The day after the trial Harry was sitting with the others in one of the sitting rooms on the lower floors when Hermione finally managed to find time to get the answers she wanted.
“Harry, how did you know about the laws about underage magic?”
Harry glanced over from where he and George had been discussing the different pranks the twins had tried on Sirius and Remus. “Sirius taught me.”
“But why?” Hermione couldn’t believe Sirius would know anything about the laws. “Madam Bones handled everything for you. Why didn’t you let the rest of us learn too?”
Harry knew that Hermione wasn't trying to be self-centred, it was just her nature when it came to learning anything. “There was no guarantee that Madam Bones would assist me. I was nervous so Sirius thought it would help me calm down if I knew the different laws that I could use to protect myself.”
“How would he know about the laws?” Hermione questioned in confusion.
“Sirius was an auror.” Harry said in slight confusion, he knew Hermione knew that fact. “Part of being an auror is knowing the laws you are enforcing. He pulled out the old law books he had had to study during his auror training.”
Hermione was surprised by that slightly, she just couldn’t picture Sirius being so grown up. “Why didn’t you let the rest of us join you? We could have helped. I would have been happy to go over the books and give you a summary.”
“Hermione, it was me that needed to learn the laws, not you. You weren’t coming with me so you knowing the laws while I only had an overview of what you personally found interesting wouldn’t have helped me. I needed to be able to do it for myself, so Sirius taught me. If you want I can bring the books down from my room and you can go over them if you want.” Harry offered.
“Yes please.” Hermione said instantly.
“Why read the law books now? Harry’s trial is already over. There’s no need anymore.” Ron was confused.
“You may have grown up with these laws, but Harry and I didn’t.” Hermione huffed. “We need to know these things so we can stay out of trouble. The last thing Harry needs is to get in more trouble. You heard him during the trial.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Harry asked in confusion. “I stated I wasn't guilty and why, other than that I didn’t say anything until it was over.”
“You were rude.” Hermione practically screamed. “I know you might not like Minister Fudge and those like him, but there was no excuse for you to talk back to them.”
“I simply gave my opinion of their bigotry.” Harry narrowed his eyes at the girl. “I understand you have a slavish devotion to anyone in a position of authority Hermione, but that blinds you to the truth. Just because they have power doesn’t mean they can’t be wrong.
Remus and Sirius are the closest thing to family I have. And I don’t care who someone is, they go after my family they will have to deal with me.”
Getting up, Harry stormed out of the room.
“Well that was rude.” Hermione huffed as she glared at the open door. She couldn’t believe Harry had said things like that to her.
“Yes, it was rude to have a go at Harry for defending his family.” Fred said from where he was sitting looking through his and George’s prank book.
“Tell us, if they had attacked Remus because he was a half-blood, would you be defending them.” George added.
“Because it was his blood status they were using to attack him.”
“After all the times you’ve started yelling at people for belittling muggle-borns we figured you would have agreed with him.”
Hermione huffed again. That wasn't what she had meant. She just meant that Harry shouldn’t be rude to people. Yes, they had been wrong to attack Remus, but that didn’t excuse Harry.
Ron asked Hermione for some help on his homework. He knew that if he left it alone she would start to argue with Fred and George, and that would lead to a prank war, and that was the last thing the house needed.
After dinner Harry found himself back in Fred and Georges room. Both twins were frustrated and laughing.
They had tried to prank Sirius and Remus, but their prank had backfired. Neither of them could figure out how it happened. They were now dressed in muggle clown outfits, the charms had to wear off so all they could do was wait.
“How does this keep happening?” George muttered to himself as he thought through their plan. They had thought it was perfect.
“There just a former teacher and an escaped prisoner. Yes, they are both smart and clever, but they shouldn’t be a match for us.” Fred grumbled.
“A match, they’ve bested us every time.” George glared at their lab area.
Harry couldn’t help it, he laughed at just how put out the twins were at failing to prank Sirius and Remus. “Boys, if you want to prank those two you're going to need to step up your game.”
“What do you mean by that?” Fred and George said at the same time.
“What do you know?” Fred questioned suspiciously.
Harry smirked. “Sorry boys, but you never really stood a chance to prank them. You’ve gotten used to easy targets. But you see, Sirius and Remus are pranksters themselves and they’ve been at it much longer than you.”
“You think they can rival us?” George gasped in fake outrage.
“I know they can.” Harry chuckled at the twins. “You see, when they were at Hogwarts they each had a nickname, rather uninventive in my opinion, but they were just foolish children back then. Remus, the werewolf, was Moony, and Sirius, the dog animagus, was Padfoot.”
Fred and George just gaped for a few minutes. Harry went and grabbed the twins prank book to flip through while he waited for them to catch up.
“THEY’RE MARAUDERS?” The twins shouted as one.
“Yes, oh, and just so you know, my dad was a stag animagus they called Prongs.”
“YOU’RE THE MARAUDER HEIR?”
“Deep breaths boys.” Harry reminded them as he noticed they hadn’t been breathing and were looking closer to passing out.
“No wonder we can’t get them.” Fred muttered in shock.
“They’re prank masters.” George was much less embarrassed now. He had been worried they were losing their edge.
Harry smirked as he pulled out a book. “I got Kreacher to get this out of Sirius’s room for me. It’s a list of all the marauders pranks and their ideas. I figured we might find some inspiration in here.” The book was almost the same as the one they had sent him over the summer, but this one also included Sirius’s newest ideas.
Fred and George were looking at the book like it held all the answers to life before they rushed forward to join Harry in planning.
The next morning Harry, Fred, and George were down for breakfast early when they heard shouting. Sirius came running into the kitchen dodging a stinging hex from Remus.
Remus, for his part, was red and gold, from head to toe. Every inch of his skin was Gryffindor red. His hair, eyes, lips, and finger nails were all gold. And he was furious as he entered the kitchen. He was also entertained, but he wasn't about to let Sirius get away with pranking him, he would never get a moments peace if he did.
“I didn’t do it.” Sirius shouted from where he was hiding behind a laughing Harry. “I swear.”
Remus just released a low frustrated growl but sat down. He knew he would just have to get his revenge on Sirius later. His mouth fell open and he started to chuckle as he saw the results of Sirius taking a sip of the tea at his place.
For a few moments Sirius didn’t understand why everyone had started laughing at him, then he noticed his hand. It was Slytherin green, and his fingernails were silver. Getting up he ran to the mirror on the wall and saw he was in the same situation as Remus, but he was Slytherin themed rather than Gryffindor.
Turning, he gave a very put out glare to all those at the table. “Who is responsible for this travesty?”
Remus looked towards the twins. He knew that they had been trying to manage to prank them since they had arrived. Neither of the boys had been pleased that he had managed to stop every one of their pranks in his classes. He wasn't surprised to see the smug looks on their faces. What did surprise him slightly was the looks they were sharing with Harry, he knew Harry had the prankster nature in him, but hadn’t thought he felt that secure yet. Even if he was red, he was pleased Harry felt safe to prank them without worrying about them getting upset with him.
“Harrison James Potter.” Remus said giving the boy the sternest look he could at that moment. “Have you corrupted poor, innocent, Fred and George?”
Harry gave his best innocent look. “Me? I would never…”
“Oh.” Sirius was shocked but very pleased. “Don’t even try that look, we saw it too much on your dads face.”
Harry turned to Sirius and made his eyes bigger and was pleased to see Sirius practically melt.
“Ok, ok. You win.” Sirius said as he hugged Harry. “You do a very good puppy dog eyes, but don’t think for a second that means we won’t get our revenge. That goes for you two too.”
Fred and George grinned at the threat. A prank war with the marauders was just the thing they needed to liven up their summer. They also didn’t miss how proud Sirius was of Harry for pranking him.
“Yes, well done boys.” Remus grinned. “You finally managed to successfully prank us.”
“All we really needed…” Fred smiled across the table.
“Was the heir to marauder glory to assist.” George added.
From there it devolved into Fred and George trying to get as much information from the older two pranksters as they could. Molly made sure everyone knew she was displeased with the topic, but everyone had gotten used to her anger long ago so it didn’t stop them.
It was later that morning that Harry managed to convince Kreacher to bring up the clothes for the other kids. It would seem seeing Sirius in Slytherin colours put him in such a good mood he didn’t even feel the need to comment on anyones blood status.
Kreacher had placed different clothing in different rooms. The clothes that would fit Ron were placed in the drawing room the kids usually gathered in. Although Sirius only had a brother, his mum had collected some of the clothing that had belonged to his female cousins. The female clothing was put in the library for Hermione and Ginny to go through. And the clothes for Fred and George were in the ballroom that no one had managed to find yet, but Harry was sure Sirius would know where it was.
Arriving in the kitchen for lunch Harry smiled at the others. “I talked with Kreacher. He’s moved the clothing that will fit everyone upstairs. Rons is in the drawing room, Hermione and Ginny’s is in the library and Fred, George, and Sirius’s is in the ballroom. Do you know where the ballroom is Sirius? Oh, and he also brought up some clothes that would fit the adults and put it in the front parlour.”
Sirius was slightly surprised. He had completely forgotten the ballroom, but he also didn’t know why he was included in this. “I know where the ballroom is. But why is the stuff for me in with the twins, shouldn’t it be with the adult stuff?”
“Kreacher said that after the Ministry seized and sold your home after your arrest they just dumped all of your stuff on your mum. Everything that you had at the time of your arrest was just put in storage. Since you left when you were 16 there was only Regulus’s stuff that would fit the twins but since the stuff from your place was in storage he just added it since the twins are almost the same size as you.”
“My stuff is here?” Sirius questioned in excitement. “That’s amazing. I’ve been missing my riding jacket. I’m gonna have to talk to Hagrid to figure out what happened to my bike.”
“Why would Hagrid know what happened to your bike?” Hermione questioned in confusion.
“The night of the attack I went to the house to check on things. I talked with Hagrid. He was told to bring Harry to Dumbledore. I decided that would be the safest for Harry so I gave Hagrid my bike to get Harry away faster before I went after Pettigrew. I miss that bike.” Sirius finished in a wistful voice.
“What was so great about it?” Tonks questioned. She had decided to return to the house for lunch that day.
“It was a classic muggle motorcycle that I had enchanted to fly.” Sirius said in excitement, he had always loved talking about his bike. “It was great, took me forever to get done, but man… It was worth it.”
“Please don’t get him started.” Remus moaned. “I swear, it’s like that thing was the love of his life.”
Sirius pouted at his friend. “My bike was amazing.”
“You should talk about it with dad.” George suggested.
“He enchanted an old car to fly.” Fred explained when Sirius gave them, a quizzical look.
This got Sirius excited. When he learned that Harry and Ron had ended up driving the car to school in their second year he was thrilled.
As much as the kids wanted to go and look through the clothes they couldn't. Molly had refused to let them until after everything was checked for any dangerous spells, she had been slightly surprised when both Sirius and Remus had agreed with her.
So it was after dinner, when all the clothing had been deemed safe, that everyone got to look through the clothes.
In the drawing room Ron sorted through the clothes but he wasn't overly impressed. Ron had always wanted higher end, more expensive, clothes, but these were still second hand. More than that, he didn’t like the style. All the clothing was of a more formal nature. Ron wanted expensive clothes, but he wanted them to be comfortable like the loose jeans and t-shirts that he had. Everything was just so stiff and he felt like he was being strangled by the collar.
Hermione and Ginny were having a bit more success in finding things they liked, but there was far less for them to choose from. Both Sirius and Molly had agreed, nothing that had once belonged to Bellatrix was even added to what the girls could look at. Since the girls clothing had belonged to Sirius’s cousins, Walberga only had a few things for each of them, enough for a two week stay. It worked out well for the two girls as Hermione favoured the more conservative clothing Andromeda had favoured while Ginny liked the more girly style of Narcissa.
In the ballroom Fred, George, and Sirius were having a great time. Fred and George had taken a few of the more formal robes that had belonged to Regulus, but it was Sirius’s stuff that they liked the most. The three of them were putting on an impromptu fashion show as Harry and Remus fell over laughing at them. Harry had questioned just why Sirius had a purple feathered boa and a silver sequin jumpsuit, but Remus had just told him he had to wait until he was older to know about that while Sirius literally fell to the floor laughing.
Fred, George, and Sirius worked out who would get what. As much as Sirius wanted to pretend he was nothing like his mother, Harry couldn’t help but think he had the womans hoarder tendencies. The reason Kreacher had had to use the ballroom was because of the sheer amount. Sirius had a tendency to forget things everywhere he went so always made sure to buy duplicates. According to Remus Sirius was rather famous for forgetting his jacket behind every time they went out, because of that he had 3 dragon hide jackets so he could always have one to wear since it was his favourite.
They even had a bit of fun forcing Remus to try on a few things. Remus was graced with a rather loud wolf whistle from Tonks who had just been going past the room when they managed to force him into a pair of dragon hide pants. Remus had been bright red as Tonks announced he needed to get a few more pairs as she gave him a lecherous look before she carried on.
Sirius’s eyes lit up as he looked at his red faced and sputtering friend, he was going to enjoy using that to tease him mercilessly.
The next day Harry got dressed to leave the house. He knew it was going to cause another argument, but he didn’t care. Madam Bones had written that she had been in contact with the goblins and they had agreed on a time to go to Hogwarts. Harry and Remus were to meet Madam Bones and a few other Ministry officials, along with a contingent of Goblins at the front gates to Hogwarts at 9.
After talking about it with Sirius and Remus, Sirius had decided that he would be accompanying them in his Padfoot form. The other two had tried to talk him out of it since it was a risk, but Sirius would not be swayed, he was going to be there to protect Harry. In the end they gave in and agreed to take him with them since they knew that he would be there whether they agreed or not, it would just be safer if they knew what to expect.
“Ginny, Harry, you’re both going to have to change.” Molly announced while they were eating their breakfasts. “We will be working on cleaning out what I think was once an office. It’s absolutely filthy and you won’t want to mess up your nice clothes.”
While Harry was dressed to go out, Ginny was dressed to impress. That day Ginny had decided to wear one of the new dresses she had gotten. It was a soft pink dress that was more formal. Sirius thought he remembered Narcissa wearing that particular dress to the wedding of Lord and Lady Greengrass.
Ginny huffed and glared at her mum. She didn’t want to have to change, she liked her dress, it looked really good on her in her opinion. More than that, she didn’t want to clean.
“I’m going out.” Harry just informed her.
“YOU CAN’T!” Molly screamed. “How many times do we have to tell you Harry, it isn’t safe?”
“Harry and I have a follow up meeting with Amelia.” Remus said calmly. “And before you start on how it isn’t safe, the meeting will be taking place at Hogwarts.”
“Why at Hogwarts?” Hermione questioned. it didn’t make sense to her to have a meeting with a government official at a school.
“When I was meeting with Madam Bones she made me get a health scan to ensure there weren’t any problems from the dementor attack. She didn’t want to risk me dying after it was publicly confirmed that a member of the Ministry tried to kill me.
Apparently there’s still basilisk venom in my blood and that caused a few issues. When I explained about the basilisk she said it would need to be addressed. The Ministry needs to verify that it really is dead, so I have to take them down to the Chamber.”
“I want to go.” All the kids said at the same time, except for Ginny, she would rather never think of that disgusting place again.
“Not a chance.” Molly snapped at them. “Harry, sweetie, you really shouldn’t be going back down there. It just isn’t safe. There really is no need. I’m sure the Headmaster will handle everything.”
Harry sighed at the soft motherly tone Molly was using to try and convince him. “No, he can’t. Only I can open the Chamber. Also, if he was able to handle it, surely he would have already done so. Since he didn't, I guess it’s up to me.”
“We’re going with you.” Fred and George announced in hard voices.
“NO YOU ARE NOT!” Molly shouted at them.
“We are both legal adults.” Fred hissed at his mum.
“We can go if we want.” George added in the same tone before the two got up and left the room to get ready to go out.
Harry slipped away from Molly’s shouting in the kitchen to go and speak with the twins.
“We aren’t going to change our minds.” George told Harry once they were alone in their room,
“I wasn't even going to try, I have no desire to spend the rest of the summer being pranked.” Harry smiled before he got serious. “What I want is a promise from the two of you that you will play nice.”
“Play nice?” Both questioned.
“Amelia wrote to me about who was going to be there, and one of the people coming is Percy.” Harry told them.
“And you want us to play nice with PERCY!” The two gasped together.
Harry let out a sigh. “Look, I get it. I’m not exactly pleased with him and it isn’t my parents he went after. But he’s still your brother. More than that, I saw the look on his face when he heard that someone in the Ministry had tried to kill me.
You two may have never followed your parents in complete obedience to Dumbledore, but many of your siblings have. I mean, just look at how Ron has acted this summer. Percy spent his entire childhood being told to listen to authority figures. To him, that’s all he’s doing now, following blindly just like he was taught too.
If you go after him now, you may never get him back. He’s already starting to doubt, better to build on that doubt so you can have your annoying big brother back rather than lose him forever.”
Fred and George weighed this idea. While they were angry at Percy for how he had treated their dad, they did also understand somewhat. It wasn't like they hadn’t had a few screaming matches with their mum over the summer themselves.
“We won’t go after him.”
“Unless he comes after us.” Fred and George said.
“I can accept that.” Harry nodded.
Ultimately Fred and George ended up sneaking out through the floo as Molly had been standing guard at the door and the house was warded to stop anyone apparating in or out. Ron and Hermione had wanted to come too, but Molly had refused to allow them. But unlike the twins they weren’t legal adults and couldn’t just leave as they wanted.
While the twins were sneaking out, Remus had walked Harry and Padfoot out the front door, past an absolutely furious Molly Weasley, and side-along apparated Harry to Hogsmeade. Harry really didn’t understand why all the methods of traveling in the magical world had to be so horrible.
At the front gates to Hogwarts the four humans and one dog met with Amelia Bones, Kingsley Shackelbolt, Auror Dawlish, Percy Weasley, and a man named Carrick Rance, from the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, who all represented the Ministry. Along with them was a contingent of goblins and Bill Weasley and two other human curse breakers and ward masters.
After greetings were done the group made their way through the gates. They were almost to the front doors when they opened and Albus, followed by the four heads of house came out to see them.
“Amelia, what is the meaning of this?” Albus questioned in confusion.
“Albus.” Amelia greeted coldly, showing him the same amount of respect that he showed her. “We are here to address the Chamber of Secrets issue.”
“There is no issue.” Albus said with a soft smile. Inside he was furious, he didn’t understand how the woman knew, but then he spotted Harry. His eyes widened incrementally when he noticed Sirius, that must have been what Molly had tried to floo him about, but he hadn’t accepted the call as he didn’t want to deal with her nagging.
“So you don’t see an issue with the fact that you had a basilisk in this school attacking children and never bothered to report it. Something that you are legally required to do.” Amelia said with slight sarcasm in her voice.
“It was dealt with.” Minerva said defensively.
“Yes, by a 12 year old after multiple attacks. You might not want to use that as a defence for blatant negligence.” Amelia told them. “This will be one of the things we will be addressing at the emergency meeting of the school board that I called. The clear evidence of multiple years of negligence towards the students is a serious issue.”
“Really Amelia, all is well at Hogwarts.” Albus’s voice had grown fragile. “There really is no need for all of this.”
“Albus, all is most definitely not well. For Merlin’s sake man, you had a convicted Death Eater casting the imperius curse on multiple years of students and the wards didn’t inform the DMLE. There are supposed to be wards that react to a single casting of any forbidden spell. The fact we were not alerted shows just how unwell things are here. And that is before we take into account the complete travesty that was last year, culminating in the kidnapping of two students, one of whom was murdered.” Amelia was incensed having sat her niece down and talked about what had really been going on at the school. “If anything happens like what has happened previously I will be petitioning the ICW and the Wizengamot for a full investigation.
But that isn’t what we are here about now.” Amelia said after taking a calming breath. “We will be going down into the Chamber so the Ministry can verify that the beast truly is deceased. Then the goblins will make arrangements to harvest and remove it.”
“Hogwarts will be happy to negotiate the harvesting of the creature.” Albus said with a smile, he was sure there was a great deal that he could do with that money. There was a war coming after all, and as proven by the last one, wars weren’t cheap.
“No, Hogwarts will have no say.” Amelia gave a sharp smile. “If it had been the staff of the school who dealt with the issue, then you would have had a say. But since it was a 12 year old, he is the one that owns it. By right of conquest, the basilisk belongs to Heir Potter. He will be the one negotiating with the goblins, not you.”
Albus’s smile faded. How was he supposed to get control now? The boy was already angry with him and he couldn’t work on making peace with him without risking Tom finding out. He could already see that both Remus and Sirius were there and they also were standing against him more and more.
“Shall we?” Amelia looked at her group before moving forwards.
“May we accompany you?” Filius questioned excitedly. This was a chance to see the fabled Chamber of Secrets, and he didn’t want to miss that.
“If you wish.” Amelia agreed. There was no reason to stop them.
Once in the school, Harry guided everyone to the right bathroom. Myrtle was surprised by everyone coming and dove for her toilet. Harry just shrugged it off, used to the ghosts odd behaviour, and opened the sinks.
“How do we get down?” Amelia questioned.
“Well, last time we slid. It’s really dirty, and there are a lot of small animal bones at the bottom, but it’s fine.” Harry said.
“Why not try asking for stairs?” Severus drawled. “Surely one such as Salazar Slytherin would not have ‘slid’ into his Chamber.”
“I actually never thought of that.” Harry said thoughtfully and Snape scoffed. “Let me try something.”
Harry called for lights and a string of lights spiralled down the tunnel. It would seem simple voice commands would work. Moving forward he sat at the edge of the tunnel.
“I thought you were going to ask for stairs?” Bill questioned.
“Yeah.” Harry nodded. “Um, I’ll do that once I’m down there. It’s really far, and I don’t want to have to do all those stairs.”
With that Harry pushed himself forward and everyone heard as he cheered. He was almost instantly followed by a howl of joy as Padfoot went right after him. And that was swiftly followed by the shouts of fun as Fred and George jumped down together.
Remus let out a sigh. “I will go down and try and keep those idiots out of trouble.”
“I’ll join you.” Bill said.
“Me too.” Filius squeaked, he wasn't opposed to a slide.
“Anyone else?” Amelia questioned.
“I’ll go too just to keep an eye on things.” Kingsley sighed out.
“Once you're down have him try calling for stairs.” Amelia said with a wave. It was slightly concerning that she could still hear everyone as they went down. That was one long slide.
Remus went first, followed by Bill, then Filius, and Kingsley went last.
After sliding for a surprisingly long time, Remus finally arrived at the bottom and glared at the three teens and dog. “I swear, we are never telling any of this to Molly or I will kill all of you.”
Fred and George got a fearful look as they thought about just what their mums reactions to what they had just done would be. Not that they expected her to be exactly pleased when they returned to the house. They were both just glad that they had gotten Sirius to ward their room so they didn’t have to worry about her destroying their work again.
They were soon joined by the others. Once Kings had assured them no one else was on the slide Harry called for stairs. And just like with the lights, it worked.
“What shall we do while we wait?” Filius questioned as he joyfully looked around.
“Well…” Harry thought for a moment before he remembered something. “There’s a cave in a little further in. We’re going to have to make a way through if we all want to reach the Chamber.”
That idea didn’t take up as much time as Harry had thought it would. Between Filius, Remus, and Bill there was an arch formed in the rock fall within only 10 minutes. After that those who could use magic started to tidy up while Harry went and rested against a wall and chatted lowly to Padfoot.
In all it was almost half an hour for the group of humans and goblins to finally arrive, most of the humans huffing and puffing having had to go down so many stairs.
“Should have taken the slide.” One of the curse breakers muttered as he looked to Bill who just smirked.
Moving down the passage towards the main door, Pomona let out a little shriek as she saw the shed skin and just how large it was. Harry wasn't really paying enough attention to notice the looks on the faces of the adults as they glanced at him.
Harry just kept going. Opening the door, Harry guided everyone into the vast chamber. Moving forward he showed everyone in. He would have just kept moving forward towards the dead basilisk but he was grabbed from behind.
It was only then that Harry turned back and saw the terrified and pale faces of the witches and wizards around him, even the goblins looked startled and Harry hadn’t even known that was possible. Fred, George, and Remus had all grabbed him, and Padfoot turned and practically tried to climb him.
“Larger than we thought.” One of the goblins muttered as he and the others moved forward.
“I would have thought it would start to smell by now.” Harry said in confusion.
That seemed to snap Bill and the other human Gringotts employees out of their stupor and they started casting detection charms. Occasionally they stopped to confer with each other.
“I… I… I c… can co…confirm the b…basilisk is dead.” Carrick Rance stuttered out. The man looked like he was about to be sick or pass out, probably both.
Amelia turned a stony eyed glare onto the Headmaster. “Albus. Minerva. I think you and I need to have a discussion about student safety.”
Albus didn’t even protest as he and Minerva were dragged away from everyone else and Amelia set up a privacy ward. Harry thought it looked funny to see the woman clearly screaming at the two without being able to hear what they were saying.
Turning away, he started to watch the goblins work.
Percy Weasley was deep in thought as he walked from one end of the Chamber to the other. He was stunned at just how large the snake was. It was the fact that Harry Potter had fought that thing at only 12 years old to save the life of his little sister that was on his mind.
Things had gotten so screwed up. He had been so sure that Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter were lying, Harry had always told them such outrageous stories. But looking at the massive basilisk, he couldn’t help but realize he had actually underplayed what had happened.
He had been sure he was on the right side, but then Madam Bones had announced that a high ranking member of the Ministry had tried to kill Harry only a few days after his 15th birthday. What kind of person would do something like that?
At the beginning of the summer he had had a massive row with his parents about who to listen to. Percy had been so sure that the Ministry was right, but now he was second guessing that. Not that he was going to agree with Headmaster Dumbledore. Being in the Chamber just reminded him the man had allowed his 11 year old little sister to be taken down here.
He wasn't paying attention to where he was walking and ended up kicking something. Reaching down he found it was a little butterfly barrette he knew his little sister had once often worn.
“What have you got there?” Bill questioned as he walked over to his brother to see what had put that scared and sad look on his face. “One of Ginny’s barrettes.”
“She was just a little kid.” Percy muttered as he stared down at it. “How could something like this have happened to her?”
“I can’t answer that for you Perce.” Bill rested a hand on his brothers shoulders. He wasn't surprised when Percy looked up to him with tears forming in his eyes.
“I… I don’t understand any of this.” Percy just couldn’t figure out what was going on anymore. And for someone who had thrived in regimented control, not knowing was terrifying.
“Welcome to being an adult.” Bill sighed. He noticed that Fred and George had moved closer so they could hear. “Life is complicated.”
“Why are you being so nice after the fight I had with mum and dad?” Percy was confused.
Bill gave his brother a soft smile. “Look, do I agree with the things you said, not completely. Do I understand them, yes. Do you think Charlie and I never fought with them when we decided to leave for work? The only real difference was we put up silencing spells so none of you kids heard. I actually didn’t speak to them for weeks after I moved to Egypt. Charlie didn’t talk to either of them for 6 months after he left. Part of growing up is learning that your parents are just as human as everyone else.”
“I can admit I was mean, but I don’t regret the idea behind what I said.” Percy narrowed his eyes. “Albus Dumbledore isn’t perfect.”
“Look around you Perce, he allowed our little sister to be brought here and almost killed. I’m not going to argue with you on that. Despite what he and our parents might think, he is human and makes mistakes.
But those in the Ministry aren’t perfect either. They are just as flawed. Blind obedience to anyone is a very dangerous thing little brother. I know mum always told us not to question anyone in authority, but you really should. Don’t you two agree?” Bill raised an eyebrow to the twins.
“We do.” Fred agreed cooly.
“While we feel what you said to dad was out of line, we do understand it.” George said in the same tone as his twin.
“He has no ambition.” Percy said in frustration.
“He has ambition, but that ambition is to get his children educated.” Bill said before the twins could speak. “Percy, dad managed to pay for all of us to go to school. If he had tried to move up in the Ministry by moving to a different department then he would have lost his seniority and his pay would have been cut. Do you know just how expensive a Hogwarts education is?
Mum and dad are terrible with money. They also often make foolish decisions. But they do their best.”
“They always managed to make what little we had stretch enough for us all.” George said in defence of their parents giving Bill a confused look.
“Yes, they can make limited resources last, but whenever they do get any money they almost immediately throw it away. Look at what they did with the money dad won a few years back.” Bill said. “Both Charlie and I suggested that they invest it with the goblins. If that money had been properly handled it could have helped cover for half of your Hogwarts tuition through Ginny’s seventh year. Instead they blew it all on a two week holiday.
It isn’t that I didn’t like seeing you all, but it just wasn't responsible. I already had had plans to come home and visit. Instead I had to completely rearrange my work schedule because I was told you were coming only a few days before everyone showed up. I understand they wanted everyone to have some fun after what had happened with Ginny, but there were better ways they could have gone about it.”
Percy and the twins couldn’t deny that. They had enjoyed getting to visit Bill in Egypt, but they knew it had used up almost all of the money. What had been left was used on getting Ron and Ginny new wands.
“So what am I supposed to do?” Percy muttered.
“Think fo your self.” Fred said.
“Ask questions.” George added.
“You need to do what you think is right Percy.” Bill placed a hand on the twins shoulders to pull them back before they could break out in a big speech. “I’m not saying you need to beg forgiveness or anything. But just try talking to dad from time to time. I know our dear parents can be overbearing at times but they do it because they love us.
Just because they blindly follow Dumbledore doesn’t mean you have too. We certainly don’t.”
While the Weasley brothers were talking Harry was wandering around the Chamber. He hadn’t been able to explore and look for anything else the last time he had been there. This was his chance.
As he walked along the side walls Sirius was at his side. Sirius wasn't about to let Harry go off on his own, he was learning just how much trouble Harry was in the habit of finding. The last thing they needed was Harry finding something else deadly.
Gently dragging his hand along the wall Harry felt it. There was magic hiding something.
“Open.” Harry hissed in parsel.
Seeing that Harry had indeed found something Sirius turned and barked a few times before grabbing the back of his godsons robes in his mouth and pulling him back. Who knew what was in there?
“What have you found this time Harry?” Remus was the first to arrive, followed by a scowling Severus.
“I don’t know.” Harry shot a glare at his dogfather. “I tried to go in, but was pulled away.”
“Must you continuously prove you are a dunderheaded lion Mr. Potter?” Severus sneered. “The last people down here were the Dark Lord and someone possessed by the Dark Lord.”
With that little reminder Harry took a big step back. Harry knew he was reckless, but even he wasn’t that stupid.
Severus, Kings, Dawlish, and Filius were the first to enter the newly discovered area. It was a tunnel that lead up to an office. What confused them was that the windows in the office showed that they were up in the south tower but they had only walked up the tunnel for about a minute. It appeared they were in Salazar Slytherins private library.
What confused them was that nothing was touched. It actually looked as if Tom hadn’t been there. It got them to wondering just how much time Tom had spent down in the Chamber.
Filius, who had actually already been teaching charms at the time Tom had been at school explained that the Chamber had only been open for a week or so before Myrtle was killed. The boy had been a Prefect at the time so he had had less free time than the average student. Filius also mentioned that Albus had kept a close eye on the boy even before the attacks had started. Because of all that they just figured that he hadn’t had time to fully explore.
They looked all over but couldn’t find a door out of the library. It would seem the only access or exit was through the Chamber.
Everyone was excited as they started looking at the different names of the books. Many of these books had been thought lost to time. But both Filius and Severus were concerned, they knew Albus couldn’t truly be trusted with all that information. They knew that if he deemed them dark there was a risk that he would just lock the books away again if he didn’t just outright destroy them.
It was Remus’s idea that they bring Percy up. Percy, being the book lover that he was would never allow the loss of the books. They suggested that he report the findings to the Department of Mysteries since they would be interested in ancient knowledges that may be in the books. They also suggested that he tell the Department of Education, there was an office in that department that dealt with the printing and distribution of books. If they knew about all of these books they would want to copy them and make them available to the public.
As an added layer of protection for the books, once Percy had seen, they all left and resealed the passage. Thankfully, Dumbledore was still being lectured by Amelia, the woman was truly incensed by the danger the children, her niece especially, had been exposed to.
After that, Harry kept working his way around the Chamber, but now he was being followed by many others. Both Severus and Sprout had been overjoyed when they found what looked like a potions supply and prep room. Severus because of all the rare ingredients that had been perfectly preserved. And Pomona because there were cuttings and seeds from many rare, and a few extinct, plants that had also been preserved.
But the thing that really pushed Severus over the edge was when they found the lab. It was kind of horrifying to see a man like Severus Snape practically… giddy. Apparently some of the equipment was really rare and valuable. There was a cauldron made from elven white gold that would allow him to brew pure elixirs that were nearly impossible otherwise since all other types of cauldrons contaminated them at least slightly. But when he went over and reverently picked up one of the dozen or so journals he became confused, it was filled with nothing but squiggles and a few diagrams. Realizing just what he was looking at he went over to Harry to show it to him and asked him if he could understand it, he could. Severus let out a long suffering sigh since he was going to have to rely on the boy to translate the journals for him.
After layering the books in every protection spell he knew, Severus carefully collected one of them. He was not going to take any risks with the books. Who knew just what kinds of potions Salazar Slytherin had created? He was going to see if Potter would be able to work on translating at least one of the books so they could know just what kinds of things were in there.
Harry finished circling the room but didn’t find any other rooms. They even sent Severus up into the mouth of the statue to see if there was anything in there. All he found was some more bones from small creatures but there was nothing else. That room had apparently just been a nest.
Back in the main area of the room everyone watched as the goblins put the final touches on what they had been doing. The basilisk had been laid out and surrounded with hundreds of transfer stones.
With a push of their magic the full basilisk was transported to the harvesting room they had already had set up in Gringotts. It would make it so they wouldn’t have to keep going in and out of Hogwarts and needing Harry to open the Chamber every time.
Once that was done Harry was called over by one of the goblins to make the arrangements for how he would be paid. The Goblin, Taloncrusher, summoned a table for them to sit at. Sirius sat at Harry’s feet while Remus was on his left and Bill on his right to give him advice.
Harry was startled by just how much the basilisk was worth. He already had plenty of money thanks to his family, and he didn’t think he needed that much more. It was for that reason he decided to share it with those effected.
The goblin nation would be receiving 15% of the profits as they were the ones harvesting and selling it. Harry would get 10%. Those who were attacked, Filch, for Mrs. Norris, Colin, Justin, Hermione, and Penelope would each receive 10%. Hagrid was also going to be getting 10% since it had cost him his education the first time and landed him in Azkaban the second time the snake got out. The Weasley family would also be getting 10% since although Ron and Ginny weren’t attacked by the basilisk, it still did have a major effect on their lives. The remaining 5% would go to Hogwarts.
Harry had been more than a little conflicted about how he would handle Hogwarts in regards to the money. While Fawkes and the Sorting Hat had helped him, and Sir Nicolas was one of the victims, they weren’t the ones that would be getting any of the money. The money would be going to the staff, and Harry was still angry about what they had done that year. He had been attacked and bullied for months and none of them had done anything. No one on staff had said a single word in his defence, if anything the way Dumbledore had kept calling him into his office after each attack made him look more guilty to the students.
After talking it through with Bill and Remus they helped him to arrange a regulated account. The way it would be set up would be that a certain amount would be available to each department rather than just giving the Headmaster free rein with the money. Remus had mentioned that while he had been working at the school he found that Dumbledore often restricted money to certain departments to force the professors to alter lesson plans he didn’t like. Remus had had to pay for the capture of the different creatures he taught them about from his own pay rather than the school covering the costs, it annoyed Harry as he knew how hard it was for Remus to make money. Harry even arranged for the potions department to receive some of the basilisk as potions ingredients, he had seen just how interested Snape had been. Dumbledore had also apparently been blocking Mrs. Pince from being able to update the library so many of the books were out of date.
Severus, who had stopped by to hear what they were planning was thrilled. As it was he and Poppy ended up having to pay for much of the potions ingredients that were needed for him to brew the hospital wing potions from their own accounts. He also knew that Pomona had been trying to get the greenhouses expanded for years as she had taken to growing as much of the plant ingredients as possible to help them.
Leaving Harry and the others to their negotiations he went over to speak with Pomona and Filius. It would be better for as many of them to know as possible so it couldn’t be denied later. They all knew the reason their budgets were so small was predominately because of the school governors, but Albus did his own damage to their budgets with refusing to fund anything that didn’t follow his exact plans.
Madam Bones made her way over to join them with an extremely quiet Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall. When she learned that members of staff had been having to pay for supplies for the hospital wing and their classes out of their own pocket she was once again angered. It got even worse when Albus pointed out the school governors had refused to pay for the school wards to be updated in the past 20 years as a way to excuse why the DMLE hadn’t been alerted to the use of the imperious curse on school grounds, he had no intention of taking the blame for anything if he could help it. Amelia decided she was going to have to make sure there was the appropriate amount of attention given to the school governors and their actions.
A few hours after their arrival in the Chamber, everyone was walking back up the hundreds and hundreds of stairs.
After leaving Hogwarts Harry had had to go to Gringotts to finalize the paperwork and the others came with him since none of them wanted to return to Grimmauld just yet. For Fred and George this was their first trip out of the house since they had arrived just after the summer began.
So while Harry was in the bank with Remus and Sirius, Fred and George wandered around the Alley. While they could get most of their supplies brought in by those like Dung, it cost them a delivery fee along with the cost of the items.
But eventually everyone had to return.
As they had expected, it was loud when they returned. Ron, Hermione, and a few of the others who had heard where they had been going had plenty of questions and just shouted out over each other. And while that was going on Molly was in full lecture mode. Everything was just made worse as they were in the front hall and the portrait of Sirius’s mother was screaming over everyone.
“ENOUGH!” Sirius shouted once he managed to turn back. “We will answer your questions once we are settled in. We are in the front hall, please allow everyone to at least come inside before you attack.
We are going to go drop off a few things in our rooms and we will meet everyone in the kitchen when we are ready to talk. And when we do talk you will not be screaming over each other or so help me… We just won’t tell any of you a bloody thing.”
While Sirius was telling everyone off Fred and George had grabbed Harry and started pushing their way through the crowd of people, hexing anyone that tried to stop them. This resulted in more than a few people being changed colours and dancing away thanks to the dancing legs jinx.
They all went upstairs and took a few minutes to catch their breaths before they trudged downstairs. There was no way to get out of it and they knew it. But thankfully when they arrived in the kitchen Molly had used her temper for good and everyone was sitting quietly at the table.
The five of them spent the next 2 hours calmly explaining what they had done and seen. By the time they finished answering most of the questions Bill, Arthur, and Kingsley had arrived after finishing work.
“So who all was there?” Arthur questioned.
They all shared looks, but Bill decided to speak. He explained about the different people who had gone, but then he hesitated for a moment before plowing forward with true Gryffindor courage. “… And the Ministry representative that was keeping track of everything was… Percy.”
Molly let out a choked little sob while Arthur stopped reaching for his cup of tea. Arthur knew that if he picked it up he would either break the cup, spill the tea on himself, or both.
“And how is he?” Arthur questioned in a restrained voice.
“Conflicted.” Bill told them. “He was at Harry’s trial and saw everything. I think the idea that someone he works with tried to kill Harry is really messing with his world view. His blinders are off, and he’s trying to figure out what’s really going on. We talked a bit and he might come and talk to you at work.”
“He’s coming home!” Molly squealed.
“I didn’t say that.” Bill told his mother. “He is conflicted about the Ministry, but he is still an adult and has his own place. He told me that while he can acknowledge he was mean, he still doesn’t believe the same things as you do. Percy has always been ambitious, he isn’t going to change that now. I think he will be more willing to talk with you, but you can’t force him to just blindly agree with everything you say.”
Arthur nodded, pleased Percy was starting to think for himself and he could accept their opinions were different. He had had enough talks with Bill to understand that his children weren’t just going to agree with everything he, their mother, or the Headmaster said. Even he had been questioning certain things lately.
“He needs to come home.” Molly announced, she missed her little boy. “Once he comes home we can show him the truth.
“Mum, you need to back off. You can’t dictate Percy’s life anymore than you can dictate mine. If you start trying to force your views on him he will just pull away again.” Bill told her. “Plus, we aren’t at home. If Percy were to go home, he would be at an empty house.”
Molly harrumphed, she didn’t like when her children disagreed with her, she was their mother, they were supposed to listen to her. It still broke her heart that her three eldest had left home, and she knew Fred and George were going to foolishly follow in their footsteps at the end of the next school year. Yes, Bill had come home when needed, and Charlie was helping them make international allies, but it still wasn't right, they should have stayed close to home so she could keep an eye on them and introduce them to appropriate girls.
After that talk turned away from the touchy subject of Percy and the family drama.
After dinner Harry, Sirius, Remus, and Bill requested to see Mr. and Mrs. Weasley in one of the cleaner drawing rooms.
“What is it you wished to talk about Harry dear?” Molly questioned as she and Arthur took their seats.
“When we went down to the Chamber today we brought some goblins with us. They’re going to harvest the basilisk and sell it for me. Apparently since I killed it I own it. I decided to share the profits with all those who were effected by what happened. Since Ron and Ginny, were both involved in that mess I decided to give your family a cut.” Harry told them slightly embarrassed, he always felt uncomfortable talking about money.
“Harry dear, there really is no need for that.” Molly smiled at the boys kindness. “Besides, I know your dad had a decent job and left you a bit of money to get you started, but you are going to need to make sure you have enough to help support yourself after school before you get a job.”
“Mrs. Weasley, have you ever heard of Sleekeazy's Hair Potion?” Harry questioned.
“Of course dear.” Molly ran a hand over her own hair. “It’s one of the most popular hair care products in the world.”
“It was invented by my grandfather. My dad worked because he wanted to, not because he had too. My grandfather patented everything he created. The vault I have right now is just the trust my parents set up for me when I was a baby. Once I come of age I’ll have access to the family vaults. While I plan to find a job after school, I don’t need too.
The money from the basilisk isn’t of interest to me. That’s why I decided to share it with those that were hurt that year. Bill has all the information about the vault the goblins have set up for you. I just wanted to be the one to tell you about it so you knew it was my idea. No one made me do anything I didn’t want to. Bill and Remus helped me to negotiate the deal to make sure I wasn't taken advantage of.” Harry assured them before he excused himself and left quickly.
“So what kind of information is it you have for us Bill?” Arthur asked in a bemused voice after the door had closed.
Bill pulled out the paperwork to explain things to his parents. Since he knew what they were like with money, and knew that both Ron and Ginny were the same, Bill had gotten Harry to agree to certain arrangements for the money going to his family.
The money would be going into a family account. The main vault was in his parents names. But there were also smaller side vaults for each of the kids that were cumulative. It would be up to their parents to determine how much money they received each month similar to an allowance. It would allow them to add money each month, if they wanted too, allowing the amount in the vault to build up rather than the self refilling vaults that refilled to the same amount regardless of how much had been in it before.
He also made sure to emphasize that they needed to be responsible with the money. Ron and Ginny needed to learn how to properly manage money so they were going to need to lead by example. If they, as adults, couldn’t be fiscally responsible, then they couldn’t expect the children to be.