Disclaimer: OK, you really should know by now that nothing but Bryn belongs to me.
Chapter 12 - A New D.A.: "So, did you talk to them?" Blaise asked Tracey as they sat down in Amycus Carrow's D.A.D.A. class. Blaise thought the only good thing about this teacher was that he did know what he was teaching. Of course, the class was just 'Dark Arts' now, forget the 'Defense' part, but even that was more impressive than Lockhart had been.
"Yeah, and I've got them interested."
"Ten, including us."
"That's not many."
"I know, but it's better than nothing."
"Longbottom, ten of us will be coming." He had Charms with Neville Longbottom; Tracey wasn't in that class. Neville looked at Blaise, eyes appraising. Blaise thought how different this Longbottom was from the boy who'd broken his wrist during their first flying lesson.
"All right, Zabini," Neville said, watching the Slytherin go back to his place. He wasn't sure this was a good idea, but... he remembered the songs of the Sorting Hat for the last three years. He also remembered something he'd heard somewhere, "United we stand, divided we fall." Maybe it was time for the four Houses to work together. But only ten Slytherins? Well, better than he'd expected, honestly.
Ginny was more nervous than she would have liked to admit. Harry had led the D.A. last time, and he was a natural leader. She wasn't sure she was. Oh, she wasn't a mindless follower, but she was more of an independent. Came from being the only girl with six older brothers. But this... she would have Neville and Luna, though. And, apparently, Blaise Zabini.
Zabini. When she thought of Bryn, after the breakup, she wanted to treat Zabini to a Bat-Bogey Hex. However, he'd had a point, and... she believed him. He'd called her Ginny. She understood what that had meant. A truce, an alliance of sorts. So, she believed it was the right thing to do. It was time for all of them to stand united. She was the new leader of Dumbledore's Army - or one of them - and Dumbledore had always encouraged second chances and working together. Even if giving second chances had backfired on him once, fatally, he was usually right about it. Fitting then, that they should be uniting this year, finally all four Houses together. Dumbledore would be proud, she decided.
So Ginny went through her classes that day, through 'Muggle Studies' with Alecto Carrow, and she knew that the Death Eaters weren't going to win in the end. Or if they did, the Light would at the very least give them one hell of a fight first. And she was going to be a part of that, no matter how much her family tried to shield her. They were fighting in that war; the brother closest to her in age, the boy she loved, and two of the best female friends she'd ever had were up close and personal with it. Gone off to parts unknown, all of them... She'd be damned if she didn't help them any way she could; with whoever wanted to help her.
For once, Luna wasn't thinking about Crumple-Horned Snorkacks or Nargles. Actually, she was thinking about her classmate Gwen Cooper, a Slytherin. Gwen had long, strawberry blond hair, brown eyes, and a constant sardonic half-smile on her face, like she knew something no one else did. And she had just told off a boy in Luna's own House, Maxwell Graham, for calling her 'Loony'. Luna watched the other girl, confused.
Something hit her ankle. It was a crumpled bit of parchment. She picked it up and read it while McGonagall was writing on the board.
So, Lovegood, this D.A. thing. Tracey's invited me, and I'll be there. A little worried, though. I mean... I hope they don't all hex us as one. Maybe I can get protection? Please? G.C.
At the end of the class, Luna caught up with Gwen. "You won't need protection. Ginny, Neville, and I will make sure they understand. And if not, Ginny's got quite the Bat Bogey Hex. So, would you like to meet in the library to do our Transfiguration homework?"
"Sure, why not," said Gwen, and for once, the smile on her face was complete, and not sardonic at all.
That night, the ringleaders of the D.A. - main and Slytherin branch - were on edge. Understandable, considering what was riding on this first meeting. A merging, finally of the four Houses, a need to override mistrust. They had to pull it off. If not... well, it was important.
"OK, everyone. I can tell most of you were in the first D.A., two years back," Ginny began, looking at the thirty or so kids in front of her, "so you have some idea of what we're about. Now, the first thing I'm going to say is, if anyone's not sure they're willing to risk fighting..." Harry, Hermione, and Bryn said it, not to mention Lupin did, and Sirius and Dumbledore had. "...Voldemort, then leave now." No one moved. "Right. So, on to the next thing. There's going to be a few changes this year. Neville?" Neville nodded and opened the door. Wands were drawn swiftly as the ten Slytherins walked in, Zabini and Davis in the lead.
"Everyone relax! They're here to join us," Ginny said swiftly.
"They'll run and tell Snape!"
"This is going well," Tracey muttered to Blaise.
"So, go up and talk to them."
"Yeah, Blaise, you. Look, I'm the people person, but you... you've got the passion for this. I believe in it, but you're more connected to it. You talk to them."
Ginny, Neville, and Luna were trying to restore order, but it wasn't going that well... until Blaise stepped up beside them. Then everyone hushed, but they glared at him. Fantastic.
"Right. Well, can't say I didn't expect this. You guys have no reason to trust Slytherins. Two years ago, the Inquisitorial Squad that helped take down the first D.A. and made your lives hell was all Slytherin. This year, Slytherin is the house the Death Eaters and their boss favor. Slytherins have always made themselves the odd House out."
"But here's the thing. It was never the whole House. It was people like Draco Malfoy and his cronies. The rest of us just kept our heads down because we didn't want any trouble. However, things have changed. We're all in trouble, and so we can't hide anymore. So we're here. And we won't turn on you, I swear." He looked at them, then at Ginny. "Sorry I took over, Ginny."
Ginny looked around, at the people who had gone quiet and thoughtful. "Anytime, Blaise," she said, with an amused smile. "You shut them up." She turned to the crowd. "Well then. So, you've heard Blaise, and if you can't handle this, you can leave."
No one moved. "Good," Ginny continued. "Who here was not in the first D.A.?" Hands went up. "All right, you guys go with Neville. The rest of you, pair off. Let's see what you know. We start with Disarming."
"Hang on, We- Ginny," said Tracey quietly. "One of the ideas Blaise and I had was that we could set up an intelligence branch of this little operation." Ginny studied them thoughtfully, then nodded.
"Hold that thought. Anyone in either group interested in working intelligence, you'll be with Blaise and Tracey." There were a few dubious glances before about twelve people, including members of all four Houses, walked over to the two Slytherins.
"Good. Now that we're all sorted, let's get started," Ginny said.
Two hours later, the students headed back to their common rooms. Blaise and Tracey hung back, as did Ginny, Neville, and Luna. "That went well," said Neville.
"After some initial unpleasantness," Blaise drawled.
"A bit, but that's all settled now," said Luna.
"Let's hope so," said Ginny fervently.
"Yeah, really," said Tracey.
"So, an intelligence branch?" asked Neville.
"You've got contacts with the Order of the Phoenix, don't pretend otherwise," said Blaise. "But, we're in school, and we need information from inside these walls. With Death Eaters here, we might even get some useful things you can pass on. We're Slytherins, we learn early to be sneaky, and a lot of us know things we really shouldn't because we're good at keeping out of sight long enough to get that knowledge. So, we're teaching others to do the same. We'll also come up with codes and such that we'll teach everyone. All sorts of things to keep this under wraps."
"I think it's a good idea," said Ginny. "Keep it up, you two."
Nodding, the two Slytherins left, hoping they'd finally broken the ice with the other Houses.
A/N: So, tell me what you think! R&R!