A/N The long awaited update is finally here! I'm sorry, but between chasing my toddler son around the house and work it's hard to get in a good chapter in time. I will leave a disclaimer on this chapter for future one's that says basically that all my work is un-Betaed so if you find something like grammar, spelling, or the usage of pronouns to be off, let me know and I'll fix it. On a related note, anyone that wants to be my Beta, send me a message.
The heavy wooden gavel struck the marble counter top with a loud bang that echoed throughout the circular room. The gavel fell once more with another loud bang that seemed to silence even those that had no longer been talking after the first noise. The gavel was superfluous as those occupants of the round stone room were silent upon entering and had not taken the time to really get to know their fellows seated around them. It was more of a tradition than anything that kept the gavel from simply being discontinued and the practice of simply going straight to the heart of the meeting. As it was there were fifteen people seated around a large round stone table facing one another, and yet concealed in shadow charms and voice modifications; no one truly knew who they were addressing at any one point or another even though there were code names for each councilor.
The room in which the council met was nondescript as anything around it. It was stone, roughly hewn and showing aging that dated back long before the creation of Hogwarts. The stones were impossibly smooth as well, showing no cracks or breaks except for the expected masonry. There were three doors set along the wall at odd intervals each bearing a different crest. The first was a large letter M with two crossed wands firing red and gold stars that encircled the letter. The second was a large letter D with a crossed sword and wand with an inscription along the sword in an ancient long forgotten language. The last was a large letter P with the tail forming the point of a sword that pierced down into the heart of a large shield.
"We will come to order." The man, if anything could be told about the councilor, spoke with authority as he rapped the gavel lightly against the stone of the table once more before placing it placidly before him. Like his fellows this man was shadowed, and only the robes could be seen. Everyone wore identical robes of red with gold piping along the collar and down one of the sides. An insignia was on the left breast of the robe depicting a phoenix in flight surrounded by blue flames. "I believe that we have some new business on the table this evening."
"Indeed, your honor." A woman's voice spoke up somewhere near the middle of the group and slowly stood to her feet so that those on the other side of the table could acknowledge that she was the one that was speaking. "I have a proposition to put forth concerning the rise of the so called Dark Lord Voldemort." There was no silly flinching or gasping from the fellows around her.
"Voldemort has been discussed at length both recently as well as within the council some twenty years ago." A man a short distance around the circumference of the circle spoke up when it became apparent that no one else would.
The man with the gavel nodded slowly and turned towards the woman still standing. "It was the policy of this council both then and recently that we should not involve ourselves in the internal disputes of a single nation."
There was nodding around the room, but the woman waved her hand for silence. "If this Voldemort remains unchecked for too long he could become an international entity. We would be risking another fiasco such as the scale of Grindelwald." Several of the older members around the circle muttered darkly about the comparison, but kept their tongues out of reverence for the policies governing the body before them.
The man with the gavel spoke again, raising his hand in a gentile manner to forestall any immediate argument. "We made a mistake with Grindlewald, that's true. We were not able to see past our own arrogances to understand that he was able to appeal to both wizard and muggle alike to further his aims. Is it possible then, councilor, that Voldemort will turn the same way?"
The woman fidgeted for a moment before straightening her back. "He does not have the same drive that the former Dark Lord once held and he forsakes all muggle ties that could be of use to him." She paused to let this information sink in before speaking quickly. "He is a threat to us all, though, no matter what we hold dear."
Another woman a few places over from the speaker rose to address everyone, nodding politely to the other woman still standing. "The councilor makes an argument that is logical. If we are not to act now, what is to say that this Voldemort does not become what Grindlewald could not?" She sat down as the others were muttering to one another on the other side of the table.
The man with the gavel tapped it lightly into the stone and then spoke up once more. "We have been called into order many times throughout the ages and have not acted, preferring to stay true to our original course of purpose. Should we now break with that tradition simply because we are too afraid to see the coming of another Dark Lord?"
The woman was not to be deterred by the unflappable fact that Voldemort would never be as powerful as some of the older Dark Lords no matter what he boasted. "The Ancient One had a purpose for our group and I believe that it is an extension of that purpose to help the world in order to bring about peace. Would he not ask us to act in his stead should something happen to his birth country?"
The man with the gavel was nodding slowly, but indicated another man along the table that seemed ready to almost bolt out of his seat. The man slowly stood and smoothed down the robes that he wore in a practiced and well cultured move. "The Ancient One formed this order with the singular purpose at the time of creation. With that threat passed and indeed seemed to be well taken care of to this point in time, are we simply jumping to conclusions that this Voldemort will be just as bad? Many of us have heard the legends from our forefathers; could this man be as bad as that which brought our ancestors and the Ancient One together?"
The man with the gavel was slowly shaking his head before the mutterings around the room could get much more above a dull whisper. "No, indeed the Ancient One brought together the first council to take care of a problem that would have devastated the entire world if not those of others." He shook his head again as he indicated the still standing woman. "Councilor, I know that it was not your purpose to make such a comparison, but I am curious as to your reasoning behind this request."
The woman paused for a moment before she started to speak in a low voice that carried nevertheless around the room with ease. "All of us have had family and friends that have been affected by the civil wars of the wizarding world throughout the centuries. Having one so near to the last will devastate not only the population, but the economy as well. This could very well be the tipping point where the magical community is to be exposed to the world of muggles. If it is, will we be standing along the sidelines muttering in the dark…" She waved her hand around at the stone room as if in contempt of the accommodations. "…or should we be shown in the light as to be fighting to restore the peace of the entire world, not just a singular nation?"
The man with the gavel had tapped it a few times on the stone to restore the small twittering of conversation that had erupted back to silence. He seemed to pause for a moment as he turned the gavel over in his hands a few times as if inspecting it for flaws. "The question before us is not whether or not we should support the light or the dark in this coming conflict, but whether or not to allow ourselves to be exposed for such a small reason?" He held up a hand to forestall the expected arguments from both sides. "It is what it comes down to. If we openly declare that we are entering the fray, even if we try to be subtle about it, then we make ourselves targets. We have mostly survived this long through cunning and misdirection on our parts."
The woman that had been speaking seemed to stiffen a little at the mention of exposing the group, but she seemed to relax slightly when she spoke next. "If we are to be exposed it would best to do it on the side of the light within this context. There is already too many people who have begun to suspect too many things about what our true purpose relies upon."
A man around the table nodded fervently and stood up slowly as he was recognized by the others. "Already there have been two more attempts within the last few months. The first during the summer was by far the most daring, but they were turned away and warned the same as the others. If they keep returning from Voldemort then it is probable that he knows more than he is letting on."
The man with the gavel spoke quietly and let his voice carry around the room. "Both Dumbledore and the Ministry have spies within the ranks of the Death Eaters and are assured that he is no closer to discovering our secret than those that have come before him. It is troubling, yes, that he is being so tenacious and callous in sending his followers to their deaths, however it is not our concern to worry over those that willingly give their lives to a hopeless cause."
"They do not feel that it is hopeless and will therefore dedicate their lives and those of their children to it should they wish." Another woman sniffed a little disdainfully down the row. "It is rather impudent of the lot of them to believe such and the children…" She huffed in indignation that sparked a few nods around the table.
The original woman was still standing however and tried one last time to push the issue. "If what you say is true then we are already found out and will soon be splashed across the Daily Prophet or similar media outlets. If we were to come forward before such a public outcry…"
The man with the gavel shook his head gravely. "If what you say is true and we are found out then there is no point in coming forward with our own story. The populace will believe what it wants to about us, and in the past secret societies have never gotten good press." He chuckled a little and shook his head again. "We should wait and see what is found and respond accordingly, but that is only my wish and we must put this all to a vote." He banged the gavel three times in quick succession before speaking again. "A vote has been called about our participation in the upcoming war with the so called Dark Lord Voldemort, how does the council vote?"
Each person had touched the table with the left or the right hand and illuminating a small stone that appeared before each of them. The stone glowed a certain color based on their vote and then was swept along the edge of the table towards the man with the gavel. In reality the color of the lights had no real meaning as they changed from one session to the next; it was one way of keeping the voting semi-anonymous so that there were no reprisals for a vote at the next session. The man with the gavel was the only one that knew what the lights meant and was able to get a consensus from the magic of the room. It only took a few moments for the lights to be tallied and for the vote to come out inside of the small space of the table before the man with the gavel.
"The council has voted…" He paused as he read through the result while it was backed up by the magic of the room into the archive that was several miles away from the main meeting place. It was a failsafe against any tampering as well as any of the council could use their positions around the table to call up the final vote as well; it was this check and balance that each councilor could ensure that the man with the gavel wasn't making up the result. "….we will not be openly declaring us against Voldemort at this time."
The mutterings of the others drowned out the silent cursing of the woman as she sank back down into her seat. The council dissolved for a moment into pairs and trios speaking privately on a few things that had come up in their own areas that might need to be discussed on a whole. The rest of the session would be taken up mostly by small issues and petty arguments about what to be done with this boundary or that piece of magical artifact that might be found. The important issues were dealt with at the beginning of each session to take the brunt of the time needed to make decisions. The sad fact of the session was that Voldemort was still a topic of discussion; the war hanging over the heads of the entire magical world was coming very close to their sacred hall. While it had been decided that the war was not of the caliber of those in the past, it would still be scrutinized carefully.
The crisp autumn air was nearly perfect for a weekend of flying. While there was the waiting chill of winter in the air, the sky was still clear with a small breeze coming out of the south. Most of the Quidditch stadium would be protected from the wind except for those players higher up such as the seekers and the beaters. It was these two positions that would necessitate a slightly higher than usual stance to be taken and would therefore need some good flyers in those positions. Because of the ban from last year, and the rather abysmal performance of some of the players, it had been decided by those still remaining on the team that they would hold full tryouts.
Even though Ron and Ginny had been suspended, both officially by McGonagall and unofficially by Harry, Katie, and Alicia, they would still show up for the tryouts. Kirke and Sloper both showed up in their uniforms, but told Harry that they would be trying out same as the others; they weren't confident of their abilities from last year and wanted to make sure that the team got the best lineup possible. It was for this reason that the entirety of Gryffindor House had shown up for the tryouts; them along with several others that weren't exactly well received.
"All right, anyone not of Gryffindor or at least second year, please leave." Harry groaned as he rubbed his temples and watched about three quarters of the applicants shuffle off the field. Most of them were giggling girls from other houses fourth year and below, a few Gryffindor first years had turned up, but they moved off to sit with the rest of their house in the stands to watch and didn't look all that dejected at not being able to try out.
Katie chuckled next to him and smiled when he turned a baleful eye towards her. "Don't worry, Harry, they're just enthusiastic. I'm sure that it's the thrill of the game that brought them all out here and not your manly good looks." She dissolved into laughter at the roll of his eyes.
Harry turned from the senior member of the team and surveyed the rest of the Gryffindors arranged around the field in small groups. "Tell me again why I agreed to take on this position when you turned it down."
Katie patted him on the shoulder a little. "You're a good leader, Harry, the DA last year proved that. I didn't want the added stress with NEWTs coming up so you're the most senior member of the team." She broke off as there was a commotion near the back of the group. Ron and Ginny were pushing their way towards the front. Her face took on a small scowl. "Besides, if it wasn't you then we might have had to give it to the berk over there."
Harry rolled his eyes a little. "He thinks that he's a great strategist because of chess, but when it comes down to it, chess isn't life. The pieces on a board, while animated, still move in pre-determined places and don't have their own say in how things work; treating people like pawns on a board would be inhumane and rather evil."
The girl stared at him a little shrewdly for a moment before shaking her head. "Waxing poetic there, Harry. I would swear that you had some ulterior motive for saying all of that."
Harry shrugged as he hefted his Firebolt up onto his shoulder; the broom had been returned by McGonagall recently as well as the Captain's badge that now shone on his chest. "I guess I just feel that the Ministry and Voldemort are constantly moving around one another, as if it were nothing but a game to them, but life and death for their pawns." He shrugged again as his eyes swept over the group gathering on the field. "Let's get this over with."
Katie giggled a little more, but acquiesced to his request. She started to separate out those hopefuls that wanted to go for chaser positions on the team. It had been decided that because Alicia and Katie would be working non-stop this year that having a few back-ups wasn't a bad idea. The girls had asked Harry for his opinion and he agreed that having a full back-up team that would practice with the first line-up would be an ideal solution given how many times in the past he had been laid out in the hospital wing at the end of the year. To this end, she was going to pick out the best of the chasers to join the team and then have three others as a reserve to the three stars.
"Can I have your attention?" Harry's voice was clear and confident and made most of the crowd quiet down immediately. The one's that kept on talking were people like MacLaggen and Ron and Ginny. "We're going to be building a whole new team this year as well as a reserve team for injuries." He waved his arms and pointed to three different places staked out around the field with flapping red flags. "Chaser hopefuls are to go with Katie. Beaters to the left, Keepers to the right and Seekers up the middle there. Each group is going to be tested individually and then once we have a chaser lineup we're going to be doing some intense drills for the beaters and keepers."
The people started to break up into the groups that he had outlined, but there were a few that seemed to be trying to decide between which group they wanted to be in. Some of the Seeker hopefuls were looking at the chasers while the beaters were looking at the keepers. It was obvious that some of the tryouts were going to take a little longer than the others. Ginny immediately shuffled off towards the chasers with Katie positioning herself just in front of the girl so that it wouldn't seem like she was challenging her, while at the same time being intimidating in her own right.
Ever since the prank that Harry and the girls had pulled on the Weaseleys they had been rather quiet and glaring at people more and more. Bulstrode had come back to her senses the next day and had avoided looking at Ginny for most of the day and throughout the rest of the week. It was obvious that the large girl was rather embarrassed about the entire thing, but she would never broach the topic on her own with Ginny or with anyone. Some of Harry's girls had mentioned the possibility of talking it over with the girl to making inroads into Slytheirn with Rachel at the head. The girl had already had some brief conversations with Draco and was helping him along with his new head of house details, so chatting up Bulstrode wouldn't look suspicious.
Harry's eyes searched up through the stands towards the top of them where Hermione was sitting. She gave a small smile and thumbs up as encouragement. Claire and Rachel were sitting next to her under the invisibility cloak for protection and for support of Harry. The two girls being of different houses wouldn't have been able to sit through Gryffindor tryouts without some flack coming from those around them, but they had insisted that they be there to support Harry as well as cheer on Cassie as she was trying out for a chaser spot. The girl in question was busy blowing bubbles with some pink gum while hovering on her broom with the others around her setting up for some quick drills with Katie.
A bludger whizzed past Harry's ear, his reflexes only just saving his shoulder from being impacted. He twisted out of the way of the red ball as it hurled past him. The others had seemingly stopped what they were doing to watch what was happening to the Captain on the field. The second bludger was now coming out of the air and headed for Harry as well; some people were having flashbacks to the second year Harry had been on the team and the jinxed bludger then. This time, however, Harry was prepared and easily dodged the red ball while rolling down onto his Firebolt and dropping a few inches towards the ground. Once Harry was on the broom it shot across the field with the two balls in hot pursuit on his tail.
The broom, under Harry's hand, easily banked to the left and then the right. The bludgers were following him precisely and easily flowed from one move to the next. Harry didn't bother to look back as the gasps and groans from the crowd were enough. He was now skimming the grass with the tips of his shoes as he turned quickly and put the front of the broom facing upwards at a near ninety degree angle. The broom seemed to hover there for a moment as if in indecision before it shot upwards with enough force that the grass around the launching was actually flattened. The bludgers paused only a moment before spiraling upwards towards the speeding bullet of Harry Potter. Both red balls shot past Harry for a moment as he dropped his speed unexpectantly.
The balls twisted in the air and then started to flank the seeker. Instead of going forward and still upward, Harry twisted along the broom lying almost sideways as the bludgers shot over his head and nearly impacted each other. While the balls were distracted for the moment by each other's movements he pushed the top of the boom downward back towards the field and more specifically at the small section of students trying out for the beater spots. The students all gasped as Harry Potter seemed to almost fall from the sky, pushing his broom well past what could have been possible nearly straight back down at the ground.
In reality his angle of descent was curved slightly towards the students. It took a moment for a few of them to realize what was going on and start to scatter rather quickly. A few of them took to the air on their brooms while four remained on the ground and palmed beater's bats into their hands. They formed up in pairs facing off towards them with a small space between each pair. As Harry shot downwards towards them he started to push the broom harder and faster. As he neared the ground he turned upward slightly and turned to the side, letting his robes flap slightly as it skimmed across the grass.
Harry's trajectory actually worked out rather well as he had aimed for the space between the two pairs of beaters standing on the field. With scant inches to spare he slipped between the two pairs, his hair brushing against the legs of the three boys and one girl. All four of them didn't pay attention to his passing, however as they gripped the beater's bats even harder. The wind of Harry's passing ruffled their robes a little, but they were resolute in standing firm and watching the coming of the bludgers. True to form they came down out of the sky and tried to follow Harry's descent through the two pairs of students.
Two resounding cracks sounded like thunder. The first was slightly faster than the second as the second had gotten past the first beater on the left-hand side. Both beaters had swung their bats at the same time, but the bludger on the left had slipped past just by a hair and was caught by the second one standing just behind the first. Both bludgers went spinning off into the air at a velocity only slightly slower than what they had come in on. They went out about a hundred meters and seemed to be circling back around for another shot at the people on the ground.
"Stop!" Harry's voice was echoing around the stadium from behind the beaters. He had pulled up before hitting the wall behind them and was now hovering just in front of the Hufflepuff stands. To everyone's amazement the two bludgers seemed to freeze in mid-air at his raised command.
"What the bloody hell are you playing at, Potter?" Cormac McLaggen, one of the tryouts for keeper was picking himself up off the grass and dusting himself off. Some of the others were voicing their own discontent with the display.
Harry simply smiled and sent up a silent thank you to the stands where Hermione could be seen with white cheeks, but a large smile on her face. He turned back to address the others on the field as well as the four that had stood up to the bludgers. "I wanted a real game scenario to test the beaters on and it seemed to have worked." He smiled at the fifth year boy and seventh year girl that had both smacked the bludgers. "If you two wish to be on the team, the spot should be your's." He turned to the other two that had also stood up, but didn't get the chance at the bludgers. "You two will be the reserves if you're willing."
Katie cut off a lot of the grumbling of the others that had wanted to try out. "If that were a real game and all you did was duck then you would have been creamed. Harry was right, you all had an equal opportunity to go after those bludgers and only four of you stood to take on the challenge. If the rest of you don't like it, you can try out for chaser or keeper instead."
There was still some grumblings, but the smiles on some faces were more encouraging. The Gryffindors in the stands seemed to be talking about the unorthodox tryout with some enthusiasm as it seemed to produce some amazing beaters in the four that were chosen. This had the effect of making the chaser tryouts more interesting as well. Katie took them through a few basic drills to start with and was disappointed that she had to drop nearly half of the number of hopefuls for their abysmal flying during even the smallest exercises. She begrudgingly had to admit that Ginny was a good flyer and might make a good addition to either the team or the reserves.
Cassie was also a good hopeful to have on the chaser squad. She showed some promise early on with the drills as well as later when more of the creative exercises came up. Katie had devised an interesting drill over the summer that involved a formation of the beaters hitting bludgers back and forth forming a near solid wall of protection and the chaser had to get through it. Ordinarily this would be accomplished easily by moving up or down as well as side to side, but with the four beaters now operating together they were a flurry of bats and bludgers from one side to the other. Cassie was the most creative in getting around the bludgers when she tossed the quaffle through the flurry and then dropped almost to the ground in a spiral pattern that kept the beaters confused long enough for her to retrieve the quaffle on the other side.
"Your friend is doing rather well." Katie remarked to Harry while they hovered a little off to the side. They had decided to watch from afar with some of the exercises as the chaser tryouts were going against the keepers. "I hate to admit it, but Weasley isn't all that bad."
"Please tell me you're talking about Ginny and not Ron." Harry waved his hand over to where Ron was attempting to block the hoops. The redhead had started out well enough, concentrating on the ball, but then he had fallen apart letting five of the next shots through.
Katie giggled a little and shook her head. "Unfortunately Cormac is looking the best of the keepers, although his attitude might be a real issue."
Harry groaned as well and looked to the other end of the field where the burly seventh year was yelling instructions to both the chasers and the scared fourth year that was in front of the hoops. "If I didn't think that I would get caught, I might consider simply cursing the stupid prat."
Katie smiled coyly and slipped her wand into her hand from somewhere up her sleeve. "What do you think, stunner, bruising hex, maybe even a little vomiting curse?"
Harry chuckled as he shook his head. "It would have to be something not all very obvious. If he's injured by a curse then there will be an investigation. I would rather not loose my starting chaser so soon into the season."
Katie was tapping her chin with her finger when Cormac seemed to slip sideways a little on his broom. It wasn't enough by itself, but at the same time one of the beaters had smashed a bludger from the other end of the field where they had been practicing with some of the chaser tryouts. The bludger hit had been powerful enough that it moved straight past the other beater and clobbered McLaggen on the side. The seventh year started to tip sideways in pain and seemed to hang in the air for a moment before two others had flown up and tried to get him down to the ground.
Harry palmed his face as the two chasers helped McLaggen to the ground and then off the field. "I guess that takes care of that problem. Don't suppose you had anything to do with it?" He looked pointedly at Katie.
She scowled back at him and waved her wand under his nose. "I didn't have anything to do with it. Seemed he just got distracted." Her eyes were scanning the stands for a moment. "It's possible that someone had the same idea that we did about getting rid of him."
Harry nodded back towards where Ron was missing another shot by the chasers. "The problem is that right now Ron is the best keeper we've got, unless someone else takes a stand."
Katie winced as she watched the red head dive in the completely opposite direction from the shot by the third year chaser hopeful. "It's sad, isn't it? He's probably the worst I've ever seen, but with McLaggen out he is the best we've got on the field."
"We need someone with good reflexes and who wouldn't be scared to take a hit. Think any of your chasers might be better as keeper?" Harry leaned forward on the broom a little, letting it hover as he looked over the field spread out below them. The seekers had been tasked with finding small objects on the field and were combing the grass for them while the chasers were still in the air taking shots at the keepers and making passes to one another.
"There's a few possibilities, but I'm not really sure." Katie pointed out three of the chasers that were closer to the hoops than the others. "They haven't move around that much, but they've got some real power in their throws and seem to be the best at moving among the bludgers."
Harry was nodding a little as he tried to focus on what was going on around the field. His mind was wandering as he idly slid sideways and did a small barrel roll in mid-air. Coming back up there was a small grin on his face. Turning to Katie she groaned at the look on his face. "I know that look; it's the same that you had when you asked Hooch if she would charm the bludgers for you."
Harry chuckled as he quickly scanned the people still sitting down on the grass. "Did the bludgers come anywhere near your chasers or the seekers when they had shot off?"
Katie shook her head while she kept her eyes on the ground as well as partially paying attention to those that were still in the air. "I don't think so, most of them just scattered and didn't seem to have any goal in mind at the time." She shook her head. "We have to face facts, Harry, those that came to try out simply aren't cut out to be keepers."
"Then we have to find those that didn't bother to come try out." He lifted his head and scanned the crowd, quickly finding Hermione again. Her eyes were fearful from the last stunt that he had pulled, but there was a determined glint in her eye as she scanned the grass. She seemed to have come to something similar to him as she gave a small pain filled wince and a nod. "Last chance, Katie, anyone you can think of in your year or any other that might be able to take over as keeper?"
Katie groaned and chewed on a piece of her hair that was whipping about her face. It was a nervous and thoughtful technique that Harry had noticed of the dark haired chaser early on in his Quidditch career. "All right, Thomas and Longbottom might be all right in the hoops if you can get them to get over their fear of flying. Woodman from my year isn't bad, but his reaction time is horrible."
Harry scanned the benches high in the air and could easily spot his two roommates. They were both sitting up near Hermione and talking with her about something while pointing wildly down towards the pitch. It seemed that they were talking about Ron and Ginny as the two would point out the two gingers and then turn to say something to the other. Harry angled his broom upwards towards the small trio of friends and pushed himself in that direction; he didn't move incredibly fast even for his broom as he wanted to keep an eye on the rest of the tryouts even while he had his small talk with his friends.
"Looking good out there, Potter." Dean was smiling a little and holding a thumbs up. He was seated next to Neville so that they could both watch the match. Dean's eyes, however kept flitting back towards the pitch where Ginny was dodging bludgers.
"Feeling good, Thomas." Harry preened a little in mid-air as he hovered before the stands.
Neville gave a chuckle as he shook his head. "I'll never understand you sports nuts. It's crazy going out there like that." He waved his hand down at the pitch.
Harry chuckled. "Funny you should say that, Neville." He hovered a little ways out as he shouted louder so that everyone in the stands could hear him. "To any of you that might have been paying attention, our prospects for keeper aren't all that great." There were some mummers of dissent, but their neighbors only had to point at where Ron was dodging to the left while a quaffle sailed above him to get them to quiet down. "I'm asking anyone, and I do mean anyone, that has even a passing interest in the game, to get involved." His eyes swept over the stands while those in them were squirming in their seats. "It's a matter of house pride now. We've kept that trophy in McGonagall's office for years, should it be this year that it gets taken away….by Snape? Anyone who stands up now will be able to tell those younger next year that they were the one's that had the courage to stand for their house. Anyone who stands up now to be heard will be, your voice will count and you will be involved in the team, this I promise you."
There was a cheer that swept through some of the crowd, others were still grumbling about having to try out. Several had already started to swarm out onto the pitch to borrow brooms from friends. "Pretty good speech, Prime Minister Potter." Claire's voice came floating out of the thin air next to Hermione.
Hermione giggled a little and put a hand to her mouth. "You made it sound like we're going to war."
Harry shrugged as he saw Katie start to sort the new hopefuls into groups for the rest of the tryouts. "I suppose in a way we are. The Slytherins are outfitted with some of the best brooms that money can buy, and we'll need strong fliers to get past them." He smiled as he blew a kiss to the three girls in the stands, two invisible. "Just don't go giving away any of our secrets now."
Hermione was biting her lip a little, lost in thought. "Harry, did you mean what you said about everyone getting involved?"
Harry nodded slowly as he tried to see where she was going with it. "Of course, I think that it's rather narrow minded that this is the only sport that the school offers and only a handful of people get to participate. It's why I want almost a full reserve team this year to help practice as well as play if the time comes." He leaned forward on his broom a little and fixed Hermione with a stare. "Are you enlisting?"
Hermione threw her hands in the air and they could hear a stifled giggle from her left. "All right. Maybe with me more involved I won't have to bite my finger nails watching you out there nearly killing yourself."
Harry spun around to watch the rest of the practice as he smiled. "I think you should get together a few strategists, Hermione and see what they can come up with in terms of plays. Katie and I have drills for practice and our own ideas, but it would be nice to get some outside opinions."
"And it would get more of the house involved in the game. Very clever." Katie had sidled up near him as they watched the rest of the hopefuls in the hoops. Neville was on a shaky broom, but he was keeping track of the quaffle rather easily as it was passed from chaser to chaser.
"You heard?" He raised an eyebrow at his chaser as she smiled at him from a few feet above and to the left.
"Probably not the most inspiring of speeches, but it did get many of them moving." Katie smiled. "What was your alternative plan? I saw that look you had in your eye, it was the same that you had when you went to get Madam Hooch to charm the bludgers."
Hermione gasped behind them and glared at their backs while she put her hands on her hips. "oooh…you are in so much trouble, Potter."
Harry laughed and waved Hermione off. "My original plan was to use some fancy animation charms. We've got some old dueling dummies that we used last year in the DA. I was thinking that we could animate one and put it in Gryffindor robes on a broom between the hoops." He waved his hand at where Ron was falling off his broom a few feet from the ground. "It probably would have been better than Weasley anyway."
A/N: I know that many of you have written about my mysterious characters and my rather "annoying habit" of not stating names. Sorry. I use it to build suspense, but a lot of you should notice that in the beginning of this chapter that no one is names for a good reason. No one in the council knows each other's names and so there are no names to give. I will warn you now that I plan on utilizing the council scene a few more times, but there will be more information added into it in later chapters. So stay tuned, you might figure it out before I get there.
A/N 2: Yes, I borrowed a few ideas from several good movies. They're not really mine, but I do love them.