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 42

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:
Two attacks on the Apparation class are made, and the basis of the Final Plan is set.

Chapter XLII

It was a glorious Friday afternoon in late May. The Apparation class made its way outside and towards the road to Hogsmeade. There were forty-two Sixth year students and three Seventh years in the class, and this was their final class.

About half the class was in a good mood, as they had picked up on apparation easily. The other half was a bit more tentative, but still more assured than such classes usually were. Madam Hooch had decided to ask for student volunteers to help the following year. Having Potter, Granger, Weasley, and Longbottom there to help out had made all the difference.

Harry looked down the road. He, Neville, and Ron would apparate down a quarter mile, and act as security. Two of the security wizards were usually with them, but they were investigating a small fire in the Forbidden Forest, in the opposite direction.

Harry thought of those missing wizards as he looked down towards a hill he would have to apparate behind. He caught movement behind the bushes on this hill. "Everyone!" Harry ordered, "Drop!"

At that moment, twelve hexes flew into the group, hitting six of the students. "Neville, shield!" Harry commanded.

"What are your orders?" Ron asked.

"I have shields up, and an anti-disapparation ward over them," Harry replied. "That means I can't go on offence. We can't afford to apparate behind my ward, because they might have reinforcements on the other side of the hill."


"Neville and I will keep our shields up. Get Hermione over to the right to guard from that direction, then see if Madam Hooch can take some people and escort them and anyone injured back into the castle. If she does, pick six people who weren't hurt and we'll take them out. Try Ernie and Justin first. And send Dean, Susan, and Malfoy up if they're not hurt."


Ron scooted away.

"Harry, three of them are creeping up on us," Neville warned.

"I see them. Let 'em crawl. We'll take them out first."

"What did you want, Potter?" Malfoy asked, coming up beside Harry. "I take it that's your shield that's flaring from all those hexes?"

"Mine and Neville's at the moment. Hermione will guard the group from the right. Neville has the left. I can just barely do three things. First is the shield, second is the anti-disapparation ward. If you'll let me tap into your magic, I can lay down an anti-portkey ward, too."

"What will that do to me?"

"It will make you dizzy, and if they over-run the attack group, you'll get you easily."

"You mean if they over-run you, they'll get me."


Malfoy hesitated. "What else?"

"You won't be able to do anything but breathe and think, unless I stop, I'm knocked out, or I'm killed."

"Why me?"

"Because other than Hermione, you have the strongest version of the right kind of magic, and I need Hermione on the right flank."

"How do you know that?"

"I can read magic." Seeing the look on Malfoy's face, Harry added. "Yes, it's something new. Just believe me. Now decide."

Malfoy hesitated again. "Alright. Go ahead."

A few seconds after Harry had the anti-portkey ward up, Ron scooted back with Ernie, Justin, Dean, Susan, Blaise, Anthony, and Hannah in tow. "Dean, take eight or nine people and follow Ron and his group. Lay down fire as Ron directs. Ron will be taking his group out to flank the attackers while I'm defending and you're taking them on head on."


"Go, and hurry back."

"Right," Dean said, leaving.

"Ron, as soon as Dean gets back, get going. They're trying to apparate out, and they've tried to portkey as well. Pretty soon, their only options will be to attack head on or run for it."

"I'm ready."

"Susan, split whoever is left into helping anyone hurt and into another group ready to cover any retreat, in case we need it."

"Right." Susan left.

"Did anyone run?" Harry asked.

"No. Tracy, Daphne, Millicent, and Goyle went with Madam Hooch, taking the . . . well, the injured."

"Who were?"

"Su Li, Megan Jones, Mandy Brocklehurst, Terry Boot, and Sally-Ann Perks. They were all alive."


"Here comes Dean," Ron said. "Let's go!"

Dean had Morag McDougal, Seamus, Lavender, Parvati, Padma, Michael Corner, Stephen Cornfoot, and Kevin Entwhistle with him. The two groups moved forward.

Harry could feel the attackers trying time after time to disapparate. He was surprised that none had splinched themselves. Harry was a bit frustrated, since he would have preferred to take on the attackers himself. Harry steeled himself; he knew quite well that this was the best way to handle the attack. This was not about his ego.

Harry was therefore able to hold his shield and wards. He was also able to tolerate the slight whimpering of Draco, in a fetal position on the ground. "Hold on, Draco," Harry said, "Ron, Hannah, and Ernie are laying down hexes, and the rest of his group are beyond my shield. Dean's group already has taken at three of them out."

Draco moaned a bit.

"It hurts a little, doesn't it? That's your magic, streaming out of you. It's a good thing it's Friday. It might take a day or two for your power to return in full, but don't worry, it will fully return."

"Does it . . . hurt you?" Draco asked through gritted teeth.

"It's more like a painful stress and strain, not a sharp pain," Harry replied. "Ah, Blaise and Justin have them out-flanked." He paused for nearly two minutes, and then raised the wards.

"I think you should ask someone else if there's a next time," Draco said from the ground.

"It didn't hurt as much as one second of the Cruciatus," Harry pointed out.

"How do you know?" Draco snarled.

"Voldemort used it on me the night he was brought back," Harry answered simply.

"Well, there's something I wish I didn't share with you," Draco admitted as he stood up. "Shall we see if we know any of them?"

"Let's." He turned around. "Neville! Find out where the staff is! Hermione, come on! The rest of you! Stay here, just in case it's a trap!"

"Were you hexed, Draco?" Hermione asked as they set out.

"No," Draco said, almost with a snarl.

"I was borrowing some of Draco's power to lay down the anti-portkey ward," Harry said. "Since we don't really share any connections, it hurt him a lot more than it would you."

"Oh, that makes sense."

Hermione was going to say more, but Harry held up his hand. "Did you hear or feel something?" Harry asked.

"No. . . ."

Harry turned back to where Ron, Dean, and their groups were bringing the captured attackers towards them. Ron was hurrying them along.

"What is it?" Harry asked.

"I don't know," Ron acknowledged. "It's a sort of vibration in the ground."

Harry's eyes went wide. "Get everyone inside the wards, NOW!"

"What is it?" Hermione asked as Ron jumped to obey.

"Who's the fastest runner we have?" Harry asked.

"Probably Dean or Blaise," Hermione said.

"I'm fast," Draco said.

"Can you sprint to Hagrid's?" Harry asked.

"I don't know if I can do a flat out sprint, but I can run it," Draco said. "Why?"

"Run and tell Hagrid we're about to be visited by some of his relatives."

Draco frowned, and then for the first time he felt the ground tremble, like Harry and Ron already had. "Giants?"

"Giants. Run!" Draco sprinted off.

"Has anyone learned any of the giant dialects in Runes and Languages?" Harry asked.

"No," Hermione answered. "That's a Seventh year subject."

"Get behind the wards, Hermione," Harry said.

"I am not leaving you, Harry," Hermione stated.

"Hermione, you don't have the power to face a giant. I do. And, if I can't stand them down, I will apparate to behind them and attack from the back. We need all the firepower we can get at the ward boundaries."

"Be careful," Hermione said after a second's hesitation, before running.

Harry turned around, and caught a glimpse of what looked at first like a moving treetop. A moment later, the fuzzy treetop resolved itself into a misshapen head. With two steps, the giant stood atop the hill, less than two hundred meters away from Harry's somewhat forward position. The Hogwarts' wards started a bit less than fifty meters behind him.

Four other giants, slightly smaller than the first, stepped to the top of the hill as well, filling the space and crushing the bushes. The four giants on the wings looked at the center one, who was the tallest. Harry decided that one was likely the chief of the war party, the Gurg.

The four giants kept looking at their Gurg. Harry looked at the Gurg. The Gurg looked at Harry. Harry was not about to attack first. While he knew he was in great potential danger, he knew it was possible that these five giants turning up after an attack was a coincidence. Not a highly probable one, but still a possible one. It would not do to attack first until Harry was certain.

The Gurg grunted something. One of the giants started to look around, turning around and bending over the backside of the hill. Then the giant straightened up and threw a rock slightly larger than Harry's head straight at Harry.

Harry flicked his wand and the rock exploded. While that was happening, the other three supporting giants had also picked up rocks, and flung them.

Harry easily destroyed the projectiles. Then, he simply stood there, staring at the Gurg.

Then the Gurg started to laugh.

It was far from a pleasant sound, and Harry saw that the other four giants did not join in. The Gurg stepped down off the hill in three careful strides, and the other giants followed, but only after picking up more large rocks.

The Gurg slowed after a hundred meters, and stopped thirty meters in front of Harry. The other four were in a 'V' behind him. "Who you, little wizard?" the Gurg yelled.

For some reason, Harry was tempted to yell back 'Jack', but instead amplified his voice and said, "I am Harry Potter. Why are you here, Gurg of the giants?" Closer, Harry saw that the Gurg and three of the giants were male. The Gurg was some 23 feet tall, the other three about 20-21 feet. The fourth was a female, and seemed younger than the males. She was about 18 feet tall.

Harry had never seen a female giant, and he saw she looked a bit more human than the male giants or Hagrid's brother. Harry had wondered how Hagrid's father, a rather shortish wizard, could have brought himself to have 'relations' with a female giant. While Harry did not think this one in any way attractive, at least he now understood how it could be possible.

The Gurg pointed at himself. "Gurg, Gwsloop tribe." He spread his arms. "All Gwsloop tribe." He pointed at each of the other giants. "Brother, sons, daughter." Harry understood that to mean that this small family group was now the entire Gwsloop tribe, and that because they were closely related, they would be the end of it.

"Daughter no fight," the Gurg said. The female made a noise, and the Gurg clubbed her to the ground with a fist to the back of her reddish-haired skull. "Daughter no fight. Gwsloop win, take Grawp for daughter. Gwsloop lose, you take daughter for Grawp."

Harry understood, but had to point out, "Do you really think you have any chance of winning?"

The Gurg laughed, and held his right hand in the air, his thumb and forefinger close together. "Little wizard."

Harry gestured behind him. "Am I the only wizard here?"

"No," the Gurg admitted. "Gwsloop no mates. Gwsloop soon gone. Gwsloop lose, Gwsloop gone. Gwsloop win, Gwsloop gone. Gwsloop accept evil wizard transport. Gwsloop fight. Daughter have little Grawp."

"That can happen anyway, even if we don't fight," Harry called out.

"Deal with evil wizard, Gwsloop fight."

"I don't want to hurt you," Harry said.

The four male giants laughed. "Little wizard," the Gurg finally said, "only a Jack can hurt giant. You a Jack, little wizard? Try and stun giant, little wizard, and show us you a Jack!"

Harry blinked at that. Then he gathered all his power, all his will, and drew what power he could from his friends and allies. "STUPIFY!" The next-largest giant blinked, and then collapsed.

"Jack?" the Gurg asked in amazement. "If little wizard stun us, little wizard may claim Kerburna."


The Gurg pointed at the female giant, "Not what. Who. Kerburna."

"I thought she was for Grawp," Harry said, a note of panic in his voice.

"That up to Jack, if you Jack. Stun sons and me or die, little wizard."

So Harry did, although it took two stunners to stun the Gurg.

Harry looked at the fallen giants, barely able to keep his wand in his hand, he was so tired. It was only when Kerburna knelt next to Harry that he even realized she was moving.

"Jack hurt giants?" she boomed.

Harry almost answered her with his voice still amplified. He negated the charm and looked up at her, ignoring the crowd gathering around him.

"No, I didn't hurt them."

"Well done, Harry," Dumbledore said from beside him.

"I think we found Grawp a girlfriend, sir," Harry said. "Can Hagrid take care of her, while you take care of moving these giants back to somewhere safe in the Urals?"

Dumbledore turned to the giant, and spoke to her in her own language. She stood, and allowed Hagrid to lead her away.

When she was out of sight, Snape asked, "Shall I dispose of these beasts, Headmaster? It would be a good opportunity to replenish some rare ingredients."

Harry and most of the students glared at Snape, who was startled by their reaction.

"That will NOT be necessary, Severus," Dumbledore said. "I shall transfer the giants." He turned to Harry. "As I said, well done. I think you should go rest, Harry."

Harry was starting to waver. "Good idea," Harry said. He felt a heavy arm around his shoulder, and let himself fall back, exhausted, and he slipped into a state that was almost sleep and almost mere total exhaustion.

"Where do you want your boy?" Millicent asked Hermione as she lifted Harry into a firm grip.

Hermione smiled and said, "If he's not too heavy, come on."

Millicent snorted. "I could carry Greg back as far the castle. I can take 'Jack' here just about as far as you want."

Snape had been only slightly surprised to learn of the attack on the apparation class. He had not thought much of the security wizards, and of course had known there was an excellent chance of another attack on Potter before the end of the school year.

Snape therefore took part in the debriefing, composed and almost serene. He was pleased to see that Potter, now awake again, had insisted that Draco be included. If there was one thing that the group around Potter lacked it was a true representative of the great Old Families. While Neville Longbottom had a longer lineage and was as much a scion of the Old Families as Draco Malfoy, Snape still partially saw Neville as he had been for four years, and Snape did not take any girl as a good representative of their families, since they had to marry out to other families. The other members of Pure Families were either from poor families like the Weasleys, at best upper middle class families like the Macmillans, or foreigners like Zabini.

It was not that Snape liked Potter any more than he had at any point over the last six years. He was still an arrogant, strutting show-off. Now that Snape barely had to ever see him, however, he could be tolerated. Snape had been worried earlier in the year, when the Boy had been displaying such amazing power. Dumbledore's assurance that the Boy would be losing much of his extra power once the Dark Lord was gone was reassuring.

Snape could therefore sit and listen to the debriefing with a slight smirk. If he thought the Gryffindors received a few too many House points for the events that afternoon, he could at least console himself with the knowledge that Slytherin had slightly outscored the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs.

At the end of the meeting, most of the large group was sent off to dinner. Snape was not certain why the Granger girl had been giving him dirty looks throughout the meeting, and now at her exit. Within a minute, he was left with the Boy, the werewolf, and the cripple, sitting in front of the Headmaster.

"Is there any reason to think that this was indeed Voldemort's last attack on Harry before the Thirtieth of June?" Remus asked.

"Of course not," Snape answered. "There is no reason to increase precautions, but I do not think it would be wise to lessen any precautions, either."

Remus sighed. "That's what I was afraid of."

Harry shrugged.

"What is it?" Moody growled.

"I know we can't let up on anything, but what I want to know is, can we find him on or before the Thirtieth?"

"Oh, you think you're perfectly ready to face the Dark Lord now, Potter?"

"MISTER POTTER," Remus and Moody snapped.

Snape displayed his trademark sneer.

"If he hadn't had a portkey last October, I would have finished him then," Harry reminded the professor. "I'm much more powerful now. That doesn't mean he couldn't beat me, or kill me, but I can beat him, just like I could free you."

Snape closed his left hand into a fist, scowling. Harry ignored that, and went on, adding, "I would rather face him now, just in case he does pull off this strengthening ceremony."

Snape admitted, if only to himself, that the Boy had a point. "But he could have the ceremony anywhere," Snape pointed out.

"He could," Harry admitted. "However, if he thought he could maximize the effect of the ceremony, especially if he hasn't gathered a dozen followers to sacrifice, would he take a chance?"

That made Snape pause and think deeply. "How big of a chance?" he finally asked.

"According to some friends of mine, the ceremony will be maximized if it is performed where he was reborn," Dumbledore said.

"It might be a trap," Moody pointed out before Snape could.

"It might," Dumbledore agreed. "I think we might have to take the risk. What do you think?"

"May I be there this time?" Snape asked.

"Yes," Dumbledore said. "We shall have a trap of our own ready at the graveyard, and also be ready to travel, if Voldemort performs the ceremony elsewhere, should we believe we can go and intercede there instead.

"Would that be likely?" Remus asked.

"Oh, yes," Dumbledore said. "Voldemort underwent many transformations in his old life. Any of the places those transformations took place are possible and some of them are accessible. Those places would reenforce the ceremony, although not to the degree of the graveyard."

With the basic plan made, the smaller group broke apart as well.