Chapter 15 - Of Fighting Memories
"Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is" - Vince Lombardi
"I wish . . . I wish I were dead. . . ."
"And what use would that be to anyone?" said Dumbledore coldly. "If you loved Lily Evans, if you truly loved her, then your way forward is clear."
Snape seemed to peer through a haze of pain, and Dumbledore's words appeared to take a long time to reach him. "What — what do you mean?"
"You know how and why she died. Make sure it was not in vain. Help me protect Lily's son."
"He does not need protection. The Dark Lord has gone —"
"The Dark Lord will return, and Harry Potter will be in terrible danger when he does."
There was a long pause, and slowly Snape regained control of himself, mastered his own breathing. At last he said, "Very well. Very well. But never — never tell, Dumbledore! This must be between us! Swear it! I cannot bear . . . especially Potter's son . . . I want your word!"
"My word, Severus, that I shall never reveal the best of you?"
Dumbledore sighed, looking down into Snape's ferocious, anguished face.
"If you insist . . ."
( excerpt from DH- The Prince's Tale)
Harry drifted awake out of that dream, tears pooling in his eyes. He sat up in bed, refusing to let them fall, and pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes. He desperately wanted to believe that what he'd seen was just was a convoluted imagining of his own mind. But he knew deep down, he'd started to believe since these surreal dreams had started, that they were real. The events that had all taken place in the dreams, had actually taken place in real life at some point in the history of his parents and their year mates and their time at Hogwarts. Everything he'd witnessed between his parents, the marauders, and God, even Snape. He believed everything he'd dreamed about them was real. The details, the conversation, the words everyone had spoken; everything was clearly etched in his brain. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut as if doing so would force the images from his brain out through his ears.
He'd seen so many moments of his parents life, and not all of them had been good. So many lies, so many secrets, so much that had been kept from him.
He looked at the time. It was only 3 o'clock in the morning. Too early yet for getting ready for his early morning run. Though the weather had turned too cold for running; after a discreet word with Killian and Moody they'd been allowed to use the treadmills early in the morning with Killian or Shacklebolt taking turns supervising. One or the other would always be waiting for them.
He knew sleep wasn't what appealed to him after that last dream, but he just couldn't take another revelation. Sighing he got out of bed, pulled out his Invisibility Cloak from his trunk and jammed his feet into his sneakers. Quietly, he made his way out of the dorms, through the Common Room, and gently closed the snoozing portrait of the Fat Lady behind him. He had no particular destination in mind and just walked wherever his feet led him. He tried to make sense of all the memories that came to him in his dreams.
His mum and Snape had been friends, from before Hogwarts apparently. Separated by first by their Houses they tried to keep their friendship alive, but things kept driving them apart. The house rivalries, so much damage had been done by just what houses they'd been placed in; the marauders who seemed determined to drive a wedge between that Slytherin and Gryffindor friendship, particularly James and Sirius; Snape's dogged pursuit of respect and power within his own house that eventually led him to use that dreaded word, the final insult that broke the friendship of two people who could have been together forever; Mudblood.
Such a small word, packed with so much meaning. A vile word that ended someone's hopes and dreams.; all out of pride.
Harry paused in his ruminations as he heard the sound of sniffling. He looked around and realised that his walk had brought him to the empty Transfiguration section of the school. The corridor was empty, the class room doors all closed apart from the one that was only open by just a slither. There was no light on, but Harry was sure there was someone in there. It seemed he was not the only one who couldn't sleep. Taking a final look around to make sure no one was coming, he cursed himself for not bringing the Marauders map with him, he silently walked towards the door and slipped inside, the door not even creaking as he pushed it a little more to get inside. He looked around the classroom to see the source of the sniffling and saw her.
Tonks was sitting at the far side, at the desk closest to the window, head in hands, desperately trying to contain herself. Harry hesitated, unwilling to intrude on her privacy, her grief. But she was a friend, she was someone he respected and he hated to see her so upset. Hopefully he could help her in some way, and selfishly, he thought, it would distract him from his own problems.
"Tonks?" he said softly, hoping his sudden presence wouldn't startle her too much, he slipped the cloak from himself.
Tonks started a little and looked over to see him, squinting slightly at the low light and her own tears.
"Harry, what are you doing out of bed?" she said standing up and wiping her cheeks.
"I couldn't sleep."
She nodded and sat back down.
"You should head back to bed, Harry. You have a busy day ahead of you in the morning, the last day of classes."
"It's just classes as normal. I've been to classes with less sleep than this."
Tonks opened her mouth as if to contradict him but closed it and just nodded.
Neither of them said anything for a while. Harry took a seat at the desk in front of Tonks, turning the back against his desk so he was facing her.
"Look," he said, breaking the silence as she didn't tell to leave again, "you can tell me to get lost if you want," hoping she wouldn't , "but I've always thought of you as more than just my professor. I think of you as a friend and I trust you and I hope you could trust me as well."
Harry knew he was bad at this comfort and wondered if he was saying the right words.
Tonks continued at her hands in front of her, where more tears had dripped onto.
"I trust you, Harry."
"Enough to tell me what's upsetting you? You don't have to if you don't want to," he added quickly.
Tonks didn't say much. She opened her mouth several times as if she wanted to tell but couldn't.
"Is it… is it something to do with Lupin?" he asked haltingly.
She let out a humourless snort.
"Am I that obvious Harry?" she asked, not really bothered about the answer.
"It wasn't me that figured it out. I'm clueless about relationships."
"Things not going well with Katie?"
"She broke up with me last week," he said, sheepishly.
"I'm sorry, Harry," Tonks said, slipping her wet tear stained hand into his.
"I sort of saw it coming. We had a good time together. But we realised we weren't going to getting anywhere together. It was less of a fiasco that my short-lived relationship with Cho."
Tonks nodded and took her hand away from Harry's.
"Hermione's a smart girl," Tonks said.
"It was Luna, actually."
Tonks gave a faint smile at that.
"Luna's always sees more than people think."
"It's her best quality. Among many others. She's good friend."
Tonks gave him an odd look he couldn't decipher.
"I'm pregnant, Harry."
Harry blinked in surprise. "Oh."
He waited for her to say more.
"It happened after that last Hogsmeade weekend. When the dementors attacked. It was harrowing weekend. So many dementors. Nicolas' new spell. Killian in hospital, unconscious for so long. We didn't know how long till she would wake. Snape left Remus' potion with me in the office, you know how much Snape hates Remus, and I thought I'd take it to him. I was waiting for him after he came from visiting Killian after she woke up. We got talking; about the dementors, about Killian, about Sirius. One thing led to another. I ended up staying the night."
She fell silent.
Harry wondered if he should say something.
"Merlin, I feel like such a fool."
"Never. You're never a fool Tonks." He rushed to assure her.
"I was so happy when I woke up. I thought it just a first step where we could be together. I know he likes me. I know I love him. I love him, Harry. But he regretted it. And he told me it would be better if we forgot it ever happened." She said the last words on a sob.
Harry moved from his seat to slide into the chair next to her. She turned around to place her head on her shoulder and he placed his arms awkwardly around her as she cried on his shoulder.
"Did you tell Lupin about the baby?" he asked tentatively.
He felt her nod, and Harry knew this was the real reason of Tonks tears. He knew then that whatever Lupin said hadn't been supportive at all. He closed his eyes and braced himself the answer to his next question. He pushed himself away from Tonks to look into her tear stricken eyes.
"What did he say Tonks?"
Tonks tore her gaze away from him, trying to push herself even further away from him, but Harry refused to let go.
"It doesn't matter, Harry. Just let it go. This is between me and Remus. Remus… he was a good friend of your dads. After Sirius… " she trailed off, her voice thick. "I don't what's happening between me and Remus to affect yours and his relationship."
"Please, Tonks. Please tell me what he said."
"Please Tonks. Please." He cut her off.
She took a deep breath and swallowed.
"He said he didn't want to the baby… and that if I had any sense then I wouldn't either."
She burst into tears again.
"He said- because of his l-l-l-lycanthropy the baby might get it a-a-a- as well and...he wouldn't want … he didn't…"
Harry let her lean on his shoulders again. He waited for her to calm down and hoped he would say the right words to convey his support.
"I'm with you Tonks. I'll do whatever you decide. Whether you keep the baby or not. And I won't tell anyone about you and Lupin and the baby. And I won't tell anyone, even my friends. I'll be there, whatever way you need me to be."
"I trust you Harry, and your friends. You've all been through so much together. And I appreciate your help. It means such a lot. And I'm keeping the baby. If Remus doesn't want anything to do with the baby then that's his loss. He's told me his decision. This baby is mine," she said placing her hand protectively over her belly. "And if the baby has the thing as Remus then I'll be there."
"So will I," Harry promised, placing his hand over hers, hoping he wasn't crossing a line.
"You're a good lad, Harry," Tonks said, leaning over and kissing him on the cheek.
She leaned her head on his shoulder again, still sniffling every so often. Harry kept his arm around her. They sat there for a long a time. Not needing to say anymore to each other.
"Have you told anyone about Lupin and the baby? Apart from me and Lupin I mean." Harry enquired, breaking the silence.
"Killian knows. And Moody. Can't seem to hide anything from them," Tonks said. And Harry could tell by the sound of her voice that she was smiling.
"No. You don't seem to be able to," came Moody's voice.
Harry and Tonks jumped up, startled. Harry instinctively had in his wand in his hand at the sound of Moody's voice, who was standing at the door of classroom.
Moody looked approvingly at the wand in Harry's hand.
"Constant Vigilance," he growled in a low voice. "I could have been anyone. A teacher, a student, Filch. Do you have any idea what someone could have thought if they'd seen you together, in a empty classroom at this time?"
Harry opened his mouth to defend himself but was beaten by Tonks.
"Good thing it was you who caught us, Mad-eye? Saves us the embarrassment of being discovered by someone less discreet," Tonks said, seemingly gaining some of her humour back.
Silence reigned as Moody pinned them with both his eyes.
"So Potter, you're now in the know of this drama."
"And what do you plan to do with this information?"
"I'll do whatever Tonks needs me to do," Harry declared, at which Tonks took his hand and squeezed it once, shooting him a grateful look.
"You better put your cloak back on and head back to your dorms," Moody instructed quietly. "It'll be time for your run soon and your friends will be waking up. You'll want to be there, else they'll get suspicious."
Harry nodded, and with one last look at Tonks picked up his cloak from the chair he'd dumped it on and covered himself with it. Moody stepped aside to let him and Harry started walking towards the direction Gryffindor tower. He'd looked back once to see Moody and Tonks had both stepped outside of the classroom, as well; with Moody a man who not usually not a demonstrative man by any means, had placed his arm around Tonks' shoulders. He stood still a moment and observed them before Moody, who looked up trained both his magical and non-magical eye on him, nodded to him in what he felt was respect before turning his attention back to Tonks. He led her away, leaving Harry to make his own way.
He got to the dorms in time to switch his alarm off; just then realising he had sat with Tonks in that empty classroom for most of the night. He was just taking his running sweats out of the trunk when he sensed that Neville and Dean were also stirring.
The other two stumbled out of bed and got ready for their morning run. Clothes changed they made their way towards the gym part of the school where Shacklebolt and Luna were already waiting for them, chatting away quietly. Harry exchanged greeting with them both, a smile on his face as he saw Luna beam at him. They made their way to the treadmills, going through their routine of light stretches, before starting on the treadmills, gradually increasing their speed. Harry decided to forget the night and quickly joined Neville and Dean in their competiveness to see who could last the longest at the higher speed setting.
It was three hours later and Harry found himself with the Upper years through the inside the Chamber of Secrets. Moody and Shacklebolt were in front of them explaining some of the obstacle courses they would have to pass. They were all going to help set up for their own exams which Harry found extremely odd.
The teachers who had barely given them any other instructions other than study as many spells as you can, were now all of a sudden telling them they'd have to help set up their own obstacle courses, which they would have to dwell on over Christmas period before coming up with a strategy that involved wand work and team work. It hardly explained anything at all really. It just left them with more questions.
It was also odd that they hadn't been asked to changed into their Defence sweats that Killian favoured. They were still wearing their standard Hogwarts robes, and despite the fact the students, professors and house elves had been hard work trying to make the Chamber better and cleaner, Harry noticed he already had flecks of grime on the hems of his robes. The first and second years were already in the chambers, their morning classes having been cancelled as they has been working on the secret passages. Harry found the teachers behaviours extremely odd.
Harry looked at the contraption in font of him; it looked like a cross between cage and a jungle gym he'd seen in muggle parks. Other bits of equipment lay in piles around the chamber. Larges pipes, planks of wood, a few random plants harmless looking plants,(Harry suspected they just looked harmless), a few weapons and such.
"I wondered why Hermione didn't come down with us," Ron whispered to him.
"I don't know. McGonagall wanted a word with her about something. She grabbed Parvati and Lavender as well," Harry whispered back.
"She won't be happy at missing this," Ron said to him.
Harry nodded. Hermione would definitely not be pleased at missing the opportunity learn more about ways to pass their test that would count towards so much of their grade.
"Ssssh then," Neville told them. "You better pay attention because you'll know she'll ask you about every detail so she could put together a plan."
Ron grimaced at Neville's admonishment, knowing it was true. Hermione would be relying on them to provide her with as much details as possible.
"… the teams that will be going last will, admittedly have the advantage," Moody was explaining. "We haven't decided the order yet-" his rambles were cut off with the arrival of the lowers years, first and second years, who were being supervised by Flitwick and Tonks.
The teachers had a quick whispered conversation together and seemed to have agreed on something.
Moody turned to them to carry on when he interrupted once again by the arrival of Lupin who came down with the Third years.
"What are you doing down here Lupin?" Moody frowned at him.
"Killian instructed me to bring down the Third Years at your request," Lupin told him, not taking offence at his tone.
Harry wondered if Moody's tone had anything to do with his protectiveness of Tonks. He looked across at Tonks who studiously avoided looking in Lupin's direction.
"Yes, but that was not supposed to be for another hour and half. After lunch," Moody barked at him.
Lupin frowned, and ushered the Third years through even as he pulled out a parchment from his battered robes.
"The notes says for now," he said as he strode across to Moody to show him the note.
Moody limped across the remaining distance and snatched the parchment from Lupin's hand and quickly skimmed his eyes across.
Harry felt a movement behind him and he turned to see Luna. She smiled and said in her airy voice, "Looks like the Nargles have been up to no good again. They've already affected poor Professor Lupin."
"There's more than Nargles affecting Lupin," Harry muttered darkly.
Ron and Neville gave him odd looks, wondering at his negative tone; having never heard him say a bad word against his father's old friend before, whereas Luna just ignored them and stared avidly in the direction of the statue of Slytherin.
Harry just shrugged at them, not knowing how he could explain that comment so he just left it and turned his attention back to Moody.
"Merlin's sake Lupin, we've got the whole school down here now…" Moody was telling him.
Harry looked around and saw that was true. The First and Second years were already there with Flitwick and Tonks. Lupin came down with the Third years. The Fifth, Sixth and Seventh years had come down there with Shacklebolt and Moody.
The Fourth years were missing in their entirety. Like the Sixth year Gryffindors, there seemed to be random students missing from the other Sixth year houses as well. Sally and Perkins and Lily Moon were missing from Ravenclaw, as well as Terry Boot. From Hufflepuff only Susan Bones seemed to be missing. Slytherin seemed to missing Crabbe and Goyle as well as Nott, Millicent Bulstrode and Daphne Greengrass.
Ginny was as always uncomfortable with the Chamber of Secrets and Harry knew she hadn't ventured down here at all, so he knew Ginny was missing from the fifth year Gryffindors. He wondered though, if the other years were missing students as well. He looked around to see he recognised that most from the DA but quickly realised there were students from the DA who weren't present in the Chamber.
He mused at that, wondering why so many students were down here. Surely not just to explain the exam?
Harry saw Lupin walk away with some of the First and Second years, leaving behind the Slytherins and the Hufflepuffs. The Third years were being left behind. He saw Tonks and Flitwick follow behind the students. Harry tried to catch Tonks' eyes, but she wasn't looking his direction, busy shepherding out the students instead.
Harry knew Moody and Shacklebolt were strict teachers, but still looking around he thought the number of students in the Chamber would be too many for Moody and Shacklebolt to keep an eye on, even with Moody's magical eye.
He voiced his concerns to Ron and Neville, who seemed to have channelled Hermione on that occasion, told him quite primly, that McGonagall and Gallagher and Lupin would be joined them soon. Harry exchanged a chagrined look with Ron, who grinned at him being told off by Neville of all people. That put Harry in his place for drifting off.
Moody continued his explanations.
"Of course, the lowers years will have less training, so your teams will be split bearing that in mind. Just because this will be a practical exam doesn't mean they are disadvantaged for being not knowing as much. Before the will start you will have thirty minutes to prepare a plan so talk to your teams and get as much information, use your prep time well and protect the younger students as much as possible- what is it?" he said, irritable at being interrupted, glaring at Shacklebolt.
"The vault door is closed." Shacklebolt told him, confused, striding across the Chamber to the doors.
"What do you mean?"
Everybody watched with interest as Shacklebolt tried to push the heavy door open, without result.
"It- won't - It won't open." Shacklebolt grunted as he tried to vain to heave the door open.
"Don't be daft," Moody snarled, limping over to help, and he too tried to open the door.
Amusement slowly turning to alarm Harry realised they genuinely couldn't open the door.
"Potter," Moody called, "come over and help."
Harry at first wondered how he could help, before he realised that Moody meant using his parseltongue.
He quickly walked over to the two professors, aware everyone's eyes were on him.
"Open," he hissed at the snake engravings on the door. With a sinking feel he saw that the door wouldn't budge. "Open," he hissed again.
He shook his head at Moody who was watching like a hawk.
"Which twit had the bright idea to close this dame thing?" Moody growled.
"Tonks and Filius were the last ones out. But they wouldn't have closed the door." Shacklebolt said, examining the door, trying to find a weak spot.
"Move back," Moody snapped, puling out his wand.
Harry quickly moved back to join the other students who had started muttering amongst themselves. Would they be trapped in here? How long for? McGonagall and Lupin would be coming back down wouldn't they? Harry knew the teachers had found a charm to imprint his voice when he was speaking parseltongue to get into the chamber to bring down other students and such; without having to drag him out of classes all the time. All they had to do was wait for them to come down and then they could get out of here.
Moody looked ready to blast down the door.
"Sir," Harry interrupted. "What about that charm you've been using to get in and out of the Chamber. Won't Professor McGonagall have that to get back in? You said she's coming down right?"
Moody lowered his wand. "You're right Potter. Good thinking. We used it to get down here. Kingsley passed it onto Tonks. She would have passed it onto Minerva so she could down here. Good thinking, lad."
"Actually," came Shacklebolt's deep voice, "she won't."
Shacklebolt had the most abashed look on his face Harry had ever seen. In his hand was a small blue disc. He pressed down on it and Harry heard his own voice hissing in pasrseltongue.
Moody closed both his eyes in annoyance and then opened them slowly to give the mortified Auror his trademark vicious glare.
"You- forgot- to- pass- the -device -to- Tonks?" he growled.
"I didn't expect the door to close," Shacklebolt defended.
"Surely you have more than one of those things," Malfoy voiced angrily.
Harry felt a little nervous to be locked in the Chamber with so many people. Even though they spent a considerable amount of time down, it wasn't the most comfortable of places to be trapped in.
"We only made one device, Malfoy," Moody bit out over the grumblings of the other students. "When Potter's group comes down, we don't need the device. But when he isn't we use the disc. Wouldn't want to fall into the wrong hand and have just anyone just traipsing down here. But now Potter and the device are both down here. And neither seem to work from this side."
"The door too thick," Shacklebolt said, rapping his wand against it.
"Looks like we'll have to blast through it after all. Everybody step back."
Moody distanced himself a little from door, and Shacklebolt herded them all backwards. Harry nervously brought out his wand, and noted that others around him copied his actions. He gripped it tightly as he wondered how on earth they had managed to get themselves trapped in the Chamber.
Moody snapped out his spell and stream of blue light shot out and hit the door, without any effect at all. He snapped out another spell, a different one that Harry recognised as one stronger spell. The yellow light the as well without a single sign that the door was damaged at all.
"I wouldn't keep trying if I were you Moody," a voice rang out behind them.
They all whirled around and Harry saw with horror that they were surrounded, completely surrounded by Death Eaters, fully clad with the robes and their horrible masks. None of their faces were visible but their eyes shone through the masks with cruel amusement.
The younger students gasped in fear. He strengthened his grip on his wand. And subtly as he could he tried ushering the younger years behind him.
How did they get in? Harry wondered. The only entrance was locked behind them and even invisible Moody would have seen them. There's no way Moody would have missed all these Death Eaters. No chance.
Harry swallowed, his heart thudding so hard in his chest. Beside, Ron looked pale beneath his freckles but he glared out at the Death Eaters.
Meanwhile Moody slowed limped forward, keeping the Death Eaters attention on himself, Shacklebolt slightly behind him covering his back. The way Shacklebolt moved Harry quickly deduced that they were manoeuvre as much distance between the students and the Death Eaters as possible.
"How did you get in here?" Moody growled at the Death Eater who seemed to be leading the group.
Harry silently counted the people in masks. There seemed to be over twenty of them. Even though the Death Eaters were outnumbered by the students, the majority of them were the younger years, children who completely inexperienced.
Harry quickly whispered to Ron and Neville, "Shields!" They nodded and spread the word to the other members of the DA.
He spared a quick glance to his right and caught Luna's eye who nodded at him. Harry didn't know how they were going to get out of here, but he wasn't going to go down without a huge mess of battle. This was way worse than the Ministry. This was right beneath the school. He only hoped McGonagall and Lupin made their way down quickly. Surely they would realise that once they couldn't get inside and the noise they would hear from the spell Harry was sure that would flying soon that something was wrong.
"You don't the Dark Lord wouldn't know every inch of this Chamber? The Chamber of the Slytherin, his ancestor. The Dark Lord guided us. The Dark Lord knows every passage within these hallowed tunnels. And he's not happy have them invaded by mudbloods," the Death Eater sneered.
The Death Eaters behind him sniggered at the sharp gasps that the word mudblood had evoked.
"So you came to evict us? Shouldn't have locked us in then!" Moody retorted.
"We came because we received word that your precious Chosen One was down here," he said, repeating the new name that Daily Prophet had coined for him when their investigations lead them to the conclusion that the battle at the Department of Mysteries had taken place in the Prophecy Room. At his words the DA looked over and slowly made to move in front of him, much to his annoyance.
"All we want is Potter and his five friends who accompanied him at the Ministry last June. No one else needs to get hurt. You don't want the little children to get hurt do you?" The Death Eater implored.
Moody remained silent. Harry made to step forward, but the DA surrounded him, refusing to let him show himself.
"Step forward, Potter. No need to be shy. And bring your dear friends with you."
The Death Eaters laughed, as if their leader told them a funny joke.
"You will not be touching Potter," Shacklebolt said angrily, "nor will we let you harm any of our students."
Harry furiously whispered to the DA again, "Everyone at the front, shields up as soon as the spells start flying. Behind me, stunning spells. Be ready to dodge." He felt more than saw them nod at his words.
"Do you really think you can stop us?" One of them other Death Eaters called from behind.
"You'll not lay a hand on any of these students. Not as long as I breathe," Moody growled.
The Death Eater twirled his wand. "Well, with an invitation like that… Avada Kedavra!"
And his was not the only Killing Curse that rang out. Behind him three more green lights headed toward Moody who simultaneously conjured up a huge hunk of rock and dodge the curses with a speed that belied his physical impairment.
Behind him Harry heard the DA shout out their stunning spells, his voice joining theirs and red lights shot out towards the Death Eaters who seemed to be ready with shields of their own.
After that it was a free for all battle, most of the Death Eaters crowding Moody and Shacklebolt, deciding the two battle experienced Aurors were the bigger threat. Harry was going to make them regret underestimating him and his friends. They'd all worked too damn hard and they'd all come a long way to from the simple minded duellers they'd been last June.
Flanked by Ron, Neville and Luna, Harry moved forward through the students towards where Shacklebolt and Moody were outnumbered, yet still holding their own against ten Death Eaters.
"Move the younger students out of the way. Get some of the DA to protect them with shields and get a few more to launch offensive from behind the shields. More will get hurt if everyone just shoots everywhere. We need to get things organised as much as possible," he said to Ron and Luna. They nodded and slipped away, ready to put their DA training to use with lethal consequences.
Harry and Neville moved forward, feeling incomplete without Hermione and Ginny backing them up. Yet, also glad they were safe and he didn't have to worry about them, even if Hermione and Ginny did disagree his sentiments. They shot out stunning spells and blasting curse towards the Death Eaters that were coming towards them.
Neville dodged to his left to avoid silent curse that sent a purple light. Harry cast his shield to avoid another curse and then dodged to his right to avoid a stunning curse. He shot a blasting curse to his opponents' feet and cast another shield.
"Incendio," he snapped out the spell at the Death Eater's robes and felt satisfied when he heard a yelp. He moved forward, determined to get to Moody who Harry could see was tiring, his face cut in several places , his robes shredded from his left side. He shot a blasting curse at a Death Eater who had been aiming for Moody whilst his back was turned, and got him in the elbow of his wand arm.
Harry heard scream of pain behind him and turned around to see Dean had fallen foul of a Death Eater's curse. Harry instantly turned to Dean's aid and shot a cutting curse at the man torturing him, who managed to dodge and seemed to recognise him.
"Potter!" he yelled, and instant he was surrounded by five Death Eaters who abandoned their victims. Harry instantly cast a shield charm and then dodge a curse from his right, shooting back with a curse of his own. He felt more than saw the curse from behind him and ducked down but couldn't entirely avoid the cutting curse from his left that grazed his cheek. He ignored the sting and the blood trickling down his face to snap out a bat bogey hex and then hit the Death Eater who had been getting too close with his elbow, smirking as he heard a crunch and hoped he broke the bastards nose.
"Duro," he heard a voice behind him and turned around to see Luna had cast the spell to harden the Death Eaters robes behind him.
"Diffindo!" he cast at the Death Eater to his right and him straight on his shoulder, making his wand arm completely useless.
"Incarcerous!" he shot out the ropes and bound the last Death Eater and then exchanging a smirk with Luna, they made their way towards Moody as he'd originally intended.
Harry and Luna were blasted off their feet as a Death Eater hit the ground with a powerful blasting curse causing bits of stone and rubble to hit Harry in the face, chest and left leg. He lifted his head to see Luna on the ground next to him, shaking her head as if to clear it. He looked up in time to two Death Eaters were about to shoot them point blank and instinctively kicked out his right foot, connecting with the man's knee hearing a crack as his knees gave out and rolled over towards Luna and then rolled them both over again, the rubble beneath him digging into his flesh painfully.
The second Death Eater fell down, bound by ropes and Ron standing behind him. Harry gave him a grateful and nod and heaved himself off Luna and helped her up.
They turned quickly towards Moody who had been manoeuvred towards the pool of water where Killian and Snape had fished the basilisk's tail from. They were couldn't get to the ex-Auror in time. They say him lose his wand and triumphant Death Eaters, at least four of them cry out "Avada Kedavra!" blasting the man off her feet and fall into the pool and Harry saw one, the leader made a downwards slashing movement with his wand and Moody's body sank.
"No!" Harry yelled. He raced towards them and knew he was too late, but didn't want to believe it. The Death Eaters who had been battling Moody then turned their attention towards Shacklebolt who was in worse shape, his left arm hanging uselessly, his sleeves covered in blood and several cuts across his face, he was aided by a few Seventh years from the DA who looked to be in no better shape.
"Sectumsempra!" a curse rang out and hit Shacklebolt straight in the chest, and Harry looked on horrified at the devastating affect of that spell. Shacklebolt's fall shocked Seamus, Colin and Dennis who'd been helping him and they were easily disarmed, caught off guard as they were.
"Enough!" came the lead Death Eaters voice, amplified by a sonorous charm. "Potter! Your defenders are dead. Give yourself up and no one needs get hurt. Look around you. Surrender. We just want to take you and friends to the Dark Lord. No one else matters."
Harry swallowed and looked around. The DA and the other students were holding their own, but he could see that how many had got so injured so quickly in such a small amount of time
Slowly silence fell and everybody stopped fighting. Harry felt sweat drip down his face, mixing with streaks of blood down his cheek where the cutting curse got him. His robes felt heavy around him, torn and dirty in several places.
The leader grabbed Colin from where he'd bound with ropes from he'd been dumped on the ground and placed his hand around Colin's throat and the tip wand at Colin's head.
"Quickly Potter, we don't have all day!" he said shaking a tense Colin.
Harry slowly started walking forward, ignoring Ron's "Harry, no!" Harry didn't stop and Ron followed him, flanked by Neville and Luna.
The throng of students parting, eventually coming to stand behind him. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the Slytherins to his right, they didn't look to be in any better shape than anyone else.
The Death Eaters, keeping an eye on the students gradually positioned themselves behind their leader.
Harry came to stand in front of the students, the exceptions being Seamus and Dennis who were still bound and Colin who was currently held in a death grip, steadily losing colour from his face.
It was a clear divide of Students versus Death Eaters and the Death Eaters were still outnumbered, but they knew more spells and had more experience and didn't care what happened to anyone else or who got hurt or in their way. But Harry cared and he didn't want anyone else getting hurt.
"Good boy Potter. Now put your wand on the ground and tell your friends to do the same!" he sneered.
"No Harry," Colin squeaked. "Fight him, Harry."
Harry weighed his options. He and seemingly half the school were trapped with a couple of dozen Death Eaters in the Chamber of Secrets. Moody was dead and Shacklebolt was gravely injured, his body behind Seamus and Dennis, and with the huge amount of blood he saw most likely dead as well. They were extremely lucky that the Death Eaters hadn't been flinging around the Killing Curse at the students, not yet.
Harry stared at Colin's face, and then down at Dennis' desperate face on the ground.
"Fight, Harry," Dennis said breathlessly.
"You're a bunch of cowards," Harry said. "Show me your faces. I want to know who you lowlifes are, daring to attack Hogwarts, hiding behind masks."
"If it means that much to Potter, mine is the face your friends will see last if you don't do as I say," he said, taking off his mask and throwing it to the floor.
Harry studied his face hard, not recognising him at all. He wasn't familiar with any of them. But he knew by taking off their masks they'd just helped him out.
Looking Dennis straight in the eye, and knowing his friends and the DA were paying attention, he asked quite clearly and calmly Dennis, "You remember, Dennis, who Sylvester always fought against in Looney Tunes? You remember?"
Dennis, who at first looked confused, quickly clocked onto his words, and despite the grip on his throat, shouted as loudly as he could, "TWEETY PIE!" And Harry, along with the other members of the DA who understood the code word all chorused one spell together, "AVIS!"
Hundreds of birds shot of out of their wands, all aimed at the Death Eater, and the leader, eyes widening in surprise let go of Dennis who wasted no time in throwing himself to the ground. Harry quickly shot out spells to unbind Seamus, Dennis and Colin, who in turn scrambled hastily for their wands and rejoined the fight.
"Duro!" Harry aimed his spell for the leader.
Harry trusted his training and he trusted the DA to defend themselves. This was what they were all preparing themselves for. Harry knew he couldn't keep all of them safe, and he expected them to kick Death Eater arse. He would or he would do down trying, taking as many with him.
Harry was constantly shadowed by Ron, Neville and Luna, who refused to leave his side. Together they fought their way to the leader, shooting spells every which way.
"Avada Kedavra!" came the dreaded curse, not just once, but five times , and Harry a lump in throat turned around hoping desperately that all five of them missed.
On the other side, he saw Hannah Abbot and Justin Finch-Fletchley on the ground with a couple of First years. They had died defending them, and lay there sprawled carelessly at the Death Eaters feet.
Furious, Harry fought even harder, and wanting to keep the younger years safe, he yelled to Ron, "Get the Crows together take the younger years take them down the passages. Hide there and defend them. We'll distract them and give you a chance. Look after them Ron," as Ron looked like he was going to argue against leaving Hurry's side.
Reluctantly Ron nodded and sprinted off gather the Crows from the DA, the teams assigned by Killian for their outdoor Defence lessons, they'd adapted into their own.
"Neville, get all the Owls together, Ron takes the younger years away, you and the Owls defend the passage so no Death Eater gets through. Luna, stay with me."
With a grim nod, Neville sloped off to do as Harry bade. Harry saw a cluster of Death Eaters duelling mix of Slytherin and Hufflepuff students.
Harry snapped out a Patronus Charm and instructed his Stag to pass the message, "Crows lead the way! Owls to fight!" over and over again. Luna did the same with here Hare patronus. The patronus wouldn't do anything against the Death Eaters, but it startled some of them long enough to get the odd spell in.
"Wingardium Leviosa!" Harry levitated some of the poles on the floor, that were meant to be used for something for the exams, but he didn't care, he used them as a weapon and banished six of them towards the Death Eaters advancing on the Ron and Crows who had managed to gather together most of the younger years. Neville and the other Owls worked together to distract the Death Eaters so Ron could escape with his charges down the passages.
"Incendio!" he yelled, burning the robes of three different Death Eaters. The Chamber was clearing out a little more, with the First, Second and Third years being protected by Ron and Neville's groups, there was more space for Harry to start throwing a few more hexes without having to worry about hitting the wrong person.
His and Luna's Patroni had long since faded and they concentrated their efforts in helping Ron clear the passage way. Harry would not let the anyone get anywhere near the passages. They needed to be vicious and quick.
Harry was knocked to side by Luna who'd seen what Harry hadn't and he fell to the ground, managing to avoided the debris and the rubble and huge chunks of stone that was being banished their way by the Death Eaters.
"Luna!" he gasped, and was happy to see that she was still conscious, if a little dazed, her arms covered with grazes and cuts to defend her face, losing her wand in the process. Luna got to her feet and didn't let the lack of wand hold her back and Harry looked on, amazed at how she nimbly dodged the curse that came her way and jumped the Death Eater in front of her, used his own body to climb over his shoulder and used her own momentum to floor him. They both fell to the ground together, Luna landing on her back on top of him, she rolled over and jabbed his nose with her elbow and broke the man's nose in the most spectacular way. Harry grinned. Luna was also a regular at the Mixed Martial Arts classes that were held in the evenings.
Harry raced over to help Luna up and they dodged a curse from their left, shielding their faces to avoid from the red light that shot past him. Harry instantly turned around and paused; the Death Eater he'd been about to curse was gone.
Breathing hard, he looked around he saw that every single one of the Death Eaters had completely disappeared. The students, some of the tripped and fell, others curses quickly dissipating at the lack of targets.
"Where'd they go?" asked Seamus, who was bleeding heavily from a nasty looking cut from his head, the right side of his sandy hair completely matted with blood.
"I don't know," Harry said, listening hard. He looked around. The Chamber was now only filled with students, all with varying degrees of injuries, looking completely exhausted. He looked to where Shacklebolt's body should have been and was shocked to find it missing.
"Shacklebolt's bodies gone," Harry announced.
He didn't know where the Death Eaters had disappeared to, but he knew that this wasn't over. He didn't know how, but he knew it couldn't be this easy. Why would they simply disappear? Had they taken Shacklebolt with them?
"First, Second and Third years follow Ron and the Crows through the passages. Quickly, now. I want them all gone. Ron, make sure they stay defended. Owls, guard the passages so the Crows won't have to defend themselves alone. Come on, move!" Harry ordered.
They moved swiftly, following Hurry's instructions. Ron guided the younger students down the passage way, first years had come out of earlier on, making sure the last of the stragglers had gone before following behind.
"Shields and shooters!" Harry yelled at the Owls who'd promptly moved in front of the passage, taking the position they'd practiced so many time in the DA, Neville at the front.
"Accio Luna's wand," Harry summoned, and her wand came flying out from the bits of rubble it had fallen under.
Barely five minutes passed when it happened. A second wave of Death Eaters descended on them, they must have portkeyed in as there wasn't even the smallest hint of the usual crack that came with apparition. This lot who had come in without their masks on, and no one from the first lot seemed to present. Perhaps a dozen or so Death Eaters, all completely uninjured and brimming with restless energy to do as much damage as they could, fierce scowls etched on their faces.
Harry was glad they had managed to get the younger students out of there in time as the only words this lot seemed keen exchanged were the one that theirs wands responded to. Harry retaliated in kind.
"Langlock!" he cried, his spell hitting his target, the Death Eater in question found his tongue glued to the roof of his mouth. Angry, the Death Eater only continued to cast his next hex silently which Harry dodged.
Harry tried not to give into his despair. He was exhausted, and the other students were feeling the same, their energy flagging; reflexes slower. The new lot of Death Eaters had them completely on the back foot, to them this was easy picking.
Harry cursed his way through the Death Eater ranks, Luna by his side, they shielded each other, and defended each other trying to take down as many as he could. His hair was completely plastered to his head, clothes torn, his trousers so dirty no amount of washing would get the grime out. His hands hand had been nicked all over his right hand stung every time he tighten his grip on his wand.
He dodged to right and bumped into someone, whirled around ready to hex the person if he'd been a Death Eater. Instead it was Malfoy, who looked in the worst shape he'd ever been seen in.
Malfoy's eye widened and then straightening his face, he cast his spell, "Serpensortia!"
And as if they'd planned this move together Harry hissed in parseltongue, "Please help us. Bite that man on his hands. He's trying to hurt us." He directed the snake towards the closest Death Eaters, and the other Slytherins getting the idea also conjured their own snakes. Harry ordered them to do same, directing the snakes towards whichever Death Eaters were closest to them.
He smirked in satisfaction when he heard the yelps and cusses from the men and women who were trying to harm them. His smirk soon fell from his lips when he heard a scream, recognising the voice as Luna's. He spun around, not having realised Luna was not by his side anymore, and saw her in the middle of the Chamber, cowering under sort of pain curse. Not the cruciatus, thankfully, she wasn't twitching as a person would under that curse, but still hearing her scream like that made Harry angrier than ever.
"LUNA!" he called, his yell distracting the man who had Luna under his spell, and shot out the first came to mind. He didn't know if it would work, only having it seen earlier for the first time when Shacklebolt had fallen to it. The effects of the curse were devastating but he wanted this man to suffer as much as he making Luna suffer under his curse.
"Sectumsempra!" Harry didn't see the man fall down, drenched in his own blood in seconds, nor did he pay attention the panicked voice, amplified by a sonorous charms yelling at the students to move away from the centre quickly.
All he saw was Luna, and her pale face, glistening with sweat, her limbs trembling slightly. His own rage building even as she opened her eyes and breathed his name, "Harry."
"I'm right here, Luna," he said more calmly than he felt. He stood slowly and raised his wand, ready to cast the one spell that felt befitting to his rage at that moment in time; a spell Hermione and told him about but wouldn't let him practice because it was too dangerous, too difficult to control. But he cast the spell anyway, wanting to punish all those dared to hurt his Luna.
"Get down, he's cast fiendfyre," he heard one of the Death Eaters yell, and showed them the grim consequences of hurting those he cared about, of making his Luna scream.
"YOU - WILL NOT - HURT - MY FRIENDS!" He roared at them. He kept a tight control of the spell, wrapping himself and Luna in the fire, not letting it touch them and sending it out to the Death Eaters, making back off faster than anything else he could have done. The fire built up both inside him and around them and he revelled in the power, relished the heat around him. He would burn all those who raised their wand to his Luna.
He felt a soft hand on his clenched fist and recognised Luna's touch. He looked down at her hand on his and then into her eyes, focused solely on his.
"You need to let go, Harry," she said to him softly.
He opened his fist to grasp her hand and squeezed it tightly. He felt a bracing hand on his other shoulder, and turned to see Neville who had somehow managed to make it past the fire, sweating hard but unscathed.
"Let us help you, Harry," Neville said.
Slowly, he calmed down and with great control dissipated the fiendfyre curse. Harry, Neville and Luna stood alone in the middle of the Chamber. The students had quickly made their way to the edge of the Chambers, as far away from the reach of the fiendfyre as possible, miraculously untouched. The Owls team still stood at the edge of the passage, and they all looked at Harry with a mix of shock and fear.
The Death Eaters had once again, disappeared. Even the one Harry had cast the sectemsempra curse at. Luna put hear arms around Harry and he held her tightly.
"He hurt you," he told her.
"You stopped him," she said to him.
Neville squeezed his shoulder in support.
Their reprieve didn't last long. The Death Eater had seemingly portkeyed out when he had cast fiendfyre, but a fresh wave portkeyed in, twenty of them. This lot looking even more menacing than the previous ones.
"Expelliarmus!" Several of the Death Eater voices rang out at once.
Caught off guard; his, Neville's and Luna's wand were immediately wrested from them. They were all three completely wandless.
Harry, instead of feeling drained as he rightly should have been after an exhausting bit of magic, felt the opposite. He felt invigorated. He felt more than ready to make these Death Eaters run for their pathetic lives as well. He was going to prove that he didn't need just his wand to defend him. They were at a slight disadvantage, for now; his wand would be back in his hand in no time.
Thinking the three of the were disarmed, the Death Eaters divided into two groups, at least ten of them surrounding Harry, Neville and Luna, the rest splitting off to deal with the rest of the students.
"Come with us now Potter. No one else need get hurt. You don't want that do you?" The new leader seemed to ask.
Harry slipped his left hand into Luna's and his right hand grasped Neville's on his other side. They slowly back into each other, at first leaving a gap, as if expecting a fourth hand to grasp and close off the circle, but quickly closed ranks Neville and Luna slipping their hands into each other's. They were completely surrounded by ten Death Eaters. Their wands had been quickly hidden away.
Harry felt three taps his right hand: Neville indicating he would take the three Death Eaters closest to him. Luna, who must have Neville tap in her other hand, tapped his left hand to let him know that she would take the three Death Eaters closet to her. This left the remaining four for Harry. He knew they would have make their moves lightening quick to do as much damage as possible. Wizards generally tended to rely on their wands more than anything and had a habit of ignoring anything muggle related. Killian had been trying to instil a few muggle techniques in her students and Harry hoped he knew enough to at least distract the Death Eaters to get his wand back.
Squeezing both their hands to show he understood, he waited for them to squeeze back and smirked, refusing to answer the leader's word he let go of Luna and Neville's hand. They second they let go they each launched into their own silent attacks, judging by the widening of the Death Eaters eye, it was a complete surprise.
Harry punched at the leaders chest, aiming straight for the heart, putting all his strength into the attack, then without stopping aimed a vicious kick at the Death Eater closest to his right, connecting at the knee, hearing the disgusting crack sound indicating that he had at least rendered the man unable make use of that leg for the foreseeable future. He kicked another in the crotch, and then kicked him the face once he fell to his knees. The fourth Death Eater, seeing her comrades on the ground all around her looked into Harry's eye, gulped and promptly raised her wand to cast her spell, too late as Harry had already aimed for high kick straight at her head, knocking her clean out. He quickly whirled around, instinctively ducking down to avoid a spell that flew harmlessly overhead and drew up a fist to aim another punch as he straightened up, this one connecting with the Death Eater's throat. The Death Eater made a choking sound and dropped his wand which Harry deftly caught, and he twirled on the spot to find another Death Eater sneaking up on him and quickly and silently cast lumos maxima, directing his wand at the Death Eater's face, and closed his eyes briefly as he blinded the fucker with the a bright light.
This was a mistake as momentarily distracted he was hit by two spells; a leg locker and a binding spell. Losing his balance and his grip on the stolen wand, he fell straight on his back, the wind getting knocked out of him, unable find any balance as legs locked and his arms bound to his side. He struggled, trying to roll out of reach and unable to. The leader stood over him, wand raised and spell on his lips, when he gasped and dropped his wand. Dropping his knees gasping for breath Harry saw Luna, managing to claim a wand had cast a spell that created a whip, trailing from the tip of the wand, the end of which was wrapped firm around the leader's neck. The man scrambled at his neck, trying to his loosen the whip so he could breath and was pulled backwards as Luna yanked the wand in the opposite direction. Luna loosened the whip and cracked it by her side, smirking as she saw the lead Death Eater flinch. As she took a step towards him, raising he whip again he disappeared, seemingly port- keying out.
Luna, not seeing any more immediate, quickly released Harry from his bindings. Harry quickly stood up, grabbing the wand he'd nicked from the Death Eater and raised it, ready to dispatch whoever got tried to hex him next; only to see Neville taking care of the last Death Eater, twirling a long stick he must have found expertly like a Bo Staff and striking him upside the head.
The Death Eater barely hit the ground when they were surrounded by yet more menacing figures. Harry breathed hard, looking around, Luna and Neville stepped beside and took a quick count.
There were fourteen Death Eaters around them, and he saw there were at least ten more were battling the Owls Neville had left the guarding the passages, and yet twelve more duelling a cluster of students near the entrance of the Chamber. More Death Eaters must have port keyed in as Harry, Neville and Luna must have been battling their own batch. He took in the bodies littered around them, not all of them belonging to Death Eaters. He hoped the fallen students weren't dead.
Like a well oiled machine Harry, Neville and Luna launched themselves at the Death Eaters; Neville who hadn't had the time to pick up a wand still twirling his improvised weapon as it was an extension of himself. The trio wasted no time in letting the Death Eaters know they were not yet cowed. To the observers, those who had the luxury of stopping to watch the Gryffindors and the Ravenclaw, it would seem as if the three students had been working together for years, their moves well honed and graceful, more like a dance rather a vicious bloody battle. The trio seemed to be completely aware and in control of their own bodies as well as each other's. Instead of splitting up and selecting which would be their targets, as they had only moments ago; they instead decided to stick together and seemed to be quite capable to take on so many Death Eaters at once.
Together they twirled, pivoted, crouched, jumped, cart wheeled and employed all manner of other methods to avoid being hit by their enemies, (albeit not always successfully) all the while shooting off their own spells and attack in any way that would damage their opponents. The trio didn't limit themselves to just using magic, using their own bodies as weapons as well when the use of a wand was not always possible. Harry lost count of the number of time he had lost the wand in his hand due to one reason or another, always managing to pick up another; and instead letting that hold him back he picked anything he could use a weapon; several times resorting to using the stick that seemed to pass between the three of them to hit their foes in places that included but not limited to: their faces, particularly their noses, their heads, their crotch; a target that Luna liked to aim for particularly viciously; knees and ankles. Harry didn't know where his expertise in twirling his staff came from, but it felt completely natural as if he'd be doing it for years. He spun around the weapon hitting the nearest foe on the neck with a sharp thwack and whirled around again, throwing the stick like a javelin tripping up two Death Eaters at once. He threw himself to the ground to avoid a spell, robes flailing and caught in bits of debris, ripping even more as he rushed to get back to his feet, grabbing a fallen wand in the process.
Leaving Neville and Luna to finish off the final adversary; Harry raced towards the Death Eaters trying to get to the passages when suddenly he heard the loudest noise to echo the Chambers. It was the sound of a blaring klaxon, threatening to burst his eardrums. Distracted he placed his hands over his ears trying to block out the sound, not even able to hear the sounds of other crying out at the blare.
The klaxon rang out for what felt like forever to Harry but what was probably more like five excruciating minutes. When it finally stopped Harry realised he had fallen to his knees. Cautiously he took he hands away from his heads, slightly surprised that his ears weren't bleeding. He looked around and noticed that all the students had fallen to the ground in reaction to the noise.
Heart beating wildly he saw that the Death Eaters had remained standing, those who could, had regrouped to the other side of the Chamber whilst the students had flailed at the racket, ignoring their fallen comrades.
"Everyone pick up your wands," said the leader, his face scraped and bruised, his right arm sleeve completely missing from the shoulder downwards, still clutching his wand in a tight grip.
Swallowing the lump he saw every standing Death Eater had wands in their hand. Somehow, Harry managed to keep a hold of his wand and slowly rose his feet, clenching his fist tightly, wondering how many more they would have to fight. They were fast getting outnumbered, more and more students falling, yet the stream of Death Eaters didn't seem to abate.
Harry took a quick a look around. Neville and Luna were on their feet, exhausted but looking they would fall over any moment, but determined not to go down without a fight. Many of the defenders of the school looked close to collapsing but got to their feet, swaying all the while. The ground was littered with many bodies; black robes belonging to a mixture of students and Death Eaters.
Whilst in motion Harry didn't feel much other than determination to fight and not let his foes get the better of them. But now, there seemed to be a brief respite and in the short five minutes of confused calm Harry could feel the every hurt his body was subjected to.
"We're still standing," Harry said softly. "We'll stay standing."
The sentiment was echoed by his friends.
Contrarily, the leader instead of sneering and insulting him and threatening him as Harry thought he would, smiled. A genuine smile that lit up his whole face.
"Well done." He said, as if he sincerely pleased at having so many students stand up to him.
Confused, Harry was about to raise his wand, wondering what this new trick was when he felt it. A tugging at his navel. The wand, he realised, and tried to drop it. But it was too late. He was already caught and felt himself pulled away from the Chamber. He feet slammed onto solid ground for a brief moment, but overbalanced and his legs gave away falling in a heap onto a cursing Ron who had also been pulled along . Cries of surprise sounded around and he realised that all the students must have been pulled along with individual port-keys. Quickly he scrambled to his feet, freezing as he took in the Great Hall. The four house tables completely gone, the Great Hall seemed to have been converted into a make-shift infirmary.
He heard his fellow students murmur in uncertainty heard one sharp exclamation and a few cusses and he followed the gawping eyes to the source of their bewildered felt a hitch in his chest as his brain tried to comprehend what was in front of him.
"Well done," said Moody's gruff voice, echoing the words of the lead Death Eaters had uttered only seconds ago.
He looked around wildly as Moody was joined by black robed Death Eaters. He watched, bewildered, as their faces melted away to reveal their true countenance. Several Death Eaters changed and with a start Harry among unknown faces; the faces of his professors. Shacklebolt, he saw was the lead Death Eater with the ripped sleeve who had told everyone to pick up their wands. He saw Lupin, Gallagher, Snape, even Flamel dressed as Death Eaters.
Glancing around he tried to make sense of it all. He knew the answer but was too confused, too exhausted to put it all together. He felt a hand grasp and turned to see Luna, her face covered with blood, dirt, bruises and scrapes.
"The test," she whispered.
Harry nodded, it made sense. He should be angry he knew. Instead he felt relief, as he looked and saw the students who were "dead" sit up and look around, perplexed.
Flicking his head back to the Head Table he saw all their professors and the unknown people dressed as Death Eaters beam down at them exhaustedly. Perenelle Flamel, Killian and McGonagall seemed to look ready to fall over, their faces extremely pale.
"We know you have question about what that was all about. And we will answer every single one of them. But not now. First, you all need to rest. We'll have you lot healed. Then you will make your way to your dorms to clean up. After that your meals will be ready for you in your Common Rooms," Dumbledore told them quietly, yet his voice reaching to the corners of the Great Hall. "But before that there is we need to give you. Something you all deserve after all your bravery down in the Chamber."
It started with Dumbledore bringing his hands together very slowly; he'd barely brought his hands to touch before he was joined quickly by the foes turned friends. Soon the whole hall echoing with a deafening applause, coupled with whoops and screams of approval which he saw came from the students from the students who hadn't been down in the Chamber.
Harry knew they'd all been tricked. But for now he was too exhausted to care enough to be angry. They were safe. The castle was safe. That was the only though he wanted to wrap his mind around right now. The rest could wait until tomorrow with their promised answers.