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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 30

Chapter Summary:
Harry and Marietta discuss their relationship, which Marietta wants to keep secret. Harry is allowed to tell Hermione who helps them get together. In quidditch, Slytherin beats Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw beats Gryffindor when Ron calls a poorly-timed play.

Chapter 30 - Secrecy

Harry and Marietta had lost track of time in each other's embrace. In time they decided they needed to be elsewhere than the Room of Requirement. They stood in the hall, still composing themselves, as they watched the door fade away.

"I'd still like to spend more time with you, if you would," said Harry.

"Of course," said Marietta, "but I'm not big on games. How about some sparring?"

"Sure, I'm always ready to practice, but we don't have someone to help with unhexing."

Marietta laughed, "Then don't hex me with anything you can't unhex. It's not like I'll get anything past you."

They spent an hour sparring, and just as Marietta foresaw, though she cast spells as fast as any other student but Harry, he deflected, blocked, converted or dodged every spell. On the other hand, while Marietta could keep up with protecting herself when Harry held back, as he approached his full speed, she was soon overwhelmed, even though he limited himself to Level 1 spells. Several times he had to unhex her, but she took it with a smile and kept on going.

"Wow, Harry, you don't usually get going like that in DA meetings. I don't think I've ever seen anyone fighting like that!" she said breathlessly, "Have you?"

"To be honest, not quite that fast, not in a battle. Last year when my godfather was killed, he was almost that fast. And this summer, I sparred against Neville Longbottom's grandmother - she was that fast. You know, that feels kind of stupid, saying I sparred against someone's grandmother. But she easily outdid me - Neville said I held out for five minutes, but it felt like twenty."

"You - lasted that long against HER!" said Marietta, "I guess she's not one for holding out her credentials, but my mother told me about her. She was one of the top auror combat trainers until about fifteen years ago. My mother said she retired when Death Eaters tortured Longbottom's parents."

"You know about that?" asked Harry.

"Of course. It's not a secret, really, although too many parents neglect to tell their children about the dark days of the first War. The trial of those Death Eaters was a big deal. My mother told me all about those times. She stressed how we need to be loyal to the Ministry and cooperate to assure mutual protection."

"You'll forgive me if I don't find the Ministry is all that protective," said Harry darkly.

"No, I can understand that. That's one of the things I've come to understand since, well, what happened last year, that people in the Ministry often have their own goals and use the Ministry as a tool to get them. It's like what you and the others said in that article in The Quibbler. Lovegood passed copies around the dorm. I owled a copy to my mother. She thinks I'm a radical now."

"Because you think beings' rights should be respected?"

"Not exactly; it would be closer to say it's because I think we should expect the Ministry to serve us, rather than the other way around. She's been in the Ministry so long that she sees us all as honeybees bound to serve the hive."

"Interesting comparison. You know, that doesn't sound so different, really, from the goblins' hullabaloos," said Harry, "but somehow when there are only twenty to maybe a hundred or so goblins per hullabaloo and all the members discuss things face-to-face before the glamdring makes a decision, it doesn't seem so oppressive. But the Ministry isn't really like a hullabaloo: there are tens or hundreds of thousands of witches and wizards just in Britain. I'll bet plenty of them have never seen Fudge or any member of the Wizengamot, other than Dumbledore and those involved in testing, much less been able to discuss things with any of them."

Marietta nodded, "There's a use for a government that covers more people than our own families or communities, since there are issues too big for just that, but it can easily be misused. How do we prevent that?"

"I don't know. I used to hear my uncle complain about the muggle Ministry over the very same things. Funny thing, though, he didn't call it oppression when the British government was giving no-bid contracts to his company."

Finally having been hexed enough, Marietta suggested they go for a walk around the grounds. Harry agreed and they each went to their dorms to put their things away and change to thick clothing. They started out at a stroll, but gradually picked up the pace due to the considerable cold. Harry hadn't intended to, but somehow he started telling Marietta about different adventures he had run into virtually everywhere on the grounds. For some things, like TriWizard Tournament events, Marietta told him how those had seemed to students who didn't really know him. It was refreshing to have that different viewpoint, and Harry was particularly pleased to hear her tell him when he looked foolish or a prat.

Finally Harry stopped. "I've been awful - all we've talked about is things I've done."

Marietta smiled, "You've done a lot."

"Yeah, I reckon, but ... I don't want to sound like I'm all full of myself."

"Silly boy," teased Marietta, "quite the contrary. You haven't been telling me about how brave or clever or powerful you've been. You've been telling me how grateful you've been for help you've gotten and how overwhelmed you've felt - frightened, embarrassed and above all worried about others. I've heard boys making far more of themselves with far less to base it on."

She gave him a kiss on the cheek and they hugged.

Marietta sighed, "We're back at the castle. The rest will be back soon. I guess this is it."

"Yeah, I'll be with my friends tonight. They'll want to talk about Hogsmeade and the Spring Skirmish and things. Can we get together tomorrow?" asked Harry.

"I'm afraid that wouldn't do. Harry, it's been a lovely day. Very special."

"I feel like we've found something special between us," said Harry.

Marietta bit her lip.

Harry pled, "No, don't do that - Hermione always does that when she's about to tell me something she thinks I don't want to hear."

"Harry, I agree - we have found something very special. I want us to keep it special by keeping it a secret."

He frowned. "Do I get a reason?"

"Oh, Harry, I have several of them. One of them is that I violated a sacred rule amongst girls: I kissed my best friend's ex-boyfriend."

"But that was last year," objected Harry, "and Cho and I were never really a couple: we only had one real date, and we didn't even make it all the way through that one."

Marietta smiled, "Yes, I know all about it. You were both quite foolish. But it's enough that I'm supposed to keep hands off."

"But I thought that rule was honored more in the breach than the keeping. I always hear about girlfriends trying to steal boyfriends away. And this isn't stealing. It's my decision," Harry was starting to rant but not loudly, as Marietta just shook her head. Harry continued, more calmly, "That's not the real reason, is it?

"No, I guess not. My feelings are very mixed. You are so sweet, but I'm not ready to be called Harry Potter's girl. It's too easy to be overshadowed by you and I know most of your friends still don't accept me."

"But Marietta, it's not an acquisition. It's a relationship - at least, I thought it was going to be," said Harry.

"Yes, Harry, oh, please don't think I don't want to be with you. I really do, and I won't miss a chance to do so, but do we have to be public about it?" asked Marietta, with big, wide, sad eyes.

Harry shook his head and said with a weak smile, "I'm going to have to ask Professor Weasley for a lesson on resisting girls' magic."

"It doesn't seem that he's ever tried to fight it," said Marietta.

"But then his girl doesn't mind admitting they're together. But if we have to be secret, I'll go along, at least for awhile. I don't like the thought of sneaking around like Percy Weasley and ..., who was that, oh yeah, Penelope Clearwater."

"I remember that. Oh, they thought they were so clever. All the Ravenclaw girls knew," she said.

"Can't I talk about ...us ... with anyone?"

"Who do you have in mind?"

"Well, Hermione, Professor Dumbledore, my portrait of my godfather."

"Well, Granger seems to accept me now: can you count on her to keep a secret?"

"Absolutely. She's very good at helping me keep secrets when I need to - she's better at thinking up cover stories."

"I've seen the way you two work together - she'd know in an instant anyway. Alright then, those three. Are you really on that kind of a level with Dumbledore?"

Harry nodded. "Yeah, but it's best you don't know why."

"More than just being The Boy Who Lived?"

"It's more than that or any of the things any students know about me - even my best friends. It's safer that way."

"You know, that's another problem I have with this - you attract so much trouble, and if it caught up with you - well, I don't know if I could deal with losing someone I loved. I was too young during the first war to understand the deaths in my family."

"It's very hard to lose someone you love dearly. Maybe we should just call it off now. I can't promise you someone won't try to kill me. In fact the truth is the exact opposite."

"I know. I'm struggling with that, but ever since you wrote to me this summer, I've been seeing you in a new light, and seeing what a dear soul you are. Now that we're together, I'd be distraught to try to cut things off, but I'll be sick with worry about you as well. For now, if you'll let me, I'll just find a way to deal with the worry."

Harry nodded. "You know," he said, "there must be well over a hundred first and second years who've seen us together today. And look around - probably thirty of them saw us kiss."

She shook her head. "They saw Coach and a DA team leader work out together, have lunch and go for a walk together. They might have seen me kiss your cheek and share a hug. It's enough to start rumors amongst the younger ones, and the older students will enjoy the gossip, but if we don't act as a couple in public, the stories won't go far.

Harry tilted his head downward and peered into her eyes. "Are you sure you want anything beyond today with me at all?"

"Yes. And no. If it weren't for the war and the danger around you, I'd be certain that I wanted to be with you. I just don't know about letting myself feel committed to someone who ..."

"Might be dead anytime?" Harry said matter-of-factly, "I can understand that."

"Thanks, Harry, I'll really try to work out my issues about this."

"So what happens now? Publicly, you're just another DA team member I know?"

"And the healer who's seen the most of you," she grinned and winked. "We'll find some opportunities to get together, I promise."

Harry gave her one last hug and let her go on up to the castle alone. He wanted to walk and think some more.

Late winter was a very busy time. Preparations for the Spring Skirmish continued. Ernie McMillan was designated the other squad captain besides Ron. Ground rules being set to minimize injuries while maintaining the realities of warfare. The teams were divided up according to their team leaders. Fred and George arranged for Lee Jordan to take care of the store. Excitement was very high throughout the school, except of course, among those Slytherins who had not joined the DA. Indeed upon announcement of the plans for the Spring Skirmish, another dozen Slytherins joined the DA, and Harry made a point of working especially with them to bring them up to par with the others of comparable age.

The progress of the DA in skills was unabated, as everyone wought to be in top form for the Skirmish. Most of the older students had already progressed to learning the Level 2 spells, and the younger students had mostly mastered the Level 1 spells. Speed and accuracy had been improved, as well as effectiveness of the Protego and other protective spells. Harry noted how getting hit a few times with spells motivated students to learn defense. There were now a full thirty students who had tested their patronus against the lethiform, including Ted Nott from Slytherin. Neville still could manage only a wisp - Harry tried and tried to work with Neville for a sufficiently happy thought, but they couldn't find one.

One evening, Dumbledore arranged for Tonks to practice dueling with the senior DA group. She got trounced as often as she won, which built DA confidence tremendously. She got seriously irate with Harry when she realized that he was holding back against her, as if she were a junior student. To get him to go at her with everything he had, she changed her appearance to look like Bellatrix LeStrange and taunted him with a singsong "Ickle baby Potter." She had to spend the night in the Hospital Wing and vowed that she would never pull a stunt like that again.

Apparation was coming along excellently, as well. Harry had tested for moving objects and had proceeded to practicing Apparating living things. He began with an earthworm in his pocket, but by early March he was moving mice, nifflers and other small to medium-sized animals. Most of the rest of the sixth-year DA members also were doing fine with Apparating. The team leaders and Hermione were able to Apparate their whole bodies short distances - except for Neville, who still refused to give up, although he had never progressed beyond dependably Apparating his hand. When he tried doing his forearm, he splinched it. He found it on the far side of the room. Although the pain brought tears to his eyes, he just stood up, fetched his arm, and went to Madam Hooch for unsplinching. Then he sat down to work again.

Hermione was most helpful in assisting Harry and Marietta in having time together. Harry suspected she enjoyed playing matchmaker. She had been suspicious at first of Marietta's desire for secrecy, but when she asked Harry if he had had the same feeling in trusting her that he had had when he saw the intelligence in Mrs. Longbottom's mind, and he confirmed it was so, she was convinced. She also was reassured that Marietta had agreed that she could be told in confidence. She helped cover for him, allowing Harry and Marietta to meet for at least a few minutes daily and most weeks for one or two periods long enough that they could really feel like a couple. Hermione also enjoyed making double-entendre's concerning them that only she and Harry understood. It seemed to Harry that she was both happy that he had someone special and concerned that he could not express it openly.

Harry would have liked to have spent more time with Marietta, but opportunities were terribly scarce. She got Luna and Cho and their friends to join her next to Harry and his friends at the Hufflepuff-Slytherin game, but they talked as if they were merely fellow members of the DA. Still they sneaked the occasional glances, and under their overlapping robes, they held hands. Occasionally Harry noticed that they had been spied by Hermione, and she made small, secret smiles toward him.

In the Slytherin-Hufflepuff game, Slytherin decided they were going to take the opportunity against a much weaker Hufflepuff team to roll up the score, so Draco Malfoy passed up the opportunity several times to catch the snitch so the chasers could continue putting goals through. Hufflepuff managed to score 70 points, all but 10 of those on penalty shots, before Malfoy finally was forced to seize the snitch to keep the Hufflepuff seeker from getting it. Slytherin ended with 330 points.

The Gryffindor-Ravenclaw game was the opportunity for Ron to roll out his new professional-style quidditch offense. He had worked out a system of hand and whistle signals to call plays. It was a very sophisticated system, and worked as well as could be expected for the amount of practice time they had. Several times Ron gave whistle signals to Harry calling him in to make a dive across the path of Ravenclaw chasers trying to stop Ginny from scoring. Ravenclaw was kept in the game by the high skill level of their chasers, as well as Ron's still-spotty but improving defense. Then, with the score 120 - 100 in Gryffindor's favor, Harry heard the whistle for the interference play again. As he committed to the maneuver with maximum acceleration, he saw the snitch at midfield, not fifty feet from Cho, and very close to where he would have been patrolling if he had not been called into the play. As he completed the maneuver (he could not pull out without blatching a Ravenclaw chaser and likely injuring both himself and the chaser), he turned back to where he had seen the snitch only to see Cho beginning her victory flight with the snitch held high. He caught her eye, smiled, and made a gesture like he was tipping his hat.

In the locker room, they got word that Professor McGonagall wanted Ron, Katie Bell and Harry in her office as soon as possible. She glowered at them all as they entered together, and Ron clearly would have hidden if he had not been nearly a head taller than either Harry or Katie.

"Well?" she demanded.

"Um, the new offense worked pretty well," said Katie timidly.

"Oh, that means we won the game then, does it?"

"Erm, no."

"And why not, Potter?" continued McGonagall.

"Because I was involved in a play at goal rather than in position for Seeking," said Harry quietly.

"And WHY was he out of position, WEASLEY?"

Ron took a deep breath and said loudly and firmly, "Because he was following my orders as captain in directing the play. It's all my fault, not Harry's, not Katie's"

"Well," said Professor McGonagall more calmly, "That's the best decision you've made all day - but you're wrong. I made them assistant captains so they would keep you from making rookie mistakes like that! You got all wrapped up in the cleverness of your tactics and forgot about strategy, and strategy is something that they should have worked out with you beforehand. Plays involving seekers should only be called when the opposing seeker has been disrupted by a bludger or the snitch is known to be far away from her. You had no idea where the snitch was and Miss Chang was in position to swoop onto it whenever it might appear. In chess terms, it's like sending your queen into a trap just to get at a pawn you've got a grudge against. You have the best seeker in Hogwarts' history with you and you use him like an extra beater! Does that make any sense at all?"

"No, Professor," said Ron quietly, "I'll resign."

"Refused! What good would that do?" said McGonagall, "I can't turn the team over to these two - they didn't teach you strategy either. Besides, as boneheaded as that was, you're still a better captain than you are a keeper. No, I am highly disappointed, livid even, but I am not going to cut off my nose to spite my face. I cannot punish you for poor judgment. But I can assign remedial work. Here," she said, pulling an enormous book off her shelf and slamming it into Ron's arms, making him stagger, "here is the top work on quidditch strategy. It assumes you have developed a fair number of decent plays, as you have, and instructs you on how to call them. I want you to read this and give me four scrolls on how you will employ these ideas for the Slytherin game. We still have a chance to win the Quidditch Cup, and it's up to you to show me that you know how to make it happen. I expect it in two weeks, and I want you two to read through what he has and make sure that it is all sound. Am I understood?"

"Yes, Professor," they all said quickly.


Over the following two weeks, Ron impressed Harry with how seriously he took the assignment. He knew Ron hated to lose at chess or quidditch, but Ron attacked the project with determination only rivaled by Harry's and Neville's work on becoming fighters. When Ron gave copies of his work to Katie and Harry after the Thursday DA meeting before he was to present it to McGonagall, they found he had actually written 9 scrolls. As Harry read through it, he realized that Ron had not just analyzed the book in terms of quidditch strategy, which was there in full detail, but had also broadened it to apply to chess and battlefield strategy. Ron had produced a work of art to equal the best of Hermione's essays in any class. While Harry had become the school's preeminent fighter and trainer, Ron had become the preeminent strategist.