Cho Chang/Harry Potter Hermione Granger/Viktor Krum Original Female Witch/Ron Weasley
Harry Potter
Action Suspense
The Harry Potter at Hogwarts Years
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire
Published: 02/06/2003
Updated: 02/18/2003
Words: 264,404
Chapters: 34
Hits: 87,813

Harry Potter and the Flying Squad

Horst Pollmann

Story Summary:
Fifth year in Hogwarts. Even before terms start, Harry is involved in the defence against an evil attack from the Dark Forces, something which ``later will be called 'The Hogwarts Express Accident' ...``In Hogwarts, many things are different - most of all, the joining of all four``Quidditch teams in the 'Flying Squad', for patrol and exploration services.``For Harry, this looks like a path toward Cho Chang, except that - well, ``maybe this should really be left to the story itself ...``At any rate, expect Giants, Goblins, and house-elves to play their roles in ``this fic - as well as some new characters.

Chapter 05 - The Fortress

Chapter Summary:
It's the evening with the Sorting Hat ceremony and Dumbledore's announcements. The Headmaster explains not only the background of the recent attack, he also has some amazing news concerning Hogwarts and Beauxbatons.
Author's Note:
If this fic is truly English, then it's thanks to the efforts of two people:

05 - The Fortress

When the train reached Hogwarts, excited groups of students filled the platform, talking animatedly before finally walking toward the school buildings.

"Firs'-years, over here!"

The well-known voice made Harry wheel around. Hagrid!

Tired as Harry was, it took him a moment to reconstruct the way how Hagrid, whom he had seen last in the plain, could arrive earlier than the train. The teachers and Hagrid had used apparition - or portkeys - to reach Hogwarts in time before the train was due.

The scene, so perfectly normal, was somehow disorienting after the long journey.

"I walked this path every day during the last three weeks," said Harry to Ron and Hermione at his side. He pointed to the ground. "That's my portkey spot."

Ron grinned. "If you ever miss the Dursleys, you can make the same trip again."

The twins had joined their friend Lee Jordan to spread the news of their adventure. Rupert Tyrrell had done the same with his own group, after guiding young Damon to Hagrid. The dog had disappeared into the dark.

Coming closer to the school, Harry saw a figure waiting at the entrance. It was Professor McGonagall, looking strangely normal after the scene at the train track.

A voice from behind, known yet unfamiliar, called, "Harry!"

Turning, Harry saw Almyra, Cho at her side.

Almyra said, "We wanted to thank you for the protection - you and your friends. You were great."

Harry blushed. "There's no need ... Actually, we did it together. It was as if we had trained - you know, as a group."

Almyra looked pleased.

Cho said, "Yeah - sitting in cover and then running wild because the stupid Dementors wouldn't come."

When Harry didn't respond, she tried to smile, but failed, and finally shook her head. "Sorry, that wasn't a good one. Needs some ..." She cleared her throat and said, "I mean - thank you," and hurried away.

Hermione watched her leave. "That big mouth of hers ... at least she has the right friend to help shut it."

Seeing Harry's face, she added, "But she's up to it. Tough girl. Imagine, Harry, if it had been Parvati Patil."

Ron's giggles were almost hysteric.

* * *

Having reached the building, Harry, Ron, and Hermione parted to deposit their luggage, then met again in the Great Hall.

The Sorting Ceremony was due first, as usual. After each exclamation from the Sorting Hat, the new student was greeted with wild applause from the assigned house's table, while the others booed and whistled.

The Slytherins had a hard time. Every assignment to their own house received a yelling concerto. Harry felt pity for those poor newcomers who moved, head down, to their table.

Damon Harker, after being selected for Ravenclaw, gave a happy grin on his way back. His applause was the loudest because at the Gryffindor table first a small group and then, after some surprised looks, the entire table was applauding too.

When the ceremony was over, Albus Dumbledore stood up.

"Welcome to Hogwarts," he began, "after a long and eventful journey. I have quite a lot of things to announce, but as I'm sure to have a more patient audience after dinner, there is just one item I want to address before we eat."

Laughter and applause.

"I noticed a somewhat unbalanced enthusiasm during our Sorting Ceremony. It gives me reason to make one point very clear."

Dumbledore looked around. "Hogwarts with all four of its houses is one unbreakable community, with due respect to a fair competition between them. This is particularly true," the Headmaster's voice turned sharp, "for Slytherin house."

Silence lay over the hall.

"Especially now, after three seats at their table are left empty and will stay that way, even though we don't expect these students back. I'll address this issue in more detail later, but for now, let's eat!"

Roaring applause erupted from the Slytherin table and, after some hesitation, was followed from the other tables.

Then everybody busied themselves with food and drinks.

Harry didn't feel very hungry, though he kept emptying one glass after the other, taking his time to watch the teachers' table.

Hagrid was missing. But Harry saw Grubbly-Plank, the witch who had substituted for Hagrid once before. Snape looked better than he had in the past weeks. Lupin, although not showing bruises, looked like a wreck. His appearance was very much how Harry felt himself. Conjuring a Patronus seemed to suck an awful lot of energy.

Dumbledore had stood up again.

"I'm not going to cut you short on your food supply, so as an exception from the rule, and because I'll need some time, feel free to chew on while I'm speaking."

Again laughter; some glasses were raised.

"Although I do this on the risk of seeing the bites stuck in your throat." Dumbledore's smile faded. "I'm only half joking. But we are in dire need of some fun."

He summarized the situation with Voldemort and the Dark Forces, then came to the events of the day. "We need to trust each other, so I'm telling you what really happened today. And, as bad as the truth may sound, it's still better than the wild rumours which no doubt would spread. All the students we want here have arrived safely and unhurt, and this is already a great victory. Now I'll tell you why."

Eating had stopped completely, and the hall was silent. Dumbledore had the audience every teacher would dream of.

The Headmaster's face was full of determination. "What happened today on the train was an attempt of the Dark Forces to capture all students in order to hold them as hostages against their parents, against us, and against every other wizard not willing to bend to their evil threats. We knew about this plan. We were prepared, and our allied forces - wizards, students, and Giants - made them fail miserably."

Dumbledore paused, letting the full impact of his words take place.

"For some students without wizards among their parents, the risk was even higher. We had reason to believe they were to be killed rather than captured. But we were prepared for this too, and all of them have arrived unharmed."

Heads were turning.

Harry's gaze was locked on Dumbledore.

"The only injuries were suffered by three students who had taken the side of the Dark Forces, obviously under the influence of their parents, who themselves are notorious for their support of Voldemort. I'm talking about the students Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle. They were hurt while trying to kill one of us. However, they did us a last big favour: they missed the train."

Excited murmurs were spreading all over the tables. Harry felt glances in his direction from many sides.

Dumbledore raised his voice. "As I said before, their seats will remain empty, and this shall be the sign to remind us of two things, whenever we meet here. First - the Dark Forces have been defeated while exposing those among our circle who were on their side. Second - the house of Slytherin is on our side without any exception!"

The hall nearly trembled under the stamping of feet, hammering of fists, and shouting from the students.

Dumbledore beamed toward the Slytherin table, waiting until the roar ebbed away.

"The fight against the Dark Forces has only just begun. Yet more than ever before, Hogwarts and its people are a central force against them. This castle is a fortress which will grow stronger every day. The situation will affect our daily life to some degree, however, we will be up to our reputation as the place Voldemort cannot break down."

Another storm of agreement broke and ebbed.

"Our victory today was the work of men and women, boys and girls, who didn't hesitate to take their place in our counter-force - in spite of the highest personal risk. I would like to praise them by name, but they asked me to drop this part, pointing out that we all together are the troops that stand against the enemy."

Dumbledore raised his arm, cutting short another wave of applause.

"As most of you could see today, we had allies. Giants. Those Giants who fought on our side were won over by Hagrid and Madame Maxime from Beauxbatons. Both of them are absent - that's why I mention their names as the only ones. Our Giants had casualties. Those warriors who died, they died for us. Let us stand up and remember them."

Students and teachers rose.

Dumbledore took a parchment and slowly called five names.

  • "Tarketh the Fox."
  • "Wagir Two Fingers."
  • "Ermenroth the Sad."
  • "Hunold from the Woods."
  • "Geldag with the Scar."

After a few seconds of silence, Dumbledore's bent head came up again, and the Headmaster motioned for the audience to sit down. A smile appeared on his face.

"So much for the serious part. Let me come to more enjoyable things now. In the course of the recent activities, Hogwarts has joined with Beauxbatons to form a union of mutual trust and defence. One result is that we have several links installed, using portkeys. So people can move back and forth between the schools, without taking more effort than climbing some staircases. Students will be able to make visits, provided" - Dumbledore grinned - "they speak French."

Harry turned to Ron. "Know anyone who's fluent in French?"

"Yeah," groaned Ron, "although it won't help us much. Percy ... He said it's mandatory for a political career."

They stopped, listening to Dumbledore's words.

"... one person from each side. I was told that they are called Liaison Officers. Our own representative at Beauxbatons is an ex-student who finished school only recently. His name should be well known - Oliver Wood."

The Gryffindor table emitted a new wave of applause. Dumbledore waited patiently.

"As it turns out, our Liaison Officer from Beauxbatons is also an ex-student who just finished school and is not unknown to us. I have the great pleasure to welcome ..."

A figure appeared in the entrance behind the teachers.

"... Miss Fleur Delacour!"

The slim figure with long, silvery hair marched toward Dumbledore. The Headmaster shook her hand, then guided her to a seat at the teachers' table.

She smiled, then said something impossible to hear.

The applause in the hall was deafening, although it originated almost exclusively from the male students.

After he'd gained attention again, Dumbledore continued with news about the teachers.

As Harry had guessed already, Hagrid was assigned as the link with the Giants, so Professor Grubbly-Plank would be the teacher for Care of Magical Creatures.

Then Lupin was announced as a temporary substitute for Defence against the Dark Arts, until the planned teacher had arrived.

Dumbledore surprised Harry and the other students with his next statement.

"As most people here already know, Professor Lupin is a werewolf. He uses an advanced potion to keep his illness under control. I say this in public not only with his full agreement, but also to make one thing very clear."

The Headmaster's voice became sharp again. "This is no time to hold prejudices against races and natures, like Giants or werewolves. Today we were able to see what really counts."

Many faces, especially those of the newcomers, still were in shock from the Headmaster's announcement. Only slowly, the applause rose, triggered especially from two groups - one at the Gryffindor table, the other at the Ravenclaw table.

Lupin looked tired but pleased.

As Dumbledore announced then, the term fortress had to be taken more literally than expected. Students were not supposed to walk outside the school buildings, at least not without special assignment. Their own Giants would reside in a camp outside the school area, near Hogsmeade.

Ron made a face. "Visits in Hogsmeade will be difficult ... What a mess."

"So we'll have time for our O.W.L.s," replied Hermione. To Harry, she added, "I hope you don't have plans for your Invisibility Cloak."

Harry grinned. "No - at least none I can already announce."

Ron chuckled while Hermione rolled her eyes in desperation.

Dumbledore's next announcement, though, let them forget about Hogsmeade.

"The Giants are not our only guards, nor are they the only non-human race to support us. Within the next few days, a group of dragons will be positioned at a camp near the Forbidden Forest. Several wizards with experience in dragon handling will take residence in that camp or here in our school, depending on the situation."

"That's why," called Ron.

Seeing the blank looks of Harry and Hermione, he explained, "Charlie is one of them - must be because he made some remarks the other day and was grinning like crazy when I didn't understand a word. Drove me nuts."

Dragons - well, okay. Harry was waiting more impatiently for a statement from Dumbledore about the Quidditch Cup. He didn't really expect it to take place, not under the given circumstances. But this would be the second year in a row without Quidditch. Harry felt a painful loss, even if no Quidditch would solve the problem of Oliver Wood's missing replacement.

When the announcement came, Harry nodded sorrowfully, but the next moment, the Headmaster's words made his heart jump.

"... doesn't mean your broomsticks will rot away. Quite the opposite. We will build something like a Flying Squadron for exploration and messenger services. This Squadron will consist of volunteers from all four Quidditch teams at Hogwarts."

Dumbledore smiled as many arms went into the air - seven from each of the four tables, as it seemed. After a second of bafflement, Harry became aware that both of Fred's arms were up, no doubt representing the soon-to-be-selected successor of Oliver Wood.

"To nobody's surprise," said Dumbledore, "it looks as if the teams will volunteer completely. Madam Hooch will be in charge of organizing the details."

Harry turned to the twins and the other members of his team. "We need a new goalkeeper, even if he'll never have to hold a Quaffle."

"True," nodded Angelina Johnson, one of the Chasers. "Imagine if the other houses come with seven players and Gryffindor has only six. Unbearable."

Ron was watching the discussion, hope in his eyes. But as so often, the disappointment came from his own family.

Fred called, "I want to nominate Lee Jordan for the position ... Any objections?"

Nobody spoke.

"Who does agree?"

Five arms went up immediately.

Looking at his friend, Harry shrugged, "Sorry, Ron," and raised the sixth arm.

"Unanimously accepted!" shouted Fred, shaking the hand of a beaming Lee Jordan.

Dumbledore spoke again. "Let me finish with the last announcement. As I said earlier, we need all the enjoyment we can gather in these difficult times. For this reason, and to celebrate our union with Beauxbatons, we will continue last year's good habit by holding two balls. The first one will take place here at Hogwarts before Christmas. The other one will be held at Beauxbatons around Easter."

Grinning, he finished, "Messieurs'dames, je vous souhaite une bonne nuit. A demain."

Most faces looked baffled; only Fleur and some others applauded enthusiastically.

"What a day," grumbled Ron, "first I lose the chance to join the Quidditch team, and now that ... Dances! Disaster strikes in pairs."

Hermione looked at him maliciously. "Hey, Ron - get yourself somebody to teach you French and dancing at once."

After a moment, she added. "And while on the subject, learning some manners wouldn't hurt, either."

She was rewarded with a furious look from Ron.

Harry didn't feel like grinning. His stomach twisted at the memory of last year's ball. He wasn't going to give the same bad performance one more time, and he knew already whom he would ask, and this time he'd ask soon enough.

The thought did nothing to improve his digestion, but recently he'd learned a lot about Ways and Goals. After all, Hermione's remark wasn't entirely stupid. Harry was prudent enough not to speak it out aloud, for more reasons than Ron's bad mood.

The Great Hall emptied rapidly.

Harry felt tired to death. He went to his dormitory, barely awake to hear the new password for the Fat Lady. He fell asleep immediately.