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Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix Quidditch Through the Ages Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Published: 09/21/2004
Updated: 01/14/2005
Words: 139,369
Chapters: 38
Hits: 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 26

Chapter Summary:
Before leaving for Christmas Break, Hermione gives Harry and Ron parchment on which she has copied the pattern of dots she found on the gum wrappers Alice Longbottom had given to Harry. As they are looking at the parchment with Ginny, the Creeveys see it and give them a lead as to what the code might be.

Chapter 26 - Dots

Sunday evening, Harry was to be released. His skin had all regrown. Madam Pomfrey let him down from the hover charm. Harry winced in pain.

"What did you expect?" snapped Madam Pomfrey, "Your skin and nerves are newer than a newborn baby's. Just one more thing we have to do now."

She began pulling on some large thick rubber gloves and Harry recoiled. "Oh, relax, you big baby. These are just so I can apply skin toughener without toughening my own hands." Then she took a jar of salve and started to apply it to the bottoms of Harry's feet, and his elbows and knees. "This will keep these areas from being too raw and tender when you get back to daily life. I'd better put on a second coat since you've been running this year."

"Do you have some I can take internally?" asked Harry.

"Why? Are you going to eat with goblins?"

"I don't want it for my stomach. I want it for my heart," said Harry.

Madam Pomfrey stopped and looked him in the eye. "Potter, there are potions to numb your emotions - alcohol's one of the easiest. Small amounts are no big deal, but understand you should never try using any sort of potion to run from your problems or hide from your emotions. You might stop dealing with your feelings for a while, but they'll come roaring back. And you won't have dealt with your problems, which usually get worse in the meantime. Face your emotions and your problems, and you'll have a much better chance of a happy conclusion. Understand?"

Harry nodded.

"And since we're talking," she continued, "I know Edgecombe told you I was a bit put out by all the work you send me on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And so I am, but you keep sending them to me. I'd much rather deal with minor hurts now than major hurts later. We're getting a better quality of injury already from your group. Keep it up."

With that, she let Harry put on the clothes Ron had brought him and return to his dorm. It was already dark outside, but not too late. The Gryffindor students were mostly in the common room, some playing games, some reading or doing homework. Ron and Hermione were quibbling over something. It was good to be back. Mrs. Weasley was right - after three days off, Harry was anxious to get back to his routines. After a minute or two, he was noticed and greeted. Those that hadn't visited him in the Hospital Wing congratulated him on the great show on Halloween.

"Maybe you should thank Malfoy," said Harry, "it would have been dull without him."

Parvati Patil giggled "I think Professor McGonagall is taking care of all the 'thanking' he needs from Gryffindor for a long time."

"Harry," called Jack Sloper, "Glad you're back - are you going to be ready for the Hufflepuff game this weekend?"

"I'm ready now," said Harry, "I am so in need of doing something."

It felt great to be back in classes the next day. Harry had only missed one day, but with the weekend involved as well, it felt like he had been away much longer. He got back a Potions essay which was thoroughly marked-up by Snape, but all Snape could find to criticize was the handwriting. At Herbology, Professor Sprout held up a mirror for him to see the wisps of purple hair near his ears: "Better cut back on the murtlap for a while," she warned.

Getting back to Apparation class was the best. Harry had been Apparating full body for almost a month, so Madam Hooch decided to give him the test needed to move on to Apparating with objects. Harry had to retrieve twelve small magical objects from around the Quidditch stadium in less than five minutes without splinching. Harry was so excited to be able to move on that he was done in fifteen seconds.

"You beat the old school record by 11 seconds," Madam Hooch observed, "Your father set that and Charlie Weasley tied it, though he later messed up his licensing test in his excitement. Flying and Apparating skills just seem to go hand-in-hand."

After that Harry spent the rest of the class session practicing Apparating different places with a chair. He once needed to get Madam Hooch to help him extricate the chair from the wall. The rest of the class was doing tolerably well, for the most part. Many, including Hermione, Ron, the Patil sisters, and Lavender Brown, were Apparating their whole arms dependably and were starting to work on feet.

At Occlumency that evening, nothing was said about Halloween or the lethifold. Harry and Snape went straight to practice. Harry was managing to protect his negative emotions most of the time, and was rarely using spells to ward Snape off. More often than Harry liked, he found himself catching glimpses of Snape's mind without even using the Protego spell. Try as he might, he found it harder and harder to hate Snape as he came to understand bits and pieces of his life and perspective. Still there were clearly mountains of information in Snape's mind that remained hidden. The session left both Harry and Snape rubbing their heads: Harry rubbed his scar, which always hurt after long sessions of his mind being invaded, and Snape rubbed his temples from looking into Harry's love and concern for the school and others he cared about. As Snape dismissed Harry, Harry heard him grumble "How he carries that about..."

At the DA, enthusiasm was high generally, but particularly for the Patronus. Some people said they just never wanted to face anything as hideous as a lethifold or a dementor without a proper weapon. Others said they figured if it meant that much to Harry to face that monster to show them how it's done, that they had better learn it.

As the weeks went on, the DA's progress was apparent. By Christmas break, they still were on level 1 fighting spells, but the reliability, aim and control was clearly there. Those in the higher classes were better fighters already than your average adult wizard, but only the members of the original DA and a few others looked to be ready to meet a trained fighter. Although Neville still lagged in Patronus and Apparation skills, as a fighter he was becoming frightening - only Hermione, Ron and Harry could stand up to him for long, and he was utterly implacable on offense or defense.

By Christmas, several others had been able to produce corporeal Patronuses, including the Weasley twins, Anthony Goldstein, Katie Bell and Susan Bones, and had tested them against the lethifold. A few had trouble producing their patronus against the lethifold at first, but Harry or Professor Weasley would intervene to put the lethifold back in its box. Then Harry would talk them through their fears and soon they were able to conjure the Patronus even under pressure. Harry felt like he could conjure a Patronus just by thinking of the progress he had seen.

In early December while Ron and Harry were discussing tactics after a quidditch practice (Gryffindor having won its match with Hufflepuff 390 - 80, Hufflepuff being in a rebuilding year and the weather preventing Harry from getting the snitch sooner), Hermione came up to them with a piece of parchment each. Each one had 22 small box outlines and each box had a number of dots in it.

"Here, maybe you two can figure something out," said Hermione.

"Wow, you're trusting us to think. What are these anyway?" asked Harry.

"I got tired of trying to figure out the holes in the gum wrappers while looking at the patterns on the wrappers. Even though the holes avoid the pattern, it was just hard to follow and think about. So I made an outline of each wrapper and the pattern of dots within it."

"Wow, Hermione," said Ron, "what spell did you use for that?"

"None, Ron," said Hermione, "honestly; you full-bloods think everything has to be done by magic. I used a quill to trace the wrappers and make a mark through each hole."

"Has it helped?" said Ron, peeved at being scolded.

"It's easier to look at, but nothing so far. That's why I've made copies for you."

"That was quite a lot of work," said Ron.

"Oh, Ron! Why would it be? I just charmed a quill to copy the first one. Why wouldn't I use magic to do something like that! Don't you ever think?"

Harry suppressed his grin and said "Maybe we can ask around to people and see if they can figure out the code. But we should probably not say what it's from. Can we say it's from Arithmancy: we won't run into anyone else taking that?

Hermione sniffed with indignation, "There are more than you think. We need something else."

Ron perked up, "I know, let's say it's a special project for my father, and we'll let him know to go along with it."

"Won't he ask questions?" asked Hermione.

"Probably not," said Ron, "but so what if he does - we're just trying to see whether a bunch of tatty gum wrappers have a hidden code. Wow, it's actually coming in handy to have him around."

"Honestly, Ron" said Hermione, "You can't think of anything else nice about having your father teaching DADA!? I suppose you'd like to get Umbridge or Lockhart back?"

"Well, I wouldn't mind Lupin back," replied Ron, "but, okay, Dad's a sight better than the rest."

"Speaking of your family," said Harry, "what are you going to be doing for Christmas break? I hate to be blunt, but I had kind of hoped for an invite."

"Oh, sure," said Ron, "Absolutely, you're invited to spend it with us - RIGHT HERE! Mum decided it was so much fun to spend Halloween weekend here that she wants to spend Christmas, too."

"Oh, well, that's not so bad, is it?" said Hermione, "this place is rather charming in the winter and you can practice magic and quidditch and have the run of the place."

"Yeah, well, I couldn't bear to mention this before, but when she visits they play 'games,' if you know what I mean," said Ron.

"You don't mean Exploding Snap, do you," said Harry with a smile.

"I went down to see Dad in his office before dinner that Friday after Halloween, and when I opened the door, he was in his teaching robes holding his pointer stick and Mum was sitting in the detention desk writing lines. And she had her hair up in pigtails like when she was a student here! And if I had any doubt where that was leading, they both blushed when I came in."

Hermione suppressed her giggling, "Well, that will teach you to knock before entering."

Then Harry added "Just be glad you weren't any later - you might have gone blind."

"That's not funny, you two! I could be emotionally scarred for life from something like that! I had to go to the Prefects loo and bathe for an hour to feel clean again," objected Ron.

"Better be careful there, too," said Harry mischievously, "you can never tell when they might decide to share some time there - getting in a lather."

"Ooh, and watch out at the Quidditch Pitch. I heard your Mum mention how they used to meet out there, too, though she didn't share any details."

"Shut up, both of you. I won't have another place to go besides the dorm, the library, and the owlery," fumed Ron.

Harry grinned, "Well, as a matter of fact,..."


"Oh, Ron," said Hermione, "They are a married couple, who have long been madly in love with each other and still are. Did you think you and Ginny were found under pumpkins?"

"Well, he might have been," said Harry.

"Thanks a lot for the sympathy," said Ron with exasperation.

"Ron," said Harry, "Is it that bad that your parents love each other?"

"Maybe not - but that doesn't mean I need to be reminded of it involving anything more than kisses hello and goodbye."

"Ron," said Hermione quite intently, "is it your intention to be doing anything more than greeting kisses when YOU'RE your father's age!?"

"Well, yeah, of course, I mean, absolutely," he said quite sheepishly, "But, you know, that's different."

Harry laughed at Ron's predicament. "Maybe you better quit, mate, while you're no further behind than you are already."

"I don't know how it's gone on so far already! It's certainly not what I wanted to talk about!"

"Well, I think it's lovely," said Hermione, "In fact I'll be returning here Boxing Day, as my parents are going on a romantic holiday cruise together. Personally, I think it's wonderful - they almost never can get away from their dental practice."

"A cruise - where?" asked Harry.

"The coast of Norway."

Ron was shocked. "The coast of Norway!? In the middle of the winter!? In the North Sea!? Conditions will be terrible - they won't be able to get topside at all!"

"That's the idea," said Hermione with a wink, turning to go back up to the girls' dorm.

"Well, now I know where she gets it from," said Ron, "The whole family's mental!"

Harry laughed, but he didn't think they sounded irrational at all.

On the first day of Christmas Break, Harry and Ron Ginny were sitting at one of the tables in the Gryffindor common room as all those who were leaving did so. Hermione was among the first and insisted that Harry and Ron take a copy of the bubble-gum wrapper dots to the library during the Break to look for some sort of wizard code or communication system there. After all, she reasoned, the Longbottoms were both aurors and would probably know all the most subtle and complex codes in the magical world.

"When in doubt, go to the Library, right, Hermione?" said Ron.

"If you have a better plan, I'd like to hear it," she replied, "Besides would you rather sit around thinking about your parents playing games in the DADA classroom?"

"That's a low blow, Hermione! Now I'll have to do something drastic to get that out of my head."

"Like going to the library?"

Just then Ginny showed up and curled herself up in an easy chair near her brother and Harry.

"Oh, Harry," said Hermione, "I wanted to ask before I go if you'd seen the essay we wrote in The Quibbler."

"Not yet," answered Harry, "I can assure you that I'd have showed it to you if I'd seen it."

"Actually it will be in the first edition in January," said Ginny.

"And you know this because ...?" asked Ron.

"Luna and I share a lot of classes. She was reading a letter from her father this morning in Runes and mentioned that he had said it would be published then - front page with a byline."

"I didn't know you took Runes," said Harry.

Ginny tilted her head, arched an eyebrow, and said mysteriously, "There's a lot you don't know about me, Harry Potter."

"Oh, like it's some big deal," said Ron dismissively, "she's as much of a grind as Percy."

Ginny hit him in the arm. "If you must compare me to an industrious brother, choose Bill or Charlie!"

"Ow! Geez, Ginny!"

"Ahem!" interrupted Hermione, "I'll leave you to your childish play, then. I only have so much time with my parents before they'll be going, so I'll be on my way. Don't forget the 'project'!"

They waved good-bye to her and promised they would spend some library time, but as soon as the portrait-hole closed, they tossed the parchment on the table and started a game of wizard chess. Ginny picked it up, turning it each way.

"Alright, you two, what's this parchment thing all about? It sounds like Hermione has you doing research, though why she'd trust you two I can't imagine."

Harry waved her to be quiet, because just then, Neville walked by. He saw the parchment and asked what it was. Harry stammered a few seconds before Ron said it was a page from their quidditch playbook.

"Oh, cool," said Neville, "looks more organized than quidditch usually seems."

"Yeah, well, uh," said Ron, "these are approximations of positions. We adjust according to our opponent."

After Neville left, Ginny said "Okay, it must be pretty good or you two wouldn't have made up a lie like that. Spill!"

"Okay," said Harry, "Hermione made these dots from the holes in the Droobles wrappers that Neville's mother gave me. Remember, we told you about them when I was in hospital. Hermione plotted them so she wouldn't have to look at the sick swirling pink wrappers. We just figured we shouldn't say anything to others, especially Neville."

"Because you didn't want to remind Neville of his parents' situation?"

"Yeah, or give him false hopes of recovery."

"So what have you got - or should I say, what has Hermione got, since you two lunkheads couldn't solve anything."

"Well, I like that," said Ron, "we've gotten just as far as she has."

"Yeah," laughed Harry, "nowhere."

"Well, you two go on with your game and let me see if I can come up with anything."

They were there for about twenty minutes when Colin and Dennis Creevey came by. They called good-bye to Harry and Ron, and Colin made to pat Ginny on the shoulder as he was passing. He had grown enough that he could look over both the chair back and her shoulder to see the parchment.

"Hey, who do you know who's blind?" he asked.

"What? Why do you ask?" said Ginny.

"Well, you've got that Braille letter there," he said, "Look at this Dennis, doesn't that look like the books great-uncle Bruce used to read."

"Really?" said Harry, "I've heard of Braille but never seen it." Then he explained to Ron and Ginny, "It's a system of raised dots that represent letters so that blind people can read,"

"Well, that's what it looks like if the dots aren't raised," said Dennis, "except for those stray dots. Look at that, Colin; these have got one stray dot beneath the Braille dots. Well, if you didn't know what it was, why do you have it?"

"Our parents got us a bunch of puzzles to keep us occupied during the Break," said Ginny, "they're getting all romantic, reliving their student days together, and didn't want us interrupting."

"Yeah," said Ron, "as if we'd get within a mile of 'em like that."

Colin turned his back to them, wrapped his arms so his hands were reaching around to his back, and made smooching noises.

"Aargh! No, I can't take it," laughed Ginny, "I'll be off food for a week."

"So what do each of these represent, guys?" asked Harry.

"Couldn't tell you, Harry," said Dennis, "It's not something you generally learn unless you need to. Uncle Bruce would read to us from Braille books, but we couldn't figure it out when he did it. Sorry."

"No problem - at least you pointed us in a promising direction," said Harry, "Have a great holiday. Think those happy thoughts - I want to see your Patronuses."

"Take lots of pictures," said Ron.

And both Creeveys pulled out cameras and took a shot of Harry and the Weasleys before leaving.

As soon as the Creeveys were out the portrait-hole, Ron and Harry finished their chess game and then the three of them headed to the library. They used the 'puzzle' excuse again, without the embellishment about Professor and Mrs. Weasley, to explain to Madam Pince what they were looking for and why.

"Very clever," she said "to give young wizards a puzzle written in a muggle code - wizards would be so unlikely to recognize it. Or, I guess from what you're describing, it is more of an alphabet in itself. Curious. But I'm afraid you won't be finding any such thing here."

They left the library and stood together to think.

Ron said, "Now who do we know with access to a muggle library or bookstore?"

Ginny glared at him like he was the biggest troll in Britain until he said sheepishly "Oh, of course, Hermione, she'd be living in one or the other given a chance. But she's long gone."

"Well, I've got a friend with wings who'd love the trip," said Harry, "unless you'd prefer to use Pig?"

"No, the weather is pretty nasty outside," said Ron, "I wouldn't want to send 'im ten miles, much less several hundred. Hedwig's the right size for these conditions."

They stopped by the dorm for a piece of parchment, on which they wrote "We think the dots are Braille - send us a translation key. H, R, & G." They got Harry's owl grooming kit and several owl treats and went up to the owlery. Hedwig stooped to them as soon as she saw Harry. Unlike some years, Harry had not ignored her, finding that when the press of his visions got too intense, holding and stroking Hedwig soothed him as much as it did her. She spread her wings and twisted her neck this way and that as they groomed her for the long flight. Ginny fed her the owl treats as the boys took care of her feathers. Then they attached the parchment and told her where it was to go. She nipped Harry affectionately and took off through the owlery eaves.