HPBFL CH 18

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: GHOULS AND TOADS

Harry’s heartbeat thudded in his chest as he began to feel the icy coldness of Dementors starting to overwhelm him. But he fought it; looking at Hermione was like a ray of sunshine on a dark, gloomy day.

“Keep everyone indoors,” Harry shouted to Madam Rosemerta as the pair ran out onto the main street of Hogsmeade, utterly confused. They were sure it was only mid-afternoon, but it was so gloomy that the magical lamps had lit themselves.

“There are Dementors here!” Hermione shouted. Screams erupted from the street. Harry dropped his cane, pulling both of his wands out. He limped towards the screams finding the road covered by several Death Eaters in their Black garb with white masks. Harry saw a third year being bitten by one of the Death Eaters. However, Harry had the element of surprise on hand. He transfigured a stick to a crossbow then aimed it at the person biting the boy, firing quickly the arrow embedded itself in the vampire’s head, killing it.

“What was that?” Hermione asked.

“Vampire! Confringo.” Harry replied, then fired the blasting curse as the Death Eaters took notice of them. Past the group of Death Eaters, Harry saw flashes of light where another battle was taking place.

“Harry, what do you want us to do?” Lee Jordan shouted. He was just about to reply when shouts interrupted him.

“Inferi,” came a scream from behind.

“Grab any sixth and seventh years you can, protect the lower years. Use fire on the Inferi,” He shouted back as he ducked an attack from one of the death eaters. “Expecto Patronum. Confringo!”

“Watch out,” Hermione yelled out as she called out her own spell. His Raven Patronus emerged from one of the wands, larger than anyone had seen, chasing after the dementors. He uttered a blasting curse with the other wand that hit one of the wizards in the leg, taking a large chunk of it. The Death Eater immediately cried out in pain, falling to the ground. His partner looked at him in fear, then instantly apparated away from Hogsmeade. Harry and Hermione fought back to back, sweat trickling down their backs as they took on the remaining Death Eaters.

Ignis Brynewelm,” Harry shouted. A wave of fire erupted from one of his wands, unlike anything Hermione had ever seen. It seemed to take the form of a raven as it swept down over the Death Eaters, burning three of them up instantly. The flame Raven then appeared to attack the Dementors who were waiting for the Patronus to disappear. The dark creatures lit up like a pyre, Hermione stared at them. Nothing could kill Dementor, yet two were now dust, and little golden balls were floating away from them. Hermione watched as the last remaining Death Eaters disappeared, apparating away from Hogsmeade, leaving behind their dead compatriots. Light cut through, and the gloom seemed to lift.

“Amateurs,” Draco shouted, hobbling over to the Death Eater and kicking him. Several pops announced the arrival of newcomers as the Dementors fled. Harry stood, planted to the ground waiting for the next attack.

“Good lad, Constant Vigilance,” Alastor Moody barked as he came over to Harry, who lowered his wands slightly but was still wary. “You look very comfortable with two wands.”

“I’ve been practising a lot with them,” Harry returned. “Are the Inferi contained?”

“They’ve been destroyed; the students did really well,” Moody gruffly admired the students.

“Is there any dead?” Harry asked as he saw some witches appear wearing the white robes of Healers.

“Four dead from what I’m told. There’s another dead over there. Looks like a vampire kill,” Moody was watching the body of the young boy be covered up. “So, can you tell me what happened?”

“Hermione and I were in the Three Broomsticks when we felt utter despair; we came out to find there were about a dozen Death Eaters and a couple of Dementors,” Harry reported to the Auror as Hermione inspected him. He leaned on her as he began to feel his leg begin to tremble. “Seems a bit of a poor showing for Voldemort.”

“I think he was testing you,” Auror Proudfoot came overlooking the pair up and down.

“You believe he’s back?” Harry asked the thirty-ish Auror.

“Well, this seems to indicate he has returned, even if Fudge is keeping our hands tied,” the Auror answered.

“Watch your mouth; he’s still the Minister. I’ll bust you down to Cadet if I have to,” Moody spoke sternly, but Harry could see he had a mischievous gleam in his eye. “What did the Prisoner say?”

“Initial questioning from Terrence Crabbe suggests they decided to capture the blood-traitor to try to please the dark lord.”

“Crabbe? As in Vincent’s father?” Harry asked, curious.

“I wouldn’t know the relation,” Proudfoot admitted.

“Yes, that was Terrence Crabbe and Demetri Goyle, the fathers of Vincent and Gregory. Not the brightest sparks in the Dark Lord’s army,” Draco was leaning heavily on Theo Nott.

“Did they think you were an easy target?” Hermione asked.

“I really don’t know what they were thinking, but Father and Voldemort are going to be angry,”

“Some of the interviews I’ve heard suggested you destroyed Dementors,” Proudfoot spoke up. Moody looked at the boy sharply, who just shrugged.

“I just used Expecto Patronum, nothing different,” Harry lied.

“We’ll get a more extensive interview later, head up to the Hospital Ward and get checked out,” the Auror told the blond boy who had blood flowing freely from several wounds. Harry looked him over.

“Well, you’re not going to die straight away, so let’s get a carriage back and get you to Aunt Andi,” Harry said, “she’s gonna be pissed at you.”

“It’s not my fault. You’ll have to defend me, Harry. You’re her favourite,” Draco looked more scared of Andromeda than his injuries. Harry was exhausted, so his limping was more pronounced as he leaned on Hermione more while Draco used Theo as his crutch.

“So, Cousin, anything you want to tell us?” Harry teased the boy looking at the pair who were holding hands. Draco’s cheeks flushed a beautiful pink.

“Erm, yeah, erm Theo and I are a couple,” Draco admitted.

“I don’t know how you put up with him,” Harry drawled in an impression of Draco.

“About the same as Granger puts up with you, I suppose,” Theo returned as they reached the carriages.

“Touchè,” Harry returned as Theo gave Draco a hand up into the carriages and Hermione helped Harry.

“Want to tell me why you lied to the Auror? What was that spell anyway?” Hermione asked as he settled in opposite Draco.

“It is an old Black spell. I did not want the Aurors to know anything as it is potentially a ‘dark’ spell,” Harry responded.

“You used the Flame Wave spell, right?” Draco asked him, getting a nod in return. Harry seemed to analyse Theo then made up his mind. He began telling Draco about his trip to Gringotts, including the Betrothal to Ginny Weasley.

“Can you get out of the betrothal?” Theo asked cautiously.

“Unfortunately not, somehow despite Harry being a Black, the contract is clad in iron,” Hermione answered, her nostrils like slits. Harry knew the girl was angry.

“Is there a way around it?” Draco knew my contracts had a clause in them.

“The Goblins are looking into it, but I’m going to do my own research,” Hermione’s eyes lit up at the thought of going to the library. The carriages jerked to a stop; Harry looked out.

“Uh oh,” he said.

“What?” Draco lifted an eyebrow.

“Aunt Andi is out there, and she looks pissed,”

“Oh shit,” Draco uttered, sinking further into his seat.

“Well, it’s best to get this over with,” Harry suggested getting help from Hermione to face Andromeda.

“Are you alright?” she looked him over, noticing minor cuts and injuries. She also took note that his limp was much more pronounced than usual.

“I’m fine; nothing got close to hitting me. Hermione’s shields were fabulous,” Harry smiled at his girlfriend. “However, I think Draco is injured; looks like he’s trying to copy me with his leg.”

“Traitor, coward,” Draco shouted as Andromeda bustled over to the coach to look over the blond teen. She looked back over at Harry, “Hermione, dear, could you help Harry to the Hospital Wing.”

“Damn it,” Harry cursed as he heard Draco’s laugh float out of the coaches. Harry had thought he might get away with just returning to the Gryffindor tower. Hermione started leading him into the castle as other students stared at him.

Daily Prophet

Students attacked in Hogsmeade

Jedwin Robards

Saturday afternoon, Hogsmeade was attacked by a rogue group of domestic terrorist copy-catting Death Eaters. Sources on the ground believe that Draco Black, formerly Malfoy, was the target for unknown reasons. It is understood there were twelve of them with three Dementors and a dozen or so Inferi.

Harry Black, the Marquess of Rendlesham, aged 15, arrived and countered the attack. You will remember he was recently attacked at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by an unknown person. With him stood Hermione Granger and several Sixth and seventh-year students who managed to thwart the attack.

Unfortunately, six students were killed, including Bertie Applebee, a third year Hufflepuff whose little sister had just been born…..

Saturday, the week after the fateful Hogsmead trip, the weather could not have been better for a game of Quidditch. There was no wind to speak of while the sun was high in the sky, burning the crisp cold air making it pleasant for teachers, students and players alike. Harry stood at the door to the pitch, just barely making out Seamus Finnegan, who had taken over the commentating

            “Welcome Boys and girls, Ladies and Gentlemen, teachers, to the first match of the season and the year, Gryffindor vs Slytherin. The two teams are the most competitive that have been seen in several years. Still, both seekers are sporting injuries,” Seamus commented, “Ravenclaw is leading the House Points at the moment, but if either Gryffindor or Slytherin win, they will leapfrog into first. Hopefully, Gryffindor will smash those Snakes.”

“Lee- I mean Seamus,” McGonagall shouted. She had hoped he would not be like Lee Jordan, who was sat next to him teaching the Irish boy the finer points of commenting.

“Sorry, miss, now before we start, I have been requested by Professor Dumbledore a two-minute silence for the six students that lost their lives in last week’s cowardly attack.” Silence filled the stadium. Only the rustling of pennants could be heard until Seamus began again after two minutes. “Right folks, here comes the Gryffindor team; Bell, Johnson, Spinnet, Weasley, Weasley and Weasley. Now, Johnson has put together a good team, especially Katie Bell-ow- OK, and here comes our star seeker, Black,” Cheers erupted across three of the houses at Harry’s name as the Gryffindor team flew out to the centre of the pitch.

“Who do you think will win?” Theo asked as he sat next to Granger, getting strange looks from the Slytherin’s.

“Gryffindor,” Hermione said proudly.

“Draco’s put together an excellent side,” Theo told her.

“This year, new captain Draco Black has actually put together a rather skilled team, introducing the Slytherins; Dearborn, Harper, Pucey, Greengrass, Vaisey, Bletchley and Black,” resplendent in their green Quidditch robes they met the Gryffindors in the middle of the field. Madam Hooch flew over, meeting them.

“I want a nice clean match,” Madam Hooch pronounced, as Johnson and Draco as the captains shook the other hand. Draco looked at Harry with a grin and saluted him. Madam Hooch flicked a golden Galleon into the air allowing Johnson to win the coin toss, making sure she started with the quaffle, each of the teams facing across from each other.

“This match has been claimed to be epic, Mal- erm, Black and Black have been rivals for years, now they’ve started a friendship in a bid to get the houses cooperating together,” Finnegan announced as the whistle was blown, “oh, there goes Johnson with the quaffle-whew-that bludger nearly hit her as one of the Weasley twins fires back at the Ice Princess.”

Harry had floated above the match, looking out for the vaunted Snitch. He looked across at Draco, who, instead of tailing Harry, was searching for the Snitch. During the summer, they had often played seeker matches, and they were equally matched, which Harry found quite surprising. He heard a snatch of Seamus’ commentary.

“And it’s Johnson, Johnson with the Quaffle, what a player that girl is, I’ve been saying it for years, but she still will not go out with me —”

“Finnegan!” yelled Professor McGonagall.

“Just a fun fact, Professor, adds a bit of interest — and she’s ducked Dearborn, she’s passed Bletchly, she’s — ouch — been hit from behind by a Bludger from Vaisey . . . Dearborn catches the Quaffle, Dearborn heading back up the pitch and — nice Bludger there from George Weasley, I think,  that’s another bludger to the head for Dearborn, he drops the quaffle, caught by Bell, Katie Bell of Gryffindor reverse passes to Alicia Spinnet and Spinnet’s away —”

Once again, Harry found himself focussed on the game below him. Score! Spinnet punched the air as another bludger headed her way, but now Harper had the quaffle. Angelina attacked so Katie could once again pick up the quaffle, but Dearborn got in first. He shot off down the field, scoring past Weasley before anyone could do anything.

“That’s 10-10 folks; we’re on level pegging after fifteen minutes,” Finnegan could be heard as Harry began to do his job searching for the elusive Snitch. “Yes, Bell is back in possession of the quaffle. She avoids Pucey and Harper as a Bludger causes her to lose it. Johnson has it, yes that’s 20-10 Gryffindor.”

“WEASLEY IS OUR KING!” Harry heard from the Slytherins, who seemed to be trying to intimidate the Keeper.

“With Slytherin in possession of the quaffle, Pucey passes to Harper, who heads towards the goal-ohhh that must have hurt as he’s carted off by Madame Pomfrey, what’s that the two seekers have seen the Snitch?” Harry tried to gain Draco’s attention by feinting. Diving from on high, he could feel his cousin behind him, but Harry pulled up hard as he reached the ground. The blond must have realised early as he gave his rival a grin and once again settled by the Slytherin goal posts.

Weasley cannot save a thing,

He cannot block a single ring,

That’s why Slytherins all sing:

Weasley is our King.

Weasley was born in a bin,

He always lets the quaffle in,

Weasley will make sure we win,

Weasley is our King.

“— and Spinnet passes back to Johnson!” Finnegan shouted, and as Harry swerved, his insides boiling at what he had just heard, he knew Seamus was trying to drown out the sound of the singing. “Come on now, Angelina — looks like she’s just got the Keeper to beat! — SHE SHOOTS — SHE — aaaah . . .”

Bletchley, the Slytherin Keeper, had saved the goal; he threw the quaffle to Dearborn who sped off with it, dodging in between Alicia and Katie; the singing from below grew louder and louder as he drew nearer and nearer Ron —

Weasley is our King,

Weasley is our King,

He always lets the quaffle in,

Weasley is our King.

“ —Pucey has got the quaffle and passes it to the reserve chaser, surprisingly,  Pansy Parkinson who moves forward diving beneath her opposite Bell and straight into the goal protected by Keeper Weasley,” Seamus belted out “With the score of 20-20, the game is beginning to heat up, Johnson with the quaffle but now the lithe Dearborn has got it back and scored yet again.

“Derrick Vaisey hits his bludger at the Keeper Weasley, sending him flying as Spinnet heads for the goal protected by Bletchly,” Finnegan screamed. “Oh, she loses the quaffle to Parkinson, who scores again.”

Over an hour later, Harry had seen little sign of the Snitch, but Slytherin had gone into the lead sixty-forty.

“Can you tell your lot to knock that song off?” Harry called over to his counterpart.

“I did tell them, but Blaise seems determined to rile them up,” Draco answered as Harry finally spotted the Snitch. Slowly to not attract Draco’s attention, he inched the Firebolt towards the Snitch. Harry felt, rather than heard, Draco behind him as he shot off towards the Snitch. The dark-haired teen was streaming forward when he heard a hushed gasp, then a scream. Harry turned on a dime to find Draco had been hit by a bludger. Unconscious, the blond was falling from about 100 feet, killing him if he hit the ground. Harry looked around for options, but there wasn’t any, forcing him to use an unconventional and hazardous move he had been practising with many bruises to show from the practice. The teen swung on the underside of the broom and opened his arms. Without guidance, the broom lost power leaving Harry Black freefalling out of the sky.

“Merlin’s Pants Draco Black is falling, possibly unconscious, but what is our golden boy doing? Harry is freefalling. This will be up there with the Wronski feint,” Finnegan shouted. Harry kicked away from the Firebolt about ten yards off the ground and caught his cousin in his arms, rolling as he hit the ground. Harry protected his cousin and himself from the worst of it. He lay flat, groaning. Oh god, I shouldn’t have done that, he thought, but that was so cool. Below him, he could hear the other boy groaning just as something hard smacked into his back.

“Foul!” the Weasley twins called out. Just as Harry raised his arm, revealing the Snitch and hearing Hooch’s whistle blow.

“I never knew you liked it on top,” Draco muttered, looking at his cousin.

“Prat,” Harry got up, offering the other boy his hand, pulling him up.

“Well, well, well, saved the blood traitor, have we? I’m sure the dark lord will be upset,” a voice drawled, which almost sounded like Draco. Harry turned to find Blaise Zambini flanked by Draco’s usual goons Crabbe and Goyle. Pansy Parkinson watched from nearby but seemed reluctant to join in.

“Ignore him Draco, he’s really not worth your time,” Harry intoned, turning away from the Slytherin’s to meet up with the rest of the team who had descended on him. They were all yelling and punching the air in victory except for Ron, who appeared sullen. 

“I was going to make some more lines, but perhaps I should have written about Draco,” Zambini, “But I don’t think I can find anything that rhymes with stuck up-“

“If Malfoy can take defeat graciously, why can’t he?” Angelina asked, giving the dark-skinned boy a look of utter contempt.

“-I don’t think I can fit in pathetic, either, even if your father is a complete coward,” Zambine threw out. Draco stiffened, causing Harry to grab his arm, starting to pull him away.

“Look Draco,” Katie Bell told him, grabbing his arm, “I’m not your biggest fan, but it took real bravery to go against your beliefs,”

“You’ve always liked the Weasel family, haven’t you, Potter? Both of them are blood traitors and lower than scum,” the boy continued as Harry tried to grab the Weasley twins as the other boy insulted them. Harry had ignored the fact he called him Potter and not Black.

 “Or perhaps,” said Zambini, leering as he backed away, “you can remember what your mother’s house stank like, Potter and Weasley’s pigsty reminds you of it —”

Harry couldn’t remember when he released the Weasley twin he was holding, but suddenly he was racing alongside Draco towards Zambini and the Goon squad. Harry had nothing in his mind but punching that smarmy little snake in the mouth. Instead of grabbing his wand, Harry attacked the boy Mundane-style by putting his fist into the boy’s face.

“Harry! HARRY! DRACO! NO!” He thought he could hear Hermione’s voice, but all he felt was the face beneath his fist and Zambini’s cries of pain. Then suddenly, he was flying away from the other boy. He quickly shot to his feet, standing close to Draco when Madam Hooch’s voice was heard.

“What is going on here?” the Quidditch instructor looked absolutely furious as she took in Draco with a bleeding nose, Harry with blood all on his hand and Zambini lying on the floor holding his face. “I have never seen such behaviour before- I want you to go up to the castle and wait in Professor McGonagall’s office.” 

Harry and Draco trudged up to the castle, both still angry, but neither said a word as they left the Quidditch pitch behind. The sounds faded as they reached nearer the castle.

“I thought Sirius had sorted out the Prophet?” Draco asked.

“What do you mean?” Harry looked at his cousin strangely.

“Well, they refused to acknowledge that it was Death Eaters attacking Hogsmeade in that article last week.”

“Oh yeah, Fudge is still leaning on them. Apparently, fear of having their license revoked is worse than Dad leaning on them. Besides their not bad mouthing me, so he can’t really do anything to them,” Harry answered.

“Damn, I was hoping we would get a more truthful paper,” Draco lamented as they walked in silence until Harry spoke up.

“What do you think they will do to us?” Harry asked quietly.

“Detention until we leave school next year,” Draco mused. Then he looked at Harry. “What made you finally snap?”

“That last comment about my mum, I might have my father now, but I still think of her all the time,” Harry answered honestly.

“Sirius is great, though, sometimes I can not tell if he is being, well, serious or joking,” Draco laughed through his bleeding nose. They fell into a comfortable silence as they walked through the school to McGonagall’s office. They had been standing outside of her office less than five minutes when the woman arrived alongside Severus Snape, glaring at Harry like it was all his fault.

“In!” Harry wasn’t sure he had ever seen his Head of House so furious. The pair shuffled in, followed by the two teachers.

“You are a Slytherin! How did you allow Black to get you into a brawl?” Snape asked his voice seemingly barely over a whisper.

“Excuse me, are you claiming that Harry coerced Draco into fighting?” Her face was white, and her hands clenched.

“As a Slytherin, we are taught not to brawl like common mudbloods,” Snape released, getting a glare from Harry.

“How dare you use that term in school! I shall be talking to Albus about this,”  she replied, now livid as she turned on the two boys.” I want you both to explain yourselves now?”

“Zambini provoked us,” Harry answered honestly.

“Really?” Professor McGonagall replied sarcastically, “his team had just lost, of course, he wanted to provoke you, child-“

“He insulted my mother and father,” Draco drew himself up to his full height staring at the Transfiguration teacher. “Then decided to insult Harry’s dead mother.”

“Then it is quite alright to fight like a muggle,” Snape added sarcastically.

“No, we’re sorry-“ Harry began staring furiously at the two teachers.

“Hem, hem,” They were all surprised to see Dolores Umbridge at the door looking, as always, like an oversized toad.

“Yes?” McGonagall asked in a polite but strained voice.

“May I help, Professor McGonagall?” the Defence teacher asked in her sweetest voice, which grated on Harry’s nerves.

“Help?” she repeated in a constricted voice.

“What do you mean, ‘help’?”

“Why, I thought you might be grateful for a little extra authority.” Professor Umbridge moved forward into the office, still smiling her sickly smile. Harry would not have been surprised to see sparks fly from Professor McGonagall’s nostrils.

“You thought wrong,” she said, turning her back on Umbridge. “Now, you two had better listen closely. I do not care what provocation Zambini offered you. I do not care if he insulted every family member you possess. Your behaviour was disgusting, and I am giving each of you a week’s worth of detention! Do not look at me like that, Black; you deserve it! And if either of you ever —”

“Hem, hem.” Professor McGonagall closed her eyes as though praying for patience as she turned her face toward Professor Umbridge again.

“Yes?”

“I think they deserve rather more than detentions,” said Umbridge, smiling still more broadly.

“Thankfully, only Professor Snape and I have the power to discipline under Educational Decree Twenty-Four,” Professor McGonagall reminded the pink-dressed woman.

“Actually, that decree has been revoked by the Minister of Magic,” Umbridge told the two surprised teachers with an air of superiority. “Under Article Twenty-five-“

“Not another one,” the Scottish woman muttered.

“The Educational Decree Number Twenty-four shall be superseded so that the High Inquisitor will henceforth have supreme authority over all punishments, sanctions, and removal of privileges pertaining to the students of Hogwarts, and the power to alter such penalties, sanctions, and removals of privileges as may have been ordered by other staff members.” Umbridge concluded with an evil smile, “So I think that these miscreants really need to learn their lessons with a ban from playing Quidditch ever again.”

“Excuse me!” Snape burst out.

“Ban us?” Harry asked, looking at a very shocked Draco. “like…from playing ever again?”

“Yes, Mr Potter, I think a lifelong ban ought to do the trick,” replied Umbridge.

“Draco Black is the captain of the house team and as such has put together the team,” Snape told the woman.

“Perhaps he should have thought about that before he joined with a nasty little liar,” Umbridge began to show her colours. The buzzing stopped in Harry’s ears. He straightened up like a true lord, his eyes blazing.

“I have asked you politely to call me Lord Rendlesham, as befits my position,” Harry informed the woman with a cold voice. She looked at him strangely.

“You do not deserve that title, in my school, you are just Mr Black,”

“Ah, but it’s not your school, Madam Umbridge. You are nothing more than the Minister’s lapdog.”

“Mr Black!” Professor McGonagall looked shocked.

“I’m sorry, Professors, but the House of Black will no longer stand for the torture of its heir nor have the Ministry threaten my betrothed.” All three teachers looked at the young lord in shock; even Draco stared at his cousin.

“Torture?” McGonagall asked.

“Betrothed?” Umbridge uttered, gulping.

“For the first two weeks of school, I was subjected to the use of a blood quill. When I warned Madam Umbridge that I would tell my father, she threatened me by offering Miss Granger, my betrothed, to Lucius Malfoy or other dark factions under the Muggle-born act,” Harry explained as McGonagall stared at the woman in horror. “Petrificus Totalus.”

“What are you doing, Black?” Severus snarled as Harry had pointed his wand at the Defence teacher, causing her to be bound. 

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