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Harry Potter and Afterlife Inc.

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Challenge issued by "Reptilia28" - Originally on verbatim:

A funny little challenge I just came up with. It's a comical twist on the time-travel category.


*Harry is killed at 17 during a fight with Voldemort. He's sent to his Death's office (explained later) and finds out that this isn't the first time that this has happened.

*Harry's Death (who can have a human name) is mad at his arrival. Apparently, people dying before their time is a black mark on the various Deaths' records, and Harry is getting perilously close to getting this particular one fired.

*When Harry asks what was supposed to have happened, Death goes off on a rant saying how he was supposed to have killed Voldemort, found his soulmate ("Some Granger girl...") and lived to be a centennial age. But since Harry keeps getting into life-threatening situations for one reason or another, he keeps dying before that happens. Harry is surprised about the soulmate part.

*Death gives Harry a paper to sign that allows him to retain his memories (the previous times, he wasn't given this option for some reason). Harry is deposited to a previous time of the writer's choosing.

*Eventually, Harry gets it right. He kills Voldemort, gets the girl, and lives to a ripe old age of whatever. And Death doesn't get fired.


*Harry had to have died at least three times before this one.

*The memory keeping contract must be included.

*Death must refer to Hermione as "some Granger girl" when Harry's soulmate turns up in his rant.

*Obviously, must be H/Hr.

*Have fun.


*Dumbledore's manipulations can be a factor in Harry's premature demises.

Harry Potter found himself in front of a man seated at a desk. He was very confused.

He remembered that he had been fighting Voldemort in the Great Hall. He had fired an Expelliarum to Voldemort's Avada Kadavra and instead of bouncing back like he thought it would, the spell had hit him.

Now he was in some nameless office with a man who didn't look too happy sitting in front of him.

"Harry James Potter, we meet again."

Harry looked that man and wondered what he meant.

"Why are you in my office? AGAIN?"

"I don't understand, sir." Harry didn't know if this man was a muggle or not, so he tried to censor what he said. "I was in a firefight with … a terrorist … and he hit me with his … weapon … and the next thing I knew I was here. Where is here, anyway?" The man looked at him like he was a squashed flobberworm: disgusting and annoying all at once.

"Oh, you mean that fight in the Great Hall with Voldemort? When he hit you with the killing curse?" Harry looked relieved that he wouldn't have to hide his magic. "Oh, yes, I know all about the magical world. I know all about your constant struggles against evil. I know ALL ABOUT your idiotic heroics that lead you to GETTING KILLED! I KNOW ALL ABOUT IT! Why can't you just DO WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO AND LET ME DO MY JOB RIGHT? WHY?!"

Harry was flummoxed. The man behind the desk's face started looking like Vernon Dursley's after witnessing something from the magical world.

"I don't know why I'm yelling at you. You don't remember all the other times. But I DO! And let me tell you, I've had it up to HERE!" the man yelled, putting his hand flat in front of his neck. "What gave you the bright idea to use a DISARMING CURSE against a KILLING CURSE? You know. It's quite simple. You're supposed to kill the bad guy, marry your soul mate … some Granger girl … and live to nice ripe age of 179. But, NO! Once again, you go and do something STUPID and end up in my office. AGAIN!"

Harry could now say he was more confused than ever. There was one part of the man's rant which did push through the rest. "Um, I don't understand. What about Ginny? Beside's, Hermione's with Ron. I couldn't interfere …"

The man just looked at him again.

"You might be the most powerful wizard since Merlin, but YOU, young sir, are a COMPLETE IDIOT!"

Harry didn't know about the powerful part but hadn't he figured out the horcruxes? Well, to be sure, there was some luck involved. And Hermione … well … anyway …

"I will explain. AGAIN! I am Larry. Your Grim Reaper. I am in charge of making sure you complete the destiny that has been given to you and then move onto your proper reward. And let me tell you, since I know you won't remember the earlier times I'll remind you, this isn't the first time you've been in my office. First it was the time you splinched yourself when you apparated onto the school roof. Then you got your head bashed in in a wizard's chess match – that one wasn't pretty. I still can't believe you didn't show up after the basilisk bit you in second year; a bit of luck there. Then there was the drowning in your fourth year – gillyweed only lasts an hour and waiting for all the other champions with a broken watch? Once again, STUPID! The dementors before year fifth weren't completely your fault but still. Then there was the trip through the Veil in 5th year running after Sirius Black. And last, but not least, the poisoned mead after your friend, one Ronald Weasley, was dosed with love potions and that idiot potions teacher passed around the libations.

"And that's another thing. I know the dim-wit was your first friend and all. But why in the hell would you sit back and wait for him to let him be an idiot for 3 years, so he could have the girl? ESPECIALLY since she was the WRONG GIRL FOR HIM! 'Oh, I only love her like a sister!' Come on, man! Where's the Gryffindor courage? Oh, and the red-headed girl? Don't even let me start on that fangirl. Don't you think that her obsession with 'The-Boy-Who-Lived' was a tad overboard? Not her fault really … silly interfering overbearing mothers, gotta hate 'em … a dose of a love potion and you human's all get silly …"

Harry spluttered, "WHAT? What do you mean love potion? When did this happen?"

Larry looked at Harry. "I'm sorry, but Molly Prewett Weasley isn't one to sit back and 'let things happen' if she has any say in the matter. After all, you weren't attached and her little girl was obsessed with you. What was going to stop her?"

Harry just shook his head. He remembered his feelings that he had suppressed when Ron had seemed interested in Hermione. And Hermione didn't exactly seem disinterested either in 6th year. Of course, come to think of it, Hermione had seemed more depressed than she should have been …

"Look. Since this is black mark number 7 for one client, I have to go to a departmental review. I'm THIS CLOSE to getting fired and it is YOUR FAULT!" Larry yelled, holding his fingers about a quarter inch apart. "As the client/witness, you will stay in the hallway and wait until you are called. We have 10 minutes to get to my hearing. Follow me."

At that, Larry, his Grim Reaper apparently, walked out of the office in a huff and down the hall to a door with a chair next to it. The door read, "Afterlife Inc. Reaper Department of Great Britain. Director's Office,"

He was sat in the chair and Larry passed in the door.

As Harry sat in the hallway, he reviewed his life and his interactions with Ron, Ginny, Mrs. Weasley, Dumbledore and especially Hermione. And as he sat there, he realized he might have been making a LOT of mistakes.

It was about 30 minutes later when a woman opened the door and called him into the office. The office had a large desk with several chairs facing it. In one of the chairs was Larry looking less annoyed than earlier but still somewhat distracted.

The woman who had called him in sat behind the desk and looked at him.

"Harry Potter, I am Lora and I am the Director for the Grim Reapers of Great Britain. We have just had a review of your Reaper Larry. It seems that you are a difficult client." The woman, a somewhat attractive woman who looked to be in her 30s, looked at him with an admonishing glance. "Not since Winston Churchill getting himself blown up in different bombings 50 years ago have we had a client with as many unauthorized deaths are your have had. What do you have to say for yourself?"

"Well, I've been doing my best," Harry replied petulantly. "It's not like I haven't had a Dark Lord after me for the last 16 years."

"Really, Mr. Potter, there is no reason to get snarky. I have been reviewing your files. Now, your Reaper Larry has primary responsibility to get you through to your destiny, but do you really have to make it so hard for him? You know, you could have avoided all the deaths and near misses if you had just used your brains a bit more often. Besides the recorded deaths, there was the incident with a house elf and a car; the incident with one Marge Dursley could have been avoided altogether; the World Cup gave you a chance to catch one Barty Crouch Jr. early; the firefight through the skies of London before your camping trip from hell …"

"But, I didn't have much of a choice. I have to live with the Dursleys and underage magic ..."

"Oh, don't even get me started. Why have you been letting people run your life? You could have been living in one of your own houses. It's not like your family doesn't have enough of them. Those useless blood wards be damned. Anyway, whatever. In reviewing your file, we have decided for an unusual, in not unheard of, course of action. We will be sending you back to an earlier part of your life. Although this in and of itself isn't unusual, we will also be sending you back with your memory intact. Let's try to avoid another unauthorized death, shall we?"

Harry was surprised. "What about paradoxes? Hermione explained in third year …"

"This is not a time-turner. You will be placed back to an earlier time where changes might bring about a more … desired result. You will be taken by Larry to the Destiny Repair Department. And heed them well; another unauthorized death and Larry will be fired, you will be dead and the board of directors will be very unhappy with both me AND you. Good day!"

Larry grabbed his arm and dragged him out of the office before Lora could be more annoyed than she already was. She hadn't seemed this annoyed since William Wallace made a nuisance of himself in the department. THAT had been a trying century.

Larry started talking to Harry. "Look, Destiny Repair will fix you up in a jiffy. I have a friend over there named Bob. He's good. A right scheming bastard at times, but you have to be to work in that department. He'll get you sorted. And, do me a favor, will you? Try and get it right. Cause if I get fired, it's bargekeeper on the River Styx for me and that is a HORRIBLE job."

Three hours after meeting Bob, he knew that no one that had been sorted into Slytherin had been a more devious bastard. He made Lucius Malfoy look downright artless in the area of cunning.

At the end, Larry, who had been with him in the interview the whole time, said, "One more step. In order to preserve the time line and prevent abuse of this department, you have to sign a contract to keep this to yourself. You can tell your soulmate, but that's about it. Sign here at the bottom, and off you go."

Harry took the pen (why do they still use quills in the wizarding world, he wondered) and signed his name to the bottom.

"Ok, let's get you off to Back-Departure. Remember, try to avoid getting killed."

As Larry took him off to another office and pushed him inside, he heard, "See you soon!" and wondered what Larry meant as the room blurred and he found himself in a familiar and unpleasant environment.

A/N: I deliberately left the planning interview out. You'll learn what the plans are through what happens and flashbacks. I thought doing it this way left more suspense, and hey, it's a lot of fun teasing folks. Is Dumbledore good or evil? How manipulative is he? Are the Weasley's going down or not? Where will Harry land? Tune in next week for the next installment ….

A/N 2: I repaired some typos. Fixed some incorrect words. Hope I got everything.

Chapter Text

Harry looked around and found himself in between 2 hedges. As he looked out, there was a light ahead and he saw the Tri-Wizard's cup. Cedric was running toward it.

Harry saw something immense over the hedge to his left, moving quickly along a path that intersected his own. It was the damned acromatula and Cedric was about to run into it, and Cedric, his eyes on the cup, had not seen it.

"Cedric!" Harry yelled out. "On your left!"

Cedric looked around just in time to hurl himself past the acromatula and he tripped. Harry, just like the first time, saw Cedric's wand fly out of his hand as it stepped into the path and toward Cedric.

"Stupefy!" Harry yelled; the spell hit the spider's gigantic body. Just as he remembered from the last time, the spider jerked, scuttled around, and ran at Harry instead.

However, instead of what happened last time Harry did something different. "REDUCTO!" The spell lashed out and hit the spider at the top of one of its legs. Harry had overpowered it so that it knocked one of the legs off the spider. The spider stopped and ran back the other way, away from its tormentor.

"Harry, you alright?" Cedric asked.

"Yeah, I'm just fine. That was a nasty bugger. Remind me to tell you how Ron and I faced down a nest of those in the forbidden forest sometime."

Cedric looked at Harry amazed. Although a lot of weird things seemed to happen around Harry Potter, not all the details were available. It was no wonder Harry had made it so far in the tournament.

"Take it, then," Harry said to Cedric. "Go on, take it. You're there." Harry had a plan in mind. It would be tight, but if he was careful he could manage to save Cedric's life and still let him have at least half the glory. If he could remember the conversation well enough, he could prepare.

Cedric stood there, looking at Harry. He turned to stare at the cup. Harry saw the longing expression once again on his face in its golden light. Cedric looked around at Harry again, who was now holding onto the hedge to suggest he was using it to support himself. Cedric took a deep breath. "No. You take it."

"That's not how it's supposed to work," Harry said. "The one to reach the cup first wins and you were closer."

Cedric took a few paces nearer to the spider leg, away from the cup, shaking his head.

"No," he said.

"Take it, and then we can get out of here."

Cedric watched Harry steadying himself, holding tight to the hedge.

"You told me about the dragons," Cedric said. "I would've gone down in the first task if you hadn't told me what was coming."

Harry said. "You helped me with the egg - we're square."

"I had help on the egg in the first place," said Cedric.

"We're still square," said Harry.

"You should've got more points on the second task," said Cedric mulishly. "You stayed behind to get all the hostages. I should've done that."

"I was the only one who was thick enough to take that song seriously!" said Harry acting bitter. "Just take the cup!"

"No," said Cedric.

He stepped over the spider's leg to join Harry, who stared at him. Cedric was serious.

"Go on," Cedric said. He looked as though this was costing him every ounce of resolution he had, but his face was set, his arms were folded, he seemed decided.

Harry looked from Cedric to the cup. For a moment he thought of Hermione and all the help she had given him to get him to this place. Sharing the victory would be what Hermione would want him to do. He found himself staring at Cedric's shadowy, stubborn face.

"Both of us," Harry said.


"We'll take it at the same time. It's still a Hogwarts victory. We'll tie for it."

Cedric stared at Harry. He unfolded his arms.

"You - you sure?"

"Yeah," said Harry. "Yeah… we've helped each other out, haven't we? We both got here. Let's just take it together."

For a moment, Cedric looked as though he couldn't believe his ears; then his face split in a grin.

"You're on," he said. "Come here."

With Cedric in front of him, he didn't see Harry take out his wand and point it at his back. "Stupefy!" Cedric crumpled to the ground 2 feet from the cup. Just because he wanted Cedric to share in the glory didn't mean he wanted him to get in the way when they met up with Wormtail and Voldemort.

He had to act fast. He moved quickly over to the spider leg that had been left by the acromatula. He cut a section off of his robe and transfigured it to a watertight pouch. He took a large leaf from one of the plants and picked the leg up and dumped some of the blood into the pouch. Bob's suggestions of spells to use were coming in handy. It was disgusting, but if it worked, Voldemort wouldn't be quite up to snuff when he was done and wouldn't be calling together his various death eaters. He couldn't stop the resurrection; fate had a hand in that. But he might make it less than what Voldemort was looking for.

He sealed the pouch with a spell and using a sticking charm placed it on his arm where Wormtail would be using his knife to get some blood.

He ran back over to where Cedric lay near the cup. He reached down and took Cedric's hand and pulled it up so that it almost touched the cup. At the same time, he placed his own hand near the other handle.

"Here goes nothing," Harry said as he touched his own and Cedric's hand to the cup and felt the portkey whisk them away.

Harry and Cedric touched down in the graveyard in Little Hangleton.

Harry dragged Cedric over to a gravestone and hid him behind it. He levitated the cup so that it was right next to his body. He didn't want Wormtail to see there was another person there. He took Cedric's wand and put it up his sleeve, the sleeve that didn't have the blood pouch.

Now all he needed was a little bit of acting.

He remembered the direction from which Wormtail and Voldemort had come last time and moved 20 feet in that direction and fell to the ground as though he fainted, his wand in his hand. Luckily the horcrux in his head had already been destroyed so he wasn't overcome with pain by Voldemort's proximity anymore. He could still feel his excitement though. Any second now …

"Ah. And here we have the final part to our little ritual already under control. Bring him quickly and bind him to the headstone. Remember, he must be awake when his blood is taken forcibly."

Harry felt himself moved by magic through the air and placed against the headstone. He felt roped wrap around him holding his body against the stone. He felt a cloth stuck into his mouth to keep him from crying out. And then "Enervate!"

Harry acted as though he was coming around from having fainted. Wormtail was too distracted to notice that he had been faking it. Voldemort was too concerned with getting the ritual done to have Wormtail actually check.

Harry could hear Nagini at his feet, slithering through the grass, circling the headstone where he was tied. Wormtail's fast, wheezy breathing was growing louder again. "Ahhh, there would be the cauldron," he thought. Wormtail came into site pushing the cauldron he would use in the ritual to resurrect his master.

Voldemort was stirring more persistently, as though he was trying to free himself. Wormtail busied himself at the bottom of the cauldron with a wand. Suddenly there were crackling flames beneath it. The large snake slithered away into the darkness. Steam was thickening, blurring the outline of Wormtail tending the fire. The movements beneath the robes became more agitated. And Harry heard the high, cold voice again.


The whole surface of the water was alight with sparks, just as it had been last time.

"It is ready Master."

"Now…" said the cold voice.

Wormtail pulled open the robes on the ground, revealing Voldemort's ugly little baby form. It was hairless and scaly-looking, a dark, raw, reddish black. Its arms and legs were thin and feeble, and its face - no child alive ever had a face like that - flat and snakelike, with gleaming red eyes.

Voldemort raised his thin arms, put them around Wormtail's neck, and Wormtail lifted him. Wormtail lowered the creature into the cauldron; there was a hiss, and the small form vanished below the surface; Harry heard its frail body hit the bottom with a soft thud.

Wormtail was speaking. His voice shook; he seemed frightened beyond his wits. He raised his wand, closed his eyes, and spoke to the night.

"Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son!"

The surface of the grave at Harry's feet cracked. Harry watched as a fine trickle of dust rose into the air at Wormtail's command and fell softly into the cauldron. The diamond surface of the water broke and hissed; it sent sparks in all directions and turned a vivid, poisonous-looking blue.

Wormtail was whimpering. He pulled the long, thin, shining silver dagger from inside his cloak. His voice broke into petrified sobs.

"Flesh - of the servant - w-willingly given - you will - revive - your master."

He stretched his right hand out in front of him - the hand with the missing finger. He gripped the dagger very tightly in his left hand and swung it upward.

Harry closed his eyes. He heard something fall to the ground, heard Wormtail's anguished panting and then the sickening splash, as the hand was dropped into the cauldron.

Harry kept his eyes closed … the potion had turned a burning red; the light of it shone through Harry's closed eyelids…Wormtail was gasping and moaning with agony. Once again, Harry felt Wormtail's anguished breath on his face as Wormtail was right in front of him.

"B-blood of the enemy… forcibly taken… you will… resurrect your foe."

Struggling as though he was fighting, he opened his eyes and saw the shining silver dagger shaking in Wormtail's remaining hand. He didn't feel the penetration as Wormtail had hit the sack of blood at his elbow and he felt the blood seeping down the sleeve of his torn robes. He acted as though he had been stabbed though.

Wormtail, still panting with pain, rumbled in his pocket for a glass vial and held it to the cut, so that a dribble of blood fell into it. He staggered back to the cauldron with the blood. He poured it inside. The liquid within turned, instantly, a sick yellow color. Wormtail dropped to his knees beside the cauldron, then slumped sideways and lay on the ground, cradling the bleeding stump of his arm, gasping and sobbing.

Harry knew he had about 1 minute before whatever Voldemort became came out of the cauldron. He wiggled his other arm and dropped Cedric's wand into his hand. A wordless Finite undid the ropes he was tied with.

He accio'edhis own wand and used it to stupefy Wormtail. He had about 30 seconds and each second counted.

He saw Nagini slithering back over to him to stop him and one Reducto and that threat was gone. He accio'ed Wormtail's and Voldemort's wands and stuck them in his pocket.

He ran over to where he had left the cup and Cedric and called "Accio Wormtail!" and Wormtail's body came flying toward him. He grabbed Cedric and looked up. Voldemort was coming out of the cauldron and he didn't look like he was enjoying it. The pain-filled face of Voldemort had looked murderous and his body showed up, covered in fur just like an acromatula's. His face had pincers coming out of his mouth and his arms were deformed.

Harry called over "TA!" as Wormtail's body came over to him, he heard Cedric stirring. Harry hissed at him, "Grab the Cup!" and with one hand on Wormtail, he grabbed the portkey just as Cedric's hesitantly touched the other handle. As it whisked them away, he could hear Voldemort's scream of rage and anguish.

Chapter Text

As Harry, Cedric and Wormtail landed back at the school, Harry said in a low voice, "Cedric! You're awake! Don't say anything until you get your father to call Amelia Bones. Trust me!" Cedric looked over at Harry confused but nodded his head. He really didn't know what was happening. He could have sworn he had been stupefied from behind, and the next thing he knew he was in a graveyard grabbing the cup.

As screams could be heard in the background, Harry saw Dumbledore hurrying over with Amos Diggory and his wife not far behind. Also, he could see Hermione and Ron staring at him like he was a ghost, until Hermione shrieked and started running over.

Dumbledore was very concerned. Two of his students had disappeared from the maze and 20 minutes later had shown back up via a portkey. As he Dumbledore arrived, he said "Cup was a portkey. We ended up in some graveyard. Did anyone check the cup before the task?" Dumbledore's eyes widened. He had specifically sent Alastor Moody to check the maze for traps and place the cup. His mind was working a mile a minute. Harry then looked over Dumbledore's shoulder and said quietly to him, "Why does Professor Moody look like he's about to attack?"

Dumbledore whirled around quite nimbly for an old man and shot Moody with a Stupefy. Everyone around was shocked for a moment.

As Amos got to Cedric, Cedric told his father, "Call Madam Bones!" Amos had no clue what was going on, but if his son thought that he should call Amelia, he was bloody hell going to do it.

At the same time Hermione arrived and knocked Harry over again, sobbing into him. As Harry tried to calm Hermione down, he felt cold all of a sudden. He saw Fudge coming over with his dementor guard. He grabbed his wand, and thinking about the girl wrapped around him, yelled out, "EXPECTO PATRONUM!" His stag patronus leaped out of his wand and barreled down directly toward the approaching dementor. He wasn't going to allow Fudge to have Crouch Jr. kissed this time if he could help it. He also had Wormtail there and didn't want to take any chances.

Fudge looked outraged that his guard had been driven back by The-Boy-Who-Lived. He was the Minister for Magic for Merlin's sake and he had a right to his guard! "What's the meaning of this!?"

Harry stood there watching Fudge with one arm around Hermione and the other with his wand pointed straight at Fudge.

Dumbledore, seeing that things were getting out of hand, tapped his wand against his throat and said, "Sonorus. All students and staff! Report to the Great Hall. An announcement will be made shortly! Professors McGonagall, Sprout, and Snape please remain!" After a quick Quietus, Dumbledore looked over at Fudge and said, "Cornelius. Please wait until we can sort out exactly what occurred." He looked over at Harry and asked, "My dear boy, what happened?" He looked down at Harry's feet and saw the stupefied form of Peter Pettigrew and his eyes widened.

Harry looked at Dumbledore and replied, "Amos Diggory has called Madam Bones. I think we should wait until she arrives so that I only have to repeat this once!" Harry looked at Hermione and whispered to her, "Go to the Great Hall. I'll tell you all about it after it's done."

Hermione, who had settled down, looked at Harry and said, "No, Harry. I'm not letting you out of my sight until I know you're all right!" Harry looked around and saw Ron, Ginny and Mrs. Weasley looking upset and trying to come over with Bill just looking confused. They were being help back by Professor Flitwick. He waved over to them and yelled out, "I'm alright! I'll see you after all this is sorted out!"

The Weasleys didn't look happy but one look at Dumbledore's face and they decided to wait in the Great Hall with everyone else.

Harry looked down at Hermione and said, "Well, if you are going to stick around, keep an eye on Wormtail and if he so much as twitches, stupefy him again!" Hermione looked down at the man on the ground and saw that it was indeed Pettigrew. As Dumbledore was over talking to Fudge, Harry walked over to Professor McGonagall and asked her to bind Moody. McGonagall had seen Albus Stupefy him and so didn't object although her face was set in an expression of deep disapproval. Her only reply was, "I hope there is a sufficient explanation for all of this or you will be in detention through the next year!"

Harry could only smile at his head of house as he said, "And if when we're done, you feel my actions are unjustified, I'll do them!" McGonagall shook her head and hurried over to the prone form of Alastor Moody.

Soon, Amos Diggory could be seen hurrying over from the door of Hogwarts with Madam Bones behind him accompanied by two aurors. Harry was delighted to see that it was Tonks and Shacklebolt.

Amelia Bones looked around and was shocked to see what was happening. Diggory was over in one area with his son who was being helped up by his wife and Professor Sprout. Another student with a wand was standing over a man lying on the ground while Madam Pomfrey was cauterizing his wrist. It looked as though his hand had been cut off. And Minerva McGonagall and Severus Snape were standing over the form of Alastor Moody bound in ropes. Fudge was blustering at Dumbledore and Harry Potter was standing in the middle of it all, with his TriWizard uniform in tatters and what looked like blood dripping from his arm.

She hurried over to Harry and asked, "Mr. Potter, are you alright? Your arm is bleeding! What is going on here?"

Harry Potter looked at his arm and then looked at her and laughed, "Well, this isn't really my blood. If we can get everyone to Professor Dumbledore's office, I can explain just about everything; he has a pensieve which I can use to show you. If you would though, that man over there was my parent's true secret keeper and he's an animagus. Could you ask your Aurors to secure him?" Amelia looked over at the man that Pomfrey was just finishing with again and her eyes widened when she saw that it was Peter Pettigrew. But he was dead! Amelia ordered Tonks to shackle Pettigrew with magic-suppression cuffs.

Amelia hurried over to Dumbledore and Fudge and saw the dementor coming back over. She called Shacklebolt over and ordered him to herd it away from the group. She was going to be damned if she let Fudge's paranoia interfere with her finding out the truth!

As she got over to them, she heard Fudge say, "This was obviously just a plot by Sirius Black to kidnap Harry Potter again!" Amelia interrupted him.

"Professor Dumbledore, can we move this inside? I know you have a pensieve and I would request that we use it to review exactly what happened here!"

Albus Dumbledore smiled over at Amelia with he eyes twinkling madly, "Ah. Madam Bones. It's so good to see you. An excellent idea if I do say so! Well, Cornelius, would you like to accompany us and get to the heart of the matter?"

Cornelius Fudge didn't look happy to have the head of the DMLE there, but couldn't object.

Harry moved back over to Hermione and Tonks, and Tonks introduced herself. "Wotcher, Harry Potter! I'm Tonks. Pleased to meet you."

Harry hid his smirk and asked, "Is that your last name or first name?" Hermione narrowed her eyes. She knew Harry and it seemed he knew something and was amused.

Tonks looked sour for a moment and replied, "Last name. I don't use my first name! So it's just Tonks." She smirked, "Kinda like one of them muggle rock stars, like 'Sting'!"

Harry laughed and said, "Well, it's nice to meet you. Can you bring this person to Professor Dumbledore's office? We're going there to sort all of this out."

Everyone, except Shacklebolt who was keeping the dementor at bay, followed Dumbledore to his office, with Hermione following Harry wondering what the hell had happened. She was going to get some answers, and soon, or she was going to bite her best friend's head off.

As they passed into the door of Hogwarts, Dumbledore asked McGonagall to have Filius dismiss the students in the Hall back their dormitories in 10 minutes, allowing them time to reach his office, and then to join them in his office. He took over levitating "Alastor Moody" and asked Severus to obtain some Veritaserum from his stock. As McGonagall moved away, Harry called out to her, "Professor! Possibly you ask Ron to join us? He was a witness to some of what happened and he might be needed!" Minerva looked over at Dumbledore and he nodded his head slightly. She agreed and moved off.

As they arrived at his office, Albus turned to Hermione. "Ah, my dear, if you could do me a favor. Earlier, I found a delightful stray dog which I have in my office. A perfectly friendly dog, which I was going to place in a good home when I had the time. If you could look after him while we get to the bottom of things?" Albus's eyes twinkled merrily. Hermione looked startled.

"Of course, sir. If you have a leash I'll keep him out of the way." Hermione suppressed her urge to smile.

"If you would give me a moment, I'll take care of leashing Snuffles and you all can join me." Albus passed into his office and about a minute later called them all in.

"Let me take arrange things." With a flick of his wand, several well stuffed chairs popped into existence around the room as well as two wooden chairs with arm and leg restraints right in front of the desk. The room was almost packed to the gills

Just as the form of Alastor Moody was placed in the chair, he started changing. The magical eye fell out and the wooden leg jumped off his body as Alastor Moody turned into Barty Crouch Jr.

Everyone in the room except Harry stared at him in shock. Dumbledore waved his wand and the chair restraints on both chairs closed.

Just then Severus Snape arrived in the office with Veritaserum. Right behind, Professor McGonagall arrived with Ron in tow. She didn't notice the beetle that was perched on the back of her bun which dropped off into a corner of the room, but Harry was on the lookout. He didn't do anything yet. But soon. Very soon.

Amelia was extremely shocked. She had arrived to find her old friend bound in ropes and all of a sudden he had turned into a dead death eater! What the hell was going on? She asked Dumbledore, "Can I use your floo to call the ministry? I believe I will need more Aurors."

"I quite agree, but if I might suggest we hold off for a moment to find out where the real Alastor Moody is. Time may be of the essence."

Amelia agreed and asked for the Veritaserum. Snape, his face a calm mask, handed it to her, even as his eyes darted around.

Severus Snape was in a peculiar mood. He had felt the Dark Mark come alive right before the brat had showed up again and hadn't had an opportunity to alert the Headmaster. However, instead of the call that he had been expecting, nothing happened afterwards. And now, Barty Crouch Jr. was bound in the Headmaster's Office. Something very strange was going on.

Amelia administered the serum to Crouch Jr. and waited for it to take effect before casting an Enervate on him. She began the questioning.

"What is your name?"

"Bartemius Crouch."

"Why are you at Hogwarts?"

"To further my Master's plan."

"Where is the real Alastor Moody?"

"Locked in his trunk in the Defense teacher's office." Dumbledore nodded over to Madam Pomfrey and she hurried out to take care of Moody.

"What was your Master's plan?"

"To get Harry Potter through the Tri-Wizard's tournament so that I could send him to my Master."

"What did he plan to do?"

"Use Potter for a ritual to return."

"How long have you been impersonating Alastor Moody?"

"Since August 31st."

"How did you escape Azkaban?"

"My mother traded places with me."

"Where have you been since then?"

"At my father's house, under the Imperious Curse."

"Did your father help you escape?"


"Where is your father?"


"Did you kill him?"



"He had overcome my Master's Imperious Curse enough to come to Hogwarts. When I saw Potter and Krum with him, I knew that he had to die to preserve my secret."

"Where is his body?"

"In the Defense Against the Dark Arts office. I transfigured it to a walking stick to keep it with me until I could turn it over to my Master to make it an Inferi."

Dumbledore motioned to Amelia to get permission to ask a few questions of his own. Amelia nodded to him.

"How were you involved with the Tri-Wizard tournament?"

"I placed Potter's name in the cup under a fourth school, making the name of the school on the parchment invisible. I then guided him to overcome the first task. During the second task, I guided Diggory to the secret of the egg, as I knew he would tell Potter as Potter had told him about the dragons of the first task. I gave the Longbottom boy a book on water plants hoping that Potter would ask for help, but he never did. So I talked loudly in front of the house elf that worships Potter to ask McGonagall if he would think to use gillyweed. For the last task, after turning the Cup to a portkey when I placed it in the maze, I Imperioed Krum to get rid of the competition to get Potter a free shot at the cup."

All around the room, most of the spectators were in a state of shock, outrage and a bit of nausea at the callous plan that unfolded. Hermione had buried her head in Harry's shoulder and was quietly sobbing into him as Padfoot buried his head into Harry's leg. Harry used his two hands to comfort his best friend and dogfather as best he could as he looked on. He looked over at Ron, who before the questioning had been looking over at him with a weird look as Harry had his arm around Hermione's shoulder. He saw that now he was just saying to himself his stock phrase of "Bloody Hell." Take that you jealous piece of hippogriff dung.

All around the room things were happening. Amelia was calling the ministry for more Aurors, while Dumbledore was talking with Fudge and Amos Diggory. Professor's Snape and McGonagall were with them. Cedric was just looking wildly at Barty Crouch Jr. while his mother had him in a death grip. Ron was trying to talk to Hermione while Sirius just sat there staring at Pettigrew, waiting for the secrets to spill out.

Harry surreptitiously pulled off a section of his robe and transfigured it into a jar. A silent Accio and the beetle form of Rita Skeeter was trapped. Hermione's eyes widened when she saw this and she was about to say something when Harry put his finger to his lips to indicate that he'd tell her about it later.

Chapter Text

Four more Aurors had come through the floo.

Amelia was upset with Fudge, Dumbledore, Crouch Jr., and just about everyone else. Harry Potter had been used in some plot to resurrect Voldemort and Dumbledore had apparently just sat back and waited for developments. One of her oldest friends had been kidnapped and no one even noticed. Crouch had been harboring an escaped convict and Fudge was blind as a bat.

She detailed two of the Aurors to take Crouch to a holding cell at the Ministry. One of the others, Dawlish, she sent to watch over the dementor to relieve Shack. Since he was one of Fudge's favorites, let him take care of the demon that Fudge had brought. Auror Jones she sent, along with the magical eye and peg leg, to the Hogwarts infirmary to take a statement from Mad-Eye Moony.

She got everyone's attention and was about to administer the serum to Peter Pettigrew when Harry Potter interrupted her.

"Madam Bones. Peter Pettigrew was my parent's secret keeper. And he admitted it last year. If I could get Sirius Black to come in, would you guarantee his a fair hearing?"

Madam Bones heard Fudge off to the side blustering. "Black confounded those three students. He was sent to Azkaban for good reason!"

"But he was never given a trial!"

Madam Bones looked over at Fudge and Dumbledore and asked, "Is this true?"

Fudge looked sheepish and Dumbledore nodded to Amelia.

"Yes, I'm afraid. As you know, last year Mr. Black was caught here on Hogwarts grounds. Apparently the three students in the back heard Pettigrew confess and Mr. Black claimed he had had no trial. Minister Fudge demanded that he receive the Kiss for escaping Azkaban immediately, but before it could be accomplished Mr. Black had escaped again."

Amelia couldn't believe that a man had spent 12 years in Azkaban without a trial. "Mr. Potter! If you can contact Mr. Black and if he is willing to submit to questioning under Veritaserum, I will guarantee that he will receive a fair hearing, and if innocent will be exonerated!"

Harry Potter nodded at her and started removing the leash from the dog at his knee. No one was more shocked than she when the dog morphed into the infamous Sirius Black!

Minister Fudge started screaming that Black was to be sent back to Azkaban, but no one was listening to him. Dumbledore was sitting back with twinkling eyes, apparently amused by the whole thing. Severus Snape was looking at Sirius Black with loathing. Minerva looked as though she would put the Death Eaters and the Minister in detention for harming one of her cubs. Amelia's Aurors looked just as shocked as she was. Amos Diggory and his wife and son were looking at Sirius Black as though a Demon had showed himself all of a sudden. The three students in the back didn't look surprised at all.

Amelia could have made a point about harboring a fugitive, but if he was innocent, she didn't want to make a bad situation worse.

Sirius Black addressed her. "Madam Bones, I will submit to questioning under Veritaserum!" He made his way to the binding chair that had formerly held Crouch Jr.

She administered the Veritaserum and waited for it to take effect.

"What is your name?"

"Sirius Orion Black."

"Are you a Death Eater?"


"Are you a follower of He-Who-Must-No-Be-Named?"


"Were you the Secret Keeper for the Potters?"

"No. I convinced them that I was too obvious and they secretly switched to Peter."

"Did you kill the 12 muggles when confronting Peter Pettigrew?"

"No. Peter caused an explosion to escape."

"Were you interviewed or given a trial after your arrest?"

"No. Barty Crouch decided I was guilty and threw me into Azkaban. I was never questioned."

"Why did you escape Azkaban?"

"To protect my godson."

"Why was he in danger?"

"Fudge gave me a copy of the Daily Prophet when he was inspecting Azkaban and I saw a picture with Pettigrew in rat-form on the front page. The article stated that the boy with him was a classmate of Harry's. I had to kill Pettigrew before he could harm Harry."

Amelia administered the counter-agent. "On behalf of the Ministry of Magic, I would like to apologize for a severe miscarriage of justice. I will work on your behalf to receive compensation for your illegal imprisonment. Any charges for escaping Azkaban will be dropped and any fee for being an unregistered animagus will be taken from the settlement."

"Thank you, Madam Bones."

"Cornelius, Albus. I expect full cooperation with the DMLE from the Minister of Magic and the Head of the Wizenmagot for a Statement of Exoneration and Declaration of Innocence for Mr. Black." She took a piece of parchment from Albus's desk and with her wand created such a Declaration. Dumbledore just smiled at her and signed, but Fudge looked as though he had a bad case of constipation when he added his signature to the form. Madam Bones used a copying charm and created 5 copies: the original for Sirius Black, one copy for Dumbledore as the head of the Wizenmagot, one for her files, one for Minister Fudge, another copy for Gringott's and a last one for the press.

Sirius Black thanked her and whooped as he rushed to the back of the room to hug his godson.

Finally, Ameila turned back to Pettigrew and administered the Veritaserum.

"What is your name?"

"Peter Alfred Pettigrew."

"Are you a Death Eater?"


"When did you become a Death Eater?"

"August 1981."

"Were you the Secret Keeper for the Potter's?"


"Did you betray them to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?"


"Did you kill the 12 muggles when confronted by Sirius Black?"



"To make my escape and to deflect blame to Sirius."

"How did you escape?"

"I cut my finger off and transformed into my Wormtail form to escape down a sewer."

"Where have you been for the last 13 years?"

"I found a Ministry worker's family to hide at to wait for when my Master resurfaced. When I was found out, I found my Master so that he could protect me."

"Were you involved in a plot to resurrect your Master?"


"What did you do?"

"I kidnapped Bertha Jorkins when she recognized me and gave her to my Master. I helped to subdue Mad-Eye Moony so that Barty could get into Hogwarts. I brewed the potion to restore my Master according to his instructions. I gave my hand to the potion as part of the ritual."

Amelia was even more appalled than she was when questioning Crouch. If this were true, the wizarding world was in for some very rough times, and Fudge had continually cut the funding from the Aurors.

Apparently war was around the corner and there was very little time to prepare. It might take ousting Fudge to get things going right.

She used Dumbledore's floo again to call two more Aurors to take away Pettigrew. At this rate, all of the Aurors on duty would be escorting prisoners tonight. When the two new Aurors arrived, they saw Sirius Black in the back of the room and started to move toward him. Amelia stopped them and indicated Peter Pettigrew instead would be escorted to a holding cell.

Harry Potter walked over to her and indicated that Ron Weasley would no longer be needed as he could only testify if needed for Sirius Black. She began to ask Albus to dismiss all the students except Potter, as she felt she had enough information without involving Diggory. As she was suggesting this, Potter had a request.

"Can Hermione Granger stay?" He dropped his voice; "If she doesn't find out soon what happened, she's going to explode on me, and I wouldn't want to be responsible for the cleanup after the destruction of the Gryffindor Common room."

Dumbledore twinkled some more (Harry wondered how he did that, some twinkling charm?) and asked Sprout to escort Weasley and Diggory out. Mrs. Diggory was set to leave with Cedric, but Amos stayed behind as a department head in the Ministry to get the rest of the story. Ron looked like he wanted to protest, but one look at McGonagall's face shut him up quick.

As a last word, Dumbledore asked, "Oh and Mr. Diggory and Mr. Weasley. If you could pass the word to your house mates that an announcement will be made tomorrow at lunch regarding the events of this evening. Professor Sprout, if you could inform a prefect from Ravenclaw and Slytherin as to this, as well as Professor Karkaroff and Headmistress Maxime the same and that they may meet with me tomorrow around 11:00 to get the details beforehand. Tippy!" All of a sudden a house elf appeared in front of the Headmaster. "Please arrange guest chambers for Mrs. Molly Weasley and her son Mr. Bill Weasley if they would like to stay at the castle and escort them there. Inform our guests that Mr. Potter will be detained for a bit longer and that I am sure they will be able to get the details in the morning. Mr. and Mrs. Diggory, do you wish to stay in the castle tonight?" After they had indicated no, he dismissed the elf and Tippy nodded her head as she popped off to arrange things.

Professor Sprout left the room after a look at Minerva. Minerva nodded her head slightly to indicate that she would find her afterward to let her and Filius in on the scoop. Pamona Sprout definitely wanted to get the details before all the rumors started.

"Now, Mr. Potter, if you would recount the happenings of this night?"

In another part of the castle, Bill Weasley had just been shown quarters in the guest chambers at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His mother had been upset at having been dismissed from her waiting by a house elf, but had left to floo her husband that they would be staying at the castle and that she would let him know what was happening.

He was thinking about all of the weird things that seemed to happen around Harry Potter. He had heard stories from his brother about the things that they had been involved in since first year. When he had met Harry before the World Cup, he had found him to be a somewhat shy individual who didn't seem to like the spotlight as much as his brother seemed to indicate. Harry definitely looked less shy why he had come back from wherever he went after the third task.

Bill heard a whoosh as an owl came through the chimney at the fireplace and landed on the desk in the guest chambers. His eyes widened as he saw that this was a special Gringott's owl. These were particular owls were bred and trained for the highest security communications. They were specifically warded against tracking charms, trained to find their targets when they were alone, trained to pass through most wards undetectably, and trained to dodge any attempt to bring them down short of their target. They were a massively expensive form of communication and were only used by those willing to pay premium rates or by the Goblin leadership. He took the letter addressed to him and opened it.

"Mr. William Weasley

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Guest Quarters

Mr. Weasley,

As an employee of Gringott's this communiqué falls under your Oath of Secrecy to the bank. No one outside of those indicated within this letter may be informed of its contents or that such a communiqué has been delivered.

Due to the nature of the events that you are attending and the results, you are charged with finding out any and all pertinent information as to the events of the TriWizard Tournament on June 24th 1995 and the involvement of Mr. Harry James Potter.

No information passed to Gringott's will be used against our client, Mr. Potter, and this information is specifically requested to aid Gringott's Bank to effectively serve our client.

Any Oaths of Secrecy that may be requested of you should be worded in such a way that the information divulged can be passed on to be used to aid Gringott's in their service to their depositors.

Should there be any significant effect on Mr. Potter in his status as a client of this bank or on any other client, Mr. Potter should be invited to meet with myself at his earliest opportunity. No one other than Mr. Potter and those that he chooses to inform may be apprised of this request. Please ask him to contact me at his EARLIEST convenience to go over any matters that should arise.

For successful completion of this task, am amount of G500 will be added to your account. Should you fail to complete this task, your employment will be reviewed with a possible consequence of termination. Please come directly to me with pertinent information by 16:00 on June 26th, 1995.

May Profits Be Increased and Our Enemies Destroyed


Director, Gringott's Bank

Chief of the Goblin Nation

Bill looked at his letter and his only thought was, "The shite is about to be hit by the blasting hex."

Chapter Text

Harry moved to the front of the room. He looked at the headmaster and then at the restraint chairs.

The Headmaster nodded and changed them into two more plush overstuffed chairs. Dumbledore was thinking about offering lemon drops; he could really use one right about now.

Hermione was on information overload. Her faith in Harry, however, had been vindicated. The rest of the student body could no longer look at him askance thinking he had cheated his way into the tournament. She followed him up to the other chair and sat down. She wasn't going to go anywhere until she knew everything and that Harry was alright.

McGonagall was looking positively miffed by the dangers that one of her cubs had been put through. That barmy old codger would learn what happened when he failed to protect one of her cubs.

Amelia looked very interested in seeing what Harry had to say. She had plans percolating in her head. So far tonight, she had found out about corruption by Barty Crouch Sr. (and how much had his assistant Percy Weasley known?); a cover-up by Cornelius Fudge (oh, she couldn't wait to present THAT to the Wizenmagot), harboring a fugitive by Harry Potter (not that that really mattered anymore, Sirius Black hadn't even been given a trial!), and a plan to resurrect Voldemort by supposed Order of Merlin holder Peter Pettigrew (THAT was going to go away).

Amos Diggory finally understood why his son had refused to badmouth Potter about the tournament. He really had nothing to do with entering. He was going to have to work hard to make up for the comments he had made to other Ministry workers about the boy. If he ever found out about those comments, he'd have to offer a formal apology to the Boy-Who-Lived and the political fallout wouldn't be pleasant.

Sirius was sitting in the back ecstatic over his Writ and Declaration. He was going to get custody of his godson. And the he was going to plan some pranks with Remus on Fudge, Snape, Dumbledore and anyone else involved in his illegal incarceration and the mistreatment of his pup that he could get a hold of.

Kingsley Shacklebolt was sitting waiting for the other shoe to drop. So far his department had come out looking like complete fools. Apparently, before he had been relieved by Dawlish, Barty Crouch Jr. had been found to have been holed up with his father for the last 10 years; Sirius Black had been in Azkaban for 12 years without a trial and had been running around as an animagus; Peter Pettigrew had been given a bogus award; and there was still more to go.

Nymphadora (Just call me Tonks) Tonks couldn't wait to contact her mother. Apparently her favorite cousin, Sirius Black, had been innocent all this time and now there was proof. Sirius was now in line to head the Black family and could reinstate them to the family name. She had always wondered what had transpired all those years ago. It had been one of the reasons she had become an Auror: to help her mother find information and closure after Sirius had been convicted. Hell, he wasn't even convicted apparently - just chucked into that hell hole.

Rita Skeeter was upset to find herself in a jar in Harry Potters robe. She wasn't that upset though. The information being talked about here was sure-fire front page news for a long time. And for some reason she had a front-row seat. The Boy-Who-Lived apparently had figured out her animagus form. She was surprised that he hadn't informed Amelia Bones yet. Maybe if she made a good enough deal, she wouldn't end up in Azkaban and paying a huge fine for being an unregistered animagus.

"Both myself and Cedric had found ourselves at the end having fought off an acromatula together. We decided to take the cup together when someone fired a Stupefy hex at Cedric. I returned fire toward the area it had come from. I then saw the severed leg of the acromatula that had come off in the fight with it. I decided to hastily collect the blood to ask Professor Snape if it had any uses in potions."

At this, Professor Snape looked at him with a weird expression. It took a person with good potion's instinct to automatically collect possible ingredients. There were a few antivenin potions that could use the blood of an acromatula. Well, there were some dark potions as well, but he didn't want to think about those.

"After I had transfigured a pouch to hold the blood and collected it, I placed it against my arm so that it wouldn't fall out of my pocket. I then moved back to Cedric and the Cup. As Cedric and I had agreed to take it together and Cedric was 2 feet from it, I decided to place his hand on the Cup at the same time that I did."

Amos Diggory was surprised. Such loyalty and fair play was a Hufflepuff trait, not a Gryffindor one. He would definitely have to work to counteract his comments at the Ministry now.

"All of a sudden, the Cup activated. I thought that maybe the Cup was set to take the winner to the judges' booth so I wasn't worried. But all of a sudden, I found that we were in a graveyard.

"I set Cedric down with the Cup and borrowed his wand in case something happened and I was attacked and disarmed."

Quick thinking was Amelia's thought. She thought that Harry should have revived Diggory, but all-in-all good thinking for a 14 year old boy.

"Shortly after I moved away, I was overcome by pain in my scar. This hadn't happened this heavily since I fought Voldemort in first year."

All around the room, everyone except the professors were shocked.

Amelia wondered why she hadn't heard about this before. Susan had mentioned Harry Potter having been in the hospital wing after a deranged teacher had attacked him, but NO ONE had EVER mentioned Voldemort. Fudge, who had been apprised of it, had felt that this information was unimportant as he had reportedly been driven off and there was no proof anyway. Amos Diggory was floored; no wonder this young man had been able to tie with his son for the TriWizard Cup. Sirius wondered why Remus hadn't told him about this and if he had even known – someone was hiding details on this and he wanted to get to the bottom of it. Aurors Shacklebolt and Tonks were just awed.

"I fell to the ground and tried to push the pain out of my head. All of a sudden the pain stopped but I was too exhausted to react quickly."

Hermione looked at him and realized his scar had faded. "HARRY! Your scar! It's almost gone!"

Dumbledore looked shocked. He had detected the soul fragment many years ago that resided behind Harry's scar. Apparently, by a sheer force of will, the fragment had been expelled. This changed EVERYTHING if this were true. He'd have to examine the boy in the hospital wing soon. If this was the case, all of his plans would have to be changed and Harry would have to be apprised of the prophecy very soon. It wasn't a bad thing, but never would he have thought that a 14-year old boy could overcome such a thing so easily. The boy just might have a chance!

Harry knew that Dumbledore had seen the change in his scar. He hoped that this time the barmy headmaster would now be more forthcoming as his "go and get killed" plan would no longer work.

"Before I go further, can I just put the rest of the memory in Professor Dumbledore's pensieve and show everyone what happened and I can answer questions afterwards?"

Amelia consulted with Dumbledore and agreed.

Harry concentrated on the memory from the point that he had been found by Wormtail. He didn't really want to have to explain all of his actions before hand, especially Stupefying Cedric.

As the scene played out, he could hear breathes being held and violently expelled. He felt Hermione's grip on his arm tighten as Wormtail had stabbed him with the knife. The people around the room were in awe of what he had seen and his quick thinking in escaping with Wormtail as well as what he had noticed when he had returned. "Good situational awareness!" was Kingsley's Shacklebolt's comment.

When the memory had played out until they had passed into Hogwarts, everyone around the room looked at Harry with a bit of awe as he laid out the wands he had summoned in front of Amelia Bones.

"Mr. Potter, you said that the blood on your arm wasn't yours?" Amelia asked.

"Yeah, well that was where I had put the acromatula blood. I guess Wormtail never noticed when he tried to prick me with the dagger."

"Can we look at the resurrected form of Voldemort once more?"

Professor Dumbledore tapped the pensieve with his wand and the room once again looked at the resurrected form of Voldemort with morbid fascination.

Harry wondered if Voldemort would be able to get any of his followers back as Mutant Spiderman.

Dumbledore decided to dismiss Harry at this point. "Well, my boy. Well done! Even though Voldemort was resurrected, it was to an imperfect form. You should go off to the Hospital Wing for a checkup by Madame Pomfrey. Maybe Ms. Granger would like to accompany you. Here is a note to prevent any distractions from prefects and the caretaker," he added as he handed him a parchment slip.

Amelia looked at Harry with some thought. "Mr. Potter, we will be reviewing this and making plans. Before you leave, is there anything that you need?"

"Well, since my godfather has been freed, I'd like to be able to move in with him."

Dumbledore interrupted, "Well, we will discuss that among other things. I and Mr. Black will see you tomorrow morning after breakfast. If you are still in the Hospital Wing, we will talk there. Otherwise, please come to my office straight after breakfast at 9:00. Oh, and please keep tonight's events to yourself until after the announcements tomorrow at lunchtime."

Harry deliberately grabbed Hermione's hand as they made their way to Madam Pomfrey's House of Torture (he hated staying in the Hospital Wing).

Hermione looked at him and smiled, thankful for the contact. She had watched the scene play out with trepidation and was so relieved that Harry had made it out alive.

"Can we stop off somewhere before the Hospital Wing? I have something to do."

"Sure." Hermione was confused but allowed herself to be led to an empty classroom.

Harry set up a locking and silencing charm on the door and the windows and pulled out the jar with Rita Skeeter and handed it to her. "I remembered what you said before the task earlier and realized what you had realized. Say hello to Rita Skeeter. What do you say we talk to her?"

Hermione, who remembered having come to the realization earlier about how Rita had gotten all of her stories, looked at the bug with a sense of satisfaction.

"Rita. Say hello to my friend Hermione, the one who you made rumors about for the last several months. I'm thinking of giving you to her as a present. What do you think?"

Rita was terrified. She was in a tight predicament, and the way Hermione was looking at her things could be getting even worse. She was flying around madly in the jar hoping for escape.

"Now, Hermione, what should I do with her? Should I turn her over to Madam Bones as an unregistered animagus? I think she just mentioned that there were fines involved."

"Yes, Harry. Fines and a sentence in Azkaban for some months. It's an interesting possibility."

"Maybe we can come to an agreement though. What do you think?"

"Oh well, if you think so. Otherwise, I could to have her as a pet for the summer. The jar would fit well on my bookcase."

"Well, let's see what Rita has to say."

Harry set the jar down as Hermione pulled her wand. Harry unscrewed the cap and pointed his own wand at Rita. "If you come out and talk, I promise I won't hex you and turn you over to the DMLE willy-nilly."

Rita Skeeter flew out of the jar and even though she was tempted to try to escape, the wands pointing at her never lost track of her. She turned back to her human form. "What do you want?"

"Well, in exchange for not turning you over to Madam Bones, I want a witch's oath to not report anything untrue or damaging about myself, my friend Hermione, my godfather or Amelia Bones or her family." Harry already had plans to get Fudge sacked and if he threw his name behind Amelia, maybe he could get a fair minister elected.

Rita thought about this. "What about the others? Such as Dumbledore and Fudge?"

Hermione looked at Rita about the include Dumbledore, but Harry beat her to it. "Well, as long as you print the truth without slanting it, you can say whatever you like. This will be in effect until Voldemort is finally defeated once and for all." Hermione thought about this. Since Dumbledore hadn't done anything wrong, she thought this was sufficient. How little she knew.

"Well, that could take years. How am I supposed to be a reporter if I can't write what I want?"

"Well, I could sweeten the pot a little. How about I promise you two exclusive interviews in the next 12 months; one by September 1st of the next school year, and the next by the end of the next school year? And I will convince my godfather to give you an interview."

Rita looked excited. Sure she would have to be careful, but she would avoid Azkaban and with exclusive interviews from the Boy-Who-Lived and Sirius Black, her name would be a household word!

"Ok, I agree." She pulled out her wand carefully, mindful of the two wands that had her covered, and made the oath that Harry had specified. In exchange for exclusive interviews from Harry Potter and Sirius Black, she would not publish anything untrue or damaging about the Harry, Hermione, Sirius, Amelia Bones or any of their families. She would only publish things about the others involved that were true.

Harry nodded his head satisfied. "Well, since we know that you have an exclusive story that you witnessed tonight, I know you want to get to your office as quickly as possible. Just remember your oath. I will contact you later as to the interviews."

Rita changed into her beetle form and flew off once Harry opened the door. He pulled Hermione along toward the infirmary.

Hermione looked at Harry and wondered what had come over him. She was expecting him to be moody and annoyed but was in complete control. "Harry, I want to thank you for what you did for me in there."

"Hermione, you never have to thank me for protecting you. After all this time, I think you should know that."

Hermione bowed her head and blushed as Harry grabbed her hand again.

"Hermione, if I move in with Sirius over the summer, I'd like your help in doing some things." Hermione looked excited at this. "I have to buy a new wardrobe that doesn't consist of my cousin's hand-me-downs, and I need to set up some things that I will need your advice on."

Hermione got very excited, although she was a little uncertain. Harry was asking her for help that had nothing to do with school work. She was a very good planner, but this was the first time that he had asked for help that had nothing to do with books. "Of course I will help you! But won't you be doing such thing with Sirius? And what about the Weasley's? I'm sure Mrs. Weasley would be better at picking out clothes – she has 5 sons."

"Well, Sirius will probably be busy setting up things for a while before he is ready to have me move in. Sirius has been out of circulation and neither he nor Mrs. Weasley has any familiarity with muggle clothes. I'd like to look good for a girl I'm interested in."

Hermione was a little bit sad about this. She had harbored a secret crush on her best friend for a while, but she would do whatever it took to make sure he was happy.

"So I thought I would ask the girl I'm interested in to help me look good for her."

Hermione was gob smacked. Harry was interested in her? A warm feeling exploded out of her stomach and she stared at him.

"Come on, Hermione! Say something! I'm dying here! Would you possibly be interested in being my girlfriend?" Harry looked at her with puppy-dog eyes.

"Really? You want to go out with ME? But what about those other girls that are always watching you. Most of them are very pretty, and I'm …." Harry stopped her with a finger against her mouth.

"All of those other girls don't know a thing about me. Why would I be interested in them, when I'm interested in the most intelligent, beautiful girl I know, who has never abandoned me, even when everyone else had?"

Hermione was about to melt. No one had ever called her beautiful. Viktor had seemed interested in her, but they had decided to just be pen pals as she didn't see him as more than a friend and long-distance relationships were too hard, even with magic. Ron had always reacted jealous about any guy that looked at her, but she felt a little too much like he was trying to own her. She threw her arms around Harry and gave him the hardest hug she could. "Yes!" was all she could say as her thought processes ran away from her.

"Well, after I get checked out in the Hospital Wing and get cleaned up a bit so that I'm not quite so icky, would you give me the honor of giving me my first kiss ever?" It was all Hermione could do to not drag him into a broom closet and snog him senseless, icky clothes or not.

"Madam Pomfrey, can you excuse us for a moment?"

"Just a moment, Mr. Potter. You need your rest," Madam Pomfrey said with strictness.

Harry watched the nurse go to her office. He didn't see her peeking after she had gone inside. "Well, Ms. Granger, now that I have cleaned up a bit, I think you promised me something?" Harry said with a cheeky smile. Hermione nervously approached him and the two missed the small squeal from the background as they kissed with some passion.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter reviewed the last several hours in his head. He was well on his way tfo fixing several of the problems that he had started with when he had visited Bob. Larry had been right; Bob was one sneaky bastard.

The plans that he had enacted with Bob's suggestions for the resurrection of Voldemort had worked to a tee. Voldemort had returned, but with a hideously malformed body. He didn't have his wand and until he could get to a wandmaker that wouldn't lock him out as he wouldn't have one to force his way in.

Voldemort could not take the chance of collecting his followers until he had a wand and a glamour charm and that still didn't handle the deformed arms. He might take a chance with killing himself again but would have to wait for another follower to find him.

The marked death eaters would have felt the Dark Mark reforming would be on edge when they hadn't been called immediately. Which would make them very nervous as Voldemort was not one to wait to glory in his power over others. That they hadn't been called could mean that he was unhappy with them and was making plans to make his displeasure felt.

He had gotten Crouch and Wormtail caught and questioned under Veritaserum with Amelia as witness before Fudge could hush it up or interfere with his dementor guard. As a bonus, he had Sirius questioned at the same time and his release was impossible to avoid in front of so many witnesses.

He had hamstrung Dumbledore's plan for his demise by walking in front of a Killing Curse; Dumbledore had obviously been changing his mindset when Harry had been dismissed.

He had taken the opportunity to blackmail Rita Skeeter earlier than expected. He knew he would have the chance, he didn't think it would be this quick.

And, best of all, he had asked Hermione to be his girlfriend and received enthusiastic agreement. The kiss he had shared with Hermione after Poppy Pomfrey had incarcerated him in the infirmary once again was sweet and held the promise of more to come. Even the Hospital Wings dungeon mistress couldn't help but smile when she had seen the interaction of the two teens after his examination.

Hermione had left afterwards with a promise to keep things to herself until the whole story broke and attention would be diverted. Harry had promised to make it up to her after convincing her that he was not ashamed at all to have her as a girlfriend. Hermione, rational girl that she was, could see the arguments that he had made had validity and was intrigued by his promise. Snogging Harry had made it to the top of her list of favorite activities, even above studying one year ahead in her texts. A shopping spree to a bookstore might be the only activity that would tie for the top spot.

Harry hoped to avoid a confrontation with the Weasleys until after the whole Mutant Spiderman being Resurrected thing had been sorted out with the Ministry and press. Even if they didn't actually announce it, now trustworthy people in positions of authority knew the truth and that would mean he could hopefully avoid the constant harassment he had endured all of fifth year. There were no guarantees though. So he would have to see how much he couldn't avoid and plan for it.

He'd have to get Sirius to take a Wizenmagot seat sooner rather than later.

Harry fell asleep in the infirmary, visions of wild exciting hair and chocolate eyes filling his dreams.

The next morning he woke up early. Madam Pomfrey bustled over to him and started waving her wand over him. He waited for the diagnosis. Poppy pronounced him fit if he would ensure that he got sufficient rest over the next several days. Harry waited until Cedric had been checked out also, so they could walk out of the infirmary together. Anything to deflect attention on himself was a good thing. As they left the infirmary, Harry told Cedric that announcements would be made at lunch and to keep the aftermath to himself until after that. He had reaffirmed that they had tied for the win and asked Cedric if he would tell people about the maze. Harry figured if Cedric told people, they would fawn over him instead.

Cedric knew Harry enough by now to realize that eternal glory wasn't his thing. They talked about not mentioning details about what happened at the cup and to refer people to Professor Dumbledore and Amelia Bones.

Harry made his way to the Gryffindor Common Room and saw that no one was up yet except Hermione who was sitting by the fire reading a book and looking happy.

As Hermione looked up, she saw Harry come into the common room and with a quick look to make sure they were alone still she ran over and kissed him with enthusiasm. Harry laughed and hugged her for a moment.

"How are you doing? How is Cedric? Did you get cleared by Madam Pomfrey to leave the infirmary?"

"I was paroled for good behavior and am under probation to rest sufficiently for the next few days. Cedric is fine and also was released. And how are you today, my lovely bookworm?"

Hermione smiled at him. Unlike Ron, when he made jokes about her reading, Harry's comments had no derision whatsoever. All Hermione could say was, "Happy. Totally and completely happy."

"Well, love, I am going to shower and head to breakfast. Would you like to come with me? You think you can keep the glow to a minimum for the last few days of this term?"

Hermione laughed and nodded enthusiastically. They headed up to their respective dormitories to get ready for the day.

When Harry got to his room, he saw that the other people in the room were stirring. Neville saw him and let out a shout. "Harry! How are you? What happened?"

Neville's shout got the attention of the rest of the dorm, except Ron who slept through it. "Here. Let me wake up the noise machine and I'll tell you what I can." Harry got an idea. He moved close to Ron's bed, moved his mouth close to his ear (but not close enough to get hit if Ron moved suddenly) and yelled out, "BACON AND EGGS!"

Ron jumped in bed and looked around. He saw Harry and the rest of the dorm laughing their heads off. "Hey Mate. Thanks for the wakeup call? How are you?"

"Well, as I was about to tell these other fine gentlemen, I'm okay, I've been released by the Mistress of the Infirmary and it has been confirmed that I tied with Cedric for the win."

"Wow. That's great! Just think of how the rest of the school will react when they found out you won. You'll be able to bag any bird!" Harry just shook his head. Ron would never get it. Harry headed off to the shower to get ready. As he was the most alert he was the first one done and headed down to meet up with Hermione.

As they arrived at the great hall, he could see that there were few students who had arrived yet. As the hall filled up, the stares he received were becoming annoying. As Cedric entered the Hall, everyone moved their attention to him as he walked over to Harry to clap him on the back. "How are you doing, my fine Co-Champion?"

Everyone looked at them with surprise on their face.

"I'm doing well, my esteemed Co-Champion. Maybe you could regale our fellow students regarding our victory!"

Cedric laughed and agreed. As he moved over to the Hufflepuff table, most of the students followed him to hear the details.

Ron, who had arrived just before, looked at him perplexed, not understanding why he hadn't given to details to everyone himself. When the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons contingents arrived, Harry made it a point to get up and walk over to Viktor Krum and Fleur Delacour and find out how they were doing congratulate them on competing well.

Viktor looked at Harry and could see that Harry was not throwing his win in his face but was genuine. "I am vell. Congratulations on a nice vin." Harry chatted with Viktor for a moment and then moved to Fleur. Fleur also could see that Harry was genuinely concerned and was not affected by her Veela allure. They chatted for a few minutes until Fleur was distracted all of a sudden. Harry looked over and laughed to himself as he saw Bill Weasley enter with his mother.

Harry moved over to the Weasleys preparing himself for the over-enthusiastic mothering that was coming. Ron, the twins and Ginny joined her as she greeted Harry with a sob and her overbearing manner. Hermione looked on shaking her head.

"Oh, Harry! How are you doing? It was just TERRIBLE what happened last night? Are you hurt? What happened?"

Harry, after he escaped her arms, told her that there would be announcements at lunch but that she could get the details from Professor Dumbledore as he himself had been asked to keep it quiet until after the announcements. Let the barmy codger deal with Mrs. Weasley's harping for a while.

The twins congratulated him enthusiastically as they had heard a rumor that he had tied with Cedric. Ginny hugged Harry and congratulated him, holding the hug a little too long. Hermione narrowed her eyes when she saw that. She could see that it wasn't Harry's fault. She started making plans to discourage a certain red-headed fangirl.

As the rest of the Weasley brood moved off, Bill could see from the evasive answers and the tenseness of the few professors present that that something was up. He made a judgment call and quietly asked Harry to speak to him sometime this morning. Harry could see that Bill was trying to be discreet and nodded to him as Bill moved off to congratulate Cedric.

After breakfast, Harry left to meet with Sirius and Dumbledore, after letting Hermione know what was happening. Hermione had invited him to stay at her house that summer if she could get permission from her parents. Harry thought that this fell right into his plans for the summer and agreed enthusiastically, making plans in his head to get Dumbledore to agree. Hermione asked permission to use Hedwig to send a message off to her parents. As Harry assented, Hermione had torn off to the owlery to send the message before her trip to the Library to revise for her remaining exams. She invited Harry to come and find her when he was free.

Harry knew that the exams were being copmpleted over the next few days although he didn't have to attend. He thought he might take some of the exams anyway, but any excuse to avoid Snape and Trelawney shouldn't be ignored.

Although, he though, with the two years extra of potions under his belt taking the potions exam anyway wouldn't be difficult and it would stick in Snape's craw a bit. Snape, he now knew, really was on the side against Voldemort, but he still was a miserable bastard, and Harry decided to be overly respectful to annoy the greasy git. After a year in a tent and battling with Voldemort, Snape didn't even come close to being as annoying as he used to think he was.

Harry entered Dumbledore's office to meet up about what was to happen.

"Ah, my boy, please come and have a seat. I was discussing with Sirius your summer accommodations.

"Oh, good. Anything to get away from Durzkaban."

"My boy, some caution needs to be employed. As I was explaining to Sirius, there are good and sufficient reasons for you to spend some time each summer at home with your relatives."

"By Merlin, why would I want to do THAT? I absolutely HATE it there. I haven't considered that place home for the last three years!" Harry yelled out. It was still part of the plan. Harry had learned in his past life that stating it wasn't his home would have negative side effects on the wards which after all only protected the property and his "relatives" and not really himself.

Albus looked at him in shock as Sirius looked at Albus with a vindicated smirk on his face. At the same time, one of the instruments on one of the shelves in the office let off a puff of black smoke which died away.

"NOW, Albus, will you listen to me? If I have a choice, Harry will never set foot in that place at all." Albus just shook his head, wondering what calamity would happen next.

"Very well. We shall have to find some alternate accommodations for the first two weeks of the holiday until the paperwork can be submitted to the Ministry and Sirius has made arrangements. Possibly the Weasleys?"

"Well, if it's all the same to you, Hermione has invited me over to her house this summer. She has owled her parents to get permission. If she does, can wards be set up at her house to keep her and her family protected while I am there?"

Sirius replied with a whistle. "Moving fast, pup!" Harry just blushed and looked at his godfather with a withering stare. Sirius laughed. "If her parents agree, I'll contact Gringott's to set up wards on her property. I have to go there anyway to sort out my status after being declared free by the Ministry." Albus wanted to object, as he didn't want anyone to know where Harry would be other than himself and those he trusted, but even he had to concur that Goblin-made wards were possibly the best choice with what time they had available. He himself would be too busy to cast the wards. As long as he was keyed in, goblin wards would suffice.

"If I could suggest, please keep your whereabouts known to as few people as possible. With the return of Voldemort, even with his ... limitations … it would be best if as few people as possible knew where you will be residing at any given moment."

Harry happily agreed. This meant that he wouldn't have to tell Ron or the Weasleys and that he could get a number of issues resolved before dealing with the blowup.

"Sirius, can I speak to you privately for a moment?"

Albus explained that he had to make arrangements for his next meeting and that they could speak privately in his office for a few moments before Albus and Sirius could plan the rest of the arrangements.

Harry watched Albus leave the office, and erected a Muffliato charm. Sirius raised his eyebrows at Harry. He didn't know that Harry knew this spell; it wasn't very common.

Harry looked at Sirius with a laugh and explained, "I don't know if Professor Dumbledore has any monitoring charms set on his office, and what I have to ask you is VERY quiet. It has to do with a good prank." He watched Sirius his face lit up at the thought that his godson was continuing with the tradition of the Marauders. "I have a request and an investment opportunity that I would like you to take." Sirius looked surprised.

"Investment opportunity? What is it, how much and why don't you invest yourself?"

Harry grinned at him as he replied, "Well, considering the people involved worship the ground the Marauders walk on, I thought that it would mean more if it came from you. It's for a joke shop. The people are geniuses and will make you A LOT of money."

Sirius looked very excited, more about the pranks than the money.

"Well, after your pardon is announced, I want you to meet my friends, Fred and George Weasley, better known as Gred and Forge …."

Chapter Text

Harry left Dumbledore's office, wondering what he should do before lunchtime when the announcements would be made. Ahhh, there was one set of plans that he could work on. And Bill had mentioned wanting to speak to him. He took out his wand. Point me Bill Weasley.

Harry found Bill outside watching Hagrid talking to some students who were probably working on preparing for their exams.

"Hello, Bill. You mentioned you wanted to see me."

Bill Weasley pointed toward the lake and said, "Yes, let's go for a short walk." As they walked toward the lake, Harry saw Bill glancing around to make sure they were alone. Harry pulled out his wand and cast a Muffliato. "As I can see that you want this to remain private, the spell I used will cause anyone and anything else to hear a buzzing noise. We are completely private."

"Handy spell that. You'll have to teach me that one. I have been asked, as an employee of Gringott's, to find out any information about what happened last night. I was also asked to inform you that this information will not be used in any way against you, and that it will be kept completely confidential."

Harry looked at Bill, realizing the enormous potential of this. In the last timeline, he had run afoul of the Goblins' customs, leading to a lot of trouble and having to break into Gringott's Bank. He'd like to avoid that if he could. With that in mind, Harry spent the next half an hour telling Bill about everything.

Bill looked at Harry with a bit of awe. No matter how many stories Ron told of their adventures, hearing one first hand was an eye-opener. At the end Bill could only shake his head. This definitely fell under the letter that he had received.

He took on an official expression. "As an employee of Gringott's Bank, I have been directed to invite you to meet with Director Ragnok of Gringott's Bank at your earliest convenience." Bill's face took on a more normal look and he followed this up with, "I suggest you do this as soon as possible. When the Director of Gringott's says your earliest convenience, what he really means is that the longer you wait, the less happy he will be. So that means, at your EARLIEST convenience, if you understand what I mean. Now, as he has made the request, it isn't an insult if you don't show right up. But you want to visit as soon after the end of term as possible. Also, you can bring anybody you trust, but don't tell anyone outside of those people. Even Dumbledore or McGonagall."

Harry thought for a moment. "I plan to bring Sirius Black as my godfather and wizarding guardian. I also plan on bringing Hermione Granger as my advisor. She is also, although she doesn't know it yet, my intended." Bill's eyebrows rose. Ginny and his mother were going to be disappointed, but because of the oath he had taken, he couldn't even hint to them the information that he had just received. "The Hogwarts Express leaves on the 30th. I will attempt to visit Gringott's Bank on the 1st of July at 14:00. If there are any problems with that, please have Gringott's contact me. If I have any problems with that, I will inform you as soon as possible. Sometime this week, Sirius will visit Gringott's on my behalf the arrange wards for Hermione's parents house as it is likely that I will be visiting her for at least the first few weeks of summer. Who should I have him contact?"

Bill thought about it. Even though it wasn't Harry directly, Ragnok would most likely prefer to see him directly if it involved Harry as the goblins seemed very interested in meeting with him. "Have him go to a teller and say: 'On behalf, of Harry James Potter, I request a meeting with Gringott's representative.' By tomorrow morning, I will have informed Ragnok and arrangements will be made. Does that work?"

Harry nodded. He would have to plan on getting Sirius on board with some things, but if he finessed it right, he could get someone else to take care of the horcruxes. He shook Bill's hand and left to go meet up with Hermione in the library. At least the chance of catching the attention of the red-heads was very small.

After spending an enjoyable hour with Hermione in the library, they packed up and went to lunch. Apparently, with the anticipation of the announcements to be made, the whole student body had arrived on time for lunch - a very unusual occurrence for a Sunday. As food arrived, the students assumed the announcements would happen at the end of lunch and started to dig in.

After half an hour, a ting could be heard. Everyone looked to the head table as Professor McGonagall was tapping her glass to get everyone's attention. Headmaster Dumbledore stood up and nodded to her. The students noticed there were several people in addition to the normal professors at the table.

"Hello and thank you Professor McGonagall.

"First I would like to announce the winners of the TriWizard Cup: Cedric Diggory and Harry Potter." Dumbledore indicated them with his hands and the applause around the room grew as both stood up and bowed, and then retook their seats. "Having saved each other in the final task, the two competitors decided to take the Cup together.

"Unfortunately, there was a kidnapping plot that was exposed and the two competitors were whisked away to an undisclosed location. Due to the quick thinking of one of the competitors, the ploy was defeated and two perpetrators were exposed and apprehended by the DMLE.

"Under questioning with Veritaserum, one of the kidnappers was revealed to be Peter Pettigrew. Shortly thereafter, Sirius Black turned himself in to be questioned under Veritaserum as well. Through these means, Sirius Black was exonerated and Peter Pettigrew now resides under the auspices of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Mr. Black," Dumbledore pointed to one of the new people at the table. Gasps could be heard throughout the hall. Dumbledore waited for the hubbub to settle down and continued. "Mr. Black, having been proven guiltless of the crimes of which he was accused and never having received a trial," gasps were heard again, "received a Statement of Exoneration and Declaration of Innocence."

"At that time, Professor Moody was discovered to have been attacked and one of the perpetrators took his place. This person also admitted under Veritaserum that he had entered Mr. Potter's name without any other student or professor being aware of it. Professor Moody was freed and is now recovering. Because of this, further DADA exams, other than OWL and NEWT examinations, as well as classes for Defense Against the Dark Arts have been cancelled for the rest of the term.

"Tonight, after a Feast, the presentation for the TriWizard Tournament will be held. We will expect all students to attend. Thank you."

As soon as he finished, owls by the dozens entered the Great Hall as though they had been being held back beforehand.

Many copies of the Daily Prophet were delivered as well as personal mail. All around the room, students were gathered around to read the headlines:





Harry thought that Rita had done a credible job. He was sure that the news would be the talk of the school for the next few days. No announcement about Voldemort, but did it really matter?

Harry made his way up to Sirius. "Well, after lunch, can I talk to you about some things?"

"Sure, pup. So where are these two pranksters that you talked about?"

Harry turned toward the Gryffindor table. "Oi! Fred and George!" Fred and George looked up from a copy of the Daily Prophet and moved over to him. "I would like to introduce you to my Godfather, Sirius Black, better known to his friends as 'Padfoot'."

George and Fred looked gobsmacked and bowed down on both knees saying "We are not worthy! We are not worthy!"

Professor McGonagall looked on, torn between amusement and downright terror at what the devious duo might learn from a Marauder.

Amelia Bones, another guest at the head table, moved down the table to speak to Harry. "Mr. Potter, the headlines of the Daily Prophet are quite interesting. Did you inform anybody of what happened last night?"

Harry replied straight away, "The only people who knew the details were present last night when it all was happening. I didn't speak about it to anyone else, except one person who is under an Oath of Secrecy." Amelia looked curious as to the identity of the other person, but if they were under a secrecy oath, they could not be responsible.

"Very well. If at all possible, I would like additional information on some of the revelations that occurred. Can we arrange something for after the holiday starts?"

Harry thought about it. "My holiday plans are up in the air, but I could make time the first Monday after the term ends, July 3rd. Does that work?"

Amelia thought about it. She hoped that the blowups would hold till then. With so many revelations being made so quickly, she might not have as much time as she thought. But a week should be sufficient and not overly long. "I will owl you the details soon." Amelia moved off to talk to the others that had been present, trying to find out who had talked and what had been said.

As Harry moved back toward the Gryffindor table, he was accosted by the ferret with his bodyguards of Tweedledee and Tweedledum. "Hey, Potter! Couldn't even get the win without help from a Hufflepuff!" Draco Malfoy smirked at him, and Crabbe and Goyle laughed.

"Well, considering I fought off an acromatula attacking Cedric and it was my idea to take it together, your comments have no meaning. I have no interest in your inbred and juvenile attitude."

Draco snarled at him. "Why you pathetic half-blood!" He went to grab his wand, but all of a sudden a disarming jinx came from an unexpected quarter.

Sirius walked over to Draco and his goons. "As Head of House Black, I will be contacting Head of House Malfoy for the unprovoked attack on my ward by the Scion of House Malfoy. I will expect a formal apology. Please inform your mother, Narcissa Black Malfoy, that her Head of House will expect to be contacted as regards this as well."

Draco, from his position on the floor, looked up at Sirius with wide eyes. This wasn't a professor who was intimidated by his name, but a pureblood Head of an Ancient and Most Noble House who could create many problems for his father and himself. Draco nodded his head and scurried away (just like a ferret, was Harry's thought) with his goons right behind him.

"Pup, I see that I will have to teach you some customary usages. After the paperwork moves through the Ministry, we will have to have some lessons on Pureblood politics."

Harry, not having seen the power of Ancient and Noble Houses in quite this way before, thought that this was a good idea. Potter was, apparently, a name just as old or older than any other and he hadn't taken this into account in his plans. Things might be better than expected.

"Thanks, Sirius. I look forward to the lessons. That toe-rag has made my life hell for 4 years, and I'm getting tired of it."

Sirius nodded his head. Now that he was back in the game, he had to make some plans and handle some family business.

"Sirius, can I talk to you privately for a moment?" Sirius agreed and indicated the door. "Hold on a minute." Harry walked over to where Hermione had been watching from the Gryffindor table. Ron was distracted with the twins and Ginny looking over the Daily Prophet and they didn't see this.

As they moved onto the grounds, Harry brought up the meetings that had been requested. "Sirius, Hermione; I was contacted by a Gringott's representative for a meeting the day after term ends. I was asked to keep this to myself except those that I trusted and wanted to advise me. The two names that I gave were you two. So, do you think if your parents approve my visiting, can we arrange the meeting in Diagon Alley at 2 in the afternoon on the day after term ends?"

Sirius, who knew customs very well, answered with, "Of course, pup. When I go to Gringott's this week I can set the stage."

"The representative of Gringott's mentioned that. When you arrive, go to a teller and say 'On behalf, of Harry James Potter, I request a meeting with Gringott's representative.' It's what I arranged to get things sorted out. Apparently, a very important-level goblin will meet with you. I have a promise that nothing that comes from the meeting will be used against me." Hermione's eyes widened at this; this visit was WAY more important than Harry seemed to be making it. Harry had never really concentrated in History of Magic but she had and she understood the importance of the goblins making the request.

"Harry, are you sure you want me there? Goblins have a lot of customs that you have to be careful of."

Harry nodded, "That's why I want you both there. Sirius knows Pureblood politics and you pay way more attention than me and can advise me much better than if I tried to do it myself. So will you two please come?" Harry hit her with his puppy-dog eyes.

"Only you, Harry Potter," Hermione said while shaking her head. She would never be able to say no when if looked at her like that. "Of course we'll come. When Hedwig gets back with my parents permission – they'll never say no to me about a friend visiting – we'll send them a message so that they won't make other plans for that day for us."

Harry explained that no one other than the two of them were to even know where he was. "That means that Ron can't know I'm at your house, for security reasons. Can you imagine him keeping it to himself?"

Hermione laughed, "Ron couldn't keep a secret if his life depended on it; he's almost as bad as Hagrid!" Hermione was enjoying this very much. Harry had shown her that he trusted her much more than their red-headed friend and she couldn't argue the logic. Besides, the way that Ron and Ginny were looking at them made her certain that the less they knew the better. She loved the Weasleys, but they surely complicated things.

Sirius looked to how the two teens interacted and was reminded how well Lily and James interacted (well, in seventh year after James had settled down and stopped being a pain when chasing her).

"Alright, Sirius. I'll talk to you later about these things. Just make sure you wait until at least tomorrow morning for Gringott's to work out the details. Now, Hermione, I decided to take some exams anyway, even though I don't have to. Do you want to help me revise for them?"

Hermione squealed and started dragging him off to the library.

The last week of school flew by. After a ceremony to award the TriWizard Cup and a feast, the business of exams took over the school.

Ron had objected when Harry had told him he was taking the exams anyway, not understanding why he wouldn't take the free pass. Ron didn't know what happened, but Harry seemed less interested in chess and exploding snap and more interested in studying. It was very odd. It was almost like he didn't want to hang out with him unless Hermione was there. It wasn't as much fun as it used to be and he started drifting off to hang out with Seamus and Dean, when he could avoid Hermione pestering him about studying. Neville was dragged by Harry along for the marathon study sessions and didn't seem to try that hard to get out of them. His loss, Ron figured. All that stress will get to a body.

Ginny had taken to watching Harry and Hermione to see what was different. Harry seemed more confident and the way that slag seemed to always be with him wasn't very encouraging. He knew they were best friends, but with Ron drifting off and no tournament to concentrate on, she didn't like the possible implications. She'd have to talk to her mother sooner rather than later about snagging the Boy-Who-Lived.

Snape had been surprised to discover that Potter insisted on taking the exams for his class, though he had been offered a chance to avoid them. This Potter that emerged from the maze seemed more arrogant than the one from before the maze, but he also seemed less bothered by things. However, his work was far better than expected and he had shown a number of instincts for potions that he hadn't noticed before. Maybe his near escape had taught him that he couldn't get by on just his fame. Severus Snape would take a wait-and-see attitude. If all else failed, there was always the red-headed idiot and the Longbottom menace to take points from.

Professor McGonagall had been surprised by Harry's new academic fervor. It was rare that an average student such as he had been would make the effort for academic achievement that he had now been making. She saw how he had gravitated toward Ms. Granger rather than Mr. Weasley, and she approved. Maybe he would make something more of himself this next year. That recommendation for prefect was making more and more sense to her.

Professor Dumbledore watched Harry Potter. He seemed less moody and more willing to work. Maybe getting rid of the horcrux in his scar had a greater effect than he had imagined. He would have to get him trained on occlumency and inform him of the prophecy as soon as possible; now that he didn't have to die training would be much more imperative. Ahhh, lemon drops. Always good for a good distraction.

Viktor had wanted to invite Hermione to Bulgaria and possibly work on making a relationship. But after they had talked and he had watched, he saw that she was drawn to Harry Potter. After the tournament, he realized that having the Boy-Who-Lived as a rival REALLY wasn't a good idea Viktor decided there were other fish in the sea. Besides, with Hermione as a friend and pen-pal, if she did end up with Harry Potter, it was a good connection that could help him in the future.

Fleur Delacour had left for home. She might have lost the tournament, but she had met a very interesting man in the form of Bill Weasley. She decided she would take that Gringott's internship.

Luna Lovegood had been shocked. Harry Potter had found her and subscribed to the Quibbler. He and his friend Hermione had then treated her with more friendship than she had experienced in her three years at Hogwarts. The two Gryffindors had sat with her at the Ravenclaw table and when someone had made a comment about her and called her Loony, Harry had stood up for her and called her his friend. Apparently the other Ravenclaws had believed him. Over the next days, the things that she had been missing had turned up unexpectedly, making it unnecessary to spend the final day of term looking for them. Hermione Granger had talked about theories of magic and, even if she didn't seem to believe about nargles and crumple-horned snorkacks, had listened to her and not made fun of her. They had made arrangements to owl each other over the summer. It was nice to have friends.

Chapter Text

As Harry got ready to take the Hogwarts Express, he recalled conversations he had had over the last several days.

Sirius had owled that he had contacted Gringott's and had hired the services of the goblins to put wards over whatever locations Harry would be staying this summer. Harry remembered Grimmauld Place and hoped that there would be other options.

Harry was eating lunch with Hermione and Luna when Hedwig had arrived and landed in front of Hermione. Hermione got very excited. Her parents had earlier approved a visit by a friend over for the holidays. Harry had asked if her parents would object to wards being added to their property; apparently the answer was here.

Hermione made apologies to Luna and dragged Harry off to talk about the letter. When they arrived in a deserted hallway, Hermione turned to him. "Harry, Sirius has contacted my parents and the wards have been approved. They also have invited your godfather and a guard to stay with you. Apparently Professor Dumbledore contacted them and they were told that because of your celebrity status, sometimes a guard was necessary."

Harry just shook his head. Interfering old goat. "Did it say who it was?"

"Apparently, Sirius arranged with Amelia Bones to borrow the services of his cousin, Auror Tonks."

Harry grinned. If he was going to have a guard, it might as well be one that had a sense of fun.

"Also, they know about your appointments on the 1st and 3rd of July. However, they're planning on a trip to Naples for two weeks beginning the 7th. You have been invited along. Will that be a problem?"

Harry shook his head. "Not a problem with me. I haven't really ever gone anywhere so a vacation sounds wonderful."

Hermione started jumping up and down excitedly and then threw herself into him.

"Finally, a summer holiday I can enjoy," was Harry's only thought.

"Hello, Harry. You gonna come over to this Burrow this summer?" Ron asked at dinner Wednesday night.

"I don't know, Ron. With Sirius getting guardianship from the Dursleys, I'd have to talk to him. And because of the kidnapping at the tournament, I have to have extra security this summer."

"Well, my mum wanted me to invite you to stay. If you don't come over, she will be disappointed. Besides, with quidditch coming back next year, I thought I'd try out for Keeper and I want to practice. I thought we could get in a few games. Plus some chess. It's been a while since we played."

Harry almost groaned out loud. He'd have to owl Sirius to make excuses to the Weasleys. With Professor Dumbledore requiring where he was to be a secret, he thought it might be able to be pulled off.

"Well, I'll owl Sirius and let him know. You ought to get your brothers and sister to help give you practice."

"But Ginny's a girl!" Ron didn't notice the heads of every girl in listening range turn toward him with the same scowl.

"But she's also a Weasley! You know your family has quidditch in the blood!"

Ginny walked over and thanked Harry before slapping her brother in the face and walking out. It was all he could do to not laugh out loud at Ron's confused reaction.

As he settled on the train with Hermione, Ron, Luna, Ginny and Neville, Harry made sure that he was next to Hermione and when Luna sat down on his other side, he was tempted to turn and thank her. Ginny didn't look very happy that Harry was between two other girls, but she hid it well. Ron was only paying attention to the game of exploding snap that he was trying to start between everyone.

As the train rushed toward London, he thought about the fact that there was one area that he had almost no experience in. He was almost sweating bullets as he contemplated how he was going to interact with Hermione's mother and father. If her mother was anything like her, that wasn't going to be a problem. No, he admitted to himself, it was totally the father that he was worried about. As Harry nervously glanced toward Hermione, he could see the small smirk she had behind the book she was reading. Hermione always could read his mind.

Talking to Luna was always fun though. He got the compartment into a discussion of crumple-horned snorkacks and where they could be found.

As they got off the train, Harry saw Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Oh, Merlin. More overbearing mothering! As the group moved toward them, Mrs. Weasley hugged each of her children as well as Hermione and Harry. "Oh, Harry. I head that Ron invited you over this summer. You MUST talk to Sirius about it."

"I will Mrs. Weasley. When I know more information, I will have Sirius or Professor Dumbledore contact you."

Before the Weasleys moved off, Fred and George took Harry to the side and thanked him again for setting them up with Padfoot. "And, by next year, we will have some products for our agent, Mr. Harry Potter!" Harry laughed and waved as the Weasleys moved off.

Harry and Hermione turned and saw Sirius standing with an older version of Hermione, minus the bushy hair, and a tall man who looked like he led a comfortable life. Hermione pushed her cart over and then threw herself into her father's arms before turning to her mother. Harry was amused to see the result of two competing Hermy-hugs at the same time. Harry moved over himself toward the group.

"Oi, pup! How was the end of term?"

"Just fine Sirius. I take it these are Hermione's parents."

Hermione turned and said, "Harry, meet Mr. Robert Granger and Mrs. Emma Granger, my parents. Mum, Dad, this is my best friend, Harry Potter!"

Emma moved over to him and gave him a hug and said, "So this is the Harry we have heard so much about over the years!" Hermione blushed at her mother's comment.

Hermione's father shook his hand, "Nice to meet you, Harry." Harry looked into his eyes and could see torture under the use of dental equipment in his eyes.

"Nice to meet you, Mr. and Mrs. Granger," Harry replied nervously.

"None of that now. You'll make us feel old," Mrs. Granger said. "You can call us Emma and Robert."

As the group moved out of the station, Sirius said, "Well, we're going to go together in the Granger's car to their house. I was going to offer to follow them, but it's a long ride."

"Follow them?"

"Yes!" Sirius replied. "On that!" He pointed over to a motorcycle sitting in the lot next to what was apparently the Granger's car, which was a nice Mercedes with plenty of room. "As it is, I'll follow till we get to a quiet area and shrink it. I promise a ride later to both you and Hermione."

"How did you get the Grangers agree to THAT into their neighborhood?" Harry smiled.

Sirius leaned over and said quietly, "I promised them each a ride sometime as well."

Harry and Sirius laughed as they followed the Grangers over to the car.

They loaded the back hatch and Hermione led Harry over to the side and pulled him into the 2nd row of seats.

"Mum, Dad, why the bigger car?"

"Well, honey," Mrs. Granger began, "with Harry visiting as well as Sirius and his cousin, we thought that this year's lease could be something a bit roomier. Especially as we're planning on taking more time off to spend with everyone." Hermione looked happy at that. That meant that Harry might be spending more than just two weeks over the summer with her, and she wouldn't miss seeing her parents as much.

"I want to thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Granger, for letting me visit this year, especially with my godfather."

"Really, Harry, it's not a problem. Hermione has never had a friend stay over and we're happy to have you. Besides, we have plenty of room."

During the car ride to the Granger's, Hermione answered her parent's questions enthusiastically about her term and they talked about the happenings this year. Harry answered questions about the tournament. However, all throughout the ride, Harry could see the looks Mr. Granger, Robert, was giving him as Hermione seemed to drift closer and closer to his side.

Finally, Emma gave her husband a fond but annoyed look and then asked, "So, is there something that you two wanted to mention?"

Hermione blushed and she replied, "Well, just before the term ended, Harry and I decided to start dating."

Robert almost lost control of the wheel as Sirius yelled out from the rear seats, "Well done, Harry! The brightest girl in school!"

Harry stammered out, "Well, we've been best friends for almost four years, and we decided that we decided that we were interesting in going out with each other."

Emma hit her husband in his shoulder and then turned back towards them, "Well, I for one am very happy for you two. I'm not surprised either. Hermione's letters home have featured you prominently almost since she started."

Sirius piped up from the back, "His father was the same. The only girl he was ever interested was the brightest girl of her time, and Harry seems to have the same tastes."

Both teens blushed as the adults in the car laughed at them.

Emma was actually VERY happy. The only other boy her daughter mentioned regularly was Ronald Weasley. Although she liked the boy's father when he had picked Hermione up for the World Cup the year before, there were too many times that Hermione had mentioned being upset by some careless remark the red-headed teenager had made.

Robert wasn't quite as happy as his wife. Even though he could see how happy Hermione was dating this bloke, the whole celebrity thing worried him. He needed a bodyguard for god's sake! However, he also seemed respectful and that was not something he had expected, well not to this degree anyway. But if he hurt his little girl, the boy had a date with dentistry lined up the likes of which he had never imagined!

Harry got up the next morning, happy about how the summer start so far. Once they had arrived at Hermione's house, she had shown Harry and Sirius around the house. Tonks was there as well and was staying with Sirius in the guest house at the back of the property. It was decided with the wards that there would be enough time for them to get to the main house if there was an attack. Also, there was room in the guest house if Moony decided to visit. In the backyard was a pool, which caused Harry to have thoughts about Hermione in swimming attire.

The main house was amazing. There were two stories in the house. The main floor had a kitchen, dining room, entertainment room, sitting room, bathroom and a den. The second floor had a master bedroom with a bath, 3 other bedrooms and another bath; one bedroom had been converted to a library room for Hermione when her books no longer fit in her own room. There was a plush couch and two plush chairs, as well as a desk for Hermione to work at. All in all, it looked like Hermione had brought elements of the Hogwarts Library and Gryffindor common room home with her.

They had stayed up late watching a movie in the entertainment room, Harry and Hermione and fallen asleep against each other toward the end of the movie. Emma was smirking at them when she woke them up to go to their own rooms.

Harry woke up early as he was wont to do when he was at Privet Drive. He took a quick shower and went down to the kitchen. Tonks was sitting at the table reading a copy of the muggle daily newspaper.

"Wotcher, Harry! How are you doing this morning?"

"I'm good, Tonks. So far this summer has started off brilliantly. What would you like for breakfast?"

"Cor blimey, you cook?" Tonks was amazed. Her own cooking skills were less than exciting and she ate a lot of takeout. Of course her clumsiness didn't help in the kitchen much.

"Sure. One thing I learned at my Aunt and Uncle's house was how to cook. So what do you want?"

"How about a fry up with eggs, bacon, scones and sausage?"

"Alright. Why don't you go and wake up Sirius and by the time he gets over here, breakfast should almost be ready."

Tonks moved to the back door to get Sirius out of the guest house, while Harry moved around the kitchen to make breakfast for everyone.

Soon the smell of breakfast permeated the house, drawing the other residents down from their beds.

Hermione's parents arrived first and Emma said, "Harry, you don't have to cook around here. I'm more than capable of handling meals. You're supposed to be on holiday."

Harry smiled at her. "That's alright. I have a lot of practice from growing up, and I wouldn't feel right if I didn't do anything to contribute. Besides, I enjoy cooking breakfast. So if you don't mind, I'd like to cook at least sometimes, and maybe even a dinner or two. Also, I'm a fair hand at gardening and it's nice to work outside during the summer."

"Well, that's alright as long as you realize that we don't expect it," Emma replied as she walked over and gave him a hug. Hermione came down the stairs in pajamas and Emma walked over and hugged her as well and kissed her forehead.

"Good morning, mum. What smells so good?"

"Harry decided to cook breakfast this morning?"

Hermione seemed to wake up at that. "You can cook?" she asked amazed.

"I'll have you know I am an accomplished master in the kitchen. And once everyone sits down you will see what I mean," Harry said at her.

Hermione laughed sheepishly as she admitted, "Well, it's one thing I can't seem to do. I've been banned from the kitchen since I tried to cook eggs and they came out green somehow."

Harry smiled at her. "Oh, come on Hermione. You're good at potions. It's not like it is THAT different." Just then, Sirius and Tonks came in the back door.

"Well, everyone, have a seat and dig in!"

As everyone tasted the eggs and pancakes, there were appreciative comments all around. "Blimey, Harry, this is better than my mum's!" Tonks commented.

As breakfast progressed, Harry brought up something.

"You know I have an appointment at the bank this afternoon. I have asked Hermione and Sirius to accompany me as Sirius knows politics and banking procedures; Hermione has read far more than myself about goblin customs. The goblins are very touchy."

Emma looked at him, "Well, that should be fine. What will you have planned before then?"

Harry smiled sheepishly. "Well, I need to go shopping. I would like to show up at the bank looking smart, and, well, to be honest, my wardrobe has far too many hand-me-downs from my cousin."

Sirius growled at mention of Harry's relatives. He settled down and said, "Well, that's a smart idea. What do you ladies think?"

Emma, Hermione and Tonks looked VERY excited. "That sounds great! We can take you and get you fixed up nice," Mrs. Granger bubbled.

Robert was looking at Harry with pity in his eyes. "Oh to be young and naïve. You do realize that shopping with three women isn't conducive to your health, right?"

Emma hit him in the shoulder as everyone laughed. "No, that sounds good. I already asked Hermione to help me as I'm pants at fashion."

Robert was secretly impressed. Usually teenage boys had their own ideas of what to wear, which was often far too flashy. It usually took years before they realized that it's better to have one's girl do the deciding as a man never wanted to upset his wife or girlfriend by being too flashy in front of other women.

"Well, pup. That sounds good to me. I have my debit card from Gringott's so I'll cover the costs. The girls can cover the dressing up. And Robert can cover sitting back and laughing!" Everyone around the table laughed at Harry's pouting expression.

"That sounds like a good plan," Emma said as she continued to laugh. "By the way, Sirius, why do you call Harry 'pup'?"

Sirius asked her, "Do you know what an animagus is?"

As Emma shook her head, Hermione explained, "It is a witch or wizard who can turn into an animal form. There are now 9 registered animaguses in Great Britain including Professor McGonagall and Sirius." She didn't want to mention Wormtail. The Grangers looked interestedly at Sirius as he stood up and morphed into his Padfoot form. Emma squealed and clapped as Sirius turned back.

"So, as I'm a dog, and Harry's my godson, I call him 'Pup'."

"That's very interesting. Is it hard? Is it related to what Tonks can do?" They spent the rest of breakfast talking about animaguses and metamorphmaguses, before they headed out for shopping and Gringott's.

Chapter Text

It had been a trying week for Lucius Malfoy.

A week ago, his Dark Mark had come back to full visibility. There had been no subsequent call to his Master's side. He was of two minds about that.

Supporting a dark lord was an expensive proposition. He had joined the death eaters, as had other purebloods, with the idea of sweeping away the mudblood filth. He wasn't necessarily fond of the torture and the constant Crucios that one had to endure as a death eater. But, it was far safer playing along than betraying their master. Regulus Black had found that out the hard way.

Next, there was a message from his son that the newly exonerated Head of House Black had demanded an apology for his son's stupid baiting of Potter. With the press seriously behind Black, it was next to impossible to bribe the Daily Prophet to destroy his reputation. Their star reporter Rita Skeeter wouldn't touch it, and that made it a VERY difficult proposition. Blackmailing Skeeter was almost impossible as those who had tried in the past had found themselves lambasted in the press in short order - it was far too easy for Skeeter to use her secret animagus form to dig up dirt. Later in the week, Black had sent a message that his will contained clauses to dissolve his marriage and disown his wife and son should Sirius or the Potter brat meet an unnatural demise.

He couldn't afford to get into a blood feud with House Black. It was one of the few names old and prestigious enough that public disapproval from the House would affect his position adversely. The only thing that would be worse was when the half-blood Potter declared his status as Head of House. The Potter name was even older than the Black name. And half-blood or not, Harry Potter had sufficient political clout as the Boy-Who-Lived that combining it with Head of House Potter would be very problematic. He had been eroding the boy's reputation for the last several years, but Sirius Black being found innocent threw a wrench into his whole plan. DAMN Fudge for being an incompetent!

To top it all off, his wife had been strangely non-cooperative. Although she was a firm proponent of the superiority of purebloods, she was not the zealot that her sister Bellatrix Lestrange was. Narcissa had been sympathetic toward her favorite sister Andromeda when the latter had been disowned - privately of course. Now that her sister had been reinstated by Black, Narcissa had been interested in reaching out to her. As much as she loved him and his son, he knew that the bonds of sisterhood were strong enough that if he pushed too hard, she would ask Black for a divorce. And blood-traitor that he was, he would grant it.

It was time to educate his son on the new realities for House Malfoy.

Cornelius Fudge hadn't been enjoying his week any more than Lucius Malfoy.

With the revelations of the past week, he had lost serious political clout. There were rumors of a vote of no-confidence, and he didn't have an easy plan to overcome it. If he tried to push for support from Harry Potter, his godfather would interfere and there was no love lost for Fudge from Sirius Black.

He had been barely successful in keeping the news of Lord Thingy's return a secret. If that got out, he could kiss his political career goodbye. He had been forced to increase the funding for the Aurors and that bit into the programs that he had set up to keep the purebloods happy. Add that to the G600,000 that the Ministry had to fork out to Black to make up for 12 years of illegal incarceration, the Ministry's finances were not in a position to start any bold new initiatives to increase his popularity.

And he couldn't even use the real guilty party, Barty Crouch Sr, as a scapegoat, cause he was dead! And guilty or not, the public liked a live target.

This was not a good week.

Amelia Bones had been working hard since the tournament.

After the incident with Sirius Black and his exoneration, she had been worried that her department would be destroyed from the political fallout. It wasn't her main concern, of course. First and foremost, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement was about justice.

However, for some unknown reason, the Daily Prophet and Rita Skeeter seemed to be going out of their way to be fair to her and her current department. It was very strange. Normally, with blood in the water, the press was there like hungry sharks ready to destroy reputations. But Rita Skeeter had taken the unprecedented step of consulting her as to what she could print regarding the night of the TriWizard Tournament. She had refused to cite her source, but had apparently had very accurate information. And except the bit about Voldemort and his resurrection being left out for security reasons (damn Fudge), she couldn't even deny any of it as it was the truth and much, if not all, of it was or would become part of the public record.

Still, she had forced through increased funding for her department and had also initiated investigations into corruption in the Minister's office. Too many mistakes were being made, and she didn't like mistakes.

Dolores Umbridge was in a quandary.

Although she normally defended Cornelius with everything she had, she didn't know if this was the right thing to do currently. Her political power was tied to his, but his seemed to be crumbling fast. And if she stayed tied to a sinking ship, she might drown.

She was still working on limiting and destroying half-human and non-human freaks such as the centaurs, werewolves, goblins, giants and merpeople. She had gotten the laws limiting werewolves passed and through Slytherin cunning had been working on increasing the power of the Ministry over such things. She had gotten the statuary in the Ministry atrium altered and wizards were coming to see the inferiority of that filth more and more.

However, the public was currently far too sympathetic to Harry Potter and he was a known supporter of non-humans. Apparently he was friends with a FREE house elf! That was an abomination! And the Daily Prophet had gone inexplicably sympathetic to the Boy-Who-Lived.

Plans would have to be made.

Lord Voldemort was having a bad week of his own.

Ever since that filthy rat had botched the resurrection ritual, he had been forced to hide from the glory that he had been planning.

Although he was in a new body, it was deformed. He had protuberances in his mouth which prevented him from speaking Parseltongue. And because Wormtail had contaminated the ritual with what was apparently spider blood, it was even worse. Snakes and spiders didn't get along, especially magical snakes and magical spiders.

So even catching a snake to put it somewhere where it could be used to create another small body for a corrected ritual was difficult. DAMN Potter for destroying his snake.

Add to that that his wand had been taken and he had no spare, he was currently limited to his admittedly good wandless ability to even feed and take care of himself. He couldn't call his followers because first of all, he needed someone with the Dark Mark to call his other followers; and even if he had one to hand, his current form was not one to inspire fear and compliance. Instead it would inspire disgust and revulsion. He might have to start all over again with somehow losing this body.

Luckily his horcruxes were still safe, or otherwise he wouldn't survive losing a body a second time. He had checked the closest one, Gaunt's Ring, before moving off to more hidden locations, so he knew that at least one horcrux still anchored him.

Some drastic measures might need to be taken.

Neville Longbottom was happy.

In the last week of term, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger had taken him under their wing and helped him prepare for his exams. Harry had even asked him, Neville Longbottom, for help with Herbology! His grandmother had been impressed with his improved scores.

As a result of discussions he had had with Harry, he had convinced her to take him to get a new wand. He hadn't realized that a wand had to choose a wizard. He had successfully convinced his grandmother to consult with Ollivander and if he agreed, Neville was getting new wand! Maybe he wasn't so pants at magic as he thought. The fact that he had been using a wand that might not be suited for him meant that the fact that he could do magic at all was a very good sign.

Things were definitely looking up.

Augusta Longbottom was impressed.

Her grandson, no matter how much she loved him, had always been a little bit of a disappointment. She had used all of her formidable personality to try to mold him into the figure she knew he was capable of, but until now she had had little hope.

He had come back from Hogwarts, however, much different. He had apparently befriended the Boy-Who-Lived and his best friend, who according to rumors was the brightest witch of this age. He had improved his grades and was walking with a new confidence.

He had talked to her about getting a new wand. Her arguments about being good enough for him if it was good enough for her Frank had been countered very effectively. She had agreed to take him to Ollivander's and consult the wandmaker.

Her grandson had also been convinced to work hard to lose the baby fat he still carried. He had convinced her to hire tutors to train him in sword-fighting, a noble skill for a pureblood of a Noble and Ancient House.

She would have to do something to strengthen the ties with her son and Harry Potter. Such improvement should be encouraged and House Longbottom just might have a Scion to be proud of.

Molly Weasley was not quite as impressed.

Her daughter had come to her for advice in snaring Harry Potter. Molly had regaled her in the tales from her own time at Hogwarts. She had convinced Ginny that getting Harry to see her as a girl could be accomplished by dating other boys first. She had also told Ginny about how she had used some mild love potions to get Arthur to notice her. She hoped that her daughter had gotten the idea. Maybe it wasn't a bad thing that Harry hadn't been set to come to the Burrow this summer. It would give her Ginny time to get ready to put her plans in place.

Her twins, Fred and George, had come back from school with gleams in their eyes that frankly worried her. They had mentioned becoming unofficial apprentices of a master of some type. An apprenticeship sounded respectable, but she couldn't get any more details than that from them, citing secrecy agreements. She just hoped that whatever they were working on would help them get respectable jobs at the Ministry.

Her son Ronald, however, was proving to be a disappointment. His only interests seemed to be chess, food and quidditch. His grades continued to be mediocre, and the only reason they were that good was by the force of his friend, that muggleborn Hermione Granger. Hmmm. That was a thought. Maybe she should owl the girl's parents to invite her over. The girl could spend time with both of her children: Ginny to work on becoming more socially involved with Harry's friends and Ronald to maybe get him a wife that could keep him in line.

Little did she know how disappointed she would be by the end of summer.

Luna Lovegood was dreamily remembering the end of term.

In a space of a week, she had gone from friendless and bullied Loony to a girl with friends that protected her from anyone wanting to harm her.

Hermione was fun to talk to about magic and their classes. Although it wasn't as much fun as the creatures she was interested in, Luna wasn't in Ravenclaw for nothing.

Harry, however, was more than willing to talk about nargles, whackspurts, snorkacks and heliotropes. He also was very protective and had almost single-handedly made her time at Hogwarts fun.

Luna remembered the creatures that had shown up when Hermione and Harry were together, and she realized that they were in for an interesting future.

Neville was almost as shy as she herself was, but also never insulted her. He had stopped shying away when people made comments about him hanging out with her and in fact had responded in such a way that people stopped making the comments.

It was so very nice having friends.

Larry and Bob were having a beer together.

After one of their more important clients at Afterlife, Inc. had made a nuisance of himself, he had been sent back and seemed to be making a good go of it. They had laughed over the new details that had shown up in the files about one Tom Marvolo Riddle. If all went to plan, Harry Potter would get the goblins on board, a notoriously tricky endeavor. That could only bode well for keeping him from another premature visit to the office.

Bob was quite proud of the guidance he had given to Harry Potter: Very sneaky and, with a little bit of luck, very effective. He could give some more suggestions through Larry; it was always good to have a pet project to keep you interested.

Larry was almost looking forward to visiting his client for the next review interview stated in the contract. If all went well, he could avoid a drafty barge on an ugly river.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter walked out of Harrods convinced that shopping was the root of all evil.

Hermione, Emma and Tonks were all very happy to play with their new Harry Doll. Harry had to admit it, the results were good. But at the same time he was VERY happy that an appointment at Gringott's precluded the all-day shopping trip that the women seemed perfectly willing to have.

He, unfortunately, had fallen into a trap due to his inexperience with the female mindset. When Emma had mentioned it being disappointing that they couldn't get all of the shopping done for their planned trip, he had, in his polite manner, agreed that it was too bad (secretly thanking Merlin that time was limited). Somehow, however, that had translated to the women that a later all-day shopping trip would have to be planned.

Robert had stuck by his roll as the peanut gallery admirably. He had laughed (out of the hearing of his wife and daughter of course) at the way Harry was marched in an out of the changing rooms as Emma, Hermione and Tonks had systematically moved around the store checking into clothes of all types for all occasions

Sirius, the moneybags for this trip to women's paradise, actually looked tired himself. He had offered to kit out Tonks, as a thank you for her going out of her way on the protection duty, and to buy something for Emma and Robert as a thank you for inviting them over. They had objected, but Sirius had stood firm.

Harry had actually left the store in a suit. Although he wanted to dress casually, he felt that all efforts should be made to be as formal as possible. They would still have to stop at Madam Malkin's before the bank, but Harry hoped the shopping frenzy was over for the day.

Harry, Sirius and Hermione walked into the front door of Gringott's at 1:45. The Grangers were bringing the results of the shopping back to the house with Tonks. Sirius would send a patronus message (a spell that was a specialty of the Order of the Phoenix) to Tonks when they were finished so that she could return and side-along one of the teens when they were finished.

Harry spied Griphook as one of the tellers. Admittedly, in the last time line Griphook had reneged on the deal regarding the sword of Gryffindor. He had still aided them sufficiently so that they could obtain the cup and, in the end, it didn't really matter as sword apparently could be called regardless. Well, better the devil you know.

Harry waited for Griphook to finish his current customer before walking over to him with Sirius and Hermione following. "Greetings, Teller Griphook. How are you today?"

Griphook looked up at the wizard who had addressed him so politely (for a wizard anyway). "I am well. May I help you?" Griphook was shocked. It was rare indeed for a wizard to recognize a goblin by name, and it was almost as rare for a wizard to enquire as to the health of a goblin. Griphook, of course, was unaware that Harry had recently seen him in another time line.

"I have an appointment at 2:00 today and would like to inform Gringott's representative that I have arrived and am available at their pleasure."

Other goblins had started to notice. All could see that the wizard in front of Griphook was respectful, and those within earshot (a great many due to their superb hearing) could see that the wizard had arrived early for an appointment and had offered to wait until the goblin was ready, instead of demanding immediate service. A very noteworthy occurrence.

Griphook took them down a hallway that seemed low and wide. Such tunnels were built for goblins. They ended in front of two massive doors guarded by eight spear-wielding goblins. Griphook bade them to wait a number of feet from the door and approached. He bowed to the two directly in front of the door and spoke. "Mr. Harry James Potter has arrived for his 2:00 appointment early and would inform Director Ragnok that he is available at his pleasure." The guards noted that the wizards and witch stood patiently with no indication that they were impatient should any wait be necessary.

The Captain of the Goblin Guard nodded to Griphook and entered the office to inform Ragnok that his appointment had arrived. In a few short minutes, the Captain opened the doors fully, said a word to the other guards in Gobbledygook and two of the guards moved inside while the Captain and another Goblin stood in profile next to the two doors. Griphook turned and motioned the party to move forward and into the office. As Harry approached the door, he could see that Griphook was preparing to leave. Harry bowed to him and said, "My thanks, Teller Griphook. May your gold flow and your enemies be crushed." He then stood and moved into the office, not noticing the surprised looks on Hermione's and Sirius's face or the shocked reactions of the guards which were quickly suppressed.

As Harry moved in, he stood in front of a massive desk with a very old looking goblin that nevertheless sat with the confidence of a warrior.

Harry bowed to the goblin, with Sirius and Hermione quickly following suit. "Greetings, Director Ragnok. As requested by a representative of Gringott's I have arrived for consultation," Harry said as he completed his bow.

Ragnok replied, "Gringott's welcomes you, Mr. Potter. Your advisors and yourself may have a seat."

Harry sat as he noted that the Captain of the guard and the other goblin who had stood opposite to him moved to the wall behind Ragnok. A quick glance showed that the two goblins that had entered previously had moved to the back of the room next to the doors and stood at attention.

"Gringott's has requested this meeting to ascertain some information that may affect you as a client of our Bank. I, as Gringott's representative, offer oath that the information requested will in no way be used against you. May I proceed?"

Harry replied with a closed smile (not good to show your teeth to a goblin). "No oath is necessary. As Gringott's holds my assets in trust arranged by my ancestors, my own trust is granted and your statement as to intentions is sufficient."

Hermione sat back listening to this and wondered where the hell Harry had learned goblin customs. She knew he did not pay attention in History of Magic and often slept through it. The importance of custom to goblins was a prime point in the constant retelling of Goblin Rebellions in that class. She had looked up goblin customs in her research and certain things had only been implied, as though the reader should know already many things. Even she could not have directed him to do this well.

Sirius sat back with approval. At no time did Harry disrespect the goblin and Sirius knew, from experience both from when he was younger with his family and recent trips to the bank, that disrespect led to difficult times at Gringott's and respect led to a much more pleasant experience.

Ragnok sat and looked at this Scion of an Ancient and Most Noble wizarding House. Although the more moderate pureblood families treated the goblins with respect, it was rare that even they refused an oath when offered.

Such oaths were required to be offered by treaty after unfortunate results in past wars. To a goblin, an offered oath was sufficient to hold him to his honor. Wizards demanded that such things be enforced by magic. This enforced compliance implied honor was not sufficient. No greater insult could be given a goblin than to be called oath breaker. The attitudes of wizards had created much resentment in the goblin race. Wizards did not hold such unmagically enforced oaths. This created a view that wizards were not honorable, and this view had been reinforced by past dealings with the wizard race. As a result of this, dishonor to a wizard when possible was not the automatic death that it used to be. It was a vicious cycle.

Ragnok would have to encourage his guards to relay this to others. Harry Potter had acted with the honor of a goblin and as a result, dishonor to Mr. Potter would be a death sentence.

Harry was thankful to Bob at this point. Bob, or Robert as he used to be called he had mentioned, had made a number of suggestions to Harry about informing the goblins about certain things. He hadn't explained all of the reasons, but the grin that he had been sporting had implied that he should sit back and watch the show. He had encouraged Harry to refuse oaths and how to go about that, and had said it was very important. He didn't understand it all, but Harry had listened raptly and had followed Bob's instructions. From the look of things, so far, so good.

"Well, then, Mr. Potter to the heart of the matter.

"As Director of Gringott's and leader of the Goblin Nation, I request information as to your dealings with the creature known as Lord Voldemort and his followers. This information will be used to ascertain any recompense that would be due to you and your estate, as well as to help me to guide Gringott's polices as regards certain wizarding factions."

Harry was prepared for this. "If I might make a request. I offer copies of all my memories for your review. Due to the extensive nature of my dealings with him and certain followers, it would be faster if you reviewed them and then I would answer any questions. May I have a moment to consult my advisors?"

Ragnok nodded and cast a privacy charm which would allow Harry to talk to Sirius and Hermione without being heard.

"Sirius, it seems they are pretty interested in Voldemort and his death eaters. Can I offer him your memories of Wormtail becoming my parent's secret keeper; the night my parents were killed; what happened when you saw Wormtail in the paper and escaped; as well as the night we helped you escape after being caught at Hogwarts starting with the going into the Shrieking Shack?"

"Sure, pup. I might also suggest the incident from the Great Hall, Lucius Malfoy and my meeting with his wife that I had as a result."

Harry nodded. He turned to Hermione. "Can you include memories of when you found the information on Basilisks, when you got petrified and any threats you might have heard about me from Draco Malfoy?"

Hermione nodded. "As the request was about the effects on you, and Draco's father was a follower in the last war, that might be a good idea."

Harry turned back toward Ragnok and nodded to him. Ragnok cancelled the charm. "I have asked my advisors to offer memories as regards their own dealings with Voldemort and his followers as regards me as well. Would you like their memories included?"

"That would be acceptable. You may draw your wands to retrieve the memories." Drawing wands was strictly prohibited in Gringott's without express permission. Ragnok nodded to the Captain of the Guard and he moved to a cabinet and moved three pensieves to the desk one at a time and placed them in front of each of them. Sirius explained to Hermione how to retrieve a memory and the three of them started putting memories into the pensieves. Sirius had only the four. Hermione included a couple more than that. Harry, however, included many more.

He started with the memory of the night he was hit with the killing curse. He then included the incident with the trap door, the night he slew the basilisk including freeing Dobby and Lucius attempting the Avada Kadavra curse before Dobby knocked him back, the Shrieking Shack, the World Cup, the casting of the Imperious Curse during the 4th year Defense Against the Dark Arts Class, the pulling of his name from the Goblet of Fire, the memory of the conversation between Snape and Karkaroff as well as all three of the tasks and the aftermath of the third one.

All in all, the pensieve was getting quite full.

Once he was done, Ragnok looked at Harry's pensieve for a moment before looking at him. "Mr. Potter, would it be inconvenient if you returned in 2 hours so as to give us time to review the memories? I offer oath to return the memories without alteration."

"Once again, your stated intention is enough for me. Sirius? Hermione?" Sirius and Hermione followed Harry's example and the goblin was even more impressed.

"We will return at 5:00." As Harry stood, he offered a farewell as he bowed to the old goblin. "May your gold overflow and your enemies be crushed." Sirius and Hermione followed his example once again and one of the guards escorted them to the lobby.

"Well, we have some time to kill. How would my girlfriend like a trip to Flourish and Bott's, my treat?"

Hermione squealed and dragged Harry and Sirius off to the bookstore.

In the end, Sirius had to cover the costs until Harry could pay him back from the TriWizard winnings he had at the Granger home. Harry had insisted. Clothes and food and summer holiday costs might fall under the purview of a guardian, but treats for his girlfriend definitely fell under the responsibility of a boyfriend. The argument had to be had away from the prying ear of Hermione who had been distracted by a trip to her favorite playground.

Harry had also found a book on occlumency. He knew he was shite at it. He had avoided looking Snape in the eye and Dumbledore could be a problem as well. He decided he didn't want to take the chance.

After a promise to return at a later date, Harry finally got Hermione out of the store for a trip for some ice cream before their return to the bank.

Upon entering the doors to Gringott's, Harry noticed that there were very few other customers. Saturday afternoon apparently was a quiet time at the bank. Griphook approached and bowed to them while inviting them to follow him once again. Harry, with Sirius and Hermione following suit once again, bowed back and agreed.

They made their way to Ragnok's office. The remaining guard saluted them by holding their non-spear hand to their chest and nodding their heads, as the captain and the three other "inside guards" followed the procedure from earlier. Not knowing what else to do, Harry put his hand to his chest and nodded his head at the salute as before they passed through the doors. As they entered, Ragnok himself saluted them in a similar fashion and Harry returned it as the others bowed.

Ragnok started off the conversation.

"Mr. Potter, Gringott's thanks you for the opportunity to view your memories of your battles with Lord Voldemort. The information was quite valuable to us. We of the Goblin Nation recognize you as a warrior due a warrior's courtesies."

Sirius and Hermione were a bit gobsmacked. Harry was surprised himself. He hadn't expected that really.

"There are a fair few questions we have of you." Harry agreed to answer them and Ragnok continued. "In one of your memories, you fought this wizard for a Philosopher's Stone. How did that come about?"

Harry explained in brief detail, inviting Hermione to add information as to the research, which was her area of expertise. Ragnok sat up in his chair at one point. "Who knew that this creature had been behind the break-in at our Bank and why were we not informed?"

Harry thought about it. "Until the confrontation, we could not be certain who it was. Afterward, ourselves, Professor Dumbledore and Professor Severus Snape could have made the connection. I would have thought that Professor Dumbledore would have informed you as we were in no position to do so until much later."

Ragnok looked thoughtful. "What was the final dispensation with the carcass of Slytherin's beast?"

Harry looked at the goblin. "It is, at this moment, still lying in the Chamber of Secrets. The only person who can enter the Chamber besides myself is Tom Riddle, also known as Voldemort, and I have no authority over the grounds."

Ragnok shook his head. "According to law and custom, the slayer of a magical beast, unless killed in a reservation or a place where they are bred, is awarded its carcass or any proceeds from it. It is quite valuable as the parts of a basilisk are quite rare." At this point, a certain tenseness entered Ragnok. "Where is the sword that you used to slay the beast?"

Harry knew about the goblin's interest in goblin-made items. They considered that they were owned by the maker and his descendants and only rented for the life of the wizard who contracted them. Harry didn't know that one of Ragnok's own ancestors had been the forger of the sword.

Harry was did aware that this tied into the reason goblins no longer sold items to wizards. The concession allowing wizard families to retain already purchased items in a treaty after one of the Goblin-Wizard wars still rankled within the Goblin Nation. As a rule though, possessors of such items, usually old pureblood families, were treated with an increased amount of indifference to their needs and a bit of harshness when goblins could get away with it.

"It sits in a display case in the office of the Headmaster of Hogwarts. As the Sword of Godric Gryffindor, it is quite valuable to the school. According to Professor Dumbledore, it may be called at need by any Gryffindor."

Ragnok, knowing the wizard did not hold on to the goblin-made item himself, left that for another time. Albus Dumbledore would know the displeasure of the Goblin Nation.

"We have one other question, that we must ask. Do you know the method by which one Tom Marvolo Riddle possessed the girl in the chamber with a diary?"

Harry nodded his head. He asked for a pen and a small piece of parchment. Bob had told him that he should not say this word out loud to the goblins. He didn't understand it, but he would follow his advice.

He wrote one word one word on the parchment and passed it back to Ragnok. Ragnok's face became harsh. He stood up before them and said, "Mr. Potter. This may not be discussed here. Would you come alone to my private office? Mr. Black, I offer oath that your charge nor yourselves will be harmed."

Sirius looked shocked at the change in demeanor of the Chief of the Goblin Nation. "Once again, your stated intention is sufficient." Hermione looked worried as well. When goblins were upset, it wasn't a good thing for those that upset them. With the offer of an oath, she wasn't as worried as she would have been. But something was going on, and she wanted to find out what it was.

Ragnok, the Captain of his guard and Harry moved off to a door along the side of the main office.

Ragnok passed through the door with Harry following. The Captain closed the door and stood guard in front of it.

Inside, the office, unlike the main office, was much smaller and had solid stone for walls. The door was even stone. The furniture was much more simple, with the desk apparently made of solid, black stone which Harry did not recognize as onyx. There were no chairs but stone stools on both sides of it. The shelves, also made of stone, held many items of considerable beauty and along the area behind the desk, some very old tomes.

Ragnok sat down on his own stool and pointed toward the other one.

After Harry sat down, Ragnok looked at him and asked, "What do you know of this vile piece of evil magic that you wrote here?" And Ragnok pointed at the parchment in front of him with one word written on it: Horcrux.

Chapter Text

Ragnok looked at Harry expectantly. Harry had never seen such an intense interest in what a wizard had to say by a goblin.

"Can I ask that this information stay between Gringott's and myself?"

Ragnok answered him, "Since this piece of magic was used against us 2000 years ago, there has been an interdiction by the Chiefs of the Goblin Nation against this abomination's creation becoming known by wizards and other magical creatures. We have, at every opportunity, destroyed any reference as to the creation methods of such a vile piece of magic whenever we had opportunity. Information on their destruction is allowed to our warriors, curse breakers and other wizards that we have decided were worthy of the information and that could aid in the destruction of such.

"A clause has been built into every treaty we have ever had that allows us to destroy any enemy of the Goblin Nation that used this, the blackest magic that we have encountered. Any magical creature that brings the use of it to our attention is owed wergild, as long as they themselves have not used this magic. This wergild is paid from the assets and chattel of the enemy that we destroy.

"Should any creature knowingly hide or pass along such hideous devices, we shall use whatever methods available to destroy them financially, unless they themselves were the creator, whereupon their total destruction is required.

"So Mr. Potter, I can assure you: No information of this shall be passed beyond the walls of Gringott's to any magical or mundane being."

Wow, Harry thought. Bob had been totally right about sitting back and watching the show.

"I have become aware that Tom Marvolo Riddle, descendant of Salazar Slytherin, created 7 of these devices. 6 of them were created intentionally and one was unintentional." Ragnok looked interested in this last bit.

"The scar upon my forehead, received when the killing curse rebounded from me based on the rites of protection and sacrifice that my mother endured, became his 6th horcrux. Through pain and sacrifice, I have seen this destroyed. The diary I destroyed with a basilisk fang after my defeat of Slytherin's beast was the first that Riddle created."

Ragnok looked at Harry with awe. The destruction of a horcrux from a living being without the loss of the life of that being had never been accomplished. Usually such a thing overcame the being and they could be easily possessed by the creator of the horcrux. This had happened to a Goblin Chief and was the reason that they so hated this magic.

Harry decided to just tell the goblins up front where they all were.

"By various means, I have found that the items are as follows:

"The diary of Tom Marvolo Riddle was created first and was placed in the hands of Lucius Malfoy for safekeeping. The death of the girl who is now a ghost at Hogwarts known as Moaning Myrtle was used in the creation of this device. Lucius, in an effort to destroy a political rival, passed it on to the daughter of Arthur Weasley. I do not believe Lucius Malfoy, nor any other follower, was aware of the exact nature of the device. By possessing her, the beast of Slytherin was loosed on the castle, requiring me to destroy the beast and the diary.

"The Gaunt family ring, located under the floor boards in the shack formerly owned by Marvolo Gaunt, was the second created. Riddle killed his biological father and his father's family when he obtained this to create the device and framed his mother's brother for their deaths. He died in Azkaban.

"The locket of Salazar Slytherin was created 3rd or 4th I believe. This was obtained by Riddle from Hepzibah Smith by murder. Miss Smith obtained it from the shop owned by Caractacus Burke, which he worked for after he left Hogwarts. This locket was sold by Riddle's mother to Burke before she died in childbirth. Regulus Arcturus Black, a follower of Lord Voldemort, found out that he had created a device and where it had been hidden. He recanted his association and sacrificed himself to obtain it back and ordered his house elf, Kreature, to ensure its destruction. Unfortunately, the means of its destruction are beyond a house elf and in remains in the Black family home at this time. I do not know of the death associated with the creation of this device. Inform the house elf that you are destroying it please and that this is on the wish of his master Sirius Black. It will help in the long run.

"The Diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw, located in the Room of Requirement at Hogwarts Castle was possibly last the last created intentionally before his body was destroyed. The ghost of Helena Ravenclaw was manipulated by Tom Riddle to revealing the location of Diadem. He then placed it, after he turned it into a device, in the Room of Requirement when he came to the castle under the guise of requesting a job. I also do not know of the death used for the creation of this device.

"The snake Nagini. This was a snake that became Riddle's familiar and was used in rituals to maintain the form he used before he was resurrected by the ritual performed by Peter Pettigrew at the end of the third task of the TriWizard Tournament. I believe the death of Bertha Jorkins was used in the creation of this device. As you may have seen in the memory provided, I have killed this snake and destroyed the device." Harry, in fact, did not know whether it had already been a horcrux. It had been suggested by Bob, but not explicitly stated. However the nightmare he had where he saw the scene of Barty Crouch Junior's return to Voldemort from the snake's viewpoint implied it as well.

"Myself. I have already told you of it's destruction. However, while the device was destroyed, I still maintain a small emotional link with Voldemort which will apparently only end when he is finally killed. This is one way of which I have obtained information as regards the location of the devices. Other information as to how I obtained this information, must, by holy contract, be kept by myself and only Ms. Granger may be informed. In time, I may tell her. But I offer oath that the information I have as to the creation of such devices will not be divulged, nor will I divulge the small amount of information that I do have as to their creation methods, which does not include the exact method.

"The last, which you may be most interested in. Hufflepuff's Goblet. This was also obtained from Miss Smith. She, as a distant descendant of Helena Hufflepuff, held this as a family treasure. Miss Smith was killed two days after Riddle learned of her possession of the items. Her house elf was convicted of killing her by poison. This Cup was placed in the care of one of his top lieutenants, Bellatrix Lestrange, to be placed in her vault at Gringott's. As far as I know, it is there at this very moment."

Ragnok looked at the wizard in front of him. Never, in the 2000 years since the interdiction had been placed, had a wizard created so may of these vile devices. And never in the 2000 years had one wizard, or any magical creature, been so helpful in their destruction or personally destroyed so many. According to the wizard's story, he had destroyed three of them already, and had given the goblins all of the information needed to destroy the other four.

Goblin cursebreakers with the aid of others willing could remove the evil taint from items. According to their customs, the finder of horcruxes, should they desire it, were given the items as part of the payment for alerting the goblins as to their location.

The Goblin Nation owed significant wergild to the young warrior in front of him.

"Mr. Potter, as payment for the information you have provided, the Goblin Nation offers any recompense that you desire. We will provide services to you and the House of Potter at no charge in perpetuity. The items, once obtained, will be cleansed of their evil taint and given to you as part of the recompense. What boons do you request of the Goblin Nation?"

Harry thought about how he could use this information most effectively. "In exchange for the wergild owed, I ask for one Goblin-made item to be held in perpetuity: The Sword of Gryffindor. It is to be held by either his heir, or the head of Gryffindor House of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry should there be no current heir, to be used in defense of the school as needed."

Ragnok, the descendant of the maker of sword, would and could provide this gladly. The wizard apparently, by his very wording, did not know that he himself was an heir. The other heir was Scion of the Ancient and Noble house of Longbottom. Both the Potters and the Longbottoms had married into the Gryffindor line and been cadet branches.

"I also ask that the Diadem of Ravenclaw be returned to the heir of Ravenclaw, or should there be no heir, to the Head of Ravenclaw House to be used to guide students to Wisdom. The locket of Salazar Slytherin should be given to the Head of Slytherin House as a keepsake of their founder. I know that there is no other heir than Tom Marvolo Riddle and a death sentence hangs over him as a creator of these devices."

Ragnok could argue against that. As this wizard had defeated Riddle three times, he could claim rights as Slytherin's Heir.

"I also request Hufflepuff's Chalice to be given to the Head of Hufflepuff House to be held for use to aid in healing at the school. Apparently, according to my sources, (Bob, Harry thought) healing potions delivered by this Cup are increased in efficiency and may mean the difference between life and death.

"Gaunt's Ring is a special case. I must ask this as a boon of the Goblin Nation. This item is magical device of great power with great chance of a corruption of its use. The stone on this ring has another name: The Resurrection Stone. Along with the wand held by Albus Dumbledore and the Invisibility Cloak passed down in my family, it is a part of the items known as the Deathly Hallows and are the basis for the story of the Three Brothers in the Tales of Beetle the Bard."

Ragnok was floored. These items collected together, were a source of great power for the wizard who held them. They were wizard's magic and could not, outside of the cloak, be used by non-humans and no wizard had ever revealed their location to a goblin.

"I ask that the Ring be held by the Goblin Nation, away from the use of any wizard, in perpetuity. They may only be released by Oaths of Secrecy and Return by my descendants and only at need sufficient to convince the Chief of the Goblin Nation."

"I should tell you at this time. There is a prophecy in the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic. According to my sources, this prophecy was given to Albus Dumbledore and had something to do with the reason he attacked me as a baby. Should it be appropriate, I offer alliance to the Goblin Nation for his destruction. I also ask for future alliance with my intended, Ms. Granger, in her quest for equal rights for all magical people and creatures. My intended, although she does not know she is my intended yet, has a thing about rights for non-pureblood witches and wizards and other magical creatures such as house-elves. As she is the brightest person I know, I intend to spend my life helping her in her quest because she can only succeed when she puts her mind to something."

Ragnok vastly appreciated the wizard Harry Potter. In the guise of boons from the Goblin Nation, he had offered hope for the first time in many years to tear down the discrimination of the wizarding world against goblins and other non-humans, as well as the bigotry of the pureblooded factions. He had asked for very little for himself personally and had apparently thought of only the future of which Ragnok could wholeheartedly approve.

Never in the history of Goblin-Wizard relations, had one wizard aided the goblins so much with no thought using the goblins for their own power. Usually alliances were requested by wizards to aide them to rule over others. Goblins rejected such things, because they had no desire for tyrants. They only asked for the right to maintain their traditions and their own sovereignty.

"I will agree in principle. If your intended is such a one as yourself, the resources of the Goblin Nation shall be used toward such a goal. Is there anything else you ask of us?"

Harry thought about it. "May I consult my advisors? I will not reveal to them any information as to the devices, but I need to ask them about some plans I have."

Ragnok agreed and led Harry back to the outer office. Harry saw that Hermione and Sirius were relieved to see a smile on Harry's face after his meeting. That meant there wasn't trouble. Trouble with goblins was bad business.

"Director Ragnok, can you cast the privacy charm again?"

"Okay, Sirius, how dark is the Black family anyway?" Harry asked this knowing full well the answer.

"Well, pup, until me, the family has been pureblooded bigots with little regard for niceties for many generations. Why do you ask?"

"In a minute. How would you like to get rid of all the dark items of your family?"

Sirius whistled. "How do you plan on doing that?"

"If you are willing to give up any goblin-made artifacts from your vaults or property, I think I can convince the goblins to do it at no additional charge. What do you think?"

Sirius shrugged. He didn't need all that crap. "It's alright by me. Getting rid of all of it will be a burden off me. I was thinking about where we could live, but all the Black properties would be too hard to clean up fast enough. A Potter property might work, but as it's been years since any were inhabited, clean up for those might have been problematic as well."

"Well, as we were planning on going on vacation with Hermione's family, maybe we could arrange for the goblins to work on those. As my guardian, I would need your permission to offer the return of any goblin-made artifacts from my properties and, even though the family wasn't apparently dark, you never know what skeletons in the closet might be there."

"I can agree to that."

"Hermione, I have a question for you. What plans do you have after Hogwarts?"

To Hermione, this was out of left field. "Well, I was thinking of going to a University afterward. I was thinking about getting into law. A lot of things about the magical world are backwards and I want to try to move it forward to at least the 20th century. Beyond that," here Hermione blushed, "I've thought about a family as well."

Harry grinned at her. "Well, if I might be included in that plan, I think I like that." Hermione blushed more as she hugged Harry hard. "Would you like a scholarship to a University? Some things that came up with Ragnok might afford you one." Hermione looked excited. This was a dream come true. The only thing that had worried her about her future plans was how to get into a University without attending regular schools. It was difficult to get into the best schools after Hogwarts.

There was a program for those that wanted to continue their non-magical educations, but it often only covered the least expensive schools. Purebloods, while wanting to encourage muggleborns to leave the wizarding world, did not want the Ministry spending gold to put them in the best schools. It was one of the things that she wanted to change. She thought that muggleborns shouldn't lose the opportunity for scholarships that happened when they attended magical schools. Her parents would have helped of course, but even well-off families such as her own didn't have an easy time of covering such a vast expense.

Harry turned and nodded at Ragnok once again. After he cancelled the privacy spell, he began his pitch. "After consulting my advisors and guardians, I would ask the following:

"In exchange for the destruction of dark items at any House of Black family properties and vaults," here Harry gave Ragnok a somewhat significant look that Sirius and Hermione missed as they were looking at Ragnok, "the house of Black will offer the return of any goblin-made items that may be found at such properties or vaults. This request includes aid in the renovations to make the properties habitable or able to be sold. Is that acceptable?"

Ragnok caught on quickly. This would give them opportunity to get the horcrux from the Black family home. The return of any goblin-made artifacts was an additional bonus. "The Goblin Nation accepts. As consideration for the courtesy shown, proceeds from any item that have their curses removed will be deposited to the Black Family Vault. Is that acceptable?"

Sirius replied was surprised. This was much more than they had asked for. "That would be more than acceptable."

"Architects and construction bosses under our employ will wish to contact you this week as to your wishes for the properties in question. As an added note, I need to inform you of the following: according to information we have recently received, your brother, one Regulus Arcturus Black was killed when renouncing his Master, Voldemort, and opposing him in a significant way. In doing so, he inadvertently aided the Goblin Nation. The offer made in the proceeds is in recognition of this fact."

Tears fell down Sirius's cheeks. His brother had not died as a death eater but had died opposing Voldemort. He had thought he had failed his brother, only to find out that his brother was truly on the side of the light when he died.

After giving Sirius a moment to compose himself, Harry continued, "I would make the same request for any Potter properties. As to my properties, my guardian has agreed with me and I offer the return of any goblin-made artifacts held by the Potter family to be returned in exchange for the removal of any dark items and the renovation of any properties to make them habitable. This is not as urgent as the Black properties as I am the ward of Sirius Black and will not need to inhabit these properties in the near future."

Ragnok could see that this wizard was going out of his way to offer courtesy to the Goblin Nation. "That will be agreeable. When would you like to meet with the architects and construction bosses?"

Harry thought about it. "May I make a request first?" Ragnok nodded. "I have not seen my parents' wills, and with my guardian's consent, I would like to read their wills around the time of my birthday."

Ragnok got very tense. "Mr. Potter. Your wizarding guardian pro-tem, the Headmaster of your school, should have arranged for you to hear your parents' wills on your 11th birthday. Has this not been done?"

Harry shook his head and Sirius, in the background, got very mad. "I have never heard their wills, not received information as to what their legacies were. I only recently found out that there were properties and vaults associated with their estates."

Ragnok got very upset himself. "There will be fines and penalties associated with this failure. I will discuss these with you after the wills have been read, in addition to arranging the matter discussed."

"That will be fine. At the time that you discuss such things with Headmaster Dumbledore, you might also want to discuss the information that we talked of in your private office. The Headmaster's library is the only place that I know of that might contain the information." Hermione looked very interested. Information was her thing, and any chance to obtain it would not be passed up. Harry, however turned to her and said, "Some information cannot be given out. I will tell you what I can after it is resolved." Hermione almost pouted. Harry knew something she didn't but apparently he couldn't tell her everything.

Ragnok took this in very deliberately. Albus Dumbledore had unknowingly or deliberately run afoul of many goblin customs. He had failed to inform them of the party responsible for the break-in of their vaults. As the Chief of the Wizengamot at least, the information should have been relayed. He had retained the Sword of Gryffindor when it had been revealed. This was not as pressing as Ragnok had relinquished the goblin claim to the item. But he also held information on the creation of horcruxes. Ragnok admitted that this might have also passed onto the Headmaster from his predecessors but something would have to be done about that. However, the failure to have a relevant will read to a charge could carry stiff penalties.

"After the will is read, I would request goblin aide in recovering the carcass of Slytherin's beast from the Chamber of Secrets and distributing the proceeds from it. I would like to discuss that at that time. During that excursion, I can help with one of the items you asked about." Harry could retrieve the Diadem for the goblins at that time.

Ragnok nodded his head. "That would be acceptable as well."

"I have a meeting with Amelia Bones of Magical Law Enforcement on Monday. After that meeting, I might have information to aid in the fight against Voldemort."

"Please feel free to come to us, and as he is now recognized as an enemy to the Goblin Nation, any aid we can give will be provided and any aid provided us will be compensated for." Sirius and Hermione looked shocked. Apparently a lot had happened in the private office.

"One last item. I have found that Ms. Granger here is interested in studying law after her Hogwarts education, in an effort to help to reform our society. Would there be any scholarships available should she qualify?" Hermione looked very hopeful.

Ragnok could see that Mr. Potter had skillfully avoided mentioning anything that they had talked about in his private office. By doing so, the Goblin Nation could reinforce the future alliance by arranging things without mentioning at this time that it was Harry Potter's instigation.

"The Goblin Nation is in full support of her stated goals and will cover all expenses to attend the muggle institution called Oxford University, in exchange for her future aid in helping the Goblin Nation attain equal status in the magical world." Hermione's eyes shined with unshed tears many of her future hopes and dreams would be fulfilled, apparently at the instigation of the main character in the rest of her future hopes and dreams, one Mr. Harry James Potter. She hadn't been this happy since a skinny, messy-haired boy had jumped on a troll to save her when she was 11 years old.

"Well, Mr. Potter. I think this concludes our meeting for today. Gringott's will contact you shortly before the 31st of July as to the matters discussed. At that time, we will be prepared to sign contracts with Ms. Granger for her scholarship to Oxford University. Mr. Black, we will contact you later this week as to the arrangements for your properties."

Harry and the others stood. Harry put his fist to his chest and nodded his head in salute. "May your vaults flow with gold and your enemies die by your hand."

Ragnok returned the salute and farewell with, "May your life be filled with bounty and your enemies be crushed."

Harry and the others left the office with a goblin escort.

Ragnok took a few moments to think upon his meeting with Harry Potter.

In the history of the goblin race, the number of wizards that the goblins trusted fully could be counted on one hand. In 4 hours, his views of Harry Potter, known to the wizarding world as the Boy-Who-Lived, had changed significantly.

Here was a wizard who was a successful warrior, who offered the goblins equal courtesy.

He had given them more information than they expected about the Dark Wizard known as Lord Voldemort. This Tom Marvolo Riddle had sullied their lands by instigating the placement of a horcrux in a goblin vault. The creature's follower Bellatrix Lestrange had aided in this; her vaults were forfeit. Mr. Potter's vault would fill considerably as a result of that.

Another follower, Lucius Malfoy, had, albeit unknowingly of its true nature, passed on a proscribed device. The goblins would have to warn Lord Black that his cousin, Narcissa Black Malfoy, would be in significant peril, as the Malfoy name, along with the Lestrange name, would be significantly damaged as a result of the revelations this day. On that, there was Goblin Honor involved.

Harry Potter could now expect the full weight of the Goblin Nation to be behind him in his endeavors. This he had earned.

Now it was time to put some plans into place and into action to secure the future of the Goblin Nation.

Chapter Text

Harry, Hermione and Sirius were lead to a nearby conference room to reclaim their memories. Apparently Ragnok had shared the information with his advisors.

They were then lead out of the bank. Sirius and Hermione noticed that every goblin that they passed out of the bank offered Harry a salute or bow as he passed. They looked at each other shocked as to the treatment Harry was receiving in the bank.

As they were bowed out of the bank, Sirius looked at Harry and said, "Well, pup, I think there will be some explaining to do once we get back to the Grangers'."

Sirius sent off a patronus message to Tonks to help collect the teens as they moved to the apparition point. By the time they arrived, she was waiting for them.

"Wotcher, gents and lady! We were wondering what took so long. Stories when we get back. I will side-along Hermione while Sirius side-alongs Harry. The apparition point is next to the guest house surrounded by muggle notice-me-not charms. Any questions?"

Everyone shook their head as Sirius moved to the apparition point with Harry. Harry hung back and insisted Hermione and Tonks go first. As far as he was concerned, the faster Hermione was back under wards, the better.

Hermione and Tonks disappeared with a pop, followed a minute later by Harry and Sirius.

As they moved towards the back door of the Granger home, the door opened and Emma yelled out, "Dinner's ready! Come and get it!"

The threesome moved gladly into the house. As they moved to the dining room, they removed their outer cloaks and robes that they had gotten at Madam Malkin's and hung them up in a hallway closet with Harry following with the suit vest he had worn below them.

Everyone sat down as Emma brought in the food. The questions started soon after. Hermione was up first.

"Harry, where did you learn so much of goblin customs?"

"Well," he said sheepishly, "I spent a portion of the time when I was skipping the divination exam in the library. The meeting had been requested last week, so I knew I needed a crash course."

"Well, I for one was very impressed." She looked around the table. "He had them eating out of the palm of his hand. By the end, all of the goblins were saluting or bowing as we left the bank!"

Tonks looked shocked. "Cor, Blimey. No one gets treated that way by goblins. Right surly buggers, normally. What the hell happened?"

"One moment," he said to the table in general. He leaned closer to Hermione for a moment and asked her quietly how much her parents knew.

Hermione blushed and whispered back, "I might have left a few details out. No help for it now though; might as well get it all out in the open."

"Well, before we begin, I would like to say that any information we talk about needs to be kept here. Emma, Robert, I should warn you now. I can be a magnet for trouble, not that I always go looking for it, but I always end up in it. Hermione, being my best friend in the world, on occasion has also been involved. She hasn't told you all of this in an effort to protect me, I am sure, but you need to know some of the things that have happened over the years as background."

At that Emma and Robert looked at their daughter who was blushing. As they looked back, Harry started telling all of their experiences at Hogwarts and his own in the summers between beginning with their first year.

Various comments were elicited from the others as the story progressed.

"No one said anything about a troll! We were told it was a creature somewhat like a large wild dog!" Hermione headed that off with comments about not wanting to worry them too much. Sirius laughed when they talked about the dragon in first year with Hagrid, but all of the adults looked upset when the detention in the Forbidden Forest was recounted, as well as the large Cerberus being mentioned (although they all laughed when they learned its name was "Fluffy"). There were faintly reproving looks when Harry, with some interjections with Hermione, explained their decision to go through the trapdoor. The incident with Peeves caused laughter by Sirius and Tonks and they had to explain that. The confrontation with Quirrell elicited some looks of horror, and all were relieved that the result was not worse. Sirius pouted when Harry mentioned the last quidditch game that was lost when he was in the hospital wing.

Harry plowed on with the events leading up to second year and what happened then. Sirius looked thoughtful when Harry told of meeting Dobby. The resulting trip by flying car elicited both statements of disapproval and laughter mixed in. Lockhart's antics brought a blush to Hermione's face as she had been star-struck and her parents remembered how she had gone out about him when she learned he would be at Hogwarts. Harry explained he was a Parseltongue and what that meant, and how he had been involved with the first attacks. The brewing of polyjuice and the trip to the infirmary were told with humor, although Emma and Robert looked a bit reproving while they smiled; who knew their daughter could be such a rule breaker? Hermione added her explanation about her research and finding out it had been a basilisk. When Hermione told of being petrified, Robert had to comfort his wife. Harry's adventure with the acromatulas and Aragog were things that even Hermione had not heard details of. The decision to go after Ginny was met with clenched hands by the adults around the table. Lockhart's dishonesty was met with disgust and the adults thought he had gotten what was coming to him. The slaying of the basilisk was greeted with a bit of awe. The freeing of Dobby caused a few laughs, but the revelations about Lucius caused Sirius to revise his decisions and he resolved to speak to Narcissa again.

Sirius became involved with telling of third year and his part in it. The blowing up of Aunt Marge made the adults laugh, while Fudge's involvement caused some looks of thoughtfulness. The dementors outraged the Grangers, who were getting quite annoyed with the dangers that no one had told them their daughter had been subjected to. Sirius apologized for his part in that, but the Grangers blamed Cornelius Fudge after hearing that Dumbledore had tried to fight the decision to have them placed around Hogwarts. The Marauder's Map had to be explained, with Emma agreeing with Hermione's initial impulse to turn it in, while Robert, as a man, was more understanding of the decision not to. Even as a fairly responsible person, he had been involved with a fair bit of pranking and practical jokes as a teenager. Sirius, of course, cheered the result. Harry learning the patronus charm at 13 impressed the hell out of Tonks, who had not heard of it before. Fudge's outright refusal to listen to reason outraged all of the adults. The rescue of Sirius and Buckbeak was met with cheers; no one liked to see an innocent animal destroyed.

The fourth year included what happened at the World Cup. Hermione had told them of this as an attack by terrorists. Harry told of the lessons about the unforgivables and Sirius and Tonks looked mightily impressed by Harry's ability to throw off the Imperius Curse. The incident of the Goblet spitting out Harry's name and the subsequent reactions of the student body made the adults angry, especially about Ron and his disloyalty. The Grangers listened with awe as he talked about overcoming a full-sized dragon, while they laughed when Harry told them about Hermione's reaction when she and Ron had gotten to the tent. Hermione slapped Harry's shoulder when he described the finger marks on her face. The Yule Ball was recounted, with Harry earning a hug and a kiss on the cheek when he told them about how beautiful Hermione was in her ball gown. The second task was explained, with the Grangers looking angry about their daughter being used in the second task without their permission, although they were very appreciative about Harry's refusal to allow any of the hostages to be left behind under any circumstances. Hermione looked at him and only said, "Noble prat!" with a watery smile on her face.

The third task and what had been happened during that and the revelations of it's aftermath included the subsequent invitation to the bank and to see Amelia Bones.

When Harry was all done with the Hogwarts tales, he continued with telling about what happened at the bank. "The goblins are a warrior race. They are also extremely appreciative of respect for their customs. When I was respectful, they returned it in kind. I offered them the chance to review my memories, and as a result they consider me a warrior due to warrior's courtesies. The information that Ragnok asked about I promised not to divulge but it was of sufficient importance to them that they decided to declare Voldemort (he was happy that no one at the table flinched) an enemy of the Goblin Nation and they are very much proponents of the philosophy that the friend of my enemy is my enemy. They also are applying the converse in this case. Which leads us to Hermione's announcement."

Hermione blushed as her parents looked at her. "When the goblins learned of my plans to work on equal rights for all magical creatures, including goblins, as well as non-pureblood witches and wizards, the goblin's agreed to provide a full scholarship to Oxford University so that I can study law to help me with my future plans. They also offered to provide support during my education."

Emma and Robert lost all thought for a moment. Their little girl had so impressed a race of warriors that they had granted her a full scholarship three years before she would even be able to attend. The Grangers got up and rushed around the table to hug their daughter, while Hermione basked in their obvious approval of her future plans. Harry looked on proudly while Tonks was shocked. Sirius looked at Harry knowing that he had somehow arranged this. Harry had too much Marauder blood and godblood to not have been involved in it directly.

When Emma had finished hugging Hermione, she moved to Harry and engulfed him in what was very much like her own version of a Hermy-hug. "I want to thank you for always protecting my daughter. She means to world to her dad and I."

Harry stammered a little and replied, "Always."

Robert shook his hand as well, and then smacked him lightly across the back of his head, and said, "And THAT'S for getting her into trouble with the extra-curricular activities!" Robert laughed out loud quickly followed by everyone else laughing as well.

However, after they sat down, they sobered down a little and everyone, seeing how serious they were, quickly became serious as well.

"Harry," Robert started, "I appreciate the honesty that you have shown tonight. I admit if I had found out some of this information before, I would have been tempted to find another school for Hermione to finish her education." Hermione looked nervous at that. "We are not happy about the danger that she, and you as well, have been subjected to by poor decisions from the adults around you. Some of these decisions we should have been consulted about and we should have been more informed by the school of some of the things that have happened. Hermione also should have told us more." Hermione looked embarrassed and downcast at that. "However, knowing the convictions of our daughter, I cannot really think that the results would have been much different, so maybe it was better that we didn't know."

Robert looked at Hermione and addressed her directly. "I can see that you have stood by Harry for a long time." Hermione looked up and a defiant look crossed her face. Robert was familiar with that look and knew that Hermione would continue to stand by Harry regardless of their own decisions. "But it is a parent's job to be worried for their children, so in the future, we would like to know everything, even if you think it might worry us."

Hermione, with watery eyes, ran around the table herself to hug her parents. She knew then that they would not take her from Harry. She was happy that they now knew everything and she no longer had to hide things from them. She could talk to her father about her worries and her mother about how to deal with Harry.

There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Harry was thankful that Hermione had such strong parents. Sirius was proud of them both and how they had coped through so many harrowing experiences, especially Harry. Tonks was moved by the moment between Hermione and her parents. She herself had always had her parents' full support and she knew how important it was.

When everyone had settled down, Harry added more information. "The goblins having agreed to help get rid of Voldemort makes it a much easier proposition. There are things I can't tell you that Ragnok and I discussed, but they will have a significant impact. The fact that the Director of Magical Law Enforcement has been made aware of the situation at this stage means that the Aurors will be more prepared than they would have been."

Harry looked around at the table, and his face took on a look of resolve. "I will be involved." The adults faces looked worried. "I have been involved with the fight against Voldemort my whole life. He is bent on killing me and he killed my parents. I can't avoid it. I won't do it for revenge, but I will do it so that Hermione's children," Harry mumbled, "which I hope will be my children as well," Hermione beamed at this with a blush, as Harry's voice became strong again, "will be safe and never know the threat of war."

"Hermione is involved." Hermione's face took on a similar look of resolve. "As a first-generation witch, Voldemort and his followers position would dictate that she should not be allowed to exist. So, even without me she would be in danger. She has stood by me for years now and she will not back down from a fight."

Harry looked down for a moment. "If I had my way, she wouldn't be involved at all." Hermione squawked in disagreement. "However," he looked back at her and grabbed her hand, "she is first and foremost a person of her own mind, and her convictions would not allow her to stand back and watch someone else, especially me I know, being involved without doing all she could to help. She learned this from you. She is the brightest witch of our age, and I cannot win without her." Hermione leaned over and gave Harry a huge hug and they sat there for a moment lost in the moment.

The adults around the table looked at the two teens.

Emma wasn't happy her daughter was involved, but she had found an extraordinary boy that made her happy. Harry would most likely become her son-in-law and she could see that Hermione would follow Harry to assault the gates of Hell itself. And seeing Harry's character, he just might do that.

Robert knew that at that moment, he had become the second most important male in his daughter's life. He was of two minds about that. His daughter was a person of conviction which made him proud. Harry would apparently do anything he could to protect her, and had the power and resources to do it. But she, at 15 going on 16, was going to war. And there was nothing he could do about it.

Sirius thought about how proud Prongs and Lily would be at that moment. They had both got to Hogwarts in a background of the threat of Voldemort and his death eaters. They had fought the good fight and their son was going to finish it.

Harry had impressed Tonks. She knew that if Voldemort was back, even with a mutant body, that the boy would have to be trained. Sooner rather than later. She resolved to speak to Madam Bones about it when they visited the Ministry on Monday. She could see the resolve in the both oh them that she had joined to Aurors to see. These were two remarkable people and she resolved that she would help them in any way. Even if she teased them mercilessly, she thought with a smile.

Emma broke the moment. "Well, enough about all of this depressing stuff. Obviously there are plans to be made, but at the moment you are on holiday. Tomorrow will be a day of rest, Harry will do his thing on Monday, and we will plan our vacation in Naples this week. There are days to plan, and days to relax. For the next few days, it is summer and there is a pool." She smirked at her daughter, "Besides, I think Harry would like to see you in that new bikini we got earlier today."

Hermione exclaimed, "Mother, really!" while she blushed. Harry blushed as well, while looking shamefacedly interested. Sirius and Tonks laughed with Emma while Robert took on a slightly greenish face before he laughed as well.

The rest of the night passed talking about myriad things with the adults teasing the teens constantly while Harry and Hermione tried to avoid burning their faces with their blushing.

Chapter Text

Harry lay on top of the bed that night thinking about the last week. One week ago he had been in the Grim Reaper's office, dead after what should have been the final battle in the war.

Thinking back, he realized that too much had been lost in that time because of his impulse to charge right in without thought, as well as the deliberate lack of information he was subjected to. He really preferred the way things were going.

All of a sudden, he heard a voice beside him which made him jump.

"Hiya, Harry! How's it hanging?"

Harry looked over and saw his Grim Reaper Larry sitting on the chair next to the desk in the room smirking at him.

"Oh MERLIN you startled me. What are you doing here? Did I mess something up?"

"Nope. Actually, me and Bob have been right impressed with what you've done so far."

"So, why are you here?"

"You remember the contract right?"

"The one I signed before I left back to the graveyard?"

"That's the one."

"Sure. I am supposed to keep everything to myself and I can only tell Hermione if I choose to."

"Well, yeah. But you didn't read the fine print."

"Fine print?"

"Yep. The fine print."

"What didn't I read that is in the fine print?"

"As a result of the need for Destiny Repair and to ensure the client moves successfully toward his destiny, periodic reviews by the client's Grim Reaper will be scheduled at regular intervals until the Director of the appropriate Reaper department deems it unnecessary."

"Oh, Merlin. So that means ..."

"Yep. I'm going to be visiting regularly till Lora decided you don't need it anymore."

"She still annoyed with me?"


"How long does that last anyway?"

"William Wallace kept her annoyed for 50 years. And the last 30 was after his death."

"Oh shite."

"That about sums it up."

"So, what do these reviews entail anyway?"

"Oh, just a general inspection of what is happening and any advice that Destiny Repair might have to pass along to the client."

"So, Bob?"

"Yeah, Bob. Bob decided to take you on as his hobby. Gets right boring at times and a spirit's gotta have a hobby."

Harry groaned. "So, Bob have any advice to pass on?"

"Not yet. You're still going on the advice he gave you before you came back. I'd be worrying if I were you though."

"Why's that?"

"Bob gets a crazy look when he talks about fixing your destiny up."

"What's liable to happen?"

"Don't know, but the last time it happened the Colonies became independent."

Harry groaned again. "So, anything else?"

"Just one thing."

"What's that?"

"Have some fun."

Larry smirked at him and disappeared right as he heard a knock on his door.

Harry called out for whoever was at the door to come in. The door opened slowly and Hermione peeked in.

"Hello, Hermione. It's ok. I'm decent," Harry smiled at her.

Hermione smiled back and moved to sit on the bed next to Harry. "I wanted to thank you."

"For what?"

"I know you had something to do with that scholarship."

"Hermione, whether or not I had anything to do with it, Ragnok was the one that gave it to you. So he must have thought that you deserved it." Harry sat up and hugged Hermione, pulling her head onto his shoulder and rubbing her back lightly as he rested his head on her curls.

They sat like that for a moment until Hermione pulled back and looked at him with a blush. "What?"

Hermione stammered. "I'm a little nervous about wearing a bikini in front of you." She bowed her head. "I know I'm not built the same way as some of the other girls, and, well, I don't want to disappoint you."

Harry reached out and lifted her chin up. "Would you believe me if I said I have no interest in how other girls are built and I'm sure you'll look brilliant in a bikini?" Hermione smiled tremulously as Harry looked into her eyes. "Besides, I think I might be the one who has to worry."

Hermione cocked her head. "Why's that?"

Harry blushed and said, "Well, I'm a right skinny runt and I don't know that I'll be all that impressive." Hermione giggled at him.

"I for one like you the way you are. Besides, you have that quidditch body. All the twists and turns have worked the right places." She laughed at his fish-like look.

Harry had not expected such a comment from the proper Hermione Granger. He started blushing bright red. "Well, thank you. How about we both agree to not worry since we both probably still have some filling out to do?"

"Ok, Harry. I won't be embarrassed if you won't."

Harry paused a moment. "Well, there are more things to be embarrassed about."

Hermione rolled her eyes, "Ok, what now?"

Harry looked everywhere but into her eyes. "Um, I'm a hormonal teenage bloke, and seeing you in a bikini might produce hormonal teenage bloke responses." Hermione thought about that for a moment and her eyes widened.

"Oh." Truth be told, she was more than a little flattered that Harry might view her in such a way. She smiled shyly at him and leaned over and kissed him. "Well, I won't hold it against you. Some things just can't be controlled." She kissed him again with a bit more enthusiasm. Harry was just as enthusiastic. She pulled back and glanced down. She giggled and said, "Hey, I think I see what you mean by hormonal teenage reactions." She turned red as she said this. Harry was quite embarrassed. Hermione leaned over and said, "I'll tell you a secret. I get hormonal teenage girl reactions when I see you." She kissed him quickly, went to the door, looked back at him and glanced down one more time and said, "Goodnight, Harry. Sweet dreams."

Harry was probably going to have to end up taking care of his hormonal teenage boy reaction quite soon.

The next day proved that he was in a position to be embarrassed.

After breakfast, cooked by Emma, Hermione had told him to meet her at the pool at 10 o'clock. At 9:50, Harry had changed into his swim trunks and put on a t-shirt, before grabbing a towel and heading out to the pool.

Hermione wasn't out yet, so Harry decided to lay out on a lounge recliner until she came down. He closed his eyes and waited until her heard "Hey, Harry."

Hermione stood there in a pale blue two piece bikini. It wasn't a string bikini, but no guy who saw her in it would ever have doubts that she was all girl. "H-h-hey, Hermione. Bikini l-looks good." Harry was very happy that at that moment there was a towel covering his lap.

Hermione shyly smiled at him, sat down in the next chair, and handed him a bottle of sunblock. "Do my back?" She turned her back toward him and waited. He hesitantly put some of the sunblock on his hand and started rubbing it into the skin on her back.

Hermione shivered as his hands worked her back. His motions were becoming more smooth. "Mmmmm, nice hands; he even got the skin under the suit," was her thought. He pulled one of his hands away and poured some more sunblock directly on her back. He then resumed applying it until her back had been covered. She turned and thanked him and offered to his back. She had been waiting for her opportunity to put her hands on him.

Harry agreed and hesitantly pulled his t-shirt off and turned his back toward her. She poured some onto her hands and started rubbing it into his back. "Nice toned muscle there," she observed to herself. She was really enjoying this and she saw him shiver just as she did when he was doing her back. She finished and handed him the bottle.

"Ok, finish applying it to the rest of your body, you don't want to get burned."

Harry, in a moment of sheer Marauderness, said, "Sure you don't want to put it all on for me?" and waggled his eyebrows. Hermione laughed nervously, slapped him on the arm and said, "Prat!"

She lay back, and pretended to close her eyes, acting as though she were not looking as Harry stood and started rubbing the cream onto his legs. His motions seemed distracted as he was apparently sneaking glances at her as well. Through her almost closed eyes, she could see the front of his shorts and apparently his hormones were active again. Once again, she felt strangely flattered and sexy knowing that she could get such a reaction from him.

Harry and Hermione spent the rest of the morning and half-way through to the afternoon alternately laying around the pool and swimming. Both enjoyed their time very much and both could appreciate the physical attributes of the other very much. Hermione's mother and father as well as Sirius and Tonks joined them after lunch. Sirius, the pureblood that he was, was not used to seeing women in bikinis and had to try very hard not to stare. Tonks laughed at him, as did Harry and Hermione. After it was explained to them, Emma and Robert joined in the laughter.

After a while, everyone relaxed, although Robert seemed to be keeping a close eye on how Harry and Hermione interacted. Emma, on occasion, smacked Robert on the side of the head when his staring became obvious.

Emma had then suggested a game of pool volleyball and after an explanation of the rules, everyone joined in. It was Harry, Hermione and Sirius against Emma, Robert and Tonks. Harry's athletic ability from playing quidditch showed through, while apparently Sirius had played beater in his day. He might be out of shape but he could still play. Hermione was not used to the playing of games and missed a number of volleys.

Emma wasn't much better than Hermione, but Robert also had a past playing Rugby and Tonks was toned from Auror training, although this was offset somewhat by her clumsiness.

All in all everyone had fun.

When mid-afternoon rolled in, Hermione announced to the group as a whole that she and Harry had summer homework that needed to be done. Harry pouted, while the adults laughed, but agreed that doing it now rather than later meant more fun in the long run.

The two showered and dressed in t-shirts and shorts and met in Hermione's library room to work on their homework.

After two hours of working on their Potion's essays, Emma called them down to dinner. After dinner they returned and finished the Potion's assignments as well as began on History of Magic, Harry's least favorite subject. Hermione helped him by directing him to references to look up for the assignment.

At the end, Harry brought up the subject of occlumency. Hermione listened, intrigued, and asked to see Harry's book that he had purchased from Flourish and Bott's. She agreed that she would help him to learn it and borrowed it until she could finish reading it.

The two teens went back downstairs to interact with Hermione's parents. Sirius and Tonks had gone back to the guest house. They all watched some television, including a show called, "Whose Line is it Anyway?" which all found very funny.

Harry and Hermione had a decent goodnight snog for a few minutes until they moved to their separate bedrooms, knowing the next day was important.

Chapter Text

Harry got up on the 3rd of July realizing that this, only two days into it, was the best summer he had had in his life.

He had effectively made Voldemort unable to start terrorizing the wizarding world again, he had gotten someone else to take care of the horcruxes, he had gotten himself away from Privet Drive and he was spending at least part of his summer with Hermione, his best friend and according to his Grim Reaper his soulmate.

Harry was almost shocked at how little connection he had with Voldemort now that the horcrux in his head was destroyed. Even now as he "reached out," it took effort and he could only feel annoyance from the connection. And doing that didn't hurt at all.

Harry showered and dressed himself and, after spending a little time with Hedwig and filling her water dish and feeding her a treat, went down to see about breakfast.

Arriving downstairs, Sirius and Tonks were chatting with Emma in the kitchen. "Morning, pup," Sirius greeted him as he sat down. "Ready for the Ministry?"

Harry nodded his head as he started eating the porridge and bacon that Emma placed in front of him.

"Well, my boss expects us there at 9:30. With the Grangers heading off to work and with both Sirius and I going with you to the Ministry, are you bringing Hermione along?" Tonks smirked at Harry. Teasing the two teens over the weekend had been loads of fun.

"If it's all the same to you, I don't plan on going anywhere without Hermione if I can possibly help it." Harry's comments earned a smile from Emma and a hug from behind as Hermione had come down to breakfast in the middle of the conversation, walking up behind Harry.

Hermione walked over and placed some food in a bowl for Crookshanks, who sat by the bowl waiting impatiently, if Harry could interpret the cat's expression, and then sat down in her pajamas for her own breakfast. It was summer and she wasn't as time-driven in the summer as she was during the school year. Ironic, it occurred to Harry, as summers for him were more time-driven as he was used to getting up early to make breakfast for the Dursleys.

Robert came in as well, ready for the day as he and Emma would head out to the office by 8:00 AM.

They talked about plans for the day. Hermione mentioned wanting to get back to Flourish and Bott's in the afternoon to pick up some books she hadn't had a chance to get on Saturday, which caused everyone to smile at her. Sirius mentioned wanting to stop by Gringott's to arrange the meeting for the construction crews and cursebreakers for his properties. Tonks needed to check in with Amelia.

So, having eaten breakfast, they all trooped off to their various activities.

Harry and his group arrived in the Ministry atrium, the ministry worker on duty checked them in sans Tonks, who as an Auror was just waved through. They got their buttons and proceeded to the DMLE.

When they arrived at the office, Amelia Bones's secretary waved them right into the office. After greetings were exchanged, Madam Bones started off the interview.

"Mr. Potter, after the events of the 24th of June last, a number of comments came up which I wish to enquire further about."

Harry replied with a tired smile, "Ma'am, it's Harry. Just Harry. But what would you like to know?"

Amelia smiled at him. "Well, Just Harry, that's fine if you call me Amelia, but only in informal settings. Any interviews by for trial evidence or hearings, please refer to me as Madam Bones and I will have to refer to you as Mr. Potter." Harry nodded his head. "Now, a comment that you made in the aftermath struck my attention. You said you confronted Voldemort in your first year. Can you explain?"

Harry looked thoughtful for a moment. "In actual fact, I confronted Voldemort, or at least a version of him, in every year except third. And in third, I confronted Peter Pettigrew who is a marked death eater."

Amelia was flabbergasted. "Can you explain?"

Harry made the same offer he had made to Ragnok. "How about I offer copies of memories of the confrontations and after you review them I will answer any questions that you might have."

Amelia pulled out a small pensieve. "This is a solicitor's pensieve. Instead of removing the memory, it is for a copy. You can place the memories in it and I would like to review them later. We will have to have a second interview for any questions."

"That's fine. I showed these memories to Ragnok and asked Sirius and Hermione to contribute their own. As these are smaller, I might need two to add all the memories that might be relevant. Will that be acceptable?"

Amelia, with wide eyes, nodded and pulled out three more pensieves. They added the memories, noting that the memory strands copied themselves into the pensieves instead of falling off their wands. This meant that they had to take time to both place the memories and put them back.

Harry added events from his first and second years to the first pensieve, and after filling it, added the relevant events from his third and fourth to the second.

"I do have a couple of further questions." Harry tensed for a moment. "Growing up with my muggle relatives there were ... incidents ... that I feel might have constituted criminal activity." Sirius and Amelia's eyes widened and Hermione looked shocked. "I don't think what you might be thinking is what I mean." Harry didn't want them to think that he had been sexually abused or anything like that. "However, there was some unpleasantness. Can I ask you to review some memories at your leisure and give me some advice as regards it?"

Harry had decided that the activities of Vernon and Petunia Dursley, and how they reared him should at least be known to someone in authority - someone he could trust. As he no longer lived with them, any fallout would not affect his living conditions and there was no reason to hide it. He wasn't about to tell about all of it with his friends or Sirius; it just didn't matter to him anymore. But anything that made his uncle's and aunt's lives hell he figured was worth the loss of privacy.

Amelia sat back as Harry copied memories into a third pensieve. She had been personally curious as her Susan had mentioned some disturbing observations she had had. Unfortunately, before now, she had had no access and could not find out. Dumbledore had evaded answering her questions in the past, but now that Sirius had taken over Harry's guardianship as his godfather, it made it much easier to reach him.

Sirius, who had heard some rumors, was also curious. Harry hadn't talked much about his childhood but the almost manic desire to move in with him when he was still on the run indicated more problems that he knew about. Some muggles were going to be due some good pranking.

Hermione thought about what Harry had said. Admittedly some of the things she had heard about from Harry made his relatives thoroughly unpleasant people. If there had been other things, why hadn't Dumbledore handled it? Surely, with as much attention as he seemed to have for Harry, shouldn't he have noticed? As far as she was concerned, if they had hurt her Harry (her Harry? she asked herself), she wouldn't rest until they paid for it.

Tonks didn't know what to think.

When he was done, he added one more item. "Can you tell me what the results of the TriWizard tournament and Voldemort's return are?" Amelia explained what she could. With Sirius there, as a Head of an Ancient and Noble House and Harry's own status, she could say more than she could otherwise. When she was finished, Harry brought up the real reason for his visit to the Ministry. "I have heard a rumor and I want your opinion. The rumor is that there are records of prophesies. Is that true?"

All around the table, people looked confused. Amelia affirmed that that was true but was located in the Department of Mysteries, which wasn't under direct Ministry control. "Can I ask to be taken to see if there are any that involve me?" Amelia was very interested. She took them all to the Department of Mysteries and Harry enquired.

After he was taken, by himself, to get the prophesy, he came out of the Department of Mysteries and nodded to Amelia. "I would like to request that you, as well as the rest, come with me to Gringott's to hear the copy of this prophesy." (The original was never allowed out of the department unless all parties named had heard it.) "In my meeting with Gringott's, there were agreements made as regards Voldemort. As the prophesy apparently is about he and I, I would like the goblins to see it as well."

Amelia looked at him with a little surprise. Tonks hadn't reported in on her detail and this was the first she had heard of this. She agreed and Amelia sent a message to her secretary by flying memo that she would return after lunch.

Harry and Hermione were apparated to Diagon Alley and Harry led them to the bank. As they entered through the doors, the goblins on guard detail saluted Harry as he passed by. Amelia and Tonks looked at each other thought Sirius and Hermione weren't surprised at all. Harry went to wait in line when a goblin approached, bowed and asked them to follow him. Once again they were lead through the tunnels toward Ragnok's office.

Amelia turned and asked, "Did you have an appointment so they were expecting you?"

Harry commented to her, "Well, not really. But due to the nature of some of our discussions, Ragnok is dealing with me."

The guards saluted as they opened to doors. Harry returned the salute and bowed to the goblin who had led them to the office. He passed in with the others following. Ragnok saluted Harry followed suit before sitting in front of Ragnok when he indicated the chairs in front of his desk.

"Welcome, Mr. Potter. How may Gringott's help you today?"

Amelia couldn't believe the casualness with which Mr. Potter was meeting with the leader of the Goblin Nation. Even the Minister of Magic could not walk in and meet with him without a prior appointment; an appointment which would not often be offered. Add to that the courtesy with which he was shown, which never in her experience had a witch or wizard seen given to them, this was almost a surreal experience. She was about to be even more shocked.

"Director Ragnok, I have some additional information to add to what we discussed on Saturday." Ragnok nodded for him to continue. "I have retrieved a prophesy from the Department of Mysteries that bore both my and Voldemort's name. I would like to review this with you as witness with our alliance in mind."

"Mr. Potter, I would request that I bring advisors of my own to view it as well." Harry nodded his agreement. Ragnok said one word to his guard Captain. The Captain nodded and moved out of the office. As they waited, Ragnok asked after their comfort and if they would like any refreshments. After Harry asked if Ragnok himself was taking refreshment and was answered in the negative, Harry stated that he was most comfortable and politely added that no goblin need be concerned with serving him. The rest of the group followed suit, knowing that it was prudent to follow Harry's lead. Ragnok's eyes gleamed.

Shortly thereafter several goblins, most who looked somewhat close to age to Ragnok himself, came in and saw on a bench on the side of the office. "My advisors are here. Please proceed." Harry asked if he could use his wand. After he was granted permission, he placed the ball on the desk and left his hand on it as he tapped it with his wand as he was instructed when he obtained it.

A small image of Sybil Trelawney rose out of the ball and gave the prophesy that had so vexed him in the previous time line.

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not...and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies... (JKR Order of the Phoenix)

When it was finished, everyone around the room sat back in shock until Hermione he heard Hermione sobbing beside him. He reached over and, mindless of any audience, pulled her into his lap and held her until she calmed down. When she came back to herself, she noticed that everyone was waiting for Harry to continue and she apologized to Ragnok as she moved back to her own seat.

"Have no concern, Ms. Granger. It is understandable that such things happen when one finds their life-mate with such a heavy destiny." Hermione blushed at Ragnok's use of "life-mate". Ragnok turned to Harry. "Your interest in seeing this creature destroyed is now made plain. He has already been declared an enemy of the Goblin Nation. If you agree to declare Blood Feud against Tom Marvolo Riddle, self-named Lord Voldemort, and the House of Gaunt, I offer oath for the Goblin Nation to be placed under your command in this and this alone. We would be your hand that leads to the destruction of this vile creature."

Around the room the witches and wizards were completely floored. Harry had never expected this offer. And according to the prophesy, if the Goblin Nation acted as "his hand," it just might work. Amelia and the rest could never have imagined such a thing. She didn't even know what Voldemort's name had been. Amelia knew that this would create severe repercussions throughout the magical world. There was no law or treaty against it, as never had the Goblin Nation willingly placed itself under the control of any witch or wizard in any way. Alliances, yes. Control, No. As long as it was registered as an agreement with a Noble House and the Noble House was executing Blood Feud, nothing could stop anyone from coming under their banner.

Harry looked over at Sirius who nodded at him. Looking to Hermione, she nodded as well. As far as she was concerned, anyone who could help Harry meant there was less chance of him dying before those future plans of hers had met fruition.

After some thought, Harry said, "I will agree. If you draw up a magically binding contract with limitations to Voldemort and his death eathers and them alone, I will declare Blood Feud and sign the contract as you dictate. This contract will conclude at the death of Voldemort as I do not desire to encumber upon your sovereignty any more than the death of Voldemort necessitates."

"Mr. Potter, as Director of Magical Law Enforcement, I must inform you that to declare Blood Feud, you must do so in front of the Wizenmagot with at least two-thirds members present. As you are a minor still, your guardian, Sirius Black must agree and must also declare Blood Feud. Mr. Black and Mr. Potter, do you understand what I have said?" Both replied in the affirmative. "Auror Tonks, your temporary assignment has been changed to a permanent one. As of this moment, you are assigned the protection detail of Mr. Potter until the situation with Voldemort is resolved fully. Do you understand and agree?" She replied in the affirmative. "Director Ragnok, as Director of Magical Law Enforcement, I will agree to help in any way I can with your and Mr. Potter's efforts in this. Is there anything I can do for you?"

Ragnok liked these humans. Instead of the disdain shown to goblins that they normally expected, each had shown courtesy and respect and treated them as equals. He turned to his Captain and said a word in Gobbledygook. The Captain moved to the side of the office, picked up files and brought them back to Ragnok.

"Madam Bones, contained within these files are the records we have of Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. They have violated agreements with us and as a result we may pass along any information we feel relevant to you. The Lestrange woman has had her vaults confiscated and her victims will be recompensed from it. Lucius Malfoy shall soon have all agreements and debts through Gringott's cancelled. Should you desire any aid from us in your prosecution of these individuals, you only need ask. Questions as regards this shall be sent to my office. Lord Black, should you wish to shield your kinswoman, Narcissa Black Malfoy, or her son, Draco Malfoy, now would be the time, because they may be negatively affected in our punishment of Lucius Malfoy for his transgression."

Amelia received the files with excitement. She was sure that information on bribes could be obtained from them and she hoped it was enough to convict him. When she finally looked through the files, she would learn that it was greater than she could ever hope and Cornelius Fudge would fall as a result of this as well.

Harry interjected, "Director Ragnok, please include Neville Longbottom and his family in those that have been victimized by Bellatrix Lestrange." Most of those around the table nodded in agreement to this. Hermione wondered what she had done to Neville; she would ask about that later.

"As I have plans to be out of the country for two weeks beginning this next weekend, can all agreements be made before or after that?"

Amelia thought about it. "I can request a meeting of Wizenmagot for Friday. Will be that sufficient time to draft any contracts and agreements?" Harry looked to Ragnok.

"That will be acceptable. I shall have the contracts and agreements to be filed by then."

Harry had a thought, "Hermione, have you owled Luna yet since school let out?"

Hermione shook her head. "It's only been 3 days. I was planning on doing so tomorrow or so."

"What does everyone think here about releasing to the public through the Quibbler Voldemort's actual name and his half-blood status and history? I don't think the Prophet would carry it, but her dad seems like he's more open."

After a suitable period of amazement from some at the information, Sirius laughed. "Be a right good prank. The Quibbler is small, but there IS a significant readership. Sounds good to me. Make the death eaters look like idiots in front of the other pure-bloods."

Hermione started making plans for pensieve memories and wanted to help Harry send it off. "Harry, can we purchase or obtain a solicitor's pensieve so that we can copy memories to send with it?" Harry looked to Ragnok and Ragnok turned to his Captain and said a word.

The Captain moved to the cabinets off to the side where the pensieves used earlier had been and pulled out a small one. "Ms. Granger, the Goblin Nation gifts you with this solicitor's pensieve so that you may use it in this fight and your future endeavors."

Hermione stood and bowed to Ragnok and thanked him. She held back any tears. A gift from a goblin was a rare thing. It implied a level of trust she didn't know that she deserved.

Harry finished the meeting with a request for a debit card similar to Sirius's. It was provided and as Harry stood, salutes were passed all around. A major step toward Voldemort's destruction had been taken, and all present knew it.

Harry insisted on treating Hermione to Flourish and Bott's. Amelia had taken the files she had been given and gone back to her office. Sirius had excused himself as he had to handle some Black Family business. Tonks followed the teens and teased them as they moved through the Alley.

After a lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, they proceeded to the bookstore where Hermione got every book she could on goblin customs, several on Defense Against the Dark Arts, some on Magical Law and a few others that she thought might be useful. The fact that she would be helping Harry meant that she didn't feel so guilty spending Harry's money.

As far as Harry was concerned, Hermione could buy every book in the store and he would have happily provided.

A number of hours later, Sirius returned and they went back to the Granger home.

After recalling what had happened, Robert and Emma were relieved that there were people in high places who were going to help take the pressure off of Harry, and by extension Hermione. Sirius had gotten Narcissa and Malfoy, who was sullen and disagreeing, out from under Lucius's control. Sirius liked Cissy. Unfortunately, Draco was part of the package as Narcissa insisted. Little did he know how relieved he would be by the end of the summer.

The week up to Friday was filled with homework, vacation plans and preparations for the Wizenmagot meeting. Although they had a lot of things to prepare for, they all decided that there should be some fun.

Harry got to see a bit more of Hermione in a bikini and it was a hormonal teenager that went to bed every night. Hermione appreciated Harry in a swimsuit as well. Although quidditch was not a strenuous sport, the twists and turns that players had to perform to maneuver around a pitch, especially the chasers and seekers, left a body toned even if it didn't bulk them up. Work the leg muscles, the largest muscles in the body, and fat tended the melt away from the cardiovascular effect. It was very much like horse riding. Not very strenuous, but no one who spent most of their life in a saddle was very flabby.

The snogging was quite fun as well.

Everything was looking good until Friday morning.

On the day of the Wizenmagot meeting, scheduled for the afternoon, Tonks made a comment about a dementor attack in Little Whinging when she and Sirius were reading the Daily Prophet waiting for the rest of the house to get up. Harry, remembering what had happened in the last time line, asked to see the paper. He read the paper about how two muggle teenagers had been kissed, while others, apparently Dudley was included as he was pictured looking confused and not mindless, had felt the effects and fainted.

Harry slammed the paper down on the table, looked up at Sirius and Tonks and said with venom, "Dolores Umbridge!"

Chapter Text

A/N: As an aside, in looking up information on the Wizengamot (I was misspelling it I found. It isn't Wizenmagot. It's Wizengamot. Tricky. AANyway …) I found that there was very little information given from the books. It doesn't appefar to be a top-level authority. It apparently is the parliament but is under the direction of the Minister's office. It conducts trials and apparently acts as advisors for the Minister of Magic. The Minister apparently needs public support to maintain his office, so who would have the votes in such a society? Obviously those houses that have been recognized by the Ministry of Magic. There are enough holdovers from previous Ministers so that he doesn't have total control, but apparently has enough to power to push through a patently unfair trial in canon.

An interruption I will explain some of the things that Harry and Hermione have learned SO FAR about Magical and Pureblooded customs from Sirius. Here is my take on the power structure:


Minister of Magic, nominated and appointed by vote of families recognized as Ancient or Noble by the Ministry of Magic, Current Department Heads of the Ministry of Magic, and already sitting members of the Wizengamot, Minor Houses and holders of the Order of Merlin Second Class. Able to be removed by a majority vote of the Wizengamot, at the instigation of either the Chief Warlock, Director of Magical Law Enforcement, a member of the Wizengamot if seconded, or resignation. Responsible for general policy and is there mostly to keep the Wizarding World secret. Any Wizard or Witch may become the Minister of Magic. Originally held under the Authority of the British Monarchy, but that changed by the institution of the Statute of Secrecy. Still must liaise with the Head of Parliament as regards the effects of the Magical World on the Muggle World and the Muggle World on the Magical.

Senior Undersecretary of the Minister of Magic, hired by the Minister of Magic to run the day-to-day operations of the Minister's office and to enforce policy decisions of the Minister of Magic. Power totally based on their relationship with the Minister of Magic and their perceived political prowess. Any Wizard or Witch may become the Senior Undersecretary.

Junior Undersecretary of the Minister of Magic, hired by the Minister of Magic. Acts as court scribe for the Wizengamot and intermediary under the direction of the Minister of Magic between himself and court members. Responsible for notifications and the publishing of laws. Any Wizard or Witch may become Junior Secretary.


Chief Warlock or Witch, appointed by the Minister of Magic as his Chief Counselor and controlling officer for the meetings under the direction of the Minister of Magic if the Minister of Magic does not wish to control the meetings directly. May be removed by a majority vote of the Wizengamot at the instigation of the Minister's Office or the Director of Magical Law Enforcement, May be held by any Wizengamot member or Head of any House recognized by the Ministry of Magic including Ancient, Noble or Minor House.

Director of Magical Law Enforcement, nominated by the Minister of Magic and voted on by the Wizengamot. May be removed for cause by a majority vote of the Wizengamot at the instigation of the Minister's Office or the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. May be held by any Witch or Wizard.

Wizengamot Members. Nominated by the Minister of Magic. Appointed by majority vote of the Ancient and Noble Houses and only may be removed by resignation or conviction of major crime committed after their appointment to the Wizengamot. Members act as jurists and vote on the laws submitted by the Minister of Magic, his Senior Undersecretary, Director of the DMLE or the Chief Warlock. May be held by any member of a recognized House.


Appointed by the Minister of Magic or majority of Wizengamot and may be removed by the Minister of Magic with approval from the Chief Warlock and the Director of the DMLE or majority vote of the Wizengamot..


Noble Houses are those headed by a Wizard or Witch that holds title to a patent of Nobility by the Monarchy of Great Britain in times past. Few Noble Houses have been created since the Statue of Secrecy was passed in the 17th Century.

Most Noble Houses are those that are headed by any noble who owns land and are of the rank of Baron, Earl, Marquess or Duke.

Noble Houses are headed by a Baronet or a hereditary holder of an Honorary Peerage.

Most Ancient Houses are those that are recognized as having been magical for 30 generations in Britain.

Ancient Houses are those that have been recognized as having been magical for 20 generations in Britain.

Minor Houses are those that have been magical for 10 generations in Britain or are started by an order of Merlin First Class Winner.

Pureblood Houses are those that have been magical or of magical issue on both sides for 10 generations regardless of where they came from. (For example, the Patils are Pureblood from an old Indian line but not Ancient as they haven't been in Britain that long. Non-British purebloods are stigmatized as they are not able to be a Minor House unless they are 10 generations in Britain.) An ancient house might not be pureblood because a muggleborn may marry into an Ancient House and if children are magical the house does not lose it's title of Ancient.

Once a House has been declared Noble or Ancient, that title may be reclaimed if magic "dies out" in the line and then reappears. Thus, if a House is Ancient (or Most Ancient) and the lines devolved into squibs, if a later generation shows magical ability once more, the title may be reclaimed by the House. However, they will not be considered pureblood unless only ONE generation is skipped (of magical issue). (This was snuck in for the cases where purebloods didn't want to lose their status and had magical grandchildren. However the Ancient count had to start over.)

The significance of crests in order of rank (the later ones that apply are implied by the earlier ones) are as follows:

Head of Ancient or Noble House with voting rights, large house crest on the chest above the heart, with gold trim. If the Head is not personally holding the voting rights, there would be silver trim.

Scion of Voting House (child by blood), small house crest on the chest above the heart with silver trim

Heir to Voting House if different from Scion (must be related by blood in the last 5 generations), small crest below any other crest on chest with silver trim.

Member of Voting House, small crest with no trim over center of the chest

Voting Rights for House due to proxy or guardianship, small crest on the front of the robes with gold trim

Head of House with voting rights because of Order of Merlin First Class, large personal crest or medium house crest above heart with gold trim.

Personal Voting Rights because of Order of Merlin Second Class, small personal or house crest with gold trim on left arm.

Head or Minor House, medium crest on left arm

Scion or Allied with House, small crest on left arm

Affiliated with House, Member of Minor House or muggle House Crest, small crest on right arm

Protected by House, small crest on shoulder

Holder of a Blood Feud, large crest in the center of the chest trimmed with bright red trim. If holding the voting rights for the house, ALSO has gold trim. House which the Blood Feud is held against is placed in red colors only below this crest. This is considered an insult to that house and so no honor is given the house because the crest is displayed. It pretty much says that house will die.

Allied to House with a Blood Feud, small crest of the house holding the blood feud in center of chest with silver and red. Silver means alliance. Once again the crest of the house the feud is against is shown in red below

Under the command of a house with a blood feud. Small crest trimmed in red. Small red crest of opposing house below.

I hope this helps explain some of what happens in the next couple of chapters.

Chapter Text

Sirius and Tonks looked at Harry as though he had grown a new head.

Sirius asked, "Why are you bringing up Dolores Umbridge? I will admit she's a right piece of work, according to Moony. But what does she have to do with anything?"

"Tonks, what is Dolores Umbridge's position?"

"Senior Undersecretary for the Minister of Magic," Tonks replied, still looking confused.

"Who controls the dementors?"

"Well, Office of the Minister and through them the Warden of Azkaban. DMLE Aurors also have some control of them when dealing with prisoners."

Harry pointed out the article in the Daily Prophet. Sirius and Tonks reread it and their faces paled. "How do we know they weren't rogue?" asked Tonks.

"We don't, but I'll bet you 50 galleons that if you brought up rogue dementors to Madam Umbridge that she will deny there is such a thing."

Harry asked Tonks to contact Madam Bones and the let her know his suspicions on the matter. He then asked them not to mention it to the Grangers until she had been informed.

Twenty minutes later, the rest of the house had arrived. Emma and Robert had last minute things to take care of before the trip. The departure, originally set for that night, had been moved to the following day when the additional participants had been added. They had all agreed to muggle planes. Sirius was nervous about that. He could understand why they didn't want to use international portkey - too many people could find the information. Sirius had had to go to Gringott's for passports earlier in the week when he had met the goblin teams that would take care of the Black properties.

He had also at that time set up Narcissa with a stipend for the rest of her life and Draco with one as well which dropped considerably after he finished Hogwarts. Draco had wanted to complain but his mother was brooking no rebellion. Lucius Malfoy could claim him as his Heir, but Narcissa wouldn't allow that until the first of September, by which time Sirius had told her matters should be resolved. What Sirius didn't mention was that by that time Lucius probably wouldn't be in a position to claim anything. Narcissa also was aware that Sirius had named Harry his Heir unless and until he had issue of his own, and that unnatural deaths would put her and Draco out of any will. So she was keeping Draco on a tight leash.

Hermione, sitting at the breakfast table, was going over last minute instructions for Harry. As far as she was concerned, he needed help and she would provide it. Harry, smart bloke that he was, listened and agreed, regardless of any plans he might have to the contrary. Hermione in planning mode was like a freight train and he didn't want to be run over.

After breakfast, Hermione dragged Harry off to her library room to finish planning and complete the homework they had left. As far as she was concerned, homework done meant she could concentrate on Harry and their relationship.

Harry had received an owl from Ron telling his how boring it was at home without him visiting and, surprisingly, Hermione's parents had received an owl from Mrs. Weasley talking about how their children were friends and she was invited to the Burrow for the summer.

Hermione and Harry shuddered when they had been told, and convinced the parents that with Harry needing to stay under the radar, they should refuse citing summer plans already made. Emma and Robert were not hard to convince.

At 1:00, Harry and Hermione were ensconced in the visitor section of the Wizengamot chambers.

Harry's dress robes had his family crest above his heart with silver trim with the Black house crest in a smaller version below it to show that he was Heir. Hermione's carried the Granger Family crest on her arm. Harry had asked her to carry the Potter crest on her other arm and her parents had agreed. Harry had wanted to get her to put it on her chest, but that was included in plans for the future. Sirius had also gotten her to wear the Black crest on her shoulder. No pureblood would object to her presence with such indications.

Tonks sat with them in her Auror robes. She was on duty and as a result would dress for the part. But even her Auror robes now included the Black crest to indicate that she was a member.

Sirius was sitting with other Heads of Ancient and Noble Houses. Sirius's dress robes had a large version of the Black house crest with gold trim. He had the Potter and Granger crests on opposing arms to indicate alliance and affiliation. Sirius really respected Hermione and her family.

Dumbledore stood in the place of the Chief Warlock of the Wizenmagot, resplendent in his robes. His robes contained several crests upon his chest. His personal crest surrounded by the gold trim was large and resplendent. He had several other smaller crests with gold trim, but no crests upon his arms. Harry thought that this was arrogant.

Minister Fudge sat in his place as Minister of Magic with Dolores Umbridge sitting behind him. Harry almost laughed out loud when he realized that her dress robes contained no crests other than a small one on the shoulder.

Amelia Bones, as Head of the DMLE, had a place of the other size of Minister Fudge. She had a House crest trimmed in gold on her chest with several crests on her arms indicating alliances.

Dumbledore called out, "Here Ye. This session of the Wizengamot is now called into session. Let all of those with business before this body come forth!"

Amelia Bones, as Head of the DMLE, stood up.

"Minister Fudge, Chief Warlock and members of the Wizenmagot. I present the following:

"Barty Crouch Jr., convicted death eater, sentenced to life in Azkaban, has been found to have escaped and has subsequently been apprehended. Formerly thought to have died in Azkaban, he escaped with the help of two co-conspirators, who are both now verified as having died. I ask that he be sentenced, according to laws laid out by the Wizenmagot, to the dementor's kiss! I also ask that his testimony obtained under Veritaserum with two Aurors as witness be entered into the record."

Whispers were heard about the room as Barty Crouch Jr. was dragged into the chamber by two Aurors in magic suppression cuffs.

Minister Fudge nodded his agreement and turned to Dumbledore.

"As Chief Warlock, I agree to have his testimony entered to the record and I now call for a vote. All those who vote for the sentence as stated?" Almost all of the members raised their wands with sparks coming from them. Only a very few did not. Harry noticed that all of those that did not were former or current death eaters.

"The sentence for Barty Crouch Jr. has been passed. Please take him away." Crouch yelled insults and threats as he was dragged out of the chambers.

Amelia Bones started again, "Peter Pettigrew, thought to have been killed twelve years ago, awarded the Order of Merlin third class posthumously, has been apprehended by the DMLE and I request a trial to be conducted today."

Minister Fudge signaled his agreement and Dumbledore called for the vote.

"All of those in favor please vote yes by a show of wands."

About half of the chamber raised their wands. The secretary of the Wizengamot counted those that voted yes. "Those that vote no, please raise your wands." The secretary counted those and announced the tally.

"By a majority vote, please prosecute your case, Madam Bones."

More whispers broke out as Pettigrew was dragged into the chamber by Shacklebolt and Auror Jones and strapped to a chair in front of the Wizenmagot.

Amelia addressed the body. "I offer memories of Peter Pettigrew's testimony obtained under Veritaserum with two Aurors present," at this Shacklebolt and Tonks came forward, "and enter them into record." She placed a memory in a solicitor's pensieve attached to the dais of the chamber. She raised her wand. "I, Amelia Susan Bones, give magical oath that the memories entered are unaltered and that they contain the record of testimony of Peter Edward Pettigrew relevant to this trial, witnessed by two Aurors and obtained with the use of Veritaserum. So Mote it Be!" She then shot sparks from her wand to show she still had her magic.

"Transcript of this testimony will be entered to the record." Amelia Bones gave a copy to the Wizengamot scribe.

Amelia tapped the pensieve and in an area in front of the dais, Wormtail's questioning played. Whispers broke out and cries of outrage were heard when Wormtail described his participation in a ritual to return Voldemort to a body.

When it was played out, the noise around the room increased by a factor of 10.

Dumbledore let out a concussive hex, and the crowd settled down. "Does anyone wish to ask Peter Pettigrew any questions or offer any statements as to his defense?" Not one of the death eaters in the Wizengamot thought it prudent to offer any defense.

Amelia then turned back toward Dumbledore.

"I now call Harry James Potter forward to testify. He has offered copies of his memories in lieu of direct testimony."

Dolores Umbridge was up in a shot. "The Minister's office has grave concerns about the reliability of Mr. Potter's testimony."

As mutters around the chamber were heard, Amelia replied almost smugly, "As Director of the DMLE, I can verify the soundness of a viewed memory and can testify as to whether it has been altered."

Dolores wanted to object further but recognized a losing battle as she looked to Fudge and saw she would get no support.

"Mr. Potter, please place any memories as regards Mr. Pettigrew in the solicitor's pensieve. As a minor, you do not have to give oath."

Harry moved to the dais and pulled several memory strands and placed them in the pensieve. He then turned toward Dolores Umbridge and raised his wand. Before any objections could be raised, Harry said, "I, Harry James Potter, of the House of Potter, give magical oath that the memories entered are unaltered and that they contain the record of my interactions and knowledge of Peter Edward Pettigrew relevant to these proceedings. So Mote it Be!" He raised his wand and shot sparks into the air, signifying that he was telling the truth. Silence stole over the chamber as he made his way back to his seat.

When he sat down, he looked at the sickly expression of Umbridge and internally said, "Take that, you conceited bitch."

Amelia tapped the pensieve and scenes began to play. Harry had included more than the night of the tournament.

First to play was the Shrieking Shack and Fudge's response when he tried to tell him about Sirius's innocence caused outrage around the chamber.

The next memory he placed in preparation for what would come later. He had put his memory of the night Voldemort had attacked his parents. Practicing occlumency, he had retrieved more of the memory. Screams could be heard around the Wizengamot when it first started. No one had expected to see this. Sirius had tears pouring down his face as Lily was killed and no sound was heard when Voldemort's Killing Curse had struck. Hermione clung to Harry's side as this memory finished.

Amelia tapped the pensieve to pause it. No sound was heard besides quiet sobbing from different people. For a full minute as the Wizengamot was held by terror and shock. No one had known that he remembered the night so completely that his parents had been killed. Even some of the death eater members looked sickened.

Amelia finally looked to Harry and asked, "Why did you include this memory?"

"This was the result of Peter Pettigrew's betrayal and would be relevant to his trial."

Amelia nodded her head and thanked him. She tapped the pensieve and continued playing the memories. The final memory was played starting from when Harry had been bound to the headstone. As the scene played out, there was very little noise. Too many shocks already had numbed the chamber to the horror. The only exception was seeing Voldemort's mutated form before Harry had portkeyed back from the graveyard. Harry had also included Fudge's statements that this was Sirius Black's scheme and Sirius gave the Minister of Magic a harsh stare from his seat.

When it was all over, Amelia asked, "Are there any questions for Mr. Potter about his submitted memories?"

Even Dolores Umbridge could not bring herself to attack the Boy-Who-Lived; she would be shot down by mass outrage if she tried and she knew it.

Amos Diggory, sitting with the Department Heads, hoped he had sufficiently stamped out the statements he had made before. He had worked for almost two weeks since the tournament to make up for his earlier snide comments about Harry Potter to other Ministry workers and members of the Wizenmagot. If anyone brought them up, he would lose a lot of political clout.

Fudge knew his goose was cooked. There was no way, after Potter had included his statements and cover-ups, that he would be able to hold on to his position. He just hoped he stayed out of Azkaban.

Amelia addressed Dumbledore once again. "This concludes the evidence against Mr. Pettigrew. I now ask that he be sentenced to life in Azkaban for his crimes and move that his Order of Merlin be rescinded. I further ask for a sentence of the Dementor's Kiss to be carried out for his framing of former Auror and member of this body Sirius Black."

Dumbledore did not want to ask. Peter looked repentant in his seat in front of the Wizenmagot. He felt he could be saved and used as a spy. But it was too late for that.

"All those who vote to rescind the award of the Order of Merlin Third Class for Peter Pettigrew, please raise your wands." The whole chamber raised their wands and sparks could be shooting out from them all.

"All those who vote for life in Azkaban for Peter Pettigrew, please raise your wands."

Once again everyone raised their wand, but Harry noticed that several death eaters didn't shoot sparks from them. It didn't matter as there was a clear majority.

"All of those who vote for the Dementor's Kiss please raise your wands." About half voted for the kiss and so Dumbledore, hopes for Peter's redemption in his heart, asked, "Those against?" Once again about half raised their wands. The court scribe tallied the votes and indicated the motion had been carried. Dumbledore was surprised. The Kiss was a horrid punishment, normally reserved for repeat offenders and Peter hadn't been convicted before. Sirius, Hermione and Harry, however, were sitting with satisfied looks.

"Peter Pettigrew, you have been found guilty of crimes against the wizarding world. Your Order of Merlin Third Class is hereby revoked and you are sentenced to life in Azkaban for your part in the betrayal and death of James and Lily Potter, for aiding a declared enemy of Wizarding Britain, one Lord Voldemort, and for your part in framing Sirius Black for your crimes. In addition, you are sentenced to the Dementor's Kiss. So Mote it Be!"

The Aurors dragged Pettigrew out of the chamber. Dumbledore was going to try to have a recess to consult with Harry about Voldemort. Now that the information was out, Harry had to prepare. However, Fudge asked to be recognized.

He had a plan to stay out of Azkaban and walk away with as much dignity as he could.

"Chief Warlock, Madam Director of the DMLE, I must put forth two items. In light of this morning's paper and the reports of a dementor's attack in Little Whinging, Surrey, I checked the records of the office of the Minister of Magic.

"I found that the order for these dementors had been given by Senior Undersecretary Dolores Umbridge without my knowledge or consent and these dementors had been ordered to attack Mr. Harry Potter. She is hereby fired and I ask you to arrest and prosecute her for this crime."

Dolores Umbridge almost jumped out of her chair and attacked Fudge. She, however, knew where the skeletons were and she had to make plans to put blame back on Fudge. She couldn't think straight at the moment, but she knew he had to try.

Harry was shocked. Never would he have guessed that Fudge would give up Dolores Umbridge. She was too important to him to do the dirty work. Unless ...

Amelia called two Aurors to take Umbridge into custody.

When she had been taken away, Fudge continued. "Due to the evidence given here of my own short-sightedness in face of danger to the Wizarding World, I submit my immediate resignation as Minister of Magic and ask that the Wizengamot appoint a Minister of Magic to take my place to confront the threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."

Dumbledore was in shock. There went his plans for talking to Harry. This was too important.

"Very well. All those in favor of accepting the resignation of Cornelius Oswald Fudge as Minister of Magic, please raise your wands."

Fudge looked out and saw that his ploy had worked. Although more than half of the wands were raised, there was still a significant bloc of those that would have retained him. With a little work, he might be back in the game.

"Minister Emeritus Fudge, the Wizengamot accepts your resignation as Minister of Magic and thanks you for your years of service." Dumbledore, looked out. "As Chief Warlock, I call for a 15 minute recess before the order of business of appointing a temporary Minister of Magic commences. Are there any objections? So Mote it Be!"

Harry, Sirius and Hermione were revising their plans. Part of their plans were to oust Fudge. He had recognized defeat and resigned without a fight. In the scheme of things, it was unimportant how he left, as long as he left. They had jockeyed names about as to his replacement and a nomination for one. There were a few names on the list and a few on the strenuously-object-to list. Their list For included Amelia Bones, Arthur Weasley, Amos Diggory and if all else failed Rufus Scrimgeour. Kingsley Shacklebolt was mentioned by Harry, but Sirius didn't think that he was a well-known enough name.

Their against list included all former death eaters and sympathizers, especially Lucius Malfoy and anybody he supported. Sirius laughed when Hermione mentioned him and put himself on the list when he pointed out he would be too busy helping Harry.

There were those that they considered OK. Madam Marchebanks, Augusta Longbottom, and a few others. Not because they wouldn't side with them but because if all else failed, they were better than the Against list even if they had other commitments or might not be the best for the job.

Various Wizengamot members tried sounding out Harry, and all would work it so he could say he trusted Madame Bones and a few others. People started getting the idea.

Dumbledore was running around sounding out people, trying to get support for Amos Diggory. He felt he could direct Mr. Diggory sufficiently for the conflict coming up.

Amelia didn't want to be Minister of Magic. But knowing some of the plans that Harry Potter had, she decided she may be the best candidate. So, although she didn't tell people she wanted the job, she thanked people who said she should have it and made no other comments.

Finally, Dumbledore stood once again in front of the chamber and called the Wizengamot to order.

"According to Ministry by-laws, upon the resignation of a sitting Minister of Magic, an election shall be held 120 days later unless a State of Emergency makes that unfeasible. Until the that time, a temporary Minister of Magic shall be appointed by the Wizengamot to serve for 120 days or until the Emergency is resolved. I call for nominations for the post of Minister of Magic."

Augusta Longbottom, a long time Wizengamot member, stood up. "I nominate Amelia Bones of the House of Bones, Director of the DMLE."

Sirius, who had been about to nominate her, stood and called out, "Seconded!"

One of the people with Malfoy stood and called out, "I nominate Octavius Avery of the House of Avery."

One of the death eaters in the Wizengamot stood and called "Seconded!"

One of Dumbledore's friends stood and said, "I nominate Amos Diggory of the House of Diggory, of the Department of the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures."

Another of Dumbledore's supporters rose and said, "Seconded!"

One of the Wizengamot members stood and called, "I nominate Sirius Black of the House of Black."

Before it could be seconded, Sirius stood. "If I may?" Dumbledore nodded. "I cannot accept nomination. I have other responsibilities which shall be made plain before this day is out."

"The Wizengamot thanks you for your candor, and the nomination is quashed."

No one around the room stood to make a nomination, so Dumbledore asked, "Is there any present who would speak on this?"

Harry stood. "If I may?"

All around the chamber people waited with anticipation for the comments from the Boy-Who-Lived.

Dumbledore nodded to him.

"I would like to state my support of the nomination of Amelia Bones. In the time that I have known her, she has demonstrated a commitment to Justice and to the safety of the Magical World. With the return of Voldemort, I feel that these factors shall be the most important factors in the leadership of the next Minister of Magic."

"The Wizengamot thanks you for your comments, Mr. Potter." All around the room, members took on a look of satisfaction. "Are there any others who wish to make a statement?"

Those that wanted to support the others recognized a lost cause and kept their comments to themselves.

"Very well. All those in favor of Amelia Bones of the House of Bones for Minister, raise your wands."

A very clear majority of the Wizengamot shot sparks out of their wands. In addition, there were sparks coming from the Heads of the Departments that were present as well as the assembled Heads of the Ancient and Noble Houses.

Sirius stood. "If I may?" Dumbledore nodded. "As indicated by the majority of the Wizengamot as well as the Heads of the Ancient and Noble Houses assembled and the Department Directors, I ask that the appointment of Amelia Bones as Minister for Magic be made permanent."

Several members of the assembled bodies stood and called, "Seconded!"

Dumbledore, knowing he was defeated in trying to place a tractable Minister in place, called for a vote of the Wizengamot, Department Heads and Heads of the Ancient and Noble Houses. The number of sparkles around the chamber made the chamber brighter than the noon-day sun.

"Amelia Bones, you have been elected Minister of Magic by a majority of the assembled bodies. Please take your place."

"Thank you, Chief Warlock. I appoint Kingsley Shacklebolt, Senior Auror, to take my place as Director of Magical Law Enforcement and ask for a vote of the Wizenmagot."

Sparks shot up from around the room and then applause was widespread, not so much for Shacklebolt as he wasn't well known, but for the decisiveness of Madam Bones, although some wondered why Head Auror Scrimgeour had been passed up.

Dumbledore called one last time, "Is there any others who have business before this body?" If he had known what was coming, Dumbledore may very well have wished he never asked that question before dismissing the Wizengamot.

Harry stood up and said, "I, Harry James Potter, of the House of Potter, come before the Wizengamot to declare Blood Feud!"

Chapter Text

Harry moved in front of the dais with the Wizengamot sitting back in shock. Blood Feud was serious business. It entailed one House taking oath to destroy another House. Other Houses caught in the Feud could be seriously damaged.

As Harry moved to the front of the room, he noticed something on Dumbledore's robes. His own House Crest was contained on Dumbledore's robes edged in gold. He needed this rectified before he could be interfered with.

"Madam Bones, before I continue further, I have a question. Who currently holds guardianship of myself and may act in loco parentis?"

Madam Bones looked at Harry and said, "According to papers recently filed, Sirius Black, has guardianship."

"Is it true that as the Scion of the House of Potter, the person holding my guardianship has regency of my House until I obtain majority?" Dumbledore's eyes widened momentarily.

He knew he should have tried harder to keep Harry away from Sirius. Events had spiraled out of control and with a death eater being found at the school and with the resurrection of Voldemort he had been too busy to properly direct Harry Potter as to his destiny. The fact that he had been staying at Ms. Grangers should have precluded his finding out too much as Sirius Black should have been busy himself taking care of Black family business. By the time Black would be ready to have Harry moved in, he himself should be sufficiently prepared to allow Harry to learn what he needed him to learn and no more.

Madam Bones agreed with this. She thought for a moment. Very little attention was paid to the numerous House Crests that adorned Dumbledore's robes. Some investigation would have to be made as to who should be holding the Voting Right of the numerous houses that Dumbledore held in proxy.

"I ask that the Voting Right of House Potter be passed from Chief Warlock Dumbledore to Lord Black of the Ancient and Noble House of Black, as he has taken up my guardianship."

"As Minister of Magic, I agree with you. So Mote it Be!" All in the chamber could see the crest disappear from Dumbledore's robes as it appeared on Sirius's.

"Now, as to my business before this body, I, Harry James Potter, Scion of the Most Noble and Most Ancient House of Potter, with full approval of my regent, Lord Sirius Orion Black of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black, declare Blood Feud against Tom Marvolo Riddle of the House of Gaunt and his henchmen."

There was rustling around. Confusion reigned around the chamber. No one knew who Tom Marvolo Riddle was and the House of Gaunt had disappeared 50 years earlier with the death of its Head after Azkaban. Augusta Longbottom of the Ancient and Noble House of Longbottom stood.

"Scion Potter, I must ask. Who is Tom Marvolo Riddle and what is his relation to the House of Gaunt?" Malfoy tensed. He knew Voldemort's real name, even if he didn't know more than that.

"Tom Marvolo Riddle is the issue of the daughter of the last Head of House Gaunt, Marvolo Gaunt. His mother was Merope Gaunt who died in childbirth and Tom Riddle, son of the muggle Manor Lord Riddle and his wife, all three who were killed by Tom Marvolo Riddle to hide his connections to a muggle. He then framed the son of Marvolo Gaunt who was sent to Azkaban. He died there."

The Wizengamot was shocked. The Gaunts had been well known pureblood fanatics. The fact that the daughter had had a child with a Muggle was astonishing. Dumbledore had been even more nonplussed. Even he had had to work for many years to uncover this information. How had Harry obtained this information?

"And what cause do you have against Tom Marvolo Riddle to declare Blood Feud?"

At this, Harry pulled his wand and in letters of fire spelled "Tom Marvolo Riddle." When all were looking at this he waved his wand and the letters rearranged themselves to "I Am Lord Voldemort."

"Tom Marvolo Riddle murdered my father, Lord of the House of Potter and my mother, his wife. He has attacked me repeatedly in the last 14 years. This, I feel, is sufficient cause to declare Blood Feud and my guardian regent concurs."

Bedlam was heard around the chambers. No one had known that Voldemort had been a half-blood. The death eaters felt duped. In their zeal to destroy muggleborns and advance their pureblood philosophy, they had tied themselves to a half-blood by necromantic magic. And he wasn't even the child of a muggleborn with magic but that of a MUGGLE!

Dumbledore felt that this was out of control. The sounds of shock and outrage across the chamber meant that his calm and collected reasoning would not sway the Wizengamot or the public. The purebloods would rebel against Voldemort because of his status as a half-blood. The death eaters would either support their master by force of magic or hide themselves away from the coming storm. The muggleborns and half-bloods would be outraged that the purebloods would follow the lead of a madman not even pureblood. This information would throw their world in chaos.

"Lord Black, do you affirm the Blood Feud as Regent of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter? And do you have the forms informing the Ministry of Magic regarding Blood Feud and alliances?"

Sirius came forward and handed several parchments to Madam Bones. He then pulled his wand and stated, "I, Lord Black of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black, guardian and Regent for the Scion of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter, do affirm Blood Feud against Tom Marvolo Riddle and the House of Gaunt! So Mote it Be!"

Changes were happening to the robes of Harry, Sirius and Hermione. Hermione came and stood with Harry. What the Wizengamot members saw shocked them. Hermione's robes held the House of Potter crest trimmed in red above a House of Gaunt crest in red, meaning she placed herself under his command. Harry's robes held the large crest trimmed in gold and red, with the Gaunt crest below it. Sirius's robe, instead of being trimmed in silver with the red to indicate alliance, was trimmed only in red. This meant that the Lord of the House of Black had placed himself under the orders of Harry Potter in the Blood Feud.

Harry stood before the dais and added one more shock. "The House of Potter calls one more ally in this Blood Feud." Amelia nodded to Sirius and he sent a patronus message off. The chamber stirred as Harry, Sirius and Hermione stood calmly in front of the dais waiting for their ally to arrive.

The doors to the chambers opened, and Ragnok, Director of Gringott's Bank and Chief of the Goblin Nation entered escorted by four Goblin Guards. Only this goblin had right to enter these chambers, but only as a supplicant. The Wizengamot was confused.

Ragnok moved in front of Harry and said, "The Goblin Nation comes in alliance with the House of Potter in Blood Feud against Tom Marvolo Riddle and the House of Gaunt. We provide treaty to House of Potter, with the Minister of Magic as witness. This treaty shall hold, at your request, until the destruction of Tom Marvolo Riddle and shall constitute a magically binding Oath. Do you accept?"

"I, Harry James Potter, Scion of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter, with full permission of my Regent, Lord Sirius Orion Black, Head of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black accept the offer of treaty. Please present the treaty." Sirius waved his wand and a table appeared in front of the dais with Harry, Hermione and Sirius and one side, with Amelia joining them, and Ragnok with his Guard on the other.

The Captain of the Guard placed the treaty they had discussed in front of Ragnok and placed a blood quill next to it. Only the goblins still used blood quills for contracts as blood magic for wizards was considered somewhat dark. Wizards could sign with the blood quill or sign with a regular quill with a magically binding oath to follow to contract.

Ragnok took the blood quill and signed his name to the treaty. All could see the red blood that appeared on the back of his hand as he did so. Harry took the blood quill and, after a moment to review the terms, signed his own name to the treaty. Sirius took the quill and signed his own name to the treaty as Harry's guardian and Regent. The Captain of Ragnok's Guard took the quill and signed as witness. This was his only roll in the Council of the Goblin Nation - to act as witness to treaties where other goblins could not come. Amelia, contrary to expectations, took the blood quill and signed her own name as witness as the Minister of Magic.

The moment she finished signing, the crest of Gringott's appeared on Harry's sleeve. This showed that Harry recognized the goblins as allied with the House of Potter.

The goblin's uniforms also changed. Goblins did not hold to the same traditions as wizards, but Ragnok had decided that in this case, this tradition would show their resolve to the wizards and to all magical beings.

The uniforms of all of the goblins Guards took on the crest of House Potter in the center of their chest trimmed in red signifying that Harry Potter had authority over them in the Blood Feud against the House of Gaunt.

Slowly, the crests appeared on the chest of Ragnok. Instead of the silver and red trim that all had expected, a small crest of the House of Potter appeared with the crest of House Gaunt appearing in red below it. Trimmed around the crest of House Potter was a thick red strip with no hint of silver.

The Goblin Nation had placed itself under the orders of Harry James Potter in Blood Feud against Voldemort and his death eaters. And the shock of this would be felt around the magical world far beyond the shores of Great Britain.

Harry had announced in the Wizengamot that any offered alliances could be done at Gringott's as he had deputized Ragnok in the fight and allowed the goblins to sign alliances with the House of Potter in the Feud. As far as Harry was concerned, the goblins knew what they were doing as far as war was concerned and Harry didn't need to give out orders as they didn't need them.

With a question to Amelia Bones, he had placed his personal protection on Amelia and her family and the Minister's robes now showed that she was under the protection of House Potter. In the spirit of the new treaty, Ragnok offered the same and the crest of Gringott's appeared right next to the crest of House Potter on her shoulder. As this was personal protection and not protection of the Minister of Magic position, it didn't even violate any treaties.

Once again, as these things had never happened no treaties had ever covered the contingency. Politically, it was in very non-traditional for the Minister of Magic to be under anyone's protection much less show alliance to a particular House. But in a Blood Feud, the traditions became murky. Harry Potter had signified that harming Amelia Bones or her family as collateral damage to the Feud would not be tolerated and this was backed up by the power of the Goblin Nation.

Harry and the rest had then gone with the goblins back to Gringott's. This had been a calculated move to avoid Dumbledore and his meddling.

Hermione had urged Harry to consult with Dumbledore before they left for vacation, but Harry with the help of Sirius had convinced her that it wasn't time yet. Even though Hermione thought Dumbledore had Harry's best interests in mind, she could see that he had to lead in the fight against Voldemort as the prophesy had named him. She wasn't into divination, but appearances counted for much.

Harry wanted nothing more than to get back to the Grangers and prepare for his vacation. The goblins were taking care of Voldemort's horcruxes and locating him so that when all the horcruxes had been destroyed the destruction of Voldemort once and for all could take place.

It was decided two weeks away would allow everyone to settle down and get it fixed in their mind that Voldemort was back, Harry and the goblins would take care of him and that Harry was not available for witches and wizards or the press to hound.

The goblins could see the changes occurring because of the treaty with Harry Potter. When witches and wizards entered their bank and saw the crests on the chests of all of the goblins, they knew something had changed. To the average witch and wizard, the treaties between the goblins and the Ministry of Magic were less important than what they could see. And seeing a wizard's crest on the chest of every goblin, they were viewed with a bit more diffidence.

The wizards and witches who knew the customs were even more polite. They saw the crest of House Potter and knew they had allied themselves with the Boy-Who-Lived. Even before the news of Voldemort's return the next day, they decided that it would be in very bad taste to treat his allies with less than full respect.

This was further aided as the result of an incident that occurred within 10 minutes of the treaty being signed. One of Voldemort's followers had been at the bank and saw the crest of the House of Potter on the chest of the goblin teller that he had been dealing with. He had made a snide comment about Harry Potter. Within moments goblin guards had restrained him, tied him up, and he had been taken with records of the bribes he was guilty of and turned over to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in the atrium of the Ministry with VERY public statements to the Aurors.

It was quietly passed around the death eaters and other purebloods that going against the alliance of Gringott's and House Potter could see the goblins giving all information to the DMLE on financial dealings and the new Minister of Magic was not one to take bribes to cover things up. Killing Amelia Bones would not solve the problem as all of their gold was still in vaults at Gringott's and Azkaban was far, far preferable to what the goblins did to prisoners they kept. And if it was proven that you were a death eater, Blood Feud would see the goblins destroy you.

It became very in vogue to be carefully polite in Gringott's.

The tone around the dinner table was much more cheerful than could normally be expected with such grave circumstances surrounding everyone. Harry and Sirius had set the wheels in motion and, as long as they informed the closest branch of Gringott's where they could be reached, the next two weeks could be enjoyed without the cloud of Voldemort holding over everyone's head.

The plane was scheduled the next day. Naples, with its many historical sights and nearby beaches, was calling and Harry looked forward to the first full vacation in this or the other life. Tonks, Hermione and Emma were planning on getting Sirius onto a beach full of women in bikinis and causing his head to explode. Robert was contemplating keeping a trustworthy chaperone for his daughter and her boyfriend.

To Robert, it seemed that the his wife was less concerned than he felt she should be, Harry's guard was herself at an age where she wouldn't see anything wrong and the boy's godfather had a history of a lothario and Robert didn't know how far he would let Harry go.

Then again, he could just go with whatever happened. Harry was respectful and seemed to have convictions set in stone. It was far more likely that his normally very conservative daughter, almost a year older than Harry at almost 16, would instigate things. And Harry would do anything for her. He was, as far as Robert was concerned, still a teenage boy and no teenage boy could hold out for too long against the interest of an attractive girl.

It was going to be one hell of a two week vacation.

The next morning everyone was getting ready to go. The Daily Prophet had shown up, and the return of Voldemort, along with all of the revelations of the day before, was front page news. Editor's comments were questioning Harry's alliance with Gringott's but very politely. He would take a chance when they reported in at the local Gringott's in Italy the next day to pass off a response to the editorial.

Apparently the Weasleys had gotten wind of what had happened as both Errol and Pig had shown up during breakfast to deliver mail.

Harry and Sirius had concluded that they should have mail misdirection wards and only mail from certain people could get through. They didn't want to alert the Weasleys to any changes so they were on the list.

Mrs. Weasleys had a letter to Harry expressing her concern for his safety, which apparently had been written shortly after the howler for Sirius calling him a bad guardian for allowing Harry to get involved in a Blood Feud, especially against "he-who-must-be-named." Harry snorted. Like I'm still a little kid and Sirius is a bad influence. Overbearing harridan.

Ginny had sent a letter to Harry with some treacle tarts and Harry wouldn't touch them with a ten foot poll. He expressed interest in front of the family but privately, to Hermione, he expressed concern. They decided it wasn't worth it at this point to even worry about it, but Hermione was still planning on a severe reality adjustment for the red-haired fangirl.

Ron had written a letter to Harry wondering why he hadn't included him and his family in what happened at the Wizengamot and wondering if he was coming over to the burrow this summer. He had also written a letter to Hermione (not knowing they were both at Hermione's house) that fame seemed to be getting to his head and that he wanted to talk to her about reigning in their friend. Hermione was incensed.

Arthur had sent a letter of support to Harry and informed him that if he could do anything to help he would. The twins had used on of their new mail order owls that they had gotten with the help of the investment from Sirius to send a letter to Harry with their support and to try a sample of one of their new inventions, Canary Creams.

Fawkes, with a letter from Dumbledore, had shown up around the same time. Dumbledore asked for a meeting with Harry and Sirius about what had happened at the Wizengamot and other related information Harry needed. Harry and Sirius laughed, knowing that Dumbledore had very little control left about what was happening.

Harry and Hermione had sent letters to Neville and Luna the night before letting them know what was happening and inviting them to a joint birthday party for Harry and Neville on Neville's birthday. They also reaffirmed to Luna that she would be watching over Hedwig and Crookshanks as they would be out of the country (Sirius had agreed to take Crookshanks over to the Lovegoods before they left for the airport). Neville had replied with his own owl that he was supportive, agreed to the party and added that his grandmother would want to talk with Harry and Sirius after they got back. Luna had replied that she would be delighted to attend the party and was happy to look after Hedwig and to send her back after the reply and to drop off Crookshanks. She also included information that the story about Voldemort would be on the front page of this week's Quibbler above the latest article about snorkacks that had been bumped to the inside of the paper.

By the time that everything was ready to go, Hedwig had flown back to the Lovegoods via Amelia Bones with Tonk's weekly report on her assignment, reply letters to all the Weasleys had been sent by the same owls the originals to Harry, Hermione and Sirius had been sent, a letter informing Dumbledore they would meet after Harry's birthday had been sent with Fawkes, and Crookshanks had been taken with the letter to Luna to her place. Everyone were looking forward to the trip.

Chapter Text

Amelia Bones, Minister of Magic, spent a hectic Friday afternoon answering many questions from Wizengamot members, Heads of many Houses, Ministry workers and the press.

All in all, it had been a good day. She didn't really know if she liked this Minister gig. So far everyone's attention had been on the revelations from the Wizengamot but there were many changes that needed to be made in the wizarding world. Voldemort was only part of the problem. The pureblood agenda was the major point. She would have to work hard to provide a structure that would survive into the next millennium.

Too many laws favored the purebloods and that led directly to corruption, nepotism and the rise of Dark Lords. The wizarding world would have to be dragged into the 20th century kicking and screaming.

The report of Gringott's delivering its first enemy had been enlightening. The goblins were going out of their way to be fair. Instead of killing the wizards, apparently they were using the rules of finance to execute the Blood Feud. The death eater they had delivered had accompanied unbreakable evidence as to crimes. The goblins had executed a fine against the offender's house of half of its assets with a prohibition from the criminal himself being able to access the rest - the wizard's will had been executed as though he was dead already. One quarter of the fine - still a significant amount - had been turned over to the DMLE as fines and costs for prosecution, one quarter had been distributed to recorded victims of the death eater, one quarter had been deposited to Harry Potter's vault and one quarter had been kept by the goblins as reparation according to treaties. The goblins moved fast.

The Lestrange Vaults had been distributed similarly but instead of leaving half for the other members of the House, the whole House had been declared enemies of the goblins according to some treaty. So only 1/5th had made it's way to ministry coffers, 1/5th had made its way to the victims of the House, and the rest had been divided equally between the goblins, Harry Potter for some reason and Sirius Black who had annulled Bellatrix Lestrange's marriage and then cast her out of House Black.

Harry Potter would find him and his House considerably more wealthy by the time this Feud was over.

Dumbledore had made a nuisance of himself. She had held firm that she could do nothing in the face of declared Blood Feud and there were no treaties with the Goblin Nation preventing them from coming under the banner of Harry Potter. Anything they did could be construed as happening by his hand and as long as no laws were violated, there was no fighting it.

Now she was going home and would have to explain to Susan what was happening. She was very happy that Susan would be protected should anything happen to her. The protection of Gringott's and the House of Potter was not to be shunned.

Dumbledore sat in his office, sucking lemon drops.

Everything that had happened at the Wizengamot smacked of planning and preparation that should have been all but impossible. Harry had taken up the fight against Voldemort in a way that he could never have imagined. Goblins did not show mercy and this would prevent the redemption of so many souls that would be lost by this Blood Feud.

Even the prophesy would now make no difference. At Amelia had inadvertently made him realize, having the goblins do the work could be interpreted as destroying Voldemort by his hand. Still, there were possible horcruxes to consider. This information would endear himself to the boy and he could guide him to save as many lost souls as possible.

Oooh, was that lemon in the desert from the kitchens?

Lucius Malfoy almost was relieved that Black had granted Narcissa divorce and taken her and Draco under the protection of House Black. He knew that with Potter's Blood Feud and those filthy vermin helping him, one misstep would spell the end of House Malfoy.

Finding out that his Master was a half-blood left was not surprising to him. He had suspected it even if he had not known. Although he had been duped, there wasn't anything to do about that now.

Maybe it was time to go to Argentina and move his assets to a bank run by gnomes. He would have to be careful.

Little did he know that the other shoe would drop as the goblins had already set up his destruction.

Narcissa Black had never been so relieved as she was at this moment. She had heard of what happened at the Wizengamot. Now she had understood Sirius convincing her to divorce her husband and take her son.

Lucius was an Inner-Circle follower of what had turned out to be a half-blood. Her former Husband would be mowed over. There was no reason to put her or her son in danger for some half-blood son of a muggle. Though Harry Potter was a half-blood himself, he was Scion of one of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Houses and House Black being allied with him was a smart move. House Black was still an old and prestigious name and her son was protected.

Draco Black, formerly Draco Malfoy, was at a loss. Potter had declared Blood Feud against Voldemort. He always knew Gryffindors were stupid but this was suicidal.

Well, he was going to stay out of it. He still was a pureblood and the House of Black was even older than the House of Malfoy. He would be able to rule Slytherin with an iron fist.

Molly Weasley was incensed. Sirius Black had taken over guardianship of Harry Potter and ever since, she could not use her connection with Dumbledore to get her daughter in position to trap ... err, catch ... the Boy-Who-Lived.

And now, with this Blood Feud, it was looking more and more like Harry would not be available to be guided down the road she wanted.

Her son, who was supposed to be Harry's best friend, hadn't known anything of what had happened at the Ministry today.

Hermione's parents had ignored her request for her to visit stating that they had alternate plans all summer. Well, the girl was still young; plenty of time was still available to get her to visit the next summer to guide her into a relationship to keep her idiot son in line.

Ginny was confused. Harry had thanked her for the treacle tarts, said that they were delicious and then told her that he wouldn't be available this summer because of the Blood Feud he had declared against Voldemort.

It was as if the potion she had gotten with her mother's implied consent had had no effect whatsoever.

Well, if Harry was immune to the Imperious Curse, maybe he was resistant to control ... uh, love ... potions as well. She would have to increase the dosage. That would handle the problem.

Ron had heard from his father about what had happened at the ministry. The papers the next day had talked all about the Blood Feud Harry had declared. He was supposed to be beside Harry so he could get a part of the spotlight as well. He had sent off a letter asking about it and inviting him to the Burrow again. He needed help to practice quidditch and winning chess was always fun.

He had also sent a letter off to Hermione. He thought the point of Harry using his fame had been a brilliant move to get the sensible Hermione on his side. Point out Harry's obvious fame usage, give her a little attention and she would be eating out his hands. He could get permanent homework help if he snagged Hermione as a girlfriend until he found a better looking one or until school ended. That would leave time for him to play quidditch. It was a brilliant plan if he said so himself. Better than any Slytherin could come up with.

Anyway, it was time to eat. There was a plate of food with his name on it downstairs.

Dolores Umbridge was not having a good time.

She had been fired and arrested for trying to get rid of a pathetic half-blood freak. Her only mistake had been tying herself to that idiot Fudge. She would use the information she knew to get out of this and she would get the world she wanted. The filth would pay!

She didn't know about the changes in the Ministry of Magic and the Magical World since her incarceration. As far as she was concerned, there was no good and evil, there was only power and those who were too wretched to deserve it.

Dobby had heard rumors of what had happened from hearing talk between the staff that lived at the castle year round.

His friend and hopefully future master, Mr. Harry Potter Sir, had declared Blood Feud against that nasty snake-man. Mr. Harry Potter sir was very brave. He also had heard that the goblins was workin for Mr. Harry Potter Sir. And his Grangey was right there with him.

His Grangey was very nice with all of her talk about freeing the house elves but the others didn't know Mr. Harry Potter Sir's Grangey's heart was in the right place and they didn't likes it. Maybe he could convince Mr. Harry Potter Sir to take him as his elf and convince him to get his Grangey to take Winky as her elf. Then Winky would be happy again and they could be life-mates like Mr. Harry Potter Sir and his Grangey. If that didn't work, maybe Mr. Harry Potter Sir's dogfather needed an elf.

Dobby had a plan, yes he did. He had felt the nasty snake-man's bad magic in the come and go room. He would take the bad magic to Mr. Harry Potter Sir's goblin friends and then ask them to get Mr. Harry Potter Sir to take him as his elf and that would start the plan good.

Yes. That was a good plan.

Rita Skeeter knew she had been duped.

Harry Potter had declared Blood Feud and that was big news. He still owed her two exclusives. But he had made her give a magical oath to not attack Amelia Bones and her family and now that she was Minister of Magic, that Oath was getting in her way of digging up and printing dirt on her.

Still, it was open season on the former followers of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. And with the Blood Feud against him, any attacks against her in retaliation could be offset by providing information on criminal activities to the boy via the goblins.

That was worth a few headlines.

Luna Lovegood was very happy.

Since befriending Harry Potter her life had turned a complete turn. She had friends in Harry, Hermione Granger, the Weasley Twins and Neville Longbottom. He was a very nice boy and they had been trading owls almost every day. Harry and Hermione's letters had been very warm and protective and it left a nice feeling in her. The twins were very funny.

The youngest Weasleys had whackspurts, however, and she would have to avoid them since they seemed to not be interested in getting help to get rid of them. Oh well. You could lead the Bumpy Blungdinger to water but you couldn't make it drink.

Her father had put off their trip to Sweden this year to look for crumple-horned snorkacks because he was doing a lot of papers about Tom Riddle. They would go in August after the party she had been invited to.

It was so nice having friends.

Neville Longbottom was knackered.

He had been having the best summer of his life. He had found new confidence at the end of the last year. He had a number of friends and he had improve his grades tremendously.

His grandmother had taken him to get a new wand and it was fantastic. Apparently his new wand - cherry, 13 inches, unicorn hair - was much better attuned to him and he was much more powerful than he had known before. His grandmother was proud and impressed.

He had started learning the sword. It was tiring work, but it helped to tone him up. He was losing the baby fat.

So, he was happy. But he was knackered.

Harry Potter was a surprise to August Longbottom.

Her Frank and Harry Potter's parents had been close friends. They had confronted Voldemort and his death eaters and had had good luck for a while. But her son and daughter-in-law had fallen to a group of his deranged followers shortly after the boy's parents had been killed.

Her House cried out for blood. And although they didn't have the manpower or resources of some of the other Houses, it was high time to House Longbottom to get its vengeance.

It was time to talk to the goblins about becoming allied in Blood Feud.

Remus was looking forward to meeting up with Padfoot and the cub in Italy.

He was on the continent drumming up support from the werewolf clans or at least promises of neutrality.

The information that had been printed in the press had helped enormously in the last couple of days. The werewolves could see that Voldemort had incurred the enmity of the goblins and the Boy-Who-Lived's chances of defeating Voldemort had risen astronomically. He would have a good report to take back to Dumbledore.

Besides, with the goblins' help, there was finally hope for Remus's life vow. He had made a vow to himself that he would see Fenrir Grayback killed. As a henchman of Voldemort, he would fall under the Blood Feud and all he had to do was alert Harry and the goblins and that would be that.

He was REALLY looking forward to meeting up with Sirius and cub.

Kingsley Shacklebolt had walked into a boat load of work.

He had been appointed by Amelia because she felt she needed Rufus out there leading the Aurors in what was coming and she trusted Kingsley to follow the law and to mete out justice. As far as Amelia Bones was concerned, that was what the DMLE was about and that was ALL it was about. Kingsley could do that.

Even now, the DMLE had been handed several cases on a silver platter. The goblins had been busy providing proof of crimes and it was his job to get the death eaters off the street before goblins started spilling blood. As far as he was concerned, it wasn't the goblins' or even Harry Potter's job to clean up the messes.

It was time to get to work.

Ragnok was pleased.

Harry Potter had proven to be a boon to the goblin nation. By allying with House Potter, the goblins were coming to be viewed with more equity in the magical world.

Mr. Potter had also provided the goblins with opportunity to do one of the things that they loved the most - to crush their enemies. The vile devices created by Voldemort had now all been collected and the items would be cleansed by the time Mr. Potter returned from his sojourn with his life mate.

Even the goblins who would sacrifice their lives voluntarily in the blood magic used to cleanse the objects - one per item - would be honored in the Goblin Nation. Honor for their clan was another goal of every goblin. Mr. Potter had not been informed of this as Ragnok could see that Mr. Potter would not agree to the sacrifice of even a goblin in place of his own life.

The last device had literally walked in the door when a house elf who called himself a friend of Mr. Potter had brought Ravenclaw's Diadem to them. The house elf had been confident in his friendship of Mr. Potter and Ragnok remembered that this was the house elf that he had freed from House Malfoy at risk of his own life. It had been contained in the memories Mr. Potter had provided. All the house elf had asked was help to convince Mr. Potter to bond to the elf and for his life-mate to bond the elf's own intended life-mate.

Mr. Potter's life-mate was also a boon. A muggle-born witch, she was widely held to be the brightest witch of the age. She was a firm proponent of equal rights for all magical beings and this included the goblins themselves. They would pay for her education in law of all type ten times over as she would be tireless in her goal. And Mr. Potter had already stated his plan to spend his life aiding her quest.

He and his Council had agreed. Mr. Potter's life was far too valuable to risk. Goblins would die by the hundreds if necessary to destroy Voldemort. It was time for the Goblin Nation to once again to climb to greatness.

Voldemort had made his way to the cave where he had stored another horcrux.

He had gotten to the island and looked through the green potion. He couldn't see it clearly, but it was obvious it was still there. Still, something seemed ... off. He couldn't put his finger - well his claw right now - on it. But he could see it was there and he didn't have a vermin to sacrifice to take it out to inspect it more closely.

Still, he would have to make plans to get this body destroyed so that he could be free to move on to retry for a better one. He was still anchored and that was all he needed to know.

And the next time, he would not use such an incompetent follower as Peter Pettigrew.

Bob and Larry were having another beer together. Tomorrow Larry would visit Harry for a brief consultation. As Bob drank more beer, his eyes had become more and more maniacal. Larry mused that when Bob got drunk, he made his biggest plans.

Bob started talking about Harry, the Granger girl, and house elves. As Bob started laying out his basic plan, Larry groaned to himself. These plans from Bob were going to take a LOT of consultations with Harry.

Still, Lora had been less peeved with him. She had been impressed with the turnaround, and as far as she was concerned the fewer the problems with a client, the less time she had to spend answering to the Board of Directors of Afterlife, Inc.

Chapter Text

Hermione Granger was in a quandary.

Her very best friend in the whole world changed dramatically in a very short time. Not that she was complaining, mind you; but still, he had emerged from the third task of the TriWizard Tournament a changed man.

She had long prided herself in her knowledge, and the use of that knowledge to help others, especially Harry. Harry was her special project. He was often moody and irritable and his study habits could always use improvement. At the same time, he was the bravest and kindest person she knew. He would go out of his way to protect anyone: a friend, a fellow student, even someone who he didn't know. And because of his "saving people thing" she herself was alive to gain more knowledge and help others.

So she had spent her time doing whatever she could to help him. If he needed a push, she gave it to him. If he needed help in planning, she would make lists. If he wanted to protect someone, she would give him knowledge he would need. Even Ron had been included in the package. Ron was Harry's friend. So if he needed help, she would help him.

Ron never, however, showed that he appreciated the help, really appreciated it. A token thanks and he was off to spend his time playing games or talking about quidditch.

Here, Harry had always been different. He noticed Hermione's help and he appreciated it. When he said "Thank you", even in passing, Hermione could hear the sincerity. Sometimes Harry forgot, but usually in the end he noticed and did come back and thank her.

However, in the last two weeks, since that tournament, he had been performing feats of extraordinary intelligence as though he instinctively knew what to do. The whole business with Gringott's for example. He had walked in to meet the Chief of the Goblin nation and, within three hours, had secured a strong ally in his fight against Voldemort. He had achieved things that no wizard had ever achieved. Not Merlin. Not Dumbledore. No wizard or witch that had ever made it to a chocolate frog card. No one.

And she hadn't helped at all.

In fact, Harry had helped her. He had secured a promise from Gringott's to sponsor her attending Oxford University after completing Hogwarts. Ragnok had not said "scholarship" as in "we'll cover your tuition". No, he had said "we will cover all expenses". And all of a sudden, her nebulous plans for the future had become concrete possibilities.

And he seemed to know things that she could not account for him knowing. The information on the prophesy. Information about Voldemort. Information on people. A lot of information that had come spontaneously as though from on high (how little did she know how close that thought was).

She loved Harry, she really did. She loved him with her whole heart and being. She loved him so much it was scary. Since Harry had asked her to be his girlfriend she had been totally and completely happy in that respect. She could even see the reaction she had on his hormones and that was, in her mind, very complimentary. No boy had ever made her feel so attractive.

But there was something that concerned her. Because it WAS so perfect, there was something missing. Harry was the most unselfish person she knew. And if Harry had noticed that she loved him, somehow, she knew he would, if he was in a position to, be perfectly willing and happy to spend his life making her happy, whether he needed her or not.

And Hermione needed to feel needed, almost more than she needed to feel loved. She DID feel loved. Totally and completely loved. But was she really needed?

She had almost started chasing the idiot friend. Because if there was one thing Ronald Weasley was, he was needy.

Hermione was in a quandary.

Robert Granger was observant for a man. He was a professional with a happy family and a successful marriage. And even if he didn't know the magical world, he knew his daughter and women in general.

Harry was a perfect boyfriend for his studious daughter - he was respectful, he was complimentary, he was protective and he was generous. He went out of his way to tell her she was attractive and never criticized. But Robert knew that that there could be a problem if something was not done.

He would have to do something he didn't want to do. He would have to teach an adolescent boy how to make his daughter happier. The boy had apparently never had a decent role model for a successful relationship. Apparently his plan was to do everything in direct contradiction to the family he had been raised in, who were apparently a bunch of the most miserable gits that had ever existed.

And although that was a good plan, he still needed to learn some things that only a father could teach.

Robert Granger would have to help Harry Potter make his daughter love him even more. And that was a painful thought.

Hermione, Emma and Tonks had gone to a store in the airport to pick up refreshments and to look for books and things for the plane. Harry had never really seen an airport and the large planes landing and taking off fascinated him. Sirius as well was fascinated by the large muggle objects. As a pureblood wizard, he had never been on a plane himself.

So Harry and Sirius stayed by the gate watching out of the windows at Heathrow Airport. The girls had promised to bring back some snacks and some books for them.

As Harry was looking out the window, he heard a voice behind him. "Harry, can I talk to you about something?"

Harry turned and looked at Hermione's dad and saw him standing behind him with a pensive expression. "Sure, Robert. What do you need?"

Robert shook his head. With that one statement, Harry had demonstrated his lack. It was always, with Harry, "What do you need?" and never "I need something".

"I wanted to discuss a few things with you. Can we go over to that empty area and talk for a moment?"

Harry got up and followed Robert over to a set of seats that were empty for a large area around them. Sirius, curious about the conversation, followed but sat a short distance away.

"How has everything been going with the plans for this lunatic and his followers?"

"It's been going well. With the goblins on board, most of the problems that I could have had are being taken care of. The Ministry is in the hands of an honest leader, and she had helped smooth the way in the Ministry. I have Sirius here who has helped set up a few things and all in all, I say it has been quite successful."

Robert nodded. "All right. So how has your summer been so far?"

"To be perfectly frank, it's the best summer I've ever had bar none. I have a guardian who looks out for my well being, and I have some control of my own life for the first time in my life. I have been having a wonderful time in your home and I am going on a vacation for the first time ever. Also, I'm dating my best friend in the whole world and she's happy. All in all, it has been quite brilliant. Honestly, I'm almost dreading Sirius and I moving to our own place because it has been going so well and I'm not missing my friends as I usually am in the summer."

"Well, to be perfectly frank on my side, you, Sirius and Tonks have been perfect guests and we would have no complaints if you didn't move. Sirius has covered any added expenses and it's nice that my daughter has not had to spend too much time alone this holiday."

Harry smiled. It had been a brilliant summer so far.

"What are your plans for your life?"

Harry thought about it. "Well, I plan to make sure that the threat of Voldemort is destroyed and gone forever. I then plan on finishing school and spending my life helping Hermione achieve her goals." He blushed before he continued. "I also would like to have a family with her."

"Harry, how much do you love my daughter?"

"Sir, I have to say I am totally and completely in love with her. There isn't anything I wouldn't do to protect her and make her happy."

Robert sighed. The boy really had no clue whatsoever.

"I appreciate that. It is nice knowing that your daughter's suitor would protect her with his life, as I know you would. It is also nice to know that her suitor demonstrates their love in every way possible and you have been quite successful there. Well, within reason of course." Harry nodded resolutely and then blushed. "It is a relief for a father to learn that her daughter's boyfriend is so devoted and isn't just being a hormonal teenager. And I can see that now. I just have one more question for you, though."

"Alright. What is the question?" he asked, wondering where this was going.

"Harry, do you need my daughter?"

Harry sat there a moment and stared at Robert. Apparently this was the question he had really wanted to ask. He would have expected the question about love to be the most important but that had almost been a setup. Sirius, watching nearby, was entranced by the conversation. This kind of conversation was something that he did not have with his own male role models and he wanted to see what the results of the conversation were.

"Sir, I can honestly say that I need your daughter more than any single other person on the face of the planet. She is, and I mean this in every way possible, my soul mate. If I lost every other person I have ever known, and apologies to them all for this, I could still survive and live if I had your daughter. If I lost Hermione and no one else, my life wouldn't be worth living." And tears fell from Harry's eyes as he finished saying this at the mere thought of losing Hermione.

"I see." Robert paused for a moment. He looked down at the floor for a moment and then looked Harry in the eyes and asked, "Have you told her?"

Harry had never even considered this. His life growing up had taught him that to need people was a sign of weakness. He lived his life helping others and learning how to do things so that he could help and protect others. He had, since he was a small child and experience had taught him that he couldn't expect anything, avoided ever needing anyone or anything. He took what he was given and was grateful for it. Finally he answered in a trembling voice, "No, sir. I have not."

Robert sighed. "Harry, I have watched you since I have met you and I admire you in so many ways. I have never met a teenager, or anyone for that matter, that is so devoted to those around them in every way possible. Almost every story my daughter has ever told of you demonstrates your bravery and selflessness. The way you have been handling the whole situation with this nutter is almost beyond reproach. You have so many people who admire you and are loyal to you, not because of some perceived celebrity, but because you give of yourself so completely, with no thought for yourself, that others have no choice but to do everything in their power to help and aid you, because to do otherwise would be the height of malice and dishonor.

"You are the epitome of the idea of nobility. And as a way of life, it is not a bad one. Whatever your goals, you will achieve them and people will love and support you."

Here Robert looked him in the eye once again. "But in a relationship, this does not work."

Harry was confused. Wasn't this the idea of a perfect person for a relationship?

"A romantic relationship must be a relationship between equals. The idea of romance as being perfect and chivalrous and giving your wife everything she ever desires is a load of dung. It isn't realistic and it isn't ideal.

"A woman or a man for that matter, as much as they must feel loved, must also feel needed. It gives a person purpose. I know you feel needed. In the last week, I've seen you happy. Why are you happy? Because you know that you are needed by others and you know now you can provide what is needed and you are working on providing that. THAT is happiness." This was a revelation to Harry. He had never considered this. "But in all your impressive actions, you have tried to take everything upon your own shoulders. And in the end that will make everyone around you miserable. People have to feel needed, and in a relationship such as a marriage, it is especially important."

Robert laughed. "I know that Hermione had seemed like she had been interested in this other friend of yours. And that was silly because he apparently is a right idiot. But Hermione would have gravitated toward him if you hadn't said anything. And why is that? Because Hermione would have felt needed. So if you want to make it work with Hermione, and I would say with anyone else but there isn't apparently anyone else for you, you have to tell her you love her, but more important, you have to tell her and show her she is needed. Do you understand?"

Harry thought about it for a few minutes. In all of his life, no one had ever explained this. It explained so many things. Ron had always been unhappy and jealous because he didn't consider that he would be needed for himself. When he had been happy, he had done something that he had been needed for. Hermione tried to help everyone around her because it made her feel useful. It made her feel needed. She was his friend because she knew she could help him and even if he never said it, she knew he needed her help. This was why Molly tried to keep her children as children. Because she was needed if they were children. And Luna. And Neville. And Dumbledore. This list went on and on.

The reason it would never have worked with Ginny was because all she ever showed that she needed was the Boy-Who-Lived. Harry wasn't needed, she needed a hero. And as long as Harry was one, she would be perfectly happy. But he would have been miserable. Just as Ron would have been miserable with Hermione. Because he could have never felt that she needed him. It would have been take take and he would be totally unhappy.

"Thank you, sir. I understand. I appreciate your explaining things. No one has ever done that before." He smiled as he said, "I needed that." Robert laughed. "Tonight, when we get to the Villa, I will talk to her. I can't promise to be a perfect gentleman but I can promise that I will explain to Hermione how and why I need her. If it makes her happy, I will do it, no matter how long it takes. So I have to ask you to trust me."

Robert looked at him. What would be would be. He would let have to let his daughter be happy. And, if nothing else, he knew that was Harry's top priority. So he agreed.

The two stood up and embraced. And Harry finally realized he had found his father figure.

The plane flight had been interesting. Most of the group had chatted although Sirius had napped as he had kept watch into the night. In actual fact, Sirius was thinking. Robert's talk with Harry had had a profound effect on him. He had realized that he had been happy because he knew Harry needed him. He had been happy with the Marauders because they had needed each other and Wormtail had become a traitor because he didn't feel needed.

Sirius admired Robert Granger to no end. In teaching his pup, he had taught him. He now knew that he had to make plans past Harry and Voldemort. He had to do something with his life. It was time to grow up.

When the group had arrived at the Villa, they had dispersed their belongings to their various rooms. They had met back up to eat and make plans for the next day. At around 9:00 local time, Harry had nodded to Robert and had drawn Hermione to his room for a chat.

Robert looked on and Emma was surprised because they were obviously going to be spending time together without a chaperone. Emma had expected Robert to get nervous but he looked relieved. Something was going on. She'd have to get to the bottom of this.

Harry had brought Hermione into his room and sat her on the bed and then had taken his wand and placed privacy charms around the room. Hermione was intrigued but worried. "Um, Harry? Aren't you worried about what my parents are going to think?"

Harry smiled at her and said, "No. Your dad knows I'm taking to you and has expressed his confidence that I will am honorable and will not push you to do anything you aren't ready for." Hermione looked intrigued. That didn't sound like her dad. "Actually, he had a talk with me earlier and he made me realize that I'd been making a mistake."

Hermione looked shocked. "I don't know. Everything you've been doing has seemed to work. Where is the mistake?"

Harry said, "Well, let me tell you about a story. It's a true story. It's going to take a while and I ask that you hold off until I finish."

For the next one and a half hours Harry told Hermione of his previous life. He explained the next three years and who had been lost. He told her about the relationships and the reactions and the regrets. He then explained to her Afterlife Inc. and at the end he said, "Hermione, apparently I have died 7 times. Each time before, they had erased my memory and sent me back to fix it. But the final time, they got fed up. Larry, that's my Grim Reaper, got right pissed at me at me being so stupid. And the biggest thing I'd been stupid about was you." Hermione looked floored.

So Harry explained what he had learned and then explained what had happened to send him back, including the planning steps with Bob. "The only reason I've been so able to handle all of these things in the last week is because I've been there, I've done that and I messed it up right proper. So, this time, I was under strict orders. Come back, fix it up without the mistakes, get rid of Voldemort, marry my soulmate and live to a ripe old age happy with her." To say Hermione was floored was saying that the ocean is wet. It just doesn't cover the scope.

So Harry explained all of the things he had done and why and finally finished with, "So your dad asked my a question and it was something that no one had ever explained to me, ever, in any life, anywhere. After knocking some sense into my head, he made me realize my mistake. And that mistake is this. Hermione, there's something I've never told you."

Hermione wondered what, compared to all of what she had heard, could be so important that it could lead up to this being the most important thing.

"Hermione, I love you. I've loved you for years. But what I've never told you is this: I need you. I need you more than I need anything else in my life. If I lost everyone but you I could be happy. Yeah, I like having friends, and snogging you is great, but more than anything else, I just need you to survive and be happy. You're what makes it worth it for me to be alive."

Hermione threw herself onto Harry's lap and sobbed into his chest. It didn't really make sense because she, in that moment, was happier than she could ever imagine herself being. Harry, her best friend Harry, who loved her and protected her and had saved her life with no thought for his own, had told her that he needed her to survive.

If someone had asked her a year ago what would make her happy, the answers would have been about learning new things and helping people and having a family sometime.

If someone had asked her a week ago what would make her happy, it would have been loving and helping Harry, and finishing her education, and helping get equal rights for all beings and a family with Harry.

If someone had asked a day ago, it would have been that Voldemort was destroyed and Harry was alive and that they could have a family.

But now she knew.

If someone asked her what she needed to be happy, she knew she had the one right and true answer: She knew Harry needed and loved her just as much as she needed and loved Harry.

It was just that simple.

Soon Hermione stopped crying and turner her face and kissed Harry with all the love and need she had.

They kissed for several minutes until Hermione felt something below her bum which was sitting in Harry's lap. Her eyes widened as she realized what is was. She closed her eyes again and just felt. She grabbed one of Harry's hands and moved it to her jumper so that his hand was on her breast with her hand holding it there.

Harry was also shocked for a moment and then decided to live in the moment.

Before things could progress any further, they heard a voice coming from the other side of the room that said, "Finally!"

They jumped and turned toward the voice reaching for their wands, until Harry groaned and said, "Guys, meet Hermione Granger, my soulmate. Hermione Granger, meet my Grim Reaper, Larry, and his friend, my Destiny Repair Specialist, Bob. They work for Afterlife Inc."

Chapter Text

Hermione looked at the two that had appeared unexpectedly. She was finally getting Her Harry past his nobility streak and she, as the opportunity presented itself, was going to get a little use out of her and Harry's hormones. She, in all honesty, was a trite bit annoyed.

Harry himself was annoyed with Larry. He had just made a major breakthrough with his relationship with Hermione and Larry had brought Bob and himself and cocked it up. They wanted him with Hermione, and he was in complete agreement, but right when things were progressing they interrupted. Bloody, interfering, annoying GITS.

Larry rolled his eyes and Bob smirked.

"Hello, Hermione Granger. My name is Larry. This is Bob. Everything Harry has told you is true, and you can't tell anyone else."

Harry stared and Hermione huffed. "Is that why you were interrupting?"

"No. It was time for a review for Harry here. They aren't regularly scheduled, but since he told you everything you could be here for it. I wanted to meet you, and wanted to add 'Finally' because I was getting right tired of fixing him up and sending him back. And with you in the picture, that's less likely to happen."

Hermione was slightly mollified. Apparently Harry really did need her to survive and even a Grim Reaper said so. Now if they would just finish this review so she could get back to working on Harry's hormones ...

"Anyway, Harry. Good going so far. Been right pleased and even Lora is starting to settle down a bit."

Hermione looked at Harry. "Lora?"

He looked over at Hermione and replied, "Larry's boss. Apparently my dying was annoying to her and she wasn't happy about trouble in the department. That's it, as near as I can tell." He looked back to Larry. "So, does that mean I won't need as many reviews?"

Larry shook his head. "Nope. As far as Lora is concerned, things as they are now aren't broke, so there's no need to fix them. You have a number of visits to look forward to. Besides, Bob has plans and he needs these reviews to get them passed on."

"Plans, Bob?"

Bob smirked at Harry and Hermione. "Well, things are going so smashingly well at the moment that Destiny Repair has decided to use one of the few clients that it has direct access to as a means of fixing some things up, things which will affect your Destiny as well as others'."

Harry groaned. He remembered Larry's warnings from before. Hermione looked both intrigued and worried. Hermione asked, "What kind of plans are they and do they involve me as well?"

"Well, as your Destiny is tied with his Destiny, anything that affects him also affects you. Besides, I don't think you'll complain."

"Why not?"

"What plans do you have for house elves?"

"Well, I don't want to see them enslaved. I want to see them free and happy."

"Yeah. That's a good thing, but there are things that you don't know about house elves. You should ask. Two particular house elves. You can figure out the two."

Harry and Hermione thought about it a moment and looked at each other. They both said, "Dobby and Winky!"

"Yeah, those are the two. You might want to be careful about calling out their names while we aren't here though. Because we're here, this is private and no one can hear. But once we leave, I should mention at least one of them is listening for you to call them."

Harry told Hermione. "I really owe Dobby. If you remember what I told you about our seventh year, he saved our lives as well as Neville's, Luna's, Ron's, Ollivander's, Griphook's and so many others'. And as a result he died. Whatever he asks for he gets. And if that means a bond, that's what it is. And Winky is miserable and will stay miserable until she dies if something doesn't change. So, that includes her too."

Hermione huffed. Bob shook his head and looked at her. "Listen. I can tell you that you're going to do a lot of the house elves and as a result they will be much, MUCH happier than they have been for centuries. But, in this case, you really ought to listen to Harry. Trust me. I know. And in the long run, it will help Harry and yourself with your Destinies. Besides, Harry, I think you want to find out from your house elf friend what he did with the goblins."

Hermione finally nodded. "Fine. But they are included in my plans for equal rights. I won't see them trampled in slavery."

Larry and Bob laughed at her. "Can you really see Harry trampling anyone's rights? Especially a friend's?"

Hermione nodded her head sheepishly. "That's true. Harry's too good for that."

Harry smiled at her. "I promise we'll work for their rights. But, we have to work with them, not ignore what they think."

Larry and Bob stood up. "Well, it's been fun. Keep doing what you're doing. Things are progressing nicely, so don't blow it."

They disappeared. "So," Hermione said, "should we call them?"

Harry thought about it for a moment. "Let's go out and see who else is up. It's still 10:00 where we came from, so everyone might still be up. We can talk about it and see what everyone thinks. We just can't mention Larry and Bob. Besides, I don't want your dad to think I'm taking advantage of you."

As far as Hermione was concerned, Harry would have to be force-fed the "advantage". And she had plans to move things in that direction.

Harry and Hermione left Harry's room and made their way to the living room area. The adults were still up and chatting.

Sirius saw them first and yelled out, "Harry! Hermione! Should be worried what you two were getting up to?" and then laughed.

Tonks leered at them. Emma looked interested and Robert looked slightly green. He may have given his tacit agreement, but that didn't mean he had to like it.

"We've been talking about what's been happening and making plans if you MUST know," Hermione huffed as she reached down and picked up a throw pillow and then threw it at Sirius. Robert looked slightly happier, but Tonks and Emma looked almost disappointed as Sirius continued laughing.

Harry added, "Anyway, we talked." At that he gave a slight nod to Robert, who looked satisfied. "We came out to talk to you about some plans." Everyone looked interested.

"One of the things that we have decided to concern ourselves with house elves," Harry carried on. "There are two particularly that we care concerned with, one of which is my friend and another that we know is unhappy. We wanted to call them to arrange to get some information for our future plans. I know we are on vacation, but this is important."

Sirius and Tonks looked approving while the Grangers looked interested. Hermione had mentioned house elves in several of her letters and they wanted to meet one and see what they looked like.

Sirius said, "Well, even if we're on vacation, your plans have to move forward. While the goblins are doing a lot of the work for the next two weeks, this is your cause. So it's fine with me." Everyone agreed with Sirius.

"Alright, here goes then." Harry said. He then called out, "Dobby!"

A pop was heard and in front of everyone stood Dobby in a Hogwarts tea cozy as a robe with two mismatched socks.

"Mr. Harry Potter, Sir! You's calls Dobby! I is happy to help you! How can Dobby help?" Dobby was almost quivering with excitement as the Grangers were fascinated and the rest almost burst out laughing at Dobby's enthusiasm. Hermione knew that this was a losing battle. Oh, well, at least Dobby would be happy.

"Hello, Dobby. How are you doing?" Dobby broke down in tears.

"Mr. Harry Potter Sir is a great wizard! I's never been asked how I am from a wizard. I am so happy to be called!" At that Dobby attached himself to Harry's leg.

Harry knelt down so he could talk to Dobby more at his level. "How is the job at Hogwarts? And how is Winky?"

"I am working hard and am enjoying it. I is paid a galleon a week and has one day off a month. It is a good job." Here Dobby's ears drooped. "Winky is still drinkin. I am trying to take care of her. She wants to be part of a family again. And so do I. I like my freedom, but I wants to has a family as well."

Here Harry looked at Hermione. She nodded, and Harry looked back at Dobby and said, "I would love to have you and Winky in my family."

Dobby's ears perked up. "You take Dobby as your elf so I can keep your secrets? Can Mr. Harry Potter's Sir Grangey take Winky as her elf?"

Hermione could not argue with how happy Dobby was to be part of a family again. And Winky had been really miserable when she had last seen her. At least Larry and Bob had said that they would help her attain her goals. So Hermione nodded to Dobby.

"I will go and bring Winky here."

Sirius and Tonks were flabbergasted by the apparent loyalty of the house elf to Harry. Usually a house elf had a lot of loyalty but only when bonded. Dobby was apparently a free elf and still his loyalty to Harry was unquestioned. The Grangers were absorbed, by Emma had a question. "Hermione, do you really want to take a house elf as a servant?"

Harry answered before Hermione could. "House elves don't look at it as being a servant. They look at it as being part of a family. Even at Hogwarts, although the elves are bonded to the castle, they view the students and staff as a family and are very eager to please." He paused and looked at Hermione before he continued. "It makes them feel needed."

Hermione blushed when he put it that way. She would have to revise some of her opinions.

All of a sudden Dobby popped back in with Winky in tow. Winky wore a simple dress which was stained with butterbeer.

"Hello, Winky," Hermione started out. "How are you?" she asked gently.

Winky's voice was slurred as she answered, "Winky is sad. She has no master and no family."

"Would you like to be part of my family?"

Winky's demeanor changed instantly. "Miss wants Winky?"

"Yes, Winky, I do. I need a house elf as family so that she can keep my secrets and teach me about house elves so that I can help them."

Winky looked at Hermione. Hermione was famous, or infamous, with the Hogwarts house elves. "You not be trying to free elves that not want to be being freed now?" Winky asked with a very slight note of reproof.

Hermione blushed as she answered. "That's why I need an elf. I need to learn what they need and how to make sure they are happy." Winky became very excited as Hermione said this. "If I take you as my elf, will you take an allowance and wear a uniform and never punish yourself? Will you take any days off?"

Winky thought about it. "I will not take pay and wear clothes. I am a respectable house elf even if I am shamed! And a house elf does not take days off!" Winky looked as though she might run off.

"No, no, no, Winky. It's not PAY per se, just some gold so that you can get anything that you might need. You don't even have to spend it. You can use it or not use it however you like. And a uniform isn't clothes. It just shows that you're my elf. And you don't HAVE to take time off. But you can take time to do anything that you normally wouldn't be able to do."

Winky looked for trickery and decided that as long she was a part of a family she could handled Miss's quirks. "Winky agrees."

Harry then asked Dobby, "Will you agree to the same terms with me?" Dobby was much more enthusiastic. He would be Mr. Harry Potter Sir's elf! He nodded his head so that his ears flapped. "What do we have to do to take you as our elves?"

"You only have to say, 'I take you, Dobby, as my elf' and we could bond."

Hermione said, "I take you, Winky as my elf." A light flashed and Winky looked much improved.

Harry said, "I take you, Dobby, as my elf." A light flashed around Dobby. Winky and Dobby snapped their fingers and they were both now clad in small tunics. Winky had the Granger crest on hers and Dobby's had one for House Potter. "Now, if I am at the Grangers can you find me even if it's warded?"

Dobby nodded his head, "A house elf can always find his family, Mr. Harry Potter Sir!"

"Alright. If you will excuse us, everyone, we have to talk to Dobby and Winky." All of the adults nodded their heads in amusement. "We will go to bed after talking to them, so we will see you all in the morning."

Harry and Hermione walked off back towards Harry's room with Dobby and Winky following.

Emma, Sirius and Tonks were snorting with laughter at the whole Dobby and Winky situation. Robert was looking a bit green again even as he smiled because they once more went to the same room. Being a father was hard at times.

Once they were all in Harry's room, Harry said, "Ok we have some questions, but first let me put up some privacy charms."

Dobby snapped his fingers and said, "No one will know what happens in this room now. I has made it private with one way sound proofing and anti scrying wards." Hermione's eyes gleamed at this information. After they finished, Hermione had plans for those wards.

"Okay, Dobby. Thank you. Now I have a question. I have heard that you have helped the goblins?"

Dobby nodded his head vigorously. "When Dobby heard that Mr. Harry Potter Sir had declared Blood Feud against nasty snake-man and the goblins was helping him, Dobby remembered bad magic Dobby had felt at Hogwarts in the Come and Go room. So Dobby took bad magic to goblins to get rid of. Goblin Chief said it was last bad magic piece they had to collect."

Harry, who had held his breath when Dobby mentioned the "bad magic" expelled it with relief. "PERFECT! That was brilliant, Dobby!" Dobby's eyes shined with gratitude. Mr. Harry Potter Sir was a great wizard. He would not punish Dobby for helping him. Harry thought for a moment. "Hey, Dobby. Can you carry messages between the goblins and myself to help with my fight against Voldemort?"

Dobby was ecstatic! "I can do that. If you call, I can take messages or yous to Gringott's to talk to goblins. I will tell goblins that I can be called to take messages to you!"

"What about the wards at Gringott's?"

"House elves can go through any wards in service of their family."

Harry had a thought. "Can a house elf be used to find me if someone wanted to attack me?"

Dobby shook his head. "Oh no, sir! House elves may not harm another wizard by use of their magic unless by a lot of force which house elf would fight. Now that you has bonded to Dobby, no house elf can be forced to use their magic to harm you! Besides, house elves are not considered by most witches and wizards. They consider us vermin and below such things."

Harry was relieved. That meant that Hermione, now bonded to Winky, could also not be harmed that way. "Well, Dobby. I do NOT consider you vermin, and neither does Hermione. I think you are brilliant! Can you pop people places with permission?" Dobby nodded his head up and down. "Well, then. I am naming you my yeoman, or yeoelf. You will carry messages between myself and my allies as needed and let me know if any of them need my help. Can you do that Dobby?"

Dobby nodded his head enthusiastically. He would help Mr. Harry Potter Sir with his fight against the nasty snake-man. Winky, who was bonded to Mr. Harry Potter Sir's life-mate could help take care of Mr. Harry Potter Sir if Dobby was fighting.

"Ok. Hermione?"

Hermione looked at Winky and asked, "Winky, can you teach me about house elves so that I can help them to be happy?" Winky nodded her head as enthusiastically as Dobby. Since she had bonded to her Grangey, she became what her Grangey really wanted. Her Grangey liked knowledge and passing it on. So she decided she would learn things so that she could teach her Grangey.

"Winky can do that, Miss Grangey! Winky would be happy to help!"

Hermione smiled and hugged Winky. "Thank you, Winky. Sometime over the next two weeks I will call you to sit down and explain things. So, you can go and I will call you tomorrow when I know more of when I will need this."

Both elves could feel that Mr. Harry Potter Sir's Miss Grangey wanted to bond with Mr. Harry Potter Sir. So they snapped their fingers and left. Dobby would go to all of Mr. Harry Potter Sir's allies and let them know he could be called if they needed help against the nasty snake-man. Winky would help take care of her Grangey and her family, including Mr. Harry Potter Sir.

There were clean pajamas now laid out on the chairs next to the bed in Harry's room. Hermione noticed even if Harry had been lost in thought of how Dobby could help with communications. Hermione decided she liked having Winky as a house elf: She knew what Hermione needed for her plans.

Chapter Text

Hermione looked at Harry and asked him, "Are the interruptions done?"

Harry smiled sheepishly and replied, "I do believe so."

Hermione seductively said, "Well, Mr. Potter, before we were so rudely interrupted, we had some unfinished business to take care of. I want to finish it."

"Well, Ms. Granger, I am yours to command." Harry blushed as he said this. He didn't have much experience from either time line. Ginny had attempted some exploration, but he had not felt right about it as she had been younger and he wasn't ready regardless. Then again, Ginny had really only been a distraction for him.

Hermione once again moved to where Harry was sitting on the bed and say in his lap and put her arms around his neck. She started kissing him, moving her tongue against his lips. He opened his mouth and their tongues played against each other. "Ahhh, there is what I had been feeling earlier," Hermione thought as once again she felt a pressure under her bum.

Once again, Hermione took Harry's hand that had been moving up and down her side and pulled it against her chest and held it there with her hand. Harry tentatively felt her breasts through her shirt as they kissed.

He paused for a moment and pulled back, looking at Hermione. He left his hand on her breast as she had put it there. "Hermione, how far do you want to take this?"

Hermione blushed. "Well, I'm not ready to 'go all the way' or even to get naked and explore, but over clothes petting to learn about each other sounds as you might put it 'simply brilliant'. There are some things that, I have come to realize, you can't simply learn from a book." As she finished this statement she smiled and moved her bum a bit against Harry's hormonal teenager boy reaction.

Harry laughed at her and said, "As far as I'm concerned, whatever you want, I'm willing. I won't force you." He wagged his eyebrows as he finished, "but 'petting' sounds brilliant."

The two moved back to snogging, as Harry moved his hands on her breasts. He felt her nipple through her blouse and bra and he rubbed that a bit. Hermione moaned into his mouth. She rubbed her bum against his lap and he moaned himself.

They continued on in this way for a bit, until they heard noises outside in the hallway.

Hermione knew her father might be open-minded, but she shouldn't push it. So she pulled away and looked into Harry's eyes and smiled while she said, "I think that is my father indicating that it's time to go to bed."

Harry nodded his head and smiled at Hermione. "I look forward to learning more."

Hermione kissed him one more time and grabbed the pajamas that Winky had left and went out the door. She would have gone further, but her father had interrupted. She couldn't wait until she had Harry in a more private situation. It had been getting good and interesting and she would have to take care of things in her room. Soon. Very Soon. As far as she was concerned, very soon was when it was time to arrange for more private lessons.

Harry was happy, even if he would have to go and take care of his hormones in the bathroom. Even though he was really 17 in his mind, his almost 15-year old self had a little more development to go. While Hermione's development was getting close to perfect as far as he was concerned.

Oh, this would be a fun summer.

Chapter Text

The following morning, Emma got out of bed in the Villa in Naples where her family was vacationing this year. It had been a good night.

As she took her shower, she contemplated the family dynamic that had occurred since the introduction of one Harry Potter to the equation. As far as she could see, her daughter was blossoming and that was a good thing. Gone away was the quiet, bookish tendencies that had marked her early years. She was becoming a confident woman, with a promising future with a boy that, as far as she could tell, was all that she could have wished for her daughter.

Her husband, protective father that he was, had explained to her about the conversation that he had with their daughter's boyfriend. And as much as he didn't want to do it, he had helped the boy in making Hermione happy. Such things deserved a reward, and Emma had rewarded Robert long into the night.

Yes, Emma thought as she finished her shower, she was a very satisfied woman this morning. Vacation was about fun after all, she smirked.

She wrapped her bathrobe about herself and stepped back into the bedroom. She looked to where her night clothes had lain since about midnight and noticed they were missing. That was odd. Robert must have put them away and she didn't notice.

Then she looked toward the dresser and saw that a summer outfit had been set out. This was strange. She felt pampered but her husband was not usually THIS considerate. She walked over and kissed his sleeping face on the cheek and got dressed to go prepare breakfast with the food that would be in the kitchen for the newly arrived guests before they could arrange their own supplies.

She walked toward the kitchen to find that there was a plate with and an egg and sausage with what looked like croissants on the table in the dining room. There was also a pot of what smelled like cappuccino coffee and a glass of fruit juice. Harry must have gotten up already. So she walked into the kitchen only to be shocked by what she saw.

Winky the house elf whom she had seen last night when Harry and Hermione had called for her and Dobby was using the gas stove to cook breakfast for everyone. Plates were flying through the air and cups were being filled with fresh fruit juice.

She hesitantly said, "Winky?"

Winky turned and looked over. "Good Morning, Missus Grangey. Breakfasts is on the table."

Emma nodded, "Did Hermione tell you to cook breakfast?" She was curious.

"Not directly. But Winky is bonded to Mr. Harry Potter Sir's Miss and Winky takes care of her family. So while Miss lives with her parents, Winky will take care of Miss's parents too!"

Emma nodded. "I see. Is that why I already had my clothes laid out this morning?"

"Of course! House elves take care of their family's needs. We love to do it and the family must not worry about such things."

"Thank you, Winky. If you need any help with breakfast, let me know. You don't have to do everything."

"Missus Grangey's family is on vacation. So Winky will take care of things while Winky's family has fun." Winky nodded her head emphatically and turned back to turn the eggs over with a snap of her fingers.

Emma turned back to the dining room. She didn't know about having someone take care of all the family needs. But it obviously made Winky satisfied, so she guessed it was live and let live.

As people gathered into the dining room, breakfast would appear for each. The first time Mr. Granger saw it happen before the next person had come into the room, he looked over at Emma with a questioning look. "Winky insisted." His face made an "O" shape and he nodded and ate his breakfast.

Hermione and Harry had been teased mercilessly by the magical adults as they appeared for breakfast. Finally Emma remonstrated them, only to add a small dig of her own as the whole table laughed. All in all, it was an enjoyable experience.

After breakfast, the house of people made plans. Harry and Sirius would check in with the local goblins and then it would be a day of sight seeing around Naples.

It was a good start to the vacation.

For the next week, the Granger family plus additions had a grand time traipsing around the region. Hermione was excited to learn of the region's rich history and learned everything she could. They would visit the magical section that was close by the next weekend.

They also enjoyed the day they had stayed at the Villa and lounged around the pool. They had played pool volleyball again, the younger generation against the older ones. Surprisingly or maybe not, the older adults had won. Tonks was such a klutz.

They also had spent a day on a beach.

The girls had laughed themselves silly the first time they stepped onto the beach and Harry and Sirius had stopped with gobsmacked expressions. Half the women sunbathing had no tops covering their bits!

As explained by Hermione lecturing Harry, on many beaches it was not uncommon for women to go topless. Harry had been isolated by his relatives who, if nothing else, were prudish to the extreme. Topless women on beaches would have been about as welcome as a subject as flooing as a form of travel.

Sirius, as a pureblood, had no concept of muggle customs and hadn't been aware that it was a common European tradition. Sirius's tail, if he was in dog form, would have been turning his whole body. He ogled all the women for a while until he became more comfortable and just enjoyed the beach. He did seem to spend more time that night on the town.

Hermione had traveled with her family extensively growing up and so had known of this already. She wasn't encouraged or discouraged from it, though this time Robert was hoping that she would continue her custom of not following this practice.

Emma and Tonks followed suit, but Emma was planning on conspiring with Tonks to spend the last trips to the beach breaking Harry of his shyness about it. She was looking forward to the fun. If her daughter was going to be happy, Harry would become a confident man for her. Besides, it would be fun to make her husband's face turn green for a while.

Harry, Robert noted, was shy but also became a little more comfortable if not totally relaxed about it. Fortunately or unfortunately, he noticed that he was sneaking peeks more at Hermione in her somewhat smaller than normal bikini than the other topless women, no matter how gorgeous or well endowed. Damn. He had even passed this test. Hermione, he saw, also noticed this and had gotten far more confident and forward the further the day had gone. He would have to keep them visiting sites and off the beaches as much as possible until they went home.

The following Saturday, three days after the full moon, Remus had arrived at the Villa to visit with Sirius, Harry and Hermione and to talk about what was happening with Voldemort.

Remus had explained what was happening in the werewolf packs and Harry was relieved by the information. Voldemort had not called any followers or dark creatures since his resurrection according to all of the information that the goblins had; but, if he did, the werewolves were more and more planning on staying out of it. Harry could only hope vampires and giants followed this prevailing wisdom on not becoming involved as well. He did NOT want he or his allies to have to fight such as these.

Harry had convinced Remus to allow him to pass the information back to Dumbledore via his allies. The war against Voldemort and his support was being waged by Harry, and Dumbledore's role was getting smaller and smaller.

Moony had brought up Fenrir Grayback. This was the werewolf that had infected him as a child, and he had been a major source of terror for Voldemort in the first war. He had helped kill several families and had kidnapped children of purebloods who had been hesitant about joining. Grayback was still at large. Remus expressed his wish to Harry to see him brought to justice.

Little did Remus know that Harry knew of the werewolf from his other lives. He knew that if Voldemort somehow became aware of how vulnerable he was, Grayback would be called again. Harry called Dobby.

"Dobby!" The elf arrived with a pop in front of Harry. "Can you help transport myself, Sirius, Professor Moony and Hermione to Gringott's to consult with Ragnok? And can you first check to make sure he is available?" Dobby nodded and popped off.

Dobby popped off and Remus looked at the spot Dobby had stood in for the twenty seconds it had taken for Harry to make his request. Apparently, Harry did not beat around the bush.

About two minutes later Dobby popped back in and said, "Chief Goblin Ragnok is available. Dobby was given this goblin portkey to give to Mister Harry Potter Sir to visit. All of your family including Miss's parents is invited to arrive." He handed over a two foot section of rope. "The activation phrase is 'Blood Feud'."

Harry looked at Sirius. Sirius shrugged his shoulder and then smirked at the thought of Remus, Emma, and Robert being given a first hand glimpse at Harry's reception with the goblins.

Harry asked Dobby to get everyone together in the living room. Within a few short minutes, all had arrived. Harry said to everyone, "Director Ragnok has invited us all to visit Gringott's after a request I made to consult him. It would be polite to go. Does anyone have any problem with this?"

Everyone nodded agreement, but Emma had a question. "How will we travel?"

Harry explained what a portkey was and explained that this was a goblin made one, which apparently meant it wasn't regulated by the Ministry of Magic and was not traceable by wizards. He had learned this from the goblins at the main branch of Gringott's in Italy when they had checked in.

Harry directed everyone to dress a little less casually, as currently everyone was in shorts, t-shirts and sandals. He also requested that they put on the robes that he had gotten for them when he had decided that they needed wizarding wear for trips to the magical world.

Harry asked Dobby to inform Ragnok that they would be delayed by 15 minutes. Dobby popped off as Harry himself went to his room to put on his robes.

Fifteen minutes later when everyone had assembled, Harry looked at Remus and asked him if he wanted to be affiliated or allied with House Potter. Around the room, everyone except Remus had robes with all three of House Potter, House Black and Granger family crests somewhere on the robes. Robert and Emma had both Potter and Black crests on their shoulders with the Granger Crest on their right arms as it was a muggle crest. Tonks, as an Auror, had her House Black crest on her chest and House Potter on her right arm as affiliated. She had asked and been given permission to also put the Granger Crest on her right arm. Hermione had the Granger crest on her right arm, the Black crest on her shoulder, and the Potter crest, trimmed with Red on the center of her chest. Sirius had the Black crest over his heart trimmed with gold, the Granger crest on his right arm and the Potter crest also trimmed with red.

Remus thought about it as he looked around the room, and the he waved his wand. In addition to the small crest of Lupin on his left arm, the Potter crest took shape on his chest in the center trimmed in red, the Gaunt crest in red below. Harry waved his wand, and the Lupin crest appeared on his left arm.

When all was said and done, the Lupin crest appeared on everyone's robes on the right arm, except for Harry's and Sirius's robes. Lupin, as a werewolf, could not claim Headship of the Minor House of Lupin and so could not initiate alliance for the Grangers, but he could affiliate anyone he wanted. The exceptions had been because of the Blood Feud and because Sirius, as Head of House Black, could ally himself with anyone he bloody well pleased.

Harry called everyone to take hold of the rope. When Winky and Dobby had held back, Harry and Hermione had looked at them. With tears in their large eyes, they had grabbed onto Harry and Hermione after explaining portkey magic did not work for house elves and they could only travel that way if they held a witch or a wizard.

The group had arrived in what was apparently a portkey landing zone inside the bank. The group had stood (this that had fallen instead of landing smoothly) and had dusted themselves off as the door opened and a goblin came in and bowed. The group bowed back and followed the goblin toward Ragnok's office. Harry quietly advised the Grangers to call him Director.

The goblins at the door to the office all saluted, holding their non-spear hand over the crest of House Potter that adorned their chests. Harry and the other magicals including Dobby saluted back, with the Grangers bowing as they had been advised. Winky also bowed.

Ragnok stood as the group walked in and saluted Harry. Once again everyone saluted back and the Grangers and Winky had bowed. Ragnok took the unexpected step of bowing back to them as well.

"Welcome, Lord Potter and friends. I am Ragnok, Director of Gringott's and Chief of the Goblin Nation."

Harry and those that had been there with him before returned the greeting. "These are the parents of my intended, Mr. Robert and Mrs. Emma Granger." The Grangers bowed once again, even as they asked themselves, "Intended?".

"It is good to meet the parents of Ms. Granger. She has impressed us greatly. She has won support from us for her goals and this is not a common occurrence." The Grangers thanked him, suitable impressed.

"This, as you know, is our friend Dobby who is my house elf, my friend, and my yeoman during the Blood Feud against Riddle. This is Winky, who is my Ms. Granger's house elf and also our friend." Winky and Dobby bowed nervously, never having expected to be introduced and included in such a way.

Ragnok's eyes gleamed as he greeted them as well.

"And finally, this is Remus Lupin, who has taken my crest under the banner of Blood Feud. He is a werewolf, and is a trusted friend of myself as well as the others."

Remus saluted Ragnok as brother-in-arms in the Blood Feud. Ragnok saluted back. Yes, Mr. Potter and Ms. Granger were definitely different than the normal witch and wizard. They counted as friend and allies not only recognized witches and wizards, but others such as werewolves, goblins, muggles, and house elves. Ragnok was certain that if it was possible, he would take the crest of house elves as allies.

Ragnok appeared pensive for a moment. He then asked, "May I add crest to your robes?" All around the room, everyone nodded. Hermione's parents now had the Gringott's crest on the shoulder next to the Potter and Black Crest and their own crest with the Lupin one on the right arm; Winky and Dobby now also had Gringott's crests on the shoulder in addition to their family crest on their chest. Tonks now had the Gringott's crest along with the Lupin and Granger crests on her right arm, with the Ministry's crest on her shoulder and the Black crest on her chest. Hermione, Sirius and Remus now were included in those that had Gringott's crest on their left arms. It would last only as long as the Blood Feud, but Ragnok would put it on all of their shoulders when the current conflict was done.

Ragnok's own tunic now carried, in addition to the Gringott's and Potter crests, the Granger crest on his right arm and the Lupin, Black, Longbottom and Moody crests on his left arm. These were not for all goblins, just he himself.

Harry's robes now had the Potter crest dead center trimmed in gold, the Potter and Black crests above his heart trimmed in silver, the Granger crest on his right arm, and the Gringott's, Lupin, Moody and Longbottom crests on his left arm. "Alastor Moody and House Longbottom have contacted us to ally themselves with you in Blood Feud," was Ragnok's explanation.

After this whole informal ceremony everyone sat down. Dobby and Winky had stood in the back until Harry had asked that they too take a seat.

Harry began, "Remus Lupin had brought forth a name of a follower of Lord Voldemort and I would like to present it to you, in hopes that this particular creature can be destroyed."

Ragnok looked at Lupin and asked, "What is the name?"

"Fenrir Grayback."

Ragnok thought about it for a moment. Unlike the current names Gringott's was working on, this one would not be destroyed by financial means. This one would require blood be spilled. As a werewolf, Gringott's would not just destroy him themselves as they did not want to give the idea that they were against all weres, but it could be done.

"We agree that this creature must be destroyed, but this needs be done the right way. We can locate and capture him, but the killing blow must be given by a fellow were. We must not be seen as opposed to werewolves in general. So, Gringott's proposes that goblins will find and capture this creature and separate him from the pack. He may be damaged in the encounter, in fact I guarantee it, but when captured, we will contact you and you must come and finish him in single combat. We will provide the arena and sufficient witnesses to ensure that it is known that this is a death dance between weres. Is that acceptable?"

All around the group, faces were filled with worry. All save one. Remus's face was filled with grim satisfaction. He saw the looks. Before answering Ragnok, he turned and said, "This must be done. There is no other way. If you want to create the future you have envisioned, by the laws of the pack, this must be done. I will promise you, with Ragnok's help as stated, I will survive." He then turned to Ragnok. "This is acceptable."

Both looked to Harry. Harry knew that this time he had no choice. He nodded to them both. It would be much more difficult to contemplate the conflict with equanimity after this.

"Very well, Lord Potter. Is there anything else that you wish to speak of?"

"The next subject must be spoken of in private. May we use your office?" Ragnok, followed by his Captain, Harry and Hermione stood and moved off to his private study. Ragnok entered with the pair, and the Captain closed the door and stood in front of it.

Harry and Hermione sat down opposite Ragnok and Harry began. "As I informed you, I have told my soulmate of the vile devices we have discussed. As I also offered oath on, I have not informed her of any information on the creation of the devices, but only their existence and destruction. Hermione?"

"I offer Oath that I will not discuss the vile devices to any outside of my soulmate Harry James Potter, the Chief of the Goblin Nation and any others that the Chief of the Goblin Nation may designate as appropriate."

Ragnok sat back. He decided that this witch would also not be required to give Oath. As a goblin, her honor alone was sufficient. That information would have to be distributed. "Your intention is sufficient. Now, Lord Potter, what do you wish to discuss?"

"My yeoman Dobby has informed me that all of the devices not destroyed have been collected. Is that correct?"

"That is correct. They will be cleansed and be ready to be distributed as agreed within one week. Is that acceptable?"

"That is acceptable. I ask a boon."

"Name it."

"I would have you hold the items until the Blood Feud is concluded. Only then would I ask they be distributed as agreed."

"That is acceptable to the Goblin Nation. May I ask why?"

"I do not wish Riddle or Dumbledore to be aware that they have been cleansed until it is too late for any to use this fact to avoid the end of the conflict. I have a personal reason as well. I would not have it be said that the Goblin Nation, my allies in Blood Feud, be thought to have been forced to hand up the items. I would have the magical world know that that the Goblin Nation hands these up for Honor alone."

Ragnok was visibly moved as he stood and bowed to them both. "The Goblin Nation grants the boon and accepts the boon that you offer."

When he sat back down, he noticed Hermione become distracted. He asked her about it. "I apologize. I saw the tomes that you have here and considered the knowledge they may contain. I am a seeker of knowledge and such things can distract me. No insult was intended," Hermione said as she blushed.

Ragnok laughed. "No insult was perceived. In recognition of the boon your life-mate grants us, I offer, when the deed is done, opportunity for you and you alone to peruse the tomes of knowledge in my private office. Do you accept?"

Hermione and Harry both stood and bowed to Ragnok. "I thank you for the honor and the boon you offer. I offer oath that I will not pass on the information other than to my soulmate and those that you designate as acceptable."

"Your stated intention is sufficient."

Harry added, "I also thank you for the Honor given to my soulmate. I also offer oath that I will not pass on the information other than to whom you might designate."

"Your stated intention is sufficient."

Harry said, "The private matters have been concluded on our parts. Is there anything you wish to discuss privately?"

Ragnok answered in the negative and led them back out to the main office.

"Are there any other items at this time?"

"No. I have concluded the subjects I asked to consult you about."

"Very well. I have one item that I would like to conclude."

"Say on."

"We have drafted the agreement for your life-mate's future education and support during such. The agreement includes her intention to work towards the goal the we talked of when the offer was made. We would like to sign the contract now."

Hermione looked excited and Harry, as well as the others, smiled at her. Hermione said, "I am ready to sign on my part."

Ragnok nodded to the Captain. The captain moved to the sideboard and brought back the contract that had been discussed. Ragnok took a blood quill and signed the form, the blood momentarily appearing on the back of his hand. Hermione took the contract and, rather than the regular quill available, took the blood quill and signed her name. When she was done with that, she had a few more questions about something Harry mentioned about his previous lives.

The Captain took the blood quill and signed his name as well. Ragnok then looked at the Grangers. "As her guardians, you must sign, but I offer the use of a regular quill though as non-magical you cannot give magical oath. The magic of the blood quill would take an hour to heal the resulting would rather than the few seconds that it requires for those magical. Lord Potter's signature as her life mate is sufficient for the magical witnessing of the contract."

Robert and Emma moved to the desk. They looked at one another and Emma took the blood quill and signed her name. Robert followed. The people in the room were shocked, the goblins most of all, though Harry was the least shocked. He understood.

He took the blood quill and also signed as witness. As he finished, a the parchment briefly glowed.

Ragnok took the contract as he said a word to his Captain. As Ragnok performed a magical copying charm, the Captain went to the side and brought back a small box. Ragnok looked at the Grangers and said, "You honor us by your insistence in following our blood magic, regardless of your own suffering. I offer a boon. Gringott's will provide you with a vault at no charge. Monies put into it will be able to be accessed in any currency you might need, including Galleons. Any monies deposited will earn the same or a significantly better rate of interest to the muggle world, and taxes due would be at the magical rate to the Ministry of Magic as required by law, which is lower than muggle rate. Deposits, withdrawals, contracts, and records in the muggle world may be completed or accessed at the Bank of England, which is our connection to the banking system of the muggle world. All banking fees of any type will be waived for the span of your natural lives. Do you accept?"

Emma and Robert were floored. Apparently respect and following custom meant much to the goblins. "We accept."

Ragnok took two medallions out of the box and handed them to the Grangers. "Apply the blood already upon your hands to the medallions." They did so. The cuts were not bleeding much, but there was blood on the surface of their hands. Ragnok waved his hand and two keys and bankcards appeared, one of each for both of them. "These medallions may be used for replacement keys should you lose yours or they be stolen. The cards are magical and will transform, even for muggles, into any card type you might need and, if lost may be called back by applying a small amount of blood to your medallions. The medallions will only work for you. Should the medallions themselves be lost or stolen, you have only to come here and blood may be used to replace those."

The Grangers thanked Ragnok for the honor as they stood and bowed. Ragnok, as well as the Captain of his Guard, bowed in return.

"That is all the business required today."

Harry stood and saluted Ragnok as the others followed with salutes or bows of their own. "May your profits fill your vaults and may our enemies be crushed." Ragnok saluted and replied in a similar fashion. One of the goblin Guards led them back to the portkey point to return to the villa reusing the portkey they traveled to Gringott's with.

When everyone arrived back in the Villa, the group for the most part was stunned.

Remus had been offered a chance to see his life vow fulfilled with the help of the goblins.

Sirius was happy for his brother Moony and impressed by the Grangers and the goblins response to them.

Tonks had been shocked by everything. Nothing she had ever seen had prepared her for what she had witnessed.

The Grangers had seen their child's future assured and for one demonstration of their willingness to suffer for her sake, they had in effect been put in a position where they never had to worry about their finances; their finances would be protected by the best safeguards in the world, magical or mundane and they could operate in either world now added expense when shopping for themselves, their daughter and any future grandchildren, magical or not.

Hermione had her future ensured and also been offered opportunity to study rare books that no other witch or wizard might have access to.

Harry was actually the least surprised. Things worked out, but the future was a brighter place.

The only shadow was the worry about Moony, but the goblins had pretty much said Grayback would be delivered on a silver platter, no matter how painful it was to him. So he wasn't too worried.

Remus finally looked at Harry and asked, "Is it always so intense when you are involved?"

"Well," Harry replied cheekily, "if it's not life and death or changing the world, what's the point?" Everyone chuckled at this..

Finally Robert said, "Harry, I have a question. What was all that about 'intended' and 'life-mate'? Is there something you haven't mentioned?" And he fixed Harry with a look as Harry became more and more nervous. Harry was now terrified, until Robert and Emma broke down laughing.

The boy apparently would be ending up as his son-in-law. He might as well have his fun with him while he could get away with it.

Everyone else laughed at Harry's expression. Harry soon started laughing himself.

It had been a full day, and the laughter had been an ice-breaker and a relief.

Chapter Text

A reviewer made a comment pointing out how the whole way Gringott's dealt with the Grangers and their finances was unrealistic. Ehhhh. I can come up with a realistic rationale.

How could an institution that is basically a collection of large safety deposit boxes and such things offer interest? And how could a debit card (an idea from fan-fiction) work between the magical and muggle world?

My idea as to the explanation started with: Where does all the muggle money go? They have to be able to convert muggle money to Galleons and back because muggle-borns buy things in the wizarding world.

How would they convert it to "real wealth"? Gold and other things that are tangible would be the yardstick that goblins could measure as profit. Well, they would have to be able to deposit it in a muggle bank. As wizards purchase things in the muggle world – food might be a large import to the wizarding world for example – the goblins set it up that they make a profit from the deducted galleons as well as transfer fees. After all, they charge the wizards Galleons while they spend muggle currency. And the muggle currency, deposited in muggle banks, makes interest. And don't let me forget, different muggle currencies have different values against each other. I'm sure goblins would figure out how to make a profit on that. They really are a profit-driven species.

What the Grangers got was not a usual thing. It really means that the goblins are causing their money to be backed as Galleons and, through a muggle institution, are earmarking a small amount of the interest and profit they make in how it all interacts for the Grangers as a special case. Notice that it was such a big honor and all? Goblins don't like letting profit go, but apparently will for honor. And if Harry hadn't been involved, it probably wouldn't have happened, would it?

The whole lower tax thing is a result of taxes having to be paid to support governments. The magical world would pay less taxes than the muggle world. Especially because the goblins might have gotten a treaty in the past which reduced their tax rate for themselves and those that they consider as being part of their operation – the whole by law of the Ministry of Magic implies that at least one treaty is with them. The Grangers just became, for all intents and purposes, part of the goblins' financial empire.

And the goblins aren't paying the interest really. The muggle institutions are. How do all the records of the transactions tie together? Magic, man. Magic.

Chapter Text

A muggle barrister walked in to the shabby office used by his next target. He took out some papers from his briefcase and presented them to the man at the desk. "This is a court injunction against claiming ownership of the intellectual property of on JK Rowling and Warner Brothers Studios." Dunuelos replied, "But I never said I owned it! You ever hear of Fair Use and artistic license?" The barrister shook his head at the very worried man and walked out the door. Dunuelos sat at his desk and stared at the injunction. "Damn. Now I'm going to be so worried I'm going to develop writer's block!" He moaned at the casual indifference of the establishment. "Fan fiction writers: You can't stop them but you can have fun making their eyes bulge out," was the barrister's thought as laughed his way down the road in his shiny new car.

The next day, Harry and his growing entourage visited the local wizarding shopping district. As it was a Sunday, it was uncommonly quiet and that suited them right down to the ground.

Hermione and Remus were interested in the bookstore, while Sirius and Harry were drawn to the local quidditch supply shop. There were a few Nimbus and Firebolt brooms as they were international standards, but there were no Cleansweeps. However, what really interested them were the Italian brooms that were available. Robert was just as fascinated and wanted to see a quidditch game.

Tonks was interested in the store that carried wand holsters and other accessories for Aurors and others. Emma was interested in the apothecary and potions and the different herbs and ingredients witches and wizards used for potion ingredients that were used in healing. It was all very fascinating for her. She was surprised to find out that there was very little about dental health in the wizarding world. While it was true that wizards and witches had fewer issues in that area, it wasn't as though they never needed to take care of it. The truth was dental specialty became more common in the mid-nineteenth century and the wizarding world hadn't reached that point yet.

A visit to the local Gringott's branch and transfer point gave Hermione more fodder for her plans for the future. She found that in other countries, Gringott's had locations in every wizarding district to be portkeyed or to floo to the Main Branch in Rome. In Britain, however, treaties forbade Gringott's from the practice as goblins could not control their own floos there and goblin portkeys could not be regulated. Hermione could see that Britain, controlled by the British purebloods, was very repressive to other magical creatures. However, they moved past that, with Hermione noting it as cause for a future campaign.

To really round out the day because Harry figured it would be fun, Harry had gotten tickets for the late afternoon and evening to see a quidditch game in Italy- the Milano Maulers and the Toscana Thrashers. Robert had been enthralled.

Harry had insisted on Remus joining them for the last week, until they returned to London on the next Sunday. Sirius had been overjoyed by spending time with one of his oldest friends.

On Wednesday, when Emma, backed up by Tonks and Hermione, had outvoted Robert as to a day on the beach versus more sight-seeing, Harry had enthusiastically backed the women. Emma had convinced Robert that it would be worth his while but not to interfere. Robert pouted a bit, knowing his wife.

Harry, who remembered Tonks and Lupin in the last life, was determined to work to get them back together. He knew how much Tonks loved Remus in the previous life and he was damned if he didn't get his godson back. So, Harry figured, throw Nymphadora in a bikini on a beach with Moony and at least he would start getting it in his head. However, he knew that he would have to get Sirius's help to work on Lupin's "picked upon Dark Creature" mentality. He had plans for that which would come to fruition around his birthday. Lupin would never even think of abandoning Teddy if Harry had a choice in the matter.

Little did Harry realize that Emma and Tonks schemed with Hermione enthusiastic but embarrassed backing.

Emma had drawn Hermione to the side and talked to her about the alternate beach customs. Hermione had blushed, but appreciated her mother helping her with her plans to break Harry of some of his residual shyness and blasted nobility that she found so inconvenient. Her mother had promised to control her father.

Hermione and Harry had explored only lightly and Hermione found that she was getting more and more hormonal as the days passed. Apparently, Harry had a will of iron when it came to his concept of what was "proper and respectful". She had talked to her mother in private as this was something that she, in her previous bookish ways, had never made plans for. She couldn't really seduce him - they weren't really old enough for that, not really. But she decided that the level of intimacy needed to be raised a bit as their next step. Harry, though apparently mentally closer to 18 than 15, was far too reserved for her growing interest.

They arrived at the beach at around 11:00 in the morning and the women sent the men down the beach to get refreshments from the local vender while they set up.

When they returned to the location, the men were stunned by what they encountered. Emma, who was an attractive 37-year-old woman with long thick hair, was on sitting on a beach recliner wearing dark blue bikini bottoms, sunglasses and that was about it. Tonks herself was wearing sporting pink hair, pink bikini bottoms and sunglasses in a recliner as well. Hermione, with her long bushy hair, was wearing light blue bikini bottoms and sunglasses and sitting in her own recliner. The women were applying suntan oil while chatting away as though this was the most natural thing in the world.

Harry only had eyes for Hermione. She was, in his mind absolutely stunning. He almost didn't notice the other two. Then he remembered Hermione's father was standing next to him and he gulped nervously.

Moony was a bit stunned. He had spent the last three days getting used to the group dynamic and he had been teased by Nymphadora, whom he found and attractive young woman, if a little young for him. But, he was male and he was breathing, so he was quite taken by the sight.

Sirius was both astounded and amused. As far as he was concerned, Emma was married, Hermione was a teenager, and Tonks was related. Still, as far as he was concerned, it was an interesting sight. He almost laughed out loud at the expressions from the other males. He'd have to go and find a woman to chat up that night again.

Robert was torn between admiring his wife and wanting to drag Harry off to threaten him within an inch of his life. His wife, he decided, was very much for pushing their daughter and her boyfriend right where they were headed if things continued.

As the men (on the surface) got over their surprise, they continued moving toward the women. Tonks said something and Emma turned and said, "Ah there you are! Time to relax! Robert, want to do my back?" She smirked a bit as his attention seemed to become fixed.

Hermione was forcing herself to be nonchalant. She and Tonks had helped each other with the suntan oil. She wasn't QUITE ready to rub her change in costume in her father's face. But from what she could see, Harry was very appreciative.

Tonks was just amused. This was the most fun she had had on an assignment since she started Auror training. As a metamorphmagus and an Auror working in a male dominated environment, she had long ago lost self-consciousness about the human body. Still, causing reactions in the male half was always fun. She was so looking forward to teasing Harry and Remus until they got back to England.

In the end, it had been a fun day. Harry had finally settled down, and Hermione had gone swimming with him and used to opportunity to display her growing assets to Harry. Harry had blushed but had finally overcome his reticence and, with Hermione's guidance, had his first feel of a female's upper anatomy without clothes getting in the way. They didn't do too much as this was in public and Robert had tried to keep a close eye on them.

Emma considered the day a success. After (mostly) calming her husband down, she had amusedly witnessed the dance of teenage romance.

Sirius, Tonks and Remus had also enjoyed themselves. Sirius, old dog that he was, had taken every opportunity to ogle the assets of every woman on the beach, Remus and Tonks had pretty much kept to each other. Remus was bright red most of the time, but as he had practice calming himself, he wasn't totally flustered.

That night, Hermione finally got Harry to put his hand UNDER her top as opposed to over it. She was very happy.

Finally, Sunday morning rolled around and everyone in the Villa had packed for their return to Jolly Old England. Winky and Dobby had popped all but a small amount of luggage back to the Granger's home. Souvenirs, robes and books that Hermione still collected at every opportunity were included.

The next day would see Harry getting back to work on destroying Voldemort. From the goblins, through Dobby, Harry knew that several death eaters had made a nuisance of themselves with the goblins and as a result, several death eaters were now residing courtesy of the DMLE sans a large portion of the family wealth which had been re-appropriated.

Lucius Malfoy had found himself in Azkaban after a failed attempt to move the Malfoy vault contents to Argentina. The goblins had left a portion for Draco Malfoy to reclaim, but the name of Malfoy had all but lost all of its influence. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy was all Harry could say.

Amelia, Harry had found, had spent the time cleaning up the Ministry. There was still a large pureblood faction but their powerbase was dwindling. Corruption had spread widely, and several Ministry workers had been sacked and replaced. There were a few Wizengamot members not affiliated with Voldemort that had been arrested when records turned over had included the random crimes. She had messaged a request to Sirius to take a Wizengamot seat.

Dumbledore had made enquiries at Gringott's as to Harry's location. After the wards had been set up at the Grangers, Harry had had the goblins remove him, with the Grangers approval, from the access list for the property. Dumbledore had finally cottoned to this when he had tried to visit Harry in the second week of the vacation.

The goblins had a lead on Voldemort's location, and they would contact him through Dobby as soon as they located him. There was no indication he was informed at all about what had been happening in the magical world. The goblins had some indications that he had inspected two of the horcrux locations, but that was about it.

Augusta Longbottom had used her influence in the Wizengamot to help Amelia quash the corruption. Even though she was not herself involved, she was sharp as a potions knife and had been invaluable in digging up death eater activity it the Wizengamot. Harry would meet with her when they traveled to the Longbottom Manor for Neville's and Harry's birthday.

All in all, everything looked promising.

But then again, Harry did now know the storm brewing that he was about to fly in the face of. The storm had a name. And its name was "Weasley".

Chapter Text

The rigors of travel had left Harry and the others quite knackered. Harry had fallen asleep with Hermione in the last set of seats in the car. Sirius and Tonks were chatting quietly while in the front seat Robert dozed and Emma drove them from the airport to the Granger home. Winky and Dobby had collected their belongings, so there was no carrying and packing of the car to do. Remus would join them at the Grangers as he was coming back to England via international portkey, the same way he left. No one wanted to raise a red flag.

When they arrived home, Harry awoke to find Emma with a smile tapping on the window next to his seat. He looked down and saw that Hermione had fallen asleep leaning against him while his arms were around her sleeping form, as he leaned against the wall next to the seat. Harry had to admit, sleeping with Hermione in his arms had been quite relaxing.

He woke Hermione who blearily opened her eyes and looked around. She sat up, smiled at Harry and gave him a peck on the lips before she climbed out of the open side door. Harry followed her into the house.

When he got inside, he saw that the house fairly gleamed. Unlike a house left unattended for two weeks, there was no dust and it looked like extra care had been taken to make the place look top shape. Harry walked into the dining room and saw that Winky had provided a light meal. The Grangers and Tonks sat down to refresh themselves. They heard a crack as Sirius appeared in the back yard holding Crookshanks.

He walked in the back door and said, Crookshanks leaped out of Sirius's arms and jumped onto Hermione's lap, nuzzling against her. Hermione squealed and spent a few minutes petting and lavishing attention on the familiar she hadn't seen in two weeks.

As Sirius sat down he said, "Hedwig apparently is on her way under her own power. Little Ms. Lovegood is happy to hear that you are back in country and looks forward to hearing from you about your vacation." He smirked and added, "Don't forget to tell her about the beaches." There were laughs all around as Hermione and Harry blushed even as they smiled.

Emma called out to Winky and Dobby. The two elves popped in and stood in front of her. "Yes, Missus Grangey?" Dobby asked.

"I wanted to thank you two for both your excellent care during our vacation and for the help on our return. We've come home to such a welcome." Dobby had tears in his eyes as he bowed and Winky smiled shyly at her as she curtseyed. Emma continued. "I know that you are really here to help Harry and Hermione. Although we appreciate all that you do, I will also help with meals and such. Is that a problem with you?"

Winky shook her head. "Miss explained. Winky is Miss's house elf and Dobby is Mister Harry Sir's house elf and Mister and Missus Grangey and Miss and Mister Harry Sir won't feel happy if Winky and Dobby does all the work and there be none left for the family. Winky will ask tomorrow what she will do to help the family and Dobby will help Mr. Harry Sir with the nasty snake-man."

"Very good, you're good elves! Now, where are you staying?"

Dobby answered. "Winky and Dobby has a place in the attic away from all of the muggle machinery that may be affected by our magic."

"Are you happy there, or do you need more room? Is there anything that you don't have that you need?"

Winky once again shook her head. "Oh, no, Missus Grangey! Winky" "and Dobby!" "is very happy!" She looked downcast for a moment. "Winky almost punishes herself when Winky thinks that her new family is better than her old family. Then Winky remembers Miss saying to never punish herself."

Hermione got down and hugged Winky. "Well, I am very happy to know that you are so happy with us." Winky clung to Hermione for a moment with tears in her large and luminous eyes. As Dobby threw himself around Harry's leg and Harry patted him on the shoulder.

"Winky thanks Miss again for giving her a family." "Dobby thanks Mr. Harry Sir as well."

Harry said, "Alright, guys. You should take the night off and do what you like." Hermione nodded to Winky to show she agreed with Harry. "We'll take care of things and will see you two tomorrow. Okay?" Dobby and Winky nodded at them and then popped off.

When Hedwig arrived later that night, Harry spent a while becoming reacquainted with his friend.

Wizards, Winky decided, really didn't understand the house-elf's need for work and to feel useful. It would take Winky a long time to convince Miss as to why totally freeing house elves was a bad idea. Until then, Winky and Dobby would spend their "free time" doing other things that would help without mentioning it.

Winky had overheard a conversation between Mister and Missus Grangey for plans to expand the cellar. They had various wines and decided to partition off a section to make an ideal wine cellar. She wanted to surprise her family, so she spent her "free time" on it. She would use her "allowance" to get wizard and elf-made wines from different places around the world. Winky, when she got the elf-made wine, would talk to other elves. She told about how her Mistress wanted to learn about house elves and their ways. She would tell about her new Mistress and how she was given an allowance which she could use any way she wanted. She would tell of how she could buy something for her family all by herself and didn't have to ask for gold but was given it regularly. Winky so loved her family and elves could see that.

Elves had never thought about being given gold to do anything they wanted with.

Dobby had promised to help Mr. Harry Sir with his Feud against the nasty snake-man. When Dobby had heard about the goblins looking for the bad wolf-man who had hurt his friend Mr. Moony, he decided he would spend his "free time" helping the goblins find him. Dobby knew that you had to be careful with goblins. One did not do something that a goblin wanted to do. So Dobby had asked permission from the Goblin Chief if he could talk to other house elves to find information on where the bad wolf-man might be as well as the nasty snake-man. The Goblin Chief had given permission to find information and to give it to the goblins. So Dobby spent his time popping around to different house elves around Britain and the continent talking to house elves asking about the nasty wolf-man and snake-man.

Of course, house elves were curious as to why Dobby was looking for the nasty wolf-man and snake-man and not taking care of his master. Dobby explained about Mr. Harry Potter Sir who had freed him from bad masters and later taken him as his elf. He explained about his Grangey and how she wanted to help house elves. He explained about the goblins and how they were helping his master Mr. Harry Potter Sir against the nasty snake-man. All house elves had heard of the nasty snake-man. So Dobby was helping Mr. Harry Potter Sir to find the nasty snake-man and his bad wolf-man servant.

Dobby, by helping his Master with more than just cooking and cleaning and working in the house, showed other house elves that his Master considered him more than just a slave to be ordered about. There were witches and wizards who looked at house elves as more than simple helpers and never as vermin.

This was a new thought to most house elves.

The next morning, everyone gathered at the breakfast table. Winky was told that she could cook breakfast everyday and she happily made fried aubergine slices with eggs and sausage and toast.

Talk around the table was the plans for the next week.

Sirius would be finding out what was happening with the Black properties and which was best to make permanent residence at. At the right property with the right wards, Harry and Hermione could train.

Harry and Hermione would work on studying Defense to prepare for Voldemort with Tonk's and Remus's help. They had plans to include Luna, Neville and the twins in the training and they would need to arrange it after the joint birthday party the next Sunday. They were hesitant about getting the younger Weasleys involved but they would play it by ear.

Emma and Robert would spend the week taking care of their practice. Although they had made plans to spend as much time this summer with Hermione, they were business owners and the business could not run itself.

There was talk about the Grangers joining Sirius and Harry at whatever property they moved to for the whole of August. Since Harry, Sirius and Tonks stayed with them, Sirius had thought it only fair. The Grangers were intrigued as it would give them opportunity to see their daughter do the magic they had heard about.

Remus would report in to Dumbledore on the werewolves. Harry, Sirius and Hermione were sure that Dumbledore would then direct Remus to contact Sirius, and ask him to report back. Remus had no intention of giving him too much information. Tonks, after Sirius or Remus returned, would report in to Amelia. She had permission to tell Amelia and Amelia alone the details she was aware of regarding Harry and his plans. Harry considered Amelia a staunch ally, even if she couldn't ally herself with House Potter as this would be improper for a sitting Minister of Magic.

Harry would contact the goblins about obtaining the basilisk carcass from the Chamber of Secrets as he had right to it by having killed it. He would then contact Professor McGonagall to try to arrange it without Dumbledore catching wind before the will readings next Monday. Harry had decided to have the wills read on his birthday as he would have already celebrated it. It seemed significant to him.

He had debated with himself how to distribute the proceeds. He was planning on gifting the goblins with portions of the meat. The hide he wanted to find out if it could be used like dragon-hide. The internal organs, blood, fangs, and venom he would see mostly sold. The debate with himself was what to do with the money.

As far as he was concerned, the money wasn't really his, even if he had a right to it. His thoughts included the victims of the basilisk and their families. Maybe if Harry arranged it right, the Weasleys would get a portion and not being poor Mrs. Weasley could be convinced that they didn't really need to attach themselves to his fame. He wasn't certain about it, but he would try.

He also planned on asking the goblins to locate any family Moaning Myrtle had left, and making sure they were given a more significant portion. He liked Moaning Myrtle, even if she was a little creepy. Maybe, if there was family left even fifty years too late, they would appreciate knowing what killed their family member had been destroyed. He knew he would want to know if it was his family.

He also had plans to bribe Professor Snape. No matter how miserable a bastard he was, Harry knew he was a natural at potion development. Besides, Harry thought with a laugh, Snape would be disgusted at having to work with a Marauder and annoying Snape was always fun.

Harry and Hermione spent the rest of the morning studying Defense in Hermione's library. Hermione had also talked about starting to revise ahead for the OWLs that were coming at the end of the following year.

"Harry, we should really get Neville and Ron if he isn't difficult in on starting to prepare."

Harry laughed. "Neville I can imagine. Ron? Can you imagine him starting to prepare for a test more than the night before, and if it's an important test, a week before?"

Hermione smiled ruefully. "That's true. But even if he can be an idiot and a prat, I don't really want to leave him totally behind." She looked around to make sure that Tonks and Winky were out of earshot. "I know what you told me about what happened last time. I think if we can make him successful, the jealousy and him getting defensive won't be so bad."

Harry thought about it. "I don't know. He seems a "speak first and think later" type. I don't think we can completely avoid the blowup."

"Probably not. I know that you've already made things so much better for so many people; I just don't want to leave out the people who otherwise would have it worse. You said that you started a group in fifth year which practiced defense. I'd like to try to do it again, just without a threat of Voldemort over everyone's head. We've done it for Neville and Luna, apparently. I'd like to do it for the rest, including Ron."

Harry held his breath for a moment and then violently expelled it. "Ok. You have a point. I wouldn't want it to be said that I ruined someone's life. But Ron will have to work for it. You've spent four years and I spent a fair amount of time as well going out of our way to help him along and give him a leg up. Sitting back and letting Ron have what he wanted and trying to make him happy at my own expense so I wouldn't lose him as a friend almost cost me far too much. It almost cost me you. And some prices are just far too high."

Hermione threw her arms around kissed him senseless.

Early that evening after everyone had come home and Harry and Hermione had moved back to the library room to finish up some material, the Weasleys' owl Errol came through the window and tiredly landed on the table in front of them. Attached were two letters and a package.

The letters, from Ginny and Ron, basically asked how Harry's summer was. Ron mentioned practicing for quidditch and how bored he was. Ginny's letter included that her mother had helped her make treacle tart, some of which was included. Harry looked at the package and hit head against the table.

Hermione knew what vexed Harry. He had mentioned the love potions from the previous time line, and Hermione herself was getting quite annoyed. She looked at Harry and asked, "So. What do you want to do?"

Harry collected himself and thought about it. He groaned as he said, "I don't know. I don't KNOW that there are love potions in it, but then again, we know that Mrs. Weasley would help Ginny to get whatever she wants. I don't want to take the chance, but I don't want to hurt the rest of the Weasleys."

Hermione shook her head. "Harry, if you don't do something now, do you really want to see it escalate until you have no choice but the have someone arrested and sent to Azkaban?" Harry sighed and shook his head. "Personally, I'm not feeling too charitable toward a particular group of red-heads, but even I don't want to see the family destroyed. I think we should get some advice from Sirius."

Harry brightened. "That's a good idea! I forgot I have a guardian I can ask about things that's on my side now." Harry stood and raced out. He returned 5 minutes later with Sirius in tow. Harry and Hermione moved to the couch and Sirius sat in one of the chairs.

"Ok, so NOW can you tell me what this is about?"

Harry looked at Sirius. "Sirius, I need some advice. I don't want you to fly off the handle and start making plans until we talk about it. No bringing anyone else in, no planning pranks, no getting people riled up. Can you do that?"

Sirius, seeing how concerned Harry was, agreed.

"I think that that package over there," and he nodded toward the table, "contains a desert laced with a love potion."

Sirius, who had grown up in Hogwarts and wasn't an naïve idealist, looked at him and asked, "Who is it from?"

"Ginny Weasley."

"Isn't she 14 years old?"

"Try 13. She turns 14 in August."

"Are you sure it has a love potion?"

"Not really, but I remember Molly telling a story about how she used a love potion when she was young, making light of it. Ginny has been obsessed with the Boy-Who-Lived since she was a little girl."

"That seems weird."

"Tell me about it. If it DOES have a potion in it, I would bet you my trust vault that it was Molly's idea."

Sirius sat back and thought about it. "Well, technically it's illegal. It's one of those things that is frowned upon but tacitly accepted. You could do a few things. You could do nothing, but there is nothing that guarantees that it won't get worse. You could turn the whole thing over to the DMLE. That might handle the problem completely but the Weasley name would be dragged in the mud and I don't think the distraction is good. You could also advise Arthur. As the Head of House Weasley, it's him who could get in trouble if it came out, especially as the girl is a minor and it's his wife who is instigating it."

Hermione and Harry looked at each other. "I guess we'll have to talk to Arthur quietly. I don't want to, but it's the best option."

Sirius thought about it for a moment. Then he got a full-on grin. "I have an idea. What do you think about this? How about if ..."

Sirius apparated outside the wards at the Burrow and made his way to the back door. He knocked and shortly Ron came to the door and opened it. "Sirius? Why are you here? Is something wrong? How is Harry?"

Sirius put up his hands and smiled as he said, "Everything is fine. Harry has been quite busy with all of the fuss about Voldemort and all. But he's safe. As a matter of fact, I came to talk to your parents about why Harry hasn't had opportunity to visit. I also need to talk to your Dad about some Ministry business."

Ron shrugged as he opened the door wider to allow Sirius to come in as he yelled out, "Mum! Dad! Sirius is here to talk to you!"

Arthur came in to the room and smiled as he held his hand out, "Sirius! Welcome to my home. How are you and Harry doing?"

Sirius smiled widely at Arthur and shook his hand as he said, "Thank you. Both I and Harry are doing very well. However, I came to talk to you and your wife about the invitations from you family members for Harry to visit. Also, I have to talk to you privately about some Ministry business."

Just then, Molly walked in. "Sirius Black as I live and breathe. How are you?"

"I'm find Mrs. Weasley. How are you this evening?"

"Please, it's Molly, and I'm just fine. I've been waiting to hear from Harry about our invitation to visit."

"That's why I'm here. I want to talk to the whole family, after I speak privately to Arthur about some Ministry business. Is that okay?"

"Certainly. You two can talk outside while I gather the family into the kitchen." She then moved off as Arthur led Sirius outside.

Sirius was about to talk to Arthur outside when he saw two thin flesh-colored strips hanging out an upstairs window. His eyes widened as he put his fingers to his lips to silence Arthur. He walked over to the strips and said between them, "HELLO BOYS! HOW'S PRANKS?"

Two yelps were heard from upstairs as Sirius and Arthur laughed their heads off. Arthur had seen the extendable ears and had kept the information from Molly. He thought it was brilliant but didn't think his wife would appreciate them. He always kept an eye out at home when the boys were around.

As the two calmed down, Sirius pulled out his wand and cast the Muffliato charm. "Sorry, but this is something I needed to talk to you about and it's not really about the Ministry."

Arthur could see that Sirius's face lost all humor and this caused Arthur to stop and really pay attention. "What is this about?"

"Arthur, we have a problem that I want to handle privately. Earlier today, Harry received a letter and a gift from your daughter of treacle tart. He suspects, and I concurred when he explained, that there was a love potion involved."

Arthur's face became stony. "Has this been turned over to the DMLE?"

Sirius shook his head. "No. Harry didn't want to even have it tested personally because if it was confirmed, it would require Ministry involvement which Harry DOES NOT want. Harry has asked me to turn over the letter he received," Sirius took the letter and the shrunken package out of his pocket and handed the letter to Arthur," as well as the package," and here Sirius handed the shrunken package to Arthur which he took put in his pocket, "and ask you, as Head of House Weasley to handle it quietly. Harry loves your family and would not see your family destroyed in a scandal."

Arthur looked at Sirius. "Thank you. And thank Harry for me. This is serious business and I will see that it is handled so there will not be any further worry. I will call a family meeting and we will resolve it."

Sirius looked at Arthur. "Harry suspects that your wife, knowing Ginny's interest, wishes to help her daughter out. He also is worried that there might be some residual results from what happened with your daughter in her first year. You might want to get her checked. The Weasleys have always been honorable, and so Harry trusts you to use the information wisely and maintain that."

Arthur shook Sirius's hand. "You and Harry are true friends. Rest assured I will handle this. It might be better if you go while the fireworks go off."

Sirius said, "Actually, I have a suggestion. It will teach your daughter a valuable lesson, will not harm your family, and will set the stage for your meeting, if you are willing?" Sirius smiled with a particularly mischievous smile.

Arthur, who had been a prankster in his day and knew Sirius's reputation, smiled and asked, "So what do we do?"

Sirius explained. Arthur decided the fireworks might be worth it.

The whole family gathered in the kitchen.

Percy, who had moved out to his own place, was not there. He worked at the Ministry. Since the whole occurrence at the TriWizard Tournament, Percy had been taught that those in authority were not always right. He was on good terms with the family, even if he still annoyed his younger siblings. Charlie was still in Romania, although Bill had moved back to England to work at the local Gringott's branch. Speculation among the siblings is that it had something to do with the French TriWizard champion taking an internship at Gringott's.

Everyone sat down. Molly, Ron and Ginny did not catch the winks that Sirius had given the twins or that Arthur had given to Bill. The boys knew something was up, and they would wait for it to play out.

Arthur started, "Sirius here has come as regards the invitations Harry has received to visit the Burrow."

"Thanks Arthur. Well ladies and gents, Harry is missing your company, but with the whole Voldemort," here everyone shuddered except Arthur, Sirius and Bill, "situation, Harry has had to spend his time preparing and studying. Voldemort," shudders, "is after him and this is the most important thing right now. Also, he has had to stay in an undisclosed location until he's ready."

Molly interjected, "That's terrible. The whole business with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has had me very worried. Should Harry have really declared Blood Feud?"

Sirius explained, "Information that the goblins had apparently allowed them to declare for Harry if he declared it. Actually, most of the work is being done by the goblins at their own instigation. Harry is getting ready and the goblins are happily helping him. They view, for some reason, Voldemort," shudders, "as a bigger threat than the Ministry does."

Bill added, "That's true. The it's quite unprecedented at Gringott's. The goblins don't support wizards, ever. With the treaties and all, goblins work the bank and make profit and just want to be left out of wizard conflicts. Until Harry. Harry is working directly with the Director of Gringott's only and his name is gold. The goblins are happily helping to destroy the death eaters and will do anything to protect Harry. It's quite amazing."

Molly replied, "Well, that's all well and good. But a 15 year-old boy should not be involved in fighting. He should be going to school and letting the adults handle it."

Sirius almost groaned out loud. "I understand how you feel. Harry had no choice. It's either him or Voldemort in the end, and with the help of Gringott's, Harry has a good chance it will be him still standing."

Molly huffed. It was at this point that Sirius's plan began. "Ginny? Is that right?"

Ginny answered nervously, "Yes. I'm Ginny Weasley. Has Harry mentioned me?"

"Oh yes. He wanted me to thank you for those wonderful tarts you sent." Sirius took on a more interested expression. "I have to say when he gave me one I found it quite delicious." Molly and Ginny became nervous.

"Y-y-our tried them?"

"Oh yes. They were VERY good."

"Oh. Umm, my mother helped to make them."

"Oh that's nice. Harry mentioned how pretty you were, but I don't think his words did you justice." Here Sirius took on a small leer. Molly was VERY nervous and Ginny looked like she was about to start trembling. "Are you by any chance betrothed?"

Around the room the different expressions were a study in emotions. Bill was upset but he would hold his tongue until this played out. George and Fred had slightly mischievous expressions as they knew this was a prank. Ron started to become outraged. Ginny was about to bolt and Molly was sweating bullets. Arthur was calmly noting everyone's expressions.

"Well, Arthur, when she gets a bit older and if she is available, there will be considerable interest in betrothing her I'm sure."

Arthur calmly replied, "I will take that under advisement, Lord Black. I thank you for the compliment to my family." Molly's face took on a cherry color and Ron was about to jump out his chair to hex Sirius. "I thank you for your visit and please thank Harry for sending word. I'm sure my children look forward to seeing him in the next school year." At that he stood and shook Sirius's hand. They walked to the door and out, Sirius sending one more leer in Ginny's direction.

When they got out the door, Sirius cast a privacy charm and both started laughing, although Arthur was not laughing that hard. "Thank you Sirius. I think that will help get my point across."

"As I said, Harry doesn't want to hurt your family. From the stories he told me, I know Ginny owes him a life-debt, although I'm sure Harry would never take advantage of it. Ron probably does as well. And although Harry might not know the significance, we both do. So if you have to, you might want to use that information." They shook again and Sirius made his way outside of the wards as Arthur ordered his thoughts before he went back in.

The first words he said as he walked in the kitchen, fixing his wife and daughter with a stare, were, "And THAT, my dear wife and children, is why you NEVER want to be involved with love potions."

Outrage was heard around the room as the facts started coming out.

Chapter Text

Harry and Hermione were in the library room. Sirius had come back and told them about what had happened at the Weasleys and explained how Arthur was handling it. They roared with laughter at the prank that Sirius had pulled with Arthur's help.

Hermione was smirking that the girl she looked at as her rival had gotten her comeuppance. Harry was just relieved that it would be handled quietly. Sirius had moved back to the guest house with a promise to Hermione that he would only tell Moony and would make him promise not to tell anyone else. Sirius was back in the pranking game, thought, and he had to share with his fellow Marauder. It was Marauder's Honor!

Hermione had moved that they celebrate. She had attacked Harry and, if anyone was watching, they would have thought that Hermione was trying to eat him. Hermione had one arm around Harry's neck and her other hand was playing on his stomach, while Harry's hands were on her back moving her top further and further up. All in all, Hermione considered, a very satisfying snog.

"Hi Guys!"

Harry and Hermione froze and both groaned aloud. Harry looked over. "Larry. Bob."

Hermione looked over as she pulled away from Harry. "Is there something completely important or are you just having fun with us?" Hermione had started to lose her over-awe of authority, especially of a certain two who worked at Afterlife, Inc.

Larry: "Nope,"

Bob: "Besides, we DO have a line we won't cross. You weren't there yet."

Hermione: Yet being the operative word. "So this is just a review?"

Larry: "Yep."

Harry: "How am I doing?".

Larry: "Good. Good. Quite good. I have to admit, We enjoyed how you handled the current Weasley problem."

Bob: "Us and a few blokes from the office were watching when Sirius went. It was the biggest laugh we've had in a century."

Hermione: "Watch? How often do you watch us?"

Bob: "Not very often. Usually we just keep track in files. But on special occasions we have a monitor we can use."

Harry: "What was the special occasion?"

Larry: "We were totally bored, and so were some of our co-workers. We saw the note in the file and decided to have a watch. Better than a football game. A few beers, and some good laughs. It was a nice party."

Harry: Now I'm entertainment. "So, Lora is still happy?"

Larry: "She was at the party. Laughed as hard as anyone."

Harry: "Well, as long as she isn't upset with me."

Larry: "Nope."

Harry: "So, any more suggestions from Destiny Repair?"

Bob: "Working on it. A few of the blokes had a look through the file at the party. They had a few."

Harry: "A few?"

Bob: "Yeah. Most won't work. But it was a right laugh."

Hermione: "What was so funny?"

Bob: "Sam suggested adding a couple more girls for a Harem."

Hermione: "A HAREM?"

Bob: "Wouldn't work. Harry is too devoted to you. But it would have been fun otherwise."

Hermione kissed Harry

Larry: "Oh, and Zeke had the one about you going back and saving Quirrell before he got possessed."

Bob: "You're at your limit without special permission from the Board, though."

Harry: "Thank Merlin."

Bob: "He's on the Board."

Hermione: "So, is there anything we need to know?"

Larry: "Like how it's gong with Dobby and Winky. Keep it up."

Harry: "That's good. We love them."

Bob: "We know. You might expect a few more house elves."

Hermione: "MORE?"

Larry: "You still don't have all the information. It's ok. One of these days, talk to Winky and Dobby."

Hermione huffs: "Ok."

Larry: "Anything else Bob?"

Bob: "Nope. You got anything?"

Larry: "Nope. You guys have anything."

Harry: "Not right now."

Hermione: "No. Glad you stopped by. You can see yourselves out?"

Larry and Bob: "See you!" Poof!

Harry was no longer in the mood, and Hermione had settled down herself. They cleaned up the work they had been doing, including the lists of steps they were planning and kissed goodnight and went to their separate beds.

Hermione was really starting to dislike a certain two beings. Even if they had sent Harry back to her. Some things just went beyond the pale.

Chapter Text

Early the next morning, Hedwig flew in to Harry's room as he was preparing for the day; attached to her leg was a letter. Harry took the letter and thanked her with a head rub and an owl treat.

Harry finished pulling on his top, and then reached down and opened the parchment. He read it for a moment and then whooped as he tore down to the kitchen.

Hermione, as was her wont at home, was seated in her pajamas, along with her parents and Tonks. "Good morning, all. Where's Sirius and Moony?"

Tonks laughed. "Having a bit of a lie-in. When I got up to check the perimeter, they were still up talking about pranks and the Marauders."

Ahhh. That makes sense. Well, I need them - well Sirius anyway. Do you think he would appreciate a wake-up call?" Harry grinned. Around the table, everyone started chuckling.

"Well, I'm sure he would be right in if he knew you needed him," Tonks smirked. "What you have in mind?"

"Watch this. Dobby!" Dobby popped in front of Harry looking ready for his assignment. "Good morning, Dobby. How are you doing today?"

"Dobby is well. How can Dobby help Mr. Harry Sir?"

"Dobby, you're my friend right?" Dobby nodded his head vigorously. "How would you like to help me, as a personal favor, with a little fun with my godfather?" Dobby stood there, bouncing excitedly, ready for Harry to explain.

"Well, Sirius once told me of a wake-up he once gave my father. I'd like to remind him of it. Here's what I want you to do ..."

Sirius was in the middle of a nice dream. He was at Hogwarts with Harry and Moony, pulling a prank on Dumbledore's office. Funnily enough, there was a topless girl there that he had seen on a beach in Naples. All of a sudden, she reached out toward him and put her hand on him as they walked down the hallway after the setup. Brrrrr. Her hand was cold. And wet ...

"AAArgh!" Sirius yelled as he turned and sat up. He felt himself and found melting ice chips and water covering the back of his head. He looked wildly around and saw Dobby standing there.

"Mr. Harry Sir asks Dobby to tell his dogfather that Prongs Junior would like him to join breakfast at the main house." He then popped away.

"I'm going to get that boy when I get my hands on him."

After everyone had laughed at Sirius when he walked in the door, and Harry had apologized for the rude wake up call (if not very deeply) Harry brought up the reason for the meeting. "I got an answer back from Professor McGonagall. We need to go to Gringott's to make arrangements for Friday and next Monday as well, beyond the will reading."

"Alright, works for me. I'd like to check in with the goblins on the Black properties." Sirius, looked at Robert and Emma. "Have we decided that you would join us for August?"

Emma looked at Robert. They both nodded and agreed. Hermione smiled widely.

"Ok. Dobby!" Dobby popped in. "Please ask Ragnok if we may consult with him at approximately 9:30 this morning."

Dobby nodded and popped out. About five minutes later, he popped back in. "Goblin Chief Ragnok tells Dobby to inform Mr. Harry Potter Sir that 9:30 this morning will be acceptable. Mr. Harry Potter Sir and his guests may use the same place they entered by portkey as the apparition point."

"Do we want Remus to come today?" Sirius asked Harry.

"No. This is about the basilisk carcass. On Monday, though, I want him there." Harry turned to Dobby. "Thank you, Dobby for your help."

Dobby nodded. He then turned to Sirius and added, "Dobby has added additional towels for Mr. Harry Sir's dogfather for future wakeup calls." Dobby smiled mischievously and popped out. All around the table there was laughter at Sirius who was pouting.

At 9:20, the group apparated into Gringott's Bank, Sirius taking Harry side-along, and Hermione was taken by Tonks.

The group was bowed and saluted into Ragnok's office shortly thereafter.

"Lord Potter, how may Gringott's help you today?"

Harry replied, "I have received an answer back from Professor McGonagall at Hogwarts as to a convenient time to retrieve the carcass of Slytherin's beast. I would like to arrange a party to help retrieve it, and then I would need to make arrangements to distribute the proceeds."

"You do not wish us to add the proceeds to your trust vault?"

"I have special requests to make as regards the distribution."

"What do you have in mind?"

"I would like to accomplish various things with this. Until I know the value, I will not know exactly what I wish to do. However, I ask a boon."

"Name it."

"I wish to include several people in a meeting after my Parents' wills are read on Monday. They will all have some benefit from the basilisk. I wish to ask the Goblin Nation to assess the value when we collect it, and then buy all that I wish to sell at a reduced rate, either for you own use or for resale for a profit."

Ragnok thought about it. "I had the idea, when the carcass was discussed, that in the spirit of your aid to the Goblin Nation we would aid you at no profit."

"And I appreciate that. But I would not have it be said of me that I kept a goblin from a well-earned profit." Harry smiled (mouth closed) as Ragnok himself laughed loudly. "So, I will consider the help in processing it sufficient in the aid you offered. As I do respect your desire for honorable profit, I will then ensure you have an opportunity for that profit."

Ragnok stood and saluted Harry. Harry in return saluted back.

"May I see the list of participants?"

Harry handed over a parchment containing several names: Colin Creevey and Parents/guardians, Justin Finch-Fletchley and Parents/guardians, Penelope Clearwater, Hermione Granger and Parents, Ginerva Weasley and Parents, Rubeus Hagrid, any living individual attacked in the first opening of the Chamber of Secrets or their heir, the legal heir to the ghost known as Moaning Myrtle currently residing at Hogwarts, Mr. Argus Filtch Caretaker of Hogwarts, Severus Snape, Remus J. Lupin.

Ragnok looked at the list for a moment. "This will take some research. There are some who I know will be available. Do you wish them to be informed of the purpose of the visit?"

"No. Should they not attend upon request the information can be sent to them afterwards. There will be no penalty. I leave it to your discretion as to the best way to approach this."

Ragnok finally answered. "This is acceptable."

"I thank you. At what time on Friday do you wish to arrange the retrieval?"

"How much effort will it take to obtain it?"

"There is a long shaft which I slid down to get there. I should think that there might be commands that would allow easier access, but if not, the shaft is approximately one hundred feet long. The chamber is located underneath the Black Lake. Only the entrance is in Hogwarts. There was a cave-in which blocked a portion of the tunnel leading to it, which has a small amount of rubble cleared as there were people who had to get through for our escape. Those that were there exited via Phoenix. Further inspection may locate other resources in the Chamber." Hermione bounced up and down. There could conceivably be old books! Harry turned to her. "Yes, Hermione," he laughed. "You will come with me, as well as Sirius, to help search." Goblins or no, Hermione leaned over and threw her arms around Harry and kissed him enthusiastically.

Ragnok actually laughed again at Hermione's reaction. Yes, Lord Potter's life-mate was unexpected.

"I should think that we can begin at 9:00 AM. If you arrive here, we will travel by goblin portkey, as this is a goblin-run operation. Under these circumstances, we may take wizards and witches within Britain. Very well, Lord Potter, is there anything else?"

"Sirius, Hermione?" Each shook their heads. Harry turned back to Ragnok, "No. Everything has been resolved satisfactorily."

The following days were spent in study and relaxing by the pool. Sirius had decided upon which property would best suit them after August 1st, and it was ironically 12 Grimmauld Place. It was located sufficiently close to the Grangers medical practice that there would be no increase in their travel time. It's wards had been upgraded to ensure that no underage magic would be detected, not that it really mattered. The dark and gloomy place had been refurbished to a much more pleasant abode. Sirius was still of two minds about it, but with the goblins handling the dark magic, and a painting or two as a courtesy (which caused Sirius to laugh when he heard about it), it would suit.

In addition, as it was traditionally the seat of the Black Family, Sirius could invite his cousins, Andi and Cissy to visit. He wasn't so sure of Draco.

Friday morning, Harry, Hermione, Sirius and Moony left for Gringott's. Tonks would spend the day at the Ministry doing all of the things she had to do on a regular basis as an Auror. Harry had promised a pensieve memory.

Arriving at the bank, they were met by a group of goblins carrying tools and ropes shrunk down into small boxes. Surprisingly, with the goblins, was Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour.

"Bill! Fleur! It's a surprise to see you. You coming along?"

Bill shook Harry's hand and Fleur kissed him on both cheeks in greeting as Bill answered, "Yeah. I am coming along as a cursebreaker and Fleur is interning. She is practicing as an assessor currently. She works for Slipknife over there right now."

Harry looked and the goblin in question bowed. Harry bowed back. "Anyway, neither of us will divulge any information, as it is part of our secrecy oath. Any questions?"

"Nope. So, when are we going?"

"We're waiting for the team supervisor right now. I don't know who it is, but I heard it's an important goblin."

Just then, Ragnok walked in the door. Harry and the others saluted while Bill and Fleur bowed. Ragnok saluted Harry back. "I decided that this was sufficiently important that I would come along. Besides, it's good to get out of the office on occasion." Ragnok smiled hugely, showing his teeth. Harry grinned back, keeping his mouth closed.

"Also, I have the most authority as regards portkeys. We plan on moving the items using such. If possible, I would like to see if I can create a portkey transfer point. I will be the only goblin with authority in this matter. Also, unlike wizard apparition or travel by other magical creatures, goblins can transport themselves under rock and dirt to great depths. If the Chamber is not part of the Hogwarts wards, I can arrange this as well."

Harry thought about it. "Wow. I never thought about that. Well, that works. If there are problems, we can find if the Deputy Headmistress has sufficient authority or access to the wards to aid with the portkeys if necessary."

The group moved to the portkey/apparition point and traveled to the area closest to Hogwarts outside of the wards.

Headmistress McGonagall was waiting impatiently at the gates. One of her cubs had declared Blood Feud against he who must not be named. She wanted to talk to him and give his guardian a piece of her mind for letting the boy become involved so young.

Then again, Mr. Potter was not the type to sit back and wait for others to do something. If it needed done, he would do it consequences be damned. It was hard on the heart at times being the Head of Gryffindor house.

Suddenly, there were several pops in front of the gate, and very shortly thereafter portkeys arrived. Included were several she did not expect plus a large number of goblins.

She had picked this day as Albus would be in Geneva for the next two days attending to the ICW. As its Head, there were a few things that he had to do every year. He would return Sunday night. By then, as Harry had expressed as his wish, this business would be done.

"Welcome." She bowed to the Goblin Chief. "As Deputy Headmistress, I welcome you to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."

"I thank you for your welcome," Ragnok answered as he bowed shortly to the Professor. "We goblins come to fulfill agreements with Lord Potter as regards the prize for his conquest of Slytherin's beast as allowed by treaty and custom."

"That is acceptable. You may enter the wards." Ragnok waited for Harry to lead them. "Mr. Potter, I should hope that we have time to discuss a number of things that I am curious about," she said to Harry as she led the group to the doors.

"I look forward to it, Professor." He looked around. "Who is around of the staff?"

"Mr. Filch is here as caretaker, and Professors Hagrid and Flitwick are in the Great Hall." Harry's eyes lit up. "The other staff either do not make Hogwarts their home during the summer, or are out of the castle this day for various reasons, personal and professional.

"That's good. Are any of you professors interested in joining us in the Chamber?"

"Those available have all expressed an interest. However, either myself or Professor Flitwick must stay available to monitor the castle. With the other heads and Professor Dumbledore not currently here, someone must watch the wards."

"I guess I can understand that." Just then the group passed into the Great Hall.

Harry heard a loud shout. "HARRY! It's right good to see ya!" Hagrid said as he moved quickly for someone so large toward the group. Hagrid picked Harry up and gave him a massive hug, which for a moment caused Harry to almost suffocate. "How are you doin'? And how are you Hermione and Sirius. And Bill, it's good to see ya! You too, Remus!"

Harry laughed as everyone greeted Hagrid. It wasn't very formal, but then again neither was Hagrid. "Hagrid, this is my friend and ally, Ragnok, Chief of the Goblin Nation." Hagrid blushed for a moment as he bowed low to the small goblin. "Er. Welcome ta Hogwarts. Sorry bout that. I was jus' excited to see Harry an tha others."

Ragnok bowed back to Hagrid. "Think nothing of it, Mr. Hagrid. Knowing Lord Potter as I do, I could expect such reactions." Everyone watching was amused by the very short goblin and the very tall Keeper of the Keys bowing to each other.

"Blimey, Harry. Heard 'bout the Blood Feud. Sounded right dangerous, but I think your Dad and Mum woulda been proud." Harry chocked up slightly as he thanked him. "Oh, Ms. Delacour. It's good ta have ya back at Hogwarts too. You here as a friend or workin'?"

Fleur greeted the large gamekeeper and relied, "I am doing an internship wiz Gringott's to learn finance and emprove my English. I am 'ere as part of the Internship."

"Ah right. Well, it's to have ya."

By this time, Filius Flitwick had also approached the group. Professor Flitwick saluted Ragnok and he saluted back. "Greetings and welcome, Chief Ragnok."

"My thanks and greetings to you, Duel-Master Flitwick."

Professor Flitwick greeted the rest. At that point, Harry and Professor McGonagall discussed happenings. "I will open the Chamber of Secrets and we will make our way down below the school. You or Professor Flitwick may accompany us. Chief Ragnok, Professor McGonagall, is there any reason why the two of you cannot cooperate to make a portkey between the castle proper and the Chamber when we arrive there?"

Professor McGonagall answered. "I have sufficient authority to do so, but I cannot make a portkey to work so deep underground."

Ragnok added, "I can make a goblin portkey, but to make it work, Professor McGonagall must provide blood for the wards."

"To aid you, I will do so." Ragnok and Harry thanked her. "Hagrid, once we set up some portkeys, would you like to see the beast that got you expelled 50 years ago?"

"Blimey, Harry. I'd love ta see the Chamber and ta see the beasty that did a' that." Professor McGonagall smiled at Hagrid.

"Professor Flitwick, maybe we can arrange for you and Professor McGonagall to exchange places as well." Flitwick bobbed cheerfully.

"Alright, this way."

The group made it's way to the girl's bathroom and Harry turned to those following. "This is where the entrance is. I should warn you, Myrtle the ghost makes her residence in here and she can be ... touchy. I ask that you all treat her with respect as she aided me in finding the Chamber as well as in the Triwizard Tournament." Professor McGonagall's eyebrow rose at that.

The group made it's way inside the bathroom. Myrtle came floating out and saw everyone and her spectral eyes widened. "Hello, Harry. You've come for a visit?" She asked coquettishly.

"Hello, Myrtle," Harry answered with a smile. "I've come to visit the Chamber to finally get rid of the body of the creature that killed you. These are here to help me."

Minerva looked around. "Hello, Minerva. It's been a while since I saw you. I always liked you because you never made fun of me."

"Hello, Myrtle. For my part, I liked you as well. I'm sorry it was so hard back then."

"Oh, well. At least now I get to visit all the bathrooms. The prefect's bathroom can be quite a show," she added as she leered at Harry.

Pretty much everyone, including the goblins were interested in hearing more about that. Professor McGonagall set her face in a mild show of disapproval. Sirius wanted to laugh out loud. Fleur and Bill were both amused. Hermione, however, narrowed her eyes a bit. She wasn't fond of the idea of a fangirl hitting on her Harry, whether she was dead or not. Hermione was becoming quite possessive, which Harry didn't seem to mind.

"Well, Myrtle. We will make our way down. Can I ask a question of you?"

"Sure, Harry"

"When the red-haired girl would go down, did she slide or did she do something else?"

"Well, I hid away mostly, but the one time I watched from my toilet, she seemed to go down stairs."

"Thank you, Myrtle. That's a big help. I'll come back and visit you sometime." Myrtle giggled and flew down her toilet. Professor McGonagall set her face in disapproving look.

Harry walked over to the sink and looked at the picture of the snake. He concentrated on the snake as he said a word in parseltongue. The sink opened up as it had in second year. He concentrated on the snake again and said another phrase and nothing happened. He tried a couple of more phrases before the shaft transformed itself to a set of stairs. Harry looked at the others, "It was simpler than I thought. I tried asking for an entrance, and a couple of other things. Then I just said 'stairs'." Most laughed as Harry smiled sheepishly.

Harry led the group down the spiral stairs until they reached the tunnel.

Professor McGonagall looked around the dank and dirty area. She turned her wand and banished the accumulated bones and detritus and debris from creatures long dead.

"Okay, it's this way." They reached the rockslide. The goblins went to work clearing it and shoring the tunnel. At the same time, some of them leveled the tunnel that led up to it. Goblins were supreme when it came to working with stone and dirt and clearing mines.

The group moved forward when the tunnel was clear. Two of the goblins set up lights of some type every 30 feet or so. Apparently, goblins didn't need much light. When they reached the first shedding of about 20 feet long, the group paused to look at it.

The witches and wizards were amazed. Well, except for Harry. He knew how large the snake was.

Sliphook said, "Ms. Delecour?"

Fleur looked at the shedding and said, "The shedding iz very old. It has been left for zo long dat it had minimal value udder than for some very unuzual potions. Eet's value would be greater as wezzerproofing material for some wizard home, and dere would be some interest in limited quarters. Gringott's could offer the owner, eizzer Hogwarts or Harrry in zis situation, 1000 galleons. It could be sold for a profeet."

Harry turned to Professor McGonagall. "As I am the only person other than Voldemort who can currently open this, I offer to claim all products of the basilisk and donate the profits to the school to replace worn equipment such as school brooms. Is that acceptable to you Professor?"

Professor McGonagall thought a moment. In her role as Deputy, she had wide latitude in certain things. This could be interpreted as one of them. Finally, she nodded at Harry and said, "That would be acceptable, but as this could be interpreted as being owned by the school as a whole, donations must benefit all houses ... unfortunately." She smiled ruefully.

Harry laughed and said, "That's alright. Gryffindor will still win the House Cup if I have a say."

They reached the portal to the Chamber proper, and Harry opened it with his voice. The goblins dogged the door open to prevent it from closing behind them. As the group entered the Chamber, everyone stood in awe. They looked around at the vast Chamber, impressed by fact that such a thing was hidden under the very lake outside the school. The moved further into the chamber and finally the carcass of the basilisk came into view. Hermione took one look at it and buried her head in Harry's chest at the thought of a 12-year old Harry having to kill such a monster.

Professor McGonagall, Sirius and Moony were also overawed. No matter what you might be told, sometimes the reality was far more impressive than the stories.

Fleur was shocked. She was feeling embarrassed about her remembered comment from almost a year ago. Whatever Harry was, looking at the carcass she knew he could not be called a little boy.

Bill considered the beast and how close his sister had come to dying. If Harry killed this to save her, the debt that Arthur had talked about was far more than he had implied.

Ragnok walked over toward the beast and pulled on a dragon-hide glove as he came to the fang laying on the ground next to a large stain of ink and blood.

He picked up the fang and turned towards Harry. "Is this the fang that pierced you during your fight with this beast?"

Harry nodded as he patted Hermione's shoulder.

"The Goblin Nation is impressed with your victory over such a beast. I offer to take this to create a dagger, which will be given to your House to be held in perpetuity, in recognition of your bravery and skill in defeating such as this and for the honor given to my people of having done it with a goblin-forged blade."

"I ask that you take all of the fangs and create four. I will accept the gift of one. One, made from the fang you hold, shall be gifted to the family of the goblin who forged the sword, in thanks for the use of the blade in my victory. The third shall be held as a mark of honor by the Chief of the Goblin Nation. The fourth shall be gifted to Hogwarts to be held by the Headmaster. It shall be used by a Champion in defense of Hogwarts."

Ragnok, with every other goblin, bowed low to Harry in recognition of his victory and in the honor given to his people and himself. "I have not told you. But the Sword of Gryffindor was forged by my ancestors. I shall keep the dagger made from this fang to be held by my descendents. It will be a token of the skill of my ancestor the honor you have given my clan. The other shall be made part of the Regalia of the Chief of the Goblin Nation in remembrance of our alliance." Harry bowed low in response.

After a moment, goblins started moving around. Ragnok and Professor McGonagall started working together on the portkeys. Fleur moved off with Slipknife to assess the value of the carcass.

Bill motioned to Harry to talk to him off to the side. Harry moved away from the activities around the snake, taking Hermione, Sirius and Moony with him. He said to Bill, "They know everything I know, especially Hermione. "

Bill nodded. "I wanted to thank you for the consideration you have given my family," he started quietly. "The whole situation with Ginny and my mother could have destroyed my family, and you ensured it did not. Ginny is receiving treatment at St. Mungo's. My father is working on controlling my mother. She still hasn't learned her lesson, but my Father will ensure she does."

"Bill, I never wanted to hurt your family. You are the closest thing I have had to a family of my own since I came back to the magical world. I just hope that that is all I have to worry about. Hermione is my soul-mate, and I will be explaining that to the rest of your family soon."

"I'm happy for you. I will let my father know that he will have to work hard to control my mother and Ron, who has been acting quite thick. Ginny, I think, will be ok. You know you have my support and I believe the twins and Charlie as well. Percy? I don't know. He hasn't been involved with the family much, even if he has come back to us."

"Thank you, Bill. Tell your father quietly, but make sure he knows that my future is with Hermione and I will do anything to protect that future."

Chapter Text

As the goblins inspected the carcass in preparation to render it, Bill, Harry and Hermione moved about the Chamber inspecting for any hidden locations. Professor McGonagall portkeyed back to the Great Hall in order to allow Filius and Hagrid the opportunity to see the Chamber.

Shortly thereafter, Harry heard Hagrid's voice. "BLIMEY! Tha's qui' a beastie!" Harry looked over and Professor Flitwick and Hagrid were walking around the carcass.

Fleur and Slipknife seemed to come to a conclusion, and motioned Harry back over.

"Lord Potter," the goblin assessor began, "we have decided to ask you to determine which method of assessing you prefer. Normally we would assess the carcass as a whole, which would assume a portion of the value removed to cover the costs of rendering, but in this case as Gringott's Director has offered to assist at no cost; it would be preferable to wait until the carcass is rendered before placing a value on the results."

"Well, that's fine. Once the items have been collected, I will consult you as regards the final tally. So, it's okay with me if the team begins rendering."

Ragnok, his Captain and Remus joined Harry as he moved back towards Bill and Hermione. Harry directed the group towards the mouth of the statue of Slytherin. "Well, here is where the snake emerged. Possibly, if we enter the mouth, there might be other passages inside."

Bill nodded. "Well, if you can open it, I will cast detection charms to see if there are any wards or curses." Harry nodded and called out in Parseltongue, "Speak to me, Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts Four." Just as in second year, the bust of Slytherin opened wider and wider until there was a huge black hole.

Bill cast a detection charm and, finding no curses or wards, lit his wand and climbed into the hole holing a Lumos charm to light his way.

Harry followed, aiding the shorter members of the group into the hole. He held his own wand up and cast the Lumos charm himself. They moved in until they came to a larger opening. The room looked as though it had been carved out of rock. There were ventilation holes in the upper ceiling. There were a few sconces around the room. Harry said, "Light" in parsel and they lit up. This seemed to indicate that this was section was used by Slytherin.

Bill cast several charms and found nothing. Harry said, "Can you tell me the charms you are casting? Possibly if I cast them in parsel more might be revealed." Bill's eyes widened. Remus looked impressed with the logic and Hermione became excited.

Bill covered the detection charms. "You want to push a fair bit of magic into these; we don't want to miss anything and there can be nasty surprises."

Harry concentrated as he cast the revealing charms around the room. Suddenly there were two sections of the wall that lit up. There was a small section between the two sconces on the right side of the Chamber, as well as a door-sized section on the left. The door had a red tinge to it.

Bill looked at the door and said, "Well the door is cursed. Why don't you try opening the small section while I try to determine the curse on the door?" Bill walked over and started casting at the door-sized section, while Harry, Hermione and Lupin moved to the wall. Ragnok and his Captain kept in the middle watching both.

Harry tried various words in parsel, but nothing happened. There wasn't a password that he could guess. He stood back for a moment and thought on it.

"Harry!" Hermione all of a sudden said, "Try an unlocking charm. Start with Alohamora. If that doesn't work, I can give you a few more."

Harry's eyes lit. He cast an Alohamora charm on the wall section in parsel and all of a sudden faint lines appeared around the section and hinges and a handle appeared, just like a wall safe. "Bill! I got something over here."

Everyone gathered around the hole and Bill carefully opened it. Inside there was a scrap of parchment which contained some writing in Old English. Bill read it over and he grinned. "Well, Harry. Apparently these are the instructions for opening the door. Someone who found the door without looking for this, even if they were a parselmouth, would have some nasty surprises. If someone found this and not the door, they would still have to look for and find the door. Apparently the revealing charms you used are more powerful than the hiding charms that were on the openings which is the only reason we found both. How much you want to bet that if these were used in Latin that the unlocking wouldn't work?"

Bill and Harry went over the instructions for a short while to make the plan of attack on the door, with the others looking on. Hermione was paying especial attention. She always paid attention when there was new magic being discussed. Even if the instructions were used in Latin or another language, it was a very effective set of spells to ward against intrusion. Ragnok himself was interested in the possibilities for Gringott's.

Shortly, they moved over to the door. Bill named an incantation, and Harry would repeat it in parsel while directing his wand at the door. Finally, the red tinge disappeared from the glow. One last Alohamora in parsel, and the door handle and hinges were revealed and the door opened.

Behind the door, there was a room that had apparently been Slytherin's private study. There were chests on leg stands in various parts of the room, with rough-hewn stone shelves behind a large table with a chair in front of it. On the shelves were a number of tomes and scrolls. On the table itself was a large tome with what looked to be a dried-up bottle of ink and a quill that had disintegrated sitting within.

On the side, there was a small potions work area with some bottles and jars on other shelves near it. On the potions table were some oil burners below several cauldrons, including pewter, gold and what was apparently silver, although a patina of age covered the silver one. Apparently the preservation charms had recently expired.

Across from the table in the room was a large map-table and cabinet with a number of rolls of parchment. Behind that table was a standard carrying Slytherin's crest.

Hermione wanted to move over to the tomes and scrolls, but Bill held her back. "Hermione, I know you are desperate to find out what might be in the books and scrolls, but we must be careful. If the preservation charms on the equipment have recently expired, any charms on the books might have as well. It would be better if a team recovered them and was allowed to renew any charms."

Hermione had almost a pouting look which Harry found quite endearing. "Well, alright. As long as I can look at them when they have been recovered." The group laughed and even Hermione chuckled at herself.

The Captain of the Guard moved out and arranged for goblins to dog the doors open to ensure that they wouldn't need Harry to stay to ensure the equipment and supplies could be inventoried and recovered.

Bill took the group out of the chamber and statue, more to prevent Hermione from giving in to temptation than anything else. Harry cast the detection charms along the tunnel walls as they moved out of it. Once they were back in the main chamber, Bill moved to Flitwick to arrange for him to trade places with McGonagall again so they could talk of the find.

While he was doing this, Harry moved around the chamber, casting the revealing charms along the walls in obvious spots to check if something could be found easily. He would have to come back at a later time to cover everything. Such work was the work of months, not a single day. As Harry was the only parselmouth available, it would have to be he that did the work.

Finally Professor McGonagall joined them and the group set to haggling.

When it was done, it was determined that copies of the tomes and scrolls found would be created for Harry, the Headmaster's Private Library, the Hogwarts Library and the goblins while the originals were sent to Slytherin's Vault at Gringott's. The usable potion supplies would be divided up between Harry and the Potions Department. The equipment would be checked, refurbished, and then presented to the Potions Department as well. Harry didn't thing he could claim ownership personally. The maps would be copied the same as the other books and scrolls, whereas the map-table would be for the History Department along with copies of the old maps.

After a long day, Harry and the others decided to stay at Hogwarts that night. The recovery of the basilisk and other items would continue throughout the night by goblins traveling between the Chamber and Gringott's by means of goblin portkeys and apparition.

Dobby was sent with a message for the Grangers and Tonks. They had prepared for this in case it couldn't be done in one day.

Dinner was an interesting affair. The goblins joined the others in the castle in the Great Hall. Harry was interested to note that the goblins ate nothing more than very lightly charred meat and very little other food, while they drank some drink that they had brought for themselves as opposed to tea or fruit juices. Harry guessed that they only drank human drinks as a courtesy when taking refreshment with customers.

After dinner, the goblin teams portkeyed back to the Chamber along with Bill and Fleur, while Ragnok and his Captain went back to Gringott's. Harry and the others were given access to the Gryffindor dormitories. Hermione finagled permission to peruse the library since she was at Hogwarts, including a limited access to the restricted section. McGonagall seemed amused when Hermione was talking to her about it in the Great Hall.

Harry, Hermione, Sirius and Moony did make a trip to Professor McGonagall's office right after dinner though. Minerva McGonagall wanted answers and she wasn't going to accept no for an answer.

"Mister Potter. Since the last term ended, there have been several reports of your doings. I understand some of your reasons, but what can you tell me of what you have been doing? And is there a reason that you seem to want to exclude the Headmaster in your decisions?"

Harry looked at her, glanced over to a tense Hermione and a relaxed Sirius and then turned back to her. "Professor, since I have returned to the magical world at 11 years old, I have faced Voldemort," Harry was pleased to see very little visible shuddering, "three times in various forms, making a total of four times. Not even my parents or Dumbledore for that matter have faced him directly so many times. When the term was done, I was determined to find out as much as I could, and a number of things have ... concerned me ... as regards Professor Dumbledore.

"As my de-facto Magical Guardian, he has not looked after certain things that should have been. I found that I should have heard my parents' wills when I was eleven years old, but no one ever informed me. It was not the goblins job, Sirius was in Azkaban and my muggle relatives had no interest in ensuring that I learned what I needed to know.

"Since first year, I have been almost herded around into confrontations with the creature that killed my parents and almost killed me." Here, Professor McGonagall looked like she wanted to object but held her tongue. "In first year, a powerful magical artifact was brought to Hogwarts at the same time that I first arrived. The very nature of this artifact would almost ensure that Voldemort, if he were able, would attempt to gain possession of it. I was given clues and tools that would aid me in finding out this information. The protections, save one, were overcome by three first years. The only one we did not overcome was overcome by Voldemort himself, after the possessed Quirrell placed the troll as part of the protections.

"Second year, there was a powerful dark artifact possessing a student. Were there no indications from the wards? How did I, once again, have to be the one to resolve it? Luckily, I had access to the brightest witch I know for some information," here Harry smiled at Hermione, "but why were second years the only ones able to correlate the information from several available sources to find the answer? Admittedly, without my abilities, the final resolution could not have happened, but I was reviled throughout the year as the cause while I had to be the one to resolve it.

"Third year. I was told to stay in Hogwarts and was given no more information as to what was happening. Warnings about an escaped Sirius Black, innocent though he was, were given to me on the sly without further clarifying information. If one of my friend's father had not made it a point to tell me about it, I would not even been aware of that much possible danger. To top it all off, I was under attack from dementors in several instances. Dementors who apparently were placed to protect the school and me against this dangerous criminal - who had never even been given a trial. And why was this criminal dangerous? Because he theoretically attacked a reportedly mediocre wizard, twelve muggles and passed on a secret? Compared to the average person in Azkaban, that doesn't even seem that dangerous. Not enough for dementors to have to guard a school full of innocent children.

"Last year. Oh, where do I start? We were taught by a death eater who was impersonating an old friend of Dumbledore's. Why did he not become suspicious at all? Admittedly being places under the Imperious curse as a part of my class in the end might have helped me - at least I know I can throw it off immediately. The Goblet of Fire. Everyone involved knew my claims of not having entered, but nothing could be done? Seems right fishy to me. The polyjuiced death eater helped me in subtle ways; no one noticed, not even me. What I did notice I didn't report; I was trying to survive.

"And finally, at the end of all of this, I find that there is a prophecy about me in the Department of Mysteries. A prophesy given to Dumbledore before I was born which basically says it's me or Voldemort. Where was my training to handle this? Why was I not informed and prepared? Maybe these things that have happened have been some sick idea of preparing me, but really now; if that was the case, shouldn't I have at least been told?

"Remember, I grew up with my muggle relatives away from the magical world with no notice and no idea of what had happened or what would be expected of me. My relatives, who hate magic and by extension me and this was done at the instigation of Dumbledore. It was no palace with a pampered existence that I knew as a child, regardless of the ideas pushed forth by certain members of the staff and student body. What were my parents' wishes? I'd like to know. So until, I know everything, I will find out myself with the help of people who have proven themselves to me, people such as Hermione, Sirius, Ragnok and others.

"I have no question that some have my best interest at heart, such as yourself and Hagrid. And I am even aware that Snape really does want me to succeed, regardless of how he treats me. But he doesn't make it any easier for me, and in many ways, much harder. And unfortunately the same goes for the Headmaster."

Professor McGonagall was floored by all of the boy's points. She couldn't even protest the boy's lack of honorifics as in his eye they he was justified in their lack.

Sirius and Moony were just as flabbergasted to have it all laid out in that way. Individual incidents, considered separately might not amount to much, but put them all together and the question marks became very large. Besides any criminal sanctions, there were some very large pranks due to some people.

Hermione, in that she had been involved since the third task of the tournament, as well as with Harry, had had a chance to think about it all. Her trust in authority figures without question was weakening, and this meeting had almost shattered it. As far as she was concerned, she supported Harry. And it didn't matter who else was involved.

"Mr. Potter, I had never considered everything in this way all at once. Your arguments are well thought out and valid. If it were I, I would be just as skeptical. I can only say, for my part, that I will support you as needed and that I will try to make sure the other staff does as well. I will keep my own counsel as far as the Headmaster goes, but I will keep your confidences."

Harry thanked her and the meeting broke up shortly thereafter. Minerva McGonagall headed out to talk to Filius Flitwick. She would have to talk to Professor Sprout when she returned. Hagrid, unfortunately, couldn't keep a secret to save his life, so she knew she couldn't tell him much.

Hermione had taken advantage of the lack of a Librarian and supervision to peruse the restricted section of the Library for things that could help Harry in his conflict with Voldemort. Remus was with her as she looked at the titles of tome after tome. She found a few things that Harry and she could practice when they moved in with Sirius.

Sirius and Harry had taken a couple of brooms and invaded the quidditch pitch. It felt good to be up in the air. Sirius and he had fun throwing the quaffle around. Harry had shown Sirius his reckless nature on a broom, and Sirius wasn't one to tell him to hold back. All in all, it was an enjoyable trip.

That night, Sirius and Remus had bunked in their old dormitory that they had had when they were students. Harry took his own bed in the dorms, as had Hermione. His was the only one that was arranged to be used; the rest of the beds were currently stripped of their sheets and blankets. He was about to drift off to sleep after snogging Hermione for a while, when the dorm room's door opened slowly and he heard a quiet, "Harry?" Harry recognized the voice. It was Hermione.

"Yeah, Hermione. Come on in." Hermione padded over to Harry. Harry saw that she had nicked one of his used quidditch jerseys to be used as a nightgown. He almost groaned - she looked too damn sexy with his name written across her back as he saw when she turned to close the door. His hormones were close to getting the best of him.

"Harry, it's so lonely in my dorm. Mind if I bunk with you?" she asked with a smile. Harry smiled back, if a bit nervously, and lifted the blanket to let her under the covers. She enthusiastically climbed in. Just as turned toward him, they heard a voice. "Heya guys!"

Hermione was about to curse as Harry said, "Hello, Larry. What brings you to us tonight?"

"Nothing much. Just wanted to check in."

"Well, everything seems fine."

"Oh, yeah. Did have one thing from Bob though."

"Oh, yeah? What's that?"

"Make sure you talk to your friends at the party, at least the ones you trust, about what's going on. Not about Afterlife of course. But everything else."

"I was planning on it."

"Oh, that's good. Also you have to make time to talk to the house elves."

"Ok. I promise. Tomorrow," Hermione said with some irritation showing. "Anything else?"

"Nope, that's about it."

"Ok." Harry finished, "We'll see you later. Bye."

Larry popped off. Sometimes clients didn't appreciate all Afterlife Inc did for them.

Hermione shook off her irritation. "At least they didn't really interrupt this time. Next time they interrupt me when we're alone, I'm going to hex whatever bits they have off."

Harry laughed. "Whatever you say, Mione. It might be fun to see. Too bad we can't get Sirius and Moony involved with a prank on them."

Hermione turned toward Harry and put her face close to his. "Now that he's gone ..."

Harry and Hermione did a bit more exploring that night, and went to sleep quite satisfied, even if they did need cleaning charms.

The next morning, Hermione and Harry got up early. Hermione went back to her dorm to get ready before Sirius and Moony got up to avoid awkward questions.

Harry was just finishing when the two Marauders came in. "Ready for breakfast, pup?" was Sirius's question while Remus had an odd look on his face.

Harry looked questioning towards him. Remus smiled, almost a smirk for him, as he asked, "Have a good night?"

Sirius looked speculative as Harry asked, "Why do you ask?"

"Werewolf senses. Increased sense of smell," Remus answered with a full on smirk. Sirius turned into Padfoot for a moment, changed back wide-eyed, and then the two Marauders laughed themselves silly at Harry's slightly guilty expression.

Sirius made a comment to Remus as the followed Harry out of the room, "I better get on the ball. It's a sad day when my godson is getting more action than me." Remus just laughed as Harry blushed in front of them.

By mid-afternoon, the group had finished in the Chamber of Secrets. Harry hadn't found anything more when he went down to the Chamber and looked around. Hermione had ensconced herself back in the Library.

At 4:00, everyone ported back to Gringott's with the last of the results of the expedition. Harry thanked Professor McGonagall for her help before he portkeyed back to the Chamber before using the Gringott's portkey from there to the bank.

The group met in Ragnok's office. Slipknife and Fleur were there, as well as Sirius, Remus, Hermione and Harry himself. Bill had finished his part earlier in the day.

Slipknife started the calculations. "The following were the items recovered from Slytherin's chamber:

"Remains of the basilisk include: basilisk skin in the amount of 200 clothe-yards valued at G200,000, useful in the creation of battle-robes, dueling robes and construction materials for spell-resistance; 4 gallons of basilisk venom weighing 46 pounds, valued at G368,000 on the open market, useful in various potions; collected skeleton weighing 400 pounds (not including fangs) valued at G40000 as parts or up to G200,000 as a whole, construction materials or collectible; remaining small teeth useful as weapons and the basis for magical objects, G42000, viscera useful in potions weighing approximately 600 pounds valued at G120,000; other viscera still useful for other purposes such as feed for exotic creatures weighing approximately 200 pounds valued at G2000; the meat of the creature, aged well, sellable as food for those with a ... refined palate ... weighing approximately 3400 pounds valued at G760,000; other parts not otherwise useful that could be sold as fertilizer weighing approximately 200 pounds valued at G400; and finally 100 pounds of materials that are too damaged or non-useful for sale, disposal fee normally G10. The used sheddings that were collected useful as described in the chamber are valued at G8000; the portions that have deteriorated to far weigh approximately 1000 pounds and involve a G100 pound disposal fee. The final total is G1460290 to G1620290.

"Other items are considered without value as they are considered owned by either yourself or Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The tomes are in the process of being copied, the other material has been stored for distribution as agreed to in the Chamber. The potions ingredients that are still useful are valued at G76,200 of which your portion is G36,100."

Harry was gobsmacked by the value of the carcass. After he thought about it for a moment, he asked Ragnok, "I do have a question and I apologize in advance if this is rude, but do the palates that would appreciate the meat include the palate of goblins?"

Ragnok smiled at Harry. "There is no rudeness, and to answer your question, yes. Such meat would be considered a great delicacy."

"The next question is this: What would the normal fee be for the part that Gringott's played in the recovery be?"

"At G1,500,000 value, the fee would be G300,000 if sold to us for resale for the guaranteed amount; representation as the agent for the sale would also involve an additional 10% beyond the fee could theoretically bring a more hefty profit. However, as agreed, the Goblin Nation has waived the fees in appreciation of the information you brought and our alliance. I am aware that you do not want to profit from this, but I must advise you that it could be considered by some an insult to refuse this offer. As we value your friendship, so must you show that you value ours."

Harry smiled ruefully. "Director, you know me well. Very well, I will accept the honor of the boon that you provide." Ragnok nodded with satisfaction. "How many of your people were instrumental in the recovery?"

"There were 42 goblins, an employee and an intern. This includes myself and my guard."

"I would like to gift 210 pounds of the meat, 5 pounds to each goblin, as a personal thanks for their aid in the project and in appreciation for their efforts. I would like to earmark the full value of 10 pounds divided as a gift between Mr. Bill Weasley and Ms. Fleur Delacour. The approximate value if you had collected your fee for the rest would be ..."

Fleur said with a smile of appreciation for Harry's generosity, "G512,000."

"Thank you, Fleur. ... G512,000. I offer the sale of the meat to the Goblin Nation at the cost of G512,000 This is not intended as insult but among the customs that I grew up with, such a discount between friends would be considered polite and would create no other obligation beyond the transaction than returned friendship if desired."

Ragnok and the other goblins stood and Ragnok said as he bowed, "In the spirit of friendship, I thank you for the generous price. We accept that within your customs it would be polite to accept this and to offer our friendship in return." Harry stood and bowed back.

"I ask that 5 percent of the materials from the basilisk that would be useful for potions and 10 percent of the venom be made available for the Potions Master that will attend the meeting on Monday will be given as incentive to work on a particular project. 2 percent of the the materials from the basilisk, 10 percent of the venom and the portion of Slytherin's ingredients I will gift to my life-mate, Hermione Granger." Here Hermione hugged Harry from her seat beside him. "Half of the skin I ask to keep as a basis for robes for my friends and allies. Half of the teeth I request, when purchased, be used as the basis for goblin-made weaponry to be kept or sold as the goblins prefer. I will retain G100,000. The rest of the proceeds I would like divided among those mentioned earlier according to this list." Harry handed a parchment with the names he had given earlier with percentages marked.

"The other items, tomes and scrolls that are to be presented to Hogwarts I would ask that you retain until September 1st and I ask that the Goblin Nation arrange with the Deputy Headmistress to present them at the opening feast, so that the honor of the Goblin Nation may be seen by all. And should it be time to present the other items by then, I would ask those be presented at the same time."

"Once again, you have given great honor to my people and the Goblin Nation thanks you. The arrangements are acceptable."

They spent the next few minutes finishing up, and Harry, Hermione and the rest traveled back to the Grangers residence.

Chapter Text

Arthur Weasley was getting fed up with the obsession his wife had to marry their daughter off to the Boy-Who-Lived. As a result of the family meeting, he was certain that no more potions would be attempted. Any member of his family found to be attempting this would be expelled from the family and turned over to the DMLE; family honor required no less than this. Molly had sulked so much that Arthur was tempted to move into the shed.

His sons, for the most part, supported his decision. Bill, Charlie and the twins were completely flabbergasted with their mother. They had each advised him privately that they would support the honor of the family. Percy, although he disagreed with the potions use, had sympathized with his mother and her ambitions. Sometimes he wondered if his third son shouldn't have been sorted into Slytherin. His youngest son, however, had somehow decided that this was all Harry's fault.

Arthur had been advised by Bill as to Harry's current relationship with Hermione Granger. This interfered with more of his wife's planning. He suspected that this would be revealed on Monday, when they along with Ginny would arrive at a meeting that was requested by the bank. Arthur was told that Harry was involved. Arthur was preparing himself to try and control the members of his family that needed it.

Ginny, however, would not need it. She had been found to have some residual effects from the incident in her first year. When Arthur had gone to Gringott's and was attempting to withdraw the little money the family had saved up to cover the costs, he mentioned the purpose of the withdrawal in passing. Very shortly he had been shown into an office with the Director of Gringott's! Director Ragnok had explained that as she had been harmed by the diary of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named that as part of their alliance with Harry Potter against the wizard also known as Tom Riddle, they would cover the costs of any treatment Ginny needed for any reason, regardless of whether it was from the incident or not. All he was asked was to not tell his wife, daughter or Harry Potter as they considered it as part of their honor to provide for this.

Arthur had been very grateful. Ginny, in addition to the residual effect of the possession, had been found to need time with a mind-healer to help counteract the years of her mother convincing her that she belonged with the Boy-Who-Lived. Arthur, when he had been told, had become very angry. Ginny, however, asked that this be kept private until the treatments were done. Arthur had agreed with his daughter; Ginny was now re-evaluating her relationship with Harry and had admitted to Arthur that she could see now that Harry belonged to someone else. She seemed happy about it, and started to feel she could move on with her life.

Maybe his youngest son needed a mind-healer as well.

Ginny was curious about the meeting at Gringott's. She had been told that her parents and herself had been invited to a meeting there on Monday.

She was looking forward to getting away from her brother. He was being quite thick. When she had mentioned Harry should date Hermione, he had blown up in jealousy and sent off some message to Hermione. Now that she was thinking clearly, she almost laughed at his stupidity.

Lucius Malfoy was not enjoying his time in Azkaban. None of his former allies would help in any way as he had been caught as an accomplice to the Dark Lord, and as far as they were concerned it was far, far better to stay off of Harry Potter's or Gringott's radar.

Narcissa Black was becoming annoyed. Her son was demonstrating the same idiocy her former husband had. The pureblood ideal was perfectly acceptable, but his fascination with power in Slytherin was becoming obsessive and he showed not one iota of true cunning. She was very close to informing her ex-husband's regent that the boy could be reclaimed by the Malfoys. There were some things she no longer wished to be associated with in any way. Maybe there was a nicer pureblood, or even a half-blood with a good name, that was available to try again for a child she could be proud of.

Amelia Bones was a busy woman.

The Ministry had now seen the incarceration of almost 35 wizards and witches because of information provided by Gringott's. It was a much more tolerant environment around the ministry as the most rabid of the pureblood supremacists found themselves in Azkaban. The remaining ones could see the way the winds were blowing and instead of voting for the power of laws which favored them were trying to create the image of the glory of being a pureblood.

It was a subtle difference. But one Amelia could live with. There WAS value to tradition, of course. Let them have "glory" while the Ministry finally became more representative of all the people.

Dolores Umbridge was feeling rather wretched.

She had been sentenced to several decades in Azkaban - like a common criminal! The contacts that she had used to get ahead were ending up as residents of the island prison and she could not be more irate about it.

The next thing would be equal rights for half-breeds! It was intolerable!

Rita Skeeter had a headline or several everyday. The arrests and trials she had reported on were selling out the paper on a daily basis. The pureblooded faction was riveted by its loss of influence and the rest were fascinated by the depths of depravity she reported.

She had found that cooperating with the DMLE was much, much more profitable than slandering them. The "anonymous sources" she had from the other side of the blood issue were much easier to deal with and expected much less than the pureblooded factions she had used before.

It was actually quite fun to tell the truth for once.

Augusta Longbottom was looking forward to the meeting she had with Harry Potter on Sunday.

The group of people who had produced the animals that had hurt her Frank were losing power left and right, and she could not be more satisfied. The changes in her son made her much more hopeful for the future than she had ever been before. And finally she could relax a little bit.

It wouldn't be over until the idiot Riddle, that's all he was to her now, was dead but she could look forward to a bit of traveling when Neville grew up and took over the family interests.

Fenrir Grayback was shocked to find himself in a cage with silver-covered bars guarded by goblins. He had been about to dine on a delicious young girl when he had been overcome before the full moon had come out.

It was a painful experience.

Voldemort had arrived back to Riddle Manor. He had had to avoid all contact with anyone else and it was becoming a dreary existence. He would have to get himself disconnected with this flawed shape very soon. Then he would be able to do it right. He would have power. He would make them all pay for their insolence.

Especially that damned boy.

Severus Snape was in a quandary.

His dark mark had come back during the third task of that thrice-damned tournament. And since that time, nothing was as it had been. The spawn of the thrice-damned Potter had declared Blood Feud and the goblins had allied themselves with him. The barmy old codger had been disappointed when the boy had not followed his lead or consulted him on his fight with the Dark Lord.

He had not been called, he had not been attacked and he had a meeting set for Monday that he was given oath would not result in his harm. All in all, it was very confusing these days.

Maybe that thrice-damned prophecy would be fulfilled soon and Lily Evans could rest in peace and he could move on from teaching these dunderheads.

Dumbledore was pouting.

He had learned from Hagrid, after he had come back to the castle on Saturday afternoon done with his trip early, that he had missed Harry Potter by a mere 27 minutes. Apparently he had claimed the body of the basilisk that he had killed in second year. It was too bad the beast had not been able to be controlled and saved. Such old magical creatures were rare.

Minerva had even let him transport a number of items that were found in the Chamber! Minerva did not elaborate what had been found but said that agreements were made for items recovered. And he hadn't even been allowed to inspect them before they fell into the hands of some creature of wizard that might use them to become dark! After all, it was Salazar Slytherin's chamber. There had to be dark purposes behind at least some of the items found.

Still, when all the item were returned as he asumed Minerva meant when she said agreements were made, he would secret them away so that they could not be used for dark purposes, just like the books that he had confiscated from the library at various times in the past. He would, of course, allow Severus to inspect them. He was the head of Slytherin.

It was time for a lemon drop, or five, before he went to bed.

Wormtail was mindless. His soul had been sucked out by a dementor. He had no thoughts whatsoever.

Dobby and Winky had been told that they would be asked about house-elves that very night. It was time for Mr. Harry Sir's Miss to learn what it meant to be a house-elf.

The Grangers were amused.

Their studious daughter, although involved in what was apparently a war as her boyfriend was the main focus, was currently being very distracted from books by one Harry Potter.

The teenager had been a revelation. Respectful and courteous, brave and resourceful, rich and humble, he also had an unbelievable moral compass. Although it was apparent that the teenagers had become closer, it was also apparent that they had limited themselves. And that it was more Harry limiting it than their formerly reserved daughter.

Never in their wildest imaginations would they have expected any teenage boy who so obviously doted on what he obviously thought was an extremely attractive teenage girl to have the willpower necessary to wait until they were both ready.

They had resigned themselves to the fact that the relationship would most likely become fully physical, and after discussing it, even Robert had finally just allowed it to progress. Not that they would tell their daughter that of course.

Because, as a result, they could just be very amused.

Ragnok pondered the unusual qualities of one Harry Potter as he and his Guard dined on some their very tasty meal courtesy of said wizard.

Goblins were very set in their ways. Through long centuries of experiences, certain things could be counted upon. There were always enemies to be destroyed. There was always profit to be made. And wizards always in the end were beings to be wary of. No matter how much they appeared to be honest and honorable, there was always some hint of something to hide; some avarice in their makeup to subject others to their own power; some disrespect for the customs of their people; there was always SOMETHING wrong when one dealt with wizards.

This did not appear to be the case in their dealings with one Harry James Potter, Scion of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter, friend of house elves, claimed family of a werewolf, enemy of a vile creature they themselves would spend all of their resources to destroy. Once they had placed themselves under his command in this one thing, Ragnok had expected some small indication at least that he enjoyed the command of beings such as they themselves were. But there was nothing.

He still treated them as equals, and he had, as he had AGREED to, left them to prosecute their part of the Feud on their own terms without interference. Perhaps, finally, there was some hope for wizardkind.

Bob cackled as he and Larry had a beer again while watching their client and Bob's plans unfold.

They had deliberately fanned the flames of passion between the client and his soulmate. A few timely interruptions, a certain lack of concern, and she had begun to become the being of passions of ALL types that they needed her to be to affect the destinies of so many of their clients.

Besides, it was fun watching the dance between the two as they, and a few dozen of their colleagues, sat around having an after work beer while sitting around the client monitor.

Chapter Text

Hermione was sitting the library room after dinner. After her and Harry had snogged a bit in celebration of the successful trip to Hogwarts, Hermione finally decided to do the thing she had put off the most.

Hermione had spent the last year working very hard in her own way to free the house elves of their slavery. Somehow with all of the things happening during the end of the year and the beginning of summer she had not worked on her project. And then came the big blow.

Harry had finally let her in on his secret, and she had soon found herself confronted with two people ... angels .. creatures ... beings, two beings that had suggested to her that she had somehow been misguided.

If it had been two wizards or witches, or even two house elves, she would have assumed that their background had brainwashed them. But apparently, there was more to the story.

She had spent hours in the library at Hogwarts trying to find out information on house elves: origins, history, the bond with a wizard, and anything else. She had found very little information and had assumed that it was a blind spot in wizarding culture.

She knew they could be happy free; Dobby had proven that. Even if he was eccentric, he was free and he was happy about it. However, after Harry and she had been advised to bond with the excitable house elf and Winky, Dobby had without pause accepted the constraints of service to a wizard without hesitation. That had surprised her a little.

She then realized that Dobby had not been unhappy being a servant, but unhappy being a servant to an abusive wizard. Harry was not an abusive wizard, and Dobby had accepted a bond with Harry with enthusiasm.

Winky as well had improved the moment she had bonded to herself. She was happy, and she couldn't in good conscience fight something that had proven such a source of happiness to another being.

So Hermione had let it be, holding on to her view of right and wrong by virtue of refusing to listen to the concept that she could have been mistaken.

However, after several proddings by the two beings, she finally decided she had to find out for herself. And the best place to find out was from the source. She knew that this would change everything.

"Winky!" Winky popped arrived with a pop in front of Hermione.

"Yes, Miss? What can Winky be doing to help her Miss?" Winky said shyly.

"Well, first thing," Hermione started, "how are you doing with me and my family?"

Winky's face took on a large smile as she replied, "Winky loves it here with Miss, Missus and Mister Grangey and all of the guests!" Winky paused and added, almost afraid, "Winky is more happy than she ever was." Hermione got down and hugged Winky.

"Well, we have been very happy to have you as part of our family." Winky smiled widely again. "Now, Winky, when we bonded I told you that I would be asking for your help to understand house elves. Now is the time. Can you tell me where house elves come from? Oh, and you can sit in the chair or wherever; just make yourself comfortable please."

Winky climbed on the chair near the couch. Winky would be hard pressed to admit, if she was asked, that this was the first time in her life she had felt perfectly willing to sit in the presence of a family. Such things were not usually done.

"House elves, as they be now, have been around for many, many years. A long time ago, the house elf was a creature of the Fey. Does Miss know of the Fey?" Hermione nodded, even if she looked a slight bit vague on the relationship. "We house elves were made by the Fates of long ago. We was created to help them to guide the destiny of creatures and peoples, good and bad.

"When we was made, we was often sent as messengers or helpers to good folk, and to help plot and interfere against the bad folk that was interfering with the plan the Fates had for the world. We was a happy people. Created to serve the very magical creatures, it was found that we was only happy when we was serving or helping.

"When the Fates was fading from the circles of the world, it was also found that we could only be happy serving magical peoples directly. We could help peoples who were not magical, but we had to be bonded to magic to keep our own magic strong. When the Fates was about to fade forever, we was told that our future was in our hands.

"As a people, we had to choose what magical creatures we would bond with. Goblins, another creature of the Fey, was created to dig in earth and to be strong against enemies. We did not want to work in earth or to fight. We was created to serve. The centaurs was created as seers and fighters to help those that was gods. We was not adapted to seeing neither, and the centaurs did not need help. The peoples of the lakes and woods, the merpeople and the nymphs and the dryads served the earth itself and did not need help. The ogres and the trolls were creatures of vengeance and warning and they could not need house elves - we was food for them. The giants were descendants of the cyclopses and others, and their magic was not compatible with elves and they thought us food as well.

"This left the humans. If we was to survive, we had to bond to humans with magic, so's we could survive and grow. We can live without the bond. It is painful and it harms us if we spend too long without it, but we can live. But we cannot have little babies." Here, Winky paused and blushed. "Winky and Dobby was thinking of becoming life-mates. And as free elves we could do what we wants. But without the bonds to serve magical humans, we could not has children."

"When we was bonding with humans, we took care that we only bonded to good wizards and witches. But as time passed, there was those who were children to good witches and wizards who was not so good. If the bond was inherited by one who was not so good, we still served and helped and had babies. But we would not help harm other good creatures. And so we became vermin because we would not do some things.

"It was found that if the bond was threatened, we could be forced to harm ourselves if we did not obey. Soon we was being ordered to punish ourselves, and we was threatened with losing the bond if we did not comply. And so we has become what we are today.

"Many elves have forgotten or was never taught where we comes from. The house elves that do know do not tell many wizards and witches where we comes from because we do not be wanting them to use the information to further enslave our people.

"We is most happy when we is bonded to a magical family or wizard or witch and is serving good people. Helping is why we was made, and helping is being what we do. When we serve a bad family or wizard or witch, we is very unhappy. But the pain of not serving and not helping is worst of all.

"Dobby was happy to be freed because the pain he got from the bad wizard was much worse than losing the bond. But to has his own family, Dobby and Winky had to bond again. And so, Winky and Dobby is happy again, because we is bonded to good peoples and because we is allowed to help and to serve as we like."

Hermione moved over to Winky and picked her up and hugged her. "And I am so happy to have you bonded to me."

After they had hugged, Winky went on. "Winky tells Miss about house elves because Winky knows through the bond that Miss will help house elves to become again what we was meant to be. You can tell Mr. Harry Sir and your family. But we do not be putting this in books. This lore is passed from house elf to house elf. Those that serve the very worst witches and wizards are not allowed to know in case they be forced to tell."

Hermione thought for a moment. "Winky, I want to thank you for telling me this. It tells me why I was so wrong about my approach to house elves. I thought 'bond' meant 'slavery' and I was wrong. I promise to work to make the house elves happy and to work to allow your people to control who they bond with. Would this be acceptable?"

Winky thought about it. If a house elf was serving a bad master, it would be better to be able to choose another bond. Maybe it was time for house elves to learn to think a new way. "Winky thinks this is good, and Winky will help Miss to make this happen."

Hermione beamed.

The next day, Harry and Hermione made ready to travel to Neville's house for the birthday party. Harry was excited as he hadn't had a real birthday party except when he had turned 17 in the last life. And even then, it had been marred by the looming war and the deviousness of Weasleys.

Luna had written that she was also looking forward to the party. She had also told Harry and Hermione that Ginny Weasley had contacted her and had started becoming friends again. Ginny, apparently, was no longer suffering from whackspurts and Luna wanted to bring her to the party as well.

The Weasley twins had convinced their father that they were meeting with their "master" for their "unofficial apprenticeship". Needing very little convincing he had given them permission. Their mother and younger brother were sulking and complaining a lot and being all around ridiculous; no one told them of the party.

Harry had received a letter from Ron, talking about practicing for quidditch and how boring it was and asking about the Blood Feud and what he could do to get in on it. Hermione had received a letter the same night. In it, he had made various comments about Harry and his using his Blood Feud to get attention, how Ginny was going to St. Mungo's and now she was acting different and a little "out there", and then he had once again invited her to the Burrow. Hermione almost asked Sirius to prank him. The idiot really thought that badmouthing Harry would drive her into being his girlfriend.

Ginny had written letters to Harry and Hermione as well. In them, she had suggested to each that the other should be asked out. Apparently this was the crazy-talk that Ron had been alluding to. They were happy that Ginny was

Hermione was surprised at how naive she had been about Ronald.

At 11:00, Harry was taken by Sirius and Hermione by Tonks to the Longbottoms' house. The Grangers were planning on having a small celebration themselves at their house the next evening, before all of the meetings on Monday. Everyone figured that having it a day before Harry's actual birthday was not too odd as he was celebrating with Neville that day anyway, and who knew what would happen after Gringott's?

Neville was waiting at the door to greet them. "Welcome to the Ancient and Noble House of Longbottom, Lord Black and Scion of House Potter." Apparently it was custom to get the formal greetings out of the way first. "As Scion of Longbottom, I welcome you and grant you peace within."

Sirius replied, "I thank you Scion of Longbottom, and I accept your welcome and will abide by the peace of your House." Apparently, there were some forms that Harry still needed to learn.

Once the formal greetings were done, Neville greeted them more informally as he drew them inside. Neville, they could see, had changed significantly. They chatted about their summer for a bit while Neville took them to meet his Grandmother.

"Grandmother, I have welcomed the guests. Please greet Lord Black, Scion of Potter Harry Potter, Auror Nymphadora," Tonks scowled, "Tonks and Scion Potter's intended, Hermione Granger. This is my grandmother, Madame Augusta Longbottom, Lady of the Ancient and Noble House of Longbottom."

After the introductions and small talk had been concluded, Augusta asked Harry and Sirius to join her before the rest of the guests arrived at noon. She led them to the study.

"Scion Potter, I wanted to tell you that I was impressed by your performance in the Wizengamot. As a result of your actions, changes have come to the Ministry and to the magical world which have improved it beyond what could be believed a mere two months ago. I was happy to align House Longbottom in your Blood Feud against that spawn of House Gaunt. My son and daughter are being avenged, and I can't thank you enough."

"I thank you, Lady Longbottom, for your generous words." Sirius nodded with satisfaction at Harry's formal handling of the formidable Dowager Longbottom and Regent of House Longbottom. "I wear the sigil of House Longbottom in alliance quite proudly."

Augusta nodded in satisfaction and smiled at the teenager. "Once this Feud is done, I would speak to you and your Regent, Lord Black, of continuing the alliance. My son and your father were allies and friends and I would have that continue into the future."

"I would be honored. I hold your grandson as one of my closest friends and allies and would be proud to continue alliance in the future." Madam Longbottom had a tear of joy and pride for her grandson.

Augusta Longbottom was happy with her grandson. He had maintained his poise throughout the formal introductions. He had improved greatly this summer, and she now was no longer worried for the future of her late husband's house. He had begun to make important friends and allies and she could rest easy that he would maintain the honor of House Longbottom. Lady Longbottom considered the girl who had been announced as Harry Potter's intended. Her grandson had told her of the brilliant muggle-born witch. She was, from all reports, the brightest witch in Hogwarts and had stood her ground against the spawn of the pureblooded bigots.

"My grandson mentioned that your companion was your intended. Have you entered into a formal betrothal as of yet?"

Harry looked over at Sirius before answering. "I have not as of yet. However, I thank you for bringing up this point. I will discuss with my Regent and Godfather, Lord Black, the possibility of a Betrothal and ask him to negotiate on my behalf." Augusta smiled. It seemed that Harry Potter would respect the traditions of the Ancient and Noble Houses, and it made the possibility of future alliance even more attractive to her.

Madam Augusta Longbottom, Regent and Dowager Lady of the Ancient and Noble House of Longbottom, was not in any way a believer in the pureblood supremacy. She was, however, a great believer in tradition. She did not care whether people were pureblood, half-blood or muggle-born, as long as they respected the rules and customs of formal society. The supremacists did not like her as she refused to support laws based purely upon blood. She supported equality, but was a bit put off by some muggleborns who did not respect the traditions she had grown up with., but she would not discriminate because of it either.

Harry, Sirius and Augusta chatted for a few more minutes until Harry moved off to find Hermione and Neville. When he found them, Hermione was blushing slightly and Neville was almost smirking at him. Harry didn't even want to know.

At 11:50, people started arriving by floo to Neville's house. Included were the Weasley twins and Ginny, Luna, Hannah Abbott (who worked with Neville in Herbology) who brought Susan Bones, Cedric Diggory with Cho Chang, Katie Bell, Alicia Spinnet, Angelina Johnson, Fleur Delacour with Bill Weasley, Dean Thomas, and Seamus Finnegan.

Some had been invited because they were teammates and dorm mates, Fleur and Cedric had been invited as fellow champions, some had come with others.

Seamus had asked about Ron. Ginny had piped in with her own answer. "He isn't here because he seems to have his head stuck up his arse and so couldn't hear the invitation." Everyone who knew Ron chuckled, but only after Harry and Hermione had laughed loudly at Ginny's comment.

The presents were passed around and several games had sprung up around the place.

Luna was having more fun that she had ever remembered. She was treated well by all of the people attending and, contrary with what she was used to, people laughed with her and not at her. It was noticed by many that she spent a bit of time following Neville around closely. Speculation was running rampant for those not in the know about Harry and Hermione and Weasley twins had a blast flirting with the three pretty chasers. Seamus and Dean also were flirting with the other unattached girls, including Hannah, Susan and Ginny.

At one point, Ginny drew Harry off to the side. When Hermione seemed to be holding herself back, Ginny indicated that she could join them. Once they had moved outside, Ginny began her speech.

First she asked Harry, "Does Hermione know about what happened this summer?" After Harry nodded, Ginny continued. "I wanted to thank you for the way that you handled it all. I was so obsessed, I was willing to try anything to get the Boy-Who-Lived. If it had come out, it would have destroyed my family."

Harry answered, "It's alright, Ginny. I would never want to hurt your family, especially your father. I have been treated well by the Weasleys for the most part and I just wanted to see you happy and healthy." Ginny's eyes teared.

"I have been seeing a healer at St. Mungo's. After first year, there was still something wrong with me. No one had taken the time to make me get it checked out. I should have asked because I knew something was wrong. I'd hate to see what would have happened if I hadn't gotten checked."

Harry said gently, "I suspected. That's why I was happy to hear when Sirius mentioned your father would be taking you."

"He's been really great. The twins, Bill and Charlie have also been very supportive." Here her face fell. "Unfortunately, my mother still has some misguided idea of bringing you into the family by marrying me off to you." Her eyes brightened and she almost laughed. "Personally, I think you're already off the market. Something you two want to tell me?" and she raised an eyebrow.

Harry and Hermione looked at each other and laughed sheepishly while sporting crimson faces. Ginny squealed and demanded details. They told her about getting together after the tournament and that Harry and Sirius had been staying at Hermione's parents' house. Ginny laughed, "Oh, I would love to see my jealous git of a brother's face when he finds out." Harry and Hermione shuddered a little; they weren't totally looking forward to it. Ginny looked at Harry, "Well, I for one am happy for you." They thanked her and moved back inside.

Soon, however, Ginny was dragging Hermione and the other girls at the party off for some girl talk and Harry was turning a little green. The boys knew one thing. When girls were doing girl talk, it was time to make yourself scarce.

A bit later, they reappeared with most of the girls smirking at Harry and Hermione and Hermione was blushing just a bit even if she was smiling her small smile. Luna was looking at Neville speculatively. Harry and Neville looked at each other and seemed to mutually decide one thing: They really didn't want to know.

The quidditch players of the group dragged the non players outside for a bit of fun. Neville and Hermione were even convinced to get on brooms themselves. Neville looked much more confident than he had in first year; Harry's thought was that he might make a decent beater after all of the exercise had changed his physique into a more compatible one for the position.

Hermione was the most nervous, but Harry convinced her to fly with him, and the girls at the party oohed and ahhed the cute scene of Hermione sitting in front of Harry on a broom with his arms around her. The boys catcalled and whistled until the girls starting hitting them. Everyone had a good laugh.

Soon, Sirius and Tonks had returned to take them back to the Grangers as the party broke up.

It was a very good day.

That night, the Grangers had a smaller celebration with Harry for his birthday. Sirius had arranged a night for Harry and Hermione on the town the next Friday with the help of the Grangers, including dinner and tickets for a show. The Grangers had kicked in with a limousine rental. Moony and Tonks had gifted Harry with spell books and offers for special training for the rest of the summer when they moved to Sirius's house. Hermione, with Sirius's help, had gotten him cufflinks for formal wear with the Potter crest.

All in all, it was a very nice party. Hermione didn't tell him that she had plans for his actual birthday the next day.

After some snogging and "exploring", they went to bed knowing the next day, July 31st, would require them to be well rested and alert.

Chapter Text

Harry and Hermione got up the next morning early.

Today was the 31st of July. It was the day that Harry would hear the wills of his parents, four years after he should have heard them. He also had a meeting to resolve fully, for so many people, the incidents of the past.

They, along with all of the other house occupants, would travel to Gringott's to take care of all the family business. The Grangers would drive them, because the plan was that after the meeting the whole group of them would move to Grimmauld Place. Harry was looking forward to seeing what the goblins had done with the place.

He also had a sense of anticipation, tinged with not worry so much as anxiety. Something would happen today; he could feel it.

So, they got into the car and traveled to the Leaky Cauldron. Winky and Dobby had been given the day to move the Grangers, Sirius's, Harry's, Tonk's and Remus's personal effects.

When they arrived to the Cauldron, Tom greeted them as they passed toward Diagon Alley. The shopping district was relatively quiet, which suited Harry right down to the ground.

Harry was greeted in the now almost typical fashion by the goblins and the group was ushered directly to Ragnok's office. Ragnok greeted them and invited them to sit down. He informed Harry that there were a few more people named in the wills that were still to show up in the fifteen minutes left before the scheduled reading at 9:00.

Harry was surprised, but acknowledged the information. They made pleasant small talk as they waited. At five minutes of the hour, several more witches and wizards were shown into the office. These included Amos Diggory and his wife, Amelia Bones, Ted and Andromeda Tonks, Augusta Longbottom, and, surprisingly to Harry and those that knew her, Petunia Dursley.

Petunia was nervous, but held a somewhat disapproving look to her face.

Ragnok called the meeting to order.

"Welcome to the will readings of James and Lily Potter. This will reading has been delayed by 4 years. It should have been scheduled by the named Executor of the Estate, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. As he has failed in this duty, Gringott's has taken over, as per the treaties with the Ministry of Magic, as Executor of the Potter Estate.

"With the exception of Mr. Robert and Mrs. Emma Granger and their daughter, you have all been called because your name, or the name of someone for whom you hold Regency, were named in some way in the wills. Are there any questions or requests before I begin?"

"Director Ragnok," Harry began, "may I and my godfather consult privately for a few short moments with my Aunt Petunia before we begin?" Petunia looked more nervous and even more disapproving at this.

Director Ragnok nodded. "You may. I offer the use of my private office should you wish it." Harry thanked him, and led a reluctant Petunia as the Captain opened his office door for them.

When they entered the office and the door was closed, Harry turned toward Petunia.

"Aunt Petunia, I know you do not approve of the magical world, or witches or wizards or goblins. However, in consideration for your family, I must warn you before you get yourself killed." Petunia looked shocked and scandalized.

"Look, the being you were looking so disapproving on is the equivalent of a King. And not the King of a nation, but the King of an entire people." Petunia looked rather nervous at this. "Consider this. Director Ragnok is the Chief of the Goblin Nation. There are goblins in every country on the Continent, Russia, the Far East, America, Australia and probably more countries that I don't even know of. He is the leader to them all.

"Goblins are a warlike race that do not like humans particularly. They control the banks by treaty, but have been discriminated against for THOUSANDS of years. Humans, particularly witches and wizards, have treated them with disrespect and not honored their customs. You are a muggle, and so you are not particularly more disliked than anyone else in there, save the group that I am with. The Goblin Nation has allied itself to me in the war against the evil wizard that killed my parents."

Petunia looked shocked. "I thought he was dead!"

"He's back." Petunia began looking very scared. "According to a prophesy, I am the only one who can kill him successfully." At this, Petunia held the smallest amount of concern. It was the first time in this life, and the second time in his existence including his earlier lives, that he appreciated that she was his flesh and blood. "The goblins have declared him their enemy. As a result, they have allied themselves with me. Not only have allied themselves, but placed themselves under my command in the war against him."

Petunia almost fainted.

"So, I ask you, as I have never asked for anything else in my life, in this one thing you must be very careful. Treat the creature with respect. Because if you insult him, I will have to allow him to take his displeasure out on you in whatever way he wishes. It's too important not only to wizards and witches but to the whole world that the war is successful. Do you understand?"

The very concerned look that Harry gave her convinced her, more so than his words, as to the seriousness of what he was saying. Finally she nodded shortly and said, "Fine. Thank you for the warning." She then set her face in a very neutral expression, the same expression she used for those that she had to deal with, whether she approved of them or not.

Harry led her out, back to the gathering. Petunia curtseyed briefly to Ragnok as Harry bowed and said, "I thank you for time and apologize for the interruption to the proceedings."

Ragnok waved his hand and said, "Do not let it concern you, Lord Potter." Ragnok, for his part, respected that Harry had apparently corrected the horse-faced woman in her behavior. He would allow much for Lord Potter's sake, but the consideration was welcome.

At the "Lord Potter", Petunia's face took on a startled look before she reset her face back to neutral. Apparently, there was more to her nephew than she had been told.

Ragnok continued. "Are there any more questions or requests?" When there was no response, he began reading the wills.

"I will read the main statement of the will and the additional details as well as any attendant paperwork shall be dealt with individually after the reading."

"Here is the will of James Potter:

"This is the Last Will and Testament of Lord James Charles Potter, Head of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter. All previous wills shall be considered null and void.

"I, James Charles Potter, being of sound mind and body, direct my Estate to be bequeathed as follows:

Sirius Orion Black, Scion to the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black, marauder, brother and friend, shall be given G10,000 to be used as he sees fit. I recommend that he buy a lot of fire-whisky and have a big party in my honor.

Remus John Lupin, of the House of Lupin, marauder, brother and friend, shall be given G10,000. This may not be refused. I'm dead and you can't give it back."

"The next bequest, to Peter Edward Pettigrew, has been declared null and void by the Executor of the Estate, as he was found guilty of causing the death of Lord James Potter and so cannot benefit.

"Harry James Potter, my son and now Lord of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter, shall continue to have access to the trust of G40,000. This trust shall be renewed to the maximum level each year until he reaches his majority.

At his majority, Harry James Potter shall be invested with the authority of the Head of House Potter. Until that time, Lily Evans Potter shall hold Regency of House Potter and all Privileges and Responsibilities held by House Potter.

At his majority, Harry James Potter shall receive the remaining assets of the House of Potter, minus other bequests, with the stipulation that he continue to support his mother in the style of which she should be accustomed to as the Lady of House Potter.

Bequests for my wife's family shall be authorized at her discretion.

Should my wife predecease me or should we die at the same time, the order of guardianship of Harry James Potter shall be as follows, devolving to the first legally available,

Sirius Orion Black, godfather,

Alice Smith Longbottom, godmother. Her son would be a wonderful brother to my own.

Frank William Longbottom

Remus John Lupin, you may be a werewolf but you love Harry and that is good enough for us and you would keep him safe.

Andromeda and Ted Tonks, their daughter would be a wonderful sister to Harry as well

Mr. and Mrs. Amos Diggory

Should none of these be available, my wife's sister Petunia Evans Dursley shall be granted guardianship through a reputable fostering agency, but only with the approval of Amelia Bones of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement or her successor. Regular inspections shall be required and should she found to be unsuitable, guardianship shall fall to the next in line.

A reputable orphanage, once again with the approval of Amelia Bones or her successor.

A stipend of G3000 per annum or the muggle equivalent shall be paid from my Estate for his care.

Regency of House Potter and it's responsibilities and privileges shall be as follows, devolving the first legally available:

Lily Evans Potter, Lady of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter

Sirius Orion Black, Head of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black

Frank Longbottom, Head of the Ancient and Noble House of Longbottom

Andromeda Tonks. Should neither of the two first listed be available and should she not currently be recognized as a member of an Ancient or Noble House, she shall be adopted into House Potter as law and custom allows as she is related within 5 generations.

Amos Diggory, Head of the Ancient House of Diggory

Amelia Bones, Lady of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Bones

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore or his successor

A stipend of G2000 per annum shall be paid to the Regent of House Potter for the proper upholding of the Privileges and Responsibilities of House Potter.

Any Betrothal Contract for Lord Harry James Potter shall be created and executed at his discretion and not at the discretion of his guardian or the Regent of House Potter. The Regent of the House of Potter is directed to follow his instructions. He shall be able to execute this clause at the age of 14 and marry at the age of 16 should he desire it.

The Executor of my Estate shall be Lily Evans or, should she be deceased, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.

Harry, if you are hearing this, forgive me for no longer being there for you. I did my best, and I love you. I have tried to create the world that I wanted you to grow up in. Should I fail, I expect you to hold the traditions of our house.

Signed and Sealed by my hand, this 20th day of the July in the Year of Our Lord 1981.

James Charles Potter, Lord of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter, Senior Heir to the Most Noble House of Gryffindor, Heir to the Ancient House of Peverell

Witnessed, Lily Evans Potter

Witnessed, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore"

"This concludes the reading of James Potter's will. Lily Evans Potter's will is as follows:

"This is the Last Will and Testament of Lady Lily Evans Potter, Lady of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter. All previous wills shall be considered null and void.

I, Lily Evans Potter, being of sound mind and body, direct my Estate to be bequeathed as follows:

The Estate of the House of Potter shall be directed according to the Last Will and Testament of the Lord of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter, James Charles Potter.

My personal assets shall be divided as follows:

Petunia Evans Dursley, my sister. We have not always gotten along, but she is my sister and I love her. 200,000 Pounds, either from assets in British pounds exchanged for equivalent Galleons from House Potter or converted by Gringott's and deposited in the Bank of England. This shall be considered untouchable by her husband, should she wish it.

The balance of my personal assets shall go to my son, Harry James Potter, and shall be added to his trust account with Gringott's, accounted separately from the trust set up from the Estate of the House of Potter. I love you Harry and I want you to grow up, find a girl you love completely, get married and give me lots of grandchildren even if I am not there to enjoy them

The Executor of my Estate shall be my husband, James Charles Potter, or should he be deceased, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.

Signed and Sealed by my hand, this 20th day of July in the Year of Our Lord 1981.

Lily Evans Potter, Lady of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter

Witnessed, James Charles Potter

Witnessed, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore"

All around the room, those that knew the Potters were softly crying. Harry was being comforted by Hermione. These wills created so many questions, but the main emotion Harry was feeling for the moment was grief.

After several minutes, the room had calmed down.

Finally, Harry began, "I thank you, Director Ragnok, for the reading of my parents' wills. From the contents of the wills, it is obvious that they have not been followed."

"That is correct, Lord Potter. Gringott's shall be assessing penalties against the Estate of Albus Dumbledore. Additionally, copies of the wills shall be turned over to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement for any criminal proceedings they wish to carry out."

"I thank you. There is one portion of my father's will which I must consult on privately with yourself as the Executor, Minister Bones and Petunia Dursley. Can we move into your private office for this?"

Ragnok led Harry, Amelia and Petunia toward his office. Harry had also grabbed Hermione's hand to bring her with him. He would need her emotional support.

Once they had been seated, Harry brought up his concern.

"Director Ragnok, I would like adjudication to be made as to the stipend due for my care growing up." Harry glanced with some small satisfaction tinged with bitterness at his Aunt Petunia. "I have submitted memories of my childhood to Madam Bones. I am aware that with everything that has happened since I did so that she might not have found time to review them. However, I request that you consult with her as to the validity of disbursing the stipend, which I calculate at G37,500. This is not my decision. This is the decision of Madam Bones and yourself as Executor in-fact of the Estate. I only made this meeting private because I do not want to air my concerns to a wide audience."

As Harry spoke, Ragnok had become more and more tense. Lord Potter had insinuated that all had not been well with his childhood and the creature possibly responsible was in his private office. Madam Bones had looked sharply at Harry before sending a withering glance at Petunia Dursley.

Petunia, for her part, knew that if the memories were reviewed that she and her husband would be in deep shite trouble. She became more and more frightened. "I will relinquish all claims to the stipend. No review is necessary."

The two leaders of the magical world looked at Harry for his response.

"Because she relinquishes the claim, no review need be done. If her part is done, can she be excused. I am sure she will except the information on how to collect her bequeath from my mother's will by mail."

Ragnok looked at Petunia as though he wanted to put her on a spit and roast her. "Mrs. Dursley, the Bank of England shall contact you as to your inheritance. You may go." Ragnok opened the door and Petunia beat a hasty retreat. Ragnok said a short phrase to the Captain and Petunia was escorted out as Ragnok closed the door to the office.

"May I ask, Lord Potter, why you asked for no further action? It seemed that there should be some concerns which might be of interest to law enforcement indicated by this consultation."

Harry looked at Amelia and Ragnok while squeezing Hermione's hand, "That may be true. But what is the equivalent of G37,500 in British Pounds?"

Ragnok thought a moment and said, "Approximately 300,000 pounds."

Harry's grin was predatory as he said. "The biggest punishment that she and her husband could be given was to be told that she just lost out on 300,000 pounds. I suggest you send her a letter acknowledging that in consideration for my not pressing charges against her and her husband, as Executor you accept her relinquishment of the stipend and tell her how much she just gave up."

Ragnok looked at Harry for a moment before he threw his head back and laughed. Harry and the others joined in. Ragnok could appreciate the pain that an enemy could feel when they were hurt using money. If he couldn't kill the vile creature, this was the next best thing.

They continued to laugh as Ragnok led them back out into the more general meeting. When all had settled down, Ragnok finished it up.

"I am aware that a number of you were not due any monetary gain from the wills. You were called because you were named. Madam Bones shall be given the information, and," here Ragnok grinned again, "you might want to take this into account in your dealings with Albus Dumbledore. I hope you can use the information given here well."

The witches and wizards that were not in Harry's group thanked him, and individually expressed condolences and outrage to Harry.

"Now, before this meeting is adjourned there is one more item." Here Ragnok looked at Remus. "The were named Fenrir Grayback has been apprehended by the Goblin Nation." Remus's eyes began to gleam as he looked at the other assembled wizards and witches who were also members of the Ministry and Wizengamot. "According to conversations that myself, Lord Potter and Remus Lupin had when this creature was discussed in the context of the Blood Feud of House Potter, according to the laws of the pack, he must die in single combat with another were."

"Mr. Lupin, when do you wish to engage this creature in combat?"

Remus answered without hesitation. "At your earliest possible convenience."

Ragnok looked to Amelia. "Does the Ministry of Magic object to this?"

Amelia thought about it for a moment. "As this is part of the execution of the Blood Feud against House Gaunt and this creature is a known follower of Tom Riddle, accused in the murder and infection of several children and adults, the Ministry has no objection it can voice."

"It is now 9:45. There is a meeting at 2:00 involving Lord Potter and some others here. I can set the combat up in one hour, if the Ministry will provide witnesses. Werewolf witnesses are already available. Mr. Lupin will be treated as necessary by healers under our employ afterward. Are there any objections?" Ragnok looked to everyone in the room. Harry just looked to Remus with trepidation. Remus looked almost enthusiastic to face this. Harry could not stop it.

All around the room, no one could voice an objection, even as Tonks, Sirius and the Grangers wanted to shout out in denial. "Who will witness this?"

Sirius stood forth. "I will witness this in support of my brother."

Amelia said, "I will witness for the Ministry of Magic." Amos also agreed to witness for the Ministry as he was a member of the Department of Magical Creatures. Augusta agreed as an ally in the Feud and as a member of the Wizengamot.

Tonks, Hermione, Emma, Robert and Harry just fell in beside Remus. If their friend would face injury and death, they would stand by him.

"Very well, Mr. Lupin. You shall be taken to prepare. You may bring one other with you. The rest will gather in one hour and be taken to the combat area by cart. The combat will begin at 11:00."

Remus was led by two very respectful goblins. He took Sirius with him.

Harry and the Grangers asked for a private place near the combat arena to compose themselves, while the rest left.

They were taken by cart down to a large area, set in dirt and stone. They were taken to a room carved out of rock nearby.

Tonks started to break down a bit. She had become quite fond of Remus and did not want to see him hurt. She knew that this was necessary. The alternative method of war was much worse, but this didn't comfort her very much at the moment. The others consoled her and each other while waiting. Emma led them in a prayer from her religion. Though her family was no longer practicing due to the Church's stance on witches, the prayer gave them all comfort.

At 10:55, they were led to a tier surrounding the large area. The other witnesses, including the Ministry members, the werewolves and members of the press were also upon the tier spaced around the arena. At 10:58, Remus arrived, followed by Sirius. The two clasped arms and then embraced. Rather than move away above, Sirius changed into Padfoot and padded the wall behind. He might not be allowed to fight. But he would be there for his brother regardless.

At 11:00, a procession arrived opposite Remus. Fenrir Grayback was rolled in a moving cage with silver bars. He was burned and ragged from exposure. He was alive and obviously conscious, but the goblins were obviously not expecting a fair fight. To a goblin, a fair fight was one they could win and the only dirty trick was the one the enemy did. Harry looked more hopeful for Remus.

Ragnok called out, "Although this creature has been found to be an ally of the wizard Tom Riddle and so has forfeited his life in Blood Feud, according to the laws of the pack, Remus Lupin, werewolf, shall be the one to deliver final justice. Let the struggle commence." The goblins at the cage unlocked the door and by some mechanism pushed it open and then withdrew.

Fenrir Grayback feverishly climbed out of the cage. Remus took one hate filled look at him and snarled out his challenge. Grayback answered as the two moved toward each other, both in a stance to attack.

For the next ten minutes, the two attacked each other intent on the kill. Shortly it was obvious that although Grayback was a vicious fighter, Remus had more skill and was in much better health. Finally Grayback was on the ground unconscious. Remus was standing over him with blood dripping down various injuries as he stood over his foe. A goblin entered and handed Remus a sword in a sheath and then withdrew.

Remus pulled the sword from the scabbard and could see that while the handle was steel, the blade itself was silver, either alloyed or plated.

Remus took the handle in both hands and chopped it down on Grayback's neck. When the vicious werewolf was dead, Remus stood, threw his head back and howled, a shockingly wolf-like sound even in his wizard's form. Padfoot ran up and howled with him before transforming back and embracing Remus.

Remus staggered as he was led off by healers to get his wounds attended to while the body of the criminal was put in a bag and turned over to two Aurors that had arrived with Amelia. Before he had been led away, Remus wiped the gory blade on the rags covering Grayback and handed the sword by the handle to one of the goblin attendants and saluted.

Harry had stood and watched and held Hermione in one arm as she cried to watch one of her favorite people in a fight to the death. Tonks was held in the other arm. Robert held Emma. When it was over the two men looked at each other with the same look of resolve. There was no satisfaction in seeing death but both acknowledged with the look that this was necessary.

It took an hour before the group had refreshed themselves and then been taken to see Remus. Tonks ran ahead of the rest of them and threw herself at the man in the bed who had a few bandages. Remus had a look of grim satisfaction until his face changed to tenderness and just a bit of embarrassment at the emotional display.

Remus, having only superficial cuts, was soon released. The cuts could not all be healed by magic due to the nature of the scratched by Grayback even in human form, but Remus considered it a small price to pay to see the end to the evil being that had infected him as a child.

The group was led to a room. When offered refreshment by goblins, Harry thanked them and indicated that he would see to his own comfort. He really did not want to insist the goblins serve him. Harry called Dobby, and the group had a light meal with just a bit of wine to settle down.

Soon it was time to have the other meeting that Harry had fretted about.

Chapter Text

Harry and the others were led by to a conference room. There were too many people to fit into Ragnok's office really, and so one of the larger conference rooms was used. It was set up in the traditional manner of a lecturing hall as opposed to a board room with a large central table.

Harry was led to the speakers' table located next to the lectern. Hermione and her parents were someone surprised to be put in the audience section but were reassured by Harry's manner. Sirius sat next to Harry with Tonks seated behind and to the other side as his bodyguard. Lupin was also placed in the audience.

Slowly different people began to enter the room. Before anyone could come up to Harry and greet him, Harry leaned toward Sirius and said quietly, "Do you remember the clause of my father's will about betrothal?" Sirius nodded, hiding his smirk. "I would appreciate it if you as my guardian and Regent would negotiate with the Grangers."

Sirius could barely contain himself as he asked, "And what dowry would you ask for?" Harry looked at him shocked. "Betrothal contract's got to have a dowry. The dowry determines the value of the woman."

Harry sighed quietly. If he asked for too little he would imply he didn't value Hermione. If he asked for too much, he would look like one of those pureblooded idiots. Sometimes being a member of the wizarding nobility sucked. The he had a thought. "Remember the G100,000 I kept of the sale?" Sirius nodded, wondering where this was going. "How about you negotiate a bride-price to Hermione's family of G100,000 and a dowry in return of G100,001?"

Sirius sat back and laughed uproariously. The plan was brilliant as both dowries and bride-price were recognized parts of betrothal contracts. There had just never been a contract that contained both.

The Grangers looked at the two, and Sirius said loud enough for them to hear, "I'll tell you later," and then winked. Hermione was very curious. So were her parents, but they thought that anything that engendered such clear amusement and delight on Sirius's part couldn't be all bad. Remus, knowing Sirius, recognized a prank of epic proportions being planned on someone or something. When he learned of it later, he would recognize it as a prank on the whole Ancient, Noble and Pureblood house structure.

The Hogwarts students and Alumni that knew Harry and Hermione made it a point to greet them both and each other. The Weasleys came in and sat in the back. At least Mrs. Weasley did. Ginny and Arthur came to greet Harry, Hermione and Sirius. Apparently Molly Weasley was still sulking. Harry did notice the small gleam of satisfaction that Harry was still apparently alone as he only had his Godfather and an Auror sitting with him. She will be disappointed; oh well, Harry chuckled to himself.

At one point, Slipknife with Fleur following came in. Unlike the rest of those coming in the room, after greeting Harry and his friends, they joined him at the speaker's table.

Harry noted another arrival who sat in the back. Severus Snape came in with an expressionless face. With him was Minerva McGonagall, as the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts. Harry had invited her to oversee the result of the expedition to the Chamber of Secrets. Hagrid also had come with them and he made his way up to greet them before taking a place with his fellow professors. When Filch came in, he also sat within the group.

Finally, when all the rest of the people had arrived, Ragnok came in. Harry stood and they saluted each other as fellow warriors. When Harry stood, everyone else had stood as well. Most bowed or curtseyed with a small amount of prodding. Remus saluted. Snape hesitated the most, but McGonagall had looked at him with her disapproving look and he sketched a bow.

Finally Ragnok reached the podium. He waved toward their show of respect and said "Please all sit down."

Once everyone had taken a seat, he continued. "You have all been gathered here today because at some point in the past, with a few small exceptions, you or a one of your family members was attacked by a creature at Hogwarts. This creature was a basilisk. It was under the control of either Tom Marvolo Riddle or someone possessed by that creature."

Hermione and her parents had figured out why they were in the audience. Looks of comprehension were on many faces.

"The exceptions also include those that were used in some way as regards this, in order for the crime to become untraceable to him." Ginny paled and her father put his arm around her shoulder. Hagrid had a stony look.

"And finally, those that do not fall into either of these categories either know why you are here or will be informed during or after the meeting."

"First, I want to inform you that the creature was killed in 1993 by a then-12 year old Harry James Potter. According to law and tradition, as the slayer of the beast he could claim the spoils." Here Snape's face became VERY stony.

"However, per his own stated request, you have all been summoned here because you, as victims of the beast or the family member of a victim, will share in the proceeds."

Gasps were heard around the room. One particular older gentleman in the audience had tears running down his eyes. When he was a young boy, his older sister had gone off to a school in Scotland. During her education, she had been the victim of some murderer and was killed. The family had grieved for a long while after that. When he himself had been found to have magic, his family had gone out of their way to send him to a school on the Continent. They did not want to lose him as well. He hoped that Myrtle rested easier now that the beast had been killed. He would soon be shocked.

Other older folks in the audience remembered their petrifaction. Rubeus Hagrid had been expelled. But apparently, as he was here, he had been framed in some way. All knew who Tom Marvolo Riddle was since the Daily Prophet had reported the Blood Feud.

The victims of the more recent attacks and their families looked at Harry with a bit of gratitude. Harry had come through, though reviled and attacked and had saved the school. Ginny was especially appreciative as he had directly saved her life.

"Lord Potter contracted Gringott's to retrieve and render the beast, and asked that we purchase it with an eye toward arranging the proceeds to be distributed more quickly. Gringott's, in the spirit of our alliance with Lord Potter and in recognition of his use of a goblin made artifact to achieve his victory, has waived the normal collection and sales fee. Gringott's has made no monetary profit on your suffering or on Lord Potter's valorous actions." Around the room, the audience familiar with goblin customs were a bit shocked. No one had ever heard of a goblin passing up an opportunity to profit.

"I will now call Lord Potter to explain the distributions." Ragnok nodded and sat down as Harry stood and made his way to the podium. Sirius and Tonks had moved behind him to either side.

"First, I must the ask the goblins for an exact figure of the proceeds available for distribution, excluding the monies and items that were held back for various reasons. Assessor Slipknife, Ms Delacour?" The two stood and conferred for a moment.

Slipknife called out, "Unlike the previous amount based off of Lord Potter's assumption that we would purchase the items for later resale, the amount is based off of actual sale of many items already. Gringott's has worked since Saturday night and has used its contacts worldwide, as my Director has stated without profit, to achieve the maximum value as soon as possible. This goblin honor dictated as it was our leader's direction that Gringott's take no monetary profit."

Harry looked over at Ragnok surprised. Ragnok had a look of satisfaction on his face. Lord Potter had attempted, in consideration for the goblin's normal mode of operation, to allow Gringott's to maintain some profit. Ragnok had given his word that they would waive the fees and profits. Unlike other instances of possible inadvertent insult, he knew that Lord Potter in no way intended such and in fact was trying to honor them. Normally implied insult was intended or occurred because Wizards took no consideration of them. In this case, the opposite was true and Lord Potter would learn that even profit took a back seat to a goblin's honor. Slipknife had been chastised for even giving Lord Potter the option. There was a time for normal procedures and this was not it. The goblin had narrowly avoided more ... permanent ... punishment and was only excused by Lord Potters obvious intentions on the goblins behalf.

"So, the total amount of the monetary proceeds, minus the disbursements already arranged, is G1,369,000." The room was shocked at the number.

"Thank you, Assessor Slipknife, Ms. Delacour and Director Ragnok. Please give me a moment." After he had bowed to the assessing team and a salute for Ragnok, he took a moment to redo a little math. Finally he looked out at the audience.

"The heir of Myrtle Malone, please stand." The older man stood up. "Myrtle was the only victim directly killed. As a result, the portion in recognition for your families pain and suffering, shall be increased by a certain percentage. I would have you know that I like Myrtle. As a ghost, she is an interesting part of Hogwarts and she aided me in finding the basilisk so I could kill it, as well as in other ways."

The older man was shocked. "'s a ghost?"

"Yes. I was not aware that you did not know. Perhaps, if you wish, you can talk to Deputy Headmistress McGonagall," Harry pointed to her and she stood for a moment, "after the meeting if you might wish to talk to her. To continue, as the only recorded death, G250,000 galleons shall be presented to you as her heir." The man was in shock.

"Before I go on, I would like to say that proceeds to those victims who are at this time still minors shall be distributed thusly: 40% shall be added to a trust vault for them, for their majority, 10% shall be placed in a vault accessible to them directly and the remaining 50% shall be given to their guardian for the support of their whole family.

"To continue, Rubeus Hagrid, please stand." Hagrid stood up. "You were framed by Tom Riddle and expelled with your wand snapped. Later you were placed in Azkaban by a corrupt official to give the illusion that something was being done about the attacks. This had far reaching consequences. Your income for 50 years after the attacks was negatively affected. As a result, in compensation for the lost income as well as pain an suffering, G150,000 shall be given you. You may be seated.

"Ginerva Molly Weasley, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, please stand." The all stood. Ginny was nervous, Arthur was supportive and Molly was calculating, even though she tried to hide this under a façade of concern for her daughter. "You know how you were victimized. Of the rest of the victims, you were the closest to having been killed directly by Tom Riddle. You and your family, as previously explained, shall receive G100,000 total." The Weasley's fell back in their seats in shock. Ginny sobbed into her father's chest as he held her, remembering the horrible days of possession. She was better, but she was not totally healed.

"Argus Filch, please stand." The caretaker of Hogwarts stood nervously. "Unfortunately, the pain of the attack on one's familiar is much more difficult to quantify as regards your suffering versus that of those that lost weeks and months of their lives or were otherwise directly victimized. However, even I recognize the pain involved." Harry remembered Hedwig's injuries in fifth year and her death before the camping trip. "Please do not consider that I respect your pain any less than any other's. But your percentage is smaller than most. G5000 will be your compensation for pain and suffering." At that Filch actually looked happy as he sat down.

Argus Filch was aware of the way the wizarding world viewed squibs such as he himself was. It had made him a bitter man. The obvious lack of consideration galled him. However, finally someone in the wizarding world recognized him not as a squib, but as a man with the same feelings as any other, no matter how magical. Money was not his concern really, not even power over miscreants. Even if it seemed otherwise at times, common consideration was worth far more to such a man as Filch was. He was well satisfied.

"That leaves a balance of G774,000. G144,000 of this shall be set aside for charitable work. That leaves G630,000. The remaining 9 victims and their families shall receive G70,000 for each victim. For the muggle parents, that is approximately 560,000 pounds.

"Are there any questions from those that have been addressed? Very well. Professor's McGonagall and Snape, please stay after the meeting and your part will be further explained."

Slowly, the different people that had arrived drifted up to thank Harry before they were taken by goblin teller to get their compensation. Mrs. Weasley was once again overbearingly motherly, and Harry almost laughed when he saw Ginny rolling her eyes. Arthur had just thanked Harry sincerely and moved on. Ginny and the other females present each gave Harry a hug or curtseyed and the men shook his hand or bowed to him, each depending on whether they knew him or not. The one exception was Percy Weasley who had come with his fiance, Penelope Clearwater. Rather than shake his hand, Percy bowed formally and thanked him for making both his sister's and his fiance's lives more comfortable and secure. Myrtle's brother had arranged with Professor McGonagall to meet later in the afternoon. He really wanted to talk to Myrtle again. Hagrid had expressed a wish to just go get drunk.

When all was said and done, the only people left were Ragnok with his Guard, Harry, the Grangers, Tonks, the Marauders, and Professors Snape and McGonagall. Harry could see, while the rest were leaving, Professor McGonagall warning Snape against any disrespect against anyone. This caused him to chuckle inside. Once a miserable git, always a miserable git.

"Professor Snape, please join us as I wish to discuss an offer regarding potions."

Ragnok led the whole group back to his office.

Once the group was ensconced back in Ragnok's office, Harry took it down to brass tacks.

"Professor Snape, you are one of the foremost experts in the Britain or even Greater Europe of not only the brewing of potions, but their improvement and creation. Is this not correct?"

Snape looked at Harry keenly. Yes, he was well known for the brewing and improvement of potions, but very few in fact knew of his skill in the creation of potions. He narrowed his eyes wondering where the brat had learned this information. He could not use legilimency on Potter in this instance, as it would be dangerous for his health. He nodded breifly.

"Do you often have access to the resources that you might need to do research into particular potions."

Snape considered this. Although he had many resources as Potions Master, there were limits. "Not as such. My position limits my opportunity in this area."

"If you had the resources, would you have the time?"

Snape replied in his silky voice, "Should resources be available, I have been known to make time available for research. It is part of the value of being at Hogwarts."

"Very well, I have an offer. Please hear me out before replying." Snape nodded again. "I offer the following; as a result of the expedition to recover the basilisk's carcass, I now have the resources to offer in exchange for research of which I would like to see done. The resources for this are as follows:

"6.4 Oz of basilisk venom, 30 pounds of basilisk viscera useful in potions, G14,000 as compensation and G60,000 for costs. In addition, there are G36,100 worth of potions ingredients recovered from the Chamber from Slytherin's own potions lab that shall be presented to the Potions Department on September 1st.

"All of this I will provide, as well as further resources if there is a demonstrable need, in exchange for research into cures for certain afflictions, the first being lycanthropy. Are you interested in this offer or should I take it to a different Potions Master?"

All around the room, the listeners were astounded. Remus had tears in his eyes, as did Sirius and Tonks. Minerva McGonagall was beaming proudly at her cub that had matured so much in such a short time. The Grangers were also glowing with happiness that some good would come out of this horrible war. Hermione could barely contain her desire to throw her arms around Harry and snog him senseless for the thought and consideration that he was showing. Her petrifaction would be worth it if it a cure could be found.

Snape was sitting with a outwardly calm and set expression as his thoughts were in turmoil.

Harry Potter had put him in an uncomfortable position. On the one hand, any spawn of James Potter could only be good for creating trouble and seeking ill-gotten attention. On the other hand, an offer had been made which would be a Potion Master's dream come true. An extremely large budget with access to rare and valuable ingredients could go far in advancing his art beyond the vision of the most optimistic master. And if there was one thing he respected, it was those who made severe effort and contribution in the advancement of his art.

He knew that this was offer was made with the vicious beast that was a companion of his childhood nemesis in mind. He did not wish to help the foul creature. But this offer could also put his name in the history books and be known far into the future.

Harry had a thought. "One moment, Professor. Professor McGonagall, Director Ragnok, can agreements be made as to another copy of any tomes or scrolls that were found in Slytherin's study for the Head of Slytherin House in addition to the copies for the Library and the Headmaster's Library?"

Ragnok and Professor McGonagall looked at each other, and Professor McGonagall nodded to Director Ragnok. Ragnok turned to Harry and said, "That can be arranged."

Harry turned to Professor Snape and added, "A large cache of knowledge was recovered from the Chamber of Secrets. I must ask you to keep this to yourself until it is announced, but many items will be presented back to the school soon which includes rare tomes and scrolls. Possibly included would be Potions knowledge from Slytherin's personally study."

Professor Snape looked into Harry's eyes, and for the first time in this existence could appreciate that there was a portion of his mother in him.

"After consideration, I will agree to the offer as stated."

Harry beamed. "Very good. Director Ragnok, can I ask that Gringott's set up and manage the charitable foundation that will be in charge of this and write up the agreements? As this is not included in our alliance or for my family personally, I would expect standard fees to be assessed. The remaining 70,000 would be included in this as well. This would cover fees and the payment for the brewing and distribution of wolfsbane potion for those that need it, possibly brewed by apprentices or gifted students under the direction of a Potions Master."

Ragnok nodded to him. "This is acceptable, Lord Potter. The agreements and registration papers will be drawn up and be ready to be signed in 10 days. Do you have a particular administrator in mind to manage this?"

Harry waved airily. "Any goblin you assign I am sure will be more than sufficient."

Shortly Snape and McGonagall left and the remaining people were hugging and thanking Harry. Ragnok watched in amusement. Apparently Lord Potter did not seek glory for himself. It was an unusual quality and quite outside the goblin mindset, as such glory for the good works one does as well as deeds accomplished would definitely be considered as part of the honor of a goblin. He would have to ponder this.

Harry and Hermione were sent out of the bank as Sirius had mentioned wanting to talk to Ragnok about some Black family business. The Grangers were invited to take refreshment from Winky or Dobby in a separate room as they did not feel the desire to go out and about in the alley.

Harry and Hermione spent a bit of time walking around the alley. Unfortunately, him wearing his formal robes was catching the attention of the crowds. His Feud against Voldemort was known by all, and the public revered him as the savior of the wizarding world. Luckily though, the Auror guard they had helped keep some of the public back.

After greeting several witches and wizards, they moved to a private booth at the ice cream shop. Florean Fortescue served them personally. He was friendly as he had spent time chatting with Harry about wizarding history when Harry had stayed in the alley before third year. His was one death that Harry could have done nothing about in the prior time line, and he hoped it was one that could be avoided this time. Harry introduced Hermione as his girlfriend and the man chatted with them. Hermione found him as engaging as Harry had.

After about an hour, Sirius was also done with the bank and the group left toward their new summer accommodations, 12 Grimmauld Place.

Arriving at the seedy part of town, everyone looked around. Sirius had explained that his home was hidden. The home had been under the Fidelius charm for a long time. Muggles around the them had long accepted the error in numbering when it was noted, in passing, that 12 Grimmauld Place did not exist.

Sirius wrote on a piece of parchment and passed it around. Harry read it and it said, "The Black Family Home is at 12 Grimmauld Place, London."

Once Harry had read it, just as it had in his last lives, the house popped into view between number 11 and number 13. The house seemed to shove the others aside and the Grangers were impressed. This was magic they had never imagined.

Sirius directed them toward a garage that had at one time help horses, hippogriffs, and other steeds that had been used in the past. It was now set up more as a modern garage. Sirius warned the Grangers that they had to be careful coming in and out of the property as the notice-me-not charms could mean that other drivers might miss them when pulling in and out.

Harry was totally impressed. Instead of a totally run-down outside, the house looked more or less like the others on the block, just a little cleaner. Not wanting to seem too knowledgeable, Harry asked if the outside had been redone too.

"Yeah, actually. The goblins didn't want it to look too different from the others if for some reason the Fidelius was taken off. So it is totally sound, but looks slightly dilapidated just as the other houses around here do. It was really an unnecessary detail as the house has had the charms for a very long time, but the construction boss was detail oriented." Harry, Hermione and the Grangers were suitable impressed.

Harry led them inside. After they were all in the narrow entryway, Sirius said, "Welcome to the Ancient and Noble House of Black. Pup, this is where we'll live for the next couple years at least. At least what our address will be." Here he grinned.

As they moved into the first room, the people following were completely floored - even Harry. Sirius offered to take them around. "The house has four floors as well as a cellar that was converted to a basement." Faces turned toward Sirius with a questioning look. "Just means it looks more like a regular set of rooms than a hidey hole below the house." Faces around Sirius took on the expression of "O". "The fourth floor has storage, a place for house elves - that's where Winky and Dobby will be staying - and enough space to work with if we needed to set up pretty much anything outside of a pitch. Currently it has been reinforced as a dueling chamber for training.

Sirius for some reason wanted to start with the third floor.

"Third floor is mostly just bedrooms. There are more bedrooms than it looks like on the outside of the house as expansion charms were liberally used. This is where we will be staying. End of the hall is the Master Bedroom. I just took my old room as I grew up here and got it expanded a bit. However, as the Master Bedroom is large and has its own bathroom suite, this will be where Robert and Emma will stay.

"The next door down is where Tonks will stay if she's about. Then Moony. Then me. The last room is the common bath for upstairs. If there are conflicts, someone gets to use the common bathroom suite. Down the hall on the other side coming from the large bedroom is Hermione and then Harry. After comes a sitting room for upstairs. During the renovations, extra baths were added between several rooms. When you visit, Tonks and Moony will share a bath and Harry and Hermione will share as well." After each had inspected their own as well as the others' rooms, the reactions were widely varied. Harry and Hermione blushed slightly about having a connecting bath. Robert looked resigned, Moony raised his eyebrow, and Tonks was grinning mischievously. Emma was smiling in humor almost as much as Sirius was.

"The second floor. Ahhh, the Hermione trap: The Library." Hermione became very excited. "That takes up a good portion of this side of the hall, and we will look at it after we're all done or we may never finish the tour." Everyone laughed, including Hermione.

"The end of the hall is the Master Study. That is the study for the Master of the House. It is warded against any intrusion other than those invited and even I am not allowed to make it open permanently for anyone, as the master ward stone is located somewhere in the room. That stays between us. Also there is a communal water closet.

"The other side of the hall has another set of bedrooms in case we have guests. The rooms are smaller than upstairs and so there are 8 rooms instead of 4. One in the middle is the communal bathroom suite." Everyone trooped around every room except the Library and Master Study.

"Ahhh the ground floor. This uses the most space expansion charms as it is the most supported. The kitchen, breakfast room, formal dining room, sitting room, family room and a den that can be used as assigned. I am offering Robert and Emma the room when they are in residence if they want." He looked over and Robert and Emma looked at each other and then accepted.

"Now, I think you will all be impressed with the basement.

"Here is a fully stocked potions lab reinforced against accidents. It is well ventilated or not as needed, and there are numerous charms to filter out noise and smells between the outside and inside in addition to charms to prevent the outside air from affecting the temperature of the room. Next is a room that was kept dark and cellar-like for wines. A large room that can be used for meetings, storage, infirmary, or what have you with a small attached for an office or bedroom with a washroom attached. On the other side is another communal bath - really went all out. Luckily magical fixtures use charms instead of outside plumbing. That's how we got so many baths suites and loos. And the piece de resistance, a muggle entertainment room and a muggle game room. These were especially charmed and insulated against magical backlash affecting electricity and electric machines. It is fully stocked with the latest in muggle devices that are found in most homes. So, when visiting, you can make yourself at home here as well. This concludes the tour!" Here Sirius bowed and the rest clapped enthusiastically.

"Sirius, Don't most Manors have a house elf?" Harry asked, wondering what had happened with Kreature.

Sirius laughed. "Actually, yeah. This house had one that had been living alone for a long time. Somehow the goblins, when they inspected and renovated it, fixed him up so he wasn't so crazy. I still have bad memories of him growing up though. So I sent him to serve Cissy." Harry nodded.

"Well, it's time for dinner in the Dining Room. Let's see what's happening. Hermione, if you would do the honors?"

"Okay, here goes. Winky!"

Chapter Text

Winky and Dobby had finished all of the moving. They were directed to the dining room for dinner.

Conversation around the table was light for the most part. Remus and Tonks did talk about starting training in the next week. Harry and Hermione asked about bringing Neville and Luna in on it. There were no objections.

Finally, when the afters were done, Sirius took Harry aside for a moment and asked if he had talked to Hermione about a betrothal. Harry, of course, hadn't had time. So Sirius suggested he take her off to do that.

Harry and Hermione moved to the first floor sitting room while the rest moved down to the basement.

Once they had sat down, Harry nervously sat in front of Hermione, wondering how we was going to bring up the subject. Finally, with a small amount of amusement, Hermione snapped, "Ok, Harry, just spill. You're making ME nervous."

Harry smiled sheepishly for moment and then asked, "Do you remember my father's will?" Hermione nodded. "Well, the last part got me thinking." Hermione eyes widened a small amount. "After all with everything that has happened including the whole scene with Bob and Larry, I know you are, for me, pretty much it. I DO love you totally and completely, and I need you to pretty much get going on with it. So, what would you think of doing a betrothal?"

Hermione's eyes became wide as saucers. He actually meant what she had thought he might. She threw herself at Harry and administered one of her family's patented hugs and kissed him with enthusiasm. After they broke apart, Harry said, "So that's a yes?"

Hermione leaned back. "My only problem with it is I think the concept is a bit old-fashioned and it could be demeaning in some cases although this isn't one of them. But if you want to, so do I," she smiled at him.

Harry took on a mischievous look. "Well, Sirius and I came up with something to take the mickey out of it. When he said there had to be a dowry, I came up with matching the dowry with a bride-price. So, if someone starts talking about a cheap contract or some such, we can honestly say there was a G100,000 bride-price or a G100,001 dowry. At the same time, makes the whole betrothal contract thing look silly." Hermione laughed in response. "So, you want to talk to your parents and Sirius about it?"

Hermione took Harry's hand and dragged him to the basement. They found the group in the game room.

"Mum, Dad, Sirius, can we talk to you?" Emma and Sirius looked at them with anticipation while Robert had a slightly green look even as he smiled. "Harry has asked me to become betrothed to him." Emma and Tonks squealed while Remus, Sirius and - to a lesser degree - Robert gave them congratulations.

Emma finally piped up, "We knew it was coming; Sirius told us about it earlier. That's what we were doing in the bank while you three went to the Alley. After a records search by Gringott's at the National Archives, Family Records, Ministry Records and their own records, the contract should be ready by Wednesday."

Hermione looked confused for a moment. "Records search?"

Sirius explained, "Well whenever they do a betrothal contract, Gringott's has to search records to find out what political effect any particular marriage has. They have some magical indexing of each set of records so it doesn't take the months it could take if it was done by muggle means. Then, a little blood to match it where possible, and there you go. Something some old treaty required."

Hermione looked intrigued. "Well, it might be interesting."

Harry rolled his eyes, "I don't really care what 'political effect' my betrothal has. I'm happy that Hermione can learn who she's related to, but in the end, does it really matter?"

Hermione kissed him on the cheek. "Not in the slightest."

Sirius added, "Well, since you brought it up, I wanted to get it done today as a late, well on time really, birthday present. Happy birthday, pup." Similar greetings were heard around the room.

The family moved to the entertainment room and settled down to watch a movie. The magical folk had been fascinated with the concept. Harry was himself seeing many movies for the first time. He hadn't seen many with the Dursleys and then only on the sly.

Later that night, Hermione gave him a very special birthday present. He found that her hand was immensely more satisfying than his own, and she found out the same.

Wednesday rolled around and the group was making its way back to Gringott's. The Grangers had arranged to take the afternoon off again, and Hermione and Harry were nervous. As pleasant and romantic as the idea was, getting betrothed was serious business. They both wanted it, so everyone trooped down to the bank.

Ragnok acted as Harry's personal banker. With the excellent working relationship that Gringott's had with Lord Potter, Ragnok had decided that he could allocate enough time to supervise the Potter holdings. He had two goblins that he used to directly manage it, but he and he alone would deal with Harry.

Ragnok began the meeting. "We are here today to execute the betrothal contract between Lord Harry James Potter, Head of the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter, and Hermione Granger. In preparation for this, Gringott's has researched both individuals and their family lines.

"Lord Potter has been determined to hold the following lines, Head of House Potter, senior Heir to the Noble House of Gryffindor, Heir to the Ancient House of Peverell, tertiary Heir to the Ancient House of Hufflepuff, secondary Heir to the House of Slytherin. You are also listed as the Heir of House Black until Lord Black has issue."

Harry was gobsmacked. "Who is the primary and secondary Heirs of Hufflepuff and what is my connection with Slytherin, if I might ask?"

"One Neville Ambrose Longbottom is the senior Heir of House Hufflepuff, by way of his mother. The secondary Heir is one Jackson Smith. He is the father of one of your classmates, Justin Smith. Your mother was determined to be the tertiary Heir. As the Heir to the youngest Peverell brother, you are secondary Heir to the House of Slytherin. The Gaunts were the senior Heirs by way of the one of the older Peverell brother. The only reason that you are Heir to the Ancient House of Peverell is because at the time of the brothers, the house was not yet declared Ancient. To verify this, I must use your blood on this prepared parchment of your family tree."

Ragnok handed Harry a lance and placed a parchment in easy reach. Harry pricked his finger and pressed it to where Ragnok indicated. Various colors and hues became apparent as the blood interacted with the parchment. "This will be registered with the Ministry of Magic, as required by treaty. Do you have any questions?" Harry shook his head.

"Lady Granger, your family tree also found some interesting results. You, through your mother, are the senior Heir of the Noble House of Ravenclaw. It is interesting that the secondary Heir is also at Hogwarts. She is Luna Elizabeth Lovegood, through her mother. As such, you are entitled to the honorific of Lady and, when you reach your majority, will qualify to vote for the Noble House of Ravenclaw. We only require the same small drop of blood from you."

Hermione was floored, as was her mother. Apparently her family was descended from a witch who helped to found Hogwarts. As the parchment changed, Hermione asked, "May I ask, what rights does this give us as regards Hogwarts?"

Ragnok thought a moment. "The Heirs of the founders of Hogwarts hold veto power over the Board of Governors. A senior Heir would hold two votes, a secondary Heir would hold one vote. As such, two senior Heirs would hold sufficient authority to veto the Board of Governors. Four secondary Heirs would be required to do the same. Three senior Heirs would be required to enact a move affecting Hogwarts, or Two senior Heirs and two secondary, or One senior and four secondary Heirs. A senior Heir may hold a post at Hogwarts and would earn immediate tenure such that his or her position would be unassailable. If a senior Heir were to become Headmaster, the Board of Governors would become an Advisory Board only."

Harry and Hermione both envisioned using this to their advantage in the future. If they really wanted to change the whole society, it would have to start with Hogwarts.

"Well, as that step has now been completed, it is time to review the contract as requested." Harry, Hermione, Sirius and the Grangers read over the contract and found no problems with it. Each signed the contract with a blood quill, and when it was done, Hermione threw herself into Harry. "Lord Potter, I have taken the liberty of retrieving several rings from your vaults, with your Regent's approval, which may be used as a betrothal ring." He nodded to his Captain who moved over to his private office and brought a tray of rings. Harry told Hermione to pick. Hermione looked them over and found one that matched Harry's eyes and indicated that one. Harry picked it up and put it on Hermione's finger. She was so excited she was bouncing.

Ragnok indicated the ring. "You should know that that was the ring your father used as an engagement ring for your mother. He did not have a formal betrothal, which is why no one was aware of your mother's status as tertiary Heir to Hufflepuff."

Hermione looked at Harry and asked, "Is it okay that I am using your mother's ring?"

Harry smiled back and said, "I think she would have approved." The two shared a tender kiss.

When it was all done, Ragnok looked at Harry to drop the big bomb.

"Lord Potter. As Chief of the Goblin Nation and as part of the Blood Feud against Tom Marvolo Riddle and the House of Gaunt, I hereby inform you that the Goblin Nation has captured Riddle. He was found at the abandoned ruins of Riddle Manor. Six Goblin Warriors lost their lives in his capture; their clans sing their praises for their part in the conflict. He is contained within one of our cells with magic suppression cuffs. He has been kept unconscious. How do you wish to proceed?"

Harry was completely shocked, as was every other person in the room. Harry had lived through the war in his last lives. It was three long, gruesome, painful years before Harry was in a position to fight Riddle with a hope of defeating him. He had been vilified and tortured by the Ministry of Magic for even daring to suggest that Voldemort had returned. He had lost his godfather in an unnecessary firefight. He had spent a year learning about Voldemort, while Dumbledore was dying. He had suffered months in locating the horcruxes. Muggleborns had been rounded up by the score by the Voldemort-run Ministry of Magic, and had been kissed. Friends, loved ones, family; all had died or been injured before the final battle had taken place. And that battle had seen him lose.

The idea that a little over one month doing things a bit differently saw the possibility of Voldemort's final destruction left him feeling awed, shocked and a little grief stricken over the unnecessary pain that he and others had suffered. It took him a number of minutes to recover. By the end of it, Hermione was sitting in his lap holding him.

Finally he pulled himself together, and Hermione sat back down in her own seat.

"Chief Ragnok, I could never express my awe and appreciation of the Goblin Nation. You have accomplished what no witch or wizard has ever done and brought down a Dark Lord and his henchmen with minimal collateral damage and much glory and honor. How would you have me proceed?"

Ragnok sat back. "I would have him die by actions of the 4 Clan Chiefs that lost warriors when he was captured."

Harry thought a moment. "I have an idea. Would this satisfy goblin honor?" And Harry explained.

Friday saw a large gathering in the Department of Mysteries. No one outside of the Minister of Magic, Amelia Bones, and the Head of the Unspeakables knew the reason for the gathering. The Wizengamot had been gathered in the chamber that held the Veil of Death. Dumbledore, as Chief Wizard, had no idea what was happening. There were several reporters, including the Editor of the Quibbler with his daughter. Gathered as well were Alastor Moody, Neville Longbottom, Rubeus Hagrid, and the Heads of the Hogwarts Houses. The Weasley family had also gathered. Several Aurors were also present.

At precisely 2:00, Amelia Bones called the gathering to order.'

"It has been requested that we attend an event that will have vast repercussions throughout the magical world. As Minister of Magic, I have granted the request. Lord Potter, please come forth."

Harry moved from the back of the chamber forward with Hermione, Sirius, Remus and Tonks. "I have news. The final resolution of the Blood Feud between House Potter and House Gaunt shall be concluded." All of a sudden, eight goblins portkeyed in holding a figure in chains with a covering on his head. All could see the magic suppression cuffs on his wrists.

The goblins, including Chief Ragnok, his Captain, two of his Guard and the four Clan Chiefs were dragging the chains of the figure forward toward the Veil of Death. Finally they stopped and turned.

Harry continued. "Before you is one Tom Marvolo Riddle, also known as Lord Voldemort, a half-blood son of the House of Gaunt." At this Ragnok tore the covering off of the figure.

All around the room, witches and wizards were both fascinated and repulsed by the image before them. The once handsome Riddle had been deformed by the botched ritual. He had deformed arms and protuberances coming out of where his mouth should be. His face was covered in the same short black hair found on an acromatula. He was drugged and so reacted very little.

"Tom Marvolo Riddle, as Lord Potter I have called and executed Blood Feud against you and the House of Gaunt for the killing of my parents, the previous Lord and Lady Potter, as well as your attempts to kill me several times." Harry looked around the room and saw that everyone was riveted. Dumbledore was trying to catch Harry's attention, probably to voice his disagreement with the spectacle. Harry ignored him.

"Before my birth, there was a prophesy made. I will show you now."

Harry took the ball that contained a copy of the prophesy. Riddle grew interested, as much as his drugged state allowed.

As the prophesy played, around the room gasps were heard. Finally it finished and the room exploded into bedlam. After a moment, Amelia set off a concussive hex.

"As the prophesy states, I have been marked by Riddle as his equal." He lifted the fringe of his hair to let the room see the lightning-shaped scar. He dropped his hair as he continued, "It is prophesied that you may only die by my own hand. My hand is the goblins that hold you captive. In final execution of the Blood Feud between our houses, I order my hand to send you through the Veil of Death. May Merlin and Moera Krataia have mercy on your soul. Send him!" Moera Krataia was the personification of Fate to the goblins, the spinner of the threads of life. The goblins, after all, were creatures of the Fey.

The goblins yanked the chains and dragged Riddle to the Veil. Standing behind him, the began to push him forward. Finally he yelled out, right before he was sent through, "I shall have my revenge!"

Suddenly he was gone.

The goblins turned toward Harry and saluted. Harry bowed low before them. "I thank you my friends for your aid. As stipulated by the treaty signed when this Blood Feud was called, I now relinquish all rights to command any member of the Goblin Nation."

"The Goblin Nation accepts that the contract has been fulfilled." Ragnok waved his hand, and the crest of House Potter disappeared from the chest of all the uniforms of the goblins. However, the crest reappeared on the left arm of Ragnok's tunic. The crest also appeared on the right arm of every other goblin. This signified that Harry was affiliated with Gringott's but allied with Ragnok. On Harry's robe, the crest also disappeared from his chest, but he noted that the crest of Gringott's stayed on his left arm.

The goblins bowed once more before Harry and then portkeyed out.

Bedlam returned to the chamber. Several people came to congratulate Harry on getting rid of the monster Riddle. Harry finally had enough and, once he had gotten close to the other people he had come with, activated the portkey he had been given to get him out of the chamber.

Harry and the rest of the group reappeared within Ragnok's office. Now that Riddle was gone, it was time to count up the costs of the Blood Feud.

"Lord Potter, welcome back to Gringott's. Are you now ready for an accounting?"

"Chief Ragnok, now that the Blood Feud is done, can you just call me Harry, just Harry?" Harry asked with a petulant note to his voice.

Ragnok laughed for a moment before nodding his head. "Ok. In informal settings, I will call you Harry and you can call me Ragnok. Now Harry, it is time to review the financial results of the Feud. Are you ready?"

"Okay, Ragnok. Lay it on me."

"There were 23 total accounts penalized for following Tom Riddle. Outside of the Lestrange account which was liquidated completely, the accounts were penalized by half with the proceeds split between yourself, the Ministry of Magic, Gringott's, Allies in the Blood Feud and the recognized victims of each wizard or witch turned over to the DMLE. Your account has increased G10,640,000." Harry whistled. That was over 80,000,000 Pounds! "The Potter House is now worth an approximate G27,000,000 in hard currency and G11,400,000 in other assets. The Regent for House Potter is now entitled to vote the following Ancient and Noble Families: Potter, Gryffindor, Slytherin, Lestrange, and Peverell. I recommend he also, if the senior Heir agrees, be allowed to vote for House Ravenclaw."

Harry looked to Hermione, and then they both looked at Sirius. Hermione looked at Ragnok and said, "That is acceptable to me."

"Once you come of age, you may claim those votes or allow Lord Black to continue voting for you." Ragnok looked to Sirius. "I have received a message from Narcissa Black which expresses her wish that Draco Black be allowed to take back the Malfoy name. She has advised me that you have agreed to that. Is that correct?"

"Well, apparently he hasn't changed at all. So I say, let him have it. I'd rather him be a Malfoy than a Black."

"Very well. If you plan on throwing him out of the House of Black, I recommend waiting until he reaches his majority. Currently, as a member of your house, you hold the vote for House Malfoy. Should you throw him out, he would appoint a Regent of his choice." Sirius laughed at the idea. A prank on House Malfoy was an excellent idea, as far as he was concerned.

"The items that you, Harry, have asked to be presented to Hogwarts on September 1st are now being made ready. The Goblin Nation will ask that they be allowed to present them at the opening feast. This agreement must come from the Board of Governors. However, as your Regent, Lord Black can vote the three votes necessary for agreement." Here Ragnok grinned the grin of a goblin. Harry and the rest started laughing uproariously. Harry, when he came of age, could veto anything and with Hermione's help could get anything done.

It was a much brighter future.

"That concludes the accounting. Are there any questions?"

There were none. They decided to get out of there. They would arrive by floo back at Grimmauld Place, with the Grangers arriving by house-elf express.

That night a party was had at 12 Grimmauld Place. Attending were Harry, Hermione, Sirius, Remus, the Grangers, Ted and Andromeda Tonks, Nymphadora Tonks, Amelia Bones, Susan Bones, Mad-eye Moony, Augusta Longbottom, Neville, Luna Lovegood and her father, and Narcissa Black. Ginny Weasley had been invited with her father (who had decided to stay at home) but Ron had not; the twins were also there. Hogwarts was represented by Minerva McGonagall, Filius Flitwick, and Hagrid. There were several others. Severus Snape had been invited, but had declined. Albus Dumbledore was not invited.

By the end of the night, several of the extra beds had been filled with inebriated party-goers. All in all, a very successful party.

The headlines the next day would cause a ruckus throughout the wizarding world, but for Harry and Hermione personally it would be the trouble caused by one Molly Weasley and one Ron Weasley.

Chapter Text

The following morning, much of the wizarding world waited with bated breath for the paper. The wizarding wireless had carried the end of Voldemort, but very little else had been heard because the celebrations had pretty much started then.

When the Daily Prophet arrived, the headlines would be met with a mixture of joy, astonishment, and in some small cases, outrage.





The paper made fascinating reading for most. The purebloods were a bit incensed by the loss of 56 of their number, but only one house had been destroyed utterly so they collectively decided not to create problems, at least not at the moment. Attacking the Boy-Who-Lived at the moment would not be politically wise.

Those that knew Harry and Hermione were only mildly surprised at the idea of them being betrothed. One had only to watch them together to know they were made for each other. Although some who had their own designs on the Boy-Who-Lived were upset. Romilda Vane was very upset. If she had any chance, she would have to move her plans forward by at least a year.

The Weasley household was very noisy in response to the Daily Prophet.

Molly, who had been the first to see the Prophet, screeched when she read the fourth headline. "That scarlet girl! I knew that girl was trouble!" Others gathered around the paper.

Ron also saw the headline. "I can't believe it! He gets everything! He could have any girl. She should belong to me!" Ginny couldn't take it anymore. She started yelling at Ron about his being so thick.

The twins were celebrating the end of Voldemort, Molly was ranting, Ron and Ginny were arguing. Finally Arthur set of a concussive hex.

"ENOUGH!" Arthur looked around at all of the faces that now were peering at him. "Enough. The Weasley family will do everything it can to support Harry Potter and his decisions. He has finally defeated the creature that has been responsible for so much pain, including," and he looked at Molly, "your brothers." He looked back to the whole family. "He has saved the family honor when he could have destroyed us. He has provided for the future of our daughter and has provided for the support of our family as he has for a number of other families. We will congratulate him, we will offer our support to his betrothal and that will be it. Do I make myself clear?"

Molly piped back with, "But, Arthur, this means that Ginny will not have her chance at her hero. I just wanted to support her."

Arthur looked at Molly and then Ginny who was rolling her eyes. "Ginny, what is your reaction to this news?"

"I, for one, am very pleased. Harry and Hermione are meant for each other, and I've known about their relationship for a week." Ron started to protest, but Arthur hit him with a Silencio. "So, when I see them next, I will congratulate them and I will move on with my life."

Ron, thicko that he was, after Arthur released the spell, piped up with, "He is just trying to get attention! How much you want to bet that he uses ..." Right at that moment, Ginny hit him with a bat-bogey hex. The twins roared with laughter as Molly attempted to call Ginny back to reverse it when she had moved out the door. Arthur, for his part, thought that it was most appropriate.

Albus Dumbledore was at a loss. One Harry Potter had apparently defeated Tom Riddle, but did not know that the final defeat could not happen until his horcruxes were destroyed. He had tried to talk to the boy, but all of his efforts had been rebuffed.

Harry had wreaked havoc upon the structure of the Ancient and Noble Houses with his Blood Feud. And while he himself supported the idea of equal rights for all witches and wizards, there would be repercussions from this for a long time. Many Ancient and Noble Houses had new leaders, and as a result the pureblooded philosophy had taken a large hit, but given time any advanced would be lost as the Houses recovered.

The betrothal to a muggle-born would create controversy. There was little he could do now, but Harry should be convinced to break the betrothal and to become attached to a pureblood girl. It would aid him politically in the long run.

Also, Albus had been informed by Gringott's that his account had been penalized for his failure to ensure Harry heard his parents' wills when he was 11. The goblins did not understand the greater good. Albus knew that Harry had to be focused on the fight; he did not need to get himself involved with politics at such a young age. Albus had used the proxy for the votes that House Potter held with the idea of supporting the greater good. He had lost several votes when Sirius Black had taken up the Regency of House Potter. The only thing worse would be if the true Heirs to the other votes that he carried found out about their status. He would lose all influence with the Wizengamot.

Finally Albus decided; he would wait until Harry showed up on September 1st and would start manipulating ... no, directing ... the boy toward the ultimate Greater Good.

Harry and Hermione spent the next several weeks until the beginning of term studying and practicing for their upcoming OWL year. They had included Neville, Luna, Ginny, and the twins in their training.

Ginny had warned them about Ron's and Molly's reactions. The two had ranted at every new set of headlines, such as the one proclaiming Hermione the Heir of Ravenclaw, as well as Harry the Heir of Slytherin and Gryffindor.

There was so much happening in the wizarding world because of the resurrection and defeat of Voldemort. Harry and Hermione, with Sirius, had contacted Professor McGonagall about some plans they wanted to institute at Hogwarts. When it was explained to her that between themselves, Neville and Luna, they held almost all senior and secondary Heir rights, McGonagall laughed at the thought of the reaction of the Board of Governors to their plans. There was nothing the Board, or even the Headmaster, could do.

September 1st rolled around as it did every year. Harry reflected back that it was the most enjoyable summer of his life. Voldemort had been defeated, Hermione was his betrothed, Sirius was free and alive, and he was about to set the whole Ancient and Noble House structure on its ear.

Harry and Hermione traveled on the Hogwarts Express in the company of several friends. Neville, Luna, Ginny and the twins had a great time together. The twins had left at one point for a while to talk to other yearmates and set up a few pranks.

The twins mail-order business was doing well. Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes would be the name of their shop, with the mail-order department being named Marauders' Mail-order Michiefs. MMM turned over looked like WWW. Sirius had laughed when the twins had shown him their plans.

The Weasleys, this year, were all wearing new, if sensible and not very flashy, robes. They also all had new brooms, if they were only Cleansweeps. Arthur, at Ginny's insistence, had taken the money that the family had gotten and made sure that the family was properly attired. Arthur had wanted to put the money in Ginny's trust as it had come at her suffering, but she pointed out that she had enough of her own money from the basilisk, and that the money the family had gotten was specifically to support the whole family. Ginny had also convinced Arthur to invest some of it for the family's future. When Arthur had mentioned investment possibilities, Ginny had contacted Harry on an emergency basis to convince her father to get some competent advice.

Ron had showed up briefly. After Harry had expressed complete disinterest in talking quidditch or playing chess, and had been hexed when he made a comment about Harry and Hermione, he had decided that there were safer and more interesting people to hang out with. Ron wanted to show off his new clothes and broom anyway. Harry had given Ron a gift he had received from an admirer. Romilda Vane had sent him some chocolates. Ron always loved chocolates.

Draco Malfoy had surprisingly not shown up at all.

Harry and Hermione had a rousing good time at the feast. At one point, Harry had called out to Ron who had been stealing glances at Romilda Vane, "Ron, how did you like the chocolates?" Romilda's eyes had bulged out a little.

Dumbledore had watched the boy throughout the meal and wondered at the changes. The boy had made prefect, over his own choice of Ronald Weasley. He could not even argue against it as the threat of Voldemort had been pushed back. The Weasley matron had sent him a howler when her son was not chosen.

Soon he would have to get the boy under control again. The wizarding world was not ready for the vast changes that seemed to follow in his wake.

Soon he would know just how little control he actually had.

"And that concludes my announcements. However, there are apparently announcements from the Board of Governors from their apparent spokesman, Sirius Black."

Sirius made his way up to the lectern. "Actually, these announcements are courtesy of the Heirs of the Houses of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin." Around the room, the students were abuzz with this declaration. "I have been appointed Regent of three of these, and Madam Longbottom," he pointed to the formidable woman grouped with the Board, "is the Regent for the fourth. Will the following please step forward: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom."

When they had arranged themselves in front of the podium, the student body began noticing the changes in Hermione and Neville. Everyone had noticed the changes in Harry.

"Between these three, they hold the power of the four Houses of the founders of Hogwarts. There are some announcements to make. Lord Potter, please come up."

Harry moved to the lectern. He could see the interest in most of the body and the dislike of some, especially in Slytherin. Oh, well. "Due to the recent Blood Feud between House Potter and House Gaunt, a number of items have been unearthed. I call forth the representatives of the Goblin Nation to present them."

The doors at the back of the hall opened and a procession of goblins came in. They set up a table in front and placed several boxes on the table. Professor McGonagall brought forth the Sorting Hat as she had been requested to. "Several items, belonging to the founders, had been discovered to have been corrupted by Tom Riddle. The Goblin Nation took it upon themselves to clean the taint that he had poisoned them with and they now return them to Hogwarts and it's Heirs. Behold Ravenclaw's Diadem!"

Gasps were heard around the room as the students looked at the diadem being held up by Hermione Granger. The grey lady came forward and looked upon it. She bowed to Hermione as she left the room, ghostly tears falling from her face. Several around the room had covetous looks. "The Diadem is supposed to provide Wisdom at need. It is placed under the control of Hogwarts and may be called only at need through Septimus, the Sorting Hat, by those it considers worthy." The Hat was placed over the Diadem and it disappeared. Groans were heard at the Ravenclaw table, although several, including Luna, clapped and cheered.

Dumbledore had tried to interrupt. Apparently Harry HAD found all of the horcruxes. He could not be certain they had been fully cleaned of the taint. Such was beyond wizard's magic. But he found himself pinned to his chair as though under a spell.

"Behold Hufflepuff's Cup!" The chalice of Hufflepuff was help up by Neville Longbottom. The people at the Hufflepuff table craned their heads to get a look at it. The rest of the school didn't seem that interested in some random cup owned by the least famous of the founders. They would soon learn differently. "Hufflepuff's Cup holds the power to increase the potency of any Healing Potion delivered using the Cup. It shall be put under the control of Hogwarts to be called forth at need, especially in the case of life-or-death circumstances. The school Healer may call it forth at need if she is deemed worthy, which I know the current on is through long experience." Laughter was heard around the room as Harry smiled sheepishly at Madam Pomfrey.

Snape and Pomfrey both had uses for the cup floating in their head. The Longbottoms, the lycanthropy research, and more.

"Behold Slytherin's Locket!" Sirius held up the locket for all to see. The Slytherin's looked awed. "It is unknown what powers, if any, it might possess. The Locket, owned by my family as the Heir of Slytherin, shall be held by the Head of Slytherin as a reminder and a connection to their noble founder." Sirius placed the locket in a display case and handed the display case to Snape.

"Other items collected during the expedition to the Chamber of Secrets shall now also be delivered. The personal Library of Slytherin has been found. Tomes and scrolls of such age and rarity that some had not seen the light of day since the founding of Hogwarts. The originals have all been placed in the Vault of Slytherin at Gringott's. However, several copies have been produced and shall be delivered. The personal library includes works by all of Hogwarts founders, and as such a copy of all the works shall be delivered to each Head of House, the Headmaster and the Librarian for the Restricted section. These copies are owned by the positions not the people who hold the positions." Each of the Heads gladly accepted the shrunken case that held the works. The Headmaster, however, just sat there and the box was placed in front of him. No one noticed the lapse except Minerva, who knew where the spells had come from. She was laughing internally.

"Potions supplies also found in Slytherin's Study are also presented to the Head of House Slytherin, to be used as previously discussed with him."

A large box containing various jars was turned over to Professor Snape.

"The Map Case and Table, as well as the accumulated Maps of Slytherin shall be given to the History Department but housed at the Library to be used for the study of History. These shall be non-restricted."

"And finally, the goblin-made Sword of Gryffindor has been relinquished in perpetuity by the honor of Ragnok, Chief of the Goblins Nation." Here Harry saluted Ragnok, which he returned. "The Sword of Gryffindor may be called by any descendant of Gryffindor at need, or any member of Gryffindor House in defense of Hogwarts. With the Deputy Headmistress's help, it has been retrieved. I shall now place it back under the control of Hogwarts." Harry moved to the table and took the sword and blade first pushed it into the Hat. "Also, a goblin-made blade crafted from one of the fangs of the basilisk I defeated, which can also be called forth by any Champion of Hogwarts." Here Harry, after showing the student body the sword in question, put it in it's scabbard and pushed it into the Hat. "This concludes my statements. I relinquish the floor to Lord Black, acting for the combined Heirs."

Applause was heard around the chambers as Harry sat down next the goblins at the table they had brought. No one knew why he hadn't moved back to Gryffindor table.

"There are to be a few changes dictated by the combined Heirs. The History of Magic department shall be wholly revised. All first years, and ALL students this year, shall be given a course of study called 'Wizarding Customs.' Too long has Hogwarts failed its students and not prepared them for the real wizarding world. That changes now. This class shall be taught by Narcissa Black, a member of my house." Narcissa stood up from the group around the Board and moved to the staff table.

"Second year shall be a course of study called Muggle and Wizard Relations, which shall cover muggle customs and the effects of the muggle and wizarding world on each other. This shall be taught by Andromeda Tonks." Here Andi got up and moved to the staff table.

"The remaining years will be taught by myself until a suitable replacement has been made. Professor Binns has been retired by the orders of the Heirs." Cheers and claps were heard around the room, all except the few who would miss their nap times in History of Magic.

"It might be known by some that betrothal contracts require a review of the family lines of both participants. What is not generally knows is that this same service is available from Gringott's for no other reason than a request being made. As a part of Wizard Customs, a grant has been made by the Prongs Foundation for each student to have their family line researched. By the end of the year, every student, pureblood, half-blood or muggle-born shall have this service at no cost to them. For an example, would Professor Snape and Colin and Dennis Creevey come forth."

Snape looked at the tableau with mild affront to be called as part of this spectacle. He sat down in front of a goblin, and the goblin handed him a lance and directed him to place his blood on the parchment. This was Harry's idea. Annoy Snape while giving him the recognition he craved. "According to records, Severus Tobias Snape is Heir to the Ancient and Noble House of Prince. Should you change your name to Prince, you may claim Head of House status. This information shall be filed as required by treaty to the Ministry of Magic. You may contact them as to your Right of Vote for House Prince."

Snape moved back to the staff table. He was shocked. He had not known that he could claim the rights of his mother's house. Her death when he was a child had paved the way for a lonely and painful childhood. He was overwhelmed.

Colin and Dennis were sitting in front of the goblins and Harry, both excited to help Harry and interested in the result. Both completed the blood application with enthusiasm. "You are both distantly related to several Houses, including Potter." They were related to Harry!

Harry laughed. "Hello, cousins." The two laughed in response.

The goblin continued, "However, you are more directly related and you, Mr. Colin Creevey, hold Heirship to the Ancient House of Levenbrand. This house was thought lost 450 years ago. As you are a minor, you must name a Regent." Colin and Dennis were gobsmacked. Apparently they were part of some old House. They didn't know what it meant, but apparently would learn this year. Colin looked to Harry and Harry moved his head toward Sirius.

"Um, Sirius Black. As he is Harry's Regent, he can be mine too."

"Very well." The goblin waved his hand and Colin's robe now wore the crest of Levenbrand in silver trim on his chest, and Dennis's had a smaller one showing he was a member of the House. They moved back to Gryffindor table with Harry and Hermione.

All around the room there was a cacophony. The muggleborns were excited. Finally there might be some chance against the prejudices they were shown by the purebloods. The half-bloods were amused, as most of them knew both sides. The pureblooded students were outraged. They KNEW that there had to be some trick and that there would be some way to stop the invasion of the Ancient and Noble Houses by uppity mudbloods. The pureblooded adults knew that there was no stopping it. All of their attempts to hide this secret from muggleborns had been shot to hell in a matter of minutes. The Board of Governors had worked tirelessly to prevent some things from being taught at Hogwarts. However, with the Heirs being found, their power to prevent it had been smashed.

The future would see the old families soliciting the support of newly recognized members of the Ancient and Noble houses. Pureblood would become an obsolete concept.

Rita Skeeter had a front row seat for all of the proceedings. After the promised interviews from Black and Potter, Potter had invited her to attend the opening feast in his pocket. The Daily Prophet headlines the next day would send shockwaves around the Wizarding World.

Chapter Text

In the end, Sirius stayed on for the next three years teaching History of Magic, in order to stay close to his godson and his betrothed. His decision might have been influenced by the appointment of Hestia Jones to the DADA post. Within the first several monhs of 5th year, Harry and Hermione noted that Sirius could often be found within close proximity of the attractive Auror. They eventually had several children.

They finished their OWLs with some of the highest scores that had been obtained in the last several decades. Harry had tired to give up Divination but as he had missed two years of every other subject, he was forced to attend through the end of 5th year.

Although there was no longer a threat from Voldemort, Harry instituted Hogwarts Army as a group trained in the defense of Hogwarts and the wizarding world. Many members ended up as Aurors.

Harry was finally fully seduced by Hermione on his 16th birthday. Up until that time, they had enjoyed various activities, but Harry had held out till the "age of consent". Hermione had been very flustered many times during 5th year. During 6th year, she was often seen to be smugly satisfied while Harry always seemed to have a goofy grin.

They were married on Harry's 17th birthday just in time for them to move in together in the Head Students' dorm.

Snape eventually produced a cure for Lycanthropy by the use of some revisions to the Wolfsbane potion to include a muggle antiviral agent, delivered by Hufflepuffs Cup. Within 3 years, the werewolf problem was recognized as a disease and different Ministries of Magic throughout the world ponied up the costs to send their werewolfs to England to get cured.

Harry was ecstatic when Remus and Tonks provided him with his godson again, although he had to fight Sirius for the privilege.

Both attended Oxford University. Their first success was getting the relations with goblins moved from the Department of Magical Creatures to the Diplomatic Office.

Several house elves had bonded with them. Hermione pushed through laws allowing house elves to rebond with the wizard or witch of their choice if they were found to be abused. Several pureblooded families had to hire help to feed themselves.

Winky and Dobby had several children. When Harry was 140, both passed away. Harry and Hermione grieved for a time for their lost friends.

Neville and Luna had become an item, but it did not last and they ended amicably. Luna later married a wizard named Rolf Scamandar, who was a fellow magical Zoologist. They discovered many rare creatures together. Luna and Hermione remained very close throughout their lives.

Neville married Hannah Abbot and became the Herbology professor.

Ginny married Colin Creevey. Hogwarts Army had settled Colin down, and the two used their money to invest together in various interests which caused them to end up very wealthy. Ginny had played quidditch and wrote for the daily prophet. Colin worked with her as a photographer.

Dumbledore slowly faded into dementia. He was relieved as Headmaster just one year afer the defeat of Voldemort. He died a lonely and broken man.

Molly eventually gave up her plans, but not before alienating every member of the family except Ron. She and Arthur separated and she moved back in with her Prewett relations.

Ron eventually ended up with Lavender Brown. He was a henpecked husband who worked as the equipment manager for the Chudley Cannons. Somehow his teenage years hadn't prepared him to handle athletic supports and such.

Larry and Bob continued to visit, although the visits were rarer and rarer as the years got on.

Both Harry and Hermione ended up at Hogwarts after spending several years as political reformers. The pureblood philosophy had died and the wizarding world ... no, the magical world ... was a much more equitable place to live for all wizards, witches and other magical creatures.

Harry had taken on the post of Deputy Headmaster while he saddled Hermione with Headmistress. He was perfectly willing for Hermione to be the face of Hogwarts as she was already well known for so many laws and practices that were now common throughout the world.

When the two passed away at age 179, just as Larry had originally told Harry all those years ago, their funerals were attended by 100,000 witches, wizards, goblins, house elves and other magical creatures. A quidditch stadium had to be used. Ragnok, the aged Chief of the Goblin Nation, delivered the eulogy as one of Harry's oldest and dearest friends. The funeral procession to their final resting spot was miles long and presented numerous challenges to the Ministry of Magic.

Harry and Hermione found themselves in an office in front of a desk. When they looked at each other, they both saw they looked just as they did at age 21. Harry, with his younger body, started reacting to Hermione. Hermione had her own reactions. Until ...

"Hiya guys!"

Both groaned and looked over the see Larry coming in the door.

"Hello, Larry."

"Welcome to Afterlife Inc. I am your Grim Reaper Larry ... oh what the hell, both of you know where you are and who I am. So, finally, are you happy to have made it through to your destinies?"

Harry and Hermione looked at each other and shrugged. "Sure," Hermione answered, "what's next?"

"Well, Bob and the gang down at Destiny Repair and Lora and I and a few other Reapers are going to get together and have a party. You're both invited!"

Harry and Hermione were dragged by Larry down to the recreation room. Lora was introduced by Harry to Hermione. "Your soulmate was considerably more trouble without you in the picture. I am very happy to make your acquaintance." Harry blushed as Hermione laughed.

Bob dragged them over to the Destiny Repair group for a shot. Hermione remembered something. "Who was the Destiny Repair person who suggested Harry have a Harem?"

Several people grabbed one person and pushed him up to the front. "This is Sam." Hermione greeted Sam, shook his hand, and then smacked him upside his head. "That was for the Harem suggestion." Sam smiled sheepishly as everyone laughed.

After several hours of partying, a very inebriated Larry led a tipsy Harry and Hermione up an elevator.

Larry took them to a door. "Theesh is whar de board meetsh." Larry opened the door and led them inside. The room was empty, except Harry noticed there was a figure near one of the windows. Larry, when this was pointed out, started to fall down in his nervousness to get out.

"Ahhh, Lawrence. It was so good of you to bring your clients to meet me, I was so looking forward to it." The elderly gentleman came into the light. "My name is Myrrdin, otherwise known as Merlin. I had hoped to meet you two. I must say, that the final decision to send you back, Mr. Potter, produced results no on had expected. You and your soulmate moved the destiny of the magical world forward by nearly 1000 years. It was very fulfilling to watch."

Harry and Hermione were a bit awestruck. They thanked Merlin for his kind words. "Well, suffice it to say, in the future you may be called upon to serve on the Board of Afterlife Inc. It is a 1000 year commitment, but the job can be satisfying. I have served 812 years as of this moment." Hermione looked more interested than Harry. "Well, I will let your reaper move you to your final reward. Oh, and Lawrence?" Larry looked to Merlin bleary eyed. "Should you find yourself coming to the Boardroom inebriated again, I should remind you there are openings still for Bargemasters on the River Styx." Larry thanked him and escaped, missing the wink Merlin gave to Harry and Hermione.

Chapter Text

Albus Dumbledore found himself up to his neck in ice, next to an apparently frozen Peter Pettigrew.

This didn't look to be a great adventure.

Molly Weasley, aged 69, found herself on the edge of a dark river.

Her life for the last 10 years had been miserable. She had lived on a modest stipend from her estranged husband. Her children, except for Ronald and Percy, had all avoided her. Her Prewitt relations barely tolerated her, even though she had lived with them.

Suddenly a barge pulled up. A cloaked figure held out a hand for some token. She didn't have any. Suddenly she found herself in the river, trying to reach for the barge.

It was a miserable existence.

Dolores Umbridge was miserable.

All of a sudden in the midst of her efforts, some old bat had pushed her to get closer to the barge. She would have to pay. So Dolores reached out and grabbed the bitch's ankle and pulled her back into the river's eddies.

Frank and Alice Longbottom, aged 70, passed quietly in their sleep.

Although they had finally been cured of their mindlessness 22 years before, their life expectancy had been cut short by the damage done to them so many years before.

Still, it had been enjoyable waking up to find their son a strong and healthy respected man. And they had grandchildren!

Although they hadn't seen their Neville grow up, they had seen their grandchildren grow healthy and strong. They had spent several years doting on them with Frank's mother visiting regularly from her trips abroad before she passed away five years earlier.

Some magicals lived longer than others. Even though Augusta had barely made the century mark, she was a happy woman who looked forward to seeing her late husband again in the hereafter.

As Amelia attended the party her former subordinates had thrown for her, she reflected back on the last 35 years as Minister of Magic.

Hermione Potter, with her husband Harry's help, had spearheaded a drastic change in their society. With the reclamation of several voting rights by those considered "mudbloods" previously, it had been quite easy for the couple to enact far-reaching changes.

Muggle and magic devices had been incorporated into the wizarding world. Arthur Weasley had a blast as the department head for the department that registered them.

New muggleborns were courted by old and prestigious families for political power once heritage tests were completed, and with the influence of the new blood the wizarding world had been brought into the 21st century.

Even goblins and centaurs had obtained equal rights in the magical world. Lycanthropy had been cured. Old cases had been found for 15 years. New cases dropped to almost zero. Vampires were still shunned a bit, but their rights were not trampled on. As long as only those that registered beforehand were turned, there was no interference from the collected Magical Governments.

The breeding ground for Dark Lords was well and truly broken with the changes in education.

It had been a good run.

And she was so looking forward to spending time with her Susan's descendants – there were so many of them that just visiting them all would be a busy life.

Susan's oldest daughter had even married one of the Potter children. Her son had married the daughter of Sirius and Hestia Black.

All in all, a very satisfying life.

Ronald Weasley, aged 89, looked back on his life as he sent the athletic supporters through the magical wash.

Once upon a time, he had been best friends with Harry and Hermione Potter. Then, all of a sudden, Harry had declared Blood Feud on He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (Ron still couldn't say "Voldemort") and became Hermione Granger's boyfriend and betrothed.

After 74 years it still rankled with him. He had ended up with Lavender Brown. Although she was quite attractive as a teenager with a huge rack, she had gained weight with three children. She had insisted he get a job, which is why he ended up here.

Although he had been excited to work for the Cannons, his job was shite.

After 15 years of marriage though, Lavender divorced him and took their kids.

4 years later, she was trim and still busty and had remarried to Terry Boot, also recently divorced.

His children and grandchildren soon forgot about him and he was a lonely, fat, miserable man.


As he ranted to himself, a blood vessel burst in his head. He was found 2 days later covered in several unwashed athletic supporters covering his face.

Draco Malfoy died in obscurity.

Although he had some small resources, House Malfoy had never really recovered from the damage done by Lucius. He finally passed on the headship to his grandson when he was 80, and the boy, married to a mudblood later, had brought great wealth back to the family. He himself didn't really want to associate with mudbloods, although in wasn't politically correct to bring that up.

He was tired. It was time to leave.

Severus Prince retired from potion-making at the ripe old age of 104.

He was well known in the magical world.

He had found and improved many potions.

It had been annoying that he owed his success to a jumpstart from the child of his own childhood nemesis, but Snape was nothing if not pragmatic in his later years.

At least his mother's family name would be famous for centuries to come.

Narcissa Shacklebolt lived to a ripe old age.

After she had married to the widower head of the DMLE, she had enjoyed her marriage as she had never done with her first husband. She had no prejudices about color, and had really dropped the whole "pureblood" ideology. With so many magically powerful muggle-borns being found to truly be descended from old families, the idea that purebloods being weakened by marrying those of non-magical descent was truly and completely disproved.

All in all, she enjoyed her strapping husband's "assets" well past her century mark. She had always been a passionate woman, and her husband appreciated that for a very long time.

The children and subsequent grandchildren of her early middle years knew not to visit unexpectedly.

Luna Scamandar nee Lovegood lived a long and happy life.

She remained friends with the Potters and Longbottoms. Their grandchildren had married and she couldn't be happier.

She, along with her beloved husband, found and documented many magical creatures in their life. When she had inherited the Quibbler, she had turned it into a newsletter on the creatures they found.

They never found the crumple-horned snorkack though.

Ginny Creevey Levenbrand loved playing with her great-grandchildren.

She had many, but her favorites were those that came from her granddaughter and the grandson of Harry and Hermione.

They were all quidditch prodigies and the sports staff at the Prophet knew that any mention of quidditch with one of the children produced a long conversation with pictures from the venerated editor for the magical sports section.

Larry led Harry and Hermione out of the offices of Afterlife Inc.

The party had been fun, and meeting Merlin himself had been awe-inspiring. But they were a bit randy after obtaining younger bodies again after so many years.

The sex they had enjoyed well past their septacentigenerian marks had been good, but both were eyeing the other and hoping for a bit of privacy soon.

Larry led them to a nice big house and told them that this was their final abode and he would leave them to it.

They looked at each other and rushed to the door.

As they rushed inside, tearing at each other's clothes, all of a sudden they heard "SURPRISE!"

They looked around and saw many of their old friends that they had lost over the years, as well as their parents and some of the children who had passed before them.

At the party, they had a grand time, even if they were distracted. They were so distracted they missed the prank setup by the Weasley twins and the Marauders and they turned into large canaries for a brief time.

Needless to say, it took a while before they had sufficient privacy.