Harry walked up to the man in the formal robe in Copenhagen. "Sir, are you a judge or a lawyer for the International Wizarding Courts?" he asked politely.
The man looked at the boy. "I am. Why?"
"I'm Harry Potter and I want to lodge a complaint about my family's things being stolen by the British Ministry because I had the misfortune to survive."
The man blinked. "What?" Two others appeared behind him. "Schoolmates or friends?" he guessed.
"No, Lockhart bound us," Harry said dryly. "He got a grand total of ten days in jail for binding us in such a way that we're permanently together, even if we couldn't stand each other and we did not ask him to do so."
Draco cleared his throat. Harry was beyond livid and he wanted to live so he wouldn't blatantly butt in but it needed to be said. Before this counteracted some more of his father's plans. "Potter, my father is handling some things."
Harry looked at him. "That's nice. The Ministry will need people who have a mind." He looked at the judge again. "Can I file the petition without a lawyer of my own or should I get one?"
The judge stared at him. "Let us start with an informal talk, young man. That way we can see if there are charges to be filed. I can get a representative from your Ministry to come help you."
Draco snorted. "Dumbledore is behind half of this."
Ron nodded. "We don't trust him as far as we can throw him since he blamed the teacher attacking us to bind us on us."
"That is not something I have heard." He walked them to his office and got a few others in to come talk to them. Including a neutral party to help aid the boys. "I believe the Potter family has a home in your country," he said bluntly when that one walked in. "I wish you to act in their best interests at the moment. We are meeting to see if this is a valid complaint that is going to be filed or not."
"Of course," he said, sitting down. "Mr. Potter," he said with a nod. "I had been told you have found the family home nice during the summers?"
"We were hiding there from Dumbledore and others," Ron told him. The men all stared. Ron started off with what he knew. Draco added in facts while Harry was mostly silent. Finally Harry told them what he knew had happened. That Lucius was trying but apparently he was surrounded by idiots with *plans*. The judges talked while the boys calmed down and decided to get them a good lawyer to help them file the forms. The lawyer wouldn't charge them, Mr. Malfoy had made sure. They included the incident of their marriage as well. That was something that should have been severely punished. It was by international standards.
Harry settled into the small room they had found to stay at during this problem. It was a small flat but they could afford it and food. Draco had set up wards. Ron had helped. Ron had also sent a public post owl to his mother telling her not to worry, they'd still try to be there for dinner; to tell Draco's parents the same. Then they went to calm down Harry-the-boy-who-got-revenge. Ron looked at his buddy. "You done snapping?"
"Maybe," he sighed, looking at him. "I don't know what was the last straw."
"I do," Ron admitted. He patted him on the head. "Want to unpack the holiday stuff?"
"If we're raided it might get broken or left behind if the headmaster tries to have us pulled back," he said quietly.
"You're paranoid," Ron pointed out.
"No, I read that prophecy," Harry said dryly. "It says that Voldemort's coming back and it's up to me to kill him or him to kill me." He stared at him. "I'm *thirteen*, Ron! How am I supposed to defeat a bastard that's been studying for *years*! Even if I had been taught I might not do it. I'll be damned if I'm going to throw away my life when others can be handling it too. With the way things are going, I'd probably be there about by myself. Which would get you two killed too."
"We'd fight beside you, you know that," Ron reminded him. "Me, Hermione....."
"You, me, Hermione, against an army," Harry said dryly. "Yeah, that'll work, Ron. Especially since we're less than half trained at best for our year."
Ron grimaced but nodded. "Others would help."
"That would get them dead because they're not being taught either." He sat up. "I'm all for people being able to protect themselves but why does it have to be me?"
"It doesn't. You're not the only one born on that date," Draco reminded him. "The other is Longbottom." Harry grimaced. "I doubt he'd get any more help than you are."
"His grandmother would throw fits," Ron told him. "She's hyper protective and half the time calls Neville by his father's name." Draco grimaced at that fact. He looked at Harry. "We'd stand with you, Potter."
"Last year, you nearly dropped our friendship because someone got some press attention shined my way, Ron." He stared at him. "Is that going to happen again?" Ron gave him a horrified look. "I've done nothing to be vilified or hated or anything else. I've done nothing to have people look at me like I'm sort of hero. I did what I had to do and the myth behind my name is because of my parents. Which I'm not allowed to learn about so I might have decent role models to go on."
"I know that," Ron soothed. "You know I'd never...." Harry stared at him. "That was before all this, Harry."
"Which makes you a worse target, Ron. If they can affect me by getting you and Draco, how is that safe for you two? Or your families?"
Draco coughed. "That is a point but not a happy one. Can we calm down for tonight? I've never had this much drama in a single day before." Harry slumped but nodded. "Weasley, can you make dinner?"
"Sure." He went to put on some pasta. Harry tried to help but he shoved him back at the bed. "Rest. You need sleep, Harry." He got back to work and it was nicer. "Maybe there's a special school for people who have prophecies about them. I'll write 'Mione. She'd probably know." He did that and set it aside for the morning mail. Then he went back to cooking. Sure enough, later that night someone tried to break in but Potter was still in a pissy mood. The aurors or whatever they were called locally, they weren't much happier when they heard why Harry had to take his pissy mood out on them. The international court heard about that as well. They got to be pissed off the next morning instead of the middle of the night. The benefits of power and position.
Harry looked at the panel of judges, hands behind his back, looking respectful. "Mr. Potter," the head judge said. "We find your complaint with merit. We also find that there is apparently something going on in your ministry that we should butt into. What are your plans?"
"As of this moment, finding a school that will teach me what I need to do to protect myself and my new mates. Plus anyone else who needs it." Someone walked in and he stared back at Sirius then at the judge again. "Does this mean that you're going to look into the confiscation of my funds and my family's properties, sir?"
"It does, Mr. Potter." He stared at the boy. "This prophecy was also seen. We do not take much stock in such things but it appears this one was self-fulfilling." The boy nodded once at that, biting his lip. "Which schools are you considering?"
"We're making a list right now. Looking specifically at good defense and charms programs, sir."
"Excellent." He looked at the others then at the boy. "The one by your natal home is quite strenuous."
"Yes, sir, but when I was in the village near the family home they all acted like I was going to snap and kill someone," he said dryly. "I'd rather be Harry, just plain Harry, with no benefits to my name. That way I learn what I need to learn."
"Agreed," the judge said. "Quite wise as well. Mr. Black, we were informed of your status in his life and that you were...healing?"
"After a false imprisonment in Azkaban, Your Honor." He walked up behind Harry, laying a hand on his shoulder and giving it a subtle squeeze. "As his godfather, I'd be more than happy to travel with him if the other guardians could not. Since I'm not doing much right now."
"That's not a bad idea. They are thirteen, for all that the bonding made them official adults." He stared at Harry. "I've gotten reports on your temper."
"Only when someone tried to break in to get us back to England," Harry said, looking pissed off again. "I did not ask to be broken in on and nearly killed, Your Honor."
"I know that, young man. Calm down." He stared at him then the other judges huddled, getting a few nods from the group. He came back. "Would you feel comfortable going back to your natal country?"
"I don't know," he said honestly. "My mates would prefer it but I'm seeing so many ways of them trying to undermine anything I do yet again or curse one of us so the rest suffer, or anything else that they've done."
"As we've heard testimony about," one of the other judges noted. "None of the witnesses particularly cared for you it seemed, Mr. Potter."
"No, Sir, but they wouldn't lie about it either."
"Good point." She nodded. "Very strategic."
"Ron's idea." He smiled slightly.
"Good of him to help you then. There is a small academy called Glen Mara. You should talk to them. They can also help you with off-site tutoring if you must go back to your original school."
Harry nodded at that wisdom. There was a petition to get him back to Hogwarts already going. Narcissa had tortured three people over it already and was sharpening her claws for another few. "I'll look at them tonight, Sir."
"Good." He stared at the boy. "We will be looking into this complaint, Mr. Potter. What would you do if the prophesied problem happens anyway?"
"I'd do what I had to do. I don't want to see anyone hurt because they knew me. Beyond that, half of everyone is looking for me to do so anyway."
"That's not very good for you," the head judge noted.
Sirius nodded. "The press and others have been pushing the same agenda, Your Honor. Minister Fudge has made himself a problem as well over this situation."
"I've already had him kicked out of my office twice." He stared at the boy. "It was wise to handle it before it became more problematic."
"I honestly don't understand the political dances and games that people like my headmaster, Minister Fudge, and Draco's parents play every day, sirs. All I know is I cannot and will not take it any longer. I'm not their whipping post and I'm not their savior. I'm thirteen, I can't be a savior of anyone but myself yet. Not with the speculation that I'll turn into the thing that I'm supposed to kill some year from people like Minister Fudge. Especially not with the undermining I've been having so I can't do what they expect me to do."
The head judge nodded. "That is sane and sensible, Mr. Potter. I believe it's a good plan so far. Check into that school tonight. We will start a full investigation of this matter. It may take longer than you would hope for but it will be done."
"Thank you, sir." He bowed and stepped back. Sirius walked out behind him. He found Draco talking to his father and stared at him. "Glen Mara?"
"It's a small, private academy which does not take many students unless they are exceptional," Lucius admitted.
"One of the judges suggested he ask for admittance," Sirius told him.
"They would definitely teach him what he needed to know but they are fairly gray in nature instead of white lighters."
"Will the teach me to protect people when the prophecy snaps?" Harry asked quietly. Lucius nodded. "Plus how to protect your son since he's got a target on him?"
"Definitely. Draco nearly passed in on his own."
Harry nodded. "Can I floo them to talk to someone?"
"I did," Lucius stated. A messenger for the court walked out and handed him something. "Ah, the address of the school." He nodded his thanks and walked the boys off. "This was very gutsy, Mr. Potter, but not very subtle."
"I don't understand subtle yet and I really don't think I'll ever understand power and politics, Mr. Malfoy. If I have to protect them, I will. Even from people who think they want me to fight and then conveniently die for them."
Lucius smirked. "Good, otherwise my son would have been a widow." Harry smirked back, he knew that threat and understood it. "Now, it is nearly the holiday dinner. Are you coming home?"
"It depends, are they going to bust in to try to kill us or drag us back to the school? If so, our place is small but you're welcome to eat with us."
Lucius stared at him. "We'll see how it goes. If that should happen, the manor has some of the best wards there are. Some have been on for centuries." The boys gathered their things and told the landlord they were going home then left with them. Lucius paused Sirius. "He's correct, he'll never understand it."
"I never played those games myself. Gave me a headache," Sirius noted with a grin of his own. "I hate politics." He walked off, following the boys. He scooped up some snow and threw it at Harry, who snorted and tossed one back with a smile. Ron joined into the snowball fight. Draco and his father wisely got out of the way of the boyish fun. That was not the Malfoy way.
Harry looked at the headmistress of the new school he hoped would accept them. "Thank you for seeing me today, ma'am."
"It's not a problem, Mr. Potter. I think we've all heard about the problems you've had with your present school." He handed over a scroll. She read it and grimaced. "Is it already started?"
"So far, two years out of three, ma'am. In ghoul form so far." She nodded and put it aside. "I know that I'm not the ideal student. I know I bring the problem of publicity since they can't see fit to leave me alone." She smiled and nodded. "Or my mates."
"How did that happen, Mr. Potter?"
"We had Gilderoy Lockhart as a defense teacher our second year." She burst out cackling, shaking her head. "He caught Draco and I after class to slap them on us. Then he got Ron a few minutes later. Tried to lock us in the closet and all that." He shifted. "I'm taking extra defense lessons from our present one, Remus Lupin."
"He's a werewolf."
"He was a friend of my parents," Harry said. "I don't care what he turns into three nights a month, ma'am. He always takes protection to make sure no one can get hurt."
She stared at him. "That's not the usual wizarding attitude."
"No, but I'm not the average wizard. I wasn't even raised in the wizarding world. The first I knew of it, there was a lot of letters that nearly made my uncle have a stroke." He shifted again. "Since then it's been ... well, not fun certainly."
"I can understand that. What are you hoping for?"
"A new school or possibly a tutor I can work with. I'm sure you've seen the complaint I filed."
"I have, including that Minister Fudge tried to have you retrieved by aurors."
"That was my headmaster's plan, ma'am. He was trying to hide the prophecy from me as well. Also, whenever I touch a book that has something about my parents in it, it seems to disappear."
"Hmm. That's not good. How are you supposed to learn modern history?"
"Ma'am, we have Professor Binn's ghost teaching us history," he said quietly. "I've had three years of goblin wars and a summer with my extended family's portraits making me study other history lessons."
She stared at him. "What was the last spell you learned in defense, Mr. Potter?"
"In class? He's been catching us up to the things we missed, ma'am. It was the repelling charm." She gaped. "In private, I'm still catching up but I'm working in some of the higher level curses. Including working on my anti-dementor spells since they bother me so much."
"I can understand that. What of your godfather?"
"Sirius came back with us from Copenhagen. He's at home."
"He was in the hospital?"
"It was thought that it could help him after his unfair arrest."
"I see." She looked at him. "You're opinionated."
"I can be, yes, but I still need taught and the judges thought you'd be a good school for me to attend."
She nodded. "There is that. How many spells do you think you know?" He shrugged. "An estimate?"
"Maybe about a third that I need to know."
She smiled. "Good answer. It would be easier for us to find you a tutor." He nodded at that. "Even if you do go back to the other school."
"I'm told our next year's defense teacher is going to be a former auror."
"Yes, I've heard rumors of Mad Eye Moody. He's paranoid."
"I can reach that state myself sometimes, but I think I have good reason."
She smirked. "Probably." She looked at him. "I'll talk to a tutor for you, Mr. Potter. He'll be able to help your godfather and parents' friend." He nodded at that, smiling some. "What are your summer plans?"
"I'm thinking the family home in Central America and more lessons from them. Frankly, Aunt Eleanor doesn't understand me all that well. She didn't understand that I want respect for things *I* do instead of what she and the others have done and I hate being looked at like I'm the next Dark Lord."
She nodded. "That's something many people want but not many attain."
Harry smiled. "I can't brag about anything my family has done. I don't know anything my family has done, ma'am."
"Good point." She wrote out a message. "I'm sending this to your headmaster and the tutor I think will work best. I think you two will get along and they can also help your spouses catch up and finding a way to protect themselves."
"I'd gladly give up my life if I had to so others were protected but I'm thirteen. I think there's people who should be with me, not nagging in the papers."
She nodded. "Definitely. Your headmaster was one."
"Now he's cranky and tried to blame this bonding on me."
"Hmm. That's not a good thing, no." She handed him the letter, letting him read it. He beamed at her. "Good boy. Now, go back to your holiday, Harry."
"Yes, ma'am, thank you for your help." He shook her hand and left, using the portkey back to Malfoy Manor. It was safer and when they had went to the Burrow for Christmas dinner, they were all tense but it had been fun. He walked up to the gateway, finding Narcissa waiting on him. "She's asking a tutor to come to us at Hogwarts." She smiled and pinched him on the cheek. "Thank you for your help with all this mess."
"It's no problem. Especially not with the way it could infect our son." She walked him back inside. "Did she mention a name?"
"That's fine. I'm sure we'll see."
"I'm told Mad Eye Moody will be next year's teacher."
She stared at him oddly. "Lucius?" she called, walking him that way. He came out of his study. "They've sent a note to a tutor for the boys." He nodded at that, smiling some. "Also, he heard that Mad Eye is going to be next year's teacher."
Lucius stared at her then at Harry, who nodded. "She said that's what she heard."
He cleared his throat. "No, I think not. He won't appreciate our heir and you'd never get the lessons you need." He went to see if he could change that. Before his son got harmed by that paranoid psycho former auror.
She smiled at the boy. "The house elves made cookies."
"Your house elves are *wonderful* bakers, Mrs. Malfoy. Even if Draco won't share them with us, we understand why now." She pinched his cheek again and walked him back to the kitchen so he could get a few cookies and head up to his room. He went to study some more. His aunts had insisted their painting be in his room so they could tutor him. She went to have a headache. The very thought of having someone like Mad Eye near her son made her have a horrible vision of the future. Even though she didn't normally have visions.
Draco was walked into the school first, the other two behind him. The headmaster was waiting on them. "Sir."
"Boys." He smiled. "I'm told your tutor will be here around the spring break, Harry." He nodded at that. "I believe we'll be moving you to Gryffindor this term."
Lucius grimaced. "Must they?"
"Yes, they must." He smiled, walking them that way. "Our things are here?" The boys all nodded. "Excellent. I know Professor Lupin was waiting on you to see him tonight, Harry."
"That's fine. I have notes for him about what I learned over the break, Headmaster." They were let in. "Evening," he called. A few people came down the stairs. He pointed. "He said it's our turn here."
Hermione shrugged. "Draco can be polite and so can we." She walked off. "There's no extra beds in your old dorm, Harry. Neville said so last night."
"We'll find something I'm sure," Draco sighed. They went up to that room, Lucius following.
Harry leaned in. "Are we stuck in here again, guys?"
"No," Neville called. "There's no spare beds, Harry. Check the attic room."
"Sure, thanks, Neville. Come up and see us later?" He walked up the hall and to the ladder, climbing up it. "Yup, three beds," he said. They put their stuff up while Lucius grimaced and cast cleaning charms. Draco smiled at him for that. Lucius handed over a package and left, changing the ladder to a set of steep stairs instead. It was much safer and easier to use. He left, going home to tell his wife. Maybe she'd like to talk to the headmaster for their son.
Harry looked around and cast a few charms himself. Eleanor had taught them to him. He grinned at the small bit of comfort. Draco smirked back and so did Ron. Dobby popped up. "Harry Potter needs a better couch?"
"We could use a small table to study on," Ron offered. Dobby snapped his fingers and they weren't in the attic anymore. The roof was higher and not wood. The beds were there, their things were there. The old couch was there. Ron looked around. It had desks. "Will someone get mad that we're here?"
"Dobby not care." He disappeared, bringing back some cold water and glasses. "Bathroom for boys is through blue door." He disappeared again, going to tell the headmaster he had fixed the room problem. He appeared beside the desk. "Dobby fix so Harry Potter and his wifes not have to fall through floor when it breaks. Dobby puts Harry Potter and wifes in gray room. That way Dobby not have to worry about mean people who want to hurt Harry Potter or wifes." He disappeared.
"What gray room?" he called. "Which tower are they in?" Dobby didn't come back so he sighed and dug out the rooming chart. They weren't on it at all. "Dobby!" He reappeared, handing him a glass of milk. "Where is this gray room?"
"The west tower." He disappeared again.
Dumbledore dug out the classroom chart, finding that room but no way into it. "How are they supposed to get to class?" he muttered. Then again that might be helpful to calm Mr. Potter down before he caused more problems.
Snape found the room that night and looked around. No doorway. "Mr. Malfoy," he complained. The door opened and he stared. It still looked like a blank wall. "How did you get down here?" He walked in.
"I see. No wonder the Headmaster has asked him to go live at the Potter manor house." He looked at Harry, who grimaced. "This is not a good room for you."
"Actually it's a great room for us," Ron countered with a smirk. "It's got a bathroom, a private hall to Slytherin for Draco. A link to the study area for us. The Gryffindors in the upper years who want to think Harry's a dark lord in the making aren't in our faces. We're not in an attic that was going to fall in." Harry nodded at that, still reading his defense book. "It's got a blank room so we can practice spells."
Snape looked around. "It is quite...lavish."
Harry grinned. "I think if that ambassador's wife shows up next year, she should get this one. We had nothing to do with it, Professor. Dobby popped us down here when we asked for a small table to study on." He looked up. "We were waiting on someone to come yell at us."
"No one has decided this is a bad move yet," he admitted. "Are you satisfied down here?"
"I'd be more than happy to be left alone down here," Harry assured him. "Out of sight means less rumors, less stress, and less problems from the others, Professor. That way they leave us alone and don't feel the need to take sides if something happens."
"I see." He stared at him. "There are others who that prophecy fits."
"Longbottom," Draco told him, making Snape nearly whimper. "Any aurors?"
"Wonderful!" Draco said happily. "That means *I* don't have to pick a side and possibly die when he drags me into something."
Harry nodded. "There is that as well."
"Fine. The headmaster has approved of this move. Why did he pick down here?"
"Study area, private bathroom with a nice tub," Ron told him. "Space to get away from each other if we need to."
"I see." He left, marking the door on his way out. He went up to tell the headmaster that and heard that the boys needed the space anyway. They were technically married and the bond may make them ...practice married life sometime soon. Which they could not do in the dorms.
That thought was enough to make Snape drink heavily that night.
Harry looked at the note that got delivered to him the next morning, grimacing at it. "No it won't," he said, putting it aside.
Ron and Draco walked in and came over to get the note. "From Bill?" Draco asked.
"No. Not signed. Generic post owl." He pointed at where it was eating his breakfast for him. He sipped some of his juice. "It still won't be happening anytime soon."
"No, it won't," Draco agreed. He handed it to his head of house since Snape seemed to be dealing with them this year. Snape shuddered, handing it back. "It won't happen."
"Are you certain?"
"Yes. Those nutrition potions are good but not that good."
"Interesting." He cleared that thought out of his mind while Draco went to eat.
Ron was mentally complaining but the other two let him because they were just as confused, disgusted, and sure it wasn't going to happen.
Harry got called up to the infirmary. "You needed to see me?" he asked.
She smiled. "Just checking to make sure that you're fine now, Mr. Potter." He hopped up onto a bed, letting her check the spells. "Hmm." She looked at him. "Have you any questions about that problematic stage you're coming up on?"
He stared at her for a minute. "No, muggle health class covered all that," he said blandly. "Though apparently I'm not near it yet and someone asked?"
"Someone did wonder if you were close but I'm not seeing any sign of it." Harry just nodded once. "Though I can't seem to find a reason."
"Curse?" he suggested. "Spell, hex.... Natural causes?" She grimaced, shaking her head at that one. "Okay, what do you need to tell?"
"Have you.... gotten an erection yet?" she asked quietly.
"Nope. Not that I'm aware of."
"Oh, dear. We might have to get a full healer up here to check, Mr. Potter."
Harry looked at her oddly for a second then shook his head. "It's not bothering me any and those who want me to start shagging Ron and Draco can come do the spells themselves." He hopped down with a grin. "You can tell them I said that." He walked off, telling them about what had happened. Draco was a bit worried about that topic as well but Harry pointed out he was only thirteen. He had a few more years before they had to worry or it was a problem. He went back to class. McGonagall gave him an odd look. "Someone was wondering if my medicine was still working and if other things had started to work so they could perve in my personal life some more." She choked and spluttered. He sat down and got back to work on the current exercise.
She stomped off to ask the nurse what had happened. This was not going to be allowed to keep going on. She did not want to hear about such things!
Harry just grinned at Ron. Maybe she could stop the people that wanted them to shag.
Harry looked up as the Headmaster walked in front of his seat in the Great Hall a few weeks later. "Yes, Headmaster?"
"Questions are being asked about you again, Mr. Potter."
"I heard the last one wondering when I was going to shag my mates." The headmaster went pink and walked off shaking his head. "Is there another topic being asked about?" he asked him as he walked off. "If so, I'll come answer questions." Draco sent over a thought about that being very uncouth but Harry pointed out they quit asking. So it apparently worked very well. Ron said he was staying out of it and stuffed his mouth again. McGonagall came down to talk to him but Harry shrugged and she huffed off back to her seat. Harry looked down at the twins. "So, are you in the pool about when I finally knock them down and stuff them up?" They choked, spluttered, and one nearly vomited but they rushed out to get sick in the hallway. Harry grinned at Ron. Ron smirked back. Ron's mother... a very mean witch when she wanted to be more than loud. She might even be more mean than Narcissa if she wanted to be. She definitely did not want to see her son pregnant. So she'd stop that talk immediately.
Which suited the trio just fine!
Eleanor looked at the boys later that night. "Harry, dear?" He looked at her, grinning some. "Why are they bothering you about the fruit of your loins?"
"They think it's odd that the bonding hasn't made me jump them yet."
"I see." She considered that. "Clearly your body isn't ready yet though."
He hummed and nodded. "Yup. I got called up to the infirmary to see why." She sighed, shaking her head. "So apparently someone *really* wants me to shag them sometime soon. Got any practical advice on that, Aunt Eleanor?"
"No, dear, I've never had male-on-male sex," she said dryly. "Even under polyjuice when I traded with my friend for the night." Ron gaped, staring at her. She smirked. "I had a lot of fun with his girlfriend." She cleared her throat. "Do we think perhaps it's a problem?"
"I'm thirteen," he pointed out. "Give me a few years and I'll have naked women pictures all over the room and still won't want to shag them."
"Fine. Someone must carry on the family name for you and Draco though."
Harry looked at Draco, who grimaced. "The spell was adaptive in my case," he sighed. "Though they have said I can find someone suitable and stuff her up for the family heir."
"I don't think we'd like that."
"We would," Ron quipped. "I don't like babies that much and as much as I like Harry as a bloke and mate, I do not want to shag him."
She sighed and walked off to complain to Lucius and Narcissa. They would understand her frustration.
The boys smirked at each other. This was a topic they could work against together.
Remus Lupin looked at his nephew. "Well, you've gotten about as much as I can give you," he said quietly. Harry hugged him. "Thank you, Harry." He smiled at him. "I am still going to be around. Even if that tutor of yours doesn't like it."
Harry shrugged. "You're my uncle, of course you will be." He smirked. "Though I haven't seen this tutor yet." He let out an evil smirk. "Maybe he's scared off by all the talk of heirs and how I should be shagging them."
"Maybe," Remus said dryly. "I know Sirius got drunk when he heard about it."
"I wanted to but I'm too young." He let him go and stepped back. "So, now what?"
"Now, it's nearly the end of the year. Are you going back down there this summer? We can go with you."
"I think we are. As far as I know." He thought at Draco and Ron, who agreed. "They think we are."
"Excellent. We'll come down to make sure you three have time to be boys and not just study." Harry beamed and nodded. "Go eat." Harry rushed off and he flooed Bill Weasley. It was a week until the end of school, he was back in London. "Are they going back down this year?"
"Narcissa and Mum both said so. If only so they don't end up with grandchildren soon." He smirked evilly. "Harry sent them a note saying it wouldn't be soon but someone asked them if the bond had bent that way yet."
"No, it hasn't. Harry hasn't started puberty yet."
"Wonderful!" He beamed. "I'll meet them at the train this time. Bring them to the bank, let them get some allowance out, then take them shopping for summer clothes before sending them down."
"Can Sirius and I go?"
"Yes. Bloody hell yes. Keep them from being overwhelmed." He waved and cut the connection.
Remus called Sirius to let him know then finished packing his things. Mad Eye would do just fine. He'd talk to him about the extra lessons Harry needed and the tutor would probably do the same if and when they showed up.
Dumbledore stopped the trio from walking out of the castle. "Mr. Potter, we believe it would be safer if you were in England this summer."
"I believe I don't have a house there and I doubt we want to hang out at Malfoy Manor and give the Weasley's a heart attack or the Burrow and give the Malfoys migraines. Besides, Aunt Eleanor is expecting us for some future lessons."
"That is what some people are afraid of."
Harry stared at him. "I'm not dark, Headmaster. I've never been dark. I'll only go dark if I'm pushed that way. Thank you for your concern but my godfather and my guardian both agree it's safer if we do that and better for all of us so we're not pulled in any particular direction." He walked around him and out to the carriage. Ron and Draco both gave him pointed looks. He shrugged since they weren't alone and sent to them about what had been said. "Remus and Sirius will be down in a week," he said conversationally.
"Wonderful. They'll make sure we don't study all summer long," Ron said with a grin.
Draco nodded. "They were quite hard taskmasters last summer," he agreed.
Harry smirked. "Maybe the village will think we're nicer this year."
"Let's hope so because we all know you're not the scary one in this group," Ron joked. "That's Malfoy before tea." Draco shot him a dirty look. They got onto the train, Draco with his friends. Harry and Ron with theirs. It was nice until the dementor tried to stop the train. Then Harry hopped up and went to handle it before the memory got louder and more painful. The thing ran off and he went back to his seat. "Maybe the Americas are safer," he said as he walked in and sat down. Ron snickered, shaking his head. "Are you certain?"
"Fairly so. High death rate and all that the last time anyone looked."
"Pity." He settled in to read and calm himself down. This was not looking like a good start to a peaceful summer. Bill met them at the other side of the ride and took them to the bank. The goblins all stared. "Did I do something wrong?" he hissed.
"The international court was very displeased with some things," Bill said but he was smiling. "They were highly displeased that someone tried to interfere in your vault especially." He looked at the boy. "Wasn't that a huge step?"
"Did you hear what was going on before then?"
"Well, yeah," he admitted. "So Ron planned it?"
"No, I stomped off in a huff," he admitted quietly. "I figured maybe, just maybe, they could make people leave me alone. Before I become a hermit."
"That's not a bad plan," Bill agreed. He let them into the right office and followed. "Here they are."
"Boys," the goblin said, nodding slightly. They smiled and nodded back. "The international court was able to cut through a lot of things that the Ministry were trying to force, Mr. Potter. Do not worry about that." Harry beamed at him. "Including someone trying claim your money for you." He handed over the papers. "This is the preliminary. Their rulings won't be final until they've been over everything."
"What's the chances that they'll decide I shouldn't have my own money after all?" Harry asked.
The goblin looked at him. "Why would they?"
"The Prophet this morning," Ron sighed, handing over his copy. The headline story called for the 'reeducation' of Harry Potter until he was the savior they all needed. Including a mind healer if necessary.
The goblin sighed. "How many would believe such drivel?"
"Too many," Draco admitted. "Father's already been approached I'm sure."
"He has said that someone should probably teach you three more," Bill admitted. "Nothing about that." He took it to read, grimacing. He called his mother on the floo, handing it over. She growled and closed the connection. "Mum will be happy to have Ginny and the twins back later," he quipped. Ron smirked at him. "Let's get the boys down there," he decided. The allowance pouch was handed over. "Portkey," he said, handing one over. They all smiled and disappeared. "Does it never end?" he asked the goblin.
"Apparently not if your last name is Potter."
"Huh, well, maybe he wants to change it then. Hell if I know what to do about things. Thanks." He walked off shaking his head. He ran into Lucius. "They're already gone."
"Good, it's much safer." He grimaced. "There really is a cry to put Potter in an institution."
"I'm thinking Harry needs to stay out of England but Mum would shriek," Bill admitted. Lucius nodded Narcissa would do the same. "I don't know anymore. I know Potter's worried that the court will decide he's not legally able to do anything and take all his money from him again."
"No, that would be a travesty of law," Lucius noted. He suddenly got a look when he saw an owl heading his way. "Thank you, Horace," he said when it landed on his arm. He read the note his son had sent from the train apparently. He laughed. "Draco was not pleased over the paper either. There may be some easing of things." He walked off happier.
Bill would have to wait and see. Malfoy was in an evil mood again and wasn't likely to share the current plot. He went to cue Sirius into the wards so he and Remus could do down later that night. That way the boys had someone with some sense watching over them and Sirius could play like the puppy he was.
McGonagall opened her paper the next morning, grimacing at the story on the front page. She read it and clearly it was the Malfoy touch. She mentally was smirking as she handed it down to Severus.
He read it and grimaced. "I don't think the boy's that powerful."
"You'd be surprised," she said dryly. He nodded that may be true as he handed it back. "I'm sure Remus and Sirius are with them already."
"Hopefully. Last year they managed to not get into trouble but I'm doubting that will happen again."
She read the rest of the paper. Draco's reminder that pissing Harry off made him angry and closer to going dark every time he lost his temper was a good one. Even if it was more subtly pointed out that the last time Potter got mad at the wizarding world, he went to the International Court to get the Ministry disbanded.
Sirius came out of talking to the portraits shaking his head. "I know some people like that."
"I brought down McGonagall's portrait so they could talk to her last year about their education and modern things," Remus said with a smug look. Sirius shuddered. "They all agreed we were too easy on the students but I had to make them catch up to current standards so I didn't get them much ahead. Mad Eye will have a better chance next year."
"Good!" He sat down. "Where are they?"
"Village. Getting sweets probably." They heard giggling and looked. Harry was mud covered and Draco was snickering heavily, so was Ron. "At least they're getting along at the moment."
"They have to. The bonding includes a compulsion to get along," Sirius admitted. They walked in. "Godson, did you roll around in the mud?"
"Nope," he said dryly. "The driver of the lorry that splashed me apologized like I was going to eat his soul though." The adults smirked at that. "Any fallout from the papers yet?"
"Not yet," Sirius admitted. "Go change, Harry." He ran up to his room to bathe and change. He looked at the other two. "What else is on your agenda today?"
"Finish unpacking, letting Harry tell his relatives about our summer homework to see where they want to add to it," Ron said, considering it.
"The usual nagging by the family," Draco added.
Eleanor looked over from reading in a picture of a chaise lounge in the sunny courtyard. "Why would we nag?"
"For heirs," Ron told her. "Same as you did last night."
"Well, someone must carry on the family name," she pointed out.
Harry came down the stairs still damp and pulling on his shirt. "Aunt Eleanor, until all this dark lord shite is done with, there'll be no heirs from me. If it's not done by the time Draco has to have one, we'll figure out a way to hide him, the child, and the mother so they're not a soft, squishy target." He stared at her. "I'm not going to let anyone I care about be a target ever the bloody hell again," he said firmly. She sighed but nodded. "Thank you!"
"Would you consent to putting some seed in that new bank Lucius got started?"
"That's hellishly expensive," Harry pointed out. She grimaced. "Beyond that, I'm not working that way yet, Aunt Eleanor. Can't we wait until I actually can get a stiffie to talk about kids?"
"Of course, I meant when it did happen, Harry. Beyond the price was there an objection?"
He stared at her. "You know what, maybe I'll do a temporary aging potion and go to the muggle centers. Wank in a cup, let some nice women use my seed all they want, and I'll make some pocket change for the family," he said dryly.
"You will not!" she said firmly. "That's not something the family will stand!"
"It'd be heirs," Draco said. "Might even be magical depending on the mother's background or if he breeds true. How many times can you do that, Potter?"
"I'm told four at each bank, or four per country if it's a central registry. That way you don't have too many kids related. There's about sixty, seventy countries with banks. That would mean Voldemort wouldn't be able to decide which kid and if we had to, with those odds, there'd be someone else to turn into a warrior for the light." He stared at his aunt. She shuddered. "Let me be *Harry*, Aunt Eleanor, not the Potter heir, not the warrior Potter, none of it. Please? Or else we're moving. I get enough of this at school."
"I know, dear. Calm down. Your temper is getting worse."
"It's Draco's fault," he quipped.
"Hey!" Draco complained. "Why is it my fault? Weasley has the temper usually."
Harry looked at him. "Because before I never seethed and plotted when angry. I got that off you."
Draco smirked. "It's a good trait to pass on," he quipped happily. "I'll accept the blame for that one."
Aunt Beth showed up with a towel over her hair. "Boys, there must be family heirs some day," she chided gently.
"Pick, either I go to muggle seed banks and spread it around the world or you can wait until after the war," Harry told her. "The wizarding bank is very expensive and things are in flux thanks to the court."
"You'd need a few years anyway, Harry. Draco?"
"We have plans. Mother is finding a good surrogate."
"Thank you. Ronald, dear?" she asked with a smile.
"There's five other boys and I hate kids," he said bluntly. She slumped, shaking her head. "I don't rightly give a damn but I'm sure there'll be little Weasleys some day. Probably a great lot that'll all be about in the same year."
"That's a thought to make Snape shudder," Draco said, considering it. "If they all have their first kids in the same year.... That's at least six, plus any possible twins.... McGonagall and Severus would go on a drinking binge."
"Probably," Harry agreed with a smirk. "We should tell them that thought and his mum, Draco. That way they can have a happy summer and his mum can make sure they're not together."
"Good point," he agreed, going to write those letters.
Aunt Beth sighed. "That's mean, Harry."
He smirked. "I got tormented all year. It's only fair to pass it back!" He beamed. She shuddered. "Exactly. Now, can we just be teenage boys most of this summer?"
"Gladly," Eleanor agreed. "Though you do have some assigned homework."
"Grand, we figured we would," Harry agreed. "Not like Remus could do more than catch us up to where we should be."
"True. I did hex Lockhart's painting," she offered with a smile.
Harry beamed at her. "If I could hug you I would, Aunt Eleanor." She snickered, patting the painting. "No demands for heirs or for us to shag?"
"Definitely not until you're ready, dear." He walked off happier. Ron followed since Harry was heading for the kitchen. She looked at Remus. "You did try."
"At least he'll take some OWLs."
"We do hope so." A distant cousin ran in to whisper in her ear. She nodded. "I'll be right back." She left, going to that painting. She cleared her throat. "Dears, I do believe this matter is not in your hands," she said firmly. The whole Wizengamot looked at her. She stared back. "In case you had no idea, Harry is my great-nephew." A few shuddered. "Harry is fully back in the family's fold, even if he is a bit...nice."
She smirked. "I can tell you that this pissing contest is one you will not win because my great-nephew is more than welcome to come live at the family manor home permanently." A few blanched. "That would include withdrawing all his funds from this country, all his investments, all that, and then suing the hell out of you lot for all the crap you've put him through." She looked at Fudge.
"I'm not sure how you even got your job. When I had it, I was very good to our country. It prospered, there wasn't a lack of jobs, and families were gaining in wealth. Now they're failing miserably and I hate to tell you this, but the pureblood movement is already fizzled out, even if he should return. You see, how do I put this, the bloodlines are a bit too tangled. If you don't believe me, ask a healer."
She stared at them. "Continue with this path against my great-nephew and I will make sure the Ministry is decimated and rebuilt in the image I want it built in. After all, no one taught the boy anything so he'd have to have advisors beyond his spouses. Who better than family?" She walked off. It felt good to be evil again. She'd have to prove to Harry how fun it felt. Then again, he was busy getting vengeance and that was nearly as fun.
Dumbledore coughed. "She was correct, Mr. Potter is her great-nephew on his father's side." A few members started to shout. He raised a hand to be heard. "So far we have mitigated their influence but she has been pushing for some reforms in the school to make the education better for him. She believes we're falling down on that as well."
"We are," Lucius agreed. "My son is over a year behind where I was when I was attending." A few other parents nodded. "It's sad that it took a werewolf to actually teach the children this year and get them back up to grade standard. I do hope next year's is better, Dumbledore."
"Next year's is a retired auror."
"Who's paranoid, slightly delusional, and probably going to hurt a student," one of the female members snorted. "Wonderful choices, Headmaster."
"He is fully qualified." He looked around. "She has threatened before to withdraw Mr. Potter from England and not let him come back if something should happen. I believe she was behind him going to the court."
Harry strolled in. Time turners, his aunt had introduced them to him when she had gotten back. "No she wasn't." The other two walked in behind him. "That was all me being mad." He stared at them then at someone. "So I'm told that you took my rightful seat? On whose authority?"
"You are a minor," Lucius reminded him. "That emancipation does not count for such matters, Mr. Potter." He looked at that member as well. "Though I do wonder who appointed you as well since the courts proved no legal wizarding guardian was ever named for Mr. Potter." The man spluttered. "Well? Speak up."
Harry shrugged. "I want briefed on his positions and he'll be asking for mine," Harry ordered him. "Or you're fired." The man glared. Harry stared back. "I do have a legally appointed wizarding guardian now. I'm sure he can find someone suitable." He looked at Lucius again. "The judge called and said that the preliminary ruling was done?"
"I had not heard. When did you?"
"In about two hours."
Lucius smirked. "Interesting. We can go hear them."
"He's coming here. So do you have time to sit with us as our father-in-law and have a peaceful dinner?"
"Of course, Mr. Potter. It'll save me from the overly tough pot roast waiting on me at home." He stood up. He stared at Dumbledore. "Were we doing more today?"
"No," he sighed. "When will he get here?"
Harry stared at him. "Within an hour or so. He'll send notice to summon us." He looked over as Bill walked in with a folder. "Is that everyone who got hired for me?"
"It is," he agreed. "Half of them are nice people. I've met a few, known a few for years. I'll make sure the rest are fit," he told the boys, getting a smile back. "Mr. Malfoy, are you joining us for dinner?"
"I am." He walked down to join them, walking out with them. "That was purely too dramatic, boys," he said dryly.
"That's because if we hadn't, Dumbledore would've pressed his luck and tried to get an order making me a ward of the Ministry again," Harry said dryly. He grinned up at him. "The IC judge was going to have to arrest him for it." A nearby painting ran off to let them know that. Lucius smirked at that show of drama. "Besides, it's getting me away from talk of having kids. I swear the next time someone mentions it I'm going to make myself infertile. That way no one can steal anything and go make me an heir without my consent."
"Is that possible?" Bill asked quietly. Lucius nodded. "We're sure?"
"The family got a bill for seed storage," Harry said with an evil smirk. "I wrote back saying that I had not knowingly put any in. To please destroy it and let me know who had added some to the bank. Then I had Dobby steal the file before it could be destroyed." He rolled his eyes.
"Mum?" Ron guessed.
"Nope. Guess again."
"Father?" Draco asked casually.
"I was aware of the rumors. I did not do that."
"Madam Pomfrey signed off on them," Harry said, handing that shrunken file to him. "Since it's summer I can't unshrink them without being charged with underage magic. That would play into their hands."
"It would," Lucius agreed, enlarging it so he could read it. He snorted and walked over to the public floo to send it to his wife. "Let the women handle that one, Mr. Potter. Though I believe that wanted combination is not going to be worthy."
"I love the girl but not that way," he said dryly. Ron popped over to pay the fee and send a file over himself. Harry waited until he got back. "Luna or Neville?"
"Neville." Lucius and Bill stared at him so he grinned a mean, evil grin. "Someone had a plan to make Neville take a gender reassignment potion and bear Harry's heir for him. I thought he might like to know that."
Lucius sent a message back to the Wizengamot chamber. "Thank you for not telling her in person, Mr. Weasley," he said once the messenger was gone. "She has quite the temper about him and a tendency to throw things when that highly pissed off." They went to Diagon for an early dinner to wait on the judge.
Neville got handed the folder by a house elf, looking at it. "What the bloody hell!" he shouted.
The elf gave him an awed look. "Much like Father, Neville son."
Neville smiled. "Thank you, Dunk." He got up and quickly dressed since he was in gardening clothes, then headed to his grandmother. He nodded at the Wizengamot guards. "It's important, are they busy?"
"Arguing as usual, sir." He was let in.
Neville walked in and to his grandmother's side, handing her the folder. "It got sent anonymously to the house," he said in her ear.
She read it, looking at the note on top from Ron Weasley that said 'found this out and thought you should hear too'. She read the contents then looked at her son, who was seething. She could see that. She stood up. "I make a motion to remove Albus Dumbeldore from this ancient body that forms the backbone of Wizarding Society."
Fudge glared. "Why now?" he sneered.
"For his plot to make my grandson a granddaughter so he can bear an heir for Harry Potter against both their wills." A few people gasped. She read the note the messenger had handed her. She had been in the middle of an argument and had put it aside for a few minutes. She looked at the head wizard when Dumbledore was being questioned, handing over that file. "From Mr. Weasley's hand and they told Mr. Malfoy because he sent me a note as well." She handed that over too.
She read it over, then looked at Dumbledore. "You absolute fucking bastard," she said dryly. "I enter this file into evidence. In it are requisition items for a gender reassignment potion and a billing statement, plus a copy of a letter, to the new wizarding seed bank by Mr. Potter. On that form are the noted, able users for it. Including Neville Longbottom, Hermione Granger, and Luna Lovegood." She handed it to their evidence person.
He read it over, nodding once. "It does say that Mr. Potter did not voluntarily contribute to the seed bank, to please destroy them and he had no intention of paying for something that he did not put in there." He looked at the others. "Those are the ingredients and since some of those require paperwork, it does list a gender reassignment potion." He changed pages. "Filed with the Ministry, with Minister Fudge's seal, to approve the potion." He looked up. "I add to remove Minister Fudge to the removal call."
The paperwork got passed around. "His aunt allowed it," Dumbledore said.
"I most certainly did not!" Augusta Longbottom snarled. "Nor did his aunt. She and I have had a few chats and she is more than ready to wait on Mr. Potter to be able to produce one the natural way."
Fudge tried to move but Madam Bones, head of the field aurors, stopped him by freezing him in his seat. "No, I believe you'll answer to this charge, Minister Fudge." She looked at Neville. "Under oath, do you swear that you have no intention of ever doing such a potion?"
"I freely take an oath," Neville said formally. "I also freely admit that while drunk I wondered what it was like to be a girl once but I do not and never have had any thought of doing a gender reassignment potion or of bearing Mr. Potter heirs. I like Harry, he's a friend, but not that way."
"I think that's something all teenagers have wondered about," the pro-tem chair admitted. "I know I did wonder what being a boy was like." His grandmother swatted him. "I believe you'll be grounded for drinking though," she finished dryly.
"He certainly will be," Mrs. Longbottom agreed, staring at her son. "Though it is probably a wonder most people have had." He blushed and ducked his head. "You had no desire to ask for such a potion to be made?"
"No, ma'am. I think that's an icky thought that means I should puke violently at the very hint that it might happen to anyone I know." She looked satisfied with that admission. "If I may ask, which potions master was going to make that?"
The evidence holder looked. "Snape." She sent a quick summons for him. Basically it pulled him to the court against his will. He landed and looked at them. "We're sorry for the quick summons but there is a motion before this council, Severus Snape. It hinges on a file that was handed over." He handed down the sheets on the potion. "Were you aware of that potion or were you asked to make such a potion for anyone?"
He read it over, grimacing. "I am, of course, familiar with the potion and its purpose," he said, handing it back. "I was not asked to make it for anyone however. Especially not the person it was listed for." He looked at Longbottom. "Did you need one?"
"Bloody hell no," he said, getting swatted again. "Sorry, please excuse my language. I'm a bit upset about this information."
Snape looked at the board staring at him. "I was not asked to make such a potion by anyone as of when I was called in here but those are shipping forms so I would probably not be asked until they were in."
"How long could these ingredients last if properly kept?" Mrs. Longbottom asked.
"Six years," he said. "The only fresh ingredient is not listed and is freely grown behind Greenhouse four."
She looked smug. "I call a vote on my motion."
"Seconded," the chair agreed. "All in favor of removing both Albus Dumbledore and Minister Fudge say 'aye'." A chorus was sent up. No one dissented. "You are both hereby removed from the Wizengamot. Clear out your offices and turn your seats over to the next capable member of your families." She looked at Snape. "Thank you for your honesty, Professor. We are again sorry for such a precipitous summoning." He nodded and stalked out. Those two slunk off. "Neville, are you all right?"
"I'm fine and I know I haven't been fed any potions. I haven't been in the infirmary in months." He looked at his grandmother. She stared back then smiled and patted his hand. "Thank you," he said quietly and left them to their usual business of screwing up the wizarding world. He went to have a butterbeer and maybe a shot of firewhiskey. He shuddered at the very thought of him being Nevillina Longbottom, mother of Harry Potter's baby.
Harry walked out of the judge's hearing, looking at them. "They are ordered to release my parents' house, my vaults, all that." Lucius smiled as he walked out of the room with Bill and Arthur Weasley. "Thank you," he told them.
"It was no problem, Mr. Potter, and it does make things easier in some ways." He nodded at his son. "It is fixed, hopefully for good." He walked around them, going to tell his wife so she could quit fretting and knitting. Before they had another closet-full of scarves that no one was going to wear.
Arthur smiled, hugging his boy and Harry. Then patting Draco on the shoulder. "Good job, Harry." He and Bill walked off after Bill winked at him.
Harry shared everything with them. "He agreed with Neville, the very thought of him taking that potion is nasty."
"Are they going to charge Lockhart?" Ron asked.
Harry smirked evilly. "Hell yes." They all smirked and walked off, going back to the house.
"Mr. Potter," Dumbledore said, walking up the hall toward them. "We thought it might be easier to let you stay up here tonight."
"No need, Headmaster. The portkey isn't that long and Dobby held a late dinner for us."
"Sirius would allow you to stay at his home, I'm sure. I'm sure he'd like to see you for a visit."
Harry stared at him. "He's waiting with dinner, Headmaster." They walked around him. Harry dodged the grab attempt, glaring at him. "Do not." He walked on, leading the way. An auror walked past them and grabbed Ron, taking him with him. The other two went after him and brought him back to the house. Fortunately they had the portkey on them. Molly was there where Ron was. "Sorry, didn't want him stolen." They disappeared.
Molly looked at the auror. "What did you do?"
"The Headmaster wanted him here for the meeting," he defended.
"That could kill Harry," she said bluntly. "The bond has a range that they can get apart. It's barely the width of the school." The auror winced and started to back away. "Oh, no." She grabbed him and started to scream at him. The others waiting on the meeting got out of the way. They knew Molly's temper.
Harry landed. "Remus!" He came jogging out. "Dumbledore had an auror kidnap Ron as we came out of the hearing." Remus started the checking spells while Sirius looked over Harry and Draco. Harry got free of his grip and took a deep breath.
"Potter, calm down," Draco ordered. He stared his mate down. "Getting that upset will not help anything. The judge already told them to give it back and leave you alone." Harry nodded, going to blow up something.
"Not that tree," Remus called when he saw him heading for it. "It's too solid and old, it'll crush the house."
"Not the garden!" Cousin Cordelia yelled. "I worked for decades on that, nephew!'
"Yes, Cordelia!" he called, stomping off farther to blow up the stone and iron work wall. It made a good mess.
Draco sighed, looking at Weasley, who went to calm him down this time. He looked at the adults. "He was told to quit meddling. The Ministry was told to give it all back," he said quietly. "Even my father is pleased. Then he tried to get us to stay up there, saying Sirius might like a visit." Sirius growled. "Should I give you ear scratches, Uncle Sirius?" he asked dryly.
"Wait until I change to bite him first." He walked over to calm Harry down. Remus came to help too. Harry was still trying to blow things up. Sirius grabbed Harry to hold him but he struggled. He didn't let go until Harry finally went still. He looked at him. "I had to do that to your mother once. She had just found out she was pregnant and was destroying the house around James' head."
"I'm not mad for the same reason," Harry said a bit more calmly.
"No, but you're scarily like your mum," he said with a smirk. "Maybe that potion...." Harry slugged him on the arm, scowling. He grinned back. Harry made himself relax further. "We'll handle him, Harry. You know we will." He patted him on the back of the head. "For now, sit and plot. You seem to be good at it." Harry nodded. "Let's go eat, then you can rant at the blood purists. I never understood how James ignored my mother." Harry snickered, shaking his head. "C'mon. Dobby's going to be upset." They walked back that way. Harry fixed the wall before he made it more than a few steps. Cordelia was still huffy when they walked past the painting. "He had to calm down somehow. You guys need a target range."
She nodded. "We do." She watched them go. Harry was still quite pissed. She went to warn the rest of the family. They would not be upsetting Harry for a few days. Or possibly a few weeks. That temper was clearly bad but it was nice that his mother had been able to stand up to the stubborn Potter mindset.
Harry got the notice of a court date and sighed. "It's nice they sent it the day of the hearing, two hours after it happened." He found the family's time turner and got dressed quickly. "Guys?"
"We heard," Draco complained, coming out of his room looking dressed but half asleep. Ron was yawning when he came out. They twisted back three hours, time for the portkey too, and went to England. They landed and presented the notice of hearing so they could get in. Their wands were registered and they headed up there. The guard let them in when they presented the notice.
Draco nodded politely at his father as they took a seat, waiting to be called. Most of the people on the council were arguing over something procedural. Something minor that made no difference anyway. Very few people paid attention to the comings and goings of the watching people since it changed so often due to breaks, going to report, and other issues. So when Harry's name came up they all listened.
"I say that he used underage magic," one of them complained.
"He's emancipated," Lucius pointed out. "Therefore free of that. Plus if he did, unless he was here in the building, he was at his family home and they do not have underaged statues."
"He's a British citizen so he has to follow our laws," that one said triumphantly.
Draco cleared his throat as he stood up and walked forward. "That would mean that when you go on holiday to the Riviera that you follow all British wizarding laws instead of French laws. Since the paper last month was snickering over you taking out a girl that was underage by our standards but not theirs, you'd be in front of the judges yourself."
Lucius smirked. "That is a good point, my son. Thank you." He looked at that minister. "As a country, we accept that other countries have laws that they uphold which we do not. The same as there's countries where what we consider unforgivable is perfectly acceptable. If he did magic at his family home, then it would be up to them to deal with the issue. As they do not have underage use of magic laws there would be no problem with him using magic at his family home." He looked at his son. "Has your mate used magic within the British Aisles, outside of the school, the train ride, or this building?"
"Not as far as I know. No, he summoned a salt shaker but it was inside a wizarding restaurant and you were ignoring his polite request for it." Draco looked at the others. "Why are you fussing at him now? Is Dumbledore calling in favors?" he asked dryly. "Or are you just this bored?" A few flinched. "Well, let me inform you of something. That supposed law is not often upheld for anyone pureblood. Nor is it often upheld for those with families who have magic in the home itself. Someone like the Weasleys can use magic at home." He looked around again. "Potter doesn't use his wand most of the time so why would he use it in the open?"
"His wand was noted as being used last night in Diagon," one told him.
"That's not possible since we were in Central America." She gaped. "Aunt Eleanor?" he bellowed. She showed up in the painting Lucius had snuck in there. "Can you please inform these pitifully minded and absolutely nosy individuals where we were last night since there is the suggestion we were in Diagon?"
"They were busy fixing the damage Harry's temper caused to one of Cordelia's gardens," she said. "Draco, dear, I know you need tea," she said gently. He smirked at her. She nearly shuddered. Draco Malfoy had reached that point that Harry called 'I'll be damned'. This might be interesting. "I believe that whoever made use of a wand either faked the signature, which isn't all that hard really, or they fixed the information. Plus, Diagon is and always has been a safe place to use magic."
"That is also true," Lucius agreed. "Diagon is an allowed place."
Draco looked over the angry people. "Whatever this plot is, can you just jump to the end point so we can get angry, fight back, and make your lives miserable yet so very reviled by the press?" A few's mouths flopped open. "Not like any of us are going to put up with any new plots, plans, or other things. We're on summer vacation, finally. We're tired, we're cranky, and all of are now sharing the infamous Weasley temper." A few more flinched at that. "Beyond that, I've even taught Potter to plot, plan, and ruin people back. He's having a lot of fun with it. Now, what plot is this?"
"To have his wand snapped after a hearing in front of the full Wizengamot." He held out a cup. "Tea, son? That way your arguments make more sense than Weasley's?"
Draco walked over to take it, sipping it as he went back to his spot. "Is there anything else that was wanted to be known?" He took another drink.
"There was magic used near his muggle home last night," one said.
"We were in Central America," Harry said dryly, standing up and walking out there. They gasped. "Not like we can be countries apart if we can't even live in our correct dorms." He stared at them. "I'd be pissed that someone attacked them but I don't rightly care. Now, is there anything else?"
"They are your relatives," Mrs. Longbottom said.
Harry looked at her for a moment, then walked up there. "Can you use occulmencary?" She shook her head. "Anyone other than Mr. Malfoy who can?" Madam Bones raised her hand. "Can you please read why I don't care?" She did that and burst out swearing. "Exactly." He stared at her. "Were they injured? I can come back for a funeral but I'm not willingly stepping foot in that house again."
Bones looked at Mrs. Longbottom. "I'd go attack them myself," she said simply. The elder Longbottom nodded. "Harry, did you ever press charges?"
"People are aware of it, but beyond what the wizard who does child protection has done I think it got blocked." She glared. "Including evidence of muggles doing the same job being obliviated."
She sighed. "Yes, I can look into that."
"As can I," Mrs. Longbottom said stiffly.
Harry smiled at her. "Neville is a very good friend who's helped me calm my temper down when needed. You've done a good job making him a good boy." She beamed at that compliment. He looked at the rest of the court. "Was there anything else? I was the only one up when we heard about this hearing. Draco could use more tea before he loses his temper and turns into his mother."
Draco snorted. "I learned much from my mother and father both, Potter. If I lose my full temper on you, you'll regret it for far longer than you'd ever hope for."
Harry blew a kiss. "Good to know you're trying to be nice, Draco."
Draco sneered. "You asshole."
"Yes, apparently I come by it naturally, and have you noticed how many of these people looked so interested in how we're going to get heirs?"
Draco sneered at the panel. "If I ever lower myself to sleep with my unfortunately chosen spouses, I'll obliviate myself after I remove the evidence from life." He turned and walked off. "I'm for more tea. Father, did you want some as well?"
"Please, son." He looked at Harry. Then at the others. "Were there any other questions about my son's marriage partners or their lack of consummation?"
"Eww," Ron complained from his seat. "That's not in my plans either before someone asks. We need to find a woman to add to us."
"From Lockhart's testimony, it was nearly your sister," Lucius taunted with an evil smirk.
"I'd have to kill her, which might kill me but I'll gladly take that," Ron said dryly. Mrs. Longbottom snickered. "How is Neville today?"
"He's fine, gardening happily today, Mr. Weasley. And yourself?"
"I was happily asleep when we heard. I was planning on letting Aunt Eleanor nag us into studying today."
"Ah." She smiled and nodded. "I'm sure you'll learn a lot."
"Yup, since Harry doesn't want to be in the public notice, she's grooming Draco and I take her old spot as Minister." Lucius choked and spluttered. Mrs. Longbottom just choked.
Draco walked in with two cups of tea, handing his father one. "Some day I may want to be Minister for Magic. I'm sure I'll have some very good advisors." He sipped his tea. "Potter?"
Harry hummed, looking at him. "Sorry, thinking."
"Yes, we heard," Draco complained. "Please quit."
Harry grinned. "Why?"
"Good point." He sipped his tea, looking at the panel. "Are there other matters we have to discuss?"
"No," Mrs. Longbottom said, smiling at them. "Have a good breakfast, boys." They smiled and left. "Lucius, is your son being warped by Mr. Potter's family?"
"Eleanor has been very firm in making them study. She believes our education is lacking in substance. My son complained quite a lot about his studies last summer." He sipped his tea. Draco had even put some honey in it for him. It was nice of him. He looked at the note that was underneath it and mentally sighed. Narcissa was shopping. Wonderful! He wondered what happened this time. "I'm afraid I must cut this meeting short. My wife is in Diagon waiting on my opinion." A few winced in sympathy. He left, going to calm her down before she shopped him poor again.
Harry opened the paper the next day, looking at the headlines. None of the stories in the Prophet were worth reading but sometimes the headlines were funny. It was like the comics for him. "Hmm. Draco, apparently I'm letting you be the next dark lord and I'll quietly use you as a puppet master since I don't want publicity. We've seriously warped Ron so he's going to be your lieutenant." Draco snorted, stuffing his mouth before he said something.
Sirius snatched the paper to read that article. "Excuse me? Harry, your aunt was a dark lord?"
"She was counted as one but she was also Minister for Magic at the same time," Harry said dryly. "She was hard on everyone but made sure no one in the country got attacked by anyone else." He sipped his juice. He liked orange juice and they had oranges outside so he could have all he wanted. "She thought Dad should've knocked down Voldemort and told him how pathetic he was compared to her and a few ancestors."
Draco grimaced. "That was not a good night."
"True, and it was freaky that they used you to read my memories," Harry said dryly.
"What was I doing?" Ron asked.
"Snoring," they said in unison.
"Oh, that." He grinned, going back to eating.
Sirius growled. Remus reached over to scratch him behind the ear, getting hit with the paper. Harry and Ron snickered. Remus outright laughed. "What's wrong? Pissed they didn't say you were warping them?"
"No!" He looked at Harry. "That doesn't worry you?"
"No. Draco's done worse than that to me with the paper."
Sirius looked at Draco, who casually put down his tea cup. "It was rather brilliant of me to make him seem so insane or evil. After all, we are enemies who are unfortunately bound. Potter, what is with that bad, evil thought suddenly?"
Harry shrugged. "What bad, evil thought?" Draco pushed it back at him. "That's me? I thought that was Ron."
Ron looked at him. "It's not me! Check him for the thing coming back again."
Remus looked then tested all three. "Ron, it is you." He did the exorcism, making him quit eating for a few minutes. Barely. Finally Ron was free, the spirit was trapped, and Harry and Draco clapped for that performance. Remus shook his head as he walked off to bury that in the garden.
Sirius looked at Ron. "Does nothing make you quit eating?"
"No," he said, smirking and shaking his head before taking another bite of breakfast. "His house elf cooks really good. Are you going to eat your muffin?"
"Yes," he said, shifting his plate away from Ron. "I hated that part of growing." He started to eat again. "What are you going to do about the Prophet?"
"Ignore it. Next week they'll be saying that I'm a wonderful savior for killing Voldemort and hopefully if he does come back, like the rumors state, then I'll get him again."
Sirius stared at him. "He is?"
"We think it's got something to do with whatever is happening next year at the school," Draco said.
"Want to switch down here for a year?" Harry asked Draco.
"Hey," Ron complained. "This school is harder. Hermione said it'd be hard even for her."
"Which means you can get a real job when you graduate," Draco quipped with a mean smirk.
"Beyond following Harry into things?" he quipped back, smirking as well. "Don't worry, you'll look just smashing as a warrior for the light."
"That pathetic half-blood comes near me and I will end him," Draco assured him. "No one is going to bow down to that thing if I have my say."
"He's...." Sirius started.
"A half-blood who is unworthy of support? Definitely," Draco agreed. "Potter, do any of the relatives have any idea about removing the Dark Mark?"
"I haven't asked but you can," Harry said with a small shrug. Draco took his tea that way to ask the family that important question. "He is a half-blood."
"My mother would be rolling over in her grave," Sirius said. Then he smirked. "I should tell her painting." He finished his breakfast and took seconds before Ron could. "You're going to grow to Hagrid's size."
"That's fine. If that's what I'm meant to do." He put food on Harry's plate then took the rest for himself. "Eat, Harry."
Draco came back, staring at them. "If he's your mother, I'm disgusted and I'm going to take your vault shopping like my mother does." He walked off again while they snickered. Draco wasn't kidding but they'd find out soon enough.
"You know, if the Ministry does confiscate things against the other court's orders, then you can be the Malfoy spouse, Harry. That means you'd get to shop," Ron quipped.
Draco came back and punched Ron, staring at him. "I doubt that," he growled. "He is not worthy to be my mother. Or fashionable enough or pretty enough or classy enough." He walked off again waving his hand.
Harry burst out cackling. "You're so evil, Ron."
Ron shook his head, rubbing the new sore spot. "We need to work on that with him. He hits like Percy."
"Not like Ginny?" Sirius asked dryly.
"No, she hits harder than Percy and the twins." He finished his breakfast and headed for the library. "Aunt Cordelia, can you teach me herbology?" he called as he walked. "My grades sucked because I couldn't tell the difference between the plants that wanted to eat me."
"Of course, Ron. Get some water and we'll go to the herb garden first. That way you don't get bitten or poisoned." He beamed and got some water then headed that way.
"Remember to see if you need to degnome this one," Harry called. "Since you have such fun doing it."
"Bite me, Harry."
"If he does, I don't want to feel it, see it on myself, or have him drool on me," Draco yelled from the portrait gallery.
Sirius put his head down and groaned, shaking it.
Harry snatched the rest of Sirius' plate for himself. "Thanks, Godfather."
Sirius looked at him, smirking some. "You're all insane."
"It's being married," he quipped. He stuffed his mouth since Draco was cackling and so was Ron, who had told Remus so he was giggling too.
Draco opened the present supposedly from his mother, staring at the small bottle. "What are you?" he muttered. He didn't touch it, it could be coated with poison. He found the note and pulled it out carefully by holding a tissue over it. He read it then shook his head. "Who on earth?" he muttered. He found the mirror spell in the library and cast it in there, holding up the note to his mother's face since she was fixing her hair.
She pulled the hairpin out of her mouth and tucked it back into her hair. "Who would send you a compensation potion, my son?"
"I do not know, Mother. There's no name beyond yours." He looked at her. "I'm not sure if I want to know what a compensation potion is."
She smiled. "That is reasonable. Thank you for staying logical." He got the box and came back, holding it up. She studied it. "I cannot tell what that is. Send it to me, Draco." She smiled. "How are you three doing?"
"Remus and Sirius keep us from over-studying. Weasley is in the garden working on his herbology grade." She beamed. "I've done more history in the last few days than I had all year." She nodded at that. "We're going to the village tomorrow."
"Not tomorrow," Eleanor said from a nearby painting. "They're having a religious thing tomorrow and I doubt you three want to be involved." He nodded that was true. "Good boy. We'll work on that potion tomorrow. What is that?" He let her see it and the note. "I have no idea. The bottle is tinted but I think it's possibly a fertility potion?"
"Perhaps," Narcissa agreed with a smile. "I'll have it examined when he sends it to me."
"Thank you, Mother. We're doing fine. Weasley is eating more than he weighs at each meal. Potter is learning. Sirius is telling him a lot of stories about his parents." He smirked. "How was your last trip?"
"Cut short by your father but he was most nice to buy me something pretty." She found it and held it up. "Totally muggle but beautiful."
Draco looked at the blue diamonds. "I know he looked at something like that at Harrod's when we went. It was quite expensive. Goes well with your current outfit, Mother."
She smiled. "It does." She blew a kiss. "Write me tonight, dear." She hung up and went to have Lucius help her with the necklace. He smiled at her as he hitched it for her. "Draco admired it as well," she said, kissing him on the cheek.
"Someone sent him something called a compensation potion. He'll be sending it up so we can check it for him." She smiled. "Thank you for going back there, Lucius."
"It was no problem." He smiled at her as she walked off. The exchange rate really did work out well. The eleven-thousand Pound necklace was only 2200 galleons. Much cheaper than buying it in the wizarding shops. Even if it wasn't as special or as good of quality.
Harry looked up as the local paper came in a few days later, taking the paper and putting a few coins into the owl's pouch. It hooted and took some biscuit then flew off. Harry opened it to read. He hummed. "Sirius, the locals are concerned that I'm not going to follow in the family's footsteps because I'm said to be nice." Sirius reached over to take the paper to read. "It's nicer than I usually see."
Sirius looked at him, then at Draco when he walked in. "It says that you two have combined in a mega-dark side marriage."
Draco took the paper to look over, snickering at it. "Someone will be pleased." He handed it back and sat down to eat. No food appeared. "Terra?" She brought out food for him. "Thank you, Terra."
"Master Draco welcome. Terra is sorry she is not paying attention. Was putting out snake bait for new evil hissy things."
Harry looked at her. "I'll talk to them, Terra. That way they don't bother you or Dobby."
"Harry Potter speak hissy? Dobby not say that."
Harry smiled and nodded. "I can. Show me later and I'll talk to them."
"Terra will. Boys be eating. Are too skinny again."
"Ron's up," Draco warned. She squealed and went to make him a huge breakfast. He appreciated her cooking.
Once Harry was done, he went to find Terra, who showed him where the snakes were. He talked to them and had to get into a hidden access pouch to find her eggs. The house elves had been trying to keep them out so had blocked access to the nest. Harry got them all into a basket and put them in the outer edges of the garden. They were content to be out there so he walked back to the house.
He looked at the hidden areas, then found a hallway underground. He climbed down into it to follow it. He ran into a wooden doorway in the dirt walls. He checked, it was unlocked. He walked in and lit the lamp next to the doorway. Inside was simple. Four trunks under a wooden, square table with a set of chairs. A few empty bookcases. He walked around, looking at things. He found a magic feeling spot and probed it. It got unhidden when he touched it with his finger. A book appeared.
He stared then pulled it down carefully in case it was fragile. He sat at the table to glance through it. It was in a language he didn't understand. He put it aside and pulled out the trunk nearest to him to look at. He found books. "I wonder if they're supposed to be on the shelves," he muttered. Almost all of them were in the same language. A few were in Latin but he barely understood that language. The other trunks contained the same thing. He sent a thought at Draco, bringing him down to the hallway.
"Eww," Draco complained. He walked in a minute later, dusting himself off. "What did you find?" Harry pointed at the books. He settled in the other chair to look things over, smiling at the books. "This one is dark magic," he said.
"It had been hidden," Harry told him. "The other books are in the same language or latin."
"Huh." He picked up one of them to look through. "Interesting."
Aunt Beth felt the wards go off where she was sunning her painting and sighed. "Of course, they're curious like the white cat he is too," she complained. She started to get up then decided to do it easier. "Terra, tell Ron to go beat his boys to get them out of there," she ordered. The house elf told Dobby that. She wasn't brave enough to tell a human to beat their mate.
Dobby led Ron down there, letting him go. Ron walked up the hallway, finding them looking over the books. "Aunt Beth said to beat you both," he said dryly.
Harry looked at him. "I was wondering what they were and if they might be helpful with what's rumored to be going on."
"I don't know." He came closer to look, grimacing. "That's seriously dark magic and most everyone banned owning the book, Harry."
"We don't have a copy for our library even," Draco said.
"Let's repack it then," Harry agreed. They did that and Harry paused, casting a 'find me' charm that Hermione had taught him for the library research sections. "Find me something to undo a ghoul or a resurrection." Two books floated back to the table so he looked over those things. "So that's how you kill a ghoul."
"He wouldn't be a ghoul if he didn't have living soul parts," Draco realized. He summoned that topic. "Horcrux," he said as he read, running a finger down the latin text. "Interesting." He and Harry changed.
"That certainly explains the diary and my scar," Harry agreed. They shared a look and let Ron see it.
Ron nodded slowly. "So we're thinking this is why he didn't die, just went to ghoul form?"
Draco nodded. "It has to be."
"Then if we can we'll destroy the others." They shut the books and put them back, walking out. The room rehid itself. He went to talk to Eleanor. She was a fount of all things dark and evil sometimes. Much more than Lucius Malfoy was ever thought to be by any Weasley. "Aunt Eleanor....."
She stared at him. "How did he find that room? We sealed it until someone needed that information."
"Would a Horcrux be why Harry had that scar and You-Know-Who's a ghoul?" he asked bluntly before she complained some more.
She stared at him, head tipped to the side. "Yes," she said. "It's the only logical explanation really. Why didn't I think of that?"
He grinned. "Maybe the paint's wearing a bit thin?"
She glared. "I should paddle you. Dobby, spank Ron for me." Dobby popped in and spanked him twice before Ron moved and then Dobby disappeared. She smirked at him.
He snickered. "He hits like Percy too." He crossed his arms over his chest. "Any idea what he might've used?"
"No. Probably something symbolic to the power he thinks he has the right to possess."
"We know he had a diary, it nearly got Ginny our second year. Bill unpossessed her the same day we got hitched together."
"That, the scar, there's probably at least three or four more, maybe a few more than that." Ron nodded once. "That's not a bad plan and I can understand why the room let you three in." She smirked. "Thank you for planning this time."
"Had better, Harry can't." He walked off, sending that at his mates. They agreed it was a good thing to search out and hopefully Eleanor would nose around and find out what they were for them. It paid to have nosy relatives sometimes. Not always because Harry had found a painting in his shower this morning, but sometimes.
Harry walked up to Lucius that night, looking around before looking at him. "I need to talk to you in secret," he said quietly. "You and probably Snape." Lucius nodded. "We're at the Manor for tonight but your wife is wondering why we came up for a day. She's already taken Ron shopping."
Lucius sighed. "Thank you for that warning, Mr. Potter, and I'll see you after dinner."
Harry nodded and walked off, he had promised to shop with her once he had asked for the meeting. He had told Narcissa he had to talk to someone, not who. He didn't want this topic to get out.
Draco thought that his father was still a pureblood supremacist but no longer a Voldemort supporter. They'd have to see. He hoped he could trust one of them. After a long, exhausting shopping trip for their school things, and a long nap later on, dinner came, went, and Narcissa went to watch her knitting needles knit while the boys stalked Lucius to his study. Draco walked in first then shut the door, sealing it after the other two were inside. Ron added his own privacy spells.
"Those can be broken," Lucius noted, doing his own.
Harry looked at him. "Where do you stand on the Voldemort issue?" he asked.
"That's fairly blunt, Mr. Potter." He stared him down. Harry stared back. "Why?"
"We think we know something but if we're right, we need to know some specifics, Father. If so, it might lead to him being ...disturbed." Lucius added higher privacy spells and stared at them. He came forward, staring at him. "We, personally, don't care if you're a pureblood supporter."
"As long as you're not the next dark lord," Harry offered. Lucius scowled at him. "It has to be said. The same as I'm not going to be so therefore Draco probably won't be."
"I have no need of that sort of ...notoriety. It does nothing to enhance the family's image at this time," Lucius assured them. "As for the Voldemort issue, don't say his name in the house. He may hear." They nodded at that. He cast another anti-spying spell. Ron added once Hermione had found, getting an odd look. "Where did you find that?"
"Hermione." He grinned. "She gets into the strangest things in the library sometimes."
"Clearly." He looked at his son. "Why is it important?"
"Because we think we know how he's a ghoul," Draco said quietly. Lucius gave him an evil smirk. "The same as if we can eradicate those issues, then perhaps my mate can only have one more battle, one which I won't have to participate and die."
Harry shrugged. "You can do medical support," he offered. "We'd probably need some at the battle site." Draco nodded that was true. Ron did as well. He looked at his father-in-law.
"I swear I am no dark lord in the making and will not follow a halfblood scum into a battle unless there is no other way to protect my family and its assets, including my son and wife," Lucius swore. He lit up for a second.
Harry handed over the book he had taken out. He flipped to the right section and pointed. "Aunt Eleanor thought that might explain much."
Lucius read, then gaped, staring at them. Harry pointed at his scar. "Diary too," Ron added quietly.
"Yes, that would explain those things.... How many more?" They all shrugged. "I see the need to talk then." He considered it. "I know there are things that he considers important." They all nodded. "Those things have been spread out among us."
Draco smirked. "Aunt Beth and Aunt Cordelia have talked to their great-grandmother, who studied magical soul markings, Father." Lucius stiffened, staring at his son. "She thinks there is a way but she has to have someone to teach how to examine one."
"I see. Can she come to the painting we have from the school?"
"She won't travel," Ron told him. "Said it makes her sea sick."
"I can come down to visit my brilliant son and his mates for a weekend or so," he decided.
They all smiled. "I think the information trade is well worth it in this case."
"I hope so," Harry sighed. "I've got a bad feeling about this upcoming year."
Lucius looked at him. "There is a historically based tournament that your school, as well as the other two in the same educational class, used to hold. It was stopped because some of the participants were killed by the challenges." Harry raised an eyebrow. "The rules state one champion per school and you must be over seventeen, but if you are chosen you must accept. It is an opt-in sort of choosing however. You put your name in the goblet."
"Or someone over-age puts someone else's name in the goblet," Ron sighed, looking at Harry, who was growling. "Who's this year's defense teacher? And do we have any other new ones?"
"Mad Eye Moody. He's a retired auror." He smirked. "We are attending the World Cup. Are you three attending with us?"
"Can we beg?" Ron asked.
"It is a pleasing sound," Lucius snarked back with a smirk.
"Please?" he begged with a happy grin. "Pretty please?"
"Fine. Be on your best behavior." They all nodded. "I'll bring you back with me for it. Come down to visit the weekend before." They nodded and left, letting him take down the privacy spells. He considered that information. That was definitely a worthwhile trade.
A few weeks later, Lucius brought them up for the World Cup event. It was a wonderful game. They were bouncy, happy boys who clearly needed a happiness relief potion by the end of the game. Then the bad thing happened.
Draco looked around. Lucius was with them but pale. People were screaming and running. There was a near stampede to get away from the dark mark that was forming in the air. "Potter," Lucius said. "No."
"I'm not going to let anyone get hurt by them!" he complained. He jogged off to help. Ron right behind him. He felt the bond snap and cast what Beth had suggested, letting Draco roam freer for a bit. He looked back at Draco. "Now we have about an hour and about a mile," he called. He headed toward the floating dark mark and the screams. "Shite," he said. He cast at one of the ones trying to flame a new victim. That shield saved the victim, letting them escape. Ron moved to support him while he fought on.
The death eaters got a good look at them through the crowd. "It's Potter!" he shouted. "Get him!"
"Bollocks," Ron complained quietly. Harry cast something to make the ground sink underneath the death eaters rushing their way. It caught three, then they took off running. The other four followed their lead into the woods. It was easier to hide in here. Ron panted, looking at Harry, sending an idea at him. They nodded and put some of the extra lessons to work. Plus some transfiguration. Fake people appeared from rocks and trees; squirrels became boggart-looking creatures.
They hid to catch their breath, watching as that got another two. That left two and they weren't in sight. Ron nodded and they moved in a way that the adults wouldn't expect - back toward the people. They ran into one and Ron hexed him. The other tried to jump them from behind but Harry turned and cast a lightness charm, making him overshoot his leap. Aurors appeared and he pointed his wand at that one, floating him over since he had knocked himself stupid on a tree. Then the boys lit off to hide. They didn't want to deal with aurors. They found them surrounding Draco, Lucius, and a downed person. "Draco?" Ron asked, pushing one of the aurors out of his way. "You okay?"
"Better," he said too calmly. "This one clearly needed more brains. He tried to attack my mother and father." He looked up. "The others?"
"The woods," Harry said quietly.
A few aurors did a double take but someone yelled to go find them. "We cast transfiguration stuff to confuse and wear them out," Ron noted. One nodded at that, heading off at a jog. He looked at Harry. "Nice feather-light charm."
"Thank you." He looked at Draco. "Go get sick in private," he sent over the bond. Draco nodded, walking off to do that so he wouldn't be embarrassed. They had all done that. Narcissa looked confused. "It's reaction," Harry told her quietly. She went after her son to help soothe him. He looked at Lucius. "You all right?"
"Draco pulled his wand before I could have," he admitted. "What *are* you teaching my son, Mr. Potter?"
"Well, they say the bonding leaks part of each of us onto the other," Ron quipped, then grinned. "Looks like some of the Gryff tendencies passed over too." Lucius scowled.
Harry shook his head. "It's not my fault. He was being a good son and protecting his mother," Harry pointed out.
"True," Lucius said. Someone came running their way. "Merlin save my sanity," he muttered.
Harry and Ron looked. "Headmaster. Draco got this one when it attacked his parents. He'll be right back." He looked at the being on the ground. "We got all the ones in the main attacking group so maybe he got out of the hole?" He looked at the remaining auror. "I promise, nothing else is going to attack us if you want to go help capture people." Ron batted him on the arm. "What? I hate being stared at!" The auror flinched and rushed off. Harry rolled his eyes. They felt the spell to lengthen the bond snap and Draco had to come back. They met him halfway. "You good?" Harry asked quietly.
"I'm better. Thank you for that help to get me out of sight," he said stiffly.
Harry nodded. "I needed it myself and found out why later." He walked him back to his father's side. "Here, he's fine, father-in-law."
"Thank you." He looked at his son, who nodded. He looked a bit pale but not too badly off. "We should go rest."
"The aurors will want statements," the headmaster said.
"We were happily enjoying the post-game parties when the dark mark shot up, people screamed, and I reacted like I was trained to," Harry said dryly. "We stopped some hurting people, let the ground eat a few, and then led the others away from everyone else." He walked off, Ron and Draco following. Draco had taken his mother's arm to make her follow them. It was how a proper man walked a lady of her station but he mostly wanted her out of harm's way.
Lucius looked at their backs then at the headmaster. "My poor son turned into a hero for a moment," he said quietly. "I am going to have to curse Lockhart for doing that to him." He walked off as well, following the boys back to their deluxe tent. The aurors could come find them if they had to get a real statement.
Albus Dumbledore glared at their backs. Something wasn't right and it was clear Harry Potter wasn't the boy he used to be. He went to help the clean up. Someone had to be in charge since the aurors weren't guided by anyone.
"Madam Bones, would you please give your statement on what happened at the World Cup?" the head fo the Wizengamot demanded.
"After the game, apparently a few covert death eaters decided to show their arses," she said bluntly. "They took two witches and a wizard hostage to hurt. Upon seeing them put up the dark mark, a stampede started to get out of harm's way, which was sensible. Those in the crowd who could fight did what they could to protect their families and those around them." She took a deep breath. They were going to say something about this, she was sure. "Among the crowd was the trio of Potter, Weasley, and Malfoy. They were attending with the Malfoy family." That got a few nods.
"Upon seeing the dark mark, Potter did what the headmaster and past run-ins had trained him to do, he headed to protect the victims. They managed to get one victim away from them and it drew the death eater's attention from their remaining ones. Somehow, through the crowd, they figured out it was him. Potter opened the ground with a spell we don't know to catch a few, then led them on a merry chase to the woods, away from the other people trying to get away. He and Weasley used some transfiguration to spook them and confuse them, let them wear themselves out casting spells at transfigured dummies and the like." A few more nods.
"That took out another two when the transfigured trees and rocks hit them back, who we found traces of. They weren't injured just unable to get the boys. Two more had tried to get the boys but one got lightened when he leapt at them and hit a tree. We have him in custody with the ones from the ground. The other one their bondmate got down with a simplistic hex. The last unaccounted for one was gotten when he went for the senior Malfoys. Draco got him down and miserable with a cutting hex and then a disabling one that rendered him paralyzed to this day." She closed the folder. "Then they went to hide, calm themselves down, and to get away from anyone who might want to say anything. It took us four hours to find them to get a clear, concise statement."
"So, Mr. Potter was fighting against the death eaters?" one asked to make sure.
"Of course he was!" Augusta Longbottom complained, hitting that person hard on the back of the head since she could reach it. "How dare you say Mr. Potter would do otherwise!"
"He's being trained by his family and some of them aren't light," he complained, rubbing the sore spot.
Augusta scowled. "Not like they'd want the one who took out his parents to go on, even if a great-aunt was a very Dark Minister for Magic." He slumped down. "The Potters have never been able to stand something like this. They all went dark from positions of power that they legitimately earned." She looked at the field maneuver head fo the DMLE. "Are the boys all right?"
"Calmed down fine. Went back to the Potter residence in the Americas," Madam Bones reported.
"Excellent. I'll send them a note of thanks." She looked around. Then back at her. "Is there anything else surprising?"
"Not beyond Draco Malfoy taking out one." She shrugged a bit. "I'm guessing that's because of the bond. He said they were trying to attack his mother. Personally I'm thinking he's going to have her temper."
Lucius coughed from his seat. "He was growing into it but they swear that the Weasley temper has been passed around and tempered by my son's more calm, analytical version and then turned to getting anyone back who bothers them."
Augusta looked at him. "How are you handling them being married, Lucius?"
"It is disturbing but they have promised that Draco may bear the family heir he needs when he wants to. They won't mind in the least." She smiled at that. "Other than that, they have learned to live together at the very least. Most of the time. Now and then arguments do still happen and they do pick at each other. My son is amazed by Weasley's eating habits, Potter's broom fetish as he calls it, and the fact that he may be the only sane one among the three as far as he's concerned." The others snickered at that. "Narcissa has stepped in a few times to help Draco understand what a husband does when he wrote complaining."
"Excellent of her," Augusta said happily. "It's good that they can learn to get along since that... teacher got them into that mess."
Lucius looked at her. "The boys have pointed out that there is no restraining order and any duel should be theirs."
"Indeed," she agreed dryly. She looked at the head of the aurors. "Were there any civilian casualties beyond what the death eaters did?"
"Two. Both tripped over the hole and fell on top of those trapped." She smiled. "Minor sprains both of them."
"Excellent." She smiled at the head of the board. "I move to accept this report into the records."
"I second," he agreed. "Any opposed?"
"I do want it to say supposed death eaters," one said firmly.
"They were wearing the masks, put up a dark mark," Auror Bones said firmly. "All but one wore the dark mark. They were death eaters we missed the last go-round."
That one slumped down. "Then objection removed," he said quietly.
"Any other objections?" the head asked. "Vote?" It was accepted by a good margin. "Thank you, Auror Bones. Is there anything else that we should hear?"
"Not at this point."
"Even better. Have a nicer day. We will expect an owl with the hearing schedule." She nodded and walked off. The rest of them got into the minor details of the report about damages to the field and those things. That ground opening spell wasn't one they knew. "Lucius, can you get that spell they used to open the ground?"
"I believe so. I'll call Draco later tonight."
"Thank you." They went over the defensive actions as well. They weren't bad. One of them would pass on a copy of the report to Mad Eye since he was going to be teaching defense. That way he could go over better plans for the next time it happened. It probably would.
Harry got the summons to appear and sighed. This was not exactly the summer vacation he had envisioned. "Guys?"
"We heard," Ron complained. He came jogging down the stairs. "I used to be jealous of your fame, until I realized how bloody annoying it is." Harry smirked evilly at him. "Never happen again now." Draco came down doing his tie. "You look all dressed up."
"A Malfoy's image must always be impeccable," he said bluntly. "Go change, Malfoy spouse. You as well, second Malfoy spouse." They glared but huffed and went to change. Draco smirked at finally getting his way. His mother would be so proud of him for it. They came down dressed better and headed up there. The summons had the portkey already embedded. It was nice of his father to do so. They landed and got registered then walked down to the hearing chamber. He walked in first. "You summoned us?" he asked politely.
The head of the panel looked at him. "Thank you for having tea first," he said dryly.
"Last time was dreadfully early." He stood behind his mates. They were the ones who the summons had been for.
"You summoned us to talk about the attack?" Harry asked.
"Yes, Mr. Potter, the hex you cast at the ground is considered dark."
Harry stared at him. "How can a hex to open the ground be considered dark? I know it wasn't in my father's day. I got told a story about him using it to get out of Herbology one day, and it nearly ate the greenhouse itself."
The head of the panel of judges stared at him then at Lucius, who had went to school at the same time as Potter's father. "Indeed?"
"Quite. It got all of us out of Herbology for six weeks while Potter's band of merry pranksteres rebuilt said greenhouse. By hand." He smirked at the boy. "That's not exactly an argument I would use."
"Well, it wasn't dark in his day," Ron pointed out. "That part of the argument works well, just not why they used it."
"True," the head of the panel said. "But it is now considered dark."
"Since I've never seen it in any of our textbooks, how would I know?" Harry asked. They all stared. "It's not covered is it?" They all shook their heads. "And I'd have no access to any book that had dark magic rites at school, correct?" They all nodded again, slower this time. "Then why, since it's listed as a farming spell, is me casting it at death eaters considered doing dark magic?"
The head of the panel stared at him. "Where did you learn that?"
"Hermione," he said with a grin. "It's in the library in a spell book for mass farming applications. She had to do an essay out of it last year."
"I see." He blinked a few times, looking back at them. "Well, even if it is, I'll pass that along to the school's librarian so she can put it up. It is now considered dark."
"Before or after I cast it?" Harry asked. That got a few open mouths. He smiled. "If you simply wanted me warned not to cast it again, I can easily find another method to trap people if I should need to. That's no problem."
"Well, you see, it's a retroactive law," Augusta Longbottom admitted.
"That's bloody stupid, and looks vindictive that I managed to help stop the attack," Harry said patiently. They all stared, mouths open. "Well, it does. Doesn't it, Draco?"
"It does," he agreed. "Clearly a vindictive move by someone who had a dark mark hidden." A few whimpered. "Why is it that you want him to save you lot if the evil git comes back but you won't let him learn what he needs to know and won't let him do what he needs to do?"
"Fudge," Ron said simply. "This is about his level of 'but it should be me'," he mock whined in imitation.
Lucius coughed. "You do a very good impersonation of him, Mr. Weasley."
"Thank you, sir." He grinned. He looked at Harry again then at the rest of them. "You can't really, legally, retroactively make a law, can you?" he asked Mrs. Longbottom.
"Well, it's shaky legally, but it was meant so that no one could do so in the future."
Harry coughed. "If the spell, as the book says, is indeed used mostly by farmers who use it to plant crops, then won't that cause problems with the food in the upcoming year?" They all gaped. "I'd ask about that. Anyone know any farmers?"
One nodded slowly, going to call his neighbor's farm. He came back grimacing a few minutes later. "He said we're all bloody imbeciles for managing to make his job harder and no, that's how he plants. Any other way is too hard, means he can't plant as much, and the cost of food's going to go up." The group groaned. "So I'm going to put in a motion to quash that stupid law before we all end up starving this year."
"Seconded," Lucius said. "We shall talk to the person who created this issue, boys."
Ron looked at him. "So you're going to make him quit doing things on purpose to get Harry for being born?" They all stared at him. "Not like he did anything to get this problem outside of being born. His parents' sacrifice somehow saved him. All he did was survive. That means it's his parents we should be honoring, not him." He snickered at Draco's dirty thought. "Not really, Draco, but it'd be nice if they left us all alone, before the papers sneak into your shower next time."
Harry sighed, looking up. "Why me?" he muttered. He looked at Ron. "It was very nice that the aurors wanted an autograph when you pointed out who I was when they asked why he had crawled into your shower, Ron."
"Boys," Lucius warned. They settled down. "Up here?" They all nodded. "When?"
"Right after term tests," Draco said dryly. "Not even I could've been that evil, Weasley."
Ron glared at him. "You sure about that."
"Enough or I'm paddling you both," Harry snarled. They stopped. "Thank you," he said happily. He smiled at Lucius, who was sneering at him. He stared him down. "He also suggested the reporter should've hidden himself for another ten minutes and told him how to get into the girls' dorm to go bug them since they wanted pictures of Hermione too."
"My mum beat my ass for that," Ron mumbled, looking down. "I was sure Hermione could reason him to death, Harry."
"She probably could," Draco agreed with a sigh on the end. "Are there other matters we have to be here about? This is our free day this week from the extra studies his aunt is giving him."
"In what fields?" Augusta asked casually.
"Transfiguration this summer," Ron sighed. "Herbology for me since I nearly got eaten last year."
"Potions," Draco said with a grin. "I'm doing some very advanced things that won't be covered for a year with them watching over my shoulder since no one in the family was really excellent at potions."
The head of the panel looked at them. "Mr. Potter, is your great-aunt teaching you *other* things?"
Harry stared back. "Even if she were, it'd be to stop a war that I didn't want to be the only apparent warrior of." A few mouths fell open. "Since no one else was teaching us what we needed to know to defend ourselves, and in my case fight, then someone had to. We all know I don't like publicity. The punch I gave to the reporter who tried to sneak into the house last week should've proved that." A few more gaped at them.
"I hate being noted. I could care less about the press or anything like that. That sort of attention is for someone like Draco." He waved at him. "Or possibly Ron." He smirked. "I could care less if all the papers' ink dried up permanently. So yes, I'm learning what I need to know to end this war once and for all, and then I'm going to retire to be just plain Harry Potter. No hyphens in my name any more." Mrs. Longbottom sniffled. "Sorry if this upsets people, but I don't want attention."
"He's already decided if I want to be Minister for Magic, he'll stay at home," Draco said smugly, polishing his nails on his shirt. He looked at them. "Weasley can take over his father's job or something similar some day if he wishes. Or he can stay home and tend the heir I'll have to have along with any Potter might conceded to have born."
"Before anyone can ask about that, I'm not having any until the war is done and if people keep nagging me, I'm going to go to every single sperm bank in every single country that has one to donate so there's little Potter heirs all over the world." He smirked evilly.
The head of the panel nodded once. "Is Mr. Malfoy perhaps needing more tea and passing that urge along to you?"
"No, we've been nagged too many times," Ron assured him. "Now, any other questions? It's nearly lunch."
Harry looked at him. Then shook his head quickly as he looked down. Draco just snorted.
"All boys go through that stage," one of the other female members noted dryly. "It usually ends in about four months, boys." Harry and Draco shook their heads. "Then perhaps he has worms."
Ron gave her an odd look. "How would I have worms?" She shrugged.
"We can get him checked for that," Draco decided. "Is there other business that concerns us before this panel?"
"No, I don't think so," the head of the board said. The smiled and left. "Someone might want to warn Fudge that the Potter temper is still legendary."
Lucius snorted. "Potter spent a few hours this summer rebuilding what he blew up after the last bout of temper. My wife thinks it's charming." They all shuddered. "Draco is more calm and revenge oriented. The boys clearly picked that up from him."
"We'll warn Fudge later then," one of the members in the back quipped. "Be a shame to have to elect a new one already." A few people gave him funny looks but he ignored them. Lucius ignored him because he was an idiot. As usual. The panel went onto other business. They had things they had to do today beyond speculate about Potter's dark aunt's teaching methods.
Minister Fudge stepped in front of the reporters waiting on him. He loved the Prophet and it looked like Witch World Weekly had finally sent him a reporter too. Maybe he'd make their Most Eligible list or something this time. "Yes? Did something happen that we have questions about?" he asked with a politician's smile.
"Minister Fudge, what do you say to the reports that the new spell you tried to have announced as dark magic is going to hurt the wizarding world?" the Prophet's reporter asked.
Witch World Weekly's reporter smiled at him. "That ground opening spell that Harry Potter used?"
He glared but nodded. "It is very dark and not for use in this country."
"Minister Fudge, did you know that's how farmers in our world plant crops?" she asked.
"Yes, Minister Fudge, and it's already been said by the farmers that naming it a dark spell is going to mean they can't put as many crops in the ground, which means less food this winter and higher food prices. How do you feel about that spell now, Minister Fudge?"
He cleared his throat. "I believe *that* *particular* use it can be allowed. Wouldn't want anyone to have to suffer or starve you know."
"So you think it's a harmless spell?"
"For putting crops in the ground. Not in a battle. Other people got hurt because of that careless casting."
The Daily Prophet's reporter looked at him. "Two people sprained their ankles while in a blind panic, but sixteen got injured in the stampede to get away from them. Are you going to do anything about these death eater want-to-bes that decided on that tasteless prank after the game?" he asked.
"They'll be charged with the worst our laws can put at them. It's reprehensible that anyone would pretend to be a death eater."
The other reporter cleared her throat. "Minister Fudge, according to the Wizengamot report by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, all but one of them was wearing a dark mark," she said. "Do you still think they're playing? Could this be the start of another comeback?"
"It most certainly is not! How did you hear that rubbish?" he demanded.
"It's not a secret report, Minister. I was sitting in the room when it was put into evidence against them. The whole audience section was filled. A few people were even standing to hear what the investigation came up with."
He stomped off, going to the DMLE. "What report?"
"That was for the Wizengamot," Madam Bones said tiredly. She handed over a copy.
He flipped through it. "Preposterous! They weren't death eaters!" he shouted.
She looked at him. "No matter how loud you yell it doesn't change the fact that they're marked, Minister Fudge. They're wearing dark marks. They were wearing their old robes. We don't know *why* but they were. All they said was they were readying the world when we asked under truth serum."
He sneered. "They were not death eaters."
"I only report the facts, Minister Fudge. If you want them not to be death eaters, then you tell whoever that. I'm not going to go in there and cut off their arms to suit you." She got up and walked off.
"I'll have you removed," he called after her.
She shrugged. "That's fine. I could use a good vacation before going to work for any of the other countries that have sent me letters of interest to head up new units, to train their people, or any other multiple tasks, including one small country that wants me to be their Minister." She went into the other room and called someone to warn them that Fudge was going to cover this up. Then she went back to work in the filing room. He hated paperwork so he wouldn't follow her in there.
Thankfully she had a bunch of brainless aurors who couldn't do a damn thing right on the job who made pretty guards for him to ignore. That way she didn't have to attend his whims about his guard detail. She personally thought that's how they got into the auror academy. She heard him huff off and went back to her office. "Did he put out an official notice we all need glasses?" Everyone nodded. "Do what you have to do, people."
The time came for them to go back to England. Harry looked at Remus. "Would it be really selfish of me to not want to go back this year? To study down here with you two and my new tutor, who admitted Dumbledore had told him he wasn't needed during the school year?"
"No," Sirius said. "It could cause a public stink though. Fudge might try to attack again. Say you're intentionally dirtying the country of your birth, guilt trip you with your parents' sacrifice, all that."
"He still has to comply with the IWC's orders to hand everything back," Harry said dryly.
"That could take a year or so," Sirius admitted.
"I've talked to Father about that, he's put in a few pointed reminders," Draco admitted from his spot. "He said it is Fudge holding it up. They're ready in case Potter decides to sue them again but they're going to blame him and only him."
"I'm about to sue Fudge," Harry told him.
"He's exempt due to his position. He made sure right after he got nominated," Draco said smugly.
"There's the option of a high powered rifle," Harry offered. "The muggle world has hitmen who'll kill someone for a fee."
"We have wizards who do the same," Draco agreed with an evil smirk. "But that isn't exactly how a *hero* thinks."
"I'm not a hero, Draco. Never was. I just got forced into fighting a damn war." He took the owl cage and then his bag. They portkeyed out together and it was back to Sirius' house. They'd leave for the train in the morning from here. Almost as soon as they had landed someone was pounding on the door.
"I could've sworn I had that under a secret keeper," Sirius muttered, going to answer it. He stared at the woman on the other side. "Narcissa. No wonder you know where the house is." He let her and her husband in. Then Molly and Arthur. "No Bill?"
"He'll be here in a bit. He had to finish some paperwork," Arthur said with a smile. He looked over Ron. "You've grown again."
"That's because he eats everything in sight," Harry said dryly, accepting his hugs from Molly and shaking Narcissa's hand. "We were good this summer, what we got to spend of it down there."
Lucius snickered. "They're still trying."
"You can tell Minister Fudge if he doesn't give my stuff back to me, I'm going to publically challenge him to a duel," Harry said dryly. Lucius burst out cackling, shaking his head.
Draco stared at his father. "That's probably not a good sign, Potter." He looked at his mother.
"Cornelius cannot duel," she said dryly. "He tried once when he was younger and got laughed when he used a jelly legs hex during a formal competition." Harry beamed. "But he could name a champion, including one of the aurors."
"Perhaps," Harry agreed. "If they agreed to do it for him."
"That would come with some political nudging," Arthur admitted. "I'll make sure it's making the rounds again, Harry."
"Thank you." He smiled. "So, anyway...." Lucius smirked at the boy. "I only want what's mine and then left alone by all those sort. I don't want publicity, fame, none of that."
"I don't blame you. It can be tiring," Narcissa agreed with a pat to his cheek. "Draco can help you with that. He does very well in the public eye."
"That's why we'll let him be Minister for Magic and I'll be doing something less flashy," Harry assured her.
"My poor boy would have a headache from that level of problems," she assured him. "I'm certain you'd help where you could." She patted him again. "Draco, let's make sure you three have everything for your new year." He nodded, letting her have their trunks. Molly helped with Ron's, clucking over the underwear. "They're good for boys," Narcissa told her. "It makes them more aware of their bodies and how to dress better." She carefully folded the silk boxers again. The regular boxers got some grimaces. "Why do we have that inferior cotton disease again, boys?"
"For quidditch," Harry said quickly. "You can't really sweat into the silk ones, it can ruin them, Mrs. Malfoy."
"That is a good point since you all three do play." She smiled at him for that. "That's a good reason." She checked the rest. "You could all use some new shirts."
"We've got a spare trunk of shirts and pants," Ron said with a point. He and Harry hefted it up for the mothers to go over. Before they had to shop again. "Dobby packed it so we each have a pile."
She checked, counting them up. "Yes, that should do." She closed the trunks, letting her husband float them off to the side. Then she pulled her son aside to talk to him. Molly and Arthur pulled Ron to the kitchen to talk.
Lucius looked at the last boy. "He has five," he said quietly. "The list is in there." He nodded and grinned, going to find a snack. Lucius relaxed. If the boy could do as he wanted to do, and got rid of Voldemort, his family was protected and free to do as they wanted to do to uphold the older traditions. He found Remus watching him and gave him a bored look. "Yes?"
"I already knew. Beth told me," he said quietly. "She thinks the wolfsbane potion is a new twist on what's needed." Lucius gave him a smug look. "Good. Just don't hurt the boys or you'll regret it more than you ever think possible." He walked off to talk to the boys himself. He and Sirius had been off for the last few days doing something for Dumbeldore.
Lucius went to the library to find his spouse and son. He had to check on the boy himself. After all, he was a father.
The trio stepped off the train. Harry spotted a teacher and ducked around some of the seventh year Ravenclaws to get to them while Draco handled the reporter that was standing there. Let Draco have all the publicity and they'd smack him later if he said something too nasty about them. Harry looked at the waiting professor. "Which house are we in this year?" he asked quietly.
McGonagall looked at him. "Your own room. It was better for you three." She looked over. "He's talking to the press for you?"
"Instead of me. I hate the press," he complained. He looked around. "Hagrid all right?"
"He'll be back tonight. He's running late from doing an errand for the headmaster." She stared at him. "Will we have more problems this year?"
"Did I cause last year's?" he asked dryly.
"Can we make sure that whatever special event is coming up this year, that I'm not involved? Please?"
"I certainly hope so since it's for adults." She stared at him. "Go up to the school, Mr. Potter. We'll give you your room assignment later, after dinner."
He nodded and went to the carriages. Draco was done and Ron had been guarding Harry while talking with some friends. They rode up together, Harry looking at Draco. "We're in our own room according to McGonagall."
"Wonderful," Draco agreed. "Any sign of that diplomat?"
"No," Harry said. "The paper said she's going to home school."
"Even better. Wonder if we're in the same room."
"Who knows," Ron complained. "Any idea what this year's thingy is?"
Draco gave them a smug look. "Quite, but I'm not supposed to tell."
Harry shrugged. "As long as I somehow don't end up involved." He looked around once the carriage stopped, checking who else was up there. "No new defense teacher yet. Unless he's inside."
"I heard he was on the train," Draco said. He walked in leading the way this time. Harry and Ron followed, looking at a few new paintings that were up. "Maybe they rotated," Draco agreed. He paused, staring at the dias. "No, he's here."
Harry felt a twinge of something inside him. It was that same twinge that told him when his Uncle Vernon was home from a bad day at work. It was the same twinge that he had upon seeing Lockhart. Harry got into his pocket. Remus had reminded him to take the map at the last moment so it wasn't in his trunk. He walked out and tapped it with his wand. "I solemnly swear I am up to no good," he hissed. It came alive. He searched, enlarging the Great Hall. Sirius had taught him how to use the map better that summer. "Um, guys." They looked over his shoulder. Draco went inside, looking casual, heading right for Snape. Harry caught McGonagall on her way in with the first years, pointing at something. "Is that our Defense teacher?" he hissed in her ear. She stared at the map, shaking her head. Snape came out to look as well. He growled. Even Draco backed off at that. He looked at them. "Can we maybe...." He shrugged. "Figure out how? Soon?"
"Definitely," Snape assured him. He walked back in there. The trio walked in to their tables. A few students gave them curious looks but figured they had to talk about married student things. McGonagall came in with the first years and they hushed up, waiting on the usual ceremony. The hat's song this year was rather creepy and pointed at a bad thing. Yeah, this year was already screwed Harry decided. Ron looked at him and shrugged. Harry shrugged back. They sighed and waited. Yup, it was gonna be bad. Not even quidditch to relieve it.
Harry sat through his first defense lesson, watching how this teacher did things. Something was bothering him and when he saw him take a drink he knew. It had to be. Ron sent him a thought and Draco wondered how they knew so Harry admitted to it. Draco glanced down.
"Pay attention, Malfoy," the teacher demanded.
Draco sneered back. "I am, Professor. I was simply wondering what they were doing this time to get into trouble this year. So I can counteract it of course." He smirked. "It is my mission in life after all."
Harry snorted. "We're more sneaky than you, Malfoy. Good luck."
The teacher glared at them. "Shut up, both of you." He went back to teaching. Another student got caught by the magical eye Moody had. That was good to know. Then again, he was Harry Potter and a seeker. Draco Malfoy was a Slytherin and a seeker, just not as good. They did have better reflexes. They decided on a plan for dinner time.
"Constant Vigilance," Moody said hotly. "You must always be aware of what's around and who."
Harry raised his hand. "That supposes that you trust people. Plenty of us are already paranoid, Professor. We've learned over the last four years." The rest of the class giggled. The teacher glared. He stared back. "It's not like our first year's teacher didn't have Voldemort on his head under his turban. The second year was Lockhart. It's good Remus Lupin actually *taught* us things, but now you're telling us that we're to be paranoid about everyone and everything. A body needs rest so how do you set up a safe place to let down your guard before you dull your senses?"
The teacher stared at him. "That's a good question in the middle of the smart ass remark, Potter. Ten points for the remark but you have to do all the spells yourself. All the warding, the anti-eavesdropping, all that. Then, you check it before you go in and before you relax."
"How can you be married like that?" one of the girls asked. "They do expect some of us to breed the next generation sometime. It sounds like if we're that vigilant, then we'd never be able to have a spouse with us long enough to have a baby."
He stared at her. "Most girls get protected."
She snorted. "Not, most of us do the protecting, Professor. Most men are pathetic and more concerned about themselves than their families. That job falls to a Mother." He let that topic drop. She glanced at the trio. Something was already going on and it looked like it was another eventful year at Hogwarts.
Harry caught one of the twins in the hallway, glancing around. "Walk with me." He walked them off, hissing in one's ear. That twin nodded that they could help that night. Harry grinned. "Thanks, guys."
"Stuff up Ron," they said together.
Harry shuddered. "Why would I want to?" They smacked him on the back and walked off happier. Harry went to his next class. This was going to be interesting.
Harry walked into the dining hall. He had already done the switch of the flasks thanks to the twins. "Professor, reports from Eleanor on our summer studies," he said, walking up to Snape with a large envelope. It really was the report. "You wanted to know what potions Draco went over. Aunt Beth included a list." He handed it over, letting him see the irregular outline of the extra flask inside the reports.
"Thank you, Potter. Your own studies?"
"Transfiguration mostly. Some herbology with Cordelia. Some special topic studying as well. We actually had to portkey back to the Manor to get a book from Mr. Malfoy's library for it." Snape nodded at that. Harry grinned. Snape raised an eyebrow. "Did you want that report?"
"No, I believe he mentioned the topic to me. I can see how it would be... interesting." Harry nodded and left. Snape put the envelope into his robe pocket. Moody walked in and sat down in a huff. "First day not go all right?" he asked sarcastically.
"They're all little heathens but they can learn."
"If you're certain. I haven't been. Especially with some of the dreadful mistakes in your present job." He handed down the meat platter when it appeared in front of him. If the brats were correct, this would be an interesting dinner indeed. If not, he'd have an interesting time with them in detention. He watched the teacher in the next seat take a drink from a flask. Then stand up and shout.
"Who has my flask," Moody demanded. "I want it back now."
"Why do you need such a flask?" McGonagall asked. "Especially during dinner, Professor Moody." She looked around the room. "Has anyone seen it?"
He put down the fake one. "This isn't mine. Someone took it."
"Now you're sounding like Filch," Snape said dryly. Clearly this might be a problem coming up. Moody stomped off but the doors were mysteriously locked. No opening charm was working. "Do not meddle with the magic of the Great Hall," Snape ordered. Still nothing. They all heard the popping noise.
"Did he just lose his eyeball?" Sprout hissed at Vector, who nodded, looking sickened.
"Eww!" a first year shouted and pointed. "His face is getting all twisted and jiggly!" Dumbledore rushed down to see what was wrong. "I don't want whatever he was drinking."
"Firewhiskey does that to your brain," one of the upper year Hufflepuffs told her. "That's why you shouldn't drink." The first year nodded quickly.
"Nah, it makes your brain more melted feeling," one of the sixth year Ravenclaws said.
"Enough," Dumbledore ordered. "Who has his flask? I assure you it is medicinal."
"He looks just like what I did when we brewed polyjuice," one of the fifth year Slytherins said, bribed by Draco to let out that fact. Dumbledore gave her a horrified look then looked at the teacher. He was clearly changing now. The peg leg fell off.
"That's Barty Crouch!" McGonagall said suddenly. Dumbledore nodded and walked him off by his arm. Snape and she followed to help him. Crouch tried to get to his wand but Snape summoned it and he was only able to struggle and fuss.
"Wasn't he a death eater who was kissed?" one of the upper year Slytherins asked. "Does no one stay dead around here? First Pettigrew and now this one?"
"At least this one's not someone's pet rat," Draco said dryly. She shuddered. "He didn't have a chance to curse any of us either," he said happily.
They heard boots outside and Snape closed the Great Hall's door behind himself, walking up to the office to hand over the flask. "One of the students handed me this earlier," he admitted, handing it to one of the aurors Dumbledore liked to work with.
"Why?" she asked.
"Because he has in his possession an older relic from his father's years that shows the names of people within the castle. Since he couldn't find the name Moody he decided to set a little test."
She smirked. "Thank the trio for me then. Any idea where the real Mad Eye is?"
"Not yet," Dumbledore sighed. "Is he not on the map at all, Severus?"
"As far as they showed us, no." He walked off. Potter was still eating and he could ignore Weasley's gorging himself. "Mr. Potter, if you would take your map to the office please," he said quietly. "They want to see if they can find the real one."
"Sure, Professor Snape." He ate one last bite, washed it down, and then went to get that for the Headmaster. He came up with it already activated. "I wish they had put a search function on this," he complained to the auror. "Which tower is his room in?" The headmaster looked then pointed. The map adjusted to that point. "Hmm. There's something...." He zoomed in and looked. "It looks like initials."
"AM," she read. "Blighter has him captured." She headed off, letting Harry follow so he could have his map back. Once she got inside. Harry found the trunk in the closet and let her have it to open. She sighed when she opened it. "Totally drugged."
Harry looked around. "Dobby, can I have the nurse here please immediately? The real teacher was drugged." The house elf popped in with the nurse, who had to adjust her hat with a huff. He got out of the way. "Sorry, it is an emergency though." He grinned sheepishly.
"Go eat, Mr. Potter. I'm sure your bondmate is still doing so." He jogged off. She squatted down to check the poor man. "He's unconscious but alive. Help me get him out of there." They got him out and floated up to the infirmary together. Then she could work on the drugging he had been given. She looked at the missing hairs. "Polyjuice?"
"Charming." She sneered. "I don't know what Albus was thinking," she sighed as she went to get another potion. "Though he is better than Lockhart I suppose. Which is a sad state of affairs when a death eater is the better teacher."
The auror let her vent and watched her former boss. He had retired to be paranoid in private instead of in the office. Poor guy. Look how he had fallen.
Draco looked at the headmaster, since he had called them up there. "We're all quite concerned that the next evil thing will draw him into it, therefore us," he said bluntly. "If we have to be very active in our safety, so be it." He looked at Harry. "You've already drawn me into one heroish event that turned my stomach."
"I agree, I didn't want one of them teaching us either." Harry shrugged. "Remus was livid in his letter earlier too."
"About you three exposing him?"
"No, that the wards didn't catch the dark mark." Dumbledore glared at him. Harry stared back then presented the letter. Once it touched Dumbledore, his skin started to change to fur and his ears tufted up. His whole head turned into a cat. "Huh. I think Sirius helped." He shook his head. Ron was trying hard not to laugh at the headmaster's predicament. Draco was being stoic but mentally he was cackling. Dumbledore opened his mouth but all that came out was a purr. "Um.... let us get McGonagall and the nurse, sir." They rushed out to do that for him. Ron had used their new camera, gotten during the summer, to take a stealthy picture. "Professor," Harry panted, still giggling. "The letter from Lupin and Black this morning ...." He burst out in giggles again. "Headmaster," he gasped.
"Oh, dear. I take it they weren't pleased?" They all smirked and shook their heads. She went up to check on him, getting her own picture for later blackmail. Poppy had to call Severus and Flitwick as well to help her uncharm him. He was not making happy kitty sounds but oh well! He probably wanted back to human. He'd live down the embarrassment. Some year.
Neville slid next to Harry during their next class. "What happened to the headmaster?" he hissed.
Harry shrugged a bit. "No clue what really happened. All I know is I handed him a letter from Professor Lupin who wasn't happy about the defense teacher. Then.... did you see the picture?" Neville nodded quickly, glancing around. "Exactly." He grinned. The real Mad Eye stomped in and they looked at him.
He stared at the class. "Thank you to those who helped get me free," he said. "Hopefully he hasn't screwed up too much because you're already behind." He stared across the room. He stared at Malfoy then at Potter and Weasley. "You three are taking tutoring from one of my former aurors?"
Harry shrugged. "Tutoring yes, I don't think he's a former auror though. Draco, did you do a background check on him?"
"Not a former auror, he taught at the academy," he said smoothly.
"Knew him, decent enough sort. Tell him to write me today."
"The headmaster thinks we don't need it while we're here," Harry said. The teacher stared at him then Harry smirked evilly. "I'll tell him that though."
"Thank you, Potter." He looked around. "What did the rest of you learn?"
"Constant Vigilance!" the whole class chirped in unison.
"According to him, you had to be too paranoid to even trust your spouse," one of the girls said.
Mad Eye nodded. "Constant vigilance is necessary or you're dead," he agreed. "We'd all hope, for the future of our society, that you pick a husband you could trust." He looked around again then turned to the board. He caught one boy trying to throw a wadded up note at someone. "You're wizards, you can do better than lobbing a note, boy," he said without turning around. Draco changed some paper into a squirrel and let it run over to bite Ron on the ass, making him yelp. "Malfoy, detention." He smirked. The kids weren't bad, yet. He could make sure they weren't going to be too weak.
The Headmaster walked into the defense classroom. "I did not think it proper to keep their tutor during the year, Mad Eye. It makes the teachers feel like they're not doing a good job."
Mad Eye looked at him. "They're not. If they were my kids, I'd have roasted you by now." Dumbledore scowled. He stared back. "Beyond that, the Potter boy needs more teaching to do what he must if rumors are true. Can't have him weak or we all fall."
"I'm sure I won't be the only one in any battle," Harry said dryly from behind the headmaster. "As I've pointed out, I'm not the only one that fits that prophecy. Or Neville. There's aurors born at the same time. He just decided it was a newborn." The headmaster gaped. "It could easily fit an older, already adult member that he went to take on."
"Your wands are brothers," Dumbledore pointed out. "That means it's you, Harry."
"No, that means he tainted me when I didn't die, as you've told me. I asked Olivander." He looked at the defense teacher. "Draco's throwing up purple foam thanks to a prank by one of the twins. We've managed to stop it for me and Ron but he's in the infirmary for detention tonight. He wanted to know if he could write a paper instead."
Mad Eye snorted. "No, the boy needs to be tougher since he'll have to follow you. I'll see him when he's well."
Harry nodded. "I didn't figure it'd work but he had me ask." He looked at the headmaster. "I'll do what I have to do when I have to do so, but I will not be treated like a specimen to be stared at. I don't want publicity. I'm not Lockhart." Mad Eye snickered. "Draco likes publicity, not me." He looked at the teacher again. "I've got three books he said I should check with you about." He handed them over.
"Shite, crap, and interesting reading," he said bluntly, handing them back.
"The top two were introductory."
"You can't learn that subject out of a book."
"No, but it'll give us the foundation so we can learn it when he's on hand."
"True," he agreed. "I can do the same."
"Even better. I don't learn much from books. That's Draco too." He grinned. "Detention with all three of us?"
"That'll work. Lupin giving you special time?" Harry nodded. "When?"
"This year I have this schedule and the others have these," he said, handing those over from his pocket.
Mad Eye looked then at him. "Sunday afternoon, Potter."
"Thank you, Professor." He walked off.
Mad Eye looked at the headmaster. "Someone's got to teach the boy something so he can do whatever he has to. He's right, he won't be the only one fighting, hopefully." The headmaster nodded and left. Mad Eye considered things. He knew Dumbledore was a planner, he made a lot of little plots, but he bet the trio had blown some of them up. The old man didn't look that happy about the special lessons. Interesting.
Snape looked around his classroom. How dare those three cut his class! He went to their current room. The doorway was missing. No painting, no obvious door. He searched and couldn't find it. He called one of the house elves. "Where is the Malfoy/Potter/Weasley room?" he demanded. She pointed. "There's no doorway?" he asked.
The house elf nodded. "Students suspended by order of Headmaster," she said. "Had head house elf lock it, Professor."
"For how long and why weren't the teachers notified?" She shook her head. "Very well. How long?" She shook her head again. He grimaced and went back to class. He would talk to the headmaster later. That later would be delayed by him forgetting it thanks to the spell in the wards.
Harry looked up as dinner appeared without a house elf. "Draco?"
"We can't really get information out, Potter. The floo is locked. We don't have those muggle tellyphones you and Ron told me about."
"True." He considered it, handing them their plates. He settled in to eat and think. This was bad. Very bad. No mirrors that could be used for calls. No paintings either so he couldn't get information out that way. But... They were near Slytherin house again this year. He got up and went to find a book. "Accio ... No, who would it tell," he muttered. "It's too far away to get to anyone." He considered it. Then he summoned a snake and sent it at Hermione with a message on his back in green ink from Draco's pot. He banished it at her. It was a harmless thing but she'd get the message. He sat down and finished eating. Not that he had liked what they had for dinner.... But it was food. They settled in to study a bit more. Clearly someone's plans were being upset again.
Hermione felt the thing around her foot and nearly shrieked. She looked down instead, one hand gripping her wand tightly. What she saw amused her. A small garden snake. She picked it up carefully, noting the ink on its back. She cleaned it with a spell and walked it up to Hagrid. "I think it snuck in, Hagrid. I know it's one of the harmless sorts."
He smiled. "Thanks, 'Ermione." She smiled and went back to her seat. He petted the poor thing. It was probably terrified so he put it into his pocket for now. He had a few dead mice in that one for the other creatures.
Hermione sat down to do her homework, writing out a note. "Neville, can you check my herbology equation?" He nodded, shifting to look at what she had written.
He blinked at her. "I think the green growing potion is out of balance."
"Hmm. Harry was going to use the same formula too. I should warn him." They shared a look and Neville went back to his seat. Yeah, they could do something about this.
Narcissa looked up as an owl landed in front of her. "Hedwig?" she asked. "Did Draco send you again?" She took the note to look at. "Interesting who writes to me these days," she said dryly. "Thank you, Hedwig." She let it have a bite of sausage then she flew off. "Dear?"
"Draco needing sweets?" he asked from behind his paper.
"No, it appears they were suspended to their rooms and haven't been able to leave it for three days." One side of the paper was lowered. She handed down the note. "That mudblood Granger wrote us."
"That was kind of her." He read the short note. He grimaced. "I'll check into it." He put it into his pocket. "I wonder what they did this time."
She snickered. "Who knows. My poor boy might've been caught pulling a prank or something."
"Perhaps. If it's a true punishment we can't really interfere."
"True." Another owl showed up. "Thank you, Flower." She took that letter from the Longbottom owl. "Interesting. No, their punishment was not announced. Neville wrote his grandmother." She handed that down as well. He read it and put it into the same pocket. "Do have fun, dear."
"I'll try." He finished his paper, his breakfast, his tea, and went to the school to see what had happened this time. Really, Potter got his boy into such trouble.
Narcissa finished her own breakfast and got ready for her hectic day of a charity luncheon. It did look good on the family to go to such things, even if she wasn't a supporter.
Lucius came home that night. "Dear, how are the boys?" Narcissa asked.
"They should be fine, why wouldn't they be?" he asked. She stared then got the notes to make him read them. He stared then at her. "I wondered why I was up at the school."
"Hmm. It appears someone wants everyone to forget the boys."
"Apparently." He went to consider how to get around that issue. There had to be some way to protect himself from memory charms that way.
She went do her nails. One could never have too clean of nails and a perfect manicure.
Eleanor had had about enough of the Ministry as it stood. They were trying to claim what was her family's by stealth this time. She went to the nice judge. They had a painting there of a very distant cousin, who hated them all. She smirked at him as she walked up to him. "We need to talk to the judges who ruled for our nephew, cousin."
"Why?" he sneered.
"Because they're still trying to confiscate the whole family estate from Harry."
"Harry Potter?" he demanded. "We're related to him?" She nodded. "How?"
"He's my great-nephew. James's son." She patted him on the arm. "Unfortunately the Ministry in England is still trying to claim all that's his by birthright. Plus they have him imprisoned in the school." He pointed. "Thank you. Can you show me which judge?" He walked her that way, clearing his throat to get the judge's attention. "Excuse me, are you the judge that ruled for my great-nephew Harry Potter?"
The judge looked up. "I am. You would be?"
"Eleanor Mercator. His great-aunt."
"Are you going to say he's not family?"
"No, I'm here to let you know that the British ministry hasn't complied and are trying to do even worse to the poor boy. He' s presently imprisoned in the school and the Ministry is trying harder to take his funds."
The judge looked at her. "I can't prove that."
"Summon one of the family paintings from the gallery. I can link to any family portrait as you know."
He did that and she linked the two better. A bit of grumbling from the other family got covered as the sounds of the Wizengamot got busy trying to override those who would not hear of such things happening to a mere boy. He listened then nodded. "I will see what I can do, madam, but the most we can do is throw them out of the court and union. Many don't want that to happen."
"You'd rather see more people improperly imprisoned? Or my nephew turning toward my path? Because we can easily instruct him how." He shuddered. She smiled sweetly. "I'm having to do a lot of educational help for him already. It's not that hard."
"I'll tell the others of this." He left, going to talk to the other judges. This was a grave matter. Usually a higher powered country didn't ignore their rulings this way.
Eleanor smiled at her cousin. "Thank you, dear." She left, going back to the school. Now for the second part of the plan. She and Beth went to another painting, casting spells to break it and suck the magic out to move their painting to the room the boys were locked in. She 'tsk'd a few times. "What are you boys doing?" she asked dryly.
"Taking a rest. We were up late last night working on something," Harry said from his bed. "How did you get in here, Aunt Eleanor? Is the door open?"
"No. We ripped the soul out of another painting." She beamed. "Cordelia, please go do that other thing." She nodded and left. "Now, let's see what you boys are studying since we're stuck in here."
Draco lifted his head. "We need potions ingredients."
"We'll see what we can do, boys." They all smirked at her. "Fine, finish your rest and we'll talk in about an hour." They nodded and went back to their rests.
Cordelia appeared in the portrait at the bank. "How did you do that?" the branch manager demanded.
"It's not that hard, dear. Some of us were fairly strong enough to cross across the family boundary. We have a problem, and so do you. The Wizengamot is trying to confiscate our heir's birthright again. Against the IWC's ruling and all that. They're trying very hard right now. We'd like to have it moved before they can do so."
"We'd need a living person to authorize that."
"He's presently locked in a room at the school. Has been for over a week. There was no notice of suspension, no meeting, nothing. Which goes against school and Ministry rules."
He considered it. "That could harm this bank."
"Yes, but them confiscating it will harm it just as much. At least this way you can have it moved to another branch in another country."
He smirked. "I can do that, yes." He got the papers to transfer it. "Where in the castle are the boys locked?"
"The south tower, down by Slytherin's dorms. The house elves call it the gray room."
"I've heard of it. We'll still need a signature."
"There's no floo, no windows, no grates that lead out. They're fully locked in there." He sighed. "They're debating it right now and by that portrait, they're down to about one vote shy of winning." He signed it and sent it to the head of the bank with the note about why. He got back a letter saying it was done a few minutes later. She beamed. "Thank you, Master Goblin. Let us go instruct our nephew more since they've left his education to us."
"That Headmaster has made a bad mistake then."
She smirked evilly. "You think? Harry still doesn't want to turn dark and does respect the goblin nation." She walked back to tell Eleanor it was done. She told them and it was better.
Harry finally found what they'd need to get out and looked around before scowling. "Really?" He smirked. "That's very interesting." He cast the spell at the wall. A hallway appeared, making Draco gasp. He looked at him. "It goes to the study center. Pack?" Draco and Ron both packed and followed. Harry got what he wanted and everything was shrunk by Draco. They snuck out through the Slytherin doorway and out one of the back hallways the map showed. That got them out by the forest. It was easy enough to slip down to the ward's edges just inside the forest. They apparated off. Sirius had taught them that summer. They landed at Malfoy Manor. Draco ran inside for a moment then they took their portkey home. What was left of it. "This is subtle," Harry said sarcastically.
Cordelia was sobbing from a portrait. "Harry, they attacked us because they don't want you to be one of us."
"That's fine, Aunt Cordelia. Let me do something. How long ago?" She stared at him. He stared back. "How long?"
Harry found the time turner he had put in his pocket and used it. The house was still standing seven hours ago. They had been made to study what was illegal down here and a few very harmless spells were. "Sorry, Aunt Cordelia," he said, blasting an annoying, stinky flower with one of them. Aurors got there about a half hour later. Harry waved. "Wait with us for a half hour please?"
"Sir, someone cast a dark curse," one said firmly.
"I did. That way I could have some help when the British Ministry tries to destroy the house in an hour." He held up the time turner. "I hate them. Truly hate them." They all stared. He felt the magic coming and the aurors did because they started to frantically cast shields. Ron and Draco helped while Harry got logged in as the true heir of the family home and raised the defenses that had been on it for ages. The spell was rebuffed into the back garden and woods. It destroyed them. Harry took a deep breath as he walked out. He pointed at the spot they had been waiting at. Draco and Ron moved so they wouldn't run into themselves. The trio appeared then turned back. Harry let down the shield that made it look like it had been destroyed. Not a paradox after all. He looked at the aurors. "I'm Harry James Potter. We were just kept confined in our school for over a month, without notice of punishment or any sort of hearing. The Ministry up there is trying to take my family's funds because they decided I'm going to be bad to them. Which I wasn't planning on. I wanted to be left alone until they started things."
The head of the auror team frowned. "I want a statement under truth serum, Mr. Potter."
"Please do. Also, there's testimony with the International Wizarding Courts in Copenhagen ordering them to give me my things back. They have not complied. I was mad when I went there. I'm beyond livid now."
The auror nodded. "That's reasonable. Someone get me truth serum and our boss."
"Tea?" Harry asked. "Dobby, can we have some tea?" Dobby popped in and hugged him, wailing. "Dobby, it's fine." He looked at him. "Aunt Cordelia had the bank move our things. We're here now. They're going to be begging before I do anything for them." He nodded. "Make some tea please?" He nodded, going to do that. The head of the local aurors appeared. "Ma'am."
"You are clearly a Potter."
"I'm Harry actually." He shook her hand with a smile. "Thank you for letting your aurors help my family when the British Ministry tried to destroy the house."
She stared at him. "I want a full report." The bottle of truth serum was handed over and they went into a room to talk. Dobby brought tea then popped back out. She dosed all three since she had heard rumors that they were bound and married. What she got out of them sickened her. She got their Minister and he got to ask some questions as well. It was not looking good. The paintings offered some more information, including letting them hear what the Wizengamot was doing at that moment. No, it was not pretty. They took pictures and evidence from the destruction and left to turn that over to the international council.
Hermione found a note on her plate the next morning when she sat down to breakfast. She smiled at the note that they were safe. She handed it to Neville and he smiled at it as well. It had been a lot of problems. But now it was better.
It would have to get better and then Harry would be back. He had to come back.
Dumbledore looked at Narcissa a few weeks later. "No, I'm afraid the boys have decided to stay here over the holidays, Mrs. Malfoy. They're not going to either home."
"Nonsense. My son would not miss our holiday celebration. Even if he was sick he still made it. He was nearly deathly ill according to the healer and still made christmas dinner, Dumbledore. I demand to see my son right now."
"They are in classes," he said.
"No they're not. Draco has right now free. That's why I chose to come now. He sent us his schedule. As he always does. Now, where is my son? Before I withdraw all three boys from your dubious care."
"They're wrapped up in some project or another. They have not seen fit to show me."
"Do not make me call an auror, Dumbledore. I will have my son presented to me within the next few minutes or you will be quite sorry."
"They've locked themselves in their room."
She snorted. "Because there's a lock spell Professor Flitwick doesn't know?" she demanded. She used her emergency beacon to get her husband and an auror. He knew if she used it she needed one and she had warned him earlier. The auror and her husband showed up at the same time. "Lucius, he will not let me see Draco or the other two. He's laid some preposterous story about the boys locking themselves in their rooms."
"Indeed?" He looked at the auror. "This isn't the first move to get Potter this year," he pointed out.
The auror sighed. "We'd better check on them, Headmaster."
"They're locked in their rooms. We cannot get them out."
"You mean you locked them in their rooms?" Lucius said snidely. "Mr. Potter managed to get a note to Miss Granger, who sent one to us." He produced the notes for the auror. Who growled. "I will be checking on my son or you will not have a job, Headmaster."
"I cannot get them out of their rooms," he replied.
"It's clear what sort of headmaster you are now," the auror said. "Where are their rooms?"
"The south tower, near Slytherin," Narcissa said. "Draco said they're in the same room they ended up in last year." She walked out and the auror followed her. The wall was blank. The auror looked and did a few spells, finding the locked doorway. He finally broke it open and they went inside. No boys. A few leftover books. Nothing else. No, Narcissa found a shirt that had been drying in the bathroom.
The auror took it to do a spell tracing. "They're nowhere near here. The spell works within fifty miles." He looked at the only painting. It was blank. He tapped on the edge, getting someone old, wrinkly, and cranky. "Ma'am, Auror Smith. Where are the trio of boys who were in here?"
"They're gone. Probably for good." She stared at him. "It took them over a month to figure out a way out of this room." She glared at Lucius.
"He has memory charms so you forget," he told her. "I have done what I could without tripping them."
She huffed. "They're quite fine and the local Ministry wanted a word with one of the decent aurors up there, Auror Smith. Since your ministry sent a spell to destroy our family home." She walked off again.
"Which country," he ground out.
"Belize," Narcissa said quietly. "Please make sure my son's all right?"
"I will, Mrs. Malfoy. Come to the office to fill out paperwork. I don't like this or the sound of the memory charms." They left, going to the auror's healer first. "There's a memory charm in place to forget Dumbledore had locked three students in a room for over a month," he said. "Please check us to make sure." He did that and removed them. Lucius burst out swearing. He got them to his desk, taking the statement. The head of the aurors was called once they were gone. He held up the bagged notes and the report. "The painting said they were gone, probably for good. No hint if they're safe."
She read it, her face going stony. "All right. Find them."
"We shot a curse at their house to destroy it in another country?"
"No, that was Fudge's plan," she said. "I'm hoping like hell the boys weren't in there when it was done." She went to call that Ministry, getting a sneer. "I am in no way associated with the spell or the Headmaster. Our Minister is a fucking moron. Are they safe?"
"We managed to divert the spells. They used a time turner to get back in time and summoned us with a little used dark curse to draw us past the wards." Madam Bones relaxed at that. "They are safe but they do not want to have anything to do with your country after that or them ignoring the ruling of the IWC."
"They're still trying. Fudge is absolutely pissed that the money got taken."
"Clearly he's drinking his own piss," the Belizian head auror said dryly. "I wish you much luck with him."
"Did they leave of their own free will?"
"Yes. We took a statement under truth serum. I'll send you a copy."
"Please. Mr. Malfoy's parents are livid that the boys didn't tell them."
"I believe he feels a bit betrayed." She signed off and went to copy that for her counterpart. Someone needed their head pulled from their asses up there. Fortunately the boys, their tutor, and the house elves were very safe for now.
Mad Eye walked into his old office, looking around. He looked at Amelia Bones. "Mellie, their tutor said they're doing quite good now that they don't have to swat at plots going on around them."
She swallowed. "What happened?"
"Dumbledore at Fudge's orders to suspend the boys." He handed over his journal. He had been keeping it since he had started teaching because he knew Albus Dumbledore was a master of memory charms. She broke the charms on it and read it, growling. He smirked. "He said they're doing quite well. To leave them alone and they'd pass OWLs at the end of this year."
"They're trying to have him tried and banished in absentia today," he warned.
"Will you testify?"
"Of course. Those three brats never gave me any problems." They walked up there. They waited until that case got heard and were moving onto the Potter matter. "I have evidence to present," Mad Eye announced at the statement of the boys being tried in absentia for using underage magic outside of school and having quit school, so therefore liable to have their wands snapped. He moved forward, taking his journal.
"Auror Moody," the head of the council said. Lucius and Augusta walked in, with Neville behind her. "You two were off today."
"No, we were delayed by an annoying plot," Lucius said coolly. "Mad Eye."
He hated the man but if it helped foil this latest plot.... "Malfoy." He looked at the board. "The boys weren't in classes because they were locked in a room." He held up his journal. "I wrote it specially because there were memory charms going around the school." He handed it to the evidence holder.
He read over the entries. "I do see they were said to be locked in a room. Could you find them, Auror Moody?"
"No. Not their room or them."
"Their room was hidden when Auror Smith was summoned to release them," Lucius said, handing over that report. The evidence holder read it and grimaced. "Also, this report," he said, handing one over. "Is from the Belizean aurors on how you lot decided without enough votes to send a curse at a house to destroy the paintings in it." He looked smug. "Also, I have here," he said pulling it out. "A statement from the judge at the IWC. They are removing us from their body." He handed that over. "Because of this matter."
"Like his mum, when Potter gets revenge, he does it well," Mad Eye said dryly.
"Indeed," Lucius agreed. "As you can see, there was even a memory charm from myself and his mother checking on our son's welfare. It made sure we didn't wonder why we didn't even receive a note from our son for months on end. It was trying to act when my wife wanted to see why the boys hadn't been released for the holidays. She was not pleased."
The head of the board shuddered. "That vote...."
"Was taken illegally as you had not enough present for a quorum and we did not give up our votes to a proxy," Augusta noted dryly. "As I hold three votes and one of those voting was not in the employ of the person he is sitting in for, that motion could not have been voted on, or any other motion during that time."
"You hold a proxy for which member?" the head of the council demanded.
She smirked. "The Potter seat. Technically, Harry named my grandson this summer." She handed over the forms. "As he was in school, he noted me as his proxy." She handed that over as well. "Plus my family's and my husband's family's seat." The head of the council shuddered.
Lucius smirked at her. "I'm almost surprised he didn't give it to Granger."
"She didn't have anyone to vote for her during school times, Mr. Malfoy," Neville told him simply. "As I'm here, I'm going to take back my own vote." He glared at one man. "You're in my seat."
"You're underage," he spluttered.
"That doesn't really matter," he said, picking up the rule book to flip to a page and show him. "That is the rule of law." The man choked but was pulled out of his seat by another member. Neville dusted it off with his handkerchief before sitting down. He looked at the others. "Beyond that question, what right did Minister Fudge have to bring such a motion before this panel? He was removed, wasn't he?" he asked the head.
"He was," he said grimly.
"That means he'd have to petition like the rest, correct?" Neville asked. "That means that everyone should have gotten a copy of the notice. Which we did not."
"No, I did not," Augusta said with a smile for her grandson's logical explanation. "Or I would have been here."
"There were other decisions made," the head pointed out. "It will take days to revisit."
"We have nothing better to do at this time," Augusta said dryly.
"I have the next three weeks free," Neville agreed.
"I only have to talk my wife out of moving countries," Lucius said dryly. "With all our assets."
"That's illegal!" the head of the board shouted.
"No, it's not," Augusta said blandly. "It's perfectly legal if they choose to move to wherever and take up residency. Though I'm not sure how his ...friends would like that move." Lucius pushed up his sleeves, earning a gasp. He smirked at her. "How...." She stared at him. He stared back. "Then perhaps some would like it more than others."
"Perhaps." He pushed down his sleeves, sneering at the head of the board. "You cannot make anyone stay in a country against their will or leave their assets behind. None of us would stand for it because it could be turned on us." He crossed his legs. "Now, I believe we are here to talk about the illegal confinement of three students that forced them to flee for their lives into an attack by this ministry in another country."
"Meeting adjourned," the head of the panel said, banging his gavel.
"You cannot do that," Lucius said smoothly, reeking evil vibes. "If you do try, then the ruling by the international courts would surely go into effect, which includes the ruling that the Ministry above us is convened under a rogue government, and therefore illegal and not to be noted by any other government anywhere."
"So?" he sneered back. "Big deal."
"Which means that anything imported would be cut off," Augusta noted.
"And anything we export would be considered embargoed and confiscated upon entry to another country. Those imports include the wood for most wands," Neville pointed out. "Half the food crops. A lot of the lumber for new construction, repair, and for things like making furniture."
"Potter wants us to turn it over to your son?" he sneered.
"No. If Draco wants to be Minister, he can connive his way into the position like Fudge did. It would also mean that all those companies that work in other countries could be forcefully shut down. Any business that's owned by someone outside of our country could shut down any business here. According to the Business Office, that accounts for about forty-three percent of our total workforce. Plus all those working at our businesses being deported home in shame of being one of us. This will be making headlines for months before we collapse under the sudden increase of unemployment and the higher costs of everything. Because the gas that powers the vehicles not run by magic comes from other countries as well. So is the lot of life for those who live on an island that has a less than spectacular growing climate."
"None of that is going to matter," he huffed.
Augusta felt along the edge of his sleeve. "Nice cotton, it's not made here either." The man gave her a horrified look. "We may weave some things here but they're rugs and the like, not cotton for robes. Beyond that, you still cannot pass measures without a quorum voting, that means a majority to vote. Without myself and Mr. Malfoy, you do not have that. You're short by two votes by our rules." She smiled at him. "Now, do you want to reopen the session or should one of us touch that paper and therefore enact the embargo? All it takes is being given to one of the members of the Wizengamot, young man." Lucius held it up. "I would not want to, but in the name of honor and justice, and the reason we were chosen to do this, I would have to if such farces of the ministry do continue to occur." She smirked. "After all, I'm old. What could anyone say to me about it?"
"They can't do that," the head said.
"Yes they can. We ratified the treaty that says they can. We've even used it to our own ends in the past," Lucius assured him smugly. "Thus they can hold us to their own legal standard and examine every single law we have passed to negate them, examine every single ruling we have passed and change it, and then rebuild the Ministry so it is in line with the legal regulations as we agreed to uphold."
"But..." he spluttered. The rest stared at him, a few looking scared. "We cannot let this happen."
"Then I would not adjourn this meeting," Lucius said. "So that we may prove ourselves worthy by continuing our proud traditions of justice and honor. Mostly by going over the decrees that were made without a quorum present. As is *fair*."
"Not like you're usually concerned," he sneered.
Lucius snickered. "I have no intention of being sent home in disgrace from wherever my wife decides we should reside due to the embargo."
The head of the Wizengamot shuddered but called the meeting back to order and pulled out those decisions and the others that had been made without proper procedures being followed. Fudge was going to have him for tea for this but he couldn't let this destroy the country.
Harry walked into the branch of Gringotts in Belize, bowing at the receptionist. He pulled out the letter. "We were told to attend this meeting about my family's accounts." He presented it.
She read it and got someone for him. He was a very strange young wizard. The two behind him must be his assistants. She made a note of them and the time they came in. They were even prompt, it was strange for a wizard.
Harry shook the goblin's hand. "Thank you for helping during that trying time, Master Goblin."
He stared at him. "You are indeed a Potter." Harry smiled and nodded. "We were told there was an emergency?" Draco handed over the reports from the aurors and the International Wizarding Court's rulings. He read them over. "I see. What else precipitated this move?" Ron handed over the most recent one. "Oh, dear."
"Oh, yes," Ron said. He sat down.
The goblin waved. "Please, sit." They sat. "Are you legally an adult, Mr. Potter?"
"Technically we're emancipated thanks to Lockhart using that bonding bracelet on us. Then the Wizengamot agreed that it was legally done as an emancipation. Technically I do have a wizarding guardian looking out for me. He's one of your curse breakers, Bill Weasley."
"I've heard of him. He was said to be decent and honorable." He reread things more carefully. That explained why the London branch had caused such a problem and broke their institutional laws at the urging of a painting. "Which aunt of yours asked?"
"Cordelia. She's technically a second cousin I believe. Eleanor was also helping us. She's my great-aunt."
"Interesting." He got the forms and brought them back. "Not all of your wealth was put down here. Some was put into the United States."
"As long as it's safe from England and we can get to when we need to," Harry assured him with a smile. "Thank you for your bank's help during that trying time. I know it was not following policy."
"No, that was an emergency. I cannot believe that they basically declared war on our country to get your relatives away from you." He handed them the folder. "Inside are many forms to be filled out for us and the US branch."
"That's wonderful." Harry opened it to read and sign things. Draco was translating some of the more complex language for them. Ron and Draco were allowed spouse's access but Harry still had the right to lock them out of the vaults. Draco huffed at that but Harry grinned. "In case you pick up your mother's shopping habit, Draco." The goblin coughed to hide a smile. He finished up and handed it back. The goblin stamped all the forms then sent them to where they needed to go. "How soon before things are finalized?" he asked.
"A few days." He shook his hand. "Thank you for giving us the time to deal with things, Mr. Potter."
"I treat anyone who treats me fairly the same way." He grinned. "Which is why they're probably smarting over the IWC starting a process to declare them a rogue government." The goblin gaped in horror. Harry nodded. Draco handed over that form. The goblin moaned, taking that paper. "Thank you for your time." They left the bank. "I didn't sign anything saying they could have everything, right?" he asked once they were outside.
"Not that I saw," Draco admitted. "Quit being so paranoid, Potter. You're not a Moody."
"I know." They walked off. The house elves had shopped for the food. Harry saw a shop and nudged Draco, pointing. "There?"
"There," he agreed. The aunts had agreed to let them finance their tutor by selling something from the lesser vault that Harry had gotten the donation to Slytherin in. The shopkeeper glared at them. "My mate, Harry Potter." The man gasped and crossed himself, mumbling a prayer.
"I'm not mean unless you make me be. The aunts' paintings have said I can liquidate something so I can buy sweets today." He smiled and pulled out the ruby from the pedestal in there. "They decided I'd probably never need to use it in a spell and they didn't like it as much."
He looked the gem over, humming. "It is a very fine piece of work." He canceled the spells on it and it was still a ruby, just one without the crest on it and no more shield to keep it from being scratched. "Good spellwork by them." He examined it again, finding a small spell in the center. "Do you know what that is?" he asked Harry.
Harry looked then nodded. "It's the identification charm. Draco's mother's jewelry has those. She explained it when I found one."
"Our country doesn't usually endorse those."
"We were English," Draco admitted. "We left." A goblin walked in with a guard behind him. "Potter."
Harry turned to look at him. "The aunts said I could liquidate that ruby. That I'd never use it and they were tired of looking at it."
The goblin in the lead looked at him. "Which judge has the paperwork on that embargo?"
"Hopkins," Draco said. "My father has the copy for the Wizengamot, he'll use it as a last resort for them to not screw us some more."
"It was enacted a few minutes ago," the head goblin admitted, staring at them. "Why was this done?"
"We gave the goblin we just sat with the full ruling from the IWC," Ron told him. "Mostly, we went because they decided to keep screwing with Harry to the point where he lost his temper."
"I used to think my mother's temper was bad," Draco said blandly. "She only tortures people when she gets angry."
Harry looked at him. "I haven't tortured anyone, Draco. I simply didn't want them to do it again."
"I agree," Ron said. "Fully." He shot Draco a look behind Harry's back. Draco relaxed and quit thinking those thoughts. "Which member enacted it?" Ron asked them.
"I don't know him," Harry said, looking at Draco.
"A minor member, hardly ever says anything. Sits in one of the seats behind my father's." He looked at the goblin. "He was going to give them a chance to undo some of the damage they've done recently but only use that if they would not."
"I see." He nodded. "Is there any way to find out?"
"Aunt Eleanor has a painting there," Ron told him.
"Interesting. We were not aware that the family's paintings were awake again."
Harry gave him a grimace and a sheepish look combined. "After our bonding, we had to get an agreement going on where we'd spend the summers. This was the safest place."
"You were... bonded?" the head goblin asked.
Draco nodded. "Brandust bonding bracelets. Put on us by a teacher against our wills."
The goblin shuddered. "Those have caused more problems." Ron nodded quickly. "The three of you?" They all nodded. "How long?"
"Our second year," Harry said blandly. "Nearly at the end of the year. Lockhart was our defense teacher and he did it."
The goblin snorted. "He doesn't know what he's doing."
"No, he didn't," Ron said. "Was scared of pixies."
The goblin nodded once. "Do you have your emancipation paperwork?"
"At the house," Harry admitted. "Unless... Draco?" Draco checked then handed over the folder. The goblins found what they wanted and needed, though everything got looked over. "Is it in there?"
"Not directly but others that give it are." He looked at the boys. "Why move everything?"
"The goblin we sat with had the reports from the local aurors that helped us save the family home," Harry said quietly. "They were trying to rob me of everything else at the same time. If it hadn't been such an emergency, we wouldn't have asked to break those rules. Unfortunately we were locked in a room in the school by the headmaster, apparently at Minister Fudge's orders."
The goblin nodded. "I will look at those as well. Are you at the manor or the apartment, boys?"
"The manor. There's an apartment? Bill never mentioned that," Harry said.
"It could've been too small," Ron pointed out. "Or too easy to get into, Harry."
"Bill....," the goblin asked.
"Weasley. He's the one I chose as a legal guardian for those things I still needed to do. He's always been very honest and good to me."
"I have heard of him. One of our curse breakers?" Harry and Ron both smiled and nodded. "Good. Mr. Malfoy, your parents?"
"My mother is not thrilled with her home country and is pushing for an extremely long vacation somewhere else, plus the removal of all the assets to a safer place so they can't be lost according to Eleanor."
"Just shopped away?" Ron asked dryly. Draco hit him. "Have got to work on that with you, Malfoy."
"Guys!" Harry complained. "We don't do this stuff in front of goblins. They're not used to you two playing and you could insult them."
The goblin stared at him oddly. "Most wizards wouldn't care, especially in your family."
Harry beamed. "They've decided I'm like the white cat of the family." The goblin snorted but smiled a bit at that description. Harry looked at the shopkeeper. "How much so we can get some sweets to think with while we study?" The man named a price. The goblin looked then countered. The shopkeeper huffed and offered him ninety percent what the goblin said it was worth. Harry took that and signed it over. Then the shopkeeper got to flee. Harry smiled at the goblin for that bit of help. "Is there going to be a problem?"
"No, Mr. Potter, you have just caused some problems to be very upset."
"You mean Fudge was bothering you guys too?"
"Indeed. Thank you for your help." He left with the folder. The guards followed. Harry handed Draco the money and they left to find something sweet and lunch out. They deserved it.
Bill Weasley got the summons to the head of the bank's office, wincing. That was probably not a good thing. He cleaned up quickly and used the portkey to there. He was let in. "Sorry about my appearance, sirs. I was in the field in Egypt when you summoned." The three top goblins were staring at him. This was very bad. "Did I touch something I shouldn't have?"
"No, we think you've done a very good job with touching the right things, Mr. Weasley," the head of the bank said. "We also think that you're out of touch with some current events."
Bill let out a soft moan. "What did the trio do this time?"
"They've basically declared your natal ministry to be a rogue government." He handed over the papers that they had found plus the ones from the boys. "Sit." Bill sat and read them over, slumping some. "They are safe," he said when he stiffened. "We talked with them earlier today."
"I was wondering why I didn't get my monthly letter from Harry complaining about plots and girls." He looked at him. "In my vault is the rest of the paperwork on what's been going on, as far as I've been told. I figured the two sets of parents could take care of most things and if they needed a tie-breaking vote they'd call. Most of the time the boys are safe in school. I go back up for the summer when they get out and before they go back to check up on 'em." He handed back the paperwork. One of the goblins sent a minion to get the file out of Bill's vault. He came back with it and they went over that as well. A few notes got made then it was handed back to Bill. "What can I do to help the boys?"
"That is a good question. For right now the boys are settled into the house. A question was asked about why you didn't tell them about any other smaller properties?"
"They weren't as safe, the boys needed some room to get away from each other, as much as they could anyway, and I can't ward an apartment the way I can a house."
"All good points," the head goblin agreed. "I would disclose those soon. The boys are feeling a bit... abandoned I believe is the closest word."
"I'll talk to them before I go home if I'm allowed," he promised. "If they had told me, I would've helped them all I could but not even Ron's written since they got free."
"That's very decent of you," the head goblin agreed. "Your parents and others are presently fighting things. The embargo did happen. The courts will remove it once things are going in the right direction again but your natal government is under serious watch. However it has let us do some things. It removed the restrictions on us doing a full audit of the bank's contents." Bill beamed at that. "A few other countries don't allow it but the one for England is going to be helpful." He looked at his people then at him. "Please calm the trio down?"
"I'll do what I can. The three probably need a good hug. How dare that headmaster do that! That's not what a fighter for the light does, and he's always said he was one..." Bill started to rant. The goblin held up a hand so he stopped. He took a deep breath. "Sorry. I'll yell at him in person."
"Excellent." He handed something over. "Your leave papers for the next two weeks. I would visit your mother. She got quite...loud as well."
"Mum does like to yell," Bill agreed with a small grin. "Thank you, sir. I'm sorry this had such an impact on the bank."
"Tell Mr. Potter that we'd like to see him sometime soon. We have heard he was a parseltongue and a few vaults need one to enter it. We're not sure why. We are curious about such vaults."
"Yes, sir, I can tell Harry that. Let me check on them." He bowed formally then left, portkeying right to the house. He walked in and found Ron. "You didn't even tell me," he complained. Harry came out of the kitchen to look at him so he pulled him closer to hug him too. "Should've told me and I'd have shown up to kick some arse."
Harry finally relaxed. "Thanks, Bill."
"Not a problem, Harry." He pushed them back to look at them. "You're both too damn skinny. No house elf?"
"Not beyond Dobby and he can't cook," Harry admitted. He shrugged a bit. "I can cook."
"Let me do dinner, boys." They smiled and let him do whatever he wanted. Draco had their tutor in the library and gave strange looks when Bill walked in and patted Malfoy on the shoulder.
"Apparently we have an adult for a while again," Draco told the tutor, who only smiled at him for it.
Bill got an owl from Gringotts and took it to Harry. "Can we talk?" he asked quietly.
"Sure. You know that." He walked out back with him since the tutor had been in the room. "What's wrong?"
"During the over-reaching audit, they found some dark artifacts in the Potter vaults," he said quietly, staring at the boy.
"I don't think I've been in the Potter vaults, Bill."
"That'd be fine for you but these were put in recently?"
"Oh!" He hissed. "Um... Long story." He glanced around then at him. "I need your promise, absolute promise, that you won't tell anyone."
"Depends on why."
"It can help destroy Voldemort for good."
"You got it then. I was a member of the Order."
"I'll explain that later." He sighed. "What are they?"
"Apparently, as far as we can figure out, Voldemort used a dark rite to split his soul. He stored it in some vessels so he could be, practically, immortal." Bill nodded slowly at that, grinning slightly. "Now, with some help, and for a fee, we got them traced. There's about five that we don't have destroyed. My scar was one. The diary that had Ginny was another."
"There's four in there," he said.
"Huh. I don't know what the fifth is then. Well, fuck."
"What sort of payment?"
"Aunt Beth had an idea about how to remove the dark mark. We were in agreement that the halfblood bastard that is Voldemort should not be in control of a pureblood movement," Draco said as he joined them.
"Your father," he sighed.
Draco held up a hand. "My father realizes what sort of bad publicity this would have for the family's interests. He might support but he does not want to rejoin. Or lead a new one."
"Which is good because I'd hate to have to kill his father if he started a new one," Harry admitted, looking at Draco. They had talked about that part before going to Lucius. He looked at Bill again. "Lucius was in the inner circle. He could figure out what they were and sneak them out of places we couldn't even get access to. So that is probably those."
Bill considered it and nodded. "That's a reasonable deal, though I'd hate to see what Lucius does with the newfound freedom."
"If he's doing the same thing, then it looks quite bad on the family," Draco pointed out with a smug look. "Mother would kill him."
"Probably," Bill decided with a sigh at the end. "So those things have to be destroyed?"
"Yup. The basilisk's tooth did the diary. It took three times for the scar's link to be broken."
"Can we get another fang?" Bill asked.
"No, the NEWT potions class spent a week gathering everything they could from it," Harry admitted. "There should be another way to kill the others though."
"Probably," he agreed. "I'll ask someone I trust implicitly, and I'll check for a dark mark before I do, about how to destroy the soul inside."
"It should be enough to release it," Harry told him. "Like we did with my scar."
"Even better." He ruffled Harry's hair, getting a snort but a grin back. "Also, the bank wanted you to come open some parselmouth locked vaults."
"I can but I might charge them a bit so I can get candy and lunch out that day."
"They might like that," he said with a grin. "It's always better to have a small fee for some things." He smirked at Draco. "How's studying going?"
"We're taking OWLs next month if Potter can get past Potions."
"Ours or this country's?"
"This country's. Why?"
"England doesn't accept scores from other countries," the tutor sighed. "I just found that out earlier." Bill nodded with a grin. "I doubt they can walk into the Ministry up there to take them."
"There is a home study version," Bill admitted. "For those who're tutoring privately at home or very ill." The tutor beamed. "I'll get in touch with a friend of theirs' family to see if they can get a copy."
"Hermione's parents," Harry suggested.
"With her being such a know-it-all, she might want to take it early," Draco agreed. "Is it going to be the same test?"
The tutor snorted. "Oh, no, Mr. Malfoy, the English test will have some answers that are only correct for it." They all groaned. "Your fifth year you would've gotten an extensive section on Merlin and on the last war and how certain people thought they were there."
"They were, they were there when my godfather got arrested," Harry said dryly. "Which proves they're morons."
Bill patted him on the back. "Yes they mostly are but not all. Some are pretending to be morons so Fudge doesn't catch on."
"You mean if we get Fudge out and put in someone reasonable, we may have a working government that doesn't fuck up too often?" Draco asked dryly. "Who would've thought!"
"Well, some parts would work better than others," Bill admitted. "But yeah, it definitely might." He grinned. "The goblins want Harry's help opening a few vaults."
"So he said. We can snap the bond for a very short amount of time." Bill nodded. "For up to a mile."
"You'd probably have to go with them then, Draco. The tunnels are more extensive than that."
"That's fine. We can bring a light and a book I suppose." He walked back inside.
The tutor smiled at him. "Can you let me know if you can do that? I can arrange for the local Ministry to administer it if you'll get us a copy." He went back inside.
Bill looked at Harry. "You okay?"
"Been better, less pissed too, but I'm good. You?"
"I'm good." He walked him back into the kitchen, helping him cook lunch for the boys. He'd write Hermione's parents after lunch.
Harry smiled at the head goblin for the local branch. "I'm told you need me to open a few vaults?" he asked, shaking his hand.
"I do, Mr. Potter. Your skill is not one we have on hand and we can't find anyone who would be trustworthy."
"I can understand that but I want ten galleons for it so I can get some comics and sweets later."
The goblin stared at him. "You're requesting a fee?" He looked at Bill.
"My goblin handler always told me it's better to work with someone who charged a fee instead of doing it for free, free people's motives were questionable."
"That is true," he agreed. "Just ten, Mr. Potter?" he asked with a smirk.
"For some comics, some chocolates...." He grinned. "Maybe lunch out later?"
"That seems reasonable for a boy your age's wants."
"I figured I'd be too tired to go down to my own vault after all this," Harry admitted.
"Also a good point," he agreed dryly. "Come." He walked them off. The other two followed. "Because of your bond I know that you have to be in close proximity."
"We can snap it for an hour," Harry offered quietly. "But only up to a mile."
"Interesting to note but not workable this time. They can have the back of the cart and read during the stops."
"That's what we figured," Draco agreed, waving his book. The trio were taken to the cart and went on a roller coaster ride to the first one. The other two did read while Harry opened the vault. It took a few tries to get the right code phrase. Inside nearly blinded him. He went back to the cart, letting them do whatever they needed to do. The whole day would be like that for them.
Bill watched the boys go then walked to the curse breaker section, going to find someone. He wasn't at the local branch but he knew he was off work due to a head injury. "Hey," he told the receptionist.
"Breaker Weasley, do you have business with us?"
"I need to get in touch with another of us while the boys are doing the bank a favor." She nodded and let him past. He went to the floo in a sealed area, resealing it. "Piminton." His head swam into view, making him grab it with a wince. "Sorry."
"A few and a question. Something's coming up and we think we found an artifact with a piece of soul in it," he said quietly.
"How in the hell? In a tomb?"
"No, in my charge's vault."
"Oh!" He blinked a few times. "You have a charge?"
"Yeah, I'm a wizarding guardian for someone."
"Oh. Interesting. I hadn't heard." Bill grinned. "Why does it need destroyed?"
"He doesn't want to keep it. I know he said he ran into one before and it was killed with a basilisk fang. Any other way of doing it?"
"It could cause an explosion. Might kill whoever's doing it."
Bill grimaced. "Is there a safe way?"
"I don't know. That depends on how much power it has. Did the first one they did explode?"
"Not that he said."
"I tell you, some ancient family artifacts are dangerous, Bill. That's how I got this concussion. Cleaning up an older family vault for the newest generation."
"Ow, man. What happened?"
"A ghoul got released."
"Eww. How'd you kill it?"
"Retrapped it," he said with a grin.
"Wonderful. I'll warn him of that. Which family?"
"As in Harry Potter?" Bill nodded. "Huh. Heard some of his family way back when were dark."
"Some," Bill agreed. "But their paintings are very good at making the boys study."
"Huh. I sense a story I haven't heard. Have to ask about gossip going on," he teased with a grin.
"Oh, there's tons." He smirked back. "More than'll be heard probably." He shifted. "So any good ways? Heat, melt 'em?"
"No, can't melt 'em. Have to basically kill it with something. The fang idea's a good one. Poisoned knife if you can get one into the artifact."
Bill nodded. "I can handle that then. Thanks, man."
"Welcome, Bill. Write more often. Egypt is always the most fun of sites." He signed off and went to talk to the others to see if they had better ways of dealing with that. After he took a headache potion.
Bill went to the curse breaker library to look up that subject. He had no idea such things existed but apparently they weren't unknown to be hiding in some family vaults. He wondered if keeping it in the vault would be enough.
Bill sat down with Harry that night. "All right, got a full accounting of the family properties since it was pointed out that I forgot to mention a few apartments," he said. "We couldn't ward them the same way so I ignored them in the initial search."
"That seems reasonable," he agreed quietly. "Any interesting ones?"
"A few," he admitted with a grin. "You have an apartment in the city." He let him see that list. "This is the one in Godrick's Hollow. As of yesterday, they have handed it back to your control, though they have said part of that is that you keep it as a landmark for at least a few more years. You can deny that request and still take it back though. It might ease some feelings if you don't." He looked at the boy. Harry nodded he understood that. "That would leave you paying the caretaker still however. Everything's got a balance in nature." He flipped the page. "This is the local apartment. It's not huge but in a good area of the city." Harry looked and then at him. "That's about six blocks from the wizarding area and your new habit-forming chocolate store."
"It's very good chocolate."
"It is," Bill agreed. "Try to eat regular food too, Harry." He ruffled his hair again, getting a grimace. "I know, it's already messy. I have no idea if someone could straighten out your mop for you. Your father had the same sort of hair from all the pictures I've seen." He grinned. "There's one other apartment. I'm guessing it's where the family let James live before they bought the other house." He let him see that address.
"No, that's not an apartment. That's my aunt's house, Bill."
"Huh. It's listed as an apartment." He made that note on the form. "Someone got it wrong." He frowned. That didn't happen with goblins. "Beyond that, we have what appears to be four vaults. One full of miscellaneous stuff." He let the boy see those lists. "The British audit came up with your trust vault ... Hold on, there should be another." He got up and took the list to the floo, going to the bank itself. He walked into the head goblin's office without knocking. "I've found irregularities on an audited account."
"Oh, crap," he muttered in goblin. "The Potter one?"
Bill put down the papers. "That's a house, not an apartment. It's his aunt's house, where he was living before in servitude." He changed pages. "It's not listing more than his trust vault. I know there's a miscellaneous storage vault up there that probably didn't get moved." He let him have it.
He read it over, then pulled out the old paperwork. "I believe you're right. That is listed as remaining in country since they could not claim it." He called that branch to talk to the head goblin there. "Weasley, we have an inheritance stone listed."
"I'll get the boys before it tonight." He went back to get Harry and bring them back to do that. The head goblin sent his assistant to bring them down to it while he dealt with the continuing problems from England. Bill got them into the right vault and made Harry walk over to the stone. "There. It'll tell an heir." He backed out of the way. Some of them were a bit... pyrotechnic at times.
Harry stared at the stone. "I have no idea what to do with you." He moved closer. It had some faint writing and he bent to dust it off. "Honor the family name and ways," he read. He stood up.
"If you do that, it may reject you for being so far outside of what the rest of us were," a painting called.
Harry looked at it. "Which family member made it?"
"The same ones as had the journal." She looked over her shoulder at him. It was a portrait of her sitting. "It's rejected a few of the family, Harry."
Harry stared at her. "I'm surely not the lightest the person the family's ever had, Aunt Beth."
"No. It rejected all those as heirs."
"If not, it won't release all the vaults," Bill told her. "There's some missing by the audit."
Beth sighed. "I hate being put into this position."
"Then do shut up," a cranky male voice said, sounding tired. "Who dares wake me from my nap by arguing with that brat?"
Harry walked back to look at it. "Sorry. We didn't mean to wake you. The bank wants me to use the heir stone."
He looked at him. "Which one are you?"
"Harry. James' son. Eleanor's great-nephew."
"Hmm." He looked at him. "You're young."
"Emancipated. Which one are you?"
"Firus Ignatio Potter."
"I found your journals in the family vault," Harry said with a grin.
"Is your father not around, boy?"
"No, and please don't call me boy?"
The man stared at him. "Why not?"
"Because my maternal aunt did the same thing while treating me like a house elf and I don't react really well to it," he admitted quietly.
The man looked at him. "Is that who raised you?" Harry nodded quickly. "Why?"
"Dark lord. Eleanor thinks he's a weakling though."
He rolled his eyes. "That thought is why I'm in here, Harry. Are you dark?"
"No, not usually. Eleanor's tempted me that way a few times. I've had to learn a few dark things so if Voldemort comes back I can defeat him."
"Why would a boy be needed for that job?"
"Because he made a prophecy start. It's a him or me sort."
"Oh, fucking hell!" he shouted. Beth jumped. "You go right ahead and use that heir stone, Harry. It won't reject you. Bring me closer." Harry did that. "My grandfather made the stupid thing and it's the stupidest thing ever. If it rejects you there's a way around things. I'm supposing you're the only Potter?"
"As far as we can tell," Draco said.
"Your.... concubine?" he guessed. "And spouse?"
"Brandust bonding bracelets," Ron explained.
"That is not what I meant them for," Firus muttered.
"I knew something that problem-causing had to be a Potter invention," Draco mumbled. Ron and Bill swatted him. "Hey!" Harry glared. Draco settled down for a minute.
Firus looked at his relative. "I take it it's not a love match?" he asked dryly.
"Hardly. Draco was our enemy before." He grinned. "We're getting along tolerably well at the moment most of the time."
"I figured that would be used for political marriages. That's why I put that compulsion to get along in them." He sighed. "All right, the stone won't accept you because you're underage and married. That used to be done to inferior spouses for political gain." He looked. Then he looked around. "Let's go talk to someone, Harry." He had him carry the painting back into the shadowy corners of the vault looking for one painting in particular. "There you are, Father."
"Son," he said, staring at him then at the boy. "I've seen you a few times at the house. You never talk to the older members."
"I figured you guys were letting Eleanor handle things."
"Well, no. We'd never do that, Harry. Eleanor's a bitch."
"Hey!" Beth complained.
Harry grinned. "Eleanor, Beth, and Cordelia have been very helpful in our studies."
"Wonderful. What are you doing for fun?"
"We sneak off."
"Even better. Smart of you." He stared at him. "You need to use the heir stone, don't you?"
"Yes." He sighed. "FATHER!" A ghost floated into the vault. "His grandfather made it. Father, this is our last and only heir."
He looked at him. "Boy."
"Harry," he corrected.
"You're still a boy."
Harry sighed but looked at him. "I'm more than just a boy," he said dryly.
"He's a boy with a temper problem. He's blown up part of the gardens," Beth called.
"The last time it was a spell by the British Ministry to destroy you guys, because they think Eleanor's going to make me a dark lord," Harry reminded her. "And they want all the notoriety that I have."
The ghost stared at him. "Excuse me? Is the house standing?"
"Yes. I got aurors there to help us protect it," he said. "Using the family time turner."
The ghost nodded. "Good." He looked him over. "Married at your age?"
"Against our wills. A teacher stuck Brandust bonding bracelets on us."
"Oh, holy shit." He swatted his great-grandson's portrait, making him yelp. "Idiot. I told you that was going to cause problems." He looked at Harry. "Let me read you, Harry." He ran a hand over his head then nodded. "You'll do. A bit more dark than I'd like."
"Not my fault I had to defeat Voldemort."
"That's a good point," he admitted. "Whose fault was that?"
"Voldemort's. He started it due to a prophecy."
"Shite, utter shite," Firus complained.
"True. Fine, let's get this settled so things can get back to normal for you. Why are you out of school?"
"Dumbledore locked us in a room for a little over a month." The head of the family stared at him. "On the Minister's orders. Apparently I'm upsetting their plans. Fudge wants to be me, Dumbledore wants me as a weapon, and neither one like what they've created. Which is why the IWC put them in an embargo situation and other neat things."
"Oh, holy shite," the ghost muttered. "How bad?"
Draco held up the notes he had been given by Bill. The ghost read through them while he changed pages for him. "Not our doing, any of it, and I would've rather not been in this situation. It's not exactly politically strong," Draco finished.
"You're a Malfoy, aren't you?" Draco smirked and nodded. "Last of your family line?"
"Of course. He's a Weasley if it matters."
The ghost nodded at Ron. "Which one did the adaptation spell hit?" Draco grimaced but raised his hand.
"We've agreed, he can go shag whoever he wants," Ron assured him. "Because none of us like blokes."
Firus coughed. "That'll change." All three moaned. "Anyway. Great-grandfather, we need Harry keyed in since he had to key himself into the wards at the house to save it apparently. It's the only reason for what we've seen. With his marriage so young, with Eleanor and them teaching him what he needs to fight this damnable war that he got sucked into, and his temper from what I've been told by Cordelia....."
"The stone would reject him and cause us problems. That's fine. Harry, are you planning on children?"
Harry stared at him. "The last time someone asked me that I said after the war and if they nagged I was going to every single sperm bank in every single country to make a lot of little Potter heirs so they'd leave me alone."
The ghost burst out cackling. "That is an answer I adore, Harry." He smirked at him. "I'd see myself doing that."
"Did my father get rejected?"
"I didn't see your father here, Harry. Nor his father. His grandmother apparently drove them off." He glared at Beth.
"It wasn't my fault," she complained. "Yell at Eleanor and them, sire."
"Uh-huh." He pointed at a spot. "There, Harry. Open that." Harry pried the spot open and the stone discharged, just becoming a stone. Inside were three crystals, a ring, and a bracelet. "Put the crystals on your ear." He did and the cluster turned into an earring. "The ring is more visible but the Potter crest is yours. Gift the other two to your spouses. Then decide on the family name continuing soon."
Harry looked at him. "If I have to, I will. I know most families want heirs."
The ghost shrugged. "With the way you three were bonded, you can decide which name to carry on." He smirked when the boy found another spot and pried it open. "Ah. Not many can see that. Necromatic magic, Harry?"
"No, not that I know of. I was linked to Voldemort and he created horcruxes. I was one when he failed to kill me."
The ghost stared at him then pointed at a new pile of things on a shelf. "Those?" Harry nodded. "So destroy them, defeat him, then he's finally dead?" Harry nodded. "Good luck. They can kill you to destroy them."
"I've gotten mine cleared out. Killed a diary that had one with a basilisk fang."
"Huh. Yeah, that's why you see that. See any others?" Harry pointed at two more spots. Then looked and found a third underneath the foot step. He pulled them out. "Good boy. All but one. Which is something for the most light so you couldn't touch it anyway." He smirked. "Gift your spouses."
"Ron, want a ring or a bracelet?"
"It's not really my style, Harry. Draco?"
"I wear the Malfoy markings, not the Potter ones," he said firmly. "Ours is not a consummated marriage and I am not the wife." The ghost snickered at that. "It's not."
"True, not yet." Draco grimaced. "Fine. Harry, go ahead and wear them until that changes. The red one was traditionally the widowed spouse's ring for her future heir. The wand you can train with and the other two pieces of jewelry are ostentatious but important for who they represent. The diadem Eleanor used to wear a lot." Harry nodded. "The other necklace is for those who fought with good reason." He patted the boy on the hair, ruffling it. "You'll figure it out. Take Firus with you so he can help with that bond of yours. I'll pop around the manor soon."
"Yes, sir. Thank you."
"Not a problem." He smirked. "As for heirs, make a new family line, boys. The Malfoy line can die and should with what they've done. I'm doubting the other's the only Weasley male." Ron shook his head quickly. "We would not mind if the family line changes to a more balanced one. Draco will do that fairly well for you. Whoever chose, chose a balanced setting. Even if you can't see it yet." He winked and faded out. "Take the horcruxes home when you're ready but also take that stupid singing trunk! Give it to some woman who can use the things inside."
"Yes, sir." He found the trunk. It was humming. They walked out with it. The goblin that met them back upstairs stared and moaned. "He had me break the heir stone."
"Clearly." He stared at the trunk. "I have not seen that in years. Eleanor put it down there to make it quit humming." He shook his head quickly. "Very well then. Mr. Potter, thank you for finding irregularities in the audit."
"Am I in trouble?"
"No. Not in the least. That earring marks you as the true heir. Even if there were other Potters, whoever wears that would be the one that would head the family." Harry smiled at that. "Go home, boys." They left with Bill, who was still looking stunned. Ron had Firus' picture. He shook his head. "Those ladies of the darkness will not like this surprise. Thankfully that portrait of his aunt down there is locked off."
Harry walked Firus into the painting gallery, hanging him up near the front. "There, now we have older family members on both sides." He grinned.
"Thank you, Harry. Go rest, boys. You look tired." They ran off. He turned to look at the other paintings. "You're in deep. Great-Grandfather said so." They whined. "We had to break the heir stone and he said to make a new family line for us and the Malfoy family." They slumped. "Harry's on *my* side of the family, not yours." They slunk off to complain in private. Firus had a temper like Harry's in life. There was no telling what his painting could do. He might be able to take them apart like they had taken Lockhart's apart.
Narcissa landed gracefully, tucking the portkey into her pocket. She walked up to the manor house, knocking on the door. Dobby answered. "Where is my son?"
"Sons escaped to town for afternoon, Missus," Dobby said, letting her inside. "Dobby be getting tea." He disappeared and came back with a tea service. She had found the sitting room. "Dobby serve?"
"Thank you," she said. "How long have they been gone?"
"Two hours, Missus." Dobby served her tea then left, going back to the kitchen.
She sipped, nodding in appreciation of it being perfect. "Dobby, send their tutor to me?" she ordered.
"Dobby do once roast in oven," he told her.
"Dobby, go get Terra. This house would take more than one elf."
"Dobby has stolen other freed elfs," he said, looking down. His ears sank and the socks on them dipped, making him look pitiful. "Harry Potter say he not mind."
"Good of him. Get their tutor for me. Who is cooking?"
"Dobby cooks!" he said, grinning at her.
"Can not the other elves?"
"Other elfs clean. Harry Potter wife Draco picky."
"Go borrow Terra," she ordered. He popped out. She smiled when she heard Terra squeal about the condition of her kitchen. The tutor came in a few minutes later. "They sneak off every day?"
"About once a week, Mrs. Malfoy. It gives me a day off. They're good students when they can concentrate." He shook her hand. "They'll be taking OWL's in a few weeks."
"Excellent news. How is my son otherwise?"
"A bit confused. Though he's a teenager so I'd expect it." She smiled at that, nodding slightly. "I know that there's been some helpful instruction by the family's paintings, including the newest one. Who told the boys a better way to sneak into town earlier."
"Wonderful. Cordelia, how are my son's studies going?" she called.
"He's tolerable in my areas, Narcissa. Potions he's wonderful in and he's learning history this month." She nodded at that. "Eleanor is off pouting. Firus is a bit peeved at what she's been teaching the boys but he supposed it's helpful for the fight that's coming." She stared at the tutor. "He's not a bad choice. Not great in transfiguration but he can show them how to use it in a practical sense."
"Thank you." She nodded and left them alone for now. Narcissa smiled. "She's had Draco in the gardens much?"
"Quite a lot recently. She had the house elves Dobby gathered planting food crops so he's learning other things to identify and their additional uses. Like toxins from a few of them."
"Interesting. Do you think it's helpful?"
"I think the newest painting is going to push their studies in another direction. He's not pleased at how the dark ones have been pushing them toward their areas."
She nodded. "Understandable. Who is this new painting?"
"Firus Potter. He's the line originator's grandson. Firus? This is Draco's mother." He walked into the nearest painting, smiling at her. "Harry brought him back from the family vault."
"True, my great-grandfather ordered him to so I could add some depth to the higher end of their educations."
She smirked. "Hopefully not too much toward being a warrior? My son is not meant for battles."
"Not in the least. I've been encouraging him to start some healing potions." She nodded at that, still smiling. "Though, my great-grandfather and grandfather both want the boys to start a new family line that combines the Potter and Malfoy lines. Take out both names and remake them both."
"Interesting thought. I'll talk to his father about that. There are things that would go wrong if the Malfoy name disappeared."
He smiled. "Then we'll have to see."
"He's also the one who created the original set of bracelets," the tutor told her.
"I've been helping them with that and stretching the bond farther and for longer."
"Excellent news." She put down her tea cup. "Is there some subject that you can see that should be covered?"
"A few in my day but we're adding them gradually and subtly mostly. They're being boys and studying is boring on a pretty day like today."
"Of course they need some time off."
He smiled. "The boys should be back within an hour or so. Make yourself at home. I'll have the house elf send in more tea and make up a room?"
"Dobby already do," Dobby called.
"Thank you, Dobby," Firus called. "He's very protective of Harry." He smiled and bowed a bit, walking off to go nag the others. It would not do for her to get the wrong idea about the boys' studies.
Narcissa retired to her room to rest. It really was exceedingly hot down here. She walked in and a cold breeze hit her. "What is doing that?" she demanded, looking around. Everything looked normal except for the metal box with knobs in the window. "What on earth?" she said, staring at it. "Dobby!"
Dobby popped in. "Yes, Missus?"
"What is that?" she demanded with a point.
He looked. "That is air conditioner. Harry Potter say make very cold when too hot." He pointed. "Turn bottom knob to make less or more cold. Turn top one to fan or cold." He popped back out.
She carefully walked over to look at it, her wand in her hand. She found the markings and turned it down to fan. It blew cool air but quit being so cold in there. She decided it was an amercian wizarding world invention and left it there for now. Until she could talk to her son. Who would've dreamed about machines that made the summer tolerable?
Draco walked in and stared at the woman coming down the stairs. "Mother."
She stared at him. "You're mad," she sighed.
"Well, you haven't written since we got free. I was wondering if there was a problem there as well."
"No, my son, we were trying to protect you and trying to undo some of the damage that has occurred thanks to your spouse."
Harry gave her a dirty look. "If they had left me alone, there wouldn't be any."
"I know that, Mr. Potter." She looked her son over. "You've grown again." He nodded. "May we speak?" she asked him. That way he could rant at her if he wanted and then calm down. Right now he was stiff and clearly angry.
"Of course, Mother." He led her into the study. "Dobby, make cooled tea," he called. Dobby brought in a tray a minute later. "Thank you." He popped out. He handed her a glass. "It's much nicer in the heat." He sipped his.
His mother sipped hers, nodding. "That is very nice, quite refreshing." She put down her glass and looked at her son. "When you were in there, there were memory charms that prevented us from doing anything." He nodded he knew that. "Afterward, your father and hadn't heard until you didn't come home for the holidays. Then I went to storm the castle to get you back."
"We heard. We still haven't gotten any letters since then."
"No one is sure where you three are. We thought it would make you safer."
"Then send the house elf with a letter, Mother. No one can track those." She looked stunned. He grimaced. "Fine. I believe you wanted to and could not." She relaxed and so did he. "So why come now?"
"Fudge is out of office."
"Wonderful. We're still not coming back."
"At all?" He shook his head. "What if that rumored battle comes to be?"
"Then of course my spouse would run off like the Gryffindor hero he is," he said dryly. "At which time, I'd be doing medical checks during it. We all know I'm not meant to be in the middle of a battle. I'd rather think someone to death."
"That is very true. I'm glad that you grew your mind that way, Draco. It pleases me that I won't be a grieving mother."
"Not if we can help it," he said. He sipped his tea. It was nice after the jog back from town. The other two were letting him have his time alone. "Lupin and Black?"
"They're the ones who reminded us it may be dangerous if we contacted you. Someone could have followed them. We didn't want another spell like I'm told nearly destroyed the house."
"No nearly about it, Mother. We managed to use a time turner to avert it by getting some aurors here."
She gasped. "You're not kidding?" she asked. He shook his head, taking another sip. "But what was done cannot be undone or there's a paradox."
"No, we put up a shield making us think it was destroyed so we still had reason to go back."
"Oh." She blinked a few times. "Oh, dear. I'll have to tell your father how close it came." She looked at her son. "You are quite grown up."
"Mother, I'm a fourth year," he complained. "No I'm not."
She stared at him. "No, just attitude wise, you're correct, my son." She got up to give him a hug. "We'll talk after dinner? So I can tell your father?" He nodded, looking a bit confused when she smoothed down his hair. She went up to her room to activate her calling mirror, finding her husband growling at someone. "Oh, do slap him for me, husband," she said bluntly. "Because the boys had to use a time turner to keep the house from being destroyed." Lucius finally got to haul off and hit the smug ass in front of him. She smiled. "Thank you. I'll finish him when I come back." She stared at him. "He is most peeved."
"I would be as well," he admitted. "It was safer, surely he can see that?"
"He said no one could've tracked a house elf with a message."
Lucius sighed. "That is a good point."
"Our son is very mature for his age, husband."
Lucius stared at him. "He is only a fourth year." She nodded. "I'll be down there in a few hours. Let me talk to a few others first." She smiled and hung up. Lucius went to get a few things. Including the spare wand he used to use as a death eater. Some people really did need a *visit*. His wife's manicure wouldn't have to be redone after all. She'd appreciate that. She did so hate having to get blood out from under her nails and reapplying her polish.
Harry and Ron watched Narcissa fuss over her son. Something they hadn't seen before. Usually she was close but polite with Draco. Now she was turning into Molly Weasley, only less loud. Privately, Draco was being creeped out by it but they just smiled whenever she checked on them and added more to their plates. Then she went back to fussing more over her son. Harry looked at Ron and asked if that's what he usually got at home and Ron sent back a 'yup' before taking another bite. For some reason, Ron's mental voice sounded like his mouth was full whenever he was chewing on something so he tried not to do it since they complained they couldn't understand him. Lucius finally got there and gave his son a hug as well.
"Are you two possessed?" Draco finally asked. "Perhaps by a Weasley matriarch?"
Lucius snorted. "No, she's still in her body, son." He smoothed down his hair. "You need a trim."
"No convenient hairdressers down here, Father." He was still giving them wary looks.
"We'll have to take you to the city to fix that and how you've grown," Narcissa said happily.
"Let us move the vaults," Lucius ordered. "It'll take another month, Narcissa." She pouted. "I'm sure we have some ready cash but not too much." She sighed but nodded. "Unless Mr. Potter wants to fund the shopping trip?"
Harry shook his head. "Maybe another time since I don't need new clothes too." He stuffed his mouth before he got glared at by Narcissa. It was a wise man who didn't get her angry with him.
Draco shook his head. "I'm fine, Mother. A haircut yes, but I don't need new clothes yet. Give it a few months when I finish growing." She beamed and nodded, smoothing down his hair again. He put up with this strange actions of his mother. She was his mother and he knew how scary she could be. Ron choked at that thought of his. Harry helpfully slapped him on the back until he quit choking. Draco shook his head. "Maybe you should chew instead of inhaling," he said dryly.
"Yeah, probably should," Ron agreed in a wheeze, taking a drink of his tea. He wiped the tears off and took another drink before eating more slowly. He decided this was the most scary he'd ever seen a Malfoy. Lucius looked livid and was fussing like Ron's mother and so was Narcissa. Maybe he would call to check on his parents later, make sure they were still alive and not possessing the Malfoys. Because Narcissa had just wet her napkin in her water glass and used it to clean some food off Draco's mouth for him. Draco was giving her an odd look but she was gonna fuss anyway apparently. It was great entertainment for Harry and Ron but still pretty damn scary.
Bill walked up to Sirius and Remus, slapping both of them on the face. "From your godson." He walked on.
"It was dangerous," Remus complained, rubbing his cheek.
Bill looked back. "Not that dangerous. There are things that can't be tracked. Like a house elf." They groaned. "The boys are quite pissed according to Narcissa. And Ron. Ron said to beat you both bloody for upsetting Harry by the way." He walked on shaking his head. He had to make sure his mother was still all right since Narcissa was acting a lot like she was possessed by her. He apparated home and smiled at his mother, giving her a hug.
"What was that for?" she asked with a smile.
"Making sure you were still okay, mam." He walked off happier. That meant that Narcissa did have maternal instinct. Who knew.
"What on earth," she muttered but she was happy to be hugged by her eldest son. It was rare since he had become a man. She went back to her baking. Now that they could owl and talk to the trio again, Ron clearly needed sweets. Draco never shared his and that half-muggle town couldn't have very good ones. She'd send it with Remus and Sirius when they went down to visit. They knew to expect it too.
Sirius landed and handed the box to Ron, who beamed at him as he walked off. "Letter's probably inside too, Ron." He looked at his godson, who stared back. "It was dangerous."
"Why didn't you use a house elf then?" he asked. "Or the mirrors?"
"I didn't think about it," he sighed. "I'm sorry, Harry." Harry shrugged. "I should've been there for you three."
Harry shrugged again. "It happens, Sirius. Now, can you go calm down your sister? Draco's saying she's back on another Molly Weasley fit."
Sirius smirked. "Narcissa?" Harry nodded. "Huh." He walked into the house with Harry, giving his sister a kiss on the cheek. "Narcissa, you're acting like one of your husband's hunting dogs that whelped," he whispered. She groaned. He grinned. "It's freaking Ron out."
"No wonder he choked at dinner, but he is my son and I was dreadfully worried," she said stiffly.
"We think it's wonderful that you're suddenly fussing over Draco," Harry assured her with a smile. "Ron just thinks you're going to change hair colors soon." She sniffed but smiled and went back to fussing at her son's hair. Harry sent a 'sorry, I tried' at Draco but only got grumbling back. So Draco would have to live through this fussing fit. They weren't sure if it would last more than a few more days but it was nice to have happen while it did, even if it did creep Draco out. Their tutor was even happy because he was getting some time off. So Draco was going to have to suffer and be creeped out.
Sirius watched for a minute then went to hide with Harry. Personally, that was the scariest he had ever seen Narcissa and Lucius was helping her fuss. Maybe someone had infected them with a Weasley taint somehow. That was a prank he'd have to consider....
But first Harry and Ron needed some parental style fussing over. They'd have to make due with what little he knew how to do that way but they'd figure it out together he guessed.
Two days later, when all the parental types left again, all three boys nearly threw a party. If they had any local friends they would've invited them over to have one but they didn't really know anyone their own age and the local townspeople were still scared of them. So they'd have to make due with Terra making them a strudel and them getting happy with fizzy drinks from town. Their tutor was happy as well. No one was second-guessing his teaching methods anymore. He didn't party with the boys but he was out in the garden enjoying his own happy moment of peace and quiet. He looked back when Ron started to shout but then a hex flew and it was better. "Really, those three do have to work on their relationship sometime soon. Before they suddenly fall into snogging sessions during class time." He sipped his own drink and nibbled a bite of strudel too. It'd be okay, for the time being. Then again, who knows what would happen when or if Voldemort came back.
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