Neon: ………HI GUYS! REMEMBER ME? School ate me. Being in senior year has made me a lazy person. ….. Lazier. But I've been getting story alerts, and so many reviews for this story in my inbox DAILY that I just go "ggggghhhh oh right that thing hahaha maybe I should… um… write… more". I've actually had half of this just sitting around for months! So it's not like I forgot! …. I'm awful, I'm sorry. XD I'm also working like… A MILLION HOURS A WEEK. I apologize. 8D;
And thanks to those of you who reviewed. :D I just want to write my brains out when I get such nice reviews. Also: Anyone catch the fact that Sasuke is really bad at naming things? His little group is called "Hebi" in the manga, and this was way after I thought he'd suck at naming a pet. XD ZOUNDS.
I've been reading Harry Potter OBSESSIVELY for the last few months, and I think I'm starting to get a feel for writing the passage of time more effectively, so it doesn't take forty chapters to get to Halloween in this story. XD Pay careful attention to this and tell me how I do! (And oh my god book seven. I've never cried so much over a made up story in my entire life. AHHH. BUT THAT EPILOUGE SHOULD DIE. That is all.)
Disclaimer: Sup, dogs. Word.
Dai 9 Wa - We're not just students! Danger ahead!
Classes at Hogwarts progressed as normal as the month of September whittled away to a mere fortnight. Students that had been eager to get back to school had already begun to dread the prospect of homework, and even the presence of the new Slytherin student had eventually lost some of its novelty. The Defense teacher seemed to be a little forgetful about what he was teaching in his classes at times, but he would recover quickly, and was very likable. Harry saw nothing to complain about in the man; he actually reminded him a little bit of Lupin. Plus, he'd definitely been worse off when it came to teachers.
It was a tossup between Lockhart, Umbridge… well, every Defense teacher except for Lupin, actually.
Other than the first day of classes when Sasuke had back talked to Snape, the most exciting thing to have happened up to this point was Colin Creevy taking a photograph of the lake. Which, in itself, was not very exciting at all, unless you counted the fact that Goyle had been caught off guard by the flash, and had fallen backwards into the lake.
Harry seemed to have nearly every class with Sasuke, if memory served correctly. This didn't bother him much; on the contrary, the new student had such a total disregard for his schoolwork that he often didn't even try to mix the right potion for Snape, or do the right wand movements in Charms and Transfiguration. It was sort of funny to see how much he could get away with.
"You reckon we're still doing Muggle legends and interpreting them to fact?" Ron muttered in a bored tone, his eyes wandering the ceiling as he leaned against the wall.
Hermione rolled her eyes and shook her head, exasperated with Ron's inattentiveness, and answered, "He told us that we were moving on to animal familiars last class."
The three of them were milling around the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, with just a few minutes of the lunch hour to go. They'd gotten a little tired of simply wandering the castle, and decided that they may as well get to class. The door had been locked when Harry had tried to open it, though, so they were waiting for Uzumaki to get back from his lunch.
"Well, how am I supposed to know that? The man doesn't even know what he's talking about half the time!" Ron argued back in his defense.
"Oh, come off it, you just finished saying that he was a good teacher last day!"
"Are you sure I didn't just say 'he's a good guy'? Maybe you should get your ears checked, Hermione."
The girl let out an aggravated growl, and Harry attempted an intervention before things got out of control. He didn't want to put up with them being cross with each other for days on end so early in the school year.
"Would you two stop bickering like an old married couple for more than ten minutes at a time?" Harry took a moment to do his own share of eye-rolling.
Both Ron and Hermione clapped their mouths shut and looked away from each other. The sliver of Hermione's face that Harry could see was flushing a steady pink shade, and Ron's ears were a vivid scarlet.
Harry's stomach made an uncomfortable sort of flopping motion, and he frowned in confusion as he looked between his two friends, wondering if he should say something.
Being so intent to smooth the matter over with as little awkwardness as possible, Harry missed altogether the slip of shiny blackness that slid underneath the Defense room's door.
An indigo coloured snake slithered silently into the room, found a particular desk, and coiled her body around one of the legs so she could climb up. She hissed rather loudly to get the attention of the boy sitting in the desk, although he knew she was there. Already engaged in a conversation with a blond man, Hebi's master held out an arm without looking up, allowing her to wrap around it. She did, and looped the upper part of her body around Sasuke's throat like a half-necklace, her tail still wrapped about his shoulder. The humans were speaking in a language that she couldn't understand, but Master was stroking a finger soothingly over her triangular head, telling her he'd be done in a moment. She could wait. The school was rather boring, and nothing out of the ordinary had gone on yet.
"Sasuke, I think you're being paranoid. Again."
The gentle petting stopped as Sasuke's hand tensed, and Hebi glanced over at the blond man. He'd upset her master somehow.
"I don't think you're taking into consideration that privacy can and should be entirely compromised if lives are at stake. We're here to stop anything from happening to Potter."
"People have secrets, Sasuke, and not just because they're bad people! You can't go around interrogating every person you so much as suspect to be dangerous and then wipe their memories!"
"Well, all the better really, since they wouldn't remember me asking them personal questions."
Naruto sighed. "I think you're missing the point."
Irritated, the Uchiha snapped back at him, "It's not as though I'm blackmailing them! I don't give a shit about anyone here, you know, and I could honestly care less if I found out that so-and-so has a crush on what's-their-face. But if they know something incriminating, or read something in the newspapers that we can't get a hold of, then it could help to secure Potter's safety! A lot of the students have parents in the magical ministry!"
There was a long pause, and Naruto leaned against his desk, staring long and hard at his partner.
"You're getting pretty attached to this mission, aren't you?"
Sasuke glared at him, shocked and indignant at the accusation. "I'm completely impartial. And you're one to talk; you get attached to all of your students."
"I make friends with them, Sasuke. I'm nice to them. When we're done here, I can still say goodbye knowing that I made a few acquaintances. Being impersonal isn't going to cut them off from you, but you obsessing over something like this just brings them closer. You don't have to interact positively towards someone to get attached."
"I'm not obsessing, I'm doing my job. It's a hell of a lot more than what you're doing, at any rate." Slouching slightly in the desk, Sasuke physically bit back a scowl. All he heard in exchange of his provocation was a soft sigh.
"You know that I'm doing my job, Sasuke. Isn't it always a notable thing when a ninja doesn't look like he's actually doing his job? Look at Kakashi-sensei."
Sometimes, it really infuriated Sasuke when Naruto was more patient with handling him than he was with anything else. It wasn't as though he needed to be spoken to in that tone; he was no toddler.
Shaking his head lightly, Sasuke continued to absentmindedly stroke Hebi's head. "Whatever, it doesn't matter." He knew that he was being blatantly dismissive, but he had no wish to continue on this tangent of conversation. "You're doing your job, I'm not obsessed. Everyone's happy."
Another sigh, and a reluctant fib for the sake of a truce. Naruto was never surprised with how many false truces it took to prop up their friendship at this point. Tiny compromises equated to tolerance and sanity. "Everyone's happy."
Outside of the spoken realm, however, this was not the case. Both of them knew, but both also knew the boundaries and dangers of retreating on such a truce so early in its forging.
Torn between exasperation and a slight, uncomfortable annoyance, Naruto chewed at the inside of his lip. Was it so much for Sasuke to admit that he was making some sort of connection?
Well, apparently so.
Dissecting the silence, giving himself an excuse by checking his watch, Naruto looked up at Sasuke. "It's about time for class to start." Walking over to the door to unlock it, he heard Sasuke's snake hiss softly.
Automatically translating, Sasuke stood up. "Potter's outside. Give me a second to get out of here." Tucking the arm that Hebi was coiled around closer to his body, Sasuke lazily ruffled the back of his hair. "Don't want to be caught having alone time with the new teacher." Snorting, the Uchiha mock saluted Naruto and leapt from the open window.
"Sasuke, wait-!" Naruto took a half step towards the other teen before slumping his shoulders and rolling his eyes. He wasn't worried about Sasuke's well being by any means; he could handle himself. "What if someone outside sees you?" Trying not to look aggravated when he opened the door to Harry and his friends, Naruto hoped that Sasuke wasn't going to skip class after all of that.
Outside, Sasuke was walking along a narrow ledge that wound around the tower, as easily as walking along a garden path. Hebi was wound around his neck once more.
"No strange things, Master. Been going for long ways. No rats, though." Hebi unhinged her jaw in a wide mouthed, silent yawn. "Workers in kitchen too big to be rats."
"Attached," Sasuke hissed out in English. "Obsessed, I can at least understand, but… attached!" Jumping down to a row of squared turrets and stepping across them, picking out a torch holder to leap to next, he switched to speaking to Hebi. "It's ridiculous."
The snake, not knowing what exactly was ridiculous as Sasuke had been speaking to himself beforehand, let out a short, agreeable hiss. "Do not want to eat them anyway. Stringy."
"Eat the caretaker's cat, then." Apparently, even when Sasuke wasn't listening, he couldn't help but to pay attention.
"She'd sooner eat me, Master," Hebi, had she eyebrows, would have quirked them as though Sasuke were dense. She was still a small snake, even though she'd grown about half a foot since he'd bought her.
Lightly stepping down from the empty torch bracket and onto an outdoor stone bridge, Sasuke sighed, "I'll go into the forest tonight and get some birds. Now go, and stay out of the Owlery, for god sakes." Slipping through a heavy wooden door, he let Hebi slither off his arm and onto a nearby statue of what he thought was a troll.
"Only if you stay away from the Centaurs, Master," Hebi countered.
Sasuke hated ponies, especially talking ones. He'd voiced this opinion when he'd run into the herd last time he'd been catching birds, and the Ponies had officially waged war on the Uchiha. He'd forgotten about his unarmed state, and he still hadn't figured out how to make the Stick into anything remotely threatening. The Stick spat sparks whenever he tried to sharpen it, so he supposed that he'd better get around to learning a stupid spell or two. The prospect of running into a herd of angry, arrow wielding ponies to go find Hebi's birds seemed rather annoying, in Sasuke's mind.
Maybe he'd just set one on fire.
Surprisingly, Sasuke was still on time for Defense Against the Dark Arts, books in tow. Naruto, who was just finishing with tidying his desk, felt his slight annoyance with his partner diminish.
This feeling lasted for all of three seconds as he watched Sasuke plunk himself down into the very back corner seat, away from most everyone else in the class, apparently once and for all proving that he was in no way whatsoever 'attached' to anyone in the class.
Deadpanning, Naruto cleared his throat, "Good afternoon, everyone. I expect your essays on Muggle urban legends are all finished?"
There was a general mumbling of agreement from the class, and Naruto dug his wand from his pocket and gave it a wave. Sasuke wanted to know who he was trying to fool, but his own half-assed essay shot out from between the pages of his textbook, joining the other floating pieces of parchment in a march to Naruto's free hand. Hermione's essay dangled about a foot and a half lower than the rest of the stack.
Had there been a verbal argument going on, Sasuke would have found himself at a loss for words. When had that gormless idiot learned how to do magic? He was inept as it was when it came to learning new jutsu unless there was a picture book in front of his face!
Stunned, Sasuke slouched in his seat and crossed his arms irritably, feeling like his own stupid Stick was even more inadequate. Not that he'd tried terribly hard to learn any magic, but the fact still remained that Sasuke had managed nothing more than putting cigarette-esque burns into bits of parchment with that Incendio spell. (Which was even more depressing, because the spell was meant to produce a roaring fire, and the element was even infused into his chakra.)
To be truthful, the only course that he was doing well in for the practical classes was Potions, and his motivation was merely to irk Snape. No wand work required, just recipes.
"Okay, great," said Naruto, placing the essays on his desk. "As I said last class, we're now moving on to… animal familiars. Something the matter, Uchiha?"
"Nope," Sasuke shrugged as a few heads turned towards him. He'd mockingly mouthed the words as Naruto spoke them; he knew what they'd be doing every single day, and he couldn't help showing his annoyance with Naruto in some way.
Continuing on, and holding back a half-amused snort, Naruto tried not to think about how much he was rubbing off onto Sasuke. "The next spell that we'll be learning today isn't exactly in the category of animal familiars, but as this subsection is more or less boring bookwork--" Sasuke snorted softly here, "--I thought I'd introduce you to the spell Expecto Patronum. Though I hear that a few of you are already rather acquainted with this already." He grinned good naturedly.
The class knew what was coming next before it actually happened, and Harry attempted to not sink a few inches into his chair. He didn't particularly enjoy the attention from these sorts of things-- stuff that made him look amazing and boastful when he was really just trying to get by. Was it his fault that he'd survived several encounters with Voldemort? He'd just been trying to do what anyone else would have; to stay alive. The only reason he knew how to summon a Patronus was because he wanted to be able to defend himself from Dementors.
Nonetheless, he'd gone through the same spiel and explanation with the birthing of Dumbledore's Army last year. He didn't mind being a teacher of sorts, but he could just hear Draco's annoying drawl saying that Harry was a showoff.
"Harry, would you mind giving a demonstration?"
Half cringing, Harry nodded. "Sure, Professor." Standing, and making his way to the front of the room where Naruto stood, scanning the room, he supposed that this wasn't really that bad. A good handful of the sixth years in the class had been in the DA last year, and had been eager to learn from him. If all he had to put up with was a resentful Malfoy, then he would have no problem going to sleep that night.
Preferring to think that the slight warmth to his face was caused by the temperature of the room, and not from having so many pairs of eyes fixed upon him, Harry wondered if he should give some sort of introduction to the spell, being so used to that sort of thing in the DA. But he remembered that this wasn't his class, and, feeling a tad foolish, he lifted his wand.
"You're going red, Potter! You sure you haven't forgotten how to summon that baby deer?"
Well, it wasn't as though Harry hadn't been expecting it. Instead of being more embarrassed, he snorted softly, wishing that Malfoy could be tossed around by a Patronus in the same way that a Dementor could.
Harry's eyes flickered a few rows back, to Sasuke, who had a textbook raised over his head, obviously aiming. Before Harry could even fathom the obvious two plus two, the heavy book hit the back of Malfoy's head, forcing his forehead to meet the desk with a sickening crack. Sasuke innocently propped his chin in his hand and looked away, pretending to not even have witnessed the act, even though he was the only person in the back row, and thus the only person who could have been responsible. Harry wasn't sure which was angrier; Malfoy's scowl or the red spot on his forehead.
Ron let out a great 'ha!' of triumph, overriding a few more discreet giggles from the non-Slytherin students. Pansy Parkinson glared daggers at Sasuke, who was putting on a great show of turning around and just noticing what was going on.
For the second time in that hour, Naruto wondered if he was being a good influence on Sasuke after all. "Ten points from Slytherin," he sighed, though he didn't explain if it was for Malfoy's backtalk or Sasuke's perfect aim. "If you would, please, Harry."
Grinning slightly, Harry raised his wand. He didn't even need to summon a happy memory; all he had to do was take another look at the red bump on Malfoy's forehead.
By the time class had ended, a few of the people who had not been members of the DA had managed to get ghostly wisps of an unformed Patronus to seep from their wands. Sasuke, although he had vowed to improve his wand capabilities, had not even tried, due to the fact that he never 'tried' anything in front of this many people unless he was already sure he could do it to a degree. Draco was still far too infuriated to concentrate, and when they were dismissed, he immediately stood and turned, fully intending to hex Sasuke within an inch of his life once they stepped outside the door. But Sasuke had already vanished.
The shinobi, however, was not quick enough to escape Snape a few feet down the corridor. The Potions Master grabbed his upper arm, a rather bold move in Sasuke's opinion, and said in clipped tones, "Dumbledore's office, now. Sugar quills." All but tossing Sasuke's arm back to him, he swept off to Naruto's classroom as the rest of the students were exiting.
Frowning, Sasuke needn't ask what 'sugar quills' meant at this point. Dumbledore's passwords always seemed to be narrowed down to ridiculous candy names. This method was ludicrous in Sasuke's mind; it would be so easy for a student to guess the password if they tried a handful of times. He decided to heed Snape, as he appeared to be treated Sasuke as an employee rather than a student. That, and Malfoy was emerging from the classroom, looking ready to kill, and Sasuke was only armed with his stubbornly useless Stick.
It would also be conspicuous to set Draco on fire without a wand.
Assuming that there was going to be a meeting in the Headmaster's office, Sasuke adopted a brisk pace, searching out the telltale statue that marked the room.
Snape, weaving irritably past the students who were milling about the door and not fast enough to move, barked at them to get a move on to their next classes.
Harry and Ron were putting their books and titled homework sheets into their bags, abandoned by Hermione, who had needed to pick up a few textbooks before her next class, and hurried off before them. Ron tapped Harry's shoulder and gave a nod towards Snape, who appeared a little more purposeful than he would be if he were just stopping by for a belittling chat. Well versed in stalling at this point in their lives, Harry watched Snape out of the corner of his eye as Ron stopped to tie his already tied shoelace.
"Professor Snape?" Naruto looked a bit puzzled as Snape swept down to speak with him.
All too aware that Harry and Ron were still there, Snape opted for being blandly cryptic, "The Headmaster would like a word with you, Uzumaki." He would have tacked on a stressed 'now', but that would make it obvious that there was a sense of urgency, which never boded well with Potter's sleuth-like curiosity. The last thing they needed was Potter nosing about more than he did on a natural basis.
"Ah… Right." Nodding, and appearing a little curious, Naruto swept a few things from his desktop and into drawers, following Snape up the ascending stairs to the door. "Ron, Harry, you'll be late for your next class," Naruto added with a grin.
"Getting to classes doesn't seem to be problematic for these two," Snape said snidely, "but getting them out of one is another matter."
"Eager learners, then. That's not a problem," Naruto chimed, looking clueless, ushering the pair out cheerfully. "And thank you for that demonstration today, Harry. I'll admit that I'm not the best to learn that spell from; it's a hard one to do."
Blinking, Harry nodded as he and Ron left the class. "Uh… No problem, Professor." He watched with Ron as the Professors left, heading to Dumbledore's office.
"He's got a gift, that Uzumaki," Ron snorted, turning a corner and leading Harry to the Transfiguration classroom. "Teaching things that he can't even do himself."
Harry shrugged lightly, half agreeing with what Ron said. "I suppose. But with the Dementors loose, maybe he thought that we'd better learn it anyway?"
"Nah," Ron said, grinning suddenly. "All we really need is a good, sturdy textbook. That'll take care of most household pests, at any rate, hey Harry?" He imitated Sasuke's book toss.
Harry couldn't help but to laugh. At least they had a Defense teacher that could actually accept the dangers outside of the school's threshold, and wanted to prepare them. He felt less like there was a spotlight on him now; Uzumaki had just picked him to conjure a Patronus because he himself could not. Maybe they'd run into a helpful spell that only Hermione knew how to do, and she would teach them. They were all learning from each other. And with Voldemort back, who would be stupid enough to not take all the help they could get?
"And just who the hell is Alastor Moody? When were you intending to tell us about this?!" Sasuke's voiced echoed slightly in the domelike room, and Naruto, in his regular teenage form, frowned.
"Watch your mouth," Snape hissed through clenched teeth.
"Severus, it's quite alright…" Dumbledore raised a hand to silence Sasuke, however. "I was regrettably unable to inform you of this beforehand, Sasuke, because I have been absent for the last fortnight."
Something flickered over Sasuke's senses, and he tried not to look too affronted, but Naruto spoke for him.
"You've been gone?" Naruto looked to Snape and McGonagall, who had obviously been aware of this. "Why didn't you tell us?" He sounded a little irritated, and a little hurt. Sasuke latched on to the irritation in his voice more than anything, because it made him feel more justified for being angry himself.
"I apologize, but you must forgive my reasoning." To Sasuke's surprise and chagrin, Dumbledore smiled very slightly, "It seems that whenever the school is aware of my absence, nothing short of utter chaos seems to erupt."
"Luckily," Dumbledore continued, making a soft, tired, sort of old man sound as he seated himself behind his large, ornate desk, "Alastor is recovering. We're not quite sure as to how his attacker managed to get inside Grimmauld Place headquarters, as only its Secret Keeper can allow admission…" The Headmaster lost his slight smile, and the lines in his face made him look very grave.
"Are we allowed to know who this crap Secret Keeper is?" Sasuke deadpanned, not even bothering to use an iota of his already bare manners.
Both Snape and McGonagall looked irked with Sasuke, but if they had been intending to say anything in reproach, Dumbledore cut them off.
"That," he said, still grave, though his light blue eyes twinkled, "would be me."
Instead of looking sheepish, Sasuke assumed senility to be the root of the problem. "And did you happen to tell any murdering, power hungry freaks where this headquarters is?"
Naruto hit him.
"Sorry about that," he muttered, "Sasuke here hasn't had his anger management routine cut out of his life before." Meaning that Sasuke had been unable to engage in any variety of life endangering exercise, and it was the equivalent of cabin fever for him. Sasuke glared venomously, but kept his jaw clamped shut.
Ever patient, Dumbledore continued, unfazed, "I don't believe that I brought the subject up over tea, no. The attack on Alastor Moody two weeks ago is startling, but there is a cause to everything that happens. There is no lasting damage since Remus was along shortly after to drop off a report."
"Who's Remus? Why would he be dropping off a report?" Sasuke seemed to be back to the business side of his brain, and Naruto let him talk. "You still haven't told us what this Grimmauld Place is the headquarters of, or anything else of apparent use."
"Alastor Moody and Remus Lupin are members of the Order of the Phoenix," Dumbledore said, tenting his long fingers in front of his face. "Which is, as you can most likely guess, a band of witches and wizards who are collectively pitted against the forces of Lord Voldemort."
Nodding, feeling a little more calm now that there was information coming his way, Sasuke frowned thoughtfully. "Moody was attacked, but not killed… who would run into a place and not finish the job properly?"
"Unless it wasn't the primary objective," Naruto noted. They both looked to Dumbledore for confirmation.
"That is, as far as we know, correct," he said. "A locket was stolen; a belonging of the late Regulus Black, to whose family the house once belonged."
"Only a locket? Kind of a stupid thief," Naruto raised his eyebrows.
Sasuke shook his head, "Think about it, you idiot. Only a locket. Just that one thing, and this person probably went through a lot to figure out how to get inside the headquarters to steal it. So there's obviously something special about it."
McGonagall spoke up, seemingly just as confused about this as Naruto and Sasuke. "Yes, that much is apparent. But we've yet been able to figure out why this thief was so focused on the locket."
Dumbledore, as though sad to burden them with more worry, softly shook his head, "I have, to no avail, been trying to ignore this, but my fears are nearly confirmed with this course of action." The Headmaster paused, and Snape was frowning heavily, not liking where this conversation was heading, before the elderly wizard continued, veering off tangent, "How much do you two know about Horcruxes?"
Honestly, the shinobi duo knew nothing about Horcruxes, but Dumbledore didn't seem surprised in the least. In a calm and patient tone that was bordering on tired, he explained to them what this dark magic incurred, and how Voldemort had unlocked the complicated puzzle of how to use them. The more Sasuke heard, the more sickened he became with Voldemort's flight from death.
Apparently just as disturbed, Naruto asked softly, "So… you think that a bit of his soul is in that locket?"
"Yes," Dumbledore said simply. "It may seem strange to you that we had not dealt with this locket beforehand, but to be perfectly truthful, I had no idea that it was of any substantial malice. To say that because this person stole the locket does not assure me of its being a Horcrux, but the chances have tilted in favor of that possibility."
"And this attacker didn't just offer us their knowledge," Minerva added, looking pale, "they took it for their own."
"Exactly," nodded Dumbledore, "Which leads me to believe the only thing I can; this item just may be a Horcrux, and this person is most likely trying to protect the pieces of Voldemort's soul. I do not entertain the idea that it is the work of a Death Eater, since Lord Voldemort would want no one's hands on a section of his being… he prefers them to be hidden, and assumes them to be so, as he cannot feel the separated portions of himself as anything more than backup connections to life…"
"This does not mean, however, that the Dark Lord will not swoop in on the chance to penetrate the Order's hideaway once he discovers our vulnerability," Snape intoned darkly.
There was a long stretch of silence, heavy and thoughtful, before Naruto spoke.
"We can deal with any… bad guys; Death Eaters and, well, Voldemort, if need be. It's what we're here for."
Sasuke added sharply, "We aren't students, or children, or what have you. Tell me to kill something, give me a valid reason why, and I'll kill it. His magic may be unfamiliar to us, but I'll wager that he's never exactly had a run in with our 'type', either."
Another pause, and Dumbledore nodded, almost not moving at all.
"So…" Naruto looked around the room at the other four, "Where do we stand on this? What does this mean?"
"It means," Dumbledore said, face stony and grave once more, "that the Order of the Phoenix no longer has the protection of Grimmauld Place. Those who battle against Lord Voldemort are known to him, and this puts entire families in extreme danger. He knows who to find, and will have little trouble figuring out how, if the Order's members flock together to operate."
Drinking in his words, McGonagall's eyebrows furrowed, confused, and she stared at the Headmaster. "Albus, you can't mean…"
"Yes, Minerva," he said, a note of sad, exhausted finality in his voice, "For the time being, the Order of the Phoenix is officially disbanded."