Author's Note: Another Chapter which is WAY over due, I know, I'm sorry.
-Common Room Commotion-
Harry Potter was currently outside on the grounds of Hogwarts, confessing his thoughts and fears to the only one he thought would care.
"I just don't know what to do Hedwig. Why is this so difficult?" whispered Harry to the snowy owl perched in front of him.
Hedwig sat there faithfully, occasionally rustling her feathers and spreading her wings, giving Harry the feeling that she was actually listening to him as he poured his heart out.
The night was cold and dark, with the stars twinkling above them as they sat on a bench in the school yard directly underneath the West Tower. Harry knew that he should probably be inside the castle, enjoying the welcome back feast with everyone else. But lately his mind had been racing endlessly, and he had lost his appetite days ago.
As his mind continued to race, his eyes slowly looked up to the sky and focused on the millions of stars above. He remembered the many nights he had spent on Privet Drive as a young boy. Staring up at the sky… imagining that his parents were somewhere up there.
Their souls would shine brightly down on him… watching him from above… protecting him and guiding him through life, or so it had once felt that way…
And then in the corner of his eye, Harry saw a flash of yellow light coming from the West Tower. Harry's gazed shifted just as Hedwig screeched towards the Owlery.
A flock of owls suddenly erupted out of the windows and flew away quickly from the castle in all directions. Hedwig herself spread her wings and was about to join the flock when Harry reached forward and grabbed her. He pulled her in close to him and got off of the bench as he heard voices coming from the tower above.
"Stop those bloody birds!" cried a man's voice from high up in the tower.
Harry quietly encouraged Hedwig to close her wings, and when she complied he gently tucked her underneath his robes and backed slowly away from the West Tower in horror.
As he retreated he kept a watchful eye on the Owlery were more and more owls could be heard screeching in pain as sparks of yellow streamed out of the open windows.
Harry's heart began to pound in his chest. Is the school under attack? he silently wondered to himself. And then as the possibility sunk in, he turned around and wobbled as quickly as he could to the front entrance while still holding Hedwig underneath his robes.
When Harry finally reached the front entrance and opened his doors, he was surprised to find himself standing in a quiet hall of Hogwarts. From here not even the shrieking of the owls could be heard. As a matter of fact, neither could he hear the feast coming from the other side of the closed Great Hall doors.
Harry slowly approached the tall oak doors and leaned his ear against the crack. All was quiet on the other side. He thought for a moment that the feast had ended long ago – but then he heard a familiar voice.
"Well… I think that everyone can agree that it's time to head off to bed. The teachers and I have to urgently speak with Professor Dumbledore, and so I'll ask the Prefects of each house to take the lead and direct everyone to their common rooms."
Harry recognized McGonagall's voice at once. He also noticed the tension in her sentence, and it worried him. He placed his hand on the door and slowly pushed it open. He saw a few students slowly rising from their seats but no one in the room spoke a word. And then gradually the Heads of Houses gathered their students and began to direct them towards Harry.
Harry stepped aside and let a group of Hufflepuffs pass through. Harry was much too busy searching for Hermione and Ron to notice that most of the students were staring at him with a funny expression on their faces.
He finally caught sight of Hermione heading towards the group of teachers who were huddled at the front of the hall, all of them looking exceptionally anxious.
"Professor?" asked Hermione in McGonagall's direction when she reached the group of teachers.
"Yes Miss Granger?"
"Well I was just wondering… have you seen Harry at all today?"
McGonagall stared at Hermione as though it were a trick question, and then she said in a slightly aspirated tone, "As a matter of fact I have Miss Granger. He's standing right behind you."
Hermione swung around and nearly screamed at the sight of Harry. She was on the verge of questioning him on why he had not come down to dinner, but thought better of it. Instead she grabbed his arm and pulled him quickly towards the Great Hall exit where Ron was already standing and waiting.
"Where the bloody hell were you?" asked Ron to Harry but before he could answer, Hermione was already pushing them both out of the hall and down an empty corridor.
"Hermione – stop it! I need to find Dumbledore! Something's happening in the Owlery!" shouted Harry as he tried to break free from her grip.
Hermione stopped pushing the two boys and looked at Harry puzzled. "What's happening?"
Harry rolled his eyes, "Look I don't have time to explain. The owls are being attacked or something! There are yellow sparks flying everywhere and men shouting."
"Harry, you really should have come to dinner." Started Hermione, but before she could finish Harry was walking away from her and towards Dumbledore's office.
"Harry wait!" yelled Hermione as she ran up to him, grabbed his robe and spun him around. "Dumbledore's with the new Minister. They've made these rules because Voldemorts back. We can't send post like we used to." Hermione spat the whole thing out in one big breath.
Harry stared at her with raised eyebrows and then looked over at Ron.
"It's true mate. Tonight at the feast, Dumbledore walked in with Fudge and some newly appointed Minister and gave us all of these rules we have to follow. Load of rubbish if you ask me."
Harry's heartbeat began to slow as he tried to make sense of it all. "Rules? What kind of rules?"
"Restrictions mostly," answered Hermione, as she tried to remember. "No entering the forbidden forest… or leaving school grounds without a teacher or auror."
"Auror?" repeated Harry, and Ron and Hermione nodded.
"We should really get upstairs Harry. The professors seem just as surprised as we are. I don't think it's a good idea for us to be wandering the halls." Said Hermione as her eyes focused on the bulge underneath Harry's robes.
Harry noticed where Hermione was staring, but instead of explaining and risking a lecture, he quickly turned around and headed up the staircases to the Gryffindor common room.
When they reached the portrait of the Fat Lady they could hear the loud chatter coming from the other side. The trio glanced at each other before entering, and when they did enter their ears were met with a huge commotion.
"Do you think he'll attack Hogwarts?" asked a terrified third year, as she clutched the arm of her friend.
"Of course he's going to attack, stupid. Why else do you think Dumbledore has all these rules set up in place? He'd scared for our lives." answered a fourth year boy in a very unpleasant tone.
Harry stared the fourth year down and was on the verge of pounding his face in if he didn't shut it, when Hermione grabbed his arm and moved his direction towards a long scroll that had been posted on the common room door.
Harry approached the door slowly, pushing his way through the crowd of people in order to read the document that had been read during the feast.
He read the paper twice over, concentrating on its contents. He was so involved in the scroll that he didn't seem to notice how quiet the common room was suddenly becoming.
By the time he finished reading the last line for the second time, the common room was dead silent. He turned around swiftly and was faced with a hundred pairs of eyes staring at him. All waiting for a reaction or comment.
Harry didn't know what to say. What were they expecting anyways, a speech?
"Well Harry?" asked Seamus slowly, as everyone else seemed to hold their breath.
"Well what?" said Harry, honestly at a loss for words.
"Well what do you think of all this?" piped up a fifth year from the back.
Harry thought for a moment, and then wondered since when his opinion suddenly mattered.
He didn't know if he should say anything, but when his gaze met Hermione's and she slowly nodded, he opened his mouth and chose his words carefully,
"Well… I think that… um…" everyone continued to stare, "I think that everyone needs to … to abide by the rules that have been given to us. Put your trust in Dumbledore and… and everything will be okay."
"That's it?" sneered the snotty fourth year that Harry had been longing to knock out only moments before. "That's all you have to say? Trust Dumbledore to protect us? I'd much rather go home."
A few others in the crowd voiced their agreement and nodded, while others still looked completely lost.
Ron who was standing close to Harry looked in the snotty boy's direction, "Fourteen and think you can take on Voldemort, do you? Ha! I'd like to see that. The fact of the matter is mate, is that Hogwarts is the safest place for you to be. It's the safest place for all of us! So don't run your mouth about things you have no clue about."
Just as Ron then turned his head to roll his eyes at Harry, the fourth year boy quickly moved forward, grabbed Ron by the arm and punched him in the chest.
Ron grabbed a hold of the pint-sized but eager fourth year and tried to avoid his jabs while still holding down his anger. It was a hard feat for Ron because the common room quickly exploded with chants of "Fight! Fight! Fight!" and the fourth year turned out to be a spitball of fiery hell.
As the fight progressed Hermione shrieked for the boys to stop, and was suddenly surprised as Hedwig flew out from under Harry's robes just as he tried to break up the two boys. The rest of the students gathered in a closed circle around the boys who were now spinning around, all of them becoming angrier by the second.
But just as Harry got himself in between Ron and the other boy, there was a loud crack that filled the common room and Professor McGonagall stormed towards the boys, her green dress robes flaring up behind her as she thundered,
"I will not tolerate this kind of behavior! Not in this common room or in any other parts of the school!"
She separated the boys and glared all of them down angrily. "Now - who would like to be the first to explain how three young, descent men suddenly became three fist-flinging brutes!"
No one answered immediately, and the Professor tried to hold back her anger, "Mr. Potter, would you be so kind to explain exactly what was going?"
But just as Harry opened his mouth to give some sort of explanation, the fourth year piped up.
"Yeah go on Harry, since everyone is always so interested in what you have to say."
McGonagall's glared quickly focused on the young boy whose arms were folded angrily on his chest and a look of annoyance on his face. "Well Mr. Wellington, since you seem so keen as to speak why don't you tell me exactly what happened, and leave out the attitude." She added and nodded in the direction of his arms.
Wellington glared at McGonagall for a second, and then dropped his arms and began in an overly animated tone,
"I'm so sick of everyone making some big fuss over Harry! If your so great and really are the Chosen One," he said in Harry's direction, "then why don't you just go out there and get rid of Voldemort already? Why do we have to be locked up in school as though it were some kind of prison?
"Everyone knows that it's Harry he wants," he now said to the professor, "so lets just kick him out and get on with our lives."
The whole common room stood in disbelief of the candid response, and everyone waited for Professor McGonagall to speak. She looked as though she was choking down her rage for her face was cherry red and her eyes were beginning to bulge out of her head.
"Well Isaac," began the professor. But before she could continue her sentence, Harry stepped forward and stared the boy down.
"Do you really think it could be that easy?" he asked in a tone just above a whisper. Isaac looked up at Harry as everyone else in the common room slowly leaned forward to listen in.
"Well? Do you really think that it would be as simple as you make it seem?" repeated Harry, waiting for an answer which he knew he wasn't about to get.
"If you want to go home so badly then go. Whose stopping you?" egged on Harry, for he was now frustrated and mad. He was sick and tired of having his peers look down on him in this way, and he wasn't about to take it anymore. He wasn't about to let some snotty fourth year get the best of him.
"Do you honestly think that you'd be safe at home? Do you think that - that Voldemort won't attack people in their homes? Are you really that naïve?" asked Harry as he stepped closer. He stared the boy down, right into his hazel eyes, and spoke ever so slowly and clearly.
"I, unlike you have seen what he can do; what he is capable of. He is powerful and strong, and he has no mercy. He won't stop just because you're in your flat eating dinner or having tea with your Great Aunt. He won't let you live just because you're young or because you have the sheer nerve to stand up to him and mouth off a bit. He'll kill you. Flat - out - kill - you."
"Harry that's enough." said McGonagall quietly as she stepped forward and touched his arm. But Harry didn't move away. He enjoyed seeing the fear in the boy's eyes. It gave Harry a small sense of pleasure, to see that someone else in the world could maybe understand what he was going through.
But when he realized what he was doing, and that the boy was beginning to slowly tear, he pulled away from the boy and looked around the common room. Everyone was staring at him, but instead of addressing anyone, he walked towards the staircase and headed up to his dormitory, where he threw himself on his bed, and cried in frustration.