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Published: 09/21/2004
Updated: 01/14/2005
Words: 139,369
Chapters: 38
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Harry Potter and the Goblin Rebellion


Story Summary:
Year 6 - The goblins are threatening rebellion: Now that Fudge acknowledges Voldemort's return, he is pushing wartime policies, which oppress the goblins. Voldemort is seeking the secret in an ancient Egyptian magical site. Harry is being drawn into these two seemingly-unrelated developments. At the same time, he must train students in the schoolwide DA, while the burden of the Prophecy is filling him with visions, which cause Harry to pull back from his friends. But love has a way of arising whether it is welcome or not. For Harry, the course to resolution is never smooth, but if Harry can thwart Voldemort's plot, he can gain access to the secret which could enable him to use the 'Power the Dark Lord knows not.'

Chapter 19

Chapter Summary:
Harry has long talks with Cho Chang and Marietta Efdgecombe. Later, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Luna visit Hagrid and have a long talk about creatures. Harry gets Hagrid's help to test Patronuses by making students deal with a lethifold.

Chapter 19 - Interestin' Creatures

The next Saturday morning, the quidditch teams were holding open practices so that all those who were interested in playing could learn a bit about the available positions in preparation for the actual tryouts. There were no Seeker openings on any of the teams, so it was decided to release a couple of snitches and let the seekers practice in and among the rest of the teams so that all the players would get used to the distraction of the snitch and those who sought to catch it. Harry made several awe-inspiring snitch dives, but then remembered the notion of his father being such a show-off. From then on, he held back, watching the tryouts and scouting out the other teams. It was a joy simply to be riding his broom in the sunshine. After practice, he and Cho retrieved the snitches that were out and set down near the locker rooms.

"Looking good out there, Harry," said Cho.

"Thanks. You too. Should be a good match this year. Do you want to talk over lunch?" asked Harry.

"No," Cho replied, "at your table, you'd be surrounded by your friends and same for me at mine. Besides, everybody'd want to pester 'Coach' about the DA."

"Well, I'm glad for the enthusiasm, but you're right. That's not the way to speak our hearts. I'll meet you at 12:30 near the Whomping Willow," said Harry, then adding with a laugh, "but not too near it."

"Do you mind if I bring someone to be kind of a chaperone?" asked Cho.

"What!? Why? I mean I wouldn't ... I'm not going to do anything - I really just want to talk about Cedric."

"I know. I know, Harry, and I do too. It's not that I don't trust you. I don't trust me to keep only to the topic. I haven't stopped caring about you, Harry, even if things got akilter," said Cho sadly.

"I'm sorry things went the way they did, too, Cho. But I hope you understand that right now, I'm not looking for any sort of relationship other then friendship," said Harry.

"Of course. Me, too. With the threats looming, our first priority is to prepare. But sometimes our hearts and our bodies overrule our brains. That's why I want Marietta along. Besides, she said she wanted a bit of a talk with you too," Cho said, "so we'll see you at 12:30.

Cho and Marietta were only a couple of minutes late. There was a sheltered nook in the castle walls not far away that protected them both from the late summer sun and inquisitive eyes and ears. Harry and Cho talked for well over an hour, with Cho sharing everything she remembered about Cedric that wasn't too private and Harry telling about all the ways they had helped each other in the TriWizard tournament. Harry told about the effect that the dementors had had on him at the quidditch match three years earlier which allowed Cedric to beat him to the snitch and how Cedric had been so reluctant at the Quidditch World Cup to accept the praise his father heaped on him about getting the snitch. Harry described in very painful detail about Cedric's death and the nightmares he had been having since then. They cried together, Marietta joining in as she understood the pain they both felt. Harry and Cho hugged for several minutes silently, just letting the pain of their memories of Cedric be exorcised from their bodies in their tears. They thanked each other for opening up and for listening.

Then Cho said "Marietta, I think we're done. Didn't you say you wanted to talk to Harry about something?"

"I did, Cho, but could I talk to Harry alone? I feel like I need to talk just to him," said Marietta haltingly.

"Sure you don't need a chaperone, too" said Cho with a wink. "No? I'll see you back at the dorm then, Marietta."

When Cho had left, Harry asked, "What's up?"

"Harry, when I received your first owl this summer, I was astounded that you'd let me back in. Last term, after the memory charm wore off, I spent nearly a month thinking about what I had done, and I was so ashamed," said Marietta.

"Everybody makes mistakes. I'm still not over several doozies I made last year. Do you know what happened at the end of the year?" asked Harry. After she shook her head, Harry found a way to tell her about the trip to the Department of Mysteries - the school knew they had been there anyway because of the reports in the Daily Prophet - without telling about the Prophecy, or Occlumency, or Kreacher, or the Order of the Phoenix. But he did say how it had led to Sirius's death and several significant injuries to others.

Marietta nodded. "Well, it's obvious you're leaving out some details you can't tell me for some reason. It's okay. A person'd have to be a fool not to expect strange things to happen around Harry Potter. But I get the idea: you have mistakes you have to get past, too. Perhaps you've been a bit too daring, where I was not courageous enough. I got to thinking more about my position with the wizarding world as if it was business as usual. I guess I didn't really believe you that You-Know-Who was back, so the DA seemed like an unnecessarily dangerous game."

"It was all too real to me," said Harry, "so perhaps I didn't understand quite how unreal my story must have seemed. Sometimes I think Cho was not too sure about my story, but just wanted to spend time with me."

Marietta laughed. "No comment!"

"Well, I can't say I didn't like having the time with her," said Harry.

"Are you really okay with me being back in?" asked Marietta.

"I am, but some of the others have some hard feelings," replied Harry, to which Marietta nodded understandingly. "I've put in a strong word about accepting you and I've told them that none of them are to say anything to the rest of the school, but I can't say the bell has been unrung just yet."

"Fair enough. Trust has to be earned. They're being rational - you're the one who can't be explained."

Harry grinned, "Some sort of fool, no doubt. By the way, what did you tell everyone else about wearing the balaclava for the whole end of the year?"

"I said I had a bad potions accident when I was doing homework," laughed Marietta, with a reddening of her cheeks, which Harry found quite endearing.

"That works," he replied, laughing with her. "Well, if you're willing to resist Voldemort (she flinched at the name), I'm glad to have the help. You learned everything we did last year but the Patronus, so we need you as a team leader and a capable fighter."

"Thanks, Harry, that means the world to me. I just hope I can prove myself," said Marietta.

"I'm sure if the opportunity arises, you'll be as brave as anyone. If we're all squared away then, I have to get to the gym,"

"Harry, can I get my stuff and meet you there? I've been practicing spells and doing the morning run, but I don't really know how to do the stretching and other exercise that you told us about," Marietta asked.

"Of course," said Harry, "I'm glad to share anything I can to help people get stronger."

They went to their dorms for the things they needed and met again at the gym. Harry explained what he had learned about stretching, aerobic conditioning, and strength building. A number of other students listened in, as usually happened now when Harry explained things. Harry described the difference between the pain that says something is damaged and the soreness that says that the workout has been effective to strengthen the body. As he did his stretches, she was opposite him to imitate what he did, though less limberly. Several times, Harry found himself looking out of the corner of his eye to watch her in her leotard. He told himself he had no other interest than as a teacher, but he wasn't fully convinced. He fought against any sort of attraction. After the workout, they went for a cooldown walk around the castle, talking all the while, and then went back to their own dorms.

Hermione was sitting on a bench at a table doing some healer reading when Harry came in through the portrait hole.

"So, Harry, I noticed you had a nice afternoon," she said with a smirk. "What happened to 'I'm not going to get involved'?"

"I'm not involved," said Harry too abruptly, "I was just working out with her."

"You don't look at me that way when we're at the gym," she said, "Nor have you talked that much with Ron and me: frankly you've been quite distant when we've talked."

Harry sat down near her with his back to the table, put his elbows on his knees and propped his head up with his hands. He said to her quietly, so no one else would hear, "I have to keep my distance. Caring hurts too much already. I don't want to get involved. Except ... I really do want someone special in my life."

Hermione put her arm around his shoulder from the front and pulled his other shoulder against her. "Of course, you do, Harry. It's your loving nature that's always carried you. It's the tension in the bow you keep pulling tighter and tighter. Just don't let it get pulled too tight - we can't have you breaking, can we?"

He laid his head on her shoulder. "It's nice that you're smart. But your comfort and understanding is brilliant. Please never stop being my friend."

"No, Harry," she said with a glisten in her eye, "I would never give you up."

By the end of September, there was a nip in the air. This actually made the morning run easier, as it kept everyone cooler. Even on wet mornings, there were at least three hundred runners. On pleasant dry mornings, the numbers swelled to virtually the entire DA, which stabilized at just about 800 members: virtually all of the other three houses and just under 30 Slytherins. They worked very hard, and while progress was slower per meeting than the year before, it was substantial and all the more remarkable for the number of people involved and the youth of many of them. Still everyone found it fun because they could see their progress, their new skills, and their new camaraderie. Whenever a student became discouraged with a new spell, if the encouragement of the others didn't help her through, Harry was able to pick up her spirits with a quick story and then showed her just how to make the spell work.

The biggest problem was that with so many novices trying new spells out on each other, there was a fairly high rate of accidents. Most times the team leaders could reverse jumbled spells, or if not them, Hermione or Harry knew what to do. However, it seemed like no less than ten students per DA session would find themselves at the Hospital Wing with either hexes that could not be readily undone or physical injuries requiring attention. After each advanced session, Harry would come up to see that everyone was alright, and Madame Pomfrey would scowl at him as if he had done all this as a prank or to make her life harder.

On the first Friday of October at the Care of Magical Creatures class, while the class was learning to tend murtlaps and harvest the growths for making extract, Hagrid asked Harry, Hermione and Ron to come over the next day for tea. He said it was nothing special, just that they hadn't had a chance to talk much in quite a while.

After quidditch practice, Harry showered and had lunch with the team. He got most of his homework done in the dorm common room while Ron and Hermione tried to work while quibbling with each other. Harry's essays were still shorter then Hermione's, but they got more quickly to the point, hit the critical points, and summed them up more succinctly, so that he was getting the same high marks she always had been. Then they went to the gym for a workout before heading down to Hagrid's. When Ron and Harry emerged from the shower room, they found Hermione waiting for them with Luna Lovegood.

"Luna was just finishing her workout, too. I invited her to come down to Hagrid's with us. You don't mind, do you?" said Hermione.

Harry and Ron looked at each other and shrugged. Luna had never to their knowledge visited with Hagrid, and they had heard that Ravenclaw did not too much respect him. Nonetheless Luna was nothing if not open-minded, so they agreed.

With a mischievous grin, Ron added, "I only hope Hagrid will have enough of his tea biscuits to go around."

When they arrived and knocked, they heard Hagrid's boarhound Fang barking madly. Hagrid opened the door wearing an apron that would have made a nice tent for a normal-sized person. Fang slobbered on all of them and then came to Luna. She seemed a bit apprehensive as he sniffed around her, but then he put his big paws on her and licked her all about the face and she giggled maniacally. Although Hagrid knew her from classes, they introduced her as a friend to Hagrid as he tended the biscuits which he had just taken from the oven.

"Any friend of this lot's a friend of mine," said Hagrid pleasantly. "So tell me about this Defense Association you've been up to. It was kept from me last year - seems some folks didn't think I could keep a secret."

They told him all about what happened last year, and how it was turning out this year, and their fitness and training program, and their OWLs and Harry's DAtDA NEWT.

"And yeh had no idear, Harry?" asked Hagrid.

"No. Dumbledore said he was afraid I might have guessed when I was asked to produce a Patronus. That was the only part of the NEWT test that couldn't be hidden from Umbridge (Hagrid growled like a feral beast at the name), so the examiner called it a bonus question at the end. I had no clue since I didn't know what was on the NEWT test - it did seem pretty rigorous, though. It was a lot harder than the Charms exam."

"Well, Dumbledore's been saying the school needs to be unified, and you lot are making that happen like nothing else could."

"Yeah," said Ron, "Us, and a big dose of terror."

"Luna," said Hermione, "I forgot to ask how your trip to Scandinavia with your father went."

"Well," she said airily, 'we didn't find any crumple-horned snorkacks because our camp was disrupted by a graphorn."

"Hmm," said Hagrid, "I've never heard of a snorkack."

"Or a graphorn," added Hermione.

Hagrid looked at her like she was quite foolish. "Well, of course there are graphorns. One disrupted her camp."

"Oh, Hagrid, it's not as if she actually saw it - it was probably just a herd of reindeer or such," said Hermione self-assuredly.

"No, we saw it, Hermione," said Luna, "it was like an enormous ox or American bison, 9 or 10 feet tall at the shoulder and at least fifteen feet long, with straight conical horns to each side from its head that stood out at least six feet. And its eyes glowed, like it had headlights. Dad and I tried stunning it, but the spells bounced right off."

Hagrid nodded sagely, "Yeah, that's a graphorn all right. I haven't seen one in twenty years, but ya don't quick forget 'em. Hard to control too - the only way I've seen one brought down is by a dozen wizards hitting them with stunners at the same time."

"This one was very disruptive and unpleasant. Rather like what you hear rhinoceroses can be," said Luna.

"That's a graphorn for you, quite an interestin' creature. They're nearsighted, so they can't see all that well, but their eyes shine light - that gets 'em around the crags of the mountains they live on even at night - but they can only see a few steps ahead of the'selves even then. Sometimes trolls will try to tame 'em to ride, but the graphorns are strong and unwilling, so usually the trolls just end up getting gored by those horns. You can't really tame 'em," said Hagrid.

"So how did you do on them, Hagrid?" asked Ron.

"Well, y'know it was fun for awhile, but ... Hey!! I didn't tell you I'd ridden one - how'd you guess?"

They all laughed. "Because we know you, Hagrid," said Ron, "Besides I reckon you'd stand a good chance - you're as strong as a troll and twice as smart."

"You cheeky little monkey - even me brother's more'n twice as smart as trolls," laughed Hagrid. "And that reminds me, I want you to come and meet him, too, Ron."

"Yeah, Ron, I think you should get to know him - he's practically family," laughed Hermione.

"Well, I need you to visit him, too, Hermione. He keeps asking about you," said Hagrid.

Hermione blanched. Harry laughed. "We'd better explain to Luna. This is a big secret, in more ways than one. Luna, you already know Hagrid is half-giant. Well, last year he found out he has a half-brother - a full-blood giant. Hagrid's been trying to civilize him. Where've you got him now Hagrid?"

"Oh, the Acromantulas told me about a nice cave rather out of their range. He's real comfortable there. He keeps his own campfire, catches his own meat. I bring him vegetables and cookies - he's fond of my baking." Hagrid said proudly, "With a home he likes, he's pretty easy to get along with, for a giant. And they like living alone mostly anyway. But he's sad you haven't visited him, Hermione."

"Oh, well, I, meant to, but, uh, so busy, er,..."

"Can I come?" asked Luna.

Hagrid beamed as Harry asked, "You want to meet a giant!?"

"Sure why not. He'd be easier to deal with than the graphorn. It sounds like he isn't totally beyond reason."

"Sure," said Hagrid, "I'll let you know when we can all do it. It's a little too close to dark now."

"Hagrid," said Luna, "maybe you have some idea what Fudge would want with graphorns."

""Well, their coats repel spells if you can kill 'em and skin 'em. But it takes the hardest of goblin blades to cut the hides."

"No, I mean live ones. The Quibbler had an article last year about Fudge bringing in live graphorns to a private underground facility, not too far from Diagon Alley. He was supposed to have been doing it for quite some time. That's one of the reasons I was so surprised to even find one. They were pretty rare anyway, and with Fudge removing them from the wild, they must be even rarer."

"You know, as articles in The Quibbler go, that's pretty sane," said Hermione, while Luna glared at her. "Oh, you must recognize that some are pretty wild. But I could see reasons for importing a creature like that - you could breed tame ones to raise for the hides and sell as spell-proof coats."

"Yeah," said Ron, "but that's more like something the twins would do. Fudge isn't into business. He wants power. Reckon he could make a tame version he could use as a battle animal, like muggles used to do with elephants?"

"You two er really thinkin' now. My vote's for cross-breeding to come up with something big and dangerous," said Hagrid.

"Still," said Harry, "if Fudge is actually doing this and it's a secret, I don't think it can be good. I don't reckon he trusts Dumbledore even yet."

"This is marvelous," enthused Luna, "I never get this much discussion on things from The Quibbler at the Ravenclaw dorm."

"Well, we've learned there're some things you can't put past some people," said Harry.

"If this is somethin' we'll have to deal with, maybe I should see about getting' one for class," said Hagrid.

"Oh, great, you lot had to give him that idea," muttered Ron.

"Hagrid," said Harry, "there's something else you might be able to help with. Last year we were working on patronuses, and several of the members of the DA learned to cast the spell, but I'm still worried. It's a lot harder to do when you're under attack than when you're in a safe room. Even last summer when two dementors attacked my cousin and me, I had to try several times to get mine to work, and I had done it before under pressure. I practiced against a boggart, because that was the form boggarts took for me, but that won't work for the others. And with the dementors having gone over to Voldemort, it's not as if they're available. Do you know of some way we can practice where someone would really be under pressure to produce the patronus?"

Hagrid furrowed his brow at Harry and peered intently. It was a full fifteen seconds before he replied. "If it was anybody else askin' but you er Dumbledore... Yeah, I know what you need. But I'd hate to actually go about getting one."

"What are they - are they that bad?"

"They're called lethifolds. They're like a huge black amoeba that moves along the ground. They cover their victims and then absorb 'em entirely - not so much as a toenail or drop of blood left. Then they glide on, looking for another victim. Some say they're related to dementors - perhaps dementors are a cross-breed of some sort. The only spell known to beat either of 'em is the patronus. That's why I'm so scared of 'em. I can grapple with most any creature, but I can't make a Patronus. All I can do around a lethiform is run."

The others listened with growing horror as Hagrid described lethifolds.

Ron was the first to speak. "Let me understand this - you say that Acromantulas are interesting creatures, right?"

"Very interestin'."

"And dragons"

"Interestin' - cute, really."


"Interestin' - a great challenge."

"Nundus? Erumpents? Sphinxes? Manticores?"

"They're all very interestin'"


"They scare me silly!"

Harry clapped his hands on his knees happily, "That's just the thing we need! How do we get one?"

Hermione glared at him as if he was asking her to date Grawp. "Harry, a creature that scares Hagrid silly and you want us all to take it on!?"

"Not all of you together. I picture you in a pit of some sort: just you, your wand, and the lethifold."

"YOU ARE INSANE," said Hermione, Ron and Luna together.

"Maybe, but listen. You don't want to wait until you really need a patronus to find out if you can do it under pressure. Voldemort has dementors and he will find ways to use them. You didn't like last year being taught only defensive theory - you wanted to know you could use spells when you had to. Well, a patronus is only theory until you can conjure it when your life depends on it. Happy thoughts are easy when you're safe. They aren't so easy when you're terrified. We wouldn't just leave you in a pit like that alone. I would be there to use my patronus if you were unable to produce yours under those conditions."

"It makes sense, Harry," said Hermione, "but those lethifolds are really awful-sounding."

"Remember when we were attacked by dementors, Hermione?" asked Harry, "You have to be THAT scared and still produce a patronus."

"Let me tell you, Hermione," said Hagrid, "I didn't make 'em sound scary enough. I was in Africa collecting some creatures, and I had started first with getting' some streelers, for to protect the gardens and greenhouses here from Horklumps. Well I had several in cages and was just getting up in the mornin' when I saw that one of 'em had half disappeared. I took a closer look and found that it was being enveloped by a lethifold. I tried to get it off, but then it tried to climb onto me. I shook it off immediately but m'hand was totally numb, like it had been in icewater. I grabbed all the other cages and got away. When it left that first cage there was nothing left o' that streeler - not even the shell. Soon as it left, I picked up camp and moved a good way away in the opposite direction. The only way to contain 'em is in an airtight glass box magically sealed. They are totally silent and stealthy and they only eat live prey. But I'll say this: Harry's right. The only way to know if you can work under pressure is to apply pressure. You've got to be genuinely scared. If a lethifold don't scare you, nothin' will. I'll do it, Harry, on two conditions. First, I want Professor Dumbledore's full knowledge and approval. Second, I want another wizard besides you who has used a patronus against a dementor present anytime the cage is opened. I know you're good, but I won't play a part in it unless there are two wizards ready to protect these kids. And you know I can't do it - I never got no magical training to that level. Okay?"

"Fair enough, Hagrid," said Harry, "I'll talk to Dumbledore tonight."

They continued to talk, drink herb tea and pick at their rock-hard biscuits. When it was time to go, Hagrid asked if they would like to take any more of the biscuits with them. Ron spoke up quickest. "Oh, none for us Gryffindors, Hermione's mum sent us some treats. But Luna was just saying when you were making the last pot of tea how much she'd like to have a few extra."

Luna's eyes bugged out at him more than usual, but she politely kept quiet.

"Oh, well, I'd be happy to make up a box for you, Luna. I'm so glad you enjoy my baking. These three never seem to have an appetite when they come out here. There you go - an even dozen fer to grow on. Now I don't want you to be a stranger. You don't have to wait fer these three to show up. We both seem to like interestin' creatures, y'know?"

They all thanked Hagrid and said good-bye. Luna carried the box of biscuits like she were carrying a full ten-gallon bucket.

"Ron, I ought to be mad at you," said Luna, laughing "but these will be so funny back at the dorm that I can't be."

She set the box down and took out her wand. "Wingardium Leviosa" and with a wave of her wand they followed behind her.

"Careful when you get to the castle with those," said Harry, "Filch will have you in detention for sure if you break the walls or the floor with them."

"You know," said Luna, "Hagrid still seems rather odd, though some people don't think that's a criticism I can make. But he is very nice and it's hard not to like someone who loves his friends and creatures so much."