SIXTEEN: CRY OF THE WOLF
Thursday had been dismal all day, though more some than others as the ‘dark’ Slytherins were glaring at Draco. The blond had received a message from his father as the Daily Prophet had proclaimed the dissolution of his marriage and losing his Heir.
“How does it feel being a Black?” Harry smirked as he walked alongside Draco towards the Great Hall. Harry’s hand was bandaged but was hidden well in his pocket.
“Lighter,” Draco replied, noticing Granger was now holding Harry’s hand. They walked into the Great Hall to a wet evening.
“I’ve noticed the Daily Prophet seems to be telling the truth more and not slandering you,” Hermione said as she noticed Colin Creevey and Ginny talking by a long stage. Harry tried to contain his laughter but could not.
“What have you done?” Draco asked.
“It’s not me. Dad discovered he owned seventy per cent of the Daily Prophet. Let us just say the Editor was willing to do anything in his power to help dad out,” Harry guffawed.
“You’re quite comfortable calling Sirius dad now,” Hermione remarked.
“Yeah, it sort of- “ Harry did not get to finish his sentence as tiny Professor Flitwick clapped his hands together. Standing beside him was Madam Umbridge, who appeared sour. It had been announced that morning at breakfast that any disciplinary measures would be taken by the pupils’ head of house. Harry’s detentions had been transferred to Professor McGonagall.
“Good Evening, welcome to the Defence Club, Professor Umbridge and I are here to supplement your defence classes. In the Club, we will be learning about offensive and defensive spells, especially during duals. But I will also take questions at the end on any subject within Defence,” Professor Flitwick explained. Draco had moved over to stand with Nott and Greengrass while Harry, Hermione and Neville were with the rest of the Gryffindors. “Now, can anyone name an offensive spell?”
“Stupefy,” Ron replied with his hand in the air.
“Partly, stupefy can also be used as a defensive spell, but three points to Gryffindor for the attempt,” Flitwick told the group of teens. “What about a defensive spell?”
“The Patronus Charm,” Draco answered lazily.
“Excellent, five points to Slytherin. That was the answer I was looking for. First, we are going to look at the Patronus Charm. After, we will have a small duelling tournament to see what you already know,” Flitwick explained, “The Charm, when it works correctly, conjures up a Patronus, usually an animal, muggle or magical that is tuned to you. It’s notoriously hard to do, but if you can persevere, the spell is really useful.”
“The spell is Expecto Patronum, though you must be thinking your happiest thoughts,” Madam Umbridge continued reluctantly. Though her happiest memory was probably being away from all these children.
“Now, Mister Black, I’ve heard you are exceptional when performing the Patronus charm, perhaps a demonstration?” Flitwick looked at the dark-haired boy hopefully.
“Ok, Expecto Patronum,” Harry called out, flicking his wand in the correct movements. From the tip, a great silver raven emerged. There were many gasps of surprise, and hushed whispers ran around the Great Hall.
“I thought Black’s Patronus was a deer,” Zambini said loudest of all.
“Sometimes trauma or great emotions such as love can affect the Patronus, changing it into something else entirely,” Flitwick taught the room, “Perhaps you would be so kind as to walk around helping other students, Harry?”
“Of course,” Harry nodded, taking a walk around. Lavender and Parvati approached him.
“What’s your happy memory?” Lavender asked, ready to gossip.
“I don’t think I’ll be revealing that,” Harry returned, a blush colouring his cheeks. Though he did take a quick look at Hermione. Lavender and Parvati with their friends swooned.
“Expecto Patronum,” Ginny Weasley said but only got a tiny wisp that appeared from the end of her wand.
“Well done, that’s good for a first try,” Harry complimenting her. She began to get excited but went quiet as a silver crow settled on Harry’s shoulder. The pair looked over to Hermione, who appeared embarrassed. Slowly the hall began to fill with the cries of ‘Expecto Patronum’. Several of the sixth and seventh years were getting wisps close to an hour later. Harry and Professor Flitwick had been circulating the room helping other students while Umbridge watched with distaste. A sudden squeal of delight had Harry turning his head to see a silver panther roaming around the Slytherin’s. Pansy Parkinson cooed over Draco as the blond looked over, nodding his head.
“Well done, a full Patronus can be quite rare. Twenty points each to you and Miss Granger,” Flitwick spoke over the din. “Now, duelling has been a part of history for over millennia from swords to firearms, so Wizards have had magical duelling. Though Gilderoy Lockhart began to give you lessons, the knowledge was short and not complete. Therefore, it has been decided to start duelling lessons again. I was once the international duelling champion of Europe.”
“We are going to have a small tournament to see how much you know,” Madam Umbridge’s smile was positively nasty before she pointed at Ron, “perhaps Mr Weasley and Mr Mal-Black should duel first.”
“Come now, Dolores, let’s give the fourth-years some time to shine; Miss Weasley and Mr Creevey are ideal candidates to showcase their talents,” Flitwick dismissed the Defence teacher. Both Gryffindor fourth years stepped onto the provided stage on either side.
“The rules are simple; no Unforgivables, no advance Magic, only use what you have been taught in the last four years,” Umbridge expected this to be a short match. Colin and Ginny followed the niceties of duelling by bowing to each other, then stepped back into their former positions, wands raised and ready.
“Wands ready, Begin!” Professor Flitwick cried.
“Tarantallegra,” Ginny cried, immediately catching Colin off-guard. He managed to cancel the leg-dancing jinx before rolling out the way as Ginny sent a second jinx at her opponent.
“Impedimenta,” Colin fired off the hex, which hit a shield flaring grey. Harry exchanged looks with Hermione. How did Ginny know that spell and perform it without her wand and silently? They each fired off a couple more hexes or jinx at each other. Colin got caught with a severing charm to his arm, which only glanced off his arm.
“Densaugeo,” Ginny fired another spell, but luckily Colin rolled forward out of the way. Being Mundane born, the boy had done PE, but Colin had also confided in Harry he had also done Gymnastics before Hogwarts.
“Langlock, Locomotor Mortis,” Colin cried out, only to see one of the spells hit a shield as Ginny dodged the other attack, but both Harry and Draco noticed something in the gleam of Ginny’s eye.
“Nochte Loupè,” Ginny screamed, a silver light bursting forth from her wand. Both Harry and Draco recognised the curse from their earlier lessons with Remus. They both reacted within an instant creating a shield around Colin, but it was not enough. The curse, one which had not been seen in over a thousand years, wrapped itself around Colin’s body. He fell to the floor with a scream that would haunt many of the students for days to come as the silver fire burnt his clothes from his body. Before the student’s eyes, muscles could be visibly seen racing across the fourteen-year-olds body, giving him the appearance of an athlete as his eyes changed from blue to silver to blue again. Finally, a sea of fur raced across his body before two loud voices called out.
“Finite Incartatem,” Draco and Harry both called out at once. Nothing seemed to happen for a few precious seconds as Colin heaved and convulsed before collapsing into a shivering mass sobbing in pain. The silver light dissipated, and the students stared at his naked body, shocked.
“Draco, Hermione, watch Ginny,” Harry jumped into action as he took off his cloak and draped it over the small fourteen-year-old. “Professor Flitwick, can you get Dumbledore and McGonagall to meet us at the Hospital ward?”
“Now see here, boy, I’m the teacher,” Umbridge snarled as Flitwick ran off to the Headmaster’s office. Umbridge stopped when she realised, she was facing Harry’s wand.
“This is an ancient curse. If you know a way to stop it be my guest,” Harry stopped and nodded when the older witch didn’t do anything. “Neville, I need you to run to the Hospital ward and have Aunt Andi Floo Remus and Narcissa.”
“You can’t detain my sister; she was only duelling!” Ron protested, but Neville had already run off with Harry not far behind carrying Colin. Draco followed sedately, taking Ginny with him. Hermione joined the blond in escorting the red-head witch up to the infirmary.
Harry plunged through the doors as the Floo activated, discharging Remus followed shortly by Narcissa.
“What happened?” Remus asked as Harry placed Colin on one of the beds. Immediately Andromeda began running diagnostics on the boy.
“We have about half an hour before the Bestial Curse is permanent,” Harry replied, getting a look from Remus. “Draco and I borrowed your book and did our own research; it seems there is a certain amount of time before the curse takes full effect,”
“But there is no known counter-curse; it’s been lost to the sands of time,” Remus replied as the others all looked at him.
“He’s been infected with an especially virulent form of Lycanthropy,” Andromeda butt in as the doors open, admitting Professors Flitwick, Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape. Harry stiffened at the sight of Snape.
“What has happened?” Dumbledore asked.
“Ginny Weasley performed an ancient curse, not used in over a thousand years, that basically turns someone into a raving werewolf,” Harry summarised, “But we really do not have time; we have to find a counter-curse.”
“Wolfsbane Potion,” Draco interjected, coming through the door with Ginny and Hermione.
“You think that would work?” Harry asked the blond, missing the shock on Severus Snape’s face, that the two seemed to be talking nicely together.
“It’s a modern update; the potion Mum’s been providing for Remus has helped him a lot. I think the variant she is creating might work to stop the effects, but not completely counter it,” Draco suggested.
“If I’m following you correctly, the curse turns someone into a maddening animal?” Narcissa looked between the two getting a nod. “I think you are correct; it sounds like the Hellebore would need increasing, which I did. It may counter the effects. Do you mind?”
“Go ahead,” Andromeda allowed Narcissa to perform her own diagnostic charms, murmuring to herself as she went.
“Yes, your right, Draco. We can’t stop him from changing on the full moon, but if we introduce the wolfsbane potion now, we’ll stop him turning into a mindless beast; he’ll be like a normal werewolf on the potion without the need for it,” Narcissa said looking at Andromeda and Remus.
“Now, see here, this is my school,” Dumbledore tried to protest.
“If you don’t do anything now, you will be worse than Voldemort,” Harry spat to the shock of everyone in the room, then turned to Narcissa. “Do it; if there are any consequences, I’ll take them.”
“Minerva, I think you should contact the Weasleys and Creeveys; call them in for a meeting,” Andromeda suggested.
“Perhaps it would be prudent to contact Madam Bones and the Duke of Anglia,” Remus suggested getting a nod from Harry. No one noticed that Harry had taken charge of the situation.
“I should be providing the Wolfsbane,” Snape said abruptly as Minerva left the Hospital ward just as Narcissa arrived back with a steaming goblet.
“This is a different wolfsbane to what you provide, one of my own concoctions,” Narcissa told Snape.
“Perhaps we should wait; it may not be sensible to give a non-tested potion to a minor,” Dumbledore once again stepped in.
“I’ve been using it for months,” Remus snarled, a little protective of Narcissa. Hermione, Harry and Draco all shared looks and grins with each other. Narcissa gave the goblet to Andromeda. Between the pair of them, they managed to get Colin to take the potion. Everyone watched with bated breath as Colin began convulsing as the two witches worked closely with him. Within a few minutes, Colin settled down, falling into a natural sleep.
It was approaching curfew when everyone met up in the Board of Governor’s room. The Headmaster was there with his Deputy Headmistress, Flitwick and Umbridge representing Hogwarts. Griselda Marchbanks and Cyrus Greengrass represented the Board, while Amelia Bones and Nymphadora Tonks represented the DMLE. Remus and Narcissa were beside Harry and Draco. Ginny was with her parents while the Creevey’s seemed to be the odd ones out.
“What’s this meeting about?” Mrs Weasley asked, looking at the assembled company.
“Perhaps Professor Flitwick can explain,” Dumbledore was trying to take control of the situation.
“Madam Umbridge is our Defence Against the Dark Art’s teacher,” Flitwick indicated the pink toad, “she is a superb teacher, but the Board felt we could supplement her teaching with extra lessons. Last night was the first Club, Miss Weasley and Master Creevey were chosen to Duel each other. All seemed well until Miss Weasley used a spell I have never heard of, Lord Rendlesham, you seem to know about this spell,”
“Ginny used an Archaic,” Harry began.
“What’s an Archaic?” Mr Creevey asked, focusing on Harry.
“An Archaic is an old spell which has been forgotten by most or not used in five hundred years. During the summer, Draco and I were doing some extra Defence research when we come across a description of this spell in the Black library,” Harry answered, looking tired.
“What does this spell do?” Arthur asked though he was dreading the answer.
“I’m afraid, Mr and Mrs Creevey, but your son is a werewolf,” Harry said sadly.
“A-a werewolf, you’ve got to be kidding me,” Mr Creevey laughed out loud. It was absurd; this child was telling them that his eldest was a creature from a horror movie. What would his milkman pals think if he ever told them this?
“I assure you, Mr Creevey, this is not a joke. I think we all wish it were,” Andromeda told the man softly. “I’m willing to bet you and your wife did not believe in Magic before Professor McGonagall visited you? In our world, many stories that you might have heard or believed to be myths are very much true.”
“How did it happen?” asked the stunned father, slumping down in his chair. He was holding his wife’s hand tightly; she appeared fearful, “was h-he bitten?”
“Werewolves are most infectious on the full moon, and we’re still four nights from a full moon,” Remus explained.
“Then someone tell me how it happened? Were you teaching?” Mr Creevey glared at Harry, “Who’s running this crackpot school to allow a thirteen-year-old to teach any lesson?”
“I- “ Draco started to say something, but Remus put a hand on his shoulder. Quite a few people bristled around the table at the insults to Hogwarts and Harry.
“No, sir, I was not teaching, but I already knew about the curse used as I came across it while doing my research during the summer,” Harry explained again patiently, “plus I have lived as a muggle, normal person, for most of my fifteen years so might be able to relate to you,”
“I’m sorry about my husband; it’s a bit overwhelming. First Colin is magical, then Dennis, we were very shocked when Professor McGonagall visited us four years ago,” Mrs Creevey explained.
“It’s no worry, I was the same as you when I had my visit. Unfortunately, my mum died when I was younger, and my father did not know about me, so I was left in my aunt’s care, who was not magical,” Harry explained sympathetically. “This has all been a wonder for me, so I know exactly how you feel, but I’ve embraced it, and now I do plenty of reading during the summer to supplement my education.”
“You seem very grown-up for your age,” Mrs Creevey told him. Harry heard some snickers from his Remus and a few others but ignored them.
“I’ve had to be,” Harry shrugged.
“Are you the Harry Potter? My son always goes on about you?” Mrs Creevey would have embarrassed her son if he had been in the room, but Harry went bright red instead. Most of the room laughed, several knowing exactly what little Colin Creevey was like.
“It’s Harry Black now, but yes, I’m friends with your son,” Harry told a little white lie.
“I think we’ve gone off track a little bit. Professor Flitwick, what happened today?” Dumbledore said, the room instantly becoming tense again. Remus stiffened up, watching the Headmaster like a hawk.
“As I previously stated,” Flitwick sounded annoyed, “Miss Weasley and Master Creevey were duelling, Mis Weasley used a curse, Nochte LoupèI believe.”
“Yes, the curse has not been seen in over a thousand years. Draco and I had discovered it in the ancient Black Library, known as Bestial; it was used by a Dark Wizard to terrify the population. This curse was used as a weapon; at every full moon, the victim would become a beast and be released to slaughter innocents unless they did as they were told. Often the victim would become insane with the bloodletting and would kill him or herself.”
“You mean to tell me that my son is to become an inhuman monster each full moon and possibly kill himself with the grief?” Mr Creevey shouted, standing up as though to go after Ginny Weasley.
“Fortunately not, the spell requires a lot of magic and intention for it to work. Harry and I were able to cut the spell mid curse,” Draco explained.
“Luckily, in this modern era, we have a potion that keeps a werewolves humanity during a full moon,” Harry added, then looked to Narcissa, “Perhaps you can explain?”
“Madam Tonks, the Hogwarts Healer, and I were able to give Colin the potion soon after he was cursed. We think the potion has reversed many of the effects of the curse,” Narcissa explained.
“You think?” Mr Creevey asked, unsure.
“We cannot be sure until after the first change. Unfortunately, he will still change, but we think Colin will retain a human mind,” Andromeda clarified.
“He will, of course, have to be registered with the Ministry and imprisoned on the twenty-fourth to ensure he does not harm innocents,” Umbridge looked down at the two Muggles in their midst.
“You are?” Mr Creevey asked, not liking the woman at all.
“Madam Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic.”
“Professor Umbridge, you no longer hold that title. You do not represent the government,” Amelia Bones eyes were lit up with amusement as she dressed down the other woman.
“I have the ear of the Minister, and I was placed here under his orders,” Umbridge argued, effectively admitting she was a spy. Harry shared a grin with Draco.
“This is a Gryffindor matter; you are not needed here in either of your roles,” McGonagall stepped in as her role of Deputy Headmistress. She ushered the protesting woman from the boardroom. Harry watched Dumbledore, who appeared angry with his deputy.
“As you can see, the magical world is a bit prejudice against Werewolves, though we are currently seeking to overturn this. Mr Lupin is a werewolf,” Andromeda pointed to the man, “his employer, and Harry’s father, the Duke of Anglia, is currently trying to repeal the Werewolf act,”
“Your father is a duke?” Mr Creevey blinked at the boy, now understanding a little why he seemed so influential even in this small room.
“Yes. Madam Bones, will Colin be able to stay at Hogwarts when he changes?” Harry asked the DMLE director.
“As Professor Umbridge said, Colin will have to be registered, but as long as Madam Marchbanks has no problems, we shall allow it provided there is a safe location,” Bones answered.
“There is a school location; I used it when I attended,” Remus replied, smiling at the woman.
“I am the Headmaster here. Do I not have a say in the matter?” Dumbledore demanded almost petulantly.
“No, Professor Dumbledore, you do not. The Board of Governors have the final say in matters like this, granted it’s unusual, but I think they will agree with the proposals,” Madam Marchbanks glared at the man.
“Then perhaps we should turn to the punishment of Miss Weasley, as this is such a heinous crime she should be expelled,” Dumbledore suggested getting a surprised look from Harry. Dumbledore knew how to provoke a reaction; he could use the girl to get Harry under control.
“What? Expelled? My sweet innocent Ginny wouldn’t do this,” Mrs Weasley looked as stunned as her husband after listening to everything.
“Why, Mother?” Ginny sneered. “I am not your precious and wholesome little doll you seem to think I am. I discovered my true self while in America. I don’t want to live in that pathetic place you call home.”
“Oh my,” the older woman was shocked. Everyone stared at the girl, though Draco noticed Harry had closed his eyes. He knew what the other boy was attempting. Harry allowed his senses to explore the room, using his empath skills. He discovered that Ginny’s aura was surrounded by a deep velvet black colour with the fuzzy outline of someone standing behind her.
“Well, I had wondered why you had been quiet for so long, Tom,” Harry spoke out loud. Everyone in the room except for the Creevey parents wondered who Harry was talking to; some knew about Voldemort’s real name. Then they realised Harry was looking directly at Ginny.
“What are you talking about? I love you, Harry. Colin would be the first warrior in our army,” Ginny almost purred.
“You can drop the act now Tom, I’ve obviously not been attentive enough to know you were possessing Ginny,” Harry spoke calmly as everyone stared, though Amelia looked curious. “You’ve possessed her once with the diary; was it because of her love for me?”
“I see you’ve come into your abilities. I had wondered why I could not reach you anymore,” Ginny/Tom replied coldly, “Emotions are weakness, and the weak are easily possessed.”
“I can see you get on famously with the women, Tom,” Harry said lazily, “I applaud your choice of a curse, though. No-one would have known about it had I not done the study. I would guess Colin would have gone on to have bitten one or more students making for more arguments against werewolves in the Wizengamot.”
“Yes, your pet Malfoy’s idea was ingenious, but he will soon learn not to betray his master,” Draco gasped as Ginny/Tom looked at him. “Oh yes, I know all about you, your mother, and you will not get away from me,”
“Is that Voldemort?” Mrs Weasley screeched. Tonks looked a bit shocked, but Harry could see Dumbledore was looking at the girl with a calculated look.
“She was easy to possess, mother,” Ginny/Tom laughed.
“Harry, is there any way you can remove him?” Draco asked.
“Why do you think Harry can do anything?” Professor McGonagall asked.
“Harry’s an empath; he can see auras very similar to Luna Lovegood. I skimmed over some of the books Harry was reading during the summer. I remember a chapter on possession,” Draco explained. Harry nodded his head, not for one moment taking his eyes off Ginny.
“Asellan ϸes Déofolscin thou Onsægednes,” Harry spoke fluently in a strange language, though Professor Dumbledore, Andromeda and Remus recognised it as Old English. As he uttered the words, a soft, evergreen light swallowed and enveloped the youngest Weasley child, and for a brief moment, the shadowed form of Lord Voldemort stood behind Ginny, red eyes alight. Then Ginny fell forward, sobbing with relief. Harry read her aura. It was now a royal purple. “Tom’s left the building!”
“What did Harry do?” Mr Weasley asked.
“Harry used an old Druidic spell to exercise V-Voldemort from Ginny,” Draco provided the explanation.
“So he’s gone?” Mrs Weasley asked.
“Yes!” Harry answered, suddenly very weary.
“What will happen to Ginny? Will she be expelled?” Mr Weasley asked, looking to the Headmaster.
“Perhaps it would be for the best.” Mrs Weasley broke down in tears, unaware of the Headmasters’ machinations.
“Perhaps, Professor McGonagall, she should receive three weeks Detention, as she was not at fault, but it would show Hogwarts she was being punished,” Professor Flitwick stepped in. The transfiguration teacher seemed to be arguing with herself. She looked at the Headmaster and nodded to herself.
“Yes, I do not feel Miss Weasley should be expelled in this case. Clearly, this was not her fault, but she needs to be shown to be punished,” McGonagall agreed. “I agree with your proposal, Filius.”
“The Board of Governors will back you on this, Minerva.” Griselda told the deputy.
“In that case, I think, Mr and Mrs Creevey, we’ll take you to see your son. Remus, will you come with us?” Andromeda asked the werewolf. The Creeveys left with Narcissa, Remus and the Healer.
“I’ll need a statement from you and Harry,” Amelia smiled at the small professor.
“I’m sure we’ll both be able to do that,” Flitwick replied.
“I need some sleep first,” Harry replied, getting some help from Draco as he left the room before Dumbledore could collar him. Bones, Tonks, Marchbanks and Cyrus Greengrass followed the three of them out of the room, murmuring, leaving the Weasley’s with Dumbledore and McGonagall.
Night had fallen on Hogwarts. Harry had just finished escorting the new first years from the library with Hermione. He was bone-weary tired, but he noticed Colin sitting in the corner staring out the window. The boy was still pale from his first change a few nights before. As predicted, he had changed but had human intelligence without the need for wolfsbane. He looked up as Harry sat across from him.
“What do you want?” Colin asked sullenly.
“You know that attitude won’t work with me,” Harry told him mildly, “now what’s on your mind?”
“Well, let us see why? I’m going to become a great monstrous creature one day a month; I’m not going to be able to get a decent job now I have to register,” Colin replied angrily, “oh yeah and if I don’t want to become a murderous animal, I have to take a sodding potion once every month.”
“That sounds like your typical woman; monthly potions and becoming a beast,” Harry tried to joke, but Colin merely glared at him, “Seriously though, I thought you didn’t have to take the potion?”
“I suppose not,” Colin conceded.
“You don’t really become a murderous creature, do you?” Harry prompted the boy.
“No, you’re right, but I still lose my rights. Not only am I muggle-born, but now I cannot get a job because I am a werewolf. I can’t even live in the muggle world because of my condition; the Ministry won’t let me,” Colin complained.
“Dad’s doing everything in his power to help you with the werewolf laws; he may even be able to hire you from school if he hasn’t sorted out the laws by then.”
“That’ll be wicked. Thanks for being on my side,” Colin enthused. Hermione grinned at him from where she was sat by the fire. She loved seeing her boyfriend help people. Harry wished the boy goodnight and then came over to Hermione, giving her a quick kiss before going to bed. Neville watched from one of the tables as Ron glared at the two. He would bear watching.
“You are so lucky,” Lavender sighed.
“What do you mean?” Hermione looked at the girl sat in another chair by the fire.
“Harry! He is rich, handsome, and so gentlemanly. Some of the boys here could take a lesson from him,” Parvati answered for the girl glaring at Seamus, who had the decency to look a little ashamed.
“Harry’s always been like that. He would not say a bad word about anyone despite people spouting off about him,” Hermione reminded them all of Seamus’ rant the first night about what he thought of the so-called saviour.
“I apologised to him; he knows I’m sorry,” Seamus grumbled, getting a smack round the head from his girlfriend.
“Anyway, you never did tell us what happened over the summer?” Lavender fished for gossip.
“Nothing really-“ Hermione was interrupted by a scream coming from the fifth-year dorms. “Neville, go get McGonagall,”
Hermione seemed to launch herself over the seat, dashing up the boys’ stairs followed by several Prefects yanking the door open. As the bookworm entered the dorm, she immediately noticed a snake’s tail-end disappear under one of the Gryffindors’ bed. With not a second to waste, she quickly conjured up a glass jar.
“Accio Snake.” From beneath the bed, a copper-coloured snake about three foot long emerged. It flew straight into the glass jar, which was sealed and made unbreakable. Hermione was not sure who to trust, so she kept the pot close to her as she reached Harry’s side. He was rolling around in pain, clutching his leg. Sweat dripped off his face, and he looked awfully white.
“What’s going on here?” McGonagall demanded, pushing through the group of Gryffindors. Hermione sighed in relief as Neville followed the transfiguration teacher in, quickly handing him the jar. The one person both she and Harry trusted beside Draco.
“I think Harry’s been bitten by a snake,” Hermione pointed to the glass jar.
“Somnum,” McGonagall put the boy not a deep sleep. The teacher levitated the dark-haired boy being careful not to jostle him. “I will be back later to take statements.”
“The snake is hyper-aggressive; it keeps trying to bite through the glass,” Hermione explained some thirty minutes later to Dumbledore, Remus, Sirius and Madam Tonks. A whoosh of the fireplace alerted them all to a newcomer. Healer Ward stepped through with a box in his hand and a messenger bag over his shoulder.
“It’s always you,” Healer Ward told Andromeda, then answered the look she was giving him, “I was on call tonight. You reported needing anti-venom. Do you know what species it was?”
“It appears to be a Lowland Copperhead,” Remus spoke up. The snake was handed over to the Healer for inspection.
“Yes, I’ve seen them in Australia though they are not quite this aggressive,” He jumped as the snake tried to bite him through the glass. He once again handed the snake back to Hermione then began to search through the wooden box.
“Is he going to live?” Hermione asked, tears now streaming down her face. McGonagall moved to comfort the girl.
“Yes, once we administer the anti-venom, it should heal him though there may be muscular damage. The venom of the lowland copperhead contains neurotoxins; do you know what that means?” The Healer asked, taking the vial and placing it on Harry’s leg. Neville chuckled, knowing Hermione would spout off a whole dictionary.
“Short answer,” Neville grinned at the girl.
“It causes nerve damage,” Hermione answered, glaring at her friend. The Healer murmured a few words, and the contents of the vial disappeared. He began to wave his wand over Harry as the boy relaxed, his face gaining a little colour.
“He’ll sleep now, but his leg is already showing signs of damage,” the Healer explained, going over some treatments with Andromeda.
“I’d like to know what happened?” Professor Dumbledore gestured everyone away from the Healers. Sirius was torn between watching his son and joining the conversation. Reluctantly he moved behind Hermione, placing a hand on her shoulder.
“Harry went up to bed as he was quite tired. About fifteen minutes later, we all heard him scream. As I reached the door, I saw this snake slither under the bed,” Hermione explained. She handed the snake over for Remus to examine.
“Well then, it’s someone’s escaped pet or someone’s idea of a prank,” Dumbledore chuckled. Everyone stared at the man like he had gone completely mad.
“Do you not care for Harry? He nearly died?” Hermione asked at the same time Sirius exploded.
“Are you completely Barmy? There was just a murder attempt on the Heir to an Ancient and Noble House, and you want to pass it off as a Prank,” Sirius looked at the man incredulously. Dumbledore dropped his grandfatherly act, his eyes darkening slightly.
“I will not have you speak to me like that in my own school,”
“Perhaps you shouldn’t be in charge,” Sirius returned, glaring at the man. “Remus, can you please contact Madam Bones? I would like a full investigation into the attempted murder of my Heir.”
“That’s going a bit far,” Dumbledore protested. Remus ignored him and immediately went to use the Floo.
“I’m inclined to agree with His Grace; this wasn’t some prank. Someone tried to murder Lord Rendlesham,” Professor McGonagall spoke relatively formally.
“This is my school,” Dumbledore replied angrily, “I’ll not allow Aurors on these grounds.”
“Excuse me, sir, but we have permission when a crime has been committed,” Auror Proudfoot replied following Remus. “Madam Bones has sent Auror Tonks and me to perform a preliminary investigation. We ask that you seal the castle and have everyone sent to the Great Hall; there will be more Aurors coming through within the hour.”
“Do what you like!” Dumbledore whirled around in anger stalking out of the Hospital ward.
“You shall have our co-operation on this,” McGonagall replied, leaving more sedately to organise everyone. Sirius acted in loco parentis for Hermione while she was interviewed by the two Aurors. Next, the Aurors interviewed the two Healers before getting reinforcements. Within the hour, two full squads had arrived to begin checking people’s wands and interviewing everyone.