Chapter 9: Death Eater Or Not A Death Eater That Is The Question

The school was shut down for nearly three days when the weekend came. The students were getting restless being cooped up in their dorm and Common Rooms. Once all homework had been completed there was nothing to do. "We're missing out on valuable Quidditch Practice time." Bartholomew was one of the louder complainers. "Unless the next weekend of games is canceled."

"Bartholomew give it up." Neville is sitting with a book. "We'll be stuck here until Headmaster McGonagall lets us out."

"I could get out and then I would, um, do something." Bartholomew sits down next to Neville. "I'm bored."

"We all are." Harry overheard the conversation and thinks of something. "We could practice in here. No Bludgers but toss something around from broom to broom." Bartholomew stands up.

"Great idea Harry lets give everyone a show!" Bartholomew runs for the boys' dorm room to get his broom.

"Well Neville want to do it?" Neville stands up.

"Sure Harry. I've already tried reading this book three times now but I keep losing my copy and have to get another one." Neville sets the book down where Harry was sure Neville would forget it. Neville and Harry go to their dorm room and get their brooms. Soon the entire Gryffindor team is ready for an indoor Quidditch practice. Now they just needed something for a Quaffle, a goal, and a Snitch.

"Harry let me do it." Hermione gets her wand out. "Ginny give me that pillow." Ginny takes a pillow off of a couch and hands it to Hermione. Hermione waves her wand and soon the pillow morphs into a round shape. "Here's a Quaffle."

"What about a Snitch?" Monica looks around for something to use as a Snitch but doesn't see one.

"Well, I could try a Summoning Charm. I'm pretty good at that." Harry remembers when he summoned his Firebolt during the Triwizard Tournament. "But I don't think we should make a hole in the wall."

"Use a chess piece." A third year student picks a pawn off his chest board. "If I get a ride on your Firebolt."

"After practice I'll let you fly on my broom. But you have to be careful since we're inside."

"I will be." The student smile in excitement as Harry takes the pawn from him. Harry hands it to Hermione.

"I don't know what spell to use to make it fly like a Snitch." Hermione takes the pawn from Harry and casts a spell on it. The pawn immediately takes off into the air. "Thanks Mione. Are you going to watch the show?"

"Sure." Hermione sits down in a chair and watches the show as do the rest of the Gryffindor students.

After the weekend was over the kids were even more bored. But finally on Thursday a message is sent to all of the Common Rooms telling the students to go to the Great Hall. "What do you think it is?" The students were whispering to each other wondering what happened.

"They found the Death Eater?" The main rumors were that a Death Eater had gotten into the castle.

"They're closing the school down I bet!"

"No way they wouldn't."

The students continue to whisper and guess as they sit down at their separate tables. Headmaster McGonagall is already standing at the podium waiting for all the students to get to their tables. When the last student sits down Headmaster McGonagall begins. "Students, staff, classes will resume tomorrow." The students, even after being bored out of their skulls, groan. "There is no more danger on the Hogwarts grounds. But I would suggest staying in your Common Rooms to make sure you have completed all of your homework." More groans from the students. "And now that you are eating here I thought it would be nice to give you all a treat." Headmaster McGonagall claps her hands and the Great Hall explodes with Christmas decorations, trees, and food on the tables. "It finally worked." Headmaster McGonagall looks over at Dumbledore. So far this was only the second time the castle listened to her. It had a hard time getting over Dumbledore stepping down.

"Finally." The students dig into the food glad to be out of the Common Rooms. Two students though wondered about why the school had to be shut down.

"Who do you think Dumbledore saw on the Marauders Map?" Harry whispers to Hermione while taking a sausage off a plate.

"We already talked about this and I only have a couple ideas." Hermione takes a drink of pumpkin juice. "Ron, Wormtail or some other Death Eater who got into the castle."

"But why shut the school down? Dumbledore should have been able to capture them in a few seconds."

"Unless he wanted to make sure Voldemort didn't detect his loss of powers." Hermione didn't want to talk about this in public so ignores Harry and eats. "I missed this kind of food."

"So did I." Harry eats as do the others still wondering what Dumbledore saw and when he could get the Marauders Map back.

After classes on Friday Harry and Hermione go down to Hagrid's cabin. Harry knocks on the door and Hagrid opens it. "Oh Harry, Hermione, come in." They go into the cabin and see the fire elementals moving around inside of his fireplace. "What you be coming down for?"

"Well it's been awhile Hagrid."

"And you were wondering what happened weren't you? I can't tell you cause I don't know. Dumbledore was in a mood I tell ya." Hagrid puts a pot on the fire. "Seemed to be huntin something down. Filch told me he caught Dumbledore going about the halls late at night mumbling on about something."

"But you don't know what it was?" Hagrid shakes his head. "Well um, Hagrid we were with him right before he shut the castle down."

"Really? What happened?" Hagrid was just as curious as everyone else about what was going on.

"Well, um, we were talking about something and then we had to go. I don't know if we're allowed to talk about it." Harry looks over at Hermione. "Mione, do you think we should tell him?"

"I, well, we trust you Hagrid we really do but this was between us and Dumbledore."

"I understand Hermione. Dumbledore trusts me with things that I don't tell anyone else." Hagrid coughs. "All the smoke from the fire elementals been getting to me."

"You could take them out for awhile Hagrid."

"No not with 'em. The snow melts and they get wet they die."

"Oh, well, you could go outside."

"Too cold. They keep it nice and warm in 'ere. Going to be a sad day to give them back to the Ministry at the end of the year."

"Well, we have to get back to the castle. Homework and it is getting late." Hermione points out the window to the setting sun.

"That it be. You two get back to the castle I need to feed these critters and check on something in the woods."

"What is it?"

"I can't tell you two. Something between me and Dumbledore."

"What about Headmaster McGonagall? She is the Headmaster of the school." Hermione wonders what it could be.

"Dumbledore doesn't want to burden her with this. He is expectin me to take care of the ol' girl." Hagrid thinks about what he just said. "Forget I said that."

"We won't tell anyone Hagrid." Harry really wants to know.

"I know you won't but Dumbledore made me promise." Hagrid goes over to the door. "You two get going before the sun sets. Not safe at night especially with You-Know-Who back."

"But this is school grounds." Hermione figures that the school would be safe no matter what.

"The school is safe but the grounds, near the Forbidden Forest, is dangerous as it gets. The centaurs have left after centuries of fighting with the Ministry. I don't know what could have scared them." Hagrid opens the door and looks outside. "Get going while you can." Hermione and Harry leave and head for the castle.

"You don't think it could be that dangerous do you?" Hermione looks around as they get to the doors.

"It might be. Centaurs don't just run away." Harry opens the door for Hermione and she goes inside. "Dumbledore let a Death Eater into the school and has Hagrid taking care of something in the woods. Maybe Dumbledore isn't just losing his powers." Harry had been wondering about Dumbledore and finally voices his thoughts to Hermione.

"Harry that's not true. Dumbledore is the smartest wizard, the greatest wizard, since Merlin. It isn't just power that makes a wizard. Knowledge of spells and magical creatures and potions make a great wizard."

"But he's letting a Death Eater into the school. And you heard how he mumbles to himself. Dumbledore is old he might be getting senile."

"Harry a senile Dumbledore would still be a better wizard then you or anyone else here." Hermione defends Dumbledore some more.

"But if he's making bad decisions then we need to tell someone."

"Like who? Hagrid is devoted to Dumbledore. I'm devoted to Dumbledore. The only wizards not devoted to Dumbledore are Death Eaters."

"I don't know then. But he lets a," Hermione interrupts him.

"Death Eater in. I know Harry but that was to have a spy that they could feed false information to."

"He shut down the school. What could be so dangerous that he had to shut down the school?"

"You know very well Harry. A Dementor got in at a time Professor Night was in a staff meeting and couldn't have let it in. Someone else that Dumbledore doesn't know let it in. Or he saw something that shouldn't be."

"Like Voldemort in the school. If Voldemort is getting into the school then Dumbledore is getting weaker then we thought."

"I doubt it was Voldemort. If it had been then the school wouldn't have been shut down it would have been closed. Harry forget about it. I'm wondering what Hagrid is taking care of in the woods."

"Some animal probably."

"An old animal that Dumbledore wants Hagrid to take care of. It could be anything. Maybe a dragon. You know he's been wanting one."

"Just another reason to think Dumbledore is losing it. He wouldn't let Hagrid have a dragon if he was his normal self."

"Well maybe it isn't a dragon. Maybe it's something Dumbledore wants to keep safe to use against Voldemort."

"I doubt it. Dumbledore should have recreated my map by now. If my father and his friends could do it while still in school Dumbledore should have had no trouble making it." Harry starts to walk away from Hermione when she grabs him by the arm and stops him.

"Harry what's wrong with you? You're not acting like yourself." Harry pulls his arm away from Hermione.

"There's nothing wrong with me!" Harry clenches his hand into a fist. "I'll go and confront Dumbledore myself. I'm not afraid of him!" Harry turns and runs from Hermione.

"I didn't say you were no one did." Hermione runs after Harry. Harry is faster and more agile making it hard for Hermione to keep up with him until he runs into someone coming out of a class room.

"Watch it!" The person gets their wand out. "Ten points from Gryffindor!" Harry had run into Professor Snape. "What are you doing Mister Potter and Miss Granger?"

"I have to confront Dumbledore! He's an aging fool who will get us all killed!" Snape points his wand at Harry.

"What potion or spell have you messed with Miss Granger?"

"None we were just coming back from Hagrid's."

"Near the Forbidden Forest?" Hermione nods. "I keep telling Dumbledore we need to put a strong barrier in front of there. Harry you will come with me."

"I'm going to Dumbledore's!"

"That's where I'm taking you." Harry takes his wand out and is ready to use a spell when Hermione gets her wand out.

"Stupefy!" Hermione's spell hits Harry from behind.

"Twenty points from Gryffindor. You're not allowed to use spells in the hallways."

"But, he, he was, you wanted him to attack you so you could take more points off." Hermione is getting mad and worried. Harry was acting strange and now she just used a spell on him to keep him from attacking a Professor.

"What I wanted was proof of an Ifectius Corrios spell. Mister Potter would not attack me, a former dueling champion. Only someone not under control would do such a thing."

"Ifectius Corrios? I've never heard of that spell."

"It's a very dark spell that this school would never teach about." Professor Snape waves his wand and Harry floats in the air. "You can go back to the Gryffindor Common Room."

"But I want to go with Harry."

"I want to have students who don't question my orders but I'm not getting that am I?" Professor Snape stares at Hermione who surrenders and walks away to the Gryffindor Common Room.

"Hey Hermione, where's Harry?" Monica was sitting in a chair with a book. "Wanted to ask him when the next Quidditch practice was."

"I, um, he's busy." Hermione didn't want to talk about what had just happened to Harry. "What are you reading?"

"History of Hogwarts Quidditch. I swear this one kid sounds just like Harry. Glasses, messy hair, looked like the Seeker. Maybe James Potter had a brother or something." Hermione looks away before the look on her face made Monica ask questions about the mysterious Chaser.

"He didn't have a brother. Anyone who's read Fall of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named would know that." Hermione sits down across from Monica. "Where is every one else?"

"After being cooped up in here they don't want to be in here anymore." Monica laughs. "We have the best Common Room its not so bad being in here. And really it's too cold outside to be going anywhere."

"Yeah, probably shouldn't go outside." Hermione bites her lower lip in worry. "Um, I'm going to go over my homework to make sure I put everything in that I was supposed to." Hermione goes up to the dorm room. She couldn't focus on her homework so puts it away and lies on her bed wondering what was happening to Harry in Dumbledore's office.

"You old bumbling fool! You let a Death Eater into the school then a Dementor gets in and you don't know how they got it in! You're useless!" Harry had woken up after being bound to a chair by Snape.

"I see Severus I believe you are right. Hermione said they were coming back from Hagrid's did she not?"

"That's what she told me."

"She's too scared to say it! If she wasn't such a dirty…"

"Silencio!" Harry keeps yelling but no sound comes out after the spell Snape casts.

"Close to the Forbidden Forest. This is very troubling." Dumbledore looks at Harry. "But they only cast a spell like this on him. If they were trying to kill him they would have."

"Or they would not want to suffer the same fate as the Dark Lord. The fear of casting the killing curse on someone who lived through it before may have been what saved him."

"Or not a Death Eater." Dumbledore thinks about what he had seen on the Marauders Map several times. "Someone looking to hurt Harry not kill him. Severus I do not want to lock the school down again but this can not happen again. We must take Harry to the Infirmary so he can be taken care of and treated for this curse." Dumbledore pulls something out of his desk. "I do not want to do this but we need guards at this school."

"You're sending the letter to the Ministry? Is this really that severe Dumbledore? It may be Harry Potter but he has not been harmed in any serious manner. If he and the other students stay away from the Forbidden Forest that should be enough." Snape and the others, including Dumbledore, did not want the Ministry involved at the school again. After the debacle with the Dementors after Sirius Black escaped the Ministry on school grounds was not seen as a good idea.

"Severus I do not want to do this but the safety of the students must not be compromised over past experiences with the Ministry." Dumbledore waves his wand and an owl appears. Dumbledore ties the note to the owl's leg and sends out to the Ministry. "Severus could you take Harry to the Infirmary?"

"Yes Dumbledore." Snape looks at Harry who was still yelling but being muted by the spell. "Come with me Potter." The binding spell is released so Harry can stand up. Harry reaches for his wand but is stunned by Snape before he can get it out. "Twenty points from Gryffindor."

"Severus he isn't under his own control twenty points to Gryffindor." Snape scowls then casts a spell to make Harry float and takes him to the Infirmary.

The next day it is out that Harry was in the Infirmary but no one knew why. Everyone assumed Hermione knew and went to her for information. "Leave me alone I don't know!" Hermione had an idea but wasn't going to tell anyone else. "I think it was a Quidditch practice accident now let me do my homework!"

"Out! Out all of you this is a library!" Hermione flinches when the librarian starts to yell. She hoped coming to the library would give her peace but everyone followed her.

"I need a quiet place. The tunnels are too dark to do any work." As the librarian makes the students leave Hermione packs her stuff thinking about a place to go.

A few minutes later Hermione is at the Infirmary. Madam Pomfrey would let her in, so Hermione hoped. As long as she promised not to disturb Harry too much it should be ok. That and Madam Pomfrey wouldn't let the other students in to bother her or Harry. "Hello?" Hermione knocks on the door and it opens.

"What is it?"

"Um, is Harry ok?"

"He is under going treatment and must not be disturbed."

"I don't want to disturb him." Hermione puts her foot between the door to keep Madam Pomfrey from closing it. "I need a quiet place to do homework." Hermione was going to lie but decides it is easier to tell the truth. "Everyone is bothering me about Harry and I can't get peace. I know you won't let them in because they would disturb Harry. I won't because I want him to get better so could you please let me in? I, I could help with something if you help me."

"I have heard some interesting stories to see patients but this one is original." Madam Pomfrey didn't believe Hermione.

"No it's not a story. I want to see Harry but I won't bother him I swear. I, I could clean vials or something if you let me do my homework."

"I could clean them in an instant with magic."

"Well, I could do something else." Hermione is nearly pleading with Madam Pomfrey. "Anything, I just need a place where everyone else won't bother me." Hermione hears a noise and turns to see three students coming down the hall. "They're coming to ask me about Harry. I can't get my homework down because no one will leave me alone."

"Well, you have been a good patient when you've been here." Madam Pomfrey knew Hermione's problem. Being the nurse at the school she had been bothered by students and staff. "Get in." Hermione hurries in before the students see her and bother her again.

Through the week Hermione had been using the Infirmary as a homework room and had been helping Madam Pomfrey. She cleaned vials with pure elbow grease and helped clean sheets, change out files, and other chores from Madam Pomfrey. As she sits and does her Ancient Runes homework she hears the door open. She turns around expecting to see Madam Pomfrey but is surprised with a wand in her face. "Where is Harry Potter?"

"I, um, who are you?" Hermione slowly lowers her hand to her side where her wand was.

"Where is Harry Potter!? Answer me Hermione!" The Mysterious Person's voice was altered by a mask that they wore.

"He's in a special room. In the back." Hermione feels her wand and wraps her hand around it. "Stupefy!" Hermione's spell misses.

"Crucio!" The Mysterious Person doesn't miss.

"Aaaa!" Hermione screams in pain as the spell hits her. Her scream alerts Madam Pomfrey who comes out of her office wand raised.

"Belaris Altima!" A black ball of magical energy shoots out of her wand but the Mysterious Person dodges it.

"Ifrius Shava!" A fireball shoots out of the Mysterious Person's wand and hits Madam Pomfrey. She bursts into flames but the distraction took the spell off of Hermione who recovers.

"Reducto!" Hermione's spell hits the Mysterious Person from behind but instead of hurting them it only seems to annoy them.

"That wasn't very nice. I was going to let you live but I think you should die now." The Mysterious Person points his wand at Hermione. "Avada Ke…" The Mysterious Person is stopped when an ice bolt hits them and freezes their arm in place making them unable to complete the wand movement for the Killing Curse. "Who dares interfere with me!?"

"Stay away from her!" Madam Pomfrey was hurt badly, burnt badly, but was able to put the spell out in time to save Hermione. "Don't make me kill you. Leave, now, before a teacher comes." Madam Pomfrey was having a hard time breathing. "Or I kill you."

"This will thaw."

"You can't cast a spell to melt it." Madam Pomfrey tries to act tough hoping the Mysterious Person would buy her bluff. "Leave or I'll kill you."

"Very well but I will be back for Harry Potter!" The Mysterious Person runs out of the Infirmary and Madam Pomfrey collapses to the floor.

"Madam Pomfrey!" Hermione runs over to her. "No, I, I have to get Dumbledore." Hermione starts to leave the room then stops. "Dobby!" Crack

"Yes Miss Hermione Granger Ma'am?"

"Go to Dumbledore, tell him there was an attack on the school grounds!" Crack "Who was that? Why did they want Harry?" Hermione shakes her head. It was obvious. The person was a Death Eater it had to be a Death Eater. But how had they gotten in? The Ministry had not yet sent guards but the school was safe. At least it was supposed to be safe. Crack

"Miss Hermione Granger Ma'am do you need any assistance? Mister Dumbledore is on his way."

"Can you heal her?" Hermione points to Madam Pomfrey.

"I can help her Miss Hermione Granger Ma'am." Dobby scrunches up his face then motions towards Madam Pomfrey. Magical energy comes out of Dobby's hands and some of the burns heals but the more serious burns remain. "I can do no more." Dobby looks at Hermione. "Do you need anything Miss Hermione Granger Ma'am?"

"I'm ok Dobby. Madam Pomfrey saved me." Hermione and Dobby wait for Dumbledore to get to the Infirmary.

After the attack the Ministry immediately sent guards. The school's House Elves were patrolling the hallways and classrooms looking for anyone who wasn't a student. The pictures were all told to keep an eye out. No one knew who the person was but everyone assumed it was a Death Eater. Hermione had to go to Dumbledore's office after leaving the Infirmary for questioning. "Was it a male or female?" The Minister of Magic himself was in the room. Hogwarts was a powerful base for England and it being attacked weakened his political power among the other magical governments. "If you know."

"I don't know."

"Were they old or young?"

"I don't know."

"What do you know?"

"I don't know. They wanted to get Harry. He asked me where Harry was but I, I didn't know what to say."

"A Death Eater in the school." The Minister shakes his head. "Dumbledore I am sorry for taking time sending guards to the school. I never thought a Death Eater would be foolish enough to attack the school."

"A Death Eater would be foolish to attack the school." Dumbledore has ideas about what happened but isn't about to tell the Minister. "I am sure Hermione needs some rest. We can study the room for any magical imprints but I believe she would like to go lie down." Hermione is about to say she wasn't tired or hurt when suddenly she felt tired.

"I, I would like to lie down, I guess." Hermione stands up. "I, is it ok if I go back alone?"

"No. I'll have two of the House Elves follow you." Dumbledore snaps his fingers and two House Elves appear. "Please escort this student to the Gryffindor Common Room."

"Yes Mister Dumbledore Sir."

"You two can just call me Dumbledore since I am no longer the Headmaster of this school."

"Yes Mister Dumbledore Sir." The House Elves and Hermione leave the office for the Gryffindor Common Room.

"Now Minister would you like to examine the Infirmary? The spell used on Poppy was powerful. It should have left behind a magical imprint thick enough for us to identify it." They leave the office and go to the Infirmary.

"Albus this is of no use." The Minister did not see any magical imprint. "It may have been a powerful spell but it wasn't enough to leave an imprint."

"Ah but there is you just have to know how to look at it." Dumbledore removes his half moon glasses and stares at the far wall. "Yes, I see it." Dumbledore concentrates. "No, not a normal person. What is this?" Dumbledore mumbles to himself ignoring the Minister. "No, it can't be. They're dead. Harry said he saw them die with his own eyes."

"What is that Albus?"

"The magical imprint must be off. I should have looked at it immediately. It has been changed due to time." Dumbledore puts his glasses back on. "Minister thank you for sending guards."

"The voters would tear me apart if I didn't protect their children. Dumbledore if anything else happens we may have to close the school down."

"I know Minister." Dumbledore sighs. "I don't want my school, Headmaster McGonagall's school to be closed but the students must be safe."

"As long as You-Know-Who is alive they will never be safe." The Minister and Dumbledore leave the Infirmary. "I hope Poppy gets better soon. I can have a new nurse come until Poppy is better."

"Yes we will need one. The next Quidditch game comes in February and we may have injuries."

"All the students in the Quidditch Field, are you sure that is safe?"

"We need it Minister. The students need it to keep their minds off of the attacks by Death Eaters." Dumbledore and the Minister say goodbye and the Minister leaves. "And from attacks by people who can't be attacking."