Time of Change
[Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter JK Rowling does.]
"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things."I Corinthians 13:11
October 31, 1996, 9:00 p.m.
Harry had been back at Hogwart's for two months. This was the only place where he truly felt at home. If it weren't for the gaping hole left by Sirius' death he could bring himself to enjoy the Halloween feast. Hermione and Ron tried to help him move past the hurt. But all he could think of was that it was his fault Sirius was dead. If he hadn't tried to play the hero Sirius would still be alive. If Dumbledore had told him about the prophecy earlier he'd never have gone to the Ministry and Sirius would still be alive. What was he thinking rushing to the Ministry like that? He could have gotten his friends killed.
He had wanted to disband the DA but Hermione and the others wouldn't let him. Several members of the DA who knew him well had told him repeatedly that they chose to follow him that day for good or bad they were with him. Over the past few weeks they'd taken to calling him captain. He hadn't liked it at first but because the others liked it and seemed to think it fit he hadn't discouraged them. The Slytherins thought it was funny and taunted him the first week only to get severely cursed by the entire DA. McGonnagel had been livid and Snape murderous. Thus the DA became the largest group in Hogwart's history to ever receive detention. Fred and George had been so pleased that they'd sent the DA two crates of butter beer and chocolate frogs for their next meeting.
The clinking of crystal brought Harry out of his thoughts and signaled that Dumbledore was about to speak. He stood and raised his cup. "We at Hogwart's…" His voice trailed off as the masonry, floor, and tables started to tremor. A loud horrific sound like God raking his nails across the blackboard of the Universe filled the hall. Dumbledore dropped his glass and pulled his wand at the same time. The movement had several professors on their feet.
"By Merlin's beard! Students are to return to their common rooms." The hall of students began to stir slowly looking around the hall confused. Dumbledore cut off any questions as he bellowed with a commanding voice, "Now!"
If there had been any dissention there was none now. The seriousness of the situation had become apparent as scores of Death Eaters and dark creatures began apparating into the Great Hall. The room erupted into chaos. The students poured out of the Great Hall. A couple of seventh year students, the Head boy Niles McCullogh and Head girl Felicity Thatcher along with the DA stayed to assist the teachers. The teachers and students scattered upending several tables as curses followed in their wake. The DA was able to overwhelm a troll the Death Eaters brought with them and the teachers were doing their best to repulse the attacks but for every Death Eater they stopped more would appear. There was a shout of anger from across the room as Niles dragged the lifeless body of Felicity behind a nearby table.
"Harry! Take the others and run." He yelled across the hall. 'We could have stayed to help.' Harry thought as he and the DA fired several stunners behind them and headed for the door.
After that, it was all screams and shattered glass. A group of goblins were picking off stragglers who hadn't met up with the main group escaping to their common rooms. I noticed the bodies of several First Year students on the way out but couldn't stop to see who they were. Several Death Eaters were after us. Blood thundered in my ears as we ran. Loud pops filled the hallways behind us. The shouts of AK's, Crucios, and stunners echoed around every corner. A pop ahead of us followed by a flare of green lightning stopped us from joining the others in the Gryffindor common room. We ducked down another hall and jumped onto a moving staircase. Padma slipped on a step and Neville pulled her up only to be grazed by a severing curse. Dean and Parvati grabbed him as he fell.
They had been lucky to all make it to an unoccupied corridor. Ron and Luna guarded one end of the hall while Hermione tried to take care of Neville's wound. Colin and Dennis watched the other hall. They'd been running so hard and fast that they'd gotten themselves turned around.
"Hermione, do you know where we are?" Harry asked between deep breaths. She finished wrapping Neville's wound. The bushy haired girl turned to Harry but before she could speak a purple jet of light gouged a hole out the wall where her head had just been.
"Run." Ron yelled. The group quickly ran down the opposite hallway and into one of several unused classrooms.
"Silencio." Luna cast a quick silencing charm on the room Ginny moved over to help Hermione with Neville.
"Hermione, how is he?"
"He's okay for now but I don't know what kind of curse hit him."
"They're going to find us here sometime Cap." Dean said as he went over and looked through a crack in the door. "There are five of 'em after us and they're checking every room."
"We need a distraction." Neville spoke up through gritted teeth before giving Ginny and Hermione a mischievous smile that'd have made Fred and George proud.
It didn't take the Death Eaters long to reach their door. When it opened the Death Eaters were met with a tornado desks and chairs. The confused and enraged Death Eaters blasted their way through chair by chair giving the DA enough time to grab Neville and run.
As they ran Harry's mind was hard at work. 'Think Potter think. Where are we? We need to find somewhere to hide or we're not going to make it. We don't have many choices left. We need more time. We should have been ready for something like this.' Realization finally came as the group neared familiar territory.
"I can hear them coming Harry. Whatever we're going to do we need to do it now." The last of the DA had made it up the stairs. The landmarks made them smile. Their thoughts of need were like an avalanche and the door quickly appears. The last member entered just as the Death Eaters crested the top step. Several curses slammed into the closed door like a bomb going off.
"We're safe." Colin said.
"Where'd the door go?" Dean asked as he rushed to where it had been a moment before. Hermione stepped over her hand traced the cool smooth stone where once a door had been.
"Nothing." She said.
"We're in big trouble."
'I've led them wrong again and now there's no way out.' Harry thought as his mind clouded over with guilt.
Luna could tell from his face that Harry was brooding about their situation. "There's no need to worry. We're in the Room of Requirement we have everything we could possibly need.
November 1, 1996, 1:00 a.m.
The Great Hall was littered with dozens of stunned and lifeless bodies. "Headmaster this was nowhere near the bulk of the Dark Lord's forces."
"Severus if this is a feint then we have sorely underestimated Voldemort once again." Dumbledore said as he made his way over to the entrance of the Great Hall.
"Albus do you think the children are okay?"
"Professor Flitwick went with the first group and he can handle himself. Also the secondary wards will keep the students safe."
"What secondary wards?"
"This is not the time. There are more Death Eaters loose on the grounds." The group of teachers whirled at the popping sound wands at the ready. They lowered them slowly as Moody and a group Aurors greeted them.
"All this apparating into Hogwart's is making me nervous. It shows just how vulnerable we are." Moody said as his magical eye swiveled around to take in the area. "You three head out there are two Death Eaters headed toward the library. Albus those wards need to go back up."
"Moody we're talking about 1000 years worth of concentrated magic in each brick. That's not something you can just start up with a wand flick."
"Yer gonna have to do something. Hogwart's is a repository of irreplaceable magical knowledge."
"We don't have to worry about the library going missing. The secondary wards will take care of that."
"What are these secondary wards?"
"The secondary wards were put in place by the founders in the event that the primary wards ever fell. When Hogwart's was founded many Muggles were aware of magic and very mistrusting. These wards would keep Muggles and or Dark Mages from claiming or destroying any magical text. The dormitories and several other rooms cannot be apparated into or out of. This would keep the students' dormitories safe by allowing only house elves to enter with supplies. Many rooms such as the library and potion storerooms won't reopen until the wards are reestablished."
"Albus how long will it take to restart the wards?"
"There's no telling Minerva. To my knowledge it has never been an instance where they needed to be." Dumbledore snapped his fingers and a quill and parchment appeared. He quickly scratched out a note. A second later Fawkes appeared in a ribbon of phoenix fire grabbed the note and vanished again leaving a crimson feather in his wake.
Hours had passed, or at least it seemed like hours it could have been days, without incident and the door still had not reappeared. Luna had done her best to calm the darkness growing in Harry but this did nothing to stem the darkness creeping into the others. The DA had no idea how they were going to escape from the Room of Requirement let alone whether there'd be anything to escape to. This thought was the worst of all. It had been hours and they could neither hear nor see what was happening to those outside the room. Tempers were running a little high. Hermione had already had to stop two fights already.
The one thought on Harry's mind was the fate of everyone who looked up to him. They weren't going to make it like this if people continued to bicker. They were his responsibility. He had led them into the Room of Requirement now it was up to him to keep them together until they could escape it.
"Why don't we go over some N.E.W.T. level spells?" Hermione suggested. There were groans from around the room.
'Hermione you are a genius. I've gotta keep them busy.' Harry thought an evil smile crossing his lips. "Good idea Hermione. Concutere." Harry shouted firing a concussion spell into the group of startled and confused DA members. They all scattered. Some whipped out their wands.
"What's the big idea Harry?" Seamus yelled. Harry answered by throwing a stunner and concussion spell at Seamus. He yelped but was able to erect a shield charm.
They quickly caught on. "We're going to treat this as if it were any other DA meeting. We're going to free-spar so be ready at all times. Anyone is fair game." Harry smiled to himself as he winked at Hermione and Ron.
It wasn't long before Hermione had an endless flow of reading material stacked against one loan corner of the room. She sat on a cushion reading from a very large book with an equally large title: The Big Book of Mischief Codex of the Unabridged Inclusions of The Aurors Cookbook (Oliver 'Hangman' Hamilton), If All Else Fails Cheat (Les Sneakuponum), Curses Curses Curses: It's Not All Just Black and White (Fenz Straddler) and Constant Vigilance (Alastor 'Mad Eye' Moody). A quill floated nearby jotting down sections of the book for later use. Hermione turned to watch the sparring going on before her. Seconds later Ron appeared along with a blue beam of light but it rebounded off of an amber force field a foot before Hermione's head.
"Better luck next time Ron. Huaraca." Ron when spinning back into a wall. He continued to spin as Hermione held her wand on him.
Harry watched silently as he deflected most of Neville's spells. It amazed him how far Neville had come since last year. Where once he could barely keep a wand steady he now was dueling Harry to a standstill. His eyes clouded as his mind once more turned to events beyond the room. He would make Voldemort pay for what he had done. 'When we finally get out of here we will be ready. We will take back the castle and then deal with Voldemort once and for all.' His grip tightened on his wand. "Lumos Solem. Concutere." A bright light followed by a loud slap sent Neville to the floor. Harry said nothing only extended his hand and helped him up.
November 21, 1996 12:00 p.m.
Dumbledore, Bill Weasley, and several members of the International Confederation of Warlocks were still hard at work trying to restore and upgrade the Hogwart's wards. Aurors were stationed in Hogsmeade in case the dark lord attacked. Since the primary wards had fallen there'd been two assaults on Hogwart's.
Today however looked like it would be the day the wards would finally come back up. Several students were still missing and the only place left to search was those areas locked down. By the end of the second week they were able to get in and out of the dormitories but they had yet to enter the library, the potion storerooms, and areas that were normally magically sealed.
Two ancient wizards sat meditating in front of a large black stone. Their barely audible chanting seemed to make the air crackle with power. As it had a week before the stone began to ripple with color like oil on water. Bill and Dumbledore stood with their wands against the stone casting a divining spell. After nearly an hour, a list of glowing-blue runes appeared.
"I know these from somewhere." Bill said excitedly.
"If I am correct they're pre-Babylonian." Dumbledore stroked his beard taking on a thoughtful look. "This grouping must have been Rowena's doing."
"Then this must be the rune lock for the library." It took another five hours for the pair to translate the long and particularly complex set of incantations that would alter the secondary ward allowing it to join with the others. It didn't take long for the next set of symbols to appear. The symbols were ancient Egyptian and Bill could recognize those in his sleep. They were written in the dialect of the snake worshippers. It didn't take a genius to realize Slytherine's handiwork.
The stones of the castle vibrated as the last ward joined the others. The Headmaster touched the stone muttering a long stream of words that no one could catch. A golden glow joined the others amid the black stone.
Doors began unlocking all around the school as the Aurors roamed through the halls checking passages that until then had been locked. So far they hadn't found any students. However one room held a half-crazed Death Eater being brutalized by Peeves the school poltergeist. Two Aurors bound the Death Eater and escorted him out of room. The remaining Aurors continued their search.
They entered a section of the castle in which the walls were covered in scorch marks. Out of nowhere a door appeared. "Check it." The senior Auror said. Minutes later the Auror on point grabbed the door handle. The others drew their wands. The last thing they all saw was a pair of green eyes and darkness.
"Ekleipsis." A voice said from the doorway. A wave of shadow erupted from an outstretched wand. The light in the castle grew darker as if someone had drawn a curtain across the castle. In the shadows of the steadily darkening castle the figures darted through the corridors. The group split up taking different routes through the castle.
They moved quickly down the halls not hindered by the veil of shadow. The darkness didn't go unnoticed by Albus Dumbledore. He muttered a quick spell conjuring a ball of light. "Mr. Weasley if you please follow me." Bill followed Dumbledore from the chamber into the dungeons.
As they entered the dungeons Snape and Moody came into view. "Alastor…Severus what is going on?"
"Someone's entered the school. Felix and Gavin's groups haven't checked in." Bill drew his wand and followed the elder wizards from the dungeons. As they walked the ball continued to gather the looming darkness. The sounds of a duel reached their ears and the group of men hurried down the hall. As they reached the site of the battle they noticed several bodies lining the floor. They appeared to be stunned. The ball cast enough light for them to see Aurors fighting a group of cloaked individuals.
"Croissir Patellar." One of the hooded figures yelled. The spell struck an Auror in the knees causing him to scream. The man toppled over grasping his knees in pain. A lady Auror dragged her friend out the line of fire. Bill moved as if to join them only to be stopped by a hand on his shoulder. He turned and Moody shook his head. Moody wasn't sure who these people were but one thing that was certain is that they weren't Death Eaters.
"What is the meaning of this?" Dumbledore asked as he strode across the room. The group of combatants just now noticing his presence. "Stop this at once!" His voice boomed in the entrance hall. The floating ball blazed bright sucked in the remaining shadows and exploded like a soap bubble.
The fighting stopped but no one moved to put away their wands. The person closest to Dumbledore removed their hood to reveal a dark haired man with strange markings on his face. "Dumbledore…?" The young man said. Albus stared at the man in wonder. Recognition didn't strike until his hair fell away revealing a jagged scar. The burning emerald eyes and the infamous scar left no argument as to the man's identity.
'It can't be.' He thought. "Harry…?"