Sirius Black sighed as he looked around the entrance of his family home. It was clear his dear old mum had really lost the plot in her final years. It was blatantly obvious from the elf heads that hung in the hall. Those hadn’t been there when he had left, although it did explain why the house was such a mess. Originally there had been 6 elves that had cared for the place and those who inhabited it.
Sirius jumped and spun around, reaching for a wand that wasn’t there when he heard an all to familiar voice screech. Upon closer inspection of his surroundings he saw a life-size portrait.
“Hello mummy dearest. Aren’t you happy to see me?” Sirius grinned at the painted woman.
There was a pop and an old house elf in a disgustingly dirty pillowcase was glaring up at him. “Disgrace of the Black name has returned. Broke his mother’s heart he did. Always was such a nasty little child. No manners at all. You is not welcome here master.”
Sirius smiled larger as he saw horror on both of their faces.
“What was that Kreacher? Who am I?”
“M…M…Master.” Kreacher whimpered.
“No he is not. I refuse to allow him to be the master of this house.” The painting shrieked.
“You have no choice in this, your just the painting of a dead woman. Didn’t grandfather tell you mummy dearest. He named me his heir after Regulus showed up as dead on the family tapestry. Apparently he felt that I had chosen the right side in the war and as such I was to get the spoils. But then again I am also the last male member of the direct line of the Black family so it’s mine anyways.”
“I disowned you.” She screamed at him.
“True, but as we all know the Black family is a patriarchy, and you have never been the head of the family. Grandfather just let you run on about disowning me, but he gave me permission to move in with James.
Kreacher, why is this house such a mess?”
Kreacher shuffled his feet and glanced at his mothers portrait.
“She is not in charge, I am. From this point on, I, Sirius Orion Black, Heir and presumptive Lord of House Black claim you, Kreacher, as my elf.”
There was a slight glow around the elf and Sirius could then feel the bond. He was stunned at just how damaged Kreacher was. He had barely any magic and both his body and mind had been damaged severely by something.
“Kreacher must obey.” The elf grumbled.
“I order you to never tell anyone my location without my permission. I order you to never share my secrets with anyone without my permission. But most importantly, I order you to go and clean my room and prepare my bed. After that you will clean my fathers old office.”
Sirius sighed as the elf popped away. He hated this place, but he had no other choice. His godson needed him. He had failed the boy more times then he would cared to think about, but he forced himself to do it anyway.
After the loss of his parents Sirius had surrendered him to Hagrid and gone after the rat. He had trusted that Dumbledore would keep him safe until he could get back, but he had trusted the wrong man. After escaping Azkaban he had followed his godfather bond to Harry, but rather then a happy teenager he saw a to thin child fleeing from relatives that clearly hated him.
Over the year he watched the boy as often as he could without getting distracted by the intermittent insanity from the dementors. At that age James had been loud and boisterous, always laughing about something. Lily had been focused, always with books around her, but a joyful girl that was almost always smiling. Harry was neither of those things. He was serious and brooding, it was like he had the weight of the world on his skinny shoulders.
What did it say about a childs home life that he would be ecstatic about moving in with a man that he had thought had assisted in the murder of his parents less than 20 minutes before. It just wasn’t right. Sirius had wanted to take the boy and flee, showing him what a real family was, but he had had to leave alone.
A life on the run was no life for the boy, he deserved better. In the end Sirius had had to leave the boy behind again, once again to the care of Dumbledore.
Sirius had traveled south for weeks, it had taken every ounce of strength to not turn around and go and kidnap Harry. Like him, Remus had also been forced to leave the country while the public got over his furry little problem so he had come to join Sirius.
This had been extremely beneficial to Sirius because Remus was always the best at handling Sirius when he was in a crazy mood. Remus managed to arrange for him to get a few rounds of dementor recovery treatments. Even now he still kept a few on hand just in case, although he was almost fully recovered, he hadn’t lost time in four months.
Remus had also been able to get him to talk about his feelings, they had ended up trading one for one. Sirius had never really realized just how hard life was for Remus, or the self hate issues that came as a result. Like him, Remus was furious with himself for not being there for Harry. He had sent him letters and presents when he could, but Harry had never written back so Remus had just given up.
Seeing Harry the year he had taught Remus had come to the same conclusion as Sirius, Harry was abused. Except Remus had even more information since he hadn’t been hiding as a dog. Through subtle questioning he learned that Harry was treated differently not only by the students, but by the teachers as well. All the staff had expected Harry to be like his parents and when he wasn’t they were disappointed, a fact that Remus said they didn’t even try to hide. They had also punished him differently. It was literally written in the teachers handbook that the first time a student was caught out of bed after curfew they could lose a maximum of 10 points but it was recommended to just give a warning. Remus had been furious when he was flipping through the points ledger to see that McGonagall had taken 50 from Harry and his friends and also assigned them a detention.
To Sirius’s mind it seemed that no one in their world just saw Harry, a kid, they saw an image that they had created and then punished the boy when he didn’t measure up. If Lily and James were alive when this happened they would burn those fools at the stake for daring to treat their little boy like that, and Sirius planned to do so for them.
There was a reason he had returned to the home he had hated, and that was to take control. At the end of the last school year Harry had been forced to bear witness to the murder of a friend, the rebirth of the monster that murdered his parents, dual the monster, be tortured by the monster, and see the echos of his parents. Then, after all that, Albus bloody Dumbledore had the audacity to return him to his hateful relatives without ever getting him any emotional support.
That was something that Sirius was not going to take lying down.
Dumbledore had requested that he and the others get in touch with all the old Order of the Phoenix members so they could get to work. That was where Sirius came in. The Black home had some of the strongest wards imaginable, so Sirius was going to arrange for it to become the headquarters, in exchange he would demand that they allow Harry to live there since it would be the safest place.
Sirius knew that it wasn’t going to be that easy, but he wasn’t going to give up on Harry ever again. From this point on Harry would come first, no matter what.
The next morning when he got up Sirius found Fawkes sitting at the foot of his bed. “Well, what is it? What does the manipulative old codger want?”
Fawkes gave him a reproachful look but dropped a letter and flashed away
Sirius my dear boy, I have arranged for our first official meeting to be held at Hestia Jones’s house beginning at 4pm. The floo address is Hestia’s Home. If you would please arrive 5 minutes late or so, so that I can make sure everyone knows you are innocent that would be wonderful.
See you soon,
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
Sirius growled at the letter, sounding very much like his animigus. The man had known he was innocent for over a year and had never even bothered to tell anyone else. of course not, because then Sirius wouldn’t have been so isolated.
Getting up Sirius pulled out some of his old clothes that had for some reason remained after he had run away. He was honestly surprised his mother hadn’t gutted the room.
After getting dressed he went to his fathers old office. He was pleased to find it spotless.
“Yes Kreacher. Is there any food for breakfast?”
“There is some bread and preserves that has been under preservation.”
“That will have to do. Please bring that up here. After that I want you to clean yourself, put on a freshly laundered pillow case, this is not to be considered clothes, and go and get some basic supplies from an elf market. You can take the money from the vault in the basement. And, I do hope I don’t need to remind you that you are not to tell anyone that I’m here.”
“Kreacher understands.” With that the elf popped out, the food appearing in front of Sirius a few seconds later.
Sitting down Sirius made quick work of the food. Once he was relatively full he opened one of the cabinets and pulled out the old family wands. His was still in ministry custody so he needed a new one. He had considered buying one while he was away but his magic had been so unstable he wasn’t sure if he would even be able to use it, then there was the fact that wand makers were required to do a check to ensure the person they were selling to is allowed to own a wand. An escaped man would immediately fail any check and aurors would have been called.
Moving his hand over the box a few times he felt a pull. Picking up the wand he saw the tag said it had been his great great grandfathers wand, ironically Sirius had been named after the man. The wand wasn’t an exact fit, but it would be more than good enough for anything he needed.
Pulling out some parchment Sirius got to work on his plan.
It took a week and a half before Sirius managed to arrange for his home to become the headquarters. The day after he had arrived at Grimmauld Place he had arranged for Remus to come over. After looking over his plan, and making a few changes, Remus had agreed to help him.
Everyone was trying to find a place to sit in The Burrow’s kitchen. While it was big enough for the Weasley family, it was far to small a room for the 20 or so members of the Order. Sirius could even see that his cousins daughter, Nymphadora Tonks, was almost sitting on her fellow auror, Kingsley Shacklebolt.
This just wasn’t the place to hold a secret meeting. Aside from the lack of space there were kids in the house. So far Mad-Eye had warned them that they were being watched by one or more of the kids multiple times and the meeting hadn’t even started. That had of course led to Molly shrieking at them.
Just as the floo flared green announcing the arrival of the last member to arrive, the great Albus Dumbledore himself, Sirius made sure Molly saw him yawn hugely. Molly reacted just as he thought she would.
“Sirius Black, the least you could do is pay attention!”
“Don’t mind him Molly, Sirius and I spent most of last night and this morning cleaning the kitchen. I don’t think either of us got more than four hours of sleep.” Remus told the red head.
“How could your kitchen be that messy Remus? I’ve been to your place before, you have always been fairly tidy.” Minerva McGonagall cut in.
“Oh, didn’t you know, Sirius isn’t staying with me, I’m staying with Sirius. It wouldn’t look good for someone like me to be caught with an escapee so I moved into Siri’s place.” Remus told her as he sipped the tea in front of him.
“Sirius has a place.” Kingsley said in confusion. “I thought everything you owned was locked down when you were arrested. Your place would have been sealed or sold wouldn’t it?”
“You’re forgetting who I am Kingsley.” Sirius said petulantly, he needed to portray the image of a damaged man that had never grown up.
“Hmmm?” Many people were clearly confused.
“He means he’s a Black. The Black family generally always skirted around the law so they have always made sure never to put all their eggs in one basket, if you will. As such the main Black properties are warded in such a way that no government can seize them.
We’ve moved into the London townhouse. The problem is that it hasn’t been lived in for years so it is a bit of a mess.”
“It should have been clean.” Sirius whined. “It’s just that batty house elf has been to busy worshiping my mothers insane portrait and taking orders from it.”
Both Sirius and Remus could see the twinkle in Dumbledore’s eye so they stopped talking at that point. If they wanted to accomplish anything then the man needed to think that it was his idea.
After that the meeting got started, and it was just as much of a waste of time as any before it. They had nothing. All they were told to do was to keep an eye on things around them, like they weren’t doing that already. Most of the people in the room acted like lemmings, they would follow Dumbledore off a cliff, although, it was more likely Dumbledore would order them off a cliff, the man didn’t like to get his hands dirty if he could make someone else do it.
As the meeting ended Sirius went aside with Dumbledore while Remus asked to speak with Snape. They needed both for what they had planned.
With Dumbledore Sirius got to endure the man dancing around the issue for a few minutes before Dumbledore finally got down to business and requested to use Grimmauld Place as a permanent headquarters. At first Sirius was hesitant, making excuses that the place was too much of a mess, but he aloud himself to be convinced. It was much easier then even Sirius thought it would be to get Dumbledore to believe it was all his idea.
Then he allowed Dumbledore to think he had convinced him. Dumbledore went on and on about how it would keep Sirius safe since he wouldn’t need to go out and risk being caught. In the end Sirius agreed in a meek voice, but insisted that he was agreeing on the condition that Harry would come and stay there for the rest of the summer once he was able to leave the Dursley’s. Dumbledore agreed with him but Sirius could see he didn’t really mean it, but it did give him something to use against the man.
Over with Remus and Snape, Remus was explaining that he wanted to speak with Snape about his wolfsbane potion, but suggested that they do it at Grimmauld rather than staying at The Burrow. While Snape was a master of occlumency, and was therefor very good at hiding his emotions, Remus had known Snape long enough, and spent so much time aggravating the man with the other marauders, to see just how much Molly’s voice aggravated the man. They both knew if they stayed to talk Molly would try to insinuate herself in the conversation and try to take control.
Both Remus and Snape quickly flooed away followed by Sirius only a few moments later.
Snape looked around the room he had just flooed into, the place was an absolute disaster. There was a thick layer of dust and grime over almost every surface. He thought the two mutts had said they had been cleaning, but it looked like they hadn’t even managed to achieve anything.
“What is it you two really want, this is clearly not about wolfsbane potion.” Snape said in a droll voice as he turned to look at the others, his hand slipping to his wand just in case he needed it.
“Relax Sni… Snape.” Sirius forced himself not to fall into old habits. He needed this mans help, plus he really did feel bad for the crap he pulled when he was younger. “Follow me.”
The three made their way up to the office that had belonged to Sirius’s dad that he had now claimed for his own. Snape was not only surprised by Sirius’s self correction, and almost friendly tone, but also by the fact the office was clean. Why would one room be a disaster and another was spotless.
Sitting behind the desk Sirius motioned to the others to sit. “I guess the first thing I have to say is, I’m sorry. I was a terrible person when I was younger. I did some really bad stuff and I am man enough to admit that I was wrong.”
“I can accept that, but don’t think that changes anything. I still don’t like you.” Snape responded after a full 5 minutes of silence. He really wanted to hold onto his old grudge, but they had bigger things to worry about right now, like a genocidal dark lord. Maybe after this war was done he would be able to go back to his old grudge.
“Good. I think if you ever said you liked me it would be the end of the world. I might be apologizing for being a bully, but I’m not asking to be your best friend. I just think we need to work together to make up for our past mistakes.”
“And what mistakes are those?”
“We failed our best friends. I know you and Lily had a falling out, but I know that you always considered her to be your best friend. And the simple fact is you have failed Lily and we have failed James.”
“You know nothing.” Snape growled. He didn’t need to be reminded of the mistakes of his past. “Just how did we fail them?”
“Harry.” Sirius sighed, he knew this was going to be difficult, Snape still saw James when he thought of Harry.
Snape rolled his eyes. “And just how have I failed that spoiled brat.”
“Really Snape.” Remus sighed and shook his head as he saw the fire in Sirius’s eyes at the insult to his godson.
But Sirius didn’t explode like Remus thought he would, instead he responded in a cold voice. “Tell me Snape, you knew Lily long before you started school, so you must have known her family didn’t you?”
Snape was slightly confused, this wasn’t the Sirius Black he had thought he knew. “Yes, what does that have to do with anything?”
“Then you must remember her dear, sweet, sister, Petunia.”
“I don’t see what that bitch has to do with anything?”
“Well where do you think your beloved headmaster put Harry?”
Snape just stared. That wasn’t possible. Albus had known just how much Lily’s sister hated magic, he had known that Lily would never have wanted her son to even be in the same town as that woman. How could he not, Snape had told him that himself.
“‘That spoiled brat’ as you called him is living with Petunia. You know how that woman feels about magic, what in the seven hells makes you think she would even show him basic care, let alone spoil him?”
“He isn’t with Petunia. Albus wouldn’t do that. I made sure of that.”
“I never thought I would see the day…” Sirius gave the other man an overly sympathetic look. “The big bad Severus Snape has become nothing more than a blind sheep following meekly behind his master.
I think you might want to look at this.”
Sirius opened the drawer and pulled out a letter he had gotten from Harry the summer before. It just basically covered one of his average days. He talked about how the Dursley’s weren’t being to bad because he had threatened them with Sirius, but it did still talk about his chores.
Severus read the letter and was shocked. The boy talked about how having to cook breakfast every day, cutting the grass twice a week, weeding the garden every other day, and tidying the kitchen and living room every day was nice. It was clear he didn’t understand that that was more than any child should have to do. The letter went on to talk about how he was even getting 2 meals a day, he almost seemed shocked that he was being allowed to eat that much even though it wasn’t nearly enough for a growing wizard.
But the thing that truly pushed him over the edge was how the letter ended. He said he had to stop writing and send the letter off because Aunt Petunia was calling him down to make everyones breakfast.
Petunia. Aunt Petunia. Severus had made sure to check so many times that Harry wasn’t with that woman. Albus had always said he was safe and loved with members of Lily’s family. Severus had thought that had meant some distant relatives, but thinking back now he couldn’t ever remember the man ever saying the words that he didn’t put Harry with Petunia, that was his mistake.
With his heightened senses Remus could smell the changes in his former colleagues mood. “You really didn’t notice did you. Come on Severus, you watched Harry just as much as I did when I was there. Are you telling me you never noticed that it took Harry over a month before he could eat a full plate of food at meals, and that he started cutting back on how much he ate as the year came to an end, like he was getting himself ready to have little food.
I spoke with the Weasley twins a lot that year, I got them to admit that they had broken Harry out of his room the summer before. There had been bars on his window, and multiple locks on the outside of his door so he couldn’t get out. There was a cat flap in the door for his food, from what they had managed to get from Harry themselves, he got a can of cold soup once a day and he shared that with his owl who was locked in her cage. His school trunk was locked in a cupboard under the stairs, and that cupboard was again, locked on the outside and there was a sign inside that said ‘Harry’s Room’.
I made the same mistake as you, I trusted Dumbledore’s assurance that Harry was safe and happy as a child so I didn’t try to get in touch with him. I will regret that for the rest of my life. But I am trying to do better.”
“I need to think. I’m going to go home and do some brewing and think about this and then I will come back.” Severus said in a small voice, he was completely shocked and needed to figure this out.
“No.” Sirius said instantly. “There is no way we can let you leave just yet, you know too much, or can at least figure out too much about our intentions for us to just let you go. You can use the potions lab here if you need, but you aren’t leaving this house until this is settled.”
* End Flashback *
Snape had spent an hour brewing simple potions, the kind of thing that he could do without conscious thought. During that time he re-examined many of his interactions with Harry James Potter and he didn’t like what he saw.
In the beginning the boy had flinched whenever there was a loud noise or someone touched him. It had gotten better in the recent years, but he still looked highly uncomfortable with extended contact. His eating habits were also concerning.
Then there was his reactions to the adults around him. During his first year it was now clear that Harry had been testing the adults in his life to see how they would react. They had all failed these tests resulting in Harry being guarded and mistrustful of them. It had led to the boy not coming to them for help as he had been taught that adults were dangerous and not to be trusted.
The boy had been failed in so many ways, and Snape had refused to continue to do so. Out of his love for his oldest friend, he would do everything in his power to give Harry the best chance to survive this coming war as he could.
He had then explained his thinking to the other two men in the house and they had come to an agreement. They would never be friends, but they would be allies. For the sake of their deceased friends, they would save their son no matter who they had to go against to do so.
LOL I apparently just reposted chapter 2.
Here is the real chapter 3.
There were times that Sirius hated getting what he wanted. This was one of those times.
He had worked and planned so well to ensure that Grimmauld would be made the headquarters. He just hadn’t thought through what would happen if he was successful. Now he had to deal with Dumbledore’s blind sheep at all hours of the day. They came and went as they pleased, treating his place as if it were there own home.
The worst was Molly Weasley. Only two days after the first meeting when it was made official that Grimmauld was headquarters, and the warding had been finalized, she had moved not only herself in, but four of her children, and Hermione, with her. Once there she had made a big deal about the mess the place was and had started making up cleaning schedules.
Grimmauld Place was a 7 story townhouse, 5 above ground and 2 below, that had been in his family for generations, so it had many secrets. Sirius knew that he was going to need to protect many of those secrets. He, Remus, and Kreacher had spent all their time before others arrived getting the house ready.
Now, all the artifacts of any value were hidden away, only decoy items remained. The upper 2 floors had been made invisible to anyone that hadn’t been keyed into the wards by Sirius, the same was true of the lower basement. The wards were such that no one could even think about there being more floors then the ones they knew about, if anyone had wanted to go up to the roof for some reason they would forget as soon as the thought entered their mind. While the secret floors had been completely cleaned, the public floors were filthy, the three had even taken some joy in adding to the mess a little. They had also gone through all the books in the house and only those that would be deemed ‘acceptable’ by a man like Dumbledore were left in the library on the lower floors, everything else stayed in the library on the top floor.
Sirius was glad he had had the forethought to move anything of value as Molly had ordered the destruction of anything she didn’t like. He had argued with her at first, but she had said she wouldn’t let anything so dark be around her children. Of course Sirius had snapped back that if she didn’t want them around it she could take them home, which had started a massive argument that had only been ended when Molly had gone running to Dumbledore. Dumbledore had arrived to give one of his patented ‘I’m disappointed in you’ speeches, he never got to finish it though as Sirius had interrupted with the suggestion that once Molly was done with his house he would be happy to allow her to floo over to Dumbledore’s private quarters and she could deal with his things. That had shut the old goat up instantly.
It wasn’t that he didn’t like all the kids, both he and Remus were willing to admit that they were quite fond of the twins, it just would have been nice if someone had bothered to ask his permission, for anything. Ginny was vapid, and that was the nicest way Sirius could describe her. It might not be exactly fair, but the only thing he ever heard come from the girl were complaints and fantasies.
When they had first moved in the girl had thrown a fit about not liking her room because it was too dirty and small. She had carried on until Molly had agreed to move her. Originally all the kids were going to get their own rooms except for Fred and George, because of that Fred and George had gotten the largest of the rooms. In the end Molly had forced the twins into a smaller room, and given Ginny the larger room, but she had to share with Hermione. That had just been another problem because Ginny not only wanted the largest room, but to have it to herself but she hadn’t gotten her way which had resulted in days of pouting.
That first evening he and Remus had snuck to the small room where the twins were glaring angrily at the wall and worked their magic. It was now their little secret that the room had been expanded to three times its original size, with a private bathroom and little potions area, and there was a one way silencing ward on the door allowing them to here what was going on outside their room, but no one could here what they were doing. Remus had been the one to recommend the spell since he remembered just how many explosions the twins had created while he had been teaching.
What Sirius struggled with the most was his opinions of Ron and Hermione. From what he had learned before getting on the train in his first year Ron had heard the twins saying that the boy that had been near them in the station was Harry Potter, he had set off to search the train for him and had insinuated himself in Harry’s life. From that point on he had gone out of his way to try and isolate Harry from others so he didn’t have to share his friend. The only one that had managed to get close was Hermione, but Sirius didn’t think Ron would see her as a threat to his position, plus he clearly liked the help with his homework.
Sirius had tried to like him for Harry’s sake, but he wasn’t making it easy. From what he had seen in just the past little while Ron was still very much a selfish child. He never seemed happy with what he had but was never willing to try and work to make it better, instead he just screamed for his mum. Sirius thought he might be being too harsh, but there was just something about Ron that reminded Sirius of Wormtail so it was very hard for him to be objective about the young boy.
Then there was Hermione. Sirius would always be grateful for her helping to save him, but she was another person that just didn’t seem to be the best kind of friend for Harry. She had isolated Harry just as much as Ron had, just in a different way. While Ron had actively kept people away, Hermione kept people away with her attitude. The girl was rude, abrupt, demeaning, and unwilling to listen to anyone that didn’t agree with her completely.
The girl was touted as a genius, but it was all book smarts. Sirius had his doubts that the girl would be able to survive in the real world as there was no book that could tell her how. Remus had supported him in that theory as he had taught the girl and knew that she just repeated what she had read and lacked the ability to critically think for herself. She was also completely devoted to those in positions of authority and never questioned it.
In all, Sirius thought he might need to have a talk with Harry about what makes a good friend. Harry had told him that those two were his first friends, so Sirius thought Harry didn’t understand what a healthy relationship was given his experiences with the Dursleys. He didn’t want to take Harry’s friends, but he did want to encourage him to branch out a bit. Maybe if he saw what other friends were like he might notice the short comings of the friends he had. But he still hoped that he just hadn’t gotten a good judge of their characters and that they really were good friends for Harry, he had only known them for a few weeks after all.
The thing that had made up the rest of his mind about them had happened the day after they had moved in. Dumbledore had called Ron, Hermione, and Sirius himself into the drawing room to tell them that they weren’t to write anything about the order in their letters to Harry, that they could only mention the most basic and abstract things because there was a risk that the letters could be intercepted and he didn’t want to risk any information leaking. The two had instantly agreed, they didn’t even try to argue.
Sirius had, of course, argued that that was the exact wrong thing to do. He said that given what Harry had just been through he was going to need friends and support. Dumbledore had countered that argument saying that what Harry needed was some time alone to think before he had to come back to deal with everything going on. Hermione had instantly started jabbering about some garbage about something called psychiatry and how important time for self reflection was.
Dumbledore had given the girl a full twinkle eyed smile and said she was exactly right. He had also told the two teens that they really were showing their maturity and readiness for more responsibility. Ron had been clueless about the hint but Hermione spent the rest of the day poorly hiding her smug grin.
That very night he had sent out a letter telling Harry to pick up and a time. Sirius knew enough about the Dursley’s schedule from Harry to know when they would be out of the house. With help from Remus he had slipped out of the house and he and Remus had managed a 5 minute phone call. They couldn’t do it often, or for very long, but Sirius thought hearing them had helped him slightly. They had managed to warn Harry that they were being forbidden from writing anything of value, but they would try.
Both had figured that Dumbledore would screen their mail, and they had been right. The next day Mad-Eye had warned them that he had been assigned to read any mail they were going to send. He said it was because Dumbledore was worried about making sure he didn’t risk his own safety, but Sirius knew that it was an attempt to stop him being there for Harry, he just didn’t fully understand why. What did he gain by isolating Harry this way?
Over the subsequent weeks Sirius and Remus ended up writing to Harry almost every day. They couldn’t put anything about what was going on with the Order, but they could tell Harry about his parents. Each letter covered a story from their separate perspectives, they rarely agreed on everything so the letters generally had name calling written in the margins.
Harry’s replies generally included a plea for answers, they had told him he needed to make sure to include that so no one would know they had spoken, but would continue on with questions about the stories. He always seemed grateful to be told something about them.
Remus had been a little startled by this. When he had taught at the school he hadn’t told Harry much about his parents because he had thought he had already known anything he could tell him, that was technically appropriate for a teacher to tell a student. He had been at school for 2 years before then, Remus had figured the other teachers, Minerva in particular, would go out of their way to tell the boy about his family, he had apparently been wrong. All Harry knew about his parents was their names and that he looked like James with Lily’s eyes.
They had both decided to make up for their mistakes, and one of the ways to start that was to make sure Harry knew more, not only about his parents but about the world he had been thrust into. During the time Remus had been teaching he had noticed that Harry seemed to hold himself back.
As Remus had taught he had seen understanding in Harry’s eyes, but when time came for practicals he tended to look around and wait until others had gotten at least close before he would do the spells. Harry had rarely offered up information, but when Remus had put him on the spot with a question he had always been able to answer it.
They wanted Harry to know that not only was it acceptable for him to excel, but that they encouraged him to. Not wanting to make him feel bad about his grades in comparison to his parents they told him about all the work James and Lily had done. While James hadn’t been overly focused on school he had done well because he was always researching for their next prank. This had left James with a wide range of spell knowledge. Lily, who had been the top student of their year, had spent a minimum of 2 hours studying every day.
To help him on his way to improving his grades Remus had slipped out one day and gone to Diagon Alley and gathered a large variety of books from the secondhand shops in the side alleys that most didn’t pay attention too. He packed that and a few other extras, including a few early birthday presents, into a box and shipped it to Harry through the muggle post.
All the members of The Order gathered in the kitchen for yet another meeting. Sirius chose to sit in the centre of the table so that he could be surrounded by the others. He found this the best way for him to observe as many people as possible. He had the benefit that Snape was sitting on Dumbledore’s right allowing him to keep an eye on him so Sirius could focus on the other members. Remus was in the back left corner of the room keeping watch on the group as a whole.
Dumbledore was once again going over old ground. He had been saying the same things at almost every meeting since they had restarted The Order. It was about how the public would one day know that they had been telling the truth, then it went to guard schedules.
That was another thing that infuriated Sirius. He had noticed that certain members of The Order had been having secret meetings with Dumbledore and after a week of pushing he had finally managed to learn that they were watching Harry without his knowledge. What right did these people have to spy on his godson? A question that he had demanded answers to at every meeting but was almost completely ignored.
He had also had to listen to Dumbledore’s plan to ignore Harry this year. Dumbledore kept going on about the connection between Harry and Tom and wanting to make sure it didn’t grow any stronger, but he didn’t say anything about trying to get rid of it. Sirius knew this would upset Harry slightly, he really had looked up to Dumbledore, but not too much as Harry had been growing disillusioned with the man from his letters with him and Remus. At least this would make it easier for Harry to change his behaviour as he wouldn’t be as closely monitored this year.
The only thing new that they covered was an apparent attack on one of The Order members. But it wasn’t an attack by death eaters.
Just before the meeting had started Sturgis Podmore had arrived. The man had been a complete mess. There were trickles of green down his face and arms where his skin appeared to have been dyed, his eyes were bloodshot and watering, there was a film of some kind of oily substance on his skin, and he was starting to develop a rash. The invisibility cloak that he had been wearing was a complete mess as well.
The way he told the story he had been sitting against the fence in the front yard of 5 Private Drive. Harry had been doing the gardening at the time so he had wanted to be close. He said he was just minding his own business when he was caught in a sudden downpour. His reaction had been to immediately apperate away, something that infuriated Sirius given that the man had supposedly been attacked while he was watching over his godson.
Severus had been trying to figure out what potion was used, at Dumbledore’s order, but wasn’t having any luck. Molly had set about using all kinds of cleaning charms but they weren’t having much of an effect. In the end they had decided to just keep a closer eye on the situation. Again, setting Sirius off as it meant they weren’t going to tell Harry anything.
Eventually the meeting came to an end, once again nothing being accomplished. Sirius smirked as he got ready for what was going to happen next.
Today was the 31st of July. It was Harry’s birthday. In celebration of this fact Molly had invited everyone to dinner, well, everyone except for Harry. There was no way Sirius was going to let that happen.
Sirius was sitting back and watching as Molly ordered people around to set the table when Hedwig flew in. Everyone froze seeing Harry’s owl, all wondering what Harry had to say.
“That must be Harry’s letter thanking us for his birthday presents and cake.” Molly smiled. “Ronnie, grab the letter and read it out loud.”
Ron went to grab Hedwig but she screeched menacingly at him before she went to Sirius.
“What is that about?” Someone questioned, not understanding the birds reaction.
“Hedwig seems to have been picking up on Harry’s anger over being abandoned and shunned by everyone. She is a very loyal bird so she is less than pleasant to those she feels are mistreating Harry.” Remus said with a sad smile.
“Harry hasn’t been abandoned my boy. We are doing everything we can to ensure his safety. It’s for the best that he stay with his family. I’m sure Harry understands that it really is for the greater good.” Albus gave Remus a chastising look.
“You obviously have not read any of his letters. If you had you would know that Harry is furious at pretty much everyone.” Remus said blandly. He went to continue trying to explain just how Harry was feeling but Sirius had broken down in raucous laughter.
“Well, what is it?” Molly demanded of Sirius, she wanted to know how much Harry liked the cake she had sent him.
“He said he was grateful to all those who bothered to remember he existed…”
“And just why does that make you laugh Sirius.” Minerva gave him a stern look.
“That wasn’t what I was laughing about. The main part of the letter is about what happened to Sturgis.”
Everyone turned to look at the unfortunate man.
“Well?” Sturgis questioned. “Does he know what potion was used?”
“It wasn’t a potion.” Sirius was grinning. “I think I should start by telling everyone that in Harry’s last few letters Harry has written about how he has had the feeling of being watched for awhile. He says he keeps hearing footsteps behind him when he goes out, he randomly catches the scent of womens perfume, or tobacco, and swears he heard someone sneezing the other day, but every time he looks he can’t see anyone.
This has left him with the conclusion that someone is spying on him but using magic to hide. I, being a good godfather, tried to let him know that he didn’t need to worry because the ones watching him are on our side, but he never got the message.” Sirius glared at Dumbledore and Mad-Eye. “Those sections keep getting edited out of my letters no matter how much I argue.
The end result is that, since there is no way any of the people he trusts would ever do anything as disgusting as spy on him, the ones spying on him are most likely death eaters. And he has decided to show no mercy.
Earlier today, when he could hear someone on the other side of the fence breathing he mixed up a little concoction and then dumped it over. And, he says he knows he’s not just being paranoid because when he looked over the fence after there was a cracking sound he saw that the dirt was wet, but there was a dry patch the size of a person.
It would seem Harry is becoming more mistrustful by the day.”
Everyone just stared for a moment. Unsurprisingly Remus, Fred, and George all broke down laughing after getting over the initial shock, surprisingly however, Mad-Eye joined in.
“Credit where credit is due, the boy’s no fool.” Mad-Eye barked out. “I have to admit, I whole heartedly agree with his actions. That should teach the lot of ya, CONSTANT VIGILANCE. Being able to know when you are bing watched can save your life.”
“So what did he use on me?” Sturgis whined, he really wasn’t seeing the joke in all this.
Sirius looked back at the letter. “It was a combination of olive oil, food colouring… and cayenne pepper.”
“Well that explains why we can’t get rid of it.” Snape sneered. “The oil and colouring will have started to absorb into your skin and cleaning charms only work on the surface. As for the pepper, it’s a powder, the charms are removing it one particle at a time. I told you it wasn’t a potion.”
“Then what do I do?” Sturgis asked.
“There is only one thing you can do…” Remus said. “Good old fashioned soap and water.”
“You should consider yourself lucky Sturgis.” Sirius called to the man as he was heading home to try a shower. “This was just the test run. A warning to the rest of you, not that you deserve it for what you’ve been doing to my godson, but Harry also mentioned that he was considering boiling the mixture next time he finds a spy.”
Many of those that had guard duty coming up shifted uncomfortably. That assignment just became a lot more dangerous.
“That boy is going to get a serious talking to when he gets here.” Molly muttered. “Well, let’s all sit down to dinner in honour of Harry.”
“Before we do, I have a few words to say.” Sirius cut in with a vicious smirk. “I decided, since this is in honour of Harry, we shall eat like Harry does with those muggles he’s been forced to stay with, so I wrote to him and asked him to give me a list of everything he had for dinner last year on his birthday. I figure, if it is good enough for Harry, then it is good enough for all of us.”
Fred and George exchanged smirks, they knew just how bad things were for Harry at the Dursley’s and they thought it was time that others started to get the message. From what they had managed to overhear every time someone brought up an issue with Harrys home life Dumbledore and a few others had made up excuses and changed the topic. A majority of the rest of the rooms inhabitants were fine with this change in menu, after all, like Sirius said, if it was good enough for The-Boy-Who-Lived then it was fine for them.
With a wave of his wand everyones plates filled with what Harry had gotten the year before. Everyone was stunned as they looked down at the half a peanut butter and jam sandwich sitting along side a few carrot sticks and half a tomato, all their glasses were filled with water.
“Well, what are you waiting for, eat up, Harry told me it’s best to take small bites, it makes it last longer.” Sirius turned a glare to Dumbledore before he looked around the table. “The good news is that since Molly sent Harry a cake last year as well you can all have a small slice of that once you’re done with your dinner.”
“Now Sirius…” Dumbledore started in a reproachful voice but never got to finish.
“NO!” Sirius snapped. “If you think you can subject my godson to meals like this then I will subject you to them. I agreed to allow this house to be used as headquarters on the understanding that Harry would be staying here as well, in case you haven’t noticed, he isn’t here. What idiot thought it was a good idea to throw a birthday party and not bother to invite the birthday boy?
I will not stand for it. If Harry doesn’t get to be happy on his birthday, no one gets to be happy on his birthday.”
“Sirius Black don’t you speak to the headmaster that way.” Molly shrieked. “He is just doing what is best. Yes, I know that Harry’s family isn’t the most loving, but they are his family. Now, no one panic, I made a lovely dinner.”
“Using the excuse of family might work on others, but you seem to forget I had a family too. I ran away at 16. But, then again, Harry beat my record since he ran away at 13. And as for that lovely meal you cooked, do enjoy it.
Just to make things poetic I may have made a few alterations to it that were James’s favourites. So go ahead, eat up, I dare you.” With that Sirius turned and stormed from the room.
“Just let him calm down a bit and I will go and talk to him.” Remus ducked his head into his hands to hide his huge grin.
“You don’t think he’s serious do you?” Ron questioned in a horrified voice as he looked to the food that was just sitting on the counter. “He wouldn’t really have done anything to the food, would he?”
“I wouldn’t doubt it for a second. He always was an arrogant fool.” Snape drawled, he was using all his occlumency skills not to react. Half of him was furious at how little the Potter boy had been getting if the mutt was to be believed, and the other half actually wanted to laugh at how Black had ensured everyone knew about it.
“Remus?” Minerva looked to her former student, he had always been the one that could calm the other marauders down.
“What do you think I can do?” Remus shrugged. “Nothing is going to calm Sirius down until Harry is here. He was told Harry would be coming here, and it has been weeks now. And I happen to agree, this was in very poor taste.
What were we supposed to do, take photos of Harry’s birthday party to show him later. He’s already angry enough as it is. I think if we did that we would all understand how Sturgis is feeling right now.
As for the food, you can take your chances, but I’m going to stick with what I was given. I know him, I wouldn’t put it past him to put a timed curse on all the other food in the house just to make sure you get his point.”
“But the children need food.” Molly huffed in fury. “They are growing boys and girls, they need more than… that.”
“I think that’s a part of his point. This is the same amount of food that Harry gets. If you think it is acceptable for him then why are you complaining about it when it comes to your kids?” Remus gave her a pointed look to which she just huffed and turned away.
It had ended up being Mundungus that had tried some other food only to suddenly end up in a Gryffindor themed bikini that had put a sudden stop to the others ideas of getting something else to eat. So it had been a subdued, and hungry, group of people that left the kitchen that night.
Just two days after the birthday party that wasn’t, everyone was once again in the kitchen when McGonagall came rushing in in a panic.
“Sirius, Harry’s in trouble!”
Everyone immediately started asking questions but they were shouting over each other trying to get their question answered first. For her part Minerva was trying to catch her breath, she had been in the great hall when Arabella had contacted them about the attack and had had to run up 3 flights of stairs to her office to reach the floo.
“ENOUGH!” Sirius shouted and was rewarded with instant silence. “Minerva, what happened?”
“I don’t know everything, I only just heard a bit before I came here. From what Arabella said dementors attacked Harry and his cousin. Harry used the patronus charm to save them.
The problem is that he used magic. No doubt the ministry will try and use this as an excuse to attack him. Albus is worried that Harry might react poorly to any ministry action.
He sent me here to get you to write a letter to him about just staying put and not doing anything. Albus has gone to the ministry to deal with it, but that may take some time.” McGonagall huffed out as Molly handed her a cup of tea.
Sirius growled, Harry had been attacked and the old fool still wanted Harry to stay at the Dursley’s. But, before he could express his displeasure Hedwig flew into the kitchen with multiple letters. She went directly to Sirius who took the letters and started handing them out.
The letter that was addressed to Ron and Hermione was a demand for answers. He said that if their friendship meant anything then they would actually give him a decent reply.
Fred and George had equally evil looks as they read their letter, it had been tucked inside Sirius’s so that they would actually get it. Harry told them that he wanted them to make everyone in the house as miserable as possible until he arrived, he did however request that they not harm Sirius, Remus, or whoever was assigned to bring him. There was even a special request to have Dumbledore bleating like a goat and any who spoke against his immediate removal either clucking like chickens or baaing like sheep. They both stayed where they were to hear what everyone else had to say, but they already had plans running through their devious minds.
In the letters to Sirius and Remus Harry explained what had happened and begged them to get him out of there. In the letters he mentioned how his uncle was angry about the attack. While Harry had never specifically said anything about abuse both Sirius and Remus were sure he was being abused, so this just made them want Harry out of there even sooner.
After the letters had been distributed everyone had started shouting out again. They were all panicked. It really annoyed Sirius just how these people acted. They didn’t seem to care about Harry most of the time, but whenever anything happened they acted like he meant the world to them. Did none of them realize just how blatantly fake they seemed to be to anyone who bothered to look?
Sirius summoned some parchment and quill and quickly wrote out a letter telling Harry to stay where he was and that he was doing everything he could to get him out of there. He begged Harry to be patient with him just a little bit longer, swearing that if the others didn’t move quickly enough then he would be coming for him. Remus added his agreement with Sirius’s plan and they sealed the letter and handed it to Hedwig who immediately turned to fly out of the house.
With that done Sirius and Remus went and sat at their spots at the table and waited. They both knew that Dumbledore would be arriving soon. There was no way he wasn’t going to call a meeting and try to control this, and also spin it in a way that looked better then the complete disaster it was.
Molly was going on about how Harry shouldn’t have had to deal with something like this, he was only a little boy. McGonagall, Arthur and Bill were talking about what the ministry was going to do and what Dumbledore would do in response. Fred and George had slipped out of the room while everyone was distracted, and the other three kids were standing whispering to each other.
As Sirius and Remus had thought other Order members started to arrive barely 10 minutes later, most having no idea what was going on, simply doing as they had been told. Molly shooed the kids out of the room as soon as the others started to arrive. No one, besides Sirius and Remus, had noticed the disappearance and reappearance of the twins from earlier, but as they were ushered out of the room they saw as they grinned viciously.
“Oh good, everyone’s here.” Dumbledore blustered as he made his way into the kitchen. He actually looked a little frazzled, much to Sirius’s joy.
“What’s going on? Dementors, how could that happen?” Was asked by more than a few people in fearful voices.
“Arabella, if you would explain what you know.” Dumbledore waved to the crazy cat lady that was sitting nervously at the edge of her seat.
“Just after 9 Mr. Tibbles, one of my cats, came to warn me that something was wrong. After finishing cutting the lawn Harry had gone inside for dinner, Mundungus, who was supposed to be on guard duty, figured he would be inside for the rest of the night so he popped off to meet with one of his suppliers.
I was warned when Harry left the house again and went out looking for him. I wandered the neighbourhood trying to figure out where Harry would go. I eventually found them, bit I only got there in time to see Harry force the creatures away from himself and his cousin. I escorted them both home and came to report to you.
You should know headmaster, my position is now known. Harry knows that I was assigned to watch over him. I would have tried to make up some other excuse, but there just wasn’t any time and I was so shocked by what had just happened.” The woman finished her report with a dejected look, she felt like she had failed, Harry was never supposed to know about her.
“Thank you for the report Arabella, I fully understand your actions. As much as I might wish that your position was still secret it was more important to get Harry to safety. I will just have to make a few adjustments to account for this change.
Now that everyone knows what has happened I can inform you that Cornelius has ordered Harry’s expulsion.” It was like there was an explosion in the kitchen as everyone started shouting, Dumbledore had to set off a few loud bangs with his wand to get everyones attention. “Thankfully I was able to get to the ministry quickly and remind them that they didn’t actually have the ability to expel a student from Hogwarts.
Harry will instead be facing charges of underage magic, but I will handle it to ensure he isn’t punished.”
Sirius felt sick when he saw how everyone relaxed at this. These people really were fools. Didn’t they understand just how that man was manipulating the situation. If the ministry followed the law then Harry wouldn't be punished either way, he had every right to defend himself. Not to mention that there wasn’t all that much he could do, over the last month Dumbledore had lost almost every position of power he had once held, all he had left was his position of headmaster.
By the time Sirius had tuned back into the conversation Dumbledore was off on another topic.
“Alastor, if you would please work up a plan to bring Harry here. I think it would be best if he stayed here for the rest of the summer. I’m sure you will have plenty of volunteers.” His eyes twinkled as almost everyone in the room started offering to be a part of the team to get Harry. “Harry will probably want to spend a few more days with his family after this shock, so I would recommend you take a few days to plan. I figure 2 or 3 days will be enough for both you and him.”
“HAVE YOU COMPLETELY LOST WHAT LITTLE SANITY YOU HAD?” Sirius was on his feet and shouting at the man before he even realized it, he took some perverse pleasure at the shock on the mans face at being talked to, or shouted at, in such a way. Then he spun to Mad-Eye. “Mad-Eye, you have 24 hours to have my godson here. If Harry is not sitting next to me at breakfast the day after tomorrow then I will be going to get him myself.
And I will not be bringing him back here when I do. I think Harry might enjoy the chance to be like any other kid and do a bit of traveling for his holidays. I personally really enjoyed Morocco, maybe he will too.”
“Are you threatening to kidnap Harry, you have no right…” Molly snarled as she shot to her feet.
“I have EVERY right.” Sirius snapped back. “Harry is my godson. I, and only I, have any legal right to decide where he stays. It would seem trusting the Headmaster was a mistake, one I have no intention of making again.”
“How dare you…” Molly started before Dumbledore himself interrupted her.
“Sirius my boy, I understand that you are worried, but this is going to take time…”
“Are you kidding me.” Sirius threw his arms up. “You just said that Harry was attacked. Those vaunted wards you go on and on about have clearly failed. Maybe that might have something to do with the fact that you claim they are powered by blood and love, even though there is absolutely no love for, or from, Harry in that hell hole.
Along side that it means that Harry’s location is compromised. And your response is to leave him in an unsecured area after an attempt on his life? What else am I supposed to think except that you have completely lost it?”
“Sirius is right. He could have been a little more… diplomatic, but he is still right.” Remus added as soon as Sirius finished, unlike his friend he remained in his seat and kept his tone calm, although his eyes kept flashing amber as his inner wolf reacted to his cub being in danger. “This was most likely done by someone in the ministry since they are the ones that currently have control of the dementors. Now who ever it was might be satisfied with Harry being charged, but they might not. Even if they are, and don’t try to attack him again, there is no doubt that Fudge will at some time mention this to the likes of Malfoy who will scurry back to his master. If Malfoy learns anything about this he will easily be able to get Fudge to give up the address and then Voldemort will go after Harry too.”
There were more then a few shrieks, as there always were whenever Voldemort’s name was mentioned, but these were quickly overtaken by the panic as those at the table realized just how much danger Harry was in.
“The wards are still working fine my boys.” Dumbledore tried to placate Sirius and Remus. He couldn’t have them working the rest of the order up. “Harry was attacked after he had left the house. So long as he stays within the house he is protected. No Death Eater can pass the wards.”
“But as has already been shown, it isn’t just Death Eaters he has to worry about.” Bill piped up. “The fatal flaw in intent based blood wards is their narrow focus. If they are focused on Death Eaters, or more likely, their dark mark, then that is all they will ward against. We already know that he has plenty of unmarked followers, there’s also creatures like the dementors, obviously, they would be able to walk right in the front door.”
“Bill I’m sure the headmaster knows more about the wards then you do, you’ve never even been there.” Molly scolded her eldest. “You’re just buying into Sirius’s paranoia, you’re smarter than that.”
Bill gave his mother a blank look. He was one of the best curse breakers in the country for Merlin’s sake, he knew wards, and his mother was acting like he was still a Hogwarts student.
“As much as I am loathe to agree with the mutt, I must.” Snape drawled. “Lucius has brunch with Fudge two days a week, the next day being tomorrow. There is no chance the fool won’t mention this. That means the Dark Lord will most likely have the address by lunch. Leaving the boy where he is is an unnecessary risk.”
“Well that’s that then.” Tonks all but shouted as she looked around. “If those two are agreeing we all know it’s serious. I think we should take a small team and go… Now”
“Aye lass, you always did have good instincts.” Mad-Eye barked as he looked at the woman he had helped train. “I can take a small team. I think that might be for the best. The more of us there are, the more attention we’ll draw.”
“Who are we taking with us?” Remus questioned as he walked over to the retired auror.
“Now Remus, I know you want to help but Alastor is in charge.” Dumbledore ran his fingers through his beard as he saw he was losing control. “What do you have in mind Alastor?”
“I figured we’d apperate there, get the boy, and apperate back.” Mad-Eye said simply. “Time is of the essence.”
Sirius snickered softly. Mad-Eye might be paranoid, but he also understood urgency. Long complicated plans were only for when you were in a difficult situation that required subterfuge.
“I’m afraid that won’t be possible. We can’t risk the apparition being tracked back here. That was why I suggested that you take a few days to make plans. We wouldn’t want to risk Harry’s life.” Albus twinkled.
“Then we floo.” Mad-Eye snapped.
“Again, that can be tracked.” Dumbledore gave a thoughtful look.
“Well then I wish Arabella good luck at getting home since she can’t floo there.” Mad-Eye gave his old friend a critical look.
“Arabella?” Dumbledore questioned. “She will be coming back to Hogwarts with me for the evening.” He knew it sounded silly, and slightly inappropriate, but he had had to think it up on the spot. Dumbledore wanted to keep Harry with his relatives a little longer, him being around Sirius was not a good thing, the man just didn’t have what it took to look after a child.
“Fine, we will disillusion ourselves and fly, and that is final. You’ve put me in charge of this rescue mission, so I make the decisions. If you have a problem with that then Sirius has my full support in whatever he chooses to do with his godson.”
Dumbledore went to start making excuses again but there was a loud bang and a cloud of smoke filled the room. When it cleared everyone was different colours, the only ones that remained untouched were Sirius, Remus, Mad-Eye, Tonks, Bill and Snape.
Molly stood up and went to scream the twins names, but all that came out was the crow of a rooster. Everyone just looked at her in shock. When she tried to talk instead of shout she just clucked.
She was soon followed by the rest of the order trying to talk, but they only made animal noises. As per Harry’s request, the great Albus Dumbledore was bleating like a goat.
“Well, this is interesting.” Mad-Eye chuckled. “Bill, I’m assuming those devil twins are responsible for this, go and ask them what’s going on. And, while you're up there grab their brooms.”
Bill nodded and quickly left the room. He needed to laugh desperately, but knew if he did so in front of his mother she would make him suffer for it.
“Lupin, you seem to think you’re coming along, why is that?”
“Because, Harry actually knows me.” Remus shrugged. “You do remember that he knows you as a death eater that was trying to kill him… right? I think if you went up to him and demanded he go anywhere with you there would be a bit of a fight, and I honestly don’t know which one of you two would win.”
“You think he could take me on?” Mad-Eye chuckled.
“This is a boy that has survived more encounters with the most feared wizard in the world than anyone else. You might have the knowledge and experience, but Harry’s a survivor. And he will do whatever it takes to do so. He’s at his best when he’s under pressure.” Remus smiled.
Mad-Eye just nodded. “We shall see. Well… Albus, any problems with this plan?”
The headmaster tried to talk, but could only bleat.
“That’s wonderful. I’m so glad you agree with our plan. Tonks, go home and grab your broom and meet us back here in 20 minutes. You, Lupin, and Bill will be coming with me. The rest will have to stay behind until whatever this is wears off.” Mad-Eye grinned, happy the twins had taken out any issues for him.
Bill arrived back with the two brooms, along with is own, and a huge smile.
“Well?” Remus questioned.
“It would seem Harry set the twins loose. They were given instructions to make everyone suffer for leaving him at the Dursley’s for so long. He also made some special requests for any who spoke against his retrieval, that’s why we weren’t targeted, we spoke about getting him out rather than leaving him there.
If you have your own homes I would recommend going there. They managed this with only 15 minutes to prepare, and they are now working on other plans. As per request, they are not going to stop until Harry is here and tells them too.” Bill smiled at his multi coloured audience. “Good news, since they had such a small amount of time this will only last an hour or two.”
Mad-Eye chuckled. “Between those two and Potter I have hope for the future. They think well on their feet and can get the job done at a moments notice. They will do well in this upcoming war.”
Molly tried to tell Mad-Eye off, but could only cluck and crow.
Before anything else could happen Tonks arrived back with her broom, she wanted to get Harry now and wasn’t going to hold them up for even a moment longer if she could.
“Good, let’s get going. The flight should take up about three hours each way, and, I figure most likely an hour at the house. That gives us 7 hours. It’s now almost midnight so we should be back here in time for breakfast.” Mad-Eye announced as they all started to head for the front door, Bill passing Mad-Eye and Remus the twins brooms.
Sirius quickly slipped Remus a note for Harry while the others were getting ready. Mad-Eye had a bit of trouble getting Dumbledore to write down the address of the headquarters, but got it in the end. Just before they took off Snape made his own contribution, giving them each some of his emergency supply of energy potion that would allow them to stay awake.
With all that done, they set off to go get Harry.
Severus Snape scowled as he followed Headmaster Dumbledore back to his office after leaving Grimmauld. Just as he had been getting ready to leave he was silently pulled aside by Black while all the others were watching the little rescue party leave.
Black had shown him the letter, specifically where the boy said his uncle was upset. Since they suspected some form of physical abuse Black and Lupin wanted the boy’s health checked. They couldn’t trust just anyone, so they had asked for him to do a health scan.
It was a little known fact but for someone to get their potions mastery they were required to also get a basic medi-wizards license. This was because they dealt with dangerous ingredients that could turn poisonous or explode. They needed to know how to keep themselves, or their customers, alive until more help arrived in case things went bad.
Severus had agreed that he would make up an excuse to be there for breakfast and would give the boy a scan then. He was also planning to bring a few potions just in case since he was sure the boy was malnourished just from his size.
Now he had to deal with the headmaster. At least the man couldn’t speak and was going to have to write anything he wanted to say. It might save him the headache.
It took over an hour for Severus to make his escape from the office. All Dumbledore had wanted was for him to go to the Dark Lord and inform him of the attack. Like he wasn’t going to do just that, he wanted to stay alive, and untortured. Most of the time had been about how to selectively edit the information he provided. Severus had just agreed, with his usual token protests, he was going to do what he wanted anyway, it just got him away faster to let the other man think he was in charge.
After leaving Hogwarts grounds Severus apperated to Riddle Manor where the Dark Lord was still residing with that little worm, Pettigrew. He knocked just to say he did, but after 5 minutes of waiting he walked in. Everyone was most likely asleep.
Going to the room he knew Pettigrew had claimed he woke the man with a strong stinging hex. “I need to have a word with the Dark Lord.”
“Now?” Pettigrew whined as he rubbed his eyes. “It’s to late, come back in the morning.”
“So you would like me to come back in the morning and inform the Dark Lord that the reason he didn’t get the information immediately was because you were sleepy.” Severus sneered.
“Then you go wake him.” Pettigrew rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.
“You are required to announce everyone. Unless you think what you want is more important than our Lords orders.”
“Fine.” Pettigrew snarled as he got up, he knew just how bad things would be if he delayed or just let Snape go in unannounced. He was going to be tortured either way, but at least this way Snape would be there as a distraction.
Pettigrew had been correct that he was going to be tortured. Voldemort came awake with a curse on his thin lips. It was only after torturing his follower for a bit that Voldemort bothered to ask what he wanted. After Pettigrew stuttered out Snape was there and requesting a meeting Pettigrew was instructed to help him dress and announce Snape in their meeting room.
After he was dressed and in the room, Pettigrew went to get Snape, and as instructed, announced him before leaving. He didn’t bother to go back to bed on the off chance he was needed again. There were times he really did regret everything he had done, now he had to serve a man that tortured him almost every day.
“My Lord.” Severus said as he went to his knees in front of the creature.
“Rise Severussss and take a ssseat." Voldemort indicated the lower level chairs, they were simple and extremely uncomfortable to remind his people just what their position was. "What brings you here at this time without any warning? And it had better be good.”
“I apologize for my late arrival my lord. I was just at an emergency meeting of The Order of the Phoenix.”
“And what wassss their emergency?”
“There was an attack on the Potter boy.”
“WHAT? I ordered everyone to keep a low profile. Why wasss I not informed hisss location had been found?” Voldemort’s wand started to glow green and Nagini started to hiss angrily.
“It is the old fool’s belief that it wasn’t one of your followers my lord. The attack was carried out by two dementors so the current theory is that it was someone within the ministry.”
“And the boy sssurvived?”
“Unfortunately my lord. He was able to cast a patronus to save himself and his muggle cousin. But there are repercussions of it. He is underage and did magic in front of a muggle. Fudge has arranged for the boy to be charged with underage magic.”
Voldemort sat and thought for a moment. “And what would you recommend, my ssspy?”
Severus thought quickly. There was always a chance this was a trap. If he seemed to be giving an order he would be tortured. If he seemed like he was undermining the thing, he would be tortured. If he answered wrong, he would be tortured. In the end he had to speak, or he would be tortured.
“If the boy is found guilty his wand may be snapped and he would be expelled. That would be most favourable to you my lord as it would leave him out in the open. If I might, I would recommend having Lucius use his persuasion on Fudge to get this made into a full trial. That would give us the best odds. If it is left as it is right now he will be answering to Amelia Bones, and she would be more likely to listen to him as she was friends with the boys parents.”
Voldemort examined his spy but could not see any sign of deceit or disrespect and decided not to torture him as he had done well. “Give me your arm.”
Severus held up his arm with the mark and prepared for pain. His mark was used to call to Lucius, Severus using every ounce of strength not to cry out. Any sign of weakness and he would be tortured, he just hoped that Lucius hurried.
It took less than 5 minutes for the other man to arrive. He wasn’t as polished as usual, but even he knew being fast was more important than his vanity.
Like Severus before him he went to his knees and was then instructed to sit. Severus then explained the situation when he was instructed too, making sure to emphasize that Harry was already being moved to a new safe house in the hopes of stopping an attack on the muggles in the area just in case. Voldemort told Lucius about forcing a full trial, he added that they should make it public so that everyone would witness the boys fall from grace.
Lucius had quickly agreed and both he and Severus were dismissed. Lucius went home to bed, but Severus had to give his report to Dumbledore.
Albus Dumbledore stared out the window after Severus had left. He was lost in thought.
Controlling things had been getting harder recently, but he was sure he would regain everything he had lost sooner rather than later. Everything he had done was for the greater good, but it didn’t make it any easier.
Years ago he had faced a choice. There was a young boy that was destined to save the world, and it had been up to him what to do. The prophecy had said that he was Tom’s equal, and that meant they needed to be equals. Because of that he had allowed the boy to have a childhood similar to that of Tom’s.
It hadn’t been easy, the boy had been just a baby and leaving him to that life had broken Albus’s heart, but he had known he had to do it. It was the only way. The boy needed to learn suffering so that he would be able to do whatever needed to be done. He needed to learn humility so that he wouldn’t get a big head. But most of all he needed to see the magical world as his haven. Even then Albus had known that the baby would have to die for their world to survive.
For months after he, Minerva, and Hagrid had left little Harry Potter on the doorstep he had suffered doubts. He had gotten letters from Arabella once she had moved in about how the Dursley’s weren’t accepting the boy, and he had suffered. In the end he had stopped reading the reports because it hurt too much. He had done what needed to be done, but he truly did hate that he had to do it.
But in the end, it had been fine. Harry had arrived at Hogwarts and almost from the very beginning he had shown his strength. Albus had been so pleased with how the boy had risen to the challenges, and he had known he had done the right thing for their world. But it was still hard.
Now everything was in danger. Sirius was too much of a lose cannon. In the end he still knew that Harry needed to die to stop Tom, and Sirius would fight him on that every step of the way. It was clear that Sirius had lost his trust in him. Now, Sirius was only loyal to Harry and Remus, and he would do anything and everything in his power to protect the boy.
Harry needed to remember suffering, it was the only way to ensure he would be willing to do what needed to be done, if not then all the suffering in his childhood was for naught. Remus and Sirius would be a negative influence on that. They would do anything to make the boy happy.
Worse, Albus didn’t want the boy to learn from them. The last thing he needed was a defiant boy that fought against authority the way his father had as a boy. Harry was at his best when he was repressed.
Now Harry was going to be with Sirius and Remus for the rest of the summer and that could undo everything the Dursley’s had accomplished during the last month. He was going to have to speak with Molly and the boys friends.
Getting up Albus went to get ready for bed. He was going to need to be up in a few hours.
Yes, Albus had always done things for the greater good, but there were times when he hated what he had to do.
Harry James Potter sighed as he laid back on his bed. This was just another crappy summer in a series of crappy summers. After having to watch Cedric die and the rebirth of the monster that murdered his parents Harry had once again been shipped off back to Durzkaban.
At least he had Sirius and Remus writing to him, he thought he would have lost his mind without them. They couldn’t tell him anything of value about what was going on, but they could tell him about his parents, and that was just as good, if not better. Harry loved reading about what his parents were like when they were his age, it made them more real to him.
So far they had only managed to call him twice, for a few minutes each, but it was better than nothing. They had first warned him that their letters to him were going to be censored, and their second was to warn him that he had people watching him. That second one had annoyed Harry even more, to the point he had given himself cover to target one of those watching him. He knew it was a little mean, but they deserved it.
The hardest part of knowing that their letters were being monitored was that his so called friends didn’t even try to add anything extra. There were always at least a half dozen lines in Sirius’s and Remus’s letters that had been blacked out by whoever was editing their letters, but there was never anything like that in his friends.
Ron and Hermione didn’t even seem to try to let him know anything. Instead, all they talked about was themselves, and it was clear they were together. Harry tried not to get too angry at them, but the resentment had been steadily growing with each letter. He had even almost completely stopped writing to them because of how they responded.
When he had suggested that if they couldn’t contact him through magical methods, like owl mail, then maybe they could try muggle methods. The only response had been that they didn’t have access, something Harry knew not to be true since Sirius had mentioned that there was a payphone less then half a block away, not to mention that there were of course also mailboxes around since he had been getting a few care packages from Sirius and Remus.
In the end, Harry was just angry. After everything he had been through he was once again being treated like a kid, and he hadn’t been a kid for a long long time.
Harry hated that he had so little contact with the outside world. Sirius had mentioned in one of his letters about how the twins were wondering why he hadn’t been responding to their letters, but he hadn’t gotten any. When he had told Sirius that he had said he would explain that to the twins and then the two of them would talk when he and Harry saw each other next. But it didn’t take a genius to figure it out, someone was only allowing mail from certain people through to him. He knew it was possible to do things like that since Dobby had previously done it.
Most of the time, to avoid letting his anger build up, Harry worked his way through the different books that Sirius and Remus had sent him. Harry had learned at a very early age that he wasn’t supposed to excel. Doing better than Dudley had always gotten him in trouble so Harry had always controlled his grades to protect himself. It was a behaviour that he continued when he started Hogwarts.
Over the years he had used Ron as a guide to how well he could do. He knew that Ron didn’t like school work and had a tendency to get jealous of Harry, so Harry hadn’t bothered to try. Hermione had pretty much drilled Harry’s desire to try out of him too. She seemed to think the only way to learn was to memorize a textbook and repeat it verbatim, but that just wasn’t how Harry learned. Harry did best when he read, put things in his own words, and practiced.
But now, Harry knew he needed to actually start to work harder. Voldemort was back. And although his ability to write an essay might not help him, he needed to learn everything he could. The other man had 50 years worth of experience on him. Harry could no longer rely on doing the bare minimum.
That was where all the books came in handy. It seemed, when Harry wasn’t being hounded to play chess or study, but only what Hermione wanted to study, Harry actually enjoyed learning. It became even more important to Harry as he read about just how smart his parents were, he wanted to live up to their memories, even if it was just for himself.
The books covered a wide variety of subjects. There were books on arithmancy and ancient runes that Harry found truly interesting, he wished that he had taken one, or both, of those classes rather than divination. Along with those books were self repairing tablets so that Harry could practice carving runes multiple times, and arithmancy workbooks that would hi-light any mistakes so he could learn the practical application.
There were of course multiple books on his school subjects that went more in depth than his classes did. The history book in particular was extremely useful since Harry had learned almost nothing from Binns. He wished he had had the magical theory books earlier because it helped him to understand how magic worked in ways he could apply to make his spell casting better. However, the books that helped him the most were the potions ingredient and prep books that gave detailed information on different ingredients and the affect the different preparation styles have on them as well as the different interactions. Harry had hope that these might help him do better in potions class.
Occlumancy was another topic that he had multiple books on. Remus had written on the inside cover that he needed to work on learning it. It was extremely hard, but Harry thought he was making progress. It had only been a month since he had arrived back, but he didn’t really have anything better to do. He was woken up each morning at 6:30 to make breakfast for his uncle so he could eat before he left for work. After that he had to tidy up the house and do some gardening during the day, but that was a mindless task that Harry was so used to he used that time to sort through his memories for his occlumency practice. Each night he would spend an hour or two wandering around town, or going to visit the local library, but other than that he was in his room. In total Harry usually spent at least 10 hours in his room going over the books he had gotten and practicing what he could. He wasn’t doing very well at it, he still had nightmares almost every night, but he was working on it.
There were of course some books that he wasn’t overly interested in, but read anyways. Sirius had sent books on decorum, law, and estate management. The books were dry and boring but Sirius had insisted he read them, so Harry did. While it was slightly interesting, he didn’t really see how any of it applied to him, he wasn’t a pure blood after all, but he was sure Sirius would explain it to him once they saw each other next.
The best books he had gotten however were the ones that had been early birthday presents. Sirius gave him the journal that he and his father had kept while they were working on becoming animagy. Remus sent their pranking compendium with a list of every prank they pulled, along with the notes they kept while working on them. Harry was glad to have those, even more so since they had edited out every single reference to Wormtail. He spent at least an hour every day just flipping through, going over and over his fathers sections in hopes that might bring him closer to the man. It also got him more interested in learning, his father and the others had been so creative and used everyday spells to keep everyone on their toes, that was something Harry wanted to be able to do.
But now, all that studying may have been pointless. He may have just been expelled simply for defending himself. A letter had just arrived from Sirius and Remus letting him know that they were going to get him out of there, but Harry was starting to run low on trust. He knew they would try, but for some reason those like Dumbledore wanted him to remain isolated.
And, again, the lack of information from his friends was aggravating him. This was just another sign to him that he needed to take a step back and reevaluate his friendships.
Not wanting to dwell too much Harry started trying to focus on sorting through his memories. It was a task that he had been struggling greatly with since something kept causing him pain whenever he started trying to build up a shield, but he kept trying anyway. He had been warned it was extremely hard.
But what had just happened kept forcing its way into his mind.
The sun had just gone down and Harry was sitting on one of the only swings left in the local park that his bully of a cousin and his gang hadn’t managed to break yet when he saw his cousin. It looked like Dudley was getting ready to go home, and Harry knew that if Dudley got home before him he would be in trouble so he got up and started to follow.
Harry had felt the urge to confront his cousin once he was alone, but he knew that he shouldn’t. Dudley was a brutal bully, and he always would be, Harry hated that, but he was also learning to pick his battles. Sirius and Remus had served as a way to relieve the pressure that built up from everything that was happening so he wasn’t feeling as confrontational as he would if he had been isolated completely.
Instead, Harry stayed a few feet back and was silent. Dudley never even noticed that he was there. The two of them were about half way home when Harry started to feel the air grow cold. There was only one thing that Harry knew could drop the temperature that fast.
“Dudley, come here.” Harry called to his cousin.
“What do you want freak?” Dudley said once he noticed his cousin was behind him.
“We need to get home, fast.” Harry moved closer to his cousin and started trying to get him walking faster.
“Why?” Dudley questioned stupidly as he, much to the distress of Harry, stopped.
“This cold. I’ve felt it before and it means something really bad is close by.” Harry said, he knew he couldn’t mention dementors because Dudley wouldn’t know what they were, and any mention of magic would set the rest of the family off when Dudley told them.
“Something from my world.” Harry said as he grabbed his cousin and started to pull.
Thankfully, despite not being bright, that seemed to get through to Dudley and he started to walk faster. But they didn’t make it very far before 2 dementors swooped down on them. Dudley screamed slightly and started to run, but he was unfortunately running in the wrong direction.
Harry looked around in a panic and called out for help. He knew that he was supposed to have someone following him, but no one responded. Trying to stay conscious Harry looked around in a panic. When he saw one of the dementors lower its hood as it leaned over Dudley who was now on the ground Harry knew he had no choice and pulled his wand and cast his patronus.
As soon as the dementors fled Harry ran forward and pulled Dudley back up. He had been trying to get his cousin moving when Mrs. Figg arrived. Harry was stunned when she mentioned he needed to keep his wand out. How did she even know about magic?
Walking the last few blocks to number 4, Harry’s mind ran through the implications of Mrs. Figg knowing about magic. That meant she had always known, but had just never bothered to tell him. She must work for Dumbledore, there was no way she didn’t given that she knew he was supposed to have guards watching him.
Now Harry was once again locked in his room. His aunt and uncle had been furious when Harry had managed to get Dudley in the house and learned about what had happened.
He had gotten a howler from the ministry telling him he had been expelled from Hogwarts. When he had sent letters to everyone who had been writing to him this summer, only Sirius and Remus had written him back, but he had kinda expected that.
Thankfully he had been informed that he wasn’t completely expelled in another letter, but was going to have to defend himself to the ministry. It was just another thing he was going to have to deal with. He was going to have to talk to Remus and Sirius about getting some more in-depth information on the laws in their world since the law books he had were just a basic overview and didn’t have detailed information on underage magic laws.
But for now, all he could do was wait.
Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody was concerned as he flew towards the current home of Harry Potter. What not many people knew was that Charlus Potter had been a very close friend since they were young and that he in fact had been named godfather of James Potter.
Earlier in the summer he had been cornered by Sirius and told that something was wrong. Sirius had requested that he just look at what happened when he was on guard duty. That he should just forget everything he was told about Harry and his home life, and make his own observations.
That was what he had done, and he hadn’t liked what he had seen. The boy was far too small. He was nearly half a foot shorter then his father had been at that age, and while his mother may have been described as having a delicate build, even she had been taller. Not only was he short, but he was far too thin. Sirius showing him what the boy had gotten to eat on his birthday answered just why he was so small. He was malnourished.
Then there was the treatment he was receiving from his relatives. Mad-Eye had seen Harry shoved by his uncle, screamed at by his aunt, or hit by his cousin far too many times for him to see it as anything other than abuse. He had brought it up with his old friend, Albus, but the answer hadn’t been what he had expected.
When he had first brought it up Albus had assured him that although Harry’s relatives might not be the most loving, they would never abuse him. Mad-Eye had argued that point, using his own observations as evidence, but Albus had just pushed it aside. He had said that Harry needed to stay there regardless of whatever it was he thought he saw.
Mad-Eye had been stunned. He, more than anyone, understood in times of war sacrifices had to be made, but he saw no excuse for allowing a child to be abused. He knew he might be a little biased given his connection to the boys father, but even if he looked past that he still didn’t agree with it. Abuse was always bad, but even more so in the magical world because of the effect it could have on the development of the childs magic.
And he wasn’t the only one who had noticed the signs of abuse. Both Tonks and Kingsley Shacklebolt had approached him about things they had seen. Tonks had even seen Harry take his shirt off once when he was working in the garden on one of the hottest days of the summer. She had come to him with tears in her eyes telling him that she had been able to count every one of his ribs, but even worse, was the bruises that covered them, there were also handprint bruises on his arms. His aunt had rushed out of the house moments later to make him put the long sleeved shirt back on even though it was so hot. Kingsley had told him that he had seen his uncle smack him upside the head or shove him repeatedly.
They had both gone to Albus independently, and, like him, been brushed off. When they saw that they weren’t going to get anywhere with Albus they had come to him as they saw no other options. Mad-Eye had felt useless when all he could tell them to do was to keep an eye on the situation and ensure that it didn’t go too far, and argue, alongside Sirius and Remus, for the boys removal from that house.
After seeing everything, Mad-Eye had turned to Sirius and Remus to question them on their motives and actions in regards to Albus. It didn’t make sense to him that they would continue to ally themselves with him. The response that he had gotten was that the enemy of their enemy was their friend. They would be willing to work with Albus until Voldemort was dealt with, after that it was a little more open.
They would never forget what Albus had allowed to happen to Harry and they would do everything in their power to protect the boy from him. Given Albus’s desire for control and power they were sure he would try and use Harry to better his own position and they would not allow that to happen. For them, Harry came first.
And Mad-Eye had given them his assurance that he would assist them. For James, he would do whatever they needed to help them.
It was just after 3am when the four Order members arrived in the front yard of Privet Drive. Mad-Eye pulled out the putter-outer that he had gotten from Albus and turned off all the street lights before they took the disillusions off themselves and walked up to the door.
Since it was so late they knew that knocking probably wouldn’t get them very far Remus cast an area effect silencing spell before sending a bell ringing charm through the front door. They knew the Dursley’s would most likely be more than a little upset to be woken up so late, but they might think it was worth it to get rid of Harry for the rest of the summer. Either way, they had to get Harry out of there.
It took almost five minutes before they heard a man shouting from inside and the sound of someone stomping down stairs. When the door was yanked open they could see Vernon Dursley was almost purple in the face as he spat a demand to know what was wrong with them and demanded to know why they were bothering decent people so late.
“We are here to pick up Harry Potter.” Bill said in a calm voice since he knew he was more likely to end up being the voice of reason of this group.
“WHAT? You woke my entire family up in the middle of the night about that freak!” Vernon was furious.
“Vernon, what’s going on?” Came a womans voice from upstairs.
“It’s a bunch of freaks here about the boy.” Vernon shouted back, never stopping his glaring contest with Mad-Eye.
“WHAT?” Petunia stormed down the stairs. “Do you freaks have no decency? It is the middle of the night. Normal people are sleeping at this time.”
“We figured you would prefer us to come late at night so none of your neighbours would see us.” Remus threw in. He knew from Harry's letters just how much the Dursley’s hated anything that might be considered abnormal, and given that they were all in robes, they would be classified as abnormal.
Both Petunia and Vernon huffed. They were furious to be woken so late, but glad that none of their neighbours would see the freaks. Instead, Petunia just huffed that they could have at least called to let them know they were coming rather than just arriving, but ushered them inside anyways. Poking her head out just to make sure none of the neighbours were watching.
Remus nodded to the others before he started upstairs so he could help Harry pack since he hadn’t known they were coming. Mad-Eye was still staring down Vernon, and Tonks was taking great joy in upsetting Petunia with her hot pink hair. Bill had slipped towards the back of the house so he could run a check on the wards as Mad-Eye had suggested he do.
Mad-Eye grinned as he saw Vernon flinch when he continued to stare him down with his normal eye while spinning his magical eye up so he could check in on Remus after five minutes of silence. He wasn’t really worried, but it was dangerous to become complacent. But all he saw was Remus holding the small boy in a hug.
Bill came back in with a grave look on his face. “It’s what we thought.”
“What’s like we thought?” Tonks questioned, her hair flashing blue in her confusion causing Petunia to squeak and Vernon to flinch.
“The protective wards around the house are far to weak. I have to admit, Headmaster Dumbledore was right about these wards. I have never seen anything like them. They seem to be focused on any and all ill intent from a magical being.” Bill told her.
“What are you freaks talking about? We won’t have any of that nonsense in this house. We are good, honest, normal people.” Petunia said in a furious voice.
“What I’m talking about is that your sister was an incredibly powerful woman. She sacrificed her life for her son, for her blood.” Bill said in a surprisingly cold voice. “Headmaster Dumbledore attempted to strengthen that protection by bringing him to you. If you had accepted your nephew you would have strengthened that protection and no one and nothing from our world could intentionally harm him, or his blood. That means you and your son.
Even just the basic amount of care and affection would have shielded you and your son for years to come. But, you couldn’t do that, you saw an innocent child and chose to be a monster and abuse him. Because of that, the protections that your sister left are falling. Because of that, you have lost your own protection.
In the end, you have no one but yourself to blame. Because you couldn’t be a decent person to an orphaned child you are now open to being attacked, as evidenced by what happened to your son. If those protections had been in full force those dementors wouldn’t have been able to get within 10km of this house, let alone close enough to attack your son.”
Petunia was shocked. How dare these freaks say she hadn’t been decent. She had allowed the little freak into the house hadn’t she? She and her family deserved to be protected.
“Well then, I guess everyone will get what they deserve in the end.” Mad-Eye grinned viciously. He was a man of war so he had long ago made peace with the idea that people would die during wars.
Tonks was still young enough that she didn’t understand the full horrors of war, she had only been a child when the last war had ended, but she wasn’t very sympathetic to the Dursley’s. They had abused a child simply because he could do something they couldn’t.
“We want you freaks away from our house and our family.” Vernon growled. “You have no right to threaten good people like us. You freaks should stick to your own world and let the rest of us carry on without you disgraces.”
Tonks could only roll her eyes, these people really were bigots. Smirking, she started to think of the different ways she could make them suffer. Sirius was her family, and Harry was his. That meant it would only be normal for her to punish these people for hurting her family.
She might even have to have a word with those delightful Weasley twins for some ideas.
Leaving the others Remus made his way upstairs. He was sure that Harry would be up, those bells had been pretty loud. Remus couldn’t wait to see his cub again, but he was also worried. What if Harry was badly hurt, what if he was angry at him?
Pushing his worries aside, he went up to the door he knew was Harry’s, it was obvious by the series of locks on the door. Drawing his wand out he unlocked all the locks before he knocked on the door. Not hearing anything he slowly pushed the door open and stepped in.
Remus looked around the room and couldn’t see Harry anywhere. The beaten up old mattress resting on the rickety frame was empty. The small desk sat against the wall covered in books. The thing that interested Remus was the wardrobe with the broken door.
He could smell his cub strongly in this room, given it was his room it was expected, but he could also hear a heart beat coming from the side of the room with the wardrobe. Remus was pleased when he heard the heartbeat slowdown slightly. Harry was worried, but was forcing himself to be calm.
“Harry, I know you’re here. It’s me.” Remus called out softly.
Harry stepped out from behind the wardrobe, hope shining in his eyes, but he still held his wand at chest level, ready to cast if he felt threatened. Remus was pleased, the last thing he wanted was for Harry to be complacent, it would just put him in more danger.
“How am I supposed to know it’s you?” Harry’s voice was hard, he wasn’t going to back down.
“Good, I’m glad you are being careful.” Remus saw the slight joy in Harry’s eyes at the praise. “Um… Let’s see. At the end of your third year I gave you back the Marauders Map since I was no longer your teacher.”
“And what do you want me to tell you to prove I’m me?” Harry had taken a few steps closer and dropped his wand. He wanted so desperately to run to Remus, but he also knew he had to be careful.
“Come here. You don’t have anything to prove to me.” Remus held open his arms and hoped Harry would take him up on the offer of the hug.
Harry stopped hesitating and walked directly into Remus’s arms and hugged the man. This was an almost completely new experience for him. Sure, he had had the smothering hugs Mrs. Weasley gave, but this was only the second person to hug him that was like family to him, the first had been Sirius when they had met again at the end of the last school year. He knew they weren’t his blood family, but Sirius and Remus were the closest thing he had to family. To Harry, they were his uncles.
Remus felt his inner wolf’s approval to have their cub come to them willingly. He would have completely understood if Harry hadn’t been comfortable enough with him to hug him, but he was so glad he did. It was a good sign that Harry was still willing to trust others.
At first Remus went to hug Harry tightly, but as he had tightened his arms he had felt him flinch. He knew from what Mad-Eye and Tonks had told him that Tonks had seen bruises on Harry’s ribs a few weeks ago so he loosened his hold, but only slightly. Remus had to force down a growl as he smelt the lingering oder of blood on Harry.
“It’s one of the few benefits of being a werewolf. We always recognize members of our pack.”
“Pack?” Harry whispered into his chest.
“You are my cub. Since your dad first put you in my arms a few hours after you were born you have been my cub, and that will never change.” Remus whispered into his hair. Harry tightened his hold at that and Remus felt his shirt get slightly damp and smelt the salt water of tears.
Harry just burrowed his face deeper into Remus’s chest. Everything had just been building up for weeks and now, finally, he wasn’t alone. There was finally someone there that might be willing to listen to whatever he needed to get out.
Remus just held Harry. When it came to dealing with an insecure, or touch starved, child it was better to let them be the ones to end the hug. If he pulled away before Harry was ready to let go then Harry would be less likely to seek comfort from him in the future. So he just softly murmured to him, telling him how much he had been missed. He couldn’t get into specifics because they were in an unsecured area, but he promised that he and Padfoot would be telling him everything once they got to where they were going.
Eventually, after Harry had gotten himself back under control, he pulled away regretfully. It had felt so good to be held like that by someone who cared about him. But, they needed to pack his stuff so that they could go to wherever Sirius was, and for Harry, that would be even better than just having Remus, then, he would have them both.
“I guess we should pack up my things.” Harry looked around the room. He was a bit embarrassed by the mess it was in, his new books were strewn all over. “I… I am going with you… Right?”
Remus gave Harry a soft smile. “Of course. Nothing would make me leave you behind. Padfoot actually gave them 24 hours to get you to him or he and I were going to take you away. Padfoot suggested we would go to Morocco.”
Harry grinned in relief. Then he laughed at Sirius’s reaction. A small part of him actually wished they had waited more than 24 hours. He would have loved to go on a proper vacation with Sirius and Remus, not to mention just getting to go to the beach.
Thankfully, with a few flicks from Remus’s wand Harrys things were packed in the trunk. With that done Remus then shrunk the trunk, making sure to keep Harry’s broom out, and had Harry put it in his pocket. With that done Remus lead Harry downstairs.
Reaching the bottom of the stairs Harry wasn’t surprised to hear an argument going on. He had known as soon as a wizard set foot in the house Vernon and Petunia were going to be furious.
In truth he was surprised that he hadn’t heard them yelling, neither of those two had ever been the quiet type.
“I bet one of the others put a sound dampening spell on them.” Remus grinned down at Harry.
“It’s similar to a silencing charm, but rather than completely silencing someone it forces the volume to remain below a certain level. So, whether you are simply talking or screaming it will all come out the same.” Remus explained, slipping seamlessly back into teacher mode.
Harry smiled, he was glad that he didn’t have to worry about them yelling at him as he walked into the kitchen where everyone was gathered. When he looked around, he froze.
“It’s ok Harry, this is the real Alastor Moody.” Remus reassured when he saw Harry staring at Mad-Eye. “With us is Bill Weasley, who I think you know, And Nymph…”
“It’s Tonks.” Tonks growled at Remus. “I’m Tonks. Despite how much my parents love me they gave me a ridiculous name so I prefer to use my last name.”
Harry grinned at the pink haired young woman in the room. He liked her immediately. He didn’t know why, but he did.
“YOU… You little freak.” Vernon shouted, immediately going puce in the face. “Bringing these freaks here. I warned you we wouldn’t tolerate anymore of your unnaturalness.”
When Vernon lunged at Harry Remus immediately stepped in front of him. Harry was surprised, not that Vernon had attacked, but that someone had stepped in front of him. No one had ever done that since his own parents. He had to duck his head slightly as his eyes started to burn with tears.
Once he was in front of Harry Remus’s eyes bled amber with his inner wolf with a vicious snarl growing in his throat as his arm came up and he caught Vernon by the throat. The snarl finally came out from between his lips in full force as he slowly started to tighten his grip.
“What’s the matter Vernon? Finding it harder to pick on an adult. You do know that only weak cowards attack children, right?” There was a malicious light in Remus’s eyes. There were few things as dangerous as a werewolf whose cub was threatened.
Vernon just gagged as his face started to go even redder. But this was from lack of oxygen rather than anger. Petunia was trying to scream at him, but because of the spell she was easily ignored. When Harry tried to step out from behind Remus to get a look at what was going on Remus used his other arm to push him back, not wanting to risk Harry making himself vulnerable. Keeping him shielded with his own body made his wolf feel a little better about him being in this house.
“You need to let him go now Remus.” Bill said calmly as he walked closer slowly, making sure Remus wouldn’t see him as a threat. “We need to get Harry out of here, he, is more important than this scum.”
“He’s right Remus.” Tonks slowly walked up to Remus’s side and gently laid her hand on the arm still slowly choking out Vernon. “Why don’t you and Bill take Harry outside and get him ready to go. Mad-Eye and I will be out in a few moments.”
Remus took his eyes off Vernon for the first time. Looking to Tonks something in him calmed. There was a sort of glee as he saw the look in Tonks’s eyes. He knew she wasn’t going to let this go.
Releasing his hold on the other man, Remus gave one more growl before slowly backing out of the room, shepherding Harry along with him. He didn’t feel safe to turn his back, this man was a coward so couldn’t be trusted, But he also couldn’t stop shielding his cub. Once out of the room he and Bill lead Harry outside.
“Well that clearly shows just how stupid you are.” Tonks gave a cruel laugh. “Only an idiot tries to attack a child in front of a werewolf.”
“W…Were… Werewolf?” Petunia stuttered out in a panic.
“Oh yes.” Mad-Eye grinned. “Remus was also extreamly good friends with James Potter. I don’t think he is going to be forgetting your treatment of a member of his pack anytime soon. Just so you’re warned.”
It was obvious from Mad-Eye’s tone that he didn’t care if anything happened to them, if anything he sounded like he hoped Remus would attack them again.
“Who do you think you are?” Vernon demanded, his voice rough.
“We’re auror’s.” Tonks fluttered her eyelashes as she shifted herself to look like a sweet innocent blue eyed blond for a moment before going back to her normal looks. “What that means… Is that we are magical police.”
“You have no power in the normal world.” Petunia snapped. “You only have a say in the freak world. You have no right to say anything in the normal world.”
“But that’s where you’re wrong.” Tonks shifted her attention to the woman with a sickly sweet smile. “While we can’t arrest you we have a cooperation agreement with the muggle government. That means we just have to file a report with the local police and they will be the ones that come here to deal with you.
Wouldn’t you just love that. Police officers parked in front of your house. Searching through your belongings. Combing over everything you’ve ever done. But, don’t worry, I wouldn’t leave your neighbours in suspense. I assure you, ever, and I do mean ever, lay a hand on that boy again, and I will personally file abuse and neglect charges on you, and then, I will distribute copies of the report to every single house in this neighbourhood. Then everyone will know that you and your husband like hurting a child just because he is different than you.”
Mad-Eye just leaned back and smiled as he watched Tonks as she carried on with giving the Dursley’s a few more warnings, or threats, depending on how you looked at it. He knew he had chosen the right person to train as his final trainee.
While Tonks was busy threatening the Dursley’s, Harry, Remus, and Bill made their way onto the front lawn. Harry could tell just how upset Remus was so he stepped towards the man and wrapped his arms around him in another hug.
Hugging Harry back, Remus took a deep breath of his cubs scent and felt Moony start to relax. His cub was here, in his arms, he was safe.
Once Harry felt Remus start to relax he turned towards Bill. Remus went to pull his arms away but Harry grabbed on, keeping Remus close.
“What were you all talking about when we came down? What’s wrong with the wards?”
Bill sighed, he should have known Harry would have picked up on that. The twins had warned him Harry was more perceptive than people realized. “The wards aren’t what we thought they would be.”
“How are they different?” Harry wanted to know, it seemed like more than that.
Bill gave Harry a sad little smile. He understood Harry was curious, but he hated having to tell him this. In the end he knew he had no choice, he wasn’t going to lie to the boy.
“There are blood wards around the house that were created by your mothers sacrifice. Those wards were created by your mothers love for you and are therefor based on love. The thing is, since there is a…” Bill hesitated for a moment before carrying on. “Lack of love in the house, the wards are failing. They will fall soon if they aren’t supported by other wards.”
Harry had looked down when the lack of love was mentioned. Remus had wrapped his arms a little tighter around his shoulders at the same time. But now Harry was conflicted.
It wasn’t that he liked the Dursley’s. In truth, he actually hated them. But they were still family, and he didn’t really want anything to happen to them. In the end, he knew he had to speak up, he didn’t want to think about how he would feel if something happened to them and he had done nothing.
“Is there anything we can do?” Harry questioned.
“Why?” Remus questioned softly.
“Because, in spite of everything, they are still family. I might not really like them, but I don’t want them to be hurt, or killed, if I can stop it. Enough people have died already.” Harry said just as softly as he turned slightly more towards Remus.
“Oh cub.” Remus hugged Harry again. “You really are too good.”
“I could add a few wards to support the ones already here.” Bill said when Harry looked at him with hope in his eyes. “They wouldn’t be anywhere as strong as these ones could have been, but they would be enough to keep this place protected.
I could even add a magic alert ward. It would let us know if anyone magical came close to the house.”
“When? Would it take long?” Harry asked.
“I could do it now, but it would take a bit of time.” Bill thought about what would need to be done.
“How long?” Remus questioned. He knew Harry needed this. He would never forgive himself if anything happened to those disgusting wastes of space.
“How long, what?” Mad-Eye questioned as he and a grinning Tonks walked out the door.
“Bill was just telling us that he could cast a few wards to prop up the ones already here. Despite everything, Harry doesn’t want anything to happen to them, so we were just questioning Bill on how long it would take him to do the ward work.” Remus explained before turning back to Bill. “So?”
“If I had a little help… half hour, 45 minutes.” Bill said. “Their just basic, anything stronger and it would take hours, if not a few days.”
Mad-Eye looked to the others. He didn’t really care about those ‘people’, but he also understood how Harry was feeling. As an auror he had had to protect plenty of people he didn’t like. He had never simply walked away because he didn’t like them, it would have made him as bad as those he had fought against. He could see the others were in agreement.
“Remus and I will help.” Mad-Eye said finally. “Tonks, you’re in charge of guarding Harry.”
Tonks nodded her agreement.
“Where are we doing this?” Remus questioned.
“To prop up the existing wards we will need to cast the new ones about half a kilometre out at the four compass points. Once the four points are done I just need to link them to the existing wards. Since they’re blood wards I’ll need a drop of your blood to do it.” Bill looked to Harry. “When they’re connected the new wards will pull the old ones up. They’ll kinda act like tent polls.”
“While you three do that Harry and I will see about finding a 24 hour restaurant or something to get some food. It’s going to be a long flight back, and I’m already hungry.” Tonks told the others.
Remus, Bill, and Mad-Eye went to work while Harry and Tonks went to get them some snacks for the flight back. Harry knew about a 24 hour convenience store that was near by that had a small restaurant attached that was open all night. Being a half blood Tonks knew how to live in both worlds so she had a muggle credit card so money wasn’t an issue.
It took just a little less than an hour to finish the wards, and then another half an hour for everyone to eat the panzerottis that Tonks and Harry had gotten. Just before Harry had finished off his drink Remus had handed over one of the energy potions he had gotten from Snape, they needed Harry to stay awake on the trip back. Harry chugged down the potion before clearing the taste from his mouth with the last few mouthfuls of his pop. In the end they didn’t leave Surry until after 5 am.
The flight to Grimmauld had been easy, long, but easy. Thankfully, Bill had suggested that they use over-powered warming charms to keep them all comfortable as they flew.
Harry had spent the flight chatting with everyone. He had been surprised to learn that Mad-Eye had been his fathers godfather and had enjoyed the stories Mad-Eye had told him, not only about his father, but his grandparents too.
The others had been equal parts surprised, horrified, and furious when Remus had gotten Harry to tell them about his previous years at Hogwarts.
None more so than Bill. Bill had been told that his sister had been hurt during her first year, but no one had told him that she had actually been possessed. As a curse breaker he knew of the long term damage even short term possession could do. He was planning to run a few checks on his sister once they arrived at the house, then he was going to read his parents the riot act if he found anything. He understood that they still, his mum in particular, had trouble seeing him as being an adult and not a child, but that was no excuse to endanger his sister like that.
Both Mad-Eye and Tonks just couldn’t believe everything that Dumbledore had allowed to happen. If they hadn’t already been questioning him, then they certainly would after hearing about just Harry’s first year, let alone the other three.
When they arrived near the house Mad-Eye passed over the note he had forced Dumbledore to write. Harry had been stunned as he watched the house appear in front of him.
Just before they walked in the house Remus pulled Harry aside. He reminded Harry that he was going to have to stay calm, as much fun as it would be to lose it on all those in there it wouldn’t do him any favours in the long run.
Harry pulled up the occlumancy shields that he had been working on over the last month to give him a little more control over his emotions. He wanted to be thinking clearly when he confronted those he was angry with.
Taking a deep breath and throwing his shoulders back, Harry followed the others into the house.
Sirius paced back and forth in the kitchen. The others were over an hour late. He was really starting to panic. Well, he had started to panic about five minutes after the others left, but now it was different. This was real, something had to have happened to keep the others away.
As he paced his mind started going over all the things that could have happened. What if they had been attacked? What if someone had fallen off their broom? What if… What if… What if…
Sirius was driving himself crazy. He just wanted Harry to be there.
Molly had kept yelling at him to sit down and relax, like she had any control over him. But as she was yelling at him she was fussing with breakfast, even though everything was already finished and most were already eating.
So far the woman had already had a screaming fit with both of her youngest children. Ginny had been up by three getting ready to see Harry again. Ever since she had come down for breakfast she had ended up running back up to her room every 5 minutes to change her clothes or check her hair. It had been driving Molly crazy until she had literally stuck the girl to her seat. That was when the screaming had begun, it had carried on until Fred and George had come storming down the stairs, silenced them both, and then went back up to their beds.
Ron had been angry about being forced to get up so early. Molly had already been in a snit because it had taken 20 minutes for anyone to remove the silencing charm the twins had cast. So when she heard Ron complaining she had flipped her lid, yelling at him for being lazy.
By 8:30 Sirius was trying to figure out the most likely route Mad-Eye would have used so that he knew where to start his search. But, before he could do anything he felt the wards shift as the front door was opened. Then he heard a thump as someone tripped and his mothers portrait started screaming. It was Tonks, she always tripped over that umbrella stand, so he said he would deal with it and rushed from the room before anyone else could get up.
Only a few steps into the house Harry heard a horrible screeching. Looking up he saw that Tonks had tripped over something that looked like a troll leg and started the portrait of a woman screaming all manner of insults.
He started to grin happily as Sirius came through a door to start pulling curtains closed. But he stopped when he saw who was there. Turning, he rushed towards Harry with his arms spread wide for a hug.
Just before Sirius reached Harry Remus grabbed his arms and quickly whispered in his ear. “Be gentle. I think he has a few fractured ribs.”
Sirius hesitated at that, storm clouds passing through his eyes. But he didn’t let that stop him. Moving the last few feet he swept Harry up, making sure to be gentle.
“I’ve missed you pup.” Sirius whispered into Harry’s hair. “Did Moony give you the letter about where your room is?”
“HARRY, dear.” Molly rushed out into the hall and closed the curtains cutting off the screaming before she turned to see the others. “Where have you all been? Do you have any idea how worried we have been? You’re over an hour and a half late.”
Molly went to move forward to draw Harry into a hug, but he stayed in Sirius’s arms. She knew that Sirius wasn’t someone that should be close to children, let alone be a parental figure. He was unstable, immature, and completely irresponsible. She had spoken with Headmaster Dumbledore about her concern and he had agreed with her.
Last night, shortly after Bill and the others had left to go get Harry, Albus had asked to speak to her, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione. He had talked to them about how they were going to need to keep a close eye on Harry. While Sirius and Remus were good men they didn’t know how to be good role models. Sirius was just too unstable from his time in Azkaban and he worried about Harry trying to emulate him in an attempt to be more like his father. Remus was more responsible, but he didn’t know everything it took to raise a child so he would need assistance, especially since he would also be busy with Sirius.
Molly and the three kids had all agreed. Both Molly and Hermione were in complete agreement about Sirius. Neither of them thought he should be allowed around children unsupervised and had sworn to do what they could to always be there when he and Harry were together. Ron had been happy to have a distraction from cleaning and homework. And Ginny had just been happy to get to spend time with her crush.
But now Harry was in Sirius’s arms and it was like he hadn’t even noticed she was there. This was going to be harder than she thought. She needed to make Harry see her as a mother figure like he had in the past. Originally she had planned to let everyone take a few days off cleaning, but she was going to have to change that plan. She would have Harry and the kids start helping her clean tomorrow, Sirius always avoided it so Harry would see just what kind of man he was then when he started to ignore him just to avoid work.
“Come on, let’s get you some breakfast and then you can go up to bed.” Remus smiled at Harry and Sirius. “It’s been a long night.”
Sirius guided Harry into the kitchen, wondering what Harry was going to do. Earlier, when the kids had sat down to eat, Ron and Hermione had kept a space open between the two of them for Harry, and Ginny had sat opposite so she would be across from him. But, there were also a few other open seats. Sirius wondered just where Harry was going to sit as it would set the tone of the rest of the summer.
Walking in the kitchen Sirius let his arm slip from around Harry’s shoulder and went back to his seat. Remus usually sat to his left, but when he sat down, he was a seat further down, leaving an empty seat between them.
Harry looked up and down the table. Ron and Hermione were grinning at him as they called him over and showed the empty seat between them. But Harry had no intention of sitting there. There were a few other seats by others, including Snape, who Harry was surprised to see, Mr. Weasley, and a few other people that he didn’t recognize. But the only seat that looked even slightly inviting was the one between Sirius and Remus, so that was where he went.
It was like everyone at the table held their breath as Harry took a seat. But, before anyone could say anything Fred and George made their way into the room, both with a thoroughly disgruntled look on their face.
“What does everyone in this place have against sleep?” Fred demanded as George just glared.
Seeing where Harry was sitting they exchanged small smirks before going to sit across from him before Ron and Hermione could. They had seen the two getting up and knew what they were planning, they didn’t think that would be a good idea.
“Well, well, well.”
“If it isn’t little Harrykins.”
“Gred. Forge.” Harry smiled as the two sat down. “Been having fun since I last wrote?”
Harry allowed himself to smirk slightly as he looked up and down the table again. There was a lot of evidence that the twins had been busy. Pretty much every person showed signs of having been pranked. His two so called friends and Ginny in particular.
Ginny was clearly in heavy makeup, but there were still multi-coloured polka dots showing through, although Harry didn’t have time to get a good look as Bill had unstuck Ginny from her chair and pulled her out of the room. Hermione, and everything she was wearing, was damp. Ron’s hair was standing on end like he had been caught in a lightning storm, he was even smouldering slightly and smelled like burnt rubber.
“Lot’s of fun.”
Harry smiled at the twins. “Well… Since I’m here I guess it is time to stop your campaign.” The twins looked slightly depressed but Harry just smiled at them. “So, you are freed from setting up any new pranks on my behalf.”
Fred and George picked up on how Harry said ‘new pranks’. They smiled, they had set up a few pranks already, but no one had set them off yet. This was perfect to give everyone a false sense of security.
“Well?” A voice demanded. Harry looked up to see that Hermione had been talking but he hadn’t noticed.
“Well what?” Harry questioned, keeping his voice cold.
“We were wondering why you guys are so late and why you are sitting down there, the kids always sit down at this end.” Hermione said.
“We doubled back a few times to make sure we weren’t being followed.” Mad-Eye said as he moved into the room. It had been a cover story they had worked up on the way back since they all knew Dumbledore would throw a fit if he learned they had done anything to the wards. “Wouldn’t want to be accused of endangering Harry after all.”
“But why are you down there mate? Like Mione said, we always sit down at this end. That’s where the adults sit.” Ron added, his mouth full of food.
“I’m sitting with Sirius and Remus.” Harry said as he started serving himself. “As for where everyone sits, it’s not like I would know since I haven’t been here. But, if anyone has a problem with where I’m sitting then it’s there problem.”
Ron and Hermione exchanged looks. They had never heard Harry’s voice so cold. Even when they had been fighting Harry had never been like this. They had known that Harry would be upset by the lack of news, but they hadn’t thought it would be this bad.
Harry had seen the look and that just made him angrier. He had always known that they talked about him behind his back and he had tolerated it because he knew they did it because they cared, but now he was so over it. He wasn’t some delicate little thing that needed to be treated like an invalid, especially by his friends.
“So how has your summer been so far?” Ron questioned. He was attempting to break the tension, but, as usual, he was clueless about the emotions in the room.
Hermione cringed slightly when she heard Ron ask Harry about his summer. She knew Harry really didn’t like staying with his relatives so she knew Harry was not going to respond well. Especially since their letters had been so useless.
Harry rarely got angry with either of them, she could actually only think of it happening once with each of them, but this was obviously going to be the third time. At least Harry was going to lose it now rather than let his anger fester. All they could do now was to let him get it out of his system and then wait for him to come to his senses. Or, at least that was how it went in her experience. Maybe a little apology, and they would be back to normal by the end of the week, she was sure.
Harry just stared, open mouthed, for a few moments. He knew he was supposed to stay calm, but they really weren’t making it easy.
Many others in the room seemed to stop breathing. Fred and George pushed their food away, they wanted to be able to enjoy what was coming without worrying about choking on their food. Severus Snape found himself surprised at just how truly foolish the Weasley brat was, having been on the other end of Lily’s temper, Severus knew what was coming.
But, there were of course those who didn’t see any problem with the question. Molly was pleased that Ron was doing what the headmaster had said and getting closer with Harry again. Minerva, who had arrived early for the next meeting that was set to start in an hour, knew what Lily’s temper had been like, but she had never seen anything like that from Harry so she thought it would be fine, even if the question was a foolish one.
Ginny and Bill had walked back into the room just as the silence fell. Ginny took stock of everything and knew that her idiot brother must have done something stupid. Bill had been furious with what he had found in the scan he had just run on his sister, he had been planning on pulling Snape out to ask for his help, but changed his mind and quickly took a seat, he wanted to see this.
“Did you seriously just ask me that?” Harry said in shock. “Well, let’s see… At the end of the last school year I was forced to watch as someone I considered my friend was murdered. Then, the monster that murdered my parents was revived in a ritual, for which I was an ingredient, he tortured me and tried to kill me, again, and then I got the thoroughly traumatizing joy of getting to see the ghosts of my parents, before escaping.
When I was finally back at Hogwarts, the place I was once told was the safest place, what a joke that was, I was almost killed, again. Because apparently no one knew Mad-Eye well enough to tell the difference between him and a freaken death eater. And to round up that traumatic day, I got to retell everything I had just been through, and wasn’t even offered a chance to see a mind healer.”
Harry was practically panting by this point, and at some point had stood up and was leaning with his hands on the table, still staring Ron down. “After that, I got shipped off back to Durzkaban, for another summer of fun. Fun, that is, if you consider cooking food that you aren’t allowed to eat and cleaning rooms you aren’t even allowed to enter, plus being outside in the scorching heat to do all the gardening. Plus, getting yelled at every day because my nightmares keep waking me up screaming pretty much every night.
And, through all this, my so called friends, are sending me useless letters where all they do is brag about all the time they are spending together. But, that isn’t enough. No, then, I get attacked by dementors. As if I hadn’t thought about all the shit I’d been through enough, I had to hear it all again. Because who doesn’t love being forced to relive the murder of their parents combined with the murder of a friend.
Not only that, but apparently I had creeps hiding in the bushes watching me most of the summer, but not at that one moment. So, once again I had to save myself. Which means I am now being threatened with expulsion. And, just to add insult to injury, I come here to learn that not only were my best friends together while I was left alone, they were together at MY godfathers house.
So… Tell me Ron, how do you think my summer has been?”
Everyone just stared at Harry as he sat back down. Having it all laid out like that made them realize that maybe, just maybe, things were not ok. But Harry didn’t notice because he had yet to take his eyes off Ron while he waited for the answer.
“We weren’t bragging.” Hermione muttered out after the silence had become too uncomfortable for her to resist filling.
“That may not have been your intent, but that is what you did.” Harry’s glowing green eyes shot to his female friend. “So, why wasn’t I worth writing to properly? I mean, at least Sirius and Remus tried, my friends apparently didn’t.”
“Harry, we couldn’t. Sirius and Remus shouldn’t have even tried, those letters could have been intercepted. They should have known better.” Hermione gave both of the adults disappointed looks. “The headmaster wanted us to be careful with what we wrote.”
Harry wanted to growl but forced it back and put an interested look on his face as he looked around the room. “Wow, Hogwarts has really been let go. I mean, just look at the mess it has become.”
“What?” Hermione, and many others were confused.
“Well, you’re following the orders of the headmaster, so this must be Hogwarts, given that he is the HEADMASTER.” Harry annunciated the last word slowly. “Because, if this isn’t Hogwarts, then the HEADMASTER has no authority to control what you do.”
Hermione huffed. “But Harry, he’s the headmaster.”
“Of a school.” Harry snapped back.
“He’s also the leader of the order.” Ron piped up, trying to help Hermione.
“Are you members of this so called order?” Harry questioned.
“No, we’re too young.” Ron answered petulantly, he had wanted to join, but his mum said no.
“Then that means nothing. He could be the king of the moon and that wouldn’t change anything.” Harry waved his arms around. “It is summer and you are at my godfathers house. Snape can assign detention, but you won’t have to attend. McGonagall can deduct points, but it means nothing. And, the headmaster can tell you to do something, but you don’t have to do it. Unless, ignoring me is something that you actually wanted to do.
Off to the side Harry heard McGonagall mutter, ‘why I never.’. Snape found himself actually agreeing, not that he would admit it.
“Harry.” Hermione shook her head as she said his name like his name was a good enough excuse. “We understand you’re upset, but we did what we had to do. I’m sure once you calm down you will see just how silly and childish you’re being. You really need…”
Hermione never got to finish her latest lecture as multiple people had silenced her. The table had started to shake when she called Harry childish and ice was making its way across the table from where Harry’s hands were clutching it. Remus lowered his wand to quickly grab his tea before it could be frozen.
Harry’s face was completely blank and when he spoke his voice was cold as ice and hard as steal. “I haven’t been a child for a very long time Hermione, and you of all people should know that.”
Removing his hands from the table Harry leaned back in his chair before breaking eye contact with the girl to look at his godfather. “Sirius.”
“Yes, pup?” Sirius was quick to respond. The last time he had seen green eyes like Harry’s so icy Lily had cursed him bad enough that he had spent a week in the hospital wing and he didn’t want Harry to have to wait.
“What is this so called order?” Harry’s voice started to warm up and he smiled slightly at how nervous his godfather had gotten.
“Well…” Sirius started but Molly’s screeching interrupted him.
“Sirius Black, don’t you dare.” Molly flicked her wand to remove the silencing spells from Hermione, but she was glad the girl stayed quiet, the last thing they needed was Harry’s magic lashing out and him getting in even more trouble. “How many times must everyone tell you? Harry is just a boy, you aren’t supposed to tell him about the order.”
“No, my orders were to not tell him more than he needs to know. And he needs to know.” Sirius said ‘orders’ with absolute contempt. “I was denied the chance to speak to him through letters, I won’t be denied again. You are not in charge of Harry, he is not your child.”
“He might as well be.” Molly snapped back. “They are just children and have no place in this war.”
“Unless you plan on giving that speech to Voldemort you're wasting your breath. He’s been trying to kill him since he was a baby, I don’t think he’s just going to notice that Harry is underage and stop. We have years of evidence that he doesn’t care. Not to mention what we learned from the last war. When did you ever get the idea that he and his death eaters gave a flying hippogriff about whether or not a victim was legally underage.
But, most of all, Harry is my responsibility. James and Lily chose me to be his godfather. They wanted me to be the one who decided what he could or could not do. Besides, they don’t have to be in the order to ask questions.”
Molly turned on Sirius and started moving forward, but Remus cut in first. “You aren’t the only person here that cares for Harry, Molly. More importantly, it is better that Harry gets answers from a legitimate source rather than others.” Remus looked towards the twins and smirked.
“Are you kidding us?”
“He isn’t even of age?”
“We’ve been stuck here for weeks.”
“Trying to get answers since the first day.”
“And we’ve been told nothing.” Fred and George demanded. They both shot Harry an apologetic look, they didn’t blame him, but it still annoyed them Harry would get answers when they had been denied. Harry nodded to them in understanding.
“Sorry boys, but it’s up to your parents what you get to know. Harry is my responsibility and I think he is old enough to get the information he needs.” Sirius said in a sympathetic voice. He more than understood the twins aggravation.
“He isn’t an adult.” Molly shrieked at that.
“But he isn’t a child either.” Sirius growled.
“He isn’t James.” Molly was glaring at Sirius.
There were gasps heard around the room as both Harry and Remus flinched.
“I am perfectly well aware of who he is.” Sirius reached over and rubbed Harry’s shoulder when he saw the flinch.
“I don’t think you are. The way you talk about him, it’s like you think you’ve got your best friend back.” Hermione nodded along with what Molly was saying, she herself had completely agreed.
“Harry is not his father, I have never considered him to be his father. He is actually a lot more like his mum personality wise. Just because I argue to treat him with respect doesn’t mean I don’t know who he is. He isn’t the boy I went to school with, he is still in school after all.”
“Exactly. He is still in school. Meaning the adults responsible for him…”
“Meaning I’m an irresponsible godfather?” Sirius demanded of Molly.
“You have been known to react rashly.” Molly stuck her nose in the air slightly. “It’s been hard for you to look after Harry while you were in Azkaban.”
Everyone drew in a sharp, shocked breath. That was a low blow, even for Molly, who wasn’t known for fighting fair.
“I am warning you this one last time Molly, this is my house. Harry is my godson, I, and only I, can say what he can and can not do, and what he can and can not know. You have absolutely no right to bring up my time in Azkaban. You have no idea what happened or how I felt. If you can not accept that, then you know where the door is.” Sirius said in a voice almost as cold as Harry’s had been previously. He had seen the pain Molly’s words were causing his godson and wanted it to stop.
“Sirius, that’s enough.” Remus cut in before Sirius could go any further. “Molly, Sirius is right, this time at least. He is Harry’s godfather. James and Lily chose him to care for Harry if anything ever happened to them, so he is the one that gets to make decisions about his life, you can offer your opinion, but it is Sirius’s decisions that matter.
While both Sirius, and I, are grateful for your family taking Harry in for a week or two after his first and third years that does not give you parental rights. The headmaster is just that, his headmaster, and you, are the mother of his friend, not his mother. But most of all, Harry is old enough to have a say in what he wants.”
“I want to know.” Harry said instantly.
“Fine.” Molly’s voice was as petulant as any child not getting their way. “The rest of you, upstairs. You should get some sleep before lunch.”
“But we’re of age.” Both Fred and George shouted at the same time as they jumped to their feet.
“If Harry gets his questions answered…”
“Then so should we.”
Before Molly could shout at them Arthur calmly spoke up. “The boys are right Molly. They can’t join the order until they leave school, but, if Harry is getting his questions answered, then so should they.”
“Fine.” Molly snarled. “The rest of you, get going.”
“WHAT?” Ron demanded, furious. “Why can’t we stay. Harry will just tell us anyways.”
Both Ron and Hermione glanced to Harry. Surely he would tell them, right?
“I want to stay too.” Ginny whined as she pouted.
“No, upstairs, all three of you. Now.” Molly pulled the three up and started moving them towards the door.
“Harry?” Ron questioned.
“Tell me Mrs. Weasley, would the headmaster approve of me telling the others anything I learn?” Harry looked to the woman.
“Most certainly not.” Molly kept trying to move the three out.
“Well then, sorry guys.” Harry shrugged. “I guess I can’t tell you anything, if the headmaster would disapprove then…”
“But Harry.” Hermione’s lip started to quiver as her eyes filled with tears. Harry didn’t know if it was because she was sad he was being mean, or because she was being denied knowledge, he doubted even she could tell the difference.
“Sorry Hermione, but you wouldn’t want to be childish and silly now, would you? If the great Albus Dumbledore doesn’t want you to know, who am I to question that, or even attempt in any way, shape, or form, to give you the information.” Harry threw the girls words back at her, he was feeling more than a little vindictive about that.
Before any of the three could say anything else Molly marched them out of the room. For a moment everything was silent.
“Well, as I was starting to say…” Sirius started as he turned to his godson.
Over the next twenty minutes Harry, Fred, and George, peppered everyone who remained in the kitchen with questions. There were, of course, those like McGonagall who tried to limit what was said, but for the most part Sirius just talked over them. Not all their questions were answered, but the three felt they were getting at least a decent amount of information.
But, eventually, Molly Weasley stormed back in the room having finished arguing with the three other teenagers in the house. She hadn’t even been in the room for a full minute before she interrupted them and put a stop to any questions being answered.
Harry was frustrated by that, but he had caught Sirius’s wink so he knew he was going to get the answers regardless of what Mrs. Weasley wanted.
“Can I ask one more question?” Harry asked.
“Fine, but that’s it.” Molly folded her arms and glared at those who had been answering any of the questions like she could scare them into silence.
“What is being done about the attacks?” Harry looked around.
“That’s just it, there haven’t been any attacks.” Mad-Eye answered. “It’s one of the reasons it has been so hard to get people to listen.”
“The Dark Lord has ordered all his followers to keep a low profile. He is working on gaining support and solidifying his base, so any attack that would make the news in our world would be counterproductive.” Snape spoke up for the first time.
“Yes, they are keeping a low profile in the magical world, but that doesn’t really mean anything for the wider world.” Harry pulled his shrunken trunk out of his pocket and had Remus unshrink it.
Going through his trunk Harry found a file folder he had started earlier in the summer. Once he was done Sirius ordered Kreacher to take the trunk up to Harry’s room and unpack it. Molly thought the trunk was going to the room she had arranged so she didn’t say anything.
Returning to the table Harry flipped through the file and put three sheets on the table and pushed them forward. “Since I haven’t had much to do this summer, and the Prophet was useless, I started going to the local library, I’m sure my stalkers can confirm that. The library collects and archives major papers from all over the country, so I had a large selection to search from and I found these three stories.
On three separate occasions since the beginning of the summer an entire family was found dead in their home. The muggle police are trying to figure out if they have a serial killer or not. The reason they are struggling is that all the homes were locked from the inside and there is no sign of forced entry. Then, there is the bodies. According to the papers each family member died of heart failure. To muggles there is no explanation, but to someone magical the instant death with no outward signs of trauma sounds like the killing curse.”
Snape, Mad-Eye, and Tonks grabbed the papers first and started looking over them.
“This does match reports from during the last war.” Mad-Eye growled as he read. “Death Eaters used to go into the muggle world a lot and cause mayhem, but since the muggles couldn’t explain magic they didn’t understand what was happening.”
“But to risk exposure for killing muggles, it doesn’t make much sense, especially since they were told to keep quiet.” Snape said thoughtfully.
“But it is quiet. Most witches and wizards never set foot in the muggle world so they wouldn’t notice something like this.” Tonks said. “Just look at us. We have actively been trying to fight against this, and even we didn’t notice. We got so focused on the magical world we forgot the muggles.”
“What made you think these were magic related?” Mad-Eye questioned, both eyes going to Harry.
“My sorting.” Harry said with a shrug.
“Your sorting?” McGonagall said in a quizzical voice.
“Yes, just before I was sorted, a girl was called up. Sally-Ann Perks. I think she was sorted into Hufflepuff.” Harry told them.
“Yes, I remember her.” Snape said. “She was a Puff, decent at potions, but would never be a real brewer. There was a big deal when her parents pulled her out during her second year because of the attacks. They decided to homeschool her after that I think.”
“Oh Merlin.” Tonks whispered as she looked up before going back to the paper she had. “This attack was on a family called Perks. Amongst those killed was the 15 year old daughter, Sally-Ann.
If it’s the same Sally-Ann, then she was a homeschooled muggle born. She would be a representation of everything they hate.”
Everyone was startled by this implication.
“Tonks.” Mad-Eye barked. “Shacklebolt should just be finishing up his double shift. You need to go to the office and meet him. Go down to the education department and get a look at the homeschool list and check for the other names. I don’t care what you have to do, find a way to protect that list, steal it if you have too.”
“You should also get a copy of the names.” Remus said. “Harry only found three, but there may be more that just didn’t make one of the major papers. We should do a check on all those on that list just in case.”
Tonks grabbed the other two papers to get the names of the victims before she darted to the floo and went to the ministry.
“Good work pup.” Sirius gave Harry a proud yet sad smile. He was proud of just how much Harry may have just helped them, but also sad at what he had found. Why was it always up to Harry to find things like this?
After that Molly was in a right state and refused to let anyone talk anymore. She said they had said enough and the kids didn’t need to know anymore about the war.
There was an order meeting scheduled to start at 10, so Harry and the twins were ushered out of the kitchen by Mrs. Weasley, Harry being told he would be sharing with Ron, and the twins being told to show Harry which room it was.
Fred and George guided Harry up the stairs, whispering to him and each other about what they had just learned. When they reached the floor the kids all had their rooms on, they tried to point out the room Harry was in, but he just winked at them. Both knew he was up to something, but had no intention of interfering. Instead, the twins just pointed out their room before they went in and left Harry alone.
Once he was alone Harry made his way up the stairs to the upper floors. The letter Sirius had sent told him that the top two floors of the house were hidden from everyone else. Once he was up there, no one, except for Sirius and Remus, would be able to find him.
When he reached the right floor, Harry walked down the hall until he found the door with his name on it. Going in, Harry let out a happy, stunned, sigh.
The room was beautiful. Walking around he got a good look. Just off the hall was a beautiful sitting room filled with over stuffed chairs and a couch, other than the colours it reminded Harry of the Gryffindor common room, everything in this room was done in calming shades of blue and green. There was a study and library through the door on the left, looking around Harry saw that the books he had had in his trunk were already on the shelves along with many many more.
Going back into the sitting room he went through the door on the right and found himself in a bathroom that would easily outdo the prefects bathroom. The tub was both deeper and wider than he was tall. Luckily, when he looked a little closer, he saw that there was seats and areas to sit or lay around the tub so he wouldn’t have to swim, since he wasn’t really good at that. He was pleased when he saw little label cards that explained what each tap did, as well as the different buttons around the tub. One of the buttons even said that it would cause which ever seat he was on to float in the middle of the tub.
Leaving the bathroom Harry went to check through the third door. It lead into a beautiful bedroom. There was a huge four poster bed that sat agains the back wall. Going over, Harry sat down and felt himself sink in the incredibly soft mattress as he ran his fingers across the soft comforter and pillows. Harry had never had a softer, more comfortable bed, he hadn’t even known one like this could exist.
Seeing another door, Harry went to check it out and found a large walk in closet. It was almost empty except for the clearly old elf putting his clothes on hangers.
“Oh, hello.” Harry gave the elf a smile.
“Nasty little half blood speaks to Kreacher, what would mistress say? Nothing but rags, such a filthy little wizard.” Kreacher glared before going back to his work.
Harry was concerned about the elf’s sanity, but decided to try again. “Hello Kreacher, I’m Harry. I know my clothes aren’t that great. My muggle relatives refused to let me have anything but the stuff their own son didn’t want anymore.”
This made Kreacher startle. “Muggles deny little half blood. They’s has no right… No, no, no. Little wizards should always have the best. Mistress always said so. Even nasty master got anything he wanted.”
The little elf just kept muttering about how muggles shouldn’t be able to deny a wizard anything and how wrong it was that he didn’t have proper clothes. Harry was concerned about the elf. It just didn’t seem right in the head, but then again the only other elves that he really knew were Winky and Dobby, and neither of those two would ever be considered sane.
But Harry didn’t have too much time to worry about him because there was a knock on his door a few seconds later. When he opened the door he found Remus and Sirius like he had expected, but what surprised him was that Snape was with them.
“Come in?” Harry said, his voice inviting, but confused.
Sirius smiled as he lead the other two into the sitting room. While the upper floors were hidden they could still be accessed by others, but they needed to not only be invited, but also escorted by a member of the family. This allowed Sirius to bring the others up after they had escaped the kitchen for a few moments.
Remus in particular was able to be upstairs a lot. The room that Sirius had given Remus was one that had often been used by his fathers mistress so it had a secret passageway that would lead to the family floor. Remus would just go to his room, and come up. He couldn’t just walk out onto the family floor because of the wards, but if he knocked on the end of the passage Sirius would come and let him in, allowing him to be there.
The meeting started in 20 minutes, so they needed to be quick. They didn’t want to risk arousing the suspicion of Molly or any of the others.
“Hey pup, like your room?” Sirius grinned as Harry nodded mutely with a shocked smile.
“Professor Snape. Hi.” Harry was shocked to see the man, and didn’t entirely trust him.
Harry kept nervously glancing at the professor. Why was Snape here?
“Will you relax Potter, I’m not here to kill you.” Snape snapped.
“Then why are you here, you hate me… and Sirius… and Remus?” Harry stared at the man.
“Well you certainly think highly of yourself don’t you?” Snape glared. “For your information Potter, I hate all children, you are nothing special. As for the mutt and wolf, we have a détente.”
“We asked Snape to come here with us.” Sirius said as he wrapped his arm around Harry’s shoulder. “Snape has his medi-wizard license. We want him to run a basic health check on you… If that’s ok with you?”
Harry started to fidget and wouldn’t look anyone in the eye. “But why? I’m fine.”
“No Harry, you’re not. You’re far too small for your age.” Remus said in a sympathetic voice as he leaned down to look Harry in the eye. “We just want to make sure you’re ok.”
“Please pup.” Sirius tightened his grip slightly as a sudo hug.
Harry looked between the two, he could see how much this meant to them. He was less than comfortable with it, but they asked him for so little. He could do this.
“Ok. If you really want me to.”
“Lay down on the couch.” Snape said bluntly. “The scan should only take a few minutes, but you are going to need to stay still.”
Harry laid down and let Snape do his scan. None of them noticed the large eyes watching them from the slightly open bedroom door.
Snape wanted to curse as the scan finished and he started looking it over. It was just a basic scan, so it only showed recent injuries and major long term issues, but there was far too much.
Seeing Harry was nervous as Snape glared at the parchment his spell had created, Remus decided to distract him. “So, how has your occlumency practice been going?”
Harry gave a small, unsure, smile. “Not too well. I’ve been doing fine with sorting through my memories and have the basics of emotional control, but the shield building is impossible. Every time I start even the basic shield building practice that the books suggest my head starts to pound. It’s like something is forcing my mind open.”
At that, Snape’s head snapped up and he looked critically at Harry before he started waving his wand around his head and muttering in something that sounded like ancient greek.
“Snape?” Sirius said in worried confusion.
Snape ignored him and finished his chant before stepping back. His normally blank face showed signs of concern.
“Severus, what’s going on?” Remus tried to keep the worry out of his voice so as not to upset Harry any more.
“Let’s start with the health scan first.” Snape looked away from worried green eyes as he pulled out his potion pouch and started pulling out potions. “First, you show signs of long term malnutrition and are boarder line anemic. You will need to take both of these potions before every meal.” Snape laid out two boxes of potion. “The orange is a repair potion and will counteract the malnutrition and the purple will provide the nutrients and will fill in what you need to grow properly.
You should eat healthy, balance meals. That means, not all that fried garbage. This,” Snape pulled out a vial filled with a potion that was unfortunately familiar to Harry. “Is skele-gro. I’m sure you recognize it given how many times you have had to take it. It will repair your three fractured ribs. This one will repair the muscle and soft tissue damage in your shoulder.
You will need to dab this one onto the cut along the back of your head. And, this last one is for the minor concussion that came long with that head injury. I would recommend that you go to a full healer and have a deep health scan done. If this is the result of just the basic there is most likely a lot more issues.”
Remus and Sirius had both frozen as Snape had listed off all the potions that Harry needed and why he needed them. Harry hadn’t noticed as he was trying to keep all the potions straight.
“Now, as to your occlumency issue. The spell I cast was to check for any blocks that would stop you from being able to form a shield. There were blocks that were capable of making it impossible to form functioning shields, but they were outlawed globally over 200 years ago because of the effect it had on the minds of the victims.
There is no specific block, but there is something there. I can’t explain it.” Snape hated having to admit that he didn’t know something. “What I can tell is that there is some form of dark magic emanating from you, but I don’t know what, or how.”
Kreacher shuffled out from his hiding place and made his way over to the little wizard. He didn’t like filthy little half bloods, but he hated a wizard child being abused by muggles even more.
“Kreacher, what are you doing?” Sirius demanded when he saw the elf.
“Kreacher must check. Little wizard can’t be in danger in this house. Mistress ordered Kreacher, never let little wizard die under her roof.”
The other two looked to Sirius who just shrugged. “Kreacher was originally the nanny elf assigned to Regulus. Looking after Reg was his job, so I guess my mother gave him orders about ensuring the protection of children.”
Kreacher ran his hand over the air above Harry’s head before he jumped back shaking. “Bad magics. Bad magics. They take my master Reggie away. No, no, no. Bad…Bad…Bad.”
“Kreacher, stop this instant.” Sirius ordered as the elf started to shake and hit himself. “Explain what you mean.”
Kreacher glared slightly, but answered. “Little wizard is marked by bad magics. Master Reggie learned that the bad Dark Lord was doing something with the bad magics. He’s told Kreacher that the bad Dark Lord had gone to far and needed to be stopped. He orders Kreacher… He orders… Kreacher has been ordered to not talk of it.”
“I am overriding that order Kreacher. I order you to tell us what happened.” Sirius stared at the elf. Could Regulus really have seen the truth, is that why he had died?
Kreacher was actually happy to fulfil that order, he had wanted everyone to know the truth of his great Master Reggie for years. “The Bad Dark lord tries to hide dark magics, but needs elf to do it. Master Reggie orders Kreacher to do what he is told and then come home, so Kreacher does.
Bad Dark Lord takes Kreacher to cave with dead in the water. He forces Kreacher to drink nasty potion. Kreacher sees such terrible things. Kreacher screams and screams. The bad Dark Lord laughs as he leaves poor Kreacher with the dead. Kreacher is so thirsty, but Master Reggie orders Kreacher to come home, so he does.
Master Reggie was mad bad Dark Lord hurts’s Kreacher. He nurses Kreacher back to health. But then… But then he orders Kreacher to show him bad cave.” Kreacher started to sob. “Kreacher doesn’t want to, but Kreacher must obey.
So Kreacher takes Master Reggie to bad cave and shows him how to get past the dead. But the potion can’t be poured out to get the bad magics, it must be drinked. Great Master Reggie is too kind. He says he drinks the potion to not hurt Kreacher again, no matter what Kreacher says master wont’s change his mind. He tells Kreacher that no matters what happens, once the potion is gone, Kreacher is to take the bad magics and come home and destroy them.
Master suffers so, oh how he suffered. Kreacher begs him to let him drink it, but great master won’t. When bad potion is gone Master Reggie goes to the water to drink but the deads grab him and pull him down. Kreacher wants to save Master Reggie, but he was ordered not to.
Kreacher takes the bad magics and comes home. But he can not destroys it. Nothing works. Not burning. Not smashing. Not freezing. Not stabbing. Nothing works. Kreacher has tried and tried everyday since he lost Great Master Reggie, but he has failed.”
At that the elf could say no more and was taken over with great shuddering sobs. Harry sat up and started to rub the elf’s back to try and calm him down. Both Severus and Sirius were in shock. They were horrified by what they had just heard. Despite their issues, Reggie was still his brother and Sirius had loved him, so knowing how he had died hurt a lot, especially since he had been so angry at his brother for so long for siding with Voldemort. Severus and Regulus had been friends, Severus had even mentored the younger boy when he first started school, knowing what happened was just as upsetting for him.
Once Kreacher got his sobs under control Remus asked a question. “But Kreacher, what does this have to do with the bad magic in Harry?”
Kreacher looked to Sirius and after getting approval he answered. “It is the same magics. The magics in little wizard is from the bad Dark Lord.”
At that everyone in the room started to panic. Harry had magic from Voldemort in his head? That just couldn’t be a good thing.
“The headmaster knows.” Harry said suddenly. “At the end of my second year he said he thought Voldemort had transferred some of his magic to me that night and that was why I can talk to snakes.”
“He told you that, and did nothing?” Sirius shouted.
“Well, he knows they are connected somehow and has decided to ignore him this year so it’s no big surprise.” Remus snarled.
“Wait, what? He’s going to ignore me?” Harry questioned the adults.
“Yes, we will explain that later.” Sirius said.
“Shit, we need to get back downstairs, the meeting is starting soon.” Remus said when he noticed the time.
“What about Harry, and the bad magic Kreacher has been trying to destroy?” Sirius whined, he didn’t want to leave his godson after everything he had just learned.
“Use Bill.” Severus said, the others just looked at him, so he explained more. “Bill is one of the top curse breakers in the country. Have him run some scans, even if he can’t figure it out he could get you in touch with the goblins, and they will definitely know what it is, and they will know how to destroy it.”
“Wow, did Severus Snape just compliment someone?” Sirius joked, then he whined when Remus smacked him upside the head while Harry laughed and Snape glared.
“Harry, take your potions and get some sleep. Try not to worry, we will figure this out, I promise. Kreacher, thank you for everything. We will do everything we can to help you fulfil Regulus’s last request. Now, let’s get downstairs.” Remus said as he started to move Sirius towards the door, shooting Harry a wink over his shoulder.
After double checking that Kreacher was ok, Harry did as he was told. He took all the potions and applied the paste to the goose egg on the back of his head where he had hit it on the corner of the wall when Uncle Vernon had shoved him. With that done he went to bed.
Remus and Sirius slipped back into the kitchen a few minutes after coming back downstairs. They had waited in the drawing room while Snape had gone ahead of them.
Snape had originally left the kitchen when Bill had asked to speak with him, so as long as the three of them were never seen together then there would be no reason for suspicion. No one would ever even consider the idea that Snape and Sirius would ever be able to work together.
Just after the meeting was set to start Dumbledore finally arrived. Many didn’t even expect the meetings to start on time anymore. Everyone knew that he was always late, but most were willing to just put up with it, but the few at the table that had started to question him saw it for the power play it was.
Just as Dumbledore was calling everyones attention to himself Tonks literally fell out of the fire causing Kingsley Shacklebolt to trip over her as he followed her through the floo.
“Did you get it?” Mad-Eye demanded when he saw the other two, holding out his hand for the list.
“Yes, here it is.” Tonks handed over the sheet she had. “That’s just a copy. I’ve already checked. Every family had one or more of their children on the list.”
“So the original is still there?” Remus asked in a worried voice.
“Yes, but I placed it under a high level classification spell saying it was a part of an investigation. Right now only Amelia, Scrimgeour, and the Minister himself can access the list.” Kings said as he took his seat.
“What is going on?” Dumbledore questioned. He was more than a little annoyed to be interrupted like that. Clearly the rest of the order had been doing things without his permission, he couldn’t let that continue.
Albus knew he was the only one that could manage everything and get them ready for the coming war. He didn’t like it when his people went behind his back. It was even more infuriating because none of his loyal members had come to warn him.
Everyone started going on about what Harry had found until Mad-Eye forced them all to be silent so he could tell Dumbledore without all the interruptions. It was better for it all to come from one person rather than a dozen or so others just shouting out different things.
When Mad-Eye was finished, Albus wasn’t sure how to feel. This could be extremely useful for them. It showed that muggleborns were being attacked and killed. But, Fudge would never admit it had a connection to Voldemort, as there was no dark mark over the houses they could pass it off as just some random attacks, especially given how much control they had over the media.
Then there was the fact that he hadn’t been the one to find it, or have anything to do with it. Albus didn’t know how he felt about this information being brought in by Harry. While he was glad to have it, it just concerned him. Had Tom influenced the boy to find it for some reason? Was this some kind of trap?
In the end Albus knew he had no choice and just supported the plans that had already been made. Over the next week the different members of the order would be checking on the other homeschooled students. Assigning who would be doing the checking allowed him to exercise a little control.
Eventually the topic turned away from the attacks and back to just the same basic things they had covered at the other meetings, other than the fact that there was no need to assign a guard to Harry since he was now at the house. That was when things started to heat up again.
Molly’s voice took on a whiny quality as she tattled on the others for telling Harry and the twins everything they had. This had lead to Molly and Sirius bickering once again as Dumbledore tried to make Sirius feel guilty about it. Molly, like usual, ended her argument shouting, ‘they’re just children’ like that was a good enough reason.
“No, they aren’t.” Mad-Eye said in a gruff voice. “Your twins are both 17, by the laws of our land they are adults. As for Potter… While he is underage, that boy is no child. And I doubt he has been one for a long time.”
“And just what’s that supposed to mean?” Molly’s hands went to her hips as she stomped her foot.
“All you have to do is look him in the eye and you would know the truth. Those aren’t the eyes of a child. He has seen, done, and been through far to much for him to be considered a child.” Mad-Eye responded calmly. “More than that, we got him to tell us about his years at that so called ‘safe’ school.”
“And just what is that supposed to mean?” McGonagall demanded, affronted.
“Do we really need to go over everything that has happened at that school. From what he said he almost died multiple times in his first year alone. And the only teacher that appears to have even tried to protect him at all was Snape of all people, no offence Snape.” Snape just nodded to Mad-Eye in understanding.
“And just how did he do that?” Molly snapped, she knew Snape was a member of the order, but she really didn’t like him.
“When the possessed teacher, that for some reason was allowed to be around students for the entire school year, cursed Potter’s broom during his first quidditch match Snape was the only one of the staff to bother to cast the counter curse. If Snape hadn’t been there then that boy could have been thrown from his broom over 30 ft in the air.”
“And do we need to even mention what happened the first time Harry was caught out of bed after curfew?” Remus looked McGonagall directly in the eye. “I can’t tell you just how angry I was when I saw that in the points book when I taught, then I learned what his detention was. I can’t even begin to understand that.”
“He needed to learn the rules. I wasn’t about to risk him becoming as wild as James was. I went easy on you four in the beginning and look what happened. I wasn’t going to let that happen again.” McGonagall huffed.
“So you freely admit you punished a child for something he had no control over. Harry didn’t get to choose his father, no child gets to choose their parents. It is specifically in the teachers handbook to never punish a child for your preconceived ideas based on who their parents are. But that is exactly what you did.
For your information up until Hagrid rescued Harry to take him to Diagon Alley the first time Harry didn’t even know his fathers name, so how could he know what his father was like at school, especially since no one ever bothered to tell him about his parents until now. James was a pampered little prince, he was given everything and denied nothing. Unless you are completely blind it is obvious that is not the life Harry has lived. So just how did you think they were the same other than looks?” Remus was practically snarling by the end.
McGonagall just looked away since she had no answer. At the time, she had looked at the small boy with messy black hair and punished him in the same way she wished she had punished his father. She had thought that maybe if she had taught James better he and Lily might have survived somehow.
“Just what is so bad about detention, I’m pretty sure we all had to serve it at some time?” Kings questioned. The rage the normally calm man was displaying just didn’t match up.
“As punishment for being out after curfew Harry, Hermione, Neville Longbottom, and Draco Malfoy were sent into the forbidden forest, at night, with just Hagrid and his cowardly dog Fang, to search for an injured unicorn, because something had been attacking and killing them.
Then, once they were far enough in, they split up. Of course, it was Harry and Draco, along with Fang, that found the injured unicorn. But it was already dead, and something was drinking its blood. Draco and Fang ran away, but Harry tripped.
Now, the thing that had been attacking the unicorns was the previously mentioned possessed professor. A professor that was literally being possessed by Voldemort himself. So I think you can guess just how he responded to having Harry Potter, alone, in the forbidden forest, at night. If it hadn’t been for a centaur that jumped between them I have no doubt Harry would have been killed.”
Everyone just stared for a few moments after Remus finished his story.
“Oh the boy’s just being dramatic.” Molly waved the story away. “That is something you are going to have to learn Remus, children exaggerate their stories to get attention.”
“I can actually confirm the story.” Snape drawled. “After what happened it took me over half dozen calming potions and a mild sleep potion to get Mr. Malfoy to sleep. I also had to spend multiple hours over subsequent weeks to convince him not to tell his father what happened or go to the DMLE and file attempted murder charges against all those involved.
I did worry that it was an exaggeration so I spoke with both Filch and Hagrid and both confirmed their parts of the story. Four first year students were sent into the forbidden forest for that detention you assigned Minerva.”
Both Molly and McGonagall just harrumphed.
“And that was just part of his first year.” Sirius said. “If anything, things have only gotten worse. While Harry is the worst victim of the dangers, he is not the only student that has suffered.”
“I have to agree.” Bill nodded.
“Oh Bill.” Molly sighed as she looked to her eldest in disappointment. “I really don’t understand where this attitude of yours is coming from. You really need to stop being so pessimistic about everything. Honestly, you have taken on such a dark view of everything ever since you started doing that silly curse breaking. You really should have gone to work for the ministry. You could have done so much, you could have found a nice girl and settled down. I could be a grandmother by now.
The others are just being overly dramatic. Everything at Hogwarts is fine.”
Bill took a deep calming breath, but he couldn’t help it, his temper finally reached its breaking point. “Mum, I get it, you don’t like my job. But it’s my job, and I like it. And, just for your information, you really might want to get off your high horse about how little you think of my job considering what just happened.
I understand that you still see me as a kid, but I am not. The moment you heard that your daughter had been possessed, even only partially, you should have contacted me. I am a curse breaker, it is literally my job to deal with things like that.”
“Don’t you take that tone with me young man.” Molly glared at her son. “There was no need. Madame Pomfrey gave Ginny a clean bill of health. She is fine, there is no reason for getting worked up about it now.”
“There is every reason.” Bill snarled. “Madame Pomfrey is a medi-witch. She would have no training to deal with things like possession. A curse breaker would.
Harry told me about what happened to Gin. So when we got back I pulled her out and ran a check. You can relax, I didn’t frighten her, I told her I wanted to run a check on the prank the twins pulled on her. Do you want to know what I found? Ginny has bruising on her core.”
“She just needs more time then. All bruises take time to heal.” Molly said in confusion.
“It’s not that kind of bruising. There is only one thing that can fix it, a core cleansing potion. I have already spoken with Professor Snape and he says it will take a week to finish. He’s going to be starting it once he leaves here.
Just so you fully understand, while this isn’t harming her now, it could in the future. If Ginny had reached her magical maturity at 17 with those bruises it would risk fracturing her core. Even if she got incredibly lucky and her core didn’t fracture, it would permanently weaken her. Ginny’s magic would never fully develop.
While it wouldn’t affect her health, she would be permanently handicapped magically. Thankfully, the bruising is only faint so it has no impact on her now, it’s only later it becomes a danger.
But we never would have known until it was too late if Harry hadn’t told me. You might say it’s dramatic, but it is literally my little sisters life we are talking about.”
Molly was horrified. That just couldn’t be right. There was no way they had missed something like that, was there?
“But she’s going to be ok, right?” Remus asked in concern. He might not be overly fond of the girl but that didn’t mean he wanted her hurt.
“Yes. As it is right now, she’s doing just fine. And once she has had the potion she just needs to rest her core for a week, that means no magic, not no work. Since she will have another three weeks of summer she won’t even notice. By the time she returns to school in September her core will be in perfect shape.” Bill explained to everyone. “Like I said, it’s only dangerous if she were to hit her magical maturity.”
Dumbledore saw this as good a time as any to end the meeting. He didn’t want even more people to know about what had happened during Harry’s second year. He still hated how he hadn’t been able to find that blasted chamber, and now that he knew where it was he couldn’t get in. There was a dead basilisk in there, those things were worth a fortune.
Remus withheld his smirk as Dumbledore all but ran from the room. At least they now knew a way to get him to leave a room, talk about all the things he had allowed to happen in the school since Harry started.
Sirius smirked, but them gave an excuse and quickly went upstairs, he wanted to check on Harry.
Back upstairs Sirius went in to check in on Harry but found him fast asleep and just couldn’t bring himself to wake the boy up. Harry looked like he could use a good sleep.
Instead he left and started to get everything in order in his office. Harry might not like it, but he was going to have to do a lot of work over the next few weeks. First, he was going to need to prepare for his trial. Severus had warned him what Voldy was planning, so Harry was going to need to be prepared. And to help with that Sirius and Remus had gathered all kinds of different teaching material to go over with him. But the laws were going to have to come first.
Sirius spent 2 hours collecting everything and laying it out, something he had done multiple times over the past weeks, but it helped calm him. But, it was time for lunch, and that meant he needed to get Harry up, the boy couldn’t miss anymore meals. He also didn’t want to have to deal with Molly acting like he was neglecting Harry.
“Pup, it’s time to get up. You need to take your first potion and then get your lunch.” Sirius said softly.
Harry blinked a few times and rubbed his eyes sleepily. “Sirius?”
“Yes pup, it’s me.” Sirius ruffled Harry’s hair. “Come on, up you get.”
“Okay.” Harry mumbled as he pulled himself up.
“You go on, I’ll meet you down there in a few minutes, I need to go and check on Remus.” Sirius said.
Harry just nodded and trudged out of the room and down the stairs, his limbs felt like lead. Just as he was reaching the floor the twins had their room on he heard Molly shouting for them to come down so he went to their room and knocked on their door.
The door opened a crack and he saw a brown eye peak out at him, then the door was thrown open and he was dragged in before the door was shut behind him. “Hello Harrykins.”
Harry looked around the room trying to get his bearings. This room looked as much like a mad scientists laboratory as was possible. It was clear Fred and George had not been idle over the summer.
“Forge, Gred.” Harry nodded to them in turn. “I see you two have been busy.”
“Indeed we have.” The twin over by the potions stand said. Harry knew it was George. George had always been better at potions while Fred handled the charms aspect of their pranks.
“So what brings you down to our domain, oh great and wonderful benefactor?” Fred asked.
“It’s lunch time. I figured I would bring you down with me so I don’t have to listen to your mum shouting for you two to come down.” Harry said.
“Ahh, you just wanted to make sure you had a peaceful lunch, or what might pass for a peaceful lunch in this house.” Fred nodded sagely.
“Of course.” Harry nodded but then laughed. “Come on, I’m hungry. Oh, I almost forgot.” Harry pulled out the potions Severus had given him.
“And what is that?” George asked, interest shining in his eyes.
“This doesn’t leave the room.” Harry said seriously as he swallowed the potions, only continuing when both twins swore marauders honour. “Sirius and Remus made Snape give me a health check before the meeting. He said I was malnourished so gave me a bunch of potions to fix it.”
Fred and George shared a look. They had both known that things had been bad for Harry, only a fool wouldn’t. Both were less than impressed with their parents and younger siblings. Their parents just trusted too much in Dumbledore and their siblings and Hermione clearly didn’t pay enough attention or seem to care enough about the boy they claimed was their best friend. They were going to have to do something to address the oversight but were pleased Remus and Sirius weren’t so blind.
“Let’s go get some food.” George glance to his slightly older brother, both silently agreed they were going to get revenge for their honorary little brother.
Just as Harry and the twins were leaving the twins rooms Ron Hermione and Ginny came out of the room down the hall.
“There you are.” Hermione huffed, annoyed they had been kept waiting while Harry apparently talked with the twins. “We were waiting for you.”
“Why were you in the twins room?” Ginny questioned.
Harry was confused about why Ginny was blinking rapidly but chose not to comment on it. “I was talking with the twins.”
“Why would you want to talk with them?” Ron was confused about why Harry would talk with the twins rather than come and see him and Hermione.
“Because they’re my friends.” Harry shrugged before walking away, Fred and George following closely behind him and snickering about the look on their little brothers face.
“There you all are.” Molly huffed as the kids all finally came into the kitchen.
Sirius and Remus walked in just behind them. Knowing Harry wasn't yet ready to deal with the three other kids they put him between the two of them and took him back to the seats they had had during breakfast. Fred and George saw what the two men were doing and decided to help by sitting across from them.
That left Hermione Ron and Ginny to sit away from Harry. Hermione went to sit next to Fred, diagonally across the table from Harry, Ginny sat on her other side. Ron ended up sitting next to Remus.
Molly didn’t like what was going on. Sirius was keeping Harry away from his friends out of selfishness she was sure. She was going to have to make sure that didn’t carry on. Harry needed his friends now. But she also knew there was nothing she could do right now. Everyone was already sitting down and if she started moving them around Sirius would throw a fit she was sure.
Deciding to try and keep lunch a calm affair Remus chose to bring up the topic of quidditch. As he had hoped a majority of the people at the table immediately started discussing different teams and tactics, Hermione just pulled out a book to read since she couldn’t really stand the sport.
Molly was planning to keep Sirius and Remus in the kitchen after lunch was done so that Hermione, Ron and Ginny would be able to get some time with Harry, but things didn’t go according to plan. As soon as everyone was finished the twins started showing off a series of their pranks, something Molly was irritated by since she had thought she had managed to find all that trash and destroy it. But, somewhere between them showing off a cloud that changed a persons hair colour and their latest firework, something Molly was definitely going to take from them, Harry slipped out without anyone noticing.
“Where did Harry go?” Ginny questioned once she had a clear view of his empty seat.
“Oh, he just went up to finish unpacking and get a bit of sleep. You need to remember, he didn’t get to sleep at all last night.” Remus told the girl before giving a big yawn. “And neither did I so I think I will be following his lead. Those are some brilliant creations boys, I can’t tell you how glad I am I’m not your teacher anymore.”
Fred and George bowed to Remus as he left the room. They had always liked him. Their only issue with him was that they never managed to pull off a successful prank in his class. They were going to have to try their luck on him this summer. No way could a simple teacher out smart all of their pranks, even if he did have the heightened senses of a werewolf.
When the kids went to follow Harry Molly actually stopped them. As much as she wanted them to spend time with Harry she was still a mother. The boy needed sleep and she didn’t want that interrupted. They still had almost an entire month until it was time to return to school, she was sure they would have time tomorrow.
Sirius slipped away as Molly started to direct the children to help her clean up.
Back upstairs Sirius first let Remus up before the two went to see Harry.
“So what is going to happen now?” Harry questioned as the two men joined him in the sitting room.
“We’re going to have to get to work.” Remus gave Harry a melancholy smile. “I know you might want to just relax this summer, but we unfortunately can’t do that right now.”
“I know.” Harry nodded. “With him back I need to be ready.”
“This isn’t your responsibility Harry. You understand that, right?” Sirius asked. “I know you might not like to hear it, but you are still underage. Your job right now is school, not being a soldier.
I understand that there are going to be those that try and put it all on you, but you are not alone. You need to remember that. Remus and I are here for you every step of the way. And we are going to do everything we can to limit your involvement. Not because we don’t think you can do it, but because we love you and want you safe.”
“You… You love me?” Harry forced back tears at that. The only memory he had of anyone saying they loved him was of his mum whispering that she and his dad loved him just before she was killed and he could only remember that because of the dementors.
“With all our hearts.” Remus assured him. Moving over he sat on the couch with Harry and wrapped his arms around him.
“What are we going to do first?” Harry questioned after a few minutes.
“One thing you need to do is write to Amelia Bones.” Sirius said. “She’s the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Severus warned us that your hearing is going to be changed to a full trial at the last minute so Voldy and Fudge can try and get you expelled. So, we are going to need support.
By law, after something like this the aurors are required to get statements of all involved. The fact you weren’t contacted means more than likely Fudge has one of his people violating the rules to push this through. Amelia has always been a stickler for the rules and propriety. She will take over if she finds corruption.
You will need to arrange a meeting with her to give your statement. Since you are going to be watched closely over the next little while by Molly it would be best to do it early in the morning on the day of the trial. It will get you to the ministry early just in case there are any other issues.”
“Now, after looking over the laws, there is nothing they can do to you so long as they follow those laws.” Remus assured him. “But, Sirius is going to go over rules and regulations anyway so you have a little backup information. He was an auror so he had to learn all of it.”
“Once you have a good grounding in the law, we can expand out, but for now the laws are going to be the most important.” Sirius carried on. “We’re also going to be going over your position.”
“My position?” Harry was confused by that.
“Harry, what do you know about your title?” Remus asked, although he and Sirius had their suspicions.
Sirius sighed. “I swear… That man is a fool.”
Remus hushed his friend. “Harry, when you come of age you will be a Lord in our country. The Potter family has a hereditary seat on the Wizengamot, the same court you are going to be standing in front of soon. You should have been taught all about your responsibilities as a child, but it would seem Albus neglected to do that. So, you are unfortunately going to have to learn it now.
Manners and etiquette are very important to many of the people you will be standing in front of. If you are seen as rude or disrespectful they are more likely to go against you. You also have business dealings with them. Now, because you are currently underage the businesses your family owned are bing held in trust and being managed by the goblins, but when you come of age you can change that if you want.”
“Businesses?” Harry was so confused.
“Yes Harry. Your granddad invented Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion, along with a few others. His parents were big investors in multiple businesses including Florish and Blotts, Florean’s Ice Cream Parlour, and Quality Quidditch. You are a very wealthy young man.” Remus told him gently.
“But I’ve seen my vault. I mean, I know there was a lot of galleons in it, but nothing like that.” Harry was so confused.
“Harry, that was your trust vault.” Sirius chuckled. “Have you been saving your money.”
“Of course. There’s no point in wasting it. I don’t have any idea about what I’m going to do after school.” Harry answered.
Sirius let out a laugh. Leave it to Harry to be responsible even as a child. “Harry, your trust fund refills to 5000 galleons each year. The Potter family is almost as wealthy as the Blacks, and we’re one of the richest families in the country. When you come of age you will be one of the top 10 richest wizards in Britain.”
Harry just stared.
After a few minutes of silence Remus spoke up. “We are going to be talking to Bill about your scar. I’m going to see if he can help us get you the information that has apparently been withheld from you. Then I am going to take you out shopping so you have proper clothing to display your status to those snobs. We will also be getting you anything you need for school. With those potions Sev has been giving you, you are going to be growing at least a few inches over the next month.”
“And what will we be doing after the trial is out of the way?” Harry questioned, not really knowing how to react to the fact he actually had money.
“After that we are just going to be going over different lessons that might prove to be helpful.” Remus said. “Sirius got a bunch of different homeschooling lessons for you. I think he was just having fun. The lessons come through the International Confederation of Wizards, the ICW. Albus is no longer in charge there so he will have no way to access any information on you.”
“What is it that the ICW does? I’ve heard about it, but we’ve never learned about it in school.” Harry said.
“Honestly.” Remus rubbed his eyes. “They really need to get rid of Binns. The man does nothing but talk about goblin wars from what has to be the most biased view possible.
So, the ICW. It is a group of diplomats from all over the world that work on diplomatic issues. It is supposed to serve to stop wars and encourage peaceful relations between countries. But it has also expanded out into law enforcement and setting base standards of education. There are many countries that don’t actually have a full magical school like Hogwarts, or students can’t afford to attend. The ICW makes classes available for them.”
“Oh.” Harry was startled. He hadn’t known something like that might exist.
“Try not to worry Harry.” Sirius moved over to sit on Harry’s other side and gave him a slight hug. “No matter what happens, we are here. You will never be alone again.”
Harry couldn’t speak anymore and just hugged his honorary uncles.
“So you understand the plan?” Sirius asked just before they went down for dinner.
“Yup.” Harry agreed.
They knew that they were going to be questioned about where Harry had been. It had been easy enough for Sirius and Remus to disappear, but since Harry was supposed to be sharing a room his absence was going to be noticed.
But, because of the wards none of the others could even know about the upper floors. To deal with that when Harry was questioned about it Sirius was just going to pretend that he had forgotten about the secrecy wards and then go and adjust them so they could acknowledge the other floors, but they still wouldn’t be able to access them.
It would cover for where Harry was whenever they couldn’t find him. Remus was going to have to leave the house with him from time to time so it would be their excuse for his disappearances.
Sirius already had an excuse as to why he couldn’t alter the wards to allow them up.
“Where have you been?” Molly snapped, her hands on her hips, the moment Harry entered the kitchen.
“I was in my room.” Harry said, faking confusion.
“No you weren’t.” Ron argued, his eyes flicking back and forth between Harry and the food his mum was finishing.
“We came up to check on you and you weren’t there.” Hermione added.
“You didn’t come to my room.” Harry said. He noticed there was a change in the seating arrangement. The seat that he had previously been sitting in didn’t have any plate or silverware in front of it. Instead the place setting was between Hermione and Ginny and across from Ron.
Fred and George gave Harry a slight smirk before they split up. George went to sit between the two girls while Fred sat next to Ron. That left open spaces closer to Sirius and Remus even if it wasn't his original seat.
“Yes we did.” Ginny argued before trying to push her brother out of the seat.
“No one came to my room.” Harry argued back, sitting down across from Remus and between Kingsley and Bill.
“Harry, dear. You are sharing your room with Ron.” Molly said in confusion. “But when they went up to get you they said your bed was empty and your trunk wasn't there.”
“I set up a room for Harry on the top floor.” Sirius told everyone as he sat at the head of the table.
“Our rooms are on the top floor.” Hermione said in confusion.
“No… Oh.” Sirius jumped up. “I’ll be right back.”
Sirius was gone for about five minutes before rushing back in.
“What was that about?” Kings asked.
“I just realized I forgot to adjust the privacy wards when everyone moved in.” Sirius said. “The Blacks have always been a paranoid bunch. Because of that the family floors have always been under strong privacy wards. That’s why you guys hadn’t noticed they were there. There’s actually 7 floors to this house. Five above ground and two below. But the lower basement and the top two floors are restricted to family only.
After moving in I started to set up a room for Harry since this is as much his home as it is mine so he needs his own permanent room.”
It took a moment for that information to sink in. Now that the wards had been changed everyone started to remember seeing the stairs the led up to more floors that they had previously forgotten.
“If there’s more rooms why do we have to share?” Ginny whined.
“Because the upper floors are family floors.” Sirius informed the whiny child. “You can’t access them.”
“But Harry isn’t a Black.” Hermione said in confusion.
“He is most definitely my family.” Sirius answered immediately. “I am his bonded godfather. Because of that Harry is recognized by the family magic as a member of my family. He can go up the stairs because of that. But if any of you tried you would be thrown back. So, I will warn you now, don’t try and come up, it could get you hurt.”
“But Harry is supposed to be sharing with Ron.” Molly blustered. “Why do you keep doing this Sirius? Ron and Harry are best friends, you can’t keep keeping them apart. It is incredibly selfish.”
“I’m not keeping them apart Molly.” Sirius’s voice was cold. “All I have done was give Harry a room in his home. Harry has been here for less than a day and spent most of it sleeping. Maybe, once Harry has gotten a full nights sleep he will spend time with the others. But I am not going to tell him he is a guest in this house just to make you happy. Him having a room isn’t me trying to end their friendship. They can spend time together later.”
“Harry and Ron always share a room.” Molly argued.
“What does it matter?” Sirius shrugged.
Molly glared. “It matters because you are separating them.”
“Molly.” Remus spoke up. “I don’t see an issue either. Harry and Ron are not required to always be together. Them having separate rooms for a month doesn’t matter. They will be back at school in September and back to sharing a room then. They generally don’t share rooms during the summer anyway.”
Molly huffed. “Then just take the wards down so the others can go up and visit with Harry whenever they want.”
“I can’t.” Sirius smiled.
“Sirius Black.” Molly growled.
“Look, like I said, the Blacks have always been paranoid. The ward scheme here isn’t just a layered scheme, it’s braided. The only way for me to take that ward down would be to completely unward the house. Starting with all the protections Albus added. It would leave us completely vulnerable for a minimum of three weeks. And that’s just taking them down. It would take another three weeks to put them back up. So in the end, it’s pointless.” Sirius said.
“He’s right mum.” Bill spoke up as the food arrived on the table and he dished up his own plate. “If the wards are braided removing one would require removing them all. Besides, it doesn’t matter. Harry and Ron haven’t been sharing a room for the past month, why does it matter so much now?”
Molly just huffed again. She knew Harry was supposed to be in that room because there was a portrait in the room that connected to the one in the headmasters office. It would allow Albus to monitor Harry without the boy feeling nervous or scrutinized. But no one was listening to her. She was going to have to speak with Albus about him making Harry move downstairs. It wasn't safe to have him up there with just Sirius after all, what if something happened, no one would be able to reach him.
Harry just ignored the fighting and instead focused on his food. He didn’t want to have to deal with all of this. He was tired. He had only gotten to sleep for a few hours before lunch since he had been talking with Remus and Sirius in the afternoon.
“Oh just move back downstairs Harry.” Hermione huffed eventually.
“No.” Harry gave Hermione a look. “I like my room. And, no offence, but Ron snores like a tractor and I can’t cast a silencing charm on his curtains during the summer. I actually like to be able to sleep.”
“I don’t snore.” Ron said through a mouth full of food.
“Yes, you do.” Harry, Fred, George, Bill, and Arthur all said at the same time.
“Like Sirius said, it doesn’t matter.” Harry shrugged. “It’s just a month. I’m entitled to having my own space.”
Hermione didn’t like this change she was seeing in Harry. He had never been so argumentative. She cast a side glance at Sirius, she was sure he had something to do with this. She knew they were going to have to work harder to keep them apart.
“What’s your room like?” Ginny questioned, she was sure that she would be able to find a way around the wards to go up. She knew Hermione had said she needed to back off and give Harry some space to realize how perfect they were for each other. But she had done that the year before and he had ended up going to a ball with another girl.
“It’s nice.” Harry shrugged.
“How nice?” Ginny questioned, she didn’t like how that sounded. Her room was horrible and she had to share it, she wanted a nice room.
Harry was confused by that so Sirius answered. “It’s a bedroom. I spent the past few weeks getting everything ready for him so it’s decent.”
“You mean it’s clean?” Ron said in surprise before sending Harry a jealous glance. “Why can’t we have clean rooms?”
“Because the house is a mess and hasn’t been lived in for almost a decade. I spent weeks cleaning a single room so Harry could have a clean room. If your room is to messy you always have your own room at home.” Sirius was annoyed that they would get jealous and act like Harry didn’t deserve something nice just because they didn’t have it. Couldn’t they just be happy for the boy they claimed was their friend?
“Yeah, the rooms aren’t that bad…”
“If you are willing to clean them.” Fred and George said.
“Our room was a disaster…”
“And really small since Princess Ginny demanded to have our original room and got it…”
“But we did some cleaning and it’s fine…”
“Although we do kind of miss…”
“Our room at home…”
“But we can make do.”
Sirius smirked at the passive aggressive twins. “Shall we move on to a new topic.”
“I think that would be a good idea.” Arthur agreed. He had just had a long day at work, he didn’t want to have to listen to Molly yell all night.
As dinner finished up the rather stilted conversation turned from what those who work had done that day to more questions about the Order.
Hermione, Ron, and Ginny weren’t taking the fact that they hadn’t been able to ask questions well so they started asking their own questions. Unfortunately for them no one was willing to tell them. And, unfortunately for everyone else at the table it set Molly off again, she was angry at them for all their questions.
Harry just chose to ignore it and turned to Bill and started questioning him about curse breaking. He had been fascinated when Ron had told him that Bill worked in Egypt. Harry may have been made to do poorly in primary school so as not to make Dudley look bad, but he had still listened and liked what he had learned about the history of the country. Now he could get to learn about the magical side.
Despite having now been in the magical world for four years Harry still didn’t really know anything about it since that wasn't something he had been allowed to learn. His conversation with Sirius and Remus had got him thinking about his future, and he didn’t know what types of jobs there were available to him. He figured being able to speak with a few people that had different jobs might give him some ideas.
Everyone sat around the table for hours after the meal had finished, small groups carrying on their own little conversations. Down at his end of the table Harry was getting lessons from those around him about the different jobs that there were. Fred and George had moved down to the far end of the table and Harry could see they were carrying on a private conversation with a filthy looking man he had been told was called Dung. And in the middle of the table Hermione, Ron, and Ginny were being entertained by Tonks with her skills under the watchful eye of Molly.
But eventually everything caught up with him and Harry started to nod off right there at the table.
“I think it might be time for you to take Harry to bed Sirius.” Bill said as Harry’s head fell on his shoulder again as the boy went in and out.
“I’m fine.” Harry mumbled, sitting up straight again and rubbing his eyes.
“Come on you. It’s time for bed.” Sirius got up and pulled Harry up, making sure to support him.
“But we haven’t gotten any time to talk with Harry.” Ginny whined as she saw him being taken out of the room.
“Harry needs a good nights rest.” Remus told her. “He is going to be here for the rest of the month, I’m sure there will be plenty of time to talk to him later.”
“It’s time for all of you to go to bed as well.” Molly got up to send the kids out.
“But mum?” Ginny whined. “It’s only 8.”
“Yes, and you only got a few hours of sleep last night. All of you need a good nights sleep as well as Harry. We still have plenty of work to do.” Molly stared her daughter down until the girl gave up and slowly got up alongside her brothers.
Fred and George quickly left the room, hiding their latest purchases in their robes and ran up to their room, glad they had an excuse to leave. The others slowly following them up.
The day after Harry arrived at Grimmauld Place he knew it was time to get to work. Harry couldn’t stand the idea of just sitting around doing nothing, he needed something to keep himself busy so he wouldn’t let his imagination get ahead of him.
And it wasn't just the trial he had to be nervous about. Remus and Sirius had already told him that they were going to find a way to privately speak with Bill and get his opinion on the magic in Harry’s scar and the locket Kreacher had been trying to destroy for over a decade. Given just what it was that he was going to have to discuss Harry was naturally worried.
In all, Harry just didn’t want to have to think about anything that was actually happening in his life, so having a good distraction was extremely beneficial.
Another thing he was avoiding by hiding in the lessons Sirius was giving him was his friends. Harry really didn’t know how he was going to deal with Hermione and Ron. He just felt so betrayed by them.
Ron and Hermione had always been his best friends, they were his first friends. But it was like they hadn’t even hesitated to ignore him simply because some one else told them to. If Dumbledore had told Harry he couldn’t talk to his friends he never would have listened, he would have done whatever it took to make sure they weren’t alone like he had been.
Over the years Harry had always forgiven them for everything. When Ron had turned on him just the year before Harry hadn’t hesitated to accept his non-apology after Ron finally saw what was right in front of him. Yes, it had taken him a few weeks to forgive Hermione for going behind his back in their third year about his firebolt, but he had still done so even though she was still, to that day, smug about being right it had been sent by Sirius without ever apologizing for going behind his back without even talking to him about it first. Harry always forgave them for the things they did, always accepting that they may just know better than him or that it was just a mistake.
He didn’t want to do that this time. He didn’t want to lose them as friends, but he didn’t want them to think that what they had done was acceptable. So far they hadn’t even tried to apologize, and Harry definitely wasn't just going to accept their excuses. Unless they acknowledged that what they did was wrong and show that they understood they had been wrong and were sorry about it he was going to have to start distancing himself. He wouldn’t stop being their friend, but he would start being more cautious about just how much he trusted them.
But he did know that he wasn't going to have much time for them this summer anyways. Not only did he have to prepare for his trial, and study in preparation for the coming war, but he also wanted to spend time with Remus and Sirius. He only had a month that he was going to get to spend with them. And he wanted to spend as much time as he could. Because of Dumbledore he only got a little time with them, and he didn’t want to waste any of it.
After all, he was going to be with Ron and Hermione for the entire school year.
Sirius was relieved to escape the kitchen after breakfast. Harry hadn’t felt up to going down and seeing everyone else just yet so Sirius had said he would tell them that Harry was sleeping in and then bring food up to him. While Molly hadn’t been yelling at him like she had the night before she was still making her displeasure known.
It had been an uncomfortable breakfast with Molly’s glare burning holes in him. It didn’t help that Remus had been very poorly hiding his snickers in his morning tea. And like the night before Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were questioning where Harry was.
“Everything ok?” Harry questioned as his godfather slipped through his door and leaned against it, letting out a sigh of relief.
“Fine, fine.” Sirius ran his hand through his hair before putting a trey of breakfast down on the table in Harry’s sitting room where the boy was. “Molly was just being Molly at breakfast.”
Harry gave a small smile. He knew that Mrs. Weasley did it out of caring, but the woman could be extremely aggravating.
“Eat your breakfast, we have work to do today.” Sirius encouraged Harry before turning to go and allow Remus upstairs.
Harry worked on eating, looking up when his uncles entered his room and sat down in the two chairs across from him. “So what are we doing today anyway?”
“First I’m going to start giving you a basic outline of the laws.” Sirius told him.
“I managed to speak with Bill before I came up.” Remus informed the two. “I said we might have a curse issue and asked if he could look at it for us. He’s going to be coming here for lunch. We can meet with him in my room and have him look at the locket and Harry then.”
Harry took a shuddering breath. “Already?” Harry knew he needed to be checked over, but he hadn’t thought it would be so quickly.
“Yes Harry.” Sirius could see the worry etched on Harry’s face. “With something like this the sooner the better. Especially since it’s been over a decade since you got that scar.”
Harry gave a pained smile and just turned back to picking at his food.
Remus and Sirius shared a concerned look as they saw Harry more playing with his food than eating it. “Try not to think about it too much cub.”
Harry nodded, but didn’t look up from his plate.
Sirius and Remus exchanged another look before deciding to just start distracting Harry by going over the laws that he could use to defend himself.
Despite Sirius and Remus’s best efforts, by lunch time Harry was practically vibrating with nerves. But he knew he couldn’t show it to the others in the house. He knew they couldn’t risk anyone like Molly finding out about their plans, she would just stand in their way, and they couldn’t risk that right then.
“Where have you been all morning?” Ron all but whined as soon as Harry came into the kitchen. His mum had made them go back to cleaning and he had wanted Harry to be there too.
“There you are Harry dear.” Molly smiled at the boy, choosing to ignore Sirius completely, she was furious he had been keeping the boy upstairs all morning.
Harry forced a small smile to the woman before taking his seat and turning to Ron. “I’ve been working on setting up my room.”
Hermione, like Molly, didn’t like Harry’s continuing to isolate himself with Sirius. “Really Harry, there’s no point in that. We’re going back to school in a few weeks.”
“But, like Sirius said, this is my home.” Harry looked to his female friend. “I finally have a room that I can arrange how I want, and I’m not giving that up for anyone.”
Hermione huffed. She didn’t like this. Harry needed to stop being so argumentative. Sirius wasn't a good role model, he shouldn’t want to spend so much time with the man.
Molly pursed her lips. She didn’t like this development but backed down this time, she knew enough about stubborn children to know that now was not the time to push Harry. No, she would wait until this evening to talk to Harry about his need to move downstairs.
“What are we going to do this afternoon?” Ginny questioned.
“I’m going to finish off my room.” Harry smiled before reaching out to fill his plate.
“What could you possibly have left?” Ron said as he took a big bite of a ham and cheese sandwich. “You’ve been at it all morning, you should be done.”
“I just want to finish cleaning up the bathroom.” Harry made up. “And there’s still some work that needs to be done up there, but since no one else can come up it’s just Sirius and I cleaning.”
Sirius was impressed at Harry’s excuse skills. Not only how quickly he came up with answers to the questions, but with how he didn’t flinch or betray the lie. That was something that interested him because the few times Harry had tried to lie to him, mostly about how things really were at the Dursley’s, Harry had always stuttered and struggled to get the lie out. It pleased him slightly to know that Harry actually didn’t like or want to lie to him.
“Why are you spending so much time upstairs?” Hermione questioned suspiciously. “We haven’t seen you in a month and now you’re spending all your time somewhere we can’t go.”
“I’m just settling in, there’s no big mystery or conspiracy behind it.” Harry gave his friend a confused look, it wasn't completely true since he was actively avoiding them and was also working on a secret plan. “And it certainly isn’t a big deal. I just got here, I want to figure out where everything is.”
After that Harry turned to engage Remus and Sirius in a discussion about his parents. No one was willing to interrupt that, not even Molly.
Bill was confused as he followed Remus to his room in silence. He knew that there were all kinds of dark artifacts in the Black house, but he didn’t understand why it was Remus that was showing one to him. He had figured it would be Sirius, but the man had escorted Harry out just before he and Remus had left.
Once in the room Bill finally spoke, having understood the need for secrecy without having to be told. “Remus, what is going on? What have you found?”
After a quick conversation with Sirius they decided Harry shouldn’t be in the room to start with. Harry was just to worried about it so Sirius took him upstairs. Remus was going to have Bill examine the locket and only bring Harry down to his room if he found something important.
“I got this from Kreacher.” Remus indicated the locket that was sitting on his bedside table. “According to him it belonged to Voldemort. Sirius’s little brother died trying to destroy it.
Kreacher has spent over a decade trying to destroy it but can’t seem too. Just the few basic scans I ran it seems to be something more in you area of expertise.”
“Let’s see.” Bill went over to the locket and started to examine it, making sure not to touch it since he knew just how dangerous that could be.
Bill examined the locket for over 20 minutes, growing more concerned as he did so. He couldn’t place just what the locket was, but he knew it was dangerous. There was evidence that it could potentially possess someone, not completely from what he could see, but at least partially. Whatever this was, he knew he couldn’t leave it in a house where his younger siblings were. It did actually remind him slightly of what Harry had described had happened to his sister, that too had belonged to Voldemort.
“I don’t know exactly what it is, but I can tell you it’s dangerous. I’ll take it with me to the bank.” Bill said as he slid the locket into the protective bag he had brought home with him. “I warned my boss I might be bringing something dangerous in so they should be expecting me.”
“There’s something else.” Remus said slowly as he went over to the closet. “When we got that, Kreacher said there was something else.”
“There’s another one here?” Bill was startled.
“Sort of.” Remus hedged. “Kreacher said the same magic signature was emanating from Harry’s scar.”
Bill just stared for a few moments. This really wasn't good. He might not know what the locket was, but he knew it could be dangerous, and now he was being told the same magic existed within Harry.
“I need to see him.” Bill forced himself to calm down, it wouldn’t help to scare the kid. “Can you get him down here?”
Remus nodded. Opening the closet he tapped on the back wall and it opened to a stairway and he called for Sirius and Harry.
Harry was white as a sheet as he preceded Sirius into the room. “Hi Bill.”
“Hi Harry.” Bill made sure not to let any of his nerves show in his voice, the kid looked like he was about to pass out or get sick. It was clear he knew what was going on.
“Harry, Bill isn’t 100% sure what the locket is. He’s going to take it to the bank with him to have it examined but wants to run a few quick scans of your scar just to be safe.” Remus said in a reassuring voice.
Harry just nodded, he felt like it he opened his mouth he would get sick.
Bill ran his tests before excusing himself and going back to work.
Bill was surprised when he walked through the staff entrance at the bank and was almost immediately surrounded by armed goblins.
“Wizard, why have you brought such accursed magics into our domain?” The lead goblin demanded.
“I’m a curse breaker.” Bill stood perfectly still, he knew that even a twitch could be considered an attempted attack and would be met with lethal force. “I was contacted about a curse of unknown origin. Master Curse Breaker Granitefist instructed me to bring it in with me if I could not determine what it was and how to destroy it.”
“We shall escort you to Master Granitefist. Any perceived hostile actions will be met with your destruction.” The goblin threatened before they formed up around him and walked him to his department.
“What is the meaning of this?” Granitefist demanded as he saw one of his curse breakers surrounded by guards.
“The cursed object this wizard claims you ordered him to bring here set off the alarms.” The lead goblin informed him.
“Well, well, well. It would seem you have brought us something interesting Curse Breaker Weasley.” Granitefist was scarily excited at having one of his curse breakers being escorted by guards.
Bill watched as Granitefist and a few other higher ranked goblins examined the locket for over an hour. As he watched he grew more and more worried. He could see that all the goblins were clearly very angry about what they were finding. If a locket could upset goblins, how would they react to Harry having the same thing in his scar.
Eventually Granitefist finished and walked over to him. “Tell me where you came across an object like this.”
Bill shivered slightly at the cold fury in the goblins voice. “Quick question. The Goblin Nation doesn’t care about the laws of the wizards, correct?”
Granitefist raised a bushy eyebrow. “Correct. So long as it does not violate the laws of the Goblin Nation we will not prosecute or turn an individual over to the wizards Ministry.”
“Good.” Bill smiled slightly with the conformation that Sirius wasn't in danger from the goblins. “I know where Sirius Black has been living. He was the one that arranged for me to receive the locket.”
From there Bill went on to explain what Remus had told him about what Kreacher had told him. He wasn't yet ready to tell them that Harry had the same magic in his scar and wanted to get a little more information before taking that risk.
Granitefist was interested in the tale. “What the elf has been attempting to destroy is a horcrux. It is wizards magic most foul.”
“What exactly is it?”
“You said this originally belonged to the Dark Lord Voldemort?” Bill nodded his conformation to the goblin. “Then… This is a vessel containing a portion of Voldemort’s soul. So long as it exists he can not truly die. Even if killed his soul will remain on this plain and could eventually return, as I suspect you know has already happened according to Harry Potter.”
Bill was horrified. This was a piece of Voldemorts soul. Then he thought about Harry and felt as the colour drained from his cheeks.
“What did you just realize?” Granitefist might not know much about wizards, but no one could miss the panic on the wizards face.
“I…” Bill took a deep breath. “The elf that had been trying to destroy it said there was another magical signature that matched that one.”
“There is another horcrux there? Why didn’t you bring it with you?” Granitefist demanded.
“It’s not so much of a what, but a who.” Bill said softly, pulling out the copies of the scans he ran on Harry’s scar. “The same magic resides in Harry Potter’s famous scar.”
Granitefist went and sat down, flipping through the write ups of what the wizard had done and the results. This was something that was going to need to be handled with care. Harry Potter was famous in the wizards world, even if his reputation was being attacked, he was still well known and if anything happened to him on goblin territory the wizards would turn on them. But at the same time no goblin could tolerate the existence of such a disgusting magic.
And that wasn't the only issue. “The Goblin Nation does not work for free.” Granitefist said finally.
“Sirius Black is the Black Family Heir. He would take his family Lordship and then negotiate compensation for the Goblin Nation in regards to both this locket and his godson. But he wasn't sure if he would be able to come to the bank to get the Lordship ring without risking arrest.”
Granitefist did a little more thinking. “This evening, after closing time at 10, you will escort Heir Black and Heir Potter through the floo in my office. We will address things then.”
“There is another issue that will need to be addressed.”
“And just what is that?”
“Heir Potter has apparently been under some kind of mail ward and has never received any correspondence from the bank. He was hoping to have me arrange a meeting with his account manager to see if there was a work around. He is also going to need to retrieve his Heir Ring since he was never even informed of its existence until Heir Black informed him.”
Granitefist took a deep angry breath. “You will need to get in contact with them so arrangements can be made. It will be a very busy night for all involved.”
Harry ended up spending an hour on the main floor of the house before dinner that night. They had been told by Bill that he and Sirius were going to have meetings with their account managers starting at 9:30, and then with the curse breakers at 10. Because of that they were going to need to leave shortly after dinner and he didn’t think anyone wanted to deal with Mrs. Weasley if Harry spent the entire day upstairs again.
Not that it really mattered. During that time all Mrs. Weasley wanted them to do was clean. Harry didn’t understand why she was doing that. Kreacher might have a few issues, but he was still the house elf, and it was clear if anyone bothered to listen to him that he was angry they were cleaning and not having him do it. Harry didn’t think it should all be up to Kreacher, but if he wanted to clean then they should let him, he had even brightened up slightly with the locket out of the house.
He ate quickly so he was the first to finish. After rinsing his dishes he quickly left the room before anyone could stop him. He did hear others trying to call him back, but he ignored them and just dashed up the stairs.
Sirius followed him a few minutes later. “I do believe Molly is going to be in a right mood tomorrow morning.” Sirius chuckled.
“I couldn’t figure any other way to get away.” Harry defended, but smirked knowing Sirius would have thought it was funny.
“It got the job done.” Sirius shrugged. He glanced over when he saw Kreacher shuffle into the room.
“Hello Kreacher.” Harry smiled at the elf before quickly turning to Sirius. “Sirius, can Kreacher come to the bank with us?”
“What? Why?” Sirius questioned. Looking over he could see Kreacher was just as startled as he was.
“Well, Kreacher has spent over 14 years trying to destroy that locket. If anyone has the right to see it finally destroyed it’s him.” Harry defended. “Please, he’s earned it.”
“I don’t know if the goblins will allow him.” Sirius said thoughtfully. “We told Bill it was going to be just you, Remus, and I. I don’t know if they will let anyone else attend the meetings with our account managers.”
“We could ask.” Harry said. “We’re just getting our rings, it’s not like it’s anything too important. I’m sure if we ask if Kreacher can come they’ll let us floo him. Would you like to be there Kreacher?”
Kreacher was startled about being treated so kindly, no one had spoken to him with that kind of respect since his Great Master until this odd little half-blood. “Kreacher would.” The elf nodded, he would love to see the locket that cost his great Master Reggie his life destroyed.
Harry smiled at the elf. “I’ll ask. I’m going to go take a shower before we get going.”
When Harry came out of the shower he was slightly startled to see Kreacher in his room laying out robes.
“Kreacher, what are you doing?”
“Young half-blood is becoming Heir.” Kreacher mumbled as he smoothed out the robe. “Hes can nots be showing up in rags. This is very important night, hes must be at his bests.”
Harry smiled, what was it with crazy elves deciding they liked him. “Thank you Kreacher. Where did you get these, they look nice?”
“They’s belonged to Great Master Reggie when he’s was young. I’s thinks hes would be happy to let yous wear them.”
“I’ll wear them with pride Kreacher.” Harry assured the little elf, fully understanding just how much this had to mean to him.
Once dressed, with a little help from Kreacher since he didn’t know exactly how everything went, Harry went and joined Sirius and Remus by the floo.
“Well don’t you look good.” Sirius smiled at Harry.
“Thanks, Kreacher picked them out for me.” Harry could see Sirius was slightly confused. “He felt like it was an important night so he found these in Regulus’s closet. I hope you don’t mind.”
“I think it was a great idea.” Sirius assured Harry seeing as he was slightly worried about how he would take Harry wearing his brothers clothes. But Sirius was pleased they were being put to good use. That, and he could see that Harry seemed a bit more confident in clothing that properly fit, or at least, better then everything else he owned. But Sirius was pretty sure that outfit was from when Reggie was 12.
“Come on, let’s get going. Kreacher, we’ll let you know if the goblins say you can come too.” Remus assured.
After arriving at the bank they did get permission to have Kreacher to join them. The meetings were rather bland. The goblin account managers just handed Harry and Sirius their rings so Harry could become Heir Potter and Sirius could become Lord Black. Then they just explained the amount each family had and how the goblins had been managing it, Harry was stunned to hear he would one day have that kind of money.
With that done it was off to see the curse breakers. This was the part that had Harry terrified. He had seen just how out of sorts Bill had seemed when they came through the floo and was worried about what he knew.
Putting Harry up on an alter in the centre of the ritual room the goblins examined him and verified what Kreacher had said. When what the locket was was explained to them they were all terrified. A piece of Voldemorts soul was residing in Harry’s head. That had to be the worst thing possible.
“So how do we destroy these things, and how much is it going to cost?” Sirius questioned, he wanted his godson free of that abomination.
“Cost wise, we will perform all rituals required at a cost of 16,000 galleons per horcrux.” Granitefist said.
“I can deal with that.” Sirius agreed.
“There is another thing that we need to address.” Granitefist gave him a contemplative look. “While we weren’t originally sure what this magic was, this was not the first time we have come across its signature.”
“What do you mean?” Remus questioned.
“As Lord Black you can access the vaults of all those under your stewardship, that includes the vault opened by Bellatrix Black prior to her marriage.” Granitefist said, it was clear he was uncomfortable with the idea of allowing him access to another vault, but it was technically legal. “The same magical signature has been emanating from that vault for over a decade and we would really like the chance to destroy it now that we know just what it is.”
“As Lord Black I reclaim ownership of the vault of Bellatrix Black for betrayal of the family.” Sirius said in a serious tone. “Can you send a goblin to retrieve the object or do you need me to go and get it?”
Granitefist snapped his finger and a younger goblin left the room. “No need, it shall be retrieved.”
“So how do we destroy these horcruxes?” Bill questioned.
“The only way to destroy a horcrux is to destroy its vessel.” Granitefist informed them.
Sirius, Remus, Bill, and Kreacher all instantly stepped between Harry and the goblins.
“Yous will not be harmings the nice half-blood. Hes is Kreachers now.” The little elf said in a menacing voice.
“There is no need to worry elf.” Granitefist assured. “The making of a horcrux is a very complex process. Not only does the ritual need to be preformed, but the vessel must be prepared and a sealing spell must be cast after the ritual is completed.
To create one, a wizard must commit the murder of an innocent. There is no doubt that he intended to use Heir Potters murder to create another. But, since he died and Heir Potter lived he didn’t get a chance to complete the ritual.
As he has multiple horcruxes his soul must have been extremely unstable which allowed for a piece to separate, it simply latched onto the nearest living soul. The shard in Heir Potters scar is minuscule which is why it could never gain possession of him. As the shard was never sealed we can preform a cleansing that will remove the shard.
It will only take around 3 hours. But, I will warn, while not dangerous, it will be extremely painful.”
Hearing about the fact that the shard could try and possess him, Harry suddenly thought of something. “The diary.”
“Diary?” Granitefist questioned.
“Years ago my little sister somehow got her hands on a diary that was once owned by Voldemort. It possessed her. Harry had to destroy it to save her.” Bill explained.
“Horcuxes are notoriously difficult to destroy.” Granitefist said thoughtfully. “If it was one then it may not have been fully destroyed. How did you attempt to destroy it Heir Potter?”
“I stabbed it with a basilisk fang.” Harry told him.
Granitefist actually stared for a moment. “And just where did you get a basilisk fang?”
“My arm.” Harry replied instantly, continuing when he saw the irritation on the goblins face. “Ginny was taken into the Chamber of Secrets, the monster inside the chamber was a basilisk. When I killed it one of its fangs broke off in my arm.”
Harry pulled up his sleeve to show the scar on his forearm.
“If you had been bitten by a basilisk of that size you would have died.” Granitefist said, but he couldn’t deny the scar. It confused him that the wizard was alive if the story was true.
“After I was bitten and destroyed the diary Fawkes, Headmaster Dumbledores phoenix, cried on it, healing it.” Harry explained. “I gave the diary to Headmaster Dumbledore. He cast a few spells on it and said that there was no magic left in it.”
“Then there is a decent chance you may have destroyed a horcrux on your own Heir Potter.” Granitefist gave him a rare respectful nod. “What became of the basilisk?”
“I don’t know, I just wanted to get out of there.” Harry said. “I think it would still be down there.”
“You should arrange to have it retrieved. A basilisk of any size is quite valuable.” Granitefist informed him. “And given the size of your scar it must have been rather large.”
“Isn’t it the schools?” Harry questioned.
“As you were the one to slay the beast its remains belong to you and you alone.” Granitefist said.
“We can discuss that later, horcrux removal now.” Sirius said as he shifted from foot to foot. He wanted this done first, then he could have a meltdown about all the danger Harry had been in. He knew there had been a basilisk, but the size of that scar made him realize just how big it must have been.
It was just a little over 4 hours later that Harry was resting limply in Sirius’s arms with Remus, Bill, and Kreacher fussing over him. The goblins weren’t kidding when they said it was going to hurt, but it wasn't as bad as Harry had thought.
Having experienced Voldemort’s cruciatus Harry knew pain, while it had hurt, it was no where near that level. The worst part was the length. It hurt for the entire 3 hours, and it wasn’t the kind of pain you could learn to live with like a pulled muscle. It was a constant grating pain. And through it all he was restrained so he couldn’t move.
“Heir Potter is now free and all horcruxes we currently have access to have been destroyed.” Granitefist said.
“Thank you.” Sirius and the others all said.
“I think it’s time we get home. Harry looks like he could use a good sleep, and so can I.” Bill said, he had been at work for 18 hours, and he still had work the next day. He had gotten to assist in the ritual to free Harry and destroy the two other horcruxes.
“Curse Breaker Weasley, you will have the morning off tomorrow. A ritual like this one will cause a general drop in your power level for 12 hours.” Granitefist informed him. “Heir Potter, you will feel weak and out of sorts for a few days. A great deal of your magic was focused on protecting you from the shard, now that it is gone it will take a little while for your core to rebalance itself.
With that said, the guards shall show you out.”
Everyone thanked the goblins again and then went back to Granitefists office to floo back to Grimmauld. Bill went through the floo to the main area of the house, followed by Remus. Harry, Sirius, and Kreacher then flooed to the upstairs.
“Young half-blood needses sleep.” Kreacher announced as he guided Sirius to Harry’s room. “Nasty Master wonts be waking him in the morning. Hes is to sleep in.”
Sirius didn’t bother to argue with the elf, he actually found himself agreeing. It was just odd for him to see Kreacher caring so much about Harry. Kreacher had loved his mother, and been devoted to his brother, but he had never seemed to even like anyone else. And more than that, Kreacher had been trained by his mother to be as bigoted as she was, it was why he was sure he referred to Harry by his blood status, yet he was going out of his way to be helpful to someone that wasn't a pureblood.
“Kreachers right Harry, you are going to be sleeping in tomorrow.” Sirius said as he tucked Harry into bed. “I’ll bring food up for you, but I don’t want you pushing yourself over the next few days. I know we need to go over the laws a bit more, but you can do that from your bed just as easily as in the office.”
Kreacher gave a decisive nod, snapping his fingers he put out the lights and then shooed Sirius from the room, Harry already fast asleep.
After arriving home from the bank the night before Remus had been smart enough to place a silencing ward around his door so he would be able to sleep in. But that only worked for so long. He knew he was eventually going to have to face everyone else.
And he wasn't the only one. Sirius came through the secret passage and into his room around 9 and forced him up. “It’s time to get up and face the crowd.”
“You just don’t want to go down alone.” Remus sighed.
“Well, yeah.” Remus laughed but got up and got ready to go down.
“Where’s Harry?” Molly questioned as soon as the two men entered the kitchen.
“He’s sleeping in today.” Sirius said as he went to the fridge. He knew that Molly always cooked, but he didn’t want her to think it was all her responsibility, if she wanted to cook that was fine, but he was capable of getting his own food. Plus, she did have a tendency towards heavier fried foods.
“I made breakfast.” Molly pointed out. “And Harry needs to come and eat his breakfast, so go and get him.”
“No Molly, he’s sleeping, I’m not going to wake him.” Sirius said calmly as he went to take his place at the table.
“Why does Harry get to sleep in?” Ron whined sleepily. He hadn’t wanted to get up so early.
“Sirius Black!” Molly snapped. “Harry needs to get up. We have work to do.”
“Molly, I am not going to force him out of bed just so he can be forced to clean. He did enough of that with those disgusting Dursley’s. It is summer, and I am going to make sure Harry gets to enjoy what is left of it.” Sirius said coldly. “I will get him breakfast once he’s up, but I am not going to make him get up.”
“Sirius, as a… parental figure, you need to be responsible.” Molly said in a sanctimonious voice. “As the adult you need to teach Harry. He needs to have a set schedule. And he needs to learn to do his fair share of the work. Need I remind you it is your house we are cleaning.”
“You parent the way you like, and I will parent the way I like.” Sirius informed her. “And I will remind you, I never asked you and your children and Hermione to clean, you arrived and just started making up schedules. No one is forcing you to clean or cook, you do that because you choose too. If you want to force the other children to work there is nothing I can do to stop you, but you will not be doing that to Harry.”
“If Harry doesn’t have to clean then why do we?” Ginny asked, pout securely on her face.
“Because I said so.” Molly glanced to the children, she didn’t want them wasting their summer away. She knew good and well that when left to their own devices the children would cause chaos, it was why she always gave the kids large tasks over the summer.
Now Sirius was giving the children all kinds of dangerous ideas. Molly knew she was going to have to speak with Albus, maybe he would be able to make Sirius see sense. Harry shouldn’t waste his summer sleeping, and he should also have to move downstairs so she could make sure he was sleeping properly since Sirius was clearly allowing him to stay up too late.
“I’m surprised how well Molly took that.” Sirius said once he and Remus were back in the upstairs office.
“Give her time.” Remus said. “She’s most likely planning to go running to Albus, so you can expect a lecture this evening I’m sure.”
Sirius gave a long suffering sigh, he knew Remus was most likely right. “Kreacher.”
“Nasty Master callses Kreacher?” The elf popped in.
“I was just wondering how Harry’s doing?”
“Little half-blood still bes sleeping.” Kreacher was glad for that. The little wizard had been exhausted when they returned. After their return from the bank Kreacher had found himself feeling much better than he had before, with Great Master Reggie’s last order completed his magic was finally relaxing. He hadn’t even had any nightmares about the cave the night before, something that hadn’t happened since he had been there.
“That’s good.” Sirius smiled. “Let us know when he wakes. We will need to get him breakfast. I don’t like that he is going to be behind on his nutrition potions, but he needs sleep more right now.”
“Kreacher will make little half-blood a healthy breakfast, yes hes will.” Before the others could say anything Kreacher popped out, already planning the different meals he could make for the little wizard.
“That really kind of freaks me out.” Sirius said as he looked at the spot where Kreacher had been.
“Just appreciate the fact that we have another in this house that will help us in making sure Harry is healthy.” Remus reminded him.
“Oh, I’m glad for that, what I’m worried about is just what kind of meal Kreacher will make. It could be anything from a five course meal, or a bowl of meal worms.”
“We’ll check, but I really do think Kreacher likes Harry.” Remus chuckled.
It was a few hours later that Harry finally woke. And he wasn't happy about it. His entire body ached.
“Young half-blood bes awake.”
Harry turned slightly to see Kreacher next to his bed. “Good morning Kreacher.”
“Kreacher gets young half-blood his breakfast.”
Harry was slightly startled as he pulled himself up to prop himself against his pillows only to find a tray over his lap that was practically groaning under the amount of food. “Kreacher, can you let Sirius and Remus know I’m awake? And thank you for the food.”
Kreacher didn’t seem overly pleased about getting Sirius and Remus, but he was glad the young wizard appreciated the food. Popping out he went to get the two adults.
“Good morning pup.” Sirius smiled as he bounded into the room. He hesitated momentarily when he saw just how much food Kreacher had brought. He was glad to see that it all looked good.
“How are you feeling this morning?” Remus questioned as he sat down on the edge of the bed.
“Like I got hit by the Knight Bus, but other than that pretty good.” Harry said as he took a bite of fluffy eggs. “Wow, this is really good Kreacher, thanks.”
Kreacher bowed, a slight blush working across his grey cheeks, before popping out to get on with his day.
“What do I have to do today?” Harry questioned as he slowly picked at his food.
“Today we just want you to rest for the most part. But we are going to need to write up and send your letter to Amelia to give her time to conduct the investigation before your hearing.” Sirius said as he stole a piece of orange from the fruit salad on Harry’s trey.
“Don’t we just need to tell her about the attack? You said that would be enough to get her to look into it.” Harry said in confusion.
“Yes, but Madame Bones comes from an old pure-blood family, the letter will need to be formal. I can walk you through not only what you need to say, but how you need to say it.” Sirius smiled indulgently.
Lunch came and went. Only Remus went down.
Sirius and Harry stayed hidden upstairs as they put the final touches on the letter Harry was to send. Neither wanted to go downstairs. They knew that Molly was going to be in a right state by that point and wanted to protect their ear drums.
In the end they knew they had made the right choice. After lunch was over a very disgruntled Remus had returned upstairs. Even though he had placed muffling charms on his ears Molly had still managed to get her point across.
The motherly woman was not taking the fact that she couldn’t get Harry to do what she wanted well. She went on and on about how it wasn't healthy for Harry to be so isolated and how he needed a proper schedule.
Remus had just used the excuse that yelling at him wouldn’t do any good since he wasn't able to access the upper floors any more than she could. He knew Harry was feeling guilty about just how many lies they were all having to tell, but he and Sirius had told him they really didn’t have any other choice, which they didn’t. They couldn’t risk anyone standing in their way or slowing them down, Harry would be able to tell them what had been happening once they were back at school, it was no different than Ron and Hermione keeping information from him during the first half of the summer.
Arriving back upstairs Remus was invited to go over the letter Harry had just finished to Madame Bones. They had been planning on writing it a few days earlier, but had gotten distracted by everything else.
Dear Madame Bones
My name is Harrison James Potter. I am writing in regards to the events of August 2, 1995.
On that night my muggle cousin, Dudley Vernon Dursley, and I were attacked by two dementors near our home in Surry. I cast a patronus charm to protect us. As a result I was charged with offences committed under the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery and the International Statute of Secrecy. After being summarily expelled from Hogwarts by the Ministry only to have that punishment rescinded a few hours later, I have been informed that I will be having a disciplinary hearing with you August 12 at 8 a.m.
The reason I am writing to you about this now is that it has been brought to my attention that the Department of Magical Law Enforcement is required to preform a full investigation in regards to events such as this but I have not been contacted about setting up a meeting time with the aurors investigating to give my statement.
It has recently come to my attention that I may be under a mail ward that I was never informed about so that may be why I have heard nothing, although I have my doubts since I have received other letters from the Ministry. I am writing in hopes that it would be acceptable for me to arrive at the Ministry early on August 12 to give my statement.
If you need to contact me or make any changes to my hearing please send any letter to me in the care of Remus Lupin, he will ensure that I receive the letter.
Thank you for your attention to this issue
Heir Harrison James Potter
“That should work to get Amelia’s attention.” Remus smiled as he put the letter back on the table.
“We were just starting to work up a plan about how Harry should act and what he should bring up or hint too.” Sirius smiled at his friend as Harry gave the letter to Hedwig.
About an hour after Remus had come back upstairs the three decided it was time to face the rest of the house. Harry really did want to work on making an effort with his friends. He was feeling a little hypocritical being so angry when he was keeping secrets too, but he couldn’t seem to stop being upset.
“There you are Harry.” Molly said as she rushed out of one of the side rooms. She had seen Harry walking past the door.
‘Hi.” Harry smiled as everyone else piled out of the room, covered in dust. “Well, you guys look like you’ve been having fun.”
“Oh yes Harrykins.” Fred said just as sarcastically.
“Who doesn’t love battling dust bunnies?” George rolled his eyes.
“I was going to come down to hang out, but to be honest, if that is what you guys are up to I think I’m going to run and hide.” Harry joked.
“We’re hiding with you.” Fred and George said at the same time.
Molly just huffed. Now she didn’t have a choice. If she did try and force Harry to join them in the tidying, he would run back upstairs. She really was going to have to speak with the Headmaster about how Sirius was corrupting the poor boy.
“Fine.” Molly sighed. “We can be done with cleaning for today.”
All the other kids cheered and rushed forward, Harry getting dragged along with them.
Over the next few hours Harry sat with the other kids in one of the sitting rooms they said they had cleaned, although it still looked like a mess. Harry talked with Ron and Hermione, but it was the same way he was with Fred, George, and Ginny.
When Molly called to let them know dinner would be ready in ten minutes and that they needed to go and set the table Hermione called Harry back.
“Harry, can we talk?”
Harry hesitated, but stayed in the room while the others left until it was just him, Ron, and Hermione. “What is it you wanted to talk about?”
“You’ve been ignoring us.” Ron whined.
Hermione smacked Ron, they had already discussed this between themselves and agreed she would be doing the talking. “We just don’t understand why you are treating us like this.”
Harry sighed. “Look, I just need some time, ok. You spent over a month barely writing to me, ignoring any questions I asked, and keeping everything you did know a secret.”
“Oh, Harry, not this again.” Hermione sighed. She really couldn’t understand why Harry wouldn’t just move on, they had done the right thing, she was sure of it.
“Yes, this again.” Harry growled before forcing himself to speak calmly. “Being friends isn’t just about being friends when it’s convenient to you, to be a friend you have to be a friend.”
“We have been your friends, it’s you that has been ignoring us.” Ron huffed.
Harry took a deep breath. “You all but ignored me for a month simply because the Headmaster of our school told you too. And I bet he gave you permission to start being my friend again only after I was already on my way here. That isn’t ok.
I mean, what conclusion am I supposed to draw from that. All I can see is that you will drop me as your friend the moment someone in authority tells you both too. What if Dumbledore changes his mind and says you aren’t allowed to speak to me ever again, will you do it? Because from how you’ve acted so far this summer I actually think you would.
Look, you two have been my best friends for years, and I don’t want to lose that, but I also don’t want you to think what you did is ok, because it isn’t. When I first got here I was so angry with both of you, and although my anger has faded slightly, I’m still angry, but mostly, I’m just… Disappointed.”
“Harry, there was no safe way to get you anything.” Hermione had a whine to her tone. “We understand that you might have wanted information, but we just couldn’t say anything, there was no safe methods of communication.”
Harry sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Hermione, there is a payphone not even a full three houses down from here. You can probably see it if you bothered to look out the window. There’s also a post office barely 2 blocks from here. I know this because Sirius and Remus have been using it to send me care packages. Also, you knew that there were people ‘guarding’ me. All you would have had to do was hand them a letter and have them slip it through the post slot when they were spying on me.
And I can think of at least a half dozen different ways you could have contacted me without having to worry about any Death Eaters finding out. It isn’t that there weren’t any safe ways of communication, it was that you never tried to find any.”
Hermione opened and closed her mouth a few times but couldn’t find any way to argue the point. Even she had to admit that there was no way that the likes of Lucius Malfoy would be able to trace a phone call from an anonymous pay phone in downtown London, he most likely wouldn’t even know what a pay phone was.
“It’s really not that big a deal, besides, you’re the one keeping things from us.” Ron grumbled, filling the silence while Hermione thought. “You got to ask whatever you wanted but you wouldn’t let us stay.”
“First off, it wasn't up to me about whether or not you got to stay. Second, just because I asked, doesn’t mean they answered. There were plenty of things they refused to say.” Harry said through slightly clenched teeth. “And third, I have come to a decision. Neither of you seem to think what you did was wrong, so I decided to allow you to understand, at least somewhat, how it feels.
I will tell you what I was told.” Harry held up a hand when he saw the other two getting excited. “But, since I had to wait a month, so will you. So, I will tell you only after we are back at school. Then you can understand just how it feels to be denied information. I won’t be ignoring you like you did me, and you know both the reason why and the time limit, but it just might teach you something.”
With that said Harry turned on his heel and left the room.
“He can’t do that.” Hermione whined.
“That’s not fair.” Ron added.
But Harry was already gone, so their whining did no good. In the end they had no choice but to follow.
Entering the kitchen Harry returned to his original seat between Sirius and Remus, he had spent plenty of time with the other children in the house. He knew Mrs. Weasley might not like it, but since he had spent hours with the others Harry figured even she just might manage to keep her opinion to herself.
Since he, Ron, and Hermione had been talking everything had already been set out. Dinner that night seemed to be roast chicken, and baked potatoes, with a side of peas. While the food was always good, Harry wished they would have a bit more variety, he’d only been there a few days and they had had some form of chicken dish every night, and even chicken sandwiches for lunch the day before.
But just as Harry went to serve himself a bit of chicken, before Ron could inhale it since it was one of his favourite foods, a fully loaded plate appeared on the table in front of him. And it wasn't chicken. His plate was loaded with a thick slice of rare roast beef covered in a tasty looking gravy, fluffy buttery mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and green beans, and a yorkshire pudding.
Everyone stared for a moment. As usual, when it involved food, Ron was the first to come out of his stupor.
“Where did that come from? Why didn’t we get any?”
“I’m not completely sure.” Harry said before he had an idea. “Kreacher?”
“Young half-blood bes calling Kreacher? Does hes not like his dinners?” Kreacher questioned, wringing his hands.
“Oh no, the food looks great Kreacher.” Harry assured the skittish elf. “I was just wondering why you made me dinner?”
“Young half-blood needs good healthy foods.” Kreacher said, his eyes on the floor in what oddly looked to be embarrassment.
Harry gave the elf a soft smile even if he wouldn’t see it. “Thank you Kreacher. Is everything else ok?”
Kreacher nodded. “Kreachers has founds more clothes for little half-blood. Hes is putting them in Nasty Masters room for checks.” The last part of the sentence was grumbled by the disgruntled elf.
“Hey Kreacher, do you think you could maybe bring the extra clothing up to one of the drawing rooms so everyone can look through it?” Harry asked having just thought of it, but seeing Kreachers weary look around at the others he knew it might take a bit of time before Kreacher might be comfortable with the idea. “Just think about it, ok buddy. You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
“Kreacher will thinks about it.” The elf mumbled before popping away.
“What in Merlins name was that about?” Fred and George questioned at the same time, shock clear on both of their faces.
“Harry, how could you, using Kreacher like that.” Hermione glared, speaking at the same time as the twins. “He should be free and you know it.”
“Why does Harry get different food?” Ron questioned jealously from around his large mouth full of chicken.
“What is the meaning of this?” Molly demanded at the same time, affronted that Harry wasn't going to be eating her food.
“I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and relax for a moment.” Remus said in a calm voice once everyone had settled down to glare at Harry. Harry himself just cut off a bite of the roast beef and seemed to be greatly enjoying it.
“Why is that elf making Harry’s food?” Molly demanded after a second and a half of silence.
“Kreacher has taken a liking to Harry for some reason.” Sirius started cautiously.
“Well, what’s not to like.” Harry muttered under his breath, Sirius and Remus both sending him a smirk.
“Kreacher was originally classed as a nanny elf. It would seem he has decided that Harry falls under his protection and care.” Sirius continued. “He isn’t actually doing anything bad, so we decided to just let him carry on. I just don’t think we realized that he would go so far as to take over all of Harry’s meals.”
“And what about the clothes thing?” Ron questioned jealously, just realizing that his friend was wearing fitting clothes that looked to be expensive.
“Oh, that.” Sirius smiled, he thought Harry was far better off in his and his brothers hand-me-downs then those rags he had gotten while at the Dursleys. “Kreacher didn’t approve of Harry’s wardrobe.
In case you haven’t noticed, my dear old mum was a massive hoarder, the woman kept practically everything, and that included our old clothing. I’m pretty sure even my baby clothes are stored somewhere, and she hated me.
Kreacher has been going through the old clothing and finding things that would fit Harry.”
“I just figured he could bring things up so that everyone could have a chance to look through and see if there was anything they might like too.” Harry told the others, he didn’t want to deny the others of anything they might like.
“But why is he,” Fred started.
“Putting the clothes in your room Sirius?” George finished.
“Because my family was insane.” Sirius sighed. “Dear old mum always had her issues, so she would often curse our clothing. Like, she was always yelling at me for slouching, so all my formal robes were cursed to keep me perfectly upright.
I just figured it would be better for me to check everything before Harry got near it. But, so far, Kreacher has been really good at making sure everything was safe. He really does seem to want to protect Harry.”
“Cool.” Both of the twins said. They had noticed Harry’s clothing was better and had been glad for it, but they wouldn’t mind a chance to see if there were any clothes like that that would fit them. They would never wear anything overly formal, something they were sure most of the clothing was, but they liked Sirius and figured he would have had something as a teenager that they would like.
“But that isn’t safe.” Molly said in shock. “Who knows where that elf is getting those clothes and that food from.”
“The clothes are coming from the storage room in the lower basement, and the food is bought at the elf market. Just like all the rest of the food in this house.” Sirius replied, then he saw the surprised looks on everyones faces. “What, did you just think the ice box and pantry just refilled themselves?”
It had never occurred to those in the house that they would have actually needed to buy food. Everyone had just assumed that someone else was doing it. None had realized it had been Kreacher that was responsible for it.
“But where is he getting the money?” Hermione questioned thinking about the logical aspects first. “And how does that not risk being tracked?”
“There has always been a small vault in the lower basement for any little incidentals for family members. Kreacher is using that. And, as for tracking, the Black’s have always been paranoid, as I’ve said before. There are about a half dozen proxy alias’s used by the elf market account. It’s always been like that an no one has ever managed to unravel everything.”
‘Why weren’t we told?” Molly glared.
“Why would you be?” Remus questioned.
Molly huffed. She was in charge of feeding everyone, she should have been told about the grocery account so she could make sure all the food was of good quality. Not that she had really found anything to complain about with the food so far. But it still would have been nice.
“Where will he be bringing the clothes?” Molly changed the topic. “I will go through and see if there is anything the kids might like.”
“I want to be able to pick out my own clothes.” Ginny pouted.
“We can just look through for ourselves.” Ron said. “Where are they?”
“Harry just suggested the idea to Kreacher.” Sirius reminded everyone. “I can make it an order if I have to, but I would prefer not to. I don’t think any of us will appreciate an angry Kreacher. It would be better if we just leave it to Harry to see about convincing him. If he can then I think the adults will need to at least do a basic scan before you guys can look through.”
Remus could see everyone else was getting ready to add their opinion so he spoke up so they could hopefully eat their dessert in peace. “I’m sure we can discuss it if Kreacher brings the clothes up. There’s no point in working ourselves up if not.”
It was obvious a few still wanted to voice their thoughts on the subject, but they held their tongues as the dessert arrived on the table. The main group each got a slice of Mrs. Weasley’s carrot cake while Kreacher had made Harry a personal sized treacle tart.
It was an hour or so after dinner that Sirius and Remus were ordered to the drawing room on the main floor. It had been worded as a request naturally, but they both knew it had been an order.
When they arrived they found not only Albus, but both Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Remus figured Molly had dragged Arthur into this meeting just so there were more people on her side, not that he thought it was going to work. Arthur may love his wife and be loyal to Albus, but he was also a reasonable man that understood the importance of family.
“You wished to see us Headmaster?” Remus questioned, knowing that he was going to be the calm one out of him and Sirius.
“Yes my boys, please come in.” Albus smiled genially.
Sirius snorted. He was being invited into a room in his own house.
“There are a few things I need to address with the two of you.” Albus gave the two a disappointed look over his glasses.
Sirius didn’t even bother to stop his eyes rolling to Molly, making sure she knew that he knew this was because of her. “And just what is Molly angry about now?”
“Sirius.” Remus gave Sirius a small smack on his arm before looking back to Albus. “Why don’t you go point by point so we have a chance to respond to everything?”
Albus was pleased that the two were at least willing to listen to him. “The first issue Molly has alerted me to is that you have been keeping Harry up on a floor that his friends can’t reach. It isn’t fair to him to do that Sirius. Harry needs his friends right now. We all understand that you might want to keep him to yourself, but it isn’t healthy for a young boy.”
Sirius forced back a growl, recognizing the guilt tactic. “I’m not keeping Harry from his friends. Harry can come downstairs and visit with his friends whenever he wants, as he proved today. It isn’t that he can’t come down, it is that he doesn’t want to.
And frankly, that’s on you. I warned you that Harry was not going to react well to being ignored. He is angry. As he sees it, his friends chose you over him, and he is right. It’s going to take time before he trusts them again, and trying to force him to forgive them or pretend that what you made them do is fine is just going to force him further from them.
And I don’t even want to hear about how it isn’t safe to have him up there. He is perfectly safe. If he needs any help I am right there. And if you want to make him change rooms, then you tell him. And please, let me be there to watch, I think it would be fun to see just how he reacts to you after everything.”
“They are his best friends.” Molly snapped, for once ignoring a potential insult to the Headmaster.
“Yes, but that doesn’t make what they did acceptable.” Sirius stayed calm. “Harry is angry, just like I said he would be. More than that, he is hurt. Like I said, it is going to take time to rebuild trust and simply forcing them into the same room is not going to do them any favours, Harry can be very stubborn when he wants to be. Next issue.”
Albus pressed his lips. There was no denying that Harry could be outrageously stubborn when he wanted to be. He had known that Harry would be angry at Ron and Hermione, but he had just assumed that they would be able to get him to understand they had just been protecting him. It would seem Harry wasn't as forgiving as he would have hoped.
“Fine.” Albus sighed. “I’ve also herd that you have a vault in this house.”
“And…” Sirius raised an eyebrow.
“How much is in the vault?” Albus questioned.
“None of your business.” Sirius said instantly.
“We could be doing a lot of good work with that money.” Molly huffed.
“I offered the house, not my vaults.” Sirius said coldly. “Moreover, what use would the Order have for my money, no one is paid. I’m not going to just throw money at people because they want it. Besides, that money is going to good use, it’s being used to feed everyone.”
“I was just asking about the amount in case it is needed later. We may need to take out advertisements or pay to have reports written.” Albus said, trying to reassure Sirius that they had no intention of just taking the money. “It would just be useful to know what sort of resources we have access too.”
“Albus, if the time ever comes where we need money, I will consider it, but be assured, I have no intention of single handedly bankrolling this venture of yours. I will only give as much as everyone else.”
Albus just gave an understanding nod, he knew how touchy some people were about money, he would just address it with him if it ever became needed. “The last issue that Molly and I feel needs to be addressed is Harry’s lack of schedule. I understand that it might be easier to just let him do as he pleases, but Sirius, you need to set a good example for him.”
“He is just a boy, he needs a decent bedtime and to not miss meals.” Molly crossed her arms and glared.
Sirius sneered at the two. “Oh yes, because the two of you care whether or not Harry has a meal. Need I remind you that the both of you were the most vocal about forcing him to stay with the Dursley’s, people who regularly starve him. So, as far as I’m concerned, and he is as well, the both of you clearly only care about the Boy-Who-Lived and not Harry Potter, the boy.
As for the bedtime issue, Harry does have one. He has to be in his room by 10.”
“Well that clearly is to late if he’s still sleeping in.” Molly huffed.
Sirius took a deep breath. “Molly, do you remember what has recently happened? Obviously not, so let me lay it out for you.
Less than six weeks ago, after a year of being forced to compete in a deadly tournament, that he didn’t even want to be in, by the teachers who were supposed to be protecting him, Harry was kidnapped, watched a friend be murdered, and was forced to watch as the monster that murdered his parents was resurrected. Then, he dueled said monster, and that involved him being placed under the imperious curse, as well as subjected to multiple cruciatus curses cast personally by Voldemort.
After he managed to escape he arrived back at the school. But even that wasn't the end of it. A professor, someone he should have been safe with, turned out to have somehow managed to fool the rest of the staff for the entire school year, tried to murder him.
And after all that, rather than getting the help anyone would need, he was sent to stay with people that mistreat him at the best, and abuse him at worst and was left there for a month. His friends, the people he has always trusted, decided to all but ignore him just because someone, who had no right to deny him contact, told them too. And it only ended after yet another murder attempt, need I remind you that’s three murder attempts in six weeks.
Harry has been having a hard time dealing with it all on his own. Just because he is in bed by 10 doesn’t mean he stays asleep. He said it himself when he arrived, he wakes screaming from nightmares almost every night, I sit with him and talk with him to get him to calm down. Last night was just a bad night for him. I didn’t manage to get him to sleep until well after midnight. After over a month of exhaustion it was just too much and I wanted him to get as much sleep as possible.”
“And Sirius and I have discussed possibly letting him have some sleeping potions to help him, but have decided that’s a last resort.” Remus spoke up finally. “We didn’t want to risk him getting addicted. And just taking a potion wouldn’t help him, he needs to talk about it with someone.”
“Why didn’t he come to us?” Molly sniffled, horrified. She had only known that You-Know-Who had come back, she hadn’t realized the poor boy had suffered so much in such a short time period.
“Why would he? Despite how you might feel, you aren’t his mum Molly, and how you treat him proves that.” Remus said.
“And just what is that supposed to mean?” Molly demanded.
“Molly, if any of your children had been through half of what Harry has you would have taken them out of Hogwarts, and never let them leave your sight again. Look at how you treat Ginny in comparison to the boys. She was hurt during her first year and to this day you are still babying and coddling her like she might shatter at any moment. Something she often uses to her advantage for things like getting the biggest room.” Remus pointed out. “But with Harry you didn’t hesitate to send him away, even though you had personally seen what he looked like the night of the third task and have at least seen some of what the Dursley’s are like.”
“He still could have told me about is nightmares.” Molly said defensively, she didn’t like what Remus had said, but couldn’t deny it.
“No.” Sirius shook his head. “When was the last time Fred, George, or Ron came to you about their nightmares? Even if Harry’s are more extreme and are occurring for a reason, he is still embarrassed by them. He’s a teenage boy, he doesn’t want everyone knowing about it. That’s why he feels comfortable talking them through with me, because he knows I’m not going to announce it to the rest of the kids in the house or treat him any different than I normally would, because that is something he definitely doesn’t want.”
Arthur cleared his throat looking at his wife and Albus, everyone almost jumped, having forgotten he had been there. “I really don’t understand the purpose of this meeting. Despite what the two of you might think, none of us have a say in Harry’s life. Sirius is Harry’s godfather, and it is up to him what Harry does and doesn’t do.”
“We just wished to ensure that everything was well and that Harry was being properly cared for.” Albus assured.
“It’s nice for you to care now, but any worry is not warranted. I feel I should point out to the both of you that I personally met the Dursley’s last year, and frankly, they were the worst muggles I have ever met. And I do not say that lightly. If you thought their care of Harry was adequate then Sirius’s care of the boy so far is beyond exceptional and you have no right to question him.” Everyone was slightly shocked at Arther’s hard voice and words. “It is clear Sirius and Remus both love Harry, and that Harry loves them, and right now that is the very best thing for Harry and from my point of view, they have been doing everything right. That should be enough for everyone.”
Sirius’s mouth was slightly gaping as Arthur turned and left the room, he was pleased to have heard something so kind from the man. “If there is nothing else you wish to discuss, then I shall be taking my leave as well.”
When neither Molly or Albus said anything else, both were still stunned by Arthurs parting words, Sirius and Remus left. Both Molly and Albus remained for a few moments before shaking it off and leaving too.
Molly was less than pleased that she hadn’t gotten anything to change to how she wanted it. But she was more distracted with worrying about Harry and how he was doing after all those horrible things that had happened to him. Molly was in full mother hen mode and just really wanted to cuddle the poor boy close and not let him go until he felt better, but knew she wouldn’t get away with it because of Sirius and Remus always hovering around.
Albus was also less than pleased with how the meeting had turned out. It was more clear than ever that Sirius and Remus were pulling away from his plans, and they were taking Harry with them. He needed to get the boy back under his control, but he couldn’t figure out how. He needed to stay away from Harry this year, he knew the connection between him and Tom was growing and he didn’t want to exacerbate it.
In the end, he was going to have to wait until the children returned to school. There was nothing he could do while Harry was under the sway of Remus and Sirius anyways.
Amelia Bones arrived at her office extremely early the morning of August 12th. A week earlier she had received a letter from none other than Harry Potter himself explaining that he was supposed to be having a hearing with her, something none of her staff had bothered to tell her.
After getting over that shock, she had gone to look into the case. And she had found practically nothing. All that had been in the file was a record of under age magic taking place. There had been absolutely no investigation, something that was required by law.
In the end, since the case had been so horribly mishandled she decided to deal with it herself. Now she just needed Heir Potters statement.
And that was why she was so early. The hearing was officially scheduled for 9. She had scheduled to meet with Heir Potter at 7 so they would have time to cover everything, she was sure that this wasn't just going to be a simple meeting.
At first she had thought the case of underage magic was going to be simple, but she had quickly learned just how complicated it was. And because of the clear mismanagement Amelia had started looking closer at the Ministry's involvement with Heir Potters life and she had grown furious at not only what she found, but what she didn’t.
Harry sighed as he sat at the breakfast table at 6:30 in the morning. The night before Sirius had allowed him to have a sleeping draught since they had wanted him to have a decent nights sleep. Even still, he was still slightly tired.
In front of him was a simple breakfast of buttered toast. He had spoken with Kreacher the night before knowing that he wouldn’t be able to eat a lot in the morning. He hadn’t wanted Kreacher to make him a big breakfast just for it to go to waste. Kreacher had informed him that he would only make a small and simple breakfast, but he would be packing a larger meal for Harry to take with him just in case the meeting ran long and he couldn’t make it home for lunch. Harry had even managed to convince him to pack something for Remus too.
As it was, those in the house still didn’t know what Harry and Remus were planning. The night before Remus had pulled Arthur aside and explained that he would be taking Harry to the ministry early so he could give his statement. Arthur had agreed to keep that fact to himself knowing that Molly might not like that fact and it would just be easier for everyone to not upset his volatile wife, she was still swinging between being sad about everything bad in Harry's life and being angry Sirius wasn't listening to her parenting tips.
To help them Arthur had gotten up early too and was going to be leaving with Remus and Harry. Molly herself didn’t get up to start on breakfast until 7. When he had slipped from their bed that morning he had left a note on his pillow explaining that he and Harry had both woken early and had left since Harry was worried they would be late.
At 6:45 Arthur went through the floo, first to the Burrow and then on to the Ministry, Arthur was then followed by Harry, and Remus went last.
Once at the Ministry it was quick work to get through the wand check in and then they carried on. Arthur led Remus and Harry to the DMLE before he left to go to his own office.
The DMLE offices were mostly empty that early in the morning. The auror office, where a majority of the aurors had their desks was further down the hall. Only the top ranked aurors had their own offices in the main area of the DMLE.
It was easy to find Madame Bones’s office, it was the only one with the door open and lights on. Going up, Remus knocked on the door to announce their presence.
“Please come in Heir Potter, Mr. Lupin.”
Harry and Remus went into the office and sat once they were invited. Over the next half hour Harry explained, in explicit detail, everything that had happened the night he and Dudley were attacked. Over that time madame Bones asked many questions, including what had happened during the summer of his second year.
They were just going over everything again so Harry could sign his statement when a memo arrived in the office and Madame Bones grew furious.
“Is something wrong Madame Bones?” Remus questioned.
“Yes.” Amelia growled. “It would seem Minister Fudge and a majority of the Wizengamot have decided to change both the time and location of this hearing. It is in Courtroom 10 and starts in less than 15 minutes.”
“Can they do that? Just change the time and location without telling me?” Harry questioned innocently. “From what Remus has been teaching me these past few weeks notification must be given 24 hours in advance, or did I get that wrong?”
“No Heir Potter, you are quite correct. But Minister Fudge seems to have decided rules and laws should no longer apply in regards to you.” Amelia stood to gather her paperwork. “Do not worry, I will be addressing this with him and the rest of the Wizengamot once I am assured we have enough witnesses that even the Prophet won’t be able to spin it for him.”
Harry and Remus shared a smirk at that.
Amelia escorted Harry and Remus down to Courtroom 10. They ended up running into Arthur who had gotten a notice that the time and location of Harry’s trial had changed. He had been worried they might not know and had rushed to let them know.
Arriving at the courtroom with 10 minutes to spare, Amelia threw the doors open wide gathering everyones attention. Sweeping her eyes around she gathered the information she needed, Fudge was playing games. She could see reporters from every single major publication in the country, even Xeno Lovegood was there. More than that, it looked like the Wizarding Wireless had been allowed to set up multiple microphones. The viewing gallery was also filled with many wealthy or important members of their society. It would seem Fudge was trying to publicly destroy the Potter Heir.
She was going to have fun with this.
Striding into the room, Amelia made sure everyone saw her escorting Heir Potter and Mr. Lupin. She needed to make sure Heir Potter was seen as coming from a position of power to limit just how hard people were willing to push him. The boy didn’t deserve to be a victim in these games Fudge was playing.
Walking up to the dais Amelia arrived just in time to hear Fudge finish speaking to one of the reporters. “… Regardless of standing, no one is above the law.”
Once she took a seat she looked over to Fudge who finally acknowledged her. “Ah, Amelia, we were getting worried that you weren’t going to make it.”
“About that, you might want to assign someone to audit the notification process in your office. The DMLE was not informed that you had decided to change both the time and location, as well as classification, of this trial. It could cause a great deal of problems as the Ministry is required to give notice of any changes a minimum of 24 hours in advance.
Thankfully Heir Potter arrived early and I was able to notify him. Now, he could still press charges for the withholding of his rights due to the failure to notify him, but that is up to him. As you just said, no one is above the law. It would seem in your rush to ensure justice was done you’ve broken a few laws yourself.” Amelia gave the fool a frigid look, pleased to see that the reporter was writing every word and that one of the microphones was there and on so it was picking up everything too.
“Heir?” Fudge sputtered.
“Oh yes, were you unaware Minister Fudge? As the last surviving member of the Potter Family, he is indeed the Heir and will be Lord Potter once he comes of age naturally.” Amelia could see the metaphorical wheels turning in Fudge’s head trying to find a way to go after the boy yet not anger a potential donor.
Harry stood in the centre of the room waiting. He had no intention of sitting in that chair if he could help it.
Once Madame Bones turned her attention away from the Minister to look at him he hesitantly put his hand in the air. “May I ask a question or get some kind of clarification?”
Amelia smiled at the nervous tone. “Certainly Heir Potter. What is it you wish to know?”
“Well, it’s just… We don’t have a law class or anything at school, so I only really know what Remus has taught me over the last few days, but, in the muggle world at least, when a trial is held there is someone who prosecutes the case. I was just wondering where the prosecutor will sit or if there even is one?”
“This is not a trial, it is a hearing.” A toad like woman in pink said.
“Oh no Madame Umbridge.” Amelia said silkily. “If this was held in my office, as it was originally scheduled, it would fall under the legal classification of hearing. However, as Minister Fudge and a majority of the Wizengamot chose to relocate us all here, this is now legally a trial.
I do so hope you remembered to arrange for a prosecutor for this. I just assumed you were doing that and that was why you failed to properly notify everyone.”
“Deloris will serve as prosecutor.” Fudge announced.
Amelia sighed. “No Minister, your Senior Undersecretary can not serve as prosecutor. She actually has no legal position or status in a trial. Only you as Minister and the members of the Wizengamot do.
To serve as prosecutor one must possess a law degree and be certified as a Ministry approved prosecutor by the Barristers Department. The only people here that could potentially serve as prosecutor is myself along with Lord Shafiq and Lady Merrythought. Do either of you feel comfortable enough with the aspects of this case to prosecute?”
Amelia looked to the Lord and Lady who both shook their heads. “Well then. Dowager Longbottom, if you would please serve as House Bones’s proxy in this matter I shall take up the position of prosecutor.”
After getting the elderly womans agreement Amelia got up and returned to the floor. Pulling her wand she started casting. In only a few minutes the large chair in the centre of the room was gone and there was a table with chairs off to each side. Amelia took the table to the right while waving Harry to the table on the left.
“That isn’t the accuseds seat.” Madame Umbridge simpered.
“Yes, it is. The restraining chair was only here because this courtroom has not been used since the Death Eater trials.” Amelia said coldly. “That chair can only legally be used if the defendant has a history of violence or is charged with a violent crime or murder. Heir Potter is charged with underage magic. He shows no history of violence and is not being charged with a violent crime, as such, that particular chair should never have been left here.”
By that point the entire room was almost completely silent. Everyone had been watching the back and forth that had been going on for a bit. No one wanted to miss a word.
“Lord Shafiq, Lady Merrythought.” Amelia called the twos attention to her, not that she really needed too as they hadn’t taken their eyes off the exchange. “I would request that you offer your legal assistance to the Minister and the Wizengamot as they seem to be woefully ill-informed on how our legal system functions.”
Lord Shafiq smirked slightly but agreed. He had never fully agreed with Albus Dumbledore and often times outright disagreed with the man, but he also wasn't one of the blind fools that followed Fudge, he actually really thought the man was an idiot.
At that point Albus arrived with Arabella Figg. He had been planning on waiting until Fudge had started things to make his grand entrance, but they had run into Arthur who had told him that Harry had been escorted to the courtroom by Madame Bones and Remus. He tried to go and take a seat at the table with Harry, but was forced to go over and sit with Remus since Madame Bones said he didn’t have a right to a position on the floor.
Just as the WWN reporter finished setting up the microphones at both Harry and Amelia’s tables the clock struck 8 and the doors closed.
Fudge cleared his throat to gather the attention to himself. “Let’s get started. Disciplinary hearing of the August 12th, into offences committed under the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery and the International Statute of Secrecy by Harry James Potter, resident at number four, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. Interrogators: Cornelius Oswald Fudge, Minister for Magic; and Dolores Jane Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister. Court Scribe, Percy Ignatius Weasley…”
Fudge was cut off when Lord Shafiq stopped him. “Minister, as previously stated, by your own actions, this is not a hearing, this is a trial. In a trial there are no specific interrogators, that aspect is handled by the prosecutor. The procedure is that you will read the charges, as you have now done. Heir Potter will be given the chance to state his plea; either guilty or not guilty. Then Madame Bones, as prosecutor, will lay out the Ministry’s case. Heir Potter will then be given his opportunity to present his defence. Only after that point are we permitted to ask questions, and, only you, as Minister, or members of the Wizengamot may ask questions, as previously stated your Undersecretary has no legal rights here.”
Fudge looked like he had swallowed an entire lemon but plowed on. “How do you plead Mr. Potter?”
Harry stood, understanding the dropping of his title to be Fudge’s attempt at an insult. “It’s Heir Harrison James Potter, or Heir Potter for short, Minister. As for my plea, I plead not guilty under the underage allowances in cases of self-defence or the defence of another stated in the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery subsection 8(b). I also plead not guilty to the charge of violating the International Statute of Secrecy as all those present at the time were already aware of the existence of magic.”
Fudge gave a disdainful look as Harry retook his seat. “Madame Bones, it is your turn.”
Amelia couldn’t help but flinch slightly at just how little Fudge actually seemed to understand about the law but collected her case notes and stood. “At this time the prosecution makes a motion to withdraw all charges against Heir Harrison James Potter.”
“YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” Fudge shouted in shock.
Lady Merrythought leaned forward. “Yes Minister, she can. Madame Bones has made a motion. Now, we can request further clarification or vote to deny her motion, but we can not stop her from making the motion.”
Lord Shafiq looked at Madame Bones, struggling not to roll his eyes at just how idiotic their Minister was proving to be, normally he understood more about how to get things to go his way. “Madame Bones, I think it would be for the best if you were to just explain the case and your rationale for withdrawing the charges.”
“Of course.” Amelia nodded. “I shall start from the beginning. On the evening of August 2nd the Improper Use of Magic Office detected the use of a patronus charm being cast by the wand of Heir Potter. At this point a letter was sent summarily expelling Heir Potter from Hogwarts. That was then rescinded a few hours later after those in the Improper Use of Magic Office were reminded that they did not actually have any legal right to expel a student. I should note that after speaking with the Ministry’s training department they will be arranging for certain members of the Improper Use of Magic Office to under go retraining to remind them just what their job is as well as what authority they have, and what they don’t as they have obviously forgotten.
In a normal case of under age magic the Improper Use of Magic Office would then inform the Auror Office within 24 hours so that the initial investigation can be started. That did not occur in this case. In fact, no formal report was ever made.
I learned that a hearing had been scheduled in my office for today at 9 when Heir Potter wrote to me. As it is policy to interview the suspect Heir Potter was confused as to why he hadn’t been contacted to set up an interview time. He had recently learned he had been placed under a mail-ward without his knowledge after some friends from school had met with him and questioned why he never responded to their letters. He decided to give the Ministry the benefit of the doubt and assume that the letter arranging his interview may have been redirected or blocked. To get around this he wrote to me and informed me of what was going on and gave me a secondary contact method.
Once I was made aware of what had been happening I looked into it and was appalled with what I found. Since I felt this needed to be handled with the utmost care after the clear evidence of corruption or incompetence I decided to handle it personally. I arranged a time with Heir Potter to get his statement and then got into contact with the two witnesses.
After conducting the interview with Heir Potter’s cousin, who was one witness, and a squib who lives in the area, both under secrecy oaths as is required in any case involving a minor, I went to Azkaban. As the claim was an attack by dementors, and the Ministry claims control over all dementors in Britain I thought that would be the best place to start.
I went and spoke with the warden of Azkaban, Silas Lowe. Mr. Lowe is now currently sitting in the DMLE cells awaiting his own trial for accepting bribes and corruption of office along with dereliction of duty. According to the official log books, in the early afternoon of August 2nd someone used a level 7 authorization, for those who are unaware a level 7 authorization can only be used by a head of department, the Minister, or a senior member of the ministers staff, to order 2 dementors to the area where Heir Potter is known to live. Knowing the distance between the two locations and the flight speed of dementors I calculated that the dementors would have arrived in the area exactly 3 minutes and 41 seconds prior to the registration of Heir Potter casting the patronus charm.
Arabella Figg, one of the witnesses willingly offered her memory of the events. We can show it if any would wish to see it, but the summation is that Heir Potter cast only after one of the dementors started the process of administering the kiss to his cousin while the other tried to do the same to him. As such, his actions do indeed fall under the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery subsection 8(b). And as he stated, the only witnesses were already aware of our world so the International Statute of Secrecy was in no way violated.
At the point I was informed about the change of time and location of this trial, less than 30 minutes before we began, I was in my office with Heir Potter and Mr. Lupin going over Heir Potter’s complicated legal situation so we could formalize the attempted murder charges against whoever it was that ordered those dementors to go after him as sending a dementor after someone that had not been sentenced to the kiss is legally classed as murder if the kiss is administered or attempted murder if the kiss is not given, as occurred in this instance.”
Everyone was shocked by that. Those in the Wizengamot were less then pleased as Fudge had assured them that the boy had just been messing around with magic and was trying to use his fame to get out of trouble. Now they looked like they were needlessly attacking a child who had survived a murder attempt. The public in the stands were outraged that someone had attempted to murder the Boy-Who-Lived. Yes, in recent weeks they had started turning against him due to what was being written about him in the press, but he was still a hero in their world and someone had tried to kill him. The reporters were just thrilled to have an amazing story, all except for the Prophet reporter who knew the Minister was going to try and force them to find a way to spin this in his favour.
“What could be complicated about filing charges?” Dowager Longbottom questioned.
Amelia huffed out an annoyed breath. “The problem is that Heir Potter is underage yet he lacks a formal magical guardian.”
“That isn’t possible.” Lady Merrythought spoke up in a confused voice. “All children have a magical guardian. For magical born children it is their parents. For Half-bloods it is their magical parent, and muggle-borns have one assigned, usually their head of house at Hogwarts or the parents of a friend.
Heir Potter was orphaned, so his parents would have assigned one in their wills or, if there were no wills, the Department of Magical Orphans would have assigned him one.”
“Under normal circumstances, but it would seem none of Heir Potters interactions with the Ministry or the Wizengamot can be considered normal.” Amelia sighed. “I looked into Heir Potters situation during my investigation and it is an embarrassment at best and criminal at worst.
According to the records the Wizengamot held an emergency meeting the afternoon of November 1st 1981. The members of the Wizengamot were apparently under the impression that their desires for Heir Potters life were more important then his late parents, and to take control of his fate they voted to seal the wills of Lord and Lady Potter so they could make decisions for the newly orphaned child.
From there they determined that the members of the Wizengamot and the Ministry would be responsible for his care and education. But rather than following up on the responsibility they usurped from Lord and Lady Potter they neglected their duties. Heir Potter was sent to his mothers muggle relatives and just left there. They went so far as to permit the placing of the aforementioned mail ward to keep anyone else from contacting him.
Despite all the announcements of how Heir Potter was getting all forms of advanced training and knowledge of our world there is no record of any such training occurring. He was left completely isolated in the muggle world. The only reason he now knows as much about our laws as he does is because Mr. Lupin, who was a close friend of Lord and Lady Potter, noticed the failings of those who were supposed to be responsible for his education and started taking steps to correct it.
Despite it being the responsibility of the Department of Magical Orphans to keep track of magical orphans, especially those placed in the muggle world since they are susceptible to different illnesses, there is no record of them even knowing where Heir Potter was living let alone doing their job and monitoring his home life.
I assure everyone that I will be investigating these actions. This had better have been a case of incompetence because if the Heir of an Ancient and Noble House was left ignorant of his rights, duties, responsibilities, and heritage for any form of nefarious reason I will file charges against every person even tangentially associated with this case with type 3 line theft.”
Amelia took a calming breath as she had been growing angrier during her speech. “The issue that was created by all this is that the Wizengamot determined that they would be assigning a magical guardian for Heir Potter as no one knew who his parents had selected due to the sealed wills. But they never bothered to do it. Heir Potter has no magical guardian.
That fact is evidenced by the events of the last school year. If Heir Potter had had a magical guardian they could have cancelled the magical contract that forced him to compete in the Tri-Wizard Tournament against his will. But since he had no magical guardian there was no way to get him out of it even though he was only 14 and the tasks had been designed for of age witches and wizards.”
“If that is the case then we will just assign Mr. Potter a guardian now.” Fudge said excitedly, he would make sure the boy was brought to heel.
“No, you can’t.” Amelia growled. “In the event that a magical child is orphaned and their parents do not assign a magical guardian there is a 5 year statute of limitations on governmental officials assigning a new one. That time frame is long since past. Legally, no one in the government can assign Heir Potter a magical guardian. I will be putting forward a motion during the next Wizengamot meeting to unseal the former Lord and Lady Potters wills so their son can finally be cared for the way they wanted rather than how others have wanted.
In the event a magical guardian is not assigned that responsibility transfers to the new guardians. But as I said, Heir Potter was placed in the muggle world and a muggle can not be a magical guardian. Because of his placement in the muggle world Heir Potter now falls under muggle law more than wizarding, and they have different laws than us. The issues I have been having is to try and reconcile the conflicting aspects of our laws.”
Everyone was silent in their shock at just how badly the Ministry and Wizengamot had screwed up until Augusta Longbottom cleared her throat. “I suggest that we vote on Madam Bones’s motion to drop all charges and close this farce of a trial. We will have to address the absolute mockery that has been made of the Wizengamot and Ministries responsibility towards Heir Potter at a later date.”
Harry was pleased as the Wizengamot voted overwhelmingly to drop all charges. He hadn’t even needed to really speak at all, Madam Bones had done everything for them. And as an added bonus, she was publicly shaming both the Ministry and the Wizengamot for him.
As soon as the trial was called to an end Remus immediately rushed over and gave Harry a hug and congratulated him. Harry could see Dumbledore was making his way over, and Harry wasn't overly happy about it. He already knew from Sirius and Remus the man was planning on ignoring him over the next year, so he knew it probably wasn't him that the man wished to speak too.
“Heir Potter, Mr. Lupin if the two of you would follow me back to my office we can finish filing everything and then the two of you can carry on with your day.” Madam Bones had made it over to them before Dumbledore could reach them much to Harry’s joy.
“WHAT IS THAT CREATURE DOING HERE?” A high pitched voice shrieked in terror. “AURORS, ARREST THAT WEREWOLF!”
Harry slowly turned, rage building on his face, to see the pink toad glaring daggers at Remus who had gone from happy to withdrawing into himself. “I beg your pardon?”
Amelia felt a shiver go down her spine as she heard the ice in Harry Potters growled words and could feel the angry magic building around him. She chose to step between him and the two aurors that had been making there way over to apparently follow through on Madam Umbridge’s order. “Do I need to remind you just who it is you work for? Because it certainly isn’t the Undersecretary.”
“What possible reason could there be to arrest Remus?” Harry snarled out.
“He is a werewolf.” The pink clad woman snapped like that was reason enough. “He could kill or infect us all. It is far too dangerous to have something like that around good, decent people.”
Harry couldn’t help it, he laughed, but it was a cold laugh. “In case you haven’t noticed, this is not the night of a full moon. Werewolves only shift for the 12 hours the night of the full moon, the rest of the time they are as human as anyone else. And to be honest, I have met a great many people that are far more dangerous far more often for much longer time periods than he is.
I prefer to judge people based on their actions, not their blood. And I will never take out my own personal issues and fears on the victim of a crime. Remus did not ask to be turned, he was attacked by Fenrir Greyback when he was only 6 years old. And despite all the bigotry and cruelty he has faced simply for being different he is still one of the kindest most compassionate people I have ever known. Members of this Ministry might see him as lesser because he was the victim of a crime, but I never will.”
“Werewolves can be quite dangerous. It is too great a risk to allow them to roam free.” One of the Lords, that Harry thought looked a lot like Pansy Parkinson, snapped.
“So what’s your plan, mass executions?” Harry questioned angrily. “As far as I am concerned, rather than needlessly attacking those that have already been attacked the Ministry should be going after those who do the attacking. A vast majority of werewolves do everything they can to keep from spreading their curse because they understand just how hard it makes a persons life. Fenrir Greyback has been actively attacking people for almost 40 years yet he is still free. Rather than arresting him it’s his victims that are being persecuted.
There is a saying in the muggle world, ‘treat the disease, not just the symptoms’. Those like Greyback are the disease, those like Remus are the symptom. But I will ask again, what possible reason is there to arrest Remus? All he is doing is supporting the child of a deceased friend. And as far as I know there is no law making that illegal, yet. But I’m sure someone will be putting it forward soon enough.”
“Are you sure you’re safe with him?” One of the elderly Ladies questioned in a worried tone.
“Of course. Unlike many others I could name, Remus has never given me cause to doubt him. I feel I should point out that he did spend an entire school year teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts. And do you know how many students were turned? None. He was honestly the best Defence teacher I’ve had in my last 4 years. No one should have to have their life defined by being the victim of an attack.” Harry said.
“Yet you are famous because of an attack.” One of the Lords sneered.
“Yes, I am, I just wish I wasn’t.” Harry sighed, his voice carrying in the complete silence that had filled the courtroom since Umbridge had shouted.
“Why would you want that?” Someone Harry couldn’t see questioned in shock.
“Because I would much rather have my parents than something as fickle as fame.” With that, Harry spun on his heel and left the courtroom followed by Madam Bones and a choked up Remus.
After leaving Courtroom 10 Harry, Remus, and Amelia returned to her office in the DMLE. Harry went back to his original seat, but Remus held Amelia back telling Harry he just needed to discuss something private with her for a moment. Amelia took Remus into a side room and sealed it with a silencing ward and anti-eavesdropping charm.
“What is it you wish to discuss Mr. Lupin?”
“I was hoping that we would be able to move this over to St. Mungo’s at some point.”
“When Harry was little I used to write to him to make sure he was ok. I never heard back, so I assumed that he was happy with his home life. Now I know that he was under a mail ward so wasn't getting my letters.”
“And you think something was wrong in the home?”
“The reason I was so concerned was because I knew Lily’s sister, Petunia. Petunia hated magic. She used to call her sister all kinds of horrible names. I had hoped that she would have gotten over her issues, but when I went to collect Harry after the attack she was just as cruel. I had someone I know that has a basic medi-wizards license run a scan on him and he found evidence of abuse. He gave us a bunch of potions to start treating it, but still suggested he get an in-depth scan to see if there are any older injuries that haven’t healed properly.”
“Why wouldn’t Madam Pomfrey have fixed it and told anyone?” Amelia questioned. “She’s legally required to inform us of any abuse.”
“But she can only treat injuries as they come in. In her contract it states that if she wants to do anything more in-depth, she is required to have permission from the guardians. And no guardian is going to give it if they have been abusing a child.
Harry doesn’t have a magical guardian, so there was no one else she could go to for him. But when I collected him I got them to sign off on giving me temporary custody until he returns to school. That means I can sign off on getting him checked.” Remus had actually returned to the Dursley’s and threatened them into signing the paper so that he would be able to get Harry the help he needed.
“Why wait until I’m with you?” Amelia questioned.
“Because if I’m right then I think we are going to need your assistance. They can not get away with hurting him.” Remus said with a soft growl in his voice. “Is there any way we can press charges if there is evidence of abuse?”
“We can’t through the DMLE, but we can hand any evidence we gather over to our counter parts in the muggle government. They can adapt our scans and tests so they are admissible in the muggle court system.” Amelia told him.
After that the two went back and joined Harry and spent the next hour and a half going over how the attempted murder investigation was going to me moving forward. Harry followed along, and signed anything he needed to, but he wasn't overly optimistic about it.
“I would have thought you would be more interested in finding out who tried to kill you.” Amelia said as they finished up the paperwork.
Harry snorted. “No offence, but I don’t have much faith in the Ministry.”
“I understand that the failures in ensuring your care as a child and this recent trial might weaken your belief in us, but I assure you, we will be doing everything we can to find out who did this.” Amelia said, slight defensiveness in her voice.
“It isn’t just that.” Harry told her. “I’ve only had a few interactions with the Ministry, and none of them have really inspired me to trust anything that is done here.”
“What do you mean by that?” Amelia questioned in a stiff voice.
“Where should I start?” Harry asked sarcastically. “Maybe with the murders of muggle-borns that are being ignored. Or it could be the fact that multiple people have been sent to Azkaban while innocent and without trials. How about a high ranking Ministry official breaking his son out of Azkaban and everything that came from that. Or we could talk about allowing dementors on Hogwarts grounds to administer the kiss to said son.”
“Explain, now!” Amelia commanded. “Start with the murdered muggle-borns.”
“Since the beginning of the summer I found three reports in the muggle papers of entire families being found dead in their houses. Now, that could just be seen as a muggle thing, but I knew the name of one of the victims. A former Hufflepuff, Sally-Ann Perks was pulled out of school to be home schooled after the attacks in our second year. Her family was amongst those killed. From the descriptions of what happened it sounds like the killing curse.”
“Why didn’t you tell anyone?” Amelia questioned. She remembered her niece, Susan, mentioning her friend Sally being pulled out.
“I told a friend of Remus’s, Auror Tonks.”
Amelia called Tonks in.
“You wanted to see me Madam Bones?” Tonks asked worriedly as she glanced between her, Harry, and Remus.
“Heir Potter tells me he told you about a murdered muggle-born, what have you found?” Amelia questioned.
Tonks took a deep breath. “Heir Potter gave me the information of 3 murdered families. When he mentioned that he knew one of them was a homeschooled muggle-born I went and checked the homeschool list in the Department of Education. All three families had at least one child on the list. I informed my supervisor, Senior Auror Travers, and requested to be allowed to open a case. He denied my request as he said he didn’t see a point on wasting Ministry resources on dead muggle-borns.”
“And you just accepted that?” Amelia was outraged one of her aurors would say something like that.
“Of course not.” Tonks said slightly offended. “I took the information I had to Auror Shacklebolt. He doesn’t have the authority to override Auror Travers, but he assisted me in placing the homeschool list under a classification spell in an attempt to protect others on the list. I also arranged a meeting with you, the earliest meeting I was allowed is the day after tomorrow.”
Amelia pulled out her schedule and found Auror Tonks’s meeting. “You have my authority to open a full investigation as of now Auror Tonks. If Travers says anything you send him to me. I will be speaking with Head Auror Scrimgeour about this as well. Get to work.”
With her dismissal Tonks sent a small smile to Harry and Remus before she rushed off.
“Now, you said multiple people were sent to Azkaban without trial?” Amelia questioned in trepidation.
“In my second year, there were multiple attacks. Fudge came to the school and personally had Hagrid arrested for it. There was no evidence of anything, but as Fudge put it the Ministry had ‘to be seen to be doing something’. Hagrid was taken straight to Azkaban and kept there until the end of the school year.” Harry explained.
“I will look into it.” Amelia growled out, she couldn’t believe Fudge had been that stupid. As far as she knew there had never been an arrest warrant issued. “And the other person?”
“I guess I should give you some background.” Harry said. “When I was 13 Sirius Black escaped Azkaban. I overheard people mentioning that he was after me. When I learned he had been my parents best friend and was the reason they were killed I was furious, even more so when I learned he was my godfather. I wanted to know why he would betray them. I figured he might have said why in his trial, so I looked for the trial records. But there were none.
Just before the end of the year I ended up coming face to face with the man. And he explained that he had just been the decoy secret keeper for my parents. He said that Peter Pettigrew had been the real traitor and that he had been the one to kill all those muggles before cutting off his own finger to fake his death and escaping.”
“Well of course he would say that, he wouldn’t just admit the truth. And how could Pettigrew have escaped, aurors were there within only a few minutes, they would have seen him.” Amelia said.
“Peter Pettigrew was an unregistered animagus. He took the form of a rat.” Harry told her. “It just so happens that one of my best friends, Ron Weasley, had a pet rat, Scabbers, that he had gotten from his older brother. The rat had been found and just kept as a pet for over 10 years. Sirius saw a picture of when the Weasley’s won that money and went to Egypt. He recognized the rat on Ron’s shoulder. The story said that Ron would be returning to Hogwarts and Sirius realized that meant he would be around me. He broke out not to hurt me, but to protect me.”
“You do understand just how mad that sounds, right?” Amelia said slowly.
“Yes, but he and Remus, who had seen us go after Sirius and had come to protect us, used the homorphus charm and Scabbers became Peter Pettigrew who then admitted what he had done right in front of me.” Harry shrugged.
“You saw this too?” Amelia turned to Remus.
“Why didn’t you report it?” Amelia questioned.
“As we already covered in Courtroom 10, I am a werewolf, and it just so happened to be the night of the full moon.” Remus said.
“Ron, Hermione, Sirius, and I were going to bring Pettigrew back to the school. But we ended up being attacked by the dementors and Pettigrew escaped.” Harry broke in, not wanting Remus to say anything that could get him into trouble. “By the time we woke up in the hospital wing Sirius was being held in the charms room and Fudge was there and had summoned the dementors to kiss him. We tried to explain, but Fudge refused to listen to us, said we had been confunded, even though Madam Pomfrey found no evidence of that. By the time Remus returned the next morning Sirius had managed to escape again and Fudge had left. But I guess that’s what happens when you send people to prison without trial, you don’t know the truth.”
Amelia raised an eyebrow before calling Kingsley Shacklebolt into her office, she was sure a trial had to have been held, it had probably just been classified or something. “Shacklebolt, you are in charge of the hunt for Sirius Black, can you explain to Heir Potter about his trial?”
Kingsley looked to Remus and Harry with a secret smirk before looking back to his boss with a straight face. “I can’t do that ma’am. When I was given the case I looked into the trial in the hopes it might give me some background on former Auror Black. But, there was no evidence of any trial taking place. Former Auror Black was on his way to Azkaban only 2 hours after his arrest?”
Amelia blinked a few times. “I beg your pardon? Why was no one told?”
“I brought it up with Head Auror Scrimgeour and he brought it up with the Minister. According to Minister Fudge my job is to find him, not investigate a closed case, or I will be released from my position.” Kingsley sneered the last part. “I even tried to have the wand checked, but it was sealed with level 7 classification. Head Auror Scrimgeour has been trying to get it unsealed, but someone in the Ministers office has been fighting it.”
“I have a question.” Harry said innocently. “If it’s attempted murder for someone to send dementors after me, then wouldn’t it be attempted murder to go after Sirius Black? He hasn’t been convicted of anything, so what right does the Ministry have to effectively kill him?”
Amelia twitched slightly. “You said someone broke their child out of Azkaban, explain that?”
Kingsley just stayed silently in the background, he wanted to watch this. Harry Potter was proving to be quite cunning.
“Certainly.” Harry sighed. “At the end of the last war Barty Crouch Jr. was arrested for being a Death Eater. His mum was dying, and it was her last wish that her son be freed. In the end her husband, Barty Crouch Sr. agreed. The two of them went to Azkaban and used polyjuice potion to switch them. Mrs. Crouch died in Azkaban and Barty Jr. was taken home and kept imprisoned by his father.
He escaped during the Quidditch World Cup, he was the one that cast the dark mark that night. From there he went back to serving Voldemort, or what was left of him. He kidnapped Alastor Moody and kept him imprisoned in his trunk for the last school year. He used polyjuice to impersonate him. He was the one that put my name in the Goblet of Fire. He had been using the imperious on his father, but when he broke it he killed him.
After that he spelled the Tri-Wizard cup to be a portkey. He also used the imperious on Krum to force him to go after Fleur and Cedric.”
“The imperious curse would have registered as being used by the school wards.” Amelia cut in, her mind latching onto that fact.
“I guess they took them down or something when we were learning about the curses and never bothered fixing them. Barty, acting as Moody, taught us about the unforgivables. He did that by showing them to us. He even cast the imperious curses on all of us so we would know how it felt. Didn’t Susan tell you?”
“Are you saying the imperious curse was cast on every student in your year?” Kingsley spoke up in shock, he hadn’t been aware of something like that.
“Well… I know it was cast on everyone in the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw class in my year. Also, Ginny said it was the same for her class, so that was the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff third years. And Fred and George said the Gryffindor, Ravenclaw sixth years were also placed under the curse. So, at least half of three years that I know of.”
“We are going to need to get mind healers.” Amelia muttered.
“I am not crazy.” Harry snapped indignantly.
Amelia glanced up in shock, having forgotten everything else going on around her for a moment. “I’m not trying to say you are. During the last war Death Eaters found a way to implant orders. One of the best known cases was a young woman who had been captured and rescued. They had placed her under the imperious and given her the orders that the next time she had pot roast for dinner she was to kill her entire family. A week after returning home they had pot roast, and she followed through on the order.
If what you're saying is true, then we will have to have everyone checked. Who knows what damage may have been done? But for now, please finish your story. How did you learn all this?”
Harry nodded, relieved she seemed to be believing him. “After I arrived back from the graveyard the Portkey took Cedric and I to, the man I thought was Professor Moody took me to his office and tried to kill me. Headmaster Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Snape got there in time to stop him. Once the polyjuice wore off they questioned him using something called veritaserum.”
“It’s the strongest truth potion ever created.” Remus told him.
“So what happened after that?” Amelia questioned. “If a Death Eater like Crouch Jr. had been discovered it would have been major news.”
“It would have I’m sure.” Harry muttered grumpily. “Headmaster Dumbledore told Fudge. Apparently he immediately called for dementors and had him kissed.”
“He can’t do that.” Amelia gasped.
“Well he did.” Harry growled.
“Is there any proof?” If what the boy was saying was true this could do a lot of damage.
Kingsley cleared his throat. “While I can’t attest to the information gathered during the veritaserum interrogation by the Headmaster and two Professors, I can confirm that Barty Crouch Jr. was at Hogwarts. The evening of the final task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament Auror Dawlish and I were summoned to the school by Minister Fudge. We were ordered to escort the newly kissed Barty Crouch Jr. back to Azkaban. As far as I know his body is still alive there. Alastor was recovering in the hospital wing after his ordeal.”
“I swear to Merlin, that man is an idiot.” Amelia muttered in shock. “Kingsley, I need you to open a formal investigation into the use of the unforgivables at Hogwarts and determine just why we weren’t informed. Also, figure out just how many children were subjected to the imperious.”
Kingsley nodded before rushing from the room.
“Heir Potter, I am going to request that we go to St. Mungo’s and have you checked.” Amelia said.
“Why?” Harry said wearily.
“You have just told me that a known Death Eater attempted to murder you. I would feel more comfortable if we verified you are healthy. Especially since we know that someone with in the Ministry also tried to kill you just recently.” Amelia told him, she thought this would be a good excuse to get the boy checked for the signs of abuse Remus had said he suspected.
Harry just agreed and they left.
After arriving at St. Mungo’s they were escorted to a private room. Amelia pulled the healer aside and explained that there was a chance of abuse. She wanted her to do the full scan, but didn’t want her to do or say anything that might upset Harry. It would just be easier on all of them if they acted like everything was normal so Harry didn’t feel self conscious.
After that the healer and Amelia both joined Remus and Harry in the room. The healer took a sample of Harry’s blood and sent it off to be examined before having him lay down on the bed so she could run his scan.
As expected there was evidence of abuse. Harry had had multiple broken and fractured bones during the 10 years he lived full time with the Dursley’s. He also showed the expected evidence of malnutrition and different vitamin deficiencies.
But when the healer reached the point in the scan where there was evidence of nerve damage caused by the cruciatus curse both the healer and Amelia were stunned. Harry just pointed out that he had told others what had happened at the end of his last school year and if people refused to listen then it wasn't his problem. He pointed out that those he cared about were pre-warned, and that was the best he could do. If others chose to stick their head and the sand and got caught unprepared it wasn't his fault.
It was around that time another healer rushed into the room with the results of his blood test and thrust it out to the healer Harry had been working with.
“Mr. Potter, can you explain to me about just how it is that you have basilisk venom and phoenix tears in your blood?” Healer Keller asked, shock evident in her voice, as she stared at the test results.
“Sure.” Harry was surprised they were still in his blood stream. “When I was 12 there were a bunch of attacks at the school. It was a basilisk. When my friends little sister was taken he and I went after her. I got bitten by the basilisk when I stabbed it.”
“There is a basilisk in Hogwarts?” Amelia said faintly.
“Well, it’s dead, but yeah.” Harry nodded. “After I got bitten there was pain and everything started to go dark, but Fawkes, Dumbledore’s phoenix, cried on it.”
Amelia took off her monocle and pressed her fingers to her eyes. “You are going to have to show me. The Ministry will need to verify that the creature is dead and then determine what to do with it.”
“I spoke with the goblins about it. They told me that since I killed it I own the carcass and can do what I want with it. They have been sending me messages about wanting to harvest it for me.” Harry told her. Bill had been passing messages between him and the goblins since the horcrux removal.
“That is true, by right of conquest it belongs to you.” Amelia agreed. “I think it might be better if we deal with the legalities today and save going to Hogwarts for another day. There are going to need to be a few people from the Ministry there to verify that it is indeed deceased. We can arrange for the goblins to accompany us so they can see about harvesting it for you.”
Harry looked to Remus to answer. “If you find a good time for you and mail me I can make the arrangements for Harry, the goblins, and I to meet you at Hogwarts.”
Amelia agreed. After that it was just about Harry's health.
Looking over the health reports Amelia told them that they had enough to charge the Dursley’s with abuse and neglect. In the magical world something like that could get a person decades in Azkaban since child abuse was not tolerated, but since it was going to have to go through the muggle courts they would most likely just get a few months at most, but since it was their first offence it would most likely just be probation.
Harry was a little hesitant at first, but they had all encouraged him to file charges. Remus pointed out that what they had done was wrong, and that he deserved justice. In the end, Harry agreed and charges were filed.
Harry and Remus were both grateful for the lunch Kreacher had sent with them since it was almost dinner time before they could finally return to Grimmauld.
After Harry, Remus, and Arthur had left Sirius found himself alone in the kitchen. He knew they had done everything they could to prepare Harry for this, but he couldn’t help but worry. But he wasn't going to let it get him down, if the worst did happen and Harry was expelled or something like that, then he and Remus had plans to take him out of the country to get away from the insanity that was Britain.
It was only a half hour after they had left that Molly marched the children into the kitchen. She had decided since everyone would be on edge about the trial she was going to make sure they all kept busy as a distraction. Molly was slightly frustrated that Harry had left early, he probably hadn’t even gotten a good breakfast.
After breakfast was finished and the kids were cleaning the table Severus arrived.
“Snape?” Sirius questioned, making sure to add some faked hostility.
Severus sneered, there was no heat behind it, but they needed people to keep thinking they couldn’t work together. “I just received word from Lucius about the trial and thought you lot might like to know what was going on. Lucius convinced Fudge to change both the time and location. The trial should be starting in about 15 minutes in Courtroom 10.”
“Courtroom 10?” Mad-Eye said in slight surprise. “The lower courtrooms haven’t been used since the Death Eater trials.”
“How can we know what is going on?” Sirius questioned.
“Fudge arranged for every news publication in the country to have access and that includes the Wizarding Wireless Network. They will be broadcasting it live.” Severus waved his hand towards the old wizarding radio.
Sirius quickly went and turned it on, tuning it to the right station. Almost instantly they heard Fudges pompous voice going on about how they needed to uphold the laws. He wasn't very subtle in how he was making it sound like Harry had done something horrible and had tried to use his fame to get out of it.
When they heard Madam Bones smack the man down everyone chuckled, taking pleasure in it. It was good to hear the man being put in his place.
When the trial started they all enjoyed how Fudge clearly didn’t know what he was doing. It was when Harry defended his innocence that anyone reacted. Most were just happy that Harry seemed to know what he was doing, but Hermione was suspicious, how did Harry know anything about the laws that she didn’t know? But she chose to just brush it off for the time being.
Everyone was surprised at just how much Madam Bones was saying and just how bad it made the Ministry and Wizengamot look.
“How did she have time to gather all this information?” Mad-Eye questioned thoughtfully.
“I had Harry write to her a few days after he arrived so she would have time to look into things.” Sirius told him.
“But that isn’t safe.” Molly turned to glare at Sirius. “That letter could have been tracked. Honestly Sirius, Albus told us he was going to handle it, you need to remember that he knows what is best.”
Sirius took a calming breath. “Molly, do you hear Albus speaking? No, you don’t. The reason for that is because Albus no longer has any power within the Ministry or Wizengamot. If he was still Chief Warlock he might have stood a chance, but he isn’t anymore. Albus might have acted like there was things he could do, but that was just to calm people, he was not in any position to help Harry. I did what I had to to make sure my godson was protected. You might not agree, but I don’t care about your opinion, only he matters.
By law the aurors have to conduct an investigation. The fact that they hadn’t contacted Harry was a problem. Besides, I had Harry tell Amelia to contact him through Remus. So any letters would have been tracked to Remus’s place.”
Mad-Eye interrupted before Molly could start yelling. “He’s right. Albus can’t do anything and anyone who knows anything about how the Ministry operates knows it. Amelia is a good woman. She won’t let anyone get away with violating the laws.”
“Shhhh.” All the children hissed as they turned the radio up so they could hear better.
Everyone was surprised as they learned just how badly the Ministry and the Wizengamot had screwed up with not bothering to ensure Harry had a magical guardian.
“Wait, we have guardians other than our parents?” Hermione questioned. No one had ever let her know that someone other than her parents had a say in her life.
“Yes. All children in our world require a magical guardian.” Sirius told the girl. “Yours would most likely be Professor McGonagall. She is just there to make decisions in regards to anything magical that your parents might not understand like any medical treatment you might need.”
“Why wasn't I told?” Hermione huffed.
“It’s common knowledge.” Mad-Eye shrugged. “If you didn’t bother to pay attention it isn’t anyone else’s fault. You have to take responsibility for yourself sometime, no one is going to do it for you.”
“SHHHH!” The others said again.
Everyone was pleased when the vote was held and all the charges were dropped. No one wanted to admit it, but they all let out a relieved breath to know that Harry wasn't going to be punished.
The fact that Amelia was planning on opening an attempted murder investigation stunned many. The children had understood just how dangerous the attack had been, but they had never really understood that Harry could have died. Sirius, Mad-Eye and Severus were pleased that Amelia was at least going to do something. While Molly started dabbing at her eyes and worrying about how upset Harry must be hearing something like that and was upset at Amelia for scaring the poor boy.
It was then that everyone heard the screech of a woman about arresting Remus. This caused a great deal of anger, especially from Sirius who was fuming. Harry’s response pleased many, but not all.
Those like Sirius were pleased to hear Harry strongly defend Remus in a way no one could refute. Many knew of just how self-conscious Remus was and knew how Harry had defended him would help the man.
But there were also those that weren’t so positive. Both Molly and Hermione were speechless at hearing Harry being so rude. Molly knew that Remus was a good man under it all, but to be so disrespectful was something she couldn’t support. It wasn’t that she respected those on the Wizengamot, they had turned against the light and been horrible to Albus Dumbledore, but she still didn’t like Harry speaking to an adult like that. Hermione, who had always had a ridiculous amount of respect for anyone that held any position of authority was disconcerted to hear Harry speak like that to anyone that held power.
After that the broadcast turned to interviews with those who had been invited to attend and members of the Wizengamot. Fred and George immediately started to plan a party, Sirius was happy to join in. When Molly started arguing with them the three quickly left the room.
Molly just glared after her two boys and Sirius. It annoyed her that Sirius was always giving the twins such dangerous ideas. But she knew there was very little she could do to stop it, she had already tried after all.
When Arthur had returned back to Grimmauld after work Molly was less than impressed that Harry wasn't with him. It wasn't that she didn’t trust Remus to make sure Harry was safe, but she had her doubts that he would be honest with her about what happened. How was she supposed to help Harry with his nightmares and fears if she wasn't told everything?
It was over an hour later that Remus and Harry had walked through the floo. Everyone rushed to greet them.
Harry was overwhelmed with all the exuberance and withdrew into Remus slightly, but he did understand that people were happy about how the trial had turned out. Pushing forward Remus and Harry joined the others in the kitchen for the party Sirius and the twins had planned.
I'm sorry I've been away so long, my muse decided to abandon me for a bit, but she came back to me in the end.
The day after the trial Harry was sitting with the others in one of the sitting rooms on the lower floors when Hermione finally managed to find time to get the answers she wanted.
“Harry, how did you know about the laws about underage magic?”
Harry glanced over from where he and George had been discussing the different pranks the twins had tried on Sirius and Remus. “Sirius taught me.”
“But why?” Hermione couldn’t believe Sirius would know anything about the laws. “Madam Bones handled everything for you. Why didn’t you let the rest of us learn too?”
Harry knew that Hermione wasn't trying to be self-centred, it was just her nature when it came to learning anything. “There was no guarantee that Madam Bones would assist me. I was nervous so Sirius thought it would help me calm down if I knew the different laws that I could use to protect myself.”
“How would he know about the laws?” Hermione questioned in confusion.
“Sirius was an auror.” Harry said in slight confusion, he knew Hermione knew that fact. “Part of being an auror is knowing the laws you are enforcing. He pulled out the old law books he had had to study during his auror training.”
Hermione was surprised by that slightly, she just couldn’t picture Sirius being so grown up. “Why didn’t you let the rest of us join you? We could have helped. I would have been happy to go over the books and give you a summary.”
“Hermione, it was me that needed to learn the laws, not you. You weren’t coming with me so you knowing the laws while I only had an overview of what you personally found interesting wouldn’t have helped me. I needed to be able to do it for myself, so Sirius taught me. If you want I can bring the books down from my room and you can go over them if you want.” Harry offered.
“Yes please.” Hermione said instantly.
“Why read the law books now? Harry’s trial is already over. There’s no need anymore.” Ron was confused.
“You may have grown up with these laws, but Harry and I didn’t.” Hermione huffed. “We need to know these things so we can stay out of trouble. The last thing Harry needs is to get in more trouble. You heard him during the trial.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Harry asked in confusion. “I stated I wasn't guilty and why, other than that I didn’t say anything until it was over.”
“You were rude.” Hermione practically screamed. “I know you might not like Minister Fudge and those like him, but there was no excuse for you to talk back to them.”
“I simply gave my opinion of their bigotry.” Harry narrowed his eyes at the girl. “I understand you have a slavish devotion to anyone in a position of authority Hermione, but that blinds you to the truth. Just because they have power doesn’t mean they can’t be wrong.
Remus and Sirius are the closest thing to family I have. And I don’t care who someone is, they go after my family they will have to deal with me.”
Getting up, Harry stormed out of the room.
“Well that was rude.” Hermione huffed as she glared at the open door. She couldn’t believe Harry had said things like that to her.
“Yes, it was rude to have a go at Harry for defending his family.” Fred said from where he was sitting looking through his and George’s prank book.
“Tell us, if they had attacked Remus because he was a half-blood, would you be defending them.” George added.
“Because it was his blood status they were using to attack him.”
“After all the times you’ve started yelling at people for belittling muggle-borns we figured you would have agreed with him.”
Hermione huffed again. That wasn't what she had meant. She just meant that Harry shouldn’t be rude to people. Yes, they had been wrong to attack Remus, but that didn’t excuse Harry.
Ron asked Hermione for some help on his homework. He knew that if he left it alone she would start to argue with Fred and George, and that would lead to a prank war, and that was the last thing the house needed.
After dinner Harry found himself back in Fred and Georges room. Both twins were frustrated and laughing.
They had tried to prank Sirius and Remus, but their prank had backfired. Neither of them could figure out how it happened. They were now dressed in muggle clown outfits, the charms had to wear off so all they could do was wait.
“How does this keep happening?” George muttered to himself as he thought through their plan. They had thought it was perfect.
“There just a former teacher and an escaped prisoner. Yes, they are both smart and clever, but they shouldn’t be a match for us.” Fred grumbled.
“A match, they’ve bested us every time.” George glared at their lab area.
Harry couldn’t help it, he laughed at just how put out the twins were at failing to prank Sirius and Remus. “Boys, if you want to prank those two you're going to need to step up your game.”
“What do you mean by that?” Fred and George said at the same time.
“What do you know?” Fred questioned suspiciously.
Harry smirked. “Sorry boys, but you never really stood a chance to prank them. You’ve gotten used to easy targets. But you see, Sirius and Remus are pranksters themselves and they’ve been at it much longer than you.”
“You think they can rival us?” George gasped in fake outrage.
“I know they can.” Harry chuckled at the twins. “You see, when they were at Hogwarts they each had a nickname, rather uninventive in my opinion, but they were just foolish children back then. Remus, the werewolf, was Moony, and Sirius, the dog animagus, was Padfoot.”
Fred and George just gaped for a few minutes. Harry went and grabbed the twins prank book to flip through while he waited for them to catch up.
“THEY’RE MARAUDERS?” The twins shouted as one.
“Yes, oh, and just so you know, my dad was a stag animagus they called Prongs.”
“YOU’RE THE MARAUDER HEIR?”
“Deep breaths boys.” Harry reminded them as he noticed they hadn’t been breathing and were looking closer to passing out.
“No wonder we can’t get them.” Fred muttered in shock.
“They’re prank masters.” George was much less embarrassed now. He had been worried they were losing their edge.
Harry smirked as he pulled out a book. “I got Kreacher to get this out of Sirius’s room for me. It’s a list of all the marauders pranks and their ideas. I figured we might find some inspiration in here.” The book was almost the same as the one they had sent him over the summer, but this one also included Sirius’s newest ideas.
Fred and George were looking at the book like it held all the answers to life before they rushed forward to join Harry in planning.
The next morning Harry, Fred, and George were down for breakfast early when they heard shouting. Sirius came running into the kitchen dodging a stinging hex from Remus.
Remus, for his part, was red and gold, from head to toe. Every inch of his skin was Gryffindor red. His hair, eyes, lips, and finger nails were all gold. And he was furious as he entered the kitchen. He was also entertained, but he wasn't about to let Sirius get away with pranking him, he would never get a moments peace if he did.
“I didn’t do it.” Sirius shouted from where he was hiding behind a laughing Harry. “I swear.”
Remus just released a low frustrated growl but sat down. He knew he would just have to get his revenge on Sirius later. His mouth fell open and he started to chuckle as he saw the results of Sirius taking a sip of the tea at his place.
For a few moments Sirius didn’t understand why everyone had started laughing at him, then he noticed his hand. It was Slytherin green, and his fingernails were silver. Getting up he ran to the mirror on the wall and saw he was in the same situation as Remus, but he was Slytherin themed rather than Gryffindor.
Turning, he gave a very put out glare to all those at the table. “Who is responsible for this travesty?”
Remus looked towards the twins. He knew that they had been trying to manage to prank them since they had arrived. Neither of the boys had been pleased that he had managed to stop every one of their pranks in his classes. He wasn't surprised to see the smug looks on their faces. What did surprise him slightly was the looks they were sharing with Harry, he knew Harry had the prankster nature in him, but hadn’t thought he felt that secure yet. Even if he was red, he was pleased Harry felt safe to prank them without worrying about them getting upset with him.
“Harrison James Potter.” Remus said giving the boy the sternest look he could at that moment. “Have you corrupted poor, innocent, Fred and George?”
Harry gave his best innocent look. “Me? I would never…”
“Oh.” Sirius was shocked but very pleased. “Don’t even try that look, we saw it too much on your dads face.”
Harry turned to Sirius and made his eyes bigger and was pleased to see Sirius practically melt.
“Ok, ok. You win.” Sirius said as he hugged Harry. “You do a very good puppy dog eyes, but don’t think for a second that means we won’t get our revenge. That goes for you two too.”
Fred and George grinned at the threat. A prank war with the marauders was just the thing they needed to liven up their summer. They also didn’t miss how proud Sirius was of Harry for pranking him.
“Yes, well done boys.” Remus grinned. “You finally managed to successfully prank us.”
“All we really needed…” Fred smiled across the table.
“Was the heir to marauder glory to assist.” George added.
From there it devolved into Fred and George trying to get as much information from the older two pranksters as they could. Molly made sure everyone knew she was displeased with the topic, but everyone had gotten used to her anger long ago so it didn’t stop them.
It was later that morning that Harry managed to convince Kreacher to bring up the clothes for the other kids. It would seem seeing Sirius in Slytherin colours put him in such a good mood he didn’t even feel the need to comment on anyones blood status.
Kreacher had placed different clothing in different rooms. The clothes that would fit Ron were placed in the drawing room the kids usually gathered in. Although Sirius only had a brother, his mum had collected some of the clothing that had belonged to his female cousins. The female clothing was put in the library for Hermione and Ginny to go through. And the clothes for Fred and George were in the ballroom that no one had managed to find yet, but Harry was sure Sirius would know where it was.
Arriving in the kitchen for lunch Harry smiled at the others. “I talked with Kreacher. He’s moved the clothing that will fit everyone upstairs. Rons is in the drawing room, Hermione and Ginny’s is in the library and Fred, George, and Sirius’s is in the ballroom. Do you know where the ballroom is Sirius? Oh, and he also brought up some clothes that would fit the adults and put it in the front parlour.”
Sirius was slightly surprised. He had completely forgotten the ballroom, but he also didn’t know why he was included in this. “I know where the ballroom is. But why is the stuff for me in with the twins, shouldn’t it be with the adult stuff?”
“Kreacher said that after the Ministry seized and sold your home after your arrest they just dumped all of your stuff on your mum. Everything that you had at the time of your arrest was just put in storage. Since you left when you were 16 there was only Regulus’s stuff that would fit the twins but since the stuff from your place was in storage he just added it since the twins are almost the same size as you.”
“My stuff is here?” Sirius questioned in excitement. “That’s amazing. I’ve been missing my riding jacket. I’m gonna have to talk to Hagrid to figure out what happened to my bike.”
“Why would Hagrid know what happened to your bike?” Hermione questioned in confusion.
“The night of the attack I went to the house to check on things. I talked with Hagrid. He was told to bring Harry to Dumbledore. I decided that would be the safest for Harry so I gave Hagrid my bike to get Harry away faster before I went after Pettigrew. I miss that bike.” Sirius finished in a wistful voice.
“What was so great about it?” Tonks questioned. She had decided to return to the house for lunch that day.
“It was a classic muggle motorcycle that I had enchanted to fly.” Sirius said in excitement, he had always loved talking about his bike. “It was great, took me forever to get done, but man… It was worth it.”
“Please don’t get him started.” Remus moaned. “I swear, it’s like that thing was the love of his life.”
Sirius pouted at his friend. “My bike was amazing.”
“You should talk about it with dad.” George suggested.
“He enchanted an old car to fly.” Fred explained when Sirius gave them, a quizzical look.
This got Sirius excited. When he learned that Harry and Ron had ended up driving the car to school in their second year he was thrilled.
As much as the kids wanted to go and look through the clothes they couldn't. Molly had refused to let them until after everything was checked for any dangerous spells, she had been slightly surprised when both Sirius and Remus had agreed with her.
So it was after dinner, when all the clothing had been deemed safe, that everyone got to look through the clothes.
In the drawing room Ron sorted through the clothes but he wasn't overly impressed. Ron had always wanted higher end, more expensive, clothes, but these were still second hand. More than that, he didn’t like the style. All the clothing was of a more formal nature. Ron wanted expensive clothes, but he wanted them to be comfortable like the loose jeans and t-shirts that he had. Everything was just so stiff and he felt like he was being strangled by the collar.
Hermione and Ginny were having a bit more success in finding things they liked, but there was far less for them to choose from. Both Sirius and Molly had agreed, nothing that had once belonged to Bellatrix was even added to what the girls could look at. Since the girls clothing had belonged to Sirius’s cousins, Walberga only had a few things for each of them, enough for a two week stay. It worked out well for the two girls as Hermione favoured the more conservative clothing Andromeda had favoured while Ginny liked the more girly style of Narcissa.
In the ballroom Fred, George, and Sirius were having a great time. Fred and George had taken a few of the more formal robes that had belonged to Regulus, but it was Sirius’s stuff that they liked the most. The three of them were putting on an impromptu fashion show as Harry and Remus fell over laughing at them. Harry had questioned just why Sirius had a purple feathered boa and a silver sequin jumpsuit, but Remus had just told him he had to wait until he was older to know about that while Sirius literally fell to the floor laughing.
Fred, George, and Sirius worked out who would get what. As much as Sirius wanted to pretend he was nothing like his mother, Harry couldn’t help but think he had the womans hoarder tendencies. The reason Kreacher had had to use the ballroom was because of the sheer amount. Sirius had a tendency to forget things everywhere he went so always made sure to buy duplicates. According to Remus Sirius was rather famous for forgetting his jacket behind every time they went out, because of that he had 3 dragon hide jackets so he could always have one to wear since it was his favourite.
They even had a bit of fun forcing Remus to try on a few things. Remus was graced with a rather loud wolf whistle from Tonks who had just been going past the room when they managed to force him into a pair of dragon hide pants. Remus had been bright red as Tonks announced he needed to get a few more pairs as she gave him a lecherous look before she carried on.
Sirius’s eyes lit up as he looked at his red faced and sputtering friend, he was going to enjoy using that to tease him mercilessly.
The next day Harry got dressed to leave the house. He knew it was going to cause another argument, but he didn’t care. Madam Bones had written that she had been in contact with the goblins and they had agreed on a time to go to Hogwarts. Harry and Remus were to meet Madam Bones and a few other Ministry officials, along with a contingent of Goblins at the front gates to Hogwarts at 9.
After talking about it with Sirius and Remus, Sirius had decided that he would be accompanying them in his Padfoot form. The other two had tried to talk him out of it since it was a risk, but Sirius would not be swayed, he was going to be there to protect Harry. In the end they gave in and agreed to take him with them since they knew that he would be there whether they agreed or not, it would just be safer if they knew what to expect.
“Ginny, Harry, you’re both going to have to change.” Molly announced while they were eating their breakfasts. “We will be working on cleaning out what I think was once an office. It’s absolutely filthy and you won’t want to mess up your nice clothes.”
While Harry was dressed to go out, Ginny was dressed to impress. That day Ginny had decided to wear one of the new dresses she had gotten. It was a soft pink dress that was more formal. Sirius thought he remembered Narcissa wearing that particular dress to the wedding of Lord and Lady Greengrass.
Ginny huffed and glared at her mum. She didn’t want to have to change, she liked her dress, it looked really good on her in her opinion. More than that, she didn’t want to clean.
“I’m going out.” Harry just informed her.
“YOU CAN’T!” Molly screamed. “How many times do we have to tell you Harry, it isn’t safe?”
“Harry and I have a follow up meeting with Amelia.” Remus said calmly. “And before you start on how it isn’t safe, the meeting will be taking place at Hogwarts.”
“Why at Hogwarts?” Hermione questioned. it didn’t make sense to her to have a meeting with a government official at a school.
“When I was meeting with Madam Bones she made me get a health scan to ensure there weren’t any problems from the dementor attack. She didn’t want to risk me dying after it was publicly confirmed that a member of the Ministry tried to kill me.
Apparently there’s still basilisk venom in my blood and that caused a few issues. When I explained about the basilisk she said it would need to be addressed. The Ministry needs to verify that it really is dead, so I have to take them down to the Chamber.”
“I want to go.” All the kids said at the same time, except for Ginny, she would rather never think of that disgusting place again.
“Not a chance.” Molly snapped at them. “Harry, sweetie, you really shouldn’t be going back down there. It just isn’t safe. There really is no need. I’m sure the Headmaster will handle everything.”
Harry sighed at the soft motherly tone Molly was using to try and convince him. “No, he can’t. Only I can open the Chamber. Also, if he was able to handle it, surely he would have already done so. Since he didn't, I guess it’s up to me.”
“We’re going with you.” Fred and George announced in hard voices.
“NO YOU ARE NOT!” Molly shouted at them.
“We are both legal adults.” Fred hissed at his mum.
“We can go if we want.” George added in the same tone before the two got up and left the room to get ready to go out.
Harry slipped away from Molly’s shouting in the kitchen to go and speak with the twins.
“We aren’t going to change our minds.” George told Harry once they were alone in their room,
“I wasn't even going to try, I have no desire to spend the rest of the summer being pranked.” Harry smiled before he got serious. “What I want is a promise from the two of you that you will play nice.”
“Play nice?” Both questioned.
“Amelia wrote to me about who was going to be there, and one of the people coming is Percy.” Harry told them.
“And you want us to play nice with PERCY!” The two gasped together.
Harry let out a sigh. “Look, I get it. I’m not exactly pleased with him and it isn’t my parents he went after. But he’s still your brother. More than that, I saw the look on his face when he heard that someone in the Ministry had tried to kill me.
You two may have never followed your parents in complete obedience to Dumbledore, but many of your siblings have. I mean, just look at how Ron has acted this summer. Percy spent his entire childhood being told to listen to authority figures. To him, that’s all he’s doing now, following blindly just like he was taught too.
If you go after him now, you may never get him back. He’s already starting to doubt, better to build on that doubt so you can have your annoying big brother back rather than lose him forever.”
Fred and George weighed this idea. While they were angry at Percy for how he had treated their dad, they did also understand somewhat. It wasn't like they hadn’t had a few screaming matches with their mum over the summer themselves.
“We won’t go after him.”
“Unless he comes after us.” Fred and George said.
“I can accept that.” Harry nodded.
Ultimately Fred and George ended up sneaking out through the floo as Molly had been standing guard at the door and the house was warded to stop anyone apparating in or out. Ron and Hermione had wanted to come too, but Molly had refused to allow them. But unlike the twins they weren’t legal adults and couldn’t just leave as they wanted.
While the twins were sneaking out, Remus had walked Harry and Padfoot out the front door, past an absolutely furious Molly Weasley, and side-along apparated Harry to Hogsmeade. Harry really didn’t understand why all the methods of traveling in the magical world had to be so horrible.
At the front gates to Hogwarts the four humans and one dog met with Amelia Bones, Kingsley Shackelbolt, Auror Dawlish, Percy Weasley, and a man named Carrick Rance, from the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, who all represented the Ministry. Along with them was a contingent of goblins and Bill Weasley and two other human curse breakers and ward masters.
After greetings were done the group made their way through the gates. They were almost to the front doors when they opened and Albus, followed by the four heads of house came out to see them.
“Amelia, what is the meaning of this?” Albus questioned in confusion.
“Albus.” Amelia greeted coldly, showing him the same amount of respect that he showed her. “We are here to address the Chamber of Secrets issue.”
“There is no issue.” Albus said with a soft smile. Inside he was furious, he didn’t understand how the woman knew, but then he spotted Harry. His eyes widened incrementally when he noticed Sirius, that must have been what Molly had tried to floo him about, but he hadn’t accepted the call as he didn’t want to deal with her nagging.
“So you don’t see an issue with the fact that you had a basilisk in this school attacking children and never bothered to report it. Something that you are legally required to do.” Amelia said with slight sarcasm in her voice.
“It was dealt with.” Minerva said defensively.
“Yes, by a 12 year old after multiple attacks. You might not want to use that as a defence for blatant negligence.” Amelia told them. “This will be one of the things we will be addressing at the emergency meeting of the school board that I called. The clear evidence of multiple years of negligence towards the students is a serious issue.”
“Really Amelia, all is well at Hogwarts.” Albus’s voice had grown fragile. “There really is no need for all of this.”
“Albus, all is most definitely not well. For Merlin’s sake man, you had a convicted Death Eater casting the imperius curse on multiple years of students and the wards didn’t inform the DMLE. There are supposed to be wards that react to a single casting of any forbidden spell. The fact we were not alerted shows just how unwell things are here. And that is before we take into account the complete travesty that was last year, culminating in the kidnapping of two students, one of whom was murdered.” Amelia was incensed having sat her niece down and talked about what had really been going on at the school. “If anything happens like what has happened previously I will be petitioning the ICW and the Wizengamot for a full investigation.
But that isn’t what we are here about now.” Amelia said after taking a calming breath. “We will be going down into the Chamber so the Ministry can verify that the beast truly is deceased. Then the goblins will make arrangements to harvest and remove it.”
“Hogwarts will be happy to negotiate the harvesting of the creature.” Albus said with a smile, he was sure there was a great deal that he could do with that money. There was a war coming after all, and as proven by the last one, wars weren’t cheap.
“No, Hogwarts will have no say.” Amelia gave a sharp smile. “If it had been the staff of the school who dealt with the issue, then you would have had a say. But since it was a 12 year old, he is the one that owns it. By right of conquest, the basilisk belongs to Heir Potter. He will be the one negotiating with the goblins, not you.”
Albus’s smile faded. How was he supposed to get control now? The boy was already angry with him and he couldn’t work on making peace with him without risking Tom finding out. He could already see that both Remus and Sirius were there and they also were standing against him more and more.
“Shall we?” Amelia looked at her group before moving forwards.
“May we accompany you?” Filius questioned excitedly. This was a chance to see the fabled Chamber of Secrets, and he didn’t want to miss that.
“If you wish.” Amelia agreed. There was no reason to stop them.
Once in the school, Harry guided everyone to the right bathroom. Myrtle was surprised by everyone coming and dove for her toilet. Harry just shrugged it off, used to the ghosts odd behaviour, and opened the sinks.
“How do we get down?” Amelia questioned.
“Well, last time we slid. It’s really dirty, and there are a lot of small animal bones at the bottom, but it’s fine.” Harry said.
“Why not try asking for stairs?” Severus drawled. “Surely one such as Salazar Slytherin would not have ‘slid’ into his Chamber.”
“I actually never thought of that.” Harry said thoughtfully and Snape scoffed. “Let me try something.”
Harry called for lights and a string of lights spiralled down the tunnel. It would seem simple voice commands would work. Moving forward he sat at the edge of the tunnel.
“I thought you were going to ask for stairs?” Bill questioned.
“Yeah.” Harry nodded. “Um, I’ll do that once I’m down there. It’s really far, and I don’t want to have to do all those stairs.”
With that Harry pushed himself forward and everyone heard as he cheered. He was almost instantly followed by a howl of joy as Padfoot went right after him. And that was swiftly followed by the shouts of fun as Fred and George jumped down together.
Remus let out a sigh. “I will go down and try and keep those idiots out of trouble.”
“I’ll join you.” Bill said.
“Me too.” Filius squeaked, he wasn't opposed to a slide.
“Anyone else?” Amelia questioned.
“I’ll go too just to keep an eye on things.” Kingsley sighed out.
“Once you're down have him try calling for stairs.” Amelia said with a wave. It was slightly concerning that she could still hear everyone as they went down. That was one long slide.
Remus went first, followed by Bill, then Filius, and Kingsley went last.
After sliding for a surprisingly long time, Remus finally arrived at the bottom and glared at the three teens and dog. “I swear, we are never telling any of this to Molly or I will kill all of you.”
Fred and George got a fearful look as they thought about just what their mums reactions to what they had just done would be. Not that they expected her to be exactly pleased when they returned to the house. They were both just glad that they had gotten Sirius to ward their room so they didn’t have to worry about her destroying their work again.
They were soon joined by the others. Once Kings had assured them no one else was on the slide Harry called for stairs. And just like with the lights, it worked.
“What shall we do while we wait?” Filius questioned as he joyfully looked around.
“Well…” Harry thought for a moment before he remembered something. “There’s a cave in a little further in. We’re going to have to make a way through if we all want to reach the Chamber.”
That idea didn’t take up as much time as Harry had thought it would. Between Filius, Remus, and Bill there was an arch formed in the rock fall within only 10 minutes. After that those who could use magic started to tidy up while Harry went and rested against a wall and chatted lowly to Padfoot.
In all it was almost half an hour for the group of humans and goblins to finally arrive, most of the humans huffing and puffing having had to go down so many stairs.
“Should have taken the slide.” One of the curse breakers muttered as he looked to Bill who just smirked.
Moving down the passage towards the main door, Pomona let out a little shriek as she saw the shed skin and just how large it was. Harry wasn't really paying enough attention to notice the looks on the faces of the adults as they glanced at him.
Harry just kept going. Opening the door, Harry guided everyone into the vast chamber. Moving forward he showed everyone in. He would have just kept moving forward towards the dead basilisk but he was grabbed from behind.
It was only then that Harry turned back and saw the terrified and pale faces of the witches and wizards around him, even the goblins looked startled and Harry hadn’t even known that was possible. Fred, George, and Remus had all grabbed him, and Padfoot turned and practically tried to climb him.
“Larger than we thought.” One of the goblins muttered as he and the others moved forward.
“I would have thought it would start to smell by now.” Harry said in confusion.
That seemed to snap Bill and the other human Gringotts employees out of their stupor and they started casting detection charms. Occasionally they stopped to confer with each other.
“I… I… I c… can co…confirm the b…basilisk is dead.” Carrick Rance stuttered out. The man looked like he was about to be sick or pass out, probably both.
Amelia turned a stony eyed glare onto the Headmaster. “Albus. Minerva. I think you and I need to have a discussion about student safety.”
Albus didn’t even protest as he and Minerva were dragged away from everyone else and Amelia set up a privacy ward. Harry thought it looked funny to see the woman clearly screaming at the two without being able to hear what they were saying.
Turning away, he started to watch the goblins work.
Percy Weasley was deep in thought as he walked from one end of the Chamber to the other. He was stunned at just how large the snake was. It was the fact that Harry Potter had fought that thing at only 12 years old to save the life of his little sister that was on his mind.
Things had gotten so screwed up. He had been so sure that Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter were lying, Harry had always told them such outrageous stories. But looking at the massive basilisk, he couldn’t help but realize he had actually underplayed what had happened.
He had been sure he was on the right side, but then Madam Bones had announced that a high ranking member of the Ministry had tried to kill Harry only a few days after his 15th birthday. What kind of person would do something like that?
At the beginning of the summer he had had a massive row with his parents about who to listen to. Percy had been so sure that the Ministry was right, but now he was second guessing that. Not that he was going to agree with Headmaster Dumbledore. Being in the Chamber just reminded him the man had allowed his 11 year old little sister to be taken down here.
He wasn't paying attention to where he was walking and ended up kicking something. Reaching down he found it was a little butterfly barrette he knew his little sister had once often worn.
“What have you got there?” Bill questioned as he walked over to his brother to see what had put that scared and sad look on his face. “One of Ginny’s barrettes.”
“She was just a little kid.” Percy muttered as he stared down at it. “How could something like this have happened to her?”
“I can’t answer that for you Perce.” Bill rested a hand on his brothers shoulders. He wasn't surprised when Percy looked up to him with tears forming in his eyes.
“I… I don’t understand any of this.” Percy just couldn’t figure out what was going on anymore. And for someone who had thrived in regimented control, not knowing was terrifying.
“Welcome to being an adult.” Bill sighed. He noticed that Fred and George had moved closer so they could hear. “Life is complicated.”
“Why are you being so nice after the fight I had with mum and dad?” Percy was confused.
Bill gave his brother a soft smile. “Look, do I agree with the things you said, not completely. Do I understand them, yes. Do you think Charlie and I never fought with them when we decided to leave for work? The only real difference was we put up silencing spells so none of you kids heard. I actually didn’t speak to them for weeks after I moved to Egypt. Charlie didn’t talk to either of them for 6 months after he left. Part of growing up is learning that your parents are just as human as everyone else.”
“I can admit I was mean, but I don’t regret the idea behind what I said.” Percy narrowed his eyes. “Albus Dumbledore isn’t perfect.”
“Look around you Perce, he allowed our little sister to be brought here and almost killed. I’m not going to argue with you on that. Despite what he and our parents might think, he is human and makes mistakes.
But those in the Ministry aren’t perfect either. They are just as flawed. Blind obedience to anyone is a very dangerous thing little brother. I know mum always told us not to question anyone in authority, but you really should. Don’t you two agree?” Bill raised an eyebrow to the twins.
“We do.” Fred agreed cooly.
“While we feel what you said to dad was out of line, we do understand it.” George said in the same tone as his twin.
“He has no ambition.” Percy said in frustration.
“He has ambition, but that ambition is to get his children educated.” Bill said before the twins could speak. “Percy, dad managed to pay for all of us to go to school. If he had tried to move up in the Ministry by moving to a different department then he would have lost his seniority and his pay would have been cut. Do you know just how expensive a Hogwarts education is?
Mum and dad are terrible with money. They also often make foolish decisions. But they do their best.”
“They always managed to make what little we had stretch enough for us all.” George said in defence of their parents giving Bill a confused look.
“Yes, they can make limited resources last, but whenever they do get any money they almost immediately throw it away. Look at what they did with the money dad won a few years back.” Bill said. “Both Charlie and I suggested that they invest it with the goblins. If that money had been properly handled it could have helped cover for half of your Hogwarts tuition through Ginny’s seventh year. Instead they blew it all on a two week holiday.
It isn’t that I didn’t like seeing you all, but it just wasn't responsible. I already had had plans to come home and visit. Instead I had to completely rearrange my work schedule because I was told you were coming only a few days before everyone showed up. I understand they wanted everyone to have some fun after what had happened with Ginny, but there were better ways they could have gone about it.”
Percy and the twins couldn’t deny that. They had enjoyed getting to visit Bill in Egypt, but they knew it had used up almost all of the money. What had been left was used on getting Ron and Ginny new wands.
“So what am I supposed to do?” Percy muttered.
“Think fo your self.” Fred said.
“Ask questions.” George added.
“You need to do what you think is right Percy.” Bill placed a hand on the twins shoulders to pull them back before they could break out in a big speech. “I’m not saying you need to beg forgiveness or anything. But just try talking to dad from time to time. I know our dear parents can be overbearing at times but they do it because they love us.
Just because they blindly follow Dumbledore doesn’t mean you have too. We certainly don’t.”
While the Weasley brothers were talking Harry was wandering around the Chamber. He hadn’t been able to explore and look for anything else the last time he had been there. This was his chance.
As he walked along the side walls Sirius was at his side. Sirius wasn't about to let Harry go off on his own, he was learning just how much trouble Harry was in the habit of finding. The last thing they needed was Harry finding something else deadly.
Gently dragging his hand along the wall Harry felt it. There was magic hiding something.
“Open.” Harry hissed in parsel.
Seeing that Harry had indeed found something Sirius turned and barked a few times before grabbing the back of his godsons robes in his mouth and pulling him back. Who knew what was in there?
“What have you found this time Harry?” Remus was the first to arrive, followed by a scowling Severus.
“I don’t know.” Harry shot a glare at his dogfather. “I tried to go in, but was pulled away.”
“Must you continuously prove you are a dunderheaded lion Mr. Potter?” Severus sneered. “The last people down here were the Dark Lord and someone possessed by the Dark Lord.”
With that little reminder Harry took a big step back. Harry knew he was reckless, but even he wasn’t that stupid.
Severus, Kings, Dawlish, and Filius were the first to enter the newly discovered area. It was a tunnel that lead up to an office. What confused them was that the windows in the office showed that they were up in the south tower but they had only walked up the tunnel for about a minute. It appeared they were in Salazar Slytherins private library.
What confused them was that nothing was touched. It actually looked as if Tom hadn’t been there. It got them to wondering just how much time Tom had spent down in the Chamber.
Filius, who had actually already been teaching charms at the time Tom had been at school explained that the Chamber had only been open for a week or so before Myrtle was killed. The boy had been a Prefect at the time so he had had less free time than the average student. Filius also mentioned that Albus had kept a close eye on the boy even before the attacks had started. Because of all that they just figured that he hadn’t had time to fully explore.
They looked all over but couldn’t find a door out of the library. It would seem the only access or exit was through the Chamber.
Everyone was excited as they started looking at the different names of the books. Many of these books had been thought lost to time. But both Filius and Severus were concerned, they knew Albus couldn’t truly be trusted with all that information. They knew that if he deemed them dark there was a risk that he would just lock the books away again if he didn’t just outright destroy them.
It was Remus’s idea that they bring Percy up. Percy, being the book lover that he was would never allow the loss of the books. They suggested that he report the findings to the Department of Mysteries since they would be interested in ancient knowledges that may be in the books. They also suggested that he tell the Department of Education, there was an office in that department that dealt with the printing and distribution of books. If they knew about all of these books they would want to copy them and make them available to the public.
As an added layer of protection for the books, once Percy had seen, they all left and resealed the passage. Thankfully, Dumbledore was still being lectured by Amelia, the woman was truly incensed by the danger the children, her niece especially, had been exposed to.
After that, Harry kept working his way around the Chamber, but now he was being followed by many others. Both Severus and Sprout had been overjoyed when they found what looked like a potions supply and prep room. Severus because of all the rare ingredients that had been perfectly preserved. And Pomona because there were cuttings and seeds from many rare, and a few extinct, plants that had also been preserved.
But the thing that really pushed Severus over the edge was when they found the lab. It was kind of horrifying to see a man like Severus Snape practically… giddy. Apparently some of the equipment was really rare and valuable. There was a cauldron made from elven white gold that would allow him to brew pure elixirs that were nearly impossible otherwise since all other types of cauldrons contaminated them at least slightly. But when he went over and reverently picked up one of the dozen or so journals he became confused, it was filled with nothing but squiggles and a few diagrams. Realizing just what he was looking at he went over to Harry to show it to him and asked him if he could understand it, he could. Severus let out a long suffering sigh since he was going to have to rely on the boy to translate the journals for him.
After layering the books in every protection spell he knew, Severus carefully collected one of them. He was not going to take any risks with the books. Who knew just what kinds of potions Salazar Slytherin had created? He was going to see if Potter would be able to work on translating at least one of the books so they could know just what kinds of things were in there.
Harry finished circling the room but didn’t find any other rooms. They even sent Severus up into the mouth of the statue to see if there was anything in there. All he found was some more bones from small creatures but there was nothing else. That room had apparently just been a nest.
Back in the main area of the room everyone watched as the goblins put the final touches on what they had been doing. The basilisk had been laid out and surrounded with hundreds of transfer stones.
With a push of their magic the full basilisk was transported to the harvesting room they had already had set up in Gringotts. It would make it so they wouldn’t have to keep going in and out of Hogwarts and needing Harry to open the Chamber every time.
Once that was done Harry was called over by one of the goblins to make the arrangements for how he would be paid. The Goblin, Taloncrusher, summoned a table for them to sit at. Sirius sat at Harry’s feet while Remus was on his left and Bill on his right to give him advice.
Harry was startled by just how much the basilisk was worth. He already had plenty of money thanks to his family, and he didn’t think he needed that much more. It was for that reason he decided to share it with those effected.
The goblin nation would be receiving 15% of the profits as they were the ones harvesting and selling it. Harry would get 10%. Those who were attacked, Filch, for Mrs. Norris, Colin, Justin, Hermione, and Penelope would each receive 10%. Hagrid was also going to be getting 10% since it had cost him his education the first time and landed him in Azkaban the second time the snake got out. The Weasley family would also be getting 10% since although Ron and Ginny weren’t attacked by the basilisk, it still did have a major effect on their lives. The remaining 5% would go to Hogwarts.
Harry had been more than a little conflicted about how he would handle Hogwarts in regards to the money. While Fawkes and the Sorting Hat had helped him, and Sir Nicolas was one of the victims, they weren’t the ones that would be getting any of the money. The money would be going to the staff, and Harry was still angry about what they had done that year. He had been attacked and bullied for months and none of them had done anything. No one on staff had said a single word in his defence, if anything the way Dumbledore had kept calling him into his office after each attack made him look more guilty to the students.
After talking it through with Bill and Remus they helped him to arrange a regulated account. The way it would be set up would be that a certain amount would be available to each department rather than just giving the Headmaster free rein with the money. Remus had mentioned that while he had been working at the school he found that Dumbledore often restricted money to certain departments to force the professors to alter lesson plans he didn’t like. Remus had had to pay for the capture of the different creatures he taught them about from his own pay rather than the school covering the costs, it annoyed Harry as he knew how hard it was for Remus to make money. Harry even arranged for the potions department to receive some of the basilisk as potions ingredients, he had seen just how interested Snape had been. Dumbledore had also apparently been blocking Mrs. Pince from being able to update the library so many of the books were out of date.
Severus, who had stopped by to hear what they were planning was thrilled. As it was he and Poppy ended up having to pay for much of the potions ingredients that were needed for him to brew the hospital wing potions from their own accounts. He also knew that Pomona had been trying to get the greenhouses expanded for years as she had taken to growing as much of the plant ingredients as possible to help them.
Leaving Harry and the others to their negotiations he went over to speak with Pomona and Filius. It would be better for as many of them to know as possible so it couldn’t be denied later. They all knew the reason their budgets were so small was predominately because of the school governors, but Albus did his own damage to their budgets with refusing to fund anything that didn’t follow his exact plans.
Madam Bones made her way over to join them with an extremely quiet Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall. When she learned that members of staff had been having to pay for supplies for the hospital wing and their classes out of their own pocket she was once again angered. It got even worse when Albus pointed out the school governors had refused to pay for the school wards to be updated in the past 20 years as a way to excuse why the DMLE hadn’t been alerted to the use of the imperious curse on school grounds, he had no intention of taking the blame for anything if he could help it. Amelia decided she was going to have to make sure there was the appropriate amount of attention given to the school governors and their actions.
A few hours after their arrival in the Chamber, everyone was walking back up the hundreds and hundreds of stairs.
After leaving Hogwarts Harry had had to go to Gringotts to finalize the paperwork and the others came with him since none of them wanted to return to Grimmauld just yet. For Fred and George this was their first trip out of the house since they had arrived just after the summer began.
So while Harry was in the bank with Remus and Sirius, Fred and George wandered around the Alley. While they could get most of their supplies brought in by those like Dung, it cost them a delivery fee along with the cost of the items.
But eventually everyone had to return.
As they had expected, it was loud when they returned. Ron, Hermione, and a few of the others who had heard where they had been going had plenty of questions and just shouted out over each other. And while that was going on Molly was in full lecture mode. Everything was just made worse as they were in the front hall and the portrait of Sirius’s mother was screaming over everyone.
“ENOUGH!” Sirius shouted once he managed to turn back. “We will answer your questions once we are settled in. We are in the front hall, please allow everyone to at least come inside before you attack.
We are going to go drop off a few things in our rooms and we will meet everyone in the kitchen when we are ready to talk. And when we do talk you will not be screaming over each other or so help me… We just won’t tell any of you a bloody thing.”
While Sirius was telling everyone off Fred and George had grabbed Harry and started pushing their way through the crowd of people, hexing anyone that tried to stop them. This resulted in more than a few people being changed colours and dancing away thanks to the dancing legs jinx.
They all went upstairs and took a few minutes to catch their breaths before they trudged downstairs. There was no way to get out of it and they knew it. But thankfully when they arrived in the kitchen Molly had used her temper for good and everyone was sitting quietly at the table.
The five of them spent the next 2 hours calmly explaining what they had done and seen. By the time they finished answering most of the questions Bill, Arthur, and Kingsley had arrived after finishing work.
“So who all was there?” Arthur questioned.
They all shared looks, but Bill decided to speak. He explained about the different people who had gone, but then he hesitated for a moment before plowing forward with true Gryffindor courage. “… And the Ministry representative that was keeping track of everything was… Percy.”
Molly let out a choked little sob while Arthur stopped reaching for his cup of tea. Arthur knew that if he picked it up he would either break the cup, spill the tea on himself, or both.
“And how is he?” Arthur questioned in a restrained voice.
“Conflicted.” Bill told them. “He was at Harry’s trial and saw everything. I think the idea that someone he works with tried to kill Harry is really messing with his world view. His blinders are off, and he’s trying to figure out what’s really going on. We talked a bit and he might come and talk to you at work.”
“He’s coming home!” Molly squealed.
“I didn’t say that.” Bill told his mother. “He is conflicted about the Ministry, but he is still an adult and has his own place. He told me that while he can acknowledge he was mean, he still doesn’t believe the same things as you do. Percy has always been ambitious, he isn’t going to change that now. I think he will be more willing to talk with you, but you can’t force him to just blindly agree with everything you say.”
Arthur nodded, pleased Percy was starting to think for himself and he could accept their opinions were different. He had had enough talks with Bill to understand that his children weren’t just going to agree with everything he, their mother, or the Headmaster said. Even he had been questioning certain things lately.
“He needs to come home.” Molly announced, she missed her little boy. “Once he comes home we can show him the truth.
“Mum, you need to back off. You can’t dictate Percy’s life anymore than you can dictate mine. If you start trying to force your views on him he will just pull away again.” Bill told her. “Plus, we aren’t at home. If Percy were to go home, he would be at an empty house.”
Molly harrumphed, she didn’t like when her children disagreed with her, she was their mother, they were supposed to listen to her. It still broke her heart that her three eldest had left home, and she knew Fred and George were going to foolishly follow in their footsteps at the end of the next school year. Yes, Bill had come home when needed, and Charlie was helping them make international allies, but it still wasn't right, they should have stayed close to home so she could keep an eye on them and introduce them to appropriate girls.
After that talk turned away from the touchy subject of Percy and the family drama.
After dinner Harry, Sirius, Remus, and Bill requested to see Mr. and Mrs. Weasley in one of the cleaner drawing rooms.
“What is it you wished to talk about Harry dear?” Molly questioned as she and Arthur took their seats.
“When we went down to the Chamber today we brought some goblins with us. They’re going to harvest the basilisk and sell it for me. Apparently since I killed it I own it. I decided to share the profits with all those who were effected by what happened. Since Ron and Ginny, were both involved in that mess I decided to give your family a cut.” Harry told them slightly embarrassed, he always felt uncomfortable talking about money.
“Harry dear, there really is no need for that.” Molly smiled at the boys kindness. “Besides, I know your dad had a decent job and left you a bit of money to get you started, but you are going to need to make sure you have enough to help support yourself after school before you get a job.”
“Mrs. Weasley, have you ever heard of Sleekeazy's Hair Potion?” Harry questioned.
“Of course dear.” Molly ran a hand over her own hair. “It’s one of the most popular hair care products in the world.”
“It was invented by my grandfather. My dad worked because he wanted to, not because he had too. My grandfather patented everything he created. The vault I have right now is just the trust my parents set up for me when I was a baby. Once I come of age I’ll have access to the family vaults. While I plan to find a job after school, I don’t need too.
The money from the basilisk isn’t of interest to me. That’s why I decided to share it with those that were hurt that year. Bill has all the information about the vault the goblins have set up for you. I just wanted to be the one to tell you about it so you knew it was my idea. No one made me do anything I didn’t want to. Bill and Remus helped me to negotiate the deal to make sure I wasn't taken advantage of.” Harry assured them before he excused himself and left quickly.
“So what kind of information is it you have for us Bill?” Arthur asked in a bemused voice after the door had closed.
Bill pulled out the paperwork to explain things to his parents. Since he knew what they were like with money, and knew that both Ron and Ginny were the same, Bill had gotten Harry to agree to certain arrangements for the money going to his family.
The money would be going into a family account. The main vault was in his parents names. But there were also smaller side vaults for each of the kids that were cumulative. It would be up to their parents to determine how much money they received each month similar to an allowance. It would allow them to add money each month, if they wanted too, allowing the amount in the vault to build up rather than the self refilling vaults that refilled to the same amount regardless of how much had been in it before.
He also made sure to emphasize that they needed to be responsible with the money. Ron and Ginny needed to learn how to properly manage money so they were going to need to lead by example. If they, as adults, couldn’t be fiscally responsible, then they couldn’t expect the children to be.
At breakfast the next morning the Prophet brought some interesting news. After leaving the Chamber of Secrets Madam Bones had gone to an emergency meeting of the school board, and she had brought reporters with her to make sure everyone knew what had been going on.
She made sure to bring out how they had been refusing to authorize the funds to maintain the wards and as such the children had been endangered, and in some cases almost killed. Then she brought up that the wards were legally required to alert the DMLE if any illegal spell was cast but due to their negligence that ward was no longer in effect. It was because of that reason that a convicted Death Eater was able to gain access to the school and cast the imperious curse on almost every single student.
Because the children were cursed because the school governors had not done their jobs, she was requiring the school board be the ones to pay to have every single student, and former student in the case of the former seventh years, be checked to make sure there was nothing else done to them. The governors had tried to refuse, but Amelia had just waved the reporters forward so that they could explain to the public why they felt it was acceptable to endanger children. That had been enough for them to approve the funding.
Even better in the case of the school, since the governors had violated the school charter by not maintaining the wards, it had triggered a full audit. The goblins were already starting to look into why Hogwarts had one of the highest tuitions in the magical world yet that money wasn't being spent on education. It was brought up how Madam Pomfrey and Severus Snape were paying for the ingredients needed to make medical potions, and that Snape was doing the brewing on his own time since the governors wouldn’t approve funding to fully stock the medical wing. She also mentioned how Pomona Sprout was growing as much of the ingredients as she could to help them and that Mrs. Pince often paid for new books for the library on her own.
From reading the reactions of the governors it was clear they had something to hide. None of them wanted an audit done. Everyone around the table, and they suspected most in the magical world, had their suspicions that the audit was going to show that many, if not all, of the governors had been embezzling funds.
As breakfast finished Bill stood up. “Hermione, I’m going to be stopping by your parents place this afternoon. Do you want me to stop by and pick you up so you can come with me?”
“Why are you going to see my parents?” Hermione asked in confusion.
Bill glanced to Harry and Harry nodded his approval. “Harry is having the basilisk harvested. He decided to share the profits with everyone who was effected by it. I was assigned to explain things to everyone getting something.”
Hermione was still confused. “But why would you need to talk to my parents about it?”
“The laws restrict how much money an underage child can be given.” Bill told her. “Only a direct family member can give a child any large amount of galleons. So, I could give Ron or Ginny as many galleons as I wanted, but I would be restricted in how much I could give you or Harry. The Ministry claimed it was to protect children from being taken advantage of or some such nonsense since it would stop people from bribing them. It’s why Ron and Ginny’s share of the money is going to be handled by mum and dad.”
“Don’t even start you two.” Molly snapped at Ron and Ginny who were both starting to go red in the face as they reacted to their parents being in charge of the money they thought should be theirs alone. “The law is the law. Bill will be setting up vaults for you and we will be giving you what we feel you can handle. I won’t be having you waste every last knut and then whining about how you don’t have any money. You are going to learn responsibility if it is the last thing I do.”
Ron and Ginny just grumbled petulantly, but knew they weren’t going to win that argument.
Bill had a full day. He first went and spoke with Filch.
The man had been suspicious at first, but after seeing the goblin seal he knew it was the truth. He was almost… happy. Filch just cuddled Mrs. Norris in his arms as Bill finished explaining things to him. Bill thought it was a bit odd, but even with the money the man still planned to stay at the school. Filch had said that he wasn't going to risk letting the little cretins destroy the castle as he was sure would happen if he left. The money just meant that he would be able to buy Mrs. Norris better food and a new plush bed.
His next stop had been to see Penelope Clearwater. Life had not been going Penny’s way since her graduation. She had finished second in her year, but her plans of working at the Ministry were destroyed. Even with her grades being as good as they were, she was still a muggle-born, and that meant there was little to no chance for her to get a good job there. According to the placement officer she had spoken with the best she would be able to get was clerical work or maintenance, and that would only be if she spent years working her way up.
That was how the former head girl ended up stocking shelves at Flourish and Blotts. She had decided the best thing for her would be to leave the country and possibly attend a magical university somewhere else, but that took money. While her family was willing to help her out, none of them had that kind of money.
When Bill explained everything to her she was thrilled. That money was her ticket to the life she had always wanted. After going to the bank during her lunch break she informed her boss at the bookstore that she would work the rest of the week, but after that she was done. That evening she was going to go over the university application forms she had collected and apply. Hopefully she would be out of the backwards world that was Britains magical society by the end of the summer.
From there he went back to Grimmauld and collected Hermione to go and speak with her parents. Both of the elder Grangers were pleased that their daughter would have a sizeable vault that would ensure she had a good life in the magical world.
He also went and spoke with the family of Justin Finch-Fletchley. They were a well-off muggle family. Like the Grangers they were just pleased their son would have a financial safety net in the magical world.
The last visit of the day was to the first human victim, Colin Creevey.
Colin was sitting in the living room helping his younger brother with his charms homework. He could hear his parents whispering in the kitchen, but was pretending not too, he knew Dennis was doing the same.
His parents were once again discussing money. It wasn't that they were destitute, but they also weren’t well off. And Colin knew that paying for his and Dennis’s schooling put a real strain on what little money they had.
Their regular day was interrupted when someone arrived at the front door. It was Colin that opened the door. “You look like a Weasley.”
Bill smiled at the young boy he knew was the same age as his sister. “Good eye. I’m the eldest of the Weasley boys, Bill. I was hoping I could speak with your parents.”
Colin led the man into the kitchen and introduced him to his parents.
“What is it that we can do for you today Mr. Weasley?” Mr. Creevey asked.
“I guess I should start with asking you about how much Colin has told you about his first year?” Bill said cautiously, not wanting to tell them anything Colin didn’t want them to know.
“I told them everything.” Colin said. “About how I was petrified. How Harry Potter went down into the Chamber of Secrets and rescued your little sister after she was kidnapped.”
Bill nodded. “Ok, what you might not have been told, since the teachers actually managed to keep things relatively quiet, was that the creature that attacked you was a basilisk. Normally, they can kill with just a look, but since you saw it through your camera lens you were protected from the worst of it.
When Harry went down into the Chamber to get Ginny, he had to kill the basilisk. Since he killed it, he has the right of conquest, basically, he owns it. And this summer, he got in touch with the goblins about harvesting it. That’s where I come in, I work at Gringotts. Harry has decided to share the profits from the basilisk with those that were hurt that year, as well as the school itself. I am here to make the arrangements for setting up the account for your family.”
“A family account?” Mrs. Creevey asked. “If Mr. Potter is giving it to those who were hurt wouldn’t it just go to Colin?”
“No. In our world it is illegal to give an underage child large amounts of money if you aren’t a blood relative. The Ministry says it's to stop children from being convinced to do anything they shouldn’t, but mostly it's about taxes since the Ministry can’t tax any money in the possession of a child.” Bill smiled. “Because of that the money will need to be passed through you before Colin comes of age. It’s just made a bit more complicated since you’re both muggles and muggles are barred from having a bank account in Gringotts.”
“If we can’t have an account in your world, then how are we supposed to get the money?” Mr. Creevey questioned thoughtfully. “I’m assuming the money will be your type, so it isn’t like we can just put it in our muggle account.”
“Actually, that is exactly what is going to b done. Gringotts has a contract with the Bank of England. There is already an account set up, I just need you to sign some paperwork and then it will be transferred into your name.” Bill told them as he laid out the paperwork.
The Creevey’s went over the paperwork and signed where indicated.
“I have a question.” Mrs. Creevey said after she finished signing. “There is no amount listed. Will it be enough to cover the boys schooling?”
Bill chuckled slightly. “Oh yes. As it is right now the goblins are planning on slowly selling the basilisk off over the next 50 years.”
“Why so long?” Dennis questioned.
“Because basilisk parts are rare, and because of that the price is high. If they sold everything at once they would flood the market and the price would drop, and no goblin would want that. Goblins are all about making a profit, and they are also getting paid a percentage as compensation for doing the harvesting and arranging the sale.
As it is right now, Colin is going to be receiving 10% of the profits. The current valuation of everything is a quarter billion galleons.” Bill saw everyones eyes go huge. “Yeah, I know. Since the sales will be over an extended period of time the money will be deposited in the account each month as sales are made. It works out to about 50,000 galleons a year. And, the harvesting and sales have already started, so the first deposit should be made within the next week or so.”
“I… I… That’s INSANE!” Colin forced out.
Bill laughed. “Yes, it is a rather large amount of money. Trust me, you aren’t the first person to react that way today. Although, I do have a bit of bad news.”
“What is it?” Colin asked.
“Despite getting his own share for the attack on Mrs. Norris, Filch has decided to keep working at Hogwarts.” Bill laughed with both the young boys who knew what the old caretaker was like.
With everything that had happened time moved fast. Soon enough it was only a week before school started. One night, while they were all sitting down to dinner after an Order meeting Hermione turned to Harry.
“Harry, I’m going to need your summer assignments. I do hope you have bothered to do them, or else you are going to have to sit with me in the library so I can help you.”
“And just why would you need Mr. Potter’s assignments Ms. Granger?” Severus said in a cold tone.
“So I can go over and correct his mistakes.” Hermione told him. “There is nothing in Hogwarts: A History that says I can’t.”
“I’m fine Hermione.” Harry said before Snape could speak.
“Really Harry, just bring me your assignments.” Hermione huffed. “You better have actually done them. I’m not going to keep helping you if you’re not going to even make an effort. It’s our OWLs this year, I’m not going to have time to do yours and Ron’s work along with my own.”
“Hermione, I have never needed you to do my work for me.” Harry’s voice had gone frosty. “As for my summer assignments, yes, they are done. I did them during that month were I was left alone with nothing better to do while you were here. As for me giving them to you so you can go over them, no thank you. It’s time I start relying on myself. I know that being able to explain the theory behind the banishing charm isn’t going to help me against Voldemort, but like with the trial, you knowing things and just telling me what you think I should know won’t help me either.”
Hermione just looked at him open mouthed. It was Mrs. Weasley that responded.
“Really Harry dear, you aren’t in any danger at Hogwarts. There is no need for you to be afraid of You-Know-Who.”
Harry gave her a blank look. “Really, Hogwarts is safe? Since when? Was it when we were being taught by a possessed professor while there was a giant cerberus in the school? Or was it when the basilisk was allowed to explore the school as it pleased and protections were only put in place after the fourth attack, while we had a defence professor that was a complete and utter fraud that attacked Ron and I? Or are you referring to our third year when we were surrounded by dementors that repeatedly attacked students and the staff, as usual, did nothing to stop it from happening again? And do we really need to go into last year. I all but begged for help, but again, the professors were just too caught up in whatever nonsense it is they do to actually care that an underage student was being forced into a deadly tournament while being constantly harassed and bullied by other students.
I was once told Hogwarts was the safest place, but to be honest, now that I’ve actually been there, I think it just might be one of the least safe places.” Getting up, Harry left the room.
“Really, it isn’t that bad.” Minerva muttered.
“Yeah, it kinda is.”
“Every year since Harry started he’s nearly been killed.”
“And no one on staff has ever done anything to protect him.”
“Or any of us for that matter.” Fred and George announced.
“They are right Minerva.” Remus spoke up. “Not to mention the bullying. I taught there for a year remember? You guys have a serious bullying problem but choose to do nothing about it. You even canceled detentions and point losses I had assigned for bullying saying the kids needed to work it out themselves. Not that it ever worked like that, instead the students just resorted to attacking each other since they knew those like you wouldn’t stop them.”
“Yeah, we served more detention for redecorating the charms hall…”
“Than Eddie Carmichael, that Ravenclaw the year above us, did for using a blasting hex on that first year Slytherin, Laura Higgs.”
"In our third year." Fred and George spoke up again.
“To be fair, I did recommend suspension to the Headmaster, but was over-ruled.” Severus sneered. “The Headmaster assured me that it was all a misunderstanding for a 14 year old to attempt to murder an 11 year old. And that he felt a week of detention was more than enough to remind the boy that attempted murder is wrong. And so far, he has only attacked another 3 students so I’m sure he understood just how the Headmaster feels about violence and unprovoked attacks.”
Minerva huffed as she gave her co-worker the side-eye. While she didn’t always agree with the Headmaster about his policies, the man deserved their respect. But she couldn’t really deny that Carmichael was a problem student, it was just that his father was a very important member of the Ministry and they didn’t want to have him angry with them.
“But how is Harry going to pass his assignments?” Hermione brought the attention back to herself. She really was confused by Harry’s refusal to allow her to fix his assignments.
It was the day after that that the book lists arrived. They had been delayed with everything going on with the schools governors plus the fact that Dumbledore hadn’t been able to find a DADA professor and the Ministry had chosen to assign one.
Harry wished that he could be surprised by the fact that Ron and Hermione got the prefect badges, but he really wasn’t. It wasn't that he wasn't happy for his friends, but he didn’t really think they were the best people for the job.
Ron was well known for his temper and prejudice against Slytherins, Harry had no doubt the other boy would use it to target others in that house, he would also probably go after any member of the rival quidditch teams. His grades were only passible and he had never shown any real signs of being a leader. And that was before considering the amount of point loss and detentions Ron got each year. If anything, Harry thought Dean would have been a better prefect.
And while Hermione had better grades then Ron she had also lost her fair share of points and had almost as many detentions. Hermione wasn't really any better at controlling her temper and often hit people when they disagreed with her. She cared more about the rules, but never seemed to act like they should apply to her like they did everyone else. The other girls in their year, Lily Moon and Fey Dunbar would have been better choices in Harry’s opinion. He knew this was just going to make Hermione more unpopular with the other students which in turn would make her more defensive and more prone to hitting or yelling.
From Harry’s perspective the two had gotten the badges because they blindly followed the Headmaster and never questioned him. But in the end he couldn’t bring himself to bring them down. Ron and Hermione were both just so happy that Harry chose to keep his opinion to himself.
Harry wasn't the only one swallowing back their opinions as everyone congratulated Ron and Hermione. Sirius and Remus both knew that Albus had done this because the two had agreed to ignore Harry for the first month of the summer. Fred and George both knew this was just going to cause more problems as it would make the two that much more pompous and self important. And Severus, who had stopped by to check in, knew he was going to have to keep track of the points the two took to ensure they weren’t abusing their position.
That night Harry, Sirius, and Remus had all talked about it. Harry assured them that he wasn't hurt that he was passed over. While he didn’t agree with McGonagall and Dumbledore’s choices, he was still happy for his friends. He also thought that would give him more of an excuse to build stronger relationships with the other students in his house and year since Ron and Hermione would often be busy.