Harry Potter and the Gemini Curse @ghostandmiracle42
Act IV, Chapter 3

Act IV, Chapter 3: Behold the Mighty Defenders

"That's what I don't understand!" Hermione exclaimed, sitting on a barstool at the Tonks' kitchen bench. Clarissa had given up on her attempt to get the oven to work and had instead resorted to cooking pies on her open palm, each one taking about ten seconds to go from frozen to well done. "How can you even have infinite power? There's no such thing. Everything is finite, there's a limit on everything. Even light can only move so fast!"

Brains was having a hard time coming to grips with Harry's simple explanation of, "The Dragon Force gives them infinite power, what else is there to know?" when she questioned him on the blatant power that the O'Neill's possessed.

"Why not?" Clarissa said with a grin, before sticking a fork into her pie, pulling it out and nodding to herself when steam curled off it. She placed the pie down on a plate, conjured a bottle of BBQ sauce, drizzled it on, and slid the plate to Hermione. Harry, Ginny, Fred and George were sitting on stools behind her while Hagrid lounged on a bean-bag watching them with rapt interest.

"Because it's not possible! The whole idea of Infinite Power violates Special Relativity!"

"Not if the power is only infinite because it's constantly replenishing," Clarissa pointed out, a grin on her face as Hermione's brain worked a mile a minute.

"But then how do you contain it! That much energy would destroy matter at an atomic level," She said, taking a bite of her pie.

"True but we're not using all of it at once, are we? We just channel some of it when we need it," Will said, stepping out of the bathroom and grabbing a pie of his own.

"But what is it exactly? Is it like some undiscovered magical power or something else?"

Both Clarissa and Will frowned. "We don't know," They said in unison. Hermione's jaw dropped open.

"How could you just not know?!"

Will sighed and scratched at his beard.

"The Dragon Force is one of the seven Enigma Forces. The Fundamental Forces of the Cosmos. Their existence is a closely guarded secret known only to a select few. Doctor Strange, Dumbledore, the King of Wakanda, they're pretty much the only people who even know what they are. At least on this Earth."

"An Enigma Force?"

"It's an energy reservoir. A feedback loop of cosmic energy if you will, and those who access them can tap their power for their own purposes. Not all forces are the same, though, each one operates by different rules. At least that's what we understand."

"There's the Dragon Force, the manifestation of Cosmic Balance. It's responsible for stopping worlds from bleeding into each other and bestows its power through the use of 'Shards' – basically, tiny fragments that bond to an avatar. Will is the chosen avatar of his Shard, I'm just sharing it with him thanks to the Libra Rune," Clarissa said.

"So, there could be other shards and avatars out there?" Harry asked, suddenly paying attention.

"Yeah, though we've never met one. Odds are there are hundreds scattered across the Orrery of Worlds. It's highly doubtful there'd be more than one per universe," Will said. Harry seemed quite relieved by that.

"What about the other six?" Hermione asked, eagerly.

"Well, there's the Phoenix Force. That one's probably the most violent of the lot. As its name suggests, its power comes from rebirth. It is the Phoenix Force that creates universes through the Big Bang, and ultimately ends them," Will said.

"We met a woman once, in another Universe, who was taken over by the Phoenix Force. She destroyed an entire Solar System without even flinching. Scary stuff," Clarissa shuddered.

"Could you do that?" Fred asked, "destroy a Solar System?"

"Probably," Will admitted, "Though it would take considerable effort. We can only channel so much of the Dragon Force without killing ourselves or burning out the Shard. Yes, we could crack the planet in half, wiping out the whole population, if that's what you're asking."

Fred gulped.

"We've got better odds though. Possession of the Phoenix Force is like a battle of wills. Host vs Phoenix. The Dragon Force doesn't really have a will of its own. Though sometimes we hear voices," Will shrugged, summoning a Coke from the fridge.

"Then there's the Speed Force. That one's the most interesting, in my opinion," Clarissa said, veering the conversation away.

"Why?"

"The Speed Force's job is to keep time moving forward. Without it, the Fourth Dimension would collapse into ours, and all of time would start happening at once. It generates its power through Kinetic Motion and bestows its power on people through lightning. Flashes, as they're called, are responsible for protecting the Speed Force from the other Forces, as well as other beings intending it harm. Quite the job description."

"So, what can these Flashes do?" Hagrid asked.

"Move at superspeed, time travel, generate lightning from their bodies to use in different ways, and their reflexes are seriously fast," Will told him. "We can channel minute amounts of Speed-Force energy through the Dragon Force, but nothing like what a Flash can do."

"The others are a bit vaguer. The Conflict Force is super-secret and is hidden by the Travellers somewhere. No one knows where it is or what it does." Harry choked on his pie.

"Did you say, Travellers?"

"Yeah. Why?"

"I met one of them. Called himself Ghost. He's the one that delivered the message from my future self," Harry said.

Clarissa raised an eyebrow.

"Well, you know more than we do then. We've never met one. They're big-time secretive, and rumour has it they control stories, though how that works, I have no idea," she said, taking the drink Will offered her.

"The Aether Force," Will continued, "is a benevolent force that separates the Multiverse from the plains of existence where the Ascended hang out, and it must be bestowed by the Vishanti. Only the Sorcerer Supreme may use it, and they keep its knowledge very tight to the chest. The Dark Force is exactly that, Dark. It's not Dark Magic or evil as such. Rather it comes from the place below even Hell. The Dark Multiverse. Don't ask me what that is cause I'm not going to tell you. Then there's the Nether Force. That one is definitely evil, though it's kind of ironic when you think about it. It's what gives Demons their powers, but it also serves as a barrier that protects us all from the Dark Multiverse and the Great Destroyer who lies trapped inside." Both Will and Clarissa shivered when Will mentioned 'the Great Destroyer', "as to how you get your hands on it, no idea." Everyone sat in silence for a while.

"That answer your question?" Will asked.

Hermione opened her mouth to say something, but whatever it might have been was lost, as at that moment, Sirius and Andromeda, who'd been getting groceries, walked back into the house, Sirius carrying a newspaper in his hand. He tossed it to Harry, who caught it deftly and realised it was the Daily Prophet. Groaning, he read out the Headline article.


Harry Potter: Missing!

Harry Potter, Triwizard Champion and the Boy-Who-Lived, is missing! According to Auror services, Mr Potter's residence, Number 4 Privet Drive in Surrey, was destroyed in a fire created by magical causes. Mr Potter's muggle family thankfully survived the attack, though one of them was transfigured into a pig. The Magical Reversal Squad has rectified the damage, but Mr Potter's whereabouts remain unknown.

This fact is cause for serious concern, as Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, has been trying to raise awareness of the return of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, despite no evidence proving him correct. Could this be You-Know-Who's first move? Or something else?

Either way, the Wizarding World waits with bated breath for its hero's return. Minister Fudge says, "Mr Potter is highly resourceful, and I'm sure he will return in time. In the meantime, the Auror Squad are looking into the event and searching for Mr Potter."

We here at the Daily Prophet ask that Mr Potter, if he can escape, or has already done so and is laying low, come into the Ministry to set the record straight. What happened? And do we need to be worried? Our best hopes are with you, Harry.


"Well, at least there are people actually worried about me," Harry laughed.

"Amelia says I'm not allowed to take on the case. I'm too close, and I'm not due to start duty until Monday. But she did ask me to check any possible hideouts. I told her I'd already done it, and that you were nowhere to be found. Should buy us a little bit of time," Sirius said.

"What are you going to do?" Andromeda asked him.

Harry bit his lip, "Brains? What's your take?"

Hermione furrowed her brows for a second and scratched at her arm band, before letting out a breath. "You need to go into the Ministry, that's a no brainer, but what happens when you get there is up for debate. We could go in and come out pro-Dumbledore. Tell them the attack was from You-Know-Who and you barely made it out alive. The only problem being of course that Fudge would probably throw you in the same pile as the Headmaster. As much as Fudge is an idiot, he's still a powerful enemy to make. Then there's the reverse, go in and say it wasn't him. Would it be the truth? Yes. Would it be monumentally stupid? Also, yes. You-Know-Who is back and telling people he isn't will only get them killed when he does come out into the open. Then there's the third option. We could go in there, say that you don't know who attacked the house and allude to a possible threat. If Fudge accuses you of siding with Dumbledore, simply remind him that you were abducted at the end of the Triwizard Tournament and fought you're way out from a terrorist organisation. All you have to do is not explicitly mention Voldemort either way. If you do, that's when we'll run into problems.

Harry nodded, "Okay. I like option three. Let's go with that."

"There's also the issue of Skeeter," Sirius pointed out, "She's on our side now, but we should throw her a bone if we're going to keep her there. If she decides the fine is worth it, she'll go with her story, blackmail or not." Sirius went to say more, but another 'Crack!' echoed from outside. Then came two knocks on the door. Will vaulted over the kitchen bench and moved to the door. He stared at it intensely for a second, then turned back to the others.

"It's Tonks and Moody. Are they supposed to be outside?"

"Tonks and Moody?" Ginny asked, biting her lip.

Tonks is still undercover, but why would she bring Moody here?

Maybe he sniffed her out but doesn't plan on telling Dumbledore. Remember he did catch you stealing books earlier in the summer.

True. And he was loving the dress down you gave Dumbledore….

"Let them in, but Clarissa, I want you to hide from Moody's Magical Eye if you can," Harry said. Clarissa winked at him before vanishing into golden dust. Harry nodded to Will, and he opened the door.

"Aurors. What brings you here on this fine summer evening?" Harry asked as the duo stepped inside. He held his hand near his wand and was relieved to see the others doing the same. Sirius flat out had his pointed at the ex-teacher.

"I love it, Potter! I just love it! Finally! Someone takes constant vigilance seriously. Back up plans hidden within back up plans. Secret weapons in plain sight. Deep cover agents. Safe houses in parallel dimensions. It's brilliant! You're the type of man I put my cards on Potter. And even now! Still not trusting me! I can only see one-half of your Dragon palls! The other one is surely in a position to strike me down the instant I touch my wand. I'm impressed, Potter. Impressed. We'll make a Sorcerer Supreme out of you yet!" The first thing that went through Harry's brain was that Moody must be high on something.

Well, he is called Mad-Eye.

Moody's face split into a massive grin, his magical eye spinning around like a pinball, and he was actually clapping his hands emphatically.

"Drop your wands everyone. Auror Moody is a friend of the Defenders," Harry said, winking at the man, whose smile grew even wider.

"Defenders. I like it. Short, sharp, to the point. Not like the Order of the Flaming Chickens that's for sure. What's your modus operandi?"

"Firefly?" Harry prompted, elbowing Ginny in the ribs.

Prat.

"We're here to protect people, simple as that. Our families, our friends, and the people who can't protect themselves. And we don't care who gets in our way," Ginny said flatly.

"Also, we're in the business of killing Death Eaters…"

"… and hunting Horcruxes," the twins added cheerfully.

"Where do I sign up?" Moody asked excitedly. Harry rolled his eyes.

"What happened after we left?" Remus asked them.

Tonks sighed and ran a hand through her hair, "It wasn't pretty let me tell you. Molly went on quite the rampage. She screamed at Dumbledore for a good hour before the old codger declared he needed to return to Hogwarts. Minnie and Filius disapparated not a few minutes after you guys did looking quite distressed. So did Bill Weasley you'll be interested to know." Ginny perked up considerably at that, as did the twins.

"Charlie and Ron?"

"Charlie certainly didn't look happy, but he didn't have anywhere to go. He's staying the night at Grimmauld before returning to Romania tomorrow. Ron was rather put out, and he certainly looked agitated. He retreated to his room, although whether that was to hide from his mum or not is up for debate. Your Dad… well, as soon as he got back, he was molested by Molly. The whole house heard the argument. Basically, Molly's convinced Ginny, Fred and George have betrayed the side of the light, that Harry raped Ginny, and that the world is officially ending. Arthur, the brave soul, just sat on a couch drinking a cup of the blackest tea I've ever seen as she ranted on. When she got to the rape bit, he actually yelled at her to shut up and think about just what she was doing. Then he walked to the Floo and went to the Burrow. He hasn't been back to Headquarters since." The Twins suddenly began whispering amongst themselves. Ginny breathed a sigh of relief and turned to Harry.

Better than I'd hoped for. Bill could be a serious asset to get onboard. We know he's cool with the Soul Bond.

Agreed. It's nice to know your Dad isn't accusing me of rape too.

I can't believe her. Did she just ignore the entire conversation in the kitchen? Or does she honestly think Dumbledore can't do a thing wrong?

Ginny rested her head on Harry's shoulder, and Harry ran a hand through her hair. Ginny purred into his neck, and Harry couldn't help the flow of blood in his body, heading rapidly south.

"The other members of the Order are still firmly in Dumbledore's pocket, no doubt about that. Snape was quite chuffed actually. I don't like him. I think he's working for the enemy, but Albus says we can trust him, so everyone believes him," Moody said gruffly.

Harry sighed, "Dumbledore thinks everyone deserves a second chance, even convicted criminals. That's why you can't trust him. He's too trusting."

"Odds are, Snivellus is playing both sides," Sirius fumed, "Giving just enough information to us and them to be of use, then he'll say that he was serving the winning faction the whole time." Everyone murmured their agreement.

Light or dark.

Harry raised an eyebrow and turned to Ginny as the others continued to talk.

What's that got to do with anything?

It has everything to do with it. Everyone's acting like there are only two sides. Light and Dark. Like a chess match between black and white, or in this case, Voldemort and Dumbledore. But that's not true, is it? There's the Death Eaters and Dumbledore's Order sure, but there's also the Ministry, and then there's us. Where do we fit into this whole thing?

Harry frowned and ceased his stroking of Ginny's hair. She was right. Where did they fit? They were fighting Voldemort sure, but they also weren't part of Dumbledore's club. Harry wouldn't tow the Professor's line. From the reports he'd seen, the only thing Dumbledore was actually doing was guarding a doorway in the Ministry of Magic that he wouldn't tell anyone what was behind. He didn't even have anyone trying to gather intelligence on Voldemort's plans except Snape!

It's like you said. We're fighting to defend people.

Then I think we need to come out and say that. No more hiding in the shadows. Voldemort's skipped his move, Dumbledore's ignoring his, the Ministry's already come out against everyone. Our first move put a schism in the Order's framework. Hell, we might even be able to recruit some of Dumbledore's own guys!

You've got an idea I take it?

Yep. We're going to pull the rug out from underneath all three sides and put ourselves on the world stage. Let's use all that good press you've got to our advantage and put our team in the lead.

Alright, Firefly. Let's see what you've got.

Ginny jumped to her feet and let out a piercing whistle.

"Brains, I need you to write to the others. We need the full Defenders line-up on hand by tomorrow morning. Even Alias. I don't care about your House Elf thing right now, use Dobby if you need to." Hermione struggled to bite back a retort, but she did, and Harry inwardly commended her for it. She nodded her head quickly before grabbing a notepad and quill from the corner of the bench.

"Padfoot, Moony, how many cloaks do we have ready?"

The ghost of a smile started to worm its way onto Sirius' face, "I like where this is going, Firefly. We've got twenty-five cloaks ready for use. They're in the Home. Dumbledore probably has wards all over the place by now, but Dobby can get in and out without triggering them."

Ginny beamed, "Excellent."

"Firefly, I'm going to go to Bill's apartment and talk to him," George said, "if we can get him onside…"

"And I'm going to the Burrow. I want to let Dad know we're all safe. I won't tell him where we are or anything, I just think he has a right to know," Fred interrupted.

"Good ideas. Both of you. Get it done but be back here by 8am at the latest. I'll need you here for the big show."

"No problems. You know we'd never miss out on the chance to prank anyone," they exclaimed.

"Tonks, you'll have to sit this one out I'm afraid," Ginny said apologetically.

"No probs, Firefly. I'll keep the codger busy," Tonks said with a mischievous smile.

This is going to be fun.

"What about the rest of us?" Remus asked.

"Suit up."


The second Harry landed in the Ministry Atrium at 8:30am in a burst of golden light, every eye fell on him, and all movement froze stiff. He was dressed in a white dress shirt with a pair of non-descript denim jeans. Over the top he wore his Defenders robe with the hood down. He had his hair spiked up specifically by Ginny so his lightning bolt scar was on full display. He stood tall and advanced down the corridor with long strides (Sirius had made him practice the walk). He was also, unequivocally, terrified.

Don't worry. Everything is going to go perfectly. Just be yourself and follow my lead if you get tongue-tied. Remember Harry, these people worship you, own it!

I'm not worth this Gin…

That's the Dursleys talking. You beat them, Harry. You put them in their place, turned Dudley into a pig and blew up their house. You won. They lost. You're more worth it than anyone could ever know.

Gin…

I love you, Harry. I really do. You can do this. I believe in you. We all believe in you. Thousands of people look up to you to be their hero. Now's the time to prove it.

Alright, alright, alright. You had me last night when you promised the snog session.

Good. You think you've got problems. I'm going to have to stand trying really hard not to rub my thighs together the whole bloody time! Authoritative you is super sexy.

Harry, basking in the warmth of the Gemini Rune, continued his walk, smiling and greeting the gaping people as he passed. Then more bursts of golden dust and Apparation cracks filled the hall. Figure after figure, all cloaked in red with their hoods drawn over their faces appeared in the Atrium and followed in step with Harry. By the time Harry had stepped up to the security desk at the end of the hall in front of the Fountain of Magical Brethren, fourteen cloaked figures stood beside him, seven on one side, seven on the other. Each was staggered, so they looked like a rather large V shape. Ginny was directly to his left, followed by Sirius, then Jessica, Matt, Luke, Fred, and Will. On his right were Hermione, Remus, Luna, Andromeda, Danny, George and Clarissa. Hagrid would be returning to Grimmauld Place at the same time with help from Tonks, who would modify the giant's memory, so he didn't remember where they were hiding. He fully supported them, but the entire group agreed that his mission from Dumbledore to ensure the neutrality of the Giants was more important than supporting Dumbledore or Harry, as much as the poor man wanted to do both.

"Harry Potter. I'm here to report my continued existence to the Minister." Harry said in the best commanding voice he could muster. Hermione told him to try channelling Superman and Clark Kent. Keep the normal Harry as Clark, and then adopt a more stern and authoritative voice as the Boy-Who-Lived. While a bit crude, Harry found that pretending he was playing a role was infinitesimally easier than merely trying to act 'tough'. Jessica had arrived in the middle of what Sirius had called Harry's "Weak Knees Tutorial" and had burst out laughing. It didn't instil him with a lot of confidence.

If it's any consolation, I think you're doing pretty well.

And what makes you think that?

Well everyone's staring at you like you're Jesus, and I kind of want to jump you right now.

Harry had to try very hard not to let the heat of the Gemini Rune show up in his cheeks.

"W…" the security wizard swallowed hard, his gaze stuck on Harry's forehead, "Wand please."

"Of course. Here you go, sir." Harry pulled out his wand, a smile on his face that was totally authentic, and placed it on the man's bronze scales.

"Eleven inches, Phoenix Feather Core. Been in use five years?" the guard asked hesitantly.

"That's right. Thanks for your assistance, sir." Harry nodded to the man and repocketed his wand. Then he advanced forward, the Defenders following behind him. Brains and Moony (as the smartest of the group) insisted that if they walked straight into the building with Harry that no one would contradict them. Harry had seriously doubted whether that plan would work, but apparently, he was wrong, as no one, not even the Aurors with their feathered caps, attempted to stop them as they walked over to the elevators.

All good so far.

Remember the plan, are Padfoot and Moony ready?

They're ready. So are the Dragons.

Harry continued his walk, flanked by the Defenders, towards the closest elevator. Everyone inside quickly scurried out of his way, and Harry couldn't help but feel a little bit guilty. He stepped into the elevator, the others filing in behind him, and the door swung closed.

"Level 2, and the Minister's Office please," Harry said flatly. The doorman, shaking rather noticeably, pressed two buttons, and the elevator slowly began to rise up through the floors.

"Level Two: Department of Magical Law Enforcement."

Sirius and Remus stepped out of the elevator hurriedly and walked out of view. The door slid shut once more, and they ascended another level.

"Level One: Department of the Minister for Magic."

Harry and the others stepped out, walking down a well-lit corridor with several windows and photo-frames displaying newspaper articles. At the end of the hall was a plush waiting room.

Will and Clarissa have entangled out. They should be able to find out what Dumbledore's guarding.

Let's hope so.

Harry came to a halt in front of a desk where a buxom young woman with curly blonde hair sat, staring at Harry's scar in awe.

I still hate the bloody scar.

At least it doesn't hurt anymore?

True.

"Morning, Miss. I'm afraid I don't have an appointment, but I read in the paper that Mr Fudge sent out the Aurors to assist me, and I thought I'd thank him for his hospitality," He said cheerfully.

The woman's face twisted into a seductive smile and Ginny groaned in his head.

Does everyone forget you're married?

Jealous, are we?

Grrrrr.

"Of course, Mr Potter, if your friends could wait here, I'm sure Minister Fudge can see you right away." The woman stood up, deliberately leaning forward in the process. Harry kept his eyes locked on the woman's, even going so far as to flash her a smile. The secretary seemed slightly startled by the fact that Harry didn't take a peek, then her smile got even wider.

Merlin! No wonder Lily Potter couldn't escape your Dad. If James Potter was anything like you, he must've had every girl in Hogwarts trying to marry him!

It's the hair. It's a chick magnet.

And the eyes. My god those green eyes.

Ginny, focus.

It's hard!

The secretary knocked on the office door before opening it softly.

"Pardon the interruption Minister, but Harry Potter is out here."

"Potter! Send him in!" The secretary opened the door wide and beckoned Harry forward. Harry nodded to her, still smiling, and walked inside, the rest of the Defenders remaining outside, still as statues.

Cornelius Fudge was sitting at a rather expensive looking mahogany desk, sitting in the chairs opposite him were the platinum blonde hair of Lucius Malfoy and a woman in a pink cardigan whose face resembled a toad's rather than a human's.

"Minister. Good to see you're well," Harry said, walking over to the man's desk. Fudge, taking in Harry's uninjured and healthy appearance, not to mention his robes, stood up and offered his hand.

"Harry! Thank Merlin you're alright. You gave as quite a scare my boy."

"Oh, don't worry about me, Minister. Takes a bit more than a couple of terrorists to keep me down," Harry said cheerfully, before winking at Lucius. The Death Eater scowled at him, unconsciously fiddling with the black glove over his new silver hand. The toadlike woman seemed affronted by Harry's very presence.

Oh, that was priceless!

Fudge frowned, "Terrible business Harry, terrible business. The Aurors said your home was blown up! What on earth happened?"

Harry kept his features schooled, forcing himself not to show any hint of the smile that wanted to break out on his face as he thought of the Dursley's faces as he blew up their house.

"I'm not entirely sure if I'm honest, Minister. One minute we were sitting down to dinner, the next the upstairs floor exploded. I managed to contain the blast and get my family outside. I duelled with the attacker, and one of our spells rebounded on my cousin, turning him into a pig! You can understand my outrage."

"Indeed," Fudge said, lapping up every word.

"Unfortunately, my anger got the better of me, and I didn't see the second attacker. He stunned me just as I finished off the first. I woke up in a prison cell a few minutes later. Not that I was very worried. I simply used my Patronus to call forth a team of my Defenders to aid me. The battle finished shortly after that. We've disposed of the terrorists, but I'm afraid there are more of them out there. I've got my best agents on it, and I've prepared a packet of all the information we've gained for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. What I do know, is that the leader of this group, whoever they are, is still at large, and the public must be warned."

Fudge suddenly looked very concerned, though whether he was acting or not Harry wasn't sure.

"Hem, hem." Harry wasn't sure what the noise the witch made was supposed to be precisely, something between a cough and a high-pitched sneeze maybe?

"Forgive me, Mr Potter, but you can't seriously be saying the You-Know-Who is back are you?" she asked in the most girlish voice he had ever heard. It was so high pitch he actually shook his head to make sure he was hearing her right.

Don't fall for it, Harry. Remember the plan.

"I'm afraid I don't know you Ms…"

"Dolores Umbridge Mr Potter, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister," she replied sweetly.

Harry's face darkened, "So you're the woman who forced one of my best friends onto the street. Good to know."

Harry! Not now!

She's the one that passed the Anti-Werewolf Act! Remus can't even walk down Diagon Alley because of her!

The plan, Harry! We'll deal with her later!

"I never said anything about Voldemort ma'am. All I said was that the leader of the group that attacked me in my home, the same group that kidnapped me earlier this year, is still out there. And, speaking from experience, he's most likely planning another try. I will not allow the public to be put in danger, and I like to think you wouldn't either. However, considering what I know about you Madam Umbridge, I suppose that would be incorrect." Harry never thought he'd thank Severus Snape for anything in his life, but right now, he thanked the man for showing him what the perfect sneer looked like, and he used it to full effect on the toadlike woman.

"Now, now, Mr Potter. There's no need to be antagonistic," Lucius said, mirth hidden in his grey eyes.

Inbred filth.

And the Muggles think Cersei Lannister is bad.

"Of course, not Mr Malfoy. I just don't have much time for people who act like they're better than everyone else. Especially those who can't back it up."

Repeat after me…

"For example, I could probably kick all of your asses in a duel, but I'm here deferring to our Minister, and giving him the respect he deserves as the leader of our society. I am entitled to my opinions, and you are entitled to yours."

Can I wash my mouth out now?

In a minute, sweetie.

"Well, Harry. I'm glad you're back with us. But if I might ask, who are these Defenders you mentioned?" Fudge asked.

Harry grinned. A quick glance at Lucius and Umbridge revealed they instantly realised a trap when they saw one.

"A group of like-minded warriors of high esteem. A number of them are standing outside as we speak. Would you like to meet them?" Harry didn't wait for a response. He stood back and held the office door open. Fudge, who was either dumber than Harry thought or smarter than anyone gave him credit for, followed with a gallant stride in his step. As soon as he saw the red-cloaked figures, he stopped short.

"Don't be worried, Minister. They have to keep their identities a secret to protect their families you see, but I assure you they all have the highest degree of training. I've placed a note on how to contact us should you need assistance in the packet my man has given to the DMLE." Fudge gulped hard. Umbridge and Malfoy followed him out, also stopping still at the sight of the twelve Defenders.

Wait… 12?

Clarissa and Will just got back. The door Dumbledore is guarding is in the Department of Mysteries, on the very bottom floor of the building. The only problem, they can't step inside.

What!

We'll brief you later.

Ginny, though Fudge didn't know it was her, stepped forward and offered her hand to the Minister.

"Minister Fudge. It's an honour, sir." Her voice was muffled, but it was clearly female. Each cloak was exactly alike. To an outsider. Only a Defender knew that two strands the width of a finger on the cuffs of each robe were a different colour. Harry's were emerald green, Ginny's gold, Jessica's silver and so on.

"Lovely to meet you, Miss. I'd like to express our thanks to you and your… friends for rescuing Mr Potter," Fudge stammered.

"No problem, Minister. Just doing our jobs," Ginny said warmly, though it was lost thanks to the cloak.

"I can't focus my eyes on your faces. Why?" Lucius asked angrily.

Harry smirked, "It's something my mother invented before she died, Mr Malfoy. I own the patent on it."

Lucius scowled at him.

"Minister, you can't seriously be planning on letting Potter have his own… own… private army!" Umbridge exclaimed. Harry ignored her, instead patting the Minister on the back.

"Perhaps you could walk us out, Minister. I imagine the reporters will be waiting for me, and I'd love the chance to thank you for your efforts at finding me where the public can hear."

And we're off to the races!

Fudge beamed, "Of course Harry. A swell idea." Harry smiled, and Ginny snickered in his mind as Lucius and Umbridge both looked about ready to murder him. Harry and Fudge walked towards the elevator, the Defenders trailing behind. They rode the elevator in silence down to the Atrium, and the second they stepped out, Harry and Fudge were swamped by reporters, Rita Skeeter in pride and place at the front.

"Harry! What happened at your home!?"

"Are you alright!?"

"How did you escape!?

"Who attacked you!?"

"Who are the red-cloaked figures!?"

"Everyone quiet down, quiet down!" Fudge exclaimed, placing a hand on Harry's shoulder. The reporters trailed off, leaving only the flashing of cameras and the whispering of people behind them. The entire Atrium was packed with people trying to get a glimpse of Harry and his colleagues. Harry kept his chin high and waved a hand at the cameras, who were all too ready to get shots of him and Fudge standing beside each other.

"Young Harry has had quite an ordeal the past few days and has kindly agreed to share some of it with you. Just give him a bit of room now…" Fudge said, gesturing with his arms for the group to backpedal.

"Thank you, Minister," Harry nodded to Fudge and waved his hand at the ground. The tiling lifted up, putting Harry a good head and shoulders above the crowd so everyone could see him.

Got to love Druid sleight of hand.

Harry could just imagine Will snickering behind him as the crowd gasped.

You got the palm cards?

Yep. Hidden in my robes right now. Here we go…

Harry took a deep breath and listened to Ginny's voice, acting as a prompter in his head before repeating her words out loud. "Good Morning, everyone. I just wanted to say thank you for all your help and support the past few days. As most of you are already aware, my home was attacked a few days ago. The perpetrators were the same people that abducted Peter Parker, Claire O'Neill and I at the end of the Triwizard Tournament. Thankfully, I was able to escape my captors with the aid of the good men and women you see behind me. These people are but a small number of an organisation we like to call the Defenders. It's a group of like-minded warriors dedicated to fighting for the good of all magical beings. We're not fighting a war, we are here to protect and defend the people. All of you who get caught in the middle, when some dark wizard decides he doesn't care about your safety or your life. My fellow witches and wizards, we are under threat. A terrorist organisation has kidnapped me not once, but twice. As much as I might want to live my life as an ordinary wizard like all of you, this scar on my head makes me a target. If they can get rid of me, they boost their credibility. That has been their goal. By now they've learned that I'm not so easy to take down, which means I fear they will turn against the public next. And that is something me, the Defenders, and the Ministry of Magic will not, and cannot, tolerate. My team will be working with the Auror department to hunt down this new threat to our security and safety and rest assured we will not stop until it has been expunged, and it's leaders brought to justice. Any questions?"

Oh, you are so getting snogged senseless.

I did alright?

That was awesome!

Harry breathed a sigh of relief and glanced around the crowd of people, all of whom were jumping up and down, whistling and cheering his name.

"Mr Potter! Mr Potter!"

"Miss Skeeter!" Harry proclaimed, pointing at the primed blonde-haired woman wearing her trademark green jacket.

Sirius is here.

Harry glanced over Ginny's head and saw Sirius walking with Amelia Bones, Kingsley Shacklebolt, half a dozen Aurors, and a still cloaked Remus.

"I speculated about the existence of your Defenders some time ago. Can you say that its members are all adults? Or are some of them, like yourself, still children?" Numerous whispers circled through the crowd.

We prepped for this. Redirect, and note on your childhood.

"I'm afraid I can neither confirm nor deny that Miss Skeeter. The Defenders identities remain anonymous to protect their loved ones from retribution. And I'm afraid I'm not the best example to use. I may not be an adult, but I'm most certainly not a child any longer. I think seven near death experiences, not to mention a loveless childhood without family or friends that cared for me, have destroyed any childhood innocence I had left." Harry didn't notice many of the surrounding people tear up, as his eyes were drawn to the sight of Albus Dumbledore stepping out of the Floo at the far end of the Atrium.

Looks like time is up.

What do you… Oh shit, Dumbledore.

Yep.

"Mr Potter! How can we be sure you're Defenders aren't the beginning of another group like the Death Eaters if you won't show your faces?!"

We don't have a card for that, um….

"That's an excellent question, sir. I'm afraid in the post-war world, there will always be a fear originating from the previous terror of groups like the Death Eaters, but throughout history, there have been organisations that have fought for good with just as much renown. We keep our other lives a secret not to deceive you, but to protect the people that we love, and I ask that you at least try to respect that."

Harry swallowed hard as he finished, his eyes still locked on Dumbledore, who was pushing his way through the crowd. Harry glanced imploringly at Sirius and gestured towards Dumbledore. Sirius frowned, turned his head, bit his lip, then turned back to face Harry.

"Let's hear it for Harry Potter – The Boy-Who-Lived!" He yelled. He began rapidly clapping his hands, and the rest of the crowd followed. Cheers and whistles filled the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic, and chants of "Potter!" and "Defenders!" echoed throw the air. The podium Harry stood on sunk back into the ground, and he pulled up his cowl, shielding his face beneath the perception filter the cloak provided. Ginny grabbed into his arm and pulled him inside the circle of red-cloaked figures. Another hand grabbed the back of his neck, and Harry's world turned on its head. The smell of ozone filled the air, the sounds of the crowd rose to an ear-shattering whistle, and the ground beneath his feet fell away. His entire body was pulled thin, then a split second of nothing, and everything came back into stark relief.

He was standing in Andromeda Tonks lounge room. He looked down at his hands and watched as his fingers reformed from golden dust in the air.

Ginny pitched and threw up on the floor.

"Sorry. I kind of rushed that jump. Usually, it's much smoother, but entangling with another person isn't easy, and I had to bend us around the Anti-Apparation Ward. Not easy with passengers," Will O'Neill said, pulling back his hood and slumping onto the couch.

"You don't say," Harry breathed, taking several deep breaths.

That sucked.

Better than being splinched.

fine.

Harry sighed and pulled his wand, banishing the remains of Ginny's sick from the floor. Then he pulled her into his arms and slumped onto the couch next to Will.

"What happened in the Department of Mysteries?" Harry groaned, rubbing his temples in a weak attempt to be rid of his newfound headache.

"Was pretty fucking easy actually. No guards or anything. A couple of alarm-based wards, but even an idiot could have disarmed those," Will said, before conjuring an ice-pack and placing it on his forehead. A few seconds later, Jessica, Luna and Matt both appeared in a flash of golden sparks.

"Fuck that's weird," Jessica breathed. Then she turned on her heel and walked over to the kitchen, pulling a bottle of Firewhiskey from the cupboard and taking a long hard pull.

"I love it! It makes the Mallywaddles around us get all excited!" Luna exclaimed cheerfully as she bounced up and down on her toes.

Harry ignored them, instead focussing on Will, "Then what happened?"

"We couldn't get past the front door," he said.

"But you just said…"

"There's something down there. I don't know what it is, but it's really messed up. As soon as we opened the door, the Dragon Force went haywire. Whatever it is, it was draining our powers. Feeding off it. Do yourself a favour and stay very far away from the Department of Mysteries." Harry swallowed hard and laid his head on Ginny's shoulder.

"You realise that's really bad for you, right?" Matt was saying to Jessica as he pulled off his cloak and threw it on top of the still bouncing Luna. Luke and Danny re-materialised a moment later. Luke stumbled backwards into a wall, leaving a six-foot indent in the brick. Danny was little better. He tripped on his own feet and face planted into the wooden floor.

"Watch me not care," Jessica replied dryly. Ted Tonks opened the front door and stopped, jaw hanging open. Jessica raised the bottle up to him before taking another pull.

Fred and George entangled in and walked into each other, banging foreheads, before falling unceremoniously to the ground unconscious. Will groaned, before standing up and pulling his cloak back on. He vanished in a discharge of dust, and Andromeda and Remus appeared a second later. Andromeda immediately rushed to the bathroom, and Remus took Will's seat on the couch with a dazed look on his face. Finally, Hermione and Will reappeared with a slumping Clarissa held between them.

"I'm just going to go to sleep now…" Will muttered, before both he and Clarissa collapsed to the ground. Hermione, by virtue of still having Clarissa's arm over her shoulder, went with them, colliding with the pair and making a loud "Eeep!" noise as she did.

"Behold the Mighty Defenders!" Jessica proclaimed, "the world is so screwed."

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Act I, Chapter 1 2577 0 0 2. Act I, Chapter 2 3857 0 0 3. Act I, Chapter 3 6839 0 0 4. Act I, Chapter 4 3517 0 0 5. Act I, Chapter 5 2759 0 0 6. Act I, Chapter 6 3646 0 0 7. Act I, Chapter 7 3123 0 0 8. Act I, Chapter 8 3749 0 0 9. Act I, Chapter 9 3592 0 0 10. Act I, Chapter 10 4635 0 0 11. Act II, Chapter 1 4795 0 0 12. Act II, Chapter 2 4912 0 0 13. Act II, Chapter 3 4596 0 0 14. Act II, Chapter 4 4033 0 0 15. Act II, Chapter 5 4695 0 0 16. Act II, Chapter 6 4878 0 0 17. Act II, Chapter 7 5376 0 0 18. Act II, Chapter 8 4393 0 0 19. Act II, Chapter 9 3716 0 0 20. Act II, Chapter 10 7982 0 0 21. Act III, Chapter 1 8563 0 0 22. Act III, Chapter 2 3926 0 0 23. Act III, Chapter 3 4739 0 0 24. Act III, Chapter 4 2324 0 0 25. Act III, Chapter 5 5812 0 0 26. Act III, Chapter 6 6900 0 0 27. Act III, Chapter 7 3211 0 0 28. Act III, Chapter 8 6466 0 0 29. Act III, Chapter 9 2888 0 0 30. Act III, Chapter 10 7371 0 0 31. Act IV, Chapter 1 6177 0 0 32. Act IV, Chapter 2 6862 0 0 33. Act IV, Chapter 3 6360 0 0 34. Act IV, Chapter 4 7018 0 0 35. Act IV, Chapter 5 9640 0 0 36. Act IV, Chapter 6 4531 0 0 37. Act IV, Chapter 7 2345 0 0 38. Act IV, Chapter 8 7242 0 0 39. Act IV, Chapter 9 6161 0 0 40. Act IV, Chapter 10 11288 0 0 41. Act V, Chapter 1 12170 0 0 42. Act V, Chapter 2 3204 0 0 43. Act V, Chapter 3 7727 0 0 44. Act V, Chapter 4 3213 0 0 45. Act V, Chapter 5 7099 0 0 46. Act V, Chapter 6 8061 0 0 47. Act V, Chapter 7 5544 0 0 48. Act V, Chapter 8 5414 0 0 49. Act V, Chapter 9 6046 0 0 50. Act V, Chapter 10 7849 0 0 51. Act VI, Chapter 1 6040 0 0 52. Act VI, Chapter 2 3614 0 0 53. Act VI, Chapter 3 4633 0 0 54. Act VI, Chapter 4 4638 0 0 55. Act VI, Chapter 5 2781 0 0 56. Act VI, Chapter 6 6382 0 0 57. Act VI, Chapter 7 4027 0 0 58. Act VI, Chapter 8 7169 0 0 59. Act VI, Chapter 9 4260 0 0 60. Act VI, Chapter 10 5574 0 0 61. Glossary and Appendices 10011 0 0 62. Update: A potential podfic 265 0 0