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Chapter Twenty-One

It took three days for the results of the test to be worked out.  Although it didn't take that long to calculate the results, Harry insisted they be checked several times before possible Order candidates were selected.  The younger years had been dismissed out of hand, as they weren't old enough to be of any real use in a practical capacity.  Their results were filed away for future reference, though, and those deemed suitable would be retested at a later date.  Those in the top three years were narrowed down to fourteen possible candidates.

At breakfast the day after the results came in, the fourteen chosen ones all received owls from the headmaster.  The time travellers and Sev watched as the owls circled the Great Hall and landed in front of the surprised students.  The envelopes were a rich gold colour, and on the front of each was written `URGENT - DO NOT OPEN IN THE PRESENCE OF OTHERS'.  Most of the fourteen took their letters and shoved them in their bags, to open when they got to their rooms, or if they had any time alone during the day.  At the Gryffindor table, though, one person was already ripping into the letter, a cluster of friends waiting eagerly to find out what was inside.  Harry spotted this, and sent Dumbledore an amused look.  He then nudged Sev in the ribs and discreetly pointed across the Hall.  Seconds later, red smoke was billowing out of the envelope and surrounding the startled group.  A loud, indiscriminate voice filled the Hall, gaining the attention of the staff and all four Houses.


When the smoke started to clear, the people affected started to scream as they caught their first looks at their scarlet stained skin.


“ Harry, can I come?”

“ I don't think it would be wise, Sev.”

“ But I want to see who gets in…”

“ You'll see at the next Order meeting.”

“ I can't wait till then!”

“ Sev, patience is a virtue.  Take it from someone who learned that lesson the hard way.”

“ How?”

“ You really don't want to know.”

“ Yes I do.”

“ No you don't.”

“ Do.”

“ Don't.”

“ Do.”

“ Don't!  Ok, can we focus for a minute?”

Sev gave his friend a sheepish look and scuffed the toe of his boot on the floor.  The pair had been sitting in Harry's room for the last hour discussing the meeting planned for later that day.  The letters sent to the potential Order members were only a preliminary invitation.  The selected students were to go to Dumbledore's office that evening where they would be offered places in the Order of the Phoenix.  Those who agreed would be tested by Fawkes, and Harry would perform the final spells needed.  Sev wanted to go too, as he did help with the test, and knew some of those invited, but Harry didn't think it would be a good idea.  After all, those who didn't get in would know who the Order spy was, and Harry didn't want there to be any chance of his friend being compromised.

“ Harry, please, I won't get in the way…”

“ No!  You can't be seen to be a member by anyone who could potentially let it slip to a Death Eater or a Death Eater child.  It would uncover you, and Shirley wouldn't take kindly to a spy in his ranks.”

“ I know, but I could stay invisible.”

“ You haven't perfected wandless invisibility yet!”

“ I'm almost there!  And, you told me I was picking it up faster than Dumbledore did.”

“ That's because you're young, but if you're not completely invisible, you could still be spotted.  I don't care how transparent you are.”

“ I could cast a temporary invisibility charm over myself.  Like the one you used on me in the common room when you pretended to be Shirley.  If it doesn't have to make the whole of me invisible, it'll last longer, and I can renew it if necessary.”

Harry looked at his friend for a minute and thought about the suggestion.  He could see that Sev really wanted to go, and he had been working hard to master wandless invisibility.  It was the last thing Harry had decided to teach the young Slytherin, as he had already mastered wandless magic and the animagus transformation.  The weapons training would continue, as would the potions lessons, but the invisibility spell was the last big piece of magic the boy would need.

“ Alright, but you have to stay quiet.  I want you in the corner of the office, out of the way, and don't say anything no matter what happens.  Understand?”

“ Yes, mother!”

“ Sev!”

“ Sorry.  I'll be good.”

Harry let out a long suffering sigh before turning and walking out.


“ Hello everyone, I'm glad you could all make it.”

The gathered students shuffled into the office and sat in the row of seats placed in front of Dumbledore's desk.  Some stood out more than others by their bright red faces, but all had something in common.  They were all scared, and they were all confused.  The letter hadn't said what they were being called up for, just that their attendance was `respectfully requested'.  Looking around at the others summoned didn't calm anyone down, as there were students from all four Houses, none of which seemed to have anything in common.  The presence of Harry Anguifer, lurking in the shadows behind them, didn't serve to alleviate any of their fears.

“ I have asked you all here for a very good reason,” Dumbledore said, gaining the room's attention, “ You have all been selected by a very accurate method as possible candidates to join the forces of Light in the war against Voldemort.”

Nearly everyone flinched at the name, but Dumbledore had successfully gained their unwavering attention.

“ Now, I know you are all young, and have your studies to concentrate on at the moment, but I believe the best time to start anything of any importance is when you are young.  Sitting before me now I see fourteen of Hogwarts' best and brightest, and those most likely to do the right thing.  I have asked you here today, not to frighten you, or ask you to fight in battles to the death.  I have not asked you here to give your lives for a cause you may believe in, but not deem important enough to make the ultimate sacrifice.  I have asked you here to choose a path for your lives.  I have asked you here to help make a difference, to help the wizarding world to defeat the menace plaguing us.  I ask you all to help us create a better future for our children, and our children's children.  I have called you here to ask if you will join the Order of the Phoenix.”


Harry began to shift nervously as he watched for everyone's reactions.  Dumbledore's carefully prepared speech seemed to have shocked the assembled crowd into silence.  After a few minutes, the information they had been given seemed to be sinking in and some even started to smile.  Harry knew that several of those assembled had family members in the Order, which had helped them decide to ask them to join.  Some would know a little of what was involved in joining the Order, whereas others were completely new to the idea.  It was obvious from looking at them who has relations in their organisation.  Harry could practically feel the excitement flowing off them.  They must have been waiting for years to be asked to join, if the looks on their faces were anything to go by.  Harry smiled a little and glanced towards the corner Sev was hiding in.

~Well, what do you think?~

~Well, ten are definites.  Some have parents in the Order, and some are friends of those who do.  The other four I'm not sure of~

~I agree.  Maybe they just need a little convincing~

Harry then redirected his telepathy to the headmaster, who was sitting quietly at his desk awaiting an answer.


~Yes, Harry?~

~Some of them seem a little apprehensive.  Maybe you should clarify a few things~

~I agree.  A couple of them look about to flee~

“ You do all realise that this is a big decision to make.  I want you to take your time and not leap into a decision you may later regret.  It will do neither yourselves nor the Order any good.  If you need time to think about it, then by all means take it.  You must all understand, though, that as students of Hogwarts, you will not be asked to fight in battles if you don't want to.  As you probably already know, we have several students who openly oppose the Dark Lord and do fight Death Eaters on a semi-regular basis.  This would never be asked of you.  If you do join, your involvement would be kept a complete secret, and you would have little to do with combat situations.  You may find you are better at strategy or research, or even medimagic.  We have a place for everyone in the Order, and even the most unskilled person can make a difference.  Everyone plays their part, and no matter how small they will make a difference to the whole.”

Some of the students nodded at this, and the four who had been previously unconvinced seemed to look a little more relaxed.  After a few minutes more, one of the Hufflepuffs spoke up.

“ How do we join?”

“ I will have Fawkes, my phoenix, test your loyalties.  You will then be initiated.  Once you have joined, you will be summoned to the next Order meeting, where you will be assigned your position.”

“ All this talk of summoning and initiation…it sounds like the Death Eaters,” a Ravenclaw pointed out.

“ I assure you it is nothing like the Death Eaters.  For one, we don't torture our members.  The leadership system is also more democratic.  While we have one leader, we also have the Order council, who make the more important decisions.  For the Dark side, if Voldemort is taken out, they lose their leader and will collapse into chaos.  With us, if the leader is taken out, a new one is elected.  The council would keep order.   Now, I can't tell you any more unless you join, as it could prove a security risk.”

At this point, Harry felt it appropriate to join the conversation. Stepping forward, he took a seat next to Dumbledore behind his desk and smiled at the students.  With a wave of his hand under the desk he cast a complicated spell on the group without them noticing.

“ As you have probably guessed, the Order of the Phoenix is a highly exclusive group.  You are privileged to have been asked to join, but if you still wish to turn down the offer, then you are perfectly entitled to.  What you must understand, though, is that if you turn us down, you cannot divulge anything you have learned today.  To ensure this, you have been charmed into secrecy.  Now, to preserve anonymity, I would like you all to write your name and decision on a piece of parchment and place them in this box,” he said, gesturing to a pile of parchment, pot of quills and box sitting on the desk, “ Those who have decided to join will come back in half an hour.  Thank you.”

Standing, Harry strode out of the room, Sev hot on his heels.  As soon as the gargoyle sprang back into place, he let out a loud sigh and leaned against the wall.  A newly visible Sev came over and rested his hand on Harry's arm.

“ What's up?”

“ I thought it would be easier than that.  I didn't expect them to be so suspicious.”

“ You did well, both you and Dumbledore.  In half an hour, we'll go back and see what happened.  I'm sure at least ten of them will sign up.”

“ I guess….”


Half an hour later found Harry, Dumbledore and a visible Sev sitting in a row behind the headmaster's desk.  A few minutes later, a hesitant knock could be heard on the large wooden door.  Dumbledore smiled and cleared his throat.

“ Come in!”

The door opened and fourteen students walked into the room.  Once they were seated, the headmaster grinned widely at them.  He noticed, though, that one Gryffindor in particular was giving his spy a rather venomous look.

“ Snape!”

“ Potter.”

“ What are you doing here, Death Eater.”

Harry gave his father a disapproving look, but left Sev to deal with it.  He didn't like choosing sides between his father and friend.

“ I'm a member of the Order, I thought that would have been obvious.”

“ Why would they let you in?  Did you pay them or something?”

“ You should show more respect for the Order, Potter.  I have been a member since January, and I'm a very valuable asset.”

“ I'm sure.”

“ Now, now, boys.  I'll have no fighting,” Dumbledore interrupted.  Both sent him apologetic looks before glaring at each other.

“ I think we should start the initiation,” Harry said.


~Yes Harry?~

~Could you test them, please?~

The phoenix bowed his head to his master and fluttered over to the nervous looking students.  Sitting on their shoulders one by one, he let out a trill of phoenix song.  When he got to Remus, he hesitated and looked over to Harry.

~Master, this one is a werewolf~

~I know~

~And you trust him?~

~With my life.  If he is loyal to the Light, then let him in.  We already have a few non-humans in the Order, including werewolves and vampires~

~I know Harry, but each time I like to ask the leader to make sure they can be accepted~

~Very well.  Let him join~

Remus let out a sigh of relief as Fawkes let out a trill of song and moved to the Slytherin next to him.  Eventually, the phoenix had made his was around the whole group and was comfortably ensconced on his golden perch.  Harry stepped forward to address the new members.

“ You have all been deemed worthy of joining our ranks by the purest creature of all.  The phoenix, our organisation's namesake.  To complete your initiation, you will receive your Order marks.  These are much like the Death Eaters' Dark Marks, but do not cause pain.  When you feel a tingling in your mark, you are being called to a meeting and must head straight to Domus Corvus Corax, our headquarters.  You will be taken there soon.  There is normally another part to your initiation, where you are placed under secrecy spells.  This part was carried out earlier before you signed the papers.  It will ensure that you can not speak of anything concerning the Order with any non-members.  This is our insurance against spies.  If we have them, they cannot report to Voldemort.”

“ Harry, what do the marks look like?” James asked his friend.

“ They can be anything you like.  The connection to the Order can be attached to a birthmark, a scar, or any other blemish.  If you like, you can receive an Order tattoo, a painless image on your skin, much like a regular tattoo, in the shape and place of your choice.  Now, I want you to step forward one at a time, and I will make the connections.”

It took several minutes for everyone to receive their marks, James choosing a stag on his arm, and Remus choosing a howling wolf on his back.  Lily predictably chose a small lily flower in the small of her back.  The three Slytherins all chose snakes in various positions.   Once they were all done, Harry moved over to the wall of the office and placed his hand on the cool stone.

“ I would like you all to come over here now and place your hands on the wall.”

The students gave him funny looks, but soon moved to obey.  As soon as their hands touched the wall, the area surrounding it began to glow with a faint blue light.  Once it was over, Harry gave the password and created the door.  Most of them were surprised by this, and sent the sixth year questioning looks.

“ This is your way to our headquarters.  If you are elsewhere, you can simply apparate there, but as there are anti-apparition wards around the school, this is the quickest way there.”

Pulling the door open, he ushered them into the room hidden from the rest of the school and led them to the fireplace.  Once there, he took a pinch of floo powder and threw it in the fire.  Stepping inside, he called out his destination clearly, so that the others could hear, and disappeared from view.  A few minutes later, the rest of the group came tumbling out of the fire into the grand entrance hall of Domus Corvus Corax.

“ Welcome to Corvus Corax, otherwise known as Raven House.  This is my home, and I was kind enough to let the Order use it for their headquarters. Now, if you follow Severus Snape, he will give you a tour of the castle.  Have fun!”

Harry turned, and started heading back to the fireplace with Dumbledore.  The pair had decided earlier that Sev would be a good person to show them around the castle.  He knew the place like the back of his hand, and he enjoyed playing tour guide.  The other two had also taken care of the rest of the arrangements, and thought it appropriate to give the young Slytherin something to do.  As they neared the fireplace, Harry's arm was grabbed by his father, halting him.  Dumbledore took one look and smiled at his young friend, heading back to Hogwarts without him.  Turning, Harry met three pairs of expectant eyes.

“ James, Remus, Lily, what can I do for you?”

“ Well, Harry, we have a question.”

“ What's that?”

“ Why weren't Peter and Sirius asked to join?”

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