This one is a much faster update, but I didn't get many reviews for the last chapter x I hope I get more for this one, so please read and review to tell me what you think of it xx :)
The day after the 'reading' Harry called an emergency DA meeting, getting Cho to steal Marietta's coin in order to prevent her from getting the message. None of them knew why, but she'd clearly been left out for a specific reason, and Harry saw no reason to invite her against his older self's wishes. If even Smith was allowed to come, there was clearly something bad that would result from Marietta's presence.
It was easy to see that none of them had slept well that night. Even those that weren't close to the known deceased had dark circles around their eyes, clearly concerned not only for their health but for the people that weren't mentioned.
After all, in a war not all of the rest of them could've made it through. It just wasn't probable.
Strangely, even after everyone arrived - even after the Weasley twins arrived - the silence continued. It seemed that no one could even bring themselves to whisper and that they'd managed to air all of their feelings in the hours since the 'reading'.
They were lucky that it was a Sunday, because what with Umbridge sneaking around, it was very unlikely that either Dumbledore nor McGonagall would be able to cancel their lessons, despite their shock. Umbridge probably would've sacked them on the spot for trying in the current state of the school.
Needless to say, even Hermione wasn't concerned with homework at the moment.
The trio shared a look in front of their audience, and by silent decision all three stood up, holding hands. They said nothing, staring at every member almost blankly.
Luna Lovegood was the next to stand, followed closely by Neville and Ginny and Fred and George and then Colin and Cho and everyone else, even Zachariah Smith.
They stood together, holding hands, knowing that in the long run it might not make any difference, but that it would to now. Just for this moment they would not feel alone, not carry the weight of this knowing by themselves.
Sitting down again and letting go of each other's hands, but still closer together than they'd ever say before, the silence was broken by Dennis' tearful question, "What do we do now?"
All of them looked to Harry. An expression of panic flitted across his face, clearly terrified, but he looked Dennis straight in the eyes as he spoke. "We stop it." His voice didn't betray any of the terror than had been in his previous expression.
"How?" George's voice broke slightly but his eyes were steel. The hand that was clutching onto Fred shook slightly but his knuckles were white.
"We train. We make ourselves as good as possible so that we can fight back. We remember that no matter what happened, who we lost, that Voldemort lost." He was proud of them when only a quarter of them flinched. "We won. We don't make their sacrifices worth less because they died. We make them count."
Even Hermione was looking astounded at his speech, which was strange given that she was best at predicting what he was going to do, what he was going to say next. Her minor was probably the person who knew him best but it was good to know that he could still surprise her on occasion. Still, his cheeks flooded with colour and he sank slightly, hoping that he'd said the right thing. He didn't know where it had come from, only that he couldn't stop himself once he'd started. Hermione's shock turned into a proud smile and she squeezed his hand.
"How are we supposed to do that without Umbridge finding out?"
"I don't know yet. But we'll figure it out - we've got Hermione."
That got a chuckle or two out of them.
"We can do it. We just have to work and believe that we can."
George gave his first hint of a smile since yesterday and for Harry that was a greater victory than anything else he'd achieved.
At the same time, Dumbledore, Snape and McGonagall were gathered in the headmaster's office, away from prying ears and eyes. It had been a challenge evading Dolores Umbridge, but there were still plenty of excuses he hadn't yet used for gathering the heads of Slytherin and Gryffindor together - improved cooperation between the two houses one of them.
McGonagall's eyes were slightly damp but steely, knowing that she would lose some of her Gryffindor's to this senseless war. She was a mother lion protecting her cubs, her family, as most of Gryffindor tower became. Her lions were her family and she would protect them with her life, and although she loved them all she knew there were some she favoured over others - the Marauders, the Golden Trio (as they were fondly nicknamed), the Weasley twins. Harry this year was standing up to that woman that had walked into their home and tried to take it over. He was already made of steel, but seemed more distant over the last few weeks. She couldn't imagine only having one of the twins, how quiet it would be, how lost George would be. He was doing a good impression of it now but she couldn't imagine it for real.
Snape meanwhile was considering his own death. Had he died at the hands of the light, or the dark? He knew he'd died with bravery - apparently likeable Gryffindor - but had he died well? Had he died at the Dark Lord's wand, revealed as a traitor? Did the Potter from the future known the truth? Did everyone else?
Some of the questions he didn't want the answer to.
"What do we do?" McGonagall asked into the silence.
"First we speak with the students. I have no doubt that they will have ideas of their own as what to do," Dumbledore started.
McGonagall interjected, "You can't expect them to make rational decisions when they've found something like this out, can you?"
He looked at her sadly. "Some of our students are already too used to the fact that they could die. I've no doubt that there are already plans underway."
Snape snorted. "None of them, not even Potter, has any idea of how to deal with this, how to deal with a war."
"I know. We will need to prepare them."
"Prepare them!" McGonagall shouted. "We should be trying to stop them. They shouldn't be fighting in a war at all, never mind dying in it."
"And this message from the future had proven that there is nothing we can do on that front. We almost certainly tried in that future and it is obvious that no good came of it. Instead we will have to train them. They will need to be ready. We will need to sort out evacuation plans, how to get the underage students out of the castle if the battle comes to Hogwarts."
"You know it will," Snape told Dumbledore. "Hogwarts is stronger than the ministry, particularly at the moment. The Dark Lord would not leave the taking of Hogwarts to chance, not with you here." Not even the Dark Lord would be fool enough to leave Hogwarts until last, with Dumbledore as Headmaster.
"I know. The Order will need a way to access the castle and we will need to lock down all other passages - Pettigrew knows them all well, and may be able to enter through one, despite the wards. Even so they could lay a trap on the outside of the wards and we know how commonly Harry uses them to get out of the school. It's just not safe."
With those thoughts in mind they went to work.