Scion of Gryffindor
40 - Dual Duel
Harry / Tonks ship
After the cliffy I apparently left at the end of chapter 39, one person damned me four times; and I was called evil, very evil, "evil, evil", and "strongly disliked" (thank you, Musings, for limiting yourself). I'm getting the impression that you people don't like me.
[Crys ducks the flying, decomposing vegetables.]
Okay, okay! Jeez. I promise, no cliffy this time.
"The House of Gryffindor votes for Baron Abbott!"
To say that Harry had put the kneazle among the snidgets with his proclamation was true, if just a bit understating the fact.
Out of the corner of his eye Harry saw Neville wince, and he was tempted to do the same.
The sound was overwhelming; three-quarters of the Wizengamot and nearly all of the Ministry representatives were shouting at one another.
Not being able to hear anyone over the chaos, Harry looked around for the reactions of the people he knew.
Dumbledore, Minerva, and Amelia, who already knew of Harry's lineage, looked relieved at Harry's action.
Marcus was stunned for a long moment before a smile blossomed.
Harry was amused to see Parkinson and Ramforth wearing expressions that would look normal for any of the members of the Crabbe or Goyle families .
It took a few minutes, but the sound level finally fell enough that individual sentences became understandable.
"I demand another vote!"
"HOW DARE HE? HIM? He cannot be the heir of a noble family as old as Gryffindor!"
"Potter for Minister!"
"That impudent brat!"
"I'm with you, Lord-Baron!"
"Isn't it against the law to withhold your family name like that?"
"There hasn't been a founder's heir known for centuries!"
"Vote! We need another vote!"
A thunderous bang stopped everyone in mid-word.
At the front of the room, Dumbledore calmly put his wand away. "Thank you for your attention. I believe we should have another vote."
Baron Parkinson surged to his feet, face purple in rage. "I demand that that upstart brat be expelled from the Wizengamot!"
A low noise of anger started rumbling around the room, but it was ignored by Dumbledore who calmly asked, "For what reason?"
This apparently stymied Parkinson for a few seconds. Finally, color rising, he ground out, "Failure to disclose all of his votes."
"That is not against the rules and procedures of the Wizengamot, Baron Parkinson. Now, if there are no other objections, we should -"
Parkinson interrupted again, "I cannot, simply CANNOT believe that snot-nosed little upstart can be Gryffindor's heir!"
Harry regretted that the Wizengamot rules prohibited challenges during sessions.
Meanwhile, several voices shouted back at Parkinson.
"He's wearing the ring, Parkinson."
"Sit down and shut up, Parkinson. We're going to have another vote."
"You're just sore as he's not on your side."
"If he were voting your side, would you have objected?"
Chuckles sounded at the last two observations.
Flushing and visibly gritting his teeth, Parkinson dropped back into his seat.
Mustache twitching and eyes twinkling, Dumbledore initiated another vote. The results came back quickly and everyone looked at Dumbledore expectantly. "One-hundred and forty-five votes were cast. Baron Abbott received eighty-"
Dumbledore continued speaking, but a great burst of noise from the audience drowned out his voice. Roughly half the room was standing and cheering the new Minister. Harry noted that very few of the Ministry representatives were happy, but all the ones he knew to be good, honest people were standing and applauding.
It was nearly ten minutes before the scene calmed down enough that Dumbledore's voice could be heard again. "Having discharged the cause of our emergency meeting, I hereby call the seven hundred and fifty-fourth meeting of the British Wizengamot adjourned."
Some of the attendees all but bolted for the door, Parkinson among them.
Harry and Neville waited until the majority of the people had left before heading down toward Marcus.
Grinning slightly, Harry bowed to the man. "Congratulations, Minister. Please let me be one of the first to wish you a long, prosperous, and eventually PEACEFUL term."
Marcus made a semi-amused noise in the back of his throat. "That is my goal. Speaking of which, could we get together sometime and discuss that? I'm sure you have some information that is unavailable to the Auror Corps."
Harry nodded. "Certainly. Feel free to owl me." Harry turned his head. "You know what this means, Neville?"
"What's that?" Longbottom asked as Abbott looked on.
"You're dating the Minister's daughter. Now he has the authority and the RIGHT to have your dates chaperoned by aurors."
Neville groaned as Marcus and the newly arrived McGonagall laughed.
Once her laughter died down, Minerva addressed herself to Marcus. "Minister, it has been quite some time since a sitting Minister's children have been at the school. Legally, you have the right to assign an auror team as bodyguard to her, even while she is in the castle and at class. If you intend to do so, please let us know so we can make arrangements."
Marcus, looking slightly overwhelmed already, slowly shook his head. He glanced at Harry, then Neville. "No, I don't think I will. Unless she thinks she needs one, anyway." He grinned and shot another sideways glance at Harry. "I heard that she's received some recent, in-depth defense training. I think she can take care of herself inside the Hogwarts wards."
Harry was tempted to suggest to Neville that he try to arrange some D.A. bodyguards, but based on Neville's expression, the thought was already there.
"Good day, Minister," Harry said instead, nodding respectfully to him again.
Abbott waved him off with a smile.
Harry didn't make it far.
"That was well done, Harry."
Harry turned to the Headmaster with a sigh. He was tempted to try to call him Albie, Percival, A.P.W.B.D., Appy, Ap-wibbid, old man, or any other moderately degrading nickname he could think of, just to try to make a point. He decided against acting like a child, however. "Again, I ask you to not call me by my familiar name, Headmaster.
"As to what you said, what part of my actions today are you so happy with?"
"Revealing your heritage at the correct moment as you did to prevent a deadlock. Masterfully done."
Harry half raised an eyebrow. "Is your approval supposed to mean something to me?" He was trying to prove a point to the man as well as being genuinely curious to see Dumbledore's reaction.
Harry heard the hiss of indrawn breath from several people who were watching and listening, but surprisingly, neither Neville nor McGonagall were among those.
Dumbledore just looked sad. "No, I suppose not. Good day."
Fudge Ousted, Abbott Interim Minister
In an all-day meeting, the Wizengamot yesterday had a vote of no-confidence against former Minister Cornelius Fudge, and appointed Baron Marcus Abbott as Interim Minister.
After losing his position, Mr. Fudge apparently uttered several death threats against various Wizengamot members, resulting in his arrest.
The D.M.L.E. has stated that he is currently under arrest for these threats. They are also beginning an investigation into several inconsistencies in Ministry financials over the previous ten years at the request of multiple Wizengamot members.
The Daily Prophet will report further on this situation as information becomes available.
After removing Mr. Fudge, the Wizengamot voted for an interim Minister of Magic until a general election can be held in the summer months.
The field of hopefuls initially included Chief Auror Scrimgeour and D.M.L.E. Director Bones. After multiple votes, Baron Abbott, owner of Abbott Greenhouses, narrowly beat out Baron Ramforth. See page 4 for a full breakdown of the series of votes.
The Daily Prophet wishes our new Minister the very best.
House of Gryffindor Reclaimed
In a desperate move to break a deadlock at the Wizengamot meeting to pick a new Minister of Magic, a vote was cast for a family that has not been active in centuries.
Lord-Baron Harry Potter-Black is also Lord Gryffindor.
Yes, readers, you saw that correctly. The Boy Who Lived is the heir of Gryffindor.
What, precisely, does this mean?
That answer varies depending on who you ask. Some claim that makes him de facto Headmaster. Or that he owns Hogwarts castle. Or that he can override the school board.
What will the young wizard, already Patriarch of the Potter and Black names, do with his new family title? Only time will tell.
It's been a while since I wrote you, so I thought I'd send you an owl.
I have several questions about what you've been up to, but I'll tell you about what's happening here first.
Ginny mentioned that she'd told you a little about Kevin. Yes, I am in fact dating a Ravenclaw. I'm not sure you've ever met him, actually. I don't believe you had any classes with the Ravenclaws. He's a quidditch fan, so I think you'd get along with him pretty well.
As you can probably guess, Lavender broke up with Ron; I guess she got tired of his attitude. Especially his possessiveness. That boy was downright smothering when he and I were dating, and in retrospect, it was probably a good thing that we broke it off so quickly. Neither of us would have been happy.
The D.A. has been going well, all things considered. We're still meeting regularly, and Padma and I have had at least as much fun finding new charms as we have had in the meetings. The library is such an interesting place!
Sorry, I had a "bookworm" moment. Kevin has been trying to help me with that, and I'm getting better, really.
The castle has been quiet this year. There’s no great mystery to solve or strange petrifications of the students to cause anyone to do any serious investigations. Even the Slytherins have been more or less keeping to themselves.
I did attend a few of the "Slug Club" meetings that Professor Slughorn has put together. I believe Neville said he mentioned what the Slug Club is back at the Equinox Ball. He seems mostly concerned with what the muggles call "networking" (I'll let you know what that means if you don't already). At any rate, I don't quite trust him to have our best interests at heart, so I'm keeping my distance. It sounds too much like social ladder climbing to me to be any fun.
Now, what about you? I've read the articles in the Prophet about what you've been up to. But, honestly, I've suspected that you are a literal Gryffindor since it was obvious that you affected the wards around the school, and your showing up wearing the sword at the new year merely confirmed it in my mind.
Do you know if you have any secret libraries or anything in the castle that only you can access? If not, could you investigate this? I haven’t been able to find anything in my research, not even in the oldest versions of "Hogwarts, A History".
About the Wizengamot vote, it was a good use for your three votes - assuming it IS only three. You aren't hiding another important name from me, are you, Lord-Baron Potter-Black-Gryffindor? [smile]
I also read the articles about ousting Fudge and imprisoning Umbridge. Well done on getting rid of that hag! You're a hero at the castle for that action alone, I think I even saw Professor McGonagall grinning at the paper that morning!
So, aside from overthrowing governments, imprisoning sadistic torturers, implicating embezzlers, claiming long-lost lineages, and buying newspaper companies, what have you been up to recently?
Keeping up your studies? Have you been taking some time off to spend with Tonks? It IS Valentines soon, you know.
Yes, yes, laugh at me if you want: I've recently learned the value of spending some "down time" with someone you care for, and who cares about you. It really is good for your blood pressure and mental health.
Take care of yourself, Harry, and please write when you have a minute.
Harry walked into his regular dueling lesson with Tonks and stopped short in confusion. Shack, Remus, and Godric were in the room in addition to Tonks. "Uh, hi?"
Tonks said, "We're going to have a practice duel. You and me against Shack and Remus. No truly harmful spells allowed, and we follow regular dueling rules. Ready?"
Without waiting for a response, Godric barked out, "Begin!" He immediately floated upward to stay out of the way while still keeping an eye on the action.
The three older magicians immediately pulled their wands and started casting.
Harry was caught slightly off guard and was a moment behind Remus. Instead of blocking Remus's first spell, he ducked it while drawing his wand. He rolled back to his feet in a dueling stance.
Blindness spells, tripping jinxes, stunners, confusion spells, and conjured and transfigured makeshift shields flew back and forth, flickering into and out of existence as four wands moved furiously.
Harry was comfortably in the flow of the duel when his concentration was shattered by a shout of surprise that abruptly cut off. His head whipped over to his right just in time to see Tonks collapse bonelessly.
In the calm corner of his mind, he remembered that this was merely a practice duel and that Shack's spell wouldn't have really hurt her, but his more instinctive side had just watched his ally and lover felled so remorselessly.
With a wordless growl of anger Harry cast a powerful bludgeoning hex at Shacklebolt.
While Harry was casting the spell at Shack, he also heard Remus cast a spell at him and raised his left hand in an unconscious warding gesture.
Harry was struck speechless when a shield came up on his left side and deflected the spell that Remus had fired. Staring at his left hand in surprise, Harry almost didn't react to the volley of stunners that Shacklebolt then sent at him. His hasty shield deflected all of them, but they scattered in random directions, a sure sign of a sloppy or failing shield.
Before he could correct it, a string of stunners from Remus pierced his underpowered off-side shield.
Harry's eyes opened to see all four of his teachers looking down at him.
"What'd you learn from that?" Godric asked directly.
Harry thought about it for a moment, still lying on the floor. "Don't get distracted by an ally falling. Also that dueling two opponents at once isn't any fun at all."
Shack snorted in disgust. "The deez won't line up so you can duel them one at a time, you know."
Harry looked at him sourly. "I know that." He frowned in concentration for a moment before jumping upward and holding his wand in his left hand. "Two on one again," he stated simply.
A quick look flashed between the four. Tonks moved to the side of the dueling chamber, and Godric floated to the ceiling again. Remus shrugged to Shack and moved back to where he'd been standing. Shack started the fight by casting a Blindness Jinx without warning.
Harry sank into the split concentration state he'd been learning as part of Occlumency, trying to keep track of what both of his opponents were doing. He stayed mostly defensive with his left hand and wand. His right hand, with the armband focus, had more control so he chose to go back and forth between offense or defense as needed on that side.
He lasted for quite a while against the combined power and experience arrayed against him. The young wizard finally fell when both of his opponents cast strings of stunners at him simultaneously, overloading his shield.
Harry again opened his eyes to see all four of his teachers looking down at him. He groaned.
Tonks was grinning. "Finally."
Godric nodded. "Finally," he echoed.
Harry frowned. "Huh?"
"You finally started dual casting," Remus answered, helping the young man to his feet.
"You mean that whole thing was a setup?" Harry turned to Tonks. "You lost to Shack intentionally?" he asked in amazement.
Godric answered, "Yes. We needed you to take on two opponents at once without thinking about it. What better way than to make you protect your chosen mate?"
"I'm not some helpless little MATE that needs protecting," Tonks grumbled at the ghost.
Harry quirked a smile at his grandfather. "Very Slytherin of you."
Shacklebolt barked out a laugh.
Godric grinned at the barb. "TouchÃ©. It worked, didn't it? After getting back up, you could do it without the stress of the moment. You aren't very good at it, yet, but you know you can handle two at once if you absolutely have to do so."
"Yes, yes, you tricked me into being able to duel two at once. Happy?"
"Ecstatic," Remus said in a very dry voice.
Harry gave him a dirty look.
Tonks said, "Okay, now we just need to work on your endurance and practice the two on one fights. You'll get better at it the more you do it."
Harry nodded, happy to have a new and clear direction to his practice even though it sounded exhausting. "I still need to improve in one-on-one duels against a very powerful opponent, though."
They all nodded. "Yep. For that, we figure that if you sequentially take each one of us on, you'll get tired long before all four of us do. After enough of that, you'll be ready to fight against someone a lot more powerful."
Harry grimaced, not liking the sound of them intentionally trying to make him exhausted, but recognizing the value of the plan.
Godric added, "Perhaps you could talk Dumbledore into helping you at that point."
Harry was even less happy about it now. Perhaps he could talk with Flitwick instead.
"What're you thinking about so hard?" Tonks asked quietly, startling Harry a little.
He looked around and was surprised to discover that the other three had left at some point. "The training, mostly. And worried about facing the Dork Lard."
She giggled. "Dork Lard? That's a new one. Anyway, why are you concerned? Shack, Remus, Godric, and I will turn you into a fighting machine in time. Then you'll go and get rid of him and we'll all live happily ever after."
He smiled briefly at her statement of support. "Thanks for the vote of confidence. I just hope I'm up to the challenge," he said quietly, staring off through the wall.
She sat down on the floor beside him. "Listen to me, Harry James Potter." Her serious tone pulled his attention from the nebulous lands it had been wandering and back to her. "You are going to train and keep training until you're as good as we can make you. Then we'll get the information from the Order that we need and make a raid on the Head Deezer's hideout. You'll fight him, and you'll win. Do you know why?"
Amused at her words, he shook his head.
Staring at him intently, she continued quietly, "Because it's simply unthinkable for you to lose. You've never lost at anything yet, so why should you lose this one?" She grinned slightly, "Besides, after ten years with the Dursleys, Fate owes you one."
Her smile turned impish, "And if that isn't enough, then how about this?" Her look became sultry, eyes promising a multitude of delights. "Harry, I promise to give you as many reasons to win as you can physically handle."
Harry blushed spectacularly but laughed anyway. "Now THAT is the kind of bribe I could really get into!"
"That IS the point," she purred.