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?
For the last remaining days of term, Harry avoided the professors religiously.
He, Hermione, and Susan Bones had been tasked with visiting and convincing as many of the muggleborn and halfblood families as possible to move to Firewall Castle. Of course when they visited, they brought the student with them so it took some scheduling. Ron and the other Gryffindors were running interference in the times that they were off of the campus.
With the DA's help, Chie had taken a few key memories and pieced them together into one coherent memory so that they could show parents using the pensieve. Using some of Sirius' memories, they were able to make a sort of terrifying movie depicting the first war and the string of attacks the Death Eaters launched against muggleborns and their families.
The next memory the parents would see was Cedric's death and Voldemort's return. After that, there was the memory of the pivotal DA meeting following Cedric's death and a few other memories about the DA.
Most of the parents had reacted with extreme shock, outrage, and fear. Multiple times, parents blustered and asked just what he thought he could do about it.
They were speaking to Trent and Kerrie Entwhistle, Kevin's parents. Susan was standing near the front door, behind the couch Hermione and Harry were sharing, with a vigilant look that didn't quite fit the girl of fifteen. Kevin was sitting in an armchair in the cosy living room and his parents were sharing an opposing sofa.
"What are you saying? That we should just uproot our lives?" Trent asked.
"You're just schoolchildren yourselves, what do you really think you can do?" Kerrie pressed right afterwards.
"Ma'am, I've tried to deny it and run from it since I was eleven years old and got pulled out of the normal world I grew up in," Harry told them with understanding. "But there is no more running from it. It's a reality of life now and this war is part of that reality."
He held their eyes seriously, emerald orbs conveying both the depth of his severity and his unyieldingness.
"I know you look at us and see schoolchildren, and we are, but that doesn't change the fact that the war that's coming is our war whether we want it to be or not. We're going to do our part in it," Hermione, Susan, and Kevin were all nodding with equal conviction, not seeming to realize they were even moving their heads. "We're ready to do things the ministry can't or won't. In fact, we're doing it right now."
They gave him doubtful, questioning looks.
"We're offering you security — as soon as Kevin got his Hogwarts letter, he became a part of this world and you with him. Now that there's a war on, that puts you in danger."
"Well then we'll pull him out of it!" Trent growled.
"I'm afraid it's not so simple, Mr. Entwhistle," Hermione interrupted softly. "I'm a muggleborn too, like Kevin. Once you agreed to let him go to Hogwarts, you essentially signed away your magical parental rights to the headmaster because you're muggles. He's too far into his education; he's considered fully integrated. You could have petitioned courts for the rights back a couple years ago, but even that wasn't likely to succeed as the headmaster is also the head of our judicial system."
"Well they can't stop us from taking him right now," Kerrie said, looking as if she'd be perfectly content to pack a bag and drag her son out by the ear if she had to.
"No, mum, they can't." Kevin spoke up. "But I can and I won't run. That boy you saw m-murdered was my friend. This is my fight now. You need to listen to Harry, dad, because he's the only one who can protect you."
"Well where's this headmaster now?"
"The headmaster is the leader of the other organization we talked about and he's currently sitting on his hands just like most of the ministry."
"Well why isn't he here?"
"Mostly because, even if he doesn't know it, Kevin isn't his responsibility anymore. I'm a legally emancipated adult — I'm the Lord of three houses. For the DA's protection, they've all signed a sort of contract that protects more of their rights under me than Dumbledore would be capable of."
The parents sat there quietly, looking from their son to each other and talking with barely perceptible facial expressions.
"You lot have really got this figured out, have you?" Trent asked slowly.
"We've had all year to make this plan, longer, even. The castle you'd be moving to will be inhabited by dozens of other families, some of them muggles; you won't be alone for company and you'll be free to leave at any time."
"What about our house?"
"I can have your house locked up and furniture packed into secure storage until you're ready to come back."
"Well it'll take us some time to pack up everything and get it moved…" Kerrie said, looking around as if she couldn't believe she were considering this.
"We've got a special crew to help you pack," Harry assured her, thinking of the array of excitable elves in his employ.
"All you have to do is sign this contract; basic secrecy and loyalty oaths for everyone's safety," Hermione told them, opening her deceptively small bag.
"You'll be unable to talk to anyone about the DA, it's members, or activities that aren't already in the know. Mostly because some of the things we do aren't exactly legal. Being here at all, for example, since we used magical travel and we're supposed to be at school." Harry gave them a reassuring smile.
"We also won't be staying cooped up in the castle all summer," Hermione assured them. "We've made a couple travel plans that are very family friendly."
"Well how can we say no?" Kerrie said slowly. "Did you say you had a moving company?"
"Let me introduce you to one of the castle house elves, Sassy…" Harry said with a wink.
The reactions were to house elves were always interesting.
"Amanda, are you sure this is a good idea?" Susan pressed the Ravenclaw carefully.
"I know my aunt, Susan," Amanda Hooch said back quietly. They were standing outside of Madam Hooch's private chambers. "The Dark Lord took my mum and dad and her husband. She's afraid and we don't have anywhere to go but Hogwarts and I can't stay at Hogwarts over the summer."
Susan's face softened; Amanda's story was much like her own.
"I know Madam Hooch, Hermione," Harry said softy. "She's good, real good. I think if anyone's going to listen to us fairly, it's her."
"I've got a couple extra memories I want to show her. Especially some of those maneuvers Katie, Angelina, and Alicia have been practicing." Amanda said. "That'll impress her more than anything."
The DA were all gathered in one train car. It'd taken some work but eventually all of the other students had settled in for the ride and they were able to claim the car in between the two train bathrooms so no non-DA members had any excuse to cross their car.
All of the compartments had been expanded just enough to house ten or more students. The corridor, narrow as it was, had been expanded by Harry to the size of a large hallway and a comfortable bench had been transfigured under the windows for more seating.
A loose group, mostly those who were staying in the castle over the summer, were circling what they'd come to view as the command group in the expanded corridor. That group consisted of Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville, Luna, Blaise, Daphne Greengrass, and Susan Bones.
"I still can't believe you convinced Madam Hooch," Lisa Turpin said with a head shake. "A professor in the castle this summer. Almost sad I'm missing it."
Lisa was one of the 15 or so students that would be mostly inactive for the summer.
"That still leaves us with about ten families that need talking to," Harry said, checking his list. "Now, Luna, Dean, Blaise, and Sally Smith think they can convince their parents to move to the castle on their own?"
The three nodded.
"Alright," Harry nodded. "About an hour before we reach the station, Nanette, Hermione, and I will be portkeying off to talk to her parents. After that, we're meeting Alice at her home. Then Sally-Anne."
All of them nodded in agreement with that schedule.
"Tomorrow, bright and early most likely, we'll be coming to your house, Seamus,"
"I'll try to sound me mum out now that the prophet's changed its tune,"
Harry nodded in acknowledgement. "The last on our list will be you, Lilian," he said to Lilian Moon.
"Think it's gonna take more than you and Granger to convince my parents," she said after a moment.
"Which is why Blaise is coming with us, as well as Neville and Daphne," he told her, knowing her pureblood family would be hard-pressed to essentially run to the light side.
"Let's see how it goes then," Hermione said. "Everyone's had the trace removed from their wands?"
"Remember not to use magic in front of anyone, trace or no trace," she warned.
After that, the DA split into groups within compartments and began working on summer homework or DA research. The current research topic was field healing, though some students searched exclusively for new defensive and offensive magic.
An hour before the train reached the station, Hermione, Harry, and Nanette Desford left the train via portkey. By the time the train reached King's Cross, Harry and Hermione were organizing the house elves to pack up Nanette's house.
By the time Alice Tolipan's family got home, they found two children who their daughter greeted warmly on their doorstep.
The DA's plans went off without a hitch. Within two weeks, every family had been moved into Firewall castle. The houselves were taking all of the muggles to work or other arrangements as needed and the DA had upped their training.
Su Li had written three weeks into summer to tell them about how scared her family was. They were attempting to move back to China (which Su desperately didn't want to do) but they'd been denied even muggle Visa's. A pensieve wielding Harry and Hermione had been sent to talk to the Li family, including Su's younger sister, and they'd moved into the family wing of the castle expediently.
Ron had gotten an untoward amount of howlers from his mother, as had Harry and Hermione. Mrs. Weasley was, apparently, spitting mad.
Fred and George weren't present much during the first month. With Harry's help, they'd gotten the lease for a four story corner building on Diagon's main alley and had taken to decorating and stocking it with zeal. With a few of the DA conspicuously employed as summer employees, they'd produced more joke and prank products than they'd thought possible. They'd also created a specialized belt for the DA members to hold all of their more destructive products that weren't on the shelves.
There had already been about seven group expeditions into the muggle world to parks or playgrounds or other attractions that everyone would enjoy. Hermione had even set out museum schedules and travel arrangements so that families could go out in smaller groups on any given day. No one had complained about feeling shut in or suffocated. It helped that all of the arrangements were pre-made and all-expenses paid.
Today, on the last Saturday of July, they were meeting in the grand ballroom that had been set up quite similar to the DA cathedral in Hogwarts. There were about 50 members gathered; the parents and assorted family had been respectfully shut out.
There'd been some butting of the heads between families and their members. Some parents especially were irked that they were frequently shut out of conversations, training sessions, and whole rooms of the castle.
They'd been forcefully shut up by Harry allowing them to watch one meeting from the second floor balconies of the ballroom.
The children had split in half, one side in white cloaks and the other in red. They faced down in a recreation of a pitched battle. The parents had been shocked by the displays of physical prowess and sheer organization their children had displayed.
Now, the visitors and inhabitants of the castle accepted that the teens would have their privacy whether they liked it or not.
Lavender Brown was practically beaming as she stepped onto the stage.
"So, as you know, some of us girls have been pushing for a real uniform for ages now,"
Harry could hear Ron grumble, "Oh bloody hell,"
"Well," the opinionated young woman said with a mild glare in Ron's direction. "With Daphne's help, we were able to take some of our designs to make battle robes and dress robes.
"Dress robes?" Seamus Finnegan cried. "Is that why you were journaling everyone for measurements?"
"Yep," she agreed brightly, clasping her hands together. "Though we didn't even need them, re-sizing enchantments and all."
Seamus and a few of the other boys groaned at her.
"Just wanted an excuse to get a tape measure around us, didn't you Lav?" Kenny asked jokingly.
She rolled her eyes and ignored him, tossed her bouncy curls, and waved her wand.
"Here we have Fred and Georgina Weasley modeling the dress robes,"
As if on cue, the disillusionment charms around Fred and George dropped.
The petrified twins were on either side of Lavender; George was wearing the female robes and his figure had been adjusted to match. A platinum blonde wig had been fashioned onto his head to match the rather impressive set of breasts he was sporting. His makeup was done rather tastefully but prominently.
Like mannequins, their skin had been colored a plasticky white. Their arms and legs were posed artificially, like they'd been frozen midway down the runway.
Immediately, the hall burst into laughter. Colin, never slow on the uptake, was already in their faces with his camera.
The robes, however they were displayed, were tasteful.
The over-robe was a dark, velvety looking purple. At the waist, it flowed into a cape that wouldn't obstruct movement. For the girls, the waistline was more pronounced and embellished and fell into a layer of split skirts in various shades of purple that covered more of the trousers.
The pants were black dragon-hide and they tucked into knee-high supple leather boots. Tucked into the pants was a very formfitting long-sleeve undershirt in a very pale silvery purple color. The undershirt was only visible at the wrist and in between the silver buckles of the armor.
Around the place where the body armor ended and the pants begun, a wide band of leather, about the length of a hand, wrapped around the waist and held two knives and two small daggers. The rest of the wide expanse of leather was carved with ornate, faux-decorative runes.
The armor itself was the most impressive. It followed a full-coverage Celtic design and the material was far thicker than dragon hide. The scales were much smaller and the color shifted between black and a very deep shimmery blue in the light.
"Blimey, what is that body made of?" Michael Corner asked, stepping forward.
"The basilisk," Lavender answered with a bright grin. "Harry said if we could make armor out of it, we didn't need to sell it. It's even stronger than dragon hide and we had more than enough to make a body armor for everyone. There's also basilisk gauntlets and shoulder guards for the real armor."
"It looks wicked," Michael complimented.
She waved her hand primly and Megan Jones and Kevin Entwhistle appeared from under their disillusionment charms. They, unlike the twins, hadn't been turned into human mannequins.
They also looked far more intimidating.
They were wearing the same chest-plate and dragon hide pants with a couple additions. They'd been equipped with a hooded caplet that ended just above the elbow. It was in that same deep purple from the dress robes with silver vine embroidery along the edges.
The shoulder plates, and attached gauntlets, were made of narrower pieces of basilisk hide that had been cut to allow flexibility and looked very intimidating with the cape flowing over it.
Thin but flexible dragon hide gloves covered their hands and exposed wrists. Wand holsters were attached with a quick release wrist holster that every DA member had taken wearing full time.
The gossamer undershirt from the dress robes remained to prevent chafing but was hardly visible under the gauntlets and shoulders.
The second addition was the basilisk hide tassets that secured at the waist and fell down to protect the outside of the hip and upper thigh to just above the knee. Their buckles secured along each inner thigh over the dragon hide pants.
Two belts had been attached, one for daggers and knives and the other for the twin's creations and some medical potions.
The boots were different too, made of dark grey dragon hide. The main boot ended at the knee but the outer sides of them rose up, ending below the tassets to provide full hip coverage from any shrapnel.
Everyone was appropriately impressed. Despite the color, the boys could find nothing to complain girls, needless to say, had loved them.
"Everyone will be receiving their set over the next two nights as well as the instructions for the specialized clothing switching spell," Hermione took over after everyone had a few minutes to fawn over them.
The twins had been released from their mannequin poses and warned against attempting to prank Lavender's personal beauty supplies.
"They'll be coming in a specialized three compartment trunk supplied with the twins latest gear. You're to have this trunk on you at all times. You can keep it shrunk in your pocket or you can attach it as a small charm on your amulet. The armor switching spells will work without the trunk being returned to full size."
"Can we talk about some sort of badge system?" Megan Jones asked.
"Badges?" Harry asked, screwing up his face.
"Yeah," Susan Bones spoke up. "Like you should have something that denotes you as the leader, and Ron should have something that marks him as our tactician. It could be like a belt buckle on these hip things," the Hufflepuff pointed to the armored hip-plates Megan Jones was sporting.
"I think healers should have something on their cape shoulders too, to make them more identifiable from behind," Daphne spoke up. "Like a caduceus. That could be the buckle symbol and could go on the left shoulder too."
"And for the Castle Security team, a shield and crossed wands," Blaise spoke up.
"The broom squad could take the alchemic air symbol, since we're air support," Amanda Hooch offered.
"Harry could have five stars, like a muggle general," Colin spoke up brightly. "And Ron could have three, then all the squad leaders could have one."
"What about everyone else?" Harry spoke up, not really liking the idea. "We don't really have ranks anyways. Squad leaders are chosen because they're good coordinators and we need people elsewhere."
"We don't really have a symbol," Hermione agreed. "We never really discussed one."
"Yeah, Dumbledore's got his Phoenix."
"Because he named the group the order of the Phoenix," Harry retorted.
"I don't think we need a mascot anyhow, the school has enough of them," Fay Dunbar spoke up, picking at her nails. "Blaise suggested the shield and crossed wands. What about a wand and a sword?"
A few people began murmuring before Dean Thomas conjured a table and a sketchbook.
"I've got an idea," he said.
Everyone knew he was a more than decent artist so a couple of them huddled around and offered suggestions while Hermione told Harry that he was going to have to accept that they thought of him as the leader.
Even Ron agreed.
"Look at everything you've done mate — every one of them is proud of where they're at. And these robes are bloody cool, makes everyone feel important. Badges and shoulder designs do too."
"Alright, alright," he waved. "Lavender, Hermione, you can make it happen?"
"Easy — we'll get Dean to draw them all," Lavender agreed with a smile, bouncing excitedly. Her blonde curls seemed to have a life of their own. "He helped with the sketches for the robes too. Said some weird things about high elves and muggle games,"
Hermione snorted and shook her head.
Still, Lavender looked quite pleased.
Dean enlarged his design and floated it to the front of the room. It looked a lot like the Hogwarts crest in shape and filigree at the top. However, instead of an H and the four house symbols, there was a purple flower that was blooming in sync with with sparks coming out of the crossed wand and sword overlaying it.
In the three-segmented ribbon below the crest were the words 'Beatus vir qui non abiit in consilio impiorum.'
"What's that mean?" Harry asked, a few students echoing.
"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked," Dean said with a shrug. "My Grandmum always liked it. I thought it rather fitting."
"Any particular reason for that flower?"
"It's a purple columbine," Scarlett Lympsham, who had suggested the flower, explained. "It means resolved to win."
"Means?" Ron asked dumbly. "How's a flower mean anything?"
"Victorian flower language, Ronald," Hermione told him with an eye roll.
"Oh like that's something everyone knows,"
"Quite a few people do," the ever-knowledgeable witch responded, quite a few Ravenclaws and purebloods nodding along.
"I like it," Lavender said, her room mate, Marie Janice nodding in agreement. "It matches the robes."
"Squad leaders and healers or other designations can wear their patch on the left shoulder and the buckle. Everyone can wear this one on their right shoulder and their buckle." Lavender decided, pretty much in charge of the wardrobe.
There were none.
"Good," Harry stepped forward. "Now, moving on."
"Sirius should be here any minute; form your groups. Today we're running our non-verbal spell chaining drills but we'll be doing it off the coast of the island. Aim for the water — we don't need this bleeding into the wards." Ron directed.
Harry's birthday passed without a hitch. There had been many, many birthdays in the castle already and he refused to allow his to pass with any excessive fanfare.
The day after his birthday, however, he'd sent everyone on a week long trip to Disneyland.
"Actual bloody Disneyland," Rosalind Desford, Nanette's sister, had cheered just before being scolded for her language.
The families with smaller children had been booked hotels. Other's took long-distance portkeys; one of the perks of the U.S. being part of the I.C.W. — they protected the rights of Lords to make portkeys.
Some families were less interested, though most everyone went. They'd snuck Ginny out of the burrow through Ottery St. Catchpole three days in a row so that she could go too. The same thing happened for other DA members who were mostly inactive during the summer.
Harry had a rather memorable time with Sirius.
Sirius was wearing a too-large lime green hat with attached droopy ears. The stenciling said 'goofy.' The older man looked pleased as punch, face flushed from all the running and excitement.
"I chose Disneyland for all of the kids," Harry said dryly. "And somehow you're the most enthusiastic of the bunch."
"You definitely made the kids happy — already hear talks about chaperone scheduling and shifts from the parents,"
Harry looked out at the group of fifteen that he was with; there were about four families, three of which had children under the age of ten. All of them were having a blast in America.
"Want to get away for a minute?" Sirius asked, gesturing towards a slightly less busy street lit with fairy lights.
"Sure Padfoot," Harry agreed, sure that the man had seen another vendor selling flashing light sticks and other assorted toys.
They walked in companionable silence for a minute or so before Sirius pulled them into a dark corner.
"Detour!" he cried before side-along apparating Harry away.
When the nearly painful compression stopped and he could feel his feet on solid ground again, Harry restrained the urge to deck his godfather. They were in a dingy alley behind a dumpster.
"Where the bloody hell are we?"
"Welcome to Vegas, Prongslet."
He'd very nearly strangled his godfather. But, the five hours he'd allowed the man-child to drag him about and run amok in sin city would certainly be treasured by him.
"Hey Mrs. Brown?" Harry called.
Kathleen, Lavender's mom, turned with a friendly smile.
"Do you think you could look into hiring a real medi-witch or wizard? Possibly two?"
"Of course dear," she agreed.
Kathleen and her husband Frederick ran a quite successful employment firm that helped connect graduates to people looking for apprenticeships or interns.
"They'd be required to sign pretty extensive contracts, but they can live here full time with no rent, free food, and better pay than they'd get anywhere else."
"What pay range are you looking for?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well healers can be quite expensive. Are you looking for a medi-wizard or a full healer?"
"One full healer — if they have an apprentice, even better,"
"Flexible then. And pay?"
"Well if you find someone suitable, take whatever number they ask for and double it,"
"Call it hazard pay, with the Weasley twins around,"
"Can't argue that, love," she said, tossing her wavy honey brown hair. "I'll get back to you if I find anyone."
It was a week later that Kathleen got back to him. She had referred Lanuaria Silva and her apprentice Audrey Kent. Their village was one of the first targeted by Voldemort and the clinic they had ran was burned to the ground.
Harry had immediately liked the white-haired healer and made sure she knew that she had unlimited funds to stock her infirmary. Her apprentice still looked a bit shell-shocked but both woman had looked pleased (if surprised) by the frankly luxurious accommodations and the amount of people simply happy to see another friendly face.
It was that same day that Harry got another obnoxious message from the Headmaster. Voldemort had stepped up his attacks and the volume of letters received by the golden trio had increased proportionally.
As you may or may not know, Voldemort has been leading a series of raids around the country. Because of your failure to return to number 4 Privet Drive, the wards have fallen and the house fell victim to the Death Eaters.
I must insist that you return immediately. You are endangering the lives of both Ms. Granger and Mr. Weasley. Their families are extremely worried.
We will be discussing your behavior upon your return. Reply post-haste and save everyone more undue worry.
"I don't even know what to make of this — notice how he didn't even tell me that my relatives are okay?" Harry said angrily. "And there's not but four weeks of summer left anyhow."
"Because he can't find them either," Hermione rolled her eyes. "It's just another attempt at manipulation. And trying to say my parents are worried? I know he hasn't even been able to contact them, they're out of the country."
"My mum hasn't let up with the howlers. Asked the elves for a bit of help; they send them all to Mr. Lovegood's printing press tower. Can barely hear her over the noise."
The trio, and an assortment of other DA members and their families, were sitting in the largest sitting room. The trio was closest to the fireplace in the three armchairs.
Sally-Anne came in, looking flustered.
She drew the attention of some of the members; a fair few of them were wearing their battle robes. They'd taken a liking to them, especially now that they were adorned with the DA crest or various identifiers.
"Ron, I've been working with Susan and Colin all week. Leanne and Luna worked out a spell that lets us record death eater movements on the map so we can play it back and we've been looking at the locations they attacked in the day or hour before he attacks them."
Ron gave her his full attention, countenance immediately shifting into one of focused determination.
The parents and family in the room all honed in on the conversation shamelessly. Rarely did they get to see what really went on — they'd pretty much only been told the name of the club.
"So, we found that they send scouting teams of five approximately six hours before the attack. We also know they attack in groups of 15 or even less."
"They don't come in expecting resistance from muggles," Ron agreed. "What's going on?"
"We tracked five death eaters to St. Asaph — it's a real small town in Wales."
"So we're expecting an attack there in the next six hours?"
"Have Susan alert the Ministry," Harry interjected.
"Well, a few of us were talking and…" she paused. "Well, why can't we handle it?"
"Our job is to defend, Sally-Anne," Harry told her. "The ministry has the aurors to handle this."
"Have you seen how they handled everything else?" she scoffed. "They show up in time to obliviate people, not actually help. And when they do fight, they don't have any sort of tactics. It's a free for all."
"And we would be defending people," Amanda spoke up. "Better yet, we'd be defending people who can't help themselves."
Harry looked around the room, noticing the parents beginning to look like they had things to say.
"I'll call a meeting then," he sighed.
"It would tip our hand far too soon," Ella Wilkins argued. "If a new group appears out of nowhere and smacks down 15 of his death eaters, the aurors and the Dark Lord will know something's up."
"It's not as if the media will publicize it; the aurors aren't going to admit to someone else doing their job," Michael hypothesized.
"But it will be known within the ministry that 15 death eaters were foiled by someone other than aurors," Ella argued. "And anything that the ministry deems a secret is, of course, known by everyone. Especially the Dark Lord."
"And even if not everyone, Dumbledore," Harper Lee spoke up. "In the long run, isn't he the one we really need to avoid being detected by?"
"Is tipping our hand marginally that big of a deal when compared to the lives it would save?" Sally-Anne argued. "You know what, look at this,"
She flicked her wand briskly and a map of a muggle town sprung up. Fifteen black dots appeared up the main street and branched off into the nearest neighborhoods.
"This is what they do to most muggle towns. Because they expect no resistance and don't schedule the attacks more tha six hours ahead of time due to a fear of leaks, they use line targeting," she explained. "They just line up and down the town, seal the houses, and burn them."
In front of the death eaters, a wave of simulated fire overtook the houses.
"Because it's magical fire, it spreads. They leave some houses unsealed and when the occupants rush out, they torture them."
Sally-Anne ended her wand simulation. She looked fired up while the rest of the room looked ill at ease. With another wave of her wand, another map filled the air; it was the town they were planning to attack tonight.
"We know approximately when they're going to be there," she continued. "We can trap the town, fire-proof the houses, and put up portkey and apparition wards that allow them in but not out."
Fred and George, who were seated on a plus sofa, were examining the map.
"We have our tar carpet," Fred said thoughtfully.
"They'll sink up to their thighs in tar…"
"…and they won't be able to move."
"It's a new prototype but if you want to get in and out without leaving a trace…"
"…you can just roll it up after you've taken them down and store it away."
"We could save innocent people," Neville said slowly.
"It could bolster the people's morale too," Daphne said just as slowly. "If they see the aurors catching death eaters and fighting back."
Harry looked around at the slowly hardening faces of his friends.
Sirius came in while certain people were still muttering amongst themselves.
"What's going on?" he asked. "Couldn't get out of you-know-where fast enough."
"We're pretty sure we know where the death eaters are going attack next, in four hours," Harry answered. "Some of us want to turn it over to the aurors, others think they'll botch it and want us to handle it."
Sirius looked immediately shocked by that before studying the map. At first he wanted to protest but he could already see the determination on some of their young faces.
"You sure there's only fifteen death eaters?" he asked after studying it.
"That's been the standard," Graham Pewsey agreed. "If we do this, I'll be able to definitely determine their numbers just as the attack starts. We'd have a backup team ready to follow whoever goes if needed."
"We'd need at least 20 people to cover this attack," Ron said, shaking his head. "I mean, we're ready for it. We've got the tactics and more than enough of the twins supply to trap the area to our advantage. We can blind them before they even realize what's happening."
"But we would be tipping our hand," Hermione sighed. "Everyone, stand back please."
Obeying, even whilst bickering among themselves, they stood back to the edges of the room to allow Hermione the space she needed.
With a few flicks of her wand, all of the sofas and armchairs marched to the center of the ballroom and created an inwards facing circle.
All of the tables followed, situating themselves in front of the seats. There was a place for everyone to sit and room for them to write.
Hermione finished by spelling a piece of parchment and quill into each place and then placed a subtle voice amplification charm to make sure everyone's voice carried.
After they all sat down, discussion resumed.
"I still say it tips our hand early," Ella Wilkins said.
"I think it's time we start thinking about when we're going to tip our hand at all," Hermione interjected. "Logically, it's going to be some time this year. Voldemort or the Ministry are going to make some move in Hogwarts and it's going to bring us to light."
"That's within Hogwarts, yes. But putting Voldemort on the lookout for resistance this early? He'll be expecting it from future attacks." Sophie Roper spoke up.
"If someone doesn't do something to show the dark that someone's going to stand up to them, they're going to recruit more people." Angelina spoke up. "That's how it always works. They'll see the dark as the winning side."
They all thought about that for a moment.
"She's right," Lavender Brown agreed. "I remember my cousin Archie talking about Voldemort trying to recruit my uncle during the first war. They'll just get more bold the more they win."
"We can do something to save innocent people," Sally-Anne opined. "Isn't that the point of the DA? Protecting ourselves and others?"
"It is, Sally-Anne, but we got the aurors ready for this for a reason," Harry tried again. "They're better equipped, aren't they?
"Their response time is still far too slow," Susan said, shaking her head. "My auntie's trying to change it but ministry regulations aren't making it easy."
"Response time isn't a problem though," he pressed. "We're giving them a four hour head start,"
"If they even listen to the tip," Tracey Davis added.
"Why wouldn't they?" Harry asked
"They might see it as a trap or a trick or an exaggeration," Susan admitted. "It was a problem for auntie during the first war — people seeing a figure in a dark cloak, report an impending death eater attack."
"That really happened?" Hermione asked.
"People were afraid," the puff explained. "Spooked easy — it's happening now too. The ministry doesn't have a way to prioritize tips and you can't send anything directly to Amelia Bones that's anonymous. It'd take hours to sort."
"Really doesn't sound effective," Harry sighed.
"And are the aurors really better equipped than us?" Sally Smith spoke up from where she'd been studying plans and tactics. "We've got tear gas, stun grenades, tar carpet, and rope robes in excess from the twins. Those four things alone could take fifteen death eaters."
"We don't know how effective the stun bombs are yet; the twins can't test them on any friendlies because they're too volatile."
"Still, we know most of them work," Sally insisted.
"How many in favor of the DA getting involved? We'd only need a team of 20, plus a few to go ahead with the twins to trap the town." Hermione asked. "Mark yes or no on your sheets of parchment,"
A minute later, the results were in.
"Looks like we're getting involved," Harry said, sighing.
He'd marked no, personally. He had to consider the safety of his friends before anything.
"First thing we need to decide is who's going,"
"I most certainly will be," Sirius spoke up.
"Us three and the twins as well," Harry spoke up, gesturing between Ron and Hermione.
"Me, of course," Sally-Anne spoke up.
Neville, Luna, and Susan wordlessly raised their hands.
In the end, Anthony, Cho, Dean, Amanda, Hannah, Gillian Ossett, Fay, Michael, Terry, and Oliver Rivers were also selected to go as well.
"Fred, George, taken Megan and the Carrow twins to St. Asaph's." Harry directed. "I want tar carpet and stun grenades set to be detonated. How're you planning to fireproof the houses?"
"We've got pocket wards for the business but suppression charms will have to be added to houses just before the battle. If we add them early we'll trigger ministry sensors," George answered seriously; Fred was leaving to get more of their supply from the shop. "We could probably put a large majority of the houses to sleep too,"
"We'll launch the tear gas at individual groups upon arrival. Then we'll trigger the stun bombs and tar carpet. We've got to stun and bind any of them that don't get hit or caught." Ron directed, spreading a map out on the central table.
Hermione easily charmed it to display death eaters, though there were none in the town.
"We've got two hours before we need to be laying low in the town," he continued. "I want five of you in the main town circle; the post office and main businesses are there. There need to be teams of three at the intersections here, here, and here. The remaining five I want on brooms circling the town. Your first objective is smothering any fires the death eaters start. Sirius, I want you in animagus form trotting up and down the main street."
Everyone listened to Ron's plan carefully.
"Gareth's gonna be in charge here; we'll all be in contact through the charmed earpieces. Wear your battle armor and make sure your hoods are fixed in place with the enchantment," he continued; the red haired teenager didn't have any problem taking charge and delivering orders. "We don't need anyone, especially Dumbledore, thinking Harry Potter and his missing best friends are involved."
"If we don't use Hogwarts spells, no one will suspect Hogwarts students," Terry Boot offered.
"Well we're only aiming to capture them, right?" Cho Chang asked nervously, tapping her wand against her palm.
"Correct — that doesn't mean we're shooting stunners," Harry told them. "Bone-breakers, concussion hexes, cutting curses; all of those go. Aim for the knees and wand arm. We don't want them getting back up. Non-verbal if you're comfortable. We're not trying to engage them directly. Remember, these aren't duels. If you see someone fighting one on one, make it two on one if you're not engaged. We expect them to be blinded, surprised, and unable to communicate between groups."
"Those of you on brooms," Hermione spoke up. "Talk to Morag before you leave and get a refresher on dark fire suppression spells. We don't know if they'll use dark magic or not."
"Alright, everyone got their ear bun thing?" Ron asked.
"Ear bud," Hermione corrected with an eye roll.
"Yeah yeah," he waved off. "Remember emergency portkey passwords and remember that no one can hear what you're saying under the hood. If your hood comes off, don't use anyones name over the ear thing."
"Let's go over this again…" Sally-Anne said, smoothing the edges of the map. "You want to stake them out from here, here, and here? Wouldn't it be better to…"
20 armor-clad witches and wizards appeared in a small wooded area. They landed in formation, appearing in unison.
Immediately, they split into groups. Disillusionment spells were applied with silencing charms as well and five immediately took to their brooms. They'd be staking out on the roof of the post office, already closed in the late dusky evening.
Harry, Luna, and Gillian were one team of three. They were on their stomachs in the bushes across from the three-way intersection of a populated neighborhood.
They'd been there for thirty minutes when Gareth came on the comms.
"We've got movement," he announced. "Fifteen death eaters in a field five miles south of you."
"They're breaking into five groups of two and a group of five," he told them, sounding almost breathless.
"Air support; be prepared to aid in the town square," Ron directed.
"Incoming in three, two, one-"
Moderate pops rent the air.
"North eastern neighborhood, you're clear. Move west now," Graham ordered.
"We're got three groups of them pretty close together," Sirius raspy voice came in as he shifted out of his dog form. "Near the four way intersection and leading off into the neighborhood."
Two death eaters appeared directly in front of Harry, Luna, and Gillian.
"Hold fire," Ron whispered; the death eaters were waiting for some sort of signal. Sirius was getting into position a couple yards from Terry and Sally-Anne.
"Death eaters in the circle are trying to start fires," Hermione reported quietly. "They've caught some trees on fire — it's dark magic."
"That must be the signal for the rest of them to start," Ron determined. "Engage now. Twins, activate the traps."
Up and down the street, soft explosions rent the air. It sounded like a whooshing release of energy and tinkling glass — the stun bombs. Seconds later, thick white gas began billowing out of various bushes. It obscured the views of the death eaters but not the DA.
"Stun bombs ineffective," Susan reported grimly; they could hear the sound of spell fire. "Tar carpet is keeping them in place, gas is blinding them. Hannah, reductos. Overwhelm their shields and put these bastards down."
In groups of two, the death eaters weren't prepared for their invisible adversaries. Even though they'd heard the sounds of spell fire from the center, very few of them utilized the heads up.
Apparently, the five in the town center were the most competent.
Luna threw a ball of what appeared to be luminescent twine at the feet of her two. Within seconds, it had exploded all over them. They were quickly bound in glowing rope robes, arms pressed to their sides.
The ropes automatically withdrew the wands from their fingers and Gillian hit them both with a medical-grade concussion hex — he was an excellent healer and quick with a wand.
"Six death eaters in the Northernmost neighborhood," Gareth informed them. "They short-range apparated to each other,"
"I thought we blocked apparation," Cho, on a broom, growled.
"Design flaw — noted," Hermione ground out. "They can apparate within the wards but not outside of them. If you're 17, you can too. Noceo cruentas,"
They all winced; that was a nasty laceration hex from the mild-mannered Granger.
"Two brooms heading their way," Fred announced, speaking for George as well.
"Gillian, Luna, to the town center. I'm going into the neighborhoods," Harry barked.
Harry took off at a run in the opposite direction. For him and the rest of the DA, the thick white fog looked like nothing more than mist and he could see two death eaters down on the ground already.
Continuing on, he saw one death eater exchanging spells with Terry and Sally-Anne.
Harry hit him in the back with a bone breaker; it caught him in the ribs and threw him to the right. The motion of his wand transitioned smoothly into a transfiguration based incarcerous spells, binding the man in strong chains. He finished with a stunning charm.
Terry and Sally-Anne were tearing off after him now, towards the main confrontation.
"They're getting nasty!" Neville announced.
A flash of green spell fire confirmed that. One of them had conjured a gust of wind that effectively cleared away the gas.
Ahead, he could see his friends ducking and casting just like he'd taught them. They were all moving efficiently and trusted their shields to cover them.
Two forms raced over Harry's head; the twins. Terry and Sally-Anne sped up when they saw the explosion of light from what was, undeniably, the redheaded duo.
"Stinging sap," one of the twins said smugly as a few death eaters screamed.
Four death eaters were still standing when Harry arrived. He growled and threw his hand out when he saw a flash of hunter green light.
"Contego," he voiced, knowing his wandless spell would be stronger that way.
The yellow-hued shield sprung up in front of Ron, deflecting the muscle-inversion curse.
"Celer jaculum," he cast.
Three crimson javelins sped out of his wand. One missed, as he had aimed low, but two found their way into the thighs of the death eaters closest to him.
Someone threw a set of rope robes at them and they were bound. Before their cronies could do much else, they were struck by multiple hexes and landed in a heap against some trash bins.
"Status?" Harry asked, pressing a hand to his ear.
"I see no targets moving," Gareth said; they could vaguely hear the chatter of DA members in the Firewall ballroom.
"Town Center's clear," Luna's breathy but concentrated voice answered.
"Eyes on count?" Ron asked.
"Eyes on five," Luna answered for the town center.
"Eyes on two,"
"Eyes on two,"
"Eyes on five,"
"Eyes on one," Neville finished the sound-off, retrieving a death eater from the bushes.
"Stun every one of them again," Ron ordered, waiting until every death eater had been definitely stunned. "Role call,"
Everyone called off their name and injury status — no one had anything more than some spell burns and a sprained wrist.
"Get all the death eaters into the town center; line them up, hit them with the tracker virus, and place a muggle repelling charm." Harry ordered.
He levitated four death eaters. Susan, Neville, and Ron all helped levitate the rest. Along the road back to the main square, the DA took the trussed up unconscious offenders and floated them into the town square.
Cho, Dean, Hermione, and Anthony had already established a perimeter of muggle repelling and detection wards. Everyone's hoods were still in place. The twins were sweeping up and down the streets to make sure every remnant of their pranks were removed.
"Have we got any way of knowing when the ministry will arrive?"
"Average response time of nine minutes," Zara Valli's distinctive voice answered.
"Thought you were on vacation, Valli," Harry commented gruffly to the well established socialite and budding pureblood Lady Regent of her family.
"And miss this?" she scoffed; she was poised elegantly in a wing-backed chair in the Firewall ballroom. "I'm sorry I missed the discussion of it's merits."
"Colin, you're clear to move in. I want you in and out; all we need are their pictures."
"Nonessential personnel — clear out," Ron barked.
"Two minutes till we can expect them," Susan said, shifting nervously.
The town was eerily still; most all of the muggles slept on, unawares. The ones that weren't asleep couldn't leave their houses and they couldn't see out of their windows.
"Cutting it close," Harry said gruffly.
Multiple portkeys activated. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Susan, the twins, and Sirius were the only ones remaining. Sirius was already checking his godson over with his eyes, coming to stand behind the armor clad boy. Harry didn't have a scratch on him that he could tell.
Just as everyone left, Colin's pre-made portkey placed him right near the copse of trees on one side of the center. Everyone started, wands aimed his way, but they were dropped within seconds.
Colin didn't comment, well accustomed to jumpy reactions. He moved immediately towards the bound prisoners, camera at the ready.
The masks had already been removed, wands snapped at their feet. They were all low level death eaters. The highest ranking one was probably Batten Nott, a cousin of the main branch of the Nott family.
"Got it," Colin nodded to them all and activated his portkey.
"You all go now," Harry waved off. "Sirius, you too."
Hermione stayed, knowing she was needed.
"I've got the portkey trails," she assured him.
"I'll clear our magical signatures," Harry nodded. "We'll have thirty seconds of grace to portkey out or we'll leave our own signatures behind,"
Hermione nodded and raised her wand. She moved it with skill in a complicated pattern.
Harry, however, closed his eyes and brought his magic to the surface. After a moment, he began a humming chant.
The knowledge of how to do what he was doing was lost to all but a few. At first it had been because of a scarcity of power with which to perform the spell but later that had turned into a scarcity of knowledge.
Sirius had recommended the book; apparently aura cleansing was a very restricted talent and all books had been pulled out of print in 1707 with the advent of the Ministry. It took a load of magical talent and the ability to recognize auras he wanted to remove and auras he wanted to remain (i.e. the death eaters).
Luckily, Harry knew his friends and their auras very well. He walked briskly down the street to the last intersection they'd fought at.
"Let's go," Harry said as soon as he was finished.
"Just one second," Hermione said breathlessly.
"Aurors incoming," Gareth warned them. "In 3, 2,-"
Simultaneously, Harry and Hermione portkeyed away. As soon as Hermione left, her wards fell. The period of grace after the cleansing spell ended and no trace was left that they or their wards had ever been there.
The aurors appeared, wands at the ready, to find fifteen trussed up unconscious death eaters.
"Bloody hell, you two," Ron scolded. "That was cutting it close,"
"There were a lot of portkey trails," Hermione said defensively. "We got out in time,"
"Barely," Ron retorted.
Gillian and Audrey, Lanuaria's apprentice, were doing rounds around the room. Some of the spell burns from curses that were barely dodged required creams.
Everyone was chattering loudly and excitedly; Colin begged to bring out the presentation pensieve. Harry had just gotten it set up when Chie Shinohara pushed open the grand doors; they would rebuff any non-DA members when meetings were in progress.
"I saw the journal — is everyone okay?"
"I'm logging injuries in the journal now," Daphne said from a small elegant writing desk she'd transfigured. "Just some spell burns and Cho sprained her wrist with some broom maneuver. They're all about to share their memories of the fight,"
"Oo, wait," Chie called, stepping elegantly through the crowd of students and to the front. "If it's memories of the same event in the same general location I can piece them all together,"
A couple of the more exuberant members cheered.
"Yes please, Chie," Hermione agreed politely with a weary smile.
All of them were still in their battle robes, caplet hoods down. If they were being honest, they all felt a bit like badasses. Very tired badasses.
"Could be good for us, evaluate what we need to improve." Harry commented as Chie began doing something to their memories.
"I want more numbers next time," Ron determined. "Even having an extra five overhead had us going at it one on one on the ground."
"We'd like to know what went wrong with the stun grenades," the twins said in unison.
"It's ready," Chie commented, smoothing her floral dress. She'd picked up work in the Chinese embassy as a magical liaison of sorts and normally looked business formal.
Everyone quieted down as the pensieve projected a much wider view than they were used to; they could clearly see the entire street and town center as if it were a 3D map.
As the memory played, Chie approached Harry.
"Harry," she greeted, nodding gently. "It won't be probable to arrange a visit to China this summer but my auntie sent along some information. It's rather delicate though."
"Are you staying for the night?" he asked, knowing she had elected to move into Firewall castle rather than pay rent on an apartment.
"Perhaps we can talk about it in my study on the third floor, east wing, after breakfast?"
"That works," she agreed before slipping off to find her own seat near her old schoolmates.
By the end of the relatively short memory, Ron had a sheet of notes about things they needed the work on. The twins had stood obnoxiously close to the pensieve when the stun bombs had exploded but hadn't been able to pinpoint what had gone wrong.
At the end, there as much discussion between them all before Colin stood up and called for attention.
"I'll be going to Diagon bright and early to pick up a stack of Prophets," the soon to be fifth-year Gryffindor said, not feeling any nerves as he spoke to the large but lounging group. "Need about five of the press squad up bright and early to write the report,"
"Daphne, did you finish medical reports and inventory?" Hermione asked from her own desk.
"It's all there," she tapped her journal with a manicured nail.
"I think we're good for tonight then," Harry declared, waving a hand towards the doors to end the privacy wards. "Seems the house elves decided we'd be having a small feast — they cooked accordingly."
"Every night is like a circus in this place, Potter," Ella Wilkins said with an eye roll and a Slytherin look of disdain everyone knew was faked.
"Oh stuff it, Ella," Sophie Roper retorted. "You love it here."
Ella sniffed, corners of her lip twitching.
"It might have grown on me,"
The group laughed and headed into the large dining room big enough to house all of the occupants of the castle. There was a celebration to be had.
A/N: I'm back! My computer charger broke and I couldn't scrounge up the cash to buy a new, exorbitantly expensive one until the end of last week and it didn't deliver until Saturday. Then this hurricane Patricia (I live in Houston, Texas) knocked out my internet so here I am. Hopefully I'll be able to keep with the regular posting schedule now. I won't be posting this Wednesday though.
Please review and let me know what you thought of the DA in action. Any suggestions? Questions? Things you think need addressing or changing?