Can't Have It Both Ways

If you are forced to participate in a competition that's reserved for adults only, doesn't that mean you should be considered an adult? Harry gets some much needed help and advice before having some fun by allowing his marauder heritage out to play. H/Hr

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5402315/1/Can-t-Have-It-Both-Ways

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5. Chapter 5

Harry, Hermione and Luna headed into the castle thinking they'd be early for breakfast and watch the fun, only to find out it had started before they even got there. Dobby and Winky had left a badge on every students bedside table and it appeared most of them were already here and wearing them, they'd obviously came to the realisation this would cause a stir and got down early so they wouldn't miss the show. Their badges currently cycled between Support Cedric Diggory, Support Victor Krum, Support Fleur Delacour and Trust-Honour-Profit. They all hoped there would be more to come and Harry didn't intend to disappoint them.

The show for the moment was an enraged Dumbledore arguing with his three heads of house, much to the amusement of the students though the more astute amongst them recognised that act two had just turned up. Dumbledore yelling "Potter!" clued everyone else in.

The three walked towards the staff table, "Good morning," was all Harry said.

"Are you responsible for these badges?"

Harry proudly answering "Yes" threw Dumbledore off track for a moment but he recovered well, "Would you kindly explain the meaning of them?"

"Oh they have all different messages on them, was there one in particular you wanted me to explain?"

McGonagall beat Albus to it, "I was wondering why your name doesn't appear along with the other champions?"

"I'm not really a champion professor, more a sort of social experiment the headmaster is conducting. The forth message is the code by which goblins conduct their lives."

Dumbledore was trying to regain control of the situation, his many years of experience allowed him to reign in his anger after the three heads of house had very publicly disagreed with his decision. He couldn't lose his temper with Harry no matter the provocation. "I would like you to explain why you made them in the first place."

"Well after Malfoy's dismal attempts were allowed yesterday, I decided to take the idea and do it properly."

It was an angry Flitwick who now butted in. "Precisely the point we were making to the headmaster before you arrived. He took no action yesterday, therefore we were questioning his decision to have them confiscated today."

"Oh that's an easy one Professor Flitwick, our potions professor can no longer gain entry into the castle so the headmaster is just deputising for him. Malfoy gets house points while my badges are confiscated, normal service has been resumed." Harry's badge then proclaimed 'Severus Ceases Slytherin' and all the other badges in the school switched to the same message, generating cheering throughout three quarters of the great hall.

Dumbledore proclaimed loudly, "Professor Snape is still head of Slytherin!"

Hermione was on him in a flash, "I'm sorry headmaster but it clearly states in 'Hogwarts a History' that all heads of house must reside inside Hogwarts grounds during term. Not even being able to enter the castle must surely call into question Professor Snape's ability to teach potions, far less be head of Slytherin house. How is he going to manage taking points from Gryffindor's while residing in Hogsmead?"

"This is a temporary situation Miss Granger and none of your concern."

"Ah but headmaster what if it isn't temporary? I had a question I so wanted to ask him too!" Dumbledore saw the gleam in Harry's eyes and wasn't biting but McGonagall was quite happy to play the straight woman. After hearing what was actually on Malfoy's badges she was livid but the little snake had got rid of the evidence by the time she caught up with him. Anyway, Minerva was quite enjoying watching Albus squirm.

"What was it you wanted to ask Professor Snape Harry?"

"Oh I just wanted to know how he does that cool billowing robe thing yet his hair never moves a millimetre." Minerva was struggling not to laugh when all the badges in the hall suddenly proclaimed 'I Hate Fudge!'

"Harry you've overstepped the mark now, I cannot have the students of Hogwarts walking around with badges insulting the minister of magic. You leave me no choice but to confiscate them."

"Minister of magic? Oh I think you may have misunderstood headmaster, fudge is a muggle confection that's sickly sweet and makes me want to vomit!" Harry removed a box from his bag and handed it to Dumbledore while Luna and Hermione dropped a few boxes on each house table. Minerva had trouble maintaining her trademark scowl at the picture of a highland cow on the box with 'fudge' written across it.

"There is also a nutty version and the one full of rum is particularly disgusting." The sniggering in the hall wasn't confined to just the students, quite a few of the staff were now finding the whole situation highly amusing.

Harry had made his point, "I now see how this could be misconstrued and will change it at once!" The badges now read 'Hogwarts isn't safe'

"How can you say that Harry?" Dumbledore actually looked hurt.

"Well the last three Defence Professors have all tried to kill me while the current holder of the post used an unforgivable Imperius curse on every member of the class. Why don't you just hit me with a Cruciatus and then I'll have the full set?"

Apparently the three heads of house only thought they were angry before, this was now the real thing as they all screamed at Dumbledore.

"You said he was only going to demonstrate them on a spider!"

"You allowed that vile curse to be cast on children in our care?"

"I'll be contacting the DMLE, even you have to obey the law Albus!"

Harry could have stood and watched this all day but it was now payback time. He tapped his badge again and the entire student population began roaring with laughter as their badges now displayed the question, 'Is Malfoy Gay?' the commotion distracted the senior staff from their berating of Dumbledore for a moment.

Draco was screeching like a girl, "Potter, I'm not gay!"

"Malfoy you have no idea how pleased I am to hear you say that. You, and those two strapping lads who're always by your side, have been following me around since first year. I was beginning to get worried." He put his arm around Hermione and spoke in a voice that clearly carried to every corner of the hall, "There dear, told you we had nothing to be concerned about. Just because he spends more time on his appearance than Lavender doesn't mean he's gay." A shout from the Gryffindor table had Harry offering a mock apology, "No offence intended Lavender, on you it looks good. On Draco, it's just too weird."

The blond Slytherin glanced round at his house table to see them all laughing at him as Crabbe and Goyle tried to subtly back away from their leader. Since subtly wasn't exactly the two behemoth's strong suit, it was blindingly obvious what they were attempting to do, and funny as hell.

Draco was desperate to go for his wand but here, in front of everyone with no Snape to back him up, he recognised the hopelessness of the situation. He'd tried to pull something off yesterday and failed miserably only to have the same scheme run against himself today with blinding success. That a quintessentially Slytherin move could be pulled off by a Gryffindor against him ended any hope of Draco ever running his house.

Albus may have had his hands full trying to placate three heads of house but Dumbledore was taking a wider view of Harry's actions and thought it was an exceedingly cunning plan, quite brilliantly executed. He sucked all the senior staff into a confrontation then beautifully destroyed Malfoy's credibility inside Hogwarts without casting a spell or saying anything that could get him into trouble, Salazar himself would have been proud of that one.

Harry, Hermione and Luna now sat at the Gryffindor table to a hero's welcome, though Ron looked desperate to laugh at Malfoy's demise but wouldn't because of who had brought it about.

Breakfast progressed normally though the silence coming from the staff table could only have been achieved by charms, McGonagall appeared ready to rip Dumbledore's beard out by its roots.

Harry was approached by a pair of red headed twins, "Doesn't your heart just fill with pride when your little prodigy stands on his own two feet George?"

"Just thinking we taught him everything he knows makes me all tingly inside Fred."

"If either of you two even think about dropping Hermione's name in there somewhere then I withdraw this offer," He touched their badges, both of which now advertised 'Coming Soon – WWW'

"Harry please don't joke about something like that, it's just too painful right now."

"Yeah, Ludo Bagman has a lot to answer for."

"Guys I may mess with your heads occasionally but never with your dreams. Come see me at the end of the week and we'll talk about it, I think you're worth investing in."

Both quickly agreed to the meeting but their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of the post owls, or more specifically the Daily Prophet carrying the banner headline:

Lord Who Must Not Be Named

Yesterday, in a move designed to prevent this newspaper from printing the truth, a writ was served on us that prevents pictures or the name of a certain wizard appearing in this paper. Lord Rotter will now be referred to by the pseudonym of The Lord Who Must Not Be Named and his picture replaced by the one opposite.

The image opposite happened to be a sack of potatoes sitting on a broomstick, the hall seemed to be holding its collective breath awaiting Harry's reaction. The play on words was making a direct link between him and another lord, he who must not be named! The sack of potatoes on a broom was also a direct insult to his flying skills.

Harry's reaction though was not what everyone expected, it started with a chuckle and built up to a full belly laugh. "And here was me thinking they were just a bunch of hacks, they must actually have some journalists working there. I love this, do you think I could get a framed, signed copy?"

"Are you sure you're alright Harry?"

"Luna I've never been better! Think about it, while the Prophet is coining stupid names and even stupider images for me, the Quibbler is about to blow the wizarding world's mind. The Prophet is too scared to print anything other than a stupid made-up name for Voldemort while your father will be asking questions the ministry can't answer. The Quibbler will be outselling the Prophet by Christmas, especially if we do an exclusive on Tom Marvolo Riddle."

Luna was beaming with pride and happiness, and that was before Harry pulled his last prank of the morning. "This one's for you Luna," as he touched her badge.

'Bullying is Stupid' appeared on her badge and every single one worn by members of Ravenclaw house, on seeing this Luna burst into tears and buried her head in Harry's chest.

Harry had his arms sportingly around her. "Luna I'm sorry, I never meant to hurt you. I would never hurt you."

Luna's tear stained face looked up at him with wonder in her eyes. "You didn't hurt me Harry, I'm just so grateful to you for doing this, no one's ever stood up for me before."

Harry pushed the girl's blond hair away from her face and behind her ear. "You've got us now Luna, we always look after our friends."

A smiling Hermione was standing beside her now. "That's right Luna so let's go and freshen up, meet us there Harry?"

He nodded as both girls made their way past a sheepish looking Ravenclaw house, Harry and Neville left right behind them.

Fleur had watched the morning's proceedings with great interest, more convinced than ever that Lord Potter would be the perfect catch for her. She was well aware that over half the girls here had the same thought but then again, they weren't Veela.

She'd sat at the Hufflepuff table this morning, much to the suspicion of its usual occupants and, while she ideally wanted Harry alone, this looked like the best opportunity she was going to get. Smoothing down her shortish skirt and loosening a few buttons on her blouse to show some cleavage, she was soon following the two boys. Fleur waited until leaving the hall before cranking up her veela charm.

Harry and Neville were standing waiting on the girls when he noticed his friend's eyes appeared to glaze over, before he could comment on it there was a voice behind him.

"Lord Potter?"

Harry turned to see the French girl, "Miss Delacour isn't it?"

Fleur had her pose just right to display her assets, her voice dripping with sexual promise and that accent which seemed to turn the British men's wills to jelly as all the blood rushed further south. "Please call me Fleur, I have been looking for a chance to apologise for my outburst at Halloween. We were all on edge and I didn't mean those words that I said, I hope you can forgive me?" She now had her hand on his bicep and her thumb was sensually rubbing his muscle in a circular motion.

About twenty feet away Sir Cardigan was battering his head against the closest portrait frame in a futile attempt to escape from the canvas so he could worship at this perfect example of womanhood.

Harry appeared far more concerned with Neville's rapidly deteriorating condition than anything Fleur was doing, his friend now had drool dribbling down his chin. "Eh don't worry about it Miss Delacour, already forgotten."

Fleur couldn't understand why Harry wasn't putty in her hands by now. She literally pressed ahead, pushing her body into Harry as she ran her hand up and down his arm. "Oh Harry I was hoping we could become friends, good friends!"

Harry was paying her no attention whatsoever, "No problem, Nev mate what's the matter, speak to me Nev!" He looked around panicky, searching for help when his eyes settled on his betrothed and his whole face lit up in relief. "Hermione I am so glad to see you, I need some help here please."

Hermione had come out the toilet to see that French trollop draped all over Harry. Every one of her insecurities went into hyper-drive, with the thought of how could Harry possibly want a bushy haired, bucked toothed bookworm when he could have this girl being top of the list. His expression upon seeing her, followed by his words rocked her world!

She was over there in a flash and Miss 'I'll whisper in my French accent and feel-up your betrothed while you're standing watching' Delacour found herself un-ceremonially dumped on her petite derriere as Hermione forcibly brushed the French champion aside to claim her wizard. With both hands behind his head she initiated a kiss that would curl his toes. Harry had no idea what he'd done to merit this reward but had no intention of asking until later, as his arms encircled Hermione his last conscious thought was much, much later.

By the time they came up for air, Fleur was long gone and Neville was well on the road to recovery. Luna though had a fit of the giggles at her friend's actions, "Hermione are you sure you are not part Veela? Harry's condition now resembles Neville's from earlier."

Harry was wearing a smile he thought nothing would shift, that was just tempting fate. "Luna, my Hermione is one hundred percent witch. She doesn't need anything else to charm me."

'But how were you able to resist while Neville was a gibbering idiot from only getting the periphery effects as she focused her Veela abilities on you?"

"Our rings protected me from that effect, leaving her just the same as all the others, unable to compete with the lovely Miss Granger."

Hermione almost grabbed him again but they would have been late for Charms, the three Gryffindors headed in that direction as Luna set off for the greenhouses and Herbology.

Filius was still raging at Albus and swore this wasn't over yet, he was far too professional an educator though to let this affect his performance in class. The lesson was progressing as planned until Mr Potter abruptly stood, "Luna's in trouble! Sir, we need you to come with us." The lad must have made a portkey out of his open book because, as he and Miss Granger thrust it into his chest, Filius felt the accustomed hook behind his navel effect as all three disappeared.

-oOoOo-

As usual Luna was at the end as the class made its way back into the castle but today she didn't mind in the slightest, she was so happy that she was skipping rather than walking. That all changed as multiple hands gabbed her and she swiftly found herself dragged into a nearby boy's toilet. Even though she was now held securely by Crabbe and Goyle, Luna was unsure if she could have moved anyway as her body seemed frozen with fear.

"Well Miss Lovegood, you are going to receive the honour of reporting back to your friend Potter with first hand experience that I'm definitely not gay." Draco ran his hand down her cheek before reaching to start unbuttoning her top, "You are actually quite pretty and a pureblood, who knows we might even make this a regular thing…"

Luna was in denial, thinking this couldn't be happening to her until she felt the bastards hands start to loosen her button. She began to struggle and was suddenly free as Malfoy went crashing into the opposite wall while both captors either side of her were now unconscious on the floor. "Luna?"

Standing there was Harry, Hermione and Professor Flitwick, all with drawn wands and murder in their eyes, she sprang at Harry as the realisation of what was about to happen hit home. The sobbing and shaking blond girl found herself cocooned in an embrace with her two friends, Hermione was whispering reassuring words in her ear but it was Harry who brought her back to reality.

"I told you this morning, you've got us now Luna, we always look after our friends!"

Filius watched the scene as his mind raced with the facts he had amassed, Harry made a portkey, one that worked inside Hogwarts. It also delivered them straight to Miss Lovegood, though he had no apparent way of knowing where she was, far less that she needed urgent assistance. Harry had blasted Malfoy into the wall without uttering a spell while he and Miss Granger had stunned the bookends, freeing the girl from their grasp. "Miss Lovegood should visit Madam Pomfrey to check she's ok."

Both felt Luna start to violently shake again, making Harry's mind up, "Professor, Luna is in my care and we will be returning to our accommodation. I trust you will deal with the garbage?"

Filius could see the calming effect Harry's words had on the girl so didn't object, she was clearly uninjured though he hated to think of what would have happened had they not arrived when they did.

Harry's hands gently fastened the one button the piece of filth had managed to loosen before they got here. "They'll never get near you again Luna, let's go home."

Hermione released Luna and then kicked the unconscious Malfoy as hard as she could in the groin. "Sorry Professor, my foot slipped." They portkeyed out leaving the little professor wondering if Miss Granger perhaps had the right idea and internally debated whether he should kick the little rapist bastard as well.

-oOoOo-

It was a distraught Xeno Lovegood who arrived with Winky at their accommodation to find his daughter wedged between Harry and Hermione while sipping tea. "Oh love, are you alright, I'll kill those bastards if I ever get my hands on them." Remus and Sirius appeared to agree wholeheartedly with those sentiments and were more than willing to render Xeno assistance in this endeavour.

Luna found herself comforting her father. "Dad I'm fine, Draco loosened one button before Harry blasted him into a wall. Hermione then made sure he wouldn't be bothering anyone again for a very long time, if ever! I actually heard a crunch as her foot connected with his equipment, she may have just ended the Malfoy line!"

Xeno was hugging his daughter while his expression towards Harry and Hermione conveyed his eternal gratitude more clearly than words ever could. There are simply not enough words in any language to communicate a father's feelings towards the people who saved his little girl from being forcibly violated.

Luna's tea had contained a mild calming draft so she was able to convey the entire morning to her father. She had just finished when an irate Dobby informed them that there were aurors at the door demanding Harry surrender himself for the attempted murder of Draco Malfoy.

The sense of disbelief was total, until Hermione's anger broke the stunned silence. "Tell them to piss off Dobby."

Before anyone could contradict her, the now grinning elf popped off to complete his assigned task. He returned a minute later, accompanied by Barchoke.

"Filius floo-called me and I can honestly say I've never seen him angrier. It would appear that young Mr Malfoy has multiple broken bones combined with internal injuries and a crushed groin, he must have hit that wall with considerable force."

"Not hard enough," grumbled Xeno.

"The three pure bloods are claiming after you publicly humiliated Malfoy this morning, Miss Lovegood was used as bait to entice them into that toilet where they were violently ambushed. They're also claiming Professor Flitwick was confounded by you to see what you wanted him to see."

Harry was livid, "It's the same shit his godfather Snape spouted at the summer that was going to see Sirius get kissed, the bastards probably think it worked before so why not again!"

"The incident is being portrayed as three well respected pureblood wizards being victimised by a half blood with delusions of grandeur and his muggle born girlfriend. The hapless Lovegood girl being nothing more than an unwitting accomplice."

"What's Dumbledore doing about this?" Sirius asked.

Barchoke's answer surprised them. "Absolutely nothing! Our best guess is that he's waiting for Harry to be in deep trouble then come to his rescue, citing that only by you being made his legal ward will he be able to oversee you properly. At the moment you're all perfectly safe as this is considered goblin soil, they cannot enter without being invited and I also brought another twenty guards in case they considered just the two you had an invitation. No one but Harry can make portkeys that pass through the wards with Dobby and Winky the only elves granted access, anyone else has to come through the front door."

Hermione gasped, "Harry, my mum and dad! We need to contact them right away."

It was Luna who explained the situation to the confused adults. "Harry made them portkeys and Dumbledore has already cast a spell on her dad, do you think he would hesitate to repeat that crime to get in here?"

"Wait, we may have the answer." Sirius bounded off his seat and raced up the stair, returning a minute later and handing Harry a small wrapped parcel. "Barchoke kindly got these out my vault, they belonged to your father and me. I was going to give you his then we could always talk to each other."

The parcel contained two mirrors, about five inches by three inches, Sirius took one and called for Dobby. "Give this to one of Hermione's parents when they're alone and tell them to say 'Harry Potter' into the mirror."

It was less than five minutes later that Harry felt the mirror vibrate in his hand, Sirius instructed him to say 'accept' and Emma Granger's face appeared in the mirror.

"Harry, How is this possible? Is everything alright?"

"Everyone's fine Emma, I'll hand you over to Hermione and she'll explain it."

As Hermione was talking to her mother, Sirius couldn't resist a jibe at his godson. "Emma? On first name terms already Harry? You don't half work fast with the ladies."

"Just my natural charm Sirius, something you obviously know nothing about!" This cracked Remus up.

"So you want us to return the portkey things love?" Emma asked after hearing the story and asking at least half a dozen times if Hermione was sure she was alright.

"No mum, I want you and dad to come straight here as soon as you finish work. Do not go home, just say your pass code and the portkey will bring you here. Dobby can fetch anything you need from the house. Even without knowing about the portkeys, they might try and use both of you to force Harry and me to come out."

Emma had to go as she had a couple of patients to treat then they would be along to see her, with a 'mirror off' they hung-up and went back to discussing how they were going to handle this situation.

It was less than ten minutes later though when the Grangers appeared, still in their dentist garb, and holding hands. "Hermione some men turned up and said you were in trouble, they demanded that we go with them immediately. Your father took my hand and activated his portkey ring to get both of us out of there."

Harry chuckled, "Oh I wish I could have seen their faces as Mr Granger shouted 'pureblood bigots' at them before disappearing."

Dan was also chuckling, "If were going to be staying here you should call me Dan. It also might help if you told everyone that was my activation code, it had to be something I wouldn't say by mistake."

Hermione handled the introductions, her parents had no trouble believing Sirius was innocent after their own treatment by wizards in the last few days. With the elves providing more refreshments the Grangers joined the brainstorming session but Sal was now hissing so loud everyone could hear it.

"What's he saying Harry?" Hermione asked.

"Both rings want me to take control of Hogwarts and force the situation to conclusion. It's not that I disagree with them, I just want to ensure the decision is mine. We need to see what our options are but I can't really see any alternatives. Does anyone disagree that Lucius Malfoy has the minister in his pocket and with Dumbledore playing his own game only in Hogwarts will we be safe. The showdown is coming and at the moment we can dictate the place and time, I think this is what we need to do."

Luna had an idea. "Daddy, when will the issue about Sirius be ready?"

Xeno guessed what his daughter was thinking. "If I could get some help with the presses and dispatching, I could have it ready for the morning…"

"I don't want Luna leaving here!" Harry butted in, "She was in danger because she's our friend, I think she should stay here for now."

"Harry, that could have happened to me at any time and who would have believed loony Lovegood. Instead I had friends rescue me and kick their arses, well Hermione kicked some other bits but you get the picture. This isn't your fault Harry. Draco is an animal who's been taught all his life that whatever he wants is his for the taking, with no consequences to be paid because he's a Malfoy. You humiliated him this morning and his father will be using this to protect the Malfoy name. Even Lucius must see how much of a prick Draco is but he's a Malfoy so the wizarding world has to be made to respect him, that's what this is all about."

"Ok so we need to take down Malfoy Snr and Jr, Dumbledore with all those titles and probably the minister as well. Any ideas?" Harry was smiling until Sal started hissing at him, "Sal says I should definitely have been a Slytherin with ambition like that but reckons I'll need Gryffindor's courage to pull it off!"

Remus offered to help Xeno any way he could and Barchoke insisted on providing a dozen goblin guards to ensure they were not disturbed in there work. That article should give Fudge something else to think about.

"Now the best way to get everyone where we want them is to tell them where I'll be, Dobby what's the situation like outside?"

"Only one step away from a battle, the aurors are being put under pressure to arrest you and Miss Moine."

"Tell them we will both be at breakfast in the great hall tomorrow, that should ease the tension a bit." A lot of people tried to say something but Harry held up his hand. "This is going to happen so let's do it where there are lots of witnesses and Hermione and I are protected. They will try and ambush us before we get there but only McGonagall, and now Flitwick know we can portkey into the castle. With a bit of luck most of their forces will be trapped outside and then the castle will deny them entry."

Dobby informed the Grangers that he had fetched clothes from their home for them before popping off to deliver his message. Remus and Xeno left to work on the Quibbler while Barchoke went to arrange guards for the pair, and the Grangers agreed to meet Sirius in the library after they had changed leaving the three teens to talk amongst themselves.

"I can't thank you both enough for what you did today but I still want to be there with you tomorrow as well. I am being depicted as a stupid girl who doesn't know right from wrong, I need to be there tomorrow so I can lay loony to rest once and for all."

"Luna, it will be very dangerous, Hermione and I are protected but you are not. We don't know who will be there or how they'll react and are counting heavily on Hogwarts help."

"Harry I suspect that hall will be full tomorrow so they won't start firing off curses, Dumbledore and the staff would be forced to act. I'll be in as much danger as the rest of the students, probably less as I don't intend moving more than a few inches away from you two."

Hermione hesitatingly asked, "Harry, could Luna get a ring that protects her as well?" She knew instantly she'd asked the wrong thing as he couldn't hide the hurt in his eyes.

"That ring only offers protection because of the way I feel about you Hermione. Without that, it's just another ring. I'm really sorry Luna but I just don't feel that way about you, you're my friend."

Luna kissed him on the cheek. "Harry I'm very happy with that, but I'm still going to be by your side tomorrow." She left as they both clearly needed to talk.

"When this is all over you can give me the ring back if you want, I know I sprung the whole situation on you and will understand."

"Harry, I'm sorry. I got so entangled in Luna's safety I wasn't thinking for a moment there, but listen very carefully because I have no intention of repeating myself. The only way you're getting this ring back is when you replace it with an engagement ring, understand?" Knowing that with Harry, actions always spoke louder than words she proceeded to reinforce that message by kissing him senseless. Totally ignoring the fact that her parents and Sirius were in their home, sometimes you just had to go with your feelings.

-oOoOo-

Albus sat in his office and thought he was in a no-lose position here. Should Harry find himself in serious trouble, he had the legislation in place to have his Lordship revoked and the lad placed in his care. Albus had no intention of pulling any strings to rescue Miss Granger from her fate.

In the unlikely event of Harry somehow escaping the situation, he could claim that his hands were tied as Lucius Malfoy controlled the minister. Albus tried not to think about that outcome too much as that achievement would place the boy almost out with his grasp.

No, Albus focused on the positive. He was sure that by this time tomorrow night, Harry would be once more ensconced in Gryffindor tower. Preferably without Miss Granger and free from all outside influence, once more his was the only voice Harry would be listening to.

The old wizard was so wrapped up in his own plots he couldn't sense the aroma of revolution that was in the air, and Hogwarts had no intention of informing the old git of what was brewing.

When Harry had asked Dobby to 'tell them' the little elf had outdone himself. He took 'them' to mean McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout, Ginny and the twins, Neville, Susan, Hannah, Cedric, Tracy and Daphne before informing the aurors. There were heated meetings throughout the castle that Hogwarts herself was making sure the headmaster knew nothing about.

Staffroom

Filius was incensed, "If they arrest those children tomorrow for saving Miss Lovegood from being raped, then this will be my last night in this castle. When the Malfoy's rule Britain then it's time for me to leave."

Septima Vector wasn't so sure, "Can you say for definite that the girl was about to be raped Filius?"

"Well Septima, Crabbe and Goyle were holding the struggling girl by the arms as Malfoy was loosening her clothing while promising to make this a regular occurrence before Potter blasted him. If you can offer another explanation for those circumstances then I for one am willing to listen. There is not one shred of doubt in my mind that I participated in a rescue mission today."

Flitwick's description hardened everyone's attitude, though some like McGonagall didn't need it. "I have already written my letter of resignation and, should my Gryffindors be arrested for saving their friend, I will ram it right down the old bastard's throat!"

Pomona nodded in agreement. "As long as you leave room in there for mine Minerva. That boy has saved the school twice while Albus sat on his bony arse, now Harry's going to be abandoned to his fate because he had the audacity to stop that little shit Draco from raping a young girl. I will not be party to that!"

Gryffindor common room

Ron sat in a corner while the other three members of his family and all his year mates whipped the entire house up into a frenzy. In some part of his brain he recognised that he should be up there leading the whole thing as the evil Slytherin scum tried to escape their punishment by blaming two heroic Gryffindors. The same part of his mind screamed at him that, but for his stupid jealousy he would have been standing beside them today as they took care of the aforementioned scum.

Neither Harry nor Hermione had even glanced in his direction before disappearing with Flitwick to save Luna, that he had missed a chance to play the hero hurt Ron more than any punishment meted out by McGonagall or his mum could. The realisation that without Potter, Ron was just a no-friend nonentity was a bitter potion to swallow. He may have been in Potter's shadow but even shadows got to be in the light occasionally.

The decision that Gryffindor house would stand with two of their own was never in any doubt, if they wanted to take them from the great hall they would soon discover that Harry and Hermione had every wand in Gryffindor guarding their backs.

Hufflepuff common room

Puffs were notorious for their level-headed thinking and being slow to anger, earning them the unjust title of plodders. There was nothing plodding about the passion being displayed at the moment as Susan Bones rallied the house. "We can't allow this to proceed unchallenged, it's time for this house to stand up and be counted and I can't think of a more important issue than this. Not only must we protest the arrest of the innocents but, if Malfoy gets away with this there will not be a girl in the castle who's safe. This place is dangerous enough without removing its protector and unleashing the Slytherins to pick us off one at a time."

Hufflepuffs decision was finalised when Cedric stood and proclaimed, "I stand with Harry!"

Ravenclaw common room

Although not contacted directly, the fact that Harry and Hermione would be turning up tomorrow at breakfast spread through the school quicker than a dose of dragon pox. Roger Davies was one angry Ravenclaw as he ranted and raved at his housemates.

"Today I was embarrassed to be a Ravenclaw. Walking around the school with a badge declaring 'Bullying is Stupid' and then find out one of our own had to be saved by a couple of Gryffindors – again!"

"She's not one of us, loony left remember."

"Shut-up Cho, if anyone deserves kicked out of Ravenclaw it's you and your clique. My young sister starts here next year and now faces being bullied in her dorm with raped in the hallways as an additional extra if that little shit Malfoy gets away with this. What are these badges going to proclaim tomorrow, Ravenclaw's are cowards? I for one am going to stand for what's right, I stand with Harry Potter!"

There was never going to be total agreement but well over half declared their intention to follow Roger's lead.

Slytherin forth year girl's dorm

"So we're agreed? This can't be allowed to happen, if Draco gets away with this we would be next." Tracy said .

Millicent partially agreed with that assessment. "Well you and Daphne would be, I am probably destined to be Crabbe and Goyle's plaything. Not a future I had envisioned for myself."

Daphne was not alone shuddering from revulsion. "Even the thought of any of them touching my body makes me want to vomit, what can we do about it though?"

"We can see how many Slytherin girls agree with us, let's split up and canvas the other year groups." The other two agreed with Tracy and left to try and determine exactly where the female population of their house stood, a situation that would have been unthinkable even a few weeks ago.

Albus sat sipping his cocoa, so intensely focused on securing control of Harry again that he was totally oblivious to the school rapidly slipping away from him.

-oOoOo-

Dan Ganger lay awake in the luxurious bed with his wife snuggled in his arms, sleep would be a rare commodity tonight. His little princes was walking straight into the lions den tomorrow and there was nothing her parents could do about it. They themselves were now prisoners, confined here until this situation was resolved. The only reason he was not tearing his hair out in anguish was the young man who would be at her side, talking to Sirius had really opened their eyes towards Harry.

Sirius had been understandably emotional when he was describing how he was steeling himself to face death when the two kids had turned up to rescue him. This gave them even more insight into the bond between Harry and Hermione, though they could have done without the graphic description of what a Dementor was.

These kids had faced horrors they couldn't imagine, in the case of Dementors they couldn't even bloody see! Dan felt the dampness seep through his pyjama top where his wife's silent tears soaked into the material. All he could do was hold her tighter and pray that the castle's protection would be enough. He had no words of comfort for her, meaningless platitudes didn't work with the Granger woman and in this situation he had nothing else. For at least the millionth time he wondered what would have happened had he obeyed his first instinct and told that strange woman called McGonagall to piss off four years ago!

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