Chapter Fourteen: More Complications
Harry had left Seamus with the injured men, who were sleeping once again, and made his way through the castle up to his own rooms to floo Dumbledore. Millie waylaid him halfway there, to relay what she, Neville and Luna had managed to sort out of the injured, dead and missing lists, along with an exact accounting of who was at Hogwarts at the moment from Regis Isle. She also had a list from Madame Pomfrey of supplies needed for the hospital wing, including a long list of potions. Millie predicted Pomfrey was going to be a bit bent out of shape that she was going to have to brew her own potions if Dumbledore couldn't procure them. Harry promised he'd get Dumbledore to handle Pomfrey if he could--if not he'd deal with her himself. She went on her way, grumbling about wanting to throttle "that Lovegood twit" and find a purple sloth to shove up Luna's dizzy, loony arse.
He opened his mouth to say something, then closed it and let Millie leave without asking. Luna was Luna. Millie seemed to have about as much patience for Luna's unique take on the world as Hermione did. As long as they didn't start dueling or hair-pulling until Dumbledore and the rest got back to deal with it, Harry decided he really didn't care.
He had to wonder why everyone seemed to think he was in charge. All right, yes, Dumbledore had given him the holding of the wards for the time being, but he didn't want to be in charge. Nor did he have the slightest clue what he was doing. He had no big clever plan, he was just reacting. If it hadn't been for Neville and Millie, things would have been a lot more out of hand in the castle the last few days. The two had managed to take charge of the House Elves and keep a semblance of order amongst the refugees. Blaise had barely set foot outside the Hospital Wing, and Harry doubted Madame Pomfrey could have done without his help. Seamus had been in the Hospital Wing more than not. Even with the holding of the Wards, Harry didn't think he'd done half as much as some of the others. Yet everyone was deferring to him, expecting him to know what to do because of a damned scar on his forehead.
Remus had tried to chew his own hands and feet off. Merlin! Snape was going to have to talk him through brewing the Wolfsbane Potion--or talk Blaise through it, as Blaise was the Apprentice with the most expertise in Potions. According to Hermione, he was even a bit better than Malfoy. He would not allow Remus to be chained like that again. Truly, he didn't know if Remus could survive being chained like that again.
Snape was so quiet and blank it was terrifying. If the man was snarling and sarcastic and ungrateful, at least Harry would know Snape was recovering just fine.
Then there was the problem of Kingsley Shacklebolt. That conversation definitely could not be had by floo.
"Albus Dumbledore, Leaky Cauldron, Room 410." Harry yawned, tossing floo powder into the newly lit fire in his sitting room.
"Ah, there you are, Harry." Dumbledore smiled as his head appeared in the fire.
"Good evening, Professor."
"And how are you this fine evening?" Those blue eyes were twinkling madly in Dumbledore's face. The old Wizard was asking as if everything in the world was grand and none of the events of the last few days had ever taken place.
Harry's jaw dropped. He could only gape at Dumbledore for a long moment before answering in a tone that would do Snape proud. "Just bloody lovely, sir." He was exhausted. The connection to the castle wards was still buzzing in the back of his head like an irritating horsefly. His scar itched. It was not enough to indicate that Voldemort was actually doing or even planning anything, but the Dark Lord definitely had his dander up over something. Remus had tried chewing his hands and feet off. Snape was being--COMPLIANT! One member of the Order was trying to at the very least maim another member. Millie had acted like he was truly in charge and knew what he was doing, rather than muddling through and hoping to Merlin he didn't royally foul up. Yes, everything was just bloody peachy.
Harry felt a small bit of satisfaction to see that damned twinkle in Dumbledore's eyes falter for a brief second.
"Sorry, sir, he's in a mood. Don't think he's actually up to anything, it's not quite that strong, but he's in a foul mood," Harry offered lamely, giving his scar a cursory rub to make sure there was no confusion over who "he" was. It was true enough, but he didn't think that the bad mood he was in had much to do with Voldemort. He was quite capable of being this growly all on his own due to fear and frustration. "And a couple of other things came to light that will have to wait until you're back to the castle."
"Nothing that anything can be done about presently, though it certainly bears close watching, sir," Harry answered. "And nothing I am willing to discuss now."
"And how is Mr. Karkaroff?"
"I have no idea. Neville secured him somewhere. Filch, Dobby and a couple other House Elves are keeping watch on him. I have the lists that Millie, Neville and Luna managed to get sorted out for you, and Madam Pomfrey has some supply requests."
"I'm afraid we're not able to do anything about those. The school board is willing to put the refugees up, but no more than that. Have Remus gather what he can from the forest, and I'm sure Severus can brew any potions she has need of--"
"They can't, sir," Harry shook his head.
"Nonsense, my dear boy--"
"They can't," Harry repeated with a glare. "Remus nearly chewed his hands and feet off trying to get out of the chains. Professor Snape is bedridden."
"Still? Nothing gets Severus down for more than a day--"
"Still." Harry said with a cold glare.
"That is one of the things that need to be discussed in person, sir." Harry managed not to shout. Hadn't Dumbledore heard a bloody word when he'd spoken to him the day before? That Snape had been nearly killed. Right, he was just a kid, what did he know? Dumbledore had gone on that he was sure the injuries looked worse than they actually were. How could visible bone not be as bad as it looked? "But suffice to say, do not count on Professor Snape being up to brewing any potions whatsoever for a month or two."
"Missed the last two doses of Wolfsbane, there was some sort of rebound that made the wolf even more violent than normal. That, plus the chains, caused Remus to nearly CHEW his hands and feet off. There was visible bone on both his wrists this morning. Snape is NOT going to be able to brew so much as a Pepper-Up Potion for at least a month, probably closer to two, and that is not an exaggeration. Merlin, that's being optimistic and counting on Snape being his usual stubborn git self! If it hadn't been for the Grey Lady advising us we'd be arranging Snape's funeral, and that is not an exaggeration. They can't help us, and they most certainly aren't going to be going into the Forest or brewing Potions for Pomfrey!"
"Have you spoken to Poppy about their conditions?"
"Not yet, sir."
"Well, have a talk with her." Dumbledore sighed. "I will be back to the castle for a while tomorrow at least, which is the biggest reason I needed to speak with you tonight. Pansy Parkinson has been disowned by her father, and the marriage between her and Draco Malfoy will take place tomorrow morning."
Harry frowned. "I thought Mr. Parkinson--that doesn't make sense, sir."
"Petrus wanted control of the Malfoy holdings and Draco. Pansy seems to be of little consequence, but as Petrus made such a stink over the contract, Fudge and the court are pressing forward for the marriage after all of this. Draco and Petrus both stand lose the majority of their holdings and be forced to pay enormous fines, which will likely bankrupt Petrus and nearly bankrupt Draco if the marriage does not go forth--the contract was made public and brought to the attention of the Ministry. The Ministry is not at all pleased with dealing with trivialities, and see another possible route to get their hands on the Malfoy fortune. They were banking on that from Lucius' conviction, which of course didn't happen." Dumbledore shook his head somewhat exasperatedly. "Cornelius Fudge is more desperate to get his hands on property and galleons than to see any sort of justice or common sense applied to any situation."
Harry felt a bit sorry for the Slytherin girl. He couldn't stand Pansy and it wouldn't bother him a bit to never clap eyes on the girl again, but still, he wasn't heartless. She was stuck in this situation just so her father and Draco could keep their galleons. However, disbelief and unease over the Ministry's part in the situation outweighed his pity for the unpleasant Slytherin girl. That was simply outrageous. Not all that hard to believe after the Education mandates of the last school year, or some of the utter nonsense that had come out of the Ministry since Fudge had been forced to admit Voldemort was back, but still...
"We'll have the ceremony in the Great Hall--I'll leave it to you and the rest of the Apprentices to see to everything. It will be at ten in the morning, with a nice early lunch after the ceremony. I'll make sure to have time to speak with you afterwards."
The fire extinguished itself and left Harry staring dumbstruck at the fireplace. Dumbledore was off his rocker.
First things first. He threw the another bit of powder into the fireplace "Hogwarts kitchens!"
"Master Harry Potter, Sir?" One of the elves blinked at him from the flames.
"Hogwarts is hosting a wedding tomorrow. The bride and groom are both students. Slytherin, sixth years. Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson. Malfoy is one of the Apprentices. Plan for a feast for three hundred--if we've left-overs we can send it to Regis Isle for the clean-up and rebuilding crews there. Could you also have someone find the other Apprentices and send them to the Apprentice Common Room? Just tell them I need to discuss the conversation I had with Dumbledore. Err, not Seamus. He's with Professor Snape and Professor Lupin and they're not to be disturbed. Just Luna Lovegood, Millie Bulstrode, Neville Longbottom and Blaise Zabini. Oh, and please bring me a sandwich to the Apprentice's Common Room, and some tea?"
"Yes MasterHarryPotterSir. Binky being doing that right now MasterHarryPotterSir!"
"Thanks, uh, Binky."
Harry made his way down to the Apprentice's Common Room with Madame Pomfrey's potion and supplies list to sort out what they could possibly manage on their own while he waited for the others.
"This is a joke, right, Potter?" Blaise stared incredulously.
Neville began laughing, borderline hysterically. "Gran said the Apprentice Program was too good an opportunity, that I couldn't pass it up and would be able to do all sorts of things that I'd never dreamt of during the course of it. Planning Malfoy's wedding has to be the last thing on the planet I ever thought I was going to do."
"Poor Pansy and Vince," Millie murmured.
"Vince?" Luna frowned, confused. She was not all that familiar with the upper years of any House but Ravenclaw, unless they were on the Quidditch teams or spent a good amount of time in the library as she did.
"Vincent Crabbe," Blaise clarified. "Pansy and Vince sort of hooked up toward the end of last term..."
"If you tell me Malfoy's got a thing with Goyle I'm going to start screaming," Neville said, wild eyed.
"Neville ... do you need a calming potion?" Harry asked worriedly.
"I need a week of sleep and for this nightmare to be over," Neville shook his head. "Malfoy's wedding? Has Dumbledore completely lost it? Has the Ministry and the rest of the world?"
Harry snorted. "I'm beginning to think his sherbet lemons are laced with something. As for the Ministry, Fudge is in charge. What more needs to be said?"
"Sherbet lemons?" Millie frowned.
"Dumbledore has a thing for sherbet lemons. Whenever you're in his office first thing he does is to try to get you to take a sherbet lemon," Harry explained, then shook his head. "What is a wizard wedding like? What do we need? I've got house-elves working on a feast. I told them food for three hundred, I'm certain we won't need that much but it can go to the people working out on Regis Isle..."
"Merlin's beard! Potter, were you raised under a rock?" Blaise stared.
"No, I spent ten years in a muggle cupboard, Zabini!" Harry shot back, irritated. "I was raised by muggles! I live with muggles. If it isn't assigned in class or related to the latest death threat I haven't learnt it. I have no clue about wizard weddings!"
"What time is the wedding?" Millie interrupted. "And will Snape be there?"
"Snape won't be able to make it. Wedding's at ten tomorrow morning with lunch after," Harry sighed.
"What is up with Professor Snape? Is he all right?" Blaise wanted to know.
"He--" Harry sighed. "Can you just let that one go till Dumbledore gets back, Blaise?"
"He's our head of house." Millie frowned.
"I know." Harry nodded tiredly. "Just, please. He was hurt, I can't go into the details right now. Not without Snape's permission and Dumbledore's. He's being taken care of as best we can."
"Blaise, look at the mess we're trying to keep under control here. Some things are better just left. I already knew the situation. Seamus and Neville knew bits."
Blaise reluctantly let it drop. Millie glared a moment longer, then sighed her acquiescence.
"Oh, Neville, Dumbledore wanted to know how Karkaroff was."
"No bloody clue. You'll have to find Filch and ask him," was Neville's answer.
Harry groaned. "Can you four take care of the wedding plans? I need to go talk to Pomfrey and sort out what we're going to do about what she needs in the Hospital wing and then hunt down Filch and find out what he did with Karkaroff."
Harry was bleary-eyed and asleep on his feet when he returned to the Dungeons and Snape's chambers. Karkaroff was fuming but fine. When he'd heard of the attack on Regis Isle, he had been at least inclined to calm a bit, understanding the circumstances somewhat. At least the man understood that everything was out of sorts and no one meant him harm, they simply did not have time to deal with him. Until they did have time, he was their "guest." Karkaroff had snorted at that.
Filch had locked Karkaroff in a windowless room high in the unused southern tower of the castle. The small room was outfitted with a bed and a chair. A small toilet--with no more than stool and sink--was off the room. Karkaroff had been given a nightshirt and dressing gown, but not his own clothing, nor so much as a book to pass the time. Actually, as fond as Filch was of reminiscing about thumb screws and floggings, Harry was beyond relieved that Filch seemed to have decided on boring Karkaroff into revealing any nefarious plots.
Harry had promised to send a house-elf with a book and at least a change of clothing. No, he couldn't have his own clothing, as they had not been checked for spells or spelled pockets, and he was most definitely not getting his wand. Harry had reminded him that if he truly was trying to find asylum from Voldemort, he was at least in one piece and within Hogwarts walls. They were doing the best they could and Dumbledore would come talk with him with in the next few days, certainly no more than a week. He hadn't been forgotten, he had simply arrived in the midst of a bit of a crisis situation.
When Harry had left he'd heard Karkaroff muttering behind the closed door that at least he had rated Potter for the messenger boy. Harry snorted to himself, wondering what Karkaroff would think about that "honor" if he realized that six teenagers and a harried Mediwitch, who hadn't set foot out of the Hospital wing, were basically the whole sum of the keeping of Hogwarts at the moment. (Well, Filch, who as a squib was not able to use magic, was about. And Hagrid, who was not allowed to use magic, was guarding the apparition point.)
Madame Pomfrey had gone from irritated to clucking with worry when he explained that she was on her own as far as potions brewing and Snape's condition, though not the exact causes of it. The woman had been amazed that Severus had allowed anyone to tend him. No matter what condition he landed in, he stubbornly would refuse any and all help. She could just throttle that man sometimes, but as he was a Potions Master and seemed to still be in one piece, there wasn't much she could do.
"Harry?" Seamus frowned, rousing from where he was sleeping in a chair. "Shoulda just stayed up in the tower, mate."
Harry shook his head wordlessly. He wouldn't get any sleep in the tower --he'd end up planning Malfoy's wedding. He cast a large cushioning charm on the floor and laid down. "This is more comfortable than that damn chair," Harry whispered, casting a worried look to the bed where Snape and Remus were sleeping. Snape stirred and moaned a bit as he bumped his hand, but didn't wake.
Seamus didn't have to be told twice. "Budge over, then."
<< Back | Story Index | Next Chapter >>
Back to Top | Stories by Author | Stories by Title | Main Page