The next few weeks passed in relative peace for Harry, something he was very grateful for. He kept his head down in Defense and was able to slide under Umbridge's radar. He noticed the way she kept watching him during meals in the Great Hall but just ignored her. Harry had been unsurprised to read in the Daily Prophet that Umbridge had once again been appointed High Inquisitor. He just hoped that she left him alone as long as he didn't say anything to provoke her. Harry realized that if he didn't try to heal his hand then it was more likely to form a scar, especially after all of the hours of detention he'd served that one week of classes. He hated the idea of leaving any trace of her actions on him but if it would get her sent to Azkaban, he could always get it looked at afterwards.
He'd finally settled on a place to brew his three potions and after a long internal debate, he'd finally decided on the Room of Requirements. His top reason for choosing it was that few people knew where it was and he could easily hide from those who did know its location. His other choice was the Chamber of Secrets and as private at the Chamber was, it was a pain to get back up to Myrtle's bathroom.
He was already close to being done with the Sight Serum and estimated that it would be finished by the time the first Hogsmeade weekend came around. The potion that would increase his stamina would take a little longer to complete and would be ready in mid-November. While the potion to improve his body was taking the longest to complete. It was only a little less then half way to being done and as he figured, it wouldn't be done until just a two weeks before Christmas holidays.
The one event that he'd have more then pleased if it hadn't happened, was when Hermione had finally gotten around to asking him to teach Defense. He remembered the argument they'd had clearly.
"Harry please. Umbridge isn't teaching us anything that will prepare us for what's going to come. You know more defensive spells then most of the seventh years. You've fought against You-Know-Who and his Death Eaters. You know how they fight. Please you have to help us." Hermione begged.
Harry was making his way through the virtually empty common room, attempting to escape from Hermione and her insistent begging. He loved her like a sister but right now he just wanted to send a Silencing spell at her and hope that he could escape to his dorm before she got someone to take it off for her. When he'd come back he'd made a mental list of events he wanted to change, starting the D.A. had been one of them.
Yes it had been fun and it had felt good to know that he was helping his friends with defense but it had also been a lot of pressure. He'd had to juggle the D.A., school, Umbridge, Voldemort and his visions. Even now that he knew how to handle Umbridge and he knew what his visions meant, he still wasn't sure how he felt about trying to juggle of those different things at once.
" Maybe she's right mate." Ron suddenly stepped up next to them. " You know more about defense then any of us. Umbridge doesn't want us to learn anything, so she's not going to be teaching us anything. You're the person we can turn to."
Harry groaned, now Ron was ganging up on him. He knew from experience that Hermione wasn't going to stop bugging him until she got her way. He figured it would just be easier if he just agreed to teach them.
He rounded on Hermione and Ron and stared at them both. " If I say yes to this Hermione, will you stop pestering me about it?"
Hermione smiled, " Thank you Harry. You don't know how much this will help us all."
" Oh, I think I do." he said dryly.
" I'll get started on a list of people who might like to join. Then we should decide on a date and place to meet." Hermione walked off for her dorm, still muttering to herself about how the best way to get the yet to be named D.A. up and running.
Harry shook his head as he watched her leave. Even after all of this time, he still wondered about her on occasion.
Harry had began to think about places that would be secret and safe for the two dozen or so people he thought would show up to the first meeting. He knew they couldn't go to the Hogshead again, as Dung was going to be there and that would take away the secret part of their secret club. He decided against having it inside the castle somewhere, since he knew the portraits talked. Anyplace in Hogsmeade was a bad idea, since anyone could hear them and any wards Harry could put up around them would be suspicious. He'd taken a walk out on the grounds one night in his Grim form and wandered into the Forbidden Forest and had stumbled across a clearing about fifty yards in. It was secluded enough that it was unlikely one of the creatures that inhabited the Forest or Hagrid would interrupt them but it was close enough to the tree line that if they needed to get out safely they could. So when Hermione had brought up the issue for a meeting place a few days after he'd found the clearing, Harry had been able to assuage her worries.
Harry entered the Great Hall and walked over to where Hermione and Ron were waiting. He smiled at them as he took his seat and began to fill his plate with food.
" I think I found a place where we can we hold our first meeting." Hermione said, just loud enough for Harry and Ron to hear. " I think we should hold it at the Hogshead at the next Hogsmead weekend. Students don't go there often and it's out of the way so we won't be overheard. What do you think?"
" I don't know if that's such a good idea Hermione." Harry said. " I was thinking about where we could all gather and not be seen or heard. I looked around here in the castle and out on the grounds and found a clearing in the Forbidden Forest that would be perfect."
Hermione and Ron looked at him like he'd grown a second head.
" Are you crazy Harry. We can't all meet up in the Forest. You know what kind of creatures live in the forest. It's insane." Ron ranted.
" I am very aware of what kind of creatures live in the Forest Ron. And no I'm not crazy. It's not like I went that far into the Forest. The clearing is only about fifty yards in. It's perfectly safe Ron. Aragog's children don't come that close to the grounds." Harry explained. " It's not like we're going to hold all of our meetings their anyway. We'd only go out there for this one meeting and then we'll find someplace here in the castle."
Hermione seemed to think about what he was saying and after a few moments she slowly nodded her hand in agreement.
" It's not like we'd be there for very long. An hour or two at the most."
Harry grinned at her, "Exactly."
Ron looked back and forth between them before finally agreeing with them.
They had finally decided on having the first meeting on the first Hogsmeade weekend, right as most of the students were leaving for the village. That way those who were coming to the meeting would be able to head off to Hogsmeade after.
Harry, Ron and Hermione were the first ones out to the clearing. They got there a few minutes early so Harry could set up a few privacy wards. When Hermione asked him where he'd learned them he simply answered, "A book." and grinned when she scowled at him.
He'd just finished setting up the Privacy Wards when the first of the group began to arrive. Ten minutes later the clearing was filled with the rest of the DA. Harry looked around and saw that all of the people he remembered coming the first time had all come again, even Marietta Edgecombe. When Harry saw her, he wasn't sure how to feel about having the person who betrayed them once with them again. He planned on talking to her before she left for Hogsmeade. A jab in the ribs from Hermione brought him back to the present. He looked up and saw that everyone was looking up at him expectantly.
He felt his cheeks heat up slightly and fought down the blush he was sure was clearly visible on his face. He remembered how this went before and he wanted to try to keep it away from his past adventures.
"I just want to say thank you for coming, especially since it's a Hogsmeade weekend. I'll keep this as short as I can. I'm not sure what you all were told this was about but I want to make it clear that I'm not going to talk about my past. I don't want to discuss anything that's happened to me, especially about last year. So if that's all you've come for, leave now." Harry waited and was pleased to see that no one made any motions to leave. "I'm glad you all decided to stay. I know some of you don't believe that Voldemort is back but that's beside the point right now. If I'm going to do this then what you believe needs to be left at the door. I'm going to be teaching you spells that will harm other people and if that bothers you then I'll understand if you don't want to stay. This is war and war is bloody, painful and deadly. I'm going to give you the means to protect yourself and your family. Weather you use them or not is up to you."
Harry paused and looked around at all of the faces staring up at him with varying degrees of shock and surprise.
"Any of you who want to participate, Hermione has a piece of parchment that we'd like you all to sign. It's a magically binding contract that will insure that if any of you tell anyone else about this group the others will know about it." Harry informed them.
He took the quill from Hermione, who was staring at him in surprise, and signed his name first. He was quickly followed by Ron and Hermione and then slowly everyone else began trickle up to sign their names. Harry watched each one of them, belatedly wondering if he had been a little to blunt. He watched as Cho and Marietta, the last two, signed their names, the later a little reluctantly.
" Cho, Marietta, can I can talk to you both? I can walk you both down to Hogsmeade." offered Harry.
Cho and Marietta and looked at each other before Cho agreed with a smile.
" Ron , Hermione," he called back to them. "I'm going to walk to Hogsmeade with Cho and Marietta. I'll meet you down there in a while."
Hermione looked between him and the two sixth year Ravenclaw girls and nodded. " Alright Harry. How about we meet in the Three Broomsticks around one."
Harry nodded and walked between Cho and Marietta as they made their way towards Hogsmeade. They were at the beginning of the road towards the village before Cho began the conversation.
" What did you want to talk about Harry?" she asked.
" I just wanted to check to see how you were doing Cho. I know I said that I didn't want to talk about what happened last June but if you want I can try to talk about it. I know you and he were close." Harry said.
" Thank you Harry. That means a lot to me." Cho said.
" It's not a problem. Do you mind if I talk to Marietta alone for a bit. We'll meet up with you at Honeydukes if that's alright with you?" he asked her.
She shrugged indifferently and Cho looked between the two before agreeing to meet them at the candy shop.
Harry watched as she walked away before he turned his attention to Marietta, who had stayed quiet for the duration of their walk. " Marietta, I know I don't know you but, if you don't mind me saying, I noticed you seemed a little hesitant to sign your name. I know that you don't believe what Dumbledore and I are saying about Voldemort coming back and I know you don't trust me but I'm just trying to help people. I understand that you only came to the meeting and only joined because of Cho but I want to know would you betray us if pressured to do so? I know your mum works for the Ministry and that Umbridge can make life there very difficult but I need you to trust that I have a plan B. Just give this group a chance."
Marietta had stopped walking and so had Harry. They stood staring at each other and Harry waited anxiously for her response to what he'd said.
" You're right I don't believe you or Dumbledore. I think the both of you are liars." she said harshly. " The only reason I even came today was because Cho begged me to. And how did you know that my mother worked at the Ministry?"
" I guessed." Harry said simply.
Marietta stared at him distrustfully, " Why should I give this group any chance at all. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't tell a professor about this."
" Because even if you don't trust me and think I'm a liar and a nut job, on some level you know that everything has changed." Harry told her softly, he made sure he looked directly at her as he spoke, hoping she'd see the truth in his eyes.
Marietta didn't answer right away but Harry could see her resolve slowly giving out. Finally after a few minutes of silence she spoke up.
" I can't say I will ever believe you but I'll try to give this a chance. Don't make me regret it Potter."
Harry smiled pleased with the outcome. He may not have gotten her to fully believe him or trust him but he didn't believe he'd be able to do so in just one conversation. Just getting her to give the DA a chance was a step in the right direction.
" Thank you for giving me a chance. I only have one thing to ask of you, if you don't mind?"
" What would that be?" asked Marietta, as they resumed their trek to Hogsmeade.
" If you start getting pressured from anyone to give us up to Umbridge, please come to me first. That way I can think of a plan."
Marietta hesitated before agreeing to do so. The rest of the walk to Honeydukes was spent in silence, each teen thinking over what had been said by the other. Harry spent the walk thinking up different solutions to different scenarios, while Marietta contemplated on all of what Harry said. One thing she couldn't argue with him was that he was right. Everything had changed and for better or for worse she didn't know and she wasn't sure if she wanted to.
When they finally reached Hogsmeade Harry walked with Marietta to Honeydukes, where Cho stood outside waiting for them. She asked if Harry would like to join her and Marietta for the rest of the day but he politely declined, saying that he promised to meet up with Ron and Hermione at the Three Broomsticks.
Cho just nodded and they bid each other good-bye before going their separate ways. Harry looked down at his watch and saw that he had a little over an hour before he had to go and meet up with Ron and Hermione and decided to wander around for a little bit. He walked past a few shops before deciding to check out the bookshop, Tomes and Scrolls.
Harry had never been inside the small store before but knew that Hermione was a frequent customer. He immediately noticed the differences from Flourish and Blotts. While the bookstore in Diagon Alley was a maze of shelves and towers of books, Tomes and Scrolls was very neatly organized. Harry saw signs hanging above each section, saying what kind of books were held there. A middle aged wizard sat on a stool behind a counter, leafing through a thick tome.
" If you need help just ask." he said, not looking up.
" I will." said Harry.
He browsed through the Defense section, looking to see if anything caught his eye and found a few that did. He pulled them down and wandered over to the Transfiguration section. He remembered Dumbledore and Voldemort using transfiguration in the duel at the Ministry and wanted to learn how to do something similar. He grabbed two books that looked promising before heading to the Charms section. An hour later he had collected sixteen books that would sure to be of use in the coming year; three Defense books, two Transfiguration, three Charms, one book on Ancient Runes, two on Potions, four books on Dueling and one book on magical artifacts titled, The Encyclopedia of Magical Artifacts.
He took them and placed them precariously on the counter. To his credit the owner didn't bat an eyelid at the amount of books Harry had decided to purchase. He rang them all up and Harry was pleased that the total wasn't outrageous. The books were placed in a weightless bag that easily held all of them, with room to spare. Harry thanked him and walked out of the store and made his way to the Three Broomsticks. He walked in and looked around for the distinctive red and bushy brown hair. It didn't take long for him to find them sitting at a table. He maneuvered his way through the mass of students and finally reached his friends table.
He sat down, pushing his bag underneath it so that it wouldn't get misplaced.
" How did your talk with Cho and Marietta go?" Hermione asked, not wasting anytime.
Harry grinned at his friend, " It went fine. I was just worried about Marietta and how committed she was to this group. I was watching her as everyone else signed the roster. She looked like she wanted to be anywhere else but in that clearing. I just asked her to give this whole thing a chance. She agreed."
" That was a good idea Harry." Hermione said impressed.
Harry grinned at the compliment and ordered a butterbeer from a passing Rosmerta.
" So now that we have a group of people, we need to find a place that's big enough for all of us to meet." Hermione said.
" We also need a way to contact everyone. We can't just pass it along by word of mouth. It could possibly take days for everyone to find out when we are gong to meet." Harry said, taking a sip from his butterbeer that had been placed in front of him. " Maybe we can use an object, place some charms on it or something."
Hermione looked intrigued, " I'll look up spells on ways to charm objects. I'm sure I can find something that will be useful."
Harry looked across to Ron and both boys grinned as she began murmuring to herself about spells and charms she could possibly use.
"So where did you go Harry?" Ron asked.
Harry took a sip of butterbeer, "Tomes and Scrolls. I just picked up a few books that looked interesting."
Hermione looked at him intrigued, "What books did you get?"
"I'll show you in the Common Room. This isn't exactly the best place to be pulling out books."
Hermione agreed with him and Ron asked if they wanted to go to Honeydukes. They agreed and paid for their drinks before walking out of the pub and towards the candy shop. They all bought a bit of their favorite candies. Harry bought a few boxes of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and Drooble's Best Blowing Gum. He added a dozen or so Chocolate Frogs and some Fizzing Wizzbees. He also picked up some bars of chocolate. Hermione picked a box of Sugar Quills and a few Chocoballs. She also got some chocolate, fudge and some chunks of nougat. Ron seemed to buy a bit of everything. He grabbed; Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Cauldron Cakes, Chocolate Frogs, Drooble's Best Blowing Gum, Fizzing Whizbees, Licorice Wands, Sugar Quills and Pumpkin Pasties.
They paid for their purchases and continued to wonder the village. By the time they were headed back up to Hogwarts all three were laden down with bags and their money pouches were definitely lighter then they were that morning. They hurried up to their dorms to put away their purchases before walking down to the Great Hall together.
Harry was anxious to finish so he could go and check on the progress of his Sight Serum. If his estimations were right he would be able to see without his glasses that night. He'd already thought ahead and was planning on transfiguring his lenses into plain glass. Hopefully it wouldn't raise anyone suspicions but so far his luck hadn't been running very high. He kept thinking about the conversations that he'd had with Fred and George and debating if he should tell them or not. If they kept confronting him, he was afraid he would have to tell them. Though he did admit to himself that it would be nice to be able to talk to someone about what he'd gone through and what he was going through.
Harry finished eating and decided to skip dessert. He told Ron and Hermione he'd meet them up in the Common Room. He hurried out of the Great Hall and up to the Room of Requirement. He reached the blank section of wall and walked back and forth in front of it thinking, I need a place to brew my potions, I need a place to brew my potions, I need a place to brew my potions.
A door appeared on the wall and Harry walked through it, practically giddy. He walked in and immediately checked on his still in progress potions, after making sure that they were progressing like they should he walked over to the cauldron containing the Sight Serum. He looked at the directions and followed the last few steps. Thirty minutes later Harry was ladling the potion into a glass. He quickly reread the description of what the potion and was pleased that it appeared to be correct.
" Bottoms up." Harry said to himself.
He quickly swallowed the potion and tried not to gag at the taste. He was putting the glass down when a tingling sensation started behind his eyes. The feeling quickly turned from a gentle tingling to a harsh burning. Harry pushed the heels of his hands into his eyes, hoping that it would help relieve the pressure. Finally after it felt like his eyes were going to be burned out of his head the pain began to recede. He backed up until the backs of his knees hit the edge of the couch and he collapsed back into it gratefully.
About five minutes later he opened his eyes was surprised when everything appeared bleary and out of focus. His slowly raised his hands and pulled off his glasses. He let out a breath when everything suddenly came into sharp and very clear focus. He jumped up, his glasses falling from his limp fingers, and couldn't help but try and look at everything at once. He'd never seen things so clearly, even with his glasses. He wondered how his sight was at night and the Room suddenly looked like the grounds on a full moon.
Even at night, real or magically created, his eye sight seemed to be just as good as when the lights were on. He thought the lights back on and he couldn't keep the grin off of his face. He picked up his glasses and transfigured the lenses into plain glass. He slipped them on and was happy that they didn't mess up his new vision. He cleared away the remains of the potion and gathered his stuff up. He looked at his watch and saw that he didn't have much time before curfew and he had no desire to get caught.
Harry walked through the Common Room, noticing that neither Ron or Hermione were at their usual table, and went up to his dorm. He tossed his bag onto his bed and grabbed his pajamas and toiletries and went into the bathroom to get ready for bed.
He came back out and crawled into bed. He was hoping to get a full nights sleep and with Sylvia out hunting for the night, he was sure to get it. He pulled the curtains closed around his bed and buried himself underneath his blankets and quickly drifted off to sleep.
I have nothing to say except how incredibly sorry I'm for the long, long, long hiatus. The only thing I can say is the inspiration for not only this story but all of my stories has been sadly lacking. I'm going to be putting a poll up asking which stories I need to focus on and which ones I need to put on the back burner. Ultimately it'll come down to me but I want to know what all of you think. I have to many stories going on and my passion for this is dwindling.
It's also possible that I began this at such a young age that how I saw it going back then isn't how I want to write it now. So There will be a few new polls going up within the next day or two and I'd love all of your votes to help me try and figure this out.
Thanks for all of your support and reviews.