The Many Faces Go To War 8

“The Many Faces Go To War: Chapter 8”
By = Fayanora

Chapter Eight: Defiance

Notes: Started putting dates on these chapters where possible, it helps me keep track of where I am in the story. (Something I figured out when writing my original fiction.) Dates are provided by HP Lexicon's Order of the Phoenix calendar.

FORMATTING FOR INTERNAL VOICES = Because the previous note about the styles was messing with the formatting, the following will be formatting for internal voices: 'Single quotes with no italics' will be Adira/Addy unless someone is quoting something, ~Text in tildes~ will be Chandra, (Parentheses for Al,) [Brackets will be Hypatia], % Percentage symbols for Iliana %, # Pound signs for Mother/Avani, # * Asterisks for Zoey, * and {curly brackets for Tier.} Apologies for any confusion this may cause.

Text in 'Italics and single quotes' is Parseltongue.

J. K. Rowling owns this sandbox, I'm only playing in it.

This chapter may contain some quotations from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

*FAYANORA*

(Okay, this one's a bit of a roller coaster, starts off with Umbridge being really horrible, but gets better and fun about halfway through, I promise.)

September 12th, 1995

After Adira woke up, she let Iliana write a note for Luna and slipped it into Luna's hand at the Ravenclaw table on the pretense of coming over for a good-morning hug. She would've tried a kiss, but Umbridge was already glaring at them for daring to hug each other in public, so she pulled away before Umbridge could get up to tell them off.

The note she'd given Luna looked like a simple love note to anyone who looked at it, but she'd found out from Fred and George that password protecting a note was an easy spell, and they'd even found her one that didn't look any different if someone tried reading it over someone else's shoulder. So Iliana had put her real message – a more detailed explanation of how she got away last night without being caught a second time – behind a password, the default message slyly hinting at the password, which was 'Xenophilius.'

Having delivered Iliana's note, Adira went back to the Griffindor table for breakfast.

If she'd been hoping for an Umbridge-free day, that hope was dashed when she saw Umbridge sitting in the corner during Defense Against the Dark Arts. When Sirius was the last person to show up, she wrote a note down on her clipboard. Sirius looked at her like she was a fresh dog turd on the sidewalk that he'd almost stepped on, but then turned away, determined to ignore her.

“Right. So today we'll be working on the Stunning Spell, as that's another useful spell. Even better than Expelliarmus, because even if you take their wand away, they might have a dagger or sword or something else to use against you. Some wizards or witches can even do wandless magic,” he added, looking proudly at Adira. “So making sure your enemy is unable to cast, due to being knocked--”

“Hem hem,” Umbridge said.

Ignoring her, Sirius said through clenched teeth, “--out.” He unclenched his teeth and said, “If your enemy is knocked out, they can't hurt you unless one of their buddies uses the counter-charm to wake them up, or the spell wears off. When I was fighting the first war against Vol—er, You-Know-Who, I liked to use the spell combo of Expelliarmus, Incarcerous, Stupefy. 'Stupefy' is, of course, the incantation for the Stunning Spell. That combo disarms your opponent, ties them up, and knocks them out so they can't apparate away or activate their animagus form if they have one.”

“Hem hem,” Umbridge repeated.

Without speaking, Sirius tossed something at her. She caught it. It was a bag of Muggle cough drops. She tossed it aside and said again, “HEM HEM!”

“Miss Patil, if you could close the window please, I think it's letting some foul-smelling hot air into the room,” Sirius said.

There was some scattered laughter at this, but not a lot, because Umbridge could still mete out punishments.

“Professor Black, did you receive my note about the time and date of your inspection?”

Finally he turned to face her. “It was kind of hard to miss. Any pinker and it would be ultraviolet.”

He laughed at his own joke with his bark-like laugh. Hermione and Adira also laughed, but nobody else got the joke.

Umbridge wrote on her clipboard, reading aloud what she was writing as she did. “Doesn't give clear answers to questions posed of him.”

“I was quite clear,” he said through gritted teeth, his hands balled into fists. “If I knew it was pink, I clearly read it, or can't you read between the lines of what people are saying?”

Writing again, she said, “Exhibits hostility... when given constructive criticism.”

The anger in Adira began bubbling again. Torturing students, telling lies as facts, and now trying to get her godfather fired? Al's anger rose highest of them all, and she gripped the desk tightly as she tried to control herself.

The windows began to rattle, and Sirius looked around for the source. Upon seeing the look of fury she was giving Umbridge, he mouthed 'Settle down' at Adira. She tried focusing on her breathing, to calm down. She imagined Umbridge hanging from her feet and being used as a piñata as Adira hit her repeatedly with a metal baseball bat, and felt herself calm down.

Turning to Umbridge, Sirius said in a manner Adira had only seen from some purebloods in Slytherin and Ravenclaw, “Please excuse my rudeness, Professor Umbridge, I think perhaps I had something to eat that has given me heartburn, and therefore I am a little grumpy. My sincerest apologies, Professor.”

Umbridge considered him with a sour look on her face. But she didn't seem to be able to find any sign of sarcasm in his tone, so she nodded.

“Apology accepted, Professor Black.”

“Thank you for your generosity of spirit, Professor Umbridge,” Sirius responded.

“Before you continue, Professor Black, just one teensy suggestion, if I may?”

His face twitched with irritation, but he was still 'pureblood polite' when he answered her. “But of course, Professor Umbridge.”

“I just wonder why you are teaching your students to fear attack, when they are safely tucked away in school, where nothing can harm them?”

Sirius's eyes widened, like he couldn't believe what he was hearing. Adira also sensed he was unsure how to answer. Well, unsure how to answer in a way that wouldn't make matters worse for himself.

“Whadda ya mean we're safe in school?” Seamus Finnegan blurted out. “Do yeh not remember the troll in the dungeon in our first year? Or how 'bout the Heir of Slytherin attacking Muggle-borns in our second year? Then we all thought there was a mad murderer loose in our third year, and there were dragons and stuff in our fourth year, yeh can't tell me that was safe, no matter how many precautions were taken!”

“Your hand is not up, Mr. Finnegan! Ten points from Griffindor.”

“Hey--- I mean... pardon me, Professor Umbridge, but I'm the teacher here now, I give out or take away points!”

“I am the Hogwarts High Inquisitor, Professor Black. I outrank you. The point deduction stands.”

“He's right, though,” Parvati Patil said. “We've been in danger every year in this school since we got here! And even if we weren't, there's still dark wizards out in the world!”

“Your hand was not up, Miss Patil. Another ten points from Griffindor. But to address your point, since we cannot have such ridiculous nonsense go un-addressed, there are no dark wizards out in the world to harm you, children. You are safe here in these walls. I know in the past there may have been mistakes, but the Ministry is now here to correct those mistakes. We have already dealt with one such danger, by removing the dangerous half-breed Remus Lupin from--”

“Moony is human, you horrible woman,” Sirius snapped. “Lupin, I mean. He's got a sickness, but he's only dangerous once a month and he was taking Wolfsbane Potion and locking himself in a cage during the full moon! There was no chance in Hell of him being a danger to anyone!”

Writing on her clipboard, Umbridge said, “Insults his coworkers... when riled. Uses foul language... in front of children. Argues in favor... of letting dangerous beasts... roam the school unchecked.”

“OUT! Get out of my classroom NOW!”

“Has a violent temper,” she said, writing again. “Cannot have... a polite discussion... if there is a disagreement, and screams... in lieu of arguing his case.”

CRACK! Everyone jumped as the windows all broke down the middle. The room was shaking again, and Adira was gripping the desk so hard it was splintering in her hands. Sirius, panic in his face, said, “Adira, maybe you should go cool off.” He aimed his wand at the first broken window and said, “Reparo.”

“Is aware... of his godson's dangerous temper... and does nothing... to protect the other students... from his wrath.”

The windows Sirius hadn't gotten around to repairing shattered. Sirius stopped them from raining glass on people with a wave of his wand.

“ADDY, GO NOW!”

“Does not... punish... his godson's... misbehavior.”

“Get a grip on yourself, Addy,” Hermione said, getting her own grip on Adira's arm.

“Reparo,” Sirius said, repairing all the windows at once by overpowering the spell. “Duro.”

“Oh Mr. Potter? Before you go to 'cool off,' you have another detention with me tonight before dinner. And let's see, for damaging school property, let's make it another week's detention. And for the Saturday detention, I will expect you in my office at 8 am sharp. You may go now.”

She was grinning maliciously at Adira, and was chuckling as Adira stormed out.

As she stormed through the hallways, intending to go to the Room of Requirement and blast some effigies of Umbridge into dust, the walls shook and the windows rattled. Then Peeves appeared.

“What's shaking, Potty wee Potter? Oooh, it's you!”

“Get off it, Peeves!”

“Oooh, crackpot's feeling cranky!”

She shot a 'langlock' at him, but he ducked.

“Oh Potty wee Potter, she rattles the walls,
The doors and the windows, and the floors in the halls!
The glass it cracks and falls to the floor,
Who knows when ol' Hoggywarts can't take no more?

“Will she swallow it up through a crack in the ground?
Will there be something left but a small earthen mound?
Will we have time to scream, and run for our lives?
Will Dolly Umbitch be attacked by bee hives?”

Adira reached out with her wandless magic and grabbed Peeves with it, shoving him roughly into a keyhole with it precisely as Professor McGonagall came out of her office.

“Please stop rattling the castle, Miss Potter!”

Forcing herself to calm down until the rattling subsided, she said, “Sorry, Professor McGonagall. We lost control again. She's trying to get Sirius sacked!”

McGonagall looked around, then cast privacy spells around the two of them.

“I see. And did she give you more detentions?”

“I... yes, Professor.”

“I seem to recall telling you I would take away the team captaincy from you if that happened again.”

She sighed. “Yes, we remember that too.”

“Well I suppose I should be more careful what I say in the future, Miss Potter.”

“What? What do you mean?”

“I mean none of the other players with the experience to be team captain are really temperamentally suited to the job, nor prepared. And I was suitably impressed by the fact you have reserve players for all positions, including a Deputy Captain, and I was further impressed by that practice schedule you drew up. Also, it would irritate Professor Umbridge to not punish you further, so I will not be demoting you today. But I warn you lot: get a hold of your tempers, because next time I will not be so generous. I will be ensuring that your deputy Captain is properly trained and prepared to take over for you the next time you lose your temper with Professor Umbridge. Do you understand?”

“Yes, we understand. We'll try to be good.”

“See that you do. Oh, and 50 points from Griffindor for letting your temper get away from you.”

Adira wanted to protest, but that was fair. They'd nearly gotten someone seriously injured, after all. She didn't know if McGonagall knew that, but she wasn't about to tell her in case she didn't.

“Now, Miss Potter, since it is unsafe for you to be around Professor Umbridge at this time, go to Madam Pomfrey for a Calming Draught.”

“Yes, Professor McGonagall, that sounds like a good idea.”

McGonagall dismissed her, and she turned to go to the hospital wing.

~
September 12th and 13th, 1995

That night, Adira dreamed of a long dark hallway with a locked door at the end of it. When she woke up, she found herself reaching out to grasp a doorknob that wasn't there.

“I wonder what that was about?” she asked herself aloud. There was no answer, so she got up out of bed.

Before breakfast, she went to Sirius's room behind Godric Griffindor's portrait and told Godric the password. She hoped her godfather wasn't undressed in there, and was relieved to find he wasn't walking around the place in the buff. Adira had to look for him in several different rooms before finding him in his bedroom, having just finished dressing.

“HOLY-- Adira? I didn't hear you come in. You do know there's a doorbell right next to the portrait, right?”

“Er, sorry. I guess I do now.”

“Right. Well what's wrong, pup? You look upset.”

She wanted to tell him that she and Cedric had another detention with Umbridge the night before, where they'd watched as Umbridge tortured Luna with the blood quill. But of course, she couldn't do that.

“I had a dream about walking down a long, dark corridor ending in a locked room. I was frustrated by the locked door in the dream.”

“Um... okay. And?”

“And it seemed weird. Like I wasn't me. Which, now I say that aloud, makes it more suspicious. I think my Occlumency failed last night. It would make sense, given I had another detention last night.”

“Yes, that makes sense. Do you think it's Voldemort? That you were seeing through his eyes?”

“If we're a horcrux of his, and that's the reason for the mental connection, then... wait a minute... do horcruxes normally have mental connections to one another?”

“I dunno, pup. A bit out of my league, that one. I'll ask Dumbledore about it. You reckon I should tell him about the dream?”

“Yeah, I think so.” She paused a moment, then asked, “Do you think it was the Department of Mysteries? I've never been there, but if he's obsessed with the prophecy, it would make sense he was thinking about the place. Or reading the mind of someone who'd been there.”

“I don't know either, but that makes too much sense to ignore. I'll tell Dumbledore about it. Do you know how to take a memory out of your head for a Pensieve?”

“Hypatia does,” she said. She lifted her wand to her temple. Hypatia did the incantation nonverbally, and they pulled the memory of the dream out as a gossamer fine thread of glowing mist, putting it into the phial Sirius handed her, and giving it to him.

“Thanks. If it's the place, Dumbledore will recognize it. I think it's on the way to one of the old courtrooms they used to use for trials during the war. Naturally, I never saw the place because I never got a trial. Not even after the fact! Peter got one, but Fudge just pardoned me without my own trial. Not that I'm complaining about being pardoned, mind you.”

“Right. Well... I don't really feel like seeing the old toad again this morning, Sirius. Can we get the elves to bring us breakfast here today?”

“Sure thing, pup. I feel the same way. Dobby!”

Dobby popped into place in front of them. “Yes, Professor Black Sir?”

“Adira and I are having breakfast in here, if you'd consent to serve us here.”

Dobby nodded excitedly. “Of course, Sir and Miss, Dobby will be getting you breakfast. Is you wanting anything special?”

“Just some of whatever everyone else is having, Dobby,” Adira said.

“And a plate of waffles for me, Dobby,” Sirius said. “Er, in addition to what Adira said, not a substitution.”

“Of course, Sir and Miss! Dobby will be back soon!”

Adira and Sirius went into the dining room and sat down, where they began to talk about this and that while they waited for Dobby. A few minutes later, he and another two elves appeared with small pops. Dobby set down a plate with half a dozen waffles to one side while the other two elves placed large plates in front of Addy and Sirius, each plate full with eggs, sausage, bacon, toast, a plate of butter, and several jams. Dobby then snapped his fingers, and a large jug of orange juice appeared. Another snap, and a pot of real maple syrup appeared.

“Thank you, Dobby. And thank you two as well,” Adira said to the other two elves. “Um... what are your names?”

“I is Bipsy,” said a female elf. “And he is being Tipsy.”

“Well then, lay off the butterbeer in that case,” Sirius said, laughing at his own joke.

The elf rolled his eyes. “Tipsy is never hearing that joke before, Sir, no, not even once... today.”

The elves all bowed and Disapparated.

“A sarcastic elf. Who knew?” Sirius said, shrugging, before digging into his food.

~
September 13th, 1995

Later that day, Adira found herself blacking out for the first time ever. She found herself outside of the Fat Lady's portrait, but the last she'd remembered, she'd been in the library. She checked her watch and found her break was almost over.

'Anyone know why we blacked out?'

[Yes,] Hypatia said. [I borrowed the body for a bit, but didn't want you knowing what I was doing. It's a surprise. I would've done it last night when you were asleep, but these detentions make that impossible. Hence, blackout.]

'Well it's disconcerting. Can you not do that?'

[Are you saying you'd rather be given false memories?]

'I... um... yes, actually.'

[Duly noted,] she said. [Now you should hurry before you're late to class.]

~
September 13th , 14th, and 15th, 1995

Detention with Umbridge on Friday and Saturday was grueling. They weren't allowed dinner on Friday night or breakfast on Saturday. Adira sent Luna some sandwiches at 1 in the morning on Friday via Dobby. Thankfully, they were allowed lunch, because they were all suitably downtrodden by then, and they ate without even knowing what any of it was, which was probably for the best, since it all tasted like cardboard to them after getting maybe five hours of sleep between two hours-long torture sessions in Umbridge's office. Adira and the others sharing her body had thought the black quill was torture enough, but watching Luna go through that was far worse for them. Cedric probably would have agreed if she'd had the energy to ask him.

After lunch, Umbridge put them through another three hours of her detentions before finally letting them go after Luna's hand ceased healing. Adira didn't know where Cedric went after that, but Iliana spent the rest of the afternoon letting Luna cry into her shoulder, feeling too beaten down to cry herself. If the Dursleys had been half as good at abusing children as Umbridge was, Adira thought they'd probably have become one of the stereotypical multiples with regular blackouts and being unaware of one another. Not that she believed multiplicity was caused by childhood trauma – if it was, there'd have been probably a billion people with the condition living in the world right now – but she did believe childhood trauma could make multiplicity worse. Mainly because if this kept up much longer, she'd probably tell Hypatia to put a construct in her place so they wouldn't have to watch Luna being tortured anymore.

On Sunday, Adira woke up to find the room was far brighter than it should be. She quickly put her glasses on and checked her watch, and discovered it was almost noon. She was late for her detention!

[Calm down, you're not. You're in your detention right now. So are Luna and Cedric. After a fashion.]

'What do you mean, Hypatia?'

[This is that surprise I mentioned. Well, okay, this is actually a different surprise than the one I mentioned, but I'm giving you this one first because it was strangely easier than the other one. Still haven't worked the kinks out of that one, but---]

'HYPATIA!'

[Alright, alright. So look over there.]

Adira looked at her desk, which had books about Transfiguration on it, as well as a book called “Runic Magic for Use With Transfiguration” by Kavi Rishi. There were also copious notes in Hypatia's handwriting, and an annotated drawing of a human-looking figure looking like a modern interpretation of the vitruvian man. Her attention then turned to the chair by the desk, which had wood carving tools and scraps of wood on it.

“What is all this?” Adira asked, too confused to realize she'd spoken aloud.

[Do you remember that giant chess set McGonagall made in our first year?]

“Yes.”

[And that time Zoey made a thing that kind of looked like Molly Weasley, but fell apart very quickly and had to be controlled the entire time?]

“Yes! What about it?”

[Well it's possible to make even more realistic moving figures like that. Same concept as when McGonagall turned her desk into a pig, just a lot more complicated because humans are the result of evolution getting drunk as a skunk and then getting high on weed. By all rights, the fact we can walk upright the way we do is just plain weird. Point is, transfigured things that look like humans are very difficult to make. It takes a lot of power and control. Dumbledore could do it, Voldemort probably could too. Us, not so much. So I had to cheat a little. Well, no, I had to cheat a LOT.]

“Are you going to approach a point anytime soon?”

[My point is that with some runes, a couple small rituals – one of which involved sacrificing a small bit of basilisk venom, and a little wishful thinking, I made three very lifelike figures to replace you, Luna, and Cedric for the duration of your detentions. They even bleed! The blood wouldn't stand up to close scrutiny, and might even dissolve the parchment after a few days if she doesn't just Vanish them when we're done with them, and I had to put in runes so I could control the figures remotely because otherwise they'd be so stupid they wouldn't fool anybody, but... yeah. No more detentions for the week.]

Adira felt like she had to pick her jaw off the floor, at that.

“What the... that's incredible! How'd you even think of that?”

[Just thought, back during the first set of detentions, 'Too bad I can't do like Zoey did that one time and trick Umbridge into thinking we're there when we're not. Or can I?' I thought of it the third day of the first set of detentions, and it took me that long to figure out how to do it, but I did it. Oh, and if you open the library compartment of the trunk, don't scream. I made another figure that looks like me, so I could stop making excuses to Draco for why I'm never around anymore. I stored it in the trunk.]

“Holy crap! Fred and George would probably pay us back all the gold Al gave them in exchange for the knowledge of how to do that!”

[If you even mention these figures to them, I will modify Iliana's figure to look like you and make it run naked through the Great Hall.]

“Alright, alright! I won't tell them. But what if they see one of the figures and figure out it doesn't show up on the Map?”

[I'll burn that bridge when we get to it. After all, they had that Map for how many years without realizing Scabbers wasn't a real rat? For now, I should tell you about the catch.]

“A catch? Oh, right. Of course there's a catch. What's the catch?”

[The catch is you three have to remain out of sight when those figures are out. Oh and by the way, I sort of kidnapped Cedric and Luna and put them in the Room of Requirement. They're still out cold. Used a new spell I invented over the summer on them. Don't worry, I tested it out on animals and the Weasley twins once we got our magic back, so I know the spell is safe.]

'What spell is that?' Adira finally said in her head instead of aloud.

[It's a type of stunning spell that doesn't wear off on its own. It has to be undone either with the specific counter-charm it's paired with, or cracked by a curse-breaker. I call it the Sleeping Beauty Spell. The incantation is 'Altum somnum.' The counter-charm is 'Princeps venustus.'] She sent Adira the wand movement for the spell, which looked like tracing out a stylized apple. The counter-charm's wand movement resembled stylized human lips.

'So we need to go into the Room of Requirement, explain all this to Cedric and Luna without them hexing us, and wait in there until the figures find us in the Room of Requirement? Then you, what, shrink them down and put them in your pocket?'

[Yes, that's it exactly.]

'Right. Well okay, here goes.'

Adira packed the books and information away in her trunk in case anyone came in when she wasn't here, put the Marauder's Map in her pocket, then she called Dobby and had him transport her to the Room of Requirement, where she found two beds. Cedric was sleeping on one, Luna on the other.

“Princeps venustus,” she cast on Luna first. But it didn't do anything.

[Oh, sorry. Both spells are nonverbal only.]

Sighing, Adira tried again, casting nonverbally. This time, it worked.

Luna opened her eyes, yawned, then seemed to notice her surroundings. She bolted upright, her wand out and trained on Adira. Addy put her own hands up defensively, an effect slightly ruined by the fact she still had her wand in one hand.

“What did the Potters say to me the first time they met me?” she asked.

“Um... you said 'You're Iliana Potter,' and Iliana said 'Uh... yeah I am. Sorry I didn't introduce myself. Who're you?'”

“Good memory,” Luna said, lowering her wand. “But the correct answer was 'Um, hi. Is it okay if we sit here?'”

“Oh. Er, right. Sorry. You still think it's really us?”

“Well... just to be sure, Chandra should say something.”

“Okay.” She paused a moment, listening to him in her head, then said, “Um... he says 'The moon is far brighter than most give her credit for, but she will find herself outshone ere the afternoon has expired.'”

“Interesting. Yes, that sounds like Chandra. But what does he mean?”

Suddenly, Adira was replaced by Iliana, who hugged Luna.

“Oh hello, Iliana.”

“Hi, Luna. Um... to answer your question, well... this is a little complicated.”

Luna sat attentively on the bed, listening to Iliana's explanation of what Hypatia had done, Iliana pacing back and forth during the explanation. When Iliana stopped talking, Luna cocked her head.

“Impressive. But how will we eat?”

“Simple. Dobby!”

Dobby returned, having brought breakfast for three people with him, anticipating their needs. Two of the trays were balanced precariously on the first tray, but he managed it. The Room provided a dining table, and he set the trays down on it.

“Thank you, Dobby. Um... you should probably stay for a few moments. Cedric might be grumpy when he wakes up.”

That was an understatement. Upon finding himself somewhere unfamiliar, he bolted upright and sent a hex at Iliana that she barely managed to avoid in time. Dobby snapped his fingers, and Cedric's wand flew into Iliana's hand. He snapped them again, and Cedric was restrained by an invisible force.

“Cedric. Al told you about the dragons before the First Task because it was fair. And I think the first time any of us said anything to you was when I told you about the Impervious Charm that time it was raining so much I thought we'd have to build an ark.”

At these words, Cedric stopped resisting the restraints.

“Alright, so it's really you. What about Luna?”

“You really should let Daddy check you for franzles, Cedric. They make it difficult for people to know who to trust. If you have an infestation of them, Daddy makes a lovely gurdyroot tea that will clear them right up.”

“Er, hi Luna,” Cedric said. “Someone want to tell me what's going on?”

Iliana thought about letting Luna explain it, but then realized Cedric might not understand any of Luna's explanations, so she did it instead. When she was done, Cedric's jaw had dropped.

“You made a realistic human figure that can pass as human, operates semi-independently, and it even bleeds realistically? Do you have any idea what you could do with that? It'd be basically a human-shaped decoy! Send it out in a battle situation, and it would take any curses for you!”

“Er, yeah. That'd be Hypatia's doing.”

“Who? Oh wait, do you mean the person you mentioned who made that giant Patronus possible?”

“Yes, that was her.”

“Oh. Cool. So she made those figures?”

“Yes. She's making some new spells, too. Um... like the spell I knocked you out with. It doesn't respond to 'Rennervate.' It has its own counter-charm. And, uh, it's nonverbal only. So is the counter-charm.”

“Wow! You know, that would solve a major problem in wizard battles. Use a regular stunner, and anyone can wake them back up again, including their allies. Hit someone with that, though, and only people who know the counter-charm can undo it! How long does it last?”

“According to Hypatia, it lasts indefinitely if used on a witch or wizard. It feeds off the person's own magic to power itself, so that means it's got a drawback that it doesn't work that way on Muggles. On Muggles, it wears off in the same amount of time as a normal Stunner. But it still can't be lifted before that without the specific counter-charm.”

“Well can we see it in action?”

“Oh. Sure. Why not?”

The Room provided her an effigy of Umbridge that was far too realistic for her taste. She pointed her wand at it.

'Altum somnum!' she cast nonverbally. A red light shot from her wand and struck the effigy.

“Wow. You even got it to look and behave like a regular Stunner. Ha! The enemy wouldn't even know their comrade had been hit by anything but a normal Stunner, until they tried to use 'Rennervate' on them! Brilliant!”

“Yeah. And both the incantation for the spell and for the counter-charm are nonverbal only, so the enemy wouldn't know how to counter it even if they saw someone using the counter right in front of them.”

“Amazing,” Luna said. “But I'm ready to eat now.”

“Right, I'm starving too. But I should shower first,” Cedric said.

The Room, of course, provided. Before too long, they had all showered, changed in private stalls, and then were together at the table eating breakfast—well, brunch really. Then once they'd eaten, Iliana taught the new spell to Cedric and Luna both, and they spent some time practicing it.

“Wow. I don't suppose you have anything else you'd be willing to share?”

'What do you say, Hypatia?'

[Oh... let me think... hmm... I suppose it couldn't hurt to teach you and your friends the Exploding Head Curse. No, it doesn't actually make their head explode. Perhaps I should rename it. What it does is it makes a person hallucinate a very loud noise that fades in about ten minutes unless you lift it sooner.] She sent Iliana the details.

“Um... I don't have a good name for this one yet, but I have one that makes the victim hallucinate a loud noise.”

“Okay,” Cedric said. “You can try it on me.”

Iliana decided to practice on the effigy first. When nothing seemed to happen to it, then she tried it on Cedric.

“Allucinatus tumultum!”

Cedric went down at once, clutching his ears to try to protect them from a sound that was entirely in his head. The only sound the two girls heard, though, was his screams.

“Tumultum quietus!”

Cedric collapsed with relief. “Oh crap, I'd say that one's pretty damned effective in battle.”

Iliana cocked her head again, listening to Hypatia. When she was done, she said, “We have another one that's kinder but also effective. Stops a person from being able to cast a spell. I call it the Singing Spell.” She aimed at Luna and said, “Cantabo 'Greensleeves'!”

Luna's eyes widened as she found herself starting to sing at the spell's compulsion:

“'Alas my love you do me wrong
To cast me off discourteously;
And I have loved you oh so long
Delighting in your company.

“Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves my heart of gold
Greensleeves was my heart of joy
And who but my Lady Greensleeves.

“I have been ready at your hand
To grant whatever thou would'st crave;
I have waged both life and land
Your love and goodwill for to have.

“Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves my heart of gold
Greensleeves was my heart of joy
And who but my Lady Greensleeves.'”

“Normalis loquela.”

“You stopped me before I finished,” Luna said, disappointed.

“Yes, well, I had to make sure the counter-charm worked. But I let you carry on past the second stanza because your singing voice is lovely, Luna.”

“I agree,” Cedric said. “I wanted to hear more.”

“Hmm... Iliana, how does that spell work? I mean... does it only work if the person knows the song, or do you have to provide the lyrics for them when you cast it?”

“That's... I don't know. Let's find out. Cantabo 'Monster Mash'!” she cast at Cedric. Nothing happened. So she cast it again, keeping the lyrics in her mind as she did, which made it harder to cast. He glared at her as he sang:

"'I was working in the lab late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For my monster from his slab began to rise
And suddenly to my surprise

“'He did the mash! He did the monster mash
He did the mash! It was a graveyard smash
He did the mash! It caught on in a flash
He did the mash! He did the monster mash!'"

Luna and Iliana were both laughing so hard at this that Iliana couldn't get the counter-charm out, and Cedric didn't stop singing until the song was over. Glaring at Iliana, he cast “Cantabo '99 Bottles of Butterbeer on the Wall'!”

“Ninety-nine Bottles of Butterbeer on the Wall,
Ninety-nine Bottles of Butterbeer!
Take one down, pass it around,
Ninety-eight Bottles of Butterbeer on the Wall!”

Cedric crossed his arms and let her sing down to “89 bottles of butterbeer on the wall” before lifting the spell. By this point, Luna was laughing so hard she was on the floor in a ball, wheezing while still laughing. Since they couldn't take her to the hospital wing, Iliana Stunned her with the regular Stunning Spell instead, 'rennervating' her a minute later. But a few seconds later, she went back to laughing fit to burst.

[I have another one for you.] Hypatia sent her the details.

“Et cessabit,” Iliana cast at Luna.

Luna glowed blue a moment, then slowly began to stop laughing. Finally, she calmed down enough to sit up and wipe the tears of mirth from her eyes.

“A calming charm? Wow, Iliana! You should show Flitwick that one.”

“Really?”

“Yes really!”

“Oh. Well okay then, I think I will. Later, though. During class, I think. Are you feeling better, Luna?”

“Oh yes, quite well thank you.”

(OH MY GODS!) Al thought loudly. (I just had a brilliant idea for later! Cast that Singing Spell on Snape!)

% Ha! But no, I think I'll let Fred and George do that. They'd love it. %

(Just make sure to tell them to do it somewhere Sirius can see it happen.)

“What's so funny now, Iliana?”

“Al just suggested casting the Singing Spell on Snape!”

“Ooh, better give that one to the Weasley twins. They're better at avoiding getting into trouble. And they're clever enough to have come up with it themselves.”

“Agreed.”

“By the way,” Cedric said, “I gather the caster of the Singing Spell has to know the lyrics? Because I've certainly never heard that 'Monster Mash' song before.”

“Actually, it can work either by the caster providing the lyrics, or the victim knowing them already. But if the caster has to provide the lyrics, it's a lot harder to cast. When I hit Luna with it, she already knew the lyrics.”

Luna nodded at this. “It's one of my favorite songs. I also like 'Scarborough Fair.'”

“Oh Luna, will you sing it for us? I really do love your singing voice, it's beautiful.”

Luna blushed. “Well okay then.”

Cedric and Iliana sat down in seats provided by the Room. Luna stood by one of the beds, cleared her throat, then began to sing:

“Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme;
Remember me to one who lives there,
For she was once a true love of mine.

“Tell her to make me a cambric shirt,
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme;
Without any seam or needlework,
Then she shall be a true love of mine...”

She kept going, finishing the whole song. When she was done, her audience of two applauded. Then, with their encouragement, she sang some Irish songs, like “Arthur McBride,” “Foggy Dew,” “I'm a Rover Seldom Sober,” and “Danny Boy.” That last one moved the two of them to tears, so Luna finished off with “The Little Beggarman.”

Luna was trying to decide if she wanted to do another song when the door opened up and... Luna, Cedric, and Iliana all walked in. Cedric jumped up and lifted his wand at them as the door closed behind them.

“Iliana, are these our doubles?”

“Yes. And uh, they weren't followed. Thank goodness for that.”

The three figures, which looked identical to the three humans except that they were disheveled, Luna's figure was bleeding from its right hand, and all three of the figures looked like they'd been ugly crying for hours. These constructs all sat down on the floor and leaned against the wall like marionettes with their strings cut. Iliana went over to them, shrunk them to the size of action figures, and put them in her pockets.

Cedric eyed her pockets warily. “That was unnerving,” he said. “They look just like us. It was like somebody with Polyjuice Potion was standing there. Maybe you shouldn't tell anybody how to make those things. They'd be really easy to abuse.”

“Yeah, I agree,” Iliana said at the same time as Luna. The two girls laughed at their sudden stereo speech.

“Anyway, yeah, I'm locking any information about these things away somewhere safe, and putting every kind of concealment and secrecy spell on the information that I can find.”

“Hey, Iliana? Would I be able to meet Hypatia? She saved our lives, but I've never seen her before.”

“I would also like to meet her,” Luna said.

“Okay... but she's still a secret. The reason why is that she's friends with Draco Malfoy, and she's scared he'll reject her if he finds out who she really is.”

“Malfoy? Really? But you and he hate each--- oh. Yeah, I can see why that would be a fear she'd have. So can we meet her?”

Iliana nodded. “Just one thing first, though. She uh... she has a weird affect. She laughs when she's sad and cries when she's happy.”

“Oh. Okay,” Cedric said.

“Fascinating,” said Luna. “I've heard stories about the Fair Folk having issues like that.”

Iliana closed her eyes, letting her and Hypatia switch places. Before their eyes, Iliana's skin turned brown, her hair white and formed into dreadlocks, and she had squarish spectacles on her face. When she opened her eyes, they were amber.

“Hello, Hypatia,” Cedric said. “Thanks for saving my life last June.”

“You're welcome,” she said. Then she turned to Luna, examining her like she was looking at a specimen under a microscope.

“Hello, Hypatia. I'm Luna Lovegood.”

Luna held out her hand. Hypatia looked at it, suddenly feeling nervous as she felt the full impact of this form kick in. She took Luna's hand and shook it.

“Hello, Luna. It's... good to meet you.”

“Yes, I imagine it is, since you only have the one friend,” she said.

Hypatia tensed up, glaring at Luna. Luna ignored this and sighed wistfully. “I remember what it felt like to have no friends. I'm glad I have some now. Iliana and the other Potters, Ginny, and Hermione. Not Ron yet, but he's an acquaintance. I'm much too weird to him for us to be friends yet. Funny, really, since he's friends with your group. You all are weirder than I am. Anyway, would you like to be friends with me?”

At Luna's words, Hypatia relaxed, and smiled. “I'd like to try for that, at least. You're right that Draco is my only friend.”

“And I could be a friend, too, Hypatia,” Cedric said.

“It's a possibility. But we'd have to get to know each other better, all three of us, before that happened. Knowing the other Potters isn't the same as knowing me.”

The two of them nodded.

Hypatia looked at the time, and then pulled the Marauder's Map out of her pocket and looked at it for several moments.

“It's almost dinner. Cedric, Umbitch is in her quarters. It should be safe for you to leave now.”

“Cool, thanks. By the way, before I go, I have to say I had a lot of fun today, with Iliana and Luna. And it was nice meeting you, Hypatia.”

“Iliana also had fun,” Hypatia said.

“It was lovely,” Luna agreed.

“Yes. I'm going to go now,” Hypatia said.

“Bye! I hope I see you later,” Luna said.

“Me too,” agreed Cedric.

Hypatia nodded, and switched places with Iliana, their form becoming the redhead again.

Iliana looked at her watch and said, “I think we should all wait another fifteen minutes, then go down to dinner. That'll give us time to 'clean up' after we were all supposedly crying earlier. Just remember to try to look despondent. Umbridge never takes her meals in her quarters.”

“Right. Well, guess I'll see you two tomorrow. Um... unless she wants us back after dinner?”

“No, she doesn't. I would have mentioned it if she did.”

“Good. Well, tomorrow. Um... how should we get here so we're not seen?”

“Dobby and I will take care of it again. Just try to be up by 7:30 in the morning.”

“Ugh. Okay. Thanks again, Iliana, Hypatia.”

They waited, then Iliana sent Cedric ahead so they weren't all traveling together at once. Once he was a ways down the corridor, she and Luna started off towards the Great Hall too.

“I think I want to sit next to you at the Griffindor table, Iliana. I think it's what I'd want if I'd been going through a lot of stress like that. I'd want to be close to you, after being apart from you for so many hours.”

“Okay. But be careful, Umbridge hates public displays of affection.”

“Yes. But then after dinner, we should go back to the Room and cuddle. Spending time with you and Cedric was fun, but I would have preferred to cuddle you instead.”

“I like the way you think, Luna. Yes, Room of Requirement again it is.”

~

The next week went by much faster, though all the forced time with Cedric annoyed Iliana because he was unintentionally in the way of potential alone time with her girlfriend. Still, she refused to let any of the others spend that time with Luna. Anyway, after the first couple days, Cedric was usually over in one corner reading the books the room provided, doing homework, or doing something else by himself. But the detentions were lengthy enough that the three of them still spent a lot of time together that week. To shake things up, every now and then Hypatia would show up, but she didn't really know how to socialize, and spent most of her time Out around them talking about things that went over both their heads. She never spent more than an hour at a time Out around Cedric and Luna, either, usually feeling very awkward by the end of the hour and retreating Inside.

On the second to last day of the detentions, the room split itself into two separate rooms, finally giving Luna and Iliana some privacy to snuggle on the sofa together. By the end of the last night's detention, they'd progressed to kissing.

Knowing they were secretly defying Umbridge made her classes easier to get through, for all of them. Luna found Umbridge's vexed expressions at her unflappable calm to be amusing. Cedric had to stifle laughter for similar reasons, and not even Al could be angry at her when he was thinking about how they were lazing around in the Room of Requirement while transfigured constructs were taking their detentions for them without her being any the wiser. They all made it through the week without adding to the detention time, despite the fact that Trelawney and Sirius were both getting regular inspections from Umbridge.

Sometimes, though, the three of them got bored of doing their own thing, and started practicing defensive spells together. The idea had been Luna's, after a discussion wherein they all agreed that Sirius was probably going to be the first teacher sacked. But the relief from the umbrage caused by Umbridge gave the Potters a fresh perspective on that: if Sirius was sacked, so what? It was fun while it lasted, but it's not like he needed the money. Either one of their vaults would have been more than enough to support both of them. For Sirius, this was a diversion, something to do with his time.

Yet as Luna pointed out, Sirius would probably get replaced by some ineffectual nobody they'd learn nothing useful from, and then Defense Against the Dark Arts would be crap again. Her thinking behind this was that Fudge was paranoid about Dumbledore. "And if I were in his position," she'd said, "I'd worry he was raising an army. The things Umbridge had said during her inspections of Defense class suggested that level of paranoia to me. Of course, Fudge is raising his own private army of heliopaths for the Rotfang Conspiracy, so naturally he must think Dumbledore is into his little scheme and intends to stop him. From his perspective, Dumbledore already took down two dark lords, so why not a third?"

"Oh Luna, never change."

"Now, I can't promise that, Iliana. Everyone and everything is changing, all the time. Change is the only constant in the universe."

"Well, that and the speed of light," Iliana said with a grin.

"Ah yes, that too, I suppose."

"Anyway, Luna, even if some useless lump replaces Sirius, what does it matter? I mean, it's not like we could do anything about it."

"Sure we could. We could start a secret Defense club, and you could teach it. Or Adira could."

"What? I... no, that's absurd, Luna!"

"More absurd than blibbering humdingers?"

Iliana laughed. "No, I suppose not. But I'm not a teacher!"

"You taught Hypatia's new spells to me and Cedric. And practicing spells with you and Cedric has improved my own skills."

"That's probably just Sirius's teaching. Nothing to do with me."

Luna pulled Iliana closer to her in the sofa they were lying on. "Perhaps. But you do teach at least as well as Sirius does. Trust me on this, I know what I'm talking about."

"Well, I want to believe you, but I just don't know. Addy doesn't know about it either."

"Have a little faith in yourself, Iliana. Think about it, at least. If Umbridge is still in power long enough to replace Sirius, think about teaching a secret Defense club. Will you do that for me?" Luna kissed her on the lips briefly, making Iliana giggle.

"Okay, fine, I'll think it over. Now get over here so I can nibble on your ears!"

Luna shrieked with delighted laughter as Iliana tried nibbling on her ear, eventually retaliating by tickling her mercilessly until she couldn't breathe. When Iliana recovered, she started chasing Luna around the room with a pillow. Soon there were feathers everywhere, all worries about torture detentions and evil teachers forgotten.

~
September 21st, 1995

Iliana was glad to be rid of Umbridge's detentions again. She woke up early that morning ready for their first real Quidditch practice of the year. She was surprised soon after waking, though, by a pair of wizard-style notebooks on the desk that hadn't been there before. They were bound in black leather. Both were embossed in gold, one reading “Luna,” the other reading “Iliana.” There was a note left on top of them, which Iliana read.

Iliana,

This is that second surprise I mentioned before. Took me a while to sort it out, it was strangely difficult because it involved a complicated charm. Charms aren't really my strong suit, hence this taking so long. Anyway, the specific charm is the Protean Charm. You should be made aware that I used the body during the day a few times to get help with it from Hermione. She knows it was me and none of you, though. Anyway, what it does is that if you write in one book, the writing shows up in the other book when you're done with your sentence or paragraph. And it does it in different ink colors so you can tell which of you wrote in it. Black for Iliana, blue for Luna. It also has a lot more pages in it than appearance would suggest, and can basically be used for a decade of daily use before it starts to run out.

There are protections on them, too. They are password protected to look like Charms notes without the password. Hermione helped me on that bit, too. (The Charms notes, not the password protection spell.) Even if someone is reading over your shoulder while you're writing to Luna in it, it will look to them like Charms notes, including anything new being written, without looking suspicious. If anyone but Luna or one of us tries writing in it, the ink won't stick to the page. The book is also waterproof, can't be easily torn, burned, or Vanished, and has a homing beacon that responds to a verbal command by its owner or the owner of the person it's paired with. Oh, and if someone tries copying it with Gemino, the copy becomes utterly useless, a blank notebook with no magic on it.

Also, when you get a new message from Luna, your copy will sing a song only you can hear, audible from anywhere within a two mile radius. Same goes the other way around. Well, you have to program them to your magical signatures, but that's as easy as bleeding on the cover. Once they're locked in to a user, they can't easily be unlocked without causing them to lock up completely.

With all that in mind, if you think there's any chance of Ginny Weasley seeing you or Luna writing in them, you should tell her in detail about the things ahead of time so she doesn't do her nut over their similarities to Riddle's diary, even though they don't think for themselves. Or at all, really. In fact, that's why I went with wizarding-style journals over Muggle-style.

Oh yeah, and also I programmed it so that my own writing would be a different color on Luna's book, since I want to try this “friend” thing with her and Cedric. It's odd, but I think I might have ended up with whatever kind of mental condition Luna's got. I see a lot of myself in her.

This project was an interesting challenge, too. And from things I've picked up over the summer, I gather a certain organization uses talking Patronuses for pretty much their sole method of secret communication, which is really stupid. I'm going to use the knowledge I got from this project to come up with something better for them. Patronuses are really conspicuous, difficult to cast at the best of times, and while supposedly they can't be faked, it took me about a day to sort out how to fake a Patronus message, once I put my mind to it. I haven't tested the idea, but I might, to show how it's a weakness.

Oh by the way, I heard about a magical weapons seller at Hogsmeade from Draco, I want to go there on the first Hogsmeade weekend and pick up some magical throwing knives. Stow those about one's person in secure holders that resist disarming charms, and even if we lose both wands, we have backup weapons.

That's all for now.

Sincerely,
Hypatia

Iliana password-protected the letter and hid it away in their trunk in case they needed it later. The twinned journals she left on her desk for now. She grabbed her Quidditch robes and left for breakfast, which didn't have many people there because most people were sleeping in. It was just her, Angelina Johnson, and Ron at the Griffindor table.

When they got to Quidditch practice after breakfast, Iliana began by checking the pitch for other people. Draco Malfoy was out there with some of his Slytherins. She glared at him with her arms folded. He glared back, so she got out her wand and tapped it on her other hand. Annoyed, Malfoy stood up with a sneer and lead his fellow Slytherins away. She watched them leave.

That out of the way, she went into the changing rooms and started getting information about other team practices from her deputy captain Angelina Johnson and Ron, who had been sent under a Disillusionment Charm and the Invisibility Cloak respectively to spy on the other teams. From there, the three of them – who had gotten there ahead of the others – started to work out tactics to use against the other teams, focusing primarily on Slytherin, since that was the first team they'd be playing and they had only six weeks until that match. Part of this involved looking in books at long lists of different ways to cheat in Quidditch and talking about way of predicting which of these the Slytherins would use, and how to counter them.

Another part of it involved being honest with Ron and telling him that the Slytherins wouldn't hesitate to use psychological warfare against them, and telling Ron he was going to have to ignore what they were saying and try to remember that anything coming out of a Slytherin's mouth concerning a Quidditch game was going to be a lie.

“I've seen you play, Ron, and you're an amazing keeper as long as your confidence is up. If you do make a mistake, don't worry; everyone does. Just try to shrug it off and keep going, and continue ignoring the Slytherins. Got it?”

Looking a bit sick, Ron said, “I'll try, mate.”

“Good. Towards that end, try to focus on the players in the air, and on what they're doing. Especially pay attention to where the Quaffle is. Think of Quidditch like a game of chess, where every move can be potentially predicted and countered, alright? Play to your strengths.”

“Yeah,” Angelina said. “You tune out everything else when you're playing chess, try to do the same for Quidditch.”

Ron nodded, still looking ill, but determined. “Think of it like chess,” he said to himself. “Think of it like chess...”

When the rest of the team, including the reserves showed up, the three of them went over their thoughts about how to deal with Slytherin. Fred and George looked at one another with a look that made Iliana certain they were comparing her to Wood, but she ignored it.

Once they were done with the tactics, they finally took their brooms out onto the pitch. Iliana cast a spell to detect the presence of people, and the spell alerted her only to three people in the stands: Luna, Neville, and Hermione. Nobody else was around, as far as she could tell. She knew Wood would've been suspicious of Luna, but she knew Luna wouldn't betray the team to the rest of Ravenclaw. Not that any of the other Ravenclaws would have been likely to believe her if she did, though. And anyway, the first match was with Slytherin, not Ravenclaw.

To be sure they were free of the Slytherins, she called Dobby and asked him to patrol the pitch, the stands, and the area around the pitch to keep any Slytherins out, with the exception of Javier if he decided to come. Dobby nodded, and popped away to do just that.

Ron seemed wary of the twins, but they weren't smirking at him or teasing him about being on the team, though this seemed to unnerve him even more than if they had. So Iliana made a snap decision.

“Everyone, I want to remind you all we're all on this team together, even the reserve players, and I expect everyone to treat fellow team members with respect. There is to be no bullying or teasing of team mates while we're practicing or playing, and I'd prefer if you didn't tease teammates when off the pitch, either. We'll have enough to deal with between the Slytherins and Umbridge, so we need our minds on the game as much as possible, understand?”

Everyone on the team muttered their understanding.

“Pardon, what was that?” she asked.

“We understand, Captain Potter!”

“Good. Now let's get out there and train.”

Iliana started out by having the chasers and beaters doing a mock game to help train both themselves and Ron train, using a mix of one primary Chaser and a reserve Chaser on each side of the mock game, the same for the Beaters. It was weird seeing the twins not working together, but this would be good for everyone; it would train the reserves, and give the primaries experience with the reserves if that ever needed to happen in an actual game.

She herself went higher up in the air at one end of the pitch to train Ginny for her position as reserve Seeker. They were all on spare school brooms from the batch the Potters had donated to the school years back, so they were all on equal footing broom-wise.

Ron Weasley took his place as Keeper on one side, the reserve Keeper Cormac McClaggen on the other end. McClaggen was already proving to be a pain in the arse. He kept acting like he knew better than others, tried giving the others tips on playing like he was the captain, and generally being a nuisance. Five minutes into the first practice, and she was already regretting having let him onto the team.

As the game progressed, Ron looked focused and determined, ignoring Luna, Neville, and Hermione cheering, and just focusing on the game. His face did turn a little red at the encouragement, but he was smiling. 'Think of it like chess,' he thought. 'Think of it like chess. Really fast, up-in-the-air chess, but chess. Think of it like chess.'

Iliana soon realized she'd made a mistake, about ten minutes into the game when the reserve Chasers kept missing the Quaffle or throwing it too far for one of the main Chasers to catch it. After fifteen minutes of this, she blew on her whistle and called for a huddle.

“Okay, so this mock game thing clearly isn't working. I think I skipped a step. We're all going to practice throwing and catching the Quaffle instead.”

At her direction, they all got into a wide circle around the pitch, and started to toss the Quaffle around at random people in the circle. Iliana raised the Quaffle with one hand and threw it hard to Fred, who passed to George, who passed to McClaggen, who passed it to Fay Dunbar, who passed it to Ron, who almost dropped it, but managed to save it with the tips of his fingers before passing it on to Dean Thomas.

Then it went to Demelza Robins, to Ginny, to Iliana, to Peakes, to Coote, to Ron again, who didn't so much catch it as bat it through the air at McClaggen, who had to duck to avoid getting hit in the face, but he leaned backwards and caught it upside-down before righting himself and tossing it at Ginny.

“Weasley,” McClaggen said, “you have to catch it and then throw it, not hit it.”

“McClaggen, I am the Captain, thank you very much. Ron's move worked well, it's a good instinct for a Keeper to hit things if they don't think they can catch it in time, and anyway, you caught it.”

“Just barely,” McClaggen said.

“Be that as it may, stop trying to play the Captain, McClaggen; I'm the captain. You're not even the deputy Captain. Now let's get back to what we were doing. Ginny?”

Ginny tossed the ball to Ron, who caught it easily. He was so surprised he threw it a bit wide at Angelina, who had to surge upward to get it, but caught it and passed it on to Alicia Spinnet.

When Iliana next got it, she tossed it to Ron again. She was glad to see that as long a McClaggen kept his mouth shut, Ron was focusing on following the ball with his eyes. The longer they played the game of catch, the less often Ron messed up.

Once they got to a point where they could all catch the ball and throw it again without messing up very often, Iliana said, “Just a little faster now,” and the game sped up, people taking less time to decide who to toss it to. Ron dropped it once, but flew down and caught it before it landed, his face red, and tossed it to Coote. Coote tossed it to Ginny, who tossed it to George, who tossed it to Ron again, who batted it at Iliana this time. She caught it one-handed and chucked it at McClaggen, who threw it to George again.

George passed to Angelina; she reverse-passed to Iliana, who had not been expecting it, but caught it in the very tips of her fingers and passed it quickly to Ron. He fumbled it with his hands and it went behind him, but in an impressive move, he dipped forward, hitting the Quaffle with the straw-end of his broom, where it hit Ginny on the head. She shouted “OUCH!” but caught it as it bounced off her head into the air and chucked it back at Ron, who kicked it right into Fred's hands.

They sped up again, and Ron wasn't the only one to fumble or mess up this time around. There were a lot of near misses, a lot more people hitting the ball instead of catching it, and McClaggen missed the ball by inches once and went soaring after it. Ron snorted with repressed laughter at this. Iliana gave him a warning glare; the rule about not bullying teammates applied to him as well. He had the good grace to look abashed.

McClaggen threw it at Dean, and they continued going at a fast clip. After a few more near misses, Coote kicked the Quaffle hard, which hit Demelza Robins in the nose, making it bleed.

“Here, take this,' Fred told her, handing her something small and purple from out of his pocket, “it'll clear it up in no time.”

“Hold it! Don't take that, Demelza. Fred, what did you give her?”

“The antidote for Nosebleed Nougat.”

“Are you sure? I've seen your Skiving Snackboxes, they all look the same to me.”

Rolling his eyes, Fred took the sweet from Demelza and looked at it. Then he turned pale.

“So what is it actually?” Iliana asked.

“Er... Blood Blisterpod.”

“Right. That's it, Fred, George: I'm banning your Skiving Snackboxes while we're on the pitch. Leave them in your dorm in the future. And I want to run those sweets of yours past Professor Snape at some point to see how safe they are.”

Fred paled at her mention of Snape, and opened his mouth to object. She glared at him and mouthed 'Investor,' while pointing at herself. He looked slightly ill, but nodded. That settled, Iliana soared over to Demelza and pointed her wand at Demelza's nose. “Episkey,” she said, fixing the nosebleed at once.

“Thanks, Iliana.”

“You're welcome. And in the future, don't even think about take anything from someone else for something medical unless they're a trained Healer. And avoid taking anything from the twins at any time, just on general principle.”

They kept going with the game of catch for twenty more minutes before Iliana was satisfied. They'd start with this again next time, keep people in practice. But for now, they went back to her previous idea of a mock game while she trained Ginny in the Seeker position.

The rest of the training session was a mixed bag. Iliana had to yell at McClaggen half a dozen different times in one hour for one unsufferable thing or another. Ron only missed three goals in the mock game, and some of his saves were absolutely amazing.

When they came out of the locker rooms after morning practice, Luna was waiting for Iliana. Luna asked her about hanging out after lunch, but Iliana had a second practice session scheduled after lunch because of the detentions slowing things down. That one would only last until 4 pm, though, which appeased Luna.

Luna ended up eating lunch with Iliana. Then after the second practice, Iliana got changed into a dress and the two girls went to the Room of Requirement with help from the Marauder's Map, deciding to call Dobby for dinner in the room so they could avoid Umbridge's injunction against public displays of affection and not have to walk around so much.

They spent a couple hours just cuddling and talking together before ordering dinner from Dobby. Though they tried to avoid the subject of Umbridge, it eventually came up anyway.

“So that horrid woman has started inspecting every single one of Sirius's classes, I heard,” Luna said.

“Yes, he told me that himself. She's doing the same with Trelawney, as well.”

“I wonder how she does that and teaches her own classes at the same time?”

Iliana shrugged. “No idea.”

“I heard Al tried to help Trelawney out the first time she got inspected. Which is odd. I thought Al didn't like Trelawney?”

“He doesn't like her as a teacher, but he prefers her to Umbridge. And when Trelawney and Alastair lock horns, she's the one with all the power. Not the case with Umbridge. Even Grubbly-Plank doesn't want to mess with her.”

“Ah, I understand. 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend.' Though that's not really accurate. It should be 'The enemy of my enemy is my ally.'”

Iliana nodded.

“In the last Defense class I had, Umbridge started talking to him about her own syllabus,” Luna added. “Said he should use it instead, since he was putting the students at risk. But I'm even more sure I'm right that Fudge thinks Dumbledore is trying to train up his own army.”

“That's silly. Training students to be soldiers. That's more like something Voldemort would do.”

“Iliana, didn't you say your parents were in that Order of the Phoenix thing?”

“Er, yeah. Why?”

“Well... I looked them up, and given the year they were in school together, and the year you were born, and they year they died, they were both 21 when they died. If they spent all seven years in school, they were likely 18 when they joined the Order.”

Iliana stared at Luna, aghast. Then she calmed down. “Okay, that's a good point. But there was a war on, and they were Griffindors. Very talented Griffindors as well. That doesn't mean Dumbledore was deliberately training soldiers!”

“I didn't say he was. Just pointing out that anyone who knew about that kind of thing might decide to use that fact to justify thinking Dumbledore was training his own army.”

Iliana tried to push this idea out of her mind, but it kept nagging her for the rest of their time together, making it hard to focus on Luna. Luna was patient with her, though. Even so, a couple hours before curfew, they decided to retire early.

“Oh before I forget, Luna, I have something for you. Dobby!”

Dobby appeared. “Miss is calling Dobby?”

“Yes, Dobby. Could you please retrieve the two notebooks on the desk in my room and bring them here, please. They're black leather, and have our names on them.”

He nodded and popped away. Less than a minute later, he had returned, handing her the books.

“Thank you, Dobby. That's all for now.”

He nodded again and disappeared.

“Ooh, those are lovely.”

“Yes, they are. But better than that. Much better. Let me tell you all about them.”

Luna listened with growing excitement and awe as Iliana explained what they were.

“That's so amazing, Iliana. Hmm... did Hypatia come up with those?”

“Yes. Her own writing will be a different color in them as well. She said she wants to put more effort into this 'friend' thing with you and Cedric. I wonder if that means she'll be making one for Cedric?”

[Damn, that's a good idea. I think I can tie it into the existing pair with a little work... hmm...]

“I guess she hadn't thought of that, but she's working on the details now.”

“I'm glad. She needs more friends. And more practice with friends.”

“That she does.”

Luna took her half of the pair of notebooks and pricked her finger, letting a drop of blood fall to the cover. It glowed white for a moment, devouring the droplet. Iliana did the same for her own, next.

“Now they're locked into our magical signatures,” Iliana said. “Let's test it.”

Iliana got hers out and wrote “Testing, testing, one two.” A moment later, Luna's head perked up at a sound only she could hear, and the words appeared in her notebook, in black ink. She wrote something down in response. It was in black ink too, but the book changed it blue.

There was a tinkling musical tone in Iliana's head as the words appeared in her notebook. Luna had written, “What does that mean?”

Aloud, Iliana said, “It's something Muggles say to make sure microphones work. Er, a microphone is a device to pick up sound and either record it, amplify it, or both.”

“Oh, so like a Howler?”

“Well, more like the Sonorous charm, but if recorded, it's like... like a Howler, but usually at the same volume as was recorded. Or like the sound coming from a two-way mirror.”

“I don't know what those are, either.”

“They're a kind of magic mirror, allows for two-way communication between two people. I have one, and Sirius has the other one that's paired to it. I wanted a set to use with you, but apparently it's something Sirius invented, and thanks to Azkaban, he hasn't been able to remember how he did it. Although... Hypatia could probably analyze it and recreate it.”

[Probably some variation on the Protean Charm, I'm guessing,] Hypatia said. [Actually now I think about it, that might have been easier than the Protean journals. But oh well, the journals record the words and store them for later reading, which the mirrors don't do. Although... hmm... I wonder if I could modify the charm to pick up audio and transmit it, while also turning speech to text? Though that might require a whole other set of runic equations to--- oh duh! The Map! The Marauder's Map can understand spoken language if you put your wand on it when you speak! And then the visual aspect... maybe a mirror built into the inside of one of the covers. Yes, yes... I like that...]

And with that, Hypatia was off into the back of their shared mind to work on a new project. Iliana giggled, then had to explain why to Luna. When she did, Luna giggled as well.

“Well if Hypatia needs to borrow my notebook to improve it later, let me know, and I'll gladly let her,” Luna said.

Iliana grinned. “That I will, Luna.”

Endnotes: Please note, all these new spells were made with the 'help' of Google Translate.

Altum somnum = Latin for “deep sleep.”

Princeps venustus = Latin for “prince charming.” (The counter-charm for Altum Somnum)

Allucinatus tumultum = Allucinatus is the origin of the word “hallucinate” and in Latin it means “to have illusions.” (Thank etymonline for that knowledge!) “Tumultum” is Latin for “noise.” So together, “To have illusions (of) noise.”

Tumultum quietus = Rowlingized Latin for “Quiet (the) noise.”

Cantabo '(song)' = Singing Spell. “Cantabo” is Latin for “sing.”

Normalis loquela = Latin for “Normal speech.” This spell is effective for countering several spells that affect human speech.

Et cessabit = Latin for “be calm.”

If anyone has ideas for spells for any of the Potters or other characters like Hermione to create, let me know in a private message or comment. Oh, and what song should Snape be made to sing? Bear in mind it has to be a song Fred and George – wizard-raised wizards – could reasonably be expected to know already.



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