Chapter 1: Drop On By
*****Drop On By*****
Harry found himself sitting in what looked to be a waiting room. It was tastefully done, like the American lawyer shows his aunt Petunia watched all the time. When the receptionist; a very pretty dark haired young lady, who looked only a little older than Harry’s own 17 years; called his name…she squeaked. Pressing the intercom she asked her boss to please come to the front office.
As all this was taking place Harry was busy trying to figure out where he was and how he’d gotten here. He looked up as a pretty blonde, in her mid twenties, came storming out of the inner office. She was so pretty it took Harry several moments to realize that she was yelling at him. “Harry James POTTER! What the frilly heck are you doing back here young man? Are you trying to get me fired? Do you have any clue what you have done?”
Harry looked at the virago with a dazed expression on his face. She reminded him of Hermione for some reason. “Umm Ma’am, I’m not even sure where here is, much less what I am doing here. Even more who are you and how does everybody know my name…is this Cheers?”
“No this isn’t Cheers. This is the friggin afterlife.” The blonde answered back. Seeing the abject horror and confusion on Harry’s face she calmed down quite a bit. “Come I’ll explain everything to you.” As she ushered Harry into her office she looked back at her assistant. “Katie, check and make sure that all caveats are in place and draw up a Form MRM3368 for Mr. Potter, and get Ms. McEntire down here for the ok. I believe we will be ready for that in an hour. “
The blonde moved into her office. After getting Harry settled in one of the plush microfiber chairs facing her desk, the pretty woman seated herself behind her desk and pulled up his file on her computer. She barely glanced at it however. “Mr. Potter, I am Laura Bell. I am your Death Representation Agent. Apparently you died this evening May 2, 1998 at 11:56 pm, while engaging in yet another confrontation with Thomas Marvolo Riddle. This is your Fifth Unauthorized shuffling off of your mortal coil.” Harry could hear the capitalizations in her voice.
“Excuse me, but unauthorized?” Harry queried. He had been momentarily distracted by the rather immature thought that had been knocking on his mind since she introduced herself. ~My Death is HOT!~
“Yes, UNAUTHORIZED. Death is not random Mr. Potter. You have heard the saying ‘your time to go’. Well today was not your time. Death has a design, a plan for everyone. In your case, it is not only death’s design, but fate’s plan as well. Your ADoD , that is your Approved Day of Death, is not supposed to occur for another One Hundred and Sixty Seven years. During the course of your life, Fate has decreed that you will defeat the Dark Lords Voldemort and Dumbledore. Marry your soul mate, some Granger girl, have 12 children, 76 grandchildren, 246 grandchildren, and well you get the picture.”
“Ummm what?!?” Harry shouted. “Hermione’s my Soul mate! But I love Ginny…and Hermione is with Ron…Dumbledore isn’t a Dark Lord, how can you call Dumbledore a dark lord? And Hermione isn’t my soul mate… I thought I was in love with Ginny. At least I was before? Why aren’t I in love with Ginny anymore? I clearly remember that I was when I was fighting Voldemort.”
Laura Bell rolled her eyes, “yes, I’m sure you were. Amortentia will do that to you. As for Dumbledore, anyone who would put a magical baby anywhere near the Dursley family has earned the title Dark for that action alone. But considering all the other things he’s done in the name of his ‘Greater Good’…well just trust me on this one.” She looked thoughtful. She pressed a button on her phone. “Katie, check with Blake, yes Mr. Shelton, and make sure that one Hermione Jane Granger is still on earth. No, not Jean…Jane. I’m positive. I’m looking at it on the screen.”
Several seconds later Katie called back, “Ms. Bundy, Mr. Shelton says that Hermione Jane Granger is still among the living she is not among the non fated, UnAuthorized Arrivals.”
“Thank you, Katie, we will need that Form MRM3368 soon.” Laura Bell turned her attention back to Harry. “Now Harry, we have several options available to us to remedy your current situation. First we can process you and allow you to move fully into the afterlife. Should you choose this option, you will be able to spend eternity with your parents, and Sirius. However, you would have to understand that choosing this option will cause the unauthorized arrival of roughly a quarter of a million souls within the next 5 years and 2.5 million over the next decade.”
Harry looked at her aghast. “Won’t be taking that option then. How could I rest in peace, when I caused all those deaths? No what’s my next option?”
“The Second option is that you return to your body at the exact moment of your death. Should you choose this option, you have a 79 percent chance of actually succeeding in ending the reign of the Dark Lord Voldemort. However there are roughly 75 non-Fated UAAs currently waiting from that battle. I will tell you that included in that number are Severus Tobias Snape, Frederick Gideon Weasley, Remus John Lupin, and Nymphadora Tonks-Lupin and Colin Vance Creevy. Those people who died in the battle will be fully processed and move fully into the afterlife.” Before Harry could interrupt her, she hurried on. “Beyond that, should you return at this point you will be unable to fulfill one part of your destiny. You will only be able to fulfill one half of the prophecy. Oh yeah that reminds me before I tell you the final option, I will need to tell you the full prophecy not the pieces that Dumbledore shared with you. “
Laura Bell moved her mouse and clicked on an icon in Harry’s file. Trelawney’s prophecy voice floated out of the computer’s speakers.
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lords approaches ... Born to those who have thrice defied one and unknowingly joined the other, born as the seventh month dies. Darkness surrounds one Dark Lord while the other hides in the brightest of lights. And one Dark Lord will mark him as his equal and one Dark Lord shall convince him to become his heir, but he will have power the Dark Lords know not. The hidden Dark Lord has created the other and may cause the chosen to choose the wrong path. And both must die at the hand of the chosen for neither can live while the chosen thrives ... The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lords will be born as the seventh month dies..."
“Now you know. Originally the prophecy clearly told you of Dumbledore as well. However since the prophecy was given to the hidden dark lord himself, and the seer never remembers their own visions…well the correct version is only known to Fate’s agents. However now that you know the full prophecy, you are able to hear the third option.”
“Does this third option not include the death of 50% of the people I know?” Harry grumbled sullenly. It hurt his heart to think of Remus and Tonks being dead and the thought of George and no Fred, well that didn’t even bear thinking about.
“To be honest Mr. Potter, if I weren’t absolutely positive that not only were you going to take the third option, but that you were going to be taking it for all the best of reasons, I would not be offering it to you. “ Laura assured him with a smile. “The third option, Mr. Potter, is for you to return to one of your four previous unauthorized deaths with all your memories intact. That would include your memories of the subsequent years as well as this meeting. This option is still pursuant upon the approval of my supervisor; however, you do meet all three criteria. You have had five UAAs, your soul mate is left behind by your death. You have not been technically at fault for any of your UAAs, though stupidity was a factor in at least one of them if you ask me.”
Harry looked sheepish…he assumed that maybe he’d died that time he accidentally apparated onto the school roof running from Dudley’s gang. “Sorry.”
“Never you mind. “ Before Laura Bell could continue an older petite redhead entered the room. Harry quickly decided that she looked like what a pixie must look like…well without wings and human sized.
“Good evening Harry, I am Reba. I am Laura Bell’s Supervising Agent and I will be making the ultimate decision concerning your return.” Harry couldn’t help smiling at her. While Laura Bell’s voice, brought to mind that old movie Aunt Petunia watched every fall, Gone with the something…from his Cupboard, Harry had never seen the rest of the title. Reba’s voice made Harry think of the westerns Uncle Vernon sometimes watched. “First of all why do you feel that the third option should be extended to you?”
“Well Ms. McEntire,” Harry began. The older woman can call him by his first name, but he was not comfortable doing the same. He remembered the name Laura Bell had said to Katie before the meeting started, he was glad he remembered her last name. “I want to save all the lives I can. My mom and dad died because of me, Cedric and Sirius too. I don’t want anyone else to die before their time because of me. If this will make it so I can save them, so I can make sure that Mr. and Mrs. Weasley never lose a son, and that Teddy can grow up with his parents, I’ll do whatever I need to do to make sure that can happen.”
“Very good answer, Harry. It is ok that I call you Harry…I am Lily’s DRA and have often watched your progress with her. You should understand young man that your mother and father did not die BECAUSE of you…they died FOR you. They were happy to do so if it meant that you would grow up and live to the ripe old age that was meant for you. They died because Tom Riddle the Second is a coward and a bastard. They both love you very much, and when you get here in 170 years, I’m very sure that they will make sure that you truly understand that. Sirius, he willingly went to the Ministry to save you just as you were willing to do for him. So please stop blaming yourself for their deaths, because hearing you say that hurts them. It diminishes their depth of feeling for you and every time you say it, Lily and James come up with a new and more inventive way to torture Vernon, Petunia and Marge Dursley.”
Harry gave Reba and Laura Bell a smile. The way Reba said that, he was finally starting to realize that by believing the Dursleys when they called him worthless gave them far more power than they deserved. “So, ummm, what do I need to do be able to go back and know everything I need to know to make sure that everyone lives?”
“You have a few choices as to when you can go back to. Laura Bell, please explain the situation to Harry so that he can make an informed decision. Harry I have decided to ok the Form MRM3368. You will be returned with your memories intact. You however be tasked with several assignments that you NEED to complete. Should you not complete them, you will not like what happens when you return to this office. I do have one request from your mother. She would like it if you would do better in school. Since she is my friend, I will add it to your list of need tasks. You should try to bring Mr. Weasley up to your level, not wallow in the muck with him.”
As she left, Harry could almost feel the authority in the room transfer back to Laura Bell. “Please, Ms. McEntire. Tell my parents, all 3 of them, that I love them. And I’ll try my best to make them proud.”
The pixie pretty older woman became beautiful as she gave Harry a big smile filled with some pride of her own. “You already do, Harry, you already do…well except your crappy grades.”
Harry turned back to Laura Bell and his happy smile touched her heart. “Alright Mr. Potter. First I’ll need to explain to you each of your previous UAAs so that you can decide which one you will return to. Based on the decision you make there, I will explain to you exactly what your assignments will be and please remember that Mr. Snape is on your side, as you found out earlier.
“Your first UAA occurred at age five. Your first form teacher recommended that you be skipped ahead a grade, and your cousin be held back. Your Uncle beat you to unconsciousness, and then threw you into the cupboard under the stairs. You died from your injuries during the night. We returned you six minutes later. Albus Dumbledore came and healed you and obliviated you.
“Your second UAA occurred at age 11. Your Uncle decided that you were going to Hogwarts over your own dead body. He drowned you in the channel on your way to that hut. We returned you; Hagrid came and took you to London…scaring a bit of sense into Vernon Dursley as well.
“Your next UAA occurred at age 13. One Draco Abraxas Malfoy hit you with an AK in the back as you were heading to Hagrid’s home. He was aiming for your soul mate, who had just knocked him on his ass.
“Your next UAA occurred at age 16. One Ginerva Molly Weasley gave you Amortentia keyed to herself, and she combined it with an aversion potion keyed to your soul mate. Those two potions should never be given at the same time.
“And tonight is your final UAA. Should you return and not fulfill your destiny, you will not be given a sixth chance.” Laura Bell said sternly.
Harry’s head was spinning. He could believe the deaths caused by Vernon and Draco…the fact that Ginny had been dosing him with potions it rankled more than he could say.
“Ok, well five is too little…I can’t see how I can do much at that age. I suppose eleven might work…but I think that it might be best to go back to third year. Can you tell me what I need to get accomplished before I make the final decision?” Harry asked wisely.
Laura Bell couldn’t hold back a large grin at Harry’s wise choice. “Ok. Well let’s run down the list.” She brought up a new screen on her computer. “We’ll start with the one you already know. 1) Improve your school performance. Your future will be much better if you do so. 2) On you fourteenth birthday claim your full inheritance. You can even be emancipated if you are stuck at the Dursleys. 3) Create and cement your soul bond as EARLY as possible. You can create it with a kiss…and each interaction and sustained physical contact with your soul mate strengthens it. If you can manage to take a few naps together in your undies that will definitely help. 4) Free Sirius Black/Catch Peter Pettigrew. That one needs no explanation. 5) Work with Neville Longbottom earlier. This one is mainly for his benefit, and to give you a bit of real back up in the fight with Voldemort…while he marked you as his equal, Neville is the next best chance at defeating him. 6) Take down Dumbledore, number 2 will help you find the tools you need, to start with. 7) Your father would like you to try to make peace between Snape, Remus and Sirius. And last but never least STOP VOLDEMORT!!!!! Preferably without all the deaths. We really hate getting UAAs that we cannot send back. Especially the young ones.”
Harry felt like he was in Potion’s class. He knew he’d never remember all that. “Umm help…how am I to remember all that?”
“Well, you will have help when you return, you will be without all the very immoral, and highly illegal bindings Dumbledore put on you in the 24 hours between your parents death and your arrival at Number 4 Privet Drive. And the ones he put in place after your first UAA. These inhibited your magical core, your memory and retention, your personality development, even your physical development. Even with the malnourishment, you should stand neck and neck with Dudley. Your father was half a foot taller than Vernon… but Dumbledore feared that would not be cowed enough if you could look even Dudley in the eye. “
Harry swore under his breath…”What else do I need to know to do this right?”
“WELL… let me see. Do not trust Molly or Ginny Weasley. They are both working hand in hand with Dumbledore. They will steal from you and Ginny had planned on getting knocked up and forcing you to marry her, and she wasn’t planning on being too particular that the child be yours. You can trust McGonagall to a certain extent. She actually does really care about you but she is too caught up in the mythos of Albus Dumbledore. Also Ronald Weasley, he can be a friend, he can also be petty, selfish, and completely assholey. But neither he nor any of the male Weasleys are in on Molly and Ginny’s plans. They are far too honorable and care too much about you for that. Oh and never forget you own Ginny. She owes you a life debt, and since she has been plotting against you since the summer before her second year, you could turn her into the Hogwarts broom, and she could only say yes master.” Laura Bell growled.
“I get the feeling that you really don’t like Ginny.” Harry said cheekily.
“She is a fan-girl, a groupy, only she is so spoiled that she firmly believes that you are hers. Only she doesn’t really want the real you, no like any fan-girl she wants to clutch onto your fame, and your wealth. She has seen the Book of Souls behind that door in the Department of Ministries. She managed to convince Arthur to take her when she was 8. She knows that she isn’t your soul mate, and she knows from your name even being in the book that you have one. But it simply doesn’t matter to her. I don’t like the things she does; I don’t like the fact that you can’t even say maybe she is being controlled by Riddle from the Diary. He had pulled all of himself out of her before you even knew a girl had been taken into the Chamber. Oh yeah…that basilisk is still down there and worth like three fortunes.”
They spent another long while debating the pros and cons of the different return points. Finally Harry decided to go with his original instinct. He would be returning to that May day when he found out that his godfather loved him enough to escape hell, just to protect him. “Ok so what can I not do?” Harry asked as they were winding down.
“Well you cannot tell anyone about this, you have two exceptions so use them wisely. I should mention that you will probably want to make Hermione one of those exceptions. You will have monthly check-ins. Usually it will be myself or Katie…you’ll know you’ve been a bad, bad boy if you see Ms. McEntire. These check-ins will happen in your sleep so you don’t have to worry about finding a hidden place for them or anything. One of the deaths in your past was not a UAA. I know you want to know who, but unfortunately I can’t tell you that. You will know for yourself when the time comes.” Laura Bell said comfortingly. “Not everyone’s time on earth is meant to be long.”
Harry could only sigh and contemplate her words as he signed and initialed the appropriate places on the Form MRM3368. He chuckled to himself however when he tried to figure out what the letters stood for.
After all the paperwork was finished, Laura Bell led Harry out and introduced him to a few other DRAs. Namely Mr. Shelton or Blake as he directed Harry to call him. The tall dark haired man was Hermione’s agent and he had some interesting requests for Harry. “Please, please don’t give up on trying to teach her to have fun, and show her that she is beautiful. Primary school left some deep wounds…help her heal them. And for God’s sake learn some potion detection charms and use them frequently on your food and hers.”
She also introduced him to Sirius’s DRA. Ms. Lambert. Miranda was a petite blonde who managed to seem beautiful and yet rather dangerous at the same time. Her figure reminded Harry of Hermione; a bit thicker than conventionally accepted as beautiful anymore; but very sexy none the less, curvy and feminine, yet strong. “Look, kiddo, if you manage to keep the old dog alive, please find him a woman. Nothing makes a man want to keep living like a good old fashion roll in the hay. Getting laid will help him get his equilibrium back.”
Harry couldn’t hold back his laughter. He was chuckling to himself the whole way to the Lab Laura Bell took him to. There he met Luke and Keith. The two of them worked their Magic on Harry. It seemed like they had barely gotten started before they stopped swearing. “Harry, your core was bound in stages. Bound 50 percent at age 15 months, and bumped up to 80 percent at age five. But this actually may work in your favor.” Keith told him after the diagnostics had be completed. “Since your core was still in its development at that time, it seems to have used the bindings like weight lifters use resistance. You now seem to have probably the strongest core since Merlin.”
It struck Harry that Keith’s accent reminded him more of home than any of the others. Shaking the distracting thought off, Harry asked, “Ok, what does that mean to me?”
The two lab tech exchanged a strange look. “It means that you can do more magic longer than those around you without getting tired. Luke explained.
“Oh, ok, that’ll be great.” Harry smiled.
Again the dark haired lab guy exchanged a look with his blond counterpart. “We have got to do his memory and cognition blocks next.” Luke looked at the readings coming off Harry now and cussed as only a country boy can. “Son of a one eye, gap toothed, big-tittied BITCH! That old bastard locked down 65 percent of his cognitive ability, and almost 75 percent of his memory. No wonder he can’t retain or figure out shit.”
Keith came over and looked over the figures. “Harry, mate, you should be functionally retarded with these in place.”
After the blocks were removed Harry felt completely different. He actually felt like maybe, just maybe it made some sort of sense that Hermione could be his soul mate after all. Before he’d felt like he was way too dumb and shallow for Hermione. He didn’t even feel worthy to be her friend yet alone more, but maybe now, well now he was smart enough to realize that he wasn’t on her level, but he was kilometers closer than Ron.
Luke and Keith finished removing all the blocks including the one stunting his growth. When they finished he was returned to Laura Bell’s care. She looked him up and down, “Well Granger will still be able to think circles around you, but few else will. And nobody will be able to touch you power wise…you might actually make it this time around. Ms. McEntire wants me to tell you to learn occlumency and help your soul mate learn it as well. OH and Blake says to tell you that physical conditioning can only help, so get started on it, all five of you. I included Miss Lovegood since she turned out to be such a good friend.”
“Now you’ll be returned to that moment just after you’d been hit in the back by Malfoy’s AK. You’ll probably stumble, feel a bit like you are coming out of a daydream, Ron and Hermione will never notice.” So saying Laura Bell shoved him into the realm of the living with the words, “Giddy on up, giddy on out.”
Harry felt himself stumble. Ron grabbed him and steadied him. “Thanks.”
Ron shrugged it off saying, “Stupid Malfoy probably threw a tripping hex at us.”
“Well, it didn’t work very well now, did it? I wonder of it is a result of the inbreeding they do to keep their line so ‘pure.’” Hermione groused.
Harry chuckled. He was so very happy he chose to come back here, now. He wouldn’t have to spend even a day before he got to see these two again. He threw a arm around Hermione’s shoulders, “Don’t ever change, Mione. You know may be there is something to that though…I wonder how the quote unquote purebloods measure against the half and muggle borns on the OWLs and NEWTs.
The friends chatted on the topic until they reached Hagrid’s house. Harry thought about the changes he needed to make to the way things happened that night. He knew one thing this time Sirius would finish this night with his freedom, and his name cleared.
Chapter 2: Back There Again
*****Back There Again*****
As they walked, chatting lightly, Harry’s mind was busy trying to calculate the best way to handle this redo. He knew that his first goal was to keep Pettigrew from escaping and thereby clearing Sirius’s name. That meant that he needed to make sure that he managed to find Scabbers before the night of the full moon, and get him turned in to Madame Bones. The second plan would be to make sure that Remus was fully potioned that night. Baring that, the third option meant that they had to get Snape on their side.
How to get Snape to actually help them at this point? That’s something he’d have to think about. But if Snape heard the whole thing, then he would want to make sure that Pettigrew paid as well. After all he was a Marauder as well. Harry would just have to figure out some way to keep Snape from completely loosing the plot that night. The first time, Snape went round the twist almost as soon as he pulled off the cloak.
The cloak, Harry decided then and there that he was going to have to put a bug in Hermione’s ear as soon as he could so she could make another bag, maybe one that would call the cloak back into it every time he took it off.
Harry shook himself out of his contemplations as they reached Hagrid’s Hut. After a nice visit, where they learned about Buckbeak’s fate and the fact that they needed to mount an appeal. Eventually they made it back to the castle and to charms. Since he knew about the time turner this go round, he made sure to remind Hermione that Malfoy was a total git and to just concentrate on charms. They were bound to learn something new. So Hermione was there with them in Charms, allowing Harry a great opportunity. When Hermione hit Harry with a cheering charm, he let out a chortle and said “I love you Hermione. When we grow up we should get married.” As expected Hermione laughed, assuming that it was an effect of the charm, Ron however gave Harry a look of hurt. Harry knew he’d have to have a conversation with his best mate later, but he’d put his feelings out there first. Now Ron would be the one to have to step back as Harry had done. Hopefully by catching this before the Yule ball Harry would actually end any feeling of Ron’s before they solidified.
They were all still quite cheerful at lunch.
Harry was a bit surprised that Ron actually confronted him about the events of charms that very evening. Hermione went to the library, leaving her two best friends playing chess. Harry actually would have preferred to go with her, but he knew that he couldn’t pull a 180 degree change seemingly overnight. That would not be conducive to keeping the biggest secret ever.
“Is she your best friend? Or me?” Ron said, out of the blue.
“You are my best mate, Ron… but Hermione is different. Look can we just say that I’m putting it out there, I’m calling dibs. You cannot like her as more than a sister. It’s like wizard code I think. If your mate likes a bird, and says it first then you can’t like her too. You don’t do you?” Harry said. He was trying to remember how to act thirteen again. But he really didn’t know if Ron’s feelings had started this early or not.
“Ye gods no.” Ron shuddered. “I mean don’t get me wrong, she is a great mate, always willing to help me not get kicked out of school and all, but she’s bloody scary. You know how she is when she gets mad, and she is always mad at me for something or the other. Ok so maybe I make her mad on purpose sometimes, but that’s just because it’s funny when she realizes that I’ve been winding her up.”
“So, we good now?” Harry inquired.
“Yea, you still suck at wizard’s chess though mate.” Ron replied cheekily. “Check mate. Come on lets go drag your girlfriend back before curfew.”
“Bugger. Don’t call her that.” Harry feigned embarrassment. “I don’t think she will like it that I told you how I felt before I told her.”
“But you had to claim her mate, now didn’t you?” Ron said confused.
“To which she will say, ‘Claim me, Claim me! I am not the drumstick at dinner, nor am I the front seat in a lorry. I am not a possession or toy to be fought over; let alone claimed!’“ Harry mimicked Hermione's lecturing tone with a fond, gentle smile.
“See mate, and that’s why better you than me. You know that kind of thing. Must be a muggle thing. According to mum, witches want to be claimed.”Ron remarked.
“Ummm…Ron, while that might be true of some witches, I’m pretty sure that most witches would hex you for saying something like that. I mean look at Professors McGonagall, or Vector, or Susan’s aunt.” Harry rejoined. There sure were a lot of Molly’s teachings he’s have to undo if he was gonna stay friends with Ron. It’s almost like she was trying to sabotage any future relationship her youngest son might ever have. That thought lead Harry to a quick evaluation of the older Weasley boys. All of them, even Percy chose smart, strong, independent witches. And Mrs. Weasley found fault with each and every one of them.
Technically Ron had chosen such a witch as well, but according to Blake, Ron would not have been satisfied until he’d turned Hermione into a Molly Clone. That was NOT going to happen. No way in hell. Harry shook off his contemplations as they reached the library.
Apparently the long walk had done quite a bit of good. Ron had been doing some thinking of his own. “I was thinking about it, Harry. There is something I don’t understand. Mom has this attitude where she looks down on any witch who works outside the home, but both of my Grandmothers did. At least that’s what Bill says. He said that Grandmother Prewitt was a healer, and Grandmother Weasley was a teacher. She worked at a school for young witches or something. I can’t think of any other witch that stays home like Mum.” Ron related. “About the only witches who stay home are the pureblood set, or those like Diggory’s mum who stayed just until the kids are in school. “ Ron seemed to reach some conclusion. Before Harry could open the library doors, Ron grabbed him and pulled him into one of the alcoves that bracketed the doors.
“Look, I think I get it. Mum wants lots of things. I mean she’s always going on about how we don’t have nice things or enough money, whatever right. But she seems to just want to have them handed to her. If her mum and mother in law both worked, where does she get this ‘Proper Witches don’t work outside their home,” tripe. Harry I think I might be like Mum…no really think about it. Remember what I saw in that funky mirror first year, but my grades are shite. If it weren’t for Hermione, they’d be even lower. How can I be head boy, if I have crap grades, or quidditch caption if I’m not even on the team?”
“So work harder. Look I’ll work harder too. My grades aren’t any better than yours. And we keep hearing how my mom was almost as smart as Mione, I’m betting she would be real disappointed in me.” This changing thing would be loads easier if Ron thought it was his idea. Besides, Ms. McEntire did say to bring Ron up to his level. “Maybe we can even get Hermione to play more often, have a bit more fun if she doesn’t have to do her work, and basically our work too. “Plus I’ll even practice with you so next year you can try out for the house team.”
“Thanks man. This will be great. Hey you think once you get Hermione squared away, she’ll be willing to learn to fly better. We’re gonna need to replace 2 chasers fifth year.” Ron said cheekily.
Neither of us had noticed the library doors open and close, yet alone noticed that Hermione had come out of them, spotted us and joined us. So when she spoke, we almost jumped out of out skins. “I’m sure that I will be too busy studying and revising for OWLs to play quidditch. Though I should probably learn to fly better. After all it is one of two uniquely wizarding means of travel. But what’s this about Harry getting me settled?”
I was not about to tackle that time bomb yet. “Nothing, we were just coming to get you. Figured you might forget curfew if we didn’t.” I smiled at her. It was hard not to try to immediately pounce into a relationship with her. Since I’d found out that She was my soul mate, I’ve been trying to figure out how I could have missed how much she means to me, and has all along. Exactly how thick does one have to be to have a soul mate, meet up with her and still be too stupid to see it?
“And you decided to get me from this alcove when I was clearly not in it?” She said snarkily.
“No, we decided to finish the conversation we were having before we walked into the library and got snapped at by Madame Pince.” Ron groused back.
“That was actually very sensible, Ron. “ Hermione said with a surprised grin.
“Yeah, well, just figured that maybe I should start using my head as more than a hat rest.” The red head blushed even at the faint praise.
The banter continued all the way back to the common room, where the trio separated and headed to bed.
---Dream a Little Dream---
Harry fell asleep contemplating the changes he wanted to make and trying to figure out how to get them made. He slept well, deeply and soon he dreamed.
In the dream, he and Hermione were back in that God forsaken tent and Ron had just left them. However rather than wallow in his own potion induced misery, Harry walked over and without saying a word pulled Hermione into a hug. Harry walked over and, without saying a word, pulled Hermione into a strong hug. He offered her the support and comfort she needed and was granted the same from her.
The dream hug continued to the point that Harry started to notice the sexy fullness of Hermione’s breasts pressed against his chest. His best friend was a comfortably curvaceous armful, unlike his former girlfriend. Harry’s dream shifted from the tent to what looked like a muggle biology classroom.
The Dream professor, who surprisingly enough looked an awful lot like Severus Snape, called in two models. Harry took a second to look around the classroom and saw thirty or so other students who were all different versions of himself. The models entered and every Harry jaw dropped. There at the front of the classroom stood Hermione and Ginny. Both were completely nude with their hair fastened up on top of their heads. Neither spoke, instead Dream Snape lectured.
“As you can see, here we have two young adult females. Subject A is a Brunette with an IQ of 187 and a 4.17 GPA on a scale of 4.0. Subject B is a redhead with an IQ of 112 and a GPA of 3.21 on the 4.0 scale. Both females have magical cores. Subject A has reached 85 percent growth and currently has an Emrys Index of 178 on the common 200 point scale. Subject B has reached 89 percent growth, and had an Emrys Index of 140 on the same scale. Those are the differences in their mental and magical capabilities.” Dream Snape said professionally. “What are the other main categories of evaluation?”
A very intelligent looking Harry stood, “Emotional, Physical, and Potential.” He answered.
“Quite Correct.” Dream Snape said before returning to his lecture. “Subject A is physically age 17, magically age 19, and emotionally age 24. Her emotional age could be higher, but she has an unfortunate tendency to hold a bit too firmly to decisions she has make; even when confronted with contradictory information. Subject B is physically age 16, magically age 19 and emotionally age 7. Her emotional growth has been stunted by a domineering mother and an overly generous father. She has an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. No sense of responsibility for her actions, and she firmly believes that she should get whatever she wants no matter what the cost or who it hurts…simply because she wants it.” Dream Snape paused while all the Harrys expressed their revulsion. Subject B’s disregard for others reminded them all far too much of Cousin Dudley. “Now before we begin, what conclusion can we draw from the available data about the Subjects Magical potential?”
“It would seem that Subject A has the greater potential. Since they are both the same magical age, yet Subject B has a lower Emrys Index, coupled with the fact that she is closer to the end of her core growth period suggests that she will be unable to catch up, let alone surpass Subject A’s magical potential.” The Harry who answered this time looked older and wiser than the other Harrys including the central figure.
“That is exactly right, Mr. Potter.” Dream Snape said proudly. “Now let us begin the physical comparison. Subject A is 5’ 4” tall and will, most likely, grow only another 1 to 2 inches in the next few years as she achieves full physical maturity. Subject B is 5’5” tall and will grow another 4 to 5 inches before she reaches full physical maturity. Subject A’s measurements are currently 36C-26-38. Given genetic markers, she is expected to gain another cup in breast size before reaching full physical maturity, and possibly more with the introduction of the changes inherent in having children. Subject B’s measurements are currently 34A-22-34. Her expectations are too fluid to report. In her case her genetic markers are all over the board, it will be impossible to make a determination with current technology. However should she continue to play quidditch professionally, she will not be able to gain more than 20 pounds over her current weight; any team will expect any weight gain to be muscular in nature.”
“Both subjects have healthy reproductive organs, though Subject B is more desirous of a very large family. Slides.” Dream Snape said loudly. A huge projection screen descended from the ceiling, and a power point presentation began from a projector suspended about 10 feet in front of the screen. “The first slide shows Juliette H. Granger, age 17 on the left and on the right age 44. She is Subject A’s mother. As you can see there has been very little physical drift. She has retained and maintained her figure admirably. Over the last 17 years she has only added 2 inches to her bust, 4 inches to her waist and 3 inches to her hips. Though in her early forties; which is congruent to a witch in her 50’s to 60’s based on her Emrys Index; Juliette is still fit and fertile. She has a BMI of only 21. Juliette is also considered to be something of a vixen and she has passed along her views on human sexuality to her daughter.”
All the Harrys exchanged interested looks. Dream Snape continued in a purely informative fashion. “Juliette Granger is said to have a wicked and naughty sense of humor. Her daughter, and a niece and nephew she helped to raise while still a teen, all have superior to genius level intelligence and above average maturity. Next Slide.” As the next slid came into view, every Harry recognized the picture on the right. It was Molly Prewitt Weasley. “The next slide shows Molly P. Weasley age 46 on the right and age 17 on the left.” All the Harrys were shocked. She looked completely different. “Molly has over the last 19 years added 10 inches to her bust, 12 inches to her waist and 10 inches to her hips. Molly is still capable of producing viable offspring, and given her genetic predispositions, will probably still be fertile well into her late nineties. She is considered over weight with a BMI of 35. Molly has shown herself to be easily led, domineering and has a passable sense of humor. She has also shown a lack of appreciation for the humor of others. She has also passed along her views of what a proper witch does and does not do.
“Now what conclusions can we reach about the Emotional, Physical, and Potential assessment?” Dream Snape asked.
The Harry so spoke this time was wearing Chudley Cannon orange, and eating a turkey leg. “Subject A is Hotter now and will be hotter later!” said frat boy Harry.
“Subject A has the emotional and physical natures that Harrys prefer.” Restated intelligent Harry.
“Subject A has the greater potential for lifelong sexual gratification as well.” Said a Harry that looked to be the most physically mature of the class.
“So what conclusion have we reached today class?” Dream Snape sounded more like Blake than Snape now.
“That we are DEFINITELY keeping Hermione for ourselves.” The Harrys all shouted so loudly, that the Central Harry woke up with a start.
Despite the large amount of homework and the rather annoying strategy sessions with Wood, Harry was truly enjoying this Easter Break. He was also determined to make a bit of progress on his mission. In an effort to get his mission under way and to do so in the least dangerous way he could think of; he went for a visit with his favorite DADA professor.
“Professor, why is it that every time I talk to you, part of me wants to call you Unca’ Moo’y?” Harry asked cautiously.
The smile that crossed Remus’s face was so bright and beatific that it took away all the stress and pain his transformations had written on his features. “Harry, that would be because when you were learning to speak, that’s what you called me. I have told you that I was very best friends with your father and great friends with your mother. Until they went into hiding, I visited with you for several hours every day.”
“Well then who and where is Paddy?” Harry made himself sound excited. “He had black hair too and was almost as tall as my dad, right?”
“Yes, Paddy is Padfoot, His real name is Sirius Black. He betrayed your parents.” Remus said sullenly. His smile long gone.
“No, he didn’t.” Harry said, pushing himself to sound confused.
“What do you mean? He was the secret keeper.” Remus asked perplexed.
“Unca’ Moony…Ever since the train, I’ve seen that night over and over in my dreams. It wasn’t Paddy that came into the room behind Voldemort. Paddy was big like you and Daddy.” Harry allowed his voice to go vague and a bit more childish. “He was short and ratty. I know I know him, and I don’t like him. He’s not fun, not like Moony and Pa’foot. He’s mean and smells funny.”
“Peter…” Remus said with a whoosh. “We had another friend, Peter Pettigrew, you hated him from the second you were born. You weren’t even an hour old when you threw up on him for the first time.” He chuckled a bit. “Until you were mobile, you threw up on him each and every time he held you. Sirius used to have him hold you just to watch you honk up all over Wormtail.”
“Wormtail, a rat?” Harry asked? “What a sec…you said Peter Pettigrew. All that was left was a finger. Rats don’t live that long.” Harry muttered, sounding just like Hermione working out a solution to a problem. “Can I see the map, the one you took from me to save it from Snape?”
Remus reached into his drawer, grabbed the map and activated it. “Holy buggering shite.” There in the same third floor corridor where four first years found Fluffy, the map showed Peter Pettigrew running around. “I’ve got to get Dumbledore.”
“NO!” Harry shouted. When Remus looked at him like he was crazy, Harry explained a bit. “Look I’m not trying to be funny. But wouldn’t Dumbledore have performed that Fidelius they were hiding under? So shouldn’t he have known that Peter was the secret keeper?”
The expletives that left Remus’s mouth in the next few minutes, were varied, vast, and in several languages. But when he finished, something indescribably had shifted. Pulling out his wand he said a variation of Expectro Patronum, and a wolf ran out of his wand. “Find Amelia Bones, she may be in her office in the DMLE, she may be at her home but ask her to get here within the next thirty minutes. Tell her not to even bother trying to communicate with Dumbledore, just to apparate to the gate and come to the DADA classroom.” The wolf left on its mission and Remus turned to the boy he considered his cub. “You know how to stun and petrify right?” at Harry’s nod, he told the lad to follow him.
The duo made their way to the corridor in record time. Remus didn’t say anything. He simply performed the Animae Retourne Spell, on a rat scurrying away from them. As soon as Peter was human again, he nodded at Harry, who stunned and then petrified the rat. A quick incarceration, and disillusionment charm, and they were on their way back to the DADA classroom. When Amelia Bones walked in they were having tea, while Peter was tied to a chair, silenced, and his animangus abilities temporarily bound. He would be unable to transform for 48 to 72 hours.
Harry and Remus laid out how they had discovered the truth of the traitor. Harry, with Remus’s help gave her a copy of the memory that had ‘resurfaced’ of that night so many years ago. “Madame Bones, I have to ask can you please get my godfather cleared before the end of the school year…I doubt I will survive another summer at my uncles.”
“What do you mean you won’t survive?” Amelia gritted out. Her teeth and fists were clenched.
“Well my uncle treats me pretty much like the Malfoys treat their House Elves. I don’t like to talk about it…but last year Fred, George, and Ron had to rescue me. They came and broke the bars my uncle put on the window, and had got me out of the room I was locked in…my first Hogwarts letter came addressed to the cupboard under the stairs. I want out. I want to be able to contact my friends during the summer. I want to not have my owl Hedwig threatened every day. I’m tired of Harry Hunting, and not eating because of some supposed slight.” Harry let the tears he always kept such a tight rein on, run free. He hated to be seen as weak and young, but if it would speed this along, he’d do it with bells on. “I’m tired of broken bones, and belts and hate. Remus says that Sirius and he love me. I want to be with them. I can’t believe that my parents would be happy with how I’ve been brought up. I mean if my mum didn’t even talk to her sister, why would she leave me with her? ”
“I don’t know but I promise you, I will find out. I’d like copies of some of your memories of your life before Hogwarts. I’ll need examples of the things you just mentioned.” She said fiercely. Harry gave her all she requested and then some.
Harry then put together for her many of his memories of things Dumbledore had done that were suspicious; he was careful to keep it limited to things that had occurred in this time line. He advised her to be very careful not to let anyone know that she was starting to look in that direction. Remus sent his wolf off to Snape requesting that he bring Veritaserum to the DADA classroom. Snape arrived very quickly thereafter. The look on his face at the people assembled there was so hilarious to Harry that he was hard pressed to contain his laughter.
“Black isn’t the traitor. He didn’t turn Lily over to the Dark Lord?” Snape said without his trademark sneer.
“Snape, we need to get three Aurors here for this interrogation. But we need to do it without Dumbledore knowing.” Amelia said, cautiously. She was worried on two fronts she knew that Snape was Death Eater; and even worse, apparently, he was Dumbledore’s man.
Severus Snape was currently waging an inner battle. He knew his hatred of Black and Potter was unreasonable at this point of his life. But doing anything to help them went against everything in him. But he looked at the head of the DMLE and knew he had to offer his assistance. “Why must we circumvent the Headmaster?” He sneered.
“Because he isn’t all he says he is. He placed me with Petunia, Snape. I heard that you and my mom were friends from before Hogwarts…would you put a child with Petunia?”
Snape looked gobsmacked. Then he looked angry. “I would not put a crup with Petunia, and I understood from Lily that the man she got engaged to was even worse.” For the first time in three years, Severus Snape allowed himself to remember that Harry was also Lily’s. That in fact he was Lily’s everything. Just as Remus had shifted, something inside Severus experienced a 180 degree shift. Dumbledore had convinced him that Harry was safe and happy, and if anything spoiled. He would never tell him where and really Snape had not been too concerned with finding out where James Potter’s son lived. A double blind is always the best way to hide something. But now this changed everything. He knew Lily would never have left her son with Petunia. In fifth year, Lily had laughed and said that if Petunia had ever had a magical child she would have to steal it so the child wouldn’t be drowned for being ‘unnatural’. He was done following Dumbledore blindly. Far too often it felt like he had just traded one Dark Lord for another.
Shaking off his thoughts, Snape turned to Amelia and asked her to have the Aurors meet him at the gates. Handing the DMLE head the requested Veritaserum, he left and returned in what seemed like a very few minutes, with three Aurors, one of whom was Kingsley Shacklebolt. Harry didn’t immediately recognize the other two. Snape took a seat, and conjured quill and parchment. Harry noted that all three Aurors had quills and parchment. Looking to Remus, Harry took a seat, before one of the adults decided that he needed to leave this to the adults.
Shacklebolt administered the Veritaserum with almost scientific precision. Three drops and thirty seconds later, Pettigrew was finally going to begin to answer for his crimes. Amelia Bones started the questioning. “Who are you?” She asked. She wanted there to be no loophole to his self incrimination.
“My name is Peter Ashford Pettigrew. I have also gone by Wormtail, and most recently by Scabbers.” The criminal’s voice was airy and you could easily see that he was not in any real control of what he said.
“Are you a Death Eater?” Shack asked.
“Yes. I am one of the faithful.” Peter answered.
“Did you become one of your own free will?” asked Amelia.
“Of course, one must take the mark of one’s own free will. The Dark Lord will accept none who are under the imperious. And he must accept you to Mark you as his own.” Peter said.
“What must you do to become receive the Dark Mark?” asked the female Auror. Her voice told Harry her identity. It was Hestia Jones.
“Each person is different. The Dark Lord told me that I had to amuse him, so I captured a muggle girl just entering puberty and I had my way with her at the feet of the Dark Lord, taking her innocence in every way, before I skinned her. I did so with a blade, and she was still alive for quite some time. She was quite delicious. She screamed the most beautiful screams. Several others Death Eaters tell similar stories. Most don’t trust Snape because he only brewed a potion that made the Dark Lord laugh for an hour.” Pettigrew said causing the whole room to look at Severus. Snape blushed. It looked very strange on the pale man.
“How long have you been a Death Eater?” Harry asked.
“I took the mark the summer before Seventh year. Customary Wizarding apparel makes it easy to hide the mark.”
“Why did you turn against your friends?” Remus asked. He was holding a tight rein on his temper, through strength of will alone.
“James caught me forcing a first year to give me a blow job. I had tutored her and she balked at paying her debt. I tried quite a bit of talking to get him to keep it quiet; finally I had to obliviate him. I wasn’t very good at the spell and took too much of his day. He became suspicious, but then he simple let it drop. But it was then that I realized that they weren’t truly my friends. Friends like you no matter what.” Peter reasoned selfishly.
“Did you betray James and Lily Potter to Voldemort?” asked the Auror, Harry finally recognized as Williamson, thoroughly disgusted.
“Yes, though honestly he had my loyalty, so there wasn’t exactly a betrayal.” Peter answered
“How?” Snape snarled.
“I’m still not sure how it was decided that I would become the secret keeper. James and Sirius had come up with this plan. Sirius was to allow everyone to believe that he was the keeper, and I would hide. That way I’d never be in any danger. I was certain that Dumbledore knew I was a spy in the Order. I’d been trying to convince everyone that Remus was the traitor, but no one was buying it. However Dumbledore performed the fidelius spell with that damn twinkle in his eye.” Peter voice was still so airy and nonchalant; it was hard to remember that he was damning himself with every word.
“What happened the night of October 31, 1981?” Harry spoke up.
“My master called me to him. He said that it was time to destroy the Potters. I took him to the apparition point near their home, and gave him the secret. He and I went into the home. I battled James, he was winning, despite my willingness to use the dark arts, James had me. Then my lord killed him. He told me to come along, called me weak and foolish. We went up stairs; Lily was in front of the boy’s crib. She told the Dark Lord not to hurt her child, told him to kill her instead. He told her he would kill them both. So he AKed her and then something went wrong. Something made the killing curse bounce off the boy. The Dark Lord was destroyed by a mudblood and her whelp. I took his wand; knowing that when he came back he would want it. Then I high tailed it out of there. I knew Sirius would come looking for me when the Potters were found. I thought I had more time. When he cornered me I did the only thing I could; deflected the blame onto him, blew up the street, and disappeared.” Peter said matter of factly.
“So Sirius Black is innocent?” Amelia asked.
“Pure as the bloody driven snow. He hated everything his parents stood for. Anything even slightly dark fell firmly into that category.” Peter said. “Oh I have no doubt he would have killed me for what he saw as my betraying our friend James, but he would never have hurt a defenseless muggle.”
“Where have you been for the last thirteen years?” Asked Hestia.
“I have hidden in my animangus form. For a while I was in the sewers in London, then I started trying to find a Wizarding family to take me in. several little boys tried to get their parents to let them keep me as a pet, but only Percy Weasley was successful. Then he passed me to his brother Ron.” Peter answered.
“List all crimes you have knowingly committed, beginning with the misdemeanors and ending with any capital offenses.” Amelia directed. She wanted to get him for each and every crime she could.
Peter spoke for the entire time remaining in the dose of truth serum. His list began with his status as an unregistered animangus and went all the way up through all the deaths of the muggles in London in that alley on All Saints day 1981. The list was long and seemed overly populated with the rape and coercion of underage girls. By the end of the list Remus and Hestia were vomiting in conjured buckets, and even Snape and Shackelbolt were showing signs of needing to conjure their own buckets.
Finally Amelia silenced him, and Shacklebolt picked him up chair and all and headed toward the door. Fate was smiling on them this night. They managed to get Peter out of the school without encountering the Headmaster even once.
Harry woke during the dark hours of the morning of the game with Slytherin, laughing. Though he wasn’t the least bit nervous, he’d had exactly the same dreams as the first time. Including the dream where the Slytherins played on dragons. Quick as a shot he grabbed his glasses and ran to the window. Sure enough there were Crookshanks and Snuffles on the ground outside his window. It caused Harry to smile. He was sure that soon Padfoot would be free.
The game against Slytherin went much the way Harry remembered, from the applause as he entered and left the Great Hall, to the snatching snitch catch. It was a great day made even better by the headline of the special edition of the Daily Prophet that was delivered to the Great Hall at dinner.
MAN HUNT OVER! SIRIUS BLACK INNOCENT OF ALL CHARGES!!!
Chapter 3: What In the World
*****What in the World*****
“What in the world happened here while I was gone?” Albus Dumbledore wondered aloud. He was not a happy benevolent ruler. He was in France for seven days, fulfilling his duties as the Supreme Mugwamp. During that tiny bit of time, someone had not only discovered that Sirius Black was innocent, but exonerated and freed the man.
Newly freed Sirius was already moving opposite of Dumbledore’s plans. Black had taken his place as the Head of the Ancient and Noble House of Black, dissolved Bellatrix’s marriage and reclaimed her dowry. Since Rodolphus Lestrange had never consummated the marriage; preferring his brother, Rastaban, to his bride; the annulment was easily done. Sirius had then cast Bellatrix from the family. He seemed to be in the process of beginning a similar move with Narcissa Malfoy. Black had already pulled out his ‘executor’s copy’ of the Potter’s will and begun the probate process. The only reason Dumbledore had successfully been able to block the probate process, was because the executor was incarcerated. Otherwise even his position as Chief Warlock would not have been enough to seal that will.
Furthermore Amelia Bones was moving against the Dursleys for child neglect and abuse. It would seem that during most of the times he had obliviated the muggle authorities, he’d neglected to remove the relevant paperwork. There was an exhaustive paper trail. It would also seem that Mrs. Figg was smarter than any squib had the right to be. She had kept a detailed record of the abuse she had seen over the years. When she saw the Muggle aurors, she had given them a copy, a statement of all she had seen and copies of photos she had taken showing the disparity of treatment of the two boys in the Dursley household. Another of the neighbors had taken videos of all the times Marge Dursley had set her dogs on Harry outside the house. The same neighbor had called Animal Control. Albus had not interfered in that case, Marge has simply bribed the Animal Control office to look the other way. It would seem that the neighborhood had not stood quite as aloof to Harry’s suffering as the boy had believed.
With the will back in play and no way to reinstate the Dursleys without tipping his hand; there was no way he would be able to block Sirius from gaining custody. In fact Albus would have to work rather hard to keep people from beginning to wonder who had cast the fidelius at Godric’s Hollow. All he could do at this moment was pry no one connected the dots to the Longbottoms. Albus sighed deeply and settled back into his chair in his Chief Warlock office, he would have to work hard to find a way to make all this work to his advantage. He made plans to remain in London overnight to get an early start the next morning; he had a plan to salvage.
**The House That Built Me**
Harry could honestly say he was happy. He sat in his favorite chair in the Gryffindor common room, and reviewed his list of what he needed to get done. He was working on improving his grades, and dragging Ron with him…kicking and screaming. He no longer had to hide his intelligence. Though admittedly he was waiting on/dreading/planning for that conversation with Hermione. He could see that she was already interested in finding out why she did not have to badger them as much to do their work, and it had only been two weeks. He knew that soon she would corner him and she would not rest until she forced him to tell her why he, and by extension, Ron were doing so much better in their studies.
But right here, in the quiet of the evening, in the chair next to the fireplace in the Gryffindor common room, Harry just reveled in the almost complete feeling of being home. This last year had driven the point into him that Hogwarts was home. Not being able to come back due to the Horcrux hunt had made him appreciate it in a way he’d not felt since first year. It had taken him ten years, but on that train ride back to the Dursleys at the end of the year, he’d known he’d finally found his home.
As he stared into the flames, Harry was shocked into throwing himself behind his chair by a head appearing in the flames. He grabbed his wand and peeked around the chair. Yep, there was a head in the fire and damned if that head wasn’t terribly familiar. Before he could stop himself, Harry blurted, “Pa’foot!”
“Harry, thank goodness.” Sirius was smiling proudly out of the fireplace. “Don’t know how I’d have convinced anyone else to go get you. Finally remembered the password for this blasted floo. So glad McGonagall recycles her passwords like clockwork. Wait a Tick, how’d you recognize me?”
“Your face has been in the prophet all summer.” Harry rejoined. “Besides, I guess the dementor had to go pretty far back to find a tasty happy memory…since the train I can remember some stuff from when I was a sprog. You telling me, Professor Lupin didn’t tell you all this?”
“Cheeky Bugger.” Sirius teased. “Sure Remus told me, he told me everything he knew and some of what he thinks about you. Just like I’m sure he told you that you look just like your dad…you’ve got Lily’s eyes though. Bit small aren’t you?”
“Yeah…Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon didn’t really like to waste money on things like, feeding me, clothing me…well me really.” Harry said sarcastically. He was really not a fan of discussing anything to do with the Dursleys.
Sirius’s entire visage darkened. “Yea. Well old Bones is going after them like the wrath of Merlin. I suggested I go see them; but Remus reminded me that I probably would be sent to Azkaban for good if I did.”
“Speaking of which, why did you escape. I mean I’m glad you did, ‘cause it means I got to learn about you and you got your freedom and all- but why?” Harry babbled. He assumed that he would be expected to wonder that. Goodness knows that Hermione had wondered it enough for three people.
Sirius gave Harry a smug smile. “I did it to protect you, pup.” Sirius told Harry all about Fudge’s visit, and what had been on the front page of the Daily Prophet. “That rat was here with you in the same dorm. He’s too weak and stupid to bother you without direction, but I couldn’t just hope that he wouldn’t get that direction from somewhere. I had to get him before he could hurt you.”
“Plus you really wanted him to pay?” Harry asked with a smirk.
“Just a bonus Pup, just a bonus.” Sirius said with a smile.
Harry ducked his head in embarrassment. He knew how much Sirius cared for him in the last time line…but hearing it said again warmed Harry’s heart. “How are you able to call this floo? I thought you could only floo in the Head’s and professors offices from outside the school?” Harry asked, to Harry it felt like he’d been wondering that for years.
“You can if you have the proper password. Fortunately McGonagall has had the same few she’s been using since the dawn of time. It only works for calls, but it works. Anyway enough about all that. I just called to tell you that I made an appointment through McGonagall to come up there and meet you. I also gave permission for you to be able to go to Hogsmeade. I’m currently in the process of looking for us a place to live. I hate my parents’ old house, wouldn’t go back there if you paid me. Anything you want me to look for, anywhere you want me to look?” Sirius asked.
“Umm, can you live muggle?” Harry asked hesitantly. “Because I’d like to have a TV and you know regular stuff too.”
“I can straddle.” Sirius answered confidently. Your Mum made it her mission to make sure we could pass in the muggle world if the need arose; Remus and I even have muggle paperwork.
“Okay, maybe something more mugglish near Finsbury Circle?” Harry said blushing.
“Who is she?” Sirius prodded. At Harry’s look of surprise, he added, “I know that look. Your dad used to get that same look when he was trying to get closer to your mum and be subtle about it.”
“I’ll introduce you when you come, if you promise to keep any baby Harry stories to yourself. When are you coming, anyway?” Harry queried to draw Sirius back onto subject.
“I’ll be there after classes on Friday. Well you’ll see me after your classes on Friday…Our furry friend will see me earlier than that.” Sirius looked abash. “You do know about his ‘furry little problem’, don’t you?”
“Of course.” Harry replied automatically. Then he frantically tried to remember if he did know that yet. “Hermione figured it out ages ago.” He added as he remembered what she had said in the Shrieking Shack in his first time line.
“So her name is Hermione, good to know. Let me guess. So smart she’s scary. Devil’s own temper when she gets riled. Hair that’s out of this world, bossy as can be?” Sirius quipped
“All that and so much more.” Harry said with a huge smile.
“Met her on the train, didn’t you?” Sirius asked.
“How did you know?” Harry said shocked.
“Curse of your clan, my boy, curse of your clan.” Sirius chuckled. “The whole world knows that Potter men meet their mates early, and love fiercely and forever. The joke is that that whole soul mates myth was about your family.”
“So what are you going to do now?” Harry asked, changing the subject yet again.
“No clue really. Past my quidditch years, aren’t I? I’d rather chew off my own foot rather than work for the Ministry…bad enough I’ve got to deal with the Wizengamot as much as I will. I guess I’ll sort out all the family business, and teach you to manage your estates-”
“What estates?” Harry interrupted. “I haven’t got any estates.” Harry’s surprise was completely genuine. “No one ever said anything about any estates.”
“Harry, your family is the single richest family in the Wizarding world. You could spend a thousand galleons a day, every day for the rest of your life and still not touch the principal. That’s not even counting the real property, the intellectual property, or what you’ve inherited from Lils.” Sirius remarked. “You should have started receiving statements at eight and the key to your trust vault at eleven. You won’t get full control of everything until 21 but your trust vault is topped up every year until then, so you’ll be fine.” Sirius looked him over. “Doesn’t look like you’ve spent much on clothes. You have your vault key, right?”
“Uh, yeah. Dumbledore gave it to me at eleven.” Harry started.
“WHAT do you mean? Your account manager should have given it to you with your first face to face accounting. Ok. Change of plans. When I pick you up for the Hogsmeade weekend, we’ll take you to the goblins and get everything sorted.” Sirius tried to reassure Harry, and himself, that nothing was wrong.
Harry tried to stop the words that erupted from his mouth, he wished he could call them back; but there was no way to bring the blurted, “Can Hermione come too?” back. Harry felt his face grow hot.
Sirius let out a barking laugh. Harry couldn’t help but smile. That laugh brought back so many memories, and yet far too few. “Pup, you’ve got it bad. Hey look at it like this; you’re better off than your dad. He had it that bad, but your mum couldn’t stand him at first he had a lot of growing up to do first. Greatest brother a gent could ask for…not so great on the love interest front.” The barking laugh made a reappearance. “Go get some sleep. Figure out how to turn your girl friend into your girlfriend. Pup. I just want you to know, never mind what Lil’s slattern of a sister told you. Your parents loved you with their whole hearts. I think they would have been very proud of the young man you have become.”
**More Like Her**
Now given the fact that Harry had a seventeen year old’s mind and the hormone laden body of a thirteen year old, he was unsurprised that night by the rather erotic nature of his dream. The dream actually did not begin erotically at all. 18 year old Hermione was meeting her 14 year old counterpart in an abandoned classroom somewhere at Hogwarts. Harry could see and hear everything, though he wasn’t exactly in the room with them.
They were both nude and the younger seemed quite pleased by the changes that would take place in her form and figure in the ensuing years. They discussed all manner of things, from books to how to best rid one’s self of unwanted body hair. The as Harry watched and listened the duo’s conversation turned to kissing.
“So have you kissed many boys?” asked Younger.
“Really I’ve only kissed one. It wasn’t actually that great. He apparently learned to kiss from Lavender Brown…enough said.” Older answered.
“Who was it? Why didn’t you teach him to do it the way you wanted?” Younger probed huffily.
“You should know by now that trying to teach Ron anything just leads to a fight.” Older replied defensively.
“You wasted your first kiss, any kisses at all really on RONALD WEASLEY? The boy who constantly goes out of his way to make us cry? Please tell me he at least learned to eat with his mouth closed, or not talk with his mouth full…or table manners period.” Younger raged.
“He’s our friend.” Older defended.
“Not a very good one. Honestly. First he almost gets us killed. Then he gets angry at us about that stupid rat, then he makes Harry stop talking to us about the damn broom. And you have the unmitigated gall to create a romantic liaison with him. Okay so he’s getting a bit better, but still what were you thinking?” Younger admonished.
“I was thinking that at least he wanted us. He wanted us so badly he tried to potion us. Of course, I figured it out immediately, and you could have knocked me over with a feather when I analysized the sample and saw who it was keyed to. So yes I settled for Ron. I’m sure I can train him up a bit. Better than being alone.” Older said tartly.
“Not by much. Did you ever think that maybe he didn’t potion you in the first place? The boy might be good at chess, but he couldn’t brew an effective potion to save his life. Anyone could have added a bit of him and then dosed you. Get you out of the way. Keep you from going after the one we really want.” Younger said balefully.
“Well, why haven’t you gone after the one we want?” Older retorted.
Harry was shocked when he realized that he was no longer an ambient presence, but in the room with the two Hermiones. He noticed that he was also in the same state of dress, or lack thereof, as they were. “Um, hi.” He said nervously.
Younger looked at Older then looked at Harry. “Hello Harry. I suppose you are a figment of my dreamscape brought in by the older me to see if I have the confidence to throw myself at you.” Younger said reasonably.
For the first time, Harry actually began to wonder exactly whose dream this was. So in true Harry fashion, he gave a noncommittal shrug.
Younger took this as a yes. She looked him up and down assessingly. The look was so naughty and yet so completely Hermione, Harry couldn’t help but start to get hard.
Both Hermiones fastened their eyes on Harry’s burgeoning erection. He tried to fight it, but the attention only exacerbated his condition. He loved the feel of their eyes on him; his cock was quickly hard enough to break stone. He looked down and then back up. Every fiber of his being was focused on Younger. Perhaps because they were the same physical age, perhaps because she was the Hermione that would be his, but the connection was primarily to Younger.
“Very well then Harry, how do you feel about me?” Younger challenged.
Harry hid his smile; of course Hermione would start with a question. “I’d think you can tell how I feel about you Hermione.” Harry joked.
Younger rolled her big chocolate brown eyes. “Honestly Harry. All that means is that you like seeing me and/or Older me nude. You are a thirteen year old heterosexual male; of course you are getting an erection while in a room with two naked females. I mean how do you feel about the person that I am?”
“I told you in Charms class. I’m going to marry you one day. I love you. You are beautiful inside and out; brilliant and you see me. Not the Boy-who-Lived, but skinny, scrawny, moody Harry; and you care about me anyway. I even love your faults. You’re bossy, have the devil’s own temper, and absolutely, positively HATE to be wrong. The worst thing is that I don’t even know if I’m just a dream or if you are.” Harry finished exasperatedly.
Younger came over and enveloped Harry in a huge Hermione Hug. She was going to Kiss Harry on the cheek, but he anticipated this and saw his opening. Turning his head Harry pressed his lips to Hermione’s softer fuller ones. Harry could hear Older shifting behind them and wondered for a moment why she was still here. But then Younger’s small pink tongue darted out and slid along the seam of his lips.
Harry groaned and opened for her questing digit. His own larger tongue went to work first dueling hers, then slipping past it to tease the edge of her still large front teeth. Harry deepened the kiss, stroking her palate tasting mint and chocolate and a sweetly tangy taste that was uniquely Hermione. Without thought Harry’s hands started to caress the soft, lightly tanned skin of her back. As they kissed, Harry got bolder. His caresses got longer, stretching down to the small of her back and further to the well round firm cheeks of her luscious bottom.
Younger was either less reticent, or she’d decided that since this was ‘her dreamscape’ she could do as she pleased. She buried one hand in his thick black hair, telling him without words how much she was enjoying what he was doing with his tongue; and the other hand was squeezing and massaging one firm globe of his ass.
Harry and Younger finally broke their kiss. “Wish we had a bed,” they said to each other. Suddenly there in the room was a beautiful four poster double bed, with a pearlescent silk canopy. The duo of teens looked at the bed then looked at Older. “And a comfy chair for Older Hermione.” They said together, a nice comfy chair upholstered in cinnamon microfiber appeared next to Older.
She settled contentedly as Younger and Harry climbed into the bed. It had sensual silk sheets and large silk covered pillows, but no counterpane, all done up in the same pearlescent color as the canopy. Harry snuggled closer, and enveloped Younger into another deep kiss. This time he let his hands roam freely over the soft skin of her sides and stomach. Younger arched into the touch. Harry broke the kiss, drawing his lips over the curve of her jaw and around to the very sensitive spot right below her earlobe.
“God, Harry, unh yes.” Younger moaned. She slid her hands up his chest. She tweaked one to his flat brown nipples causing him to groan out himself. He kissed a bit down her neck and pulled a bit of her flesh into his mouth. While licking and sucking on the soft skin above her jugular, Harry’s hand came up and cupped the beautiful swell of her breast. “Please, oh Harry, please.”
Unsure what Younger was asking for, Harry let instinct guide him. “You have such beautiful tits Mione. Can I suck one? Can I put my mouth on your pretty, pretty tit?”
“God Harry, Yes. They ache, suck them…” Younger arched against him. Harry kissed his way from the raspberry shaped mark he’d left on her neck, down and along her collar bone to one apricot colored nipple. Taking it into his mouth, Harry sucked gently. He allowed his hand to resume the kneading of her free breast. He nibbled her nipple then nipped his way across to her dry one. Switching his worrying back and forth, he reveled in the feel of her writhing beneath him. As he was suckling, he noticed Younger’s hand had made its way between her sexy thighs. He reached out and grabbed it.
“Aht uh. That’s my pussy. Do I need to tie your hands to the head board?” Younger shook her head emphatically. Yet Harry could see something in her eyes that told him she’d probably like it if he did. “Good I’m going to hold you to that. Would you like me to touch you there?”
“Yes, Harry Please.” Younger whimpered. Something about their discourse was making both teens even more excited. Strong commanding, in control Harry pleased them both.
Harry went back to tormenting a nipple with his mouth but let his free hand slide over her stomach and down through the sparse hairs on Hermione’s delta of Venus. He spread his fingers a bit and slid them around the hard little nubbin of her clit. He leaned up once more. “You’re so wet. It’s all over your thighs and your pussy. Is that for me?”
“Only you, all for you.” Her voice was filled with conviction and the longing for more of his touch. Her eyes held every bit of desire she felt for him, and Harry could only smile.
“Good.” He went back to work, diligently following her vocal clues, suckling and playing with clit gently. He dipped his fingers down and rubbed the gateway to her entrance. He didn’t really penetrate her at all, just teased her clit and her gateway of pleasure until Hermione screamed out his name.
“GOD Harry YES!” she screamed. Her head was whipping back and forth. Her hair a wild riot on the pillow seemed to take a life of its own in the throes of her first ever social orgasm. Her whole body flushed, and her muscles convulsed in waves as she came.
Harry let her calm down, kissing her gently. When her thighs finally unlocked, he pulled his hand free and licked it clean. Some devil told him to do it, and he was glad. She tasted wonderful; sweet, and slightly tangy, almost apricot, with just hint of musk.
Younger watched through slit eyes. “That’s really Hot.” She rolled up forcing Harry back onto the pillows. She kissed him, and then trailed her way to his neck. Ever the overachiever, her mark was both bigger and darker than his. From there she moved down to tease his flat brown nipples, then she headed even further south. She dipped her tongue into his belly button and dragged it along the ridges of his well-defined muscles. Lower still she went, then smirked up at Harry as she hovered over his rigid tower of want.
Harry looked down into the chocolate orbs of his dream lover, “Please, Mione, Please put your sexy mouth on me.”
“You want me to suck your cock, Harry? You want me to wrap my lips around your dick? She taunted, her voice a delicious whisper.
“God, yes.” Harry groaned. His groan got even louder as she licked him for the first time. She contentiously moistened the whole head of Harry’s impressive erection. Then she slid her mouth down the column of flesh, carefully making sure to keep her teeth out of play. By the time she got half the way to the bottom, she had run out of mouth. She wrapped both of her small hands around the rest, and sucking deeply drew her mouth back up. Harry would have liked to last longer; but 13 or 17, dream or not, this was the first sexual contact he had every received from another person. “Mione, cum-argh-gah!” he yelled in incoherent pleasure. His thick fluid felt like lava shooting out.
Younger pulled back, her mouth full. Long thick ropes of cum continued erupting from the tip of Harry’s dick. Most ended up decorating her face and hands but some managed to get into her hair, on her neck and in the dip of her collarbone.
Harry looked at her; watched as she swallowed his seed, his only thought, I need to see her like this in real life. He pulled her to him, kissing her deeply, uncaring of the fluids on her lips. They belonged to him in the first place. He did note that he didn’t taste anywhere near as good as she had. As they kissed, Harry heard a pop. Both teens looked over and saw that Older and her chair were gone, and the room was losing distinction.
“I guess I’m waking up. I wish I knew if this were really how you felt about me.” Younger said.
Before Harry could find the right thing to say she was gone and he awoke alone in his bed.
**Love Is Looking For You**
Harry got up, it was early, but not so early that he could return to sleep; so he took a quick shower. He was surprised to note that despite the eroticism of the dream, he’d experienced very little nocturnal emissions. As he washed his face and brushed his teeth –something he still preferred to do the muggle way- he say something that led him to the beginnings of a theory. There on his neck was a rather large, very dark, completely distinct hickey. He was sure that Hermione now sported a smaller lighter version of the same.
The most bewildering thing was that his hickey would not allow itself to be glamoured. The mark stood out rather starkly against his pale skin, but he really didn’t really mind. He quickly dressed and made his way down to the common room. He was up too early for most, so he was unsurprised to find the room still empty. He pulled out his potion’s homework and went back to filling out his essay.
It wasn’t long before he heard footsteps coming down the girl’s stairs. Hermione came down, her uniform perfect. For a change her hair was laying in thick curls down her back, away from her face and neck. Around her neck was tied a pink silky scarf. He still wondered if his theory was correct. He didn’t want to say something only to find out that his dream had been just that, a dream. He stood and made his way nervously over to her. They met in the middle of the floor.
Hermione’s eyes were locked on the large hickey on the side of his neck. Harry waited. Part of him wanted it to all have been ‘real’, while part of him was scared that it was. When Hermione looked up from the mark to meet his eyes, her eyes huge and cheeks flushed, he knew. Rather than chance it, he moved as quickly as he could deftly untying the silky material and baring his mark on her neck.
“You experienced it also, huh?” Hermione asked for her own certainty.
Harry nodded. “You never did tell me how you felt about me.” Harry said carefully. He was sure that she wouldn’t have done the things with him in the dream –even assuming it was a just dream- if she didn’t feel strongly for him; but a very large part of him needed the words.
Hermione must have sensed the insecurity underlying his words. She stood and wrapped him in a hug. “I love you Harry. You are beautiful inside and out. You are far smarter than you let on. You see me not homework help, but plain Jane bookworm, overly developed Hermione; and you love me anyway. I even love your faults. You are moody, overprotective, and almost incapable of expressing your emotions without veritaserum. And the best thing is that neither of us were just a dream.”
Harry leaned down and captured her lips in a kiss. They heard a loud rippling gong sound, but neither noticed the bright opalescent glow that surrounded them. Neither noticed the breaking glass of the windows of the tower, nor the audience that gathered on the dorm stairs. They certainly did not notice Parvati stunning an inexplicably enraged Ginny Weasley, or the Weasley twins collecting their winnings from most of the boys their year and up. They didn’t even notice the black screaming steam that came out of Harry’s scar and died as it tried to pass through the corona of light surrounding them.
The professors, alerted by the gong sound that had awoken the entire castle-even the portraits, some of whom had not moved in over a century- arrived and bunched just inside the portrait hole entrance. Remus and Snape exchanged stunned looks…and still Harry and Hermione kissed unaware of the world around them.
Chapter 4: I'm a Survivor
*****I’m a Survivor*****
The kiss seemed endless to the couple, though those watching would tell you that it went on for at least seven minutes. Harry and Hermione broke apart only after their lungs began to protest most vehemently. When they came back to reality, Harry looked deeply into Hermione’s eyes. Chocolate melted with emerald. He leaned down to kiss her again, only hear Professor McGonagall’s brogue, “that might not be wise Mr. Potter. You may want to wait on your next kiss until we can see what exactly happened during your last.”
Harry and Hermione both blushed deeply. Hermione looked around and noticed all the people staring at them and buried her face in Harry’s neck. “Sirius said something about soulmates…You are mine.” He whispered to his embarrassed mate. “If, I mean.” He backpedaled.
Hermione leaned back and took Harry’s face in both hands. “You are mine, and I am yours.” She smiled and pulled him down to kiss his forehead, directly over his scar. “Your Scar!”
“What?” Harry reached up and felt where his once livid lightning bolt scar graced his forehead.
“It looks like a twelve year old scar should.” Hermione said excitedly.
“What?” yelled Snape and Remus simultaneously. The two contemporaries raced forward. Remus grabbed Harry’s shoulder’s and took a long carefully look at the mark, when he finished he turned Harry towards Snape. Severus grabbed Harry’s chin and did the same. “Severus, you do the diagnosis. My hands are shaking too badly.” Remus asked the Potion Master.
Snape looked askance at Harry and was quite surprised that the boy was willing to allow the ‘Greasy Git’ to point his wand at his face.
“Hermione has been telling us forever to trust you. If she’s right, great…if not, she will hex you until you think you are a five year old little girl.” Harry responded to Snape’s shock.
A glance at Hermione showed her wand at the ready, trained on the Potion’s Master. “I’ll let Lavender and Parvarti braid your hair.” She smirked.
“I’ll wash it for you first, Parv.” Ron added as he and the twins joined her. They flanked Hermione, and all also had their wands trained on the Slytherin Head.
With a wry nod of acknowledgement, Snape ran the requested dark magic diagnosis. He ran it twice, but that was all he did before returning his wand to his holster. There was no doubt in his mind that if anyone could have found some obscure spell in some even more obscure library book that would do exactly as they had threatened…Miss Granger was that person. “It’s gone. The dark magic that had lingered in the scar is completely gone.” Snape breathed in relief.
“What does that mean for Harry?” Hermione asked as she lowered her wand.
Remus gave Harry a HUGE smile. “It means that now you are free of the link you once had with the bastard You-Know-Who.”
“Will it make it harder for Voldemort to return?” Harry asked doggedly. He wished he could do legilimency. He really wanted to know what they knew.
“Yes, it relieves him of one avenue of return as well as making it harder for him to do so.” McGonagall reassured as she caught up with the thought processes of the two men. Her stern gaze met first Severus’s dark orbs, then Remus’s honey colored eyes, asking her own questions. Her former students knew she would have her answers.
Hermione was so excited for Harry she pushed the professors out of her way. “Harry, that’s wonderful news, simply wonderful.” She was unable to resist and pressed her lips to his. This time there was no gong or quake, or breakage, but the couple was once more suffused in the shimmery glow.
From his place next to McGonagall, Professor Flitwick started to jump and squeal in excitement. He tugged on McGonagall’s dressing gown to get her attention.
“What?” She snapped, looking down. “Oh sorry Filius, thought you were a firstie. What is it?” The Transfiguration Master apologized.
“They’ve bonded. Soul Mates. Meant to be. Destined!” The Charms professor babbled joyfully.
“Oh My!” Minerva McGonagall breathed happily.
Ron and the twins made their way to the kissing couple. “Oy break it up, we want to congratulate him for getting that nasty bugger out of his head too. Besides, that glowy thing you are doin’ is blinding from this close.” Ron joked.
Harry and Hermione broke the kiss, but not their hug. Instead they pulled Ron, Gred and Forge into the hug with the. Harry laughed, “This is all wrong. The gingers have us outnumbered. Neville, come on mate…we need another brunet.”
“Oh, Okay.” Neville said happily. He wasn’t sure why Harry was calling him to share such a momentous occasion, but firmly felt that if someone wanted you to share their happiness, you did so without reservation. Neville grabbed Professor Lupin as he entered the hug. Remus pulled a struggling Snape in as well. This caused uproarious laughter to erupt from the dorm stairs and the professors still knotted in the entrance.
Soon after the group hug broke apart, the professors shooed the students back to get ready fro the day. McGonagall then turned to her professors. “Staff meeting in 15 minutes. There is much to discuss.” She turned back to the pair of students left behind in the common room. “Mr. Potter, Miss Granger, I trust you can see to the repair of the tower’s windows?” At their nods, she smiled, “Thank you.”
Hogwarts Staffroom fifteen minutes later was the home of an abbreviated staff meeting. McGonagall had purposely excluded several members of Hogwart’s staff from this meeting. Included in that number were Filch, and Hagrid, the caretaker would have nothing helpful to add and the groundskeeper was incapable of keeping a secret, Sybill Trelawney rubbed Minerva the wrong way and would be even less helpful than Filch. Poppy Pomphrey had been excluded dimply because she was at St. Mungo’s this weekend for an extension course. The rest of the staff were quietly discussing the early morning occurrences when McGonagall called them to order.
“It would seem that this morning we were fortunate enough to witness ‘true love’s first kiss’. Now usually I would never involve myself in my student’s love life, but in this case I feel confident in saying that this case is more different than any we would have ever imagined to confront. You see the joining of these two fated souls, also facilitated the destruction of a horcrux. Am I correct in this assessment, Professor Lupin, Professor Snape?” Minerva McGonagall may be a bit blind in her following of Albus Dumbledore, but she had been born and bred a Scottish Warrior Maiden. She had the intelligence to see that there was more going on than she had guessed, and the fierce determination to rectify that situation.
Snape and Remus exchanged a look. “Yes. That is correct.” Snape said cautiously.
“Severus is very limited in what he can say in reference to information he had learned from the Headmaster. Dumbledore has been very rigid in the oaths he has forced Snape to take. I’ve figured out most of the pertinent information and in order to spare our time and Snape’s oath’s I’ll just lay it out.” Remus stated looking around the table. “Last year the Chamber of Secrets was opened by a piece of Voldemore’s soul possessing Ginny Weasley. Harry thwarted that attempt of Voldemort’s to return to power. He also destroyed the horcrux Voldemort had created while still a student here. Today saw the destruction of the horcrux that bastard created the night he killed James and Lily…the night he tried to kill Harry the first time.”
“Have we any clue how many he created?” McGonagall asked.
“It would have been 3, 5, 7 or 13.” Professor Vector answered. “There is evidence to support the theory of 3, 5 or 7, but no way would his soul have been able to be rendered into 13 pieces. The first Horcrux would have been one half, then one fourth, then one eight, then one sixteenth. There is no way even a magical soul could have been divided past one 128th. And all that remained would have been insanity. It wouldn’t bear even the slightest ability for rational thought or human compassion. We’d best hope that he stopped at three or five.” The Arithmancy professor finished with a shudder.
“Given that we have now seen the destruction of two, it is our best guess that considering the psychotic behavior of the bastard by October 1981, we are looking for four others and the wraith that Harry disembodied during his first year.” Severus explained, since this theory was a byproduct of his recent conversations with Remus, he could finally be a part of the conversation. “Perhaps it is best to plan as though we are facing the worst case scenario, and should we be wrong, it will be a pleasant surprise.”
“That’s your life’s philosophy, Snapey.” Madame Hooch teased. “Do we know who we are dealing with? I don’t know what’s stupider, Lord Voldemort, or he who must not be named. Can’t we just call him what his parents named him?”
“Actually, Harry told me that Voldemort’s name is actually Tom Marvolo Riddle. He was head boy of the class of 45.” Remus answered.
“That gives us a great place to start. I remember him, a year behind me and a Slytherin. He was Muggle raised; I only remember that cause there was a huge scandal of a muggle born being sorted into Slytherin. It happened more often back then, but it was still very rare. I remember that eventually he claimed to be the last of the Gaunt family, descended from Salazar Slytherin himself. We must find out more…every piece of information we can arm ourselves with; I have a feeling that we are just scratching the surface of this.” McGonagall said wisely.
“We’ll have to make sure that we keep the headmaster out of the loop.” Remus said…he waited calmly for the objections to cease. “He cannot be trusted any further. I don’t know if he is senile, or just so certain that he is the only one who can decide what’s best for the Wizarding world or what, but if he performed the fidelius charm; then he KNEW Sirius wasn’t the secret keeper. It was he who suggested Caradoc Dearborn as the secret keeper of the Longbottoms, and we see how that turned out. He put Harry in the worst possibly environment and never once checked on him. Something is very wrong with Albus Dumbledore.”
“The most important thing we need to know right now is exactly how many of those abominations Riddle created, what they are, where they are, and how to destroy them.” Sprout spoke up for the first time. “We also need to start thinking about better protections for the school. I helped Albus with protecting the Sorcerer’s Stone, but you all know that I was against having it in the school in the first place. If we can no longer count on the Headmaster to do what is best for the school, then we must.” The Hufflepuff Head of House stated emphatically.
“I agree whole heartedly with Pomona, but we must also find out how to destroy the blasted things, and whether Riddle will know that they have been destroyed.” Filius said forcefully.
“I for one would like to know exactly why both Albus and Riddle are so obsessed with Harry Potter.” Hooch said testily. “He’s a great kid and one hell of a seeker…but what is it about the boy that has Riddle trying to kill him time and time again? And why would Albus basically abduct him from Sirius, and put him with Lily’s sister. I only knew Lily for a few years but I know she hated her sister, as much as Lily Evans ever hated anyone. And you can all think what you want but that was an awful lot.”
McGonagall cut that argument off with a look. She had like Lily Evans more than most of her students, but the Transfiguration professor acknowledged a lot more of her faults than the men in Lily’s life ever had. Lily Evans could hold a grudge better than anyone Minerva had ever met, other than Alastor Moody. “Charity, please look into Tom Riddle’s life and history. Filius, you begin looking for more information on Horcruxes and how to destroy them. Severus and Remus, I’m charging you with putting together a training regiment for Harry, Hermione, and I’m assuming the Weasley boy. If Riddle comes after him again, I want him better prepared.” She turned a rare smile on her former students. “I’m proud of the two of you for finally putting the past behind you and working together.” Looking at the room at large once more she asked them for their oath that they would not speak of the morning’s discussions with anyone not currently in the room with a few exceptions. Those exceptions did not include one Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.
***Because of You***
While Monday morning began much the same as always at Number 4 Privet Drive, Vernon and Petunia Dursley woke and had breakfast. Vernon left for work and Petunia spent her morning cleaning. As Petunia cleaned, she wondered what gossip Mrs. Peterman next door would have today. Petunia, herself, only had a few juicy tidbits. When she heard sirens approaching her neighborhood, all she could think was well surely that will give us something juicy to talk about. She smoothed her skirt and went to take a peek out her front window, she hoped to be able to see where the bobbies had gone…
A look of sheer horror crossed her face as she watched the cars park in her drive, and a bobby approach her door. When the officer knocked on her door, she was completely dazed as she answered the knock. She was sure that the presence of the bobbies at her door could mean only one thing. She opened the door convinced that she was to be told she was a widow.
“Petunia Flora Dursley?” The officer at the door asked.
“Yes, Good Morning Officer. How can I help you?” She asked.
“You can get your handbag and come with me.” He said calmly. He waited patiently on the front step.
Petunia assumed she was going to have to go and identify the body, or at least be taken to Vernon at the A+E. Instead she was taken to the side of her front yard and informed of her rights by a large female office. She was agog. While she was handcuffed in front of her neighbors, she watched as several investigators entered her home.
She stood there, handcuffed, where anyone could see…and everyone was watching. She could feel their eyes on her. She could feel them laughing at her. It went on like that for 45 minutes, the humiliation she felt was more than she had ever felt before, and each of her neighbors could see that. As she stood there, wishing the earth would open up and swallow her down, the investigators took photos of many areas of her home. Several times they came out with evidence bags and gave her horrible glares. When they, finally, finished with their evidence collection; the officers came over and read her the list of offenses with which she was charged.
“Petunia Flora Dursley, formerly Petunia Flora Evans, you are being charged with eleven counts of Child Neglect, equal counts of child abuse and endangerment. You are also charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment and assault; all charges pertain to your nephew Harris James Potter.” The officer said.
“What What?” Petunia sputtered. “We took him in out of the goodness of our hearts. He got food and a roof over his head.”
The Amazonian female officer gave a snort. “I’ve seen the boy’s medical reports from his school. He’s almost 3 tod underweight. He’s had more broken bones than your average rugby player, and we have evidence that you were excluded in your own sister’s will from having any unsupervised contact with any child of hers. That would preclude you from having custody legally.” Officer Melanie Delaney hated many things in this world, including the fact that her father thought it was the cutest thing to rhyme her first and last names. But there was nothing she hated more than someone who would abuse a child of any sort, let alone one’s own blood kin.
Officer Harold Donovan felt much the same as his colleague, so following the request of the child’s legal guardian to make sure that the entire neighborhood was privy to the non-essential details of the case was a pleasure. Especially since so many of them had been involved, when they noticed things they collected evidence themselves, and been very helpful with giving statements as to the abuse they had witnessed. “I believe that the Head Solicitor is actually seeking to add child abuse charges for her son as well. Apparently Dudley Vernon Dursley is over a hundredweight over the advised weight. Looking around the place that kid never heard the word no, any more than the nephew heard yes.”
They loaded Petunia into the squad car, locked down the house, making sure to put up Crime Scene tape cross the door.
Meanwhile at Grunnings Drill Company, London
A well dressed, handsome man approached the front desk receptionist and asked to be directed to Vernon Dursley. The little blonde was so startled by the handsome man, she simply gave him the assistance he requested. She was shocked when she saw 3 uniformed bobbies follow him towards the office of Vernon Dursley.
Vernon had just returned to his office from the morning staff meeting when his secretary buzzed him to let him know that there were four policemen to see him. “Show them in,” he said immediately, certain this was about Dudley.
“Mr. Vernon Kurtis Dursley?” The officer asked.
“Yes, I’m Vernon Dursley, what is this about officer?” Vernon Said cautiously.
“You are under arrest for the abuse, neglect and endangerment of Harris James Potter as well as kidnapping, assault and false imprisonment.”
Vernon’s face took on an angry visage, and turned a shade of purple usually only witnessed by the child he is currently being arrested for abusing. “We took that boy into our home, and gave him food and a roof over his head.” He said defensively.
“According to the man chosen by his parent to raise him, who he was wrongfully taken from; all you gave him was barely enough food to survive, and his cousin’s cast-offs.” The officer growled.
“Well, where was he? Where was this ‘man’ the freak’s no account parents wanted to raise him? Boy was dropped on our door step in 81. Where what this gent then?” Vernon blustered.
“He was sent to jail without a trial by a crooked judge of your wife’s acquaintance. And considering how wealthy the boy’s father was I sincerely doubt he was a lay about.” The suited officer said snidely. The file on this case had been started by another department. MI-7’s file was in depth and very complete.
“Actually, sir, Harris James Potter is the name of one of the people who own Grunnings. He owns 51 percent all by himself. The other owners are a Remus John Lupin, Sirius Orion Black and the Board.” Vernon’s secretary said pseudo helpfully. She had an MBA and because Dursley couldn’t be fired without the approval of the firm’s primary owner, she was stuck shilling the walrus’s coffee.
The color drained from Vernon’s Face as he caught the implications of what the bobby and his secretary had said. The police obviously believed that they had kidnapped Harry in some attempt to get their hands on his money. Vernon Dursley was a bully. He knew it; he had been one even as a young child. He was not someone who stood up to those stronger than he, and the four bobbies definitely had the position of power here. Hearing that Harry was rich to boot, had taken all the fight right out of him. “My wife?” he asked.
“She’ll meet you at the station. She should beat you there.” The suited officer said as the uniformed bobbies moved behind the walrus of a man. It took four sets of cuffs to restrain the large man. The lead him out and all his co-workers were pointing and laughing. Vernon Dursley had not made many friends while working here, though he had made MANY enemies. He was determined that they would not have the satisfaction of watching him cry. He managed to stave off his tears until he was seated in the back of the black and white vehicle.
***It’s Not Over***
Albus Dumbledore considered himself not only the leader of the light, but the leader of the entire Wizarding world. Not only has he led the Wizarding world’s premiere bastion of education for half a century, but he also controls both the national and international parliaments. So as he sat in the Chief Warlock’s office this morning, he was desperately trying to re-fortify his hold on the Wizarding world. Unfortunately the fates seemed to be conspiring against him. Barty Crouch Sr. had turned the Department of Magical Law Enforcement over to Amelia during the scandal about Black’s incarceration. He was still working in the Ministry; however he had transitioned over to the Department of Mysteries, and was therefore no help at all to Dumbledore.
Fudge was currently in quite the battle of his own. Apparently the bribes he had taken from several ‘imperioed’ former Death Eaters had come to light in the last seven days as well as the blatant disregard of civil rights Fudge had shown in the entire Sirius Black debacle. Dumbledore made the attempt to be nice to Fudge’s undersecretary Deloris Umbridge, but the woman was as unpleasant to converse with as she was to look at.
Having made little to no progress within the ministry, Dumbledore made the decision to return to Hogwarts. However as soon as he entered the school, his domain, he felt that there was something different. Something had changed. All around him the students were making their way to the great hall, as they should, for lunch. And yet they seemed somehow both more subdued and at the same time more boisterous. As he made his way to the dais he noticed that his staff appeared to have been hit with the same behavioral affectation as the students. He tried a bit of passive legilimency, but his staff was for the most part bundled up tight, and the students and the rest of the staff simply seemed confused.
Finding the emerald green eyes of Harry Potter, Dumbledore tried a more directed legilimency probe. He was shocked to run into a HUGE stone wall. The wall was made out of the purest white marble, and seemed to go up infinitely. Albus pulled back, shocked. Not only at the fact that Harry had somehow mastered occlumency in a week, but also at the fact that the boy had the best shield Dumbledore had ever in his life encountered. When Dumbledore met Harry’s eyes naturally, the young man was glaring at him fiercely. And Albus knew he’d been caught. He wondered if he should make another attempt at Miss Granger’s mind, but remembered that that was a waste of time. Her mind was as organized as any he’d ever seen…and that card catalogue thing gave him a huge headache. As soon as lunch was over, Albus retreated to his office to contemplate this new development.
***Girl Who Has Everything***
‘This day has been intriguing. It began with one of the best wet dreams ever.’ Hermione thought to herself. ‘I was shocked when I awoke covered in male cum. I could even taste it. After I showered, I noticed that the hickey dream Harry had given me was as present outside the dream as the other evidence of our time in the dreamscape. And while I am a Gryffindor, it was all too fantastical. I was scared to believe it. Yet, true it was. Harry and I had shared a dream of such magnitude; I cannot find words to express it. Even more when we kissed in the real world, we created this wonderful magical event. And best of all Ron was even happy about it and even was willing to help me defend Harry against Snape.’
Whatever event the kiss created, destroyed the dark magic in Harry’s scar. Hermoine could not wait until she could get to the library to research all this. But naturally her classes came first.
Hermione found it really hard to concentrate that day. She found out some really interesting information about the event this morning. Somehow their kiss had created a link between Harry and Hermione. ‘I don’t mean I can read his mind or any such drivel, but I know where he is…even more than ever before.’ She thought as she walked along. ‘It is wonderful. You’d have to have a friend as danger prone as Harry to understand how much I worry about him but now I don’t have to I can just feel that he is safe, and so is Hedwig. I wonder if he can feel Crookshanks like I can too. I wish classes were over so I could go research this.’
For a moment Hermione wished she hadn’t promised that she wouldn’t use the time turner to excess. Moving towards her next class she encountered another distraction, “what does Ginny want?” She murmured.
“You whore. You just had to take my Harry!” The redhead yelled at Hermione.
“Someone should really tell her that Weasley red face is really unbecoming on a girl.’ The older girl thought miserable.
“You knew how I felt about him and you couldn’t stand to let me have him. He was to be mine. I love him.” Ginny ranted.
“Oh please. You haven’t said a total of twenty words to him in the entire two years you’ve known him…and most of what you have said is unintelligible babbling. You do realize that he is a human being with thoughts and feelings of his own?” She couldn’t help but ask. “Really ‘her Harry’.”
“I’ve loved him since I was six years old.” Ginny started.
“You didn’t know him when you were six years old.” Hermione interrupted.
“Oh please. I know more about Harry Potter than anyone.” She said smugly.
“If you are talking about the ‘hero’ in those rubbish books your mum read you as bedtime stories; then yes you are probably right. But if you are talking about Harry, my and your brother’s best friend…then you don’t know anything.” she rejoined. ‘Shoot and Heck. We were starting to draw a crowd.’
“Harry is a hero. He saved me in the Chamber. And he saved us all from You Know Who!” Ginny said loudly.
“Harry isn’t a hero. He is a boy who always tries to do the right thing. He is an orphan to whom your family has been wonderful. He saved you from your own folly, not for your sake; but for the sake of your Mum and Dad. For Fred and George, and most of all for Ron. He killed the basilisk because it was hurting people and they were going to close Hogwarts.” Hermione said as calmly as she could. Ginny was really starting to annoy her.
Ginny looked superior and smug. “You don’t understand anything. Harry and I are meant to be. I’m beautiful and he will need a woman like me on his arm when he takes his place as a real hero. You aren’t even pretty…you are just a boring bookworm.”
“Maybe I’m not beautiful…but it has been this boring bookworm who has helped him survive Voldemort’s shade twice…while you can’t even call him his ridiculous, made up name. You might be the kind of woman he could have on his arm as some sort of brainless bauble…but me I’m the type of woman who will have his back every step of the way. I won’t need to latch onto him to gain fame and glory. I’m talented enough and smart enough to achieve those for myself. You are just like the rest of the stalkers and fangirls. You just get closer because of his relationship with your family.” She told the smaller girl before she turned to walk away. Hermione hadn’t the time for juvenile theatrics any longer.
‘I suppose I should say I was surprised when I felt a spell wiz past my head. But I wasn’t.’ Hermione couldn’t keep the smirk off her face. Had she been paying any attention she would have realized that her reaction scared the people who saw it. Slowly she turned around and looked at Ginny as she let her wand drop into her hand. “I see you learned your lessons well last year. Did Tom teach you to hex people when their backs are turned? Or did the truth hurt so much that you forgot everything your parents raised you to believe in?” She gave her former friend a long measuring look. The look served to let the assembled masses note that she wasn’t brave enough to strike while Hermione was facing her.
“You know nothing!” She snarled.
“I know enough to really hurt you, should I choose to do so…but really Ginevra, I am not like that. I care too much about people who it would hurt if I hurt you. So I will give you this warning; that light show this morning means that Harry and I belong together. We are meant for each other, far more than your prepubescent little mind could even understand.” Hermione may have been goading her. She really wasn’t sure which outcome she was hoping for…Ginny to run off crying, or the Weasley to actually try her. And even that lead me to more indecision…did Hermione want to use her wand or her fist.
“I look just like Lily Potter and Harry is the image of his father.” She said in her defense.
“Which actually is kind of sick! You do realize that you look exactly what any little sister he might have had would have looked like? But you don’t care that your pursuit of him could lead to rather severe psychological damage. You want what you want, and you are determined to have it. GROW THE HELL UP!” Higher road or not; Hermione would be damned if she would let Ginny hurt Harry in her pursuit of her petty, childish crush. The brunette turned and walked away as quickly as her legs could take her. Ginny didn’t have time to hurl another curse at her. Instead she disappeared into the crowd before she could turn around and resort to physical violence for a second time this year.
Chapter 5: Rain is a Good Thing
AN: First and Foremost, I would like everyone who enjoys this type of Fan fiction to check out the Profile of Kalen Darkmoon. I have never seen a better dissection of Dumbledore and his Illegal, immoral and asinine behaviors.
***Rain Is A Good Thing***
The rest of the day flew by. Also flying were tales of the light show in the Gryffindor Common Room and the confrontation in the Arithmancy hallway. The entire school was talking, and most had taken sides. The younger classes, of course, showed the most division. The Muggleborns, and those Hermione helped most often were firmly on her side. However most of the fan-girls and girly girls felt that Ginny had been inexplicably harmed, and harmed beyond all reason. For the most part the seventh years were too busy to care; though Percy seemed to be following his own version of family solidarity. The other male Weasleys where close enough to Harry and Hermione to admit that their little sister was acting like a spoiled brat denied a toy. The Slytherins and Ravenclaws were firmly against Hermione. However, while they agreed the Ginny must be in the right . they felt this way for completely different reasons. The snakes were simply backing the pureblood; blood traitor though she maybe. The Claws were all so jealous of Hermione’s grades and intelligence that they wouldn’t side with her in a debate on the wetness of water.
The Hufflepuffs were, of course, loyal to a fault. They didn’t really know Ginny, and what they did know of her, didn’t inspire their regard. Besides, as one puff mentioned, they all knew who helped them when they need tutoring. Plus they had all heard that it was Hermione that figured out what was petrifying students last year. Susan had even overheard Harry say that he would have had no clue where to even go if not for Hermione. Yes, the Puffs backed Hermione with very few exceptions.
Despite all the controversy flying about the castle concerning her; Hermione was actually the least interested in the going ons. Hermione felt that she had behaved in the most mature fashion she could. There for anything more was not only unnecessary, but also not her concern. She reached the decision that while she would not start any further discourse or confrontations with Ginny, should the redhead force an altercation; Hermione would finish it.
*** A Girl Like That***
~The idiocracy of these people truly makes me question why I’m working so hard to save them all from Riddle. At this point I’m not sure who is stupider; Ginny for causing all of this in the first place…I’ve made my choice for goodness sake…it’s been ratified by a higher power…why can’t she get that through her thick skull; or all the other students trying to weigh in with their opinions…like they matter at all in respect to my love life. ~ Harry ranted to himself.
After dinner the Harry and Ron accompanied Hermione to her table in the library. The boys completed the assignments they’d been assigned that day, while Hermione worked at her usual mountain of work. Harry knew that Hermione was a full week ahead in all of her classes, but it made her happy to be even more so. So while she worked he made Ron help him begin to figure what had happened during the preceding 24 hours.
Ron, reluctantly, agreed to go find books on shared dreams and bonds. While his red headed best friend went into the stacks, Harry took his time and wrote out all the things he’d noticed about the bond and the shared dream. Laura Bell had told Harry that Hermione was his soul mate, but Harry wasn’t sure, exactly, what that meant. He knew that locating Hermione would never again be a problem. He now had a vague sense of where she was at any given moment. He also noted that he felt a growing sense of disquiet as she moved farther away from him. He was currently praying that that would even out quickly, otherwise the rapidly approaching end of the year would be problematic to say the least.
Harry also wrote down that he had strengthened his ability to know Hermione’s moods. It was no longer an ability to look at her and know how she was feeling; he could actually sense her moods. He wished it were even stronger. The ability to read her mind seemed like it would be a Godsend. Right this moment he could tell that she was feeling content, and something that felt like pride. He looked up to find out for sure, and saw her packing away all her parchments and inkwells. “Whoa.” He breathed as she pulled out a steno pad and pencil.
Hermione smiled at Harry and chuckled. “Some things just need comfortable tools, you know.” She opened the pad and showed me a list of questions that she had complied over the course of the day.
1) Why did Dream Harry’s Emissions follow me out if the dream?
2) What was the ‘light show’ this morning?
3) Why can I feel Harry’s proximity to me now?
4) Why can I ‘feel’ Harry’s moods now?
5) Why did the ‘light show’ cause changes in Harry’s scar
a. What changes exactly is it cause?
6) What needs to happen next?
Harry grinned. It was satisfying to see that his list of symptoms was contained the same topics. He knew they needed investigation, and to see that Hermione had noted the same thing reinforced the fact that he had his entire intelligence back. Hermione gave Harry a big smile, and added a few notations to his list.
1) Shared Dream
2) Hickeys came out of dream
3) Sensing her location
4) Sensing her mood
5) Light Show
6) Feel better lighter
7) Feel stronger
8) Seem more ‘hormonal’ than usual
Hermione circled all the items that were represented on both lists. I noticed she had starred numbers 6, 7, & 8 and written ‘linked to 5a?’ next to them. Right around this time Ron returned with a stack of books he’d located on bonds and dreams. It didn’t seem to take much time at all before Ron returned with a stack of books he’d located on bonds and dreams. The trio started looking through the books, and it didn’t seem to take long at all before Harry found an in depth description of soul mates.
The prevailing theory about Magical Soul mates are two magical beings of complimentary sexual orientation who share 2 or more of the four key elements of the magical self; 1) Magical Core, 2) Emotional, 3) Physical, and 4)Psychological. One other theory states that Magical Soul mates are, in fact, two magical souls matched by the higher power to ensure an almost nirvanic relationship.
The advent of the bond is characterized by a surrounding nimbus of light the color of the light corresponds directly to the level of the bond, and to the level of connection of those sharing the bond. All bonds convey upon their bondmates the ability to sense proximity and emotions. The radial distance restrictions differ for each level; from only a few hundred kilometers for the blue level, to almost unlimited miles for the opalescent level.
Those who connect on only two of the four key elements create a nimbus of blue light. This glow is indicative of the least strong bond. This bond is limited greatly. To cement the bond, the couple must spend vast amounts of time in direct physical contact. It is often categorized by the need to reaffirm their bond often and in a multitude of different ways.
Those who connect on three of the four key elements create a nimbus of golden light. This level is also characterized by a need for physical contact and reaffirmations, and yet the need is significantly less intrusive than that of the lesser bond.
Those who connect on all four of the key elements of the Magical Self exhibit a pearlescent or opalescent nimbus. If there is a limit to how far reaching their extrasensory connection can be felt, it has yet to be found. This bond does not need the physical contact or reaffirmations, and yet the bond is strengthened considerably by each instance of contact or affirmation. These mates also speak of sharing an increased understanding of one another’s mental state. They can also share and exchange magical power and abilities. Theories suggest that in times of great need one member of the bond can channel all the magical power of the air.
Harry tried to hide a smile. He thought that this may just be exactly what the prophecy meant by ‘the power he knows not’. He passed the book to Hermione, showing her the passage that, according to Ron and the twins was the pertinent passage. She gave him a pride filled smile that made Harry feel warm and confident that he could accomplish anything with her by his side.
Harry zoned out a bit as he felt her pride in him. He watched her reading and was startled when Ron shoved a book in front of him. Ron pointed at a blurb on shared dreams. It was far less informative than the passage on soul mates. Basically it stated that shared dreams are thought to be shared magicks working together to achieve a result desired by both parties. It can even happen in those with only latent magicks such as the non magical children of magical parents, and the parents of first generation witches and wizards. According to the book you only bring out of the dream what is needed to believe the dream is more than simply your average nocturnal mental wanderings.
‘So I guess while the hickey was enough to have me convinced, Hermione needed more proof.’ Harry thought as he clapped Ron on the back and told him it was exactly what was needed. He then passed the information on to Hermione as well. He chuckled as she blushed, reading that her own inability to believe without concrete proof was the reason she’s needed an extra shower that day. While Hermione took all the notes she wanted, Harry and Ron gathered the books and Harry reshelved them.
“So you and Hermione shared your dreams?” Ron asked with a smirk.
“Yes. Last night. Didn’t realize it until she walked down the stairs wearing the mark I’d given her in the dream.” Harry said conspiratorially.
“So I guess she left that one on your neck.” Harry was completely shocked; he’d thought he’d managed to keep it hidden. “You took off your tie after dinner.” Ron said laughing at the look on Harry’s face. “I’d ask for details---but she’d kill us both mate. Better you than me.”
Harry simply shrugged. “I’m happy.”
The week flew by and yet crawled. Harry was enjoying every second of it, even those spent in class. He found learning to be incredibly easier, and thus enjoyed it more. However Harry wasn’t the only one showing a marked improvement in his grades; Ron was steadily improving and since Harry, backed by Hermione, was making concerted effort to pull Neville into the trio’s study sessions as well; the Longbottom heir’s grades were rising too.
It seems as though, for the most part, the changes Harry has been able to make so far had made Gryffindor House a happier place to be. Thursday night Harry went to sleep with that very thought on his mind. As he entered the dream state, he heard Laura Bell’s twang laughingly say. “Of course they are happier. There is no crazy convict on the loose trying to break into their dorms every night. The dementors were taken back to Azkaban. Yeah they are happier.”
“Hi Laura, Ms. Bundy. How are you doing?” Harry asked politely.
“Laura is fine Harry. And I’m good. I’m right proud of you Harry. I didn’t think you would get so much done so fast.” She said smiling brightly. “You’ve fixed the Sirius Situation, so Miranda is much happier. Neville is getting happier, so his DRA Big Kenny is happier. Blake wants me to remind you to remember what he told you about building physical and magical stamina. Your scores are looking up so your mother and my supervisor are both happier. Heck even Ron’s DRA, Rory, is happy with everything you’ve done so far. Overall you are doing amazing.”
Harry beamed. “That’s great! Thanks.” He’d never really had this kind of pride in his accomplishments from an adult before. It warmed him. Then he was struck be a darkening thought. “Can I ask you something? I was expecting to have to work a lot harder on Snape for him to treat me even as a human. I mean that was one of my LONG term projects. How come he made such an easy turn around? Was that your doing?”
“Actually, No. What you see as an ‘easy turn around’ could have happened the first time. However he would have had to become aware of your placement or the treatment you received there. Severus would never have treated you the way he did had he not listened to Albus Beverly Dumbledore. Dumbledore constantly lied and told Severus that you were a bit spoiled but well cared for an happy.”
A look of anger crossed Harry’s face. Followed by confusion. “I thought Dumbledore’s middle names were Wulfric Percival Brian?” Harry said quizzically.
“His mother named him Albus Beverly. He changed it as soon as he was able. Birth and legal names can differ. As can names in the two separate worlds. Look at you. Your mother changed your name just a bit on your muggle birth certificate. There you are named Harris James…your mom felt, and still does, that Harry is more of a nickname, but since it is a family name of your father’s she allowed him to make that your magical name.” Laura shrugged a bit. “It’s not really common knowledge in the Wizarding world; but it does serve as a good way to make sure any paperwork that is signed by Lily Potter is on the up and up. If your mom signed it, it will have both Harris and Harry present. Otherwise it’s fraudulent. It’s a foible of the goblins. They want EVERY i dotted and every t crossed.”
Harry filed that information away to be analyzed later. “Ok, now back to Snape. Didn’t he see enough of my history during the occlumency lessons?” Harry asked skeptically.
“Harry, do you understand how legilimency works?” When he shook his head, Laura sighed. “Severus Tobias Snape is a VERY private person. He was testing your barriers. He made a concerted effort to ‘view’ as few of the memories as he could. “Laura Bell chided.
“Ohhh, no wonder he got so angry when I saw his memory.” Harry groaned. “Still why would….He was abused…so if he’d realized that I was too…he may have been able to see past the fact that I look so much like my dad.”
“Exactly.” Laura said busily. “Now we are starting to run low on time. So allow me to remind you that on your trip to Gringotts tomorrow, you will not be able to claim everything, but you will be able to get the ball rolling for your next birthday. Try not to be too new Harry like. I know you have a billion and three questions. But remember if you stay calm and listen you will learn far more than being completely brash and Gryffindor like. On a personal note, try to remember all the gentlemanly things Vernon does for Petunia. He was a horrible uncle and an over indulgent father…but he did know how to treat his wife, especially in public.”
“You mean all that door opening and such. But Hermione’s so independent. Won’t she get mad at me for treating her like she’s helpless?” Harry asked confused.
“Mr. Potter. Harry, it is your first time in a public setting with Hermione since you two have become all couply. Just trust me…it is better to behave like a gentleman than not.” Laura admonished.
Harry saw the rising anger on Laura’s face. “Ok. I guess it is better for her to be mad at me for treating her like a lady, which she is, than for pulling a Ron.” Harry said hoping to make her feel better.
“Exactly. Besides just because you know she is the one doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve to be courted.” Laura advised. “Take the time to get to know the girl behind the friend. You’ll never regret it. So that said, what do you have planned for the next month?”
Harry thought for a long moment. “Start improving the physical conditioning. Me, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and the twins I know. Find some way to bring Luna into the group. Talk to Snape and Sirius. Start trying to figure out how to rebuild that bridge…cause they burnt it LONG ago. Start working on unmaking Dumbolddork.”
“Smaller bites kiddo. Take on too much at one time, and you are more likely to fumble everything. Also if you include the rest of the quidditch team in on your physical training, it could improve a lot of performance issues….and best of all it provides the perfect cover. Dumbledore has already learned too much about your soul bond; try to keep him in the dark as much as you can.” Harry’s DRA said sagely.
Harry sighed. “Okay. I can put Snape on the back burner until I make some headway on the other two.”
“Good idea. And keep up the academics. Your mom is as happy as a tick on a hound dog.” Laura laughed at the rather confused expression on Harry’s face. “Don’t Worry about it. Now—WAKE UP!”
***Making Friends & Influencing People***
The next morning found Harry too excited to eat. His morning classes seemed to fly by, and yet crawl at the same time. All he could thing about was seeing Sirius again. Finally, the time was upon him. All of a sudden a frightening thought crossed Harry’s mind. ‘How am I supposed to act about all of this?’ He pondered that thought the entire way back to Gryffindor tower. He put away his things and changed into one of his few decent casual outfits. He put away his things and gathered a couple of changes of clothes into his backpack. Hermione told him that she overheard Moony asking permission to have the two of them away from the school for the entire weekend. Finished he ran back down to the common room. As he cleared the last step he pulled up short, looking at the six people conversing there. Hermione, Ron and the twins were talking quietly with Sirius and Professor Lupin. Apparently the professor had introduced his godfather to his friends. For a moment Harry just watched them, knowing that this was the foundation of his family.
“Moony, Padfoot!” Harry said smiling as he joined them. “You’ve met Gred and Forge I see. They secretly have a shrine to you in their dorm room.” He kissed Hermione’s cheek in greeting. “So, what’s the plan?”
“Wait, what no hug for your long lost godfather?” Sirius teased.
Harry’s face flamed hotly. “I, um didn’t. I wasn’t sure… if I should. I mean maybe you aren’t the hugging type. Maybe I’m not the hugging type. I’ve really only ever hugged like 3 people and they were female…so how would I…Sorry. I’m a bit nervous for some reason.” Harry said moving over to hug his godfather for the first time, in this universe, and far too long in his mind.
After he pulled away, he grabbed Hermione’s hand and dragged her over. “I’m sure Professor Lupin told you what happened Monday?” Padfoot nodded. “Great so what’s the plan?”
Remus spoke up, “we are going to let these fine young gentlemen head off to lunch, and then, with permission from Professor McGonagall, you and Hermione will be spending the weekend with us in London.”
“That’ll be great.” Hermione said excitedly. “We can take you to Harrod’s , Harry, get you properly kitted out and start to wash away the horrid way the Dursleys treated you.”
Saying goodbye to each other, the teens split up. Harry and Hermione headed to their respective dorms to grab their bags for the weekend. Ron and the twins adjourned to the Great Hall. As the Weasley brothers walked, they talked; deciding that while Harry and Hermione were gone, they would try reasoning with Ginny.
***All Kinds of Crazy***
Gred and/or Forge’s PoV
The twins and Ron entered the Great Hall on a mission. They found Ginny at the Gryffindor table and pinned her in. Fred and George sat on either side of her while Ron took the spot across from her. “We are going to have a bit of a family meeting after lunch today, Gin-Gin.” Forge said from her right.”
“Ronniekins will get Percy and we’ll find somewhere to have a discussion.” Gred added from her left.
Ginny’s expression turned mulish. “I don’t have anything to say to you traitors.”
“Well we have plenty to say to you.” Ron said his anger and frustration blatantly apparent.
None of the Weasleys spoke for the rest of the meal. When they were finished eating, the twins corralled Ginny and forced her to stay with them; having to go so far as to snatch her wand away from her. Ron had to drag Percy over to them. He waved McGonagall over and quietly asked if there was somewhere they could have a private family meeting.
McGonagall was no fool she’d heard about the behavior of the littlest Weasley. She understood completely why the middle three wanted to meet with the other two. She gave Ginny a disappointed look and bid them to follow her. She took them to a small ‘sitting room’ right off the front hall. This room had been set aside for students to meet with their families for years. It even had a monitored floo. As a precaution she took all five wands, telling them and to see her to retrieve their wands when they were finished. At the door she stopped a moment. “I will ask Dobby to keep an ear out and allow you out only when one of the twins believes the matter resolved. I will excuse you from any afternoon classes. Take all the time you need.”
The twins couldn’t suppress a chuckle as they all watched the door disappear. McGonagall must really want us to get this all worked out. “Good. Now maybe we can get this all straightened out.”
“What is there to ‘straighten out’? Harry is mine. That mudblood bitch stole him. I’m going to get him back.” Ginny said shrilly. “You three are traitors.”
Ron, Gred and Forge exchanged looks. “Well Percy since Ginny’s sanity had apparently disappeared with the door, let’s start with you.” Ron said.
“Why are you siding with someone so clearly delusional?” Fred asked. It really showed how serious the twins held this problem. Not only were they using bisected sentences, but they weren’t even calling Percy names.
“She is a Weasley.” He answered simply.
“Yes. She’s also completely in the wrong. Every one of us in this room is a Weasley…but you’ve sold me and Gred up the river three times this year alone. Because you felt we were in the wrong.” George said staunchly.
“You are supporting her despite knowing that she is wrong…because you still feel guilty about last year. So you are trying to be the super big brother to make up for it.” Fred continued for him. “We get it, we feel bad too. But ask yourself two questions…Have you ever seen Ginny and Harry exchange more than pleasantries? And second is it right to support her against the people who made sure we still have a sister in the first place?”
Percy’s face scrolled through several emotions. Shame, thoughtfulness, dubiousness, and then humor before finally settling in to resolution. “No. no it isn’t right. If it weren’t for Hermione and Harry, Ginny would be dead. And it’s worse than you know. Hermione asked me several times last year if Ginny was adjusting alright to being away from home. She thought Ginny was withdrawing because she was homesick. She barely even knew her, but because Ginny is Ron’s little sister, she was concerned about her and asked after her. But I was so wrapped up in myself, and my things…I ignored Hermione’s concern. As to the second question…I guess I assumed they had had some meaningful conversations outside of my presence. I mean she started off just squeaking when he tried to talk to her…but now she can at least wave when he says hello.”
“She and Harry haven’t exchanged more than 25 words since she found out who he was. And that includes the time in the Chamber.” Ron said, glaring at his sister. “Whereas Hermione has been his friend since first year. They talk about anything and everything. So why does Harry supposedly belongs to Ginny?”
“Of Course he is mine.” Ginny said, once again ignoring reason. “I’ve loved him since I was six years old.”
Percy sat hard and dropped his head into his hands. “SO you’ve loved him since you were six?” Ginny nodded emphatically. “You’ve loved him for six years….even though you didn’t set eyes on him until a couple of summers ago.” Again the emphatic nodding. “Despite the fact that you haven’t said more than Hi and Bye to him in those three years…unless we count ‘thank you ever so much for saving me from my own stupidity and my brother’s inattention’?” Still Ginny was nodding as though this were all perfectly normal. “So basically I’ve not been supporting a cute little school girl crush…I’ve been supporting a barking mad obsession?” he turned to the Ron and the twins. “Do you think there is something left over from her interactions with that damn diary last year?’
Ginny stood enraged. “There is nothing wrong with me. I’m going to be Lady Potter when I grow up. I look just like his mother, he looks just like his father…we’re perfect for each other.”
“You don’t even know anything about HARRY.” Ron challenged.
“Oh please, I know tons more about Harry than that ugly little book worm ever could.” Ginny said caustically.
“Ok. Who is Harry’s family?” George asked smugly.
“You ass, he doesn’t have any family.” She said haughtily.
“My god I barely know the boy and I know the answer to that. Ron, Fred, George, and Hermione. Professor Lupin seems to building a relationship there…for goodness sakes, it’s been all over the Prophet that his godfather has been returned to his life.” Percy said meanly. “The problem is that you have always gotten exactly what you wanted. Mum has never told you no. She has taken from us to make sure that Ginny could have whatever she wanted. Well now you have decided, as a child, that you want Harry Potter, the boy who lived. You don’t seem to realize that he is nothing like the storybooks.”
“Of course not. While he was supposedly taming Dragons, he was being forced to cook and clean for his relatives. Harry is nothing like the ‘boy who lived’ and he doesn’t want to be.” Ron said trying to be reasonable.
“No I know Harry. He’s Harry Potter. He defeated You-know-who twice…once just for me.” She yelled, stamping her foot. “I’m going to marry him and be Lady Ginevra Potter. It is my destiny!”
The four brothers exchanged looks. Percy spoke up. “This room has a floo connection. Use it and try to catch Dad before he leaves work. She’s too far gone for us to help her. And mum will just make excuses for her.”
Fred moved over to the floo and called his father’s office. When Arthur’s head appeared in the flames, the four boy’s all breathed a sigh of relief. Fred explained everything that had gone on this week, highlighting Ginny’s attitude and obsession. Arthur hung his head and told them to continue speaking to her. He said he would call Minerva and be there as soon as he could.
As they waited they allowed Ginny to continue to rant and rave about how she was going to have pretty clothes and fancy robes, and how she didn’t care if she had to ‘dose’ Harry to do so. She even said “Daddy’s been being dosed for years, it hasn’t hurt him.”
All four brothers looked at each other. They all shared one thought. ~Did she just say what I thought she said?~
Chapter 6: The Rest of Mine
*****The Rest of Mine*****
As the quartet of Harry, Hermione, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black made their way to the public floo in Hogsmeade, Sirius was explaining the actions he’d taken in the week and a half since his freedom. “Kiddo – I’m so sorry for making you live through that night once—let alone however many times you’ve seen it in your dreams. We thought we were being so clever. A double blind kind of thing. Make the secret keeper someone no one will suspect, keep him hidden, and me I’m the obvious choice, so I’ll be out and about making sure everyone believed the fiction. And since they could torture me all day long and not only would I not tell them anything…I couldn’t tell them anything.”
“In more ways than one. I’ve done some research since I found out about you, who you really are. As Harry’s god father, if you all did the magical binding; which I’m sure as purebloods you did, you are incapable of doing him any harm. Part of the oaths you take preclude you form knowingly doing harm or causing ham to be done to him.” Hermione said, in full lecture mode. “I’ve been trying to figure out how or why you would choose another to be the secret keeper when your oaths would have created an added layer of protection.”
Harry took in the looks of shock and dismay, the looks of total stupefaction on Sirius and Remus’s faces. “You had no clue about that did you?”
“No,” Sirius said baffled. “And that’s something that I would have always known. I had Godparents. They are as much a part of pureblood culture as they are muggle, or normal Wizarding culture…maybe more so since pureblood Wizarding culture still holds to dueling traditions and we have dark wars every twenty or so years.”
“That supports my theory…is there a way to check for minute obliviations? Someone would have taken just a few significant memories. Details that you rarely think about, rather than full remembrances.” Hermione postulated.
Harry looked at Hermione, shock written all over his face. He never thought that she would be the one to pick up on the conspiracy first. Not that he doubted her extreme intelligence simply that those who clung to authority as tightly as Hermione often did, were usually the last to see a conspiracy, let alone theorize about one.
“But who? Peter was completely pants at obliviation, he could never have done the type of detailed work you are talking about. Not to mention that his couldn’t have held for 10 minutes let alone for over 10 years. The delicacy of the spellwork it would take to pick out such tiny details…recurring details. No Peter could never have managed this.” Remus said.
“It would have been Dumbledore then.” Hermione said matter of factly. All three males looked at her in abject shock. “What? I’ve read about the fidelius charm. None of the principal participants can cast the spell. That counts out Lily, James, and Peter. Had Professor Flitwick cast the charm, Sirius would have never spent an entire day in Azkaban. And there are other discrepancies with the time line of that night…what you all hold as truth.” Hermione reasoned further. “I started to realize how little things made sense after I met Harry. He was nothing at all like the books said, and he wasn’t even in the magical world…it made the other discrepancies startling clear once I realized those two facts.”
“What discrepancies?” Remus asked. He lead them to the clearing by the Shrieking Shack and cast silencing spells and notice me not charms around them to guarantee their privacy.
“Well first of all McGonagall says that she watched the Dursleys for a full day before Dumbledore got there. She says that while everyone was celebrating, her first thought was to go and make sure that Lily’s sister was safe. Lily asked her to do so if anything ever happened to her. Anyway she said that after making sure that Petunia and her family were in fact safe, she was getting ready to leave when Dumbledore showed up. She asked him not to leave Harry there since they were the ‘worst type of muggles’ she’d ever seen. Now when have you ever know Minerva McGonagall to have that strong a negative reaction to people; yet she still allowed Harry to be left there, that made no sense to me. Then there is the fact that while she and Dumbledore were talking Hagrid showed up with Harry. So where was baby Potter for the 24 hours between his parent’s death and when Hagrid delivered you to your aunt’s home. Hagrid firmly believes that he got you and the motorcycle from Sirius and took you immediately to your Aunt’s house. Further still how could Dumbledore have laid these protective wards on the house when he was only there for half an hour total? I’ve researched wards extensively trying to figure out why Harry has to keep going back to ‘those people’.” The way Hermione snarled ‘those people’ had Harry, Remus and Sirius backing away for a moment. “Wards, especially blood wards are not easy to lay. They can take up to a week to lay effectively, unless you have many people doing them. And even more any ward that protected Harry from wizards who mean him harm would protect him from the occupants of the home as well.”
“One second...you say there were 24 hours of lost time…but when I got to Godric’s hollow, James and Lily hadn’t yet grown cold. Hagrid was barely a quarter hour behind me. He said he was taking Harry directly to Dumbledore. He should have gotten Harry to Surrey in under an hour.” Sirius exclaimed; his voice hitching as he mentioned the condition of the bodies of his best friends, his brother and sister.
“Exactly. Even more, how did Dumbledore know to send Hagrid to get Harry? How did he know something was wrong? Sirius, you found out because you wanted to check on Peter, then not finding him you wanted to check on the Potters. But how did Dumbledore know they were dead in order to send Hagrid in the first place. Why send Hagrid at all? All of the people in your lives knew that you were Harry’s godfather. Then there is the question of how Harry’s story became so well known over night. According to McGonagall, Vernon Dursley noticed the celebrations while he was at work and it was on the muggle news about shooting stars and owls during the day time. How did everyone know about what happened in Godric’s Hollow so quickly? How did Harry become so famous, and James and especially Lily’s sacrifices become barely a footnote in history?” Hermione asked urgently. She so desperately needed to share these questions that had been plaguing her for over a year.
“He wants an Icon. He wanted Harry to become a living, breathing Icon for the light.” Remus said.
“It’s worse than that. Living breathing Icons can be tumbled, tarnished. He wants the best kind of Icon…he wants a martyr.” Sirius said his voice quivering with rage.
***The Truth of Arthur Weasley***
Minerva McGonagall was puzzled when Arthur head popped into her floo. She had that thought that she didn’t realize that a schoolgirl crush necessitated the intervention of her family head. “Arthur, of course you may come through.” She said aloud before she mumbled to herself, “Ginny must be further gone than I believed.” As she led him to the room she asked, “Did you have to take the afternoon?” he nodded grimly, so Minerva changed the subject, filling him in on the Hogwarts events of the week, including the happenings of Monday morning and her observations of Ginny’s behavior. She unwarded the door and let Arthur have control of its seal. McGonagall returned to her office hoping that her friend would be able to get his daughter sorted out.
As Arthur entered the room he couldn’t help but notice the clear division. Physically Ginny was pacing, raving and ranting, while the boys were seated watching her closely. The way they were watching her was about the way Arthur imagined a rodent would watch a snake in close quarters. Emotionally the boys all seemed scared and rather worried while Ginny seemed to be in the midst of an angry tantrum. Arthur sealed the door and brought his presence to the attention of his children. “Well then, what seems to be the trouble?” He asked. Ginny ran up and threw herself into his arms immediately.
“Daddy, the boys are letting outsiders come between us.” She started. “Hermione stole MY Harry and they are acting like I’m in the wrong for demanding that she give him back!”
“Ginevra Molly Weasley! First of all Harry is not a toy or possession. Secondly Harry and Hermione have become good friends to your brother. If not for Harry, you’d not be here not to throe this fit.” Arthur began.
Ginny cut him off victoriously, “Harry saved me!” she crowed. “He loves me so much he came down into the Chamber and rescued me.”
“From your own folly.” Arthur reminded gently. “Ginny, you’ve known for a very long time that Harry is meant for another. I allowed you to look at the Libri de Diligo Plurimus Verus so that you could put that silly crush behind you. Harry’s name is in the book. Your name is not beside it. You know that means he is destined for someone else. From what Professor McGonagall told me about Monday morning, Harry was and is destined for Hermione; and she for him.”
“Pfffttt, McGonagall, what would she know about love. She’s just an old spinster who spends all her time taking care of other people’s children.” Ginny said crossly.
“Ginevra Molly Weasley. First of all Minerva McGonagall is a widow. Not that it is any of your business. She lost her husband in the war with Grindlewald and her daughter was so powerful that Voldemort killed her himself not long before the twins were born. You will keep a civil tongue in your head and treat her with the respect she had earned and rightly deserves. Further more you will keep your tongue in your head about matters that not only do not concern you but that you know nothing about.” Arthur’s voice was colder than any of his children present had ever heard it.
Ron and the twins exchanged looks. “Umm Dad, what was that…Libri de…thingy you said?”
“The Libri de Diligo Plurimus Verus, or the Book of Love Most True. It is the book of Soulmates. Marriages or partnerships blessed and destined. The book was created before the time of Merlin. The name of the male half of a couple, or the dominant half of a partnership, shows in the book the moment the younger of the two is born. The female name can only be seen by the couple themselves. Theory says that it was done this way to protect the girl from being done away with by a rival or the rival’s family. I must say, I’m very happy that Harry and Hermione have found each other and so early. They could never be truly happy with any other.”
“No!” Ginny yelled petulantly. “I’m going to be Mrs. Harry James Potter. And nothing is going to stop me.” She flounced to the sofa that was as far from her brothers and father as she could get.
The boys looked around at each other. Each boy silently passing the responsibility for sharing what they had learned. Finally Percy took a deep breath and launched in. “Dad, during her ranting, Ginny said something that all four of us agree, and I’m sure that Bill and Charlie would concur as well, means that you should go to St. Mungo’s and have a full potions screening done.” He began.
From there Ron and the twins relayed to their father exactly how far Ginny was willing to go to have her desire. Furthermore they relayed what she’d let slip about Arthur.
“Let me think for a minute.” Arthur told the boys, as he casually silenced their still mumbling sister. What they’d just told him made so many things click into place for him. Why he always felt more like himself on the afternoon of days like today, where he’d been unable to eat the lunch Molly always sent with him to work. Why mornings when he’d missed dinner he awoke wondering why he felt so different than usual. Why he’d gone from barely noticing Molly Prewett to her being all he could think of overnight. Yes it made sense…a dark, troubling sense…but sense none the less. “I’ll send your mother an owl saying that I have to work late tonight. I’ll leave here and have the screening done.” Arthur looked at his boys. He knew that for their sakes he had to make sure they knew what would happen. “If you are sure that you know exactly what this entails. You know that St. Mungos’ will HAVE to report their findings, should they find something. I’m not trying to put the responsibility of this on you. If there are … if they find potions then the responsibility is solely your mother’s, but I do not want you to blame yourselves later because you didn’t think this request through.”
“No dad, just like you love us enough to stay dosed up, we love you too much to let you. Go and get checked out. Get fixed up. We know that no matter what happens between you and mum-you’ll always love us.” Ron said in what could be the deepest thing he’d ever said in his entire life.
“Though we all know you love Fred and I most…” George started cheekily.
“After all you always save us from mum when…” Fred continued seamlessly.
“Whenever we blow stuff up!” the twins finished together.
Arthur chuckled. The twins handed him quill and parchment from their bags. They’d had classes right up to lunch. He dashed off a quick note to his wife, careful to keep the note’s tone consistent with his usual working late notes. After he’d sent it off, he immediately began to have doubts. “It would seem that I will need Percy to accompany me. As long as I am under the effects of the potion-or more than one- I appear to be incapable of going through with anything that will rectify the situation.”
“Of course Dad, I will help. Our potions text does say than many mood altering and mind control potions include compulsions that would make it ‘difficult’ to determine that you have been dosed, let alone get the help that you need.” Percy said his voice filled with determination.
“What should we do about Ginny?” Fred asked quietly.
“For the moment, keep track of her. Enlist Minerva if you need to. But most importantly, keep her away from Harry and Hermione.” Arthur suggested brusquely.
“Yeah…it would suck for Hermione to have helped save her last year, only to lose it and kill her this year. Hermione is scary when she’d mad.” Ron attempted to joke.
Arthur, Percy, and the twins smiled at his effort. “Well best be off then. Ginny, I want you to stop worrying about Harry and Hermione. Pay more attention to your studies. You still have quite a bit to make up from last year. Fred, George, Ron…owl me if you have need. I love all of my children…and I love you all equally.” He carefully unwarded the door, and escorted the younger children to the stairs leading to Gryffindor tower before he and Percy returned to McGonagall’s office. He quickly gave her a vague reason why he needed Percy to leave the school. She allowed them to use her floo to go directly to St. Mungos’ without question.
***Meetings With Goblins***
Sirius had arranged to have luncheon with the Potter account managers in an effort to avoid all the stares he was sure Harry would draw in Diagon Alley. Entering the bank by floo was a new experience for both Harry and Hermione. Once they righted themselves from Harry’s tumble out of the floo, they felt a warm wave of magic flow over them. When it was gone, so too was all the soot and dirt from their clothes and skin.
Sirius and Remus smiled at the smiles of pleased surprise on their wards’ faces. “Come on. We do not was to keep Tearing Claw or Serpent Tooth waiting.” Sirius led the foursome to one of the two tellers at the large desk far apart from the rest of the bank’s teller windows. “Black, Potter and guests for their 1:00 meeting with the Potter Account Managers.” This was the first time Harry could remember hearing any deference in Sirius’s voice.
Apparently something of Harry’s thoughts must have shown on his face. “It is a very stupid, very short lived wizard who doesn’t treat the Goblins with all due respect. Not only are they fierce warriors, but they control the economy of Wizarding Britain.” Remus told the teens.
The group was shown to a nicely appointed reception room that was set up for a luncheon meeting. A board room table was set with four places on one side and two places facing them on the other side of the wide oval. There was a small buffet with selections of salads and sandwiches. It held another surprise for the muggle raised teens. “They have pop…Cokes even, and healthy options;” Hermione said breathlessly. “I knew the Goblins were smarter than wizards!” She crowed happily.
“We are glad you think so, my lady, we Goblins have always believed it to be true;” said one of the two Goblins who entered the room. “Lord Black, it has been far too long since we’ve spoken. Are you sure that I cannot tempt the Black Accounts away from Hook Claw. Brother he may be…but I told him he was a fool for not pushing harder for a trial for you.” He continued before introducing himself as Tearing Claw.
Sirius just smiled. “He wanted me out of the way so he could manage the Black accounts as he desired. But I’m in no way complaining about his management…in the last 12 years he’s more than doubled the principle. I doubt any could have done better. Besides, there were some very powerful wizards against him, TC, he did what he could.” Sirius returned warmly.
Serpent Tooth nodded his head in acknowledgement of the truth of that statement. “I am Serpent Tooth.” He said by way of introduction.
“Thank you for taking time to meet with us today. I’m sure that you are both very busy.” Harry said a bit nervously. He wasn’t even sure he was allowed to talk in this situation. He’d never even found out about all this in the last timeline. The six people shared a meal, making small talk and sharing information about their cultures.
Serpent Tooth gave Harry a long look. “You know, Lord Potter, I held you when you were just an infant. You giggled like a schoolgirl for some reason.” The Goblin told the boy conversationally.
“Really…Wow. That’s wicked.” Harry said happily. “Please call me Harry. I’m pretty sure that having seen me in nappies gives you that right.” The
“Very well the, Harry. Let’s get down to business.” A LARGE ledger appeared in front of Harry. “This is a record of your holdings. It is actually the entirety of the Potter and Malory family legacies. We have combined the estates simply because you are the last of both lines.”
“Malory Family?” Harry asked confused.
“Many muggleborns are actually descendants of defunct or dormant Wizarding lines. In such cases the families vaults are locked down, interest deposits only, until there is an heir found. Your mother was such a descendant of the Malory clan.” Tearing Claw explained.
“Okay…but what about Aunt Petunia and Dudley?” Harry asked.
“One Petunia Evans Dursley responded to our letter of November 1981, ‘Neither I nor my family wish anything at all to do with any of that unnaturalness.’ End quote.” Serpent Tooth’s disdain was clear. “That could not include you because you are not of her direct line and because your mother’s claim to the Malory fortunes exceeds hers. First because your mother manifested magic and second because while Petunia and Lily share a mother, they do not share the same father. Mr. Mathis Evans was descended from the Malory clan, and while his wife Rose was also descended from a magical family; the Gaunts, they were a very cadet branch of the Slytherin line; that family had no resources of note.”
Harry filed that bit of information away. He could not deal with the thought of being even distantly related to Tom Riddle. He had too much to get done, and he wanted it all done as soon as possible. He could deal with that bit of genetic trivia after he’d killed the megalomaniacal son of a bitch.
“The notice actually only concerned a small inheritance of 300 galleons your mother left to your aunt. She wanted Petunia to have some funds that were untouchable by Vernon Dursley, should she ever be in need. We attempted to carry out those wishes. Petunia did not accept.” Tearing Claw elucidated.
“Half Sisters….that explains so much.” Remus and Sirius exclaimed in stereo.
“Your mum was HOT, Harry. I’m talking a true babe.” Sirius began.
“And Petunia looks like a horse.” Remus said. “Not to be mean…but you’ve had to notice that your aunt fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.” Everyone, even Serpent Tooth gaped at Remus’ turn of phrase. “What I worked with a muggle from the southern United States, Georgia I believe. And that was his way of saying someone was extremely unattractive. Every time he said it I found myself thinking of Petunia Evans.”
Harry carefully avoided making eye contact with any of the other people in the room. He concentrated every single fiber of his being on keeping his amusement tamped down. So he was shocked when the first laughter erupted not from Sirius, or even the jovial Tearing Claw, but from Hermione followed quickly by the taciturn Serpent Tooth. From there the others fell like dominoes. Eventually they calmed down and Tearing Claw reopened the discussion of the Malory legacy. Harry found out that his parsel magic was not, as Dumbledore believed, an effect of his first run in with Voldemort. It was in fact, a genetic gift that manifested in all magical male Malorys.
He learned of the holdings and inheritance portion of the Malory and Potter legacies. Then as they were nearing what Harry assumed was the end of an hour long meeting, Serpent Tooth began a discussion of Harry’s titles. “While you are usually –informally- addressed as Lord Potter; in actuality, you are Lord Potter, Duke of Gryffindor, Marquis of Haverston. You are a part of the Magical Noble line; hence why the House of Potter is one of the rare Most Ancient and Most Noble. The house of Malory, from which you have added the title Marquis of Haverston, is the next rung down the hierarchy, Most Ancient and Noble. Currently you are also the Heir apparent of the Duchy of Norcross…the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Black. The Black family is higher on the Muggle Nobility line, but lower on the Magical Nobility hierarchy. Perhaps that is the best possible segue to allow Lord Black to address the changes he has made within the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Black.
The smile Sirius gave the room at large could best be described in two words, beaming and smug. “Well, first of all, my dear cousin Bellatrix can no longer lay claim to being from a Most Noble and Most Ancient house. I have case her out. She is disinherited and can only claim the status of pureblood through the very much lesser Ancient House of Lestrange. Andromeda has been re-inherited, though she was never formally cast out. But she now has her dowry and a future inheritance, should she out live me. Narcissa is being given a choice…one Lucius knows nothing about. If she can prove that she is not a marked Death Eater, and she is willing to renounce any and all ties to Voldemort and his warped ideals; I will dissolve her marriage, take back her dowry and welcome her back into the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black. A lineage far superior to that of the merely Ancient and Noble House of Malfoy.”
“Sorry to interrupt Sirius, but where exactly do the Malfoys fit into the hierarchy?” Hermione asked. “I was able to find most of the purebloods with in Streigler’s Book of Family lines at Hogwarts, but the Malfoys were not included.”
“That’s because they have only just reached the seven generations of British ‘pure’ birth they need to meet the criteria of that book. They are considered to be an Ancient and Noble House in France. However since we recognize the dignitaries and lineages of all European nations here, they can still call themselves the Ancient and Noble House of Malfoy.” Sirius explained.
“It is the same for the Lupin family. We were originally from Austria. There we are the Most Ancient and Noble House of Lupin. However, about 8 generations back, the oldest Daughter of the line came to England and set up a matriarchal Lupin line here. Unfortunately we are currently a matriarchal line without a matriarch. The last girl born to the line was my Aunt Jillian. But she was not magical, so my grandfather took her to London and left her there. He didn’t have the power to cast her from the family officially, but unless she had a magical daughter of her line, or I do, the line will go dormant soon.” Remus added educationally.
“Yes. But your line is Most Ancient and Noble…you are linked into both the Magical and the old muggle noble lines. But the Malfoy family is only considered Ancient and Noble. They are at the very bottom rung of the French magical nobility, and not even in the now defunct muggle noble line.” Sirius explained. “Should Narcissa be marked, she’ll go the same route as dear Bella. However there is a marvelous loop hole in her marriage contract. You see my family still feel the Malfoys were limey French bastards. So there is a clause in the document that allows me, as family head, to reclaim all of Narcissa’s Dowry and any and all interest and profits that have resulted from said dowry; should Lucy engage in any treasonous or seditious activities.”
Harry looked around confused. The adults and Hermione all looked pleased and rather viciously happy. “So what exactly does that mean?”
“Well Madame Malfoy’s Dowry was quite large, the dowry of Andromeda Black was added to Narcissa’s to make up for the slight cast upon the original contract by Andromeda marrying another. It was one million galleons and a property. It should have not even been needed and used as a dowry for any daughters of the union. However, much of the Malfoy fortune was lost between the financing Grindlewald by Abraxas and then Voldemort by Lucius. Since 1981 he has relied HEAVILY upon the principle of the dowry account. Furthermore he has heavily mortgaged both the Dower Property and Malfoy Manner itself.” Serpent Tooth informed Harry and Hermione.
Tearing Claw threw them a rather devious smile. “The Dower Property was, of course, mortgaged back to the House of Black; however I took the liberty of buying the Mortgage on Malfoy Manor in the name of the Potter family. In fact we have purchased several mortgages at a nice 14 and ½ percent per month interest rate.” Tearing Claw said gleefully. “That includes the Notts, the Flints, the Bulstrodes, the Crabbes, the Goyles, and the Parkinsons. Unfortunately the Lestranges mortgaged their home while the Potter vaults were still in flux; the Greengrasses hold that mortgage at paltry 12 and a half percent a year.” He groused.
“Woah, even if the principle of the loan is only 1000 galleons, then they are paying 145 every month in interest alone. When you consider that the upper ranks of the Ministry are roughly 160-175 galleons a month, and the fact that none of those families have anyone working at that level. Then given the fact that those families do earn Wizengamot stipends, but do not work directly for the Ministry. Now the Wizengamot stipend is currently only set at 150 galleons for regular members well, except for the Chief Warlock who gets 300 galleons a month. But anyway the entire stipend would be taken for the interest. That doesn’t even touch the principle. Then given the probable amount of a mortgage, that stipend would only be a drop in the bucket. Even more so if the residual interest is being compounded annually. MY GOD, you could bankrupt the Death Eaters!” Hermione expounded excitedly.
“Very good Lady Potter, as of August first, Lord Potter is allowed to do just that. Lord Black may of course already move against the Malfoys. Since Sir Lucius’s service of Voldemort fulfills the definition of treasonous or seditious acts against the Crown and Ministry of Magic of Great Britain or Ireland.” Serpent Tooth said smugly.
“Actually since Sir Lucius is actually currently in arrears on both his mortgages, I believe that the contractual dissolution of the marriage could happen first, destroying the Malfoy’s financially. Then, should she be marked, you can still disown your cousin Narcissa.” Tearing Claw advised.
Sirius gave a wicked grin. “The question then becomes what should be done about Young Draco. A Malfoy by name, he is still a Black by blood. With his parent’s marriage dissolved he’d merely be a bastard of the House of Black, unable to be the primary heir of either line. If he is still redeemable, I suppose I could help him to obtain a mastery and become something useful.”
“That little shit is completely gone.” Harry hissed.
“Just last weekend he tried to hit Harry from behind with a curse. I swear if I didn’t know better, I’d have thought it was a green one. But wouldn’t the Headmaster have known that an unforgivable was fired on the grounds?” Hermione said testily. “Still it tripped Harry up…he could have hurt himself falling if Ron and I hadn’t been there to catch Harry.”
“Well then, he can fend for himself. Little bugger. Harry is far more important to me than some little albino with delusions of grandeur. Andromeda is back in the family…maybe she and Ted can take him.” Sirius said dismissively.
Hermione looked around the room thoughtfully. Harry could see she was biting her bottom lip in her usual thinking face. She looked at Serpent Tooth sharply, suddenly. “Serpent Tooth, Did you just call me Lady Potter?” she asked in an overly polite tone.
***Potions, Potions Everywhere***
Around the time Harry’s group was finishing their late lunch with the Goblins, Arthur and Percy were arriving at St. Mungo’s. Per Ministry policy, Arthur whipped off a note on St. Mungo’s Stationery sending it to his secretary letting her know that he was ‘out of pocket’ for the afternoon. Thinking for a moment, Arthur dashed off another quick note giving Amelia Bones a heads up on his suspicions and advising her that she may be receiving a report from the hospital soon. Sirius had told Arthur how fair and efficient she had been when she was dealing with his exoneration. Arthur also remembered the former Puff from school. Once he and Percy were shown to the back Arthur succinctly introduced his dilemma to the healer.
“Mr. Weasley, you do realize that if we do find any potions that you have not knowingly taken, we will cast forensic spells that will tell us who administered the potions, who made them, and who…if anyone…they are keyed to; correct? Are there any potions in your system that you have knowingly and with deliberate intent consumed?” Asked the head healer in the room, a petite strawberry blonde who’d introduced herself as Healer Constance Floyd.
“Well after Ginny, my youngest, was born I began taking a very special infertility potion. Severus makes it special for myself… and my two oldest sons. It is the only thing that works to combat the Weasley over abundance of Fertility.” Arthur said, blushing as hard as his youngest son had ever managed.
“We are compelled by law and oath to report all findings concerning any nefarious or suspicious potions to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.” Said Healer Floyd with compassion.
For just a moment, Arthur looked conflicted. He steeled himself and replied, “As a former Auror, and current head of a sub-department of the DMLE, I not only realize but I completely understand. And yet there is a large part of me that wants to leave here and tell you that I do not need to be tested. So please let’s do this quickly?”
“Would him being petrified or stupefied affect the results? Can you not put him out so that he isn’t being torn in two different directions?” Percy asked. His father was glancing at the door and battling something within himself.
Healer Floyd noticed the same things. “That may be for the best.” A quick jab of her wand and Arthur was supine on the examination table. She began her exam efficiently, nodding to her mediwitch after only a few minutes. The mediwitch began to cast a series of spells herself. In the corner of the room an old fashion muggle typewriter sprang to life. The typewriter created a ‘printout’ of the results of the diagnostic and forensic spells being cast by the healer and mediwitch. The two medical staffers shared a troubled look. “There are layers of potions in his system.” Healer Floyd muttered to her mediwitch. Finally after just over half an hour the machine gun rattle of the typewriter ceased.
The two medical witches crossed to the typewriter and pulled off a very long sheet of parchment. After reawakening Arthur, Healer Floyd began a rundown of the findings of the diagnostics. “We have found a total of five different types of potions in your system. Two of these are keyed to two separate individuals. The diagnostics and forensics took so long simply because most of the potions have built up in your system for so long we had to use special spells just to see how far back the initial contamination occurred.”
She took a deep breath before she continued. “We found the Infertility potion; you began taking it a bit over 12 years ago. And allow me to say that Potion Master Snape’s work is rather amazing…I would never have thought of using some of the ingredients he used in such a way. Remarkable. But that’s why he’s a Potion Master. Around 15 years ago someone began to dose you with a repulsion potion. This potion is, most likely, responsible for your hair loss and paunchy midsection. It may show up in other ways as well. If you’ve noticed a lack of charm, or the inability to flirt as you may have before; that would be an effect of this potion. Around the same time you were given a loyalty potion that is keyed to a different individual than the Loyalty potion that has been in your system for 30 years. For the last twenty years you have been given compulsion potions keyed to the same two individuals as the loyalty potion. That combination would make it nigh on impossible for you to disagree with those two people. Even if you know they are wrong, you would be unable to gainsay them. The last potion has been in your system for a bit over 30 years. It is a love potion, though not Amorentia---no, it’s something far more subtle than that. The four unknown potions were all brewed and administered by the same person. The person every mood altering potion is keyed to.”
Percy was flabbergasted. “Merlin’s Sweaty arse…who? How?” he sputtered.
Well I can say that not only did Potion Master Snape not know of the other four potions. I do not believe that he would take the time to develop that potion for you if he wanted you dead the first time you got a semi serious injury.” The healer said brusquely.
“What?” Arthur and Percy asked aghast.
“The compulsion potion mixed with the repulsion potion, when affected by one of the ingredients in your infertility potion would have made you unable to be healed by magical means if you had gotten any deep cuts or punctures. The interaction would act as an anti-coagulant. You’d bleed profusely and your blood would not clot well, even on its own.” She answered them honestly.
“So then…what do we need to do to get him well?” Percy asked concerned. “And who else were the compulsion and loyalty potions keyed to?”
“We’ve already sent a copy of the read out to the DMLE. They have a typewriter over there that automatically receives a copy of what our report in cases like this. The printout gives us and them the information about the brewer, doser, and any keys. However it has been proven that it is best to tell the victim of their assailants only after the perpetrators have been arrested.” The mediwitch explained kindly.
“As far as your father’s treatment, we will need to keep him here for 7-10 days. He would be on a basic flushing and detox program. At least 7 days of flushing draughts, every 4-6 hours. We have to make sure that all of the potions are out of your system. Then we can reintroduce the infertility potion.” Healer Floyd explained.
“I—is there any way I can begin the process first thing in the morning? I need to get my oldest son back here to act as Family Head while I am indisposed.” Arthur asked.
“Yes, but I would suggest that you not eat or drink anything in your home. In fact…I suggest that you find somewhere else to stay this evening. Is there anyone who can ensure that you come back in the morning. Your son may not be enough to combat all the potions will do to convince you that we are all against you and that you have no need for treatment.”
“Yes, I have a friend…cousin actually who has a house here in London. He has NEVER gotten along with Molly. He will make sure that I am back her tomorrow morning, first thing. Maybe with bells on.” Arthur chuckled at the thought. Together he and Percy thanked the healers, signed out, and headed to Gringotts to speak with Bill’s supervisor.
*****GUILTY IN HERE*****
Amelia Bones was not a vindictive woman. She was simply a woman who strongly believed in justice. As she was reading a note from her school crush, and lifelong friend, Arthur Weasley and the subsequent report from St. Mungo’s, she could feel a fire growing deep within her that made her long for justice. Before today she had always hated the fact that the accursed Healer Report typewriter was in her office. It seemed to always startle her as it would beep and start its speedy clacking of keys seeming out of the blue. But today she’d never been happier that she was the DMLE Department head, that she was the person entrusted with receiving these reports, because given the information on this report, she could trust very few people wouldn’t have simply buried it and felt it too damaging to bother with. Amelia, however, called in her two best aurors.
She turned to the less senior of her two most trusted Senior Aurors. “Shacklebolt. I need you to lead a team of four to the Burrow in Ottery Catcherpole in Dover. You are to arrest Molly Prewitt Weasley for 120 counts of Brewing Proscribed Potions, including love and compulsion potions. She’d also charged with 120 counts of administering said potions” the large black, bald Auror nodded his head in acknowledgement of his orders. “Shack…don’t think that she is just another potion queen. She could possibly be as powerful as her brothers Fabian and Gideon. She’s built a nice little life on these potions…I doubt she’ll be willing to go quietly.”
Amelia turned to a very petite dark haired witch. “Jones, you and I will be going to Hogwarts. We will take a team of three with us. It would seem that we need to bring in our esteemed Chief Warlock in for questioning. He is not being charged, yet. But I’m hoping that was can at least get him on conspiracy charges.” That last was said under her breath. However she noted the startled looks on her Auror’s faces and knew they had heard. A nausea inducing thought entered her mind. She cast her messenger Patronus. A large wolverine came raging out of her wand. “Healer Floyd, Could you please take a team and check over three muggles for potions poisoning. The adults who live at Number 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey, I believe they have been released on bail. The boy is in school, muggle school called Smeltings. I want them to have a full work up just like Arthur Weasley had.”
Hestia Jones locked eyes with her boss. She’d been there and heard Peter Pettigrew’s testimony. She knew what wasn’t said as well. Someone had performed the charm that was supposed to hide the Potters. Who ever had performed the charm had known all along that Sirius Black was innocent. She had been a Ravenclaw during the seven years the Marauders had strutted through the halls of Hogwarts. She knew how close they had all be with her diminutive head of house. She also knew how close the man had been with Lily Evans. He used to call her an Honorary Raven. So Hestia for all these years had assumed that Flitwick had performed the fidelius. But hearing that an innocent man had spent 13 years languishing in Azkaban made her sure that Flitwick had had no part of hiding her classmates. Peter’s veritaserum testimony had verified that Dumbledore had performed the charm…unfortunately it wasn’t enough to charge the Chief Warlock.
In the moment it took Amelia and Hestia to exchange those silent contemplations, Shacklebolt had left the room to gather his team. Amelia and Hestia with Williamson, a young Auror named Puckett, and Amelia’s partner and the current head Auror Rufus Scrimgeour. As they headed out they noticed that Shacklebolt was heading out accompanied by his partner, young Auror Tonks, as well Dawlish and Proudfoot.
“Be safe out there.” Amelia admonished everyone.
***Run Ins With Weasleys***
The four members of Harry’s party and the Potter account managers decided that they needed a short break before they tackled Hermione’s question. Rather than stay in the bank Harry and Hermione bothered Sirius and Remus until they agreed to take the teens out into the Alley. However as they were leaving, they ran into Arthur and Percy in the bank lobby. Almost literally.
Arthur pulled Sirius to the side, leaving Remus to watch over the chatting teens. The Red headed man quickly explained a bit of the situation to his friend and distant cousin. “Sirius, I truly hate to be a bother but I was wondering if, well since the healers say that it would be better if I not go home until after treatment.”
“Of course you can stay with us Arthur. Believe me when I say that we will have you at the doors of St. Mungo’s as soon as they open. They’ll get you all sorted. You’ll be right as rain.” Sirius assured Arthur before letting his older friend go about his business. As he watched the red haired father and son walk away; Sirius wondered, not for the first time, how different his life would have been had he not given his trust to those who were so unworthy.
The group only spent twenty minutes in Flourish and Blotts, even Hermione was anxious to return to the meeting with the goblins. As soon as they stepped into the meeting room then noted that Serpent Tooth and Tearing Claw had brought in a small goblin wrought pot and several vials of a dark blue potion as well as several long rolls of parchment. “I’ve readied the Legacy tests. I know that do not need to do them for any but Lady Potter, however I would like to suggest that we perform the test for each of you. There are many dormant vaults below us. Many mysteries to be solved.” Tearing Claw said jokingly.
Serpent Tooth simply shook his head. “If each of you will take a sip of the potion in the pot, we will move back to our earlier discussion, at the appropriate time, you will drop seven drops of blood into the proper vial of the Genealogy potion, which will then be poured onto one of the prepared scrolls. Again there will be a fifteen to twenty minute wait. The scroll will then show you your lineages. We are only able to show you two thousand years, so this may not be a fully comprehensive family tree, but I believe that it is sufficient for our purposes.”
“Yeah…I’d think that two thousand years should be well over sufficient.” Sirius said with a smirk. “Two thousand years ago the Blacks were still smithies and farmers. We didn’t come into a title until around the time of The Founding.” He joked as each person took a drink of the reactor agent in the pot. “Tearing Claw, Arthur Weasley he’s going to be incurring a rather large bill at St. Mungo’s what can we do to help him with that without his knowledge?”
“I’ll look into it, my Lord. If all else fails we may be able to simply go around him and pay a portion of the bill directly to the hospital before he receives any notification. He need never know the exact cost of the stay.” Tearing Claw said thoughtfully.
“I like that, can you let Hook Claw know what we’ve decided, tell him to handle it from the Black family vault. Arthur is a distant cousin.” Sirius said with a smirk. “It’s about time that money be used to help the light side of the family.”
During the fifteen minute wait the Goblins explained to Hermione and Harry the nature of their relationship; the fact that their bond created a type of semi marriage. It was a marriage in the fact that they were considered to be husband and wife, and Sirius could act as the magical guardian for either. Yet until they consummated the marriage, neither was considered an adult. As such they were still bound by the limitations set for underage witches and wizards. However Harry, as the Scion of a Most Ancient and Most Noble House, would reach his legal maturity on his fourteenth birthday. As such, while they could cease all the unauthorized transferred, Dumbledore had place after November 1, 1981; and with Sirius’s approval, they could even begin the procedures to reclaim said funds; they were unable to see exactly what those transactions were or even the total.
They paused for each person to place their blood sample in the vials. As soon as that was successfully completed they returned to their discussion. Harry looked at his account managers and his new wife and other advisors. “Can we turn off only the transactions that were begun by Dumbledore after my parents were killed? I want to make sure that any aid my parents had set up in their wills or whatever is continued.”
“Lord Potter, we have only been able to begin the probate process for your parent’s Wills. The Chief Warlock has blocked us from beginning the process with the copies stored at the Ministry, until your rightful guardian was able to provide us with a certified copy he held as the executor of them.” Serpent Tooth said solemnly.
“Well when can they be read?” Hermione asked. “Their wishes need to be fulfilled.”
“We hope to be able to have the will reading on August first.” Tearing Claw soothed. “We will handle Lord Potter’s ascendance after the Will reading. However during the ensuing time, we can move to reclaim all outstanding objects and properties from anyone not directly given them by a Potter will.”
As he finished speaking, Harry’s scroll snapped open, signaling the completion of his family. By some unstated agreement, he did not even reach for it until all the scrolls were ready. The three men all exchanged looks, before turning as one to peer at Hermione. “So I guess that means I’m going first.” She said testily. “Oh my. That is. Is this correct? I mean of course it is correct. The Goblin method of lineage determination is accepted by every magical and Muggle government worldwide. It’s as definitive as a Muggle DNA test for establishing paternity. But still. Oh my.”
Molly Weasley was actually in the midst of brewing when she felt a tickle on the Burrow’s wards. She completed the stirring for this segment of her potion; set a timer to let her know when the required simmer time had elapsed, and headed to the front door to answer the knock. Molly wondered who it could be. Her children were all accounted for. Opening the door to see a tall black wizard in Auror robes, she immediately threw a glance towards the kitchen. She shook off her paranoia as she realized that they could simply be there to inform her that something had happened to – “Oh Merlin, is Arthur hurt?”
“Molly Prewitt Weasley?” Kingsley asked, procedure dictates that you always verify the identity of your subject.
“Yes, yes. I’ve got something on the stove. Let me clean it up and I’ll come with you to St. Mungo’s. He is going to be alright?” Molly said busily. She was shocked when a young lady came from her kitchen. Molly quickly recognized the girl as one who had visited with Bill once or twice when they were in school; Nymphadora or something else pretentious like all those swotty Blacks. Why that child always had such strange colored hair was never answered to Molly’s satisfaction.
“He’ll be fine Mrs. W. Nothing a week or two of detox won’t set right.” Without taking her eyes off the red haired matron, Tonks addressed her superior. “Tons of evidence in the kitchen, sir; seems we caught her on brewing day.”
Shacklebolt turned to Dawlish. “Go get pictures. Bag any definitive ingredients. Let’s wrap this up nice and tight. Make this all as easy as possible on her kids.”
Molly was not a quiet woman. She was in fact a very loud one. But when she saw the opportunity to escape this situation, she slid her hand into her apron pocket as silent as the dead. She fired off a nonverbal reducto. Unfortunately for Molly, Shack was in the process of turning. The spell ripped though his robes and hit Proudfoot in the side. Before Molly’s spell even impacted the dark haired Auror, Tonks had hit her with a stunner. Nanoseconds later Shack’s petrification spell hit her as did Tonks second spell, an incarcerous deletricus. Finally Shacklebolt summoned her wand.
Snapping out orders, Shackelbolt knelt next to his downed Auror. Finding Proudfoot conscious, the large black wizard created a portkey that would take the injured man to the Auror Emergency Portkey Area of St. Mungo’s. By this time Dawlish had collected copious amounts of love or compulsion potion specific evidence, including pictures, capture vials, and Molly’s potion journal. With the amount of incontrovertible evidence they collected, the aurors were all certain that Molly and her co-conspirator were going away for a very long time.
***Slippery Snake in Gryffindor Clothing***
Amelia Bones along with Scrimgeour, Jones, Williamson, and Puckett used the extremely underutilized Head Auror Floo Override. This allowed them to floo directly into the Headmaster’s office without having to announce their visit, and risk Dumbledore locking down the school’s floo network. “Good evening Headmaster.”
“Madame Bones, I do not believe that I was expecting you.” Dumbledore began cordially. “Did we have an appointment?”
“This is not a social visit, Dumbledore.” Amelia Began. She was warily watching Albus. So she was a bit surprised to note that he seemed completely unperturbed.
“Amelia, I’ve stated several times that Severus Snape is a good man.”
She cut him off. “I can actually agree with you on that finally. However we are not here to discuss anything with Potion Master Snape. We are here to speak with you.” Amelia made sure that her mental shields were in place. She noticed that Williamson’s and Puckett’s eyes were slightly downcast. Smart. If your shields are only passable better to avoid eye contact and maintain your shields as best you can. “If you could please get Professor McGonagall up here to take the helm; we need to speak to you concerning Arthur Weasley. Unfortunately it could take much of the evening.” She said maintaining a courteousness she really didn’t feel.
Albus was in a quandary. After the changes and subtle unraveling of many of his manipulations wrought by Sirius Black, he could little afford to lose any more influence at the Ministry right now. In fact the censure he faced for the false imprisonment of Black meant he needed to make an ally of Amelia Bones if at all possible. However he was extremely concerned, the only reason they might need to question him about Arthur was if someone had discovered…but no Molly kept him under too much control for him to even be able to be tested.
“Very well, Amelia, allow me to summon Minerva.” Albus sent Fawkes off with a missive, and the Phoenix returned with the transfiguration professor. “It would seem, Minerva, that Madame Bones needs me to accompany her back to the Ministry. I will need you to assume the Headship until my return.”
McGonagall nodded. She was shocked. Dumbledore never turned over the reins of the school when he left. Then she realized that Amelia must have backed him into a corner. At no point was the school to be without a present head. But Dumbledore usually ignored that edict. However with Amelia present, he had no choice. “That’s fine Albus.” She said quickly. “Amelia, it’s been far too long. You and I should have tea soon.” McGonagall said with a smile, hoping the DMLE Head would understand.
Amelia gave McGonagall a smile. The two women were well acquainted but certainly not tea having friends. Which meant McGonagall must have had information for her. “I have some time tomorrow. We’ll catch up” Madame Bones returned with a smile.
The Aurors adjourned with an unprotesting Albus Dumbledore. McGonagall wasted no time in entering a conversation with the one former Headmaster who would be of the most help in finding out about the machinations of the current Head. Phineas Nigellus Black was a Slytherin who never hid the fact that he held his blood ties far more important than any oaths he may have given to any one or thing else.
Due to the additional charge of resisting arrest and assaulting an Auror, Molly could be administered veritaserum before being questioned. Had she come in without incident, the potions charges did not allow for any of the more aggressive interrogation tactics. Soon after arriving at in the Aurors offices, Molly was shown into one of the three chambers set aside for interrogating subjects. Within the chamber there were chairs for three and a small table with a parchment scroll and truth assured dictaquill. She was soon seated and given the truth agent.
“For the Record, What is your name?” Kingsley said to begin the interrogation.
The Mother of seven spoke in the far away monotone indicative of veritaserum dosing. “Molly Prewitt Weasley.”
“Have you brewed illegal potions?”
“Yes.” Molly said calmly.
She went on to admit that she had begun dosing Arthur Weasley near the beginning of their fifth year at Hogwarts. She’d decided that she wanted him to be her husband on the train first year, but when she heard that he was trying to get up the courage to ask Amelia Bones for a date, she’d begun brewing and administering the potions in order to keep what she felt was hers. Over the years she had tried several times to wean him off the potion but she would see evidence that he was thinking for himself and usurping her authority in the household. If she wanted to continue to have her way in everything, Arthur would need to stay under the influence of the potions.
She began the compulsion and loyalty potions when she discovered that Arthur and Amelia were together in Auror training. Eventually when her body stopped bouncing completely back after her sixth child she added the unattractiveness potion to ensure that he was unable to stray even if he managed to overcome the other potions.
“Your potions are also keyed to Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, correct?”
“Yes, all except the love potion.”
Molly then explained that after the deaths of her brothers and the birth of Charlie, Arthur wanted to pull back the family’s support of the Order of the Phoenix and move to America or somewhere safer. “Dumbledore felt that the loss of one of the major light sided families would undermine the confidence of the average wizard and witch, since he knew all about the potions I’d used at Hogwarts; I couldn’t say no. Once a month Fawkes shows up with enough hairs to establish the key for the potions.”
“Dumbledore knew you were brewing and administering illegal potions as far back as 1964?”
“Yes. As I understand it, he uses the portraits and ghosts of Hogwarts to garner information on the activities of the students. Should he receive information that he can utilize, he will use it to manipulate people into doing what he feels is for the Greater Good.” Molly theorized.
Shacklebolt and Tonks exchanged looks. They both wished that this incriminating statement could be useful, but both knew that unless Dumbledore somehow incriminated himself, Molly’s understandings and theories were not admissible in the Wizengamot. “You are also being charged with assaulting one of the arresting Aurors, and resisting arrest. Are you guilty of these charges?”
“Yes, of course, I do not want to go to Azkaban, nor do I want to lose my family. My husband.” Molly stated.
“If you’ve had to keep him potioned up for thirty years, was he ever really yours?” Tonks said searchingly. The Metamorphmangus really wanted to know how mental Molly was.
“No he was never mine. I’ve often wondered if he didn’t have a soul mate out there somewhere. Otherwise why would he constantly be fighting the potions?” Molly said with an honesty she had never before enjoyed even with herself.
Amelia Bones and Hestia Jones entered the interrogation chamber where Albus Dumbledore sat waiting. This room was almost identical to the room nearby where Molly Weasley had been questioned, including the scroll and dictaquill. They had left him in here for two reasons, one they need to read the transcripts of the Weasley interrogation. “Headmaster Dumbledore, thank you for agreeing to answer some questions for us this evening.”
“No bother.” He answered cordially. “Anything to help the DMLE.”
“Very well. For the record, please state your name and occupation.”
“Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and Supreme Warlock of the International Confederation for Wizards.” He said concisely. Dumbledore planned to say as little as possible until he understood exactly why he was here.
“What is your relationship with Molly Prewitt Weasley?”
“She is the mother of several of my students, and a former student herself.” Dumbledore answered leaving out the most significant relationships.
“I see. So you would be surprised to know that she is in the interrogation chamber next door and has admitted to being a former member of your Order of the Phoenix?”
“She was a member, but that is not a current relationship.” Dumbledore rejoined smoothly.
“I see. Very well. Mrs. Weasley has been giving her husband proscribed potions for a very long time now, what can you tell us about that?”
“It was my understanding that Arthur and Molly Weasley’s marriage was a love match. I chastised Molly for brewing illicit potions during her time at Hogwarts, but I firmly believed that I caught her before she administered them to anyone. She received punishment and that was that. It was an internal Hogwarts matter.” Dumbledore stated calmly.
“First of all Headmaster, at no point in the history of the wizarding world has the brewing of love, loyalty and compulsion potions ever been and ‘internal Hogwarts matter’ that has been a law enforcement issue since The Founding.” Amelia said tersely. “So you knew she was brewing proscribed potions as far back as 1964?”
“I believe that was the year, yes.” Dumbledore said calmly. Not realizing that he had unintentionally admitted complicity.
“Several of Molly’s Potions had a secondary key. Do you happen to know how you came to be that secondary key?”
“Of course not.” Dumbledore answered, righteous indignation covering the lie in his tone.
“Really. So you have no clue how she managed to get enough of your essence to establish and maintain a secondary key for over 20 years?”
“Twenty years. Oh My.” Dumbledore said in lue of an answer.
“Yes. Every month for the last twenty years. Delivered by your phoenix.”
“Very well she asked me for some of my hair each month for an experimental potion she wanted to try.” Dumbledore said kindly. “I never considered she would be using it for anything untoward.”
“I see. Laying aside the obvious question of why you would give a witch any part of you without knowing exactly what it was being used for; is Molly a Potion’s Mistress?”
“Not a formal one. However she did excel at Potions at Hogwarts. So I assumed she was simply trying to reach master level on her own.”
“I see. Why would you, a wizard of your status, and alchemist in your own right, allow another magic user to have a continual supply of your essence?” as Amelia asked this Tonks entered handing her another report from St. Mungo’s this report pertained to the examination of the Dursley family.
“I believed that she would use them for the Greater Good.” Dumbledore replied.
“Hmmm. Who decides what the Greater Good is?” Hestia asked speaking for the first time. She saw that Amelia needed a moment to read the printout.
“Apparently our Soon to be Former Chief Warlock.” Amelia growled. “Mr. Dumbledore, you are hereby being charged with Poisoning Petunia Evans Dursley, and Dudley Bracken Dursley. You are charged with Suppressing the Magic of a magical minor, as well as conspiracy to brew and administer illicit potions.” Amelia once again used her silvery wolverine to deliver a message, this time calling for veritaserum. The charges of simply potioning a person are not enough to give cause for the use of the truth serum, but the suppression of the magics of a minor certainly did.
“It would seem that I’ve found your Aunt Jillian, Remus. She goes by Julia now, you know…she’s my Grandmum Granger; my father’s mother.” Hermione said hesitantly.
“Oh my.” Remus breathed. “That’s wonderful.” He said with a large smile.
“That is superb news Lady Potter. Have you found any other magical relations?” Tearing Claw asked.
“Just two.” Hermione said in an overwrought voice. “It says here that through my mother I am the last of the Ancient and Noble House of Malloren. But I suppose I cannot claim the headship of that House since I am female. Oh my. God Save the Queen. It says I’m a direct Heir of Slytherin.” She said before shoving the paper across the table towards Serpent Tooth. “How is that possible…Riddle was the Heir of Slytherin, by all rights Harry may have won the title by right of conquest…but not me I’m a muggle born.”
“It would seem that the moment you were born with magic, your claim to the House Slytherin superseded that of any descendants of the Gaunts. The Gaunts were descendants of Salazar’s youngest daughter Selyne. You are a direct descendant of his first born son and heir Seyton. Had your mother’s father been magical, Tom Riddle would never have been able to access the Slytherin Heritage. As for the possible gender constraints, neither line holds any. The only restriction place upon inheritance of the lines is that you must be magical.” Serpent Tooth explained. “Therefore, I believe that you would now best be addressed as Lady Potter; Duchess of Slytherin, Marquesse of Rothgar, Baroness of Lupin.”
“Whoa Hermione, you have more titles than me.” Harry teased.
“Actually Harry, since you are married, you each hold all five of the noble titles.” Remus explained. “And as a couple you control six seats within the Wizengamot. Added to that the fact that you are currently the heir apparent of the Black line, well let’s just say you have a very large amount of political power.”
“Hells Bells.” Harry muttered.
***Naughty, Naughty Headmaster***
Amelia disarmed Dumbledore making sure to summon any other wands. Using a special auror’s summoning spell, she was surprised when she caught two other wands. She left the old man stunned and bound to his chair. Usually such precautions would be unnecessary, but the fact that Dumbledore had a phoenix at his beck and call made him an extreme flight risk. “Before I get into the charges that have been brought against Dumbledore, Auror Tonks, can you tell us the difference between Alchemy and Normal Potions?”
“Umm, sorry ma’am. I had Snape and I wasn’t a Slytherin. I barely made the Potions requirement for Auror training.” The young Auror answered truthfully.
Hestia sighed, she’s heard horror stories about Snape’s teaching methods for the last several years, but it still ticked her off how much damage the man was doing. “Perhaps the biggest difference is the length of time that the concoctions last. Alchemy creates ‘poisons’ they last very long, often until the victim is given an antidote. There are a few true poisons that are created using potions ingredients, but most often they are simply deadly potions. ‘Poisons’ are a one dose lasts forever thing, while ‘potions’ take many doses to maintain the desired effect.”
“Thank you, Jones. Potions can be metabolized fully by the human body, where as Poisons become part of the body and are constantly recreated within the body.” Amelia summarized. “Any of you who eat chocolate frogs probably realize that Dumbledore is in renowned alchemist. Healer Floyd examined Petunia Evans Dursley, as well as her son and husband. Mrs. Dursley was given a poison designed to create antipathy towards her nephew, Harry Potter. Dudley was given that poison, as well as one designed to increase his aggression towards his cousin. Given the age he was when the poison was introduced, it’s no wonder that by all accounts, he was overly aggressive to everyone. Dudley was also given a magic suppression poison. That boy should have been on the rolls for Hogwarts.”
Shack had a thought. “What about the husband, the uncle? Was he poisoned as well?”
“No. he is fully responsible for his actions. They checked for the presence of poisons, potions, and charms. There were no magic causes found for his abuse.” Amelia growled. “It looks like Dumbledore poisoned Mrs. Dursley, soon after dropping Harry off on their doorstep. Dudley wasn’t dosed until he manifested his magic. Both Mrs. Dursley and Dudley are currently in St. Mungo’s until they can be fully treated.”
“Madame Bones, I think it might be prudent for you and Scrimgeour to go take a look at the Libri de Diligo Plurimus Verus, Mrs. W. said that Arthur kept fighting his way out of the potion whenever she would decrease the dose. He should have only been able to come out of the effects when the potion was fully gone from his system.” Tonks said cautiously. “If he’s there, and Molly was actually his soul mate, both names will be there. If he’s there but the female’s name is still hidden…”
“Then we can tack on a charge subjugating a soul bond. Good point Tonks. Scrimgeour, you’re with me. Shack, you sit on Dumbledore. I don’t want him conscious until we are ready to question him. If he gets out of here, and goes anywhere but a holding cell, I’m firing everyone.” Amelia threatened as she and her partner headed to the Department of Mysteries. What she found there, shook her to the very core of her being.
Rufus Scrimgeour was not a sensitive man. But he had heart enough to take care of his partner of the last fifteen years. “Dawlish, that firewhiskey in your desk drawer, bring her as glass,” he growled at the junior Auror as he led Amelia to a chair. “Tonks, go add that charge to the list for both that bastard Dumbledore and Prewitt. If you can think of any other related charges that will stick add those too. I want to hit that selfish bitch with everything we can. Jones, can you sit here with Bones; I’ve got to question a man about some poisons.”
Amelia threw back the fiery drink that Dawlish had brought back. “No, Ru. I’m coming. I’ll deal with the thought of having a soul mate later, I want to know everything that bastard has done in the name of his infernal Greater Good.”
incarcerous deletricus—Special version of the incarcerous that can only be removed with another specialty spell, not a simple finite.
Chapter 8: Greatest Man I Never Knew
*****HOW WAS I TO KNOW*****
Hiding in the Ravenclaw tower, there was a small little blonde girl with large, slightly protuberant ice colored eyes. She hid from the bullying menace of those who felt she had no right to exist simply because she was different but even as she hid, she listened and she paid attention. She heard the rumors that Harry Potter had found his soulmate in Hermione Granger. She herself had yet to meet either of the two. But she had heard many of her fellow Ravenclaws discussing Hermione in very, very disparaging tones. Apparently she constantly out Ravenclawed the actual Ravens of her year and they do not like it. Luna Lovegood sighed. Harry and Hermione sounded like wonderful people to her. Ginny had promised to introduce her last year, but she had not been herself most of the time. And this year Ginny seemed to have forgotten about Luna all together. But Ginny often forgot about people when she no longer had a direct need for them.
Luna shook off her melancholy before returning to her previous line of thoughts. She had heard all the rumors, but even more the castle felt warmer over the last few weeks. The nargles were telling her that soon everything would be better. Soon the castle would become the ‘home away from home’ that her father had promised. The small girl smiled. Soon. She could wait for soon. The nargles had yet to lead her wrong.
While Ginny Weasley was not smiling; she was hiding. She was hiding from her brothers who, she felt, were all traitors. How dare they say that Harry and Hermione belonged together? Harry belonged to Ginerva Molly Weasley, and no one else. Her stupid brothers were wrong. She was destined to marry Harry and bring the Weasley and Prewitt lines back to their former prominence. Her mother had been grooming her since she was small to be the best possible wife she could be. Didn’t she spend several days over the summer learning to make treacle tart just the way Harry liked? Bet you Hermione ‘I’m so perfect and smart’ Granger couldn’t pull that off. She was to be Lady Potter; after all, her mum had said it was her birth right.
***Back to Black***
After leaving Gringotts with the agreement to return the following morning to finish their discussions, the group of four took the Knight Buss to the Grimmauld Place residence of the Family Black. “Had Sirius been unable to claim his Head of House ring, this would have been the only house he could access since his father never disowned him and despite her assertions to the contrary, his mother was not actually able to do so.” Remus explained to the teens.
“Nice home, Sirius.” Harry said. “Loads better than where I grew up.” he looked around silently taking in the changes. The manor house was a lot cleaner than his memories of it. As a free man, not only had Sirius been able to weld magic himself, but he’d also been able to hire the needed workpeople to make the shell of a house more of a home. The layout of the entire first floor was different, the foyer and hall were larger and brighter. Lady Black was no longer attached to the wall; ready, willing and able to yell obscenities to all and sundry. “So if you already have this house, why are you going to look at more houses tomorrow?” Harry asked, no longer having to feign confusion.
“We…we are going to look at more houses because I’d rather accio my own bullocks than have to live in this damn place again. Even with the changes, I still have too many bad memories of this place.” Sirius answered sincerely.
He nodded. “I see. I understand. I’d rather get kicked there repeatedly by a soccer hooligan than have to go back to the Dursley’s.” Harry commiserated.
“Don’t worry. That will never, ever happen. You’re staying with me from now until I decide to release you back into the wilds.” His godfather assured him.
Hermione stepped forward and enveloped me in a warm hug. “You’ve a place with Sirius, and should all else fail you know that you always have a home with me as well.”
Sirius threw Harry a lecherous grin, but admirably he managed to control himself before he said anything too untoward. “Let’s get your stuff up to your room Harry. Hermione, we will take you on to your parents after dinner. I know you were hoping to surprise them, but perhaps you’ll want to call them before we go.”
“That’s a good idea.” Hermione said sounding quite relieved. “That will give me time to figure out how to explain all of this to them”
“So…dinner?” Harry asked after giving Hermione a comforting hug in return. A part of Harry needed the comfort more than she did. The poor boy was very worried that her father may well have wanted his head on a platter. “Do we call for some kind of Wizarding take-a-way? I mean help you whip something up, but…”
“No, though thank you for offering.” Sirius laughed.
“That take-a-way idea could be a good business. So few Wizarding households can afford house-elves…” Remus muttered. “No. we won’t need to cook for ourselves, you’ve told me of your friend Dobby, yes well…here, the Blacks have Kreacher.”
“You named your house elf…CREATURE?” Hermione asked completely scandalized. “It’s not enough that you have a sentient being as a slave…you have to denigrate it even further with such a…an appellation?”
Harry looked at the two adults expectantly. But rather than answer Hermione’s query, Remus turned to Sirius. “I did warn you.”
“Good Merlin, I know what you said old chum…but who knew such a thing could be inherited.” Sirius returned.
Hermione looked back and forth between the Marauders before shrugging and turning to me. “Do you have any clue what they are blathering on about?”
Harry simply shrugged. “It would seem that you and Remus share your feelings on the plight of the house elf.” He barely managed to hold back a laugh at the rather delighted look on her face.
“Yeah, though to be honest, we assumed Remus felt that way because with his furry little problem and what not, he identified with the bloodthirsty little blighters.” Sirius added with his, so familiar, barking laugh.
“Why are you calling a subjugated race ‘bloodthirsty’?” Hermione demanded angrily.
Sirius just laughed. “How did I not realize you two were related? She’s just like you at that age Moony. Just smarter…” he noted the way her hair started to frizz and crackle. “And a lot more powerful. Calm down Hermione. I’m simply alluding to the reason that they are now ‘subjugated’.” At our confused looks, Sirius sighed. “That damn ghost never teaches anything important. Hermione dear, the house-elves were once a very proud race of tall and beautiful elfin people, before the time of Merlin in some parts of the world they were revered as gods. But like most fake gods they became petty and vengeful and they became cruel and blood thirsty. They became evil. It is said that the most evil of them became the Dementors and those that were found to be just petty, vengeful, and cruel were given the chance to redeem themselves by serving those who had once served them. By serving those they had been most cruel to. By being forced to bond with and gain power only from those they served.”
“Of course as more and more of humanity lost their connection to magic, and fewer and fewer were born with magical cores, they became more limited in who they could bond with.” Remus explained quietly. “But they do have to bond. If they do not bond with someone, they die.”
Harry looked over at Hermione and she locked eyes with him, as one the teens turned back to the adults and said quickly, “But what about Dobby?”
“You don’t have to worry about Dobby. That little elf is more than he seems.” Remus laughed.
“Yeah, he is. He showed up as soon as I was a free man and told me that he would be serving the great Harry Potter and his dogfather, and I had to bond with him.” Sirius laughed. “Gave me no choice at all in the matter.”
“So he’s bonded to you and he’ll be okay?” Harry asked simply for clarification.
“Yes. Though I started to say no just to see what he would have done. But something told me it was better not to risk it.”
“Smart decision,” Harry muttered. “He almost killed me, trying to save my life. I don’t think I want to know how he would have tried to change your mind.”
“Oh, maybe he would have swapped my mind out for some other bloke’s. You know…literally change my mind.” Sirius laughed, though he stopped when he realized that Hermione and his godson were considering the fact that Dobby probably would have thought of just that.
Before anyone could say anything, however, the doorbell rang. That was new, in the former timeline, Harry remembered, there was only a knocker to alert the household to the presence of someone seeking admission. Remus opened it to admit Arthur Weasley. They could all see the indecision and subconscious fight in his eyes, visage and in the trembling of his hands. “Arthur, get in here, before you faint.” Sirius said quickly, rushing to the door and physically pulling Arthur Weasley inside. “There is a room ready for you on the third floor, but first why don’t we sit you down and we’ll all have a spot of dinner. The more you eat and drink the better for your body to flush those potions right out of your system.”
Dobby popped up at my elbow and exuberantly addressed Sirius. “Dinner is already for the Master Harry Potter sir and his Wheezy father and DogFather and Wolfiefather and his Harmony.” He threw his arms around my legs. “Dobby is so glad that Harry Potter has found his Harmony. Harry Potter’s Wheezy was wanting to take the Harmony for himself just to keep his mother and little sister happy. He knew they wouldn’t work, but hims mommy is very loud. Mrs. Harmony cannot be with Harry Potter’s Wheezy…that would have been very, very bad. Very, very bad.” Dobby said solemnly…well solemnly for him anyway.
No one seemed to know what to say to that, and Dobby quickly moved them all into the dining room. He had them seated and served in thrice and the food was amazingly delicious. Dobby seemed to have each of them well pegged. The meal started with a large salad, and there were plenty of fresh vegetables all throughout which pleased Hermione to no end. The main course was steak, which made the males at the table happy. Remus’ was even cooked very rare, which made the wolf grin even as Hermione carefully didn’t look at him eating it.
Conversation was light, trying to keep Arthur’s mind off his woes, when they were brought to the very forefront of their evening when Dobby brought him a letter that had been delivered. “It’s from Amelia.” Arthur said worriedly as he hurriedly opened and read the missive. Reading it quickly he sighed and hung his head. “They’ve added to the charges against Molly. My name is in the book of true love.”
“Mr. Weasley, I didn’t think the marriage bindings would take under the influence of Potions.” Hermione asked gently.
Mr. Weasley shook his head. “We didn’t have a binding ceremony. Bill was on the way, and since we hadn’t the money to spend on a big to do anyway, we decided…or Molly convinced me to get married in the Muggle world. The Ministry accepts Muggle marriages too. It’s just not usually the done thing for purebloods.”
Remus and Sirius exchanged dark looks. “Well, even a Muggle marriage will have been dissolved after today.” Sirius told his friend quietly. “So once St. Mungos is done with you, you should trot on down to the Ministry and take a look at the book and see who your soul mate is.”
“I always thought ‘soul mates’ was a very rare phenomenon…yet here is sit with a full set and another person who has one.” Remus wondered aloud.
“Yes, but everyone knows that you cannot count the Potters. They always have soulmates.” Arthur joked. His first real smile of the evening on his face.
“Really?” Harry couldn’t help but ask. His voice rang with surprise.
“Oh yes. Just like the Weasleys are known for our special circumstances when it comes to fertility, the Potters are known for longevity and prosperity of their marriages.” Arthur said with another genuine smile.
“So my mum and dad were soulmates?” He asked in awe.
“Of course they were. Part of your families by laws says that Potter heirs may only marry for love, and their bindings are all very specific.” Sirius noted. “How else do you think Aunt Dorea ended up with Charlus? They almost had to be soulmates, didn’t they? The only reason my grandfather went along with the match is because they were already married in the eyes of magic. Otherwise she would have been blasted off the family tree for marrying into such a light family, pure or not.”
“Oh my, a family tree?” Hermione asked excitedly. “I’ve read of the ritual it takes to create one, its derived from the goblin ritual we took part in earlier. But I’ve never seen one other than the tiny pictures in the books at Hogwarts and they aren’t big enough to see anything but the general idea.”
“Most of the old families have one. My mother, may Satan enjoy her soul, loved to sear people off the damn thing for good behavior. Come on. It’s time I repaired the damn thing.” He led everyone to a room off the large main library that seemed to be a smaller library. “This room contains the books that only someone of Black blood can read. A few of them could be read by a spouse, but very few. Ah, here it is. You will note that while dear old Mummy could blast my name away, she couldn’t actually circumvent the true lines of succession. As long as I was not disowned by the family head, she could batter this poor old tapestry all she liked.” He laid a hand on the top most corner of the thick, almost carpet like material. The tapestry seemed to bend seeking his touch. Thankfully it came to him; the top most corner was far above even Sirius’ height. They watched as he pushed magic into it and it suddenly became whole and clean and beautiful once more. There were names with lines struck through, including Bellatrix. “As you can see she never needed to abuse the old thing. It self updates.”
Just as he turned to lead them from the room a small bedraggled house elf appeared in front of him blocking the path. “Lord Siri, sir. I is Mamie, Missy Cissy elf. Missy Cissy says please come. Master Lucius is done lost what little mind he had. Hims is beating Missy Cissy. Beating her worser than ever before.”
“Go Sirius. I have the children.” Arthur urged. With a grateful nod, Sirius grabbed Remus by the arm and they were gone. Arthur led the teens back to dinner and all were far less jovial as they finished our meal. As they finished Dobby’s amazing treacle tart, Arthur looked at Harry and Hermione and said quietly. “I am ever so happy that the two of you found each other and did so before anything could be done to circumvent your happiness.”
“Mr. Weasley, they may have been able to postpone your true happiness, but not even Dumbasadoor has the power to completely circumvent it. Fate wants you and your soulmate together, right…so even though others tried to keep it from coming to pass…” Harry trailed off quietly. He thought to himself ‘really should leave the pontificating to Hermione.’ But the look of pride that she gave him more than makes any embarrassment Harry felt worth it.
“Harry’s right, Mr. Weasley. Ms. Prewitt may have tried to steal you away, but it took her dosing you every day to maintain it. Even if not now, then at some point she would have missed a dose and you’d have broken free.” Hermione said encouragingly.
Before anything else could be said, Remus called out from the main hall. “Arthur, Hermione…I need help!”
The three of them raced to him and Harry quickly realized why Remus had not called his name. He needed help healing Narcissa Malfoy. She looked awful... though to be fair Harry did recognize a fair bit of her injuries as he had them several times himself. The tall blonde was unconscious and covered in blood “Looks like he used his fists.” Harry whispered quietly. He knew that if you’d been hit round about the head, the last thing you wanted any in your vicinity were loud sounds. “Watch her ribs. Her nose is broken, and I think she’s a free bleeder.” He said as Hermione moved from his side to help.
“Thanks Harry.” Remus lowered his voice as well. “I knew about the nose and the ribs, but I just assumed that she was bleeding from multiple cuts and slit bruises.” He changed the spell he was using and the bleeding slowed before finally stopping. Hermione went to work doing what she could, mostly setting broken bones for Arthur and Remus to fully heal.
As they worked, Sirius apparated into the hall. He slumped down, mostly unhurt but obviously exhausted. “Dobby,” he called quietly. “Pop to Amelia Bones in the DMLE, tell her Lucius Malfoy is dead at Malfoy Manor. I am here for any questions she has, but I had to get home to check on my family member who was savagely beaten at his hands.” Dobby gasped, but disappeared with a small pop.
“Sirius, we’ve done all we can here. Arthur and I have to take Narcissa onto St. Mungos.” Remus said urgently. “The family magics have helped to stabilize her and even seemed to drain off some of the curses he cast on her. But she still needs help.”
“Go. Arthur, you may as well start your treatment tonight, yeah.” Sirius said pleasantly. “The sooner begun, the sooner done. Remus and I can bring William to you when he gets here.”
Remus managed to get both Arthur and Narcissa through the floo, calling out the hospital name clearly, but quietly in deference to Narcissa’s concussion. No sooner had the fire settled from their departure than it roared again. Sirius stood and went to the mantle. He reached his hand in and allowed Amelia Bones into the house. Tonks came through without assistance, but Sirius had to repeat the ritual of admittance with Shack, Dawlish and Hestia Jones as well.
“Alright Sirius, what the bloody hell happened?” Amelia demanded quietly.
“In my duties as Head of the Black family, I answered my kinswoman’s call for aid. I arrived at the lesser house of Malfoy’s manor house to find Lucius Malfoy beating my kinswoman with his fists and feet. She appeared to have already been cursed several times. I garnered his attention by punching him in the bloody kidney. I then proceeded to offer him an opportunity to attempt to use his fists on someone his own size who could actually fight back. Instead he drew his wand and made several, unsuccessful attempts to hex me. I drew him into a fire fight forcing him away from Narcissa, who appeared to be unconscious and bleeding profusely. While I was engaging Malfoy’s attention, Remus used Malfoy’s inattention to stabilize Narcissa enough to get her back her, where the family magics would help to stabilize her further. After they left, I devoted my full attention to Lucius. With little to no hope of beating me in a fair fight, he decided to play dirty. He was still losing. Badly. So he decided to go for his master’s favorite curse. I was, unfortunately out of options. So I made a desperation play. Did you know that a goblin made mirror will actually deflect the AK back at the caster? Granted, you need to be out of the blast zone when the soddin’ thing explodes…but it worked. And Lucius Malfoy is dead at his own hand. Hoisted on his own petard as it were.” He told us all succinctly.
“We’ll need to check your wand, of course.” Kingsley said with a large smile. Sirius handed over his wand and while a lot of the spells he used were meant to hurt, a lot, not one of them were the killing curse. “A barber charm?” Kingsley asked curiously.
“At the time I was going for the humiliation. Lucius loved his long pale blonde locks. So I took a shot. Too bad he’s dead, blighter owes me two bits.” Sirius said with an evil smile.
“Oh…if they are in good condition, we should gather them and donate them to Locks of Love.” Hermione said with a wicked grin.
“What’s that?” Harry asked. Whatever it was he could tell from the devilish grin on her face that Lucius Malfoy would hate to be associated with it in any fashion.
“When muggles get cancer, an affliction that kills millions worldwide every year, they have to undergo a very painful treatment called chemotherapy in the hopes to kill off the cancer cells. But the treatment often makes their hair fall out. Locks of Love takes hair donations from people who have cut theirs for whatever reason, and they make wigs that cancer patients can wear to achieve at least the appearance of health and wellbeing.” She explained.
Tonks started to laugh uproariously. “Uncle Lucy would absolutely hate that. Please, Boss, can we? I want to see if he’ll spin before he even gets into his grave.”
“You may collect the hair as you, and Jones accompany me to search Malfoy Manor. Dawlish, you and Shack have the duty of getting statements from Madam Malfoy and Mr. Lupin. Smythe is on duty tonight at St. Mungo’s, pull him in to witness the statements.” Bones ordered. With a word of goodbye, the aurors left the house via the front door before apparating to their destinations.
As soon as they were gone, Sirius turned to Hermione and Harry. “Allow me to finish my meal, and Harry and I will escort you home Hermione.” The two soulmates nodded and went to the front sitting room.
Hermione looked at me and her smile was devious. “So, whatever shall we do with ourselves while we wait on Sirius to finish up?” she reached out her hand to Harry and he grasped it like the lifeline he always found it to be. They walked into the Manor’s front parlor, which was set up as a sitting room. Harry took the lead this time. He pulled her over to the large armchair rather than letting her lead them to the sofa or divan. He sat and pulled her into his lap.
“I know we’re way too young to go as far in the real world as we went in what we thought was just a dream.” He began quietly.
“A completely justified belief,” she defended. “It was technically a dream. It was just something more as well.”
“Something brilliant.” He murmured. “But as I was saying before I was ever so rudely interrupted,” Harry teased. “We aren’t ready for that in the real world. But I have to tell you. It was the best dream I have ever, ever had. Thank you. That isn’t what I was going to say, though I had to say it. I was going to ask you what you felt you were ready for. I don’t want to push you for more than you are ready to give.”
“I do not want to push you farther than you would like to go either, Harry.” She said as she made herself comfortable on his lap. Harry felt triumphant that he managed to hold back the groan her wiggling created, no matter how slim the victory was won. “I understand your concern, and I appreciate it, but not only am I older than you, I am female and girls tend to mature faster than their male counterparts, often both physically and emotionally at our age.”
He looked at her agog. “But, but…” Harry stammered.
“You are more of the concern when it comes to physical interaction than I am Harry. I grew up with love Harry. I know we don’t really talk about your childhood, but I can only assume from the things I do know that it was very difficult. That you’ve had little to no experience with physical love, be it familial, platonic, or romantic. So rather than allowing you to perpetuate the ‘poor virginal damsel’ stereotype, even just in your head, I believe that we should acknowledge that while I am virginal; I, as the more well adjusted person in this relationship, will resolve to go at a pace that caters to you and your development. I have been raised to be in charge of my sexuality, my reproductive health and my psychological development. I will take charge of our sexual relationship, by letting you set your own pace. We will discuss how far you feel you are ready to go and I will tell you how I feel about it. But in a relationship, there must be communication and discussion not just an arbitrarily appointed lord and master…or lady and mistress.”
“That’s bloody brilliant.” Harry breathed a little idiotically. “I mean. I was mainly going to let you set the pace because I don’t know what is too far, not for us specifically but just generally. I have no idea what couples our age usually get up to or anything. I know that I want you. You have no idea how much I want you.” He muttered that last under his breath. “But I don’t exactly know what I would do with you once I had you.”
Hermione giggled. “I may be a virgin, but you’d be amazed what one can learn from a good book. I think I can help with that. You know, you do ‘have me’.” She pressed a kiss to Harry’s lips, her fuller ones causing a storm of tingles to start in his. She pulled back and her little pink tongue darted out and licked her pouty lower lip. The moan that one action elicited would not be contained. “I will tell you that right now I find that I am hoping that we can set that dream as our outer limit for a while.”
“What do you mean by that?” he asked feeling confused.
“I mean that it is not something we have to do, or even something we try to do, but should we progress to that point we will go no further. At least for say the next six months.” She informed Harry with a little grin. “But what we can do…something we should do every day is find time alone to sit and talk, and to maybe snog a bit and definitely cuddle like this again.”
He rested his hands on her waist and smiled up at her. “Well then, might I suggest that we start exploring this snogging, you speak of.” He smiled cheekily up at her. She leaned down and kissed Harry softly once again. Her tongue traced the curve of his bottom lip and he pulled her closer. The kiss deepened naturally. The taste of her and the smell of her washed over Harry. She smelled of mint and cinnamon and if magic had a smell it was there mingling with a scent that he would know anywhere as her. She tasted of joy and the delicious delights Dobby had made for them earlier. She felt like his heart’s home, like his place of solace.
Harry would never know how long our tongues danced against each other, only for them to pause to catch their breaths and then move once more into their next kiss; before Sirius cleared his throat from the doorway. What he did know was that Hermione’s whiskey brown eyes had darkened considerably, her face was flush, something Harry sure was mirrored in his own, and her lips were swollen from their kisses. She looked more passionate than he’d ever seen her before. But funnily enough her expression was just a more intense version of the one she wears as she opens a brand new book. At that thought, Harry leaned forward and initiated this kiss. He couldn’t have stopped himself if he had wanted to try.
Again the teens were interrupted by Sirius. “Do you need a lozenge, Sirius?” Harry asked finally tearing myself away from Hermione’s lips.
“No…But we do need to get Hermione home. It is nearing eight o’clock and surprise or no; it would be rude to take her home any later.” Sirius said gently. “Hopefully the walk to the tele will give you time to cool down.” He teased as he left the room.
Hermione wriggled her hips just a bit. “Perhaps I shouldn’t tease you.” She said and stood carefully to her feet.
“Feel free to tease me as often as you like. I find I rather enjoy it.” Harry told her a bit surprised at his own honestly. One thing that can be said for being a blank slate when it comes to emotional relationships, communication is less embarrassing without preconceived notions. “But I suppose it is best that I not meet your father with a stiffie.” Harry blushed and ducked his head. He forced himself to remember the feeling of the dementors on the train, and he could honestly say that he was no longer ‘awake’ below the belt.
The walk to the phone was nice. It felt exceedingly normal to be just two teens walking through London holding hands. Hermione’s parents seemed delighted to hear that she would be home over night and they invited all of them to lunch the next day. Hermione gave Harry a wonderful, soft, sweet kiss good night that seemed to stay on his lips until long after Harry and Sirius had returned to Grimmauld place.
The next morning came all too soon. Harry had spent much of the night before alternating between listening to stories about his parents and grandparents as Remus and Sirius reminisced and remembering the feel of Hermione in his arms. But Sirius had scheduled them to meet with the realtor at nine and they were to arrive at the Grangers at twelve thirty. Sirius had had the goblins prepare the paperwork he would need to purchase the house immediately…if he ever found the right place. The realtor was a very nice woman, who reminded Harry a little too much of one of his neighbors from Privet Drive. She showed the duo three houses, before they even got to the neighborhood Harry had asked for. She had four more in the portfolio that she was going to drag them through on the way to Finsbury Circle.
“Miss. I’m sure that all the houses you’ve slated to show us are very lovely. But my godson and I are on a rather tight schedule, we’d prefer to see just the homes that fit all the criteria on the list my agency sent to you. Now do you have homes that meet the criteria my agents sent you, or should we call this a wash and see a different realtor?” Sirius asked as we were leaving the third home that not only was halfway across the city from Hermione’s area, but it was also entirely too small.
“Yes…yes of course. I was simply attempting to give you a frame of reference,” she defended.
“I have a frame of reference…it is the list of must haves that my agents sent you yesterday. Now I have a very limited amount of time to find a new home. I have a cousin in greater need of our ancestral home than I. She will be ready to move in tomorrow. I do not intend to be there long after she moves in. Do you understand?” Sirius bit out.
“Yes sir. My apologies.” The realtor said in the same terse tone.
Sirius walked a bit ahead, his stride angry. “Sorry. You’ll have to excuse his temper. His cousin’s husband decided to try to kill her and she’s been in the hospital. The Husband is beyond Sirius’ reach and he’s taking his anger out on others a bit right now.” Harry explained reasonably.
She nodded understandingly. “I believe that I can understand that. But he is right. I should have gone about this differently. It’s just that I only have two houses that meet all his needs, and it seems a wee bit lazy to only show two houses.”
Sirius laughed from where he’d doubled back. “I like lazy. Were I in a better mood, I’d probably have gone along without a word…other than a joke or two. I would apologize for my churlishness.” He reached over and cuffed me gently on the shoulder. “But it appears my godson has done so for me.”
“Well, Lord Black, Why don’t we view the two houses I have the fit your listing and we can go from there.” She said giving Sirius a much more relaxed smile than she’d done all morning. I suppose finding out that even a Lord had the same problems as everyone else did make him a bit easier to relate to.
The first house she showed us in Finsbury Park was nice. It was a six bedroom, five bathroom behemoth of a house. Walking through it Harry couldn’t help but gape in awe. “It was recently upgraded for the sale and has T-1 lines throughout.” the realtor told them, her tone conveying that it was a good thing. Sirius looked askance at Harry, the lad simply mouthed that they’d ask Hermione at lunch. “Like you wanted, it has a semi-finished basement, and the back yard is fully fenced, with a six foot privacy fence. The pool isn’t heated, but you can always upgrade that at another point in time.”
Harry piped up, with a question he knew he shouldn’t ask but it was of great concern, at least to him. “When was the kitchen done?”
“It was last remodeled to make the house sell faster. The appliances are all stainless steel and the tile is a beautiful umber travertine. With a growing boy in the household I’m sure that you will make great use of the oversized French refrigerator. There are servant’s quarters off the kitchen. A one bedroom, one bath apartment with a convenient separate entrance, that is of course in addition to the required six and five on the upper floors.”
“Alright. Can we see the next house? this one is great but I’m would like to weigh it against something else that actually meets our requirements.” Sirius said with a charming smile.
“Of course.” She said with a smile. And she led the intrepid duo less than a mile away. This house was a bit bigger, sporting an extra bathroom and not only a fully finished basement, but a second lower chamber. There was a pool and a two car garage. The house seemed almost too good to be true, Sirius was trying to find something wrong with it. He’d been about to complain about the fact that there wasn’t a side fence, when Harry happened to look out the large bay window in a room that would make a perfect sitting room. The neighborhood looked a bit different in the full light of day, but even with the differences he couldn’t mistake the house across the way.
Harry turned quickly. “Sirius…we’ll take it.” he said definitively.
“Wait, we will?” His godfather said confusedly.
“Yes. We’ll take it.” Harry nodded emphatically, gesturing out the window. Sirius smiled at him as he saw the sight that made Harry assure the realtor they’d found their home. There in the bay window of the house next door, sat a head of bushy chestnut hair pouring over an old tome she’d borrowed from Sirius just the night before.
Chapter 9: Famous in a Small Town
Famous In A Small Town
Slytherin Common Room
Severus Snape was neither kind, nor patient. He was not a nurturing man, yet he now had a task to perform that would take all of those traits and a million others he did not naturally possess. It was a Saturday morning and he was awake before eight am, set to wake one of his students to give extremely distressing news. He dressed with care knowing that he would have to take Draco Malfoy to see his mother at St. Mungo’s, as well as to helping his godson see to his father’s burial arrangements.
When he could no longer delay, Severus made his way through the common room to the boy’s dorms. Casting a charm on Draco’s room so that none of the others would be able to witness his pain, Severus took a deep breath and woke his charge. Once Draco achieved the needed level of cognizance, Snape changed his mind and instead told him to dress to leave the grounds and meet him in his office in ten minutes.
Draco entered his head of house’s office fifteen minutes later wondering at the uncharacteristically emotional look the normally stoic man wore. “Yes sir, you wanted to see me?” he forced himself to ask around the swelling sense of impending doom rising inside him.
“Mr. Malfoy, Draco, please have a seat. I have some rather distressing news to share with you.” Severus said calmly. He wished, not for the first time, that Draco had been sorted into another house, any of the other houses.
Draco plopped, inelegantly into a seat. “Is it my father, has he been…No. Fudge relies on him far too much for him to have been arrested.” Draco murmured going to the worst case scenario he could come up with.
Snape came closer to a sigh than he was willing to admit. “Draco, there is no easy way to say this. Your mother is in St. Mungo’s and your father has been killed.”
“What?” the young man almost screamed. “No one can kill my father. He is an accomplished dueler. It must have been murder. What cowardly bastard cursed him in the back? No one can defeat him in a head on battle.” He demanded to know who had killed his father.
Severus raised an eyebrow. He himself had almost killed Lucius several times over the years. The man was only ‘an accomplished dueler’ in his own mind and apparently in the lies he told his son. “Your father was defeated in an honor battle by the head of your mother’s family.”
“Father is the head of Mother’s family.” Draco interrupted angrily.
“Your father was the head of the Malfoy family. Your mother was born a Black. A Black is always a Black they separate from their family only through death…or disinheritance, but not always then.” Severus said pointedly. “As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted…Lucius was killed by Narcissa’s cousin as he attempted to end the man’s life for daring to stop your father from beating your mother.”
“That makes no sense. Father has beaten Mother any number of times. It isn’t something to kill him over.” Draco said arrogantly.
Severus rolled his eyes. “The head of her family disagreed.” Snape drawled. “Now, your mother has been asking for you. We shall go and see her first and then we shall see to your father’s burial.”
Draco still seemed shell shocked. “I will need to go to Gringotts. I need to figure out how to make Lord Black pay for what he has done to my father.”
“You will do nothing of the kind.” Snape roared, losing his temper in a way his godson had never before witnessed. “Lord Black was well within his rights as the head of the Black family. Your father knew the language of the Black family contracts, and he voided the damn thing almost immediately. You were never to have been an only child; you were never to have been raised without knowledge of the rules and history of the Black family. Your father was, by the writ of the contract not allowed to commit treason or sedition. Cygnus Orion Black might not have counted his service of the Dark Lord as treason or sedition, but you can bet that Sirius Orion Black will.”
Draco stood and tried to look as commanding and imperious as his father had. “You cannot possibly know that any of that is true. My father was murdered by Sirius Black and I will do whatever it takes to see that justice is served. You are my head of house and my godfather, at this time; you are the only person I can leave these grounds with. I need to attend to my family’s affairs.”
“Very well, Draco.” Severus sneered. “Let us proceed. You wanted to go to Gringotts first.”
***A Lot of Things Different***
Deputy Head Mistress Office
Minerva McGonagall was a very intelligent woman. She considered herself to be brave and loyal and a true epitome of the Hogwarts House of which she served as Head. Though her students saw her as ‘old’, for a witch of her power, she was barely past middle age. But as she dressed for her meeting with the DMLE head, Minerva felt each and every one of her seventy two years. She had spent the last week thinking deeply about her world and her place in it. She wondered at choices she had made; things she had and hadn’t done…and time after time since 1979, every path not taken had proven to have been the way she should have gone. She found herself in the unenviable situation of growing to hate herself more and more.
As she prepared the first floor meeting room, the same room that had seen the beginnings of the Weasley drama unfold just the day before, for her ‘tea’ with Amelia Bones; the Transfiguration professor was plagued with the whys and why nots, the what ifs. What if she had listened to the voice in her head during that order meeting where the Fidelus had first been discussed? The voice that had told her to offer herself up as secret keeper for the Potters. The voice that reasoned that she had nothing further to lose, so if she had to give her life to protect two of her cubs, wasn’t that a worthy sacrifice. Minerva remembered, just for a moment the now lessened, but never truly gone pain of losing her strong and braw Harrison. Harrison McGonagall had been her husband, her best friend, her partner…he had lost his life in the last battle against Grindlewald. In her grief she had miscarried their second child, but at least she had already had her precious Danana. Her daughter had been the best of Harrison and Minerva. She had held her parent’s sense of right and wrong, her father’s wisdom and her mother’s strength of will.
Fury like none she had ever known settled into Minerva’s belly. Minerva had lost her beautiful Danana and far too many of her Lions to that hypocritical bastard, Tom Riddle. She thought with derision. She sighed. How different might things be if she had made the offer. Perhaps when they decided to fool the world with a fake secret keeper, they would have chosen her. She would have been behind Hogwarts’ wards and hell would have frozen over, thawed and frozen yet again before she would have told Voldemort or his minions anything that would have left young Harry in danger, yet alone orphaned. She would have been an infinitely better choice than Peter. All Heads of House have found themselves wondering what the sorting hat was thinking during certain sortings. Never in all the years she had taught at Hogwarts, never in all the years she had served as the Head of House Gryffindor, had a student embodied the ‘what the bloody hell’ feeling of disagreement with a sorting more than Peter Pettigrew.
Pettigrew had come from a pureblood family of little to no distinction. They never quite managed to make the ranks of Ancient. They did not have the cache to be considered Nobel, though they had remained ‘pure’ for twenty generations. They came close several times to getting a seat on the Wizengamot, but could never achieve the level of wealth or power needed. For fifteen of those generations, every Pettigrew to attend Hogwarts had been sorted into Gryffindor. But that made a certain sort of sense since for the last fifteen generations; Pettigrews had been on the front line for the side of the light in every battle against each arising Dark Lord of the time. Until Peter. He’d undone five hundred years of his family’s heritage with his betrayal. While she had never said anything to a single soul, to Minerva McGonagall, Peter had never shown even the slightest iota of any of the traits that her house espoused.
As his teacher, she had often wondered how he kept the sorting hat from placing him in his true house. Peter had only been brave if he was in a crowd he could count on for support. He had only been loyal to those who benefited him. He was only chivalrous to those who he feared. Over the years she had forced herself to believe that James and Sirius and Remus had been good for him; but hindsight is twenty/twenty and with the blinders removed, Minerva had acknowledge that he had never grown out of his self-serving nature. Apparently Peter was even more cunning than the most cunning person the Minerva had ever known. Severus Snape had cunning down to an exact science, how else could he do what he did in the service of the Order of the Phoenix. And yet even Severus had not been able to fool the entirety of the Wizarding World.
With a sigh she turned her thoughts away from the past and her ever more dizzying number of errors in judgment; to focus instead on the present and what she had learned that very well. Her thoughts centered primarily on her boss. A man who, before the last few days, she’d have called ‘her dearest friend’. She didn’t know if Albus had simply fallen prey to his own hubris, if he’d become corrupted by the large amounts of power he welded or if he was even more cunning than Peter Pettigrew and had managed to fool generations of witches and wizards.
With a sardonic grin, McGonagall found herself wondering which option made her feel less stupid. To simply be one of the Sheeple of Wizarding Britain, being led around and treated like mushrooms…or the possibility that she had missed every sign that a man she considered her friend had lost not only his marbles, but his morals as well. No one answer really seemed more intelligent than the others. Thankfully the wards signaled Minerva of the presence of Amelia Bones at the front gates before she could become even more maudlin and soppy. The statuesque Scotswoman hurried to the gates to bring Amelia into the castle. Minerva used the walk to gather her thoughts. “Good afternoon, Madame Bones, thank you for agreeing to meet with me today, and I apologize for the subterfuge yesterday. I suppose that manners would dictate that I ask after the Headmaster.” Her tone conveyed her prevalent emotions at the thoughts of that man.
“He is well and being cared for in the manner befitting a man of his rankings and power while we complete our investigations and prepare for trail.” Amelia said. She decided not to explain that they were keeping the man on a course of dreamless sleep augmented with a drop of vertiserum. The combination meant that Dumbledore was currently unable to mount any offensive magic, and even better he was rambling in his sleep. His every utterance being captured on parchment by a dictaquill that was charmed to write exactly what came out of his mouth, unlike those that are often utilized by Rita Skeeter.
“I believe that you may find that you have many more questions for Mr. Dumbledore after we finish our conversation. You may also want to converse with Lord Black and Remus Lupin as well.” Minerva warned her.
Amelia pulled out a muggle pad and pen. At McGonagle’s raised eyebrow, she responded. “Tradition be damned. Muggles have convenience down to a science.” She defended.
Minerva simply nodded. “I have often told the Headmaster that our students, all of them, would greatly benefit if we at least allowed them to use muggle pens and notepads for their own note taking. I suppose that the very first thing we must discuss is Mr. Potter. You’ve seen to his relatives, but I must say that I really feel that you will need to look to Dumbledore in that case as well. The night the elder Potters were killed, Albus left Harry with his aunt and uncle against my advice. I too bear the burden of that night. I should have fought him harder. I had spent all day watching the Dursleys and I knew that they were horrid individuals.”
Madame Bones looked quickly down at her pad. Then back up at Minerva. “You spent all day before the Potters died watching the Dursleys?”
“No. Of course not, there would have been no need before You Know Who, murdered James and Lily to go to Surrey. I only went after because I had promised her I would ensure that they were not harmed.” Minerva replied.
“So when did Dumbledore take Harry to his aunt and uncle?”
“The night the Potters were killed.” Minerva said. However this time she listened to her words rather than just speaking them. “That damned dirty sheep buggerer.” She breathed as she came to a horrifying realization.
“Obliviation without just cause and due process. I’ll need you and probably the rest of the staff to get checked out at St. Mungo’s…we’ll need the verification to add that to the list of charges.” Amelia said softly. She gave the often aloof professor a moment to pull herself together.
But Minerva was not one to wallow in self-pity. She knew she had done that enough for one day. “Very well, I will make sure that all of the staff are seen forthwith. Now, Madame Bones, you apprenticed under the same Defense Master as Harrison, what do you know of soul catchers?”
“Amelia, please, the time for formality between us is long past, I believe.” Amelia said as she gave Minerva such a look of both consternation and confusion that the Transfiguration Mistress barely contained a grin. “I apprenticed as a Battle Mage, Minerva, my training with Master Guienn centered on fighting rather than esoteric knowledge. My secondary master was trained only as a barrister. What, exactly, are ‘soul catchers’?”
“Soul catchers, soul containers they are both terms for the same the darkest pieces of magic I have ever known of. In fact if Harrison wasn’t such a fan of esoteric knowledge, I probably would be as clueless as you proclaim to be. The Horcrux, the technical name for soul containers, are exactly what the colloquial name states. One must commit an act of pure evil, murder of one who has no sin staining their own soul; the murderer must first complete a series of rituals to prepare his soul for the rending and the container to hold the piece of soul that was sloughed off. After the rituals and the murder, he must then adhere the soul to the container within a very small window of time. The murderer is then safe from death. The soul catchers act as a tether keeping them locked in this plain of existence.”
“But only one very, very young would…Voldemort, he was going to use the murder of Harry Potter to create one of those abominations?” Amelia quickly reasoned.
“I believe so, yes.” Minerva said quietly. “However, young Mr. Potter was apparently not the first, or perhaps even the second or third. Voldemort’s soul was so destabilized that even though Harry was not killed, somehow he became the host for a fragment of Voldemort’s soul. That piece was destroyed when Mr. Potter found and bonded with his soulmate earlier this week. Thankfully Severus and Remus Lupin were both present immediately after the bonding and were able to ascertain that the soul fragment that had cleaved to young Harry’s scar was dead.”
“Bloody everlasting hell.” Amelia Bones breathed. “How on earth could anyone bring themselves to kill one child, yet alone a multitude?”
“Perhaps not a multitude, but no less heinous. We believe that he had performed the…the ritual,” she spat, “at least five times before Halloween 1981.”
Amelia gasped. “Six of those abominations?”
“At the very least. We are unsure if he would be able to have created any since his disembodiment.” McGonagall said with a sigh. “Filius is working with Remus and Severus to see if there is some why to find all the missing pieces of that shinach’s soul.”
Amelia’s eyebrows reached her hairline. “How do you all know about these things?”
Minerva smiled with wry humor, “achieving one’s mastery involves learning all kinds of esoteric theories and information. Horcruxes are one of the darkest aspects of magic, but they are also some of the most complex and interdisciplinary. They involve not only arthimancy, potions and dark arts; they also draw from charms and astronomy. Since we haven’t any one teaching curse-breaking here at Hogwarts any longer, Vector, Filius, Remus and Severus are our best chances of riding the world of the monster, Tom Marvolo Riddle.”
Once more Minerva found herself sharing all the information she had. She told all she knew of the young, charismatic man she had first known as a student and the few things she knew of him after he’d graduated. She finally finished with the information she had been able to glean from Dumbledore’s notes. She’d only been able to access them when Amelia had forced Dumbledore to transfer the wards. It was an unexpected development but one that was certainly not umwelcomed.
“What can we do?” Amelia demanded.
“For now we must attempt to determine what exactly he utilized for his anchors. We must destroy those and render him mortal. We have little hope of taking care of his Death Eaters with Fudge in office.” Minerva said honestly.
Amelia looked thoughtful. “Damn Dumbledore, why has he never shared this information. He could have cut Voldemort’s power base out from under him by making his heritage public.” She took a deep breath, centering herself and forcing her focus on the issues at hand. “Very well, let’s determine what we can do about this damnable situation.”
The two contemporaries got to work, exchanging information and trying to determine how they could save their nation.
***Every Now & Then***
Soon to be Black Residence
Harry waited impatiently as Sirius and the realtor got the paper work settled. The house was bank owned at that point so there was less turn over time between the completion of the paperwork and the receipt of the key. That time was significantly shortened by the fact that Sirius was not using financing in the traditional muggle sense. He was, in fact, paying the house off in thirty days, in three debits from his Gringotts account, yet to the muggle financial institution that owned the house, it simply seemed as if he was paying everything at closing. This allowed Sirius the freedom to ensure that all his ‘modifications’ would be completed before Harry returned home for the summer. And best of all he’d quickly be out of the ‘very nice’ hell hole in which he currently lived.
Sirius chuckled when Harry dipped into the front parlour very unobtrusively to note how far along the adults seemed be in the paperwork process. “Now then, you feel that I should be able to be all moved in by the time Harry comes down from his boarding school, yes?”
“Yes sir, Lord Black.” the realtor verbally genuflected. You should be able to close on the house in thirty to forty-five days, and move in immediately thereafter. To be honest given the fact that you are willing to pay asking price without financing, we may be able to move closing forward a bit.”
“Wonderful.” Sirius said as he shook her hand. “Now, I hate to be a bother, but my godson and I are due at his girlfriend’s house so that he can meet her parents. He is being a terrible bore about the whole thing. They will of course love him, how can they not?” he said with a cheeky grin.
The realtor was no one’s fool. “Of course they will. He is a very charming and mannerly young man.” She assured the proud ‘papa’.
Harry came in with a sigh, but his attitude improved drastically when he realized that Sirius was wrapping everything up. They said their goodbyes and raced to an apparition point. Within twenty minutes, they were approaching the Granger home with Remus in tow. As they drew nearer, a car approached and a woman of a certain age climbed gracefully from the driver’s door. Remus breathed gently, “Aunt Jillian.”
Before either Sirius or Harry could ask the werewolf what he meant, Hermione’s front door was thrown open. “Grandmum.” She shrieked as she ran down the stairs and threw herself into arms that seemed far too young and strong to belong to anyone’s grandmother. The young witch’s query as to what her grandmother was doing there carried to them on the breeze. “Harry and his guardians were coming to meet Mum and Dad…can you stay for lunch, I’m sure that they would love to meet you.” She said happily. “Oh here they are now.”
Julia Granger, once known as Jillian Lupin turned and gasped. “Orestes.” She was so shocked to see ‘her brother’ looking so much like he had the last time they had met, she never saw the way Hermione threw herself into the arms of his young companion. The older woman also missed the manner in which ‘her brother’s’ young companion began to happily snog the life from her granddaughter.
Remus shook his head. “Orestes was my father. I believe he was your brother…before Augustulus cast you from our world.”
Jillian laughed. “Orestes was my brother until the day he married Rhea. Father had him bound in some stupid command. Besides, he couldn’t continue to sneak away from her to meet with me, so I told him it was okay, when he could he should share his secret with her, and he would be able to find me again…but he never did.”
“My father was killed when I was young. A werewolf attack, he and my mother and brother were all killed. As was Grandfather who was visiting… and I was left as I am.” Remus said guardedly.
The older woman was as bright as her granddaughter. It took her no time at all to understand what Remus was alluding to. She crossed to her nephew. “I can easily accept a werewolf nephew if you can find it in your heart to accept a squib for an aunt.”
Remus wrapped her carefully in his arms and wept in sorrow and relief. It had been so very long since he’d had a true family, getting Sirius and Harry back and finding not one but two blood family members who could accept him for who and what he was overwhelmed the old wolf. It also went along way to healing wounds he’d never realized were there.
Julia Granger hugged her nephew to her and cried as well. It soothed a raw spot in her heart to know that her brother hadn’t just abandoned her. He’d probably assumed that there would be plenty of time to share their continued relationship with his family only to be killed before he could. Apparently he’d told his son at least that he had a sister who had been cast away because she didn’t manifest magic. Yet the knowledge that soothed a small hurt also created a new larger one. “Did he…you said it was werewolves…did he?”
Remus shrugged uncomfortably. “I’m not sure. I was only five at the time. They were killed and I was bitten, but recovered from the wound itself. I’ve never…I never wanted to know more.”
“Rightly so. You were but a child at the time and had suffered more than enough trauma.” Julia said as she drew herself together. “Come now…you must meet my son and daughter in law…though I must say you seem to know my granddaughter.”
“Yes. I have the pleasure of teaching Hermione Defense Against the Dark Arts. I’ve never seen a more brilliant witch. There isn’t a spell out there that our Hermione can’t do…usually on the first try.” Remus boasted.
Over his right shoulder, Sirius smiled charmingly at Julia and cleared his throat obnoxiously.
Remus gave his aunt a cheeky grin and proceeded to ignore his friend, “We should hurry. It would make a bad impression for Harry to be late meeting his future in laws.” He said tucking Julia’s hand into the crook of his arm as Harry did the same for Hermione. More obnoxious throat clearing could be heard from behind them as they walked to the front steps of the Granger residence.
Finally Julia decided to take pity on the poor man. “Remus, really, you have no reason to be ashamed. Introduce me to your partner…or have the two of you had a commitment ceremony?”
“What? Ho?” Sirius shouted. “No, no Madame…Remus and I are blood brothers, Comrades-at-arms, Marauders…not lovers. Not that there would anything wrong with that if we were, thought really I think I could do scads better that that old wolf…but Remus is missing some vitally important body parts if he wanted to be my lover.” Sirius sketched a bow to the laughing older woman. “Lord Sirius Orion Black at your service. Godfather of young Harry, best friend of good Remus, and all around good chap.”
“Black, Orion’s son…your mother wasn’t Walburga, was it?” Julia asked with a gasp.
“You will be happy to know that I am nothing like her and she tried, repeatedly, to have me disowned.” Sirius laughed. “Thankfully she is currently roasting in the fires of hell and giving Beelzebub a migraine rather than me.”
Julia smiled for a moment. “I would say that I am sorry for your loss, but Orestes told me that my best friend Orion was given her as his bride when I proved to be a squib. Considering that, I believe that you will understand if I offer congratulations rather than condolences.”
“You mean that Remus and I could have been blood kin if it weren’t for your bloody father. Stupid Wanker.” Sirius ranted. “Well you might not have been my mother, but can I call you Aunt Jillian as well.” Julia nodded with a grin that warmed Sirius’ heart. “God, can you imagine how different life might have been if I’d had a mother who was anything close to sane?”
“All that inbreeding might not have led to a man child without the ability to grow up.” Hermione said sweetly, her smile taking the sting from her words.
Sirius simply laughed. “You know, Lily once said something very much like that to me.”
“Every female you know has said something very much like that to you at one time or another.” Remus pointed out.
“You wish you had my charmingly Puckish rogueness to you my friend.” Sirius teased. “But then again we needed your devastating command of logic to make all our pranks so very, very delightful. Now let’s get inside before Hermione loses the plot entirely.”
The friends accompanied their charges and aunt into the Granger residence. Hermione took charge of the introductions. She introduced Harry first. “Mum, dad…I would like you two to meet Harry James Potter, he is currently my boyfriend, but will one day be much, much more.”
Harry looked at his father in law and let out what he had intended to be a nice, manly ‘nice to meet you sir’, but what actually came out as “SQUEEK”.
Dion Richard Granger looked at the young man who his daughter said she had some very much important news about and almost smiled. He could read consternation and determination on his angular face, but rather than allowing the boy to marshal his courage and try again, the father looked at him and said, “Yes, yes nice to meet you as well young Harry. Now…can someone tell me why my fourteen year old daughter thinks she has already found the man she is going to marry? Mum…you seem to know more about all this than I would have guessed.”
Hermione’s mother rolled her eyes. “DR…you can at least let them come in and get settled before you start to give them the third degree.” She gave Julia a hug. “Julia, we weren’t expecting you today. Did Hermione ring you?”
Julia laughed. “No Juliette dear, I just felt an overwhelming need to stop in for a little visit today.” She honestly told her daughter in law.
“Well, you are always welcome, of course, and who did your bring with you?” Juliette Helena Granger said her eyes looking from Remus to DR and back again.
Hermione sighed. “They didn’t arrive with Grandmum, but that is definitely a subject for after we’ve sat down.”
Harry and Sirius nodded in agreement. “We have much to discuss.” Sirius said as he shook DR Granger’s large hand.
Hermione’s father led them into the parlour. Juliette took charge from there offering their guests drinks and some small appetizers. Once every one was settled, Julia cleared her throat. “Juliette, Dion, I would very much like to introduce you to Remus Lupin, and Lord Sirius Black. Sirius is young Harry’s godfather and Remus shares his guardianship. Remus is also your first cousin.”
“What?” DR asked his voice conveying his shock even more than the way he dropped the cheese and cracker he’d selected. “Mum, you’re an orphan…how can he be my cousin?”
“Well, that explains why I have the theme song for that old Patty Duke show running through my head.” Juliette said with a giggle. Everyone turned to assess the cousins, and suddenly the adults in the room all shared a laugh. Well Sirius looked as confused as Hermione and Harry. “It was a show about two cousins who looked as much alike as identical twins. While DR and Mr. Lupin do not look identical, they are the same height and build. They have very similar eyes.”
“They are both complete and total chocoholics.” Hermione pointed out as she assessed the physical similarities. Her father and her professor were men of the same height and build. Where Remus’ hair was a darker sandy blond, her father had the same chestnut brown as her own curls.
DR Granger also looked his cousin over, choosing to ignore his daughter’s ‘oh so droll’ comment. Remus may have had different facial features, but their overall face shapes were almost identical, and their eye color was nearly the same as well. They both still had heads full of hair at an age where many of their contemporaries were beginning to lose theirs. Remus seemed to be going gray faster than the dentist was, Hermione’s father noted to himself. He opened his mouth to say something, only to close it without saying a word. He didn’t know exactly what to say in this situation.
Sirius Black, however, was never at a loss for words. He decided to fill the slightly awkward silence that was beginning to stretch through the room. Sirius shook his head. “No one can be as devoted to the fruit of the cocoa bean as much as Remus John Lupin. It just isn’t possible.”
“Hate to have to correct you Lord Black, but my husband is a dentist and I still find chocolate hidden in all manner of places around the house and our office.” Juliette corrected politely.
“It is just Sirius, Mrs. Granger. If we started with saying everyone’s titles, we’d be here all day.” Remus said kindly. “And as for you Padfoot…you know very well that chocolate is in fact completely medicinal.”
“See, I told you Jules…Chocolate is good for the soul.” DR said with a big grin. “I would still like to know how my mother, an orphan, managed to have a nephew.”
“Because I was never an orphan in the traditional sense of the word. How much has Hermione told you about the wizarding world…has she explained to you about pureblood families and squibs?” Jillian/Julia asked her son.
“Yes…a squib is the antithesis of Hermione. She is a muggleborn, a witch born to two muggles. But a squib is a muggle born to a witch and a wizard.” Juliette said illustrating where Hermione had gained her cleverness.
“Exactly, I am a squib. I was born to Augustulus and Meridah Lupin seventy three years ago. However unlike Hermione, I never received a letter to attend Hogwarts, so my father brought me into the muggle world and left me at an orphanage. It was there I met Donovan Granger. He was already through the system and worked there. He and I married when I turned eighteen. However, try as we might, we didn’t have you Dion until I was in my thirties.” She took a deep breath. “Before I was brought to the muggle world, I had a brother…Orestes. Orestes received his letter and went to Hogwarts, just as Hermione did. As soon as he was of age, he came into the muggle world to find me. And while he visited me as often as he could, when he wed, he could no longer come. Father had ordered that his new bride was to nothing of the ‘family’s shame’. He was waiting until father died and his edict died with him to tell his wife and I now know, sons about me. But he was killed when Remus was just five.” Tears rolled down Julia’s cheeks, “If I had only known that Remus existed, you two could have grown up as brothers. The ministry would have let me raise him despite my lack of magic since he’d been bitten. They would never have cared.” She cried almost incoherently.
Remus took up the explanation for her. Explaining not only his affliction but also the bigotry and prejudice in magical world; he also took a moment to explain about all they had learned at Gringotts concerning Hermione and her bloodlines. He finally finishes by summarizing, “You see because Dion is actually a second generation squib of a powerful line, and Juliette is from a line of squibs from a very powerful family line gone dormant, Hermione is really a rather powerful witch.”
“Understated as only a British man can.” Sirius joked. “Hermione is brilliant, and so powerful that the fates have given her a very powerful soulmate to compliment her.”
“Soul…mate…” DR asked quietly.
“Oops.” Sirius whispered guiltily. “Oh well, I wasn’t supposed to say that yet. We were going to ease you into the knowledge. Hermione and Harry are soulmates and they were bound a week ago.”
Hermione rushed to explain everything to her parents. Thankfully she was backed up by both her grandmother and her kinsman. Harry was too busy throwing glares at his godfather and worried glances at his father in law to be of much assistance. The Granger family argued in a way that was foreign to all the outsiders with the exception of Julia. They didn’t yell and scream. There was no storming off or slamming of doors; instead it seemed almost like a well-reasoned and logical debate. They took turns, and made actual points. At one point Remus leaned over and whispered, “what are we seeing here?” but Julia shushed him as she was engrossed in following Hermione’s logical arguments. For the next forty-five minutes, Remus, Harry and Sirius watched as the adult Grangers laid out their reasons for their disbelief, and unhappiness with the situation, only for each of them to be rebutted and refuted by their daughter. As they neared the end of their arguments, Hermione’s parents were still grumbling, but Hermione was smiling as big as she ever had.
“Just because you’ve entered a world full of mythical creatures, doesn’t make every piece of mythology that you encounter valid. ‘Soul Mates’ is a nice mythos, but it doesn’t make it real.” Juliette volleyed at hoping to make a damaging point.
“Exactly Mother. I’ve entered a world where most ‘myths’, certainly every concept we believed in as children but are then trained up to scoff at is completely real. Where unicorn and centaurs and phoenixes live and breathe. Where men and women can and do turn into animals and back again. I know that the soul mate mythos is real because I’ve experienced it firsthand. Remus can tell you about what happened and what he saw. There is real, concrete evidence to support the claim, including the fact that as soon as we entered Gringotts yesterday I was addressed as Lady Potter.”
“Lady…you’re already married?” DR asked throwing a hard glance at Harry.
“Only in the legal sense. We’ve not actually consummated the bond yet, but we have reached the point in the bonding where magic itself considers us married, so the establishments of magic can do no less.” Hermione pointed out. “Harry is looking forward to dating and all of that. I want my wedding after I graduate…but we will need to spend more time together as the bond fully stabilizes. If we handle everything correctly, we should be able to spend more than a few hours apart before we start to feel anxious and annoyed.” She tried to succinctly summarize the feelings that had been growing in her since she awakened that morning, only to vanish the moment Harry took her hand in his.
“Well, I suppose I should welcome you to the family, Harry.” DR finally grumbled.
“Uh, thank you sir. I do promise that when the time comes to make this marriage a real reality in addition to it being a legal one as it currently is, I will come to you before hand as a man should.” Harry hurried to assure his father in law.
With a heavy sigh, DR shook hands with the boy who would be his daughter’s always. “Now then, might I suggest we have lunch before you all drop anymore bombs on us.” He said as he led them into the dining room.
Remus and Sirius took the lead in bringing the Grangers up to speed on everything that had they had learned the day and night before.
Only years of mastering his emotions and the oaths he took as the boy’s godfather gave Severus Snape the ability not to crow in absolute happiness at the news that his godson had just received. “What do you mean there is no fortune?” Draco gasped again.
Slapshank, the Malfoy family account manager, was showing all the delight Severus was keeping hidden. “I mean that your father died owing the Black and Potter families about one million, seven hundred, fifty thousand galleons. After liquidating all assets, and draining all Malfoy family vaults, there is still a debt of fifty-seven thousand galleons. Normally we would simply drain your trust account, but you do not have that entire amount in Trust anyway, and in deference to the Black blood in your veins, your cousin and his godson have agreed not to call those debts due at this time.”
“But how? I have been to the family vaults with my father, seen the ledgers…this is not possible.” He shouted.
“Your father heavily mortgaged the dower property that your mother brought into the marriage to fund his bribes and other illicit activities. Your grandfather heavily mortgaged the main estate to fund his illicit activities. His marriage brought in enough to bring his debts even, but there was no equity left in the estate. Had your father not gained an exorbitant dowry when he married your mother, he would have been forced to sell off parts of the estate. Instead he was simply able to mortgage the estate once again. His marriage was dissolved by the Head of the Black family when he found your father to be abusing your mother. Her dowry was immediately returned to the Black family, with interest.” Slapshank neglected to mention the move had been in the works already anyway. “All outstanding debts were rendered due immediately. Your estate has been confiscated to settle said debts. What was once known as Malfoy manner now belongs to Lord and Lady Potter and the dower property has reverted to the Black estate.”
“But I am a Black!” Draco reasoned. “I have Black blood, you said so yourself.”
Another, rather distressing, smirk crossed Slapshank’s face. “Are you really? Well, then…as a Black, did you visit your mother before coming here today? You were informed that she was asking for you, and yet you stormed into the bank and demanded a meeting with me rather than seeing to her needs. That action has seen you banished from the Black family line. You, Lord Malfoy may have the blood of the Black Family, but you will never see a single knut from their coffers.”
Draco turned to look at his godfather. Before he could open his mouth, Snape cut him off with a harsh glare. “I advised you against this course of action. Your father was dead and you mother grievously injured due to his truly horrific actions; anyone in their right mind would have rushed to their mother’s side. But you felt gold and unnecessary, groundless vengeance was more important.” He told the boy who he now realized would never be a man.
The blond stood and stormed out of the office and the bank. He knew that he needed to find some way to get back his family fortunes. He also knew that as he was damn near penniless…the fifty thousand galleons in his trust vault would barely last him a year. He needed to marry well and do so before the news broke that he was in dire financial straits.
Severus thanked Slapshank for his time and left the band in higher than usual spirits. He immediately made his way to St. Mungo’s to check on Narcissa. As he did he never thought that his life would change almost as drastically as Draco’s had that very afternoon.
***Something to Talk About***
Due to copious amounts of information to catalogue and work through, Minerva and Amelia moved their discussion to the headmaster’s office. Finally there was only one last subject Amelia needed to deal with. “Minerva, what is to be done about Severus Snape? I’m barely getting qualified aurors because so few have been able to get the needed potion’s NEWT. And even those who achieve it do not have all the knowledge they need.”
McGonagall shook her head. “I do not know. I need him right now Amelia; he is one of the few who have the knowledge to destroy the soul catchers. I have never understood it. I taught him, he was a magnificent student and an excellent tutor. If you’d have asked me his last term at Hogwarts who would make the best teachers, his name would have been at the top of my list. Perhaps he was simply too young when he took up the mantle. I was definitely against making him a head of house so soon…”
Suddenly a voice called out from the wall of headmasters and mistresses past. “The boy is cursed Minerva.”
The school’s current Headmistress looked up and was shocked to see that many of the portraits were agreeing with the sentiment. “What do you mean Madame Spore?”
“Young Master Severus, Dumbledore has the boy bound up so tight in so many different curses, he is chocking on a veritable Gorgon’s knot. He can’t speak of this; he mustn’t chide any of the purebloods, brats though they maybe. He must make sure that they never realize that their inbreeding is killing them off. He mustn’t treat the Potter boy like a normal student. He must carry on as if he actually agreed with all that pureblood nonsense Young Master Riddle espouses and Dumbledore agrees with when he forgets that we exist. Your potions’ master is not allowed to teach. He is not allowed to nurture. The man is more bound to keep Dumbledore’s secrets than he would be if he were a house-elf. If you can find a way to break the enchantments then I believe you will find that you have an entirely different young man as the head of Slytherin House…the change will do wonders for the school. Only in the last seventy-five years has the house of ambition been so vilified.” Phillipa Spore told her current replacement.
“I need an Unspeakable to the castle as soon as you can manage.” McGonagall said quickly to Amelia, “I will have to see if there is any way Gringotts can loan us a curse breaker.”
“William Weasley should be arriving back in the country this evening. His father is in St. Mungo’s for a week at least. The goblins would love to force you to pay for Bill to be where he needs to be anyway.” Amelia said with a small grin.
“Too true.” McGonagall whispered. “I only hope that I can authorize the funds.”
“Well, we can tell you about Dumbledore’s misdealings, so you should find that the goblins will accept your addresses as well.” Headmistress Spore said knowledgably. “Once Albus, in his hurry, fully transferred all the school’s wards to you; you became the head of the school until you willingly give them back, or pass them to another. He is currently not even considered a professor at this school. At this point, even the board cannot unseat you without a unanimous vote.” The witch in the portrait settled back into her chair with a glad smile on her face. Maybe with McGonagall in place the school could finally be brought back up to the high standards it had always attained in her own tenure as head.
With a smile so large few would have believed her capable of it, Minerva McGonagall turned to the head of the DMLE. “I need my Potions Master back to rights as soon as possible…I will contact Gringotts about Bill Weasley immediately. I’d still an Unspeakable here to provide him with backup. I’m getting Severus free of all the entanglements I can today. And I believe I will need him to exorcise a certain ghost as well.”
Chapter 10: Go Your Own Way
I hope that each of my readers will find something in this chapter that makes them ‘just have to’ drop me a review. Also, please remember that nowhere in the ‘fanfic author handbook’ does it say that we have to stay on canon. If you find that I have diverged from JK Rowling’s established facts, I hope that you do not find yourself offended by the fact that I choose to go my own way…But, well now that’s pretty much the point of fan fiction isn’t.
***Go Your Own Way***
Before the Lady Hermione Granger-Potter and her parents were arguing the reality of soulmates, before Professor Minerva McGonagall and Madam Amelia Bones were discussing the depth of darkness to which Albus Dumbledore and Tom Riddle had sunk, and well before Sirius and Harry began their tour of new homes; William Arthur Weasley, known to most simply as Bill, arrived at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies. He was accompanied by Sirius Black, a man he had left England believing to be a vile betrayer only to find upon his return that the wealthy Lord was nothing of the sort and was, in fact, a distant, though nearer than some, cousin. They were joined by Sirius’ long-time friend, Remus Lupin.
After receiving Arthur’s request that Bill be allowed to come home for a family emergency, several higher level Goblins had come together and discussed the information that had come to light, not only in their own hallowed halls, but also in the DMLE and Ministry, in recent days. Rather than giving the eldest Weasley child a leave of absence, Bill’s direct supervisor’s superior, SwordDraw, chose to transfer him to the warding department in the London branch, since the Goblin Nation’s intelligence gave them the impression that he would probably be needed in the country of his birth for longer than a paid leave would allow. The Goblins all agreed that they preferred not possibly loose such a valuable asset as the Weasley heir by forcing him to go on unpaid leave. The Goblins may have considered the redheaded human to be a Qa’Hom, but they all acknowledged that he was better at working his way around booby traps and other tomb dangers than a niffler was at ferreting out treasure.
Bill was in what could best be described as a major quandary, or better yet, a full on intellectual and emotional crisis. When ShellHack, his supervisor, had pulled him from the dig he was on in Thebes and informed him that he was needed home due to a family emergency; the tall, redheaded cursebreaker was shocked. As he gathered his things, he found himself unable fathom what reason they could have for him being called home. They hadn’t even called him home when Ginny had been possessed. If the twins hadn’t pulled him aside during their unexpected visit and told him all they knew of what had happened the school year before, he’d never have known to look her over. Had he not done that he would never have known that she needed a soul purification. He’d mentioned the need for the ancient Goblin ritual to his mother, only for her to dismiss the magics of the proud race as unnecessary and worthless, because ‘Dumbledore assured us that she is just fine’.
That had been the moment that Bill realized that not only were his parents as fallible as everyone else, so to was the man the Wizarding World held up as the second coming of Merlin. Either Dumbledore wasn’t as great as everyone professed him to be, or whatever spirit had possessed his little sister had been smarter than the old man and hidden his ‘trap’ in ritual magics knowing that most wizards and witches considered rituals to be ‘lesser’ magic. The Soul Purification had done its job, which was a relief, because who ever had almost taken his little sister had left behind an horrifically insidious remnant.
Bill forced his attention back to the matter at hand. He had packed quickly and efficiently. Per SwordDraw’s command, Bill had packed down his whole apartment sized tent and he carried it on his back as he rushed into St. Mungo’s. He was quickly shown to his father’s room as Sirius spoke to one of the hospital administrators and Remus stopped to check on Narcissa Malfoy, no Narcissa Black…Sirius was adamant that she would soon have her maiden name returned to her. As he sat by his father’s bedside, Bill was shocked and appalled to hear the reason he’d been called home. To find out that his mother had been raping his father for longer than he, himself, had been alive, that he and all his brothers and little sister were products of that rape…to find that the leader of the light, the beacon of right and good in their world was nothing more than an extortionist and a mental rapist; forcing others to do his dirty work so that he could maintain his façade …it was all almost too much for his already worried and taxed mind to bear.
Arthur reached out and carefully took his oldest son’s hand. “I know that this is a lot to put upon you right now, my son, but I need you to take over temporarily as the head of the Weasley family. I need you to get Charles here…take him to Muriel and have him take over the headship of the Prewitt. Muriel has been ready to pass the torch for some time. I fought her because he so enjoyed the place he made for himself in the world, but I need him home now. It will be necessary to keep the taint of what has occurred from making the lives of Percy, the twins, Ron and Ginny hell in Hogwarts. Percy wants to work in the Ministry…after this scandal hits, he’ll never get the chance if we don’t have the Prewitt name backing him. I will also need you to get Ginny in here so that the Healers can see her. I should have done this right after the debacle her first year, but I allowed your mother and Dumbledore to convince me that it was unnecessary, but there is something…wrong with Ginny.”
“Dad, I did a goblin soul purification ritual on Ginny when you all visited me.” Bill said perplexed. “Her soul is clean of the stain of whoever it was that possessed her that year. I made sure and ShellHack checked her again for me before we left Thebes when we toured the tomb.”
“But it was just yesterday that she was speaking as if she had no moral compass…no understanding of what was wrong with the words she spoke.” Arthur gasped.
“Tell me exactly what she said.” Bill leaned toward his father. Arthur relayed, quickly and concisely, all that George, Fred, Percy and Ron had told him as well as what he heard from his daughter himself. Bill could only sigh. “Unfortunately, that is just who Ginny is, Dad. She is spoiled and pampered as much as Mother was able. Though to be honest, Charlie and I are to blame as well. She was our little princess and since we’ve left home, we always send Ginny the best gifts and trinkets. Ginny truly believes that Harry Potter is hers because she wants him and she has never not received what she wanted. There were times she had to wait for her desire, but Mother would take from the rest of the boys, or ask of Charlie and I to ensure that Ginny had all that she wanted. Think on it Dad, Ginny is the only one of us other than Percy to get a wand of her own, and Percy only got his own wand because none of the family wands would work for him. Whenever Mother can, Ginny’s clothes are the newest available in the second hand store. The charms used to repair them stronger than she ever used on anything else. The books and toys bought for her always brand new. Yes, some of that was because we were all boys before Ginny, but most of it was Mother bending over backwards to spoil her. Mother loved the distinction of being the woman to finally give the Weasley family its first girl in Merlin only knows how many generations. Is it any wonder that until he became friends with Harry Potter, Ron was sure that Mother only had another son, him, because she was trying so desperately for a daughter.”
“I can only now, looking back, see the things you mention. And even now my mind rushes to try to find a defense for Molly.” Arthur whispered.
Bill tried to keep his voice in careful control. As much as he hated seeing all his father was going through, he was happy to finally have a reason why the father he remembered from his youth had become more and more henpecked and less and less of a parent as the years went by. “It is the nature of the potions Mother had you on.” He paused as he considered all that he knew…things learned over the years he’d been away from England. “Were we in any other country, Mother would be facing death for over twenty years of potions rape. Dumbledore would face at least life in prison for his part in all this.” He knew that he would need to get Charlie back to England and in control of the Prewitt line. He hoped that he would be able to convince his brother to not only help him shield their younger siblings from the fall out of their mother’s choices, but to pull the veil of the Prewitt name from her before the pureblood name could save her in any way.
***God Gave Me You***
Harry and Hermione led her parents through Diagon Alley to Gringotts. Hermione’s cousin/uncle/professor was talking earnestly with Julia Granger nee Jillian Lupin while Sirius brought up the rear. They were very quickly shown into a room to speak further with Tearing Claw, and Serpent Tooth who, the Potter, Black, Lupin party found, were joined by Hook Claw.
“Good afternoon, Lord Black. I am happy that your house search proved fruitful.” Hook Claw greeted them. “Lord Potter…I have not seen you since you vomited in my face.” He growled almost but not quite baring his teeth.
“That one was not his fault.” Remus spoke up in defense of a very embarrassed Harry. “Sirius had just let him have a sundae at Fortenescues, despite Lily telling him that Harry was way too little for that much sugar.”
“I am very sorry nonetheless.” Harry rushed to add. “I would like very much to promise that it will not happen again.”
Hookclaw smiled…or as close as a goblin ever came to doing so. “Don’t be so quick to promise that. We have much to discuss, and some of it is rather unpleasant.” The goblin gestured to the seats waiting on the bank’s most interesting clients. “However as is the human tendency, I will begin with some good news. The DMLE has approached Gringotts asking that we look into any criminal activities undertaken by either Molly Prewitt or by Albus Dumbledore. As this information is now a part of an active Ministry Criminal investigation, we may discuss all monies, properties and real estate with the rightful owners, despite any of the usual caveats as to age or status.”
Everyone could easily agree that it was good news indeed to know that they could make head way into finding out the true state of Harry’s affairs. “What’s the bad news?” Harry asked warily.
“The scope of Mr. Dumbledore’s theft is beyond even our original ‘worst case scenario’ estimates.” Hookclaw said honestly. “We assumed that your father had set up your trust account as Charlus had done his own, to refill to the maximum allowed amount once a year. Even if he had done as his Grandfather, Alasdair, had done and had it refill quarterly, things would not have been as disheartening. However, your father chose a very radical, and rarely ever done set up for your trust vault. It was and technically still is set to refill whenever it falls below the halfway mark. Dumbledore used his place as your ‘interim’ magical guardian to help himself to at least half your trust vault’s contents on a monthly basis.” He paused and allowed the humans to understand the magnitude of the theft. “We’ve utilized forensic accounting measures to trace all of it. We have recovered about ninety nine point seven percent of among the different accounts that Albus Dumbledore had in his name or was the sole signatory on. However, we have also found that a little over two hundred thousand British pounds had made their way into an account that we had already drawn to the attention of the Lloyds Banking Group for audit. We were able to reclaim a good portion of the funds that had been moved into the Muggle world. They were being held in an account under the semi-alias V. Karl Dursley. However, Mr. Dursely also used the funds to purchase a condominium here in London. It will be no problem to reclaim the property and add it to the Potter/Mallory portfolio; it is a very fine piece of real estate. But there is a ‘tenant’ for lack of a better word. One Ms. Brandi Cothsweld and her seven month old son Karl, Jr.”
“That son of a bitch.” Harry snarled. “He stole money meant for me…or at least from me or something and used it to cheat on my aunt. He has some nerve.”
Hookclaw cleared his throat, “Unfortunately, Lord Potter, that is not the most egregious part of the news I must convey to you today. Mr. Dumbledore is being charged with poisoning Petunia Dursley. St. Mungos has provided evidence that he used alchemy to cause her to feel at best antipathy towards you and increasing her fear and hatred of magic. Your cousin Dudley, I believe, has been found to be magical. He was given an alchemetical poison that suppressed his magic to the point that his name disappeared from the magical roles. The DMLE has had both of them admitted to St. Mungos and they are being treated as we speak. Once the treatments are completed, Dudley Dursley will be admitted to Hogwarts for training and Petunia may have the child abuse and neglect charges dropped if the mind healers feel that she would not have behaved in that manner had she not been poisoned.”
Harry simply blinked a couple of times. “I was not expecting that. I don’t know what I was expecting, but that certainly wasn’t it.”
Padfoot, Jillian Lupin-Granger, and Remus all seemed to agree with him on that point. Hermione however wasn’t as surprised. “I don’t believe that there is anything I wouldn’t have expected from either of those two men.” She grumbled. She would never allow Harry to know it, but she truly hated his uncle. If she felt she could get away with it, she would happily, physically destroy him. But a large part of Hermione felt that even a torturous physical death probably wouldn’t last long enough to satisfy her need for justice. ‘Mr. Hookclaw…is there some way that we could not only seize the property and the contents of Mr. Dursley’s banking accounts, could we seek punitive damages against Mr. Dursley, Mr. Dumbledore and anyone else involved in the thefts?”
The two goblins in the room exchanged looks. Neither of them could ever remember seeing such a blood thirsty, vicious look on a human’s face before. “While punitive damages are not the norm in the wizarding world, we can certainly use them to great effect in the case against Mr. Dursley.”
The smile that crossed Hermione’s face was even more disturbing than the look she’d given them moments before; though her grandmother found it very reminiscent of an old American TV character played by Joan Collins. “Mr. Dumbledore is just that…a mister. Harry is Lord Potter, with a whole host of titles and nobilities backing that up. During the Victorian era and before there were any numbers of laws on the books that make punishments more severe on a commoner for crimes against the nobility. Now since the Wizarding world seems to be stuck sometime around that time period, I’m sure that if we do a little looking we can bring some similar bigotry and bias to bear to show the Headmaster, Supreme Mugwump, Chief Warlock the true era of his ways.”
“Lady Potter, should you decide that you would like to hold a career position...please consider applying here at Gringotts. I believe that you would do well here.” Hookclaw said with what seemed like amusement. “I will have someone researching the laws pertaining to a base wizard committing a crime against a lord of a Most Ancient and Most Noble house.” He sent a note off to begin the search immediately. “I do have some good news; these charges have created a need for a full audit of every account associated with Albus Dumbledore. Your family was not alone in his attempt. Several other families may find their fortunes reversed soon. He has also been defrauding the wizarding world since the moment he began to administer the accounts for Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
Every human face in the room was displaying various versions of the truly dumbstruck facial expression. Tearing Claw and his brother exchanged looks before the House of Potter account manager continued. “Now the full scope of that fraud is still being uncovered, however, the Ministry is currently allowing Gringotts to control the forensic accounting aspect of that investigation so we shall soon have it fully handled.”
Having discussed all they were to discuss on the topic of Albus Dumbledore, Tearing and Hook Claw were both ready to move onto what they considered the more pressing business of the day’s meeting. Hook Claw tapped something on the desk with his long sharp finger, and five other Goblins entered the room and took seats at the table. One Harry and Hermione were able to identify as Serpent Tooth, but the others were soon introduced. “Having processed the Line Tests that you completed yesterday, we have assembled the other account managers for the lines that have been taken from their ‘dormant’ to ‘active’ status. Where would you like to start?”
Sirius finally came back to himself enough to ascertain that this meeting was not going to be as simple as he’d originally thought. “Why don’t we start with the Duchess?” he smiled. “Ladies first and all that.”
“Very Well, Lady Granger-Potter, allow me to make known to you, the Accounts Manager for the Most Ancient and Most Noble House of Slytherin, Tnarub Bane. He has managed those accounts for the last seventy five years.”
Hermione greeted Tnarub Bane very carefully. She spoke calmly, smiled demurely making sure not to give even a hint of her pearly whites. “It is very nice to make your acquaintance. I am sure that your management of the Slytherin accounts has been stellar.”
Tnarub Bane smirked. “Beyond. Your Kinsman, the upstart who had renamed himself Voldemort, found my management of the three vaults and several properties to be impossible to circumvent.”
Her answering smirk told the hardened old Goblin all he needed to know of her intelligence. She understood that Riddle had not been able to access much if any part of the fiscal inheritance. “That is wonderful. I would hate to think of the damage he would have done had he been more than a titular heir.”
Tnarub Bane gave her a look that would have chilled the soul of a less stalwart young woman. “I believe that when Mr. Riddle discovers that the primogeniture has returned the title and all it holds to the proper line of secession, he will be quite perturbed.”
“While I cannot claim that I am looking forward to the tantrum he will probably throw, we are trying to prepare ourselves for it.” she returned honestly. “I believe that you will find several items in the Slytherin Vaults that will be of service to you. Unfortunately while a female may fully inherit, the Vaults open only to blood or parsel speech.”
“Then it is fortunate that my husband can provide the need hisses and spits. Though I will open it the first time myself.” She stated thoughtfully.
The next Goblin to be introduced was a slightly taller Goblin with a slight tinge of green to the gold undertones of his skin. “Lady Granger-Potter, I am Bagh Naka.”
Juillette had been silent for all of the meeting so far, but she gasped, “Isn’t that an ancient Indian claw weapon, the inspiration for Freddy Kruger’s glove?”
The goblin who had introduced himself as Bagh Naka nodded giving the mother of his client an almost proud look. “Few members of your race would know that. Your daughter’s love of reading obscure texts is already legendary amongst her peers; it would seem that she learned that at her mother’s knee.” He placed his attention back on Hermione. “I am the Accounts Manager for the Most Ancient and Noble House of Lupin. There is not much in the way of property for this line, just a manor house in Yorkshire. However the investments and business holdings for the line are rather extensive. Jillian Lupin-Granger, your father’s life stone diminished before that of your brother, so Orestes will over rode the last will and testament of Augustulus. There was a small bequeathal of twenty five thousand galleons left to you. I will, of course, have a vault key ready for you or I can prepare the paperwork to shift the account to Barclays by the end of the day as per your wishes.”
“Would it be possible for you to convert half the amount to pounds and deposit that into Barclays and leave half in a vault here in Gringotts?” Jillian/Julia Granger asked after a moment’s thought.
“As you are a squib, the Ministry’s current bylaws will allow us to do so.” Bagh Naka told her making note of something on his paperwork.
“Then, please do so, and I would like to purchase some stock in two Diagon Alley businesses, Gladrags and Twill & Tatters.” Julia smiled mischievously.
Bagh Naka raised an eyebrow. “It will be as you ask; however, the House of Lupin already owns roughly forty-eight percent of each of those businesses.”
Julia’s smile turned rather dark. “I know. In fact, I am well set in the muggle world. Use as much as you need so that between the two of us Hermione and I own controlling interest in both, as well as any other business in the Alley where we are near enough…”
Each goblin in the room could only grin. Sirius too understood his best friend’s aunt’s thought process. “Let’s take control of any that the Black family is within three to five percent from holding the majority interest in within the next thirty days.” Harry looked askance at his godfather. So Sirius explained quietly, there are many ways to begin change. One of the best is to fully control a country’s financial system. The more businesses we control, the more we can force to have more open hiring practices and less discriminatory practices across the board.”
“Ah, then we shall do the same with the same parameters.” Harry said with a smile. “For all my lines.”
“It will be as you suggest.” Tearing Claw said with a grin. “If you will give us all a list of the changes you would like your new ‘partners’ to comply with, we can ensure that you remain hidden in the shadows affecting those changes until the time is right.”
He yielded the floor back to Bagh Naka. “Lady Granger-Potter,” he passed her a portfolio in a shade of deep teal that had always appealed to her. “Now, the Lupin family has a matriarchic centered inheritance structure. You are female, fulfill the menarche requirements set forth by your ancestors and you are magically mature enough to assume the mantle of the Head of the Family. While you cannot yet see the full portfolios of your other lines, they have ages for full primogeniture that do not allow you to see the full depth and breadth of your inheritance until seventeen for the Slytherin line and eighteen for the Malloren line.”
Hermione listened with half an ear as the goblin spoke. She was thumbing through the opening pages for the Most Ancient and Noble House of Lupin. “Bagh Naka, is it common for the elder houses to prepay for children to attend Hogwarts?”
“Yes, often as soon as the child is confirmed to be magical which a Healer or Mediwitch can tell by the end of the first trimester.” He answered. “It is a way to ensure the child’s place in the class ahead of the selection process for any empty slots which are then offered to muggle borns.”
“Remus, I’m sorry to bring this up, but did you have any brothers or sisters?” she asked calmly.
“No.” Remus told her honestly. “I was originally a twin, but my brother was still born. Why?”
“Several days before the attack on your family Augustulus paid for two seven year educations at Hogwarts. Your tuition was paid as was your twin brother’s in nineteen sixty…Romulus’ tuition was refunded to the House of Lupin seven months later. The two full, seven year tuitions paid in nineteen sixty six were never refunded. It would seem Bagh Naka, that the full weight of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Lupin must be added to those with grievances against the minor and common house of Dumbledore.” Hermione said with a chilling smirk.
Harry looked over at her, falling even harder for his cutthroat best friend. “How do you know how to say all of this?” he blurted.
“I read a large amount of literature and nonfictional accounts set in Regency, Victorian and Edwardian England….the time periods that Wizarding Britain seems to be stuck in…I simply extrapolated the verbiage from with would have been utilized then.”
‘That is so amazingly sexy.’ Harry thought to himself. He only had a moment to wonder, ‘Is it strange that Hermione speaking so intelligently gets me all twitterpated?’ before Sirius leaned over to Remus. “I remember seeing that look on James face every single charms class first through sixth year. The total gobsmacked by her intellect look.” He stage whispered so everyone in the room could hear him clearly.
“Anyway,” Hermione stressed moving the duo of pseudo uncles from teasing her soulmate and back to the issue at hand. “As I was saying…I am sure that those tuitions made it into Dumbledore’s pockets rather than back into the family coffers.”
Harry looked thoughtful and voiced a question that drew everyone’s attention back to him. “Bagh Naka said that parents know as soon as three months if a baby is magical or not, so how did Remus’s grandfather not know that Mrs. Granger was not magical until it was time for her to go to Hogwarts…and what happened to her tuition, it wouldn’t have been Dumbledore at that time? Right?”
“I see that once again the much exalted Hogwarts education has failed to live up to its hype.” Tearing Claw drawled dryly. If several people in the room thought that he’d just reminded them of a certain potion’s professor, they didn’t feel the need to share. “A squib has a magical core as do those who are descendants of squibs. While they do not possess the necessary threshold to perform wanded magicks, they do have a certain level of magic…that is true for the parents of true first generation witches or wizards as well, rare though they in fact are. Most squibs and their descendants practice the ritual magicks that I believe muggles currently call ‘wicca’. However, there are currently on record at least seventy five magick users around the world that should be wand users but were missed by their various ministries. So while Jillian Lupin would have registered on the tests of the time as having a magical core, she didn’t have the level of power to attain her a place among wand users. The current test doesn’t simply look for the presence of a core, it registers the thaumaturgy level they will begin life with. From there it is rather easy to predict if they will ever attain the levels needed to practice wand magick.”
“As for the tuition for Jillian Lupin, it was returned to the family. In several of the elder families, the tuition is held in trust in the muggle world to provide the child with a nest egg to draw upon when they reach their majority. Augustulus Lupin was never one to spend money upon a female…he was rather bitter over the fact that he would never have the same level of power as his peers. When he ‘ejected’ Jillian Granger into the muggle world, he cut off all contact with her; physical, emotional and financial.”
“He was a bastard.” Julia Granger said with the calm resignation of one who had long since become comfortable with a truth that was indisputable. “He was a jealous hearted bastard who always felt that the fact that our line was matriarchal was a sin against Merlin and Crown and country. Your father was nothing at all like him and that was exactly why I married him. It was fine that Augustulus didn’t want me to have the family money, but the fact that he kept my brother from me causing Remus to be all on his own after the rest of the family was killed…that he is roasting in the fires of hell for.”
Remus reached out and took his aunt’s hand. A low rumble of a growl slipping from him as he thought about how different his youth would have been if he’d been allowed to grow up with a family, people who didn’t fear him and could have accepted him the way James, Sirius, Lily and yes even Peter, had. “We’ve found each other now. Try as he might have, the fates meant for us to come to know each other. Augustulus must be spinning in his grave…the matriarch of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Lupin is stronger magically than anyone in the family that has ever come before.”
With that declaration they were finally able to turn their attention back to the matter at hand. Despite everything that Harry knew was coming, much that he learned that day still shocked him. Not only was Dudley Dursley magical, so to was Karl Junior. While Harry was fine with turning over to Dudley the monies that Lily Evans-Potter had set aside for Petunia, he was unsure what, if anything, he should do for Vernon’s illegitimate child. However, he tabled that thought for later as the goblins and Sirius were attempting to teach them about their lines and their responsibilities.
***This Ain’t Nothin’***
Charlie Weasley had always been a pragmatist. He didn’t even take divination simply because he assumed that if there were something to the class it would only apply to those with the gift. Since he’d never even had a déjà vu type of feeling, let alone having ever received a prophecy, he knew the class wasn’t for him. However, after having a series of dreams that left him gasping and crying upon waking for seven days in a row. He felt deep within himself that he needed to contact his family. When he was unable to reach anyone at the Burrow for several days in a row, his supervisor arranged a Gringotts international portkey for him. Fortunately all of the people he worked with understood his need to find out if the dreams that had been plaguing him about the destruction of his family were true and were very much helpful in getting him packed and on his way in the short amount of time he had between the arrival of the portkey and its estimated time of departure.
He arrived at Gringott’s Diagon Alley offices portkey station and was quickly ushered into the offices of Sword Draw, the Goblin over the department for which his brother Bill worked. “DragonKeeper Weasley, your arrival is a most auspicious event. It is well that you have arrived when you have. Your father, and family, have need of you. I do not believe that you would be best served entering the situation without prior knowledge of several events of the last several days.” With that SwordDraw laid out the charges that were being investigated against Albus Dumbledore as well as the location of the adult members of the Weasley family. “Your younger siblings are and will remain at Hogwarts until the end of the term. From there I believe that the decision will be up to your father, your elder brother and yourself.”
Charlie, while not disbelieving of what the goblin had said, couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Dumbledore was a thief and a liar. He’d manipulated their entire world. But worst of all, as far as Charlie was concerned, he had knowingly taken part in the rape of Arthur Weasley for over twenty five years. The fact that all seven of the Weasley children were magical was astonishing since it was well known that when witches conceive while under the influence of love potions it was very hit or miss as to whether the child would have magic or not. He shook his head and tried to focus. Sword Draw led him back to the lobby where they encountered Bill rushing towards the international floo station.
“Bill.” He called out to his older brother. The two men embraced in the middle of the lobby uncaring that many others would be annoyed or even disgusted by their display. The two brothers needed the comfort the presence of the other provided.
The oldest Weasley sibling looked at his younger brother. “There is a lot we need to get done and very little time to do it in. If you can wait on the explanations, we need to get to Aunt Muriel’s and you need to take on the mantle of the head of the Ancient and Noble House of Prewitt. She holds the family regency…it is time that you take up the mantle.”
With a nod, Charlie strode forward with his brother shoulder to shoulder. He knew that it would mean the end of his career, but if he wanted his family to avoid being completely decimated when the misdeeds of his mother came to light. If he was being completely honest the loss of his position at the dragon preserve came in second to having to talk to his mother’s Aunt Muriel on his personal ‘things to be avoided at all costs’ meter. Yet in the end the conversation went far better than he’d thought it would. Aunt Muriel had long since wanted to be shot of the responsibilities and annoyances of running even a somewhat minor house. She had only kept the regency after he had reached his majority because Arthur had forced her to give him time to find his own way in the world. Since the regent was passing along the headship of the family to the heir, it was a simple matter of Muriel passing him the family ring. As soon as Charlie put the ring on the middle finger of his right hand, he felt an overwhelming surge of power and a sense of belonging that he’d never realized was missing.
As he listened to Muriel Prewitt Rothsby explain to him the positions she had taken in managing the family’s affairs, Charlie could only think that the Wizarding World was in for a rude awakening. The Weasleys stood strong and proud on the side of right and at the side of Harry Potter. Now so too would the House of Prewitt.