Harry Potter and the Daemon Sidhe


Story Summary:
In the aftermath of the events of the Ministry, Harry is in dire need of help. That help arrives in the form of six mysterious people, along with his friends and even foes, who give him the strength and support he will need to defeat Voldemort. Written post-OotP but will take some factors of HBP into account.

Chapter 08 - 8

Chapter Summary:
Harry's court is complete and now we find out a bit about what they will be doing and what they hold within them. Harry puts some protection into place and unexpectedly goads a reaction from Voldemort
Author's Note:
I've given you a few chapters this time (I hope) since there's a lot of setup and background in these chapters - don't worry, it'll all make sense as the story unfolds!

  • Chapter 8

Everyone was sitting around the library in Dreamtime, all back in their own minds. Harry, Remus and Severus were all calm and they waited while the others got their equilibrium back. When he saw his friends were ready, Harry looked over at the Daemon Sidhe.

"Okay, so I have my court in place," he said with interest. "What do we do now?"

"Now you need to identify for us their roles in your court and their symbols," Gwydion said. "That will help us work out who needs to train whom."

Harry nodded then looked at Gwydion sharply. "What do you mean by symbols?"

"Every member of your court will have three animals that symbolise them and their personalities," Gwydion explained. "They will, after a bit of training, be able to transform into those forms. Those forms, once identified and assimilated within, also enable each person to tap into various qualities and powers."

Now Harry and all of his court were staring in shock at Gwydion, causing the wizard to chuckle. "Don't look so stricken, all of you. I think you will find that the animal symbols suit you even if it was something you weren't aware of within yourself."

"We're going to be animagi?" Neville asked, his eyes wide.

"Yes and no," Gwydion said with a small frown. "The ability to change into your animal symbols is more internal than the animagus transformation but the idea is roughly the same."

"That was very vague of you," Harry said with a wry grin.

"It's...not easy to explain," Gwydion said with a slightly helpless wave of his hands.

Harry laughed. "So what do I have to do?"

"Look at your friends in the same way you did to identify Remus and Severus' roles then look a fraction deeper," Gwydion explained. "Start with the two men because you already know their roles and identify their animal symbols then move onto the others. We can explain the meaning behind the symbols."

Harry nodded and turned his attention to his guardian. He quickly reached the level that enabled him to see Remus' role written in his aura then he relaxed and allowed himself to sink a bit deeper. He thought nothing was happening for a moment then three animals ghosted across Remus' aura as well. Harry pulled himself back out and grinned.

"Well, I already knew that Remus was my Advisor for the Light," he said with a grin. "And his animal symbols are three canines."

There were chuckles from around the room and Kolos got up from his chair. He looked around the books for a moment then plucked one out and gave it to Harry.

"You should be able to identify which ones they were from that book," he said with interest.

Harry flipped through the book for a minute then looked over at Gwydion. "Okay, Remus' animals are the coyote, the wolf and the jackal."

Everyone looked at Remus with amusement and Remus laughed. "How very canine of me," he said wryly. "Although not really that much of a surprise, I suppose."

Gwydion chuckled. "Well, possibly. Now to explain those symbols. The coyote symbolises the prankster, someone who is playful but it also indicates the ability to achieve insight and someone who can see the duality of life and can present both sides of an argument."

"Well," Harry said into the silence that followed that explanation. "That's very Remus."

The werewolf blushed and Gwydion continued.

"Now, the wolf is a little more complex," Gwydion said thoughtfully. "The wolf indicates someone who has loyalty and perseverance. Someone who has intuition but is capable of great thought. Someone who is involved in learning and is a teacher and a pathfinder. The wolf is represented by Sirius, the Dog Star."

Both Harry and Remus gasped at this and Remus buried his face in his hands. Harry walked over and sat down next to his guardian and put his arm around his shoulders. Remus lifted his head and drew Harry into a hug. The two of them stayed like that for a moment then Remus released Harry and the young man returned to his chair. The others were silent for a moment then Gwydion decided to continue.

"Now the jackal," he said with a small cough. "The jackal is fairly simple and represents an ability you will develop as your involvement in the court and with the Daemon Sidhe deepens. The jackal represents the Guide of Souls."

Remus looked a little confused at this but Gwydion refused to elaborate, saying only that time would bring more understanding. He then indicated for Harry to turn his attention to Snape. Harry nodded slowly, still a little concerned about Remus, then sank down into the vision far enough to find Snape's animal symbols.

"Okay," he said with a small shake of his head and a quick flick through the book Kolos had given him. "Professor Snape is my Advisor for the Dark and his animal symbols are the bat, the crane and the raven."

There were a few smothered sniggers at the first of the animals though Harry managed to retain his composure. Snape glared at those who were sniggering and Harry decided to diffuse things.

It's nothing personal, sir, he thought quickly. It's just that in First Year, Quirrell made the observation that you were always swooping around like an overgrown bat when I met him in that whole thing with the Philosopher's Stone. That's probably what they were remembering.

Severus narrowed his eyes then snorted. I don't think bats swoop, was all that he said and he turned his attention to Gwydion.

The wizard raised an eyebrow and continued the explanations. "Okay, the bat is a bit of an unusual one though considering the dual roles you have been playing for so long, I suppose it's not that unusual. The bat symbolises obscurity and a double nature. It also symbolises wisdom and the bat stands as a Guardian of the Night. That's something you'll learn about with time."

Snape nodded and looked rather intrigued.

"Now, the crane," Gwydion said. "The crane symbolises solitude and independence. It also symbolises wisdom and knowledge. And finally the raven. This animal symbolises a teacher. It also indicates healing and protection and is the mark of the Shaman's Power. It's also the mark of a shape-shifter."

There were several interested glances exchanged throughout the room and then Gwydion asked Harry to start on his friends. Harry drew in a deep breath and looked over at Ron. After a few minutes, he surfaced again.

Harry cleared his throat and grinned at his friend. "Ron is my Lord Marshal and my Captain of the Guard," he said proudly. "And his animal symbols are the leopard, the boar and the ram."

Ron looked utterly stunned. "L...lord Marshal," he stammered. "C...captain of the Guard. Me?"

"Why not you?" Neville said with a smile. "You're the one who's so good with strategy."

Ron stared at Neville for a moment then blinked. "Wow."

Gwydion chuckled. "You'll be good at it, Ron. The power of the court and the Daemon Sidhe is never wrong. Now, the leopard. The leopard symbolises ferocity and aggression but it also indicates one who is intrepid and has great courage." Ron sat up a bit more confidently at this and started to grin and Gwydion continued. "The boar indicates one who possesses the warrior spirit and great leadership. It also indicates someone who is able to give others direction and protection. The ram symbolises a person who has strength and determination. Someone who is prepared to sacrifice things and obtain achievement. It also represent Solar Power."

Ron swallowed nervously and Harry moved on to Hermione, getting more and more intrigued at the insights he was gaining into his friends. The young witch sat up straight and interest kindled in her eyes when Harry was ready to talk.

"Hermione is my scholar," he said with a smile amid chuckles from the others. "And her animal symbols are the fox, the otter and the dolphin."

Hermione beamed at this. "Oh, my Patronus is an otter."

"All of you will find that your Patronus will take on the form of one of your animal symbols," Kolos said with a friendly smile at Hermione. "You and I have much to talk about, young woman."

Gwdyion raised an eyebrow at Kolos. "Well, wait until we've finished here, brother, and remember that she does have to spend some time awake." The others laughed and Gwydion turned to look at Hermione. "Now, the fox symbolises intelligence and cleverness. It also symbolises cunning, diplomacy and Feminine magic. The otter symbolises curiosity and helpfulness. It is also the symbol of grace and empathy." Hermione looked startled at this and blushed a little as Gwydion continued. "The otter also indicates Feminine power. To have two symbols of Feminine magic or power indicates you are quite strong in this magic. Finally, the dolphin symbolises intelligence and kindness. It is the symbol of Sea Power and communication and stands as the bridge between Man and the Ocean."

"That description is very Hermione," Ginny said with a smile at her friend and the bushy-haired girl blushed.

Gwydion smiled at her and Harry turned his attention to Neville. When he came back to himself, he smiled to try and reassure the nervous Gryffindor.

"Well Neville, I think you will be training with Malini. You are my Herbalist," he grinned wickedly. "I guess you'll be dealing with Professor Snape a lot as well is you'll probably end up growing his potion ingredients." Snape started and scowled at Neville who gulped audibly.

Malini levelled an arch look at the Potions Master and smiled encouragingly at Neville. "I'll be interested in hearing what you have already learnt, Neville," she said quietly. "We will have much to talk about."

Neville smiled nervously at her and Snape settled back into his chair with a snort. Harry grinned and continued.

"And your animal symbols are the bear, the elephant and the salmon," he said with a raised eyebrow.

"Interesting," Gwydion said. "I think you'll be studying with Asa as well, Neville. The bear is the symbol for the healer. It also indicates gentle strength, a nurturing spirit and someone who has intuition married with their instinct." Neville looked startled at this and Gwydion gave him an encouraging smile as he continued. "The elephant symbolises strength, fidelity and patience. It also indicates intelligence. The salmon indicates someone who is dependable and has determination. Someone who has wisdom, inspiration and persistence. It is also the symbol of rejuvenation and renewal. Good things for a herbalist."

Neville looked intrigued and Harry gave him a quick grin before turning his attention to Luna. He sank down to examine her aura then came up with a slight frown on his face.

"Okay, Luna, you are to be my Seer." A small silence fell on the group and Luna paled.

Luna? Everything okay? Harry asked quietly.

I...my mother was a seer, she said sadly. She was a good one but she couldn't even foresee her own death. I always thought I might be too, but I didn't want to be. What if something happens like that to me?

Was your mother's death very quick? Harry asked kindly.

Y...yes, Luna stammered.

Maybe she did see it but it all happened too quickly for her to do anything, Harry said with a raised eyebrow.

There was utter stillness from Luna for a moment then Harry felt a quick wave of happiness from her. I think you could be right, she said with a hint of her normal wafting manner. And I think I would like to be your Court Seer, Harry.

Good, Harry said with a smile. Want to know your animal symbols too?

"Why, yes, I do," she said with a smile.

"Okay, your animal symbols are an owl, a woodpecker and a blackbird," Harry said cheerfully.

Gwydion raised an eyebrow. "All bird symbols, you must be a strong Seer. Okay. The owl is the symbol of wisdom and truth. It is an indicator of someone capable of detachment. The owl is also the totem of clairvoyants and mystics. Now the woodpecker is the symbol of prophecy and power. The woodpecker is also the symbol of the Guardian of Trees and it heralds rain and storms. The blackbird is the Guide and is the symbol of enchantment and illumination. It also indicates someone with the inner call."

Luna smiled dreamily. "I like that."

Harry grinned briefly at her and turned his attention finally to Ginny. He was a bit apprehensive about this. He knew that he apparently had to have a Queen and he had a sinking feeling it was Ginny. While he didn't mind the idea of that, he and Ginny didn't exactly have a relationship at the moment. Her kiss when she arrived he took as a good sign but he wasn't sure he wanted the pressure of this on any burgeoning relationship they might develop. He sighed and sank down into the vision to see her aura. When he came back up he was blushing furiously. He cleared his throat a few times before he was able to speak.

"Erm, Ginny...well, Ginny is my...my...Queen," he said hesitantly. There was stunned silence and Harry very slowly looked over at Ron and Ginny. Ron seemed to be torn between amusement and concern while Ginny was blushing as furiously as Harry was. Harry took a deep breath and decided to move on. "Um, okay, your animal symbols are the lioness, the hummingbird and the deer, er, a doe actually."

Gwydion had been watching Harry's stammering reaction to the revelation of his queen and he quickly moved onto the descriptions. "Your symbols will actually mirror Harry's since you are his queen. Now, the lioness is the symbol of power, majesty, strength, courage and nobility. The hummingbird is a rather interesting one. It is the symbol of optimism, sweetness, beauty, wonder and agility. But it is also a messenger and the hummingbird is the Stopper of Time." This last bit occasioned a few interested glances that subsided as Gwydion continued. "The deer or doe is the symbol of love, gracefulness and sensitivity. The doe symbolises purity of purpose and someone who is walking in the light."

"Wow," Ginny breathed then she looked over at Gwydion curiously. "What about Harry?"

Gwydion chuckled. "I can tell you that one. Harry is obviously our King." Harry scowled slightly until he caught the expression on Remus' face then he laughed. Gwydion grinned and continued. "And Harry's animal symbols are the lion, the eagle and the stag."

Harry gasped at the last one and his eyes widened. "S...stag?" he whispered.

"A stag," Remus said quietly and Harry looked over at him. Remus smiled gently. "Sirius used to call you Pronglet and Prongs Junior when you were a baby. It was to tease James. Guess he was more right than he thought."

A slow smile crept onto Harry's face and his eyes lit up. This was something else that brought him close to his dead parents. He looked over at Gwydion. "What do they mean?"

Gwydion raised an eyebrow. "Well, the lion is the symbol of power, majesty, strength, courage and nobility. The eagle gives protection from evil and symbolises clear vision. It is also symbolic of the spirit connection to higher realms." Harry blinked with surprise and Gwydion continued. "Finally the stag represents pride, independence and purification."

Silence reigned in the room after Gwydion finished as the Daemon Sidhe allowed Harry and the others to take in what they had just learnt. Snape was the first one to break that silence.

"How long before we start to be able to...use any of this?" he asked curiously.

"There is no way of telling," Gwydion replied. "It will come with time. The more you all work together, the more you become a...court, the faster it will occur. But even that isn't a good indicator. Suffice to say, it will come when it comes."

Snape grimaced and Harry laughed. When Snape raised an eyebrow at him, Harry hurried to explain.

"You'll get used to having vaguely obscure conversations with the Daemon Sidhe, sir."

Snape's lips quirked for a second and a heavily veiled amused look crept into his eyes as Gwydion burst out laughing.

Devante grinned at Harry. "I thought you said you didn't mind the vaguely obscure conversations?"

Harry sobered and became somewhat contemplative. "Well, they are better than the alternative." Then he looked sharply over at Gwydion. "What did you mean by that? The comment about working together and becoming a court."

Gwydion smiled. "I was wondering whether you caught that, Harry. It hasn't been difficult to see that there is some...strain within your court." He eyes flicked over to Snape then back to Harry. "While that strain remains your court will never be fully integrated. All must work together."

Harry heard a mental sigh from Snape. I gather he means our...problems? came the weary question from the Potions Master.

Yeah, Harry admitted slowly. You, me and my friends. He paused. I...do...understand why you dislike my father and Sirius, sir.

Snape narrowed his eyes as something occurred to him. You said in your letter to me that you had been bullied...and you also implied that no one had rescued you.

Harry hesitated then answered slowly. You saw a lot of it during those Occlumency lessons. I...was angry about what my Dad and Sirius did. I didn't like it at all. I was proud of my Mum though.

Your mother was an exceptional woman, Snape said in a tone Harry had never heard from the man before.

Thank you, Harry said softly then he hesitated. Sir? Why did you decide to...join my court? You've never liked me and I can't believe that it was just the Daemon Sidhe that decided you.

Snape was silent for long enough for Harry to start getting nervous then the Potions Master spoke aloud.

"When I realised that the Dark Lord had returned and that the fate of our world apparently lay on your shoulders, I confess I despaired," he said quietly, looking Harry in the eye. "I did not see how the brash, almost incompetent boy you were then could possibly defeat the Dark Lord. I went back to my task as a spy fully expecting that I would die, sooner or later, hopefully quickly but not even expecting that much. I saw nothing over the next couple of years to change that opinion. It only changed the night you brought me into Dreamtime for the first time. The man that stood up to the Daemon Sidhe and demanded respect; the man who made it clear that I was to be accorded every respect because I was a member of your court, no matter what personal feelings lay between us; that man I could respect. That man, that leader, that king, I could actually see leading us to victory, defeating the Dark Lord."

Harry nodded slowly as the others watched with shock and growing respect.

"I am not a nice man," Snape continued. "I have never been a people person. I do not know how to make small talk and chat about nothing. I have little patience for fools and incompetents. But I do know how to recognise a worthy leader. The man I saw that night is such a leader."

Harry stared at the Potions Master for a long moment then stood and held his hand out. "I think we should let the past remain in the past then," he said firmly, drawing the feeling of being a king around him to help him with this. "Let's draw a line under past and start now as we mean to continue."

Snape also stood. "I agree," he said. He took Harry's hand and they very solemnly shook hands on that.

Remus stood and walked over to Severus. "I'm sorry for everything the Marauders did to you. We were young, we were stupid and we were wrong. And I'm doubly sorry that I did nothing to stop James and Sirius. I was a prefect and I did nothing. I'm sorry."

Severus inclined his head and the two old adversaries also shook hands. Ron was the next one to stand. He walked over and held out his hand, a determined look on his face.

"You're a member of the Order, you've been working for the Light for years and you're a member of Harry's court. It seems a bit stupid to carry on a childish grudge in the light of all that," he said firmly.

Severus stared at Ron in astonishment. While he hadn't been surprised at Harry and Remus' acceptance, this change of heart by Ron Weasley of all people was rather stunning. Ron grinned at him.

"What? You really think I'm that stupid?" Ron said with amusement. "I'm impulsive and stubborn, not a complete idiot."

Snape snorted but carefully shook the young man's hand; he didn't really think it was the time or place to debate that last statement. He could do it later.

Hermione stayed where she was and smiled at Snape. "Well, I always respected you, sir, because you are our teacher. I just didn't always like you. I always thought you had your reasons for what you did though."

Snape smirked at the girl then was stunned into near-silence when the remaining members of the court, including an oddly-confident Neville Longbottom, also made some kind of peace with him. Snape felt somewhat adrift; he was unused to being accepted by anybody, let alone Gryffindors.

Just roll with the punches, came Harry's sudden voice in his mind.

Was I being that obvious? he asked, suddenly alarmed. It would be a disaster if he lost his ability to conceal his feeling from others.

No, Harry replied. I'm probably the only one who knows that you're feeling so disjointed. If I've sorted the information out correctly that's a normal state of affairs. It's because I'm the...king. I couldn't hear your thoughts but I could feel that you were rather unsettled. Snape felt amusement from Harry. Not that that's a great surprise. I would think, Professor, after all you've been through that sudden friendship from a bunch of Gryffindors would be very unnerving.

Severus snorted and sent back a feeling of amusement. Indeed. He paused. Harry, I think under the circumstances that you have the right to call me Severus. I would ask that you restrict that to the mental link and when we are in private. It would look decidedly suspicious if others were to hear you call me by name, considering our past history.

By others you mean Draco and his cronies, don't you? Harry replied shrewdly. And yes, I will remember those restrictions. He hesitated. Severus? Do you think Draco will end up with the Dark Mark?

Severus sighed. Yes, I believe he will.

Harry sighed as well and then he turned his attention back to the group. He looked over at Gwydion. "How much longer do we have before morning?"

"It's morning now," the wizard replied promptly. "About seven in the morning."

"Damn," Harry grumbled. "Another bloody night without training."

"You could do some work on your magic under the supervision of Remus and Severus," Asa said calmly. "They aren't as powerful as you but they are fully trained wizards."

"But he can't," Hermione objected. "What about the Decree?"

"I've been given an exemption," Harry replied. "Because of what happened with the Dementors last summer. But it was only under the condition that I not do anything frivolous."

"Rebellion time again," Remus said with a glint in his eyes.

"What?" Harry said then his eyes glazed over for a moment as he thought about it. "Oh yeah, I could always write to Mrs Hopkirk and ask whether it would be alright to practice under Severus' supervision. I'm sure she'd say yes." Harry's friends were staring at him in surprise and he looked blankly at them. "What?"

Severus smirked. "You referred to me by my given name, Harry. They were not privy to that conversation." He gave Harry an arch look that was slightly diffused by the amusement deep in the black eyes. "Are you sure you can do this properly?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "Severus gave me permission to use his given name in private, here in Dreamtime and in the mental link. Sorry guys, it was a private conversation."

There were raised eyebrows from some of the others but Harry refused to elaborate.

"I'm sure Mafalda would have no problems with that," Remus said to get the conversation back on track.

"She's a member of the Order, isn't she?" Harry asked wryly then continued at Remus' nod. "Do you think I could convince her not to tell Dumbledore?"

"If you worded the letter correctly, yes," Severus replied. "Simply remember where people's prejudice's lie."

Harry thought about that for a moment. "Dumbledore sent you here to train me in Occlumency. The Order presumably knows that. If I imply to her that you were sent to train me and don't elaborate, she's likely to assume that Dumbledore already knows about the extension in training and approves and she won't tell him."

"Very good," Snape said approvingly.

"That's very..." Ron said searching for the right word. Hermione found it. "Slytherin," she said flatly.

Harry raised an eyebrow at her. "Well, I suppose that's not too much of a surprise," he said blandly. "The Sorting Hat did want to put me in Slytherin until I talked it out of that." Jaws dropped around the room and Harry chuckled. "I think it's about time I combined my inner Slytherin with my outer Gryffindor."

"That...would be a devastating combination," Remus said slowly.

Severus in the meantime had been staring at Harry with surprise. "The Sorting Hat tried to put you in Slytherin and you talked it out of that! You're not supposed to be able to do that!"

Harry stared blankly at Snape. "Well, it's not so much that it insisted on putting me into Slytherin or anything like that. It just said I could be great and that Slytherin would help me on the way to greatness."

"You didn't want to be great?" Remus asked curiously.

Harry laughed a little self-consciously. "Erm, well, it wasn't that. I guess I did want to be a success but..." His voice trailed off. He cleared his throat and continued. "When Hagrid took me to Diagon Alley to get my school things, of course one of the places we went to was Ollivanders to get my wand. It took ages to find the right one and when I finally did find the one that was right for me, Ollivander told me that it was the brother wand to Voldemort's. He made some comment about Voldemort having done great things. Terrible things but great things. I guess I associated the Sorting Hat's great with Ollivander's description of Voldemort's deeds. I didn't want to be that kind of great." Harry laughed. "When you add that to the fact that I had met Draco Malfoy twice and hadn't been impressed with him either time and he had already been sorted into Slytherin, well, I didn't really want a bar of the House."

"I believe Draco was under instructions to befriend you," Snape observed. "Lucius always was one to think ahead."

Harry snorted. "Well, he certainly went the wrong way about it. I met him for the first time in Madam Malkin's. He was pretty snotty that day. He actually reminded me a lot of my cousin Dudley with his attitude. Put me right off, I can tell you. Then when I meet him again at Hogwarts, he goes and insults the first friend I ever had. Not exactly the best way to get in my good graces."

Ron blushed as the others chuckled.

Harry grinned at his best friend then continued. "It's probably just as well I wasn't sorted into Slytherin. I was pretty naïve about the wizarding world back then." He paused and snorted. "Hell, I'm pretty naïve about the wizarding world now. I probably would have believed anything the other Slytherins told me." He shuddered. "I might just have turned out to be the next Dark Lord."

Alarmed looks graced the others faces but Snape nodded. "Yes, that is a possibility," he said gravely.

Harry looked uncomfortable for a moment then shook his head. "Argh, enough! It didn't happen and I was put in Gryffindor. That's all that matters. Look, we should all wake up. We can continue this then."

Devante nodded. "Yes, it wouldn't do for all of you to spend all your time asleep. I might look a tad bit suspicious."

They all nodded and concentrated on waking. Shortly afterwards they were all sitting around the table in the kitchen as Remus and Harry cooked breakfast. As he cooked bacon, Harry decided to bring up something that had occurred to him as he was dressing.

"Severus? Can anybody be taught Occlumency?"

"Yes," Severus relied curiously. "Why?"

"Because I think everyone needs to start learning it," Harry said bluntly. "We need to be able to protect our minds from Voldemort as well as Dumbledore."

"You don't think the Headmaster would pry into our minds, do you?" Hermione said dubiously.

"If he thought we were doing something dangerous, I wouldn't put it past him," Harry replied sourly.

The others looked uncomfortable at the idea but Snape was nodding approvingly. "Very good," he said archly. "That is precisely what he would do. And has done before."

Grim looks were exchanged and Harry looked over at the Potions Master. "Well?" he asked.

Severus grimaced. "I would be more comfortable if Kolos were to begin the task."

Harry nodded with a sour grin. He knew more than anyone else that Snape's teaching methods left a lot to be desired and Severus was as new to the new techniques that Kolos used as he was.

"I'll keep that in mind for tonight then," he said. He turned and started doling out the bacon. "I also plan to ask the Daemon Sidhe for help in setting up a more rigid training schedule. We've kind of been doing it a slipshod manner and with so many of us, I think we need a little more organisation."

"What kind of training are you talking about," Neville asked nervously.

"Well, Occlumency training, obviously..." Harry's voice trailed off at this point and his eyes became distant. The others waited patiently for him to come back and when he did Harry was frowning. He looked over at Remus. "Did Dumbledore say if he'd be coming around regularly?"

"He wanted to," Remus replied as he started sliding eggs onto plates. "But I told him it might not be a good idea. Not even the Order members are coming around much and when they do they aren't lingering. You hadn't noticed?"

"Uh, no, not really," Harry said. "Why did you do that?"

"At first it was because I rather thought the last thing you needed was everyone fussing over you and telling you it'll all get better." Remus' face became grim and Harry's face fell. "It won't...or rather it won't happen quickly."

"How do you know?" Ginny asked softly.

"Because I've done this before," Remus replied bluntly. "It took a long time to get over James and Lily's deaths, particularly considering how they died. I also thought Peter was dead and Sirius might as well have been at the time as well."

There were solemn nods from around the table and there was silence for a time. Then Harry shook his head.

"Anyway," he said firmly. "It's going to take a while for everyone to learn to shield their minds with Occlumency and even that's not a foolproof method of shielding. And until we can do that we are vulnerable to not only Voldemort but also Dumbledore. In fact, anyone who's a half-decent Legilimens."

"Have you got anything in mind?" Severus asked with a raised eyebrow.

"I...do," Harry said slowly. "But I want you and Remus to take a look at it. Its part of the knowledge I got gifted with when the Daemon Sidhe woke my power and I haven't completely sorted through it all. I think it will work though."

"Very well," Severus said and Remus nodded his agreement. The next minute they felt a stream of information flood into their minds and they closed their eyes to concentrate on it. After a few minutes, Severus opened his eyes, Remus following a few seconds later.

"I believe this will work," Severus said firmly.

Remus nodded slowly. "Yes, I agree. It will give us incredible protection. I would still recommend the Occlumency lessons but I think this will solve our problems."

Harry gave a sigh of relief then looked at the Potions Master. "Is this going to cause problems for you? Will Voldemort notice that something is different?"

Snape paused as he considered this. "It is possible," he conceded.

Harry grimaced. "Okay then, we need to put in place some plans...unless you don't want to be part of it?"

An amused look settled in Severus' eyes. "As I understand it, it must be done with the whole court or not at all. So a plan would be preferable. I do carry an emergency portkey with me whenever I attend a meeting so I do have a way of escaping should I be discovered."

"Yeah, I figured that," Harry said almost dismissively. "That wasn't what I was worried about. I was more concerned about after Voldemort finds out. I rather suspect he won't be too pleased. He'll probably want you killed and if Dumbledore finds out what we're doing there's no guarantee that'll he be all that enthusiastic about protecting you completely."

"I believe I mentioned that I fully expected to die sooner or later," Severus replied dryly. "As such I have no such plans. Perhaps the Daemon Sidhe may be able to help."

"Mmm," Harry said noncommittally. "Well, I'll put it on my list of questions."

"Harry," Hermione said with a hint of impatience. "What is this thing you want to do regarding shielding? Because I would very much like a way of protecting my mind and the court from everyone else."

Harry chuckled. "Okay, it's something very much like a mental version of the Fidelius charm. Once it's done, our minds will be untouchable by anyone other than other members of the court and anyone we allow."

"How do we do it?" Ginny asked curiously.

"Uh, well, that's the slightly more difficult part," Harry said hesitantly. "I have to cast the spell and you basically have to surrender your mind to me while I'm doing that so that I can protect your entire mind. And it will also make the link between us much more...well, comprehensive, I suppose. That's the problem with it. It requires us to really trust each other for it to work. We'll kind of be living in each other's mental back pockets after it's done."

The others sat back in their seats as they considered this. It was a very big step to take.

Hermione bit her lip. "Will it really shield our minds completely?"

"Yes," Remus replied firmly. "Not even the best of Legilimens will be able to break through."

"Then I think we should do it," she said determinedly. "We will need the protection and it might just help Harry with his visions."

The rest of the court slowly nodded and Harry took a deep breath. "Okay but let's go up to the parlour. It's nice and clean now and I think we'll all want to be sitting comfortably when we do this."

They quickly finished off their breakfasts and Remus cleaned the dishes with a flick of his wand. Then they all trooped out of the kitchen and into the parlour. Everyone settled onto whatever chair, couch or cushion they found most comfortable and looked at Harry.

"Oh," Harry said suddenly and looked over at Remus. "You'd better close off the Floo. I don't think we want to be disturbed during this."

Remus nodded with alacrity and dashed out to the kitchen. He was back in a few minutes and sat down in his chair again. Harry took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He carefully reached out and gathered the minds of his court. The easiest to reach was Remus; it appeared that the werewolf was quite willing to place his mind into Harry's hands. Not surprisingly, Severus' was the hardest to reach. Years of rigidly guarding his thoughts and his own inherent distrust of Gryffindors in general and Potters in particular made him rather difficult. But finally he too was able to relax his trust enough to hand his mind to Harry.

Once Harry had the minds in his mental 'hands', he cast the spell. It was fairly simple to cast requiring not even a single word to be spoken. It did however require an enormous amount of power, perhaps only someone in Harry's situation would have the power needed. To the others it felt as though there were walls being woven around their minds by Harry and then they felt the link between them all become stronger and more settled. It also became deeper and more complex. Eventually their minds were released and they found themselves back in their own heads. They opened their eyes in time to see Harry gasp and slap his hand over his scar. His eyes then rolled upwards and he seemed to pass out, slumping in his chair then collapsing onto the floor.

Remus made to leap out of his chair but fell backwards as the pain that Harry was feeling backwashed through the link. He winced and looked around; the others were clearly suffering from the same problem. Suddenly the pain intensified and they dimly heard Harry scream. Then they were suddenly drawn out of their bodies and found themselves drifting in a large room. They could see an ethereal Harry below them and then they heard a sulphurous oath from Snape. They started and looked over to the other end of the room. Standing there was Voldemort looking as though he was in pain and very furious. Death Eaters were grovelling on the floor in front of him and one lay silent and still on his side.

What we just did must have transmitted something through to Voldemort via Harry's link, Hermione said in horror. She then paused and her mental voice became slightly panicked. Can any of you reach Harry?

The others tried and reported negative results then Severus spoke. I can, was all he would say then they felt him reach out to their king.

Harry, they heard the Potions Master say firmly. They were startled at first to hear what he was saying then they realised that Snape was doing it deliberately. Harry!

There was silence at first then a weak voice answered. Severus?

Yes, Snape replied dryly.

You're here? Harry said in a slightly disoriented tone.

We all are, Snape replied. Reach out to us. Only I can reach you. Reach out, we can help.

The ethereal Harry seemed to hesitate for a moment then the others felt his mental presence creep back into their minds. They reached and grabbed and held on tight. Harry responded to this by becoming more centred and his mind settled. He quickly turned to face Voldemort just as the Dark Lord raised his wand and pointed it and another Death Eater.

"Crucio!" Voldemort growled.

The Death Eater screamed and fell to his side on the floor, writhing in agony. At the same time, Harry stiffened as pain began to course through his mind and body. The pain overflowed into the others and they tried desperately to reinforce both themselves and Harry.

Clear your mind. Weave your shields! they heard Snape bark.

Slowly, very slowly, Harry was able to do just that and as he did they felt the pain gradually lessen. Then they felt Snape reach through the link and reinforce Harry's shields with his own. The dual shields blocked out almost all of the pain and they were able to think once more.

How is it you were able to reach Harry when we couldn't? Remus asked curiously.

The Mark, Snape replied shortly. I am connected to the Dark Lord through the Mark and Harry is connected to the Dark Lord via his scar. It seems those connections also allowed me to reach Harry.

There was a collective shudder from the others then they all turned their attention to Voldemort. The Dark Lord had stopped torturing the Death Eater and was now looking much calmer. Apparently the shielding that was protecting Harry was also blocking Voldemort as well. As they watched the Dark Lord sneered at the unconscious Death Eaters before turning to the others.

"Where is Potter?" he snarled. "He is responsible for this!"

There were mutters from the kneeling Death Eaters but no one ventured an answer.

Voldemort snarled again. "Out! Get out all of you! And find out where Potter is!"

The Death Eaters rose to their feet and scurried out of the room before Voldemort could change his mind. At the same time, Harry and the others found themselves drifting back into their own bodies. When they opened their eyes again, they found Harry pulling himself back up into his chair. This time Remus was not interrupted when he rushed to Harry's side. The young man smiled weakly at his guardian.

"I'm okay, Remus," he said hoarsely. "Or I will be in a bit."

"Is it always like that?" the werewolf asked softly.

Harry shrugged. 'That...wasn't too bad actually in comparison to some others."

Harry's friends exchanged horrified looks. Severus stared at Harry intently.

"Does that always happen?" Severus asked. "That you see and feel what happens?"

Harry looked at Snape very seriously. "Yes," he said flatly. "If Voldemort is worked up enough, I see what is happening and I feel the curses he casts."

"You see the Dark Revels," Snape said in a soft, horrified tone that none of the others had ever heard from him before.

Harry understood the tone though, having seen the horrors that occurred during those Revels. "Yes," he said wearily. "It actually does help that you're not there. I...don't know if I could look at you again if you were there."

"My...distaste for the Revels is well known," Snape said in a tired tone. "I am considered something of an intellectual among the Death Eaters and I have made my contempt for muggle-baiting quite clear. The Dark Lord does not mind. My value to him is my skill in potion making. He is prepared to indulge what he sees as my oddity."

"Does it help?" Harry asked somewhat owlishly.

Snape stared at him with an indecipherable expression. "Not much."

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