Harry Potter: The Rise of the Technomancers
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. If you believe that I do, please send me all your cash and check yourself into your nearest mental health center, thanks :)
Chapter 36: It's All Your Fault, Ronald Weasley!!!
"So did you do it Albus?" asked the gruff old Alastor Moody.
The aged Headmaster nodded wearily, "The blocks and safety measures are in place, and Arthur and Molly are none the wiser, though they did chew me out after the questioning."
Moody scoffed, "So what, the little rat was innocent?"
"Yes Alastor, yes he was," the Headmaster said, but not without a grimace. After convincing Molly and Arthur that Ronald was under suspicion, and tricking him into imbibing the solution, they began their hour long interrogation of the boy's activities, all the while, Albus was setting the blocks and imprinting the words that would trigger the boy's death through legilimacy. A shocked Molly and Arthur Weasley walked out of that room that day. Although he was innocent of the rape, nor did he know of who may have done so, Ronald was not completely innocent. He was guilty of theft, malicious bullying, and a whole slew of other childish crimes, of which slandering both Neville and Harry were chief. It seems the child was preparing the house in hopes that they would be against Harry if he ever returned. Albus sighed at that, it was not going to be a very good time for Harry next year, that was for certain. But really, there was nothing he could do about it. Except for within a court of law, it was illegal to administer Veritaserum to a minor, even if consent was given by the parents, and no one wanted it to go that far. So the boy would keep his quidditch captaincy and the Granger girl would keep her interview for the Transfiguration Internship at Oxford, much to Minerva's irritation.
That was another sore spot for Albus these past few weeks. Minerva was as efficient as ever, and just as sour as ever, yet her views had changed greatly. She was now openly angry at the Granger girl as well as the two Weasley children and had been avoiding them as much as humanly possible. Cool, was a description of how she acted when they were in the same room together, but he could tell Minerva wanted to strangle the girl. Not only did she completely destroy another student's life, she ruined hers as well. Minerva lost her position as both Head of House and Deputy Headmistress, not to mention a lot of money that came with the two positions, and she also lost her the respect of her peers, all because she trusted the arrogant little girl.
Rescently she was doing her job very well, even better than she had done before the whole Longbottom debaucle. She probably wanted to work herself back into the good graces of her peers and Albus did not fault her on the slightly childish way she acted, yet she did request to be there when he told the three of their punishments. That was slightly vindictive, but she argued that she wanted to tell them herself, and to confront them about their actions. Albus accepted that, and would let her be there. The Order meeting was in about an hour, and he needed to tell the three of their decision. He would have done this sooner, except that he needed to ensure that Ronald was leashed and would not betray them out of spite. Now that the deed was done, he could spring the news.
"I think I should inform the children about their punishments before the meeting so we can get all of that out before we need to get down to business," Albus suggested.
Moody grinned widely, "Think I can stick around?" he said with an evil grin, the long jagged scar standing out on the side of his face, "I'd love to see that boy's face when you tell him he's lost his Prefects' status."
"No Alastor," Albus said, taking off his half-moon glasses and rubbing the bridge of his nose, "I don't think that would be prudent. They will already be antagonized enough, they do not require more."
The grizzled Auror barked a laugh, "Pity," he said and took a swig of his hip flask.
"Oh, I nearly forgot to tell you Alastor," Albus said, his frown turning into a grin, "It appears that Mister Potter has reappeared on the radar."
Moody actually smiled, "The boy couldn't stay away, eh?"
The Headmaster chuckled, "No I suppose he could not. He showed up unannounced a few weeks ago at Hogwarts," Moody quirked an eyebrow, "Yes, I know, it surprised me as well. We shared a few drinks and he dropped a bomb on me," he grinned, "He wanted to come back to Hogwarts for NEWTS."
Now Moody was a little shocked, "Huh…for NEWTS eh? Did you manage to ferret out the real reason he wanted to come back?"
Albus chuckled, nothing got past the paranoid old Auror these days, "Nothing get's past you these days, do they Alastor?"
"Being your friend for nearly a century, who wouldn't have a little of your craftiness rub off on them," he said with a grin.
Albus did not reply, only smiled, "So he will be back next year, he even dropped Divination and CoMC to pick up Runes and Arithmacy. Though, I offered him the newly vacated Prefect's position, he turned me down. Out of a lack of adequate candidates, I ended up picking Mister Cromac McLaggan. Not from a very well known family, but a neutral one none the less, plus the boy's got strength enough to stay away from power, so at least we won't have another King Weasel on our hands," he finished with a sad smile.
"Potter's planning something big Albus," Moody said, "Mark my words, he's planning something real big…still…It'll be good to actually teach the Lad. Heard he was an excellent student from Flitwick, and those OWL grades were impressive," he said with a near feral gleam to his eyes.
"Albus," came a voice from behind them. The old Headmaster turned around to see Minerva McGonagal standing in the doorway, "Albus, are we ready to inform the three Gryffindors?" Albus thought he could almost make out anticipation in the woman's eyes, but it was tightly controlled. She would enjoy it, but she would not show it, he thought to himself.
Sighing, he stood up, "Yes we shall, Minerva. Alastor," he said to the wizened old Auror, "Please set up the meeting hall for the Order. We will be there after we have completed our meeting with our students."
Moody shot Minerva an evil grin, then limped out of the common room, "Please show them in Minerva," the old headmaster said wearily as he sat down on a large chair facing the long couch.
From the room he could hear voices echoing down the long corridors.
"What do you suppose he wants?"
"How should I know, I don't-Oh!-Maybe he wants to give us our badges in person!"
"Yeah, you know, Hermione's Head Girl badge, and my Prefects' badge. I don't know about you though Ron."
There was a scoff, "Hey, you know I've been becoming much more influential in the school lately thanks to scar head missing-OWW! HEY!! Alright, alright! But I'm just saying that maybe Dumbledore noticed my leadership skills and made me Head Boy? Hey! I'm a Prefect too you know! I don't-"
And the arguments kept going on and on. Sweet Merlin these kids were blind, he thought to himself as he waited. He had to stop himself from grinding his teeth. Finally, the three idiots were there entering the room, an angry Minerva McGonagall a hair's breadth from foaming at the mouth bringing up the rear.
"Hello Professor," said a beaming Hermione Granger. She was almost jumping for joy, when Albus fixed a pleasant smile on his face.
"Miss Granger," he said with a nod of the head.
The other two made uncomfortable greetings and sat on the couch. Ronald still remembered the last conversation he had with the Headmaster and how unbelievably scary the man was, so he really did not want to attract any unwanted attention to himself, so he sat there, completely quiet. Ginny, on the other hand, had no reservations about attention, she just did not know what to do in the situation. This was the first time it was just them and Dumbledore. The Great Albus Dumbledore, she might add, the strongest wizard in the world. She was simply too awestruck to say anything constructive, so she just shut her mouth.
Though the other two were silent, Hermione Granger was anything but. It seemed she was completely certain that she would have the Head Girl position this year and had brought along some 'new ideas' that she wanted to try out.
"Professor," she started, placing several muggle books down on the table, "I was thinking, that next year, when we start the Prefects meetings, I could start off by making a short announcement about the state of the power structure within the Prefect's ranks. I think that there are too many prefects with absolute power in each of the houses. They are allowed to directly influence the status of other houses and thanks to that, are allowed to affect the standings of each within the House Cup competition. Why, last year, Gryffindor came in dead last thanks to excessive points taken away from our pool by different members of the other houses' Prefects. They ended up subtracting a total of six hundred fifty five points from our students, chief among them were Misters Finnegan, Thomas, Chambers, Richards, Miss Brown, Patil, and Ginny Weasley. It's obvious that they were targeting the DA members thanks to some perceived notion that we were somehow responsible for several accidents that we certainly were not aware of. As that-"
The girl seemed to ramble on and on, and Albus was losing more and more of his patience. After a while, he just had to interrupt, "Miss Granger!" he said forcefully.
"-and that…? Yes Professor?" she asked, cutting off midway through a tirade about unfair treatment of their DA members during the last quidditch match.
Albus took his glasses off and stood up as he paced back and forth, his fingers massaging the bridge of his nose. After a while he stopped and sat down again, addressing Hermione, "Miss Granger. I take it you would like to initiate changes and make an announcement during the first Prefects' meeting of the year, am I correct?" she nodded and smiled at him, "I am not sure if you are familiar with the rules Miss Granger, but only one of the two Heads of the School may address issues such as power structure, and that only with majority consent of the Prefects."
She seemed a little taken back by his words, then seemed to shake herself, "Um, yes Professor, I was saying that when I am-"
"You are making the assumption that you will be Head Girl Miss Granger, even before the decision has been made?" He asked her directly.
Hermione swallowed hard, "Yes Professor. I was just-"
"You are aware that only the Headmaster is able to choose the position of Head Boy and Head Girl, Miss Granger," he said with a neutral expression, "And that the choosing of such prestigious duties are the sole responsibility of said Headmaster?"
"Erm…Yes Professor…I was just commenting that in the future," she started, her face looking a little pale.
"Ah yes," Albus said, cutting her off, "The Future. But Miss Granger, the future is tempered by the actions of the past, and it is the past I have brought you three here to speak of. I would like to bring your attention to these," he said and waved his hand at the table. Immediately, high stacks of piled parchment appeared on the table, as well as several official decrees with the seal of the board of governors, and several vials that contained swirling silvery smoke within them. In all, nearly the entire table was filled to the brim.
Picking up a sheet from one of the stacks, Albus held it up and asked, "Miss Granger, can you tell me what this is?"
Hermione gulped, her mind jumping to the logical conclusion and the very obvious one at that, "It is an official complaint filed by the Board of Governors," she said, and she heard two identical "Eeps" from beside her.
Placing the complain down, he looked up at the three, who were deathly pale, "Miss Granger, Miss Weasley, and Mister Weasley, all of these reports involve you in some way or form. And more than half name you directly as culprits in the various offenses named. These files were made by various people from the other houses and were-"
"They were trying to set us up!" shouted Ron as he jumped up and tried to loom over and intimidate the old Headmaster. Albus just gave him a look, and he immediately sank down into the seat. Coward, he thought to himself.
"Now that you have that out of your system Mister Weasley, I would warn you to be quiet. You were implicated in a rather serious crime that I have already informed your parents of. There is no evidence to link you to that crime so it has been dropped, but be warned, you are not off the hook yet," the boy paled as if he knew which crime he had participated in and Albus vowed to watch the boy more closely. Although vindicated from the rape, he had probably done something else that deserved some punishment, "Now these," he said pointing to a smaller stack, "Are complaints made to Professor McGonagall by students in your own House. Surprisingly, although they were steady from the beginning, they stopped abruptly. At this time, there had been an increase in malicious pranks and other nasty incidences, one of which involved aerosolized bubotuber puss," at this Ronald paled and swallowed hard, "that sent Mister Neville Longbottom to the infirmary for over a week."
He steepled his hands in front of him, "Now, although you may deny them, we have pensive memories that implicate Mister Weasley in all of the memories that we have. And pensive memories cannot be altered in any way. Now, all of these incidents were filed by the Board of Governors to be dealt with at their own time, but they were given to me when an incident occurred concerning the life of one Mister Neville Longbottom, who was a target of your malicious attacks as well as your smear campaign from the first day of school. I believe you were accusing him of 'going dark', was it?"
Hermione tried to explain, "Well there was evidence that he was..." when he didn't react, she went on, "Neville refused to talk to us, refused our invitation back to the DA, he was missing for long periods of time…and…and…he was getting much better in all his classes, very quickly and I-"
"And you thought that he was going dark," Albus said with a narrowing of his eyes, "When Mister Longbottom: one, refused to talk to someone who threatened him in a restraining order, not to talk to him?"
Hermione looked ill at ease, "Well that was-"
"Two," he said cutting across her, "Having no friends, since you terminated that friendship, he spent hours away from people who were picking on him and playing pranks that sent him frequently to the hospital?"
"I," she stammered, "That is…"
"And three," he finished, "who was seen in the library frequently this year, studying very hard and practicing on his own away from Gryffindor house where he was persecuted constantly. Now, Miss Granger, is that someone who you would see as dark?"
They were speechless, the two girls looked ashamed, and the boy looked indifferent, his arms crossed on his chest in the most arrogant way.
"Now," he said, continuing, "You have heard that Mrs. Augusta Longbottom is now missing am I right?" They nodded, "well, that is the Ministry's stance on matters. When the Order investigated the home before it was burned down in a tragic accident, we discovered heavy signatures of dark magic. We determined that they were from all three unforgiveables as well as a variety of dark magics, all of them favored by death eaters," they looked shocked at this, "From the evidence and the activities of the Ministry, we can determine that the attack on Augusta Longbottom and the subsequent seizure of the Longbottom assets-"
"What!?" Ginny shouted in near panic as she shot up, "Neville was-"
"Yes Miss Weasley," he said, "Subsequently, after the attack the Ministry covered up the death of Augusta Longbottom and obliviated anyone that could have corroborated the story that she was killed by Death Eaters, making it seem as if she had disappeared. Subsequently an official guardian was assigned to Mister Longbottom, having been only sixteen at the time, and a letter was sent one month after she was killed, to Mister Longbottom. The letter was charmed to be unreadable by those over the age of seventeen. We can only assume, since it was Lucius Malfoy that was made guardian, we can only speculate that it was Draco Malfoy who informed his father about your slandering of Mister Longbottom and the mistrust that it caused with his head of house, that it was he who sent the letter in order to discredit the poor boy. Indeed, he did go to Minerva McGonagall and told him of his grandmother's death, of which she did not believe and ignored the plea for help," Minerva looked torn at this, with anger flashing across her stony features, "Subsequently, Mister Longbottom lost everything, his properties, his money, his stock, and his personal possessions. His parents were nearly thrown out of St. Mungos, but were saved thanks to a loan from a new company, of which Neville had invested in his own name, saving himself and his parents years of suffering," he fixed the young students with an angry eye, "All thanks to you three."
Before they could react, he continued, "Because of these things, because of your rumor mongering, your bullying, your petty crimes, and your disregard of the rules, there are your punishments."
They were nearly shaking when he started, "Miss Weasley. Because you willfully participated in the harassment and the pressuring of a current prefect, Miss Chambers, and," he looked down at a sheet of parchment in front of him, "the willful threatening of Miss Chambers after repeated malicious pranks upon her person, one of which involving a rather dangerous creature. I, Albus Dumbledore Headmaster of Hogwarts School, do here by charge one Miss Ginerva Weasley with these punishments: one, you will never be able to hold a position of power in the school, related directly to education or discipline of your peers, and two, you will be placed on probation for the rest of the year, as well as serving detention with the Grounds Keeper Argus Filch for two months every night of the week."
The girl just seemed deflated and appeared to curl in on herself, not meeting anyone's gaze. Albus quickly moved on to Ronald's punishment, "Mister Weasley," he said, as the boy flinched away, and scowled into his chest, "Your trespasses are very numerous, having been the leader of many of the pranks and much of the bullying that was going on last year. Your punishment is that you will lose your Prefect's status-"
"What!?" Shouted Ron as he heard of his loss of power, "You can't do that! Just because Longbottom was screwed now I lose what I earned fair and square? It's not fair! It's not our fault that McGonagal didn't listen to Longbottom! Punish her not us! We did nothing to-"
"Sit down!" Dumbledore said firmly. He couldn't believe he nearly lost his temper for the second time in his life, and this towards the same exact person, in the same exact house. Ron jumped up and nearly ran out of the room, but decided to hide inside of the couch instead, "You Mister Weasley, have not earned a single thing that you have. The clothes on your back, the food that you eat, and yes Mister Weasley I do know that the pitiful grades that you have are not even yours to begin with. And you really think that you earned the status of Prefect as well as Quidditch Captain? Do you, who has no leadership skills what so ever, you whose quidditch skills are below par for even that of a first year player, could have earned those positions yourself?"
The boy looked like he was about to retort until Albus shot him an evil glare, "You Mister Weasley were given everything! Everything! All of your needs are met by your parents, meager income as they have, they pay for everything. Your grades are earned through cheating off others, having Miss Granger do your homework for you, or coercing others to do your work for you, you earned nothing, and you are not even intelligent enough to check your answers on the homework that they return to you. Now, as for the Prefects status and the quidditch captaincy, you were given the shot by Miss Spinnet through the suggestion of Mister Harry Potter. Because you were his friend, one of the many mistakes that Harry has made, he wanted you to be happy, so he pulled strings with Miss Spinnet, and had you added, despite your complete lack of skills!"
The boy looked severely cowed after having learned that he didn't earn the captaincy himself. It had always been a source of pride to him that he was the Quidditch Captain and Harry was banned from quidditch. It was something that he alone had, something that was earned by himself, but now, he learned that it had been given to him. The last bit of compassion he had, though how small and insignificant it may have been, was shattered and an all consuming bitterness and hunger overcame him. He wanted to shout, he wanted to pull his wand and curse the old man, but that would only get him in deeper trouble. He would wait quietly, he thought to himself, and wait for the time to get even.
"And Lastly, Mister Weasley," Albus said, "Your status as a prefect was given to both you and Miss Granger as a way of supporting Mister Potter, and only because you were mister Potter's friends. Otherwise I would never have chosen you-"
"But I do a wonderful job as a Prefect!" Hermione yelled, "I've earned that position from all my-"
Albus stood once again, "You earned nothing Miss Granger," he said evenly as the girl cowed, "You are selfish individual. You were given the chance because I wanted you to help Harry, to cushion the blows of his enemies, to help him thorough his pain, but you took advantage of him, and negated the position that I offered you. You were never Prefect material," he said, and nearly ground his teeth at the indignant look that Hermione adopted, "You are selfish, have no self restraint, are a petty girl, and are much too arrogant to help anyone. No one trusts you. No one. They come to you because they know that you will help them whether they like it or not and suffer through the experience."
He stopped and turned back to Ron, "You will be stripped of your Prefect's status, and be placed on probation for the entire year. Your trespasses will be closely monitored and if you break any school rules and we hear about it, you will be punished severely. If the severity of the act is strong enough, you will be expelled. We could not link you to the crime, but that does not mean you did not do it," he said, lying through his teeth in an attempt to scare the boy into submission, "You will spend two months with Argus Filch and, although you are seventeen and can legally leave the premises on weekends, you will be restricted to your common room on school days. I am not able to remove you from the quidditch captaincy since that is a student voted position when it comes to repeat captains, and for some odd reason your team voted you on again. When they heard, Professors Sprout, Flitwick, and Snape were very happy." The boy was nearly shaking with anger at this, but wisely held his tongue.
Albus sighed heavily. This was going to be the worst of the three, he could just feel it, "Miss Granger." The girl was giving him a hard look that said she would fight it all the way, "Miss Granger. Your trespasses include bullying, threatening, accosting of a student in hopes of coercion, and aiding and abetting malicious attacks on other students. For these crimes, you will: one, be stripped of your Prefect's status-"
As soon as he said it he sighed inwardly as the shouting came, "I had nothing to do with those pranks Ronald played. I warned him that it was dangerous, but I never-"
"So you knew that they were being played?" He asked.
The look of stricken terror crossed her face.
"So, you, as a prefect, saw what they were going to do, and then let it pass? Then it I am certain that you do not deserve the position of Prefect," he said. The girl was still shocked to silence and he pressed on, "Two, you will be placed on probation for the remainder of the year. Lastly, an investigatory board will be arriving at Hogwarts in one month to interview you on certain things we were forced to divulge. Namely, your change in status and the reason for it, and your possible link to a serious crime that will not be named until the investigation is completed. Yes Miss Granger, that is the law," he said, when she was going to ask about the crime, "Should the board find you guilty, you will lose the apprenticeship that Professor McGonagall set up for you. Good luck with the interview at Oxford Miss Granger. You had better come out squeaky clean, because it will be hard enough to get in without a sponsor, even if you do come out clean."
Hermione was looking like a fish, all of her future plans were crashing down on her head. She turned to McGonagall, who was staring sternly at her. She asked, "But Professor…You said you would Sponsor me…"
Minerva stood and faced her once protégé, "I said I would Miss Granger, but that was before I knew you had been lying to me. Your lies and your rumor mongering caused another student his entire fortune and nearly killed his parents in the process, your lies and my misplaced faith caused countless numbers of students undue anguish this year, and your lies, cost me my position as Head of House, my position as Deputy Headmistress, and nearly half of my bi weekly income!" she shouted loudly as the girl stepped back, "You three took advantage of me, took advantage of my fondness for you. I am ashamed that I ever saw myself in you Miss Granger. I will still teach you as a teacher, but I will no longer help you. You threw away that trust as soon as you lied and manipulated me. Do not come to me for anything else ever again."
Albus sighed, "In an effort to decrease the amount of embarrassment you will be suffering next year. An owl will come to each of you to pick up your prefect's badge and your manuals. Return them so that I may send them out to Miss O'Feir and Mister McLaggan. That is all. If you are planning on staying for the meeting, be down in ten minutes," he said, as he stood up and walked out, a glaring Minerva McGonagall on his heels.
The silence was thick as the three shocked teens stood, staring dumbly at the wall. It was Ron who stupidly broke the silence, "…at least they didn't expel us…" he grinned, "…and I get to keep my-"
SMACK!!! Hermione drew back her fist and crushed the boy's long nose on her knuckles as tears streamed down her face. Her whole world was crashing down, the position of power she worked hard to achieve, was now nothing…she would never be Head Girl, she was not a Prefect anymore, and her coveted Transfiguration Apprenticeship was in jeopardy, all because she listened to that stupid arrogant boy!
"This is all your fault you stupid Weasel!" she shouted, as she smacked him once more for good measure and stomped out of the room.
"What the hell?" said Ron, who was just trying to get up, the room spinning violently and two fist prints on his face, when another fast moving object collided with his head. As he was spinning down into darkness he heard another familiar shout ringing in his ears.
"This is all your fault Ronald Weasley!"
AN: There we go.