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Published: 09/21/2004Updated: 01/14/2005Words: 139,369Chapters: 38Hits: 79,228
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 Summary:
- Harry is visited by a number of friends after the Halloween Feast. Among other things, they discuss the gumwrappers Alice Longbottom gave to Harry.
Chapter 23 - Recovery
Harry didn't know how long he had dozed hovering there when he started to hear Hermione's, Ron's, and Ginny's voices around him. He also caught the unmistakable odor of Halloween Feast and was immediately aware that he had barely eaten at lunch. He opened his eyes.
"There ya go, mate. We were gonna let you sleep, but I guess we made a bit too much noise," he heard Ron say. Harry turned his head to see Ron's smiling face.
"Harry," said Hermione. "Have you been feeling alright? You looked so awful when we left."
"Oh, I've been fine. I just needed some fluids and rest. I'll be here a few days," replied Harry.
"I'll be able to get your Charms work," said Ron. "Professor Flitwick hasn't stopped chattering about the display of Patronus Charms this evening. Marietta was going to take care of Potions, but Hermione said she would be there anyway, so she'd do it. I know I wasn't about to put in extra face time with Snape if I could help it. As for Magical Creatures, there's someone here to see you."
Hagrid came in with his eyes all red and his beard wet. "Harry? So yer gonna make it? That's my lad," he said timidly.
"I'll be fine, Hagrid. I'm just grateful to you for getting us that lethifold. Oh, and for nailing Malfoy."
"Yeah, well, Harry, I have to tell ya, I'm feelin' jus' awful fer getting' you that there lethifold. I like creatures with a bit of zest to 'em, but those things're jus' awful," said Hagrid.
"Of course they are, nearly as bad as a dementor - that's why we needed it so badly. We have to manage our emotions enough to produce a Patronus even when we're scared silly. And anyone who saw what it did to me will certainly be scared enough," said Harry cheerily.
"I don' know how yer can be so light-hearted after this," marveled Hagrid.
"You know, Hagrid, after all the training and fretting of the past several months, it felt good to actually be doing something - even if things didn't quite turn out as planned."
"Kin I have a look - I din't see it afore," asked Hagrid.
"Sure, Hagrid, pull it up at the foot, that was the worst."
"Cor, Harry, that's disgustin'," said Hagrid.
"Hagrid!" said Hermione. "That looks no worse now than your face did most of last year!"
"Not to me, Hermione, but then I don't hafta look at m'own mug ver' offen," laughed Hagrid, "Besides, that was me getting' hurt and me brother doin' it, so it wasn' so bad. This is m'good friend, and it was done by a monster. Listen, Harry, I got to get goin' back to the creatures, but I just had to see ya first. I'm glad yer doin' better. You still want me to keep that lethifold?"
"Hagrid, don't even think about getting rid of it - it's our only hope of preparing for the dementors. But let's not feed it any more students."
"Right you are, then, Harry. Though I'm still abou' ready to see if it would like Malfoy."
Ron laughed, "It'd probably just spit him out, Hagrid."
"So what are we going to call it?" said Harry with a grin.
"What d'you mean, Harry?" asked Hagrid.
"Well, it's got to have a name, no matter how scary a beast it is. I learned that from you my first year, with Fluffy and Norbert."
"How can you name a monster like that!?"
"Now you see how we felt about naming Fluffy. How about Inky, or Midnight?"
"No, Harry," said Ginny, "we used to have a black cat named Midnight."
"Is everyone okay with 'Inky'?" asked Harry.
"It sounds too cuddly for a beast like that, but I guess Norbert wasn't exactly cuddly either," said Ron. "I'm okay with it. For now it's Inky, then, but let's run it by the rest of last year's DA, too, in case that's a name that means something to them."
"Right, then," said Hagrid, "I'll see you at class next week, Harry. I'll be wantin' to see how you've healed."
"I'll plan on it, Hagrid," said Harry.
Almost as soon as Hagrid left, 2 more visitors arrived.
"Harry! Oh, Harry, I'm so sorry," cried Mrs. Weasley, as she threw her arms across his floating body. Harry stifled a scream and she jumped back. "Oh, Harry, what have I done now?"
"It's alright, Mrs. Weasley. It's just that the nerves are growing back and they're very tender right now. They have me hovering so I won't be touching the linens, other than this charmed sheet."
Ron grabbed the edge of the sheet "then what have you got on under ... Oh!" he said, stifling his laughter. He and Ginny started playing with the sheet as if they were going to yank it off of him or lift it up. Harry tried to grab at it, but rolled helplessly back and forth on the support of the hover charm.
"Knock it off, you two!" said Mr. Weasley gently, with a little smirk.
"Yes, SIR, Professor Weasley!" said Ginny.
"If you two will stop playing around, I'm trying to talk to Harry!" said Mrs. Weasley. "Harry, I am so sorry for that outburst at the auditorium. I've just been so anxious about all the danger about, and then to see you children in that pit with that horrible creature was just too much for me."
"Well, Mrs. Weasley, you did have me thinking that I maybe went too far in trying to prepare us all for what we may face, but if it hadn't scared you that much, I wouldn't have thought it scary enough to train against. I will admit it was a bit of a thrill bringing in a creature that even scared Hagrid. But I discussed it with Professor Dumbledore and had several back-up wizards available."
"I know you did, Harry. You've been almost obsessive these past few months, but really quite practical as well," said Molly Weasley reassuringly. "Everything I have heard has been wonderful. I knew you must have made appropriate precautions here as well."
"Speaking of that, Harry," said Arthur Weasley, "I truly apologize for not getting my wand out sooner. It looked like you had everything under control, and I know you are dependable with your Patronus, but then everything went wrong so suddenly."
"Well, we didn't exactly plan on Malfoy trying to embarrass me,' said Harry.
"I don't yet know the younger Malfoy that well. I know his father wouldn't mind seeing any of us dead. Do you really think it was just for embarrassment," said Arthur, "or was he really trying to get you injured or killed?"
"I'm sure my injury doesn't upset him, except maybe that I'm not worse off. But he must have known his wand would have been one of those checked for its most recent spells, which would have put him in the dock, so he couldn't have been intending real harm. After all, there's really only one thing he's loyal to - his own skin," said Harry.
Mrs. Weasley could barely contain herself, "That Malfoy boy is just lucky Hagrid gave him to Minerva before I took hold of him."
Arthur laughed "I believe the two of you would have had a taffy-pull with him."
"What d'you reckon?" mused Ron, "When he gets back to Slytherin's dorm is he going to be a hero or a goat?"
"My vote's on being the goat," replied his father, "at least for getting caught. I overheard Minerva, erm, Professor McGonagall telling Professor Snape that one of his detentions would take all of Saturday with Professor Sprout. As much as Severus wants to win at Quidditch he wasn't about to say boo about that."
"Quidditch! That's right!" said Ginny, "the first match of the season. Without an experienced seeker, Slytherin will have to rely on scoring goals to win, and their chasers are no better than Ravenclaw's."
"I reckon we'd better warn the Ravenclaws," said Ron. "You know the Slytherin motto 'when your back's against the wall, play dirty.'"
"So Harry," asked Mrs. Weasley, "am I forgiven?"
"For what - caring about us? I'm thrilled there's someone who worries so much about us all. It must be so hard on you."
"Harry, you know exactly how hard it is worrying about everyone. At least it takes a boggart for me to actually see it," said Mrs. Weasley quietly.
"We'll be off then," said Professor Weasley, adding with a mischievous smile "The two of us are going for a moonlight stroll around the lake, relive a bit of our school days."
Mrs. Weasley gave Harry a kiss on the cheek and hugged her children and Hermione.
"Mrs. Weasley," said Hermione thoughtfully, "before you go, let me ask - are you going to be around all weekend?"
"Why, yes, I am, dear, why?" she replied.
"There's someone I'd like you to meet," said Hermione.
"Well, alright, Hermione, if you insist. What time is good?"
"Let's see, tomorrow, Professor Weasley will be teaching a double class to the fourth-years in the late afternoon, so that should be open for you," said Hermione "but I have Magical Creatures from 3 to 4 - how about right after that?"
"That would be fine, Hermione" said Mrs. Weasley. "Are you going to tell me who I'm to meet?"
"Tomorrow," said Hermione with a delighted twinkle in her eye.
"Well, if that's all arranged, we'll let you young people have some time," said Arthur Weasley, "while we go recreate some of our memories."
He offered his arm to Molly, who took it with a giggle, leaning her head against his shoulder.
"Blimey," said Ron, "if those two don't watch what they're doing, there'll be more Weasleys yet!"
"More power to them," said Harry, "it's good to see a couple in love, and I happen to think the magical world is a better place with more Weasleys!"
"Hear, hear!" cheered Hermione, "especially if they're as dishy as Bill."
Ron looked shocked and hurt, which made Ginny giggle.
"Be that way, Hermione" asked Ron, "at least do we get to know who the mystery person is?"
"Nope," she said, "it might jinx my plans."
"Well, I'm not going to argue about it," he said.
"May as well not," said Ginny. "You know you'd lose."
"Harry!" said Hermione, "What's this I hear about you asking for Marietta exclusively to take care of your treatments? Are you trying to avoid me?"
Harry laughed, "I'm trying to avoid having your hands in places I don't think I want you putting them."
Ron looked puzzled, "I thought it was just your legs!?"
Harry pulled the sheet halfway down his chest, "not exactly - it got all the way up here."
Ron nodded and said "Ohh, ... O-O-O-h-h-h! And everything in between? Erm, just how thorough did she have to be?"
"Ron, you idiot!" snapped Hermione bemusedly, "she had to cover anything the lethifold might have gotten to - EVERYthing!"
Harry laughed again. "Let's just say, Ron, that I will never react to your planetary joke quite the same way."
"Still I'm not quite comfortable," said Hermione.
"Me, too," said Ron, Ginny nodding along.
"You three still haven't gotten past what happened last year, have you? It was a bad time, everyone was afraid, the tide seemed to be running hard against us. Can't you just accept that mistakes were made? She's apologized," said Harry
"I haven't heard it," said Ginny, "she said nothing like that would happen again, but I haven't heard her say what she did was wrong or that she regrets doing it."
"So what do you want to do? She's very capable and there's no reason to think she won't be loyal in fighting Voldemort. She was magnificent with her Patronus. You don't think we have too many people who can handle dementors, do you?" asked Harry, getting a bit loud.
"Shh, Harry, you'll get her attention," said Hermione, "for that matter we don't know she hasn't heard us already."
"What do you care," said Harry, "you don't trust her enough to put salve on my legs."
The others looked down. Ginny finally spoke "Our heads tell us you're right, Harry, we need as many capable people as will fight alongside us. But our hearts don't necessarily follow our heads so quickly. It's only normal to wonder what she'll do when the chips are down. That's what we're preparing for after all."
"I'm not saying I would have wanted her at the Department of Mysteries," Harry whispered, "but there were others there I didn't think would hold up as well as they did. She's a good team leader and very capable with the spells we've studied. Let's not be at odds with each other."
"So you won't let your best friends do anything for you?" said Hermione, trying to move the talk away from Marietta.
"Well, you could feed me. I'm starving and with this hover charm, I can't reach the plate or sit up to eat if I could. And it smells SO good."
Ginny stabbed a large bite of oyster cranberry dressing and stuffed it in his mouth. She and Hermione took turns feeding him while they all talked about various things - potential punishments for Malfoy, fighting the lethifold, potential punishments for Malfoy, quidditch, potential punishments for Malfoy, and other things. After a lull, Harry remembered the gum wrappers Neville's mother had given him. He mentioned them to Hermione and they described the whole situation to Ron and Ginny.
"So, have you figured out anything yet?" asked Ginny.
"Well, I know they are not hypodermic punctures," she said, "Oh, you two don't know what those are. Um, some muggle medicines - think of them as potions - can be drunk or taken as pills but some have to be put right into the blood or body. The hypodermic needle is a tiny tube that goes through the skin and then the potion is injected."
"What a bizarre thing to do!" said Ginny.
"Well," said Harry, "it does get the medicine right where you want it, and since muggle potions are not magical, they often have to be put where they are needed."
"Dad would probably pay good money to have it done to him, just because it's a muggle thing," laughed Ron.
"Maybe we could do that for his birthday," said Harry with a grin, "So Hermione, how do you know the holes aren't from a hypodermic needle."
"Because they're round and they aren't all the same size," she said triumphantly, "I checked them carefully with a magnifier."
Ron screwed up his face "Okay, I'll ask: what does that tell us about how the holes were made?"
"Well, hypodermic needles haven't been round for years - oval ones do less damage."
"Okay" said Harry, "that's nice to know, but a lot of things we use in the magical world are things the muggles used ages ago - maybe a wizard is using an old hypodermic again and again to poison the gum. Or maybe the paper just tears round even with an oval needle."
"Aah, but then there's the different sizes," said Hermione, "a hypodermic needle is the same size for its entire length. No matter how far you poke it in, it makes the same size hole."
"Okay" said Ginny, "but what if it's just the corners where the wrapper goes around the gum, and it gets knocked against things to make the holes."
"Ooh, ooh! I know this one," said Ron excitedly, "that can't be it because they would all have the same pattern or very nearly so, and also most of the holes would be frayed, and Hermione would have said so."
"Very good, Ron, I'm impressed. Have a biscuit," said Hermione, tossing him a small shortbread biscuit, which he caught in his mouth. "Ron's right. These have no fraying, but the edges are torn and splay the same direction, showing that they were poked by something with a conical point, like a very sharp quill or something else round which has been sharpened to a point Also you can see the creases from the folding of the wrappers and the holes don't correspond to edges or corners."
"So it's a pattern, which means somebody is trying to tell somebody something and Mrs. Longbottom made a point of handing a bunch of them to Harry, whom she has only seen once before," said Ginny.
"Maybe more than that," said Harry, "they were in the first Order and knew my parents."
"Well, sure, Harry," said Ron, "but you don't look a lot like you did then."
"Yes," said Ginny, "but he did acquire that scar before they were tortured! She may not be very lucid but still remember that something's supposed to be very good about the boy with the lightning scar."
"Exactly," said Harry, "I got the impression that there was at least some measure of intelligence still in her. And a couple of times she leaned over and touched my scar."
"Okay, maybe she is looking to tell Harry, or maybe the Order, something. Have you noticed any pattern to the holes?" Ron asked Hermione.
"Just this - there's always one letter and one letter only which has a hole in it, and then in the plain pink field of the wrapper, there's one or two small collections of dots that would fit in a small square. I thought maybe the dots represented the outline of runes, or an arithmancy combination, but I haven't solved it yet. Harry, may I look at the others?" said Hermione.
"Of course," said Harry, "They're in my trunk in that envelope - it's over on the left-hand side. If you go get them, say hi to Sirius's portrait for me and tell him what happened. He's used to me talking with him a few minutes each night."
"I'm glad you finally mentioned what that talking was about," said Ron. "You've been so distant with us, I thought maybe you were cracking up, talking to yourself."
"Yeah, Harry, I know you have all this pressure," said Ginny, "but try to share the load a bit, it'll make things easier."
Harry nodded. "I'll try; it's just the closer I get to people, the more death I see. It's very disturbing, and sometimes the visions seem so real and current."
Just then, Madam Pomfrey came up with Marietta at her side. "It's time for you three to head back to your dorms. You have just enough time to get back before curfew. Besides, it's time for a fresh application of murtlap."
Ron laughed and said to Harry, "Oh, well, Harry, pucker up!"
As she stirred the mixture of essence of murtlap, Dermo-Gro and Neuro-Gro, Marietta tried to smile pleasantly at the three Gryffindors who were leaving, but as Ginny walked by her eyes shot darts at Marietta.
After they were gone, Madam Pomfrey told Marietta to get to it and returned to her office.
"They still don't care for me, do they?" Marietta said to Harry.
"You heard?" asked Harry.
"I think Hermione's mostly over it - after all it was her hex that gave you fits half the summer. I think she considers that to have cleared the air. Right now I think her big issue is that I didn't ask for her to treat me. Ron and Ginny, well, let's give them some more time, okay?"
"No other choice, really, is there? Thanks for sticking up for me - it means the world to me" she said.
Harry nodded. "I know what it's like to be accused and not be in a position to defend yourself."
"Before we get started, do you need anything?"
"A bathroom break - can't you set me down long enough for that?" pled Harry.
"Sorry, Harry, I have my orders from Madam and you're not to touch anything but the sheet."
"But then how can I ..." Harry's voice dropped as she pulled out a bedpan. "I hate those things."
"Truth be told, Harry," said Marietta, confidentially, "I think she's enjoying making you uncomfortable - payback for all the patients the DA has been sending here."
"We've been countercursing most of them ourselves - that's no reason to prevent a guy from relieving himself in private!"
"Oh, I'll give you a bit of privacy. I neither need to nor want to watch" she said as she put the bedpan down under Harry. She pulled her wand out, "And here, I'll adjust the hover charm so you're sitting up - that'll make things easier. Oh, and do be a dear and try to aim well, alright?"
"How do I do that? I can't touch anything below my armpits!" Harry grumbled loudly as she left the curtained enclosure.
She came back fifteen minutes later with an annoyingly chipper, "All done?"
"I suppose so," said Harry, "but that's got to be one of the most disgusting things I've ever had to do."
"It's not my cuppa, either, Harry. What a mess you've made here - Evanesco!' Marietta said with a wave of her wand. Then she uncorked the flask with the murtlap mixture and said, "At least that can be done magically - some things still have to be done be hand."
Harry smiled and said "Yeah, well, maybe it's better to do a few things without magic."
Marietta looked up through her hair and smiled back at him. "Like a little attention, do ya? Maybe the hero wants to let others do on occasion. Alright then, lie back and I'll turn you over. You know the routine."
Harry smiled at the pillow below him as she started on his feet working the murtlap all around. This recovery may be inconvenient, but it had its advantages over taking Skelegro.