Harry and Percival whiled away the afternoon hours in the library before emerging into the, now, brightly lit, parlour where they found Ron sitting on the couch staring at the place where Cedrella Weasley, nee Black, had been burnt from the family tree. Unfortunately, she hadn’t been restored when Sirius had repaired the tapestry. It was odd to see the normally gregarious boy sitting quietly by himself. He blinked rapidly as they emerged into the room with him.
“This is where you’ve been hiding? Seriously all that fuss and you’ve been in ruddy the library the whole time!”
Harry grinned sheepishly. “Is Hermione still trying to find out where we’ve been?” Ron nodded, grinning at Harry wince.
“Yeah, she wouldn’t stop going on about it. It was ruddy annoying actually. Which is why I’m hiding in here. They checked the library earlier and couldn’t find you, so they left. Even your bedroom isn’t safe Mate.”
“Yeah about that Ron,” Harry rubbed a hand through his hair absent mindedly. “Sirius has come up with another option for us. He’s convinced Kreacher to move us into the room next to his.”
“Blimey. Really?” Harry nodded, “That House Elf hasn’t let anyone near that room since we arrived!”
“Yeah well, he’s been convinced now, so if Percival and I move up there, you can move back to your old room and have it to yourself again.”
Ron grinned, “And the girls won’t know where you’ve gone at least for a day or so, so that you’ll get some peace and quiet, yeah?”
“And see that right there is why you’re my best mate!” Harry tried to sling an arm around Ron’s shoulders but due to the height difference couldn’t reach and ended up with it wrapped around his friend’s torso instead. Ron pushed the arm off, grabbed Harry around the neck, bent him forwards and rubbed a hand harshly over his hair, making it messier than usual.
“Oi, leave off!” Harry a squirming complained.
Ron released him, and moved to the door, before he turned the handle he glanced back at Harry, “You still on for tomorrow?” he sked quietly.
Harry nodded, and Percival replied, “Yeah we have to be out of here before eight. We’ll need to use the floo.”
The three teens poured through the doorway and led by their growling stomachs headed straight for the kitchen.
Unusually the kitchen was shrouded in silent darkness, there was no fire in the grate and the sconces weren’t lit. Mrs Weasley was nowhere to be seen. Harry looked at the floor guiltily, correctly assuming that this was a consequence of the argument that had taken place that morning. Percival reached out a hand and rubbed Harry’s neck, murmuring that it wasn’t his fault.
Harry frowned determinedly, he’d caused this he could at least deal with it! “Dobby, Kreacher!” he called, his voice only catching a litte.
Sirius entered and stopped as he heard Harry’s voice. The House Elves popped into existence before the boy.
“Master Harry called Dobby?”
“Halfblood,” the rest of what Kreacher was going to say devolved into inaudible mutterings at a sharp look from Sirius.
“Ok, Kreacher first. What food is there in the house to prepare for dinner? There needs to be enough to feed at least a dozen.”
Kreacher muttered a little while longer before answering, “There be fish, and lettuce, tomatoes….”
“Fish and salad then, would you mind placing the ingredients out on the bench for me? Later I would like it if you’d show me where to find everything, please. Dobby would you mind helping me make dinner?” Dobby nodded happily. Harry paused in thought, “What do you eat Dobby?”
“House Elves eats leftovers of Master’s foods or special berries growing in magic places.”
“Do you have enough?” Dobby nodded. “Ok, just let me know if you don’t, so that we can fix that ok?” As expected Dobby burst into tears, Harry patted him gently on the head and directed him into the kitchen.
“He really is incredible, isn’t he,” Sirius said proudly watching the boy prepare their dinner. Ron and Percival hummed their agreement.
“I’ll need help with the charms to keep the food fresh if you know them Sirius. Bill said he’d be late today and who knows when Mrs Weasley will feel like eating,” Harry said as he plated up the last servings, ensuring that he had two small plates set aside for the Elves.
Sirius approached the bench, “Now it was your Mother that taught me these charms Harry, so I want you to pay close attention. You can look them up when you get to school and practice them there.”
He waved his wand over each plate, carefully designating which areas were to be kept cool and which warm, Harry watched him avidly. Just as Sirius was finishing, the floo flared green and Mr Weasley strode out. Grabbing two plates, Harry began to carry them to the table.
“Dobby could you set out the cutlery please? Ron could you let the others know that dinner is ready? Sirius, Percival would you find the cups and water jugs please? Mr Weasley, I think Mrs Weasley would appreciate it if you visited her first.” Mr Weasley nodded and hurried up the stairs in search of his wife.
A thundering down the stairs heralded the arrival of Ron with the twins, Ginny and Hermione all following him. Ron entered the room and without any fuss took a seat at the table while the other teens, stopped on the bottom stair in confusion.
“Where’s Mum?” Ginny asked, looking around curiously.
“Not sure,” Sirius stated, elegantly raising one shoulder. “However, it was getting on to tea time and it’s only fair that she should have a rest, so Harry volunteered to cook.”
The twins crossed their arms and looked at Harry clearly doubting the statement, “You made this Harrykins?”
“Really Harry!”” Hermione admonished, “It’s not even a funny joke.” She scowled at Sirius as she pulled a chair out from the table not bothering to lift it fully and making the legs screech against the floorboards.
“Well believe us or not, it’s up to you,” Sirius frowned at them. “Regardless this is dinner and it’s all that will be provided so you might as well sit down and eat it.”
From his place between Percival and Ron, Harry sat looking at his plate, a sour feeling growing in his stomach, “I think I’ve lost my appetite.” He reached a hand out to push his plate away, but Percival rested his hand on Harry’s forearm and Ron gripped his shoulder on the other side.
“Just eat a little, who cares what they think? We all saw you make it.” Ron stated quietly.
Harry pulled back his plate and encouraged by Ron and Percival began to eat, ignoring the various comments made by Ginny and Hermione. Not long after that, Bill appeared and sat down without ceremony to begin his meal.
“This isn’t Mum’s food,” he said after a few mouthfuls. Inspecting the piece fish, he had speared with his fork. “And it hasn’t been made by House Elf magic, so who do I have to thank for dinner?” He glanced expectantly towards the girls.
Ginny raised her hands in the air, “Don’t look at me, you know I’m useless with house hold charms.”
The twins glanced consideringly at Harry, “Harrykins said earlier….”
“That he cooked…..”
“But we want to know….”
“If he can cook, then why…”
Harry slammed his cutlery down onto the table and pushed back his chair with a sharp scrapping sound. Not making eye contact with anyone he left the room.
“Seriously, you know how they treated him. You’ve seen how thin he is at the start of each year. Is it any stretch of the imagination to assume that they would make him cook and then deny him food?” Ron said sharply.
The twins winced.
“Really Ron, you shouldn’t be encouraging his behaviour. You’re enabling him!” Hermione crossed her arms and rocked back in her chair. “Of course, dinner was made by your Mum. Bill can’t possibly tell who made it! That’s ridiculous. She obviously knew she would be busy and made it earlier, preserving it under some charms until it was time.”
Bill looked at her with a raised eyebrow but didn’t say anything. Clearly there was something going on here that he wasn’t aware of, he would have to ask one of his brothers later.
Ron scowled stubbornly, “Hermione you didn’t grow up with Bill so you don’t know what he can and can’t do. And you weren’t in the kitchen when dinner was made, so again you didn’t see what happened. Just because you didn’t see it doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.”
Hermione huffed and got up leaving her empty plate and dirty cutlery behind on the table as she retreated to her room. Ginny followed her.
Turning to Ron, Bill asked, “So what’s going on?”
Ron groaned and dropped his head to the table with a thunk, “To make a long story short, Mum and Harry had a fight today, the twins and I sided with Harry. So Mum’s spent the entire day in her room. At least with think she is as we haven’t seen her. Dad went in to talk to her.”
“Was she honestly in the wrong?”
“She got mad at him for speaking to his ‘Mother’ poorly.” Bill could hear the inverted commas. He loved his Mum a great deal, but she did try to mother anyone that entered the house whether they wanted it or not.
Bill winced, “I bet that went over well.”
“About as well as can be expected, especially when she followed it up by telling him not to lie about how he is treated at the Dursley’s.”
Bill was a bit confused by that, as the subject hadn’t come up in any of the letters his brothers had sent him over the years, so Ron had to explain a little of what he had seen and observed about Harry’s home life.
“I notice that third member of your trio doesn’t seem to be siding with Harry?”
Ron groaned, straightening up enough to put his elbow on the table and rest his chin in the palm of his hand, “That’s another thing. Harry and Hermione had a fight too.” A raised eyebrow encouraged him to continue. “Normally Harry doesn’t get much if any of his homework done in the summer and he has to do it on the train. This year was an exception. Only Hermione didn’t believe him, so she told him to stop lying. And then when he wouldn’t back down she insisted that she should go over what he’d done to fix it for him, because he obviously hadn’t done it right. He admitted that he’d been a bit rude, but he’s apologised for the way he spoke to her. Only now he’s started noticing other things that she does. Like wanting to know where he is all the time, what he’s eaten, everything. She’ll just wander into our room at any time, even the bathroom. It’s a bit much.”
Bill reached out and ruffled his youngest brother’s hair. “Geroff Bill!”
“Seriously though Ron. How are you doing?”
The younger boy shrugged, “It’s hard, I like Hermione. I really do. The things she’s been saying, I’d never thought about it before, and well Harry’s right. She wouldn’t say those things if she thought he was smart. She really shouldn’t be telling him what he can and can’t do, she’s a friend not his mother. It’s hard ‘cause I’m stuck in the middle, and she talks to me the same way but what can I do?”
The taller boy reached out and gave his brother a hug, “Be calm, be patient, be the voice of reason,” he advised.
“Bill, this is me you’re talking to, be serious!”
“You’ll figure it out Ron.”
A footstep sounded and Mrs Weasley entered the kitchen, “Right well, I know it’s a bit late, but I’ll just get something started.” She bustled over to the stove.
“It’s all right, love,” Arthur said in a calm voice as he entered the room behind her. “Dinner’s already been done, you can take the night off.”
“But I…..” she looked around at the two places still set at the table. “But who….?”
“Harry cooked,” Bill said. “It’s all under preservation charms. Come on Mum, you deserve a night off,” he encouraged her over to the table.
Percival had followed Harry out of the kitchen, unsure what the other boy was feeling. After a brief search he found his friend had retreated to the Master bedroom and was grooming the hippogriff. Harry looked up as the door opened.
“The first thing I want to know,” Percival began as he shoved his hands into his pockets, “Is why is there a hippogriff in the main bedroom?”
A surprised smile emerged on Harry’s face, it gave way to a chuckle and then a somewhat hysterical laugh. Eventually he calmed, “In my third year there was an incident in class, the result of someone ignoring the teacher’s instructions that meant that Buckbeak was slated for destruction and as my Godfather escaped from Azkaban. Sirius was re-captured at Hogwarts, when the real culprit escaped. They were arranging for him to receive the dementors kiss, when the Headmaster told Hermione that we needed more time. She revealed that she’d been given a time turner in order to attend all the available classes that year. Yeah it’s kind of shocking that isn’t?” Harry correctly interpreted the expression on Percival’s face. “Anyhow we used it to go back three hours to rescue both Buckbeak and Sirius and sent them on their way to freedom together. I guess he didn’t know what else to do with him and given he was feeling slightly irreverent towards his parents when he moved in,” Harry shrugged. “I guess we should look for somewhere more suitable for Buckbeak to stay now.”
A hand reached out and pressed Harry’s shoulder down, “I really need to get you out of that habit. You’ll be the Head of a prestigious House, you should be elegant…..”
Whatever else Percival was going to say was lost amongst Harry’s laughter, “Me elegant!”
A pleased ‘Well done’ was fed directly into Percival’s mind. “We’ll have to work on it.” He paused just for a moment, as Harry resumed patting the beast. “You should know it’s ok to be angry. Or sad. Even though she’s your friend it’s ok, not to like her very much right now, and you can even change your mind about it again later, if you’d like.” He received a nod in response. “Come on, say goodnight to Buckbeak, we’ve got a new room to check out.”
Hedwig was very pleased with the new room. It had a specially charmed window that allowed her to pass through it without the need to bother her wizard, not that he had ever minded being woken to let her in, but she knew he needed his sleep. She appreciated the new bed as well; the headrest was just the right size for her to grip and the dark green canopy and curtains created a nice dark nest. It was ideal for sleeping any time of the day. Yes, this room was much more acceptable for her wizard, certainly better than the cold bare nest where she was locked up in her cage. She was also glad that he had a new nest mate, his old ones were far too loud. She couldn’t sleep during the day because the bushy-haired female chirped non-stop and during the hours of darkness, well if the noises that the red-haired one emitted were anything to go by, there was something very wrong with him! The new one gave her treats. Yes, this quiet nest mate, was much more acceptable. With that last thought Hedwig tucked her head under her wing.
The morning light sluggishly flickered across the face of the boy on the camp stretcher disturbing his sleep. Beside him on the canopied bed, a smaller dark-haired boy was caught in the throes of yet another nightmare.
“Oh Harry,” Percival sighed as he rolled onto his side and pushed himself off the mattress. It was almost second nature now for him to lift Harry’s hand and place it over the Tattoo. If one of his Aurors had presented like this he would have had them to the mediwitch before they could say Quodpot! It was a miracle the boy could even function. He added it to the list of things to discuss with the healer.
“Perce?” Harry said in a sleep slurred voice, that drew a smile onto Percival’s face.
“You know Seraphina is the only who has ever given me a nickname before.”
“Nearly 40 years and no nickname, ‘ats terble,” Harry teased sleepily.
“Come on up you get,” Percival encouraged. “You get to meet ‘Phina today and she has all sorts of things planned so we can’t be late.”
Despite Harry trying to bury himself in the pillow again, they managed to get changed, and be down to the kitchen before the rest of the house was awake.
“I wonder if Mrs Weasley will be cooking again today?” Harry mused. He looked over at Percival and suggested shyly, “I could get breakfast started if you like?”
Percival smiled softly, “I actually know how to cook. I didn’t ever have a House Elf.”
“Should we make enough for everyone? Or do you think Mrs Weasley would be upset?”
“I…..” Percival didn’t bother continuing to reply as Harry had bent over and was rummaging through the cupboards. When Harry reappeared he said, “let’s just make something for us.” The messy head nodded, without looking up from where the thin hands were busy cracking eggs into a pan. The hob lit automatically as soon as the pan was placed on the stove top.
“That’s awful convenient,” Harry commented.
Percival grinned fully this time, “That’s magic.” A poked tongue was his only reply.
By the time the boys were seated at the table consuming their eggs on toast, they could hear stirrings higher up in the house. They had nearly finished eating before the first person made their way into the kitchen. Unsurprisingly it was Mrs Weasley. She starred at them for a moment but continued on to the kitchen cupboard and began taking out pots and pans. Harry slipped passed her to put the plates into the sink, which he began to fill with hot water.
“Kreacher, could you point out where the dishwashing liquid and a sponge is please?” Harry asked the air.
With a Pop a small glass bottle appeared on the bench with a wash cloth beside it. Harry picked it up and read the label, then added three drops of the potion into the water and stirred vigorously for ten seconds as per the instructions.
“Thank you Kreacher,” Harry said as he began cleaning the dishes. He left them on the dish rack to dry.
The silence in the kitchen was an uncomfortable prickling on his skin and Harry decided it would be best to address the issue with Mrs Weasley before anyone else was present.
“Mrs Weasley,” she froze at the sound of his voice. “I just wanted to tell you that I am sorry for the way that I spoke to you yesterday. I really have appreciated the things you have done for me, taking me into your home and sending me gifts, but no-one will ever replace my Mother.”
“Oh Harry. I’m sorry love. I didn’t mean it like that….I….,” she burst into tears and threw her arms around his neck.
Harry didn’t know what to do, this was just as uncomfortable as the silence. He looked over her shoulder at Percival with doe-like eyes. Percival was grinning at him wickedly, but eventually mimed giving her a hug. Harry wrapped his arms around her awkwardly.
“Just so you know Mrs Weasley, I may be able to throw a meal together, but it’s nothing to compare to your cooking, Bill knew right away you hadn’t made dinner.”
The compliment didn’t have the desired effect as she began sobbing again. When, to Harry’s relief, the tears subsided she said, “None of my children have been interested in learning how to cook,” as she dried her eyes on the corner of her apron.
Harry couldn’t help but interrupt, “Not even Ron?!”
She gave a tear stained smile, “As if that boy would take on extra work. If you would like, I could teach you?”
He took it as the olive branch it was intended to be, “I think that would be nice Mrs Weasley. It isn’t fair that you have to do all the work cooking for everyone.”
“I don’t mind the work, but with so many mouths to feed, I can admit it would be nice to have a hand.” She gave him a tight squeeze, pulled a handkerchief out from the front of her dress and wiped her face. “Now I’d better see to breakfast for the rest of them.” With that she returned to bustling around the kitchen.
As the room filled Harry wondered what Ron had planned as a distraction to enable them to escape the house un-noticed. In the end whatever it was, it wasn’t needed as there was a loud crack by the front door and a wizard ran into the kitchen.
“Molly there was an attack last night,” Shacklebolt said. “Hestia Jones was injured. Did you clean up a room to act as an infirmary yet?”
Throwing the tea towel over her shoulder Molly nodded and bustled Kingsley out of the room. When Ron glanced up he noted that Harry and Percival had already disappeared, and tucked the dung bombs he had stolen from the twin’s trunk back into his pocket.
Percival stepped out of the floo, after three other stops, into the parlour of Seraphina’s apartment. Despite being one hundred and eight years old Seraphina Picquery was still as elegant as she had been on the last day that Percival had seen her. He couldn’t stop staring at his old friend, as she sat a cup on the side table and stood up to greet him.
“Percival,” her voice still held the rich tones it did in her youth but had mellowed a bit with her age. “I am sorry.” She wrapped her arms around him and gave him a hug. “I knew something wasn’t right but, you were pulling so many hours looking into, what we later discovered was an obscurial that I put it down to tiredness and stress, in fact the man avoided me mostly.”
“Obscurial?” Percival choked out. Now the thought had been put in his mind he wondered how close Harry had come to becoming an obscurial. He pushed the thought to the side and returned his attention to his friend.
“Yes, the attacks around the city,” she drew back to look him in the eyes.
He shook his head, “the last thing I remember from the streets was the day the Christoferson case went wrong.”
Her face dropped in horror, “that long? Percy that was months!”
“I know,” he responded dryly as he stepped away from her to turn and look for Harry, who was now standing in front of the fireplace covered from head to toe in soot and blinking owlishly.
With a laugh, Seraphina produced her wand and waved it to clean away the dirt, “Hmm,” she considered the shorter of the two boys. “We’ll have to practice that. You should be able to manage a wandless cleaning spell, they work easier on oneself. Now how about some breakfast?”
Harry’s gaze dropped immediately to the floor. Seeing this Seraphina glanced at her old friend, who stepped into Harry’s personal space.
An index finger was inserted under the boy’s chin and his face was raised, “Harry,” Percival said gently. “It’s ok, ‘Phina will understand, besides we’ll be here a while, there’ll be no waste, she won’t be angry.” Green eyes flickered to their host, who nodded her agreement, even though she was unsure why the boy was acting ashamed. Percival turned back to her, “I’m sorry to admit I forgot about breakfast and we ate before we left, though it was early, so I expect we’ll be hungry again by the time the Healer is done. I recall fifteen was a rather hungry age.”
The ex-president of MACUSA, laughed, “You look exactly as you did at school you know, it’s rather startling.”
With a nod Percival said, “I could say the same, except for the grey hairs.”
“At least come and join me for tea,” Seraphina indicated the tray that she had placed her cup on earlier.
A chime sounded interrupting their chatter, with a quick tempus Seraphina checked the time, “Ah that would be the healer.” They all stood, and Harry took an instinctive step back behind Percival.
The man who entered the room, wore a long black fitted frock coat with two rows of silver buttons down the front, his hair and beard were dark with a smattering of grey and trimmed close. All in all, he exuded a confidence that made Harry relax, just a little bit, in his presence.
“Is this my patient?” he stopped in front of Percival and looked him up and down. “No? You mentioned glasses.”
With a sideways step Harry made himself visible, “It would be me you’re here to see Sir. I am sorry for the inconvenience,” he said softly as he found himself being scrutinised.
“Yes well,” there was a barely perceivable eye flick towards Harry’s scar, “I can now see why the extra precautions have been taken,” and without further preamble the man pointed his wand at the ceiling. “I, Addison Baldric Hedgerow swear, that no information with regards to my patient Harry James Potter, will be passed by me through word, deed or thought to any other human, being or creature. All information given to me by Harry James Potter will be included in this sacred vow, so I swear, so mote it be.”
The magic of the vow began to wrap around the pair.
“I, Harry James Potter, swear that all information that I give to Addison Baldric Hedgerow, will be the truth as I know it, neither will I conceal any information that is pertinent to my treatment from him. This shall last until he deems me healed. So, I swear so mote it be.” There was an audible click as the vow locked into place.
“Right then,” Addison appeared a bit startled by Harry returning his vow. “I will get you to lie on the couch, on your back if you would.” Addison conjured himself a low stool as Harry lay down.
It had taken more than an hour for the healer to complete his examination, and another for him to create a holistic treatment plan. It started with him giving Harry several critical vaccinations that he should have had his first year at Hogwarts. A lot of the treatment would be managed with potions, so he had written out a long list for Seraphina, who as the only adult present had to arrange delivery. It appeared however that Harry’s scar was more than a simple curse scar. It was revealed to be a very small piece of someone else’s soul! Into the shocked silence that followed the diagnosis Harry was made to recount the events of the night his parents had died. Addison had also taken a copy of the memory to examine, as Harry sat clutching desperately at Percival’s hand. The healer was fairly sure that he had heard of a ritual that could be used to remove it, but he wanted to be absolutely certain before suggesting anything.
The discovery also changed the plans Percival had for teaching Harry occlumency. Shields for defending against external attack were one thing (and still very much required as evidenced by Dumbledore’s actions) but half Harry’s problems could be originating from that soul piece, especially if it maintained any connection to the active component of the soul. Harry swallowed and stuttered his way through admitting that he was sure some of the nightmares he suffered were actually visions, and how he had weird emotional outbursts that seemed not to come from anything he was feeling. Healer Addison listened quietly taking in every word that Harry said. In the end he admitted that the situation was unusual, and he would need to research it further before they could fully comprehend all the affects it was having on Harry, (though he thought that distractibility, visual impairment and diminished comprehension might be included) and what the best course of action might be. Just to rule out anything else he took a sample of blood to check for potions, with an additional vow covering its use and destruction.
As he was packing up, Percival pulled the Healer aside, so he could discuss potential treatment of Sirius Black. With discerning eyes, Addison inspected Percival’s face. “So, this man survived a dozen years in Azkaban, and appears sane?”
“Not so much fully sane, but mostly. He seems quick to anger and confuses Harry with his father at times. Though I don’t know what he was like beforehand. Physically he hasn’t recovered much as he has been on the run. He and Harry had a disagreement which has caused him to focus on his actions and he says he is working on improving his Occlumency, I believe both are helping.”
“And you feel this criminal is safe to have around Britain’s Saviour.”
Percival gave him a flat look, “It is as if the whole world has forgotten the vow that a man must make to become a Godfather.”
Addison stilled, “You are correct, I had forgotten. That raises the question of whether he took the vow, performed the ritual or is Godfather in name only.”
“There is also the fact that before the attack that night, the man had been responsible for apprehending nearly a dozen Death Eaters, even with Dumbledore’s no harm policy. There are many things about the situation that are suspicious,” Seraphina said as she joined them. “Including why Dumbledore vouched for Severus Snape and not for Sirius Black who was known to be a member of his ‘Order’ and from all appearances had been James’ brother in all but blood since their first year in school.”
“Are you implying that the wizard who captured Grindelwald, is….”
The elegant woman shook her head, “No, I have had dealings with Dumbledore before through the ICW and he is very much a supporter of light magics. He is very good at looking at the whole picture, and I rather think that there was a reason….”
“A reason for leaving me in that house?” a deathly quiet voice spoke from behind them. By Harry’s hurt expression, Percival knew he needed to intercede, or Seraphina would have lost the small amount of trust Harry had given her.
“She is not saying that you deserved to be there,” he said softly.
“Absolutely not!” Seraphina was indignant. “Harry there is no excuse for the way that you were treated. I’m saying that Dumbledore made his decisions only looking at the possible effects on the British wizarding world and not considering what the possible consequences for you were.”
“Yeah after all what does it matter if one boy is raised in a cupboard if the rest of the world is okay!” he muttered bitterly.
She nodded sadly, “And he is very wrong about that. I have always found that it makes him more than a little short-sighted, as the bigger picture is made up of all the little pieces. I guess what I am saying is that he didn’t make the decision deliberately to hurt you, however I still do not believe that he was right. There are simple spells that can be used to monitor a child’s health. It should have been easy for him to keep an eye on you and make sure you were well and being looked after. I have no idea what his reasons for not checking on you were, but it doesn’t matter they were not good enough!” She held out an arm and invited Harry into a half hug. Percival was happy to see that after a moment Harry stepped to her side and accepted it.
“Regardless, understanding why something happened doesn’t negate the consequences, Picquery so be sure to get onto the apothecary. If you can arrange for him to be here next week when I come back with Harry’s other results, I’ll see the Godfather too,” Addison said before stepping into the floor and whirling away.
“Now it’s half past ten. I called Gringotts and let them know we were delayed so they have moved our appointment back until eleven. That gives you boys enough time to eat the pastries I bought for breakfast and apply glamours before we face Diagon Alley.” She shook her head while looking at Harry, “We had hoped to rid you of those glasses, but….” they became gold rimmed and rectangular.
Harry took them off to peer at them, “Wow they're so light, and,” he slid them into place, “I can see more, like at the sides!”
She smiled at him, “I’ll have to transfigure them back before you go home, however I’m sure one of the adults in the house could change them for you again. Something like this would be a better option for the trial. If you work hard enough you can probably transfigure them yourself.”
She continued to buzz around them as they devoured the treats set out on the table, only taking a minute to eat a croissant herself, and then finally she was done.
“There is one last thing Harry,” she said.
“My scar?” The small teen guessed with a barely concealed grimace.
She nodded then instructed, “face me and sit still.” Very carefully she covered the scar and blended the foundation in at the edges, then she took out her wand. Harry went cross-eyed trying to follow the movements as she set and waterproofed the coverup. “If you boys have finished eating, we are ready to go!” she nodded again, satisfied with her handy work.
The walk through Diagon Alley, had to be one of the most enjoyable that Harry had ever experienced. No-one gawked at him. They were too busy looking at Seraphina, in all her elegant glory. Harry made sure to walk several steps behind her so that it seemed he was merely walking in the same direction and wasn’t with her. The charade came to an end at the top of the steps into Gringotts as Seraphina waited for the teens to join her and then herded them towards a side door, that Harry had not noticed on his previous trips to the bank.
“We are expected at eleven, most Senior Guard,” she addressed the Goblin by the door, with a nod of respect.
He inclined his head and knocked once upon the door with the butt of his spear. A moment later the door opened, and a Goblin dressed in a grey pin-striped suit stepped through.
“Madame Picquery and guests,” he greeted, “Follow me.”
They followed him back through the door into the dim internal tunnels of Gringotts. The atmosphere was so sombre that Harry was afraid to make a noise. The Goblin led them to an oak door set into the passage way. He rapped on it once, before stepping backwards out of their way.
“Enter only when called,” he instructed.
“Many thanks Honourable Guide,” Seraphina acknowledged. He inclined his head again and then ambled off disappearing into the gloom.
The tunnel floor was smooth, and the ceiling was low, certainly not as low as Harry’s cupboard. Harry’s mind stuttered and caught on the memory. The darkness wasn’t helping, nor the musty smell of earth that saturated the still air. With a sharp inhale Harry tried to focus on taking slow breaths but they seemed to be getting away from them. He couldn’t catch them to slow them down, like a bolting horse. The walls pressed in, he thought he could hear footsteps on wooden floorboards.
A hand on the small of his back made him jump, though fortunately he didn’t cry out. Vernon wouldn’t tolerate that! He sucked air into his lungs again, but couldn’t halt his rapidly accelerating heart rate, nor the blackness at the edges of his vision. Someone took his hand, he flinched and tried to pull away, with a whine. Vernon wouldn’t like it if he moved, but he didn’t want to feel the cane striking his hand again! He would be punished more, at least an extra five hits, for not holding still. He whined again as his hand was grasped firmly but was lifted and not turned palm up as he had been dreading. What was Vernon doing?! The hand was still moving on his back. Vernon had never done that before! Was some new punishment about to be inflicted upon him? The thought terrified him. He was gasping now, there was only a small dot of vision left!
And then there was…..warmth…. spreading down his arm from his hand towards his elbow. His throat which had seized closed, relaxed. The hand on his back moved slowly in circles. The blackness receded and finally he could hear something other than his own heartbeat. His body became boneless and the hand moved from his back to support him at his waist so he wouldn’t fall.
“You’re safe, we’re with the Goblins. It’s dark because we’re in the tunnels. You are safe. I’m here with you. I’m here,” a voice whispered into his ear. Warm air moved against the side of his face at the words and made his skin tingle.
Harry choked out a half sob, and took a ragged breath in, “safe, you’re here?”
Percival began the rubbing soothing circles on the back of the hand that was pressed to his Mark, “I’m here, Seraphina’s here, the Goblins are here, we won’t let anything happen to you,” he reassured.
The door beside them opened spilling light into the passageway and illuminating Harry’s pale face. Seraphina stepped in front of the boys and spoke to one of the Goblins in the room.
“Master Accountant, I thank you for your forbearance for our delayed arrival and my charges appearing under glamour. I thought it prudent for them to avoid detection in Diagon Alley. If I may draw my wand, I will remove the disguises now?” Seraphina asked as she ushered the boys through the doorway and into chairs that were placed in front of the desk.
The Goblin seated behind the desk, waved his approval indifferently, while the other two, standing on either side of the desk, scowled on. Seraphina quickly removed the effects of the spells, glamours and re-transfigured Harry’s glasses. She had even thought to bring a damp cloth to remove the makeup from his scar.
“Well they certainly look the part,” growled the goblin to the left.
The one to the right had bared his teeth however, “As we have just seen, looks are easily created. Their magic needs to be tested.”
“Right you are Sharptooth, Grippound if you could bring forth the crystals.”
“That’s all well and good Striknott, however due to the unfortunate state of the world at the time, the Potter Heir does not have a magic sample on file,” he glared at Harry as if this was his fault.
“We’ll start out with Mr Graves then and sort Mr Potter out after. I rather suspect Mr Graves’ result will be rather interesting.”
A moment later Grippound returned holding an ice blue box, inside nestled on a dark blue velvet cloth rested a glowing orb. He opened the lid in front of Percival, “Well go on lad, take it out, let’s see if you are who she said you were.”
Percival reached out cautiously and removed the orb from its cushion, the moment his fingers wrapped around it there was the sound of a clear bell being struck.
“Hmmm,” Grippound seemed pleased as he took back the crystal examining it closely.
“Well?” demanded Striknott impatiently.
“As you thought, Sir. He’s the genuine article, though how he was de-aged and travelled seventy years through time is a bit of a mystery. There is a touch of Death and Magic in his new reading too,” he added squinting into the orb.
“Care to explain Mr Graves?”
“Not without oaths,” Percival stated flatly.
While Sharptooth, snarled the other two Goblins, laughed. “It’s definitely him,” Grippound said.
“An oath we shall make then,” agreed Striknott.
“I’m not making an oath to this lying wand waver!” Sharptooth growled.
“Hmmm,” Striknott steepled his fingers and examined the younger goblin. “As is your choice, you will leave now, and I’ll call you back when the claims are being made for young Mr Potter.”
Sharptooth, looked like he would protest, but a guttural growl from the eldest of the Goblins, sent him scurrying out of the room.
“To the oath, I Striknott, Master Accountant of the Gringotts Goblins swear, that I will not reveal the knowledge granted to me by Percival Ezra Graves. From now until the end of this meeting. In magics name, so mote it be.”
“So mote it be,” echoed Grippound. A cord of green wrapped around them both.
“Grippound you may remember in mid-1926, I came to see you to ensure that the latest copy of my will was on file. Not long after that I was part of an undercover operation, we didn’t know at the time, but it was all a set up. As a result, I was captured by Gellert Grindelwald.”
The Goblins nodded this was information they already knew.
“Some months after I was imprisoned, he stopped coming to feed me. I slowly starved. When I was on my death bed I was visited by the gods- Death and Magic, they prevailed upon me to accept a second life. It seems Magic is dying, and it won’t be long before she is gone taking all magical life with her, if we fail to act. I was also charged with providing support for Mr Potter in the upcoming conflict.”
“Good, I see you have already started using oaths. This will this remind people of her presence and draw on the magic in the ley lines refreshing those who use it.”
“I have also started discussing with Harry the old rituals that used to be followed and which have fallen out of practice. However, his health needs to be more stable before we start practicing them, though he has performed one small one in the last few days with no ill effects.”
“We have been concerned about Mr Potter. Many letters have been sent to his Guardians attempting to arrange an appointment, but we have yet to receive a response. Can you explain this Mr Potter?”
Harry, stuttered underneath that strong gaze. Percival took pity on him and answered in his stead.
“I believe that may be Dumbledore’s doing.”
“Mr Dumbledore, placed Harry with his Muggle relatives. When he did so he knew that they did not like Magic at all. I think he may have re-directed Harry’s mail to another location, or maybe placed a banishing ward on it, so they wouldn’t be inundated.”
“But I get letters from my friends!” Harry protested. “Who else would write to me.”
“Harry, you’re a celebrity in this world. I haven’t been the president of MACUSA for nearly fifty years and I still received over 200 letters a week from the public, and that triples on my birthday and other special occasions. I would be very surprised if there isn’t a mountain of letters and presents somewhere.”
Harry was stunned.
“We had best get Sharptooth back in here, to confirm your identity Mr Potter,” Striknott, pressed a small button on the side of his desk. Nearly instantaneously the door burst open and Sharptooth re-entered the room.
“Shall we test this fraud then?” he challenged.
“Sharptooth, your behaviour is unseemly. Be warned if it continues you will relegated to the carts!” Striknott growled.
“There is no orb, for Mr Potter, we will have to test his blood,” Sharptooth said with marginally less aggression.
“That is a simple matter,” Stricknott, opened a drawer in his desk and pulled forth a plain white bowl and a small bottle of potion. “The heritage parchment, please Grippound.”
From seemingly out of nowhere Grippound produced a single sheet of parchment and placed it beside the bowl.
“As is the way of wizards I assume you wish to use your own blade?”
Seraphina nodded and withdrew a dagger from inside a small pouch attached to her wand holster. “When we are done may I drew my wand to clean off the remaining blood?” she queried.
“Of course,” Striknott said. “Now seven drops of blood into the bowl lad, use the index finger of your left hand. The line of magic for that finger comes straight from your heart so it will give us the best reading.”
Harry took the offered blade and put a small nick in his finger as requested. He became so absorbed in watching the swirling pattern the blood made in the potion that he didn’t notice Percival grab his hand and heal it or Seraphina clean off the dagger. Striknott turned the bowl three times to the left, and then deeming the contents ready, stuck a quill into the bowl, when all the liquid was taken up in the nib, he passed the bowl to Seraphina for cleansing, much to Sharptooth’s disgust. The Quill was then placed at the top edge of the parchment and it began to write.
Name: Harry James Potter
Date of Birth : 31st of July 1980
Father: James Fleamont Potter
Mother: Lily June Potter nee Evans
Potter - Lord - Paternal
Black - Heir - Godfather
Peverell - Heir Secondus - Paternal
Loyalty - Freely Given- Percival Ezra Grave
Protection - Godfather Ritual - Sirius Orion Black
Protection - Coerced - Severus Tobias Snape
Severus Snape- Inherited Paternal
Vanquish the Dark Lord Tom Riddle
Collect the Deathly Hallows
Familiar- Owl- Hedwig
Weasley Wizards Wheezes 1000 G
Harry was intensely curious as to how the Goblins knew he had given his Triwizard tournament winnings to Fred and George, but the they looked so fierce he didn’t dare ask. Perhaps the twins had done something, he would have to ask them later.
“Well that’s that then,” Striknott said. “Gentlemen produce your ledgers.” Grippound passed a thick book, bound in black leather to Percival.
“He is underage Striknott, only his Guardian has the right to see the Potter Ledgers,” Sharptooth protested indignantly, as the senior Goblin gestured for the book to passed to Harry.
“His Guardians are muggles Sharptooth. As the only Heir of not one but two Houses he has the right to see the ledger for his own House. Lord Black will have to come in and see about his own finances of course.” The two Goblins were now engaged in a weird staring contest.
“Ah hum,” Grippound drew the attention of the humans away from the building disagreement to himself. “As you can see Mr Graves, we here at Gringotts had no indication that you were actually deceased even though the ministry did declare you so.” He opened the heavy Tome and gestured to an entry.
“Sorry about that Percy,” Seraphina muttered. He just smiled at her in understanding.
“Because of this,” Grippound continued. “We did not enact the will you had filed with us, instead we kept going with the last financial recommendations we had discussed. Because of this your account has not been idle and has accumulated a reasonable sum in the time you have been…….in transit.”
What followed was a brief financial overview, during which Harry and Seraphina conversed quietly. Percival was quite happy with the work the Goblins had done and so authorised them to continue, with only a few minor changes in adjustment for the new times.
The groups attention was returned abruptly to the desk, where an enormous, brown book now sat. Sharptooth was unconscious, completely wrapped in ropes and leaning stiffly against the wall like a length of timber. Striknott, was still seated calmly at his desk.
“My apologies, I lost my temper for a minute there. Mr Potter…..”
“Please Sir, could you call me Harry?” the boy asked somewhat hesitantly.
The Goblin showed all his teeth in a parody of a smile, “Certainly young man. Now Harry, I must regretfully inform you that your account manager has been stood down for the foreseeable future. I will act in his stead for the time being. If that is acceptable to you?”
What else could Harry do? After a quick glance at Percival and Seraphina he nodded.
“Good now first things first, as per your parents will, there has been a stipend meant for you guardians coming out of the accounts going to a Mrs Petunia Dursley nee Evans for the last 14 odd years. I just need to confirm that this is who you have been living with?” Harry nodded again, suppressing the anger that his relatives had been receiving money for his care when they had told him an infinite number of times how much of a burden he was. “Good. Please note that the will merely stipulates that it is to go to whomever you have been living with as that criteria has met there is nothing we at the bank can do to recover the funds,” his eyes flicked to Seraphina for a moment, whatever the message was, Harry hadn’t understood it. “Though should your circumstances change then the recipient of the stipend will change as well.”
Harry took a small measure of comfort in that, and maybe he should talk to Aunt Petunia about the money, to see what had happened to it.
A long-crooked finger ran down the numbers at the side of the page, suddenly it paused and tapped in place a number of times. “Mr Potter…..Harry, do you know an organisation called the Order of the Phoenix?”
Harry nodded again.
“Are you a member of this organisation.”
Harry shook his head.
“Have you at any time agreed to provide funding for this organisation?’
“No!” Harry blurted out. “I only learned about it a few days ago, and they don’t take members who are underage!”
“Hmmm, someone has arranged a fortnightly withdrawal of two hundred galleons. It started in November 1981.”
“I was one!”
“Yes I suppose you were. It definitely wasn’t authorised by you then. So that will be being cancelled! Rest assured Harry, if a Gringotts Goblin,” he passed to glanced at the bound figure. “Has been in anyway responsible for fraudulent activity on your account, there will be reparations paid to you and the consequences for the ones involved will be severe.”
He left the impression that not only would the consequences be severe but also terminal.
“Now articles and antiquities. It appears that the Potter Heirloom Cloak is currently in the possession of one Albus Dumbledore.”
“No, it’s not,” Harry interjected. “He returned it to me at Christmas my first year at Hogwarts.”
“Sorry Harry but it appears in the ledger. This is an ancient magical device and has never been deceived before. Could you retrieve the cloak you have and bring it in for authentication?”
“Yes now. There is a note here under business transactions that says you have engaged a House Elf.” the accountant prompted.
“Oh!” Harry blushed. “Dobby!”
“Master Harry calls Dobby.”
“Yes, sorry to interrupt whatever it was you were doing Dobby, but would you mind, grabbing my invisibility cloak from out of my trunk and bringing it here please. Make sure no-one at the house sees you though. I don’t fancy being on the receiving end of another lecture from Hermione!”
Dobby grinned and disappeared with a pop. Two minutes and another pop later and the House Elf returned.
“Here tis.” He proudly passed over the silky material.
This time Striknott produced a crystal rod from his drawer and passed it over the cloak, watching the iridescent colours change. Solemnly he looked at Harry, “I’m afraid to tell you that this is a fake.” He paused for a moment, “Well no I suppose it isn’t, it is an invisibility cloak and a reasonable quality one at that, but it certainly isn’t the Potter Cloak. You see the Potter Cloak has a magical signature that very nearly matches that of the Potter family themselves, with just a hint of something else,” here he gave a significant glance at Percival. “This reads most like hide-behind crossed with demiguise.”
Harry was gutted, he was angry, he felt betrayed…there were so many emotions he couldn’t name them all. “Why?” he finally managed to rasp out from his clenched throat. “Why would he do this to me!” Percival wrapped the smaller boy in his arms.
“I cannot say,” Striknott replied. “Though if any of my staff have been involved I will find out.” He again glanced sharply at the Goblin leaning against the wall.
“Dobby can you tell where the real Potter Cloak is?” Harry asked.
“Dobby’s not sure Master Harry, but many hidden things in old Bumblebee’s office.”
“Can you look for it, without being seen, or heard or harmed?”
Dobby nodded and made ready to disappear once more.
“Wait,” Percival said. “If you find the cloak you will need to replace it with something. Go and buy the cheapest invisibility cloak you can find, then disguise it to look identical to Harry’s. So, you can leave it in its place.”
“Is there anything else?” Harry asked tremulously.
“Yes, though these seem to be less suspicious. Books that have been borrowed and not returned, your House Elf should be able to gather them up. I will just mention that a large number of these are in the hands of one Hermione Granger. I assume that these were your doing as the young lady concerned is in your year and house.”
“I’ve never lent Hermione any books! The only books I own are the books I have purchased for school. She would already have the same ones,” Harry protested.
With a frown on his face Striknott, surveyed the list. “These all appear to have come from the Library at Potter Manor. Is that not the property you have been residing in with your family? Or were you in the cottage in Wiltshire? Or…”
“I have a manor?!” Harry gasped. “I live in little Whinging, in Surrey. My relatives are muggles who absolutely despise magic, so it is a perfectly mundane house.”
“Right,” the Goblin growled. “There has been a serious infraction. Someone has been able to gain entry into the Potter properties! When your parents passed on the properties wards would have all locked down, except for the property that was your residence. Once locked down they can only be opened again by using your blood. Therefore, only someone who has gained access to that could have passed the wards. Do you know anyone who could have achieved this?”
The goblin looked so fierce that Harry gulped, then nodded.
“I don’t think I even know them all,” the boy admitted in a whisper. “That night, the night my parents died, I had a wound on my head.” His hand lifted to cup his scar. “I don’t know how I got from the house we were in to my Aunt’s, though I do know at the very least that Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and Hagrid were there. I have been injured and unconscious a number of times at school, including speared with a basilisk fang, so anyone could have taken blood from me or my robes while I was there. Then last summer,” Harry swallowed roughly, and looked at the Goblin, through the hair which fell across his face. “Tom Riddle used my blood to create a new body for himself.” Harry dropped his face into his hands.
An odd puffing noise, drew Harry’s attention away from his inner turmoil and back to the seated Goblin, who was taking deep breaths. “Right, well as much as I am very,” he rolled his ‘R’ “interested in discussing the Basilisk incident. I’ll leave that for now. The good news is this that the first item was removed a mere two weeks after your parents died and there have been no new incursions since last June. So, the likelihood is that it was one of the first three. I doubt the half-giant would know either how to use blood to enter the wards or the location of Potter Manor, so it is safe to rule him out as a suspect. The other two though……..We will be able to secure the properties again with the appropriate ritual, which if Grippound, will agree to oversee, we can have sorted this afternoon. It shouldn’t be particularly taxing if it is performed here. We can close off the manor again or, we can make it accessible by you and possibly a limited number of others. You would have to be onsite to allow anyone else admittance and it wouldn’t matter if they were carrying a bucket of your blood.”
“Yes, the second one please. I would like to be able to see it.”
With a nod Striknott, wrote some instructions on a piece of parchment and ordered Grippound to start the preparations.
“After your Elf sorts out the Cloak I suggest you have him retrieve the books, especially the Potter Grimoire. Which I will leave Mr Graves to explain to you.” He forestalled any further questions. “Or we will never finish here. Lastly, I believe Mr McMillan who is a Lawyer from McMillan and sons wishes to know if you would still like to have them on retainer. They have received advice that you don’t feel that their services are required, but as it wasn’t directly from you they would like confirmation and they want to present a case for your keeping them on.”
Harry glanced at Percival, “My Aunt suggested I talk to a lawyer so I would very much like to keep them on. Can you manage the contract for me?”
“Very astute Mr Potter. I will send a response while the ritual is being performed and will advise him to contact you via us. As you appear to have some sort of mail….ward or similar in place, I will offer you this. Given what has been discovered here today I will waive the usual hire fee.”
He pulled a small wooden box from out of the drawer (Harry was beginning to wonder exactly how big the insides of the drawer really were). “This is a post box. To send a letter via Gringotts place the letter inside and depress this button,” he demonstrated. “If there is mail for you, the button will glow and when you press it, the drawer will open so you can retrieve the letter. Letters can be received by you at no cost. For you to post out will cost a single knut for each letter. You can receive and send larger parcels for the same price but these will need to be shrunk to fit in the box.”
“That seems very fair, thank you.” Harry didn’t even consider bargaining.
“I will audit your accounts more deeply and contact you with the results as soon as I can. Now if you will proceed through the door Grippound should be waiting and I will deal with…… this,” he hissed at the figure leaning against the wall.
When the humans had departed, he turned to face the now conscious Sharptooth with a snarl. “That right there,” he gestured wildly at the closing door, “is the holder of the biggest account in this bank. And by your actions you have dared to jeopardise not only his life but his inheritance. You will tell me exactly what you have done and what you have gained out of it and I might grant you a swift death,” seeing the stubborn scowl on the other Goblins face he changed tack, “Or I might just refer you straight to His Majesty instead. I’m sure he would love to hear how you nearly lead to the end of the most financial family that this bank serves!”
The first step in the ritual was covering another one of the crystal orbs in Harry’s blood. This required a surprisingly small amount of blood, merely a few drops which were absorbed in a matter of seconds. An added bonus of the ritual was that Gringotts would now have a sample of Harry’s magic. Next he had to meditate, while holding the orb in the palm of his hands, in order to locate his magical core. Which was something he had never done before, but Percival said it was the next step in learning occlumency, and very similar to the meditation they had started to practice each night. It took ten minutes before Harry was able to confidently locate the golden pool of light that hovered in line with his solar plexus. Then he had to pull energy from the pool and push it into the orb, until he was told to stop by Grippound, this step also only took a few seconds.
The glowing orb was then placed in the centre of a circle, the outside delineated by miniature standing stones. Grippound proudly told them that Gringotts was built over a convergence of ley lines which ensured that there was always free flowing magic for the Goblins, or in this case Harry, to use, regardless of the ministries law that restricted them from carrying wands. As Harry had decided that he wanted Sirius, Percival and Seraphina to have access to the properties, they each had to create orbs as well. Dobby, who had returned after successfully retrieving the Cloak, which was returned to the Potter vault, had been diverted from retrieving the books in order to take one to Sirius. The three supplementary orbs were arranged in a triangle around Harry’s. From there it was a simple process of a little bit of chanting by the Goblins and Harry asking Magic’s blessing to cleanse the Potter properties and strip access from any who had it, giving admittance only to those who had provided blood and magic.
Looking around at the end of the ceremony, everything in the room seemed brighter, and cleaner than it had before. Harry’s skin felt supercharged and his hair was standing on end, moving in a non-existent breeze. There was an amused twinkle in Percival's eye as he looked at Harry.
“Oi, just because your hair likes to behave, I swear the Potters must have been cursed!”
Percival laughed out loud at that. Seraphina again asked permission to draw her wand in order to re-transfigure the boys into the disguises they wore entering the bank so that they could continue with their shopping. Anticipating their need, Grippound produced a money bag for each of them as they were leaving.
“I am sure that you and your charges will hear from us soon, Madame Picquery,” he said as he bowed them out Gringotts.
Harry couldn’t say that he enjoyed the hours they spent in the alley that afternoon, though it was an eye-opening experience. Never before had he been able to choose all his clothes. Never before had he owned clothes that fit! Because he had always had Dudley’s oversized and over used hand-me-downs, he had never really cared how he looked, so he had never developed a sense of style for himself. By the end of the afternoon he was fairly sure that he had driven both Seraphina and Percival mad with his indecision. In the end it was easier to let them choose, especially when it came to the robes for the trial.
He had avoid thinking about the hearing in the most part, but faced with those sleek, silk robes in dark navy, it began to weigh him down like a lodestone tied to his neck. Then there were the shoes! He’d never owned so many pairs and wasn’t at all convinced they were all needed. Percival insisted that he got shiny black leather dress shoes, comfortable soft house shoes, shoes for exercising in and even a set of dragon leather boots! (from a naturally deceased dragon, they were assured). Well Harry supposed it was better than wearing Dudley’s old shoes with the black tape covering the holes in the toes.
“Um Perce?” Harry asked as they unloaded their bags into Seraphina’s living room.
“Mmmm,” the older boy groaned as he stretched his back.
“How are we going to get these into the house? I mean obviously we could shrink them and have Sirius enlarge them again, but then I would need to explain how I came by them all! And where am I going to put them all.”
“Well the majority of it is going to go straight into your trunk,” before Harry could protest he added, “which I will enlarge. Normally school trunks have several compartments to keep things separate so that potions ingredients don’t become contaminated and vials and ink pots are protected. However, I’m sure I can come up with something, but for now, I grabbed some owl order catalogues for both formal robes and a day clothes, which we can leave lying around the house. Most shops owl order you see. You can say that I bought the brochures with me, showed them to you and you ordered. We’ll have Seraphina send us the first package tonight and then the rest spread out in a few packages over the next couple of days. Okay?” He reached out an arm to wrap around Harry’s shoulders.
“Do you think Dobby would just pop us back into the library at Grimmauld, to save Ron having to create another diversion and organising the timing?” Harry looked up at Percival.
Black eyes, stared into green for a long moment, before lips split in a wide grin, “Harry that sounds perfect.”
They sorted out the packages and, after making arrangements for the next visit with Seraphina, called for Dobby.
“I guess we’d better let Sirius and Ron know we’re back,” Harry said as he finished re-arranging his trunk. There was now a pile of rags on the floor beside it. “And I guess we’d better banish those so that we don’t upset Kreacher with the mess. Will you show me how to do it wandlessly?”
With a beaming smile Percival separated a shirt from the pile, “the incantation is depulso, the hand action is like so,” he gave a demonstration. “And the most important thing is to visualise exactly where the item is going to end up. If you don’t, this happens. Depulso.” He demonstrated.
The shirt shot away from them and landed on the other side of the bed.
“Which isn’t very useful if you are trying to tidy up. For the purposes of these…..rags, imagine a big bin somewhere.”
“Depulso.” Harry’s first effort was less than stellar, with the shirt merely flopping over. The second was somewhat better as it landed on the bed. Harry finally had true success on his third attempt. He doggedly practiced using each item of clothing individually, and not the whole pile at once. Leaving Harry with only the set of clothes he was wearing, at least until the first package arrived. By the end he was confident that he had gotten it correct. After that they emptied the entirety of Harry’s trunk on the floor and sorted the contents. Percival solved the problem of space using several smaller single compartment trunks that Dobby had liberated from the attic and performing a spell on each to enlarge the space inside. Essentially this gave Harry individual compartments for: potions ingredients, breakables (vials and ink pots), stationary, books and clothes.
“Thanks Perce,” and for once Harry initiated a hug.
The door to their room banged open, to reveal Hermione.
“Harry James Potter! What are you doing?” she asked shrilly, eyeing them shrewdly.
“Hermione Jean Granger, what are you doing?” Harry asked in intense but faux interest in return.
“Me?! We were talking about you!” The brown eyed girl was taken aback by the sudden attention.
“But you always want to talk about me, I think it’s time you had some attention,” Harry said coming close and wrapping an arm around her shoulders, staring intently at her forehead. “So, Hermione, what have you been up to today? Hmm, I haven’t seen you anywhere? What did you eat for lunch Hermione? We can’t have you missing meals and I want to be sure you’re eating a balanced diet.”
“I don’t have to tell you anything!” she replied indignantly, shaking off his arm and stepping backwards. This meant she was just slightly on the outside of the doorway.
“Yeah well, neither do I,” Harry flicked his hand at the door and banished it closed with a bang, after a moment of silence they could hear the sound of footsteps stamping down the stairs. Harry started giggling. “I….I…can’t believe I did that. It felt kind of good!”
Five minutes later there was a polite tap at the door, “Who’s there?”
“Just me,” Ron’s voice replied.
“Come in then,” Harry called.
“What did you do to Hermione?” Ron asked curiously.
“Just asked her what she had been doing today why?”
“She’s absolutely wild mate, I’d suggest avoiding her for a while if you can. How’d it go today? You don’t have to give me details.”
“Mostly it was good.” A thought crossed Harry’s mind, “Hey Ron, have you ever seen Hermione with some really old books. Like really old ones, ones that aren’t from the Hogwarts library?”
Ron shrugged, “Only every day. There’s been some odd ones too, definitely not things that would have been kept at Hogwarts! Not just recently mind, even in the summer holidays between second and third year, can’t remember before that really.”
“Hmm, I saw a Healer today, so don’t be worried if you see me drinking random potions okay. And I’ve ordered some new clothes to replace Dudley’s as well. We’re going to pretend I owl ordered them.”
Ron nodded, “It’s about time too. The twins have a couple of catalogues I can get them to show you tonight, if that helps.”
“Yeah it would. Thanks mate.”
The door banged open again, but this time it was Ginny, “Mum said it’s dinner time, the last one there has to eat rotten eggs.”