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Chapter Seven

Harry's time with the elves passed far too quickly for his liking.  He really enjoyed seeing Gaerwyn and Lolide again, and the healer had been continuing his lessons in the evenings.  They had finished the lessons before he left the founders' time, and he had been given some books to read.  Since he had already read the books in his first six weeks at Hogwarts, he was ready to move on.  Lolide had taken it upon herself to teach Harry the new elven history, everything that had happened since he had last seen her.  It was a long time to cover, as time in the elven world passed more quickly than in the human world, but Harry was finding it fascinating.

The other elves in Falaryth had been rather hostile towards Harry the first few days he was there.  However, he had made an effort to be polite to them, showing he was familiar with and respectful of their customs, and they had soon come around.  Some of the younger elves, who could not remember the time before the elves and humans had cut their ties, were still wary of him.  The young elf-children thought he was wonderful.  He spent many mornings sitting in the nursery tree, telling the youngest ones stories of the human world.

Eventually, after a month in the elven city, it was time for him to return to Hogwarts.  The weekend would be over in his world, and both he and Minh-Minh-Lama had lessons first thing on Monday morning.  Saying goodbye to Gaerwyn and Lolide was as hard this time as it had been last time, but he promised to come and visit them again the next time Minh came home.  Their trip, which coincided with Christmas, meant that the holidays were out of the question, but he said he would come one weekend after they had returned.

Minh and Harry left late in the evening, knowing they would arrive back at the common room late on Sunday night.  They wanted to arrive late, as there was less chance of them being seen by one of their Housemates.  With a last wave to Lolide and Gaerwyn, the students disappeared in a flash of light.  Arriving back in the common room each moved to head straight for bed.  Before Minh could disappear up the staircase, Harry called her back to ask her something that he had been wondering about since they had arrived at Falaryth.

“ Minh, do you just live with your mother and aunt?”

Minh looked at him curiously, a little surprised by the question.

“ Yeah, didn't you gather that?”

“ Well, yes.  I was just wondering, if you don't mind me asking, what happened to your father?”

Minh got a sad look on her face and Harry immediately regretted saying anything.  He was about to tell her it didn't matter, but she spoke up first.

“ My father died when I was tiny.  I don't remember him much.”

“ I'm sorry.”

“ S'ok.  My mother always knew he would never live to see me grow up.  He was a human, you see, and you know humans don't live as long as elves.”

“ You're half human?” Harry asked, rather surprised.

“ Yes, but don't tell the other elves.  My mother told them my father was killed in battle, which is true, but she never told them I was half human.  I would have been outcast if they knew.”

“ I won't say anything, you have my word.  But why do you look like an elf if you're half human?”

“ Well, elf blood is more potent than human blood, as we have more magic.  I look like an elf, but my magic is slightly weaker and I won't live as long as a normal elf would.  If I have a child with another elf, they would be a full elf, as the blood is stronger.  However, if I was to have a child with a human, they would be less like an elf.  The pointed ears would be the first thing to go.  They would be human, but their magic would be much stronger than normal, and they would outlive their friends.  But that's unlikely to happen.  As soon as I finish Hogwarts I'm going back to Falaryth.  I like the human world, and it's nice to see how my father grew up, but I belong with the elves.”

“ I'm sorry for bringing it up, Minh.”

“ It's alright, I don't mind.  As it's you, I don't think my mother or aunt would object.  Now, I'm going to bed, I have potions first thing in the morning and I don't want to make Professor Sewell angry.”

“ Night, Minh.”

“ Night Harry.”

As each made their way to their beds, Harry couldn't help but think about what Minh had told him.


The following Saturday, the week before Halloween, Harry and Ron made their way down to the quidditch pitch as soon as breakfast finished.  The House teams were holding tryouts for new team members.  Ron was trying out for the Gryffindor Keeper position, and Harry was trying out for Beater.  Hufflepuff already had a Seeker, but Harry didn't want to give up playing quidditch.  He thought back to his first year, when Oliver Wood had told him he would make a good Beater.  As Beater was one of the positions available, he decided to go for it.  After all, even if he didn't get the position, at least he would have tried.

Each of the four Houses had been allocated a different section of the pitch to test the prospective players.  Heading for the crowd of Hufflepuffs at the northern most part of the pitch, Harry waited for the current captain, Winston Diggory, to organise the hopefuls into different positions, so the other players could take a group each to test.  When Harry had heard the name of the captain, he had immediately winced, thinking back to Cedric Diggory's death.  He assumed this boy was probably Amos Diggory's brother or father.  Setting his memories aside, he went over to where the other three prospective Beaters were waiting.  After a few minutes, one of the Chasers came over to them.

“ Right you four.  We're going to release the bludgers and us Chasers are going to fly around.  We want you to direct as many of them towards us as possible.  Winston will be sat in the stands taking note of your accuracy and flying skills.  Now, get up in the air and good luck!”

Rising into the air, Harry was pleased to feel the familiar wind in his face and elation he felt whenever he flew.  The broom Gallatea had made for him had been the envy of his dorm mates when they had seen it that morning.  It was as good as, if not better than, his Firebolt, and the fact that his girlfriend had made it made it that much more special.

Harry jerked out of his thoughts when a bludger came hurtling towards him.  Lifting his bat, he considered where to send it.  A little voice in his head told him that the best way to win a spot on the team was to use tactics.  As the ball flew at him, he hefted the bat and smashed it into the bludger.  The other Beater to his right didn't see it coming, and had to swerve rather severely to miss it, nearly falling off his broom in the process.  Harry grinned at his success.  The next time he aimed for a different hopeful, who was too busy avoiding the black ball to aim it at anyone else.  After twenty minutes, the four were called down.  Winston came over to them, a sheet of parchment in his hand.

“ Well, that was interesting.  Harry Evans, can I just ask why you were aiming at the other Beaters and not the Chasers?”

At the stares directed at him, Harry began to squirm a little.

“ Um…well the way I see it, the Chasers weren't a threat.  In a game, the Chasers would be trying to score goals, and it's all well and good aiming for them, but the Keeper should be there to keep them at bay.  Tactically, it would make more sense to first take out the opposing team's Seeker, as that would leave our team open to catch the snitch.  The next targets would be the Beaters.  They are the only other players to have bats.  They can use them to attack our team, so taking them out would keep our Seeker and Chasers safe.”

The rest of the team was looking at him, stunned.

“ Well, I'd never thought of it like that before.  Well done, Harry.  You saw a problem and thought it through tactically.  How Slytherin of you…”

“ Hey!”

“ Sorry, didn't mean to be insulting.  But I think with tactical skills like that you deserve to be our Beater.  Welcome to the team!”

Harry grinned broadly.  He had made the team, and not even in the position he was best at.  Once the other team members had been decided, he made his way over to where Ron was waiting for him.

“ I got on the team, Ron!  They made me a Beater.  Said I could think tactically.”

“ Well done, mate.”

“ How did you do?”

“ They made me reserve Keeper, but the guy they picked for the first string was brilliant.  His name is Onyx Wood.  I can see where Oliver got his skills from, this boy is really great.”

“ Well, we'll see that in the first match.  Hufflepuff against Gryffindor, if I'm not mistaken.  I bet you five galleons Hufflepuff thrash you!”

“ Five galleons?  You're on!”

Making their way back to the castle, the pair discussed the four teams and who they thought would win the quidditch cup, placing bets and arguing until they finally reached the Great Hall for lunch.


Hallow'een soon came around, and the morning of October 31st found Harry, Ron, Peeves, Eustace, Robert and Persephone sitting in a quiet corner of the library, plotting their latest prank.  As it was to be pulled off at the Halloween feast, Percy had suggested they make it a big one.  Instead of playing it on the students, they were going to prank the teachers.  Harry had thought it would be a good idea.  Dippet reminded him too much of Cornelius Fudge, and his humiliation in front of the whole school would make him feel better; especially when he remembered the part the headmaster had played in turning Tom Riddle evil.  The Boy-Who-Lived knew they would have a hard time getting one over on Dumbledore, but he knew it would be a lot of fun to try.  As it had been Persephone's idea, she was the one allowed to plan the prank.  It was times like this that Harry and Ron were strongly reminded of the Weasley twins.  They had already been in the library an hour, throwing ideas back and forth, and they were still at it by lunch time.

“ So, I think we should make them sing.”

“ Nah, we've done songs before.  Wouldn't be original.”

“ We could make them duel.”

“ Nah, it's been done.”

“ When?”

“ When I was in my first year…”

“ PEEVES!  That was years ago.  No-one will remember it!”

We do, Harry thought, looking to his best friend.

“ We could turn them into animals.”

“ Sounds good.”

“ Uhuh.”

“ But how?”

“ Canary Creams?”

“ What?”

“ Never mind.”

“ How about we use Whiz Poppers?”

“ What are those?”

“ Sweets we got from…where we lived.”

“ What do they do?”

“ I think the description was `Whiz Poppers, make you break wind in various well known tunes'.”

“ Brilliant!”

“ We can make them breathe fire.”

“ Good one!”

“ I have an idea!”

“ What?”

“ What?”

“ Go on.”

“ Tell us!”

Persephone whispered her plan to the other Marauders, who all grinned in delight.  This is going to be fun, they thought.


The Halloween feast was as good as ever.  The Great Hall had been decorated to its usual standard, with life size pumpkin sculptures adorning the floor and skeletons hanging from the ceiling.  There was also a layer of cobwebs covering the roof, hiding the night sky scene.  Unknown to most of the students and the teachers, the cobwebs were also hiding several well placed prank items.  Once everyone was seated, Professor Dippet stood to give his speech.

“ Welcome to the Halloween feast.  Don't eat too much, you'll make yourselves ill.  Enjoy the feast.”

As he sat down again, Minh leaned over to Harry and started whispering in elvish.

“ What? That was it?”

“ Apparently.”

“ I was expecting something more…I don't know…rousing.”

“ Yeah, me too.”

The pair went back to eating the feast.  About halfway through the meal, Harry looked across at the Gryffindor table to see Persephone getting ready to let loose the pranks.  However, she was interrupted by a loud siren filling the Great Hall.  All of the teachers immediately leapt to their feet, pulling out their wands.  Dumbledore pointed his wand at his throat before whispering a sonorous charm.


Dumbledore and the other teachers, as well as some seriously shaking sixth and seventh years, headed for the doors.  Harry leapt to his feet, and could see Ron, Hermione and Ginny doing the same.  As he was looking around the Hall for his friends, he noticed Satanus Snape and Caligula Malfoy, both looking relaxed, with large smirks on their faces.  They know, Harry realised.  He made to follow the teachers, but someone grabbed his arm.  Looking around, he saw Minh pulling him back.

“ Harry, where are you going?  You're a fifth year.  You have to stay here.”

“ I can't, Minh.  I know I can help.  I've been told I'm a brilliant dueller.  I can help them defend the castle.  I don't want anything to happen to you, or Percy, Eustace and Robert.  Please, Minh, let go.”

“ On one condition.”

“ What's that?”

“ You come back to me, you hear?  I can't lose you, Harry.  My mother would never forgive me.”

Harry was surprised when the first year pulled him into a hug, tears making their way down her cheeks.  He briefly wrapped his arms around her, before pulling away and heading for the door where Hermione, Ron and Ginny were waiting.


They found the teachers and students on the main steps, arranged with the eldest and most experienced at the front.  They immediately headed for Dumbledore, and he looked at them in surprise when they stood next to him, wands drawn.

“ What are you four doing here?  You're supposed to be inside with the others.”

“ We can help, Professor,” Hermione reassured him, “ We were taught to duel by Godric Gryffindor.  I think we can hold our own.”

Dumbledore seemed a little surprised at this revelation, but didn't say anything.  Instead, he turned his attention back to the forces emerging from the forest.  There were rows of Dark wizards dressed in black robes, rather reminiscent of Death Eaters.  To one side, werewolves were gathered, and to the other, Dementors.  At the back, five giants stood, large clubs in their hands.  Right at the front stood a figure that made everyone's blood run cold.  It was a single wizard, with blood red hair down to his waist, and eyes to match.  He looks rather similar to the reborn Voldemort, thought Harry, only not quite as scary.  Looking around, Harry could see fear on everyone's face.  For standing there at the head of the army was the Dark Lord Grindelwald himself.


No-one could say which side moved first.  Curses started flying through the air from both sides, both Light and Dark.  Grindelwald's forces were using the Unforgivables as much as they could, leaving students and teachers alike dead on the grass.  Ron, Hermione and Ginny were all tackling the Dementors, while Harry made a beeline for the werewolves.  They leered at him as he approached, stretching out their nails and baring their teeth.  Harry simply smirked back and transformed.  The werewolves didn't know what hit them as a blur of black and white fur launched itself at them with a vengeance, ripping them to shreds with claws and teeth.  They tried to fight back, to turn the creature into one of them.  However, Harry knew he was safe.   After all, people in their animagus forms could not be turned.

Over in the main battle, Ginny was disposing of the Dementors rather effectively, using Patronus after Patronus.  Ron and Hermione were helping the students and teachers fight off the wizards.  At one point Dumbledore had spotted them throwing curses back and forth with only their hands.  Seeing wandless magic had frozen him in shock for a second, allowing a nearby wizard to send a Killing curse his way.  Hermione, spotting this, jumped in front of the curse.  Dumbledore nearly fainted when the green light hit her in the chest and had no effect.  Quickly stunning the culprit, she turned back to the future headmaster.

“ Sir, you have to stay focused.  Ignore us, we'll explain later.”

After Dumbledore gave her a sharp nod, she turned back to the fight, stunning two more of Grindelwald's men.

As soon as he had finished off the werewolves, Harry turned to the problem of the giants.  After she had finished with the Dementors, Ginny had gone to help a small group of students who were trying to hold off the large beasts with little success.  Harry could see that the giants were too strong for her to take down as it was, but knew if they were distracted, she could bring them down.  Opening his large white wings, which were now stained with red, he leapt into the air and flew over to the group.

Ginny was holding her own, but knew she was losing ground.  Looking up when a large blur flew past, she was relieved to see Harry in his animagus form.  He was circling the nearest giant, before landing on its face and scratching it.  This was enough to distract the creature as it tried to pull him off with little success.  Ginny raised her hand and threw a series of strong stunning curses at it.  Before it was distracted, she had not been able to send enough of them in succession to have any effect.  After the seventh curse the giant finally fell to the ground, and Harry flew to the next giant.


Back in the Great Hall, the students were starting to get nervous.  The prefects had had to cast a series of silencing charms when the sounds of battle from outside had started to make the younger students hysterical.  Everyone was chattering, discussing possible outcomes of the battle and trying to guess what was going on outside.  They were all startled when the doors started to be hit with a barrage from outside.  Minerva McGonagall, the Head Girl who had been left in charge of the students, amplified her voice.


As everyone moved into position, Persephone had an idea.  As the rest of her House moved to the back of the Hall, she quickly hid under the Gryffindor table.  A few minutes later, the doors of the Great Hall were blasted off their hinges and a group of about twenty wizards poured in, throwing curses at the gathered students.  The first years started to fight back, but with little success.  Although terrified, Persephone lifted her wand and pointed it at the ceiling, muttering a spell.  The Dark wizards were taken off guard when thousands of bubbles started to float down from the ceiling.  Although puzzled, they ignored them at first in favour of attacking the resisting children.  However, they had to take notice when the bubbles touched their skin, making them burst out laughing.  It had been one of the pranks they had set up.  Persephone had intended to drop the bubbles during the feast, as they contained a laughing potion that made people hysterical when it came into contact with their skin.  It was working wonders on the wizards, giving the fifth years and Minerva the chance to stun as many as possible.  However, as the wizards were rolling on the floor, as few had the foresight to send a few Reducto curses at the ceiling.  The next thing they knew, the ceiling was raining down on them.


Outside the teachers and students were losing.  The four time travellers had managed to subdue the non-human creatures, but couldn't stop the group of wizards entering the castle.  Just as Harry was sending a stunning curse at his opponent, he was hit in the back with a Killing curse.  Whirling around, he met the gleaming eyes of Grindelwald.  Smiling grimly, he lifted his hand and yelled an elven hex, sending the man reeling.  Not impressed, the Dark Lord started throwing Dark hexes and curses Harry's way.  The Boy-Who-Lived, not to be outdone, started fighting fire with fire.  By this time everyone else had stopped, watching the two wizards duel with the foulest Dark Magic imaginable.  Harry caught a glimpse of the sorrow and disapproval on Dumbledore's face before throwing Grindelwald clear across the grass.  Seeing he wasn't going to win, the Dark Lord lifted his hand in a signal and his forces retreated.

Harry sighed in relief as the rest of the onlookers stared at him in fear and awe.  Ignoring them, Harry started racing towards the castle to see if the rest of the school was alright, the teachers hot on his heels.  As he reached the Great Hall, he saw devastation everywhere.  Seeing Minh, Eustace and Robert over by what used to be the Gryffindor table, he rushed over to see what was going on.  When they saw him coming they looked up, tears streaming down their faces.  They didn't say anything, only gestured at an unmoving figure on the floor.  Harry knelt down and pushed red hair out of the familiar face.  It was Persephone Weasley.  With shaking hands he felt her wrist for a pulse, before dropping it in shock.  

She was dead.

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