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Episode 2

Harry was pleasantly surprised to see that Umbridge couldn't muster an argument against Dumbledore's will to teach Defense against the Dark Arts. He knew that Dumbledore wouldn't have attempted this if the ministry's laws had forbidden it. They must have never expected this to happen, which prevented them from creating an Educational Decree forbidding the headmaster from teaching. A great roar of excitement grew inside Harry right at Dumbledore's last words. They're going to be taught proper defenses. He's going to be able to defend himself after 4 years of surviving purely on nerves and luck. After only a few seconds of incredulously gazing at the headmaster's penetrating blue eyes, Umbridge said "Very well I see no problems in the matter, headmaster," she spoke in a falsely strong voice that was shaking with defeat and humiliation. Harry could tell that Ron, Hermione and pretty much all the other students - except perhaps the Slytherins - were full of mirth, and it was proven when Dumbledore ordered everybody back to their common rooms. It was as though someone bewitched all the students to become excessively excited. The students weren't even minding keeping their muttering to themselves. Harry heard many of the students' opinions as they passed him. A 4th year Gryffindor Harry once saw hanging about Ginny was saying "That old hag deserves what she got! I don't think 'I mustn't throw dungbombs' will ever disappear from my hand". A tall Slytherin sixth year who was built along the parameters of Crabbe and Goyle was saying "I can't believe we're supposed to learn Defense against the Dark Arts from that old coot. He believes potter for Merlin's sake!" They were walking silently back to their Common room when a dreamy and distant voice behind them spoke "I'm really happy that Umbridge got sacked. And I think Dumbledore will teach us excellent Defenses". It was Luna Lovegood. She appeared to have strayed from the Ravenclaws heading for their common room and was pursuing the three of them. When they noticed her they stopped and turned around to face her, but they didn't know what to say. It was Ron who spoke first. "Okay?" he said, in a bewildered voice, his mouth hanging a bit open. "I'm happy about that too, Luna" Hermione said in a cheery voice. When she continued silently staring at the three of them, Harry cleared his throat and said "Is there anything else you wanted to tell us Luna? We really should be getting to the common room." He finished with a hint of factuality in his voice. "Yes actually," responded Luna, with her usual dreamy voice, her eyes popping a little. "I wanted to know whether we're still going to do the D.A. meetings now that Professor Dumbledore is going to be teaching us," Harry could tell that Ron and Hermione knew the answer to that question as much as he did. He looked at them and they looked back. For a moment, he was about to say that there won't be a need for the meetings anymore, but right before speaking he changed his mind and said "We're not sure yet, but we'll tell you as soon as we figure it out." After a brief moment of silence, in which he was sure they were all thinking about Luna's question and the night's events, Harry turned his head to Ron and Hermione just as they reached the seventh floor landing and said "She's not that bad, Luna. Grows on you after a while, doesn't she?" Hermione turned to look at him and he could tell that it was one of the happiest he had ever seen her. "She's not that bad, not at all. I just wish she spoke about real creatures. Have you heard her talking about the Crumple-Horned Snorkack her father spotted? On the last Hogsmeade weekend? He probably saw an Erumpent, no more." She finished in a sardonic tone, but she was still happy, nevertheless.

When they climbed into their common room, they noticed that Fred and George were using all the excitement of the evening to sell some badges they had bewitched to shout things like "Umbridge isn't worth horse dung!" or "Dumbledore is worth 10 Ministries of Magic" at various intervals. The crowd that was gathered around Fred and George assured them that they won't be overheard as they took their three favorite squashy armchairs by the fire. They were obviously too excited to do any homework. Even Hermione agreed on delaying their homework so they can talk about everything that's happened so far. "How great is it that Dumbledore's teaching us Defense against the Dark Arts?" Said Hermione once they got settled down. "I just hope he doesn't give us loads of homework each lesson" said Ron honestly. "Oh, come on, Ron, don't you know what this means?" Asked Hermione. "What?" asked both Harry and Ron. "Well, you'd have to be really thick to get less than an 'Exceeds Expectations' on your O.W.L. with a teacher like Dumbledore! He's the greatest wizard of our time! And he's going to be teaching us!" Hermione said quickly with one extremely excited breath. "That's nothing, Hermione. Dumbledore's going to teach us how to actually defend ourselves. I bet he'll teach us a load of great spells." Harry said right before Ginny joined them. "What's up?" She asked. "I just got back from the library. What's everybody so excited about?" Harry noticed that she wasn't herself. Her hair was a bit ruffled and her eyes were watery and red, but before he could say anything, Hermione started telling her about Dumbledore's confrontation with Umbridge. Her eyes opened wide with excitement on every word. He wanted to ask her what's wrong, but as soon as Hermione finished, she said "Well, that's really cool, but I think I'm going to sleep goodnight, guys" Harry couldn't help but feel she was crying before she joined them, but Ron spoke before he could say anything. "What if Umbridge inspects Dumbledore's lessons and sacks him? She can do that, can't she?" He asked darkly. "No, she can't! That's what's so great about his plan. She can't do anything to stop him. The High Inquisitor can't touch Dumbledore because he's also headmaster. If she sacked him she would be sacking him from both posts which isn't possible due to Hogwarts' co-operative agreement with the Ministry in 1801. 'Hogwarts is a private institution, therefore the ministry can't interfere with the Headmaster'" She finished, quoting the last sentence. Ron's mouth was hanging open once again. Surly he didn't expect this kind of answer for such a simple question. "How the bloody hell do you know all this?" He said flatly "Honestly, Ronald, will you ever read 'Hogwarts: A History'?" She asked, obviously annoyed "I said it before and I'll say it again, there's no need. You know it by heart, I'll just ask you!" He answered sarcastically Harry then remembered the D.A. and asked quickly before their bickering became steadier "Well, what about the D.A.?" It worked. They both stopped arguing. Ron fell deeper down into his chair, but Hermione sat straight in hers. They were silently thinking for a second and then Hermione spoke first. "Well, there's no point in having the meetings if we have a proper teacher and we" She stopped abruptly as Ron cut across her. "You can't be serious, Hermione! These meetings are the best thing that's been happening this year and you want us to stop having them?" Hermione frowned slightly at Ron for a second and then said "What do you think, Harry?" He didn't know what to say. The meetings were the best thing that's been happening all year but what chance does he have? He's nothing compared to Dumbledore. He thought for a second and then made up his mind "I think we could do

with a bit of practice It's true, we have a proper teacher now, but what if he tried to teach us really difficult spells? We should keep having the D.A. meetings, but spend them practicing instead of learning new spells" Hermione looked a little more convinced as he finished. Ron simply grinned and suggested a game of Wizards chess before bed. Harry was too tired to do anything so he said "Err no thanks I think I'm going to sleep. G'night" He got up, climbed the spiral staircase and entered the dormitory. Everybody was still down in the common room so; he was the only one there. He changed into his pajamas and while he was getting into bed, his scar started prickling, which reminded him of something. His mind was set! He was going to start trying to practice Occlumency. He lay on the bed, concentrating on emptying his mind from all thoughts and emotions. But it wasn't easy He was so happy about the fact that Umbridge was finally sacked, he was excited about the prospect of a proper Defense against the Dark Arts lesson with Dumbledore and his scar prickled even harder as he tried to empty his mind. He lost concentration. His eyes were slowly closing and his body was warm and comfortable. He couldn't close his mind anymore. He fell asleep. He was back in the common room Ginny was curled up in one of the large couches and he was sitting next to her. She was crying and he was holding her. She told him that Cho told her how he didn't keep his promise. How he didn't give Cho the one hundred and fifty chocolate frog cards he promised her. Ron walked down from the dormitory, he was obviously annoyed. Hermione climbed through the portrait hole and started telling off Ron for stealing from the kitchen and not helping her with S.P.E.W. The scene changed He was back in the dark, curtained room, lit with a single branch of candles. He felt angry Very angry. A man was whimpering on the ground before him. "m-my lord please! I didn't know I t-though it would work I had no idea please my lord." Harry wasn't listening. He had only seen the man once before, but he knew everything about him. He also hated him and wanted only to hurt him as much as possible. "You said you were sure, Rookwood. You said Avery didn't know what he was doing because he never worked at the ministry, but you did." Harry spoke without realizing it. His voice was high and cold. "P-please, my lord. I beg for mercy, m-my lord" Cried Rookwood desperately. "I have lost any mercy I had left. For you, at least, Rookwood. You have failed me more than once, I'm afraid I have no place for people who disappoint me. Harry raised a wand and pointed it at the whimpering body. "Avada Kedavra!!" He shouted suddenly. Harry awoke with a start. The last thing he saw was the blinding green light that meant Rookwood's death.