Disclaimer: I don't own any characters, I'm not making any money from this. I also feel I need to give credit to michelle_31a, who, to the best of my knowledge, came up with a certain spell first.
Notes: My first attempt at a story featuring Luna that is both not funny and not happy. Should be fairly short, maybe five chapters max. Had this first chapter done for months, started working on some Naruto one-shots and forgot all about it. Luckily I re-read parts of Book 7 about every six months or so, so I was bound to remember eventually.
Summary: Seven students are dead. Hermione isn't talking for once, Luna is traumatized, and Harry has tasted blood and found it to his liking.
Death Comes to Hogwarts
A Harry Potter Fanfic by
Nate Grey (xman0123-at-aol-dot-com)
Chapter 1: Priori Incantem
The smell of burnt flesh met them at the foot of the stairs.
Despite his exhaustion, Albus Dumbledore sprang up the steps with the energy of a far younger man. The Headmaster's normally twinkling blue eyes were, in that moment, more of a cold, steel blue, and it would not have been a wise thing to block their owner's path just then.
Just behind him was Severus Snape, wand already drawn and face frozen in an unfeeling grimace. The smell did not bother him at all. That fact, however, did bother him somewhat, but his true concern lay elsewhere. Snape had lived in the castle long enough, and he had his ways of knowing when any student in Slytherin left their dormitories. Two were missing this night, and deep down, he knew that they more than likely awaited him at the scene of the crime. For now, it was only a question of if they were the victims, or the perpetrators. Despite what they might have wanted him to believe, Pansy Parkinson and Millicent Bulstrode were no more victims than Draco Malfoy was a perfect gentleman.
Behind Snape were Filius Flitwick and Minerva McGonagall, and their faces clearly showed the concern that they both felt. They had far less information than the first two, having been summoned to the Headmaster's side by two of the many house-elves that called Hogwarts home. By the time they'd arrived in the Ravenclaw common room, Dumbledore and Snape had already been there, and Dobby the house-elf had just vanished with a loud crack. McGonagall had gone pale after seeing that: Dobby was always happy to serve Dumbledore, but was generally only called on when matters directly concerned Harry Potter and his friends.
The only thing Dumbledore had told them was this: "There has been an attack on a Ravenclaw student. All of you, come with me, and be prepared for anything."
Rather fittingly, none of them were prepared for the sight that greeted them in the fifth year girls' dorm.
Dumbledore hadn't bothered with the door, much: he merely gave it a stern look, and the door (perhaps in an act of self-preservation) simply jumped aside, allowing them passage.
The smell of burnt flesh became even stronger then, and for whatever reason, Snape strode into the room first with his wand ahead of him, and Dumbledore actually allowed it, following close behind, with Flitwick and McGonagall following immediately afterward.
The room was almost entirely dark, and what little light there was beforehand came only from three sources: the small, electric green flames that were scattered about the room, the blazing green lights in Harry Potter's eyes, and the wandlight originating from Hermione Granger's wand (which she immediately pointed at the teachers, until she realized who they were).
The entire room was a gory mess. The reason for the scent was clear at once: Snape almost trod upon the blackened remains of a hand near the door, and there were a few more dark spots on the floor where other students had met the same fate. In worst shape was the bed farthest from the door: the sheets were drenched in blood, as were the two people crouching at the foot it. Hermione's robes were spotless, but Harry was almost covered in blood from head to toe, although clearly none of it was his. The same could not be said for the girl shivering in his arms: Luna Lovegood seemed unable to stop shaking, and her eyes were shut tightly, though not for the obvious reason.
It wasn't that she didn't want to see, Dumbledore knew at once. She didn't want to See.
He had known all along of the talent than ran in the Lovegood family, and that Luna was particularly blessed in that area. He had also known that she would be an outcast, even in her own house, despite his best efforts. But he had never imagined that she would be tortured to the point where even Harry felt that murder would be an acceptable solution. Even as he looked on, one of the many cuts on Luna's arms began to bleed slowly.
Snape was the first to speak, and his question was not one that Dumbledore had expected.
"I take it you were unaware that Sectumsempra requires very little force, Potter?" Snape asked softly.
Harry slowly turned his burning gaze on the Defense teacher. "It wouldn't have mattered, sir. Even if I'd had to cast the spell a hundred times instead of just once to get the same impact, I'd have done it."
Dumbledore cleared his throat. "Is anyone other than Miss Lovegood injured?" he asked gently.
"We're fine, Professor," Hermione said. Then, she seemed to rethink that, and smiled bitterly. "We aren't injured, anyway."
"I will need the three of you to explain exactly what happened," Dumbledore continued in the same comforting tone, "after Miss Lovegood has been attended to, of course."
"I don't think Luna will be able to help you there, sir," Harry replied. "She hasn't said a word since we found her. I don't know if she can anymore."
"We know she can scream," Hermione added with narrowed eyes. "At least, she was still doing that when we got here."
Harry carefully lifted Luna bridal style from the floor, and froze when she began to whimper. "It's okay, Luna," he whispered in her ear. "It's me. It's Harry."
After a short pause, Luna wrapped her arms tightly around Harry's neck and buried her face in his shoulder. She began to shake again, and wouldn't stop until Hermione came over and stroked her hair a few times.
Dumbledore sighed heavily and turned to the other teachers. "Minerva, would you be so kind as to escort these three to the infirmary? Filius, I've had the rest of your students moved to the Great Hall for the time being, and I'm sure they could use some reassuring words." He paused as Flitwick left, then added, "Severus, I wonder if you could...?" He gestured in the direction of the nearest blackened spot on the floor.
"Of course, Headmaster," Snape agreed at once. He knelt beside the nearest blackened spot and slowly waved his wand over it, murmuring a spell that conjured a transparent image of the student's last moments. It was probably the only way to confirm their identities without examining Harry's wand. As this thought registered, Snape frowned deeply. "Potter. Where is your wand?"
Harry blinked stupidly, as if waking from a dream, and slowly pulled his wand from a holster hidden on his left sleeve. "Oh. So I didn't leave it on the nightstand."
Snape stared at him. "You did this kind of damage without a wand?" he demanded, unable to keep the disbelief and outrage out of his tone. "Without the proper focus, you could have easily killed everyone in the room, including your friends."
"I wasn't thinking of proper focus! I was only thinking of hurting those animals for what they did to Luna!" Harry snapped. "At some point, you people are just going to have to realize that there simply isn't time to think when it's actually happening right in front of you! I saw what they'd done, and I wasn't about to let it go on a second longer! You have no idea what-"
"Harry. That's enough," Hermione interrupted, grabbing his arm. "Professor Dumbledore said we'd have a chance to explain. Right now, getting Luna treated is all that matters."
"She's right, Potter," McGonagall agreed at once. "Come along. I suspect that remaining at the scene is only making your friend worse."
Glancing guiltily at Luna in his arms, Harry deflated and followed Hermione out of the room without another word. He did not resist at all when McGonagall placed a hand on his shoulder, and in fact, even seemed grateful for it.
Dumbledore sighed again after they had gone, suddenly feeling every bit his age.
"The Ravenclaws didn't suffer, sir," Snape reported after his preliminary analysis was done.
"And the Slytherins?"
"They did, greatly, if only for the few seconds before they bled out."
"I didn't want this for them," Dumbledore said quietly. "Certainly not for Harry."
"Not this early, you mean," Snape corrected dryly. "Whatever you claim to feel for Potter, you always intended him to be a weapon."
"Yes, Severus. But against evil and the darkness, not mere children."
"Ever the optimist," Snape said quietly. "But let me educate you on one mistaken notion you seem to have. Not only are children capable of evil, I would say that they are more capable of it than some adults, simply because they cannot fully appreciate the harm that they cause. When I was a child, I already had a list of people that I hated, and regularly envisioned ways to make their lives as miserable as my own. Calling that evil would, naturally, be an exaggeration, but I am not so blind as to think a child incapable of turning our world upside down for the worst. You're depending on one to do it for the best, aren't you?"
"I cannot and will not accept that idea that Harry is evil, Severus."
"He isn't," Snape agreed smoothly. "But everything here indicates that he killed tonight, without remorse or mercy. And that will only make it easier for him the next time."
Madam Pomfrey had long since learned that however many school rules Harry Potter and his friends seemed determined to bend and break, their loyalty to each other was a truly rare thing. Consequently, it was pointless to try and an enforce normal visiting hours with them when a friend of theirs was sick, and far easier to just let them come and go as they pleased, so long as they didn't disturb the other patients.
This was clearly going to be the case with Luna Lovegood: Harry hadn't released her hand since she'd been placed in bed, and Hermione Granger had somehow gotten her hands on a thick, dusty medical textbook, obviously looking for some way to speed their friend's healing. She had not, however, made any suggestions to Madam Pomfrey yet, as she normally might have, which was both a relief and a bit worrying.
Luna's physical wounds were cleaned and healed easily enough, but the amount and the nature of them had been more than a little disturbing. To begin with, someone had decided to carve words into her arms. They'd actually finished "Ministry of Madness" on the right arm, and had gotten as far as "Loony Loveg" on the left before being interrupted. In addition, Luna's ribs had been bruised by a considerable weight: someone (or possibly someones) had been sitting on top of her the entire time. The complete lack of fingerprint bruises on her arms and legs indicated that she had probably been Stunned as well. Someone had planned this torture, and had had every intention of finishing it.
And Madam Pomfrey, for one, was not at all sorry when she learned that those someones were dead. She could only spare her concern for Harry and his friends, because they were the ones that would have to live with what had been done to them, and what they had done in return.
End of Chapter 1.
Continued in Chapter 2: Sectumsempra
Harry did not interfere when it was just emotional abuse. He had lived through that, chose to believe it made one stronger, and had to hope that it would do the same for Luna. But this was different. There was no benefit he could see in this. After it was done, his first thought was to have Hermione create a vat of Veritaserum, just so they could go through all of Ravenclaw and Slytherin to make sure that they hadn't missed anyone.
The spell Snape uses to identify the victims is not Priori Incantem (thanks to those who noticed the error!), though it is similar enough. I suspect most spells have potential variations, if Lumos is any indication.