Harry Potter had been missing for over a year. The Boy Who Lived, the Man Who Saved Us -- gone. Vanished off the battlefield.
There were whispers that he had simply chosen to die, his job done. His friends - the rest of his Trio, those closest to them, their families - denied that idea and pushed for a search, searched themselves, researched every spell they could come up with.
Harry remained missing.
The wizarding world whispered and muttered, but when even Rita Skeeter had to admit, honestly and without subterfuge, that there was a problem:
WHO STOLE THE GOLDEN BOY?
WHY DOESN'T THE MINISTRY CARE?
WHAT ARE THEY HIDING?
-- the world outside of Britain began to take notice.
And then. A notice. A notice delivered at the same time to a select handful of people:
Ron and Hermione, Molly and Arthur, Minerva; Luna and Neville and of course Ginny; the Minister of Magic; the Associate Minister of Foreign Relations: Africa.
(Said Associate Minister was so startled that she nearly shot through the roof of her tiny cupboard of an office.)
The notices came delivered by African green pigeons, rolled up tidily like any message. But when they were unrolled --
The sheer metal sheet, no thicker than a piece of paper, presented a moving picture -- nothing surprising there -- of a handsome black man in African dress (the Associate Minister of African Affairs noted that it looked Kenyan, but not quite) with his arm around a smiling -- genuinely smiling -- and thin but happy-looking Harry Potter.
And then the moving picture began to speak.
"Hello to Harry's friends and those who may be interested. I am Prince T'Challa of Wakanda."
Arthur Weasley dropped his missive. Hermione tried to run for a library while still listening to the message. Neville gaped.
"I have found and, ah-"
"Rescued," Harry offered, looking abashed but not upset.
"Rescued, yes, this young man. And while I am eager to reunite him with his friends and chosen family, the rescue involved a marriage of the ancient wizarding sort." Now grinning, both men held up their hands, bedecked with a series of rings. "And thus I must warn your Ministry that I am coming to your nation with entourage. I look forward to visiting your Ambassador to Wakanda."
"Bloody brilliant," Ron breathed. "Bloody -- insane. Outed himself as a wizard, outed Harry as liking blokes, outed himself as liking blokes, and called the Ministry out. All in one - bloody hell, the photo talks."
And while the Minister, Arthur, Minerva, and Neville may have used different words, that very tidily summed up the reaction of Wizarding Britain.
Harry Potter had been found; Harry Potter was coming home; Harry Potter was a prince now.
And Merlin's beard and Nimune's... sandals, Wakanda was coming to visit.