AN: All thanks to my beta Katherine.
The train back to Hogwarts was leaner than it had ever been before. All muggle-born students had gotten the memo and stayed home, likely hoping to stay under the radar of the muggle-born registration laws. Ginny, Neville, Luna, Gabe, and Mia huddled in a compartment together. After they shared stories about their summers, they sat quietly in the compartment, all with their minds on the same three missing students they all wanted to see, but knew they couldn't talk about.
When the train started to come to a stop, only an hour outside of London, they looked out the windows in confusion. Death Eaters were outside and started boarding the train. Nevile got an intense look on his face and stood up opening the compartment.
"Neville, no!" Mia tried to stop him, but he brushed her off and walked into the hallway. Mia, Gabe and the others followed him out, standing behind him and blocking the rest of the train as the Death Eaters walked on and stared them down.
"He's not here," Neville told them through gritted teeth.
"We'll check for ourselves, boy," the Death Eater said, raising his wand.
"On who's authority?" Neville asked, pulling his wand out of his jeans.
"On the minister o' Magic's, maybe you've heard of him?" The Death Eaters behind the man laughed. "We don't wanna spill pure blood, but we will if forced," the man said, grinning. Gabe put a hand on Neville's shoulder, and they filed back into the compartment. Neville stayed in the doorway, watching the Death Eaters move up and down the train, as if making sure no one was hurt.
Only when they were gone and the train started slowly moving again did Neville close the compartment door and sit back down. He was frowning, but when he opened his mouth to speak, Gabe shot a silencing spell Hermione had taught him at the door, then nodded to Neville.
Neville took a deep breath. "We should reinstate the DA," he said. Mia nodded in reply. It was a good idea. As they all nodded back at Neville, he seemed somehow surprised, as if thinking he would have to convince them more. Encouraged, he continued. "With three Death Eaters on staff, we need to figure out how we can subvert their authority, and protect the younger students." He looked around at them all. "Any ideas?"
Ginny was the first to speak up. "Dumbledore left Harry the Sword of Gryffindor in his will, but the ministry refused to give it to him. I think we should steal it."
No one said a word, and Mia had the urge to laugh. As a first plan of attack, it was a bold one. Eventually, Neville nodded. "Okay, we can work on that. It's in Dumbledore's office, right?"
"Yes, in a glass case on the wall."
"Right. So we would need a distraction to get Snape out of the office," he listed things off on his fingers, "a way to make sure the hall outside is clear, a place to hide the sword, or get it to Harry, and Snape's password." It sounded so much easier as a list, and Mia started getting a little hopeful.
"I have an invisibility cloak my dad gave me, and that map we used last year before the battle," Mia told them. "Just so you all know my resources."
"Oooooh, with an invisibility cloak we could take shifts outside of the office and wait till someone uses the password," Luna said, her eyes big.
Neville was nodding. "Yeah, that could work. Let's all spend the first few weeks getting a feel for the school, and seeing what things are like, then we can meet and talk about the best way's to proceed. Anything else we should work on?"
Mia chewed her lip for a moment, not sure if she should tell them her other plan. But secrets had never really helped in the past. They needed to work together this year.
"I'm planning on using the room of requirement to brew potions this year. I want to have extras, and things we can't get from the hospital wing, in case we need to use them without any staff knowing."
Neville nodded, as though her hedgie excuse made any sense.
"What can we do to help?"
Mia shrugged. "Maybe help with figuring out how to keep us safe in the room, I don't want anyone to get in like they managed fifth year."
Neville nodded again. "I think I have a few ideas on that."
They spent the rest of the journey planning, and psyching each other up for the year. It felt so surreal to be going back to Hogwarts, not knowing what would really be waiting for them, but as she walked off the train, she felt almost excited, surrounded by allies and friends.
The feeling ended when she walked into the great hall, and saw Snape. He sat in Dumbledore's seat in the center of the table, looking out on the crowd of students. Rage filled Mia at the sight. Gabe squeezed her hand once, and nodded, reminding Mia she wasn't alone, before he made his way to the Ravenclaw table with Luna, and she returned to the Gryffindor table with Ginny and Neville.
Things were different at Hogwarts that year. Snape had reenacted some of Umbridge's old rules, such as disbanding any student meetings of more than three students, and Muggle Studies was now a required class, taught by the Death Eater, Alecto Carrow, who had hit Sirius the night they had retrieved Harry. The class taught them a lot of things about Muggles that were not true, and very unflattering. Her brother, Amycus Carrow, was teaching Defence against the Dark arts, but the class basically became the Dark Arts, as they were taught curses and hexes. They were ordered to practice the Cruciatus curse on students who got detentions. Mia, Gabe, Neville, Ginny and all of the DA who were quietly rejoining their forces got detention a lot. Neville realized when he stood up to the Carrows, it encouraged everyone around him, so he started standing up a lot, and mouthing off. Mia had plenty of practice healing his cuts and scrapes and the lingering effects of the Cruciatus curse. All punishments were supposed to be directed to the Carrows, but when the other teachers saw how the Carrows punished, they started doing everything in their power to cover for a student who broke a rule.
McGonagall watched the school crumbling before her with steely eyes. Not once did she ever tell Mia to try harder to follow the rules, or to stop speaking up in class, even when it resulted in her being cursed. Instead, McGonagall would nod to Mia with solidarity each time they passed in the halls, and she whispered encouragement after small interactions. The teachers were trying their hardest to resist the authority of the Death Eaters, but it was obvious they were just as scared as most of the students.
The Quibbler was the only one printing the truth now. It was kinda crazy. The magazine was banned at Hogwarts, and getting caught with one could get you expelled, but they still made their way in from time to time, and news got through. Ginny was sent a radio from her brothers as a gift, and showed them all how there was a new station called "Potter watch" that Lee Jordan had put together, where they talked about the resistance, what was really happening, warnings about new threats, like the Jinx on Voldemorts name, deaths, missing people, and hope. Each time it was on, all the Gryffindors would crowd together to listen. Ernie Macmillan got a radio in the following week, as did Gabe, and in the Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff common rooms, every night the broadcast happened, 3/4ths of the school tuned in. Mia recognized many of the voices, her Dad, Remus, Gabe's brother, knowing they were out there and safe gave her hope more than anything else ever could. They still sent owls, once a week or so, but all the mail was searched, so the letters usually talked about absolutely nothing, only serving as proof the other was alive.
When they finally decided to move for the sword of Gryffindor, Mia and Gabe were tasked with distracting the Carrows while Ginny retrieved the sword with Mia's cloak. Unfortunately, this meant when the alarm spells over the sword were broken, they had no chance to get away. As punishment… Snape ordered them all to spend an evening in the Forbidden Forest. They had tea with Hagrid, and Mia got to visit with the wolves. They were all banned from Hogsmeade, and Ginny and Gabe were also banned from quidditch for the rest of the year, but really, the punishment was surprisingly light.
Mia's potions project was going well. By the end of November, she had a cache of potions for healing and defending her classmates. Going to the hospital wing was reported, and would result in additional punishment, but it became quietly known Mia could patch up most issues. She also had three vats of a golden shimmering potion brewing in the room. The Felix Felicis would take a few more months to stew, but Gabe was the only one who knew about it. She wanted to have it for the next time all hell broke loose. They had been lucky so far, but sometime soon she knew they would all need more luck. She just hoped the potions would be done in time.
A week or so before Christmas break, Neville pushed the Carrows to far, and they decided to put an end to him. The others didn't find out about it till after he didn't return to the Gryffindor common room one night. Then it was announced at dinner the next evening that if anyone were to see him they had to report him for he had broken some unspecified law and would be arrested on sight. They found him in the Room of Requirement. He had figured out how to keep anyone who didn't have the best intentions of the resistance completely out, and had taken cover. The entrance of the room kept moving all over the school, and if anything, it only made Neville's subterfuge of the Death Eaters even stronger, for now he wasn't holding back. He kept an eye on Mia's potions, not realizing what they were, but otherwise left them alone. They just needed to stew, and didn't need any maintenance.
Mia left her cloak with Neville before boarding the Hogwarts Express home, he planned to stay in the school, and Mia wanted him to have all the protection he could get. When the train stopped, a few miles from London, and the train was again boarded, they thought they might be looking for Neville. That was why they were unprepared when the Death Eaters cast a freezing curse over their compartment and ripped Luna from the train. Gabe blamed himself, even though none of them had seen it coming. The next issue of the Quibbler had been filled with the same lies as the daily profit. They had just been trying to silence Luna's dad, so they had kidnapped her.
It was wonderful to see her family again. The Orders work seemed to have stalled, and the number of tasks Sirius was able to help with had dwindled. Sirius and Draco had built up a weird comradery. Apparently it had started when they could no longer leave the house as frequently, and Draco had cracked at Sirius's bad cooking, and raided the library for a cookbook. Apparently he had learned to cook, and was better than Mia had ever been. This made Sirius finally accept him as more than his Death Eater cousin. Food had won him a place in Sirius's heart. Mia found it endlessly funny, and made fun of him as he served her beautifully golden pheasant as a welcome home dinner.
Remus and Tonks came to Christmas dinner, and Mia got to catch up, and even felt Tonks' baby kick in her stomach. It was so wonderful being together again, Mia didn't want to go back to Hogwarts where she was cursed at least once a week, and spent the rest of the time under constant fear and pressure. She lied every time Sirius asked her how things were. He knew, of course, but there was nothing he could do about it.
When Gabe came over to listen to Potter Watch with them the night before they were to return, she could see the same heavy weight resting on him. But then there was a report, about how the Lovegood home had exploded, and that there were rumors Harry had been involved. No one was hurt, but it reminded them what they were fighting for. They returned to Hogwarts, ready, if not weary.
As they walked up the steps among the crowd of other students, determined to continue the fight, Mia saw McGonagall standing a few steps up the staircase, looking over the tops of the crowd for something. Her eyes connected with Mia, and her expression shifted to fear and worry. She stepped down the stairs as though coming towards her. Someone bumped into Mia's side, then grabbed her arm.
"Shhh. It's me. Grab Gabe and follow me." Neville's disembodied voice came out of the air. Gabe had heard, along with a few shocked looking second year Hufflepuffs.
Mia grabbed Gabe's hand and followed when Neville tugged her. Gabe cast a disillusionment charm over himself and Mia, the only one in their grade having mastered the skill so far, and they followed Neville to the room of requirement. They looked around the room, all three of them a little shocked to see it had changed, even since Neville had last been inside. Before it had held a small hammock on one side, with a Gryffindor flag, and a small bathroom, and Mia's potion station. Now it was several times bigger, there were three hammocks, a Ravenclaw flag, a few couches and chairs, a bookcase, and Mia even noticed her trunk.
Mia looked around to Neville to show her shocked expression, then realized he couldn't see her. "Gabe, can you lift the spell?"
He reached out and felt for her, then cracked his wand over her head, then his own. "You really need to practice it," he said with a smirk when she could see him again.
"Yeah, well, I've been a little too busy to read ahead in our charms book."
Neville walked slowly across the room, and put a hand on the Ravenclaw flag. He chuckled. "The room always knows."
"Knows, what? What happened Neville?" Gabe asked.
"I was out doing my rounds and was going by the teachers' lounge, it's the Carrows' favorite hangout spot because they can torment any teachers who make the mistake to go in. Anyways, I heard them talking about how things needed to change in the castle this term, and that they should start it off by making a big show of strength. They decided since they couldn't get to me, they would go after you two. Alecto just wanted you Mia, since your dad is believed to be in the Order, and they could use you against him like Luna, but Amycus said Gabe was the stronger threat." He shrugged at this, as if apologizing for them thinking Gabe was more of a threat than she was. Mia just shrugged. Gabe was offense, and she was defense. She was fine being underestimated. "Anyways, they planned to do it at the welcome feast. Detain the both of you in the great hall in front of the whole school."
Mia realized now why McGonagall had been so worried when she'd seen Mia heading towards the great hall. She loved her professor. Mia looked at Gabe, and they smiled at each other. "I guess it's an honor to join you as a renegade then, Neville," Gabe said.
They all chuckled together and spent the evening playing exploding snap and practicing disillusionment charms. A few house elves supplied them with some of the feast, and all in all it was a lovely night. Mia even discovered the bathroom had also been upgraded into something she was actually happy to use. That night they got word to the other DA members so they wouldn't worry, and things progressed almost like normal. Students still knew if they were hurt, they could wander around the seventh floor, and eventually, a door would open, leading to Mia's new medward when the coast was clear, and they continued to fight graffiti-ing the halls, and encourage others.
Kreacher brought them food every day, and sometimes Dobby came too. Kreacher was different than he had been in the past. Somehow, in the time Harry had "borrowed" him from Sirius, he had earned Kreacher's trust, and changed the elf's outlook on life. He sported a big shiny locket on his chest that he protected fiercely and wouldn't let anyone look at too long. When she'd asked, he said Harry had given him his master's old locket, but wouldn't say more, as if afraid Mia would demand its return. After the weeks he had spent with Harry, when Harry had disappeared on a mission and didn't return, Kreacher had worried, and eventually returned to Sirius who sent him back to Hogwarts. Mia was glad the elf felt at home in the castle, as he would never do well alone with Sirius. She was also incredibly thankful for the food he brought.
Two weeks later, a fourth hammock appeared in the room, and the three renegades examined it closely. Nevile was the one who noticed the passage open up on the far wall like it sometimes did when a student needed them and the room led the student to Mia, but this time no one appeared. Instead they decided to risk it, and follow the passage. They found Michael Corner, one of Gabe's old roommates. He had been badly beaten and tortured. They levitated him back to Mia's med station and she set to work on him. When he recovered he told them he had tried to free a second year the Carrows had chained up for refusing to call his muggle-born mother a mudblood.
Over the next few weeks, more and more hammocks appeared around the room as more students fled to the room's protection. Soon they had flags and students from every house except for Slytherin. The Carrows were getting more proactive with trying to stomp the resistance. They attacked Kreacher, when they realized he was smuggling most of the food, and banned him from Hogwarts, then ordered the rest of the house elves to not provide food to anyone on their hit list.
It was a big blow to morale. After Michael's beating, few were brave enough to risk such a direct action, and now without food it was hard to want to do anything. Ginny was one of the only main members of the DA still attending classes, and she had to play it very cool. The Carrows were watching her every move, hoping she would lead them to the others. She still made small shows of defiance, put up "Dumbledore's Army: Still Recruiting" in all the main corridors, but she couldn't sneak any food out of the great hall, there were charms preventing it.
A few days later, Mia hung in her hammock next to Gabe, staring blankly at the ceiling and the rest of the hammocks stretched high above. The room had created a pretty balcony with more hammocks the week before, and the crisscrossing hammocks swaying gently above her was relaxing. Her stomach hurt. It had stopped growling, but instead felt a little sick, like she'd eaten something bad, but she hadn't eaten anything. They still had water, so that was great, but they couldn't go much longer without food.
All the secret exits from the cast had been sealed up at the beginning of the year with nasty curses blocking the entrances, and dementors guarding the exits. She and Gabe had gone to investigate one of the better entrances to Hogsmeade to see if they could figure out the curse, but it was beyond them. Gabe had gotten a nasty burn on his arm for his trouble, and they had given up. A lack of food took away the desire to do anything.
She was running through a list of the potions ingredients she had in her head, and thinking through which were edible when Neville interrupted her thoughts.
"That's new," Neville said.
He was behind her head and Mia didn't know if she had the energy to look. Sighing, she turned and glanced over the back of her hammock to see Neville looking at a portrait of a sweet looking blond girl hanging on the wall. She was smiling sweetly and when Gabe poked his head out of his hammock, and they were all looking at her, she gestured for them to follow, then turned around and started walking back, into her painting and what looked like a tunnel. Other faces looked towards the painting, though no one had much energy to move.
Mia frowned and stood up just as the portrait swung open, and revealed an actual tunnel. Mia blinked.
"Think we should follow?" Gabe asked.
"Of course we should." Neville slid his trunk to the wall and started climbing up.
"But what if it's a trap?" a second year Hufflepuff asked.
Neville looked at her with a grin and shrugged. "The room wouldn't let in anything that would hurt us, you lot stay here while we check it out."
There were a few murmurs of agreement, and Neville climbed into the hole, Mia followed him up, with Gabe behind her.
The passage had smooth stone steps. and brass lamps hanging on the wall. The ground was packed dirt as though many walked this way. There were no cobwebs, and it was most definitely not on the marauders map. It was a long walk to the end, the end being the wooden back of a portrait. Neville pushed it open, and they looked down into a small shabby sitting room.
"Where do you think we are?" Mia asked.
"Who's there?" a deep gruff voice asked.
Mia thought about fleeing, but a moment later a familiar face came into view. It was the barman of the Hog's Head. He stopped in the middle of the sitting room and stared at them, shock and maybe amusement on his face. The first time she had met him, she knew he had been in the Order of the Phoenix, back when her mother was still alive. She hadn't realized then that he was Dumbledore's brother, Aberforth. She had learned that later when the smear campaign on Dumbledore had started. She has spoken to him that night his brother had died, before anyone really knew what had happened.
He looked them over now, closely. His eyes rested on Mia for a long moment. "So what brings yer lot to my sitting room?" he asked, as though it wasn't totally weird for them to be crouching in the wall over his fireplace.
"Uh, who are you exactly?" Neville asked, obviously not recognizing the man.
"He's Aberforth," Mia said quietly. "He's a member of the Order."
Aberforth snorted. "The Order is no more, girly." He turned from them and started messing with a tea tray. "Now, tell me what you need and be done with it. I've heard you lot have all been on the run in the castle for ages. Don't know how you managed it, but I can get you out of Hogwarts."
"Do you have food?" Gabe asked.
"Yes, I have food, this is a pub after all. So food and three safe passages out of Hogsmeade then?"
"We aren't leaving," Mia and Neville said in the same moment.
"Oh bother, climb down from there and let's talk. I have leftover stew downstairs."
The three students followed quickly and excitedly. Aberforth fed them, and spent the time trying to convince them to abandon the school, but they refused completely. He wasn't totally heartless, just doubted the order would have any success now that his brother was dead. He made his opinion of their plans of resistance very known, calling them all sorts of idiots, but he wouldn't refuse to help them. He agreed to provide food, and help them communicate with the Order, and they promised to tell the other students about his offer of a way out of Hogwarts. Predictably no one wanted to leave. Now that they had food again, and a way to communicate with the outside, their morale had increased. Mia got messages to Remus and Sirius, and even to Lee Jordan who was running Potter Watch.
Realizing their plan to starve the rebels out had failed, Death Eaters tried to abduct Neville's grandma. Unfortunately for them, they underestimated the old woman, and one Death Eater was in St Mungo's, and Neville's grandma was on the run. She got word to him a few days later and told him how incredibly proud she was of him, and to keep fighting. Neville read the note several times, teary eyed.
The first day of spring break Mia felt heavy. She was heart sick for her family and tired of fighting. She knew it was selfish to think that way, so she tried to pretend she didn't, and instead curled up with a book to read the day away.
Neville came to her at lunch with a rolled up scrap of parchment. "Updates for the Order."
Mia wanted to roll her eyes, or growl, or say something mean. He could deliver them to Aberforth just fine, he didn't need to interrupt her reading and remind her she was still here in this world, instead of in the distant world of her book. "I don't have anything to add," Mia told him, and lifted her book back up, trying to make her message clear.
"Well, I was thinking this one was kind of important, so maybe one of us should deliver it to an Order member in person," he said, shifting on his feet uncomfortably.
It was an old posture of his, one of insecurity she hadn't seen on him in a while. What was so important about the note? She took it from him and unrolled it. It just gave basic updates on their numbers, and the actions they'd taken, and asked for any additional news or updates from the outside. Mia frowned. They had sent dozens of identical notes like this through Aberforth. Why did Neville think it was important?
"So would you like to deliver it in person?" he asked again.
Mia understood then, the realization coming over her like a cool breeze on a summer day. He was offering her a day trip. A way to get out for a while. To see Sirius, to remember life outside of this room. She jumped up and pulled Neville into a big hug.
When she finally let him go he chuckled, back to the confident Neville she now knew so well. "Maybe take Gabe with you just to be safe."
She couldn't remove her grin when she went to tell Gabe. They made their way through the passage to the Hog's Head, then talked to Aberforth, before disillusioning themselves(Mia had finally gotten the hang of it) and apperating to the edge of the wards of Meadow Lake so the Death Eaters watching the house wouldn't see them.
Sirius wasn't home, but Draco and Kreacher were, and Draco was beaming when he saw them. Kreacher made lunch. Mia was a little startled. She had never seen such a big smile on his face without the edges of his smirk. He hugged both Mia and Gabe, then made them lunch. It was delicious.
They were laughing and joking in the sitting room, telling old stories from their Hogwarts days, back when Hogwarts was really Hogwarts, and not the dark place it had become. Then the Malfoys came. They heard the yelling first, coming from the front of the house. They were under the Fidelius charm and had been for months, but Narcissa knew the basic location of the house, so it wasn't impossible to stand in the street out front and yell in their general direction like Lucius now was. He looked bad. She'd known the Malfoys were out of favor, but seeing the old man, his face paler than usual, heavy bags under his eyes, time had not been good to him.
Mia Gabe and Draco stood at the front door looking out the small windows on either side. Draco whimpered slightly as Lucius grabbed his wife's arm forcefully and pulled her forward. Her expression was bleak and full of fear. Lucius pushed her forward again and said something they couldn't hear. Narcissa looked up at where she believed the house to be and called out.
"Draco, honey. Your father wants you to come home now." Her voice was light and sweet, but it shook at the end.
"Keep going Narcissa," Lucius said sharply. Narcissa flinched.
"Draco, dear. We need your help with something-"
"Or we will all surely be killed, boy!" Lucius shouted. Narcissa closed her eyes and a tear ran down her face.
Draco seemed to hunch at Mia's side. He reached for the door handle.
"Don't do it," Mia said.
Draco looked at her, his eyes were wide with horror. "I can't abandon my mum."
"Yes, and Lucius knows that," Gabe said. "Look at her, does she look like she really wants you to come out? Or does she look like she's being forced to be here?"
Lucius was yelling again and then whispering in Narcissa's ear, his face becoming deranged with anger. He held her arm so tightly his knuckles were going white.
"Does it matter?" Draco asked. "Either way I have to go." Draco unlocked the door and Mia tried to stop him, but Gabe put his hand on her shoulder and shook his head. Draco opened the door and stood on the top step. They wouldn't see him till he stepped off. "Don't worry Mia, I don't know anything about the Orders current activities to tell them anything important."
"I don't care about that, Draco. I care about what they will do to you."
He looked at her and smiled sadly. "Nothing more than I deserve." Then he smirked at her, his old smirk that she missed sometimes. "Wish me luck."
He stepped off onto the street, and strode confidently towards his parents, straightening the jumper he wore as he went. His mum's face broke when she saw him, as though it was the last thing she wanted. "Father, please remove your hand from my mother. Only cowards harm women."
"You little blood trader. Think you can talk to me like that?" Lucius raised his hand to slap Draco, but he caught his father's arm.
"Yes, I do. And if you want my help you will remember it."
Lucius narrowed his eyes at his son, rage clear on his face, then disappeared, taking Draco and Narcissa with him. Gabe closed and locked the door.
Mia slumped against the wall, fear she would never see her cousin again coursing through her. "Why didn't you help me stop him?" she asked.
Gabe shook his head. "Because he had unfinished business with his family. He will never be settled till he faces them." Gabe sighed and leaned next to her. "I don't know if it was the right choice, but we wouldn't have been able to stop him anyways."
Mia wasn't so sure about that. They did know some pretty good hexes, but ultimately he was right. Draco had changed a lot over the last year, and she needed to trust the choices he made. Stepping out of the wards had been the bravest thing she'd ever seen her cousin do.
They didn't go back to Hogwarts immediately. They needed to tell Sirius what happened at the very least, and Mia wanted to wait for Draco to return. She pushed away the thoughts that said he might not return.
Alone time with Gabe had been so hard to come by over the year, especially once they had moved into the room of requirement with Neville, but now they couldn't even appreciate it, the fear and anxiety of the night ruining the moment.
When Sirius returned he was ecstatic to see Mia and Gabe. His old comments of disliking Gabe had faded over the year, as if keeping up the joke was too much work, and now they communicated with mutual respect, and the occasional sarcastic comment. When they explained what had happened with Draco, Sirius' joy vanished, and they sat together in mutual worry in the kitchen while Kreacher made tea.
"What could they possibly need him for? No offense, but they have plenty of lackeys and they don't know about his real skill, cooking. I mean unless that news got out, and the Death Eaters need a better cook." Sirius was pacing back and forth in the kitchen.
Mia rolled her eyes. "It must be something only Draco could help with."
"But out of all the Death Eaters available for them, what would Draco have that they don't?" Sirius asked.
"Knowledge about Harry," Gabe said in a soft tone.
Sirius stopped his pacing and stared at Gabe.
"If that's the case we have to help somehow," Mia said.
"How can we possibly help? We don't know where they went?" Gabe asked.
"Yes we do," Sirius began, and they looked at him surprised.
"Well it's the Malfoys who came for him, and we already know Malfoy manor is being used as a headquarters for you-know-who."
Mia frowned. "How could we ever get help to him there?"
They were all silent for a long time, until the deep dry voice spoke up. "Mistress could ask the house elf," Kreacher said.
Mia looked at Kreacher with confusion. "Are you volunteering to go to Malfoy Manor?"
"Not Kreacher, Mistress, but Dobby. He knows the house, he was the house elf." Kreacher turned back to the kettle and started pouring tea.
Mia looked at Sirius. "Dobby was the Malfoy's old house elf. He hates the Malfoys."
"Yeah, but he loves Harry. Harry set him free. He would do anything if it had the potential to help Harry," Gabe reasoned.
"Let's try it. Do you think he would call if you asked?" Sirius asked.
It was a good question. Dobby came when she asked for him at Hogwarts, he was a friend. But she wasn't his master. It was worth a try. "Dobby?"
There was a loud crack, and Dobby appeared in the kitchen looking around curiously. "Miss Amelia Black, Dobby cannot bring food any longer," the house elf said, looking sad.
"Oh, I know Dobby. We have food. Are you hungry? Would you like some tea?"
The house elf's eyes grew big and filled with tears. "The Miss would offer Dobby tea?"
"Here Dobby, take my cup," Gabe said offering the cup and trying to prevent any overly emotional moments. "We need your help with something, but only if you are willing."
Dobby looked around at them all. "Dobby would help the Order of the Phoenix in any way he can, even unto death."
"Don't get ahead of yourself. Here what we have to say before you agree," Sirius drawled.
"Listen Dobby, Draco Malfoy has been helping the Order for the last year," Mia started. Dobby's ears drooped, but he listened as they explained Draco was trying to help the order and Harry, but someone had to help Draco. They explained he probably wouldn't be helping Harry directly, they didn't want to lie to the house elf, but the chance was all Dobby needed.
"Dobby will go and help the Malfoy boy even though he is no longer Dobby's master. And If Dobby finds Harry Potter, he will bring him here."
"Well, actually Dobby that won't work. We are under the Fidelius Charm, so if you do find Harry, you can't bring him here. House elfs can get in, but not wizards." Sirius said.
Dobby looked confused. "Then where should Dobby take Harry Potter?"
Sirius shrugged and waved his hands. "You probably won't find Harry, he probably won't be there."
Gabe was frowning. "But if he is..."
Sirius sighed. "If he is, then you should take him to Shell Cottage. It's the home of Bill and Fleur Weasley. They haven't gone under the Fidelius Charm there, so you can take him there without worry."
Dobby nodded, determination on his face. "Dobby will go to Malfoy Manor and rescue Harry Potter and take him to Shell Cottage." And with a crack, Dobby was gone.
Sirius rubbed a hand over his face and slumped into his hair. "Well I really hope that doesn't backfire."
Mia silently agreed and picked up her cup.
It was a somber mood that night as they talked over the happenings of Hogwarts and with the Order. There wasn't a lot the Order was doing at this point, and Mia could tell Sirius realized most of their efforts were pointless, but still, they all were trying so very hard to stay positive, to keep hope alive.
Gabe and Mia needed to get back. It was getting late, and Neville would start to worry, but then a crack sounded from behind the house, and Mia rushed to the back door, fear flying in her chest. She opened the door just in time to see Draco step over the boundary into the wards before he collapsed into a heap.
Gabe and Sirius carried him in as she cleared off the table. They set him down and Mia looked him over. His face was bloody. He had a black eye and split lip. His nose was broken and his breath was wheezing and crackled. His hands and arms were curled and kept tightening and spasming. Mia had seen the same thing a hundred times that year on students punished with the Cruciatus Curse. She started running diagnostic scans. He had several broken ribs, a punctured lung, and the symptoms consistent with prolonged torture. She fetched a few potions and started casting healing spells she had grown so familiar with over the year.
When she healed his cracked ribs he groaned and opened his eyes.
"What happened, Draco?"
When she healed the puncture in his lung he started talking in a slow matter of fact voice. "Harry was there." Sirius, Gabe and Mia all gasped, but they quieted quickly so they could hear Draco's soft voice. "Snatchers caught him, Ron and Hermione."
"Dobby was right," Gabe said, an amused tone in his voice.
Draco looked surprised then winced. "Did you send the elf?"
"Yeah, we sent him to help."
Draco chuckled once, but it was a sad thing. "Yeah he helped them get out of there but left me." Mia cast the spell to fix his nose with a loud crunch. He winced and rubbed the bridge of his nose.
"Why did your parents need you?"
"Harry got hit with a spell, it messed up his face so they weren't sure if it was him or not. My Father wanted me to confirm if it really was him or not, since I knew him, and if they called Him without being sure, they would all be in trouble."
"What did you say?" Mia asked softly, not sure she wanted to know the answer.
"I told him it wasn't him. Harry was taller," Mia smiled. She shouldn't have doubted Draco, he really had changed.
"Did they believe you?" Sirius asked.
"Not at first. But my father tortured me, then my mom. I didn't break." He spit out those last words. "I didn't tell him anything. I only apologized and groveled and pleaded. Then Bellatrix started in on Hermione."
"I was a little out of it, but Hermione had a sword, I think it was Gryffindor's sword and Bellatrix went crazy. She asked how they had broken into her vault and what else they got. She... She carved something into Hermione's arm." Draco covered his face with one hand and shook for a moment. "Mudblood. That's what I called her in school. How could you forgive me for that Mia? I was such a monster. But Bellatrix, she carved it into her arm." A tear carved a path through the dirt and blood on Draco's face. "I'll never forget her screams."
Mia wet a towel in the sink and handed it to him. Draco started wiping his face. "Is she ok?"
"Yeah. Harry and Ron broke out after that. Harry stole my wand." Draco chuckled and winced. Mia went to work on his ribs, there were still a few smaller cracks. Harry punched me in the eye, they escaped with our old house elf. Apparently there were more prisoners in the basement. They all escaped." Draco trailed off. "Then He showed up. He was so mad. He tortured me again, accusing me of helping them escape. He used the Imperius Curse and made my father beat me, although really, he would have done it willingly at that point. After he got bored with me my mom helped me get out."
"Did you tell them anything about us?" Sirius asked.
"No. I kept your secrets. Gabe's occlumency lessons helped. I told him you've kept me isolated. Didn't trust me completely." He looked at Sirius. "It's the truth, so he didn't push too far."
"You didn't tell them anything about Gabe and his family?" So far their involvement in the Order had stayed secret, and they would be in danger if it got out.
"No. I told them I didn't even know where I was staying. I wasn't let outside." Mia sighed in relief. She finished patching him up, and gave him a sleeping draft. Mia and Gabe said their goodbyes to Sirius, and returned to school while Sirius levitated Draco up to bed.
When they returned to the room of requirement, they told everyone what they knew, spinning it to a story of hope, about how Harry was still out there, escaping from Death Eaters, and even You-Know-Who himself. When Mia told them all how Hermione had the Sword of Gryffindor, cheers went up. They had worked so hard at the beginning of the year to rescue it for them, and even though Snape had moved it to a secure location, Harry had gotten it back. It gave them all hope that Harry was truly up to something.
Ginny didn't return from Easter break.
It was a blow to their morale, but everyone tried to keep it together. She was the last member of the original DA still able to walk the halls of Hogwarts in the open. Somehow everyone always underestimated Ginny, usually to their own detriment. But now her family's status in the Order was clearly known, as Ron, previously believed by Death Eaters to be sick with Spattergroit, was actually on the run with Harry. It meant his whole family needed to go into hiding.
Luna and Dean eventually got messages to them. They had been some of the prisoners who had been locked up in Malfoy Manor and rescued by Dobby. Dobby was killed in the rescue attempt. Mia cried for him, though few others did, and she was touched by the funeral Luna wrote her about.
Luna and Dean were safe and watching on the sidelines while Harry Ron and Hermione planned some new scheme. They told the remaining renegades at Hogwarts that they wanted to be informed when anything exciting happened. They would return when things came to a head. Everyone seemed to feel it. Things wouldn't keep going on like this, they would soon change. Harry was doing something and making more noise and action than he had in the past. He had a plan, and they would be there to help when the time came.
AN: What did you think of 7th year from a Hogwarts perspective? Last chapter coming soon! Are you ready for this?