To Ride the Carousel Again

Chapter 21

Disclaimer: I make nada, zip, zilch from writing this story.
`Character rights belong to J. K. Rowling to be disbursed at her pleasure.

A Manipulative Old Headmaster, a birthday, and what's that?

Approx. 5,500 words.

/*

"Lord Potter, before the Headmaster who is your magical guardian returns to the castle, I would like to set up a meeting with you as my father has requested me to do."

She stopped speaking as she had heaved the quaffle to his end of the pitch.

Harry pondered for several seconds before saying, "Very well. Friday afternoon, half past

thirteenth hour, fifth floor, east wing, top of the main stairs."'

Daphne merely nodded her acceptance and once again carefully pulled her wand and waved it again with another murmured incantation. There was an audible tinkle as the privacy ward fell.

With nods all around, the two groups headed off to their respective classes.

"Harry . . ." started Hermione.

"Not here, Hermione," he said. "In these corridors, even the paintings have ears."

/*

Wednesday, continued.

/*

The remainder of the day went as he had expected. His Lord Potter reveal would go. The attention and whispers of the tournament had hardened his skin to gossip and malicious talk. His two companions however were a different story.

Neville and Hermione oscillated between a raging want to 'Hex 'em all into goo' to raising their noses higher in the air and pretending to ignore the gossipers and the spiteful comments.

Harry actually found a small bit of humour in that the two who were there to protect him were much more incensed by their peers than he was. "Experience counts," he thought a tad bitterly.

What was distracting to Harry all day, was not knowing where the Fumbledork was. He had got himself psyched up for a massive confrontation, and - - - nothing.

His teachers for the day merely accepted his explanation that as long as they were not talking about his House or status, he preferred to continue to be addressed as Mr. Potter.

"No matter whatever else happens, tomorrow with The Snivellus will be . . . interesting," he thought during History of Magic class. "Maybe if Mumbledorko stays away another day, I can get The Snivellus to say something so bad about me, as the aggrieved Lord of a MA&MN House, I can get him into real trouble.

Harry should have known better than to tempt the fates to take a free cast at him. At the moment, his brain was otherwise occupied in trying not to act like a privileged ponce to his fellow students. And as the three entered the Hall for dinner, Harry saw the tightening of Neville's face before the emotionless mask of a Pureblood aristocrat flowed over it.

That meant either Snape or Fum . . . Turned out to be choice number three as the nasal, whiney, grating voice of Malfoy sounded off to one side.

"Potter! How can you possibly think that a half-blood scum, born from a mudblood could possibly become a Lord. I'll bet my father is working on stripping away your sham of a lordship as I speak. You'll be an expelled, useless, wandless pauper by this time tomorrow. My father will see to that!"

Harry just stared into the gleeful hating eyes of the arrogant toe-rag who had tormented him for four years. This was another confrontation he had been expecting, and had put quite some thought into how he could humiliate this bottom-feeding scion of society.

He could hear Hermione quietly, repeatedly murmuring, "Don't pull your wand, Harry. Professor Snape is watching. Don't pull your wand, Harry. Professor Snape is watching."

She did not know that Harry had no intention of hexing the blond ferret into a blob of pain. There were others ways to hurt the junior ponce.

Adopting a sorrowful mien, Harry started his smackdown of the Blond Cooking Grease Source. "Heir Malfoy, I am truly distressed to hear that your supposed cunning and clever father has left some very obvious holes in your nobility education."

By now the great Hall was as quiet as a Potions class with Snape in a bad mood.

Harry made sure his raised voice carried throughout the Hall. He had been anticipating and refining this possible scenario for almost a week now. As this was a chance to slap Malfoy down, Harry was doing a gleeful happy dance inside.

"I, who have had to rush my education over the last month, am apparently more informed about the standing and rank of our Magical Houses than you are. For instance, do you believe that the whispers into corrupt ears and the bribery payments of a mere nouveau Noble House could ever affect the way that the Most Ancient and Most Noble Houses choose their heirs and lords?"

"I mean, really," Harry's voice was dripping sarcasm. "If he truly believes he is that powerful, I'm willing to wager a thousand galleons that when he tries to do that, there are at least seven houses, with twenty-eight votes in the Wizengamot, that will slap your father down so fast that he will be the laughing stock of the Wizengamot. Then he'll be lucky they don't vote for him to lose his purchased Noble House seat due to the obvious stupidity inherent in his bloodline."

At the end of Harry's little soliloquy, the now raging Malfoy's hand had dived into his robe to grab his wand.

Since he was watching for just such a move, Harry was more than ready if Ponce Junior's stupidity over-rode what his father should have taught him about true rank among the Houses.

"HEIR MALFOY!" the shout from the staff table froze everyone for a moment. "Return to your seat at the Slytherin table and stop your blathering at Lord Potter."

"But, sir . . . , " the little idiot could not let it go.

"That will be a twenty points deduction and a detention with me tonight. If you speak one more word, it will be an additional fifty points and a week's worth of detentions with Caretaker Filch."

The vicious little bully's mouth hung open in shock as he stared at his Head of House. His godfather had never, never berated at him in public before.

"Take your seat! Now!"

The cowed boy slowly turned and shambled back to the Slytherin table.

Harry was disappointed that his trap had failed, but the way it failed was spectacular. And something he had made a contingency for. "Thank you Hermione. If your constant working on me to plan keeps working this well, I will have to do something very nice for you this Christmas."

Turning towards the staff table he bowed to the still standing Professor Snape, and gave him a short bow.

"The House of Potter thanks you, Professor Snape for stopping that, um, confrontation from becoming something that would have forced me to find a punishment suitable for the heir of a minor Noble House harassing the Lord of a Most Ancient and Most Noble House."

The gasps that last statement evoked echoed around the Hall.

Snape acknowledged Harry's words with a short nod. However, despite his best efforts, the professor's jaw tightened as he ground his teeth in frustration. That cursed Potter brat had just forced him into possibly saving his godson's life by siding with his enemy's son.

He knew that if Draco's insults had gotten worse, Lord Potter would have had many avenues to take revenge on the House of Malfoy. The least of which would have been a public letter of apology for his son's egregious stupidity. The possible worst was, if pushed correctly, a Potter led coalition might come close to removing House Malfoy's Noble status for cause.

He didn't think that such a vote of removal would have been successful, but the effort, needing much gold for bribery, and the calling in of favors to keep his seat in the Wizengamot, would have weakened Lucius Malfoy's influence considerably.

And finally, he had felt the twinge in his chest that signified magic would punish him via his Godfather's Oath if he didn't act to save the arrogant little boy.

He was going to have to write a letter to Lucuis and another to Narcissa explaining they had best rein in their son's overweening sense of invulnerability. It was apparent Lord Potter would destroy the little prig with no mercy if given the opportunity.

"And where was Albus? He was supposed to have kept that arrogant Potter spawn from learning of his heritage. The Headmaster had obviously failed. What had happened over the summer holiday?"

The potions master's visage may have been almost inscrutable for the rest of his breakfast, but inside he alternated between rage and puzzlement over the way the new Lord had handled the confrontation. It almost seemed planned by a consummate Slytherin.

/*

Later that night, Hedwig slipped into Harry's room with his order from a potion maker in Diagon Alley. He now had the last piece of the puzzle in his hands. Two potions, three spells learned, knowledge from Neville as to how the Wizengamot would act, and hopefully a primed head of the DMLE. He had written a letter, as Lord Potter, to Susan's aunt requesting she be at the Wizengamot meeting on Monday. He wrote that he had some vital information for her. Finding that Susan was the woman's niece during Lordship lessons was turning into an unexpected bonus.

Susan was adamant that her Aunt was an honest person who believed in justice and in following the rule of law, not the tradition of PureBlood favoritism.

Harry was too well versed in how his plans could unravel to celebrate, but a fist pump in the dark shouldn't upset the gods too much.

/*

Thursday, September 17, 1992

Saturday was Hermione's birthday. Harry knew after four years of friendship the last thing she would want would be a large, quidditch-victory noise level party that might garner Professor McGonagall's attention.

Harry had been planning this for weeks. He had co-opted Lavender and Parvati for ideas. And then at their suggestion, sent Hedwig off on a mission to Diagon Alley a week ago to gather owl delivery catalogs that he could buy some presents from. He bought mostly small, inexpensive trinkets or candies that anyone could afford.

He has two presents, and a very serious one that should look innocuous. The first were a couple of books on advanced spells. Lupin had said they were better than the Grade 4 and 5 Standard Book of Spells.

Harry was perfectly willing to give Ron something to give Hermione if he had been acting like even an acquaintance. But no, Mo-Ron the Ever-Angry-Git was still stomping through Hogwarts as though the whole school offended him.

And perhaps it did. He had crudely and snidely remarked on how "Harry, the New Lord Potter obviously had a defective trunk. It had shot a lightening bolt at him as he walked by."

Harry merely smirked to himself, wondering if the redheaded prat would ever reach the point of being knocked unconscious by his wonderful new trunk.

Several days ago, he had requested the presence of elf Guerna. The two had an interesting conversation about elves, payment for work, and clothes. So, three days later, Harry went to the kitchen with three large skeins of coloured yarn. One was yellow, another was bright blue, and the last was multi-coloured.

As Harry had remembered, the place was a hive of activity. There were well over a hundred elves, all dressed in immaculate white tea towels with the Hogwarts crest emblazoned on the center.

After Harry asked for an introduction to the Head Elf of Hogwarts, an elderly, wrinkle-skinned elf named Grizy, Harry was allowed to present his case for a house elf catered party for Hermione in return for a gift of the skeins of yarn.

Harry was not finished for even a second when with three little 'pops', he had three elves quivering at attention in front of him. It seemed he had his three volunteers.

Then Harry had asked if there was a particular place that he could cleanup and decorate for the party without making extra work for the three elves that would provide the party food and drinks.

After a short huddle, the three elves and Grizy, returned their attention back to Harry.

"These are Riki, Tiki and Brotay, young student Lord Potter. Theys will take you to the Come-and-Go Room. It wills be suitable for your purpose."

All the other elves returned to their work except the three who were standing before him, giving him their undivided attention.

"Alright," he said. "Where are we going to see this room?"

Harry, who had studied the Marauder's Map before his last death, was looking at the elves in puzzlement. He did not remember any Come-and-Go room on the map.

The three elves looked at each other and the one with dark grey eyes that Harry thought was Tiki reached out and touched Harry. Suddenly, with very little fuss, or the nauseas feelings from other magical travel gave him, Harry was standing in a corridor with a magical painting of a wizard apparently trying to teach trolls to dance.

The elf Harry thought was Riki, started to pace up and down the hall opposite the painting. Just as he completed his trip for the third time, a pointed arch doorway appeared in the wall next to the painting.

"This be's the way into the Come-and-Go room. You's can make the room to be whatever you's want, young student Lord Potter. Just think about what you want the room for, and Hoggywarts will creates it for you's. You should nots go into the Room of Hidden Things. That room in dangerous. Many cursed things have been put in there," finished the elf with a firm nod of finality.

After four years of strange happenings on the grounds, in the halls, under the halls and in secret chambers, Harry was somewhat inured to secret passageways, hidden doors behind tapestries, doors that pretended to be walls and walls that pretended to be doors.

So, he was rather blasé about 'just another hidden door'. Until he entered the room through the door.

He immediately decided that Riki had misunderstood what type of room Harry wanted to use.

The room must have three inches of dust, he thought. The walls were leprous looking with broken plaster, peeling wallpaper and cracked and peeling paint.

Harry turned to the three that had followed him into the room. He was shocked to see each elf had what he could only describe as a look of pure ecstasy on their faces.

Suddenly the last elf into the room shook himself like a dog trying to shake water off its fur. As soon as he stopped he swung and slapped the elf Harry thought was Tiki upside his head jolting the elf out of his fugue-like state.

It took a moment as the two elves gathered themselves. Then they both jumped the elf, Riki?, who had set up the room.

For the next several minutes Harry watched in shock as the three elves rolled across the floor punching and kicking, gouging and scratching, and Harry thought he saw at least one case of biting. Clouds of choking dust surged into the air, forcing Harry to casting a Bubble Head Charm on himself, mentally thanking Hermione for making him learn it for the tournaments second task even if he could not maintain it underwater.

Finally, the two pummelers succeeded in pummeling the room creator into submission.

As the three battered, bruised and bleeding elves slowly rose, mostly by leaning on each other, Harry felt he just had to ask. "What was that all about?"

As he spoke there were two 'pops' as two new elves appeared next to the original three. Harry instantly recognized them as Head Elf Grizy and the elf Guerna.

A finger snap from Grizy, and the airborne dust vanished. Another snap, and Harry's robe was dust free.

A brief fifteen second conversation that Harry could not follow ensued. At the end of which, Grizy and the beaten-up elf Riki, popped away leaving the attacking duo and elf Guerna.

After a very brief exchange of looks between the elves, Guerna spoke. "Young student Lord Potter, this room created by elf Riki is not a room for you's to use for Mistress' party. What was created here was a house elf fantasy. This be's a .. .. house elf vision of .. .. elf paradise? In fact we's are forbidden to use this part of the room because this might happen."

The elf started pulling on his ears in frustration.

"Elf Guerna, calm yourself," said Harry firmly. "Just explain so we can clean this up or whatever."

"Whether you's knows or not young student Lord Potter house elves want to work. The more we work for a good cause, the better we's feel. This room," he said as he gestured around him, "would take a house elf hours of exhausting work to clean. And afterwards, if a wizard or witch approved, the elf would be a very, very happy, and satisfied elf."

"The problem is we's elves want that feeling. That feeling of accomplishment we's get from having served well."

"And sometimes elves crave that feeling of accomplishment too much and want to feel it too often," the suddenly sad looking elf said quietly. "Here at Hoggywarts, there are plenty enough elves that no single elf has to work very hard. And some's elves cannot stop the wanting."

"Elf Guerna. Let me make sure I understand this. You're telling me that house elves can become addicted to working themselves into exhaustion?"

In the silence that followed, Harry briefly wondered which drug muggles would take to make them feel the same. "So, house elves could become addicted to work? Could literally work themselves to death?" he thought incredulously. "If Hermione ever finds that out, she's going to go crazy trying to figure out why elves and humans can both be addicts. And how to break the addiction."

The elf who had become friendly to Harry only nodded sadly. "It be's an elven secret we's elves do not want to talk to wizards about."

"I promise not to tell your secret to anyone without asking permission from you first, Elf Guerna," Harry intoned.

Harry did not notice the silvery-greenish glow that flared briefly around his body as Magic accepted his promise. But the elves did, and that glow in response to a promise made by a human to a group of house elves would be told and retold through the house elf ranks in, and out, of the castle. And would grant Harry the aegis of needed help from any house elf he encountered.

Harry paused a moment. "Elf Guerna, can you show me what we now have to do to this birthday party room to make it into a place for Hermione's celebration?"

"Young student Lord Potter, this room is totally unsuitable for the purpose you desire. It was created to be a house elf version of a happy house elf afterlife. That's why it's so filthy."

At that point the elf Harry thought was Brotay stepped forward and raising his hand, snapped his fingers. Harry saw the dust swirl, but little seemed to change. Tiki did the same and more of the dust vanished, but much more than half remained.

"See, young student Lord Potter," Guerna piped up. "Totally unsuitable. Let us go back out into the hallway and this time we will have you imagine what type of room you want."

Harry and the three elves exited the door and with some coaching from the elves, he thought hard while he paced and turned about what type of room he thought Hermione would want for her party.

At a gesture from Guerna, Harry opened the new doorway that now looked like a light wood paneled door leading to a classroom.

The first thing he saw was a large, flame-filled fireplace, and the warmth it was putting into the room. Arranged around the fireplace were three large brown leather, squashy looking sofas, another three matching armchairs with end tables between them and the sofas.

Away from the fireplace was a large, medium brown, oak grained table suitable for eating or piling presents on with a dozen matching chairs with dark gold cushioned seats and backs.

An obvious matching desk with some books, a pile of parchment and a box of quills was tucked along a wall to the left.

Lastly, the room was much more brightly lit compared to the Gryffindor common room or even most of the library.

As Harry kept looking around, he noticed that there was nowhere for him to bake or cook all the foods he imagined a birthday should have.

When he told the elves about this lack, he was told by Guerna that the room could not create any food. Therefor any food he desired would have to be provided by the elves he had 'hired' for the party.

With that settled, Harry then read out the list of party foods he wanted. He had spent years watching Hermione pick her food in the Great Hall and what she ate at various after Quidditch victory parties, so he was confident his food and drink would be satisfactory.

Harry had been mildly surprised that the trio of house elves had widely different reading ability. Guerna was the best at comprehension. Tiki, followed by Brotay could read simple words and simple instructions. He almost groaned as he thought of what his friend would think of "another appalling, thoughtless, probably deliberate suppression of a sentient species."

While the elves held a conference, Harry looked around the room. A thought popped into his mind that he wished that he had known about this room during the Tri-Wizard Tournament.

As soon as Harry had concentrated on that thought, the far end of the room started to change, to morph into something else.

In a few seconds, the far side of the room changed into a physical training room with what looked familiar, but he couldn't quite place it.

"That's what it is!" he thought. "It resembles the dueling platform that Lockhart set up, or is going to set up, for that stupid Dueling Club he wants to have."

"Oh, man. I could use this place to train, learn spells and practice to my heart's content. And I'll bet if I could get some bookshelves in here, I would make Hermione really happy with me showing her a quiet place where she would be uninterrupted for studying."

Harry's heart suddenly fell. If he held the party here, then everyone invited would then know about the room. Gred and Forge would probably monopolize its use for their prank planning and if anyone told the older students about a room that Filch knew nothing about, and might not be able to get into even if he did find out about it, he could look forward to being rudely kicked out when the upper classmen wanted some snogging time.

It only took a few moments for Harry to believe his instincts were right, and he turned back to the house elves.

"Excuse me, Elf Guerna, but I want to change my mind. This room is the most fantastic place you could have shown me, but I do not want to let a whole bunch of other people know how to use it afterwards. I think I want to keep it as a secret training room."

Looking at their crestfallen faces, harry was struck by inspiration. "Do you three know the room on the fourth floor where Hermione and I have been practicing spells and learning Lord things?"

At three affirmative nods Harry went on. "That's where we will hold the party. There will be a small problem as I need that room for a meeting tomorrow afternoon, but after we leave, the space is all yours to work in."

He swept his arm around the room and followed up. "We can use this layout and because it will be extra work, take these three skeins of yarn, and I will get you three more. Deal?"

At the rapid bobbing of heads, Harry knew everything would work out.

"Alright, Saturday at three P.M. If you have any questions or suggestions, I'm sure you can find me."

/*

Friday after lunch found Harry, Neville, Hermione and Susan on the fifth-floor landing waiting for Greengrass and Davis to appear. Oddly, the four were not talking about the possible reasons for the Heiress requesting a meeting.

What they were talking about was Harry's oh-so polite smackdown of the Greasy Git in the morning potions class.

Harry had been keeping half an eye on the main staircase when he noticed a pair of witches just about up to the landing. After greetings were exchanged between the two parties, Harry again asked for the assistance of Elf Guerna.

The stiffness between the two groups continued as Harry led them to the abandoned fourth floor classroom. Apparently the finding of tracking charms on all six of them had rattled the two Slytherins. The calmness with which the Alliance four had taken the discovery had also impressed the two from the house of green. Levitating a broken school chair from along the wall, he transfigured it into another chair so there were now six reasonably matching chairs and the small, black rectangular table to gather around. Harry had made the table different from the third floor just to avoid copying.

What he did not see was the look of repressed shock Greengrass shot Hermione. Or the look of "I don't know how he's doing it," she returned to the Slytherin.

The two Slytherins sat together on one of the long sides while Harry and Susan sat opposite them. Neville was off to his left, and Hermione was next to Susan. Harry wanted Susan's Pureblood knowledge next to him for this meeting.

The Heiress Greengrass apparently decided not to beat around the bush.

"Lord Potter, my father, Lord Greengrass has instructed me to make contact with you in interests of exploring an understanding or perhaps even my House joining with you into a revival of the old Potter-Longbottom-Bones-McKinnon Alliance."

She stopped speaking and sat in upright in her chair like a true heiress princess.

Her topic caught the Alliance group unexpectedly. Neville and Susan both thought this was to be the opening move in a marriage contract proposal. Hermione had no strong opinion although she had leaned towards a feeling out of the group for an alliance proposal.

Her reasoning was also the most biased. She was afraid if Harry was offered the very attractive raven-haired beauty as a betrothed, he would surely pick her over his bucktoothed, bushy haired, know-it-all friend. Especially if a dowry or some kind of commercial alliance was added to the contract just like many of the witch romance novels she had read.

And unfortunately for her, she was crushing so hard on her best friend she was surprised she could form a coherent sentence.

Harry's maturity had him pondered her statement for a moment before opening his mouth. He looked at the girl next to him. "Heiress Bones, you are more experienced at this alliance business than I. Would you please take over from the ignorant halfblood Lord?"

Everyone else at the table goggled a bit at the scene of a Lord of a Most Ancient and Most Noble House publicly asking advice from someone else. And female at that. Hermione was impressed he had put actual trust into his words to Susan.

By the time his eyes had shifted back to Greengrass, she had her Ice Princess mask back on, though Davis was still recovering.

"I believe we need more information, Lord Potter." Susan did not even try to look uninterested. "Heiress Greengrass, what are you allowed to tell us about Lord Greengrass' reasoning behind the making of such an offer. Particularly now. There do not appear to be any emergencies or large governmental shifts on the horizon."

"Oh, Susan. If only you knew!" Harry thought, fighting to keep a straight face.

The serenely composed heiress across the table gathered her thoughts. She spoke slowly, considering the weight of her words before uttering them.

"My Lord is of the opinion that there are indeed monumental governmental shifts out on the horizon heading towards us faster than most know. The rich and powerful who avoided penalties by being 'Imperiused" by He-Who-Must-not-be-Named in the last war, have become significantly bolder and more arrogant lately. They are acting more like untouchable thugs rather than gentlemen of breeding."

That comment brought quickly curtailed snorts of disbelief or amusement from Harry's side of the table except from Heiress Bones.

"My father is, as Heiress Bones can tell you, the leader of the Neutral or Traditional faction. We are often reviled by newcomers to our world as hidebound and conservative. Perhaps, but why should we change when the current situation has favoured our successful continuance?"

"Some of our faction members though have become alarmed that the old ways of how the ministry and Wizengamot acts are disappearing. The changes started during the Blood War and have continued since. The ministry has become heavier handed with laws restricting virtually everything having to do with magical creatures, business' and not having pure enough blood."

"We're too young to notice anything but father says any dealings with the ministry now have to be accompanied by appropriate 'gifts' to the bureaucracy. I know, and all of you know, the Ministry is run by the Purebloods, for the Purebloods. Now it is leaving that policy and shifting to 'Run for the Dark Lord, by supporters the Dark Lord. Support him or else."

Greengrass paused in her speech for a moment. "I can see by your rather unsuccessful attempts at hiding it that you're all thinking 'Aw, isn't that a pity about those who think they are the movers and shakers of the wizarding world. Somebody is treating them like the rest of us get treated'."

The other four could not help themselves. They all flicked quick little looks at each other.

"Rumour has it that anyone who was associated with the Dark Lords group is suddenly being tithed to provide funds for his possible return. In fact, rumour is Lucius Malfoy has given, or was forced to take, oath that the money will not be used or touched by him. It is for his Lord's use."

"The interesting part is that for those who are paying attention, such as my father, word is slowly being passed around that up until just before holiday last year, all those who acquired a dark mark in the last war suddenly had them darken over the winter, and start giving their owners random pains. There was lots of quiet, and some not so quiet, rejoicing among the Dark ranks."

"Then suddenly the marks suddenly faded again right at the time of Professor Quirrell's disappearance."

Harry and Hermione shared an expressionless look.

Again, the cold faced girl paused as her eyes dispassionately scanned the others across from her. "As the primary Heiress Greengrass, father felt it was his duty to keep me informed. So, reluctantly told me about the current stirrings swirling through the Ministry. He is probably correct that I really don't have the experience to deal with these apparent deep, dark machinations eddying around, but I had something he did not. The knowledge of the time of Professor Quirrell's probable death."

She re-intensified her look at Harry. "Oh, I know how it was explained away last spring as the curse of the DADA position forcing him to leave early. And though I was suspicious then, some bragging I heard from your 'friend' Weasley last year gave me some information. Then aggrandizing himself while cursing your name this year, he let slip some more tidbits that made me re-examine my knowledge of whatever it was you three did last year."

"If I asked you directly Lord Potter, would you tell me if you and your friends managed to keep that madman from somehow returning, and restarting a war that probably will get us all killed?"

/*

A/N:

Hmm. Wonder if I made Daphne too smart? Oh, well.

Yes, I wanted to call the third house elf Tavi. My muse pulled out a beaters bat and 'reasoned' with me.

Let's see. Three weeks into school we have A) one horcrux awaiting destruction, B) Allies, five each. Powerful ones eventually, (more to come? Oh, yeah.) C) Friendly house elves, D) Found the Room of Requirement. E) Dobby & Remus are onboard and even Tongueripper keeps drifting off into fantasy daydreams after Harry dangled that hastened return to Senior Account Manager status in front of him. F) He has become an unassailable Lord Potter, G) And Harry has a plan for The Rat.