A/N: I think I once swore I would only keep this in Harry's POV, but this was too good an opportunity to pass up. This chapter is done in a rotating POV. I present you Halloween, continued right where we left off. Next chapter will return to the normal POV, I think so, at least. As usual, I am making absolutely no money off of this, and am only doing this to prove to myself I can actually write a coherent story. Enjoy, and don't forget to review or join the yahoo group, where if you leave questions in your reviews there's a high probability I'll answer them on the group, if it doesn't give away the story. And to save confusion, Italics either mean a thought a letter, or a flashback. Bold is used for spells. I don't own any of these characters, the canon herself JK does…or maybe Warner Brothers does…maybe Scholastic…who knows? Anyways, it's not me, and I am not here to make any money. The non-evil Slytherin camp should especially like Blaise in this chapter. And I got a new beta. Yay! Her name is Pheobie, and a pal of mine, so feel free to point out every single possible mistake. And this might just be my longest chapter to date. Don't get used to it!
Warning: The Draco Malfoy part of this chapter is more than a little dark. I may have to up the rating for it, so if you are squeamish over blood and, well, torture, avoid the chapter and skip to the very end of the section. There is a reason I went into such detail.
Halloween time was approaching, and even though most of the students were anticipating the great Halloween feast, a notable few were dreading the holiday. Harry Potter was one of the few. It seemed every Halloween something terrible happened, and he hoped this year wouldn't live up to the trend, and he was anxiously awaiting his second wand. Blaise Zabini was another. She was concerned over the latest wave of murmuring that followed her when she walked across the Slytherin common room, a sure fire sign that someone was being planned, and odds are it's against her. Hermione Granger was another concerned; she was starting to get the feeling at Ronald Weasly was going to ask her out soon, and she wasn't sure how to let him down gently without completely destroying their friendship…the crush longed since passed. Draco Malfoy was nervous more than anything. He had to find a way out of the castle during the feast to finally receive the Dark Mark during the Dark Lord's initiation rituals, which were only conducted on Halloween. And Albus Dumbledore was concerned, because all signs were pointing to another traitor in their mist. (Chapter 13)
Hermione had a crush on one Ron Weasly for the longest time, ever since he saved her from the troll in their first year. Sure Harry had helped, but Ron was the one that knocked it out after all. She was desperate for him to ask her to the Yule Ball in their fourth year, but he lollygagged around and when Krum kept asking her, she finally gave in and said yes. Too bad Ron was too late. But this year her crush finally had started to dissipate. Sure, it was still going strong when Ron and Harry had begun their fight, but she had reached her limit. The Ronald Weasly she knew would never have let this fight carry on for so long. He doesn't even seem to care if they are ever friends again. This is much worse than fourth year.
Worst of all, she had begun to pick up signs that Ron was finally interested and was going to ask her out sooner rather than later and she had no idea how to handle it. Sure, part of her wanted to say yes, but the larger part of her wanted to say no. But after flying off the handle at Harry like that and attacking Blaise, how would he take her rejection? And just being slightly scared of his reaction…isn't that reason enough to say no and never look back?
Surely I'm over exaggerating. He would never hurt me. 'Just like he'd never hurt Harry?' the often ignored part of her mind piped up. No, he was angry with Harry because he was supplanting their friendship for one with Blaise. How can I let him down easy?
Hermione spent most of the day thinking, and it's a good thing she did, because Ron cornered her just before the Halloween feast was scheduled to start.
"Hey, Hermione, I found out from my father that tomorrow's a Hogsmeade Weekend. Dumbledore's going to announce it later tonight at the feast. I was wondering if you would, you know, like to go with me, as in a date type of thing."
"Umm, well...If you would have asked me 2 months ago I wouldn't have a second thought."
"So why do I sense a big 'but' coming on?" muttered Ron with a flushed face.
"Because…we've all changed in the past couple of months. The whole dynamic of the house is off. Not to mention the War going on. I just don't know if it would be wise for us to go out on a date with the current climates." Hermione cringed. That was not the plan of action she had decided on earlier. I have to work on keeping my cool in a tense situation.
"Is this about Potter? Was I right when I thought you two were a couple in the beginning of the year! I KNEW IT!"
"Ron calm down. Harry and I were never a couple. But you are right, this is partially about Harry, if you want me to be honest." Ron looked like he had just taken a PepperUp potion and steam was about to shoot out of his ears. "Not in the sense you're thinking about. You just don't seem to be the same Ron I had a crush on…" Hermione blushed at this. She wasn't counting on admitting that either.
"You had a crush on me? And you think I'm the only one that's changed around here?"
"Well, no, but you did try to seriously injure a student."
"She's a SLYTHERIN!"
"But she's still a student, and she's on the side of the light."
"She is now. Or at least that is what she says. Look, that's not the point."
"I think it is the point though Ron. The guy I had a crush on and who I wanted to ask me to the Yule Ball would have never even thought to use that curse, much less actually use it, almost successfully, on another student. And whenever I try to talk about it, you shut yourself off. How could we have any sort of relationship with that?"
"Look. I…I know I've been off this year. Seeing Pot…Harry flirt with you and flirt with Blaise just set me off. I wanted to be the one to flirt with you. Not Harry."
"Maybe it's not too late for that Ron. But not right now."
Ron. In a rare moment of maturity, asked the question Hermione has been wanting to answer. "What can I do to show you I'm the same Ron you had a crush on?"
Hermione paused. She wasn't expecting him flat out ask. "Well. For starters, you need to actually show some real remorse over trying to curse Blaise. You need to try and be friends with Harry again. I can't force you to be friends, but you could at least be courteous to him like you are to any other Gryffindor. You are going to have to be the old Ron again. I don't want you to just pretend, because not only would I see through that I would be offended."
Ron hesitantly agreed, but Hermione couldn't tell if he was being serious about it or not. She said her piece and did all she could, but thinking back on the conversation something stuck her. Why did he know that tomorrow would be a Hogsmeade weekend. He mentioned that his father knew, but why would his father know something like that, that is unless Dumbledore needed the extra security?
Halloween was on a Friday this year, and in the spirit of things, with all puns intended, Albus Dumbledore decided to make the weekend a Hogsmeade weekend, the first one of the year. By waiting to the last minute to announce this, at the Feast tonight when he knew at least some students with questionable allegiances might not be there, he hoped to avoid any surprise attacks.
At this thought, Dumbledore rubbed his forehead gently. It is just like during the first war with Voldemort with students deciding to throw their allegiance to Voldemort and not the side of the light. Some, he could understand, after all if they were raised to be dark then its extremely hard to not end up that way, the Malfoy family providing enough examples to prove this statement. Severus was another who was trained at an early age to hate, but managed to overcome this and acted as a spy in the first War. Even though his influence was greatly diminished, he still bore the Dark Mark and did what Voldemort asked of him, which was generally limited to brewing potions. Severus is the one who brought him word of the ritual tonight, and Severus was the one who the students would meet up with in the Forbidden Forest. It remained to be seen if Voldemort would use Severus as the main contact to the marked students. Either way, Severus will know whom the student Death Eaters are inside Hogwarts and they can be duly watched. They would not be arrested immediately, for a variety of reasons. At the moment, although that will change soon enough, simply possessing the mark is no crime itself, because there is no way to determine if it was put on by Voldemort or just a magical tattoo in a spot of teenage rebellion. He also hoped that even though they may have taken the Mark, students would ultimately see their wrong and support the light. And even if they did arrest those with the Mark immediately, how would they tell the public how they knew? Severus would be immediately suspected as a spy and Voldemort has a kill first ask questions later policy on potential spies, which is how they lost their other spies in the first War.
Certain precautions needed to be in place for the Hogsmeade trip. The Order of the Phoenix will be on duty, albeit in secret, and the Ministry had agreed to provide some Aurors for the trip. He alerted the various stores in the town that they were coming, to give them the necessary time to prepare their stock and any store security they would want in place. Minister Weasly is taking more precautions than normal; with two of his children going into Hogsmeade the Minister's personal guard will also be on duty. Hopefully the security will be enough. In the first war there was only one attack on Hogsmeade that occurred during a Hogsmeade weekend, but luckily the potential crisis was quelled before it got out of hand. I can only hope we will be as lucky and as prepared as last time. Our bad luck with traitors seems to be holding strong...
In the last War there were several traitors to the Order, the most notable being Pettigrew. There already seems to be a traitor in their midst, and this infuriated Dumbledore to no end. Very few people had ever seen Albus Dumbledore truly angry, but rest assured once he found who was betraying the Order they would experience his anger full force. And to think that someone would betray Harry Potter…Granted they were working off the suspicions of one Blaise Zabini, but as the saying goes, "CONSTANT VIGILANCE." Miss Zabini said that they seemed to already know about Harry's trunk, and that it appeared they knew more but couldn't be certain. That means a student, in addition to any member of the Order and some on Diagon Alley, betrayed that snippet of information. It turns out that it was not as narrow a window as originally thought. The longer he thought about it the wider the amount of possibilities. Who knows how many students may have seen his trunk. Almost every Order member knew about it and contributed something to the trunk. There were only a few in Diagon Alley who knew that the trunk purchased was going to Harry Potter, but there could have been anyone spying on their trip.
Dumbledore let out a great sigh. I would never admit this to anyone, least of all Minerva or Poppy, but some days I think I may be too old to wage another War. I have made many mistakes, far too many. But who could lead the light? There are none in the Order who would or could act in the capacity of a Muggle General, and none who are willing to be the public figurehead for the light. Nonetheless, I need to consider the possibility that I will not live to see the end of the War. I know I cannot kill Tom, but he could kill me. I need to start training a successor as General...someone with new ideas on how to wage this war. Minerva could easily take care of Hogwarts if something should ever happen, and even though he would despise it, Mr. Potter could easily be the figurehead he almost already has become.
The preparations for the Halloween Feast, by contrast, were much less stressful than his other musings. These celebrations were all the more important in a time of war. Everybody, especially children, needed to be reminded that there is a life filled with its own kind of magic apart from the war. Minerva had the suggestion of having a masked ball for the students, but Dumbledore thought it would be better suited for a different holiday…and the students would need more time to design their masques. He decided to have a ghost story contest for the younger years, with the judges being real ghosts. The Fat Friar, Sir Nicholas and, surprisingly, the Bloody Baron all volunteered to judge. For the older years there would be a pumpkin carving contest, and an informal dance put on by the Skeleton Quartet, with various booths put on by the Muggle Studies classes featuring traditional Muggle Halloween Games. He tried to talk the professors into featuring special Halloween-focused lessons, and as usual, the only professor to refuse was Severus.
The professor's eyes twinkled. What would Halloween be without a few surprises? He walked down to the Charms corridor to see about a special charm for the doors to the Great Hall for the night…
Blaise had missed studying with Harry over the past few weeks. They were assigned new Potions partners; it turns out this would now be a monthly thing. She only saw Harry when they met for pre-arranged study times and in classes, but not nearly as often as in the beginning of the year. She missed studying with Harry, but she refused to admit she might have just missed hanging out with Harry and not just the studying. She also would never admit to being scared, but she was often on alert. After all, living in the Slytherin dungeons when it widely known that her family sided with Dumbledore could be classified as attempted suicide in some circles. She thoroughly enjoyed her own room, and considered the late night hexing it took to get one a small price to pay.
She hated the murmurs though. Last time she heard the constant murmuring in the common room she was hexed. She was fully expecting some sort of prank or attack today, on Halloween. What better day to scare the daylights after a "House Traitor" then on the very day they would expect it. Blaise audibly snorted at this, causing a few raised eyebrows in the common room. She blushed and got back pretending to be enthralled with one of her Potions texts.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only real Slytherin left at all! What happened to the great and noble house of the cunning? Most of these slags couldn't think of a cunning plan for the life of them. Many of them desire to flock to a power hungry false lord and become lackeys! Where's the ambition in that? No wizard can grant another more magical power, and if they could why would Voldemort do that? Give up power willingly? I'll give him credit; he's certainly ambitious enough to be Slytherin, so why don't those morons who follow him realize it? Now the constant muttering and murmuring...if they wanted to plan some sort of trick on me Halloween is the last day they should chose! It's just too obvious. I think we need to institute some inner-house classes or something. "Slytherin 101: How to create a cunning plan." Blaise snorted again, but this time glared at the people around her who started to mutter again. Fools.
"Uh, Blaise?" A third year that Blaise couldn't quite recall ever meeting was looking at her with the oddest look on his face. "I was wondering…if…youwouldn'tmindtalkingtoagroupofusinprivate."
"You were wondering what?" Blaise could hardly understand the twitchy little thing.
The third year dropped his voice to just above a whisper. "If you wouldn't mind talking to a group of us…in private."
Are you kidding me? This is what the crafty and the clever have come to? Asking flat out if I could go along with a group of them in private? What type of prank are they thinking about putting on! He's only a third year, he couldn't do anything, even though Malfoy could have put him up to it to try and lure me somewhere in private. "Why should I even consider that? I've been hexed by who knows. And I should just go off with a group of you, somewhere private?"
"Look. Do you think we're stupid enough to tell you about anything we'd do in advance? Don't answer that. You can pick the place. Just…"
Blaise thought this over for a bit. Her room had been recently warded by Professor Snape to prevent anyone with harmful intentions to enter. I suppose I could see what they want. This might have something to do with my parents' decisions...and I did promise to look out for what was happening down here in the Dungeons...
"Ok. Meet in my room in 10 minutes. If anything funny happens, trust me, you'll regret it."
Having a conversation with this…eclectic…group of Slytherins turned out to be the best decision she made all week.
"Blaise. Some of us in this room have no desire to follow You-Know-Who, but most just aren't sure what to do. You and your family came out supporting Dumbledore, the first traditionally-Slytherin family to do so," started the third year, which had finally introduced himself as Rocky Maltese, "and we wanted to ask you why you don't support him."
"Well. Loaded question. I'm certainly not going to answer 'because it's the right thing to do, so I have to'. I'm still a Slytherin, don't worry. Why? Well, what's to be gained by supporting Voldemort over Dumbledore? One side is going to win the war and one won't. That's a pretty clear statement, but compare what would happen under a world run by Voldemort compared to how it is now? Sure, there's incompetence in the Ministry and there are under qualified people governing the more qualified. But I want to be the one to replace those incompetents. Voldemort wants to destroy the whole system, and crown himself ruler. Where is the opportunity to move up to rule if he's the one deciding who dies and who is allowed to move up? That would squash all ambition left. Who wants to be the one that can serve the 'Dark Lord' (using airquotes) the best when you can be the one to rule magical society? Voldemort kills and tortures his own followers regularly! He couldn't give a flying flip what your ambitions are, but if they conflict with his it's a death sentence or worse."
"We were told he rewards his followers…"
"By who? Malfoy?" She smirked at the nodding of the fourth year that replied. "You should have learned by now not to trust anything Malfoy says. His father served Voldemort and it got him in prison with dementors for Merlin's sake."
"But how is having Dumbledore tell you what to do any different than Voldemort telling you what to do?" asked the only seventh year, Celeste Woodward
"Dumbledore certainly has never told me what to do. My parents offered to help Dumbledore with what they could do. He listened to them and only asked them to do what they offered. Voldemort doesn't care if you want to do it or not. You do it or die." Replied Zabini, as she began to pace around the room. This is exactly what needed to happen.
"But we're Slytherins! V..Vol..He is more powerful than Dumbledore. He came back from the dead! Shouldn't we go with who is the most powerful?" asked a rather frightened first year. She was glad to see that five out of the six first years were here.
"What makes you so sure Voldemort is more powerful than Dumbledore? Don't forget about Golden Boy Potter. He survived Voldemort's own killing curse. If you add up the power of everyone fighting for Voldemort and compare it to everyone who's fighting against him, you'd find that there's an overwhelming majority of power on the side of Dumbledore. And Voldemort never actually died, don't forget." Replied Blaise, starting to gather some steam.
"Well, what can we do inside Slytherin then?" asked Celeste. "I'm tired of feeling like I don't belong in my own house."
"Me Too," agreed Blaise, "Just look around! We've got almost all of the younger years and quite a few of the older ones in here. We don't need to worry about being bossed around by Malfoy and his junior Death Eater goons. We need to stick together, the younger years especially. They will only hurt you if you get into a situation where it's just you versus one or more of them. Stick together. Don't let them tell you what to do or what to think. You are just as good, if not better, than they are. Those who aren't already actively supporting Voldemort and are unsure, talk to them about the other option. Or at least convince them to remain neutral and ride out the war. They shouldn't have to take a side as long as they remain in Hogwarts. Just remember that not following Voldemort does not make you any less of a Slytherin. If anything, it makes you more of one. Salazar Slytherin would have never allowed anyone to tell him what to do with our lives, and neither should we!" Blaise looked stunned when some of the group started to applaud. "I should leave the speeches to Potter." Many started to giggle at this. It was pretty common knowledge that Harry and Blaise had formed somewhat of a friendship around Slytherin House. "Now, any more questions?"
Blaise resolved to tell Harry about what had happened in Slytherin House that day. She knew she would see him at the Halloween Feast and would corner him before he could split off to the Gryffindor table. After the rather long conversation, it was almost time for the feast anyhow. She walked to the Great Hall, and looked a little concerned after seeing Flitwick and Dumbledore walking away from the doors sharing an inside joke. Shrugging it off, she marched through the doors and felt an odd tingling sensation. She looked down and tried to yell "DUMBLEDORE! You meddling old fool. I could just murder you right now!" Unfortunately for Blaise, it came out as "Of the love or hatred God has for the English, I know nothing, but I do know that they will all be thrown out of France, except those who die there." What the hell?
Draco Malfoy had both been looking forward to and anxious about the arrival of Halloween. He would finally be inducted into the service of the Dark Lord. He just hoped his future Master would not be too upset for his failure to control that slag Zabini and use her to spy on Potter.
The Dark Lord only performed his initiations on magical holidays, but by far the most important ones were inducted on Halloween. It was an honor to be inducted at all, but a much bigger one to be inducted on Halloween. The Dark Lord had sent word to meet in the Forbidden Forest with the other few recruits and to go with Professor Snape to the meeting location. He had always known Snape was a Death Eater, but seeing it first hand and hearing about it from his father are two different experiences. His father. He was surprised the Dark Lord had not yet broken his father out of Azkaban, but he assumed they would be talking about it at the meeting tonight. His father had been the Dark Lord's most valued servant, and would surely be missed by the Dark Lord.
He was supposed to meet the others an hour before the start of the Halloween Feast. With the calamity that the Feast normally provides, with the fake illness he's supposedly been suffering from, no one would think twice about his absence from the old fool's party. He wasn't sure how many others he would be meeting there, but he had noticed other students supposedly ill that he would never have suspected to be attending tonight. Tonight he would become the man he was destined to be.
Fifteen minutes before the start of the feast, Draco made his way towards the Forbidden Forest. Night had just fallen and was dark enough to not be overly noticeable. Feeling pretty confident no one saw him leaving the castle, he began to breathe easier as he continued towards the Forbidden Forest. There was a small clearing just within the forest that Professor Snape would meet the other students. When he got there, there were four people already waiting for him. Pansy Parkinson was no surprise. He knew she was intelligent enough and dark enough to be welcomed into the Dark Lord's ranks. She was probably the first to arrive, knowing her. Anthony Goldstein from Ravenclaw was there. Draco's father often spoke of the Goldstien's as being a proper wizarding family, even though they were often too smart for their own good. His main surprise was Zacharias Smith. A Hufflepuff gone dark. Now I've seen it all.
"You sure you're in the right place Smith? This isn't one of the Halloween booths."
"Cram it Malfoy. I'm here for the same reason you are. At least my father is still able to properly serve the Dark Lord, unlike some disgraces here. Beat by the mudblood Granger. Must be driving him more insane than Azkaban already has."
"You count yourself lucky that we are on our way to see the Dark Lord tonight. I don't want to bloody up his latest recruits," replied Malfoy with an icy glare.
"Both of you cram it. I don't want to have to separate a pair of sixth years." This came from a seventh year Slytherin called Christopher Franzen.
An uncomfortable silence fell on the five of them, until some unsettling wrestling in the trees around them led to the arrival of Professor Snape. "Good, the five of you are here. You may be surprised to find some of your peers not here. This does not mean that they do not or will not serve the Dark Lord, but he only wanted the best and the brightest to be inducted on Halloween night. More students will be inducted soon. Gather around and grab this branch. It will portkey us to his location. You are expected to have learned how to Apparate, if you don't know already, by time he calls you next. The portkey will activate in five seconds."
Four and a half seconds later, Snape, Malfoy, Parkinson, Franzen, Goldstein and Smith arrived to the gathering point. None knew exactly how many would be inducted tonight, but there were many people and creatures from all walks of life arriving. The slow murmuring that was going through the crowd immediately fell into a hushed silence as the members of the Inner Circle arrived, with the Dark Lord Voldemort following. Everyone, including the Inner Circle, dropped down to one knee as Voldemort entered the room and began to speak.
"Death Eaters and recruits, this is a grand occasion. Only the top recruits are initiated into the ranks of the Death Eaters on Halloween. This year we have a total of thirteen joining our ranks, with five coming from within Hogwarts herself. Recruits, rise and step forward." The thirteen complied, some in visible awe by merely standing close to the Dark Lord. Some were much older than the Hogwarts Five and some, like Marcus Flint, had barely graduated. "You must prove your worth not only to me but to your fellow Death Eaters. As a group, go to a completely random Muggle village. Bring back 2 prisoners each and wait for further instructions. Bellatrix will take you to the town and bring you back."
Bellatrix grinned at the thirteen and led them away. "I expect you to also cause as much destruction while gathering your prisoners. If any of the Inner Circle, which includes myself, are unhappy with you by the end of the night, you will not be granted the opportunity to join our lord's service. Grab a portkey from the basket and say 'Pureblood.' This will take you to the village. You may be sent to the same village or to different villages. Once you have your two prisoners, portkey them back and wait here until all thirteen have arrived. I may or may not apparate there to watch your progress. Now go."
Draco was portkeyed to a small village…he had no idea where. It was in stark contrast to the lavish manor where the Death Eaters were meeting. Muggles. If they live like this they are better off dead. Only two recruits were portkeyed with him: Goldstein and Parkinson. Malfoy immediately took charge. "Ok, Goldstien, you take the house with the broken door. Parkinson, take the house across from it. Meet here as soon as possible. Take the prisoners and destroy the house, and do whatever else you can do to cause a little damage."
Malfoy marched into the house…calling it a house was too good. He marched into the hovel and found a couple sleeping in a large bed off to the side. No children, but two pets, both dogs. Malfoy snarled…he hated dogs. He started off by stunning both dogs, which woke up the couple. Both appeared to be about fifty years old, and immediately tried to plead with him, which Malfoy cackled at. "Please sir, we have nothing you could use. Just let us go. Please."
"Shut up. Imperio. Imperio." Malfoy felt a rush as he gained total control over both members of the couple. He commanded to the wife, "kill the two dogs, using nothing but your hands and your teeth." He broke the curse on the husband long enough for him to watch his beloved wife brutalize the only family members they had left. "Marie, stop. Marie, leave Fred and Ginger alone. Marie, stop! MARIE! NOOOO!" Malfoy found this even funnier than their pathetic pleading before. He put the husband under the Imperious curse again, and had them march outside.
"Well done Draco. I'm glad to see the darkness alive and well in the family. Destroy the hovel and lets go," replied an obviously pleased Bellatrix. "Your mother and father would be so proud to see you." Draco took one last look at the hovel, shouted Incendio and saw the hovel burst into flamed.
All thirteen made it back to the manor with their two prisoners. It appeared that only a few managed to get actual family members, and one or two had a father or mother and child. "Have the muggle scum march into the great hall. One by one go in there, torture the two Muggles to your liking and execute them. Parkinson, you first." Malfoy, glad he didn't have to go first so he had time come with creative ways to kill the two.
Finally Malfoy was called. He was the last to go, and had a lot to live up to. He started off by lifting the Imperious curse from one and having the other attack with using only their hands and teeth. This got cheers from the crowd of Death Eaters. Taking it as the good sign that it was, Malfoy continued to have the couple physically abuse the other. Finally, Malfoy had enough of the whimpering, and at the encouragement of the crowd (who was chanting "Kill them!") Malfoy cast Odium on both of the two. This was the first time Malfoy had seen the curse in action. Both Muggles got intense looks of hatred on their faces, and grabbed the knives that had suddenly appeared in their hands, thanks to the curse. Each couple stabbed themselves in their stomach and dragged the knife upward through their chest. The woman fell much earlier than the man, who made it all the way to his upper torso before falling. To finish off the two, Malfoy castthe killing curse on each and joined the rest of the recruits, to the applause of the rest of the Death Eaters.
"Well done, well done. I am please to say all thirteen of you have passed the initiation trials. Step up to receive your mark." One by one, each recruit went up to Voldemort, where upon the Dark Lord cast the spell Morsmordre and the Dark Mark appeared on the forearm of the newly minted Death Eater. Draco Malfoy was the last to receive his mark. When it was his turn, he walked slowly up to Voldemort, kneeled, and kissed the hem of Voldemort's robes. Voldemort sneered, small enough to be picked up on by Malfoy but not by the Death Eaters present. "MORSMORDRE!" Malfoy had only felt this kind of pain when his father was punishing him for coming in second to a mudblood in classes. It felt like his forearm was on fire. Worst of all, he could feel part of his magic leaving his body and going straight towards the mark. Cringing slightly, but not wanting to step out of line, Malfoy muttered "Thank you Master," and joined the rest of the newly minted Death Eaters.
With the initiation complete, the meeting appeared to go on as normal meeting, for all that Malfoy could tell. Malfoy and his fellow students were largely ignored in the meeting. They were talking about plans for a raid, but it seemed they never mentioned the actual location. Malfoy knew that no one would betray the Death Eaters, but the extra level of security was a wise idea. Malfoy was anticipating the end of the meeting when he was startled by a cold summons "Malfoy."
Draco scrambled up to his feet. What could his new master need of him? "Yes Master?"
"I am extremely disappointed in you Malfoy."
Draco's face fell. "For what master?"
"And now you question me. I shall enlighten you, in my graciousness. You not only failed to get control of the Zabini girl and get her to spy on Harry Potter, but you in your carelessness caused the Zabini family to support the meddling old fool. And they convinced OTHER families. You need to be punished."
Draco paled. "Yes Master. I apologize, and ask what I can do for you."
"You? Can do nothing other than scream. CRUICO!"
Draco started shrieking before the curse hit. As soon as it hit, Draco started convulsing. It was worse than the pain of the Dark Mark, and it was all over his body, every single nerve firing in pain. He never imagined he could be in this much pain. Draco would later be awed by the amount of power the Dark Lord had, and wonder if he would survive long enough as a servant to be a servant. Right now all he could do was shriek, scream, and beg and plead for mercy.
Harry Potter woke up on the morning of Halloween worried about what the day would bring. He never had a great Halloween ever since his parents were murdered on Halloween night 15 years ago. He was never allowed to go trick or treating with the other kids growing up and the first Halloween in the wizarding world he had to fight a troll! It seemed to spiral down from there. Last year the school was too much under the thumb of Umbridge to be able to have any sort of celebration. He was fully expecting Voldemort to attack the school or for it to start raining Polyjuice Potion or something equally chaotic. The chaos started when Corning burst into flames, arriving right on top of him still in bed.
"Merlin! Corning! Don't do that! You scared the day lights out of me!"
Corning looked a little put out at this. "Fine then. I have your package from Ollivander. It was causing some trouble so I had to get here as soon as possible rather than fly."
"Sorry, sorry. I didn't mean to get all snippy with you. Just drop the package on the bed. Thanks."
Finally, my new wand! I've been waiting for this to arrive. You know, I bet it's illegal to have more than one wand at the same time. Who care though, I need it, and Ollivander did make it for me after all. Harry opened the package. He grabbed the piece of parchment and read.
Enclosed it your new wand. It was a challenge to create, as the wood you selected wasn't very happy about being manipulated. Hopefully it will be less…temperamental…for you. The wand core is made of the Basilisk fang wrapped in the phoenix feather. This worked better than expected and should prove to be a powerful wand in your hand. Hopefully the wood will allow you to actually hold it in your hand. The wand itself is twelve and a quarter inches. Any questions, go ahead and owl me."
Harry snorted while reading the letter. Looks like the whomping willow gave Ollivander a few whomps when he was working with it. He seems glad to get rid of it. Hope it works...
Harry opened the package and gasped at what he saw. It was a beautiful wand, and much longer than his old one. Harry timidly picked up the wand, and blinding sparks shot out of the wand. He had to cover his eyes, and the bright light woke up everyone else in his dorm.
"What the hell was that?" grumbled Seamus.
"New alarm spell? It is time to wake up anyways," suggested Neville.
Harry was quick to agree "Sounds right. See you at breakfast."
Harry went into his trunk to change. That was quite the interesting reaction. The sparks he got when he first used his older wand was certainly nothing that bright. Harry decided to not use the new wand for classes. It would make it common knowledge that he had a new wand, something Harry did not want to let out; and who knows what the results would be, after that little light show. He would practice with his wand here in his trunk at night and on the weekends and lock it up before leaving for classes.
Classes went better than expected, with it being Halloween and all. Potions was a battle as usual, but in Transfiguration, for example, they learned how to turn pumpkins into black cats. Points were given for the color of the cat's eyes, but taken away if the cat was still orange. Harry managed on his first attempt to only have a pumpkin with a black tail, but successfully managed it on his second. Defense Against the Dark Arts wasn't notable for their topic: covering typical monsters associated with Halloween, but was notable for what happened after the lesson. After class Ron approached Harry, muttered a quick "Sorry for being a prat," and stormed away, followed by an outwardly pleased Hermione. He'll have to ask later what that was all about.
It was announced at lunch that all NEWT Practicums would be cancelled for the Halloween feast. Most of the older students breathed a sigh of relief, even though some (meaning the Ravenclaws and Hermione) bristled at the news.
The time for the Halloween Feast was almost here, and Harry was wondering why he was having such a good day. Nothing serious had happened, minus a plant in Herbology trying to take a bite out of him. Ron even tried to apologize, exactly for what he was unsure, but it was a step in the right direction. He also managed to complete the transformation into a basilisk in his special animagus training with McGonagall, but was only able to hold it for about a second, changing back to human after hearing McGonagall shout and cover her eyes. "Mr. Potter you would be wise to warn me the next time you attempt that. Now OUT!"
The time for the Halloween Feast had arrived finally arrived and Harry was dreading it. Nothing bad had happened so far, so something horrible had to happen during the feast. He made sure to take his wand, but left his new one behind…he needed to try it out with some more spells. As he was making his way to the Great Hall, he noticed a larger than usual crowd at the entrance to the hall. No one seemed to want to go in.
"Well? What's keeping everyone? Go in already! Are the doors locked or something? Either go into the hall or let me through!" The crowd parted and let Harry through. Watch there be another troll on the other side of these doors. Harry went through the doors and felt a strange tingle. Oh Merlin, what now? Harry looked inside the Great Hall and saw everyone and most of the teachers in costumes. That must have been a charm on the door. Why did it go dark all the sudden? Harry pulled up the visor to his newly acquired metal helm and looked down to see himself dressed in a suit of armor, suddenly carrying a lance. Oooooook. He tried to tell the students still waiting in the hall that it was ok to come in, but he ended up actually saying, "This is a strange pavilion, but I suppose I may as well stay in it for the night. Either it is here for some adventure or other, in which case I ought to try the adventure, else the owners have gone away on holiday, and in that case they will not mind my taking shelter for one evening. Anyway, I am lost, and there is nothing else I can do." Bugger.
Trying to save any sort of dignity he had left, he ignored the giggles outside the Great Hall and strode to the Gryffindor table, where he plopped down with a loud clang and what appeared to be Hermione wearing a toga came and sat across from him. "Who are you?" Hermione asked in a more inquisitive tone than normal.
It's me Harry! I'm some sort of knight is my guess. "Sir Castor, do you think that it is a knightly question? Suppose I were Sir Lancelot, and was only calling myself the Chevalier Mal Fet-don't you think I might have some reasons for doing that, reasons which a gentleman of lineage ought to respect?" Sir Lancelot. Well that explains it. Who on Earth is Hermione?"
"Would it be a knightly question if it weren't the lowly Socrates asking the question?"
So Hermione's Socrates. If I remember History of Magic, he was a wizard in the ancient Roman times known for driving Muggles insane for asking questions all the time and was eventually executed for it. How...appropriate. This has to be Dumbledore's work. "Nay…for once shamed may never be recovered." I certainly hope we aren't stuck talking like this all night long.
"Do you think this is the work of the old wise one?" The look on Hermione's face made it obvious it wasn't a question, but looked slightly flustered after calling Dumbledore the 'old wise one.'
"I don't know, fair damsel. I don't know how I got here, so I don't rightly know who I am."
"Fair Damsel? I knew you were making advances on my scantily clad friend. Why would she take a knight when she could have the immaculate Gilderoy Lockhart?"
Harry almost shot pumpkin juice out of his nose. There was Ron, dressed in the same lilac colored robes Lockhart seemed to favor during his time at Hogwarts. Harry almost felt sorry for Ron. Almost being the operative word. Harry wondered how some of his other friends were dressed. Most of the hallway had finally entered after seeing Harry walk through.
"I want to go on a quest. I want to find an adventure."
"Why go on an adventure when you can discuss the causes of it instead?" asked Hermione, who rolled her eyes.
"Why go on adventure when I have gone on the only ones worth going on and wrote them into a concise yet lovely anthology?"
Harry walked around the Great Hall, and sought out some of his friends. Susan Bones was dressed as one of the guards at Buckingham Palace and refused to move from the doorway or say anything to the passersby. Harry involuntary saluted her with his lance, and kept on moving. Terry Boot was dressed as Leonardo DaVinci. Colin Creevy, much to Harry's dismay, was sporting an all-too familiar scar that caused Harry to re-close his helm in embarrassment. Harry walked up to where he thought he saw Blaise, who was dressed in a half suit of armor herself.
"You English dog, leave France or face death!" exclaimed Blaise as Harry approached.
Harry snorted uncontrollably. "If I were free or had my armour, I would fight any champion you liked to put forward, to prove that."
"You could not fight a champion of the lord, for I am Saint Joan D'Arc and survive long enough to wonder why you deserved it. Now get off my soil or all of your men shall perish!"
Harry, while unable to control his speech was able to walk away. If he stayed there, the argument he was having with Blaise, or Joan of Arc, or whoever she was, would just escalate further. Hell, we'd probably end up having to joust or something.
Harry walked back to the Gryffindor table as the feast appeared and Harry dug into it with his usual relish. Hermione/Socrates asked "Why is it do you feel compelled to shove the food in as fast as possible?"
Harry shrugged. "I have been making a fool of myself. Did many people see me while I was mad?" and went back eating, tearing off a piece of turkey from the giant turkey leg he had acquired.
Finally, Dumbledore called for silence. "Happy Halloween! I'm glad to see so many colorful costumes here tonight. Now that the feast is done, the first through third years will follow the Grey Lady to an amateur ghost story telling contest!" The younger years broke out in an excited chatter. "The older years will stay in the Great Hall for a pumpkin carving contest, informal ball, and various booths and activities put on by the Muggle Studies class. Happy Halloween and have a good time all. Oh, and as for the charm used for your costume…"
Harry suddenly jumped to his feet, interrupting by shouting, "Very Well, if you can rescue me out of this prison, I will fight the faction of King Bagdemagus next Tuesday." Harry blushed furiously, all eyes on him (with Ron/Lockhart glaring for stealing the attention off himself), and sat back down.
"No need Sir Harry," Dumbledore chuckled, "I will lift the speech charm now. The costumes will dissolve at midnight. Enjoy!" The entire Great Hall was immediately transformed. All of the House Tables vanished along with the benches causing many students to fall onto the floor. Booths were set up along one wall and long tables set up on the other with hundreds of pumpkins, fresh for the carving. A small band made up of skeletons started to perform some songs that could be heard on the WWN.
Harry, with Hermione and the other Gryffindor sixth years, even including Ron, went to the Pumpkin Carving table. Harry had never carved a pumpkin before, but he had seen the Durselys attempt to do it before and they had these dull knifes they were using. However there were no tools on these tables: only magic could be used. Harry had no idea how to proceed and, with his limited mobility in a suit of armor, Harry's attempt to carve a generic face on the pumpkin caused the pumpkin to shred into pieces and fly all over the people around him. Hermione even learned a valuable lesson: Pumpkin does not go well with toga.
After his miserable attempt at pumpkin carving, Harry left to go look at some of the Muggle Studies booths. Harry tried bobbing for apples with a now-mobile Susan. His favorite booth, however, was the "House of Horrors" where he had to put his hand in "Eyeballs" that were only peeled grapes. Did anybody, Muggle or Magical, ever fall for those? He was just putting his hand in "Cow Brains" when Blaise Zabini came up to him and tapped him on his shoulder, causing a rather loud clang.
"Want to shock everyone here Sir Lancelot? I could take you up on that champion fighting contest you talked about earlier."
"Well Joan of Arc, I didn't think you wanted to be associated with English scum like myself," replied a smirking Harry.
Much to Harry's horror, Blaise pulled Harry onto the dance floor for one of the faster waltzes being played. Harry, having no idea how to dance, let Blaise lead him around. "Don't read anything into this Potter."
"Wasn't planning on it."
Blaise flushed a little at this, but Harry was suddenly acutely aware of several glares being sent his way from Ginny Weasly and Hermione Granger to Theodore Nott and Michael Corner.
Ending A/N : Geesh! Writing Hermione was pretty darn difficult. Sorry again about the Graphic Draco scenes. They do become important later. At least I think they will. I hope I don't have any nightmares over Fred and Ginger! And other ideas for Harry's costume included Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Napoleon, Winston Churchill, Wyatt Earp (which I had actually written but didn't like that much) The Lancelot quotes were taken from The Once and Future King. And feel free to make up costumes for the characters I didn't mention in the story…if good enough it might work its way into a later chapter.