued eating sloppily. The eavesdroppers, now part of the conversation, openly wrinkled their faces in disgust.

"Ron," Lavender spoke up in a scarily demure voice for an eleven year old. "You'd be so much cuter if you chewed with your mouth shut,"

Ron stopped eating momentarily while the girl batted her eyes at him; most of the listeners had scooted notably closer to the original trio.

"Huh?" he asked dumbly. "Why would I care?"

Then he diligently went back to inhaling his third helping. That stopped no less than two seconds later as he gripped his nose and yipped, dropping his fork and sending some potatoes skittering over the table.

"What the bloody hell was that?"

"Language," Hermione scolded before turning to Lavender, her enthusiasm for new magic never dampening. "Was that a stinging hex? They don't teach those until fifth year, though I read ahead a bit, of course,"

"Girl, no," Lavender cut her off. "That was a plucking charm to the nose — now chew with your mouth shut, Ronald,"

Ron, who's eyes were watering excessively, merely rubbed his nose furiously and tried to blink away the tears. The two girls ignored his muttered complaints and continued talking.

"You know what, I'll teach it to you tonight. Me and Parvati were going to do makeovers tonight anyways. I've got a load of products that can help with that hair,"

"What's wrong with my hair?" Hermione asked self-consciously, biting back the urge to correct Lavender's 'Me and Parvati' to 'Parvati and I.' She was so used to being picked on for being the bushy-haired book worm. This was the first time her roommates had taken any sort of interest in including her in their activities and she wasn't going to muck it up.

"There's nothing wrong with it, right girls?"

Fay, from opposite of Harry, agreed with Lavender as did a few of the other Gryffindor girls.

"You've got gorgeous natural highlights," Parvati complimented from her place next to Lavender.

Under her breath she mumbled something vaguely along the lines of "bloody white women" and "bloody genetic circumstance."

Hermione looked both startled and amused before hesitantly agreeing.

Ron and Harry shared terrified looked — what had just happened? A three-person study group now involved most of the Gryffindor first years and at least one Hufflepuff. And now the girls had taken over and were talking fashion and makeovers! Seamus and Neville shared secretly exasperated looks with Harry and Ron.

'Girls,' their eye-roll said.

"Bloody- OW," Seamus yelped, grasping his nose. Lavender gave him a withering look; she'd seen the eye roll.

Cowed, all of the boys went back to their breakfast — Ron, most noticeably, with his mouth shut.

That night, 19 people showed up — they were milling about the corridor at the top of the stairs nearest the portrait of the Fat Lady when Harry, Hermione, and Ron appeared. They were all tugging on the portrait frames, trying to find the proper one, much to the consternation of the frame's occupants.

"Holy…" Harry trailed off.

"Oi, let us in Potter," Fay spoke up.

"Uhm, right,"

Ron, however, was staring at his twin brothers. "What are you two doing here?"

"Just heard of a gathering of some firsties…"

"…and thought we'd join in,"

"Well you're more than welcome," Hermione assured them. "I'm Hermione Granger,"

"This is Gred…"

"…and I'm Forge,"

Ron rolled his eyes.

Harry ignored them and stepped up to a unique painting not far from the stairs; it was some sort of frothing, stormy beach and the frame was arched almost gothically. With just a touch, the frame swung open to reveal a reasonably sized doorway.

One by one, the students poured into the room. Most of the students were shy and nervous, taking in the room and talking amongst themselves to the friend that had told them about the group in the first place.

"Bloody hell, Potter," Fay spoke up first.

"You said you found a room, not another Great Hall."

The room was, in fact, almost the same size as the great hall if slightly narrower. The ceilings were towering and the light was obviously artificial; the weather in Scotland was gloomy and rainy in reality. Arching stone columns reached up to the ceiling and a couple of them supported a small loft area at the top of a set of stone spiral stairs. The opposite side of the room housed a long dueling platform, leaving a large open space under the loft and in the middle of the room.

"It's like the Lincoln Cathedral in here," Hermione said as she spun around.

It was rather cathedral like in architecture and design, excepting the pews and stained glass windows.

"Yeah, I thought it was pretty cool,"

"I pulled on that frame a few times — why didn't it open for me?" Seamus asked.

"I don't know, mate. Maybe we can figure it out," Harry shrugged. "Hermione's wicked with a wand, bet she could set it to rights for us."

"We should password protect the door," Seamus said excitedly. "That way only we can get in,"

"I think we need chairs first," Susan Bones said after looking around.

"Yeah. So what spell are we learning?" Amanda Hooch, a first year Ravenclaw, spoke up.

Pretty much every face in the room turned to look at Harry.

Harry blanched.

"Umm, well…" he faltered, resisting the urge to scuff his shoes and stare at his feet.

"I thought we could start with the standard disarming spell," Hermione spoke up, coming to his rescue.

"That's fifth year material," Susan said, doubt taking over her tone.

"Aye," One of the twins agreed.

"We haven't even…"

"…learned that yet."

"Well, I've already taken notes over it and I have a copy of the wand diagram," she told them. "It just seems like a very useful spell."

"Wait you made a copy of a library book?" a Ravenclaw first year asked. Harry thought her name might have been Lisa.

"No," Hermione responded, scandalized. "Only the page, for reference."

"Can you teach us how to do that?"

"Sure," Hermione looked around. "We really need some tables and chairs."

A pop sounded and Harry jumped; it had come from directly behind him.

A small, wrinkled creature with large eyes and large ears stood in front of him. It was wearing a clean pillowcase.

"Boys and girls be needing tables and chairs?"

"Yes we do," a second year Hufflepuff answered immediately; many of the students were staring at the creature in confusion. "Possibly sofas and armchairs, if the castle can spare them."

"Flippy can be doing that," then the elf waved his finger. "But that be all — students can't be summoning Flippy."

Then he looked specifically at Harry. "Unless you really be needing something,"

Then the elf popped away.

"What in the bloody hell was that?" Harry cursed.

"Harry," Hermione scolded.

"A house-elf — they're servants," the second year answered somewhat snobbishly; Hermione immediately took offense to the mere mention of servants but Harry sidetracked her. "Although I don't know why they answered us. Castle elves aren't supposed to."

"And who're you?"

"Zara Valli," she said, sniffing as if her name meant something; to a couple students, it seemed to. They were noticeably the purebloods.

"Right, well we should probably do introductions."

"Then you can show us that copy spell," Hannah Abbott spoke up. "Pince always boots me from the library just before I can get the last page off the reference books."

"We can learn the engorgio charm too; so the diagram will be big enough for everyone to see. We can all practice on pieces of parchment," Hermione said excitedly, beginning to think up an on the spot lesson plans of sorts.

"I already know that one," one girl spoke up; it was one of Hermione's dorm mates, Marie Janice.

"Does everybody?"

A lot of heads shook no.

"See? So you can help others learn it. We can all teach each other whatever spells we know then we can learn new ones together."

That's how it started.

Their second meeting that same week brought a couple more Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws and upper years in general too. Each meeting seemed to grow a little bit. By the end of their first year, there were as many as thirty people in and out of the DA room.

They'd chosen the name Defense Association for themselves; Harry had been unanimously decided as the one in charge. Ron had turned out to be quite able at teaching and organizing others once he knew what he was doing. He also helped Hermione schedule the lessons.

They met three times a week except everyone didn't come to every meeting. Every now and then they'd have a full meeting but everyone had a secret planner (courtesy of Hermione) so they knew what the next meeting would cover. If you knew the material and didn't want to help others learn it, you could miss the lesson.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione weren't the only ones who taught. Lavender had happily volunteered to teach everyone the multiple uses of cosmetic charms; that plucking spell on an eyelash had dastardly effects. Seamus did what he called 'The Beginner's Guide to Pyrotechnics' and the twins even did pranking seminars that entertained the study group while being quite useful in actuality.

On November 1 of their second year at Hogwarts, the entire group met. It included most of the now-second years, some third years, and four fourth years — the twins, Alicia Spinnet, and Angelina Johnson. That's when Hermione had come up with the magically binding secrecy oath that had, initially, irked a couple of people.

In the end, they'd all agreed to take it for one simple reason. All of the members liked that their group was private. So what if there were forty plus people? So what if it grew as each year went by? It was still their secret group. It was the reason most of them passed defense every year no matter the quality of the professor. The teachers would never let them have a study group that big learning serious and destructive spells unsupervised and having a professor in on their fun would ruin it. That's why they agreed to take the relatively basic secrecy oath.

If they ever got caught, all they had to do was say that they couldn't confirm nor deny anything about their activities because they had taken a magically binding oath. If a professor pushed for more information, they ran the risk of encouraging a minor to violate a magically binding oath and that's a crime in wizarding courts.

Midway through second year, they got their first two snakes; Daphne Greengrass and her best friend Tracey Davis. They were noticeably reluctant at first, anxious, but the contract they had read would protect them even from the people within the group.

After that, a few more Slytherins joined the group. They all helped Harry solve the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets and they were all shocked by the fact that one of their own, Ginny Weasley, had been possessed under their nose.

The group started getting more serious in their third year as more information about Tom Riddle (ergo, Lord Voldemort) came to light.

When Lupin had come around, Harry had been tempted to bring the Professor in on their group so that he could try to teach them the Patronus charm. However, when the man had confiscated Harry's copy of the Marauder's map, he changed his mind.

Luckily, that copy was just that — a copy. The original was stored safely in Harry's trunk. A very large copy of the interactive map was in the DA Hall.

By Harry's fourth year, they'd found four other entrances to the Hall so that the other houses wouldn't be found suspiciously near the Gryffindor common room trying to get into meetings.

And so, when Harry's name came out of the Goblet of Fire, he was supported by an entire group of friends that believed him when he declared that he had not put his name in the Goblet.

Even Cedric, Hogwarts champion and a nearly four year member of the DA, believed him.

When Cedric had died and Voldemort returned, things changed for Harry. Things changed for the entire DA. It meant war very clearly now. For reasons he didn't understand quite yet, he was in the middle of it.

Third year had already warned the DA to step it up and fourth year only compounded that. They all helped Cedric and Harry train for the tournament and had all increased at a steady rate. They were learning to fight in groups of three, back to back with a partner, alone, in groups of five, ten, and everything in between. They'd even learned tactical hand signals.

Cedric's death would bring many changes. The first meeting following his early demise would be the turning point. Before, it was a group of friends relying on loose order, scattered meeting attendance, and the occasional party. Now, one of their own had been ripped from them.

They had known there was more to the story as soon as the Ministry had begun swanning it's bullshit.

The way Harry had sobbed and clung to Cedric's body, desperately, and the bloody and injured state the 14 year old they had come to view as their leader made that more than clear. Amos Diggory's desperate sobbing had only compounded that, the visceral sounds of a father's grief stirring something in every DA member.

This study club had changed their entire school experience. More than just grades though, it changed their lives. Muggleborn, pureblood, halfblood — Slytherin or Gryffindor, it didn't matter.

The DA Hall had become their safe place. The best kept secret in Hogwarts where everyone knew everyone, was friendly with everyone, respected each other, and supported each other.

Everyone could trace the effect the club had on them. Tracey and Daphne, who had felt isolated within their house because Tracey was a half-blood, didn't want to imagine where they'd be without the DA. The Patil twins had been terrified to start school. Raised in Britain but descended from a strong pureblood Indian family, their father had pressured them to form alliances rather than friendships. They'd done both and more. Neville, Ron, Hermione, and countless others had grown out of their shells. No longer did they feel unimportant or undervalued. Ron in particular no longer saw himself in Harry's shadow; instead, he stood next to him.

Each and every one of them counted Cedric as a friend. He was one of the oldest and he'd taken them all under his wing, always there with helpful answers or advice.

Voldemort didn't know what a mistake he had made.

"I don't know how to begin," Harry said from his place on the podium; he was more muscled than any fourteen year old had the right to be. He held himself different now too. "I've thought long and hard about this. You've already heard the whisperings and seen all of the press. I think you all deserve more than whispers. I think Cedric deserved more than lies."

"Cedric." Hermione stepped up, feeling somewhat choked. "Cedric was a friend to us all. I think we all know Snape would have done you in for exploding the classroom by now, Neville, if not for Cedric."

Said boy nodded and tried to maintain his composure; there was a radiating aura of sadness in the room that showed that he was not alone in his turmoil.

"He was a mentor, a counselor, a tutor, and more. Three nights ago, he was taken from us. The Ministry would have you believe that his death was a tragic accident. The truth says otherwise,"

Harry began pacing slightly after his words before continuing.

"Voldemort is back. He killed Cedric and then used my blood to make himself a new body."

"The ministry is lying then?" Dean Thomas asked — there wasn't doubt in his voice. He was merely seeking confirmation.

Harry nodded and gestured to a large stone basin on a podium on the dueling platform. The expensive artifact would be well worth the gold he'd put into it.

"This is a presentation pensieve. I want to use it, to show you some of what happened," he declared. "I thought I'd just show you the resurrection ceremony so you can see what we're dealing with."

It was Megan Jones, a Hufflepuff, that stepped forward. Like many others, she was wearing all black, forsaking even house colors.

"I want to see it all."

There were tears in her eyes but her voice didn't waver. Of them all, she was probably the closest to Cedric.

"I want to see what that bastard did to him!" she screamed.

Leanne put a hand on Megan's shoulder; it was probably the only comfort she would accept.

It didn't take very long for everyone to agree.

"I-" Harry hesitated, not wanting them to witness what he had been forced to witness.

"We all know what we're asking to see," Ginny said quietly. "You shouldn't have to be the only one, Harry. What happened to him isn't some burden you get to bare alone."

There were more than a few sounds of agreements; Harry didn't see one face that wasn't set with grim determination (though there were more than a few who wore sadness and fear too).

"A-Are you sure?" he asked, haunted pain clear on his face. "It isn't- It won't be easy, to watch,"

"It doesn't honor his memory to forget his death," Tracey spoke up.

"I won't forget," Harry promised.

"Neither will we."

"MacNair," Harry pointed his wand at a very large, empty board. A picture of MacNair and a half sheet of parchment detailing him went up on the board. With each name, a picture and piece of parchment followed. "Crabbe Sr. Goyle Sr. Lucius Malfoy. Avery."

The fifty or so collective students were wearing looks no teenagers should wear.

Those who didn't have tears still spilling down their cheeks were were wearing expressions of anger. No, rage. And those who weren't enraged — well, they were the scariest of them all. The cold, resolute expressions didn't belong on faces so young.

"I'm Harry Potter. I'm the Boy-Who-Lived. This," he pointed to the memory display of the moment Voldemort summoned the death eaters; it was replaying on mute. "Only proves that Voldemort has a vendetta against me. Luna believes there was a prophecy made, one that reached Voldemort's ears. That makes me a threat and that means he's going to come after me. And those close to me."

Hermione looked like she wanted to stop him but allowed him to continue.

"From now on, I'm upping the pace. The spells I'm looking at aren't a joke. These aren't stunners or rope bindings. They," Harry took a deep breath. "They killed Cedric before either one of us could get our bearings. Stunners won't keep them down and even if it takes them out of the fight, it doesn't take them out of the next one."

"Voldemort is going to come for me and those close to me. I don't want another person getting hurt because of me, dying because of me, so I'm telling you all now what could happen. Even if the ministry denies it, war will be coming."

The Weasley's (the twins and Ginny) were the first to step up in silent support. Neville and Luna were next, followed quickly by Susan Bones and Hannah Abbott. After that, it was impossible to tell who'd stepped forward next. Many students stepped forward together all at the same time.

None of them were in disagreement.

"A spare," Megan growled; hers was one of the faces twisted with rage. "A spare? Is that all he is to them?"

"That's all anyone is to the death eaters," Harry answered grimly. "They don't care who they hurt, who they kill. And they've already proven they'll kill anyone close to me. I don't want you all caught in the middle of my fight,"

"They killed Cedric." Cho spoke up. "They-"

She clearly had something to say but was too overcome to say it. Lisa Turpin stepped up for her out of the gaggle of supportive girls all relying on each other for emotional support.

"The Dark Lord's war with you started when you were a baby. On June 24, he started a war with us."

Every single Hufflepuff nodded grimly in agreement.

"You're all idiots," Daphne Greengrass spoke up. "The lot of you, acting like Gryffindors. Going up against the Dark Lord — it's madness. Every odd is stacked against us. Someone else is going to die because of it. And you know what Potter?"

The room held their breath while readying themselves to start an angry debacle with the Slytherin ice princess. If she walked out, a good majority of the Slytherins would too.

"I'm with you. Merlin help me, I'm on your side. But things have got to change around here,"

Many were shocked by that. The typically cool-headed and controlled Slytherin's support was unexpected even to her closer friends amongst the group.

"We know," Hermione agreed. "Honestly, we didn't think so many of you would stay for this much and I don't think any one of us knows what we're getting into," she took a deep breath. "But if we're doing this, we've got to do it right. Things changed this year — Harry's inclusion in the tournament and his completion as the victor-"

The room winced, some wearing angry looks at her exclusion of Cedric.

"I know — Cedric was the true Hogwarts champion and tournament winner," she assured them. "But legally, as the victor in a tournament specifically for adults under a magically binding contract, Harry's now been recognized as a legal adult,"

"Which means…" Daphne breathed, recognizing immediately.

"Oh dear," Zara laughed openly; she was just as politically savvy as the Slytherin. She would, in fact, wield a great deal of political power once she graduated as would a great many of the students around her.

"What's it mean?" Harper Lee asked, her brow wrinkling in confusion. For such a large group, they maintained order and volume well. In most cases.

"It means that Harry can claim the Potter Lordship. He'll also inherit the Black Lordship," Hermione answered.

"Even though Sirius is alive," Harry muttered.

"He isn't mentally stable enough to claim the title so it passes to you, the named and recognized heir." Hermione told him, sounding as if she had a dozen times.

"And then when you claim the Gryffindor line, you'll have so much more access to the castle," Daphne finished.

"When I what?"


There were echoing cries of shock from around the room that quieted when Daphne let off sparks with her wand.

"The Potters have long been known to be the Heirs of Gryffindor — they just never claim the title because of the strenuous requirements. Well, according to the rumors."


"A level of magical capability you certainly possess, Potter," Zara called, adjusting her black and yellow robes.

"That almost sounded like a compliment, Valli," he snarked.

She tossed him an uninterested eyebrow. The fifth year puff and Valli heiress lacked the warm demeanor most associated with Helga's house, though that's not to say she was disagreeable.

"Everyone remembers the secrecy oath contract we signed?" Hermione asked. "In a few weeks, I'm going to be making arrangements to visit everyone to sign the new charter, of sorts. If we all agree."

"What's changing?"

"Because Harry will be the Lord of two ancient and noble families, he's entitled to an entourage of sort. A body of staff that are permitted to do almost anything in protection and service of their Lord."

"You're proposing we contract ourselves into Potter's employ?" Lilian Moon, a Slytherin, asked slowly.

"I know it doesn't sound ideal," the bookworm continued immediately. "But it's not quite the same as contracting us into his employ and the protections it affords are great. One of which, for instance, protects our right to assemble en masse in private. Another grants us the use of separate living quarters. Not that we'd take advantage of that but if things ever became so bad for our Slytherins in the dorms, we can make arrangements."

The Slytherins all nodded, seeing the wisdom of that. Many of the girls looked especially appreciative of the fact. Mutters of "that Parkinson cow" could be heard.

"In addition, you'd all be paid," Harry said with a wink. "125 galleons a week, every week, for as long as you're 'in my employ.' That's the required pay rate according to the law— non-negotiable if we want this all to be legitimate."

"It also affords us other rights — for example, if we are caught by a teacher for anything, even something unrelated to the DA, they are legally compelled to bring the matter only to 'our Lord' rather than our parents. Legally, they are no longer allowed to contact our parents once we make it common knowledge. These Crown laws predate 1700 — back when parents would send their children off to apprentice under a master in a lords employ and there wasn't a Ministry to facilitate communication or monitoring. Obviously if we're doing something illegal, the authorities would have to be called in but even then our parents wouldn't be. This even applies to other Pureblood heirs; it used to be one of the few escapes they had from their families."

They were murmuring between themselves, none of it sounding negative.

"The contract works the same way as the one we've already signed except we get actual legal protection from it."

"Can we get a vote?" Ron barked. "Any who disagree?"

All of the Slytherins hands stayed raised.

"Any who believe they'll disagree once they've read the contract?" he amended. The Slytherin's hands went down.

"Good," Ron nodded, satisfied.

"Obviously, none of this is going to happen right now. Once I've made it to Gringotts and established all this, Hermione will arrange to meet each of you with the contract or get it to you somehow. Soon, you're all going to get packages with some things to help us with our plans."

"And what are we planning to do?" Stephen Cornfoot asked.

"What we've learned over the last four years is that Voldemort always targets Hogwarts, if not Harry outright. So protecting Hogwarts and it's students are our first priority. Hogsmeade is our second," Ron answered.

"We'd like to do something about the Ministry but we haven't had a chance to talk with everyone since this happened. We're gonna talk to some of our more politically savvy members this summer," Hermione picked up.

"Most of us won't be able to openly communicate, Granger," Daphne spoke up, gesturing to the Slytherins. "Especially since most of us, myself included, don't know which way our parents will lean."

Daphne tended to be the Slytherin spokesperson. Even if house barriers were rarely an issue in the DA, the Slytherin students still had some unique problem. It had been bad enough contending with the blood-purists — now they would have the Dark Lord and his loyal ilk to worry about.

"And that's where the rest of the package comes in," Hermione continued. "Everyone will be receiving a journal; using it, we'll be able to share research and notes with every member. We'll also be able to communicate with group-wide or individual messages. Like a live chat,"

"Sounds ingenious,"

"It's taken a while," Hermione agreed. "I've had to work out the enchantments and security spells myself since store-bought ones won't do. But I'm ready to start producing quite a few."

There were a few murmurs then Hermione continued.

"The last two things in the package will be jewelry. Everyone will be receiving a ring and an amulet. They will be equipped with numerous enchantments and blood-based tracking spells and the ability to send a distress signal. We'll also be able to signal individuals or the whole group to announce a meeting or something of the like."

"Why would we need that?" Roger Malone, an older Ravenclaw, questioned. "The distress signal, I mean,"

"In case there's a death eater attack," Susan answered for them.

"Not just that — I know some of you don't have ideal home lives." Harry spoke up, looking at some of the Slytherins and muggleborns in particular. "By the second week of July I should have a house set up if anyone needs somewhere to go."

He saw some minute relaxation in a couple of people who were particularly concerned for their families as they realized they'd have somewhere to go.

"If you ever feel like you or your family is in danger, they are welcome too. Everyone does have somewhere to go."

"To that effect, the ring and necklace will also be portkeys. The ring will take you to the Honeydukes cellar passage, just where the wards end near the end of the tunnel. That will be a permanent portkey to that location. The necklace will take you to whatever house Harry sets up. Expect those in two weeks,"

"Gareth and the Sally's-" Ron began. Sally-Anne Perks and Sally Smith waved in acknowledgement. "We're going to be working on defensive plans for Hogwarts. That'll start when we get the journals — there's a whole section in the research bits for maps and tactics,"

"I'm sorry," Harry said as everyone died down — they'd been more accepting of the changes than Harry could have hoped for. He honestly couldn't believe no one had blamed him for Cedric's death. "I'm sorry that I've drug you all into this and I'm sorry about the things it's going to do to your lives. I want you to really understand what you could be walking into…"

"Harry," Katie Bell, Gryffindor's star chaser, spoke up. "I remember exactly how this group started and it had nothing to do with you building an army to take on Voldemort."

"I'm not building an army," he protested.

"But you should be," Hestia and Flora Carrow, the most surprising members of the DA given their dark heritage, spoke in eery unison. Still, they had taken the same oaths as everyone and had made quiet but fast friends with many other house members.

"You didn't make this our battle. They did that when they killed our friend. I don't think any of us are ready for war, for battle, but it seems like we've got some time to get ready. We're going to use it."

"I'm going to go through the Bones vault," Susan declared. "During the traditional visit on my 15th birthday, I'll retrieve some memories. They're of the first war. They belonged to my p-parents and my auntie. Maybe it'll give us an idea of how death eaters fight."

"That's a great idea, Susan." Harry replied softly. "I think that's enough of the heavy stuff for now. We'll all be in contact this summer — remember to keep up your exercise and wandless magic and occlumency exercises. I know for most of you that just means meditation, but keep at it. You'll get there,"

"Dobby," Harry called, the excitable elf popping into existence in front of him. "You think you can have that light meal brought up? And some butter beers?"

"Right away, Harry Potter sir,"

The elf popped back and the DA members took to the two long parallel tables that seated everyone. Harry stood and placed a gentle hand on Cho's shoulder, helping to lead the toast for Cedric.

When he was finished, Zara stood and said a few words in Latin that turned quickly into some sort of chant. Daphne and a few of the other purebloods and even the Weasley's spoke along with the chant that left a somber sort of magic in the air.

"To Cedric," Harry finished, making a note to ask Ron about it later.

"To Cedric," everyone echoed.

A/N: I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of Amicus Protectio Fortis. I also hope that everything didn't come off as too cliché. It's unavoidable to some degree but I strive for originality. I've already written in excess of 150 more pages and I'm going to try to post a new chapter every Wednesday and Saturday pretty regularly until writing becomes scarce. I am a college student so please forgive me if I don't keep to that and feel free to message me anytime. Please leave your comments or criticisms in the reviews (flames will be rigorously ignored).

Revised: January 15 2017