Author's Note: I hope you like this chapter. Unfortunately my sister Aurora Mortalis informed me at the last moment that she's seen the sleeve thing somewhere else. I'm sorry if you've used this, I've never seen it before and like it.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except the time put into it. Harry Potter belongs to other people, I just borrow it for a while.
The Green Man
They were reaching the last of the warm sunny days. Despite the exciting start to the year, they made it to mid-September in relative peace. Students were spread out across the grounds enjoying the sunshine and companionship.
"Where are you going, Hannah?" asked Millie as her friend pulled her through the halls. Vince and Greg followed just a few meters behind, a constant guard.
"There's a courtyard you have to see. I've never seen anything like it; it's so peaceful."
Millie quietly followed Hannah to a niche in the wall. To her surprised, it was an arched doorway. Once she passed through it she noticed a difference, as though the weight of the world had been lifted from her shoulders.
Green sunlight filtered through the branches of an ancient weeping willow, its branches swayed gently in a flower-scented breeze. On the far wall, tiered flowerbeds embraced a waterfall fed pool. Near the entrance stood a statue of a woman with her arms spread wide, as though inviting a hug.
"This is beautiful, Hannah!" exclaimed Millie. She saw the tired smile and moved to her friend's side. "Let's rest here."
Harry, Draco, and Neville watched Ginny and Hermione play with the three girls. Kaida and Odette played without bandages. Kaida's eyes, which should have been the violet blue of the Malfoy line, were a strange opalescent silver.
"How are you and Odette doing?" asked Harry. "Her first full moon is soon isn't it?"
"Yeah, the first one is in two weeks on a weekend. We're surviving. I'm scared for her. I've heard stories, and I'm worried for her transformation. Remus and Professor Snape have been a great help though."
"We've been working on the wolfsbane, but we're not sure how she'll react. She's just so young," said Draco softly. "We're going to try to be ready for anything."
"You're going to stay?" questioned Neville hopefully.
"I would want friends with me if it was Kaida," admitted Draco. "I also want the experience. Most healers won't deal with Lycanthropes and I think it's wrong."
"Most of us can't get jobs to pay a healer, anyway," said Remus as he sat with them.
"Then I'll find a different form of payment, if I charge anything at all. Maybe I'll have them volunteer in my clinic."
"Well," laughed Remus, "I'll be your first volunteer."
"Hey!" exclaimed Hermione dropping on the grass, "Where'd Arianna go?"
"Dean, Ron, and Seamus were putting together a Quidditch game. They got permission for some of the first years to play." Answered Harry.
"I'm just here to pick up the girls," Remus sighed. "Sirius is waiting for us to go get ice cream."
"Alright," grinned Harry.
"Be good for Remus and Sirius," ordered Draco.
Neville hugged Odette tightly before sending her with Remus. "Be good, Odette. Remus and Sirius will take good care of you."
"I don't know which of you that's harder for," laughed Harry as Remus and the three girls walked off.
"Look who's talking," smirked Draco. "How long before you're calling to check in?"
Harry gave Draco and innocent look. "Why would I do that?"
"Fifteen minutes tops," laughed Ginny.
"Hey!" protested Harry before tackling Ginny and tickling her.
"What is that awful feeling?" questioned Draco bringing a stop to their game.
"I don't know," answered Hermione from her seat beside him, "It's horrible though."
Harry sat up and could see over their shoulders, "Dementors."
They all stood and stared in horror as Dementors filed in through a break in the wards over the lake. Ice began to form over the water and the air temperature dropped around them.
"This is very bad," sighed Neville.
Harry pulled his broom from his bag and turned to Ginny. "Ginny, Neville, and Hermione; I want you to get everyone to safety. Draco and I will try to lead them away from the students."
"Elite Guard! Dementors have broken through the wards; get everyone inside. Happy thoughts, guy, we need strong Patronus charms. Pair off as soon as you're able," ordered Ginny over the walkie.
Harry and Draco mounted their brooms as Harry made a general announcement. "Dementors have breached the wards! Get everyone inside. Activate House Guards and DA Charms."
"Vince and I will try to patch the wards; where are they entering?"
"They're coming in over the lake, you'll want to fly. Be careful! Hermione will meet you and help act as defense while you work." Replied Harry with a nod to Hermione.
"Be safe, Potter, we'll take care of the wards."
Millie turned to Hannah fear alight in her eyes. "I have to go help them."
"Go, I'll be okay," replied Hannah. "I'll direct the frightened students towards the Great Hall. Don't worry, I have a strong Patronus."
Millie pulled her new friend into a hug. "Stay safe."
"You too, now hurry."
Hannah watched as her friends ran down the hall and out of sight. She wrapped her arms around her stomach and sighed. Just as she turned to grab her bag, movement caught her eye.
"Hello? Is someone there?" she called softly.
The whole room seemed to thrum with energy and the barest of whispers. "Call the children."
"Where are you? We need to get to the Great Hall." Said Hannah searching for the voice.
"In the hall! Call the children! Hurry, it's almost here!"
Hannah looked out the door to see a group of first years laughing and joking. They were unaware of the danger they were in. She quickly stepped out to hurry them towards the Great Hall.
"First years, Professor Dumbledore wants everyone in the Great Hall," said Hannah startling them, "Come with me, I'll take you."
"What's going on?" asked one student.
"It's nothing to worry about," Hannah lied. "Let's hurry." Hannah was almost to the group when it came around the corner. One girl screamed and they started to scatter.
"Hurry," cried Hannah, "Follow me!"
Hannah led the group into her sanctuary. They could feel the overwhelming fear as the Dementor drew closer. She pulled her wand, knowing it would follow them in. Several students began crying when they realized there was no way out.
"Hush, hush," ordered Hannah, "Stay behind me." Her whole body trembled as it reached the doorway.
The Dementor spilled thought the doorway causing everyone to cry out in fear. Suddenly the fear was gone. Warmth and love seemed to overwhelm the room before the statue came to life.
The statue moved with speed and grace; glowing brighter the closer it got to the Dementor. Once it was within reach, the statue grabbed the creature and pulled it into a blinding hug. An eerily human scream split the air as the Dementor fought to escape. The longer it fought the more stone like it became. Suddenly it was silent.
"This was one of your less brilliant plans, Potter!" shouted Draco over the wind. Flashes of his mother made his head spin as he fought against the Dementors pull.
"Do you have any better ideas?"
"Harry!" cried a voice over the radio. "Lead them to the Entrance Hall. The Professors are here; and so are the creatures."
"That's halfway around the castle," protested Draco.
"I know." He could hear the echo of his mother's scream.
"Give me your hand!" one pale manicured hand focused him through the blackness threatening his vision. Harry grabbed the offered hand and it helped ground him. "Whatever you do, don't let go. We'll make it."
"As long as we don't both pass out," grumbled Harry.
Harry and Draco increased their speed as the eight Dementors followed. It seemed as though the more distance they tried to put between them, the closer the Dementors got. Harry felt Draco's grip begin to slip just as they rounded the last corner.
"Draco!" yelled Harry.
Just when he was sure Draco would pass out, the Matris Patronus came into view. As soon as he was over their heads they descended.
Harry and Draco dismounted to the bone chilling screams as the Dementors become stone then dust.
"Merlin, they sounded Human!" exclaimed Poppy.
"They were, once," answered Harry.
"What do you mean?" asked Minerva.
"When we found them they shared the memory of the why and how of their creation. Alexandra Trelawny Slytherin, daughter of Salazar and Cassandra had visions of Voldemort creating them. Cassandra was compelled to save the future from the monsters. She believed that if the Dementors fought they would win." Explained Harry.
"How were they created?" asked Minerva while examining the closest statue.
"Cassandra gave her life, blood, and a spell."
The statues spoke in a whisper that felt as though it was right in your ear. "Blood of my body freely given. A future not mine, in need of protection. A mother's love is stronger than pain. A mother's love is stronger than death. Blood of my blood, true heir to my love. Without time, locked in stone. Without body, forgotten soul. A mother's love to protect them all."
"She was the first of many to sacrifice herself for her family." They turned to find Professor Trelawny on the steps. Her shawls and glasses were gone, replaced with more common teaching robes. She seemed more confident and collected than anyone in the group had ever seen her.
"Sibyll?" questioned Poppy.
"The time for hiding is finally over," said Sibyll with a grim smile, "We have much to do to win this war."
Hermione and Blaise walked the halls in near silence. They traveled like specters from moonlit patch to moonlit patch, each lost in their own thoughts. It was turning into a quiet year for their night patrols. Few students were brave enough to venture out at night alone.
"What's left to check?" asked Blaise with a yawn.
Hermione smiled with the familiarity of it. "The Great Hall, the Entrance hall, and the Defense classroom."
"Let's hurry, I'm beat. Professor Weasley really drilled me tonight."
"What were you working on?" asked Hermione checking the Defense classroom.
"Advanced levitation," sighed Blaise
"That involves learning to levitate larger objects with the possibility of levitating people, right?"
"Yeah, she's actually helping me learn to focus it," answered Blaise. "Next week she's going to let me move a real person."
"That's odd," said Hermione as she tried to push the doors to the Great Hall open.
"They aren't supposed to be locked, are they?" wondered Blaise.
"No, they're supposed to stay open."
"Hermione, Blaise," called Professor Snape over the radio, "We need you to return to the tower. Blaise, please take over for Professor Weasley with the children. Hermione, come to the lab straight away."
"What about the rest of our rounds?" asked Hermione.
"This is more important, the next group will check your area."
Down in the infirmary, Harry held Neville while they watched Odette transform. Her small body bowed with the force of muscle and bone realigning to her temporary shape. There was no screaming, her tiny body was too quickly overwhelmed by pain for her to make anymore sounds. The two young men trembled together too horrified to watch yet too afraid to turn away.
"Isn't there anything you can do for her?" cried Neville as Molly Weasley entered. He watched in horror as her spine bowed again.
Amber eyes watched from within a cage around the next bed. Remus, with the help of the wolfsbane, was docile. He watched everyone with the eyes of one that had been hunted but his attention was for the pup fighting her first transformation.
"Madam Pomfrey!" cried Draco, "She's seizuring."
"I don't understand what's wrong," muttered Madam Pomfrey as she ran another scan.
"I think her body is trying to fight the transformation." Molly's wand waved frantically over the small girl.
Remus whined from his cage. The pup was dying he could smell it. She was fighting too hard and it would tear her young body apart. She was too scared. He whined against the bars of his cage and pressed his chestnut body against the cage. He didn't care about the humans, just the pup. Not knowing how else to reach her he pointed his muzzle skyward and let out a long lonely howl.
All around the room the humans froze. Remus whined again and pressed towards the child making small comforting sounds.
"I think he wants to get to her," said Harry softly.
"Her heartbeat steadies when he whines," added Draco from where he was monitoring her. "I think we should let him reach her."
"It's not like he can infect her again," said Harry staring at Remus. "Maybe he can make it easier.
Madam Pomfrey hesitated for a moment before expanding the cage to fit both werewolves. Remus quickly moved to curl up around Odette. "Keep monitoring her vitals Draco."
"They're all leveling out." Draco kept his gaze fixed on the child. "I think she's starting to change."
They watched transfixed as the little girl transformed. Bones seemed to break and reshape themselves; muscle and tendons popped into place for her wolfish form. Draco kept monitoring her the whole while, though his gaze drifted towards a very pale Neville.
"Professor Snape?" called Hermione as she made her way into the lab. When she found him he was quickly brewing a bright pink potion. "What are you brewing?"
"It's a magic restorative specific to Remus and Odette. I need you to begin the anti convulsant potion on the board. It is specific for a child her size."
"I take it the transformation isn't going well," murmured Hermione as she quickly got to work.
"No, it isn't. She was fighting the transformation when I was down there." He mixed a white powder into the potion causing it to turn a violent green. "The wolfsbane is too strong for her. She seems to have a sensitivity to something."
"How will we identify what she's having a problem with?" asked Hermione while working on her potion.
"Madam Pomfrey and Draco will be taking care of that," replied Severus softly.
"Did you have to customize the wolfsbane for Remus?" she asked while adding willow bark shavings to her potion.
"No, he responded well to it and has been very leery of changing it. I hope to change his mind," answered Snape.
"He may not have a choice. We're going to be working on it for Odette, why not try to improve it while we're at it. This is finished."
"Bottle it and rush it to hospital wing."
She froze at the sound of someone trying to open the door. A moment later she sighed in relief as they stopped trying to open the doors. As soon as the near intruders were gone she quickly cast a repelling charm to keep people away. Once she was certain that she wouldn't be disturbed, she turned her thoughts to the ceiling.
She worked at a fevered pace, knowing that everyone was occupied. Nearly an hour later she managed to change the ceiling. With the ceiling changed she was halfway to the end of her task. Carefully she levitated and secured her rope to the center most beam. Once it was secure, she removed her Slytherin robe and tie. Everything that marked her as a Slytherin was placed reverently in a neat pile at the foot of the table.
By the time she was finished she was exhausted. Her body seemed to betray her as she continued on with her plan. Her hands shook as she ripped off the bottom half of her shirt and the sleeves. Without the cloth to hide behind she lost herself to the glaring red marks. Words, angry with infection, were etched deeply into her stomach. With a depressed sigh she released the concealment charm around her abdomen revealing the slight swell of her growing child.
Tears slowly trickled down her cheeks as she took a note from her pocket and placed it on top of her Slytherin tokens. She had finally reached the end and with it a sense of peace. She climbed on the table and put the rope around her neck before snapping her wand and stepping off the edge.
Students milled around the entrance hall in confusion. No one understood why the doors to the Great Hall were closed and locked. Harry and Draco arrived just as Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape approached.
"Everyone return to your common rooms," ordered Professor McGonagall as she took watch in front of one of the doors. "The House Elves will be serving breakfast there."
"Professor, what's going on?" asked Harry.
"Not now, Harry," She replied. "Professor Snape and I will be in to talk to your tower once we can answer your questions."
"I've sent Crabbe, Goyle, and Millicent to your common room," said Professor Snape softly. "Please send someone to retrieve Hannah and Micheal. Keep them close today."
"You've found the third girl," stated Draco.
"Yes," replied Minerva with a frown. "We will be able to tell you more later. Now, off with you. Breakfast will be getting cold."
Without further argument, the two boys turned towards their tower with their girls in tow. Minerva and Severus stood guard at the doors until the last of the students returned to their common rooms. With a sad nod, they cracked the door enough to enter before sealing it again.
"Severus, I've finally found the counter spell to take her down, please assist me," said Poppy. "I've cast several spells to postpone the inevitable."
"Who found her?" he asked as she was lowered into his arms.
"She keyed the wards to only allow the ghosts to enter. The Grey Lady found her an hour ago." Minerva picked up the note from the table and tried to hide her tears by reading it.
"Have Aurors been called?" asked Severus as he laid her body on the stretcher.
"They are on their way but there should be enough evidence to arrest several men."
"Where is her wand?" questioned Severus.
"She snapped it," answered Poppy. "Stripped away all of her Slytherin adornments, her jewelry, and even the hairclip her mother gave her."
"Have her parents been called?" asked Snape suddenly.
"Albus is taking care of it right now," said Minerva softly.
"I must speak with Elizabeth," said Severus softly, "Please, take care of Isabella for me."
"I will Severus," replied Poppy softly.
Severus silently let himself into Professor Dumbledore's office. From the staircase he could hear the devastated sobs of a mother that lost her child. Within the confines of the office he found his mother holding the distraught woman.
Evan Rosier watched, a silent dark shadow, as his wife wept hysterically. He seemed unfazed by the news of his daughter's death; as uncaring as a stone in the rain. After a glare at Serenity Snape, he began to remove his wife.
"I will send arrangements for my daughter. It is time for us to go, Elizabeth." He began to pry her, none to gently, from Serenity.
A tear streaked face finally turned to him. She whispered, "I want to see my daughter."
His cold mask was washed away by anger. "No, it is time to go home."
"Let me see my Isabella!" screamed the distraught woman.
She launched herself at him with nothing but nails and the madness of her loss. Wands were raised all around but they hesitated. Serenity stepped forward and pulled her friend away from her husband.
"Let her see her daughter," ordered Serenity with all of the Snape command in her voice. "Go if you must, I will bring her home later."
"You have no right!" cried Evan Rosier.
"Go!" bellowed Serenity as she ran her fingers along her lily seed necklace.
Evan Rosier stepped back from her anger. He mumbled to himself as he threw Floo Powder into the fire and took his leave.
Serenity took Elizabeth by the hand as if she were a lost child. "Headmaster, Severus, we must take our leave. I will take care of her; we won't leave the grounds for long."
The walk through Hogwarts was eerily silent, as though the walls themselves mourned the loss. The portraits stayed silent, save for the soft sound of weeping.
Molly Weasley joined them as they passed her tower. Tears trembled down blotchy cheeks as she fought for control. She too held tightly to a lily seed necklace.
They continued their silent trek through Hogwarts and passed the Great Hall. Minerva McGonagall joined them, a stiff caricature of her stern disposition. Tears glittered in her eyes, threatening to fall but not quite there. As they walked together, she whispered softly and their clothing changed around them to suit the mood. She held, hidden within her hand, a lily seed necklace.
Poppy Pomfrey met them at the door to the infirmary. She sobbed openly at the sight of the four women approaching her realm. Once they were within reach of the doors, she led the way inside.
Isabella Rosier's body was stretched on the nearest bed as though sleeping. Nothing hid the corrupted wounds on her stomach, their poisonous words bled through every covering even in death.
"Isabella, oh, my Isabella," sobbed her mother. There was nothing left of the hysterics, seen in her husband's presence, only the heart-wrenching sobs of a mother grieving.
Four pair of strong arms held her as her knees gave beneath the strain. They sank to the floor as one, a grieving tangle of black-clad limbs.
When they finally stood, Elizabeth rose, pale but steady. Her eyes still grieved but there was a new hardness to her.
"Call them, please," sighed Elizabeth. "Call them and offer the first. I will accept the blood."
The Great Hall was silent at dinner. The multiple round tables they were accustomed to were gone, replaced by the long house tables. The ceiling was empty save the black and silver Hogwarts banners.
"In light of our tragedy," said Headmaster Dumbledore, "We will sit with our houses. It has been brought to our attention that there may be those aligning themselves with the dark… Please remember; until you act there are always choices."
As he returned to his seat, four students climbed upon the tables. A glance was shared between the four before they lifted knives to their left sleeves.
"We will not be pawns or victims," stated Millicent as her silk sleeve hit the table.
Luna followed suit. "We will make our own destinies."
"We will not be party to intolerance," added Ginny as her sleeve fell.
"One sleeve for Isabella Rosier," finished Hannah.
The knives were passed around the tables until there was a pile of sleeves. When they were finished, twenty-five students were left with both sleeves. Even the three children went sleeveless.
"I believe, that is as good a place as any to begin," said Albus softly, "Let's eat."
The students went sleeveless for two weeks before it was decided they had shown their support; they had mourned enough. During their two weeks of mourning two funerals were held.
Isabella was laid to rest beside her brother within the family cemetery. Hundreds mourned her and the Ministry was forced to provide a series of Port Keys for the staff and students of Hogwarts.
The Aurors sent to apprehend Evan Rosier found him slumped at his desk. In his right hand was a half empty glass of scotch and his left a small porcelain bell. No one was given the location of Evan Rosier's grave, he had few mourners.
Two weeks before Halloween the school had returned to normal. Round tables of all sized were used at meals and the students sat where they liked. Announcements were rare, and usually involved the Head boy and girl; so when the Headmaster approached the podium one evening, whispers spread through the room.
Albus Dumbledore waited with twinkling eyes as the whispering was replaced by silence. "I have two announcements. Next weekend will be our first Hogsmeade weekend of the year. Third years must have a parent permission slip to go. Permission slips may be turned in to Professor McGonagall." He paused to let the whispers die down again. "This year we will be having a Halloween costume ball. First through fourth years will be allowed until 10pm. Costumes are a must and may not be purchased, as there will be a costume contest. To make it more fair, there will be several divisions, first- fourth years, fifth- seventh years, and staff. I expect the older students to help the younger students. Costumes may be solo or group efforts. As always, the staff is available to help. Professors, have I forgotten anything?"
Serenity smiled and stood. "Part of the fun is to hide who you are so we are left guessing. At ten the first group will be revealed, the rest will wait until midnight."
"Let the feast begin!" declared Albus Dumbledore with a smile.
Dinner was full of excited conversation as students made plans for the weekend and the ball. Several smiles and a few unhappy scowls looked down from the head table as even some of the Professors were excited.
The first Hogsmeade weekend dawned crisp and clear. Eager students rushed through breakfast to stand in the courtyard stomping their feet to stay warm. The older students, though no less excited, took their time knowing they had to wait for Professor McGonagall. When she stood to leave, so did they.
"So, what's the plan today?" asked Harry as they made their way towards Hogsmeade.
"Pansy, Ginny, and I are going to get the necessary supplies to finish our costumes," answered Hermione. "We can meet at lunch."
"Luna and I need a few more things too," said Ron. "Lunch sounds like a good plan. How about Rosmerta's?"
"As long as we go for ice cream too. I promised the girls," added Neville.
"Well, gentlemen," began Draco while picking up Kaida and spinning her till she giggled, "We have three beautiful little ladies to escort around town."
"Who could resist," chuckled Blaise.
The four men and their young charges spent the day wandering from shop to shop. By lunch time, they were glad for their bottomless bags.
"I forgot something!" exclaimed Neville giving Draco a pointed look. "I want to get a present for Ginny; a surprise for her."
"How about I take Odette and we'll see you at Rosmerta's," suggested Blaise.
"Go ahead, Neville," said Draco. "We'll order for you so it arrives with ours."
"Are you sure?" questioned Neville, "I'll only be a minute."
"Go on," replied Harry, "We'll be fine."
"Go with Blaise, Sweet Pea," said Neville as he transferred her hand to Blaise, "I'll be right back."
Neville rushed across the street to the small jewelry shop.
"I was beginning to wonder if you forgot Mr. Longbottom," said the woman behind the counter. She slid the small box across the glass to him followed by a long thin box. "They're both inscribed just as you asked." She put a third box on the counter. "Mr. Malfoy's finished early just as he said it would."
"Thank- you," said Neville catching his breath. "I nearly did forget. Thank- you again but I must hurry, Blaise is watching Odette."
Neville collected the three boxes and carefully noted which one belonged to Draco. With his focus drawn to the boxes, he hurried right into the chaos on the street. A dozen Death Eaters caused panic through the streets. They sent spell after spell into the terrified crowds and even at the buildings.
Hermione, Ginny, and Pansy were making their way towards Madam Rosmerta's when the Death Eaters made their appearance. They immediately broke up and started rounding up the frightened third and fourth year students. Within the confusion it took them longer than necessary to remember their radios and DA coins.
"Death Eaters are attacking Hogsmeade!" they heard Neville cry over the radio. A few minutes later the DA coins got warm.
Neville could see Hermione and Pansy on one end of the street trying to round up the frightened students. Ginny found a way around to meet Luna and Ron on the opposite end of the street to do the same. After his call people ran out of the buildings, some fought the Death Eaters while others fought the quickly spreading fires.
Inside Madam Rosmerta's, Harry, Draco, and Blaise looked down at the three girls in fright. Harry looked around, torn between two duties.
"Mimsy!" cried Draco suddenly, "Dobby!"
The two House Elves appeared a moment later. "Does…"
"Take them to safety," ordered Harry, "Keep them safe."
By that time the three girls were frightened and beginning to cry. The noises from the street were scary and the three men who loved and protected them were obviously frightened. In a pop, they were gone.
Harry, Draco, and Blaise joined the battle near the end. They ran out to find Hermione and Pansy battling five Death Eaters while more than a dozen students hid behind them.
"Terra Impetus!" Neville yelled pointing his wand at the feet of the Death Eaters.
Screams rent the air as the ground shook. A crack opened at the feet of the Death Eaters before the earth rose up to devour them. When the ground finally settled, Hermione and Pansy retrieved the wands from the hands sticking up. All the while they avoided looking at the exposed faces.
Hermione snagged several DA members, as the last Death Eaters apparated away, and sent the students back to the castle.
"Neville that was brilliant!" proclaimed Pansy as they joined the group.
"Where are the girls?" questioned Neville.
"We sent them to safety with Mimsy and Dobby," answered Draco. "Where's Ron?"
"Over here," called Luna, "I think his leg is broken."
"We need to look for the injured," grimaced Draco.
"There are healers on the way," said Madam Rosmerta from near her door. "Bring the injured here."
"Harry," said Professor McGonagall as she approached. "You nine are the only ones left, let's return quickly."
"Do you have your port key?" asked Blaise.
"Yeah," replied Ron, "I forgot about it."
The Friday before Halloween most professors gave up on lessons. The students were too restless and excited by the upcoming ball. Class time was used to answer questions about how to make different features and effects on the costumes. Most professors were impressed by the skill and knowledge needed to make many of the costumes. Potions, though not as laid back as the other classes, was used to teach them how to make fake blood, compounds for fake wounds, and hair growth potions.
Saturday dawned gloomy and wet. Meals were served in the common rooms so that the Great Hall could be decorated. The excitement in the air was a physical thing, like the feeling before an electrical storm. The student chattered among themselves, some making last minute changes to their costumes while others made plans to meet during the dance.
After an early dinner, everyone spread out through the building to prepare for the ball. Hermione, Pansy, and Ginny took over one room of their tower to begin their transformation. Harry, Draco, and Neville took over their common room to get the three girls in their costumes. A short time later, they were joined by Remus, Sirius, and Tonks.
"Wotcher Harry!" said Tonks with a grin. "Are these your munchkins?"
Harry grinned, "Not all mine. Odette is a relative of Neville's, but he's adopting her. Titania is mine, she's the only survivor from Godrics Hallow, and I'm adopting her. Lastly we have Kaida, She's your cousin and Draco's little sister. Draco is her guardian until she comes of age."
"What kind of costumes do we have tonight?" asked Tonks making her hair change colors for the girls.
Titania launched into a detailed explanation. "I'm gonna be Sleeping Beauty, just like in my book and Kaida is gonna be Snow white cause her mommy was mean like the evil queen. Odette is gonna be Belle cause some one else is gonna be little red riding hood and she doesn't think the wolf eated little red riding hood."
"I'm gonna be Little Red Riding Hood," laughed Tonks, "but I need help. Kaida, how long should Little Red Riding Hoods hair be?"
"You should have hair to your chin," answered Kaida softly.
"What color should it be, Odette?" asked Tonks.
Odette beckoned Tonks down to her level and put her lips almost against the woman's ear. Her voice was little more than a rasp as she answered. "Black, like Uncle Sirius."
"Great!" proclaimed Tonks as she changed her face shape and skin color. "Titania, what color eyes should I have?"
"Purple!" answered the outgoing child.
Tonks couldn't help but laugh as she changed her eyes to purple. "Beautiful."
"Let's get into your costumes, girls, so Remus and Sirius can change," said Harry.
While Harry helped each child into a costume Draco worked on their hair. Finally, they went to Neville who helped with shoes, crowns, and masks. Tonks watched the scene with interest. The three young men worked well together to get everything done in a timely fashion. When each child was done, she quickly applied a bit of makeup. She was just putting on the finishing touches when Remus and Sirius returned from putting on their costumes.
Remus was a huge wolf-like beast with long wild hair but gentle eyes. He wore a modified version of a King's robes though they were slightly shredded. Sirius wore identical robes, though his were in much better condition. His hair was free and pulled back in a neat ponytail. He wore a gold coronet that shined in brilliant contrast to his hair. He looked every bit the part of Prince Charming.
"What do you think?" asked Remus looking at the girls.
"Uncle Remus," said Kaida softly, "Why are you so shiny?"
Draco grinned at Remus in explanation. "Her magic has finally begun to compensate for her lost sight. It seems to be like seeing auras."
"That's good," he replied, "I was beginning to worry that her magic wouldn't start to compensate. If she's sensitive enough she should have vision similar to normal vision but it will not have color as we understand it."
"Hello." Charlie said opening the door. "Anyone looking for a prince?"
Charlie's red hair was longer and golden brown. He wore green hunting outfit and a silver coronet. On his back was a bow and quiver of arrows.
"Uncle Charlie!" cried Kaida running and jumping into his arms.
"Hi there, Sweet pea."
"It looks like we're ready to go," said Sirius with a chuckle. "We'll see you at the ball. Don't worry about the girls and don't do anything we wouldn't do."
"Thank you again," said Draco with a smile. "Be good girls. We'll see you in the morning."
"Be good for Remus and Sirius," added Harry. "Mimsy and Dobby are ready if you need them."
"Do you have everything you need?" asked Neville.
"If we don't, we'll send Mimsy or Dobby for it," replied Remus with a laugh.
"They'll be fine," Draco sighed, "Severus is waiting for us, Harry."
"All right," groaned Harry. "Nev, are you sure you won't need help?"
"Go on," replied Neville, "I've got this. I'm pretty good at this costume. I'll see you there."
"How will we know it's you?" asked Draco.
The ball was in full swing by the time Harry, Draco, Blaise and Severus arrived. Harry and Draco entered first.
Harry's hair had been lengthened to shoulder length and his scar hidden with Muggle concealer. Draco fixed his eyesight and he used an eye color spell to make his eyes a dark sapphire blue. He wore tight leather pants and no shirt. A collar with a broken chain hung around his neck. Two shredded black wings arched gracefully from his shoulder blades. A black feather mask hid half of his face.
Draco's hair was loose like a golden halo around his head. An eye color spell was used to make his eyes dark violet and a white feather mask obscured his face. Silver lipstick colored his lips and he wore cream colored leather pants. Silver slave bracelets wrapped around his wrists. Beautiful white and silver wings spread from his back.
Severus and Blaise entered next. With the help of a hair growth potion, Severus had hair nearly to his knees and the tips were green and silver. He wore black leather pants and a silver mesh shirt. Around his neck was a silver collar with a broken chain and matching silver and green slave bracelets encircled his wrists. He had taken the time to straighten his nose, something he always told himself he'd do but never got around to. His wings spread out behind him in beautiful paradox. One white wing with silver tips met one black wing with green tipped feathers. His face was obscured by a black and white feather mask.
Blaise left his hair short and messy but colored it brown. He left his eyes green. His leather pants were a warm chocolate brown. Around his wrists wrapped golden slave bracelets. He was shirtless but it only accentuated his chocolate and gold wings which spread proudly out behind him. His face was hidden behind a chocolate feather mask.
Looking out on the dance floor, they could see Ceres dancing with the Green Man. A knight and a medieval Princess spun effortlessly across the floor. They found the three girls with their princes in one corner dancing in the way only children can.
Aphrodite approached from the side and offered Severus her hand. "Dance with me?"
"Of course," answered Severus before leading her to the floor.
They made their way around the dance floor with his wings tucked tight against his body. Severus studied the woman before him with a hint of awe. Hermione's hair was pulled into a cascading pile on her head with gold strands woven through it. She wore a rich burgundy toga wrapped delicately around her accentuating her body. She finished the look with gold Hermes, plenty of gold bracelets, and a slim gold mask.
"That is an amazing costume, Professor," said Hermione with a smile. "Though I'm sure only a few of us will understand."
"We all live in duality, Hermione," he chastised.
"Some of us more than others," she replied.
"Is that Hermione dancing with Professor Snape?" asked Harry and he and Draco tried to dance around Blaise and Pansy.
"Yeah," replied Draco with a grin, "finally. Do you realize how crazy he drove Nana last year?"
"Probably about as crazy as she drove me last year," replied Harry, "Or as crazy as I was driving her."
"What were you driving her crazy with?" asked Draco turning them in time to the music.
"You," replied Harry with a blush. "Ron thought I was crazy and obsessed… Hermione knew it for what it was though."
As the music stopped, Draco pulled them over to a table. All around them couples found tables as Professor Dumbledore approached the Podium. "I must start by saying that I am impressed by all of the costumes I see. If I could please have the first through fourth years line up and walk across the dance floor we will begin the costume contest before the unveiling. Fifth through seventh years, the costume name will appear on the table in front of you. Simply tap on the costume name to vote. Remember, only one vote please, begin."
The first through fourth years paraded through the Great Hall in a riot of color. Costumes of all kinds hid the younger student's faces. They were well made, and well thought out but many of them lacked the finesse of the older student's costumes.
"Will the High Elf, the Tiger woman, and Robin Hood please step up to the podium. The rest of you may sit down so the older students may go. Fifth through Seventh years, please line up for the walk through. This group will use the same method for voting. Begin the walk through."
Two faces of Devi led the group. The identical girls were dressed similarly but one was armed as only a warrior would be and the other held a lotus blossom out before her. The students followed in all their finery. It was a show of who they felt themselves to be, as though for one night they could put on their true faces or just the one they wanted to have. Aphrodite, Artemis, and Ceres entered the floor together. Student after student filed across the floor alone or in small groups. Gasps of awe filled the room as the Green Man glided across the floor on a carpet of flowers and vines.
When the show was finished, Professor Dumbledore called them up. "The Green Man, Our Angels, and our Devi's please step up to the podium. Students have a seat while the Professors prepare."
The Professors were led out by Hagrid dressed as an Ent. The procession was quick, and ended with three little princesses and their princes.
"Would the Fallen Angel, Freya, and Beauty and the Beast please come to the podium," said Professor Dumbledore. "Please unmask as I call you forward. First through fourth years first place goes to the High Elf, second place goes to Robin Hood, and third place goes to the Tiger." Polite clapping filled the room as Kaiden and Seana unmasked along with their year mate. "Fifth through seventh years first place goes to The Green Man, second place goes to our Angels, and third place goes to the two faces of Devi." Everyone clapped as Neville, Harry, Draco, Blaise, Padma, and Parvati were unmasked. "Professors; first place goes to the Fallen Angel, second place goes to Freya, and third place goes to Beauty and the Beast." Everyone clapped as Molly, Remus, and Odette were unmasked but they grew silent as Professor Snape was unmasked.
Hermione looked around at the silent hall in horror. Professor Snape's costume was the best of the Professor. Determination set in and she stood up clapping. Harry, Draco and Blaise quickly followed her lead.
"All of our winners can pick up their awards tomorrow in my office. Now, I do believe that it is time for the first through fourth years to return to their common rooms."
While the youngest students made their way to back to the dorms, the older students and professors returned to dancing. Remus, Tonks, and Sirius carried the children away, heads on shoulders, to put them to bed. Just as the last of the younger students left, a brilliant flash of light and a deafening bang filled the Great Hall. Screams filled the air as they dropped to the floor or ran for cover. When the light faded the dark mark filled the Great Hall ceiling.
"Celestas Noir!" Shouted Professor McGonagall making most of the students vanish.
"Elite Guard, search pattern," ordered Ginny over her walkie, "Sanctuary has been activated."
"Susan, go with Madam Pomfrey and Madam Snape," ordered Draco.
"Remus, Sirius," snapped Harry into his walkie. "Death Eaters are in the building. Get to Sanctuary."
The DA and Professors quickly spread from the Great Hall. The Elite Guard broke into pairs and split to go towards the different common rooms. Costumes were forgotten as Death Eaters poured into the Entrance Hall. Duels erupted around the room as several of the Death Eaters broke off into the School.
Mackenzie found herself in on the floor of a common room. All around student were wandering or clumped in small groups, dazed and confused by the sudden change. Several of the older students seemed to be organizing; the split into groups to comfort and support the frightened students. Sleeping bags and pajamas were produced from one corner though no one wanted to sleep. They were just getting everyone settled down when the first loud bang sounded against the door.
"What is that?" cried one student.
Trista Mortist stood with her wand in hand. "I don't know. We need to get ready. Let's move those bookshelves in front of the door."
The pounding grew louder as they worked together to move the heavy shelves. The younger students moved towards the back of the room as they watched the older students work. The were just settling the last shelf into place when the door exploded inward sending the shelves into the older students.
Screams and smoke filled the air. Mackenzie found herself pinned beneath Trista. She struggled until she could pull herself free. Without thought, she reached for the radio on Trista's waist.
"Please, someone, we need help," she said into the radio. "They're getting in and Trista is hurt."
"Who is this?" asked a voice.
"It's okay Mackenzie," replied the voice, "This is Professor Lupin. How badly hurt is Trista?"
"All the older kids got hit by the shelves they piled in front of the door. They're all unconscious."
"Okay, Mackenzie," said Lupin carefully, "I need you to shout as loud as you can Portus Noir."
Mackenzie did as she was asked and found herself transported again. This time she was met by a room full of students.
"Mackenzie, are you still there?" asked Remus gently.
"We're in another room," answered Mackenzie, "Hannah is helping Trista and the other students."
"You did a good job, Mackenzie," praised Lupin, "Help Hannah if you can."
Severus disarmed and bound the Death Eater he caught on the fourth staircase. Despite his costume, with full wings, he had no trouble fighting. He glanced over the edge of the staircase as it moved. Small battles were being fought all around him but it was Hermione that caught his eye.
Still dressed as Aphrodite, she fired spell after spell at the Death Eater confronting her. She was the last of the defenders on the ground level but it didn't matter, she held her own. He watched, frightened, as two Death Eaters made their way up behind her from deeper in the building. Without thought, he leapt from the turning staircase, and spread the wings he designed to glide.
The force of his descent ripped his mask from his face, exposing him to full view of the approaching Death Eaters. Both men pulled back, stunned by what they saw.
"Traitor!" cried one before he pressed his wand to him mark and disappeared.