Content Harry Potter
  • Previous
  • Next

Standard Disclaimer:

Ron shook Snape’s hand. "It’s all yours now Professor. Try not to muck it up!"

Snap wrapped his cloak about him and tried to maintain his dignity as he walked out onto the stage. Once center stage he stopped and stood in all his snapish glory. His hooked nose held high.

"To be, or not to be, the authors of this story insist I waste my vast talent telling you that they own nothing of the Potterverse and all this belongs to JK Rowling. And I will take House points off anyone that claims otherwise," Snape claimed.

With a scream over a dozen girls flood the stage yelling and drooling over Snape. Suddenly a machine barks and killing all on the stage.

Hermione walks onto the stage followed by Harry who is carrying the machine gun. "Nice shot Harry," she murmurs.

"You know me Hermione, I can’t stand people that think Snape is that actor Alan Rickman. Now can we get on with our story?" Harry replied walking off the stage looking smug.

"You just had to do that didn’t you?" Alyx asked Bob disgustedly.

"Yep. Snape must die. And Alan Rickman lovers are next," Bob replied with a grin.

"You’re twisted!" Alyx shouted.

"I know dear."

Sunset Over Britain
Chapter 22

Diagon Alley (April 2nd)…

Bill Weasley walked purposefully past Gringotts and chuckled, shaking his head as he looked at the solid gray shield that now covered the building. The Goblins had closed up shop here in Britain and forced most of the Wizarding World into a bartering economy nearly overnight.   Some shops still remained open, Weasley Wizarding Wheezes, Ollivanders, Magical Menagerie and the Leaky Cauldron. But the rest had quickly closed, unable to deal with the lack of a bank.

Bill passed Gringotts and made a beeline straight to Ollivanders. It was the last item on Team Weasley’s list and this particular one required more finesse than either Fred or George possessed. He opened the door to the sound of a simple bell tinkling.

Mr. Ollivander popped up from behind the stacks of wand boxes and smiled.

"William Weasley! My word. I haven’t seen you here since you had to replace your first wand. Twelve and a half inches of supple Yew, Unicorn hair core. Fine wand for charms, but not very good for curse breaking," said Ollivanders with a smile. "So William, what can I do for you today? Some wand polishing cream perhaps? Or maybe your wand needs some tuning to help with your latest endeavors?"

Bill smiled and bit back a comment about wand polishing. Now was not a time for Weasley humor!   "Ah, no thank you, Mr. Ollivander. I have business with you tonight, but it’s a business that only slightly involves wands," Bill replied.

Ollivander raised an eyebrow at him and motioned for him to continue.

"I’m here at the request of Harry Potter, sir. Undoubtedly you are aware of what the Ministry is up to, and who really controls what is going on within it," Bill said, then paused to see if Ollivander was still following him.

The older man nodded congenially. "I am not unaware of what is happening, Mr. Weasley. I do know who is controlling the Ministry, as I also know that you are now part of a organization led by Harry Potter that is helping people flee Britain."

Bill breathed a sigh of relief in hearing that. "Good, then perhaps this won’t come as a surprise to you, sir, but Harry has asked me to personally extend an invitation to you to leave Britain. Harry considers you one of the mightiest wizards in the land after Voldemort and Dumbledore and he fears for your safety. He thinks that You-Know-Who may try forcing you to make wands for his people.

"Harry offers you safety, sir, and a new place to open your shop. He hopes you will accept it and feels that, when the time comes, your skill and knowledge will be crucial to helping us conquer You-Know-Who."

Ollivander blinked at him a few times, as if surprised by the offer. Then he sat down on a stool behind his counter.

"Goodness me. You do realize that there has been an Ollivanders here since 382 B.C.?"

"Yes, sir. I tried to explain to Harry that Ollivanders has weathered other dark lords in the past, and the Goblin rebellions as well as the muggle witch hunts," replied Bill, then he frowned. "Sir, if I may, I think it’s admirable that you want to stay where your family built their business. But this is much more than a muggle witch hunt, or a Goblin rebellion. We have prophecy that states Voldemort will rule in Britain before he can be defeated.

"There are already rumors of people being sent to camps. The deaths among the muggles alone are already approaching half a million, but they don’t realize it because they think the soulless are sick. This will be no ordinary Dark Lord sir. Remember what Grindelwald managed to accomplish as the official ‘psychic advisor’ to Adolf Hitler? You-Know-Who will be much worse. He won’t be an advisor, he will be the leader."

Ollivander stared at Bill for a moment then he shuffled a few papers on the counter in dismay.   "Voldemort, my dear boy, will get what is coming to him. Make no mistake about that! Oh, dear me. Moving is such a bother. Turn around for a moment William. That’s it, look out the window, keep a look out for Aurors while I clean up here," said Ollivander.

Bill smiled and turned around. As far as he knew, no one has ever seen Ollivander’s wand. The secrecy that surrounded his wand had already passed into legend. While Bill looked out a window, Ollivander pulled out a short yellow wand that seemed to pulsate with a magic of it’s own. From another pocket he pulled out a bottomless bag and held it open. A single flick of his wand had boxed wands flying off the shelves and into the bag.

"Keep looking, William," Ollivander called as he walked to his workroom and performed the same packing.

"Mr. Ollivander? I know no one has ever seen your wand, and I’m not asking to see it, but to be honest, I am very curious as to why you don’t want people to see it?" asked Bill.

There was a moment of silence, then a soft sigh. "I’ll tell you William, but only because I am tired of the rumors and perhaps you can dispel some of the crazier tales people spread. You see me as many do, master wand maker from a long line of wand makers. During my family’s history, we have made wands, staffs, casting stones, cast-able weapons, enchanted amulets and talismans, even a few enchanted musical instruments. We excel at making things that allow wizards and witches to cast their spells. So imagine if you will, a young master wand maker, celebrating his new mastery by getting drunk and, while in that state, making a revolutionary new type of wand.

"Now imagine the embarrassment when you discover that you can’t make another wand like it? No matter how hard you try to remember what you did, you can’t make another like it? Even putting your memories in a Pensieve fails to help because you were too drunk to remember the details. Now imagine your wand looks unlike any other wand ever made, so much so that if people saw it, they’d want one and you’re the master wand maker.… You’d hide it as well young William," said Ollivander softly.

Bill chuckled and shook his head. The tale was even more amusing than the legend.

"So how did our young Mister Potter fair with his staff, William? Do you know?"

"I haven’t seen his staff myself, sir, but I understand he used it to stop the attack in Hogsmeade. And apparently the materials they purchased from you were sufficient for the construction of two staffs. One for himself and another for Hermione Granger. Hermione says she intends to use hers for research and ritual use, unlike Harry who needs it as both a walking stick and a wand."

"Miss Granger, you said? I always thought that young lady would make her mark on our world. Who would have thought she’d make it so soon. Fascinating, simply fascinating," replied Ollivander.

"Yes, sir. You’ll be able to talk to Harry this weekend. He will be coming to where I’ll take you to see for himself how well people are doing."

Ollivander straightened up as the last item in the shop flew into his bottomless bag and he carefully pocketed his wand. "Very well, William, I am all packed. Shall we be off?"

Bill Weasley turned from watching the empty Diagon Alley and reached into his pocket for his Padfoot portkey.


Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (April 4th)…

Harry limped up to the library where he was supposed to meet up with Hermione, Luna and Draco. He was coming to understand why so many people complained about the weather. The constant rain of spring had resulted in a low dull ache in his leg and left him fatigued and tired.

In a few days they would travel to Padfoot, where Harry could see for himself what had been accomplished. Remus said he had some information for Harry concerning a research project that Harry had put him on. Privately Harry admitted to himself that he really needed a weekend away, even if all he did was walk around talking to people. Things, at least according to the reports from Remus, were really coming together. Fred and George had moved into Haven a few days ago, bringing with them all the items they had stolen. Those items would be sent to the British Embassy in Canada, via the Canadian Ministry of Magic.

Harry limped into the library and paused when he spotted Hermione and the others. Hermione looked up and frowned. Harry wasn’t sure if her frown was due to the pained expression on his face, or the T-Shirt he wore that read, ‘Hey Voldemort, try not to let your mind wander. It is too small to be out by itself.’

Limping up to the others, he sat heavily in the chair and leaned his staff up against the table. His hands automatically began to knead his leg.

"Hi guys. I’d have been here sooner, but Professor McGonagall stopped me. She wanted to talk to me about that animagus lecture. It’s looking more and more like I inherited my mum’s animagus ability and not my Dad’s," Harry said seriously.

"Harry," said Hermione, "your mum wasn’t an Animagus."

Harry sighed and looked at her. She could make out a bittersweet sadness in his look. "I know that, Hermione. Mum wasn’t an Animagus and neither am I."

"Does that bother you? Knowing you’re not an animagus?" asked Draco in a curious tone.

Harry leaned back in his chair for a moment, his expression thoughtful. "I suppose not, Draco. Since I came to Hogwarts I’ve heard so often about how I look like my father. From the photos I’ve seen, I do look a lot like him, except for my eyes, which are the same color as my mother’s. After hearing so often about how much like my father I am, it’s nice to know that I got more of Mum than just her eyes."

"Harry, your Mum was one of the strongest witches Hogwarts has ever seen and one of the smartest," said Hermione.

Harry reached over and draped an arm around Hermione’s shoulders. "See? I’m naturally attracted to very smart and strong witches like you, Hermione," he replied in a deep voice that caused Hermione’s breath to catch in her throat. Harry had been doing things like this to her a lot lately. When she’d least expect it, he’d drop a compliment that would cause her a momentary flutter. She suspected he did it to allow him a chance to change the subject.

"So, what have you guys got for me?" Harry asked, changing the subject.

Hermione rolled her eyes.

"Not much, I’m afraid," started Draco. "We’ve been researching power sharing rituals like you asked and passed a couple off to Professor Lupin to research further. The most promising one we found was something called the Power of the Gens."

Before Harry could comment, Hermione stiffened in his arms and began to speak in an unnatural tone, her expression completely blank.


Luna immediately started to write down what Hermione was saying. When she nodded to Harry, indicating she had it all down, he gently shook her from the trance. Hermione’s eyes slowly focused on Harry and her lip trembled slightly. "Again?" she whispered.

Harry and the others could only nod as tears formed in her eyes. Harry wrapped his arms protectively around her and motioned to Luna and Draco.

"Why don’t you two get a copy of that off to Remus? I’ll take Hermione down to our rooms and see if I can calm her down. Draco, I think you triggered the prophecy with that comment about the ritual. Tell Remus to find out whatever he can about it."

Harry quickly copied the parchment and pocketed a copy, then helped Hermione to her feet and led her from the library, while Draco and Luna left heading towards the owlery. Nearby, one of the shelves moved away from the wall and Dumbledore stepped out. In his hand was a copy of Hermione’s latest prophecy. He closed the passage door and quickly cast an invisibility charm on himself before leaving the library.


Greenhouse #6, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (April 5th)…

Ginny moaned and arched her back as Neville kissed her neck. His hand was under her shirt cupping her breast and gently teasing her nipple. The two sprang apart as someone stomped past the broom closet they were in, making a lot of noise, then stared at each other sheepishly, grinning.

Neville glanced at his watch and shook his head as Ginny tried to embrace him again.

"I can’t, Ginny. As much as I want to, Professor Sprout is expecting me to be at the Greenhouse."

She pouted for a moment, then gave him a brilliant smile that made his knees go weak. "I’ve got the bedroom portkey, Nev. How about we use it tonight?"

Neville stopped and stared at her intently. This would be taking their relationship to a totally new level. Something he wanted, but not if he had to pressure her for it.

"Are you sure about this, Ginny?"

She stepped into his arms and gently cupped his throbbing erection. "I’m sure, Nev, and I think you are as well."

Neville buried his head into her shoulder and moaned slightly, nodding his head. "As much as I want to stay, I can’t keep Sprout waiting."

"I know, Nev. Go… I’ll see you later," she said kissing him lightly on the cheek.

Neville slipped out of the door, while Ginny adjusted her blouse. Her relationship with Neville was proceeding along wonderfully. Neville was kind and considerate and just pliable enough that she could help him become the strong man he was meant to be, without seeming to push him. Harry had started the process last year with the DA, and this year continued it by including Neville into his group of close friends. Ginny saw in Neville what Harry saw. He was going to be a strong, fine man when he matured and Ginny wanted to help him get there.

She was still adjusting her skirt and her back was facing the door when she heard it open again.

"Back so soon, Nev? Couldn’t stand to be away from me?" she asked playfully while adjusting her skirt. Then her world exploded in a burst of pain and darkness. Soundlessly she collapsed to the floor.

"Slut," snarled Ron and he kicked her a few times while she was on the floor.

Ron had spotted Neville leaving the broom closet and had come over to investigate. He was in a particularly foul mood, having come from a fight with Professor Flitwick. The Professor had wanted to run a few tests on him and he had refused. When the Professor pressed the issue, Ron had threatened to stun him, then ran from the charms office. Mad at Flitwick and then seeing Neville leave a broom closet where his sister stood fixing her clothing, he exploded.

Ron backed out the closet still enraged. Ginny moaned on the floor and tried to stand for a moment, before collapsing back down, unconscious. Ron closed the door and sealed it, then he went in search of Neville. First he dealt with the slut, now he’d deal with Longbottom!

Neville walked into the shack next to Greenhouse Number Six. There he donned the protective suit needed to enter the greenhouse. Greenhouse Number Six was perhaps the most dangerous building in Hogwarts. The back of the building extended into the Forbidden Forest itself. Few students were allowed in Greenhouse Number Six, and no class ever entered the building. Fewer still were allowed inside without supervision from an adult. This building contained some of the most dangerous plants known to Wizard-kind.

Neville left the shack and entered the building itself. He looked around and quickly spotted Millicent Bulstrode. She was working on another project for Professor Sprout. Neville waved at her and she waved back. There was something special between gardeners that transcended house boundaries. Neville checked the wall for the clipboard with his assignment and walked down the aisle carefully, making sure he never touched any of the plants.

Millicent turned away from Neville and went back to carefully tending the snapdragons. These were still young plants and their bite was only mildly venomous. Soon they’d be ready for milking. Their venom was a critical ingredient in the Cruciatus restorative potion.

Millicent looked up as she heard the door open again and froze in surprise. Ron Weasley entered the building and he wasn’t wearing a protective suit! He wore a dark expression and he looked around as if he were looking for someone. Millicent quickly realized that he had his wand out and was poised to use it. He was obviously looking for trouble.

He slowly moved down the center aisle of the large building, heading towards the back end. Once he had gone out of sight, Millicent moved to the nearest ladder and climbed quickly up to the catwalk above most of the plants. The catwalk was in place to allow the herbologists to examine the plants from above, and also to give them a means of getting away from some of the more dangerous plants.

From her vantage point, she could see Neville working on the eastern end of the building. He was tending the sunflowers. It was night and the light they were putting out was barely enough to see by. During the day, those same sunflowers would permanently blind people with their light.

Ron was approaching the southern end of the building and its copse of corpse trees. Between the copse and the rest of the building was a special wall that could be raised or lowered, depending on the state of the southern outer wall of the building. Corpse trees by themselves stank, but weren’t dangerous. What was dangerous about them was that they attracted predators and scavengers. The corpse trees thrived on the rotting carcasses left behind by predators.

Ron hit the southern wall of the building and headed east. From the end of the far corridor, he spotted Neville. Millicent gasped as Ron dropped into a crouch and started to move up the corridor towards Neville with his wand pointed at him.

Ron took a few steps, then cast a spell which flew up the corridor and hit Neville square in the back. Millicent paled and quickly cast the spell to raise the inner wall while lowering the outer wall exposing the copse of corpse trees to the Forbidden Forest. Then she went to find Neville.

She found him bleeding from his nose, mouth and ears, sprawled in the corridor near the sunflowers. She levitated him and headed straight for the nearest exit with him in tow. She didn’t know what curse he had been hit with, but bleeding from his ears wasn’t a good sign.

At the southern end of the building, Ron was gagging on the stench. He looked at the strange wall that slid into place and never noticed the southern wall sinking into the floor. The trees around him hid most of the building from his sight.

Ron paused when he heard a clicking noise above him. He looked up but couldn’t see anything in the deepening gloom. His anger was rapidly fading into anxiety as the clicking sound slowly moved until he was surrounded by it. He was sure he’d heard that sound once before, but he couldn’t place it.

"Lumos," he said, then flinched and nearly dropped his wand. The corpse trees were filled with Acromantulas.

Millicent paused as she opened the door to Greenhouse Number Six. She listened carefully and was sure she heard someone shouting "Reducto!" over and over again before being cut off in a final scream. Maneuvering Neville through the doorway, she got him out of the building, and then broke into a trot, heading for the castle.


Hogwarts Infirmary…

Danni McNeil looked up as the doors to the infirmary burst open.   Millicent Bulstrode guided the unconscious Neville into the room.

"Put him on the bed, Miss Bulstrode," said Danni.

Millicent lowered Neville to one of the beds and stepped back. "He was attacked from behind by Ron Weasley. I didn’t recognize the curse, but I knew bleeding from the ears was a very dangerous sign," Millicent softly.

"Aye, it is at that. Would you please go get the Headmistress, Millicent?" Danni asked while running a series of diagnostic spells on Neville.

"No need, Healer McNeil. I am here," said Minerva, stepping into the infirmary. Then she frowned. "Strange. The student ward informed me that Miss Weasley was the injured student."

Minerva walked over to the fireplace and spoke briefly into it before turning back to Danni and Millicent.

"Miss Bulstrode, I’ll speak with you in a bit, but right now I…" she stopped when the doors to the infirmary opened again and Ginny walked in aided by Luna. Ginny held her arms tightly to her chest and she was walking erratically. If not for Luna, she would have fallen several times. Danni glanced up at Ginny and motioned Luna to put her in the bed next to Neville. Ginny’s already pale face grew paler when she noticed Neville lying face down in the bed, his back covered in blood.

"Neville?" asked Ginny weakly, her breath coming in short gasps.

Danni reached over and grabbed a potion, which she handed to Luna. "Miss Lovegood, help Miss Weasley drink that. I will be with her as soon as I can." Then she conjured curtains around Neville’s bed.

Ginny drank the potion with Luna’s help, then she lay back in the bed and watched the shadows on the curtain next to her bed. Minerva watched passively for a moment before turning to Millicent.

"Miss Bulstrode? Did you see the attack against Mr. Longbottom? Did you see who did it?"

"Yes, Professor. Ron Weasley did it. He hit Neville from behind and without any warning. I think he would have done more if I hadn’t put a stop to it."

"You put a stop to it? How did you manage that, Miss Bulstrode?"

"I raised the acromantula barrier Professor."

Minerva blinked in surprise, then sat heavily on a nearby bed. "You were in Greenhouse #6?"

"Professor, I didn’t know what else to do! He was down at that end of the building and was looking to fire again. If he had hit one of the plants, like the Traveling Tanglers, they would have broken free and attacked us all. I raised the barrier, which blocked him in, then brought Neville here straight away," Millicent said defensively.

Minerva nodded, her mind whirling. In all likelihood, Ronald Weasley was already dead. And with two students injured, she’d have no choice but to report this. She could slow the process somewhat if she reported it through the Board of Governors, who would ponder it for a while before passing it on to the government, but the most it would buy was a week.

"You’re not in trouble, Miss Bulstrode. It may be possible that some others may wish to question you, but for tonight, I think it’s best if you return to your dorm. And I’ll award fifty points to Slytherin House for your quick thinking actions which resulted in saving the life of another student."

Millicent smiled proudly and nodded to the Headmistress before leaving the infirmary. She passed Harry, Hermione and Draco, who were just entering. Before anyone could say anything, Danni emerged from behind the curtain.

"Mr. Longbottom will live. I’m not exactly sure what kind of curse he was hit with, but it seemed to have a heavy pressure wave accompanying it, which accounts for his bleeding from the ears. His shoulder’s been badly damaged, but it will heal. My biggest concern right now is to his hearing, which may have suffered some damage. I won’t know for sure until he wakes up and I’m able to test his hearing if he’s had any loss there. Now to see about Miss Weasley here," Danni said turning to her next patient.

"Who did this to them?" asked Harry, his magic flaring ominously.

"You needn’t worry, Harry. The person that did this to them has been punished for it already," said McGonagall quietly.

Harry turned to McGonagall. "You know who did this?"

"There was a witness to the attack on Mr. Longbottom, Harry. And that witness made a snap decision that saved Mr. Longbottom’s life, at the expense of the life of the attacker."

"Who was the attacker, Professor?" Harry asked again. Hermione clutched at his arm and tried help him keep calm.

"It was Ronald Weasley, but I fear he has passed beyond any punishment we can deliver," McGonagall told them.

Hermione slowly sank down on a nearby bed and clutched Harry’s hand tightly. Harry stood, trying to make sense of the Professor’s comments. Ron was dead? He shook his head angrily. Despite Ron’s behavior this past school year, Harry couldn’t deny all the other years in which Harry thought Ron was his friend.

Hermione tugged hard on his hand, breaking his concentration. He glanced down at her and was startled to see the look of pain on her face.   Then he noticed that her hand was slowly turning white in his grip. He immediately relaxed his fingers and sat next to her on the bed.

"I’m sorry, Hermione. I didn’t mean to hurt you," he whispered.

She smiled at him and gently rubbed his hand with hers. "I know," she replied.

"Professor, how long before this attracts official attention?" Harry asked McGonagall as quietly as he could.

"I can hold off reporting this for a few days, but sooner or later I’ll have to report a missing student. If I report it through the Board of Governors that will slow things down by another couple days. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say seven days."

"Hmmm… today’s the fifth, and a Friday. If you hold off reporting Ron missing until Monday, then we shouldn’t see any official government reaction to this until mid month, if we’re lucky. This is going to be close any way we look at it. Bloody damnation, this had to happen now!" Harry said, running a hand through his hair in exasperation.

"Harry," Hermione chided gently.

Harry glanced over at her and looked guilty for a moment. "I know, Hermione. Ron’s gone and it’s another blow to the Weasley family. But his loss is going to attract official attention a week sooner than I had hoped. And if that isn’t enough, we have to go to Padfoot tonight. Which means one of us is going to have to break the news to Arthur."


Harry glanced over to the bed with Ginny on it. Danni was still working on her, but she was gesturing for him to come closer.   He stood and walked over to kneel by her bedside.

"Ginny?" he said, whispering her name.

"My family is strong and we talked about this possibility. We lost Ron, like we lost Percy. They will handle it as best as they can," she said, her own eyes filling with tears. Harry leaned over and brushed the hair out of her face, then kissed her forehead.

"If I can have a family half as strong as yours, Ginny Weasley, my family will be strong indeed. I’ll…"

"You do have family that strong, Harry… you’re an adopted Weasley, remember?" she said sleepily.

Danni glanced up at Harry. "She’ll sleep now. She’s going to be fine."

Harry nodded then stood to join Hermione who was talking softly to Professor McGonagall.

McGonagall dismissed the pair after warning them to behave themselves this weekend at Padfoot Manor. On impulse, Harry embraced the Headmistress and kissed her on the cheek. For the first time in living memory, Professor McGonagall blushed in front her students.


The Shrieking Shack…

Albus Dumbledore paused just before entering the Shrieking Shack to consider his options. Severus was still researching power-enhancing rituals, trying to determine how Harry Potter had increased his power so dramatically. But Dumbledore was starting to think that it was a dead end.

Then there was the issue of the prophecy and Miss Granger. She was obviously far more talented than Sybil Trelawney. He carefully considered the two prophecies he had heard. Both pointed to Harry and his friends fleeing Hogwarts, and perhaps the United Kingdom, but nothing was said about where they were going.

Dumbledore moved a short distance away from the shack and sat on a large rock. Carefully controlling his breathing, he mentally reviewed every thing that had happened since the beginning of the term. This was one of Dumbledore’s unknown abilities. He could recall events, even events where he wasn’t paying attention the first time. It wasn’t long until he found another clue, this time from a very surprising source: The Sorting Hat song.

Dumbledore shook his head and exited from his self induced trance several hours later. While not positive, he now had an inkling of where they would go. Standing, he stretched for a moment to work the kinks out of his body, then approached the shack again.

Entering the shack, Snape waved him over to a cauldron. Nearby the tome they had picked up in Germany lie open.

"Look! This could be exactly what he used! There’s no limit to the number of times you can use this ritual to amplify your power," Snape said.

Dumbledore looked down at the tome and started to read. Hmm, he thought. The ritual of Anthrokrak. Yes, this ritual is very dark magic, but is this what Harry used?

"Severus, while this ritual is extremely interesting, it calls for the sacrifices of wizards and witches…Virgins, no less. For Harry to have used this ritual to enhance his ability, he’d had to have killed dozens of first year students."

"I know that, Headmaster, but he could have used Muggles. Even with their low power cores, enough of them would have made a difference. I’ve already brewed the necessary potion for this ritual," Snape offered eagerly.

Dumbledore shook his head slightly and smiled at his Potions Master.   "Perhaps you are correct after all, Severus. I want you to continue investigating this. Tomorrow I am leaving for Ireland for a few days. I have heard of a another book, very old, which contains some power amplifying rituals we haven’t looked at."

"Another book?" asked Snape incredulously.

"Yes, a compendium of Druid rituals, or so I’ve heard. The book seller wasn’t too specific, so I’ll have to see for myself."

"Do you want me to accompany you again, Sir?"

Dumbledore looked skyward for a moment as if he were pondering the question. "I think not this time, Severus. You are undoubtedly getting close with this book, and we’re not sure that my contact has anything of real value. I will go see and, if necessary, retrieve the book."

Snape nodded and turned back to his cauldron to add a few more ingredients.

Yes Severus, it is time we part ways after all, thought Dumbledore. With you here in the shack, one word to a Ministry stooge I know and the Aurors will be all over you while I disappear.  


Padfoot Manor, Ireland…

It was late when Harry and Hermione finally arrived at Padfoot. Originally they had planned to arrive around dinner, but the attack had delayed them by several hours.

Harry looked at Hermione and she returned his gaze somberly. She knew what he had to do and knew he wasn’t looking forward to it at all.

"Why don’t you put our stuff away, then go see if you can find your parents? I’ll be along as soon as I can," he said softly, then kissed her cheek. She nodded and walked up the grand stairway in search of her parents.

"Dobby?" he said softly.

From behind him came a popping noise.

"Dobby, my friend, would you please find Bill, Arthur, Fred and George Weasley. Oh, and Remus Lupin as well. Ask them to meet me in the library. Then bring me a large bottle of fire whiskey and glasses, please?"

Dobby nodded and popped out of sight. Harry sighed and entered the library. He walked over to the large bay windows and gazed out, not really seeing anything. He clasped his hands behind his back and stood thinking about what he had to do.

The door to the library opened and closed several times. No one said a thing for a moment. There was a popping sound as Dobby reappeared, bringing the whiskey. Someone coughed and Harry turned around to stare at the Weasley men and Remus Lupin. Remus was still recovering from his wounds, but he was no longer completely bed ridden.

Harry quickly turned over the glasses and poured a generous amount in each. He then handed everyone a glass. His own remained on the table, empty.

"Please have a seat gentlemen," he said softly, then glanced up as two more people entered the library. Dan Granger and Amelia Bones stepped into the room and Harry nodded to them both. Dobby appeared with some additional glasses and Dan poured a drink for himself and Amelia.

"Earlier today there was an attack on two students in Hogwarts," Harry started softly. "I’ll try not to be too tactless here, but Ginny and Neville were kissing in a broom closet. Perhaps they were even doing more, I don’t know. Neville had to leave to work on a project in the restricted Greenhouse Number Six. Sometime after Neville left Ginny, she was attacked…"

Noting the signs of alarm Harry held up his hand. "She’s going to be fine, guys. A few busted ribs and a bad headache, but Healer McNeil says she’ll recover."

Harry took a deep breath and wished for one of those drinks, but he knew he dare not touch alcohol again, not with his power levels.

"After Ginny was attacked, Neville was attacked and severely injured. Another student, seeing the attack, took a drastic step of raising a barrier in the greenhouse. The act of raising that barrier caused the outer wall to lower, allowing the predators of the Forbidden Forest entry into the sealed in section of the greenhouse. We know the attacker was Ron Weasley, and there is little hope that Ron survived the assault of so many Acromantulas. I’m sorry…," he said trailing off.

"Ron’s dead?" Arthur said in a whisper.

Harry nodded, his own eyes filling with unshed tears.

"Serves the bastard right!" snarled Bill. "Is Neville going to be alright, Harry?"

Harry nodded again. "Danni said she will need to re-grow portions of his shoulder. The real issue is the damage done to his ears. We don’t know what curse Ron used, but it apparently was accompanied by a wave of high pressure.   He was hit from behind and bleeding freely from both ears. Danni is hopeful that they will be able to fix him up, but that’s still an unknown."

"You know that Neville talked to me about marrying Ginny," offered Fred.

Arthur looked sharply. "I hadn’t realized things had gone that far."

"He was sounding us out first, Dad. I don’t think he wanted to ask you until he had talked to all of us first," George said.

"He does love her," Bill added. "Damn Ron… he was our brother!"

"Our brother," echoed Fred and George.

"He wasn’t always a prat, guys. Remember him for that, instead of his later years," Harry offered, his eyes glistening with tears in the low light.

George stood and raised his glass. "To Ron. May you find the peace you couldn’t find in life!"

The other Weasley men stood and repeated the toast, then they all downed their drinks.

"Arthur, Dobby will bring you guys anything you need tonight," Harry said, trying to fight back his own tears. "I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am."

Arthur placed a hand on Harry’s shoulder. "Like you said, remember him for the good times, Harry. Until he found out about the money, he thought he was just being asked to befriend a lonely orphan."

Harry smiled weakly at the older man and nodded before walking out of the library.

Amelia and Dan followed him out. Harry stopped and looked at Amelia. "You’ve had to bring news like this before. Is it always this difficult?" he asked plaintively.

Amelia smiled sadly and nodded. "I’m afraid it is, Harry. It’s the worst job a commander can have. And the very last thing you want is to get used to giving that kind of news. But you impressed me in there tonight. You handled a shitty job with poise and tact."

"I wish I could say that I feel better hearing that. Right now all I feel, is old, tired and worn down," he replied in a murmur.

Amelia smiled and patted Harry on the back, then she turned and re-entered the library where it sounded more and more like a party was starting.

Dan walked over to Harry and placed an arm around his shoulders. "I know I haven’t taken my little girl growing up very well or your relationship with her. And for that I’m sorry. Hermione came to our room upstairs and told us what you were doing. I came down to hear it for myself. You made me proud, son. My daughter has picked herself a fine man and I think that when the day comes I’ll be proud to consider you my son-in-law."

Harry ducked his head in embarrassment, not knowing how to reply. Dan steered Harry up the stairs and into the sitting room where Hermione and Emma were talking. Hermione bounced to her feet when Harry entered and walked over to him. Harry reached out and caressed her cheek, then leaned in close to lean his forehead against hers.

Emma stood and approached the two.

"When confronted with death, we often look to our loved ones for an affirmation of their feelings. It’s almost as if we try to chase death away by affirming our love. It’s a very human gesture, Harry," Emma said as she leaned in and kissed him on the cheek.

"Good night, you two," Emma said smiling for a moment before reaching for her husband.

Harry and Hermione watched the two exit the room, then they turned to look at each other again.

"Rough?" she asked

He nodded in reply.

"So what do you want to do?" Hermione asked, suddenly shy in front of him.

"I think that later, I’ll want to make love to the woman I love more than life itself. But for now, I want to hold you and be held. I just told a family that their daughter is injured, and their son is dead. And it makes me feel so old, and worn out. I need your strength now more than ever," he said, there was a tinge of defeat in his voice.

Hermione smiled and gently took Harry by the hand, leading him to the master bedroom. Their bedroom.

Padfoot and the town of Haven, morning (April 6th)…

Harry woke up to discover Hermione still draped on top of him. Neither of them were dressed and she was snoring gently with a slight smile on her face. Her expression was enough to catch at his heart. He carefully moved out from underneath her and she complained for a moment before falling back asleep. He slipped out of bed and threw on a robe. Looking back at the bed and seeing her sleeping he cast a spell showering the bed with a gentle cascade of rose petals, then he cast a spell which he thought she’d enjoy when she awoke.

Harry had to meet with Remus this morning, but first he wanted to spend a little time looking around the town they had built. He had heard about it, but hadn’t really seen it. He showered quickly, and then put on some muggle jeans, a shirt, jacket and a cap to cover his scar. Dressed, he stepped from the bedroom and headed downstairs.

Stepping out of Padfoot, he looked around curiously. He knew the town was beyond the grove of trees to the east, so he struck off across the eastern lawn, leaning lightly on his staff. Haven, it turned out, was about the same distance between it and the Manor as Hogwarts was to Hogsmeade.

Harry stepped out of the trees into the back yard of a small home that looked like it was occupied.

"Al! There’s a strange man in our backyard!" shouted a woman’s voice.

"Coming!" came a man’s voice.

Harry grinned and figured he’d better wait. He didn’t really want to alarm anyone.

A large burly man stepped out of the house and looked at Harry, glaring. He held his wand pointed at Harry’s chest.

"Hold it right there, stranger," said the man.

"I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to alarm you. I just came from the Manor and was looking for the town. I only knew it was in this general direction or I would have avoided coming out in your backyard," Harry said with a smile.

"From the Manor, did yer say? We’re a might wary of strangers stumbling about, Mister. Next time, you wait for one of the Manor elves to bring you someplace instead of entering my backyard," said the man in a serious tone.

"Oh, I promise I’ll remember that, sir. Now, with your permission, I’ll use your yard to reach the street?" Harry asked hopefully.

The burly man debated with himself for a moment, then slowly lowered his wand and pointed to the path along the side of the house. "That’ll take you to the street."

He smiled at the man and walked past him out onto a small residential street. Once there, Harry looked around carefully. Many of the homes were still unoccupied. Those that weren’t were already showing the personal preferences of their owners as people started gardens, or changed the colors of the homes. The street itself consisted of a short straightaway lined with homes before the road ended in a cul de sac. The other end of the road terminated in the main street of Haven, where all the shops were located. That was where Harry wanted to go.

Setting off down the street towards the town Harry looked at the people. Many of them had a look he’d only seen on old television historical shows. They looked like people who had been through a disaster and couldn’t believe they were now safe.

Harry smiled spotting a group of young children running up the road shouting and laughing among themselves. The main street of the town was lined with shops. Most were still unused, but here and there someone had opened a shop. At one end of the town, just like the side roads, it ended in a huge cul de sac where a fountain splashed water in a small pool. In the center of the fountain was a statue that Harry found rather disturbing. Although the plaque under the statue read "Merlin", the statue itself seemed to be of Harry, wearing a concealment cloak. Harry stared at the statue in dismay.

"I see you found our statue as disturbing as I did, young Mr. Potter?" asked a voice.

Harry spun, his staff at the ready, then relaxed and smiled. "Mr. Ollivander! I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you creeping up on me. Yes, I think the artist had a lapse in imagination if you ask me."

Ollivander nodded and gestured to a nearby bench for them to sit. Once seated, the old man gazed around intently for a moment.

"I’ve only been here a few days, Mr. Potter," Ollivander said softly, " but in that time I’ve seen whole families waking up from a nightmare and wondering how they got so lucky. If you remember, I once told you that you would do great things. Well you are doing great things Mr. Potter. Look around you and you’ll see people living again. Free from fear. This is your work as sure as any enchantment you could have cast."

Harry ducked his head in embarrassment. "I just wanted to rescue what I could, Mr. Ollivander."

"That you have, my boy, that you have. Now, let me see this staff of yours. Young William Weasley was most impressed with your handiwork."

Harry handed the staff over to Ollivander who examined it with a critical eye. "Hmm… Basilisk Fang… Dragon Heartstring… and Hair of a Sphinx?" he asked.

Harry nodded, smiling at the old man’s abilities.

"You have an interesting and, I might add, comforting set of runes on your staff Harry. Runes for protection, love and even justice. This is fine work, young man, especially for a first attempt. If you ever want to consider an apprenticeship as a wand maker, come see me! You’ve got real skill."

"Thank you, sir," Harry replied, taking his staff as the old wand maker held it out to him. "I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, but I can tell you I found the process of making the staff both fascinating and intriguing. I do like the idea of being able to build something and enchanting it."

Ollivander stood and looked down at Harry. "Consider it, young Harry Potter. It’s a rare talent to be an enchanter and few go into the field these days. I’d be pleased and proud to teach you what I know." He bowed slightly to Harry and walked back to the shop he was still setting up.

Harry leaned back and watched people walking by. Most people seemed to head for the town hall that Harry had heard was set up as a community kitchen. Next to the town hall was an empty space that Harry hoped would one day hold a Gringotts branch office.

He stood and walked to the town hall. It was still early and he hoped to have breakfast there.

Meanwhile, back in Padfoot Manor…

Hermione was dreaming. She was comfortably warm, snuggled in her blankets. There was an enticing aroma in the air of bacon cooking somewhere and also rose petals? Cracking open an eye she could see she was alone on the bed and Harry had covered the bed with a thin layer of faintly blushing rose petals. She smiled and stretched, unknowingly triggering Harry’s other spell. It reached out and connected to her aura, merging with it. For a brief moment, Hermione glowed as Harry’s feelings of love and gratitude flowed into her. Hermione shuddered with pleasure.   As the pleasure increased, she gasped and melted back into the bedding. Her body then tensed as her orgasm washed over her.

It took her a few minutes to reconnect her brain to her body and, as she did, she vowed she would figure out an appropriate payback for Harry. At least this time he had confined it to the privacy of their bedroom. The last time she had been forced to explain to their friends that what he had done wasn’t something their boyfriends could easily learn. It was embarrassing, to say the least, even if it had been accidental.

Hermione had her own plans for today. She and her mother were to inspect all the items picked up by the Weasley’s before they were labeled, crated and sent to the British Embassy in Canada. Pulling her clothes on, she mentally checked the list of items before going in search of her mother.

Emma looked up as Hermione entered the dining room. With so many people now using the Manor, the dining room had become the place where everyone met. With so many people trooping in and out of the room, Narcissa had instructed the house elves to remove the fancy dining room set and replace it with a more utilitarian set. It wasn’t as elegant as the rest of the house, but it was rugged and sturdy.  

Emma waved Hermione over to the table where she had parchments spread out before her. "Sit and have some breakfast, dear. I’ve been going over the lists that Fred and George gave back to me. Not only did they get stuff on our list, but they got stuff above and beyond our lists."

Hermione poured herself a cup of tea and took one of the parchments her mother offered her. One copy of the Magna Carta, two first edition Miltons? A signed copy of Winnie the Pooh?

Emma grinned at Hermione’s questioning look. "According to Arthur, if the items they were collecting were small, like books and manuscripts, they took everything. In a few cases where they had to use more conventional transportation to reach a place, they often found museums along the way to hit as well. I don’t recall putting anything down from the Tank Museum in Bovington, but they somehow managed to help themselves to their entire collection. Nearly three hundred tanks."

Hermione dropped her toast and looked at her mother in surprise. She grinned for a moment, then frowned. "If they took that much stuff, how will we be able to check it all? Honestly, from the sound of it, it could take weeks to verify everything they say they have."

"Dear, we can’t possibly check it all. All we can hope to do is check a few boxes and hope everything else is in as good a shape," Emma replied.

"I suppose, Mum. They’ve been putting everything in one of the east wing bedrooms, haven’t they?"

Emma nodded. "How about I ask Dobby to bring us each a crate to check. Pick your subject and we’ll bring the museum to us," Emma offered hopefully.

"Very well, I’ll take the box marked Egyptian Artifacts, box number one," Hermione replied.

"Dobby?" called Emma.

Dobby appeared with a pop, he wore a slight smile on his face.

"Good Morning, Misses Granger and Harry’s Miss. What can Dobby do for yous today?"

"Dobby, would you go to the east wing and bring the boxes marked Egyptian artifacts number one and English Heraldry number three to the study on this floor please?" asked Emma.

Dobby nodded and vanished with a pop.

Emma stood and looked at her daughter. "Well, shall we go take a peek at the past, dear?"

Hermione nodded and followed her mother from the dining room.

"Did you sleep well last night? I know Harry seemed quite upset." Emma said softly.

Hermione blushed, not knowing what to say. Emma glanced over at her and snickered slightly. "I don’t mean to pry into your love life. While that does concern me, I was more interested in knowing if you managed to calm Harry down. I could tell he was quite unhappy about what he had to do last night."

"Harry was fine by the time he fell asleep, Mum. But he’s not like most other boys I’ve heard about." Hermione said, then placed a hand on her mother to halt her. Emma turned to look at her daughter.

"You know I used to listen to the other girls in my dorm complain about their boyfriends and how they seemed to have more hands than they could account for. And don’t get me wrong, there are times I could swear the same thing about Harry. But there are other times where he just wants to be held and to hold me in return. It’s all very romantic and I love him all the more for it. But I don’t think I quite understand it, either."

"Dear, how many times do you think Harry was hugged by his aunt and uncle when he was growing up?" Emma asked in a serious tone.

Hermione frowned. "Are you saying he’s looking to me for motherly love?"

Emma shook her head emphatically. "Not at all. But you’re giving Harry something he never had growing up. Physical love as well as emotional love. Harry’s been denied the touching that we all take for granted when we’re growing up. Given his background, he could have been standoffish and had an aversion to being touched. Instead, he’s attached a greater importance to it. Your touch has a lot of meanings to Harry and only a small portion of it represents the small child who never received a hug before.

"If I had to say anything about it, I’d say he craves it because it makes him feel wanted and loved. Both feelings he’s never had before meeting you. He’s a very special man, Hermione. You can see just in his expression that he loves you very much and that you mean the world to him. But he’s also insecure and will always carry a bit of that with him in life. Remember how he was treated growing up. You can do wonders to diminish that voice in his head that says he’s worthless, but you can never silence it entirely. And neither can he.

"Harry needs you and wants to know you need him. I think if you can remember that, and remind him once in a while that you do need him, the two of you will be very happy together," Emma concluded softly.

Hermione thought about what her mother said, then remembered the spell that Harry had left for her when she woke this morning and blushed again. Emma smiled at her daughter, then pushed open the door to the study.

Inside the study Dobby had delivered the two crates and had opened them after returning them to normal size.

Emma delved into the box containing manuscripts and books, checking them carefully. Hermione pushed aside the top of the crate for her box and levitated the stone out of the box. She frowned and looked at the stone again.

"This isn’t right," she murmured. Then she called out for Dobby.

The little elf appeared with a pop and looked at Hermione hopefully.

"Dobby," Hermione said with a smile. "Could you bring me my book bag that Harry gave me at Christmas please?"

Dobby nodded and vanished with another pop. A moment later he was back, holding the Book Bag of Requirement that Harry had given her. Thanking Dobby, she took the bag and concentrated for a moment. Reaching she pulled a book about the Rosetta Stone out of the bag.

She thumbed a few pages into the book and looked at the levitating stone carefully. "Mum?" she said.

Emma looked up from lovingly examining a Gutenberg Bible at Hermione’s alarmed tone.

"Yes, dear?"

"This isn’t right, Mum! Look at this! This is supposed to be the Rosetta stone, but it’s larger than it should be… and complete?"

Emma looked up at the stone and frowned for a moment, then the priceless Gutenberg slipped from her fingers and fell to the floor and she gasped.

"Could they? Is it possible? Can magic do that?" Emma said in confusion.

"Mum! Could they what?"

Emma shook her head and tried to collect her thoughts. "Could they have repaired the damage? Is it possible with magic, Hermione?" she blurted out.

Hermione paled and sat heavily in her chair. "They wouldn’t have… would they?"

Emma stood and grabbed the book she had dropped, then placed it carefully back into the crate.

"Dear, you continue checking the artifacts, while I hunt down Arthur and talk to him," Emma offered.

Hermione nodded absently and moved the Rosetta stone out of the way so she could look at the other objects in the crate.

An hour later, a stunned Hermione wandered out of the study. Dobby had told her that her mother, Arthur and Bill were not in the Mansion, but Fred and George were currently out around the pool, which was kept magically warm. Hermione wandered towards the back of the house in a bit of a daze.

In her head she was busy trying to figure out what was more important, the historical value of an object, or the implied age and its accompanying damage? Antiques were normally prized because they looked old, and repaired and restored antiques lost value. But did that hold true with historical objects? That was a question she didn’t have an answer to.

Stepping out, she wandered over to the pool and gazed out upon a scene that stopped her in her tracks.

George was in the pool with the miniaturized HMS Victory, now roughly four feet long. Around the pool were the tanks stolen from the Tank Museum, carefully set up by Fred.

"KAPOW!" shouted Fred and a line of miniature tank cannons barked in smoke and flame.

Suddenly the water around George erupted in small splashes and he glared at his brother.

"OY! I’ll get you for that!" he shouted, then he grabbed the Victory by the stern and aimed it carefully.

"Fire!" George yelled and the forty eight guns from a full broadside belched smoke and Fred ducked.

Hermione screeched and sunk to her knees clutching at her head. Then she whipped out her wand. "ACCIO HMS VICTORY!"

There was a sudden booming sound behind her and a golden shield snapped into place in front of her. The Victory sped from the pool to smash into the shield, snapping off the fore mast and the main mast as well as the rudder.

Hermione stared at the broken Victory lying on the ground in front of the golden shield and her eyes narrowed dangerously. She turned and faced Harry, who was looking at her in confusion. George climbed out of the pool and joined his brother watching the two of them.

Harry stood only a few feet behind her, his staff at the ready, the crystal at the end pulsating in response to his magic. His eyes glowed with power and he was looking at Hermione with a strange expression on his face.

"Just what the bloody hell do you think you were doing?" she asked between gritted teeth.

"Umm… saving you?" he answered, as if unsure of himself.

Hermione blinked in surprise. "Saving me?"

"I heard you scream. I was just entering the Manor when I head you and came as quickly as I could," he said quietly.

Hermione glanced up at the back of the Manor and the large hole Harry had blasted where the door used to be and her expression softened. Harry dropped his shield and got his magic under control again, but he still looked around warily.

Hermione shook her head and turned again to face the twins, who by now were standing over the broken pieces of the HMS Victory.

"OY! Hermione, what did you do that for? You broke it!" George sputtered indignantly.

Fred nodded in agreement and the two stared at the totally flustered Hermione.

"You… You… I can’t… Why I ought to… You!" Hermione said with one hand yanking spasmodically in her hair.

"Not to worry, brother mine," Fred said, and then he pulled out his wand and pointed it at the Victory. "Restituo is res," he murmured and all the pieces flew back to the ship and reattached themselves.

"Now that’s a right useful spell," Harry offered with a grin. Turning, he cast the spell on the Manor, repairing the hole he had made.

Hermione buried her face in both hands. "Not you too!" she moaned.

"I don’t think I can ever recall seeing this," offered Fred.

"What’s that?" asked Harry curiously.

"A speechless Hermione," said both twins simultaneously.

Harry coughed to cover his grin. Hermione’s head whipped up to glare at the two red heads and she reached to pull out her wand.

"Now?" asked George.

"Now!" replied Fred and with two loud cracks both of them apparated away.

"Dobby?" called Hermione as she stood up and brushed off the dirt from her skirt.

Dobby appeared again with a pop and looked expectantly at her. "Dobby, would you please see that all of this stuff," she said, pointing to the HMS Victory, and the tanks surrounding the pool, "is packed away, and that the Weasley twins can’t get their hands on it again?"

Dobby nodded vigorously and snapped his fingers. A moment later there were several pops as more elves appeared to help clean up the mess.

"Well, I’d better go see Remus," Harry said in a neutral tone. He wasn’t sure if Hermione was angry with him or not for the shield.

He stopped when she grabbed him by the arm and spun him around. She reached up, pulled his head down and kissed him. Harry wrapped an arm around her, holding her to him.

When she finally broke the kiss he looked at her, surprised. "What was that for?" he asked.

"For this morning, and because I needed to kiss you," she replied with a smile.

Harry released her from the embrace and stepped back slightly, then he bowed to her. "It was my pleasure to be of assistance, my lady," he said grandly. Hermione giggled and curtsied in return. He turned back towards the Manor while she stayed and watched the elves clean up the mess left by Fred and George.

Harry left Hermione behind reluctantly and headed back into the Manor house to speak with Remus. Remus had wanted to talk to him about his plans, and Harry himself had some words he planned to have with his friend.

He knocked on the door to Remus’ bedroom and a moment later Tonks opened it, letting him in. Remus was getting better every day from his attack, but it was slow going at times. Harry sympathized with Remus. The muscular damage could be repaired, but it would still be up to Remus to rebuild the strength in his shoulder. Remus wasn’t fully bed ridden, but he tired easily so today he was having a lie in.

Remus lay in a large bed, nearby there was a table loaded with books and his notes, and next to the bed, where he could reach it, lay the Book Bag of Requirement that Harry had given him. His face lit when Harry entered. He struggled to get out of the bed and before he could throw a robe on, Harry engulfed him in a rough embrace.

Remus closed his eyes for a moment and tears leaked from his eyes. It took sniffling noises from Tonks to make the two men aware of what they were doing and they sprang apart, causing Tonks to choke back a laugh.

Remus motioned to the table and led Harry over to sit down. Tonks pulled up a chair next to Remus and he unconsciously reached out and took her hand in his own.

Remus rifled through some parchments. "Harry about this ritual, the Power of the Gens. From what I can see, it’s powerful and I think it will do what you want it to do. But there are some drawbacks to it. First off, we’ll need a full coven, thirteen people, not counting the focal point. They should be all either related or very close friends with each other, because trust is going to be a key issue.

"I’ve found a talisman that will allow us to see if someone has enough trust, so that issue is somewhat addressed. The real problem is what will happen following the completion of the ritual. First off, this is a real power sharing. If you act as the focal point for the ritual, you will be giving everyone that participates a power increase. It won’t lessen your power but as the ritual progresses the participants should see a noticeable increase in power. Finally, every one in the coven will emerge from the ritual Magically exhausted once you cast the spell. As the focal point for the casting, you will also suffer the same exhaustion, but it will be thirteen times worse for you.

"There are no reports of anyone dying after this ritual, but you could end up unconscious for a week or more when this is done. The others may be out for a day or two," Remus said softly.

Harry nodded, thinking. "Alright, we need to do this, but we can’t until we’ve all moved here. Besides, I still have to work on the ward. It’s going to be lethal and I need to make sure it’s keyed properly."

Then Harry looked carefully at Remus and Tonks. "Remus, I’ve already yelled at Tonks for what she did the night you were injured. I don’t suppose I have to yell at you for agreeing to go out with her that night?"

Remus looked down at the table and managed to look ashamed with himself. "No Harry, you don’t need to yell at me. I know I made a mistake," he muttered.

"Good. That’s one less thing I have to worry about then. Now onto to the next piece of business. I need some advice, Remus. I’m thinking of breaking up with Hermione," Harry said seriously.

"You’re going to do what?" screeched Tonks, then she stood and glared at Harry.

"Sit down, Nymphadora. This is a conversation between Remus and myself." Harry said in an odd tone. His voice carried more than a bit of power behind it, and a vague echo. Tonks immediately sat back down with a confused expression on her face.

"May I ask why you’re going to break up with her, Harry?" asked Remus once he got over his shock.

"Well, there’s the whole Voldemort-and-his-cronies-would-kill-her-at-the-drop-of-a-hat thing. Being with me makes her a target."

"She’s already a target. Even if you broke up with her she’d still be a target. I thought you loved her," Remus said.

"I do love her. I’d do anything for her, including break up with her to keep her safe," Harry replied smugly.

"But Harry, if you love her, and she’s already a target, then all you’ll be doing is making both of you unhappy if you break up with her."

"So you’re saying that, despite having hundreds of dark wizards out for her blood, and mine, that’s no reason for me to break up with her? Heck, but that logic, that isn’t even a reason to stop me from asking her to marry me," Harry said thoughtfully.

"No Harry, it isn’t. In fact, you shouldn’t base the decisions you make in your life on the darker elements of your nature. If you do, then you’re letting them run and ruin your life," Remus said seriously.

Harry grinned and pulled a small box out of his pocket. "I am so glad you said that, Remus. Now give me one reason why I can’t use the same logic against you in regard to Tonks here."

Tonks sat up straight in her chair and stared at Harry in shock. Remus looked at him with his mouth wide open, not saying a word.

Harry started ticking off points on his fingers. "One, you’re a werewolf, which means that one day out of twenty eight, you get really grouchy and need a shave. Big deal. We have wolfsbane and a room that keeps us all safe during your transformations. Besides, you’re grumpy one day a month, Tonks is downright frightening for five days each month.

"Two, werewolves are considered dark creatures. Remus my friend, you’re about as dark as freshly fallen snow. Dark creatures are named Voldemort, Dumbledore and Dursley. You aren’t part of that list. If anything, you are a victim of a terrible illness, but you are not a dark creature.

"Three, the anti-werewolf laws prevent you from marrying, or holding a job capable of supporting yourself, let alone a family. Remus, the only reason why you aren’t rich is because you refused to let me share any of the money I have with you. Fine, you can be proud, but by Merlin I will see that you always have a job capable of supporting yourself and any family you might have. Finally, the laws against you marrying? Those are English laws, Remus. They don’t have those laws here.

"Now I’ll ask you again, why are you making poor Tonks here wait? You obviously love her and she obviously loves you. You seem perfectly willing to let her hang around and not do anything about it. Personally I don’t think that’s fair to either one of you and I think you need to fix that.

"I was going through some of the jewels from my family’s vault and I found an interesting thing, Remus. It seems that a long time ago both my father and Sirius thought you were getting serious about a girl and they wanted to help you along. They knew your financial problems and, like any good brothers, they wanted you to be happy. So they pitched in and bought this," Harry said, sliding the small box across the table.

Remus took the box with a trembling hand and opened it. Inside the box were two simple gold wedding bands and a modest engagement ring.

Harry stood up. "According to the note that Sirius left, the girl fled with her parents during the first war, leaving you heart broken. My father and Sirius kept the rings in case you found someone to love again. I think you have and I think the engagement ring would look wonderful on Tonks’ finger, don’t you?" he asked with a smirk before walking from the room.

He hadn’t gotten ten feet down the corridor when he heard a screech from Remus’ room. Grinning, he started walking again and went in search of Hermione.

The Shrieking Shack…

First the anti-apparation ward and anti-portkey wards were put into place. The team of Death Eaters turned Aurors slowly encircled the shack. From a nearby vantage point, Lucius Malfoy looked on and smiled happily. Tonight his master would be most pleased when Lucius presented him with the traitor.

Four Aurors moved up to the doorway and waited for a signal. Lucius looked at the team leader and nodded. The team leader turned and fired an explosive hex at the door. With the door in splinters, the four Aurors rushed into the shack. There was a moment of shouting, then silence. A moment later one of the Aurors appeared in the doorway and gave a thumbs up signal.

"It’s a capture, sir," the team leader told Lucius.

Lucius nodded and showed a broad grin. "Excellent work, Captain. Have your men search the building thoroughly and bring me anything they find. Make sure you bind the prisoner well and take him to a Ministry holding cell. I think this will be one prisoner that will go to the master before heading to Azkaban."

The team leader nodded. "It will be as you command, Deputy Minister." Then he turned and left at a trot for the Shrieking Shack. A few moments later, two Aurors dragged Severus Snape out of the shack and tossed him to the ground before Lucius. He was bleeding from a cut on his forehead and he was bound hand and foot with anti-apparation manacles.

"So nice to see you again, Severus. Try not to get too comfortable down there. I’m sure the Master will be pleased to see you again this evening," Lucius said in a calm tone.

Snape paled, his brow beaded with sweat and he lowered his head back into the dirt in defeat.

Padfoot Manor…

Dinner that evening was a noisy affair. Remus sat at one end of the table and occasionally shot glares at Harry. He really wasn’t angry with him, but when Tonks told the story, the Twins and Bill started in on how Remus needed help from a teenager. Bill speculated that Remus might even need directions for their wedding night, but Tonks calmly interjected into the conversation that Remus had no need of help in that area. And that caused no end of additional ribbing for the happy couple.

Hermione grasped Harry’s hand under the table. She had gasped in shock when Tonks told the story of how Harry had torn Remus’ arguments to shreds. Especially the part about his breaking up with her. Harry leaned over at that moment and whispered, "Never in a million years." And that caused her to blush all over again.

Later that evening Harry and Hermione settled in for the night. Harry seemed especially quiet tonight. Hermione, who had become adept at reading his moods, knew something was bothering him, but he’d talk about it when he was ready.

Harry wasn’t the only one that was still pensive from the dinner earlier. Hermione was moved by Tonks’ story and was still more than a little upset herself.

Harry had stripped down to just his boxers and he slid between the sheets next to Hermione. He gestured and all the lights except for one ever-lasting candle went out.

"What’s bothering you, Hermione?" he asked placing a hand on her hip.

"It’s nothing. I guess I just got a little jealous when I heard the story about how Remus proposed today. I know it’s silly…"

"It’s not silly," he said, overriding her. "I can promise you that someday soon I’ll be asking you that same question. I just haven’t found the right way of saying it yet," he said in a low tone.

"Any way you ask it would be the right way. You know that."

"No, I want it to be special. I want you to be able to look back on it a hundred years from now when you’re telling our grandchildren or great-grandchildren about it and smile from the memory," Harry said seriously.

Hermione blushed in his arms and snuggled closer to him. Then she lifted her head and looked at the candle for a moment.

"Why do we always sleep with a lit candle?"

"Because I always want to see you?" offered Harry.

She smacked him lightly on the arm. "No, you prat, I’m serious. You used the candle long before we started sleeping together."

Harry’s expression turned wooden and his voice flattened. His heart rate quickened, and so did his breathing before he replied. "The Dursleys. I had no light in my cupboard, and they wouldn’t let me have a light in my bedroom. I’m not afraid of the dark, I just feel comfortable with a light at night."

"Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to dredge up bad memories for you," she said, hugging him tightly.

Harry held her and, as usual, her presence calmed him. Slowly his breathing and heart rate returned to normal.

"What else is bothering you?"

Slowly he began to explain about his trip into Haven today and what happened when he went into the town hall to get something to eat.

"It was fine talking to Mr. Ollivander, but inside the town hall people seemed to think I was some sort of hero or something. People kept coming up to me trying to thank me, or touch me. I even had three fathers offer to let me marry their daughters like I was some sort of bloody caped hero from the comic books," he said in a frustrated tone.

Hermione frowned. Somehow she had to reach him about this. "I want you to think carefully about something. All of those people, the men, women and children that you met today, everyone one of them would have been sent to Azkaban, or maybe one of those camps we’re now hearing about. While most of those people are strangers to you, you did save their lives and the lives of their families.

"I know you hate it when people seem to make a big deal about who you are. I know you hate it when they put you up on that pedestal. But Harry, don’t you see it? The Boy-Who-Lived was a hero, Harry Potter turned the Boy-Who-Lived into a legend. I see Harry Potter, moody, sometimes very annoying, he’s drop dead sexy with a bum to die for. But I also see the Harry Potter that cared enough to spend his fortune saving the lives of people he doesn’t know. You, Harry Potter, are a hero on so many different levels. It embarrasses you, you wish you were ordinary. But you’ve never been ordinary and never will be.

"Now I want you to do something for me. From here on, I want you to nod graciously when someone thanks you, smile for them. They will never learn to love you like I do Harry, but you are a public figure and that means you have a private face and a public face," she said in conclusion.

Harry was silent through her short speech, watching her eyes carefully. It was one of the things she loved about him. Harry was all about eye contact, always. His eyes roamed her body now and then, but when they spoke like this, he gave her his undivided attention.

"In other words, get used to it, just don’t let it go to my head right?"

"Right!" she murmured against his chest.

There was a moment of more silence, then Harry had to ask. "Do you really think I’m sexy?"

They both started to laugh but Harry couldn’t help but grin wider as she slipped her hand into his boxers and gripped his bum tightly.


Malfoy Manor, that evening…

Lucius was in one of his best moods since the takeover of the Government. As far as he was concerned, things were going wonderfully. They had expanded from Azkaban and were building holding camps in two different locations to handle the overflow of people who needed to be locked up. That little endeavor was proceeding nicely. Then, to top off his day, there was the capture of Severus Snape.

He stepped into his master’s chamber and bowed low before Voldemort.

"Lucius, my servant. I was beginning to think you were more fond of the halls of Government than you were of my presence," Voldemort said softly. He reached down and stroked Nagini’s head as he watched Lucius.

"Never that, my lord. But your plans require meticulous attention to detail to ensure their success, otherwise I would be at your side constantly," Lucius replied in a worried tone.

Voldemort’s eyes smoldered as he considered his servant for a moment longer, then he motioned to Lucius to come closer. "Very well, what news do you bring me this evening?"

Lucius smiled thinly, then he clapped his hands twice. Two Death Eaters entered, dragging a man between them, and dropped him face down on the floor. Lucius knelt by the prisoner and grabbed a handful of hair.

"My lord, might I present to you the spy, our former potions master, Severus Snape," Lucius said, tilting Snape’s head so his face was visible.

Voldemort leaned back on his throne and smiled broadly. "You bring us a wonderful gift, Lucius. I am most pleased. Have you learned anything from him as yet?"

"Yes, my lord. According to Snape, Dumbledore had him researching Power Amplification Rituals in an attempt to figure out how Harry Potter became so powerful. Books and parchments taken from where he was hiding confirm he was researching those rituals. It seems he was concentrating on the ritual of Anthrokrak when we captured him."

"Anthrokrak? My Severus, you have delved deeper into the black magics than I would have expected. Perhaps this information will be useful to us. Secure him in the dungeon and make sure that someone reminds him of his pain at least once a day. But keep him sane. I think I want him to continue his research… under my supervision, of course."

"It will be as you command, my Lord," Lucius said bowing. Then he signaled to the two Death Eaters and they dragged the unconscious Snape from the room.

"What other news do you bring for me, Lucius?"

"Things are going well, my Lord. Anton is tracking down a rumor that a number of people we want locked up have somehow made it to Ireland, but that’s unconfirmed. Anton asks for your permission to send a company of his Aurors undercover in Ireland to ferret out the truth."

"Yes, yes," Voldemort said, waving a hand. "this is really a minor affair, but go ahead. I know Anton likes to play with his people. Let him chase down these rumors."

"Very well, my lord."

"Now, tell me what else is happening Lucius…"

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (April 14th)…

Harry looked up in alarm as the Great Hall rang with a bell like tone. His ward had just been triggered. He had been studying while Hermione talked with Professor Sinistra about an extra credit project she had been working on. Packing his book bag he stood and left the Great Hall.

He didn’t have far to go. Just outside the hall a small crowd was forming in the nearby Entrance Hall to the castle.   He carefully threaded his way through the crowd to the front to see what was happening. Pushing past Romany, he was surprised at what he saw.

Coming to the edge of the crowd he paused and took in the sight. Professor McGonagall stood facing down Lucius Malfoy and nearly twenty Aurors. Delores Umbridge stood next to Lucius.

"Minerva McGonagall, Headmistress of Hogwarts, you are wanted for questioning in the disappearance of Ronald Weasley. Deputy Minister Umbridge here will assume your position during your absence. And before you question my authority on the subject, the Minister has declared a state of emergency," Lucius said coldly.

Minerva frowned for a moment. "I always thought you should have been expelled, Lucius."

Lucius sneered at the older witch and motioned for two of his men to snap the anti-apparation manacles on her.

Harry didn’t stop to consider. He just moved forward. The two Aurors fell to their knees howling in pain and clutching their heads. Harry was in a difficult situation. He didn’t want to reveal his staff, so he was using it like a wand in its shrunk down state.

He threw up a shield between Minerva and Lucius and his men, then cast another spell that knocked them off their feet and pushed them back down the stairs to the courtyard.

"I will not permit this," Harry said coldly.

Minerva walked to Harry and put a hand on his arm. "Harry, we must observe the law."

"Not when it’s being run by a half blooded tyrant, Professor."

Lucius stood and snarled. "Take them both!" he shouted.

The crowd that had been forming moved back away from Minerva and Harry, leaving them alone in the center of the entrance hall as a hail of spells rained down on his shield.

Harry started to return fire using simple stunners, but so powerful they blew right through the shields of the Aurors.

Some of the Aurors panicked and began casting Unforgiveables. Minerva quickly transfigured some pebbles into boulders they could hide behind. Harry stood up and fired a return volley of stunners. He was about to crouch back down when a voice behind him shouted, "Avada Kedavra!"

Harry spun in time to see Dean Thomas pointing his wand at him. The killing curse struck Harry square in the chest and he collapsed to the floor, motionless.

"Diffendo!" shouted Romany, slicing Dean right through his neck.

"Avada Kedavra!"

Romany turned and tried to dodge, but the Auror fired spell hit her in the side and she collapsed. Half a dozen students began firing spells at the Aurors.

At that point another spell caught Umbridge, tearing out her throat. She pitched to her knees trying to stem the blood flowing through her fingers. Other students joined the fray, casting cutting hexes, explosive hexes, even several bat bogey hexes.

Two Aurors slid forward under covering fire and grabbed Minerva and Harry, then activated Portkeys.

Lucius snarled as more students joined into the fire fight and he was forced back from the entrance. "Return to the Ministry! We’ll come back with more men!" he shouted.

One by one the Aurors activated portkeys and vanished from the courtyard, taking their injured with them. A deathly silence befell the entrance hall as students and teachers began to understand exactly what had just happened.

Ginny and Draco were the first to find Hermione. She had arrived late, but had witnessed the fight. She stood staring at the large doorway, numbed by the shock of what she had seen.

"Hermione?" Ginny asked in a gentle voice.

"Hermione, come away from here. Let’s get you upstairs. There’s nothing you can do here."

She slowly focused on Draco. "He’s gone…" she whispered, then began to tremble violently.

Draco glanced at Ginny. "Help me get her up to her room. We’ll put her to bed, then we better contact Remus."

With Ginny and Draco supporting her, Hermione let herself be led away from the scene that would haunt her dreams for the rest of her life.

Author’s notes:

This will be a short Author’s Note. We’ve been experimenting with the reply to review feature and I replied to a fair number of people there. So lets have an informal poll. Do people want replies and comments to the reviews here? Or in the reviews themselves? All in favor say "Avada Kedavra".

Harry is not an animagus, nor will Fawkes return. Sorry. No, actually we’re not sorry. Harry being an animagus is old hat, we even used it in our last two stories. Not going to happen in this story.

It’s nice to know that we’re not only entertaining people, but also educating them! Now, what is the square root of Pi?

Yes Arthur did disown Ron. The problem is that it takes time for a name change to sink in. It was easier with Draco because he was there to remind people about it. Ron was too pissed about the change and didn’t want to remind people about it. But you know how Ron is. The Git.

Dumbledore is sliding down a slippery slope and will continue to slide down that slope.

Connie: We’re glad you made it through the hurricane in one piece. And even happier that you’re enjoying our stories.

Pet Peeves:

Person switching!!!! I hate this, it’s annoying, it’s dumb and it’s rare that you find a published book that uses more than one person’s point of view. I ran across one story that insisted on starting every chapter with Harry’s internal monologue before switching to a third person point of view. It was hard to read and even harder to understand. Very annoying and I really suggest people don’t do it.

  • Previous
  • Next