Unofficial Portkey Archive

The Perils of Innocence by puck_nc

The Perils of Innocence


Disclaimer: If you recognize the character, it isn't mine. Just playing in Rowling's sandbox.

Isn't it nice when one has a long holiday break? When one actually has plenty of time for all the things? Thanks to everyone for putting up with my vile and evil cliffie there. As always, trust that this story is not abandoned and more chapters will arrive as I manage to get them written. Thank you to everyone who continues to read, fave/follow, recommend and review.

Reminder: I'm on Twitter under "avidbeader" if you are reading this on a guest account and would prefer to get your notifications of a new chapter that way. I promise I won't be spamming. I'm also on Tumblr under the same name; it's mostly for my own fannish glee but I have begun posting there with the tag "perils of innocence by avidbeader".


31 October 1991

Sirius saw the screams coming and quickly silenced the room before Harry could frighten those downstairs even further. He then returned to trying to stabilize the girl. She was not only thoroughly splinched, but had drained her magical stores almost to the breaking point. He cast a temporary link between her and himself to allow her to draw on his magic just to stay alive. As her breathing became less shallow, he turned to Harry and seized his shoulders, shaking him slightly to break off his terrified cries.

"You're going to be okay. We can fix this. I've already sent for help. I'm going to numb the pain and then you can tell me what happened." Sirius cast a pain-blocking charm that Frank Longbottom had shared with him long ago, one that the aurors found very handy. Some colour returned to Harry's face and he drew a steadying breath. He looked to the girl at his side.

"Do Hermione, too!"

Sirius was about to explain that while unconscious Hermione would not be feeling any pain, but the pleading look in those green eyes stopped him. He repeated the charm and noticed that the girl's muscles seemed to relax slightly. The pull on his magic also seemed to slow down. He was about to ask Harry to tell him the story when footsteps sounded down the hallway and Pippa, the red-haired nurse, appeared in the doorway.

"Mr. Black, the doctors asked me to come up and check on you. We think there was a really bad accident out on the carriageway-" She stopped and her mouth dropped open at the sight before her. "Harry? Hermione? Oh my god, what happened to you?"

Harry held out a hand toward her and she rushed in, crouching down next to him and gathering him in her arms. Harry's control crumbled and he began to cry, clinging to his first friend as she stroked his hair and murmured in his ear.

A series of sharp pops had Pippa pulling Harry protectively closer, but Sirius breathed a sigh of relief at the arrival of Amelia Bones and a pair of wizards, one in Healers' green and the other in the blue robes that marked him as a member of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad. The Healer began scanning Hermione with his wand while the other wizard addressed Sirius.

"Any idea where the other parts of the children are?"

Harry gulped and lifted his head from Pippa's shoulder. "Hogwarts. The girls' toilet on the ground floor. There was a troll attacking her and the only thing I could think of was trying to get us away."

The man's eyebrows rose and he looked at Amelia. "Those wards were supposed to be altered to the modern type decades ago! I remember the discussion during Dippet's time as headmaster and he promised to make the changes!"

Amelia's expression hardened. "I will see to it personally that Dumbledore corrects that before the week is out. And I think it will be faster if I go and set the beacons on their limbs. Which way do you want to send them, Halley? Isn't it easier to send them back to the point of origin?"

"No!" Harry struggled against his immobile knees and Pippa grabbed him to keep him from falling. "There was a troll in the toilet! It was attacking us! You can't send us back!"

After one wide-eyed glance at Halley, Amelia knelt next to Harry in order to be at eye level with him. "Take a deep breath. Then tell me what happened, slowly."

Harry obeyed and began, "Just after we came in to dinner, we were looking for Hermione. Then Professor Quirrell ran in, shouting about a troll in the dungeon. Dumbledore told the prefects to lead the students back to the dormitories. A couple of Hufflepuff girls came over to tell us that Hermione was in the girls' toilet, so Dean and I went to find her since she didn't know about the troll. One of the girls was related to you, I think? Susan Bones? She seems nice." He looked up at Amelia with a slight smile on his face. His eyes were dilated and he seemed to be looking through her rather than at her.

Pippa put a hand to his face. "He's cold. I think he's going into shock, but we can't move him to lay him down."

Amelia had also seen the signs and quietly got the Healer's attention. "Myrist, have you got a Calming Draught on you?"

The Healer paused in his work on Hermione and dug into a deep pocket, passing her a vial. Amelia uncorked it and handed it to Harry. "Here, drink this."

Pippa put out a hand. "Wait, just what is that?"

"A potion to alleviate the symptoms. It will steady him emotionally and regulate his heartbeat and breathing."

The nurse's eyes narrowed, but she helped Harry down the liquid. For good measure, Amelia cast a charm to warm him. After a moment, Harry was breathing more steadily and continued.

"Dean and I split up and I found Hermione first. The troll had got in and was trying to hit her with its club, but she had a shield up. It broke the shield but I managed to stick it to the wall. Hermione passed out when the shield broke. I was trying to pull her out, but the troll was getting loose again. Dean came in and I shouted at him to go get help. Then the troll was coming at us again and all I could think of was wishing we were somewhere safe. Then we were here."

"So I'll be safe enough going into the front entrance, if someone already notified the professors where the troll was. Good lad, Harry. We'll get it all sorted now." She stood and looked at Pippa. "If he looks like he might nod off, it'll be all right. Typical side effect."

Harry blinked and nuzzled into Pippa's side, watching as the wizard in green continued to wave his wand over Hermione.

Halley pulled out a pair of stone discs decorated with intricate carvings. Harry now knew enough about magic to recognize runes. Halley cast a spell to duplicate the discs, then made one pair glow a soft green and the other a sunny gold. With one more wave of his wand, two of the discs split again to make groups of three in each colour. He took one of each and handed the rest to Amelia. "Green for her, gold for him. One on each part, the ehwaz rune against the skin. We'll begin the rejoining when you return." He patted Harry on the shoulder. "Good show, lad. You at least got the both of you out of there."

Harry nodded at him, feeling more distanced from everything around him. In a flat voice, he said, "I hope Dean's all right."

"I'll check on that while I'm there." With that, Amelia Apparated away with yet another loud pop.

Pippa shook her head. "It's going to be chaos downstairs."

Sirius came to sit on Harry's other side. "It should be all right. I silenced the room just after they arrived."

"Silenced it?"

"That's right. No one can hear what's going on in this room until I lift the spell."

Pippa shook her head and fell into contemplation, stroking Harry's hair and watching Hermione.


Minerva would normally be at the front of any charge to the rescue of her lion cubs, but they were mob-handed as Dumbledore led the way to the girls' toilet. She hung back slightly, keeping Dean to her side as the boy was close to hysterics.

They heard the guttural roars of the troll well ahead of them. Rounding the final corner, they saw the beast emerge from the toilet, slamming its club furiously into the walls. Dumbledore halted the group.

"Filius, try to disrupt its footing. Aurora, see if you can separate it from its club. Severus, the strongest mental attack you can muster. Everyone else, stunning spells on my command."

Minerva kept Dean to her side but pulled out her wand to add to the support. Trolls were notoriously difficult to subdue.

"Now!" At Dumbledore's shout, the spells began flying. The floor was coated in a sheet of ice, causing the troll to slip. Professor Sinistra Vanished the club, throwing it further off balance as the weight of the club disappeared. A number of red spells connected and the beast crashed down.

Dean took off the minute the professors lowered their wands. "Harry! Hermione!"

Minerva went after him, afraid of what might be waiting for them in that toilet. Dean charged in and within seconds her fears were confirmed as the boy began screaming. She burst in, steeling herself.

She bumped into him and embraced him, trying to hide his view before she absorbed the fact that there was no blood anywhere. Then she realised what she was seeing and understood Dean's reaction. She knelt and put a hand to either side of his face to make him focus on her, ignoring the others as they crowded in.

"Sh, it's all right, it really is. They've only managed to splinch themselves. We'll find the rest of them and put them back together. I promise you, Dean, they'll be all right."

She began getting through to him and he stopped trying to get away. He drew deep, ragged breaths and glanced again fearfully at the display of three legs and an arm. "That…that's normal? That's something you people really do?"

Minerva stifled a laugh at that and pulled him into her arms again. "Not willingly, trust me. I'm told it hurts something terrible when it happens. Have you heard of a magical method of travel called Apparition?"

He nodded, trembling as the adrenalin began to leave. "Yeah, that git who showed us where to shop mentioned it. Harry did it accidentally when he was five."

Dumbledore had been listening and made as if to speak, but Minerva glared at him and he retreated.

"So Harry must have tried to Apparate himself and Hermione to safety. He might have thought of the common room or your dormitory since no one can Apparate into or out of Hogwarts. We'll have the prefects begin searching. But because he tried to take her with him, he splinched them. Like I said, it happens regularly when one learns how to do it or when one is careless or in too much of a hurry. We can fix it." She pulled him close once more and this time he allowed it. "It's all going to work out."

"Until the next time one of those things gets in."

Minerva pulled back at that and looked into his eyes. "There has not been a case of any dangerous creature getting into the castle for decades. We will take steps to make sure this doesn't happen again, I assure you."

Whatever response Dean had was lost as Hagrid came in, booming, "Make way! Got Director Bones 'erself, says she's here to help fix 'Arry and 'Ermione? What's happened?"

Dumbledore stepped forward. "Madame Bones? How did you get here so quickly?"

She brushed him aside, moving to lift cuffs and find bare skin for the beacons. "The rest of your two students are at a location where Sirius Black is recuperating from his imprisonment in Azkaban. I have a member of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad ready to re-join them there and a Healer standing by."

"They…they managed to get through the wards?" Dumbledore's face paled at the implications.

"They did get through, but the wards did what they were designed to do and splinched them. It seems that Dippet was advised to change them when the modern type of ward was invented but never did. You and I will be making those changes tomorrow, Headmaster."

He nodded, recovering his composure. A misguided attempt at Apparition was much easier to handle than the possibility that Harry Potter had the strength to force his way through wards powered by Hogwarts herself.

Amelia stood and dusted off her hands. "I agreed that they would appear at the other location because Mr Potter was afraid the troll was still here. And the Healer is there and ready to assist the girl."

"What's wrong with her?" Dean demanded.

"I don't know for sure, but I would guess magical exhaustion. Mr Potter described her as holding a visible shield against the troll - see where her wand fell when she collapsed? Maintaining a shield of any kind, much less one strong enough to be seen, takes a great deal of magical power. Now, I need to get back to the gates so I can return. I'll let them know I'm on my way-"

"Wait, Director!" Dumbledore held out an arm. "Fawkes!"

Most of the others in the toilet jumped as a gout of flames appeared, taking the shape of a large golden bird on the headmaster's arm.

"Cor…" Dean breathed.

"Fawkes, would you kindly take Director Bones, Professor McGonagall and…" He paused, catching Minerva's eye. "Mr Thomas?" At her nod, he continued. "Take them to Director Bones' destination, please. You three, gather around and grasp one of his tail feathers, but gently."

Amelia gave Dumbledore a long, assessing look. "Thank you, Headmaster. I greatly appreciate this." She raised her wand and concentrated, sending a silvery Patronus message out to Sirius to alert the others of their unconventional arrival.

The three of them gathered around. Dean looked admiringly at the Phoenix and dared to stroke its chest before taking the feather. Fawkes trilled and then swept them all up in a torrent of fire.


Sirius conjured one last comfortable chair in the parlour as Dr Greene carried in a tray of various bottles. Pippa followed with a second tray of glasses. Sirius added a quick table for them and both women hesitated briefly. Pippa gave one of the legs a kick before setting her tray down on the table. Sirius grinned at her and with a flourish cast a Silencing Charm around the room so the others could Apparate in and out easily.

Dr Aymler entered and did a quick count. "Twelve chairs? I thought there were only nine of us?"

Sirius stowed his wand in a wrist holster and pulled down his sleeves. "You'll probably want Director Bones here to answer questions and I thought having the Healer and the Magic Reversal Squad member available might be more efficient."

Minerva popped into view with an explosive blast, holding onto the frazzled Grangers. "I'll be back with the Thomases in a few minutes - they needed more time to arrange a sitter for the children." She Disapparated again.

"Can someone please tell us what is going on?" Viola ran a hand over herself as if checking that she was still in one piece. Sirius covered his mouth with one hand to try and prevent the laughter. He was reasonably certain that Viola would not appreciate the irony of her gesture.

Dr Greene led the parents down the hall and across to the wing with the children's quarters. Opening a door, she let them look in. Both the Grangers smiled at the sight of Harry and Hermione deeply asleep, side by side in a large bed, and Dean dozing on a chaise beside the bed. A man in green robes was running his wand above Hermione and nodding. He looked up and shot a thumbs-up with an encouraging smile.

Dr Greene remembered what Sirius had said. "I'll send Pippa in to relieve you. I imagine we'll have questions that only you can answer." He nodded and she led the Grangers back.

Minerva had returned with the Thomases, and Dr Greene repeated the trip with them so they could see that Dean was safe. Once all the adults were settled with a soothing beverage in hand, they began eying the faces unfamiliar to them.

Minerva took a deep breath and stood. She made a very quick round of introductions and then began. "We gathered you here tonight because of a very serious incident that came close to causing serious harm to your children. I will be visiting the other parents in our group this weekend to bring them up to date as well. I apologize for the need to move you so quickly, but thought discretion and speed were the priority.

"Tonight a troll managed to get inside the castle. And yes, I mean a troll. There are different breeds but this one was a twelve-foot mountain troll. They are rather slow and stupid, but incredibly strong. It is difficult to bring them down unless one is part of a team. We don't know yet how it managed to get inside, but will be investigating thoroughly and strengthening the school's defences.

"One of the teachers informed us just as dinner was beginning. Hermione was not in the hall at the time, but in the girls' toilet. Harry and Dean went to search for her, sending another student to inform a professor. They found Hermione, trapped by the troll, and Harry sent Dean back while he tried to help Hermione. Harry tried to use a form of magical travel called Apparition, which is how I brought you all here. However, the school has wards against that method of travel for security reasons. The result was what we call splinching, where part of the person is left behind and the other part moves to the destination."

"Oh my god! How much blood did he lose?" Viola nearly dropped her glass and Robert shifted to take it from her.

"Actually splinching does not cause blood loss. The wizard is simply stuck in both places, unable to move. The nerves do react to the separation with great pain, however. But as you saw, we are able to reverse such situations and have done so with Harry and Hermione."

"Hermione, too?"

"Harry was trying to take her with him to safety. Hermione's situation was further complicated by the fact that she had exhausted much of her magical power defending herself from the troll. Mr. Black here was able to stabilize her by creating a channel that allowed her to draw on his magic. Healer Myrist, am I correct in stating that he probably saved her life?"

The green-robed wizard nodded. "I think that is a fair assumption."

The Grangers immediately turned to Sirius, who held up a hand. "Glad to help. Anything for one of Harry's friends."

Minerva sipped her drink, a rather nice Scotch from Aymler's stock. She made a note to ask him for the name of the distiller. "At this point all three children are safe and being allowed to sleep. I will be sending you the full report from Myrist along with my notes to help explain anything that might be unclear. As tomorrow is Friday and the children will not miss more than a few classes, I had thought to let them either remain here or go home for the weekend."

Aymler smiled. "I think we're growing on you, Professor. That is exactly what I would suggest."

At this point Amelia Bones stood. "I would like to add my assurances that I will be spending tomorrow with the headmaster to change the wards so that Apparition no longer results in splinching. Most of our wards simply prevent it from happening now. I'll also be looking everything over to help prevent another situation like tonight's from happening again."

Minerva looked around the room. "Are there any other questions I can answer?"

The Grangers and Thomases shook their heads. Andrea Thomas replied, "You've answered all the questions I could think of already. Thank you very much for being so forthcoming."

Minerva privately sighed in relief as they broke up into smaller groups, with the Grangers asking more questions of the Healer. As the atmosphere shifted from formal to casual, she sipped some more from her drink. Aymler moved to stand beside her.

"That went better than anything we deserved."

He shrugged, stroking his moustache with a thumb and forefinger. "You did the best possible thing in being fully honest. It was a situation not of your making but you reacted in full support of the children. We'll talk with all three of them this weekend, start helping them deal with the trauma. And it gives Harry a chance to meet Sirius."

Minerva smiled at that. "I'm glad something good is coming out of this mess."


Author's Note: Thank you as always for reading!