Ianthe Dorea Potter frowned at the group of students in front of her, shoving a hand through thick, tangled auburn hair. There were not as many as she had hoped. And more Slytherins then she had expected besides. She had already broken up three fights between them and her own housemates, and it hadn’t even been twenty minutes.
Still, they had come to her for teaching, and Ianthe would teach them well or not at all. She’d have to set down some ground rules however, or nothing would be done. Not with so many clashing temperaments and the prejudice between not only the Houses, but the Purebloods and First Gens in the group.
Ianthe scowled, green eyes narrowing. She’d not wanted to do this in the first place . Curse Hermione Granger and her logic. But especially the foul stain on the human race that called herself Umbridge and the Ministry. She wouldn’t have had to teach anyone if the woman would only do her job rather than try to sink the Ministry’s claws into Hogwarts.
Or even if Dumbledore would just hire competent teachers, blasted fool. They were on the verge of war and still he did not see to it that his students could protect themselves. That pink toad was torturing his students right under his nose and either he was not observant enough to notice or he did nothing.
It was left for herself to do, as it had always been.
Ianthe flicked her wand sharply, a loud crackling snap echoing over the room. Silence fell as nervous and excited chatter ceased and all eyes to turn to stare at the Girl Who Lived.
“Those of you who are here,” she began silkily, in steely tones, “came willingly to me so that I could teach you what Umbridge will not. I’ve told you before that Voldemort,” almost every single person standing in front of her flinched and Ianthe inwardly despaired, but she continued strongly, “has returned- I don’t care if you believe me or not. I will tell you now, I am training those of you who stand with me, those who stay here, regardless of your choice or belief, to fight for war. I will train you to survive, to win.”
Ianthe paused a moment and raised her voice a bit higher, hardening her tone and standing resolute as she stared into the crowd. Most of them were children, but that had never saved her. At least, at the end of this, they would have a greater chance of survival than she did. At least they had someone to help them.
“When you fight somebody, I expect that person to stay down. They will not get the chance to stand up and go after another one of you, one who might not be able to withstand their attack without injury or loss of life. I want you to end fights.”
She pauses a moment to let that sink in, and then hardens her voice further in warning and with determination flashing in her eyes.
“I will not be gentle, I will not coddle you for your name, status or even your age. If you stand before me, you are simply a magic user and nothing more. It is my job to ensure your survival as soldiers in this war. You will not be defenseless victims who stood helpless as your friends and family were killed before your eyes. This is the Defense Association and I will teach you to fight, with your wand and without it, with your wits, your mind, your body and in anyway you can. If you cannot abide by those facts, and my rules that you will leave. Understood?”
Silence as both uneasy and determined glances were exchanged. There were soft agreements and scattered declarations.
Ianthe’s voice lashed over the murmurs like a whip, “Understood?!”
“Yes Ma’am!” The room responded, spines straightening reflexively.
In the short silence as the noise died down, the Weasley twins were clearly heard as they snapped their heels together and saluted, their voices perfectly in sync as they shouted, “By your command, General Potter!”
“Good,” her smile was sly and dangerous, as she raised her wand towards the people standing before her.
“Then let us begin.”
It’s not as if the Professors don’t care about them. They do. Even Snape, although the potions master expresses it by hurtling abuse and dishing out punishments, but she knows exactly why he can look at her and see the woman he loved and the man who tormented him throughout his Hogwarts years. Ianthe can tell from the photos Hagrid gifted her that she looks more like her mother, but she sees her father’s expressions on her face often enough.
Still, she notices exactly how many medicinal potions randomly appear in student’s hands. She doesn’t miss how Snape’s lessons shift to potions that will be extremely useful in the upcoming conflict. She will never not hate him for what he’s done to Neville (the boy who listened to his parents being tortured and yet the one whose boggart takes the shape of his potion’s teacher), or the fact he seems incapable of moving on from his own hate of James Potter, but…
He’s a bastard, but he’s not evil. Or at least, he’s not anymore.
He helps in his own way, even if that is a tough and handsoff way.
It’s better than McGonagall's brief warning of keep your head down , and it’s better than Dumbledore’s absences and the way all the other Professors have suddenly gone blind, deaf and dumb. Including Filius Flitwick who still doesn’t know exactly how bad the bullying in his House is, who has allowed it to continue on one of his ravens.
Regardless, there are no adults she can fully trust in Hogwarts. Not even Hagrid, as much as Ianthe loves him. He’s Dumbledore’s man, through and through. And he can’t keep a secret to save a life.
Umbridge continued her reign of terror. Ianthe continued training, Hermione continued researching spells, charms, potions, anything of use, and Ron had shifted his talent at chess to apply it to actual battlefield tactics.
They were beginning to become an unit. Styles were melding, and fighting styles were being forged in practice and repeated use. Ianthe lets the corner of her mouth lift even as she watched the crowd of students- her soldiers now- flow together through various stances. She lets it continue for a moment before she snaps out a number without warning.
The group drops to the floor, and begins an army crawl across the Room of Requirement even as the layout changes and shifts under their bodies.
While there had been some issues between the older Gryffindors and Slytherins, they were quickly resolved with a screaming match that revealed exactly how scared the snakes were that Voldemort would be torturing and killing their siblings or any other loved members of their family. Some had even said they hoped one or both of their parents would never come home.
That was when some of the reality of their situation sank in.
Ianthe got up to address the entire room on how abuse was still abuse, even if you weren’t physically hurt.
Emotional and mental counted as well. After all, the love for one’s parent was something that lingered even if they did not deserve it. The stunned and horrified looks on most of the faces in the crowd gave Ianthe hope that next generation of Gryffindors and Slytherins would be drastically different than the ones she knew.
She had been so proud, the first time she’d seen her own defending each other in the halls from the students who had not followed her into the DA. There were others that began to join. Ravenclaws with stacks of books on battle magics and spells for healing, for infiltration and everything a budding army could need. Some read the signs and decided they would not fight for Dumbledore, who either did not or could not protect them even in the supposedly ‘Safest Place on Earth’. Hufflepuffs rallied and slipped in two and three at a time, all with a grim set to their mouths and a determined gaze. For Cedric Diggory, they say fiercely enough, before adding, for Hogwarts.
The DA grows, as does what she teaches. She has them running around the Room, sparring an opponent or three until they all drop to the floor, panting and dripping with sweat. And she still flings Stupify at them. She teaches them to produce a corporeal Patronus, shows them how to always carry their wand and a dagger hidden on their person. She stands in the center of the room, hunches her shoulders and bows her head, saying, this is how you appear to be defeated and this is how you show adults you are nothing and have them believe it.
She develops a saying based on the school’s motto. Hogwarts’ Coat of Arms warned one not to tickle a sleeping dragon- and standing together, united in a single cause, they are the dragon.
Ianthe’s voice echoes over the room, and suddenly the muddy landscape her soldiers had been crawling through changes and the students drop straight into a lake, its waters cold and murky.
Bless the Room of Requirement and all its many uses. She only hopes her use of it would prepare them all enough for whatever this war could throw at them.
It was a day of self study, when Ianthe was approached by one of the younger years, Marietta Edgecombe. Her hair had been shorn off at an awkward angle, obviously a botched attempt at dodging a cutting curse of some kind, and her face was the very picture of misery.
Ianthe’s eyes were warm as she looked down at the young one.
“Why…” the little Ravenclaw paused “Why do we- do I- have to do this? I’m not...I’m only twelve. I shouldn’t need to do this.”
And Ianthe can see the tenseness in her shoulders, the helpless anger in her eyes. She kneels down to bring herself closer to the girl’s level even as she runs her answer over in her head.
“It’s not fair, I know.”
Ianthe’s voice is soft, but it carries around the room to all ears inside, “I would not teach you if I did not think you would need it. But Voldemort doesn’t care about age. That was proven when he went after me as a baby. That was the day I stopped being a child in truth. I was handed to my muggle family and treated like a house elf. When I was introduced to Hogwarts and magic in general, I thought everything would be better.”
Mari blinked up in surprise and a little confusion.
“It- it wasn’t?”
Ianthe’s mouth firmed.
“In my first year, I ended up killing my Defense Teacher in self-defense and Dumbledore praised me for it. He then promptly forgot about it and left me to deal with the aftermatch. ”
Granted, Voldemort was sticking out of the back of Professor Quirrell’s head, but it’s the principle of the matter.
“It’s not fair, but I have been where you are standing now, and I wished many times that someone had taught me something . And as each year passed, all the way until this year, I was tested by Dumbledore over and over again with higher difficulty every time. Now we’ve come to this. Voldemort lives again with the goal of wiping out all of wizardkind that does not match his ideals of ‘perfect’. This means all half-bloods and muggleborn will be killed, along with the purebloods that stand in his way. Your mother works in the Ministry, doesn't she, Mari?”
The wide eyed twelve year old nods in agreement, a touch of guilt on her face.
“Do you know, when someone wants to declare war against a nation, what is the first place they would likely strike?”
A moment of silence passes before Marietta gives her a hesitant answer of, “The...Ministry?”
Ianthe’s eyes are dark and serious when she nods.
“Yes, the Ministry. The government. This fact makes this your war just as much as my own,” her eyes lift to dart around the silent room, taking in all the gazes that watch her, all the ears that listen, “which makes this our war, because people like your mother are targets not for anything she has done, but for what she is. Because she was born to a muggle and a witch. That would also make your children a target, because you yourself are a halfblood.”
Ianthe paused in the heavy stillness of the Room.
“Do you understand, Mari?”
The little girl is staring at her, eyes fixated on her, with a dawning understanding mixed with an ever familiar anger, when she nods her head whispering, “Yes General, I understand.”
Ianthe has given up on the DA calling her anything else, so she simply nods in acceptance and stands to her feet.
“I would not wish this on you, on any of you, but war is upon us so I will teach you to survive it to the best of my abilities
She had warned them often enough: war is upon us. Voldemort has risen. He’ll come to finish what he started. Be prepared, they’re coming and no one will save you.
She’d told them thousands of times, run them through their paces over and over until their very bones quaked with exhaustion and there she was, running each exercise with them by their side. All of them had seen each other, Gryffindor and Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, they had all seen one another collapsed to the ground in defeat, tears on their cheeks. They had witnessed their victories, when their opponents fell to their wand, to their plan and won . No longer were they divided Houses, rather trusted allies and comrades.
Despite that, she’s not too certain most of her soldiers understand that until the first attack happens in Diagon Alley. Shops are torn and raided, windows shattered, people hurt or dead, or worse, vanished without a trace. The dark mark sits in the sky, a stark reminder of a once bygone symbol of terror come back to haunt the older generations.
The Owls deliver it at the morning meal and while many focus their attention to the destruction showcased on the front page of the Daily Prophet , Ianthe watches Umbridge. She watches as the expression steals over her face, the way her emotions change and oh. She’s not pleased at this challenge to the Ministry, but Dolores Umbridge approves of the Voldemort’s methods and deaths of muggleborns and half-bloods alike.
She is sullen and angry when the DA file into the Hog’s Head where she has called them. Not all have come, but their sparring partners are carrying enchanted mirrors. Some are bruised or have visible scabbed over cuts, but most are unharmed, although their limbs shake. Still, when they see her, soot on her cheeks and emerald eyes flashing and narrow, they straighten sharply and meet her eyes with their own shoulders squared.
“It has begun,” she whispers as loud as a shout, “and we will not let this stand.”
So begins the various raids and plots of the Defense Association.
Ianthe had not planned this when she trained these students to survive, but she supposed she should have known it would happen. It is not Ianthe that demands they go out and stop the raids and attacks of Death Eaters, no, it is the DA themselves that look to her and ask, ‘How can we help?’.
The first step is a uniform. A way to hide their identity to protect friends and family. Faces could be counted, not figures in uniforms unless they stood directly in one’s line of sight.
Someone calls out dragonhide and an idea hits Ianthe like a frying pan to the face. In the Chamber of Secrets lies the corpse of a thousand year old Basilisk and all of its shed skin. How strong would its hide be? How much of it would still be there?
Ginny Weasley steps up and shouts her brother Bill works for the goblins, they would pay for Basilisk parts and that would be enough to fund them for enough armor for all of them, wouldn’t it?
The second step is supplies.
It’s Neville Longbottom who says he can get all the ingredients to a great many potions for healing, disguise and other uses to help the war effort.
Lee Jordan and the Weasley twins pipe up with identical smirks, offering their talents and skills in potions and creativity to do anything asked of them. Communication and ways to move unseen, leave that to us, they grin slyly.
It’s Blaise Zabini who steps up and says he’ll be willing to feed them information from Voldemort’s supporters in his House, in exchange for him telling a few Slytherins who would be willing to help them if our dear General doesn’t mind training them.
Daphne Greengrass stands beside him and holds out a list of every loyal Death Eater in Hogwarts. On the back are the names of those who don’t exactly agree with the Dark Lord, but comply for the sake of their loved ones.
It’s Luna Lovegood who says she can get the word out, the truth for those who look, instead of letting the Daily Prophet print as they please.
Fourth: Strategies and exit plans.
Hannah Abbott rises to her feet and declares they must have guidelines to adhere to, code words and phrases to indict certain situations and actions needed to take to catch the enemy unaware.
The teenagers in their last year, or second to last year volunteer to recruit competent witches and wizards to the fight when they leave. They also express their concerns about the muggleborns and half-bloods who are living in the Wizarding World. We’ll warn them and get them out, if need be, they say.
It’s the children who can’t run as fast or shoot off spells as quickly as the older ones do who volunteer to bring extra bedding and long-term, non-perishable food. It’s these children who insist they’re going to search for all the secret passages for going in and out of Hogwarts itself. Those who are a little bit older, but no less young, ask for training on how to heal injuries.
Ianthe stands with Ron and Hermione, ever loyal and steadfast by her side as they stare at all the schoolchildren gathered in back room of the Hog’s Head. She cannot deny a part of her is proud, so very proud of every soul there. But she is also sad and it hurts to know that she cannot regret this even if she knows the last traces of innocence in their eyes won’t last very long from here.
The DA members bring suggestions to her and demand plots and answers. So Ianthe finds herself holding War Councils around a Round Table, opening discussions, taking opinions and requests into account. Ianthe that finds herself slowly taking the role of ‘Queen’ without even realizing.
Someone finds swords decorated with House symbols and colors in the Room of Hidden Things.Those are gifted to the most prominent members ( Ianthe does not mention the Sword of Gryffindor ). Eventually the Round Table is fitted with high back wooden chairs. From those there are cushions, furs and cloaks of rich crimson, emerald, sapphire and citrine that hang from them. Cloak pins of silver, gold, bronze and onyx pin them in place. Eventually, every member of the DA acquires one. Along with a single golden Galleon as a simple means of discrete communication, from Hermione Granger herself.
An army comes together, with matching uniforms made of Basilisk skin, each member equipped with support, training and a plan of action. Ianthe plots, strikes back, and makes a third side to the war that becomes very appealing to many others over time. More join her. Most are teenagers and adults barely into their twenties. All of them claim a muggleborn as friend or family or a hate of the Dark Lord.
Ianthe reveals Tom Marvolo Riddle for the half blood son of a muggle and a squib he is and the purebloods are furious. Information is power after all and she is the one who knows Lord Voldemort best.
The Defense Association successfully fights back against older, more experienced opponents, even as it grows in the shadows, hidden under the nose of Umbridge herself.
No one has taken a life, but Ianthe expects that to change soon.
However, the war doesn’t truly start until the day she dreams of Sirius screaming as Voldemort laughs in delight in the echoes of the haze of her mind.