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The Many Faces Go To War

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The Many Faces Go To War: Chapter 5”

By = Fayanora

 

Chapter Five: Truces and Trenches

 

Notes: This is the second chapter of the sequel to “The Many Faces of Har---er, Adira Potter.” If you haven't read that series yet, this one isn't going to make much sense. Also, a reminder for anyone who forgot: the person formerly known as Harry still exists, she's just transgender in this one, her new name is Adira, nicknamed “Addy.”

 

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.

 

*FAYANORA*

 

After talking with Sirius – who had found the Compulsion-Charm censored version of their detention hilarious – and getting their homework done, they needed to decompress after a long and difficult day. Switching to Zoey, she decided that what she'd do was turn into an eagle owl and fly outside around the grounds. It was an amazing experience, and as she exhilarated in the cool night air, she wondered if Tonks or any other metamorphmagus had thought to try the same thing. Though she suspected that they'd keep it a secret like she was doing, if so. If for no other reason than the knowledge that the Ministry would throw a fit trying to register an animagus who could become any kind of animal they'd had physical contact with over the years.

 

Flying over the Forbidden Forest was especially thrilling, though she only did it briefly before flying over the Black Lake and the non-forbidden copses of trees here and there.

 

Then, as a test, she flew past the wards, over the gate to the school. She felt a tingle of magic, and Chandra informed her that it meant the wards had registered her as being an actual owl. Well, that was convenient. If she needed to, she could escape. But for now, she flew back inside the Hogwarts wards, again feeling that tingle. Better safe than sorry, after all.

 

As she kept flying, she thought she knew what the Marauders had felt like, exploring the school grounds at night. She also thought they'd all be jealous of her being able to fly, crawl, slither, or swim anywhere she wanted to. That is, if she could still breathe underwater – she knew Tier could, but would that power transfer over? - or find an animal that could manage it without needing to know the detailed anatomy of gills.

 

Ha! She realized suddenly she could deliver her own letters to Hagrid like this. Wouldn't that be a hoot. Ha! A hoot! She laughed to herself, but stopped when she felt her owl form begin to falter. She didn't want to fall out of the sky, after all. It would suck if Voldemort won because she died for such a stupid reason, and if she survived, it would require a lot of explanation.

 

Owl night vision was amazing, by the way. The night looked like... well, it looked like a cloudy day, with enough light to see by but no obvious source of light. And she could see details on the ground from high up that were just incredible. It was a little irritating having to turn her head to see in different directions, but she felt why it was necessary; her eyes were no longer round, they were tubes. Owls had to turn their whole heads because their tube-shaped eyes were fixed in place in their heads, which she thought was just really weird, but whatever. This form would be excellent for night-time reconnaissance.

 

She landed in one of the open windows and turned from an owl to a cat, where she leaped to the floor and began sniffing around the castle. She hoped she didn't run into Crookshanks, or that if she did, hoped he wouldn't recognize her.

 

When she finally had enough of exploring the castle as a cat, she found by scent the window she'd come in from, leaped onto the windowsill, turned back into an owl, and flew to her own window, which was a lot harder to find, requiring her to peek in different windows until she found hers. When she got inside, she changed back to a cat, and decided to try sleeping as a cat.

 

~

 

The next morning, Zoey woke up and realized she'd turned human again in the night. She wondered if that was just because she couldn't maintain that form while asleep, or if Hypatia had done it.

 

[The latter,] Hypatia informed her. [Draco and I met up again, and we discussed the truce Adira offered.]

 

Nodding, she got up and looked in the mirror.

 

* And what did you and he decide? *

 

[I convinced him to take the offer seriously, but couched it in cautious language. Slytherin language. I think he's going to accept it, if you can agree on the terms.]

 

'Well we'll meet up with him sometime soon to do that,' Adira said.

 

[Yes. I suggest meeting him at the library, he'll be there at the break after Divination. If you use privacy spells, Ms. Pince won't mind.]

 

'Plus, less likely to erupt into violence,' Adira pointed out. 'Which should ease his mind just as much as ours.'

 

Zoey nodded, and they switched to Alastair.

 

At Divination class, Al was reading a book he'd gotten from the Divination section of the library, instead of doing the dream diary stuff. He had been annoyed, the year before, when it had taken a great deal of time and effort to get answers out of the tarot cards that were properly useful to him. They hadn't warned him about Luna being captured, and they'd been kind of vague on how dangerous the fake Moody had been, so he hadn't been as prepared as he should have been. Granted, he shouldn't have gone running headlong into danger, but it was the principle of the thing.

 

So, wanting a divination method that could give him adequately complex answers to questions ill suited to tarot decks, he'd gone on the hunt for a better replacement. And he thought he'd found one, something called “reading the bones.” It wasn't at all an easy method to learn, though. He figured it would probably take at least six months of study and practice to even begin to get anything useful out of it, but it had the potential to make that effort worth it.

 

He was still casually reading the divination book when Trelawney knocked on his chair's leg with one foot to get his attention. Only then did he realize she'd been talking to him.

 

Glancing up briefly, he asked, “Yes, Professor?” He didn't wait for an answer before going back to his reading.

 

“Young man, we are interpreting the dreams of our partners in class today, using our dream journals as references.”

 

“That's nice.”

 

He could feel her anger with him, but he ignored it.

 

“Alastair Potter! I expect you to do as I have instructed!”

 

“Well you must be very disappointed, in that case.”

 

She slammed her hands down on the table, startling him into looking at her.

 

“Better. Now, put down the book.”

 

“Hey, at least it's in the same subject,” he said, showing her the title.

 

She examined the title for a moment, then scoffed.

 

“That is far too advanced for you, Mr. Potter. You show very little skill in basic divination methods such as the crystal ball, palmistry, and reading tea leaves. Reading the bones is something you likely won't have any luck with before N.E.W.T. level.”

 

“Yeah, I know full well it won't be easy. But trying to get complex, useful answers out of a tarot deck is an exercise in frustration, so I'm willing to try. And anyway, I did have an actual vision during my exam with the crystal ball in my third year, so I figure that makes me more skilled at crystal gazing than you are, Professor.”

 

She pursed her lips at him and ignored both this and the smattering of laughter from the other students, opting instead to change the subject.

 

“Tell me about the dreams you had last night, Mr. Potter, so I may attempt to interpret them.”

 

“Well, I did have this one dream,” he began thoughtfully, stroking his chin. “It was pretty incredible.”

 

“Yes?” she asked eagerly.

 

“Well you see, I dreamed that this subject was being taught by a competent teacher. What do you suppose that means, Professor?”

 

There was a lot more laughter at this, and Trelawney stood there glaring daggers at Al, whose face was the very picture of innocence.

 

When the laughter died down, she spoke again.

 

“Alright, Mr. Potter. If you are so skilled at Divination, then pray make a prediction for me.”

 

He considered her a moment, then shrugged. “Sure, why not? Only, the tarot is frustrating. You were talking about the crystal ball, so if you'd be so kind as to bring me one, I'll see if I can replicate my having a vision. Though you didn't believe the one I had in third year, so this may be pointless. But sure, bring it on.”

 

Looking a little unsure of herself now, Trelawney walked over to one of her cabinets and soon was bringing a crystal ball over and setting it in front of him. He leaned back, trying to replicate the same mixture of boredom and mental silence he'd had during that one exam. It helped him that the room was warm, and also that he'd had a recent vision over the summer.

 

The room was mostly silent as everyone waited for something to happen. Probably they were expecting some more back sass, but Al was genuinely trying this time.

 

He found it was easier, now, to focus on the flaws in the crystal and just let the sight of these flaws fill his mind and leave no room for conscious thought. Before five minutes had elapsed, Al felt his mind unfocus itself in a familiar way.

 

And then he began to speak in a deeper voice than usual, using a voice so full of power and wisdom that all ears were listening intently.

 

“Bundle of sticks up to its old tricks; a hate so great it worries Fate. Faces of white in the night become a blight; a pox upon the land is this band, against it we all must stand! Take care: despair rattles air, and magic beans are not the means to stop these scenes. Only fools stand divided 'gainst the warning provided! Do not stall to heed the call or ALL. SHALL. FALL !!!”

 

There were shrieks and screams all around the room. Alastair had banged the table so hard on the last word that the crystal ball jumped up and then rolled off the table with a very loud THUD. A significant wind had also blown from the direction of Alastair, turning pages of books and ruffling people's hair.

 

Al snapped out of it and looked around at the deathly-silent room full of windswept people.

 

“Ouch,” he said, rubbing his hand. “That bloody well hurt. Anyone got a paracetamol?”

 

Everyone just continued to stare at him.

 

“Guess that's a no.”

 

~

 

Adira walked across the library during the break after Divination, to the annoyance of Ron, who had wanted to discuss Al's vision. Adira did not bring Ron with her.

 

Malfoy sat there at one of the chairs in the back, waiting. He looked up from a book when he saw her.

 

“Potter,” he said.

 

“Malfoy.”

 

“I'm surprised you showed up. A friend of mine suggested this was a good time to meet you. I'm not sure how she knew you would have the same idea, but then she's surprised me before. Please sit.” He indicated the seat across from his own.

 

Adira cast all the privacy spells she knew on the corner before she sat down in the seat. Malfoy moved a small table from next to his chair with his wand and placed it between them. It had some parchment and a quill on it. Adira raised an eyebrow curiously at him.

 

“This is for working out the wording of the oath. You can use your own parchment if it makes you feel more comfortable.”

 

“Okay. Um... before we get started, I thought of something else.”

 

“What's that?”

 

“I want, somehow, some clause that includes my friends and Iliana's girlfriend, Luna Lovegood, in this. What I mean is, I want to be able to continue to protect them from you and other people who might do them harm.”

 

“Hmm... so you are dating the Lovegood oddity? I'd heard rumors, but I wasn't certain.”

 

“Okay first of all, Iliana is dating her, I'm not. We're all different people, Draco, even though we---”

 

“I did not give you permission to be so casual with me,” Malfoy said with a sneer.

 

This genuinely confused her. “Pardon?”

 

“You called me by my given name, Potter, when you should have used my surname. It's impolite. Presumptuous.”

 

“Oh. Oops. Sorry about that. I don't know what got into me, Malfoy.”

 

“Riiight. Anyway, you were babbling on about something?” Malfoy examined his nails casually.

 

She scowled at him. “I was saying we're all different people, Malfoy, even though we're sharing one body for now. So please keep that in mind when talking about one of us.”

 

Malfoy sighed and rolled his eyes. “Whatever, Potter.”

 

“So back to what I was saying before: I want to be able to continue to protect my friends - especially Luna – from you. So I want them all included in whatever oaths we agree to.”

 

Malfoy looked at her thoughtfully a few moments, then sighed. “Fine, whatever. We can do that. In return, I want Crabbe and Goyle included as well.”

 

“What's to stop them from attacking one of my friends?”

 

Malfoy rolled his eyes again. “What part of 'I want Crabbe and Goyle included as well' got past your understanding, Potter? I meant that both ways. Meaning I'll swear I won't sic them on you.”

 

“Again, what stops them from attacking my friends? They could act on their own whims, or because they think you want them to attack but you didn't actually say so. And what's to stop you sending some other Slytherin after me or my friends?”

 

“And here I thought you were intelligent, Potter.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I mean that if we do these oaths correctly, they will be intent based. You have a good point on Crabbe and Goyle being able to attack on their own whim, or on what they think I want but I didn't tell them outright. But if we do this right, I could no more send someone else after you deliberately than I could go after you myself. Not without suffering the same consequences.”

 

[He has a point there, you know,] Hypatia told her.

 

“Okay. So what about the Crabbe and Goyle thing?”

 

“Well obviously, the wording of your oath would include them, so you couldn't attack them without provocation, and you'd still be able to fight back if they attacked you first. They need not take their own oaths. But you understand I'd want the same to apply to your friends as well.”

 

“You expect me to swear on my magic that none of my friends will attack you on their own whims?”

 

The blond boy sneered again. “Of course not, Potter. That would be stupid, especially as one of your friends is Ronald Weasley, who's nearly as hot headed as you---sorry,” he said derisively, “as 'Alastair' is.”

 

“Right.” Adira started writing some ideas down on a piece of parchment. “So we both swear to not instigate any fights against each other or our defined friends, and I swear not to escalate any fights any of us do have with you or your two bookends? Which would mean our friends can still act against each other or each other's friends of their own volition, but not if we direct them at each other or each other's friends... good gourd, this is getting complicated.”

 

“You're overthinking it, Potter. You'd simply be doing a ritual oath to the effect of something like 'I swear on such and such to not attack Draco Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe, or Gregory Goyle without provocation, and I swear on such and such to not escalate any conflict with' and then those names again. Then I do something similar, but including your friends.”

 

“Okay... but how exactly do we define 'provocation'?”

 

Malfoy closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose in a very familiar way, before opening his eyes again to answer.

 

“That's irrelevant, Potter. The oaths would be intent based. If you or I think there's sufficient provocation to justify an attack, then the oaths would let us attack. Yours would restrict you to using only whatever force was already used. So if I jinxed your little curly-haired mudblood friend with a Jelly-Legs Jinx, you could attack me back with something of equal or lesser power. Same would apply to me, if you jinxed Crabbe or Goyle.

 

“This would also mean that you'd be prevented from doing anything worse to me than I'd done to you or your friends, if I broke the oath first.”

 

“I think I should insist you swear not to escalate, either, so I get the same benefit. And don't use that M word again.”

 

“Fine, fine. If that will put your mind at ease enough to let us continue this, then I agree. To both those things, just to clarify.”

 

It took a bit more back and forth after that, but finally the two of them settled on oaths to give. Malfoy, despite having been brought in by Adira saying she would swear by her magic, insisted that nobody did that kind of thing so lightly; in fact, Unbreakable Vows – which killed those who broke them – were far more preferable, as a pureblood would rather die than live without magic, but no, he wasn't insisting on that either. They finally agreed to both take the same level of oath, one that pressured the oath-taker into obeying their oath, but could be broken without more than getting ill. Specifically, a flu-like illness that would take an hour to take effect and would last 24 hours before it passed.

 

Holding her wand, Addy said, “I, Adira Lily Potter, on behalf of myself and all the inhabitants of my body, do swear on pain of the Warlock's Flu, that I shall not attack without provocation Draco Lucius Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe, or Gregory Goyle, nor direct others to attack them, until released from this oath by Draco Lucius Malfoy's word or the breaking of his own oath. I also swear, on behalf of myself and all the inhabitants of my body, and again on pain of the Warlock's Flu, to not escalate any conflict I have with Draco Lucius Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe, or Gregory Goyle, swearing to use only whatever amount of force against them as is first used against me by them, until released from this oath by Draco Lucius Malfoy's word or the breaking of his own oath. As I speak it, so mote it be!”

 

A ribbon of silver light came out of her wand and surrounded her in a figure eight before dissipating.

 

In a voice of annoyed, grudging acceptance, Malfoy said with his wand in his hand, “And I, Draco Lucius Malfoy, do swear on pain of the Warlock's Flu, that I shall not attack without provocation Adira Lily Potter and all the inhabitants of her body, Hermione Jean Granger, Ronald Billius Weasley, Javier Joaquin Mendoza, Neville Longbottom, or Luna Lovegood, nor direct others to attack them, until released from this oath by the word of Adira Lily Potter and all the inhabitants of her body, or their breaking of their oath. I also swear, again on pain of the Warlock's Flu, to not escalate any conflict I have with Adira Lily Potter and all the inhabitants of her body, Hermione Jean Granger, Ronald Billius Weasley, Javier Joaquin Mendoza, Neville Longbottom, or Luna Lovegood, swearing to use only whatever amount of force against them as is first used against me by them, until released from this oath by the word of Adira Lily Potter and all the inhabitants of her body, or their breaking of their oath. As I speak it, so mote it be!”

 

As it had with Adira's wand, the oath produced a glowing silver ribbon that formed a figure eight around him before dissipating.

 

“Good, that's done just in time for my next class, Potter. Good day to you, Potter.”

 

“Good day to you as well, Malfoy.”

 

They tore down the privacy spells, letting Malfoy leave. When he was gone, they switched back to Alastair for the rest of the day.

 

~

 

He thought about the upcoming detention for a time during transfiguration, but that didn't continue long before he had to concentrate on his work. But the others in his head kept thinking quietly. By the time class ended, Iliana had had a brainstorm. He went up to Professor McGonagall after class and got her attention.

 

“Yes, Mr. Potter, what is it?”

 

“Professor, Iliana had a thought just now. I know we can't do Quidditch tryouts on Saturday because of our detention, but couldn't we do them Sunday?”

 

She blinked a moment, then smiled. “An excellent idea, Potter. I'll reschedule them for Sunday after lunch. Please don't get any more detentions before then.”

 

“I'll try my best.”

 

“See that you do.”

 

~

 

Naturally, Ron and Al discussed his latest prophecy and what it meant during Herbology, since they didn't have a chance in Transfiguration.

 

“I have to say, as prophecies go, that one was pretty straight-forward,” Al said.

 

“It was?” asked Ron.

 

“Yeah. Not sure what it meant by 'bundle of sticks up to its old tricks,' but the 'faces of white in the night' are clearly Death Eaters. I think 'despair rattles air' means dementors. And the thing about magic beans is an obvious nod to the Muggle fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, so it's talking about the giants, there. Only unknown is the 'bundle of sticks' part. Kind of a useless prophecy, actually; didn't tell me much I didn't already know.”

 

Hermione, who had been listening, said thoughtfully, “'Bundle of sticks' sounds familiar for some reason... I think I read something about it, but I can't remember what it was.”

 

Al shrugged. “Only 'bundle of sticks' I know about is the word 'faggot,' which is a slur against gay men but also means 'a bundle of sticks' for some strange reason. I kinda doubt that's what the prophecy was referring to, though.

 

“Anyhoo, if I have time today, I'll tell Sirius about it. In fact, I'll just give him a written copy at dinner, he's usually there for meals.”

 

Ron chuckled at this. “It always amuses me seeing the rest of the original teachers' looks of anxiety whenever you and Sirius are in the same place together.”

 

“Me too, Ron, me too.”

 

~

 

Chandra went in at five pm that afternoon for the next detention, after Al gave Sirius a written copy of his most recent prophecy. As he walked to 'Sorrow and Enmity's' office, Chandra ran possible scenarios through his mind in an attempt to prepare the best responses.

 

He knocked on the door and was told to come in. He opened the door and walked in.

 

Silencio!” he heard her cry, and registered a split second later that she had her wand pointed at him. He tried to talk, and nothing came out.

 

~ Well that was not in any of my scenarios, ~ Chandra thought.

 

“Excellent, Mr. Potter. Now I won't have to listen to any clever back sass from you tonight. You will write 'I must not tell lies' until I tell you to stop. I will not be answering questions. If you speak, I will silence you again. Do you understand me?”

 

Chandra nodded.

 

Pleased with this, Umbridge lifted the silencing charm from him. He sat down at the provided chair and started writing with the quill that cut into his hand.

 

Again he did not give any sign of distress, and this time the feelings coming from Umbridge were mostly, at first, an annoyed resignation with an undertone of something more sinister that he couldn't identify right away. He examined the emotion a bit more carefully, and he thought it was an evil-flavored version of having finally accepted that some decision she'd been pondering was in fact the right one. Which was then followed by a twisted version of burgeoning hope, and eager anticipation. This worried him, but on further analysis, he decided that it was tinged with the emotional equivalent of her telling herself to be patient. So whatever it was wouldn't be happening right away.

 

The night was long and full of pain, silence, and an increasing difficulty ignoring the pain from the blood quill's function being abused. These quills were meant to be used only for certain magical contracts that, for whatever reason, required being signed in blood. Since there wasn't much call for that, she must have spent a small fortune procuring this one. He idly wondered what would happen if he 'accidentally' caught the quill on fire. But given she already seemed to be planning something, he decided to think about it a while first.

 

The skin on the back of Chandra's hand became irritated more quickly now and was soon red and inflamed. He thought it unlikely that it would keep healing as effectively for long. Soon the cut would remain etched into his hand and Umbridge would, perhaps, be satisfied. He let no gasp of pain escape him, however, and from the moment of entering the room to the moment of his dismissal, this time not til past midnight, he said nothing but 'goodnight'.

 

This of course left his homework situation a bit difficult, but nothing too horrible yet. He just hoped she wasn't going to be making a habit of keeping him this long, or they might fall behind in classes. But he needn't worry about that tonight. Not wanting to waste any more time, Chandra went to bed and was asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow.

 

~

 

The next morning – a Thursday, the Potters woke up as Adira. Having been kept up past midnight, they were a bit groggy this morning, not talking much because of it.

 

That afternoon was Defense Against the Dark Arts with Professor Sirius Black, who had been training to be an Auror before his unlawful imprisonment without a trial. This was the class anyone who knew Sirius was either looking forward to or dreading, depending on the exact contrast between how you wanted it to go and how it actually went.

 

Everyone was sitting in the classroom talking quietly, waiting for Sirius to arrive to start the class. Just a couple minutes passed before the door burst open with a bang and Sirius – wearing a black long-sleeved shirt and black trousers – leaped into the room with his wand out, shouted “EN GARDE!” and began casting Stinging Hexes wildly at the seated students.

 

Utter. Bedlam. Nothing like it had been seen since the incident where Lockhart had released a load of Cornish Pixies into the room. Students screamed, desks were overturned, ink bottles smashed, and books and parchment went flying as everyone reacted to this madman who was shooting hexes at innocent students.

 

Sirius barked with delighted laughter at their reactions, and said, without slowing down his barrage, “Tut, tut, this won't do! Fight back! Don't just react, act!”

 

A few people who had been coherent enough in the face of this onslaught to hear and process what he'd said did, in fact, manage to fight back, casting their own hexes at Sirius. Adira was especially vicious, letting Chandra use his special rapid-fire hex technique to put Sirius on the defensive, even making her godfather duck behind the teacher's desk to take potshots at them from around its corners.

 

Within minutes, there were so many voices shouting incantations in the room that it was impossible to pick any single voice out of the din. The scene strongly reminded Addy of movies about World War One, the scenes involving trench warfare and No Man's Land. But despite the fact that most of the students in the room were casting hexes toward the teacher, and despite the fact Addy was keeping Sirius on the defensive, it was pretty much doomed to be a stalemate unless she started to get creative .

 

With that in mind, the troops of the Potter collective rallied. Hypatia shot off an over-powered aguamenti that made it start to rain right above where Sirius was hiding – she heard him shouting about it as he scrambled to protect himself from the water. Then with their left hand, Zoey turned the whole floor on his side of the room into ice. Sirius shouted some more and scrambled for purchase, trying to get his wand in position to cast the counter-charm, but failing because he kept slipping on the ice.

 

Taking advantage of this, Adira stood up and slid across the ice, Stunning a shocked Sirius before he could lift his wand to defend himself.

 

“I got him!” she shouted. The other students began to cheer, some of them cautiously moving forward to make sure she was telling the truth.

 

Adira took stock of the aftermath, the room wrecked beyond belief, people's hair mussed; Hermione's already-difficult hair was looking wilder than Addy had ever seen it.

 

“He's a madman!” Seamus said, gesticulating wildly. “Attacking us like that, even Moody didn't do that! Take his wand away! Tie him up!”

 

Taking great delight in this, several students helped Adira disarm and tie up Professor Sirius Black and suspend him from the wall with a Sticking Charm, like a wrapped-up fly stuck on a spider's web. Only then did Adira wake him up with her wand.

 

His head jerked up and he made sleepy noises as he regained consciousness, looking around in confusion until he remembered what had happened. When he did, he grinned.

 

“You got me! Good job! But you lot had an unfair advantage with Adira here on your side.”

 

“What was the big idea, attacking us?” Dean demanded.

 

“Thought I'd make your first class memorable,” he said with a roguish grin. Or it may have been an impish grin.

 

“Well you certainly succeeded!” Dean responded. Everyone else nodded or muttered their agreement.

 

Sirius twitched; Adira thought he'd tried to shrug.

 

“Eh, what can I say? I'd heard for years about Moody's 'constant vigilance,' and thought I'd do something similar. Besides which, it kind of illustrates that most of you are pants at defending yourselves. I can tell by the number of Stinging Hexes that appear to have hit their mark. You lot, with the sting marks, you'd all be dead if I'd been a dark wizard trying to kill you. So in my class this year, you're going to learn how to defend yourself; whether one-on-one in a duel, or in a group dogfight like today.

 

“Now release me so I can clean this mess up and get to the actual lesson.”

 

Adira raised an eyebrow at him. “Hmm... I dunno, Professor Black, it might not be safe.”

 

Sirius raised his own eyebrow at Adira in response. “You know I can still take points away from you in this position, right?”

 

“Yes, you could. If we let you remain conscious.”

 

“I have to wake up eventually, Addy. And when I do, I can take points, give detentions, and other fun things.”

 

“Let me just ask you a question, Professor.”

 

“What is it?”

 

“If you'd been in my position during your school days, would you have let you go?”

 

When the laughter died down, Sirius said in a dignified manner, “I answer your question with another question: would you enjoy eating nothing but Brussels sprouts and gruel for the next month? I could easily arrange it.”

 

Adira laughed. “You win, then, Professor Black. Hermione, Ron, help me out here.”

 

Reluctantly, her friends helped her untie Sirius. When he was loose and he had his wand again, he used it to clean up the mess the dogfight had caused.

 

“Now, everyone in your seats. I'm going to spend the rest of the course outlining what we'll be doing this year, and I expect you to take very good notes as I do.”

 

~

 

Adira would've liked to have discussed Sirius's class with Ron, Hermione, and Neville, but she had a detention again tonight at 5 pm. So once more she didn't bother taking her book bag upstairs before going to dinner to bolt down some food.

 

This time, as she left the Great Hall for the detention, she felt Zoey shove both her and Chandra back, and take over the body, changing it to match her younger-looking form.

 

'What are you doing, Zoey?' Adira asked her inside their head.

 

* Protecting Chandra of course. Surely she won't hurt a little kid. *

 

'She's literally torturing a 15 year old teenager. And who knows who else she's doing this to?'

 

* Yeah but I'm only six. That's a lot different from hurting a teen. *

 

'Zoey, she doesn't think of us as our own people. She thinks we're a singlet who's pretending.'

 

* Well I don't see any of you lot comin up wif a better idea to deal wif her! *

 

'Chandra's tactic may not be getting to her anymore, but at least we're getting through these detentions.'

 

* But--- *

 

'No buts. She sees us like this, she'll probably grin evilly and say something like “Now Mr. Potter, pretending to be an innocent child won't work. I know you're not innocent, nor a small child.” Then she'll just do the blood quill anyway.'

 

(I could burn the quill,) Al said.

 

'She might have more. But... if not, that might work. She can't report us for destroying it, after all, as she'd have to explain how we knew she had it.'

 

% Yes, % said Iliana in an exasperated tone, % but she could just give us more detentions. Zoey, give Chandra the reigns before we get there. %

 

* No! I'm gonna try this. Gonna try my charming adorableness on her! If it don't work, then I'll give control back to Chandra. Alright? *

 

'Ugh, fine!' Adira said. The others all agreed.

 

So it was that Zoey – her hair in adorable braided pigtails and wearing a pink and sparkly Muggle dress – who opened the door into Umbridge's office and gave the woman a gap-toothed grin. Umbridge, sitting at her desk, looked at Zoey in a moment of confusion before apparently recognizing her somehow. She indeed smiled wickedly.

 

“Mr. Potter, I have heard all about your other disguises, including the infamous child prankster disguise. If you think I'm going to let you off easily tonight because of this, you are sorely mistaken.”

 

Zoey's face fell.

 

* What a poopy, doody-headed fart brain, * Zoey thought at the others.

 

As Umbridge continued to smirk at her, Zoey closed the door and let Chandra rise up again.

 

“Ah yes, the Indian persona. Tell me, Mr. Potter, have either of the Patil twins or any other Indian witches or wizards expressed upset at your offensive brown-face?”

 

Chandra glared at her. ~This one has no room to speak of being offensive,~ he thought.

 

(I'm honestly surprised she'd pay enough attention to that kind of thing to be able to ask that,) Al responded.

 

“I have spoken with the Patils,” Chandra said aloud. “On many occasions. They have never expressed any such sentiment, nor did their behavior indicate they were keeping such feelings hidden.”

 

“Hmm... well perhaps you should ask them sometime? But for now, come here, Mr. Potter.”

 

“Of course, Ms. Braithwaite.”

 

Umbridge blinked. Then she quickly recovered. “Mr. Potter, my name is Ms. Umbridge. Not Ms. Braithwaite.”

 

“And my name is Mr. Rahasyamay, not Mr. Potter. I will honor your name if you honor mine.”

 

She smiled wickedly again. “Mr. Potter, if you call me any name other than 'Ms. Umbridge,' I will give you an extra two weeks of detentions.”

 

“I find it peculiar that you have no problem referring to a certain dark wizard as 'Lord Voldemort' or 'You-Know-Who' when the man's birth name is Tom Marvolo Riddle, and yet you consistently call me by the wrong surname.”

 

Umbridge, now angry, opened her mouth to speak, but Chandra interrupted her. “I also assume, since you worked in the Ministry, that you have met Auror Tonks on at least one occasion. She is a metamorphmagus, as we have recently discovered we are as well. Since she was proclaimed a girl upon her birth, and has never – to my knowledge – said anything to contradict this, I presume you refer to her as such. However, being that she is a metamorphmagus, for all we know she may have had a penis before being born, and at some point before her birth may well have changed the arrangement of that area to reflect a female form. Or, in Muggle parlance, she may well be XY for all we know, and we only think of her as an XX female because she has changed her body to match what she wanted us to think.

 

“And yes, that is a fair bit of thought to attribute to an infant, but gender may well be instinctual or something like it. Not the point. The point is that when Adira or Iliana or Zoey are Out, the body we share changes to match them, and they are no more a 'Mister' than *you* are. And yet, you are consistently rude and offensive by referring to them as the wrong gender and names.

 

“Now for myself, being called Mr. Potter is only mildly annoying, for I am indeed of the Potter collective. But I have been trying to get you to realize how rude you are being. By all means, continue to be cruel in your punishments. You will doubtless reap what you have sown in time, so I am not concerned about that. But teacher or no, power of the Ministry behind you or no, it is expected to be polite in this society, and you are being terribly rude every time you refer to one of the girls by the wrong gender. How would you like it, Madam Umbridge, if I were to do that to you?”

 

“Why, Mr. Potter, I would give you more detentions if you were to do that.”

 

“Right. But I ask you this: what if your Minister Fudge were to one day decide that he had been known by the wrong gender this whole time, and became Madam Minister Fudge? Would you continue to be rude by mis-gendering him – or rather her – in that case? I very much doubt it. Because if nothing else, I doubt she would tolerate your insolence and would tell you in no uncertain terms to use the proper gender for her or else be fired.

 

“My point is that if it is rude to do that to your superior, it is equally rude to do it to underlings or others who answer to you.”

 

There was silence for almost a minute or two while she seemed to weigh whether or not she could justifiably give him more detention for pointing out how rude she was being. Finally, though, she did answer.

 

Silencio!” she said, her wand up and casting the spell before Chandra could react. He tried to talk, and nothing came out.

 

~ Here we go again, ~ Chandra thought.

 

(I'm surprised she let you prattle on that long before doing that,) Al said. (Maybe she was hoping you'd give her another excuse to give us more detentions?)

 

“Good, now there's that noise dealt with,” Umbridge said. “Mr. Potter, you will write 'I must not tell lies' until I tell you to stop. I will not be answering questions. I will not be un-silencing you. Do you understand me?”

 

Chandra nodded.

 

Umbridge smiled and went over to her own desk to sit down. Chandra sat down at the provided chair and started writing with the accursed black quill. Again, it cut into him and again, their blood was on the parchment.

 

Again he did not give any sign of distress, and again he was feeling concerning feelings from Umbridge. Whatever she was up to, he would very much not like. Worried about what she was planning, Chandra began slowly to let small signs and sounds of distress turn up, on the idea that if he appeased her desire for cruelty now, he might avoid something worse later. And it seemed to be working. She noticed the little signs of distress that he let leak through, and grinned maliciously at him.

 

Chandra did a good enough job that an hour before midnight, Umbridge checked his hand and in a pleased voice said he could go home early tonight, but would still need to return for Friday night and Saturday.

 

As he went back to Gryffindor, they thought to each other.

 

[I don't like the fact that she has our blood. There's no telling what she could do with it,] Hypatia said. The others agreed, but what could they do about it?

 

[There are ways. Granted, most of the blood she's got on the parchments is useless because it's dry, but who knows if she's siphoning it off or not while it's being extracted? That compulsion charm is a modification, who knows what other modifications she's made? Some magics don't easily show up to Chandra's psychometry, and we'd have to know what to look for anyway.]

 

It was clear something would have to be done. But what?

 

~

 

At midnight that night, Adira had fallen asleep. An hour later, Hypatia woke up for one of her nightly walks. It wasn't nice to the others, but she had a greater purpose for this trek. She didn't like the fact that their blood was being taken without their consent. Again. She was going to find out what she could do against that.

 

Obviously, Percy wasn't there anymore to hide behind, but there were other prefects, and anyway, she'd come up with a new tactic ever since figuring out they were a metamorphmagus. She knew the schedules of all the prefects. She was still working on memorizing their habits – they weren't as predictable as Percy had been. There was always Filch, but she doubted Mrs. Norris would be fooled by that. So instead she decided to go the Zoey route and became a cat.

 

Unlike Zoey, Hypatia's cat form was a gray cat that was just the right shade to blend into the darkness of the castle's shadows, but an adult cat. Big enough to give Mrs. Norris a run for her money if need be. Hypatia had suspicions that Mrs. Norris was a half-Kneazle mix like Crookshanks.

 

She popped out the portrait hole and shut it behind her. Then she sneaked through the shadows, sniffing around to make sure she didn't run into the scents of either Mrs. Norris or Professor McGonagall. To her surprise, she met nobody on her way to the library, unless you counted Sir Nicolas drifting through the corridor the way only a ghost could – coming out one wall and sliding into the opposite wall. But the ghost hadn't shown any sign of noticing her, so she continued on.

 

Getting inside the library without hands was a little bit more difficult. She had to use wandless magic to do it, and that took a few minutes to get done right. By comparison, closing the door was far easier, happening in seconds.

 

Once inside, she went back to human form, but Disillusioned herself since she hadn't been able to bring the invisibility cloak with her. She set to work, then, looking through the library with the techniques they'd learned from Cedric last year. Using that, she quickly found what she was looking for, and once she'd confirmed it had the information she needed, she used her wand to copy the pages she needed, folding them up and putting them in a pocket. She kept looking for some more things, but she'd apparently already got the best answer. Even checking the Restricted Section – sneaking in easily as a cat, she didn't find anything else better.

 

When she got back to their dorm, she copied the information into a notebook in case the conjured pages were to fade. She then set the notebook on top of their trunk where it would be obvious, before going back to sleep in Adira's form of their body.

 

 

Endnotes: LOL, I loved writing Sirius's class! I didn't know how Sirius's class would be until I got to that point in the story, and OMG that was fun!

 

Heh, and that bit where Adira slipped up and called Malfoy “Draco” was a total mistake on my part, but instead of correcting it, I just kept it because Hypatia keeps thinking of him as Draco, and with her being more social with the others now, it makes sense they'd slip up now and then. :)

 

Short chapter I know, but I had to write three versions of this before I was satisfied with it. First version was really dark and painted me into a corner. Second version had Umbridge out of the school in less than a week of school starting, and there was more I wanted to do with the Umbitch that I wouldn't be able to do with that version.