Training and Confrontations


Story Summary:
A sprawling tale set in many places and dimensions, as Harry finds himself, finds his abilities grow, and trains for that final confrontation with Voldemort. A H/L/Hr tale, with N/G, R/T, and a paternal Ron.

Chapter 39

Chapter Summary:
A sprawling tale set in many places and dimensions, as Harry finds himself, finds his abilities growing, and trains for that final confrontation with Voldemort. A H/L/Hr tale, with N/G, Remus/T, and a paternal Ron. Part IV (Chapters 35-44) goes from the start of the New Year through the end of June.
Author's Note:
The start of Easter break at the Burrow, two visitors to Hogwarts

Chapter XXXIX

The Valentine Dance and Party partially satisfied the students' desires for something different. Once it was over, they had to make the haul to the short Easter break, which started on March 22.

For the Fifth and Seventh years, O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s were coming uncomfortably close. They knew that this period was their last decent shot at mastering any basics. The rest of the term would be devoted to learning any new material and mastering overviews of their subjects. Even Luna and Ginny, easily standing first and second on that year's material and first and third in all the reviews, were starting to get a trifle nervous. The Sixth years looked at the Fifth years with superior attitudes, and at the Seventh years with fear. Most of the younger students were not really cognizant of the upper year concerns.

On top of these academic activities, the DA continued to meet every Sunday. Harry was keeping the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh years behind an extra half hour. Even though the dementors had deserted Voldemort, Harry thought as many upper year students as possible should master the Patronus. He did not trust the dementors. Since the students were by now aware that extra credit could be gained on the O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s with a Patronus, not one complained.

Quidditch practice had also started up for all Houses. Katie had tried to see if Harry had any interest in replacing her the following year, but he quickly turned her down. More surprising to everyone, Ron had turned her down as well. As much as he loved Quidditich, as much as he desired to shine, as much as he still secretly hoped for a Quidditich career, Ron had decided he had to really plan for a career, most likely in the Ministry. He had a son to take care of, and a girl friend he was slowly getting very serious with.

Ron therefore was putting more into his course work than he had at any time before at Hogwarts (other than the very end of the O.W.L. reviews). Ron stood first in the Ministry Prep course and very high in Care, Defense, Charms, and the 'Living with Muggles' course (Hermione put extra time in tutoring him in the last two). He was doing poorly in Divination, so he had swallowed his pride and had Luna tutor him. So, as much as Ron would like to have been the captain in his last year, he figured he had to put all his spare time into his classes, his practice as keeper, and of course his work helping Harry and doing his combat training.

Ron had suggested Ginny. She would have two years as captain, she had few clear career plans, and, Ron hoped, Voldemort would be taken care of before Ginny left Hogwarts. Ginny had little time to help Katie, but she managed to spare just enough so that she could get a feel for being captain.

Ron, Hermione, Harry, and Neville had thought they would have a little more free time than they had planned on the previous summer. They were scheduled for the spring Apparation class, but had of course been taught in Rushak.

Madam Hooch had not cared. She made them show up a week before the class started in mid-March, tested them rigorously, and then made them her assistants. They would also partially serve as security once the practical part of the class started in mid-April. Since it was not possible to apparate within the Hogwarts' grounds, the practical portion of the class was done just outside the gates, on the road to Hogsmeade.

There was no news on Voldemort or his twenty-four known followers. It was as if they had disappeared from the planet. Dumbledore and others with contacts in the parallel worlds found no signs of them on any of those worlds, either. No one in the 'know' had any doubt that Voldemort would be heard from on June 30. They simply could not believe he would stay quiet, or could stay hidden, until then.

Saturday, March 22, 1997

Harry had never taken the train, other than at the start or end of term. Although Harry had to admit he was not always aware of what most of the other students did, even he had noticed that few students usually left on the short Easter break. This year, there were no Seventh years leaving, and Luna and Ginny were the only two Fifth years. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Tracy, and Justin Finch-Fletchley were the only Sixth years. The numbers picked up for the Fourth years and under, but even then only forty-two of them were leaving.

Justin, who had made the trip every year except for the last one and the year he had been petrified, said that this was the largest group he had seen go. Ron speculated that having had no Hogsmeade weekends contributed to the higher number of Third and Fourth years leaving, which at least seemed plausible.

Also unusually, Remus, Tonks, and Moody were traveling with the train, for extra protection. Moody had some research to do in London that afternoon, while Luna, Hermione, Remus, and Tonks would be staying in the Lovegood cottage on the other side of Ottery St. Catchpole. The girls would spend of their days at the Burrow. All the teens would spend some time in the Lovegood cottage, tutoring Luna and Ginny for the O.W.L.s, since the Burrow again had two resident youngsters who loved playing loudly. Harry was not happy that he would likely be spending his nights at the Burrow, but could hardly argue the point with either Mrs. Weasley or Mister Lovegood.

Six members of the octet apparated to the Lovegood cottage from the train station. From there, Harry and Ginny apparated over to the Burrow with Tonks. Tonks stayed only long enough to make certain the house was secure, and popped back to the Lovegoods'.

Unfortunately for Tracy, she was just learning how to apparate. Therefore, she and Ron made their way through the crowded platform along with Bill, who had come to meet them and had just shrunk and pocketed their luggage.

"Why don't we floo?" Tracy asked, looked around the Muggle area between platforms 9 and 10. There were fireplaces set back onto Platform 9 3/4, and nearly all Pure Blood families and many others who were connected to the floo network used those. That was especially true for those who lived far outside of London.

"You know, I never thought to ask," Ron said. "We've just always done it this way."

"I did, too, for the longest while," Bill admitted. "At first, I thought it was because the Platform floo is the only tolled floo exit in Britain." He looked at Tracy. "In a large family, even a Sickle toll should be saved on."

Ron flushed from embarrassment, but Bill went on. "Then I realized that it cost a lot more to get here the Muggle way than it would by paying the toll. Then, one day, it hit me."

"What did?" Tracy asked. "Or I guess I should ask, what was the answer?"

"You do know what our father does, don't you?"

"I know he works in the Ministry, and was some kind of department head. Of course I know that he was just named Senior Secretary of the MLES and a Permanent Member of the Advisory Council by Minister Bones last month," she answered.

"Dad worked in the Misuse of Magical Artifacts Office," Ron said grumpily. "It's the smallest Office in the MLES."

"True," Bill agreed as they exited the station. "For whatever reason, as Pure-Blooded as Dad is, he has always been fascinated with Muggles and their technology. Still, he never got to actually mingle with Muggles very much. He never really learned how, very well. We made the trip the Muggle way, even though it cost so much in terms of time and money, because it allowed Dad to interact with Muggles, and allowed us to do the same."

"Oh . . . that makes sense," Tracy said, a bit of doubt in her voice.

"It does to Dad, anyway," Bill said with a smile. "Now, we're not going to have to do that." He suddenly got very serious. "I would have arranged for us to floo, but you do know that we're real targets in this war? That all of us, and therefore you by extension, are under threat?"

"I do," Tracy admitted. "That scares me more than a bit. Have you ever had a run-in with a dementor?"

"I was a field curse breaker in Egypt," Bill said, "I've run into just about everything, including dementors."

"Do you know about the attack in Hogsmeade last October?"

Bill nodded.

"A dementor was just starting to reach for me when Harry somehow destroyed them. I was so scared and so relieved, I started crying right there. I was three feet from a fate worse than death. I'm not likely to get any closer than that and survive. I've made my choices, just like you have. It just took me a bit longer."

"Fair enough," Bill agreed, leading them down into an Underground Station. "Anyway, we couldn't floo from the platform, because our floo is both password and blood protected. We couldn't really shout out the code word, and it takes a few hours to reset it. We're going to my flat, and we're flooing from there."

"Is Fleur coming?" Ron asked.

"She's already there," Bill said, rolling his eyes. "Her mum sent over a huge parchment of wedding suggestions. Fleur's talking them over with Mum." He leaned over to Ron as the first train come thundering to a halt. "She's obviously never done anything like this. Help her!"

Tracy's eyes were indeed very wide, at the small crowd, at the loud noise, and just about everything else. Ron put an arm around her, and led her into the train.

"Ginny, dear, may I speak with you?" Molly asked sweetly. Harry quickly fled up to Ron's room.

"Yes?" Ginny asked suspiciously.

"I had hoped SOMEONE would have told me SOMETHING about Ron's guest," Molly stated in a slightly offended tone. "Since no one has, tell me about her."

"Such as?"

"I never heard you or Ron mention her before. Is she a Fourth year? A Ravenclaw? A Hufflepuff?"

"Actually, she's a Sixth year Slytherin."


"Mum! I never thought you'd have any House prejudices!"

"I don't!" Mrs. Weasley stated firmly. "However, I have never heard a good word about any of the Slytherins in Ron's year."

"True," Ginny admitted. "She very quiet, very smart. She did go along with some of the harassment of Harry, especially during the Tri-Wizard Tournament, but Hermione said that she did the least. Her best friend and her best friend's boyfriend didn't do much either, and they're the Slytherin prefects for the year, replacing that Death Eating cow and Malfoy."

"What does the scion of the Malfoys have to say about it?"

"Well, nobody is bothering her about it," Ginny allowed.

"What's her background? I don't know any Davis family."

"Her family's been working in the butterbeer co-op for a few generations," Ginny answered simply.

Molly made a sound that was not quite a growl of dissatisfaction.

"Luna trusts her," Ginny said firmly, "and that means the rest of us do, too."

"What does she look like? What does she act like? Anything like. . . ." Molly lowered her voice, "Sirius' mother?"

"No, not at all. She's rather quiet, actually." Ginny frowned. "Remember when Hermione was trying to explain what Muggles thought Pixies and Brownies look like?"

Molly nodded.

"That's Tracy, right down to the hair cut. She's almost as short as I am, and a lot thinner, with light brown hair, hazel eyes, and, usually, a wide, bright smile. And, best of all. . . ."


"She nursed a crush on Ron for two years."

"And learning about Sirius didn't dampen her crush?"

Ginny shrugged. "She wasn't happy about it. I believe she had some strong words about how slow their relationship was going to go."

"I should hope so!"

At that moment, two sets of feet came thundering down the stairs. "Aunt Ginny!" Sirius and Rosie cried and they leapt at her, knocking her to the ground.

"Children!" Molly scolded, "Your Aunt Ginny is not the twins. You shouldn't jump on anyone, and you certainly shouldn't BOTH jump on someone!" She smiled. "Other than the twins, of course."

"Sorry, Grandmum," they both said, "Sorry, Aunt Ginny."

"I take it your Uncle Harry woke the pair of you," Molly said with a sigh.

"He tried to be quiet!" Rosie said. "The ghoul heard him and threw some boxes."

"And that startled me, and I fell on the steps," Harry confessed, appearing. The two children ran to him, but were more careful than they had been with Ginny.

"No stick?" Sirius asked.

Harry looked confused for a moment, then said, "No, I don't need the walking stick. I'm better." To prove the point, Harry stood, picking Sirius up, tossing him into the air, and catching him with an easy motion.

"Don't frighten him, Harry," Molly warned.

"What, frighten a Weasley by flight?" Harry asked, exaggerating his shock at the very idea.

"Well," Molly allowed, "there's always a first time."

Rosie lifted her arms up, and Harry picked her up as well.

"Where's Daddy?" Sirius demanded.

"Your father, Uncle Bill, and your father's friend Tracy will be along soon," Ginny promised, relieving Harry of her nephew. "Let's get you cleaned up. I swear, you're just like your father and Uncle Fred. No one else can get dirty taking a nap!"

"I don't get dirty, 'cept when I wanna," Rosie stated, sticking her tongue out at Sirius as he was swept by. Sirius returned the salute.

"Actually, Charlie could, too," Molly commented, setting the dishes out on the enlarged table with a flick of her wand.

"What's cooking, Mother Weasley," Harry asked.

"Get away from that stove!" Molly ordered. "Rosie's hair is so long it could catch."

Harry scowled, but did as he was ordered. "Where's Mister Weasley?" Harry asked to distract himself, "and who all is coming?"

"Arthur should be here soon," Molly said with a nod at the clock. The hands for Mr. Weasley, Bill, and Ron were all on 'Traveling'. "Fleur is in the parlor. We've been going over some of her mother's wedding plans."

"It's still going to be at the chateaux, isn't it?" Harry asked.

"Of course!" Molly said. "I suppose the only wedding that might ever be here will be Ginny's."

Harry was glad that thread was snapped by the arrival of Arthur Weasley.


A short time after the extended Weasley family sat down to dinner, two figures popped into existence in front of the gate to Hogwarts. Each had a hand on an empty beer bottle, which one placed next to the stone gate post.

"I still can't believe we're doing this," the older man growled.

"You don't have to," the younger one said. "I do thank you for making the portkey."

The older man made a face.

"Look," the younger one said, "do you really what to be on the run for the rest of your life?"

"No, but I don't want to be in Azkaban again, either, even if they don't allow any dementors back."

"That's why we're here, and not approaching a ministry official. Now, here are the new security guards."

"What do you two want?" a young wizard demanded.

"We would like to see the headmaster," the older wizard stated.

"You don't have an appointment," the young wizard demanded. The older stanger rolled his eyes.

"Look," the younger stranger said, "there are two of you. We'll give one of you two our wands. He can then go in and tell Professor Dumbledore that Julian Commodore and Augustus Castle would like to see him. I assure you, he will want to see us."

The young guard looked behind him to his backup, some ten meters away. The other guard nodded. The first held out his hand, and the two strangers handed over their wands. The first guard then retreated towards the castle. The second moved slightly back, keeping his wand out and his eye on them.

"Amateurs," the older wizard muttered. "I could have taken both of them. Merlin, even you could have taken either of them."

"I might have been able to at that," the younger man said equally softly. "And while I'm sure you could have taken both of these guards, if you haven't noticed, there are at least four more with wands pointed at us."

"There are?"

"There are. There could be others, too."

"Well then, I don't feel quite so foolish in giving up."

"Well, well, well, who have we here?" came a voice from behind them. The two men turned and saw it was Alastor Moody. "Augustus Rookwood and Julian Malfoy. Interesting."

"Mister Moody," the security guard said in a warning voice.

"Quite right, lad. I shall stand here, my hands in plain view, until back up arrives. These two already give up their wands?"

"Yes, sir. Carl took them into the castle with him. These two, the younger one said their names were Julian Commodore and Augustus Castle."

"Aye, the headmaster could identify them from those names," Moody agreed. "What's the story, Rookwood? Rats deserting the ship? You both seemed awfully enthusiastic for the cause last summer."

"We've both learned a lot about what 'the cause' actually meant," Julian said drily. "We're surrendering to bring information."

"You're surrendering because you hope to save your necks!"

"I've never killed anyone," Julian said, still using a mild tone of voice.

"No, you only led Death Eaters to their victims and buggered a fifteen year old."

"I assure you, he offered his arse to me."

Moody spat on the ground and then looked at Rookwood. "And I suppose you're going to claim full innocence, too."

"Well, you never convicted me of murder the first time, and I certainly haven't killed anyone since," Rookwood said simply.

"You must think have something important," Moody growled.

"We do," Julian said. "What we both have is important. What I alone have is nearly as important. I'm sure he has something unique as well."

"We'll see," Moody growled, seeing Dumbledore emerging from the castle with two of the security guards. "We'll just have to see."